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

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.

Top Reasons People Hate Your App

It can sound a bit harsh to say someone hates your app, but if you’ve gotten to the point where you feel like it could be possible, it’s time to figure out why. When you have a business, and you create an app, your objective obviously isn’t to have people hate it.

Unfortunately, more often than not that can be the case. If you can identify what elements of your app design or functionality users don’t like, you may be able to fix it without a complete overhaul.

If you’re not sure where to start, the following are some of the top reasons users could be less-than-thrilled with your app in its current form.

Users Don’t Know When Something Is Happening

You’re using an app, you push something, and it seems like nothing happens. There’s no acknowledgment that you’ve taken action.

Is it working or not? It’s extremely frustrating but all-too-common.

When you create your app, you want your users to know that their action is recognized. For example, you can show an icon of movement or that the screen is being refreshed. You want to be able to create a sense of cause and effect for user actions.

Advertising Feels Intrusive

Nobody likes intrusive advertising in any media. We’re at a point in digital technology where people can largely avoid advertising altogether if they choose. So while you may need to drive revenue with in-app advertising, you need to be careful with it.

You don’t want to include super graphics-heavy advertising or video ads that are going to make someone’s phone seem like it’s going haywire every time they use your app.

You also don’t ever want to include any unresponsive advertising. It’s going to be highly frustrating, and even if your app itself is great, it’s probably not going to matter.

Constant Push Notifications

Push notifications can be an excellent marketing tool, but not when you’re bombarding users. If someone feels like their smartphone is buzzing every hour with your push notifications, they’re probably going to uninstall the app.

As with advertisements, you need to be smart, strategic and discerning with your push notifications, so they create value rather than turning off users.

Constantly Asking for Reviews

When someone downloads an app, they do so because they want it to bring value to their life. It’s not about your business getting feedback.

If you’re using every second a person spends in an app asking them to like or share it, they’re going to feel frustrated.

That’s just a big interruption and obstacle in the overall user experience. If someone is trying to complete a task in your app and they keep being stopped so it can ask for a review or a like, it’s a problem.

Of course, in-app feedback can be useful, but it can’t be overdone, or like advertising, it can’t feel intrusive to the user experience.

Finally, be on the conservative side when it comes to how many personal details you’re asking your users for. Yes, your app may ask for some, but it’s important that you do so for a purpose, and you disclose this to users with transparency. Otherwise, they’re going to feel like you’re trying to exploit them or take advantage.