What Is Gap Analysis And How Important is it?

You’ve probably heard the phrase gap analysis before when discussing business growth strategies. It is one of the best means to assess where your business could stand to improve by comparing your current state to your desired future state.  

The process entails scrupulous, detailed research, but the benefits can be substantial. The analysis report is extensive and can result in significant improvements in various business processes. 

If you’re considering the analysis, below we’ll break down the process and its benefits. 

What Is Gap Analysis? 

Gap analysis is a formal study that compares your business’s current state to its expected or desired outcomes. The process shines light on where there is room for improvement. Identifying gaps helps you figure out where you’re falling short of expectations, and what steps you can take to close these gaps. 

gap analysis

Gap analysis may be a reaction to a shortcoming, like not meeting sales goals for a specific quarter. However, it can also be entirely proactive. Some leaders may be looking for ways to improve your chances of success before undertaking a new strategy, for example.  

What Are The Different Types Of Gap Analysis? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all type of analysis. You can conduct the analysis in multiple different areas depending on what you’re hoping to achieve through the process. 

There are four main types of gap analysis. 

Performance Analysis 

The most common type of gap analysis, is performance analysis looks at your company’s specific goals and identifies how far you need to go to achieve them. It also pinpoints what changes can close the gap. 

Market Analysis 

Market gap analysis helps you identify new sales opportunities by identifying areas where demand is greater than supply. It helps your business find unfilled niches in the current market, helping you stay ahead of competitors. 

Manpower Analysis 

Manpower gap analysis helps you make more informed decisions about staffing and budgeting. It looks at things like employee onboarding, off-boarding, and training to determine how to help your employees meet performance goals. 

Profit Analysis 

Profit gap analysis is often performed when your company overestimates profit projections. It helps determine what factors may have negatively impacted your profits, and how to proceed to ensure you meet revenue goals in the future. 

How Is Gap Analysis Conducted? 

While every company has a slightly different means of conducting gap analysis, most companies follow five basic steps. 

Step One: Identify your gap analysis goals. 

Before you even start, it’s important to understand what you want out of it. Do you want to know how effective an existing strategy or operation is? Do you want to know why you’re underperforming in a particular market? Are you wondering if you need to hire new staff? The more specific your goals going, the more informative the process will be.

Step Two: Look at your current state.  

The first thing to do when conducting gap analysis is to understand where your business stands right now. You can look at everything from sales figures to internal process documentation to KPIs. For a thorough understanding of your current state, it’s best to look at both quantitative factors (like data and metrics) and qualitative ones (like customer satisfaction ratings and employee interviews). 

Step Three: Figure out your end goal. 

What is the ideal state for your business? For example, your ideal state may entail certain sales figures or profit margins. Looking at industry standards can also help you identify your end goal. What are your competitors doing that you’re not? Even more important, are there any niches your competitors are not filling? This can help you find untapped markets. 

Step Four: Figure out the gap. 

What factors are separating your current state from your ideal state? This is the analysis stage and the point at which you look at the data gathered to draw conclusions about your current operations. Comparing and contrasting your ideal state with your current one can illuminate many opportunities for improvement. 

Step Five: Create an action plan. 

Once you understand the reasons for the gap, you can create a roadmap to success. Go through the list of obstacles keeping you from your goals and determine concrete solutions for each one. 

Why Is Gap Analysis Helpful? 

Its is an invaluable tool to help your company grow. A data-driven action strategy can provide invaluable insight that will ultimately lead to growth.  

Identify new opportunities. 

Running a business entails a lot of time and energy, and leaders often slip into a “can’t see the forest for the trees” mindset. As a result, you may be missing some chances for growth. 

It can help you look at what your company offers versus the needs of the market. There may be a specific niche you’re specially equipped to fill. Or, you may need to make a few tweaks to what you’re currently offering to meet customer needs. 

Process Improvement 

Taking a long, hard look at your company’s operations can help you pinpoint weak spots. Do your employees need more training? Are there specific departments that are failing to perform? 

What big or small changes can be made to help things run smoothly? Gap analysis answers these questions and gives you a concrete action plan to improve. 

Increase Your Profits With Gap Analysis

If you’re not meeting revenue goals, gap analysis is an invaluable tool. It can help you identify not only what went wrong, but how to better allocate your resources in order to fix the issues. 

It not only identifies factors that adversely affect your profits, it gives you specific steps to take to correct these issues. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to identifying growth opportunities, gap analysis is one of the best means to do so. It provides a data driven strategy for your company based on the standards of your specific industry. 

Whether you want to correct a specific issue or simply be proactive about forming new strategies, gap analysis is a comprehensive, step-by-step process that leaves you with a detailed action plan. Meeting expectations is never easy, but the analysis helps you form a plan by taking it one step at a time. 

Interested in gap analysis? You can schedule a free consultation with us at any time to talk about gap analysis and other services. Contact us for more information.

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How To Improve Your Conversion Rate With SEO

For years, business owners have struggled with one major question regarding their website:

Should they tailor their site design to satisfy the humans who visit it, or should they tailor it to satisfy the search engines that lead visitors there in the first place?

It’s not an easy choice to make. You need the search engines to love you in order for people to find your site. But you need humans to have an excellent experience on your website if you want those visits to turn into conversions.

