It’s safe to say that not one company is sitting around scratching their head saying “I have all of this marketing budget to spare, what can I spend it on?”. Budgets are tight, and marketing budgets are often the first to feel the pain of cuts.
Traditional marketing tactics often come at a high price, and it can be difficult to track return. Alternatively, the vast array of digital marketing tactics evolve frequently and can quickly become overwhelming.
Each year, companies are investing more and more in digital marketing. In fact, Econsultancy found that 77% of marketers were planning on increasing digital marketing budgets in 2015. But the question on many marketers’ minds is: Where exactly should these digital marketing funds be invested?
Below are 4 areas you should consider investing your digital marketing spend in 2015.
#1 – A Technically Sound & Optimized Website
A website is your calling card to the outside world. If it doesn’t work or isn’t optimized for mobile customers, they’ll quickly move on and will find one that does what they need.
Does your website pass the following tests?
- Page Load Speed: Google’s PageSpeed tool will provide you with a page load speed score and provide recommendations for fixing any issues.
- Responsive Design: The number of mobile users searching the web will only continue to grow. Use a tool like Am I Responsive? to see how your website displays across multiple devices.
- Encourages Lead Conversions: Are your customers finding what they expected when they reach your website? Are you making it as easy as possible for people to reach you via contact forms or phone numbers? If the answer to either of those questions is no, your website is not optimized to encourage lead conversions.
- Optimized for Organic Search: If you’re not an SEO expert, it can sometimes be hard to understand what exactly it takes to make your website optimized. All of your website content including title tags, meta descriptions, urls and more should all be optimized for the key terms and phrases that you want to appear for in search engine results.
#2 – Understanding Your Customers
Your customers should affect every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. The way that they interact with and consumer information should inform your SEO, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media strategies and beyond.
In order to better understand customers and make a more impactful digital marketing strategy, you must complete:
- Customer Research: This can take on many forms. Your current customers are the best place to start. Depending on your business model you can schedule a conversation with some of your best clients, or send out surveys to customers that have purchased once or many times.
- Persona Development: Once you’ve collected customer data, you need to begin understanding how to mold a digital marketing strategy around that information. The data collected will help inform what topics and types of content makes the most sense for customers based on their needs and stage in the buying cycle.
#3 – Consistent, Creative & Compelling Content Creation
The 2015 B2B Content Marketing report shows that marketers recognize that blogging is not content marketing. While it’s a very important component, it’s not the only tactic you should be focusing on:
However, before you begin deciding which tactics to invest in, you must first get a handle on:
- Audits: If you’ve already identified your digital marketing opportunities, congratulations! However, for most marketers, the hardest part is knowing where to start. Either internally or with an agency like TopRank Marketing, we recommend that you audit the performance of your current content marketing activities and uncover your biggest opportunities for impact.
- Content Marketing Strategy: A comprehensive content marketing strategy will include the targets, tactics and promotion for every content marketing asset throughout the year. As mentioned above, blogging is merely an element of a content marketing strategy, not a strategy all in of itself.
- Resources: Today’s customers require compelling content and visuals that inspire them to take the next step. A content marketing strategy is only as good as the team that you have working for you. It doesn’t matter if it is internal team members or external resources, this is an incredibly important of digital marketing to invest in.
#4 – Paid Digital Marketing Amplification
What good is digital marketing if nobody sees or shares it? While it is always important to maintain a strong organic search and social presence, you should also consider making an investment in paid tactics.
- Paid Social: Organic reach on social media platforms just isn’t what it used to be. Paid social on websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help you target your digital marketing to the right people, for the action you want them to take.
- Paid Search: Incorporating a paid search strategy can be the added boost that your digital marketing needs. There is an art to writing paid search campaigns and they can become expensive so make sure that you’re working with someone that can help guide you on your approach.
Knowing When to Partner with an Agency
It doesn’t matter if you’re a large enterprise company or a small startup, sometimes you need to ask for help. Below are three signs that you may need the help of a digital marketing agency:
- You’re Looking for Expertise: Agency teams are typically comprised of teams that specialize in specific areas of digital marketing. Instead of hiring a team of experts, strategists, practitioners and project managers, you may want to consider partnering with an agency.
- You Have Other Priorities: You may recognize that you have a digital marketing need, but your internal team is already strapped and focused on larger business objectives. If you want a team that can integrate with your existing staff, and help you work toward common business objectives an agency may be right for you.
- Hiring Your Own Staff is Too Expensive: The cost of hiring new employees and paying their salaries, benefits and any other miscellaneous costs can quickly add up. One of the many benefits of working with an agency is that you have access to a whole team of digital marketers, at a reasonable price.
If you’ve felt the pressure to increase your digital marketing budget, you’re not alone. A marketing program can be a big investment, but it should be data driven and focused on results. If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency whose core values and business objectives align with your own, consider trying on TopRank Marketing for size.
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