Best Methods Of Keeping Your Business Visible

Visibility is one of the Biggest Issues For small business owners

With the over-saturation of so many industries in the current market, visibility is one of the biggest issues stressing small business owners. You need to make your business stand out, and in order to do that, you need to put in a little bit of work and give your business a creative edge.

Social Media

Social media is now used as a vital marketing tool and a business without an active Twitter or Facebook profile might as well not exist. Being active on social media is about more than just hashtagging your business and spamming the site with links; you need to use it the right way to make your company visible.

To make your business more visible on social media, you need to be regularly posting – a minimum of once a day. The best kind of content to post is original, relevant to your business and appealing to your target audience. You can also maximize your visibility by utilizing trending hashtags, responding to viral posts and interacting with current and potential customers. If your business is tagged or receives a message on social media, you should respond promptly, even if it’s just to give them a ‘like’ or thank them for their patronage. People respond to businesses that respond to them and demonstrations of exceptional customer service online has the potential to go viral, increasing your business’s visibility exponentially.

Branded Merchandise

Many businesses have their own kind of branded merchandise; key chains, pens, stickers etc. However, not every business knows how to use branded merchandise the right way. In order to profit off of brand merchandise and increase your business’s visibility, you need to make sure that your customers don’t just through the merchandise in the bottom of their drawers and forget about it. You want them to be able to make use of it and put it on display.

One great example of branded merchandise done right is a food shop having branded reusable printed cotton bags. This type of merchandise is relevant to the business and loyal customers can use it on practically a daily basis, getting you maximum visibility for your brand. However, another issue that some businesses come across with branded merchandise is distributing them. It’s not often that people go out of their way to buy typical branded merchandise, especially if people think that it’s more expensive than it’s worth. Branded merchandise is about making a profit; it’s about visibility and giving back to your customers. So, you need to find ways to make the most of your budget. In regards to printed cotton bags, this could mean going a step further with your design – making it a stylish accessory rather than just something to be used only when going to that shop. You can also award free bags to people that collect loyalty points at your shop or give customers that own one of these bags a small discount on their purchases to promote eco-friendliness and reduce the amount of plastic bags that your shop regularly uses.

Blogs and Vlogs

Much like social media, blogs give you an opportunity to stay in the limelight by continuously creating relevant and interesting content. Blogs and social media go hand in hand and, much like a happily married couple, they support each other and make each other stronger. Blogs provide original, interesting content for social media and social media increases traffic to your blogs and website.

With blogs and vlogs, you can create creative content that draws in an audience and makes your business more visible. While your blogs should stay relevant to your business and/or industry, you can address trending topics in your blogs and create useful guides and entertaining videos that can be easily shared. The more people share and engage with your blogs, the more people will see them and the more visible your business will be.

For more information go to The Printed Bag Shop

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10 PPC Strategies to Follow in 2019 for a Successful Campaign

 

 

 

2019 has started, which denotes it is time to update the strategy for the pay-per-click crusade for the New Year. Here are the top 10 PPC Strategies to Follow in 2019 for a Successful Campaign.
  1. Focus On The Key Service Or Product:

In case you have several services and products that you desire to promote, so you ought to begin small. It’ll assist you in getting the best out of the funds spent. When it is the 1st crusade, make one ad to promote your primary service or product that’ll reduce the amount of cash which you will while looking for the best possible technique.

Beginning slowly will let you concentrate on your processes of crusading and thus, you’ll be capable of analyzing the amount to be invested and approach to be applied on the marketing. That’s how you attain a winning pay-per-click result that you’ve been hopeful for the 1st effort.

  1. Remarket By The Long-Tail Keywords:

It’s the secret sauce in online advertising, since repeat consumers provide more value. A good method to do that is to pursue the long-tail-keyword queries in each remarketing stand. Do so by making a list of retargeting users apiece advertisement group topic by utilizing the UTM parameter. You can also take it to a whole new level by using lookalikes, which is beginning to catch on these days. It allows you to target similar people, thus extending the remarketing to new people.