Fortunately, there’s no longer much need to choose between SEO (search engine optimization) and CRO ( conversion rate optimization). In fact, the more sophisticated search engines become, the more SEO and CRO go hand-in-hand.

After all, search engines have one objective: to identify the web pages that will be most useful to the human beings searching for them. With advancements in technology, the bots are increasingly sensitive to the nuances of the user experience. They’re no longer just trolling for keywords (though keywords are still important!). Now search engines collect hundreds of clues to determine how informative, intuitive, and engaging your site is.

This means search engine optimization is also a stellar guideline for improving your conversion rate.

If you’re still just keyword-stuffing in an attempt to get more eyeballs, you’re a couple steps behind. The good news is that there are countless moves you can make that will boost your search engine rankings and inspire more conversion rate at the same time.

Here are some game-changers to start with.

Add Video Content

If you’ve been following our blog regularly, you know we love video. It’s such an incredible tool for raising brand awareness, inspiring a more personal brand-customer connection, educating users about your product or service, and ultimately boosting conversion rate.

Another great benefit of video is that search engines love it. They love it because they know people love it. Plus, video increases the duration of visits to your site. Generally speaking, you’re doing fairly well if people spend 30 seconds to 2 minutes on your site. If you can get above 2 minutes, you’re really rocking it, and the search engines notice.

And what’s one reliable way to get visitors to stick around that long? Providing something that will keep them engaged so they don’t go anywhere. It could be a longer video that’s deeply compelling, or it could be multiple short videos on the same page. It could even be a combination of video, infographics, and really killer content.

So video engages your visitors and gives you more credibility with search engines. But what about conversion rate? Well, here’s a fun fact:

77% of buyers say they’ve decided to purchase a product or service after watching an explainer video.

Video is an essential part of the strategy. And don’t feel intimidated if you’ve never tried video before. There are now tons of beginner-friendly video content tools like Animoto and Biteable to get you started.

Create Content with Real Value

On that note, it helps to make sure all your content has value to a human audience. Use a combination of written content, images, infographics, and video. Provide information that’s useful or ideas that are entertaining. Not only does this help increase your average duration of visits, but it’s also important to write for humans because the search engines scan for things like relevance and readability. Search engines love blog posts that are around 1,000 words or more. They prefer short, simple, easy to read sentences.

Frequent paragraph breaks are great, too.

Another idea worth considering is whether there is a way to create dynamic content for your website. Dynamic content is content that adapts depending on the locations, needs, and behaviors of the individual visitor. An example of dynamic content would be an ecommerce store featuring a banner advertising free shipping to the visitor’s specific state. Dynamic content also includes purchase suggestions we see so often on sites like Amazon.

Dynamic content is AI at its best. It helps search engines connect your site with people looking for the very specific goods and services you provide. And once those people find you thanks to stellar search engine rankings, they’ll see the specific answer to their specific pain point laid out in black and white. Boom. Conversion.

Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

While we’re on the topic of providing very specific solutions, let’s dig into long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are those specific phrases Internet users search for. Rarely does a human being type “used cars” into the search box. They’re much more likely to search for “used cars in San Jose,” “pre-owned BMW in San Jose,” “how do you know you’re getting a good deal on a used car” . . . you get the idea.

People search for specific solutions, not a general theme. Which means the more you can tailor your content and keyword strategies to resolve a specific search request, the better your chances at getting on the first page of the search results. And, in turn, the likelier you are to get visitors who are actually looking for the very services you provide.

There are many keyword tools that can help you figure out what your prospective customers are looking for and which words they’re using to search. We recommend Google Keyword Planner and KW Finder.

Increase Site Speed

Nobody likes a draggy site. Human beings don’t have patience for it, and neither do the bots.

Optimizing your loading time is one of the simplest things you can do to boost your SEO and your CRO in one step. It’s one thing business owners all-too-frequently underestimate. But we’re willing to bet you’ve abandoned a website before because you just weren’t willing to wait for a sluggish page to load. You can assume your target audience would do the same.

If you’re not sure how well your site performs, speed-wise, run it through Google PageSpeed Insights. This should give you some idea of whether it’s time to look into kicking your speed up a notch.

Optimize for Mobile

How does your website perform on mobile devices? If it looks sloppy or is confusing to navigate, you’re losing yet another opportunity to tell the search engines your site has value.

You’re also losing customers. A lot of them. In fact, nearly 40% of all online purchases made during the 2018 holiday season were made on a mobile device.

If you’re not sure if your page is mobile friendly, run it through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. When you run this test, you get one of three results. Your site may deemed mobile friendly, end of story. You may learn that it’s mobile friendly, but there are some issues with loading a specific page or two. Or you’ll learn that you have some major issues to address. Fortunately, Google tells you exactly what they are so you can resolve them without too much guesswork.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Modern search engines look at literally hundreds of details when weighing the value of your website. But the bottom line is that SEO is absolutely essential for your business . . . not just because it helps buyers find you, but because it shows you how to give buyers the best experience possible.

You should care what the search engines want, because the search engines want what humans want.

That said, we know improving your website’s SEO can be a sizeable and confusing undertaking. If there’s anything we can do to help, we’re always here and happy to talk to you. Drop us a line.

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