For many of us, the idea of an online business sounds like a dream. The chance to earn income in your sleep, work you want and achieve freedom from your job. However, it can sound overwhelming especially if you’re not familiar with the business models out there. I want to break it down for you, and show that it’s not overly complex. I will distinguish between the models based on an investment of your time, resources and effort required.
Watch the video or read the transcript below 🙂
#1 – e-commerce
This is the type of business model where someone sells physical products on the internet. This may be shoes, electronics, bags, furniture, etc. The main platform that most people shop on for physical products is amazon and ebay, but there are still many specialised independant online ‘shops’. An ecommerce business model requires that you have a product that you know sells to A target market. It will usually require your own website (if not selling on amazon), suppliers and a warehouse to hold the stock. Of course, there are expenses that come with a warehouse or physical space – i.e. rent and insurance. Amazon offers an option where they can arrange fulfilment for you, i.e. sourcing from the supplier, storing the product, packaging and dispatching to the customer – all for a cost.
This model is good is you have a product you are passionate about, have a reliable supplier and a target market in mind. It will generally require an initial investment of resources to set your business up, marketing and of course regular purchasing of supplies.
With the power of the internet, this model can be automated – and so will not require a huge slice of your time once the business is running.
#2 – Freelancing
This is where you provide independant services for another individual or company. This may be as a photographer, website builder, digital marketer. An example of this model is ‘Fiverr.com’ – a platform that allows people around the world to make money by providing a digital service, i.e. photo editing or adding subtitles to your videos.
Essentially your customers will be paying you for your time, so as you can tell – this is a business model that is dependent on you and your time in order to earn money. It is difficult to automate as you need to be there. But if you are good at the service you provide, you can do very well!
#3 – Consulting
Consulting is a type of freelancing where you provide services for generally higher ticket fees. You are providing your knowledge as opposed to a physical product. To be a successful online consultant you need to pick a niche where you have real expertise. In this business model, you are exchanging your time for money, but as mentioned if you really know your stuff – then with the right marketing you can charge lucractive amounts per hour. Consider online marketer Neil Patel who reportedly charges $5,000 per hour for consulting.
#4 – e-COURSES
If you have an expertise in a niche topic, and you know that thing is in demand – then creating a training course is one of the best things you can do on the internet. This business model can be lucrative because digital products, i.e. online training, can attract large prices – especially if it is a training course that many people are interested in and so there’s a demand for. Just imagine – you create your training course ONCE, and then with the right advertising, you will earn recurring fees. All you need to do is invest resources initially to create a professional looking training course and to market your training course on the right platforms to the right people.
This type of online business can earn you fantastic passive income – as you don’t have to do too much after you’ve set it up!
#5 – Affiliate Marketing
Many of the successful companies in the world, i.e. Facebook, Amazon, AirBnb, Uber are using the affiliate model. This is where you sell someone else’s products in return for a fee or commission. Take Amazon for example – the majority of the products on the Amazon website do not belong to Amazon. They simply provide a platform to bring sellers and buyers together…and take a commission. Similarly for AirBnb. They do not own the properties, but take a commission from people renting their properties to renters through their website. Affiliate marketing is the epitome of digital commerce. And you can do it too.
If there is a product or service you use and can vouch for, then affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions from marketing and selling that product. For example there’s a health drink that I like and can happily promote in return for commissions. Amazon has its own affiliate model, where you can promote amazon ‘products’ on your website and if someone buys it – you can get a commission. However, Amazon product commissions are low.
In order to make a sustainable online business based on affiliate marketing – you should seek those products that offer high ticket commissions, i.e. digital products – courses, consulting etc. This means with each sale, you can stand to make hundreds or thousands in commission. Why? Because those companies that sell digital products have very little overhead cost. They know that if an affiliate marketer promotes and sells their products – they know they can give up to 50% of the revenue to the affiliate marketer knowing that they still stand to make very good profit from the sale. A sale that did not require the product owners time, and involves little overheads. From the product owners point of view, they would rather make some money – as opposed to no money – for the same level of effort!
