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12 ways to grow your business

When I wrote this, the end of the year was approaching and in the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to give you a list of 12 things you could do for your business. In reality, you can use this anytime you’re looking to check in on or revamp your business (or any business you work for). This list is timeless and can be your go-to checklist year-round.

What if you haven’t fully started your business yet? Not to worry! Check out this post to for a quick 12 step checklist of how to turn your passion into a full-blown business. It is also the process I used to build my company and attract my ideal clients every month.

If you have a business, you may already be doing some of these items or they may be entirely new to you! But within each step of this list, you will uncover opportunities for you to improve your business and your marketing.

Within each step, I

  • Bold the most important to-do item

  • Provide additional context under the More Info section

  • Bonus: For some steps I also share resources to help you under the label, Marketing Resources

Take a look, comment if you would like, or even reach out to me directly if something sparks an idea. But most importantly, pick up the tips that are best for your business so you start your new year with a bang and tons of success right away.

Imagine this with me for a second: You’re ahead, you’re building your pipeline, content is easy and flowing, and your plans are moving smoothly. They’re moving so smoothly that you are actually staying on top of your tracking and your data which means you can actually make decisions based on that data for the next batch of content or product offer or service extension you create. How good does this sound?! And because all of this is running smoothly, the clients are pouring in, you're attracting top talent, and you're exceeding your goals each month!

So for all you business owners, entrepreneurs, side hustlers, creators, and passionate people! Let’s look at what you can do to make that image your reality…

HOW TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR MARKETING


There are 12 steps in total. The first 10 are about collecting information, analyzing your business from all sides, and understanding your strengths and opportunity areas. The last 2 steps are all forward-thinking!

If you would like to jump to a particular step, use these links here. But my recommendation is to read through all the steps and give yourself the time to do this right. Step 1: Goals Step 2: Account & Content Inventory Step 3: Time Step 4: Customers Step 5: Data Step 6: Website Step 7: SEO Steps 8 & 9: Social Media Step 10: Analyze & Interpret Step 11: Build a Marketing Strategy & Plan Step 12: Marketing Budget & Content Creation

You can do all 12 in one day or if you’re extremely busy, like most of us are, I recommend committing to a step per day for the next 12 days. And if you are really REALLY busy, you could even commit to 1 step every 2 days.



1. MARKETING SHOULD SUPPORT BUSINESS GOALS: BECAUSE MARKETING WITHOUT SALES IS JUST VANITY.

Start by answering these questions:

  • What were your goals for this last year?

  • For this last month?

  • What were your goals for marketing?

  • What were your goals for each channel you interacted with people on?

More Info:

For these goals, be specific. Remember a goal should be S.M.A.R.T. If you were not specific about your goals this past year, then you have already discovered a way to improve your marketing for next year! Congratulations!

The clearer we are about our goals with financials and data attached, the more likely we are to build work and marketing that actually accomplishes them (instead of shooting blanks in the dark…).

Marketing Resources: Need extra help with goal setting? This is part of the work we do in the Marketing Strategy part of my program. For more information read this blog post on marketing strategies.



2. BUSINESS ACCOUNTS & MARKETING CONTENT INVENTORY: LIST OUT YOUR CHANNELS AND WAYS OF CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE.

You will literally be doing an inventory/check on all your accounts. Start by answering these questions:

  • What accounts are you using? Think beyond just social media. You should capture everything here. Create a list of marketing-based accounts and business-based accounts. For example, my list would include (but is not limited to): Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Canva, DocuSign, PayPal, Venmo, COnvertkit, SquareSpace, GA, etc. Think expansively.

  • Where are you producing content? You won’t necessarily produce content on all your accounts but even something as simple as branding your invoices can make you look more professional. So again, consider all of this.

  • What types of content are you producing? List out the mediums you are using (audio, photo, copy, video, etc.) and other details that characterize your content. A few thought starters are drone footage, behind-the-scenes, testimonials, freebies, etc.

More Info:

You are looking to get a full picture of what, where, and how you are communicating with people. If you are on top of your business and are more type A, you likely have this information in a document. If you do not, this will probably take you an hour to get a good working list. If you already have a list like this, update it, check it and be sure it encompasses everything.



3. YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE: CONDUCT AN HONEST ASSESSMENT OF WHERE YOUR TIME GOES.


This one can be painful to admit, but the only way we improve is by being honest. So take a crack at answering these questions honestly:

  • What do you spend the most time on each day?

