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Digital Marketing Budgeting Tips for Beginners
Avoid expensive false starts in online marketing
From our experience in online marketing we know that cost-effectiveness is a tricky thing. In theory, loads of specific information about web users is available.
Therefore online marketing can be much more effective than traditional marketing. But at the same time, you can lose huge amounts of money all too quickly by paying for online advertising and for the efforts of online marketing specialists.
Where do you start? Avoid expensive false starts in online marketing! In our experience, most businesses need to set budgets for three key activities - and spend them - to get well on the road to cost-effective online marketing campaigns. In this article we will explain what we mean.
1. A budget to train yourself
The field of online marketing is full of technical terms that specialists like to use. It's also an abstract world, in which your understanding of certain concepts and models can make all the difference.
You and your team must know what you are talking about. Otherwise you are likely to spend a lot of money without satisfactory results. If for example you do not understand how affiliate marketing works and you enter into a program, you are likely to be scammed out of big amounts of money within a few days.
When you are looking for good online marketing training, avoid any offers that promise too much. No seo-expert can guarantee you a top ranking in Google, they can only try. Choose independent, experienced trainers that are realistic in their promises. They should be familiar with the market you operate in and its online tools and perspectives.
Be sure to ask them about the bottom-line as well: how much does online advertising cost on average in your niche? How many man-hours will it take to get you an online reputation, both in search engines and social media? A good expert in your field should know this. We would advise you to set a budget of about $ 2,000 per person for training.
2. A budget for web analysis
"My online reputation is good. When I type my company name in Google, it appears on the first page." Is this true or false? What do you really know about your online presence? It is true that it is important to have a good page rank in search engines, but depending on your brand familiarity, new customers may not search you by name at all.
Rather they will type a question or general phrase. If someone searches for 'best restaurant Chicago', and you have a restaurant there, how do you rank?
Besides this it is very important to know if people are already discussing you in social media. If nobody talks about you, you have a problem. On the other hand you may find that you or the products you sell are being discussed where you least expected it. You also need to find out whether your online reputation is good or bad. Are people loving you, or criticizing?
Our advice would be to get an independent online reputation report from an expert. This gives you a good starting point. Find an expert that doesn't just generate some data off the web, but also helps you interpret them and plan your next moves.
You should not pay too much for the technical part - experts have tools that allow them to generate these very easily. This should cost no more than $ 500 we would say, depending on amount of data you ask for. On top of this you do have to pay a decent hourly rate to a good specialist that will help you work with the data.
3. A budget for writing online marketing goals
After your training and the analysis of your present online situation, you are ready to define your online marketing goals. Of course you know best what's good for your business, so you should basically state these goals yourself.
But it will pay off to have an online marketing specialist rewrite them in the right words and make them measurable. This will help you assess your results and people's performances later.
An online marketing goal could be "Attracting 100 new customers from 'summer cakes' searches by bidding on this key phrase in Google Adwords". This already sounds very specific, but it can be improved. If you are selling cakes and your store is in central Boston, then you only want to show your ads to people in that area.
You may also want to know how many people click on your ads and monitor the potential customer's behavior afterwards. A specialist can help you define this in Adwords terms.
We would advise you to set a budget for a maximum of three specialist working days for this - provided your input is good enough for them to work with.