ZONE 1 ZONE 2 ZONE 3 ZONE 4 ZONE 5 ZONE 6 OPERATIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICE PRESENCE ATTRIBUTION ORGANIC MARKETING PAID MARKETING OPERATIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICE PRESENCE ATTRIBUTION ORGANIC MARKETING PAID MARKETING PaidSocial PaidSearch Classifieds &Marketplaces PaidVideo AffiliateMarketing DirectMail PrintAds TVAds RadioAds Retargeting& AudienceMatching Native/Display Coupons& Deals Beacons MarketingAutomation Conversion RateOptimization LandingPages Coupons& Deals WebAnalytics EmailAnalytics LocalAnalytics SocialAnalytics CallTracking Beacons MarketingAutomation Influencers Referrals & Word-of-Mouth PR Events Conversion RateOptimization SEO Email Community Blogs &Columns Social Media LandingPages Content Reviews &Testimonials CustomerData Branding Photos &Videos OfflineCollateral NativeApps Social Profiles Website UX (Responsive) Website (CMS) Community NameAddress& Phone LocalProfiles Blogs &Columns Content LocalProfiles Reviews &Testimonials Payments& POS Productivity Accounting & Bookkeeping Scheduling &Booking Trademark Ecommerce DomainName Hosting SSLCertificate CustomerData CustomerFeedback Website (CMS) CRM LoyaltyPrograms LoyaltyPrograms Chatbots SMS & Messaging NameAddress& Phone
Chatbots
Chatbots are digital robots that use artificial intelligence to have conversations with humans.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Native Apps
Very, very, very few small businesses should spend money on a native app--i.e. a software application distributed through the iOS App Store or Google Play.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Beacons
Beacons are physical-world sensors that collect data from and push data to digital devices around them.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Events
Events are a great way to spread word-of-mouth about your business, recruit new customers, and make a deeper connection with your existing customers.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
TV Ads
Similar to radio, broadcast ads are lower-rated in terms of effectiveness and return-on-investment than most digital marketing and advertising options.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Radio Ads
Small business owners typically rate radio ads well down the list of best sources of new customers.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
PR
The worlds of SEO, content marketing, social media, and PR have gradually blended together over the past decade, and it won't be long before they blend together entirely.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Print Ads
Print ads can still be cost-effective, as long as you've done your homework about the demographics, geographics, and circulation of the publication in which you're advertising.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is essentially a referral program taken to the next level.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Influencers
Influencer marketing seems to be all the rage as a modern form of old-school endorsement.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Direct Mail
While digital marketing generally allows for more-pinpointed, lower-cost ad campaigns, done right, direct mail can be just as effective.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Paid Video
Video remains an incredibly compelling medium for consumers, and although the number of traditional TV viewers continues to decline precipitously, online video consumption has never been bigger.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Coupons & Deals
Small businesses are right to be leery of coupons and deals after the predatory sales tactics and unrealistic margins peddled by Groupon and other daily deal sites.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Community
"Community" is a concept that means different things to companies of different sizes.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Native/Display
Display advertising is a concept as old as the Internet itself -- banner ads have proliferated on sites across the web as a means for publishers to make money.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Marketing Automation
At its best, marketing automation is an "easy button" for all of your marketing and advertising activities.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Classifieds & Marketplaces
One of the oldest forms of advertising is still one of the most cost-effective...although there are several companies that have recently put new twists on the idea.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Retargeting & Audience Matching
Retargeting and audience matching helps you advertise to your existing customers and others that "look like" them.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Loyalty Programs
One of the best ways to retain existing customers--and keep them coming back to your store or using your service--is through a loyalty program.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Paid Search
Paid search is the only way to guarantee a #1 ranking on Google or Bing.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Paid Social
The demographic and geographic targeting potential of social media advertising makes it one of the most compelling advertising possibilities for local businesses.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Blogs & Columns
Few techniques establish you as a thought leader with prospects and customers to the extent that a consistent, authentic blog can.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is a logical next step after you've dipped your toe into the waters of Landing Pages.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
CRM
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. R is the most important letter of the acronym: Relationship.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Call Tracking
You might think of call tracking as "phone analytics."

