Managing a small business in itself is a huge challenge - and on top of that keeping up with the seemingly ever-changing marketing world seems almost impossible.
But you don't have to worry - at RedFork Marketing, we are on a mission to help & support small businesses grow. Therefore, we have created this ultimate, most comprehensive small business marketing checklist that will help you to grow your business for sure.
Why Small Businesses Should Have A Marketing Checklist?
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of a small business. A well-executed marketing plan can help to increase visibility, attract new customers, and boost sales. However, creating and implementing a successful marketing plan can be challenging for small business owners who are already busy running their businesses.
A marketing checklist can help to simplify the process and ensure that all aspects of the marketing plan are covered. The checklist can be used as a guide to creating a plan or as a tool to track progress and ensure that all tasks are completed.
18 Must-Have's For Small Business Marketing Checklist
The following are some items that should be included in a small business marketing checklist:
1. Have A Documented Marketing Strategy
A documented marketing strategy is a plan that outlines how a business will market itself to potential customers. This plan can be as detailed as needed, depending on the size and complexity of the business.
A marketing strategy is important for a small business because it can help them focus their efforts and resources on the most likely successful activities. Without a plan, it can be difficult to know where to start or what tactics to use, which can lead to wasted time and money.
A documented marketing strategy can also help a business track its progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.
Further Resources for this Checklist Item:
2. Market Research
Market research is the process of gathering information about a potential market for a product or service. This information can be used to help make business decisions, such as whether to launch a new product, how much to charge for it, and where to sell it.
There are a number of different methods you can use to conduct market research, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. You can also use public data sources, such as census data and industry reports, to get a better understanding of the market.
To conduct market research, you'll need to gather information about your target market, including demographics (e.g., age, gender, income) and psychographics (e.g., interests, values).
Goals & Aspiration
You'll also need to understand your competition, including what products and services they offer and how they're marketing them.
Additionally, you'll want to assess any potential opportunities in your market, such as trends or upcoming changes that could benefit your business.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when conducting market research is that it should be tailored to your specific business. What works for one business may not work for another. So be sure to tailor your research accordingly and constantly test and tweak your findings.
Above all, remember that market research is an ongoing process. It's something you should continue to do even after you've launched your product or service. As the market changes, so must your research.
3. Ideal Customer Persona
An ideal customer persona is a representation of your perfect customer. This is someone who is the perfect match for your product or service, and who you'd love to have as a customer.
Creating an ideal customer persona can be a great way to focus your marketing efforts and create content that resonates with your target audience. Here are a few tips for creating an ideal customer persona:
Start by brainstorming who your ideal customer is. This could be anyone from young professionals to stay-at-home moms to retirees.
Once you have a general idea of who your ideal customer is, try to get more specific. What are their interests? What are they looking for in a product or service?
Once you have a good idea of what your ideal customer is like, start creating a profile for them. This could include things like age, gender, income, occupation, etc.
Once you have a profile for your ideal customer, start thinking about what kind of content would resonate with them. Are they interested in health and fitness? Gardening? Cooking? Tailor your content to match their interests.
Creating an ideal customer persona can be a great way for small businesses to focus their efforts and attract more customers. By understanding who your target market is and what they want, you can create products and services that better meet their needs.
Further Resources on Understanding Ideal Customer Persona:
4. Strong Brand Identity
A strong brand identity is key for any business - big or small. It can help you to stand out from the competition, and create a recognizable and trustworthy brand that customers will come back to time and again.
This is one of the foundational items in your marketing checklist as a small business.
There are a few things that you need to do to create a strong brand identity:
Firstly, you need to come up with a clear and concise mission statement. This statement should explain what your business is all about, and what its goals are.
You need to develop a unique branding strategy. This should include everything from your logo and color scheme to your marketing messages and target audience.
You need to make sure that your branding is consistent across all channels. This includes your website, social media profiles, advertising, packaging, and even your customer service interactions.
Finally, you need to keep track of your branding efforts and measure their effectiveness. This will help you to tweak your strategy as needed and ensure that you're getting the most out of your branding investment.
Watch Video: Branding Your Business in 2022 - Carrie Green
Other than the above, you should look for these items when developing & design your brand:
A business name
A color scheme
A font style
Images or graphics for use on marketing materials and the company website
Promotional Materials (Business Cards, Brochures, Signage)
As a small business owner, you should also consider how you want to position your brand and what values you want to communicate to your customers, and that is exactly what we are covering in our next item.
