Tag: They

What are Influencers: Types, Examples & How Much They Make

Influencer Marketing - What Are Influencers: Types, Examples & How Much They Make

Although the concept only appeared a few years ago, everyone today knows what an “influencer” is. They are experts within a specific community who endorse or review products, software, or even thoughts within their field of expertise. Others in the community look to them when making their own purchasing choices.

Influencers yield a lot of power. If you can get an influencer to endorse your product or brand, you can tap into the audience at the influencer’s disposal, which may be far more vast than your own following.

Influencer marketing, then, is the field of marketing in which influencers are paid (via cash or other incentives) to promote a brand or product. Let’s explore how you can create this type of campaign.

Part 1: What Is an Influencer?

Now that word of mouth recommendations and criticisms spread through social media faster than fire in a dry field, influencers are more important than ever. They usually huge followings on social media and are brand advocates as well as niche promoters.

True influence drives action, not just awareness.

Jay Baer

It’s not enough to find any influencer with clout, however; if you want to run an influencer marketing campaign, you need to find someone who is known in your industry. If they aren’t a contextual fit, their post or tweet could be completely ineffective at driving leads.

Why Does Your Brand Need Influencers?

Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself.

It makes sense if you think about it in a more personal context; you don’t usually trust a person at a cocktail party who comes up to you and brags about himself or herself and spouts fun facts about his or her personality to convince you to be a friend. Instead, you often believe your mutual friend who vouches for that person.

An influencer is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers.

When you align with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well. Because of the loyalty of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and flat-out sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.

With the fall of traditional outbound marketing, influencer marketing is becoming one of the most effective ways to attract customers and clients. Modern-day consumers are blind to billboards and deaf to commercials. They are self-sufficient and want to research a brand on their own and hear about it from someone they trust.

How do influencers assist with your inbound marketing? They are generate content about your brand, they recommend your brand to their loyal following, and they insert themselves into conversations surrounding your brand. Getting them on your side before your competitor does can make a huge difference in the success (or lack thereof) of your company or product.

Think About the Audience

influencer marketing - picture of an audience

As a marketer, you already have a solid idea of the audience you should be targeting for your brand. To locate the ideal influencer, you need to take it one step further and think about the types of topics, blogs, and twitter handles that your audience would follow.

Since I market a blogger outreach tool for my company, the influencers that I’ve targeted are PR and marketing blogs that emphasize content and influencer marketing. Followers of these blogs usually are PR professionals and marketers who want to keep up with the latest technology and trends in their field.

Thus, hopefully, they find my company relevant when a blogger they follow recommends it. However, had I gone after bloggers who write about finance, even though a particular blogger might like my software, their audience most likely wouldn’t care.

Who Uses Influencer Marketing?

While it seems that some companies don’t want to let go of their outbound marketing practices, fashion ecommerce sites are targeting influencers like pros. Many are reaching out to reputable fashion bloggers and sending them clothing and accessory items to be reviewed. The blogger then posts photos and writes about the garments, often linking back to the site where their audience can buy the items being reviewed.

ModCloth, a vintage clothing site does a great job of this. They are active in sharing (on social media outlets) the images their audience members provide showing them wearing ModCloth’s clothing. This makes their audience feel special, which encourages more posts about the clothing.

I’ve seen many fashion sites send their items to an influencer, and then the audience could enter a contest to receive it. Or sometimes they will send a credit to an active fashion social media user, magazine writer, or blogger so they can go to the site, pick out some clothing, and then review the experience as a whole.

What Defines an Influencer for Your Brand?

Context: Again, an influencer differs for every brand because, first and foremost, they are a contextual fit. This is the most important characteristic when targeting the right influencers for your brand. For example, Justin Bieber is known as one of the most “influential” social media users with his 37+ million followers. Would his tweet about your software really bring in sales tough? Probably not, because the target audience for tech software and Justin’s target audience aren’t the same; his endorsement isn’t really relevant.

Reach: In addition to wanting an influencer from your field, you also want them to have reach. This is so they can share their awesome content or positive recommendation of your brand or product in a manner that actually will be consumed. If your online business sold clothes for “tweens,” then maybe a mention to 37 million girls from Justin Bieber wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Actionability: This is the influencer’s ability to cause their audience to take action. This characteristic comes naturally when you target individuals that are in contextual alignment with your brand and have a far enough reach.

Influencers don’t force themselves upon an audience. They are an “opt-in” network. Their audience chooses to follow their blog or Twitter handle. Thus, their audience is engaged and is there to hear about the topic being discussed. Hence, the need for a contextual fit.

I want to note that there is a lot of market research coming out about mid-level influencers. These are the influencers who have a decent reach but don’t have such a large audience that they can’t nurture relationships with their audience and harness loyalty. A loyal audience soaks up recommendations like a dry sponge.

Give Your Influencer an Image

influencer marketing - give your influencer an image
  • Personality type: Decide if you need an activist, an informer, an authority, etc. to best promote your campaign or product.
  • Genre: Pick your targeted influencer from one or two genres. Examples include technology, fashion, travel, marketing, etc.
  • Niche: The influencer you use can fall into two or three niches. In order to promote my own product, I usually target marketing and PR influencers, as my genre and my niches are firms writing about blogger outreach and influencer targeting.
  • Topics: Pick a topic that your ideal influencer sometimes talks about on social media or their blog. You will be referencing this topic when you reach out and explain why the two of you are such a good fit.
  • Type of reach: Is it site traffic you are after or social media followers? Is the influencer an active blogger? Do you have a visually driven campaign and need your influencer to be on Pinterest and Instagram? Is it tweets you are after? Whatever reach you think is best for your brand, narrow down the channels and the number of followers on those channels.

Part 2: Where to Look for Your Ideal Influencer

Now that you’ve given your influencer an image, it’s no longer this misty figure that we can barely see. It’s now tangible so we can understand it and recognize it when we see it.

Social Media Monitoring

Brand advocates are the loudest influencers your brand will have. Not only does their audience follow them because what they write aligns with your brand, but they also talk loudly and actively about how much they like your company. By tuning in to your social media mentions and blog posts about your brand, you will find influencers and advocates you didn’t realize you had.

Social media monitoring also allows you to find influencers who advocate for the genre or niche you outlined in step 1. For example, someone may post and tweet heavily about yoga gear but not mention your website as an awesome place to buy yoga apparel or equipment. Well, this is someone you want to engage with and expose your brand to.

Research Hashtags: Identify the hashtags that your target influencers are using. For my company, I follow #bloggeroutreach and #influencemktg. By tuning in to the conversations surrounding these hashtags, I have not only identified active talkers in these categories, but I’ve also identified blog topics that I wrote to appeal to these influencers as well.

Once you start finding influencers that seem like a good fit for your brand, I recommend putting them in a Twitter list so that you can organize and follow them most effectively. I use HootSuite to organize my Twitter channel. Here is what my hashtags look like in their platform:

influencer marketing - twitter feed example in hootsuite

Google Alerts: Set alerts for keywords pertaining to your brand to identify people who actively write about topics in your realm. You also should create alternatives for the name of your brand so that you can find posts and articles containing your mentions and identify advocates who already are in place.

influencer marketing - google alerts

Mention: Mention allows you to type in your company’s name to discover mentions on different outlets such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, just to name a few.

Blogger Outreach

Bloggers arguably are the strongest spoke in the wheel of influencers. One of the bonuses of targeting bloggers is they almost always are active across many social media platforms.

