Let’s face it, I don’t think I am the only one ready to say “yo homes, smell ya later” to 2016.
However, whether 2016 was kind to you or not, it is time to turn our collective attention to 2017 and all the promise and potential it has to offer. Many people do this by making New Year’s Resolutions. Normally these are personal (and sometimes empty) promises to go to the gym more or eat better. However, a responsible and forward-thinking business owner should apply these same concepts of self-betterment to their business.
With the mad rush of the Winter holidays winding down, now is the best time to take a step back and look at your company in the mirror. Ask yourself a couple questions: What worked well last year? What have I been overlooking? What are some areas for possible growth or improvement?
Everyone will have different answers to these questions, but I’d like to throw in my two cents on a couple small, but crucial resolutions your business should make as you roll into 2017.
1. Give your website a good check-up and cleaning
Your website is your online storefront, so it is important that your website is clean and in good shape.
It’s possible in the flurry of conducting business during the holidays you haven’t had a chance to look at your website in a while. This is the first place you should start when looking to improve for 2017.
Start with a little minor upkeep. Make sure all your information is up-to-date. Are all your products, services and prices correct? Is your event calendar correct? Have you removed any offers that expired with the holidays? Also, make sure to go review your website and check out your links. Make sure every link will send your visitors to the correct location and that there are no dead links. Be sure to also make sure any recently created pages are free of any spelling mistakes, typos or other oddities. You want to look professional, don’t you?
Then, think a little bigger. When was the last time your homepage was updated? A new year is a fresh start, so take this opportunity to bring in some new pictures, new graphics, place some new text or create new landing pages. Depending on the last time you did this kind of overhaul this could give your website a complete redesign to ring in 2017.
2. Evaluate your email marketing strategy
If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll know I put a lot of value on email marketing as one of your best ways to communicate with current customers and contacts. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is currently not taking advantage of it. Maybe that is a whole new resolution for you?
You may not think it, but when it comes to email marketing it is far better to have a smaller number of more engaged contacts than an enormous list of people who could care less about what you have to say. This smaller, more dedicated group has a much better potential for turning to you for their business and recommending you to others.
For that reason, take a look at your current contacts. Based on your last few campaigns, you can tell who has been regularly opening and interacting with them as well as which contacts are bouncing or are simply not being opened. Refine your list. This can allow you to regularly hit a more consistent audience and opens you up to be a little more personal with them.
Have your open or click through rates been dipping? Your contacts may just be getting bored. Work on your subject lines to make them more appealing and revamp your email template to be more exciting and more encouraging for interaction.
3. Review your social media accounts
Most businesses are on at least one social media platform. Just like your website, it is important that you are keeping up appearances on your different accounts to help keep things fresh. Again, start small. Is your avatar tired or dated? Give it an update. When was the last time your background or header image was replaced? Your visitors will notice that kind of thing, especially if your image has a seasonal theme that is now totally out of place.
Once you’ve taken care of the cosmetic side, start thinking about the analytics. Hopefully, you are posting regularly to stay in front of your audience base and expanding your reach. If you aren’t, take this time to evaluate your strategy.
Are you getting solid responses from your posts? What kind of content are you posting? Try different kinds of posts, implement some “behind the scenes” kind of posts to give your business a more human and personal side. Those kinds of posts usually perform well on social media.
This is a good time to seriously consider expanding your scope by entering new platforms. Pretty much everyone is on Facebook, but are you taking advantage of Twitter, LinkedIn or even G+? Different platforms open you up to new audiences and potential customers.
Last, but certainly not least, if you already haven’t started utilizing social media advertising it is a relatively small marketing expense that can have a huge payoff.
Need help accomplishing these New Year’s Resolutions or any you’ve set on your own? Maybe all you need is the right marketing team at your back?
Happy New Year folks!