GBP/USD Currency Pair – The Best Investment Solution in 2019

Although other financial markets, such as the cryptocurrency one, have emerged exponentially in the past few years – the Forex market is still unmovable. With a daily turnover that surpasses $5 trillion, the Foreign Exchange market is the top choice of millions of traders each day. Find out below why the GBP/USD currency pair is the best investment solution in 2019!

GBP/USD currency pair

The GBP/USD currency pair – Brief History

The GBP/USD is one of the oldest traded currency pairs and it is nicknamed in the foreign exchange the “Cable”. This slang term originated in the mid-19th century, when in July 1886, the first successful exchange rate between the U.S.…

The post GBP/USD Currency Pair – The Best Investment Solution in 2019 appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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31 Call-to-Action Examples You Can't Help But Click

Think about all the times you've signed up for things in your life. Did you once download Evernote? Dropbox? Spotify? Maybe you've even taken a class on General Assembly.

Each one of these signups is likely a result of an effective call-to-action (CTA).

It's really important to guide your visitors through the buying journey using strategic CTAs.

Think about it: If you hadn't been drawn in by the copy or design of the CTA, or been guided so eloquently through your sign-up process, you would probably use a lot fewer apps and websites than you do now.

Download the ultimate CTA starter pack, complete with 50 customizable templates, 55 inspiring examples, and more.

Here are a few different actions an audience can get called to carry out:

Sign up.

In this type of CTA, the audience might be invited to sign up for a free trial, an online course, a future event, or even a software product. It all depends on the CTAs context on an ad or website.

Subscribe.

This CTA doesn't commit a person to a purchase. Rather, it invites them to receive updates from the company. "Subscribe" CTAs are common to company blogs, for which the business wants to develop a readership.

Try for free.

Nearly every company website has a free trial offer today. Each of them are CTAs of this variety, and they allow people to demo a product before deciding if it's worth the cost to them.

Get started.

This CTA can drive a variety of behaviors for a company, from a free trial to virtual reality experience.

Learn more.

Sometimes, all you want is to give your potential customers a little more information so they're prepared to buy something. That's what this CTA is for.

Join us.

Do you manage an online community. Is your product built on collaboration between users? You might find yourself placing "join us" CTA somewhere on your website.

Learn more about the purposes CTAs can serve in this blog post.

The above types of CTA all serve a designated purpose, but keep in mind the language they use can vary. And today, marketers everywhere have put some creative spins on their calls to action to generate the leads their businesses depend on.

To help you identify what's effective and what's not, we've listed out 31 examples of CTAs that totally rock. These call-to-action examples are broken out into three categories:

  • Simple and effective CTAs
  • CTAs with great call-to-action phrases
  • CTAs that balance multiple buttons on one page

Simple & Effective Call-to-Action Examples

1. Evernote

CTA Button: Sign Up

"Remember Everything." Visitors can immediately understand that message the moment they land on this page. The design on Evernote's website makes it super simple for users to see quick benefits of using the app and how to actually sign up to use it. Plus, the green color of the main and secondary CTA buttons is the same green as the headline and the Evernote logo, all of which jump off the page.

Example call to action button by Evernote

2. Dropbox

CTA Button: Sign up for free

Dropbox has always embraced simple design with a lot of negative space. Even the graphics on their homepage are subtle and simple.

Thanks to that simple design and negative space, the blue "Sign up for free" call-to-action button stands out from everything else on the page. Since the CTA and the Dropbox logo are the same color, it's easy for the visitor to interpret this CTA as "Sign up for Dropbox." That's one effective call-to-action.

Example call to action button by Dropbox

3. OfficeVibe

CTA Button: Subscribe

Here's a slide-in call-to-action that caught my attention from OfficeVibe. While scrolling through a post on their blog, a banner slid in from the bottom of the page with a call-to-action to subscribe to their blog. The best part? The copy on the slide-in told me I'd be getting tips about how to become a better manager -- and the post it appeared on was a post about how to become a better manager. In other words, the offer was something I was already interested in.

