Pre-Digital Marketing Checklist: A Quick-start Guide for Local Entrepreneurs

Unleash the full potential of your local business, mastering tried-and-true marketing strategies with our Pre-Digital Marketing Checklist — a must-read guide for every ambitious entrepreneur who wants to conquer their market before the digital revolution!

by Chris Latham

1. pre digital marketing checklist a quick start guide for local entrepreneurs - burger gelato media

Welcome to “Local Business’s Roadmap: Pre-Digital Marketing Checklist”! Embracing digital marketing is essential for business growth, but it’s crucial to be well-prepared before hiring a digital marketer. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the must-knows and must-haves to ensure a smooth collaboration and maximize the impact of your digital marketing efforts.

From identifying your target audience to establishing clear objectives, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive checklist to set your business up for success in the digital realm. By following these guidelines, you’ll be better equipped to work with a digital marketer and create a customized strategy that drives results. So, let’s dive in and lay the groundwork for your digital marketing triumph!

I. Know Your Numbers

2. know your businesses numbers - burger gelato media

Alright, let’s talk numbers. I know, I know, we didn’t sign up to become accountants when we started our local business, but it’s a necessary evil. If you’re thinking of hiring a digital marketer, it’s important to know your revenue, profits and all those other fancy figures. Why? Well, these numbers play a big role in determining the success of your digital marketing campaign.

Your digital marketer needs to know what your current situation is before they can help you improve it. Trust me, you don’t want to be caught in that awkward conversation where you’re scratching your head trying to figure out your numbers while your digital marketer twiddles their thumbs.

So, before you even think of hiring a digital marketer, make sure you have your numbers down pat. Your wallet will thank you later.

Profitable Service/Product

Whether you are a product or service business, you will need to know what your most profitable services are. It also helps to know product or service you have will make for a good foot-in-the-door offer (loss leader). Often times this can be used as your first marketing promo.

Top Traffic/Lead Sources

One of the things you need to know is where you are currently making the most of your money. How are people finding your business? You with the classic word of mouth, or is it Google Maps, or is it all via Instagram?

Target Demographics

I know what you’re thinking. This is a no-brainer to mention this. But knowing who you want to target helps influence the offer, marketing platform, and the language used.

The more clarity you have on your target demographic and offer, the more quality leads and sales will come in. The last thing you want is to spend money on a confused customer.

Target Location

This is pretty simple what neighborhoods, regions, cities, provinces, or countries are you trying to target? Keep in mind the larger the location, the more budget you will need as the competition pool increases.

Your Competitors

As a business owner, it’s crucial to know what your competition is up to. Not only does it help you stay one step ahead, but it also ensures you’re not left in the dust.

Plus, let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little healthy competition? Knowing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses allows you to tailor your marketing strategy accordingly and identify gaps in the market that you could potentially fill.

When it comes to competitors, you have both offline & online.

Offline Competitors

Your offline competitors are similar businesses in your area. If this were the 90s, it’d be the businesses in the Yellow Pages, and your customers would call if you don’t pick up the phone.

It’s a good idea to have a list of 3-5 competitors to make your future digital marketer’s job easier.

Online Competitors

Most business owners are surprised to find out that their offline customers are not always the same as online. A big reason for this is a business’s SEO. If business A has spent months and years building its brand cache online. Search engines like Google will have way more trust in knowing a familiar face in Business A.

If you have never made any effort in SEO & local SEO, then there is a big chance Google and other search engines have no idea how to categorize your business.

Let’s Talk Strategy & Growth!

Top Engaged Content Format

Knowing your most engaging content format is like having a secret key to your audience’s heart. Is it eye-catching infographics, riveting blog posts, engaging videos, or snappy social media snippets that make your followers’ heartbeats sync with your brand rhythm?

This valuable insight helps you shape your marketing strategy, ensuring you’re not just shooting arrows in the dark but hitting the bullseye with precision. After all, in the game of digital marketing, those who know their audience best, win the biggest cheers!

