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Tag: markethive

Washington Lawmakers Finalize New Bitcoin Business Rules

Washington Lawmakers Finalize New Bitcoin Business Rules

   Legislators in Washington state have put the finishing touches on new rules for businesses that offer digital currency services.

Senate Bill 5031, public records show, has cleared both chambers of the state's legislature, setting it up to be sent to the office of Governor Jay Inslee. The bill was first introduced in January, clearing its first vote the following month. While not guaranteed to be signed, the broad support the bill attracted signals that it may pass.

Still, its contents could lead some digital currency-focused startups to think twice about operating in the state — and in the past year, several firms have already pulled out, citing a difficult regulatory environment. The bill represents an update to the state's existing money transmission laws, in order to make them account for firms that handle digital currencies. According to the text of the measure, businesses would be required to maintain reserves — denominated in the relevant digital currency — equal to the funds they retain on behalf of their customers.

The bill states:

"A licensee transmitting virtual currencies must hold like-kind virtual currencies of the same volume as that held by the licensee but which is obligated to consumers in lieu of the permissible investments required in of this subsection."

Other requirements include mandatory third-party cybersecurity audits of "all electronic information and data systems", the text reads. Even absent the new legislation, the past months have shown that some startups working with the tech have moved to steer clear of the state. These include digital currency exchanges Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Poloniex, the latter of which moved to exit Washington just last week. According to an email circulating on social media and dated 8th April, Poloniex said that it would be suspending services to customers in the state after 21st April.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How To Invest In The Blockchain Without Buying Bitcoin

How To Invest In The Blockchain
Without Buying Bitcoin

    

Blockchain Technology’s potential to change the Status Quo

Not a day goes by without a media mention about blockchain technology’s potential to change the status quo of how data will be recorded, stored and transferred in the future. As blockchain is booming, investors are taking note and looking at opportunities where they could benefit. Investing in bitcoin, the digital currency built on the blockchain is considered too risky by many investors and, at the same time, doesn’t actually offer exposure to developments of new blockchain applications and the growth of this technology. Fortunately for investors, however, there are ways to invest in the blockchain boom don’t involve buying bitcoin.

Blockchain Startup Stocks

Firstly, investors can purchase blockchain startup stocks. Currently, there are several publicly traded stocks in blockchain companies trading on global exchanges. The first blockchain stock that started trading in the U.S. is that of the company BTCS Inc., which provides an online bitcoin shop and a range of blockchain solutions, according to its website. Another prominent North American stock is the Vancouver-based blockchain consultancy service provider BTL Group, which has recently launched its own smart contract platform called interbit. Its stock is trading on the Toronto stock exchange.

Outside of North America, there are listed blockchain stocks in the U.K. and in Australia. In the U.K., the London-based blockchain technology investment and development company Coinsilium is listed on the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange (ISDX) and was the world’s first initial public offering by a blockchain startup. On the Australian Stock Exchange, there is the blockchain startup DigitalX. DigitalX provides two blockchain-based services: a global peer-to-peer remittance service called Air Pocket and a software solution to provide bitcoin liquidity to institutional investors called DigitalX Direct.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Alternatively, investors can purchase shares in blockchain startups during early-stage funding rounds through online crowdfunding platforms. Young blockchain startups regularly choose the route of online crowdfunding to secure funds to develop their products or service. The crowdfunding platform BnkToTheFuture, for example, allows investors to place funds into a range of Bitcoin and blockchain startups. Notable blockchain startups that have raised funds through BnkToTheFuture’s platform have included the prominent African remittance startup BitPesa and the multi-currency mobile bitcoin wallet Shapeshift.

Invest in New Blockchain Projects’ Initial Coin Offerings

The third option for investors would be to invest in initial coin offerings (ICOs) of new blockchain projects. ICOs are a new, innovative way of raising capital that involves blockchain projects issuing their own digital currencies or tokens to early backers during a crowd sale. As this new form of crowdfunding is still entirely unregulated there is substantially more risk involved than investing in blockchain stocks or in traditional crowdfunding campaigns, but the returns of successful ICOs have been excellent.

When it comes to investing in ICOs, the key is to select blockchain projects that will have real-life applications and are managed by a team of experienced blockchain developers. Some projects may even have financial backing from leading Bitcoin investors. That is usually also a good sign. Unfortunately, the more the ICO market grows, the more fraudulent activity also occurs. Hence, it is vital to conduct thorough due diligence on each ICO before investing in the crowd sale to avoid falling victim to a scam.

