Digital Advertising Costs You Need To Know For Budgeting


Digital Advertising Cost of Investment in Singapore

Whenever the subject of digital advertising comes up, the most common question that we always ask is, how much does it cost? There isn’t a definite answer to this question given the fact that digital advertising costs typically depend on the size of your business, your target audience, and how much money you have at your disposal to spend on advertising.

Arguably, the most incredible thing about digital advertising costs is the fact that you can work even with the smallest budget. Therefore, digital marketing is an excellent option for small businesses, which have been priced out of traditional advertising methods such as running TV and newspaper ads.

For small businesses, a dollar saved in operating costs is a dollar earned. However, an extra dollar invested in advertising could be crucial to the growth of your business. Investing in digital advertising is one of the best decisions that you can ever make. Digital advertisement can help you reach thousands of targeted customers in a matter of hours.

Many businesses remain apprehensive as far as the incorporation of digital advertising in their marketing campaigns is concerned. In traditional advertising, costs are often fixed. This isn’t the case in digital advertising whereby you decide on the price that you wish to pay for your advertising. Before starting a digital marketing campaign, you need to set aside a budget. Here are some digital advertising costs that you need to know about for budgeting purposes.

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Google ads are one of the most effective digital marketing strategies for online businesses. However, before any company starts using this strategy, the big question has always been, “what is the cost of Google Ads advertising?”. The fact is that there is no definite answer to this question since there are many factors that affect the cost of Google ads. Therefore, the prices vary.

Its AdWords and Pay-Per-Click campaigns can help your business make the most of the opportunities that abound online. PPC ads are priced on a cost-per-click basis. This implies that you will be charged every time someone clicks on your ads.

The cost per click of ads is typically calculated on the fly each time your ad pops up. This process is known as ad auction. The process helps Google to decide which ads should be displayed when Internet users perform a keyword search. Ad auctions similarly help Google to determine the order of ranking the ads, and the amount that online advertisers should pay per click. Nevertheless, the average cost of CPC across all industries is approximately S$2. So, any small or medium-sized company spends about S$7000 to S$8000 on Google ads monthly.

The competitive landscape in part determines your cost per click and ad position. Similarly, your maximum bid (the maximum amount you are willing to pay per click), and the Quality Score of how good your ads are, also determines how much you will pay.

A higher Quality Score raises your rank thus lowering your cost per click. To run a Google AdWords campaign, you need a budget of SGD 500 to SGD 5,000. The cost per click in these advertising campaigns is between SGD 2 and SGD 15.

Now let’s look at the factors that affect the cost of Google Ads.

Types of Ads

Google offers different types of Ads, and each of them has a different CPC, as shown below.

Shopping ads– For these types of ads, Google charges marketers according to the type of products they deal with. However, this ad is now free for most advertisers.

Search ads– These are the most common types of Google ads, and it has the highest average CPC.

Display Network ads– These are the cheapest types of Google ad, but also the least effective.

Device Targeting

When it comes to Google ads, the type of device you are targeting affects its cost significantly. In B2C businesses, mobile targeting is generally expensive. On the other hand, B2B businesses incur more advertising costs when targeting PCs.

Your Niche

Your niche is also another significant determinant of Google ads costs. The average CPC for some industries tends to be higher than others due to the level of competition.

For instance, the gambling and insurance industries are highly competitive. As a result, the average cost for each click can be up to S$100 for some keywords. However, the investment is worth it since you will get a higher ROI.

Bidding Strategy

Google offers different types of bidding strategies, and each of them has distinct objectives. For this reason, your Google costs will also vary depending on the type of strategy you choose, as discussed below.

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click– In this strategy, Google automatically adjusts your manual bids to boost your conversion rates while still maintaining the cost-per-conversion. However, you can spend more on your bids if you wish, but your ROI must be constant.

Target CPA– Here, you need to choose a CPA, and Google will try to get you the highest possible conversions. This is the best way to control your advertisement expenditure, but Google may occasionally bid higher than your target CPA.

Target Search Page Location– It is among the most expensive but effective bidding strategies. In this strategy, Google automatically adjusts your bids so they can appear on the first page.

Smart bidding– This is a bidding strategy where Google uses machine learning technology to optimise your bids. You can also use this strategy to automatically lower or raise your bids.

Target return on ad expenditure – In this strategy, Google allows you to set the amount of revenue you would wish to get from your ads. Google will then adjust the bids automatically to achieve your desired outcome. This strategy is essential as it enables you to have more control over your ROI.

Target Outranking Share– In this strategy, you choose a competitor’s website that you wish to outrank, and Google modifies your bids to make this happen.

Maximise conversions– This is a strategy whereby Google maximises your conversion rates according to your budget, leading to a higher CPC.

Maximise clicks– In this is bidding strategy Google tries to bring more people to your site and but you will have to pay more.


The times you plan your adverts to appear will influence how much they cost. If most businesses in your sector want to advertise simultaneously, the competition will be high, and ad costs will skyrocket.

Advertising during off-peak hours might help you save on advertisement costs, but you have to closely monitor the statistics since it’s pointless to run advertisements that no one sees.