Example call to action button by OfficeVibe

Plus, I like how unobtrusive slide-in CTAs are -- as opposed to what my colleague Rachel Sprung calls the "stop-everything-and-click-here-pop-up-CTA." I find these CTAs offer a more lovable experience because they provide more information while still allowing me to continue reading the blog post.

4. Netflix

CTA Button: Join Free for a Month

One big fear users have before committing to sign up for something? That it'll be a pain to cancel their subscription if they end up not liking it. Netflix nips that fear in the bud with the "Cancel anytime" copy right above the "Join Free for a Month" CTA. I'd venture a guess that reassurance alone has boosted signups. Also, you'll notice again that the red color of the primary and secondary CTAs here match Netflix's logo color.

Example call to action button by Netflix

5. Square

CTA Button: Get Started

To achieve effective CTA design, you need to consider more than just the button itself. It's also super important to consider elements like background color, surrounding images, and surrounding text.

Mindful of these additional design components, the folks at Square used a single image to showcase the simplicity of using their product, where the hovering "Get Started" CTA awaits your click. If you look closely, the color of the credit card in the image and the color of the CTA button match, which helps the viewer connect the dots of what to expect if/when they click.

Example call to action button by Square

6. Prezi

CTA Button: Give Prezi a try

The folks at Prezi are also into the minimalist design look on their website. Other than the green dinosaur and the dark brown coffee, the only other color accompanying the predominantly black-and-white design is a bright blue -- the same blue from their main logo. That bright blue is strategically placed on the homepage: the main "Give Prezi a try" CTA, and the secondary "Get Started" CTA, both of which take users to the same pricing page.

Example call to action button by Prezi

7. Full Bundle

CTA Button: Our Work

Full Bundle is another company that uses negative space to make their primary CTA pop. The white "Our Work" call-to-action stands out against the dark greys of the background. Their choice of CTA is strategic, too. Given that they primarily exist to build out clients' online presences, it's important for them to showcase their work -- and that's what most folks are going to their website for.

Example call to action button by Full Bundle

8. Panthera

CTA Button: Join

The folks at Panthera are looking for users who really care about wild cats around the world and want to join a group of people who feel the same way. To target those people in particular, we love how they use language that would speak to big cat-lovers: "Join the pride today." The page itself is super simple: an on-page form with two, simple fields, and a button asking folks to (again) "Join."

Example call to action button by Panthera

CTAs With Creative Call to Action Phrases

9. EPIC

CTA Phrase: 'Let's start a new project together'

The folks at the agency EPIC use their homepage primarily to showcase their work. When you arrive on the page, you're greeted with animated videos showing some of the work they've done for clients, which rotate on a carousel. While there plenty of other places users might click on their site -- including their clients' websites -- the main call-to-action stands out and always contrasts with the video that's playing in the background.

I love that it features friendly, inclusive language -- "Let's start a new project together" -- which gives a hint to users looking for a creative partner that they're an especially great team to work for.

Example call to action button by EPIC

10. Aquaspresso

CTA Phrase: 'Send Me Specials Now!'

The whole point of a call-to-action is to direct your site visitors to a desired course of action -- and the best CTAs do so in a way that's helpful to their visitors. The folks at coffee company Aquaspresso really nailed that balance here with the pop-up CTA on their main blog page.

Here, the desired course of action is for their blog readers to check out what they're actually selling (and hopefully buy from them). There are many ways they could have done this, including putting out a CTA that urges people to "Check out our most popular products!" or something very direct. But we love what they've done instead: Their CTA offers blog readers something much more helpful and subtle -- an offer for "today's specials" in exchange for the reader's email address.

Adding that the specials are for today only is a great example of a psychological tactic called scarcity, which causes us to assign more value to things we think are scarce. The fear that today's specials are better than tomorrow's might make people want to fill it out and claim their offer while they can.

Example call to action button by Aquaspresso

(The call-to-action above was created using HubSpot's free conversion tool, Leadin. Click here to learn how to easily create CTAs like this one using Leadin.)

