My kids and I were talking about doing our favorite things. My youngest would prefer to play Lego all day while my older son likes to lose himself in a “great book of adventure.” I got to thinking about what it is I like to do the most. The good news, while equally disturbing, is that I’m already doing it every day. Apart from the obvious web design and marketing stuff, our real thing is that we build businesses. Specifically we build web businesses or businesses with a strong web presence. That’s my thing. That’s what I want to do with my time.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to do my thing. I got to talk to another prospective client about their online business. They’ve come to the realization that their site is more than just a brochure and the world is moving past them at a terrific speed. I was a little shocked at how little they had thought about the basics but then that’s not their thing. It’s mine. If strategizing over the best web marketing ideas is not your thing then take a look at the list of things to consider for almost any web business.
- Have business and marketing objectives for your website that are measurable. I’m floored by the number of businesses that have not linked their business goals to their website design and marketing efforts. If you have metrics you’ll be able to see how far you have come and how much further you need to go. Even if you’re a non-profit this rule applies. Be specific and detailed. Consider all elements of your strategy: web design, search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, landing page optimization, content development, social media, and web analytics. How will each of these be measured?
- Your existing customers are the fuel to any new growth or profitability. There are really only three ways to grow your business: get new customers, have your existing customers spend more per transaction and have you existing customers buy more frequently. That puts two out of three growth opportunities in the hands of your existing customers. Existing customers already trust you and have a relationship with you. They are cheaper to communicate with and cheaper to serve. Start any business strategy asking questions about your existing customers. Don’t be tempted to go after the elusive new customer when you have diamonds in your own backyard.
- Listen to what these customers and associated communities are saying about you and your product or services. You can’t be a strategist if you don’t have the data to back up your planning. Use Google Alerts or search on Twitter or Technorati to see and heard what people are saying about you or your industry. Your customers are not going to have a conversation about you to your face, they’ll be doing it somewhere else. The question should be, where are they and how can I monitor that?
- On the same note, don’t think that social networking is something that happens to other businesses. Even if you’re a B2B dealing with Baby Boomer decision makers I can promise you there is a social network out there for you. Social networking and content is no longer a young persons game. It’s everywhere and pretending it’s not affecting your business is just silly. For more established businesses you can use LinkedIn. Join the appropriate “Groups” that center around your industry or target market and then make sure you post all news, articles, and other content you generate to each Group. If GE is using Facebook and Twitter then you can too.