The 3 Biggest Challenges of Growing an Online Business

The 3 Biggest Challenges of Growing an Online Business

Over 65 percent of people in America still believe that the American Dream is within reach. However, they also believe that in order to do so requires a certain level of financial stability. The best way to achieve this is to become an entrepreneur and eventually sell your business for a big profit. However, this means you need to begin an online startup and grow it to a decent size.  

Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, especially when 20 percent of startups fail within their first year. Therefore, in order to get to a point where the company can be sold for a significant chunk of money, it first needs to focus on circumventing the common challenges facing online businesses and finding a way to successfully grow itself. Here are the five biggest challenges of growing an online business and how to overcome them. 

Fierce Online Competition

In many ways, competition is the foundation of capitalism. However, when it comes to operating a small online business, competition can often be overwhelming. Having a little bit of friendly competition is good for business because it forces companies to be innovative. Unfortunately, when it comes to the online marketplace, there seems to be simply too much competition in most industries nowadays. In fact, there are as many as 24 million e-commerce sites in the world. This can often make it hard to find ways to stand out amongst the endless sea of other competitors. 

Luckily, there are a few things that can be done to improve the chances of potential customers noticing your online business before any of your competitors. One of the most effective things to do is to ensure that your website is developed in a professional style that is in compliance with the current Google algorithms. This will help on two distinct fronts. 

Firstly, it will help your online business rank higher in search results, which will lead to higher click-through rates. The second way in which this will assist you is by being eye-catching as soon as the web page loads. Being greeted with a professional-looking website can often be enough to convince a customer to do business with you.

Retaining Customers

Getting new customers to visit your site is only part of the challenge online entrepreneurs face. Once they are on your site, you need to find a way to convert them into returning customers. Having a loyal customer base that repeatedly does business with your site can help to vastly improve your annual revenue. 

Not only will it result in more sales, but it will also lower your costs. This is because acquiring a new customer often costs up to five times as much as retaining a current customer. Therefore, online companies need to find a way to retain customers as much as possible. 

Unfortunately, there is no magical shortcut to ensure customer retention. It requires improvement in every part of the customer experience. However, improving the return and refund policy of your online business is a great start. 

When a customer is new to a site, they often have some hesitancy about the product or service quality. In order to help ease their anxieties, successful online startups offer an extremely easy return process. This allows customers to simply send the item back within a certain period of time and receive a full refund if they are not satisfied with a product or service. 

So if you want to retain more customers, then you need to make your return and refund policies very simple. This involves having as few steps as possible and following through with your promise to return the customer’s money. This will make the customer much more comfortable with an online business and a lot more likely to continue doing business with them in the future. 

Getting Sufficient Revenue

It is obvious that to be a successful online business, you need to get a lot of revenue. What is not obvious is how to go about doing this. There are a lot of different methods that can be used to help improve revenue. Some of the most popular include lowering product prices or reducing operations costs. However, one of the most sustainable ways to get higher amounts of revenue is to increase sales numbers. 

Once again, there are numerous ways to go about this. An effective place to start is with the website’s design. It needs to have a layout that is incredibly easy to navigate and a purchasing process that is as short and simple as possible. This will help minimize the frustration that customers experience when dealing with the website, which will help to vastly improve sales numbers. 

By overcoming these three challenges, your online business can quickly reach a point where it can be sold for a significant amount of money. Once your company is at a point where you are ready to sell it, visit Flippa to get it sold as quickly as possible for the maximum amount of money.

Video Marketing is the new trend in business

Video Marketing is the new trend in business

People are now watching 100 million hours of video content on Facebook on a daily basis while 10 billion videos are viewed daily on Snapchat.

These figures are mostly due to using video content for marketing purposes. We can’t deny the fact that video marketing is the new trend in business.

We take a look at the latest trends in video marketing and see if the medium is all hype or effective. Parham Azimi, CEO of Cantemo gives us his insights.

The average consumer would find it hard to avoid watching some form of video in a day.  The social media explosion has given us a platform where billions of people can get easy access to free video distributions.

Cisco predicts that 82% of internet traffic will come from video by 2021.

Amateurs do much of the video content we see for different reasons. A growing number can be linked to video marketing.

Social Media Examiner shared a report that shows 60% of marketers use video with 73% of them planning to increase their use of the format.

One of the most significant trends is that companies are now starting to build video marketing strategies. Tactics are now being formed to take advantage of social media as a means to promote video content.

