Digital Marketing Checklists for Small Businesses

Use these small business digital marketing checklist to audit your current digital marketing efforts or to guide the development of a new digital marketing strategy.

Half of the companies doing digital marketing were doing so without a defined strategy according to a recent study.  How successful can any business activity be without a strategized plan of execution or set measurement of performance? An effective digital marketing strategy not only helps you make the right online marketing decisions, but it also provides a framework that ensures you are engaging in key online growth activities. Creating a small business digital marketing strategy that optimizes your local search engine efforts is the key to building an online business presence that customers find first in search and trust.

No Defined Digital Marketing

Your digital strategy will have various channels, all of which need managing, but don’t create an environment of overwhelm.  Use these checklists to help guide you in developing a manageable digital marketing strategy that includes a tactical and measurable approach with built-in performance improvement processes.

Small Business Digital Marketing Checklists

BEFORE YOU BEGIN – Setting Up a Digital Marketing Strategy

[  ]  Set Marketing and Sales Goals

[  ]  Assign Digital Marketing Responsibilities and Accountability

[  ]  Ensure Every Webpage Includes Analytics Tracking Code

[  ]  Determine Your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

[  ]  Develop and Use a System for Tracking and Measuring KPIs

[  ]  Create Customer Personas Using Analytics and Employee Input

[  ]  Identify Customer Pain Points and How They Search for Solutions

[  ]  Identify Most Effective Channels for Reaching Ideal Customers

Digital Marketing Measurements

SEO – Search Engine Optimization Digital Marketing Checklist

[  ]  Complete In-Depth Keyword Research and Review Quarterly

[  ]  Create Content that Solves Pain Points and Answers Customer’s Questions

[  ]  Use Location Schema to Enhance Local Search Visibility

[  ]  Track and Optimize Website Performance for Conversions, Mobile and Speed

ALSO READ: Local SEO Checklist – 9 Basic Tips to Get Found in Local Search


Reputation Management & Marketing Checklist

[  ]  Have a System in Place to Gather and Promote Positive Customer Reviews

[  ]  Create, Correct, and Monitor NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) Listings

[  ]  Create, Monitor, and Manage Citations and Business Directory Listings

[  ]  Be Active on Social Media and Engage Customers

[  ]  Post Helpful and Valuable Content along with Positive Reviews on Social Media

[  ]  Optimize, Manage, and Get Reviews on Google My Business Profiles

ALSO READ: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing


Advertising & PPC Digital Marketing Checklist

[  ]  Outline Advertising Targets and Set KPIs

[  ]  Define Frequency of Measurement (at least month-to-month)

[  ]  Ensure Analytics is Linked and Accurately Reporting

[  ]  Allocate Advertising Dollars in Marketing Budget with Seasonal Flexibility

[  ]  Do In-Depth Keyword Research for PPC Campaigns (pause underperformers)

[  ]  Research the Cost Effectiveness of Mobile and Video Advertising (for your industry)

[  ]  Run Online Advertising Campaigns with a Direct Response Focus

[  ]  Manually Adjust PPC Top Performers (bid up high converters with lower CPA)

[  ]  Optimize Campaigns Based on Visitor Metrics vs. Conversions

Monthly PPC Monitoring

Email Marketing Digital Marketing Checklist

[  ]  Define Goals and Determine Audience

[  ]  Use Segmentation to Create the Appropriate Subscriber Lists

[  ]  Optimize Subject Line and Preview Text to Increase Opens

[  ]  Focus and Highlight “What’s In It For Me?” for the Reader

[  ]  Use Bold and Clear Calls-To-Actions that Drive to Your Defined Goals

[  ]  Optimize Design for Desktop, Mobile, and Webmail

[  ]  Check Links and Test Dynamic Content

ALSO READ: New Email Marketing – Higher Conversion Rates and Customer Retention


Social Media Digital Marketing Checklist

[  ]  Be Where Your Customers Are Online!Develop a Do-Able Social Media Marketing Plan

[  ]  Develop and Execute a Do-Able Social Media Marketing Plan

[  ]  Create and Curate Helpful Blog Posts and Valuable Content Offers to Share

[  ]  Research Paid Advertising on Top Social Media Networks

[  ]  Monitor Followers and Influencer

[  ]  Encourage and Track Engagement

[  ]  Join and Get Active Where Your Customers Spend Their Time

[  ]  Consistently Research and Use High-Performing and Relevant Tags


Investing in, and committing to a holistic small business digital marketing approach is the fast track to taking advantage of ever expanding and affordable online marketing opportunities.  Go these small business digital marketing checklists to develop a winning strategy or as a review to ensure the right online activities are in place to grow your customer base and sales.


