In one of the final sections of our Publishize book, I list my 10 Keys to Success. Because I only briefly touch on them in the book, I’m expanding on them here. Here’s number five in the list.
Ditch What Isn’t Working
Marketing is a huge part of any business, including the publishing business. It’s important to keep track of marketing techniques you use that work and those that don’t. With online tools such as Web site statistics, it’s extremely easy to monitor the impact of your online marketing activities. If a book or a product, a service or marketing technique doesn’t fly, don’t be afraid to dump it and move on.
The end of the year is a good time to take stock of what happened over the past 12 months. Did your business move forward, or did it kind of float aimlessly toward the end of the year, leaving you wondering what happened? The old saw about failing to plan means you’re planning to fail is a little harsh but true to a large degree. When it comes to business, you need to be paying attention and planning your next move.
To monitor the state of your business, go over your accounting reports. Look at where your money is coming in and determine the products or services that were successful. Give yourself a big pat on the back for those! Then look at which ones were less successful and see if you can brainstorm ways to make them work. Some formerly unsuccessful products can have a new life by being updated or targeted to a different market.
Now look at your Web sites. Has your traffic increased or decreased over the current year? Determine where your traffic is coming from and why. For example, if you just signed up for Facebook and have been posting links to your articles in your status, it may represent a new source of traffic and potential leads for you. If your traffic has dropped substantially, consider possible causes for that as well. For example, have you stopped adding new content to a formerly popular site? If the site is still important to you, it might be time to give it some attention again.
Also consider the possibility that some things just aren’t worth dealing with, and dump them entirely. For example, this year we ditched an ecommerce store when it became clear that our partners were not doing their part to make it work. We also took down all the promotional sites for a content management system that is now really long in the tooth. Although we still use it all the time, explaining it to a new generation of Web users just wasn’t worth it anymore.
The good thing about getting rid of the old is that it makes room for the new. We replaced our old content management system with a new one that is easier for Web newbies to use and that is targeted toward a much more specific marketplace. We’ve had a number of inquiries already and haven’t really done much to get the word out about it.
As business owners, I know it’s extremely difficult to let go of things that we’ve put our heart and soul into creating. But it’s kind of like cleaning the garage and getting rid of a lot of old stuff. It’s painful when you do it, but afterward you find you really don’t miss what you threw away.