How to make a low-cost marketing plan for your business

No matter what kind of company you run, you need a digital marketing plan.

After all, how will anyone find your products without one?

Thankfully you don't need a huge budget to successfully market your products. And to prove it to you, we'll show you how to make a low-cost digital marketing plan for your startup.

This comprehensive guide will take you through creating a social media presence for your company and discuss other ways you can grow your business online. We've even thrown in some insider tips from our marketing team!

So what are you waiting for? Let's get marketing!

First thing's first: get on social media!

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Your business needs to be on social media. No questions asked.

And we're not just saying that because we make social media management software 😜

As of 2018, 77% of Americans have at least one social media account. This is up from just 10% of Americans in 2008!

And if that didn't catch your attention, then get this: 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide their purchases. So yeah, your company needs an online presence. Stat.

Where should my company start on social media?

Let's start with the basics: creating your accounts.

At minimum, your brand should be active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are other social networks that your brand should assess too. These are:

Once you've created your accounts, deck them out with your brand's logo and banner images (for cover photos on Facebook and elsewhere). This keeps a professional and active image on your brand's social media.

And after all, no one wants to interact with an egg.

Now, establish your brand voice

Now that you have your accounts set up, establish a brand voice for your social media posts and blog (more on that in a sec). Having one uniform brand voice makes your writing recognizable on all social media outlets and further establishes your brand identity

We keep a friendly yet insightful voice here at Social Report. This keeps a lighthearted vibe while still letting us get our point across and provide excellent insight to our customers. Develop a brand voice that fits your product and how you want to come across to your clients.

Pick a social media management tool

Once that's established, you need to find a social media management tool.

Why do you need one? Two reasons: they save you time over posting to each social site individually and give you detailed reports on your social media performance.

Our social media management tool of choice is the one we built: Social Report. Using our tool, you can schedule content to all of your social networks at once, automate rudimentary social media tasks, and pull detailed reports to track your social media performance.

Social Report takes a collaborative approach to social media. You can add all of your team members to your project so anyone can write content and post to social (perfect for small teams). We also have a built-in ticketing system for sales and support teams too!

Even though we have the most features, Social Report is the lowest cost full-service social media management tool on the market. In fact, you'll save 50% or more when compared to industry giants like Buffer and Sprout Social.

Want to learn more about Social Report? Start your 30 day free trial and schedule a training session with our team. We promise you'll love us!

Now, let's get posting!

Alrighty, you have your accounts set up, brand voice established, and you're all connected to Social Report. What's next?

It's time to get posting!

When first starting out, post at least once daily to each of your social accounts. As you gain more experience and see what works for your audience, you can ramp up and post more frequently. Use our Optimization Report to find exactly when to post for the most engagement.

Also: don't feel obligated to post all of your statuses in real-time.

Consider writing all of your posts every Friday evening and schedule them throughout the next week using Social Report. This gives you more time to create high-quality content and is one less thing you need to worry about during the work week.

What should I post to social media?

We recommend posting a mixture of in-house and third-party content. In-house content can include product updates, photos of your team, and insights from your blog. Third-party content can be articles related to your industry and interesting insights from around the web. You can even automate posting third-party content with Social Report's Content Syndication tool.

But don't just post links. Make sure all third-party content is branded with your hashtags and Link Frames. Doing this lets you redirect traffic back to your brand—even if the contend you shared was created by someone else.

Here's five awesome ways to find content to post to social media.

Track your social media progress and conversions

Make sure you're actively tracking your social media accounts using Social Report. You can use our platform to track social media engagement, conversions, and more. Here's what you should be tracking on your social media:

  • Conversions: this shows you exactly how many sales your social media posts are driving. Use this to track social media ROI and to learn how to better curate your social media posts for better engagement.
  • Engagement: this tracks how many people are engaging (liking, sharing, etc) with your posts. If you're not getting engagement, consider re-working your content.
  • Optimization: we mentioned this one earlier. This report lets you view what time of day your content is most interacted with, so schedule your content accordingly.

