Startup Marketing Plan & Checklist

We’ve put together this startup marketing checklist as a resource for small business to make sure they are taking advantage of the many marketing resources available. Of course we don’t assume to know your business better than you do, we just think that these are helpful  resources that would be valuable to any company. If you have any further ideas or resources, please let us know in the comments below.

  1. Define your “ideal customer”. Your ideal customer is the customer that is most valuable to your business. You’ll want to know the basic demographics (location, age, gender, income, wants, needs, desires, etc.) of your ideal customer so that you may properly target them. You may wish to create a Marketing Plan in addition to this basic step, we recommend Marketing Plan Pro.
  2. Make sure your business has at least a basic yellow pages ad and your business phone number is listed in the national directory. Contact your local phone service provider for details.
  3. Register your domain name and build at least a basic website. Services like Website Tonight can help you do this in less than a day for less than $10/month.
  4. Perform keyword research. You’ll want to identify those keywords that your clients will be entering on search engines to find what you offer. For example, if you’re an accountant in Palm Springs, keywords like “palm springs accountant” and “accountant in palm springs” would be ideal keywords for you to target. We recommend the Google Keyword Tool which shows you which terms are being searched for and how many times they are searched for in a month.
  5. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so you know how to tweak your site for optimal search engine placement on the keywords you’ve identified. is a great resource for SEO. The basic rule is to make sure your targeted keywords appear within great content on your website and that other sites link to your site.
  6. Submit your website to search engines. We recommend WPromote’s QuickList Service to get you listed in major search engines in 24 hours guaranteed.
  7. For businesses who depend on local clients (as opposed to national or international), you’ll want to register with Google Local and research services like ReachLocal that help you maximize your local advertising effort.
  8. Shameless self-promotion: If you are in the B2B sector, consider joining our online Affiliate Program and make $25-$35 for every sale your site generates. This is a great “hands-off” way to earn passive income from visitors to your website.
  9. Try Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising with the major search engines. This is a great way to show your website’s ad on keywords where your site does not currently show in the top search engine rankings. The top PPC companies are Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter. Each of these PPC services also allows “local” targeting where you can show your ad only in certain zip codes, states, regions, countries, etc.
  10. Target your “ideal customer” with services like SalesGenie and InfoUSA. This will allow you to search for sales leads and contacts using various demographic filters. Once you’ve identified your leads, you may purchase their contact information and market to them via phone, email and/or direct mail (make sure to abide by Do Not Call and Anti-Spam regulations). Remember the #1 rule for Direct Response Marketing is repetition; most sales are made after the 4th or 5th contact or exposure.
  11. Maintain a client list and contact them regularly (but not too much) – remember 100 loyal repeat clients who recommend your service are more valuable than 300 one time clients who you will never see or hear from again. A great resource to automate this process is an email newsletter and autoresponder service like Aweber.
  12. Setup a blog to a) generate new content (great for SEO purposes) and b) keep your clients and site visitors updated on your company, new products/services, resources and promotions. The two most popular free platforms are WordPress and BlogSpot. Make sure to link your website to your blog or you can install WordPress on your site.
  13. Social networking: create a Twitter and Facebook page for your company. You may also want to install the ShareThis plugin on your website and/or blog then link your website to these pages. View this page for an example of our own Twitter and Facebook pages.
  14. Optimize internal operations: focus on great customer service, business management and automating your business processes so that you can focus on generating new business.

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