Dynamic Business Logo
Home Button
Bookmark Button

Marketing without the thousand dollar price tag: Let’s Talk

Feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless budgets big corporations allocate to digital marketing? You’re not alone. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs struggle to compete in the online space without a hefty financial investment.

But fear not! Effective digital marketing strategies can be implemented even with a limited budget. Effective marketing doesn’t have to break the bank.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a startup entrepreneur, or a seasoned marketer looking to maximize ROI, this session is dedicated to exploring innovative, cost-effective digital marketing strategies. We’ll delve into practical tips, tools, and techniques that can help you reach your target audience, boost engagement, and drive growth—all while keeping your budget in check. 

Join us as our experts uncover the secrets to successful digital marketing on a shoestring budget in this week’s edition of Let’s Talk.

Let’s Talk

Discover more Let’s Talk Business episodes

Contribute to Dynamic Business

Tanja Williams, Head of Client Success, Nexxen

Tanja Williams
Tanja Williams, Head of Client Success, Nexxen

“We’re seeing increased investment in CTV advertising, especially in the free (and ad-funded) services as the economic situation forces people to evaluate their expenditures. Free Ad streaming TV (FAST) services will continue to grow exponentially as users see the benefits in niche channels, as well as their savings. These services will also evolve, better engaging users and keeping them coming back. Advertisers will see the benefits by leveraging programmatic and data-driven targeting and converged insights.

“Especially when it comes to grabbing then holding the attention of digitally native audiences, businesses are now in a CX arms race. In the past, there’s been a focus on gamification, and that will likely continue, but it’s likely there will be a lot more interest in things like interactive video content and possibly AR, VR and the metaverse. And there will, at least initially, likely be cheap deals on offer for marketers open to trying new things.”

Billy Loizou, Area VP APAC at Amperity

Billy Loizou
Billy Loizou, Area VP APAC at Amperity

“With the decline of third-party cookies, the emergence of Generative AI (GenAI), and the increasing importance of first-party data, businesses are facing new challenges and opportunities. By developing smart strategies and being mindful of budget constraints, Australian businesses can successfully navigate this evolving landscape.

“Unlike third-party data, which is collected by external sources, first-party data comes directly from your customers. This data is more accurate and relevant, providing valuable insights into your customers’ preferences, behaviours, and needs.

“When effectively leveraged, first-party data can enhance customer experiences, increase engagement, personalise marketing efforts, and drive revenue that requires a solution that unifies data from both online and offline touchpoints. By consolidating, de-duplicating, and cleansing this data, you can gain a comprehensive view of your customers. That’s a solid foundation for creating well-targeted and impactful ad and marketing campaigns.

“The best CDPs let organisations take control of their customer data, systematically improve customer relationships and foster brand loyalty. Brands adopting a first-party data strategy have seen great results, including match rates as high as 85 per cent on key channels, improved return on ad spend (ROAS) by up to 5x, and up to 90 per cent faster activation time for new campaigns.”

Lara Barnett (Vanderluis), Head of Marketing, Australia at Logicalis

Lara (Vandersluis) Barnett
Lara Barnett (Vanderluis), Head of Marketing, Australia at Logicalis

“To ensure the success of any strategy, you need to establish clear goals from the outset. To keep your plan within budget, you should define the specific objectives and desired outcomes, and align key metrics.

“Be mindful of the varying timelines required for each digital channel to become effective. For instance, SEO represents a cost-effective long-term strategy, though it requires patience to gain your return on investment. On the other hand, PPC and SEM can be switched on quickly, but come with higher costs.

“There is also often a tipping point when it comes to the effectiveness of digital marketing, so make sure you don’t spread your investment too thin, and provide each channel with sufficient budget.

“If your team lacks the necessary expertise in-house, partnering with a professional agency can be a great option. Although their services may come with fees, the potential savings in budget you’ll gain from employing their best practices will usually outweigh these additional costs. By leveraging their specialised knowledge, you can ensure that your digital marketing efforts are both efficient and effective, ultimately driving better results while adhering to your budget constraints.”

