I love fresh starts.
And there’s no better time for a fresh start than January. Right now, many of us have been thinking for months about how we’re going to tweak our businesses in the New Year. What fresh, new strategies are going to make the biggest difference in 2018? Are we going to focus more on SEO? How about customer service? New business acquisition? Perhaps some new social media platform that’s been gaining importance?
Growing up, my mom always emphasized fresh starts:
“I’m going on a diet in January.”
“We’ll start piano lessons in the summer.”
“Next fall, let’s take the family to Disneyland”.
We didn’t ever do it Now. We always had to plan for it. It was sometimes frustrating but it seemed as if that lead-up time was an essential part of paving the way to the fresh start. As we were finishing up whatever stage we were in, we began to mentally prepare so the next major event could take off with a bang. And to this day I think I do the same thing.
At Fresh Focus Group, planning is step one for everything.
And here’s what we’re thinking about now as we enter 2018:
- Goals– 2017 is behind us. What new ideas will be required to improve our business in 2018? If you haven’t taken the time yet, take a step back, and look at your 2017 results as if you were a business consultant. Take some time to evaluate your successes and write down your observations. What made each of them a success? Then look at your failures, or your “learning experiences”. What did you gain from them? What will you do differently in 2018? How can you break that down into monthly, weekly and even daily goals? If you’re like me, this kind of introspection is ongoing, and it may seem trivial to set aside time to do it now. But looking at your business with fresh eyes at the beginning of a new year can bring you the fresh start- and a better 2018- that your business needs.
- Customer retention– There’s an old adage that it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one, and I can certainly attest to that. Most business owners know that keeping a current customer happy is a matter of providing good value, prompt and competent customer service and staying in touch. That personal touch, the one that sustains your relationships, can be a deciding factor in retaining long-time customers. Making sure they understand your complete line of products and services could keep them from migrating to your competitors. And upselling your current customers can be a win-win as you offer new ways to help their businesses grow. What are you doing in 2018 to reach out to your current customers? When was the last time you sent a company newsletter to your existing client base reviewing some of your products and services? Email is hotter than ever and the first of the year is a great time to send a cheery overview to your customer list. Chances are, they’re also thinking about making some changes in 2018 and your email could be the timely reminder they need.
- New Business– Where is your new 2018 revenue going to come from and how can you be proactive in acquiring new business? Your existing customer base can be a great source of current revenue and also new business through word of mouth. But what would happen if you lost your biggest customer? What new markets, new customers, new products, new customer service strategies, new communication vehicles are you exploring for 2018? Setting those goals and following through is probably most business owners’ greatest challenge. Personal networking is extremely important and so many business owners are too busy to do it consistently. I know I’m guilty of this and you probably are too. If you don’t have a systematic way to approach new business acquisition, other than personal networking, now is the time to make one. There are digital options that can help, and a multi-channel approach is best. Results increase exponentially when we target individuals on many different platforms and at every step in the sales cycle all at the same time.
If you’ve got a website, you need SEO.
- SEO– And if your SEO strategy is more than 6 months old, it’s definitely time to review it. We’re reviewing ours now. But if you’ve never thought about SEO, there is no time to waste. As the first page of Google results becomes more and more crowded, good SEO can make the difference between internet success and failure. But what is SEO and why is it so important? SEO is all about improving your ranking for more keyword topics, and that ranking contributing to increased website traffic and qualified leads. Marketers say it is the single most effective tool they have to generate online leads and sales. 1 But SEO is an art and a science and it requires an expert to develop the strategy and execute it efficiently. Done right, it involves both website optimization- a technical research exercise that results in dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in all the right places- and offsite optimization– an ongoing process of making sure your keyword content is being expanded, shared and linked to. Depending on your target market, who your competition is, and how crowded the internet space for your niche, crafting a strategic SEO plan for 2018 and then executing it faithfully can make all the difference in your revenue. Look at the projected ROI as you evaluate the effectiveness of SEO for your organization. It’s all about the lifetime value of the new revenue source.
- Social Media– The only thing about social media that stays the same is the fact that it changes constantly. New platforms, new functionality, new advertising trends, and new algorithms that influence who sees your content … it’s a bear to keep up with all the changes and apply them well to your business. Some of our clients take a ‘head-in-the-sand’ approach to social media, as if it isn’t going to be even bigger next week, next month, and next year. Just because you may not understand what will work for your business doesn’t mean you should stop trying. There is always a great social media solution for your unique business situation. Yes, even B2B businesses need social media.
What gives you the most joy in your life?
- Job Satisfaction– Helping others? Spending time with your family? Having a sense of purpose? Growing your business? Variety in your work or the lack of it? Take a minute and think about that. Chances are, one of the most satisfying and yet most elusive factors for many people, especially business owners, is balancing work with all the other pleasures of life. A recent Gallup poll tells us that almost 40% of Americans work over 50 hours a week. An additional 20% are now putting in over 60 hours a week. This is despite the fact that as recently as 1965, a U.S. Senate subcommittee predicted a 22-hour workweek by 1985 and a 14-hour work week by 2000. 2 The effect of all this overwork can be devastating to our personal lives which can lead to a less than satisfying work life. It’s tough to enjoy your work when you feel guilty about shortchanging all the other aspects of your life. What can you do to offload some of the tasks you don’t like or don’t do well? It’s worth spending some time thinking about this and making a fresh start in 2018 toward a better work-life balance.
At Fresh Focus Group, we specialize in digital marketing projects that many small to mid-sized business owners either can’t do well or don’t have time for. We offer a holistic approach to digital marketing that is 100% results-oriented and we can help you grow in 2018. We offer everything from website design and search engine optimization (SEO) to internet marketing tools such as email, paid search advertising, and social media. And we offer a free SEO audit of your current digital footprint designed to start the conversation. We look forward to talking to you this year.
Happy New Year and here’s to a fresh start for your business! As you assess 2017, let me know in the comments what you’re thinking about doing differently in 2018.
- Source: http://www.slideshare.net/NewsCred/50-best-stats-presentation