When Bill Li conceived of the idea for an autonomous security robot company called Knightscope, he faced three common arguments. You may be facing these same three arguments, too. Here is what CEO’s need to know about capital to company fit.
- This will never work.
- This is too complicated, you can’t do software and hardware.
- People will never invest in a physical security startup.
But obviously, those questions weren’t relevant in the case of Bill Li. Knightscope has over 19,000 individual investors, backing from four major corporations, and has done $10 million in lifetime revenue. Why?
“Relentless entrepreneurs like to prove everybody wrong,” Li says. But more than just squashing the naysayers, Li has a better approach for any startup in any industry. According to him, a lot of founders are told, “You must focus on product to market fit… when you get that, come back and see me.”
But what if “capital to company fit” was a better approach? Answering some basic questions—what are you trying to accomplish, what are your obligations, what type of capital do you need?—will determine how much success a startup enjoys and how fast, or whether there’s any success at all.
$130 billion goes into startups every year across every industry, although some areas—like software innovation—easily get the lion’s share. Most of those funds are going to entities whose business model is (simply put) to be wrong.
The people who are in a good stead to help you the most might not be in your field.
If you’re trying to innovate in one field, there’s nothing wrong with VCs who want to have the option to weigh in on key decisions as long as they have expertise in that field. On the other hand, some of the most beneficial relationships will come from VCs who don’t have any expertise in your field and who want to take a more hands-off approach.
Founders have a fiduciary responsibility to all of their shareholders, not just the so-called “big dogs,” to make sure that these working relationships are beneficial to the company, not just to one investor who moves in on the inner workings.
Sadly, in a lot of cases, “VC money is dumb money.” It can backfire if the right relationship isn’t maintained.
So Li’s advice for founders? “Before you start raising capital, really think about who you need on your team.” The deepest pockets might not be as beneficial as they appear if they’re going to insist on some measure of authority within your startup.
“You might just need silent capital — that’s a different type of capital need,” than someone who doesn’t know about the mechanics of actually building a company.
Speaking of his investors, Li adds that sometimes more investors with little expertise or knowledge of your industry can be far more useful than four major backers with a lot of funding but a lot of input that they insist on sharing… and expect to see incorporated into your business workings.
Another value-add that having numerous smaller investors brings to a startup is an instant market for the product once it’s finally available. With only a small handful of major, large-scale investors, the work of finding retailers can chew up a lot of capital through marketing once the product is ready.
In the case of Knightscope and its 19,000 investors, those numerous individuals become an instant source of support and traction when it’s time to take this to market.
But none of this is to disparage VCs in any way. That’s the last thing any founder should do, in fact. But doing the homework of finding the right fit — rather than signing up with the right money the moment it’s available — will mean the difference between success and failure.
How do you find the right fit?
Part of that homework involves understanding what role your VCs expect in the decision-making process, as well as deciding whether a company would be more successful in the long run with a lot of smaller investors instead of a few major players.
Li has one last bit of advice: “If you’re gonna go down this path… please don’t think that you’re gonna turn on a website and then you’re gonna download cash from the cloud. You have to put in the work.”
7 Ways to Use Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing
If you’re like most businesses, you’re always looking for ways to generate more leads and sales. And if you’re like most businesses, you don’t have a lot of time or money to waste on marketing techniques that don’t work.
That’s where marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation is a new and useful development that can make your marketing efforts easier, faster, and more accurate.
By automating certain tasks, you can free up your time to focus on more important things, like the overall vision and growth of your business.
In addition, automated marketing can help you track your results and measure your return on investment (ROI).
So if you’re looking for a new and improved way to generate leads and sales, consider using marketing automation. It just might be the answer to your prayers.
7 Ways You Can Use Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads
So, how exactly can you use marketing automation to nurture leads?
Nurturing your lead base is all about developing an affiliate relationship with them and making them familiar with your brand.
It’s also a time for you to learn more about them through their behaviors.
As a result, you’ll be able to fine-tune your content creation, advertising, sales calls, and so on. And meet your final goal, which is to close sales.
Here’s how marketing automation can be used for lead nurturing in a number of ways:
1. Sending targeted emails based on customer behavior or interests
- Example of an email automation flow – by WPForms
Targeted emails are a great way to use marketing automation to nurture leads. By sending customers emails that are relevant to their interests, you can help them get to know your brand better and increase the chances of converting them into customers.
