6 Reasons Your Business Should Accept Cryptocurrency

6 Reasons Your Business Should Accept Cryptocurrency

Some controversy and challenges surround the use of cryptocurrency, but many business owners are embracing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for transactions. One reason is that using the latest technology is a great way to stand apart from other businesses in the marketplace.

Not sure what cryptocurrency is? Cryptocurrency is simply a digital currency that relies on encryption technology to transfer the value via the internet. This form of currency operates independently of a banking system and can be used in many countries like cash. The most common use of cryptocurrency is selling and buying goods or services online.

Cryptocurrency is another way businesses can accept payments from customers or pay vendors. Wondering if accepting cryptocurrencies is the right fit for your business? The answer depends on your business’s needs, but typically, cryptocurrencies are advantageous for various reasons. Take a look at these six reasons accepting cryptocurrencies can help your business grow and succeed.

1. It will save you money.

Over the years, U.S. merchants have paid over $78 billion in fees related to credit and debit card processing. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, so they do not require a bank to verify every transaction. This means your business will eliminate those fees, saving 2 to 5 percent on each transaction. This is also the case with companies like PayPal and Stripe. No more sharing your hard-earned revenue with financial institutions.

One important thing to note is that many merchant wallets charge a flat fee of around $30. There are decisions all entrepreneurs will face, and usually those revolve around whether you’re ready and willing to embrace change and the learning curve that comes with it.

2. Transactions will process quickly.

It’s frustrating to wait for funds to become available in your bank account. You don’t have to wait with cryptocurrency transactions. In many cases, the transactions occur in real time or within a few minutes. There aren’t various banks slowing down the payment process. High transaction speeds are a bonus; in today’s world of instant gratification, no one likes to wait.

3. The currency works worldwide.

There are a lot of benefits to an international currency, and it’s especially helpful if your business exports services and goods or purchases materials from other countries. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies help you avoid the expensive foreign transaction fees or exchange rates.

4. You will avoid fraud and chargebacks.

Cryptocurrency is comparable to cash in that you either have the funds available or you don’t. You should also know that all transactions are final when you use cryptocurrencies, because transactions are added to the blockchain via mining.

This system verifies funds and makes it next to impossible to spend more than you own. When paying with cryptocurrencies, both parties have to approve each transaction. As a result, there are no disputes to worry about and chargebacks will no longer happen.

5. You can acquire new customers.

Cryptocurrencies have some major followers – more and more people are learning about it, embracing it, and even turning to companies like SwissBorg to help manage crypto assets and learn about investment solutions. As your customers become familiar with and begin to use cryptocurrencies, it will really help your business if you accept digital currencies.

While this may still be a niche market, it won’t be for much longer. The more payment options you offer your customers, the better. Not only will you attract a wider customer base and more shoppers, you’ll also increase the chances that they all follow through with their intended purchases. According to a survey by Skrill, 28 percent of shopping cart abandonment is due to lack of the payment option the shopper wanted to use. Do what you can to shrink your shopping card abandonment rate so you can increase your revenue.

6. Paper options will slowly become a thing of the past.

Digital wallets and cryptocurrencies are growing steadily with the blockchain and Bitcoin both having banner years in 2016. This trend continued through 2017 and is anticipated to continue to grow as people become more familiar with digital currency.

While it may seem overwhelming for a small business, try to embrace this change. It makes a lot of sense for you and your business to become early adopters of cryptocurrencies so you can become familiar with it sooner than later. If you resist the change now, you’ll just delay the inevitable. Set yourself apart from your competitors by welcoming fintech.

How to accept cryptocurrency

In most cases, it’s a good idea to go ahead and accept cryptocurrency. Consumers are using it more and more. The benefits, such as lower fees than credit and debit cards, the inability to reverse transactions, and real-time bank balances make the acceptance a good idea.

If you’re ready to get started, the process is simple. In less than 30 days, you can start and finish the entire process, from general education to integration. You’ll follow these three steps.