Gavin Watson, Retail, Marketing, Creative & Manufacturing Senior Industry Lead at monday.com

Gavin Watson
Gavin Watson, Retail, Marketing, Creative & Manufacturing Senior Industry Lead at monday.com

“For digital marketers today, budgeting should be about planning, removing duplication, and generating results within your allocated resources. Numerous tools are available to manage this as well as strategy and execution, but ultimately there needs to be a single, central source of truth to streamline operations, curb campaign overspending, and adhere to risk and compliance governance. Centralising information improves visibility and transparency, allowing marketers to work closely with internal departments and external agencies to drive deliverables whilst tracking results and spending. These real-time insights enable swift, data-informed decision-making. Centralised platforms also support investment decisions about the right marketing mix of channels suited for your business, helping prevent overspending or over-indexing on ineffective channels. Prioritising a single source of truth for all planned marketing campaigns is an effective way to maintain budgets, and should be front of mind for modern marketers.”

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

Elise Balsillie
Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

“Digital marketing is more important than ever.

“Customers are increasingly digitally savvy and spending more time researching products and services online.

“With the explosion of channels and the evolving expectations of customers for a seamless digital experience with brands – having the right digital marketing strategy in place will ensure your business remains top of mind.

“But when budgets are tight, how can a small business implement a low-cost strategy to gain visibility in a competitive digital landscape?

“Here are my top three digital marketing strategies for small businesses on a budget:

  1. Leverage social media. Social media users in Australia are some of the most active in the world. Facebook is the leading platform, followed by YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram and LinkedIn. These are powerful tools to connect with potential customers, increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
  2. Email marketing. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach a large audience and share regular communications about promotions to drive loyalty and repeat business. Australia-wide, over 8.1 billion emails are sent daily, offering your business a direct line to your customers.
  3. Content creation. Creating content is a must for small businesses. Don’t limit yourself to one type of content – mix it up with blog posts, videos and infographics. The best part of content creation in 2024 is that often only a mobile phone is required to create compelling content that has the potential to gain similar (or more) exposure than paid ads – ideal for businesses on a budget.”

Emily Bencsics, Marketing & Digital Specialist at Megantic

Emily Bencsics
Emily Bencsics, Marketing & Digital Specialist at Megantic

“Content marketing is a valuable source of marketing that can be executed regardless of budget.

“You can create useful and engaging content by writing blog posts and articles, creating videos or guest starring in a podcast. When creating these types of marketing content, the most important thing to remember is that the information shared should resonate with your target audience. Whether this means you are sharing something that is new to the field, exciting to the reader or putting your personal spin on a hot topic, it is a great way to position your brand in a positive light.

“The main reason that I say content marketing is a great option for budget-friendly marketing, is that you can create one piece of long-form content and reuse it in many other ways. For example, you can create a podcast and video the session to upload to YouTube. Next, edit the video into short snippets to upload as TikToks or Instagram Shorts. Finally, you can create a blog based on this content, and then shorter blogs or Linkedin posts about each individual topic.

“The same content can be reused in multiple ways, making more bang for your buck.”

Daniel Cortezi, Head of Digital Marketing at BioPak

Daniel Cortezi
Daniel Cortezi, Head of Digital Marketing at BioPak

“Effective digital marketing doesn’t require a massive budget, it requires strategic thinking. These are some key strategies to maximise impact without breaking the bank:

  1. Develop content that resonates with your target audience and addresses their needs. This will drive organic traffic, enhance your online visibility and improve your SEO.
  2. Use the data you already have to better understand your customers. Analyse their behaviour, preferences, and feedback to optimise their website experience. Personalised experiences lead to higher engagement and conversions.
  3. Ensure your CRM data flows seamlessly into your digital marketing tools, including analytics and paid channels. This enables efficient and precise targeting and effective campaign management.
  4. Have a budget? Prioritise paid search. It will help you capture customers who are actively searching for products like yours, leading to higher conversion rates and immediate results.
  5. For e-commerce businesses, take advantage of free tools like Google My Business, Meta Commerce, and Microsoft Bing Shopping. These platforms can help increase your online presence without additional costs.
  6. Implement email marketing campaigns with tailored content. Personalised emails that offer value to the recipient can significantly boost open and click-through rates, fostering customer loyalty and driving sales.”

