Are you planning to increase your digital marketing budget this year? If so, you’re in good company. According to a study by GetResponse (see it here), 70% of small businesses will increase their spend this year, and only 2% will decrease it.
Are you going to join them?
There are good arguments for doing so. Digital marketing can produce amazing ROI, after all, and there are plenty of ways to get started even on a low budget. But sometimes there are clear reasons for increasing your spend, and here are six signs to watch out for.
Your Main Selling Season Is Approaching
Seasonal variations provide you with a good reason to boost your digital marketing spend. Let’s suppose that you sell specialist chocolates. There are going to be a few times of the year when you rely greatly on making large sales (the holidays and Valentine’s Day are two that come to mind). These are the times of the year when you want to make sure you get your products in front of as many potential customers as possible.
For example, running a Facebook ad campaign using tempting images of baskets of chocolates, with an even more tempting discount thrown in, could be a great investment in the run-up to these important seasons.
Whatever you sell, make sure you are well aware of the most important sales periods of the year, and plan ahead for them. These are the moments when boosting your marketing spend can be very worthwhile.
Your Revenues Are Going Up
If your revenues are going up, increasing your online marketing budget makes a lot of sense. Starting out in business is tough, and many startups would love to spend more on marketing but simply lack the funds to do so. The great thing about digital marketing is that there is a lot you can do with very little investment other than time and hard work.
For example, creating content, making connections with influencers, and being active on social media can all be done for nothing.
But as revenues increase, it makes sense to divert more funds into your online marketing. Not only will it increase your visibility and boost sales further, but it frees you up to focus more of your time on other tasks—helping you to grow your business even further and take it to the next stage.
Your Revenues Are Falling
Conversely, if your revenues see a fall, increasing your online marketing spend could actually be the answer. It could be that you are not investing enough time, energy, or money into your marketing. Or there’s a chance that you are investing energy and resources but they are not paying off.
In this case, perhaps hiring a digital marketing agency is in order. A specialist can find out where you are going wrong and help you to turn it around. It could be that you are wasting your money, and perhaps you can find a way to redirect those funds to another marketing activity that produces better results.
You Know It’s Paying Off
When you know something is working, it often makes sense to do more of it. But what’s working with your marketing? It all comes down to testing. Another great thing about online marketing is that most of it is highly measurable. You can (and should) track your results so you will know:
- which social marketing platform is generating the most visits and conversions
- which marketing activity is generating the highest ROI
- which individual ads are converting the best
When you know that something is working, invest more in it. If the ROI is high, take advantage of that, increase the investment, and increase the return. Likewise, when something is clearly not working, throwing more money at it is rarely the answer.
Again, getting some specialist advice can help you here to find out what you are doing wrong. It may be that it is just not right for your business, but it may be that you need to make a few changes to your strategy.
Your Competitors Are Pushing You Out
Be careful with this one—you don’t want to blindly start throwing money away just because your competitors have started to outrank you in the search engines for your main keyword. But if your competitors start getting better rankings or more social shares, it could be a warning sign.
It might be that you have held the top rankings for so long that you have neglected your SEO. You might have thought that you could sit back and forget about it. Now your competitors have invested heavily in their own SEO and they are pushing you back down the rankings—which means it’s time to take action.
Don’t panic and start throwing money at the problem. Instead, come up with a plan and follow through with it. Find out what your competitors are doing, hire an SEO specialist to work out what is going on, and pinpoint exactly where you need to invest more.
It’s the same with any other type of marketing. Perhaps your AdWords ads are suddenly not showing up in the top spots any longer. It could be that your competitors are getting their act together. Make it a rule to keep a close eye on what your competitors are up to, and don’t be caught off guard. For example, follow their search rankings so you can see when they start to creep up on you—then take action sooner to limit the damage.
A New Competitor Is Shaking Things Up
Similar to the last point, you may suddenly face unexpected competition from a newcomer. Perhaps they are investing heavily in their online marketing to make a lot of noise. It can be worrying, but the same rules apply.
Don’t be tempted to rush in and take them on everywhere. Perhaps they are getting traction on a social media site that you have always ignored, like SnapChat. But don’t just assume that because it’s working for them it will work for you.
There’s probably a reason why you have not got involved on that platform in the first place, so always make sure it’s worth your while when you start investing in a new area based on the activity of a competitor.
Emerging brands might have a young team with lots of energy. They might have in-house experience of channels that you are not familiar with, and they will be keen to capture market share and build brand recognition. Again, keeping a close eye on the industry is important here. Make sure you know when a new competitor enters the fray, and watch their activity closely. Learn from them. If they start getting success on a channel you have ignored, it might be worth investing in this yourself.
Give Your Digital Marketing Spend a Boost
Spending more money on digital marketing can be a great idea. But it can also be a terrible idea if you don’t go about it properly. Don’t throw your money away on digital marketing, but do keep a close eye on what’s working, what’s not working, the seasonal changes, and what your competitors are up to. All of these factors can influence your own marketing budget and help you to make smarter decisions.