11. QuickSprout

CTA Phrase: 'Are you doing your SEO wrong? Enter your URL to find out'

No one wants to be wrong. That's why a call-to-action button like QuickSprout's slide-in CTA on their blog is so clickworthy. It asks the reader, "Are you doing your SEO wrong?" Well, am I? All I have to do is enter my URL to find out -- seems easy enough. It's language like that that can really entice visitors to click through.

Plus, having the CTA slide in mid-blog post is a great tactic for catching readers before they bounce off the page. Traditionally, many blogs have CTAs at the very bottom of each blog post, but research shows most readers only get 60% of the way through an article. (Click here to learn how to add slide-in CTAs to your blog posts.)

Example call to action button by QuickSprout

12. Grey Goose

CTA Phrase: 'Discover a cocktail tailored to your taste'

Here's a fun, unique call-to-action that can get people clicking. Whereas site visitors might have expected to be directed to product pages or press releases from the homepage, a CTA to "Discover a Cocktail Tailored to Your Taste" is a pleasantly surprising ask. People love personalization, and this CTA kind of feels like an enticing game. The play button icon next to the copy gives a hint that visitors will be taken to a video so they have a better idea of what to expect when they click.

Example call to action button by Grey Goose

13. Treehouse

CTA Phrase: 'Claim Your Free Trial'

A lot of company websites out there offer users the opportunity to start a free trial. But the CTA on Treehouse's website doesn't just say "Start a Free Trial"; it says "Claim Your Free Trial."

The difference in wording may seem subtle, but think about how much more personal "Claim Your Free Trial" is. Plus, the word "claim" suggests it may not be available for long, giving users a sense of urgency to get that free trial while they can.

Example call to action button by Treehouse

14. OKCupid

CTA Phrase: 'Continue'

OKCupid's CTA doesn't seem that impressive at first glance, but its brilliance is in the small details.

The call-to-action button, which is bright green and stands out well on a dark blue background, says, "Continue." The simplicity of this term gives hope that the signup process is short and casual. To me, this CTA feels more like I'm playing a fun game than filling out a boring form or committing to something that might make me nervous. And it's all due to the copy.

Example call to action button by OKCupid

15. Blogging.org

CTA Phrase: Countdown Clock

Nothing like a ticking timer to make someone want to take action. After spending a short amount of time on blogging.org's homepage, new visitors are greeted with a pop-up CTA with a "limited time offer," accompanied by a timer that counts down from two minutes.

As with Aquaspresso's example in #10, this is a classic use of the psychological tactic called scarcity, which causes us to assign more value to things we think are scarce. Limiting the time someone has to fill out a form makes people want to fill it out and claim their offer while they can.

Curious, what happens when time runs out? So was I. Hilariously, nothing happens. The pop-up CTA remains on the page when the timer gets to zero.

Example call to action button by Blogging.org

16. IMPACT Branding & Design

CTA Phrase: 'What We Do'

CTAs can feel really pushy and salesy if the wrong language is used. I like IMPACT's educational approach, where they challenge visitors to learn what the company does before pushing them to take any further action. This call-to-action is especially intriguing to me because they don't even use an action verb, yet they still manage to entice people to click.

Impact Branding & Design 'What We Do' call to action button

17. Huemor

CTA Phrase: 'Launch (Do Not Press)'

If you went to a website and saw a "Launch" CTA accompanied by the copy "Do Not Press" ... what would you do? Let's be honest: You'd be dying to press it. The use of harmless reverse psychology here is playful, which is very much in keeping with Huemor's brand voice.

Example call to action button by Huemor

18. Brooks Running

CTA Phrase: 'Find out when we have more'

How many times have you hotly pursued a product you love, only to discover it's sold out? Well, as you might know, it's no picnic for the seller either. But just because you've run out of an item doesn't mean you should stop promoting it.