As blockchain technology will likely become the standard to securely record, store and transfer data in many industries over the next ten years, it might be wise to start looking into the investment opportunities in this space, despite the potential risk involved in these investments.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How does the Blockchain Work (for Dummies) explained simply

How does the Blockchain Work (for Dummies) explained simply

How does the Blockchain Work?

Well here is a simple explanation that cuts through the hype.

Blockchain is a hot topic around the world these days, yet for many, the technology remains an elusive concept. Yet it shouldn’t, the concept is simple once you get your head around the architecture and theory of basic crypto economics. When you do have your “a Ha” moment, the world will never seem the same to you again.

This blockchain basics guide is designed to deliver a clear, non-technical introduction to one of the most transformational & misunderstood technologies of our time. If you want to know what blockchain technology is, how it works, and it’s potential impacts, without all the technical lingo, then this post is for you.

A short History of Transacting Money

Historically, when it comes to transacting money or anything of value, people and businesses have relied heavily on intermediaries like banks and governments to ensure trust and certainty. Middlemen perform a range of important tasks that help build trust into the transactional process like authentication & record keeping. The need for intermediaries is especially acute when making a digital transaction. Because digital assets like money, stocks & intellectual property, are essentially files, they are incredibly easy to reproduce. This creates what’s known as the double spending problem (the act of spending the same unit of value more than once) which until now has prevented the peer to peer transfer of digital assets.

But what if there was a way of conducting digital transactions without a third party intermediary? Well, a new technology exists today that makes this possible. But before we dive into the mechanics of this revolutionary technology, it’s important to provide a little context.

Blockchain Vs Bitcoin — What’s the connection?

Bitcoin first appeared in a 2008 white paper authored by a person, or persons using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The white paper detailed an innovative peer to peer electronic cash system called Bitcoin that enabled online payments to be transferred directly, without an intermediary.

How the Blockchain Transfers Value

While the proposed bitcoin payment system was exciting and innovative, it was the mechanics of how it worked that was truly revolutionary. Shortly after the white paper’s release, it became evident that the main technical innovation was not the digital currency itself but the technology that lay behind it, known today as blockchain. Although commonly associated with Bitcoin, blockchain technology has many other applications. Bitcoin is merely the first and most well-known uses. In fact, Bitcoin is only one of about seven hundred applications that use the blockchain operating system today.

“[Blockchain] is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email. A big electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency is just one.” — Sally Davies, FT Technology Reporter

One example of the evolution and broad application of blockchain, beyond digital currency, is the development of the Ethereum public blockchain, which is providing a way to execute peer to peer contracts.

What’s under the blockchain hood?

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger or decentralized database that keeps records of digital transactions. Rather than having a central administrator like a traditional database, (think banks, governments & accountants), a distributed ledger has a network of replicated databases, synchronized via the internet and visible to anyone within the network. Blockchain networks can be private with restricted membership similar to an intranet, or public, like the Internet, accessible to any person in the world.

When a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped together in a cryptographically protected block with other transactions that have occurred in the last 10 minutes and sent out to the entire network. Miners (members in the network with high levels of computing power) then compete to validate the transactions by solving coded complex problems. The first miner to solve the problems and validate the block receives a reward. (In the Bitcoin Blockchain network, for example, a miner would receive Bitcoins).

The validated block of transactions is then timestamped and added to a chain in a linear, chronological order. New blocks of validated transactions are linked to older blocks, making a chain of blocks that show every transaction made in the history of that blockchain. The entire chain is continually updated so that every ledger in the network is the same, giving each member the ability to prove who owns what at any given time.

“A blockchain is a magic computer that anyone can upload programs to and leave the programs to self-execute, where the current and all previous states of every program are always publicly visible, and which carries a very strong crypto economically secured guarantee that programs running on the chain will continue to execute in exactly the way that the blockchain protocol specifies.” — Vitalik Buterin

Blockchain’s decentralized, open & cryptographic nature allow people to trust each other and transact peer to peer, making the need for intermediaries obsolete. This also brings unprecedented security benefits. Hacking attacks that commonly impact large centralized intermediaries like banks would be virtually impossible to pull off on the blockchain. For example — if someone wanted to hack into a particular block in a blockchain, a hacker would not only need to hack into that specific block, but all of the proceeding blocks going back the entire history of that blockchain. And they would need to do it on every ledger in the network, which could be millions, simultaneously.

