It’s exhausting and, quite frankly, impossible to be across every technological development but it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse. If nothing else it could save your business a lot of money.
Here are three ways to use technology and save money:
Possibly the most influential and game-changing promotional development of the past decade has been the shift to online marketing. Whether it is through social media, emails, blogs, videos or SEM, the avenues and platforms available to businesses to optimize their web presence are countless.
Small businesses are now able to access their target market in a way so cost-effective it puts methods like letterbox drops and billboards to shame.
However, customers are increasingly savvy to the spam being thrown at them so it is necessary to remember the four Ts – Target, Time, Tailor, Tell – to best use online marketing to your advantage.
Make sure the content is relevant to your target audience!
Also ensure your content is posted at the right time. A recent article by Buddy Media found that marketers were posting too little on weekends when they were likely to get the highest rates of interaction. The article also found that posting on Wednesday would grant you the least interaction (7.4 percent lower than average) with Monday and Thursday being prime days for audience engagement.
It is also important to tailor the content for the medium. Make tweets cursory, Facebook statuses more engaging and blog posts lengthier but specific.
Although online marketing is effective in itself in raising awareness and boosting your brand profile, it is effective to include a call to action and tell your audience to participate, enter, ‘like’ or engage with content. Statuses which employ a call to action such as “Fill in the blank”, “Like” or “Caption this” gain interaction rates 48 percent higher than average.
Always remember the importance of Google in marketing, as this is where 80 percent of online searches occur. Google AdWords and Google Analytics can help you monitor your search engine optimization (SEO) success.
2. Connecting co-workers
Long gone are the days of bulky videoconferencing equipment and chunky phone sets. Consider affordable videoconferencing systems like Citrix or cost-free services such as Skype to save on connection fees.
Yammer is a fairly recent option for businesses to create their own private social network within the company. Other sites like Confluence also allow teams to create, share and discuss content. Sites like DropBox or GoogleDocs allow co-workers to collaborate and edit files online.
As well as connecting existing workers, new technologies make it easier than ever to find new employees. Sometimes Seek and Career One aren’t the only places to find new employees.
LinkedIn is a great resource to browse promising employees. Finance positions can be promoted on the eFinancialCareers and creative or unpaid positions are best advertised on sites like The Loop or Pedestrian Jobs. Business services or contract positions can be outsourced on ServiceSeeking.com.au.
3. Streamlining administration
The move to a paperless company not only promotes a green and sustainable image but can seriously shrink admin costs. CMS (Contact Management Systems) are a popular option to manage databases and diarise follow-ups with customers. Move your information to an online (internal if you’re concerned about security) cloud and avoid storage and hard drive costs.
Online timesheet sites like Saasu are a great option to streamline accounting and paycheck administration.
Customer relationship management software like Salesforce.com can help manage sales process, lead tracking and follow-ups. If you don’t have an in-house accountant web-based solutions like Zoho can assist with invoicing.
It is easy to be conned into investing in every new software update that gets released so remember that technologies which track or promote progress, profits and productivity are going to be of most use for small businesses.