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Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars in 2010

By Melissa Burdon
January 4th, 2010

2010We all know from experience that it’s difficult to get ahead in the online world without spending on marketing in one way or another.  Since it’s hard to be the expert at everything in the online marketing industry, outsourcing expertise ends up being the most efficient strategy. Now, you just need to balance your limited budget so that you spend your marketing dollars in a way that realizes the highest return on your investments (ROI).

These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself:

1. What am I trying to achieve this year online? E.g. higher sales/leads and/or more traffic?

2. What is my total online marketing budget to allocate to these efforts?

3. What ROI will I be satisfied with?

4. What is the marketing mix I should invest in to get the ROI I expect?

What am I trying to achieve this year online?

If you’re an eCommerce website, you probably want to increase your sales. If you’ve got high targeted traffic, but a low conversion rate, you’re probably wanting to invest in marketing that will turn your existing highly targeted traffic into more sales.  If your traffic is high but not very targeted (visitors who are coming to your site, but aren’t necessarily interested in what you’re offering), you may want to invest in driving more targeted traffic. The best way to know what you’re trying to achieve online this year is to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and formulating goals to improve your results.

What is my total online marketing budget to allocate to these efforts?

The bad news about “Marketing” is that it has a dark cloud hanging over its head from many years of tainted history. Marketing was something that was “done” by most companies in one way or another traditionally, but it was the department that was not always held accountable for its actions because tracking was near impossible in traditional marketing terms.  Online Marketers are still having to overcome this shadow of the past, and we need the decision makers to hear our message loud and clear: Every online marketing effort you invest in can, and should, be tracked. You should know every dollar you are spending, and in turn, every extra dollar you are making from each and every individual marketing effort you are investing in. This is why it’s so important to track and test everything you do online. If you aren’t sure how or what to track, your first step should be to setup Google Analytics or another analytics program.

What ROI will I be satisfied with?

There is no one-size-fits-all conversion rate unfortunately, but you should have a good understanding of how much opportunity you have yet to realize.  For some clients, a $1000/month for 6 months has resulted in 30% increases in conversion rate, while other clients who come in with a different set of circumstances may invest the same amount of dollars but only realize a 5% increase in their conversion rate.  Determine what the minimum increase in traffic and/or sales/leads needs to be for you to be satisfied (based on how much you’re investing) and state this as your goal when reaching out to whomever you outsource to.  You should start with a realistic expectation.  This will not only help you assess your performance effectively, it will also give your outsourced partners an expectation to meet or exceed.

What marketing mix will lead to the highest ROI?

This answer will change for each set of circumstances.  Again, you need to know what you’re doing well and where you need to improve.  If you have a hard time assessing this, reach out to a trusted source that has the expertise to assess this effectively.  When we work with our clients to turn traffic into more sales and leads using website optimization tactics, we usually uncover other weaknesses and opportunities that effect other areas of our clients’ marketing mixes.  We sometimes find that a client has a tremendous opportunity to focus on Search Engine Optimization efforts to generate more targeted organic traffic.  In other cases, we may find that a client is spending dollars on paid search advertising that are not converting effectively because they aren’t focusing on highly targeted keywords in their campaigns and are therefore losing money on these campaigns.  We help them refocus their investment on more targeted keywords.  We also come across cases where some clients are not leveraging their email databases effectively, and we bring this to the client’s attention as another opportunity they could be leveraging. These are just a few of the many opportunities we uncover from analyzing our clients’ marketing programs.

Make no mistake, if you do nothing, your competition will take business that could have been yours.  But if you analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and put an action plan in place, you will have a tremendous advantage over your competition.

Add Your Comments

Comments (53)

  1. This is a great overview for internet sales managers still coming to grips with all the different pieces of the ecommerce puzzle. You have to start somewhere, and this piece outlines many sound fundamentals like “Every online marketing effort you invest in can and should be tracked”. If you need a basic ecommerce road map, read this!