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Landing Pages
Landing pages are specially designed to convert a particular kind of web visitor into taking a particular action.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
SMS & Messaging
SMS is one of the highest-engagement marketing channels, with open rates regularly exceeding 90%, and clickthrough rates exceeding 6%.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Social Analytics
As part of their free business offerings, most prominent social media sites provide basic metrics around likes/followers/fans as well as audience reach of individual content or aggregate reach of all of your content.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
SEO
There are a number of straightforward, low-cost techniques that can improve your search engine presence fairly quickly--many of which are represented elsewhere in the Marketing Stack.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Social Media
Social media consistently ranks as one of the top three marketing channels among small business owners.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Reviews & Testimonials
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and they're one of the most authentic ways you can convey what it's like to work with you or purchase from you.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Social Profiles
Whether or not your business has the time, energy, or budget to be active on social media, all businesses should claim a profile on each major social media channel.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Local Analytics
As part of their free local profile offerings, prominent local search sites like Google and Yelp (as well as others) provide basic metrics around number of impressions of your profile.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Local Profiles
Local Profiles (in particular Google My Business and Yelp) are the foundation of any local business's search engine presence.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Email Analytics
One of the many advantages to using an Email Service Provider for your email marketing (as opposed to just sending them from your personal email account) is the analytics that ESP's provide you as part of your subscription.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Email
Since the dawn of the Internet, small business owners have ranked email marketing as one of their top three marketing channels.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Customer Feedback
Beyond the obvious marketing value of positive reviews and testimonials, customer feedback helps you run a better business!

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Website (UX)
It's important to put your best foot forward with your website -- 60% of consumers are less likely to buy from a small business that offers a poor website experience.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Scheduling & Booking
If you run a high-volume service business like a salon, HVAC company, or landscaping company, for example, online booking is a win-win for you as a business owner and for your customers.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
eCommerce
Your eCommerce platform sits between your Content Management System and your payment processor (or, in some cases, is both your CMS and payment processor).

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Offline Collateral
No matter your business, it's still important to present a good offline impression with items like business cards, menus, posters, and presentations.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Content
Your content should be authentic, informative, and focused on your customers.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Web Analytics
The goal of web analytics is to help you understand how consumers are finding and interacting with your website.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Website (CMS)
The choice of Content Management System (CMS) -- the platform on which your website is built -- is far more consequential and has far longer-lasting consequences than does the initial look-and-feel you choose for your website.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Referrals & Word-of-Mouth
Perhaps the oldest form of marketing is the word-of-mouth referral--and it's still the most effective, according to most small business owners.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Customer Data
At a minimum, every business should collect an email address from every customer (and prospect, if appropriate), and maintain a spreadsheet or database of each customer's purchase history.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate enhances the security of your website by confirming for visitors that you are who you say you are.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Payments & POS
Choosing your payments or point-of-sale provider may not seem like it has anything to do with your marketing stack, but it's one of the most important decisions you have to make as a small business owner.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Photos & Videos
As companies like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have proven, we live in a visual culture.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Hosting
If your domain name is your address on the web, then think of hosting as the foundation of your house at that address, and your website as the house.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Your accounting software is also an important repository of customer data that other software can leverage for marketing and re-marketing.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Branding
While the old advertising adage is true that in the end, your customers define your brand, you can certainly influence that definition with a professional image.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Productivity
An integrated productivity suite saves time and reduces complexity.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Trademark
Every new business should speak with a trademark lawyer for at least an initial consultation before settling on a name.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Domain Name
Your domain name is your business's address on the web, and it's fundamental to the permanent identity of your business.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →
Name Address & Phone
Your Name, Address and Phone are foundational to your identity as a business, and they're not something you should change frequently, if ever.

Click for more info & vendor recommendations →

Zoom and pan using controls at the right, or download graphic here

How to Use This Graphic to Inform Your Decisions

OVERALL INTERPRETATION
Generally speaking, you should read the graphic from left-to-right and bottom-to-top. Points lower and to the left are more fundamental to the overall success of your business than points higher and to the right in the sequence.

