Compiling a digital marketing budget from scratch is a complicated endeavor. It’s not always easy to forecast how much you’ll need to spend on various efforts or which campaigns deserve the lion’s share of your spend — especially if you have little-to-no historical data to inform your decisions. And even if you’ve been managing a budget for a while, there are always new platforms, tools, and spaces to consider.
One of the worst mistakes you can make, though, is overlooking an essential expense. And while there are countless different ways to apply your budget, there are a few digital marketing costs that, if forgotten, can significantly impact your outcomes.
Here are seven digital marketing line items you can’t miss.
If you’re managing any portion of your digital marketing in-house, you’ll need to invest in professionals who can execute your plan. This includes writers, editors, designers, videographers, and developers who can create your owned and paid content and bring it to life. You’ll also need someone to review and interpret performance data and a project manager to keep campaigns on track.
In an effort to stay lean, some small businesses divide all of the above roles among a small handful of people. While this can work in a pinch, it will eventually limit your outcomes. Instead, it’s better to outsource this work to freelancers or hire a digital marketing agency.
Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll need to identify those costs and ensure you have the budget to cover them.
One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is that you can measure almost anything. From ad clicks, email opens, and blog bounce rates to asset downloads, video views, and user tracking — not to mention revenue influenced — there’s a lot you can glean if you know what to measure.
The problem is digital marketing generates so much data that it can be challenging to gather, sort, visualize, translate, and apply this information without the right tools in place. Analytics software will help you track campaigns and forecast outcomes so you can make more data-driven decisions and easily communicate performance to internal stakeholders.
Even the most professional and capable people are hard to wrangle. And even if you hire an experienced project manager to set milestones, create timelines, and gather progress updates, they won’t get far without the right software.
Project management programs help ensure teams stay on track and help automate all those pesky administrative tasks that can slow people down and send things off course. You need a platform to ensure everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them and when each item is due to mitigate the chances of anyone dropping the ball. This will also help eliminate silos and foster better collaboration.
Marketing automation is an umbrella term that encompasses any software handling routine marketing efforts and manages multiple workflows simultaneously. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot help you manage paid advertising, email, social media and your website from one location.
These tools allow you to write, schedule, and track an email campaign, social media posts, and blog articles from one platform (instead of toggling back and forth between several different tools). And because everything is either handled through a single solution (or integrated with it), you’ll have a more holistic view of your marketing efforts.
Another one of the most commonly overlooked digital marketing costs is design software. Your designers will need access to programs like Adobe Creative Cloud, and your videographer will need a subscription to a high-quality video editing program. Without these tools, they won’t be able to create the visual content you need for all of your various digital marketing efforts.
And when it comes to design and video editing — or any other software, for that matter — keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Investing in something just because it’s the cheapest option will likely cause issues for even your best and most creative designers.
You know your organization’s website is essential to your business. In fact, the goal of most marketing campaigns is to drive prospective buyers to your website so you can guide them on to the next step of the buyer’s journey. If your site goes down, it can bring all your digital marketing efforts to a screeching halt.
That’s precisely why you should select a reliable website host and invest in good website security, including an SSL certificate.
There are many website hosting companies to choose from, including HubSpot CMS Hub, Bluehost, and GoDaddy.
Many hosting services also include a security component so you can rest assured information is encrypted and less likely to be hacked. While there’s not a 100% effective way to protect your site from cybercriminals, it’s critical you take as many steps as possible to reduce the risk of exposing sensitive information like customer data.
We’ve all hosted and experienced a lot of webinars since March 2020, and we’ve learned the quality of the platform has a profound effect on audience engagement. We also learned the videoconferencing tools we use internally don’t always work well for large-scale events.
Thankfully, the uptick in webinar demand created competition in the space and led to much better innovation. Today, there are many webinar solutions available at a range of price points. But given the amount of time and energy that goes into planning online events, this is one of those digital marketing costs that shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Marketing as a whole can be a hefty line item — and that’s because it’s essential for reaching prospective customers, nurturing them and ensuring your sales team has a steady pipeline of highly-qualified leads. But, because securing an additional budget can still be challenging, it’s crucial you account for all of the above digital marketing costs the first time around. This way, you’ll be well-covered.