Technology is like a seesaw. As the price of technology has come down, its power has gone up. It’s now more useful, accessible and affordable than ever. And that makes it a great leveler too – putting small businesses on an even playing field with the big end of town when it comes to using tech to kick sales and marketing goals.
Here’s how you can leverage three of the latest technologies to make a big splash on a small business budget.
Marketing automation – a marketing team of one
Marketing automation is a smarter, faster way to work for small businesses with limited human resources. You create a set process and the tools keep doing the job for you. That might be a series of SMS or email responses sent as a sequence to new customers, followers or newsletter subscribers at specific times and days or based on actions customers take (or don’t).
By creating automated marketing communications and multichannel campaigns using triggers, you can send the right message at the right time on the right channel to build customer loyalty, retention, cross-sell or up-sell.
A cake shop could use customer birthday cake orders to send follow up offers, inviting feedback or reviews with the sweetener of a discount or free cupcake on the next order, or reminders about upcoming events like Mother’s Day or the next year’s birthday.
NFC – coming to a business card near you
We all experienced how Near Field Communications (NFC) works thanks to COVID-19. All those QR code check-ins you did on your phone used NFC.
Small businesses can now use NFC’s contactless smart scanning technology to turn a humble business card into a customer experience. Customers can connect to an online experience when they hold their phone over the card.
The new free VistaConnect service adds an online dimension to standards business cards to provide anything information like opening hours, menus, seasonal sales and location, to embedded videos, galleries showcasing your work, a tappable button to call you, or links to your social channels and multiple web sites.
NFC is also the technology behind next-gen ‘pay now, pay later’ incentive payment methods including Afterpay that allow customers to buy the product instore and pay for it in four equal instalments.
Ecommerce – from selling to selling more
Digital stores have become easier for small business to set up too. Affordable sales-based ordering solutions including Shopify and Wix By Vista help small businesses do more than sell – they can drive behaviour change and loyalty so you can sell more.
Most people know Wix By Vista is a popular free web site builder, but you also can use the business features on Wix eCommerce to easily set up and manage an online store for selling too. It requires a subscription, with three different levels available in Australia, that make it an affordable ecommerce option for start-ups, bloggers, freelancers and small businesses.
You can take your customer’s ecommerce experience next level using 3D and other new printing and design technology, from stickers and ribbons with your logo to custom boxes for packaging that packs a punch from providers like VistaPrint. You don’t need in-house design expertise either. Providers like 99Designs By Vista match freelance professional designers to small businesses to custom design anything from a brand identity to a consistent brand experience from ordering to unboxing.
No matter what type of small business you run, new tech means you no longer need a big budget and big team to make a big impact. You just need big ideas.
Marcus Marchant is CEO of Vista Australia.