A New Year means new resolutions, new prospects, and new opportunities. It’s a time to capitalize on those things which you know work well, and to improve on those things that are imperfect. For a business owner, it is a chance to create a plan to not only maintain but also expand your influence, helping your business reach even more people. While every company is unique, we have some ideas that you may be able to adapt to meet and even exceed your goals.
Revisit your Marketing Plan
As the framework for what your business will do to reach new clients, a marketing plan is a powerful tool. It should be designed with the purpose of reaching specific, measurable goals. While the ultimate goal of any business is to have more clients, it is more useful to think of specific results that will indicate your business is increasing. This could mean more hits on the website, more people walking into the storefront, or even a reduction in operating cost.
While determining these goals, ensure they are in some way measurable. If you intend to increase your online traffic, there needs to be a mechanism in place for you to count how many online visitors you have. This analytical approach will allow you to continuously improve and capitalize on those things that are working well, while eliminating those that are not.
Invest in Your Online Presence
Even a store that does no online transactions has an online presence. Reviews, maps, and even general descriptions of almost every business are online and searchable by all your clients. Because many people will search online for stores before setting foot outside, it behooves all businesses to not only have a website, but a professional looking one. Consider your online image to be as important as your storefront image. You wouldn’t want a poorly painted sign with your business’ name on it, so why use a poorly constructed site?
Additionally, pay attention to those sites that are not under your control. If clients are reviewing your business, it is worthwhile to know what their saying. If it’s positive, you can use that review to promote yourself. If it’s negative, you can respond directly to the complainer with apologies and how the inconvenience will be avoided in the future. Even a very negative comment can bolster your business’ image if time is taken to resolve the problem.
Use the Personal Connection
Satisfied clients can not only become repeat clients, they can also become advertisers for your company. Consider encouraging happy customers to post a review on your website or on major sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. Often, this can be accomplished by simply asking them. Moreover, the more you can do to help make your clients’ lives easier, the more they will appreciate what you do. Sincerely follow up on leads, and provide information that is useful rather than solely promoting your business. The more you connect with clients and leads, the more likely they are to connect with you.
Here’s to a phenomenal 2014 for you!