Secure Budget for Digital Strategic Planning and Marketing Plan

Digital strategic planning, budgeting, and marketing plans are given in 2020 Ė you are expected to do and have one.

99% of businesses have planned to increase their investments in this marketing avenue in 2019.

And when everyone else is doing it, is there any other choice but to do it yourself?

There is Ė donít let the apocalyptic intro fool you.

Investing in digital marketing is a choice, and it should be a researched, planned, and executed choice, to get you the returns you are hoping for.

And while different digital strategies promise different ROI and can climb up to a whopping 10:1, launching any digital campaign requires something a lot of businesses struggle to buy: funds.

99% of businesses have planned to increase their investments in this marketing avenue in 2019. Click To Tweet

Itís catch-22, right? You canít hope to grow your business without marketing, yet to get started with marketing, you need to have some funds in place.

Letís break down how you can secure the budget for a killer digital marketing campaign, and leverage it to grow your business even further:

1. Evaluate your revenues

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Your digital strategic planning blueprint must include a demand waterfall with a process that shows metrics at each phase.

Before you allocate any budget to your digital marketing strategy, you need to know how much money you have at your disposal and what your revenues are expected to be like soon.

Without this knowledge, all of your marketing decisions will be based on the wrong foundations. Even if you spend half of what you bring in, it might still not be enough to help your marketing efforts.

You should already have cash flow tracking in place, and your accountant should be able to project what kinds of funds youíll have at your disposal over the course of the next 6-12 months.

Once you have concrete numbers in mind, you can determine a budget.

You can either choose to:

a) allocate a percentage of your total income to marketing Ė in which case the actual numbers will fluctuate month in and month out, but you wonít ever have less than you need at your disposal, or 

b) you can settle on a specific figure Ė in which case it might be a more or less significant dent in your monthly income.

Both systems have their pros and cons, so making the choice is a matter of preference.

Make note of your main source of income: what brings in the most money, and can you increase these revenues even further? Also make note of the revenue channels with the most potential: what would it take to bring them to the next level and have them fund some of the marketing?

Once you know where you stand and what you can afford, you can choose a digital marketing tactic, whether itís paid ads, SEO, or content marketing.

Try to choose a tactic that will bring in the newest sales with the smallest expense involved. That way, you can increase your marketing budget fairly quickly, and move on to the bigger fish.

2. Turn to social media and digital strategic planning into success

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Being a digital marketing channel social media is an excellent way to generate a budget for your digital strategy.

By promoting your brand on socials, you will achieve several things at once:

  • You will boost brand awareness and recognition.
  • You will increase traffic to your website.
  • You will establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  • You will generate more sales.
  • You will generate more potential leads.

All of this will not only help you execute a future digital marketing strategy well, but it will also bring in additional income in the here and now. Thatís how youíll be able to increase your marketing spend and turn to other channels.

Bear in mind that running a social media channel may be free, but it will require a lot of time and a lot of thought. You canít just post anything and expect people to find you.

Engagement is crucial on socials, so replying to comments, being active in different communities, and answering customer questions will be the key first steps you need to take.

3. Turn to influencers

Your digital strategic planning and influencers must go hand in hand.

Influencer marketing is another avenue you can explore, that may not require actual cash to launch.

Donít make the mistake of believing only large influencers with huge followings can make a difference in your revenues. There are plenty of smaller influencers out there who have very loyal followers, ready to trust a recommendation and make a purchase.

Smaller influencers are also more likely to feature your product or brand, so sending out some PR can be a great way to get the ball rolling.

As you donít have an infinite budget, you want to do some careful research first. Try to find influencers with smaller but engaged followings you feel would be a good fit for your brand. If theyíre already endorsing a competitor, donít bring them over to your camp.

At this stage, itís all about getting the most out of a few PR packages, so choose and try to make them as personal as possible. Go through the feed or watch the videos of the person youíre about to reach out to, and explain why youíre sending them your stuff.

Also, donít expect to get free mentions from everyone. You might get none. Brand deals are not the same as PR products, and as it requires influencers to disclose they are endorsing a press gift, you might get mixed reviews.

4. Focus on creating great content

Content is what the web is all about, and while you may not yet have the funds to invest in a full-blown content marketing campaign, you can get the ball rolling by creating content you can leverage later on.

Also, remember a lot of your visitors will judge you based on the content you put out, so you can generate a lot of buzz by providing value. Few viral campaigns have set out to be viral. You can be picked up by a large publisher or influencer and get more traffic without meaning to.

When creating said content, make sure you focus on your target audience and not on yourself.

What is it they want, they need? What are they looking for when they come to you, and how can you help solve this issue? What voice speaks to them, what types of content formats? What is it they want to see online?

It will take some time to get to know them better, but writing and filming with your ideal customer in mind is always a good choice.

The more content you put out, the better you will get to know this person and tailoring your content further will be easier.

