What Are the 4 Cs of a Successful Online Business?

This is a puzzle for many a business owner. The majority of business managers and owners look to build web traffic using search engine optimization or search engine marketing.Yes, building web traffic volume is very important to the success of your online business. Keep in mind that NOT all web visitor traffic is equal. Traffic for traffic volume alone is a total waste of your time and resources. You need the right kind of quality traffic – targeted and interested potential customers!Now let’s take a step back and think about what your web traffic visitors will be expected to do once they reach your web site? What is the point of investing money to generate traffic if your website is not working for your business?Before engaging in traffic building programs let’s make sure that when potential customers visits your web pages you will be ready for them.The four Cs are; Content, Credibility, Conversions and Customers.These four Cs are crucial factors for a successful online web business presence. A fully productive online business contributes by maximizing new opportunities from the interested web traffic visiting your site.1) ContentLet’s start with Content. Many of you readers would have heard of this phrase “Content is King”. Your web content must be relevant, interesting, useful and engaging to your target customers.It is not what you want to publish as your content, it is what your target customers what to see and read on your web pages. It is not your site it is theirs and you must provide what they are looking for. You must frame all your web content around ‘What’s in it for me’ the potential customer. Your web content must focus on the benefits and advantages of using your product or service in relation to your new potential customer.2) CredibilityCredibility is the second element for success. A large majority of your web visitors will be unfamiliar with either you as the business owner or with your business. You will need to be aware that these visitors will view your web content in terms of potential risks to their interaction with your site and your business. In addition, various friction factors on your web pages may further discourage interaction and their taking the ‘call to action’ that you may be offering.You will need to take up the challenge by providing social proof, credibility symbols and service delivery commitments or guarantees.Social proof comes in the form of positive reviews or comments, reference case studies and testimonials preferably in video format. Credibility symbols are demonstrated by industry or association certifications or license qualifications. Service level commitments including guarantees supported by recognition of your brand image and reputation will support your online credibility.In addition, you will need to reduce and where possible eliminate any friction factors from your web pages and content. As an example many web sites have subscription forms requiring the potential subscriber to provide a multitude of information that is beyond what is immediately required. At the bare minimum all you need is their email addresses perhaps their first name, a link to your privacy policy and terms of use – less is more! This set-up will minimize the ‘friction factor’ resulting from a long subscription form requiring information beyond what is really needed. The more information you request for submission is a friction factor. The lack of a privacy policy and conditions in using their information is another friction factor.Web stores where shipping costs are revealed late in the purchasing process will suffer from high cart abandon rates. Upfront visibility of shipping costs reduces this friction factor.Establishing credibility and lessening friction factors increases your opportunities for successful conversion of your web visitors at your online web business presence.Next let’s look at how we can ‘convert’ our interested web visitors by their taking the ‘ call to action ‘ on your web pages. All your web pages must have a specific business objective and a corresponding ‘call to action’ to allow your web visitor to take the desired action supporting of your objective.3) ConversionsOn a web store, conversion is the purchase of the desired product. On a business subscription site conversion would be the enrollment and payment of the program fee or plan. On a business services site that requires a longer selling and nurturing cycle a conversion success could be the sign-up to a newsletter, download of information documentation or articles, sign-up to a free trial or demonstration site or submission of an inquiry web form.One has to apply a technique called ‘conversion-persuasion scenarios’ in designing your web layout and content. Make it as easy as possible for your interested web visitor to find the relevant information and content, build your credibility, reduce friction factors with content that encourages them to take the desired ‘call to action’ achieving your conversion objective.4) CustomersYour end game is securing a real paying customer. For a business to consumer (B2C) web stores, conversion is the actual purchase at the online store of a product to become a customer. The customer’s experience will include the online purchasing process, shipping and delivery combined with the quality and condition of the product to meet their expectations. A favorable experience will increase the receptiveness for repeat business and referrals to other potential customers.For a business to business (B2B) online web presence, conversion is a qualified lead generated. Now depending on the nature of complexity of the product or service the generated lead will require further nurturing and relationship building before a prospect becomes a customer.The success of your online web business presence will be measured in terms of ‘call to action’ conversions NOT web traffic volume. Your conversions translate to business growth and development. Establish those Key Performance Indicators that reflect your online business objectives and measure these results to track and fine-tune your web. Look at actual conversions or online sales and % conversions / traffic volume as the measure of the quality of your online business and your ability to achieve your desired business results.These four key elements; content, credibility, conversions and customers are essential for a successful online web business presence.

