Online Marketing Blog

Web design resources and news for small business owners in Snohomish and around the world.

August Newsletter

August Newsletter

This month:

Single payment advertising strategies for your business

What does a website know about its users?

Everyday practices for increasing website traffic

Value of bitcoin and other cryptos on the rise again

Brazilian treasury ransomware attack

El Salvador Bitcoin adoption

Federal Reserve “cannot wrap their head around not having a CBDC”

Other shortages, widespread scarcity

Inflation and the devaluation of the USD

The struggle for small business survival continues

The great labor shortage and how to deal with it

If you’re wondering why your local web marketing company (us) continues to carry on about cryptocurrency month in and month out, it’s because blockchain is extremely relevant to all things internet. Crypto is the biggest and most obvious use-case for blockchain: a decentralized, scarce, immutable form of currency that is controlled and governed by the users, not a central authority that has its own interests to protect.

The reason I love to give the update on crypto is because it’s a great measure of blockchain’s adoption. The more legitimacy it receives, the further along we are in the (alleged) upcoming revolution that blockchain is putting our society through. Speaking of adoption, El Salvador started using Bitcoin as countrywide legal tender starting on September 7. This is both a huge test for the utility of Bitcoin and a huge step forward in its legitimacy. It’s worth noting that the government of El Salvador has a lot less to lose in this experiment than countries like the US, who still enjoy a ton of economic power through their control of the money supply.

The conflict between the crypto community and the government’s desire to regulate it is interesting. Tome, it hammers home the point that crypto seriously threatens government power. As adoption increases, expect profound changes to the way we do business with each other.

At the same time, there’s all kinds of other trends and events happening that are changing the way we live. Look at the last year and a half, for example. Covid restrictions on how we do business, on how we act as consumers, on how we live as individuals. Maybe crypto adoption couldn’t be coming down the pipeline at a better time.

As if to pile on to the hard times for small businesses, there’s been a massive transfer of wealth to a few corporations that are already mega wealthy, and an ongoing series of shortages that seems to add new items to its list with each passing week. Over the past year and a half, there’s been shortages of:

1. Lumber

2. Paint

3. Computer chips (needed for PCs, smart phones, vehicles, and everything else with electronics)

4. Shipping containers

5. Toilet paper

6. Various food items

7. Vehicles

8. Metals

And certainly more that I’m overlooking. The shortages obviously have something to do with the rising prices of goods and services, but that can’t be all that’s driving the price up, can it? Reports say that 40% of all dollars in circulation were printed in 2020. That’s funny, because it was the state-funded and regulated school system that told me about the tragedy of excess money printing in Weimar Germany. Wheelbarrows of fiat for a loaf of bread, they said. Apparently Congress and the Federal Reserve forgot their education, or they don’t care, or they don’t have any choice but to continue. None of those options stands out as more attractive than the others.

This is nothing new to any of us who went to K-12. The reason I bring it up is because it's getting harder for small businesses to survive, and we need to be smart about how we deal with new challenges. The rising price of goods has to be passed on to the customer in order for businesses to protect their profits. Goods are harder to come by, too. The government continues to place demands and impose restrictions on how we engage in commerce. This, naturally, is an added operating expense.

How long can this go on? What about all the businesses that are forced to cut their revenue by operating at reduced capacity? Restaurants come to mind: they’ve had to cut staff, and they’re still paying the expenses for buildings designed to serve many more customers.

At the same time, there’s a huge labor shortage occurring across the country. Employers are desperate for workers, and this gives employees leverage. Between all the people who can make more money on unemployment + stimulus money, fear of catching Covid at work, hours being cut, and not having to pay rent and mortgage, there’s less incentive to go to work anymore. Employers are being forced to raise wages to compete for those who are willing to work.

Profit margins are being chipped away from what seems like every angle, and this coincides with arising cost of goods. So what lies ahead? Of the seven leading World Reserve Currencies that have existed since the 1400s, no currency has ever lasted longer than 110 years as the World Reserve Currency, according to this article. The USD is fast closing in on that mark.

With interest rates at near-zero and trillions of fresh greenbacks rolling off the presses to keep the people from starving, what measures does the Fed have left? How much longer can the USD remain useful to those of us who just want to make enough to feed a family and maintain a lifestyle worth living?

One option the Fed has is a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), which would allow them to take interest rates negative. Think about that: its not expensive enough to just watch your savings get devalued as inflation runs amok. With a CBDC you might actually have to pay for the privilege of holding onto your money.

If you think this sounds far fetched, you can read this article or some recent comments by the Fed in regards to a CBDC. Also note that China is testing their digital yuan as we speak, and several other countries are at least one step ahead of “can’t wrap our heads around not having it”.

The main motivator for negative interest rates, presumably, is to incentivize spending and stimulate the economy. This will, in theory, slow the demise of the government currency. But will it slow it’s fall from grace in the eyes of the people? Probably not, particularly when there’s better alternatives: gold, silver, land, physical assets, and of course all of the different cryptocurrencies in the expanding blockchain economy.

Do you see why the government is desperate to find a way to regulate crypto and all of the exchanges people rely on to acquire it? The question on our minds, then, should be whether they’ll succeed. The good news is that there will always be profit in developing a new cryptocurrency they can’t regulate, so bright minds will always be attracted to that task.

We have the internet to thank for this. Even as it advances the most sophisticated surveillance scheme in history, it’s done just as much for liberating the flow of info and commerce. Sure, it’s not perfect. But blockchain is the next step in the equation. It won’t be perfect, either. But it is the future of the internet, and it's an opportunity for businesses and individuals alike to reclaim some of their economic power. After all, that power is better off in your hands than in the hands of bureaucrats who can’t stop the country from living out one of the most relevant cautionary tales we were taught in K12 (talking about Weimar again).

In the meantime, you can future proof your business by giving yourself an edge in online marketing. Your #1 most important measure of value in marketing strategy is cost-effectiveness. Specifically, it's how many leads and sales you get for every dollar you spend. That’s why it's important to know about marketing strategies that don’t have a recurring cost. This blog post covers five ways you can see long-term returns from your marketing investment at a fixed price:

Single payment advertising strategies for your business

We want to emphasize to local businesses that there are several things you can do to increase website traffic, and some of them are small, zero-cost habits that you can adopt into your daily routine. The biggest one? Know the value your website provides your customers, and send them there whenever it’s applicable. You can read the post for the rest:

Six strategies for increasing website traffic

The other blog post we published in the last month was a straightforward explanation of what, exactly, a website knows about its users:

What does a website know about its users?

Thanks for reading. Until next time.