We often get prospects on the phone that are very nervous about starting a digital marketing project because of the perceived costs involved.  They have limited budgets to work with and want to make sure that they are using their money effectively.

So what do you do if you have limited funds available?  This really depends on a couple of things:

  • Where are you in your business cycle? Are you a startup?  Have you been around a while and are just stagnant?
  • Are you just looking for brand awareness or lead generation?
  • Are you looking for short term gains or are you willing to wait for a long term payback?

Below are my typical recommendations for two different scenarios.

Digital Marketing for Startups

If you are just starting out, your primary focus needs to be on understanding your target audience and creating a website that speaks to them.  It does not make sense to invest time or money into digital marketing before you have those items set.

If you are able, focus on writing good content for both your website and any marketing/sales enablement materials that you may need.  Often, businesses start with “good enough” content to just get something done.  That is fine, but improving on that content should be a priority once time & money become more available.

Once you are ready, I would start with Paid Media.  This could be traditional PPC or social media advertising.  This will depend on what you are selling and who you are selling it to.  You can control the costs and hyper-target your audience.  I prefer to start small, see what works, and expand.  Many times startups try to do paid media themselves because they don’t want to pay the fees involved.  I do not recommend this approach.  I often hear from startups that PPC doesn’t work for me, etc.  It isn’t that it doesn’t work.  It is that paid media is an art form and it is more likely that the do-it-yourselfer didn’t implement it properly.  There are many agencies that offer Start Up Packages that are designed to be lean and inexpensive, but don’t come with a lot of bells and whistles.

Digital Marketing for SMB

If you are a small or medium business and are looking to start some digital marketing, there are so many options available to you these days.  They key is to know your audience and know what you are trying to sell – make sure you have defined your message.  Again, there are many agencies or consultants that are messaging and writing experts.  Make sure you find one that you really connect with.  This shouldn’t be a hard process.  If it is, look for someone new.

Once you have a message that you can stand behind, it is time to expand your digital marketing.  If you aren’t already doing paid media, then you should start it.

  1. Branded PPC – as your company grows, your competitors may be trying to purchase your branded search terms so that they come up above you. It is very important to at a minimum cover your branded terms.
  2. Non-branded PPC – this is PPC for all terms that don’t include your business or product name in them. Look for both high-volume and long-tail keywords.  Start small and grow as you gain efficiencies.
  3. Social Media Advertising – Again, start small and see what works. This doesn’t need to be elaborate.  Make sure your copy is clear and concise, your using quality images (i.e. not blurry) – they key here is to be authentic.
  4. SEO – make sure your website is optimized. Bring in an expert for an SEO audit if needed or use one of the many tools out there.  There are often small technical updates that can be done that will have great impact on SEO.
  5. Display/Programmatic Advertising – This is a great way to drive brand awareness. I would only recommend for a company that is a bit more established.

No matter where you are at in your marketing journey, digital marketing should be part of your overall strategy to some degree. There are options for every budget and a way for you to reach your goals. Most agencies will give you a free consultation. Take advantage of that and talk to several. You will likely see a pattern and will get a better idea of how you should proceed.