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3 Time-Saving Software Innovations for Your Construction Company

Admin tasks are like weeds – you get rid one only to find another three have sprung up.

Whether it’s finalising quotes for prospective customers, filling in paperwork or catching up with an overflowing inbox, there’s no shortage of pesky little jobs to keep you busy.

If you’re not careful, you’ll soon find you have to practically chain yourself to your desk for the entire week just to get halfway through them all.

It’s bad news when you run a construction company.

Instead of getting out there to visit sites you’re stuck at base camp, working in your home office and relying on phone calls to stay up-to-date with your team’s latest triumphs and difficulties.

To free yourself from your paperwork prison, you need to figure out how to cut your admin time down – and we’ve got just the answer for you.

Here’s our pick of three of the best software innovations that’ll boost your efficiency and help you get back on site.

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Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo

#1: Inspection software

As the person in charge, it’s your responsibility to ensure all equipment and projects are in line with safety regulations.

Failing to do so not only puts your employees at risk but also your business – should your standards slip, you could face a major fine or even a closure.

Inspection software from Motion Software is used in lots of industries, including construction, to keep comprehensive safety records. By quickly collecting data it reduces the time between inspection and final report, helping you effortlessly build evidence of compliance.

#2: HR software

Whether you run a construction company or a retail shop, looking after your employees is one of the biggest admin responsibilities you’ll have to deal with.

If you don’t have proper procedures in place to handle payroll, expenses and scheduling, you’ll soon find it takes up all of your spare time.

HR software from the likes of MHR can help you take care of the odd and ends associated with workforce management, keeping you in line with regulations regarding employee rights and keeping your staff happy.

#3: Building Information Modelling (BIM)

OK, BIM may be a little pricey but we still think it deserves mentioning, mostly because alongside streamlining your processes it could also help you win bigger clients – and the sizeable paycheques that come with them.

Data-based 3D models of projects can reduce mistakes (and the time and resources they waste) and improve productivity, all by making collaboration between team members much simpler.

Autodesk BIM software could revolutionise the way your company operates so, even if it’s not a realistic option right now, it’s worth keeping an eye on developments and prices over the next few years.

Have you got any other time-saving tips for business owners struggling to stay on top of admin? Leave a comment and let us know.



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Five Simple Ways to Make an Online Store Stand Out

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Some months ago, a colleague of mine ordered a pair of shoes from an online store. When they unpacked the parcel during lunchtime, there was a leaflet in it with pictures of three friendly looking men working in the shipping department of that online shop. With a marker, there was a cross below one of them, indicating that Toby was the person who packed the parcel. Did I need to know that? No, not really, but it did turn the anonymous online store into a likable business run by real people.



This is just one example of how online stores can make themselves unique. The competition is tough, so it is definitely a good idea to focus on what makes you distinctive and unique. Let’s be honest, often online shoppers do not care much if they buy a product in the web shop “Fashion Empire” or from their competitor “Empire Fashion”. These customers go with the shop who is offering the right product for the right price in the right delivery time.

If your shop offers a unique experience, you can become the unicorn in a herd of horses. Your customers are more likely to remember you and increase the chances of them buying again. In the best case, the buyer will talk to their friends about your online shop and how it made them feel.

Uniqueness can be achieved in different ways – some smaller, some larger in scale. You should always keep in mind though, that with all such retail efforts you should stay within the boundaries of logical convention.

A great shop design

When creating an online store, the first thing that comes to mind is design. How your shop looks is the first thing your visitors will notice. Creating uniqueness doesn’t mean you need to go overboard and design something radically new. It is important to stick to the fundaments of web design and usability, like the design and typography. Additionally, colors also play a big role when online shopping and are useful for setting a specific mood.

Ensure your shop software allows for freedom of fonts to choose from and colors that can be easily changed in the administration area of your shop. Nowadays, the layout and details of shop themes offer great opportunities to create a unique design for your store.

Be effective with photos

The images in your shop are another huge aspect of how customers will perceive your store. Besides making sure that the image quality is always high, exercise freedom to create something unique using pictures. Why not show off your shop’s categories on the start page with beautiful pictures, and present yourself and your team on the “About us” page? A bold background image that fills the whole screen is an interesting way to use pictures to stand out from other stores.

