What Kind of Digital Marketing Can I Do With a Small Budget?

When it comes to working with clients, sometimes the biggest obstacle is dealing with budgets. Budget constraints are one of the most common reasons why a potential client chooses not to move forward with digital marketing. And we understand! Money is a challenging subject; no one really likes to talk about what they can and can’t afford.

This is why one of our most frequently asked questions from clients is: what can I do with a small budget?

After our livestream event with Google on October 17, we were left with a lot of ideas of how to help our clients with smaller, or simply tight, budgets. You can read about that livestream event here. One thing I started working on was a graph that would demonstrate the time needed for each task and their rough return.

In this blog post, we’ll walk through that graph—and the digital marketing tasks that give you the most bang for minimal budget.

What Do We Mean By Return?

graph showing graph of time versus return of digital marketing

When it comes to graphing time versus return, it’s easy to have set numbers for time: 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, or more, it’s easier to measure. In terms of return, it’s a little bit harder to measure exactly because your return depends entirely on your goals. Different digital marketing strategies work better for different goals; no single strategy is going to look the same, business-to-business.

However, in this instance, what we mean when we say “return” is more about the potential of that task. That task’s return might be more clicks to your website or higher SEO; it might be potential for more content as well. Ultimately, when we say “return”, what we’re talking about is what you can potentially get out of that task. It’s not exactly measurable, but it is something we have an understanding of.


Average time spent per month: 1 hour at the most
What’s the return?: Help with SEO, build brand reputation, recycle content for social media

We know that reviews are an important aspect of digital marketing. It’s a fact that can’t be understated: having good customer reviews on your Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook pages are extremely valuable. And even neutral, or bad, reviews can be a learning experience, one that you can take charge of. (We have an entire blog post about it!)

You can’t ever make a customer write a review. But we have a few ways to incentivize customers to do so:

  • Ask. Easy, right? Just ask customers to leave a review. No matter what kind of business you run, if you serve customers, there are easy ways to simply ask customers to leave a review. Follow up emails or texts can have a link to your preferred review website; you can also hand out business cards that ask customers to leave a review after an in-person service.

  • Post on social media. Use social media posts to highlight reviews (we like using the new Small Thanks x Google website to generate review graphics for clients) and ask for more reviews from previous customers.


Average time spent per month: variable, depending on the number of campaigns & ads, but once campaigns are created and running, management week-to-week is minimal
What’s the return?: more clicks to a website and potential conversions, help build brand, gain impressions

Advertising can be an overwhelming world for many clients. And many worry that it is expensive. They want assurances regarding how it will help their business exactly. The truth is, it would be irresponsible for us to make any concrete promises about what advertising can do for any business. But when we can do is this:

  • Take your business & your goals and use those to design a campaign
  • Re-assess that campaign as it runs to target it closer and closer to your goals
  • Monitor that campaign in a way that makes it cost effective

As we learned in the recent Google livestream, they have a new type of campaign called Smart Campaigns. Here at Lunar, we’ve been experimenting to learn more about this campaign type and if it would be more cost effective for clients with smaller, or simply more restrictive, budgets.

Social Media

Average time spent per month: 10-30 hours per month
What’s the return?: build brand and online reputation, communicate directly with followers, customers, and potential customers

Social media is good for a lot of things. Building brand loyalty? Check. Maintaining your online reputation? Check. But depending on your goals, social media sometimes isn’t always the best place to spend money.

That doesn’t mean social media isn’t important. That doesn’t mean that social media can’t bring in plenty of leads and therefore, revenue. It just depends on your particular business and your budget.

Sometimes, picking projects that fit with specific goals and budgets means leaving some things behind. Social media is something that takes a lot of time—both to create and post, as well as to build traction—and the return can be more variable month-to-month, requiring more analysis and assessment each month. Social media is an important part of any digital marketing plan, so a simplified social media strategy with less intensive content creation might be in the cards for smaller budgets.


Average time spent per month: 3+ hours per blog post
What’s the return?: higher SEO, build brand and knowledge leader reputation, create content that can be shared to current customers and attract new customers

We consider blogs to be one task that has the highest return—but we know for customers with smaller budgets, the time commitments can be staggering. Each blog post, from researching, writing, and posting, can take 3-5 hours. That means, if you plan to post even 3 blogs per month, you’re looking at 9-15 hours—which can quickly eat away at a smaller budget. However, the beauty of blogs is that you can post the amount recommended by SEO guidelines—which is weekly content—or you can scale down to a more doable amount, such as 1 blog per month, or 2 blogs every 6 weeks.

Blogs allow our clients to more effectively capitalize on keyword opportunities, as well as target content to specific client questions and concerns. They are an incredibly valuable part of an SEO plan, so we believe in making blogging work within budgets.

Have More Questions?

Want to learn about SEO? Here are a few blog posts:

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