Digital marketing on a budget

Marketing, even online, is an extremely resource intensive pursuit that must be planned and executed with the utmost diligence and realistic expectations. The purpose of this article is to highlight some methodologies of assisting those with smaller marketing budgets to create effective marketing campaigns in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

Marketing budgets are in most cases fairly fixed; especially those in smaller enterprises where marketing budgets are determined after fixed expenses have been paid. Knowing your own abilities in comparison to the size of the market will help to define how you will execute your marketing mix.

The simple fact is that, unless your market is extremely well defined and smaller, you are not going to be able to leverage all channels and compete head-to-head with larger organizations. Selection of which channels you are going to advertise in is going to be imperative to launching a successful marketing campaign. Differing channels can be leveraged for different types of campaigns (i.e.: direct response vs. branding) and some channels require higher investment compared to others. Trying to cover the entire spectrum of campaigns on a limited budget will lead to ineffective coverage and negligible impact.

Internet MarketingMarketing on a smaller budget is about picking your battles and leveraging highly targeted campaigns to market to smaller market subsets with specific messaging. Successful advertising campaigns balance reach and frequency. To engage multiple channels on a limited budget will take your marketing dollars and spread those across an exponentially greater reach which will diminish the overall frequency with which your market will see your ad. Effective reach is establishing the balance between the overall reach of your marketing program. Ensuring you’re reaching as many of the right people as possible while maintaining a sufficient frequency to ensure the communication of your marketing message is the key to success.

The decision of which channels to advertise within also is determined by the type of campaign utilized and the goal of the campaign.

Direct response campaigns and branding campaigns must work together in a holistic marketing strategy; however, branding campaigns are extremely resource intensive from a budget and media planning perspective. Branding campaigns are aimed at covering a larger portion of the purchase funnel including the awareness and consideration portions of the funnel. The targeting of the awareness and consideration portions of the funnel means that you are going to be targeting a significantly larger portion of the market and a less conversion-ready portion of the market which will translate to lower directly attributable return on investment.

Direct response campaigns tend to be focused lower down in the purchase funnel just prior to the purchase event. Direct response campaigns are focused on driving a conversion, whether that is for lead generation or directly driving the purchase event. Due to the ability to target a smaller portion of conversion-ready customers, the return on advertising spend tends to be higher on these campaigns. For marketing on a smaller budget, this will ensure that you are effectively maximizing return for your marketing investment.  Direct response channels are also more likely to be priced on a cost per action model, for example cost per click or cost per call. Since these pricing models are highly effective and translate to direct engagement with your ad, ROAS tends to be higher compared to branding campaigns which tend to focus more on impression-based ad revenue models.

When marketing on a budget, channel selection and campaign objectives need to be aligned. The truth is that specific channels work better for direct response while others work better for branding campaigns. The key is focused, effective marketing rather than trying to cover a broad range channels, spreading budget too thin to be effective in any single channel.