It does not come as a surprise that more brands are beginning to produce videos because 73% of marketers believe that video impacts ROI.

By nature, videos are more engaging than static text and imaging. Social video gets 12 times more shares than text and images put together.

The top two benefits of video marketing in social media are higher traffic and business awareness. 75% of internet marketers give positive reports from video regarding getting more traffic.

We take a look at Buzzfeed’s Tasty Facebook page which has more than 93 million likes.  The posts on this page are bird’s eye view videos of meals and snacks made by an unknown chef.

The most watched video is a 1.44-minute video called ‘sliders four ways.’ which shows four recipes for tray cooked burgers. This video has been viewed 203 million times, has 5.5 million shares, 1.4 million interactions, and 289,000 comments.

If you think about recipes and cookbooks, only a few will read them for fun. Tasty took advantage of video to make these same topics engaging and lively.

They are using the same video platform to promote other products like custom cookbooks and an induction cooktop.

The company has hit the right spot when it comes to engaging consumers. They have separate pages that cater to different countries and cultures when it comes to cuisine. A page that offers healthier recipes was also added. Tasty videos are short and easy to follow. They also mastered the footage without sound tactic. The angle that they used for footage also gives the user the feeling that they are participating. These techniques have been proven effective with quantifiable results.

New Technologies

We can expect an increase in competition for viewing time. There are new technologies that can be used to boost the effectivity of video marketing.

Virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree videos are some of emerging tech that can be used to enhance current tactics.

A new category has come up due to AR and VR tech called immersive video. This is going to get popular soon which makes the competition fierce among marketers.

Ultra HD resolution is slowly becoming the standard although file sizes are still a challenge.

A 360-degree video ad from Hong Kong Airlines has proven to be 35 times more effective than the same ad in the 2D version. The University of Sydney has also featured a 360-degree tour of the campus. This decision is based on the 20% international student population in the school.

The travel industry is also reporting great success from VR and 360-degree marketing content. Allowing prospects to experience a destination before making a purchase increases the chance for more sales.

Thomas Cook introduced VR videos to promote specific tours in ten of its New York offices. This resulted in a 190% increase in the promoted tours and 40% ROI.

Michael Santiago - Author

Michael is an experienced leader and innovator with a long track record of successfully developing brands online. His proficiency in growing as platforms, generating web traffic and global team building has aided in driving Newswire’s rapid growth. Michael strives to make press release Newswire the disrupter in the PR and Marketing space, allowing businesses to attract media attention without the need for high-priced agencies. For more info.CLICK HERE

 

Why seller financing makes sense

Why seller financing makes sense

Why Seller Financing might make sense for you when selling your business

Many buyers of businesses are looking to invest in businesses which they can afford to purchase outright, even if this involves short-term Earn-out agreements, which typically are not arranged primarily for finance shortfall reasons. (The many advantages of Earn-outs are covered in a recent Flippa Blog article). However many of those looking to build a portfolio of businesses or to acquire a seriously high-value business may need to source finance.

Traditional business loans from banks and other major lenders are difficult to obtain for business investment. Currently banks are highly risk-averse and even when lending for more conventional business purchases they will be restricting lending to home equity based loans. Amazingly, after all these years of online business progress, the major banks still tend to be out of their lending comfort zones in the business website world, not really understanding or being confident about the way it operates. One of their main reasons for securing the loan with home equity is that banks cannot secure the loan against the physical assets of an online business and they are reluctant to place a value on ‘goodwill’ or business profitability potential.

We’ll cover SBA loans in a future blog post where the situation is entirely different again.

Unsecured loans from small business loan specialists, including online lenders, are more readily available but generally come with unattractively high interest rates and often quite burdening fee structures. Private equity firms which finance online business acquisitions tend to be interested only at high-value levels, and with lots of strings attached including an intrusive degree of business control or oversight.

Why you should consider seller financing

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, give serious thought to the mutual benefits of vendor financing. As a seller, if you are definitely in need of the full purchase amount immediately then of course this arrangement is out of the question. However, you will greatly increase the pool of potential buyers and the purchase price achieved if you are able to offer vendor finance for an agreed proportion of the purchase price. Unlike an Earn-out agreement which is usually limited to a minor proportion of the cost of purchase, does not entail interest payments, and is generally paid out in full within an agreed number of months, seller finance funds a proportion of the purchase with a longer-term payout period and with interest charged on the remaining balance until final settlement.

