Hire Your First Employee

Typically you have to spend money to make money. That being said, you don’t necessarily have to shell out thousands of dollars to see tangible results. While some online marketing strategies can be executed for free, it’s best to set aside a small budget for your marketing efforts.

When it comes to an online marketing budget for small businesses, I like to start with $500 a month. That way, you can easily evaluate your ROI each month and adjust where it’s needed. Here are four online marketing strategies you can execute for $500 a month.

Hire Writers for Your Blog

Content marketing is a great strategy to pursue for any business owner. Posting regularly on your company blog constantly reminds readers and search engines that your website is a valuable resource. As your website begins to gain authority, your content will appear higher on search engine queries. This will increase your organic search traffic tremendously.

The problem is, constantly writing quality blog posts takes time. Small business owners are juggling enough responsibilities as is and many don’t have time to keep up with writing. This is when you should look to hire a freelance writer for your company blog.

I suggest paying your writers per post, that way you both agree on a price per finished product. For $500 you could easily get 8-12 quality posts written for your blog each month. If you stick with this for a while you’ll begin to see a large increase in your organic search traffic, especially if you’re in a niche market.

Become an SEO Expert

This strategy goes hand in hand with the one above. A great way to spend your marketing dollars is by investing it in your own knowledge. Search engine optimization can be learned by virtually anybody. When executed correctly, this strategy can completely transform your online marketing firepower.

First and foremost, it’s worth investing in some SEO educational materials and resources. Start with some free options so you can get familiar with the playing field. Then, once you’re familiar with how it works, you can invest in some paid tools and resources that will help you track and manage your progress.

For example, SEMRush helps you track your keyword rankings based on your competitors. Tools like Buzzsumo allow you to identify which topics get the most traction in your space. If you’re knowledgeable enough on how to effectively manage your company’s SEO, you can get a long way with just $500 a month.

Utilize Micro-Influencers to Promote Your Brand

Influencer marketing is a great way to generate leads and increase customer loyalty for your brand. In fact, recent data shows that 73% of marketers claim it’s effective for lead generation and 76% say it’s instrumental in increasing customer loyalty. The reason why it’s so effective is because the influencer already has both the trust and engagement from their followings. If they endorse your brand, their followers will likely do the same.

Most assume you have to use celebrities to endorse your brand on social media for this to be effective. While that’s true, it’s also effective to do so on a much smaller scale. Try to find a few influencers on social media who are popular in your industry. Look at their engagement, namely their percentage of likes and comments per post. Reach out to a few and see if they’d like to entertain some sponsored postings. You can easily generate a few high quality posts for $50 a post or less.

Outsource a Social Media Manager

Social media can be a fantastic way to generate a constant stream of organic traffic if executed correctly. This strategy is most effective when there’s an individual dedicated to managing your social media accounts.

Typically for a small businesses, hiring a social media manager in house doesn’t work too well with the budget. However, it’s definitely possible to outsource this job for $500 per month.

There are plenty of platforms, like UpWork and Fiverr, that can connect you to thousands of freelancers well versed in social media. These freelancers are well trained to constantly schedule engaging posts, handle customer service that originates on your social media accounts, and grow your following.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have thousands to spend right away on your marketing efforts. There are plenty of effective strategies that you can implement for free, and there are a lot more that you can implement for as little as $500 a month. If you’re out of ideas, I highly recommend giving any of these four online marketing strategies a shot.

Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley.

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