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Online Business Wake-Up Call

by Guest Blogger, Lena West Alarmclock

Newsflash: Just in case you're wondering - the Internet and social media are not going away.

If you don't figure out how your business can start using social media to make serious inroads into the growth of your business, be prepared to have a "status quo" business. And, if that's what you want, hey, more power to you - you can stop reading now. But, if you're interested in making the most of what's "for the taking", read on...

Because social media and online technologies are so fragmented - there are so many seemingly unrelated, different pieces to the online/social media puzzle - the best way to figure out what all this stuff means to your business is to make a plan - and then kick that plan up to a strategy.

And, any strategy worth it's weight on paper includes, as a first step a detailed assessment along with what I call "digital yardsticks". If you don't know where you are, how can you possibly know what progress looks like or where you're going? The answer is: you can't.

What do you assess? In short, everything. Here's a list of at-minimum "think abouts" to get you started:

Web site metrics.

How many unique visitors do you have?

How many should you have based on your industry?

How many page views?

How many should you have?

Who are your top three referral sources?

What are the top three search terms people use to find your site?

What is your Alexa ranking?

How many incoming links does your site have? What/which search terms do you "own"?

Email mailing list.

How many people are on your email mailing list?

How many subscribers do others in your industry with comparable experience have?

What is the percent increase from last month?

What's a good percentage to increase?

How many conversions can you expect from one mailing?

How often do you send a mailing?

What are the best days and times to send a mailing? Worst?

How often should you send mailing?

How profitable is your list?

How much is an average subscriber worth?

What is your promotion to content ratio?

What should it be?

Web site lead generation.

Does your lead generation tool deliver the "lead trinity"? 1)Positions you as an expert. 2) Qualifies the lead as a quality lead for your business. 3) Gives you permission to market to them again.

If not, what lead generation tool would?

Does your web site automatically produce leads regularly?

How many in an average month?

Historically, what are your most active months for leads?

Do you have a solid, automatic system in place to follow-up with those leads on a regular basis?

Web site usability.

Is your navigation leading people through your site?

Are you using your home page and web site real estate efficiently and effectively?

Does your copy make people want to connect?

Do you alienate or engage potential clients with technology?

Product/marketing funnel.

Do you put potential clients in the position of either working with you or not?

Do you have freebies for them to sample - without signing up?

How many should you have and what topics should they cover?

Do you have "advanced freebies" for them to sample that do require a sign-up?

Do you have low-cost products so that people can, with minimal investment - sample your value?

How many should you have and what topics should they cover?

Do you have alternatives for people who cannot afford to work with you one-on-one?

Blog activity.

How many visitors does your blog have?

How many posts per week do you post on average?

What are the industry standards?

Are you meeting your blogging goals?

Which blog posts have earned the most money for your business? (and I don't mean Ad Sense dollars!)

How many comments does your blog average?

What trends do you see when analyzing your blog?

Are you actively using your blog to vet new ideas/concepts/approaches?

Online marketing.

How many original articles are you posting online?

How much time are you spending adding thought leadership content about your area of expertise?

How many people in your industry are you getting to know?

Who are your centers of influence?

How many strategic alliances do you have?

How many do you need to meet your goals? What results do your alliances bring you?

Online sales.

How much revenue do you make solely online?

How much should you make?

Which is your most profitable product/service?

Which is your least profitable product/service?

Who are your top 10 clients/customers?

Who are your worst clients/customers?

What is your average sale?

Which months are peak sales months?

Overall direction.

Where are you going with your business online?

Why?

How?

For how long?

By when do you need to 'get there'?

Who can help you get there faster, easier?

What are your KPIs (key performance indicators) - measurements you can use to see if you're on-track?

What are your success markers - how will you know when you've arrived?

Again, this is certainly not an exhaustive list but it's more than good enough to get you started. This may seem like a long list of things to consider. And, if you're just starting out, your answers to these many of these questions might be "zero".  But, that's OK. Start at the top and take a section at  a time. Figure out a way to keep the information you find pertinent on your radar *at least* once per month. Maybe it's a report. A graph. A spreadsheet. Something. Anything.

Listen...it's almost the end of the first quarter. What the hell are you doing? Where the hell are you going? How will you freakin' get there???

If you don't know, maybe it's time to ask.

Comments

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Sana Ahmed

Hi Lena,

I think this is a great article. It's helping me focus on what I want to do on the web and HOW I want to accomplish it.

Thanks so much!

Lena West

Thanks, Stu!

Idea Guy

This is such an informative and helpful article you have Lena. Keep up this good work you have...
Regards to you and good luck

Lena West

Karin:

Thanks for reading and for your comment!

I know the feeling of the "never-ending" list but, I fixed that problem a long time ago. In fact, stick around for next week's post and I'll give you the remedy for that!

Happy working,

Lena

Karin

Great post! My lists just keep getting longer, thanks for the comprhensive list of things to consider.

Lena L. West

Kelly:

Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

Congrats on taking the steps you need to take to move your business forward.

Best,

Lena

Kelly King Anderson

This is EXACTLY where I am at...trying to figure out where I am and where I'm going so I can do what I need to get there! Excellent post!

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