Microsoft recently cited the average person’s attention span is 8 seconds—this means that you need to up your game when it comes to marketing. Now every channel needs to play an important role in your overall digital marketing strategy. Marketers need to engage consumers at the right place and the right time, and your messages need to be seen wherever the consumers are (essentially, everywhere, all the time).
So how can we make sure we’re budgeting correctly and optimizing each channel? While there are no hard and fast rules, there are definitely some guidelines you can follow to get the most out of your digital marketing channels. Here are some best practices when it comes to budgeting, goal setting, and tracking for each channel:
Your website, the ultimate destination of your digital marketing efforts, is purpose-built to inform and engage consumers. Your goals for this channel depend on whether you’re using it as a branding portal or an e-commerce site. Either way, the key to its success lies in making sure it’s easy to navigate, and that it’s engaging for your target audience. There are plenty of ways to quantify your success metrics, from generic goals (increasing overall revenue) to specific ones (increasing referral traffic from social channels). Long-term trends should always be kept in mind when developing or revamping your website because unlike an ad campaign, a website is here to stay—so make sure you’re continuously adapting and building for the future.
Email is a critical channel that holds the top spot on marketers’ list for planned spending. Given that the average person receives 120 emails during a workday, making your email marketing stand out is definitely a challenge. Generally, your goal for this channel is to increase open and click-through rates and reduce the unsubscribe rate. To make sure your email marketing continues to deliver returns, it’s important to follow some best practices: Ensure your emails are high performing by keeping a clean database, building trust with a recognizable email address, and testing and constantly innovating with new elements, such as video.
Having grown beyond the notion of likes, follows, and shares, social media presents a huge opportunity for marketers. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have already begun to monetize brands’ social media presence through innovative ad formats. Depending on the goal, you can start by auditing which channels deliver the most conversions and revenue and focus your activities on those channels.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Though more of a practice than a channel, SEO tends to have its own budget just like any channel. A website is only as successful as it is findable, so this is a key line item in a marketing budget. SEO can be broadly split into on-page and offsite SEO, targeting website navigation and keyword usage, and inbound links respectively. Keep in mind that this is a “slow and steady” initiative, as results from SEO are not instant. Identifying revenue/conversion-generating keywords and focusing the SEO strategy on them will help ensure your SEO efforts are not spread thin and will deliver results.
Be it PPC search, display, or social ads, two things are key with any paid advertising effort—conversion tracking and testing. With conversion tracking, you’ll be able to identify ads and keywords that are bringing in the most revenue and have the highest ROI. With ongoing testing and optimization of different campaign elements, you’ll improve your success metrics, whether they are branding or direct response related. Apart from media costs, there are also creative costs to consider, especially if you’re working with an agency. Tailor your content and creative visuals to the channel and the consumers’ state of mind while they are there.
Taken broadly, this category includes everything from responsive design of websites, emails, landing pages and mobile apps. But if you were to zoom in on purely mobile marketing, it would be primarily through push notifications and apps. A successful mobile marketing campaign engages users through these channels without being disruptive. Look at revenue attributed to mobile, spend from mobile device visits, and the customer lifetime value (CLV) of mobile users as indicators of how important of a channel mobile is to your customers and therefore your program spending.
As with every marketing organization, there is a limited budget. Creating your cross-channel budget is no small feat. In addition, all channels need to work together in sync, not in silos. To get started on the right path, build your budget around macro goals, such as customer acquisition, retention, and branding. Then, look at how each channel is performing with respect to each goal and allocate your budget accordingly.
For a more comprehensive deep-dive into budgeting, best practices and considerations, download our ebook The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Resource and Budget Allocation Across Channels, which includes nifty budgeting templates to help you plan as we enter 2016.