What Are Your Company's Digital New Year's Resolutions for 2018?
The year is nearly over. You worked hard to grow your business in 2017, and we hope that your company is now healthier and more profitable than ever. It's likely that you have already begun to plan the things that will help foster further growth in 2018. As you consider your company's resolutions for the new year, we hope that you won't neglect the digital side of your operations.
In any industry, the IT infrastructure of a company can make or break the ability to maintain the health of that business, it has implications for helping attract new customers and serve your existing customers more productively.
What are your company's digital new year's resolutions? These are our suggestions.
Prepare Your Company for Anything
A complete shutdown of all digital operations is one of the worst things that can happen to any business. Whether your company takes orders online, communicates with customers by email or maintains a customer database on a server in the office, it's likely that some aspect of your IT infrastructure is not just necessary, but critical for the continued operation of your business.
If a natural disaster, network intrusion, or malware infection cripple an essential computer or server, what will your company do to ensure that operations can continue?
Make 2018 the year in which you finally establish a business continuity plan. Services such as cloud-based backups and servers that become active when your primary servers fail aren't expensive -- and they can keep your company alive if a disaster occurs.
Automate More of Your Revenue Generation Efforts
Does your company have an employee who manually writes every search engine advertisement and lead nurturing campaign? Do your completed deals typically require lengthy one-to-one communication with your prospects?
If marketing and lead nurturing require extensive manual effort on your part, your business isn't growing as quickly as it could. With marketing automation tools, you can use pre-written campaigns to nurture and qualify your leads before your sales force engages in one-on-one communication to close deals. Automated marketing can help your customer base grow rapidly because it will help you handle more leads.
You'll also close more deals because the sales staff can focus their efforts on only the most interested prospects.
Improve Your Website's Search Engine Optimization
Having the ability to handle more leads is a great way to make any business more profitable. You need more leads to enter your nurturing funnel, though, before you can handle those leads -- and many of your leads will find your company through search engine queries.
Paid advertising channels are a great way to bring a steady flow of visitors to your website. The more you pay to acquire a customer, though, the more you will have to profit from that customer to make the effort worthwhile.
The most profitable customers are the ones that cost nothing to acquire, so make 2018 the year in which your company focuses on generating more organic website traffic from search engines. Creating high-quality content (like informative blog posts) are one of the best ways to generate more organic traffic -- but don't neglect your website's existing content.
Rewriting an article to make it more helpful and informative may improve that article's search engine rank.
Strengthen Your Cyber Security
Malware and data breaches should be constant concerns for any business. The intensity and frequency of cyber attacks are simply too much to ignore.
In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack may have cost businesses as much as $4 billion -- and that was just one attack out of many. When examining how much hackers actually profited from attacks like these, the inconvenience of downed systems might be more damaging than the actual ransom:
While the potential losses from reduced productivity and efforts to mitigate the damage from WannaCry are expected to be significant, the actual ransom collected through the attack is likely to be modest. Cybercriminals behind the scam are typically demanding $300 in Bitcoin to unlock a company's computers.
Automatic cloud-based backups of your company's critical systems can stop ransomware in its tracks; there's no need to pay a ransom to recover a file that's backed up elsewhere.
As serious as the ransomware threat is, though, it is only one of the many online threats that can potentially cripple your company. There has never been a better time than now to invest in an active security solution. Many consider using vendor-partners to manage these tasks so that normal staff is not burdened with the challenges of analyzing and detecting unknown threats that a traditional antivirus solution might miss.
Get Serious About Social Media
Do you consider social media a vital tool for maintaining customer engagement and extending the reach of your brand, or do have trouble finding the time for more than a little social media dabbling?
Social media does nothing to strengthen your brand if all of your social profiles are inactive.
So, how can your company become more active on social media if you have trouble finding anyone with the time to write new content? To maintain active profiles on many social media services without taking on additional staff, consider outsourcing your social media content writing duties to a freelance writer.
Alternatively, focus on just one or two important social media platforms and close your other inactive profiles. It's probably OK to shutter your Tumblr profile, but other platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and Instagram are still effective in generating followers and engagement for your brand.
Go Green and Reduce Your Facility Expenses
Does your office have a server -- perhaps multiple servers -- performing functions such as file and database hosting? Your servers consume more power than you might realize.
Unless your office has a server room with enhancements for more efficient cooling, it is likely that keeping your servers cool also inflates your monthly power bill. Running a network of power-hungry computers in a facility not designed for the task is both expensive and wasteful of energy.
Commit to doing better in 2018 by moving as much of your IT infrastructure as possible to energy-efficient cloud services. As your company's large workstations become obsolete, replace them with notebooks. Notebooks don't just consume less power than desktop computers -- they can also further reduce your facility expenses by making it possible for employees to work from home.
Embrace The Idea of Using Outside Help
You might have noticed that we mentioned the idea of outsourcing services a couple of times in this post today. Many times, CEO's can get stuck in the mindset that the only way to get help is by hiring new staff.
While this can be effective in some cases, staffing is expensive for a business when you consider the time it takes to find a quality candidate, perform interviews and provide on-site training.
Outsourcing specific tasks, like data backup and recovery services, can provide the most value for your IT dollars spent. The trick is going to be finding a trustworthy and reliable partner for help in this area.
For our part in this equation, know that Continuous has been providing IT and cloud services for nearly 20 years! Our passion for helping business IT run more smoothly is matched by our desire to help clients achieve their business goals.