6 Proven Business Growth Strategies for Startups

6 Proven Business Growth Strategies for Startups

Growing business is one of the most challenging situations you will face as an entrepreneur. In order to successfully grow your business, you will have to accurately gauge your current performance as well as your limitations. Attempting to expand operations too quickly has historically sunk innumerable, otherwise perfectly good, businesses.

If, however, you grow your business the right way, you will find that when the time comes you are in a strong position to embark upon a serious expansion. Below are some words of advice from experienced entrepreneurs on how you can effectively grow your business.

1. Expand Your Business by Opening in another Location

This is usually the ultimate goal when a business expands upon a rapid growth program. Opening in another location means you will gain access to entirely new markets and clientele. This can have a number of knock on effects for your business. For example, this can drive a sustained rise in sales and sometimes tapping into a new market also brings you funds for your next expansion venture.

Apart from these, opening in a new location also makes you more resistant to unforeseeable events. For instance, if your entire business is tied up in a single location, then, should anything happen to that building, you could end up in a pretty dire situation. Multiple locations means your brand can continue to operate during such times.

Suggested Read: Asset-light Business Model to Consider for Your Ecommerce Startup

2. Diversify Your Products and Services

Diversifying means broadening your range. Just as opening in a new physical location will give you access to new markets by virtue of geography, diversifying the range of products and services you offer can give you access to new markets that were previously wouldn’t have had any interest in your business. Diversifying also gives your existing customers more to choose from and more reasons to spread the word about your business.

3. Study the Competition

This is a vital consideration for businesses at all times, regardless of their expansion plans. If you don’t have a firm understanding of what your competition is doing then you will naturally find it much harder to compete with them effectively.

The information you should look for: what demographics your competition is appealing to and whether these demographics overlap with your own customer base, and how the competition is allocating its marketing resources. It is valuable to know what markets your rivals are attempting to penetrate as well as how successful they’ve been.

Recommended Reading: 25 Surprising Stats about small business (Infographic)

4. Track Your Results

All of your efforts will be for nothing if you don’t know how successful they are. Even the very best entrepreneurs rarely hit on perfect strategies every time, so it is important to know when it is useful to analyse and assess the effectiveness of your own work.

There are different strategies you can use to analyse your performance and to draw up appropriate plans of action in response. In order to do this, you will need to identify exactly what variables should be measured in order to make an assessment as to how successful you have been, as well as to determine the best way to measure them.

There are two forms of data collection; passive, and active. Passive data collection means that data is collected automatically and with no specific action required on the part of either the collector or the source of data. By contrast, active data collection requires both the consent and the knowledge of the person or people supplying the data. Consequently, sources of active data collection know that they are being measured or observed in some way and this can lead to something referred to as observer bias. For this reason, passive data collection techniques are generally preferred, these are also usually easier to gather and, providing they are gathered properly, are generally more accurate and representative of real world situations.

Once you have gathered the necessary data, and then begin the complex process of interpreting it in order to make it useful. The science of performing these analyses is that of data analytics. Data analytics is a relatively new branch of mathematics and a sub branch of statistical analysis. It is algorithm-based, meaning, because the mathematical processes required are so complex they are prohibitively difficult for a human to perform. Therefore, powerful computers are needed to take, what are often very large, data sets and analyse them in order to identify patterns and relationships between different variables. There are now companies that can perform this service for you.

5. Promote Your Business Online

A professional online offering is essential for any business hoping to compete in the modern landscape. The internet represents, by a considerable margin, the greatest potential in terms of the number of people you can reach. You should prioritize online forms of marketing above all others.

6. Offer Your Business for Franchising

If you believe that you have a winning formula for success in your field, you might also want to consider franchising.  Franchising means that you will essentially sell the essence of your business to interested buyers who will operate their own outlets based on your formula. Offering your business for franchising is an excellent way to make money while you expand. Every franchise you sell will pay a periodic fee to you in order to keep using your setup.

By and large, growing your business the right way is important in order to ensure that you can sustain and maintain the benefits.

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Future Of Caregiving Services (Marketplace Model & Untapped Opportunities)

Future Of Caregiving Services (Marketplace Model & Untapped Opportunities)

Online marketplaces have been disrupting the service industry for quite some time, and the success of marketplaces like Airbnb, Uber and HomeJoy manifests their victory in a multitude of sectors. Joining this league, a new marketplace model has evolved in recent times and is working quite well in many countries. We’re talking about caregiving sector. Websites like Sittercity, Urbansitter, HomeHero and Care.com are the most commonly cited examples of leading marketplaces for caregiving services. These platforms connect sitters and professional caregivers with people looking for varied services like baby care, pet care, elderly care.

Care services are held in high regard and placed up on a high pedestal in our society. However finding good caregivers for pets, babies or elderly have always been an arduous task for people. This is where online marketplace for caregivers comes into play. Let us take a closer look at three major areas a caregiver marketplace addresses, and understand what calls for the presence of more such online platforms globally.

Elderly Care

People all across the globe are getting old, but in particular, the population above the age of 65 is increasing. According to World Bank currently, 8% of the global population is above the age group of 65. This figure has been on a constant rise since 1986 and is expected to grow further in the coming years.

As our lives are getting more intertwined doing daily chores of our lives, most of our time is spent outside our homes. This leaves very little or no time for taking care of our elderly. According to AARP, 87 percent of seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as “aging in place”, as opposed to moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

To ensure that proper care is given to them, either someone from the family is expected to stay with them 24×7 or they need to look for a professional caregiver to take care of them. Our senior population is going through its fastest growth period in our history, so it’s probably no surprise that the number of available senior caregivers is increasing as well. Studies have shown that elderly caregiver marketplaces will see a growth of 75-80% YOY in the next few years. This brings a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch a marketplace aimed at giving care to senior citizens. Have a look at the crucial features of caregiver marketplaces to learn more about the business model, revenue streams and more.

Child Care

After elderly, the second most crucial area where caregivers are in huge demand is child care. Nowadays with both parents working the best possible option in front of them is a babysitter. However, when it comes to complete child care, a babysitter is not enough. On top of that, finding a good child caregiver is always a hassle. The fact of the matter is that this is a $48 billion industry.

Even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that this sector will have one of the fastest growing employment opportunities by 2020. Sales among privately owned firms offering child day care have grown at an astounding rate of 9% last year.

marketplace catering to child care will surely make a name for itself. Rather than going through child care services, parents could easily go through local child caregivers who have already been vetted by the marketplace and choose the most suitable professional. The best part about this is that one does not have to go through several hoops of visiting different babysitters and child caregiver firms. More importantly, industry insiders have often said that this sector tends to have really high-profit margins, on an average around 96%, which makes this a perfect business model.

Pet Care

Who doesn’t love pets? But the one problem with owning pets is that you cannot take them with you everywhere. There are times when you are going to a friend’s place, to party or a vacation out of the country. The biggest predicament in front of you is your pet. You cannot take them with you, nor can you keep them alone in the house. This is where pet caregivers come into play.  Rover, DogVacay, PawShake are few of successful care marketplaces with exquisite features for pet owners and sitters. These platforms help people find a place for their dog, cat and pets so and the owners can go on a vacation without worrying.

