Navigating use or marketing tools for small business

Being a small business owner, you might be looking for a solid strategy to lead your promotional activities in the year 2020. However, with rapidly changing trends and technologies, it may be quite difficult to plan your investment.

When we look at the market environment holistically, we see a rapid evolution with fast-paced marketing technologies. Businesses around the world need to stay aware of changes which affect customer interaction, service and sales.

Marketing channels can and do play an important role in the growth strategy for many companies – both small and large. With the continuous updates in marketing technology trends, reliance on algorithms, artificial intelligence (Ai) and the development of new techniques, marketers around the world are working harder to match the speed of these advancements.

For new entrants and many small business owners, the rate of change, combined with cost of entry for utilizing some of these channels and tools, can seem daunting and overwhelming.  So how do small businesses take advantage of available marketing tools so that they work for them?

At the end of the day, businesses should want to create memorable and/or pleasant experiences for their customers online.

Here we offer some expert tips and tools for marketing in 2020 that can help create optimal customer experiences.

Artificial Intelligence for Digital Marketing

Impacting nearly every business arena and industry today, we cannot ignore the importance of artificial intelligence in building striking customer experiences. Studies reveal that AI is capable enough to lead data-driven decision-making abilities, and at the same time, it improves business communication with enhanced lead generation abilities. In the year 2020, AI will propose promising marketing strategies with a growth-oriented structure. There are so many things that AI can do for your business:

  • Search functionality
    If we talk about e-commerce platforms, AI can change the way people interact with service providers and product sellers. For example, buyers can use advanced image recognition solutions to capture the image of an apparel outfit. AI tools can then retrieve images of related accessories and apparel items from inventory, which are immediately presented for buyer consideration.
  • Personalized experience
    You can enhance the engagement online by creating a personalized experience for your customers. Depending upon the personal search history of an individual, their interests, and location, AI can help to generate personalized recommendations for purchase. It is also possible to automate advertising campaigns with AI which can facilitate higher sales conversions for the long run.

 

Marketing Communications:

Healthy communication with consumers can naturally enhance the overall impact of your digital marketing campaigns. The idea is to track all interactions on social media and other communication channels as well. Prefer to utilize these details more creatively to take your business to a whole new level.

  • Sentiment analysis
    AI is useful for social listening and sentiment analysis. It offers the best solution for small business owners to understand audience feelings and serve them accordingly. Sentiment analysis allows business owners to understand whether customers have positive feelings about their brand or not. AI is capable enough to monitor social media mentions as well as user opinions on various blogs. By evaluating these details, digital marketing experts can improve their customer support while improving brand image.
  • Chatbots
    Chatbots are a highly valuable solution to serve customers with a quick support system. They are effective enough to create an unbeatable impression of your small business online. Chatbots are the best tools to save time, and they ensure a healthy flow of information to and from the central databases. These tools can serve your marketing goals while enabling a 360-degree view of customer preferences. It is the most effective solution to deliver personalized services.

Social Media Branding:
How can we forget to talk about social media branding? Experts say that social media has the power to drive traffic, engagement, and conversations online. Also, the most important element of social media branding is content. If you follow a few golden rules to create great content for your campaigns, it will be easier to connect to the audience's interests. Below we have highlighted a few essential rules:

  • Create informative and high-quality content
  • Use powerful words to trigger emotional reactions
  • Follow a conversational tone
  • Build stronger relationships

Below we have highlighted a few creative ideas that you can use for branding on social media platforms: 

  • Contact influencers
    All businesses have a considerable number of followers on social media. In the group of followers, you can find influencers who can help you gather valuable information from the market to create impressive details online. Work to establish stronger collaborations with the influencers, and they ultimately may serve as ambassadors for your brand. You can incentivize band ambassadors and influencers with exclusive pricing deals or offer affiliate marketing programs for this high value partner group. This approach can help you create a loyal branding strategy online.
  • Utilize video content
    Visual content can add more value to your marketing campaigns. Small business owners can inexpensively create interesting videos with content more relevant to their niche. At the same time, it is important to think about audience interests to boost engagement by a considerable margin.