Unique content and copy

The catch phrase “content is king” may well be over-used, but there is truth in it. The wording on your website is a quick and easy way to communicate what makes your shop unique. Whatever voice you come up with, it should be consistent throughout. It can be confusing for the customer to read a funny, pun-filled start page and then read a boring, authoritative FAQ page or blog post. Keep in mind the wording should be optimized for search engines, you should be current on the right keywords and conventions of SEO practices.

Show who you are

If you run a small shop, creating a personal connection to your customers can be a big advantage over big players like Amazon. Some merchants go so far as to put a picture of themselves in the sidebar of their store, so it is visible on every subpage.

You can also optimize your “about us” page. This part of your shop is the perfect place to explain to the customer what differentiates you from all of the other online shops out there. Show pictures of your staff and office, tell the story behind your shop and explain why you are the best person for selling these products.

Small supportive elements

Use small elements that show the customer a high level of care for them and attention to detail. One idea is to hide a so-called “Easter egg” within your store. This can be a hidden message, an inside joke, which is not so obvious but can be found by attentive customers.

Finally, yet importantly, you can also take care of the offline details of your shop. Why not put a small, inexpensive gift into each package or use branded parcels showing your logo? As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities to stand out from the crowd.

The post Five Simple Ways to Make an Online Store Stand Out appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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How to Convert HTML to PDF

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HTML and CSS are two of the most basic programming languages that are used today mostly in the world of web development. Both languages are independent of each other but they work together to create website pages, and describe how they interact with the user.



Even though these languages are very old they are still very common as they are used in writing code for most static web pages. Web pages are basically nothing else but a simple text document which contains information about the design and functionality of the page. If you haven’t ever seen one, check out the image below to get a closer look at a sample of a YouTube page:

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As you can see from the image, to someone who isn’t familiar with programming and website development, it basically looks like gibberish. However, for the few of us that have encountered these types of files it is nothing new. In fact, we are so used to seeing them not only in text, but other formats as well.

Earlier we mentioned that web pages are basically a text file with a bunch of written commands and content. It is very important that none of those commands and no content gets lost, damaged or otherwise misplaced, and when you send files via internet or try manipulating it otherwise, that is just what might happen to HTML and CSS files.

Due to their simple nature, HTML and CSS files have little to no formatting. This is exactly why you must take care how you transport and manipulate these files, otherwise you might end up having just a messy text file online instead of a beautiful website.

One of the best and most safest ways to send your files is by converting them to PDF. Why? Well, Portable Document Format, or PDF, is built for sending files and safekeeping content and other types of files you need long term. Here’s a couple fun facts about why PDFs are the best format to send files in:

  • PDF files can be password locked
  • Content can not be deleted once it is inside the file
  • They are easily convertible and by far one of the easiest formats to manipulate
  • They are “read-only” and also designed to work on all platforms

So, what happens when you are on the road, your clients are demanding and sending you files to be reviewed and rewritten, or you need to do some quick changes to your file before sending it back to your development team? Or you have to do a quick email exchange and take a closer look at the file but you don’t have your laptop at hand? One handy app that might help you is PDF Converter Ultimate, a mobile converter that has instant free Text to PDF conversion.

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The app works via a dedicated online server which converts all files in under a minute or two, no matter how big they are. The app has a very simple user interface so it really shouldn’t take you too long to figure it out if you are tech savvy. Basically what you need to do is open the app and tap on one of the offered cloud services such as Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive and others, and select which file you want converted. Once you select it, the file is sent to the server for conversion and downloaded back to your device once the process is complete. The newly converted file will be in .txt or .pdf format, depending on which way you want the process to go.

All the integrated cloud services are available in the free version

All the integrated cloud services are available in the free version

The app offers another 5 different types of conversion that cover most of the standard MS Office documents. Aside from text files, you can convert PDFs to Word, Excel, Image, PowerPoint and even AutoCAD files.

As we have previously said, this app can convert both ways (PDF to Text, and Text to PDF), which means that you can quickly close the loop when it comes to managing your files, receiving and sending them out via email.

If you are a developer and you’ve had some experience with this type of problems feel free to try out PDF Converter Ultimate which is available on both iOS and Android.

