1. Get mobile
It’s no surprise to hear that by 2014 mobile phones and tablets will be the most common way to access the internet. But is your website optimised for mobile? There are ways to get your mobile site up for less than a tenner and you can optimise a couple of pages in ten minutes.
2. Use social media strategically
If you’re going to start using a social media channel for your business, it’s important to understand the basics – there are plenty of free online guides – and make sure you use analytics; it’s the only way to tell if it is working.
I used to think social media was too time-consuming but I realised how valuable it was when we happened to see a negative tweet from a client. We uncovered a case miscommunication, resolved the situation and the customer became a fan, posting an excellent review. The alternative was a frustrated, disgruntled client, who would have given negative feedback about us to others.
3. Measure and respond to user behaviour
Marketers can use free tools such as Google Analytics to see exactly how many visitors are accessing their website from a desktop or mobile device. Give different techniques a go and see what gives you the greatest success. If, for example, you find users are visiting your webpage but not staying for long, try hosting different content, video might prove more engaging for instance.
4. Don’t discount, add value
It can be tempting to offer discounts to get customers through the door. Try to avoid doing this because you risk being seen as cheap. Instead, add value – for example a free consultation or product trial. If they understand why, your customers will pay that bit extra for a better experience and your brand will be all the stronger for it.
5. Stay in your brand uniform
Think about, write down and clarify your own brand values. Ensure you present a consistent ‘look and feel’ to your business across all channels and every communication – from the colours you use to the tone of voice you use. Also remember that a sales opportunity can arise at any time. When I first started my business I was shy telling others about it, especially in personal circumstances such as weddings or birthdays. I quickly learnt that I was missing a trick.
6. Don’t be afraid to get others involved
I used to spend a lot of time on getting our IT working and it prevented me from focussing on my customers. I was afraid of spending money on upgrades but in the end I bit the bullet and outsourced IT. It actually didn't cost as much as I thought and we became so productive that I wished I had done it months ago. You can also try skill swapping with other business owners, or perhaps think about hiring an apprentice or intern. After all, you don’t want to spend time ordering stationery when you could be planning your next marketing campaign or talking to customers.
Jo Behari is founder of the UK's first female home improvement company, Home Jane.