No doubt the last few years have brought new challenges to your marketing and sales processes. And if you're still in business, then you've obviously found a way to adjust! Now that 2023 is upon us, it's a good time to take a step back, assess your goals and how you're doing things now so you can get your plan in place for marketing that produces growth.
Here is our list of recommendations to help you get on track in 2023, generate revenue growth, and see an ROI on your marketing investment. Plus, find out, in dollars, what you should consider budgeting for each item.
Top 6 Things To Include In Your 2023 Marketing Budget
- A marketing strategy that sets you apart
- A website that matches your marketing strategy
- Content (lead magnets, content to draw in web visitors)
- Marketing, Sales & Service Software that ties into your CRM
- Customer reviews
1: A Growth Marketing Strategy
There are a lot of options for your potential customers to choose from. What makes them choose you? Before you spend any money on marketing campaigns, ads, website design, or anything else related to growing the company you need to have a solid:
- Your brand narrative: What problems do you solve for your customers and why do you do it? This is achieved by really talking to your customers and understanding what issues they have that you solved.
- A solid competitive advantage: How are you different? While you may have better people than your competitors, and you may offer better service -- it's not enough to count as what sets you apart. Your competitive advantage should be something that every employee understands so they can support it and make sure that you're holding true to your core values.
- A defined buyer's journey: How should you communicate with people who are at various stages of the decision-making process? This is going to help you define what to offer to those who are at researching their problem and possible solutions.
There is research that needs to be done and internal discussion with top levels of the company, including the marketing team, to create a growth marketing strategy that allows you to scale the company. This can be led by a marketing strategist in your company or by a strategy team like ours. We offer a 4-week program that produces a custom strategy that is tied to a marketing plan.
2: A Website To Match Your Buyer's Journey
Your business’ website is the digital equivalent of inviting guests into your office or storefront. It has to represent you in the way you want the world to see you and it has to explain how you're different from the other options out there.
Even if you just rebuilt your website, you can’t set it and forget it. It needs to match your buyer's journey defined in the strategy process. And, you need to give your visitors and Google reasons to come back. That requires regular new and updated content.
As a B2B company, your website may be a prospect's ONLY interaction with your brand before they're interested in talking to the sales team.
- If your website is more than three years old, you need to seriously consider adding a redesign to your budget in 2023. Not only is the design probably in need of an update, but the technology it was built on may also need some refreshing.
- Use data to see what people like on your website and determine whether those pages are converting visitors into leads. For example, this page started as a simple blog that has become more popular. We pay a lot of attention to it because it’s obviously a hot topic for marketers and business owners. We knew that this page was an important area to focus on and build upon based on our data.
Quite literally, your website has never played a more important role in your business than it does right now.
Google recently made a change to how it ranks websites. A few key metrics related to site speed and page loading, called Core Web Vitals, are part of how your website is judged and ultimately ranked by Google. Whether you're updating your current site or creating a new one after your growth marketing strategy session is complete, Core Web Vitals and the mobile phone web experience have to be top of mind.
Read more in our blog: Google Core Web Vitals Update: What You Need to Know.
In addition to the Core Web Vitals, there are other technical SEO aspects you should pay attention to in order to increase your website’s visibility in organic search results. This includes things such as snippets, page titles and proper handling of redirects.
You may have software that identifies these issues, but you have to get someone to fix them. As marketers, this can be a little frustrating because you may not know how to make the changes. However, you should not ignore it. Start with a technical SEO audit of your website to see how things are going and start creating a plan for who will make the updates that will keep your site healthy.
3: Videos: The Next Best Thing to Live Interaction
It's probably not a surprise that you need to have videos on your website. But have you also considered using one-to-one videos for sales? With your sales team feeling very hand-tied this year, there is a massive opportunity for videos of all kinds to have an impact on your marketing and sales processes.
They don't have to be highly produced videos. In fact, you can shoot many of them from your desk.
Here are three ideas for creating your company videos:
- Answers to your most common sales questions. Get someone in front of the camera and let them answer the question! Now you're going to have a library of content that helps address the commonly asked questions that can help people before they reach out to your team. This increases their trust in your company and your products or services.
- Cost explanation videos. Openly and honestly talk about pricing and common objections to your price. This will be so helpful to potential customers when narrowing down their options.
- Sales videos. With some free (or nearly free) screen capture/webcam software, your salespeople can create videos that give that feeling of personal interaction with leads to help move them through the decision-making process.
4: Content That Supports the Buyer's Journey
A smart investment is to add blogs, video content, or other lead magnets that will not only attract visitors to your website, but help them convert into a lead well before they're ready to make a purchase.
- Content that assists with selling - With more of your sales team at home or in the office (versus live, face-to-face meetings), use this opportunity to pick their brains about the most common objections and questions they hear. This will drive the content for prospects and even existing customers looking to add products or services from your company.
- Content that improves existing customers' experiences - Talk to your customer service team about the questions they receive so you can create a knowledge base. As we learned already, customers are looking for a more self-service digital experience. Let them search for the answer they need in a knowledge base. And make it easy for them to submit a ticket or support question.
Once you have an idea of what to write about, create a plan for getting it onto your company website.