The post How to Convert HTML to PDF appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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Get Paid! Leslie’s Lane Blogger and Author Unearths Popular Work-From-Home Sites

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Whether I’m speaking publicly, having an intimate conversation with others, or writing a post for my blog, without fail, I often get this question: “How can I become my own boss and work from home?” Although individuals pose the question and have the desire to do so, it appears they feel such a brazen thought is unattainable for them. Since the concept is so foreign and alien, they don’t entertain that notion for too long. They continue to work in inflexible jobs.



But there’s great news! Of course you can be your own boss! Of course you can work from home! I have written about this topic and shared precisely how you can do so in articles for international publications, Leslie’s Lane blog postings and in my new book entitled: Leslie’s Lane The Book! Your One Stop Internet Resource Guide to Links for Jobs, Inspiration, Discounts, FREE Stuff, Scholarships, Travel and More! (Amazon $14.95). So you’re searching for full-time, part-time, one-time, seasonal or supplemental income? No worries! Check out a few of my favorite sites that allow you to get paid as you work from home!

1. Rat Race Rebellionhttp://ratracerebellion.com/ – Subscribe to their website and get extra cash for work-from-home jobs that are updated daily. Founded in 1999, the site offers virtual work such as data entry, customer service, pay for watching movie previews, survey takers, adjunct professors, teachers, researchers, writers and numerous others unique and exciting opportunities

2. Clark Howardhttp://www.clark.com/work-home-guide – Okay! Clark Howard is my hero! I’ve interviewed him a few times for my publications. He really does his research and consumers can trust what he says. While viewing his site, you’ll see gigs from international companies such as Amazon, Google, About.com, Hilton Worldwide and Xerox.  But at the same time, explore and grow with new companies on the horizon such as Cashcrate.com, eJury.com, Foap.com, Zintro.com and Elance.com.

3. Mystery Shoppers, Inc. – http://www.mystery-shoppers.com/ – Oh yes! I love this! You get paid to call doctors’ offices to gather info and apartment rental offices to pose as a tenant. Get paid to do some online shopping at stores too. An added bonus is that you earn cash for doing what you already want to or have to do outside of the home! You have to go to the bank, get fuel from the gas station and go to the grocery store. You would like to go to nice restaurants for dinner, take the pet to the vet and spend time at luxury hotels! If you become a mystery shopper, you can enjoy all these perks!

Leslie's Lane The Book Hi Res Image Cover (1)

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How to Build an Online Business from Your Own Expertise

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Let’s do away with the fluff: there are two elements that will make it easier and faster to create your own online business:

1. When you already have a core skill that your business can be built around. If you can base a business on a skill or talent you already possess, you won’t need to “learn the trade” of something new, which delays business building.



2. When you already know your target audience. Without marketing, any business will fail, and online marketing initiatives have to be based on a particular set of people: the target audience. When you have an intimate understanding of those you wish to serve, you’ll save hours of research time.

So although you have plenty of money-making options to choose from (seriously, there are thousands of ways to make money on the Internet), when you base your choice on these two pre-existing elements – using a talent you already have plus having an intimate understanding of your target audience – your business is likely to succeed faster.

What now? The first step to take is to create a talent inventory:

Step number 1: create a talent inventory

Take some time to scribble on a piece of paper, what skills you possess. It’s honestly not as easy as it sounds, because you’re likely to leave some off because you’ve forgotten them. A suggestion is to list your talents under each “area” of your life, like this:

  • Hobbies
  • Career
  • What people keep saying you’re good at
  • Knowledge you have that other people don’t have

Once you’ve come up with a list, consider ways you could generate profit from it. For example, if people often come to you for a good old chat in the office, you may be a good listener. If so, you could make money by teaching others how to listen better.

Step number 2: decide on your desired target audience

If you can hit on a talent that ties into understanding a particular group of people, you may have a winner. For instance, if you have a skill that involves customer service and you work in the IT industry, you could do customer service consulting for the IT industry.

Identify skills and talents, as well as the target audience you wish to serve (actually, the skill and talent may dictate the target audience, i.e. you won’t be able to choose the target audience if you’ve already chosen to use a certain skill). Using the same example of customer service consulting in the IT industry – the IT industry will be your target audience.

