Making the Most of your Marketing Mix

Many small business owners find themselves constantly tied up with day-to-day struggles, from meeting tight deadlines to managing expenses that silently burn through budgets. Overcoming these daily struggles can feel exhausting, and who has time to figure out marketing on top of that?

Traditional marketing methods such as advertising or PR can be pricey for small businesses and are not as cost-effective as newer digital approaches. Yet these newer approaches, such as content marketing, social media, and newsletter outreach, are often more time-consuming. So with countless marketing tools available on the Internet and limited time to figure out the best ones for your marketing goals, it’s crucial to understand when to use which technique and how to implement it to best effect.

screen shot of social media marketing

It’s important to start with setting a goal for your marketing campaign, whether it be increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or educating potential customers. Defining your marketing objectives before choosing which technique to implement will make the most of limited marketing resources. Once the goal is set, we recommend the following four digital marketing techniques for the most cost-effective way to achieve it: content marketing, social media, email campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC).


Content Marketing

Quality content should be a staple in your business growth strategy. Why? Because content marketing is at the heart of every digital marketing campaign. It’s a sure way to attract and drive traffic to your website, raise brand awareness, educate your prospects, and sell products. It doesn’t really matter the format of the content, be it videos, infographics, podcasts, white papers, or blog posts — pick the format that will most likely engage your client base.

Think of content marketing as an indirect selling machine. That is, focus on educating your customers rather than selling to them. No one likes being sold to, but most people are happy to be educated on a topic of interest. Content marketing is also the best way to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader.


  • Your content should be specific, relevant, and helpful. Content should never be so complicated that you lose your viewer. Develop a unique voice that aligns with your brand identity and use simple, conversational language to engage your audience.
  • By using keyword research you can identify your customers’ pain points and create content that addresses their specific needs. Using those keywords in your content will help them find it, so incorporate those words liberally in order to generate qualified traffic to your website.
  • Offer strong “calls to action” that specifically direct users towards a particular action, such as downloading a case study, booking an appointment, signing up for your newsletter, or giving you a call. Most online users won’t go out of their way to figure out what to do next and will hesitate to spend time filling out a form or picking up the phone if they can’t immediately see value in it, so clearly guide your viewers as to what you want them to do and why it’s worth their while.


Social Media

Social media is an ever-growing and increasingly popular vehicle that offers unmatched tools to help small businesses grow and gain visibility on par with larger businesses. Although there are no costs associated with posting on social media, you must be willing to consistently invest a dedicated amount of time for effective outreach.

This method of marketing involves creating and sharing content on social networks in order to keep clients and prospects informed in real time, and is the best tool for engaging in dialogue with your audience and building a community of fans around your product or service. Dedicating time to consistently post, share, and engage with your followers is key to social media marketing — you always want to stay active and present with your followers. If you’re unable to maintain a consistently strong social media presence, this may not be an effective marketing channel for you.


  • Focus only on the platforms your target audience is most engaged with — there isn’t enough time to be active on every social media platform, so focus on just one or two platforms in order to get the best return on your time investment.
  • All social platforms offer free analytics for business profiles as a way to track and improve performance, so use these tools to your advantage!
    • Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat Business Insights: These tools allow you to learn more about your followers, see how they interact with your business, and track when they’re actively online.
    • Brandwatch Analytics: This third-party website offers tools to search, segment, analyze your social media performance.
  • Social media marketing works best with strong and organized content planning. This means spending time planning posts in advance, creating an interesting mix of social content, and staying true to a consistent brand image.


Email Campaigns

Email newsletters are an effective way to keep your customers up to date with your company. According to Campaign Monitor, this method offers a better return on investment than any other digital marketing channel and is proven to be 40x more effective than any other form of digital marketing. As the cornerstone of your digital campaigns, email marketing allows you to promote your brand, build your credibility as a thought leader in your industry, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads. Make sure to only send insightful and relevant content in order to keep readers engaged and interested in your business. If you don’t ensure that the content you send will be valued by your audience, you risk unsubscribes.

Third-party software such as MailChimp (our personal favorite) makes it easy to send out professional newsletters and track what happens afterwards. You can see how many people (and which people) opened the newsletter or unsubscribed, and which people clicked through to your website and from which articles. Make sure to review that information after every newsletter to guide content planning for future newsletters.


  • When creating your mailing list, make sure to invite people to subscribe rather than just adding them without asking, in order to ensure you’re not in violation of anti-spam laws that could get your account blacklisted.
  • Don’t forget to create an easily accessible ‘subscribe’ option on your website for customers and prospects to add themselves.
  • Take advantage of the “intrusive” nature of newsletters that appear in your audience’s in-boxes to promote the new content in your content marketing campaigns.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites. The most common type of PPC is called search engine advertising, which allows marketers to post short text ads that appear when related keywords are typed into a search engine such as Google or Bing. PPC display ads, also known as banner ads, can appear on websites that accept advertising that is related to their content. A small fee is charged only when one of the text or banner ads is clicked, so with PPC you are essentially purchasing website visits.

PPC campaigns require upfront keyword research that is best done by a digital marketing specialist. Google does provide tutorials so that everyone can learn to do keyword research on their own, but it’s time-consuming to learn how to research and select the most effective keywords and then to bid for those words and phrases. And Google changes the best techniques for success all the time, so it’s a lot to keep up with!

PPC is more expensive than the other digital marketing strategies mentioned above because you’ll need to spend money with Google and ideally hire a digital marketing specialist to help you set up your campaign. But your Google budget is very easy to control and can be as low as several hundred dollars per month — when the monthly budget runs out the ad will simply stop running until the following month. And if generating leads and increasing visibility is the primary goal of your marketing campaign, the investment is definitely worthwhile.


  • Don’t forget to monitor and track your PPC results — the results of each campaign will be the most important factor in deciding how to optimize your next PPC campaign.
  • Target your campaign tightly! Misidentifying your audience or casting too wide of a net will waste a lot of time and money as you will be charged each time someone clicks through to your website. Tracking your data on a weekly basis will help you refine your target audience and ensure you are only driving people to your site who truly want to be there.
  • Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram are the best places to put your PPC money due to their vast reach, cost-effective pricing, and ability to target extremely specific audiences.

Stephanie Elliott, Marketing Intern