The greatest approach to growing a
small business is through digital marketing.
Digital marketing can help you reach, connect and retain with your customers in the various online platforms available.
The problem we hear a lot is there are so many platforms and an equal number of tasks required to run successful online marketing campaigns, and it’s so easy to lose track or how to make decisions on what to do first.
Our marketing checklist outlines some of the important tasks you need to complete to ensure that you are taking full advantage of digital marketing. The best way to use this list is to go through the items one by one and find out which ones you need to add to your digital marketing plan.
Not all items will be applicable to your business as you will have different goals. But please take the time to explore each item and use to your advantage.
Understand what is digital marketing
Digital marketing is the process of marketing on the Internet. It’s a general term that includes using one or more online platforms for marketing purposes.
The most important online marketing channels are website marketing, search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.
Choose your online marketing channels
Digital marketing has a number of channels that can be used to promote products or services. The channels are grouped into two main categories: online marketing channels and offline marketing channels.
Digital Marketing Components
When planning your digital marketing campaign, you need to decide which channels to use. You don’t have to use everything but those channels that are suited for your niche. The most commonly used channels applicable for all businesses are SEM (Search Engine Marketing), content marketing, social media marketing and includes SEO & PPC.
The focal point of a digital marketing campaign is your website and this is your starting point.
You need to review your website marketing and make sure that is aligned with your digital marketing goals.
Review your website design
The first check you need to make is to review your website’s design to make sure that:-
- It accurately represents your brand – At the core of digital marketing is building and promoting online brands and to do this, you need a website that represents your brand, company culture, and vision.
- It’s easy to use and fast – Modern websites should be very easy to use and load fast on all devices. Websites with a simple design without unnecessary clutter always work best.
- It has a clear description of your products, services or offerings – Don’t forget that the primary reason you have a website is to use it to educate/inform users about your products or services, so make sure this information is easy to find on your site.
Ideal Site Structure for a
Small Business Website
One of the checks to make to ensure that your website design is ‘correct’ is to optimize and review your website structure. An optimized website structure will ensure that information is properly organized for both users and search engines and this will generate a number of benefits including more organic traffic and conversions.
Optimize your website for SEO
Having an SEO optimized website is not optional but a critical factor for the success of any digital marketing campaign. Search engine optimization is not just about making your website friendlier to search engines but it’s about making the whole user experience better.
Optimize your website for conversions
The primary goal of any marketing campaign is to generate conversions. Conversions can mean different things for different businesses but what is common is that you need to optimize your website for conversions.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you need to work on optimizing your product pages, checkout process, give users various payment options, make the website secure, etc.
If your goal is to increase your email list, you need to ensure that users can find easily how to sign up for your list and give them some benefits for doing so. The scenarios are a lot and it’s your job to define your conversion goals and work on conversion optimization.
Evaluate your website’s performance
One of the best things about digital marketing campaigns is that everything is measurable end to end. There are a number of metrics to use to evaluate the performance of your campaigns and your website.
For the website part you need to ensure that:-
- You have Google analytics installed and properly configured
- You have goal tracking enabled
- You know how to read and evaluate google analytics reports and metrics.
Search Engine Optimization - SEO
SEO is the most efficient digital marketing process that can (almost) guarantee the longevity of an online business.
Without SEO it is very difficult to stay in business for many years.
Paid Ads can boost your revenue but it’s search engine traffic that can help you grow and establish your brand in the online world.
Through SEO you can increase your site’s visibility in Google and get more traffic from search engines. The SEO process has three main pillars known as Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO. For the best results, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for all three.
Optimize your website for Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website for the crawling and indexing phase.
This is a critical process because technical SEO errors can damage the performance of your campaigns without understanding why.
Things to check and optimize include:-
On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing your content for search engines. On-page SEO techniques help search engines understand both the meaning and context of your content and this can have a positive effect on your rankings.
Things to optimize as part of on-page SEO include:-
- Optimizing your page titles and meta descriptions
- Optimizing your headings
- Content formatting
- Image Optimization
- Optimizing internal linking
Optimize your website for off-page SEO
Off-page SEO has to do with activities you can perform outside the boundaries of your website for promoting your website and content on the Internet.
