The top 5 Internet trends SME can take advantage of
Being a small business owner can be tough. It takes a lot more work to get your business out there, to train good employees, to have the best customer service, and to have superior products than it does for big box organizations. Staying on top of new technology and trends can be a huge help when it comes to running your small business effectively because it makes your business more convenient to use and allows you to keep in close contact with your customers.
The Internet is always changing and technology is constantly becoming more advanced, but it is in the best interest of your small business to use trends so that you adapt with the changes. Being one of the first businesses in your city or town to be on top of cutting edge technology can generate its own publicity as well as open up a whole new marketplace. Being aware of social media techniques and platforms as well as re-targeting and upgrading your mobile applications is helping small businesses grow.
To keep your business running smoothly and to help it grow effectively, you need to market yourself efficiently. Now is the perfect time to refocus your business-marketing plan and look into new options for the new year. Using online trends is an inexpensive and faster way to advertise your small business. Small businesses need strong customer relationships, updated media platforms, and easy shopping experience for the consumer in order to prosper.
Here are some Internet trends for the coming year that you need to take advantage of as a small business owner.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) web tools
We live in a world where a vast majority of small businesses exist online, and with the advent of online shopping, customer relationships have become increasingly less personal. Many customers and merchants prefer to keep their relationship short, direct, and to the point.
This year look into software such as SalesForce and Hubspot to digitalize your customer relationships and create automated systems to handle them. These systems track, organize, improve, and manage your current customer base, making it easier for you to expand that base and to help your small business grow.
Customer relationship management web tools give small business owners an easier, more effective way to Improve Their eCommerce Store. These online tools allow you to connect with your customers in a more direct way through feedback and account tracking. By using CRM tools, you can give your customer an online platform to troubleshoot, which makes their experience with your small business easier and more convenient.
2. Content marketing
Market your small business effectively online by providing your consumer base with valuable information regarding your service or product through social media platforms. By doing this, your small business can attract new customers and earn their trust. Basically, content marketing is marketing by creating your own content surrounding your business and then promoting it on your website and social media platforms.
Content marketing helps your customer better understand your business, and it brings new attention to your business by divulging information that the consumer base might not have previously known. Content marketing allows you as a small business owner to tell your own story and get your product or service out there in exactly the manner you prefer. Content marketing is built upon a foundation of solid trust between merchant and consumer, and it helps build loyalty for your small business by creating a pathway of constant communication.
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3. Website Content Management Systems (CMS)
Website Content Management Systems make it easier for you to understand and control your small business website. These systems do not require extensive computer code knowledge, just basic computer skills. These systems make it quick and easy to update your website with current news, events, product information, and shipping information.
Using WCMS can save you time and money because you won’t have to hire a web developer, and you won’t have to constantly worry about updating your business’s online presence. WordPress is the current leader in providing WCMS. These systems could mean all the difference for your eCommerce store and even for the online presence of your brick and mortar store. Using WCMS allows you to keep your website content as up to date as possible, making it more searchable and easier to use online. For more information on customizing your store, visit the Kabbage Guides page.
4. Online payment methods
PayPal opened the door to a conglomerate of new online payment methods. Customers can now pay for goods and services using their smartphone’s Bitcoin or Square Wallet application. Google has also come out with their own version of a wallet, which essentially allows the customers to load currency onto a mobile application and use this application as a payment method.
Any system that makes the payment process faster, easier, and safer for consumers is seeing increased popularity this year and should continue to grow. These types of online services for payment will continue to reduce consumer use of cash because it safeguards against a lost physical wallet and makes it easier to make purchases online without having to put in all your credit card information. Catching onto this trend can open your business’s doors to a whole new realm of tech-savvy consumers while also making your payment processes faster and easier. Many of these systems automatically integrate into your bookkeeping system, as well.
5. Image-based content
A new type of online search is becoming available and increasingly popular. Image searches are now allowing for consumers to search using digital images in large databases. Systems like Google Images allow you to either describe an image and then search directly for it or upload an image to the system and it will describe the image for you.
A variety of other marketplaces are making use of this technology by creating apps for their businesses. Walgreens allows you to take a picture of your prescription and upload it via app or website to order a refill. Other businesses allow you to use QR scanners and pictures of products to search their inventories.
As this type of search becomes more common, think of creative ways your small business could use this technology to improve sales and marketability. Also consider what Internet video could do for your small business. Video as a medium for marketing is highly useful because it has high content availability and it engages viewers. Videos are also now being ranked on search engine pages, which add another platform for your business to engage with its customer base on. Image-based content is a great way to Market an eCommerce Business.
Trends like these as well as mobile optimization, re-targeting, and collision of PR techniques with marketing techniques can keep your small business remarkable, and you should take advantage of them as a small business owner. Understanding how Internet trends work and why they are so important can make a huge difference in your company. Yelp was once an Internet trend to watch, and now online reviews fuel business throughout the country. Making your online presence extremely rich is one of the best things you can do for your small business, and following Internet trends is one of the best ways to keep your content current and rich.
Keeping up with new technology and trends can help your business thrive. Trends like smartphones, apps, online shopping, and online payment software have made the Internet as important as ever for any business. To keep your small business growing and to stay connected with your consumer market, make sure you have a strong social media presence because it allows you to inexpensively and quickly market your business and products.
Another helpful tip is to take the necessary steps to Optimize Your eCommerce Site. By optimizing your small business presence, your business can become more searchable by using content marketing and image-based searches. This search engine optimization makes it so more consumers are directed to your website, which you should keep current by using WCMS. Incorporating content marketing, image-based content, new online payment methods, WCMS and CRM tools into your business plan can affect how your business runs by helping you gain your customers’ trust and loyalty. It can bring in a whole new customer base because you will end up reaching more people than ever before. To learn more about growing your small business, head over to the Kabbage Guides page and read about how to Scale Your eCommerce Business.
About the author
Victoria Treyger has more than 15 years of experience in building brands and customer loyalty. She joined Kabbage because she loved the message: To understand customers better and provide them with cash when they need it.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”