Leonardo Wilhelm, Head of Performance and Insights at Interactive

Leonardo Wilhelm
Leonardo Wilhelm, Head of Performance and Insights at Interactive

“Digital marketing is essential for SMEs to engage their target audience. Here are budget-friendly strategies and benchmarks:

  • SEO: Optimize content, keywords, and metadata to improve organic search rankings. Target 15-25% of total site traffic from organic sources.
  • Content Marketing: Create scalable content like blog posts and videos. Measure success by shares and time spent on page.
  • Social Media: Establish a presence on relevant platforms. Share engaging content and interact with your audience. Track follower growth, engagement rates, and click-through rates.
  • Email: Build a targeted email list and send personalised emails. Aim for an open rate of 15-25% and a click-through rate of 2-5%.
  • PPC advertising: Use targeted ads to drive traffic, focusing on high-intent traffic. Aim for a click-through rate of 2-5% and a return on ad spend of 200-300%.
  • Website optimisation: Ensure your site is user-friendly and fast. Aim for an engagement rate above 60%.
  • Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions. Set KPIs and regularly compare performance.

“Remember, benchmarks can vary based on industry, target audience, and business goals. It’s important to continually monitor performance and adjust.”

Sophia Sherwin, Brand and Marketing Manager at Moments

Sophia Sherwin
Sophia Sherwin, Brand and Marketing Manager at Moments

“There are many digital marketing tactics a business can explore on a budget, however creativity is key. A couple of things businesses could look into include:

  • Incorporating low cost, high reach tactics such as Meta Ads which can help drive brand awareness and traffic.
  • Reviewing and improving website SEO on a regular basis as it will increase website views and ensure the business stays front of mind and top of search engine result lists
  • For e-commerce businesses, exploring self-managed apps or plugins to help automate upselling and increase average basket size can also be really powerful.

“At Moments we place a lot of emphasis on our content marketing strategy as it’s a really great way to prove expertise and build credibility and trust – it can also really be cost effective.”

Vandana Kumar, Technical Project Manager at Megantic

Vandana Kumar
Vandana Kumar, Technical Project Manager at Megantic

“Understanding omnichannel performance is essential for strategic budget allocation in digital marketing. Utilize Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or analytics tools, to assess channel performance, identifying where traffic and revenue are generated across various platforms. Analyze data insights to prioritize budget allocation towards channels with the highest return on investment (ROI). For instance, if SEO efforts drive substantial revenue, consider increasing resources allocated to content creation, product optimisation, and technical SEO enhancements.

“Moreover, implement a Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER) calculator to evaluate marketing effectiveness. The MER calculator compares revenue generated to marketing costs, offering insights into campaign ROI. By leveraging GA4 insights and the MER calculator, make informed decisions to optimize budget allocation. Emphasize prioritising cost-effective strategies aligned with business goals.

“Regularly review and adjust budgets based on performance metrics and MER calculations to maximize ROI. This iterative approach ensures resources are allocated to channels driving revenue and engagement. By integrating these tools and practices, your digital marketing budget becomes a strategic asset in achieving long-term business objectives.”

Keeran Sritharan, Account Director at Mahlab Media

Keeran Sritharan
Keeran Sritharan, Account Director at Mahlab Media

“At Mahlab, we deliver ‘work that works’ and while a budget sets the parameters, it should never constrain our creativity or effectiveness.