The most important off-page SEO tasks are:-
- Link Building – The process of getting links from other websites that can positively influence your search engine rankings.
- Social Media Marketing – The process of promoting your website and content on social media networks.
- Brand Mentions – The process of making your brand known of the Internet with the purpose of getting mentions with or without links.
Off-page SEO is a great way to establish EAT (Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness).
Perform an SEO Audit
A recommended step to ensure that your SEO is in good standing is to perform an SEO audit. An SEO audit will tell you what’s wrong with your website’s SEO and how to fix it.
We offer a FREE website audit on the front page
Paid Advertising Checklist
Paid advertising is one of the fastest ways to make sales online. It is the recommended channel for start-up’s and for a business that needs results fast.
Optimized paid ads can generate revenue and profit for businesses until SEO and other digital marketing methods become ready to enhance business growth.
Benefits of PPC (Pay Per Click)
Paid Advertising is a huge chapter in digital marketing. There are so many platforms you can use to place your ads in front of your target audience and for best results, you need to explore and test as many as possible.
The most commonly used paid advertising channels are:-
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- YouTube Ads
- Bing Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
Also add in your checklist to run pilot campaigns in these networks and evaluate the results. Subject on your products and services, some channels may work way better than others and the only way to find out is to test them.
Let machine learning and AI do the hard work
All major advertising platforms now use machine learning and AI to display the right ads to the audience most likely to convert. Google Ads has introduced automated bidding options, dynamic ads (without having to specify keywords, etc.) and you need to make sure that you take advantage of all these options to optimize the performance of your campaigns.
Optimize your PPC campaigns
by running A/B tests
One of the core principles of running profitable PPC campaigns is continuous A/B testing.
When optimizing a PPC campaign (in any platform), you need to keep testing ad messages and types, bidding options and audience targeting, device targeting and a lot of other features to ensure that your campaigns are fresh and relevant for your users.
Content Marketing Checklist
Content Marketing Strategy
For SEO, paid advertising, email marketing or social media marketing to work, you need to be in a position to create high-quality content on a regular basis and this is what content marketing is all about.
Understand what is content marketing
Content is the driving force behind ANY digital marketing campaign. Whether its ads, posts, podcasts or videos, content is a huge decisive factor for the success or failure of your campaigns.
Content marketing is the process of creating content for the purpose of increasing your web traffic, getting new customers, making more sales or simply increasing brand awareness.
Identify what content your target audience needs
Randomly publishing content is not the way to do content marketing. The first step is to make your research and identify what content your target audience needs and in what format.
Is it text content or video? Do they need step-by-step instructions to carry out a task? Are they looking for an answer to a question? A product to buy?
Once you have the answers you can proceed to the next step.
Match Content with each stage
of the customer journey
A typical marketing funnel has many stages that resemble the customer journey from the time they search something on the Internet to the time they are ready to convert (make a purchase).
To be successful in digital marketing, you need to have the right type of content for each stage and performing a good keyword research analysis will help you achieve that.
Create a realistic content marketing plan
Once you know what type of content to create and for what topics/keywords, the next step is to come up with a plan to make this happen.
Your content marketing plan should be realistic taking into account your available resources, time and budget.
Good content is one of the most expensive items in a digital marketing campaign and instead of creating an optimistic plan you cannot follow, better create a plan you can execute.
Each piece of content you publish on any internet marketing channel should be considered an asset for your business and campaigns.
Create SEO friendly Content
SEO blog writing is an art that can be master with knowledge and experience. Before you hit the publish button for content that is geared towards organic search, you need to ensure that is great for both search engines and users.
Users like to read content that satisfies their intent and search engines want to index content that it’s easy for them to understand its meaning.
Accomplishing these two concepts together is what makes SEO friendly content.
Distribute your content on all
possible digital marketing channels
As mentioned above, creating good content is expensive, and every piece of content you create should be considered an asset. To benefit the most from your content assets, you can distribute them across various channels.
For example, you can convert a blog post into a presentation and share it on LinkedIn or into multiple tweets and share them on Twitter. Transforming your content into various formats and distribution channels will increase your reach and give you fuel to feed your channels.
