Trending February 2024 # 8 Ways A Mobile App Can Help Your Small Business Grow # Suggested March 2024 # Top 3 Popular

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How do you think they did it?

If your business has an app that the users have downloaded or are contemplating to download, it is important that they are reassured about the safety of their data and privacy.

It is quite simple conceptually, but quite tricky to achieve. They have made sure that every feature, every element or aspect of their app is focused on offering a great customer experience.

One of the features that has worked the best for them is the mobile payment option. This enables the customers to store their payment information so that they can make payments through in-app purchase functionality and don’t have to take cash or cards out.

In this manner, the checkout process is a lot faster and convenient for the customers and the staff alike.

Additionally, the app lets the users place their morning coffee orders from their mobile devices even as they are on the move and the card, they have stored on the app will be charged for it. This way when they reach the café, their order is waiting for them and they don’t have to wait in line or take their wallets or phone out to pick it up.

In fact, Starbucks announced a little while ago that are done through mobile payments. Furthermore, the mobile order-ahead feature usage has grown up to

This seems to be quite a promising trend for mobile apps even in the food and beverage industry.

In fact in Q1 2023, they generated $6.1 billion in revenue and This indicates that their annual revenue from their app should be somewhere around $7.32 billion! Need we say it’s huge!

This infographic here does a pretty good job at giving you an idea of the growth experienced by the company in context of the mobile app.

It actually goes on to give you a pretty exact view of what a mobile app development growth curve can mean for a company.

The Starbucks mobile app was received pretty well by the entire audience and it was evident that they wanted to use their mobile phones to pay for their orders. Also, once they have the app on their phones, they had a reason to keep going back to Starbucks instead of let’s say Costa Coffee or their local coffee shop!

Wait! There’s more! The app users tend to spend a lot more money than any other segment of customers. In fact, on an average a Starbucks mobile order is around 3 times higher than a conventional order.

Furthermore, the customers who order their beverages through the app automatically receive reward points which can later be redeemed for attractive perks like free drinks, free refills, or drink upgrades.

The customers have the freedom to customize their orders easily so that they can get exactly what they want! Also, they can send gifts to fellow app users, look at their order history, and manage the account.

All this and more can be tracked from within the app. The loyalty rewards customers constitute about 36% of the total sales in 2023 and the trends indicate that the curve is only going to go up!

Whether you have a café, a restaurant or any other service-based business model, building a mobile app can be a great channel for implementing a well-designed loyalty rewards program for your customers to improve the retention rates.

You're reading 8 Ways A Mobile App Can Help Your Small Business Grow

7 Ways Cryptocurrency Can Help Grow Your Business

Many business owners are still reluctant to accept cryptocurrency partly because they are not quite sure if it holds more value, or if it’s more convenient to store and liquefy than fiat money (normal money).

Cryptocurrency offers a lot of benefits for businesses and service providers such as lower transaction fees, secure payments, and other financial opportunities.

Let’s go over some of the top reasons to get cryptocurrency flowing through your business.

Top 7 Benefits of Accepting Cryptocurrencies for Your Business 1. Reach New Customers

A study completed by Bankrate shows that younger generations are more likely to choose crypto for long-term investments and many of them believe that crypto will overtake fiat in a few years.

Eventually, this generation will make up the majority of the workforce and that means it’s only a matter of time before there’s an increased demand for business to allow payments made in crypto.

That’s why it would be a good idea to start accepting cryptocurrencies for your business as early as now.

Also read: Top 3 Lessons I Learned from Growing a $100K+ Business

2. Extra Privacy Options for your Customers

Whether you are busy selling ‘adult toys’ or something a bit less racy, you will often come across a customer who for whatever reason would like their purchase to stay ‘off the books’.

Cryptocurrency payments don’t need to store the same level of information that Visa or Mastercard will do. A transaction on the blockchain typically just shows funds moving from one anonymous wallet address to another, no names!

If privacy is a very good selling point for your business, look into making sure you can accept payments using ‘privacy coins’. These are cryptocurrencies specifically designed for anonymous payments.

3. Crypto’s Value can Rise

To put it into perspective, the price of one Bitcoin in 2010 was less than 1 US dollar. Today, it’s worth a thousand dollars per coin.

That could mean that the Bitcoin or cryptocurrency you receive from your customers can be worth even more money as time goes on!

