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Marketing Plans as Key Piece of Business Plan + Strategy

with added tools and tips!

Updated February 10, 2024

Graphic image of deer by a lake

Buckle up! You are entering a post with a highly detailed approach to creating your business’ marketing plan - one that is highly strategic, well-researched, and intentional. This is not for the faint of heart. It is intended to be a tool used by business owners who are serious about achieving their goals.

At first glance, this may seem overwhelming. There are a lot of steps, with lots of questions and a ton of things to consider because this approach is an extension of your Business Plan. This is not something you can do in one afternoon. It takes time and reflection and processing. A really good plan includes outside perspectives, research, and evaluating your current processes.

If you choose to go down this path, be equipped with patience, resolve, determination, and a spirit of creativity. Then the process of creating your business’ comprehensive marketing plan will become easier, more effective, and enjoyable.

The first section is about your vision combined with the customer experience.

Graphic of forest as header for section on vision

My approach to developing a Marketing Plan is founded on your passion and vision and centered on the customer experience. It is Content Marketing, where you create and distribute marketing online to a targeted audience, but includes all forms of marketing, from print advertising to packaging.

Your passion and vision for your business is how you develop authentic, compelling, and memorable messaging. What do you say when you talk about your work with friends? What phrases come up the most often? What makes you excited about work? What led you to start on this journey? What motivates you to keep going?

Focusing your Marketing Plan on the customer experience means you are finding the most effective ways to reach the right people as well as communicating your message in ways that they will notice it and be motivated to act.

Graphic of forest as header for section on vision

part I: clarify vision + reiterate your mission

Marketing is how you communicate with the public about your business. Your Marketing Plan maps out how, when, and where you will do that.

The process of creating your Marketing Plan begins by reviewing, and possibly updating the fundamental pieces where you define your business. Find clarity in your mission. Develop a strong vision for your life and business. Establish your values, your elevator pitch, and value proposition. And, because the Marketing Plan can become a tool you share with employees and contractors you hire to implement aspects of the Plan, include each of these at the start of your Plan.

mission / purpose

What do you do? Who is it for? How do you do it?

vision + business goals

Which goals will your marketing efforts be working toward? Make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely.

Learn more about finding clarity in vision in this blog post.


What are the ideas and ideals that drive your company? What do you stand for besides making a profit?

tagline / catch phrase / slogan

elevator pitch

This is what you say when you have 15-30 seconds to describe what you do. It has to be clear, succinct, and compelling. It is how that stranger in the elevator becomes intrigued enough to ask you for your business card.


When people hear the word “brand” they think of the logo and overall look of a business. The logo is an important part of a brand, but it is just one part.

  • How would you describe the personality of your business?

  • How will this be reflected in your content and overall marketing plan?

  • How do you want to be seen?

  • What feelings do you want your marketing to elicit?

  • You can include your Mission, Values, Philosophy, and/or a description of the company culture.


As a point of reference for yourself, employees, and contracted support, make note of:

  • Your Brand Guidelines, fonts, and color palette

  • Include examples of graphics and photography styles

Graphic of forest as header for section on strategy

part II: strategy

This part of my approach is where the majority of your time will be spent. If it starts to feel arduous, remember your vision and the customer experience - what do you want for yourself and what do you want for your customer? And, ask colleagues, friends, employees to get involved. Some great ideas can be created with the help of different perspectives.

This part of my Marketing Plan includes aspects of your financials. There are multiple reasons why it’s important to include financials in your Marketing Plan, especially pricing.

  1. It will give you a point of reference so you don’t have to go by memory or re-do calculations whenever a sale comes up.

  2. By looking at your profit margin you can see how to refine or expand on your goals and objectives, evaluate your pricing, and even develop your marketing budget.

  3. You can determine how your pricing and the perception of your offer compares to that of your competition.

  4. You can develop how you will position your product or service and which Pricing Strategy you will employ.

  5. And, your Pricing Strategy will determine many of the methods and tools used to implement your Marketing Plan.

  6. And, while creating your Marketing Plan’s Strategy and Plan of Action, these financials will help you determine if your ideas will be effective as well as help you evaluate things once the plan is in motion.

If you have a business plan, then you may already have a lot of this information. If not, then now is a good time to do it. For some of these sections, you may start out by jotting down a few notes or ideas and then come back and flesh it out as you make decisions or even after the bulk of the plan is completed.

marketing objectives + key performance undicators (KPI)

  • What specific outcomes do you want from your marketing efforts?

