If you run any size business, you often find yourself making tradeoffs among various marketing tactics, trying to get the more bang for your buck. That’s especially true for small businesses where resources are scarce. Rather than drop a planned campaign or reduce planned actions to balance the budget, consider these 6 budget-conscious digital marketing tactics to get more sales without spending a lot of money.
If you view spending across marketing tactics for the last few years, you see a strong increase in spending on digital marketing at the expense of traditional media like those shown in the image below.
Why use digital marketing
That’s because we’re living in the digital era where consumers eschew traditional media, like TV, radio, and print in favor of streaming TV, paid radio like Pandora, and get their news and information from online sources. There just aren’t enough eyeballs watching or listening to commercials and more eyeballs viewing online content, including from their smartphones. If your target market includes a bunch of younger consumers, millennials and GenZ, you can forget about reaching them through traditional media sources.
Plus, digital marketing offers much better targeting than that available through traditional advertising. Instead of paying $6 million for a Super Bowl ad that reaches millions of viewers from a broad range of demographic groups, you can spend a few thousand dollars to reach consumers that look more like your target market in terms of gender, age, location, and even interests.
Native advertising on social platforms offers a more palatal means to consume advertising as it’s less disruptive and, when used correctly, offers value in terms of entertainment or information rather than reflecting over-commercialization.
Marketing is so much more than advertising, however. It involves branding, pricing, merchandising, new product development, and analysis of your performance. Digital marketing far exceeds traditional media for all these marketing activities, with the possible exception of branding. When you use traditional media, you have little idea of your performance to guide future marketing efforts, you don’t learn anything about pricing without challenging experimentation, you glean no insights to guide new product development or adapting existing products to current demands, and merchandising happens totally separate (including extra fees) from your advertising. Digital marketing provides for every aspect of marketing, not just advertising even though it’s often presented as an alternative to traditional advertising.
Digital marketing includes a variety of budget-conscious digital marketing tactics, including:
- Email marketing
- Content marketing and SEO
- Social media marketing
- Digital advertising
- Influencer marketing and UGC (user-generated content)
So, without further ado, let’s delve further into how to incorporate these 6 budget-conscious digital marketing tactics into your marketing strategy.
Budget-conscious digital marketing tactics: a framework for success
Now it is clear that nearly every business benefits from digital marketing tactics. Before you start creating marketing campaigns online, put your pen down and create an impactful marketing strategy that produces the highest ROAS (return on advertising spend).
1. Email Marketing
Our list begins with email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most widely-used marketing techniques for many years. That’s because the ROI of email marketing is as high as 4200%. That’s incredible.
Did you know that there are more than 3.9 billion people using mail? That’s more than half the world’s population. In 2020, the last year for which there is accurate data, more than 306 billion emails were sent per day.
Sending targeted email messages to your subscribers on a consistent basis is a great way to increase revenue and build a loyal community of customers. Your job is to send well-crafted mail containing enticing offers that encourage customers to buy your products, thank you and birthday emails to build loyalty, reminder emails to customers, and emails to users who left items in their carts. No doubt, this is why email marketing is a proven technique to increase the conversion rate.
Pro Tip: Leverage some of the best email marketing tools such as MailChimp, HubSpot, Moosend, Constant Contact, and other platforms to make email marketing easier and learn more about optimizing your email marketing campaigns. Segment your subscriber list to send targeted email messages.
2a. Content Marketing
Content is king.
According to the research, almost 90% of B2B marketers and 85% of B2C marketers leverage content marketing to build engagement with their target market, improve their search rank, gain backlinks, and a host of other benefits. Hence, content marketing is one of the most crucial and indispensable tactics to follow. However, creating great content on a regular basis, which is the only way to experience these benefits, is hard. Creating a content marketing calendar really helps keep you on track by allowing your team to brainstorm topics and strategies to outline content for an entire month. This ensures you not only on track with your schedule but uses a strategic focus in developing critical elements of the strategy such as keywords. A content calendar also limits writer’s block as you never face an empty screen needing 2000 words by the end of the day. To help, I created a content marketing template to get you started on the right path.
Below you see an infographic showing how to layer content so you drive visitors through the buying process to increase your conversions with the right content at the right time.
Content marketing is a budget-conscious digital marketing strategy, although you do face costs for:
- Text, and taking a shortcut by using one of several emerging AI products to craft your text not only earns a penalty from search engines but likely results in sub-optimal content that doesn’t provide value to your target market.
- Images, and unique images and infographics are great for providing value to your readers, but also encourage backlinks from other websites.
- Keywords that match words users enter into search engines so you attract searchers to your content.
- Project management especially if you use several team members for the various tasks, including editing and approval, to ensure you stay on schedule.
Pro Tip: You likely want a website that includes a blog to attract visitors to your business using your content. Most of the traffic to any website (71% of traffic to a business website) comes from organic search meaning it’s traffic that visits after seeing your links show up in an online search. Below we discuss the related topic of SEO, which greatly influences organic traffic and depends heavily on the quality of your content.