Brooks Running uses a clever call to action to ensure their customers don't bounce from their website just because their favorite shoe is out of stock. In the screenshot below, you can see Brooks touting an awesome-looking shoe with the CTA, "Find out when we have more." I love how this button turns bad news into an opportunity to retain customers. Without it, Brooks' customers would likely forget about the shoe and look elsewhere.

When you click on the blue CTA button depicted below, Brooks directs you to a page with a simple code you can text the company. This code prompts Brooks to automatically alert the visitor when the shoe they want is available again.

Brooks Running shoe product availability CTA

19. Humboldt County

CTA Phrase: 'Follow the Magic'

Humboldt County's website is gorgeous on its own: It greets you with a full-screen video of shockingly beautiful footage. But what I really love is the unconventional call-to-action button placed in the bottom center, which features a bunny icon and the words "Follow the Magic."

It enhances the sort of fantastical feel of the footage, making you feel like you're about to step into a fairytale.

Humboldt County follow CTA button

What's more, once you click into that CTA, the website turns into a sort of choose-your-own-adventure game, which is a fun call-to-action path for users and encourages them to spend more time on the site.

humboldt-choose-adventure-cta.png

Balancing Multiple Call-to-Action Buttons

20. Uber

CTA Buttons: Sign up to drive | Start riding with Uber

Uber's looking for two, very distinct types of people to sign up on their website: riders and drivers. Both personas are looking for totally different things, and yet, the website ties them together really well with the large video playing in the background showing Uber riders and drivers having a good time in locations all over the world.

I love the copy of the driver CTA at the top, too: It doesn't get much more straightforward than, "Make money driving your car." Now that's speaking people's language.

Uber double call to action buttons

21. Spotify

CTA Buttons: Go Premium | Play Free

As soon as you reach Spotify's homepage, it's pretty clear that their main goal is to attract customers who are willing to pay for a premium account, while the CTA for users to sign up for free is very much secondary.

It's not just the headline that gives this away; it's also the coloring of their CTA buttons. The "Go Premium" CTA is lime green, making it pop off the page, while the "Play Free" CTA is plain white and blends in with the rest of the copy on the page. This contrast ensures that visitors are drawn to the premium CTA.

Spotify call to action buttons

22. Ugmonk

CTA Buttons: Send me the coupons | I'm not interested

Exit CTAs, also known as exit intent pop-ups, are different than normal pop-ups. They detect your users' behavior and only appear when it seems as though they're about to leave your site. By intervening in a timely way, these pop-ups serve as a fantastic way of getting your reader’s attention while offering them a reason to stay.

Ugmonk has a great exit CTA, offering two options for users as a final plea before they leave the site. First, they offer a 15% discount on their products, followed by two options: "Yes Please: Send me the coupon" and "No Thanks: I'm not interested." It's super helpful that each CTA clarifies what "Yes" and "No" actually mean, and I also like that they didn't use guilt-tripping language like "No Thanks: I hate nature" like I've seen on other websites. Finally, notice that the "Yes Please" button is much brighter and inviting in color than the other option.

Ugmonk call to action buttons

23. Pinterest

CTA Buttons: Continue with Facebook | Sign Up

Want to sign up for Pinterest? You have a couple of options: sign up via Facebook or via email. If you have a Facebook account, Pinterest wants you to do that first. How do I know? Aesthetically, I know because the blue Facebook CTA comes first and is much more prominent, colorful, and recognizable due to the branded logo and color. Logically, I know because if you log in through Facebook, Pinterest can pull in Facebook's API data and get more information about you than if you log in through your email address.

Although this homepage is optimized to bring in new members, you'll notice a very subtle CTA for folks with Pinterest accounts to log in on the top right.

Pinterest signup call to action button

24. Madewell

CTA Buttons: Take me there | What's next?

Madewell (owned by J.Crew) has always had standout website design, taking what could be a typical ecommerce website to the next level. Their use of CTAs on their homepage is no exception.

When you first arrive on the page, you're greeted with the headline "I'm Looking For ..." followed by a category, like "Clothes That'll Travel Anywhere." Below this copy are two options: "Yes, Take Me There" or "Hmm... What's Next?" The user can choose between the two CTAs to either browse clothes that are good for travel, or be taken to the next type of clothing, where they can play again.

