Prosper Loans – Peer-To-Peer Lending Creates Opportunity

Many people assume there is only one source of borrowing. This source would, of course, be a traditional bank. While banks truly are a major source of lending, there are other opportunities for borrowing. One such method would be peer-to-peer lending. Among the common peer-to-peer lenders, Prosper remains an increasing popular provider.

Prosper Loans (Prosper.com) is a company that also does offer something unique to the financial market. It provides a means in which investors can a nontraditional and potentially profitable vehicle for their money. How so? Investors become lenders and reap the interest on the financing they provide.

The numbers tell the tale. There are over 1.1 million members and they have borrowed $264 million in funds. Such figures clearly show that this is a well established and serious lender. How does the program designed by Prosper work? The answer to this is found in the answer to what exactly peer-to-peer lending entails.

Basically, the process eliminates the traditional lending institution by connecting borrowers with those that are looking for viable vehicles in which to invest their money. New and innovative investment vehicles will always be popular which is why this company is raising eyebrows in financial circles.

The actual borrowing/lending/investing process is a rather streamlined one. A borrower merely needs to determine a loan amount along with a stated purpose for the loan. Immediately thereafter, the borrower will post a classified ad promoting a loan listing. Those interested in investing via funding loans will examine the classified listing.

Investors are not under any obligation to cover any loan. However, if the investor sees a loan listing that meets his or her risk level, the investor may wish to fund such a loan. Again, there is no obligation for the lender to accept a loan offer so no one is locked into funding weak loan offers.

As soon as a loan is approved, the borrower will make repayments in the same manner they would to any other lending source. They will make fixed monthly payments which will go to cover the loan and the interest.

The money that is paid back will cover both the investor’s actual investment although a portion of the payments will go to Prosper.com. This should be considered a given because the service does have to make money in order for it to remain solvent. That is just basic common business sense. This is where certain misconceptions arise where the service is dubbed fraudulent. Accepting fees for providing a lending and investing service is perfectly understandable. The key here is that the service does what is needed to do to provide all parties with a viable means of seeing both their needs met. Accepting a nominal fee in order to provide such a service is logical.

Prosper.com does offer a unique peer-to-peer lending and investing service which can help all parties involved. Many are seeking a viable means of acquiring lending when other forms of lending have been cut off. The same can be said that there is a need for effective investment vehicles as well.

Use of Content Marketing for Image Makeover

Many a time branding through social media or digital branding might be a risk factor. Then the question arises what kind of risk factors are there in digital branding? Imaging if someone tries to defame your brand through social media, imagine if your strategy goes wrong and it creates a negative buzz about your brand, then what will you do? As social media is a platform where buzz can be hyped within a fraction of seconds then imaging if the buzz is negative. If you put your hands in a bag which is full of social media tools you’ll find a tool known as content marketing. Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, and that there has to be a better way.

As rightly said by Doug Kessler, “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them”. Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty. And they do. Content marketing is being used by some of the greatest marketing organizations in the world, including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere.

But why is content marketing used for image makeover? And is it so effective? Let’s take some of the examples whose digital strategy went flop on social media. The strategy of L’Oreal’s social media presence took a huge hit when it was revealed that they created a fake blog. Push marketing in the social media space is always a bad idea, especially when it’s this blatant. It was an innocent mistake. The Red Cross’s social media specialist (who was an intern) meant to send this tweet from his personal Twitter profile – not from the @Red Cross account. Like Dominos, however, the Red Cross did a great job of owning up to the mistake, and even poked fun out of themselves in a later tweet. It was a big goof, but not a total fail. Push marketing rarely works as a social media strategy. Instead of releasing a standard press release, use a multitude of social media channels to interact with your audience. Doing so makes your message much more likely to be spread and have an image makeover. Brand makeovers needn’t be only in response to dire circumstances. In fact, successful companies of all sizes should revamp their image periodically, says Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates and author of Brand Digital. An example of “Jack in the Box” on Damage control Six months after food poisoning killed four, “Jack in the Box” diners and sickened hundreds, sales were down 40%. Two years later, a makeover saved the company, whose revenue has tripled since 1995.

How to create a content strategy?

In a recent study done by the Content Marketing Institute, 42% of B2B companies consider their content marketing efforts effective, up from 36% the year earlier.

