5 Tools Every Business Needs To Succeed in 2017
The business landscape changes faster today than it ever has in the past. Technology advancements, social networks and global markets all factor into how businesses operate day to day. While these all present opportunities to expand, each comes with complexities and constraints. Give each of your teams the tools they need to succeed.
Below are 5 tools to help you effectively and efficiently run your business in a way that enhances your ability to capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.
#1. An email marketing platform
Email is part of everyday life for most people. A recent study showed that 73 percent of Millennials said they still prefer to receive email from business versus other channels. In the age of social media, this shows that email is still one of the top engagement channels to reach a targeted audience. This creates a huge opportunity to have a continuous and effective line of communication to your customers, but having the right technology partners and strategy in place is critical to the success of those communications.
As Digital Trends states, 73 percent of consumers preferring to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. Email marketing platforms such as Campaign Monitor give marketers the ability to send 1:1 email messages based on personal information such as geo-location, age, gender and transaction history. In addition, Campaign Monitor sends emails specific to each individual based on actions in a previous email. For example, a retail company may send out a promotional campaign; for subscribers who make a purchase, the company can follow up with a thank you email and for those don’t who convert, they can send a reminder about the great offer a few days later.
#2. A social media listening platform
Social media has become as familiar to our society today as TV did in the 1960’s. Millennials are the first generation to grow up posting, sharing, liking and swiping. This poses a huge opportunity for businesses to engage directly with their audience in real time to increase brand awareness, create brand loyalty and give customers a personal experience. The downside of brands is the additional resources needed to update social media pages and engage with audiences across all platforms. According to Hubspot, over 80 percent of marketers said they had to spend at least six hours each week to generate increased traffic on social media.
Luckily, social media listening platforms such as Hootsuite give marketers the ability to listen across platforms as scale. By tracking brand mentions and keywords, Hootsuite allows social teams to be notified when people are talking about their brand or topics related to their products and then respond directly through the platform. Hootsuite is a must for some of the largest brands like Gap and L’Oreal.
#3. Conversion optimization platform
Visitors to your website and mobile app evaluate whether or not to continue on browsing in about 7 seconds. In that time, it’s critical to answer their question, solve a problem or impress them with the experience. From that point on, brands need to continue to move visitors towards a conversion like signing up, subscribing or buying. It’s the process of continually improving that customer experience that is conversion optimization.
Platforms like Optimizely sit on top of existing website code to allow marketers to create A/B and multivariate tests in order to find the best possible user experience that results in more conversions. They take it a step further by personalizing the user experience by dynamically showing different content based on the visitors geo-location or information you already know about the visitor. For example, Optimizely can show swim suites to people in Florida and parkas to people in North Dakota. This personalized experience is shown to significantly increase conversion and more engaged customers.
#4. The right financing partner
Businesses of all sizes require capital at some point to go to the next level. Mid-sized companies may look to raising capital to finance equipment while large corporations go public to get investment from the open market. For most companies, raising capital allows them to make the investment needed to take the business to the next level. Choosing the right lender can be difficult which is why lending platforms like LendGenius were created to aggregate top lenders that are specific to each business’ needs. LendGenius gives businesses of all sizes access to lenders for the growth capital they need, such as equipment financing, by streamlining the process between business and lender digitally.
#5. A travel management app
Managing a team across different offices or interacting with clients can equate to a demanding travel schedule. Whether you travel across state lines or across the country, managing your schedule can create added work that doesn’t add to the bottom line. When you compound that by the number of people on your team that have to travel regularly travel management can become a full time job.
This is where travel management tools, such as Tripit, can save you the everyday headaches that can come with traveling. Tripit can turn your emails into a master itinerary for every trip so all of your plans are in a single place. It’s a detailed, daily itinerary with important dates, times, and confirmation numbers. If your flight is cancelled, you don’t have to waste several minutes scouring the Internet trying to find alternate flights — Tripit can do the work for you. Additionally, Tripit tracks your seats, your travel points, and sends real-time alerts for things like gate changes, delays and cancellations. One of the best features is that it automatically checks and scans your email accounts for any travel plans. This saves you time because you no longer have to check and recheck your email looking for changes to your itinerary.
Growing a business requires hard work, determination and time management among many other things. While the above tools certainly aren’t all you will need to make your business succeed, they are sure to give you an edge by allowing you to streamline processes and engage with customers in a more personalized way.