Hype vs. Trend – What Really Matters for Your Business?

AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, self-driving cars, cloud-computing... You have probably heard of all of those, right? Do these terms represent trend or a hype? What is the actual difference between those two words? And are they important for you, as an entrepreneur who's just getting started? These are probably the questions that jump to your mind when hearing these buzzwords.


There is a HUGE difference between what stays and what doesn't. In other words, not everything will stick and change our behaviour. This is how we can define our keyword, trend: as a change in the behaviour, habits or ways in which things work. It is a constant change. Let me explain trend in a graph, as I am a visual learner and a numbers freak…

Trend Line
Trend Line

On the contrary, hype is something that simply occurs and fades away… without any lasting impact. If I spoke in graphs, hype would look like this:

Hype Line
Hype Line

When the terms are clarified, let us look at the history and point out some of the trends and hypes we, as humans on this earth, have been through…


  1. 1950 – Year when the first credit card was introduced

Presented by Diner's Club, the very first universal credit card came to use and was accepted by some establishments. Had it been just a hype, no one would be using credit cards today… Non-cash payment instruments play a huge role in our lives today – this trend changed our behaviour for good.


Now, imagine a bank not issuing a credit or debit card after opening an account – a business that did not catch the trend. This bank would for sure not survive in today's world…


  1. 2008 – The word shared economy was loudly spoken for the first time

… and changed the way we travel, transport ourselves and purchase goods. Startups like AirBnB or Uber have shown us there is a new way of ordering a taxi or renting a flat for a few nights. Have classic taxi companies had to react to this change? You bet they have!


You can probably guess where this is heading. There are a plethora of examples of trends that have changed our lives. These are real changes that – if businesses ignored them – could be very harmful... 


  1. Now – Podcasts, home voice assistants and voice orders

Here we go. 2019 and podcasts, home voice assistants, voice search, voice order and – you nailed it – everything that has something to do with voice is slowly changing the way we behave. Is this something you should keep an eye on? I believe so. Is this something that is about to change / threaten / boost your business? That truly depends on your business industry and approach.


On the contrary, hype can calmly be ignored (or shortly leveraged). Do you remember the Bitcoin bubble in late 2017? 


If not, let me briefly explain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was invented in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Its price has been slowly rising since then, and in 2017, one Bitcoin was worth around 20,000 USD. With no real value behind it! In other words, so much money was invested in this currency that the price rose rapidly. An easy economic rule: when the demand rises (while the offer is limited), the price goes up. But what is crucial, is the value behind it. There was no value at all. And in January 2018...BOOM!

Bitcoin Chart (2018)

Identifying hype and trend can be crucial for the survival of your business. But no one really tells you how to get started. Well… saying that there is a manual would mean there is a way to predict the future.


But there are some ways to prepare yourself. As Gartner puts it: “Three key factors will ultimately enable you to identify the potential impact of a particular technology trend on people, business, IT and the technology market:

  1. New value. Identify clear business opportunities that this technology trend could help exploit, or challenges that it could help solve to produce better business outcomes.

  2. Level of digital disruption. Decide whether adopting this trend would mean changing your organization’s business model or inventing a new one. Could this new trend replace existing technologies or ways of doing business? How could this trend disrupt the technology market? Although, there will probably be opportunities for new providers, new trends can disrupt the services and performance of existing providers on which your organization may rely.

  3. Type of impact. Investigate whether the trend’s impact will be felt only within your organization, or whether it will have an external impact on your organization." 


Yes, you have to know your business and industry perfectly in order to answer those questions. If you decide to simply ignore everything that goes around you, you may get kicked out of business soon… But if you learn, build on your knowledge and keep an eye on the current trends & hypes (as you may not recognize them at the beginning), your chances will rise.


Build on your knowledge. Do not pay attention to what does not affect your business, but be aware of something that does…

We at groost.com are leveraging online advertising for small businesses, which has shown to be a strong trend that is here to change many industries. In 2018, for the very first time, 50 % of the world's population was online. Never before has the percentage of people with access to the internet been so high. And guess what… The number is rising. Is this a trend or a hype? You are now able to answer the question for yourself.


Are you up to date with what's on trend for 2019? Check the Gartner's research here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-trends-appear-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2019

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40+ Tools for Creating Visual Content on Social Media

It is well-known that visual content is the basis of success on social networks. It’s easier for users to consume pictures and videos, than text. It’s also more visible in a mess of other content. According to some studies, tweets with pictures receive up to 150% more retweets than plain text posts without pictures. So, it is clear that the importance of visual content is steadily increasing and you definitely shouldn't ignore it.


You don't have to worry, you don't need to hire expensive agencies right away. You don't even have to learn to work with complicated and expensive tools, like Photoshop. Fortunately, today there are plenty of free online and mobile apps available to create visual content in just a few clicks.


In this article we will introduce you to 40+ tools that are available on the internet for free. We use these tools on a daily basis, so we can highly recommend them.

