3 Ways the Internet Can Make or Break Your Home-Based Business

The internet has absolutely transformed how companies do business and how consumers purchase products. This transformation has been dramatic and has affected all sectors of the economy. If you ignore how the internet has changed commerce, you will likely be left in the dust of competitors that have implemented the internet to expand their reach to consumers.

However, despite the benefits of the internet for businesses, selling your product online from your home isn’t necessarily easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are a lot of common mistakes you need to avoid. With that in mind, below are three ways the internet can make or break your home-based business.

SEO

One thing that can make or break your home business on the internet is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO includes the strategies that are utilized to obtain a preferable ranking on the major search engines like Google.

Google processes about 1.2 trillion searches a year. It’s how nearly everyone on the planet finds what they want on the internet. If you have poor SEO, it can certainly hurt your bottom line significantly. Definitely make fine tuning your SEO a priority. You also need to adjust your SEO over time since Google is always tweaking its algorithms.

Downtime

However, there are other issues apart from SEO you need to worry about. One of them is downtime. Downtime refers to times when your website can’t be loaded by visitors or refuses to operate properly. Downtime is a serious issue that causes businesses to lose millions a year. Most often, the cause of downtime is a higher volume of traffic than what a website’s hosting account is designed to handle. Make sure to search for web hosts and internet providers that will grant you the bandwidth you need to ensure that your website is always online and available to customers.

User Experience

Lastly, even if you obtain a high ranking on Google and avoid downtime completely, you can still fail. Part of this may be the fact that your website’s user experience is poor. This may happen, for example, if your website is hard to navigate. Today, most people surf the web on their smart phones. If your website scrolls from left to right instead of just up and down, most smart phone users may get frustrated. Make sure to test your website’s user experience on multiple different platforms.

Overall, running a website for your online business isn’t easy. Your success isn’t guaranteed. However, if you make sure your website has strong SEO, is always online and produces a good user experience, you can significantly increase your chances of success.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Seven Marketing Tips That Will Make Your Company Stand Out

Marketing tips for your business could be applied in any way that you want. You might try a few things that seem different and/or new age, and you could go for something that you think would be perfect for you. You could try something that allows you to engage with more customers, and you could create a new part of your business that will reach more people. You must be certain that you have uncovered a way to make your business better.

1. Start Your Own Video Channel

You must start your own video channel when you want to post something that reads like a commercial, and you could continue to make videos that will help explain how your products or services should be used. You will find that you have a number of people who come to your video channel because they like to keep in touch with your business. This is the easiest and fastest way for them to keep up with your company, and you could get very creative when making these videos. Moreover, YouTube is the most desired platform for both companies and the users. Utilize it to showcase your products and services by creating your own channel. Take an example of Youi’s YouTube channel and build yours to post interactive videos.

2. Sell In Marketplaces

You could sell in marketplaces where you are selling a product that is used by sports teams. You must find places to sell that will be the easiest for other people to find, and you will notice that using the marketplaces is a quick way to get people to come to your site exclusively. Do not be afraid to compete with other companies. Customers will abandon them when they call in love with your products.

3. Start A Blog

You must start a blog for your business, and you will find that the blog for your business is much easier to keep up because it is nothing but articles you have written for your customers. They could respond to your articles, and they will learn things that they did not know when they started using your products or services. You could start real conversations with your customers, and you might want to share your blog posts on social media so that people are coming back to your site.

4. Use Social Media

You must use as much social media as you possibly can to market your company. Everyone could find your company on one form of social media or another. You might not be familiar with places like Snapchat or Instagram, but you could hire someone to run the accounts that you have. You could reach a young audience with these forms of social media, and you could use a Facebook page as a way to build up information on your company. You must use social media to start contests, to make your business seem younger, and to avoid problems that people have with reaching younger demographics. If you start with a young person now, they will be your loyal customers decades from now if your company has progressed.

5. Purchase Ads That Target Customers

The ads that you have purchased will be targeted at the people that you know will buy from you. You could purchase ads that will find customers who will buy, and you could get the people to come to your site. You must create a landing page that will welcome these people when they come to the site. They could click through these ads to buy something, and someone who has your affiliate ads will make a commission on the sales. You are using affiliate ads that get other companies to try to sell your products, and everyone wins.

