Today I started thinking: What if someone asked me for a complete roadmap to build a complete small business marketing plan from scratch? What would it include? So I did what any sensible person in my position would do -- I made a list...
Here are the 29 things you need to do start-to-finish if you want to follow a complete Small Business Web Marketing checklist. Granted, it's not 100% necessary to complete this exactly in the order presented below but it should give you a rough idea of what you will need to complete at each stage of the game.
The Complete Small Business Web Marketing Checklist
1. Get A High-Quality Web Hosting Account.
Chances are, you'll want to start with something basic. For good quality shared WordPress hosting, I recommend SiteGround. But if you need more juice and a dedicated server, I recommend Bluehost.
2. Build Your Website With WordPress.
This is a no-brainer. WordPress is the single best platform for building any website but especially for small businesses. It's simple, easy-to-use, flexible, and very Search & Social Marketing friendly.
3. Optimize WordPress For Best SEO Results.
SEO Optimization is a complicated process that's beyond the scope of this post. But for an easy & fast start, install Yoast's "Wordpress SEO" plugin in your WordPress site (FREE). This will be plenty of optimization for now. (Just be very careful you don't start OVER optimizing your site.)
4. Ignore Your Web Designer & Graphic Designer.
This is just one of my quick soap-box moments. Not all designers create problems, but plenty do. Remember: your goal at this stage of the game is to build a web presence & a website to grow your business -- not to impress your friends or please your money-hungry design freelance team. 😉
5. Add A Blog To Your Website.
Every small business website needs a blog. There are very very few exceptions to this rule. Be sure your programmer adds a blog actually ON your website. It should be somewhere like www.YourWebsite.com/blog for best results.
6. Add Social Networking Widgets To Your Website.
Make it easy for people to share your blog posts and your website content. Personally, I use and love the "Floating Social Bar Plugin" for WordPress but there are always lots of new & improved social plugins coming to market every day. Browse and find something you like.
7. Make It Easy For Customers To Contact You.
You need a Contact page, of course. But don't stop there! Make your phone number highly visible across your website. Add lots of "lead forms" too.
8. Create A Powerful Lead Magnet To Give Away Free.
This is starting to move into more advanced strategies, but Lead Magnets are extremely useful for growing your list and getting more results.
9. Ensure Lead Generation Is The #1 Focus Of Your Website.
Burn this one into your brain -- the #1 goal of your website is to generate leads, not to make sales. The sales part comes later.
10. Invest In Basic Email Marketing Software.
Speaking of lead generation -- you're going to need some good Email Marketing software to help you build a list ethically and responsibly while also keeping good track of names & emails. For basic email marketing, I recommend Aweber or Constant Contact.
11. Setup Your Social Media Presence On "The Big 5."
You need to have at least *some* kind of presence on what we call "The Big 5 Social Networks" -- Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, & LinkedIn. Don't worry about the particulars for now. Just get your accounts setup and ready to go.
12. Focus On 2-3 Highly Relevant Social Networks.
Depending on your type of business, you'll want to focus on 2-3 social networks where your time & resources will bring the biggest ROI. Google Plus, however, is a network I believe EVERY business should build a presence. Other networks, like Pinterest, work well for some businesses and not so well for other types of businesses.
13. Build Targeted Landing Pages For Every Product Or Service.
You need Landing Pages. These are NOT the same thing as Blog Posts and NOT the same thing as normal website pages.
14. Identify Your Top 25-100 Keywords For SEO.
Now that you're off to the races, it's time to start thinking strategically about SEO. Spend some time researching keywords and looking at what your competitors are doing with their SEO. Determine which 25-100 keywords are going to be best for your business.
15. Track Your SEO Rankings On Google, Yahoo, & Bing Monthly.
I use and recommend SeoKeywordRanking.com for this. As Peter Drucker put it, "What gets measured gets managed." Be sure you're constantly measuring your SEO performance.
16. Review, Update, & Improve Your Landing Pages For Better SEO Performance.
I'm not going to go too deep into SEO in this checklist. Just now that you'll need to begin investing in your SEO process if you want to get more natural search engine traffic.
17. Blog At Least 3-5 Times Per Week.
This is a must. If you're kicking and screaming about it, at the very very very least you should have 1 post per week. But don't expect your website traffic to grow anytime soon at that rate.
18. Share Your Website Content On Your Top Social Channels.
Every single blog post should be shared and shared again on your top social networks. Add new, fresh, unique headlines each time you share your blog posts.
19. Engage With Relevant Users On Social Media.
This is mission critical if you expect to build any kind of Social Media Marketing presence. You need to engage with people and you need to do it right.
20. Focus On Growing Your Email Marketing List.
As I'm sure you've heard millions of times already, "The money is in the list." There's a good reason you keep hearing that -- it's true!
21. Stay In Front Of Your Prospects & Customers.
Email marketing is your best tool for staying in front of your prospects and customers. Don't be shy. Send out email once per week or at least twice per month to keep engagement high.
22. Build Relationships Within Your Marketplace.
Now it's time to start looking around within your marketplace to find other businesses you can build partnerships with, other blogs you can guest post, etc etc. Start thinking geometrically about your marketing reach.
23. Invest In Advanced Email Marketing Software.
This is also a good time to start looking into more advanced and sophisticated Email Marketing CRM tools. I personally recommend Infusionsoft for exactly this.
24. Start Building Automated Marketing Triggers.
With advanced tools like Infusionsoft, you can begin adding automation to your marketing. This is key if you expect to scale and grow quickly. You need to clone yourself by automating your marketing.
25. Increase Your Average Lifetime Customer Value.
Infusionsoft will also help you analyze your LCV (Lifetime Customer Value) by looking at a simple report. This alone is worth the price of the software if you use it right.
26. Integrate Direct Mail Into Your Marketing Mix.
Web Marketing is great because you can increase your exposure and your reach very quickly and cheaply. But once you're business is off the ground, you need to start looking at Print Marketing to grow even faster. Your competitors are likely ignoring it, so the opportunities are virtually endless for you.
27. Integrate SMS Text Message Marketing.
I also love SMS Text Message Marketing for building even closer relationships with your marketplace. Most people carry their smartphone around 24/7. Text Messages get read far more often for that simple reason.
28. Survey Your Prospects & Customers To Improve.
Since you're off to a strong start and growing fast, you'll want to begin listening more carefully to what your customers really want. Surveys are a great way to collect data you can use.
29. Create More Products & Services.
And of course since you're in business to make more money, one of the fastest ways to do that is to sell more stuff!
There you have it -- 29 simple straightforward steps you can take to grow your business faster. Anything else you would add to this list? Leave your comment below.