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Alternative business lending rose from the ashes of the 2008 crash. This was a time when lenders were giving almost no one money. It was virtually impossible to get a loan of any sort for any reason. Business loans were extremely hard to come by, and when you could get one, rates were terrible.
Alternative Business Lending: Your Questions Answered
Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.
As a result, alternative lenders began to pop up. Funding Circle is credited with being the first, but others soon followed. That means this is a fairly new game. It can be hard to figure out if it is one you should play. This should help.
What is alternative business lending?
This type of lending is offered through private companies, not traditional financial institutions like banks and credit unions. They can be an option for those who do not qualify or who do not have the time to wait for a bank loan. These lenders explore other ways of verifying creditworthiness and other forms of collateral.
Collateral may include credit card transactions, open invoices, equipment, real estate and more.
How much is alternative business lending?
This is a question asked by many when they first start considering alternative lending options. The truth is, it depends. That’s the case with any loan. There are fees, and interest is a factor. Typically interest is higher with alternative lending. But if you can’t get anything else, you can’t really compare.
What are the pros of alternative business lending?
So, why choose alternative lending? Well, if you can’t get a traditional business loan you may need to consider this option. However, there are other reasons as well. For example, alternative lenders typically fund much faster. So, if you need fast cash, this could be the way to go.
Also, the application process is usually faster and easier. Often you can apply online in a matter of minutes. Repayment terms are usually more flexible as well.
What are the cons of alternative lending?
As already mentioned, interest rates with alternative loans are usually higher. There is also a breeding ground for scammers in this industry. It’s important to know how to recognize predatory lending practices to avoid being taken advantage of.
Is alternative business lending right for you?
If something is blocking you from being approved for a loan through a bank or credit union, then the answer to this question is probably yes. It is highly likely that this is a type of lending that can work well for your business. This is especially true if you have invoices, accept credit card payments, or need to finance equipment. Common types of alternative loans include:
- Merchant cash advances
- Invoice financing
- Equipment financing
- And real estate financing
There are other options as well, and they vary between lenders. These are some of the most
A credit expert can help you find the best alternative business funding for your business.
Now you need to figure out which lender and which products from that lender will work best for your specific business needs and goals. The best choice is to work with a business credit expert. This is someone that can help your maneuver through the process in the most effective and efficient way. That will help immediately. Beyond that, into the long-term, an expert in business credit can help you figure out why you are being denied funding, and help you fix the problem.
Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.
Fundbox offers a line of credit rather than a loan. Still, it is a great funding option because there is no minimum credit score requirement.
They offer an automated process that is super-fast. Repayments are automatic, meaning they draft them electronically, and they occur on a weekly basis. One thing to remember is that you could have a repayment as high as 5 to 7% of the amount you have drawn currently, as the repayment period is comparatively short. This means you need to be sure you have enough funds in whatever account you connect them to so that it can cover your payment to Fundbox each week.
You will find with most any online lender, they often offer options more similar to invoice factoring and lines of credit. This is because those options present fewer risks than straight term loans. BlueVine is no different.
Upstart is an online lender that uses a completely innovative platform for loans. The company itself questions the ability of financial information and FICO on their own to truly determine the risk of lending to a specific borrower. Instead, they choose to use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to gather alternative data for use in making credit decisions.
This may include such things as mobile phone bills, rent, deposits, withdrawals, and even other information less directly tied to finances. The software they use learns and improves on its own. You can use their online quote tool to play with different amounts and terms to see the various interest rate possibilities.
Upstart’s innovative platform makes them one to research for sure.
Founded in 2008 by college roommates, online lender Fora Financial now funds more than $1.3 million in working capital around the United States. There is no minimum credit score, and there is an early repayment discount if you qualify.
Obtaining financing from OnDeck is quick and easy. First, you apply the OnDeck website and receive your decision once application processing is complete. If you receive approval, your loan funds will go directly to your bank account. The loan amounts range up to $500,000.
Popular online lender Lending Club offers term loans. You can get a quote in less than 5 minutes. Funds are available in as little as 48 hours if approved. There are no prepayment penalties.
Kiva is an online lender that is a little different. For example, the interest rate is 0%. That means even though you have to pay it back, it is absolutely free money. They don’t even check your credit. However, there is one catch. You have to get at least 5 family members or friends to throw some money in the pot as well. In addition, you have to pitch in a $25 loan to another business on the platform.
Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.
If your personal credit is okay, Accion may be a good fit for small business startup loans. It is a microlender, a nonprofit, that offers installment loans to both startups and already existing businesses.
