Why Fintech Startups Matter

Sale house and calculator

Sale house and calculator

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.

Are you unsure about what the word “fintech” actually means? Sure, you know it stands for “financial technology”, but what does the term cover? You’ll be surprised, but a lot of tech-savvy people and companies are not sure either.

By definition, fintech covers industries that deal with finance and technology, such as mobile payments, money transfers, crowdfunding, and even loan application and approvals. If you have ever made a purchase online through PayPal or made a donation through GoFundMe, you might have already used fintech without even being aware of it.

A narrower definition of fintech involves the startup scene. As most of the larger banks are slow to come up with mobile payment solutions due to financial regulations and a poor grasp of consumer behavior, small startup companies have stepped in to fill the void. For example, WePay, a solution that processes credit card payments, is used by crowdfunding platforms such as CrowdRise, which is also a fintech startup in itself.

The agility that these new players bring into the market have made them leaders in large yet untapped industries such as loans for small businesses and online installment payments. Kabbage, a small-business lender, counts beauty salons and local clothing retailers among its biggest client bases, and has raked in more than US$40 million in revenue as of 2015. The reason it is able to tap into the SME market is that it has a very short repayment period, while offering substantial loan amounts. While there is a risk of clients defaulting on their loans, the incidence of default is low compared to traditional brands.

Banks are already starting to take notice of this trend. In fact, Goldman Sachs believes that, for all their infrastructure and brand recall, large banks are slowly losing their competitive edge. The so-called “third wave” of fintech is seeing banks collaborate directly with fintech startups in order to leverage their speed to market while backing them up with massive war chests. These startups are focusing more on business-to-business (B2B) models rather than the traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. This trend tends to expose the fintech startups to a larger customer base that they would otherwise have difficulty accessing.

Pretty soon, I believe, the major banking players will have their own products based on solutions offered by fintech startups, such as online loan restructuring and peer-to-peer lending. This will be done either by bringing in fresh talent from fintech startups, drawing up exclusive partnerships with the same startups, or establishing dedicated fintech divisions. And the trend will not be confined to banks alone, as other financial establishments, such as insurance companies, are also starting to take notice. There are already mobile apps which help users find an insurance policy that fits their needs and budget, and it can only get bigger from here.

Truly, fintech and fintech startups are interesting to look at. If you are an investor, chances are you might want to take a close look into these up-and-coming players. You’ll never know when you will stumble upon the next PayPal.

If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

Using Rich Media to Attract Views

The Ferdinand Insight

Rich Media

Hello, dear readers. This is Brian Ferdinand. Today, we’ll take a look at something that is so ubiquitous that it’s often taken for granted: rich media. Among the things that fall into this category are audio clips, video, music, animation, and virtual reality. Rich media was formerly the domain of those who could afford the storage server space and bandwidth needed to host it. Now, because of the presence of social media networks and high-speed broadband Internet connections, uploading and playing these kinds of content has become faster and easier.

Here’s how to determine if your business will benefit from using rich media in its websites and social media accounts:

Who is your target audience? There are certain observations that don’t bear repeating: younger audiences are more attracted to rich media than older ones, a consumer audience with spare time is more likely to watch rich content, etc. However, the lines are increasingly being blurred between business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) when it comes to the use of rich media content for promotions. Nowadays, with the number of tech startups and crowdsourcers looking for the next big thing, all it takes sometimes is one viral video featuring a product with the potential to become a disruptive force.

Does it add value to your brand? How does the use of a video clip help sell boutique hotel rooms during the off-peak season? It does by showcasing the benefits of checking into the hotel when it is not too crowded, such as having the beachfront all to one’s self. While a simple essay or photo slideshow could do the trick easily, a video says so much more than mere words.

Does it enhance user experience? I never get tired of telling this story I heard from a Filipino friend: a funeral parlor back home once offered live feeds of wakes and even interments for the benefit of those who cannot pay a visit to their departed loved ones. At first, I thought it was a bit senseless, then my friend explained to me that they are family events and people, even the most distant relatives, are expected to fly home for the ceremonies. The use of live feeds served as a way for those who are otherwise unable to visit to connect with friends and relatives they have not seen in a long time, and to at least be there in spirit. Come to think of it, this concept does make a lot of sense for many service industries.

