This is a common problem for small businesses, or those who are just starting out and maybe even planning to leave their day job to finally follow their dreams. In order for any business to take off, you need to educate your customers, telling them that you exist and have something very exciting to offer them. So, sooner or later, it comes down to digital marketing.But there is a problem – you barely have any budget for advertising, let alone for hiring a good agency. Now what? White flag and surrender? Of course not!
There are plenty of things you can experiment with on digital marketing, while keeping the bare minimum of a budget.
Today we’d like to share with you some ideas of where to start.
1. Take time to educate yourself first.
This point is crucial for your online success. Yes, you are saving money by choosing not to hire an agency, but having absolutely no idea of what you are doing, it’s easy to make some mistakes with your online advertising and end up losing unreasonable sums of money. To avoid this unfortunate situation, you need to invest some time and effort into educating yourself on the matter. Luckily there are plenty of good materials available for you, both online and for free. We have prepared some suggestions for you:
– First, we recommend you start with resources from Google and Meta that they have prepared for beginner advertisers and that are available to everyone for free. Just search for Google Skillshop or Meta Blueprint, and start learning. These are very good courses for beginners!
– Next you can explore blog articles that you can find online and learn from them without spending a cent. Here we might be a little bit biased, but we feel like CLARITY’s blog is an example of a great resource to learn about different digital marketing topics.
– At a final stage of your research, when you have already studied the bases and you are ready to launch yourself into promoting your project or company, you might still feel a little bit intimidated to do it all alone. Well, there is a good option for you. Instead of hiring an agency to do your digital marketing, you might opt for hiring an agency for consulting purposes. This way, you’ll avoid costly monthly fees, but you never feel alone, as you’ll always have someone to review your strategy or even help you build one. You can use these services with the frequency that you need, when you need them; it might be just one hour a month to check up on your overall strategy and ongoing efforts vs. results, for example. Yes, this is not a free solution, but paying one or two hours a month for expert support is definitely not something that will break the bank. On the contrary, it might save you money, as an expert will advise on how you can optimise your digital marketing efforts and where you can get a better return on your investment. And on top of all that, in the process you will definitely learn a lot and deepen your knowledge. If you feel like it, you might use CLARITY’s support for this – feel free to contact us.
And now to the exact directions you might take when working on your digital marketing on a very limited budget!
2. The joys of social media!
Still don’t have a website? Well, you definitely need to create one someday. But before you get there, make sure you exist on social media, especially on the ones your target audience likes to spend time in.
Luckily, creating a social media profile is easy and free. Publish useful content, be present, engage with your audience, answer their questions or doubts and you might be able to save up enough money to hire a web designer to create your website. Have you noticed how we excluded creating a website from the do-it-yourself practices we’re listing? That’s because it really is better to get some help with this, since there is a high probability you will end up with something that, in the end, will be easier to dump than to fix. But if you feel like learning web design and are ready to go with some ‘pre-prepared’ solutions like premium WordPress themes, you can definitely do it. Again, and even more importantly than on the previous point, EDUCATE yourself first.
3. Don’t have much money, but feel that you need to launch some advertising? Start with Facebook and Instagram Ads!
In these platforms you can go with a budget as low as € 1. Anyone can scramble € 10-15 per month to spend on ads. And yes, such a small investment will, most likely, not bring you an ocean of sales, but it will allow you to test the waters and get comfortable with Meta’s Ads Manager, as well as gain your first page followers or some initial brand awareness.
4. Not ready to invest in advertising yet? No problem! If you have a website, you may start focusing on SEO.
This means that you don’t have to invest money, but you will definitely need to invest much more time when compared to advertising. Again, EDUCATE yourself. You need to learn the basics of ‘on-page SEO’ to understand how to improve your website at Google’s eyes, go about your keyword research and, yes, produce tons of content, while trying to get some links from other websites that point to yours (backlinks). Sounds difficult? Well, it is a rather big and not-so-easy task. But the good thing is that you can split it into smaller pieces and ‘attack’ one at a time. Make it a habit to dedicate yourself to your website SEO for at least an hour a day and in three months, you will be surprised by how much has been done already.
5. So you have your social media profile, are posting some content and even investing a little something on ads, is there anything else that you can do? Yep, e-mail marketing!
Especially while having no website, you need to get your content to your target audience somehow. And e-mail marketing can be a way! You may say that you don’t have an e-mail database yet? Well, start building one! One way to go about it is to create a ‘gift’ – like a PDF voucher for a 5% discount on the next purchase, or a ‘how-to manual’ or ‘guide’ on something for example – for your business’ clients niche. Make sure, it is something really useful for your potential customers and then run a social media campaign, giving away that gift ‘for free’ in return for their e-mail addresses. Building a database will take some time, but why not start today? Just make sure you bring yourself up-to-date with all GDPR rules before you start.
We want you not to be naive and understand that, whenever possible, it is always better to hire professional help when you don’t have knowledge or experience in the marketing field. This will, for sure, save you money in the long run and will also free up a lot of your valuable time.
But before your business grows to the point where that is possible, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from experimenting with things and going DIY on digital marketing. EDUCATE yourself, be proactive and success will follow! And in any moment of doubt, you can always get some CLARITY by contacting us!