Now is the time to do your marketing budget planning for 2020 marketing efforts. But why now? There are a number of reasons that now is the best time to start working on your budget, not least of which you have a window of time to look back at this year and analyze your results before you get caught up in your busy bonanza of sales for the holidays.
It’s been a year of volatility and disruption, but the uncertainty has also encouraged a more structured and diversified marketing strategy. It’s become more important than ever to understand and tap into an omnichannel marketing approach to be competitive in the changing retail landscape. That doesn’t mean you’re ditching all traditional marketing. It just means that you might want to start thinking about ways to engage with your customers in a more seamlessly diversified fashion.
What is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing is the kind of advertising that you have probably been using consistently since you started your business. It’s tried-and-true and compelling, so that’s why we continue to return to those marketing solutions, despite rumors that it’s being subsumed by digital marketing. While traditional marketing has gravitated toward a more digital-friendly space, it still reaches retail customers where they are working, living and enjoying life apart from complete immersion in digital devices.
This type of marketing Is still popular because it’s tangible. You’re placing ads in magazines and newspapers, but it can also delve into newsletters, flyers, journals and other materials. Particularly in local communities, print marketing can offer strategic placement for reaching your key demographic audience in retail marketing.
Direct mail marketing can still reach and attract customers to your store. You may be familiar with the tried-and-true AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) principle of advertising. The idea is that you start off your letter, postcard or flyer with a strong headline and a key benefit. Then you spark your customer’s interest, build desire, and compel action with a special offer or coupon.
Marketing to TV audiences has changed, which makes it easier and more convoluted. You can target and tailor your advertising to the days and times, as well as programs, networks or any other granular segment. Even though TV is still considered a form of “traditional marketing,” you’ve got to re-evaluate how your audience is viewing and responding to your TV spot. With viewing across digital devices, there’s an immediacy that also requires a “search now” call-to-action.
It’s another form of traditional marketing, but (like the other forms), it’s still driving traffic for retailers. Reports still show that 90% of adults still listen to the radio on a weekly basis. That’s in addition to streaming radio and other dynamic on-demand audio streams. Particularly as part of a local outreach strategy, radio advertising can play an important part in traditional marketing efforts for retailers.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is just that. It’s a way of pushing your messaging to your customers via digital channels That includes your website, search engines, emails and content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is really at the core of most of your digital marketing strategies. It’s important because 81% of people will do research via your website before they buy it. So, you must consider keyword research and targeting, as well as site speed and organization to create the best possible customer experience. Beyond the general SEO strategies, you must focus on your product descriptions as well as customer interaction and reviews. You’ve probably got content from manufacturers, which is a great start. Have you considered how your content stands out and is unique, compared to any other store?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can incorporate a range of marketing efforts that are designed to push your listing higher up on the Google listings. An estimated 80% of people use search engines to find products online, so how you appear in the listings is important. SEM is most effective if you combine the power of your keyword research and targeting with text-based ad placement in search results and pay-per-click advertising. It’s not an either-or proposition. You should consider multiple channels for advertising and promotion to capture the full impact of both organic and sponsored results.
Email marketing is the most effective way to connect with your customers. With that strategic engagement, you’re able to really target the products and services that your customers have expressed interest in. You’re able to build a relationship with your customers based on trust and improve your conversion rates via strategic follow-up. You can easily personalize your email campaigns while showcasing the products and services that your customers will love. Studies indicate that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content via email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.
Content is still king. It is at the core of all your strategic marketing efforts, and the quality and breadth of your content marketing will directly influence everything else that you do in your business. Content allows you to attract customers, create powerfully inspiring messaging, and compel action both immediately and in the future. Your content lays the framework for how your customers will see you as a brand, but it also facilitates a relationship based on trust. You are offering to educate your customers, but also to assist them with the often-difficult decisions related to design, home furniture and what will really work within their home space.
How the Channels Work Together
It’s easy to get into the mindset that you’re creating a marketing campaign that incorporates just one channel. You’re sending out a postcard or a letter. You’re posting a promotion to your website or you’re paying for a text ad on Google. For any strategic marketing campaign that you deploy, your goal is to attract and convert as many people as possible. The best way to do that is to use a multiple channel approach. Let’s discover ways to incorporate both traditional and digital marketing into your 2020 strategy.
Traditional marketing via TV, radio, billboards or print generally has a higher initial cost outlay, with a lower return-on-investment. It’s more difficult to track the response and conversion rates on traditional marketing campaigns, so it’s difficult to really judge how these distributions are performing. Much of the data you can track is anecdotal or analog. You can ask your customers where they heard about you, or you can include a coupon code, keyword, or “bring this postcard in” as part of your call-to-action.
