Struggling to put in place an effective digital marketing budget?
My dad is my hero. He never went to college. He started in the western recycling industry. He started driving trash trucks. That was his first job. Fast forward 30 years, he is probably one of the most respected businessmen in the western recycling industry in California and has been in the same industry his entire career.
So that’s one that is very important to me. And his values are built on honesty, hard work, and the ability to adapt, learn and improve constantly, always learning from past experiences. So, that’s definitely the most important for me.
In research conducted by Gartner in 2018, it was reported that the marketing executives of some very successful companies spend an average of over 21% of their marketing budget on marketing. Meanwhile, according to Clutch, only 64% of small businesses own a website.
If you are running a business, especially a financial advisory one, you will know the essence of having a strong marketing strategy for your financial firm. This is not easy for independent financial advisors as they face a lot of financial challenges with regards to marketing expenses.
Fortunately, something can be done about this!
Digital marketing does not have to cost you a fortune. You do not have to budget all your savings to have your website design and SEO done. With a low budget, you can still run a very rewarding marketing campaign for your financial advisory business. It will prove to be a very rewarding investment over time.
Financial advisors should find and hire trusted financial advisory digital marketing firms with a marketing strategy that will yield more ROI. This is a more important consideration than considering the pricing first.
Read on as I show you all the ways you can allocate expenses and manage them to build a solid financial advisory digital marketing budget.
Areas of Spending in Digital Marketing
As you start planning your digital marketing budget, there are key areas you should focus on. If you want your web content to be found online and make sense to your audience, you really need to allocate a budget for these things:
- Creating a Quality Website and Maintaining It
With the way the internet keeps changing how people discover your business, you will get to meet a lot of people virtually for the first time. Therefore, budgeting for a strong and high-quality website is non-negotiable.
Choose a trustworthy hosting provider and ask about the following when vetting a sales representative:
- How much will it cost? Are there price breaks, special offers, or discounts?
- What are the analytics integrations that you offer?
- Are there other integrations for CRMs when dealing with leading industry providers?
- After launching the website, is it easy to maintain it and add fresh content to it?
- How responsive or mobile-friendly will my website be?
- Will I be able to access my website’s archives?
- Do you have samples of previous work?
- Networking, Hosting Events and Attending Live Events
One of the best ways to meet like-minded professionals and connect with them is by hosting live events and attending some too. Also, this is a great way to expand your horizon and learn more about the financial industry.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform can help to organize your business by automatic tasks, centralizing your data, and analyzing it.
The price you will have to budget for CRM will mostly depend on the functionality you want as well as the number of seats. The price of this will range from $35 to $325 every month.
Estimating a Digital Marketing Budget
Deploying a digital marketing strategy takes planning. The financial advisors market is way too saturated with low-quality content, so the content you create has to be significantly better and promote your website excellently in order to be successful. If your content does not stand out, you will not be termed successful.
Therefore, you have to create unique content and then amplify it. This will expand your reach and boost traffic so more people will see your content, interact with it, and share it.
Here are some easy methods you can employ in estimating your digital marketing budget:
- The affordable method
This is one of the easiest budgeting methods that require you to estimate just how much you are willing to spend on digital marketing. It is basically a rough estimate, so the affordable method is mostly subjective and not scientific. However, it is great for financial advisor startups that are using digital marketing for the first time.
- The objective and task
The best way to determine what your objectives are is by carrying out in-depth market research. Then you can determine how much you will have to spend to accomplish set objectives. This method of budgeting is logical but may not really work for small or startup financial advisors businesses because they may not have the research necessary to achieve most of these objectives.
- The competitive parity method
This method of digital marketing budget estimation helps you to estimate how much your competitors invest in digital marketing. After doing so, try matching that number.
- The percentage of sales method
Conventionally, 10% of your sales should go into the budget for marketing. You can use a percentage of your sales for last year, or use the projected sale for the next year. Once you can input the annual sales, you will get your digital marketing budget for the year.
Setting a Digital Marketing Budget
Digital marketing is complex and crucial to any financial advisory business. As the demands of prospective clients increase, you need to stretch out your budget. So how do you go about the task of setting up a budget that will make your business strive?
- Set a goal
One of the first things to do when planning your digital marketing budget is to set clear goals. This will help you to prioritize your strategies. Goals help to map out where you intend to land. If your goals are vague or ambiguous, you may have issues getting to your desired financial position.
You could try the SMART goal method.
Photo credit: Wittigonia
Here’s how you can use them to improve your digital marketing:
The S in SMART stands for Specific. When setting a goal, it is important to be specific about what you want. It is hard to tell whether you can achieve a goal or not if it is vague.
