Digital marketing is critical to the success of all businesses, no matter how established their brand is, and no matter how big or small their operations are. If you have a strong brand or a sizable budget, you have all the options in the world. If you’re struggling to establish your company with a tight budget, however, the task may feel insurmountable.
Rest assured that digital marketing has a place no matter what your budget is! Businesses of all sizes, shapes, and budgets can comfortably find their niche in the digital world, as long as your strategies are well-developed and skillfully implemented.
Below, we’ll discuss specific strategies and tips for building out a successful digital marketing plan no matter how restrictive your budget is.
Paid Digital Advertising
One of the trickiest digital marketing channels to navigate on a tight budget is paid search advertising. Whether you’re looking to advertise on a search engine or a social media website, it’s easy to spend a lot of money very quickly. However, due to the nature of pay-per-click’s bid advertising structure, there are actually plenty of ways to run a successful paid digital ad strategy without spending too much money.
If you want to run a successful paid search campaign without breaking the bank, you need to make sure that every single click you pay for is worth your money. Spend a lot of time thinking about who your ideal customer is and exactly why they would come to your website. You’ll also want to spend a lot of time thinking about the types of customers you don’t want coming to your website. You probably don’t want to pay for people who include the words “free” or “cheap” in their search terms, for example. Make sure to include terms like those in your negative keyword lists.
A key part of your low-budget digital paid advertising campaign will be attacking niche, long-tail keywords. Unless you’re already in a very niche industry, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to compete for the most obvious and popular search terms. Instead, you need to think of very specific, very niche keywords. Imagine that you’re a car dealer. Your popular keywords would be things like “used cars for sale”. Your longtail keywords would be something like “used Honda Accord for sale Philadelphia”. As long as they are specific and relevant to your core audience, they will be effective. Note that since longtail keywords have much lower search traffic than more general ones, you’ll need to come up with as many as you can in order to see optimal results.
Beyond going for niche audiences and keywords, you should also consider niche platforms themselves. If you only have a set amount of budget, for example, Bing might be a better option for you than Google. Bing’s audience is still quite large (Bing has an estimated 500 million searches per month in the U.S. and 12 billion searches per month globally). Most importantly for you, the cost per click on Bing is consistently much lower than it is on Google. This saves you a significant amount of money and allows you to generate more clicks overall with whatever budget you have earmarked for paid search.
A strong SEO strategy improves your website’s ranking on various search engines. There aren’t many costs to implementing SEO, minus time and effort. Because of this, SEO is one of the more cost-effective aspects of a proper digital marketing strategy.
Link building has a major impact on your SEO. If quality, relevant industry websites have links to your own website on them, it acts as a vote of confidence to search engines that your website is worth visiting. Start off by looking at any relevant local associations or directories. Next, look for relevant websites and blogs and offer to write a guest post for them. This gives them free content and gives your business free publicity and stronger page rank.
Website optimization is perhaps the most difficult piece of the SEO puzzle to handle by yourself, especially if you’re not a particularly strong web designer. However, you can handle some very basic things such as utilizing meta tags and removing excess elements that cause your website to load slowly. Search engines actually take into account whether or not your website loads properly so that alone could have a drastic impact on your page rank.
Finally, having a strong content marketing strategy will also greatly improve your page rank. You’ll need to select your keywords strategically in the same way that we discussed in the paid advertising section. However, since generating content does not have to cost any money whatsoever, you can go after larger, more impactful keywords. This is actually a great way to supplement the keywords that you can’t afford to be competitive for on a paid campaign. Below, we’ll discuss content marketing in a bit more detail.
Like SEO, content marketing is another great and cost-effective digital marketing strategy that doesn’t actually have to cost you a single penny. The only cost of producing great content is the cost of your time. If your budget is tight, it’s reasonable to assume that your time is stretched a bit thin, too. Here’s how to implement a great content marketing strategy without spending every single day writing a blog post:
- Keep it timely – you will need to keep churning out quality content. However, you don’t need to release some every single day. Once or two pieces per week is enough to keep your website relevant.
- Keep it relevant – ultimately, if your content isn’t relevant and useful to your audience, it’s not going to be effective. Think of things that your customers are looking for the answers to. This should allow your keywords to fit into your content naturally.
- Switch it up – you don’t need to release a standard 500-word blog post every week. Create a long-form post that goes in-depth on a particular topic, and then break it up into several smaller articles. Repurpose outdated content into something new. Curate relevant content from other sources and share it with your audience in a convenient listicle.
- Go with what’s working – take the time to constantly evaluate your content. What topics get the most engagement? How long do people spend reading your content before bouncing? Use this data to understand exactly what your audience is looking for, and then simply create more of that.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one more aspect of digital marketing that can actually be handled at no additional cost. All you need to do is create a Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, etc., and start interacting with your audience.
To get off the ground running, try encouraging your existing audience to follow or subscribe to your social accounts. Send an email out to your subscribers asking them to give you a follow. Or you can simply run a small promotion designed to attract people to your social pages. Having more followers increases your overall engagement, which makes your posts more likely to be seen and gives your social media pages greater clout.
Once you’re started, you need to give your followers a reason to keep engaged. Answer questions, share stories that they might find interesting, and provide important news and updates. Make sure to post at least three or four times per week and you should quickly see your social media engagement rising.
Your website is perhaps the single most important aspect of your digital marketing strategy. It’s the centerpiece of your SEO and content strategies. It’s also your most important digital presence. Your website is where, at the very least, prospects will gather information and reach out to you. If you’re using your website as a storefront, it’s even more important to get it right.
Luckily, there are easy-to-use, cost-effective options that allow you to quickly build and host your website, such as WordPress. If you have even light technical expertise, you should be able to find everything you need to build a simple, effective website. Don’t worry about adding too many bells and whistles, they’ll likely make your website load too slow (especially on mobile devices) to be effective anyway.
Keep in mind that since your website is so important, this is one area you shouldn’t be afraid to spend some of your budget if need be. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, you could lose more than half of your total traffic! When tough decisions need to be made, make sure not to skimp on web design.
In the end, the success of a cost-effective digital marketing strategy is determined by the amount of work you’re willing to put into it. It will always be easier to succeed with a larger budget, but it’s possible to drive conversions and attract prospects by thoughtfully implementing the strategies discussed above. As you continue to drive revenue, you might even be able to justify a larger budget and the chance to even more continued success!