• Determine Objectives for Content Marketing

• Measure Your Content Marketing

• Define Your Audiences

• Research Audience Needs

• Create a Content Execution Plan

• Create a Content Amplification Plan

To be effective at content marketing, it is essential to have a documented content marketing strategy. According to the Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, while 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions.

Content is essential to supporting loyal, trusting relationships between brands and consumers. 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. And 90% of consumers find custom content useful. 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. Content is a leading driver of brand engagement on social media and motivates consumers to take action. Interesting content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on social media. 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it.

These are some of the stats about content marketing and how content marketing is being used for image makeover of the brands. Content marketing can help an organization be more proactive in how we address both consumer and business needs, and be more responsive to behavioural shifts and emerging trends. With encouraging signs of growth across the industry and bullish attitudes from marketing leaders, there’s never been a better time to enable our owned media channels to start working harder for our business with a strategic content marketing program. And at the end an excellent quote given by Bill Gates “Content is the King”.

Ex Network Marketing Introvert Speaks Out! Marketing, Recruiting And Being An Introvert

If you’re an introvert like me and you’re thinking of joining a network marketing business, all I ask is that you hear me out before you sign up.

Now I’m not here to tell you about the evils of network marketing, I think it is a great way for someone who hasn’t developed their own products or service to get started in their own business.

If you read my story, my father was a network marketer for Amway when I was growing up and it was my first choice when I decided to take the leap to entrepreneurship. I think it can work, but not without hard, sometimes very uncomfortable work and some really thick skin.

Network marketing kicked my ass and that’s just the truth. At the time I dove in, I didn’t really understand how much my personality (being an introvert) was going to work against me. You might be a totally different type of introvert since we are not a once size fits all kinda thing, so this may not apply to you.

What part of the MLM industry did I struggle with? Take your pic…

The approach… the multiple follow ups… meeting invites, online or offline. The team building, selling products… The close… Should I go on??! Lol!

See, the MLM industry in its essence is essentially about selling a dream.

What’s the dream?

Think about what got you interested in it.

Even as a kid with my father at one of many Amway conferences, I was mesmerized by the idea of “Time and Financial freedom”. During some of the seminars I went to with my dad, some of the top dogs in the biz would show these delicious images of their lavish homes, awesome toys, and the picture of being free from the rule of corporate America.

They could go where they wanted to go and when they wanted to! They had full control of every part of their lives! They answered to no one but their own internal nudging’s.

Who wouldn’t want that, right? Exactly!

Because of that exposure, I yearned for that lifestyle all my life and felt the only way I could have it was by building a network marketing business. After struggling my first 6 mos. In the business, I decided to go online to see if I could make things less painful…

More on that in a minute…

Now am I saying that those wonderful perks of MLM success are impossible to be had?

No. No I’m not…

But what I am saying is, less than 3 percent of business hopefuls who enter the network marketing industry really make the kind of money that allows for that kind of freedom.

Okay, before I really sound anti- network marketing, let me share with you what I’ve noticed about the ones who are successful.

1. They had a degree of EXTROVERT QUALITIES in their personal make-up (felt very at ease talking to strangers).

2. They were able to muster up a considerable about of BELIEF in the PRODUCTS and the MLM system.

3. And lastly, they had a good grasp of ONLINE MARKETING and were able to use it to create excitement for what they were selling.

Once again, I’m not saying there aren’t any successful introverted network marketers out there, I’m just saying I wasn’t one of ‘em.

Out of the 3 qualities I noted, I only had one:

I knew online marketing. And I learned that along the way.

Had I really understood my own personality at the time, as well as some of the aspects of the biz I should have avoided, I may have fared better.

But, What-A-Ya-Gonna-Do?

It was the best learning experiences of my life and had I not gone down that road; I wouldn’t be, do or know what I know, be and do right now.

My goal is to make this process easier for you on your MLM journey, so if you are an introvert like me, here are a few things you should consider that might soften the experience for you before jumping in.

And before I forget, let me just say that talking to strangers was not my down fall or my biggest issue. I could get around that. It was actually the lack of BELIEF in the products and the industry itself.

