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Starting a Home-Based Business: What You Need to Know

Starting a home-based business takes a lot of hard work, but for millions of Americans, it really pays off. More and more people are discovering the possibilities of being small business owners on their own terms as the nine-to-five workday increasingly becomes a thing of the past. Even large companies are hiring freelancers who can work remotely in order to save on costs, from insurance to office space.

Growing a business from your home can be extremely lucrative and rewarding, but it has to start with careful planning in order to work. Not only do you have to be very focused and have goals set from the beginning, you also have to remain motivated throughout the process of garnering clients and expanding your business. Fortunately, there are several tools at your disposal, from websites to grants and other funding opportunities.

Keep reading to find out how you can start a home-based business and what you need to succeed.

Know Your Stuff

Before you start thinking about the details, it’s important to look at big-picture things first. You’ll want to be very knowledgeable when it comes to the area you want your business to be in, and you’ll need some experience, too. Very few entrepreneurs have found success with a business that they’ve never worked with before. For instance, if you want to become a consultant, you need to be well educated in whatever area you want to consult in, acquire the right licenses and certifications, and stay patient as you grow your business. Keeping realistic expectations is imperative for entrepreneurs.

Hire the Right Help

Depending on the nature of your business, it may be in your best interest to hire people to get yourself up and running, and keep it operating as a successful venture once it’s fully launched. Even if you plan an independent business that you fully oversee, ask yourself if there are people you can recruit to make you stand out among the competition. For example, if you’re going to be selling handmade works of art on a site like Etsy, should you hire a professional photographer to take eye-catching photos of your products? Has your company grown so successful that you need a second (or third or fourth) set of hands to help you create your crafts? Think about what types of employees will take your business to the next level, and then start lining up interviews. Be sure you’ve adequately prepared yourself on the job interview process by doing your research on what to ask, what you can’t legally inquire about, and what to look for in a candidate.

Stay Productive

One of the hardest things about running your own business is having to stay productive all the time on your own, with no one to motivate you. You have to be your own cheerleader, which means it’s extra important to create a space in which you can work efficiently. This includes setting up a home office without distractions and making the most of natural lighting, which can boost your energy and keep things running smoothly. It’s also important to make sure you have the right equipment for the jobs you’ll be doing; you can’t expect success if you don’t start with the right tools.

Network

Starting a home-based business usually means you can make your own schedule and set your own rules, but it also means a lot of solitude and not much time spent checking out other businesses. Networking is important to entrepreneurs because it allows them to make connections with like-minded people that could be useful now or down the road, and it also provides a support system that is helpful in the first few years of owning a business. Get online and create a web presence on social media; Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all great places to start. You can also check out conventions and similar businesses that are local.

Keep Your Personal and Business Lives Separate

It can sometimes be difficult to separate your personal and business lives, especially if your office is inside your home, but it’s imperative that you do everything you can to draw a line between the two. This means having separate bank accounts, keeping different sets of books, and making sure your tax liabilities are taken care of. Getting organized and keeping excellent records will help, as will having business credit cards and email addresses.

Starting a home-based business can be a very lucrative venture for you, but only if you put in the work. Start with a solid plan — talk to someone who’s been doing it for a while to get some advice — and use all the tools at your disposal to build up your company.

Guest Post: About the Author

Brittany has spent over 20 years as a CPA, and is writing a book about financial literacy. She also runs Financiallywell.info.

Looking to start a business? Be sure your budget is in order with our Business Budget Smart Sheet available for FREE download!

2019 Social Media Trends Businesses Need to Plan For

If there is one thing that business owners should know for certain, it’s that there’s no certainty in today’s world. Technological advances, shorter product life cycles, and shifting consumer demands create changes and surprises that business owners need to be ready for.

A key part to growing and sustaining businesses today is social media. These platforms allow owners to connect with millions of possible customers worldwide. As this field is constantly being innovated, it’s advantageous for companies to prepare for social media trends in 2019 to stay innovative and relevant in their niches.

