Happy New Year!

If you are like me, you started January 1st with personal resolutions for the year ahead. One of mine is to spend more time with my family outside and to revel in the fact that Oregon has been blessed with some of the best snowfall in years.

What about resolutions for your business? Now is a good time to evaluate your professional goals and make adjustments to galvanize your business and position your company for stellar growth in the New Year.

Check in with your brand.

Brands are rooted in emotion. As such, they are constantly evolving. If you haven’t checked in with your customers recently, reach out and ask them how you are doing. Are you exceeding their expectations or just meeting their needs? One-on-one conversations are great, but well-worded brand surveys are highly effective too. We worked with a large trade association to develop a member survey which gave us the input we needed to help refresh its brand. As a result, the association kicked off the New Year with a new website, updated marketing messages, and a reinvigorated group of members and staff.

Optimize your online presence.

Website optimization is an ongoing process but even the most basic of fixes can mean the difference between customers finding your business online, or finding your competitors instead. And while search engine optimization can be quite complicated, there are some terrific user-friendly tools available to help make things easier. Our hands-down favorite tool is the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. We use it on our own website, and we use it to optimize the web pages and blog articles of our clients, too. When combined with thoughtful, relevant and high-quality content, this simple little plugin is a powerful tool to help boost search engine rankings.

Develop a 12-month content strategy.

Today’s consumers engage with content in more ways than ever thanks to social media, smartphones, and new preferences for processing information. To keep from becoming overwhelmed, begin with your business objectives in mind. Then take a close look at your analytics. How do your goals align with your audience’s behaviors? Use this information to develop a 12-month content strategy plan (described in detail in this post from our blog archives).

Evaluate your social media efforts.

Social media is the greatest thing since sliced bread, right? It can also be a frustrating waste of time. Start the New Year by pulling the plug on social media platforms that don’t grow your business. Don’t have a visually driven business? Get off Instagram! Pull the plug on Pinterest! This can be a painful exercise depending on the time and effort that you’ve spent. You may even feel responsible to your handful of followers. (Don’t worry, they’ll be okay.) Fortunately, this ruthlessness is easier to pull off at the beginning of the year when you are mentally prepared to start fresh.

Make time to connect with others.

Maybe you’ve deleted your Instagram account, or decided to take a break from Pinterest. Use your newfound time to connect (or reconnect) with the people in your network. By “connect,” I don’t mean sending a generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message via LinkedIn, either. Pick up the phone. Send a personalized card (we use SendOutCards). Take someone out for coffee or lunch. Your connections will be the foundation of your success in the next 12 months and beyond.

Good luck galvanizing your brand and your business in the New Year!