Online Charter Flight Booking Is the Hot New Business Idea – Learn How to Build One

Online Charter Flight Booking Is the Hot New Business Idea – Learn How to Build One

I recently bought Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vince and here is a passage from the book that gives us a peek of the hectic schedule of the world-renowned entrepreneur & industrialist:

Elon Musk Biography snippet

To some extent, any high-profile businessman can easily relate to this kind of tight schedule. But unlike Elon, not many have private jets to fly around cities, countries, continents and fulfill their duties timely.

What most businessmen have to go through is – find brokers (directly or through an agent) and negotiate prices for the limited number of charter flights, which usually take hours to days. Plus, there is no financial accountability and assurance of a safe & secure flight.

But now, they too have a solution. Charted flight booking websites like BookMyCharters, PrivateFly, and JetSetGo have made booking a private jet as easy as booking an Uber cab. These real-time online private jet booking platforms let people book private jet charters in the quickest and easiest manner. Just select your departure & arrival location, travel date & time, and the number of passengers; and get your private jet booked within a couple of minutes.

Besides instant bookings, these portals also give access to lot more options of charted flight and eliminate the concept of middleman to reduce the cost significantly.

In current dynamics, where convenience & time are of utmost importance to customers, online charted flight booking portal is a sound online business idea for entrepreneurs planning to enter the ecommerce arena.

Here is an in-depth analysis of online charted flight booking portals – business model, revenue model, and essential website features.

Business Model

business-model-private-jet-booking-portal

On the surface, these charted flight booking websites look like any other online travel booking platform. It’s only when you dig deeper does the uniqueness of a business model begins to surface.

To begin with, this online business idea can be used for following charted bookings:

  • Private jets
  • Helicopters
  • Yachts
  • Air ambulances

Secondly, every time a one-way private jet is booked, an empty leg flight (ferry flight) becomes available for the return journey. The ‘real-time availability check & real-time booking’ nature of these platforms resolves the persistent issue with charter flights industry quite effectively. Plus, travelers can get heavy discounts on these flights, since the jets would be flying empty anyway.

On these platforms, for domestic travelling, customers should be able to book charters with following details:

  • Source & destination locations
  • Type of charter
  • Journey date & time
  • Number of passengers
  • Onboard facilities
  • Baggage type & amount

For international bookings, travelers are to provide following additional details:

  • Nationality
  • Passport number
  • Visa details

Additionally, the setup of such an online business would also require you to connect with several aircraft/helicopter/yacht, etc. companies/operators of the target market and get access to their data base of flights, routes, prices, and other key details.

Revenue Model

The primary revenue channel for online charted booking portals is the service fee, which is generally cut as a commission from the amount customers pay to the flight operator. This service fee/commission can vary based on the operator, flight type, amenities, etc.

Besides commission, following can be used as additional revenue streams:

  • Monthly/Annual subscription for customers to get notification for empty legs, available seats on a booked jet, and other discounted charted flights
  • Hosting banner ads of various tour and travel activity marketplaces (as it will also be helpful for customers booking flights on your website)

Another key aspect of the revenue model worth mentioning here is the cancellation policy.

When a customer makes a booking, operators have to make a number of arrangements like –

  • Crew arrangement
  • Staff Stay
  • Ground handling

A huge amount of money is involved in these processes. So, in case of cancellation, a conflict between your business & operators may arise (or it might cause you some capital) if you haven’t thought through the cancellation charges in advance. So, do a little research to understand the market and formulate a sound cancellation policy beforehand.

Now let’s move on to website features.

Also Read: Things An Entrepreneur Ought To Know Before Planning a Travel Based Start-Up

Key Website Features for Online Charted Flight Booking Platforms

The convenience and swiftness of booking charted flights that this online business model introduces should also reflect on the website. Thus, the website should be well-structured, easy to use, quick to load, and secure. Here are some website features & tips on their implementation to help you in this regard.

An All-inclusive Search Tool

The homepage banner is the right place to put your search tool to help users begin with the booking process right away. The search tool should comprise input fields for following details:

  • Origin
  • Destination (both with autosuggest feature)
  • Date & Time (preferably implemented in Calendar view)
  • Number of passengers

Additionally, users should also be able to choose which type of charter they want to book and their trip type. Relevant options in this context would include:

  • Private jet / helicopter / yacht  (charter type)
  • One way / round trip / multi-city

Logically, these selection options should be placed right above the search tool to provide a seamless user experience.

Search Results

A grid view for search results will be ideal. Make sure that every result is displayed with key details such as price, seating capacity, and whether it is available for instant booking.

There should also be options to allow users to filter results based on parameters like aircraft type, cost, cabin height, and other aircraft facilities.

Booking

Booking process should pretty much be the same as other online travel related bookings, but with following modifications:

  • An advanced booking fee to allow customer to book flights without having to pay the full amount right away  (you can keep it as a certain percentage of the total amount)
  • Cost breakdown, and details of facilities & amenities available onboard

Also, remember to take advanced security measures while implementing the payment gateway for your charted flight booking website.

User Profile

All registered users should be provided certain features to set their preferences – flight types, amenities they usually want on their charted flights, time of the year they usually travel, which day of the week they usually travel. This data can be used to understand customers better and suggest them better flights.

Discounted Flights

You also need to build a section on your website for discounted flights to list empty legs, available seats on booked flights, etc. Here, customers can register to get notifications about these flights. Make sure notifications are sent as per user’s preferences.

Multi-country Platform

If you are planning to go multi-country (say, across Europe), then it is important that your website is available in multiple languages and payments are processed in multiple currencies.

Fleet Offered

It would also be mindful to put a distinct page to list all type of aircrafts, helicopters, & yachts you offer charter bookings for. In addition, each of these aircrafts or yachts should also have a dedicated product page which lists the facilities & amenities offered onboard.

FAQ

The uniqueness of this business model can also make it a little difficult to understand. To address that concern, you can prepare a comprehensive Q&A section that will cover all the common challenges faced by customers on your website. Also provide the feature to let users ask unique queries.