In USA and UK, over half of the households own a pet. Whether it is a cat, dog, bird, fish or horse – pets need to eat, keep clean, and need constant look after. This makes pet care a booming business idea. By 2020, the US pet care industry is expected to reach $96 billion. Nowadays, people tend to put as much effort into the care of a pet as they do for people. This opens a huge window for a dedicated marketplace of pet caregivers. Rather than going out looking for a trustworthy pet caregiver, they can just visit a pet caregiver marketplace.

The future is all about online marketplaces, and caregivers are one of the untapped sectors. It has a lot of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their own caregiver marketplace.  So what should aspiring entrepreneurs do is capture this market. They can choose an online caregiver marketplace solution and quickly launch a marketplace in the most preferred sector. It is important to note that the caregiver marketplace can expand to many other areas other than the three mentioned in this post. This includes general care, medical care, or even taking care of day to day events. The opportunities are vast and anyone with a feature-rich marketplace can capture the bulk of the market.

Why Millennials Want To Be Treated Differently By Travel Businesses

Why Millennials Want To Be Treated Differently By Travel Businesses

It won’t be an understatement to say that the millennials are the ones who are reaping maximum benefits of the ecommerce industry. From buying clothes to ordering food to traveling, the first thing they like to do is take out their smartphone and start searching for what they need or want. The number of millennials doing things online is so huge that they have become a different consumer category altogether, and today, we will be talking about the millennial travelers.

When it comes to millennials, the way they travel is a lot different from how people from other age groups do. Here’s a small infographic to give you a glimpse of how millennials are traveling…

Millennial traveling behavior

(Click Here To View the Complete Infographic)

So before you plan what your travel website should include, knowing what the millennials want is a prerequisite. And this is exactly what we are going to talk about today. Read along:

Millennials Want Trust

More than anything else, millennials want trust from online travel portals. It won’t be wrong to say this particular age group is immensely aware of the internet world. They know many websites show something else and deliver something entirely different, mostly towards the inferior side. To make sure they are going to make the right deal, millennials have a habit to go through customer reviews, travel journals, discussion forums and blogs.

As a travel activity website owner, it becomes your responsibility to keep a WYSWYG approach. It will also be a good idea to have all these features on your website. Let them share how was it to travel with the booking help and support offered by your website. Give them space to talk, give them space to blog, you’ll be surprised how much people love such a space. In short, let them write on your website, make community pages and ask to leave reviews.

Millennials Want Ease

Depending on the season, your portal should tell people which place would be the best choice to visit. Let us put a fact in perspective: the tourist culture is fading out, especially millennials. This is one particular age group that wants to get back to traveling. For them, ease is everything; the ease of planning, booking a trip, packing, checking on everything else that revolves around traveling. And just in case their plan gets postponed or cancelled, they want the cancellation to be a breeze too.

So make sure your website has good navigation and allows visitors to book or cancel a trip easily.

Suggested Read: Make Your Travel Booking Website Ready for High Season with These Features

Millennials Want To Be Pampered

They just don’t want to stay informed; they also want to feel special. A mere “thank you for booking with us” is just not enough. Messages such as “Welcome to <destination name>, have a wonderful stay” the moment they check in shows you care for them.  And when their trip is done, a message that thanks them for choosing you would be a nice touch. Also, sending occasional messages regarding the weather and preferable activities is also a good idea (obviously, apart from the standard SMS notifications/confirmations).

Millennials Want To Be Treated As Travelers, Not Customers

The normal practice followed by travel booking websites is that the website owners give a glimpse of a destination, and focus on selling a package. Millennials don’t like that. For them, it’s not all about the pricing alone or the convenience to book hotel/ flights; it’s in fact about what all travelers can do when they reach a destination, it’s about the value for money. Give them freedom to choose what they want to do.

Thing is, nobody wants to be treated as a typical customer. Customers are pushed round from one package to another. They come to your website because they feel you will offer something of value. If they wanted to be treated like just another customer, they’d have chosen any other website or simply decided to do things the old fashioned way.

Millennials Want Experience, Not Trips

Numerous of travel communities built across the world have clearly shown that people want to connect with likeminded people. And the case is even stronger among the millennials. They want to make memories. They have apps, blogs and everything else that lets them plan their trips, so now; it’s up to you to deliver the experience. Some people like to plan their trip around food, so their main focus is to go places and try local delicacies. Some people like to go on historical tours, while some want to have an adventurous traveling experience. And given the fact that customer experience begins counting the moment your customers log in to your website, you need to plan your website accordingly. Given the variety of activities people can indulge in during their trips, you can offer different levels of experiences to your patrons.

Conclusion

It’s always good to know what’s happening in the industry before you start tweaking your online travel booking website. The way millennials shop, eat and travel is a lot different from what other age groups do. Their taste differs a lot from the rest of the people, and they are always on the go. Given the fact that this particular age group is really good at juicing out the best of the internet, you know the millennials deserve more attention than they normally get.

10 Advanced SEO Strategies to Improve Website Rank

10 Advanced SEO Strategies to Improve Website Rank

According to Net Marketshare, 72.62% web traffic originated from Google between January 2018 to September 2018. Hence, to ensure the best performance of the website in search results, search engine optimization (SEO) is important.

As search algorithm becomes smarter, SEO strategy must also be changed. Traffic and leads can no longer be generated using the black hat SEO strategies. That said, search engine optimization strategies have gone through tremendous change in the last few years.

To keep up with changing trends, businesses must update their knowledge about SEO strategies. To help you in this journey, we present you some tips related to advanced SEO strategies, which can make your business future ready.

In this blog post, we will discuss the following:

How does the website’s Page Speed affect ranking?

Your website’s loading speed should be your priority as it can improve the customer experience. Back in 2010, Google started considering page speed on desktop as a ranking factor. Now, in July 2018, Google started using mobile page speed as a ranking factor in mobile search results. There are few things which can be done to improve the page speed such as:

  • Make sure your images are optimized for the web. The optimization can be done via Adobe Photoshop. To do so, simply click “Save for web” instead of “save”. By optimizing the format of the image, it is simply saving it in a sharper and smaller size without lowering the picture quality.
  • 301 redirects the browser from one page to another which decreases the speed of the website. To improve speed, reduce 301 redirects.

Why Mobile optimization is important?

In the past few years, mobile usage grew dramatically, as mobile phone and internet plans became cheaper. However many websites are still not designed to be viewed on mobile devices. To optimize your site for mobile devices, site structure and pagespeed are few areas of improvement. Here are some of the way to make your mobile site friendly for users and search engine:

  • Responsive web design
  • Don’t block javascript, images, and CSS
  • Optimize title and meta description
  • Optimize for local searches
  • Mobile site configuration
  • Separate mobile URL

How does Visual Elements Help in SEO?

With decreasing attention span of people, it has become extremely difficult to engage users with textual content. Also, 65% of people are visual learner which makes it even more important to create more visual content. Different examples of visual content are images, videos, and infographic.

Does Repurposing content improve ranking?

