Understand And Create The Media Plan That Suits Your Small Business


If you are the owner of a small business or have taken up the heroic task of marketing a small business, you know that digital will be in the epicenter of it all.
With great power comes great responsibility, and as a small business marketeer, you know that marketing budgets don’t come by that easily, so we have put together a cheat-sheet for you to understand and create your own media plan that suits your small business.

How To Create a Media Plan That Suits Your Small Business

1. Research, research, and more research

If it is the first time you are putting together a small business marketing plan, the most important thing you need to do is research and understand how your category behaves online. Below are some questions you should ask and find the right answers to:

What category does my business fall under?

  • What are my competitors doing online?
  • Are there any platforms that are specific to my category?
  • Do my competitors focus on branding or conversions?
  • Use free tools like Alexa and similar web to understand how their websites perform.

2. Set your objectives and goals

Research is due diligence; step ONE is setting your objective. If you are a wedding planner, you need people to know about your venture, if you are a retail store you need footfalls at your store, or if you are a dark kitchen, you need awareness; whatever your business, as per your current status and where you want to get you to define your objective for allocating marketing spends. You can set broader objectives and then set goals (or targets) against those objectives. You can start with the following:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Conversion

3. Define your channels

As a small business marketeer, you have to be wise with your marketing spends. So how do you decide which platforms you should be present on, and how should you spend your budgets? For that, you need to know the three type of media and how you can make the best of them –

Owned Media – YOUR own channels that you create and control.

    • Example: Your website, Google listings, and social media pages.
    • Use case: Create interesting content, engage, and/or build a community.

Earned Media – Bespoke content ‘voluntarily’ given by others.

    • Example: Influencer content, PR articles, editorial features
    • Use case: Create e-word of mouth, send brand writeups to digital publications. Builds credibility and visibility all at once.

Paid Media – Any third party channel, platform, sponsorship ads that you pay for.

    • Example: Social media paid ads, search engine marketing, paid listings on platforms (like Zomato, Myntra or Amazon)
    • Use case: Drive conversions by being visible at the point of purchase.
Small Business
Women, owener of small business packing product in boxes, preparing it for delivery.

When you can bucket your channels in the following media, you know that you need to make the best of earned and owned media to optimize and reduce your spending on paid media.

Let us explore some Paid Media Channels to understand them better and prioritize your media spends accordingly.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

The first and most important channel for most small businesses is SMM. Your own pages on FB, Instagram, and/or Twitter, along with other channels is attributed towards owned media.

But the ads that you run on these platforms attribute to paid media. Facebook and Instagram have been introducing special ad formats for brick and motor stores in addition to cataloging for digital stores.

Your cost per conversion (CPA) on Facebook and Instagram can be much lesser than Search Engine Marketing, so it is important to reach your maximum potential and monetize from it as much as you can.

Watch tutorial videos, play with the ad manager dashboard, and understand different ad formats. Run A/B split tests to understand which creative, ad copy, and/or ad format works best for you.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is like having your business listed in the yellow pages. 4 in 5 customers run local searches on search engines. This makes SEM a very lucrative channel for you. If you are geography defined, you can micro-target your ads down to miles. If you are intimidated by creatives, you can start by exploring text ad formats. Like SMM, SEM is a whole universe in itself. It’s best to test, try, and see what works best for you.

Digital Marketplaces

Today, there is a digital marketplace for all kinds of services and products. From event listing platforms to e-commerce giants like HealthKart and Amazon, there is something for everyone. Be present on these platforms and try to use their paid features like premium listings, or discounts for higher visibility at point of conversion. Always track your ad performances and see what works best for you across channels.

E-mailer Marketing

An underused tool, emailer marketing, can make or break your media plan. Even though this channel has a very low conversion rate, but it can help ensure personalization and top of mind recall. It is important to track and record basic information of your customers (with their permissions, of course!), like their email-ids and purchase history. You can use this data to interact and customize conversations via emailers. You can explore platforms like Mailjet and Sendgrid to try emailer marketing.

Another Important aspect of Email Marketing is the Quantity and Quality of your Email Database. You need to run your Email Campaigns on a relatively larger Set of Data in order to achieve a sizable number of Leads. In case your organization has an in-house programming team or you can manage with a little bit of technology, you can use My SQL to manage your Email Database. But in many cases the Email lists are in Excel or Google Sheets. In order to effectively run your email campaigns using this data you can use the tools that allow you to connect google sheets to mysql. These tools allow real time connectivity between the Google Sheets and your MYSQL database.

Also, Read: 10 Digital Marketing Tools to Invest In This 2020

4. Content Dissemination

While we spoke at length about different channels and forms of media, the key to the best of media plans comes down to your content, what you intend to say to your audience, and how. With social media, emailers, and/or digital marketplaces, it is important to stand out and be visible. We understand as a small business marketing, it is difficult to invest in designers, but you can start by exploring some free online video editors and/or make creatives on channels like invideo. You have a wide array of templates that you can use and adapt them to custom dimensions as needed for different ad formats!

5. Set timelines, targets, and reviews to keep improving. 

You will not crack the right media plan on day 1. It will take you time and juggling a lot of balls to get to the mix that works right for your business. But what you need to do is – constantly evaluate your decisions. Make your own reporting format, review your media performance weekly, and keep making changes.


The trick is to keep optimizing your budget, doing extensive A/B testing, and researching. There are new media mixes and digital ad products launching every day. Set your targets and get to a point where you are happy with your ROAS.

There is no right or wrong answer. Use your ‘spidey’ senses, crawl the web, and use your digital prowess to grow your business!

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