Mobile App

To make the private jet booking experience exactly like that of a cab booking, you need to provide charted flight booking service through an app as well. Make sure the mobile app isn’t an exact replica of your website. Include only the most relevant features to make it light and easy to use.

Also Read: Go Mobile First to Make Your Mark in the Saturating Online Travel Industry

Business Model Canvas- Private Jet booking portal

Conclusion

The mindset of business class is changing towards travelling. To save time, reduce travel stress, stay productive, & make impression on business partners – for a number of reasons, people are switching to private travel.

Online charter flight booking portals may be a new business idea, but given the shift in business class behavior, its future is secure & promising. For new players, this budding industry has an abundance of opportunities. All they need to do is start early & start strong by following the tips provided in this post.

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User Reviews in 2017 – Benefits, Collection Methods and Best Practices

User Reviews in 2017 – Benefits, Collection Methods and Best Practices

Brands are no longer concerned with just promoting & selling their products/services. For a sustainable future, a brand must give undivided attention to post-sale activities as well.

Collecting feedback from customers through user reviews & testimonials is a key post-sale activity that helps brand in continuously improving their strategy and keep the business running profitably year after year.

A lot has changed about user reviews since they first began to get brands’ attention. Through this post, you will get to understand the concept of user reviews better, and will also learn different ways it is being used today for business growth.

Benefits of user reviews

Conversion

According to Marketing Land, 90% shoppers consider checking reviews before making a purchase decision. A lot of product related queries can arise in potential buyer’s mind and user reviews serve as the perfect content type to answer those queries. The product description present on the website is important, but in most cases it fails to gain the trust of the buyer. It is only the reviews left by previous buyers that improve the chances of making a sale.

Search engine optimization

Usually, customer reviews naturally consist of important keywords associated with the product. Thus, having such reviews on website also help in rank better on search engines.

For example, a buyer, who recently bought an iPhone 7 from your website, may write something like “This website offers the best price for iPhone 7”. Such a review help you easily rank better in search engines for queries like ‘Best price for iPhone 7’.

Brand Awareness

User reviews can be left on third party websites like social media, forums, etc. Such websites receive tons of traffic; thus, can improve the visibility of your brand.

Users who come across such reviews will not only become aware of your brand but will also get to know the value your products offer through others’ experiences. User reviews on social media sites can act as long-term source for generating good quality leads.

Product/Service Improvement

Once collected, analyzing user reviews will help you improve your product and make necessary changes to tune it to satisfy customers’ expectations. Furthermore, it will also help you make better pricing plans.

Methods of generating user reviews

Email

Email based method of collecting user reviews is perhaps the oldest & most used way, for it is highly effective and can be used by businesses of all sizes. Email is traditional medium that customers use to interact with brands. And this familiarity also makes it more effective.

In-App Popups

After making a purchase, most ecommerce mobile apps will display a pop-up asking the user to give a rating to the product and leave a short review. A good design practice is to include an ignore option as well, so that the buying experience is not hampered.

Feedback Prompt

After a sale is made, a prompt can be displayed to enable the user to leave a review. Since most buyers tend not to type too much, therefore, it is advised to use prewritten templates, which buyers can use to fill and complete the review.

User Reviews: Monitoring & Management

Social Media

Most products generate social chatter, which can be tagged as either positive or negative. Using tools like TweetDeck, one can set filters to improve the social listening process and easily address queries that people are discussing. Furthermore, third party tools like Buffer, HubSpot, etc., can be used for an in-depth analysis of various social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Also remember, positive or negative, you must reply to feedback on social sites.

Also Read – Social Media Trends That Will be a Game Changer in 2017

Forum websites

Forum websites like Quora, StackExchange, etc., are among the platforms, where people discuss products and services by asking questions. Apart from consumers, several industry professionals & experts also participate in these online debates. So, by keeping an eye on these websites, you not only get in touch with customers but also get ideas to improve the quality of your offerings.

Business Website

Displaying user reviews on your own website will help improve the buyer’s trust. Make sure these testimonials are easily visible to visitors, as well as are coupled with a call to action.

Best Practices in regard to User Review:

  • Ask customers to provide feedback after a sale is made
  • Feedback can be asked with each delivery or while handing the bill
  • Offer incentive for giving feedback
  • Use social media to collect user feedback and know your customer’s intent
  • Always reply to negative feedback and be thankful for constructive criticism
  • Landing pages can also be used for collecting reviews
  • Provide an email address or link to your website where buyers can drop their complaints  (to prevent negative feedback on social platforms)

User reviews play an important role in building long lasting trust. To harness the power of user reviews for the benefit of your business, above-mentioned tips should be followed religiously. Feel free to share any unanswered query of yours and we will surely get back to you with a solution.

Product Selling & Customer Experience Rules are Similar Online and Offline

Product Selling & Customer Experience Rules are Similar Online and Offline

Brick and mortar businesses think that their online counterparts own some magic wand to make more sales and profits. Online shops on the other hand try hardest to match up with the level of in-store customer experience. In fact they try hard to figure out how small business owners earn customer trust and loyalty. I too pondered on the question for a long time, and came to the conclusion that both sail in the same boat and the answers to their problems  are too somewhat similar.

The point is that if you want product sales and customer loyalty, then, it doesn’t matter if you are online or offline. Both the worlds have same rules. I tried to pen down most of them; have a brief look below.

Great Returns Policy

People have all sort of reasons to not want something they earlier couldn’t imagine their life without. And it’s completely normal. What’s not normal in today’s brutal market is not having a good returns policy. A good returns policy will make customers favor you over others and also improve your mind recall.

Planning to launch an online store? This is something you cannot compromise with. In fact, highlight the same on homepage itself in BIG BOLD LETTERS.

Impeccable Customer Support

What do you do when the gadget you recently purchased is not working? You make a call to the guy who sold it to you. There may be nothing wrong with your product but people like to have someone they can speak to when something troubles or displeases them.

