Mid-Year Review + Action Plan

by jim-stein@att.net

Half the year has passed, so it’s a good time to conduct a review of your company’s key metrics and create a simple action plan that should yield improvements for the second half of the year. This periodic review and action plan process leads to continuous improvement in your company’s performance. Here are our key metrics for the Diamond Certified Program. As you can see, we had a 4% gain in brand awareness, which may sound pretty small, but we’ve learned that in a noisy marketplace, consumers’ brains can

Key metrics graph

only hold so many brands, and the closer a brand gets to total market penetration, the more difficult it is to get gains. That’s why after spending more than $50 million promoting the Diamond Certified brand, we’ve reached 66% awareness with 65% influence (instead of 100% and 100%, respectively). These are actually very strong numbers, so if your company qualifies for Diamond Certified, it’s a good idea to use your Highest in Quality status to positively influence 2 out of 3 of your prospects and customers.

As you can see by the key metrics in the table, in the first half of 2014 we built the Diamond Certified Program by generating double digit gains in directory circulation, consumer members and web traffic. We got these gains because last year we focused on action steps that we knew would directly drive these numbers higher. Now, after reviewing our mid-year key metrics, we’ve created an action plan for the latter half of the year. For example, here are four of our action steps.

  1. Grow tracked calls through an increase in organic and paid search initiatives.
  2. Create new programs that will be tested to grow consumer membership numbers.
  3. Double the number of Diamond Certified Expert Contributors by demonstrating performance.
  4. Double the number of Diamond Certified companies using Diamond Certified widgets on their websites by helping companies with the simple technical steps.

What are your company’s key metrics?
Your metrics will be unique to your company and industry, which means they’ll be different than ours. You may track sales, repeat customers, customer satisfaction, safety, web activity, financial performance and even usage of your Diamond Certified Award (if you qualify). Choose five to 10 metrics and start tracking.

Build Your Company by Adding One More Usage of Diamond Certified
Once you’ve tracked your metrics, what can you do to move the most important numbers? That’s where the fun begins. Do things that have the biggest impact on your most important metrics. Create your company’s action plan for the second half of 2014. I believe that if you’re not trying to improve every year, you’re falling behind some of your competition. So, if you qualify for Diamond Certified, my recommendation for one of your action steps is to look at the list of possible uses of Diamond Certified (go to dccert.org/21uses) and add one more usage in the second half of this year. It may be adding a website widget, using your brochures better or putting your Diamond Certified Video Profile on your website.

Increase Confidence, Conversion and Search Ranking by Adding Diamond Widgets
If you qualify for Diamond Certified, here’s my recommendation for a simple improvement you can make in the second half of 2014 that will help your website visitors gain confidence in your company, help turn shoppers into buyers and improve your site’s search ranking: Simply add custom Diamond Certified Widgets to your site and you’ll instantly upgrade its performance.

DCCR example

Your Company Report page is the most complete and compelling web page on your company. On a single page, it gives potential customers all the information they need to choose your company.

What is a Diamond Certified Widget? It’s a small Diamond Certified Award box that you’ll place on your website to prove to visitors that your company has scored Highest in Quality and earned Diamond Certified (if you qualify). Your Widget is designed to increase visitors’ confidence at the exact time and place that they’re researching your company. Nothing could be more important—you need to maximize user trust as they research your company, and the Diamond Certified Widget does that. If you qualify for Diamond Certified, it’ll also link directly to your Diamond Certified Company Report page, which you’ll find is the most powerful presentation of your company on the web, with its animated Ratings Dashboard, complete survey responses, video profile, capabilities table and researched articles about your company.

But there’s more. Most companies that have added our Widgets to their websites do better in Search Ranking and Click-Through. Here’s why: By linking through the Widget, your site is telling Google that your Company Report is important, so when potential customers Google your company’s name, your Company Report page will appear next to or close to your website’s link. This increases Click-Throughs to your site because users instantly gain confidence as they see the trusted Diamond Certified name in the adjacent search listing and the high Google Star rating based on a very large number of “reviews” (see below).

widget example