  1. Never Disregard Negative Keywords:

You always make sure that the advertisements emerge for all the relevant keywords which’s a good thing. But it’s even more significant that the ads do not appear for unrelated keywords as they simply outnumber the relevant ones. To keep the bad people away from the shop, you have to recognize them individually and then get preventive order from the court.

Invest a lot more time in managing the all-inclusive list of negative keywords than managing the relevant ones. Make sure that you append negative keywords regularly. It’ll assist you a lot in controlling advertisement spend especially if you have a small budget.

  1. Expect Human Intelligence & More Automation:

Let’s be obvious on it; automation is something that is already making inroads when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. If you’ve been eager with 2018 trends, then you’ll comprehend that the search engine has already made key paces in that. For example, Google is placing advertisements appropriate for everybody thanks to automation. It’s because of the number of data points utilized to crop up with smart features for the marketers. As we enter 2019, marketers will be expected to adopt such automated bidding tactics instead of 3rd-party tools.

Such sentiments already resonate fine with digital marketers. Furthermore, the automation results in the notion that manual tracking methods will quickly be a thing of the past. As said by the Media Director at Acronym, marketers will be expected to shift concentration to the consumers while allowing the automation systems to take on the tough work. As for discussing the competition between human intelligence and automation, it ought to be noted that creativeness will be the task for the pay-per-click marketers.

  1. Reassess The Pay-Per-Click Budget:

Does a low marketing budget denote you do not have to work as much on the pay-per-click strategies? Certainly, not. There is always a way to promote online even if you do not have a limitless budget. What you have to do is observe where most of the pay-per-click budget is going. Contemplate which platforms are providing you a helpful ROI. And then go down even further and observe which crusades have provided you the best outcomes. From there, assess if you can improve the most successful campaigns. Or if it makes sense to spend more in the campaigns and channels that did not do so well in recent months.

  1. Utilize The Inverted Unicorn Strategy:

Regular advertisement targeting is basically casting a thin net to boost engagement rates. It is the usual targeting of a specific niche or demographic to carry them in. However, the Inverted Unicorn comprises two other totally unrelated interests in targeting. From that, whoever might also occur to be an element of your actual targets might be carried in. You can also utilize such apparently unrelated interests in customizing the advertisements. They can append more dimensions to the ads, making them be conspicuous and seem more forceful. Such advertisements would actually have extraordinarily low costs owing to strangely high engagement rates.

  1. Switch Off Audience Network In FB Advertisements:

By switching off the Audience Network, you can eradicate up to ninety percent of click fraud from sketchy websites. You will be capable of seeing them on both Display Network on Google AdWords and FB. Say no to managed posts on Google Display Network to save yourself from problems. While you can keep out such websites from the reports, it will take a lot of time to exclude them all. Such hack eliminates a huge majority of them from the FB advertisements in just one click.

  1. Amazon Impressive Run With Advertisements:

Amazon has a net worth of over one trillion dollars; there’s no uncertainty that the electronic commerce platform is winning. It further shows that Amazon is a force to reckon with particularly when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. You ought to note that it’s so far captured the interest of Facebook, Google, and Bing when it comes to advertisements placement.

  1. Utilize Video Advertising Strategies:

Video ads are easy, quick, and a great method to draw a broader audience. In this hurly-burly world that we live in, very few individuals actually have some time to read through long ads or content. Short 1-2-minute video advertisements are absolutely the way to go. They have to be attention-grabbing, fun, and succinct with a high production value if they are gonna be effectual. So make sure you employ an expert creative team that can make best-quality video advertisements for you. Remember, a lot of such are targeted and will be emerging on major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat or Twitter.

