5 Ways to Grow Your Business Bigger, Better and Faster in 2013

We’re now well into January, where the diet is in full force (my office is no longer spilling over with cakes, cookies and chocolate).

What I love about the new year is new ideas to grow your business bigger, better and faster. Here are five resolutions to do just that in 2013:

1. Get in the Cloud, Stat
Guess what, guys: You don’t need servers to run software anymore, and most of the software we once spent a ton of money on is now either free or affordable. Take advantage of services like Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) for document sharing, presentations or spreadsheets, Join.me for live presentations and screen sharing, Skype for virtual meetings and Evernote for lists and to-dos

2. Show Some Personality on Your Site
People want to have a good, pleasant experience when they visit a website. It doesn’t matter if they’re there to look something up or buy something from you. Why not make it fun? If your business is serious, this may not work, but who knows, it might add a touch of levity. One of our customers, Pet Camp, is great at showing off their humorous side on their website and blog.

3. Schedule Your Social Media Publishing
You know that small business that posts and tweets several times a day to Facebook and Twitter? Where do they find time to do it, you might be asking?

I’m betting that they use a tool that schedules their posts and social media activities in advance. And so should you. The good thing is, many of these tools are pretty affordable. You can log in to all your social networks from one place, schedule all your stuff in one sitting, and even get reporting on how your audience is engaging with your content. Platfomrs like VerticalResponse Social, can even feed you relevant content based on your industry or topics of interest, so you don’t have to go searching around the Web to find stuff to share. No excuses now!

4. Consolidate Your Customer Data
Maybe you’ve got a stack of business cards from a recent event on your desk; information on existing customers in an e-commerce platform or point-of-sale-system; and opt-in email addresses with an email service provider, which might be a mix of current and potential customers.

The problem? All these contacts are never in one place for you to engage with them. I smell opportunity! Once per month, before you send your email marketing campaigns, consolidate them into one place, whether it’s within your email marketing account or your contact manager. This way, you won’t miss any of these people who could be your next customer.

5. Host an Event
Your customers want to “see” you from time to time, so why not go local? If you’ve got a retail location, bring them in for a special customer event. If you don’t have a retail spot, pick a time when it’s not so busy, find a restaurant and rent the private room. Most won’t charge you a room fee; they’ll just charge a minimum for food and beverage. Call it your “Customer Appreciation Party” and serve wine and appetizers. You’ll be surprised at how getting in front of customers physically puts you top of mind when they’re ready to do business.

Twenty twelve came and went in a jiffy; don’t let 2013 pass you by!

 

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Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 500/5000 2006-2011), a leading provider of self-service email marketing, social media, event marketing, online surveys and direct mail solutions for small businesses. She brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment, including NBC Internet; XOOM.com; Claris Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc.; and Symantec Corporation.