5. Your Message And The Story
Before you can decide how to position your company, you need to understand what positioning is and why it's important.
Positioning is the process of creating an image or identity in the minds of your target market. It's how you differentiate yourself from your competitors and communicate what makes you unique.
And it's an essential part of any marketing strategy. Why?
Because when consumers are faced with a marketplace full of options, they need some way to make sense of it all. That's where positioning comes in. By creating a clear and distinct identity for your company, you make it easier for consumers to understand what you offer and why they should buy from you.
But crafting an effective position requires more than just coming up with a catchy tagline. It starts with understanding your target market and what they're looking for. What needs are they trying to meet? What values do they hold? Once you have a good grasp on that, you can start to craft a message that resonates with them.
And that's where your story comes in.
Every small business has a story to tell - it's what makes you different and gives you an authentic voice that consumers will respond to. So, before you start thinking about how to position your business, take some time to define your story and figure out what makes you unique. Once you have that figured out, the rest will fall into place.
Further Resources on Positioning, Message & The Story:
6. Website, Domain, Hosting, And Emails
Your small business needs a website. Period. A website is one of the most important pieces of your overall marketing plan and it should be a top priority for your small business.
There are a few things you need to consider when creating your website. The first is what domain name you want to use. The domain name is the web address of your site, for example, www.yourbusinessname.com. You want to make sure that the domain name is available and that it represents your business well.
Other than domain, you should keep the following in mind:
Make sure your website is easy to navigate.
Use clear and concise language on your website.
Make sure your website is responsive (mobile-friendly).
Use high-quality images on your website.
Make sure your website is fast.
Make sure your website is designed for your customers - and help them achieve their goals.
Watch Video: Why is a Website Important for your Business
The second consideration is hosting. Hosting is the service that stores your website's files on a server so that they can be accessed by people all over the world. You want to make sure you select a reputable hosting company with a good track record.
Here are some tips for selecting a good host:
Check the company's track record.
Make sure they have a good uptime guarantee.
Ask for customer reviews.
Should have really good customer support.
The last consideration is email addresses. It's important to have professional email addresses for your business, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You want to make sure you select an email provider that offers good spam filtering and that has mobile apps so you can access your emails from anywhere.
7. Active Blog - Posting Regularly
There are a few reasons why small business owners should focus on their blogs and make sure that they are working properly. The first reason is that blogs can help you to improve your search engine rankings.
This is because when you post new content, it tells the search engines that your site is active and up-to-date. As a result, your site will be more likely to appear in the search results when people are looking for information related to your business.
Another reason to focus on your blog is that it can help you to build relationships with potential customers. When you post interesting and useful content, people will be more likely to visit your site and share your content with others.
This can help you to attract more visitors and to build a loyal audience of readers who trust your advice and recommendations.
Finally, it is important to remember that blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise and knowledge in your field. When you write about topics that are relevant to your business, you can attract new customers and clients who are interested in what you have to say. By taking the time to focus on your blog, you can improve your business’s online presence and reach a larger audience with your message.
For these reasons, you must focus on planning, creating & populating your blog as a small business owner to reap all the above benefits.
Here are some tips for making sure your blog works for you:
Keep your blog posts short and to the point. People don't have time to read long, rambling posts. Make sure your posts are concise and easy to read.
Write about topics that are relevant to your customers. If you're a plumbing company, don't write about gardening tips. Stick to topics that are relevant to your business and your customers.
Use keywords in your posts. This will help your blog show up higher in search engine results pages.
Post regularly. It's important to post new content on a regular basis if you want people to keep coming back to your blog. Try to post at least once a week.
Promote your blog on social media. Make sure you let your followers know about new blog posts and invite them to read them.
Engage with your readers. Respond to comments and questions from readers, and have a conversation with them. This will help build relationships with them and show that you care about what they have to say.
Further Resources on Blogging for Small Businesses:
8. Social Media
Social media marketing is more important than ever for small businesses. In the past, small businesses might have been able to rely on word-of-mouth or traditional marketing methods to reach their target audiences.
However, in today's digital world, consumers are increasingly turning to social media to find information about products and services. As a result, it's essential for small businesses to have a presence on social media.
