Gain a Competitive Edge

Marketing & Web solutions for small & midsize businesses.

Competition is fierce, especially in today’s economy.

What business doesn’t want to gain an edge over its rivals?

[source: AT&T Business Circle] Fortunately, technology is making it easier for you to reduce costs, boost productivity, and win new customers. Even better, businesses are finding that the latest tools and techniques are affordable and easy to implement.

Here are four technologies that could prove crucial to your competitive success.

Collaborate to improve productivity.

Meetings can be the bane of a business owner’s existence. You can’t do without them, but they can consume a huge amount of time and money. Fortunately, new video-conferencing and collaboration tools enable you to:

  • Meet with employees, customers, prospects, and suppliers without leaving your desk.
  • Permit employees who are traveling or posted in other locations to play an active role in staff meetings.
  • Make sales calls right from your office.
  • Enable employees in different locations to work together as if they were in the same room.

These timesaving tools can do a lot to give your business an advantage. They also help you grow your business more easily because you can meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Use the cloud to manage data.

Servers, software, and technical support staff can impose a serious financial burden on a small business. But with the Internet phenomenon known as the cloud, you can bypass much of this expense. By using a cloud service, you can:

  • Move data, business software, and digital services to third-party servers, reducing or eliminating the need to maintain servers of your own.
  • Avoid hiring technical support staff.
  • Take advantage of the most recent versions of software—the cloud service provider is responsible for upgrades.
  • Stop worrying about capacity issues—the cloud scales up automatically as your business grows.

Embrace mobility to reach customers.

Consumers and companies are adopting smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other portable devices at a dizzying pace. Businesses that fail to follow suit risk falling behind. To help you stay competitive, consider using mobile technology to:

  • Educate and excite on-the-go consumers with a mobile-friendly website.
  • Send to customers and prospects with discount offers and other calls to action.
  • Launch a mobile app that makes it easier for employees to do their jobs or for customers to interact with your business.
  • Use mobile barcodes, also known as QR codes, to give customers and prospects an instant link to your digital marketing messages.

Like conferencing and collaboration tools, mobile technology makes it easier to expand your business when you can reach employees, prospects, customers, and suppliers wherever they may be.

Test online marketing to target shoppers.

You can now take advantage of a host of interactive marketing tools and techniques that are often more effective and less expensive than traditional advertising. Here are just a few examples:

  • Tap the power of search engine marketing and advertising to help reach customers and prospects.
  • Engage in email marketing, which can be an especially affordable and effective tactic for small businesses.
  • Use online business directories like foursquare®, Citysearch®, and Google Places® to help raise awareness of your company and drive traffic to your door.
  • Take advantage of social media like Facebook® and Twitter™ to help spread marketing messages virally.
  • Use digital analytics tools, which can help you gauge the results of your digital marketing efforts.

Like conferencing and collaboration tools, mobile technology makes it easier to expand your business when you can reach employees, prospects, customers, and suppliers wherever they may be.

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