Yup. It’s that time of year again – the end of tax season. And let’s be honest, it takes a special kind of person to get a high off filing their taxes. In fact, you can probably think of plenty of people you know who have, yet again, avoided their Tax Day responsibilities until the last minute… maybe even yourself!
But regardless of your Tax Day triumphs or tragedies, you’re ultimately forced to really think about those dolla dolla bills, where they’re going, and whether or not you’ve had a cost-effective financial year. The same rings true in marketing. Staying organized is key – and budgeting your time, resources, and money vastly improves your ability to set marketing goals on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
Whether you’ve had a rough and tough year or you simply want to improve on your already well-structured allocation strategy, heed this advice for how to set marketing goals with brilliant budgeting tactics!
Budgeting Your Time
As they say, timing is everything. Time is money. There aren’t enough hours in a day. Frankly, we wouldn’t have so many colloquial idioms about time if it weren’t so utterly important. That’s why allocating your time in an organized fashion is critical to setting your marketing goals. When will you accomplish what? And on who’s time? Try out these tips for budgeting your time effectively:
- Establish an editorial content calendar – A documented strategy makes all the difference, as 84% of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing also say they lack a documented strategy. Keep track of your blog articles, social media posts, new offers, etc. in one convenient document. Set the content theme, the optimized keyword, and the parties responsible in advance; and then date the crap out of each assignment with deadlines and follow-ups. Not only does this hold team members accountable for respective tasks, but it facilitates the consistent production of quality content valuable to your audience, a noteable content marketing best practice.
- Coordinate and streamline marketing processes – Inconsistencies or bottlenecks smack dab in the middle of critical marketing workflows can delay content production, lead nurturing campaigns, or product and service launches. A lack of coordination between two processes is also the root of many missed deadlines. Make sure everyone who is working on a project is on the same page!For instance, if you’re company is launching an eBook, break its creation into stages. Align the schedules of the copywriter, graphic designer, promoter and anyone else involved in the proper order so the final product is yielded as efficiently as possible.
Budgeting Your Resources
How can you make the most of your current assets and resources? This includes personnel, network connections, data, and content – or essentially anything else that contributes to achieving company objectives. By integrating these “resourceful” (ba-dum ch!) tips into your business strategy, your marketing goals will consequently become much clearer:
- Repurpose content – Take an inventory of your company-wide resources. You might find an old, data-rich document lying around that could be magically transformed into a series of blog posts, an infographic, a white paper, or a customer cheat sheet. Just like those soda bottles and take-out containers in the office blue bins, content can be recycled!
- Centralize your data – Implementing interdepartmental closed-loop reporting keeps everyone in the know. Sales and Marketing teams are notorious for miscommunicating with one another. So centralize your data, hold routine meetings, and keep track of resources in one transparent location. Making data available to the entire company prevents duplication (or inaccuracies), streamlines communication and contributes to time and cost savings.
- Network with customers and partners – It’s no secret networking is a marvelous marketing tool. So maximize your existing relationships! Allocate resources to marketing efforts that encourage and enable referrals and repeat purchases. Rewarding a current customer with a customer retention program is typically less expensive than acquiring new ones. And exchanging intel, inbound links, or even guest blog posts with an industry partner is a great way to obtain resources without reaching far into your pockets.
- Team up with an outsourced marketing firm – Sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to take advantage of outsourced marketing services. Working with consultants who not only share your company values but who also bring an outsider’s perspective to the table can dually improve your marketing strategy and dramatically free up some of your other resources.
Budgeting Your Money
No matter how awesome your marketing plan is, it nearly always takes the mean green to execute it, at least in some sense. According to Social Media Today, 55% of marketers increased their digital marketing budget this past year. But even if your company is trimming the fat and reigning in spending, there are ways to optimize for a shrinking budget:
- Look for ways to increase productivity – Where is there a hiccup in your marketing? Are your metrics revealing problem areas? Wherever possible, restructure and preferably automate marketing processes in order to improve control and efficiency and reduce production costs. Streamline the steps it takes to generate an effective campaign. And above all, look for solutions to productivity problems that last long-term!
- Track your expenses daily – Make the most of today’s financial tracking tools on a daily basis to keep you informed and save you from going crazy later on. If you have a real-time idea of how your money is spent, as well as the supporting records on hand, you’ll have better perspective for setting marketing goals in terms of dollars – and not just conceptually.
- Plan company expenses for the year – Plan for your company’s fixed expenses twelve months ahead instead of one at a time. It’s important to take seasonal changes into account and other potential spending spikes to ensure that you’ve covered yourself if something goes awry! This may mean setting aside revenue during the business’s peak sales months to make up for times where sales see a decline. Coming full circle, you’ll also be able to appropriately plan for taxes! *gulp*
Next time you are starting to panic because there’s just not enough time, resources, or money in the world to solve your marketing problem, consult this list and see if there are some changes you can make in your routine. Goal-setting requires planning; and if you incorporate these budgeting best practices into your strategy, you’re likely to be smiling a lot more often – even come tax season!