Devising a budget, no matter what industry you’re in, is difficult. You want to spend your money wisely, not just spend your money. Over time, you will certainly get a better feel for what is and isn’t a wise investment, but there are always new challenges cropping up to make you rethink your strategy.
The ever-increasing ubiquity of technology has brought many such challenges. The internet, in general, was an incredible disruptor – both positively and negatively. Aspects of the internet like search engines and social media have forced companies across the world to completely overhaul their strategies, lest they get left behind by their competitors.
Know Your Demographics
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to budget allocation. Even companies in the same industry can and should have wildly different strategies. Much of that is because of differing demographics. Things like population, age, income level, and other factors can necessitate a wide variety of plans.
When it comes to digital marketing, however, there is a general outline you can stick to, and four major ways to divide up your budget: website, social media, pay-per-click (PPC), and search engine optimization (SEO). In larger markets, those latter two areas are lumped together, as they are equally important.
No matter what, your digital marketing efforts should always start with your website, and that is where most your budget should go. Your website is, almost always, your main source of traffic. Therefore, it needs to be your top priority. The more website visitors you get, the more leads will come in, typically in the form of phone calls or form submissions. And the more leads you receive, the more customers you’ll gain.
Prioritizing PCC, SEO & Social Media
From there, however, there a few different ways to go depending on your location. If you’re in a metropolitan area, your priority after a website should be a combination of SEO and PPC. Because SEO and PCC capture people searching for very specific topics, it is better to put your money there as compared to social media.
On Facebook and the like, people are easily lost in the crowd in a densely-populated area because things spread by word of mouth on social media more than they do by specific searches. That does not mean that big city companies should ignore social media, of course. That would be unwise because although the chances of reaching your ideal customer are probably lower, those chances still are not zero.
In a more rural area, you should flip your prioritization of social media and PPC/SEO. So invest more time and money in Facebook than you do on search engine ads. In more sparsely-populated areas, word travels much faster on social media than it does in larger areas. There are fewer people, and therefore less crowded news feeds. Contrast that with PPC ads, which while specific, can also be costly, and social media just makes more sense outside of the city.
Questions to Ask Yourself
And if you’re somewhere in between those two extremes? Well simply use your best judgment to see which of the two scenarios sounds more appropriate for you. Here a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself as you begin to plan your budget:
- Who is my target audience?
- How many competitors do I have in my area?
- Do I have a website that is already getting results?
- Am I trying to target people outside of my specific town/area?
Regardless of how you answer those questions, it’s crucial that you do not underestimate the importance of your digital marketing budget. It can really make or break the success of your company in the digital age. Therefore, it will require a thoughtful, detailed plan to execute correctly.