January is the perfect time to reflect on the previous year and plan for the next one. Like many people, you may have made New Year's resolutions about dieting, exercising and kicking bad habits. When you make a resolution about dieting, you focus on goals and hard numbers:
- What do I weigh now?
- What do I want to weigh, and when do I want to reach that weight?
- What do I need to do to lose that weight in that time frame?
Businesses need to make their own resolutions, especially companies doing business online. When you approach your business resolutions, you also need to focus on your goals and hard numbers.
- What are my current revenues generated through online efforts?
- How much do I want to grow my business this year?
- How much am I willing to pay for a lead?
- Which Web agency is best equipped to help me reach my goals?
Take stock of your online business efforts by examining what you are currently doing and then honestly assessing where you need to improve.
- How much business did your website generate in 2011? Was that higher or lower than expected?
- How is your online business doing in comparison with your competition? (Look at your competitors’ website and honestly evaluate who is doing the better job.)
- Do you pay attention to your Web analytics? What are your Web analytics telling you?
- Are you taking advantage of mobile and tablet opportunities? Do you have an app that serves the needs of your customers?
- What are people saying about your company online? Have you done everything you can to protect and enhance your online reputation?
- Is your website showing up on page one of search results for terms that are critical to your business?
- How are you performing in search results in comparison to your competitors?
- How much money have you invested in search engine optimization and what has been your return on investment (ROI)?
- How much have you invested in paid online advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook advertising, etc.)? How effective has that advertising been for you?
- What social media platforms are you using? How much business have your social media efforts driven?
If you take the time to really think about these questions and answer them honestly, you’ll put yourself in a position to make some significant improvements to your overall online business strategy.
At Blue Fountain Media, not only do we ask these questions of our clients, but also we ask them about our own site and marketing on a daily basis. We constantly tweak and test our marketing and even redesigned our own site based on what we learned from the analytics we performed on our site. We are always looking to see what the competition is up to, investigating the best uses of social media and we keep up on the latest innovations in technology and marketing.
There has never been a better time to be doing business online. Every year, more people are purchasing online, choosing service providers online and getting their customer service handled online. In 2012, with more and more people accessing businesses through mobile and tablet devices, this trend will only grow stronger.
Businesses that embrace the new technologies, the ones that invest wisely in their Web and mobile presence and the ones that understand the power of social media as a business driver are the ones that will thrive in 2012 and beyond.
Resolve to be one of those businesses!
OPEN Cardmember Gabriel Shaoolian is the founder and CEO of Blue Fountain Media, a results-driven web design and online marketing company based in Manhattan.