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5 Ways to Run Your Business Better & More Effectively in the New Year

It’s the beginning of January, and what that means for most people is that some work was put off to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays.   While this is a wonderful (and necessary) idea, sometimes the quiet time alone with our closest friends and family (and with our thoughts) allows us to start contemplating what we’ve done right and wrong.  Have we spent enough time with our loved ones?  Did we eat too many calories over Christmas dinner?  How are we going to get through the mountain of work on our desk that’s waiting for us?

This period of reflection is wonderful and without it, things wouldn’t ever change for the better.  And while some New Year’s resolutions may get forgotten on the gym floor around March, planning for our business is a must — and something that we have to make sure to keep doing all the way through next December.  Our planners and calendars should help us make sure of that.  But as business owners and managers, our problem isn’t usually that we don’t get things done.  Consistency and accountability typically aren’t our biggest problems — if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.  Our problems are usually more conceptual.  And sometimes, the problem is not knowing what the problem is in the first place.

How do we know what we should focus on in 2019?   What are our biggest shortcomings and ways that we can target them?  And once we figure all of that out, how should we begin to tackle the problems?

Well have no fear, we are here to help. Here are some of the most recurring issues facing small to mid-level businesses, and what you can do to run a better business in 2019:

  1. Problem: Revenue that’s Lower than Expected

Solution:   Focus on the products that are doing well, and make your SEO game extremely strong.

You likely have some sort of good or service, and if you have lower than expected revenue it’s generally because your overhead is too high, or because your products or services aren’t doing as well as you wanted them to.

The first step to take is to review the products that have sold and eliminate the ones that aren’t performing.  Start with the ones with the lowest profit and highest overhead, and work in a reverse direction to trim the fat. Once you know the items or services that are performing the best– you can really focus on making them the shining stars of your operation.  Your website should feature those products, they should be visible on the main page, and have hyperlinks to them within all of your branded emails and most of your social media posts.  You should have extremely good meta links, descriptions, and SEO strategy for these products as well.

  1. Problem: Customers are Not Engaging the Way They Used To

Solution:  Revisit the way you log and track contacts, and set up a new targeted campaign.

If your customers aren’t engaging the way they used to, it could be for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps your brand is failing to meet their needs.  Maybe you have a competitor who is doing things better or cheaper.  Regardless of the reason why you lost them, you definitely need to re-engage your core audience.

Take a look at your customers that are currently engaging.  You should be able to pull up your interactions on all of your social media accounts as well as through your email management program.  If you don’t have one of these, that’s definitely a huge mistake.  Look at Buffer for social media management, and Mailchimp for email management.  Other options are SocialReport, Sprout, and HootSuite for social media and MyEmma, and Constant Contact for email management, but we enjoy Buffer and Mailchimp the best, for a variety of reasons.

Once you’ve determined your core group of customers, you should make sure that your website is clear and targeted to them, and to their needs.  You should also make sure that your social media campaign, your website, and all of your other marketing materials are clear, connected, and carry the same branding and message. This includes fonts, slogans, logos, and colors.

  1. Problem: Customers are calling and spending a lot of time with you on the phone, and you’re not able to get a lot of the work completed.

Solution:  Your website, social media pages, and contracts and documents can all be made more clear and easier to navigate so that there is a clear understanding among all parties.

It isn’t uncommon for customers to be calling you, especially when you offer a service or are some type of consultant. But if you have a very straightforward product that can be automatically ordered and shipped, and customers continue to call you–  this is a clear sign that your website is failing you.

Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, easy to follow and understand, and works across a variety of browsers and skill levels.  Not all of your customers are technology savvy, but most will have a basic understanding — so you need to figure out who your target group is and cater to those people.

At Komaya, we offer a free website review — so we’ll be able to look at your current website, determine how navigable and user-friendly it is, and offer some concrete solutions to make it work better for you.

  1. Problem: You’re Unable to Get The Things on Your List Accomplished

Solution:   Start a Time Blocked Schedule, and Stick To It

We all have really long to-do lists, but the difference between those who accomplish all of the items on their lists and those who don’t are the ways we go about completing them.  Time blocking, or the act of actually scheduling the time in your day and blocking certain half-hours or hours out for specific purposes, seems elementary, and often not even necessary– but it’s absolutely quite the contrary.

