It’s August. Football season is right around the corner. The blockbuster movies have left the multiplexes. Cool breezes will soon give a much-needed relief from the hot summer temperatures. And those familiar yellow school buses will be out in force as students enter into another year of school. Most children face the excitement of another grade closer to graduation while their parents are happy to finally get the restless kids out of the house. For some, this time of year signifies a chance to tune up their business, refocus their goals and, especially if you have a retail business, prepare for the busy holiday season.
Summer is often the time when vacations are taken. The lazy days of summer float by like a snoring tourist on an inner tube. Backyard barbecues, fireworks and baseball games take precedence over website updates, search engine optimization and social media integration. If you’ve been more worried about your tan line than your bottom line, now is the time to take that last sip of lemonade, trade your Hawaiian shirt in for an oxford and prepare to get your business back into ship shape.
As the kids go back to school, make a pledge to get back to basics by reevaluating your business with the checklist below. Why wait till the year’s end when things are busier and your time is more precious? For many entrepreneurs, this is the perfect time to give your business an end of summer checkup.
Watch Over Your Analytics – You should be aware of your web traffic; who is visiting, how long they are staying, and what keywords are sending viewers your way. Without paying close attention to your web analytics, your website will stagnate.
Make Your Website Mobile-Ready – Is your website optimized for mobile devices? Smartphones are our constant companion and go with us everywhere. Most of us already use these devices to surf the web than our desktop or laptop. If your website is not mobile-friendly yet, make sure it is ASAP.
Review Your ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact’ Pages – Many businesses forget to update these pages with new phone numbers, addresses or other important info like employee titles and company history. Take time to make sure everything is current with your website, including making sure any contact forms are still functioning properly.
Test Your Links – Nothing is more annoying to your website visitors than expecting a link to work when it doesn’t. Now is a great time to check every outgoing link on your website to make sure everything’s active.
Reexamine Your Domain Info – If you changed addresses or phone numbers in the past year, make sure your domain registrar has your current contact information If not, you could miss critical renewal notices regarding your domain name.
Social Media Integration
Reserve Your Social Media Business Profile Name – If you haven’t already done so, claim your company name on the top social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace. And once Google+ for businesses is out, don’t forget to claim that one too. Even if you’re not using all of the social media networks right now, claiming your name will prevent someone else from taking it first.
Put a Social Sharing Bar on Your Website – The importance of social sharing is growing every day. Adding social sharing buttons to your website or blog is usually a quick and effective way to increase page views and allow your friends to promote your content for you.
Use Location-Based Services – Every time a person uses an app like Foursquare or Facebook Places and ‘checks in’ with your brick-and-mortar store, it’s like getting a free endorsement. Make it easy and fun for people to check in and your businesses’ name will be seen by their friends and family as a valued recommendation.
Update Your Facebook Page – If you’re not updating your Facebook page every other day or so, your EdgeRank will plummet, meaning fewer people will see your statuses on the Newsfeed. Use a variety of links, photos & videos to increase your ranking. And don’t forget about updating your Twitter account with regular tweets.
Advertise on Facebook or LinkedIn – Advertising on the social media giants can be confusing and has its pitfalls, but it also has the ability to create awareness and drive traffic. These ads can also be an alternative to Google Adwords. Experiment to see if Facebook and LinkedIn Ads are right for you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Claim Your Business on Google Maps, Yahoo Local and Bing Maps – It’s relatively easy to search for your business and claim your listing. Every little bit helps. You should also review your info on Citysearch, Merchant Circle and local yellow pages directories.
Check Your META Tags – Some will tell you that META tags are outdated, but they still can be useful. At the very least, make sure your titles and descriptions are up-to-date on each page.
Create More Original Content – Want to get a better search engine ranking? The easiest way is to have a website full of rich, useful content. Start a blog, post videos and add web pages that your customers will love. It takes time to improve your ranking, so start adding original content today!
Review Your Keyword Density – Are you using too many/too few keywords? If you overstuff your content with keywords, you’ll look like a spammer. However, populating keywords into your content is essential for proper SEO. Most experts will tell you that 5% is the number you should shoot for. Spend a few minutes to review your keyword density and see how you stack up.
Sponsor a Sporting Event – End of summer is the time for high school and college football games. Sponsorship is a great way to gain respect and visibility in your local community. Remember to print marketing materials such as flyers and brochures ahead of time. Put up your signs or banners wherever you’re permitted.
Plan a Promotion for Halloween – The scariest time of the year continues to grow in popularity and could be a great marketing opportunity for your business. Be creative and have fun with it. Halloween events often start in early October, so the time to start planning is now.
Prep for the Holidays Now – For most businesses, the holidays represents a significant portion of their annual revenue. It’s never too early to start planning for sales, promotions and how you will implement your marketing plan. Don’t assume that customers will be lining up at your door in December just because Christmas is approaching. Get a leg up on your competition by planning ahead.
Create Mobile Tags – A mobile tag (either IR or Microsoft Tag) can be a fun and inventive way to start a buzz about a product or service. Use your imagination and be creative.
Attend a Tradeshow – An industry convention or tradeshow can be an excellent way to meet and cultivate new prospects, as long as you’re prepared. Make your booth stand out and get the most out of your tradeshow experience by learning a few tips and tricks.
Monitor Your Brand – Are you aware of your online reputation? Your brand could be mentioned in thousands of places on the internet without you knowing it. Make the decision to start monitoring your online presence today. It could prevent a crisis from happening tomorrow.
Review Your Profit & Loss Report – Where do you stand so far? Are you sitting pretty in the black, or drowning in a sea of red? If your profit is larger than expected, it may be a good time to make a major purchase you’ve been holding back on that can be depreciated. Your accountant should be able to explain the depreciation rules to you. If your profit is less than expected or non-existent up to this point, it might be time to reevaluate your methods and seek some advice.
Set Goals for End of Year – The 4th quarter is right around the corner. Where do you want to be by the end of the year? Now is the time to make sure you’re on track. Set realistic goals for the 4th quarter and devise a plan to reach them.
Take a Physical Inventory of Your Products – This is always good to do before the holiday rush. Make any alterations to your accounting system now, rather than in peak season.
Clean Out Your Workplace Refrigerator – Are you guilty of stocking the fridge with coffee and caffeinated soft drinks for your employees because you think it increases their productivity? Think again. Those energy drinks may not be giving your workers the boost you think it does. Maybe now is the time to replace the cans of Coca-Cola with items like bottled water and fresh fruit.
What’s on your end of summer checklist? Are there certain things that you do every year to prepare for the holiday rush? Let us know. We want to hear from you!
Captivation Agency understands there is a lot of competition for your business. We take pride in our work and strive to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Please contact us today to talk to a friendly Captivation representative and see how we can reduce your operating expenses, increase your productivity and make your company more competitive.