Canva

By far the most famous online tool for creating all kinds of visuals, and not just for social media. Canva allows you to create literally everything you can think of — from nice Facebook covers to Instagram Stories to beautiful Infographics. You can choose from dozens of templates and it all works for web browsers or mobile apps.


Vizzlo

Whether you need a simple pie chart or a complex business graphic, Vizzlo's portfolio offers you a broad range of different visualization choices. It works for browsers and it is easy to use. You can enter your data using the simple sidebar, and then choose to import spreadsheets from Excel or Google Sheets. Add the result to your slides and documents or directly share it on all your social media channels.


Graphicriver

An endless collection of various templates, fonts, logos, flyers and much more. Graphicriver is where you can find ready-made graphic designs for almost any digital content. You don't need to hire an expensive agency and create all visuals and graphics from scratch. It is often enough to modify existing templates. This saves you not only a bunch of time, but also money, because the prices of the templates are very low.


Tip: If you are not familiar with editing graphics, try to outsource it via Fivver.


Landscape

Size matters! At least when it comes to social media. Landscape has hundreds of recommended dimensions, sizes and ratios across different platforms and devices. It is easy to get lost in these constantly changing numbers. So try to use Landscape by Sprout, it helps you resize multiple images for your profiles automatically.

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6 Things to Avoid When Hiring a Marketing Agency

For anyone who’s not an expert in this field, marketing strategies, SEO or social media can be like a maze. If that’s the case, navigating through it can get super difficult sometimes. However, that’s okay! Marketing agencies exist exactly for that reason — to help business owners and entrepreneurs efficiently use their business’s potential in the name of marketing. Naturally, you want your business to grow. You decided that it’s time for you or your firm to start working with a marketing agency. Good for you! But where do you start? How can you make sure that you choose the right one? There are so many questions that might seem tricky, but this list of things you should avoid will answer the most crucial ones.

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How to define the SUCCESS of your marketing efforts?

Before launching any marketing campaign, we must ask ourselves the question: What is it that I want to achieve by running this campaign? In other words, what goal do I set. This is crucial as it determines the outcome that needs to be tracked – the key metric(s) that I want to analyse. Let us call the key metric the North Star for now.


Imagine you sell houses in the U.S.A. By making great content (e.g. pictures & videos of a new house near a lake) and running an online ad, you want to reach as many people as possible! You worked out how to effectively target your customer and now it's time to evaluate your efforts.

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How much does Facebook advertising cost?

Well, that’s a tricky question – there are so many variables at play. Depending on your situation, the cost of your Facebook ads could be as much as $10 per click, or as little as 40 cents.

The most important factor is efficiency and performance. Your ads might be super cheap, but if they do not bring any results, it's a waste of money. Define the purpose (the goal) of the ad and what is your cost limit to label the ad as efficient. Many businesses measure success by the number of sold products, leads generated, or potential customers engaged.

There is no rule or benchmark for this, each business is different with different needs and circumstances. Someone might be satisfied with a new lead for $45 and another might not go over $10. One person might consider a $3 cost per click as successful and another would not want to pay more than $2. Calculate the revenue you can get from the lead and think about how much you want to spend per action, this way you can always check whether your ads perform well or not. 

Before you spend a lot of money, try to set up your daily budget for $5 a day. (We will talk about how to set your budget later). Monitor your results. If the ad performance meets your ideas and you have money to raise the daily budget, do it. And do it again, if the ad is bringing you results.

Remember: If your ad is comical, visually appealing, engaging, or all of these combined, people will like, comment or share it more often than they would with some boring copy with a blurry image. If you really want the most from your paid ads, they have to be great to make the people share them and so the ads will be also spread organically. Deciding how much to spend is a good place to start, but always make sure each dollar goes as far as it possibly can. The key is the visual, the text, as well as targeting. Regarding your content creation, read my article about buyer personas, because you should tailor-make it for your ideal customers and you can also find more helpful info in this article about tools for creating visual content.

So, how can you get an idea of how much Facebook advertising costs before diving in?


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Why Small Businesses Can – and Should Embrace Technology Trends in 2020

You can either follow a trend or go against it. The choice is yours. The truth is, nonetheless, that if you fall behind, your competitors may overcome you – steal your customers and offer a better service or product. Knowing that being a business owner is a tough job, technology is sometimes considered too hard to implement because it is costly to hire a strategic partner or IT support or time-consuming to learn new tactics yourself. These myths may not apply for your business – today's tools are made to be easy to implement and understood by non-technical individuals.


Technology influences every aspect of your business – IT, finances, logistics, sales, support or marketing. New approaches teach us constantly how to become more efficient at what we do. Saving money or time, increasing the scalability of our businesses or inventing new products and business models is backed by the evolution of technology. On the other hand, not everything that glitters is gold… We've written an article about the difference between trend and hype. Watch carefully what's going on in your industry and what your customers need or require (which is definitely the most important factor of all), but don't jump on every train that goes around. Not everyone will make it to the final station. There is a difference between what influences your business and what doesn't.


