Did you make the grade?
Go back and look at your strategic marketing plan for this year. How have you been doing? Are you on target or did you miss the mark? What grade would you give yourself and/or your team?
October is a perfect time to review your current plan. Why October? Because it is time to start writing your 2012 plan! Don’t wait until December or worse, next year – start now.
Take a realistic, objective look at marketing campaigns and tactics that have produced the desired results this year (I hope you have been reviewing and revising campaigns/ tactics throughout the year). Successful strategies should be incorporated into your new plan.
It is equally important to take a look at the marketing campaigns and tactics that have not performed well. Don’t keep doing the same thing over again if it is not producing results.
This will go a long way in helping you create a plan for 2012 that is achievable and effective. If you start planning now you will be much more prepared for the New Year. It is almost here!
More tips on strategic planning coming up soon…
Are you seizing the data?
Many small business owners have implemented a tool, such as Google Analytics, to monitor their web traffic. If you are one of those who have a tool in place I am so glad.
The important question is…are you using it to make critical marketing decisions? If you are not using it to review your performance and make revisions to improve your website and traffic flow then you might as well uninstall it.
If you don’t understand how to analyze and apply the information then educate yourself. Here are a few ways to educate yourself on how to review web analytics.
- Look for the help feature within your package
- Educate yourself on key terms related to web analytics
- Read blog posts from marketing professionals (click here to read my posts on the subject)
- Google it! – there are many tutorials, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc. that can help you understand analytics data
- Consult with a marketing professional who understands web analytics
Using a web analytics tool to measure the performance of your web site is a key element to its success. As always, review your metric and revise as necessary.
p.s. Google Analytics is not the only quality web analytics tool. However, it is one I recommend for small business owners.
If you fail to foster the growth of prospect relationships now you won’t have anyone to call on when your well dries up.
It is mission critical to dedicate all the time needed to properly serve your current customers. This is a good business decision and is expected by your clients. As a small business owner your plate is already full. It is easy to minimize the importance of creating and building new relationships simply because there seems to be no time to do it.
This could be a grave mistake. If you don’t keep new customers coming through the door you may one day find yourself without any new ones. Depending on what product or service you sell, not fostering the growth of new relationships could dampen the success of your company.
I said most of this in a previous post. Some things bear repeating.
Still Fostering Growth…
Are your web site visitors bouncing like Tigger?
As a small business owner it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the alphabet soup that goes along with web analytics. Understand key terms and their implications can dramatically improve the performance and value of your web site and web site traffic.
A critical measurement when looking at your website analytics is the bounce rate.
Bounce Rate: A visitor comes to your site, does not see what he or she is looking for and immediately leaves your site to go somewhere else.
The good news: Every web site has bounces. Many times people stumble upon a site they did not intend to visit.
The bad news: The higher the bounce rate the more likely there is a problem. Unfortunately a high bounce rate could represent any number of problems.
A high bounce rate could mean one or more of the following:
- The page your visitors first see (landing page) is poorly designed
- The landing page has too much copy
- The website has confusing navigation
- Technical issues with the landing page
- Poor keyword selection
- Poor quality traffic (there are several reasons this could occur)
- A handful of technical issues
As with any other metric bounce rate cannot be analyzed in a vacuum – it must be measured taking many other factors into account. The important thing to remember is that using a web analytics tool to measure the performance of your web site is a key element to its success. As always, review your metric and revise as necessary.
If you need help – please consult your marketing coach. They can help you navigate the terms and their implications so you can focus on your business.
Always working to bounce low…
Take the action!
Earlier this week I wrote a blog post (read it here) about the different types of people who attend networking events. One of the comments I received was about the necessity for follow-up. I could not agree more – it is a key element to making the investment of your time worthwhile.
Making a “connection” at a networking event is great but if you do not begin to cultivate that connection and turn it into a working relationship nothing will happen. Wherever you make your initial introduction – events, cold calling, direct marketing, etc. – it will be of little value unless you to continue to engage.
I think I will add a 5th group to my list of types of people at networking events:
The Winner – this person immediately followed up on the quick connections they made at the event. Why are they the winner? Because they are the ones turning those connections into relationships.
My Take: A five minute discussion at a networking event will not land you a big contract. Cultivating a relationship you started at a networking event just might. Take the action!
As a small business owner your time is so valuable. You are trying to wear 20 different on any given day. If you attend networking events one of your goals was to try and make more than one connection at a time. Don’t waste the time you spent! Follow Up. Make the most of it. Some connections may turn out to be nothing but with a wasted follow-up opportunity you will never know.
Just a thought…
Over the post 30 days the top read my post on blog was about email signatures. Who knew this is such a hot topic?
I was prompted to write the post because I had been noticing several “over the top” email signatures and felt I just had to say something.
Since your email signature is truly a reflection of your brand you might want to review yours and revise it if necessary. Ask these questions:
- Is my email signature “over the top?
- Is it too long or too short?
- Does my current signature reflect my brand?
- What do I want to convey?
- Am I conveying it?
Many people are obviously thinking about this topic as evidenced by the visits to my blog on this topic. What is your viewpoint on email signatures – keep it simple or “over the top”?
Want me to critique at your email signature? I can arrange that – contact me.
Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post called The category of ‘without apology’. He stated that some companies produce their product without apology. One of his examples “There are high margins in the business of high-end flatware, for people who don’t want to apologize for the lack of an asparagus fork when they have fancy company over.”
Whether your market segment is high-end asparagus forks, low-end furniture or moderately priced software you have a specific audience. If you did not have an audience or buyers for your product you would not be producing it. So… continue producing it and marketing it – unapologetically.
If you need help in telling the story of your product “without apology” ask a marketing coach.
P.S. I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog. Every day he makes me think about what I am doing. He has written several business books that I believe are game changers for business including Linchpin. As a marketing and business coach I strongly suggest you subscribe to his blog (after you subscribe to mine of course).
Are you getting their attention?
If you are a small business owner you have a story to tell. It may be difficult for you to see because you are living out your story every day. Marketing is about telling your story – the story of your product and your company.
Effectively telling your company story can communicate many things:
- Your passion for your business
- What drives you to do what you do
- Why you are different
- The core values of your business
- The quality or dedication of your employees
- How your company has helped your clients
- The benefits of your product/service
Anyone can give information on the features / benefits of their product or where it is sold or what it looks like. This information is not “news” and is rarely given a second thought.
Communicating your passion will get people’s attention.
What else will telling your story communicate? You fill in the rest of the list.
Coaching with Passion,
Merriam- Webster says to cultivate is “to foster the growth of…”
I was talking with a client of mine today about a new client she just brought on board. Her exact quote was “it takes time to cultivate these relationships. I have been talking with this person for six months and just now he is sending business my way.”
Fostering the growth of (or cultivating) relationships not only with existing clients but with people who could become clients down the road is a key element to growing a sustainable business. As a small business owner it is almost impossible to find time to do the daily work you have to keep with and try to foster relationships that may or may not produce a new client down the road.
- Set aside a specific amount of time each week to find and cultivate relationships outside of your current client base (an hour per day or lunch once per week or every Friday afternoon, etc.)
- Continue to foster the relationships with the most potential (your time is valuable, spend it wisely)
- Talk with a marketing coach for some creative ideas to foster the growth of new relationships
Don’t miss the importance of this one – if you fail to foster the growth of prospect relationships now you won’t have anyone to call on when your well dries up.