Tiny online marketing budget? Four key areas for SMEs to focus on

A new survey by Search Engine Journal has found that 71% of marketers are planning to increase their digital marketing spend in 2017. However, this isn’t the case for everyone, and the same survey found that 14% are planning to spend less and 15% are planning to keep spending the same this year. If you fall into this latter group and your budget is already stretched, don’t worry – it is perfectly possible improve and develop your online marketing approach this year without splashing the cash. You just need to work smart.

A small digital marketing budget needn’t be a barrier to online success. What you will need to invest more of in 2017 is your time, to overcome a lack of funds for things like paid social and a dedicated digital marketing manager.

Here are 4 key things you should be focusing on:

  1. Fantastic quality content. How can you differentiate your brand from your competitors, especially those with money to spend? You can create interesting, unique and great quality content. Content creation is all about turning visitors into customers, and there are lots of innovative (and cheap) ways you can do it. Put some time into coming up with great ideas for content, and focus on quality over quantity every time.
  1. Local SEO. If budget is an issue, don’t optimise your website for the whole of the internet – focus on your local market instead. This can work particularly well for businesses that rely on local custom (i.e. those that offer local services) and can be a far more effective use of the resources you do have.
  1. A solidly designed, glitch-free website. So your website may not win any design awards or incorporate the latest design trends, but does it work properly? Does it load quickly and provide users with a good and intuitive experience? Is all the information users are searching for easy to find, and is navigation easy and logical? Does it accurately represent your business and show it in the best light? You’d be amazed at how many larger companies (with large marketing budgets) don’t have these essentials nailed down. If you can get your website in good shape, this will make everything else much easier – and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune either.
  1. A clear strategy. The worst approach when you have limited resources is to try to do everything, with no clear idea why you’re doing it. You’ll post occasionally on social media, send out the odd email to subscribers and none of it will have any particular effect. With limited resources, you need to have a laser-like focus on just a few key areas where your time and money will prove most effective. Take just a little time to draw up an online marketing strategy, stating what goals you want to achieve and what you’ll need to do to get there.

How are you spending your digital and social media marketing budget this year? Please feel free to share your thoughts.