  • What are the benchmarks that will show progress towards your goals?

  • How will you measure success?

  • When and how will you evaluate your plan?


Primary Audience

Your Primary Audience is the primary group of customers who will be the focus for most of your Marketing Plan.

Secondary Audience

Secondary Audiences are other groups who may have common characteristics or who may be interested in your products or services but, for one reason or another, they are not as likely to become a large part of your customer base..

Customer Profiles

Knowing the characteristics of your target audiences will drive the choices you make for your Marketing Plan. Get a copy of my Customer Profile Worksheet, which includes a list of demographics and psychographics to consider and templates for creating your customer profiles.

market trends

It’s important to know how things are going in your industry. Highlighting the things going well can help you get funding. Knowing the issues means you can try to counteract them in your marketing efforts.

  • What is currently happening in your industry?

  • What is impacting people’s decision to purchase or not?

  • Does this industry show growth?

  • Have you done a PEST Analysis?


Pay attention to others in your industry - both corporate and local. You can get a sense of what is working and where the gaps are.

  • Which businesses are leading in your industry?

  • Who is your direct competition?

  • What do they do well?

  • Have their efforts left a gap? How are they insufficient? How are you better?

  • What ideas can you glean from their marketing efforts?



List out the prices for each product or service. Include the break-even point and the lowest amount that you are willing or able to offer as a discount.


Knowing your profit margin will help you figure out the objectives and goals for your Marketing Plan, decide which marketing methods will be effective at meeting your goals, etc.

Gross Profit Margin: Money remaining after the cost of goods

How to find your business' gross profit margin

Operating Profit Margin: Includes costs from overhead (Just in case, this can tell you the difference between income and revenue.)

How to find operating profit margin

Operating Profit Margin: The bottom line

Find your net profit margin


The Price Sensitivity Meter (PSM) has four questions to consider when setting your price:

  • Too Expensive: What price is so expensive that you would not consider buying it?

  • Too Cheap: What price is so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good?

  • Expensive/High Side: What price is starting to be expensive - it’s not out of the question but you would have to think before buying?

  • Good Value: What price makes this a bargain / a great buy for the money?


Price Point is a point on a scale of possible prices, with some price points yielding higher profits. This blog post by Black Curve is an excellent resource for understanding the basics to finding the right price point, as well as this blog post by Prisync.


Your Pricing Strategy and your Marketing Plan are intimately connected. How you set your price is connected with the brand, the value proposition, and the methods of advertising.

Here are some examples of different pricing strategies. There are a lot more and you can learn about them on another blog post by Black Curve.

Absorption & Cost-Plus Pricing

With absorption, you price your product or service so that you cover the variable costs as well as some proportionate amount of fixed costs. With Cost-Plus you price your product or service at your break-even point plus some amount that is pure profit.

Premium versus Freemium Pricing

Premium keeps the price high in order to maintain the perception of high quality and desirability. With Freemium, you offer a basic version of your product or service at no charge but the advanced./premium version has a fee.

High-Low and Loss Leader Pricing

With High-Low Pricing, you offer your product/service at a higher price than the competition and then offer promotions designed to hook the customer. Similarly, with Loss Leader, you price your product or service at the break-even point, or even below, as a means of stimulating sales for higher-priced products or services (similar to High-low).

Market-Oriented and Value-Based Pricing

With Market-Oriented Pricing, your prices are set based on current trends in the market. This requires that you first do research on the industry, your target market, and your competitors. Value-Based Pricing is set based on the benefit to the customer

Pay What You Want and Sliding Scale Pricing

With these, you either let the customer decide what to pay or you determine the price (usually based on the customer’s ability to pay.)

value proposition

Your Value Proposition, on the surface, sounds like something I should have included in Part I. It’s simply a promise of the value you provide to a customer. Right?

If you Google search “what is a value proposition” and “how do you create a value proposition” you’ll find many blog posts that all offer a slightly different definition and a different method for creating a value prop. And, you could easily choose any one of them - follow some X-Y-Z, 1-2-3 process to figure out what your Value Proposition is, so you can move on to the next part of mapping out your Marketing Plan. You’ll come away with a nifty statement that might prove useful while doing yourself a major disservice.

Developing your Value Proposition is not the time to take the easy way out.

