Man at computer, screen says open for business; image courtesy
Man at computer, screen says open for business; image courtesy

Yesterday, we looked at the impact of Millennials, the Internet, automation, outsourcing, and cryptocurrencies on small business. Today, in part two, we look at how mobile flexibility, artificial intelligence, social media marketing & e-commerce, and guest blogging can be used to achieve small business success.

Mobile flexibility

Everybody owns a smartphone; the world has gone mobile. Small and large businesses tend to level up their marketing strategies using online advertisements and websites. In order to catch up, a mobile-responsive website and mobile app is a must to target customers and achieve business success, as well.

There are many Internet-based tools to optimize the digital assets of your website to become more attractive and useful for mobile users. Mobile computing technology in 2018 will offer essential methods and ways to optimize your website’s user interface design for overall mobile responsiveness and usability, site search, commerce, calls, and form entry.

Here are some reasons why your small business should have a mobile app:

  1. Effectively connect with Surveys have shown that Americans spend more than two hours on their mobile phone per day. So, if you’re a small business, a mobile app is a great way to connect to and attract customers, create a direct marketing channel, as well as provide real-time customer service.
  2. Business recognition and brand development. Making a brand is like making a billboard that promotes your business. It must be stylish, functional and informative, so create a mobile app that will attract customers.
  3. Competitive advantage. Mobile apps for small businesses are not a “thing” yet. So, take a big leap and make your own now. This will give you a big lead over other small businesses and competitors.
  4. Establishing a relationship with your customers. When you build a mobile app for your small business, this will not only promote what products or services your business offers, but it will also build customer trust and loyalty.

Artificial Intelligence

In the past few years, technology has offered a rapid advance to accomplish human needs in day-to-day lives. The use of AI is widely spreading from smaller to bigger companies. Let’s take a look at how AI can help your small business grow bigger now and in the future.

  1. Sales and Customer Services AI. There are many ways to create Facebook or Whatsapp-based Chatbots, and the good thing is you don’t even need to be a computer wizard to do it. AI Chatbots can be effective for your business in assisting and recognizing the demands of customers. Chatbots are basically automated chat assistants that provide answers to queries from customers. Using Chatbots is really an innovative way to engage with your customers and create a competitive advantage, as well.
  2. Accounting AI. As mentioned before, repetitive and redundant business operations can eat up a lot of time and eventually reduce your business’s productivity. Business professionals advise using automation bots for repetitive data-entry tasks, especially in the finance and accounting area of your business.
  3. Schedule and Virtual Assistant AI. Different factors that affect day-to-day planning for small businesses are scheduling, invoicing, bill payments and managing external relations. Virtual AI assistants for remote assistance and administrative support are widely available for small businesses, offering affordable and alternative solutions for keeping track of the different areas of your business transactions.

To get an AI-powered bot for your small business, here are some things to get you started:

  • Choose the most commonly-asked questions in your business when creating a Facebook messenger Chatbot.
  • Make sure that the products and services you offer are visible to your customers in your Chatbot.
  • Choose the best AI solutions and automated virtual assistants for repetitive and redundant tasks in your business.
A finger prepares to tap the screen of a smart device, while social media symbols fill the air; image courtesy edar CC0 Creative Commons.
A finger prepares to tap the screen of a smart device, while social media symbols fill the air; image courtesy edar CC0 Creative Commons.

Social Media Marketing and E-commerce

Social media offers a lot of business opportunities for customer service and marketing. It is the simplest way to target your prospective customers and grow your business. No matter what you sell, social media marketing is a great idea to achieve a high return on investment and brand development.

Here are some reasons why you should start social media marketing:

  • Social media will help you to build a relationship with your customers. The best way to keep track of what your customers need is social media. Using their status updates, you can get customers’ insights and come up with a great marketing strategy to showcase the products and services your business has to offer.
  • Socializing, not marketing. Social media approach is great to attract more customers to your business.
  • Creates a competitive advantage. 91% of brands use social media platforms as part of their marketing plan. So, get in the game and build your business’s social media page now.
  • Customizable social media ads. To attract more customers using social media, there are many different ways to create ads. You can create customizable ads by knowing customer information such as education level, purchase history, pages they’ve liked, and of course, their location.
  • Real-time customer service. Feedback is one of the most important factors that affect your brand development. Social media can easily connect your business with your customers, providing them with a solution to their problems in real-time. Surveys show that customers are much happier with companies who respond to their complaints and suggestions on social media.
  • Active social media pages attract more customers. 70% of marketers acquired the trust and loyalty of their customers through social media. When you focus on a customer-based approach, it’s more likely that your customers will buy what you offer. Giving incentives, such as coupon codes, is a great idea, too.
  • Social media marketing is free. Yes, that’s correct, it’s free. Use social media marketing instead of hiring a PR agency. A PR agency will cost you a lot of money, even though your business is still small.

To be effective at social media marketing, here are some useful tips that you should consider:

  1. Learn social media marketing tips online for your specific business. Every business, small or big, must have the ability to alter the learned strategies in order to persuade their target customers or audience.
  2. Learn that social media is a great way to offer customer service. Listen to your customers’ suggestions, complaints, and comments. In this way, you can make a strategic plan for their specific needs. Engage your customers with delight and turn them into satisfied repeat customers.
  3. Monitor the results. If you don’t track your results, you can’t run an effective social media marketing campaign. Create benchmarks and clear goals to determine the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy. If the results are lower than your expectations, then you should alter or improve your marketing effort; that’s the key to successful marketing.

Guest Blogging

In recent times, guest blogging has become one of the most important trends for small business. Blogging for free is a great way to gain exposure for your small business. While guest writing for others’ blogs might not be essential, creating a blog for your website is a must. It can increase your small business’s exposure and gain Google backlinks to your website.

There are different ways to expand your small business. Choosing the best one or combining two or more of the small business marketing trends listed above can have a significant impact on your business growth, customer engagements, brand development, and overall success.

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