II. Figure out your goal

3. figure out your business goals - burger gelato media

As a business owner, hiring a digital marketer can be a huge step toward growing your brand. But before you do, it’s important to know what your goals are for your digital marketing strategy. Are you looking to increase website traffic, generate leads, or have more e-commerce sales?

Knowing this will dictate what platform you should focus your marketing efforts on. Because, let’s face it, TikTok might be all the rage with the kids nowadays, but if your target audience is middle-aged professionals, LinkedIn may be a better fit.

So take the time to figure out your goals and your audience before diving headfirst into the world of digital marketing. It can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road!


This goal is the classic get more eyeballs on your business. This is easily measured by an increase in website traffic & engagement on all digital assets.

Products Sold

This is pretty straightforward. Your measure of success is an increase in products sold.

Booked Appointments

Just as above, this is easy to comprehend. Your measure of success is an increase in appointments and calls.

III. How fast do you need to see results | Timeline

I will preface this by saying if you do not have a 6 months runway to see results. You are not giving your digital marketer a fair chance to succeed. This would be like you coming a month before your wedding and saying I need to lose 30lbs. (Trust me, this is more common than you think).

Having an idea of how fast you need to see results can help you manage your budget. If, within the first two months, you start getting great success, you will then be able to reinvest some of the money to allow for testing in your campaign.

IV. Figure out your budget (for minimum 6 months)

4. figure out your marketing budget - burger gelato media

Alright, let’s talk about budgeting. We all know the feeling of trying to stretch that dollar as far as it’ll go, but when it comes to hiring a digital marketer, you need to know what you’re working with.

Knowing your marketing budget beforehand not only helps you avoid any awkward conversations down the line, but it also sets realistic expectations for what your digital marketer can achieve.

It’s kind of like going to a restaurant without checking the menu prices first. Sure, that lobster looks delicious, but your wallet may not thank you later.

So, do yourself a favour and figure out your marketing budget before diving into the world of digital marketing. Trust me, your bank account will thank you.

One thing to keep in mind if you plan to be a hands-off business owner and only want a monthly report or call because you are too busy. Be ready to pay a pretty dollar.

Have the right expectations

Hiring a digital marketer can be an exciting adventure for a business owner! But before you dive in headfirst, let’s talk about expectations. While it may seem like hiring a marketer will solve all your online problems, it’s important to approach the relationship with the right expectations.

Think of it as a partnership where you both need to be in sync. Just like dancing requires trust and communication, so does a successful relationship with a digital marketer. You have to be clear about your goals and objectives and communicate them effectively, while the marketer has to provide honest feedback and set achievable targets.

By working together and learning from each other, you’ll both be able to create a great online presence for your business and rock that digital dance floor.

Like your partner tell you, Communication is key babay!

Based on my experience, I’ve noticed two types of business owners and the relationships they have with clients: the Done For You and the Done With You models.

Done For You Model ($$$)

Picture this: You’ve finally admitted that trying to run your business’s social media accounts and website yourself is kind of like trying to play tennis with a hockey stick.

So, you’ve decided to hire a digital marketer to help out.

Enter the ‘Done For You’ digital marketing model. It’s like having a fairy god-marketer who takes all the digital marketing tasks off your plate.

They’ll handle everything – from creating wicked content and managing social media to optimizing SEO and analyzing metrics. It’s your all-in-one, stress-free ticket to digital marketing, allowing you to focus on what you do best, running your business. It’s the digital equivalent of having your cake and eating it too!

As stress-free as this sounds, this also comes with a high price tag. Off the top, at minimum, you are paying for a strategist, copywriter, designer, and account manager.

The unicorn, one person who does it all, doesn’t exist. Everyone outsources their weak points, just as you are now looking to outsource your digital marketing efforts.

