Editor-in-chief for TechBeacon.com. Passionate content creator/strategist. Experienced in creating exceptional digital experiences from end-to-end.
Seriously, start with assumption that you don't have any budget and come up with the best possible strategy with that limitation. You now have your MVP (minimum viable "product" or in this case approach).
Given a small budget I would never jump immediately into paid media. I've built two successful programs, one at IBM and another at HPE. Both with triple digits ROI. I never would advice with "start by buying ads".
I would start with what value can you provide your prospective customers through content? In other words, what can you teach your prospective customers that will help them do their jobs better and build trust.
Here are some tips that might help you:
1) Leverage freelancer networks like Upwork for a lot of your work. Everything from Wordpress theme customization to design to writing/editing content.
2) When available use solutions already out there. Don't hire an agency to build you a blog, get a template from a site like ThemeForest.net and have a freelancer help you customize.
3) Use GA (google analytics) -- no brainer
4) Use some of your budget on critical tools like marketing automation (Pardot, Marketo, etc), social media (BuzzSumo), etc.
5) Integrate your marketing automation with your CRM. This piece is critical as you want to be able to measure things from end-to-end and see what's working.
6) Don't just give media companies money instead growth hack. There are a lot of ways to generate attention and traffic without paying for it directly. You can reach out to some existing groups and communities and do partnerships. I can help with this or happy to share what I've done.
7) Spend a good chunk of your budget towards content creation both articles/blogs and long-form content (ebooks, reports, etc). Focus on inbound vs outbound.
8) Use the paid media budget to amplify content and offers that are already working. Don't put money on unproven content and/or landing pages.
9) Optimize like crazy. Test everything, make a bunch of mistakes quickly and be super scrappy but data driven.
I hope this helps, it's a lot easier to share more on a call but regardless I hope there's some value to you and others with the quick tips above.
BTW I'm brand new here but love the idea of helping others solve challenges. I'm currently managing a multi-million dollar marketing and content program with hundreds of freelancers and 10 employees for a Fortune 50 company.
Here's how I would tackle this.
1) Make sure your "offer" is kickass and provides overwhelming value to your prospective customers. I would focus on a long-form content (PDF, ebook, slides) or actually something free that people would otherwise have to pay for it.
Takeaway: you gotta give people a really good reason to sign up for something.
2) Create a landing page that drives conversion. Ideally your whole web presence should be strong but specially your landing page for this "online offer" needs to be flawless. Design for trust. For example, be specific about what the person will get for signing up using normal language. Don't say "sign up for this valuable ebook" instead say "Learn how to XYZ with this 32-page practical ebook."
Unless you're really well-versed in web design, you'll want to probably have someone help you out here. I'm happy to give you advice. There are also some services out there like http://unbounce.com/ that will help you build good landing pages.
Don't forget to track everything you're doing so you can run some experiments like A/B tests.
3) Driving the traffic. It boils down to either inbound or outbound. Long-term you're better off with inbound-heavy approach. That mean content, content and more content. Again, you might need someone to give you some initial pointers here. One of the approaches I take is to tap into freelancer networks like Upwork.com and others to help me create content quickly.
As far as outbound, I have a little Linkedin hack I use with Linkedin groups. But in short it all depends on your industry and what you're trying to sell. Facebook ads is very easy to do it yourself and start with very small budgets. Growth hacking here is key. Even if it mean you reach out to people one by one on Linkedin, sometimes you just have to hack your way to momentum.
4) Optimize and test like crazy. There are a lot of tools here to help you like Optimizely (too expensive) and likes https://www.quora.com/A-B-Testing-What-are-the-alternatives-to-Optimizely
Honestly, it will all come down to short term vs longer term approach here. It's hard to give you more advice without more context around your product, company, industry, etc.
I'm happy to chat more. I'm brand new here but love the idea of helping others solve challenges. I'm currently managing a multi-million dollar program with hundreds of freelancers and 10 employees for a Fortune 50 company.