Additionally, targeted emails can help you track the success of your marketing campaigns and measure the ROI.
How does this work in practical terms? What tools do you need?
To send targeted emails automatically to leads, you will need a tool that can track customer behavior and interests. Additionally, you will need a way to segment your leads so that you can send them targeted emails. Segmenting your leads can be done through criteria like job title, company size, or budget. Finally, you will need an email service provider that can automate the process of sending targeted emails to your leads.
2. Creating custom landing pages that are relevant to the leads’ stage in the buying process
Another great way to use marketing automation for lead nurturing is by creating custom landing pages.
These pages are designed to appeal directly to the needs and interests of your leads, helping them move through different stages in the buying process.
This can include offering free trials, guides, or other resources that are relevant based on where the lead is in their buyer’s journey.
Not only can customized landing pages improve your lead nurturing efforts, they can also help you track the success of your marketing campaigns and measure ROI.
To create custom landing pages using marketing automation, you will need to identify the different stages of your sales funnel and your customer profiles.
Social media advertising platforms and search advertising platforms will allow you to create different pages for different campaigns.
If you’d like to automate your campaigns further, then you need to work with a dedicated automation platform or agency.
3. Use a content experience platform
One of the biggest issues with content creation is that businesses crank out endless pieces of content but don’t use it effectively.
The problem isn’t content creation; it’s content distribution and engagement.
You need to repurpose your content or simply share it with the right people at the right time and through the right channels.
And you need to consider which stage of the sales funnel they’re in.
This is complicated in the extreme when you try to do this manually. And this is where a content experience platform (CXP) comes in.
A CXP platform lets you tag your content according to different factors:
- Buyer persona
- Stage of the sales funnel
- Content topic and type
You can then generate landing pages based on different combinations of the above, which increases the chances of conversions to a high degree.
To make this work, you need to rely on a content experience platform and take advantage of a different type of marketing automation – one that is more dynamic and sure to boost your conversion rate.
4. Offering special deals or incentives to encourage potential customers to become actual customers
As any business owner knows, generating leads is only the first step in the sales process. Once you have a potential customer’s attention, you need to find a way to encourage them to become an actual paying customer. This is where marketing automation can be a valuable tool.
By offering deals and incentives, you can give leads an extra nudge that encourages them to take the next step and become paying customers.
There are a number of different ways to go about this, but one of the most effective is to use email marketing. With email marketing, you can send automatic messages that offer special deals and discounts to leads that haven’t converted yet.
This can be a great way to encourage them to take the plunge and become paying customers. Additionally, there are a number of different software programs that can help you automate your email marketing, making it easier than ever to reach out to leads and encourage them to become customers.
5. Using push notifications to capture shoppers who are about to leave your website
Another powerful way to use marketing automation is through the use of push notifications. These are messages that pop up on your customers’ phones or other internet-connected devices, and they can be used to capture potential customers who are about to leave your site.
With a well-designed push notification system, you can send out timely reminders that encourage potential customers to stick around and check out your products or services.
There are a number of different software platforms that can help you set up push notifications, making it easier than ever for online retailers to stay in touch with their customers and keep them engaged.
Other ways to nurture your leads automatically with push notifications is to create triggers for certain behaviors like:
- The customer is about to exit a window
- They spend a long time on a page
- They revisit the same product page or some other page
- They ‘favorite’ an item
- They scroll through more than 50% of a shopping page
- They add a product to their cart but show an intention to leave
- They’re generally active online
- They’ve engaged with your ads on social media and so on
Push notifications are powerful because they allow you to stay top-of-mind with potential customers and keep them engaged, even when they’re not directly on your site. And by incorporating marketing automation into your push notifications, you can automatically nurture leads that show interest in your products or services and encourage them to become paying customers.
6. Use a social media automation tool
I’m not talking about typical social media content managers in this case.
Today, you can use serious automation tools to distribute, organize, and publish your material.
Look specifically for social media automation platforms.
On such platforms, all you have to do is create the bulk of your content and upload them using a spreadsheet.
You can then tag or categorize them based on the mood, intention, or type of post you’ve made.
And then have the automation tool automatically assign them to different networks.
They’ll use tags and descriptors to regularly organize your material and post them to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other places.
