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How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy in a Shoestring Budget

How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy in a Shoestring Budget 1

You might have heard a lot about the term “digital marketing strategy”. Correct?

It is possible that you already know what it is. But, did you know that almost 45% of businesses do not have a planned out digital marketing strategy?

In simple words, a digital marketing strategy is a guideline for your online marketing efforts. It lists important details of what you want to do, your end goals, the mediums or platforms you want to use, and lot more.

Digital marketing is a dynamic space. Thus, the first thing you need is a well-planned digital marketing strategy – one which is adaptive! You can’t benefit from digital marketing efforts without it. And, you don’t need to invest a lot of money (unless you’re hiring agencies).

One of the biggest problems that start-ups face is to find new ways to keep their organization up and running. To top it up, constant competition and the clogged economy are also added hurdles that hold back business owners from trying new avenues to market their products or services.


So, how do you attract new customers?

Keep the transactions flowing?

And, grow your business through digital marketing?

There are a number of digital marketing tactics that you can use to build your presence online. But, I’ll be specifically talking about the most cost-effective digital marketing strategy that you can build on your own to grow your business online.

Interested in growing your social media followers? Read the detailed guide on social media marketing strategy.

Inexpensive Digital Marketing Strategy for Start-Ups

If you want to make an impact online, you need to have a well-thought digital marketing strategy – one with the scope of adapting to newer market trends with time.

Sounds confusing?


To make it easier for you, I have divided the digital marketing strategy building process into 3 parts –

  • Self-Analysis
  • Demographic Research
  • Competitor Analysis

Understanding the market where you want to sell your product/service is one of the most important pillars of an effective digital marketing strategy. You need to target your ads, blogs, etc. to the right audience or you won’t get positive results.

How do you do that?

It’s simple!

Market research and digital marketing are interconnected. Conducting a market research before building the strategy is time-consuming, but it yields results in the long run. Most of the successful marketing initiatives and strategies are built on sound market research.

Yes, you can save a few hundred bucks upfront by not opting for market research, but at the end of it, you will be losing the chances of getting 2x, 3x, or even 10x ROI. Market research helps you understand the audience, the type of content that engage with, the platforms they use, and much more.

And, market research is no rocket-science, neither does it blow a hole in your pocket (if you do it smart)! Here’s an easy (and totally free) trick to collect authentic market research data for successfully integrating digital marketing with your business.

Self-Analysis: The 1st Step

By self-analysis, I mean analyzing your business. The golden rule of success is understanding the market and adapting/updating your products and services list accordingly.

You can start by listing down answers to some of the most common questions about your business. Think of what makes your product or service better than your competitor. In order to run a successful business, you need to have a unique selling point (USP) – one that leverages your business.

Build a story around your business/brand. Think of the motivation, the struggles, your goals, achievements, the emotional connection, etc. and bring it in front of the audience. If the users connect with it, you are on the right track .

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Some common questions that you can include are –

  1. What is your Industry type?
  2. What beliefs and/or values define your business?
  3. What does your product/service help solve for your customers?
  4. From an overall business standpoint, what’s your biggest challenge?
  5. What’s your business’ USP?
  6. What are your 3-month/6-month goals from the digital marketing strategy?
  7. Are there any seasonal patterns that impact your sales?
  8. Are you willing to expand locally, nationally, or internationally?
  9. Any specific metrics that will quantify achievements?

There is an exhaustive list of questions that you can answer. Not every question is needed, but the more you answer, the stronger and impactful your marketing strategy becomes.

For the complete list, check out my Pre-On boarding Questionnaire for clients.

Demographic Research: The Core

Now, this is the part where you need to figure out your target audience. Your target audience is the group of potential buyers who have a need for your services or products.

How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy in a Shoestring Budget 2

For most small and medium businesses that I have worked with, they are more inclined to grow locally. Of course, there are businesses who expanded their services throughout the country. Again, it all boils down to your business type and long-term goals.

Irrespective of the product or service type, you can better triangulate your target audience. Once you have the answers from Step 1 (above), it will be easier for you to drill-down your audience.

Here are some questions that you should definitely answer before moving on –

  1. Who is your target audience? Is it gender specific? Is the product/service for a certain age group?
  2. Do you know any specific characteristics or traits of customers who bought/will buy your product or service?
  3. What is the estimated size of your total addressable market?
  4. What percentage of the market is aware of your product/service?
  5. Who, as per you, is your most profitable customer? Do you know where they get their information about anything related to your business niche?
  6. What types of prospects are not a good fit for your company/business?
  7. List the benefits of your products/services by target audience groups.
  8. What is/are the Call-to-Actions (CTA) you want to use?
  9. What are your geographical constraints?
  10. What voice/emotion do you want to convey through your digital marketing efforts?

Demographic research is a bit complex than the other two steps. But, this is also the founding layer to an effective digital marketing strategy.

Based on your draft of the target audience, you can decide in-depth details about the tone of your marketing collateral, define your social media calendars, online platforms that’ll work best for you, and much more.

Download a copy of the Demographic Research template.

Competitor Analysis: The Final Step

Competition analysis is nothing but an estimate of your current and potential competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. With the competitor data in your armory, it will be easier for you to build both offensive and defensive strategies for your marketing efforts.

If any of your competitors haven’t migrated online yet, it leaves more opportunities for you to capitalize. On the other hand, if they are already online, you can easily find out which keywords drive traffic to their websites, the Domain Authority, referral links, page authority, and so much more.


There are two ways to get competitor analysis report –

  1. Do the necessary research on your own.
  2. Take the help of a digital marketing agency.

If you want to save some money, I recommend doing this on your own. All you need is a few details like your competitor’s website address and social profiles. Use FREE tools to analyze their website and social media presence, and you will have enough data to build an effective digital marketing strategy.

Download a copy of the Competitor Analysis template.

So, that is it! The easiest and most-effective way to build a digital marketing strategy that is unique to your business. I don’t say that this will fix all your online marketing problems, but it will sure give you some leverage.

Self-learning is the best way to gain expertise on anything. If your business permits you the time, feel free to sign-up for our 30-day program to grow organic traffic on your own.

If you are struggling with deciding if digital marketing is required for your business and need reassurance or someone to answer your queries, connect with me and I’ll be glad to help.

Final Words

To sum it up, any successful digital marketing campaign requires market research. Market research data helps you build an effective digital marketing strategy. It plays a major role in your online visibility.

Planning what to post online provides you an upper hand. Learn about your audience. Consider the risks, opportunities, and threats when you build your digital marketing strategy.

Take control of your strategy to avoid making any bad investments.