When it comes to social media, there are a few things small business owners should keep in mind.
It’s important to create social media accounts that are consistent with your branding. That means using the same logo, color scheme, and fonts across all platforms. It also means writing posts that are in line with your company’s voice and values.
Make sure you’re using the right social media platforms for your business. Not all platforms are appropriate for all businesses. For example, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is a better platform than Facebook.
Be sure to post regularly. Social media isn’t effective if you only post once every few months. Instead, try to post at least once a day. And make sure your posts are interesting and engaging; people won’t want to follow a company that only posts boring updates.
Experiment with different types of content. Posts with images tend to be more popular than text-only posts, but don’t be afraid to try something new. The key is to find what works best for your audience and your business.
It's true that social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges.
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is failing to create a strategy. Without a clear plan, it can be difficult to know which platforms to use, what content to post, and how to measure success. Another common mistake is treating social media as an afterthought.
Posting sporadic updates and advertising special deals without any real engagement will quickly turn customers off.
Finally, many small business owners make the mistake of not listening to their customers. Social media provides an excellent opportunity to collect feedback and address concerns in a timely manner.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can use social media to its full potential.
9. Search Engine Optimization - SEO
The purpose of SEO is to improve a website’s visibility and organic search results in Google and other search engines. When people search for terms related to your business, you want your website to appear as high as possible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO is not an exact science, and what works for one website might not work for another.
However, there are some general tips that will help you improve your website’s SEO.
First, optimize your website for Google. Google is the most popular search engine, so optimizing your website for Google will help you reach the most people. To optimize your website for Google, make sure your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and has a high-quality score.
Second, produce high-quality content. Quality content is one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. Your content should be well-written, informative, and relevant to your target audience. Additionally, you should publish new content regularly to keep your website fresh and interesting.
Third, use keywords wisely. Keywords are words or phrases that people use when searching for information online. When you include keywords in your content and title tags, you make it easier for people to find your website.
However, don’t use too many keywords or you may be penalized by Google. Instead, use keywords strategically to improve your SEO.
Fourth, backlinks are important. Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in SERPs. You can increase your backlinks by publishing guest posts on other websites or by submitting articles to article directories.
Finally, use SEO tools to help you track your progress and optimize your website accordingly. There are a number of SEO tools available online, such as Google Analytics and SEMrush. These tools can help you measure your website’s performance and identify areas where you need to improve your SEO.
You should also link your website with Google Analytics & Google Search Console to analyze your SEO efforts and to have proper reporting on it.
Further resources on SEO:
10. Local SEO
Mentioning local SEO separately in this small business marketing checklist has a reason. The reason is that local SEO is a bit different and even more relevant for small businesses.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online content to make it easier for local customers to find your business. The first step is to make sure that your website and social media profiles are up-to-date and accurate. This means including your correct contact information, business hours, and location.
You should also include keyword-rich descriptions of your products and services. In addition, you need to create citations—listings of your business on directories like Google My Business and Yelp.
These listings help to improve your visibility in search results, and they also provide potential customers with important information about your business.
Finally, you should consider creating some local content, such as blog posts or videos about local events. By taking these steps, you can make it easier for local customers to find your business and learn about what you have to offer.
11. Content Marketing Targetting The Ideal Customer Persona
When creating content, it's important to target your ideal customer persona. This way, you can ensure that your content is relevant and engaging for your audience.
To create content that resonates with your target audience, you'll need to understand who they are and what they care about. That's why we guided you to research and understand your ideal customer above in this checklist.
Once you have a good understanding of who your target customer is, you can start creating content that speaks to their needs and interests. You can also use this information to design content marketing campaigns that will resonate with your target audience.
There are many different types of content that businesses can use to engage their audiences. Some of the most popular types include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, news articles, and images.
Watch Video: Content Marketing for Small Businesses
Each type of content has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best way to determine which type is right for your business is to experiment with different options and see what works best for your audience.
For example, if you want to communicate complex information in an easily digestible format, an infographic might be the best option. If you're looking to build a personal connection with your audience, a video might be more effective. Ultimately, the best way to find the right type of content is to experiment and see what gets the best results.
12. Make Use Of Email Marketing
Email marketing can be a great way for small businesses to reach their target audience. By building a list of subscribers, businesses can send out regular emails with updates, special offers, and other relevant information.