Automation tools for social media require less manual work than regular social network management tools. And they can free up hours of time and work spent a month or even weeks.
7. Leverage email drip campaigns
Another powerful way to use marketing automation is through the use of email drip campaigns.
A drip campaign, as the name suggests, refers to a series of automatic emails that are sent out over time.
They can be used to nurture leads and customers alike, helping you build relationships with people and encourage them to make a purchase.
There are a number of different email drip campaigns you can use, including:
- Welcome campaigns: These are used to welcome new subscribers or customers and introduce them to your business.
- Educational campaigns: These can be used to share useful information or resources with your subscribers.
- Promotional campaigns: These are designed to encourage customers to make a purchase, sharing details about sales and discounts, for example.
- Behavioral campaigns: These are designed to encourage specific behaviors, such as visiting your website or making a purchase. And they’re based on audience behaviors. For example, a person who views a category of products will be interested in suggestions from the same category.
- Abandoned cart campaigns: These are designed to encourage customers who have added items to their shopping cart but then abandon the purchase. You can use email drip campaigns in combination with push notifications to encourage customers to complete their purchases.
The key to a successful email drip campaign is to create emails that are personalized and relevant to the recipient.
This means tailoring your content based on their preferences and interests, as well as using triggers such as website visits or abandoned shopping carts to send targeted messages.
By leveraging drip campaigns, you stand to keep people engaged and get them to convert.
Overall, marketing automation can be a great way to encourage leads to take the next step and become paying customers. By offering deals and incentives, you can give them the extra push they need to make the decision to buy from you.
So if you’re looking for a way to increase sales, consider using marketing automation in your business. It could be just what you need to take your business to the next level.
Featured Image Credit: Carlos Muza; Unsplash; Thank you!
Whitelabel NFT Marketplace: Inevitable Need in the Evolving Web3 Space
The NFT industry has become glorious since its market boomed in late 2021 when billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency were transacted across platforms for these digital assets. While the 2021 NFT boom revolved around pictures, videos, and memes, it also showed that these blockchain entries could do more than back JPEGs and GIFs.
Multiple NFT marketplace ventures demonstrated the power of NFTs by selling various novel NFTs, which have become remunerative business models ever since. Speaking of NFT marketplaces, Whitelabel NFT marketplaces have become a hot topic in 2022 as more beginner-level ventures aimed to make fortunes selling NFTs.
Whitelabel NFT Marketplaces: An Explainer
A Whitelabel NFT marketplace is a customizable solution built and tested beforehand. Such a ready-made NFT marketplace is advantageous for many reasons, the primary one being its quick-to-launch nature.
These solutions are typically created by third-party developers associated with NFT marketplace development firms that help businesses in launching these platforms as a service. Such ready-to-launch solutions favor ventures that look to test their feasibility in the Web3 space or small-scale startups looking to make it big in the domain.
Such platforms can originate from two types of solutions: Tailor-made Whitelabel NFT marketplaces built by firms and NFT marketplace solutions similar to existing platforms.
Must-haves for a Ready-made NFT Marketplace Solution
- The ready-made NFT marketplace solution should be able to connect to multiple crypto wallets where users can store their cryptocurrencies and NFT assets.
- Such a solution should be affordable for anyone by ensuring that all complexities involved in developing from scratch are eliminated through intricate end-to-end development.
- The Whitelabel NFT marketplace should contain advanced security measures, including MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), Jail Login, and DDoS, that can ensure user safety while using the application.
- Also, providing multi-currency support is crucial as the crypto world today is more than Bitcoin and Ethereum. A readily-launchable NFT marketplace that supports numerous major cryptos will offer a competitive edge for ventures.
- Apart from the basic features, a ready-made NFT marketplace solution should have a few unique features that could be a game-changer for a business using it.
Whitelabel NFT Marketplace: What’s Present in a Starter Pack?
- Crypto Wallet – A Whitelabel NFT marketplace should have a crypto wallet that can support numerous cryptocurrencies and NFTs from different blockchains.
- Storefront – Such a prefabricated platform should have a vibrant storefront that shows details about NFT assets listed for sale on the marketplace.
- Smart Contracts – Smart contracts in a ready-made NFT marketplace solution can help to process NFT sale transactions quickly and securely between users.