When locating influential bloggers for your brand, start by searching for blogs in your genre and find the niche(s) by reading through the posts to determine if they write about relevant post topics. After making a list of the contextually relevant bloggers, then it’s time to locate their SEO stats and social media information to pinpoint the ones that equal the best reach for your brand.

influencer marketing - SEO and social media stats of influencers

Manually sorting through blogs to find all of the criteria that you outlined when you gave your influencer an image can take a long time. Luckily, there are a lot of really good blogger outreach tools out there to make this process easier. There is a tool to cover every part of the spectrum.

Part 3: Start the Campaign

Encourage Content Creation

A true brand influencer is passionate about your product or service, and this passion shows. It spreads to those who read the influencer’s words or watch their videos. This results in potential leads for your company. Your goal is to get as much content from happy customers live and in front of as many people as possible. Here are some ways to squeeze out consumer-generated content from the customers that you know already love your brand:

  • Ask your customers to upload photos and videos of themselves using your product. If you offer a promise to share their uploaded content, I promise that the narcissism that is social media will consume them and you will have a lot of happy compliers.
  • Incentivize user-generated content with a product giveaway or discount on your service.
  • Ask happy customers to answer case study questions and assure them they can approve your content before you publish it. I saw better response rates when I bribed my customers with gift cards because answering these questions takes up a decent chunk of their time.
  • Participate in all forms of discussion forums. By engaging in discussions with your audience, you can use their posts or words as quotes and even blog post inspiration. You also can ask them to write a post based on their comment and publish it. I promise that when they see their words live, they’ll share it like crazy.
  • Send out free products or a free trial of your software without any sort of prior commitment from the influencer. If they like it, they might mention you or write about you, recommending the awesome product.
  • Swap guest posts with them.

Compensate Influencers

If someone is going to spout good things about your brand, they need to be compensated. It doesn’t have to be financially, but it can be, though. The point is you want your influencer to feel rewarded, acknowledged, loved, important, or any combination of those. Here are some ways to compensate the influencers you find for your brand:

  • Financially: Be sure to follow industry standards and best practices as well as FTIC guidelines when you do financially compensate influencer marketers.
  • Shoutouts: Sharing a post they write about you on your social media outlets will get more traffic to their site and make them feel important. Also, something as simple as a tweet that says “Thanks for the awesome shout out, you awesome influencer,” (or something to that effect) will do wonders.
  • Product discount or giveaway: Offering a discount on your service or giving them a product from your brand will really incentivize an influencer to keep talking about you.
  • Commission: For influencers who are actively inserting themselves into conversations about your brand and bringing you big sales, it’s not a horrible idea to give them some sort of commission for the clients they bring your way.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing has evolved since it first became a digital marketing strategy, but the technique continues to be successful for many brands.

If you want help creating an influencer campaign for your company, let our agency know and we can help guide you through the process.

Where do you look for influencers for your brand? Cheers to a good discussion in the comments below!

Marketing Funnel: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to Create One

What is a marketing funnel and why does it matter

If you’ve spent any time learning about marketing analytics, you’ve probably come across the term “funnels.” What exactly are marketing funnels and why do they matter?

Marketing funnels are a useful tool to help you visualize the path customers take from first finding out about your brand to converting. Understanding them provides useful insight into why some customers convert — and some don’t.

What Are Marketing Funnels?

A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the steps a visitor takes from first finding out about your brand until they convert. The most common type of marketing funnel is four steps:

  1. Attention: A prospective customer sees your ad, social media post, or hear about you from a friend.
  2. Interest: They think you can solve a problem and wants to learn more.
  3. Desire: The prospect has done their research and wants to convert.
  4. Action: The prospect takes action — they buy your item, schedule a demo, or take whatever other action you want them to take.

The action can vary based on customer and industry — maybe you want them to make a purchase, sign up, or fill out a form. When someone does something you want them to do, it’s known as a conversion. The visitor converts from browsing to taking the action you want them to take.

Think about the Amazon purchase funnel. There are several steps a visitor has to go through before they can purchase a product. Here’s how it looks:

  • They visit Amazon.com
  • They view a product
  • They decide to add a product to the cart
  • They complete the purchase

There are additional steps/actions that can be taken in between each of these steps, but they don’t matter in the marketing funnel unless they contribute to the final action. For example, a visitor may view Amazon’s Careers page, but we don’t need to count these in the funnel because they aren’t necessary steps.

Why is the set of steps to conversion called a “funnel”? Because at the beginning of the process, there are a lot of people who take the first step.

As the people continue along and take the next steps, some of them drop out, and the size of the crowd thins or narrows. (Even further along in the process, your sales team gets involved to help close the deal.)

Losing customers might sound like a bad thing — but it’s not. The truth is, not everyone in your funnel will convert. The top of the funnel is where everyone goes in (visiting your site or viewing a marketing campaign). Only the most interested buyers will move further down your funnel.

So when you hear people say “widen the funnel,” you now know what they are referring to.

They want to cast a larger net by advertising to new audiences, increasing their brand awareness, or adding inbound marketing to drive more people to their site, thus widening their funnel. The more people there are in a funnel, the wider it is.

What Are the Different Types of Funnels?

In this article, we’re focusing on marketing funnels, that is funnels that start with some sort of marketing campaign. That might be a PPC ad, content marketing campaign, white paper download, video ad, social media ad, or even an IRL ad. The point is the first step in the funnel is a marketing campaign of some sort.

Other types of funnels you might hear about include:

  • Sales funnels
  • Webinar funnels
  • Email funnels
  • Video marketing funnels
  • Lead magnet funnels
  • Home page funnels

Despite the different names, these all track the same exact thing — the steps a prospective customer takes to conversion. (Sometimes they are even called conversion funnels!)

What Can You Use a Marketing Funnel For?

You aren’t limited to using a marketing funnel strictly for signing up and/or purchasing. You can put funnels all over your website to see how visitors move through a specific website flow.

You may want to track newsletter signup (Viewing newsletter signup form > Submitting form > Confirming email) or a simple page conversion (Viewing a signup page > Submitting signup).

Figure out what your goals are and what you want visitors to do on your site, and you can create a funnel for it.

Once you have the data, you’ll be able to see where roadblocks are and optimize your funnel. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.

Why Are Marketing Funnels Are Beneficial?

Marketing funnels provide access to data, called a marketing funnel report, which lets you can see where you are losing customers. This is sometimes called a “leaky” funnel because it allows customers you want to keep to escape the funnel.

Let’s take your average SaaS business as an example. Here’s how a funnel may look for them:

  • Visited site
  • Signed up for a trial
  • Used product
  • Upgraded to paying

Do people have to use the product before paying? They don’t, but it’s a good idea to track it so you can see if it’s a roadblock.

For example, if you are losing a lot of conversions after the trial stage, you might need to update your onboarding process so people understand how to use the tool or even adjust the top of your funnel so you aren’t attracting people outside of your target audience.

A Real-Life Marketing Funnel Example

Let’s look at a funnel process for a retail store and see the corresponding steps in an e-commerce store. We’ll be tracking a purchase funnel.

marketing funnel comparison-retail-store-ecommerce

The e-commerce store has the fortune of being able to see a funnel because they can track clicks, time on page, and other metrics. Their marketing would look something like this:

ecommerce marketing funnel

Okay, so now we have an understanding of what a funnel is and why it helps. Let’s take a look at a product that offers funnels – Google Analytics.

How Google Analytics Marketing Funnels Work

Google Analytics offers funnels, and I’ve written extensively about it in the past. This is an incredibly simple way to track the path prospects take before they convert. Sign in, then head to Admin > Goals > +New Goal > Choose a Goal to create a Google Analytics goal.

