The process of strategizing for the new year can be a stressful one, especially when you consider the constraints of a limited budget. What's more stressful is determining where that budget will have the greatest impact.
When it comes to your marketing strategy, two places to consider investing in are your website and digital marketing solutions. These are two areas that are becoming more and more important each year. A well-designed website and thorough digital marketing plan will help you find, attract, and win more customers.
The Hub-Spoke Relationship
Here’s a little analogy we’ll use to detail the relationship between your website and digital marketing.
Your Website (Hub)
The hub is the core of any wheel. It’s the point of contact between the rest of the wheel and bike's frame.
Just as any functioning wheel needs a reliable hub, a successful marketing strategy needs a website designed and developed with the customer's journey in mind.
It’s easy to get so invested in the building of your new website that you overlook what happens after it’s launched. This is understandable. The website is the face, and likely first impression, of your company.
At its best, a website acts as a virtual salesperson, collecting leads while you sleep. At its worst, it will lose you business.
Your Digital Marketing Solutions (Spokes)
The spokes are what connects the rim to the hub.
Digital marketing connects customers with your website.
Without a digital marketing strategy, your new website is a sitting duck, and an expensive one at that. Marketing the final product with paid ads and social media campaigns, for instance, is a must.
Unfortunately, if the site ends up costing over double what was expected, those crucial advertising funds won’t be available.
Spend too much of your budget on your website and you limit your exposure to potential customers.
Spend too little of your budget on your website and you’re left with an underdeveloped website, incapable of supporting your digital marketing campaigns.
Where to allocate your Marketing Budget
You know how to create a budget, but deciding where to place that budget is tricky.
When to Budget for a New Website:
Should you invest in a shiny new hub? If it’s been 2-5 years since your website’s last update or redesign, it’s time to look into a relaunch. How do you know when it’s time for a new website?
Your website is built on an outdated CMS: An outdated CMS doesn’t always mean you’ll need a new website, but sometimes it’s required. For example, websites built on Drupal 7 will require a rebuild to migrate to Drupal 9.
You have a poor user experience: Your website is one of the most important sales tools in your arsenal. According to a Stanford Web Credibility study, 75% of users assess a company’s credibility by their website.
Do some investigating. Get feedback from your team and target audience, look at competitors’ sites, and listen to the data. The combination of these elements will tell you if your user experience needs work.
Go to your Google Analytics.
Set your date range for the past 1-2 years.
Do you observe a consistent decrease in Users, Average Time on Page, and Goal Completion Rate and an increase in Bounce Rate?
If so, it’s worth considering a website update.
It hasn’t been updated since July 2019: Why so specific? In July 2019, Google’s algorithms changed to Mobile-First Indexing. This means your Google search ranking depends on the relevancy and navigability of the mobile version of your site.
The following graph by Statista shows the share of organic search visits on mobile devices since 2013.
Over 60% of Google searches occur on mobile devices. It is vital that your website is built with the mobile experience in mind.
This list is not exhaustive, but it covers some of the key considerations you should think about when it comes to your website.
If you're contemplating a website update but aren't sure what that looks like for your business, reach out, and we can talk about your concerns.
How to Strategize and Budget for Digital Marketing
To build a strategic digital marketing plan, you must understand your target audience, goals, and constraints. Ask yourself:
Who do I want to bring to my website?
The best way to answer this question is to conduct a buyer persona exercise where you develop a fictionalized representation of your ideal target customer.
Buyer personas equip you with a well-rounded understanding of the demographics, interests, pain points, questions, behaviors, etc., of your ideal buyer.
This persona will guide you as you build target audiences for your campaigns, whether they be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Ads, or any other platform with targeting options.
How can I get them to my website?
Visitors land on your website from six places:
Paid Advertisements: often referred to as pay-per-click (ppc) advertising. Paid social media is useful for building awareness, driving traffic to your website, and generating leads. A huge benefit of social media advertising is detailed targeting. Paid search is worthwhile when you know (a) what people are searching for, and (b) that you have content which addresses their search.
Organic Search: people visiting your site after finding you organically generally have some of the highest search intent. In other words, they are specific--often including 5-10 keywords in their search--and more likely to convert so long as the landing page matches their search intent.
Social Media: activity on social media is crucial for building a following and brand presence. A good social media manager posts relevant content consistently. A great social media manager posts relevant content consistently AND engages with the community.
Direct: people type your website URL directly into the browser. This traffic often comes from returning visitors, visitors referred by word-of-mouth, and visitors who have seen or interacted with your company elsewhere (social media, print ads, other offline marketing efforts).
Email: with email, you have all the control; no algorithms or auctions necessary. Building a robust email list is one of the best ways to communicate with people who are interested in what you have to say. Just make sure your emails are consistent and relevant to your subscribers, so they remain interested in what you have to say.
Referral: your greatest salesperson is a satisfied customer. You could spend millions on paid campaigns, but if your word-of-mouth is negative, those campaigns will fall on deaf ears. Submit your website to relevant directories, create good content that others will want to link to on their website, and incentivize your best customers to bring in more referrals.
What do I want them to do once they’re on the website?
The answer to this question depends entirely on what your goals are.
A shortage in the supply chain may limit your ability to take on new customers, so in the meantime, you run a Facebook campaign that focuses on teaching people about your business so they remember you down-the-line.
Or maybe you’ve built strong awareness with active blog and social media posts, and you want to target people who have already shown interest in your service. So you create a remarketing campaign on LinkedIn.
Understand who is in what stage of the conversion funnel AND how to best reach them with the right information at the right time.
What are my limitations?
We all know there’s no such thing as free.
Although paid advertising costs money, you save the time and sweat equity it takes to research, develop, and execute a quality organic campaign.
Even earned media--which is as close to free as one can get--such as a referral form or an online directory requires untold time spent attracting, converting, and retaining a customer until they’re satisfied enough to recommend your business to someone else.
The best strategy is a multichannel approach, better yet, an omnichannel one. Think back to the Hub-Spoke analogy:
Digital marketing tactics connect customers with your website. The more spokes, the stronger the wheel, and, you guessed it, the more digital marketing tactics you use, the more traffic your website gets.
Of course, you could have all the spokes in the world supporting your hub, but if no one is there to maintain them, your bike’s as good as a Peloton.
The sweet spot is when you know your limitations and strategize within them.
There are a few things you and other decision-makers need to consider when crafting your budget:
To be competitive in today’s digital market, you must be willing to spend—but with a quality website and effective marketing, the return will exceed what you’ve paid.
The budget should be weighed in every design, content, and functionality-related decision throughout the proposal process. Understanding the direction of each dollar will keep you honed into the process.
The data shows that B2B Product industries budget 10% of revenue to marketing, whereas B2B Service industries budget 15-18%. No matter the industry, businesses are budgeting a higher percentage of revenue toward marketing every year (Source: Hubspot).
Your marketing investment will also vary depending on your business goals, your industry, direct and digital competitors, and future revenue goals.
Valuable questions to ask yourself are, how much are you willing to acquire a new customer and what is your clients lifetime value? Having this information will help you determine an appropriate budget for your business.