The Ultimate Digital Market Checklist 2021

The Digital Market Checklist is a comprehensive, chronologically ordered list of steps that you need to implement for your online business.

Who this is ideally for

  • Digital Coaches
  • Digital Consultants
  • Marketing Teams
  • Startups

Pre-Launch

Competitor Research

Move fast. Speed is one of your main advantages over large competitors. - Sam Altman, President of YCombinator

  • Competitor data to collect
    • Link to their website.
    • “One-liners” and taglines competitors use.
    • Pricing and business model.
    • Subscribe to emails & blogs of your competitors' blogs.
    • Social media links.
    • Follow your competitors and their key employees on social media.
    • Monitor competitors' websites for changes.

  • Site monitoring tools
    • DMOS
    • Subscribe to industry newsletters, magazines, trade journals etc.
    • Use [Google Trends] to do initial demand and search volume research.
    Finding competitors' lead generation

    I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it. - Walt Disney

  • Find out what your competitors' sales funnels are like (sign up and go through as much of their process as possible).
  • Determine your competitors' key lead generation strategies (see the [list of lead generation strategies below](#lead-generation-strategies)).
  • Make a list of your competitors' customers (see [these tools for researching competitors]):

  • Finding competitors’ customers

    If we knew what we were doing it wouldn’t be called research.- Albert Einstein

    • Check their Twitter followers, mentions.
    • Look through their Facebook fans.
    • Find people who follow them on Linkedin.
    • Check their website. Some companies list customer stories on their websites.
    • Create an “early access” list for potential future customers.

Customer Research

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.- Zora Neale Hurston, Novelist

  • Talk to potential customers in your contact list. Get their feedback on your idea, ask them if they might be interested.
  • Attend meetups or conferences for your target market.
  • Reach out to your competitors' customers, find out what they like/don't like.
  • Find blogs and trade journals potential customers might read.
  • Meet another entrepreneur who has a similar or competitive product.

Keyword research tools

  • DMOS
  • Ahrefs
  • SpyFu
  • SEMrush
  • KeywordTool.io
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • KWFinder
  • Google Keyword Research
  • Ubersuggest

Sales Funnel Setup

The top salesperson in the organization probably missed more sales than 90% of the sales people on the team, but they also made more calls than the others made.- Zig Ziglar, Author and Speaker

  • Know the difference between prospects, leads, opportunities, and customers.
  • Create an ideal sales funnel diagram, experiment with alternatives.
  • Set up a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) or spreadsheet to store leads.
  • List your key lead generation strategies and their costs.

Lead Capture/Generation

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Their needs and wants impact every aspect of your business.- John Rampton, Serial Entrepreneur

  • Set up a new leads email list and signup form (see [this list of email marketing tools])
  • Set up on-site messaging to capture leads and engage customers.
  • Add new lead signup form to company blog posts and social media accounts.
  • Buy email or lead lists.
  • Find email addresses with a tool like Hunter.
  • Find email addresses on public social media profiles.
  • Scrape websites with lists of leads using a tool like import.io.
  • Lead generation strategies
    • Paid advertising
    • Content marketing (blog posts and social media).
    • SEO
    • Cold outreach (calls, emails, Linkedin messages)
    • Event marketing (conferenes, meetups, sponsored events)
    • Create multiple cold email messages to test.
    • Create a cold sales call script.
    • Practice your cold sales call script with a friend or mentor.

  • Website Setup

    • Come up with a name and domain name.
    • Write a site tagline and elevator pitch.
    • Create a logo.
    • Set up a landing page with DMOS
    • Create “About” and “Contact” pages.
    • Create Pricing page

      Pricing ideas
      • Create a free or trial tier for your paid product.
      • Offer a 100% satisfaction/money-back guarantee.
      • Offer discounted access for early adopters/beta testers.
      • Add social media follow links to landing page.
      • Set up analytics to learn about who signs up, bounces, etc.

    • Analytics platforms
      • DMOS
      • Google Analytics
      • Kiss Metrics
      • Webmaster Tools
      • Smartlook
      • Set up error logging, monitoring, capturing, etc.

    • Error monitoring platforms
    • DMOS
    • Set up on-site messaging to capture leads and engage customers as they land on your site.
    • Test your website for common SEO, speed and security problems like broken links, missing page titles and insecure pages.

