Category Archives for Marketing

Building Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing is not a fast results type of program. A well-planned affiliate marketing program built today can pay off in spades tomorrow. But, remember – it is a long-term plan, not a short-term overnight success type of situation. So, here are 8 things to get you started on the right foot so that you can do it right.

Set Up Your Website Right – You do not want to have a terrible website with ineffective sales pages if you want affiliates to take an interest in your offerings. Ensure that your “about us,”  “privacy policy,”  “return and shipping policy” (if dealing with physical products) and “contact information” are clear for all to see.

Do Not Link Away from Your Site – When it comes to promoting a product, the page should promote that product and nothing else. You do not want to lead people away from your website when they are coming there to learn about a specific product or service. Take away anything that links them away. Your affiliates will appreciate it.

Clear Contact Information – If someone has a question that they need to be answered, you want clear contact information so that they can contact you easily. You can also use a service that provides a chat with people to help them make purchasing decisions. Whatever you decide, make it easy for people to ask questions and get answers.

Product Pages That Convert – It is imperative that you have a clear call to action, great images, good descriptions and benefits of the product on the page. If your product pages do not convert, then affiliates will not want to touch the product.

Converting Marketing Collateral – Affiliates need copy, images, text and more to promote your products and services. They are not going to create it for you. If you want them to send out emails to their list, create an email that they can edit and make their own. Do the same with all the marketing materials you offer them to ensure that they promote your offerings.

A Fair Commission – Affiliates are like sales people who get paid only when they make a sale. If you want them to do a lot to make that sale, then they will need a fair percentage of sales to make it worth their time. If you do not offer at least 50 percent, you are unlikely to attract high-level affiliate marketers to your program.

Offer Incentives to Affiliates – In addition to a fair commission, you can also offer prizes to top sellers so that they work harder to promote your offerings. People like competition and if you give it to them and let them win prizes such as additional money or a physical prize, they will want to win.

A Fabulous Product – Of course, if you want to attract affiliates, you need a product that is everything you say it is and more. You want your affiliates to be excited to promote the product because it does what the sales page says it will do.

Having affiliates to promote your products and services is like having a legion of fans screaming your name. They will blog about you, promote you, and be excited about it – because if you are offering a great product or service, they know that it makes them look good. After all, their job is to promote things to their audience that solves their problems. Your product could be the answer.

How to Turn Affiliates into Marketing Powerhouses

One of the very best ways to market on-line is to create a legion of loyal cheerleaders and fans, who at your command tell everyone they know about your products, services, sales, and information. Word-of-mouth marketing has always been the very best form of marketing and creates better and longer-term relationships with customers. Keeping customers long term saves money. Here’s how to get affiliates to help you with your marketing.

Use Well-Known Affiliate Tracking Software – If you use unknown affiliate management software, you may have trouble getting strong affiliates to sign up to promote your products and services. Currently, Infusionsoft is very popular systems. Don’t try to get by with a free program because you will not be taken seriously.

Provide an Excellent Product – Super affiliates aren’t going to promote a poor product because they are marketing things to people that trust them. They are seen as experts in their niche and promoting a problematic product will make them look bad.

Give at Least 50% Commission – This is especially important if your product is low cost. It takes work to promote products so it needs to be worth their time. It needs to earn them enough to entice them to promote your product. Also, ditch the minimum sales; pay your affiliates for every sale in a reasonable amount of time.

Offer True Lifetime Cookies – One poor habit of those who want affiliates is not offering true lifetime cookies. That means that once they attract the lead to click through, they will always get the credit for sales from that lead.

Provide Top-Notch Tools – Graphics, content, reviews, and more should be available to your affiliates so that they can promote your products as quickly as possible. They shouldn’t be charged with creating graphics as well as promoting. Give them all the tools they need and they will work harder for you.

Have Contests with Prizes – Encourage your affiliates to make more sales by offering prizes and having contents where you share the leaderboard and who is doing best during the time of the contest. Offering prizes like iPads if the market is right is a good incentive to most affiliates.

Provide Excellent Customer Service – If someone buys the product and has issues, it is important to address those issues right away. Word gets around if you have a bad reputation for not taking care of your customers.

Provide Product Information and Training – You can use videos, PDF files and more to provide product information and training to affiliates so that they can use the information to market to their audience better.

Offer Affiliate-Only Webinars and Calls – Affiliates really appreciate the opportunity to talk to product creators. What’s really great is that you can get more feedback about the product and what their customers think about their recommendations. Plus you can use the feedback to help you make your affiliate program more effective.

Finally, be sure to pay your affiliates on a regular basis. It is reasonable to wait to pay until after potential returns go through, but it is not reasonable to hold a certain amount of money to require payments. Affiliates will work harder when they’re seeing results. If you want your affiliate marketers to be marketing powerhouses, treat them well.

Jump Start your Business by Networking Locally

Networking is one of the cornerstone elements of a business.  In today’s world, even if you only have only an online business, you should not overlook your local market. Networking locally will likely be an amazing way to jump-start your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product or a service; there are people local to you who likely need and want what you are offering. What is more, is that it is easier to market to local people than you think.

