March 22nd, 2018

How to Do Digital Marketing For Small Businesses on a Tight Budget

Author: Eric Lynch
Eric Lynch
Partner & Director of Business Development

How To Do Digital Marketing for Small Businesses on a Tight Budget

There’s a principal in economics called scarcity. It basically means that we have unlimited wants, but limited resources. This concept couldn’t be more true for the small business market. They’re competing on a global scale, thanks to the Internet, with businesses much larger than they are. So how do you, as a small business, do digital marketing on a tight budget.

The answer is pretty simple, but it doesn’t make it easy. Unlike businesses with large budgets and staff, you’re not going to be able to rely on either large agency costs or the ability to hire a huge team. Nope, you’re going to have to work within your means and learn how to do this with a strategic partner. So what are some key things to do to encourage success as a small business? Here’s a few:

Don’t Build Your Website

If you’re going to make one investment in your business’ success, hire your website done by a reputable agency. Think of this like building your house. Sure you could draw up some plans, buy materials, and get the tools to do it. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be safe or pass inspections.

Instead you hire an architect and a contractor. They know how to design and build what you need in a way that will ensure your house stand the test of time. The same thing should go for your website. A designer has learned things like visual hierarchy. The developer has learned code implementation and website security. And a content writer knows how to write things in a compelling way to convert visitors. Combine this with a marketer/SEO strategist, and you’re on your way to a website that does it’s job.

Learn Everything You Can

There are a ton of resources out there, from YouTube, to industry blogs just like this that can help you learn the tools and tasks involved in a good digital marketing strategy. Will it mean that you’re spending evenings on the Moz Blog, or watching YouTube videos on proper AdWords tracking. Yep, it does.

But if your time is more valuable doing other things than marketing your business, you’d probably be hiring a firm to handle these things, and not reading this blog. No, you have read this far because you need to market your business but don’t have the money to hire 2 or 3 people or an agency.

Get All the Tools We Have

Fun fact, there’s virtually no tool that we use (except SharpSpring) that you can’t get on your own without having to pay an agency. We have these tools to manage our clients, and our own marketing work. But they’re available to any small business to use. 

Just like the information about digital marketing, there’s no secret sauce in the tools either. If you’re confused finding a strategic marketing partner would be the best way to figure out what are the most effective tools.

Find a Strategic Partner

Even if you have a tight budget, a good investment is finding a marketing partner that can help you with strategy and some implementation can be the difference between success and failure online. Just like building a website, a marketing agency have been putting in the time to learn the strategies and executions that make campaigns successful. It’s ok to not have tens of thousands of dollars each month to put into it, but even a small consulting retainer can keep you on the straight and narrow. The worst case is that they’re there as a coach to keep you creating content and staying focussed even when things don’t seem to be working.

If there’s an aspect of digital marketing that just isn’t your strong suit, you can always assign it to them. There’s no shame in not knowing it all, there’s very few of us in this industry that can design, develop, market, write, etc., etc. Having a small retainer is better than trying to fly solo and wasting money on tools that you don’t use.


This blog is titled “how to do digital marketing on a tight budget” it’s not, no budget. If you have no budget, then getting to learning is going to be your only way to succeed. But if you can afford to have your website built, and then have a marketing partner that works with you, your path to success is much clearer.

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