There has been a dramatic change in the manner we communicate in business. For small businesses, deciding on the most economic, efficient and effective strategy to communicate internally and with customers can be difficult. With the changes in the manner by which consumers want to receive information, it is wise to keep up to date with the latest trends in technology and communication.
Email is still No. 1
Majority of small businesses still prefer email as the medium for outbound marketing and communications, according to the 2016 SME Direction Survey. Email is also expected to grow as an important part of any business’ marketing mix with over 50% of the respondents considering emails as a vital growth platform.
The growth driver of emails is the advances in technology, i.e. the business intelligence metrics available and integration with systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms, personalisation and automation.
Using social media as a small-business communication tool has been growing for some time and does not appear to be losing momentum. According to a survey of Australian SMEs, social media is expected to have the second-fastest growth among different types of communication media in 2016.
Businesses are beginning to recognise the potential of social media as being more than a broadcast medium. It remains as a tool to promote content, like blog posts and product promotions, but forward-thinking companies are utilising social media to connect with customers and prospects.
The expectation of millennials for prompt, two-way conversations is one of the major impacts they have on business conversations. People now are not afraid to respond to communications and are more likely to talk to a staff of a business, whether a sales rep or the owner, using one of the platforms now available. They are now also more at ease connecting with businesses on social media, like the way they connect with friends.
Adding a personal touch with videos
Video conferencing is now a quick, easy and accessible way to communicate. It’s now easy to meet with customers or teams in different locations via video using free tools such as Skype, Join.me and Facetime. It is also now easier to start video chats, with laptops and mobile phones now featuring front facing cameras.
Video meetings add a personal and human touch to communications, further promote shared conversations, and provide all the advantages of body language and facial expressions.
However, while technology is making it easier to communicate with clients in increasingly various ways, it also means that customers are being flooded with messages from many fronts, including all kinds of messages from your business rivals.
To distinguish yourself from your competitors, convey your message across and have meaningful conversations with your customers, consider leveraging technological advances that are easily accessible today. Moreover, consider utilising several tools such as email, face-to-face, social media and video chats to create meaningful connections.
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