Digital Marketing Strategies for SMEs on a Tight Budget
20 Feb 2019
1 Min Read

If you’re reading this, you’re very likely interested in improving your brand’s digital marketing without spending a lot of money. Here’s how you can carry out effective digital marketing on a tight or zero budget.

First, whatever you do, do not jump right in! You should have a plan and at least an idea about these three things:

1. Even on your tight (or no) budget, determine the maximum amount that you’re willing to spend.

2. Who is your target audience, where are they hanging out (what social platforms) and what are they searching for?

3. What you are trying to accomplish with digital marketing — have clear goals.

Take your time and figure those things out because otherwise, the following points will just be like Malorie from Bird Box taking random shots without aim. Ready? Let’s go!

List your business

Yellow Pages, for instance — one of Malaysia’s leading local business directories — allows you to list your local business so that potential customers can easily find you online. You can even go a step further and list your business profile with Google My Business.

Leverage your existing contacts

Consumers are more likely to listen to the people they have in their friend circles rather than businesses trying to sell products or services to them. Tap into your existing contacts and customers by offering small deals to encourage them to share their experience using your brand.

Reach out to influencers

Influencers are people who can multiply the effect of people listening to other people by several thousand (or million) times. The good news is that they don’t even have to be paid! Just offer them your product or service to test and they can review or recommend it to their followers.


If you are not spending money on advertising your brand, you would be depending on what we call inbound marketing — you will have to create something that drives visitors to your website. Interesting and engaging content on your site (text, images and/or videos) about your industry or business can serve as magnets to attract customers to your brand website.

Strengthen your SEO

Effective inbound marketing means that your brand website must incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), enabling your site to be easily found on search engines like Google or Bing. Your earlier research into what customers are searching for should provide you with the keywords that define how you SEO-proof your website.

Stream live video

You have a smartphone with a camera? Great! Videos are still one of the highest consumed content by Malaysians, a great incentive for you to shoot a few creative and engaging videos about your brand. Again, your research into who your customers are and what you are trying to achieve will guide the kind of video you create and for whom.


Social media

This is how you can get the word (and videos and anything else) about your brand seen by potential customers. Once you have selected a platform that your target audience is on, all you’ve got to do is post your interesting content at regular intervals. You should mix your original content with content from other sources so that you do not oversell.

Participate in forums

People who have something in common usually create groups around these interests. Online, these are usually forums that can be stand-alone websites with sections for different interests or even Groups on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Internet access

Okay, this is not free but it is essential. You will need fast and reliable Internet connection to have effective digital marketing. Internet providers like unifi include additional services (such as digital marketing tools) — tailored to Malaysian SMEs — that go beyond just affordable Internet access.

There, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on digital marketing for your SME because if you get these (mostly) free methods right, they are very effective. All you need to do now is take the time to implement them.

In our next post, we highlight some of the top digital marketing buzzwords, like SEO and CRO and SEM, and what they mean. Stay tuned!

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What is an influencer?
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Uh oh, that’s not quite right…
A social media personality.
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