If you’re planning to start a business, digital marketing should be included in your budget. It is the best way to promote your products and services to your target market. However, digital marketing costs money. If like most entrepreneurs, you have limited capital, don’t worry. In this article, we will show you how to launch a digital marketing campaign for $100!
According to reports compiled from Forrester and eMarketer by Web Strategies, in 2018 businesses will allocate around 11% of their budgets to marketing. 45% will be dedicated to online marketing strategies.
But what if all you can afford is $100? Can you still run a campaign and get 100% results?
The answer to the first part of the question is “Yes”.
One of the benefits of digital marketing is flexibility. As we will discuss later in this article, it has the advantage of having onsite analytics which you can use to track the performance of your campaign in real time.
Analytics allows you to see which strategies are generating good Return on Investment (ROI) and which ones are not.
As for the second part, even if your budget runs in the millions of dollars, there are no guarantees in marketing.
Success in digital marketing will depend on the effort you put in. With such a tight budget, your margins for error will be quite small. You will have to be more strategic and purposeful in your approach.
Always keep your budget in mind. Don’t get swayed by the latest email marketing software or pushed to purchase the most expensive keyword phrases. Digital marketing opens up a treasure chest of tools and techniques. Some of them won’t even cost you a cent.
Now let’s get started!
1. No Website? No Problem!
The website is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It is basically your office address on the Internet; the place where potential customers click on to learn more about your products and services.
We discussed the advantages of having a website in our article, “What Type of Website Does Your Business Need?”. Building a website will certainly entail an investment.
But even if you don’t have enough capital to fund a website at this point, you should still buy a domain. A domain is simply the name of your website. The costs of registering a domain name can vary. You can acquire one for as little as $10 per year.
Once your domain name has been registered, you can use it as your professional email address and have it indicated on your calling card. The domain can also forward to your social media accounts until such time that you have the resources to set up your website.
2. Promote Your Business Via Social Media
With more than 3 billion users per day, social media has become a very powerful driver of business. Social media marketing can help you generate leads, improve sales conversions and enhance your credibility in the industry.
There are a number of social media networks to choose from. The most popular platforms and their community sizes are as follows:
- Facebook – 2.061 Billion
- YouTube – 1.5 Billion
- Instagram – 800 Million
- Twitter – 330 Million
- Reddit – 250 Million
- Pinterest – 200 Million
Looking at the list, it may seem that the wise move would be to set up accounts with the largest networks. But when it comes to social media marketing, size does not always matter.
You should select the social media networks that have the features to support your marketing objectives and that match the platform used by your target audience.
- Facebook, Twitter – If your goal is to build brand awareness and distribute content.
- YouTube, Instagram – If you plan to integrate video and picture content in your marketing campaign.
- Instagram, Pinterest – If your business deals with visual-heavy merchandise such as fashion apparel, jewelry and health supplements.
- Facebook, LinkedIn – If you want to connect with influencers in your industry.
It will not cost you a cent to open a social media account. But you need to invest time and effort managing the accounts especially when it comes to creating content and engaging with followers.
3. Register Your Business In An Online Directory
When an Internet user wants to look for a specific product or service, the search will begin with an online query.
By registering your business in an online directory, its name could come up in the search engine’s “map pack”.
What is a map pack? This is the list of establishments or businesses that are included in the results page provided by the search engine.
For example, if an Internet user does a search for personal fitness trainers in Cardiff, Google would produce a map pack that looks like this:
(Image courtesy of https://www.totalcoaching.com/blog/seo-guide-personal-trainers)
As Google is the largest search engine on the Internet. It makes perfect sense to sign your business up with Google’s online directory.
This is very easy to do and signing up is for free. All you need is to register your business at GoogleMyBusiness.
When registering your business, make sure you are providing accurate and updated contact information:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Business Phone Number
- Website Link
- Email Address
- Business Description
Google will send you a validation code via postal mail to confirm your business address.
4. Identify Your Target Market
Content creation is a very important component of an effective digital marketing strategy. There are many types of content. You can produce blogs, videos and even podcasts.
But the first thing you need to do is identify the target market for your content. You have to create a buyer’s profile. This is the segment of your market with the highest probability of being converted from followers to paying customers.
Assuming you don’t have a website, here are 4 ways to pinpoint the buying characteristics of your target market:
- Review your current level of content in your social media accounts. Determine which posts have generated the highest levels of engagement, likes and shares.
