Best Practice

Digital Marketing Checklist for Small Businesses

Starting a business is only the beginning of the journey.

The tough part is getting people’s attention, informing them of your unique value, developing an ongoing relationship, and turning them into customers. This can be especially difficult for small businesses with limited resources. There are various strategies to bring in prospects - fortunately digital marketing is one of the most effective, most affordable and easiest ways to attract new customers.  

Simply put, digital marketing is the process of promoting and disseminating information about your business on the internet. It can connect your small business to potential customers through various online programs and platforms. With a small amount of planning, consistency, and a few minutes a day, digital marketing can pay huge dividends overtime.

Digital marketing can seem overwhelming with the continuous headlines and promises of guaranteed results from every sales person that shows up in your inbox or new product that rolls out. How do you sort out the good from the bad, spend within budget, and know what to do next out of the sea of options?

To become proficient at digital marketing, start with the basics. Set up your reporting so that you can monitor and continuously fine tune your programs. Whether you’re adding the next social media platform, hiring an SEO specialist, utilizing a content writer, or working with a PR person, setting up the basics will put you in a position to confidently ramp up or change tactics.  

To make sure you have the basics covered, checkout our digital marketing checklist for small businesses

1. Responsive Website

Your website is the focal point of your digital marketing campaign. Consider it a virtual storefront for your business. As such, you must ensure that it aligns with your digital marketing tools. Moreover, it is often the first point of contact customers have with your business when looking to buy your goods and services.

This is not to say that physical businesses don’t need a website - most times customers will look at your website before they visit the physical store. According to GE Capital Retail Bank, 81% of customers start their buying journey online.

There are some key elements of a professional website to keep in mind during the creation process. Choosing the right domain name, optimizing your website for search engines, engaging web design, and adding useful, relevant content consistently are all major players when it comes to SEO and user experience.

One of the most important aspects of your website is that it is optimized for all forms of smart phones and tablets. This is referred to as responsive design. Having your website optimized for mobile devices is one of the most important search engine optimizations (SEO) you can do. We all know that most searches are conducted on the phone, and search engines like Google will select websites for their users that will perform well.  

2. Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free business listing from Google that allows you to provide the details of your business, including your location, products, contact information, and services. It is a great element of digital marketing that has one of the largest impacts on increasing your small business's visibility online.

Potential customers are more than twice as likely to consider your small business's offerings if you have a complete business profile. You can also use it if you want to boost your search engine rankings and get to the first page. Moreover, it allows you to control, update, and edit your business details as you want.

Tip: include a UTM tracking code in the URL you put in your Google Business profile

3. Powerful and Free Google Tools

Google is widely renowned as a powerful search engine. However, they also offer a host of free tools for small business owners who want to grow their business online. Most importantly, this includes Google Analytics, which is now being upgraded with the new GA4 that enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps..

In addition to GA4, there are other tools used for various purposes, like Google Tag Manager which allows you to quickly and easily update tracking tags (code) on your website with no coding knowledge, or Google Search Console, which is a search-engine focused analytics tool that allows you or your web developers to improve your visibility and presence in Google’s search engine results.  

Another very powerful tool is Google’s Keyword planner, which is part of the Google Adwords. While you will need to set up a Google Adword account to get access to Keyword Planner, it is well worth the effort, even if you never plan to run an ad.

Google has plenty of guides accessible online on how to install and use the tools.  However, many business owners simply do not have the time. Let's be honest - as straightforward as the how-to’s seem, there is a whole set of terms and concepts to learn that very quickly become overwhelming. Many small business owners hire freelancers to do the job for a small fee or work with an agency to implement a plan.

4. Meta Business Page

First, Facebook, now Meta, is by far the largest social media platform to date. They are investing billions into new features and services for small businesses. Facebook has a slightly older demographic, one with a lot of purchasing power, when compared to other large social media platforms. It is very easy to integrate with your Instagram account, making keeping the Facebook audience engaged very easy.  

A Facebook business page lets businesses identify themselves to potential customers not only by listing product offerings and services, but also by sharing images and posts to show the behind the scenes of the business. Your Facebook business page is an excellent tool to show the personality of your business and show your human side by interacting directly with customers.