With the increasing demand for content, one of the most common content marketing and writing hacks is content repurposing. The changes can be minor depending on where the content will be used. For instance, an infographic is the best way to repurpose blog posts and articles. Some of the ways to repurpose content and optimize it for search engines are:

  • Recover data from major content campaigns.
  • Focus on customer segmentation while repurposing content.
  • Develop a strategy for old content.
  • Collect insight and feedback from current content readers.
  • Repurpose content to make it more snackable.

Link building strategies to improve SEO

Getting external backlinks is difficult. Search engines use this indicator to determine the popularity of a website. Today, most search engines use different metrics to determine the value of external links. Some of these metrics include:

  • The trustworthiness of the linking domain.
  • The popularity of the linking page.
  • The relevancy of the content between the source page and the target page.
  • The anchor text used in the link.
  • The number of links to the same page on the source page.
  • The number of root domains that link to the target page.
  • The number of variations that are used as anchor text to links to the target page.
  • The ownership relationship between the source and target domains.

How Long-tail keywords affect SEO?

A clothing brand would want to rank on the keyword “clothes”. However, will your brand ever be able to rank on just one keyword which is dominated by big brands? Similarly, a dog food manufacturer would want to rank on the keyword “dog”, but may invite search traffic containing people who are interested in general information on dogs.

To avoid competition and bring relevant traffic, using long-tail keywords is an ideal solution. For instance, your business may benefit if a person searches “best dog food manufacturer in Chicago” than “dog”. Here are two additional tips:

  • Use unique long tail keywords on each web-page
  • Avoid click-bait

How to build SEO friendly Landing page?

Getting maximum out of a campaign is not easy. Other than designing landing pages, optimizing keywords can help improve the rank in search results. This compliments the organic reach of the campaign. While developing a keyword optimized landing page, there are few points to keep in mind:

  • Determine your keywords: Start by making a list of keywords which someone might use on search engine. Combine these with other words making it a long-term keyword.
  • Strategically include the keywords in your content: If you want your web page to appear at better position on SERPs then you should optimize Title tag, Meta description, Headers tag, and Image file name.

Reasons Behind Broken Links

Broken link increases the bounce rate of the website. They make the search engine think that the information displayed on your website is not helpful for users, thus reducing the rank of your website. The main reasons for broken links are:

  • Not changing internal links when the URL slug of a web page has been modified
  • Linked a 3rd party page which they removed or moved

Make sure you take care of these factors and do not forget to change the URL.

Internal Linking for Ranking

When a web page has internal links, the search engine crawler visits the “do follow” links and also ranks them on SERPs. The most important thing to consider is whether the anchor text is linked correctly and the link which has been put is relevant to the information on the webpage. Here are few additional tips:

  • Internal linking should be relevant and useful for the website visitor
  • Two pages should not have same anchor text
  • Limit the use of “No-follow” for user-generated content (UGC) or external website

User Generated Content and SEO

When a website visitor leaves a review or you upload a client testimonial, make sure you have SEO metrics in your mind. Like if you are uploading a video review from a customer or a client, make sure you write a descriptive title with relevant keywords, add it in the right category, and use appropriate tags. This will help your content to rank on google.

Every year, Google updates the search algorithm, making it smarter and efficient. To keep up with the changes, you should know how to rank your website in a better and efficient way. Different  Search engine optimization can help businesses stay on right track and make their website ready for the future.

YoYumm Now Comes with Mobile Apps for Restaurants & Delivery Boys

YoYumm Now Comes with Mobile Apps for Restaurants & Delivery Boys

Online food ordering & delivery is one of the fastest growing markets. Worldwide, millions of people order food online & get it delivered in the comforts of their home. While the shift of food ordering sector towards the internet is welcoming for both – restaurants & customers – on the restaurants’ end, things can become a bit difficult as they have to manage a plethora of concurrent orders at once.

YoYumm, being a leading food ordering marketplace builder, already offers necessary features for restaurateurs to manage their orders efficiently. In an effort to further simplify the process, FATbit team recently launched Android apps for restaurants & delivery boys. Both these apps, with their simplified layout & feature-rich dashboard, will make order & delivery management, super-easy, super-fast, and that too, on the go. Let’s check out the major features & functionalities of both apps.

Restaurant App

Order management

Managing orders is a stressful task for it involves – checking received order, conveying order to chef, assigning delivery, check if the parcel has been delivered, and so on. YoYumm’s app has been designed keeping in mind all these tasks.

Now, managing all these order related activities has become a task of few clicks. In effect, this would save restaurateurs a lot of time, which they can spend in enhancing their services, promoting their business, and so on.

Order Management- YoYumm App

Recommended Reading: How Food Industry Businesses Should Approach Digital Marketing

GPS Tracking

With YoYumm Android app for restaurants, tracking the exact location of an in progress order would be much easier. The app is integrated with the GPS technology, which is much needed whenever a delivery service is included. The app also triggers notifications for key milestones, such as order is out on delivery, and orders is delivered and marked so by the delivery boy.

GPS tracking- YoYumm App

Assign Deliveries On-The-Go

It is not possible that the restaurant owner remains available in the restaurant at all times. With YoYumm app, owners can manage their orders anytime & from anywhere. Initiating a delivery is just a matter of two clicks – first, change the delivery status to in-progress & then select the delivery staff, which they find right for the task.

YoYumm App- Assign Delivery

Here note that in YoYumm restaurant app, owners have full control on deciding which delivery boy delivers which order. This in turn, will help them in achieving better operational efficiency.

Intuitive UI/UX for easy management

The UX of the app is designed to reduce the time and efforts that restaurant owner puts in to deliver a particular food parcel. With YoYumm app, they can manage the orders, assign orders, change the status, check the location of delivery boys, etc., in just by a few clicks. The app has easy navigation which allows restaurant owners to switch between tasks easily.

Take a virtual tour of the YoYumm’s restaurant owner dashboard

Click for live demo

Delivery Boy’s App

Check orders

Delivery boys are needed to be updated about the orders in the real-time as to when & where the order is to be delivered. They also need to keep restaurants in the loop for delivered or canceled orders. Managing all these tasks on the go can be a hassle, which often results in delayed & mixed up delivery. With YoYumm Delivery Boy app, checking orders pending for delivery, orders delivered on a particular day, etc., has become super easy. The app also allows the delivery boy to search orders by the order number.

YoYumm App- Check Orders

Change status

Maintaining a continuous communication channel with the restaurant is essential for delivery boys. To save the trouble, YoYumm app allows delivery boys to easily change the status of their order. There are four statuses – pending, in-progress, delivered, and cancelled, which delivery boys can manually select to intimate restaurants about the order status.

YoYumm App- Order Status

Also Read: What makes online food ordering marketplace and good business idea?

Check Previously Delivered Orders Log

Keeping track of the number of parcels delivered by a particular delivery boy is essential, which is why YoYumm’s app shows the list of items delivered previously.  Delivery boys can easily filter those orders according to the timeline they prefer. The app allows delivery boys to check current month’s, current week’s, today’s, or all orders.

