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An indispensable part of running just about any successful business today is implementing a digital marketing strategy that generates leads and sales.
Without some way to promote or market your products or services over the Internet, it can be tough getting sales and establishing a profitable business presence online.
Reduce digital marketing expenses: the quandary…
One immediate concern when it comes to running any business online is marketing expense. The adage “you get what you pay for” does not necessarily apply when you are selling over the Internet.
You would not want to spend any more than you have to but at the same time, you do not miss out on what may have been an excellent opportunity to grow your online business.
This explains why so many businesses struggle to find a balance between making profitable investments in marketing strategies and minimising cost.
In this article, we explain how to save some money on your digital marketing strategy without compromising results.
Let us check out some strategies you may want to consider in reducing your marketing expenses and making the most of your marketing budget:
Choosing the right digital marketing service
Putting a price tag on internet marketing services can be difficult not just for business owners but on the part of digital marketing experts as well.
Such experts charge fees that differ according to one’s knowledge, skills and track record. A considerable marketing budget will make it possible for you to choose a large and well-established online marketing agency.
However, it is also possible to get good results even with a small digital marketing agency and a limited budget.
A digital marketing company usually accepts projects that are paid for on an hourly basis.
In most cases, choosing a small digital marketing agency means that you get less hours spent by people working on your campaign.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if they have experts that you can personally get in touch with.
In any case, the budget is understandably an obvious constraint that businesses have to deal with in hiring a web marketing consultant.
However, you would do well not to let cost be the sole determining factor. Hiring the right people is a more significant concern, and one should avoid making any decisions that might compromise results.
Understanding returns on investment in online marketing
If you are reading this, then you probably know all too well the advantages of hiring a digital marketing agency.
Nevertheless, business owners need to keep in mind that such services are only as good as the results that they deliver.
To improve something, you first need to measure it. This means determining whether or not your web marketing expenses are producing beneficial results ergo a good ROI (Return on Investment).
To determine your ROI of your online marketing expenses, you need to compute the earnings as well as the losses incurred after your investment.
Now let us say that in a month you are spending roughly $2000 for social network advertising, $1000 for blog articles, $1400 for email marketing, $1800 on SEO services, and $2400 for web design plus $3000 for website-related services.
That amounts to $11,600 monthly marketing budget or $139,200 a year. If within that year your business manages to get 400 new customers with an average value totaling $1000, then your business might earn $400,000
In the example mentioned above, total earnings would be $400,000 – $139,200 = $260,800. Your ROI, given these figures, is computed by dividing your total earnings with your marketing expense.
So that is $260,800 / 139,200 which is $1.87. This means that you are getting $1.87 profit for each dollar you spend advertising on the web.
Given the example mentioned above, it is easy to see that ROI can be tight when running just about any business online.
If you can cut out even a bit of your marketing expenses every month without compromising results, then it is bound to benefit your bottom line and increase your ROI.
So where do you start?
It is well worth noting that most businesses online do not have much start-up capital to play with and if you are only starting out, then it is likely that you cannot afford to spend 100K plus annually on online marketing expenses.
So what are your options?
One of the great things about marketing over the internet is that there are plenty of strategies that can yield longstanding results without spending a significant amount of money on ads or a big marketing budget in general.
So what exactly are these strategies?
Link building as a cost-effective digital marketing strategy
A lot has changed in the web marketing landscape, but one thing remains true — link building is still a valid and reliable strategy for promoting businesses online.
However, building links is not easy and requires a consistent and carefully planned approach to be effective. The goal is to create links that will be seen as relevant by search engines.
This enables your business site to place higher on search engine results for search queries related to your products or services.
If you succeed in persuading related websites that possess a high DA (Domain Authority) score to put up links to your site, your rank in search engine results pages can improve significantly.
However, accomplishing the latter is no easy feat. You will find that links to high DA websites are hard-earned.
In most cases, a reputable website only links out to other sites that are of high quality and offers value to themselves and the online community.
Consider the following strategies that you can use to start building links as a cost-effective online marketing strategy:
Linking in social media
Put up links to your site wherever and whenever appropriate.
Popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, provide plenty of opportunities for web marketers to advertise their links and establish a profitable business presence on the Internet.
Of course, link building is not the only the reason to share your links on social networks, and you would want to do it for the shares as well.
If the articles, pictures and videos that you posted get shared and mentioned by many people, then there are more chances of people finding your site and engaging your business.
Writing what we call “guest posts” can be a cost-effective link building technique that can yield excellent long-term results in online marketing.
Again, for this strategy to work, you will want your links featured in websites with better DA scores. The main challenge is offering your content ideas and getting a “yes” from the webmaster.
