Digital trends you may be missing
You already know that you need to be on Twitter, and that you should have a modern website, but are there other general digital trends that you’re inadvertently neglecting?
Kabbage‘s Chief Marketing Officer, Victoria Treyger acknowledges that being a small business owner can be tough. “It takes a lot more work to get your business out there, to train good employees, to have the best customer service, and to have superior products than it does for big box organizations.”
Treyger notes that “Staying on top of new technology and trends can be a huge help when it comes to running your small business effectively because it makes your business more convenient to use and allows you to keep in close contact with your customers. The Internet is always changing and technology is constantly becoming more advanced, but it is in the best interest of your small business to use trends so that you adapt with the changes. Being one of the first businesses in your city or town to be on top of cutting edge technology can generate its own publicity as well as open up a whole new marketplace. Being aware of social media techniques and platforms as well as retargeting and upgrading your mobile applications is helping small businesses grow.”
In order to grow your business, you must market yourself efficiently, and Treyger relays that digital trends can be an inexpensive and fast way to market, especially in the era of relationship building.
In her own words below, here are some digital trends for the coming year that you need to take advantage of as a small business owner:
1. Customer Relationship Management Web Tools
We live in a world where a vast majority of small businesses exist online, and with the advent of online shopping, customer relationships have become increasingly less personal. Many customers and merchants prefer to keep their relationship short, direct, and to the point. This year look into software such as SalesForce and Hubspot to digitalize your customer relationships and create automated systems to handle them.
These systems track, organize, improve, and manage your current customer base, making it easier for you to expand that base and to help your small business grow. Customer relationship management web tools give small business owners an easier, more effective way to improve their eCommerce Store. These online tools allow you to connect with your customers in a more direct way through feedback and account tracking. By using CRM tools, you can give your customer an online platform to troubleshoot, which makes their experience with your small business easier and more convenient.
2. Content Marketing
Market your small business effectively online by providing your consumer base with valuable information regarding your service or product through social media platforms. By doing this, your small business can attract new customers and earn their trust. Basically, content marketing is marketing by creating your own content surrounding your business and then promoting it on your website and social media platforms.
Content marketing helps your customer better understand your business, and it brings new attention to your business by divulging information that the consumer base might not have previously known. Content marketing allows you as a small business owner to tell your own story and get your product or service out there in exactly the manner you prefer. Content marketing is built upon a foundation of solid trust between merchant and consumer, and it helps build loyalty for your small business by creating a pathway of constant communication.
3. Website Content Management Systems
Website Content Management Systems make it easier for you to understand and control your small business website. These systems do not require extensive computer code knowledge, just basic computer skills. These systems make it quick and easy to update your website with current news, events, product information, and shipping information.
A CMS can save you time and money because you won’t have to hire a web developer, and you won’t have to constantly worry about updating your business’s online presence. WordPress is the current leader in providing CMS. These systems could mean all the difference for your eCommerce store and even for the online presence of your brick and mortar store. Using CMS allows you to keep your website content as up to date as possible, making it more searchable and easier to use online.
4. Online Payment Methods
PayPal opened the door to a conglomerate of new online payment methods. Customers can now pay for goods and services using their smartphone’s Bitcoin or Square Wallet application. Google has also come out with their own version of a wallet, which essentially allows the customers to load currency onto a mobile application and use this application as a payment method. Any system that makes the payment process faster, easier, and safer for consumers is seeing increased popularity this year and should continue to grow.
These types of online services for payment will continue to reduce consumer use of cash because it safeguards against a lost physical wallet and makes it easier to make purchases online without having to put in all your credit card information. Catching onto this trend can open your business’s doors to a whole new realm of tech-savvy consumers while also making your payment processes faster and easier. Many of these systems automatically integrate into your bookkeeping system, as well.
5. Image-based Content
A new type of online search is becoming available and increasingly popular. Image searches are now allowing for consumers to search using digital images in large databases. Systems like Google Images allow you to either describe an image and then search directly for it or upload an image to the system and it will describe the image for you. A variety of other marketplaces are making use of this technology by creating apps for their businesses. Walgreens allows you to take a picture of your prescription and upload it via app or website to order a refill. Other businesses allow you to use QR scanners and pictures of products to search their inventories.
As this type of search becomes more common, think of creative ways your small business could use this technology to improve sales and marketability. Also consider what Internet video could do for your small business. Video as a medium for marketing is highly useful because it has high content availability and it engages viewers. Videos are also now being ranked on search engine pages, which add another platform for your business to engage with its customer base on. Image-based content is a great way to market an eCommerce business.