Email marketing can be highly effective, but it takes some effort to get started. Here are a few tips for small businesses looking to get started with email marketing:
Start by building a list of subscribers. You can do this by including an opt-in form on your website or blog, or by providing a way for people to sign up for your email list at events or in-person meetings.
Once you have a list of subscribers, create engaging and informative content that will appeal to your target audience. Make sure to include a call to action in each email, such as asking people to visit your website or follow you on social media.
Regularly measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns so that you can make changes and improve results over time. Keep track of things like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
By following these tips, you can make email marketing work for your business and achieve the desired results.
More Resources on Email Marketing for Small Businesses:
13. Referral Marketing
Referral marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on word-of-mouth to generate new leads and customers. In other words, it's when businesses encourage their current customers and clients to recommend their products or services to others.
After all, customers who are happy with your products or services are much more likely to tell their friends and family about you. But how can you encourage your customers to spread the word? Here are a few tips for effective referral marketing:
First, it's important to identify your target audience and what motivates them to make referrals. Further, you need to have a strong incentive program in place to encourage customers and clients to make referrals. And finally, you need to make it easy for customers and clients to actually make referrals, by providing them with pre-written text, email templates, social media posts, etc. By following these simple tips, small businesses can quickly start leveraging the power of referral marketing.
Referral marketing can be an extremely effective way for small businesses to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and generate leads and sales. And best of all, it's relatively low-cost and easy to implement.
14. Implement CRM
CRM or Customer Relationship Management software is a category of software that covers a wide range of applications designed to help businesses manage many of their customer-related business processes.
CRM software is used to track and manage interactions with current and potential customers using various channels such as phone calls, emails, social media, web forms, etc.
One important way CRM helps small businesses is by providing them with valuable insights into their customers. By tracking customer interactions and analyzing their behavior, businesses can gain a better understanding of what their customers want and need. This information can then be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to result in conversions.
Additionally, CRM software can automate many of the tasks associated with marketing, making it easier for small businesses to run effective campaigns without stretching themselves too thin.
Overall, CRM is an essential tool for small businesses that are looking to optimize their marketing efforts.
If you don't use CRM in your small business, you may miss out on important information about your customers that could help you improve your products or services. Additionally, you may not be able to track customer trends over time, which could impact your ability to make future business decisions.
By providing valuable insights into customer behavior and automating many of the tasks associated with marketing, CRM can help small businesses save time and money while still achieving their desired results.
Further Resources on CRM:
15. Local Event Participation And Sponsorships
Getting involved in your community is a must-have in any good marketing checklist. By getting involved in the community, you can raise awareness of your business while also building goodwill.
When choosing events to participate in, look for ones that align with your company's values and mission. For example, if you own an eco-friendly cleaning business, you might participate in an eco-fair or host a workshop on green cleaning tips.
Sponsoring an event is another great way to get involved in the community and market your business. When selecting an event to sponsor, look for ones that will reach your target audience.
For instance, if you own a pet store, you might sponsor a dog show or pet adoption event. By getting involved in local events and sponsorships, you can help your small business stand out from the competition.
Here are some tips for effective participation in your local community as a small business:
Do your research: As said above, not all events will be a good fit for your business. Make sure to do your research and target events that are likely to attract your target audience.
Find the right fit. There are all sorts of events out there, so it's important to pick one that's a good fit for your business. If you're a family-friendly business, for example, sponsoring a kids' soccer tournament may be a good choice. Consider also the size of the event and whether it's likely to generate the kind of exposure you're looking for.
Once you've selected an event, reach out to the organizers and let them know you're interested in sponsoring or participating. Be sure to explain why you think your business would be a good fit for the event.
If you're selected as a sponsor, be sure to promote the event heavily leading up to it. This will not only help generate excitement for the event, but it will also increase foot traffic to your booth or exhibit.
Get organized. Once you've decided on an event to sponsor, start planning early so you can make the most of your investment. Determine what kind of sponsorship package makes sense for your budget and goals, and then put together a plan for how you'll promote your business at the event (think branding materials, product displays, etc.).
Get creative: There are many ways to get involved in an event, so be creative in how you participate. For example, you could set up a booth, hand out samples, or provide support as a sponsor.
