November 28, 2014

Small Business News: Small Biz Tech Primer

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Technology is vastly changing the scope and reach of small business not only in the world of marketing but in all aspects of operating your venture. From tech that creates global reach for our small businesses to tools that simplify our workload and boost productivity, here are some simple ways technology is changing small business and some basic concepts we should never forget in the process.

Techniques

Lessons from the crowdsourcing trenches. Crowdsourcing is an outgrowth of the collaborative spirit created by the growth of social media and other interactive new media and technology, but at the heart of what works and what does not remains some very simple human ideas. Incentive is rewarded, socially conscious messages often win out and building community remains a key part of marketing. Capture Commerce

How data and collaboration will drive the future of marketing. Marketing in a new economy will shift from simple campaigns pushing brands and products to deeper research into satisfying customer needs. This approach requires both greater data from and more collaboration between various retailers, marketers and customers. How can small businesses use tools like social media, analytics and other technology to reach this goal? B2C Marketing Insider

Tools

10 cloud applications your business could be using now. From communications to business applications to managing customer relations, hooking your business to the resources of the cloud enhances your tech muscle with little or no heavy duty tech investment. Many applications include free plans perfect for tight budgets and shoestring startups so what are you waiting for? Noobpreneur

iPhone apps for small business. Want to talk about increasing productivity. What about being able to run your company from you smartphone. Want to do everything from sending documents to managing your payroll while on the go? These apps, some free but all modestly priced, will further the movement toward mobile entrepreneurship and have you ready to work even while on the road. SurePayroll

Trends

How tech killed the cold call. If you had any doubts, cold calling is NOT the best approach to making sales, especially not in the world of customer 2.0. Now, we’re sure there are some die hard old school sales folks out there who will disagree, but first check out the illuminating post and diagram of a whole new theory in attracting customers and tell us what you think. The InsideView Blog

Market research at the click of a mouse. No more is market research solely in the domain of giant corporations with the deep pockets to pay for vast customer and market studies. Meet GutCheck, a startup that is billing itself as a simple alternative to big marketing studies via the Internet at a price even a small business can afford. Fast Company

Prototypes in the age of the Internet. Creating a prototype for your product has probably never been simpler with a host of manufacturers, distributors etc. available online. The Internet also makes it easier than ever before to get your product or prototype in front of decision makers or potential customers. But first, be sure you understand what your prototype should do as far as validating your business idea. For more on this, read Martin Zwilling’s full post. Startup Professionals Musings

Social & Mobile

Using mobile marketing to drive sales. With a few notable exceptions, large online and traditional retailers have been surprisingly slow at adapting to the potential of mobile marketing. With surveys showing an increased preference amongst consumers who are increasingly logged in to this new mobile communications space, has a niche been created for small businesses willing to innovate. Tweak Your Biz

Promoting your online adventures in the real world. Making the jump to social media and other online marketing is great, but remember to promote these endeavors as well in the real world. Take every opportunity to let your customers know where they can find you online and don’t expect them to find you. It’s true your online marketing efforts should bring in customers you might not have had otherwise but don’t forget the reverse is also true. Small Business Trends

Looking for a secret weapon to drive social media sales? Would you believe the Facebook “Like” button. This brief story tells of one retailers experience using the rather simple and popular FB feature to drive not only individual sales but also overall engagement with online customers. How are you using social media to drive your company’s sales? Fast Company

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