Every year, we reassess our client’s progress with a 3d+ marketing audit. We look at digital performance, direct connections and dynamic business development. A fourth dimension, being healthy, is a self-audit. Because being in optimal health adds to your mental agility and overall performance, we'll talk about that, too.
Here’s a quick overview of how you can, too. I’ll use my business, CoryWest Media, as a case study so you can see how the results stack up.
It’s great if you can compare this year with last year, as well as to your best year ever. Today I’ll compare 2010 with 2011 and then set benchmarks for 2012 for a few key performance indicators.
1. Measuring Digital Performance
Maybe your business is doing really well in the real world. You customers love you. But, everyone else thinks of you as a best kept secret. In today's economy, every business needs to think of itself as an ecommerce contender. You need to be as visible - everywhere - as your top competition. Too many times I've seen businesses flail because a more successful marketer is attracting market share.
To measure your digital performance, ask these questions: How do your customers find you online? Is your site or blog performing as well as it could – especially on mobile devices? What are you most interested in: attracting traffic, search engine optimization, building a database, selling products, becoming a thought leader?
As you can see, websites can have many purposes and goals. That’s why it’s important to know what you want to measure.
To keep it simple, I used Google Analytics for this one. For in real time web analytics, I like getclicky.com. Plus, I love their mobile app.
2011 started with a fresh wiredPRworks redesign just in time for CES. I liked having a new look, but overall my infrequent posting activity was disappointing. Blogging was not a top priority for me.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised by these numbers:
- Site Traffic up by 54%
- Mobile traffic up by 185%
- Time on mobile up by 108%
Two posts continued to perform as key traffic drivers: Top 25 Chicago PR firms and how to quickly become a subject matter expert on LinkedIn was number one.
In 2012, I'd like to double site traffic by posting more frequently on a variety of topics to a tightly targeted niche, marketing and PR directors for B2B companies.
Analyze Website Demographics
Where did people come from? Will you focus more on local in 2012?
Local is the mantra. But, if you reach out globally, do you have to focus on your zip code?
At wiredPRworks, most of the traffic continues to stream in from Illinois, New York, California and England. Featuring local businesses and targeting area publications would turn up the interest and the volume in these areas. I’m narrowing my targets in 2012.
Take Social Action
Google Analytics measures actions based on the ShareThis plugin. You can see which posts got shared via social networks. I think it’s okay to share your own content, but it’s much better if others do, too. One way to do that is to have a referral circle. You each agree to repost or share content that you know your network would find relevant and meaningful. It’s one more thing to remember, but if you enjoy sharing information will come to you naturally.
My goal for 2012 is to pay more attention to this metric and watch what content readers share.
Rethink Marketing and Advertising Budgets
Compare the two years based on expenses and results. What worked and why? In 2012, I’ll be doing more direct mail marketing, a strategy that’s worked well for me in the past.
2. Reinforce Direct Connections
Let's face it, business happens when someone makes a decision to invest in a product or service. That's why it's so important to reinforce direct connections. To test for weak areas, outline your sales process path as a series of direct customer touches. You’ll see where your business comes from and flows.Where does business fall off? Why?
Here’s an overview of how my company reinforces direct connections.
Tightening Up Email Marketing and Customer Relationships
In 2010, I used aweber.com for email marketing. In 2011, I started using Infusionsoft to manage customer relationships. Next year, my goal is to track more closely and better understand my company’s customer relationship cycle.
Spreading Your Message as a Speaker
Speaking is a great way to educate people about your business, find out what people what to know more about, broaden your network and meet prospective clients. As a social media marketing keynote speaker, in 2010 I spoke to over 20 groups. In 2011, I spoke less, but to bigger audiences.
In 2012, my goal is to speak at least twice a month, either to a live audience or via webinars as my business shifts its major emphasis from creative services to consulting, speaking and training.
Contribute to Your Community
It’s important to give back in ways that support your passion and your mission.
In 2010 and 2011, I served on the Social Media Club Chicago board. This year we added new board members and shared more responsibility. I’m really proud of our the social media cabaret event we co-hosted with SOBCon at the Drake Hotel. Over 300 people turned out to celebrate the opening of the conference. We'll hosting the opening party again in 2012 and I will continue to serve on the board.
In March, I started the Digital Innovation Forum in DuPage County. For six months, I planned and organized events, including the first ever Google+ workshop in Chicago. But, attendance was low and the time commitment was high so I decided to put the group on hold. I’d still like to host social media education and networking events here, maybe on a quarterly basis.
How do you contribute to your community?
