Small businesses face more challenges today than ever before with increasing competition online and the constant threat of being overshadowed by larger businesses. In order to be successful in the market, you need to keep up with technology advances and be ready to adapt to the ever-changing needs of consumers today. There are a handful of technology advances and small business trends that can help drive your business forward:
Utilize the Cloud
If you're not utilizing the power of the cloud, you should be. This is an invaluable tool that allows you to manage your business from anywhere with any device at any given time. Utilizing the cloud decreases the chances for lost critical data as it is saved various times in various places. Plus, it'll increase productivity by a ten-fold since you'll be able to get things done on the go.
Use Social Media
It is estimated that nearly 2.307 billion are utilizing social media today and that number is expected to grow to 2.55 billion by 2018. Start by building a social media presence for your business. Utilize social media as a tool for marketing campaigns to promote your products and services. Engage your customers to see what they want, and monitor what they like. You can then, in turn, provide personalized offers based on your target audience's online behavior.
Leverage the Use of Wifi
Believe it or not, wifi proves to be an effective marketing tool. Offering free wifi allows you to build quality networks and gather valuable data to help understand your customers online behavior and will enable you to provide personalized strategies using that data.
Gather Customer Feedback
Gone are the days of blatant self-promotion, and forcing information down your customers' throats. If you aren't utilizing the data you are missing out on a goldmine of information. The purpose of your small business is to create customers and most importantly, keep them. Ask your customers what they want, what they'd like to see, and how you can make their experience with your business better. You can do this in many ways:
- Send out a poll or survey with pre-generated questions
- Create an easy-to find space on your website where customers can write their feedback
- Call or email dormant customers (those who haven't used your business/services for a while) and see how you can help win their business back
- Ask customers to write a review for you on Google or Facebook by either giving them a call, sending them an email, or giving out a promo in exchange for their review. Their feedback is valuable and will give you a ton of insight onto your next steps and ideas as a business moving forward.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
People are on the go. They tend to use their smartphones for everything from checking emails to social media, to downloading offers and promos. Make sure that your website is user-friendly so that when a user comes across your ad on social media, or gets an email from you, they're able to click on a link and get directed to an easy-to-read version of your website right away. If your website isn't mobile-optimized and the user needs to scroll left and right, zoom in and refresh, chances are you've already lost them as a lead. Enable your customers and prospects to interact with your business in the simplest way possible so they can find the information they're looking for right away.
Ease-of-access isn't a small business trend that is going away any time soon.
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