I’ve a limited budget where should I spend it?5 min read

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When it come to online marketing there’s a world of opportunities available but very often there is not a limitless budget. If this is the case it can be difficult to decide where to spend it to best effect.

Which marketing channels will be most beneficial for you will depend on your market, your customers and your objectives.

Before you start to spend money, make sure you are clear about what your objectives are. Do you want to gain exposure for the brand? Achieve a certain ROI? Hit a certain traffic level? Achieve a maximum number of orders?

The best place to spend your budget will be unique to you so I’ll run through the different channels available to help you determine which channel(s) suit you best.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is more often than not the most effective. As long as you have a strong database of customer and enquirers you should be able to implement an email marketing strategy which has quick and effective results quite simply.

The ongoing costs of carrying out email marketing are really quite low for the level of sales/conversion it can bring.

As long as your database is full of good prospects your conversion rates should be good. For example, if you have 20,000 good email addresses, an AOV of £40 and a margin of 55%, using industry email benchmark figures your email campaign results would look something like this:

20,000 > 19,800   >   4,950  > 1,386  >    55    > £2,750  > £1,513
Sent         Delivered     Opened    Clicked    Orders        Sales       Margin
.                  (99%)         (25%)      (28%)      (4.0%)    (£50 AOV)     (55%)

Cost £700 – £1,500

Profit £813 (£1,513 Margin – £700 Cost)

ROI 116% (£813/£700)

The larger your email file, the better ROI you’ll receive as the cost of increasing your sent number is minimal in comparison with the return.

You can see from the above examples that if you have the data, email marketing is a very cost effective way of maximising on your current database and achieving a good profit and very strong ROI in the process.

If you don’t already have a good customer and enquirer database, the above should give you a very good reason to start building one.

PPC Marketing

PPC marketing can be used in different ways. If your objective is to drive a lot of traffic to your website, quickly, PPC is a good route to take. It can also be used very effectively to build brand awareness, to achieve a specific ROI or to market to a very specific area.

PPC marketing also allows you to monitor your budget very closely so it’s easy to ensure the smallest budget isn’t exceeded. You are able to add funds as and when you have them so the channel can sit dormant when budget won’t allow activity – something that isn’t very easy to do with any other channel and can make it a very attractive channel for a limited budget.

Using the tracking, reporting and monitoring tools offered with your PPC provider you will also be able to closely monitor the effectiveness fo every aspect of your campaign and optimise effectively. This ensures you’re able to get the most value possible from every pound of your budget.

Once the campaign is set up the management costs can be quite low whether in-house or outsourced, however, make sure you don’t try and save money by minimising reporting and analysis as this will significantly reduce your ROI in the long term.


Search Engine Optimisation is often overlooked as a marketing channel and can be viewed as a bit of a pandora’s box and therefore not worth time and money. However, once you’ve got your SEO working for you there’s a relatively low on-going maintenance cost and, as organic search engine listings are free, there’s no on-going marketing costs either making it a great area to spend your budget.

The downside of SEO work can be the time it takes to have an effect. If you’re looking for quick results, SEO probably isn’t the area for you to push budget to but if you’re looking for longer term gain now is a good time to start investing.

To ensure you get the most out of your SEO spend, make sure you research well and use the help of people in the know to ensure you’re getting the most from your budget.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have the immediate impact of an email or PPC campaign but with careful management it can quickly build up to an effective channel in a matter of months. Remember though, you have to stick with it as your affiliates will want to know that if they promote you, you are going to be around for the long term.

Management fees on affiliate networks can be very low – in some instances there’s no monthly charge – so all you are paying is the commission on sales achieved. This means it’s very easy to monitor the effectiveness of the channel and your ROI will always be consistent – you’re guaranteed to only be paying out on what you’re getting in.

Banner Advertising

Banner advertising was once the main channel of online marketing. However, due to the difficulty in managing its ROI and effectiveness it is less popular so you can now buy banner space at quite a low cost. This could mean your limited budget gets you a prominent position in a prime space.

In Summary

Take a look over each of the channels above and, in conjunction with your objective, decide which channels are most fitting to you and your budget both short and long term.

Becky Hopkin

As MD Becky works to ensure Digital Gearbox’s values are being lived, and that our customers are receiving the best service possible. A self-confessed Disney fanatic, Becky loves spending down time with her golden Labrador, Nala, and her young daughter, Emily.

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