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A Telecommunications Revolution

What would it take to have a telecommunications revolution?According to Inc Magazine (Inc.com), Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers tops the list of best performing industries in the next decade followed closely by retirement / pension plans, and biotechnology.Best Performing Industries In The Coming Decade (2010-2019)1 – Voice Over Internet Protocol Providers (VoIP) – 149.6%2 – Retirement & Pension Plans – 133.7%3 – Biotechnology – 127.6%4 – e-Commerce & Online Auctions – 124.7%5 – Environmental Consulting – 120.3%6 – Video Games – 112.9%7 – Trusts & Estates – 105.7%8 – Search Engines – 100.9%9 – Recycling Facilities – 80.9%10 – Land Development – 72.7%.It is a given that VoIP is here to stay. Now, what is VoIP? It is actually, simply, using internet service to make a phone call. It is sometimes referred to as internet telephony or broadband telephony.Phone calls made using Voice over IP can actually be free, making VoIP a very attractive way to make phone calls. Generally, free phone calls are only available when internet services are used on both ends of the call. If a long distance call is made by someone through the internet to or from a traditional carrier such as Verizon, AT&T, or Qwest there is a charge applied. It all has to do with Inter-exchange carriers (IXC). We won’t go in to that.What does all that have to do with a telecommunications revolution? The key is the word long distance and someone. A telecommunications revolution could indeed take place if both were involved. To explain what is meant, what if you were to make a long distance phone call and a digital telephone pole (Google it) were used on the other end that would route the call through the internet and make it a local call even though it is actually a long distance call. The cost would then be minimal.These digital telephone poles would be placed in the homes of people in the same area code as where the calls are to be terminated. If these digital telephone poles were placed in the homes of people all across the country, you would indeed have a telecommunications revolution. You have just created a situation where the $12 billion dollar annually telecommunications Inter-exchange carrier industry has been brought down to the level of the “average Joe” in the homes of millions across the country – a telecommunications revolution.

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Finance Series – Exploring Investor Rationality

The Efficient Market Hypothesis has been under fire since Eugene Fame of the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business first suggested it back in the early 1960s. The central idea behind the Efficient Market Hypothesis is the theory that investors are completely rational in interpreting and acting on market news and information (which, ostensibly, is fully revealed public knowledge).It has since come to be known as the Theory of Rational Expectations. This rational investor behavior is factored into the value of all news and information the moment it becomes available. And it happens to the extent that “beating the market” becomes an impossible task.The idea of investor rationality has been under fire by the few “gurus” who have consistently beaten the market since its inception. Nobel Laureate and father of Behavioral Finance, Daniel Kahneman, pointed out that the failure of the rational model is not inherent in the logic of the theory, but rather in the human psyche. He posited that nobody has the ability to simultaneously process all incoming stimuli and attain a complete understanding and mastery of that stimuli.From the many arguments for and against the theory of rational expectations, I observed that many of the arguments stemmed from a difference in the understanding of what rationality means in the first place (indeed, that is further proof that “rational” people can look at ideas and apply their own bias and still be regarded as “rational”). If the world is made up of blistering imbeciles making irrational decisions, like those who argued against the theory suggest, wouldn’t the world more closely resemble an assembly of monkeys? Yet, if the world is made up of rational humans the way the theory postulates, wouldn’t the world be more robotic than human?For too long, academia has debated the theory by taking sides with either the monkeys or the robots without a clear understanding of what constitutes rationality in the first place. Is the investor who rushes blindly into the stock market during market bubbles irrational? Are investors rational beings if they buy undervalued and sell overvalued stocks? Essentially, all reasonable human beings are rational! Rationality is the consistency of action based upon a set of logical variables. The issue here is that the difference in one’s level of knowledge and life experiences is the determining factor that allows for the installation of a distinct set of logical parameters and values in every human being!This means that two human beings looking at and interpreting the same information can come to two separate conclusions and resulting actions! The result of which is a two-sided market. An investor who has lost a significant amount of money in the stock market may prefer to stay out of an overextended stock regardless of how fantastic the news. On the other hand, investors who have never been through that same life experience would simply continue to buy on the news. Both investors, in this case, are rational in regard to their own level of knowledge and experience. This explanation of rationality effectively consolidates all the differing views on the Theory of Rational Expectation. Because investors are rational, two-sided markets are created, making the overall market more and more efficient. Because investors are rational, they rush after price bubbles on the expectation of profits only to be defeated by the Law of Regression to the Mean.Being greedy is a rational response to one’s needs and wants and being fearful is a rational response to one’s past sufferings. The driving factors of Greed and Fear are also rational expressions! Contrarians who take positions against the market are rationally expressing their expectations that markets eventually turn against the prevailing trend. Trend followers who take positions along with market trends are rationally expressing their belief in that trend continuing into the foreseeable future. Both create a two-sided market for each other, driving the overall market towards more and more efficiency.However, this explanation of rationality completely nullifies the part in the theory that states that “rational investors should act in a similar fashion in response to the same news”. Because there is no way of measuring or predicting whether or not there will be more decisions of rational buying or rational selling in response to new information, nobody can predict market movement with any moral certainty. Although not attributed to random behavior, the unpredictable nature of the market has more cause and effects than the theory itself can explain.In summation, any argument to explain market behavior through the notion of rationality has limited application in reality. As investors in the stock markets, our understanding that the markets cannot be predicted and the set-up of realistic stop loss points in preparation for worst-case outcomes and hedging portfolios using stock options, are the most rational actions that can be taken. As behavioral finance suggests, everyone makes the best of a bad situation and the situation in the stock market has never been ideal for anyone.

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