Buyers can’t be happy if you are not providing them with this ever ready person who is accessible 24X7 to discuss their concerns about your products; they may never deal with you again. This holds true for online as well as offline retail business too.

Latest collection

Why would anyone pick your online or offline store over some other? There can be many reasons but if you are active in an industry where style and fashion play a crucial role, then, ‘Latest’ is the selling mantra for you. Be it clothing or furniture store, shoppers are attracted towards sellers that have the newest design and collections in the market. Again, whether you are selling online or offline doesn’t matter.

Quality products

Hosting the biggest sale of the year? That’s great but don’t you dare compromise on the quality. Customers expect value for the spent amount and if it is not delivered by the product, they have strong tendency to turn hostile and never look back. That’s why maintaining the promised quality standards is of utmost importance.

Customers have the advantage of physical presence while shopping from offline stores and when they shop online they can count on images and reviews online. So, there is no getting away from this. Deliver nothing but quality.

Positive word of mouth    

Yelp and hundred other review sites are growing because people like to talk. They will talk when your sales guy will give them great service.

They will share a review when you will deliver a product before stated deadline.

In short, positive word of mouth is a sales and growth driver in the real as well as virtual world.

Word of mouth can be negative too. So, watch out for them and take timely action if you run an online store. Check out this post to learn how to bring down negative reviews.

Variety

Why do you think people favor big ecommerce brands like Amazon over small ones? Of course discount is the biggest reason but the second is variety. It has millions of products under different categories and thus rarely disappoints a shopper looking for a particular item.

Competing with such an ecommerce giant is obviously something that only few can accomplish. But you can build on your appeal by expanding your stocks and offerings. This will work whether you are online or offline.

Shopping experience

We may have moved ahead in time and technology but we still care about the little things. While shopping, we like it when attendant is quick at handling queries and checkout is fast. We like shopping experiences that are unique, whether that’s because of personal service or technological assistance.

The same goes for online shopping. People prefer shopping from online stores that give them what they want while enhancing the whole experience. Borrow online store engagement tips from top brands.

Reason to come back

Someone came to your store, made a purchase, and left. Maybe she will come back, maybe she will not. As a business, your job is to make sure that she does. Offline and online businesses are doing it by:

  • Offering discount on next purchase
  • Gathering contact information to notify exciting offers
  • Connecting through social profiles

Even if you don’t want to attract discount seekers, it would be worth it to connect with your customers through email or social media. This way, you will have valuable data at hand for future marketing strategies.    

Consistent marketing push

The advantage of ‘the only grocery store in the neighborhood’ disappeared long ago. Now, there is the supermarket and retail giants like Wal-Mart. Don’t forget the ones who make the delivery direct to your home. In such a scenario, thinking you can do well with irregular marketing investment can cost you big sales.

If marketing push is greatly needed offline, it is enormous online. So, what’s the point of thinking otherwise? Check out these 69 tips to improve your online presence and store.

Discounts and special offers

This is kind of obvious and that’s why we saved it for the last. Big online businesses seem more aggressive on this front but the truth is that the difference in pricing is not that great. Offline businesses have trimmed down their margins to become more competitive and this has paid off.

Pro tip – Never compromise on product quality to bring down price.

End note

The line between offline and online shopping is thinning as offline brands are embracing technology to enhance shopping experience. Even if we brush aside the whole technology talk, above listed rules of products sales and customer loyalty will remain the same for many years to come.

P.S – Do you think we missed a point? Be kind enough to share it in the comments section and we will include it!

FunAway (travel activity marketplace builder) gets acclaimed as Rising Star of 2018 by Finance Online

FunAway (travel activity marketplace builder) gets acclaimed as Rising Star of 2018 by Finance Online

FunAway, our travel activity marketplace website builder has been acclaimed with Great User Experience and rising star award for the year 2018. This recognition is awarded by Finance Online, a popular B2B software review platform.

Finance Online has given an overall review score of 9.4 out of 10 and 100% user satisfaction to FunAway. It is among one of the top 10 online booking software category.

FunAway was examined and compared against various competitors, after which it was awarded the aforesaid awards. They have shared a detailed review that puts light on various factors, like:

  1. WHAT IS FUNAWAY?
  2. FUNAWAY BENEFITS
  3. OVERVIEW OF FUNAWAY FEATURES
  4. HOW IT CAN HELP
  5. AWARDS & QUALITY CERTIFICATES
  6. FUNAWAY PRICING
  7. USER SATISFACTION
  8. TECHNICAL DETAILS
  9. SUPPORT DETAILS

After scrutinizing the software extensively, FinancesOnline gave a detailed analysis on our FunAway features needed for entrepreneurs to make the right decision. The tech review site has also provided a list of problems commonly faced by entrepreneur and how FunAway features help in solving these problems.

Now, all you need to know is…

What is FunAway and why is it beneficial to launch an online travel activity booking website

Online travel activity marketplace helps in connecting travel enthusiasts with local activity hosts from different travel destinations. These websites help travelers pre-plan their vacation as per their convenience.

In the US, online travel industry experienced a 10% growth in 2016, which is expected to accelerate further in the coming year. The state is similar across the world, making this online sector packed with huge opportunities for new players.

FunAway is a travel activity marketplace builder that helps entrepreneurs in building a user-friendly travel booking website, which also comes with many high-end features. Websites built with FunAway deliver rich user experience and make it easy for travelers to discover & book activities, and for tour operators to manage their offerings.

The following presentation will take you through the opportunities in online travel industry & how FunAway can help you seize them.

Final Words

Travel activity planning & booking website has huge growth prospects in the online travel industry. If you are planning to launch such a website then it is important that you act upon the information provided in the presentation. And building a travel activity website using an advanced readymade solution like FunAway can further help you save a lot of time & resources.

If you are looking to enter the online travel industry with a business idea other than travel booking marketplace, here are some bonus readings for you.