So affiliate marketing is a great option to create an online income. It requires little time on your part, except at the beginning to set up your website and marketing costs.
When deciding between these business models, you’ll want to weigh up how much time you want to give, whether you currently have a product and additionally your knowledge of a particular area. For example, if you have a fantastic product and want to automate the selling and fulfilment, then ecommerce could be an option.
If you have an expertise in a niche topic, but don’t want to commit your time – then a eCourse could be your calling. Of course, to make any business successful online – you need to become excellent at influencing and marketing. If you want to learn how to market effectively and create any of these online business models, then the company I am part of educates people on digital skills.
Click here to learn more.
Voice technology has arrived and the signs are all around. Who doesn’t like asking a question and being answered without having to get online and scroll through the answers. Convenience is what consumers want and expect. Voice technology delivers in a big way.
Voice Technology Defined
Voice technology has made a big splash with consumers and is also starting to be embraced by companies for marketing purposes. Siri, Google, and Alexa are examples of this type of technology that the average consumer has used. Luminary Labs reports that this new technology represents the intersection between AI services, IoT devices and UX interactions yielding a hands-free way to interface with technology.
Uses of Voice Tech
With 60.5 million U.S. consumers using digital assistants already for search purposes and to place orders, Forbes reports that 87 percent of marketers participating in the survey predict that chat robots and virtual assistants are destined to play a significant role in the way businesses interact with consumers as early as 2021. These statistics are fueling the way businesses market.
How Brands Utilize Voice Marketing
The use of voice technology is expansive, encompassing many industries and government agencies. Ford was an early convert. The car manufacturer launched Sync in 2007, adding this communications system to cars to let users make phone calls and music choices hands-free. Forbes predicts that 90 percent of vehicles being sold will have voice recognition technology by 2022.
Healthcare has also invested in voice technology. WebMD got in on the voice technology game by creating an Alexa-type skill to answer health questions about treatments for common health problems and educating people on different drug side effects.
Not to be left out, the city of Los Angeles is using Alexa technology to advertise information about upcoming public events. Currently, solutions are being sought related to making government services accessible using digital assistants.
The hospitality industry is another industry already using voice technology. Wynn Las Vegas, Four Seasons and Marriott have all jumped on this bandwagon. Wynn Las Vegas has Echo for guests so that they can control lights, music and the temperature with voice commands. Four Seasons and Marriott have plans to use Siri and Alexa so hotel guests can use voice technology to ask for extra towels or to order food.
The Sales Funnel and Voice Marketing
Campaign Monitor claims that brands will be forced to consider updating SEO practices to accommodate voice technology. Corporate websites must be established with voice ready features. Emails and other marketing tools should also be designed to be read by the new voice technology devices.
Marketing funnels must evolve based on these changes. The linear funnel is no longer relevant and has been replaced by a loop or flipped funnel. In this new model, consumers enter the funnel at different stages of the buying process since prospects currently do a lot of their own research online. The new sales funnel demands that customers be treated as individuals instead of generic prospects. Buyers demand customized solutions.
Assuming that technology will continue to change the way companies market, management teams need to build funnels that can quickly adapt to these ongoing changes. It is crucial to analyze and adapt to changes in voice search technology, artificial intelligence and mobile technology. Search Engine Journal reports that the first brands that revamp their websites to embrace voice search will reap the benefits, increasing digital commerce earnings by as much as 30 percent.
How to Set Up Voice Marketing
Like any major change requirements, developing a workable strategy for accommodating and utilizing voice marketing is recommended for best results. Search Engine Journal claims that there are four things that must be considered when formulating a voice strategy.
First, it is very important to treat voice as a piece of the puzzle that must fit logically into a larger marketing strategy. What this means is that the voice channels must align with the overall brand identity. The data retrieved from other marketing channels must be used for developing voice strategy. Consistency is key.
