According to a recent report by RightScale cloud automation vendor, 93 percent of organizations surveyed either run applications or are experimenting with infrastructure as a service. And 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. The latter figure indicates a 74 percent increase just from the previous year.
All of this means that more and more businesses are using cloud-based services and the numbers are growing.
One of the key advantages to using the cloud is the ability to scale up without the need for new hard drives, computers, file storage and systems. Small businesses can use the cloud for just about everything from customer relationship management to payroll and project management.
Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Get Started With CRM
Set up a customer relationship management application from the start of your business. A recent IDC study shows that the ROI of using a CRM yield results ranging from 16 percent to 1,000 percent. Whether you’re a small business with one client or rapidly growing, you need engagement tools in place for clients to get more information and stay in touch.
Many businesses use spreadsheets to keep tabs on contacts and leads for a cost-effective solution.
But spreadsheets aren’t designed to work like a CRM application and you could lose sales in the process. CRMs can be pricey, but there are affordable SaaS solutions like Highrise or Capsule.
2. Get Professional Website Builders
Get your website up and running before you even open your doors for business to capture potential leads and spread the word. It’s no longer enough to set up a landing page and hope for the best. Today’s consumers expect websites that load quickly, have a responsive design and are mobile friendly. In 2015, businesses took a hit when Google started favoring websites that were mobile-friendly in mobile search results.
Fortunately it’s not difficult to build a website and set up a company blog to enhance your SEO and make connections with your audience. Use Best10WebsiteBuilders.com to get updates and reviews on the most intuitive web builders on the market. Even business owners with no website or coding experience whatsoever can get a website set up quickly and with all the bells and whistles you need.
Visit WordPress Developers to get more custom work done.
3. Get Cloud Storage
Pull the trigger on cloud storage as soon as you start copying contracts, invoices and presentations onto hard drives. Keeping all your digital files in the cloud offers quick access when you need it most whether at a business meeting or when you have a burst of inspiration and need your marketing plan.
There’s another reason to use cloud storage than just tucking away your files. Service like Google Docs and Dropbox offer real-time collaboration and syncing.
That means if your employees or clients want to work on a file with you, everyone can make changes and the information automatically syncs. Share folders, links and images from any device or restore old files when you need them most.
4. Get Email Marketing
In the age of social media, it’s tempting to think email marketing is dead. However, McKinsey and Company reported that email is nearly 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
To give some context to those numbers, look at what Convince and Convert has to say. Consumers who receive marketing related emails spend 138 percent more than people who don’t.
Email marketing is simple and can be done cheaply and without much fanfare and still be effective.
MailChimp provides free services with upgrade plan features when your business is ready to scale,
There’s no fee for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails. Once you hit 600,000 subscribers, upgrade to the “Growing Business” plan or “High Volume Sender.”
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scales up customers, leads and sales. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.