Here are a couple of things you’ll need to know when creating funnels in Google Analytics:

  • It’s a pretty basic funnel: If you don’t want to dive deep into the data and optimize, you can go with this.
  • You cannot go back and retroactively view data: Once you create your funnel, you’ll only be able to the funnel going forward as the data comes in.

Overall, if you are just getting started with marketing funnels, Google Analytics is a solid place to start. Learn how to set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics.

What is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the steps a visitor takes from first finding out about your brand until they convert.

What are the different types of marketing funnels?

Sales funnels
Webinar funnels
Email funnels
Video marketing funnels
Lead magnet funnels
Home page funnels

Why do marketing funnels matter?

Marketing funnels provide access to data, called a marketing funnel report, which lets you can see where you are losing customers.

What is an example of a marketing funnel?

Visited site > Signed up for a trial > Used product > Upgraded to paying customers

How to use Google Analytics to create a funnel

Sign in, then head to Admin > Goals > +New Goal > Choose a Goal to create a Google Analytics goal.

Conclusion

We’ve covered just about everything you need to know about marketing funnels. Here’s a quick recap:

  • When someone on your website does something you want them to do (i.e., sign up, make a purchase, fill out a form, etc.), it is known as a conversion.
  • A funnel tracks the steps that lead up to that conversion. For example, e-commerce companies want people to purchase products on their website. Their funnel may have these steps: visited site > viewed product > placed product in cart > purchased.
  • A funnel report shows you where people are dropping off in the path to conversion so you can optimize your conversion path and drive revenue.
  • Google Analytics provides funnels as part of the free Google Analytics software. It’s a simple and free way to get started with marketing funnels.

Have you created a marketing funnel in Google Analytics? What did you learn?

What Are AdChoices and How Do They Affect Your PPC?

Data is a godsend for marketers, helping us serve our audience with better, more relevant ads.

However, regardless of what we might think, consumers aren’t always fans of data-targeted advertising. According to the Pew Research Center, four in five Americans say the benefits they see from data collection are outweighed by the potential risks, while the same proportion admits they’re concerned about how brands are using their data.

Far from being excited about the prospect of seeing ads tailored to their preferences, they feel resigned to having little to no control over how their personal information is used.

adchoices - lack of control over data

Theoretically, this is where AdChoices comes in. We’ll cover what AdChoices is all about, discuss its relevance to marketers and consumers, and review the initiative’s benefits and potential drawbacks.

What is AdChoices?

AdChoices is nothing new. It’s been around since late 2010, and its roots go back even further. To properly understand what it does and why it matters, it’s worth taking a quick detour into the program’s history.

Concerned about the implications of advertisers capturing vast quantities of consumer data with no checks or balances in place, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began an investigation into the practice in 2009.

This investigation ruled that consumer privacy should be protected through stricter regulation around data collection. However, rather than directly implementing these regulations, the FTC called on the ad industry to regulate itself.

As a result, some of the biggest names in advertising joined forces under the Digital Advertising Alliance’s banner to establish the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising, which oversaw the launch of AdChoices in October 2010. Since then, it’s also been rolled out in Canada and across Europe.

The idea was that, by giving consumers an easy way to identify when online advertising data is being collected or used, people would feel empowered to manage their data and assume some level of control over the types of ads they see.

Back in 2007 (three years before AdChoices was born), market research firm Yankelovich estimated the average city resident saw 5,000 ads every single day, and it’s probably safe to assume that number has grown significantly since then. Many of the ads you see today are part of AdChoices, given that the program’s members include major advertisers and ad networks like:

  • Google
  • AT&T
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Taboola
  • Yahoo!

You can identify those behavioral ads by looking out for the AdChoices icon, a lowercase “i” inside a triangle. It typically appears in the top-right corner of behavioral internet ads served based on your data:

what is adchoices

Clicking the icon will tell you more about why you’ve seen that ad or how the website in question collects data. You’ll also have the opportunity to opt-out of behavioral ad targeting.

Why Is AdChoices Important to Marketers?

There are a couple of reasons why AdChoices is such a big deal for marketers and advertisers.

Firstly, it should be apparent why self-regulation is better for the ad industry than being forced to adhere to many potentially far more stringent, government-enforced measures.

Secondly, it helps improve the user experience by ensuring (at least in theory) consumers are only served with ads they want to see.

Why Is AdChoices Important to Users?

Given how many internet users are concerned they have no control over how their data is collected and used online, AdChoices is broadly a good thing.

Simply put, it gives consumers more input into the ads displayed to them. If you see an ad you don’t like, you can hit the AdChoices icon and request to stop seeing it.

adchoices - stop seeing ads

You might have any number of reasons for not wanting to see an ad anymore. Maybe you don’t like the company in question for moral reasons. Maybe you have no interest in the product; you could have been looking for gift ideas for a friend or family member, but you bought something else and have no need for it yourself. Perhaps you disagree with the way it’s being advertised. Whatever the case, you can block it.

Some ad networks, including Google, also allow you to dig into why you’ve been served with a particular ad in the first place.

adchoices - personal information

3 Reasons to Use AdChoices

I know what you’re thinking: “PPC is a massive source of sales for my business. Why would I give the people I’m targeting the chance to switch off my ads?”

Actually, there are some excellent reasons for handing greater control and choice to your potential customers. Here are three of the biggest:

1. AdChoices Helps Marketers Target Users With Relevant Ads

Sure, you don’t want everyone to opt-out of your behavioral ad campaigns. However, at the same time, do you want to keep targeting people who actively dislike seeing your ads?

If you’re paying on a CPM basis (that is, you’re paying per 1,000 impressions), any impressions that reach the wrong people are money down the drain.

Even if you’re paying per click, it’s not helpful when your ads are served to people who don’t want to see them. Best-case scenario, those people will like you even less. Worst-case, they’ll also start deliberately clicking your ads with no intention to buy, burning your budget and skewing your figures.

There’s a flip side to this, too.

By giving consumers the opportunity to block ads they don’t like, there’s an increased chance of your ads being seen by the right people. That, in turn, means your campaigns generate better results.

2. AdChoices Helps Build Trust With Consumers

As shown by those Pew Research Center figures I mentioned earlier, consumers don’t exactly love online ads.

This is best demonstrated by the seemingly inexorable growth of ad-blocking software. Today, over one-quarter of U.S. internet users block ads on their connected devices, and while the increase in adoption has been slow, it’s also been consistent.

adchoices - use of ad blockers

Universal uptake of ad blockers would clearly be a disaster for brands and marketers. Admittedly, that day may never come, but advertisers shouldn’t be complacent.

AdChoices could be the solution, or at least part of it. By raising awareness of the initiative and explaining how data is collected for ad targeting purposes, the online ad industry will appear more transparent and trustworthy to consumers.

This mitigates the risk of those consumers becoming frustrated with the number of targeted adverts they receive and resorting to ad-blocking technology.

3. AdChoices Helps Marketers Run More Effective Campaigns

You heard me right: By enrolling in AdChoices and enabling consumers to block your ads, you can improve campaign performance.

How? Because being more open about how and why you collect data may make your ads more effective.