Facebook Advertising Costs

Facebook is the best advertising platform for a business in any industry, especially when operating on a tight budget. Studies indicate that advertisers spent SGD 33.75 billion on Facebook ads in 2017 alone. The perception that Facebook ads can give your business means that you should factor in when coming up with your digital advertising budget.

The average cost of CPC on Facebook is about S$1.5 for businesses in any niche. However, this platform sometimes charges differently according to what your ad campaign focuses on.

If your ad campaign majorly focuses on impressions, then the cost of advertising will be S$5 for every 1000 impressions. If you are interested in earning likes, you’ll have to pay S$0.7 for every like. Finally, if your goal is to get many people to download and install your ad, you’ll pay S$4 per download.

Facebook advertising costs

The cost of Facebook advertising is also influenced by different factors, as discussed below.

Ad objective– Different ad campaigns serve different purposes, including promoting brand awareness and increasing conversion rates. Ads aiming at increasing conversion rates tend to cost more than ads aiming to create awareness.

Ad placement– The location where you place your ads on Facebook also determines its cost. You can either automate ad placement or select a suitable location manually.

Timing– A Facebook ad may have different costs during different times of the day or seasons. During peak hours, the ad tends to cost more. Similarly, ads will cost more when businesses compete for customers’ attention during seasonal events like Christmas.

Ad quality– Your ad’s relevance score has a significant impact on your advertising costs. Therefore, if you want to reduce your advertisement costs, ensure you create adverts that engage customers and meet their expectations.

Bidding strategy– The bidding strategy you choose also has an impact on your advertising costs. However, you can lower your bidding costs by utilizing an automated bidding strategy to ensure you get high-quality bids to boost your score.

Your niche– Your industry has an impact on your advertising costs. For instance, the advertisement cost for highly competitive industries like finance is generally high compared to the clothing industry.

Audience– If many businesses compete for the same audience as you, your cost of advertising will also increase.

Ad budget– The amount of money you have set aside for budgeting greatly determines your advertisement costs. While allocating enough money for advertisement allows for more flexibility, you should not set a budget beyond your financial ability.

Numerous options are available as far as Facebook advertising is concerned. The following are some of the Facebook campaigns that you should incorporate into your budget.

Like Campaigns

Your page and posts will get likes from Facebook users. Nonetheless, it is hard to tell whether those who like your page and posts are really interested in buying whatever you are selling. Facebook Like campaigns will help you pinpoint users who like your page and are also interested in your business.

When budgeting for this campaign, keep your budget low, starting with around SGD 50 for three or four-day runs. You spend a total of SGD 50 per campaign with the expected cost per like being SGD 1. A Like campaign will boost engagement on your Facebook page as well as ensuring that whatever new likes that you get translate to business opportunities.

Boosted Posts

For your Facebook campaigns to be successful, your posts must reach as many people as possible. Relying on organic reach alone may not give your posts the visibility that they need. Boosted posts come in handy since they enable your posts to be seen by almost everyone who is within your reach.

You should limit your boosting to your fan base. Targeted people that are outside your current fan base can be reached through traditional Facebook advertisements. When you incorporate boosted Facebook posts in your digital advertising, expect to spend an average of SGD 10 to SGD 30 per boosted post.

Traditional Facebook Advertising

When it comes to traditional Facebook advertisements, it is good practice to start small before you gradually increase your advertising budget. Throwing a large amount of money towards Facebook advertising can end up costing you even more for every lead.

Facebook advertising allows you to test different target groups and ads gradually with less money before increasing the expenditure on those that seem to work. If you decide to incorporate traditional Facebook advertisements in your digital campaigns, you should allocate at least SGD 10 to SGD 20 per day towards it. You can allocate even more money if your budget allows. In traditional Facebook advertising, the expected average cost per lead is SGD 3 to SGD 5.

Instagram Advertising Costs

Instagram has morphed into one of the most essential digital advertising platforms by virtue of being among the most popular social media networks. It has over 1billion active monthly users making it an effective platform for creating brand awareness through Instagram ads.

If you are trying to reach new followers and users, Instagram offers you a way of doing so. Since Instagram is Facebook-owned, its ads cost almost as much as Facebook ads.

You should follow the same strategy and budget that you used on your Facebook ads to advertise on Instagram. 

The CPC for all Instagram metrics is about S$0.4-S$0.7. However, if your niche is highly competitive, you will pay approximately S$2.5.

Instagram also charges differently for all bidding models. For CPM, Instagram charges all advertisers between S$2-S$2.5. When it comes to CPE, marketers are required to pay between S$0.08- S$0.04. From these figures, you can see that Facebook charges two times higher for CPM than what Instagram charges.

Nevertheless, Instagram is still more expensive when it comes to advertising compared to Facebook. However, you can try and save on Instagram advertising costs by doing the following.

  • Use automatic ad placements
  • Set clear objectives according to your budget
  • Conduct a test on your Instagram ads

Regardless of the high Instagram advertising cost, most businesses still prefer using it because of the numerous benefits it offers. Such benefits include:

  • Instagram ads have a greater CTR
  • Instagram ads have high engagement rates
  • You can include external links in your adverts
  • Instagram allows you to post long advertisement videos
  • It allows for advanced targeting
  • Instagram ads have high conversion rates

Like other platforms, the cost of advertising on Instagram is also affected by several factors, as discussed below.