This gamification is a great way to make your site more interesting for users who come across it without having a specific idea of where they want to look.

Madewell clothes shopping call to action buttons

25. Instagram

CTA Buttons: Download on the App Store | Get it on Google Play

Since Instagram is a mainly mobile app, you'll see two black CTAs of equal size: one to download Instagram in Apple's App Store, and another to download it on Google Play. The reason these CTAs are of equal caliber is because it doesn't matter if someone downloads the app in the App Store or on Google Play ... a download is a download, which is exactly what Instagram is optimizing for. If you already have Instagram, you can also click the CTA to "Log In" if you'd prefer that option, too.

Instagram signup call to action buttons

26. Barkbox

CTA Buttons: Get Started | Give a Gift

The two CTAs on Barkbox's homepage show that the team there knows their customers: While many people visiting their site are signing up for themselves, there are a lot of people out there who want to give Barkbox as a gift. To give those people an easy path to purchase, there are two, equally sized CTAs on the page: "Get Started" and "Give a Gift."

As an added bonus, there's an adorable, pop-up call-to-action on the right-hand side of the screen prompting users to leave a message if they'd like. Click into it, and a small dialogue box pops up that reads, "Woof! I'm afraid our pack is not online. Please leave us a message and we'll bark at you as soon as pawsible." Talk about delightful copy.

Barkbox call to action buttons

27. t.c. pharma

CTA Buttons: Find out more | View products

Turns out Red Bull isn't its own parent company: It's owned by Thailand-based t.c. pharma, a company that makes popular energy drinks, electrolyte beverages, and functional drinks and snacks.

Its homepage features two call-to-action buttons of equal size: "Find out more" and "View products" -- but it's clear by the bright yellow color of the first button that they'd rather direct folks to "Find out more."

t.c. pharma product info call to action buttons

28. General Assembly

CTA Buttons: View Full-Time Courses | Subscribe

As you scroll through the General Assembly website, you'll see CTAs for various courses you may or may not want to sign up for. I'd like to point your attention to the CTA that slides in from the bottom of the page as you're scrolling, though, which suggests that you subscribe to email updates.

Although this feels like a secondary CTA due to its location and manner, I actually think they try to sneak this in to become more of a primary CTA because it's so much more colorful and noticeable than the CTAs for individual classes. When you create your own CTAs, try using bolder colors -- even ones that clash with your regular stylings -- to see if it's effective at getting people's attention. (Click here for a tutorial on how to add slide-in CTAs to your webpages.)

General Assembly subscribe call to action button

29. charity: water

CTA Buttons: Give by Credit Card | Give by PayPal

Charity: water's main goal is to get people to donate money for clean water -- but they can't assume that everyone wants to pay the same way.

The CTAs featured on their homepage take a really unique approach to offering up different payment methods by pre-filling $60 into a single line form and including two equally important CTAs to pay via credit card or PayPal. Notice how both CTAs are the same size and design -- this is because charity: water likely doesn't care how you donate, as long as you're donating.

charity: water donation call to action button

30. Hipmunk

CTA Buttons: Flights | Hotels | Cars | Packages

When you land on the Hipmunk site, your main option is to search flights. But notice there are four tabs you can flip through: flights, hotels, cars, and packages.

When you click into one of these options, the form changes so you can fill out more information. To be 100% sure you know what you're searching for, Hipmunk placed a bright orange CTA at the far right-hand side of the form. On this CTA, you'll see a recognizable icon of a plane next to the word "Search," so you know for sure that you're searching for flights, not hotels. When you're on the hotels tab, that icon changes to a hotel icon. Same goes with cars and packages.

Hipmunk flights and hotel bookings CTA form

31. MakeMyPersona

CTA Buttons: Grab the template! | No thanks

Here's another example of a great pop-up with multiple calls-to-action -- except in this case, you'll notice the size, color, and design of the users' two options are very different from one another. In this case, the folks at MakeMyPersona are making the "Grab the template!" CTA much more attractive and clickable than the "No, I'm OK for now, thanks" CTA -- which doesn't even look like a clickable button.