 

Instant Customer Service:

Modern brands need to not only work hard to beat competitive forces in the market but work intelligently. Instead of sticking to the old marketing ideas, find more interactive ways to satisfy customers in the market. In most cases, businesses have set office hours from open to close, but interested buyers search for products and services 24 hours a day. This has created a need and demand for instant communication platforms that never close.

You can use social media sites and many other online websites to stay connected with your audience of prospective buyers and existing customer. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook offer reliable connectivity between sellers and buyers. Make sure you respond to them as soon as possible with personalized messages.

Here are some other ideas for implementing instant customer services for your growing business:

  • Live chat facility
    Business owners can establish healthy communication with the audience online by adding a live chat window on their website. It can help customers to put their queries instantly on the chat window, and they can get immediate solutions to all their problems. It is the best way to boost sales on e-commerce platforms as well. You can provide reliable responses about the size, color, and brand-related queries.
  • Add FAQ sections
    Have you observed recurring questions from your customers and prospects? Post these questions and their associated answers into a FAQ section on your website. Well-structured FAQ sections have proven to be one of the most effective areas website content, attributing to higher conversion rates compared to other web content pieces.

 

Privacy and transparency:

With the huge rise in digital interactions in the business world, it has become very important to ensure transparency to consumer data. At the same time, people want their information to stay secure online. Every business needs to use efficient systems for data collection, storage, and secure access as well. The latest technologies can help you to avoid data hacks, breaches and misuse of user data. It is also important to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, especially if ANY of your business and sales go through Europe. While GDPR is the most prominent regulatory consideration for online businesses, it should be noted that within the US and Canada, similar regulations are either in place or will soon take effect.

Below we have highlighted a few simple tips for protecting your customer’s information and garnering greater trust from the marketplace.

  • Identity all your customer touch points and data risk exposures. Ensure that you have outlined and communicated to customers how their data will be used and protected.
  • It is important to use more careful procedures for cookies on your website. You should also outline a formal Cookie Policy for your website. If your site utilizes third-party platforms for marketing or analytics, these platforms also present broader exposure your customer data and information that should be outlined in your Cookie Policy.
  • It is good to collect data ethically; it means you should take permission from your customers with single and double opt-in procedures. Make it clear about how and where you are going to use those collected details. It’s about building trust, protecting your customers and ultimately the viability of your business.
  • If you are not sure if your company website should have the website policies, identify the large competitors in your industry or market and visit their websites. It’s a safe bet that whatever policies they have on their sites, are policies that you should

NOTE:  Do simply copy and paste policies from other sites onto your site!  Big mistake! 

Each website policy has specific considerations relevant to how a business operates, geographic location, business structure, third-party relationships and numerous other considerations, that if not crafted based upon your business’s specific consideration, will likely increase your risk exposure.

Final thoughts

These tips and tactics can help establish credibility for your brand and when strategically used, drive customer enthusiasm and sales for your business. I feel compelled to share that it is not about always having the latest and greatest marketing technology “toys”. 

In my capacity overseeing marketing operations and digital strategy for global organizations, I cannot overstate the number of companies and salespeople that would email and call me trying to offer me some great new platform or technology.  By all costs, avoid what I call “magazine stand” management or suffering from “shiny nickel syndrome”.  You’ll always hear or read about some new or fascinating platform technology.

We must start where we are at and there is always something that appears as a “got to have”.   Don’t succumb or allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. 

At the end of the day, the success of your business, depends not on gadgets, but:

  1. The quality of service and products that you provide
  2. Your brands reputation
  3. Ability to solve customers’ problems or fulfill their desires

Don’t try to boil the ocean. Stay aware of what’s in the marketplace and what your business’s capabilities are in fulfilling the three items above versus your competitors.

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