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research analyzed the impact of transparency on how campaigns perform. Of the authors’ learnings, I found these three points particularly interesting and relevant:

  1. Consumers don’t automatically hate having their data captured: Instead, they’re broadly happy with it, as long as the data was collected from within the site (rather than from a third party) and was provided by the user, rather than inferred by the advertiser.
  2. Transparency doesn’t guarantee success: If you leverage third-party data and infer things about the user, owning up to it won’t help you. In fact, revealing these “unacceptable information flows” can harm your ad effectiveness.
  3. Platform trust is tied to performance: When consumers trust your website and the way you utilize their data, ad performance increases. They’ll spend longer on your site, click more recommended items, and purchase more.

3 Possible Drawbacks of Adopting AdChoices

Data transparency can improve ad performance, and AdChoices offers the transparency consumers crave. In that case, surely signing up to AdChoices is a total no-brainer?

Unfortunately, as with so many things in marketing, it’s not quite that simple. While there’s plenty of upside to AdChoices, there are also some pretty substantial drawbacks, such as:

1. Lack of Awareness Around AdChoices

The biggest criticism around AdChoices is that not enough people know what it is. Presumably, you’re a little hazy yourself, or you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Given the financial clout behind the program’s backers, it’s hard to understand why awareness of AdChoices is so low. A poll conducted in 2013, three years after its introduction, found just six percent of consumers were aware of the AdChoices icon. By 2018, awareness of the program had reached almost 34 percent.

awareness of adchoices

While that figure definitely represents a step in the right direction, it should be tempered by noting 28 percent of respondents said they weren’t familiar with any of the ad filtering or blocking programs presented to them, while 43 percent admitted they’d never used any of them.

Unless those numbers increase dramatically, it’s hard to see how AdChoices can achieve its stated aims of giving consumers greater control over their data.

2. Consumers Often Misunderstand the Purpose of AdChoices

Awareness isn’t the only issue. Even when consumers have heard of AdChoices, they often misunderstand why it exists.

As an example, in 2016, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) received 283 complaints through the AdChoices platform, double the number from 2015.

That suggests the program was working as intended, right?

Sadly not. Of those complaints, only eight percent had anything to do with behavioral ads, which, if you remember, are the sole focus of the AdChoices initiative. In contrast, three-quarters were about different types of ads that weren’t targeted on data.

To make matters worse, of that tiny proportion of relevant complaints, most were from people who incorrectly believed opting out through AdChoices would stop them from seeing any online ads in the future. They contacted the ASC because they were annoyed ads were still being served to them.

AdChoices isn’t an ad blocker; it’s about seeing more relevant ads. For whatever reason, this message doesn’t seem to be getting through to consumers.

3. AdChoices Can Look Inconsistent

There are likely lots of reasons why consumers aren’t “getting” AdChoices, but it certainly doesn’t help that there’s so much inconsistency around the program and how the icon is implemented.

What do I mean by this?

See for yourself. First up, here’s an ad displaying the AdChoices icon in the top-right corner, but without the “X” icon next to it:

adchoices considerations

Next, here’s a different ad in which the AdChoices icon appears in the top-left instead:

adchoices inconsistencies

Even more confusingly, here are two separate ads for the same product, seen on the same website, within minutes of one another. These ads are more or less identical, yet one displays the AdChoices icon:

adchoices mailchimp ad 1

The other doesn’t:

adchoices mailchimp ad 1

This happens because different vendors and ad technology providers are responsible for serving ad impressions, and not all of those companies have joined AdChoices.

When this sort of inconsistency exists, how can we expect consumers to understand AdChoices and trust that it’s working for their benefit?

Conclusion

As you can see, there are some pretty significant concerns about the viability of AdChoices.

If it’s going to deliver its goals and make the world of behavioral ads better for consumers, it needs to be adopted by the vast majority of ad platforms and providers. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine there’ll be much growth in awareness of the program or support for the objectives it’s trying to achieve.

That’s not to say the underlying principles of AdChoices are bad or wrong. Consumers clearly want greater control over their data and the way it’s used by advertisers.

However, with Apple, Google, and Mozilla taking steps to ditch the third-party cookies that power behavioral ads, the days of relying on this type of advertising could be numbered.

Maybe it’s time we give consumers what they want and turn to less invasive, more traditional tactics like contextual and keyword-based advertising?

What do you think about AdChoices? How would you cope without behavioral targeting?

Who is Generation Alpha, and Why Are They Important to Marketers?

Every new generation brings new customs, behaviors, and cultural phenomena that shape the world as we know it.

Baby boomers brought significant economic influence.

Millennials taught us new ways of viewing our socio-political world.

Generation Z showed us what the intersection of technology and humanity looks like.

Now, we have Generation Alpha, a demographic of tech-savvy, racially diverse, and unapologetically influential children who will start entering adulthood at the end of the 2020s.

But, they’re children. They aren’t our buyers. Why should marketers care about them right now?

Studies have shown children under 12 can influence parental purchases of $130 to $670 billion a year. And, it won’t be long before they are the buyers.

It’s never too early to prepare. In fact, since the oldest kids in this generation are starting to hit middle school, we may even be cutting it close.

Let’s take a look at the climate shaping this upcoming generation and what we can expect from them in the future.

What Birth Years Are Considered Generation Alpha?

Generation Alpha covers those born between 2010 and 2024. Most of their parents are Millennials.

Every nine minutes, a new member of Generation Alpha is born in the United States. By 2025, this group will reach a worldwide population of more than two billion.

infographic of generation alpha births

Generation Alpha Culture and the Future of Marketing

Although some Gen Alpha babies haven’t been born yet, there are a few things we can predict about them.

For starters, Generation Alpha will be the most technologically advanced generation to date, growing up with mobile devices, AI, social media, advanced healthcare, and robotics as parts of their everyday lives.

They will be digitally literate and adept multi-taskers as a result.

Gen Alpha also stands to be the most materially endowed generation of all time. This means they could end up being able to spend more on nonessentials than previous generations.

They also stand to be the most globally informed group so far, and they will have the longest life spans.

Generation Alpha Technology Trends

As Generation Alpha evolves, so will their familiar technology.

We’ve already seen the effects of exponential technological growth on current generations, and these effects will continue to grow.

It’s expected that AI and robotics will be completely integrated into modern life by 2025. We can also expect machine learning, natural language processing, and smart devices to change, improve, and further connect us in the coming years.

Gen Alpha may find themselves interacting with robots just as frequently as with humans.

For marketers, this means speaking to an astute audience that may know the ideal product better than we do.

Similarly, we can expect Gen Alpha to reject traditional forms of marketing, much like their Millennial parents did not long ago. An increasing interest in personalization, humanized messaging, and social shopping should be assumed.

Generation Alpha Education Trends

Generation Alpha stands to be the most educated generation to date.

Access to education is at an all-time high, with most countries reporting twelve or more years of schooling for every individual citizen.

According to UNESCO, each additional year of education increases a person’s earnings by roughly 10%.

With improving digital resources and the increasing availability of technology, Gen Alpha will have better access to long-term education than any previous generation.

That said, the way they view education will likely be different. There may be less emphasis on formal degrees and, instead, a focus on skills.

The Eduniversal Evaluation Agency (EEA) put it this way:

In an age where every other tech CEO and startup founder dropped out of college and now rakes in millions, it’s hard to argue that moving forward, a degree will remain an absolute prerequisite for success.

In addition to these trends, we’ll see the continuation of highly personalized instructional content.

A generation used to instant access to information is unlikely to succeed in three-hour-long lectures. Instead, we can expect an increase in online learning, especially tutorials, which will further the technological proficiency of Gen Alpha.

Generation Alpha Social Media Trends

Young people are increasingly drawn to social media. With the introduction of social media e-commerce, social media has become one of the most essential tools for marketers in the modern age.