I also like how the "no" option uses polite language. I find brands that don't guilt-trip users who don't want to take action to be much, much more lovable.

MakeMyPersona template download call to action button

There you have it. By now, we hope you can see just how important little CTA tweaks can be.

Full Disclosure: We don't have data to know if these are all scientifically successful, but these examples all follow our best practices. If you decide to recreate these CTAs on your site, please remember to test to see if they work for your audience.

Want more CTA design inspiration? Check out some of our favorite HubSpot call-to-action examples.

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46% of Consumers Want to Deal with Ecommerce Issues through Email

Customer Service Channels Statistics

How you respond to your customers is a good indicator of the long-term success of your business. And as more people shop online, this will entail addressing issues with eCommerce. This means making as many communication options as possible.

According to a report from Sykes, only 26% of eCommerce sites provide an email address. But almost half or 46% of consumers in the U.S. want to use email to resolve issues they might have. This data highlights the pain points customers face in resolving problems quickly.

If you don’t make yourself readily available on your site, customers will not enjoy their experience. And as data after data has shown, they will take their business elsewhere. In the U.S. 82% of consumers stop doing business with a brand because of customer service.

The report provides insights into the importance of offering options users prefer for communicating. Providing more options and making them available is critically important because more consumers are using them, and they now expect it.

So, What Customer Service Channels are Sites Offering?

Better to ask, how many communication channels are there, and how many clicks away are they from the home page?

The report says 98% of eCommerce sites have a phone number listed, but it is 1.23 clicks away from the homepage. The number of clicks goes up to 1.4 for the 26% of sites who have an email address. This is followed by 2.05 clicks for 73% of sites with a live web chat, and 2.44 clicks for 64% who use a web form.

The graph shows the number of clicks for each communication channel.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

When it comes to using social media, 91% of sites have their Facebook and Twitter links on the home page. But the amount of time it takes for a business to respond on Facebook varies greatly.

Close to 10% respond instantly on Facebook and less than 5% said within minutes. Another 8% said within an hour, followed by 28% within hours and a little over 30% said within a day.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

What do Consumers Want?

Sykes asked over 2,000 U.S. consumers which communication channel they would use if they have an issue while shopping online.

Phone and email took the top two spots with 51.7% and 46.2% respectively. The respondents said live web chat at 26.8%, web form at 27.2%, Facebook at 8.3%, and Twitter at 4.6%.

Here is what consumers prefer.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

The demographics which responded to this question revealed older users prefer the phone and younger users like social media.

Another obvious question is, why are eCommerce sites not making their communications channels readily available?

The good news is the technologies are affordable and easy to deploy. And for small business owners, it is yet another way digital technology makes it possible to compete with large brands.

If you have an eCommerce site, ask your web developer about these communications options and make them easily accessible.

Research and Survey Methodology

Sykes researched the top 100 US eCommerce sites compiled from Similar Web’s 2018 Q1 Index and Alexa’s Top Shopping Sites. It then surveyed U.S. residents via Google Surveys in December 2018 and January 2019.

They were asked, “If you encountered a problem when shopping online, what methods of communication would you use to contact the store or retailer?”

The sites received a score based on each type of communication along with the response time.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "46% of Consumers Want to Deal with Ecommerce Issues through Email" was first published on Small Business Trends



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46% of Consumers Want to Deal with Ecommerce Issues through Email

Customer Service Channels Statistics

How you respond to your customers is a good indicator of the long-term success of your business. And as more people shop online, this will entail addressing issues with eCommerce. This means making as many communication options as possible.

According to a report from Sykes, only 26% of eCommerce sites provide an email address. But almost half or 46% of consumers in the U.S. want to use email to resolve issues they might have. This data highlights the pain points customers face in resolving problems quickly.