Secondly, marketing content must now be designed with a new focus on what the brand sounds like. This adds another important element into the branding process as marketers grapple with adding sound to visual elements in a consistent way to promote a positive brand identity.
A third consideration relates to relevance. While relevance is always important for any brand hoping to compete, voice technology bears a greater burden than visual in some cases, leaving little room for error. Consumers are believed to be more sensitive to voice technology that is not on target. Since voice responses happen in real-time, relevancy is crucial. For example, a voice search for an Italian restaurant when driving should provide restaurants in the area. Otherwise the information provided is irrelevant.
How to Optimize My Website for Voice SEO
Preparing for this new focus on voice technology means optimizing your website to make the most of this shift. Remember to keep the words you use conversational. Voice search is less formal and more like everyday conversation. Additionally, use longer-tail keywords to attract more traffic.
Another recommendation for leveraging your website to get more voice search traffic is to post and answer questions that are the most likely to be asked. Using question phrases will bring more visitors to your site.
Since so many voice searches are conducted on mobile phones, your website must be mobile friendly. Be sure to get an expert to verify that your site loads quickly and shows up well on smaller screens.
Voice Technology Challenges
The race is on to perfect the way AI voices like Siri sound. Context is critical. To perform well, voice technology must become more proficient at interpreting and reacting to context. Responses should differ depending on location, time of day and the device being used. Real-time metrics like these could conceivably change the answer provided.
Understanding language ambiguity is another challenge faced by voice technology designers. Considering how ambiguity compromises conversations between two human beings, it is easy to recognize how difficult it is to design technology that knows how to process these subtle differences.
Yet another area for improvement in voice devices is knowing how to decide when to start listening and stop listening. It is difficult to program voice technology to compute the pauses, stops and starts of normal speaking patterns. Essentially, AI voice assistants must become more in tune to the way humans speak.
Privacy issues have also posed some image problems for this industry, leaving many people skeptical. TechCrunch reports that 41 percent of consumers who use voice assistants reveal concern about privacy. Since all the data collected is reviewed by humans, it is easy to understand why privacy is a major downside for some consumers.
The future looks bright for voice applications. Top companies know that they must adjust to the new way consumers obtain information. PullString reports that consumers prefer to use voice commands on all of their devices claiming that 63 percent of consumers use their smart speakers on a daily basis.
If you are seeking a viable digital marketing strategy for your business, click here for training provided by a community of proven marketing experts.
There was a time when you could visit a website, use the live chat button and have you wait ages for a reply. During those times, most firms used actual personnel. You had to wait until a member of the support team went online, read your message, and give you an appropriate response. There were times when you got the response the next day because the personnel were not around. To resolve this problem, organizations have adopted the use of chatbots.
What are Chatbots?
A chatbot is basically an artificial intelligence program that automatically replies to your queries immediately. It can either type the reponse or read it out loud. Chatbots are used to automate the customer car service experience and also other important business processes that take longer under the hands of a human agent. The chatbots rarely depend on any human support to give you a response. This is why you can get a response from a live chat feed at any time of the day.
Statistically, 67% of consumers depend on chatbots for support all over the world. Future projections already show that the number is likely to reach as high as 85%.
How Companies Use AI For Their Sales And Marketing
Artificial intelligence has made it easier for most people and firms to do business. Every business wants to make more sales and market their brand as much as possible. The use of AI today has made it easier for firms to send useful notifications to website visitors and long-time customers that are subscribers of the company.
If you are familiar with customer interactions, you know that a majority don’t like to be bothered by business reminders and alerts every time. They love their peace of mind. Chatbots are basically programmed to record and analyze data over a period of time. As such they slowly get to learn consumer preferences. This lets them send information that is useful and relevant to every customer. The AI has perfect timing and rarely finds the customer off guard or unwilling to read the reminder.
