Small Business Marketing Checklist [Free Guide]

Hibu's Small Business Marketing Checklist on a laptop in an office

[Updated Sept 2020]

As a small business owner, you know that sustaining and growing your business is a must…but finding the time to focus on marketing can be a real challenge.

Like any big project, it helps to break your marketing efforts into smaller steps. You can use this guide to create an actionable plan that works for you to succeed offline…succeed online…and repeat!

Two ways to check out the Small Business Marketing Checklist

  1. Try our interactive marketing quiz >
  2. Download your copy of the guide >


[Small Business Marketing Checklist transcript]

A plan to PROMOTE and GROW your business…without RUNNING yourself into the ground

This Marketing Checklist is an actionable plan that works for you…your business… and your schedule to succeed offline and online.

Think about your customers and competitors

No one knows your local market better than you. You interact with your customers every day, and you see your competitor’s ads, websites and social profiles.

Think about:

  • What do your customers like most about your business? What could you improve?
  • Do you get much repeat business? Do you have a customer loyalty program or a plan to reach out to existing customers?
  • What do your competitors offer that you don’t? Can you meet or beat those offers?
  • How do your customers feel about you and your competition? Can you see where you stack up?

Focus on whichever questions you can answer. Making small improvements in any of these areas can lead to an uptick in business!

[Related: Four Motivating Factors That Turn Site Visitors Into Customers]

Participate in or sponsor local events

Don’t underestimate the power of your community! Playing a part in local activities can be a great way to remind your customers what a positive, valuable resource your business is.

  • Participate in food or clothing drives
  • Sponsor charitable events or competitions (like a 10K race)
  • Speak at local business events and tradeshows

Promote your business everywhere

Word of mouth and advertising are a must, but so many local businesses forget about the things their customers see every day.

Make sure you include your most current business info – your name, address and phone number – on:

  • Business cards, billing statements and letterhead
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Storefront signs

And make sure your business is listed (or running ads) in both local and trade publications!

[Related: Top Ways to Promote Your Business Online and Offline]

Double-check the little things

  • Ask for feedback — Never assume you know what your customers are thinking. Ask them what’s working…what’s not…and what would make them do more business with you more often.
  • Don’t overlook the obvious — Your customers might not know that a free in-home estimate or price match guarantee is standard for your industry…and your competition may not be making it clear either. Highlighting the everyday way you run your business can make a surprising difference!
  • Always include your URL — Your website address should be on everything you create. It’s the perfect place for customers to get more information, and you can update it as often as you need to!

[Related: Everywhere your small business should have ads online]

See how your business is listed online

If you find incorrect information about your business on sites like Google, Facebook or Apple Maps, your customers can too.

Make sure people can find:

  • The right business name
  • The right address
  • The right phone number

And remember – now your customers might even hear incorrect information when they use voice search in-home or on-the-go on their Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa devices. Make a plan to take control and update of your listings.

Check your online business listings for errors now >

Take a close look at your website

Yes, even if it’s brand new! Like cars and phones, what websites can do – and what your customers expect yours to do – is evolving all the time.

At least a few times a year, think about:

  • How your site LOOKS – Does your site design look current? Does your site look right on your phone?
  • The AGE of your site – If your website is more than two years old it’s probably not built with the latest technology – for example, it might not be secure (does your url start with https?) and that could hurt you in a lot of ways.
  • What your site SAYS – You only have a few seconds to capture your site visitors’ attention. Are your phone number, address and hours easy to find? Does each page of your site highlight what sets you apart?

[Related: 5 Things Your Website Must Have Today]

Connect with customers on social media

Social media marketing is a must today. Luckily, you can start small and manage all your social marketing from the palm of your hand!

  • Set up a Facebook Page (not just a personal profile)
  • Stay active on social media – make sure you’re posting content that’s relevant to your customers AND responding to comments, @ mentions and messages quickly
  • Use precision ad targeting to reach your customers – and A/B test your ads to find what works best and target your ideal customers!

See how many local customers you could reach on Facebook >

Make sure you show up everywhere your customers are searching

“Location, location, location” can make all the difference online too. Simply put, you need to be where your customers are looking for you.

  • Reach customers when they’re SEARCHING – 75% of clicks go to the first page of Google results – make sure you’re seen there with SEM (search engine marketing) ads
  • Reach customers when they’re SURFING – Use display ads to build brand awareness and ad retargeting to reach your customers again on top sites and apps when they’re ready to buy
  • Reach customers with SEO – Invest in a long-term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy that increases your organic ranking on Google and more

Find out what your customers are saying about you

Did you know that 78% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?

With so many places for customers to leave reviews for your business online today, you need to:

A marketing partner who will help you succeed online? Check!

You can make time to run through these checklist items every week, especially the online ones…or turn it over to a full-service, local marketing partner who does all the work for you while you focus on what matters most: running your business.

Talk to Hibu today about improving your marketing results online, on mobile, on social and more.



We’re experts at driving local, qualified leads to your business with a professionally crafted website and sophisticated marketing solutions. We make it easy for business owners, like you, to make a big impact online.

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