Credibly is also a good option for business loans if you are already generating some revenue. They offer short term loans for both business expansion and working capital. You must be in business for at least 6 months to qualify, and Credibly will approve loans to those with credit scores as low as 500.
Alternative Business Lending Is a Great Tool, but Not a Forever Answer
I mean, it could be a forever answer, but there is a better way. If you work to build up your fundability, you can get a lot of perks offered by alternative business lending with the interest rates offered by traditional loans. You could have the best of both worlds. It takes time to get there however, and alternative loans are the best option for many in the meantime.
The post 6 Things You Need to Know About Alternative Business Lending appeared first on Credit Suite.
With the competition for customers becoming stiffer by the day, brands have to be savvy about the way they do their marketing.
You must employ marketing strategies that work.
One such marketing strategy is direct response marketing.
Unlike other marketing strategies that focus on building relationships with prospects first, direct response marketing seeks to turn prospects into customers in one step.
What is Direct Response Marketing?
Direct response marketing is any marketing technique designed to elicit an immediate response from your target audience. The required action can be anything from reading a blog post to downloading a resource or making a purchase.
It focuses on making things happen as soon as the prospect digests your marketing material.
For it to be effective, your direct response marketing campaign must cleverly package your value proposition, pitch, and call-to-action (CTA) in one place. This strategy results in the prospect moving quickly from your buyer journey’s consideration stage to the decision stage.
While most people associate direct response marketing with direct mail, that is only one part of it. This strategy can also include:
- landing pages
- social media ads
- paid ads
- TV/radio commercials
In a nutshell, it’s any type of marketing that requires an immediate response with the primary goal of getting a return on your investment as soon as possible.
Advantages of Direct Response Marketing
Direct response marketing has many advantages, including:
- Trackable: One of the most significant advantages of direct response marketing is that it’s easy to track and analyze performance.
- Measurable: Breaking it down by return on investment (ROI), it’s easy to measure how much you spend to reach each customer. You can also easily measure the success of the campaign.
- Targeted: Direct response marketing is fueled by data, making the campaigns more targeted. The result is higher conversion rates.
Of course, the most significant advantage is the speed with which direct response marketing produces results. This and other benefits make it a marketing strategy you should employ as much as possible.
4 Key Components of Direct Response Marketing
Every direct response marketing campaign has common elements that ensure its effectiveness in reaching your marketing goals. Here are the key components:
1. A Personalized Offer
The key to an effective direct response marketing campaign is to know your target audience. You must know their pain points and aspirations to create an offer that’s personalized. Research indicates that 80 percent of customers are more likely to do business with a brand that offers personalized experiences.
2. Clear and Compelling Content
For a campaign to be effective, you must craft content that’s:
- Clear: Use simple, everyday language so anyone who reads it can understand what you’re selling (especially the benefits) and what action you want them to take.
- Compelling: Direct response is all about getting customers to react immediately. Use active voice and power words to make your message elicit the desired reaction.
Invest in good writers as your campaign’s success hinges on your copy.
3. A Sense of Urgency
A critical component that helps drive conversions is a sense of urgency. Human beings have a natural tendency to procrastinate, especially when spending money is involved.
Creating a sense of urgency encourages quick interactions and decision-making. As a result, your campaign will have higher conversion rates.
4. An Irresistible CTA
Another important component of effective direct response marketing is the CTA. Your CTA must be:
- clear and easy to understand
- focus on one action
- easily accessible
With these ingredients, your CTA will succeed in achieving its purpose of evoking the action you want your customers to take.
10 Examples of Excellent Direct Response Marketing
Now you know what direct response marketing is, its advantages, and the key components that make it work. Let’s go a step further and look at ten examples.
1. Referral Program
One of the most powerful forms of marketing is word of mouth marketing (WOMM). Studies show that 83% of people trust recommendations they get from family, friends, or colleagues.
That’s why one of the best examples of effective direct response marketing is a referral program.
A typical example would be running a campaign where you ask your current customers to refer your brand or product to their family and friends. You could do this by:
- sending them an email inviting them to participate in your referral program.
- asking them for referrals on your “thank you” page after they’ve purchased your product.
However you decide to do it, make it easy for them to refer a friend by furnishing them with a link to a specific page you want their friends to visit.
Additionally, incentivize your customers to participate by offering them a gift, discount, or any other perk that suits your business model.
This is direct response marketing because you’re asking your customers to take immediate action on your offer. Here’s an example from MeUndies in the form of an email they send to customers after they’ve received their purchase:
Executed well, this type of referral marketing is a great way to drive both sales and brand awareness at the same time.
