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Your marketing plan: a checklist

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in Small Business Tax

Many small business owners get stuck in a marketing rut—same tactics, same media outlets, same budget. This could be the year for a big shake-up.

To really expand your marketing horizons, consider strategies you’ve never used before. Review the success (or lack of) regarding marketing strategies you used this year. Look back and identify ways to improve your marketing so you can bring in new clients, referrals and repeat business.

The checklist below includes tactics that have worked well for many small businesses. For each tactic, we’ve identified one of the three main roles it plays in the marketing continuum:

  • Drive web traffic
  • Create brand preference
  • Generate leads.

As you complete the checklist:

  1. Make sure you use at least one tactic for each of the three marketing roles.
  2. Honestly assess if you are seeing a real return on investment. Don’t continue to use tactics just out of habit.
  3. Think of the tactics your competitors used. This can help your company spot both gaps and opportunities in your own marketing.

Note: Some of these new buzzwords—such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO)—can be daunting if you aren’t tech savvy. Don’t panic, but don’t ignore the trend because you don’t understand it. Get some help to explore your need for this tactic and its potential.


Marketing Tactics

You used this       tactic

This tactic worked for you

You’d try the tactic

Competitors used this tactic

PAID SEARCH    Drive web traffic

PPC/Google AdWords, local search listing, etc.





WORD-OF-MOUTH  Create brand preference

Ratings and reviews (e.g., Yelp), informal referrals





REFERRAL PROGRAM  Generate leads

Actively asking clients and contacts for referrals 





NEWSLETTER  Create brand preference

Print or e-mail newsletter to clients and prospects






Articles, white papers, etc.





SOCIAL MEDIA   Create brand preference

Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.





DIRECT RESPONSE   Generate leads

Mailings and e-mail blasts






Presentation, workshop, etc.





PUBLIC RELATIONS Create brand preference

Press releases,  articles/news





SEO   Drive web traffic 

Optimizing for search terms







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