Of course, good rich media content does require a bit of investment. While storage space and bandwidth have all but become free thanks to YouTube and Facebook Videos, the production itself costs a pretty tidy sum. Audiences are now more discerning about the things they choose to click, so if you are going to employ rich media to promote your business, make sure that you get the services of a trusted videographer or animator.

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur. If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

 

Brian Ferdinand: Promoting Your Vacation Rental on Social Media

Brian's Social Media Thoughts

Advantages of Social Media

If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

It’s easy to create a Facebook page or an Instagram account for your vacation rental. What’s difficult, though, is keeping those “likes” and to keep viewers engaged. As a small business owner, you have to strike a perfect balance between promoting your place and alienating those who would otherwise be inquiring about it. While there are no hard and fast rules to leveraging social media, there are however certain rules of online etiquette that have to be followed in order to maintain a good level of customer interest.

Before you post content across different social media platforms, keep in mind the following tips:

Post Engaging Content

Facebook and Instagram users tend to be more visual than the average fellow on Twitter. A study conducted in 2011 concluded that photos saw the most engagement such as “likes” or “loves” on Facebook, followed by videos. This means that, yes, you should totally post photos of your vacation rental. On top of that, though, you could also post shots of the surroundings. Is there a lake nearby? Is there a short film festival happening next month? Since you are in the business of selling rentals, you might as well suggest things to do while they’re staying in your place. While you might not get bookings today, the photos will help build a mental image in your viewer’s mind, one that won’t let go until he or she presses “Confirm Booking”.

Frequency Is Key

People like looking at pretty things, like your vacation rental up in Sturgeon Bay in the middle of spring. What they don’t like looking at, though, are pictures of the same house from different angles on an hourly basis. The rule of thumb here is to post at least once a week, or once a day at most. This will strike the balance between flooding your feed and maintaining a marginal presence on social media. You can also schedule posts up to six months in advance, which is perfect for queuing photos of stunning autumn foliage while spring has yet to set in, and will take care of social media presence while you are out on your own hard-earned vacation.

Realize Your Reach.

Here’s something Facebook won’t tell you when you create a page: your posts won’t reach all of your fans. In fact, Facebook will only post a photo or video to only a fraction of your fans’ timelines. The good part is that, given enough engagement, your posts will also reach friends of your fans. Having just a handful of fans or followers is not a reason to give up on promoting your vacation rental on Facebook; this is all the more reason to come up with and to post enticing original content. So keep snapping those photos and shooting your videos; you’ll never know where your next booking will come from.

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced marketing methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.

Brian Ferdinand: How Digital Marketing Trends could Disrupt the Way Business is Done

The Ferdinand Marketing Tips

Digital Marketing

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.

Digital marketing is nothing new; it has been in existence ever since the first business website went up on the Internet. However, newer digital marketing trends have been shaping the way business is done far more radically than the creators of the Internet would have foreseen.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

While it has been argued that nothing beats actual human-to-human interaction when it comes to influencing customer decisions, modern computing has nonetheless made it possible for artificial intelligence to come close to the power of the human mind when it comes to promoting products and solutions.

Facebook, for example, already runs algorithms that trace pages you have recently visited and displays “suggested pages” on your timeline. YouTube uses creative native advertising algorithms to promote products based on previously-viewed videos. This trend will not be confined to online platforms in the future, though; some high-end stores are already planning to roll out tracking technologies to determine customer behavior and to suggest products that are more likely to sell among certain market demographics. While there are certain concerns being raised about customer privacy, further improvements will only make the marketing process more secure and airtight, both for the brand and for the customer.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality has come a long way from being just playthings. With the launch of AR-enabled games such as Ingress and Pokémon Go, the technology has become as ubiquitous as ride-sharing. Already, there are real estate developers who are looking into virtual reality as a type of immersive experience that may be used to promote properties for sale or rent. As an Airbnb aficionado, a 3-D guided tour of a potential staycation spot would be a better preview of the place than mere photos on a TripAdvisor site.