Examples of Chatbot Applications
A company like Bold360.com uses a conversational chatbot to engage their customers. The artificial intelligence adapts to the customer’s way of speaking. That way, the replies seem more natural and not forced.
Baidu has a chatbot that collects patient information. The bot asks you questions about your medical condition, then it compiles that data and provides it to the nearest physician. That makes it easier for the doctor to make a diagnosis.
Google has a chatbot that helps you do a variety of online actions. You can use Google assistant bot to make an appointment at your favorite restaurant. You can also use it to send emails and create calendar appointments.
How to Promote Products and Services using Chatbots
As a business owner, you may have tried to put in so much effort in trying to make your product and services sell much faster. As a result, you may have turned to SEO marketing, which is still part of digitization. You may have never thought about chatbots because you assume they are only for live support. However, they can do more than that.
A very good example is programming a chatbot such that your viewers or webpage visitors can search for specific products and services using an emoji.
Chatbots can also help you collect relevant customer information based on their searches. This will give you leverage and allow you to send relevant offers and news based on what interests each and every customer. In addition, you can also use the chatbots to share links to your blogs and other content, attracting more visitors to your website.
Steps On How You Can Use A Chatbot for your Marketing
The effort put into marketing by human agents can be hectic and strenuous to some extent. All the same, many companies are guilty of being too rigid with their marketing approach. Most of them will use the same tactic on every prospective customer. Chatbots, on the other hand, will automate the whole process and use a more personalized approach. Below are some of the ways that you can use chatbots for marketing:
# Make your brand proactive
Marketing success can only come as a result of implementing relevant as well as aggressive measures during the process. The good thing about using chatbots is that they will automatically take the initiative to send a welcome message to visitors on your website or social media page. This will make the customer aware of the support, which gives an outward impression that your brand is proactive.
# A Guideline through the Sales Funnel
Nurturing useful leads through the sales funnel is an important step for each and every business. However, it can also be very time-consuming. Every buyer hates having to go through a long buying process that may lead to a delayed customer care experience. The best part about chatbots is that they can gather the much-needed information and create personalized messages for customers within a shorter time.
# Improved Social Media Presence
If you give your customer care employees the responsibility to tackle and answer all customer related queries on social media, the process can be both time-consuming and expensive. You may have to pay someone to be always online all the time so that they can respond to social media messages. On the other hand, if you use a chatbot, the process becomes automatic. Your customers will always get responses on social media.
# Giving customers a more Personal Experience
Earlier we had talked about how chatbots can make communication more personalized. But how do they do this? The chatbot is usually linked to the social media profile of every customer that they interact with. This means that the bot learns everything about the customer. As such, they are more likely to suggest something that the client might like. Your customers will feel more appreciated because you took the time to know them on a much deeper level.
# Increase your Presence
Another way that chatbots can be used for marketing is by expanding your market. Your chatbot is an artificial intelligence program hooked to various social media profiles. This means that the bot can send a marketing message to anyone that’s more likely to be interested in your brand. The reach of chatbots is limitless.
How A Marketer Can Set Up A Chatbot for their Website
The first thing that you have to do before you set up your chatbot is pick a service provider. If you have some coding knowledge, you can use Facebook’s chatbot set up. I personally use MobileMonkey – which is linked to your Facebook chat. Other providers include Chatchamp, Liveperson, Amazon Lex, IBM Watson, and Outbrain.
Next, you have to decide the type of automated messages that the bot will send to visitors.
Then, include a call to action. You have to encourage people to send you texts through the chatbot.
After that, you can sit back and watch the chatbot do its work. You will have to analyze results occasionally and see how you can improve on the marketing and customer engagement.
Using chatbots is a good way to deal with your customers and bring about improved productivity and business efficiency. There’s a lot of buzz going around about artificial intelligence. Use the above ways to take advantage of chatbots in your marketing campaigns.