No matter how hard I tried, I would always find holes that would cause me to doubt. I would always hear a little voice in my head saying, “this shit is hard, who would really want to do this?” Or, “these products are too expensive.” There was always something…

OK, here are a few things you want to consider especially if your have an introvert personality…

  • Avoid party based companies. For obvious reasons these are extremely time consuming and can be very stressful if you’re not the party planning and promoting type.
  • Realize you will have to talk to people not only to sell your MLM products but to recruit for your team. Many gurus will sell you on online marketing to avoid off line selling in order to hook you in. Sorry to burst your bubble, but at least until you build momentum in your business, you will need to marketing off-line
  • Beware of what leaders you team up with. Don’t be dependent on their marketing tools or for motivation. I’ve made this mistake in my travels. These so called leaders are notorious for jumping companies that seem to offer more money for them. They can be super motivating and get you all hyped up one minute and be M.I.A the next. Protect yourself and take these people with a grain of salt.
  • Find a company that allows you to market online without too many restrictions.
  • Create a brand around yourself and not the network marketing business name. (Branding is more than just a random logo and slapping your picture on a website, btw.)

Remember, even though you CAN leverage the internet to build your business, you will still have to approach your warm market regardless of what the gurus tell you. You will have to create relationships that can be very draining for us introverts.

So if you are determined to build a Network Marketing business do it will all eyes open knowing exactly what you will need to do for success.

So why is having my own business marketing my own products any different since I’m still an introvert? Because it’s mine, because I put in the work to create it, because I BELIEVE in it whole heatedly and because I understand the power of branding at its core.

Good luck in your new network marketing venture.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Campaign Failed

I am, from time to time, asked to troubleshoot why someone’s content marketing campaign has not been the success they had hoped for. Almost always, the cause of the problem falls within the scope of one of the following reasons. Here, in reverse order, are my top five reasons why content marketing campaigns fail:

# 5. You are not content marketing:

Content marketing is marketing a business to achieve one or more goals of that business. If the achievement of your business goal is not the reason for producing your content, you are blogging. That important distinction is not always understood.

Many content creators do not understand the part content marketing plays in moving your prospects along your sales funnel. Different types of content are needed for each stage, that is for suspects, prospects, and retaining and selling again to existing customers. If you are not producing content that supports each stage in the sales process, you are not content marketing.

# 4. There is not a market for your product or service:

It never ceases to surprise me how many businesses fail because the founders did not do proper research to establish whether there was a market for their business and or whether their product or service met that need.

You can have a technically excellent product, but it will fail if no one wants to buy it. I once worked for a company that had such a product. Every prospect the sales force presented to said what a great idea it was, but they would not buy it. It was a solution looking for a problem. Then you have the other side of the coin: There is a market, but your product or service does not meet it. There is a problem, but you do not have the solution.

No matter how good your content marketing is, your campaign will fail in its objective of acquiring new customers if:

  • There is no market for your product or service, or
  • If your product does not solve the customer’s problem.

# 3. You are publishing in the wrong place:

You must ensure that your content gets to your target audience. You need to know:

  • Who your target audience is. That includes demographic information such as their age, gender, socio-economic group, whether they are likely to be married, and if they have a family;
  • Where they currently go to get information; and
  • How they prefer to consume data.

Let’s consider a couple of examples:

Example 1: You have a business that provides support for WordPress websites globally. Your target audience is likely to be business owners that already have, or intend to have a website on the WordPress platform. They are likely to be in the age group 24 to 54 years old, likely to be married and probably have a family. They are entrepreneurs, not software engineers.

You will find them on Linked In, and they probably also have a personal and business Face Book presence. They are also very likely to use mobile computing devices, which is their device of choice for consuming data.

You need to be publishing your content in the places these people go to for answers to their WordPress problems, such as You Tube, podcasts (think iTunes, Sticher, Podcast Republic, and Zune to name but a few) – you could either have your own show or make guest appearances on other shows, SlideShare, writing articles (think long SlideShare documents, not just article directories), blogs, and forums for WordPress users.

Example 2: You provide an on-line tuition course in mathematics. Your target audience is likely to be school age children and their parents. They will have a personal Face Book presence and will probably also use one or more of the other popular social networking sites such as WhatsApp and Line. They are likely to have a Gmail account and also use You Tube.

The nature of your service lends itself to visual media, which is how this group prefers to consume data. Your target audience will be using sites such as Udemy and You Tube to find content.

The preferences of your target audience will determine where you need to publish your content, and predicate the medium you use to deliver your content. If your target audience prefers to consume visual content, text based content will not appeal to them and they will be much less likely to visit text based content sites.

If your target audience prefers to consume data at a time and in a place that suits them, in other words, they want to consume content on demand, consider audio podcasting. However, you should only do so if your content lends itself to the spoken word.