Upselling is the act of encouraging a customer to buy a more expensive version of a product they have or are in the process of buying. It’s a powerful technique for driving sales as it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new prospect.
How can you implement direct response marketing to upsell your customers?.
Before a customer completes the buying process on your website, you can send a message asking them if they would rather have the more superior version of the product or service they’re buying.
Make sure to clearly spell out the benefits of upgrading and make it easy to switch to the new product.
3. Social Media Ads
With approximately 4 billion users globally, social media has become one of the most powerful marketing platforms to deploy direct response marketing campaigns.
Whether you’re selling a physical or digital product, a service, or promoting a lead magnet, you can use social media to get your prospects to act quickly on your offer.
To do that, make sure your ad:
- uses high-quality and relevant visuals
- has short, punchy copy
- has a clear CTA
Design your visuals to grab attention, and your copy will do the heavy lifting of pitching your offer.
4. Contests or Giveaways
Everyone loves contests.
They are full of excitement with the prospect of getting something for free.
For marketers, contests and giveaways are terrific for grabbing attention and generating buzz.
Yet, the biggest advantage of giveaways is that they are good at obtaining an immediate response from your target audience, which is precisely why they make for good and effective direct response marketing.
You’ll have to be careful with the gifts or rewards you offer, though. Make sure they align with your brand. Doing so ensures that only your target audience will respond to your campaign.
5. Text Messaging
Research shows that 77 percent of consumers say they use texting more than other forms of communicating. Add to that the fact that people regularly check their text messages, and you’ve got the perfect channel for your direct response marketing.
To leverage text messaging in direct response marketing, your target audience must sign up to receive marketing communication from you. As with email marketing, you must segment your contact list to ensure your campaigns are personalized and targeted.
Text messaging is a great way to alert your customers about exclusive deals and offers you have. It’s also an easy way to get them to head to your website as you can include a link in your message.
6. Chatbots and Social Media Messaging
Chatbots have been the rage in marketing for some time now. The reason for that is simple: They help you communicate with your customers in real-time.
That’s why chatbots are excellent tools for direct response marketing. After all, what better way to drive engagement and encourage customers to take action than by communicating with them instantaneously.
That’s where the powerful combination of chatbots and social media comes to play.
For example, you can create a Facebook Messenger chatbot to interact with your prospects and market your offer to them while they use Facebook. A significant advantage of this is that social media provides you with a wealth of data you can use to hyper-target your campaigns.
7. Google Ads
Google Ads are a great way to market your brand and product with the ability to reach a wider audience than other direct response marketing channels. Besides that, you can easily target a particular audience by using the right keywords, location, and other criteria.
Because your ads appear when a prospect is searching for something related to your product, it’s easier to grab their attention and get them to respond to your ad.
8. Direct Response Marketing for Job Recruiting
This strategy can also be used in recruiting talent for your brand. It’s particularly effective in a cutthroat industry where talent is scarce and speed is of the essence. Direct response marketing can also be used by recruiting agencies to source talent for their clients.
Here’s an example for job recruiting:
Getting reliable drivers in the ride-share market has become a difficult task. Lyft recruits most of its drivers through direct response marketing campaigns, and these give them a great level of success. Not how the ad:
- goes straight to the point on what it’s about and what the prospect is expected to do.
- sweetens the deal with guaranteed earnings.
These two factors help elicit an immediate response from the prospects.
9. Use Pop-Ups to Generate Leads
Lead generation is an integral part of marketing, and direct response marketing is one of the best ways to drum up valuable leads for your business.
One of the best methods for lead generation is to use pop-ups on your website. The fact that a visitor has landed on your website shows they’re interested in what you have to offer.
Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship with them. Use personalized pop-ups to encourage them to sign up for your email list.
10. Direct Mail Still Works
Sure, it may be old-fashioned, but direct mail still works. Because many brands have abandoned it, your direct response marketing campaign will stand out when sent through the mail. Use assets like brochures, coupons, newsletters, etc.
While it may be old school, you can still align direct mail with modern techniques to increase its impact. For example, you could use QR codes to transition your prospects from the mail to your website.
Don’t snub your nose on direct mail. It’s still useful today as it was in its heyday.
If you want to run a campaign that gets you results fast, consider the examples above. Speed up the buyer journey and get your prospects to take action now.
Because it can be used across many different channels to achieve various marketing goals, its versatility makes it one of the best marketing strategies in the marketer’s toolbox.
Which of these direct response marketing examples have you used in your business?