Business owners can’t afford to waste precious resources; smart planning is essential to growth. Here’s a checklist to help you focus on the right things in 2011.
As you look at this list, ask yourself which single project, if completed, would help move your business forward in a significant way. Then, make a New Year’s resolution to COMMIT to action:
1. Website Effectiveness: Your website should be attractive, easy to navigate, SEO optimized, with quality content that moves customers along a conversion path. Mobile devices are also becoming increasingly important.
Action: Look at your website with a critical eye – if it lacks visibility in search or doesn’t capture and convert leads, update it!
2. SEO for Local Search: Increasingly, Google rewards local businesses that have taken the right steps to be found.
Action: Complete your business profile for Google local, add yourself to third party listings, list on consumer review sites like Yelp, do link building, add your business to local directories, etc. (A good “how-to” resource can be found here).
3. Network: As much as I love online marketing, personal relationships can be the key to drive business. Don’t ignore personal networking for business development.
Action: Expand your circle. Schedule one networking activity each week, and as you build new relationships, begin to cross promote, cross-link websites, guest blog, refer clients, etc.
4. Leverage Social Media: Don’t ignore this channel in 2011.
Action: Choose the right social media tools, and start building relationships with your target audience. Start a blog, become active on Linked in, Facebook or Twitter… if you’re not sure how, call for a social media tune up or some social media training.
5. Create buzz: Thomas J. Lipton once put his name on the side of an elephant and paraded up and down Main Street to promote his tea shop. Today there’s Foursquare!!!
Action: Raise your profile: speak locally, teach a class, organize a meet-up, host an event … and don’t forget to follow up with some local PR to create traffic to your website and buzz for your business!
6. Better Branding: To be a leader, you have to look like a leader. Even the largest companies refresh their image periodically, to stay current.
Action: Make sure that your positioning is distinctive, that your communications are sharp, and all materials are consistent and well branded.
7. Email Marketing: A segmented, opted-in email list is one of your most valuable marketing assets. Email Newsletters and targeted blasts with exclusive offers are cost effective ways to contact and market to your target.
Action: Put a plan in place to create your list! Develop a systematic way to collect emails via your website, and design a DRIP marketing campaign to stay in touch.
8. Efficient systems: Need a software update, better infrastructure, or a CRM? These steps can free up time for everything else on this list.
Action: If you have been operating without the right systems, get help to take your efficiency to the next level.
9. Metrics: What gets measured, gets managed.
Action: Define which metrics are most important to growing your business, then use the information to take actions that increase your ROI. Use analytics insights to manage your website and social media.
For a successful and prosperous 2011 choose one (or more) of these projects to move the needle for your business, and get going!