One unique way you can use a digital campaign to assist in traditional marketing is by using tracking links. In your traditional marketing campaign, set the call to action as a link that you’re tracking uniquely. By that we mean to create a landing page that is built for high conversions. You can use that short URL in your print and other traditional marketing channels. This will let you gauge the effectiveness of your campaign from a traditional channel by using a digital strategy.
Another way to incorporate digital technology to track your traditional marketing is call tracking. Many of our clients use call tracking on their digital campaigns. Many of you may be familiar with unique call tracking in Google Ads and other paid online campaigns. You can use the same method with your traditional marketing campaigns. If your call to action is a call or discount code, use a unique code that you can track using Google Analytics. Your marketing team can set up a specific tracking system in your Analytics to see the effectiveness of digital or traditional campaigns.
Digital marketing via SEO, SEM, email, social media or other online strategies has a lower cost for entrance. In many cases, the cost for distribution depends on which keywords you’re targeting. The wholesale push for content development and optimization is linked to the marketing channels you’re tapping into. Your website is at the core of content development and distribution for your digital marketing efforts, so you must make sure it’s optimized.
But how can your digital campaigns support what you’re doing in traditional? The simplest form is recreating your traditional campaigns on your online campaigns. Take the creative in your traditional direct mail campaign and test it on your email marketing and social marketing audience. Repurposing content will save your team a lot of time. And it will also improve the effectiveness of your campaign in both channels.
Marketing Budget Planning
Now that you know how your channels can work together, how do you plan the budget?
Budgeting for Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing does cost more. It’s the nature of those marketing channels, so to pursue an integrated approach, you can’t just throw all those efforts out the window. Your goal here is to make decisions based on data. If you’re tracking your traditional marketing efforts, you at least have some sense of whether you’re bringing in some leads, even if the return on investment isn’t the same as what you’re seeing with digital marketing. The US Small Business Administration suggests a 7% – 8% spend on marketing, based on gross revenue. Small business owners are spending 25% of that marketing budget planning on events, print, TV, radio, etc.
Budget Planning for Digital Marketing
More small businesses are moving their marketing budget toward digital distribution channels. You still need an integrated approach, though. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket. While traditional marketing efforts may not be as effective as they once were, you should still keep the promotions that worked as part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s recommended that you dedicate 50-60% of your marketing budget planning on digital platforms and strategies.
That includes a focus on SEO across your website: blogs, content, interlinking and local SEO. You won’t see the immediate results from these efforts. It takes time to target the keywords and develop the content you need to attract and convert your prospects into paying customers. You also don’t have to figure it all out overnight. You need an SEO expert to help you develop a roadmap, a strategic plan that will continue to build and optimize content while keeping sight of the overall importance of networking and cross-linking with other sites.
Your off-site efforts are important too. That includes Facebook ads, Google ads, Bing ads, YouTube ads, and Instagram ads. You should see an immediate response from your ads, but it also will cost more money. There can be more of a testing process initially with SEM promotional activity as well. You’ll want to test out keywords, platforms, etc. Track which keywords, ads and landing pages are the most effective, and gradually hone in on the mix that works best for you and your demographic.
Your content development and deployment strategies involve your social media channels as well as blogs and other content distribution channels. While so much of your content is interrelated, it’s also designed to be cohesive and supportive of your marketing budget planning and brand messaging. Keyword integration can’t feel forced. The overall structure must be organic, not hard to follow or understand.
Email marketing is a key focus of your marketing budget. This type of marketing is unique because it ties many of your other marketing efforts together in a nice package, but it does not stand alone. Email marketing is just one of the integrated parts that you’ll consider as part of your marketing budget planning. The choice in how you proceed with the right email marketing platform will affect the overall costs for email marketing. Depending on the platform you select, you may also have automation capabilities that will not only build your brand, but also increase conversions, and offer the most cost-effective solution for your marketing budget planning.
How MicroD Can Help
We know that it’s not easy to decide how to create a budget and determine where your limited budget will be spent in the coming year. Particularly if you’ve never included a combination of traditional and digital marketing into your marketing budget planning, you may not even know where to start. At MicroD, we help you to initiate marketing budget planning that will take into account all the essential variables but will also be based on best practices for the home furnishings industry. We help you to reach more potential customers with a combination of a bigger ROI and a lower cost per lead. We look forward to discussing how we can help you grow marketing in 2020.