No Matter What Business You’re In You NEED A Membership Site Hands Down

More and more businesses are moving towards a subscription-based mode because it works. If you’re not adapting to this trend, you’ll only end up out of business while your competitors thrive now and in the future. If you’re using funnels, selling products, selling content, or even services, you’ll need a place where all of those items are 100% protected.

Along with that, we’re now living in a time where consumers want more value, more bang for their buck, and community with their purchases. Simply put, if you want to thrive in the months and years to come, you can’t afford to ignore having a membership site regardless of what business you have.

Most online businesses or local agencies rely on having to make consistent sales every month to meet the bills. This causes stress and pressure to produce that only ends up putting most in the red. And it’s even more challenging since the pandemic. Ever since we’ve come into the new normal, people are more apt to purchase memberships because they want to get more value for their money.

There’s no need to be tech savvy when it comes to using the app. You simply choose which options you want and drag them into the site area and edit. This allows you to customize your new membership site instantly. Because we’ve created an extremely easy to use intuitive platform, you’ll be able to build sleek looking membership sites that wow your customers in absolutely no time.

These sites look so good that your customers will swear it was built by a professional designer! See more details here..

Source: https://www.memberowls.io/

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It’s Time to Reassess Your Small-Business Social Strategy

Photo: Getty Images

Assumptions can be dangerous. For instance, because I am the co-founder of a fintech company, some might assume I’m pretty tech-savvy. But in reality, I look to Carolyn Rodz, my visionary co-founder, for the technical stuff.

I’ve seen others making similar assumptions about “frivolous” social media platforms like TikTok. Much more than a place for teenagers to share dance challenges, TikTok has become a very real magnet for small-business owners looking to connect with customers. But what factors are motivating this shift to the new platform, and what kind of results are they seeing?

To get to the bottom of these questions, Hello Alice sampled a portion of our more than 800,000 small-business owners to see how entrepreneurs leverage digital marketing platforms for growth. The resulting research report focused on major social media players, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat as small businesses’ primary digital marketing platforms.

At a high level, we learned that most businesses pursuing digital marketing are young (less than five years old) and more likely to sell products, particularly in the beauty and self-care industries. Unsurprisingly, most entrepreneurs are hedging their bets by using multiple platforms to reach their digital marketing goals.

But the most significant finding confirms what can only be called the TikTok shift. Despite its status as the youngest player, TikTok overwhelmingly stands out as an emerging digital marketing leader. Our research found that it was the platform small-business owners were most excited to try.

Among small businesses already on TikTok, 78 percent said they plan to increase their investment in the platform. Clearly, something is driving owners to shift their attention — and budgets — from the established players to new options.

According to our research, here are the three primary trends surrounding small business digital marketing today.

Affordability Is the Number One Factor for Small-Business Owners

When you’re running a small business, every dollar counts. This is especially true with the pandemic, inflation, and supply chain shortages not going anywhere soon. According to our research, the majority of businesses leveraging digital marketing platforms are new or emerging businesses, which also tend to be the most vulnerable to cost pressures. In practice, this means that entrepreneurs favor the platforms perceived to offer the best ratio of value to results.

Market leaders such as Facebook and Instagram came first and second ​​in terms of perceived value for their marketing dollar, with YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat trailing behind. However, this is for paid efforts, and nearly half (45 percent) of owners said they don’t engage in any paid marketing at all. When we measure the perceived value of each platform’s purely organic reach, TikTok comes in a close third to Instagram and Facebook.

The takeaway? Entrepreneurs are willing to invest their dollars in paid marketing that delivers proven results. However, despite devoting comparatively little time to the platform, entrepreneurs are finding a high chance of organic success via TikTok. Achieving real results with little or no monetary investment makes TikTok a clear winner for any small businesses deciding where to focus their digital marketing efforts in the future.

Creativity Has Become a Key Differentiator in Small-Business Marketing

Every business owner should be familiar with the concept of a key differentiator — the element that sets them apart from the competition. In a world of endless banner ads and Instagram posts, it’s no surprise that digital marketers are looking for easy-to-use features that enable dynamic storytelling in a variety of formats.