6. Create A Music Channel For Your Customers To Listen To

Your customers could listen to a music channel that you created because that channel allows you to give them something to listen to when they are using your products. You could build a channel as a lifestyle move for your customers, or you might choose to use the music channel as a way to share the personality of your business while you are creating new things. The people that follow your company might be interested in what inspires you, and they could listen to that channel all day every day because they are so invested in your company.

7. Use Local SEO

You must use local SEO to reach as many customers as you possibly can. You will find that local SEO is very easy to use when you are setting up tagging on your site. The tags that you put on the site should be used to show that you serve certain areas, and you must have your business page on Google completed. People are more likely to contact your company when they know that you are close by, and they might use your company if they know that you can come out to their area. You must be certain that your local SEO is done by an expert, and you must update any time your company gets bigger.

8. Honourable Mention: Write Guest Posts

Guest posts are a good way for you to post things to the Internet that are not on your website. It is much easier for you to use the guest posts to reach customers when you have a partnership with a company that will post on your site. You both can share some space, and you will both send customers in the other’s direction. You are generating goodwill with other companies, and you are getting free ad space just for writing an article.

Conclusion

There are many people who want to learn how to market their companies better, and they are hoping to use as many new age marketing advantages as they can find. Someone who is trying to have a better business must do all that they can to make it popular, and they should use the tips that are listed above. You could deploy one of these tips at a time, or you could make these changes here and there depending on what you have the resources to accomplish right now.

7 Foolproof Agility Factors That Accelerate Growth

Having a plan to help speed up your business operations and improve the overall functionality of your business is vital to getting a sizeable amount of growth and allowing a business to not only succeed but to also become the leader in your particular industry. You can always consider financing options like the business factoring, credit line financing etc. from trusted loan providers for a smooth business cash flow, but sticking to the predefined budget always helps. So what are some of the things that you need to consider when it comes to increasing speed and becoming more and more productive?

The following are some of the tips that the industry leaders use in their operations to become better at what they do.

Learn the Word No and Use it on a Regular Basis

It is okay for you to say no and to do so on a regular basis. Many people think that the word no is an evil word and that if they tell someone no that there will be some sort of fallout from it. The simple truth is that it is okay for you to not always feel like you have to say yes when you are asked to do something. Just because someone comes up with a particular idea does not mean you have to go with it. Learn to trust your gut a lot more and you will be just fine.

Set a goal that is your #1 goal

It is vital that you have a goal that is your biggest point. Too often a person will feel that they have to give equal attention to all of their goals. This is not the case, it is acceptable for you to simply find one goal and let that be the centre of your main focus. This will help you to not find yourself wandering all over the board with a variety of ideas. This allows you to stay focused on one single idea and avoids you taking away your focus for other ideas and projects. It may take a little time for you to look at all of the goals that you have, but you will need to narrow these down to a single one.

Don’t hesitate to become a partnership expert

If you feel that there is no real advantage to this, then simply look at Google and where they are as compared to where they were in 2005. This has come from the fact that they are willing to partner with other companies. The same can be said when talking about Amazon. These are companies that showed a willingness for them to partner with other companies to help and better their standing as well as help them to become more of a household name. the more partnerships that you build, then the stronger of a bond you will have in the business world. Taking a chance and building a partnership will go a long way in helping you to be in a better position with your business.

Take the time to create prototypes

It will be tempting to want to just get a product out to the public. This needs to be avoided and you need to make sure that you take the time to create test products that will allow any flaws to be seen before you send the final product out for people to buy. This is generally a great time for all of the bugs to be worked out and help you and your testers to see where some improvements can be made with your product. This may take a little more time for you to get things out to the public, but in the end, it will lead to you not having to send things back to the drawing board to fix any issues that were not discovered due to a lack of a test product.

Eliminate the budget from last year

Many people think that if they simply use the same budget that they had the previous year that everything will work out perfectly. That is a thought that needs to be left in the past as companies have budgets that swell and shrink based on their particular needs. If you are simply trying to use the budget from last year, you may discover that you are not able to get the same level of results as you had hoped. Understand that what worked last year may not be as valuable in the next year. You may even get to the point that you discover that you don’t need nearly as much as you did last year and can roll the savings over into another project or the next year’s budget.

End the use of a three-year plan

Planning is a good thing, but you need to also look at the fact that these three-year plans are not nearly as useful as they once were. Plans change and if you8 are locked on a three-year plan, then you will discover that this plan of action will not allow for you to make any concessions and your plans will be up in smoke before you even were able to get them going. A quarter by a quarter plan is a lot more effective and tends to have a lot better results.