    Email Setup

    Check DMOS for services that make managing email easier.

    Email is the Jason Bourne of online: somebody’s always trying to kill it. It can’t be done. - Unknown

    • Set up email address to send and receive emails.
    • Set up email list and signup form.
    • Create a standard email template for your brand.
    • Create transactional emails for when users sign up/purchase.

    Blog Setup

    Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left. - Seth Godin

    • Choose a blogging platform.
    • Research keywords that you’d like your site/blog to rank for.
    • Create posts or pages for keywords you'd like to rank for.
    • Have a blog post brainstorming session.
    • Add email signup form or link to all blog posts.
    • Add social media follow links to all blog posts.

    Social Media Setup

    Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage. - Amy Jo Martin, CEO of Digital Royalty

    • Search for availability of names on social networks using KnowEm.
    • Choose the social media accounts you’ll use.

      Major social media platforms:
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Linkedin
      • Pinterest
      • Instagram
      • Snapchat
      • YouTube
      • Standardize profile image, background photo, links and call to action across social channels.

    Post-Launch

    Direct Outreach

    You should be talking to a small number of users who are seriously interested in what you’re making, not a broad audience who are on the whole indifferent. - Jessica Livingston, Founding Partner at Y Combinator

    • Send early access notification to leads identified in research.
    • Send a coupon code to potential leads to let them try your product free or at a discount.
    • Reach out to your social media followers, ask them to try your product.
    • Cold call ~20 people who might be good customers.
    • Ask your current customers for introductions to other potential customers.
    • Offer a referral bonus to current customers who send you new leads.
    • Start an email campaign to prospects and leads.
    Running a sales email campaign
    • Send three cold emails per day over 7 days. Experiment with messaging, take note of what works.
    • Send three follow up emails per day for 7 days. Experiment with messaging, take note of what works.
    • Scale it up. Find more prospects, set up an automated drip campaign, rinse and repeat every month.

    Free Promotional Channels

    I don't care how much money you have, free stuff is always a good thing. - Queen Latifah

    • Post your product on directories and review sites (Matt McCaffrey has compiled [a great list on Github] .
    • Write and distribute a Press Release.
    • Write and distribute an eBook, exchange it for email signup.
    • Give free access to influential bloggers in the industry.
    • Build a "best of" page with your best blog posts that you wrote or contributed to other sites.
    • Make sure all blog posts have high quality images..
    • Create an online course or guide around your product/industry.
    • Run an influencer marketing campaign.
    • Run a link-building campaign.
    • Share the story/create a video of how you started your business.
    • Competitor Reverse Engineer
    • Interview/expert Q&A post
    • Guest posting
    • Broken link building
    • Get interviewed on podcasts
    • More strategies on Backlinko.com

    You must spend money to make money. - Plautus, Ancient Roman playwright

    • Create list of coaching, startup, and industry related blogs.
    • Create list of local bloggers and influencers in your industry.
    • Create a "Media Kit" page.

    Recurring

    Blogging

    Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. - Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert

    • Build/update publishing calendar for your blog.
    • Regularly post blog posts on your blog(s).
    • Solicit guest posts from early customers and fans of your product.
    • Repurpose existing blog posts

    • Repurposing blog posts
      • Record/post video of you reading the post on YouTube.
      • Turn posts into a podcast.
      • Create an infographic based on the post.
      • Create a presentation of your post.
      • Promote your blog content.
      Blog promotion techniques
      • Send post to your email list.
      • Promote on your social media.
      • Email friends and relatives, ask them to share if relevant.
      • Send to other bloggers for feedback, ask to share if they like it.
      • Add your latest blog post or landing page to your email signature.
      • Submit your post to relevant aggregators and niche communities.

    Email

    Any email that contains the words ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ never are, and annoy me to the point of not replying out of principle. - Markus Persson, aka “Notch”, creator of Minecraft

    • Send a regular email newsletter with blog posts, use cases, customer stories, etc.
    • Promote email list on social media.
    • Send 20 cold emails per week to connect with early customers and get direct feedback.
    • Send new users a personal email introducing yourself.

    Social Media

    We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people. – Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay

  • Schedule regular social media content (try these social media tools to help automate the social media process).