Our research found that approximately two-thirds of small-business owners believe that TikTok helps them tell stories in a creative way (67 percent), outpacing established competitors including Instagram (65 percent), YouTube (58 percent), Facebook (55 percent), and Snapchat (51 percent). Whether it’s a new video filter or a viral audio clip, TikTok’s robust creator tools go beyond the usual arsenal of text and images to help entrepreneurs forge novel connections between consumers and their brands.

Even better, TikTok’s creative boost seems to come without much of a learning curve, with ​​81 percent of TikTok users telling us the platform is easy to use and 73 percent saying it is fun to use. There’s no underestimating these sentiments; when you’re a busy entrepreneur, fun and easy-to-use are going to win out every time.

Marketers Are Following Their Audiences to New Platforms

It’s only natural that Facebook and Instagram historically received the lion’s share of attention from small-business digital marketers, given that they are the most popular social media platforms. Marketing is, after all, a game of eyeballs. However, this is changing as Facebook usage declines and TikTok usage dramatically grows. Entrepreneurs ​​are simply adapting platform strategies to follow their customers to the platforms where they spend time.

According to the data, the word is out that TikTok has huge potential for small-business marketers. Our survey revealed that ​​43 percent of small-business owners are now likely to join TikTok because they’ve heard of positive results from fellow entrepreneurs; only 23 percent told us the same about Facebook.

Some might assume that the TikTok shift is entrepreneurs simply chasing a shiny new trend, but the research resoundingly suggests otherwise: Fifty-nine percent of small business owners said TikTok helped grow revenue, 42 percent said TikTok helped them safeguard their business against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and 32 percent said TikTok helped them raise capital.

There’s only one thing to say with results like that: Where do I sign up?

By Elizabeth Gore

Source: It’s Time to Reassess Your Small-Business Social Strategy | Inc.com

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Last Mile Is Being Disrupted Again: Here’s How Retailers Can Hold Their Ground

Last mile delivery: It’s been quite an interesting road to travel these past couple of years, indeed!

Amazon did an end-run around UPS and Fedex by ramping up its own-fleet delivery to 72% of its total shipments. Uber and Lyft drove into the last mile, bringing everything from restaurant orders to auto parts right to their existing riders’ doorsteps. And the Covid-19 pandemic famously heralded in an explosion of last mile grocery delivery via Instacart, Shipt, Peapod and others.

In 2021, however, last mile disruption was itself severely disrupted. Gopuff barnstormed its way to a $40 billion valuation with a curated assortment and ultra-fast delivery model that rendered Walmart’s two-hour express delivery “so last year” and made Amazon’s same-day delivery service seem positively ancient.

Some leading last mile players, meanwhile, encroached on first-party offering territory. Instacart’s setup of micro fulfillment centers (MFCs) drove speculation that it would soon begin selling products directly to consumers, while DoorDash has already begun doing just that, growing its ranks of new DashMarts nationwide.

However you view it, the disruption of last mile has become the flywheel, driving a larger transformation of retail. For traditional brick-and-mortar stores, who were already under pressure to adapt to changing consumer expectations and increased competition, this disruption represents both threats and opportunities.

Barry Clogan, Chief Product Officer at Wynshop. Read Barry Clogan’s full executive profile here.

Source: Last Mile Is Being Disrupted Again: Here’s How Retailers Can Hold Their Ground

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Critics:

Elina Geller, Sam Kemmis

Know your travel goals

This is an important consideration when evaluating what you would like to get out of your points and miles hobby. Do you want to travel several times a year to an exotic location, flying in first class on miles and paying for your hotel on points? Do you want to fly to visit friends and family using miles (but don’t care if you sit in economy or business class)? Or do you just want to learn what travel rewards are all about?

The good news is that regardless of your travel goals, understanding the basics of these currencies can make those goals a reality. Using points and miles to see the world can save a lot of cash. And when you get into this hobby, you begin to realize that all sorts of travel is affordable and within reach.

