Digital marketing refers to a broad spectrum of individual channels and activities that work to build brand awareness, drive traffic to a website and induce a positive action for your business – be that a lead enquiry or an e-commerce sale.
But for brands on a tight budget, it makes strategic sense to focus on just a few tactics at one to begin to get an idea for what works and what doesn’t – as well as minimising initial spend and not spreading whatever budget is available too thinly.
So, if you’re starting to think about what your digital marketing strategy should be but don’t have untapped resources to play with, here are some initial considerations to get you started.
‘Free’ traffic sources
The first place to always start is by getting to work on ‘free’ digital channels. This predominantly includes organic social, organic search (SEO) and email.
These channels require work, and there will be some spending required too. SEO sometimes requires investing in blogger partnerships or the best directories to get domain-boosting links. Social relies heavily on great creative that you may need to outsource, and you may need to invest to start building an email marketing list from scratch.
But overall, these channels are a great place to start without requiring much in the way of upfront investment.
‘Cheap’ traffic sources
If you want to test the paid marketing waters, then look to the cheaper channels. Facebook advertising has for a long time been considered one of the most cost-effective way to ‘pay’ for clicks into your site, especially if your targeting is bang on.
But there are other avenues too. PPC advertising in the form of YouTube ads or display advertising can be extremely cost-effective too – as can native advertising which can cost from just 2p a click.
But remember that the cheaper the traffic acquisition channel is, the less likely that traffic is to convert – especially at bottom-of-the-funnel levels. So it may be cheaper to acquire the traffic, but you may have to spend a lot to generate enough traffic that some start to convert into customers.
More expensive traffic sources
Lastly, you can look at some more expensive – but highly targeted – traffic sources.
Paid search marketing, such as Google AdWords, is where many brands go to begin this sort of work. Clicks can cost anywhere from 30p to £10 depending on the vertical, so you have to factor that in.
Other more ‘premium’ digital channels include the likes of LinkedIn, where you can easily target directors and heads of departments with your messaging, but clicks can cost upwards of £4 each. It’s also worth noting that B2B social selling tends to work best when promoting a piece of content rather than your service in its entirety, so you need to factor in additional nurture journeys and selling to get soft leads to turn into paying customers.
In-house vs agency
The final consideration is whether to carry out this work in-house or task an agency with doing the work for you.
Many new online start-ups may already have a marketing supremo as the founder, so you could do a lot of this initial testing and set-up work yourself.
But for slightly bigger, SME-size start-ups with some budget to play with, then in-house vs agency is a question that will be on your mind.
There are pros and cons to each. For example, hiring a specialist performance marketing agency should bring you the results you want faster, and their agency fees should be cheaper than the cost of hiring your own team.
But hiring in-house means you have more potential man-hours to do work. An agency will charge by the day, and once the allotted time has been used up, that’s it (unless you agree to increase the retainer). A full-time staff member will be able to do more work… but they won’t have the breadth of skill and experience that an entire marketing agency will have to offer when working on your brand.