At the beginning of each year, I prepare a list of the top ten marketing goals I would like to achieve in the year ahead. I do this to help me plan out my marketing strategy, aid in budget preparation, but largely to set marketing expectations for myself a little higher than the previous year.
Most of the items required new research, learning new skills, or careful incorporation into my existing marketing strategy. But some goals I desired to have in place by this time, but for a variety of reasons was not able to complete.
My Top Ten Marketing Goals for 2011
Continue to Develop Solid Brand Position - SUCCESS
-Speak and write passionately about product to attract ideal customer
Start Small Business Blog - SUCCESS
-You are reading it
Create Social Media Policy - SUCCESS
-Develop and document strategies and tactics for connecting and
networking with ideal customer
Build and Combine Customer Lists - SUCCESS
-Take current customer list, clean, and combine with new lead list
Increase Unique Web visits to 15k/month - FAILURE
-Fine Tune SEO and analytics – finesse content and design
Do a Professional Product Video - SUCCESS
-Utilize Angelvision for product video
Mobile Marketing - SUCCESS
-Develop mobile site and begin opt-in mobile program for updates
Referral System - FAILURE
-Focus on centers of influence and trusted advisers to promote brand and product. Develop referral promotion for loyal, enthusiastic existing customers.
Focus on ideal Customers - SUCCESS
-Identify ideal customer and focus 90% of assets and energy on closing
opportunities to them.
Define and clarify Sales Cycle - SUCCESS
-Clearly define conversion parameters and lead scoring to qualify and track each lead through cycle and increase opportunity close percentage.
*Failed - Increase Unique Web Visits to 15+/month
Big Bang and the UIU have been averaging between 11 and 12k unique visitors per month for about six months and I really wanted increase that by a few thousand. The primary reason that this goal was not completed is that I really stopped focusing on clicks and completely revamped my entire adwords and landing page strategy to really focus on interaction. Another factor was the complete rebuild of our websites including new developer and CMS, for which we have been re-establishing our organic search ranking slowly. The goal of increased traffic will definitely be making it to the 2012 list in an upcoming post, but I think I might up the ante just a bit to 17k+/month now that the foundation is set.
*Failed - Referral System
This goal has been on the last two year’s goals in a row, and I think that it will not be making it to the 2012 list for a few very good reasons. But since I’m already getting long-typed on this post, I will save the topic of Referral System and why I think it will never work for us for a dedicated post in two weeks.
What goals did you miss this year and why?
In this “Small Business” blog, I need to establish some definitions – the first being “Small Business.”
There is no officially sanctioned definition of “Small Business.” The SEC defines one as having annual revenue under $25 million, while the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay defines one as having revenue under $1.5 million. Other entities reference the number of employees – less than 100, less than 50, etc. State regulations will vary, and a company with 20 employees here in Wisconsin may have certain requirements put on it that a company of 15 does not.
What a small business is not, however, is a one person shop.
Please let me explain before the outrage overtakes some of you. I was an independent consultant for several years. I had a “dba” business name – ACM Consulting – with business cards, a second phone line and an ad in the yellow pages. This did not make me a business owner even though I absolutely felt I was at the time. Why not? Quite simply, I could always try to get a “real” job if I needed to, and while my customers might not be happy about it, no one would be significantly impacted. I actually had part-time jobs occasionally while working independently, which provided a level of stability while giving me the freedom I needed to run my “business.”
I had absolutely no idea what it meant to run a business.
In my opinion now, an independent consultant really becomes a business owner when the first permanent employee is hired. That is likely the scariest moment you will face – maybe in your entire life. Getting engaged after only dating for seven weeks was easier. Taking out a million dollar loan for our offices was easier. Scuba diving through my first wreck at 120 feet was easier. My wife (of twelve years now) and I don’t have children, so I can not compare, but I imagine it is similar from both a fear and excitement factor.
I was now responsible for the livelihood of someone other than myself.
Employee #1 would impact my livelihood just as much as, if not more than, I would his. I was ultimately responsible for hiring this person – his personality, skills and talents would profoundly affect every aspect of my professional and personal life. Had I made the right decision on who to hire?
That day in May, 2004 was one of the most exciting and nerve wracking days of my life. Big Bang LLC was born, offices were leased, desks were purchased, and we were off and running. Some seven plus years later, we have survived the Great Recession, I have thirteen phenomenal employees, and we own a five acre compound for our offices.
The ride has been, and continues to be, amazing and I hope you will benefit from my tales. My goal is to discuss “independent consultants” and “small businesses” and to help you transition between the two. I believe that people learn best from their own experiences, but I hope reading about my ups and downs will help make your peaks higher and your valleys less severe.
As always, I ask that before you critique these comments and those of your fellow readers, please review the "Purpose and Disclaimer" post, read the current post and comments out loud, and then re-read and edit your comment before hitting “send.” It’s a good practice for any business owner to get into and the easiest piece of advice I can provide.
Greetings and salutations,
In my opinion, the purpose of a small business blog is to learn. There is a benefit for me as the business owner to review and discuss some of my thoughts and decisions; and there is hopefully some benefit for you, the reader, to learn how about small business ownership. So often a "mentor" is recommended for small business owners, and I believe that blog postings and the resulting commentary can help fulfill that roll.
That said, I recognize that throughout the upcoming posts, we are going to disagree on any number of things. I will provide my opinions based on my experiences, in a very brief and limited format, undoubtedly without giving all the facts and details. You, the reader, will react to my words based on your experiences, fill in the blanks, and make a judgment. It’s what we all do, and I accept that. Also, along the way, it’s entirely possible that my Midwestern sarcasm may not be interpreted the way I meant it. I accept that as well.
I also realize and expect that my opinions will change over time as my experience grows or as someone else provides a sound argument for a different option. As a small business owner, change is a critical component for success, and I rarely feel that “my way or the high way” is the right way. What this means for you though is that I may well contradict myself occasionally. I apologize in advance. Remember, I'm learning too.
Finally, this is a moderated blog and we do not accept anonymous postings. Why? First, a non-moderated blog leads to people posting "FIRST!" far too often. Additionally, some very small percentage of people feel that commenting on a blog post is license to utterly ignore the inner filter commonly found between the brain and their furiously typing fingers. We would prefer to avoid the rabid, "YOUR AN IDIOT" postings - and yes, I know "your" is spelled wrong. If you have something to ask or say, stand up and do so... with your name attached to it. If you think a posting or comment is idiotic, explain why, but please use proper Netiquette. I have my name out there and will try to provide my rationale, and I ask the same of you. We don't have to agree, but we do have to respect.
So, I thank you for reading, and I look forward to your comments and questions.
About Big Bang Blog
There are many reasons to write a small business blog, we wanted to bring you at least a few reasons to read one. The Big Bang Blog covers the ins and outs of running a small software business, as well as a variety of small business marketing and media topics. Please leave us your comments and questions.
Be sure to visit our UIU Blog for Industry Insights, Product Updates, Support Notes and more.
|About Adam Murphy -
Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.
|About Nate Bauer -
Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities.
|About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian
Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.