Budget– Your budget greatly determines your Instagram advertising cost. With a lower budget, Instagram’s technology will take time to learn and comprehend your campaign. It will also take longer to monitor how your audience interacts with your advertisements.

However, if you want to increase the effectiveness of your Instagram campaigns, consider allocating more money for your advertisements.

Targeting– Targeting also influences your Instagram advertising cost. This includes the type of audience you are targeting and the level of competition with other businesses. The more specific your goals are, the more expensive your advertising will be. 

This platform, however, offers advanced targeting options including:

  • Custom audiences
  • Automated targeting
  • Location
  • Demographics
  • User behaviour
  • Interests

CTR– If your CTR is low, the system may think there is a gap between your ads and your target audience. Therefore, you may notice an increase in advertising costs as the system tries to improve your CTR.

Projected action rate– Sometimes Instagram tries to evaluate how your customers are likely to interact with your content. If the projection rate is high, it will lower your bidding amount.

Expect to spend an average of SGD 10- SGD 20 per day on Instagram ads. For optimal reach, slowly increase your budget by $5 or $10 days depending on your budget and the timeframe of your campaign.

Pinterest Advertising Costs

Pinterest is no longer a site for people to get ideas. Nowadays, most businesses use this platform for advertising. Nonetheless, it can be perfect for small businesses. 

There are many different forms of advertisement on Pinterest, as discusses below.

Image- This is an ad format where you display your adverts in a square or vertical picture format

Carrousel– Here, you need to combine different images so customers can scroll through to learn more.

Video– This ad style uses attractive images to engage your customers better and enlighten them about your business and what you offer.

Collections– It involves posting videos that contain pictures of your products and illustrations on how to use them.

Shopping– With this type of ad, you may highlight certain products by transforming them into pins and encourage your customers to purchase them from your website.

Pinterest advertising costs depend on your goals of advertising, as discussed below.


Campaigns aiming to increase brand awareness are charged according to CPM. The average cost per 1000 impressions is between S$1.5-S$4.


When it comes to engagement, Pinterest charges marketers anything between S$0.07 and S$1 for all sponsored pins.

Website Traffic

When your campaign aims to boost website traffic, Pinterest charges advertisers according to CPC. The best thing about this strategy is that you will only pay when customers click on your adverts. The average CPC for Pinterest is S$0.07-S$1.

If you choose to undertake Pinterest advertising as part of your digital marketing strategy, you should first test how useful it is to you. In this regard, start with a small budget before increasing it accordingly.

For a start, plan on spending an average of SGD 20 to SGD 30 per day. A Pinterest advertising campaign is likely to cost you between SGD 100 and SGD 500. The expected cost per click in Pinterest advertising is between SGD 0.2 and SGD 1.

SEO Advertising Costs

SEO entails improving the ranking of pages on your website in search engine results. The more your site gets optimised, the more you will attract interested visitors and prospective clients. Unless you have previously managed an SEO campaign, it is recommended that you hire a digital marketing agency to manage your SEO campaigns.

Similar to other platforms, there is no definite cost of SEO advertising. However, the estimated monthly cost of SEO price lies between S$500 and S$5000, depending on the project’s magnitude. If you have a one-time project, expect to spend between S$3700 and S$23,000.

Below are some of the factors that determine the cost of SEO.

The number of pages– If your website contains multiple pages, you need to optimise each of them to ensure they rank highly in the search engines. The more the number of pages you optimise, the higher the SEO cost.

Link acquisition– The number of quality backlinks in a site determines its rank in the SERPs. However, you may need to pay to acquire these backlinks from authoritative websites. So, the more links you acquire, the more you pay.

However, you can do the following to lower the cost of acquiring links.

  • Ask any of your friends who has a blog related to your business to link to your website
  • Create quality content for your website
  • Ask influencers to mention your business on their social media platforms

The level of experience of your SEO agent– Your SEO agent‘s level of expertise is also a determinant of SEO cost. Experienced companies have the right knowledge and skills to ensure your SEO strategies are successful. Therefore, they tend to charge more for their services.

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The geographical location of your business– The location of your business also influences your SEO cost. For instance, if your business operates in a place with many businesses similar to yours, your SEO agents must work harder to ensure your business ranks higher in search engines. As a result, they will charge you more.

Also, if your business has branches in other regions, you have to ensure that the page for each location is optimised thus increasing SEO costs.

Time– Time also determines the cost of SEO. For instance, a company may decide to pay for SEO services either hourly, weekly, or monthly.

The time a company chooses depends on the advertisement budget. However, the monthly plan is the most preferred since SEO is a continuous process, and your agent has to closely monitor the campaigns to ensure they are a success.

SEO can cost anything between SGD 500 and SGD 5,000 per month. This will depend on the number of web pages that you wish to optimize.

Digital Advertising Costs You Need To Know For Budgeting 1

Budgeting for Your Digital Advertising Campaigns

When coming up with a digital advertising budget, you should think of the entire project as an investment. Your digital advertisement spend should have a definite impact on your company’s profit margins and revenue growth.

You should keep in mind the fact that in a digital advertising campaign, everything is linked to performance. For instance, in pay-per-click ads, you will only be paying for results. This means that in case nobody engages with your ads, you won’t incur any costs.