Setting clear travel goals can also help focus your attention and investigation. If you want to visit Japan, you can focus on relevant airlines and hotel programs while ignoring the rest (for now). This can help avoid overwhelm and the paradox of choice.

Think of points and miles (travel rewards) as another type of currency. Just like stocks, crypto, bonds or foreign currencies, travel rewards present a way to pay for your travel experiences and invest in your travel goals without using cash.

Each travel reward currency has its own value, just like a country’s currency. Many points and miles are worth roughly a cent apiece, but values vary … It’s important to do the math whenever you’re considering a particular offer or promotion to figure out the approximate cash value. 100,000 points might sound like a lot, but it depends on what kind of points they are…..more

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Crypto And Digital Asset Platform Bakkt Releases First Earnings, Lays Out Bold Partnership Strategy To Growth

Today Bakkt, a mobile wallet provider and digital asset platform founded in 2018 released its first earnings as a public company. The firm began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 18th following a SPAC merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings (VIH).

Casual observers may find the results underwhelming. After all, the company, whose backers include NYSE parent firm Intercontinental Exchange, and which had completed a $300 million Series B round of funding in March 2020 brought in just $9.1 million in revenue this quarter.

Granted it is up 7% from Q2 and 38% year over year, and the company reports having 1.7 million transacting accounts, but the firm still had a net loss of $28.8 million. In contrast, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase earned $1.2 billion in revenue and Square’s Cash App, which offers an easy way for users to buy bitcoin, brought in $1.87 billion in crypto revenue and $42 million in gross profit. PayPal, which offers a simple interface for users to buy and make purchases with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin cash opened 13.3 million accounts last quarter despite disappointing revenues.

However, according to Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael, who spoke exclusively to Forbes prior to the earnings release, this is all part of his plan for the company that has evolved from primarily being a bitcoin custodian and futures exchange to a much more comprehensive platform. Michael, who previously served as a technology executive for banks such as Citi, JPMorgan and Lloyds, intends for Bakkt to become the hub of an extensive ecosystem of business to business and consumer retail activity, with loyalty points and digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in the center of it all.

“We see businesses leveraging our platform to drive loyalty, and to deepen their customer relationships…they’re also able to innovate with crypto services and crypto rewards, appealing to a growing segment of digitally savvy customers.”The company’s merger also brought in a war chest of more than $480 million to use for future partnerships and acquisitions.

Also not reflected in these numbers is the steady stream of brand-name partnerships brought onto the platform, starting with Starbucks this past March and growing to include Choice Hotels, Fiserv, Finastra, Wells Fargo, United Airlines and Mastercard. These tie-ups are intended to do everything from helping community banks and credit union clients invest in crypto to allow merchants on the Mastercard network to offer crypto rewards to users.

“We enable these companies to really deliver consumer choice, [offer] convenience with alternate payment methods that allow consumers to spend the value of their digital assets across merchants and enable businesses to gain access to this increased spending power.”

The market responded particularly well to the MasterCard partnership, announced on October 25th. The firm’s stock rose 400% in a week. It has since surrendered over half of those gains, but it remains up over 160% since the merger was finalized.

In addition, the firm is looking to onboard more digital assets, though Michael says that given the platform’s comparatively conservative nature compared to traditional cryptocurrency exchanges,  “It’s fair to say that we are probably a platform that will have several, rather than several 100.” Regarding stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which are increasingly becoming a focal point for regulators and entwined in global commerce and trading, Michael noted “We’re obviously watching closely what happens with stablecoins and CBDCs, because we’re an obvious choice, particularly with the partners that we’re working with…to really bring them to life.” Bakkt does not support any at this time.

With those integrations likely to wait until 2022 at the earliest, Q4 is shaping up to be an early test for Bakkt’s future. Unlike exchanges such as Coinbase, whose fortunes are highly dependent on the volatile nature of cryptocurrency prices to drive trading fees, Bakkt is more dependent upon retail spending to facilitate user growth and engagement on the platform. Q42020 was its most lucrative from a revenue standpoint in the company’s brief history, which Michael attributed in the interview to the seasonality of retail commercial activity, stating that he expects a similar trend again this year.

