As human beings our journeys around the sun on this big blue marble trigger all sorts of events. For example, many of us try to lose weight come January 1. Others place huge significance on the anniversary of our own arrival aboard this vehicle. In these United States we celebrate those who have passed away in active military service on this day. This can also be a trigger for our businesses.
Every day our customers and prospects are critiquing our advertising and messaging. Some are responding, others aren’t. For those who don’t it could be that what we have isn’t what they want or it could also be our messaging. So I propose that, at least twice a year, we look at what we’re doing to woo our customers and make adjustments.
We all know that one guy who wonders why things aren’t going so well but tells us, “well, I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years!” Times change, customers change and, most importantly, competitors change.
Your Owned Content
Oddly enough I actually got into a discussion with a business owner who told me all the reasons that “her generation” no longer uses websites or email. While there is some validity to that, younger people are eschewing websites and email, those who are in the higher income brackets aren’t doing so as much as the bottom of the market.
So it’s good to look at the numbers on your website. If you’re using one of my two favorite website builders - Weebly or SquareSpace - they provide decent information with their platforms such that you can make a qualified decision about the direction your website traffic is going.
As of this writing you can use Google’s Webmaster tools to actually get very detailed information about the traffic on your owned content. This is one of the reasons to own your own website - you control the messaging and you can also find out who’s visiting, where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying, what they’re looking at and much more. It’s good to follow the trends with this. Is the new content on your site generating interest? Are they staying for a longer period of time?
The Social Media Marketing Podcast had an outstanding episode on Google's tools for webmasters. It's absolutely worth a listen.
One thing you will definitely notice - if your site is well optimized for mobile traffic that source will likely have become the largest provider of eyeballs - I have some sites where it’s close to 70% although the average nowadays is about 58% for mobile. Where are your numbers?
There are a lot of ways to get social trends and this is yet another reason to have a Facebook Business Page if that platform is among those that work for you. Business Pages have the advantage of having fairly decent reporting so you can watch trends on your Page to see where it’s going.
You’ll also find the trend among younger people to no longer spend much time on Facebook after the election got them tired of people’s messaging so you might find that other platforms perform better for you. Now might be the time to look at those.
Of course Instagram is a huge platform for some, especially if you have something that’s visual. Instagram is a platform of images and it’s remained strong to the core with that even though it’s also now owned by Facebook. There are definitely some who have found great success using Instagram to promote their businesses and it, too, has tools for tracking that success.
As with both Instagram and Facebook it’s not just about how many followers you have but how engaged they are with what you’re posting. The more you post and engage your followers the better your presence there will do for you. Both offer paid opportunities as well and, naturally, you can track the success of those.
Using tools such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or one of the so many other mailing services has the advantage of offering the ability to track the performance of your emails as well. You can see how many people opened them and clicked through to your website.
Some of these offer even more - if you have an on-line store or a way for people to actually spend money on your owned content you can actually track conversions - how many people actually followed through and took action.
In any form of marketing it’s good to have a measurable and then have a benchmark. See where you’re going, see what’s working and see if the messaging you’re using is the right messaging. You’ll notice that big companies occasionally change the messaging they’re using - for example it seems things no longer go better with Coke and Chevrolet is no longer the Heartbeat of America. I guess that whole fiasco in 2008 meant they got a pacemaker or something.
But sometimes it also might be time to change what you’re saying to your audience. That, too, might be worth looking at during these evaluations. I’m in the process of making a huge change on one of the sites I own including moving it to a whole different platform and even having someone change the logo for me. That site has gotten stale but, surprisingly, traffic has never been stronger.
How is it stale? Newer, better sites have come along and it has gone from a tiny niche market to one that’s growing and finding sponsors. In this case, the messaging is still strong and traffic has gotten huge but it’s still time for a change in relation to other sites that are coming on line.
Fortunately I know that my customers are always evaluating what I’m doing so I have to be on the top of my game. I look at platforms, voices, colors, the competition and traffic/measurables to make sure I’m still where I should be and that I have a good platform for growth, if that’s what I want.
This is also another reason to have an unofficial board of directors which I still think is the best idea I’ve ever had. What techniques and schedule are you using?