Digital Marketing Blog

How To Make A 2017 Business Resolution That Works

  • By Brad Poirier
  • 20 Dec, 2016

Plus A Free Planning Template

Business Planning 2017
Let’s face it. Personal New Year’s resolutions are made for one thing: to be broken. Only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolution. The #1 resolution each year is to lose weight . The struggle is real when you are faced with eating a 3,500 calorie pizza for lunch and a wedge salad. Pizza. Always. Wins. Your business resolution, however, has a much better chance at success. In fact, this article will show you how to have a guaranteed 100% success rate in your business resolution for 2017.

Why make a business resolution?

You are far more likely to achieve your business goals if you have set one. And no, your goal shouldn’t be to get more customers  or to increase my sales . That’s your overall goal, or rather that’s the baseline for any business. How you get there is your actual goal. Depending on your type of business, those inner-goals will be different. A restaurant for instance might want to acquire a new front of house system to make operations more efficient and offer online reservations. A landscaper might want to acquire new leads for landscape design verses the everyday calls for lawn maintenance. No matter what industry you are in, you need to define your goals and create a plan. That’s where a business resolution comes in. It’s safe to say that your 2017 business resolution is really your 2017 business plan .

Get started by downloading our business resolution template below and then follow along as we go through each step.
DOWNLOAD PAGE - Business Resolution Template

STEP ONE: What Have You Done?

Before you start writing down goals you need to see what you have done in the past, what has worked and what hasn’t. We don’t need specifics here, but a general overview. Traditionally most SMB’s have use outbound advertising - that is, radio, tv, magazines etc. Digital marketing strategies have been scary for SMB’s to adopt, such as Google & Facebook Advertising or SEO. Mark down what you have used and what you haven’t to see your starting point.

STEP TWO: What are your objectives?

Write down your objectives in this area of the template. What are the key objectives you want to achieve this year? Thinking of the restaurant business, maybe you already have a great FOH and you have busy lunch and dinner services. However the catering side of your business is suffering. You’re currently doing small catering jobs that are “just getting you by”. Your objective could be something like: Market my catering business to more medium sized businesses in my area to provide catering of 50-100 people.  Set a clear objective here.

STEP THREE: What (new) initiatives will you take?

Using our catering objective, there’s many ways you can go about getting to that objective. Some are more attainable than others depending on your sophistication with technology and wether or not you have someone in place to aid you in these areas. For catering, one of your initiatives might be to raise brand awareness , grow social media , and get more quality leads . It’s going to be different for each business, but the end result is that you should do some different  than last year or any year. The definition of insanity is doing the same action expecting a different result.

STEP FOUR: How will you achieve these initiatives?

We’re getting closer. Now we need to figure out how will you actually get these initiatives. If one initiative is to get more quality leads , one way you might do this is by a) creating a targeted marketing campaign b) create a clear landing page for your campaign and c) measuring by your conversion rate on your landing page . A landing page inherently is very simple. It should immediately tell your visitor wether or not that page is for them. As long as you have crafted the perfect landing page, if they bounce that’s actually good - because that means they were likely not a qualified lead. If they fill out your catering contact form, then likely they are a more qualified lead for that type of service.

STEP FIVE: Put your plan into place!

“A good plan executed today is better than a great plan that never gets executed.” This is single-handedly the most important step of them all. Even if your plan isn’t perfect, put it in place. You can always adjust your plan as you go along, and likely you will be adjusting it no matter what. Your aspirations of growing your catering business might get put on hiatus because your Valentine’s reservations and Easter reservations this year have been through the roof. Well that’s good because another area of your business is still growing. The key here is: Don’t give up on your plan. Don’t become one of those 92% of people who never achieve their personal resolutions. Remember to focus on getting back on track. Also, if one initiative is not working out, try another. Go back and redefine your initiatives. Maybe the goal was a little too much for your plate (all puns intended). Scale it back. If you can actually remember one goal from this: start with smaller goals for the beginning of the year. Accomplishing small goals early on will make you feel victorious instead of a failure. Keep building on the smaller goals that you achieve and work your way into world domination, or at least your local area.

STEP SIX: Optional

Stuck on working out your plan? Not sure how to achieve them or measure them? We’re here to help. Get in touch with us through the link below. We offer a complimentary marketing analysis of your business and optionally can provide you with a competitive marketing analysis, gaining insight into what your competition is doing. We are digital marketing guru’s and can help guid you along your goals for 2017, whatever they may be. (Unless it’s staying away from pizza, because well, that’s just cruel)

Breeze Digital Media News & Resources

By Brad Poirier 18 Oct, 2017

Deadlines. Employees. Networking. Accounting. Advertising. HR. – The Party Planning Committee.