However, this trend could be upended, to some degree, by today’s challenging economic climate. Already retail establishments are reporting issues finding temporary staff for the holiday season, and October’s inflation numbers, which saw a 6.2% increase from a year ago, the highest jump in 31 years, may limit customer purchasing power over the next couple of months. More worrying is a growing belief among consumers and policymakers that inflation remains stickier than they would like, even if they still believe it is transitory.

That said, the silver lining could be that two industry segments not experiencing massive inflation are travel and lodging, which Bakkt supports through its partnerships with United Airlines and Choice Hotels. Airline fares actually fell 0.7% on the month and is down 4.6% year on year. The index for lodging away from home increased just 1.4%. As more of the world becomes vaccinated, travel restrictions loosen, and cross-border commerce recovers to pre-pandemic levels, Bakkt could see more engagement with its platform.

One final challenge will be convincing clients to part with their bitcoin and ethereum in exchange for goods and services. Both cryptocurrencies, which each hit new all-time highs on November 10th of $68,721 and $4,851 respectively, are seeing reductions in their circulating supply.

This trend is due to multiple factors, pre-eminent among them is the fear of someone finding in the future that they bought a $1000 cup of coffee in 2021 when they needed a quick boost. Of course, when asked about this challenge, Michael and the team are quick to point out that Bakkt is not necessarily a crypto platform, but a universal ecosystem for all digital assets.

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I am director of research for digital assets at Forbes. I was recently the Social Media/Copy Lead at Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States. Before joining Kraken I

Source: Crypto And Digital Asset Platform Bakkt Releases First Earnings, Lays Out Bold Partnership Strategy To Growth

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Why Brands are Failing To Listen To Customers and How To Fix That

As terabytes of consumer data are collected every day, companies have more information than ever about their customers. But that doesn’t mean they understand what those customers need—or how best to serve them.

Without a clear understanding of what customers are experiencing, executives put their brands at risk, according to Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, which helps companies collect video feedback from their customers. As the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates, a company’s survival in challenging times often requires a strong, meaningful audience connection and swift action to meet customer needs.

So, what can companies do to more effectively tap into customer experiences and build lasting relationships? Here, MacMillan and Rick Reuter, a principal in the financial services industry practice for consultant Deloitte, discuss what’s preventing companies from listening to their customers, the importance of human connections, and how companies should be thinking about the customer experience post-COVID-19.

Companies have access to tons of customer information. So what are companies missing? Why isn’t that data enough?

Andy MacMillan: We’ve become really algorithm dependent. Data and algorithms are useful. But they also mean we aim for the average: What does the average buyer want? We don’t ever learn about the exceptions. It’s become very sterile, and I think we all sense and feel that. The challenge for companies is how to get real feedback from people outside the company, and how to use that feedback to put the team in the shoes of the customer.

How do companies get that real feedback from their customers?

MacMillan: I think you have to be deliberate about the idea that you can’t just stand entirely behind the technology. You have to decide it’s important for people in your company to talk to customers.

If you’re a bank, go out and get 10 or 15 people without deep technology backgrounds to walk you through what it’s like for them to bank online. Then we pull that video in-house and let the teams watch and see what it’s like to be that customer. Or for an airline, it means asking a premium flyer who is not very tech-savvy what it’s like to book travel for his or her family. How do you get your tech team to understand how to alleviate some of those flyer’s concerns, when your team is not the demographic we’re talking about? That’s the personal aspect I’m talking about that’s missing.

Rick Reuter: And sometimes it’s just having a real person pick up the phone. So, it’s not 15 menus of connecting through a call-center app. It’s “Hello, Mr. Reuter, how can we help you? We saw that you did this today. Is that what you’re calling about?”

How is COVID-19 changing the landscape for how companies are expected to interact with customers?

