We talked previously about why making a marketing plan is essential, and part of your planning will of course involve careful budget allocation. It follows, then, that some analysis is needed to determine where you got the most return on investment in 2014 and where investment is most needed in 2015.
Turn once again to those reports, spread sheets or analytical tools that you have been diligently tracking over the past year. It isn’t the most exciting or creative task, but it is a necessary one: establishing how much you spent on each channel and how much business you got back. If you don’t know this, it’s very difficult to decide how to move forward with your marketing strategy.
When reviewing return on investment in terms of search marketing, don’t just look at how much the channel as a whole brought in – take a deeper look at the keywords or phrases and the PPC adverts that brought in the most traffic and/or conversions. This can give you suggestions about how to develop your campaigns in the next year. If you’re looking to launch a new product or service, reviewing the elements of your campaigns that brought in the most traffic may give you guidance on which phrases to target, or how to structure your adverts when you come to marketing the new release.
It’s worth delving in further to your email campaigns too. Which campaigns had the biggest click through rates? Which converted the best? Look for trends across all your emails from the last year to see what customers liked about them. Was there a particularly successful deal? Did you change the design or format of the emails? Review split tests to see which worked best, or make a note to introduce some split testing if you haven’t tried it yet.
Look also at segmenting your database. This is really important as your data set grows, as it enables you to send more personalised emails that are tailored to the needs and wants of your customers. In addition, it can help you save money in your email budget – rather than emailing your entire database in one go, you can ensure you make the most of your budget by emailing smaller segments more targeted information and offers. Doing this could mean you free up some much needed budget for other channels.
Contrary to what many believe, print is by no means dead and can still prove a very valuable space for many businesses. Be choosy about where you advertise though – as well as checking the ROI for previous print adverts or publication inserts, re-check circulation figures, rate cards and packages. Most print publications are attuned to the importance of digital marketing, and will offer spots in e-newsletters or on selected pages of their websites. If you’re considering new publications, see what exposure you can get for your money before you go ahead and spend – and when placing the order, make it clear that this is a trial and you will only re-invest if you get sufficient return.
Marketing, by nature, involves a certain amount of risk taking – it’s the only way you’ll learn about what works and what doesn’t. If at all possible, built in some buffer budget for experiments – perhaps you want to try placing an ad in a new print publication, or you’re going to play with some banner advertising or promoted social posts.
Conversely, don’t be afraid to cut out what didn’t work for you in 2014. Sales people are very persistent – it’s their job. But don’t be pressured into taking advertising space with a publication or website that didn’t bring you a decent return on investment last year. It can be easy to cave and think, “Oh well, it’s only £300 for the year”, but that soon mounts up and detracts from areas where budget really needs to be spent.
Budget allocation will shape the way your marketing unfolds over the year, so try to be flexible and think carefully about where investment is most needed.
For further advice contact Whitefish Marketing
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