5: A Single Software System for CRM, Marketing Automation, Sales and Customer Service
It's critical that marketing, sales, and customer service are all working together to create leads, close deals, and continue to delight the customers so they'll come back and refer others to you. One of the most important ways to keep everyone on the same page across these departments is to be sure all of your interactions with an individual are captured in the same software system. We recommend the HubSpot software for this because it's a powerful CRM at its core. On top of it are powerful marketing, sales, and customer service tools that can be turned on for:
- Marketing automation for follow up with leads
- Email tracking so that all email communication (sales and marketing) can be viewed in the same place
- Sales proposal management/quotes and pipeline visibility
- Workflows for sales and marketing
- Customer feedback
- Service tickets
- Website knowledge base setup
- Live chat and bot conversations
Don't be shy. Be sure you ask for reviews. A 2020 McKinsey study shows that companies offering an exceptional digital experience are twice as likely to be chosen as a primary supplier of products or services. Make your customers love their experience on your website so much that they want to tell their colleagues about you!
Search engines value reviews. Not just reviews on their platforms, but also third-party reviews, which is why it is essential to set up business listings that can accept reviews.
We also recommend you run a net promoter survey to be sure you're aware of how likely customers are to recommend you to others. For those who are fans of your company, encourage them to give you reviews on Capterra, G2, Google, or whichever platforms are commonly used in your industry.
What Should You Budget for Marketing Activities?
While there are a variety of price ranges out there, you have to put something down in your budget, or at least know what is reasonable to expect.
Remember, these are ranges and you are likely going to need to do a little more research to put numbers for your company into your budget.
Growth Marketing Strategy DevelopmentThe four-week program we run includes a group discussion 4-days a week over the course of four weeks with several marketers. Plus at least one one-on-one session is held with our team and the client each week to be sure all the pieces of the growth plan are completed and we're moving towards the point of creating a growth blueprint. The final output of our session includes the pieces you need to be able to go forward:
- Brand narrative
- Competitive advantage
- Buyer's journey
Plus we review several other important aspects of your market including an analysis of competitors and alternatives to your solution.
This program ranges from $7,500 - $10,000 and is a one-time fee. Other marketing strategy programs may be run differently and costs vary from other marketing groups, but we know this process produces a solid plan for scaling your company.
Website Investment recommendations for 2023
Total website revamp using HubSpot CMS: Starting at $25,000 plus CMS/hosting of $400/mo
This is more than just hiring someone to make a pretty website on something like WordPress. The website we’re recommending involves hiring someone who will create a lead generation and customer support system that uses your target markets’ pain points as the strategy behind the content and overall experience. The HubSpot CMS and CRM are critical components of success. The HubSpot CMS can also handle a personalized website experience and email marketing program.
Budget for technical SEO audit: $3,000 - $10,000 one-time to identify the issues and fix them. The older the website, the bigger the budget should be because of how things change over time.
What does it cost to produce videos?
If you’re going the self-produced route you’ll need some equipment and video editing software.
There are hybrid options where you can shoot your video and someone else will edit and produce the final versions.
Or you can give it all to a video production team who will help you shoot, edit and create the final versions of the videos for various places where the video will be displayed.
Video production cost expectations
- If you want your own equipment and editing software run by someone in-house: $3,000 - $10,000 depending on which items you need to purchase and how complex you want your setup.
- Editing and producing final versions for your website and for YouTube is often charged out at a rate per finished second or per finished minute. Since the shooting is already done, finishing a 90-second video can range from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on how well you give the editor direction on the final piece.
- If you’d like to have someone shoot and produce your videos, a ninety-second finished video can range from $4,500 - $9,000 or more each. This varies depending on whether it’s a shoot on-site or in their studio, do you need the storyboards created or do you have a vision for what you’d like, etc? The more direction you can give the video studio to work with, typically the less expensive the final video will be.
Content creation for lead generation program COSTS
A regular content development program that supports your growth marketing strategy program includes not just blogging at a rapid pace, but also creating lead magnets Depending on the speed at which you need to get things done, and the number of content pieces you need to produce to have an impact, you should plan between $6,000 and $12,000 per month with an assortment of activities included in that.
HubSpot Software for Combined CMS, MArketing, sales and Customer Service InfoThe software is another budget line item. HubSpot CMS includes a lot of features you need which starts at $400/month. We don't recommend you dive headfirst more software than you really need. But as you develop your marketing and as your sales and customer service teams become more vested in the growth plan that you've created, adding the other software services will give you the full set of tools you need to be successful including:
- Marketing Hub
- Sales Hub
- Service Hub
Depending on the features you need and/or the number of people using the software internally, your pricing will be adjusted but can start as low as $50 per month.
What to budget for Review Collection and Monitoring?
This takes more time than money. Just get it done. You'll need to ask your key clients for the reviews, give them the links to where you want a review, and then thank them when it's done! Don't pay them off for their reviews. But recognize the effort they put forth.
It's a good idea to also have a review monitoring service running to get notified if there are any surprise reviews -- good or bad -- that are published on various platforms. Reputation management software services typically run between $250 and $500 per month.
Should you plan to use a marketing agency?
Even if you have marketers in-house, accomplishing all of your objectives so that you can produce the leads you need may not be possible without help. Marketing agencies usually offer a monthly amount that will cover many or all of the things listed above. Or you can do single projects that then lead to updates in the future . There are a lot of things that need to be paid attention to on a monthly basis including:
- Website design
- Website development
- Inbound marketing activities including workflows, content development, lead magnet creation, calls-to-action, A/B testing, etc.
- Reporting on progress
- Search engine optimization including technical SEO
- Assistance with promoting live events and the content that is available afterwards.
If you’re considering how to get it all done, whether internally, externally or as a combination, you might be interested in reading our blog: Do I Really Need a Marketing Agency?
Getting all the pieces together for a marketing budget is never easy. Make sure all of your activities are based on generating leads, supporting customers and meeting your goals. Have any questions? Schedule a free consultation with our team.