By time-blocking, you’re ensuring that you’re giving the appropriate amount of devoted time to each task.   The benefits of this are that, when you’re within a specific time block, you can limit the distractions by turning off your phone or putting it in another room, for example, or not checking social media during this time window.   Additionally, you’ll know right away if you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to finish all of your daily tasks– so it will become immediately clear that you need to delegate, and not at the eleventh hour when you’re desperate to find a staff member who can help you.

For a good example of time-blocking, you can check out this WikiHow.

  1. Problem: You aren’t Getting the Types of Customers that You Want

Solution:  Re-Evaluate your Business Plan and look at the type of customer who is your target.  Is your website effectively speaking to that person?

Let’s say that the product that you’re currently promoting retails for $97, but your average customer is spending $12 on your site per visit.  Clearly, something isn’t working.  Likely, you’re not getting the type of customer who is your ideal customer.  If you’re making sales, sometimes it seems like you have an audience and everything is going well, but if you aren’t making the amount of expected sales, you could have the wrong products  — but you could also have the wrong group of people that you’re targeting.

For example, let’s say your business sells luxury high-end office products.  The majority of your products are things that a top business person would love, like desk accessories made of gold and silver,  leather briefcases, and portfolios.  Your target customer should be spending, in your opinion, about $165 on average for their order.  If your top-selling item is a $7 pen and your average customer spends $20 on their entire order– you’re probably getting college students who are buying sticky notes and school supplies.  Perhaps your millennial pink website needs to be changed to a more mature color, like navy blue.  Additionally, it’s likely that your targeted Instagram ad needs to be featured on LinkedIn instead.

By asking the right questions about your business plan, and how you’ve been implementing it — you’ll make sure to have a better and more productive 2019.

For any questions about your website, or other things that you can do to enhance your business in 2019, contact us at Komaya.  You can also check out our blog for more ideas for bringing your business to the next level.

Custom content marketing through blogging is the most popular and cost-effective way for a business to build their customer base. Taking the time to create new content for your blog enhances your brand’s visibility and product ROI (Return on Investment). Blogging makes a business more accessible and attracts more inbound traffic to a website. This can result in a return as high as triple the average rate for acquiring new leads, aka customers who are loyal to your brand. In short, blogging is the marketing wave of the present and future!

There’s always room to improve your marketing strategies as a blogger. It doesn’t matter if you’re totally new to the blogging world or if you’re a seasoned content writer. Technology is constantly evolving, so with that being said, you’ve come to the right place! Our team here at Komaya is ready to guide you in your journey to being the best blogger you can be. Here are 4 blogging mistakes that you might be making and how to correct them:

No Marketing Strategy


According to Neil Patel, only 9 percent of B2B marketers rate their organization as “very effective” at content marketing and that most people fail because they have no content marketing strategy. Take the time to learn more about the fundamentals and value of online marketing! DemandMetric.com provides a very thorough breakdown of the building blocks for content strategy and its potential consumer impact. Educate yourself, do the research, and seek opportunities to learn about online business in your community. By investing the time to learn now, you’ll be able to discover what methods work best for your brand with confidence in the future.

3 Key Statistics from DemandMetric.com:

  • Internet users are browsing brand-related content an average of 20% of the time.
  • Within that time frame, a staggering 68% of users are reading exclusively about brands that interest them!
  • Once exposed to a new brand, internet users are 60% more likely to research products they’ve learned about—you guessed it—from reading a blog!

Inconsistent Content

group sitting around table looking at notebooks depicting inconsistent content
This issue remains prevalent among businesses across the board and negatively impacts bloggers regardless of a business’ marketing budget or years of experience. Even the most streamlined website isn’t working optimally if the blog section is outdated or altogether inactive. It’s not about a business’ money or credentials, it’s about consistency: take charge of your blog! Review past posts and assess what more successful posts (ones with interactions like comments, likes, or shares) might have in common. Try to emulate those tactics in future content. If you do post regularly, do you have a routine? If not, create a publishing schedule suited to your brand. Example: if you own a business in fashion, post a quick DIY every Monday at noon and a 3-point Q&A to spotlight a fashion entrepreneur of your choice every Friday at noon. At the end of each post, invite followers to suggest future DIY ideas, Q&A artists to spotlight, and what questions they’d like answered. For a step-by-step tutorial on how to create great content, we suggest Jeff Haden’s excellent article on Inc.com.