Focus more on speed than you do costs

Those that look at the speed of their business as opposed to the costs will see that there is a big difference and this will generally lead to there being a small advantage to them being fast as opposed to cost mindful. There will be a lot of room for you to adapt and adjust this mindset if it is not working as well as you had hoped.

All of these ideas and tips are able to make a huge difference. No matter if you use just one of these or adopt all of them, you will see a drastic change in your business and see for yourself that the more effective you are, then the faster that you will be and the bigger growth you will experience.

Why Does Content Work For Some And Not For Others?

The online space is witnessing increasing deployment of focused content by companies to drive better user engagement and build awareness of one’s brand. The reason is obvious. Content marketing is proving to be a profitable proposition for creating brand appeal among niche users and reaping rich dividends.  The creation and distribution of meaningful, relevant, informative, easy to understand and implement, consistent and purposeful content can turbocharge your brand’s scalability index.

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Content marketing done in right perspective not only attracts and retains customers but also triggers word of mouth promotion by satisfied evangelists. With content, you are actually making the potential buyers more empowered and intelligent which motivates them to make informed and conscious purchasing decision in your brand’s favour. The underlying theme is that, if you keep providing your prospects with valuable and actionable information, it would get reflected in the form of steady traffic to your site and higher conversions.

Have Companies Benefited from Investment in Content Marketing?

Yes.

Stats from various studies show that the lead generation for content is 3x more compared to outbound marketing whereas the money pumped in for content generation and deployment is 62% lesser.

Additionally, content works because it is in demand. This demand for content can be seen in the online audience – a vast majority of people in the demographic class of 18-50 years prefer online news and content to secure the latest information. As a result, the growth in leads for SMEs which have their own blogs has been reported to be 126% more than those counterparts which don’t believe in blogging. In the USA alone, about 61% of online customers have made their purchasing decisions after going through fact-driven recommendations in blogs.

What Makes Content A Successful Strategy For Brands?

If you go by market-based insights, the reasons would be quite straightforward but many:

  • Good content has the right balance of short and long tail keywords which prompts the search engine crawler to index the related sites for all relevant search queries.
  • Quality content must be posted at frequent intervals; delayed or staggered posts are perfect catalysts for driving away your prospective buyers.
  • Content shouldn’t just be limited to your own blog. To make it work, target high authority sites and build your authority through guest posting.
  • Believable content has to be relatable and authoritative so that readers can rely on the information shared and become experts in navigating problems.
  • Exciting content never lets the focus of readers stray and grasps the short attention span through shorter paragraphs and extensive use of visual creatives.
  • Strong content is never overwhelmed with unnecessary words just for fulfilling the expected length.
  • Readable content uses easy to comprehend words and simple sentence constructs. Good content also eliminates the use of jargon.
  • Marketable content does not repeat ideas and never sports cookie-cutter characteristics.
  • Unique content is plagiarism free; even if ideas have to be borrowed, they are presented with a fresh perspective.
  • Engaging content allows sufficient scope to gauge the sentiments of readers and measures the resonance of ideas shared through user polls, reviews, social media shares etc.
  • Compelling content needs to be interactive and addressed to the readers in a manner that they find it more personal than advertising-centric.
  • Content works more effectively when you give your audience the choice to pick from different formats. This means videos, podcasts, blogs, infographics etc.
  • Updated content always gives reflection to activities of importance that have happened for your brand. And is attuned to the current industry trends.

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Why does Content fail to Deliver for Some?

If your brand fails to leverage the potential of content optimally for rich returns, it must be suffering from one or more of the problems outlined below:

  • The content might be pushy and/or advertising-centric.
  • It might not be working because it offers no real value to readers.
  • If the content is outdated, irrelevant and inconsistent with your brand’s vision- it won’t get you any engagement.
  • Your content could not be working because it might have plagiarism issues. Such content invites penalties from search engines.
  • When content lacks strong and catchy headlines, it fails to catch the reader’s interest. So even if your content is giving really valuable information, it might get skipped because it lacks an engaging structure.
  • Content containing spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t work for the audience.
  • When statements are not backed by facts, they harm your credibility. To make this work, you should link your content to high-authority and reliable sources.
  • When content does not have relevant keywords that would help the search engines categorize it properly, it fails to gain visibility.
  • Content that lacks any thought-provoking characteristics is also bound to fail.