When formulating your digital advertising budget, you should always start small. This way, it will be easy to garner benchmark data about the effectiveness of your campaigns. Similarly, you minimize potential risks if you start with a small advertising budget.

You should budget for at least ten clicks per day for a minimum of one week. Even though you can plan for a lower number of clicks, ten clicks per day will enable you to get the initial data that you need to foretell and make the most of your future digital advertising campaigns.

Most networks take several ways to approve ads and consequently rank clicks and impressions. Therefore, the one-week minimum ensures that your digital campaign is up and running before it gets ranked.

Even though you can reduce your budget after the initial trials with paid advertising, it is advisable that you wait until you have achieved the statistical significance, (which comes with 70 clicks during the trial week) before making changes to your keywords. This way, you will have an idea about the most suitable keywords that you should use. It will also be easy to refine your digital advertising campaigns.

Budgeting for Clicks

To determine the cost of clicks campaigns, you should multiply the average cost of each click by your campaign duration and daily click target. If you are using Facebook advertising, the average cost per click is SGD 1.72. Therefore a one-week campaign will cost $1.72 × 10 daily clicks × 7 days = $120 per week.

When managing your Google Ad campaigns, the average cost per click is SGD 2.32. If you are looking to incorporate these campaigns into your digital marketing strategy, you need a minimum weekly budget of SGD 2.32 × 10 daily clicks × 7 days = SGD 160 per week.

Generally, these numbers are just averages since some businesses are likely to have higher costs, especially those that are in competitive industries and niche target markets. To give your campaign the best shot of success, you should always have a large initial budget. This will prevent a collapse of your campaigns in instances where you experience shortfalls.

How Do You Optimize Your Campaigns for Profitability?

After you have let your campaign run for at least seven days, you will get some interesting data points that can help you evaluate whether digital advertising is sensible for your business. Likewise, it helps you set your budget in a manner that enables you to optimize niches in the market.

If your perceived gain from digital advertising outweighs the costs involved and supports customer growth, it will make sense for you to invest more in your digital advertising efforts. The U.S. Small Business Association recommends that you allocate 7% to 8% of your total business revenues towards digital advertising.

If you fail to see the desired results from a digital advertising campaign or fail to get to that point where your campaign doesn’t support an increasing customer base, it makes sense to dial down your campaigns to a sustainable level. For instance, you can dial down to 5 clicks per day compared to the usual 10.

Unless it is apparent that your digital ads are not working, it will be appropriate to leave on some baseline advertising spend so that you can maintain brand awareness as well as continuously test your product offering and messaging.

When it comes to budgeting for digital advertising, you should always learn from doing. Always lean toward your instincts and do what you feel is right for your business because ultimately, each campaign will perform differently. You should leverage the power of digital advertising, which lies in its flexibility.

In digital advertising, it is easy to dial down your expenditure or even substitute keywords that are not providing the desired results. The flexibility of your budget means that you can set your budget according to the needs of your business rather than figures that are set by ad platforms.

How to Lower Digital Advertising Cost and Still Get High ROI

Already, we have extensively discussed the various digital advertising costs you should budget for when venturing into the online Singapore business industry. How you plan and execute the campaigns will determine the return of investment that you will get.

Now, let us shift gears and look at expert tips on how to lower digital advertising costs and still getting high ROI. Managing your marketing budget is crucial as it will cushion you from financial turmoil and ensure that you always have enough capital to support your operations.

  • Strive to Know Everything About Your Customer

What does the ideal customer want from your brand? Which service are they looking for? How can your product solve the customer’s current problem? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself when creating a marketing campaign.

Mistakes can have significant negative ramifications on your marketing budget. Having a clear understanding of the ideal customer will help you avoid them by making tactical and well-informed decisions. Leverage marketing automation software to capture and store all customer data in a secure database. Make sure that you update it regularly, as the market is dynamic.

If you have been doing surveys every three months, it’s time to change that and do it once or twice every month. The surveys will help you to stay abreast of any changes in the market and make the necessary changes to your marketing campaigns if the need arises.

  • Use PR for Brand Awareness

Public relation is still a viable way of communicating with the target customers. Unknown to most people is there is a difference between advertising and marketing and PR. Public relations strategies are meant to get other people to do the marketing for you. In contrast, advertising or marketing tells the customers how great your products or services are compared to the competitors.

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The awareness will catapult your brand to the next level by exposing your brand to thousands of potential customers. Here are some PR hacks that you can use to achieve this objective;

  • Identify public speaking opportunities such as conferences and request to give a talk
  • Use guerrilla marketing tactics such as street marketing and event ambushing
  • Develop a cordial relationship with journalists and reporters
  • Use paid and free PR wire services to launch products

There is no shortage of things that you can share to get the required traction. For instance, you can hire a content writer to write a whitepaper or press release. Launch a new product and convince the local reporters to feature it in the weekly blog.

All these simple strategies will complement and enhance your marketing communication strategies.

  • Content Repurposing

To get results from digital advertising, you need to have a robust content marketing strategy. You will need to allocate some funds to creating content, but the total cost is lower than PPC and other marketing strategies.