“Define what success looks like, understand your parameters and the levers you can pull. Use this as an opportunity to become more targeted and strategic in your approach.

“When it comes to a tight budget, try the following tactics:

  1. Email marketing
    Don’t underestimate your existing database. Segment your audiences and create tailored content curated for them.
  2. Test & optimise
    Use previous campaign data or A/B test on a small budget to determine what works best for your audience.
  3. Content marketing
    Leverage organic tactics. For example, create a blog to establish thought leadership and improve your SEO. Elevate this further by repurposing this content in different formats.
  4. Paid tactics
    Strategically place a budget behind the right tactics depending on where your audience is in their journey –  right message, right time and right place.
  5. Collaborations and partnerships
    Partner and cross-promote – it’s a win for everyone.

“At the end of the day, you know your business, and your business goals best. What avenue works best for your customers?”

Hayley Osborne, Founder & Digital Marketing Strategist at Hayley Osborne Consulting

Hayley Osborne
Hayley Osborne, Founder & Digital Marketing Strategist at Hayley Osborne Consulting

“Consistency on social media is the perfect strategy to implement inside your business with the least amount of investment and a thousand percent payback. Instagram alone has 2.3B monthly active users. Imagine if you can reach and capitalise on 1% of that audience? Would you be able to service them? Chances are, probably not.

“When you get clever on your telling your businesses story, crafting your creative content pillars and caption categoriesthis will set you up to story tell your way to selling your product or service. Selling on your social media is like throwing water ballons at a porcupine, it won’t work.

“Secondly, focus on Search Engine Optimisation. There are so many strategies and tactics you can do on your own to uplevel your website to appear on page 1 of Google. Make sure all your headings are consisting of key words to optimise your page ranking. Google can read words, it cannot read images, so including a weekly blog or podcast to your repertoire is one of the best things you can do for your SEO.”

Jodi Lee Duncan, Marketing and Buyer Psychology Strategist at Fletch & Co.

Jodi Lee Duncan
Jodi Lee Duncan, Marketing and Buyer Psychology Strategist at Fletch & Co.

“Digital marketing on a budget requires creativity, strategic thinking and smart tactics. Before anything else, you need to (deeply) understand your target audience beyond just demographics. Learn about their interests, values, pain points, trigger events, buying behaviours, and decision-making processes. If you’re a B2B business, focus on the individuals making decisions within the business, not just the business entity. This in itself will help with wasting time, and money, on ineffective strategies.

“From there, focus on creating consistent content that is valuable, relevant and addresses your audience’s needs, and taps into their emotions. Ensure your content goes beyond just discussing your products and services. Tell engaging stories, showcase client successes, illustrate how you enhance lives, provide useful tips and insights, and engage (the key) in conversations that build trust and loyalty. Get into your audience’s mind.

“Email marketing is also highly effective and budget-friendly way to reach a wide audience with personalised, targeted messages. With segmentation, you can tailor your content to specific audience groups, ensuring relevance and higher engagement and conversion rates. Additionally, the measurable nature of email marketing provides valuable insights into campaign performance, helping you refine your strategies and maximise your return on investment.

“By tapping into psychological insights and strategic content, you can achieve significant impact with your marketing without a hefty budge.”

Megumi Fukunaga, Marketing Manager at IPscape

Megumi Fukunaga
Megumi Fukunaga, Marketing Manager at IPscape

“In today’s competitive landscape, compounded by economic challenges and tightening budgets, cost-effective digital marketing is crucial. As Marketing Manager at IPscape; a Customer Experience and AI technology organisation, here are my top strategies to maximise impact, while on a budget:

  • Leverage Existing Content: Turn existing blog posts into a captivating video or an engaging eBook. This saves precious time and extends your content’s reach. Producing valuable content that addresses pain points and offers solutions builds trust. Creating content designed to address each stage of the buyer’s journey, removes concerns and ultimately drives higher quality leads.
  • Level up your SEO: Conduct keyword analysis and update your metadata and website copy. Use the “EAT’ framework – ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness’ to improve your Google rankings. You can also secure backlinks from reputable sources by proactively engaging clients and partners for mutual linking opportunities.
  • Understand your Metrics: Regularly monitor traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Utilise these datapoints to reallocate resources effectively. For example, revise high-bounce content or amend calls-to-action to improve engagement and conversions. Test one element at a time for methodical progress and clearer learnings.