YoYumm App- Order Log

Call the customer with one click

A direct communication between the delivery boy and the customer is also important. Understanding the importance of this feature, YoYumm’s delivery boy app provides contact information of the customer along with the order details. With one click the delivery boy can contact the customer. YoYumm has been integrated with click to call links for the ease of the delivery boy while delivering the food order.

Call Customer- YoYumm App

Cash on Delivery

In case of cash on delivery, YoYumm app allows the restaurant owners to specify whether the product has been paid for or not, so it appears with order in the delivery boy app. This in turn, automatically eliminates the need for repeated communication between the restaurant & delivery boy.

YoYumm App- COD

Conclusion

There is no denying the fact that the growth in the online food ordering & delivery industry is huge & will continue to stay so. In fact, it is expected that online food ordering sector will produce many unicorns in coming years.

To ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs continue to seize the opportunities available in the sector, FATbit has continuously worked on providing better solutions – whether it is the recent launch of YoYumm’s upgraded version, or these mobile apps. In addition, we will also launch YoYumm mobile app for customers very soon. Stay tuned for further updates.

Planning to Build an Online Dating Website/App? Check Out These Website Features

Planning to Build an Online Dating Website/App? Check Out These Website Features

There is a saying “Matches are made in heaven”, but as society is evolving, people are not meeting their special ones in parks, cafes or shopping malls and their matches are certainly not being made in heaven.

We live in an era where our social lives are getting dependent on technology. The internet now connects people who have a lack of time and dynamic pace of life. Online dating sites/apps are helping people find their soul mates or even a partner for short term relations.

For users who are not as outdoorsy as others or have an incredibly busy schedule, finding a soul mate is tough which is where online dating makes life easier for singles. Online dating Websites/apps have connected numerous people which have made it a popular place, especially among the millennials.

A few weeks ago, I heard this news of a couple who only talked on a dating app for more than 3 years recently met each other for the very first time, in front of the whole world on TV.

Some stats that showcase the popularity of online dating website/app

  • Number of Americans who use a dating app is 40% amount to approximately 40 million. The population ranges from young to old, roughly 27% of young people (18-24 year) whereas 12% of 55 to 64 years olds use a dating portal.
  • Worldwide more men (52.4%) use online dating portal as compared to women (47.6%)
  • Online dating statistics show that 20% of the current, committed relationships began online and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met on a dating website.
  • When it comes down to it, 64% of people who use online dating sites are looking for someone they have something in common with, and 49% say they are looking for someone with physical characteristics they are attracted to.

The Business Model of an Online Dating Portal

Dating apps and website typically belong to the “Family” of social media platforms, which is why special attention ought to be paid to human interaction and designing the business in accordance to user needs. The main motive of a dating website/app is to connect two people with similar preferences. It also helps users to connect with potential matches and communicate with them. Here is step wise description of the basic process of dating website:

  • Step 1: Sign up on the website or app
Sign Up on Website
  • Step 2: Check the basic preferences
Basic Preferences
  • Step 3: Check preference to find the best match
Find best match
  • Step 4: Explore all the potential matches and find the best one for you.

Top Market Players of Online Dating Website/app

Website

  • OkCupid

Founded in: 2003

Founders: Max Krohn, Christian Rudder, Sam Yagan, Chris Coyne

Investors: Andrew Boszhardt, Jr. Great Oaks Venture Capital

  •   Match

Founded in: 1995

Founders: Gary Kremen, Fran Maier

Investors: Three day rule, Zhenai

  • PlentyofFish

Founded in: 2003

Founders: Markus Frind

Investors: LikIt.com

  • eHarmony

Founded in: 1999

Founders: Neil Warren

Investors: Sarofim Fayez and Co., Sequoia Capital, TCV, Tuputele Ventures

Apps

  • Tinder

Founded in: 2012

Founders: Justin Mateen, Dinesh Moorjani, Sean Rad, Jonathan Badeen, Christopher Gulczynski

Investors: VINA

  • Bumble

Founded in: 2014

Founders: Andrey Andreev, Whitney Wolfe

Investors: Chappy

  • Coffee meets Bagel

Founded in: 2011

Founders: Dawoon Kang, Soo Kang, Arum Kang

Investors: Azure Capital Partners, CRCM Ventures, DCM Ventures, Lightbank, Peng T. Ong, Quest Venture partners, Sandy Cass, WE Harper Group

  • Grindr

Founded in: 2008

Founders: Scott Lewallen, Joel Simkhai, Dario Fazlic

Investors: Kunlun

Revenue Model

It is very important to have a revenue model for the website to function smoothly and to cater to the end motive of the owner.  The website owner can, according to the features of the website/app include preferable revenue model.

In case the membership of the website/ app is paid the revenue channel is through the sign ups and can include other revenue streams for extra income. If the membership of the dating website is free then the owner can choose among the below-mentioned models to earn maximum profits along with customer satisfaction.

Website Revenue Model
  • Paid membership

While most dating website/apps are free, some prefer their users to pay for the services on a monthly or yearly basis. Though the paid membership model adds up the revenue, but may not garner huge traffic on the website. The users of paid dating website/app are usually looking for higher quality of services and more serious type of dating.

  • Free Dating Revenue

Usually, dating websites/apps prefer users to access their services free. A free-website/app encourages impulsive sign-ups. This model gives a boost to a number of users but does not bring automatic revenue. It is essentially important for these website/apps to inculcate a revenue stream into their system like below: to make the profits.

  • Advertising

This is the most common way any website/app earns revenue, still, most dating websites/apps use advertising as the top revenue source. Most advertisers and dating sites prefer the CPA (Cost per action). To yield more revenue from this model and to increase the odds of success, display ads relevant to dating such as florist, candy store etc.

  • Digital Gifting

One of the best ways to earn revenue on a dating website is by allowing users to send each other digital gifts. It is one of the latest ways by which dating websites/apps are earning revenue. Allowing users to send gifts to another user will surely stand out while introducing themselves or as a sign of gratitude. The digital gifts can be of many kinds for example – greeting cards, stickers or vouchers from advertising partners.

  • Add ons

One way to earn extra revenue on a dating website/app is by offering access to extra tools or content at a small fee. For the success of this revenue model, websites/apps need to keep multiple payment options.

Website Ad Ons

Example: Let user pay for a boost to show on maximum searches, allowing users search potential matches, and see more information about the potential match.

  • VIP Membership

Some dating websites/apps offer two tier memberships, where users can sign-up free and use basic features or pay for VIP membership that provides them additional benefits. Dating websites need to be sure that they offer enough VIP features to justify the cost of the membership.

Critical Website/app Features for Online Dating Portal

Before any entrepreneur starts a website/app, they should check the features of their competitors. There are many dating websites/ apps in the market, and in order to succeed it is very important to have unique features that attract the attention of the users.

FATbit did an in-depth analysis of dating website/app. We have mentioned key features that every website/app should have and advance features which will make your website/app stand out among the others.

Basic Features

  • Check preference

The basic aim of dating website/app is to find the perfect partner according to a person’s choice. To check if the person has the same preference, the website/app should provide a well-planned form. Some of the questions which should be included in the form are – the preferred sex, age, type of relation, etc.

