Your marketplace is changing. Are you keeping up?

A friend of mine observed that I tend to change my brand a lot: Longtime readers will know that I’ve shifted various aspects of my blog and my brand over the years.

The reason for this continuous shift isn’t a lack of definition about who I am or what I do; it’s not because I have nothing better to do; it’s not because I’m addicted to change. Rather, I’m constantly testing and experimenting. Here are some of the things I’m always testing:

Content

  • Content value: what do I like to talk about?
  • Content potential: What services do I offer and how do I communicate value in line with those services?
  • Content impact: What gets read, clicked, backlinked, and commented on?
  • Site stickiness: How long do people stay?

Marketing effectiveness

  • SEO: Where am I showing up in search engines?
  • Sales funnel: How am I doing at each stage in my sales funnel? Is my funnel full and is everything moving along? the way it should be?
  • Sales results: How are my proposals doing?
  • Niche markets: Am I reaching my potential customers?
  • Longevity: Am I keeping up with industry and buyer shifts?

Technical/User-experience

  • Page load speeds: Do pages load quickly?
  • Error messages: Are people actually seeing my content?

I haven’t picked these items randomly, and they’re just a sampling of a larger group of things I’m paying attention to in my business. But these are all — for one reason or another — factors that have my attention. And although I’m not slavishly pouring over stats and code every day, I do devote time to those elements. I figure, if I get these things right, I’m most of the way there.

And here’s why I do this: I want to get and keep customers, but I also realize that the marketplace is always shifting. We can’t stay the same because the world will pass us by. Business owners need to stay on top of the trends in their industry (trends that they and competitors are experiencing, which will influence how they deliver their products or services) and in the marketplace (trends that customers are experiencing, such as buying habits).

That’s why I seem like I’m always tweaking my brand. Yes, it drives down the consistency of my message. That is a risk. However, I think there is a significant upside as well: I’m not likely going to “age out” of my marketplace. And, I’ve worked hard to keep my finger on the pulse of the market so I know where it’s going.

You would do well to make your own informal list of things to track. Start with an overall idea of what your industry is all about and what your marketplace is demanding. Then, start thinking about what your marketplace will be demanding next week or next year and experiment today with some small brand shifts.

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