Make sense?

Why do you need to understand your target audience? Because online marketing is all about what your potential buyers see. You need to grab their attention, and to do this, you need to understand what will bring their eyeballs to the place of sale.

Step number 3: Brainstorm online options & tools

Now you’ve accomplished the previous steps, in what way will you facilitate your business? What will be the medium/s to accomplish your goals? What digital tools do you have at your disposal?

If we keep to the same example of customer service consulting for the IT industry, you could either 1) become a freelance remote customer service consultant, or you could 3) teach the IT industry how to provide better customer service, or you could 3) find affiliate products to promote that revolve around customer service in the IT industry.

Let’s dig in a little deeper as to how you would go about each of those 3 options. We’ll continue using the example of customer service consulting in the IT industry:

#1: Freelancing

The freelancing route is a great introductory way to start a service business online because there are freelancing websites that match freelancers to jobs. This is helpful because these sites already have traffic and potential customers already searching for remote help.

The key to getting business from these sites is through the proposals you write, as well as price. You may need to start by offering low rates, becoming pickier as you get more clients.

You can also make people aware of your service by using a tool like WiseIntro; without needing any skills, create a free webpage that displays your service. Simply distribute this page on your social media networks so that you can get more business.

Online Business 1

Create a free webpage on WiseIntro to let people know what you do and how you can help them.

#2: Coaching

You can set up a coaching business at the speed of light by using an online course builder like Kajabi, which offers everything you need to create an online coaching business, as well as to promote it.

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Kajabi is an all-in-one coaching solution.

There are other ways to do it like using membership and LMS plugins on a WordPress website, but since we’re talking about setting up a business as fast as possible, the all-in-one solution would be the way to go.

In order to attract traffic to your coaching website means that you’ll need to invest in content marketing.

Another way to coach your target audience is by using a webinar service such as ClickMeeting; people attend your coaching session via webinar, by paying the amount you set.

#3: Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products for a commission. For a successful affiliate marketing business, you’ll need a website with a solid content marketing strategy, and your goal is not just to sell, but as with all online marketing, to build your email marketing list.

Because of this, affiliate marketing can be quite complex for the beginner, and a tad technical, as you need to promote unique links in order to get paid.

If you want to set up an affiliate marketing business pronto, you will need existing know-how, or alternatively, take some online lessons.

Basic steps to set up an affiliate marketing business:

1. Base the selection of products you wish to promote, on a target audience you already know well. This will save you time. Decide on whether you want to promote digital or physical products that require shipping. Note: you won’t be responsible for shipping; the merchant takes care of that.

2. Decide which affiliate marketplace to use. You may want to start with Clickbank, a marketplace for digital products, or Amazon where you can promote physical goods. You will need to take the time to learn how to use the marketplace effectively as an affiliate. When starting out, select one product and focus on that one. It will save you time if you have knowledge about the product and it’s benefits already instead of needing to learn about them before marketing them.

3. Now devise a promotional strategy based on providing value to your target audience.

4. To attract customers, you’ll need a website. Add links in your content that will direct traffic to a sign-up page so you can collect their email address.

5. Build an email marketing plan to generate and close more leads as well as to engage with previous clients.

Summary

The focus of this article has been to build an online business as fast as possible. To do so, you need to base your business on a talent you already have and not one that you would still need to learn, and you’ll save a substantial amount of time if you already know your target audience.

The steps to implementing a plan based on using two pre-existing elements, are:

1. List your talents, skills and things you enjoy doing in your spare time.

2. Think of a group of people you know well and see if you can combine it with your talents.

3. Consider online business options and helpful platforms that may speed up the process.

Some ideas you could choose from:

  • Freelancing
  • Coaching
  • Affiliate marketing

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Are Private Label Products Right for You?

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Weigh the pros and cons of private labeling.

Have you always dreamt of selling your own beauty products, but have no idea where to start when it comes to formulations? Do you already have a storefront, spa or online beauty store where you can sell a product of your own? Private labeling could be the answer.



Private label products allow you to have your own branded products (sometimes customized with your own scents and formulations) created to sell in your retail area and/or use during treatments (if applicable to your business). However, before launching into a costly (and time-consuming) project, let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits and pitfalls of private labeling according to private label manufacturers.

