Digital Marketing

I Am on a Shoestring Budget. Can I Still Do Digital Marketing for My Business?

Working with a shoestring marketing budget? Here’s how to use digital marketing to grow your business no matter how small your budget is.

Yes, even while on a shoestring budget, you can still do digital marketing for your business. Without some marketing strategies, your business will remain on a shoestring budget because you won’t be able to increase your sales and income.

You can create a startup marketing strategy for about $500 a month that will yield results to begin the process of growing your business. Seeing the best results might take longer, but it will be better than no strategy at all. 

So what should you be doing with such a limited budget? We’ll outline how to make a shoestring budget work for your business. 

Digital Marketing

1. Build Out Website and Blog Content

Your website must have good content to attract and engage visitors. So if you haven’t taken the time and resources to hire a copywriter yet, it’s probably time. Focus on the foundation of your digital marketing for the first month.

Many digital marketing copywriters can pull some preliminary SEO research to target the right keywords while rewriting your content. That research can be the foundation of your blog content.

Start publishing on your blog monthly. Consistency is important because Google and other search engines like seeing websites that update their content frequently because it means the content is fresh.

Content marketing generally has about 3 times the ROI of paid search advertising, especially when you look at the long-term implications. It also generates about three times as many leads, which is why we recommend getting your content marketing in order first. 

Per month costs can vary, but most businesses can get started with blogging for a few hundred dollars a month. 

2. Start Building Your Email List

Now that you have a firm foundation with effective website copy and a regular blog schedule, you need to establish an email list. Many vendors will provide a free account with a limited number of subscribers and a few messages per month. 

Therefore, until you get fancy with what you’re doing as far as your email marketing goes, this aspect should be free. You’ll find it’s worth the effort though.

Once you begin driving traffic to your website through great content, you’re ready to find ways to connect with your customers long-term. Add an email subscription box to the footer of your website and consider placing the subscription box a few paragraphs into your blog content. That way, if a user likes what they are reading, they can subscribe to get that content delivered to them regularly.

Send an email at least once a month. This can recap your new blog content, share developments with your products and new FAQs based on customer service inquiries. This is your chance to showcase aspects of your business that the customer might not have discovered during their initial visit and remove any barriers to making a purchase.

Take time to make these emails valuable to the customer and not just to you. Don’t spend the whole time selling. Use the content in your emails to build relationships and show your value by being a resource to your customers.

The great part about email marketing is that it is very cost-effective. Even once your email list grows to the point where you need to purchase a subscription with the service, you’ll find it has incredible ROI. According to research, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you’ll make about $36. That’s the best ROI you’ll find with digital marketing.

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3. Share Content on Social Media

Make organic social media work for you. Provide valuable content on your social media pages and be sure you’re sharing your blog articles, infographics and curating helpful content. Growing a social media audience is tough at first, but it all starts with high-quality content and consistent posting.

If you can spare the money in your budget, running highly targeted ads each month can help you grow your audience and build awareness for your business. $100 per month is the minimum for getting started with social media ads. You might promote new blog articles the first week they are live each month or run a product highlight ad.

The key to making your paid efforts pay off on social media is to be very granular in your targeting. This will help every dollar bring in the right audience who is the most likely to purchase from you.

Be super picky when deciding which platforms to be on. You don’t want to look like a ghost only posting sporadically. Set up profiles on social media pages where you’ll see the greatest return on your time investment by researching where your audience is at.

Then test a variety of content types. For some businesses, image posts are the best. Others find greater success with videos. Still others find infographics or product images work really well. Experiment to see what your audience resonates with.

4. Monitor Analytics and Look for Opportunities

Digital Marketing

Analytics are free. The time you have to invest in reading and interpreting the data is not free but it’s time well spent. Make sure you’re reviewing your analytics monthly to look for opportunities.

Some key metrics to pay attention to include:

  1. Traffic sources: learn where your audience is coming from to better understand what’s working.
  2. Top pages: is one blog generating 80 percent of your traffic? What can you do to replicate that experience with your next blog or build upon the content to increase its value?
  3. Exit pages: sometimes your exit pages don’t mean much. Other times they tell you that you’re missing a strong call to action to get the website visitor to your product pages once they’ve read your blog and explored your content. Spend some time digging in to see if customers are exiting where you want them to.
  4. Organic search traffic: how much traffic is coming from organic search? As you build out your blog content, you should see that number slowly grow month over month if your blogs are targeting effective keywords. With a small budget, you probably don’t have room for a full-blown SEO strategy but you can still watch your organic search traffic grow steadily.
  5. Visitors from ads: what’s happening when a visitor comes to your website after seeing your social media ads? Do they come in, feel overwhelmed, not know what to do next and leave? Or are they exploring, signing up for your email list and returning at a later date? If it’s the former, it’s time to figure out how to change that and ensure you’re providing them value during the visit and getting your money’s worth in advertising to them.

A $500 Digital Marketing Budget

Ultimately, you can do a lot with $500 thanks to the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing. And within a few months or a year, you might see enough sales to increase that budget to get even more out of your efforts.

Not sure where to get started in building a $500 digital marketing budget? Talk to the experts at New Light Digital. We offer a free consultation to guide you in working with whatever resources you have to grow your business online.

What is a Good Budget for Digital Marketing?

You should spend about 7-10 percent of your total revenue on marketing. That way, you can continue to grow your business no matter what stage you’re in.

How Do I Market My Business on a Shoestring Budget?

Take advantage of all organic opportunities and word-of-mouth advertising. Invest what little money you have in content marketing and a good website as the foundation of your marketing.

How Much do Small Businesses Spend on Digital Marketing?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, you should plan to spend 7-8 percent of gross revenue on marketing.

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