How much should I allocate to online marketing?

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How much of my budget, generally speaking, should I set aside for my online marketing budget?

There is good news and bad news. The good news is online marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your product or services.

It is fluid, trackable and with a bit of planning and commitment can be a gold mine for new customers.

The bad news is there is no hard and fast rule for determining your marketing mix. Today it sits around 10-25% but of course that is going to depend on a few factors:

1. What are you trying to achieve

Think about your perfect customer: who are they, what do they do, read and watch? Do you want to attract lots of new customers by offering a big discount or will these new customers become extraneous and time consuming to your business?

Remember quantity is not quality – unless you are selling cupcakes.

If you are in bricks-and-mortar retail and want to beef up your mailing list, invest in strategic email campaigns and social media engagement. The targeting offered through Facebook advertising can be made extremely narrow.

If you sell jewellery, you could advertise only to people that have mentioned ‘getting engaged’ in their status updates within the last seven days.

Google AdWords can be very expensive if you are in a competitive industry such as insurance or web hosting. However, if you sell software that deals with a specific manufacturing task or product, your ‘per click’ cost will be quite affordable and also return more qualified leads.

2. Location, location, location

Where are people viewing your marketing material: On a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer?

If you have spent your marketing dollars driving them to your website, does it have a good ‘call to action’ to push them towards buying or contacting you?

More than ever, we are browsing websites through our smartphones, so invest in making a ‘responsive’ website – which means the content automatically reshapes to fit screens of all sizes and platforms.

3. Analyse your data

With proper planning, analysis and tracking you can quickly eliminate what isn’t working for you.

Free products such as Google Analytics and reporting through email marketing is nearly instantaneous and gives you loads of information about your customers’ habits and what offers appeal to them.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement but unless you are getting a return on investment to generate these new customers you must try something else.

4. And finally, a dream without a plan is just a wish

Hang in there, if you have a great product and solid vision for your business, once you have attracted your new customers then word-of-mouth will give you momentum and you can spend money looking after them by setting up a referral program.

Look after your customers for life and they will become free walking billboards for your business.


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