Consider the following when pitching your content ideas to the webmaster of the site you would want to get links from:
- Follow the Guidelines– No one would think about adding your link to his or her website if you do not follow their standards
- Be Humble– You have to remain sensible and humble when you pitch your subject. Discuss your previous posts on related sites and offer to do the same.
- Keep it real — know that owners of authority sites get a lot of offers for guest posts all the time. One way to stand out from the crowd is to tailor your proposal with genuine engagement and appreciation of what they do on their site. Do not just look at their DA score and take the time to read their blogs or watch their videos. Only then can you engage them in a real discussion and offer what you can do for them.
- Follow-up often — people in the web marketing space are extremely busy, and that includes webmasters or blog owners. In most cases, they can use a reminder now and then. Ask if there is a particular time that they would like to get in touch and offer to explain your content ideas in detail.
Lead generation as a cost-effective online marketing strategy
Creating good leads and converting them into sales is the holy grail of online marketing.
If you want to maximise results in lead generations, then know that not everything has to do with the budget alone.
Whether you are a start-up company or have been in the digital marketing space for some time, there are cost-effective strategies that you can implement to generate more leads and bring in more sales.
Consider the following and assess the current state of your lead generation strategy:
Do you have a good understanding of your target market?
A common mistake for most people marketing on the web is that their campaign is targeting the wrong people.
You need to be marketing to people who are most likely to buy the products or services that you offer. This is important especially if you have a limited budget to work with.
Marketing campaigns need to be as specific as possible when it comes to the people that you are showing your ads or promotions.
Many businesses make the mistake of merely “marketing for everyone” which is almost always a bad idea.
If you have been operating under that belief, then who knows how much money you have wasted advertising to individuals that will never buy your product or service.
Evaluate in detail the target market’s issues, worries and how your products or services can solve said problem. Think of how you can effectively market your products/services to them.
Do you have a strategy for your sales funnel?
If you want to start generating a steady stream of income through web marketing, then you need to start building relationships with your prospects.
An excellent way to do this is to create what we call a “sales funnel” that maps out each step your customers take in the buying cycle.
Knowing every step people take when engaging your business enables you to produce content for drawing in leads and creating sales.
For each level, you can create a post, tweets, articles, infographics, e-mails, videos and other kinds of content suitable for helping you nurture your lead.
Do you have a good relationship with Influencers?
People instinctively want to feel like they belong in a cool crowd, and that remains true when interacting with businesses online.
In the digital marketing perspective, that “cool crowd” refers to Influencers – people who have fans liking their pictures and reading their posts.
So it is not hard to imagine how beneficial it would be to get a handful of them making a favourable mention of your brand.
You may not have thought about it, but everyone has gotten in touch with an Influencer at some point.
They do an excellent job at making people feel as though they have a close relationship with them which is why they follow and engage what they do on social networks.
Hence, it makes sense that people believe what Influencers say and likely heeds their advice on relevant matters.
So what do you need to do to leverage Influencers as part of your web marketing strategy? Well, you need to find out who these people are first!
You can use tools like “Buzzsumo” to find Influencers in your related niche. Just search for your niche by clicking on the “Influencer” tab, and the tool will give you a list of the most popular Influencers in that space.
From there, you can look up their information and see if you can work out a relationship that would benefit both of you.
Know that most Influencers do not get anything until they make a promotion. What you can do to distinguish yourself is to offer them something of value to what they do.
For example, you can publish a post asking them for advice and giving them due credit. You can also arrange an interview or make a video together that both of you can share with your fans or followers.
Let us say that you are in the business of selling dog food and pet accessories; you can send Influencers free samples of your product in exchange for a review or a picture of their pet using the product.
This technique can be very cost-effective and a straightforward means of getting exposure for your business on social networks like Instagram
Marketing on social networks
When it comes to promoting products or services on a limited budget, there is no better platform to accomplish it other than through popular social networks.
Discussions on social media cost absolutely nothing yet such engagements have the potential to give businesses more followers and create a strong business presence online.
As mentioned earlier in this article, social media ads tend to yield the best ROI out of all known digital marketing strategies today.
However, social media is also one area where many businesses tend to waste a great deal of their marketing budget. The truth is that you do not need to be marketing on all social media platforms to get good results.
For example, if your business belongs to the lifestyle industry — fashion, food, interior design, travelling and the like, then what works best is a visually oriented social network such as Instagram or YouTube.
You should not be wasting money advertising on social networks like LinkedIn which is only ever suitable if you belong to the B2B market.
Budgeting in digital marketing can be tricky especially if you want to ensure the best possible results.
We hope this guide will help you develop ideas and strategies to decrease your marketing costs without jeopardising your results.
The good news is that if you get rid of a web marketing strategy and if you see results suffer, you can always implement it again or tweak it to perform better.
Whatever you choose to do, the critical thing to keep in mind is that you invest your marketing budget carefully and are always aware of what you are getting out of it.