Budget-Friendly Digital Marketing Strategies For 2024

Effective digital marketing doesn’t require a massive budget; it requires strategic thinking. Let me share some key strategies to maximise impact without breaking your marketing budget. These budget-friendly digital marketing strategies are based on the trends and tools from 2024.


Content Strategies

1️⃣ Develop Resonant Content

Develop content that resonates with your target audience and addresses their needs. This will drive organic traffic, enhance your online visibility, and improve your SEO.

Leverage organic tactics. For example, create a blog to establish thought leadership and improve your SEO. Elevate this further by repurposing this content in different formats.

2️⃣ Leverage Existing Content

Turn existing blog posts into a captivating video or an engaging eBook. This saves precious time and extends your content’s reach. Producing valuable content that addresses pain points and offers solutions builds trust. Creating content designed to address each stage of the buyer’s journey removes concerns and ultimately drives higher quality leads.

Data-Driven Strategies

1️⃣ Leverage Customer Data

Use the data you already have to better understand your customers. Analyse their behaviour, preferences, and feedback to optimise their website experience. Personalised experiences lead to higher engagement and conversions.

2️⃣ Seamless CRM Integration

Ensure your CRM data flows seamlessly into your digital marketing tools, including analytics and paid channels. This enables efficient and precise targeting and effective campaign management. Hubspot provides a free plan for their CRM. Another free CRM is Odoo, even their tagline is Free and Amazing 🙂 sounds cool, right?

3️⃣ Understand Your Metrics

Regularly monitor traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Utilise these datapoints to reallocate resources effectively. For example, revise high-bounce content or amend calls-to-action to improve engagement and conversions. Test one element at a time for methodical progress and clearer learnings.

Free and Low-Cost Tools

1️⃣ Utilise Free Tools for E-Commerce

For e-commerce businesses, take advantage of free tools like Google My Business, Meta Commerce, and Microsoft Bing Shopping. These platforms can help increase your online presence without additional costs.

2️⃣ SEO

There are many strategies and tactics you can do on your own to uplevel your website to appear on page 1 of Google. Make sure all your headings consist of keywords to optimise your page ranking. Google can read words; it cannot read images, so adding a weekly blog or podcast to your repertoire is one of the best things you can do for your SEO.

Improving your website’s search engine ranking can be done without spending money by using free SEO tools. Google Search Console is a must-have tool that helps you keep an eye on your site’s performance in Google Search results, showing you how to fix any issues.

Another useful tool is Google Analytics (GA4), which tracks your website traffic and user actions, giving you a clear picture of how visitors use your site.

For finding good keywords, Ubersuggest provides detailed data on keyword volume, competition, and suggestions, making it easier to choose the best keywords to target. These tools offer a solid base for boosting your site’s SEO without any cost.

3️⃣ Email Marketing

Implement Email Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to a tight budget, try email marketing. Don’t underestimate your existing database. Segment your audiences and create tailored content curated for them.

Implement email marketing campaigns with tailored content. Personalised emails that offer value to the recipient can significantly boost open and click-through rates, fostering customer loyalty and driving sales.

Bulk Email Sending Tools


Mailchimp offers a free plan that allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers. This tool provides a user-friendly interface, customisable email templates, and advanced analytics to track your campaign performance. Mailchimp also offers features like A/B testing and automation to help you optimise your email marketing efforts.

Brevo (Sendinblue)

Brevo (previously known as Sendinblue) free plan lets you send up to 300 emails per day to an unlimited number of subscribers. It includes features like email design tools, automation workflows, and detailed reporting. Brevo also offers SMS marketing and CRM capabilities, making it a versatile choice for small businesses.

Email Warm-Up Tools


MailWarm is a free tool designed to help improve your email deliverability by gradually increasing your email sending volume. This tool is perfect for new email accounts or those with a low sender reputation. By slowly building up your email volume, you can avoid being flagged as spam and ensure that your messages reach your recipients’ inboxes.


Warmbox is another excellent tool for warming up your email address. It automatically engages with your emails, marking them as important and moving them out of the spam folder. This interaction helps improve your sender reputation and ensures higher deliverability rates for your future email campaigns.