As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats.

“Wait, now I have to wear a marketing hat also?”

Well the short answer is no, you don’t have to. It really depends on how competitive you want to be in your industry.

Your big competitors invest lots of time and money into marketing their business, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Outsourcing your digital marketing to a digital marketing agency can both improve your lead quality and improve your overall ROI.

Let me explain.

By Brad Poirier 15 Aug, 2017
We are a visual society, so you should be using at least one of these options on your website.

Just like website design ranges from no use of images to the overuse of them, same is true with icons today. More than ever, some webpages are being cluttered with icons, that often add no context to the page or just add nothing to the user experience.

When is it good to use an icon on your website? Here's a few criteria I follow plus some resources for putting icons on your website.
By Brad Poirier 13 Jul, 2017
What’s more important to you: A shiny trophy for being number one on Google or a boat load of new clients coming your way.

Yes, we have said before that the number one position on Google gets 33% of the traffic for that keyword, but what do you see coming up as number one now-a-days?

Local Directories come up first. Do a quick Google search for anything local business related, for instance "restaurants near me". I did this search, and not one result on the first page was from a local business website. ALL of the first 10 results were local review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and OpenTable.

Now to be fair, there were three local results that appeared first, in what we call the Google Snack Pack. Before the website results, Google displays three locations from Google Maps, which is also very important. For websites though, it was all local directories.
By Brad Poirier 18 May, 2017
There's pros and cons to this type of Facebook post. The pro, well, you're making an attempt to create business. The cons? How do you set an expiration date on that? Even if you indicate one in the post, there could be that customer that just says "oh, I didn't see that". Further, how do you keep track of it? Are you going to write down on a sheet of paper every time someone comes in and says "Hey, I saw this post on Facebook". Also, not everyone wants to mention that. People want to present coupons and get a deal, they don't want to announce that they're getting a deal.

There is a much better way to accomplish what you are trying to do. You may have seen it, used it, tried it, but here's how to get the most out of the post type called "Offer". Watch the video below to see an example or read below.
By Brad Poirier 10 May, 2017

Chances are the website you’re using for your business is using Wordpress. Why? Because right now,  Wordpress powers 26% of the web   ...worldwide. That’s an overwhelming market share. In the past, my experience using Wordpress has been for some personal blogs, never as a commercial website. For the past few years working as a web designer, I have been using a version of  Zurb’s Foundation Framework   to develop websites. I’ve stayed away from Wordpress for many reasons, which I’ll explain below.

I figured though: If Wordpress powers 26% of the web, it can’t be all that bad though right? Wrong. Sure, Wordpress has it’s advantages, namely in the blogging area. It still is the go-to platform of choice for blogging. Here’s the thing though: Wordpress was never meant to be a website builder. It just evolved that way. What started off as an independent project grew into the global name it is today. The entire platform though, is supported mainly by community members. Try calling a Wordpress support number. Nope. Doesn’t exist.

To really put Wordpress to the test though, I had to actually go through and build a full site, not just a blog page. Well certainly, I wasn’t going to waste my time at work building a client’s website on Wordpress. I decided to build one for myself. I have a photography hobby, and so I chose to build a photography portfolio. 15 hours later, I have an OK performing website with 3 pages setup plus some gallery pages. I am a professional designer and it took me 15 hours to get it somewhat polished.

I logged my experience every step of the way, and so here’s all of my pain points and some of the positives that came out of this experience. Overall I can tell you, though, it’s about as horrible as I expected it to be. I am more certain now than ever, that I never want to develop websites using Wordpress. I can see why large Wordpress sites are expensive to develop. Development costs are almost entirely billed by time. The longer it takes your web developer to get from blank to finished, the more it will cost you. (FYI, my development time and costs are substantially lower than industry averages)

By Brad Poirier 07 Mar, 2017
Did you know that the average consumer checks your website at least two times from two different devices before they journey into your location? Over 60% of searches start  from a smartphone device , but there is still a great amount of desktop and tablet traffic coming in. Why is that? Some of that desktop traffic is the original, organic traffic yes. However, a lot of it is a returning customer. Perhaps you're a kitchen remodeler , someone searches for "kitchen remodeling" and they find your website from their smartphone. They're not ready to buy yet though. So they bookmark or they email their significant other the web address. When they get home, they venture to their desktop or start using their tablet to continue the research.

