Whether you have a small or a large business, as a business owner, you would never shy away from going over the line to protect and nurture it. In order to grow and become successful, every business owner is always looking for newer and better ways to establish themselves. Along with all of the day to day priorities such as managing finances, attracting new customers and retaining employees you also need to stay up to date with recent trends.
While not every business owner in tech-savvy, it is still important to find different ways to integrate it into day-to-day activities if you want to survive in the market. Even the least tech-savvy among us need to deal with a ton of important stuff such as managing social media, video marketing, updating website content, CRMs, etc. Thus, investing time and money into learning is actually worth it.
A lot of people are scared by technology and avoiding incorporating it into their business because of the complexities involved. However, today, you donít have an option but to integrate technology and it is really easier than it seems.
To develop specific technological tools, it is important to efficiently utilize all the data and related resources. A lot of businesses today are investing in IT solutions for improved performance.
Though it may seem difficult to incorporate, you must not give up as the long term benefits that often outweigh short term challenges by a huge margin.
Here are some areas where you can integrate technology into your small business.
Sales and Marketing
Today, technology is disrupting the marketing space. Technology-driven marketing has helped millions of businesses reach great heights.
Apart from the traditional benefits, technology is making it easier to reach and sell products (or services) to inbound (people who visit your site) and outbound (a group of Sales VPs) leads. You can get detailed insight into the people who visit your site, the pages they spend the most of their time on and can even perform reverse IP lookups in order to match a visitor with the company they work for.
Over 2.5 billion people from all over the world use email and of the 196 billion emails exchanged daily, 109 billion are business emails. You can see how powerful email are a marketing platform can be. Email marketing is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to reach a large number of users. Moreover, itís also very effective in customer acquisition. Some of the most popular email marketing platforms are MailChimp, MailJet and SendGrid.
Apart from sending different types of emails, technology can help is capturing and analyzing them. As far as outbound leads are concerned, different services are now available to not only generate leads but also offer customized and targeted strategies depending upon the nature of customers.
Social media is a great marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. It involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to promote a product or service.
The boom of artificial intelligence is not only helping businesses but also the users. People are now getting certain amazing features like predictive search, chatbots, personalized recommendations, thus, enriching their interactions with a business. On the flip side, by providing such services, businesses are gaining more and more information about its customers. As time is proceeding, data is becoming more and more accurate, thus greatly improving results.
Different cloud-based marketing solutions can allow team members in managing, sharing and accessing customer data on a common platform. Different teams can easily collaborate and communicate and in turn develop better sales strategies.
Last but not least, you can consider incorporating chatbots if you are struggling to keep up with excellent customer service. Long phone menus and hold times can have a negative impact on customers. Chatbots can help you in providing great customer service experience to your customers, by easily answering frequently answered questions and intelligent customer support.
One of the most important areas of marketing these days is visual marketing. Letís uncover it in more detail in the following subsection.
- Video Marketing an Visual Content
There is no denying to the fact that people prefer visuals over text. Even science tells us that the brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and over 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals boost user engagement and they help in information retention. Twitter, in one of its blog posts, has revealed that tweets with images get 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Buzzsumo has revealed that Facebook posts with images receive around 2.3 times more engagement than those without. In general, your posts on social media with garner 94% more views if you support your informative content with related graphics.
Videos can boost customer engagement to a great extent. By including a video about your product on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. You can use various online video makers available in the market to start right away.
Videos provide you a good return on investment. With online video creator and ad maker tools, video production today is not as difficult as it used to be. Moreover, online video editing tools are getting better and cheaper. Extensive use of smartphones equipped with decent screens and speakers makes the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Videos are influential in igniting emotions and building trust. Instead of aggressively selling your product, you can just provide useful and interesting information and let people come to you. Promotional videos can build trust too. According to a survey conducted by ‘The e-tailing Group‘, around 57% of consumers said that product videos gave them more confidence to buy something online.
Embedding videos can exponentially improve the time spent by your visitors on your site. This longer exposure can make search engines realize that your page had good content and thus your website will be ranked higher. A study by Moovly suggests that you are 53% more likely to show up on the top of Google if you have a video embedded on your site. Giving proper titles and putting an interesting description to videos can help in optimizing them for search engines.
Most of the times, people are too bored to scroll through all the textual content to get to know something. However, most of them don’t mind spending a few minutes on an interesting video.
You can even use videos in your email marketing campaigns. An introductory email with a video embedded within it increased the click-through rate by a whopping 96%.
Some of the ways in which you can include visuals in your content are:
- Including a featured image for every article or a blog post
- Placing an image after every few hundred words
- Embedding charts, graphs, infographics whenever you want to visualize data
- Embedding Twitter or Instagram posts to increase the visual appeal
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to make their workforce more productive and efficient, all while staying under budget. You need to find the right tools that will help you in automation and thus save time.
With technology, businesses can allow their employees to work off-site. This will not only help them save infrastructure costs involved in managing large workspaces but also allow them to hire from a wider pool of applicants, thus increasing the odds of finding a well-qualified candidate. Mobile-friendly technologies can help different easily connect with each other on the go.
There are a number of tools available in the market which give a deep insight into business performance, customer preferences, and market trends. Businesses can access these reports and performance metrics to build effective strategies for their overall growth and success.
A lot of times, it is seen that employees are disengaged from their work. Working in little cubicles and doing rote tasks can be accounted for as one of the reasons for this. Technology can improve transparency, flexibility, and collaboration giving employees a chance to get the job done from wherever they want. This can make employees more engaged, motivated and not to mention productive.
Some of the examples of software that can help in improving productivity are:
Time tracking software
Time tracking software such as ClickTime can be influential in telling where time is spent and by whom. It lets you track hours, mileage and expenses, all in one place. Tracking such mundane yet critical information accurately in one place will help employees, as well as clients, remain well informed and productive.
Another way you can improve productivity is by linking your CRM software with the devices used by employees. It is a general observation that when any customer contacts a customer service representative, a lot of time is wasted in finding their information. Integrating CRM with employee devices will give them easy access to customer information as and when needed. This will reduce customer wait time and in turn enhance customer satisfaction. Technology, if used effectively and help you in improving business practices. Even people with limited technical knowledge can use these hacks to make their business more efficient. You might be tempted to do it the old way but it is no longer an option. Once you regularly stay updated with happenings in the tech world, you will realize that the opportunities are endless.