Private Labeling Benefits

  • Promote your own brand rather than someone else’s.
  • Stay ahead of trends by getting new product formulations in the store faster than big brands.
  • No more competition among brands (unless you choose to carry others).
  • Margins are significantly higher, which allows greater marketing opportunities, including higher commissions for staff.
  • Control pricing.
  • Since it’s your brand, you can sell it online if you choose to.
  • Packaging and labeling can be custom-tailored, allowing you to create a unique company image that generates strong customer recognition and brand loyalty.
  • Customers won’t be able to go online or to other stores and find your product at a lower or higher price since you own the product.
  • For a new business, private label could be the perfect way to build your brand and raise awareness.
  • For an existing business it’s a great resource to generate income and build upon an already successful brand.
  • A more exclusive and consistent look with all of the products the guests use.
  • Guests can continue their experience at home (if it’s a logo item, then every time they use it they will think of their experience and be more likely to return).
  • Lowered costs while still providing a quality product.
  • Choose your own scents.
  • Low minimum orders in most cases.
  • Higher commission possibilities for staff.

Common Private Label Pitfalls

  • Some owners are not prepared to do all that is necessary to train and motivate staff and introduce the new line to
  • Not defining your market and branding your products appropriately.
  • Ordering too many—or too little—products (12-24 units per SKU is ideal).
  • Not doing the homework to find out which products will sell best in your business.
  • Assuming that private label companies offer the same level of support as big brands (you will need to put in a bit more of your own marketing work, in many cases).
  • Jumping in when you and/or your staff are not excited about having your own line.
  • Not realizing that the lead time on receiving products is usually longer (up to two weeks) with private label products, since they are filled fresh upon order.
  • Wanting to customize too much in the beginning.
  • Lack of planning.

Before embarking on any private label program, ask the following questions.

  1. What are the minimums for each type of product and scent?
  2. How much is the set up cost? Is the cost per item or per product type?
  3. What sizes do products come in?
  4. What is the cost per ounce of each item?
  5. If ordering large amounts, can they be warehoused by the supplier?
  6. What is the production time for each product to be delivered to my door once an order has been placed?
  7. What dispensers are provided and is there a cost associated with each one?
  8. Does the line fit in with my clientele, philosophy and business plan?
  9. Does the company offer support and training?
  10. Does my staff understand that selling/educating is a major part of their job?
  11. What is the quality of the products; what ingredients are contained within? Do they contain harsh detergents my customers may reject?
  12. Do I have the necessary storage/inventory space?
  13. How long has the private label company been in business, and can they show a portfolio of successful launches with sustained retail sales?
  14. What are the fees for upgrading products?
  15. Can they send examples of packaging?
  16. Will this type of program fit my budget?
  17. Will my staff be excited about selling/recommending these products?

If you feel comfortable with the answers given to the questions above, a foray into private labeling could be your golden ticket into a winning beauty product business.

The post Are Private Label Products Right for You? appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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10 Ways to Recognize Clients and Customers on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is not typically considered a holiday most companies would recognize to celebrate their clients. However, we think it’s the perfect reason to celebrate—companies value their clients and customers as the heartbeat of the business. It’s time to shift the focus from romantic love to “we love our clients!”



Valentine’s Day is the perfect and unexpected opportunity for business owners to show appreciation for their customers. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of the week and have a little fun. Below are fantastic ways to recognize your clients on Valentine’s Day:

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10 Ways to Recognize Clients and Customers on Valentine’s Day:

