Technology continues to evolve, with advancements in the field making it easier for many small businesses to operate.
Unfortunately, most businesses are not properly utilising technology to improve efficiency. From communication to security, there are many tools that small businesses can leverage cost effectively to get the most out of technology in 2020 and beyond.
Below, FJP Investment share their top tips on how to introduce technology to help your business.
Invest in online security
For most, a website will make up a significant part of a business’s online presence. Whilst the website should look good, it must also be protected.
There are several ways you can secure your online business, the first of which is a firewall. A firewall essentially acts as a virtual security guard, blocking any unwanted traffic from accessing your website. This is done to ensure cyberattacks are blocked, protecting data on your site.
Installing antivirus software on any device that has access to sensitive information relating to the business is also strongly advised. Even the most cautious people can occasionally fall victim to the increasingly advanced ways hackers use viruses to access sensitive information on your device.
Often done through links or infected software downloads, the antivirus usually blocks the install before access can be gained. Not just yourself but any staff should of course be careful when clicking on links or downloading software.
Lastly, be sure to encrypt sensitive data to make it far harder to access. Unique password-protect any services that save bank information and backup your data to the cloud instead of various external hard drives, it is generally safer this way.
Chatbots are not a fad
Many businesses overlook the value of chatbots in 2020. Chatbots are used by all businesses, from retail to finance, to answer most of the frequently asked questions automatically, without a real customer service advisor having to deal with each unique enquiry.
As recently as a few years ago, businesses and marketers alike were against the use of chatbots because they were not adaptable enough to use, with many saying the personal touch of a real advisor unable to be replicated.
However, AI has advanced in recent years and with customers wanting an answer to their question as soon as possible, businesses that do not introduce a chatbot are potentially losing out to competitors through lack or responsiveness.
Chatbots are easy to setup, a quick Google search will show you a range of options, with most being compatible not only with your website but also social media.
Automate your marketing
Small businesses fall into the trap of trying to carry out basic digital marketing manually and in the process lose valuable time that should be spent on other areas of the business.
There are so many tools and software available that can support a small business cost-effectively to grow their digital marketing with ease.
The most obvious example here is email marketing automation. Online tools such as Mailchimp not only allow you to create beautiful email templates to send to your audience, but you can analyse data, A/B test emails and build an email list in Mailchimp itself. When paired with quality customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can save considerable time and scale up your customer list with ease.
Build an app
When we say build, this does not mean you have to be a coding wizard. Again, there are many online app builders available that are cost effective and require minimal expertise when it comes to coding.
Having an app is a great way to attract new customers whilst also potentially gaining new ones.
To get either a customer or a prospective customer to download your app, they need to have a reason to download it. Be sure to update the app with relevant information, unique blog posts and even consider a client area where they can download documents etc. relating to the product or service, they have purchased with you.
You can advertise your app the same way as you would your website, Google Ads support App install ads and is a great way for new customers to find out more about you. Once the app is installed, you can also do occasional push notifications to their phone via the app to target customers at optimal times.
Optimise your website with plugins
Although the principles of a good website are very much the same, there are many ways you can leverage technology to give your website an advantage over your competitors.
Building a website through a builder such as WordPress has never been easier. You can then optimise your website using plugins to help in a variety of ways.
From online security plugins, help in optimising your website for SEO and further plugins to customize your site for customers, the advancement in this area of technology is a great way to enhance user experience, build brand reputation and ‘one up’ your competition.
The above tips are just a handful of ways you can use technology to aid your small business. Critically work out any areas of the business that would benefit from the use of technology, do not just add technology for the sake of it.
Although implementing technology can seem daunting at first, if you ever want to scale your business, you will need to start using the right technology.