There are a few dating websites/apps which have a detailed preference list, for example, OKCupid asks 15 questions to understand your personality and your ideal personality to find the best match for you.

Calculate Best Match
  • Instant messaging

A communication channel is one of the most important things on a dating website/app. When a particular person likes another person, they should have the option to send messages to each other. Instant messages help in maintaining communication channels between the members and helps in knowing the other person well.

While most of the website/app provides an instant messaging feature, Bumble allows only the girl to make the first move to start the conversation. So if a girl does not ping the partner there would be no communication channel.

Instant Messaging Feature

Also Read: Extensive website study of Travel Q & A platform

  • Check Visitors/likes

Not everybody can be all the time on a dating website/app, which is why they want to check how many people checked their profile or liked them. Out of the whole lot deciding which is the perfect one to talk and date is the main question of a dating website.

Only a few dating website/app like OkCupid and Match allows users to check who checked your profile or who liked your profile.

Likes
Visitors
  • Location Specific

People prefer to find the right partner close to their proximity whom they can meet and understand the personality and inner self of the person. The dating website/app should be specific to the location. First, it should determine the location a user is in and should find matches in close proximity. The user should also be able to change the level of proximity to find the match.

Every Dating website/app is location specific as it eases the process of finding the perfect match near you.

Location Specific
  • Anti-Fraud screening

To know if the person making the account is real or fake, dating website/app should install a feature like authenticating mobile number etc. Make sure all the members on your website/app are real as it helps in deciding the fate of your portal.

Not many dating website/app screen every user but most of them allow you to sign-up with your Facebook profile which is one way to check the authenticity of the person.

Advanced Features

  • Smart Photos

One of the ways to identify the person is by the picture, so all dating sites provide a feature where users can upload multiple pictures. One way to judge whether you like the person or not is by the picture they upload and the description they write about themselves. To reduce the efforts of the user, website/app can activate an algorithm which organizes your pictures to put your best face forward.

  • Disappearing short video

For a dating app to become popular the website/app owner needs to think of features which are outside the box. A feature that attracts the consumer is what is required for the success of dating website/app. Allow users to upload a snap style video, a short video to their profile which disappears after a few hours. This video can describe the personality of a person while also maintaining the privacy as it disappears in few hours.

Also Read: Creative tools for video storytelling and brand marketing

  • Missed connection

Every user joins dating website/app thinking and wanting one of the million connections would turn into a real connection. Everyone wants the dating to shift from virtual world to real world. Give access to a feature where users will get a notification if a member crosses path in real life- like a shopping mall.

Shortcomings of Online Dating

Every business comes with some or the other shortcoming. How every entrepreneur handles those shortcomings decides the fate of the website. Below mentioned are some shortcomings which need to be addressed by every entrepreneur who is planning to start an online dating website/app.

  • Fake profiles

As online dating is easily accessible and free, anyone can use the website/app to be whomever they want to be. Most online dating portals do not require identity proof and if they do, it is limited to basic information which does not prove a person’s credibility. So it may happen that the person you like may be falsifying information such as name, Physical attribute, interests, relationship status.

Steps dating portals can take to reduce this challenge: –

  • Personal id proof required to sign up into the dating website
  • Have feature for users to report a fake profile

Conclusion

Many of you would be pondering that there is a huge number of dating websites/apps that fit every need of human being. Still, human’s imagination has no bounds and we have a great field for the creation of innovations which can make a breakthrough in the online-love industry. It is very important to understand that if you are planning to build an online dating portal and want to make it successful, you have to be decked-up by stiff competition. Smart and out of the box strategies can help your business to succeed.

How Instacart Manages Healthy Profit Margins in the Low-Yield eGrocery Sector

How Instacart Manages Healthy Profit Margins in the Low-Yield eGrocery Sector

Instacart is among those online grocery pioneers that don’t need any introduction. Founded in 2012, today, it has become a household name across the US. In 2015, Instacart also topped the list of Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies. So far, the company has acquired funds of $711 and also gained a valuation of $3.4 billion earlier this year (March 2017).

All these numbers prove that the company has a thriving present & a promising future. But the big question is – how does Instacart manages positive profit margins in the tough online grocery market, where other startups have hard time even surviving? How does it overcome challenges inherently associated with online grocery businesses?

The answer lies in the fact that Instacart has learnt a lot from the mistakes of failed online grocery businesses that came before it. For instance Webvan, which focused on aggressive expansion without proving its sustainability & scalability, and also tried to own everything (warehouse, logistics, etc.), instead of aggregating resources.

In a recent interview, Apoorva Mehta (Co-founder, Instacart) also said that – Instacart makes good money because it owns nothing. No inventory, no delivery vans, and no store whatsoever. Today, this is what we know as the asset light business models.

Besides, learning from others’ mistakes, Instacart has also constantly worked on enhancing the online grocery business model in a manner that ensures more earning without screwing up the customer experience.

Let’s get into details on how the online grocery mogul manages a profitable stance in this challenging sector:

Premium Subscription

Instacart premium membership is a program in which the subscriber pays a nominal additional fee once a year, and gets unlimited delivery on all orders above $35. The lump sum that customers pay for availing premium delivery services for an entire year constitutes the major portion of the company’s revenue.

Another huge benefit of this service is that it ensures Instacart customer loyalty. For customers too, it is a very welcoming change, as not only they are saving some money but also don’t have to worry about delivery charges everytime they order groceries online

Contract Workers

Besides being an asset light business model, Instacart has also brought the flair of gig economy into their business. The company has dedicated shoppers working for them on contractual basis, who assist customers in their shopping, and are aptly called the contract workers.

The shoppers get paid for the number of orders they complete in a week. By hiring these contract workers, Instacart smartly saves lots money, which it would otherwise spent on fixed employees’ salaries. Like a wise man once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned,”

Items per Minute

“Items per minute” is an innovative strategy by Instacart which enables shoppers (contract shoppers) to put more items into customers’ shopping cart in a window of sixty seconds. The key to this is an algorithm at the back-end, which sends shoppers to the stores (listed grocers) whose layout they are most familiar with.

Naturally enough, this saves shoppers the unnecessary time spent on searching for the right aisle to find the required items. The more items a shopper can put in his cart, the more orders he can execute in a day.

Advertisements

On-site advertisements may not sound as innovative as Instacart’s other money-making/saving initiatives, but how the company capitalize on them, is worth knowing for entrepreneurs looking to increase the profit margins of their startups.

Instacart leverages its brand name (& the industry it belongs to) quite smartly. Instead of hosting ads from 3rd party ad networks, it hosts its own ads and target big brands of the consumer food industry – like Pepsi & Whole Foods – and makes lots of money with considerably less hassles.

Suggested Read: Why is Online Grocery Delivery Service the Next Pedestal for Entrepreneurs?

Conclusion

It is evident that there’s much to learn for startups from the success story of Instacart – be it of online grocery sector or any other ecommerce industry. Instacart has proven that a business can thrive, no matter how difficult the market is – but only if it stands its ground and continuously strives towards improvement.

And it is only for these reasons that while many online grocery stores are struggling to keep their cash flow neutral (let alone positive), Instacart is growing at an impressive rate. And the strategies discussed above prove that succeeding in the online grocery sector isn’t that difficult a nut to crack. And as an aspiring entrepreneur, if you need some morale boost, this is it.