“Through creativity, planning, and effective measurement, businesses with limited budgets can achieve impressive results.”

Amanda Lacey, Founder of Popcom PR

Amanda Lacey
Amanda Lacey, Founder of Popcom PR

“Concentrate on your owned channels—social media, website, content marketing, e-newsletters and your email signature—all the channels you control.

“Social media is a prominent place to invest your time. You can easily tailor content that directly speaks to your audience by showcasing your products or services. I love organic content for building a brand, especially if you are comfortable filming reels. Remember, each social channel has a slightly different audience – change your tone for the medium and audience.

“Unleash the untapped potential of email signatures as a digital marketing strategy. Often overlooked, they can add significant value. Consider the sheer number of emails you send daily; each one of those emails is an opportunity for a branding activity, waiting to be harnessed.

“Building an email database from the beginning will pay off in the long run. See it as an opportunity to speak directly to a qualified audience who are already interested in your product or service. Plenty of free tools like MailChimp and Hubspot will enable you to keep a free CRM and send regular, beautifully designed campaigns. Keep the discipline of writing a monthly update with an offer. It will only cost you your time!”

Jason May, Marketing Chief at Amaze

Jason May
Jason May, Marketing Chief at Amaze

“A great way to boost exposure with a smart and budget-friendly digital marketing strategy involves leveraging the reach of larger brands by engaging with their content in social channels;

  1. Start by identifying key industry leaders and brands that align with your business but are non-compete.
  2. Where you can find relevance, share their news stories, insights, and updates in your own channels, adding your perspective to demonstrate your expertise and relevance.
  3. When you share these posts, be sure to tag the original brand or author.

“This not only acknowledges their work but also increases the likelihood of your post being seen by their extensive network, thereby extending your reach. Craft thoughtful and engaging comments or analyses to add value to the conversation, positioning your brand as a knowledgeable player in the industry.”

Gianluca Bazzon, CEO & Founder at Sharketing

Gianluca Bazzon
Gianluca Bazzon, CEO & Founder at Sharketing

“When Small Businesses don’t have big budgets to spend on digital marketing, there are still several strategies they can use without breaking the bank, while making a measurable impact:

  1. Define your goals: Evaluate your marketing objective. I.e what you want to achieve – acquiring new leads, increasing online sales or brand awareness, becoming the thought leader in a specific niche, and so on.
  2. Choose your channels wisely: The top digital channels in 2024 are still Google and Meta Ads, but there are emerging platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn and others that should be considered too.
  3. Craft compelling messaging:  Define your key messages and think about creative ways to convey them.  Always keep customers in mind and never talk about the product but talk about how the product solves problems in your market.
  4. Budget based on goals and value: Budget should always be dictated by your objectives and the price of your product or service. A media monthly budget of $2k-$3k is a good starting point in almost any niche.
  5. Leverage free tools: Take advantage of AI tools such as Bard or Adobe Firefly to create outstanding copy and creatives that resonate with your brand while you build your revenue.
  6. Test and optimise: Give yourself at least 2 months to test a channel and see if it works for your business. SEO will definitely take more time, so allow 6 to 12 months before seeing any traction.

“Remember, consistency is key! Track your progress and adapt your strategy for continued success.”

Discover Let’s Talk Business Topics

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

What do you think?

    Be the first to comment

Add a new comment

Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

View all posts