10. Think Of The Buyer’s Intent:

When you are going for pay-per-click marketing, taking the buyer’s intent in the contemplation is quite helpful. You have to acquaint and comprehend that each user who comes to search engines does not go for purchasing, so you need to check what the targeted buyer’s desire. The key to pay-per-click marketing success is to comprehend the phrases utilized by the users when they are set to invest their cash, and it’ll prove to be beneficial for your bottom line.

Customers choose to read reviews and best products with offers available when they finally decide to buy. Keep all such things in mind when you are going to improve pay-per-click marketing returns.

 

 

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4 Things You Need to Digitize Corporate Training

 

Corporate eLearning has grown by a whopping 900% over the past decade and this market is predicted to surpass $243 billion in revenues by 2022. It helps to know that digitization of corporate training is much more than just a transfer of your learning materials to the cloud. It requires the right strategy, the right tool, and the right team. If you want to transform your corporate training, get ready to embrace this trending training strategy for enterprises.

Here are four elements you need for achieving successful digitization of corporate training:

1. Corporate training strategy

A proper strategy is indispensable for effective digitization of corporate training in any organization. Training strategies build the foundation for successful eLearning programs and ensure that both instructors and trainees get all the benefits out of every training. The first thing to do is to set your goals. This could be virtually anything that you want to achieve, right from higher knowledge retention rates by delivering more engaging learning materials to increasing the number of employees enrolled in the program.

It is important to know that these goals do not materialize just by themselves without a clear-cut plan. You have to pay attention to several factors when you set the goals. At the start, you have to identify exactly where your business is heading towards, what are your business goals, and what do you need to achieve them. After that, you need to assess your existing workforce in terms of their skill and knowledge levels. This will help you get a precise idea of the gap between your company goals and the current level of skills and knowledge. You need to get all the job descriptions and required skills for all your employees ready before you can identify the training & development needs for each one of them.

2. LMS Software

Once you have outlined your training strategy, it is time to move forward and adopt a LMS software. Some of the fastest growing industries today such as healthcare, information technology, eCommerce, education and construction are top adopters of LMS software, which has become an essential tool in their corporate eLearning process. In layman terms, it is a software platform specifically built to disperse knowledge to employees in an engaging way. But it goes far beyond just that.

LMS software is designed to track learners’ progress, engagement, and score as they take their courses online. Online training software literally transitions the Classroom to the cloud and allows employees to access courses from anywhere they want. They can learn from the convenience of their homes, while on the break, or when they are commuting. Your training strategy determines the type of online learning software you should choose to meet your specific needs. For instance, if you want to enable your employees to learn on the go, you should look for a mobile-ready LMS platform. On the other hand, if you want to keep track of all the learning efforts of your employees, you may go for Tin-Can enabled ProProfs LMS solutions.

3. Learning & Development Team

The next thing you’ll need is a learning & development team. If you already have one, you may revisit it and see if it needs an overhaul. Don’t worry, you can do well by adding a new key player to the mix – a digital learning manager. He/she acts as the head of the corporate training digitization project and oversees the digitization of employee training. The digital learning manager’s role is vital for the success of the digitization process, and it helps to create the post in your organization if you are yet to do so. It would be a step in the right direction as it will help in implementing the right digitization strategy for your online training courses.

Further, your learning & development team needs to identify your business objectives and the skill level of employees right from the start is essential to finetune your strategy and execute it. However,, most importantly, the team has to ensure the learning strategy is sustainable and help personalize the training experience to improve knowledge retention. Your learning & development team has to facilitate the digital transformation process, thereby helping your organization leverage new eLearning opportunities and achieve the training goals.

4. eLearning Community Manager

The success of any learning & development team hangs on the ability of an eLearning Community Manager to communicate the importance of online training to your employees. This person holds the responsibilities of encouraging employees to participate in online courses, and moderating the communication that takes place both on the LMS platform and elsewhere in the organization. He/she also needs to take feedback on online training and learning materials. eLearning Community Managers add to the quality of interaction for online learning and help employees adopt new learning methods in an efficient way.