Will the blockchain transform the Internet & the global economy?

Make no mistake about it. Blockchain is a highly disruptive technology that promises to change the world as we know it. The technology is not only shifting the way we use the Internet, but it is also revolutionizing the global economy. By enabling the digitization of assets, blockchain is driving a fundamental shift from the Internet of information, where we can instantly view, exchange and communicate information to the Internet of value, where we can instantly exchange assets. A new global economy of immediate value transfer is on its way, where big intermediaries no longer play a major role. An economy where trust is established not by central intermediaries but through consensus and complex computer code.

“The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades has arrived. And it’s not social media. It’s not big data. It’s not robotics. It’s not even AI. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin. It’s called the blockchain.” — Don Tapscott

Blockchain has applications that go way beyond obvious things like digital currencies and money transfers. From electronic voting, smart contracts & digitally recorded property assets to patient health records management and proof of ownership for digital content.

Blockchain will profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries that rely on intermediaries, including banking, finance, academia, real estate, insurance, legal, health care, and the public sector — amongst many others. This will result in job losses and the complete transformation of entire industries. But overall, the elimination of intermediaries brings mostly positive benefits. Banks & governments for example, often impede the free flow of business because of the time it takes to process transactions and regulatory requirements. The blockchain will enable an increased amount of people and businesses to trade much more frequently and efficiently, significantly boosting local and international trade. Blockchain technology would also eliminate expensive intermediary fees that have become a burden on individuals and businesses, especially in the remittances space.

Perhaps most profoundly, blockchain promises to democratize & expand the global financial system. Giving people who have limited exposure to the global economy, better access to financial and payment systems and stronger protection against corruption and exploitation.

“Every human being on the planet with a phone, will have equal access. Expanding the total addressable market by 4X” — Brock Pierce

The potential impacts of blockchain technology on society and the global economy are hugely significant. With an ever growing list of real-world uses, blockchain technology promises to have a massive impact. This is just the beginning. Many of the most exciting applications and platforms haven’t even been invented yet!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Coalition Launches to Promote Blockchain in the Netherlands

Coalition Launches to Promote Blockchain in the Netherlands

  

A blockchain consortium in the Netherlands has published a new roadmap.

First revealed on 20th March, the so-called National Blockchain Coalition was established by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' information technology team. Overall, the initiative aims to unite more than 20 public and private organizations including the government agencies, universities and private companies from financial, logistics and energy sectors, with the goal of turning the country into a leader of a blockchain tech.

Major supporters include ABN Amro, ING, and Nationale-Nederlanden, one of the region's largest insurance companies. In statements, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp stressed his optimism that blockchain technology would help make digital payments and data exchange easier and safer for global users while improving the economic outlook of the Netherlands.

Kamp said:

"By keeping the Netherlands at the forefront of the application of innovative technologies, our knowledge base remains progressive and world-class. That creates jobs and income."

The combined initial funding of the founding partners amounts to €700,000 by the end of March. Each member will invest €200,000 and €500,000 will come from available government capita.

High priorities

The statements coincided with the release of the National Blockchain Coalition's full agenda, of which identity was high on the list of the priorities. The agenda went on to explain how the group would now need to work with leading legal entities and other objects on standardization and interoperability challenges in 2017 on this goal and others.

Overall, the coalition aims to speed up the pace of rollout of blockchain technology within the government and use more government records such as data from the National Office of Identity Data, Chamber of Commerce, and registration records from the Ministry of Security and Justice.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

UK Research Council to Award £3.6 Million in Blockchain Grants

UK Research Council to Award £3.6 Million in Blockchain Grants

  

British, UK, money

A UK-based research agency charged with distributing government grants has announced that £3.6m ($4.5m) will be made available to seven blockchain projects.Revealed yesterday, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said the grants will range from £420,000 ($525,000) to £617,000 ($772,000). The funds will be issued under its "Digital Economy Theme", an effort aimed at supporting research around digital technologies that could have a positive impact on daily life.

The EPSRC is the main funding agency for science and research initiatives in the UK, investing approximately £800m ($100m) annually for research and postgraduate training. According to EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson, the decision to award the blockchain grants was made due to the apparent maturation of the industry beyond financial use cases.

