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Nov 10

How to Plan Your 2017 Digital Marketing Budget


In: Strategy Insights

Digital marketing is now an essential part of your marketing budget, but exactly how much value can digital marketing add to your overall strategy? Research has shown that the average cost per lead through inbound digital channels is 61% less than traditional outbound media. Digital marketing is also highly measurable, which means you know exactly which campaigns and through which channels are providing the best ROI for your business. Combine that with the fact that 97% of consumers use online media to find and research products, and allocating for a digital marketing budget becomes a no-brainer.

But what should your digital strategy include?


Start with Specific, Attainable Goals

Establishing goals is the first step in any digital marketing campaign, and it’s also the first step in creating a budget. The goals for your digital marketing strategy can include things like growing your email list for specific markets, increasing web based leads or a complete percentage increase of web based sales. No matter how big or small you go, knowing what you want to accomplish is an imperative before you create a marketing budget for the upcoming year.


Explore a Budget Framework

Some tech giants are spending upwards of 50% of their revenue on overall marketing costs, and each year digital marketing takes a larger piece of the pie. The average in 2016 was 30% and that is expected to grow to 35% by 2019. Think through what spending framework might work best for your company in 2017. Ultimately, this number will vary from business to business and will also adjust over time as you learn what works best for you.


Focus on the Right Channels

Understanding the benefits of different digital marketing channels is critical to your success. Each individual business will find a unique blend of where and how their spending is best allocated. That being said, no matter what industry you’re in, you will likely use all or most of these channels as a unique combination that makes up a winning digital marketing strategy for your particular business. Below you will find a sample of high level digital marketing tactics to consider in your 2017 budget:

Content Marketing

Your content budget is one place you don’t want to skimp in terms of your digital marketing spend. The content that you’re putting on your website is what’s driving the returns on your digital investment. Google rewards the best: helpful, unique content is going to drive the backlinks and ranking your business needs. Whether it’s blog posts, white papers, or infographics, content is at the heart of your digital marketing strategy. If you're new to content marketing, earmark budget for a comprehensive content calendar that will help guide your 2017 strategy.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO will always be a key factor in driving quality site traffic and rankings for keywords vital to your business. Tactics in this area include content creation, backlink tracking and cleanup, link building, keyword rank tracking and competitor analysis. Search engine optimization is a long term, hands-on strategy that will help grow your web presence as well as web based results.

Paid Search and Display Campaigns

While paid search and display campaigns both fall under PPC campaigns, they can be treated as separate channels for budgeting purposes. If you’re already allocating budget to Google AdWords, consider where there are opportunities to improve your return. Can you increase spend in 2017 to break into new markets? Perhaps it makes sense to replicate your success on the Bing/Yahoo network. If you’ve never tried display or remarketing advertising, 2017 is a great place to start. These campaigns are visual in nature and less costly than traditional paid search. With new advances in behavioral targeting, chances are there is a display solution for your specific business.  

Social Media

Social media is an essential part of many digital marketing strategies, but the amount you dedicate to it should depend on your historical ROI. If you’ve had previous success generating business through social, then it can be a strong option for your business. In addition to traditional social media tactics, a strong social media campaign will also include elements of paid social such as Facebook and Instagram ads as well as LinkedIn advertising and sponsored content for B2B businesses. If social media is particularly important to your business, but you’re not sure how to look at historic success,  learn how to calculate your social ROI here.

Marketing Automation

Email is one of the most effective and cost-effective marketing channels, and some studies have shown that marketing automation is up to 300% more effective than standard email blasts.  Depending on how many marketing automation campaigns you plan to launch in 2017, the percentage of your budget spent will vary. You may have a CRM or other email management tool selected, if not, you can learn more about how to utilize e-mail campaigns here.


Depending on your size, analytics can take many different forms. At a minimum you should utilize tools such as Google Analytics to track user behavior, channel attribution, geographic information and more. If you’re a larger company, you’ll need to devote significant resources to analyze all of the data you’re collecting across all of your different channels. No matter which digital marketing channels you’re relying on, analytics are the key to learning where your money is best spent. Check out this guide to learn how to use your analytics to increase conversions.

No matter what industry you’re in, utilizing digital marketing means knowing exactly where your money is working the hardest at maximizing every dollar you spend. Traditional marketing channels have high barriers to entry, are lacking in measurable results, and have significantly higher costs per lead or sale. Every day more companies realize that leading with digital offers value, agility and measurable returns. With the diversity of digital channels available, there is a unique and highly effective strategy for every business out there.  


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