For instance, if your goal is to grow your business, well, it sounds good. But if you say you want to 20x your revenue over a one year period, that very specific. With the specificity, you can know where you are headed.
M is for Measure. After setting such a goal, you should measure it. What was your revenue before, what is it now, and what do you intend for it to be in the next one year? When you can answer these questions, you can easily measure how ill reach your goal.
It is easy for you to manage what you can measure. If you cannot measure your goal, you cannot really tell whether or not you are heading in the right direction.
No matter how big your goals are, you need to ensure that they are attainable. You should be able to grasp your goals and achieve them. Although I enjoy setting goals for myself, I ensure that they are attainable. They stretch me most times but I know I have to put in some more effort and maybe get other people to help me.
- Realistic or Relevant
R stands for both realistic and relevant. In checking if your goals are realistic and relevant, you need to ask yourself if it will be good for your business to pursue such a goal. Is it something your expertise in the industry can attain? Setting unrealistic goals is as good as setting yourself up to fail.
For instance, many people want to rank first on every search engine. This is not a realistic goal as you cannot control the way search algorithms change from time to time. Besides, people all over the world use different browsers so it may be hard to rank first across all keywords and all devices. This isn’t much of a realistic goal.
Therefore, set goals that you can achieve and goals you can control. If your goal is to grow your traffic in a year, you can achieve this because you can control your site’s traffic by controlling the type and amount of content of your website.
Time-bound represents the T in SMART. When you give yourself a time frame, you will be putting some more pressure on yourself, you will be restricted, and be placed under some stress.
- Analyze past efforts
Look critically at what worked for you in the past and what hasn’t. If you have had previous experience in digital marketing, you need to look at the results. At what point did you experience success? Why did you experience success? What steps did not turn out well for you? If you can rightly analyze this, you will solve many puzzles in your digital marketing strategy.
- Allocate your budget
The next step, after setting a goal and analyzing past efforts, is to allocate resources. If a particular digital strategy went very well in the past, you may want to budget for it and increase its effectiveness. However, if it failed before, you do not have to make it a priority anymore, so you can reduce the budget to another strategy that gives better results.
- Keep an eye on the future
While keeping an eye on techniques that worked well for you in the past, do not forget to keep an eye on the future as well. If you cannot do so yourself, you should get some staff or digital marketing experts to help keep you informed of new trends so you can move fast and have more advantages or benefits.
- Plan for content creation
No matter what digital marketing strategy you choose, you will always need content creation. Since your business is more related to providing services, you will need to budget for creating blog posts and articles that give clients detailed information.
Therefore, your digital marketing budget should include hiring expert blog writers or authorities in your field to create consistent, high-quality content.
- Save up for new strategies
In marketing, note that experimenting is crucial. Therefore, set aside some percentage of your marketing budget for trying out new marketing avenues and strategies. Note that some may work, but some may not. This should not stop you from introducing new strategies like personalized marketing and video marketing.
Factors that Propel Growth
Here are some key factors that could propel the growth of your financial advisor business:
- Use Marketing Automation Technology
Marketing automation involves limiting your spending to things that will help to automate your processes to prevent things from falling apart. In order for this to work, you will need more content and touchpoints. By doing this, you will be able to automate your marketing efforts and save yourself some more time.
- Marketing Personalization
Personalization is possibly the fastest rising trend. Since there are similar companies competing for one person’s attention, personalization should be your driving force in starting up a digital marketing business that will have the capacity to make people feel valued.
You can generate new leads by using organic SEO to create quality, consistent content. One way to do this is by blogging consistently. When you create custom content, your focus should be on your niche audience so you can emphasize on the pain points and problems you can help your clients to solve.
- Video Marketing
If you have not tried this out yet, you should do so now else you will be left behind. Include videos on your social media, blogs, YouTube channels, and landing pages. Video marketing should be a major part of your marketing strategy.
So, what’s the next step?
In the end, every business is after making profits. Inasmuch as planning your digital marketing budget may prove difficult, it is a worthwhile investment that will impact your business success positively. If you look at this budgeting as more of an investment, you will put more effort to ensure its success.
Just like my dad did, build your financial advisor business on good values like honesty, hard work, adaptability, and ability to learn from past experiences. At the end of the day, a financial advisor should consider trust and ROI before putting the price of digital marketing into consideration.
You can accomplish the task of planning and managing your digital marketing budget by doing it yourself, collaborating with an agency, or by handing the whole thing over to a competent agency.
Thank you so much for reading A Guide to Digital Marketing Budgets for Financial Advisors. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.