Effectively Planning Your Marketing Budget for 2011

New marketing tools are constantly evolving on the Internet.  While having options is a great thing, the steady stream of new marketing choices can make it overwhelming to know which is the best fit for your business.

If your budget for 2011 has been finalized, hopefully you included creating or building upon your Internet effectiveness. If your budget is still in the works, remember that planning a budget is a great opportunity to analyze your marketing tactics.  See what has been working (and not working) and incorporate what you’ve learned and the ideas which excite you and your team for the upcoming year. With the shift of marketing focus towards the Internet, it’s important your budget reflect where your time, energy and money will be going.  Internet marketing is made up of different components including social media, search engine optimization, and website re-design.  According to a marketing report distributed by Hubspot, over the past year, 88% of marketers have maintained or increased their Internet marketing budget.  Your website is the most important element of your Internet marketing plan, so be sure to plan for the resources to do it right.

Here are a few things to consider when finalizing your marketing plan to help keep you ahead of the competition:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of SEO in building and maintaining an advantage over the competition.  You may have a great website, but if search engines cannot find it, you will not have an effective online presence. It is estimated 85% of individuals use search engines to find services and products, and of this group, very few will click past the first few pages of search engine results.  SEO helps ensure a website will get more traffic by being listed high up in the results.  Unlike most marketing strategies, SEO works 24/7 to give you a high return on your investment.  Be sure to use a web professional to assist you in planning your budget as there are a number of SEO         options out there to maximize your web presence.  Your website is your best online advertising, so make it count by finding the right SEO strategy for your business.

2. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YourTube, ect…)

Don’t be fooled by the use of the word “social” or the fact some social media sites started     out as a hub of activity for teens and tweens. Social media is becoming an an increasingly important marketing tool across every industry and age-group so be sure it’s in the conversation when planning your marketing budget.  Social media is not a fad, but a shift in how people communicate.  According to Facebook, they have over 500 million users who spend over 700 billion minutes per month browsing personal and business pages.  Not building social media into your marketing plan means ignoring a huge online population who may want the services or products you offer, so their dollars will be going into the pockets of your competitors who have embraced this new form of connecting.  As an added bonus, the more you participate in social media, the more you are helping the optimization ie: the “findability” of your website.  With so many social media sites online, there are sure to be some excellent fits for your business.

3. Website Wish List

No matter how much you love your website, there is always something you wish was better.  A website re-design may help boost traffic to your site, and more traffic means more potential sales.  More traffic also has the benefit of improving the optimization of your website (SEO). Just as you go for an annual physical with your doctor, plan for a website check up too.  People expect websites to be contemporary with up-to-date information and features so it’s important to apply resources that ensure individuals browsing your site don’t navigate away disappointed.  Be sure that once a person gets to your website or social media venue they can find what they need quickly and easily.  When developing your marketing budget, consult with a web professional to help brainstorm ideas on the future direction of your website functionality and design. Most people have heard about or been directly effected by the power of Internet marketing.  It’s the job of businesses to determine the needs of their company and invest in the future.  If you find the markets strategies of yesterday are not as effective as they had been, or believe your competition is passing you by, it’s time to try something new.  In this day and age, some of the first new things to try are re-vamping your website, starting up on social media, and employing search engine optimization techniques to drive people to your website.  Include a web professional while you create your online strategy to make sure your company gets the results it deserves.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below about what you think is important to have in your 2011 marketing plan/budget.

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