4 ways to boost your digital marketing on a startup budget


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If you’re a startup, money is usually tight. You know you need to spend money to make money – but budget isn’t there for big-business digital marketing tactics.

Don’t panic. If you’re working with a startup budget, there are still valuable things you can do to drive business growth. Like these:

  • Target the right audience
  • Consider social media boosting
  • Trial paid advertising
  • Create more content

All four take little or no upfront investment but deliver fantastic returns.

Target the right audience 

Identifying the right audience is the most important part of any digital marketing campaign. If you don’t get your audience right, you’ll waste time and money on ineffective marketing that doesn’t resonate with buyers.

Knowing your audience means you can create marketing collateral that appeals to their unique needs and pain points. When you create relatable, relevant content, your audience are more likely to buy from you.

How to target the right audience without spending a fortune

Understanding your audience isn’t costly – the information you need is at your fingertips. To find out about your audience, look at your existing customers.

Talk to customers with marketing focus groups and voice-of-customer research. Also talk to anyone internally in your business who talks to customers regularly, such as sales and customer service.

Information to gather:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What pain point does your product/service solve for them?
  • What do they gain from your product or service?
  • What persuaded them to buy from you?
  • What reservations did they have about buying from you?

Build an audience profile to guide your future marketing. Knowing your audience ultimately saves you money because you’ll create digital marketing collateral that delivers greater ROI.

Consider social media boosting 

Organic social is every startup marketer’s best friend – but over reliance on organic traffic can be a false economy.

The problem is, most social media platforms are heavily weighted towards paid advertising. You may struggle to get organic posts to a wide-enough audience – which has a knock-on impact on sales.

Putting money behind high-value social media posts can extend your reach. More people seeing your posts means more potential conversions to sale.

How to boost social posts without spending a fortune

The crucial phrase is high-value. That is, when you’re working with a smaller budget you can’t afford to spend money chasing vanity metrics such as ‘likes’ unless those ‘likes’ translate into value for your business.

Sure, you want to increase your reach – and that’s a good thing. But ultimately your budget will work harder if you only boost social posts that have a call-to-action that persuades your audience to do something that’s valuable to your business.

For instance, download an e-book, enrol for a webinar, or claim a voucher.

Trial paid advertising 

What’s paid advertising doing on a list about digital marketing on a shoestring budget? It’s here because you can do paid advertising without investing much money. In fact, paid advertising can eventually pay for itself many times over.

It works in the same way as social media boosting, but it’s more advanced.

For example, Facebook paid ads give greater creative control including bespoke call-to-action buttons and offer more options for what your ad looks like and where people see it. The biggest advantage of paid social advertising is advanced ad targeting, which means you can show your advert only to the most relevant people.

Using paid advertising allows you to extend your reach to a specific, targeted audience – so you’re more likely to make sales.

How to use paid advertising without spending a fortune

Be smart with your money by testing everything. Optimise your conversion rate to squeeze every last drop of value from the money you spend.

In practice, that means putting a small investment behind one post and tracking results. Refine, test, refine, rest.

Here’s a checklist of factors to test:

  • Call-to-action copy
  • Call-to-action design
  • Ad type and design
  • Ad images
  • Headline copy
  • Main copy
  • Audience targeting
  • Offer (eBook, webinar, discount, etc)

Like this, you’ll build a blueprint you know is profitable. Then, and only then, you start adding more cash behind your ads. That way, the money you’re spending is essentially paying for itself. And you barely need any budget to get started.

Create more content 

Content marketing should be a major part of any startup’s toolkit. Content marketing allows you to build brand awareness, grow your audience and ultimately convert more sales – all with minimum investment.

It’s a longer-term strategy but a successful content marketing plan ultimately delivers a robust flow of better-qualified traffic. If you’re not creating content, you’re leaving money on the table. It’s that simple.

How to create content without spending a fortune

Content marketing needn’t take a huge chunk of budget. It’s an accessible tactic, even if you’re a lone entrepreneur just starting your growth journey.

Invest time upfront to make the whole process easier throughout. The best content isn’t content for content’s sake – it’s educational and demonstrates your unique expertise. It builds your credibility without overtly selling.

Organic traffic takes a while to grow – but the more time you can find, the better and faster your results. In fact, companies that publish more than 16 blog posts per month see almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that publish zero to four monthly posts.

You can share each piece of content you create with prospects, send to existing customers, and use as a sales enablement tool. Which means you’re getting a value double-whammy for your time investment.

Plus, the fantastic thing about content is ROI tends to snowball. As you start to build an audience, you’ll start seeing more value – traffic, engagement and ultimately sales. This will free money you can pour into scaling your content efforts.

If you’re working with a startup budget, you can still achieve big things with your digital marketing. Start with these four tactics, give them time, and watch your growth start to snowball.