Small business owners can also hook up with larger developers to create immersive VR and AR experiences to promote their products. For example, a guided VR tour inside a strip mall or along a tourist district, complete with food and drink menus and customer reviews, has the potential to draw tourist footprints even before they purchase a plane ticket. Developers can also monetize this chance of exposure as no business wants to be left out of a guided tour.

The Internet Of Things

While the concept of the Internet Of Things has been around for a decade, it is only now that its full potential is being realized. Consumer products, such as appliances, are increasingly becoming interconnected, and this trend will only grow further with the spread of ubiquitous networks, such as wide-area WiFi, LTE, and LoRa.

This technology will soon be available to digital marketers as Big Data is slowly being integrated into IoT. For example, new refrigerators will be able to trace whether a consumer is running low on milk or apples, then send a message to the consumer via a mobile app. Here, digital marketers could chime in with suggested products or services, giving them exposure right at the tips of their customers’ fingers.

If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

Brian Ferdinand: Why and How You Should Deal with Online Reviews

Brian Ferdinand Tech Expert

Dealing with online material.

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.

For businesses nowadays, promotion through word of mouth or traditional means is not enough. A strong social media presence is required, especially for small businesses that otherwise might not have the means to directly engage with customers. The existence of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram gives businesses strong tools for interfacing with clients, whether they are new, previous, or future customers.

Part of this presence includes dealing with online reviews made on platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Customers are more discerning with how they spend their hard-earned cash, and they want to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth. Yelp reviews, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, reach a larger proportion of would-be customers than other forms of online media such as local news websites. With a total audience of 11 million users, one negative rating can snowball into two or even ten more, significantly pulling down an establishment’s score. In fact, each additional “star” on Yelp could account for as much as 9% in additional revenue for service businesses.

Even the best businesses deal with less-than-stellar reviews sometimes. While it is true that there are parties that do malicious reviews in order to shore up the competition, it is a good practice to engage with the reviewer sympathetically, taking into account all the valid claims and treating the review as a learning experience.

Best practices in customer service involve a combination of the following: calmness, diplomacy, consistency, and empathy.

The last thing a business owner would want to happen is to acquire a reputation for being hard-headed. This implies that the business is either not willing to listen to its customers and couldn’t care less about client satisfaction, or that it does not care a bit about its stakeholders. Calmness and common decency have to be employed to manage a customer’s irate mood and behavior, and to reassure them that all of their concerns are being considered thoroughly.

A personal touch can also surprise and delight the irate customer. For restaurants, having the chef respond directly to the review can mean a lot to Yelp or TripAdvisor readers – this could mean that he or she does not just treat cooking as a job, but also as a passion. A chef who’s always passionate about leaving customers satisfied is always bound to draw business to an establishment, whether it is a small inn or a three-Michelin star restaurant.

Sometimes, a dash of humor can be used to leverage what was previously bad exposure into a more positive one. For example, a certain meatball sandwich place once invited passers-by to try “The Worst Meatball Sandwich That One Guy On Yelp Ever Had In His Life”. Photos of the sign became viral and resulted in an uptick in income for the restaurant. The place has since moved on to another location, but the exposure left a lasting impression in terms of Google searches.

For smaller businesses such as boutique inns and artisanal restaurants, strong social media and review site presence are necessary to build and maintain good customer relations.

If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

Brian Ferdinand: Why and How You Should Deal with Online Reviews

<p><em>Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.</em></p>

 

<p>For businesses nowadays, promotion through word of mouth or traditional means is not enough. A strong social media presence is required, especially for small businesses that otherwise might not have the means to directly engage with customers. The existence of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram gives businesses strong tools for interfacing with clients, whether they are new, previous, or future customers.</p>

 

<p>Part of this presence includes dealing with online reviews made on platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Customers are more discerning with how they spend their hard-earned cash, and they want to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth. Yelp reviews, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, reach a larger proportion of would-be customers than other forms of online media such as local news websites. With a total audience of 11 million users, one negative rating can snowball into two or even ten more, significantly pulling down an establishment’s score. In fact, each additional “star” on Yelp could account for as much as 9% in additional revenue for service businesses.</p>

 

<p>Even the best businesses deal with less-than-stellar reviews sometimes. While it is true that there are parties that do malicious reviews in order to shore up the competition, it is a good practice to engage with the reviewer sympathetically, taking into account all the valid claims and treating the review as a learning experience.</p>