Email Verification Tools


Hunter’s Email Verifier tool is free and helps you clean your email list by verifying the validity of email addresses. This ensures that you are sending emails to real, active accounts, which can improve your deliverability rates and reduce the risk of being marked as spam.


ZeroBounce offers a free plan that allows you to verify up to 100 email addresses per month. This tool helps you remove invalid email addresses, catch-all domains, and spam traps from your list. By maintaining a clean email list, you can improve your sender reputation and achieve higher engagement rates.

Social Media

1️⃣ Consistency on Social Media

Consistency on social media is the perfect strategy to implement inside your business with the least amount of investment and a thousand percent payback. Instagram alone has 2.3 billion monthly active users. Imagine if you can reach and capitalise on 1% of that audience? Would you be able to service them? Chances are, probably not.

2️⃣ Meta Ads

Incorporating low-cost, high-reach tactics such as Meta Ads can help drive brand awareness and traffic. Try influencer marketing as well, where you can collaborate with industry experts. Partner and cross-promote – it’s a win for everyone.

Testing and Optimisation

Use previous campaign data or A/B test on a small budget to determine what works best for your audience. Continuous testing and optimisation will save your marketing budget significantly.

1️⃣ Regular SEO Review

Reviewing and improving website SEO on a regular basis will increase website views and ensure the business stays front of mind and top of search engine result lists.

2️⃣ Website Optimisation

Website Optimisation

Ensure your site is user-friendly and fast. A user-friendly site means that it’s easy to navigate, with clear menus and links that guide users to the information they need. A fast website loads quickly, which is important because slow-loading pages can frustrate visitors and cause them to leave.

Engagement rate is a key metric that shows how well users are interacting with your site. Aim for an engagement rate above 60%, which means that the majority of your visitors are finding your content useful and engaging. High engagement rates often lead to better conversion rates, as engaged users are more likely to take desired actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.


Use Analytics Tools

Using analytics tools is key to making informed decisions about your digital marketing efforts. One of the best free tools available is Google Analytics aka GA4. It helps you track and understand how visitors interact with your website. You can see where your traffic is coming from, what pages are popular, and how long people stay on your site.

Set KPIs and regularly compare performance. For example, you might set KPIs for website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and average session duration.

By consistently monitoring these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your marketing efforts. For example, if you notice a high bounce rate on a particular page, you can investigate and make necessary changes to improve user experience and engagement.

Through creativity, planning, and effective measurement, businesses with limited budgets can achieve impressive results.

Who’s in Control? Companies Dominating Google Search Results

The Illusion of Choice: Online Edition

Imagine you’re at your favourite supermarket, walking through the cosmetic items row, and you see hundreds of different brands of body lotions.

So many options, right?

But then, something strikes you – despite the variations in packaging and flavours, most of these lotions actually belong to a handful of big companies, such as Hindustan Unilever or P&G. They’ve just packaged their product in different ways to cater to a diverse range of tastes.

In the realm of online search, it’s eerily similar. Have you ever wondered about the companies dominating Google search results?

You might be surprised to learn that less than 20 companies control a major chunk of the web’s content. They own a variety of websites across a broad spectrum, from health to tech, from sports to food.

Unveiling the 16 Companies Dominating Google Search Results

So, how many companies are we talking about? The number is 16. These 16 companies are the puppeteers controlling at least 562 different brands that show up in your daily Google search results.

According to Semrush, a platform that offers online visibility management and content marketing SaaS, these companies together command a whopping 3.7 billion clicks from Google each month. That’s an average of 6.5 million monthly clicks for each site under their umbrella.