Wrap Up

When they have a detailed training strategy, a versatile LMS software, a dynamic learning & development team, and eLearning Community Manager, enterprises stand to see positive results in their efforts towards digitization of corporate training. Such a well-planned and executed process tends to hand over full control to instructors to ensure they reach their training goals in a delightful manner.

Author Bio:- Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in various LMS and employee training software. Currently, he is a resident learning management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and sky diving.

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How to Keep Up With Your Business Finances

When running a business, it can be incredibly difficult to understand your finances. However, keeping up with your business’s finances is of the utmost importance and should be one of your main priorities while running a business.

Although it can be easy to lose control of your finances, there are many ways in which you can be sure that you are able to track your expenditure, understand your taxes, and know your profits, some of which are explained below.

  1. Hire an Accountant

One of the most profitable steps that you can take if you struggle to understand your finances is to hire an accountant. Accountants can deal with all your finances for you, and prepare you for the tax year. Not only this, but chartered accountants such as Howlader & Co build a professional relationship with you that can help you to get the most out of your business financially and ensure that your business can be tax efficient. This helps businesses to ensure that they are paying the right taxes, know how much profit they are making, and organize their finances accordingly, taking away the stress of dealing with the complicated tax system alone.

  1. Understand Your Taxes

However, if you plan to control your business finances alone, you should first ensure that you understand your taxes as a business. Unlike during employment, when taxes are taken straight out of your payslip, running a business means that you have to maintain an understanding and submit your own taxes.

Income tax is based on the earnings of your business, and so calculating this is the first step to understanding how taxes work. However, there are many more implications which you need to consider, and these can affect how much tax you should pay.

  1. Track Your Expenses

To ensure that you are ready for the tax year, you should track your expenditure throughout the year. This will not only help you when it comes to submitting tax forms but also means that you will know how much money you have to spend and invest. The best ways to track your expenses include using apps and spreadsheet templates to create simple and yet effective methods of tracking your expenditure.

  1. Project Your Revenue

Not only this but when it comes to understanding your business finances, it can also be helpful to project your revenue. This will help you to adapt your business plan to the amount of money that you have available to spend, and will help you to prepare for any obstacles – or profits – you have in the future, allowing you to invest in your business accordingly.

  1. Write Invoices on Time

Writing invoices and sending these to your clients on time will ensure that you receive payment as soon as possible, reducing the number of outstanding payments that you have. You should establish a timeframe for payment in your invoice template, as this will give you a reference point so that you know when you will be receiving money and ensure that your money is not outstanding for long. If you have not received payment within a week, then you should ensure that you follow up on these invoices.

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GOLD OR REAL ESTATE: WHICH ONE IS THE BETTER INVESTMENT?

To buy gold or real estate, that is the question. If you are savvy enough with these things, it may sound as though we were comparing apples to oranges. And up to a certain point, we are. However, before we delve into which is the better option, let us begin with the features they hold in common. Both forms of investment share at least three features. The first one is rarity, next is durability and lastly scarcity. Given these similar characteristics, it may be hard to decide, but it is way nobler to know the differences between the two before you trade cash for gold.

In the real estate corner, most of the people who study these things will tell you that real estate does well. In fact, investment in real estate would afford an investor income in rent, for example. However, the crash of 2008 was enough to remind us all that housing prices too can fall. Real estate was also at the heart of the Asian crisis in the mid-90s, the lesson here being that no investment option is really foolproof to the vagaries of outrageous fortune. Then again, gold is a lot more portable than real estate. Gold’s suitability in this case becomes even more pronounced during times of calamity, natural and man-made.

Investing in gold, investing in the long-haul

Gold as a commodity is best for the long-haul. The numbers show that gold is a good asset to hold, and has less volatility than stocks. It is even more attractive of an asset when planning for retirement or if you are planning to pay for your kids college fees. Even in the event of a downturn, it is unlikely that gold would lose all of its intrinsic value. Visit www.buyandsellgoldsilver.com for more information.

