Businesses are constantly under pressure to keep up with ever-changing technology advancements. While smart phones allow business communications to occur from virtually anywhere, social media is enabling marketers to directly reach their target audience on a whole new level. Several major technological changes have had significant impacts on the present and future for businesses.
Websites not only serve as a resource for contact and other information about a business, but are actually a means to advertise to anyone who visits or stumbles upon the site. Consumers searching online for a certain service or product may be directed to a business’s website that they may not have ever visited otherwise. The increasing popularity of business websites has driven down the costs to get one: A basic business website can be put up for less than $10 a month in hosting fees as of mid-2010. On the other hand, major corporate sites that utilize a lot of animation and have hundreds of pages can cost tens of thousands.
Email has changed the way business communication is done by offering another way to reach colleagues, customers and vendors. More importantly, though, is the ability of email to reach customers through the use of email marketing, which now has its own industry and service providers. Email marketing firms provide their clients with metrics reports that include click-through rates, as well as forward and open percentages, thereby demonstrating increases in the spread of their sales messages to their clients.
The overwhelming popularity of smart phones continues to integrate into office environments. Smart phones such as the BlackBerry, iPhone and Droid provide on-the-go access to email, Internet, scheduling and calendars, and can even provide access to presentations and invoices through the use of downloadable applications. BlackBerrys can even serve as an extension of an office phone line.
Teleconference capabilities have allowed businesses to communicate with clients from all parts of the world, but now video calling from a computer provides the face-to-face contact that’s important in business. Internet-based voice and video calling services and applications such as Skype, iChat and Yahoo! Voice require users to download an application program. System requirements include a webcam, microphone and Internet connectivity.
Social media is changing the way business market themselves. With numerous social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, businesses can control their marketing message in a non-traditional environment. More and more companies are embracing social media as a new way to reach consumers directly and quickly, and with almost zero costs.