To illustrate, the owner of the business (owned outright and with no existing mortgages or liens attaching to the business) agrees to a sale price of $100,000. The buyer who has only $40,000 available as deposit, after judiciously retaining sufficient funds for immediate operating expenses and contingencies, has been enticed to pay a premium price because of the availability of seller finance. A reasonable interest rate to be applied to the outstanding monthly balance is agreed and a repayment period of typically around 5 years is determined.

The interest rate can be fixed, or floating and indexed to the official rate. In reasonable fairness to both parties, because the loan remains essentially unsecured the rate is initially set commensurately higher than major bank lending rates for business loans. In the simple illustration above, given the current interest rates and the buyer paying the seller a monthly instalment of $1000 plus the applicable monthly interest, the vendor would receive an income stream averaging around $15,000 annually for the five years. The bottom line for a seller who is in a position to defer full settlement is effectively a significantly higher final sale price, while the buyer is able to afford an acquisition which otherwise would have been out of reach.

It goes without saying that a legally binding contract is necessary for this kind of vendor financing arrangement, whereas Earn-out agreements typically rely on a less formal memorandum unless they are particularly complex or involve six or seven figure sums.

The mutual advantages of seller finance

While for the buyer the obvious advantage as already stated is the capacity to access an business business purchase which could not be afforded if the entire amount was required up-front, there is an additional benefit in the continued interest of the seller in the success of the business. Further, the willingness to provide vendor finance confirms the seller’s confidence in the business model and its ongoing viability and profitability.

For the seller, provided access to 100% of the funds from the sale is not required immediately for other purposes, then the regular income stream with an interest rate which is fair and reasonable but actually quite favourable to the seller is a great advantage and effectively raises the actual sale price achieved. Because the pool of prospective buyers has been increased by the availability of vendor financing, the agreed purchase price is more likely to be at a premium level also. Additionally in some circumstances, there may also be taxation advantages in the delayed payment of the full sale proceeds; this is a complex matter and as a seller you will need professional tax advice on this aspect, but it’s something further to consider.

A win-win solution to a business purchase arrangement

While this will not suit all sellers or buyers, seller finance is certainly an option which should be considered. In fact, it’s such a mutually beneficial situation that a rapidly increasing proportion of online business acquisitions are now financed on this way. For most vendors, offering seller finance is a sure-fire way to seal a deal.

Overall 2019 is emerging as a highly promising year for business investment, and we can expect to see exponential growth in seller financing arrangements.

Seller Showcase: Madeleine Saric Dubleup – eCommerce Business for Sale on Flippa

Seller Showcase: Madeleine Saric Dubleup – eCommerce Business for Sale on Flippa

This week we spoke with Madeleine Saric, owner of Dubleup business which is currently for sale on Flippa. Here are some highlights from our conversation with her.

Can you introduce us to Dubleup and tell us how it all got started?

So Dubleup is on an online e-commerce platform and we sell tech accessories for Apple and Android products, phones, tablets, watches. Everything is on there that you can imagine, from power banks to cables and cases. The list goes on.

 

Your top seller is the credit card power bank charger, so tell us a little bit more about this?

I developed the worlds smallest power bank. It is the size of a credit card and fits into the credit card slot of your wallet. It is essentially designed to give that extra bit of charge for when you are out. That was the idea behind it, I did travel a lot and didn’t need the chunky power bank, I just needed a little bit of extra charge.

 

Let’s us back up a little bit, who are you and how did all of this come about?

I’m Madeline Saric and this came about when I was doing an internship overseas and the boss I had told me, ‘start something when you are young and you won’t regret it’. So I came back to Australia and whilst I was still studying I came up with the designs for the power bank. Working at Apple, I came to understand what consumers wanted and what was missing from the market. This is what led to the evolution of Dubleup and this small power bank. From there I started working with teams in China, R&D and engineers and coming up with the final product which is the power bank.

 

Approximately how many units of this product have you sold into the market?

Apple and Android combined we have sold tens of thousands. Apple is obviously a lot more successful and we have Apple certification as well so it is approved by Apple and supports any products that they sell.

 

Looking at your business, what is there for a potential buyer to take over?

At the moment most of the operations are outsourced, marketing, production, manufacturing etc. You as a purchaser for the business would just simply use your laptop and your phone to run the business. Everything is produced and manufactured in China. It’s a very self-sustaining business with a huge opportunity for growth in terms of building new products and investing in marketing to grow the business. You could get the product into brick and water stores and also grow the online store

 

Do you own the brand and have the ability to continue with manufacturing in China?