Don’t get me wrong - I am a HUGE proponent of finding the most efficient way of accomplishing something, and I have used and created lots of worksheets that help simplify different aspects of business development. But it takes more than a worksheet or 1-2-3 step-by-step process to develop because it is more than a nifty statement about benefits you provide. Your Value Proposition is a core piece of your business strategy.

The most important thing about a Value Proposition is the process of finding what yours is.

To create your Value Proposition, you need to have clarity around your purpose and vision and to truly understand your Target Audiences and what their needs are. From there, you figure out your business’ functional benefits (“lunch service” or “automated customer management tool” or “jewelry”) AND the emotional benefits (“locally-sourced” or “save time for what’s really important” or “self-expression.”) The process of developing these benefits and the language to express them is when everything you’ve done up to this point begins to come together. You look at all the pieces and find the best flow. This is where you figure out your approach, your language, and the best marketing methods to reach your audience. This is where your identity and goals meet up with your market research, customer profiles, and financials.

It is important to note that this is a GREAT time to bring in multiple perspectives. Getting friends, family, employees, colleagues, customers, and vendors involved helps you step outside of what you THINK a customer needs and start to understand what it is they are actually looking for. It also will help you articulate what you know to be a very real need to customers who may think they need something else or not even know this need exists.

Here’s an example:

A massage therapist has opened a private practice. He got into that line of work because he wants to improve the health of his community, which has high rates of obesity and heart disease. He knows that massage therapy is a form of preventative care. And he believes that when one person starts taking care of themself, the idea spreads to his friends and family.

A major part of his business model is providing chair massage at businesses around town. He has reviewed his financials and developed his long-term business goals, so his pricing plan is to sell annual packages worth $5000. That is a significant amount, so his target audience will be businesses with 25 or more employees and a minimum annual budget of $1.5 million. He’s now at the point where he needs to figure out how to sell this package to local businesses.

Imagine if he restated what he sees as the true need. ”Massage is preventative care and when people get massages, the people they know will also start making healthy choices. So, if you pay me to massage your employees, you will be improving the health of the community.” Whether the business owner agrees or not, he won’t be signing a check any time soon.

The massage therapist needs to approach it from the perspective of his target audience. So he asks questions like:

  • What things are important to all business owners?

  • What might be the biggest concerns for a business owner with 25 employees?

  • What are they looking to accomplish?

  • How can my work help business owners get what they need?

The massage therapist isn’t really sure how to answer because he isn’t in that position. So, he does some online research into issues faced by small businesses and begins to consider how the benefits of massage could address those issues. He turns to friends and clients who own or manage businesses and asks about the issues they face or what worries them. And he asks all of his clients how massage has improved their lives.

As a result, when the massage therapist approaches a business owner, he now says “By investing $50 per employee every quarter, you will save thousands on your health insurance premium, employees will call in sick less often, and the boost in morale and decreased stress will increase productivity. By investing in the health of your employees, you are investing in the health of your business.”

The business owner did not hear anything about the true need of improving community health. What they heard was how they can cut costs and make more profit.

I’m not sure if something like that can be accomplished by following one method or filling out a worksheet. It takes time and reflection and solid information. That is not to discount the many useful tools out there. They should be a part of the process and I think it is worthwhile to look at and work through a few of them.

One process to check out is the Value Proposition Canvas. This is a layered and detailed process for evaluating customer needs and how your service benefits them. If you’ve never done strategy work before, this can be complicated. But, even so, it will be highly useful. I think GroupThink does a good job of explaining it.


Packaging plays a vital role in marketing products. The packaging is an extension of your branding. The graphic design and even the style of your packaging itself can help your product stand out when placed among others like it. It can play to the emotional motivations of the customer - such as appearing luxurious and expensive or being made from recycled materials. It can add to the value of the product and build brand loyalty.

When deciding the packaging, you need to consider the following:


There are different needs for retail versus e-commerce or other sales channels. Does it need to stand out among other similar products on the shelf or does it need to take up as little space as possible?


You need to consider the structural integrity needs for storage and shopping, the look and feel of the materials and if they correspond with your branding, how it will be displayed, safety, etc.


When designing the packaging, you should look to your customer profiles and branding guidelines.

  • Will your product need a label?

  • Will you use a box or plastic packaging?

  • Are there regulations for your industry on what to include on the label or packaging?

  • Will you use branded shipping boxes?