Bubble Blogging

candy hearts on a computer desk depicting bubble blogging
It’s easy to fall into a rhythm of casualness when blogging, even for more experienced content writers. Of course, original and thoughtful content with eye-catching headlines and pins (the featured image for a blog post) always beats writing content for content’s sake. People who enjoy following blogs can always tell the difference, so burst that comfort bubble! It’s important to remember that a great blog is the online equivalent of a billboard for your brand.

The most definitive blogs out there create signature and engaging content that earns the loyalty and trust of their followers by appealing to them directly. Be authentic, be consistent, be patient, and know your audience! The blog is for them. For a comprehensive guide on copyright dos and don’ts, or if you just want a crash course on plagiarism and how to avoid it, visit HostingFacts.com and scroll to “Tools to Check Plagiarism…” We also highly recommend reading our blog post covering social media for further reading.

You’ve Got Mail?

smiling professional lady working on laptop depicting you got mail
Unfortunately, it’s a common misstep of new businesses to avoid creating a blog email subscription list while likewise trying to build their online presence through social media. Conversely, an active blog e-list is what the most successful businesses all have in common! A blog email subscription list is, bar none, the best way to enhance your brand’s visibility and draw more inbound traffic to your website, period. If your business is well established with a more advanced email subscription list, be sure to offer subscription preferences. It’s that added attention to detail that will keep your followers happy, guaranteed. When is the last time you reviewed your contacts to remove bounce-backs or double-checked contact information? Taking the time to stay up-to-date now will save you from having to backtrack in the future. If you’re brand new to blog email subscription lists, keep it simple. Stick to one weekly email blast or send an email blast per upcoming event. ShareThis provides some great tips for building a blog email subscription list right here if you’re looking for inspiration!

There may be countless resources at our fingertips, but it can be tricky determining which ones are the most reliable. At Komaya, our priority is to support and empower businesses in achieving their online marketing goals with knowledge and confidence! Never hesitate to reach out with thoughts or questions—just send us a message! We’re here to help.

For many successful businesses, blogging is a key aspect of their marketing strategy. It is important to your business for a variety of reasons:  It establishes you as an authority in your field, it lets your customers know about your products and services, it shows everyone who you (and your employees) are personally, and it also sets the tone for your business.  Blogging can make or break you.

With that being said, here are some blogging mistakes you might be making:

  1. Being scared to establish yourself as an authority — Blogging establishes you as an authority, and what that means is that it sets you up as an expert in your field.  A lot of folks are scared to do this because they are waiting for someone to crown or bestow a title of expert on them but, most likely, that’s not going to happen.  What makes you an authority is that you know more than at least one other person.  A real estate agent, for example, might not be the best agent in the nation, but they probably know more about what happens at a closing table than the average person. If what you write could help one person learn more about your field, then you absolutely should write it!
  2. Being overconfident and not backing up facts — The converse side to establishing yourself as an authority is proclaiming false facts. It’s totally fine to give examples of how you’ve done x, y, or z within your business or community, but remember—- what you write is accessible to everyone, forever, so make sure there’s truth in your claims.  You can’t go wrong if you write from the heart on a topic you know about.
  3. Having an inappropriate tone for your business — Blogging should be extremely casual, but the tone should fluctuate depending on what you’re talking about, your audience, and what you’re trying to do. If you’re talking about your political campaign, the rules for your employees to follow, or the legalities of filing a lawsuit, perhaps you should have a more formal tone.  However, if you’re trying to target millennials and you’d like to sell clothing— you don’t necessarily need to do a research article on cotton and rayon fibers with references.  Similarly, if your spelling and grammar are poor and you’re using slang within “ur” writing— that won’t really go far for a professional piece on the benefits of your business.
  4. Not giving enough information — Blogging is casual, but there is an extremely fine line that needs to be walked. Readers respond better to pieces that are written on a lower reading level in a casual tone. They also want to feel as if they’re in your shoes or experiencing what you’re talking about first hand. So, while you shouldn’t over-explain everything, you should also remember that most of your readers are strangers who don’t know anything about your business, and they don’t get nicknames, inside jokes, or industry terms.
  5. Not posting enough — Above all, the worst blogging mistake that you can make is not to blog! Jot down a bunch of ideas that you’d like to talk about and start writing one a week until you get on some kind of blogging routine.  Many can get intimidated by not being professional writers, but that’s not what it’s about— it’s about sharing your ideas and your business with the world.  Even if it’s 100 words here or there, it’s something, and that’s way better than having a page that hasn’t been updated since 1999.  Worst case scenario, talk to us, and we can arrange for you to hire someone to blog for you.

