Digital transformation refers to a change in a business’ processes, channels, and systems using digital technology, so that the business is more operationally efficient.
By Sawaram Suthar
Digital transformation refers to a change in a business’ processes, channels, and systems using digital technology, so that the business is more operationally efficient. This technology may include automated invoicing or better cloud storage, or a more effective way of handling digital marketing. It can even be something as simple as adding the right CTA to the right content.
This technology can single-handedly make a business more effective and efficient, and that is all a small business needs to prosper. According to the research conducted by SMB Group, small businesses that invest in technology are 18% more likely to experience revenue growth when compared to their contemporaries.
Therefore, the following list offers specific tools and categories that can help any small business get started on its path to digital transformation.
- Acquire: Using customer representatives is not the most efficient solution for handling customer queries. Most customers have generic questions that can be solved by using natural language processing or AI, or even by putting a smart algorithm in place. In these situations, actual human assistance is required only for special requests, which is where automation comes into the picture and chatbots take over.
The market is flooded with chatbots; every other SaaS company is offering them. The only way to pick the right one is by looking at the expertise of the SaaS provider. The biggest indicator of expertise is the gamut of services they provide. Acquire exemplifies this and can help a business of any size. It has a very cohesive set of offerings, increasing the effectiveness of the entire customer communication process.
Chatbots are only the beginning, with their offering of the standard services required. Acquire go deeper with Profile Management, to understand users’ personalities and where they are in their experience journey. For situations where human help is needed, Live Chat options are also available. To personalize communications with specific customers, you can choose Video Conferencing or Co-Browsing solutions. If you want to increase your Net Promoter Scores, Acquire should be your first choice!
- Zipbooks: Accounting was supposed to be complex and tiresome, which is probably how the big four of accounting were born. Now, a small business cannot hire any of them for its accounting needs. Additionally, most of the accounting software available on the market are not very reliable, or are way out of budget for smaller businesses. Zipbooks is probably the best solution to this problem.
Zipbooks provides one solution for invoicing, accounting, billing, and expenses. And its base package, which provides unlimited invoicing, is free! Zipbooks has four distinct offerings: Starter; Smarter; Sophisticated; and Services, which offers a wide range of services that depend on the requirements of each individual business.
- SocialPilot and SentiOne: SocialPilot is one of the best social media management tools available. Small businesses are increasingly using Facebook and Instagram to generate leads and run bulk campaigns. But many businesses cannot afford to directly work with giant tools like Hootsuite. That is where SocialPilot comes in. Not only does it provide a dashboard for all running campaigns, but it also provides features like bulk scheduling and collaboration tools. Think of it as Slack meets Hootsuite, except the result is better and cheaper!
SocialPilot helps you monitor your campaigns and SentiOne helps you create more insightful ones. Using keywords with exact phrase match or negative match, you can monitor practically anything your customers have to say about your brand on social media. With the help of this information, you can target specific customers or garner data that will help you create more effective campaigns.
- Trello: Working in teams can be tiresome for both the members and the leader. Keeping everyone on the same page, building team cohesion, managing deliverables – it can get hectic. Trello makes the entire process more efficient and fun. Trello helps you create lists, preferences, and collaboration points so that you can visualize the entire process right in front of you. It helps a leader see the big picture and detect bottlenecks where they occur, and increases team cohesion.
- MailChimp: MailChimp is one of today’s most innovative companies. In 2016, its founder, Ben Chestnut, said that MailChimp had over $400 million in revenues. They reached this stage without any debt or external funding, simply by filling a need that their customers had. Any small business that deals in e-commerce can utilize MailChimp for bulk-email campaigns. Additionally, MailChimp provides thorough email campaign analytics, which can help any business improve its communications.
- Sniply: Social media has two purposes: brand building and lead generation. Brand building is behind all the interesting content that gets posted. Lead generation is a more monotonous process. Sniply helps your business integrate brand building and lead generation by adding CTA buttons to your social media content — videos, images, or text. Imagine the ability to leverage any content you post as marketing collateral!
- Hubspot: Hubspot has emerged as one of the best e-learning sources available for digital marketers. Formed on the philosophy of inbound marketing, Hubspot’s offerings are centered on CRM systems. In fact, it provides free CRM systems for small businesses. An industry leader with a great brand, reliable technology, and no fees? What more could you ask for?
- Slack: Slack is one of the most sophisticated tools on the list. It helps businesses streamline processes and improve communication. Slack is a great tool for collaboration, project management, and process management. It is used by industry giants, such as Airbnb, and has over 9 million registered users. Best yet, it is still free to smaller teams for an unlimited period of time!
- Gmelius: Gmelius, simply put, provides automation, collaboration, and security for all your Gmail communications. It is a lightweight CRM that easily integrates with your Gmail account or GSuite. This allows the management of the entire email process, from receipt to automation to delegation.
- Google Drive: Genius lies in the basics. Google Drive is genius. The biggest businesses are providing cloud storage options to businesses, whereas Google Drive has made it simple and free. For any business that cannot afford even the cheapest collaboration tool on this list, Google Drive is there for you. It allows people to store information, share documents, and edit data in real time.
These technological tools should be treated as investments, not just expenses. If the costs saved by these tools in terms of energy, time, and other resources are tallied, any business owner will be able to see the tremendous value they bring to their small business.
Sawaram Suthar is growth hacker at Jagat Media, and also a founder of TheNextScoop. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune.
Digital business stock photo by Peshkova/Shutterstock