Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with lots of clients and customers about their business goals in 2012.
Not surprisingly, everybody wants to attract more new customers in 2012.
So, I’m suggesting the following 10 New Year’s resolutions to help you attract more customers and grow your business faster in 2012.
1. Track Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Marketing should be an investment, not an expense. And the key to making smart marketing decisions is tracking.
Tracking tells you which marketing investments are generating customers and sales, so you can reinvest more in those activities and grow your business faster. Tracking also tells you which marketing activities aren’t producing, so you can cut your losses.
If you’re serious about growing your business in 2012, you need to setup proper tracking ASAP. Don’t fly blind!
Here’s a quick primer: How to Track ROI
2. Build Your Website’s Authority
Every single client and customer I spoke to over the past couple weeks shared a common goal: getting more customers from Google.
The most important factor in Google rankings is your website’s Authority. Specifically, if you want to rank higher in Google Places, you need to get citations and reviews. And it’s important to be consistent with your “authority-building” activities. That means you should be getting more citations and reviews each and every month.
Recommended resource: The Local SEO Formula
3. Create a ‘Lead Magnet’
Most business owners don’t put enough focus on generating sales leads (potential customers) from their websites.
The best way to generate leads is to offer a ‘lead magnet’ – something valuable in exchange for a potential customer’s contact information. Typically, the best lead magnet is free information, in the form of a free report, free video or free webinar.
When you offer your lead magnet in exchange for the prospect’s contact information, you’ll begin to build your email list, and that list will become one of the valuable assets in your entire business.
4. Follow Up
If you don’t follow up with prospects and customers, you’re missing out on an untold number of sales and referrals.
By far the easiest and most cost-effective way to stay in touch with email. If you haven’t chosen an email marketing provider, we recommend using iContact, Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp. All are reasonably priced and allow you to import your list of existing contacts. You can’t go wrong with any of those 3.
And then, make sure you stay in touch consistently. One of the best ways to do this is with a weekly email newsletter.
5. Establish Your Reputation As An Expert
People prefer doing business with experts. And the best way to position yourself as an expert is to create and publish expert content. You can publish content on your website (on a blog), on other people’s websites (as a contributing columnist), and even in your local newspaper.
In addition to establishing yourself as an expert, website content creation has the added benefit of improving your search engine visibility.
If you want to create content but struggle to get it done, I recommend you create an Editorial Calendar, so you know what you’re going to write about ahead of time. That way, you won’t get stuck with writer’s block.
6. Start Advertising
Too many business owners aren’t actively advertising. And as a result, they’re missing out on a predictable, reliable stream of new customers.
If you haven’t started advertising yet, we recommend you start with Google AdWords. Google AdWords is pay-per-click advertising, so you can start out with a small budget. You can target potential customers who are searching for highly relevant keywords, and you can limit your ads to a specific geographic region.
Want Google AdWords Tips?
Download our free report: 10 Steps to Dominate Google AdWords
7. Create Your Unique Selling Proposition
One of the keys to successful, profitable advertising is a USP.
Your USP answers the question: “Why should I do business with you, rather than your competitors?”
If you don’t have a good answer to this question, customers will view you as a commodity provider and will shop based on price.
This article outlines how to create your USP: How to Create a Powerful USP in 3 Steps
8. Hire An Assistant
As a business owner, you’re way too busy. There simply isn’t enough time to get everything done all by yourself.
One of the smartest things we did in 2011 was to hire an assistant.
Hiring an assistant to free up more of your time, so you can focus on your highest-value activities.
If you don’t have an assistant, make that your resolution for 2012.
The final 2 resolutions aren’t “customer-getting” tactics… but they’ll help improve your personal productivity. And the more productive you are with your marketing, the more you’ll get done, the more customers you’ll attract, and the more money you’ll make!
9. Schedule Your Days and Weeks, In Advance
Schedule your time in advance, and you’ll enjoy HUGE productivity gains.
Here’s the system I’ve used to more than double my productivity in 2011:
On Sunday evening, I create a list of everything I want to accomplish the following week.
Next, I prioritize those activities that are either urgent or will have the greatest long-term impact on my business.
Then, I write down a succinct list of goals for the week.
Finally, I pre-schedule time in my calendar (using Google Calendar) for the coming week, so I make sure to allocate enough time to get these critical projects accomplished.
Use my system — it works!
10. Give Yourself ‘Fun’ Deadlines
It’s easy to get burned out by working too hard in your business, so it’s critical to recharge on a regular basis.
Planning vacations, breaks and fun activities (in advance) help you recharge… and they also provide you with extra motivation to get important work done.
Just imagine you had a flight to Italy in 24 hours from now for a 7-day vacation… How productive would you instantly become to get the critical projects wrapped up? What would you focus on?
In this way, creating ‘fun’ deadlines can make you much more productive. Plus, after your break, you’ll return to your business with more energy to get more accomplished.
For more advice and information on this topic of alternating work with rejuvenation for maximum productivity, I highly recommend the book The Power of Full Engagement.
Speaking of recharging, it’s time for me to turn off the computer and go pack for a mini getaway at Half Moon Bay with my wife Sam and our dog, Roxy.
Happy New Year!!!