Here at Komaya, we strongly promote holistic living, balance, and synchronicity. These approaches to a happy and stress-managed life are well adapted from your personal life to your business career. It’s safe to say that when all the moving parts are optimized and working as they should, then the machine will run smoothly. But, what if we also managed to have all those working parts complement each other and elevate the machine as a whole? That’s what we are going to achieve here. Let’s buckle up and synergize our business by making our website, social media, and brick-and-mortar store work in tandem.

How can I make my Website, Social Media, and Brick-and-Mortar work together?

Continuity

Continuity is probably the easiest factor to achieve from the beginning, and the most fun to plan. It’s the first thing that customers subconsciously recognize when visiting all of your active platforms. What I mean by this, is that all your platforms need to use similar design elements and resemble each other.

Whether a customer walks into your store, visits your website, or is browsing your Instagram, they need to know that they are in the right place.

It’s always bad business practice if the customer is second guessing if they are looking at the right company. A simple way to achieve this is to choose your company’s signature colors. Make sure that the combination makes sense for your product or service and that you aren’t randomly selecting things you feel look good together. Blue may be your favorite color, but this is about your brand and not your personality. Be sure to consider that there are certain colors that make sense for certain concepts, that already trigger recognition with customers. For example, green is often used to symbolize something healthy or environmentally friendly. After you’ve selected the perfect colors, find their Pantone color match. Doing so ensures that each color has a specific code attached to it, and you’ll always be able to match your exact colors in the future, regardless of who you end up working with on your graphics or brand. Be sure to use the same decision-making process when it comes to shapes or motifs, and of course, your logo!!

Cross Promotion

Not everyone engages with your business in the same way. Some may find you on the internet first, others may wander into your store one sunny day. In whichever manner this first interaction is made, take the opportunity to show some of your other channels some love. If the customer comes into the store, hand them a business card and encourage them to post pictures on social media and tag you in them. (Hint: maybe provide an Insta-worthy scene just beckoning for the perfect selfie!)

If your customer sees your website first, provide pictures of the store and your products or representations of your service. If you sell items on your site, offer in-store pickup as an alternative to shipping so that the customer can save some money while you drive traffic back to your brick-and-mortar.

You should consider using consistent images across your website, social media channels, and in your storefront. You can also include a social media share button on each of these pictures.

Even if a potential customer doesn’t want to buy an item, they may think it’s cool enough to share it with their friends. Social media share-buttons have been a successful trend for many businesses and increase your marketing reach without you having to spend a dime.

Social Media cross-promotion can, unfortunately, be a little more complex, but fortunately– there’s an app for that! Most social media sites have been around long enough that they link with other platforms. You may have a Facebook page that will automatically share posts to Instagram and Twitter. It may be really tempting for you to set things to automatically post in this way, but unfortunately, it’s not the most professional way to do it. Many of these sites have different configurations. For example, Facebook has an unlimited character limit while Twitter caps you at 280 characters. Instagram’s preferred photo size is larger than that of Facebook So, what ends up happening is that your posts and pictures can be cut off, which is not good for anyone.