 

  • BNIBusiness Networking International is a networking group that enables local people to get together to help refer business to each other. Usually, the way it works is that only one person representing each type of business is in each networking group. There is a steep fee for being involved, but most people who stick to it report that it is worth it.
  • Chamber of Commerce – Your local Chamber can offer you a lot more than you might think. As an owner of any type of business, there is a special need for your involvement in your chamber. You can go to business after-hours events, volunteer to help with ribbon cuttings, send out flyers to other business owners and more.
  • Niche Groups – Even locally you will find some niche groups such as local blogger clubs, network meetings and more that can help you find like-minded individuals or customers. You can even start your own niche groups.
  • MeetupMeetup is an online service that helps you meet with people locally. You can find a lot of groups and events via this service that is relevant to your local networking needs.
  • Local Mastermind Groups – Look through your local college or university to find local mastermind groups that can help you reach the next level in your business. If you are a woman, look for women-owned business networks.
  • Teach a Course – Why not start your own networking events by teaching a course to others?  You can usually rent a space relevantly inexpensively; place an advertisement in your local newspaper and via other networking groups to teach something important to local people.
  • Host a Workshop – Once you get involved, other people will ask you to host workshops with them.  Joining forces with others is always helpful and can help you get known as a local expert.
  • Sponsor an Event – There are many local events that need sponsors. This can cost a little bit of money, but having your business name as a sponsor for a major event in your town can make a huge difference in brand awareness.
  • Volunteer for a Cause – While you should not volunteer only to get your name out there, it is still a good way to add to the knowledge others have about you. Choose a cause you like without thought to sales, but only to help the local community get to know you while you do something helpful for a cause you care about.

Networking your business or online business locally can help you either get jump-started or help you get out of your comfort zone to become a well-known expert in your niche.

9 Common Email Marketing Mistakes You Are Making

Email marketing is very effective. Some people believe that email marketing is literally the most effective form of marketing that ever existed. But, you may be missing a lot of opportunities from this form of marketing if you’re not setting everything up right.  Here are 9 things that you can check right now…

  1. Untargeted List: If you’ve spent time building your list using lead bait that is not targeted and focused enough, you may have a lot of freebie seekers on your list. To clear your list, run an aggressive and targeted campaign to get them to pay attention and if they don’t, cycle them off your email list.
  2. Meaningless “From” Name: Set up a “from” name that makes sense to your email recipients. Many people use their real name, and this has proved to be one of the best choices. You can also make it personal by using a name that means something to the audience like ‘Your Life Coach’ or something that speaks to them in that way.
  3. Weak Subject Lines: Most people don’t open emails that they feel are to sales oriented. Therefore, put something in the subject line that directly tells them what’s inside, and makes them want to read more. Break up your list and test at least two different subject lines to see what works best.
  4. Poorly Worded Opening Sentence: Most people view part of your messages on the view screen of their email software. What do they see when looking? Make it interesting enough right up front so that they want to open it to read more.
  5. Lack of Personalization: Even when audiences know that personalization is automated, they still prefer it over the lack of it. Personalization increases click-through rates enormously. Make sure it is working properly. Wrongly coded personalization is worse than no personalization. Test your messages.
  6. Broken Links: Nothing is worse than having a great message, a perfect call to action, fabulous subject lines and getting people to click through… and the link is broken. That’s why testing messages before sending them out are very important for your success with email marketing.
  7. Not Using Analytics: Your email marketing software offers the ability to test much different analytics, from open rates to click-through rates, and more. Learn how to set it up to work for you so that you can use that information to improve your marketing.
  8. Emails That Are Too Long: While long blog posts are a big deal today, long emails aren’t. People get bored reading emails that don’t get to the point. Avoid emails that are much longer than 450 to 500 words.  Get to the point.
  9. Bad Formatting:  This is yet another reason to test how your emails look on a variety of systems. Make sure you check for formatting issues. Formatting that makes the email hard to read, lack of word wrapping, and unresponsive messages ALL lose clicks.

If you’re making any of these mistakes, you can start right now fixing these problems. The hardest one to fix is the proper targeting of your market, but the rest can be fixed today with just a few tweaks.

Ask for Feedback from Viewers

Any time you put up a video you need to get feedback from your viewers so that you can improve it each time. And the best way to get feedback is just to ask. It’s amazing, but when you take the extra step to ask for feedback, you’ll be more likely to get the feedback you want. You can even be specific to the type of feedback you want. For example, if you got the new sound equipment you can ask, “Let me know if you like how this video sounds.”

The more specific you are when asking for feedback from viewers, the better and more useful the feedback will be. Here are some tips.

  • Make an Intro Video - If you use a streamlined method of creating a video by making a similar intro to each video you post, you'll create a professional vibe that will help the viewers feel more comfortable leaving feedback.
  • Make an Exit Video - Your exit portion of each video should be similar or the same too. This is where you ask for likes, shares, and comments for your video. Being able to insert this exit video will help you remember to ask for feedback.
  • Embed Other Videos - You can embed links to more of your videos, even including forms for specialized feedback if you want extra information about what your viewers like or don't like about your videos.
  • Ask for Likes - Always ask your viewers to like your videos. Sometimes you might want to tell them why they should like them instead of just enjoying them without clicking like. They might not realize that it helps you keep providing videos to them.
  • Ask for Shares - A good type of feedback is when someone shares your video. All feedback doesn't have to be a comment; instead, a share means, “I liked this enough to share it with others, and it has a lot of value.”
  • Ask for Ratings - When you want thumbs up for your video on YouTube, for example, you need to ask. People are more likely to vote something down than up. Many people watch a video without any action. Ask for the action, and you’ll be glad you did.
  • Ask Viewers for Topic Ideas - A great way to get feedback and engagement from your viewers is to ask them for new ideas for topics that you'll cover in the future. People love having a say in what they watch, so give it to them.
  • Ask Viewers to Critique the Quality - Sometimes, you want the content to be beside the point, but you'll have to be specific. Ask your viewers how they like the quality, especially if you did something different or purchased new equipment.

If you want feedback you’re going to have to ask for it, every single time you post a video. People will only comment on what they want to if you don't ask for specifics. If you are good about giving feedback with other video creators, you’ll establish a good relationship with them, and they’ll do the same for you.

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