What Is Digital Marketing?

When we use the word “Digital Marketing”, we are actually referring to online marketing efforts from a brand.Therefore, if you are asking what is Digital Marketing (DM), here is your answer:This is a practice in Business through which advertising messages are delivered through online channels such as websites, mobile apps, search engines, social media and emails. It helps a brand generate interest in their products among their consumers.Though DM started gaining popularity in the year 2000. In the last couple of years it has revolutionised marketing communication.In a real sense:It is brand messaging (Advertisements) delivered through electronic channels such as Television, Radio, Internet etc. Electronic channels generate, store and transmit data in the series of the number 0 or 1.Therefore,It can happen both Online and Offline.If the above is true, thenIt existed ever since Guglielmo Marconi sent first wireless signals in 1896.Isn’t that crazy!However, the simple definition of DM does not say enough about the practice of digital marketing in today’s world.This meaning is useless as technology is just the enabler of digital marketing. So let us understand what exactly digital marketing is?What is Digital Marketing in Today’s Context?In today’s context:It is a set of interactive marketing promotion activities which are done online. These activities help an individual or organization reach its target audience and achieve its business & financial objectives.Therefore when we say digital marketing, we are essentially referring to Online Digital Marketing.The other form of DM is offline digital marketing, which happens on other electronic devices such as Radio or Television.I know you are not here to read about radio or TV, so I will spare you (though I have invested millions of dollars on Offline marketing during my career).Going forward in this article when I say “DM”, I am actually referring to “Online Digital marketing”, as that is what you intend to read here, right?

It is a set of marketing activities and not just one activity.

It is Interactive and not just one way. It enables two-way communication and is much more engaging compared to the other marketing methods. Interactivity is what distinguishes it from advertising on Television, which is also electronic but not interactive.

It happens online. What it essentially means is that the activity is carried out on the Internet or telecom networks. Though it happens online, it can empower both the virtual or offline world. An example of DM in the virtual or online world is email marketing or social media marketing or search engine marketing. In the colloquial sense when we say digital marketing we refer to virtual or online marketing only. An example of this in the offline world is the use of tablets to showcase product offerings at a retail store.

It helps an individual or organization. It is useful not only for large companies but also for individuals as well, unlike TV or newspaper advertising. One can take advantage of digital advertising on small budgets as well.

It helps reach and engage the target audience. It is focused, and one can use multiple targeting methods to reach their audience.

It helps achieve business and financial objectives. It is measurable & ROI driven. It helps achieve business & financial goals.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you need any further info!

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The Best Home-Based Business for Beginners: 4 Important Tips for Starting Your Business!

