Technology for small businesses is always a Catch-22: you need powerful digital tech tools in order to compete, but the money required to buy them can be too steep for some. It can be difficult to discern tech necessities from tech luxuries, but failing to do so can drive up costs.
Every business’s needs are different, but there are still a few digital tools every business leader needs to be aware of. Here are some of the best:
1. Email Tracking
Businesspeople send hundreds of emails every day, but how many really know how effective their communications are? One way to figure out is through email tracking software, which helps you understand if and when your email was opened.
Email tracking tools allow you to see when your message arrived, when it was read, how long the recipient spent reading it, and much, much more. In an age when tracking engagement levels is key to curating follow-ups, the information that email tracking provides is worth its weight in gold.
2. Content Scheduling
Content marketing has already established itself as a mainstay in the world of advertising, so how can businesses take further advantage of the medium? Optimizing SEO and targeting post topics are both useful strategies, but neither guarantees that your content will land with just the right audience at just the right time.
Content scheduling can go a long way in relieving your marketing team’s headaches, letting you know when and where certain pieces of content are due to be published. Instead of deploying content as you go along, set up a schedule. You’ll have a deeper understanding of your content’s reach and won’t slip into a panic every time a new publishing date comes around.
3. Payroll Software
Even the smallest enterprises can run into issues when it comes to payroll. Each country and state has different laws and regulations governing how payroll should be conducted, and coordinating between different banks, accounts, and payment platforms can be a nightmare. Payroll software alleviates these issues by handling the small print of all your payroll operations, ensuring that your employees never have to worry about late pay or compliance issues.
4. Proofreading Apps
Getting your content on a firm schedule is one thing, but making sure your content is squeaky clean is another. Unless you have a team of world-class editors at your beck and call, proofreading apps and plugins are likely going to be your saving grace here. From blog posts to emails, it helps to always have someone over your shoulder checking your work. That “someone” could be a program.
Companies have long been wary of chatbots, and for good reason. Consumers are hesitant to interact with AI programs and generally find real people to be significantly more helpful. The newest generation of chatbots is poised to change that attitude forever.
Recent advances in technology have made the best chatbots nearly indistinguishable from humans. Chatbots can recognize when the conversation isn’t going smoothly and notify a customer service agent to step in. This seamless in-and-out format gives chatbots a tough-to-beat edge when it comes to onsite guidance.
6. Calendar Syncing
While even the most common digital schedules support syncing, they hardly take full advantage of the practice. Instead of searching for a time that works for everyone, you could schedule the ideal meeting time instantly.
The best auto-syncing calendars can do just that. By displaying any possible time conflicts at play, these calendar programs make it easy to schedule without the requisite back-and-forth businesspeople have gotten used to.
7. Video Communication
If you’re like other businesses, this probably means Zoom to you — but that doesn’t need to be the only option. Slack and Microsoft Teams both have highly functional, price-competitive offerings. A number of other video communication platforms are in the pipeline as well. Look for the platform that works for your business in terms of price and functionality. Video chat is a utility now more than it is a luxury. You can get it for the right price if you look hard enough.
Running a small business has never been easy, but the age of tech has made it particularly precarious. It won’t be easy, but adopting the right digital tools can help you compete with the big dogs.