As we look forward to another new year, it’s time for small business entrepreneurs to reassess the state of their business. Take a look at your customer base, review your financials, think about what purchases or hires you might need to make to function more efficiently, and make sure there is still a market for what you are trying to sell. If all this is functioning smoothly, there is really no reason why you cannot increase sales next year. Once your business fundamentals are in line, you can map out a strong marketing strategy that will help you attract more prospects and close more sales. Here are a few steps to take to get that marketing train on track:
- Look at your website: Does it look old, outdated or tired? Can you view it easily on mobile devices? Are there plenty of pictures, and loads of compelling content? If not, you’ve got your work cut out for you. As you look at each page, click on each link to ensure that it still works, get rid of outdated content, and make sure you are taking advantage of alt-tags, captions, and other elements that contribute to search engine rankings.
- What is working: Find out what brings most prospects and repeat customers to your business. Are they coming in because of social media, search engine listings, word-of-mouth, advertisements, or something else? Focus and build on what is working, and try to figure out why some elements are just not pulling for you.
- Plan ahead: A marketing strategy helps you plan where you are going, and lets you know when you get there. List out two or three prime objectives for the year, and then map out what you need to do to achieve them. Be realistic in your goals, and savvy in your strategy.
- Work your plan: Even the greatest marketing strategy is doomed to failure if it is not implemented. Set aside critical time each week in your schedule to work on your marketing strategy, and don’t let yourself get distracted.
- Sell the WIIFMs: “What’s In It For Me?” Too often small business entrepreneurs focus their message around what makes them great, and forget that they are speaking to an audience. What does your product or service offer, how does it make life better or easier, why should they buy from you? These are all imperative questions your prospects need to get answered when they visit your website or receive any of your marketing messages.
- Lighten Up: Things don’t always have to be so serious. Every so often you can inject a little humor into your content, website, or social media. It shows that you are human, and helps build connections with prospects.
We always start the year with the best of intentions, but fail all too often. Make 2017 the year you get up off your best intentions and get the job done. Good marketing, good luck, and Happy New Year!