Build relationships: Events offer a great opportunity to network and build relationships with other businesses and individuals in the community. These relationships can pay off down the road, so make sure to nurture them.
Follow up. After the event is over, don't forget to follow up with everyone you met! Send thank-you notes, connect on social media, and do whatever else you can to stay top-of-mind with potential customers. With a little planning and effort, sponsoring a local event can be a great way to grow your small business.
Collaboration is key when it comes to marketing as a small business. While it's important to have a clear vision for your brand, it's also essential to work with other businesses and influencers in order to reach your target audience. Here are some tips for effective collaboration:
1. Define your goals. Before you start reaching out to potential collaborators, it's important to have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve. What are your overall marketing goals? What kind of message do you want to convey? Who is your target audience? Once you have a good understanding of your goals, you'll be able to more easily identify potential collaborators who can help you achieve them.
2. Seek out complementary brands. Look for brands that complement your own, rather than competing with them. For example, if you sell natural beauty products, seek out partnerships with eco-friendly fashion brands or health food stores. These types of collaborations will help you reach a wider audience and build mutual trust and respect between your brands.
3. Utilize social media. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for small businesses - and it's also a great way to collaborate with other businesses and influencers. Seek out hashtags that are relevant to your industry, and use them to find potential partners. Once you've connected with someone, don't be afraid to reach out and collaborate on social media content or even offline projects.
Including collaboration in this marketing checklist for small businesses is based on the fact that the future is collaborative, not competitive. Also, collaboration opens up a lot of new opportunities for your small business.
17. Customer Marketing
Customer marketing is a strategic approach to business that always puts the customer first. This means creating happy customers and encouraging them to spread the word about your business. It’s a long-term, sustainable approach that builds loyalty and trust.
Small businesses can utilize customer marketing by creating exceptional customer experiences, requesting feedback and testimonials, and using social media to build relationships.
Creating exceptional customer experiences should be the number one priority for any small business. This includes everything from providing excellent customer service to going above and beyond to solve problems. When customers have a positive experience with your business, they’re more likely to become loyal, lifelong fans.
Asking for feedback and testimonials is another great way to utilize customer marketing. Showing that you care about what your customers think will make them feel valued and appreciated. And when they see that you’re constantly striving to improve your business, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Finally, using social media to build relationships is a great way to connect with current and potential customers. By regularly interacting with your followers and sharing valuable content, you’ll create a community of loyal supporters who are happy to spread the word about your business.
Customer marketing is a powerful tool that every small business should utilize. By putting your customers first and focusing on creating exceptional experiences, you’ll build long-lasting relationships that will help your business thrive for years to come.
18. Analyzing, KPIs And Improvements
As a small business owner, it's important to focus on the right marketing metrics. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time and money on activities that don't generate results. So, what are the key marketing metrics that you should be tracking?
One of the most important metrics is website traffic. This metric tells you how many people are visiting your website and can give you an indication of how well your marketing campaigns are performing. Another key metric is conversion rate, which measures how many people are taking the desired action on your website (such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter). If your conversion rate is low, it could mean that your website isn't optimized for conversions or that your marketing messages aren't resonating with your target audience.
Other important marketing metrics include:
Customer lifetime value
Customer acquisition costs
Customer retention rates
Average order values
Number of new customers acquired
Number of returning customers
Click-through rate (CTR)
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
By tracking these metrics, you can get a better understanding of which marketing activities are generating the best results and ROI. Ignoring your marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) can be detrimental to the long-term health of your business.
By definition, KPIs are a set of metrics that are used to measure progress and assess whether a business is on track to meet its goals. Without tracking and analyzing your KPIs on a regular basis, it's impossible to know if your marketing efforts are truly effective.
Furthermore, you may be missing out on important insights that could help you fine-tune your strategy and achieve even better results. In short, paying attention to your marketing KPIs is essential for making informed decisions that will help your business thrive in the long run.
As a small business, you can’t afford to miss any key steps in your marketing plan. By following the checklist we provided, you can be sure that your bases are covered and that you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place.
Remember, your marketing strategy should be flexible and adapt as your business grows and changes. With a solid foundation in place, you’ll be able to make modifications as needed to continue driving growth for your business.
Have questions or need help getting started? Contact us today and one of our experts will be happy to assist you.