If you own a startup that secured venture capital in the hundreds of thousands or perhaps in the millions, then congratulations are in order. The truth is many startups and small businesses operate on a shoestring budget. As a consequence, key business strategies such as Digital Marketing are either placed on the wayside or allocated with barely enough resources to get it running effectively. According to data collected by Small Business Trends, 82% of startups are self-funded or secure capital from personal savings or family and friends.
With limited access to capital, the small business owner becomes limited to what he/she can do to support revenue generation strategies. In this day and age where 50% of the world’s population is online everyday, it becomes more imperative for businesses to embark on a Digital Marketing campaign.
But the cost of digital marketing has been rising. Adobe Digital’s 2017 Digital Advertising Report showed that the cost of digital marketing has been increasing at a rate that is five times faster than U.S. inflation and 71% faster than the cost of television ads.
And as competition in the digital landscape continues to get tighter, expect marketing costs to climb higher.
SEO practitioners have to frequently revise optimization strategies while writers have to produce relevant, engaging and usable content for their audience on a consistent basis.
When digital marketing costs rise, so does the pressure of generating an ROI for your efforts.
Given the capital constraints on small business owners, is it still possible for them to set up a digital marketing campaign?
5 Tips on How to Develop a Low Budget but High Performing Digital Marketing Campaign
The answer is “Yes”! The key is to set up your Digital Marketing campaign on these five principles:
1. Learn What You Can About Digital Marketing
Like what we discussed in our article, “How People Get Ripped Off by Digital Marketing Agencies”, in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic digital marketing experience, you have to learn everything you can about it. You don’t have to be an expert.
You don’t have to get certified in SEO, SEM or Social Media Marketing. All you need is to have a firm understanding of the process and how all its component parts work together to create a successful digital marketing campaign.
2. Keep it Simple
A digital marketing strategy can consist of a combination of different tools and techniques. But you don’t have to use every Internet- based platform to ensure an effective digital marketing strategy.
If you have limited funds, it only makes sense to allocate your capital to a few processes so you can maximize the return. Another benefit of small scale digital marketing is that it is easier to track performance.
3. Manage Your Time Wisely
Accounting is an important function for every business. But it is not just money that you should keep track of. You should also account for how you budget your time.
The saying is true, “Time is money”. The more efficient you are with time, the more productive you can be. As a business owner, the bulk of your waking hours should be devoted to running the core functions of your business; the activities that translate to dollars and cents in your bank account.
Digital marketing is not a discipline you can learn from YouTube or self-help books. You need more than technical and fundamental competence. You need experience. Instead of doing digital marketing yourself, outsource it to experienced third party service providers.
A digital marketing agency has the advantage of having web designers, content writers, graphic designers and specialists in SEO, SEM and SMM. Many agencies also have flexible payment options so you can stretch out your budget.
4. Be Consistent
Even if you decided to outsource your digital marketing campaign to a third party service provider, be involved by staying consistent with the strategy.
In most, if not all cases, the success of a digital marketing campaign rests on your ability to deliver results or what has been promised in your content.
If you want your audience to know that your company consistently addresses all issues and concerns, then make sure your customer service channels are on the ball at all times.
If you want your end users to remain confident on the quality of your goods and services, take the necessary steps to ensure that there is no compromise on craftsmanship or detail from day one.
Before embarking on a digital marketing campaign make sure you are committed to meet the expectations of your target audience.
5. Track Your Performance
The knock on marketing before 2004 was that it was difficult to track performance. We are referring to traditional marketing methods.
All of that went out the window when the Internet became accessible to almost everyone on the planet in 2000 and broadband technology took off in 2004.
With digital marketing you can track the performance of your campaign through web analytics. Get real time data and find empirical bases for your decision-making.
Again, this is where contracting the services of a digital marketing agency is a big advantage.
They have web development experts who can analyze data from your website and give you an orientation on how the campaign has been playing out.
They can provide you with weekly or monthly reports that you can study and use as reference for any changes in strategy. In time and with consistency, you will also become proficient in web analytics.
Now that you have the foundation of your digital marketing strategy setup, it’s time to look at the processes and techniques you can use to run your simple but effective campaign:
1. Invest in a Mobile Responsive Website
It will be difficult; almost impossible to run a successful digital marketing campaign without a website.