Increased Integration

In today’s fast world, people expect quick and seamless service, which is why all businesses should focus on creating the most seamless user experiences for their customers. In 2019, more and more companies will focus on social media integration, allowing customers to register for website access, sign up for email lists and more using their social media accounts.

Business owners should consider updating their websites and apps to allow new users to register with just one click through their social media account instead of filling out a long form. This step can help you increase your followers and connect better with your customer base.

More Video

The way businesses connect with users on social media is shifting from written to video content. Over half of all social media users watch videos, with that number climbing consistently.

Video is beneficial because it allows businesses to showcase their products and services, provide how-to guides and reviews. Social media users can form an emotional connection with the brand through video when they feel like the content is valuable to them.

Live video, especially, is becoming an important feature for marketing. Businesses can use this opportunity to share events, sales and new product announcements in real time.

Customized Marketing

In 2019, companies will finetune their marketing with customized strategies. Not only does content need to differ across channels to offer exclusive deals and stories, but business owners should focus on creating custom personas to cater to different demographics.

Whether you own a restaurant, a hair salon or an auto repair shop, customizing your outreach to target different audiences is key. Using insights from social media analytics, you can create customer personas depending on demographics such as age, gender, shopping patterns, income, etc., and create content tailored to those interests and needs.

Chatbots

Customers are demanding instant communication from the companies they shop with, and social media is no exception. While you may not have the budget to offer 24/7 customer service representatives for social media, you can invest in chatbots to solve this problem.

Chatbots are computer programs that mimic actual conversations. Companies can use them to answer questions, troubleshoot and even allow customers to book services and make purchases. With one estimate that 25% of the world will use messaging apps by the end of 2019, integrating chatbots into social media’s direct messaging services should be a priority.

Setting aside a budget to integrate social media trends into your operations is key to staying innovative. IOU Financial can help you with this goal by offering easy and fast small business loans. We can instantly pre-approve you and fund your loan of up to $300,000 in 24-48 hours!

How to Promote Your Brand and at the Same Time Do Nothing

Branding is a diligent and time-consuming process. You may hire an entire team to do it for you, but you’ll have to be involved in one way or another. As a business owner, you might be wondering: is there a way to make branding easier, so you can focus on the business itself?

Let’s see. We’ll suggest few ways on how to promote your brand without doing anything complicated

Start a Blog

As any other smart business owner, you already covered the website part, right? You absolutely need to establish the brand’s online presence. When people are interested to buy your products or services, they are going to search for them online.

But did you implement a blog section on the website?

Blogging is a crucial element of search engine optimization. Mark Roberts, part of the marketing team at Essay On Time, explains that: “When someone searches for a product or service you want to sell, Google will show them high-quality results. Google evaluates websites according to many factors, but content is the main one. The blog gives you tons of space to provide such content, which would appear in the first page of results and attract target customers your way.”

But we were talking about promoting a business without making much effort right? Blogging seems like a lot of effort. It won’t be if you hire the right people. You may count on freelancers or writing agencies.

Start an Affiliate Program

You don’t have much time to promote your business? Why don’t you let the customers promote it for you? When you start an affiliate program, each customer will get benefits, such as discounts or free packages.

Payoneer, for example, is an online payment service that has such a program. For every new user that signs up through the affiliate link, the user who recommended it gets an actual payment. If that’s too advanced for you, you can offer simple discounts and free products for each referral.

The best part is that you just develop the program and it works for you. You’ll be gaining new customers by the day.

Giveaways!

Before someone decides to buy a product or service from you, they will want to read a review. It’s no wonder why people are so obsessed with Amazon reviews. They want to be sure they are spending their money on something valuable.

But how do you get enough reviews when your business is still new? Giveaways!

Organize contests with valuable prizes: product packages or yearly subscription to your service. Ask the winners to share their honest experience, and feature those reviews at your website.

Connect with Influencers

Since you cannot engage in all activities needed for the promotion of your brand, you need people who will promote it for you. Social media influencers! That’s what you should be thinking at this point.

When you connect with influencers on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms, you’ll make a deal. You’ll send them a free package of products or provide a subscription to your service free of charge. Most influencers will require a payment, too. What you get in return is promotion in front of thousands of people.