5. Find external financing and digital strategic planning

You can always try to raise actual money, instead of focusing on the seeds of a future strategy to bring in extra revenues.

Some of the options you can explore include:

  • Bootstrapping Ė you can always start by pouring some of your own money into the business. This might not be the simplest way to do it, since it will dent your personal accounts. But it can attract investors later on, as it is a clear sign of belief and trust in the success of your business. Be careful how much of your own fortunes you sink in there, though.
  • SBA loans Ė if you have a good credit score and are looking for a traditional way to find some extra cash, an SBA loan is a safe bet. There will be paperwork and some stress involved, but as they come with acceptable interest rates, they might be a good place to start.
  • ROBS Ė if you want to tap into your retirement fund, ROBS can be a good choice. However, take into consideration what you will lose if the business falls through, and donít jump for this choice.
  • There are plenty of other types of business financing, including online loans, equity loans, debt financing, etc. Do a bit of research and you will find something that works for you. Always remember what youíre giving up, and how long it will take to get out of.

6. Crowdfund

The internet has also made crowdfunding accessible. Apart from giving you access to the money you need to launch a campaign, itís also a campaign.

You can create enough interest in your product by launching one of these campaigns, and judge how well your products or services might do with different audiences.

The thing is that you will need to stand out, as crowdfunding platforms are full of people demanding funds. And you will most likely need to give your financers something back, but since you already have products or services in place, that can be an interesting and alternative way to spread your brand voice.

Note that you will need to have a clear goal in mind, and know just what you want to achieve with the campaign. Vague notions will not go down well with potential investors, and the clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the better.

7. Find a sponsor

Sponsorships are also excellent for launching a campaign. True, they are limited and limiting, as you will need to find someone looking to sponsor you among a sea of others, but itís not impossible.

Weíd suggest trying to find a sponsor either in your own industry or someone from the world of marketing ready to do some pro bono work. In the former, it would most likely be a brand that has made it big and is now looking to work with smaller companies and help them grow.

Marketers are often interested in running a campaign for someone small whose idea and the message they believe in, so partnering with a marketing agency can kill two birds with one stone. You need not find money in your budget for the campaign, and youíre already running it.

Beware of sponsors who want a piece of your company, though. The more influence they have over the decisions being made, the less you will have a say in the way things are run.

What to do with your marketing budget and digital strategic planning

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Once youíve secured the funding you need, you can spend your money.

There are two ways to run a digital marketing campaign: outsource or hire someone in-house, but you might even go for a mix of the two.

If you choose to outsource, you can enjoy some of the benefits of working with an expert: they will have already run campaigns similar to yours and will know what works best, they already have plenty of contacts among your target audience, and they have access to all the resources you donít. That includes copywriters, SEO professionals, PPC experts, etc.

Outsourced digital marketers often work on more than one project at a time and might be limited in the resources they can devote to your campaign. They will also most likely not be available 24/7 and can be expensive, depending on the level of expertise and skillset you are in demand of.

Meanwhile, an in-house expert will demand a salary, a place to sit, onboarding and training, and much more of your resources than an outsourced collaborator. However, they will work on your project alone and will have the benefit of knowing your brand better than an outside hire ever can.

The choice is up to you, as you can benefit from both. If youíre doing a small campaign and want to try different channels, outsourcing the task is the better option.

If you want to focus on one channel, and want to keep things in the company, hire someone who can execute your ideas in-house.

For the actual marketing tactics you should be running, everything will depend on the overarching strategy youíve set.

Are you looking to increase traffic by X percent?

Are you looking to boost the sale of a particular product?

Is there a new market youíre looking to get into?

In most cases, email marketing would be a good choice. Add to that a bit of social media advertising (if your target audience is social), and some content marketing, and you should be all set.

The more funds you have, the more elaborate campaigns you can dream up Ė and if youíre looking to execute a lot of the manual stuff yourself, or in-house, you can cut down on costs.

Just make sure you know how much time and knowledge are needed for each campaign. The budget and money isnít the only resource that is spent on digital marketing. Think about it.

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General FAQ’s

What is digital strategic planning?

A†digital†marketing†strategy†is required to leverage the growing opportunities from†digital†marketing. No more vanity metrics traditional marketing agencies used to and still do apply.†

Why is digital strategic planning important?

Digital strategic planning is essential to track, manage, and adapt to marketing programs. But it provides a time to reevaluate and optimize your company goals, current tactics, target audience, and buyer behavior.

What are the critical parts of a digital strategy?

The ten critical parts of a digital strategy are:
1. Online presence (branding).†
2. Digital marketing.
3. Search engine optimization (SEO)
4. Selling online.†
5. Customer interaction (engagement).†
6. Online security.†
7. Supplier interaction (blockchain).†
8. Mobile-based solutions.
9. Efficiencies through technology.

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