Obviously, you need to consider the risks to your business before storing payments as crypto. If prices crash, will you still have enough capital to maintain cashflow?

4. Helps to Prevent Chargeback Fraud

At some point, if you are running a business-to-consumer offering (especially for online services), it’s inevitable that some customers will falsely report your business to their credit card company so that they can ‘enjoy your products and services for free’. This is called chargeback fraud and it’s commonly associated with fiat credit cards.

Sadly, businesses will often take a loss for these situations since it can be more expensive to settle a legal dispute with a customer or it’s just too much of a hassle. Although with some preparation and a strict and transparent checkout process, they can actually be fought fairly easily.

Transactions made with cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, cannot be repudiated (disputed) and transactions are verified as final on the blockchain.

5. Lower Transaction Costs

International money transfers often have a hefty fee and depending on the foreign exchange rate it can get even worse.

Payments made with crypto, on the other hand, do not have any of these nasty foreign exchange fees or other sneaky bank charges.

Not only that, but many payment gateway providers (Stripe, Paypal, etc) will charge a service fee for every transaction. But with crypto payments, transactions can be much cheaper or even free.

Also read: Top 9 WordPress Lead Generation Plugins in 2023

6. Fast International Payments

International payments using fiat can take a few days to a few weeks to complete. This is because many transactions need to be processed by local and international banks.

With cryptocurrency, payments can be done very quickly. Simply give the customer your business’ wallet address and you’ll receive the money in a few minutes.

Great for you and great for the customer who is eager to move ahead!

7. Cryptocurrency Cards Give Customers an Incentive to Spend

Today, thousands of people own crypto. Some of them even have access to cryptocurrency cards which makes it easier to purchase goods and services.

Many of these cards incentivise customers by giving them cash back rewards for every transaction (some as high as 3% or more). So, it’s no surprise that many of them would rather pay using their crypto card than a regular card.

However, these potential customers still have trouble finding establishments that will accept crypto.

Conclusion

Businesses have a lot to gain by embracing cryptocurrency. Quick and easy transactions, better security, and lower costs are just some of the benefits it offers.

Not to mention that more and more people are getting interested in crypto every day. In the future, it’s quite possible that in time, cryptocurrency will be the preferred payment option.

Start adapting to this trend early so that you will have an edge over your competitors.

Matthew Tansley

Matthew is the Founder of ProfitFarmers and Propillo. Finance, Trading and Cryptocurrency are his languages of choice but what drives him to keep ‘talking’ is his passion for helping others.

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Top 8 Ways To Use Content Marketing To Grow Your Future

Content marketing takes businesses where they wish to be. But using it properly can be a daunting challenge to some.

Content marketing is wonderful for businesses. There is no doubt about that. However, there is one important thing to understand.

As many benefits as it has, it also has challenges. While to some, these challenges are a mere push to the next level. Others struggle with it. But, like any other problem, this one might have a fix too, right?

How can a problem exist without a solution? For beginners in content marketing, the problem is landing on the right foot. While you might have it all right in theory, a practical implementation might puzzle you.

Yet, that is not the time to panic as content marketing can push even the best to their limits. But the question remains. What can you do? How can you make sure your content marketing goes smoothly?

Then yields the results that you need so badly. Here are eight ways that can help you use content marketing to its full-grown

Top 8 Ways To Use Content Marketing to Grow Your future 1. Make A Definitive Objective

Your marketing tactic needs to be objective. If you are not focusing on making an objective, then you are missing the point.

How can you avoid this? By simply focusing on the things most important to you. What do you wish to achieve out of your marketing venture? Are you a new business setting up shop? Or you just need to reach your audience on a vast spectrum? Those are two surface-level objectives that businesses might have when they get started. However, yours can be a bit more complex than that. The point is to circle your strategy around your objective.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Now, what is the difference between a goal and an objective? They are the same, right? Wrong. An objective is a temporary feat that you wish to achieve. A goal is something that you wish for in the long term. For example, your objective is to garner more audience.

Also read: 11 best ways to Improve Personal Development and Self-Growth and its Benefit on our Life

3. Understand Your Audience: Create Customer Personas

Before you dive into the “what”, you need to understand the “who.” Who is your target audience? Do they fall into particular demographics? Learn demographics and psychographics to have a better grip on this matter. It will help you solve one of the major problems for many marketers.

