Making the Most of Your Marketing Budget in 2017 #Semrushchat

Liza Perstneva

Jan 16, 201711 min read
Your Marketing Budget

Creating a balanced budget is not an easy task, especially when it comes to your marketing budget. You need to figure out which activities will generate maximum exposure and ensure your investments will pay off.

There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. What works for one company might not work the same way for yours. Therefore, business owners and marketers must plan their budgets carefully based on their specific niche, their product, and their company’s goals and customers.

To help you make the most of your marketing budget this year, we invited Maureen Jann to our weekly SEMrush Chat. Maureen is the Director of Marketing for the award-winning digital marketing agency Point It, a podcast hostess and a blogger.

Let’s delve into the topic!

Editor Note: During this week's twitter chat, Q1 and Q2 questions were repeats from last week, but we felt that this week's responses for Q1 were relevant for this week's recap. Enjoy!

Q1. In order to increase their conversion rates, what should marketers focus on in 2017?

Online marketing is always changing. As new technologies and tactics become available each year, marketers want to quickly seize new opportunities.

Our chat participants shared their opinions, suggesting tactics that marketers and businesses owners should try in 2017.

Our special guest pointed out that, first of all, you need to offer real value from the very first moment you connect with your customers. Also, it’s important to review your last year’s results in order to figure out what worked for your company and what didn’t.

Shawn Harding agreed with the previous point, saying that before spending your money and time on completely new tactics, you need to analyze your efforts and results in 2016.

Shawn pointed out that instead of following the crowd and jumping on new trends, marketers should use data to make informed decisions on what’s best for their business in 2017.

For example, Traffic Jam Media remarked that “mobile” is now a buzzword. Even though today it’s crucial for your business to optimize your website for mobile, you also need to invest in other important things, such as data analytics. In 2017, marketers shouldn’t underestimate the power of analytics, because it can be extremely helpful for getting a better understanding of your current business and its performance.

Angi Bowman suggested focusing on customer-driven copy this year. Modern users have high expectations and little patience. That means that to stay ahead of the competition, site owners now need to treat their users like guests, not like mere visitors.

Let’s sum up!

SEMrush Chat Recap Q1

Choose tactics that are right for your business. Plan your marketing budget in 2017 by focusing on the techniques that have already proved to foster results.

Q3. Where do you think you should be focusing most of your marketing budget in 2017? The least of your budget?

To further discuss the budget aspect, we asked our chat participants how business owners should allocate their marketing budget. On what should they be focusing the largest part of it in 2017?

1. Programmatic advertising

According to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts, programmatic advertising is expected to grow 31 percent in 2017, outpacing social media and online video, which will grow 25 percent and 20 percent respectively.

In his introduction to programmatic advertising published on Marketing Land, Or Shani explains that it automates the process of deciding where ads are placed, using artificial intelligence and real-time bidding.

Maureen Jann pointed out that programmatic advertising allows you to focus on your audience, buy advertising inventory (the number of advertisements a publisher has available to sell to an advertiser), and achieve your goals with multi-ad formats.

2. SEO

Many of our chat participants believe that SEO should remain one of the main focuses of your marketing budget, because it’s the foundation of your other marketing activities.

“SEO is the foundation of everything else — or at least, it should be. The research, alone, will tell you so much,” tweeted David Rosam ‏ @davidrosam.

3. Content marketing

Another important marketing budget item is content. The importance of high-quality content continues to increase. Companies that focus on creating and distributing a clear, relevant, valuable, and consistent message effectively attract and retain their target users, turning them into profitable customers.

“As always, you'll get more ROI when you invest in creating quality content. Pay for a better writer, a good photographer, etc.,” recommended Agent Palmer ‏ @AgentPalmer.

PolePositionMkg ‏ @PolePositionMkg pointed out that all types of content matter (e.g., videos, images, etc.), and not just written content: “SEO, social media, and everything else depends on great content.”

Chuck Price also remarked that besides content, companies need to focus on another important element of their marketing campaigns — link building.

4. Live video

When it comes to content, it’s worth mentioning that live video became a major trend in 2016 and it’s likely to continue to grow in popularity in 2017. Many companies have begun using real-time videos a lot in order to better engage with their customers. Live video allows brands to communicate their message to their audience in a more authentic and immediate way.

Businesses that haven’t embraced the live video trend yet need to keep a close eye on it this year to improve their content. These live-streaming conversations help companies make their audience believe them.

5. Google AdWords

Finally, some of our chat guests recommended focusing more on Google AdWords this year. Many businesses have already benefitted from using this advertising tool, which allows you to show ads based on the keywords that a searcher types during a Google search.

This year, more changes in AdWords are coming. Beginning January 31, 2017, Google AdWords will support the creation of expanded text ads, instead of the standard text ad format. This means that users will be able to add more content to their advertising copy than previously.

