Wow! Where has the time gone? Here we are in December already and I still have a number of items on my yearly “Get It Done” list.
Here are my end of year, must be done, don’t let it go into next year tasks:
1.) Domain Name. Yes, I already have my domain name but I haven’t been very diligent in protecting that name. This issue was brought home to me very recently by new client. He was having problems viewing his website, wasn’t receiving any of his emails and didn’t know what had happened.
To make a long story short, it seems he didn’t have the login information, didn’t know who his host service was and was at a total loss.
After some investigation I found that someone had neglected to pay for the domain name when it came due. When it went back into the available names register, a company bought the name.
Now comes the really bad part. He had bought a ¼ page ad in Trailer Life (which we all know what that costs) that listed the website and email address with the domain name that he no longer owned. All of his collateral materials used this address also.
When I contacted the new owners to try to buy the name back, they were willing to sell it for $5,499. That’s right, five thousand four hundred and ninety-nine dollars.
Morale of the story: Create a document (I call mine “Critical Info”) where you store your domain name, domain host name, login information and dates of when you paid for the name. Put your due date for renewing the domain name on your calendar with a notice for 30 days prior to the due date. Do not depend on your webmaster/designer to maintain this information for you. All kinds of things can and do happen that will leave you scrambling to find out how to log in to your domain name.
Don’t let this happen to you. Get that information and put it somewhere safe (and somewhere that you will remember where it is.)
2.) Website: This is going to be a “Do as I say, not as I do” recommendation. I’m a prime example of “the cobbler has no shoes.” I do this for my clients just haven’t found the time to do it for myself. Anyway, at a minimum, schedule time at the end of the year to review your website. Make sure your copyright date is current and covers the New Year. Review ALL of your pages for accuracy. In fact, now is a good time to revise each page if you haven’t done so already and while you are revising, keep the concept of merchandising your website in mind. Make sure any dates mentioned are for the New Year and do not carry last year’s date.
As with your domain name, add your website host (not necessarily the same as your domain name host), login information and the due dates for the hosting service to your Critical Info document.
If you should decide to change your web designer, it is going to be a whole lot easier on your new web service to get things started.
3.) Online Advertising: Now is the time to review how your online advertising efforts are going. Once again, you need to have a document listing everywhere you have advertised for the past year, website address for the advertiser and login information.
Using your analytics from your website, review how much traffic you have received from the advertisers’ website. Review who is sending the most traffic to your website and consider bumping up your advertising on that site.
Hopefully, you also took the time to make a CTA (call to action) in the ad that is unique and you have been tracking that in your “How did you hear about us?” information. This will also give you a pretty good idea of where your marketing dollars are working.
4.) Offline Advertising: Has all the money you spent this last year for offline advertising given you a ROI (Return On Investment) that is greater than the money you spent?
Again, the key here is to have a unique CTA that you can track. Easy CTA’s are things like “Mention this ad for a 15% discount on your purchase” or “Bring this ad in for your free gift.”
Just insert these into your ad and when your customer asks for the discount, you ask where they saw your ad. Easy-peasy. Now you have a better idea what is working and what isn’t.
5.) Collateral Materials: Pull out all of those flyers, your brochure, your business card, anything you have used to give potential customers information about your business. Review them again for the accuracy of the information. One thing that I have seen a lot are brochures that don’t have addresses, or the phone number doesn’t have the Area Code. Get started with your revisions for your next print run.
While we are at it, let me vent on one of my major pet peeves. If you are going to use a copier to make additional flyers, do it professionally. Don’t use a copy that wasn’t centered on the copier screen. Don’t use a copy that has toner smeared on it. In other words, don’t use a copy that doesn’t present you and your business in the best way possible.
These are just a few of my major review points. I’m sure that you can come up with more with just a little thought. While it would be great if you could do each of these more often, doing them at least once a year and at the same time will help you make all of your marketing and advertising materials stay consistent.
Need help in getting your Critical Info document set up? Give me a call and I will get a basic template off to you.