Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

Formulating a digital marketing plan on a tiny budget can be tricky. You need to be able to convert leads into paying customers, but without the huge marketing budgets afforded to big-name brands, how can you possibly compete?

You may assume that you need to launch a digital marketing campaign backed by a lot of money, especially for a new start-up company with zero brand recognition. 

While it can be a benefit to have the funds available to invest in a sound marketing plan that can make a big splash, you can create a digital marketing strategy on a tiny budget and see great success!

Building the bones of your digital marketing project

Doing digital marketing on a shoestring budget doesn’t necessarily mean that your results will be poor or end up looking cheap. You just need to make sure that every single element you put in place is carefully thought out, is necessary to your project and is of the highest possible quality.

Think of your first marketing project as the framework or skeleton that you will want to build on for the future. Like any sturdy structure that is built, it needs to have good bones and a strong foundation.

Just because you lack the budget right now to create a flashy and expensive marketing campaign doesn’t mean that you won’t have the finances to plough into your subsequent digital marketing budget plans.

This is why you need to keep your marketing ambitions and wild ideas reigned in for now and instead put your focus on building the strongest bones possible with the limited budget that you have to work with. 

The digital marketing budget for small business

If you are a solo-entrepreneur or the head of a small business with just a handful of employees, it will be understandable that your marketing budget will be tight.

With little elbow room available for you to try your luck at a wide variety of different marketing strategies, it can often be the best move to build your foundation on what has already proven to be the best tried and tested methods used by other digital marketers.

Here are some of the best ways forward to build your digital marketing budget best practices on a tiny budget:

Clever content marketing

Creating brilliant content around your unique selling point(USP) is one of the most powerful ways to draw in crowds and get people talking about your brand.

There is a popular saying in the digital marketing world that is still true today; ‘Content is King’. Keep this in mind when you go about designing your next digital marketing campaign.

It is after all how your potential new customers will engage with you, learn about your business products or services and be convinced to buy from you. 

When setting out your content marketing plan always remember the following points:

  • Write content specific to your industry
  • Make sure your content provides a lot of value
  • Write conversational content in a friendly tone
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There are a few different types of content that you can create. Your choice of content delivery may vary according to your business type and how effectively each medium will get your message over.

Mix up your content mediums

You can choose to stick to one or two different content mediums or you can mix it up a bit to see which type of content leads to the most engagement. 

Content types can include:

  • Business white papers
  • Customer case studies and testimonials
  • Infographics
  • Regular informative blog posts
  • Videos, podcasts and live-stream Q&A’s

If you run a business that has a lot of visually appealing products or services, then videos and graphic content will keep your target audience engaged much better than a lot of hard text about your products or services.

Visual content is a great way to market your branding message in a small package and will help your business logo to become more visually recognised. 

There are a few good quality free video editing tools for Windows that you can make good use of to get you started such as Windows Movie Makerand Open Shotor Video Pad.

You can look at upgrading to more sophisticated video editing software at a later date when you can afford it.

Create your own community on social media

Establishing and growing an engaged and eager community on any social media platform is often the cheapest way to make the most of your limited digital marketing budget.

Whether or not you choose to take out advertising on these platforms is up to you. Quite often a new business will wait a while before investing in Facebook ads, for example, at least until their business page and profile has become established and matured.

Social media paid advertising – the downside

When using social media advertising it can pay you to be cautious in the beginning. If you jump right in and set up a paid advertising campaign from day one you may find this backfires on you.

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This is because a lot of prospective customers will see your advert and will then go on to do a background check on your company. If they see a business page that is brand new and completely empty, it can put doubtful thoughts into their mind. 

The last thing you want to do is to make your prospective customers hesitate before buying from you. Being ‘too new’ can be off-putting. People like to see a bit of business history, engagement and positive customer feedback before they will trust you enough to spend their money with you.

Take time to build your social media presence

Remember that first impressions count. Bide your time and establish your business profile and trustworthiness before splashing your cash on Facebook ads!

Facebook and LinkedIn are still the two strongest social media platforms to establish yourself on, to begin with. Keep giving your followers plenty of fresh and valuable free content and you will see your community start to build. 

You can build up a strong following on these platforms without actually spending a penny on adverts!

Build a customer email list

Set up your website to capture your visitor’s email address. You can set up a newsletter for your visitors and customers to sign up to or simply ask your customers for their email address and ask their permission to email them with news and special offers.

Always make your email communications informative and helpful with plenty of valuable free advice and information. Creating a valuable relationship with your customers will help you to promote your brand and link to special offers or promotions while giving your customers something that they will look forward to reading. 

You can easily set up a free account with MailChimpto get you started. You can use their free services, in the beginning, to help manage and organise your email marketing campaigns. 

Once you have built up a sizeable email list you can look at taking up their paid options for more features and useful analytical tools.

These are your key digital marketing strategies to use when you are working with a limited budget. If you would like more help and advice, you can read more of our Insights, but if you need to talk things over, do not hesitate to contact us.

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