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11 Steps to Online Marketing on a Budget

What you don’t have in overhead you must have in time and effort if you plan on doing online marketing on a budget. Digital marketing doesn’t have to cost you anything, but you have to be willing to dedicate your time and energy to your website, content marketing strategy, social media strategy, etc. Add in the other endless tasks required of you, and it may be better to hire a professional Canadian freelance marketer (Ahem, me, ahem). But before you make any decisions, let’s see if you have what it takes to complete the essentials to successful online marketing.

12 Steps to Online Marketing on a Budget

Online marketing is wildly complex. There are several different components that makeup a strong marketing strategy. However, these 11 steps are absolute essentials and more importantly, they are the keys to unlocking your company doors to ultimate success.

1. Create a Content Strategy

Very few things should be done without a strategy, particularly when those “things” pertain to your business. You need to know what you’re doing in order to do it right, and that starts with a content strategy.

This will allow you to narrow in on your target audience, from their age and gender to what time of day they frequent the internet, what type of content they want to see, how much they’re willing to spend on your goods and services, etc.

However, a content marketing strategy goes far beyond simply defining your audience. It needs to include everything from your goals to the analytics you’ll use to track and achieve them, a content calendar, keyword research, customer concerns – the list goes on.

Yes, it can be done on your own, and I suggest reading the list of things to include in your content marketing strategy in a separate post.  I would also be more than happy to create a detailed content marketing strategy for you.

2. Produce Your Content Consistently

As I always say to my clients, ‘the more content you produce, the better success you’ll have.’ Creating content is imperative if you want to appear in Google search engine result pages. However, it isn’t enough to simply write some blogs and post them.

Instead, your blog content has to be infused with SEO techniques and you must post consistently in order to increase your rank.

Bare Minimum Blog Strategy

For an absolutely bare minimum content (for businesses looking to do online marketing on a budget), I recommend producing at least 1 blog post a week. This plan will take quite some time to build your rank with search engines but it’s better than zero blogs!

Ideal Blog Strategy

For a strong and budget-friendly content marketing strategy, I recommend posting 3 blogs a week. To put it into perspective, I took Anxiety Gone from 60 views a month to 40K views a month in less than 12 months, simply by sticking to a plan that produces no less than 3 blogs a week.

Go Big or Go Home Blog Strategy

For a fast-growing content marketing strategy, I recommend 1 blog post a day. This content strategy will take a significant amount of time and effort, but if you can do it, it’s certainly a powerful way to build your ranking quickly.

Again, if you are not a writer or do not have the time to produce content regularly, you can always hire a freelance writer, such as the best Canadian freelance writer (ahem, yours truly).

3. Understand Your Customer’s Concerns, Curiosities and Interests

If you’ve never heard of Answer The Public, it’s time to change that. This is one of the many websites that allow you to get inside the brain of your target audience. You simply type in a keyword or topic that pertains to your business and you receive a plethora of things people have typed into search engines.
As a result, you’re able to see the most common concerns, curiosities and interests your customers have which you can then use to create content that your customers actually want to see.

4. Create a Content Calendar

This online marketing on a budget tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one – you need a plan; tons and tons of plans.  A content calendar is one of the most important things to have within your online marketing strategy, as it outlines everything from the dates you’ll publish content to what content, the author of that content, keywords, call-to-actions, etc.

5. Spread Your Content Like Wildfire

As you start producing content, it’s imperative that you spread it across all of your social media platforms. I will elaborate on which platforms you should be using in just a moment but as a rule of thumb, your content should be shared across each and every one.

Pinterest is an incredible platform that generates consistent leads, as it’s estimated that 80% of people go to Pinterest with the intent to purchase.

However, this online marketing technique requires more than just adding the link to your Facebook page. Instead, you’ll want to ensure the feature image compels your audience to click further; a short yet enticing verbiage is used in the status and of course, a direct link to your content.

This process does change per platform but that’s the basic plan.

Psst: You’ll also want to share other people’s content – yes, even your competitors. This will help brand you as the go-to place for all types of content. Remember, you’re sharing other people’s content and not their products. 

6. Engage With Your Audience

You can post all the content in the world but you need to build rapport with potential customers to ensure they trust your brand and feel safe to purchase your goods and services. The best way to do that? Talk with them!

Engage with your audience on posts via comments; respond to private messages, and create that friendly connection that’ll make customers feel committed to your brand.

7. Focus on Those Product Pages into Masterpieces

One of the easiest ways to do online marketing on a budget is to focus in on your product pages. This is the one place customers will go to purchase a product and these pages should be seen as your ultimate sales associate.

You must make sure that the product images are crisp, clear and descriptive, and that the product descriptions don’t leave your customers scratching their heads wanting more information. Additionally, you’ll want to spice up your product descriptions with your brand to make sure they match the image of not just the product, but of your company as well.

So, remember – 1) Quality Photos, 2) Descriptive Pages, 3) Brand the Description

8. Hello, Social Media Ads

For anyone looking for online marketing on a budget, social media ads are here to save the day. Instagram, Facebook and Instagram all offer paid advertisements right through their websites and you get to choose how much you want to spend.

Now, before you go throwing all kinds of money away it’s crucial that you understand to start slowly. If done incorrectly, these platforms can eat a hole in your wallet; when done properly, they can grow a money tree in your backyard.

I like to recommend playing around with different types of advertisements (changing up the colours, content, links, etc.) and sending them off into the marketing world with a daily amount of $5. Check on them a couple of days later and see which ones worked. If none of them received a CTR of 4% or higher, try again. If some ads are close to that percentage, do some AB testing (changing one small detail at a time and seeing how it affects the outcome of your ad). Once you have found some advertisements that work, increase your daily max. ($5 a day to$30 a day) and let the revenue roll in.

If you really want to do some online marketing on a budget, learn how to create captivating images on Canva or use Fiverr to hire an affordable graphic designer.

9. Don’t Skip the Date

A general rule of thumb to online marketing is to gather as much information about your customers as possible. Doing so will open up a plethora of opportunities that you can use to generate sales. This can easily be done via surveys or just asking your audience to fill out their birth date when they sign up for your newsletter campaign.

In addition to remember your customer’s birth dates and other important days, such as the year anniversary since their first purchase, you’ll need to remember dates that are important to your brand.

For example, Anxiety Gone must remember all the dates that pertain to mental health, such as  National Mental Health Awareness Day, #BellLetsTalk in Canada, National Suicide Prevention Day, etc.

10. Stay Current With The Times

Holidays, gossip, trends, popular hashtags, popular influencers – you name it. Online marketing on a budget requires you to do the nitty gritty and a huge part of that is knowing what content to produce that’ll get you the most traffic.

In other words, you wouldn’t want to post a holiday gift guide in April.

11. Make Data-Driven Decisions

Use your analytics to make decisions that pertain to your business. Platforms such as Shopify, WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook all offer analytics to you for free. So, use them to your advantage to learn more about your audience, what products they want, what type of content they enjoy reading, etc.

You’ll also want to use your analytics to determine cost of goods, advertising costs, customer acquisition, customer behaviours, bounce rates, etc.


Without analytics, you’re basically going into online marketing blindfolded which seems silly when all the data you need to succeed is sitting right in front of you, for free!


Every business, blogger, freelance writer, digital marketer and influencer will have bad marketing days and good marketing days. Some days you’ll see a spike in traffic and others, you’ll find that your traffic dropped because Google changed it’s algorithm (that’s another story for another day).

So, don’t be discouraged. Keep at it! Consistency pays off in this digital world and if you need help, you know what to do.

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