Determining your digital marketing strategy can be difficult; especially if you’re marketing a seasonal business. Your long-term marketing (organic) and short-term marketing (paid) need to align to ensure maximum return on investment (ROI) and no dollar is wasted.

If you’re struggling to determine how much to dedicate to each, this quick tip should help get you started in the right direction.

To start, you’ll need:

  • Historical data (from Google Analytics).
  • A printer.
  • A pencil.
  • A ruler.

Step 1: Determine your peak season.

Targeting your busiest month is critical in determining where our digital marketing dollars will be going. Everything we’ll be doing leads up to this time!

If your website uses Google Analytics, set your date range to see a years worth of data. You should see an area where traffic is highest – this is your peak. Since each business is different, your peak might not be as evident as mine. You may have many areas where traffic soars or very consistent periods. Take note of these areas. Take a screenshot ( ) or print this page for the next steps.

analtycis data

Step 2: Draw the line(s).

Now that we know the peak of the peak season (to the exact day), it’s time to draw some lines. That’s right, grab that ruler and draw 12 lines. These represent each month of the year. Label them with the first letter of the month. They don’t have to be exactly on the start of each month, just get them as close as possible.


img 2

Mark off the months with a ruler and a pencil

Step 3: Hot or not?

So, we’ve determined our peak and have segmented our traffic for the year into twelve segments. Now, for each of these months we have to ask the following question:
“What is the likelihood I’d purchase traffic to my site during this month?”
Answer the question on a ten point scale. In our example, the month of July I’d rate an “10” because it’s where my peak lies. January, I’d rate a “1” because it’s my lowest point. Do this for each month.
This number represents the what percentage of our budget will be dedicated to search engine marketing (paid). The left over number will be used for search engine optimization (organic). Adjust these numbers to your liking and move on to the next step.
analytics data

Step 4: Visualize your paid marketing budget.

Our marketing budget breakdown is starting to come to life! Now we now have our peak and a breakdown of where we’ll be shifting our budget over the year for paid marketing. Let’s see what it looks like on paper.



Step 5: Visualize your organic marketing budget.

Ah, the final piece of the puzzle. Now plot the final set of numbers and connect the dots. You’ll be able to see your seasonal marketing budget breakdown for the entire year.


analytics 5

Look ‘Ma, No Numbers!

Now, the beauty of this method is that we’ve never defined any actual numbers. This method will allow you to calculate the spend between SEM and SEO so that you’re taking advantage of whatever budget your client gives you. You’ll know that during your peak month, 90% of your digital marketing budget will be spent on paid marketing efforts and 10% will be in organic. In your off-peak, 10% of the budget will be on paid while 90% on search engine optimization efforts.

There you have it, in five minutes or so you’ll have a budget breakdown for the year that you can start to fine-tune.

Meet Bruce Etzcorn

Husband to one. Father of two. Bruce spends much of his free-time trying to be better at both. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” - Steve Jobs