In tough economic times, such as when there is high inflation, the price of gold typically goes up. This is because in such situations, investors trade cash for gold as a way store value and protect their wealth. Gold is viewed as being a stable commodity whose price is not really affected in such downturns. Experienced investment managers will tell you that gold serves as a good foundation in an investment portfolio, and that is due to its lack of volatility in the markets.

Diversified Portfolio

Ultimately, the best approach in developing an investment portfolio is to have a diversified one. You would buy gold and complement it with investment in equities. Ideally, this would be for the long-haul. Real estate would then top up these investments to enable you earn some extra income, especially in times when the housing markets are strong.

It should be clear to you by now that each of these investment options have their pros and cons. You may want to invest in something that guarantees you a quick return, or you may have specific preferences. Discussing your needs with a good gold broker or investment manager will be an important first step in determining how to trade cash for gold, equities or real estate.

 

 

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5 Top Financial Technology Trends

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz in the financial services space over the quick and radical changes in the sector brought about by its shift to a new, digital model that will fundamentally transform everything.

In this piece, we take a look at the trends shaping the financial services industry to bring you up to speed on events.

  1. Digital Transformation

Our world is becoming very tech-inclined with a growing reliance on technology and online resources. This, coupled with increased competition from fintech and regtech firms whose business model revolves around a variety of new technologies has forced traditional financial institutions to invest in digital technologies to remake processes and become more efficient.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain

AI and Blockchain continue to expand the frontiers of technology, enabling companies to solve even harder problems and disrupt the financial services landscape with huge competitive advantages. AI, for one, is taking the financial services industry by storm.

Several financial services firms now rely on artificial intelligence to cut cost, save time, and add value. For instance, wealth management institutions now use robo-advisors to analyze and understand client investment, spending, and general behavior regarding money management so they can customize the advice offered to customers.

Similarly, the blockchain, the technology which runs cryptocurrencies, continues to power innovation in the financial services sector. It offers an opportunity to speed up and simplify cross-border payments, ensure greater trade accuracy, improve online identify management, and ensure transparency in financial operations.

Through smart contracts, transactions and agreements are executed automatically once the conditions coded in them are satisfied. This help eliminates the need for an intermediary and leads to a reduction in cost.

  1. Digital-Only Banks Influence in the Financial World Continues to Grow

Digital-only banks and fintech companies are threatening to replace traditional banks as the focal point of the banking experience. As technological advancements continue to expand and consumers become more comfortable using the internet, their expectations for instant and straightforward digital interactions will continue to increase.

By their very nature, digital-only banks possess the tools necessary to offer consumers what they expect and prefer. Not operating from any physical location means they attract low transaction cost, which allows them to distribute resources better to provide customer experiences that are uniquely differentiated.

For instance, DBS Bank, a Marina Bay-based digital-only bank offers up to 7% interest rates on savings accounts, unlimited access to ATMs, zero balance requirements, etc., all of which can be difficult for legacy organizations to provide.

  1. Big Data Continues to Drive Modern Business Operations

Organizations continue to find new ways to leverage big data. This data now enables companies to create real competitive advantages by providing large amounts of information to assist with their research, marketing, etc. It is predicted that the Internet of Things will make big data even bigger by providing plenty of storage space as well as by offering the big data itself.

  1. Banks and Financial Institutions Embrace Cloud-Based Offering

Cloud innovation has been a thing in the financial services industry for a while now. However, it wasn’t until recently that banks started to embrace it. The innovation was generally not well received by traditional banks due to security issues. Brick and Mortar institutions feared that entrusting data to cloud will make it more susceptible to hacks.

Today, however, the technology is becoming more widely accepted, as banks now use cloud computing for non-critical functions like email, human resource, customer relationship management (CRM), customer analytics, as well as for development and testing.

