How To Allocate Small Business Marketing Budgets 

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are amongst the best candidates for digital marketing. Unfortunately, they also often lack the resources their larger competitors have access to, such as time, large marketing budgets, and dedicated digital marketing teams.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, the good news is that by making a few smart choices, you can allocate your digital marketing budget in a way that maximises your resources and provides measurable results.

Make use of low-cost, high-reward digital marketing channels

A common misconception is that the best digital marketing strategies are all about pay-per-click and display ads that can make it hard to control your spend and stay within your budget.

In actual fact, some of the most effective digital marketing channels, including social media, email marketing, content marketing and organic search marketing, come with a much lower price tag than you may think. These channels make it easier to control your spend while still effectively reaching and engaging with your target audience. 

Plus, according to Moz, when it comes to small business advertising, users are 8.5x more likely to engage with organic content than paid content online.

Leverage free digital marketing tools and resources

There are tons of free digital marketing tools and resources available online that you can use instead of paying for an expensive monthly subscription.

For example, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are completely free tools that can help SMEs track website visits, users, page view, bounce rates, conversion paths, and more. Using a free tool like Google Analytics not only saves you money but is a great way to identify where you might have room for improvement when it comes to User Experience and Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Similarly, Google My Business, another free online tool for small business advertising, can be a great way to increase your online presence. An optimised Google My Business listing allows you to increase visibility in your service area without eating into your budget for marketing.

Save on creating content and repurpose what you already have

Rather than spending money and time on creating content for your digital marketing channels, take a look at what you already have in the bank that could be repurposed. 

A creative out-of-home campaign could be reused for social media ads, an internal training document could serve as the skeleton of a how-to email to your customers, or a sales pitch script could contain some easy-to-grab ad copy. Plus, using the same larger piece of content as a jumping off point for smaller pieces of content could be helpful in ensuring messaging remains consistent across all channels and increasing brand reliability. 

Another great way to save on creating digital marketing content is to make the most of User Generated Content (UGC). This can be as simple as reposting an Instagram story a customer has tagged you in or running a competition that encourages users to advertise your product or service.

Enlist the help of a digital marketing expert 

While organic marketing strategies can be extremely beneficial, sometimes they work most effectively in tandem with PPC. Enlisting the help of a Google Ads Specialist or Facebook Ads Specialist can help ensure you’re running high-performing campaigns that use your budget strategically and minimise wasted spend.

Leaving your paid ads in the hands of an expert could maximise ROAS and free up your time to focus on your core business activities.

Build a network of partners

One of the best things an SME can do in today’s climate is form partnerships. Collaborating with other businesses or industry-relevant influences who can promote your business online can increase your reach and leverage your partner’s resources. Often, these sorts of partnerships don’t have to make a dent in your digital marketing budget and can be paid in your product or service, or by promoting the other business on your platforms in return.

For example: A home cleaning service could partner with a local real estate agency to offer cleaning services to clients who are moving in or out of a property. This partnership would allow both businesses to benefit from increased exposure and the ability to offer complementary services to their respective clients.

Identify and cater to your target audience

If you’re spending all your time wondering how much marketing budget to allocate to each channel, but you haven’t done the research to identify which channels your target audience engages with most, you might be wasting your precious budget (and time!). 

For example: if your target audience is teenage girls interested in skincare, you’ll likely see better conversion rates from social media ads and influencer partnerships. On the other hand, if you’re targeting corporate office managers, combining email marketing and search marketing will likely yield better results. 

By focusing on the most impactful channels for your target audience, you can ensure your marketing efforts are generating the best possible return on investment (ROI).

If you’re not sure how to identify the best digital marketing channels for your business, or how to allocate your digital marketing budget, it’s always best to speak to a digital marketing consultant. 

As a digital marketing consultant, I can guide you with marketing budget examples based on your industry and product or service offerings, and ensure your resources are being effectively allocated.

Digital marketing is not always about how much you spend, but rather about how strategically you use the resources available to you. It’s entirely possible to grow your online presence and compete with larger businesses by making a few strategic choices when allocating your marketing budget. 

Focusing on low-cost marketing channels, taking advantage of free tools and resources available online, building mutually-beneficial partnerships and engaging the help of a digital marketing expert can all help you achieve your digital marketing goals while staying within the parameters of a SME budget.

Picture of Louisa Ingelheim

Louisa Ingelheim

Louisa is a data-driven digital marketing consultant with almost a decade of experience in Google Ads management, Facebook Ads, (technical) SEO and Website tracking.

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