These are social media users who have a huge base of followers. When you gain such exposure, it will be a matter of time before your brand becomes big.

When engaging in influencer marketing, it’s important to target influencers with relevant interests to what your brand provides. You want to target an audience that would buy from you. So choose your influencers wisely.

See? Branding is not that big of a deal, after all. Of course; you have to make an effort to make the process successful, but some aspects can run smoothly without major involvement on the part of the business owner. Hopefully, the above-listed tips will make the branding process simpler for you.

Guest Post: About the Author

Terence Murray is a journalist and an editor from London. He loves to meet new people and talks with them about literature, photography and jazz music. Join him on Facebook and Google+

Want to invest in better branding? IOU can help you get the funds you need to get started with up to $300,000 in as little as 24 hours.

How Newsletters Can Help You Retain Customers

How do you turn a one time client into a repeat customer? This is the question every single business owner needs to ask themselves.

Attracting a new client has a certain acquisition price attached to it—how much you spend on advertising and marketing to make a sale. However, successful businesses are the ones that figured out a strategy to keep the customers coming back time and time again.

The trick to promoting customer loyalty is engagement, and one of the best ways to promote engagement is with a company newsletter.

Newsletter Definition

A newsletter is either physical, or more commonly, digital periodic content that a company distributes to its customers. You choose what to put in the newsletter, but typically it contains product-specific articles, coupons, deals, new product announcements and more.

A contact list is required to distribute the newsletter, which means that businesses should collect their customers’ email addresses online or at a brick-and-mortar location.

Benefits of Utilizing a Newsletter

There are numerous advantages that set apart businesses that distribute newsletters from those that don’t, including:

  • Increased sales—when customers are alerted to new products or sales, they are more likely to make a purchase.
  • Customer loyalty—when you upkeep regular communication with your customers, your brand stays fresh in their mind and they don’t forget you.
  • Customer trust—when you share relevant and educational content with your customers, they start viewing you as an expert and trust your recommendations.
  • Cost effective—a digital newsletter is free to create and distribute, which is a cost effective marketing strategy.
  • Trackable—online software allows you to analyze how many people opened your newsletter, and whether they took any actions (clicked a link, visited a website, made a purchase).

Three Tips for Creating an Effective Company Newsletter

It’s important to remember that your customers typically get dozens of new emails in their inboxes, so you must take steps to encourage them to open and read your newsletter. Follow these tips to create a truly effective newsletter:

Research

You want to create a unique newsletter that offers your readers tips and advice they can’t find anywhere else. However, how do you know what’s out there without doing research? Subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters to see what content they are disseminating, what you can learn from them and what you can improve on.

Do research in your industry to read about the latest developments to see what you can share to educate your customers and set yourself up as an authority figure.

Keep it Simple

Don’t get overly excited about the opportunity to connect with your readers; instead, decide on the angle you want to cover in each newsletter. Don’t bombard your customers with too much content, but focus on a specific topic (individual product or service, how to guide, a review, etc.) and then organize your newsletter around that.

Avoid Being Too Salesy

Although the main goal of the newsletter is to increase sales, don’t give that fact away to your readers. While  you want to promote your brand, focus on the educational aspect first. A good balance is 90% educational and 10% promotional, which would provide the ultimate value to your readers.

You may want to invest in software in order to create professional and unique layouts and formats for your newsletter. It may be advantageous to hire a professional copywriter and designer to create graphics and images. If you need help with affording this venture, IOU Financial is ready to help. We offer convenient and fast small business loans of up to $300,000 in under 48 hours. Click here to learn more!

Advanced Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Today, with the huge number of small businesses coming up every day, all small business owners are looking for ways to stand out. Although no one can predict what the future of businesses holds, no one wants to fall under those businesses that fail after a few months of operating.

In this internet era, no one can afford to ignore digital marketing. For your business to be on the edge of the competition, you must have effective strategies in place from the first day of launching your startup. This applies to every type of industry. A powerful strategy is one that takes advantage of social media and search engine optimization to drive traffic among other things.