One survey found 49% of 16- to 24-year-olds look to social media for purchase inspiration. This is higher than older generations—their parents may only do this 20% of the time, for instance.

As more Gen Alpha kids grow up immersed in social media, we can predict social media usage will become an increasingly inextricable part of their lives.

Gen Alpha already uses social media differently than their parents. They’re less likely to be on Facebook or Twitter, favoring Instagram and TikTok. Brands that stay on top of the newest technology stand to see greater success with this burgeoning generation.

engagement table of generation alpha

Generation Alpha Data Sharing Trends

Gen Alpha may be warier of providing or allowing access to their data to social media giants, search engines, ad agencies, and so on. We’re already seeing this trend today, with more and more countries instituting data privacy laws such as the GDPR.

By the time Generation Alpha reaches maturity, they’ll probably have a deep understanding of their data and how it’s used. This could lead to higher levels of criticism and questioning when consenting to data usage—they might read that fine print.

Companies looking to leverage consumer data should consider what they give back in return. Often, an equal exchange is enough to encourage consumer consent.

Brands doing this incorrectly risk losing their rising audience.

Generation Alpha Healthcare Advancements

Much like their millennial parents, Gen Alpha will likely spend more time finding medical information online. Self-service and convenience will continue to be driving factors for Gen Alpha’s healthcare.

In addition, younger generations are increasingly aware of mental health and are more likely to seek help for challenges with theirs when needed. They’ll likely expect their workplaces to offer mental health coverage and resources.

On the brand side, this means staying compassionate and aware of mental health can greatly improve overall brand integrity.

The Bell Let’s Talk movement is a strong example of a brand doing this right.

Healthcare Advancement for Generation Alpha

Generation Alpha Media Literacy Trends

Gen Alpha will have the best media literacy of any generation. They’ll be able to separate fact from fiction and more likely to identify conspiracy theories or fake news circulating on the internet.

For marketers, this means speaking to a well-informed audience that isn’t likely to be persuaded by traditional marketing tactics.

It also means engaging Gen Alpha in the arenas they prefer. Podcasting, video content, and gamification will become increasingly important when delivering information.

Additionally, personalization in marketing will continue to grow in popularity. For Gen Alpha, it won’t be enough to simply push a sale. Marketers will need to connect with this generation in an ongoing way.

Generation Alpha Diversity Trends

The US is becoming more diverse, and younger generations are increasingly aware and accepting of challenges based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Gen Alpha’s patience for inequality will almost surely continue to decrease as they grow up.

Children of this generation are unlikely to work for a company that doesn’t reflect their values. In the same way, they won’t buy from brands that go against what they believe in.

Brands championing diversity and social issues while embracing widespread change will flourish. Brands that don’t evolve will be left behind.

Generation Alpha Economic Trends

Generation Alpha first came into being during an economically tumultuous time as the world recovered from the Great Recession.

They’ve gone through some pretty interesting ups and downs since then, and significant political and social issues will continue to affect their economic standing.

We can be reasonably sure that they’ll be largely invested in the experience economy, including live entertainment, amusement parks, spectator sports, and tours.

This economy has largely been fueled by social media and technology, as people share the fun they’re having and others want to have adventures as well.

Additionally, Gen Alpha is predicted to be the longest-living generation of humans so far. Because of this, they’ll likely stay in the workforce longer, meaning more money over their working years.

As marketers, we need to plan for all of this. Our consumers face a bit of a question mark in terms of the economy. But, we know what they want—experiences—and that they’ll be educated and in the workforce for a long time. Catering to a changing climate and meeting their needs and desires throughout their lifetimes is essential.

Conclusion

Generation Alpha represents a fascinating, technologically advanced evolution of the human species.

People in this generation are digital natives growing up with smartphones, social media, and AI. They’re entering a genuinely advanced world where automation and innovation rule.

Additionally, their purchasing influence is already present, and they’re influencing their parents buying decisions even now.

Marketers who pay attention to this generation now will be better prepared to out-market big competitors in the coming years.

We can expect to see a well-educated, digitally fluent, socially-conscious generation. We need to keep up.

What predictions do you have for Gen Alpha?

The post Who is Generation Alpha, and Why Are They Important to Marketers? appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Create a LinkedIn Newsletter (and Why They Matter)

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has become the most popular social network for professionals.

With over 700 million users globally, it is now one of the biggest social media platforms.

That’s why every brand should be using LinkedIn to grow their brand. 

One way to do that is by creating a LinkedIn newsletter.

What Is a LinkedIn Newsletter?

What exactly is a LinkedIn newsletter?

Example of LinkedIn newsletter invite

It’s a series of articles you publish regularly. Just like your typical email newsletter, your LinkedIn newsletter should concentrate on the same topic. Of course, it must be a topic relevant to your audience’s needs.

The ability to create a LinkedIn newsletter is rolling out in stages, but everyone on LinkedIn can subscribe to a newsletter. 

When they do, they get in-app and email notifications that you’ve just published a newsletter.

So what’s the difference between an article and a LinkedIn newsletter? 

The main difference is when you publish an article, it goes into your timeline. Your connections only discover it by scrolling through their feed. 

When you publish a newsletter, your subscribers get notified, which increases the chances of people seeing and consuming your content.

5 Reasons to Create a LinkedIn Newsletter

Is all the hype over LinkedIn newsletters worth it?

If you have the opportunity to publish a newsletter on LinkedIn, you should grab it by the horns.

Here are five reasons why you should create a LinkedIn newsletter:

1. LinkedIn Newsletters Expand Your Audience

Like most social media algorithms, LinkedIn rewards content that people interact with the most.

If you create a killer newsletter that drives engagement, LinkedIn will show it to more people. 

Remember how you see articles from second- or third-tier connections in your feed because one of your connections interacted with it?

It’s the same with newsletters. 

The more people engage with yours, the more people it will reach. As a result, you’ll reach a wider audience and build more meaningful connections.

2. LinkedIn Newsletters Create Engagement

Like all other social media networks, some of your LinkedIn connections are irrelevant and won’t engage with your content. 

A newsletter helps refine your contact list. This is because when you invite people to sign up for your newsletter, only those who resonate with your topic sign up. That can improve your engagement. 

Your engagement will also improve across your other LinkedIn assets as well. Once your newsletter subscribers discover the great content you create, they’ll want to check out your articles and posts as well.

3. LinkedIn Newsletters Help Boost Brand Awareness

Another reason to regularly publish a LinkedIn newsletter is to help boost your brand awareness. If you build your connections properly, most of your connections should be people you can do business with.

Unfortunately, many of these people will forget you after connecting.

A newsletter helps get your brand in front of the right people. It is a great way to remind them about your brand and helps showcase the solutions you provide.

4. LinkedIn Newsletters Help Build Authority

An essential ingredient to successfully growing a business is trust. 

Trust is built by establishing yourself as an authority in your industry.

That’s where a LinkedIn newsletter comes in. 

It’s the perfect tool to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. By creating valuable content, your audience will view you as a trusted source of information — especially when they need the products or services you provide.

5. LinkedIn Newsletters Help Generate Leads

Lead generation is the heart of online businesses. After all, without a steady stream of leads, your business won’t go anywhere. 

A LinkedIn newsletter can help. It can be an invaluable tool in your inbound marketing strategy.

A well-planned LinkedIn newsletter can generate leads for your business by showcasing your expertise. LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. With a newsletter as part of your LinkedIn strategy, that number might just go up. 