  1. Guide on Building Hotel Booking Website
  2. Business model & website feature analysis of Online Campsite Renting
  3. Online Car Renting Platform Analysis

Online Stock Image Platforms: Detailed Feature Study for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Online Stock Image Platforms: Detailed Feature Study for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Visual storytelling is the new buzzword in the internet marketing industry. Brands & individuals, pretty much everyone is betting on images, videos, & other visual content to grab user’s attention and create better engagement.

According to a Social Media Examiner report, visual marketing has almost surpassed blogging as the most effective online marketing technique. Evidently, more and more businesses are pushing for the visual content across all their online business assets – social profiles, website, blog, business listings, and so on.

Several online stock photo aggregators like Shutterstock, iStock, Pixoto, and others are already there to help businesses in their visual marketing endeavor. Furthermore, the steeply growing demand of visual content has doubled the opportunities for new players.

Infographic- Online Stock Image Business

Following is an in-depth guide for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch online stock image website; it includes the business model, revenue model, and key website features along with some  tips to stand out from the existing competition.

Business Model

Basically, stock image websites provide graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and other visual content creators a common online platform to upload their work and reach thousands to millions of online users looking for visual content.

Business Model- Online Stock Image Website

Types of visual content that you can offer on a stock image website:

  • Images (photographs, illustrations, etc.)
  • Gifs & Animations
  • Video clips
  • Vectors & icons
  • Infographics (& infographic templates)
  • Audios (for background music of professional videos)

Users can pay for & download visual content available on these sites, or just browse around to get ideas & inspiration.

Revenue Model

Most stock photos websites have a subscription-based revenue model, which lets users download certain number of images, videos, etc. over a certain period of time. Number of downloads allowed can be unlimited depending on the subscription plan. These plans can be monthly or yearly.

Apart from that, following can be used as additional revenue streams for an online stock image platform.

  • Royalty on premium content: Usually, most of the imagery is acclaimed as royalty-free on these websites, but some royalty can be charged for premium content (say rare historic photos, pictures/clips from a recent event, etc.). A part of which goes to the content creator/owner.
  • Commission: A commission based revenue model is rarely used for stock images; however, for those users who want to download only one or two images once in a while, this additional revenue stream can serve as a good one. Here each image can have a price. A commission will be cut as user pays to use it.

n  Advertisements: As mentioned above, stock image websites are also used for ideas & inspirations; thus, receive lots of visitors. So, advertisements can definitely serve as a key revenue channel. Especially for those marketplaces that are offering a database of free visual content.

Additionally, you also need to figure how to pay out to contributor. For revenue from royalty & commission it is simple; however, for subscription-based model, it would be tricky. Consider parameters like numbers of submissions, views, downloads, etc., do some math, and come up with a formula that ensures a fair payout to contributors.

Also, we suggest that you do some market research to see how existing players are approaching to this problem.

Key Website Features for Online Stock Images Platform

On stock image websites, a large portion of visitors come for ideas & inspirations. Keeping that in mind, the search tool & navigation of your stock photo website should be simple, intuitive, and easy to locate. Next two sections will briefly mention the key particulars about search tool & navigation.

Search Tool

A simple search bar with two input fields – one text field to enter query and second a dropdown to choose content type – will suffice. A key thing to keep in mind is its placement. Based on our research, we recommend that you place it on the first fold of your homepage; and in the header of other pages.

Navigation

The website header can serve as the main navigation panel (given you are not going for the modern hamburger menu style of web layout). Tricky part is to decide the elements of the navigation. There are two options:

  • Type of Content (Photographs, Clips, Illustrations, Infographics, etc.)
  • Content Theme (People, Landscapes, Corporate, etc.)

Since, the search tool already has the option to select content type, we suggest to go for the theme based navigation. Yet, it is also mindful to create a navigation that comprise both type of navigation elements to offer users quick access to all types of content.

Search Results

Unlike other online aggregators, creating search result page for stock image website will be a bit more challenging. It is because, for different types of visual content, you will have to put different sets of search result filter options. For example, color, orientation, size, etc. will serve as common filter options for all visual content (though not for audio files), but in case of video results, you may need to add length and audio bit rate as additional parameters.

Product Page

Different type of media content will also make implementation of the product page a bit tricky. For still images, you would need to integrate a Zoom tool; while for audio/video files, you need to embed a media player.

The product page should also provide users options to:

  1. Download
  2. Share on social media or via email
  3. Add to collection (explained in User Account section)
  4. Like and comment on the image/video

Note that it is also important to note that you need to apply a watermark on the visual content being published on your website to prevent its illegitimate usage.

Image Creator/Editing Tool

To make things more interesting, you can offer an image creator/editing tool to your registered users. Try to provide as many photo editing options as typically a basic photo editing tool offers.

Users should be able to download the images they create, as well as submit on the website as contributor.

User Account

Downloads should be allowed to registered users only. Here are some features you can provide to further engage registered users:

  • Collections: Through this feature, users can curate content they like while browsing your website – for inspirations & for future purchases. Users should be able to create different collections based on themes & content type.
  • Purchase history: This section will simply keep that data of a user’s download history on the website.
  • Following: The website should allow users to follow contributors whose work they like. A section labeled as Following in User Account can keep the record of contributors a user is following.

Contributor Profile

The contributor profile/dashboard should be an area from where contributors are able to manage & track their activities, performance, earnings, etc. Here are few options/tabs that contributor dashboard should include:

  • Contributions (category wise)
  • Payment history
  • Earning stats
  • Performance Analytics (in terms of views, likes, downloads, etc.)
  • Social media connect
  • Category management (with tag keyword suggestion for better reach)

Contributor Resources

This shall be a dedicated section for contributors to help them garner the maximum benefit from your online stock image marketplace. The Resources section can comprise:

  • Content submission guidelines
  • Help guides to reach wider audience with better keyword insertion in tags while submitting content and other techniques.
  • Guides on how to protect one’s content from illegitimate usage

Blog

Stock image websites can do much with a blog to engage their website visitors (not to mention the search engine advantage it offers) with Posts on visual content tools, design inspirations, how to posts, etc.

