We live in a time where technology, especially digital technology, is advancing at a rapid pace. These new innovations can seem intimidating at first, and because of this, a large percentage of small business owners have no idea how to leverage them to grow their companies. That’s unfortunate because small businesses stand to gain the most from many of these new inventions.
Here are a few powerful new digital technologies that you can use to elevate your small business.
Automated Sales Tools
The technology making arguably the biggest impact in the business world these days is automation. This advancement has been driven by rapid progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). One new innovation has been customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM programs can automatically keep track of the development of relationships between a business and each of its customers, from cold lead to repeat buyer.
Automated sales systems can then use that information to help tailor marketing campaigns. They can even put digital outreach plans on autopilot to a large degree by doing the work of sending texts and emails to customers. A good thing to remember is that email marketing campaigns continue to have a massive return on investment (about $42 for every $1 spent according to one widely quoted estimate), so figure out what kinds of automated tools can be used to boost your sales email strategy.
Business Analytics Software
The same sophisticated computer systems that are automating sales are also making it possible for businesses to know themselves better than ever before. At its core, business analytics is about using statistics of a business’ past and current performance to gauge its potential trajectory. What new digital technologies can do to help this process is to both gather and collate the vast amounts of data necessary to make the best performance forecasts.
Data analytics these days is largely the product of the sophistication of the algorithms powering the analysis programs. This software can’t replace human business acumen, but it can certainly help the decision-making process along.
Cyber Security Programs
According to a 2020 study by Verizon, 28% of data breach victims were small businesses. Even more disturbing, 55% of those breaches were the product of organized crime. That means there’s a good chance that your business will end up in somebody’s crosshairs at some point. The most important defenses for a small business are antivirus software and firewalls. Firewalls are especially helpful since they filter traffic going to and from your own local network. This is a vital precaution because malware programs such as viruses and worms are often attached to phony emails which have been crafted to look legitimate by hackers.
Defenses are only as good as the deployment of them, so be sure to combine up-to-date programs with solid security protocols that all of your employees are trained in from the moment of onboarding.
Social Media Platform Diversification
One of the big stories of the past year in business was the amazing expansion of social media. A lot of this was a matter of necessity, but those new platforms are here to stay. Social media platforms are being created that cater to both niche markets and short attention spans. Take Tik Tok, for example. Savvy online content creators were able to pack a lot of content into those one-minute videos. The great thing about this is that influencers are able to personally reach customers interested in the lifestyle and products that the influencer promotes.
According to marketing consultant Invesp, 70% of respondents to their word of mouth marketing (WOMM) survey planned to increase their spending on online WOMM in the near future. Consider partnering with vloggers and content makers in your industry to get the word out in a trendy and authentic way.
By keeping up to date with the new array of digital technologies available to small businesses, entrepreneurs can leverage these tools to make the most of every hour they put into their company. As computers themselves get more powerful, so will their impact on small businesses.