- Check out the social media accounts of your most active followers and observe the types of content they post. Instagram and Facebook are great sources for identifying customer online behavioral patterns.
- Visit the social media pages of your closest competitors. Take note of the topics they frequently post or blog about. Find out the types of content that generate the highest amount of engagement, likes and shares from their followers.
- Conduct a survey within your community. Ask them about the topics they would want you to cover in your blogs and articles.
These strategies will not cost you anything because you can conduct them through social media or email.
5. Sharpen Your Writing Skills
Blogging is widely regarded as the cornerstone in the content marketing process. A well-crafted blog that is informative, relevant and usable to the audience will surely help enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. Blogs are proven drivers of inbound traffic.
But many entrepreneurs are hesitant to blog because they don’t believe they have the writing skills. The truth is everyone has the ability to write a great blog. All you need is practice!
Writing is a learned skill. Like shooting a basketball, hitting a golf ball or hitting a backhand return in tennis, you simply have to keep practicing in order to get better. The more you write, the better you will get:
- Set a specific time in the day for writing; 60 to 90 minutes a day of uninterrupted writing should suffice.
- Choose a topic that you are familiar with and related to your business. It should be relevant to your buyer’s profile.
- Establish a structure for writing. For example, create an outline first. Then research for reference links.
- Learn to write for your audience; this means avoid using technical jargon. Remember, you should assume that you are the expert and your readers want to learn from you. Write in a language they can understand.
- Review your work and watch out for grammatical and spelling errors.
- Ask 2 to 3 of your most trusted friends or family to comment on your writing.
The other aspects of content writing such as the use of keywords can be learned at another time. For now, focus on developing basic writing skills.
Once you have become more confident with your writing skills, start a blogging schedule:
- Initially publish 2 blogs a week.
- Once your blogs have gained traction, escalate your writing to 3 blogs a week. Statistically, companies that publish 16 blogs a month generated 3.5 times more traffic than those that published from 0 to 4 posts.
- Focus on writing long form blogs or those that exceed 1,600 words. Blogs that total more than 2,500 words generate the highest number of shares.
Blogging takes time and effort. You have to do accurate research to make sure you are sharing facts that are well supported by reliable evidence. You also have to focus on writing original content. This means avoiding the risk of copying another writer’s content.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can use the blogging platform provided by LinkedIn then share it to your other social media accounts.
6. Track Your Performance Using Analytics
As we mentioned earlier in this article, digital marketing has the advantage of web analytics to help you track the performance of your campaign.
Web analytics are programs used to collect valuable data from your website or social media accounts. The collected data will help you better understand how your website is performing by answering these questions:
- Where is the bulk of my traffic coming from?
- Which pages have the highest visits?
- What types of content are being read more often?
Analytics can identify potential problems that are hindering the campaign’s progress. It will tell you which techniques are working and which ones aren’t. This way you have solid bases for realigning your digital marketing budget. You can put more resources on strategies that result in higher ROI.
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have built-in analytics. You can also download offsite analytics tools free of charge.
It may seem complicated at first but in time and with consistency, you will get better at evaluating analytics.
7. Expand Your Network
Networking is a proven way of building your business by connecting with key people in your industry. One of the most effective social networking sites is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the preferred social network of professionals. There are a number of ways you can build your business through this platform:
- LinkedIn has a blogging feature which allows you to post blogs and share it with those in your community.
- You can customize the parameters of your search so you can connect with community members who fit your buyer’s profile, target demographic or those who hold influential positions in the industry.
- Sign up and engage regularly with community focus groups that are directly involved with your industry.
- Post relevant content at least once a day in order to stay top-of-mind with your community.
Although signing up for LinkedIn is for free, its features for customizing search parameters will require a monthly subscription fee that ranges from $29.99 to $79.99.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are other effective social media networks you can use to connect with key influencers and expand your community.
Digital marketing gives you the most efficient way of reaching your target market by capitalizing on the power of the Internet. Because digital marketing primarily uses Internet-based tools to run its campaigns, it will be easier on your budget as most of these processes are free.
Finally, the benefit of having web analytics allows you to identify weak points in your campaign so you can further streamline your budget.
The biggest investment you will make in running a digital marketing campaign is time. You will have to spend time to become a more proficient writer. As your campaign gains traction, you will have to double up on your efforts.
If you want to learn more about running an effective but low budget digital marketing program, please give us a call or drop us an email.
We will gladly take you through the process of planning a well-thought out and highly efficient digital marketing campaign.