The time has come. The time that every Excel-phobic marketer dreads. It's time for your 2016 marketing budget planning — and while there are lots of great downloadable marketing budget templates out there, it's still important to think through all the essential things that you will need throughout the coming year.
Many companies treat the yearly budget as the ultimate word on where money is spent, so it's important to put some solid time into making sure that you have everything you will need for your marketing department to drive website traffic, boost engagement, and ultimately bring new leads to your business.
So with that in mind, here are 15 things to consider when crafting your marketing budget template:
Today's buyers have access to the wide world of the Internet when they are searching for a product or service, so it is no longer a choice whether companies should be blogging, sharing on social, creating eBooks, or hosting webinars.
These things are just part of the present state of marketing — so marketers should be equipped with the full spectrum of tools to help efficiently and effectively create content that will not only attract visitors to your website, but convert and close them as well! Here are a few tools that can help you get started with content marketing in 2016:
1. Marketing Automation Platforms
Marketing automation platforms are an essential tool in any marketer's arsenal. With email, landing pages, website pages, lead nurturing and more integration under one roof (so to speak), marketers are now able to create integrated campaigns that create a huge impact on the bottom line. And, while we are partial to HubSpot, there are several great marketing platforms out there.
2. Freelance Writers, Designers, Developers
Don't have time or resources to run the content marketing machine on your own? You are definitely not alone. Freelancers can be a great way to supplement your strategy in order to get the full effect of content marketing, and you can find some good ones on these websites.
3. Press Release Services
Press releases are not the right answer for every company, but if you make regular product announcements and are trying to get the attention of traditional media, press release services are an essential. Here are a few of the best:
4. Webinar Hosting Platforms
Webinars are a great way for prospective customers and casual visitors alike to get acquainted with your company's unique business perspective. Use webinars to show prospects how your business can help them solve their most pesky problems, just remember not to be too salesy.
5. Premium Content Platform
Premium content platforms are a great way to get the best features and analytics available today. Here are just a few ideas of services that have premium memberships and are well worth the dollars.
When it comes to paid advertising, one of the best ways to invest your money is to amplify the content you are already creating. Boost a successful post on Facebook, advertise an upcoming webinar on LinkedIn, or retarget website visitors with products they already viewed. These are great ways to avoid spam advertising and help people find useful, relevant content with paid ads. So don't forget to include these things on your marketing plan for next year.
6. Social Media Sponsored/Boosted Posts
With changing algorithms, and sheer number of posts, it's easy to get lost in the fray of social media. By spending just a little on sponsored social media posts every year, you can help drive more visitors to your website.
7. CPC or CPM Advertising
With the right strategy, PPC marketing can be a really effective tool to have in your back pocket. As analytics tools get smarter, we can begin to understand the best place to spend your marketing dollars to get the maximum impact.
Retargeting is a great way to capitalize on what visitors were already looking at on your website, and because you are hitting them with information from a website they already visited, you are much more likely to be spending your marketing dollars on prospects that will actually convert, keeping your business top-of-mind.
Choosing to partner with an agency can be a great step for any company. Agencies are specifically focused to drive results in their specific area of expertise. From inbound marketing to video production, website redesign to branding, there are a lot of ways that agencies can help you take your marketing to the next level in 2016.
9. StoryTeller Inbound Marketing & Video Production
Hey, it's a shameless plug, we know, but we love working with companies to get the most out of their inbound marketing efforts and helping them to create beautiful, effective videos that can be used to tell their company's unique story!
11. Website Redesign Company
Remember that websites only have a shelf life of about two years. It's really important to keep your website fresh to keep visitors engaged. If you are looking for a new website redesign, we recommend these two companies (especially if you are a HubSpot user).
Sometimes, there are just a few things that don't fit into a bucket, but that doesn't make them any less important. So with that in mind, here are a few more things to consider for your 2016 marketing budget:
12. Professional Development/Conferences
Professional development is such an important part of growing as an employee, so whether that be free online webinars, paid classes, or professional conferences, make sure to make room in your budget for growing your skills next year.
13. Project Management Software
Managing your projects and to-dos can be a bit of a bear, especially if you have a large team. There are tons of great options for project management apps that sync between your computer and your phone, making your to-do list easy to keep under wraps.
14. Stock Photo Subscription
High-quality images are central to great blog posts, website pages, print materials, and more. Invest in great graphics with a stock photo subscription next year.
Finally, online storage is another tool that helps you save time and share across your team seamlessly. Check out these great tools.
While this list is fairly extensive, it's far from exhaustive. Hopefully, it will help make the daunting task of creating your marketing budget template a little more manageable.
Have other great recommendations for your fellow marketers? We'd love to see them in the comments below!