Commit yourself to create top-notch content that is relevant to not only your brand and what it offers but also to the customers. Research to know the interests of the current and potential customers. Find out which type of content resonates with them best and what search engines consider authority and rank highly.

Video content receives the highest engagement level than other types of content. Create succinct videos about your products and distribute them on social media platforms. User-generated videos and behind-the-scenes footage are loved by many and help you connect with prospects at a deeper level.

However, you will not always have enough time to create new content but cannot afford not to communicate the intended message. In such instances, consider repurposing the existing content to save time and still get results.

For instance, you can transform a blog that has not been getting much traffic into an infographic. Be sure to add visuals and the right colours in the infographic to grasp the audience’s attention. Go the extra mile also to share it on your social media pages. It should be properly optimised to be viewed on mobile devices.

  • Cut Spending on Banner Ads

Banner ads will help increase organic traffic and sales significantly. They are expensive to design and distribute and will take up a large portion of your budget more often than not. Reduce the cost by investing more in search engine marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. The three strategies are more affordable and will organically channel qualified leads to your website.

A website ranked at the top of the search engine results page gets 32.5% CTR (Click through rate) compared to other lowly ranked websites. Applying the best SEO practices and producing high-quality content will get your website to the top of SERPs.

The content published on the website should match the needs and interests of the audience. Again, research to know what the customers are looking for when using specific keyword phrases on Google and other search engines. Don’t just use text; spice it up with infographics and videos.

  • Leverage PDFs

Print advertising used to be effective in helping brands generate revenue. Not anymore, as most people rely on the internet as the primary source of information. Save the money you would have spent on brochure printing services by actively creating PDF versions of the brochures.

Distribute the PDF versions on your website via email and social media networks. You can also organise all the PDFs in SlideShare to make them accessible to more customers. The goal is to reduce the advertising costs and still get results; PDFs will pass the intended message and save money on print advertising and expensive online ads.

  • Carry Our Data Analysis

Every decision that you make related to your digital marketing campaigns should be based on market data. There is a plethora of software that you can use to collect and analyse market data on the fly. Find one that matches your brand and the goals that you want to achieve. Train the marketing team to use the tool to guarantee accuracy in decision-making and new campaigns.

The data will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your digital advertising campaigns. It will also help identify gaps in the market that you can leverage to scale up your brand to the next level. For example, the analysis will reveal customer behaviour trends and enable you to ride the wave before your competitors get wind about them.

More importantly, the data will inform innovation; that is, you will create innovative marketing strategies based on the customers’ demand for your products and services.

  • Have a Strategic Approach

One of the primary reasons why businesses fail to get results even after spending thousands of dollars in digital advertising is because the campaigns are not strategic. Set yourself from this group and join the winners by taking a strategic approach when developing digital advertising campaigns.

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Use analytical tools to identify the weak points or loopholes in the campaign and either fill or eliminate them. Focus your energy, time, and resources on the campaigns that drive the highest number of sales. Look at the campaigns that have potential but are not performing, and improve them.

  • Carry Out Market Segmentation

Market segmentation refers to analysing the available market data and creating groups or data clusters of the customers. Each segment should comprise customers who have the same interests and have other similarities such as age, location, social class, and education level.

The market segments should inform your decision to use a particular marketing strategy and to ditch the other. For example, if you have been using social media marketing and getting no results, maybe it’s because the customers are not active social media users.

Create a marketing campaign for each segment instead of one expensive marketing campaign for all the customers. That way, you will be able to carry out better market research and develop products or services that meet their needs amicably.

Word of mouth is still a powerful marketing mode; segmenting the market will increase the chances of customers in the same group discussing your products. Other prospects are likely to join in the conversation and visit your website to learn more about your brand.

  • Work on Client Retention

In a recent poll, 70% of businesses polled reported that the cost of retaining an existing customer is lower than the cost of acquiring a new customer. Only 30% of agencies and 40% of companies have the same budget for customer retention and acquisition.

Be different to stand out and get a higher cutting edge in the market. Do everything possible to impress the current customers to encourage them to buy from you regularly. Offer them incentives such as special discounts and offers during the holidays.

Such incentives will lure them into placing more orders and promote your brand through positive reviews on social media and word of mouth. You could also request some of them to create a short clip explain their experience using the product.

Post such videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat to spark a conversation. Note that online consumers trust reviews from real customers more than content from companies about a product.

If you are on a tight budget or want to reduce the amount of money you spend on digital advertising, start focussing more on providing the best customer service and engaging with the customers better to enhance the retention rate.

  • Embrace Market Automation

Market automation uses new generation software to automate marketing tasks that you previously used to do manually. The software reduces the human resource capital and saves time and money you would have spent on the activities.

Like the market research tools, make sure that you select a market automation tool that matches your brand and vision. The ideal software should be affordable, user-friendly, and compatible with the existing systems in the company.

Email Marketing Hacks for Brands that Are on a Tight Budget

Email marketing provides the highest return on investment (ROI) than any other digital marketing strategy. One dollar spent on email marketing offers an ROI of SGD 56 on average. With the number of email users expected to reach 4.3 billion by 2023, it’s not difficult to see why businesses allocate a large portion of their marketing budget to email marketing.

The main reason many businesses are yet to embrace this form of marketing is that they believe it’s expensive. Unknown to them is that there are several hacks that they can use to benefit from it without breaking the bank.

