A large number of small businesses are relying on the latest technology to improve their performance, increase the efficiency, manage expenses, and improve the bottom line of the company. The SMB Group’s 2015 SMB Routes to Market Study reveals that 29% of small businesses consider technology as helping improve the bottom line of their businesses. The small business owner has to concentrate on so many other tasks that are essential to keep their businesses afloat day in and day out. Hence, most of them have no time to keep abreast with the latest technological advances in the industry. Here is a list of major technology categories that small businesses need to incorporate as principle applications in 2018.
1. Mobile as a Must-Have Technology
No other technology has gained greater growth and adoption today compared to mobile. More than six billion people around the globe used at least one mobile device last year – which is expected to increase to seven billion by the year of 2020. This makes mobile a “must-have” technology in 2018. In fact, a small business should incorporate the use of mobile technology at least in four ways such as apps, payment, website, and as an all-in-one device.
There are millions of people accessing websites through their mobile phones these days. Hence, small businesses can’t avoid making their websites mobile-friendly. This is important for two reasons:
- Bing and Google reward mobile-friendly websites with higher rankings
- If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you can easily lose business as the consumer will opt for a business that has a mobile-friendly website.
Scott Shane (Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Case Western Reserve University) wrote an article named “Mobile App Strategies Boost Revenues for Small Businesses” where he revealed that a small business should strive for a marketing strategy including a well-developed and tested mobile app to get the best result for his business. This is essential in an increasingly mobile world that we have today.
Millions of people make use of mobile payment facilities around the globe. The likes of Microsoft Wallet app makes it more appealing to small businesses. In fact, Microsoft partner Merchant Account Solutions has made mobile credit card readers easily available to small business users around the world. With the GDPR Foundation Course, it has become even more easy to manage your mobile payments without stressing about data protection.
2. Marketing Automation Will Increase Your Efficiency
A small business can conduct its marketing activities with much greater efficiency thanks to marketing automation software. This removes the need for hiring dedicated marketing professionals for the task. The ability to segment messages, score leads, and set-up processes that give specific responses based on the actions taken by the customer are some of the advantages of such software.
On the other hand, automation software easily links with CRM platforms – which helps bring marketing and sales together. This provides each department with a 360-degree view of the customer behaviour. In fact, CRM platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 do most of the jobs that would have required manual processes in the past.
3. The Majority of Businesses Are Heading to the Cloud
Cloud solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 is taking the small business world with storm. That is because they offer greater scalability, efficiency, flexibility, and security compared to their on-premise counterparts.
4. Email Remains a Tried-and-True Marketing Technology
Email is a proven marketing technique used since the 1990s. Despite predictions to the contrary, email marketing is continuing to act as a cost-effective marketing promotional medium for small businesses. It is ranked higher amongst the techniques that offer a better return on investment. This trend won’t change in 2018. But the approach to email marketing will change in 2018. In fact, marketers will most probably do away with the “batch and blast” approach to email marketing. They will take into account the unique needs of the customer.
Mobile-first is going to be the trend in 2018 when designing an email campaign. More customers are accessing email messages via their mobile devices. Hence, the messages that you design should adhere to the limitations of mobile devices due to their compact screens. Marketing solutions from Microsoft Dynamics 365 will help you develop an effective email campaign that targets specific customers.