Our suggestion is to use a 3rd party coordinator. Many of them are free for the first couple of accounts added, and some charge a fee– but it’s well worth it for the convenience and scheduling across many platforms. They can even post to your Yelp account, LinkedIn, or your website. You can check out the popular sites: HootSuite, Sprout, Buffer, or Social Report. These coordinating websites allow you to predesign and schedule posts across all your channels but they do them separately in order to utilize the best metrics or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for each. Another benefit to using these platforms is that you can work on multiple posts at a time, so you can take care of a few days and then not touch it, giving you plenty of time to focus elsewhere. This allows you to not fall into a social-media rabbit hole and keeps you focused on all your areas of business in a balanced and holistic manner.

Universal Change and Maintenance

Lastly, it is important that whatever information, promotion, or event you want customers to know about is available everywhere. When you decide to run a sale, for instance, you don’t just put a “Sale” sign out in front of your store. Only people walking by would know about it! There is a process that needs to be built up across all platforms working together. First, the sign goes out in front of the store, and you mark your prices down both in-store and online. Next, you might create a banner for your website that promotes the sale and make it shareable. Take a picture of the sale sign or create a fun and complementary graphic for your social media linking people back your website, and so on. It is important to always add and remove information together because the worst thing that we can do is confuse our customers. Our purpose is to make things as easy and accessible as possible.

You now have the tools to make your business channels more productive than ever. Go forth and see how much smoother your machine will operate.

The title sounds a bit complicated, but so is the subject.  You have a growing business, and you’re already spending a lot of your time brainstorming and planning your goals for the future.  You know that a large portion of those goals involves your online presence.  Without an effective online presence, your company won’t continue to grow in today’s market.   But, you are extremely busy, so how do you know what things you can take care of yourself versus which things you should farm out to another employee, subcontractor, agency, or business?

Here are some things to consider when making the important decisions of time management and online presence:

 

  1. It is better to work smarter and not harder
    I’ve seen companies repeat the same work over and over again rather than once-and-done. For example, if you don’t have a transparent logo— and each time you want to use your logo somewhere, you are spending a couple of minutes “cropping out the white space” around it, that’s not a good use of your time. If it’s a task that can be reused, you may want to consider doing it the right way, so it will save time in the future. As for the logo example, if this means hiring someone to make a transparent logo for you, get it done.
  2. Expertise always costs less than doing it yourself
    This seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. If you hire an expert that can knock out the task in a day or less, or perhaps even an hour or less, isn’t that worth far more than the amount of time you’d spend to learn how to do the thing in the first place? You need to consider the value of your time and the amount of time you’ll spend personally on the project. If it’s not something you know exactly how to do, you need to seriously consider hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. You wouldn’t walk into a diner and ask for a lobster, you would go to the seafood restaurant for that. People specialize in certain things for a reason, and everyone wins by allowing each other to showcase their own talents.
  3. The experts have tools that you don’t
    It’s important to understand that the experts often have the equipment that you don’t have. If you wanted to make a t-shirt, you probably wouldn’t want to sit at home and color on a shirt with a paint pen, because it wouldn’t look very professional. You may try to sit around at home and figure out how to work a vinyl cutter or computer program to make the shirt, but that may take hours and still yield results that are slightly off-center. The best thing is to go to someone who has a t-shirt press. Just like a t-shirt factory, web experts have valuable design tools, tools for adding captions and logos to videos, post scheduling tools, and so on. It may not be worth it for you to buy the proper tools if you’re only going to use them sporadically. It’s better to let the experts pay for them and use them for all of their clients, and then everyone benefits.

There are still things that you can do yourself, and fortunately, there are some amazing tools that make that task easier for you (we’ve listed a couple examples below), but above all— you know what you can and cannot do effectively.  If your finished project is not going to be something that will wow your potential clients, you need to hire someone who will. And at the end of the day, wowing your customers is worth its weight in gold.

Online Tools to Try to DIY:

  • Canva — Graphic Design & GIF Creation — http://www.canva.com  free, $12.99 a month pro subscription
  • Magisto — Add your Logo and Caption to Movies, Movie Creation — http://www.magisto.com  $19.99 a month

If you prefer to not DIY, feel free to contact us for the latest and greatest in web design, SEO, and social media services.

For An Extraordinary Web Experience,
Komaya