But without the right tools, your digital marketing is as good as dead. Well, of course, some of these tools are free and some are paid, which means you will have to pay some amount of money annually to use them. Marketing tools are very helpful to both experts and beginners.

Some tools will help you to spy the competition to know your business rivalries’ strategies among other important things. Others will help you to identify the most searched phrases so that you can target people conducting those searches online.

In this post, we’ve prepared a list of advanced marketing tools for small businesses that have also been tried, tested and recommended by experts in the field.

Answer The Public

Answer The Public is one of the most popular tools recommended by professional assignment writers today. This is a free tool that will help you find out the topics and questions that people type on Google when searching for information. You just need to enter your main keyword that you want to rank for and the tool displays the topics and questions.

Once you’ve identified the topics and questions, you can then include it naturally throughout your content so that when Google crawls your site looking for the best information related to the topic searched, your site can rank better and thus being able to convert your website visitors to real customers since you will have answered their questions with your content already.

Google Keyword Planner

You want to launch a pay-per-click campaign, grab a Google Keyword Planner. This is a handy tool if you want to set up an AdWords campaign for your small business. The greatest feature of this tool is the search volume calculator that enables you to type in your keyword and the tool displays its search volume. You can also search keyword by location to see how many people are searching for the same keyword in your area.

Hootsuite

It’s not a question; social media plays a huge role in today’s digital marketing regardless of the size of your business or industry. Hootsuite saves you loads of time by planning your social media posts in advance. This tool is equipped with great features that will help you as you start your business. You can use it to accomplish many tasks such as:

  • Connecting with blogger and influencers in your industry.
  • Engaging your audience through a central dashboard and etc.

The good thing about Hootsuite is that you can use it to manage almost all your social media accounts in one place.

Google Analytics

This is one of the best and free tools from Google. When starting your business, analytics should be the first things to consider in your digital marketing strategy. It’s easy to add the Analytics code to your site and start to monitor the actions of your website visitors. Although many people term it as a traffic tool, it can do more than that, especially for your marketing strategy. For instance, you can be able to know the sources of your traffic.

Google Analytics is a tool that you should install in your site immediately you launch your business.

MailChimp

Email marketing is currently used by a large percent of B2B and B2C firms. Why should you be left out of this?

MailChimp boasts more than 14 million customers and this makes it one of the top email marketing providers currently. This tool has a free plan for users with less than 2,000 subscribers with a limit of 12,000 emails per month and a pro plan starting from $199/month. For a small startup, you can start with the free plan and advance to the other plans as your business grows.

HubSpot

HubSpot is one of the best tools for sales and marketing and is also the best CRM software out there. This tool helps you from attracting customers until when the customers make a purchase. It keeps your marketing funnel in a good working order. It is equiped with tools that help in creating landing pages as well as calls-to-action, SEO, blogging and more. In short, we can say that it is an all-in-one marketing software.

Canva

To spice up your marketing strategy, you need stunning images and, presentations and posters. Canva is your tool for that. It features excellent tools with guides which makes it easy to use for both experts and beginners.

Buffer

Buffer is another social media management tool that helps you to plan your social media posts to publish on various platforms in one place. It has a free version that allows you to schedule a minimum of 10 posts for every social media platform. You can also use the premium and analytics tools as well.

SEMrush

SEMrush is another best tool for monitoring and evaluating your site’s organic rankings although it’s free version is limited. However, the free version can still help you to improve your SEO.

TweetDeck

As the name suggests, TweetDeck is another great and free marketing tool for managing your Twitter profile. This tool allows you to manage your lists and tweets in the best possible way on Twitter.

Final Thoughts

To be sure of success in your digital marketing strategy, you need to use the right tools for the job. We hope that this list will help you choose a tool that will take your online marketing to the next level.

There are many tools apart from these, but we’ve selected a few of the most effective that have also been recommended by online markers worldwide.

