The new year is a great time to assess business strategies and to establish a sound plan for your business’s future. Here at Scepter Marketing, we are doing just that! We wanted to share with you what we are planning to do with our marketing so that you have a blueprint to copy. We always try to learn from the experts and have found one of the best ways to learn is simply to copy what they do. We have broken down our plan into two sections: principles that we are endeavoring to apply on a new level and practices that we will be, or will continue doing. So without further ado, here is our blueprint for 2012. Enjoy our cheat sheet 🙂
Sticking to the Mission that You Love: In the ever growing, ever changing environment of the internet there is a plethora of services we could offer and a thousand things we could do. With so many opportunities in so many different arenas it has been easy to jump from one idea to another. We see our competition starting to offer a certain social media service or an interesting, new package for SEO services, and we want to dive in and do it too. If they can do it, we can do it too right? If our customers want it, we should give it to them right? Nope. This year we are really evaluating our strengths and weaknesses. What are we good at? What do we love doing? What is the mission that we are supposed to be accomplishing?
Every business must ultimately exist for a purpose other than the bottom line if it wants to become a great company. Products and services can come and go. Employees can come and go. A business can grow or downsize. In any case, it must remain true to its ultimate purpose if it is to out last the struggles that face every business. And the leaders of the business should love that mission. It should be their personal mission as well as the company mission. It is important to love the work that you do. There will always be unpleasant parts of any business. That’s not what we’re talking about when we talk about loving your work. We are talking about loving the mission of the business and loving the nature of the work itself.
Here at Scepter, there are some services that just aren’t “us.” They don’t fit our skill sets or they don’t fit our culture. We hate doing them. So we’re going to focus on promoting the services that we enjoy doing, the ones that are “us”, the ones that reflect us and our company. Of course, that means that we will have a smaller customer pool to pull from. It also means that we may turn away business that we could have obtained. But in the long run, this will be better for us and our customers. We will enjoy our work as we pursue the mission of our company, and our customers will enjoy higher quality of services because we are not spreading ourselves too thin or offering halfhearted service.
Bus People: A business is made up of people and ultimately relies on people to function. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins writes about the necessity of getting the right people on the bus and the right people off the bus. Collins study of great companies showed that one of the most fundamental principles of having a great company was to build a team that had the “right people on the bus” – that is, a solid team of people who work well together and maintain the company atmosphere. This means that new people may have to come on board, and others may need to be shifted to different positions that more closely match their talents. Some may even need to be released from the company to find another company where they might fit.
In previous years we have sometimes worked with people who did not fit with our mission or our goals. We had overlooked these facts because of the potential reward that we thought might be obtained. It didn’t work. Ever. Even if the reward is good in the short run, this type of behavior doesn’t last long term. A business simply cannot be built on unstable people or on unstable relationships. This year, we are taking extra precautions to make sure that we are working with the right people, not just on the right projects.
Fix Your Website(s): Keeping with our theme of building a solid foundation, we are revamping some of our website properties. These days people equate the look of your website with whether or not your company is legitimate or not. This makes your website the most important part of your online presence. If you do nothing else this year, make sure your website looks fantastic. It is the first step any business should take.
We have been working diligently on a new web property for the local Lansing area called Connect Orange. While Connect Orange has been online for awhile, it was in desperate need of a facelift which should be complete by the end of the week. Over the next month, you will likely see the chances made to our website as well. We are changing our website in accordance with the first principle listed above – to focus on the mission that we love. We are streamlining our website so that we communicate exactly who we are and what we’re about right up front. If we offer what you’re looking for, our goal is to draw you in. If not, then at least we’d like you to enjoy your experience.
Your website should communicate the same things about your company.
Buy Local Real Estate: One of our primary techniques coming into this new year is to buy up domain names for locally based keywords that we want to target. It is often much, much easier to get a page ranked that has what is called, “an exact match domain.” For example, if you were trying to get your website ranked for Gyms in Lansing, it would be easier to get the domain name http://gymsinlansing.com ranked for that term than it would be to get a name like http://bstrongfitness.com. The great thing is that domain names are very affordable, so you can likely afford several.
A website should be created for each domain name and several blog posts should be written for each one with relevant, unique articles. Once this is done, the blog should be listed in several local or quality directories. This will provide a good base for the site and in some cases will land the new domain on the first page of the search results in Google and/or Bing. If that is not the case, following a fairly simple link building process should help significantly. (I would be remiss if I did not mention that we offer these services for our clients! If you need help, you can contact us about doing this for you here.)
Help Bring People Together: This last practice is a bit unusual but it is one of the biggest things we’re working on this year. The concept is a simple one to grasp and goes like this:
There is more information on the internet than is necessary or helpful. Because of this, one of the best ways to attract more visits and links (which are good for SEO) to your website is to set yourself or your company up as a mediator of information. There are many different ways to do this, and what you do depends on you, your skill sets, and your business. Here are some examples to think about:
- Take initiative to bring people in your industry together in an association. Creating an association conveniently helps showcase you or your company as an expert in your field while simultaneously helping to provide consumers with the information they need about your industry. It also has the side benefit of turning your competitors into allies. Instead of fighting all of them for the next customer, you can work together to create a network of trusted companies. There is always enough business to go around.
- Find local outlets where consumers are gathered to learn about the types of products or services you offer. Local colleges, associations, or community projects can be great places to showcase what your company does and help the community at the same time. Quite often, these organizations or event sponsors have their own websites and will gladly link to yours if you help them which will definitely help you get higher rankings.
- If you’re in business, it is likely that you have a lot of knowledge that you could share with consumers. While your company’s blog is a great place to do this, you can also consider guest writing for local blogs or news sites. Some local sites like IAmLansing.com allow anyone in the community to write an article and post it for the benefit of the community. The more local you can find, the better. While you will still get some link benefit from big article directories or question and answer sites, you will likely benefit more but staying on local sites.
- Lastly, if you have the cash or expertise, you can have websites created that function as a local hub for your industry. This is very similar to the first example of creating an association. For example, if you are a roofer, you could create a website for roofers in your local area to showcase their work, submit articles about how to pick a good roofer, or similar things. In doing this you profit in two ways. Firstly, you can use this hub to promote yourself or your company either by directly plugging your companies products or services or by simply linking from this valuable hub to your company website. Secondly, you get to steer the conversation about your industry in your area. While you must be careful to provide value those who come to your site, you can do so in a way that is also incredibly valuable for your company. Again, you are setting yourself or your company up as the experts in the area.
And there you have it. As you can see, we are going with a “less is more” approach this year. Less scattered, less crap, less stress, more focus, more fun. These are things that we are taking to heart this new year and we sincerely hope that you will take them to heart as well. As always, we are here to help you with your website and marketing needs. Just get a hold of us and let you know what you need. We’d be happy to help you start this year off on the right foot!