Additionally, you can ask contributors to contribute to your blogs as well.

Referral Programs

It would also be wise to run referral programs to bring in more visitors & contributors to your website. At initial stage, referral programs are really important as they help businesses in keeping the customer acquisition cost low. Offer monetary rewards to registered users and  encourage them to invite more people in their network to join your marketplace.

Also read: 7 Strategies to keep Customer Acquisition Cost to a Minimum

Contest for Contributors

Running contests for contributors is another way to get some traction on your website, as most contributors are keen to get into limelight to grow professionally. Categorize competition & distribute awards based on content type to engage more contributors.

Advanced Subscription Plans

It’s not just individuals, but businesses too that would be using your stock image website. To enhance their experience, you can offer team subscriptions. A team subscription can work like as follows– a user buys a team subscription and adds a list of other registered users to it – granting them access to download/use visual content available under the plan.

Image Optimization

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it also takes 1000 times more space in the memory; thus, take more time to load. To provide good user experience, you need to optimize visual content on your website so that it can load faster.  Here is a post on image optimization that will be helpful.

Conclusion

There is no lack of stock image websites; yet, as mentioned earlier, the rapidly growing demand of visual content creates scope for new entrants. However, presence of opportunity alone doesn’t ensure the success of a business. It depends on unique offerings & enhanced user experience that a business provides to its target audience. While takeaways from this post will definitely help in this regard, further market research & connecting with a reliable technology partner will be the key to ensure success.

 And before you go, take a quick look on the business model canvas of Online Stock Image Website Business which will definately help you in starting yours.

Business Model Canvas- Online Stock Images Business

New Age Design Challenges of a Graphic Design Company

New Age Design Challenges of a Graphic Design Company

In a market as saturated as graphic design, it’s quite difficult for a company to even make a name for yourself and build a brand that’s recognizable, let alone anything else. Being in a business branch that’s related to the internet is like you’re constantly trying to escape quicksand – there are already titans in the business who keep working on their notorious reputations and, on the other hand, there’s a ton of different startups being created everywhere on the planet.

Therefore, if you are planning on to create a business in this niche or you want to get your already existing one out of the rut it’s in, you should pay attention to the next challenges that may be an obstacle on your way towards achieving success.

Creativity within a Deadline

Creating quality graphic design material is an equivalent to creating artwork – each piece that comes out of your business needs to represent your creativity and your skills which can be quite a demanding task when you need to work within a deadline.

Creativity within a deadline

Each of your clients will require from your business to create genuine art within the shortest period of time possible and this is something you need to face and accomplish accordingly – otherwise, your ratings will fall and so will the number of your future clients.

Keeping up with Changes

We live in an ever changing world of tech advancements and it’s impossible to be in an online business if you don’t keep yourself updated in any sense possible regarding this matter. This means that your choice of equipment, all the possible tools and software you’ll use, need to be cutting edge technology that will enable you to provide your clients with quality products.

Making this selection will be quite a challenge, especially with so many different options in front of you. Every decision you make needs to be calculated and each item you decide to implement needs to increase your efficiency.

Also Read: 8 Trending Website Design Patterns For Online Businesses

Fighting the Competition

I already mentioned this in the beginning, but it’s very important for you to realize that your competition is fierce. Considering the fact that new talents are being discovered on a regular basis and that new ideas are being born every day, the amount of graphic design material that is being published will only increase in time.

Discovering New Talents

Every business, regardless of the niche you’re in, needs to strive towards constant expansion. When it comes to hiring a graphic designer amid so many options available, an average client will check every piece of info before they actually present you with a business offer.

That being said, your website and your social platforms, as well as every piece of material you publish needs to be constantly refreshed and up to date with the popular graphic design trends. In order to achieve this level of activity, you need to be on the constant lookout for best designers (basically the new talents) so that you can recruit them and make them a part of your team.

This might seem like an impossible investment when dealing with limited funds, but this is exactly where you need to direct them – towards constantly introducing new minds to your already existing team that will refresh your atmosphere and bring in some new points of view.

Staying Motivated and Inspired

With this much work that needs to be done in order to attract new clients and maintain a reputation, it’s very difficult to focus on what really matters and that’s staying motivated. You need to have in mind that this is art you’re dealing with and one of the most important characteristics of art is to be able to inspire others.

Being in charge of a graphic design branch is a very stressful position – although it sounds like a prestigious title that most people would love to have, it comes with many challenges that are not at all easy to overcome.

As a leader, you need to be capable of nurturing a healthy atmosphere in your office that will be stress-free for everyone working there, so that they can focus on creating original graphic material. Being a name in the professional graphic design industry also implies taking proper care of your artists because, otherwise, they won’t be able to work at all.

Although all of this sounds like a job for several people and not just one, it’s not impossible to do it properly. It will require a lot of patience and dedication from you, but once you get a grip of it and establish a functioning routine, you’ll find it to be a very rewarding job.

How to Use Snapchat for Marketing – Proven Tactics with Examples

How to Use Snapchat for Marketing – Proven Tactics with Examples

Snap – snap – snap. Snapchat has made more headlines than any other social network in past one year. Stories, geo-filters, spectacles – with its unique innovations, Snapchat has opened new gateways for marketers to engage users at a whole new level.

Like Facebook, Instagram, etc., Snapchat is not an all-purpose social media platform; yet the casualness & novelty of the platform and the short-shelf life of its content make it a favorite among users.

The ongoing buzz around this relatively new social network has made even the industry giant Facebook scratching its head, which recently implemented Snapchat’s story-like feature across all its social apps.

Besides innovative features, Snapchat’s constantly increasing user base also makes it a solid social platform for marketers to try their hands on. By the end of 2016, Snapchat’s monthly active user base has already reached 158 million.

How marketers can add Snapchat to their social media marketing strategy and leverage upon its innovative features to generate better customer engagement – here are some tips:

Give away Deals through Sponsored Stories

Brands offer discounts, gift vouchers, promo codes, etc. to lure customers. But how do you stand out, when all your competitors are doing the same. Using Snapchat can give you that edge.

