Archive for March, 2015

Setting up an affiliate program is not really that difficult. You can use a third party solution or host your own program on your website. The hard part comes when your program is running live. How do you ensure that it gets you the results that you desire?

Let’s take a look at the criteria you should have in place before launching your affiliate program.

1. Your products should be good and they should deliver what you promise.

2. You should have a good website that is already attracting traffic.

Once you have these two things in place the next item to consider is commissions. Please keep this in mind.

If you want to attract and keep affiliates then offer as high of a commission rate as possible.

Amazon can get away with offering low rates, and still attract affiliates, because they have such a huge selection of products.

Your affiliates are out to make as much money as possible. So if you offer higher rates, you will not only attract affiliates, they will stay with you for much longer. Good affiliates track their earnings and will stick with those programs that bring in higher commissions each time they promote.

A good affiliate program will also have an Affiliate Toolbox. Just as the name applies this a toolbox for your affiliates. It will contain things like banners, text links and ads, viral PDF books, reports, articles, emails, social posters and more.

You can acknowledge that you can only be as good as the tools you own. So it makes sense to provide your affiliates with as many tools as possible. This will help ensure that they are successful, and this means you will also increase your bottom line.

Communication is key and staying in touch with your affiliates is going to help you grow your program. Have an easy way for your affiliates to get in touch with you. If you have a Help Desk, set up a section or resource for your affiliates. Provide your affiliates with your Skype ID, Facebook contact and email info. You might even want to set up a Facebook group just for your affiliates.

While your main goal for your affiliate program may be to expand your customer base. Don’t forget that this won’t happen without affiliates. Make them your first priority and growing your customer base your second. This small shift in your mindset can eventually make a huge impact to your bottom line.

Among the many things you need to consider with any start up business are a few basic questions, the answers mostly relying on simple common sense. A lack of planning in a few key areas is the demise of many businesses – not the lack of money invested. It pays to look these questions squarely in the face, and sooner rather than later, to ensure the success of your business, both in the short- and long-term.

Who Makes Up Your Audience?

Your customers and clients will come out of your audience, so it pays to take a very close look at exactly who that is.

Who will buy what you offer? Why do they need or want it? What do they do for a living? How old are they, in general? Male or female? How much do they earn yearly? And finally – why will they buy from YOU?

Not knowing the answers to these questions will put you at grave risk…risk that the potential audience you’re trying to get the attention of has no interest or finds little value in what you offer.

Honing in on who you’re trying to attract will pay huge dividends, and will also help you target your buying audience when you advertise.

What Will You Charge?

After figuring out who exactly will be buying what you have to sell, you’ll need to also decide how much they are willing to pay for it. This is far different than what you see as the value for your offering. You may (and should) see immense value in what you sell, but you are not your buyers!

For this reason, researching the price points of competing products and/or services will give you a realistic view of what you can achieve with this business, and how far your reach needs to be advertising-wise, in order to reach your income goals.

Product or Service Delivery
The costs of distributing what you’re selling are not exactly a riveting subject, but one that bears some thought. There are costs involved – financial, mental and possibly physical – that need to be considered before you open your virtual doors.
If you are offering a physical product, how will it be shipped? Will you ship overseas? What are the costs involved in product delivery, including proper packaging?

If you offer a service, will customers come to you, or will you need to go to them?

Do you have reliable transportation available to do so?

Considering these basic questions will ensure the success of your startup, and will likely save you time, energy and money down the line, if you come up with well-though-out answers now.

YouTube has the most traffic of any video sharing website. It also has
engagement that is far above pretty much any website you can think of.
However, it’s not the only video sharing website!

To concentrate your efforts solely on YouTube is monumentally stupid. If
you’ve already gone to the effort of creating the video, why not upload it
everywhere you can? It only takes a few moments to upload that video to
another site, so why not do so?