Understanding their target audience. If you do not know who your audience is. Whom you are writing content for, then you are missing the point completely.

How can you avoid that? By simply marking your preferred demographics. In other words, customer personas. Focus on making these and you will notice the difference.

4. Create A Content Calendar

You need a schedule for all the content creation. Without it, your strategy will be all over the place. And you do not want that.

How can you make one? By simply making quarterly goals, if your expenditures are based annually. However, you can devise this calendar or schedule as you please. You can make weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals.

5. Employ Various Content Types

One of the great things about content marketing is the variety it has. The diverse type of content makes it easier for one to get lost in the debate of which one is best. The simple answer is, all of them are great.

It depends on what works best for you. For example, if you want to argue that video animations are better than text content on a blog, then that’s all good. Because that might work well for you. As mentioned earlier, you need to find what works best for you.

Also read: Top 10 Successful SaaS Companies Of All Times

6. Revitalize Your Strategy After A While

There is one of the major problems for businesses. Once their content marketing strategy starts yielding results, they stop doing anything about it. As a result, their content becomes boring and stale. They stop seeing the results they first saw. Why is that? Because their strategy gradually becomes obsolete.

How can you avoid such a thing happening to you? By simply making sure your content creation allows you to evolve. You need to change your objectives. Tweak your customer personas. Add more to your content calendar etc.

7. Figure Best Platforms For You

Another major problem for new content marketers is that they get tied up in the debate for which platform is best. The answer once again is that all of them are. You need to find out which one has the most potential for you. Like many other brands, blogs might be your primary focus.

Then that is good because it has immense potential. However, if your focus is on one platform initially and then shifts to others gradually, then that means progress. The bottom line is, figure what is best for you. Then move forward to using the others.

8. Expand On KPIs

Last but not the least, this is one mistake that can be a major drawback. You might notice that one of your KPIs, aka key performance indicator, is higher than the others.

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Conclusion

They are a way to take your work beyond the level of beginner and intermediate marketing strategy experts, and to achieve better brand awareness, search engine optimization, social media recognition, and more potential customers for your small business.

Content marketing strategies can be used to create great content, get more traffic and lead generation, and make more sales.

But these marketing efforts and tactics are only useful if you know when and where they should be used.

8 Ways Pr Can Be Your Startup’s Secret Weapon

As a startup owner, you obviously have a lot of things on your mind. Concentrating on legal procedures, accounting, recruiting, payroll processing, budget restraints, the smooth functioning of daily operations, and other important bits may cause you to forget all about the image your company is projecting to your customers, clients, partners, media outfits, and other people.

While you’re probably doing all you can to spread the word about your company and products, it may not be enough to give your startup the leverage it needs to succeed. Hiring a public relations (PR) team might not be on your startup’s to-do list right now, but good PR is invaluable to any organization and can be a game changer for your startup.

If you’re still not convinced about hiring a good PR team, read on to know how PR can help your startup.

Introduce and Build Your Brand

Word-of-mouth publicity and social media marketing are significant elements of a PR campaign. A good PR team can also increase brand recognition by giving your company media coverage in key news outlets.

Further, PR can help build your brand by creating brand understanding and promoting customer loyalty towards your brand. A good PR team can effectively shape people’s opinion or change their perspective of your company too.

Tell Your Story

Your product or service will primarily tell your story, but that alone won’t make it stick around. And if you don’t reiterate who you are and what your startup stands for, the media will craft a story of its own.

Whether your story is magical or mundane, made-up or real, your PR firm will ensure that it drives your message to the media, so that the media can in turn, represent your startup in the right light.

Make You Searchable

Today, consumers have become smart and are sure to search you and your startup online before they buy your products or use your services. If a potential client or customer tries to look you up online and doesn’t find you there, he is likely to turn away.

That being said, just having a functional website won’t be enough to draw in clients and customers; building on your search ranking through SEO (search engine optimization) is equally necessary. Online news articles with embedded links to your website plus additional media coverage will also boost your website’s SEO rankings.

Lend Credibility

As mentioned, consumers are bound to research your company online before they commit to a purchase. Effective PR can give your products and services the much-needed credibility with news coverage on reputable sites and in widely-read publications. This can be a lifesaver when your company is relatively unknown.