- Auction Portal – In such a marketplace, the auction portal can be beneficial for enabling prospective buyers to place bids on NFT items and know live sale updates.
- Admin Portal – The admin portal in a Whitelabel NFT marketplace application can be useful for marketplace administrators to get analytic data and moderate NFTs before listing.
- Seller Portal – Such a platform also has a portal for sellers where they can access data relevant to the sales of their NFT assets and other statistics.
- Search Engine – Another must-have in any NFT marketplace, search engines assist users in finding their favorite NFT collections faster.
- Filter/Sort Options – These options assist users to refine their search for NFT collections that fit their type and cost preferences.
Business Advantages of a Ready-made NFT Marketplace Platform
While the NFT marketplace platform’s business model in itself provides a lot of advantages for businesses, launching it from a Whitelabel solution only supplements the goodness. As always, a ready-made NFT marketplace solution can be launched easily while incurring economic costs.
The platform can also be customized extensively to suit a venture’s needs which also offers a degree of uniqueness to ventures.
Also, suppose a business wants to have an NFT marketplace similar to an existing platform (Example: OpenSea). In that case, a Whitelabel solution built based on OpenSea’s code can be modified accordingly to fit the needs of the business.
Popular Ready-made NFT Marketplace Solutions
- An NFT Marketplace Solution, Like OpenSea, is based on the popular horizontal trading NFT marketplace’s model that can be customized per business needs.
- An NFT Marketplace, Like Rarible, offers governance powers to users, enabling a collaborative business option for people loving to communicate with the Web3 community.
- An NFT Marketplace, Like Foundation, can be useful for selling exclusive artworks listed after expert checks. Even entering the platform as creators is invitation-based, preserving its nature.
- An NFT Marketplace, Like Nifty Gateway, can be utilized as a digital art gallery where artworks are listed for sale after curation by experts.
How Viable is a Whitelabel NFT Marketplace in the Future?
While the global NFT market growth is expected to get back to another level in a few years. The surge in startups opting to choose the NFT marketplace model is also expected to grow.
Such levels of enthusiasm mean that Whitelabel NFT marketplace solutions will be in demand for at least a few years to come as Web3 slowly becomes mainstream.
For some experts, the scope for ready-made NFT marketplace solutions will stay on even after Web3 becomes mainstream, as there will always be aspiring entrepreneurs who will not have enough resources or time to conduct funding. Adding experimental startups to the list only increases the demand for such solutions.
Hence, utilizing ready-made NFT marketplace solutions (check out blockchainappfactory dotcom) has become prevalent among small-scale ventures trying to make a mark in Web3. The fact that many startups strive to make an impact in the NFT space supports the need for customizable Whitelabel NFT marketplace platforms.
If you are looking to run an NFT marketplace based on any genre and you want to capitalize on the trends, it is always best to opt for a ready-made NFT marketplace solution.
Such platforms are available with experienced NFT marketplace development firms that can launch your business quickly at affordable prices. Benefit from such a readily-available NFT marketplace platform to earn huge recognition in the Web3 world.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you.
How Plum Is Simplifying Real Estate and Vacation Co-Ownership
Everyone looks forward to their upcoming vacations. That’s great and can be a recipe to combat burnout. And make no mistake: People are back to vacationing now that Covid is somewhat in the rearview mirror. In fact, ValuePenguin’s research shows that more than half of all Americans are planning a trip in the near future. However, figuring out where to stay can be a sticking point. For many, vacation co-ownership offers an attractive alternative.
What makes pinpointing the perfect place to hang out for a week so difficult? Despite the proliferation of sites like Airbnb and VRBO, finding budget-friendly lodging in a prime location isn’t always easy. Many travelers end up feeling like they’re not getting the best possible accommodations for their money. As a result, plenty of individuals and families consider purchasing vacation properties or seeking timeshares.
Getting a Break…Without Breaking the Bank
There are problems with both these solutions, though.
Investing in a home, condo, bungalow, or cabin in a tourist hotspot can be pricey. That’s why so many people rent out their vacation properties. Unfortunately, the most lucrative times to rent are during popular times of the year. Accordingly, many property owners give up the opportunity to enjoy their vacation homes during peak seasons.
Timeshares aren’t necessarily a better option, which may be why so many people are unloading timeshare units en masse. Though timeshares seem to cost less upfront, they’re very limiting.