Here are inexpensive email marketing hacks that you can use when on a tight budget and still get good results.

1. Reduce the Dead Weight

A plausible reason why you have been spending thousands of dollars on email marketing and getting no results is that your email list has countless addresses of customers who are not interested or are no longer interested in your brand.

You would rather have 500 engaged customers on the list than 3,0000 addresses of people who will never purchase your product. When doing this form of digital advertising, engagement is more critical than the arbitrary number of email subscribers. The numbers don’t guarantee anything, and not every recipient will open the email.

Reduce the cost by cleaning up your list; we love referring to this process as reducing the dead weight. Your list should comprise prospects who are genuinely interested in learning more about your brand and the products you sell.

It’s impossible to tell whether people who are currently not engaged will change their minds and convert. Based on this fact, instead of just deleting the email addresses, put them in a separate inactive subscribers list. You can decide to surprise them with an offer every couple of months but don’t allocate any funds to them.

2. Use an Email Automation Software

As your business grows, you will realise that you will be spending more money on email marketing than before due to the influx of new customers and more frequent remarketing campaigns.

One sure way of reducing the cost is by stopping doing the tasks manually and investing in email automation software. Automation will save you hundreds of hours that you would have spent sending out the emails manually and save money for other equally important digital marketing activities.

Email marketing automation will come in handy in remarketing and new customers’ welcome sequencing and onboarding processes. It will help you create cordial relationships with the customers, thereby increasing the chances of visiting your website and converting.

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Another significant benefit of using automation software is that you will be able to personalise your emails. Online customers like doing business with brands that offer personalised experiences. You can also use the software to insert personal information such as the customer’s name in the emails instead of a generic “Hello” or “Hi.”

3. Complement the Campaigns with Social Media Marketing

There are more than 3.96 billion social media users in the world today. A viral video or ad will give your brand a significant boost. Social media integrate perfectly with email if you make the right steps. Use the current community on your social media pages to get more email subscribers.

Not all the followers will be open to joining the email list. Draw them in with discounts and freebies that are related to your product or services. The freebie should be something valuable and worth their time. Be sure to post that you sent an email in the pages to get the highest email open rate possible.

The success of email marketing is dependent on your creativity and how you engage with customers. You can increase the number of people who receive and open the email by sharing parts of the emails you sent out on the social media pages.

For instance, screenshots of information that you shared will show the followers who are yet to open the email what they missed out on. Followers who are yet to subscribe will be able to join the email list to get the information and maybe discounts that are offered to only the subscribers.

Some companies even share the subscription button on their Instagram and Facebook pages, do the same. Ensure that you include social media buttons in your emails to grow your community on the various networks.

4. Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most potent ways of passing marketing messages to customers without being too invasive. This form of communication with customers not only spurs engagement but also makes the message more memorable.

Customers are interested in knowing how you developed a particular product, your brand’s history, success stories from customers, and other information pieces that other brands are hesitant to share.

Using storytelling, you will get a higher return on investment as the message will encourage the customers to visit the website and place an order. Even if they don’t purchase the product immediately, rest assured that your message is home, and they will most likely come back and buy when they are ready.

With attention spans getting smaller by the day, you have to make sure that you pass the intended message fast. The average email open rate ranges from 15 to 20 seconds. You have probably been getting a low ROI because your email copy is not engaging enough.

It’s time to reverse this trend by using storytelling to get the attention of the customers. Use visuals to make the content spicy and easy to comprehend. Make sure of real anecdotes and expound on them to evoke positive emotions.

5. Embrace Mobile Optimisation

58% of people read their emails early in the morning, even before taking breakfast. You don’t want to ruin their day by sending out a poorly formatted email that is not accessible on mobile. Otherwise, your emails will either not be read or will be marked as spam.

Avoid such issues by making sure that all your emails are optimised for mobile.

A majority of people use their tablets and smartphones to read the email. If you have visuals such as an infographic, make sure that it’s optimised to adapt to different screen sizes. The contents of the visuals should also be easily readable.

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More importantly, a significant number of people still read their emails on a computer. Make sure that your email copy is also optimised for this group of customers.

The goal is to send out emails to customers who are interested in your brand and get results. If you succeed in lowering the amount of money you spend on email marketing but get little or no results, you won’t fully achieve that goal.

Tips for Budgeting for Content Marketing

Content marketing is a long-term investment from which you can earn huge benefits. It is crucial to identify tips to manage your budget successfully to gain the most value for your money.

Digital content marketing helps you earn your audience’s trust, keeps them engaged, generate high-quality leads that will ultimately increase the conversation rate for your brand. 

An effective content marketing strategy can boost your online visibility hence improved ranking in search engines such as Google. It will also assist in enhancing your Return on Investment (ROI). This will guide you in securing large budgets, which will influence all future content marketing ventures. 

Studies show that over 50% of businesses leverage content marketing which enables them to acquire six times more conversions for their business. On the contrary, poor budgeting results in a poor implementation that can negatively affect your business. 

