Trends move quickly, and here are four, that your small business can still take advantage of before the end of 2017.
1. Increasing Segmentation
Ryan Levesque’s book, Ask, focuses on taking advantage of technology to get more and better feedback from customers. He observes that “one of the biggest fears I hear entrepreneurs express in segmenting their market is that their different market segments are too small to be worth addressing individually.” In response, “they rely on ‘one-size-fits-all’ products and messaging. But the reality is when you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to nobody. Companies, both big and small, that are adopting a segmented strategy are thriving more than ever in today’s marketplace.”
The reality of the digital marketplace is everything is more niche than ever before. Consumers can easily find whatever they’re looking for, and if they can’t get it nearby, they can find someone online who will ship it to them. The solution is to take advantage of the segmentation capabilities of new platforms to get increasingly specific about who your target audience is.
2. Messaging Chatbots
Chatbots engage users where they already are, cutting through a lot of clutter by letting users interact directly with your brand without having to look up your website, give you a call, or anything else that might get in the way of them finding what they want. With good scripting, a chatbot can answer standard questions representing the majority of customer service calls: “What are your hours,” “Do you have this item in stock,” “How much do you charge for X,” etc.
While it previously required a fair amount of know-how to set up a messaging service that would work well, there are many solutions today that let you set up something for free, with no coding. Once your messenger bot is up and running, you can iterate pretty rapidly to add content you might not have thought of the first time around. It’s fairly easy to direct questions that the bot can’t answer to a feedback inbox, which you can then use to make tweaks to its programming.
3. Managed Services
With ubiquitous cloud services and broadband, Managed Services have increasingly become an option for small businesses looking to protect themselves from hackers, catastrophic data loss, equipment failure, or any other eventuality. A Managed IT Service can provide you with the peace of mind that comes from top-notch security for a fraction of the cost.
Managed Services allow you to recruit a team of dedicated professionals who can offer services that used to be exclusively the domain of large companies with massive IT departments. 24/7 monitoring means that you can sleep secure that someone’s got your back, and that they’re ready to respond to any threat on your behalf.
4. Energy Efficiency
Improving your energy efficiency isn’t just good for the environment, it’s great for your bottom line as well. It’s not just about saving money on the electric bill, either. It also has a positive impact on your brand. Nearly 75% of millennials surveyed by Nielsen in 2015 said that they would pay extra for sustainability.
Options like LED lighting, OLED TVs, and smart climate control systems are making it easier than ever before to save money on your overhead while also showing your customers that you care. Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell people what you’re doing if want them to notice. Make sure to communicate the steps you’ve taken with signage around your business, and also potentially with content that will draw customers closer to your brand.
What You Can Do Right Now
Tech trends move fast, and you need to make sure you’re on top of what’s working if you want to keep up with the market. From using Managed IT Services to making sure you swap out your old light bulbs, there are many different ways to involve new tech in your day-to-day business.
Use the data you already have on customers to take advantage of segmentation.
Build a chatbot to reach customers on messaging apps with a personal touch.
Consider Managed Services as a way to turbocharge your IT.
Take extra steps to become more energy efficient, and be sure to share it with the world.