Now that you have realized the apparent bottlenecks that are withholding your content from producing that killer’ effect, it is time to give your content strategy the much-deserved facelift. Skip the don’ts and work on the dos to get the most out of your content strategy.

Matthew Booth is the Global Marketing & Operations Director at SMEGoWeb, a global brand which has helped more than a thousand businesses achieve their online goals. With a decade of agency experience, he is now set out to share his marketing knowledge to help companies refine their digital strategies.

 

Starting a Business: How Bring A-Game in Your Marketing Campaigns

If you are a new startup, then it is essential that you bring your A-game to your marketing game before you even have enough experience to really know what you are doing. That is why it is essential to consider the different components of a campaign. Here are some tips on different marketing components along with basic tips you need to consider.

Television Ads

Almost 90 percent of adults see at least one television commercial every day. Therefore, it can be an important way to let customers know about your product. Using experienced TV and film actors can help deliver a powerful message. Consider which stations are most likely to connect with your target demographic.

Social Media

Social media can be very useful in building company trust as people often use it to find out more about your entity. People often check their favorite social media platforms multiple times a day, so make sure that they see you interacting with your customers when they do. Hiring a brand ambassador or influencer who already has a following can be key to building your audience quickly.

Website

Your company needs a well-organized website. With about 50 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices make sure that it is optimized for all types of devices. Customers are unwilling to wait for your website to load, so make sure that your landing page loads in under a second. Make sure that your content is informative and well written.

Radio

Depending on who is in your targeted audience, radio can be a powerful way to reach them. Work with an experienced advertising director to create advertising that will capture the essence of your company in under 30 seconds. Then, play your ads on stations where your targeted audience is found.

Newspaper

While some insist that newspapers are dead, they can be an important factor with some targeted audiences. If you are trying to build a local business in a community that still has a newspaper, then advertising there may bring people in your business’ front door. Additionally, if your niche market has a popular newspaper, then appearing there can be a great way to build your brand’s authority.

The right mixture of each of these components depends on your targeted audience. Get to know them and you will learn where your marketing dollars will be most effective. Then, hire the best experts that you can to deliver marketing that will connect instantly with your target audience.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Which One Is Better – Digital or Old Fashion Marketing

One of the questions that concern the majority of modern marketers the most is the one regarding the ROI of traditional marketing in the digital world. Most importantly, what they want to know is whether it’s worth it to invest in the old fashion marketing in 2018, in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a question that has a straightforward answer. Why? Well, because it all depends on your industry, the nature of your business and the specific situation/effect you need to deal with.

For instance, there is a speculation that about 50 percent of all small businesses don’t even have a website. Now, characterizing all of these business owners as non-tech-savvy or stating that all of these businesses are non-profitable and non-efficient would be outright wrong. In fact, about 41 percent of them claim that this decision doesn’t come from the fact that they can’t conduct a proper digital marketing campaign (or couldn’t at least outsource this function) but due to the fact that they don’t really need it. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to dispute the effectiveness of digital marketing in 2018.

1. Digital marketing has better analytics

The first thing you need to understand is that digital marketing has much better analytics than its traditional counterpart. John Wanamaker, one of the titans of the industry back in the day claimed that half the money he invested in marketing was wasted, yet, that he could never reliably know which half. Nowadays, this is no longer the truth. You see, through various platforms and tools, you can reliably know just how many visitors your website received, how long were they there, as well as where they came from. Aside from this, you can also study separate demographics and, in this way, figure out which methods give the best results on which demographics.

On the other hand, with the introduction of concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing influence of biometrics in the digital world, this might soon change. What we mean by this is that we could soon have a similar insight into the effectiveness and properties of the old-fashion marketing tricks and methods. Needless to say, exciting as this may sound, this is still quite far down the line.

2. Traditional marketing is mostly non-intrusive

The next thing you should understand is the fact that the traditional marketing tends to be quite non-intrusive, especially when compared to a digital marketing. Think about it, every time you receive an email from an unreliable source, you feel like your privacy has been violated. After all, how did they get your email? This happens even if you did give them your email and then forgot about it soon after. With traditional marketing, such a thing doesn’t really happen. A person walks by a billboard or receives a leaflet, which is something they consider normal, even mundane. This means that their defense mechanisms are still down, which, directly influences your potential success rate.

