You’ve probably heard that digital marketing is essential to your continued growth in the animal health industry.
I’m here to tell you there’s an easy answer. You don’t need to stumble upon a mysterious fountain of new dollars or come up with a whole new digital marketing budget. All you need to do is shift over budget from your traditional advertising efforts.
Here’s where to begin.
1. Reallocate Dollars from Traditional Advertising
Consider how much you spend on traditional advertising efforts such as trade show flyers and attendance, ads in trade publications, and TV spots. What is your return on investment for these efforts? It’s difficult to really know.
You may feel that your traditional advertising is paying off — but there’s no question that you are paying for it. These efforts are done in broad strokes, and they tend to come with high price tags.
Reallocating these dollars can pay off quickly, since digital marketing can be done with a much higher level of targeting and at a much lower entry point.
2. Set Specific Goals and Invest in Them
The Small Business Administration recommends allocating 7% to 8% of your business’ total revenue for both traditional and digital marketing. At least half of that total marketing budget should be put toward digital marketing — that includes content creation, SEO, social media, email marketing, and amplification. Once you have a ballpark figure, think through what you hope to achieve with the money allotted. Are you hoping to increase lead generation and sales? Brand recognition? Increase your social media engagement?
Establish which of your goals takes the highest priority before breaking down your digital marketing budget by line item — and be realistic. Plan to spend the most money on ideating, creating, editing, and designing content if it fits into your goals, as SEO and amplification strategies offer more flexibility in pricing.
3. Pay the Robot Gods
Prioritize SEO research and manpower. There will be a heavier investment in SEO upfront, but once you get the ball rolling, expenses can decrease. Generally, your content creation budget and your SEO budget together should comprise half of your total digital marketing budget.
Because SEO work tends to be highly specialized, it may make sense for you to hire a contractor or partner with a marketing expert in the industry. Independently contracted SEO specialists make the most sense for companies with larger marketing teams managing long-term digital marketing strategies and analytics. Budding businesses should consider partnering with a marketing team to manage the entirety of their SEO strategy, site analytics, and keyword research.
4. Test Ads and Battle for Keywords
Plan to budget some money solely for testing different digital ad approaches before solidifying how much you need to spend each month.
Determine what goals you hope to achieve and how you’ll measure your ads’ effectiveness. Run a few test ads to see how they affect the key performance indicators you have chosen, then invest in the types of ads that most consistently help you reach your goals. Once you know the potential ROI on your ads, you can better plan how much to spend.
How much you spend will also depend on how much your competitors already pay for keywords you hope to rank highly for. You can use the tools in Google Ads Keyword Planner to unearth the search terms relevant to your site and see how popular each term is among your competitors. You want to invest the majority of your Google Ads budget toward high-traffic, low-competition keywords as these will provide the highest return on investment.
5. Track Your Success and Adjust the Sails
Data analysis software allows you to easily capture concrete evidence to justify your expenditures or make ongoing dollar adjustments. Digital marketing is an investment in lead generation and business growth, so you want to be sure your investment pays off in the form of heavier traffic, increased sales, and brand-name recognition.
6. Call in the Vanguard
A master distribution partner with digital marketing expertise such as EPiQ Animal Health can help you figure out what you should budget for your digital marketing efforts. We’ll meet with your team weekly during three-month trials to help analyze the success of your current approach, show you the return on investment that a strategic digital marketing plan can have for your business, and take the stress out of the process.