Also, depending on your industry, there may be regulations on what must be included on your labeling and packaging. You need to go to the Federal Trade Commission website and read up on Fair Packaging and Labeling regulations. And, your might need to check the Federal Drug Administration website to learn about the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

sales + distribution

Your Marketing Plan will be impacted by where and how you will make sales, how you get the product to the customer, and how you handle refunds.

graphic image of forest at sunset for section header on planning

part III: plan of action

map it out

Part II was mostly about your business, your goals, and finding clarity in what and how you communicate. Now, while developing your Plan of Action, you need to come at it from the perspective of the customer.

There are two ways to define the Customer Journey:

  1. their journey as your customer, which starts when they first learn about your business.

  2. their journey of making a purchase, which starts when they identify the need or desire to make a purchase.

A business can choose to focus on one or both of these definitions. How they choose depends on the product, the campaign focus, how old your business is, industry trends, etc.

For example:
  • A destination hotel might focus on the journey of making a purchase. While you can have return customers, it doesn’t happen often enough to be the focus of your marketing plan. So focus on reaching people when they first divide to go on vacation.

  • A grocery store will likely want to focus on the journey as their customer. It is easier and cheaper to get customers to return than it is to recruit new customers and your product/service is perfect for focusing on return customers.

  • A jeweler might consider both journeys. Jewelry is a product that has brand loyalty and there are specific things to cause someone to consider making a purchase, such as a marriage proposal or holiday gifts. So the marketing plan would look at the customer journey for new customers and existing customers.

For each stage of the Customer Journey, consider:

  • WHEN is the optimal time to deliver my message to my target audience who is at this stage?

  • WHAT is my target audience thinking about? Concerns? Motivations?

  • WHERE is the best place to deliver my message so my target audience will hear it?

  • HOW should I deliver my message?


Decide what methods will work to introduce your product or service to the most people in your target audiences

This is the beginning of the customer journey. For Prospective Customers, they are first learning about your business. For Prospective Purchasers, they just decided they need to make a purchase.

For you, this is when you want to cast a wide net. Deliver your message to as many people in your target audience as possible and financially feasible. And design the messaging so that it captures their interest. You may not see a huge immediate response to these messages, but if done well, and done often, you plant seeds in the minds of your target audience - so when they need your service or product, your business comes to mind.

  • Is there a time of year to focus on, such as back to school or holidays?

  • Is there a time of day to focus on, such as when they watch TV, surf the internet, or listen to the radio?


What are the reasons people need to purchase your service or product? What is their emotional state? Are they excited and joyful because they just got engaged? Are they anxious and fearful because they need a new roof on their house?


Methods that can work to reach a large number of people include (but are not limited to):

  • Google Ads

  • Social Media Ads

  • Advertising on Radio, Television, Magazines, Newspapers, Websites

  • Press Kits and Press Releases

  • Flyers

  • Car Decals

  • Event Program Ads


The message/language should inform who you are and what you offer and also speak to the emotional position and thinking of your target audience.

The tools you use need to help grab their attention or pique their interest - video, photography, music, fonts, color - these all help get your message seen/heard.


Decide what methods and tools will work to share the specific benefits of your product or service.

This stage is after you've captured their interest. It's a smaller group than in the first stage. For Prospective Customers, they are adding you to a long list of businesses to look into. For Prospective Purchasers, you're on the shortlist of who they are considering they will purchase from.

For you, this is when you want briefly and clearly explain why you are the best choice. Tell the target audience what makes you awesome or how you are better than the competition.


When will the target audience be ready for my message? For example, if your business is tourism-related and a customer decides to take a vacation, do you need to reach them when they are choosing a hotel or planning their itinerary?

  • What may have changed about their thinking? Has joy turned into budget-conscious?

  • What questions are they asking? What details are becoming important in their decision-making? Your customer profile will help you know what becomes important to your target audience: quality, price, popularity, customer service, etc.


Where should you share the message? This could include the same methods as stage 1 or incorporate new ones, such as:

  • Google Ads

  • Social Media Ads

  • Advertising on Radio, Television, Magazines, Newspapers, Websites

  • Flyers

  • Your Website, Landing Pages

  • Social Media

  • Directories & Referral Websites


How will you word the message? What tools will you use to deliver it in a way that the target audience will hear it/see it? This is a good time to include testimonials, statistics and research, comparisons, etc. Explain the process, such as for online orders or home delivery.


Decide the best way to address their final concerns and motivate them to make the purchase.