Start content marketing

Start a content marketing blog

Social media may be king, but content marketing is more important than ever too. In fact, 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement and increased their number of leads.

One of the easiest (and lowest cost) ways to start content marketing is to create a blog for your company. The point of a content marketing blog is to create worthwhile content that gets hits from people who may later purchase your product.

In other words: your blog posts shouldn't be ads for your product.

Some types of content you can post to your blog includes how-to articles, industry insight editorials, and the occasional piece of product news. A good rule of thumb to follow is: if your colleagues will learn something from your piece, publish it.

One thing to note though: instead of blindly creating blog posts, perform SEO research on your blog topics first. This ensures that there's a market for your blog posts and will help you rank high in Google search results, something that can drive tons of new leads.

Additionally, try and keep all blog posts over 600 words. However, don't be afraid to go longer if you have time to write long-form content. Longer content performs better on Google and will keep your readers coming back for more.

How do I build a blog on the cheap?

Building a blog isn't as hard (or expensive) as it sounds.

Use Wordpress, Tumblr or Blogger to create a blog for cheap or free and start posting. Just make sure that you style it similarly to your main website, using the same colors, logos, and headers and footers. 

Fun fact: you can use Social Report to post new blog posts to Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger blogs. Just connect your blog as in the Profiles screen and you're ready to post!

How often should I post to my blog?

You don't need to post as frequently on your blog as you do on social media. We recommend posting once a day if you can, but two or three times a week works if you're short on time. 

Oh, and make sure you're sharing all of your blog posts to social media too. This increases your reach and keeps your audience engaged—two of your biggest goals as a marketer.

Invest in ads

Invest in social media advertising 

Alright future marketers, we're almost done!

The last step in any low-cost digital media marketing plan is to invest a bit of money into social media ads. And you start throwing tomatoes, hear us out: organic reach is dead, and we're living in an ad-driven world.

While we love organic reach as much as the next brand, Facebook has made it painfully clear that it's not what it used to be. 

Why is that? Let's take a look at Facebook history.

For years, Facebook Newsfeeds were flooded with memes, news stories, and content from pages that organically made it to your feed. But with that, you rarely saw content from your friends or family members or local news sources.

So, last year, Facebook released a statement discussing how its reducing engagement bait and will focus on content from friends and family. It also tweaked its algorithm to prioritize content from groups, local news sources, friends, and family members. 

These changes stopped a large chunk of engagement bait, but it's seriously hurt publishers and brands on Facebook. Some publishers have even been forced to shutter after the recent changes; other pages have seen a 20%+ drop in engagement since the new algorithm went into effect.

Unfortunately, we see this as an industry-wide trend that will soon affect all social networks. And with that in mind, we think it's a good time to get your foot in the door with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads to keep your engagement numbers up.

So, where should I advertise?

There are three major players in the social media ad space: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Facebook and Instagram have seen the highest ROI for most marketers. Nearly 70% of the United States population uses Facebook, so you have a huge platform to share content with your users. Even better, you can hyper-target your Facebook and Instagram ads to certain demographics and locations.

This means that—with Facebook and Instagram ads—you can market directly to your core audience and not waste money on uninterested people. In the beginning, run a few test ads on Facebook and Instagram and tweak them according to your results. 

You can use Facebook's built-in tools to monitor your ads, but we recommend using Social Report's ad reports to view more in-depth info. Social Report's Facebook ads report make your ad data easier to read and gives you a more complete view of your ad spend and engagement.

And don't forget about Twitter ads! Twitter's making a comeback, but its ad prices are still down nearly 60%. Use this to your advantage and run a few Twitter ads. If you find they're providing a good ROI, keep at it!

Finally, Pinterest ads are popular with fashion and other retail brands. The social network just revamped its advertising tools too, so give Pinterest a shot and see if it works with your brand.

Now, get marketing!

And there you have it: our step-by-step guide to creating a low-cost digital marketing plan in 2018. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to more leads and sales in no time. Know a business owner without a digital marketing plan? Share this article with them—trust us, they'll thank you later.

Need a social media management tool? Start you Social Report trial today.

Use Social Report to manage your social media marketing