Businessman hand working with a cloud computing diagram on the new computer interface as concept

 

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Top 4 Technologies in Contact Centers in 2019

Contact center solutions have evolved from answering the phone to fully managing every aspect of operations including customer relationship management (CRM), data analysis, and market research. In spite of this, some still believe that contact center operations have failed to take full advantage of cutting edge technologies that could ensure better customer service delivery.

The good news is that we are in the era of technological breakthroughs that will change contact center operations as we know it. In this article, we provide insights into some of the technologies that will benefit contact centers in 2019.

  1. Call recording and voice analysis

Quality customer service delivery is a key prerequisite for ensuring customer satisfaction. Capturing, storing, and analyzing data about every interaction a client has with your call center allows you to react promptly and tailor your customer service program in a way that increases loyalty.

This is because collecting information about your customers provides you with the data you need to understand what they like or why they were not satisfied. Call recording and speech analytic programs like Recordia enable you to collect and interpret data so that you can improve the customer experience.

Technologies such as speech analytics enable call centers to process speech/audio to understand what a customer wants and how they feel when they call the customer care.

  1. Omni-channel technology

Today’s modern, tech-savvy consumers are very demanding in their quest for a great customer service experience. They expect to be able to reach businesses on any platform, anywhere, and from any device.

To increase customer loyalty, sales, and overall profitability, more and more companies are deploying omnichannel customer service techniques that provide clients with seamless interactions across all channels including telephone, email, social media, chat, text, etc.

  1. Chatbots

Chatbots are increasingly being implemented by companies in contact centers to raise the level of customer service, stay in touch with anyone who shows interest in their products or services and convince them to buy.

A chatbot is typically used in dialog systems to provide some human feel to automated communications to build a rapport with the client and ensure better sales. Also, it allows organizations to automate customer service live chat conversations and conducts conversation through both audio and text methods, allowing for personalized customer service that creates engagement at a higher level.

Chatbots complement human agents by responding quickly to simple queries online, freeing human agents up.
  1. Business Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence

AI-powered digital solutions are one of the essential technologies that are gradually making their way into contact centers. More and more businesses are incorporating these technologies in an effort to transform customer service interactions to improve the customer experience, loyalty, brand recognition, and the bottom line.

AI-powered intelligence agents, through their pre-emptive problem-solving approach, ensure customer satisfaction and increase in sales, thanks to their ability to continually digest data from dozens of information streams to make sense out of prior interaction and customer preferences.

This enables them to deeply understand the clients and serve up personalized content and product recommendations that will boost sales.

 

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Financial Security: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials Face Mixed Fortunes

 

Baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials have very different financial experiences. When compared to baby boomers or Generation Xers, millennials have it rough when it comes to finances. They enter the labor force when full-time jobs are few and far between, making the strive for financial independence, marriage, or retirement even harder.

In addition, they have an overwhelming student loan debt that prevents them from achieving their financial goals. Even worse, those who are already working are barely making enough money to cover their bills. Never mind savings. Data from Smartasset show that the average salary of the millennial today is about 20 percent lower than the average salary that a baby boomer earned at the same age.

These unique set of financial challenges make it difficult for millennials to build up rainy day savings or establish themselves financially. For instance, a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that 66.2% of working millennials have no retirement savings because they hold off savings in favor of paying off student debt or buying homes.

In contrast, prior generations, Gen Xers and baby boomers exhibit far more financial confidence, thanks to their higher salaries, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and years of soaring markets, which enabled them to plan their financial future.

A Sea of Financial Traps

Another reason why the financial prospects of millennials are less than those of their parents is that they often make bad investments. The quest to live in the here and now and to enjoy life to the fullest has millennials spending money they don’t have to buy items they don’t need.

For instance, some millennials consider buying a new car as against a used one a status symbol. Same goes for luxury cars, expensive houses, premium cable package, leased cars, etc. It’s either these or they are overspending or living a frivolous lifestyle that makes it harder for them to put money toward their top priorities.

