When we’re setting up in business, the amount of marketing advice we receive can be overwhelming. Even as a marketeer, I have found it hard to decipher what to do next. Perspective is essential when walking the maze of must-do marketing activities.

So here’s a hard and fast checklist of the absolute essential marketing actions for small business owners. Have I missed anything off? What would you add? Let me know in the comments.

Your logo

Your logo is your emblem. Over time, and with the right promotion, your logo will aid instant public recognition and can stand for more than your name. Your vision, values and reputation will become synonymous with that symbol, so invest in it! Seek out a graphic designer who understands what your business stands for and have something truly original created.

Your first business transaction

It starts with a business card. The minute you start touting your wears, handing over your business card becomes the first transaction you’ll have with potential customers. It says, this is me. It asks, who are you? It’s like a paper handshake that steps you towards a working relationship. Have that same graphic designer create you a business card you can be proud of.

Your cyber credentials

Let’s start with your email address. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail scream amateur. If you’re taking your business seriously, take your cyber credentials seriously and invest in a formal email address that reads @yourbusinessname…

Your website is another vital piece of the puzzle. Web presence is a tick in the authenticity box. And the legitimacy box, the trust box and the who-the-hell-are-you box.

People expect some kind of web presence from every business. What will yours be?

It could be one page created in Wix, Squarespace or WordPress. It could be an all singing, all dancing 30-page investment. It could simply be a social media channel. Whichever you choose, make sure it represents you effectively in the eyes of your audience.

Talking of social media, it’s a good idea to use at least one channel on which to communicate with potential customers. The Big Six are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Tumblr is often included in there too. Which you use should be dictated in part by which your audience uses and in part by which you have a preference for. After all, you’ll be the one updating it!

Why bother? You may ask. Social media has a bearing on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and is a really good place to start conversing with your audience, finding out what they need, what they’re talking about and what other market contenders are up to.

Your values, visions and purpose

Understand what you stand for, recognise your values, paint your vision and define your purpose. All these things contribute to your story and give customers reasons to believe. They are vital elements of a marketing strategy and your brand will be lost without them. Define them early on, expect them to change and never stop sharing them.

Your budget

Give yourself a marketing budget – your business deserves it. And knowing how much you’ve got to spend can take away troubling decisions later on.

Allocate a certain amount per quarter and prioritise your investments. While it’s important to allow these priorities to change when opportunities pop up, you’ll be ever-thankful you’ve already stowed away or allocated a pot of marketing money when it comes to deciding how much you can afford to invest.

Your marketing plan

Define your goals and figure out how you’re going to get there. Now, acquaint yourself with the marketing mix and choose options that suit your audience, budget and resource. Then, create a timeline of actions and move towards your goals.

Marketing plans are really important for consistency and progress. Don’t start marketing without one!

Your reputation

It’s going to build over time as customers come to learn about your expertise and talent. But there are some things we can do early on to align our businesses with professionalism. Trade body membership for example, business clubs perhaps, and business insurance.

It’s recommendable to get suitable business insurance to offer instant peace of mind to customers and associates alike. In some industries it’s essential. Selecting the right insurance for your business can be a mark of integrity, honesty and plain good thinking!

If you’re in need of insurance for your small business, The Insurance Octopus can help. The team is on hand to answer your queries. Give them a call today and get one more thing ticked off your ultimate marketing check list!

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