How Do I Know if My Marketing Budget is Adequate for My Goals?
Here at Lean Labs, we speak with people interested in getting started with inbound marketing for every imaginable type and size of business. One of the questions we get asked most often is, “How much is this all going to cost me?”
For many, implementing inbound represents major changes in mindset, but it also requires building out significant content assets and obtaining access to new tech tools. So it makes sense that people would want to make sure the business path they’re considering doesn’t involve spending on an irresponsible scale.
Marketing Budget Planning
While there are plenty of ways to minimize costs and spread the necessary spending over larger time frames, sometimes profitability can come faster by accelerating processes – which, in turn, accelerates spending. Inbound can take up to a year or more before it starts bearing significant fruit, so making sure your company has the fiscal resources to make it happen is pivotal.
In the same way that Lean Labs serves a wide range of business sizes, we structure our pricing to scale with the goals of every client as well – which naturally accommodates the budgets of both large and small companies. How do you know if the budget you have designated for marketing is adequate for the needs of your business?
Consider the most significant factors that will go into your marketing plan, and you will be able to determine if you budget matches your goals.
What Are Your Goals?
It may sound trite, but to evaluate your budget, you first need to determine what your goals are. Be specific. Instead of asking, “Are we looking to increase traffic with new customers?,” for example, ask, “How much traffic do we need every month to create enough leads that we can depend on the conversions we need moving forward?”
How many leads do you need to capture each month in order to nurture sufficient sales-ready prospects? In order to meet your regular goals (quarterly, annually, etc.), what rate of growth is necessary on a month-by-month basis?
What Is Your Time Frame?
As you crystalize your goals, incorporate the “when” involved with them. By when do you need things done in order to maintain momentum with your objectives?
Are your needs immediate? Do you need results right now in order to move forward? When the answer to this question is “yes,” you are likely to spend more on advertising to complement incremental increases in organic traffic as the business increases and grows.
Do you have a year to invest in building your inbound marketing machine? Are you making enough money currently to keep you afloat while inbound starts to take hold? When the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you have the leeway to spread out your marketing efforts, both practically and strategically.
What Are Your Skills and Skill Gaps?
As you are probably discovering, inbound marketing work requires a lot more specialized expertise than some people like to think. You may already have people on your team with some of these skills, while others will need to be sourced. Similarly, ask yourself whether you’re best off onboarding more in-house talent, hiring an agency, or turning to the world of freelance service providers.
So when you broadcast your business going forward, consider whether you need a web developer, a graphic designer, a writer, a community manager, a conversion optimization practitioner or other such professionals who contribute critical experience and know-how.
What Are Your Tool Needs and Costs?
As you embark on your inbound marketing program, keep in mind that you need a marketing platform. HubSpot, which is the one that we and a lot of our clients use, is an excellent choice.
You will also want to create landing pages and thank you pages, important elements for lead capture via premium content offers. Those who opt to use a platform other than HubSpot will find tools like Unbounce and Leadpages useful.
Other tools that will prove themselves to be invaluable include:
An email marketing automation system
A website host
A content management system
Relevant software for graphic design, coding and more – as dictated by your company’s specific needs and marketing goals
Arriving at Your Bottom Line
How will you know if you have designated sufficient funds to meet your marketing needs? Is your budget truly adequate? Well, that depends on what you aim to accomplish and how fast you want (or need) to get there. Every element of your marketing plan – and therefore every row of your digital marketing budget – will be determined by these two considerations.
A content and social media marketing specialist, Ben Jacobson joined the Lean Labs team in the summer of 2014. Ben has been active as a digital branding professional since the early days of social media, having overseen projects for brands including MTV, National Geographic, Zagat and Wix. His writing has appeared in Social Media Explorer, Search Engine Journal, Techwyse and the Mad Mimi Blog. Ben resides just south of the Carmel Mountain ridge in Israel with his dashing wife and two sprightly descendants.