  • Signed, Sealed & Delivered. Call up your local bakery and have a delivery of heart-shaped cookies or cupcakes sent to your clients with a note of appreciation. As an alternative, get one of your employees to dress up in full Valentine’s Day style, such as head-to-toe red or as Cupid, and arrive at your client’s office bearing goodies and hand-written notes of thanks. It’s an easy little surprise your clients are sure to love.
  • Get the Party Started! Host a special Valentine’s Day get together at your office. Send out real Valentine’s Day invites and serve special treats like candies, cupcakes, and chocolate covered strawberries along with a coffee and tea bar.
  • A Lovely Cause. Donate to a charity in your client’s honor. A great one that just so happens to include the word “love” is Love a Child. Or you can give to a charity the client already volunteers with or supports.
  • Client Coupons. Who doesn’t love coupons or a great free offer? Give your customers a “We Love You” client coupon for a future service they typically pay for or you could offer them a new service free of charge that they don’t usually budget for as a bonus. Trust us, they’ll appreciate the awesome offer!
  • Honorable Mentions. Use your social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to give your special clients a “shout out.” If you have specific clients that you work with directly, also mention their names and why they are loved by your business.
  • Work with a local florist to have individual flowers wrapped up for clients. Gerber daisies are beautiful and cost a fraction of the price of roses this time of year. Have volunteers from your business personally deliver them.
  • Send Personal, Hand-made Valentine’s Day cards. That’s right- Bring out the paper lace doilies and conversation hearts. Be creative and make each card unique by including something special about each client.
  • Host an event for client’s and their families. Rent out an area roller skating rink for an afternoon. Purchase tickets for a family-themed movie at a local theater.
  • Give a Great Book. Look for books that have either been influential for you or have recently received a lot of great press. Write a brief, personal note to each client about why it’s one of your favorites!
  • Send a Gift Card. Everyone LOVES getting a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or salon. Get into the habit of sending gift cards to clients throughout the year, but especially around Valentine’s Day!

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Providing a Great Value Proposition to Boost UX of Ecommerce

Every ecommerce business needs to provide an exceptional user experience. According to this infographic, 79% of customers will abandon an ecommerce website immediately if they don’t find what they are looking for there.

The only way for ecommerce companies to retain and convert website visitors is by providing an excellent user experience. It all begins by creating a strong value proposition.

What is an Ecommerce Value Proposition?

A value proposition is the primary factor that differentiates a company’s solutions from its competitors. It is the reason customers should purchase its products on the open market.

Creating a Strong Value Proposition for Your Ecommerce Site

Your value proposition should be very clear and simple. You should be able to articulate it in 30 seconds or less. For ecommerce companies, this means it should be communicated in no more than 75 words.

Here are some quick guidelines for creating a great value proposition for your ecommerce company.

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Think Beyond the Product Itself

The functionality of your product is important. However, the product itself isn’t the only factor. Customers also take the following into consideration:

  • Pricing
  • Shipping options
  • Support

Don’t let yourself get tunnel vision. The most important value proposition may not be centered around the product itself. Your best bet is to ask existing customers what they like most about your brand and the solutions you deliver.

CPC Strategy has a list of 50 value propositions that you may want to try.

Avoid Patronizing. Make an Argument Instead

Too many brands try to manipulate customers with flattery. L’Oreal is a good example of this. Look at their slogan “Because You’re Worth It.”

Phrases like this are thinly disguised pleas. It basically says “We don’t really want to describe our value proposition, but we are willing to complement you. So buy our product!”

Avoid doing this. Don’t use clichés, flattery or soundbites. You want to make a clear, articulate argument instead.

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Write in a Language That Resonates with Your Customers

One digital marketing company I worked with did a very poor job creating content with strong value propositions for its clients. The problem is that it used language from its own industry, rather than language the client’s own customers would use. When writing content for a commercial landscaping company, they used the term “vertical”, which very few clients would use.

This is a very common mistake in ecommerce as well. You probably use your own terminology with your colleagues, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to use with your customers.

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. If you are selling a product to laypeople, then you must use terminology they will understand.

Make It Persuasive

Writing a clear value proposition is important. Making your value proposition persuasive is equally important.

Use language that inspires customers. Make a convincing argument. It is a good idea to use power words, such as “best” and “highest ROI”. You should use social proof and statistics to back your argument. According to Search Engine Journal, 63% of customers are more likely to buy a product from a website with reviews or other forms of social proof.

Ecommerce Marketing Begins and Ends with a Value Proposition

The old adage “if you build it they will come” is completely and utterly false. It does not apply in ecommerce marketing. You need a strong value proposition. Put it in writing before driving traffic to your online store.

What Is an Ecommerce Value Proposition?

A value proposition also called a unique selling proposition is the primary factor that differentiates a company’s solutions from its competitors.

It is the reason customers should purchase its products on the open market.



