Technology is developing at a lightning speed pace these days, and it’s up to you to ensure you stay on top of the game. Boosting your technological capabilities doesn’t just sound cool; it’s critical to ensuring you stay at the forefront of your industry and maintain a competitive edge. The good news is that technology helps make everything from communication to customer payments easier to manage. Here are just a few benefits of upping your tech savvy.
Stay connected and protected
Whether you’re a plumber, a dog trainer or a mobile hairdresser, it’s never been simpler to handle things while you’re out and about.
When it comes to customer information, managing data through the cloud (using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) has a myriad of benefits for small businesses. You can access your account any time and from any device, making it easier than ever to manage your business on-the-go, and to share vital information with clients. Virtual storage also removes the traditional costs associated with physical storage, making it possible for even the smallest of businesses to operate at a level that’s just as savvy as big organisations. What’s more, information is encrypted and password-protected, meaning you can be confident you’re keeping sensitive data safe.
Make yourself easy to find online
Back in the olden days, getting your name out there used to be the biggest challenge any smaller business faced. In this magical future land we inhabit, however, it’s expected that every business can be found online, and it’s imperative to getting your name out there. If you’re still a bit new to this whole ‘online marketing’ thing, setting up your own business website is a good place to start. Sites like WIX and Squarespace provide intuitive templates to help create professional-looking websites, all at little to no cost.
Once you’ve set up your website, you’ll want to take advantage of the wealth of traffic generated by search engines like Google to help your business grow. Free tools like Google’s mobile and desktop friendliness test help you determine how well your site is performing, and if you’re looking to improve your search engine ranking, why not give our “How to Boost Your Google Ranking”article a read?
Stay connected with your customers
Reaching out directly to clients is genuinely one of the best aspects of the online business world. From email marketing to Facebook sharing to reading and responding to True Local reviews, there’s a ton of ways to keep in touch with your customers. You can share deals and answer questions in a flash, which is really important in assuring customers that each and every one is valued. The social side of technology is like an ongoing focus group, as it allows you to receive constant feedback on how you’re doing and improve your business accordingly.
What’s more, the good news is that you don’t have to be a tech whiz to have a solid online strategy for your small business. Tools like Mailchimp make sophisticated email marketing easy; its templates are intuitive to use and you can segment your customers by location, age, gender and so on to ensure they’re only receiving information that’s relevant to them. When it comes to managing your social media accounts, Hootsuite keeps all your posts in one place, and you can schedule them ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about them when you’ve got a million other tasks at hand. It’s a win for you and a win for your customers.
The vast majority of people now prefer to pay online rather than mess about with cash and cheques, so allowing them to do so is a sure-fire way to making your business more appealing. Online payments also help you keep track of your finances all in the place. Point-of-sales apps like Kounta and Square make online payments a breeze, and they’re very simple to set up and start using – you can even use them on an iPad. These apps are particularly useful for service businesses like cafes and restaurants, as it makes the ordering and payment process totally hassle-free for the business and for the customer.
Meanwhile, if you’re a small business owner who deals with estimates and invoices, Invoice2go makes it easy to send invoices on the go and manage them online. This means no more paperwork for you, more free time and more efficient customer service.
Improve your customers’ experience
As you probably know, positive customer experience equals repeat business and good word of mouth. Both of these are pretty handy, to say the least, so it pays to make things as simple and hassle-free as possible. One of the great things about online marketing is that you can learn from your customers’ behaviour to continually refine your offering and improve their experience. For example, looking at the open rates of your emails (using Mailchimp or the like) will give you a better insight into what day and time people are most likely to open emails from you, and what kinds of subject lines they’re most attracted to. Google Analytics also helps you see what pages on your website are garnering the most traffic, so you can focus more on those. Similarly, Facebook Insights tells you the types of posts that are performing best, which helps you tailor your social media content, and is particularly useful if you’re running paid advertising as it ensures you’re not wasting your budget.
Everything we’ve covered here basically comes down to good customer experience, and that’s why technology should be your best friend when it comes to growing your business. Easy payments, fast findability and instant communication will make you very attractive indeed, so plug in and get cracking!