Is your business perfect? If you’re nodding your head, then this blog post isn’t for you. But if you recognize that you have a few things you’d like to improve on, read on because you’ll find 10 things you need to start doing better to have a stronger company. As a bonus, I’ll show you how to improve these things.
1. Customer Service
Companies should always be focused on making their customers happy. Offering a better customer experience can make a big difference in people’s willingness to do business with you.
To improve your customer service: Find out what you are doing that your competitors aren’t, and what your competitors are doing that you can learn from. It could be anything from offering free shipping on large orders, guaranteeing fast delivery times, giving out coupons to repeat customers, etc. Learn what your customers really want from you and start giving it to them. In order to do that, you need to get to know them better.
2. Knowing Your Customers
How well do you know your customers? I mean really know them. What’s their average age, location, favorite Web browser, marital status, family size, number of pets? Don’t rely solely on intuition or assumptions about who your customers are.
To become better acquainted with your customers: Gather all the pertinent information you can from them. Use Google Analytics or other Web tracking tools to glean as much information as you can on your website visitors. Send out surveys and give a little incentive to fill them out. This will help you get a better response rate and also encourage your customers to return to your store.
3. Internet Marketing
Internet marketing evens the playing field quite a bit for small businesses to compete with larger ones. It’s much cheaper than advertising through traditional media, and it gives you access to a wider audience. However, you need to know how to take advantage of it or else you might wind up wasting resources chasing customers in all the wrong places.
To jumpstart your online marketing: Research which keywords your customers are using to search Google and Bing for your products or services. Use the Keyword Tool in Google AdWords to find those keywords and see how competitive they are to rank for. Then start creating content (articles, videos, blog posts, white papers, etc.) that will be useful to your customers. And get to work sharing it online.
4. Using Social Media
Some business owners mistakenly view social media as just another advertising medium. It’s not. People don’t usually visit Twitter or Facebook to be sold on a new product. They often go to find news or connect with friends and family. You need to find a way to tap into that mentality if you want to be successful on these sites.
To effectively use social media: You have to engage your audience. Don’t just throw out ads for your products all the time and hope people pay attention. That’s a good way to drive readers away. Look for questions to answer, discussions to contribute to, and other opportunities to build and nurture relationships. It’s time consuming, but using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social-media sites can be a powerful marketing tool to get the word out about your products and services.
5. Updating Your Website
Even if you’re doing a great job offering top-notch customer service, ranking high on search engines, and engaging people on social media, you still might be losing business if your website is poorly designed. Everything you do online should be geared toward sending customers to your website where you can make a sale. So you need to make sure your customers have a good experience once they get there.
To improve your website’s performance: Think of your website as a work in progress, not a final product. It can always be tested and improved. Use A-B tests, Google Analytics, URL tracking codes and other tools to see which pages are the most popular, how well they convert visitors into leads, and what you can do to make them more effective. Then get work building a better website.
I need to take a quick break. If I keep going at this rate, this blog post will turn into a tome. So I’ll cut it off here and publish the other five things your business needs to improve in two days. The second half will focus on controlling costs and managing inventory. Stay tuned!
Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks, and small business. Fishbowl is the #1-requested manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies.