Making the Most of Your Marketing Budget

By Colin Scotland

So you know that online is the future, your customers are all talking about your brand online so it makes great sense to get your business out there and join the conversation.

You’re in business, you make money; you get it, but how do you know if what you’re spending on marketing is making a difference to your bottom line? I mean, you haven’t made shed loads of cash yet, and even if you had why should you throw it all at some digital agency full of spotty undergrads and hipster-looking folks (no offense to my good friends) to spin some fancy reports and drain away thousands more each month?

10 Step Marketing Checklist to More Leads and Sales

Or perhaps you can’t afford an agency in the first place and every penny is carefully authorized and vetted by you, you know your business better than anyone else. Well, let me tell you a secret, share the secret sauce, spill the beans, so to speak…

There is no secret sauce!

Yep, no secret sauce, but there is a solid foundation on which you can check that your marketing spending works effectively for your business. It is a method used by agencies, marketing experts, and global brands alike. Read on and I’ll share it with you...

In successful businesses large and small everything follows a simple, repeating pattern:
1. Situation
2. Objectives
3. Strategy and tactics
4. Evaluation

It starts with Where is your business now? (situation) Where do you want to be? (objectives), How do we get there (strategy and tactics) and then, Are We There Yet? (evaluation), or how I like to say, SOSE, so in a way, it is the secret sauce, imagine Michael Cain in The Italian Job saying 'sauce’ in his inimitable London accent and then we’re on the right page ;-).

Back to business, so we have a marketing strategy for getting our business out there with an aim, let’s say we want to generate leads from our website, for example, we may have a mixture of tactics - social media, email campaigns to our database and those hipsters at the SEO agency making our website rank higher in Google, all trying to drive customers to the website and help us achieve our aim of generating more inquiries via our website, it’s all costing money so how do we measure it, come on get to it!

So here goes… First, if you haven’t done so already you set up Google Analytics on your website, in Google Analytics you can set your business objectives as 'conversion goals’.

So, for example, every time a visitor submits their inquiry and lands on the “thank you for your message” page it is tracked and monitored in analytics. Analytics can also provide multi-channel funnel tracking so you can see what channels are the most effective in achieving your objectives.

Next, you define the buttons you can press for each of the tactics that could make a difference, so in the above example we had SEO, Email, and Social, the buttons (metrics) will be things that we can experiment with to measure/evaluate the outcomes easily, such as frequency of posts on social media, the number of inbound links in SEO, or click-through rate CTR in email campaigns.

There are lots of metrics you can use, so it’s worth taking some time to research what works for your business.

Once you have these the next step is to carry out some activity, then test it. Google Analytics will show you the number of times your objectives have been reached but even better, what percentage input each of the channels had on conversions, so, for example, it might look like this:

  • Social Media - 11%
  • Organic - 48%
  • Email - 41%

Armed with this data we can then play with the buttons on our social media activity, more posts, paid adverts, etc. to increase traffic to the website from social media and this is the good bit, we can measure the impact of the increase in traffic has had on achieving the aim.

Maybe we get 50% more traffic by spending money on Twitter ads but it doesn’t increase the number of leads generated or improve the social media percentage, so we can stop that spending and put the money somewhere else where it is more effective.

The bottom line is better marketing = better results for your business. Like it? Thought you might.

10 Step Marketing Checklist to More Leads and Sales
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