3. Specific scenarios may mandate specific needs

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that there are some scenarios in which you can’t apply to a certain group of marketing methods. For instance, imagine hosting a stand at a show and being forced to decorate your stand. Without promotional materials like flyers, brochures, signs or a durable mesh banner, you wouldn’t be able to do much in terms of on-spot branding and customization. You don’t even have to have banners and signs specifically made for the occasion. You’re bound to have some extras in the storage room or, if the need arises, you can remove them from one location in order to display them in another. It really is that simple.

4. Reach is in favor of the digital

One thing everyone has to recognize is the fact that digital dominates when it comes to the reach. Even when it comes to retail and offline sales, it’s inevitable to mention the power of digital marketing. According to one statistic, about 78 percent of all offline sales come as a direct result of local mobile searches. Even when it comes to regular stores, you have no way of knowing how many people checked prices online before deciding which store they should visit. Therefore, even the smallest and the most localized of businesses can benefit from an online presence. Not only that but they might even find local SEO to be incredibly cost-effective.

5. Digital provides a customized user experience

Probably the most significant advantage of the digital marketing lies in the fact that it offers every user a customized experience. Just compare TV to services like Netflix (or even YouTube). The reason why the first is on the decline while the latter two are on a rapid growth is due to the fact that they give their audience full control over the content they browse.

Sure, some would argue that online ads may act in a more “traditional” sense (with a strong negative connotation), yet this is easily solved with a plugin such as AdBlock which is something that about 30 percent of all internet users resort to. When it comes to content marketing, on the other hand, the only reason why someone would click on the link is if they’re genuinely interested in the topic discussed. Once again, one could argue that this is not the case with click-bait and black-hat, in general, yet, with the current state of Google algorithm and anti-black-hat measures, this is no longer as big of a problem as it was in the past.

In conclusion

As you can see, the question of whether you should go for digital or traditional marketing is an absurd one, to begin with. The successfulness of your digital marketing campaign can be enhanced by promoting it through traditional means, while a giveaway of promotional materials can be multiplied by doing so online. In other words, each of these methods gives by far the best results when multiplied, meaning that it’s by far the best to go with both. The best thing is that there’s literally no reason for you to choose. Just make sure that your marketing budget can take it.

Customer Loyalty: Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes To Keep It?

Customer retention is a difficult topic for a small business. It’s not that they can’t keep the customers, it’s getting them in the first place that’s often the problem. Small businesses often flounder before they have a chance to grow and a lot of that is to do with their placement as a small fish in an ocean of sharks. Whether you are running a small business store on Etsy, or you’re marketing yourself as a solopreneur who is offering a solution to a problem, you need to know how to retain your customers so that they trust your mini brand – even before it becomes a mega one.

Returning customers are crucial to the success of a small business and the way to get them coming back for more is in your retention strategy. You need to be so good, that customers see what you’re doing and fall in love with it. It’s ensuring that you work closely with IT experts to roll out your carefully crafted software to other companies, working with agile testing teams and pushing yourself to do more for your customers. Online customers spend three times more money than customers do in store, and if the service that you offer – or the solution you provide – is one that is effective and reeks of perfection, you’re going to see loyalty from your customers. You are the only one who can decide whether you have what it takes to retain your customers, though, and if you can’t, you’re going to sink. Here are four short ways to create that customer loyalty that’s going to secure your bottom line.

Experience Peaks. Customers will buy whatever they’re interested in, but you need to keep them hooked for more. If they’ve enjoyed the product that you sold in the first place, they’ll buy again. However, you need to keep the deal sweet. Maybe once customers have bought from you once, you then send a discount code to them to be able to buy again. The promise of the same product that they love being cheaper is a bonus and keeps the experience peaked for them.

VI-Party. Most people don’t like getting unsolicited emails, but customers who sign up with your product will expect to be notified of changes, upgrades and extras. Give them loyalty points and an early access pass to new releases. They’ll love the exclusivity and it keeps them coming back to you for more of the things that you offer.

Get Online. Whichever way that you do it, you need to be where your customers can connect with you. Get onto social media and be a part of the community. Having access directly to the people in charge of the product that has been sold is a bonus for customers and they can feel like they are heard.

Stay Passionate. You’ve made something successful enough for people to want to keep coming back for more. All you need to do now is ensure that you keep up the momentum that you’ve set for yourself.

Customers will always go with the popular brands; make yourself one of them and keep your loyal base coming back for more.