2b. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO or search engine optimization is a set of tactics designed to improve your content rank in search, which is important since most click-throughs go to links that show up in the top positions in search; something you likely know from your own behavior in search. Since Google accounts for more than 90% of search traffic, our discussion relates most directly to this search engine but you can easily apply these principles to improve your rank across other search engines.
As you craft content, remember that a search engine’s primary goal is to make its users happy. That means delivering the best content, the content that answers their query best, at the top of search results. Hence, SEO is a budget-conscious digital marketing tactic that fits hand-in-glove with your content marketing strategy. Your SEO strategy should revolve around providing value to your visitors. Here are some things you can do to optimize your content for search:
- Create valuable content on a consistent basis
- Match keywords to user intent. Use keywords in your title, headings, content, and images to ensure your topic is clear and content is focused around the keyword
- Use links to high-authority websites to demonstrate the quality of the content just like an academic paper uses citations
- Make your website user-friendly with menus and other navigational aids, loads quickly, and looks great on mobile devices
- Gain engagement from others to validate your value such as backlinks from other sites, engagement on social media, comments, and high dwell time on the page
- Show respect for the privacy and security of your visitors
Pro Tip: While SEO is a budget-conscious digital marketing tactic, you’ll find it’s also a little technical. Spending some of your budget on tools to help might make sense.
2c. Local SEO
Local SEO is another budget-conscious digital marketing technique that helps your business show up in search engine results when users query about a specific location or are near your business. Below, you can see the way this SEO highlights local businesses. Moreover, you can start for free.
To create a profile in Google My Business you need to enter your name and address, upload images, enter contact details, list hours of operations, add a logo, and encourage your customers to leave positive reviews, which generates the star rating you see in the results. This is a powerful technique for startups and small business owners to stay on the top of search engine results. Also, consider crafting content relevant to your local readers.
Pro Tip: Create an account in local search engines such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yahoo to get more page views for your website.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media has changed the way we live and communicate with others. Today, crafting and maintaining a social media profile is almost a necessity if you want to succeed. The meteoric growth in the usage of social media indicates the importance of different platforms. Today, social media is not limited to likes and shares; businesses utilize it to promote their products and establish personalized relations with their target market. (source)
There are almost 3.5 billion people using social media sites, and Facebook is the most popular platform. Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin are also popular social media networks used by marketers, while the explosion of TikTok, especially among younger consumers, makes this an attractive option. Furthermore, marketing on these social media sites is a cost-effective way to promote your products across the globe. It means you can create accounts for free and start publishing content.
This is why you could say it is a large pond to go fishing for your potential customers.
Pro Tip: Get started with one or more of the “Big Four” social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin) to increase the exposure of your company. Only take on as many platforms as you can manage, as it’s important to create content consistently on these platforms.
4. Digital advertising
Digital advertising is much less expensive and more highly targeted than traditional advertising, although the two share many of the same concepts for success. You can choose from these ad sources:
- Google Ads
- Facebook/ Instagram advertising
- LinkedIn ads
- Twitter ads
- and TikTok ads, which are currently in beta
Each platform has its own ad management system. Social media ads, which rely on your choice of audience, and Google Ads, which are keyword-based, both represent a great, low-cost alternative. Google Ads are more commonly used to drive sales, while social media ads are usually used to create brand awareness.
Pro-tip: Use one of the ad graders and keyword planning tools provided by platforms such as Google Ads and Wordstream to help optimize your ads prior to running them and monitor them carefully so you can tweak them to improve performance. A/B testing provided by most ad platforms allows you to test different versions of your ad.
5. Influencer marketing and UGC
No discussion of budget-conscious digital marketing tactics would be complete without considering influencer and referral marketing.
A referral is when users recommend (even a tacit recommendation in the form of them using the brand) to others. It’s also called word-of-mouth marketing and the content produced is called UGC. It is the oldest yet most effective marketing tactic for brands. When the recommendation comes from someone with a large, engaged community behind them, we call this influencer marketing.
According to Nielsen’s survey, more than 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. Among them, 77% of customers are likely to buy products online if they receive recommendations from friends and family.
Pro Tip: Influencers often don’t work for free, so develop a budget and performance metrics to manage this tactic. UGC is free but often requires a sustained effort to encourage customers to share their reviews and recommendations on social platforms and/ or your own site. Obviously, no one will recommend a product that doesn’t reflect value, so put effort into creating products that buyers value and providing the highest quality service.
E-commerce can be budget-conscious digital marketing as it eliminates the need for a physical store or supplements sales from the store. As with other digital marketing tactics, e-commerce is on the rise, especially bolstered by pandemic lockdowns, as you can see below.
Crafting an e-commerce site on your website isn’t as hard as it sounds because plugins like WooCommerce do much of the heavy lifting for you.
Pro tip: Combine your e-commerce with digital advertising and other budget-conscious digital marketing tactics to get more bang for your buck.
Wrapping it up
Among the above-mentioned internet marketing tactics, choose the best that fulfill your requirements, drive sales and give your company a promising boost in terms of leads and revenue. New businesses and even the conventional offline business will not be able to uphold their marketing game without internet marketing.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.