We will cover some trends for 2020 below, but before we jump into that, let's speak about the context. In 2018, 50% of the world's population was online. Today in 2019, it's more than 54%. Now, most people have jumped into the information age, where everything is moving at an unbelievable pace. Not only are things (goods and services) changing on a daily basis, but their costs are constantly decreasing. Imagine you bought a 3D printer 12 years ago. 40,000 USD is what you'd have paid. Today, the cheapest 3D printers cost around 100 USD. Yes, your math skills are up to par: 400x less.

Number of Internet Users Around the World
Everything changes. We either accept it and do our best, or die.

The goal of this article is to encourage you to follow the trend and embrace the newest technology in 2020, not to speak about morbid scenarios. 


Going back to where we began: YOU CAN EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY IN 2020, because it is meant to be available for you. When running a local business, you focus on what's really important, right? You don't want to spend time doing things that don't positively affect your bottom line. Being an entrepreneur, there are two key factors to go after:


  1. You want to generate more money with the assets you currently have.
  2. You want to save time and money.


To achieve one or the other, you might try tactics you haven't tried yet. To understand them, let's dive into a few trends to follow in 2020:


Marketing automation

We are bringing you our marketing knowledge, not necessarily the overall business strategy. You know your business best, but we know what saves you time and generates more money when it comes to marketing. Automating routine tasks and delegating the costly work, that you or your agency needs to do, to tools like groost. allows you to manage your online campaign effectively and for a fraction of the price. If you rely on your sales team, CRM systems like Hubspot or Pipedrive strive to help you automate follow up emails or customer retention activities. There is a plethora of tools to use, which we have covered in this article.


"For more than 30% of small businesses is marketing the number one challenge” by Mailchimp

Focus on your customer

We keep repeating this, I know. But it simply is the Holy Grail – always put the customer in the center of your (not only marketing) activities. I can assure you this won't be relevant only in 2020, but will last for decades. The times in which Henry Ford kept saying “You can have any color as long as it's black” is over. In today's era, your customers' desires and preferences are what should keep you awake at night. 


Does this apply to marketing only? Not at all. Imagine you market your product so that hundreds of people are waiting in line to buy from you. Once they approach the cashier they turn back and never come again – unwillingness to serve your customers nicely by one of your employees can be very costly. To give another example, say you run an ecommerce project. Everything from marketing to IT works great, until your logistics crash and the customer does not get what she ordered. Is this something that can badly harm your business? Absolutely! Customers have many touch points when dealing with your business – make sure every one of them is as customer-friendly as possible.

Henry Ford's Famous Statement

Don't rely on your organic reach

Let's stay in the marketing field for now. You probably run your profile on social media. Having 1,000 page likes brings you nothing if you only reach 20% of them. The organic reach is – and will be – decreasing constantly which we covered in our latest article. You will have no other choice, but to create truly engaging content that resonates with your audience and to invest in paid advertising. What you need to focus on is:

  • Keeping your target audience in mind.
  • Calculating the ROI for every campaign you run.


According to the Deloitte Small business technology trends, 80% of small businesses aren't taking full advantage of digital tools. Be the 20% of them.


Work on inbound marketing

There are two main communication strategies: inbound & outbound. Inbound makes the potential customer discover you by the content that you create – be it articles on your website, videos on your Youtube channel or podcasts on Spotify. Outbound is focused on push or disruptive strategies – you reach your potential customers while they scroll on their social media feeds, watch videos on Youtube or read articles. Working on your content brings you long-term results. Educating your audience, providing valuable content (and boosting your inbound marketing) is something you should be focused on throughout not only 2020, but every upcoming year.



We've come across a few basic tips to leverage technology in 2020. As stated, even small businesses can – and should embrace the latest technology (not only in 2020, but beyond).

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Where Can You Publish Your Ads?

Today's online services have one major advantage. They track users and collect information about them and segment it accurately. This is a huge advantage for advertisers because they can specify their target audience precisely, so that an ad is shown only to a relevant people.


Surely, you come across such ads daily. On Facebook, Google Search… lots of you have probably tried to publish similar types of ads on these platforms.


Facebook and Google are obviously dominants of the PPC ads market. But did you know that there are a number of other platforms where you can advertise in a similar way?


You may think that this is unnecessary, when most internet users are using Facebook or Google and their services. Yes, it is true, but it doesn't mean your ad will be effective on these platforms.


Each user behaves differently on different platforms, which means that he can be immune to your Facebook advertising, for example, because he only goes there in the evenings to watch some funny videos, so advertising for selling real estate is not relevant to him. Maybe, in the morning, when he opens Linkedin, he is in a completely different state of mind and is ready to see the ad and take action.


The goal of this article is to list relevant platforms where you can advertise your services. To find out which platform is most effective for you, read this article.

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