This is the sales pitch stage. For both Prospective Customers and Prospective Purchasers, they want to feel confident that they are getting what they want and need.

For you, this is when you will call up your value proposition, and give them the selling point that directly relates to their concerns. If they are looking for quality, show them how you are the best. If they want to save money, show them you are the best at that price point or give them a discount. Tell the target audience what makes you the right choice.


When will the target audience be ready to make a purchase?


What is the biggest concern or thing they are considering before making a purchase?


Where should you share the message? This could include the same methods as stages 1 and 2, as well as more "personal" methods. Examples are:

  • Your Website

  • Social Media Posts

  • Newsletters

  • Postcards

  • Personal Sales Calls


How will you word the message? What tools will you use to deliver it in a way that the target audience will hear it/see it? A discount may be effective.


Decide the ways you will ensure the customer believes they received excellent service or a quality product.


When will you interact with the customer?


What will make them think highly of your service or product?


Where will the interaction take place? If you are in e-commerce, is your sales platform easy to use? If you have a brick-and-mortar, is your sales team trained to know how to make the sale?


What is your approach to interacting with the customer? If you are in e-commerce, include a handwritten note with the purchase. If it is in-person, ask them questions to make sure they feel good about the experience.


Decide the ways you will keep them engaged after the purchase so they make referrals and return as your customer.


When will you follow up? How often?


In what ways do they want to be engaged? Do they want information? Do they want to feel a connection? Do they want to give advice? What special services will they have access to?


Where will the interaction take place?

  • Social Media

  • Newsletters

  • Postcards

  • Customer Referral Discount

  • Membership


What is your approach to interacting with the customer? How will you maintain a connection and build rapport?

Graphic of deer at forest lake as header for section on marketing methods and tools

tools to use when marketing your business

This alphabetical list includes many different marketing methods, tools, and platforms - essentially, all of the different things you can build into your marketing plan.

When possible, I have included advice, tips and tricks, and links to help guide you in the right direction. This is where I will often update or add to this post. It is constantly growing and it is not 100% complete information. But, this is an ample amount of information for you to develop the basic framework for your comprehensive and strategic Marketing Plan.


I know, I know...I said the list is alphabetical but then I start with ‘Websites’. This is because regardless of how, where, or what you are selling and how you will market your business, you need a website. All the other marketing tools should direct people to your website. It is the most important tool in your toolkit, and so needs to be at the top of my list (and yours.)


First and foremost, you need to choose the best platform to host and create your website. There are some that require coding knowledge and others that are drag-and-drop and market themselves as being meant for the layman.


Wordpress has tools that make it easier for laymen to use and this is the platform that website developers predominantly choose. Some won’t work on anything else. And I get it - Wordpress is a playground for people to work in code. It is open source so new tools and ideas are always emerging there (most often shared through plugins you add to your site.)

But, from the perspective of a small business owner who most likely is not hiring a trained, code-savvy contractor to update and maintain the site and who will likely be doing updates yourself, then I do NOT recommend Wordpress.

Wordpress sites have ALWAYS been more time-consuming to manage and update. Since Wordpress is open source, there are something like 54,000 FREE plugins out there. That may sound awesome at first. But, being open source means anybody can create a plugin and share it. You have no idea if a plugin will work, if it is outdated, if it has built-in security measures, or if it works well with your theme and the other plugins you have installed.

More than once I have had to deal with a nearly catastrophic loss of a website because one Plugin didn’t play nice with another one. Recently a client’s website crashed and I had to spend two days getting the backup reinstalled and then figure out what went wrong. Cause? Elementor, a very popular plugin used to build your site, had been updated and some other plugin had not been updated to work well with the update. In short: the plugin used to build the site nearly took it down and it was up to us to figure out the cause.

But, my biggest pet peeve is the nickel-and-diming aspect of Wordpress plugins. The majority of those 54,000 plugins are a part of a Freemium Pricing Strategy. They release a very basic version of their plugin, but the aspect you need - the useful part - is only available in the premium version. And premium plugins cost an average of $138 (between $15 and $200)...EACH! And that can be an annual cost. Want to have a special badge on your product page? $70. Want to change the layout of the Woocommerce shop page? $150. Want to download reports with customer details and order details for the year? $75. It adds up very quickly.

Wix was spot on in the ads they did earlier this year.