  • Content Ideas
    • Show what happening “behind the scenes” (eg: pictures of your workspace, in-development features, etc.).
    • Blog posts from your blog (or partners’ blogs).
    • Special offers or discounts.
    • Relevant news, advice, or blogs.
    • Funny or inspiring quotes.
    • Polls or questions for your followers.
    • Suggested books.
    • Useful tools or websites.
    • Join Facebook and Linkedin groups where your product might be beneficial.
    • Send exclusive offers to LinkedIn/Facebook Group owners.
    • Join Twitter chats related to your industry/product.
    • Search Twitter for people talking about issues you’re solving with your project and interact with them.
    • Give early users discounts for taking pics with your product.

    Public Relations

    The art of publicity is a black art; but it has come to stay, and every year adds to its potency. – Thomas Paine

    • Ask bloggers with list articles to add your site to their content.
    • Reach out to small business journals, reporters, bloggers. Inform and ask for coverage.
    • Reach out to podcasters, try to get featured on their show.
    • Find .edu sites to link to your content (good for SEO).
    • Find reviews or lists of similar products. Ask to be added or leave a comment about your product.
    • Guest post on other blogs.

    • Guest posting
      • Build a list of blogs that are a good fit for your product and accept guest posts. Save their contact form/information.
      • Write a few posts on your own blog first (to use as a demonstration).
      • Create a list of “pitches,” blog post ideas with a title and one paragraph summary that might grab bloggers.
      • Pitch the blogs one idea each. See what they respond to.
      • Help promote your posts via social media, email lists, etc.
      • Reach back out in a month and try another pitch. Try to become a “regular”
      • Leave non-spammy comments on blog posts related to your industry or product.

    External Sites

    • Answer relevant questions on Q&A community sites (check back regularly)

    • Q&A Communities
      • Quora
      • Industry or geographically specific forums
      • Leave comments on Slideshare presentations.
      • Review industry-related books on Amazon, Goodreads.
      • Create/publish presentations relevant to your industry.
      Presentation Software
      • Google Slides
      • Prezi
      • Slides.com
      • Slideshare

      Outreach
      • Make cold calls.
      • Send email campaign.
      • Connect with potential customers on social media, reach out when they accept.
      • Find/create a personal sales mantra and repeat it weekly before doing your sales tasks.
      • Meet with a "real" salesperson. Learn from their energy, successes, and failures.
      • Follow up with leads and current customers to make sure things are going well.

    Optimizations

    • Run a customer poll (can also generate content for your blog or social media channels).
    • Create another side project to promote your product (read more).
    • A/B test your landing/payment pages.
    • A/B test email newsletters and promotions.
    • Implement rich snippets in Google search results.
    • Test your website on multiple platforms, make sure speed is good.
    • Use DMOS to pinpoint website improvements.
    • Set up tracking for different lead generation channels in order to:
    • - Determine ROI (return on investment) of lead generation methods
    • - Determine average cost of acquisition
    • - Identify blockages in your sales funnel (where are people dropping off?).
    • Create and track weekly traffic and growth goals.
    • Time social media posts and email newsletters to when your audience is most likely to respond.
    • Make sure each page on your site has a clear call-to-action.
    • Audit and improve your conversion rate (see this checklist for detailed steps you can take)
    • Set up automatic analytics reports to be emailed to you each week.
    • Experiment with various signup form locations, colors, and sizes.
    • Add “Exit Intent” popup to your blog/site.
    • Create an FAQs page.
    • Verify your website’s tags are correct with Google Tag Assistant.
    • Watch a first time user use your product.
    • Survey new customers about your sales process, see if they have suggestions.
    • Collect and display testimonials from happy users.
    • Survey or poll your users for feedback. Check DMOS for great options.
    • Use DMOS to find bugs and broken links of your site. Set up an alert to notify you on breakage.
    • Use Checkbot on your website to test for and fix SEO, speed and security problems.
    • Determine your average customer's lifetime value (LTV) and cost of acquisition (CAC)].
    • Implement a

      to determine your best prospects.
    • Focus your outreach efforts only on the highest quality prospects.
    • Upsell current customers on new offerings.
    • A/B test your cold email and phone messaging.
    • Record your sales calls and critique them alone or with a friend.
    • Follow [the steps here] to ensure GDPR compliance.