Guest Post: About the Author

Lilian Chifley is an IT specialist, teacher, and blogger from Sydney. She loves to talk about artificial intelligence and modern education. You can find Lilian on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Create Infographics for My Business

Your business requires marketing material to connect with potential customers. This can involve a website, social media presence, brochures, coupons and advertisements. There are two types of content that marketing requires—visual and written.

While photos and videos are a given when it comes to the visual way of presenting your business, infographics are also relevant. These are charts and graphs that make it easier for viewers to comprehend data or information. Research has found that companies who used infographics saw their online traffic grow by 12%.

You can explain to your customers that taking your supplement can reduce their blood pressure by 25% in written format, or you can create an infographic (see below) that will help them see the information in a new light, break up text and add some color and visuals to your content.

Types of Infographics

All infographics are not created equally, there are various types that work well for specific purposes:

  • Statistical infographics
  • Informational infographics
  • Timeline infographics
  • Process infographics
  • Geographic infographics
  • Comparison infographics
  • Hierarchical infographics
  • List infographics
  • Resume infographics

How to Create an Infographic

If you are sold on the importance of infographics, here are three different ways you can create them:

Download an Infographic Template

HubSpot allows you to download 15 templates for infographics completely free! This is perfect for beginners because you don’t have to spend hours designing one on your own or learning the process.

Simply download the template you want to use into PowerPoint, use tools to easily customize it to your unique needs and create a code to embed the graphic to your site or social media platforms.

Create an Infographic from Scratch

Once you get comfortable with customizing infographic templates, you can move on to creating unique graphics from scratch. This will help your brand distinguish itself from competitors who may be using the same software you are to make similar templates.

There are many software options to choose from to do this, one of them being Canva. All you have to do is either upload your own image, or choose from their library of over one million illustrations, photos and graphics. Choose from over 130 fonts, various colors and backgrounds by dragging and dropping various options.

You can save your designs on Canva to reuse them or make small changes on additional marketing campaigns.

Hire a Professional Infographic Designer

If you don’t feel comfortable with using templates or software to create an infographic, or simply don’t have the time to do this—outsource it to a professional designer. An affordable way of doing this is through Fiverr, a site that connects you with freelancers.

Type in what type of work you need help with, and browse through different freelance profiles. You will have the chance to read reviews about them and see samples of their previous work.

IOU Financial believes in helping small businesses succeed. If you need help with investing in your marketing strategy, contact us today to inquire about our simple and fast pre-approval and funding process for your business loan.

 

Should My Business Be Using IGTV?

IGTV (for Instagram TV) is the new Instagram video app that supports vertical-format video on smartphones and desktops. You can post videos of up to 10 minutes in length, although creators with large audiences can post videos up to 60 minutes long. Instagram, a part of Facebook, is now set to compete directly with YouTube, giving individuals and businesses a new social media channel. Let’s explore how your business can profit from IGTV:

You can’t ignore video:

About a third of online activity involves watching video according to Wordstream, and Ciscopredicts 78% of mobile data traffic will be video by 2021. Viewers of video ads are twice as likely to tell others about them compared to text or image ads, and 25% of viewers make an immediate purchase after viewing a video ad[i]. There are more than 3.5 billion[ii] unique mobile internet users who on average spend 69%[iii] of their media time on their phones. Eighty percent[iv] of global internet usage will be driven by mobile devices and half[v] of an individual’s digital media time occurs on mobile apps. These statistics compel businesses to include marketing videos in their content marketing strategy, lest they cede the territory to their competitors.

IGTV supports clickable links:

You can add multiple links to your IGTV video’s description to drive traffic to your website, other videos, or wherever else you choose. To ensure your viewers know about the links, mention them in your video. This feature has the potential to significantly increase your website traffic and conversion ratio. You can also add up to 30 hashtags in your video description, meaning you will gain visibility through regular hashtag searches. These features should help you grow your channel and your business.

IGTV is easy to use: 

Even the smallest businesses can easily create IGTV videos. You don’t have to have Hollywood production values to create compelling videos, although expert videographers can use all their tricks if they choose. To create an IGTV, turn on the video feature of your phone and start recording. You can use simple yet powerful video editor apps such as InShot, Splice and VideoShow to add music, titles, voice-overs, emojis and special effects. With a little thought, you should be able to create entertaining and engaging content. Once you’re happy with your video, simply upload it via the IGTV mobile app and you’re all set.

