Choosing the right technology – Not the new shiny object

There is saying that ‘Tools Follow Process not Vice Versa’. It is very tempting, but false, to think that any business problem can be solved thru the use of technology. The bright new shiny object may actually be the worst investment to make. In addition to onboarding the new technology, the users will also need education.

The starting point is to understand the users, what they are trying to do, how successful they are, as well as how they do things and the environment. Collecting web and user statistics will provide you with a solid foundation in understanding the problem space.

How to create the right impression with your customers

You think that you know your own business reasonably well, but do your really know whether your online customers, partners, and prospects see you in the same way? And what can you do about creating a better and more favorable online impression.

A few simple things that you can do on a quarterly basis, to get you started, are:

  1. Look at your web analytics results to see if the search terms used to find you match your expectation.
  2. Do a browser search for the name of your business, products, and services that you offer. Include Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and other ‘rating’ sites. Compare what you find against what you expect.
  3. Review any customer emails, comments and feedback. Look for common themes, trends, or anything that was unexpected.
  4. Use this information to identify one problem impression that you want to work on for the next quarter; and determine how you will measure success.
  5. If you continue to see the same problem over and over again, consider breaking the problem into smaller pieces.
  6. Rinse and repeat each quarter.

Contact us for a free assessment and recommendations on how to improve your online presence.

How come I get all these visitors to my site, but no sales

Doesn’t it just frustrate the heck out of you. You see all these visitors coming to your site, but nothing seems to happen. What can you do to turn things around ?

Try to find out what your visitors are up to. Do they just come to your home page and then go away. Or, maybe they get into the site and then leave without doing anything?

Using Google Analytics, or another analytics tool, will help you better understand the behavior of your visitors. Based on the analytics reports, some things to consider are:

  1. Changing your home page and meta tags can improve the quality of the visitors
  2. Changing the ‘offer’ that you make can make it more appealing for a visitor to respond and contact you
  3. Changing the wording and placement of the on-page links, to make them more visible and to fine tune the call to action

Contact us for a free assessment and recommendations for your setting up and managing your analytics.

Keep your online profile current, as underwriters do review your online profile.

When applying for a business loan, insurance, or other program that needs underwriting it is very common for the underwriters to do an online search. If your online profile is not current, and does not fully reflects your business, you may have an unexpected difficulty.

In addition, a new customer or vendor will most likely also do an online search.

Contact us for a free assessment and recommendations for your setting up and managing your online profile.

Measuring Online Sucess

How do you know which parts of your online presence are successful, and which parts need improvement ? Here are some first steps to get you started.

  1. List out the ‘things’ that you want your customers to do on your web site. For example: buy something, request a quotation, contact you for support, view a catalog.
  2. For each of the things, itemize the offerings. For example: The SKU and price for each purchase items, the topic of the support request.
  3. Categorize each of these things by the action that a visitor might take. For example: View offer, make request
  4. Create a spreadsheet that lists the ‘things’, their options, and possible actions. Rank each line in order of importance to your business.
  5. Use a Web Analytics Tool, to add these as “site events” to your web site. Create reports to track progress. Wikipedia has a great article about Web Analytics, that gets you started on thinking about how to track online behavior.
  6. Each month, review the analytics report for both the site traffic and the site events. Plot the results in a spreadsheet, and build trend lines

Please do contact me to learn more about how you can use Web Analytics to measure your online success, and create actionable insights.


Reviewing Your Internet Presence

Have you noticed how many adverts on TV include a link to a Facebook page? Cell phone companies are advertising 4G speed devices and tablets. Century Link, Vonage, and Comcast are promoting packages to get you online.  Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have cloud solutions. How can you determine what you need to do to make the Internet work for your business?

Three principles to consider are:

  1. It’s about the customer
  2. Keep it simple
  3. People, not tools, make the best decisions

How can you apply those principles as you review, or think about, your online presence?

To learn how to apply these principles go to

Think Like A Customer

Your online presence is about attracting new customers and retaining existing customers. Some of the questions that your online presence should be able to answer are:

  • What problem does a customer have that I am best able to solve?
  • Why am I able to solve the customer’s problem?
  • When will a customer know that their problem has been solved?
  • Where will a customer go to get your help?
  • Who are my customers?

Use the answers to these questions to draw a map of how customers interact with you. Sometimes having a one page web site is all that you need. Start out with what you know, and improve over time.

Improve Over Time

Your business changes over time, as you respond to customer, market, economic and other conditions. Take the time, each quarter, to take a look at your business, and write down:

  • What do I think is currently my biggest problem?
  • How well does a customer think I am doing?
  • Where do I collect information to tell me if I am being successful?

Use the answers to these questions to plan out the change that you want to make over the next quarter. You don’t need to solve everything all at once. For the information gaps, look at what tools you might need to collect or provide the information.

Make Best Use of Tools

Tools should help you run your business more efficiently, so that you can spend more time doing business. Tools that help you do business should also make it easier to run your business.

  • How do I collect information about a customer and my business?
  • What information does a customer expect me to provide?
  • Where and when does a customer expect to find the information?

Use the answers to these questions to determine if there are better ways to collect and provide information. Having an online inquiry form allows you to easily collect information without asking the customer to commit to an order. Think like the customer, and how they do business with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or need more information

Being more efficient does not mean making a drastic change

Plan-for-change-300x220Don’t confuse running a business with doing business. Always look at ways for how you can be more effective at running your business, to give you more time to do business. Don’t just make any business deal, be aware the impact each deal makes on the profitable operation of your business. Sometimes you do need to have ‘lost leaders’ to bring customers onboard.

The market, economy, competition, and your customer needs are always in a state of flux. Seasonal changes to your business need to be planned for. It is so easy to get distracted and randomized by what is going on.

Set aside time, at least every quarter, to take a fresh look at your business. Make no assumptions as there are going to be new opportunities, and problems, that come up; and you need to figure out how (or if) you should respond.

To learn more, Wikipedia has some great background reading on Kaizen.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.