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digital marketing strategies for small businesses on a budget

Digital marketing strategies for small businesses on a budget

Linda Gagaine, 8 October 2023

Digital marketing has revolutionized the way businesses compete for consumers' attention. Small businesses need to take on online marketing to reach a wider audience, especially if an eCommerce business, such as an online custom products store.

The United States houses around 32.5 million small businesses! However, most don’t have enough marketing budgets to hire experts. If you also face budget restrictions, don’t worry. In this article, we're going to suggest several low or no-cost methods that you can use to promote yourself to potential clients.

Get to know your audience

The first step with any good marketing plan is to thoroughly research your audience. You may tailor your digital marketing to various subsets of your client base if you have a firm grasp on who you're selling to and why they should be buying your goods and services.

For example, your digital marketing approach would likely be different from the one you use for walk-in consumers if you run a retail store of custom tote bags.

To understand your target audience, you need to learn different things about them, such as:

Preferences and what is in trend

Pain points and problems and how your business provides a solution

Common consumer behavior in your sector

What triggers them to make a purchase

Having this information at your disposal will allow you to create and disseminate a more persuasive message for your business.

Digital marketing for small businesses.

Know your unique values

Once you understand your target audience, you want to reach them and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Give them a reason to choose you over your competitors by crafting a message that sets you apart from the crowd. How do you do it? The simple answer is to use your unique values.

Your unique values are simply things that put you above your competitors and help your prospects pick you over them. For example, Patagonia proposes its company’s unique value as:

“We’re in business to save our home planet.”

Patagonia goes above and beyond to craft its product line and marketing efforts in tune with its unique value. In a recent move, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the company, transitioned its family ownership into a trust to bolster forthcoming operations. This substantial decision, valued at $3 billion, also holds the promise of allocating approximately $100 million annually toward funding research on climate change.

Build a website for your business

If you want to thrive in the digital age with your e-commerce business, a website or a platform to sell is a must. This platform is a virtual storefront that will allow your customers to view your products and learn more about them. Here are some affordable and user-friendly options that you can consider:

WordPress: An open-source website builder that powers around 810 million websites, representing 43% of all websites. WordPress offers flexibility in functions with a wide variety of themes and plugins that allow you to create pages that look stunning and provide top-notch UX.

Wix: Another website-building platform that is free to use and offers great built-in features that may offer freedom to businesses for building stunning storefronts.

Shopify: An affordable platform built for eCommerce with great website builder plans starting at just $29 a month. It provides specific tools that focus on managing and fulfilling online orders, marketing your business, and building strong relationships with your target audience.

There are several other eCommerce platforms you may consider, such as Squarespace, BigCommerce, Etsy, PrestaShop, etc. Many of these platforms provide seamless integration with print on demand services to connect your store to your provider.

Think of a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy since it is one of the most efficient ways to:

Increase audience engagement

Build brand awareness

Generate sales.

Advertising budget tips for your small business

The Content Marketing Institute reports that 70% of B2C marketers utilize content marketing, and you must take advantage of it too because when it comes to influencing audience choice, nothing beats consistently delivering high-quality, engaging content. To do so, you will have to:

Outline the type of content you’ll use, be it blog posts, newsletters, video content, social media content, etc.

Choose relevant platforms to target your audience.

Think of content ideas supporting your business by researching what your competitors are doing or finding trending topics.

Good content may increase your site's organic traffic and search engine rankings. Remember to create a content strategy that speaks to the needs of your target demographic.

Get to know your social media needs

Small companies may benefit greatly from using social media as a marketing technique because of the vast number of prospective clients who use these platforms regularly. With a social media presence, you can:

Advertise your products

Increase brand recognition

Interact with prospective customers

Here are some things to keep in mind to find success on social media:

You will need to figure out which platforms are the best to reach your target audience.

It will be crucial to maintain engagement consistently on your chosen channels.

You will need to share useful content and contribute to ongoing trends consistently.

Choose images that showcase your brand's personality.

Social media tools can help you with consistent content generation and scheduling.

You shouldn't merely throw content at your social media accounts in the hopes that something will go viral. Focus on publishing and creating content with purpose.

Once you've determined which social media platforms are ideal for your company's needs, create a social media content schedule and stick to it. Some good tools that can help you in consistent content generation, scheduling, and posting for social media are:



Sprout Social


Consider influencer & affiliate marketing

Continuing on our topic of leveraging social media to market your business, we think it’s important to touch on the topic of influencer marketing and affiliate marketing. If your small company isn't yet well-known on social media platforms, engaging people with a prominent following in your niche is an excellent strategy for attracting new customers. You can do this by two methods:

With Influencers: As a result of their expertise in the field and natural storytelling ability, influencers can successfully convey your company's message and sell your brand to the target demographic. However, working with prominent influencers may prove to be costly. A budget-friendly yet efficient investment could be working with nano-influencers. Nano-influencers are those with less than 10,000 followers, yet they provide substantial benefits due to the high engagement they provide in their communities.

With Affiliate Marketing: Another budget-friendly option is affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, you collaborate with people or other businesses (affiliates) to run promotions for your products in return for a cut of any purchases made via their referral links. With affiliate marketing's performance-based business model, you'll pay only for real purchases or signups that the affiliate brings in.

Paid media and SEO are also important

Getting organic traffic on your website takes time, and as a small business with a new marketing strategy, you might need some quick wins at the start. Short-term successes may be sparked by using paid media content or paid advertising. Research shows that 80% of businesses leverage one or the other kind of paid media.

Advertising on Google Ads and social media platforms may be targeted to particular user groups.

If you already know where your potential customers are looking online, Google Ads is a great way to reach them.

Social media users may be less likely to make a purchase, but it's still possible to capture their attention with well-targeted advertisements that garner plenty of views.

In addition to paid media, you might boost your search engine rankings with SEO to boost organic traffic on your website. This could include:

Targeting keywords

Producing high-quality content

Optimizing the speed and performance of your pages

Length of the content you produce

Using appropriate meta tags

SEO focuses on helping people find your website when they are using search engines to find solutions that your business can provide. Create an SEO strategy that includes:

Keyword research

On-page SEO

Off-page SEO

Technical SEO

Digital marketing analytics and social media insights.

Analyze your digital marketing reach with social insights.

Analyze your progress and act on the results

A successful digital marketing strategy requires data-driven decisions rather than educated speculation. To create a successful marketing plan, digital marketing analysis is essential. How can you do that? By evaluating the performance of marketing efforts with standard KPIs and metrics, such as:




Web visitors

Bounce rate

Click-through rate

Conversion rate

Search engine ranking

Two precious and free tools for analyzing performance are:

Google Analytics

Social media insights

Make use of this information to further develop your strategy and zero in on what is most successful for your company.


In today's highly competitive environment, it is not only feasible but crucial, for small companies to implement successful digital marketing strategies on a budget. You can create a big splash in the digital world if you focus on three things: knowing your audience, playing to your strengths, and using efficient tools and strategies. Always keep in mind that in the ever-changing realm of digital marketing, consistency and flexibility are crucial.

References for small businesses on a budget:

How to Start a Small Business at Home

27 Free and Low Budget Marketing Ideas

40 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2023

3 Ways Small Businesses Can Grow Their Digital Marketing Strategy

14 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

10 Benefits of Consistent, High-Quality Content Marketing

How to Develop a Content Strategy in 7 Steps

50 Ideas for Your 2023 Small Business Marketing Strategy

How to Track your Digital Channels with Digital Marketing KPIs

Digital Marketing Tools Your Team Can’t Go Without

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