5 Best Ways To Invest in Tech Tools Online
Having the right software, devices, and other tech tools is a basic necessity for running any small business successfully. Even though you know you need these tools, the problem with tech trends is that they’re changing all the time, so it can be hard for small business owners to know where to invest their time and money. The good news is that once you invest in the basics, it doesn’t take much effort or expense to stay on top of new advancements. While this upfront investment may seem like a strain on your budget at first, the right tech tools will pay for themselves in the long run, and often even sooner than you think.
To make the most of your budget, start by looking at your tech basics. Even if you already have the essentials like a website, a social media presence, and email marketing, ask yourself whether these tools are reaching their full potential.
A Professional, Profitable Website
If you already have a website, one of the best business decisions you can make is to hire a professional WordPress developer who can enhance the way it looks and functions. Many business owners choose WordPress because it’s a platform that is free and highly versatile.
A WordPress developer can use custom coding through WordPress to boost a website’s power and capabilities, as well as perform back-end web development and troubleshooting. This professional can also build a fully functional eCommerce component. Having the ability to do eCommerce alone is worth the return on your investment for hiring someone to get this up and running. When budgeting for this expense, know that rates for a WordPress developer can vary from about $30-$150 an hour.
Along with focusing on design and function, you also want to make sure your site includes a few critical elements. For one example of strategic content, the website Business 2 Community explains how search engine optimization (SEO) and a strong landing page go hand in hand. SEO is a marketing necessity that ensures your page comes up in search engines. At the same time, your home page is where those who find you in a search are going to land. That’s where you need to capture their attention first and foremost.
Once you have captured their attention, another essential element is having multiple call-to-action (CTA) buttons. These need to be interspersed throughout your site, and they can be anything that converts someone who is browsing into a customer or potential client. A few examples of a CTA include buttons to download information or add an item to a shopping cart. For real estate agents, a great CTA is a request for more information about a property.
These first two steps (developing a modern website and including the right elements) form the backbone of a solid web marketing strategy, but you can’t stop there. Your future clients aren’t always on their computers. This means your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices for a broader reach. The good news is that WordPress makes mobile optimization incredibly easy. In addition to mobile-friendly features, Forbes also recommends adding visual content — especially video — because it works best on mobile devices.
Widen Your Scope
Most of the tech strategies we have talked about thus far have centered around reaching new clients to see long-term growth in your business. Today’s technologies also help to find tools that actually make you money — even in the short term. One example is to widen your scope by adding drop shipping to your business. When you have the rest of these web tools in place, you have a new opportunity. You’re in a prime position to add dropshipping as a second business. Dropshipping is easy and affordable to get into since you don’t have to purchase or find the space for inventory.
There are options out there to sell a wide variety of products through dropshipping, so it’s easy to branch out into something that fits the niche you’re already in; for example, real estate brokers can give clients easy access to home decor and bedding. This makes your website a one-stop-shop that takes the headache out of staging their home to sell. Growing your business this way is a win-win because you’re offering current clients an additional service and generating extra income. As an added benefit, this branch of your business may even boost your business’s SEO rankings.
The Right Marketing Techniques
There are countless avenues for making the most of your strong web presence by marketing your business online. In the end, you have to do what works best with your budget and suits your business needs. Three of the top digital marketing techniques we recommend are SEO, social media, and email marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We mentioned SEO in connection with generating traffic to your landing page, but it’s worth exploring a little further. If you aren’t already, spending a little time and money on SEO is especially important. It’s a marketing tool that puts your page front and center for potential clients who are searching for your services.
Because SEO can be complex and time-consuming, Search Engine Journal recommends that small businesses focus on the most targeted actions you can take to improve your search rankings. One strategy is to brainstorm about what exactly you offer to clients — and how to solve their problems. This brainstorming session will jumpstart the rest of your SEO (and broader marketing strategy. This helps you hone in on optimizing keywords and content throughout your site. This is just one of many different SEO strategies, so we recommend setting aside some time to learn about actions you can take or hiring a freelance marketer to help get your rankings up to speed.
Besides focusing on SEO, the other primary platform you should be used for marketing is social media. Social media is composed of several platforms. The best strategy is to use different ones for what each does best. For example, many real estate agents have success on social media using Facebook to share updates such as new listings, whereas YouTube is ideal for behind-the-scenes peeks into a property.
The reality is that most of your potential clients are already on social media. Joining them there in a positive way ensures you’re reaching more people and making a personal connection. In fields like real estate, where transactions are so human in nature, making these connections can be what gives people trust in you as a business.
SEO is primarily about reaching new clients, whereas social media helps expand your reach. It helps develop connections with new and past clients. Think of email marketing as the missing piece of the puzzle that is primarily about keeping in touch with clients, making those connections and relationships to the next level. If you’re new to email marketing, the first thing to do is create and grow your list of recipients. You will have the most success if you make signing up from your website easy. It’s also important to offer incentives so people see a reason for signing up. An example, you’re in real estate. People need to know that receiving your emails is the best way to stay in the know on market trends. If you have a retail component to your business, you could offer free shipping or a discount when someone signs up.
Once you have a list of recipients, you can start sending emails that keep clients engaged with your business. Social media is a platform where people view a post, maybe engage, and then move on quickly. No one spends lots of time poring over emails either. But email does give you the opportunity to delve a little deeper. Campaign Monitor recommends using emails to develop your brand and demonstrate your expertise by providing content your clients find valuable. The end result is that clients stay devoted to your business because they feel like they are truly a part of it. Of course, the other key benefit of email marketing is driving traffic to your site. This not only keeps clients engaged but also translates into sales.
In the face of new technologies that are constantly emerging, something that has been around as long as the email may seem overly simplistic and out of date. However, the reality is that you can’t branch out into the newest developments without having some tech basics established first. Not only do you need these basics — it’s just as important to do them well.
Investing in Tech Tools
From email to SEO, all of these tech tools and strategies really do form the foundation for having a professional and profitable web presence. They may involve an upfront investment, but the income and growth potential are well worth it in the long run.