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2017’s Digital Marketing Best Practices

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Image source: Flickr

Digital marketing is constantly growing and embracing new methods and technologies along the way. If we are to learn from 2016, we should know that anything is possible. Google’s algorithm is changing and adapting, with a lot of its focus shifting to mobile users, so webmasters need to adapt as well. It goes without saying that the events that are taking place online have an impact on how we implement digital marketing, so knowing what to try and what to overlook is a challenge. In order to stay ahead of the changes, here are some of the best digital marketing practices in 2017.

Content is king

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Image source: Flickr/Freepik

Developing a quality and strong content strategy is a must in 2017, as it is one of three most important practices to take up. In order to create a good content strategy, you need to outline your goals and determine the purpose and value of your content, and then encompass it all into your overall vision. Then you need to identify the audience that you are creating the content for, mainly figuring out the benefits that they have from it. The message has to be spread in a voice that is specific to your brand, and it has to be consistent. Compile everything mentioned into a functional distribution plan.



Have in mind that more content does not necessarily mean getting better results. Develop a strategy instead, by implementing various content distribution channels that are at your disposal. These include boosted posts, live streaming, promotion via email, and using the influencers to get the word out.

The importance of social media

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Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become more important than ever as tools for growing your business. The most important aspect of your social media strategy is consistency. This relates to both your content and the schedule of your posts.

Your content needs to focus on specific goals, such as building brand loyalty lead generation. While it is required to tailor your content specifically to each platform, the general scope needs to remain the same. If your content strategy isn’t unified, it will drive your audience in different directions and leave a bad impression.

The same goes for scheduling. In order to meet the expectations of your visitors, you need to post your content with a specific frequency, so that they can comfortably engage with it. This has to be tailored according to each platform.

What is important is that some boundaries are set when it comes to sharing. The best strategy is to post as much as it is necessary for it to be of value. An overload of irrelevant content drives users away.

SEO and mobile-first indexing

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The fact that Google announced mobile-friendly indexing near the end of last year means that in 2017 this trend will continue to expand. This means that it is vital that you create a mobile version of your website in any possible format. Your content and pages need to be the same for both versions, or it will greatly affect your rankings, because if you overlook content for the mobile version, it will lose SEO visibility. Consider implementing Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google’s effort to further improve mobile browsing experience.

Combine email with multimedia

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One of the biggest trends that are on the rise in 2017 is email marketing that combines emails with media that engages the audience and increases interest. The best multimedia to implement is video, as it offers easily digestible information. However, using video in your email marketing isn’t such a simple task. Not every email client supports video, furthermore, chunky video files take too long to load, what makes these emails unpractical.

A perfect solution to this problem is using animated GIFs that show sections of the video, enough to entice the audience with its content, so that when they click on it, they can reach the full video. GIFs are a great way to communicate a certain emotion and drive the viewers to engage with the content.

Partner up with influencers

influencer marketing

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When you partner with an influencer, you’ll want their content to correspond to your brand’s guidelines. However, you need to give your influencers some creative freedom, in order to properly engage with their audience. If their loyal followers see the content as inauthentic, they will be driven away. This is why influencers today are quite selective when it comes to opportunities.

However, you still need to set up some guidelines for your partnership to be successful. The most important aspect is disclosure of the relationship with your brand. You also need to specify on which social platforms they should post on, and come up with a specific posting schedule, so that the dates work for both of you. You should be enabled to track the data so that you can optimize your efforts accordingly. Inclusion of your branded hashtag as well as the campaign’s hashtag is a must, so that you can track all related posts. Finally, you should agree on the appropriate compensation.

Final words

There is a lot to look out for in 2017 when it comes to digital marketing. These are some major practices that will help you stay ahead of the game. As the year progresses, new trends will emerge, and will require of you to further adapt and implement these into your strategy.

The post 2017’s Digital Marketing Best Practices appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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Breakout Capital – a Leading FinTech Company Providing Working Capital Solutions to Small Businesses – Secures Credit Facility with Drift Capital Partners

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Breakout Capital, a technology-enabled small business lender, announced today it obtained a new revolving credit facility from Drift Capital Partners, LLC, an alternative asset management company based in Charleston, South Carolina. The facility is structured to scale in alignment with Breakout Capital’s rapid growth, and at least $25 million in revolving debt is expected to be available to provide working capital solutions to Breakout Capital’s current and future customers. Drift’s commitment equips Breakout Capital with significant incremental funding capacity to continue on its strong trajectory and to meet the robust and accelerating demand among small businesses nationwide for Breakout Capital’s transparent, flexible, and innovative financing solutions.