I hated this platform and will never go back. This platform was designed for either the “I have no idea what I am doing” user and the “I have decades of experience writing code” user. If you fall anywhere in between, then you’re screwed. If you find a template you like and you don’t care about branding, or customization, then this could work. Want to change things up a little to make it fit with your branding? Plan on investing a lot of time and being very frustrated.


Basically, I had the same experience with Squarespace as Weebly. The design is so restrictive. It was a battle getting it to look like I wanted - and in the end, it was me compromising and finding tricks to get it to maybe-sort-of-a-little reflect the brand.


There are more, of course. Here’s a blog post that talks about some of them.


This is the platform I have come to use most often and the platform that I am happy to recommend to small business owners. I recently became a Wix Partner because I have big Wix love. Here are some of the reasons why:.

Ease of Use: Wix is fairly easy for a layman to learn and use. It is a really great drag-and-drop builder. Other builders force you into boxes and you can only escape if you know how to code. For eample, if you want to use a font that isn't on their system, they don't have a 20 step process which requires diving into the theme. With Wix, all you hae to do is upload the font you want.

Wix allows for custom coding and has lots of great features. If you ARE a coder, then Wix gives you the means to create how you want to.

Wix gives you creative freedom. You can start with a blank slate. But they also have hundreds of really great templates that you can update a little. Or, you can use the template as a starting point and then transform it. And, all of their templates include special features, so you can try things out or see how a tool is integrated into a site design.

There are no nerve-wracking problems with Wix. I have never had an issue come up. Ever. Especially not one that could catastrophically destroy my site.

Wix' hosting is the most reliable I've ever used. In all the years I have used Wix, I haven't had to think twice about my site host nor have I had any reason to contact Wix because of a hosting-related issue. Whereas on Wordpress, I have had reason to contact the host for every single website I was as an admin for. And, 90% of the time, the problem was their fault or they couldn't/wouldn't help me.

Site files? What site files? I can't tell you how amazing it is that when working on a Wix site, half of my time isn't spent making back-ups or digging through PHP files. PHP files are typically only used by web developers who are creating or modifying webpages with extended functionality. On Wordpress, when the site decides to stop working, you have to dig through those files to find the problem. Which is nearly impossible if you aren't a developer. And the site host sure as hell isn't going to help you. Thank you, Wix, for removing that frustration from my life.

Wix offers an insane amount of resources, tips, tools, and training. This is to help their clients create better websites and have more successful marketing campaigns. They have clear instructions on how to install and use every single tool. They help you learn best practices for managing your site, building customer relationships, improving your SEO, marketing your business, keeping clean financials, etc.

Wix is invested in client success. They created the Wix Marketplace, where you can get connected with professional web designers and web developers (Wix Partners) to help you with everything from simple questions to complex full site builds. And, they provide you with options of who to work with, so you aren't blindly selecting from all Wix Partners and you don't get stuck with the one person they assign you.

But, my favorite thing about Wix is their team. They are accessible and supportive. There is absolutely no other website platform that comes anywhere close to the quality of customer service that Wix provides. As a Wix Partner, I know people by name and we have had conversations face-to-face (virtually). They aren't nameless and faceless bots in a chat window. They go out of their way to find answers to my questions. They always follow up. They want me to learn and grow and be successful - because then they have more people providing quality design work and tech support to their clients. That tells me that Wix knows how to do good business.


  • Booking / Appointments

  • eCommerce

  • Forms

  • Customer Management

  • Pop Ups

  • Landing Pages


And now, we can return to the beginning of the list of Marketing Methods and Platforms.


  • Print

  • TV

  • Radio

  • Digital

  • Billboard

  • Native Advertising / Advertorials 


There are many ways to utilize artificial intelligence to improve your marketing. This technology is advancing quickly, so if you've tried it before and didn't like the results - try, try again. Here are some of the ways you can make AI work for you:


AI tools can collect and sort through massive amounts of data and help you determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.


Use AI tools to research, write content, or create images and graphics. This can be especially useful in creating ad campaigns or product descriptions.


There are AI tools than help predict the best times and places to place an ad so you improve your chance of reaching your target audience.

If you want to dive into the ways AI can help your marketing efforts, read this article at Marketing Evolution.

