Small-business owners have to focus on lead generation to stay competitive in their industry, and many are willing to try different practices to continue to grow their customer base. With the increasing number of innovations in technology becoming readily available for owners at smaller firms, it's important to decide which initiative would work best for the company.
Technology shaping customer engagement
A recent survey for Constant Contact revealed the five top technology tools that small-business owners are using to engage their customer base. Taking top honors were online survey tools, which were used by 60 percent of respondents. The remaining initiatives include digital loyalty/frequent shopper tracking systems (56 percent), customer relationship management systems (46 percent), email marketing (45 percent) and contact management tools (38 percent).
"Eighty-two percent of small business owners have said their main source of new business is referrals, so it's no surprise they're taking a hard look at technologies that boost social visibility and feed the referral engine," said Joel Hughes, senior vice president, strategy and corporate development, of Constant Contact.
Digital innovations growing in popularity
Many of today's marketers are just learning how to incorporate new technologies at their disposal to catch consumers' attention and continue to build relationships with members of their customer base. However, some small-business owners are already picking out their favorite new ways to generate leads. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they enjoy using daily deals, 51 percent prefer using internet ads, and 37 percent opt for using social media ads. Understanding how to capitalize on these new innovations can give small-business owners the opportunity to bring in higher levels of revenue.
"To succeed, small business owners have the difficult task of keeping pace with a rapidly evolving technology landscape," said Hughes. "When you consider that they now see digital loyalty, which was not even on the horizon a few years ago, as the second most effective way to engage customers, I think they're up to the challenge."
Use daily deals to supplement marketing initiatives
While the interest in daily deals has waned over the past year, small-business owners can still use the marketing tool as a way to grow interest in their company.
"Deals can be a powerful tool," said Dave Gilbertson, vice president and general manager for SaveLocal from Constant Contact. "But perhaps more than any other tool, they need to be done right or they can be highly detrimental to a small business owner. That means giving small businesses greater control."
Some small-business owners aren't quite sure about how to create a daily deal campaign that will work for their company. An article for Inc. magazine shed some light on the steps companies need to take after customers purchase their daily deals.
- Encourage customers to share their positive experiences with the brand.
- Ensure the business listing has been claimed on review sites like Yelp and Google Places.
- Respond when customers leave posts, and thank them for their positive thoughts.
- Set a limit on the number of offerings the company will be able to sell.
- Continue to add to inventory to be able to create another daily deal opportunity.
Small-business owners who decide that a daily deal can work for them need to understand how they can best benefit from using their marketing initiative, and with other digital innovations, continue to add to their customer base.
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