Reuter: I think companies now are getting more and more connected with the human experience than they have in the past decade, and I think it’s refreshing that we have this technology infrastructure to adapt quickly. We just need to continue to make that a priority.

MacMillan: The question, even six months ago, was “How do I squeeze out more margin for myself as a company?” Now for the first time in a while, we’re seeing companies actually thinking about customers and taking measures to keep us safe. This situation has caused us to go back to a time before we relied on the algorithms. We’re saying, “Hey, let’s go talk to some customers. Let’s find out what their needs are and figure out how to service those needs.” It’s a remarkably simple formula, but I would say that hasn’t been the heart of what we’ve been doing for the past decade.

When the COVID-19 crisis ends, what’s going to happen to these customer-centric changes? Will they continue? 

MacMillan: It’s going to be difficult for businesses to just snap back to the assumptions we had six months ago about how everything works.

One of the changes companies should keep is how they’ve empowered employees on the front lines. A coffee chain I go to, each [outlet] had different ways of implementing carryout-only procedures to keep people safe. It was very smart. It was like all the rules had been thrown out the window—instead of a uniform corporate policy, the company trusted employees to make some rational decisions on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep our customers safe, how to adapt to this unprecedented situation.

Reuter: That’s a culture where employees feel empowered and they feel ownership of the problem, which creates opportunity. I think that’s a great example of a large enterprise creating some local angles to be successful.

How can companies empower individual employees in a smart way?

MacMillan: It’s about culture and values. You hear front-line retail workers say, “I wish I could do the right thing more often for people.” And often it isn’t really about the money. It’s just trying to treat people the right way, trying to solve a problem in a restaurant, in a store, whatever that might be.

There’s also something to be said for hiring good people, conveying your shared values as a company and empowering those people to make good decisions in line with your values.

As companies rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and try to meet customer needs, what’s the biggest thing they can do to improve their listening?

MacMillan: I think the issue isn’t for or against technology. I think it’s how do we layer in perspective and actually care about the customer in an authentic way? We talk about an empathy gap, and what we mean by that is, it’s not like people go to work every day and don’t care about the customers; it’s that they don’t have the perspective. They don’t actually get to see these customers and talk to them to know that they’re not hitting the mark.

The lesson companies can take away from this crisis is the way it’s caused us to go, “Hey, wait. I need to find out what the customers really need, and then go figure it out.” And as customers, we’re delighted that they seem to care.

By:Taylor Smith for FastCo Works

Source: Why brands are failing to listen to customers—and how to fix that

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“Examining the Market Orientation-Performance Relationship: A Context-Specific Study” (PDF). Journal of Management. 24 (2): 201–233. doi:10.1177/014920639802400204. hdl:2027.42/68689. ISSN 0149-2063.

“Revisiting the relationship between marketing capabilities and firm performance: The moderating role of market orientation, marketing strategy and organisational power”

Godovykh, Maksim; Tasci, Asli D.A. (July 2020). “Customer experience in tourism: A review of definitions, components, and measurements”.

Tourism Management Perspectives. 35: 100694. doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2020.100694. ISSN 2211-9736. S2CID 219478840.

Pine, B. Joseph; Gilmore, James H. (2013).

“The experience economy: past, present and future“Welcome to the Experience Economy

How to Sustain the Customer Experience“Understanding Customer Experience”

Godovykh, Maksim; Tasci, Asli D. A. (2020-05-26). “Satisfaction vs experienced utility: current issues and opportunities

Manning, Harley; Bodine, Kerry (28 August 2012). “The 6 Disciplines Behind Consistently Great Customer Experiences“Customer Experience Management: What it is and why it matters”

“Customer Experience Management Market Report, 2021-2028”.

http://www.grandviewresearch.com. RetrievedNg, Sandy (2011).

“Generating positive word-of-mouth in the service experience

Nasoi, Roxana (2017-08-23). “6 Customer Journey Mapping Examples: How UX Pros Do It”“How Digital Visualisation Tools are Driving New Retail Sales and Marketing Models”

“Five innovators of the in-store customer experience

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