Online Visibility for Less: Building a Cost-Efficient Digital Marketing Strategy

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Many businesses have increased their digital marketing budget in 2018. In the United States alone, expenses are up from $38.5 billion in 2017to $41.9 billion in 2018. While the budget varies for different companies, digital marketers can justify the added expenses, given the increased online visibility businesses get which, in turn, could lead to more profits.

Just because you’re spending more for your marketing strategy, however, does not always mean you are maximizing your budget. In fact, you could be wasting money on certain strategies when you can divert that cash into more profitable ones. When you have a lot of digital marketing options such as social media, SEO, and paid ads, you need to consider what you want to achieve with your marketing campaigns and allocate your funds into the most effectiveways that provide you with high returns.

Hiring In-House, Contractors, and Digital Marketing Agencies

Businesses have the option to hire their own in-house digital marketers, hire contractors or freelancers,or outsource the services from a digital marketing agency. These three each present a number of advantages, and it is up to you to decide which offers the most suitable features that your business needs and can manage with your budget.

In-House Team

In-house marketers may be the more costly option, given that your business will have to shoulder their monthly salary, benefits, and all the logistics that go into training and welcoming new employees. However, unlike agencies and contractors that focus on multiple clients, you have a team of employees working full-time to reach your goals.

The downside of hiring your own marketing team is that you will need to build up a team with all the necessary skills you need, something an agency can provide for less. You can’t expect to hire one person who can do graphics, content writing, social media, and SEO on their own because it is an unrealistic expectation – if such person exists, their salary isn’t going to be cheap. You also risk financial loss with bad hires or people who quit early. If you have to keep hiring new employees, your team may not be able to run at its best.


Hiring a contractor or freelancer means you do not have to pay taxes or adhere to employment laws that require you to spend more because they are independent contractors, not your employees. There are a lot of contractor services offering different areas of digital marketing, so you can hire those who specialize in strategies effective for your business.

The downside is that should you ever need to widen your marketing strategy, you will have to hire another person who specializes in that field. It may cost less than hiring a full-time employee, but if they have the experience and skill to justify charging higher than the average fee, the costs of paying for their time may be more expensive than the costs of hiring a full-time employee who focuses solely on your company.

Digital Marketing Agency

Outsourcing digital marketing services from an agency allows you hands-free operations;you can focus all your time and effort on the main business while the agency handles your marketing. It is a necessary advantage for businesses that want convenient but effective digital marketing solutions, considering that almost two-thirds of employers in the United States can spend up to $50,000 for every bad hire. Compared to a monthly salary, paying for an agency is relatively cost-efficient.

However, unlike a full-time employee, they have other clients and may not provide you with fast responses the same was a full-time employee can. Since they handle your digital marketing, you may have less control of the direction you want over what the agency thinks will best suit your business.

Choosing between these three, consider what it is you want your marketing strategy to achieve. An agency can provide a team with a diverse set of skills for less than what it costs to form an in-house team. However, does your business really need that many strategies?

If your business were, for example, a company providing manpower for construction projects limited to a small city, you wouldn’t need someone to handle social media reaching out to consumers, but to other businesses that need your services. In this case, you can do with one or two contractors who specialize in SEO, PPC, or business-centric social media sites such as LinkedIn. Also, consider your budget: smaller companies may not have the means to hire in-house marketers.

Allocate Based on the Strategy’s Previous Success

Not all of your previous strategies showed the same levels of success; even digital marketers have varying opinions in which technique is the most effective. Instead of spreading out your budget into all strategies, look at previous campaigns and see which ones are providing the least or negative returns relative to its costs. Once you see a pattern, consider reducing your budget or dropping unsuccessful strategies in favor of more effective solutions.

It also helps to look at the strategies you are using and opt for those that can complement other strategies. Content marketing gets your business’ link around the internet, which can help your SEO strategy and improve your rankings. These two on their own are effective strategies but, when combined, help your business increase visibility.

 Target Your Audience Effectively

Make sure your campaigns are targeted to the right audience. Your business does not have to reach all users when a majority of them are not in your location or have no reason to interact with your company. Don’t target your PPC ads to a certain keyword and city if your small business is too far away to attract users from that area.

Instead, optimize your ads and social media to relevant users more likely to interact with your business. You might be decreasing your visibility, but if you’re targeting people who are very unlikely to interact with your business, you’re saving costs and increasing the chances of a successful strategy.

High digital marketing budgets may not always mean high returns; it could mean that your business isn’t maximizing its budget and using the right channels, which requires you to spend more. You can achieve wider visibility and more conversions for less. You just need to cut unnecessary costs while maintaining or improving your strategy’s quality.

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