If you’re a beginner in the home-based business world; whether it’s online or predominantly “on the street;” you can find a million web sites that claim you can make money right away! Many “wealth gurus” say they can make you fast cash!However, millions of home based business ideas on the internet are failing to produce their claims.Why?Because most home-based business ideas are usually too difficult for the beginning entrepreneur. Or, in an effort to make them simplistic, most of the benefits are in favor of the owners.In fact, many programs are usually challenging for the intermediate and advanced Internet marketer.You’ve heard it before… “You can make $150,000, $500,000 and even $1 million a year with no experience, not time, no money and no brains!”You’ve heard these outrageous claims before and they get old after a while! It makes it hard to know the difference between the hype and an online home business or home-based business idea that can deliver a real promise!So if you’re trying to get out of the 9-to-5 rat race and work for yourself, the best way to prevent wasted time is to find a dependable mentor and invest the required time and money to get the necessary foundation that can help you make money from “jump Street!”It’s common for the average home based business entrepreneur to invest 10, 20 or $30,000 in training and tools before finally getting the right skill set to make things happen. In fact, it probably happens to over 70% of us who get into home businesses. Of those, most fail.In fact, I was no exception. Before it finally made some sense to me I had invested over $20,000 in training, software, tools etc.The biggest tragedy is; I could have spent $500 or even $1000 and received the same or even better results! However, I started like most of us do. spending $10 here, $25 there, etc. But that’s like trying to put a 500 piece puzzle together and purchasing five pieces at a time.So you’re faced with the choice of constantly being persuaded by all the get rich quick scams and jumping from one hot idea to the next!Don’t Repeat the Same Mistake most Home-Based Beginners Make!Like many of us, I took the plunge into online and home-based entrepreneurship and experienced instant failure! Even though I began working on the internet when it virtually started. I worked many home-based businesses as early as when Amway was very popular.I failed at over 50 different home and online businesses with every marketing strategy you can think up.I fell for several of the web site gimmicks that told me to “just purchase a sleek looking $500 web site and get rich! One such opportunity was a car web site that I worked on for five years. During those years I never made one dime!I purchased e-courses, signed up for all the free programs, I spent many hours posting to free ad boards, ad blasters, banner ads, studied SEO, basic HTML and much more. I probably tried every kind of internet business and strategy on how to make money!I tried an equal amount of home-based businesses that do most of their work on the street instead of the internet.Basically, I was spending all my free time draining my bank account and still didn’t make one penny!Don’t let anyone fool you; although working in the home-based business world can be very lucrative, you are going to have to make an investment in time, money and dedication before you get the results you desire. The good news is, it takes much less time and much less money than in the “brick and mortar” world.Important Tips for Starting Home Based BeginnersOK Mike, you told me all the bad news! So what can I do that will work!Glad you asked!Good money can be made with a home business idea, and lots of it! In fact unlimited! But these secrets are important.If you are making tons of money without them, you should be able to at least DOUBLE your income with them!1. BEST HOME BUSINESSES Concentrate on programs or products that need to be purchased monthly!There are many great products and services for you to support. You can earn big commissions to represent them. HOWEVER, would it be better to make a $39 profit just one time, or a $10 profit over and over again indefinitely?2. BEST HOME BUSINESSES know it takes some money to make money!Despite all the hogwash you read about making $1 million and never spending a dime; ladies and gentlemen, it might happen once in a million years! But don’t hold your breath!It’s always going to take some money to make money. The good thing is it takes a whole lot less to start a work from home business.Also, even though you can join many programs FREE; realize it only gets you in the door; and without benefits to actually make a financial profit fast.3. BEST HOME BUSINESSES “put their eggs in several baskets!”The best home businesses entrepreneurs diversify their businesses. Getting involved in a program or selling a product with multiple sources of income or sources of prospects is what I’m talking about! If your business has more avenues of income, it will be more stable and you will be less likely to go under.I would keep in mind that because of our unstable economy, a rewarding home-based business idea should not solely be dependent on the online world. You can conduct your business online and “on the street” but what if the internet goes down for some reason? Just something to keep in mind.4. BEST HOME BUSINESSES invest in a business with a solid financial foundation.Can you imagine if you invested all your time and effort in a program and after one year it closed its doors! Make sure you don’t invest all your effort into a program that is weak in the first place!Also, when you have a “business developer mindset”, instead of a “recruiting mindset”, you will have a friendly team of associates to keep your business going.Even if you’re flagship project goes under, your associates are likely to join you on the next venture.

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The 4 Types of Real Estate Investor Financing

Throughout my real estate investing career, I’ve spent many dozens of hours speaking with lenders and potential financiers of my deals. With all the different types of loans and equity financing products available to investors these days, it’s important to have a good understanding of the benefits and the drawbacks of each, so you can choose the most appropriate financing option for your particular need(s).

Of course, given today’s credit situation, options are not only more limited than they were a couple years ago, but the definition of a “good deal” from a lender has changed as well. When I first started looking at financing for single family houses, I passed on a couple potential options that in hindsight were pretty good given today’s tight credit market; so it’s important to not only understand the types of financing that’s out there, but also which types are most prevalent and most easy to come by.

The point of this article is to define the four most common types of financing available to real estate investors; while there are, of course, more than four ways of financing real estate investments, most are a derivative — or combination — of the four we will discuss here.

