So you’ve secured additional budget for your marketing efforts. Great! But now what?

Getting the news that you’ve received more dollars is very exciting, but can lead to a last second scramble to spend all of the available budget as quickly as possible if you don’t have a proper plan or strategy for these funds. When thinking about where to spend your money, it’s important to consider all of the different engagement levels of the buyer journey.

Setting the Stage

Before you go spending every dollar you’ve been granted, you must first understand the purpose behind the additional budget in the first place. For example, this additional budget might be the result of outside investor funding, but with the goal to maintain the ROI of current marketing programs. Or, you might be given additional spend because profitability is extremely high, you’re beating ROI targets, and would like to scale as much as possible so as not to leave dollars on the table. Both of these scenarios are quite common, but there could be even more variables to take into account. Here are some important questions to ask when you’ve been given the gift of more budget:

  • Where does current ROI stand? Is the goal of this additional budget to capitalize off of strong ROI return or is it to continue growth at maintained/current efficiency?
  • Are there any other channels or platforms in which investment is picking up?
  • Are there any specific tactics that you’ve tried in the past that are no longer running? What were these initial learnings?
  • *B2B/Demand Gen* Is your sales team staffed appropriately to handle an influx of traffic/leads with this additional spend?
  • *Ecommerce* Do you have enough inventory and product variety to be able to handle increased site traffic and potential customer activity?

After you’ve asked these questions, you will then begin crafting your go-to-market strategy for this budget.

Starting at the Bottom?

You don’t want to lose sight of what is working for you currently. This means taking stock of what has proven to be bottom-funnel, closing tactics. Are you currently maximizing your branded search investment with a strong impression share and showing at the highest possible position with a strong absolute top impression share? If not, then you’re not ready to invest in other areas of the funnel just yet.

Now that you’ve maximized your branded search efforts, you can start to analyze strong performing non-branded tactics. Certain non-branded search campaigns (long-tail product-specific, competitors, etc.) could be performing almost as well as branded search. While you might not be aiming for 100% share of the auctions available, you certainly want to ensure you’re staying competitive with a substantial share of the market.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re capitalizing on the strength of users who are already familiar with your site. This means ramping up your remarketing efforts, no matter if it is through GDN efforts with strong, attention grabbing creative ads or through RLSA efforts and capturing searches from people who have already been to your site and meet them with tailor-made search ads.

So you’ve increased coverage to ensure commanding share of voice on your branded search terms, you’ve increased investment further on top performing existing non-branded search campaigns, and you’ve increased spend on your remarketing efforts through site visitors – that must be it, right? Not quite. Now that the closing portion of your buyers’ journey is accounted for and fully funded, it’s time to get creative with how you show your ads and who you show ads to.

Moving Up

Now that the end of your buyers’ journey is set up for success. How do we continue to fill our user pool with new members? To answer this question, you’ll need to explore your current marketing efforts a bit deeper.

In your time running these more prospecting based campaigns, you’ve learned a lot about the customers who’ve been engaging with your ads and what the addressable market is for your middle-funnel assets here. But in order to expand, you need to build off of these learnings. This means taking some of your shorter tail keywords and thinking of new ways to search for these terms. This includes but is not limited to: additional service offerings you provide, new products on the horizon, partnerships with outside vendors/companies, and additional competitor terms that align with product expansion.

Additionally, there has been increased favor towards testing pure broad match keywords, which help you get in front users who you might not capture with standard exact match targeting. Broad match keywords also have cheaper CPCs, which means this is a great way to research, expand, and further test smart bidding strategies. Even further, your initial keyword set here should be your top performing exact match terms as a way to capitalize off of what has already worked when using stricter match types.

Filling the Top

Finally, once you’ve invested in what you know works and have expanded upon what you’re already testing, you have opportunities to get in front of even more new users through some more upper-funnel tactics. This means going after broader audiences through non-search-specific areas.

On GDN, you should be tapping into the different audience types available at your disposal. This includes affinity groups, custom audiences, detailed demographics, in-market audiences, customer match, and similar audiences. Although each of these different audience types allow you to get in front of new users, you might find that certain audiences perform better or bring in more traffic than others. One of the most common audiences to start with here are custom intent audiences. If you’re wanting to build off of previous success, you might also be interested in utilizing similar audiences to match users who share similar characteristics to your site visitors, converters, or even prospect list members.

Aside from pure GDN opportunities, is also a chance to get ads in front of users on YouTube. YouTube has the same audience options as the GDN.However, one key difference here is that the custom intent audiences for YouTube match to users who have searched for the keywords that you define, rather than just users who have shown online behavior around these terms. Meaning YouTube custom intent audiences have a bit more control than GDN custom intent audiences, but a smaller reach.

If you’re not currently investing in paid social efforts, this would be a great chance to utilize channels such as Facebook, Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn based on where your ideal customer spends most of their time. If you’ve already been investing in these efforts, it’s time to start thinking about new audiences.

Lastly, if you have even more budget to allocate and have maximized your learnings across all funnel-levels of paid search and paid social, there’s opportunity to expand your strategy to programmatic display and media planning. While you’ll need to work to determine the best provider for your efforts, you also need to set appropriate expectations for what you hope to achieve from this tactic. With programmatic display ad spend growing each year, advertisers are starting to more broadly use this channel.

As you move up the funnel, you’re moving away from what you know will directly lead to revenue and are now starting to invest in reach, research, and engagement. Yes, you’ll likely see an increase in branded search impressions, remarketing list sizes, and maybe even non-branded searches in core areas; but it is very possible that these upper-funnel initiatives will serve purely as air coverage and as an educational tool to teach you more about prospective users.

Budget Allocation: What Goes Where?

The reaction to hearing about this list of opportunities is naturally going to lead asking how much budget should go to each of these areas. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits all % breakdown of how you should allocate your budget. To figure this out, you’ll need to understand the following:

  • How much room do you have to scale for full coverage of your converting campaigns?
  • How much more share of voice do you want to have on the mid-tier, evergreen campaigns? Does the competitive landscape give you room to scale here?
  • What are channel reach estimates (typically provided in-platform) for the new audiences that you’re looking to target? How expensive are CPCs in these estimates?
  • How much are you willing to spend on efforts that you know might not drive direct results, but could offer strong engagement to site or further audience learning opportunities?
  • Do you have a test budget that you’d like to set aside for any additional net new launches that do not have any historical data?

If you’re given the opportunity to spend additional marketing dollars, don’t fret! Again, this is an exciting chance for you and your team to gain as much revenue as possible from your top performing campaigns, while also opening the door for more learning that could turn into future opportunities. As long as you plan ahead and allocate properly, you’ll have plenty of exciting new areas to explore and strong learnings for future strategy to follow! Contact us to help you drive the growth you are looking for.