Small Business Digital Marketing Checklist

June 21, 2020

To grow a small business and reach new audiences, it’s essential that you stay on trend and keep your finger on the pulse of the latest digital marketing strategies. If you’re at a loss for where to begin, we’ve got you covered. 

In this guide, we’ve provided a small business digital marketing checklist that provides everything you need to know to launch a successful online marketing campaign. 

The elements listed below are, of course, subject to change. The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing and any business owner’s strategy should adapt to the times. However, this checklist will provide a solid foundation on which your business’s marketing strategy can develop.

Devising a Strategy

Don’t rush into developing a digital marketing campaign without first devising a strategy. Before getting started, ask yourself what your primary objective is—the answer should serve as the North Star that orients the direction of your campaign. Your objective may be any of the following:

  • To increase website traffic
  • To generate more sales
  • To increase brand awareness
  • To grow our social media presence

For example, if your goal is to increase sales, then your digital marketing campaign should be strategized around promoting products and services and funneling customers toward money pages on your website.

On the other hand, if you merely want to increase your web traffic, then focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) techniques will deliver the best results. 

Search Engine Optimization

Your first step is to optimize your website to improve its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Although proper SEO takes months, if not years, of work, it pays dividends in the long-run by presenting your website ahead of your competitors’ when customers search for businesses like yours. 

After all, 91.5 percent of all web traffic generated by Google is directed to the websites listed on the first Google SERP. That’s why it’s crucial that you incorporate SEO techniques into your digital marketing strategy—otherwise, you run the risk of getting left behind. Below are some of the main elements of an SEO strategy.

  • Keyword Planning and Usage: Tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you find relevant, high-traffic keywords that your web properties can rank for. These keywords should be inserted into the title, body text, and headings in your content.
  • Backlink Building: Off-page SEO (i.e., optimization elements that exist outside of your website) is an equally important ranking factor. For Google’s PageRank algorithm to trust your content, it should be referenced via hyperlinks from other websites with high domain authority. When authoritative websites link to yours, they pass some of their “authority” along with it. 
  • Content Quality and Readability: The quality of your content is king. Your web content should provide original value-added insights that are easy to scan and understand for a general audience. 
  • Analytics: To track your ranking progress, be sure to use an SEO analytics tool like Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Moz Link Explorer, or SEMrush.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the quickest way to drive targeted traffic to your website or landing page. There are various advertising platforms but the biggest ones at the moment are:

  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Youtube Ads
  • Bing Ads

When advertising online it is important to have an ad budget but it is even more important to understand the unit economics of your business, things like:

  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Profit margins
  • Lifetime value 

Another powerful feature of paid advertising is using retargeting to get back in front of people that have visited your website.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is the cornerstone of any small business digital marketing checklist. After all, over 3.5 billion people (or nearly half the world’s population) uses some form of social media. Therefore, establishing a social media presence across multiple platforms is perhaps the best way to increase brand awareness and reach new customers. 

There are several social media platforms that every small business should take advantage of. These include the following:

  • Facebook for Business
  • Instagram for Business
  • Twitter
  • Google My Business
  • LinkedIn

Not only are the social media platforms listed above excellent resources for spreading awareness of your brand, services, or products, but they also deliver important messages. For instance, any changes to your store’s hours can be reflected on your Google My Business listing within seconds, and Twitter can help spread the word. 

If you aren’t sure how to grow and maintain your business’s social media presence, consider these key tips:

  • Upload short, accessible, eye-catching content at least every few days
  • Vary your content format (i.e., photos, infographics, videos, gallery posts)
  • Ensure that your content adds value to your audience
  • Use trending hashtags that are relevant to your niche (e.g., #ecommerce or #webdesigners)
  • Consider using post automation tools like Hootsuite, Mention, and BuzzSumo to streamline the process of scheduling posts and tracking their performance

Leverage Many Digital Marketing Assets

It’s not enough to merely have an optimized website and active social media presence. For your business to flourish in the digital age, it’s important that you create and promote a variety of digital assets attached to your brand. Below, we’ve listed some of the best ways to promote your business online.

  • Podcasts: Podcasts help establish your brand as a thought leader within its industry or niche. Branching into podcasts helps your brand reach new audiences by delivering audio content in a marketing world dominated by visual stimuli. 
  • eBooks: Like podcasts, eBooks make your brand or leadership stand out as an authority within your field. Publishing an eBook or eBook series can help set your business apart from your competition and can earn you passive income over time.
  • Mailing Lists: Building a mailing list for a regular newsletter can be used to provide targeted ads and promote deals and promotions as they arise.
  • Informative Blogs: Hosting a blog on your website is not only essential for SEO purposes but it also can be used to drive affiliate marketing income.
  • YouTube: Publishing helpful and information vlogs to Youtube can help your brand reach a growing audience of over two billion monthly users.

Putting It All Together

A well-rounded small business digital marketing campaign is one that puts equal emphasis on all of the marketing channels and techniques listed above. In today’s increasingly globalized world, it’s important that your small business stays on top of social media trends and developments to expand your customer base and improve brand awareness.

The key to a top-performing small business digital marketing campaign is to find what’s working best and continue using that system. For example, a fast-growing newsletter mailing list may provide more value for you than an Instagram account that accrues followers at a snail’s pace. 

There’s no hard and fast rule to optimizing a small business digital marketing checklist—what matters is that you find a formula that works for you and double-down on it.

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