3. Encourage Dynamic Development
So often business are in 2D. They're online and they're doing business directly, either face to face or via direct marketing like email and direct mail. But, they're not dynamic enough. They may be sending and pushing information out. But, that's not the way to thrive and grow. Today, a business needs more than it's people. Brands need everyone who likes them, or not, to talk about them. Even negative talk can be beneficial. But, if you're the only one talking about you, then your business is really only 2D. How to fix that?
Perk Up PR + Personality + Reputation
You need both: personality and a reputation. What good is being trustworthy if you're boring? What good is being exciting if your reputation is scammish? Balance them out and work on lining them up to be you.
In 2010 and 2011, I was honored to be featured on lists [almost 900 on twitter alone], asked to guest blog [this Unlock the Secrets of LinkedIn post was even featured by LinkedIn!] and invited to be one of five bloggers on the Sears Blue Blogger Crew.
In 2012, my goal is target publications and people I’d like to know more about. And, I’d like to continue to develop my online personality, via video?, more. I’m a goofy, silly person who’s passionate about getting people into their own story. That doesn’t always come across.
Meetup with Masterminds
Most people credit Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich" with the mastermind concept. Mastermind groups meet regularly to discuss challenges, share successes and exchange ideas. Even if you work for a large company, sometimes you can feel like you’re all on your own. As a small business owner, you may be isolated from other smart people because you’re too busy. A mastermind group will help you focus on progress and aide you in circumventing obstacles.
In 2010, I joined a group that connects every other week to talk for an hour. Everyone gets a turn to report on what they’re working on and what they need help with. It’s amazing how much you progress you can make in a five minute update.
In 2011, I joined the GKIC Chicago chapter’s Peak Performance mastermind group. We meet for four hours once a month to cover a topic and then discuss how we can take action. That’s how I produced my first information product. It took an intense amount of effort, but will pay off over and over again. I find it’s beneficial to have a group to work out [ideas] with.
In 2012, my goal is to lead and facilitate mastermind groups for people and companies that want to advance their learning and their success in social strategy, content marketing and business development.
Nurture a Community
Every business has a community. Nurturing yours requires time and attention, especially if you want to be a visible contender on social networks. This is where your community's voice needs to be heard. You'll need to find ways that keep them interested in commenting and sharing. If you're not interesting, they'll find someone else who is. It's only natural. Sometimes it's better to join the conversation than to start your own. You can add your voice to blogs, Facebook posts and comment on LinkedIn updates. By being interested, you become interesting. In 2012, I'd like to explore community management more and then share the lessons with you.
3D+. Live Healthier
When you're in optimal shape, you can think more clearly, work more efficiently and project a more confident image. Yet, this is the time of year when many people start out with a negative image. They're not happy with how they feel or look. Being healthy is the 3D+ dimension.
Do you resolve to eat less and exercise more – every year?
In 2010 and 2011 I fooled myself into thinking I’d already met this goal. But, the truth was I was out of shape, overweight and really sluggish.
In July I almost skipped out of an eight-hour experience that literally changed my life.
As a blogger covering Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within in Chicago, I had a complimentary pass to attend the four-day event. On the last day, I hesitated to give up a lovely summer Sunday with my family to be in an auditorium with 4,000 people. Did I really need to learn how to optimize energy and health? Yes.
Over five months later, I’ve shed almost 20 pounds [most came off in the first six weeks], gave up caffeine – and meat – and most dairy – and white flour.
Last month, I joined a new health club and dreaded the fitness assessment. So I worked out for a few weeks before I scheduled it. As it turns out, I’m in pretty good shape.
With one more sit up, my actual age would be four years younger. With a bit more aerobic activity, I’ll drop eight years. My 2012 goal is to stay on this path at a slightly faster pace. Health is everything. I feel fantastic and wake up not needing to wake up. Why? I don’t need coffee.
How about you – are you as healthy as you could be? How is your health affecting your work/life?
Set Realistic Goals
Whether you want to lose weight or double your business, setting realistic goals is important. Look at the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Then, map out the steps you need to take to get there. Keep them in front of you. Add numbers, deadlines, strategies and tactics to guide you.
When I was in sales, I knew how many calls I needed to make to get a specific number of proposals. Factoring in my closing ratio, I calculated how many sales I needed to win the sales leader of the year award and take my husband to Hawaii.
Looking back in the rearview mirror at what I did and did not accomplish this year, I see a few projects sitting in the back seat that I’ll either toss out, happily, or focus on as priorities in 2012.
Make Being a 3D+ Business a 2012 Goal
Instead of resolving to do what you did last year [and didn't do], start monitoring your business in 3D+: measure your digital performance, reinforce direct connections, encourage dynamic development and live healthier. Even if you move your progress up a few notches, you'll start seeing results. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference.