Here it is: Hire a dedicated employee to work on your website.
I realize that it might be a bad time to be telling you to increase your payroll spending, but like all New Year's Resolutions, your goal should be to get this done before the end of the year.
Hiring an employee to work on your website is no small task. It's going to be harder for you to find a qualified website employee than it would be to hire another salesperson for your showroom floor. The difficulty won't be finding anyone, but rather finding the right person for the job. You already know how to interview people for salesperson positions, but when was the last time you interviewed anyone for a technical job?
I'll give you a breakdown of the skills you should be looking for, but before I do that let me explain why you need this dedicated employee.
Simply put, managing a website properly takes a lot of time. The initial setup takes months of tedious work, but you don't stop there. Once a website is live, you then need to consider weekly changes, answering emails that come from customers, updating Facebook, updating Google+, pinning your best new engagement rings to Pinterest, not to mention the photography of all your new inventory.
Breaking this into a daily job it would be outlined like this:
- 5 hours every week to read the emails that come from individual customers, find each answer for each customer, and then type up a professional reply for each customer
- 10 hours every week to read through social networks and keep yourself engaged in the conversation with your customers. As of the day I'm writing this, those 2 hours are only referring to time spent on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. Nothing else.
- 5 hours every week for managing your online product inventory; this includes uploading new items, writing extended product descriptions and taking photography of new items.
- 3 Hours every week reading the website to make sure it is up to date; this includes removing or archiving old information and replacing it with new information.
- 4 Hours every week writing a single blog post, and uploading it to the site
- 5 hours every week reviewing all the analytics provided by your website and all the social networks you are involved with
- The remaining 8 hours are spent on marketing. That could be managing an AdWords campaign or it could be on coordinating website/social networking with all the planned offline ads.
I could easily add a few more tasks into that to-do list I itemized. Clearly this is a full time job. Notice how I only allocated 5 hours to the inventory management part of your website. Even if you have automated product catalogs from Ashe, WR Cobb, GemFind, or any other vendor, the time savings is only 5 hours a week. What about the other 35 hours?
In tomorrow's Nugget I'll list out the skills that this employee should have, and I'll tell you what to look for on a resume.