List of those 16 Giants

  • Gawker Media
    • Formerly Blogwire, Inc
    • Notable properties: Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Jezebel
  • Vox Media
    • In February 2023, Penske Media Corporation became the largest shareholder in Vox Media.
    • Notable properties: The Verge, SB Nation, Eater
  • Future plc
    • Independent Company
    • Notable properties: TechRadar, GamesRadar, PC Gamer
  • Evolve Media
    • Independent Company
    • Notable properties: CraveOnline, GameRevolution
  • Time Inc.
    • Acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2018, In December 2021, Meredith was acquired by IAC’s Dotdash and became Dotdash Meredith
    • Notable properties: Time, People, Fortune (under the ownership of Meredith)
  • CBS (Paramount Global)
    • In 2019 through the merger of Viacom and CBS, It’s under Paramount Global.
  • Meredith Corporation
    • Notable properties: People, Better Homes and Gardens, Allrecipes
    • Time Inc is actually a part of Meredith Corporation
  • Dennis Publishing
    • Acquired by Exponent Private Equity in 2018
    • Notable properties: The Week, Auto Express, PC Pro
  • Jacobs Media Group (JAC)
    • Notable properties: Not clear from the information provided
  • Ziff Davis
    • Subsidiary of J2 Global
    • Notable properties: Mashable, PCMag, IGN
  • Verizon
    • Notable properties: Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch (under the brand Verizon Media, which was sold to Apollo Global Management and renamed Yahoo in 2021)
  • Purch (now known as Future US, Inc., a subsidiary of Future plc)
    • Notable properties: Tom’s Guide, Top Ten Reviews, Live Science
  • Conde Nast
    • Subsidiary of Advance Publications
    • Notable properties: Vogue, The New Yorker, Wired
  • DG (Possibly Digital Guide)
    • Notable properties: Not clear from the information provided
  • Scripps Networks Interactive
    • Acquired by Discovery, Inc. in 2018
    • Notable properties: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel
  • Hearst Communications
    • Independent Company
    • Notable properties: Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle

This phenomenon was first identified in 2016 by Glen Allsopp, who pointed out how these companies, renowned in their industries, leverage their online authority and the reputation of their popular brands to help new brands rank well on Google and generate traffic.

Digging Deeper: CBS Interactive

CBS Interactive, a division of Paramount Global, is a global leader in digital content and a key player in the world of online media.

In India they have a strategic partnership with Network18 Group—a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. Their recent launch in India is Jio Cinemas. Something which is considered as an OTT Predator.

CBS’ diverse collection of websites cater to a broad audience, offering content ranging from entertainment and sports to tech reviews and music lyrics. Here are some of the main websites under CBS Interactive, along with their global ranking, indicating their popularity among internet users:

The All-encompassing Net under CBS

  • CNET.com – Ranked 182 globally, CNET is a leading tech news and reviews website, offering advice on a range of tech products from smartphones to home appliances.
  • GameFAQs.com – With a global rank of 310, GameFAQs provides users with game guides, FAQs, reviews, and discussion forums for video games.
  • Gamespot.com – Ranked 808 globally, Gamespot is a hub for gaming news, reviews, previews, and videos for leading gaming platforms.
  • Last.fm – Ranked 965 in the world, Last.fm is a music discovery service that provides personalized recommendations based on the music users listen to.
  • MetroLyrics.com – Holding a global rank of 1,590, MetroLyrics is a lyrics-dedicated website, featuring over 1 million songs from around 16,000 artists.
  • Metacritic.com – Ranked 1,762, Metacritic aggregates reviews and provides scores for movies, TV shows, video games, and music albums.
  • CBS.com – CBS’s official website, ranked 1,846 globally, offers access to CBS programming, including full episodes of popular CBS shows.
  • 247Sports.com – With a global rank of 2,304, 247Sports offers in-depth coverage of various sports, including news, scores, and recruiting information.
  • ZDNet.com – Ranked 2,779, ZDNet delivers 24/7 news coverage and analysis on the latest tech and business trends.
  • TV.com – TV.com, ranked 2,863, is a resource for TV show episode guides, reviews, video clips, and discussion forums.
  • TechRepublic.com – Holding a global rank of 3,266, TechRepublic helps IT decision-makers identify technologies and strategies to empower workers and streamline business processes.
  • Chowhound.com – Ranked 5,825 globally, Chowhound is a community of food lovers sharing their food discoveries and experiences.
  • Comicvine.com – With a global rank of 16,765, Comicvine is a source for comic news, reviews, and a database of comic characters.
  • Download.com – Download.com, ranked 252,479, is a platform for users to discover, download, and manage software in a safe and trusted environment.
  • CollegeSportsLive.com – With a global ranking of 600,516, CollegeSportsLive is a streaming service that offers broadcasts of college sports events.

