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5 Ways to Succeed in Digital Marketing with a Small Budget

Published: June 21, 2016

Author: Neeraja Koneru

Limited budget? No problem! Explore these five crucial ways to maximize the effectiveness of your budget and optimize your ROI.

1.    Keyword Campaigns (Google & Bing)

Folks who already have enough familiarity with your brand, product, or service to look for keywords related to it should be at the top of your list of users to capture.

What to do:

  • Top Performing/ Alpha Campaigns: Split top-performing keywords into their own campaign and bid on them as exact match keywords. Each keyword should be in its own ad group to better control messaging for each keyword and bidding.
  • Beta Campaigns: Create beta/level 2 campaigns that target a broader range of keywords than in the top-performing campaigns. These keywords should be in a broad modified match type to ensure coverage and data collection through search queries. Conduct an analysis of all keywords regularly to promote any top performers into the top performer campaigns, and consider demoting keywords that used to be top performers that aren’t performing as well anymore.
  • Negative Keywords: Conduct regular negative keyword scrubs to ensure you’re only showing for relevant queries. Sometimes even if you’re showing for relevant queries, they might not perform well, so make data-driven decisions to exclude terms based on relevancy and performance.
  • Focus on longer tail betas: Avoid bidding on generic terms that have a lot of competition and drill down one more layer instead (e.g. choose ‘cheap red shoes’ over ‘red shoes’).
  • Raise CTR & Quality Scores: Work on building high quality scores to bring down CPCs and overall cost. Updating ad copy to be relevant to the keywords is the best way to do this. The more keywords you incorporate into your ad copy, the higher your CTR and quality scores will be.
  • Use Ad Extensions: Take up additional real estate in the SERP and increase CTR as well as provide more relevant information to pre-qualify customers and prevent wasted clicks.

Watch out for:

  • Bidding Strategy: Ensure campaign is set on manual CPC when you first launch. Once there is enough data, you can change it to CPA targeting.
  • Positioning: Don’t worry about being in the top position; lower positions see notable traffic and conversions, and being at a higher position is not causally linked with more conversions. Find the right mix between positioning and performance, and don’t bid just to increase position unless it’s branded. You can pull a keyword position report in GA to help with this.

2.    Shopping (for eCommerce) – Google & Bing

Shopping ads are engaging ads that show relevant products, which increases CTR and CVR. They take the customer directly to the product page to reduce steps between ad click and purchase:

What to do:

  • Group products: Utilize small groupings of similar products that see similar performance
  • Top Products: Break out top products to better control bidding.
  • Custom Labels: Utilize custom labels to better group products together (AOV, margin, stock availability – high/low, etc.).

Watch Out For:

  • Titles: Titles are key to showing up for the proper queries. Ensure you include keywords you want to show for in your product titles. Don’t overload the titles – you don’t want them to be too long.
  • Negative Keywords: Similar to keyword campaigns, you can control which queries you don’t want to show for. Pull a search query report often to ensure you’re showing for high-performing and relevant queries only.

3. Re-Marketing (Google & Bing)

Both Google and Bing have ways to remarket to folks who have already visited your site (and converted, if you’d like to target your customers).

What to do:

  • Layer Audiences: Overlay audiences in shopping and keyword campaigns to increase efficiency and ensure you don’t lose a customer during the research/ purchase process. Add in audience with “bid only” targeting to collect data by segment for each campaign. Analyze audience performance by segmenting and add bid adjustments as needed based on performance.
  • Customer Match: User customer email lists to target users you have segmented internally (signed up for newsletter & didn’t purchase, high-LTV customers, good for product launch).
  • Drive Repeat Purchases: Target past customers if you’re selling products that have repeat purchase potential; also, look at targeting for upsells/cross-sells (e.g. if a customer bought a jogging stroller, offer a jogging stroller umbrella).
  • Use display re-marketing: Keep potential customers engaged across channels.
  • Exclude Audiences: Use email and re-marketing lists to exclude certain groups of people too – for example, exclude converters if you’re tracking leads generated.
  • Dynamic Display Re-Marketing (Google Only): You can re-market the exact products that potential customers were viewing on your site. You’ll have to update the AdWords re-marketing pixel to pass dynamic attributes.

Watch out for:

  • Make sure audiences aren’t too small; you need enough people to have a significant audience size. 1K audience size is the minimum, but you’ll want more to get good traffic. This is especially true for emails – you’ll need more than you think to account for attrition/non-matching emails.

4.    Social

You’ll definitely want to tap into paid social marketing, which opens up your funnel to folks who aren’t yet familiar with your brand or product. You’ve got plenty of options – including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – but we’ll focus on Facebook advertising here.

What to do:

  • Lookalike Targeting
    • Seed List: Upload a list of 5k-7k emails of your best customers (usually LTV- or AOV-based) so Facebook can create a lookalike audience from it.
    • Scaling: Target 1% of the lookalike audience to start with – these are users most similar to your seed list. Depending on how performance fares, scale from there (2%, 3%, etc.). Anytime you create a larger audience, make sure you exclude the smaller audience from it so you’re not double-targeting customers (2% LAL audience should have the 1% LAL audience excluded, etc.).
  • Re-Marketing
    • Why: Cross-channel re-marketing is a good way to ensure you don’t lose customers during the research/purchase cycle.
    • Drive Repeat Purchases: Re-market to customers (if you sell a product that could be re-purchased), people who have started a checkout/form submission process but haven’t completed, and people in your email lists.
    • Dynamic Product Ads: for e-commerce businesses, you can re-target with dynamic product ads. These show ads to customers of the exact products they were viewing on site. You’ll have to create and upload a product feed into Facebook to utilize this strategy. Here’s a quick link on how to do so.

5.    Display (Google)

Although targeting on the Google Display Network (GDN) isn’t as robust as on Facebook, it’s improving, and it opens up your brand/product/service to another audience.

What to do

  • Similar audiences: Target users similar to your best customers. Use customer email lists of your top customers to build similar audience.
  • DSK: Choose keywords to bid on based on top-performing non-branded keywords in the account. The keywords you bid on will be used to place your ads on websites that are related.
  • Bidding: Once you have enough conversions, use CPA bidding strategy on Google.

Watch out for:

  • Budgets: Traffic is high on the GDN; even if it’s cheap, there’s a risk of overspending.
  • Negative Placements: Negative placements and site category exclusions are essential to ensure traffic shows in relevant areas.
  • Mobile Placements: Exclude adsenseformobile.com to avoid ads on mobile apps, which can cause cost to quickly increase from high traffic volume.

Bonus: general considerations

No matter what kind of campaigns you’re running, you should always:
– adjust bids by device (and remember; don’t bid on mobile unless you have a mobile-optimized site)
– practice both geo-targeting (ESPECIALLY if you have a local business)
– use ad scheduling (to make sure your ads show when you most want them to how)
That’s all for now. Be sure to holler if you have any other tips for small budgets!

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