8 Ways to Use Your Online Marketing Budget More Effectively
In the online environment, there is no such phrase as ‘ample marketing budget’. There are always additional keywords to test, SEO ideas to implement, and audiences to experiment with. However, the abundance of choices does not mean that all these instruments are equally effective and will produce positive results for your company. While some metrics may be difficult to trace, promotional tools must always generate money and lead to increased conversions rather than some vague improvements. Optimisation is the latest buzzword in online marketing since all companies seek to use their budgets more sparingly. Here are the 8 ways of optimising your spending while improving your advertising effectiveness.
Monitor Your Effectiveness
Many marketers fall into the age-old trap of throwing all the resources they have at some problem. Afterwards, they think that they found the true cost of its resolution, which cannot be further from the truth. First, the problem could have been solved due to the use of a single instrument while the remaining ones had no effect or actually made the situation worse. Second, the issue could disappear due to some external factors having nothing to do with the steps taken. Third, you could always optimise the use of some instruments to use fewer resources. With thousands of tools in the market, it may be difficult to choose the most effective ones even for experienced marketers. Uncontrollable spending on SEO services, better hosting options, traffic monitoring instruments or ad impressions does not convert into tangible results for your company. If you are looking into new tools, use them individually in fully controllable settings to see their real-life advantages. If you are revising the currently used ones, remove them from your toolbox one by one to see if it has any lasting effect on monthly results.
Try Before You Buy
Many instruments have a free version. While your PC software experience may suggest that freeware tools are difficult to use and have limited effectiveness, this is not true in all cases. The owners of subscription-based services and marketing tools seek to win new customers and may be offering superior experiences within the free period. This will also allow you to monitor the actual results and identify if some instruments work for you and are convenient to use. The general rule of thumb is to use the free version for as long as you can and sign up for the cheapest subscription option afterwards. Upgrade only when you are 100% certain that greater investments will have exponential effects on your marketing effectiveness.
Use Combined Offerings
In most cases, there are no practical benefits to using separate tools for link building, back-links tracking, obtaining crawl reports, or analysing customer behaviours. When looking through available alternatives, try to focus on the solutions that offer several instruments within the same package. This will allow you to save money on multiple subscriptions and work with your data within a single software environment. Another option is to use the resources that offer customisation variants. This way, you can only pay for the elements that you need now while also having a future expansion path when it is required.
Set Clear Quantitative Goals
The previous steps were aimed at identifying the most effective instruments for your company or campaign and measuring their potential performance strength. The next step is to set your goals in terms of your requirements, resources, and expectations. Identify how many persons in your company will be actively involved in the campaign and what is the monthly budget for it. Next, choose the tools that are suitable for achieving the defined results with the resources you have. Also, get confirmation from all involved stakeholders (CEO, other managers, etc.) regarding the selected performance criteria (number of purchases, increased conversion rates, higher number of visitors, visitors from a certain region, etc.). There is nothing more frustrating than working hard to improve the indicator that is deemed irrelevant afterwards by your executives.
While this guide suggests that optimisation should be the primary marketing approach, it should be more about using the resources you have more effectively than blindly cutting down marketing expenses in general. If you remove some ineffective instruments, invest the saved money into the ones that work best. Keep in mind that many SEO and promotional strategies are only effective for limited periods of time. Always maintain a stock of resources to capitalise on interesting offerings and experiment with new instruments. You cannot expect to build a unique combination of promotional tactics tailored to the needs of your company if you only read online guides or implement generalised recommendations.
Schedule Content Creation
Nothing wastes your marketing budget faster than unexpected tasks with short deadlines. While they cannot be avoided completely, try to minimise the amount of disruption by planning your future posts, materials, and videos. Identify the optimal publication frequently and prepare all the content in advance. You can even schedule the launch of new posts via the integrated instruments provided by most social media platforms. This may also be convenient for reducing the workload on marketing managers who do not have to perform these operations manually during specific periods of time.
Choose the Optimal Platforms and Targeting Options
Even major multinational corporations struggle with reaching multiple customer categories via several online platforms. If you sell beauty products, chances are that Instagram marketing may be your best bet while Facebook will not provide similar results per dollar. Your ad targeting choices are equally important. The sheer number of daily ad impressions at AdWords or Facebook does not correspond to high conversion rates if you are demonstrating your materials to the wrong audiences. If you are a local business, limit your geotargeting to your area only if you do not presently seek to internationalise and start selling your products or services worldwide. Make sure that you primarily focus on your prospective customers and avoid excessively broad targeting choices.
Monitor Hidden Costs
In many companies, managers only track the monetary costs. While this approach should be implemented first, the more advanced solution for using your marketing budget more effectively is to monitor the hidden expenses that are difficult to identify at first sight. How many hours were spent by your employee maintaining your WeChat page because you are considering an expansion into the Chinese market in several years? Were the efforts of your managers experimenting with new Facebook marketing tactics more effective than the work of professional experts fine-tuning your targeting instruments and charging per-hour rate? You should seek to measure all activities in your company as tangible figures and eliminate all costs that are excessive or unnecessary.
The primary aim of the tactics described above is to minimise your costs and spare some resources for experimenting with new options. Unfortunately, online marketing does not have one-size-fits-all solutions for every company and every campaign. This means that you will inevitably waste a certain amount of resources on the experiments that will not work as planned. This is a normal situation that should be deemed acceptable if you balance your risks, limit the investments into new spheres, and cut down your operational expenses wasted on useless instruments. This approach is also necessary because the popularity of different social platforms and the effectiveness of various marketing tools may change with time. Hence, successful marketers have to constantly monitor the market and revise their toolbox in order to remain competitive and ensure optimal costs/productivity ratio.
Ellie Richards is an online Marketing Manager for PhD Writing company Original PhD. She specialises in research, content and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.