Technology has a reputation of being cold and impersonal, the kind of thing that can stand in the way of developing deep, long-lasting relationships. This is bad news for marketing, which is all about making a connection. However, used right, technology can actually work the other way. It can provide the perfect tool for boosting your small business marketing.
In fact, tech becomes crucial for building a small business. After all, there’s nothing truly “small” about running a small business. You have the same worries and concerns as your larger competitors. You just have fewer resources to get the job done.
Of course, your relative lack of size has some advantages as well. You don’t have the unwieldy scale as some of your giant competitors. Instead, you are able to stay nimble, responding to market shifts faster and more effectively.
Meanwhile, you can build closer connections with your clients. You can take a boutique attitude to some aspects of your customer relations, making you the go-to provider in certain circumstances.
The key is taking advantage of these natural strengths, while still setting yourself up for future growth. In the long run, you want to take the “small” completely out of your small business. But, in the meantime, you want to leverage your current size without giving up on future opportunities.
Technology helps bridge that gap.
The intelligent use of tech can enhance your marketing, letting you find and service clients more efficiently. You’ll be able to build your customer base, without giving up some of your natural advantages.
But you’ll need to pick your spots. You don’t have the number of resources that allow for blanket company-wide investments. You need to know the right pressure points to hit in order to optimize your expenditures.
Here are the five places where technology will have the most impact on your small business marketing efforts:
Bolster Your Media Footprint
The first step to making a sale: connect with potential clients. To do this, you need to produce marketing content that will draw them in. Technology can help you achieve that goal.
Invest in a website that will entice buyers. Of course, your site will include basic product descriptions and info about your company. However, it should go beyond these bare-bones sales necessities.
Your website should foster an emotional connection with your target audience as well. After all, you aren’t just pushing your products or services. You are building a brand and developing a relationship.
That connection gets easier when you provide engaging content. Use the high-functioning Content Management Software to create fun and interesting blogs. Supplement this with video content.
Meanwhile, increase your commitment to social media. It provides an excellent way to connect directly with potential customers. Leveraging platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allows you to connect with a broad audience, without a significant financial investment. It also gives you a way to distribute the content you created for your website.
Tap into Email Marketing
Marketing isn’t about making individual sales. Of course, you want those too. But the long-term goal involves forming an ongoing relationship with your customers. You want to build trust over time and to create a situation where they will return to you over and over.
That connection is hard to foster, especially in the modern landscape of online commerce. Your clients are spread out around the world and make most of their orders remotely, through a computer. How do you communicate with someone you’ve never actually met face to face?
Email marketing can help. It provides a way to build relationships with customers. You can remain in communication, keeping them current on your latest developments. Email marketing also provides further exposure for your online content, allowing you to get more out of your investment there.
Email marketing helps you develop ties to both current and potential customers. However, it shouldn’t represent your only attempt to tighten these connections.
Long term, you want to create ways for your clients to plug directly into your system. Your goal is to eliminate as many barriers to completing a transaction as possible.
In other words, you should make the process seamless, simple, and nearly instantaneous. That way, you become indispensable to your customers, able to provide what they need when they need it.
Technology can make this possible. Take a punchout catalog as an example. These provide an excellent way to create a direct pipeline to customers.
The punchout catalog allows customers to tap into real-time information, providing them updated data on things like availability and pricing. The technology plugs directly into their e-procurement systems, making the process easy and streamlined.
Developing a strong long-term business requires more than finding present-day customers. You need to adapt and to evolve over time if you want to stay viable over the long haul.
Easier said than done, right? True. But technology provides the key to maintaining your edge, despite a shifting and often- confusing business environment.
Keeping up with change requires a meaningful understanding of market trends. It also calls for the ability to spot shifting conditions before they become obvious to your competitors.
By upgrading your data collection and analysis, you can point your innovation in the right direction. An investment in these technologies is like committing resources to the future. You gain the knowledge you need to steer your company into its next phase of development.
Improve Internal Processes
Servicing your clients is a broad mission. It starts with your initial sale, but continues well past that starting point. To achieve lasting success, you need to conceive of marketing as a holistic endeavor. Look beyond sales and view marketing as a total-company process.
To accomplish this, you need to have an efficient and responsive organization. That means investing in internal communication and keeping your production processes lean and responsive.
There are several technology types that can make this possible. Use time-tracking software to provide a productivity boost. Meanwhile, project-management tools keep everyone on the same page and streamline new initiatives, bringing innovative ideas to market faster.
Samantha Wallace is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is the Content Advocate for Greenwingtechnology.com.