Table of contents

  1. Know your business
  2. Understand your market
  3. Get a good website
  4. Optimize website
  5. Publish great content
  6. Distribute content
  7. Use good analytics
  8. Advertise
  9. Make site usable
  10. Optimize for conversions


1) Know your business


Business strategy is not an option.

Knowing your business, understanding your market, and having a strategy to succeed are critical elements of any successful company. You must understand these to both survive and take your business to the next level. It all starts with evaluating your root business.

checkDefine your core offering.

checkEstablish your unique selling proposition (USP).

checkPinpoint why your customers should buy from you - rather than your competitors.

checkDescribe how you provide value to your customers.

checkCreate a well-defined marketing funnel.

2) Understand your market


After you know your business, drill down on your market.

Market analysis is a crucial part of business success. Why? Because you won't know how to reach a customer unless you understand something about your customer. Dissecting your market is therefore an essential part of business success.

checkDescribe your ideal customers, aka personas.

checkDetermine where your customers shop for your offering.

checkSpell out why your customers buy from you.

checkEstimate the size of your market.

checkIdentify your core keywords in search.

checkDetermine the search visibility for your core keywords.

checkName your primary online competitors.

3) Get a good website


Websites are your business' only full-time representative.

If a decision maker stumbles across your website and is not impressed, you just lost a sale. It's your website's fault. However, answer all of your prospects' questions on your website, then you have a shot at a new customer. It's that critical.

checkMake your site painfully obvious (in the first 5 seconds) what you do, who you are, and your USP.

checkDesign your website to meet the needs of your customers - NOT your own.

checkCreate a website that accurately represents your business.

checkBuild website on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Shopify.

checkIncorporate an updated and polished logo.

checkMerge your core, measurable conversions into site design.

checkInclude contact information including a phone number and physical location.

checkInfuse your website with 3rd party validation including testimonials, industry certifications, etc.

checkHighlight compelling testimonials whenever possible.

checkUpdate your website every 2-3 years with adjustments between launches.

4) Optimize website


Good website structure and site health are critical to effective online marketing.

If structural items aren't handled properly, your site will be ignored (or possibly even penalized) by Google and other search engines. Websites with no search traffic die. It may not be the most stimulating part of digital marketing, but it's essential.

checkIdentify core natural search engine optimization principles, incorporate into site design.

checkConform your website to Google Webmaster Guidelines.

checkAvoid black hat site structure  and practices.

checkDo not stuff keywords on your pages.

checkOptimize your site load time to under 3 seconds.

checkSecure site with an SSL certificate.

checkMonitor site daily for virus and malware attacks.

5) Publish great content

"Content is the reason search began in the first place" ~ Lee Odden, Author, Social Media Sage

After you put in the plumbing, you have to finish the house.

That finished house is your content. Create great blog posts, outstanding videos, excellent infographics, and more is step 1. Making sure it's properly marked-up to get indexed in the search engines is step 2.

checkCreate content for your business' core keywords.

checkInclude descriptive title tags and optimized headers on content that includes core keywords.

checkAdd a compelling description tag that will encourage prospects to click on your link.

checkWrite your content for human readers, not search engines.

checkWrite a great 'about' page.

checkInclude contact information including a physical address and business hours, if applicable.

checkInsert your phone number in the header of your site - or have a good reason NOT to.

checkIncorporate relevant, professional images and photography to complement your content.

checkOnly use readable fonts for most web users.

checkDo NOT use more than 3 fonts on your website.

checkRemove distracting content like music, splash pages, or other obsolete web design elements.

checkAnswer your visitors most common questions and make those answers accessible.

checkAdd relevant, quality content to your site every week.

6) Distribute content

"If a tree falls in a forest and it isn't posted on Facebook, did it really happen?" ~Unknown

Once you have awesome content, make sure people see it.