1. Traditional Financing

This type of loan is generally done through a mortgage broker or bank, and the lender may be a large banking institution or a quasi-government institution (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc). The requirements to qualify for a loan are based strictly on the borrower’s current financial situation — credit score, income, assets, and debt. If you don’t have good credit, reasonable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio (i.e., you earn a lot compared to your monthly obligations), you likely won’t qualify for traditional financing.

Benefits: The benefits of traditional financing are low-interest rates (generally), low loan costs (or points), and long loan durations (generally at least 30 years). If you can qualify for traditional financing, it’s a great choice.

Drawbacks: There are a few drawbacks to traditional financing for investors, some major:

The biggest drawback to tradition financing is what I stated above — it’s difficult to qualify these days. Just a year or two ago, you could have qualified under a “sub-prime” variation of traditional lending, where income and credit were less of an issue; but given the sub-prime meltdown (many of these borrowers defaulting on their loans), these sub-prime options have gone away. So, unless you have good credit, income, and small debt, you’re better off not even bothering with trying to get traditional financing these days.
Traditional lenders generally require that at least 20% be put down as a down payment. While this isn’t always true, investor loans with less than 20% down can be tough to find via traditional lending these days.
As an investor, it can be difficult to deal with traditional lenders who don’t necessarily understand your business. For example, a house I closed on last week with traditional financing almost fell-through because the lender wouldn’t provide the funds until the hot water heater in the investment property was working. As an investor, it’s common that I’ll buy houses with broken hot water heaters (among other things), and I can’t generally expect the seller to fix this for me, especially when my seller’s are usually banks. In this case, I had to fix the hot water heater before I even owned the house, which is not something I want to do on a regular basis.
Traditional lenders take their time when it comes to appraisals and pushing loans through their process. It’s best to allow for at least 21 days between contract acceptance and close. As an investor, you often want to incent the seller to accept your offer by offering to close quickly; with traditional lending, that can often be impossible.
If the lender will be financing through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae (and most will), there will be a limit to the number of loans you can have at one time. Currently, that limit is either 4 or 10 loans (depending on whether it’s Freddie or Fannie), so if you plan to be an active investor going after more than 5 or 10 properties simultaneously, you’ll run into this problem with traditional lending at some point.
There are no traditional loans that will cover the cost of rehab in the loan. If you plan to buy a $100K property and spend $30K in rehab costs, that $30K will have to come out of your pocket; the lender won’t put that money into the loan.
2. Portfolio/Investor Lending
Some smaller banks will lend their own money (as opposed to getting the money from Freddie, Fannie, or some other large institution). These banks generally have the ability to make their own lending criteria, and don’t necessarily have to go just on the borrower’s financial situation. For example, a couple of the portfolio lenders I’ve spoken with will use a combination of the borrower’s financial situation and the actual investment being pursued.

Because some portfolio lenders (also called “investment lenders”) have the expertise to actually evaluate investment deals, if they are confident that the investment is solid, they will be a bit less concerned about the borrower defaulting on the loan, because they have already verified that the property value will cover the balance of the loan. That said, portfolio lenders aren’t in the business of investing in real estate, so they aren’t hoping for the borrower to default; given that, they do care that the borrower has at least decent credit, good income and/or cash reserves. While I haven’t been able to qualify for traditional financing on my own due to my lack of income, portfolio lenders tend to be very excited about working with me because of my good credit and cash reserves.

