Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.
Technology can be a powerful driver of business growth. There are seemingly endless areas where you can invest your time and effort.
But today I'd like to talk about a technology that, when fully leveraged, can make your company super successful. Something that is critical to the process of attracting, convincing, and converting your customers or clients.
Your website. Your public face to the world.
Are you focusing on the wrong things?
Are you focusing on insignificant cosmetic changes (e.g., layout, background colors, or images)? Chasing after these things many net you some tiny incremental gains of between 3 and 5 percent.
You could be spending that same time and effort going after huge, game-changing things that would increase sales by 3-5x (I'm talking 3,000 to 5,000 percent)!
This year, invest in your website. But invest in the right things.
1. Change your offer.
So many companies misuse their time trying to increase their conversion rate from 2.35 percent to 2.5 percent or even 3 percent.
What you should be asking yourself is: Why the heck are 98 percent of the people who see your offer not taking you up on it? (Hint: it's usually that your offer sucks.)
What you should be thinking is, What is it I could offer that would resonate enough that +10 percent of people would be excited about signing up for it or buying it on the spot?
Be open-minded. The answer is probably something adjacent to what you're currently doing.
Don't settle for being average. Strive to be exponentially better than everyone else!
2. Eliminate your offers.
Some companies (particularly B2B companies) have dozens of different offers. Some will do great, others OK, and some terrible.
There's a weird obsession in marketing to want to constantly create new stuff. It's ridiculous.
You're probably better off killing your donkeys (the bottom 95 percent of your offers) and going all-in on your unicorns (your top 1 to 5 percent of offers).
3. Use emotional triggers now.
One way to do that is to inject some emotion and urgency into your offers. Fear of missing out is real, and it can have spectacular results.
It's no longer good enough to say why people should buy your stuff. People are busy.
You need to explain why they need it NOW -- and why there will be unfortunate consequences if they don't get it now.
4. Use remarketing.
You have only one chance to make a great first impression. But thanks to remarketing, your company has 10 or 100 chances to get people to do what you're hoping for them to do.
The two places you need to be are Google's Display Network (a network of 2 million sites including Google properties like YouTube, Gmail, etc.) and Facebook .
Remarketing is essential if you want to successfully grow your website. You will save money, get more leads and conversions, see higher visitor engagement and brand recall, and maximize your marketing ROI.
5. Build an app.
Yes, you need a mobile-friendly site. This is a no-brainer.
Really, though, websites are so 1990s. Now most internet usage is done in apps.
People who say you don't need an app for your business are like the fools in the '90s who said you don't need a website.
The key is in figuring out what your app should do.
Don't make the app a replacement of your website. I've seen many companies simply try to recreate their website and fail horribly. Then they say, "See, told you we didn't need the dumb app!"
What should you do? Reimagine your customer service engagements. Understand what key services ought to be exposed as an app. Then build that out.
Some of my favorite apps are those that deliver a user experience that is impossible to achieve on the web and something completely different from the website's typical experience -- stuff that involves a user's location or is based on delivering operational transparency (e.g., live updates on the status of something, like a pizza delivery tracker app created by a pizza company).
6. Stop sending people to your website.
OK, now that I've convinced you that you need to fix your company's website, you need to send fewer people to it from your ads.
Most Internet usage happens on phones now. People can make calls from phones. Therefore, you should use your ads to force people to call you.
Calls are worth more than leads. People who call are people who are ready to buy right now.
7. Reinvest in your call center.
Back in the '90s, everyone had call centers to take orders. Then this internet thing took off and suddenly everyone invested in e-commerce and websites so you could do just about everything without requiring call centers.
But with people increasingly accessing the internet only via phones, you absolutely need to have the infrastructure to capture all of this demand. You need people who can reliably and professionally answer the phones.
Also have a serious think about extending your call receiving hours. Why?
Consider this: If someone signs up for something on your site, and if you try to get back to them the next morning, you'll only be able to reconnect with 50 percent of them on average. That drops to 20 percent after two days. Why?
Whatever that person called you about is no longer top of mind, or they already found a solution (and it isn't yours) for whatever it was.
You have a 100 percent connect rate if you can just answer the phones at the moment they call. Be there! Reinvest in your call center.
You can make your time and monetary investments count and triple your sales. Too good to be true? No!
Set your company up for success this year by investing in your website. Just make sure you invest in the right things: change or remove your offers; use emotional triggers; invest in remarketing; build an app; force more people to call you; reinvest in your call center.
Do it now! Success awaits!