Yes and definitely.

 

Why are you selling Dubleup?

The first reason is that I wanted to build a business, get it to a stage where I could sell it and differentiate myself from other people. The second reason is I’m a firm believer in doing something that you absolutely love and are passionate about and as much as I love technology, I’ve lost the passion for it.

 

 

 

Madeleine Saric is the founder of eCommerce electronics business Dubleup, which is currently for sale on Flippa.

5 Quick Ways To Boost Online Revenue Without Breaking A Sweat

5 Quick Ways To Boost Online Revenue Without Breaking A Sweat

This guest post was written by Victoria Greene, a freelance writer and founder of the blog site VictoriaEcommerce. You can follow her on Twitter @vickyecommerce.


If you’re an entrepreneur looking to make the most of your new online brand, you can spend hours stressing and still see sluggish sales figures. Quite often, even the most well-intentioned ecommerce merchant can make a few mistakes and entirely miss the mark with their marketing strategy.

This is easy to do, as sites like Google and Facebook regularly change their algorithms and more often than not it’s in favor of the user experience – rather than your business. But don’t worry, this post will offer you five tips for boosting online revenue without even breaking a sweat.

Monitor The Online Chatter

Keep ahead of conversations online with social media monitoring tools. As well as setting up Google Alerts for important industry headlines, you should also identify terms to monitor on social media. Doing this will allow you to jump into interesting conversations and offer your help in the comments section.

Social media analysis tools will also tell you the major influencers in your chosen industry, as well as your audience’s preferred internet haunts. Use these insights to your advantage within your content management strategy.

For more on creating amazing content, check out this previous post.

Opt For Opt-Ins On Your Site

Your ecommerce site needs to capture leads, as well as facilitate sales. If you haven’t set up an email newsletter and email opt-in, get one set up on a site like MailChimp. The first couple of thousand subscribers are free; you will need to start paying for the service when your email list grows.

Your newsletter should present a marketing channel for your best customers. Your email subscribers should receive regular discounts and links to informative content. You can also introduce your new products and run competitions. Do all you can to look after your dedicated 1,000 fans with your email marketing.

Remember, the aim is to get more sign-ups, so use these quick tips:

  • Install a pop-up to appear when your customer lands on one of your pages. Alternatively, if you want your opt-in button to be more subtle, create an animated sign-up link
  • Create a button that includes a small movement or color shift every three-five seconds. This will catch the visitor’s eye without interfering with the primary task of the page
  • Your signup should include a small written Call to Action to give people a reason to click. This could be an offer like free shipping over a certain spend limit or special discounts

Get More Reviews

Reviews offer customers social proof before they buy. It is really the case that the more reviews you have, the more trusted your site becomes in the eyes of consumers. The comments you receive will also provide you with vital feedback on your services. You obviously want to do all you can to get your rating up to five stars.

With all ecommerce hosts, reviews should be included as a default option on all pages. However, to fill your sites with comments, you should also set up an auto email upon purchase. This will trigger your customers to leave a response when their product arrives.

  • Within the post-purchase email, you should also encourage your customers to share their photos of your products on social media.
  • Set up a branded hashtag and make the user-generated content fun to take part in. This will also help you attract views and hopefully reviews you can post elsewhere.

Double Up On Your Facebook Ads

With Facebook advertising, there are many options for brands looking to create a range of sequential advertising campaigns. This is where you ‘pull’ the reader towards your site through a series of ads that pique their interests. For instance, you may start with a video advertisement in your sequence, followed by a free PDF guide ad pushed to those that watched the entire clip.

You can further boost the individual posts by ‘doubling up’ on content. Add a product gallery below the video upload with the click of a button. This will give you the chance to promote specific products on film.

  • You should also look to advertising on alternative social media channels like Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, even Snapchat. Instagram and Snapchat also allow you to experiment with video and filters
  • You can also set up shoppable pins (Pinterest) and galleries (Instagram) where customers can click and buy directly

Upsell And Cross-Sell

Customer lifetime value is a key sales metric you need to boost. The better a customer’s experience, the more likely they are to come back to you in the future and refer a friend. Return custom proves (to the customer) that they must trust your brand.

We are all used to seeing product recommendation tabs scrolling along the bottom of product pages. Set up automated tools that help you generate personalized recommendations based on your visitor’s past behaviors. You can find many applications to run from your online storefront, regardless of which ecommerce platform you use.