Your Instagram followers automatically follow your videos:

This setup means you can increase the value of your Instagram account substantially by uploading your marketing videos. Sure, you can create weekly or monthly videos, but if you run daily promotions, IGTV can get the word out fast in a compelling manner. Retailers and merchandizers will find this capability a boon for driving customers to their websites and/or brick-and-mortar stores.

You can create training and product demo videos:

Your marketing push can include high-value videos that increase the knowledge of potential or actual customers. You can also train your employees or demonstrate how your product is used. The ways you use IGTV to increase sales, service and support are limited only by your imagination.

IGTV, when properly leveraged, has the potential to grow your business significantly. In fact, you might find you need expanded inventory, more employees, a larger store, or perhaps additional stores. If you need working capital to expand your business, consider a business loan from IOU Financial, where you can borrow up to $300,000 on convenient terms quickly and easily.

[i] https://thenextscoop.com/use-instagram-igtv-business/

[ii]https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/

[iii]http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/2017-US-Cross-Platform-Future-in-Focus?

[iv]https://www.zenithmedia.com/mobile-forecasts-75-internet-use-will-mobile-2017/

[v]https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Smartphone-Apps-Are-Now-50-of-All-US-Digital-Media-Time-Spent

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making On Your Website That Can Ruin Your Business

Having a website for your brand is a wonderful thing, especially if you are focused on working globally. You can use it to interact with your users, sell your products and services, share content on your products, market your services, share reviews etc.

It became a norm in the business world. Benefits of having a website are highly talked about and praised in our modern society. Experts say that having a website can improve your business, create a good image of your brand and help you expand and engage with more people.

However, no one really talks much about how doing things wrong on your website can deteriorate your image and cost you your business. There are common mistakes that are often made not out of ignorance but coincidentally or because of forgetfulness.

Effects of these mistakes can be seen in sales, website visitation rates and bounce rates. This is why you need to be aware of them and have tools and knowledge to improve your website, eliminate the mistakes you are making and inevitably, improve your business.

Here are some common mistakes and some solutions to them:

There is no social proof

Imagine visiting a website where there are no reviews – good or bad – no newspaper articles or banners claiming that the website is legit. Would you stay on that website and make a purchase confidently?

Your answer is probably no. According to study, approximately 70% of people look at reviews, testimonials and other social proofs before making a decision to buy.

People need a social proof to be sure that they will not be tricked. This is basic psychology – you need to know that someone has walked that path and came out unharmed and happy if you are to walk that path yourself.

And this is what so many websites get wrong.

Avoid this by adding customer reviews, even if they are just good ones to your website. Include your stamps of approval from influencers, newspapers, other businesses from your niche, social media. Do whatever it takes to prove to a new visitor that you will not trick them.

You have a bad layout and design

People are visual creatures. They like looking at pretty things and if your layout and design don’t meet their expectations, you can be in trouble.

Bad layout, for one, can be confusing and hard to focus on. This is another easy fix – you only need to hire an expert to help you figure out what is the best layout for your business.

Design is another place where a lot of mistakes can happen. Wrong color scheme, font or illustrations can lead you to lose a lot of customers. Go for neutral colors that are easy on the eyes, pick readable fonts and make sure that everything is consistency with your brand. Check out the competition and see what they are doing. Don’t let your website look outdated.

There are no social media tags

If you are a business without social media profiles, you know you are doing something wrong.

Social media platforms are so good for businesses because they offer a unique way to build and maintain a relationship with your customers, according to study conducted by Moz. You can see their complaints and praises in the comments sections and use that to improve your business, you can get them to like you better by being fun and interesting on social media – the possibilities are endless.

If you do have social media profiles or pages, share them on your website. A customer can make an easier decision about a sale if they see that you are truly working with real people. Sometimes, this is all the social proof you need.