He said in a statement:

"Distributed Ledger Technology may be synonymous with bitcoin to many, but as these projects show it has disruptive potential across a wide range of products and services. If it delivers on its radical promise, it could make a significant impact on the economy and society."

Each of the seven EPSRC-funded projects will bring together universities and private-sector companies, with projects being led by professors from British colleges and universities. Receiving the most funding, at £617,000, will be an initiative focused on regulation and compliance models.

The project is being led by Professor Tomaso Aste of University College London and will gain insight from blockchain consortium R3, as well as public institutions like the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission, the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the London School of Economics. The second most highly financed project seeks to develop trusted and transparent voting systems, using distributed ledger tech.

Perhaps unsurprising given the increasing interest in central bank-backed digital currencies, the EPSRC will also fund an initiative that will use data analytics to steer monetary policy decisions regarding the money supply.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

IBM Ramps Up China Blockchain Work With Supply Chain Trial

IBM Ramps Up China Blockchain Work With Supply Chain Trial

ibm in China

IBM advanced its status as a blockchain leader Tuesday with the launch of a supply chain platform designed to streamline flows among buyers, sellers, and financiers in the pharmaceuticals space. The Yijian Blockchain Technology Application System — built in a partnership between IBM and Hejia, a Chinese supply chain management company — seeks to eliminate some of the financing problems faced by the country's pharmaceutical retailers. Specifically, it targets the country's underdeveloped credit evaluation system, which it argues can make it difficult to raise short-term working capital.

The platform is designed to bring greater transparency into supply chain networks by tracking the flow of drugs, encrypting trading records and offering an easier means of authenticating transactions. The end goal is to reduce the time small retailers must wait to be paid after delivering medicine to hospitals — which currently can be as high as 60 to 90 days. Overall, Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of Blockchain Solutions at IBM, said that the use case offers an ideal example of how the company's enterprise blockchain platform can smooth multi-party transaction processes.

He told CoinDesk:

"Blockchain is perfect for the kind of flow that happens between three parties. It's not a random thing, we see a pattern of this appearing again and again."

Initially, the Yijian system will be implemented on a test basis by one pharmaceutical retailer, one hospital, and one bank, but plans are in place to expand in July to create a farther-reaching network. Leng Tianhui, board chairman of Hejia, emphasized in statements that he expects the platform to be adopted far beyond just the pharmaceuticals sector in China.

Eyes on China

Yet, the Yijian platform's launch also strengthens IBM's positioning in China — it has now rolled out five different solutions in the world's second-largest economy in the last 12 months. In March, the technology giant announced the creation of a green asset management platform designed to help companies develop, manage and trade carbon assets more efficiently under China’s carbon emissions quota scheme. Further, in January, it teamed up with the Postal Savings Bank of China to launch a blockchain asset custody system.

As far back as 2016, this strategy could already be observed, as IBM partnered with UnionPay — China's largest payment credit card processor — to roll out a blockchain platform facilitating the exchange of user loyalty points in September. It also launched a pilot in conjunction Walmart to move China’s pork industry supply chain on to a blockchain in October. Still, Gopinath said that IBM's focus on China is a function of the availability of pertinent use cases and local partners.

"I wouldn’t calculate this as 'OK, we have a concerted effort to do something in China'," he said, adding:

"It's more like there are all these classic, what I would call, great uses cases starting up in different places."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Quick Ways to Improve SEO to Increase Brand Visibility

Quick Ways to Improve SEO to Increase Brand Visibility

Optimising your Website

It’s safe to say that optimizing your website and blog content for the search engines continues to be vital in 2017. With search being one of the top tools consumers use to shop, locate information, get answers to their questions, and find solutions, it’s imperative that your brand “shows up” when your audience is looking for you. Amplifying your search engine optimization techniques will help to boost your visibility and get in front of your ideal customers.

The good news is, improving SEO in your digital marketing is not a complicated feat. In fact, there are several simple steps that you can take today to better your presence tomorrow. We’ve outlined five quick ways to bolster SEO to help you build brand awareness, drive traffic, and achieve other marketing goals like increased leads and sales.

Increase Page Load Speeds

Did you know a business loses roughly 25% of its online visitors if its site takes over 4 seconds to load (Source: Kissmetrics)? The time it takes for your content to appear greatly influences SEO…for better or worse. If your visitors have to wait, you may lose them. You’ll suffer because few readers will remain on your site long enough to impact SEO or engage in your other content pieces like your webforms (for leads) or sales pages.

