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Digital marketing is your best friend. It allows you to interact and engage with your targeted audiences in real time. When executed correctly, it can help your business grow. There are a variety of digital marketing strategies and it is ideal to implement as many of them as possible, but how do you choose the most effective ones when working with a budget? Digital marketing does not have to break the bank. Actually, there are numerous methods, perfect for a tight pocket. Here are four budget-friendly digital marketing tips.

Tip 1: Blogging
With the right tools and knowledge, a successful blog can cost little to nothing in enhancing search engine presence. To enhance legitimacy, it is highly suggested to have a blog with a domain. Once a domain and host is in place there are numerous ways to manage a successful blog. To start off it is a good idea to come up with a posting schedule rather than posting at different times with no pattern. Sticking to a schedule is important because readers become accustomed to the posting timing, therefore making it easier to continue following the blog.

Regarding schedule, it’s a good idea to try and be consistent with blog postings. When a reader enjoys a blog they desire frequency, which can upkeep a strong following. That isn’t to say that each posting needs to be long- it is actually better to keep the postings short but consistent or even part of a series. With consistency comes persistence. Blogs do not become successful overnight. Persistence with frequent quality postings is the key to a blog’s success.

Lastly, the topic of the blog should be of deep interest to the writer because he/she can lose interest quickly if not. Being passionate about your topics and staying relevant with your topics is important to maintain a strong blog following. 

Tip 2: Bing Adwords
Google has dominated the search-engine world; however, we must not forget that there are other alternatives that link users to information. Take Bing as a prime example. Not only are 30 percent of total searches in the United States are conducted on the Yahoo Bing Network (YBN), Bing also powers mainstream technology searches such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon and Twitter. Why should you pay attention to Bing? Bing’s main advantage allows users to search engine market with cost in mind, as the cost per click fee is significantly cheaper compared to Google AdWords. According to a study conducted in 2013, SEM on YBN was between 76 percent to 90 percent inexpensive in six major categories: shopping, financial services, travel, education, computer and internet and business.

This presents a real opportunity to small business owners to experiment and to identify historically proven profitable searches. Once a business has become familiar with the process of SEM and has narrowed down effective key phrases or words to focus on, the process can be translated over to Google’s platform when a business is in need of greater volume and has bigger marketing dollars.

Tip 3: Email Marketing
Email marketing is a crucial element for a successful digital marketing plan. Email marketing helps build brand awareness, generates leads and most importantly revenue. It is also an integral part of maintaining your digital customer relationships. Staying in touch with past customers and making sure they continue to return is key and both can be done with email marketing. And these marketing efforts don't need to be costly. Save money and avoid purchasing email lists by creating an enticing email marketing campaign or gated offers that people willingly opt-in to.

That being said, your website should have an opt-in email form that is clearly visible. It is also important to train employees to capture up-to-date emails from your guests when they are checking in or out. Your employees should be able to educate the guests on the benefits of subscribing to your email list. When creating email campaigns, research email marketing services such as iContact or MailChimp. These services allow you to create beautiful emails and to monitor success inexpensively. Once you have implemented cost effective email marketing strategies, we find that it would be worth spending money on dynamic content personalization (DCP) to take your email marketing efforts to the next level. DCP is able to deliver specific content to leisure, business or international travelers. A highly personalized email can leave the recipient feeling more valued, making them more motivated to book a future stay.

Tip 4: Facebook Ads
Facebook is your digital marketing best friend. As much as people will try to say it’s becoming outdated, Facebook is still completely relevant. It’s actually even better than before. In 2016, Facebook made significant changes-- all incredibly useful as a digital marketer! Facebook redesigned how business pages look focusing on a cleaner, more user-friendly interface. Customers can easily click through photos, send messages and find business hours, but also are able to easily distinguish that it is in fact, a business page. But that’s not all. Facebook took one of SxSW’s hottest trends, Periscope, and turned it into its very own live video system, Facebook Live. Instead of having a separate app, everything you could ever need is now on your Facebook timeline.

Sponsoring posts for as little as $3, you can spread your reach up to 820 people; you can select your audience and how much you want to pay. For $1 per day, for two weeks, you can spread your reach by up to 3,900 people. Investing $1 a day is something that won’t break the bank, but can help further your message. In June, Facebook introduced Dynamic Ads for Travel, which have been beta tested by various travel brands including InterContinental Hotel Group and Marriott. The Dynamic Ads for Travel's destination catalog allows brands to show images of destinations in their ads, which allows for retargeting and maximizing booking.

As stated in Skift.com, Trivago and IHG have been using Dynamic Ads since May and have experienced higher performance with their Facebook advertising, including higher conversion, click-through rates, and loyalty programs. This is a key aspect of digital marketing, because about 20 percent of the time, travels are on their smartphones scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Not only is Facebook more relevant than ever, it’s also one of the easiest ways to digital market to people of all ages, especially on a budget.

Today, society is reliant on the smartphone for daily life consumption. When considering these four tips, be conscious that these efforts are all mobile friendly. According to eMarketer, by 2019, mobile advertising will account for 72 percent spending in all digital display advertisements. In light of the tips provided here, marketers can take-away these two final points: mobile will continue to influence consumers and digital marketing doesn’t have to break the bank.

About The Authors

Boston University

Junyue Hu, Danielle Simpson, Richard Kwok, Megan Chacon-Diaz, Kaitlyn Tran

Special thanks to Leora Lanz's Digital Marketing for Hospitality class at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration for providing this series for our readers.

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