You have a confusing navigation

People don’t like visiting a website and being confused. Make it easy for them to find a page and move around your site. According to study conducted by Joshua Porter, users are more likely to make 3 clicks on the website to access the target page rather than 12 clicks. If some information is hard to find, they are likely to give up and move on. This is really bad for your business.

Hire someone to review your website as a new visitor and through the fresh eyes, you’ll be able to see if your website is easy to use or not.

You don’t provide enough information

On your website, you need to be open and share enough information about your business and yourself. Display your contact information or contact page prominently  – it should be your main goal for customers to be able to find you easily. Then proceed to tell your story and share just enough for them to be entertained and for you to seem legit.

Sharing too much can also be a problem.

Collin Nevin, an SEO-specialist at Boomessays, states, “You have to give your users enough information about your website and yourself for them to see you as a relevant and trustworthy business and person. Don’t make the information too hard to find and don’t make yourself unreachable. Share your addresses both email and physical, numbers and tell your story.”

You don’t post quality content

Take your time and write content that will truly resonate with your readers. You will not be able to achieve much with bad content. You can hire writers, writing services or write it yourself, but it needs to hold all of the relevant information.

Another mistake with content that you could be making is not checking it for plagiarism. Google doesn’t like plagiarized content, favoring more fresh information and new takes on different subjects. This is why you should definitely employ the services of a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or UKWritings.

You don’t optimize your images for speed

Visual content is always a good idea but not if it slows you down. People don’t like waiting and if your page takes too long to load, they will not stay.

Make sure that everything is in optimal condition and test your website while imitating similar pressure that it would endure with an enormous flood of visitors.

“Anything that might slow down your loading speed is your enemy. People don’t like waiting. This is why you need to optimize your images, icons and videos so that they don’t slow your loading speed down but improve it. This isn’t hard to do but it will mean a lot for your website and your business,” says Miranda Grayson, a Web Developer at Essayroo.

Your site is not mobile-friendly

Most of the readers like to consume their content and get information on their mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, they will not ‘pinch and zoom in’ for too long and they will move on quickly to find another, mobile-friendly website.

You make grammar and spelling mistakes

According to new studies and statistics, people don’t like grammar mistakes or misspelt words. It signals them that your website is not to be trusted and that it may be a scam, potentially harmful for their devices. This also represents you as someone who doesn’t care enough to eliminate these when they are so easy to fix by using tools like StateOfWriting or SimpleGrad.

Conclusion

While there are many benefits to having a website, there are also a lot of mistakes that you can make. Some of them are on this list and if you follow these tips on how to fix them, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Guest Post: About the Author

Grace Carter is a content manager at Paper Fellows and Academized, online writing services. She checks content quality, curates writers and explores marketing possibilities. Also, Grace is a tutor at Eliteassignmenthelp.com, academic website.

The Pros and Cons of Mass Messaging for Small Business

If you’re a small business looking to get your message out to a large audience, email blasts aren’t always the most effective mode of communication. While you may think to yourself, I’ve put thought and effort into the perfect newsletter; who wouldn’t want that? The truth is, emails can become like unsolicited phone calls. Many individuals sign up to receive a business’s correspondence, but never actually open an email because they’re too busy or don’t believe the message will appeal to their interests. Let me propose another marketing solution: text message service

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to incorporating a text messaging campaign into your marketing strategy.

Pros:

People Sign Up for Text Messaging

Consumers need to opt in for text messaging when providing their number to a business. This means that those who receive your text messages have specifically stated that they want to hear from you. This eliminates the worry that your text messaging will be regarded in a negative light. They are most likely happy to receive a text from your business.

Email Companion

Due to character limitations, there is only so much you can cram into one text message. You may have an entire newsletter full of relevant and valuable information that a text message simply cannot support. However, using text in conjunction with your email is a smart, effective strategy for optimizing audience engagement. For example, you can send out a text message to advise customers to lookout for an upcoming email.

Current News

With emails, a lot of people will see that they have a notification, but if it is not something urgent, they will leave the email to look at for a later time. Text messaging typically receives a much more immediate response as people keep their smartphones on them throughout the day.

