Some small business owners run from online technologies. But if you invest wisely they save you both time and money in the long-run. This article takes you through what you need to know to grow your business faster with five smart strategies…
Online Technologies That Make It Easier To Run Your Small Business
Any business owner knows the importance of embracing new technologies and methodologies that can help expand, grow, maintain and provide better service. Not only do some of the best online technologies offer a smooth and enjoyable experience for any potential and existing customers, they can play an important role in an emerging or newly developed business strategy.
Implementing new technology that enhances security or meets a user’s expectations in an evolving digital and online world can help maintain both a customer and business-focused strategy. The aim should be to deliver the best possible experiences for both users and employees.
Currently, some of the best online technologies you can implement include all the tools necessary for a high level of effective delivery for small or medium-sized business to compete with large corporations. Implementing just one or two can have a dramatic impact on your business. Some of the best core Internet technologies include:
- Proactive and Reactive Chat
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media and Digital Marketing
- Managed IT Services
One of the most engaging methods that can form part of an excellent customer experience is the use of artificial intelligence (AI), or human-controlled live chat services. Email marketing is a tried and tested method of customer attainment and retention. The best delivery possible can be maintained by a combination of:
- Customer experience
- User experience
- Search engine optimization
The modern world demands social media and digital marketing as a valid strategy while managed IT services can provide a comprehensive set of tools when it comes to operating through any online interface. So let’s explore these five online technologies that take your small business to the next level.
Proactive And Reactive Chat
Since its inception in the early 2000s, live chat has grown to become almost an expectation of any respectable customer-focused business as a part of its online communication capabilities. Live chat systems can come in a variety of configurations including:
- Artificial intelligence
- Human-controlled operations
- Proactive interfaces
- Reactive solutions
Putting a bit more detail to it:
- AI: Artificial intelligence delivers information based on queries.
- Human-controlled operations: A user is put through to a human controller.
- Proactive interfaces: Invites user engagement through audiovisual clues.
- Reactive solutions: Waits for user engagement through a manual interface.
There are numerous methods when it comes to how to add a chatbox to your website such as:
- Third-party coding
- CMS plugins
- Paid coding
Every business will have different requirements. It is essentially a matter of which type is better for yours either financially, feasibly, or both. The system required by your website will be the subject of internal review or third-party consulting.
Most businesses opt for a mixture of AI and human interaction through a proactive interface.
Email Marketing – The Easiest Of Online Technologies
One of the oldest yet most effective marketing strategies around is email marketing. It yields excellent results in:
- Attaining leads
- Retaining customers
- Boosting sales via relevant new and targeted marketing based on previous user interaction
Email marketing can be tedious to execute manually. However, there are many automation programs and apps such as MailChimp that can do much of the work for you in managing repetitive tasks like:
- Sending out emails en masse
- Adding structured information (contact details, logos, communication details)
- Generating sign up forms
If your company is focused on business and sales then implementing a sound email marketing campaign will eventually become a necessity if you are serious about compounding all sources of income.
You probably already know that a key metric of online marketing is the “clickthrough rate” that has an average of 0.7% when implemented as a CTA tactic on a web page. For email, the CTR stands at an average of 2.6%, almost four times that of a website call to action! That has the potential to make a massive difference when it comes to online business success.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the most important aspects of designing a website or even a single page to display a product or act as a landing page is search engine optimization, better known as SEO.
For those unfamiliar with SEO, it can sound like something complicated. This is reflected by the fact that almost 70% of small businesses don’t implement a solid SEO strategy on their websites. That is a shockingly high number when you consider that most people will look for a company website before contacting them.
It becomes necessary to implement an SEO strategy as soon as you can in order to be associated with relevant search results, or even as an authority in your field. SEO is simple in theory yet hard in practice. It can yield significant results almost instantly when it comes to directing visitors to your website.
The whole point of investing in a website is to have an online HQ and attract new customers. That is done by increasing online traffic. By implementing SEO standards such as:
- Use of keywords
- Relevant content
- Digital media (images and videos)
Your website will be properly crawled by a search engine with a higher chance of being displayed to the most relevant users. That will be based upon the content of your website. Finally, SEO should be combined with a relevant customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) strategy for optimal results.
Social Media And Digital Marketing
With the advent of the smartphone, social media exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. That’s one example of how online technologies changing the way we live. Love them or loathe them, social media sites can add important impact for any business marketing strategy.
Even at the most basic level of interaction brings some customer engagement. This can amount to free advertising, although additional paid social advertising benefits many small businesses all over the world.
Any digital marketing strategy should aim to include at least one social media platform. Choose the social networks where your ideal target markets spend time online. Remember, they all have their pros and cons…
Facebook is best used for conveying:
- Longer messages of inspiration
Twitter is an excellent platform for:
- Delivering quick and effective updates
- Linking to blogs
- Displaying short videos
YouTube is ideal for:
- Product review videos
- User guides
- Regular vlogs
So, company announcements, product or service information and marketing presentations can be showcased on your own brand channel.
Managed IT Services
Depending on your business size, scale and scope, it might not be necessary to employ all of the services offered by managed IT but even a small businesses can benefit.
Managed IT services are essentially outsourced, cost-effective IT service providers that can implement a solid IT infrastructure strategy for any size business. Managed IT services usually offer some combination of:
- Cybersecurity packages
- Software as a service
- Data backup and restoration
- Network configuration and monitoring
- Cloud-based solutions
For most businesses, a fully managed IT service isn’t necessary, but in a world of malicious hacking, data theft, and accidental data loss, most companies, even small ones, can benefit from at least a cybersecurity package.
For many businesses, having a network installed and then managed by a full-time administrator is a huge expense, yet for a small monthly fee managed IT services can provide these kinds of features that would normally be quite costly. One of the greatest advantages of this scenario is the hardware and software as a service package that usually comes with it. That ensures all equipment and necessary software licenses are provided at a fraction of the price, updated when necessary, and even replaced as improved facilities become available.