THE STOPS
We’ve identified close to 60 of the most popular digital products, services, and tactics in the market today; each is called out by a circle. Some stops are particularly key integration points that contribute to the success of multiple marketing avenues.

For example, Reviews & Testimonials are particularly important for organic marketing (especially SEO and customer conversion), but they also represent an important endpoint/outcome of customer service.

Not every stop on every line is essential to every local business. For example, some local business websites may not need Ecommerce capabilities (or the SSL certificates required to implement them). Community can be an incredibly powerful driver of business for private schools and personal care providers, but probably doesn’t make as much sense for plumbers or locksmiths.

THE ZONES
We’ve also marked six major zones from left to right. For the most part, you should complete each stop that lies to the left of a given zone boundary (for example Website CMS and Web Analytics are just inside of Zone 1) before moving onto stops in zones that are further out (such as Content and Website UX).

A suggested timeline of all steps follows below.

Components & Vendor Recommendations

Name Address & Phone

Your Name, Address and Phone are foundational to your identity as a business, and they're not something you should change frequently, if ever.

Learn More About Name Address & Phone
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Domain Name

Your domain name is your business's address on the web, and it's fundamental to the permanent identity of your business.

Learn More About Domain Name
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Trademark

Every new business should speak with a trademark lawyer for at least an initial consultation before settling on a name.

Learn More About Trademark
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Productivity

An integrated productivity suite saves time and reduces complexity.

Learn More About Productivity
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Branding

While the old advertising adage is true that in the end, your customers define your brand, you can certainly influence that definition with a professional image.

Learn More About Branding
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Accounting & Bookkeeping

Your accounting software is also an important repository of customer data that other software can leverage for marketing and re-marketing.

Learn More About Accounting & Bookkeeping
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Photos & Videos

As companies like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have proven, we live in a visual culture.

Learn More About Photos & Videos
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Payments & POS

Choosing your payments or point-of-sale provider may not seem like it has anything to do with your marketing stack, but it's one of the most important decisions you have to make as a small business owner.

Learn More About Payments & POS
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Customer Data

At a minimum, every business should collect an email address from every customer (and prospect, if appropriate), and maintain a spreadsheet or database of each customer's purchase history.

Learn More About Customer Data
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Offline Collateral

No matter your business, it's still important to present a good offline impression with items like business cards, menus, posters, and presentations.

Learn More About Offline Collateral
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate enhances the security of your website by confirming for visitors that you are who you say you are.

Learn More About SSL Certificate
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Hosting

If your domain name is your address on the web, then think of hosting as the foundation of your house at that address, and your website as the house.

Learn More About Hosting
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Referrals & Word-of-Mouth

Perhaps the oldest form of marketing is the word-of-mouth referral--and it's still the most effective, according to most small business owners.

Learn More About Referrals & Word-of-Mouth
Organic Marketing

Website (CMS)

The choice of Content Management System (CMS) -- the platform on which your website is built -- is far more consequential and has far longer-lasting consequences than does the initial look-and-feel you choose for your website.

Learn More About Website (CMS)
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Web Analytics

The goal of web analytics is to help you understand how consumers are finding and interacting with your website.

Learn More About Web Analytics
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

Content

Your content should be authentic, informative, and focused on your customers.

Learn More About Content
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

eCommerce

Your eCommerce platform sits between your Content Management System and your payment processor (or, in some cases, is both your CMS and payment processor).

Learn More About eCommerce
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Scheduling & Booking

If you run a high-volume service business like a salon, HVAC company, or landscaping company, for example, online booking is a win-win for you as a business owner and for your customers.

Learn More About Scheduling & Booking
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Website (UX)

It's important to put your best foot forward with your website -- 60% of consumers are less likely to buy from a small business that offers a poor website experience.

Learn More About Website (UX)
Presence

Customer Feedback

Beyond the obvious marketing value of positive reviews and testimonials, customer feedback helps you run a better business!