Most (amateur) web designers only pay attention to the desktop view. Sad face: many web designers still build websites that are desktop only, they're not building responsive websites that are mobile-optimized. The worst part is they're often designing this on a 20" or larger monitor. Of course it's easy to design a great site when you have 20" of a digital canvas to work with. The real Picasso comes out when you can take that same great experience and display that on a 4" screen, AND to optimize it for as slow as a 3G connection. There's a big difference between your site being mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized. Mobile-friendly usually just means making sure the content is formatted to scroll up and down and no content stretches beyond the width of the smartphone screen. Mobile-optimized is taking the same content from your desktop and optimizing it for a mobile experience. This is important now more than ever, as Google has started to ONLY SEO Index your mobile site and not your desktop site.

So that's the why I design websites using four screens. You might interested in knowing what are the screens I design with, and how I use each one of them to turn your website from blah to Yahhh! I only build websites that are responsive. I check how the content looks and how the content interacts along the way. Below are the screens that I use to check this with and more importantly, the order in which I do this.

Screen #1 - Smartphone
You might be shocked to think that the first screen I check my work on is a mobile device. If you were a bakery and 60% of your revenue came from donuts, would you start your morning by prepping the cookies and pastries? You start with your money maker! Well, since over 60% of all Google searches start from a mobile device, why would you start with the device that people aren't using as much? I'll tell you why, it's because you're working with an amateur designer. Or perhaps you're working with a legacy designer who won't budge. When I design in a mobile-first environment, I can truly focus on that experience and maximizing it's potential. We focus on getting the most important information right away. For most businesses this means placing a "TAP-TO-CALL" style button at the top of the page. Nothing is more frustrating than having to remember the number in your head and quickly double-tap-your-home-button to get to the phone dialer and attempt to get every number in there correctly. If location visits are important we also make sure there are easy-to-find buttons for loading your bulit-in GPS navigation.

What do you think the next screen is going to be?

Screen #2 - Tablet
Did you guess that correctly? It's only natural to work my way up the screen size. Now that I've mastered the experience for mobile, I can open up canvas a little here and work on the tablet view. Tablets today range from about 7"-10" and yes there are those two outliers that are around 13" , but they're still a tablet, at least according to the internet browser being used. A growing trend for the tablet view is using what we call the "hamburger" menu. That's the 3-line menu button you might see in the upper right or left hand corner of the screen. We layout the navigation in both the hamburger format and the traditional horizontal navigation. It all depends on the business and the goal of your website. That's why we custom design all of our sites starting with a 1-on-1 consultation . Since a tablet is still inherently a mobile device where the user interacts using only a touchscreen, we still are focusing on easy, tappable buttons. Consumers are used to tapping on items with their tablets, we make it super easy for that to happen. Gone are the days of only making links available from within the text. Consumers need clear call-to-action buttons to guide them along their buying journey.

Screens #3 & #4 - Laptop & Large Monitor
Technically I'm designing and coding everything on my large monitor, but the testing is being done on multiple screens. However, when I start to design for the desktop, I'm using my laptop which dual outputs to a 21" cinema display. This allows me to have the freedom of design but to see how it will interact on a 13" monitor (which is about the average monitor size for a small laptop). The most important content is "above the fold". So if it's not designed right, some of the content that looks good on 21" would normally get cut off on a smaller screen. We make sure that doesn't happen. The desktop design is where it does get a lot more fun, and more roomy. It's like trying to pack a bunch of moving boxes into a cargo van when you've been using your 1988 Corolla earlier that day. Ahh, you can breathe a little. However, use this space carefully. Remember, with great space comes great responsibility. I've seen many web designers who came from a graphic design background. It is honestly a natural progression, but it's an entirely different approach. Use a white space or negative space is critical here. So if you're used to working with that graphic designer who loves using tons of colors and turning text into metal like beveled art and everything else that came with cheap Photoshop work from 10 years ago, they're in the wrong arena. You have about 5 seconds to capture someone's attention before they'll decide to leave the website. Now, a lot of that comes from excellent copywriting and headline writing , but bad design choices will confuse the consumer and cause them to leave and go to the next result in line.

So there you have it. The method to my madness. Some people look at website design and say why not , I look at website design and say why ? Rule of thumb: Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. I'm on the web all day long. I can easily spot a badly performing website, in terms of conversion. Today, you're website is all about conversion . Your business can't afford to run a wiki-pedia website. It needs to be a lean, mean, lead-generating machine. This applies to all business websites.

What are some examples of good and bad website design that you have seen?
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