Technology has changed just about everything in our lives and it has certainly transformed the way we do business. This is absolutely true for how entrepreneurs and small business people conduct marketing. Some of the best practices used by only large companies and agencies in the past are now available to small businesses in affordable and scalable ways. In many ways, these technological advances have helped entrepreneurs and small business owners step up their game. This is not to say that the more traditional methods of doing these things are obsolete. They are not. It just means that companies do not have to wait until they can afford it to reach larger audiences, analyze audience behavior, and manage their customer base easily. Let’s walk through a few of the ways that technology has changed marketing for the small business.

Customers Are Closer

This is probably one of the biggest technology changes in marketing. Your customers and potential customers are closer. They are right on the internet and there are lots of affordable ways to reach them. Social media has played a HUGE impact in this. Not only can you reach millions of people with your messages but you can choose who you want to talk to. You can target specific types of people that you have identified as potential customers.

Having all of these people at your fingertips is a giant breakthrough for marketing. The cost to reach people has been dramatically lowered and your ability to grow outside your immediate area his soared. It can be intoxicating to have all these people to market to. Just remember less is more. Don’t pay to market to people that probably aren’t going to be interested. Market to the people most likely to buy. But how do you find them?

Information Is Everywhere

One of the most important tools that an entrepreneur or small business owner has is information. Information about who your customer is and what they like. In fact, you can even use platforms like Facebook to determine what your current customers look like. The information is there for you to review. What age groups like your page? Where do they live? What are their interests?

All of this information is there for you to use for FREE. Large companies spend millions of dollars gathering this information and it is right there for you to use. Of course, the big research campaigns are more accurate and offer detailed information that you define. But the free stuff that is available is a great foundation for smaller companies. You can’t spend millions but you still need the information.

Facebook has insights about your posts, ads, and pages. Twitter has analytics that allows you to analyze your tweets and your followers. And Google Analytics helps you know what people are doing on your website. And these are just to name a very few of the resources out there. Figure out what kind of information you are looking for and look for a source where that information can be found. You will be surprised how much is available.

So, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have to make assumptions about your customers quite as much. You can make educated decisions about how you believe they will behave. You just have to take the time to look for what is at your fingertips.

Training, Tips, and How-To’s

Okay now you are thinking, great there is all this cool stuff I can find out and do but how do I even begin to know how to do it. Well, guess what, technology has come through again. If you are unsure how to understand and use any of the tools mentioned in this post start with the companies we talked about. They all have some training, tips, and how-tos waiting for you to teach yourself. One example is Facebook Blueprint. These are a tremendous resource of online training on how to utilize what Facebook has to offer. Twitter Business Outlook offers articles, how-tos, and best practices for marketing on Twitter. So, before you feel lost in a sea of uncertainty seek out the tools that are there for you from the providers themselves.

And all of these tools are designed for people just like yourself. Entrepreneurs and small business owners. They aren’t designed for people with degrees in marketing. So, you don’t have to worry that you won’t understand all the terminology. It is just straightforward information.

You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

Please remember that as an entrepreneur or small business owner you will still need to find a reliable partner to handle things for you from time to time. Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean that you should. And if you aren’t ready or can’t hire a partner at this point build your own network of people who can provide you with support. People you can bounce ideas off of, share tips and tricks with, and who can provide encouragement.

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI