Stoney deGeyter has been a friend of mine for years, and he recently came out with a book called The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! I must say, I’m always out at workshops teaching that content marketing is about creating useful content for your audience, and this is the most useful things that’s come across my desk in awhile. So I sat down to ask Stoney a few questions about the checklists he’s created and how you or anyone else can use his book as a tangible, action-based tool for your marketing plan.
I’m a big fan of checklists. I use them nearly every day, and have encouraged our staff here at Vertical Measures to use them to help them streamline their days. What is it about this format that made you choose to write and name the book after it, and how it will help your readers?
Stoney: Like you I’m a big fan of checklists. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to get anything done if it wasn’t on a list somewhere. There is simply too many things to remember in a given day not to have it jotted down to refer back to.
Checklists are great because it’s like a re-usable reminder. It’s a way to organize a process into actionable steps that you can repeat over and over again and know you’re not forgetting anything important.
This web marketing checklist is the perfect reference book for all of web marketing. I hear countless people tell me they keep a copy on their desk to refer back to. A lot of what’s in the book is stuff that advanced web marketers already know, but it’s nice to have something to refer back to, just so you don’t miss anything. For beginning and intermediate marketers, this is a great way to learn all the important elements of a successful web marketing campaign. It won’t tell you how to do everything but will make sure you get all the bases covered and tell you why they are important.
As we all know over here at our office, books are a HUGE project to take on so I completely commend you for putting together a great resource. I think I heard you say that this book started as a series of blog posts years ago (talk about re-purposing!), so I’d love if you could share the genesis of this book and why you decided to write it in the first place.
Stoney: Thanks! I had no idea how huge of a project this was going to be. Had I known…
As for the origins, back in 2007 I compiled a list of action points. I decided to organize them into topical groups and release it as a series of posts. That was the original Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist. As time passed, 90% of those checklist items held true, but new technologies and marketing avenues were born. The checklist was due for an update.
I decided to update my lists, writing more significant introductions for each checklist and expanding on each action point. I also looked for more opportunities to provide examples. As I did that I added several new checklists that were not included: social media, content, analytics, PPC, etc. I wanted to make sure the updated list didn’t miss anything significant.
The more I wrote, updated and expanded my lists the more it felt like a blog or even a downloadable PDF just wasn’t the right avenue for this project. I was probably about one quarter the way through the update when I decided to turn it into a book. That was suggested to me by a friend a couple of years earlier, but I never really committed to it until I was heavily into the rewrite.
You cover a whole gamut of topics in Best Damn Checklist…what are the biggest takeaways that a web marketer (be it designer, developer, or marketer) should walk away with from your book?
Stoney: Processes are key. We can do all kinds of things right, but without processes everything is just haphazard and there is no consistency between projects. That may work in a number of industries, but for web marketing, having a process helps you make sure you don’t miss anything important. It also gives you the opportunity to test things to see what works and what doesn’t.
You don’t have to go through this (or any other) checklist in order, start to finish. Sometimes it’s smart to go for the biggest gains first, or get the low hanging fruit out of the way. But overall, there should be a process for what you will get done before the project is over.
Who will these checklists help – the layman, expert marketer, techies, etc? Or all of the above?
Stoney: Definitely all of the above. I keep a copy of the book on my desk as a reference and I wrote it! It’s amazing how many times a week I open it up to look for some opportunities I may have missed from memory. And I’m always finding stuff.
While the book is short on technical details (deliberately so, since those change rapidly with today’s technology) it does tell you what you can focus on and gives examples of what the end result should be for many of the points. So even the most technical person will get value from the book. It tells you what to do… and let’s the techies figure out the best way to do it for their system.
But this book is also perfect for non-technical people, marketing managers and those who oversee someone else handling the web marketing. It provides a good check and balance between what the marketers are (or are not doing) and gives the manager the ability to talk about the importance and value of other areas noted in the book that the techie people may have overlooked.
Small business owners who don’t know much about any of this online marketing stuff can still find action items to do themselves, while tasking the more technical stuff to those who have the know-how.
You’ve dedicated a good part of your book to checklists on design. Why, in your mind, is design so important for web marketing?
Stoney: Web design is a form of web marketing. It boggles my mind that more designers don’t think that way, but even the best marketing of a website is at the mercy of the design and development of the site.
While the design of a website might be pretty, the site still has a job to do. Pretty may make the site visually appealing but it doesn’t necessarily make the site user-friendly. Starting a web design and development project knowing it’s truly a marketing project allows all involved to be thinking of the end game, which is having a website that gets customers.
So much of what SEOs do is fixing issues with the design and architecture of a site. When the site is designed from a marketing perspective, these issues are fixed during the initial design phase rather than months later at even greater expense.
What’s the most overlooked aspect of online marketing that your checklists will help people address?
Stoney: The grand nature of online marketing. I think many people still think of SEO as being keyword optimization and don’t realize how many other things are important to building a successful web presence. Picking up this book and seeing over 600 action points in 35 different web marketing categories helps people see the vastness of what goes on. That’s not to say you have to have a huge marketing budget to succeed, but it does give you an idea as to how long the road ahead will be.
In your mind, what is the most important aspect of putting together a successful digital marketing platform?
Stoney: Teamwork. There is so much to know and to do in this industry that it truly does take a team to do it right. Each of our strategists are required to spend 5 hours per week educating themselves in their area. Each strategies focuses only on a specific area (i.e. social, content, ppc, etc.) and I hear all the time that they still have a hard time staying current with those 5 hours per week. Imagine being one person being responsible for all areas of web marketing for a site. It would be nearly impossible to stay educated and to be able to do an effective job.
Teams allow different people with different skills to come together and make a web marketing campaign more successful. Everyone has something to contribute, and when you pool all these thoughts, ideas and perspectives together you usually get a campaign far more valuable than the sum of its parts.
You even provide a free cheat sheet too, right?
Stoney: Now that was a softball question! 🙂 Yes, there is a free cheat sheet you can download at www.WebMarketingChecklist.com. The cheat sheet contains all of the checklist and action points from the book, but with none of the explanation or examples. It is, just that: a cheat sheet. I suggest buying the book to have as the broader reference and understanding of what each action item means, but then print off a copy of the cheat sheet to use for each project. That way you can literally check items off as you go!
About the Book & Stoney
The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! is available on Amazon.com, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble. Webmarketingchecklist.com
Stoney deGeyter, Author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist and CEO & Founder of Pole Position Marketing, an online marketing strategy company helping businesses improve their online presence since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences all over the US, and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and website marketing related articles. If you’re looking to velocitize your web marketing, Stoney and Pole Position Marketing are the crew you need. Follow him at @StoneyD, and @PolePositionMkg.