Here are a few other places you should be uploading your videos:

>> http://www.facebook.com
>> http://www.vimeo.com
>> http://www.vevo.com
>> http://www.dailymotion.com
>> http://www.veoh.com
>> http://www.metacafe.com

‘Link bait’ is any content that is high quality and useful to the point of being something your visitors feel compared to share with their friends and family. Get it right and link bait will generate your links profile for you while you kick back and relax.

So what is ‘click bait’?

Well click bait is effectively any content designed to be clicked and read. Now of course the objective of anything you write should be to get read, but with click bait this is taken to the extreme. Often click bait involves using sensationalist and extravagant titles to try and get people to click and this is something you will likely have seen on Facebook.

Here are two examples of ‘click bait’ titles:

You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next in This Video – But it Will Change You Forever!
And
10 Tips That Will Help You Double Your Profits in 2015 – Number 7 Will Blow Your Mind!

In both these cases, the titles are designed to pique the curiosity of the person reading them. In the first example, you literally have no idea what the article/video is about until you click the link – you just have the assurance that it’s going to be life changing. In the second article you have a fairly generic list but the fact that ‘number 7’ will blow your mind once again gets you interested in learning what number seven might in fact be.

Should You Use These Techniques?

So that’s click bait in a nutshell… but should you use it?

The answer is no: while these articles might get a high CTR, they also likely have high bounce rates. Clicking on an article without knowing precisely what it is you’re going to be reading is frustrating for the visitor and if something amazing is promised and not delivered then this can create ill-will. If your hope is to get long-term visitors or to convert visitors into customers then this technique is only likely to drive people away.

But there is something to be said for understanding the psychology of what makes people click. You can still create content that sounds highly clickable and sharable – you just have to make sure that what you’re actually offering can back up what you’re claiming.

The real point is to stop thinking about how you can get more clicks and to instead think about how you can get more targeted clicks and then keep those people on your page.

Most people go to YouTube for one of two reasons:
1. To be entertained
2. To learn something

There aren’t many other reasons people go there. (Unless of course
they’re uploading their own videos or checking their messages and such.)
Have you ever gone to YouTube specifically to watch a commercial?
Maybe. But chances are, if you have, it was because that commercial was
either (a) entertaining or (b) educational. You didn’t go watch it to let it sell
you something.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can create a commercial
and it will sell their product on YouTube. The trouble with this thinking is
that people don’t go to YouTube to be sold to. They aren’t going to watch
your commercial. There’s no incentive for them to.

That’s not to say you can’t create a commercial for your product. It’s not
even to say you can’t upload that commercial to YouTube. But you
shouldn’t expect that commercial to do the heavy lifting of YouTube
marketing for you.

Instead, create videos that are entertaining or educational. (Whichever
format best fits your product or service.) Then you can link to your website,
and your website can then host the commercial.

Think of it this way. People don’t generally watch television to see the
commercials. They watch TV to be entertained or to learn something,
right?

But there are commercials that may interest them and get them to
purchase something.

So think of most of the videos you upload as your main content – your TV
show, so to speak. And your “commercial” is there to sell someone on your
product once you get them viewing your main content. Just link to your
website and offer its URL within the video.

Helping Your Affiliates – Affiliate Marketing

Posted March 30, 2015 By Callie

If you want to run a successful affiliate program you must be prepared to put time and effort into running your program. What good is it if affiliates sign up and then never hear from you? Or if your banners are outdated or you don’t keep your website updated with the correct prices? All this will manage to do is to deter your affiliates from promoting your program.
To get your affiliates to work hard at promoting your site, you need to help them. This means being available to answer questions, post available hours if necessary. Set up a dedicated page on your website where you can answer the most frequently asked questions.

Give your affiliates incentives too. It never hurts to run an affiliate contest and offer some prizes. Have an affiliate of the month award and stay in touch with your affiliates. You can do this by emailing them or sending out a quick newsletter once a month. Include updates on your site and products and give them notice if you are going to be running a sale or launching a new product.

