A new year means a new outlook, new strategies and new marketing efforts. In order to survive and thrive in the 2016 business environment, you’ll have to allocate money to being seen, heard, felt and most importantly paid attention to.
If you’re a new business, you’ll have to push your marketing to the forefront in order to spread awareness of what you’re doing for the first few years of business.
If your business has been around for 5+ years, you’ve more than likely found your footing and are looking at expansions into new markets.
In this article we’ll explore the major underpinnings of a proper marketing strategy so that you can go into this year with solid ideas and expectations as to how you get your message out to the people you want to reach.
Budget: $400-$10K+ (one-off investment)
Proper branding is is more than slapping a logo on a surface. As well as the usual marketing collateral (cards, templates) you may want someone who can deliver everything from your story to brand book to other assets. New markets who are not familiar with your brand want to know who they’re doing business with.
A familiar logo or item not only gets people recognizing you, it’s also a big key to them liking you and advocating your brand to their friends and peers.
Budget: Free-$15K (one-off investment); $100+ yearly running costs
A good website should drive people to interact with your company by making a sale, an appointment or a phone call. With the dawn of marketing automation technology, your website of choice can take users through the entire sales funnel from start to finish as well as encouraging repeat business.
WordPress or Wix sites can be built yourself with the only expenses being plugins. A custom-made WordPress site designed to carry the look of your brand usually costs over $2,500, and adding extra functionality such as shopping carts or marketing automation features will cost more.
Budget: Intern-$4K+ per month
Social media is a marketing channel, not a strategy. Social media websites have been found to be great tools for interacting with customers and getting data to help you serve them better. Some businesses have found strategies that work better on social media (fitness, health, contacting influencers) than anywhere else.
The greatest increases in marketing spending next year and beyond, by category, are projected for analytics and social media. Marketing analytics spending is expected to increase by 60% over the next three years, from 8% to 13.5%.
Increased usage of data analytics tools to help inform marketing looks set to create a major change in marketing budgets in 2016.
Budget: Intern-$10K+ per month
With search engine algorithms getting smarter, stuffing your content with keywords in order to rank higher is becoming a thing of the past. Users are looking for informative, high-quality posts with graphics included.
A steady stream of high-quality content should be part of every business’s online marketing budget. Some companies make content the cornerstone of their online marketing efforts, for example Red Bull whose online presence is equivalent to a magazine or television station.
You can hire freelancers to write and edit content for you, or outsource the whole process to a content marketing firm.
In a 2014 survey, 47% of businesses reported that content marketing was a good return on investment.
In 2016, content is still a major driver of traffic and can achieve good returns on investment with the right strategy.
Budget: Tools/software – free-$100+ per month; Copywriting – intern-$100+ per email
Email is one of the most powerful weapons in your online marketing arsenal. It might not be as cool as Snapchat or Vine, but email is still the most effective online communication tool when it comes to marketing.
One 2015 study estimated the return on investment in email marketing services to be $38 for each $1 spent. With stats like that, you’ll want to be generous when it comes to allocating a portion of your marketing budget to email.
In email marketing, you need to consider two main expenses. Firstly, you’ll have to budget for email marketing tools such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp, which can cost over $200 per month with advanced features and analytics. For smaller businesses who don’t need the advanced features, Mailchimp is free as long as you have less than 2,000 subscribers.
Hiring a good copywriter is the second main expense in email marketing. A professionally written email can cost over $100 a time, unless you’re lucky enough to a have a gifted writer already at your company.
From simply attending events and meeting like-minded people to crossmarketing with other brands with similar audiences to your own, there are several ways to go about marketing your products and services through events depending on your budget allocation.
Want to host a weekend retreat in Disneyworld? Want to attend a meetup in an upscale part of town? Factor in everything from venue spaces to travel time to the types of personalities who work in your industry can work wonders as a marketing effort that meets your goals.
Working out your budget
If you’re a small business: the best advice for you would be to start small: focus on the audience as well as how to reach out to them. Learn as you go with little steps.
Focus on starting with a strategy, objectives and metrics to track as you go. After you’ve done a bit of work, analyze the results and try to figure out what went right and what can be improved.
Experimarketing offers you social media, content and email marketing all in one package.