1. Set up a merchant wallet account.

It takes just minutes to set up these wallets, which offer customizable portals and convert cryptocurrency to your base currency.

Some merchant wallets accept Bitcoin exclusively, while others accept multiple types of cryptocurrencies. Understand the types of currency your merchant wallet accepts before telling your customers what forms of payment you can accept.

2. Integrate the cryptocurrency options into your points of sale.

Now that you have your merchant wallet account and know the public address, you need to integrate this address into each of your points of sale. Your physical POS system should include an app that can generate your QR code that customers can scan to send coins. The app works on a tablet or smartphone. It’s easy to accept and manage customer payments. You should also add a cryptocurrency payment option to your online shopping cart.

Don’t forget that your digital and physical invoices can accept cryptocurrency too. You can incorporate your QR code or public address on each invoice, and customers can send coins via your QR code with their smartphone or go online and type in the address.

3. Link transactions with accounting software.

Business owners are often confused by how cryptocurrency relates to taxes. It’s not too tough to adhere to tax laws, though – you just treat the revenue as a cash transaction. The majority of merchant wallets convert cryptocurrency to cash. Check with the IRS for best practices.

The bottom line is that, in most cases, small businesses can benefit from accepting cryptocurrency. There are pros and cons, but the process is simple and the downsides of accepting cryptocurrencies are small, thanks to merchant wallets and the automatic conversion of the currencies to cash. If you want to keep your business competitive and gain new customers, it’s time to learn more about cryptocurrencies and embrace the fintech changes with open arms.

 

The Top 9 Marketing Trends to Look for in 2018

The most successful marketers have one thing in common.

They find a way to gain an edge over their competitors.

Marketers who can analyze the trends and prepare for the future have the best chances of setting their companies up for success.

You don’t want to be the last one to jump on the bandwagon.

As we head into 2018, I’ve taken the time to identify the top marketing trends for the year.

I want to share my insights with you so that you can apply these concepts to your business and start the new year on the right track.

Properly applying these trends to your marketing strategy will improve customer engagement.

You’ll also be able to acquire more customers this year.

Let’s dive right in. These are the top 9 marketing trends for 2018.

1. Live video streaming

Social media platforms paved the way for the live video trend.

Instead of using social media for posting pictures and videos, you now have the ability to stream live content.

Take a look at how marketing experts are expecting live video to rise over the next two years:

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If you weren’t using live video to interact with your customers in 2017, it needs to be a priority for you in 2018.

Studies suggest 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video from a brand as opposed to reading a blog.

And 67% of people are more likely to purchase a ticket to events like a concert after watching a live stream of a similar event.

Some of the most popular live video platforms include:

  • Facebook live
  • YouTube live
  • Instagram live
  • Twitter
  • Periscope

I like it when businesses use live videos because it gives them a chance to interact with their audience directly.

You’ll be able to communicate and get feedback from customers in real time.

Plus, it’s not like your live video is gone forever once you stop streaming.

You can save those videos and repurpose that content in the future.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence will continue to rise in 2018.

If you’ve been to any marketing conferences or events in the last year or so, you’ve probably seen at least one session on AI.

AI tools are used to analyze consumer behavior.

Once the behavior is analyzed, these robots can make decisions according to how they are programmed.

AI robots can start to take over some basic human roles, which will allow your team to spend more time on assignments that require actual human insight.

An example of AI you may be familiar with is a chatbot.

These computer programs can have conversations with your customers.

I’m sure you’ve been on a website where a “customer service representative” popped up to start an instant message conversation with you.

That’s an example of a chatbot.

With artificial intelligence on the rise, marketing executives feel unprepared for this trend.

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Now is the perfect time for you to educate yourself on the use of AI to improve different areas of your business.

It will give you an edge over your competitors who aren’t prepared.

3. Micro influencers

I’m sure you’re familiar with brand ambassadors and social influencers.