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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Digital Marketing Checklists for Small Businesses appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Getting Customer Reviews Through Yelp Filters

Avoid Getting Reviews Blocked by the Yelp Filters and Understanding Yelp’s Recommendation Software

As the most used business review site in the U.S., Yelp has established itself as the “go to” site when a consumer wants to research a new small business.  As a business owner, you know the importance of Yelp reviews and building a positive online reputation. You may have also experienced the frustration of missing or losing a good review you know was submitted due to Yelp filters.

Understand first that Yelp does not delete reviews and employees can’t decide which reviews get shown.  That is the Yelp recommendation software at work filtering the millions of reviews submitted into two categories:

  1. Recommended reviews that visibly rank on your business page.
  2. Not currently recommended reviews hidden behind a grayed out link at the bottom of your business page.

Yelp Filters Recommendation SoftwareWhy Yelp Filters are a Good Thing

Yelp is a leader in the industry because they give people what want: authentic star-rated reviews.  To stay authentic (and ahead of people trying to game the system) Yelp has recommendation software that in it’s complicated and secret way keeps fake reviews from showing in business review results.  If you had a good review disappear or get blocked by the filter, it is an unfortunate casualty in the war against fake reviews.  The Yelp filters may have mislabeled your good review as possible spam, but that same software also protects you from competitors using made up profiles and angry customers looking to flood your business with low-star reviews.  Good or bad, reviews filtered into non-recommended status are not taken into account when calculating your overall review average.

Not Recommended Yelp FiltersYelp filters and the review recommendation software are not disclosed in any meaningful manner.  Per Yelp! Blog there is a reason for that:

“We’re purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an ‘established’ user because it’s a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.”

However, through best-practices, user comments, and Yelp’s support center there is information out there that can help you get your reviews through the Yelp filters.

Getting Good Reviews Through Yelp Filters

Yelp recommendation software runs on an algorithm that has a standard of rules that establish a user and a review as an authentic submission.  In other words, there is a value given to everything from how complete the user profile is to how many words are in a review and when you add them all up the algorithm has either recommended a review or sent it behind the scenes where it will not affect Yelp users’ opinions of a business.

Yelp Recommend Every Review Reputation LoopYou can’t bypass the algorithm.  According to Yelp, their own employees cannot manually override the software.  However, you can greatly raise the odds of getting your good reviews past the Yelp filters by knowing some of the factors that could get your review flagged and exiled to “not recommended” pile where good reviews go to die.

Factors that could get a review stuck in the Yelp filters:

  • Reviewer has an incomplete profile without a photo or additional information.
  • Reviewer is an inactive user, one-time user, or first-time reviewer
  • Very short reviews lacking details like “Best pizza!!!” or “This place sucks!”
  • Strongly slanted or biased positively or negatively
  • Posted from an IP location very far from the business even though it could be someone who came through on vacation
  • Reviews from the same IP address which is why a Yelp review kiosk or tablet at your business could look like spam or fake reviews
  • An unprecedented flood of reviews will look like review spam even though it may have been you just sent a mass email asking for reviews for the first time today

Yelp Recommend more positive negative

The Yelp Filters are looking only at the user submitting a review and the content of that review, and not the business itself.  As the business owner, you have no control over who leaves a review and what they say. Having an understanding of what makes a better reviewer and review, you will know how to answer questions like “Why doesn’t my review show up on Yelp?” and “I don’t know how to use Yelp. How do I start?”

Tips on what makes a great Yelp reviewer and review:

  • Reviewers who have connected their Facebook
  • Reviewers who have downloaded the Yelp app and use it to “check in” around town.
  • Reviewers who have several detailed reviews of both positive and negative experiences.
  • Reviewers who have Yelp friends and engage with reviews by marking them as useful, funny, or cool.
  • Reviews that go beyond one experience to leave helpful tips for future customers.

Yelp is Important to the Success of Your Business

As a key player in building your online reputation, Yelp can help you expand your consumer base and reach new customers.  If you don’t have a review management process in place, you are gambling with one of your most precious assets.  Reputation Loop provides an easy-setup system automated to gather feedback from your customers after the sale, routing unsatisfied customers back to your business for customer service and your best reviews to review sites like Yelp to leave positive ratings.  Reputation Loop can’t fix your filtered reviews, but they can help you build a five-star reputation by ensuring only the best reviews are consistently post to the review sites that matter most.