Cons:

Let’s talk about the drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, text messages must be brief. You can’t put a lot of information in your mass messaging blast because you don’t want to annoy your customers with a multi-text message. Also, there’s no room for elaborate graphics or to include the company logo, which is important for brand recognition.

Standing Out

Take into account that consumers may sign up for scores of text messaging blasts. Even the large department stores have text message updates. How can you stand out while contending with these large corporations? You will have to exercise some creativity so that when your text message gets to their phone, they find it unique and enticing and are prompted to take action.

 Getting Volunteers

As we said before, people need to opt into text messaging. People feel more inclined to sign up for email blasts as it is less personal. Even though everyone gets emails on their phone, receiving text messages from businesses can feel invasive to certain people. It’ll be your loyal customers who look forward to text message updates.

No matter if you own a bakery, a flower shop, or a liquor store, you will have to find new ways to reach your local patrons. By implementing a business text messaging campaign, you’re opening up a way to communicate with people and add that old personal touch that has almost been forgotten in this large, technological era. If you’re in need of some extra funding to implement a mass-texting service, IOU Financial can help! With up to $300,000 available in 24-48 hours, you can get the funds you need to grow your business quickly and easily.

Guest Post: About the Author

Ron Kinkade is the Director of Marketing at Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 15 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron is a graduate of Illinois State University.

Are you Monitoring Your Online Reputation? How to Get Started.

The advent of the internet age has made competition for all businesses a bigger challenge than it ever was before. As customers are no longer constricted by time or distance, they’re able to purchase goods from around the world.

Since it is difficult to compete by offering unique products or lower than average prices, business owners should strive to provide the best customer service, which goes a long way in keeping current customers loyal and attracting new clients.

It’s important to monitor your online reputation to see what is being said about your brand online because 74% of shoppers base their purchasing decisions on positive online reviews. That means that if you have poor reviews about your products or services, you may be losing out on ¾ of your potential sales! Read on to see how you can get started with monitoring your online reputation to help your business succeed!

Set Up Google Alerts

Google offers an incredibly useful tool that all business owners should become familiar with; and the best part is that it is completely free! Instead of dedicating hours of your time on a weekly basis to scouring the web, Google Alerts will email you when your business is mentioned online on websites, blogs, etc.

Setting this up is easy; simply log into or create a Google account and set up words or phrases that you want Google to track. This can include your company’s name or the names of products or services you offer.

Know Where Your Audience “Hangs Out”

Although Google Alerts is a great resource, you can’t rely on it to report 100% of what goes on online. This is why it’s important to know your audience—customers, employees, investors, etc., and learn where they hang out online.

If you have a physical location, such as a restaurant, body shop or hair salon, it’s likely that your customers tend to frequent review sites, such as Yelp.

If you target a younger demographic and/ or offer products or services that are presented well in photos and videos, such as a travel agency or a clothing boutique, your target audience may be found on Instagram.

On the other hand, if you offer professional services, such as bookkeeping or accounting, you may find your company being mentioned on professional sites, such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor. Remember that your employees may also leave reviews about the experience of working at your company, which can influence shoppers!

Verify Your Information is Correct

While the internet offers a multitude of benefits, it also often takes the control out of business owner’s hands. You can’t regulate what a person or a company posts online, and that may lead to wrong information about your business being posted.

Yext is a helpful tool that can help you manage listings on review and location sites, such as Yellow Pages. It automatically reviews these sites and alerts you when a mistake is found or there is no information at all.

This will help you keep your contact information, address, business hours and link to your website current so your customers can always find you.

Monitoring your online reputation is the first step; however, the most important step is the second one. If you notice a bad review or wrong information about your business posted online, do something about it! If a customer had a negative experience shopping on your site or visiting your brick-and-mortar location, reach out to them and attempt to make it right. Showing your online audience that you are invested in your brand’s reputation and committed to providing the best customer service will go a long way in setting you apart from the competition!

If you need financial assistance with establishing your improving your online presence, turn to IOU Financial. Our company specializes in small business loans of up to $300,000 in as little as 48 hours.