“We have enjoyed a long-standing financial partnership with Drift, and we appreciate the continued trust they have placed in us with this new credit facility. Drift’s facility will further bolster our growth trajectory and enable us to provide tens of millions of dollars or more of additional working capital to small businesses across the country. In a time when institutional appetite for alternative finance companies has dried up, we believe our ability to raise a credit facility in this market speaks volumes about what we have already accomplished, our position as a leading player in the space, and our prospects for strong, but measured, growth,” stated Carl Fairbank, Founder & CEO of Breakout Capital.

“Drift has a proven track record of identifying and partnering with platforms positioned for long-term success in the alternative finance space. As a long-time partner to Breakout Capital, we recognize that the company’s superior management team employs an innovative business model that should enable it to become one of the top players in the market. I could not be happier than to extend our relationship with Breakout Capital, and look forward to a long-term partnership with the company,” said McLean Wilson, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Drift Capital Partners, LLC.

With a focus on innovation, product and cost transparency, and a partnership- based approach that extends past just providing capital, Breakout Capital is built on three fundamental pillars: transparent and innovative lending, education, and advocacy. In addition to becoming one of the fastest growing lenders in the market, Breakout Capital is a Founding Member of the Coalition for Responsible Business Finance and a vocal advocate for comprehensive, standardized product and cost disclosure, and full transparency across all alternative finance products.

As a result of its reputation as one of the most trusted and respected lenders in the market, Breakout Capital was invited to and joined the Task Force for the PLUM Initiative, a groundbreaking collaboration between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Milken Institute to more effectively provide capital to minority-owned businesses throughout the United States. The Task Force consists of a very select group of industry leaders, who are in positions to improve access to capital in underserved markets, including: local, state, and federal officials; academics; trade groups; banks (large, regional, community), community development financial institutions, alternative finance platforms and data providers; technical assistance providers, and commercial developers.

To support its rapid growth, Breakout Capital recently executed a 5-year lease for office space at 6862 Elm Street, 3rd Floor, McLean, VA. The new office more than triples the size of their previous space allowing the Company to continue to scale operations and tap into the talent rich pool in the greater Washington DC market.

About Drift Capital Partners, LLC

Drift Capital Partners, headquartered in Charleston, SC, is an alternative asset manager that seeks to generate attractive, absolute returns by investing across the entire credit spectrum in areas where conventional sources of capital are scarce. Drift was formed to provide a select group of qualified high net worth individuals, institutional investors and family offices access to unique investment opportunities through an array of asset classes. Drift’s core principles are reflected in their due diligence, investment selection, diversification with unique asset classes and risk mitigation techniques. Drift’s principals co-invest in every fund offering ensuring that Drift’s interests are always aligned with investors.

To learn more about Drift Capital visit: www.driftcp.com

About Breakout Capital

Breakout Capital, headquartered in McLean, VA, is a technology-enabled direct lender that has provided tens of millions of dollars through a wide range of working capital solutions to small businesses across the country. In addition to becoming one of the fastest growing companies in the market, Breakout Capital is a leading advocate for small business and is a Founding Member of the Coalition for Responsible Business Finance. Breakout Capital has produced a highly regarded “educational series” through its blog, Breakout Bites, that helps small businesses better understand the alternative lending market and how to avoid the hidden fees and debt traps that are prevalent with many of its competitors. With a laser focus on honesty, integrity, transparency, and suitability, Breakout Capital is changing the financial landscape for the millions of small businesses in need of affordable and transparent funding.

To learn more about Breakout Capital or the Coalition for Responsible Business Finance, please visit www.breakoutfinance.com or www.responsiblefinance.com, respectively.

Breakout Capital



The post Breakout Capital – a Leading FinTech Company Providing Working Capital Solutions to Small Businesses – Secures Credit Facility with Drift Capital Partners appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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