These are people on social media who have relationships with companies and get paid to promote products on their personal profiles.

It’s a legitimate marketing strategy.

When it comes to social influencing, to be considered a celebrity, one has to have over 1 million followers.

People with 500k–1 million followers and 100k–500k followers fall into the macro influencer and middle influencer categories, respectively.

Micro influencers have between 1k–100k followers on social media.

Brands are reaching out to these micro influencers because it’s easier for people to relate to them.

Let’s be honest.

Not many people can connect with celebrities. Plus, it’s obvious when they’re promoting something on their profiles.

You may even have doubts that those celebrities use the products they’re pitching.

But it’s much easier for the average person to relate to a micro influencer.

Why?

Well, for the most part, these people aren’t actually famous. They have normal jobs and live regular lives. But they happen to be popular on social media.

Take a look at how micro influencers are perceived by consumers:

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In this case, less is more.

Notice the difference in user engagement between influencers with 1k to 4k followers and influencers with over 100k followers.

Consider finding some micro influencers to represent your company on social media.

Another benefit of this strategy is the cost.

If you want to partner with a celebrity like Beyoncé, it’ll cost you $1 million per post.

That’s absolutely outrageous.

But a micro influencer will likely cost you only $250 – $500 per post.

Plus, you can also send them some free stuff to keep them happy.

4. Content marketing

If you’ve had any marketing success over the past few years, I’m sure you’ve used content marketing strategies.

Well, 2018 isn’t the year to take your foot off the gas pedal just yet.

Content marketing is still trending upward.

Compared to other factors, content marketing will have the biggest impact on companies in 2018, according to business executives:

image6 7

Rather than coming up with new content marketing strategies, refine your existing ones.

Make sure your content is relevant and has a clearly defined audience.

Content marketing is great because it’s typically not expensive.

You’ll also see more sales and an increase in customer loyalty when you properly execute these strategies.

Don’t think you need to focus all your energy on new trends, like artificial intelligence in 2018.

Continue your content marketing efforts.

5. Generation Z

It seems over the past several years, companies have been focusing on Millennials.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s important to target consumers while they are young so you can try to retain them for as long as possible.

Every generation has different buying habits.

Millennials have helped shape the marketing trends over the last decade or so.

But now it’s time to put some more emphasis on younger generations as well.

Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration, Post-Millenials, or the Homeland Generation are people who were born in the late 1990s to mid-2000s.

The oldest people in this generation are entering their early 20s.

As they get ready to graduate from college, they’ll enter the workforce, which means their consumption habits will change.

A steady job means they will have more buying power.

Companies need to do more research on this generation and find out how to target them.

It doesn’t matter what industry your company is in.

Start to shift your focus toward Generation Z in 2018.

I’m not saying you should abandon your approach with Millennials or Generation X, but just recognize there is a fresh market for you to target.

Find out how they spend their free time. For example, look at how active Generation Z is in sports compared to the general population:

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Even if your company doesn’t make sporting equipment, you can still use this data for your marketing strategy.

You can focus your Generation Z marketing campaigns around physical activity or athleticism.

That’s just one example.

Do your research, and find out what Generation Z wants and how they consume information.

That’s the key to acquiring these consumers.

6. Consumer personalization

You need to give your customers a personalized shopping experience.

That’s one of the best ways to increase engagement and sales.

It’s what your customers want.

In fact, 75% of consumers prefer retailers that use personalization to improve their shopping experience.

image8 6

Encourage people to create a customer profile on your website or mobile application.

That way, you can monitor their habits and give them special offers based on their browsing pattern or previous purchases.

This is absolutely essential for companies who have an ecommerce website.

Personalization tactics make it easier for you to upsell and cross-sell to your customers.

Ultimately, this means you’ll make more money without spending much.

It’s cheaper to target your current customers than it is to acquire new ones.

You can also send personalized email messages to your subscribers.