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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Getting Customer Reviews Through Yelp Filters appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Google AdWords Express – Automated AdWords for Smaller Businesses

What is AdWords Express?

AdWords Express is a simpler mini-AdWords.  It’s designed for the small one-person marketing team who can do without all the bells and whistles of the full AdWords application.  The biggest benefit to using it over AdWords is AdWords Express automatically manages your online ads.  Freeing time by eliminateing the daily tasks it takes to manage campaigns in AdWords. You just fill in your business info, write an ad and AdWords Express does the rest. You budget and only pay for clicks, so pricing is simple. It’s a quick set up, much of it is on auto-pilot, and you can run the whole thing from your mobile app.  Just like AdWords, with AdWords Express when customers search for products or services related to your search phrases, your ad is eligible to appear next to, above, or below search results on Google. Plus, with Google Maps, your ad can appear directly on the map or beneath the search results. You can include your business address and phone number in your ad, and you only pay when someone clicks your ad. Unlike AdWords, Express will choose your keywords base on the categories and services you select to automate your advertising and those keywords cannot be changed by you.

AdWords Express Dashboard1

Who Should Use AdWords Express?

Small Business owners who wear many hats love AdWords Express because it allows you to manage campaigns quicker and with less work.  Just set a budget and Google will come up with a list of keywords to trigger ads based on your type of business.  Google does a little ongoing management and maintenance to free up more of your time. They also provide free downloads of both an Android and iOS application to easily track your account.

Smaller business comfortable with only having simple ads on the Google network, including Google Maps, can greatly benefit from the easy to use functionality of AdWords Express.  You write your own ads, and they show next to, above or below search results in the sponsored ad locations.  However, you don’t even need a website!  You can direct your links to your Google+ page for more information on your business.

AdWords Express Set Up

Home services providers should look out for new Home Service Ads coming soon. Currently Home Service ads are in beta and available by invitation only is select northern California cities. When this exciting addition to AdWords Express rolls out it will allow you to receive service requests directly from potential customers through your ads.  Customers will be able to call you or send a service request from the ad. The service requests will show in the AdWords Express app and from there you can reply, book appointments, and manage all your ad generated service requests by accepting, declining, or asking for additional information from the prospect. Read Google’s Home Service Ads beta update and review the link of test cities in California.

How does AdWords Express work?

Getting set up with AdWords Express is quick and easy:

  • Write an ad for your business
  • Decide on a budget
  • Select the product or service that your business offers
  • AdWords Express creates a list of related search phrases
  • AdWords Express manages your ads automatically
  • Review the effectiveness of your ads in your dashboard

AdWords Express Audience1Latest Updates to AdWords Express

Google constantly updates Express, making improvements and adding new features that make it even more powerful.  Here are the two latest updates:

AdWords Express Version 11.5 – July 2016

Expanded text ads – full support for expanded text ads.

Search improvements –  improvements made to the search bar.

Multiple account posting – post changes to multiple accounts at the same time.

Mobile app engagement ads – create and edit mobile app engagement ads.

Structured snippets – full support for structured snippets, allowing your ads to highlight specific aspects of your products and services.

Multiple account import and export – import a CSV file into multiple accounts and export more than one account into a single CSV file.

Aggressive targeting optimization – new ad groups created in mobile app installs campaigns are set to “aggressive targeting optimization” by default.

Optional landscape image for app install ads – upload an optional landscape image when you create an app install ad.

AdWords Express Version 11.4 – May 2016

Faster campaign creation – “Add campaign” button now has a drop-down menu that lets you select which campaign type to create.

App extensions – create and edit app extensions in AdWords Editor.

Review extensions – AdWords Editor now fully supports review extensions, which highlight third-party reviews in your ads.

Mobile app installs – create mobile app installs campaigns for your Display Network ads in AdWords Editor.

Broad match modifier in duplicate keywords tool – find duplicate keywords tool now ignores the broad match modifier match type when you select the “Duplicates can have different match types” option.

Target CPA bid strategy – change your campaign’s bid strategy to Target CPA.

Frequency capping – to limit the number of times the same person will see your Display Network ad, edit the frequency capping campaign setting and export it for archiving and sharing. Note, CSV import and export aren’t supported.

AdWords Express logo

Google Links to Learn More About AdWords Express

Compare AdWords Express and AdWords

Sign Up for AdWords Express

Managing Your AdWords Express Ads


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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Google AdWords Express – Automated AdWords for Smaller Businesses appeared first on Reputation Loop.

from Reputation Loop
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