Serve as a Reality Check

Startups, their founders, and their employees can be contagiously enthusiastic, which can lead to them believing that everything they do is big and needs to be all over the media. If this sounds like your startup, you need to understand that too much of excitement can blind you on what is actually worthy enough to catch the attention of the media and your target audience.

A PR firm can serve as a reality check and guide you on what should or shouldn’t be communicated to the media and your target audience. What’s more, a PR firm can also fine-tune messages, assess the right time to share a story, and highlight features that will resonate with the media and your audience.

Enable Two-Way Communication

PR can manage your brand’s reputation by acting as a bridge between you and your consumers. By placing emphasis on two-way communication, your PR team can reach out to the media and your target audience with your message, completing the communication cycle by making sure that your consumers’ feedback reaches you.

By enabling communication with the media and your consumers, your PR team will help your startup enforce a strong, constructive relationship with them, your suppliers, and the public. This will also help you and your startup hold on to brand promises and remain consistent.

Provide Boundless Creativity

The usual marketing gimmicks may or may not work for your business. Moreover, as a startup, you might not have the time to focus on improving your brand image. Instead of struggling all the way to the top, hire a good PR team to help your brand shine across multiple platforms with their ingenuity.

Manage Crisis

As an organization, you will inevitably face problems as you grow and evolve. A good PR team might not only help you prevent blunders, but will ensure that you own up to your errors. During a time of crisis, your PR team will also manage the situation well by moving quickly and saying the right things.

Public relations can benefit your startup by positively impacting investor opportunities and company revenue in addition to brand perception. While a PR team can be most beneficial to your startup prior to the initial launch, it can benefit your company in various ways even in the later stages.

PR isn’t a waste of money as you might assume it to be and with the information provided here,  you now know how useful the process can be to your startup. So don’t wait for a crisis to hit you; take your time (while you still can) to find a PR firm that is as excited about your brand as you are, and you’re sure to succeed!

How To Use Instagram To Grow Your Business

Instagram has gone from a novelty to social media giant in just a few short years. Currently, the photo-sharing app boasts over 600 million monthly users all over the world. Like Facebook before it, businesses and marketers have been quick to adopt the social media platform to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

Instagram allows you to say goodbye to the “hard sell” and introduces you to a new way to interact with consumers. By posting the right images and using the right hashtags, Instagram users interact with your business in an organic way that doesn’t seem pushy.

Everyone from the local boutique that sells vintage dresses to big box retailers use Instagram to promote their business. But where one business succeeds, another may flounder. Consumers are relying on social media more than ever to help them make purchasing decisions, but simply creating an account for your business won’t guarantee success.

Instead of jumping in blindly and hoping to hit it big, there are strategies that will help you gain more exposure which will (hopefully) turn into sales. Human beings are visual creatures, so it only makes sense that Instagram is considered one of the best ways to develop your brand and promote your product. So how can you turn likes into sales?

Setting Up Your Profile

Instagram is a photo-sharing app. Whether you want to promote your business, blog, charity or event, you should never use your existing personal Instagram account. Potential consumers do not want to be inundated with pictures of your lunch or your pet Corgi (no matter how cute). Your followers shouldn’t have to wade through personal posts before they see something relevant to your business.

Instead of using your existing account, you’ll want to create a brand new one for your business. With your new account you’ll want to use your business’ logo as your profile picture. If you don’t have one yet, consider enlisting the services of one of the many graphic designers on Fiverr.

In the Bio section of your account feel free to rattle on about your business, but don’t forget to add a link! The bio section is the only place within your Instagram account where you can place a live link. Use it to direct users to your business website, blog, store, etc.

Plan Your Shots

Given the popularity of Instagram, there have been numerous studies conducted resulting in lots of analytical data that can help businesses. Services like WEBSTAand Iconosquare provide in-depth analysis on your account and the general Instagram community. These services aren’t usually free, but they do give you valuable insight into the behavioral patterns of Instagram users. Consider the following stats:

Although there are more than forty filters to choose from, Mayfair seems to be the most popular. It attracts the most interactions (likes, reposts) per 1,000 followers.

Images composed with good lighting (i.e. bright and easy-to-see detail) tend to generate 24% more likes than darker compositions.

Posts with blue as the dominate color see 24% more likes than red- or orange-tinted ones.

Images that have a theme of a single, predominate color (i.e. grouping products of the same color in a post) see approximately 17% more likes.