Rachel Howe ‏@R8chel_Marie mentioned that how you should allocate your budget depends on what has worked for you in the past, as well as on current trends. She believes that businesses need to focus more on video, social media and SEO, and less on printed marketing materials.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q3

Dawn A @dawnieando also recommended examining which of your marketing activities worked and didn’t worked last year in order to allocate your budget more effectively this year.

Q4. What are the best tips that you have for a company who has a small marketing budget?

Small businesses don’t have the multimillion-dollar marketing budgets that large enterprises have. Therefore, it’s critical for companies with a limited budget to smartly invest money in their marketing to reach their business goals and keep ahead of the competition.

The following tips from our guest experts will help companies take a more strategic approach to optimizing their small marketing budgets.

1. Prioritize resources

Companies with a small marketing budget need to prioritize their resources very carefully and strictly. They need to have a clear understanding of which of their marketing activities lead to conversions and then invest in tactics that have proved to be successful.

2. Test and scale your efforts

It’s very important to experiment and test in order to figure out which strategies deliver good results and which ones are too costly. Scale your marketing efforts to plan your budget and your marketing campaign more wisely. Our special guest advised saving a portion of your budget to experiment on ideas that could be more efficient.

3. Don’t rush into spending money

With millions of websites competing for online supremacy, every business wants to get attention. However, there’s no use for a small businesses with a limited budget to try to compete with large million-dollar corporations. Craig Campbell recommended spending more on organic search marketing, which requires a lower budget, and building up your business slowly before implementing expensive strategies, like PPC.

4. Get creative

Digital media provides marketers with ample opportunities that don’t require major spending, such as Twitter Chats and webinars. Companies need to get more creative when generating promotional content. Donna Moritz listed five types of content that are shared the most.

5. Repurpose your existing resources

Sometimes your existing valuable content can be forgotten. Repurposing and recycling content is a great opportunity for companies with a small budget. By doing so, brands can find more value in their existing assets, as well as use them in order to develop their new assets and campaigns.

Let’s sum up these key points.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q4

After all, every company needs to remember that providing great products and excellent customer service is one of the best and most affordable ways to reach out to its customers.

Q5. Do you think traditional marketing is dead? Why or why not?

Marketers still debate over whether or not traditional marketing is dead. The online landscape is changing fast; some techniques that once worked are becoming ineffective. New techniques and tools replace outdated ones.

Our chat guests shared their opinions on the state of traditional marketing.

Maureen Jann pointed out that what is old will be new again. What didn't work before could work next time.

Some companies even boost their digital marketing tactics by applying traditional marketing techniques.

Annaliese Henwood agreed that some traditional methods can still deliver good results, for example, brochures and in-person events. If you know your audience’s needs, wants, and preferences, you can achieve your goals with traditional marketing.

However, marketers and business owners are changing some of their tactics, focusing on attracting the right audience, rather than attracting as many visitors to their site as possible. When optimizing their websites, they now pay careful attention to user intent.

James Haagenson believes that a good program is multi-faceted. The more channels you use, the higher your chances of reaching your audience.

The Miles Technology team pointed out that the important thing about modern marketing is that it involves more data and analytics.

You can check out a few other answers in the following recap.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q5

What are your thoughts on this topic? Is traditional marketing dead? Or can it still serve as a viable marketing medium? Let us know in the comments!

Q6. Which marketing strategies and tactics do you find are getting the best results?

At the end of our discussion, we asked our chat participants to share marketing strategies and tactics that they’ve found to deliver the best results.

  • Video

Videos give customers a brief overview of your products or services without large amounts of text. More businesses use visually appealing videos to better engage with their audience and stand out from the countless text-based marketing campaigns that are being launched each day.

  • Email

Some of our chat participants remarked that email marketing is still a powerful tool that helps brands deliver personalized messages to their customers.

  • Community building

Many companies make community building a vital part of their overall marketing campaign. It’s about bringing like-minded people together to discuss common topics of interests. When building and nurturing your online community, start personal conversations with your audience, that will help you attract more customers and create new advocates.

  • Gamification and humor

Some website owners use various gamification techniques to engage with people more effectively, such as competitions, giveaways, and other tactics. Gamification adds fun and an element of competition to your marketing campaign.

The good thing about gamification and humor is that these elements allow brands to make an emotional connection with their customers and reach their hearts.

Our special guest also reminded us about the importance of a seamless user experience: “From ads to landing pages to deliverables, add value!”

SEMrush Chat Recap Q6

That’s it for today!

Working out a solid budget helps you improve your marketing strategies. By keeping your budget in mind when you make decisions, you can avoid spending too much on marketing needs and, more importantly, you will have the opportunity to analyze different tactics to find the best solutions.

Thanks to our special guest and our other chat participants for their valuable tips and great insights for creating a solid marketing budget!

Author Photo
Liza PerstnevaLiza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at Semrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.
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