Ten Point Digital Marketing Checklist

One of the problems many new website owners run into when they begin, is that they tend to set out on what they hope will be the road to success without a map and compass. That causes them to wander and take side roads that are unproductive.

For that reason, we’ve pulled together a checklist that sets out the most important milestones and the general order in which you should deal with them. There might be some “looping back around” as you learn more about your market, but for the most part you’ll find that the order they are placed here will be the most productive.

  1. Determine your goal. While this seems like the ultimate “no brainer,” it’s the most important. It’s possible that you’ll have a few different goals that overlap; you may discover this as you continue down our checklist.
  2. Study your competitors. Use services like SimilarWeb to see what others in your market segment are doing. This will give you an early indication of the direction your marketing should go in.
  3. Define your difference. You may have done this even before you got serious about taking your project or product to the Internet, but now that you’ve looked at your competitors more carefully, you should be able to clearly define your differentiator.
  4. Outline your marketing. There will be several elements in your marketing: Your website design, your social media marketing, your content marketing, your email marketing, and your paid marketing.

Drawing on what you have learned about your competitors will help you balance these elements. In every case, a well designed website plays a major role and to have a good website – and also do good online marketing – you need to understand your prospects and the keywords the will be using in their searches. If you have done a good job defining your difference, this should lead you to some long-tail keywords that will be important to your success.

The next three steps can be taken in any order. Often they will be done simultaneously.

  1. Determine your most important social media platforms. The nature of your product, service and prospects will point you toward your most important social media platforms. You need to answer questions like:
  • Are my prospects younger, middle aged, or older?
  • Do I need media rich-posts to best introduce my prospects to my offers?
  • Which platforms can I leverage in ways that will help me meet my goal?
  1. Fine tune your website. Be sure your website aligns with best search engine optimization practices and uses the long-tail keywords that you developed in step four above.
  2. Develop content that exploits your keywords. When you studied your competitors, you should have discovered what content was bringing visitors to their websites. Use that information and your keywords to develop strong content that will deliver prospects to your website. Plot out a content marketing publishing calendar to bring discipline and thoroughness to your posts.
  3. Launch a paid advertising program. If you have the budget, you should try some paid advertising. Get a better idea of your keywords and the interests of your best prospects at this point, so you may be ready to apply that knowledge to a trial paid advertising program.

Not only will you need to carefully design and write your advertising messages, you will need to create landing pages for each ad. Again, make sure that your paid advertising aligns with your overall goal. Adjust your advertising messages and landing pages as you discover which are most productive.

We don’t have space to cover the topic fully here. If you’re going to pay for advertising, consider a “retargeting” program. Previous visitors to your website are present with ads for your company as they browse other websites.

  1. Launch a regular email marketing program. Between your SEO, content marketing, social media marketing and any paid advertising. By this point you should have collected enough email addresses to have a strong email marketing program. Also, gathering email addresses may have been one of your initial goals, so this aspect of your program may start earlier in the process. Even as early as the first day your website goes live.
  2. Study your results and realign your efforts. After you have some history in each of these areas you need to go back and look at your results in relationship to your goals and also in relationship to your competitors. When you see what is working best for you, make an effort to improve those areas even more. Try to improve underperforming aspects of your digital marketing program, but don’t waste too much time. If you’re getting 80 percent of your business from social media, for example, boosting it by 10 percent is significant. However, if content marketing is only providing 10% of your business, boosting it by 10% hardly moves the needle.

Stay with the program as you go through the above points. Don’t allow yourself the distraction. Remember, for each of these steps, you can get experience, professional help, and often that’s the smartest investment you can make.