  2. this is good planning at the opening of Year 2010…

    after everybody has enjoyed a fabulous holiday season and are totally revved for the new year, they are supposed to think on financial direction of their business.

    Rgds,

  3. What a great read! I started a website up a few weeks ago, and to my surprise it began having a considerable amount of traffic for being so young. After a few days I decided to try to put up Adsense, and since this time the ratio of unique views to adsense profit is horrible. I think your suggestion on getting marketing help is more than likely going to be my new year’s resolution for 2010 so I can see some money flowing from my site. Great read! Thanks!

  4. Investing is one way to be successful in any business venture. However, we should be realistic that we can really attain or meet our targeted sales on time within that investment budget too, ROI. Otherwise, we end up to be broke all the time.

  5. Thanks for your post. But i do not think this post bring us tips or principles.
    What if we get a macro WebsiteOptimizer, to optimize our traffic, CR, media buying and so on! Not possible

  6. A great overview for internet managers still coming to grips with all the different pieces of the ecommerce puzzle.

  7. “if you do nothing, your competition will take business that could have been yours” Isn’t the power in those who already have enough $$$ and will kind of kick you out of the game!

    They can afford to advertise on high bid words, use paid services of any kind and etc!

  8. You have focused nicely on e-commerce. This post have a great value for internet sales managers.
    I agree with you and on your concept. I appreciate you. Keep blogging.

  9. nice information but we need to plan where u r investing your money :D

  10. great post, i’ve bookmarked this site and waiting for your next post.

  11. Peoples says “mo money,mo problems”!Thanks for this post!

  12. Great post on marketing; you are correct, if you wait, it is not the best. You have to act now, with your strengths in mind, and you will create a successful internet marketing business.

  13. Very nice infomation

  14. Hi -

    Great article — thanks. I think the ROI focus is very needed, though a lot of clients don’t seem ready for it… education is in order. Interesting to note what’s winning in a new LinkedIN Poll on where the “Best ROI in 2010″ will come from — http://polls.linkedin.com/p/71352/plxur — how do you think c-Level Marketing Execs. voted?

  15. Last year my ROI is only 20%. I think I must improve a lot of my work. Thank you to your post. It really help me get some idea

  16. Wonderful insights you have regarding marketing this 2010. Your post would definitely be an advantage on helping me out to monetize my resources online.

  17. There is no alternative to targeted traffic and organic traffic. I think smart selection of keywords to get organic traffic has tremendous potential to increase conversion rate.

  18. Good questions. For me, I would be looking for targeted traffic really, since I am not too keen on products to sell (too much maintenance, I prefer affiliate ‘fire and forget’ programs), but this decision makes all the difference to where to spend the marketing dollars (or pounds, in my case!).

  19. i’m a new..thanks for this guidelines post.

  20. It’s interesting to talk about marketing and the way to spend our budget in a balanced way. Obviously, there has to be a positive balance between benefits over costs. If not, there isn’t any reason to continue investing in the actual marketing strategy. The best thing is to change the strategy for a better one.

  21. Good overview of the headline decisions. I also believe that as well as recording performance data, we should test to bring performance improvement. We should target the improvement in eahc element of the mix as well as optimising the mix itself.

  22. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  23. Investment on market is very important step for starting a business and help your business grow.

  24. Excellent advice, this is a great way to improve your ROI – by making smart usage of your marketing dollars.

  25. ROI can be a complex nightmare. I tend to believe that some of ROI is impossible to measure.

  26. Return on investment can’t be the deciding factor for a few things. Like how can I measure the ROI for my secretary? I can’t but I know I need her. I guess I could take a guess that I could accomplish 50% less if I had to do all the details myself. I guess that’s one way.

  27. Similar to last year, more advertising money will shift to online. Also, companies with experience in online marketing will be seeking to increase rate of investment. SEO still looks like the best long term marketing strategy.

