Manage episode 312737915 series 3244175
I never intended to get into the content publishing business. However, after I left my corporate career I started doing some consulting for friends that were entrepreneurs. After a while I thought, why don’t I launch a website and start an email newsletter. Keep in mind this was 2003 so the state of email marketing was still in its infancy. In my search for a way to publish articles online, a friend suggested I look into blogging. Fast forward a few months and what I realized was my blog posts were getting more readers than the newsletter.
The essential challenges small businesses have around getting customers, getting paid, hiring good people, and operating the business haven’t changed. However, what has changed dramatically is the digital landscape. The web has opened things up and given small businesses a way to compete with bigger businesses. At the same time, to take advantage of the digital tools, a small business is challenged to learn more. You don’t have to build the technology, but you have to learn how to use it and incorporate it into your business.
When it comes to what type of technology your business should be using, you need some type of tool that allows you to communicate to your customers via email. Customers today expect to be able to communicate with a business via email. Then you need a tool that helps you manage your customer data, so you can keep track of their preferences and opportunities. When your customer list is tiny maybe you can keep track of each customer by memory. But as you scale that system won't work anymore.
When it comes to our website, which is SmallBizTrends.com, we leverage the data we collect to help us make decisions and adjustments. However, that didn’t just happen overnight. We first had to track what was happening on the site and then utilize software to generate reports to get to the insights. It’s no good having data if you don’t look at it. It takes effort to look at the reports and understand what they are telling you. It is even better if you can create some type of reporting dashboard. The benefit of all this data is it allows you to make higher-level decisions and unlocks growth in your business.