Publish content based on
research or statistical analysis
There are roughly 4 million blog posts published each day. This is a huge number that is growing rapidly day by day.
To increase your chances of ranking high on Google, getting more social shares and mentions for your brand, you need to make sure that your content is thorough and is based on research, statistical data or your experience and expertise.
It’s not a matter of how many words you publish but what users want read. Statistics show that long-form detailed content performs better in SEO and the social web.
Go back and update your existing content
Publishing new content targeting new topics/keywords is essential for your digital marketing success but it’s not enough. You need to frequently revisit your most important content and make sure that is updated and always relevant.
By doing so you increase your chances of:-
- Maintaining your existing Google rankings
- Gaining more links
- Re-using your content in social media
Nobody wants to read content that is out-of-date and this includes both search engines and users.
Email Marketing Checklist
Creating a community around your brand and a tribe of loyal followers is the recipe for running successful digital marketing campaigns and email marketing is the medium to do that.
Understand what is email marketing
Email marketing is not dead. Despite the rise of social networks, email marketing is still one of the most effective sales channels. According to recent stats, it is estimated that there are over 5.6 billion active email accounts, and this number is rising year by year.
As a business owner, you need to understand what is email marketing and how it works. Having a newsletter and sending out a weekly email is not the end of the story.
You need to learn how to get visitors to sign up on your email list, how to use email funnels, how to use list segmentation and many more features to make email marketing work for your business.
Create an email marketing strategy
Having an email marketing plan is the best way to approach email marketing. Your strategy should include things like:-
- What incentives to offer to get people to register to your list
- How often to send emails and what type of content to include
- A/B Tests to make to find out what emails/messages generate the best results
- Ways to segment your list based on customer profiling
- How much to invest and the projected ROI?
- What are your email marketing goals? (educate users, make sales, etc.)
- Optimize your emails
- Email optimization is essential for every email you send out.
By email optimization we mean:
• Taking the necessary measures to ensure that your emails will get delivered to the right audience.
• Optimizing your email open rate (the number of people that will open your email).
• Optimizing your click rate (the number of people that will click a link in the email).
Measuring, monitoring and improving the above numbers will help you run profitable email marketing campaigns.
Social Media Marketing Checklist
Running social media marketing campaigns is not optional but a requirement for companies who want to have a present and future in the online world.
Thousands of companies are making money on social media marketing alone and many more are losing money on social media so you need to do it correctly to minimize the risk of failure.
Create business pages in all available social media networks
As a business, it is important to have a presence in all the networks that your audience is using.
All big social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), have the option to create a business account and you need to make sure that your brand name is claimed and accurately represented.
The following links will help you get started:-
Optimize your social media pages
For all social platforms you create for your business, make sure that it has the necessary information to learn more about your business and your offerings.
A mistake that many businesses make is to create a Facebook page and leave it empty with no content or information. This can do more harm to your business reputation than good.
Increase your social media followers
Social media is a very powerful tool in digital marketing. It’s a way to establish trust and to convince new users to follow your brand. People are more likely to buy products from brands they trust than from brands they know nothing about.
There are various ways to increase your social media followers, the most effective methods are:-
- Publishing useful content on a regular basis
- Using paid ads
- Offering incentives (running contents, giving prizes, etc.).
Update your social media pages on a regular basis
Before making a purchase, users are likely to search for your brand on Facebook and visit your business page. If you have outdated posts or a page that looks ‘abandoned’, this can reduce trust and negatively affect their decision.
The date a page was updated is something that many users take into account before making a buying decision. When have you looked at a Facebook page for example and found that the last post was over 12 months ago? Doesn’t look good does it?
For best practices, make sure that your social media pages are updated regularly with new content. This can be content from your blog, news about your products or services, industry news, industry studies, etc.
Create a social media marketing strategy and plan
Updating your social media pages while working on the other digital marketing tasks, can be a big issue for small businesses that have limited resources. The best way to handle this is to create a realistic social media marketing plan.
Your plan should include:-
- Your social media marketing goals
- Analysis of your audience personas
- Posting calendar
- Metrics to use to analyze the performance of your campaigns
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