8 Tips for Planning Your SEO Marketing Budget

One of the most challenging job functions marketers need to tackle is creating a budget. Before any marketing campaign or strategy can be carried out, budget planning is the basic starting point. After all, without a budget, there’s no marketing campaign to even speak of. There are different marketing strategies a company can use, with search engine optimization (SEO) as one of the most effective.

It may sound relatively straightforward, but it’s actually challenging to plan out and decide what percentage of the total business’ budget will be allocated to marketing activities. Even expert businesses can make mistakes with this, resulting in wasted money and missed opportunities, to name a few.

So, how do you get started with planning your SEO marketing budget? Here’s a comprehensive run-through of some tips.

Identify What Your Marketing Goals Are

To come up with an adequate marketing budget, you need to determine your short-term and long-term marketing goals. Those goals form the big picture of your marketing plan, so it’s advisable to start with those. However, you need to determine your financing strategies to meet these goals. For instance, you might need to apply for the best small business loans online for capital infusion. 

Understandably, you’ll be exploring SEO marketing strategies with the end goal of increasing business revenue. The key, however, is to get as specific as possible with the plans that’ll lead to that ultimate result, which is boosting sales.

Some examples of short-term goals you may have are:

  • Boost brand awareness by generating at least 50 new social media followers every month.
  • Decrease your website’s bounce rate by at least 5 percent.
  • Gain at least five new good-quality or engaging comments on your social media posts every week.

Along with those short-term goals, you may also have long-term goals like:

  • Develop a marketing automation workflow through email marketing.
  • Make it to the first page of the search engine results page.

When you have specific marketing goals, it’ll be easier to break down your business budget and decide on how much you should allocate in order to make each of those strategies more successful. Whatever expenditure you’ll have for your SEO marketing campaigns, you can easily justify those with the goals you intend to achieve.

Know Your Buyer’s Journey

Understanding the buyer’s journey of your target audience is critical to your marketing strategy. The buyer’s journey refers to the steps your audience takes as they journey from visiting your site – browsing and window shopping – to becoming a paying customer. It consists of three stages: awareness, consideration and decision. 

To help you out, you may want to ask yourself these questions as you define your buyer’s journey:

  • What’s the usual value or revenue of each lead that you have?
  • In what manner do your leads and customers usually discover your products?
  • What is the cost of generating new leads in order to convert them into paying customers?
  • What do your leads need to know before they make a purchase?

Becoming intimately familiar with your buyer’s journey enables your marketing team to create targeted marketing campaigns that produce satisfactory results. Since marketing is mainly about putting out the right content at the right time, your content would vary depending on where your target customers are in the buyer’s journey. 

This information is critical in allocating specific budgetary amounts for marketing campaigns that address your target customers’ needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Align Your Marketing Plan With Your Business Strategy

A marketing budget is basically a tool that helps you attain your business goals. When those goals are still hazy, that’s when you have to pause or take a step back so that you can collaborate with your team on a more updated business strategy. As discussed earlier, formulate short-term and long-term goals with corresponding action plans to bring them to fruition.

It’s a well-established point that you can’t create a marketing budget if you have yet to set the direction for your business. For your marketing campaigns to be successful, you need to have a robust business strategy. 

Your marketing plan needs to be aligned with your business strategy because it will serve as a vehicle to help you achieve the goals you have set for your business. This plan should spell out how to build brand awareness and loyalty, position your product in the market, provide relevant content to your target audience and stand out from your competitors. 

Include All Marketing-Related Expenses

If you want to be thorough with your marketing budget, you need to include all your expenses to promote your business. 

These may include the following:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Salaries and benefits of the in-house marketing team
  • Marketing management tools
  • Marketing collaterals
  • Professional fees for a marketing consultant
  • Cost of hiring an SEO agency
  • Payment for social media influencers
  • Sponsorships

When you have a fixed amount of those costs, you can determine more precisely what types of services you can invest in. Furthermore, it’ll help you set a base amount for your return on investment (ROI).

Understand Your Buyer Persona 

A buyer persona refers to that fictional representation of your target audience. To understand and determine your buyer persona, you have to be as specific as possible. Let data be your guide. 

There are many techniques you can apply that can lead you to determine what your buyer persona is, beginning with:

  • Using social media statistics or analytics to track the user interaction that happens with your brand.
  • Conducting a survey of your current customers.
  • Using Google Analytics to determine your current demographics.

Once you start to create your buyer persona, be sure to include information like:

  • Location
  • Sources they usually turn to for information
  • Age
  • Motivation and goals
  • Marital status

Having a buyer persona or target audience can help you when you plan your SEO marketing budget because it gives you insights into their pain points as well as where they spend their time. This enables you to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. 

Do this step regularly, as your buyer persona can change from time to time. You don’t want to make the mistake of allocating the budget to a specific marketing effort that isn’t aligned with the needs of your target market.

Remember Where Your Priorities Are

In general, SEO and digital marketing are tried-and-tested strategies in today’s day and age. But it also comes with a caveat. Marketing is overflowing with so many premium versions and upselling techniques to convince you to pay more. While those versions may be better, they may not necessarily be tailored to your marketing strategies. 

This is the reason why it’s essential to keep tabs on where your marketing budget is allocated. When you cross-check with the results you’re getting, it’ll also be a lot easier for you to figure out what marketing software or paraphernalia should be included in the budget and what shouldn’t. This can help you avoid overspending or underspending your SEO marketing budget.

Scope Out the Competition

SEO marketing campaigns are beneficial for both small and big businesses. If you happen to be a small business in the process of deciding on your SEO strategies and adjoining budget, then it’s wise to scope out your competition, particularly those that are ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).

It simply means studying what your competition is doing and what they’re not doing as well. The strategies that they’re doing can serve as a learning example for you to mirror. You can emulate, but be sure to add unique value. This is a good start, as now you’ll have fewer doubts about which strategies work and which don’t.

As for the SEO marketing strategies your competition has been missing out on, you can use those as an area of opportunity to penetrate with your marketing campaign. If you’re low on budget, identify your priorities so that you can apply specific SEO marketing strategies before your competition.

Analyze and Benchmark Past SEO Marketing Results

When you’ve been implementing SEO marketing for quite a while, you’ll have data or information to look back to as your benchmark. Especially when you’re running on a tight budget, now may not be the best time for you to make guesses. To be truly successful, it’s worthwhile to look back on your previous SEO marketing results.

Here’s how it works. You can update your past SEO campaigns that were effective, so you have a higher guarantee that whatever you spend on marketing won’t go to waste. On the other hand, you can also avoid applying those SEO campaigns that did not quite deliver the results you were expecting. 

Final Thoughts

After much thought, perhaps you’ve finally decided to take the big leap and invest in digital marketing services. Before you choose from among the different types of campaigns and strategies to implement, it’s essential to do some background research. 

Furthermore, you need to assess whether you can afford a particular SEO strategy. Likewise, when the time comes for you to get started with budget planning, be as specific as possible with your budget allocation for marketing. That way, you won’t have to feel constrained by your marketing activities, as you have enough budget to cover the digital marketing campaigns you wish to undertake.

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