Hashtags & Captions

Instagram allows you to pair your image with a caption. The absolute worst thing you can do here is attempt to take a “hard sell” strategy. Consumers (especially tech-savvy ones) can see through a pushy sales technique almost immediately. When they do they will unfollow you and ultimately forget you. Instagram isn’t a platform for you to sell; instead it is a way to increase awareness of your business. Using Instagram won’t turn into direct sales but rather direct consumers to your brand over other competitors.

Within captions, you will see hashtags (#). For the uninitiated, hashtags allow Instagram users to easily discover posts related to the things that interest them. For businesses, hashtags are a crucial tool that will expose users to your brand or product by enabling users to find your posts.

So what hashtags should you use? First, brainstorm keywords and phrases relevant to your brand our business. Second, you’ll want to get a better idea of which hashtags are trending and popular. To do this, consult services like the ones mentioned above.

Hashtags require some thought. Be wary of using hashtags that are too vague. A general hashtag (e.g. football) might be really popular, but it will drown in a sea of other posts. Get more specific to help potential customers find you (e.g. dallascowboys).

Post Frequently

Instagram is a crowded place. If you fail to post on a regular basis, your posts will be buried by new ones, making it difficult for potential customers to find you. While the Internet has increased potential sales, it also means that staying relevant and memorable is difficult.

Studies show that Instagram accounts with the most user interaction post six images per week on average. Analysts suggest that Instagram follows the “Burrito principle.” That is people can easily check their Instagram feed at any time (even when eating a burrito). Ultimately, posting consistently is probably more important than a specific time of day. Although you might want to consult the analytic services above to get a better idea of when your core demographic uses Instagram.

Since you probably can’t hire a social media manager to handle all of this for you, consider scheduling your posts. Apps like Later and Sked Social allow you to compose your posts and schedule publishing at a later time.

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How To Make Small Business Saturday A Success

While Black Friday may get the lion’s share of shoppers’ attention during the holiday season, the following day may be even more significant for small businesses. Small Business Saturday, which falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was started by American Express to support small businesses during the 2010 recession. It was recognized by the federal and all 50 state governments shortly after that. The idea is to encourage shoppers to support small businesses as they shop for holiday gifts. 

The idea has attracted real support, with 72% of people surveyed by Constant Contact saying they will make more effort to support small businesses that weekend. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 26, so it is crucial to be prepared. 

What is the biggest mistake you can’t afford to make on Small Business Saturday? 

You may think that just being a small business is enough to reap the benefits of Small Business Saturday, but this line of thinking is a big mistake. The nature of being a small business means that you are not necessarily top of mind for your target market. Add that to all the other small businesses promoting themselves during this time, and you can see that it is easy to get passed over and let this opportunity be wasted.

How to successfully prepare for Small Business Saturday

To capitalize on the desire of customers to support small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year, you must promote yourself. Here’s how to go about it. 

Tell your small business story

While Small Business Saturday serves to remind customers to shop at small businesses, you want them to support small businesses all year long. So throughout the year (and even more so starting at the end of October), tell customers your story. 

Social media is a great way to highlight the company’s founders and history. If your business is family-owned, be sure to include that since it can give you even more of a boost. If your business is still in the same community in which it was started, talk about how it has been an area employer and how it has participated in any community outreach or charitable projects. 

Post videos showing your actual employees doing or talking about their jobs. Be sure to repeat the phrases “small business” and “local business” when talking about your company.

Tip

As a business owner, get on your social media platforms and demonstrate transparency by being honest and genuine with followers. When CEOs do so, it pays big dividends. Research from Sprout Social found that transparency prompts 38% of followers to be more loyal to the brand and 32% to purchase more from the brand.

Extend the festivities to e-commerce

Give customers a choice to come into your store or buy online and still get all the Small Business Saturday promotions. You can set up coupon codes for use online along with barcodes that can be scanned in-store. It can also be helpful to give customers the option of gift wrapping the item within the shipping box so that curious people in the household won’t ruin the surprise and to buy online and pick it up at the store for maximum convenience. 

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that customers will shop with you on Small Business Saturday just because you’re a small business. With a bit of planning and promotion, you can capitalize on customers’ desire to support small local businesses like yours so that you can bring in more holiday sales revenue than ever before. 

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