Should you publish your content on your own website?

The answer depends on how long you have been in business, and what reputation you already enjoy. The Pareto principle or the 80:20 rule will apply in any event. If your business is a start-up or is a young business, 80% of your content should published off your website. As your business becomes established and your reputation has grown, that ratio can be reversed.

Not only do you need to publish your content in the places your audiences goes to for information, you must ensure that it comes to their attention. That means systematically promoting your content on social networking sites such as Face Book, Google+, Linked In and You Tube, as well as on Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon and other similar sites. Consider issuing a press release and linking to the piece of content in blog posts and comments, and on forums. If you have an email list, tell your list about the content you have created and ask them to share it with others.

You should expect to spend at least as much time promoting your content as you did in creating it. Not all marketers do this, which is why many content marketing campaigns fail.

# 2. Your campaign is too short:

Although there are people who claim great success from a short campaign, these fortunate few are the exception. For most of us, content marketing is a medium to long-term exercise that performs different roles for the various stages in our sales funnel. Put another way, you need to create content that is suitable for and supports each stage in the buying process.

Let us say, for example, that you have a business selling video cameras and accessories. You will need to create content that explains the different types of camera that are available, their prices, the uses for which they are most suitable, and the amount of knowledge and or experience the user will need to operate the device. This type of content is aimed at the person browsing your online store looking to see what is available.

Next, you can segment your content to cover the different sections of your potential audience, such as those looking for a camera to take videos of the family and holidays, hobbyists, and the high end amateur and professional users. Content that compares the features, benefits, and disbenefits, the pros and cons if you like, of each product in the market segment will help the potential customer make a short list of suitable products. The person browsing your site is now a prospect.

The next set of content will focus on a specific product and the benefits of purchasing it from you. This type of content will help convert the prospect into a customer.

The final set of content will help your customer get the best out of their purchase and will upsell product add-ons and accessories.

If you are not creating content for each stage of the buying process and after sales support, your content marketing campaign is not likely to be as successful as you had hoped.

# 1. Poor quality content:

Poor quality content is the main reason why many content marketing campaigns fail. The term “poor quality” covers a multitude of sins.

Earlier in this article I said that your content must be created with the objective of achieving a business goal. That is true, but not only should your content marketing do that, it must solve a problem your target audience has. At the very least it should give them something of use and value. Unfortunately, a great deal of content that is created is little more than a thinly veiled sales pitch.

It should go without saying that your content should be grammatically correct and free from spelling errors. It should also be well written and follow a logical sequence. If you are writing an article, your objective is to retain the reader’s interest long enough for them to get to your resource box. It is there that you should give the reader a good reason to click on the link to your website from where you will do the selling.

Similarly with video. You want to keep the viewer’s attention until they see the call to action, which is usually to click on a link in the description.

Poor quality is a description that can also be applied to content that is too short or too general to be of any help to the person consuming it. Your content should be long enough to impart all the information you need to give in sufficient detail, but short enough to ensure you retain their interest.

There is another definition of poor quality content that is often overlooked by content marketers, that is, if they are even aware of it. If your content fails to engage with your audience, it has not achieved one of your business goals. Most marketers gauge the success of their content by how many views it has received, or how many likes it has, or a combination of both. A piece of content may have have been viewed a great many times, and it might have received a large number of likes, but nobody has engaged with it. They did not comment on it, or share it with their own audience, or tweet about it, or list it on Reddit or StumbleUpon.

For your content marketing to be successful, your audience has to engage with your content.

The Takeaway:

As marketers, I think we can takeaway the following points:

# 1. There must be a viable market for your product or service;

# 2. Your content must assist you in achieving a business goal;

# 3. Your content must be published in the places where your audience is likely to find it, and you must promote your content;

# 4. Your content marketing campaign must support all the stages in the sales process as well as providing after sales support, and

# 5. You must create good quality content that encourages audience engagement.

Your content marketing campaign is likely to be successful if you apply these five lessons.