The lack of basic financial education also comes at a cost, as does lack of financial goals, their spending without a plan, falling for scams, taking on more student loan than is necessary, rushing into investing or not investing at all. All of these issues delay the ability millennials to secure their financial future. Even worse, it makes them more susceptible to economic vulnerability.

Staying on Track

Millennials will do well to consider measures that will help them climb out of debt quickly, especially if they are to make progress towards their financial goals of building a stable future. Good thing is, they have time in their favor, and so can make the most of that time to improve their finances.

To stay on track, one should first of all design strategies that will prevent them from falling into the bad habit of spending too much or living beyond their means. If you’re the kind of millennial who doesn’t have much or is in debt, your goal should be to earn more and spend less.

This means cutting costs, saving a certain amount every paycheck, establishing a side hustle, having a realistic budget, and buying only the things you need. Also, you should consider hiring a finance expert to help you set financial goals and advise you on how best to invest your money.

About investing, you might want to avoid investing in depreciating assets like cars, which tend to lose 75 percent of their original value within the first 3-4 years. Don’t put a brand new car in your garage if you think that will strain your budget. Instead, consider getting a used car and saving the balance or investing it in a profitable venture.

 

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Essential Information For Real Estate Investing

Where To Begin Investing in Real Estate

There very well may be more pieces of advice pertaining to real estate investing than there are pieces of property available. While land is limited, opinions are not. Because dumb luck isn’t dependable, the best piece of advice is to make sure you understand the basic principles of a good real estate investment. Here are some essential tips to increase your chances of profiting.

Learn Everything You Can About the Location

Emerging neighborhoods or established areas that are growing or becoming trendy represent good opportunities. Don’t get swept up in hype and overpay if you’re late on the scene, however — prices may have peaked. Still, location typically is even more important to investing success than the condition of the actual property. Also research income, employment and age demographics — and even local crime rates.

Adhere to the 1 Percent Rule

If the primary objective of your investment is to generate rental income, the monthly rental income should be no less than 1 percent of the purchase price (e.g., a $250,000 property should rent for at least $2,500 a month). This will create an annual 12 percent return — minus overhead, of course (repairs, taxes, etc.) — and typically lets you recoup your initial investment in a reasonable timeframe.

Understand Taxes and 1031 Exchange Opportunities

Taxes are complicated. Property taxes will offset some of your revenue. Your income taxes may be further reduced by a property depreciation write-off. An investment strategy called a 1031 exchange also has tax implications, allowing you to defer capital gains taxes when you sell one investment property and re-invest the proceeds in a subsequent investment property. Consult a tax professional for help with these scenarios.

Here are more basics that are less complicated, but still important:

  • Understand the big picture. Track the performance of the U.S. economy as a whole. The best real estate opportunities may present themselves during a recession or the initial stages of recovery.
  • If you have a real estate investment portfolio and not just one property, spread the risk among different industries and locations.
  • Have a plan. Outline both short- and long-term goals before getting started. Have a budget and an ownership timeline in mind, especially if you are rehabbing a property.
  • Trust experience. Talk to other investors, join real estate investment groups — just don’t rely on any sources making get-rich-quick promises.
There are no guarantees when it comes to real estate investing, but sticking with tried-and-true principles beats flying blind. For more tips, see the accompanying infographic.

 

Author bio: Dalton Sullivan is Associate VP at Precision Global Corporation, a venture capital company. Sullivan has vast knowledge of 1031 exchanges as well as senior housing investing. He has a passion for business development, real estate investing and building lifelong, professional relationships with investors.

 

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3 E-commerce Trends You Must Prepare for in 2019

 

So what’s new in 2019?

Apart from a few technological novelties, the main prediction for this year is that there will be no big surprises in the industry. The journey will be smooth for both retailers and their customers, and we’ll finally get to reap the results we’ve started predicting a couple of years ago. In other words, this is your last chance to jump in on the trends established in 2018. Wait for the new ones to emerge, and you’ll be missing a huge opportunity.

Here’s what to invest in ASAP.

