If you’re someone who is researching keywords or niche topics to see what level of interest/demand there is for a potential online business, have you considered Google Trends? Google Trends shows you what is trending currently across the Web, and allows you to enter your own phrase or keyword to gauge the level of interest. Needless to say, an upward trending search term (over 5 years, say) is a great sign that you’re into a winner. You can search by time frame, country and search type. (Note that a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means that there was not enough data for this term.) Check these examples out:
Search term: ‘Golf’ (web search, global, 5 years)
You can see this is a cyclical business with most interest occurring in the spring and summer months. Golf product advertisers would look to take advantage of this seasonality by increasing their advertising budgets.
This has been a trending item over the last 5 years with the current search levels reaching peak popularity. As there definitely is demand and interest for this product – producing content relating to ‘vegan protein’ will get plenty of eye-balls. Especially if the content is relevant, up to date and answers the users questions or concerns. If you’re site is getting lots of visitors you can then use strategies to monetize your site.
Around 5-10 years ago Cross Fit was a popular fitness method. The interest has since died down – as shown above. A whole bunch of ‘Crossfit’ coaches tried to capitalize off the trend and the quality on offer wasn’t as good.
As you can see, web search for ‘online business’ has remained popular and consistent over the last 5 years. This shows how much interest people have in creating a business that leverages the power of the internet. Now check out the same term but filtered for YouTube searches:
Whereas the web search for ‘online business’ is nearing peak popularity – the interest in ‘online business’ on YouTube is not even half as popular – yet. And more importantly, it is trending upwards over the last 5 years.
What does that tell you?
It tells me that there is growing demand for online business related information on YouTube. And if you are a video person, then it makes sense to:
The point is that Google Trends that help you research and identify what is 1) trending, and 2) how popular it is The key is you want to find those keywords or niches that are trending upwards and have a popularity score of <75.
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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.
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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
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
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
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
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
If you are seeking a viable digital marketing strategy for your business, click here for training provided by a community of proven marketing experts.
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