What Startups Can Learn from Grubhub’s Success Story?

What Startups Can Learn from Grubhub’s Success Story?

With 9.18 million active diners, almost 300K daily orders, 75K restaurant partners, and presence in over 1,100 cities across the US & the UK, Grubhub is undeniably one of the most impactful online food ordering & delivery platforms today.

Being one of the pioneers of the online food ordering industry, not only has Grubhub simplified food ordering for millions of people, but has also paved the way for the next generation of food ordering websites across the globe.

Year over year, the company has devised impeccable growth & marketing strategies; and, in turn, has gained continuous success – whether it is in terms of user base, revenue, sales.

Revenue of GrubHub

Besides these impressive growth stats, Grubhub’s merger with its competitor Seamless, its IPO, and recent acquisition of Yelp’s Eat24 have turned out to be very smart moves, which have played a crucial role not only in the success of the company, but of the entire industry.

Here is the success story of Grubhub that depicts how the company has enjoyed continuous growth over the years by making right decisions at each stage (from ideation to expansion) and in regard to key business operations. Not only is it worthwhile for online food ordering startups, but for the entire startup ecosystem. Let’s get started.

Ideation

Matt Maloney & Mike Evans launched Grubhub in 2004 after experiencing the lack of a streamlined dinner ordering service, which wouldn’t require them to call restaurants to ask for menu and then read their credit cards & address to place the order.

Back then, they were working on a rental real estate search website, instantly realized that there can be similar service for restaurants. So they began collecting menus across Chicago, and Mike wrote the initial site code, and Grubhub was live (in Chicago).

Takeaway for startups

The first takeaway here is pretty straightforward – build something to solve a problem; or if a solution already exists (phone ordering), then enhance it (online ordering). To train your brain for such kind of thinking, I highly recommend you to read Zero to One: Notes on Startups by Peter Thiel.

The second takeaway is that entrepreneurs must learn cross usage of growth agents across industries, which is essentially what Matt & Mike did with the idea of online real estate listing. The practice doesn’t have a standard name yet, but recently Elon Musk referred it as ‘cross-fertilization’, when SpaceX ’s technology was used at Tesla for better operational efficiency.

Execution

Matt & Mike didn’t start with the commission-based (now a time-tested one) revenue model for Grubhub; instead, they offered restaurants a premium placement on their marketplace website, and charged $140 for 6 months.

But soon enough they realized that this idea wasn’t clicking with restaurants; so, they brainstormed a little & decided to implement a commission-based model (10% commission on each order), which till date has proven effective for the company.

Takeaway for startups

Revenue model plays a major role in deciding the fate of startup. Therefore, entrepreneurs must thoroughly understand the market to pick the most fitting revenue model for their business idea. Additionally, to maintain profit margins they should use additional revenue streams (such as display ads) in conjunction to the primary revenue channel.

Related Read: How Instacart Manage Healthy Profit Margin in the Low-yield Online Grocery Sector

Funding

Once Grubhub became a hit in the local Chicago market, it was time to take it to other US cities. But Grubhub, still in its nascent stage, didn’t have sufficient funds for an expansion. So, the team tried approaching some venture capitalists.

Although most VCs didn’t say no to their idea, they didn’t fund it either. The founder duo was aware that time is more precious than money (as the idea was already out for copycats), so, decided to bootstrap their expansion to San Francisco. The move, though a bit risky, played in Grubhub’s favor and also got them their first funding one month later.

Takeaway for startups

Acquiring funds are crucial for startups, but they shouldn’t solely rely on it. Entrepreneurs must learn to interpret time’s value into money & act accordingly. Basically, money is important but your conviction comes first.

For instance, here at FATbit, we run an initiative called YoSuccess, where we feature successful early-stage startups from across the world. More than 80% of the startups listed on YoSuccess are bootstrapped.

Suggested Read: A Fundraising Guide for Startups to Find the Right Investors

Expansion

Grubhub entered the San Francisco market in October 2007, and their bold move of a self-funded expansion was undoubtedly inspiring. However, how they approached it brings a different lesson altogether for startups.

From the start, Grubhub team was aware that expansion to a new market will be difficult. Not just because of the lack of funds, but also because they were not locals there (like in the case of Chicago). And online food delivery, being a hyperlocal business, requires extensive local market knowledge for apt execution. So, they hired a location manager for San Francisco, who physically went to restaurants to sign them up for Grubhub and bit-by-bit built company’s network there.

Takeaway for startups

Every market is distinct; so what works in your native market won’t necessarily work in others. So, before entering a market, entrepreneurs must analyze the unique nature of the new markets, and execute their expansion plan accordingly.

Also Read: How to Ensure That Your Product Gets Adopted by Masses?

Marketing

One of the major reasons behind Grubhub’s successful expansion to San Francisco was their effort in offline marketing (such as posters/banners at transit hubs, buses, subways, where their prime target audience is bound to pass through). And over the years, this approach has paid them well. They know that offline advertising can work well for their business, thus, distribute their marketing efforts between online & offline channels aptly, instead of just focusing online, like most startups do these days.

Grubhub has also kept a keen eye on its competitors, especially Seamless (now a partner), which was doing pretty well in New York in early 2010s. Grubhub closely studied Seamless’s efforts towards product enhancement & marketing, and implemented similar strategies for its own growth.

Takeaway for startups

Don’t be a part of the rat race. Understand the nature of your business and decide which marketing channels would be most beneficial. Also, spend some time & effort in competitor research, learn how they are progressing, and map out sounder product enhancement & marketing strategies for yourself.

Technology

Since its inception in 2004, Grubhub has constantly worked towards improving its technology to provide better customer experience. For instance, in 2010, after observing a rapid shift towards mobile, the company launched its mobile app, quite timely.

Around the same time, Grubhub also sensed the need of a tablet app for restaurants, in order to help them manage the bulk of orders they were receiving from the website (for the same reasons we also recently launched restaurant & delivery boy mobile apps for our food ordering portal builder YoYumm). Besides confirming and completing orders, the app also allowed restaurateurs to update menus, business hours, etc. Overall, for their restaurant partners, it was a very welcoming technology-enabled change, which down the line aided in company’s growth.

Takeaway for startups

Updating your business with latest technology is crucial. Entrepreneurs must keenly observe and also anticipate customers’ needs and then ponder upon how the latest technological advancements can be used to address those needs in the most satisfactory manner.

Customer Support

While most ecommerce businesses trumpet about expedite 2-day or next-day shipping, Grubhub and other food ordering & delivery platforms have to deal with customers who expect their orders to deliver within the same hour or so.

To ensure that 60 minutes, Grubhub has hundreds of customer care executives at their Chicago headquarters & automation tools to manage orders & delivery across the US. If the order isn’t confirmed within 5 minutes or if it is not out for delivery in 20 minutes – the company proactively sees what’s wrong and fixes it to ensure customer experience isn’t hampered.