The short shelf-life of content on Snapchat makes it a great medium for promoting giveaways & offers, as there is naturally a sense of urgency to the platform. Brands can create a series of snaps or sponsored stories for offered discounts & giveaways and share them with their target customers in the most organic way.

Sponser Snaps
Snapchat Competitions

Example: – GrubHub has set a great example to give away deals on Snapchat. Last year the brand hosted a week long scavenger hunt in which GrubHub posted a daily challenge for its Snapchat followers for a chance to win $50. Customers had to complete the particular task and send the picture back to GrubHub. 10 winners were declared in every challenge. During the contest, Grubhub’s fan following increased by 20%.

Snapchat is an ideal platform to organize such ongoing contest offers on social media.

Suggested read: Social Media Trends That Will be Game Changer in 2017

Shake hand with influencers

The casualness of Snapchat also makes it a powerful influencer marketing tool, as by nature, customers find it more trustworthy.

A regular promotional campaign on Snapchat generates a higher level of engagement than other social media platform. When it is coupled with a celebrity or a social influencer in the community, the results are bound to be better.

Snapchat Offer
snapchat Wetseal

Example: – Teen fashion retailer Wet Seal was one of the first brands to try influencer marketing on Snapchat. Wet Seal handed over its Snapchat account to a beauty Vlogger for a couple of days. Her life was documented & shared through Snapchat stories during those days, which involved her making cookies, playing with dog, going for a movie and also included a dress of the day that incorporated Wet Seal dresses. Within those couple of days, Wet Seal gained 9000 new followers and 6000 new views on their stories.

Share Behind the Scene Moments of Your Brands

Snapchat is the best platform to share unique and surprising content that your followers cannot find on any other social media network – such as video clips of product designing/ production work, brainstorm meetings, events, and other behind the scene moments. There is no pressure for going pixel-perfect in what you share on Snapchat, as the content won’t stick to your profile forever. Sharing clips of the events you have been to, the making of your products, company tours, etc. in Snapchat stories can help you connect with your target audience better.

Behind the scene snapchat

Example: -Popular brand Michael Kors used Snapchat very well during the New York fashion week. Michael Kors shared moments of the runway show with fans around the world. The content included snaps of designers, candid front-row shots, runway collection, backstage moments, after -party sneak-peek. Real-time sharing and limited lifespan of the snap kept the Snapchat audience on their toes.

Launch Products through Stories

One of the key benefits of using Snapchat for branding is that it lets you create free and informal videos. That makes it an ideal platform to share your product launches and short video tutorials on how to use your product. Being real-time & practical, this approach is one of the best ways to promote your product on social media as it allows personal interaction & helps you build deeper relation with customers. This is also a good way to get feedback from customers about your newly launched product.

Snapchat sunglasses filter

Example: – This is another example that includes the luxury designer brand Michael Kors, which strategically used Snapchat to increase the sale of its Kendall II sunglasses on National sunglasses day in June 2016. They created a custom Snapchat lens (corresponding to Kendall II Sunglass design) that could be superimposed on user’s face, allowing the shoppers to try the sunglasses virtually. The lens was viewed over a hundred million times.

Conclusion

If your brand has decided to be on board with Snapchat, make sure you plan your social media marketing campaign creatively and with out-of-the-box ideas. Snapchat features are not similar to other social media platforms, which makes marketing on it a unique practice. But on the other hand, the sense of personal connection that Snapchat provides makes it a more engaging platform, given you use it creatively.

By taking ideas from the examples mentioned above, you can easily be on your way to become a smart Snapchat marketer.

An Extensive Guide to Build In-home Tech-Support Search Website

An Extensive Guide to Build In-home Tech-Support Search Website

As gadgets are becoming an integral part of human life, people’s patience has begun to run thin if something breaks down or doesn’t work properly. In fact, according to a recent survey, one of the top 5 reasons people get stressed is because of the day-to-day’s technical issues with their electronic devices.

In addition, in 2016 alone, small to mid-sized organizations lost an average $1million due to several hours of downtime caused by various hardware & software issues. For larger enterprises, the average loss was much bigger – around $60 million. Companies are losing a sizable part of their revenue due to these mundane issues, which is why everyone is looking for ways to curb the problem.

To save individuals and companies from such tech-related troubles and losses caused by them, today there are online platforms that help them find tech-support easily. As the reliance on electronic devices continues to increase rapidly, the world definitely needs more such solution providers.

In experts’ opinion, the sector is expected to see a minimum growth of 10% in 2017, which could be easily interpreted as opportunities for new players. For aspiring entrepreneurs who want to capitalize on this growing trend of online tech-support search portal, here is the post that will guide them through.

Business Model

The main aim of tech-support search websites is to connect technical professionals with service seekers.

Business Model-Tech Support Website

This is how things work on an online in-home tech support search platform:

For service providers

  • Technicians register to the site as per their skill set
  • Mention different details like field, experience, etc.
  • Add the amount of money they would charge for every task or per hour
  • Work according to their convenience and pick location and time which is suitable
Service Provider Process

For service seekers

  • Find the service they want/ or list a job if it isn’t already listed
  • Register on the website and add different details like preference, address, timing, card details, etc.
  • A technician visits them at the given address and resolves the issue
Service Seeker Process

Also Read: Easiest Way to Clone On-Demand Service Marketplace – Must Have Script Features

Revenue Model

A tech support search portal can generate revenue through following channels.

Commission- A commission based revenue model allows the website owner to cut a percentage of the total amount received from the service seeker before releasing the payment to the technician.

Advertisement- The website owner can run on-page advertisements as an additional revenue stream.

Membership fee- Service seekers can also become members, nominal fees can be charged to the member service seekers. The perks of becoming a member is that they get extra discount on every technician visit.

Apply for the job- Whenever a technician wants to become a part of the website a fee is charged which they have to pay before becoming a part of the company.

