Is it time to increase your digital marketing spend? If you're like most businesses today, the answer is yes.
How can I be so confident? According to Gartner, the average business spends 2.5% of its annual revenue on digital marketing.
That's a pretty small percentage. It looks smaller still when you consider all the digital forums that require spending -- digital advertising, content creation, social media, email marketing, conversion rate optimization, mobile marketing, video production, blog creation, design, website development, PPC, SEO, CRO, etc.
Digital marketing is a big deal. And it costs money, no matter how budget-savvy or growth-hacky you might be.
If you're among the majority of businesses who are spending a mere 2.5 cents for every dollar of revenue, here are some signs that it's time to increase your spending.
1. You don't have much content, period.
The most important word in digital marketing is content.
You've probably heard the phrase, "content is king." What does it mean? It means that content is the most important online factor. Content influences your ranking, attracts customers, impacts your revenue, and shapes your brand.
What is "content?" Broadly, it's anything about your brand that exists online -- websites, articles, infographics, reports, downloads, music, video, apps, etc. A business's online presence depends on the quantity and quality of its content.
How's your content doing? Is there much of it online? Content can include just about anything, remember -- from an Instagram feed to a video library. If you have a relatively low level of online content, it's a good sign that your online spending is a bit too low.
2. Your competition begins to outrank you.
If you're familiar with SEO, you know that websites are "ranked" on search engines such as Google. If you sell medium-size widgets, then you want your website to have a high rank for the query "best medium-size widget."
But what happens if you begin to lose rank to the competition? It's a sign that your competitor is outdoing you on SEO. Perhaps they have better keyword targeting, superior content, or higher quality optimization on their website.
In order to regain your rank, you'll need to spend on SEO services and content marketing.
3. Your blog hasn't been updated in more than a month.
If you have a blog, you should keep it updated. What does it mean to keep your blog updated? It means that at minimum, once a month, you should post new content.
A blog is one of the best ways to improve your SEO. But if your blog isn't updated on a regular basis, it begins to lose its value. Search engines prefer "fresh" content such as new content, repurposed content, changed content, etc. As your blog ages, it receives less traffic contributing even less value to your overall marketing efforts.
Websites aren't a one-and-done investment. They require regular output, publication, and creation of new content. If your content creation is lagging, it's a sign that you need to improve your marketing spend.
4. You do not have an active presence on one or more of the major social media platforms.
There's no arguing with the power of social media. As digital marketing goes, social is the fastest growing marketing channel. Of the world's 3.4 billion Internet users, 67% of them are active social media users, as reported by the Global Web Index and Smart Insights.
If your brand does not have a presence on social media, you are not merely missing out on a great opportunity. You are, in fact, virtually invisible to these social media users. Today's brands cannot afford social media invisibility.
Although social media platforms are free to join, they cost some time and effort to maintain. But the return on investment is worth it.
5. You're not doing any conversion optimization.
Failure to engage in conversion optimization is a sad oversight in the digital marketing universe. In years past, a business could afford to overlook conversion rate optimization. After all, it's a relatively new niche. Today, however, few businesses should even think about neglecting conversion rate optimization.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of making data-driven changes to your website that increase the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. In other words, you take the website traffic you have, and turn more of it into paying customers.
Whereas acquiring customers, clicks, impressions, and eyeballs is relatively expensive, it doesn't cost much, by comparison, to convert those visitors into customers. Through a process of strategic changes and sequential tests, you can guarantee a higher conversion rate.
For a long time, students of marketing have learned that 10% is the magic number for marketing -- spend 10% of your annual revenue on marketing, and you'll do just fine.
Today, with a paltry 2.5% of that budget going towards digital marketing efforts, it's no wonder that your presence is suffering. The most well-respected brands in the world spend far more than 10% of marketing, and you can be sure that a huge percentage of their marketing budget goes directly to their digital marketing efforts.
Salesforce, for example, spends a whopping 53% of its budget on marketing; Twitter spends 44% of its budget on marketing; Oracle spends 20% of its budget on marketing.
Business leaders commonly complain: "We can't afford to spend more on marketing," and digital marketing gets a short shrift. But perhaps you can't afford not to spend more on marketing. As the world hurtles uncontrollably towards the point of digital saturation, investing in digital marketing could be the best thing you could possibly do for your business.
How much are you spending on digital marketing? Should you be spending more?