With digital marketing, the possibilities feel endless. It’s significantly cheaper than traditional marketing such as billboards, flyers and print ads,  and a lot of it can be done in-house if you’re willing to invest the time.

There are also a lot of mediums to choose from.

This is digital marketing’s blessing and curse. Small business owners can use display ads, YouTube, Instagram, and more to promote their products on a budget. But as we’ve discussed several times on our blog, spreading yourself thin can lead to an unfocused, inconsistent digital marketing strategy. If your marketing team is made up of one team member – you – the smart approach is to assess the pros and cons of different methods and pick one that works for your business. Here are a few digital marketing options that may fit into your small business budget.

Display Ads

Display network ads show up on websites that have Google AdSense enabled. Let’s suppose you’re on a blog called Marketing St. Louis, reading an article about the best ad agencies in the St. Louis area. Across the top of the article or along the side, you’ll likely see advertisements from St. Louis marketing, advertising and content agencies.

In essence, display ads are paid ads that are spread across the web and placed where they are most relevant.

The benefit of display ads is that they’re great for building brand awareness. If there’s a popular pet blog in your city that pet owners adore, you certainly want your company’s name to be seen by this audience if you’re a pet supply store.

The downside of display ads is that they aren’t effective converters. Consumers have developed ad blindness or banner blindness. We’re so adept at identifying something as an ad just by its appearance and positioning that we can read an entire article without even absorbing the images or copy.

Small business owners have a limited marketing budget, which means conversions are important and ultimately many can’t justify the investment in paid ads. This doesn’t mean you should rule out display ads entirely. Rather, choose search network ads over display network ads until you have a decent understanding of the metrics involved in gauging a campaign’s effectiveness.

Video Ads

Small business owners tend to shy away from video ads because of the effort involved in producing them. Between writing, producing, shooting, and editing, it’s can be a pricey endeavor. But it might be worth the investment.

We now absorb a significant amount of our content online. In 2019, it’s projected that 80 percent of online content will be video content. As a result, producing ads that can be integrated into viewing experiences will be essential.

If you think video marketing is a realm reserved for the top dogs, you’d be mistaken. Companies like YouTube are interested in tapping into the small business market by making it as simple as possible for owners to create high-quality videos. Business owners can download the free YouTube Director for Business app that provides the guidance needed to produce great video ads.

Once you’ve created your video, YouTube offers the same tools that allow you to target paid ads based on demographics. All small business owners should consider producing at least one good video advertisement.

Radio Advertising

TV may have killed the radio star, but it certainly didn’t kill radio ads. In fact, radio ads have maintained their relevance despite a changing technology landscape. Instead of making radio obsolete, the internet has enhanced it.

Today’s two most popular options for radio advertising are Pandora and Spotify. They offer a significant improvement to traditional radio advertising. When you pay for an ad to run on your local radio station, the ad is broadcast to all of its listeners. Advertising through sites like Pandora and Spotify allows you to segment your ads so they are presented to specific listeners.

Much like display ads, ads on these streaming services are better suited for brand awareness. Companies can certainly drive customers to their business with radio ads, but it will cost them, so if your budget requires immediate results, radio advertising may not be your best bet.

What Are The Best Digital Ads for a Small Business Budget?

Small businesses who have limited resources and need to see immediate results should stick to:

  • Search Network Ads: These ads appear before people who are actively looking for something. If you choose your keywords right, your ad for accounting services will appear in the search engine results for someone who is looking for an accountant. An ad in the Display Network would appear before someone who is researching their finances and may someday need an accountant – which isn’t helpful for you right now.
  •  Video Ads: These are visually stimulating and tell a story. Not only are they effective when used as paid ads on other videos, but they can also be useful for your social media channels.

Digital marketing is an expansive world with lots of cool bells and whistles, but don’t let your imagination run further than your budget. With limited resources, your focus should be on conversions and optimizing each ad and channel to be as effective as possible.