How to Create a LinkedIn Newsletter in 3 Simple Steps

Now you know what a LinkedIn newsletter is and how publishing one can benefit your brand.

Before you get started, there are a few things you must remember:

  • The ability to publish a LinkedIn newsletter is by invite only.
  • You can only create and maintain one newsletter at a time. If you delete your newsletter, you might not be able to create another. 
  • LinkedIn only allows you to send out one newsletter every 24 hours.

Let’s quickly dive into how you can create your LinkedIn newsletter. To publish your article, you must:

  1. On your homepage, click on “Write an article” and select “Write newsletter” in the publishing tool.
  2. Add the headline and description of your newsletter.
  3. Write your newsletter content.
linkedin newsletter example description

Once finished, you can then click “Done.” Your subscribers will then get a notification that your latest newsletter is out.

It’s that simple! 

7 Tips for Creating a Great Newsletter on LinkedIn

Creating a newsletter on LinkedIn is simple enough.

However, creating a newsletter your audience loves and engages with is a whole different ballgame. Here are seven tips for creating a great newsletter on LinkedIn:

1. Pick the Right Name

A good name is one that describes what your newsletter is about and who is your target audience. It must also be easy to remember.

linkedin newsletter name description

The example above shows the newsletter targets B2B content marketing practitioners. It’s also clear that the newsletter discusses B2B content creation and marketing practices proven to work.

If you can, choose an intriguing title that elicits curiosity and drives subscribers. 

Finally, your newsletter’s name should reflect your brand and the problems you solve. This will help you attract the right kind of audience and generate leads for your business.

Take your time to name your newsletter. After all, it is an extension of your brand.

2. Craft a Compelling Description

After subscribing, one of the first things people will see on your newsletter page is your description.

Your LinkedIn newsletter description is your chance to hook your readers and get them excited about every issue you publish. 

linkedin newsletter noah notes example

For it to be effective, your description should: 

  • Sound Exclusive:  People love being in exclusive clubs. Leverage that by letting them know that subscribing to your newsletter makes them part of an exclusive club that receives exclusive content.
  • Be Descriptive: It is a description, after all, so it should clearly explain what your newsletter is all about. Your description helps set expectations of what your audience should anticipate in terms of content.
  • Be Short: You don’t have many characters for your description, so choose your words carefully and use as few as possible.

Use your description to pitch your newsletter to your target audience. Done well, it will get them excited to be part of your “exclusive” list.

3. Use High-Quality Images 

To give your readers the best possible experience, make sure to incorporate high-quality images. Three places to use images in your LinkedIn newsletter are:

  • Logo: Your LinkedIn newsletter logo is a crucial asset in helping you drive brand awareness. Make sure it’s crisp and clear. 
  • Cover photo: This is the featured image displayed at the top of your newsletter. Use one that’s not only clear but augments your message as well.
  • Within your content: Images help ensure that your message hits home. More than that, they help make your content memorable. 

Treat your LinkedIn newsletter as you would the regular email newsletter you send your email subscribers. Make it look good by using images, and you’ll definitely enjoy good engagement rates.

4. Create Valuable Content

Let’s face it. Information is everywhere, and information overload is a real problem.

To stand out, you need to create unique and valuable content for your LinkedIn newsletter.  

To create valuable content, make sure you: 

  • Understand your audience. It’s essential to clearly define your target audience before you start writing. Use the same buyer persona or customer profiles you use for your marketing campaigns.
  • Address their main pain points. Never publish a newsletter just for the sake of it. Make sure each publication solves a problem for your target audience or helps them achieve something.

Like all your other digital assets, invest time and resources in making the content you publish in your LinkedIn newsletter top-notch. That’s the only way it can help grow your business.

5.  Establish an Optimal Publishing Cadence   

Establishing an optimal cadence is vital if you’re to keep your subscribers engaged.

What’s the right cadence?

From observing many newsletters, it seems the common consensus is once a week or every two weeks.

Tips for Creating a LinkedIn Newsletter - Establish an Optimal Publishing Cadence

In all honesty, people are tired of getting notifications for content they don’t find useful. Preempt that by letting them know how often you’ll be publishing your newsletter.

6. Craft Catchy Headlines

Just like a regular email newsletter must have a well-crafted subject line, so too, your LinkedIn newsletter must have a compelling headline.

This is important as the headline plays a huge role in your subscribers’ notifications.

For B2B marketers, who are the above example’s target audience, nothing is more important than lead generation. That’s why the headline, “B2B Marketers, We Need to Talk About Lead Generation,” works so well for the intended audience.

To craft LinkedIn newsletter headlines that work:

Use Keywords 

Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find keywords your target audience uses in their search queries and incorporate them in your headline. It will help pique your subscribers’ interest. It will also show them that you know them well and are interested in serving them.

Inspire Urgency

“We need to talk.” 

I’m sure every time you hear those words, you drop everything you’re doing and listen.

You may not necessarily have to use those exact words in your headline. However, try as much as possible to use words that inspire urgency. It will increase the likelihood of your subscribers responding to the notification immediately (before they forget). 

Hit a Soft Spot

Highlight a pain point you’ll address or a benefit your subscribers will get from reading your newsletter. Remember, people want to know how they’ll benefit before they commit, even something as simple as spending five minutes reading your newsletter.

Your headline should hook your readers and elicit that all-important click that will lead them to your newsletter content.

7. Always Include a Call-to-Action

To encourage engagement, always end your LinkedIn newsletter with a call-to-action (CTA).

This could be a CTA asking your subscribers to:

  • Comment
  • Share
  • Read a LinkedIn article or blog post

Whatever you do, always give your readers a way to engage with your content. Remember, engagement is a metric the LinkedIn algorithm values highly.

Conclusion

LinkedIn has always been a powerful marketing tool.

LinkedIn newsletters are another powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. 

If you have access, don’t take this feature for granted. Publish a newsletter that will help you achieve your marketing goals.

Have you leveraged LinkedIn newsletters? How has your audience responded to your content? 

The post How to Create a LinkedIn Newsletter (and Why They Matter) appeared first on Neil Patel.

What Are Inventory Loans and How are They Affected by the Recession

Inventory loans are short term loans that business owners can use to purchase inventory.  The inventory is the security for the loan.  By taking out this type of loan, a business can stay ahead of demand.  It also allows for taking advantage of special pricing, thus increasing profit. 

Inventory Loans are Not Always a Sure Thing

 Investopedia defines inventory financing as: 

“… a revolving line of credit or a short-term loan that is acquired by a company so it can purchase products for sale later. The products serve as the collateral for the loan.”

These types of loans are a type of inventory financing.  Seeing as these are, at their core, secured loans, it stands to reason that they are easier to get than unsecured loans.  However, that is not always the case. 

Why Inventory Loans are Hard to Get

The idea of inventory as collateral for the financing used to buy it sounds simple enough.  However, after the hard economic downturn of 2008, lenders are much stingier with this type of small business financing.  During that time, it was painfully evident that, if your loan was secured by non-staple items, there was about to be trouble.  

Non-necessities do not sell well in a recession.  If you can’t sell, the bank cannot either. That means the security is pretty much worthless. 

Another issue is that inventory depreciates.  As security, it’s basically on the clock.  If it depreciates to the point of not being worth the amount of the loan, it is worthless as security.  There is also the idea that it may be a fad that is going to quickly go out of style, also not selling. 