Takeaway for startups

The ultimate key to the success for a business is to deliver exceptional experience to customers. For that continuous investment in customer services is of utmost importance, whether it is by integrating new technology solutions (like automation) or by building processes that proactively solve common problems faced by customers.

Conclusion

All the success that Grubhub has gained over the years is primarily attributed to their approach of never stopping to explore new territories to improve their offerings. Its delivery service for restaurants that don’t offer their own delivery, hiring of independent delivery contractors, and recent acquisition of Eat24 (after which Grubhub has a hold on 50% of the US market); are all examples of this never-stop-improving approach.

Grubhub success story is lesson for every entrepreneur & business enthusiast that teaches how through moving ahead step by step with conviction, perseverance, and focus on consumers help startups in achieving heights they dream of.

Before browsing away, have a quick look on Grubhub’s timeline:

Grubhub Timeline – Major Growth Milestones

2004 – Launched in Chicago

2007 October – Expanded to San Francisco

2007 November – Received $1.1M Series A funding

2010 – Listed among Inc. 500

2011 August – Acquired FanGo – Mobile ordering & payment solution provider

2011 September – Received $50M Series E funding (total funding $84.1M)

2013 May – Merged with its main competitor Seamless

2014 April – Went Public

2014 June – Started offering its own delivery service in over 50 cities across US

2017 August – Acquired its main competitor Eat24 from Yelp in $287.5M & gained 50% of US online food ordering & delivery market

Reputation Marketing Tips For Small & Local Businesses, Professionals, Big Brands

Reputation Marketing Tips For Small & Local Businesses, Professionals, Big Brands

Although good online reviews and reputation is equally valuable for all businesses and individuals of the modern age yet how online reputation impacts their businesses and professional/personal lives is completely different. Likewise, the practices to manage online reputation and strategies to deal with negative reviews too differ considerably  in different cases. This post throws light on the fact that everything that has a presence in the online world has to maintain an online reputation.

The strategies how every niche will maintain good reviews and control the damage of a bad review are different in many ways, like,

  • The level of risk is different
  • The ways of damage control is different
  • After effect of good or bad review is different
  • Strategies to maintain or handle review is different

Due to this diversity , it is important that we segment our article on how each one of them (individuals, small/local businesses and big brands) can handle and maintain a good online reputation.

For Individuals / Professionals

No matter who you are, a celebrity or a certified professional or  a student, all are entitled to face one or the other criticism in day-to-day life if they are online.

For celebrities, they do not have to do much to build their brand image, as it’s created easily by fan, followers or haters. They just have to hire a good PR firm to leverage the publicity they get online.

But for lawyers, doctors, and other such professionals, who won’t hire any PR firm to manage their public image, creating their online presence and keeping it safe is their own responsibility. And, avoiding it is not an option in this day and age, as people nowadays check places on Google before reaching there.

People check places to get directions, read user reviews online or just try to find social media profile, and Google names before going to a new doctor or a gym coach. When they Google you, they get to know pretty much everything said by anyone for you. Five things you ought to remember being a professional in the same boat are as follows.

  • Try and proactively place yourself on every business listing page or places where people would be searching related to your profession like LinkedIn, Healthgrades, etc. It is very important that you appear on the choicest platforms when they make a query similar to your work. These platforms rank higher in search engine results too, so make complete sense to you.
  • Even though you must be promoting yourself on different websites, business listing platforms or forums. It is immensely important that all the content distributed on varied platforms is available for the viewer at one place too (can be your own website or a social media page).
  • Everything that you write on the internet matters, hence be very careful while commenting or writing about anything online.
  • Assess search engine results for your name. Consider and take action against the negative reviews or any unwanted search result.
  • In case you have already got a negative review, first reply to the review positively and afterwards put all your efforts to create more of positive online resources to push down the negativity.

Online negative reviews are unavoidable but it is important that the customer hears back from the professional as soon as a complaint goes live. Handling wisely may suppress the negative aftereffects of that review and save you from a big negative situation (potentially). Look below the example of aptly handled comment.

Online Negative Reveiws

Small Businesses

For small businesses, creating online presence is fairly a new concept, as they’ve been ignoring it for a long time. Till date, there are two type of small businesses,

  • One, who have created a website for themselves, but they do not bother much to update it.
  • And the other ones that haven’t yet managed to take out the time and money to create a website.

First of all, online reputation is more than creating a website. Secondly, reputation management is important for all small businesses, whether they have a website or not.

The level of management, the number of cautionary steps a small business has to take and the level of risk involved in it, will  depend on the scale of operations. If you are a small business catering to local audience, a one page website is enough for brand building as local customers mostly like to visit their favorite sellers personally and in-store service matters more to them. But, it doesn’t end at creating a website, you must update it regularly too. Few more reputation marketing tips for small businesses to manage their online reputation are following.

  1. First of all, be proactive.
  2. Focus on local SEO strategies to improve search engine presence of your business.
  3. Make sure you blog regularly ( if you own a website).
  4. Not a big problem if you don’t have a site at all or you can’t invest time in both, a website and a social media page for reputation building. But, at least be available on other platforms (although a social media page is the best and least to do). The only condition is- you have to be active on your page (web/social) and share the right updates for your target audience on a regular basis.
  5. You can build your online presence in many ways, like listing your business on business listing websites, creating groups and pages on social media, etc.  In short, create a presence on relevant and niche related websites.
  6. Stay focused while sharing content on your profile or website. It’s going to create an impression for good so define a consistent approach.
  7. The best form of marketing is word of mouth marketing so these businesses must ensure that the customer service is good. If you own a local business, you can directly communicate with customers and handle complaints, that may save you from a future comment, which could go live if not entertained.
  8. Social media platforms are the best way to connect with your potential customers. Do not neglect them. If creating content frequently seems difficult to you, use creative ways to repurpose social media content.
  9. Respond to every online review especially the negative ones quickly and try to offer a solution rather than justifying your part.

The main reason why local businesses ignore online reputation is because the market size is small and the target audience is specific to a certain area. But the notions have changed, as the size of the target audience is small but everyone nowadays is tech-savvy. Even if  they don’t check you online before visiting you, they know sites like Yelp and Foursquare where negative reviews can be shared if they didn’t like your product/service.

One thing you must know about reputation marketing is that to have online reputation management strategy in place is an advantage that helps at the time of reputation repair. For instance, you can also make good use of generic and impartial reviews to gain more popularity. The engagement you raise and the mentions , likes, shares, clicks you raise this way can’t be omitted from web and may help in reputation repair in future (when a new negative review is submitted by any user). How a local restaurant “The Spice Cave” used a neutral  review  of past is an apt illustration of it. The restaurant seized the opportunity and  utilized it to build a loyal customer. The customer in her review complained regarding a specific dish, the management on personal level ensured that they have noted the preference and gave an additional 10% discount for dine in order.

Such practices not only change customer’s perspective but also convert a complainant into a loyal customer. There is an example below.

Customer Rating

Also Read: How Local SEO is more about Monitoring Online Reputation – The Complete Timeline

Big brands

Needless to say, every big brand has enough online presence, thanks to their marketing teams. They have a well-designed website and updates social media accounts on every platform. Every brand has a unique strategy, as per which their reputation marketing is handled. These strategies are laid out very carefully as one wrong move can rupture the customer base the brand has been creating for so long.

