When you run a small business, every little bit of effort counts when it comes to marketing. However, it’s important to understand that in order to be effective, a small business marketing plan also has to be in line with current technology, standards, and practices. Make sure these smart and effective strategies are part of your marketing plan for the coming year.

1.  Streamlined, Functional Websites

With more and more people doing their information gathering and web surfing via smartphones and tablets, it’s more important than ever that your site be streamlined, mobile-friendly, search engine optimized, and easy to navigate. If your website isn’t (or could be better in this arena), consider hiring experts to evaluate your site and identify ways it could be more functional. Clean designs, well organized site maps, mobile functionality, and content that’s easy to consume “on the go” are the order of the day.

2.  Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Small business owners really need to watch their pennies and get as much bang for their buck as possible when it comes to advertising. That’s exactly why PPC advertising via platforms like Google Adwords is still one of the smartest ways to go. It’s cost-effective, it’s targeted, and it works!

3.  Get serious about social media.

According to HubSpot CEO Mike Volpe, social media generates nearly double the leads telemarketing, direct mail, or trade shows do. It’s only expected to be bigger in the years to come. That said, if your business doesn’t already have well-curated presences on at least Facebook and Twitter, you could be missing out on a lot of potential clients. For best results, consider hiring a social media expert to produce insightful, entertaining posts that keep people coming back for more.

4.  Know where to showcase products at their best.

When dealing with social media, always know your audience. While ubiquitous favorites like Facebook and Twitter are good bets for any business, don’t neglect other options. Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are all swiftly growing platforms that are especially well-suited to photos of beautiful products and items. If your business offers a less visual product, not to worry! Infographics and other types of images also do very well on such platforms.

5.  Put out press releases.

A small or locally owned business needs all the visibility it can generate. That said, press releases will continue to be a valuable part of any complete marketing plan in 2015. Potentially, a well-written, well-timed press release can generate as much exposure and attention from journalists and bloggers for your company as a much larger corporation could expect to get, making them a must for any business looking to grow.

6.  Pour some energy into a blog.

Business blogging has been a thing for quite some time and it’s sure not going anywhere come 2015. The more fresh, consistent, high-quality content you have on your website, the higher your search engine rankings will rise. Blogs provide entertainment, advice, and resources for existing and potential clientele as well. Just make sure the content is actually well-written, so hire a professional writer if need be. Google can tell the difference these days!

7.  Go the multi-media route.

Google is also paying more and more attention to websites that embrace multiple forms of media. That said, it’s not just about generating more content overall. It’s about generating more different kinds of content, especially video. If your business doesn’t yet have a presence on YouTube, it’s time to create one, fill it with entertaining stuff relevant to your industry, and integrate your videos into your website and social media pages.

8.  Micro-targeting and hyper-segmentation.

When it comes to certain branches of a comprehensive, well-executed small business marketing plan, sometimes less is more. The days when a good e-mail marketing campaign simply meant collecting as many contacts as possible are over. As we approach 2015, the intelligent small business owner is focusing more energy on making sure those on mailing lists are the correct audience for a given product or service. That said, micro-targeting and hyper-segmentation will be key.

When you make the decision to update your marketing strategy to include emerging technology and social trends, your small business wins. Plus, it’s never been easier or more affordable to do exactly that. Explore the many possibilities today and watch your bottom line flourish!

For more information about marketing your small business online, Sprout Media Lab is here to help. Reach out to us online or call us at (800) 617-6975.