  • You can also create upsell and cross-sell opportunities by creating specific product round-up promotions
  • Use audience research to identify common demographic interests and products customers would like to see on your site

Boosting your online revenue comes down to three main things: you need to make your product is valuable to your customers, they need to be ready to buy, and they need to trust your brand. By building social proof, presenting tempting offers, and informing your visitors with relevant content, you can increase sales without breaking a sweat.

Case Study: How One Team Boosted Revenue by 4x with no Additional Traffic

Case Study: How One Team Boosted Revenue by 4x with no Additional Traffic

The Website Acquisition that Boosted Revenues by 4x with no Additional Traffic

In the Summer of 2015, MonetizeMore purchased a polling site called MisterPoll.com, a website that enables users to create polls, share them and then provide the statistic results. At the time of purchase, MisterPoll.com was only running AdSense directly on-page, which MonetizeMore saw as a huge opportunity to increase MisterPoll.com’s ad revenues without even increasing traffic. MonetizeMore has been in the ad optimization industry since 2010 and has some of the best ad optimization tech and experts in the industry. In this case study, the team at MonetizeMore reveals just how we were able to take a site, and within one month, grow the site’s revenue by 4x.

The MonetizeMore team started by implementing the most widely used ad server in the world called DFP (Google owned). The implementation of the ad server enabled the team to run many revenue sources at once, include direct sales ads and incorporate complex ad optimization techniques. The first technique that was implemented was integrating Google Ad Exchange (AdX). Google Ad Exchange is the best performing demand source in the world. It is even more powerful when integrating in DFP using a technique called dynamic allocation. Since Google owns DFP and Ad Exchange, the two technologies are able to communicate with each other so that DFP always knows what AdX will pay for each impression. As a result, the publisher can be confident that AdX only serves when it is the highest paying demand source. This is a very important part of ad optimization and realizing a publishers’ ad revenue potential.

Once DFP and AdX were implemented, MisterPoll.com saw a revenue increase of about 50%. This was a nice increase but MonetizeMore was not done there. The next step was to implement managed demand ad networks. Managed demand ad networks are traditional ad networks that send ad tags to publishers that have passbacks if the ad network is not able to payout on a minimum RPM for that ad impression. They are implemented in DFP at price priority level and the priority levels are adjusted on a daily basis based on past performance. Six managed demand ad networks were implemented and after a month of optimizing, the ad revenues more than doubled.

The last and most important step to ad optimization was implementing header bidding. Header bidding is a similar process to dynamic allocation for non-Google demand sources. Each header bid network makes a bid via an API, then the highest header bid will compete against Google and the managed demand sources. It is called header bidding because it is enabled via a header container technology which is implemented in the header of the page and the auction happens within the browser before the DFP auction. MonetizeMore has a header container called PubGuru.

Header bidding dramatically increases ad revenues and page RPMs for similar reasons that AdX implemented via dynamic allocation increases page RPM. The technology ensures that the highest bidder wins the ad impression. When you maximize the ad revenue for each ad impression rather than educated guesses via managed demand, you see some incredible increases in ad revenue. This boosted the MisterPoll.com revenues to 4x compared to the monthly revenues before the site was acquired. PubGuru header bidding not only increased the ad revenues but it also:

  • Eliminated passback ad impressions which improved site speed
  • Decreased blank ad impressions
  • Increased the accuracy of DFP reports
  • Decreased the daily hours needed for ad optimization

There is no doubt header bidding was the most important implementation on MisterPoll.com that contributed the most to the ad revenue increases and additional benefits. However, the previous 3 steps were integral to the success and also enabled header bidding. If you are considering to purchase a website on Flippa that monetizes via programmatic ads, it is in your best interest to follow the four steps that MonetizeMore followed.

You can complete the four steps on your own or outsource it to a company like MonetizeMore. If you decide to do it on your own, you can use the PubGuru SAAS solution to guide you through each step at your own pace. If you don’t have your own direct account with AdX, you would need to use a company partnered with Google (Like MonetizeMore) to offer AdX demand. If your site gets over 5MM page views per month, you can qualify for a free DFP implementation. If you get more than 20MM page views per month, you can qualify to become a premium publisher and MonetizeMore will handle all ad optimization for you so you can focus on the more important parts of your business.

Whether you decide to outsource your ad optimization or do it in-house, make sure to make a decision and stick to it. The worst thing you can do is ignore this low hanging fruit. Do not settle with just running AdSense. Otherwise, you are leaving a significant portion of revenues on the table, just like MisterPoll.com was.