I just realized this is the second post in a row that uses a rodent as the cover image ;) I promise I'm not like Michael Jackson in the movie Ben! And no animals were hurt in the making of this photo.
The other day I was driving down the highway and saw this little mouse hanging on to my window - fur flying in the wind, eyes bulging, and utterly terrified; it still makes me feel sad to remember how scared he was. I stopped and managed to get him off safely, but thinking of him barely hanging on without being blown off reminded me of many of the business owners we meet.
What I see most often is that business owners feel so lost and overwhelmed by the changes in marketing technology and trying to decide what tools to use and where to invest their money, they do nothing.
It's like they think if they can just hang on long enough without falling off, that all of this newfangled stuff will go away and they can get back to business as usual.
I hope you're not one of those people because, if you are, you'll be like that little mouse would have been if I hadn't stopped in time to get him off. You'll cling on until you can't any more, and your business may end up not surviving.
These are some of the things you should be doing right now, at a minimum. If you're not, get ready for a scary ride.
- Go through every page of your website and try to look at it as a first time visitor would, critiquing every feature, to make a list of changes that need to be made. That's called a teardown.
- Don't just ignore the list - make all of those changes or hire someone to make them for you. If you're not a web designer, save your time to do what you're good at and hire professionals who invest their time in understanding your situation to help plan how you can achieve actual business goals.
- Develop a plan for continually adding valuable new content to your website, preferably through a blog system installed on the site so it helps you generate traffic. Plan content that will be helpful to your customers, make a schedule for writing, and stick to it. Don't worry if you feel stupid; it takes a while to find your voice and practice is the only way you will.
- Start using a client/customer relationship management system (CRM) to manage all of your contacts and track interactions and opportunities.
- Stay in touch with your current customers through an email marketing system, and offer free advice through a regularly scheduled email that website visitors can subscribe to.
- Use marketing automation to generate more leads, close more sales, and determine ROI. (hint: a good automation system can also serve as your CRM and email marketing system). Find out how other SMB's are using automated marketing to drive revenue, and remind yourself that these could be your competitors.
- Determine a social media strategy. Decide which platform(s) you should be on, and develop a plan for how you're going to use social to reach actual business goals.
- Add your website to every single piece of print marketing and every advertisement, preferably with targeted landing pages for different marketing campaigns. These landing pages should speak directly to the type of visitor who would land on the page using that specific page link.
- Figure out if there are ways you can use your website to help operationally within the business to save time and money.
It takes time to do all of these things and it's tempting to say you don't have time to do them; after all, you have a business to run, right? Unfortunately, you may not have one in a year or two if you don't catch up with the times now.