  • What is the direct financial return you see for that time spent?

  • Can you track a financial return on your time spent on various actions?

More Info: People who love to create content absolutely hate this truth but if you are going to run a business, you have to know it. So I am NOT sorry to remind you: if your content is not converting to leads or sales, consider carefully why you are creating it!

Now, this is NOT to say you should not create content. Marketing takes time to work because you have to nurture your leads in very different ways for different platforms. But if you cannot honestly tell yourself (or someone who asks you) what each piece of content is building towards and how you are tracking for it, then you need to admit to yourself that it was what we professionally but lovingly call vanity content. There can be a use for it, but again, do you know what that use is? Really be honest with yourself here. I am not looking over your shoulder so this is for you.

Except if you are my client reading this! Then I am certainly looking over your shoulder to support you :) And if you would like to work with someone who will hold you accountable and help you focus your incredible content library (or develop one that will actually attract your target), you can schedule a free 15-min strategy with me at any time!



4. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR BUSINESS.

But it can be answered in a few quick questions

  • Who are your current customers? demographics and psychographics

  • Who are your target customers? demographics and psychographics

    • It is okay if your target is defined differently than your current. This is especially okay if you are trying to expand or capture a specific audience. Labeling your target audience does NOT prevent you from serving your current customers or other people. Your target simply states who you are actively going after.

  • What insights do you have about your customers?

A few other steps you can do here are

  • Gather audience stats from all social media platforms and Google Analytics.

  • Research competitor customers.

  • Look up your industry’s customer descriptions and the research other professionals have conducted on them.

More Info: Within this step, you are really looking to get a complete understanding of your customer. Without your customers, your business does not exist. So everything you do should be with them in mind. And when I say everything, I do mean, everything! From the products/services you offer, to the messaging you create, to the photos you take, to the channels you’re on, to how you structure your days. All of it should be focused on what best communicates your value to your customers. And knowing your customers inside and out is the first step.

Marketing Resources: Need extra help identifying your target customers? Book a few sessions with me using the pricing plans at the bottom of the page or download the Brand Strategy template and complete the first 2 elements. There's also some detail in this post about building your customer information, about halfway through the post.



5. COLLECT YOUR MARKETING DATA: THERE IS NO MARKETING WITHOUT DATA AND EVERY BUSINESS SALE YOU MAKE IS A DATA POINT, SO DATA IS A FUN PART OF YOUR BUSINESS!

If you love data, skip ahead to my bolded list below and if you hate data….listen to this…

I will tell you guys a secret that I rarely share. I used to think data was MISERABLE. I used to hate excel. In business school, we had an entire class whose grade was based on our ability to use excel. My creative and stubborn self decided to try to get the best grade possible without ever actually committing to learning excel because I hated it so much. While I got a solid A- in that class, a business does not tolerate these types of shortcuts. Academia rarely translates to real life so here is the point…

I now LOVE excel and data….because it shows me

  1. How awesome my business is

  2. How amazingly my clients’ businesses are doing

  3. What work is paying off and what needs to be adjusted

  4. It literally answers my questions for me

  5. I can intelligently speak to metrics with all partners

  6. I understand the trends in my business and industry and what to capitalize on

  7. I know when my money is spent well and when I made a mistake I should not repeat

And guess what?!

I am more naturally creative and social and right-brained than I am left-brained. But you would never know it when you work with me or buy my trackers and planners because I unlocked the reason to adore data.

So do NOT get nervous from this step and please please for the love of your business do NOT skip it. Your data is one of your most valuable assets. You need to know it and own it!

If you ever want to raise money, hire partners, hire people, or IPO(!!!) you need to get this skill under your belt now. If you need help, I’m here for you. Set up some time.

And in case it was not clear above, the way I unlocked this love affair with data is by realizing it shows me how to make the best use of my time, where my successes are, and what I can do better for my clients.

Your data checklist

  • Collect your data from all your platforms. Remember that list of accounts? Collect your data from all of those and look at what is working best and what did not work at all.

  • Get familiar with the conversion metrics of all your accounts. List them out if you need and if you are unsure, download one of the many trackers I created for you to get your list. Link below!

  • Study your data and pick out your winners and your opportunity areas. The trackers will also help you with this :)

  • Analyze what you’ve picked out for what specifically is working and what you have questions about.

