With 2018 already winding down, it’s time to start planning your 2019 budget now to be sure that you can secure the funds necessary to achieve your goals for the new year. So how do you figure out how much is enough? Below I have outlined the general steps needed to help you plan for Digital Marketing success in 2019.

1. Look back at the last year
It’s important to analyze the results of your previous marketing efforts so you can understand what was successful and what was a failure. Learn from the past so you don’t waste your time and money on efforts that don’t yield a positive ROI. Review the strategies and channels that you spent money on last year. If something worked well, try to figure out why, and if increasing spend would add to your success. If it didn’t, review that too. Why was it unsuccessful and could it be more successful with some adjustments?  Check out our post on choosing KPIs and Leading Indicators to know what you should be looking at.

2. Check the health of your Website
Your website has the potential to be a massive source of inbound leads, but only if you are keeping it optimized. Audit your site to find out where you might need to invest in the coming year. Perform an SEO audit, as well as a conversion rate optimization audit to make sure you are getting the most out of your website. Your campaigns will be driving traffic to your site, so a fast, user-friendly site is core to the success of your overall business.

3. Determine your goals
What are you hoping to achieve in 2019? Most goals will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Revenue growth

Identifying your goals will help you determine which marketing tactics are going to be best suited for your needs. You can also use data from the past to help you set short and long term marketing goals. For example, if you are a new business trying to gain more awareness in the market, you might want to invest in paid advertising and building your social media presence in 2019. For more established businesses, you might be focused on continued growth in your current market, pushing a new product or service offering, or maybe you are looking to grow the business by X%. You can tailor your marketing efforts to what will have the most impact towards that goal.  Check out our Digital Marketing Tactics eBook to help determine which are the right tactics to invest in over the next year.

4. Outline major marketing campaigns
Now that you have defined your goals, it’s time to do some high-level planning of your 2019 campaigns. You don’t have to know all the details at this point but try to determine what your top three campaigns will be in support of your goals. For each of those campaigns, make sure that you can answer the following questions:

  • What media/channels will I use?
  • What resources will I need to run it? (Personnel, technology, etc.)
  • What are the estimated costs?
  • What is the ROI needed for it to be successful?

5. Take inventory
Beyond these major campaigns, list out all of the channels and tactics that you want to include in 2019. There are many different things to take into account. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but covers some of the major items you should consider:

  • Your website
  • Paid Advertising
  • Branding Efforts
  • Webinars
  • Content Marketing
  • PR
  • Event Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Video Marketing
  • Personnel (internal staff or freelancers)

6. Assign budget amounts
Keeping all of the above in mind, start to allocate budget amounts to the various channels, campaigns and other investments that you will need for next year. Think about monthly, quarterly and annual spend. Don’t forget to consider things like seasonality and past data trends as well. There are some helpful templates online that can help you get this information organized. Here is one example from SmartSheet that provides a good basic structure to help you assign budgets.

7. Prioritize
In the budgeting exercise above, you plan everything that you would like to include in your budget, but the funds are not always available to execute your complete vision. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize which campaigns and tactics are going to be most important in the new year. If budget is limited, look for opportunities where you can get the most bang for your buck.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, working with a marketing agency can be very beneficial. You can take advantage of having access to experienced marketers without incurring the costs of hiring, training and managing internal staff. You’ll have control over your costs and can set yourself up with a retainer structure that fits within your planned budget. Additionally, being the client puts you in the power position. The agency is accountable to you to help you achieve your goals.

No matter what your goals are for 2019, taking the time to put together a solid budget plan now will put you in a great position for the new year. Happy planning!