 

<p>Best practices in customer service involve a combination of the following: calmness, diplomacy, consistency, and empathy.</p>

 

<p>The last thing a business owner would want to happen is to acquire a reputation for being hard-headed. This implies that the business is either not willing to listen to its customers and couldn’t care less about client satisfaction, or that it does not care a bit about its stakeholders. Calmness and common decency have to be employed to manage a customer’s irate mood and behavior, and to reassure them that all of their concerns are being considered thoroughly.</p>

 

<p>A personal touch can also surprise and delight the irate customer. For restaurants, having the chef respond directly to the review can mean a lot to Yelp or TripAdvisor readers – this could mean that he or she does not just treat cooking as a job, but also as a passion. A chef who’s always passionate about leaving customers satisfied is always bound to draw business to an establishment, whether it is a small inn or a three-Michelin star restaurant.</p>

 

<p>Sometimes, a dash of humor can be used to leverage what was previously bad exposure into a more positive one. For example, a certain meatball sandwich place once invited passers-by to try “The Worst Meatball Sandwich That One Guy On Yelp Ever Had In His Life”. Photos of the sign became viral and resulted in an uptick in income for the restaurant. The place has since moved on to another location, but the exposure left a lasting impression in terms of Google searches.</p>

 

<p>For smaller businesses such as boutique inns and artisanal restaurants, strong social media and review site presence are necessary to build and maintain good customer relations.</p>

 

<p><em>If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.</em></p></body>

Brian Ferdinand: Why Content in Digital Marketing is Everything

Digital Marketing 101: Content is Still the Most Critical Component

Brian Ferdinand: Why Content in Digital Marketing is Everything

Online marketing

Modern marketing

Brian Ferdinand has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies. Apart from working as COO for Vacation Rentals LLC, he is also an entrepreneur.

On social media pages and official websites of businesses, whether over the web or with a mobile app, consumer behavior is primarily influenced by what they read. Content marketing greatly differs from advertising copy that you print or publish, or air on TV and radio stations. Where these usually blatantly advertise a specific product or service, online content takes a more subliminal approach; often talking about a particular concern or need in detail and providing recommendations for solutions (most of the time).

But there’s more to content than simply addressing a specific need, discussing relevant issues and subliminally promoting your product or service. You need to create content based on the platform they will appear in, and the general user behavior on that particular platform.

In other words, if you are writing content for mobile accessibility, you need to create mobile-specific content. For the Web, you can include more details or write a longer version of the mobile content. But whether for the Web, mobile, or even social media, the content needs to be packed with useful information. This is where your content team will come into play.

Facts matter

Your team needs to know your audience inside-out. And always, research data if you are going to include statistics, surveys or studies to emphasize a point.

You must understand that everything goes viral on the Internet in a matter of seconds, and poorly written, or under-researched content that includes false data can immediately put your business in a negative light. You must also understand that online users can sometimes be unforgiving, so tread carefully when writing content.

Finally, content writing should also include optimization, and this largely means including keywords or key phrases that search engines target. Be careful not to spam keywords though, as search engine bots might bypass you.

When all is said and done, content is everything.

If you wish to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him through this website.

Brian Ferdinand on the Overlooked Significance of Social Media for Customer Care

Ferdinand Social Media

A collage of social media icons

Hello, dear readers. This is Brian Ferdinand. Today, let’s look at the untapped potential of social media for delivering on-time customer service to millions of consumers who are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms.

With a lot more consumers now turning to the Internet for everything they need, and a lot more becoming increasingly tech-savvy; it’s a puzzle why businesses haven’t jumped on the bandwagon in terms of providing their consumers with immediate and even relatable customer support.

In a recent survey, it was discovered that only an average of 11% of businesses with an online presence respond to customer concerns, and even then, it takes them approximately ten hours to reply! That’s way too long to keep a customer waiting, in my honest opinion.

While businesses may be active on social media in terms of posting updates about their products, services, events, and other related information, they are not as active when it comes to interacting with their consumers—followers who reach out to them for questions or concerns.

Businesses may have a Customer Support link on their websites but the same survey indicated that consumers often turn to social media for their concerns instead of going to the business’ official website.