Let’s refresh few facts about established brands before jumping on to the story of their reputation.

  • The market size of big brands is huge, which is why addressing to each and every review of customer is a difficult task.
  • Big brands have all the resource for repairing if any damage is done.

-Every negative review or comment has the potential to get lot of attention as the number of followers in their network is huge.

A well-laid strategy is needed to control the damage and protect the online reputation of coorporates, big brands. Or else there are chances to lose a big chunk of customer base in the blink of an eye.

As the big brands have created a name and the status in the market, customer do not expect bad services or product from them. The customer trusts a big brand name blindly and can be upset on the slightest thing given their stature in the market. They can forgive a local seller for poor customer service but may never forget or forgive brands for the same reason. Expectations are as huge as one’s business stature and when something goes wrong, they are usually upset beyond compare.

Big brands also need to understand that there are  many competitors in the market, customers can easily shift from your brand to the next brand seeking better service. This is why big brands need to be very careful what they offer, how they offer.

Following are few strategies a large scale business must follow in order to proactively build, monitor and maintain their online reputation.

  1. Use monitoring tools like Google alerts, Social mention, Trackur etc.
  2. Ask your happy customers to leave a feedback or review on your social media platforms / sites. Try various ways to collect user reviews as it can get you the maximum attention  of relevant audience.
  3. Create an incredibly easy path for your customer to write a review for your business.
  4. Be active on your website and social media profiles.
  5. For big brands responding to negative reviewsimmediately is more important than that for smaller businesses. Slightest delay can cause measurable harm in terms of brand trust, popularity and loss of customers.
  6. A dedicated department for grievance redressal as this is one of the best ways to interact with complaining customers.

There are three ways big brands handle customer review on social media: – Best, Good and Bad.

Best

The best way to engage customer and maintain an online reputation is by going out of the way for the happiness of the customer- JetBlue airways recently proved it. A customer jokingly asked for a parade to greet her, when she arrives home. Jet Blue Airways Social media team sent the information to the airport where she was about to reach and they arranged a little welcome home parade

Welcome Home Parade

Further read: Defend your online reputation by bringing down negative reviews

Good

Whole food market has nearly 4.86 million followers but they do not only post promotional updates but also engage with complaints for better customer service. See the image below

Whole food market

Bad

British Airways has 1.09 million followers, and handling this big community of followers is no game. You can be flooded with complaints for the slightest matters. Following is an example of such complaints and how British Airways  handled it, is the most apt way of handling such grievances.

British Airways

This tweet was seen by nearly 76,000 users on Twitter.

Conclusion

As the count of internet users grows day by day, online reputation management becomes crucial for one and all, including professionals, local business and big brands. Having an ORM wing in place is somehow a necessity, no matter how established or new you are on web.  With more and more customers actively sharing and looking out for doctors, meal delivery, salon and various such services/sellers online, it has undeniable for everyone from brand to individual, to have a successful ORM strategy.

How to Use Big Data in Content Marketing for Improved Results

How to Use Big Data in Content Marketing for Improved Results

When brands devise a content marketing strategy, it is done for the masses, hoping that it would go viral. However, rather than shooting in the dark, and basing the success of the content marketing strategies on how viral the content has gone, the current scenario demands a more targeted approach.

Usually, while creating the content marketing plan, businesses hardly pay much heed to who their target audience is, what type of content they are looking for and which content will offer best results in terms of new customers.

Of course, it is not the recommended approach, but in the rush of doing more with less, brands create a diverse content marketing plan and hope that it will stick with their target audience.

Amid the rush of producing more and more content to please search engine bots for improved ranking, to some extent, this approach is inevitable. However, today, we have big data to help brands narrow down their targeting even with the aforementioned rushed approach.

But, what exactly is this big data?

Big Data is the sheer amount of information that users are generating every second online as well as offline. With each click, swipe, like or share, some amount of data is being generated that can be used by brands and businesses to make informed decisions on how users are using their services.

All this data is giving us a small bit of information on consumer behavior, their likes, their dislikes, etc., which can be used by businesses and brands to better target them. Now, rather than wasting resources and puttering randomly created content, brands should use data at their disposal to target the content more efficiently towards users who really matter.

Before we delve into use case of big data in content marketing, first let us look at the amount in terms of numbers that will allow you to understand its magnitude.

  • More than 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years alone.
  • Currently, we are outputting 2.5 quintillion (1012 million) bytes of data every day.
  • Americans use 2,657,700 GB of internet data every minute.
  • Wikipedia users publish 600 new page edits every minute
  • YouTube users watch 4,146,600 videos every minute in 2017.

Related Read: Various Metrics to Measure Content Marketing Success

It is estimated that just 12% of the overall data being generated is currently used by data scientists and the rest 88% is available out there to be used as valuable information.

For example, take Facebook. It has the world’s largest database of information about consumers and their likes. It uses this data so that the brands and businesses can better plan their campaigns on the social networks. So if Ford company wants to launch a campaign for their upcoming car, Facebook would allow Ford to just target users that are car enthusiasts, or looking for a car. This way the content marketing strategy will work more efficiently and will offer better ROI.

That said, here is how you can use Big Data in accomplishing three main goals of content marketing:

Finding targeted audience

If you know who is more likely to read your content or even might be interested in the product/ service that you are offering, you are more likely to get better results on your content marketing plan. You can track and monitor the progress of certain metrics which will help you offer better insights on who to target with your content marketing plan. These metrics include:

  • Search for brand/business on search engines
  • Followers on social media
  • Mentions on social media
  • Traffic sources
  • Overall Visibility

By examining this data, you can analyze the behavior of your target audience, what they are talking about and which type of content will be most effective on them.

Conversion

There is no denying the fact that content marketing plays a larger role in conversion during the purchase cycle of a user. Big data helps in deducing and mapping how long a prospective customer stays in the purchase cycle and what type of content will convert them. By analyzing this information, brands can easily figure out consuming behavior of the user, allowing them to convert easily.

The main goal of any content marketing strategy when it comes to conversion is delivering value, relevance, and clarity to the users. Big Data offers crucial insights that help brands achieve those goals seamlessly.

Suggested Read: 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks You Probably Didn’t Know about

Retention

You have found your targeted audience and also have a well laid plan for conversion. Now the next goal of your content marketing strategy revolves around retaining the customers. To achieve this aim you need to analyze big data metrics like:

  • Number of subscribers
  • Click through rate
  • Average time on website
  • Customer satisfaction as a whole

These metrics can also help brands in upselling as well as cross-selling. Big data can help you segregate loyal customers from disgruntled customers. This way you can push your content marketing strategy separately aimed at issues faced by a particular group of customers.

Also Read: Retargeting Ads – The Perfect Way to Optimize Your Conversion

Conclusion

The bottom line is that big data helps you make more informed decisions. Analyzing the data and performing an assertive mining surely brings prominent results when it comes to content marketing. At the end of the day, content marketing is just fishing in muddy waters, hoping you might catch a fish. Big data just clear the mud, allowing you to see clearly and aim accordingly.