With that said, here are a few tips that you can implement now to increase your page load speeds:

  • Use a caching plugin to help improve your speeds
  • Make sure the code is clean and streamlined
  • Since visuals tend to bog down websites, optimize images prior to uploading them onto your site. Either “save them for web” when using an image editing tool or install a plugin like WP Smush.it (WordPress) that optimizes JPEG images
  • Seek out a new web hosting provider that utilizutilises caching and bandwidth optimisation tools
  • Reduce the number of plugins you have, especially those you’re not using
  • Minimize redirects

Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

This is a big one. More consumers are accessing search engines and websites from their mobile device than desktops. If your site is not mobile-ready, you are missing out on a lot of traffic as your content may not load correctly where it’s legible on smartphones. In 2017, it’s crucial that your website is set up to capitalise on mobile traffic.

Include Authoritative Links

Studies illustrate time and time again that including outgoing links within your blog post has a positive effect on SEO ranking. Content that adds these authoritative links to their content experience higher ranking than those that do not. You see, it builds trust with Google, showing that your article is indeed valuable and relevant to your respective industry. Outgoing links also provides visitors with additional resources to read, thus improving user experience, enhancing your message, and further proving your own credibility in your space. When linking other sources to your content, don’t overdo it. Have just enough where it enriches your content yet doesn’t distract people from easily flowing through your post.

Improve Website Experience

Speaking of user-experience, when you add interactive content pieces to your site's infographics, videos, surveys and polls, calculators and audios, you greatly improve the time people spend on your website, significantly boosting SEO status. The higher the dwell time, the better signals are sent to Google showing that your content is worthy to be ranked accordingly because of the apparent value you’re sharing.

Including various multimedia types within your post also helps you to expand your reach and influence. You’ll appeal to different learning styles, keep your content fresh and engaging, and compel people to return. All these are key ingredients to bolstering your SEO ranking.

Move Website to HTTPS

In 2014, Google announced they were giving “extra credit” to websites that were secure or have the URL that leads with HTTPS (https://example.com). Therefore, these sites would receive a boost in ranking simply by having the “S” in their web address which stands for security. Yet many websites have not jumped on the bandwagon, failing to incorporate this added safeguard to their websites. The point here is that every little bit helps with improving search engine optimisation. If Google will give you a little push in their search results, you want to take them up on their offer!

Conclusion

One last thing to mention is to maintain a consistent blogging schedule. Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. You have more opportunities to use keyword phrases your audience is actively using to rank organically in search and more content to share with your audience on social media. Leverage an editorial calendar to help you plan, organise and schedule blog content to solidify your expertise in your industry while bringing more exposure to your brand. Get ready to enhance your website and better position your content to be found by your ideal customer upon implementing these tips! Make a plan to execute them one-by-one in your digital marketing to create success. Stay engaged with your audience to continue delivering experiences that best resonate with their interests.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Many Small Businesses Lack SEO Knowledge

Many Small Businesses Lack SEO Knowledge

   

Common SEO Mistakes

Most small business owners have come across the term search engine optimisation (SEO). Many of them know it is critical to their business online. But prod them a bit more and it becomes clear many don’t know what it really means.

According to a new survey by Memphis, Tennessee-based marketing agency HigherVisibility, 20 percent of small businesses still don’t have a website. What’s more, 54 percent of the surveyed respondents said they don’t have a budget for SEO.

Small Businesses Making Some Common SEO Mistakes

For a small business, SEO is essential because it helps drive more people to their website. But as the survey reveals, businesses are making some common mistakes that have an adverse effect on their website’s SEO. For example, 38 percent of surveyed respondents wrongly believe keyword stuffing is a good thing. Twelve percent incorrectly think it’s okay to publish duplicate content that has been copied and pasted from another website or page.

Many Small Businesses Lack SEO Knowledge

Further, the survey highlights examples of how small businesses lack SEO knowledge they need. To give an example, 26 percent are unaware of the importance of onsite optimisation SEO. Likewise, 21 percent of respondents don’t know how important blogging and content creation is to SEO. It goes without saying these lapses may have a serious impact on a small business’ SEO initiatives.

What Businesses Need to Do Differently

This is not the first time a report has highlighted the problems with how small businesses are approaching SEO. The Web.com Small Business Digital Trends Report published earlier found that 43 percent of businesses have no plans to change or improve their online presence in 2017. In 2017, no small business owner can afford to take SEO lightly. Otherwise, there’s a risk of losing customers to a competition.