5. Instagram Business Account

Like personal Instagram accounts, business accounts on Instagram are free. Using Instagram for business can drive brand awareness, boost sales, and build engagement with your audience. It’s also an excellent way to find customers where they’re comfortable, as most of them prefer to scroll and get new suggestions in their feeds. It can also provide valuable audience insights that you can use with other marketing strategies.

Instagram continues to evolve their short form video tools for small businesses. It is no secret that consumers love to engage with short, informative, and entertaining videos.  

As mentioned previously, you can also connect this account to your Meta business account to share Instagram posts directly to your Facebook page. To link to a Facebook Page, you must first be an admin of that page, and you may need to switch your personal account to a professional account if the Facebook Page is managed by a business manager.

6. Use a Social Media Reference Landing Page

These are tools that allow you to share multiple links on social media, especially on Instagram. They come in handy, as Instagram does not allow you to share web links anywhere apart from in stories and in the "bio" section of your profile page, which has a strict character limit. Some of the most popular tools for this task include LinkTree, Shorby, Pally, and ShortStack. They help you maximize the impact of your digital marketing campaign on the growth of your small business.

7. Keyword Analysis and Strategy

After posting content, it’s easy to assume that everyone sees and knows who you are. But that’s not always the case. Here’s where keyword analysis comes in.

Keyword analysis helps you understand what your target audience is looking for in search engine results. Around 75% of internet users never look past the first page of search results, and only the right keywords will get you there. Keyword analysis involves analyzing, comparing, and selecting keywords that will make it easier for internet users to find you.

For your small business, targeting specific keywords on different pages on your website enables search engines to understand your business and choose the relevant pages on your site to display in the results. While selecting words that users might use to find your business it is a bit more complicated. You need to consider terms your currently already rank for, what types of SERPS dominate the results, what the competitiveness is for each word and how the selection of word groupings aligns to your website structure. Analyzing and understanding these factors is what an SEO specialist uses to create a semantic core for your website.    

Once a semantic core is completed, implementing your keywords on your website is part of an overall On-Page SEO effort which consist of on page text, meta data, and website technical optimizations. While it is possible to do your own keyword analysis and semantic core development, most business owners hire an SEO agency or SEO specialist to formulate and implement a keyword analysis and strategy. Keyword strategy and analysis combined with the two other major pillars of SEO, content publishing and backlinks (links from other websites to yours) can produce an ongoing increase in quality web traffic.    

8. Start a Blog

A blog is the number one way a small business consistently publishes long form content. A blog gives you the opportunity to not only showcase your business's products, but your company’s personality, culture and employees. A good series of blog posts will range from informative and helpful to entertaining and inspiring. While blogs are used to promote your business, it is done in a more indirect way, but always uses your keywords.  

Promote your blog topics and content on social media. Make them engaging - try using a poll or ask for follower feedback. We are not all literary experts. One tactic that is commonly used is to hire freelance blog authors. They can generate a blog from an idea, an outline or edit a draft you produced. Make a plan of topics and get started. Start slowly and at your own pace. Remember, digital marketing is about constantly adjusting as you go. Blogs are a valuable asset to your digital marketing campaign.

9. Monitor Everything All the Time

For large companies, marketing dashboards allow them to see what is working and what is not, where to increase activity, and when to phase out low return campaigns. Marketing dashboards can be expensive, and difficult to maintain all the data connections. However, as a small business, you do not generally don’t  have the time to monitor each tool and platform every day.  

The Internet is revolutionizing almost every aspect of business, and it's crucial to keep up to date with the ever-changing trends. Having a dashboard is half the solution. Having access to vetted expert specialists for the various tasks is the other half. Seeing what needs to be done, and being able to get it done, affordably in an incremental fashion is what most small owners need and want.  

Lastly, digital marketing can seem daunting and overwhelming, but when done in a continuous, incremental fashion you can quickly build an ever improving digital marketing program.

Cruxdata integrates all of your data sources, from your website to your social media, and organizes your data in a simple to read and easy to action dashboard. Need help configuring accounts or conducting SEO research? Let our professionals help you step by step. No expensive packages! Pay for only what you need.

Preston Derrick