Small-Business Marketing Plan: Get Started with 3 Different Tactics

Improve your small-business marketing plan by branching out to include an online, sign-based or print marketing strategy. Here's how to get started.

Marketing, Marketing campaign

In today's competitive marketing world, there's always room for improvement in your business's marketing strategy.

Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned entrepreneur, branching out to use any (or all) of these three advertising methods will help improve your small-business marketing plan. Get started with one of the game plans below:

1. Paid Social and Digital Marketing

When you undertake an online marketing campaign, it's important to first decide who will run it: Do you have the funds to hire a new employee? Will you give extra duties to an existing staff member, or should you take it on yourself? It's also a good idea to work out a budget and identify a target demographic before investing in any marketing activities.

For an online campaign, consider paid social opportunities, such as ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. These social media platforms offer ad creation right in the app, making it easy to quickly produce what you need. In addition, you can use the tracking capabilities of each to monitor your traffic. By doing this, you can see which ads and platforms are most effective and who's responding to your efforts.

Remember to incorporate your company's logo into all of your digital advertising, including your website, banner ads and social media profiles. To build a strong social media following, create a series of promotions, discounts or giveaways related to your posts. If your budget allows, pay a social media influencer or local celebrity to promote your product on their own page. You can also offer to publish an influencer — someone who has a large social following — on your company's blog in exchange for promotion on their profile.

2. Signage

Using signage as a marketing tool might seem old school in the digital age, but the low cost and wide range of options, including billboards and custom signs, make it an effective strategy for a modern small-business marketing plan.

Depending on your business, you may want to consider lawn signs and bench or bus shelter advertisements. Or look into the cost of ordering decals for your company or personal vehicles. These are a great way to promote your business while potential customers are stuck in traffic.

3. Print Marketing

Although newspaper readership has declined, there are still numerous print outlets that reach a massive audience, making print marketing a viable part of your small-business marketing plan. Magazines, fliers and brochures are three commonly used mediums for advertising. When placing an ad in a magazine, make sure to choose a publication that reaches your target market. For example, a small business selling hunting gear could place an advertisement in a magazine like Field & Stream rather than a lifestyle or home decor magazine.

To reach out to the local community, print and distribute brochures, fliers or newspaper inserts promoting your business. Distribution options include hand delivery to homes or paying for inclusion in the local newspaper disbursement. You can also print and hand out brochures at conventions and trade shows.

Whether you choose to introduce online marketing, signage or printed materials to your small-business marketing plan, it's important to first know your target customer and research the costs of each strategy. This will help you launch your marketing initiative.