Whether certain areas of your company are performing well or falling flat, from business IT systems to marketing, it’s still important to perform an ‘audit’ of what’s working and what’s not, especially now we’re moving into 2016.
Read about changes you need to make to your business IT systems in 2016 in the second part of our feature here.
The upcoming year is going to present all businesses – both small and large – with opportunities to achieve their biggest objectives, which is why it’s important to strategise a way of refining any processes currently hindering success.
If you haven’t already even thought about it, don’t panic, there’s still time to implement any necessary changes in January. Here, in this first of a two-part feature, we look at how changes to your marketing and staff retention processes can improve your business in the New Year.
Cleanse your email mailing list
Email is widely considered the preferential marketing channel in terms of its cost effectiveness by both marketers and consumers, so it makes sense to ensure your mailing list is primed for 2016.
It’s likely you’ve not sorted through your master list in a while, which means some of those contacts will have gone dormant. Start with a re-engagement campaign to highlight contacts who have dropped off altogether and which ones simply need a re-introduction to your services.
Once you’ve identified contacts who are non-responsive to your emails, put them into a suppression/opt-out list, as this will prevent them from cropping up again in the future. Otherwise, you risk triggering spam traps (addresses used to identify organisations indiscriminately sending out emails), which may prohibit you from sending altogether. Additionally, any unresponsive contacts will not generate a return and consequently eat away at your marketing spend needlessly.
You should also remove / update any bounced email addresses. Hard bounces (where an email address no longer exists or is invalid) will negatively impact the deliverability of your email campaigns if you continue trying to send to these email addresses. Not only that, but if you have incorrect email addresses for some of your important contacts, then they won’t be receiving your email campaigns.
For those of you using NetSuite, don’t miss our related article: NetSuite tips – managing hard bounces and maintaining a clean mailing list
One of the most important ways a marketer can develop a positive sender reputation is by avoiding sending emails to invalid email addresses. Careful management of your recipient lists not only improves your email campaign performance, but it also creates trust between you and those you do business with.
Embrace content marketing
Regular fresh, thoughtful, and engaging content is essential to a strong online presence, as it demonstrates customer value, establishes credibility and is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). More than that though, it strengthens brand communication and keeps your business fresh in the minds of customers for when they require your services. In short, content is the digital voice of your entire organisation.
It’s also worth remembering that Google takes regular content updates into consideration when displaying your website in the search rankings; penalising any website that does not regularly update its content for being below their standards of ‘quality’ and ‘usefulness’.
Prioritise your customers’ experience
Too many businesses forget about the importance of putting their customers’ experience first, focusing on getting their message across, when they should be paying closer attention to what their customers actually want.
For retailers in particular, this can severely impact sales and customer retention. You need to demonstrate customer value; collate enough data to understand their tastes and requirements across a broad range of metrics and then use this information to deliver a bespoke shopping experience.
The key to this is having the right software in place, which ties together all of your back-end business processes. An integrated solution provides great visibility into your customers and their habits, allowing you to deliver a really personalised service.
The Halloween-themed article we posted here explains why personalisation is so vital and goes through the problems associated with using fragmented systems.
Recruitment and staff retention
Recruit the person first, skills second
It’s likely that 2016 will see you take on at least one or two new members of staff, so it’s important to get the recruitment process right if you want this person to have a positive impact on your business.
Employers typically focus on skill-set when hiring, especially in the case of B2B companies. However, many businesses are turning their attention to other aspects of an individual, stating that a candidate with the right attitude and potential is better for a business in the long-term. In fact, 77% of employers across small and larger businesses said they prefer a candidate with the right personality above a candidate with just the required skill-set (source, CareerBuilder).
Establish a brand promise employees can live by
A brand promise is more than a reassurance to your customers, it’s a way of making sure everybody in your company is a united team, working together to achieve the same goal.
The most important thing is to create a brand promise based on a foundation of ideals and values; look to members of your staff to take ownership of these values and this will increase levels of personal investment across your entire workforce.
Develop a company culture
Much has been said about the importance of company culture in business and the benefits of developing an engaged and collaborative workforce. Not only does it help with staff retention, it also improves performance, as companies with an engaged workforce outperform those without by up to 202% (source, Stackhands).
It’s a simple matter of fact that a better place to work makes for a better business. How you make it “better” is not something so easily remedied, as every company is different, but there are common ways that you can start to make positive changes.
Having the right technology in place is vital in developing and sustaining a positive company culture in today’s workplace. Cloud computing, mobilisation and integrated ERP software can all strengthen the culture within your company. If you would like to know more, you can read about using the right technology to sustain company culture here.
Don’t miss the second part of our feature here, where we discuss how integrated business IT systems can help you to succeed in 2016.
Please leave your comments below if you’d like to discuss any of the points we’ve raised in this article.
If you would like to have a chat with us about how a cloud-based business IT system such as NetSuite could help your business become more successful in 2016, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.