Going back to responding to customer concerns ten hours after the concern was raised on social media, it was also discovered that on average, customers wait approximately four hours before giving up on being, at the very least, acknowledged for their concern. And for every three consumers, one is more likely to switch to your competitor in hopes of receiving better customer service.

The bottom line is that social media can be your friend or foe—depending on how you utilize it. I recommend that you take another look at your social pages and really see them for what they are; a tool for providing excellent customer care to your loyal patrons and winning over new ones.

If you would like to get in touch with Brian Ferdinand, please contact him directly through this site.

Brian Ferdinand on the Deal with Online Deals

Briand Ferdinand Digital Discounts

Online discounts and Brian Ferdinand

It wasn’t long ago when online discount and freebie coupons dominated the online consumer market. Regions such as the United States had Groupon and Southeast Asia largely depended on Ensogo, where consumers turned to for deals they can grab for a variety of services. Hi, all. Brian Ferdinand here, and today, we will be looking at the general picture as to why online deals are no longer selling like hotcakes these days.

There are several factors that caused the fatigue, but in general, surveys reveal that consumers got tired of receiving numerous emails at a time; alerting them about the latest deals that they “need” to grab. When other players entered the scene, the race to reach consumers became too stiff. What resulted was sending a barrage of emails to as many potential buyers as possible—and consumers got tired of the whole thing. Most likely, recipients of the emails put the messages straight to Trash even without having read them yet.

The unwanted emails became a deal breaker and so the predicted number of consumers that should have turned turn to loyal, full-paying customers wasn’t realized.

The rise and fall of online deals sites

When customers aren’t buying anymore it creates a ripple effect that could eventually lead to the business’ collapse. When a business is no longer profitable, the initial step undertaken by business owners to try to salvage what is left of the company is naturally to cut down costs. And cost-cutting usually means a massive lay off. When you only have a handful people running the operations, customer satisfaction will likely suffer. Finally, when customers are no longer satisfied with your service, the business suffers an even bigger blow—losing customers.

While changing your business model could still save the day, it isn’t always the case—as what happened with *Ensogo.

*More information on the rise and fall of Ensogo is readily available on the Internet.

Additionally, with online consumers on the lookout for better and newer purchasing services every day, keeping up with the changes in consumer behavior is a factor that needs to be addressed immediately.

Brian Ferdinand is an entrepreneur and financial consultant currently based in New York. He has over 15 years of experience in advanced trading methodologies and technologies.

Brian Ferdinand: Technology is a Game Changer in the Real Estate Industry

brian-ferdinand-tech-and-its-impact-on-real-estate

It’s no secret that technology has taken over the world. With everything readily available with a single click, and all things accessible from a portable communications gadget like a smartphone or tablet, it’s no wonder why people these days rely heavily on technology. Hello, everyone. This is Brian Ferdinand. I invite you to read on to learn more about how technology is shaping the future of real estate.

Buyers rely on the Internet for research and information

These days, when someone is looking to buy property, they don’t normally turn to a real estate agent anymore—at least not initially. What they do instead is to turn to the Internet for properties that are available at the location of their choice. This is where property finder Web apps come into play. These apps do not merely give you full addresses of the property. They give you detailed information about the property; from neighborhood pricing (including pricing trends in the last five years or so as well as price indicators and predictions) to the community itself.

Do you have school age kids? The property finder can also tell you where the nearest schools, shops, restaurants, clinics, and parks are.

Now, if you are buying property as an investment, there are also Web apps that can provide you with an estimated value of the property after a year or two have passed.

Cloud Technology

Cloud sharing technology is also seen as a tech trend that will be on the upswing in 2016 or at least in the next year. Cloud technology is nothing new, but in terms of real estate buying and selling, it can streamline information sharing between the agent and the buyer or seller. In other words, shared cloud for clients and real estate agents is predicted to take shape in the very near future.

With this technology, data sharing will be quicker and easier than, say, sharing through email.

Other tech trends predicted to come out for the real estate industry in the very near future include 3D printed keys. IT trends in real estate are likely to take advantage of mobile computing as well.

More tech trends in real estate will be posted by Brian Ferdinand as information becomes available.