By: Act! Blog | 4/20/2017
A business is a long-term commitment. You can't only think about the products you're going to offer and the customers you're going to target the day you open your doors or your website goes live. Conditions change rapidly in today's world. You may find that you need to target a whole new group of customers next year or introduce a new product or service to keep up with the competition. You have to be extremely resilient and adaptable if you want to succeed in this fast-changing world.
1. Understand Your Customers
Engaging with your customers helps you build a flexible business that's able to adapt as needed. Don't think of customers who are simply there to buy your products. See them as partners in your business who can help you determine the future directions you take. Here are a few examples of how to do this more effectively.
2. Study the Competition
Your competitors often point you in the right direction when it comes to reviewing the overall direction of your business. Naturally, you have your own unique brand and you're not looking to copy anyone else. However, it's still important to see what your competition is doing well, as well as, areas where they're falling short. You may notice that your competitors are offering a new product or service that customers are embracing. Very often, new businesses are most in touch with the latest trends, so be especially watchful of newcomers to your industry. There are a variety of both free and paid tools to help you analyze your competitors.
3. Don't Get Attached to the Status Quo
Nothing is more detrimental to your long-term success than getting overly attached to your current habits. This is especially true when it comes to new platforms and technologies. If your business is active on social media, you have to pay attention to new platforms and developments in this arena. If many of your customers are millennials, you can't afford to ignore popular social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram. Even if you're comfortable only using Facebook, sometimes you need to expand your horizons. Website design is another area where getting stuck in the past is harmful to your image and long-term success. An outdated website makes the wrong impression on your visitors. Keep up with the latest web design trends and modify them to fit the needs of your business.
4. Test New Methods and Technologies
You don't want to embrace every new technology just because it's hip or trendy. You have to ask yourself if it fits with your business model. At the same time, it's important to stay open to new developments. One of the best things about digital marketing is that it's fairly easy and economical to test new approaches without making a large commitment. For example, your business may benefit by testing areas such as:
These are just a few examples of innovations that can make your business more future-oriented.
5. Pay Attention to Data
Of course, there's nothing better than hard data to give you feedback on how well you're doing. If you want to use analytics to help you make better long-term plans, look for patterns. For example, if traffic to a certain page on your website has been steadily declining, this might be a topic or product you should consider dropping. If you're suddenly getting lots of traffic from tweets on a certain topic, try covering this topic more widely. Data is useful for helping you stay on track and plan for the future.