Email personalization can improve your conversion rates by 10% and increase click-through rates by 14%.

If you personalize the subject line of an email, there is a 26% greater chance of the recipient opening it than if you don’t.

Numbers like this are too good to ignore.

Those of you who weren’t using personalization in 2017 need to start doing so in 2018.

7. Privacy protection is more important than ever

People are worried about their privacy.

Marketers need to start using privacy protection as a selling point.

Let your customers know how you are protecting their information.

Over 143 million Americans were affected by the Equifax breach in 2017.

That’s scary.

It’s especially scary since the company is a consumer credit reporting agency.

If your information isn’t safe with them, where is it safe?

This event has consumers on high alert moving into 2018.

They may be hesitant to do things like entering their credit card information online fearing they could become victims of credit card fraud.

How can you make consumers feel safe?

There are certain things you can do to add credibility to your website.

  • display all your security badges
  • provide up to date contact information
  • add customer reviews and testimonials
  • make it easy to navigate
  • have fast-loading pages
  • make sure your checkout process is secure

All of this will make customers feel safe when they’re shopping.

If your company appears sketchy or untrustworthy online, it’ll be difficult for you to get lots of sales.

8. LinkedIn will continue to lead the way for B2B marketers

While B2C companies will have better luck using social media platforms and email marketing tactics to connect with their clients, B2B marketers have to focus on their LinkedIn presence.

image7 7

Look at these numbers.

Over 90% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for lead generation.

If you’re in the market for new customers, LinkedIn should be the first place to look in 2018.

Connecting with a potential client on LinkedIn increases the chances of them buying from you by 50%.

I expect these trends to continue in 2018.

Beef up your LinkedIn presence if your company operates on a B2B revenue model.

9. Interactivity

In 2018, your company needs to focus on interactivity, especially when it comes to email marketing.

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is far from dead.

But you can’t just keep sending out the same boring emails over and over again and expect to get different results.

Interactive emails improve engagement with your subscribers.

In 2017, interactivity was a top email marketing trend.

image5 7

But that wasn’t a fad.

This trend will continue through 2018 as well.

Here are some of the best ways to incorporate interactivity into your email marketing campaigns:

  • use real-time marketing
  • add surveys, polls, and reviews
  • include videos
  • add menus for easy navigation
  • use GIFs instead of pictures
  • add live shopping carts

If you saw success with interactivity tactics in 2017, continue to use them in the new year.

And if you haven’t tried them yet, it’s not too late to jump on board in 2018.

Conclusion

Staying up to date with the latest marketing trends is a recipe for success.

The best marketers look toward the future to predict consumer behavior.

If you can identify trends and make applicable changes to your marketing strategy, it will give you an edge over your competition.

After extensive research, I came to the conclusion the above trends will have a major impact on the success of your brand in 2018.

If you’re struggling to come up with new ideas, start with the topics I’ve outlined in this post.

What marketing trends has your business identified, analyzed, and implemented for 2018?

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Just 10% of Small Business Employees in Biggest Hispanic Metro Areas Get Retirement Benefits

Hispanic Retirement Savings Trends

A new study from Finhabits finds that less than 10 percent of employees in small businesses located in the top five Hispanic metro areas of the U.S. have access to employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts.

Hispanic Retirement Savings Trends

The ‘2017 Latino Small Business Workers Lack Retirement Savings study found there is a significant ethnic gap in retirement savings. The states with the largest concentration of Hispanic residents — namely Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and Texas — are the worse for small business employee retirement savings. Small business employees within these states have less access to a retirement plan through their employer, the study found.

The research draws attention to the importance of small businesses offering a retirement plan to employees. Providing employees with the security of an employer-sponsored retirement plan can help small businesses attract and retain workers. By showing a vested interest in workers via the incentive, small businesses stand apart from competitors who do not offer such benefits.

Carlos Garcia, founder and CEO of Finhabits, spoke of the issues the lack of retirement savings with Hispanics working at small businesses can create.