These are just a few of the reasons lenders are reluctant to approve loans secured by inventory. Typically, they approve these types of loans on a case by case basis, taking all of these factors into account. Even when they grant approval, it is typically for only around 50% of the cost.

inventory loans Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Ways to Use Inventory Loans

There are some things you can purchase with inventory loans that may surprise you.  For example: 

  • If you run a dining establishment, you can use inventory loans to buy flatware and linens in addition to food supplies. 
  • If you run a salon, you can use this type of financing for towels and supplies as well as items to sell. 
  • A clothing store may use the funds for shoes, accessories, and other items. 

The point is, funds for these loans can purchase items that are not specifically inventory in terms of things that you sell to the public.  They can also purchase supplies for any services you may offer. 

Other Options for Inventory Loans

How do you fill in the gap for the other 50% of inventory costs? Further, how can you finance inventory if you cannot get any type of funding at all?  There are some other options. 

Inventory Loans: Credit Line Hybrid

A credit line hybrid is essentially an unsecured line of credit.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  The funds can be used for many things, including inventory financing. 

 It’s super easy to qualify.  You need a personal credit score of at least 680, and you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Furthermore, in the past 6 months you should have less than 4 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit.

I know, that doesn’t sound all that easy.  Here’s the catch.  If you do not meet all of the requirements, it’s okay. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding. 

Credit Line Hybrid vs. Inventory Loans

There are many benefits to using a credit line hybrid.  First, it is unsecured, meaning you do not have to have any collateral to put up.  Next, this is no-doc funding.  That means you do not have to provide any bank statements or financials.  

In addition, typical approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Often, you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months, allowing you to put that savings back into your business. 

Here is another benefit of the credit line hybrid.  With the approval for multiple credit cards, competition is created.  This makes it easier, and likely even if you handle the credit responsibly, that you can get interest rates lowered and limits raised every few months. The process is generally quick, especially with a qualified expert to walk you through it. 

Inventory Loans: Alternative Lending

Alternative lenders generally operate online.  They tend to reduce risk by increasing interest rates rather than relying completely on credit information.  This means that they can be an option for those businesses and owners that either have bad credit or have not yet built strong enough credit to qualify for financing with traditional lenders. Here are a few options. 

Fundbox

Fundbox offers a line of credit rather than a loan, but it is a great funding option because there is no minimum credit score requirement. 

They offer an automated process that is super-fast. Repayments are automatic, meaning they draft them electronically, and they occur on a weekly basis.  One thing to remember is that you could have a repayment as high as 5 to 7% of the amount you have drawn currently, as the repayment period is comparatively short.  This means you need to be sure you have enough funds in whatever account you connect them to so that it can cover your payment each week.

inventory loans Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Upstart

Upstart is an online lender that uses a completely innovative platform for loans.  The company itself questions the ability of financial information and FICO on their own to truly determine the risk of lending to a specific borrower.  They choose to use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to gather alternative data instead.  They then use this data to help them make credit decisions.

This alternative data can include such things as mobile phone bills, rent, deposits, withdrawals, and even other information less directly tied to finances.  The software they use learns and improves on its own. You can use their online quote tool to play with different amounts and terms to see the various interest rate possibilities.  Typically, business loans are available up to $50,000.  Interest rates vary greatly, ranging from 7.5% to 35.99%.  Repayment terms can be either 3 -year or 5-year. 

Fora Financial 

Founded in 2008 by college roommates, online lender Fora Financial now funds more than $1.3 million in working capital around the United States. There is no minimum credit score, and there is an early repayment discount if you qualify.

OnDeck 

Obtaining financing from OnDeck is quick and easy. First, you apply online and receive your decision once application processing is complete. If you receive approval, your loan funds will go directly to your bank account. 

Bond Street

Offering term loans of up to $1 million, Bond Street terms are for up to 1 to 3 years. They will ask for both EIN and SSN.

Lending Club

Popular online lender Lending Club offers term loans. Business loans go up to $300,000 and terms from 1 to 5 years are available.

Quarter Spot

Quarter Spot is an online lender that offers short term loans up to $150,000. The terms are 9 to 18 months. 

Rapid Advance

Rapid Advance offers standard, select, and preferred loans. For standard loans, amounts up to $1 million are available. Their terms are 4 to 12 months.

Kiva 

Kiva is an online lender that is a little different. For example, the interest rate is 0%, so even though you have to pay it back it is absolutely free money. They don’t even check your credit. However, there is one catch.  You have to get at least 5 family members or friends to invest in your business. In addition, you have to give a $25 loan to another business on the platform. It’s like a crowdfunding, 0% interest loan.

Accion 

If your personal credit is okay, Accion may be a good fit for inventory financing. It is a microlender, a nonprofit, that offers installment loans to both startups and already existing businesses. You don’t have to already be in business, but if you are not, you must have less than $500 in past due debt. In addition, your business needs to be home or incubator based. 

Credibly 

Credibly is also a good option if you are already generating some revenue. They offer short term loans for both business expansion and working capital. 

Details related to loan amounts, eligibility requirements, and interest rates change frequently, so it’s best to get that information from the lender’s website directly.  However, many of these either do not check credit or will work with a credit score of less than 600.  Though interest rates are higher than with traditional lenders, they often offer options where there seem to be none. 

Inventory Loans: Credit Cards

In a pinch, you can handle inventory financing with credit cards.  If you pay attention, you can get good introductory rates and rewards.  However, you have to pay attention so you don’t get stuck with high rates once the introductory rates are over.  A better bet is the credit line hybrid, because you can take advantage of all the benefits with an expert to walk you through the process and make sure nothing is missed. 

Inventory Loans: Merchant Cash Advance

In some situations, this can be an option for inventory financing.   This is how it works.  If you take credit card payments, you can get financing based on the average of daily credit cards sales.  Then, payment is taken from future sales.  

The thing is, if you are in a recession, credit cards sales may not be that great, and future sales may not be solid.  However, it is an option that bears mentioning.

inventory loans Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Inventory Loans: Are They Right for Your Business? 

The fact is, every business is likely to need some type of inventory financing in the course of their business. The problem comes when lenders envision large amounts of inventory sitting in a warehouse not selling.  If it’s not selling, then the business isn’t making money and the lender is not getting paid.  

If you sell staples that are needed in most any type of economy, inventory loans can be a good option.  With strong fundability, you may not have any issue getting loans secured by inventory.  However, this is not the case with many businesses.  A lot of business owners find their fundability is not up to par, and they didn’t even realize it.  Couple that with the already unsure nature of getting approved for business loans, and it may be best to go with an alternative. 

While alternative loans are a viable option, the first stop for most business owners should be the credit line hybrid.  It is available to absolutely anyone.  Even if your own credit is not great, the option to take on a credit partner can make this funding source an option for almost anyone.  

The best part is, using the credit line hybrid helps to build the fundability of your business.  This is because the experts that walk you through the process help ensure that, not only get the funds you need right now, but also that your business is set up and prepared to qualify for any type of funding you may need in the future. 

All businesses need inventory funding.  If inventory loans won’t work, there are other options.

The post What Are Inventory Loans and How are They Affected by the Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

Work Taxes– What Are They?

Work Taxes– What Are They?

If you have staff members, you are in charge of paying a range of tax obligations at the government, state, and also regional degrees. You have to likewise keep specific tax obligations from the incomes of your staff members. What are work tax obligations?

Work tax obligations consist of the complying with.

1. Government revenue tax obligation withholding

2. Social Security as well as Medicare tax obligations

3. Federal joblessness tax obligation (FUTA).

Federal Income Taxes/Social Security and also Medicare Taxes

You usually need to hold back government earnings tax obligation from incomes paid to a worker. Type W-4 is made use of to identify the certain quantity, although the majority of pay-roll solutions or your accounting professional will certainly do this for you.