If you don’t make yourself readily available on your site, customers will not enjoy their experience. And as data after data has shown, they will take their business elsewhere. In the U.S. 82% of consumers stop doing business with a brand because of customer service.

The report provides insights into the importance of offering options users prefer for communicating. Providing more options and making them available is critically important because more consumers are using them, and they now expect it.

So, What Customer Service Channels are Sites Offering?

Better to ask, how many communication channels are there, and how many clicks away are they from the home page?

The report says 98% of eCommerce sites have a phone number listed, but it is 1.23 clicks away from the homepage. The number of clicks goes up to 1.4 for the 26% of sites who have an email address. This is followed by 2.05 clicks for 73% of sites with a live web chat, and 2.44 clicks for 64% who use a web form.

The graph shows the number of clicks for each communication channel.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

When it comes to using social media, 91% of sites have their Facebook and Twitter links on the home page. But the amount of time it takes for a business to respond on Facebook varies greatly.

Close to 10% respond instantly on Facebook and less than 5% said within minutes. Another 8% said within an hour, followed by 28% within hours and a little over 30% said within a day.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

What do Consumers Want?

Sykes asked over 2,000 U.S. consumers which communication channel they would use if they have an issue while shopping online.

Phone and email took the top two spots with 51.7% and 46.2% respectively. The respondents said live web chat at 26.8%, web form at 27.2%, Facebook at 8.3%, and Twitter at 4.6%.

Here is what consumers prefer.

Customer Service Channels Statistics

The demographics which responded to this question revealed older users prefer the phone and younger users like social media.

Another obvious question is, why are eCommerce sites not making their communications channels readily available?

The good news is the technologies are affordable and easy to deploy. And for small business owners, it is yet another way digital technology makes it possible to compete with large brands.

If you have an eCommerce site, ask your web developer about these communications options and make them easily accessible.

Research and Survey Methodology

Sykes researched the top 100 US eCommerce sites compiled from Similar Web’s 2018 Q1 Index and Alexa’s Top Shopping Sites. It then surveyed U.S. residents via Google Surveys in December 2018 and January 2019.

They were asked, “If you encountered a problem when shopping online, what methods of communication would you use to contact the store or retailer?”

The sites received a score based on each type of communication along with the response time.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "46% of Consumers Want to Deal with Ecommerce Issues through Email" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Lower Corporate Tax Rates Make C Corporations More Attractive to Small Businesses

With Lower Corporate tax rates, does a C Corporation make sense for my small business?

For years, experts (myself included) often advised startups and small businesses to consider the Limited Liability Company (LLC). The alternative C Corporation possessed less flexibility, ease of administration and tax advantages. However, changes in the tax law from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now create a new potential for big tax savings. And they make the C Corporation a strong option for businesses of all sizes. 

A full tax season has passed since the Tax Cuts and Job Act was enacted. So it’s time to take a new look at corporate structure. And to determine if the C Corporation structure is right for your business. 

C Corporations, S Corporations, and LLCs – a brief overview

Let’s look at the new tax implications. Start with some of the basics of a C Corporation. Then continue with S Corporations and LLC. 

A C Corporation exists as a type of company owned by shareholders. And an elected board of directors run it. But from a legal perspective, corporations are separate entities. And they can get sued and sue. Consider this important point. The corporation becomes responsible for legal and financial liability. And owners are often shielded from personal liability. 

In addition, corporations become separate tax payers. And they pay taxes at a corporate tax rate. But this leads to the commonly known “double taxation” issue with C Corporations. The IRS taxes income first at the corporate tax rate. And then taxes come out at the individual tax rate when dividends are distributed to shareholders. 

Individual tax rates were cut in the 1980s. And the C Corporation structure hasn’t made much sense for smaller businesses since. So savvy business owners often created pass-through entities like S Corporations and LLCs where business income passes through to the individual’s tax return. In fact, the C Corporation offered little advantage to smaller businesses who weren’t going public or looking for venture capital funding. 

The two common pass-through entities are the S Corporation and LLC. An S Corporation is a C Corporation that has elected pass-through tax treatment with the IRS. Like the C Corporation, an S Corporation is owned by shareholders and run by a board of directors. 

