Every week (or sometimes every day) it seems there is a new technological advancement that promises to make life easier, more streamlined and less expensive for an entrepreneur building a business. The truth is that technology is making it possible for entrepreneurs to build businesses in ways that were unthinkable in the past, but many don’t know how to sift through the noise and separate the shiny, new, but perhaps time-wasting gadget from the truly useful tech tool. While each business has unique needs, attracting new clients and fostering better connections with existing clients is a common goal across all fields. Here are a few ways for any entrepreneur to use technology to better connect with clients.
Smartphones and Tablets
A good place to start is to ensure you and your staff have the hardware necessary to stay connected. Smartphones and tablets are powerful, portable and cost-effective complements or even alternatives to computers. It is important to stay up-to-date on devices with features that enable you to better reach customers. For example, in September, Apple announced iOS 9, which features many updates like a brand new Notes function, smarter Siri, expanded Apple Pay functionality and a new Maps feature with public transit directions, all of which help make a device like the iPhone 6 Plus even more efficient when connecting with clients.
Building Community Through Social Media
Social media is an obvious avenue for building awareness of your business and interacting with the public, but with hundreds of social networks to choose from, it is important to focus your often limited resources. Entrepreneur Magazine recommends finding the platform that supports your brand, including some of the most powerful and useful social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Once you’ve established a presence on the sites that are most relevant to your business, focus on providing valuable content that readers want to share. Keep in mind that visual content receives many more views. According to Entrepreneur, articles with images get 94 percent more views and Twitter posts with images get almost two times as many views. Furthermore, using interactive content on social media, like a quiz or poll, is another effective way to boost followers and provide insight into your customers based on their interactions.
Hosting a webinar provides many benefits to a new business, including showcasing your authority while providing a human face to the business and allowing interaction with a target audience that can provide useful insight into client motivation. The success of a webinar depends on the preparation and marketing. Ensure an effective webinar by using a trusted platform like brightTalk or GoToWebinar and widely distributing information about the event through news releases, social media, email and blogs.
Analyze Your Traffic
Engaging customers through social media and hosting webinars are just two of the many ways an entrepreneur can use technology to connect with clients (other ideas include responding to website reviews and sending out surveys). But to better understand what approaches work for your business and why they work, take advantage of analytics software like Google Analytics, Follower Wonk or Facebook Insights. These free tools monitor and analyze your web traffic and tell you where your visitors are coming from, how long they spend and what is your most popular content. This way, you can spend time on the approaches that are most effective for your particular client base.