“We have a retirement savings problem in the U.S. and the data clearly shows a wealth savings gap with Hispanics working at small businesses. Our analysis found a moderate and troubling correlation between retirement savings and the Hispanic population of a city. This will have a long-term impact on the quality of life and the economy,” Garcia said in a press statement announcing the study results.

The report found that in the leading five Hispanic metro areas, an average 4 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees offered a 401(k), a retirement savings plan sponsored by the employer.

With 41.9 percent of small business employees having a retirement plan in place, Connecticut is the best state for small business employee retirement savings, Finhabits found.

The report should be a wake up call for small businesses to offer the right incentives and benefits to employees, if they can afford to do so.

Image: Finhabits

This article, “Just 10% of Small Business Employees in Biggest Hispanic Metro Areas Get Retirement Benefits” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Don’t Take These 6 Shortcuts with Your Startup Business

6 Shortcuts Startups Should Avoid

Plunging right in and recruiting a top-notch executive for your startup who has tons of experience working in large companies might seem like a good idea. However, in reality, recruiting candidates without any startup experience can do your business more damage than good.

Taking shortcuts might seem like a good idea to save you time, money and effort, but certain shortcuts can often be detrimental to businesses that are starting out.

Shortcuts Startups Should Avoid

To help startups avoid making potentially damaging shortcut mistakes, Small Business Trends spoke to serial entrepreneur Patric Palm, who now serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Favro. Via email, Palm provided 6 tips for avoiding problems with your startup.

Avoid Recruiting Candidates Without Startup Experience

It’s not unusual for startups to look to recruit experienced executives from big companies to help get themselves off the ground. Such executives can be keen to leave the enterprise scene and work for a hot new startup.

“Unfortunately, these execs have no experience inside an entrepreneurial environment,” warns Patric, advising founders to ensure that the execs they recruit have the right mindset and ability to adapt to the startup space.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Hiring Too Quickly

According to Palm, many scale-ups can grow so quickly that hiring managers forget to analyze what makes a successful teammate.

He advises hiring managers at scale-ups to:

“Slow down and consider the attitudes, skills and values that will make for a reliable and productive teammate in the long run.”

Don’t Attempt to Scale Up Without Automated Onboarding Systems

When a startup is only growing from five to six employees, companies can get by using manual onboarding processes. However, as a startup grows from 5 people to 20 people to 100 people, these manual onboarding processes will no longer suffice.

“Scale-ups must implement an automated onboarding system to increase agility and efficiency,” says Palm.

Avoid Selecting the Wrong Investors

It’s not uncommon for scale-ups experiencing rapid growth to jump the gun when seeking investors. This means, as Patric warns, “they’ll quickly take on funding without stopping to think whether these investors will provide the additional support needed to nurture a startup.”

Don’t Leave Agile Behind

Rapid growth doesn’t mean business operations accelerate to meet the company’s fast expansion.

As Palm notes, when a startup is comprised of only a handful of employees, organizational processes tend to be agile and efficient. But as scale-ups double and triple in size, these processes can easily lose their agility.

“To ensure agility doesn’t get left behind, companies need to have the right tools, people and culture in place,” advises Palm. Refrain from going overboard on expensive solutions.

According to Palm, scale-ups will quickly earn a lot of money and gain customers, making it easy for the c-suite to throw money at expensive tools.

“The problem is that many of these tools don’t scale and will only solve short-term problems — making a company bloated with costly and ineffective solutions,” says Palm.

He gave Uber as an example of this.

“Uber got very far in terms of growth, but is now having issues with cost-efficiency. The point is that while it’s important to grow fast, it’s just as important to build a culture of frugal spending habits,” says Palm.

Are you a small business owner with first-hand experience on some of the pitfalls of taking shortcuts when you’re starting out? We’d love to hear our readers’ startup experiences and tips.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Don’t Take These 6 Shortcuts with Your Startup Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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