  1. Social Media Conversion

87% of customers say that social media help them decide what to buy. Though other social commerce statistics are just as staggering, you don’t really need them to confirm what you already know. You are a customer yourself, the same as you are a social media user. 2.77 billion of us are. But just in case you are a rare social media ghost (SMG), here’s another crucial fact: 90% of followers try to reach out to brands via social media. And why wouldn’t we? Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are already such an important part of our everyday lives. We use them as communication channels, news sources, collaboration tools, and entertainment platforms, all at the same time.

Why wouldn’t we use them for shopping too?

Convenience, real-time accessibility, and 24/7 availability are the three fundamental pillars of social commerce. They allow us, as customers, to browse products and services without tab-switching. To e-commerce brands, they offer a clean, split-second, on-the-spot conversion. It’s a no-brainer, really. If you’re not selling on social media, you’re not doing e-commerce right.

Here’s how to leverage social commerce in 2019:

  • Add a Shop Now Button to Your Facebook Page

The most popular social network now allows you to list products directly on your Facebook page, along with a convenient Shop Now button for instant conversion. You’ll need to connect your PayPal account as well, but all this takes minutes to complete.

  • Post Shoppable Content and Stories on Instagram

Because Instagram has been acquired by Facebook back in 2012, the on-site conversion options are pretty much the same on both networks. You can add a Shop Now button to the images and videos you post, as well as on your carousel ads and stories.

  • Use Buyable Pins to Boost Pinterest Conversions

A Shop the Look Pin on Pinterest doesn’t differ much from Facebook’s button. Only instead of Shop Now, it says Buy It. The CTA is very effective in both cases, but the payment system is not the same. On Pinterest, customers can use Apply Pay and credit cards.

Immersive Experiences

The power of social commerce lies in engaging visual content and CTAs. When taken together, these two elements offer unmatched convenience. But one thing social media cannot provide is a lifelike experience that enables you to try products and services. You know, like in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, the inability to see, touch, smell, test, and try out products pre-purchase has long been the only disadvantage of e-commerce. Until now. With the advent and commercialization of VR and AR technology, online shopping has taken a huge leap forward. Take IKEA, for instance. The company’s Place app relies on AR technology to provide customers with a sneak peek of how IKEA products would look in like in their own homes. This fully immersive customer experience is pretty revolutionary stuff that you’ll need to compete with in 2019.

  1. Amazon Advertising

The third e-commerce trend for this year indicates that you’ll need to include an Amazon Advertising course to your corporate training software and that you’ll need to that soon. For 68% of customers, surveys say, Amazon is the only online shopping site that matters.

Not enough to convince you? Then consider this:

80% of online shoppers scroll through Amazon reviews before they make a purchase. You can hardly succeed on Amazon if you don’t get serious about advertising on this platform first, which is why we’ve compiled a short list of three tips for implementing this marketing strategy into your overall e-commerce goals. Pay close attention:

  • Follow Amazon’s Best Practices

Make sure to meet Amazon’s guidelines when creating content for your brand’s product detail pages. Avoid heavy blocks of text and use attention-grabbing imagery to boost your conversion rates. Also, conduct a competitive analysis and borrow the most effective practices.

  • Use Multiple Amazon Ad Types

There’s AMG, AMS, AAP/DSP, and ACoS. Other Amazon ad types include sponsored ads, display ads, and video ads. Use as many of them as you can to increase your daily Amazon sales, as this will get your products ranked higher on Amazon’s product listings.

  • Master Amazon Search Terms

Forget everything you know about keywords and Google-based SEO because these rules don’t apply on Amazon. The platform has its own searchability system based on so-called search terms. Learning how to use them is crucial for effective advertising on Amazon.

Wrap Up

Social commerce, mixed reality technology, and Amazon Advertising will rule online shopping in 2019. As e-commerce concepts and trends, they are not new. The only novelty is if you don’t learn how to use them now, you may not get another chance in a year.

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