Remember many affiliates will be promoting more than one program. So they need advance time to set up their promotions. Usually two weeks is a good time frame.

It also helps to offer affiliates individual specials. This can be in the form of giving them a specific coupon just for their customers. This might be a time limited coupon, one time coupon or open ended coupon.

A time limited coupon is one that is good for a set number of days before it expires. This can be a great way to generate sales quickly. A one-time coupon may or may not have a date associated with it. This type of coupon is great for first time customers, it can be used by your affiliate as an incentive to try out your products for a generous discount. An open ended coupon has no end date and is usually good for a one time purchase at any time.

Another way of helping your affiliates is by getting them to participate in a survey. This will help you determine if you need to add more affiliate tools to your site, or if you need a helpdesk or more. A survey can help you discover holes in your current program that you can easily fix. By helping your affiliates you are eventually helping your own business.

SEO Quality Content More Important in 2015

Posted March 30, 2015 By Callie

It’s always been important to write online content for humans and not search engines but many marketers did not always listen. They just wanted something up to attract the search engines and rank high. Worse, some unscrupulous “marketers” used trickery to get people to go to their site to only be redirected to more advertisements and paid links. While I know we are all using the trips and tools we learn about search engine optimization and marketing for good, the changes being made in search are actually very good for honest businesses.

With the changes in search engine results, if you want to compete, you’ll have to focus on high quality content rather than just getting any content up. The higher quality the content you have, and the more relevant the SERPS become, the more you’re going to appear in top results for audience searches. So, don’t look at the changes as something bad. They’re good for you, the honest business owner.

You need to understand what constitutes quality content and then seek to ensure that all the content on your website meets those expectations.

Content Should Be Well Developed & Researched — It’s not hard to research what you want to say before you say it. It’s important that content be accurate, reflect some knowledge of the topic due to obvious research. If it’s not well developed it’s going to look unprofessional and not get the results you want for your business.

Well Written Content Is Imperative — You don’t have to have perfect grammar, and you don’t need to write college level material (unless your audience requires it) but you do have to use common language that your target audience would use, and write to their level. You don’t want to talk down to people, and you don’t want to talk over them either. Online content writing requires a deep understanding of the niche as well as the audience you’re trying to reach.

A Mixture of Both Timely & Evergreen Topics Develops Authority — Timely topics as well as “evergreen” topics are important to the life of your website as well as generating traffic. Evergreen topics are technically good forever, although if your topic is about technology you may still need to update so-called evergreen blog posts and articles once in a while. A mixture of types is important to show your authority on the topic.

Include A Wide Variety of Content Types Creates Interest — In addition to both timely and evergreen topics you will need to include a large variety of types of content. The types of content that you can include on your website (and off) are: blog posts, articles, white papers, reports, eBooks, tutorials and more. It’s also to create content in many forms such as text, video, audio and infographics.

As search engine technology improves, hoping to serve up relevant results to users, if you follow these guidelines for high quality content you should end up with excellent, high ranking SERPS within your niche.

By its very nature, bootstrap marketing involves sacrifice. Just what and how much you’re willing to sacrifice is something to think about at the onset of any new business idea. Having a clear set of boundaries in mind will go a long way towards keeping you focused and organized, and moving toward the goals you have in mind for the business.

Time

Clearly, time is the most valuable thing you can give to your business. A new start up can eat up a great deal of time, so know beforehand just how much time you have to offer your new idea.
Some things to think about regarding the time you have available for your new venture would be:

Do you have a full time job or other great drain on your time?
Do you have small children that require much of your time?
What responsibilities do you have that will require you to devote time to them?

A calendar where you set aside blocks of time specifically to work on your new business is a great idea.

Mental Energy

It is said that we have a finite amount of mental energy at any given time. When trying to plan your new business, you will be sacrificing lots and lots of that mental energy. You’ll devote this energy into creativity, ingenuity, being resourceful, and finding ways to get your business up and running without spending a lot of money.

