Digital marketing for limited budgets

Digital marketing is a great opportunity for charities to reach a wider audience online in order to generate more support and raise awareness. Unfortunately, there are many charities missing out on this opportunity due to the belief that you need a large budget for digital marketing to work. This is not the case and digital marketing, when done correctly, is not only very cost-efficient, but some opportunities will cost nothing but your time, says MCM Net marketing manager Paige Jones.

Focus on Organic

If you’re looking for ideas on what you can do without spending any of your funds, organic is key. This section will focus on making the most of organic social media, as well as how to increase your organic website traffic through search engine optimisation.


Having a strong social media presence is vital for any charity looking to raise awareness and reach new supporters. With planning and preparation, you can keep your social media feeds fresh and engaging. Start planning a month in advance, produce a calendar which contains posts for each day and prepare where you can by creating graphics/images ahead of time. You could even consider using a scheduling tool which allows you to load all of your planned posts and set them to go live as required.

Planned/scheduled content should also be supplemented with ad-hoc, responsive content such as retweeting/sharing relevant news or reacting to developments in the cause behind your organisation.

It’s important to use a variety of media; a combination of images, graphics and videos will help to engage followers as well as allow you to tell your story. Social media is a great platform to show the personality of your organisation and provide a real ‘behind the scenes’ feel.


The process of increasing your website’s organic visibility on search engines and therefore increasing traffic is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If this is not something you are currently practising on your website, here are a few initial on-site activities you can begin with:

  • Remove duplicate content from your website
  • Research keywords to include in new content
  • Optimise existing website content to include researched keywords where suitable
  • Check that your website and new pages are indexed by Google, which basically means they have been added into Google search
  • Run a test on user experience
  • Ensure all of your images have ALT text
  • Check your URLs (the shorter the better, URLs should be a strong indication of the page content.)

There are lots of tools available that can help with this process including SEO Quake, which will audit a number of SEO factors such as titles and headings. This audit will help you to see what SEO activities should be completed as a matter of importance.

SEO, however, is not a quick process and can often take 6 months or so to have an effect. You shouldn’t expect to see results that translate into an increase of website traffic from these activities immediately.

Pay to reach a wider audience on social


If you have a post on social media which you feel will really generate interest, you can put a budget behind it and boost it to the wider audience. This is a simple way of gaining exposure in the timelines of users that do not already follow you in order to raise awareness and potentially gain new followers. You can even select audience demographics in order to narrow down who will see your post and target the users you feel are most likely to interact or engage.

With boost posts, you are in complete control of the budget – you can boost a post with just a couple of pounds. Once a boost post activity is complete, you will have access to analytics which tell you the number of people who viewed your post as well as how many clicks, likes, shares it received.

Free Google advertising for charities

All charities should be taking advantage of Google Ad Grants. Put simply, it’s the equivalent of over £7,500 worth of free Google Ads.

The Google Ad Grant gives your charity the chance to be seen in the ads section of the Google search results for search terms that are relevant to your organisation. This offers great online exposure and will help drive relevant traffic to your website in the hope that they will then go on to read more about your cause, sign up to your newsletter, donate or register as a volunteer; depending on what your goals are.

The Google Ad Grant does have a variety of policies in place in order to protect the quality and relevance of ads being served to users. It is therefore important to ensure that if you are managing your Ad Grant in house, you should first access relevant training. Failure to adhere to Ad Grant policies can put your account at risk of suspension meaning you can have the free advertising temporarily removed until compliance is reached.

To summarise, if you have no digital marketing budget but want to trial some initial activity, you should focus on organic to get your cause in front of your target audience. You should also sign-up to the Google Ad Grant (if you have not already done so). If you do have a small amount of budget available and want to see what it can help you achieve, then make sure that you are boosting your social media content at a minimum.

If you need help with maximizing your digital marketing budget, would like access to free digital marketing training or would like to discuss Google Ad Grant management, please get in touch with MCM Net on 01732 368120 or contact us here. MCM Net is a Google Partner and a member of the Google Ad Grants Certified Professionals Community with extensive experience in helping charities to increase online exposure and reaching their goals through digital marketing.

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