How to Create a Sensible Digital Marketing Budget

It’s prudent to create a digital marketing budget for your business. Understanding your budget helps towards smarter spending, better planning, and better chances to achieve your business objective.

In this article I’ll explain a few important components of digital marketing, the concept behind those components, and a budgetary range that you should consider before moving forward with your digital marketing initiatives.

Before we jump into the budgetary stuff, please consider the following. These statistics should give you an appreciation that digital marketing in business has become a necessity:

As you may see, your digital environment (websites, social media channels, digital content, email, social media advertising, etc.) plays an important role in the growth of your business. It will help you generate leads, nurture those leads automatically, pull in relevant traffic from the search engines, and target specific people who are looking for your products and/or services.

There are four main pieces to your digital environment that you should use to assemble a digital marketing budget; Your website, email marketing and automation, content optimization and sharing of the content, paid online advertising, and maintenance and support.

Lead Generation Website – Designed and Developed

Depending on your business, your website structure and website content should be designed with sharp messaging, a meaningful website flow, and a powerful initial product offering, where you can capture your audiences contact information and nurture the audience.

The budget for website design and development can be wide ranging, and typically depend on things like:

  • eCommerce inclusion
  • The amount and complexity of website customization
  • Website integration with 3rd party service (e.g. a travel booking engine)
  • A website that can handle memberships and registrations
  • The level of experience of your website designer and developer

Based on my experience, you should budget $3,500 – $15,000 for a strategic and well thought out website; A website that is specifically designed to achieve your business objective. You can also (by the way) pay upwards of $100,000 for a website, but those type of websites typically include multiple objectives, are highly complex, highly customized, contain hundreds (if not thousands) of pages, and have multiple people on the design and development team. You will probably fit into the $3k – $15k range.

Yes, you can get many website special deals for as little as $250. Beware! You typically get what you pay for, and will probably end up in disappointment.

Capture & Nurture – Email/Content Marketing

I’ve grouped these two items together because they tend to work together; Content Marketing attracts an interested audience, while eMail marketing captures and nurtures your audience until they are ready to take action.

To generate website traffic through content marketing, you will need content that is specifically optimized for your audience. Once optimized (and if constructed correctly), your content will be served to your audience on the various social media channels and search engines. A click on the content should bring them back to the website, where their contact information is captured, and they are nurtured until they are ready to take action. These components  typically require digital marketing, copywriting and technical expertise.

In order to capture and nurture your audience, it is important to:

  • correctly integrate the email Marketing technology (e.g. aweber) into your website,
  • create a sales funnel content plan
  • create your initial product/service offer and the content,
  • schedule the content to the shared in digital locations where your audience “hangs out”

The bottom line: Specific expertise and technology is required to run a meaningful content/email marketing capture & nurture campaigns. As such, and depending on the required services and expertise, you should budget a one time setup fee that ranges from $500 – $3,000, and a monthly fee of $400 to $2,000 for the creation optimization and management of the content.

Paid Advertising

Your online marketing plan should include a paid advertising component. Paid Advertising is great for a quick in-flow of business leads, and when managed correctly, the lead flow becomes a predictable from a cost and number of business leads perspective.

There are many different flavours of online advertising, and the methods that you use, depends on your business objective, the size of the available audience, the expertise of a copywriter & a digital marketing consultant, your advertising budget, and your advertising objective.

Your Digital Marketing Campaign Consultant should be able to recommend the correct advertising channels to use (e.g. Facebook Advertising, Google Advertising, LinkedIn Advertising, etc.), and a copywriter for your business.

To keep your budgeting exercise simple, the following are the “middle of the road” costs:

  • a campaign setup fee of approximately $700 – $4,000 (depending on the campaign complexity)
  • an initial monthly advertising spend of approximately $500 – $1,000 per month, with the ability to increase the advertising spend when revenue returns are recognized as leads are converted into sales
  • an ongoing monthly management fee of roughly 20% to 30% of the actual advertising spend
  • if required a one time copywriter fee of approximately $1,000 – $3,000

Maintenance & Support

Digital Marketing should be recognized as “mission critical” because it helps towards generating leads for your business. Leads are the lifeblood of your business, and you should aim at keeping the technical platforms that make the lead generation possible, up and running as much as possible.

From a maintenance perspective, you should allocate approximately $1,000 per year to maintain your website software.

Maintenance tasks typically include:

  • Security maintenance. Making sure your website locks out any nefarious activity, with periodic investigating of anything that appears suspicious
  • Backup maintenance. Making sure your website is backed up continuously. Hint: If your website maintenance staff are good at what they do, they will periodically run a restoration test to make sure the backup can in fact be restored
  • Speed/responsiveness maintenance. Your website must be highly responsive and load lightning fast – all the time. Statistically speaking, if your website does not load within 3-5 seconds, you will lose your audience to your competitors.

Wrap Up

So there you have it – guidelines to create a sensible digital marketing budget.

In reality you can spend more or less than I have indicated. The suggested budgetary numbers should be treated as a guideline and a starting point only. A well seasoned Digital Marketing Consultant should be able develop and fine tune your digital marketing plan and help you define your budget more accurately.

If you need assistance to prepare your digital marketing budget please contact me. I will be more than happy to assist.

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