Did you know that out of the 28 million small businesses in the US, over 22 million are self-employed, meaning they only employ themselves? They are literally running a one-man show. At the other end of the spectrum, the Small Business Administration considers some businesses that have as many as 500 employees to be a small business. Wherever your business falls between those two extremes, you understand that streamlining your resources is critical. The technology that has become available to entrepreneurs over the past decade has been revolutionary. Technology advances allow you to save time and money, communicate better both internally and externally, obtain quality leads, provide superior customer service and recruit exceptional talent. In many cases, it has even eliminated the need for an on-site IT team. However, in a digital world flooded with mobile apps, third-party vendors, SaaS solutions and a sea of business tech tips available at your fingertips, it’s difficult for busy entrepreneurs to wade through it all and identify what will work best for their business model. Here are three tech solutions every business owner should take a serious look at.
Leverage Mobile Technologies
The research is clear. Mobile digital media time now surpasses time spent on desktops and laptops. Google announced last year that searches via mobile devices now outpace those done on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. What does this mean for your business? If your website isn’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Let these three reasons motivate you to go mobile.
- Enhance your other marketing efforts. Sixty-six percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. Imagine this scenario. You work hard to establish a content marketing strategy and you promote your blogs, whitepapers and other frequently asked questions through an emailed newsletter. However, over half of your recipients click on your newsletter from their mobile device and immediately back out of it because they reach your website and it is not optimized for mobile. You’ve now lost the chance to reap the rewards of your content marketing strategy, and ultimately make another sale.
- Give your visitors a better browsing experience. Mobile users like their information quick and easy. Fifty-seven percent will abandon your website if it takes more than three seconds to load, and 30 percent will abandon a purchase if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Make your website easy to navigate, read, make purchases and share content via mobile devices.
- Boost your SEO. Search engine optimization is one of those buzzwords everyone knows is important, but not many are sure how to achieve it. Mobile optimized websites are one piece of the SEO puzzle. All the major search engines favor mobile optimized sites. Having a user-friendly site will also lower your bounce rate. Bounce rate is calculated based on how long users stay on your site. If they click a link to your website from a search engine and immediately realize they don’t want to be there and click back, that’s a bounce. That’s going to happen often if your website is not optimized for mobile, making your bounce rate skyrocket and causing search engines to penalize your ranking.
Give Intranet Software a Second Look
Many small business owners have made the assumption that intranets are for big corporations or are simply an unnecessary expense. However, the emergence of cloud technologies has brought about affordable solutions, including intranet platforms to fit every size organization and budget. Is it really necessary, though? We already mentioned that streamlining business processes is a critical aspect of running a small business. Intranet software does just that. Here’s how.
- Better internal communication. A social intranet does more than just replace crowded email boxes. It facilitates collaboration. Small business employees are usually wearing many hats and juggling numerous projects. Intranet software allows you to efficiently keep track of each project. Open a job, check its progress, change its status, assign tasks and ask questions, all in one place. All communication is archived and can be retrieved whenever it’s needed. Regardless of whether or not all members of a team work in the same physical location, everyone will stay up-to-date and on the same page. Better collaboration leads to increased productivity, more opportunities for innovation, improved customer service and increased employee engagement.
- Efficient onboarding. Training new employees is time-consuming and often overwhelms the employee. While face-to-face orientation will always be needed, much of the onboarding process can be streamlined by using your social intranet platform as your virtual training ground. House documents, policies, videos and other tutorials to familiarize new employees with their new community. Encourage questions and feedback.
- Secure document management. Digital files are the standard in every business now. However, “going paperless” is useless without a secure document management process. Huge problems result if files are misplaced. Frustration results among employees when documents are hard to find or not accessible from remote locations. Document management was one of the original reasons for the emergence of intranets in the 1990s, and it still remains one of the cornerstone features.
- Increased employee engagement. A decrease in employee engagement is linked to a decrease in profits. Two key engagement drivers include transparency and open dialogue with company owners and managers, and an appreciative atmosphere where employees feel their work and opinions matter. A social intranet provides the perfect platform to accomplish both of these goals.
Monitor Your Metrics
Tech tips are informative, but each business is unique. The only way to know that tools are working is to measure their success. Monitor metrics internally and externally. Internally, metrics about how often employees are using your intranet will tell you if it’s doing its job. Are employees providing feedback? What keywords are they searching?
Externally, monitor metrics that help you identify the biggest drivers to your conversion rate. Conversion rate is simply the percentage of people who take the action you want them to take. For example, think back to the theoretical email you sent in the “Leverage Mobile Technologies” section. Your objective was to get customers to click-through to your newsletter. How many actually did? If the conversion rate was less than expected, conduct an A/B test to figure out why. Change text placement, colors, calls to action, subject verbiage and other details in each test to see which positively influences conversion. “Sometimes the rules don’t matter, but only when you’ve tested a page to make sure,” explained website marketing experts Unbounce. Check out their real-life research to see just how much minor changes affect conversion rates. Here are a two more metrics related to customer conversion you want to watch closely.
- Traffic sources. Where are your visitors coming from? Do they type your website directly into their browser? Do they link to you from a search engine or do they find you through a blog or other external source?
- New vs. returning customer interaction. How do new visitors interact with your site compared to returning customers? Watch their behavior. Are they reading content, leaving comments or reviews, or searching for product? Knowing why specific visitors come will help you increase those interactions and leverage them into conversions.
Having a tech savvy business is not reserved for the corporate elite. Gone are the days when businesses need a full IT staff and an entire room dedicated to hardware. Increasing customer service and conversion rates, streamlining internal processes, and improving collaboration and productivity are all goals that are fully achievable through technology that is available to small business owners. SaaS cloud technology has opened wide the possibilities of software that can allow small businesses to operate with minimal staff. Be selective and use technology to grow your business.
Photo credit: The photograph included in this blog post was provided by MyHubIntranet.com and is used with permission.
NOTE: This article was provided by MyHubIntranet.com and is used with permission.