Partnership- The owner of such a website can partner with the manufacturer as an installer fleet. The owner can yield revenue by handling the installation process of specified products of partner manufacturers.

Website features

Homepage- When a visitor opens the homepage of your website, it usually takes 8 seconds for him/her to decide whether to stay and browse or close the website. Therefore, it is extremely important to focus on the homepage design.

An in-home tech support website should keep the information on the homepage to bare minimum. All the prime services that the company offers should be kept on the homepage (with proper categorization) to make it easier for visitors to find the service they are looking for.

How it works?

There are many business models coming up these days. It has become difficult for consumers to know how one is different from the other. Thus, it is immensely important for a website to have a dedicated section to explain how their website works.

It is like taking your customer on a stroll through key features of your website and making it easy for them to understand how the website works. When looking for tech support, many customers have doubt about different factors, which is why this dedicated section is important.

Testimonials

Testimonials and user reviews are an integral part of businesses that offer some sort of service. Firstly they are useful as they help the consumer in decision making. Putting testimonials on your website is also a great way to earn customers’ trust.  Also, if you want to reap the maximum benefit of testimonials, place them as so that users can easily see them. For example – put them on homepage, right below the key details about your business.

Also Read: Business Models That Throve Online Service Sector In 2017

Well-Defined Categories

A technical service providing marketplace can offer a variety of services, ranging from computers, laptops, to Wi-Fi etc. To make it easy for service seekers to find the right service, the website must have a well-segregated section of each service they provide. The benefit of having a well-segregated section is that service seekers can easily find their specific issues and can easily list their jobs. Adding relevant picture thumbnails along with the category can help the service seeker identify the category easily.

Quality Assurance

The biggest challenge for such online platform is that they have to build trust in the customer through the service provided by the tech-support professionals, over whom the website owner does not have any direct control.

One of the ways to build trust is testimonials, which we have already discussed. The other way of building trust is by doing an extensive background check on each registered technician. Highlighting the ways you conduct an extensive check and adding the review and rating of a technician would help your online tech-support search business greatly in building trust.

Referral and credits

Provide offer to customers who invite their friends to use your website’s services. You can offer some discount to such customers that will further encourage them to utilize your service more. This way you can also enlarge your customer base.

Become a tech

Other than satisfying the needs of the customer it is very important that your tech-support search platform also has a dedicated section to allow technicians to become a part of your company easily.

A dedicated section must be in place from where technicians can register. This section should include different details to be filled out by the technician so that the company has all the details of the person working under them.

Partnership

As discussed earlier a website can include a partnership program wherein a manufacturer can partner with the website owner. The website owner will handle the installation process of the specified gadgets. The website acts as an installer fleet to increase the sales and fewer the returns of the manufacturer.

Popular Online Tech Support Search Platforms

HelloTech

  • Founded in: December 15, 2015
  • Founded by: Richard Wolpert

Computer Courage

  • Founded in: 2006
  • Founded by: Adam Schwartz

Technicalities

  • Founded in: 1999
  • Founded by: William Henderson

Conclusion

Professional technical-support service marketplace sector is growing at a fast place. As mentioned earlier, as people’s dependence on gadgets is increasing, they need a quick solution if something stops working. To cater this type of urgent requirements, there is definitely need of tech-support search portals that can quickly connect them with right technician.

The sector is growing but is still relatively untapped; making it full of opportunities for new players. And by following guidelines provided in this post, the new players can enter & establish themselves in the market rather effectively.

Go Mobile First to Make Your Mark in the Saturating Online Travel Industry

Go Mobile First to Make Your Mark in the Saturating Online Travel Industry

At this point, online travel industry looks nearly packed up. There are countless service providers for online hotel booking, local tour booking, local guide search, adventure activities exploration, etc., in pretty much every market across the globe. So, entering this already saturated market may not seem like a very good idea.

But if we look closer to see how the advent of mobile online travel booking is transforming the industry, there are definitely sound opportunities for new players.

Stats say that between 2011 and 2015, mobile online travel booking has grown by 1700%. In terms of revenue, mobile’s share in online travel bookings has grown from 1% to 18% during the same period. And with smartphones becoming smarter each day, it is certain that the mobile travel booking trend will continue to reach new milestones in near future.

US Digital Travel Sales

Now, it’s not like that existing players aren’t aware of the mobile shift in the online travel industry, but since mobile booking is a relatively new concept and the area is still unexplored for the most part, new players have as many opportunities as many the old ones.

With that said, mobile as a platform for booking tickets (via an app or mobile site) introduces a unique set of challenges for online travel businesses. Only by overcoming these mobile-specific hurdles can a travel startup make its mark in the industry. So, let’s see what these challenges are and how to curb them.

User Experience

The biggest challenge for the current generation of web designers/developers is – how to deliver a user experience on mobile, this is as smooth as the desktop. While the debate is still on, and probably will always be, there are certain modifications you can make in the UI of your travel booking mobile site/app that will make a whole lot of difference in its user experience.

Cut down the disturbance – textual or visual. A user is on your mobile app/site, only because he already knows about you. Don’t bombard him with redundant information. Only put what is needed for the transaction or whatever is the intended call to action at that point of the funnel.

Minimize the search filters to just popular categories (with separate option to access less popular & sub-categories) – or else, make your search smarter with AI and contextual search approach.

Keep the main navigation, key options, CTA buttons, etc., within the comfortable thumb reach. As smartphones’ screen size is becoming larger, doing such UI placement implementations are important to offer an unimpeded user experience.

Mobile UI

Suggested Read: UX Design Tips to Create Better Customer Engagement

Personalization

Although PC (Personal Computer) contains the word ‘personal’, it is never as personal as mobile.

So, when you are providing a service on mobile, it becomes mandatory that you offer a certain level of personalization to create better engagement. Well, what exactly you should offer depends on your business model, goals, competition, market saturation, etc.; but following are some steps and tips that are useful in this direction; irrespective of aforementioned deciding factors.