Even if you came up with highly-visible social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, where will the engagements terminate?
Your website is the centerpiece in the digital marketing campaign because it represents your business on the Internet. The website is the terminating point for all the inbound traffic that we hope to create through digital marketing.
But it is not enough to just have a website. It must be mobile responsive or have the ability to accommodate devices with varying screen sizes. If you want to learn more about mobile responsive design, check out our article, “Why Your Website Needs Mobile Responsive Design”.
Keep in mind that 75% of all online traffic today originates from mobile devices. If your website cannot be accessed by a smartphone or a tablet, you will potentially lose business as well as industry credibility.
2. Focus on Organic SEO
Search Engine Optimization sounds so technical, most businesses think it is expensive. That may be true when it comes to paid search. But if you focus only on organic SEO, you can help your website move up the search rankings with only a few simple steps:
- Open a Google Webmaster Account – All you need to do is register and verify your domain name. Google will point out what you need to do to boost your site’s rankings.
- Use Keywords Judiciously and Strategically – Keywords are the words and phrases that are popularly used to launch a search query. Google prefers long tail keywords which are more descriptive. But don’t overstuff your content with keywords. The accepted ratio is 2% for every 1,000 words.
- Write Long Form Blogs – Google rewards websites that feature long form blogs or those that average 1,500 to 2,400 words. The advantage of long form blogs is that as a longer read, your visitor would spend more time in your site. Second, if your content is informative and usable, it establishes your site as a valuable reference.
3. Build Up and Leverage Your Content
Content is the cornerstone of digital marketing. People will continue to consume more content in the coming years as they become more dependent on the Internet. Therefore you should likewise focus on building a content creation strategy.
Content isn’t just blogging or article writing. Videos are a big part of a content-based strategy.
As we wrote about in our article, “How to Use Video Content in Marketing”, the use of videos can significantly enhance your online marketing strategy. You can also leverage your content in a number of ways:
- Share your blog on social media and link it back to your website.
- Create an infographic or video that presents your content in a visual medium.
- Create tiles or graphics filled with powerful quotes from your blog and share it on Pinterest.
4. Utilize the Power of Social Media
Of the 3.8 Million people on the Internet everyday, 3.03 Billion or 79% of them are on social media. While experience is necessary to be able to harness social media’s power, you can generate traction for your efforts by implementing a few simple strategies:
- Choose no more than 2 to 3 social media platforms to start out with. These networks do not function or cater to the same audience. Focus on the platforms that are more appropriate for your business. For example, if you sell merchandise, a more visual platform like Instagram or Pinterest would offer more benefits for your business.
- Use the analytics tool that come with the platform to track the performance of your social media efforts. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have built-in analytics.
- Find key influencers and engage with them. Influencers have tons of followers in your industry. They present a great avenue to enhance your online presence as well as leverage your content. Share their content whenever you can and engage them as often as possible so you can establish a good relationship.
5. Engage Your Audience
When you publish content online, be prepared to receive a wide range of comments some of which may be unflattering. But in marketing, there in no such thing as negative publicity. You can still extract long term benefits from unfavourable comments through smart engagement strategies.
First, regardless of how the comment was phrased, remain professional at all times. Just tell yourself the commenter took the time to read through your content. The least you could do is be courteous and respectful.
Second, encourage the commenter to follow your page and remind him/her that all comments are welcome and appreciated. It is through engagement that you will be able to establish relationships and followers. From there you can build email lists and new social communities.
We only presented five strategies you can use for your low cost, high performance digital marketing campaign. The truth is there are other processes and techniques that you can use which won’t cost you much money. These include using PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising, co-hosting an online event and investing in social networking ads.
But as we mentioned earlier, if you’re getting your feet wet in digital marketing, it is always better to start out small and keep things simple. Once you’ve added years of experience on your belt, you can branch out and incorporate other methods of digital marketing.
If you’re interested in getting your digital marketing campaign rolling, give us a call or drop us an email. We have very talented people onboard our digital marketing team: web designers, graphic artists, social media experts, content writers and professionals in the fields of SEO and SEM.
By having Mountaintop manage your digital marketing campaign, you can focus 100% of your time on your business. We will keep you in the loop by providing you with regular reports and schedule time to discuss the current performance of your campaign.
We will be more than happy to guide you through the process and answer other questions and concerns you might have about digital marketing.