As good as it may be, it's worthless if nobody sees it. Sad, but true. After building great content, content distribution is the 2nd leg of content marketing.

checkConnect your blog to an RSS feed.

checkBuild all relevant profiles in social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.

checkEnsure consistent branding across all social media profiles.

checkPublish relevant, platform-targeted content to each social media business profile.

checkLearn how to market effectively on each social media channel.

checkConform your content marketing to the terms and conditions of each social media platform.

checkGrow a natural set of authority backlinks

checkCreate an email marketing program complete with email capture, quality content, and consistent publishing.

checkEnsure your content is optimized for local search engines.

7) Use good analytics

"You can't manage what you can't measure" ~ Peter Drucker, PhD, Management Consultant

Web analytics is the science of seeing what happened on your website.

It covers everything from traffic sources, mobile usage, geographic data, conversion tracking, and more info than you'll ever use. Despite the complex nature of analytics, there are some vital elements every business owner should understand.

checkInstall web analytics tracking snippet on every page you want tracked. We use Google Analytics (GA).

checkFix any data collection issues as they arise. Because they do.

checkSetup at least two primary analytics filters (GA = Views): raw + filtered for prospective customers.

checkIsolate key, trackable goals that contribute to your business goals and marketing funnel.

checkImplement goal tracking and event tracking for those important goals.

checkInstall e-commerce tracking if your website processes online orders.

checkEnact phone tracking to monitor calls when phone leads are important.

checkKnow your top converting traffic sources to grow traffic in those channels.

checkOptimize your most visited pages on your site.

checkMake analytics-driven business decisions to optimize your current website traffic.

8) Advertise

"Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need" ~Will Rogers, Cowboy, Actor

Digital advertising is a modern marvel.

Contrasted with its print and television predecessors, online advertising boasts the benefit of near-simultaneous reporting. It can be used to test a new offer or grow sales for a proven product all at a measurable cost per action. Not to mention the benefits of digital brand building.

checkAdvertise on search engines, aka PPC or SEM advertising. ex. Google AdWords.

checkUtilize proven PPC techniques like geographic targeting where customers can buy from you.

checkTest out remarketing/retargeting on visitors who have previously visited your site.

checkIdentify your target cost per sale, cost per lead, or cost per action (CPA).

checkExpand advertising on relevant websites to test new channels.

checkCreate a Facebook ad campaign (for B2C) using relevant demographic targeting.

checkCreate a LinkedIn ad campaign (for B2B) using hyper targeted targeting.

9) Make website usable

"Don't make me think" ~Steve Krug, author, usability guru

The web continues to evolve as users become more sophisticated.

Whoever passed as a great developer in 1999 would be fired for the same work today. Things are different and continue to get more complex and simple at the same time. The complexity relates to the underlying code. The simplicity relates to site usability. Think Apple.

checkCreate intuitive navigation.

checkCondense primary navigation to essential links.

checkIncorporate appropriate whitespace to control user flow.

checkImplement critical content above the fold for all devices.

checkEmploy consistent colors and design across the site.

checkConduct user testing and design changes to optimize user experience for key tasks.

checkRemove any unnecessary elements on your website.

checkDesign your website for mobile first, then for other devices.

checkEnsure your website is readable on all devices.

checkDesign website navigation to show prospects the information they want.

checkTest your website usability. Then test again.

10) Optimize for conversions

"Where there is friction there is opportunity. Either you solve it for your customers today or a competitor will do it tomorrow" ~Bryan Eisenberg, author, web analytics pioneer

It doesn't stop after you identify conversions and start measuring them. Next comes conversion rate optimization (CRO). That's how the Obama Presidential campaign raised an additional $60 million in 2008. It's also how you can double or quadruple your current digital marketing results.

checkVerify your conversion goals flow into your marketing funnel.

checkReview site design so it incorporates marketing funnel-driven calls to action for goals.

checkEnsure primary call to action is on every page of your website.

checkInstill a sense of urgency.

checkRevise lead forms and sales process to be as short as possible.

checkIs your checkout process as streamlined as possible? Compare your ecommerce checkout to Amazon's.

checkHypothesize how to improve conversions on your website and landing page.

checkTest your hypothesis with tools like heat maps or Optimizely.