  • First off, make the app GPS enabled & integrate maps to precisely track customer’s location in order to offer localized services
  • Implement language translation and focus on cultural relevance, when making suggestions for more relevant search results
  • Leverage big data & AI to keep a track of customer’s preferences, habits, basic details, etc. and provide an enhanced usage experience every time a user interacts with your mobile app/site.

Performance

Mobiles are mobile. One moment they are in a metropolitan area, the next moment, they might be carried through a far flung area. For travel apps, it is a much likely scenario than other online service providers. So, as an online travel startup focusing on mobile, it is imperative that your mobile app/site runs smoothly even in areas with poor network. In addition, it should also be robust enough to handle a good number of concurrent users without slowing down or crashing.

Here is what your need to do to ensure above-mentioned requirements:

  • Since your app is going to use a lot of images (and that too of good quality), make sure you use best compression algorithm for image optimization
  • Pay heed on server selection  (AWS recommended), minimize 3rd party plugin integration(have key functionalities in-built in your app) and use automatic reference counting (ARC) for automatic memory release
  • Use Storyboard instead of UI View as its loading time is less; & management easier

Related Read: Improve Page Load Speed – Tips and Online Tools from Pro Developers

The Smartphone vs. Tablet Experience

Online startups often overlook the tricky little difference between the smartphone & tablet experience when they decide to go mobile; which often makes mobile look like a bad idea.

Smartphones are associated with impulsive behavior and are mostly used to make urgent bookings. Research data also agree with this – as more than 60% same day hotel reservations happen on smartphones.

On the other hand, tablets are more of a convenient replacement of laptop/desktop; thus, are primarily used for browsing & research.

Be mindful of following tips to deliver rich user experience on both types of mobile devices:

  • Make smartphone app transaction friendly. If a customer is on your mobile app, he is there on purpose; thus, no further engagement is required. So, remove the additional options/information to make transactions smooth.
  • For tablet, use responsive layout to provide an experience similar to desktop that is optimized for mobile. You can use FunAway – a responsive turnkey solution that FATbit developed to simplify the setup of online travel booking platforms.
FunAway

The Android vs. iOS Conundrum

I recently read an article, in which the founder of a travel booking business reflected that despite being on mobile her startup failed because they focused on iOS in an Android dominant market. Same mistake can be repeated by any new player that doesn’t pay heed to mobile demography of its target market.

In general, it is advised to have apps for both platforms to serve a wider audience; but to ensure that you are not stretching your efforts too thin in the wrong direction, it is better to find which platform to focus on beforehand.

Operating System Market Share

Source: StatCounter

The image above clearly tells which mobile platform you should focus on, depending on your target market. However, before making any final decision take following points into consideration:

  • Smartphone market share fluctuate with every new release, so double check before you decide which platform you should target primarily
  • Your target market may be dominated by Android but is your target audience also mostly Android users? Verify it and move ahead accordingly.
  • If you are clear which mobile platform to focus on, keep  track of the growth rate of the other platform as well, to be prepared in advance if the need arise to make a shift

Conclusion

Mobile booking is a disruptive shift in the online travel industry; and unquestionably, a favorable one for new players. But at the same time, as a new player, you should be aware of the fact that existing players are also making efforts in the direction.

So to stay ahead in the race, it is important that apart from overcoming the above-mentioned challenges, you also keep an eye on the most thriving online travel businesses & how they are entertaining their mobile audience.

In a nutshell – observe, learn, implement, & grow.

Quora Ads- One More Way to Promote Your Business Through Paid Advertising

Quora Ads- One More Way to Promote Your Business Through Paid Advertising

Quora ads have been on improvement mode ever since it got available publicly for online marketers. Recently they enhanced conversion tracking feature too, which is going to makes things easier for you. Let’s learn bit more step-by-step.

You can easily create advertisers account on Quora by visiting http://www.quora.com/business and get access to Quora Ads Manger to create & run ads.

Advertise on Quora

Notable Highlights about Quora Ads

  • Ads will be targeted by topicgeography, & platform (like desktop or mobile)
  • Unlike Google ads, Quora ads will not be keyword based
  • Ads will consists of a headlinead message, and a call to action button linked to your landing page URL (the ad content will be clearly marked as promoted)
Quora Ad

Image: Quora

  • Quora ads will run off a CPC-based ad model  – on which bid will happen in real-time
  • Users can provide feedback about the relevance of an ad appearing on a thread
Ad Feedback

Image: Quora

Related Read: Quora Case Study – The Wonderful World of Quora

Quora Ad’s Pixel Enhanced to Support varied needs of Marketers

I recently stumbled upon a new feature of Quora that will be beneficial for marketers who have been advertising on the coveted question and answer social platform. Last week, they released multi-event conversion tracking, view through attribution and updates to the reporting features.

Below we have mentioned the updates in detail.

Multi-event Conversion Tracking

Using Quora’s tracking pixel, advertisers can now track more than one conversion event. For example: Advertisers can now check how many people left during the payment process, how many people added the product to the cart, etc.

By this new update, advertisers can now optimize their marketing campaign based on where the customers are in the conversion funnel.

View-through Attribution

Some users see a particular ad on Quora and do not click on it. Rather, they prefer visiting the website directly. Now Quora will report it and count it as view through conversion.

Quora’s view-through attribution has a 24-hour timer which calculates the time between the ad impression and the time the same user converts on the website.

Advertisers have a choice to add the view through attribution to their ad campaign. It’s not a compulsory feature, but a must have one.

Finally

Quora has updated their reporting metrics where advertisers can activate or deactivate a particular attribute of the campaign. Among the list of attributes whose status can be changed are metrics of new conversion events and view through attribution.

Various businesses, marketing firms and renowned professionals have been leveraging the power of Quora for years. With active participation on this Q/A site, they make people aware of their own specializations, services/solutions so personal branding and marketing is already prevalent on Quora but in a restricted manner. With the introduction of advertisements,  they’ve got a new way to promote business on Quora; being a digital marketing company, we are equally excited.

Are you looking forward to use Quora Ads? Let us know.