If you want to read more about other companies in detail and want to know about their subsidiaries, click here.

How These Companies Dominate Google’s Search Results

Let’s say you want to buy a laptop. You are searching for a 15 inch laptop.

I hope I don’t have to explain much now.

You can do your own research for better understanding. For example, when you search for the parent company of Tom’s Guide, you will get the following result:

Look at the details about Future Plc and the platforms they owned
Look at the details about Future Plc and the platforms they owned

How These Companies Dominate Various Niches

These 16 companies do not limit themselves to a specific niche. Their influence spreads across home, beauty, tech, automotive, cooking, travel, sports, education, and many more.

A report revealed that across 10,000 terms where affiliates are ranking, which cover products in every niche you can think of, these 16 companies ranked on the first page of 8,421 (or 84%) of them. They even claimed five or more of the first 10 organic rankings in 3,999 of 10,000 search results.

This level of dominance is unprecedented and shows the extent of their control over Google’s search results​

Evolution of Digital Dominance: Survival of the Fittest

If you’re wondering whether this state of affairs has been constant, the answer is no. The digital landscape, like any other, evolves over time. Many of the leading websites from a 2016 report are still dominant today, but the companies behind them and how they operate have massively evolved.

For instance, only seven or six of the sixteen companies from the original report are still on the list. Future acquired companies like Purch and Dennis Publishing, and now Fandom and Red Ventures own the biggest sites of CBS. CBS is under Paramount Global. This suggests that to stay dominant, these companies not only have to maintain their own strength but also keep an eye out for potential threats and opportunities in the landscape, much like animals in the wild​.

  • Gawker Media was acquired by Univision in 2017.
    • In 2017, Univision acquired Gawker Media for $135 million. The acquisition stirred controversy as Univision, a Spanish-language media company, took over Gawker Media, renowned for its provocative and often contentious content.
  • Time Inc. was acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2018.
    • Time Inc. was acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2018 for $1.84 billion. The acquisition created a media giant with a portfolio of magazines, websites, and television networks.
  • Dennis Publishing was acquired by Exponent Private Equity in 2018.
    • Dennis Publishing was acquired by Exponent Private Equity in 2018 for $300 million. The acquisition gave Exponent control of a number of well-known brands, including The Week, PC Gamer, and MoneyWeek.
  • Scripps Networks Interactive was acquired by Discovery, Inc. in 2018.
    • Scripps Networks Interactive was acquired by Discovery, Inc. in 2018 for $14.6 billion. The acquisition created a media powerhouse with a portfolio of networks that includes HGTV, Food Network, and TLC.
  • 2 companies are now under the ownership of a larger company:
    • Vox Media is now majority-owned by Penske Media Corporation.
    • Meredith Corporation is now a part of Dotdash Meredith, which was formed when Meredith Corporation was acquired by IAC’s Dotdash in 2021.

This is more dangerous for consumers like you and me. It’s getting more condensed.

Impact on Competition and Individual Decision Making

When such a small group of companies dominates search results, it inevitably impacts competition. Other businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, find it challenging to compete with these behemoths.

These dominant companies have established their authority over time and built a substantial online presence, making it difficult for others to rank well in search results.

Moreover, this dominance also influences individual decision-making. When we conduct a Google search, we usually trust and click on the top results, often oblivious to the fact that a small group of companies own the diverse list of websites that appear. This limits the information and options available to us, subtly influencing our decisions and preferences.

Some of the biggest sites these companies are behind, as of May 2023, include MayoClinic (376.7M monthly visitors, owned by Ziff Davis), Healthline (249.1M monthly visitors, owned by Red Ventures), WebMD (223.1M monthly visitors, owned by Internet Brands), and Fandom (753.4M monthly visitors, owned by Fandom)​.

So, next time you read about the side effects of a medicine, there are high chances that all that information is coming from the same source.

This dominance of Google’s search results by a handful of companies raises questions about the diversity and competition on the internet. While these companies are successful and offer quality content, the concentration.

Dear growth marketers and SEO executives, wake up and do more research on niches; otherwise, you may not get heard.

For more marketing insights click here.