  28. Hi…Very nice infomation, thanks

  29. It is easy to spend money to get impressions and clicks but very hard to get to convert. Any consultants that engaged on a pay per performance based on conversion?

  30. – I agree…”if you do nothing, your competition will take business that could have been yours. But if you analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and put an action plan in place, you will have a tremendous advantage over your competition.”
    – This is very informative. thanks!

  31. [...] full post on Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc Enjoyed this article?WebsiteWordpress [...]

  32. really wonderful and I congratulate a successful article.

  33. Great post melissa. I find it funny that the comment a few up from this one is actually competiting directly with this article in SERP for this exact keyword search, and you guys still approved his comment lol

  34. This article have a great value for internet sales managers.
    I agree with you.

  35. They can afford to advertise on high bid words, use paid services of any kind and etc!

  36. Obviously, there has to be a positive balance between benefits over costs. If not, there isn’t any reason to continue investing in the actual marketing strategy

  37. Great post, but many people who are looking to increase sales don’t currently have the money to pay for some of these services.

  38. we’re trying to reduce small affiliates and convert more on established affiliates. means less volume but higher roi

  39. Targeted traffic and organic traffic is whre the real money is. Logtail keyphrases in niche markets bring the best success in terms of organic traffic conversions.

  40. high traffic website + affiliate marketing and PPC will make you earn big bucks :)

  41. A pleasure to read your article.Still, I feel there is no alternative to Google Adwords and organic trafic. without Google there is no any short-cut method for incrasing e-commerce sales.I hope this trend will change soon, since yahoo and Microsoft just teamed up.thanks

  42. nice artikel, thank you for your share

  43. A pleasure to read your article.Still, I feel there is no alternative to Google Adwords and organic trafic. without Google there is no any short-cut method for incrasing e-commerce sales.I hope this trend will change soon, since yahoo and Microsoft just teamed up.thanks

  44. Return on investment is always traditionally thought to be the best way to measure the performance of a marketing campaign. However one has to be cognisant of the fact that brand building and creating awareness are aspects that are really difficult to quantify, and that online social media advertising and efforts and campaigns need to take this into consideration when determining impact and efficacy of a campaign.

  45. If you can get free traffic by opitimizing your site right. You will get a great ROI once its there it brings money in like clockwork. Pay per click can get expensive. Organic will convert better as well. And when people find you they see exactly what they came for because your site answers there question. Do pay per click to gain knowledge and always be doing seo.

  46. With customers needed now more than ever, I would recommend a clean design firstly, with clear navigation and structure. I would also allow your customers and viewers to Add you to there Favourite sellers in say Yahoo or Google bookmarks. If you open up your customers input, this generally increases traffic and sale.
    Also – email campaigns are also a good idea.

  47. Investing is one way to be successful in any business venture. However, we should be realistic that we can really attain or meet our targeted sales on time within that investment budget too, ROI. Otherwise, we end up to be broke all the time.

  48. As the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

    SWOT analysis and some research does help to put things in perspective.

  49. Planning is a must. Without analysis, if you are going to do anything, that will lead to failure. We should have achievable and realistic goals.

  50. Email database is really underated. Need to use them more

  51. Paints! You have said it in two simple words. I agree planning, more planning and of course reflection is mandatory if you plan to succeed. The old method of SWOT or gap analysis works as well today as it did in the 1980′s. We can be fooled into approaching our marketing and business methods with new and exciting tools; yet those tools are in essence following the same pattern, but on a new platform. I believe this is where some businesses have lost ground as they have placed all of their strategy into one arena, and not a holistic approach.

  52. Your ROI should be part of your initial organizational goals and strategies. Reflecting and reviewing your strategies at a moderate and regular interval will ensure you reach your goals. Often people make decisions based on short-term blips rather than long-term perspectives, which could be problematic.

  53. General restrictions in marketing budget appear to be the main obstacle for increased digital marketing investment, something 40 per cent of companies said was a factor.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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