Benefits: As mentioned, the major benefit of portfolio lending is that (sometimes) the financial requirements on the borrower can be relaxed a bit, allowing borrowers with less than stellar credit or low income to qualify for loans. Here are some other benefits:

Some portfolio lenders will offer “rehab loans” that will roll the rehab costs into the loan, essentially allowing the investor to cover the entire cost of the rehab through the loan (with a down-payment based on the full amount).
Portfolio loans often require less than 20% down payment, and 90% LTV is not uncommon.
Portfolio lenders will verify that the investment the borrower wants to make is a sound one. This provides an extra layer of checks and balances to the investor about whether the deal they are pursuing is a good one. For new investors, this can be a very good thing!
Portfolio lenders are often used to dealing with investors, and can many times close loans in 7-10 days, especially with investors who they are familiar with and trust.
Drawbacks: Of course, there are drawbacks to portfolio loans as well:
Some portfolio loans are short-term — even as low as 6-12 months. If you get short-term financing, you need to either be confident that you can turn around and sell the property in that amount of time, or you need to be confident that you can refinance to get out of the loan prior to its expiration.
Portfolio loans generally have higher interest rates and “points” (loan costs) associated with them. It’s not uncommon for portfolio loans to run from 9-14% interest and 2-5% of the total loan in up-front fees (2-5 points).
Portfolio lenders may seriously scrutinize your deals, and if you are trying to make a deal where the value is obvious to you but not your lender, you may find yourself in a situation where they won’t give you the money.
Because portfolio lenders often care about the deal as much as the borrower, they often want to see that the borrower has real estate experience. If you go to a lender with no experience, you might find yourself paying higher rates, more points, or having to provide additional personal guarantees. That said, once you prove yourself to the lender by selling a couple houses and repaying a couple loans, things will get a lot easier.
3. Hard Money
Hard money is so-called because the loan is provided more against the hard asset (in this case Real Estate) than it is against the borrower. Hard money lenders are often wealthy business people (either investors themselves, or professionals such as doctors and lawyers who are looking for a good return on their saved cash).

Hard money lenders often don’t care about the financial situation of the borrower, as long as they are confident that the loan is being used to finance a great deal. If the deal is great — and the borrower has the experience to execute — hard money lenders will often lend to those with poor credit, no income, and even high debt. That said, the worse the financial situation of the borrower, the better the deal needs to be.

Benefits: The obvious benefit of hard money is that even if you have a very poor financial situation, you may be able to a loan. Again, the loan is more against the deal than it is against the deal-maker. And, hard money lenders can often make quick lending decisions, providing turn-around times of just a couple days on loans when necessary. Also, hard money lenders — because they are lending their own money — have the option to finance up to 100% of the deal, if they think it makes sense.

Drawbacks: As you can imagine, hard money isn’t always the magic bullet for investors with bad finances. Because hard money is often a last resort for borrowers who can’t qualify for other types of loans, hard money lenders will often impose very high costs on their loans. Interest rates upwards of 15% are not uncommon, and the upfront fees can often total 7-10% of the entire loan amount (7-10 points). This makes hard money very expensive, and unless the deal is fantastic, hard money can easily eat much of your profit before the deal is even made.

4. Equity Investments

Equity Investment is just a fancy name for “partner.” An equity investor will lend you money in return for some fixed percentage of the investment and profit. A common scenario is that an equity investor will front all the money for a deal, but do none of the work. The borrower will do 100% of the work, and then at the end, the lender and the borrower will split the profit 50/50. Sometimes the equity investor will be involved in the actual deal, and oftentimes the split isn’t 50/50, but the gist of the equity investment is the same — a partner injects money to get a portion of the profits.

Benefits: The biggest benefit to an equity partner is that there are no “requirements” that the borrower needs to fulfill to get the loan. If the partner chooses to invest and take (generally) equal or greater risk than the borrower, they can do so. Oftentimes, the equity investor is a friend or family member, and the deal is more a partnership in the eyes of both parties, as opposed to a lender/borrower relationship.

Drawbacks: There are two drawbacks to equity partnership:

Equity partners are generally entitled to a piece of the profits, maybe even 50% or more. While the investor doesn’t generally need to pay anything upfront (or even any interest on the money), they will have to fork over a large percentage of the profits to the partner. This can mean even smaller profit than if the investor went with hard money or some other type of high-interest loan.
Equity partners may want to play an active role in the investment. While this can be a good thing if the partner is experienced and has the same vision as the investor, when that’s not the case, this can be a recipe for disaster.

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