For a better understanding of why content marketing works as a strategy, view it in terms of the buyer’s journey, which has three phases:

  • Awareness phase – a potential customer searches for a solution or information on your site
  • Consideration phase – the potential customer learns more about available options that exist, including products or services
  • Purchase phase – the potential customer converts and buys your product or service

Content marketing is scalable, and through the above phases, it attracts and converts potential customers into actual customers. Ensure to create and optimize content targeting audiences in each of the above stages.

What Content Marketing Budget Entails

  1. Marketing software – this entails social media management tools, email, and content marketing software
  2. Company employees – this entails an in-house content marketing team
  3. Freelancers – includes freelance content writers, SEOs, social media managers, copywriters that will boost content marketing efforts
  4. Time – Entails the timelines that freelancers and in0house teams will work with to achieve the targets
  5. Advertising – refers to paid advertising and promotions in the budget
  6. Miscellaneous production costs – any other expenses inquired in the process of content marketing.

1. Measure ROI and Adjust Your Expenditure

Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) is a crucial step in better managing your content marketing budget. Increased ROI enables you to set aside larger marketing budgets. The ROI acquired from content marketing will vary as you scale the business; this means your first 10 blogs might not earn substantial returns, but the next ten may break even and finally starts gaining revenue. 

ROI is the percentage of profit earned after subtracting results from each investment. In a formula format, it is:

ROI % = (Net Return on Investment / cost of investment) * 100

Here are some figures that you need when calculating ROI: 

  • Cost of goods sold (COGS) – the price inquired to produce a product or a service
  • Marketing investment/cost – all costs inquired for all marketing ventures, including advertisements on Google Ads or social platforms 
  • Revenue – refers to total income gained from sales generated from campaigns
  • Set and Track KPIs 

Research by Skilled indicates that over 85% of content marketers leverage content marketing to generate more sales. Therefore, it is crucial to track your content marketing campaigns to determine whether they drive growth.  

There are various ways to measure success. Here are some of the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for measuring your content marketing efforts:

Unique Page Visits

Identify and determine how many unique visits your site is receiving daily, weekly, and monthly.

Time on Page

Page visit is one thing, but a visitor staying on the page long enough to perform a given call-to-action (CTA) could be an indicator that your content was valuable enough to merit the attention. 


While the number of “shares” may be a vanity metric, they are essential to track to determine what platforms your target audience is mainly using.

Inbound Links

Inbound links increase your site’s traffic and improve your content credibility. It is also an indicator that other sites view you as an authority in your niche, hence helping you successfully achieve a higher spot in search engines.

Cost per Click (CPC)

It is crucial that you track the cost per click to determine your campaign’s ROI when promoting your content via pay-per-click ads or sponsored social media posts. 

Cost per Lead (CPL)

CPL measures the cost-effectiveness of your marketing campaigns in lead generation. 

Comments and Interactions

The comments on your posts indicate that your content is sparking conversions, hence impacting your readers. 

Conversation Rates

Ensure to optimize your content to increase your conversion rates and avoid the risks of losing valuable leads. 

Once you define your content marketing goals, choose a few KPIs’ that match your business model to measure success.

2. Automate Payments and Onboarding Documents 

Automating the freelancer’s onboarding process will save your time and contribute to increasing their productivity. You may consider the following:

  • Their contacts and payment details
  • Scope of work
  • Your brand’s standards
  • Software and tools of work
  • Payment process
  • Their contracts

3. Create Effective Workflows

Effective workflows increase productivity, enhances collaboration, and ensures clarity among team members. Examples of the workflow are:

  • The content manager creates a list of topics
  • Each writer is assigned a topic to work on
  • The writer creates the content outline
  • The content manager approves the outline
  • The writer writes and edits the content
  • An editor reviews and makes appropriate edits
  • The content is published and promoted

After identifying a workflow that works best for you, please share it with the content marketing team. You can then leverage tools to manage workflow such as ProofHubTrelloworkzone, and teamwork

4. Automate Vendor Management and SaaS

Automated subscription management services enable you to ensure all recurring payments are efficiently managed from a central place. They enable you to easily track and unsubscribe from any apps or software, not in use and avoid overpayments. 

In addition, this type of software gives updates when subscription fees increase, allowing you to make budget adjustments appropriately. Some areas where Subscription Flow services can assist digital marketing services to thrive include:

  • PPC—Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Google AdWords and Analytics Management
  • Web Designing
  • Digital Branding

5. Determine Funds for Levelling Technology and Marketing Skills

Investing in content marketing workshops, courses, and subscriptions increases marketing teams’ ability to communicate effectively and achieve the set targets. Leveraging technology will enable you to reach your target audience. By leveraging on data analysis and targeted messaging, you will be able to realize comprehensive gains and ROI. 

Factor these improvements in your content marketing strategy budget to gain optimal success.

Analyze Past Budgets for Cost-Effectiveness

Reviews from past budgets provide data that can assist you in determining what worked and what did not. You can use Google analytics, automated marketing systems, social media analytics to identify platforms and content types that generated the most leads and revenue. After which, you can:

  • Boost your best performers and cut out the less performing
  • Be flexible by creating room for changes when effective marketing strategies emerge

Put Into Consideration Your Company’s Size and Industry

It is more cost-effective for large companies to hire a content marketing agency, which entails a team of digital experts. Small and medium businesses should consider outsourcing or hire an in-house expert to produce quality videos, engaging articles, and excellent graphics for their content marketing.