An LLC is a different kind of entity. As the name implies, it helps shield owners from personal liability with the business (like a corporation). But, an LLC is much less complex to run and manage. With the corporation, you need to appoint a board of directors, hold an annual shareholders’ meeting and directors’ meetings, document key shareholder and director decisions, and file a separate corporate income tax return. For an LLC, you typically just need to file an Annual Report with the state. 

Tax Law Changes Make the C Corporation more Attractive

A major reduction in the C Corporation tax rate remains one of the big goals of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It dropped from 35% to 21%. This lower corporate tax rate combines with additional benefits of IRC 1202 to make the C Corporation particularly attractive for some businesses. 

Haven’t heard of IRC 1202? You’re probably not alone. It’s a generous capital gains tax exemption that was championed by President Obama. But it didn’t receive much attention until the corporate tax rate was lowered. In essence, if you qualify for IRC 1202, you might be able to exclude 100% of the gain up to $10 million or 10 times your original investment. You need to hold the stock for five years and there are many other requirements too. To learn more about IRC 1202 here, I recommend this post, as well as talking to your tax advisor. 

With the lower corporate tax rate and IRC 1202, the C Corporation can now be extremely advantageous for the following scenario: you launch a business, expect to start smart small, make profits and plan to keep earnings within the company, and then cash out after holding the stock for five years or more. 

What Business Structure is Right for Me? 

Without factoring in all the specifics of your individual situation, it’s impossible for an article to provide a definitive answer on which business structure is right for you. With that said, there are a few things to consider…

Do you need to live off your business’ profits each year? If so, taking money out of the corporation will trigger dividend taxes – and therefore, business profits will essentially be taxed twice. If you are planning to put the business profits in your own pocket each year, a pass-through entity, like the S Corporation or LLC, might be better. 

Are you planning on keeping your business “forever”? Keep in mind that capital gains taxes are erased at death, so if you’re never planning to sell your business, you may not need to bother with a C Corporation/IRC 1202. 

Are you looking to keep things as simple as possible? As I mentioned before, running a C Corporation or S Corporation requires more regulations and paperwork than an LLC. If you form a C Corporation/S Corporation, be ready to spend more time keeping track of tax, business and financial records. 

Do you plan on holding the business for at least five years and then sell? If so, the C Corporation could be very advantageous – particularly if you will be keeping profits within the business until cashing out. 

Are you concerned about your personal liability? One of the key reasons to form an LLC or Corporation has always been the ability to minimize the personal liability and protect the personal assets of business owners from things that happen in the business. This holds true whether you form a C Corporation, S Corporation or LLC. 

How to Incorporate

If you are interested in forming a C Corporation, it might be easier than you think. Follow these steps…

  1. Choose an available business name for your state
  2. Appoint the corporation’s directors
  3. Register the C Corporation with the state, and draft and file your Articles of Incorporation. You can do this yourself or have an online legal filing service handle it for you. 
  4. Issue stock certificates to the initial shareholders
  5. Obtain the necessary local permits and business licenses
  6. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS

If you have an existing business that’s currently structured as a pass-through S Corporation or LLC, you may decide it’s now more advantageous to operate as a C Corporation. If you’re an S Corporation, it’s an easy change to make. With majority shareholder consent, an S Corporation may revoke its S Corp election with the IRS (depending on timing, the revocation may retroactively apply for the whole tax year, or you may need to split the tax year between S Corp status and C Corp). 

If you’re an LLC and want to restructure as a C Corporation, your state may allow a statutory conversion, which is a streamlined process. An alternative route is to create a C Corporation and then merge your LLC with the C Corp. This involves a bit more paperwork — but in some cases, the tax savings could be worth it. 

The bottom line is your business structure doesn’t have to be set in stone. With the current changes to the tax law, this could be a good time to think about your business structure of a new or existing business. 

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Lower Corporate Tax Rates Make C Corporations More Attractive to Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends



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