    • We will save the interpretations for step 10!


Marketing Resources: Want a bit of help with tracking? Check out these resources:


6. STRENGTHEN YOUR WEBSITE

Your website should be a first thought - not an afterthought. It is your most important salesperson. It should be working perfectly for you 24/7 to convert your audience. It is also the only platform you actually own all the content on. So make sure it’s working perfectly.

More Info: The most successful businesses ensure they have a website that gives a great user experience, shares a clear message, and takes advantage of free SEO opportunities (SEO is step 7!). If you are ever in doubt about your website the best thing you can do is get honest and unbiased feedback. If you are asking for feedback, consider asking the following questions to understand your opportunity areas:

  • How many clicks does it take someone to find what they are looking for?

  • What is the main message/takeaway?

  • Could they find where to contact you?

  • Is it clear how to work with you?

  • What is the value you add?

  • What would inspire them to take action?

  • What is preventing them from taking action?

  • Is it mobile-friendly?


Marketing Resources: For this step, I encourage you to use these resources to start making sure you have your bases covered when it comes to this vital piece of your business:

This is the best tool I can provide without working with you 1-on-1. The guide will allow you to check over every detail of your website, catch misses, and find opportunities. To split this up a bit for you, I recommend doing everything but SEO in this step and then tackling SEO in step 7.



7. SEO MATTERS: MAKE SURE YOUR PEOPLE CAN FIND YOU.

You’ve thoroughly checked your website, so now it’s time for a quick check on all SEO opportunities for your website and your social accounts.

You’ll want to check on your SEO per landing page and per image for your site. And if you haven’t built a keyword list yet, that is where you’re going to want to start. As you run through the metadata of each page, make sure you’re including keywords that are relevant for how your audience searches for you and be certain that the language you use makes sense when read. Google’s algorithm is smart and will know if the language you use is non-sensical or is attempting to “keyword-stuff” (i.e. use keywords at the expense of making sense).

Marketing Resources: This section is first because these resources are more relevant than any info I can write quickly here. If you are not familiar with SEO or keywords I’ve built a few resources, to get you the basic knowledge you need to make it easy to use SEO to your advantage:

More Info: You may have also noticed that I included “social accounts” in this step. There are a few social media platforms that allow you to use SEO to help boost your findability. It may surprise you to know that Instagram and Pinterest are the most common ones! If you’re on either or both of these platforms, do a little keyword research for both and use those most essential keywords in your content.

Tip: Instagram also offers metadata options! Here’s how you can edit the alt text option on IG. Go to a post and click the 3 dots on the top right then select edit. Once you are in the edit mode look at the bottom right corner of the image and click the words that say “Edit Alt Text”. Plugin a few keywords here that describe what the image is about. Another way you can use SEO on IG is with hashtags. If you are looking for a good hashtag strategy, set up some time with me in a free 15-min strategy session and we’ll talk about how I can help you with that. I still have a few time slots open this week and next :)



8. BOOST YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS & BRING IN MORE CLIENTS!

This is either your favorite part of your business or the bane of your existence…whichever it is, this is going to be a fun step because you’re going to plug any gaps you have and get the answers you need to make your social accounts even more successful!

More Info:

If this sounds lofty and like a crazy promise, stick with me for a moment. Social media is a great tool to reach potential consumers and the better you understand your target and your message, the better chance you will have to reach and convert them. So ultimately, to succeed in social media, you have to create a purposeful and intelligent strategy and develop a message that resonates with your target audience.

I know some of you are committed to just creating content on the fly and think that works - but let me challenge you to consider this: if you are managing to get on-the-fly content to work for you, think about how much time he would save and how much better you would do if you applied a strategy to that content. There is no way around it, but a strategy will always improve your efficiency, your content, your message, your focus, and your audience’s experience. So let’s jump right into how to do that :)

First things first, let’s call out the elephant in the room. You have to be very careful to avoid getting sucked into the vanity of social media. Most social media platforms push vanity metrics and aim to make their users as addicted as possible because that is how they make money. So keep your head clear and above that using strategy and keep your sole focus on your audience and what adds value for them.

Marketing Resources: For this step, the most important information is also the best resource I could create to help you build an incredible social presence and transform your content to grow your audience: A Guide to Transforming Any Social Media Account.