I’ll be honest any social media work, or design work is outsourced on my behalf. For me, this is a pass-through payment where I take nothing off the top.


Convenience comes with a cost.

Done With You Model

If your budget-conscious business heart is giving a little flutter at the thought of those dollar signs, don’t fret! There’s an alternative model that’s like your favorite buddy movie – the ‘Done With You’ model.

This model is all about teaming up and learning the ropes while still having an experienced sidekick to guide you. You might get a few digital blisters along the way, but hey, that’s all part of the learning curve, right? It’s about putting some sweat equity into your digital game while saving some of those precious pennies for a rainy day.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but with the ‘Done With You’ model, you’re definitely getting a hearty meal for your money. So, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and tango with the digital marketing dance? It’s time to seize the moment and conquer that digital dance floor!

VI. Are you Organized/Set up to handle increase in sales/leads

5. is your business organize to handle higher volumes - burger gelato media

Ok, so you’re thinking about hiring a digital marketer. Good move! But before you jump in, make sure you’ve got your systems in place. What do I mean by systems?

I’m talking about everything from follow-up to getting reviews. You wouldn’t build a house without a solid foundation, right? Think of your systems as the foundation for your digital marketing efforts.

Without them, you’ll be building on shaky ground. And trust me, no one wants that (unless you like rollercoaster-like thrills, in which case, you do you). So, take the time to get your systems sorted before you start working with a digital marketer. Your future self (and your future customers) will thank you!

Here are a few things to think of:

Do you have an AWESOME follow-up sequence?

More leads and sales are great, and more important is what you do to reduce churn.

More leads and sales are the digital marketer’s jig, but the real waltz starts when you work towards reducing churn. Here’s where your AWESOME follow-up sequence enters the stage, twirling with charm. It’s all about keeping the momentum going, checking in with your customers, and making them feel special, kinda like sending a post-date text that says, “I had a great time today!”

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Service Business

  1. Can your team handle a surge in business without compromising on the quality of work?
  2. Is your scheduling system efficient and flexible to manage increased bookings?
  3. Do you have a system in place to manage your missed calls?
  4. Can you efficiently manage a sudden increase in phone and online inquiries?
  5. Do we have a system for managing and responding to online reviews and feedback?
  6. Do you have a CRM system set up to keep track of repeat customers?

E-commerce Business

  1. Is your website capable of handling a surge in traffic and transactions?
  2. Do you have a system to help follow up with customers post-purchase to gather reviews and ensure satisfaction with the product and service?
  3. Do you have a list of ready-made answers to the most common questions to help reduce time spent on repetitive questions?
  4. Do you have a system in place for handling returns and exchanges efficiently?
  5. Do you have a cart abandonment system in place to keep customers engaged?
  6. Do you have robust security measures in place to protect customer data during high-traffic periods?

Let’s Talk Strategy & Growth!


In conclusion, embarking on a digital marketing journey demands a well-laid plan, and our Pre-Digital Marketing Checklist is your roadmap to achieving online success. From having your numbers at your fingertips to knowing your most engaging content format, it’s about creating a comprehensive picture of your business.

Identifying your goals and setting a realistic timeline and budget prepares you for the exciting journey ahead. Understanding whether you need a ‘Done For You’ model or a ‘Done With You’ model will help you make the right choice according to your business’s unique needs.

Lastly, ensuring your systems can handle an influx of leads and sales will make for a smooth transition into the digital marketing realm.

Embrace this roadmap as a guide, but remember every local business has its own unique rhythm and steps. You know your business best, so take the lead. Armed with this checklist, you’re ready to enter the dance floor of digital marketing. Enjoy the music, keep up with the rhythm, and here’s to your success!

Feel free to reach out if you need further guidance. We’re here to support you in this digital marketing journey, whether you’re in the ‘Done For You’ or ‘Done With You’ camp. After all, this dance is much more fun when we’re all in it together!

Let’s Talk Strategy & Growth!

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