Social safety as well as Medicare tax obligations pay for advantages that households as well as employees obtain under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social safety and security tax obligation pays for advantages for the retired, survivors, and also special needs insurance coverage circulation arrangements of FICA.

Generally, you have to transfer these tax obligations by check or money to a certified banks, usually your financial institution. Get in touch with your tax obligation specialist to ensure you are not called for to make use of the Electronic Federal Tax Deposit System (EFTPS). Despite the settlement approach, you will certainly after that report them on Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA).

FUTA is a mixed government and also state program that offers joblessness settlement to the jobless. As a local business owner, you are only in charge of paying this tax obligation, to wit, absolutely nothing is held back from the incomes of your staff members. FUTA is figured out by utilizing Form 940, yet you are motivated to utilize a tax obligation expert to identify settlement quantities.

Work tax obligations can be annoying for a small company proprietor. They are, however, an essential wickedness as your organisation expands.

If you have workers, you are liable for paying a range of tax obligations at the government, state, as well as neighborhood degrees. What are work tax obligations?

Social safety as well as Medicare tax obligations pay for advantages that family members as well as employees get under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Inspect with your tax obligation expert to make certain you are not called for to make use of the Electronic Federal Tax Deposit System (EFTPS). No matter of the settlement technique, you will certainly after that report them on Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

The post Work Taxes– What Are They? appeared first on ROI Credit Builders.

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The post Work Taxes– What Are They? appeared first on Buy It At A Bargain – Deals And Reviews.

Work Taxes– What Are They?

Work Taxes– What Are They?

If you have staff members, you are in charge of paying a range of tax obligations at the government, state, and also regional degrees. You have to likewise keep specific tax obligations from the incomes of your staff members. What are work tax obligations?

Work tax obligations consist of the complying with.

1. Government revenue tax obligation withholding

2. Social Security as well as Medicare tax obligations

3. Federal joblessness tax obligation (FUTA).

Federal Income Taxes/Social Security and also Medicare Taxes

You usually need to hold back government earnings tax obligation from incomes paid to a worker. Type W-4 is made use of to identify the certain quantity, although the majority of pay-roll solutions or your accounting professional will certainly do this for you.

Social safety as well as Medicare tax obligations pay for advantages that households as well as employees obtain under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social safety and security tax obligation pays for advantages for the retired, survivors, and also special needs insurance coverage circulation arrangements of FICA.

Generally, you have to transfer these tax obligations by check or money to a certified banks, usually your financial institution. Get in touch with your tax obligation specialist to ensure you are not called for to make use of the Electronic Federal Tax Deposit System (EFTPS). Despite the settlement approach, you will certainly after that report them on Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA).

FUTA is a mixed government and also state program that offers joblessness settlement to the jobless. As a local business owner, you are only in charge of paying this tax obligation, to wit, absolutely nothing is held back from the incomes of your staff members. FUTA is figured out by utilizing Form 940, yet you are motivated to utilize a tax obligation expert to identify settlement quantities.

Work tax obligations can be annoying for a small company proprietor. They are, however, an essential wickedness as your organisation expands.

If you have workers, you are liable for paying a range of tax obligations at the government, state, as well as neighborhood degrees. What are work tax obligations?

Social safety as well as Medicare tax obligations pay for advantages that family members as well as employees get under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Inspect with your tax obligation expert to make certain you are not called for to make use of the Electronic Federal Tax Deposit System (EFTPS). No matter of the settlement technique, you will certainly after that report them on Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

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An Updated In-Depth Fundbox Review: Are They Still a Good Deal?

Fundbox is one of several lending companies online. They offer Invoice Financing.  Surprisingly, this is not the same as Invoice Factoring. Our Fundbox review can help you decide if their financing options are a good fit for your business.

Fundbox Works for Some, Not So Much for Others

Here’s the thing.  They make it easier to get approval for financing.  There is a credit check. However, for the application it is only a soft pull.  The key is, the minimum credit score is 500. Comparatively, this is much lower than with other lenders.  There is a one-time hard credit pull on the first draw, so keep that in mind.

What They Offer: Invoice Financing and Lines of Credit

They do not offer invoice factoring.  In contrast, instead of purchasing your accounts receivables for a percentage of the money owed to you, they will finance up to the full amount in the form of a loan.  Then, you pay it back as your customers pay their invoices. Also, they do not communicate directly with your customers. 

In addition, they offer Business Lines of Credit. In fact, you can get a line of credit up to $60,000 within about 3 minutes on average.  Furthermore, this amount goes up to $100,000 with financials. The 500 personal credit score minimum holds for lines of credit the same as invoice financing.  Basically, they just want to connect to your business bank account. They can provide up to $100,000 in credit.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards

Fundbox: Fees

Fees start at 4.66% of the amount drawn.  If you pay early, then the remaining draw amount plus one weekly fee is debited from your account on the upcoming payment date. However, if you miss a payment, they will continue to debit your account as scheduled.  In addition, there will be an ACH for an additional average fee plus a $6 NSF charge. 

Fundbox: Funding Requirements

Honestly, they look for healthy businesses. This means with accounting software, they want to see a lot of receivables, invoices going out, and healthy revenue. If you’re showing your bank account, they want to see strong transactions. Generally, they are looking for around $50,000 or more in a bank account. Typically, they want to see a minimum of three years in business. They also want to see a variety of customers. 

For companies with a minimum of one year in business, they want at least three months’ worth of transactions.  

Remember: 

  • They consider business merit as opposed to personal credit.  For application purposes, they will do a soft pull on your personal credit. This will not affect your credit score.  They want to see a minimum personal score of 500. When you make your first draw, they will do a one time hard pull that could affect your score, so keep that in mind. 
  • Timing matters. Take into consideration when you will need the funds. How much time are you willing to spend filling out an application?
  • Do your own research on fees.  Educate yourself on how much they are and what they cover.
  • Consider how much credit you really need? You don’t want to be paying for money that you do not need.
  • You control your information.   

Fundbox: Reputation and ReviewsGet Money from Online Lending Credit Suite

The first place I go to check up on a company’s reputation is the Better Business Bureau.  Things look pretty good. They have an A+ rating, and they have been accredited since 2014.  There are 5 reviews, and 4 of them are negative. However, considering how long they have been around, you have to figure there are a ton of happy customers out there, too.  Also, it seems that most of the reviews are centered around recent growing pains that will likely work themselves out given their success thus far.

There are also 7 complaints.  The details of the complaints are not public, but it seems that each one was at least answered by Fundbox.  This shows the company pays attention to what customers are saying. 

The Benefits

The benefits of Fundbox funding include flexibility in connecting to your business bank account, and fast approval. Another advantage is that they stay out of your relationship with your clients. Your clients need never know that you are working with them.

The Cost

Oddly enough, one of the benefits is also a drawback.  Many people are uncomfortable with giving them bank account access, even if it does streamline processes. Of course, this is the very thing that makes it possible for them to not run a credit check.  As a result, business owners with bad credit can turn here. This is important for some. Another disadvantage is the high fee if you miss a payment.

What’s the Final Word?

Fundbox works best for those businesses that can pay back their debts on time. Of course, that’s the case for any lender.   You’ll have to decide if the benefits of using Fundbox outweigh the costs for your business. Certainly, they are a legit business.  Just do your research and know what you are getting into on the front end.

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