Plus, timeshare “owners” are only owning time. They’re not actually investing in real estate. Therefore, they can’t possibly profit from a timeshare arrangement, making it a bad choice for budding investors.
What should individuals and couples eager to be able to go to the same getaway vacation after vacation do then? Serial entrepreneur Matt Williamson asked himself the same question a few years ago. His answer became the seed of his startup venture, Plum CoOwnership.
A Streamlined Avenue to Owning Real Vacation Properties
Williamson built Plum so vacationers could get off the “Where should we stay?” rollercoaster permanently through a co-ownership agreement. Property co-ownership is exactly as it sounds: Several people or couples buy a single property together.
For example, four friends may want to buy beachside cottages individually. Yet each friend can only purchase a home up to $250,000. That’s not enough to get close enough to hear the waves, let alone have a great view.
But if they work together, they have the buying power to purchase properties listed in the $1 million range. If they invest in that type of higher-end property, they can each spend 13 weeks there annually while saving.
Not only do they share ownership of the real estate but they have a place to stay in a location they love. And they own the property outright instead of paying a third-party entity for their time.
To be sure, co-ownership is not a new concept. In fact, there are over 2 million co-owned vacation homes. Still, it can seem daunting for groups interested in purchasing vacation homes.
After all, there are multiple considerations, including how to set up a co-ownership group, find the right realtor, and set up fair use schedules. Williamson’s brainchild platform Plum aims to remove the biggest barriers to co-ownership, making vacation property ownership feasible for those interested.
The Plum Approach to Streamlining Vacation Property Co-Ownership
Backed by advanced technologies, Plum serves as the launching pad for aspiring co-owners to realize their vacation home dreams.
Individuals can set up Plum accounts for free to start their journeys. If they don’t have a group in mind, they can advertise for other property investors to join them. Once a group has been set up through Plum, the site’s intuitive system walks the group through the co-ownership process.
Below are just a few benefits for co-owners who leverage Plum.
1. Co-ownership groups can become LLCs through Plum.
Rather than hiring outside legal help, co-owners have the option to let Plum help them form an LLC. The LLC then becomes the entity that officially owns the property.
LLC backing protects individual owners and makes the experience more secure and satisfying. LLC standing also makes it more efficient when setting up a joint bank account that’s transparent to all LLC members.
Though Plum recommends only a few members be given access to transfer funds, full and transparent access to monthly statements and all transactions should be available to everyone.
2. Co-owners can outline their must-haves and negotiables on Plum.
It’s critical for property co-owners to outline everything from house rules to maintenance schedules. The earlier this happens, the fewer surprises are likely to happen in the long run.
The Plum system walks groups through the process of negotiating all responsibilities. Final results are laid out in a document. Ideally, the document will be created prior to bidding on a vacation property to lessen the chance of misunderstandings.
3. Co-owners can bring properties to the table or search on Plum.
When Williamson first began investigating co-ownership in-depth, he realized some people already owned vacation properties. But they were interested in splitting the property into shares to spend less per month on mortgage payments, taxes, etc.
Plum allows those kinds of owners to seek out other owners to form co-ownership groups. For groups that don’t have a property in mind, Plum’s site offers a property search feature. Additionally, Plum can suggest co-ownership-friendly realtors and lenders interested in selling to co-ownership groups.
4. Users can rely on Plum for property financial management.
After investing in a property, co-ownership groups have every reason to keep the property running smoothly.
Plum ensures this happens by including a reserve fund in its original financial projection. Each month, co-owners funnel a certain amount of money into the reserve fund. That way, the fund can grow and support routine and emergency maintenance costs.
Ultimately, the property stays in better shape and co-owners have fewer unbudgeted expenses.
A Plum Future for People Interested in Purchasing Vacation Properties
Although Plum only just launched, it’s gotten quite a bit of notice.
Recently, Plum was featured on Entrepreneur’s Elevator Pitch show. The outcome was a $175,000 investment from Netflix’s former CEO. Williamson and his team plan to use the investment dollars to further improve the site’s advantages for users.
In the meantime, Plum presents an attractive way for people to finally achieve vacation home ownership with less stress. After all, stress is the opposite of what travel should be all about! With Plum, everyone can spend their vacations relaxing in homes that they not only love but own as well.
Featured Image: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!