Stock Market Volatility

Stock Market Volatility – Definition & Nature

An economy consists of three basic sectors, agriculture sector, manufacturing sector, and services sector. These sectors jointly shape the Real Economy of a society. Government plays an important role in regulating all these sectors. In addition, governments of modern societies run a few economic activities of grave importance such as defense, currency and some public goods. The monetary sector is essential side of every economy. Monetary sector does not provide, directly, any tangible benefit to a person, but, it is unavoidable for smooth working of product and service sectors. The inclusion of monetary or financial instruments portray the complete and understandable picture of an economy. Financial sector removes multiple frictions between individuals/institutions/states through defining prices, rates of return and exchange rates. Stock markets are vital aspect of financial economy. They provide avenue to companies for capital collection, in return, investors get dividends from companies. The byproducts of stock market are speculative activities and profound learning of involved economic agents. Financial Markets are now an inevitable aspect of every economy. There are five big players of a stock market – speculators, investors, firms, brokers and government. Volatility or uncertain extreme response on an event of all or one significant players creates the volatile environment in the market. Technically speaking, “volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security or market.”

Bases of Stock Market Volatility

There are five significant players of a stock market – speculators, investors, brokers, business firms, and government or regulatory bodies. Speculator are volatile on account of personal emotions such as greed, fear, panic and dogmatic dispositions. They manifest volatility due to peculiar beliefs about patterns of prices/volumes and decisions of firms and governments, now and then. Moreover, speculators want windfall stable return, come what may. Investors manifests volatility on account of lack of information, knowledge and understanding. Investors naively or wrongly channel trusts / expectations towards some firms, indices and regulatory bodies. Brokers’ volatility is normally outcome of unjust competition among broker firms, rent seeking activity of some broker houses to avoid a few regulations, and exploitation of traders. Business Firms may show volatility in lieu of low productivity of inputs, decision-making framework of top management and poor regulations by government. Global economic conditions also affect local firms’ behavior and its share prices, positively and negatively. Government manifests extremity because of multiple political expediency. The large business players/associations pressurize government for specific economic policies.

Investors’ Beliefs & Market Uncertainty

A belief is an invisible force behind actions or deterrent against multiple stimulus. A belief is shaped because of knowledge, observation, experience, and contemplation. Whenever a belief is established, it feeds or gives strength to human reason and intuition. Reason and intuition are naturally endowed weapons for any life struggle, both economic as well as non-economic. Stock Market, too, is complex functioning of thinking and intuitive market players. The conflicting reasoning of a market player or/and dormant intuitive mindset of someone creates a wave of uncertainty among all participants of financial market. The sustained uncertainty means chaos in the market. However, the final outcome of chaos is creation of relatively better and more significant beliefs. There is possibility of wrong belief or conclusion about working of financial market on account of some rational/intuitive fallacy. The recurring phenomenon of “Market Correction” activates the invincible warriors of stock market, that is, Time and Patience. Consequently, it follows reasonable / intuitive belief pattern. It is noteworthy that the very existence of skewed movement of price / volume is permanent feature of a share market due to conflicting human nature, so that, a share market is permanent battle ground for all market players. The ultimate winners are always time-efficient and patient.

Investors’ Working & Market Uncertainty

Investors are significant and big player of an economy. They are building blocks of stock market outcomes. The individual investor is final basis of every trading activity of the market. They trade with independent and definite mindset. Market structure develops a reinforcing interdependence among investors, the interdependent investment approach shapes a collective mindset of investors. The collective mindset gets a personification in few smart people. These smart individuals are leaders of financial sector. The maximum benefit accumulation appetite among some big investors creates uncertainty in the market, now and again. The bull-bear phenomenon is permanent feature of a share market. The phenomenon can be managed, to some extent, by efficient-effective regulators of the market. The proactive role of regulators is inevitable to create win-win environs for all and sundry.

Conclusion – Safety Measures

At individual level, the insightful understanding of shares, technical and fundamental, and proactive response on price/volume movement is basic to avoid aftermath of market volatility. However, the long run solution is traders’ stability, both mental as well as behavioral. The impulsive and non-strategic approach during buying/selling badly affects the traders especially at the time of pressures. The intuitive, rational and strategic stance during trading lessens the effects of buying/selling pressures on individual traders, the said attitude may affect market volatility, positively. At collective level, a comprehensive approach is required to manage manifold volatility. Government / Regulatory Bodies can play a preventive as well as corrective role to harness it. The preventive steps are needed to avoid stock market volatility and corrective steps are required to manage the befallen troubles on account of volatility. The meritorious stand of government / regulatory bodies are vital for disaster management. Normally, the merit killing aggravates the situation due to competitive and global nature of financial markets.