Here are some AI tools you might check out:


  • Your Own Blog

  • Target Specific Bloggers

case studies

collaboration + co-branding

  • Shared Advertising

  • Co-sponsored Event

  • Package Offering

  • Guest Spot - Content on each other’s Social Media or Blog

  • Partnering - Through the service you provide

community service

  • Philanthropy

  • Sponsorship

  • Volunteering


customers as marketers


  • CrowdRiff can be used by Tourism departments, hotels, and local tour guides and attractions. It’s pricey, but comes with a lot of features you might actually like, such as high level of support and minimizing what you have to deal with. Here are examples of campaigns that have been done.

  • Later has great reviews and offers a free level of account.


Decide how you will collect them and share them: Website, Social Media, Google

  • Yotpo helps with direct-to-consumer marketing and integrates with Google and Facebook and others. They use reviews & rating, SMS marketing, referrals, and user-generated content. They have a free level of service.


Can you create a program that offers a discount or some other incentive every time a customer makes a referral?


These are useful for several reasons:

  1. An opportunity to let customers express themselves,

  2. Opportunity to engage with customers,

  3. When a true word-of-mouth referral is not available, people tend to trust online reviews, and

  4. It has a positive impact on your SEO. It is very important that you keep your info up-to-date on every site where you have a profile and it ties in with your SEO strategy.

You can learn more about backlinks, review sites, and directories on this blog post.


  • Surveys

  • Personal contact

  • Market Studies


  • Host an Event

  • Community Events

facebook/meta (social media)





You should fill this out as completely as possible. You can include business hours, specialties, photos, product descriptions, menus, etc. And, you can do posts with updates or special offers. I suggest doing these once a week.


(formerly Google AdWords)

These are Pay Per Click (PPC) and highly effective. Here is a link with information from Google about each of the different campaign types. They share instructions on how to set up and manage each type of ad campaign, as well as best practices and ways to optimize your ad campaigns.

  • App Campaigns

  • Discovery Campaigns

  • Display Campaigns

  • Hotel Campaigns

  • Local Campaigns

  • Search Campaigns

  • Shopping Campaigns

  • Video Campaigns

  • Call Campaigns

guerilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing means using cheap, unconventional techniques to grab the attention of potential customers. This may include things like paying people to wear temporary tattoos advertising your business; throwing a party for your product or service; placing ads in unusual places, such as on a urinal, on a tree or on the sidewalk; or making ads out of unusual materials, such as sandcastles in the street, topped with a flag advertising your business.


instagram (social media)

  • Posts: Single Image, Carousels, Video

  • Stories

  • Live Streaming

  • Ads: Photo, Carousel, Video

  • Shoppable Posts

  • Content Publishing

linkedIn (social media)

  • Posts

  • Ads

  • Groups: Which you will join or can you create one

media / public relations

  • Print Magazine Print Newspaper

  • TV

  • Radio Online Event Calendars

  • Media Contact Methods

  • Press Releases

  • Press Kits

  • Personal Contact with Editors, Critics, Writers

  • Online News Room

newsletter / email marketing

pay per click advertising (PPC)

  • Google AdWords

  • Bing ad

  • Facebook ads

  • Display Retargeting


print media + new media

  • Booklets

  • Brochures

  • Business Cards

  • CDs / DVDs

  • Digital Downloads

  • Door Hangers

  • Flyers

  • Menus

  • Postcards

  • Presentation Folders

  • Rack Cards

  • Table Tents

promotional materials + giveaways

What ideas can you come up with for useful promotional products that a customer will actually keep around and use?

become a tesource

  • Content Creation: Create and share tools, worksheets, instructions, etc.

  • Content Curation: Share other links and resources

  • Interactive Tool: Can you create a tool, system, app that helps customers solve a problem?

  • Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Writer


  • Inside your business location

  • On the door

  • On the front of the building

  • Street-side

  • Car Decal

streaming ads / OTT

social media tools

trade shows + fairs

youtube (Social Media)

YouTube is a division of Google, so should be integrated with your Google plan. Here is a post from Business News Daily that has useful information about small businesses utilizing YouTube in their marketing plan.

graphic of deer at forest lake as header for closing section

This post and list are not exhaustive, even if it looks exhausting. Remember that this is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen your business and you should not feel like you need to tackle it all at once.

  1. Bookmark this page or print it out.

  2. Start at the top, and work on one item at a time.

  3. Check off items you have already completed.

  4. Make note of items you want to review or update.

  5. Cross out items that are not relevant to your business.

  6. Try to schedule each tasks with a set deadline for completion.

This is part of your long-term goals and mapping out your plan for success. Take it one step at a time - just like every long-distance hiker makes their trek one step at a time.

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