Physical Energy

Will you need office space or storage space for your business? If so, you can hire contractors to create that space for you – or you can put in the elbow grease to work with what you have available. Sweat equity has long been a reliable way for the average person to be able to invest in a home that needs a bit of work, and it is no different for a business. If you have the knowledge and skills, you will definitely want to sacrifice some physical energy to get the job done the way you want it.

Money

Finally, though bootstrap marketing is all about using the resources at hand instead of investing money, you will need to put money into some aspects – mostly those things you can not do yourself.

An example would be advertising. You must weigh the time and energy it takes to invest in the learning curve against hiring someone with the know how to get it done right now. The smartest money you can invest is in hiring people to do those things that you can’t, so that you can work on other income-generating tasks.

Content marketing is a form/component of digital marketing that involves writing gripping content that will deliver real value for the readers and that will bring people back to your site regularly. From a ‘search engine optimization’ standpoint this is very useful because it allows you to add lots of content to your site that will ultimately increase your chances of getting hits for ‘long-tail’ key words and phrases that people are searching for.

But more importantly, content marketing allows you to develop a relationship with your readers, to establish trust and to position yourself as an authority in your industry. This is important for any website or business, but if you sell a service or an informational product, this becomes absolutely critical.

How People Think Content Marketing Works

People have the unfortunate misconception that content marketing is useful for bringing short-term results. Their hope is that they will be able to create a great article or blog post, share it on their website and then see traffic swarm in as a result. Then they hope people will share their content around the web and that a good portion of their traffic will be converted into paying customers. They write their content, they press ‘submit’ and then they go to bed… hoping to wake up to thousands of new sales.

How Content Marketing Really Works

But that is not how content marketing really works. Instead, you’re likely to get just a few people reading your content to begin with. Of those people, a few will make it to the end and hopefully they’ll think ‘that was good’.

They’ll then forget about you completely and not think to look for you again…

Until that is, they stumble upon one of your articles again on Google or on Facebook and they recognize your branding. That’s two good articles they’ve read on your site now. But again they’ll leave, being impressed but not particularly moved.

Once this happens a few times though they might realize that you’re writing about the things that matter to them in a way they respond to and they might bookmark your page. Or better yet, they may subscribe to your YouTube channel/start following you on Twitter.

And then eventually there may come a time when they need someone to redesign their website/help them get into shape/provide them with online marketing… or whatever else it may be. And now they know they like and trust you, they will likely turn to you to provide the sale.
That’s why content marketing is perfect for skill-based or informational-based sales. But for it to work you need to really keep at it!

One major mistake people make when deciding to use YouTube for
marketing purposes is starting out with unrealistic expectations. In other
words, one expects YouTube to be some miracle traffic generator, and that
all one has to do is upload a video and they’ll receive thousands of views
overnight.

After all, YouTube receives insane numbers of views, so it just goes to
follow that your video will get a ton of traffic, right?

Wrong!

This mentality is the kiss of death for YouTube marketers. Seriously.
Yes, YouTube gets a lot of traffic. It may not get as much as it used to, but
it still gets a massive number of daily visitors. It’s still in the top 10 of social
media sites. It’s still a powerhouse.

However, it’s not enough to put up a bunch of generic videos and hope for
a miracle. YouTube doesn’t work that way. The YouTube community has
come to expect a few things from the videos uploaded there, and they
aren’t likely to accept anything less.

Keep your expectations reasonable. You’re not likely to get a million views
overnight, even if your video is interesting or useful. It will take a while to
gain momentum, even if your video eventually goes viral.

As long as you create good content, people will eventually see it. Just don’t
expect miracles.

Reasonably, you can expect to get anywhere from a few hundred to a few
thousand views the first few weeks on a good video if you’ve properly
tagged it and you send a little traffic to it yourself to get it started.