We've reached a point in our technological advancement where everyone not only has a computer but also carries it around in a pocket. That's not all – many people have multiple computers, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and even smart TVs. This means you have to use the internet to reach your customers if you want to stay competitive in this day and age. Consumers fully expect you to have a website and a social media presence. Not having these may actually send up red flags to potential customers and create a sense of distrust in your brand.
This was not the case even 10 years ago, so if you're a little behind the times, it's understandable. The good news is that computers have a lot to offer businesses in terms of not only marketing and advertising but also in daily efficiency.
Digital Marketing Is a Must
It's impossible to talk about the impact of computers on business without talking about the explosion of digital marketing. Before digital marketing became popular, consumers were more open to advertisements on TV. Now, they seek "social proof" to know if a product or service is worthwhile, and they go to the internet to find out.
That means you need to not only have a website that's easy to find and navigate but also maintain a social presence on sites like Facebook and Yelp, where reviews and testimonials can easily be seen.
You can still leverage the advantages of computers in business marketing in other ways. You can even run a text message campaign or develop a mobile app to take advantage of very specific smartphone technology. Otherwise, digital marketing involves search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click ads and many other strategies therein.
Productivity Apps Streamline Tasks
Productivity software and applications have become essential in the modern-day office. Now, we don't just email our colleagues – we have Slack channels. We don't just make conference calls – we Skype and share screens.
Think about the field service industry, for example, and how technology allows more clients to be helped in a single day thanks to efficiency of communication. GPS allows the best routes to be mapped to the destination. Once there, tickets can be pulled up on a tablet with real-time information. Dispatch uses phones less and less and apps more and more in order to communicate accurate information. Thanks to devices like the Square reader, card payments can be accepted on-site.
Regardless of your industry, there's bound to be management or productivity software to streamline your day-to-day tasks.
Paperless Offices Save Money
In the early days of computers, saving and sharing files required a hard drive. With the invention of cloud computing, files can be stored and shared online. Documents can even be edited by multiple people in real time.
Many businesses have used cloud computing as an opportunity to go paperless. Instead of keeping hard copies in a filing cabinet in case of a hard-drive crash, businesses back up their cloud files.
Other technology contributes to paperless offices as well. Meeting agendas can be pulled up on tablets or smartphones by each attendee. You don't even need a fax machine anymore since even faxes can be sent and received online.
The Negative Effects of Computers in Business
Are there any negative effects of computers in business? Our dependency on computers falls back to a dependency on an internet connection, and this can mean that a power outage could have a very negative impact on a business that relies on computers.
There may be some learning curves to using productivity or management apps, and you might not even like the first one you try. Fortunately, most have free trial periods to help you out.
For small business owners, doing your own digital marketing can take a lot of time, but hiring an in-house team is not really justified either. Fortunately, you can outsource this task as little or as much as you like.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.