That’s why it’s essential for small businesses to pay special attention to their SEO activities. A well-planned SEO strategy can go a long way in making a significant difference. A long-term strategy can help make the most of the SEO trends in 2017 and will have an impact on how these businesses connect with customers.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How can SEO be beneficial in 2017?

How can SEO be beneficial in 2017?
 

Online business is at its boom

The Internet has become an easily accessible marketplace. Whether you want to purchase a pair of shoes or get your real estate property booked, the Internet is the right place to do so. E-commerce is gradually spreading its dominance over traditional forms of business. In fact, conventional businessmen are shifting towards the online arena. Establishing an online business is not enough. Digital marketing is an essentially important aspect to getting your business noticed online and increase its digital visibility. You need to build a sense of trust in potential customers to maximize conversions.

This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. Once you have built a business website, it is important to increase its visibility. SEO helps to increase search engine rankings. There are many professionals that can draft you a strategy like SEO expert Brad and enable an effective implementation. However, it can be done by yourself as well but involves several technicalities. Regardless of the complexities involved in the field, SEO can elevate your business in a number of ways. It is 2017 and if still, you are not aware of the advantages it offers then you are missing out on something really important. Here is how it can be highly beneficial:

Cost effective

SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing. We already know how important an effective marketing strategy be to make or break a business. This is the cheapest form of marketing. It enables the business to reach a wider pool of customers. Buying advertisements for business promotion can cost you a great deal of money. Hiring an SEO expert can be one of the wisest investment your business can make. It will surely pack back.

Improve search engine rankings

Google is the king. Statistics prove that most of the people search for products or services on search engines before actually purchasing it. This is why you need to improve your search engine rankings. SEO of your blog or website can increase your rankings.

Visibility

Visibility counts a lot for any online business in this digital era. There are hundreds of companies doing the same job selling the same product or service. Why would a specific customer buy from you? Obviously quality is the primary factor but it only works along with other significant features. Many companies lose out of business because people are not aware of their existence. You will not be on the Internet if someone searches for you. SEO helps you to enhance your appearance on search engines. Obviously getting noticed is the first step, then only a customer will carry on with the transaction.

Generates traffic

SEO is the key to good search engine rankings but there are multiple ulterior benefits as well. The most obvious one is in real audience coming to your business. Generation of traffic is undoubtedly the greatest benefit you can leverage out of it. It will gradually lead to conversions and more profit for your company.

Worldwide audience

Each business has its own SEO strategy. If implemented correctly, it can progress in unparalleled ways. A progressive mindset is essential in order to acquire a competitive edge over other companies. Such strategies can get you audience from the entire globe. You have an extra element of profit through optimization. You can easily cover overseas with an effective implementation. No additional costs are present which is the most interesting part. This even gives you an opportunity to establish a business out of the country. Getting your brand noticed worldwide enlarges the room for improvement. In a nutshell, SEO serves you exceptionally.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Effective Strategies to help you with Lead Generation

  Effective Strategies to help you with Lead Generation
 

Generating Leads Difficult?

I know how difficult it can be to keep generating leads, I understand the pressure involved to keep feeding good quality leads into your sales funnel! The good news is, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, there are plenty of strategies you can use to help you generate more leads, but before we explain these strategies, you have to answer the following questions about your business:

What is your target market?
What is your Ideal Customer Profile?
What are the problems that your customers have which your business can help solve?
What are you customers most common fears? Frustrations? Desires?

Once you have answered all the above questions, you will be able to understand your market better, you are looking to identify the NEED which your business satisfies, its easier to approach potential customers if you know why they need YOU.

Whenever you feel like you are overwhelmed or lost, go back to your answers to the above questions. Your second step will be to create and maintain a customers Database, set a goal for the number of leads you want to have in your Database. The Database can be in the form of a CRM software such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, HighRise or can be a simple Excel spreadsheet.

Having a Database will help you:

  1. Maintain all your contacts in one place.
  2. Keep Important notes on each contact
  3. Keep track on your activities with each contact.

