More Key Steps to Planning Your 2016 Small Business Marketing Budget

If you follow our blog – you probably have noticed our hyper focus on building effective marketing budgets. That’s right. We’re totally into this topic because now – more than any other time of year – is the time to ensure your budget for NEXT year is planned to set your Houston business up for success.

Heads up: 2016 is quickly approaching!

Marketing trends change and previous metrics may prove outdated, so it’s always important to try and keep your marketing efforts as relevant as possible. Below we’ve developed a step by step guide to show you that creating a marketing budget for 2016 shouldn’t be that hard.

Reviewing Your Marketing Budget From 2015

Step one in creating any marketing budget is reviewing the previous year’s. Be sure to review all the marketing investments and efforts that have been made and determine if the return on investment makes the cost worth your while.

It helps to outline efforts that have proved effective in the previous year and determine how they can be improved. For your methods that didn’t prove to be as successful, determine what went wrong. Can you salvage these efforts into 2016 or are you going to scrap them and replace them with something (hopefully) more fruitful?

You may also want to revisit and refine who you are targeting with your marketing. Identify what motivators might have changed for them in their buying process, for example, an increase in mobile usage. Answering such questions about your audience will help you make changes to your marketing plan and budget.

You may be tempted to invest in the same things you did in 2015, especially if the results of your marketing efforts have been stellar. The problem is that the marketing landscape frequently changes, and the involvement of technology and the internet in our everyday lives means that these changes will take place more frequently.

Concentrating on Other Marketing Efforts for 2016

Marketing is no longer a one-way street and consumers have a wealth of information available to them to make purchasing decisions. You will need to adjust your marketing efforts to reflect the latest trends in the marketplace to remain relevant.

Here are some helpful ways to reach out to potential customers in 2016:

Content Marketing – By now you’ve probably heard that content is king. Everyone with a smartphone or a computer will look to the internet for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. If you can provide valuable and relevant content for these people, you then have the opportunity to turn them into customers. Always remember, offer advice and assistance first before selling. Shopify, for example, offers amazing content such this comprehensive guide on building, launching and growing an online store.

Social Media – Having a social media presence is expected for almost all businesses today. Facebook may be the first thing that pops into your mind, but there are many other social media sites that may be a better fit for your company and your market. If you’re in a highly visual industry like retail for example, then Pinterest and Instagram are excellent places to share photos of your latest products. If you’re a law firm or even an accounting firm, then LinkedIn would be an excellent way for you to connect to the right people interested in your services. Either way, social media is the new norm for businesses and there is a social platform that can help you reach any audience.

Marketing Automation – A significant portion of our marketing efforts are usually spent on the small stuff like sifting through data, managing content, sending emails and posting to social media. Marketing automation makes these processes much easier. You can create a system that will allow you to send appropriate emails to the right people, to schedule posts in advance for the year’s seasonal events, and to organize sales data according to different variables like customer location and items purchased. This will allow you to focus on other aspects of your marketing and it will leave you with enough breathing room to look at the big picture.

Mobile Marketing – Mobile is poised to become the center of digital marketing efforts for 2016. Google has already confirmed that mobile web searches have already overtaken that of desktop searches. The company is already making way for mobile web surfing, starting with their latest algorithm update dubbed “Mobilegeddon.” This latest algorithm change penalizes websites that haven’t been optimized for mobile; meaning that your site needs to be responsive or, at the very least, mobile-friendly.

As more marketing avenues open up, you may find yourself rearranging the budget a few times or allocating more funds to make use these new methods and techniques keep your marketing relevant. Think of these as investments rather than costs, you may eventually find that they provide fantastic return for your business. So what are you waiting for? Start creating a marketing budget for 2016 today!