Digital marketing on a shoestring budget
Promoting your goods and services to potential customers is at the heart of running any successful business. And to advertise your brand in the modern world means diving into the world of digital marketing – i.e. online promotion activity for your business.
87% of consumers begin their search for a product online, according to recent research. So having an ‘online presence’ is critical if you’re going to engage with prospective customers, create sales leads and generate enquiries for your team to follow up. That means investing in the right tools, training and marketing expertise, so you can start interacting with customers in the digital space – a move that can start to get expensive!
But what if money is tight at present, and staff resources are low? How can you create successful digital marketing on a shoestring budget?
Economical ways to drive your digital marketing
Digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, large businesses do spend millions on targeted digital campaigns, search engine optimisation (SEO) and above-the-line advertising. But you can also achieve great results without the big budgets.
Ultimately, simple digital marketing requires three very basic things:
- A company website – whether it’s a full-blown WordPress website, or a basic Facebook Business page, you need an online hub to act as your company’s shop window.
- Good SEO – if people are going to find your new product page, or read your company blog, you need good SEO to ensure you feature in the top search results.
- A social media presence – people buy from people, and your company social media accounts are an amazing way to interact with prospects and generate followers.
For many small businesses, this is all you need to kickstart your digital marketing and to start tentatively reaching out into the online market. But with a little work and smart planning, you can expand on your digital activity without running up a huge marketing bill.
Here are some economical ways to improve the return on your digital marketing:
- Review and improve your website – is your site easy to navigate? Does it provide visitors with the information they need? Is it clear what you want people to do on each page? This ‘call-to-action’ must be clear so people click through to your contact page, blog, shopping cart, or appointment booking page. The more effective you make your site, the greater the chances are that it will generate leads, followers and paying customers.
- Think about SEO and keywords – it’s vital that you use keywords and search terms in your online content that match what your customers are searching for. If you’re selling premium running shoes, for example, the keyword ‘running shoes’ should appear in your blog titles, your page metadata (the text embedded in the page that you don’t see) and in the body text of your landing pages and home page etc.
- Claim your Google listing – let’s be honest, most of us use Google as our search engine of choice. So, if you’re going to capitalise on this, you need to own your Google listing so prospective customers can find you and know the important details about the business. Make sure your opening hours and contact details are correct, turn on reviews and encourage happy customers to post one – nothing beats good feedback!
- Feature in relevant directories and groups – Are there other consumer, trade or sector-specific directories you should be on? Often this is just a matter of making sure you’ve sent in the right information, so look for the most relevant directories and make sure you’re listed, with all the correct contact information and online links.
- Get proactive with your social media – if your customers are on social media then make sure you’re on social platforms too. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are all free to set up and give you a platform for interacting with followers, sharing content and company news and generating interest in your brand and products/services.
- Post great content and advice – content marketing can be extremely powerful – and won’t cost you a fortune. Publishing blogs, newsletters, news articles and helpful advice through your website helps to position your brand in the market and generate interest. You don’t have to publish something every week, but do try to keep content regular, useful and engaging. Think about creating short guides that relate to the product or service you offer. If people find it valuable, it will do wonders for your ranking on Google!
- Start making smart use of video – Video can be an amazing way to communicate with your audience, and all you need to get started is your smartphone. Most modern phones are capable of recording high-quality video and audio, so there’s nothing to stop you posting your own vlogs or creating a YouTube channel to share video tutorials, opinion pieces or product overviews. You could even try doing a Facebook live event and broadcasting live to your customer base to add something new and interesting to your marketing mix and campaign content.