Learn More About Customer Feedback
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Email

Since the dawn of the Internet, small business owners have ranked email marketing as one of their top three marketing channels.

Learn More About Email
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Community

"Community" is a concept that means different things to companies of different sizes.

Learn More About Community
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Email Analytics

One of the many advantages to using an Email Service Provider for your email marketing (as opposed to just sending them from your personal email account) is the analytics that ESP's provide you as part of your subscription.

Learn More About Email Analytics
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

Local Profiles

Local Profiles (in particular Google My Business and Yelp) are the foundation of any local business's search engine presence.

Learn More About Local Profiles
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Local Analytics

As part of their free local profile offerings, prominent local search sites like Google and Yelp (as well as others) provide basic metrics around number of impressions of your profile.

Learn More About Local Analytics
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

Social Profiles

Whether or not your business has the time, energy, or budget to be active on social media, all businesses should claim a profile on each major social media channel.

Learn More About Social Profiles
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Reviews & Testimonials

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and they're one of the most authentic ways you can convey what it's like to work with you or purchase from you.

Learn More About Reviews & Testimonials
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

SEO

There are a number of straightforward, low-cost techniques that can improve your search engine presence fairly quickly--many of which are represented elsewhere in the Marketing Stack.

Learn More About SEO
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Social Media

Social media consistently ranks as one of the top three marketing channels among small business owners.

Learn More About Social Media
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Social Analytics

As part of their free business offerings, most prominent social media sites provide basic metrics around likes/followers/fans as well as audience reach of individual content or aggregate reach of all of your content.

Learn More About Social Analytics
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

SMS & Messaging

SMS is one of the highest-engagement marketing channels, with open rates regularly exceeding 90%, and clickthrough rates exceeding 6%.

Learn More About SMS & Messaging
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Landing Pages

Landing pages are specially designed to convert a particular kind of web visitor into taking a particular action.

Learn More About Landing Pages
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Call Tracking

You might think of call tracking as "phone analytics."

Learn More About Call Tracking
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. R is the most important letter of the acronym: Relationship.

Learn More About CRM
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is a logical next step after you've dipped your toe into the waters of Landing Pages.

Learn More About Conversion Rate Optimization
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Blogs & Columns

Few techniques establish you as a thought leader with prospects and customers to the extent that a consistent, authentic blog can.

Learn More About Blogs & Columns
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Loyalty Programs

One of the best ways to retain existing customers--and keep them coming back to your store or using your service--is through a loyalty program.

Learn More About Loyalty Programs
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors:

Classifieds & Marketplaces

One of the oldest forms of advertising is still one of the most cost-effective...although there are several companies that have recently put new twists on the idea.

Learn More About Classifieds & Marketplaces
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Marketing Automation

At its best, marketing automation is an "easy button" for all of your marketing and advertising activities.

Learn More About Marketing Automation
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Coupons & Deals

Small businesses are right to be leery of coupons and deals after the predatory sales tactics and unrealistic margins peddled by Groupon and other daily deal sites.

Learn More About Coupons & Deals
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

Influencers

Influencer marketing seems to be all the rage as a modern form of old-school endorsement.

Learn More About Influencers
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

PR

The worlds of SEO, content marketing, social media, and PR have gradually blended together over the past decade, and it won't be long before they blend together entirely.

Learn More About PR
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Events

Events are a great way to spread word-of-mouth about your business, recruit new customers, and make a deeper connection with your existing customers.

Learn More About Events
Organic Marketing

Recommended Vendors:

Beacons

Beacons are physical-world sensors that collect data from and push data to digital devices around them.

Learn More About Beacons
Attribution

Recommended Vendors:

Native Apps

Very, very, very few small businesses should spend money on a native app--i.e. a software application distributed through the iOS App Store or Google Play.

Learn More About Native Apps
Presence

Recommended Vendors:

Chatbots

Chatbots are digital robots that use artificial intelligence to have conversations with humans.

Learn More About Chatbots
Operations & Customer Service

Recommended Vendors: