Budgeting is an exceptionally strategic component of your marketing; doing it well can set you up for success in the year to come. Assessing what to prioritize in your budget can be challenging, since “doing all the things” is not a reality for many (if any) companies. How do you decide what’s the best use of your time and dollars?
A good place to start and build confidence in your budgeting decisions is your first-party data. Examining the broader trends and behaviors of your target audience may uncover insights such as what types of strategies have a higher propensity for success, where are the missed opportunities, what could betested more, etc.
Based on a thorough exploration of your first-party data, these conclusions can help you to form objectives for the year and assign your budget to it－ supported by your findings.
Here are a few examples of first-party data analysis that may influence actionable objectives and the allocation of your marketing budget
Do you know if your brand has low awareness? Companies that have higher brand awareness tend to have decent branded search activity (i.e., people are searching for them on a search engine by name).
A simple way to look into this further is to review your branded search queries in tools like Google Search Console or SEM Rush－assessing key metrics like impressions, search volume, clicks, CTR, and position of branded search queries.
If you’re not seeing the levels of branded search results that you hoped for, consider making brand awareness an objective for your upcoming fiscal year.
This strategy works well as part of a twofold plan, along with good SEO for your website. If you’re going to prioritize brand awareness, these types of campaigns typically increase traffic from organic search to your website. Making sure people can find you online is an important component of a brand campaign, as well as general best practice.
Is generating sales, leads, contacts, or donations from your website a priority? Most organizations would say so. Conversion rates (the rate in which someone takes a key action on your website) should be one of your most important metrics. This data can typically be accessed in a platform like CRM, POS, or Google Analytics.
In reviewing your conversion rate, you may also evaluate influencing factors like:
Questions like these can help you to prioritize any website or advertising needs you may have to help improve conversion rates.
In most cases, quality over quantity is essential. If you’re not attracting the right people to your ads, website, sales team, etc., then it doesn’t do much good. An important part of this for many businesses is demographics such as age, gender, and geography.
Tools like your Google Analytics, CRM, or POS can help you zero in on what types of audiences are the most likely to visit your website, engage with you, or convert－and then asking yourself:
There will always be your “loyalists” who come to your business organically. Finessing your budget to strategic target audiences (backed by data) which need a little more attention or have a growth opportunity can be a game-changer for your marketing.
Your website may look beautiful, but how is it performing? We know that slow website load times negatively impact SEO and overall UX.
It’s likely that you don’t interact with your website the same way that your users do, so website performance data can be especially useful to evaluate when prioritizing for the year. For example, if the majority of your website users are on mobile devices and your mobile load times are poor, this is going to create a poor user experience for those who may have been customers of yours otherwise.
Using helpful tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Google Search Console can help assess any problem areas. They even specifically list what you can do to optimize your site. Investing in the health and performance of your website contributes to happier end-users – and future customers.