Digital Insights

Is Your Business Ready for 2016? Take this Quiz!

Published: January 6, 2016

An important step to any successful business is taking the time to step back and analyze your company regularly. Start the New Year off right by taking this quick quiz and objectively comparing how your business stacks up. Use the results to identify potential weak spots and what you can do to better prepare your company for success in 2016.

Alright, here we go. Be sure that if the answer is no, you take the time to write out a few examples of how you can improve in each of these areas!

Question Set #1: What Sets Your Products or Services Apart from Your Closest Competitor’s?

  1. Do you know your USP (unique selling proposition) for each one of your products and services?
  2. Do you understand why a shopper chooses your products over your competitor’s products, all other things remaining equal?

Why is this important?  Understanding why your customers choose you helps you to better marketing, create specific campaigns, and increase your ROI. If you don’t understand exactly why your customers should prefer you over a competitor, then how can you expect your customer to know why you’re the best option?

Question Set #2: Do You Have a Marketing Calendar Ready to Implement?Time of Posting Matters 

  1. Are your blog posts published on a set schedule?
  2. Have you conducted the market research to determine when the best time/days to post on your social media feeds is?
  3. Are your email campaigns set on a schedule as well? Are your customers receiving and responding favorably to your email marketing?

Why is this important? Creating a marketing calendar is in essence outlining action items that you believe will generate new revenue.

Question Set #3: Have You Reviewed Your End of Year Analytics?

  1. First, have you compiled updated analytics? Website statistics, sales trends, and page rank to name a few (if not do so now). If you are unsure how to compile this data, there are many sites and companies that can gather and translate the data results.
  2. Now that you have the analytics, do you exactly understand what they are telling you?

Why is this important? With analytics you are able to learn everything from when to post new blog content or send out emails, to which web pages are generating the most traffic, to which ads have been the most productive. Then you can build upon those successes in the new year.

Question Set #4: Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly and Fast Loading?

  1. First and foremost, is your site optimized for mobile use? If it is not this needs to be remedied immediately.
  2. How long does it take your website to load from a mobile device? Hint: if it’s over a minute you have a serious problem.
  3. Does your website have adequate bandwidth to handle peak levels of inbound traffic?

Slow Load Times will Cost You

Why this is important? Google’s latest algorithm updates impose harsh penalties for websites that do not display well on small screen smart devices and for websites with inadequate bandwidth to handle high site-traffic. Statistics also show that if a site takes longer than a minute to load then majority of customer’s will simply backpedal and find an alternative site.

Question Set #5: Do You Know Where You Overspent in 2015?

For business’ with inventory:

  1. Do you have sluggish inventory taking up valuable shelf space?
  2. Did you have an unusually high level of waste in certain areas?
  3. Has it been a few years since you re-evaluated your relationships and re-negotiated prices with your regular suppliers?

For business’ offering a service:

  1. Is your current servicing rate comparable and up-to-date with your competitors?
  2. Are you offering too many deals or discounts? If you aren’t bringing in more revenue during the sale period, it might be best to consider eliminating, reducing, or reworking how you go about discounts.
  3. Comparatively, are your employees producing enough income to validate their current position/rate of pay? Employee evaluations are a great way to get a handle on this. Perhaps consolidating a position, eliminating unnecessary and time-consuming process’ that are not in your wheelhouse, are good stepping stones.

Why is it important? By analyzing your finance spending patterns every so often, you have the opportunity to identify ways to free up some potential dollars. You may find that your business  has strayed away from it’s true best interests.

Question #6: Are You Actually Incorporating SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into Your Content?SEO encompasses many things

  1. Do you understand how SEO works?
  2. Do you know how to  identify keywords and keyword sets that will bump up your business’ page rank?
  3. Are you incorporating these keywords into your blog posts and social media feeds?
  4. Are there other aspects of SEO you could use to optimize your site or posts?

Why this is important? For many companies SEO is one of the hardest fields to master . It is constantly changing and takes time to do correctly. However, with the right steps it is possible to really increase your site traffic and overall return on investment with the proper use of SEO.

Question Set #7: Are You Using an Email Marketing Management Tool and a Social Marketing Management Tool?

  1. Do you have social media feeds set up on multiple platforms? Are you posting regularly?
  2. Are your email templates and graphics modern and updated for the New Year?
  3. Have you set up drip campaigns for new subscribers?
  4. Is an auto-responder in place for when customers placer orders or send inquiries?
  5. Are you analyzing your feedback on social media sites?
  6. Are you sharing, commenting, re-tweeting, and liking cross-linked industries and business’ on social media feeds?

Why this is important? Communication. Communication. Communication. This step is all about interacting, responding, and initializing communication with your audience.

Question Set #8: Have You Set Your Long-Term Sales and Profitability Goals for 2016 – and Do You Have a Plan to Achieve Those Goals?

S.M.A.R.T. Goals set specific goals up for success

  1. Using your analytics and financial data, you should be able to use your sales from last year to predict your upcoming sales for the 2016. Have you created a daily/monthly/and yearly sale sheet so you can track your sales comparatively?
  2. Do you have set profitability goals? An easy way to calculate and set this goal is taking the data you compiled above, and adding 10 percent to each.
  3. Have you answered “yes” to the majority of questions above? (If so go you! You’re completely on track for success!)

Why is this important? Knowing what you will do differently to increase your sales, and increase profits from each sale, will give you the power to actually achieve the goals you set in a measurable, reliable way. If you are concerned with your high-volume of “no” responses it might be best to seek external professional help. There are many companies that are well-equipped to set your business up for online success.

By working through each one of these eight questions, and their follow up questions in turn, you will be able to learn everything you can from this year’s business strategies and apply these key learning’s to improve on your successes in 2016.