In this guide, you will learn how to think like your audience, how to write copy and create content that adds value for them, and how to take advantage of the vast audience on each platform. Enjoy!



9. SOMETIMES SOCIAL MEDIA ASSESSMENTS CAN TAKE LONGER THAN WE THINK.

This step is to give you another day to fully analyze your social media accounts. If you finished this step yesterday then take a skip day!

But I often find that we stop our analysis prematurely because the analysis can be tedious. If you find yourself cutting corners or stopping yourself short of getting solid and clear answers, give yourself day 2 of this work or review what you did yesterday.



10. ANALYZE AND INTERPRET THE DATA YOU COLLECTED.

After all the work you’ve done, it’s time to take a step back to compare the data you’ve collected against your goals. And if you do not have goals, let’s compare your data over time, between posts, or however, you need in order to develop intelligent insights that can guide your content work moving forward.

More Info: If you are new to data analysis, here are a few things you can consider:

  • Those trackers I mentioned above don’t just show you what metrics to record, but they also have analysis tools built-in for you and will automatically populate out summaries, comparisons, and graphs to help you with your analysis.

  • Look at what pieces of content performed the best (what mediums, what CTAs, etc.)

  • Look at what days or times of day gave the most engagement (look up these facts too!)

  • Did you ask something from your audience in all your posts?

  • Pull the opportunities you assessed in steps 6, 8, and 9 and see how those compare with the data you’re analyzing.

  • What did your audience react the best to?

  • If you paid for any ads, which had an impact on true engagement and conversion metrics (do not worry about your vanity metrics)?

Marketing Resources: Those trackers are going to be your best friend, so check them out: Marketing Trackers. If you would like more help analyzing, interpreting, and then applying your data, I recommend taking advantage of the free 15-min strategy sessions I offer or working with another marketing professional who understands data. I know I keep offering to book time on my calendar. It is not to be pushy, but rather a reminder that you have support if you need or want it!



11. SET YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY AND CREATE YOUR MARKETING PLAN

For next year or next quarter or next month, it’s time to set that strategy!

By this time you should know exactly what you need to do to build a marketing plan that will grow your business. You need to make sure you have a perfect, focused, and cohesive brand strategy. Then you can build your purposeful and goal-oriented marketing strategy from that brand strategy. And lastly, you can start creating a specific marketing plan to execute your strategy and accomplish your growth goals.

More Info: You have all the context for how your business and your marketing are performing to date. You have thoroughly assessed your customers, your performance, your data, your content, etc. Now it’s time to put all that incredible information to work for you as you create your next steps forward. Businesses need customers, clear value communications, inspiration, loyalty, and focused decision-making. You will change the game for yourself, your business, and your team when you develop a clear brand strategy and build all your work from it.

You will finally look cohesive and legit to your audience. You will finally create content that CONVERTS and inspire incredible loyalty. You will finally use your time more efficiently and operate with clarity. Every business decision will become clear and every marketing opportunity to pursue will come to light. To say this work is a game-changer is an understatement.

Start by reading these resources and thinking about your opportunities. Then head to step 12 for the last piece!

Marketing Resources

This step takes patience and focus and is typically where our work together would start. If you would like to take a crack at doing this work on your own, here are the resources to start with:



12. SET YOUR MARKETING BUDGET AND START YOUR CONTENT CREATION

And last but certainly not least, set your Marketing Budget and start building your content!

More Info: When setting a marketing budget, you’ll want to consider what phase of growth you’re in. If you’re looking for high growth it would make sense to spend a larger portion of your revenue on marketing. But if you’re in a steady growth phase or even still learning where and how to spend money, you will want to be more conservative. I recommend setting the budget you are willing to spend for the year and by month, then laying out what opportunities you will pursue. For your content creation, remember to be strategic! Always know what the primary takeaway is that you want your audience to have and build around that. If you want them to take a specific action, be sure you are building toward convincing them to act. Then identify ahead of time how you will assess whether or not your content was successful.

Marketing Resources:

And that’s a wrap! Armed with these 12 steps, you’ll be set to accomplish any business goals! Good luck! Go create value! And drop a comment below if there’s anything you’d like me to add or write about next. __


Thank you for reading this post and for choosing to learn a bit more about marketing! We need more good marketers out there and you're taking steps to be part of that elite group. If you have any questions or want to learn more, feel free to check out the rest of the free articles published on this site and shop through the self-guided materials created for you.

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