Now you are ready to start adopting some lead generation strategies, here we go:

Ask your past clients for testimonials and referrals

Have your previous clients write testimonials, this can help your business establish credibility and enhance your public image. you have to know that your clients may not know how to write a testimonial, therefore it’s worth your time if you guide them through it, a good testimonial template can be like the following:

-(open)

My name is ____(X), I am ___ (age), I live in ___ (location), I’m a ____ (profession)
I used to experience _____(problem/ I had _____ (pain)
I thought that ______(myth #1)
And I had to _______(myth # 2)

(Transition)
After working with {your company name)
I _______(quantifiable desired benefit)
and ______(secondary quantifiable desired benefit)
Now I feel _____(emotions related benefit)
I’m excited to ______(opportunities that are now opened up)
(Close with thanks)

Do you like what you read so far? Keep on reading and don't forget to LIKE & SHARE with your connections..

Ask you current clients for referrals.

This strategy also works for existing businesses, If your current clients are happy with the product/ service you are providing, call them and ask if they can refer you to their friends, this strategy could generate good leads for your business and you will take advantage of using social proofing, since his friend is using your product/ service then you will face less resistance

Turn your bills into buyers

Check out your bills, who are the people you currently pay money to? Check if you can exchange your service with theirs instead of paying them hard cash.

Networking

Networking is by far one of the best ways for lead generation, it allows you to build rapport and get warm leads, your goal during any networking event is to get as many good quality business cards as you can get. You can keep good leads cards in your left pocket and business cards that are not relevant in your right pocket, make sure to fill the data from those business card into your database as soon as you get back to office, don’t let those cards pile up, otherwise they just become a stack of meaningless business cards. Follow up with an email or a call within 3 days of event date, you have to make sure the lead still remembers you and build on that. A good place to find out about new networking opportunities is meetup.com

Public speaking

People love to do business with “experts” and public speakers are viewed as experts, find out about events and ask if you can schedule a chance to speak. It’s important that your speech focuses on offering value to your audience, do not try to sell your product or promote your business, seize the opportunity to educate your audience about your subject matter.

Offer a free Report/ Free consultation

You can get more leads from your website if you offer your website visitors with value in exchange for contact information, provide people with something like:

  • E-book
  • Exclusive content
  • Reports
  • Infographic
  • Templates

The Facebook referral system

Each one of your friends knows at least 3 people who can benefit from your product/ service, if you have 250 FB friends and you asked each one of them to refer you to 3 of their friends, this has the potential to generate 750 leads, assume that your conversion rate was 1 % then you have the chance to make 7-8 new customers from this strategy.

A good message template for Facebook referral can be like:

Hi, (Name)
I am looking to build my business with referrals. A good referral for me is {target market}
I want to offer them a {free consultation/ Ebook/ audit report (add value})
If they say “Yes”— great. if they say “No” — No problem.

If you can message me back with 3 referrals today, I will enter your name in a contest where I am giving {25$ Amazon gift card/ Coupon}. I really appreciate your help, it will make a big difference.

Recycle old Leads

Check your database, am sure you will find some old leads who asked you to contact them again in the future, it maybe worthy of your time to follow up with them every 90 days to see if they are ready to buy your product/ service.

Referral Partnership

Find complementary businesses, these are business that are selling your same target market however are not a competitor to you. you can create partnerships with these businesses where you promote his services to your network in exchange for referrals for your business.

Internet Marketing

Google, Facebook, Email Marketing and Video Marketing are great ways to convert traffic to your website and generating new leads, they are mostly free as well, except for the pay per click ads of course, you should utilize these tools to generate leads, It is not possible to cover the whole topic of Internet Marketing here, however I wrote down a few tips on how Internet marketing can help:

Google Business

97% of Internet users look online for local goods and services, therefore If you haven’t listed your business on Google business Directory, I suggest you start now.

Get an Email Marketing system

The good side of having an Email marketing system is that you can automate the process, you do not need to send every email by yourself, you can set up automatic replies to your leads and let the system are care of the process, another benefit is that you can measure your success and failure rates then be able to revise your emails accordingly.

Some good Email Marketing platforms are:

  • GetResponse
  • Campaign Monitor
  • MailChimp

Video Marketing

The main advantage of Video marketing is that its free, other benefits are it engages, educates your customers and drives traffic to your website.

Pay per Click Advertising

Great, low-cost way to drive business to your websites or business page, you can use google Adwords and Facebook Ads to drive your target audience to your website. Don't waste any time, start applying some of these strategies right away to get more leads, If you are already implementing some of these strategies then please let us know which in the comments section below, what worked best for you? what didn't work best?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member