Now more than ever, your business is likely to spend more on content marketing to top your niche. Ensure to incorporate new ideas and spend more time creating quality content on your own. 

6. Planning and Budgeting Tools

MS Excel and Google Sheets

MS Excel and Google sheets are free for use tools that you can customize to suit your business needs. They provide complete control over categories, organization, methods, and calculations to design a content marketing budget plan. The platforms are equipped with calculators that eliminate any technological error. You can create and maintain your budget in a timely and more organized manner; not to forget, Google Sheets are excellent for collaboration between teams.


FreeAgent tools can be used by small businesses or marketing teams to manage their finances. You can categorize transactions, manage expenses, forecast expenditures, as well as send proposals and invoices. With FreeAgent, you can keep track of your cash flows and collaborate with your budgeting team. 


More than 10,000 digital marketers use Allocadia software for their budgeting purposes. It is used to create plans, collaborate, and share with budgeting teams. During the budgeting stage, ensure to allocate content marketing finances based on the current budget, visualize investments, as well as create and update a strategic plan. 

You can then calculate your ROI once you have finalized the budgeting and marketing plans. The marketing performance dashboard provides data and insights to improve future marketing plans and budgets.

Hubspot Templates

Hubspot Templates are free classic budgeting spreadsheets. The eight templates will assist you in aligning your content marketing objectives, uncovering hidden costs, and prioritizing. The templates are customizable. Once you download them, you can choose and add spending categories relevant to your business. 

The budgeting templates assist you in managing your finances for content marketing, master marketing, paid advertising, public relations, product marketing, branding, and much more. HubSpot outlines potential expenditure opportunities, compares individual marketing efforts, and showcases a total marketing expenditure. 


Hive9 is a comprehensive tool that integrates marketing goals, plans, and budgets with your digital marketing campaigns enabling you to allocate budgets appropriately and measure success. 

It helps you plan your campaigns and measure the impact of your marketing revenue. You can compare the performance of two campaigns to determine which one performs better. It provides an analytics dashboard on email, websites, databases, campaigns, and pipeline performance. 

Hive9 helps determine your revenue sources at each stage to improve on your marketing. In addition, it will help you figure out the cost per marketing lead and sales qualified lead. It is the best platform for acquiring data to influence your budget decisions. 

Marketing Automation Tools

Some digital marketers use automation tools to create plans. With marketing automation platforms, you can create campaigns and set timelines for your marketing campaigns. These platforms collect data that provide insights based on budgets, expenditures and revenue earned. 

Since these tools are automated, once you set up the workflow, you can start marketing. Some of these tools help during the implementation marketing stage, while others can assist you in the early planning. 

Here is a list of automation tools that you can consider:

  • Salesforce pardot
  • Oracle Eloqua
  • Autopilot
  • HubSpot
  • Adobe marketing cloud

To optimize your content marketing strategies, identifying an optimal budget is a crucial way of streamlining your marketing efforts and maximize returns. Here are three simple steps to consider:

Setting Your Budget

Ensure your content marketing strategy aligns with your budget, which means getting clarity over your overall budget and determining how much to allocate content to generate high-impact campaigns.

Allocating Your Budget

Once you have established a budget to work with, allocate it based on your marketing priorities. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What am I looking forward to achieving with my content?
  • How will the content be distributed?
  • What tools or software do I need to implement my content plan?
  • How will I track and measure campaigns success?

With the above questions answered, you can define key performance indicators to help you determine areas that you can explore to maximize your investment return. 

Measure Marketing Results and Adjust Appropriately

Analyzing content marketing campaign results provides a way to make budget allocations effectively to boost your return on investment and curate high-impact content. Marketing Profs and CMI research show that 94% of digital marketers use metrics to measure their content performance, proving the importance of measuring your campaign’s performance. 

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How to Predict a Content Marketing Budget

There are two ways to go about it. One commonly used is deciding on a number to work with and stick with it, but this does not allow flexibility. 

The other way is reverse engineering your budget. Ideally, identify and establish your content marketing goals and work backward from there. Create an organic traffic growth model that will enable you to forecast your ROI from the marketing campaigns to gain insights on when to expect a return on investments. 

Bonus Info

Content marketing is an essential part of scaling your business; therefore, it is worth an investment. When starting, ensure to minimize your budget while spending enough to achieve the set objectives. 

Leverage tools and software that will enable you to keep track of your budgets and campaign performances. Make room for any improvements and use KPIs to determine the success of your goals.

Efficiently managing your content budget will enable you to gain the most value for your money through increased revenue. 


Your digital advertising should result in more business opportunities. Therefore, you should strike the right balance between advertising expenditure and results. This is why you should come with a budget that suits your business needs and aspirations to ensure that your digital advertising campaigns result in increasing returns for your business.

Strive to be different from the competitors by creating marketing campaigns that are unique and better connected to the customers. The first few days of running the digital campaign will undoubtedly be tricky and challenging. Nonetheless, you will see a clear picture of how far your budget can go and the number of new customers that you can attract with your digital ad campaign.  

We, MediaOne, can assist you with digital advertising costs estimation and budget as well as create a robust campaign that will catapult your business to the next level. Get in touch with us for more details about our Singapore digital marketing services. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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