Demystifying digital budgets
This second edition of our new ‘How-to’ digital series concentrates on the process of agreeing and setting budgets. Phew Internet’s Studio Manager, Kern Roderick-Jones walks you through it.
You’ve already decided that your business needs to enhance its digital offering and in July I talked about the eight steps which will help to set digital objectives. Now that you know what you want to achieve, the objectives that you’ve committed to paper, the information you decided on in the first three of our eight steps will help define how aggressive you want to be, and so helping guide the budget at the start.
Initially there are quite a few potential overheads to bear in mind and whether you choose to manage most things in-house, split the work between you and an agency or brief an agency to execute the plan under your guidance, you’ll need to factor in and ask yourself these questions:
- Resources: it’s essential to consider what support you need and where it will come from – and add that to your overall ‘activity’ budget for a complete picture on planned spend for the year ahead
- Content: are you happy that your website conveys what you do in the best and a succinct way? If not, how long will it take you to improve the content?
- Design: what, if any, modifications need to be made to support upcoming business developments?
- Development: is your site fully optimised for tablets and mobile browsing and if relevant, transactions?
- Hosting: what have you paid previously? Are you happy that the service will be reliable as you scale?
- Technical support: do you think your requirements will be the same next year? How could this affect what you paid and who your partner is?
- Campaigns: PPC, SEO, affiliate, display and cross-channel advertising and re-marketing should all be considered. The latter is highly complex and powerful – and each of these disciplines will cost different amounts based on how much time, creative assets and changes you need
- Social media: having a presence on any social media network takes more time (which costs, particularly if you’re outsourcing this aspect) than you think because you’re creating content and having conversations with a 24/7 community. Consider where you think customers and interested parties will want to hear about and respond to your brand, pick a couple of platforms to start with and add a 20% cushion into your original budget for this area.
- Email marketing and content: newsletters, blogs and email marketing campaigns all feature in this category. They take a little budget to design but can take a lot of time to produce the content, so consider what that will cost and which will of the tactics in this category will deliver the best value.
- Measurement: find reliable, cost-effective and practical processes and frameworks that allow you to easily monitor and report on all your digital work.
I think the main thing to bear in mind when forecasting and monitoring any digital expenditure is to think more broadly than your spend and the direct ROI. Work with stakeholders across your organisation to see how a digital plan can support functions such as sales and customer service and plan to measure results there too.
Finally, focus your time, money and energy on what you believe will work best to support the overall business goals. Digital activity is highly measureable and provides advanced reporting like no other marketing channel out there – but you need to add in some instinct and experience to the planning mix too.
We can help by supporting the strategy and execution of any or all of the components which affect your budgeting process. Please contact me to discuss your next steps.