The Ofﬁcial Magazine of Afﬁliate Summit
Issue 16 October 2011
Turn Your Job into a Vacation By Shawn Collins Page 2
Avoiding Trademark Pitfalls in Afﬁliate Marketing By Wade Tonkin Page 4
Writing an Effective Internet Marketing Plan By Sarah Bundy Page 19
5 SEO Moves for More Trafﬁc By Aliza Earnshaw Page 26
FeedFront | October 2011
28 Million Users – Cornering the Canadian Market By Liz Gazer
Budgeting an Affiliate Program By Geno Prussakov
Writing an Effective Internet Marketing Plan By Sarah Bundy
Getting Beyond the Source with Affiliate Web Analytics By Kevin Webster
Automate Affiliate Management and Generate More Revenue By David Vogelpohl
Maximizing Seasonality in Affiliate Marketing By Rob Cox
You Can Learn Lots from a Survey By Wade Sisson
Fashion Blogging: Runways to Revenue By Scott Allan
Affiliate Summit East 2011 Recap By Shawn Collins
The Benefits of Working with an Agency By Dinesh Boaz
5 SEO Moves for More Traffic By Aliza Earnshaw
Podcasting? How about Live Broadcasting? By Daniel M. Clark
Was Panda Just the Beginning? By Vinny O’Hare
Mobile’s Hot. Don’t Forget it’s a Phone. By Rob Duva
Transform Your Mobile Campaign with Progressive Targeting By Gregg Stewart
Affiliate Summit Increased Our Affiliate Sales 400% By Justin Rondeau
Editor’s Note By Shawn Collins
Enhance Your Search Result Listings with Microformats By Eric Nagel
Avoiding Trademark Pitfalls in Affiliate Marketing By Wade Tonkin
Why Are You Still Doing Everything Yourself? By Missy Ward
Email Compliance Simplified By Theresa Farmer
5 Considerations When Writing a PPC Policy By Owen Hewitson
Multi-Network Programs-The Good, Bad, And Ugly By Olga Eskina
10 Different Kinds of Search By Jay Berkowitz
Co-Editors in Chief – Missy Ward, Shawn Collins
Co-Publishers – Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Contributing Writers - Scott Allan, Jay Berkowitz, Dinesh Boaz, Sarah Bundy, Daniel M. Clark, Shawn Collins, Rob Cox, Rob Duva, Aliza Earnshaw, Olga Eskina, Theresa Farmer, Liz Gazer, Owen Hewitson, Eric Nagel, Vinny O’Hare, Geno Prussakov, Justin Rondeau, Wade Sisson, Gregg Stewart, Wade Tonkin, David Vogelpohl, Missy Ward, Kevin Webster Magazine Coordinator - Amy Rodriguez Graphic Design – David Hallock Affiliate Summit , Inc. 522 Hunt Club Blvd. #411 Apopka, FL 32703 tel (417)-2SUMMIT (278-6648) fax (908) 364-4627 Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront Magazine always welcomes opinions of an opposite nature. For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com Interested in advertising? Please visit http://feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: email@example.com © 2011 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.© 2011 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors. Cover: Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive, keynoting Affiliate Summit East 2011
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | October 2011 | 1
My Work is a Vacation By Shawn Collins Mark Twain once said, “The secret of success is to make your vocation your vacation.” Thanks to affiliate marketing, I’ve am always on vacation... or on holiday if you prefer. But first we have to define vacation, and my definition is probably different from yours. My vacation is more of a state of mind. It’s a place of self-actualization. I am relaxed and satisfied when I get to conceptualize and execute ideas, accomplish things, help people, and make change. Today was something of a typical day for me. It started with taking a walk with my dog Mattingly and a couple of my girls to school. Then, I had a little breakfast, as I caught up on email, published a couple blog posts, and worked on editing articles for this issue of FeedFront. Next, I went out for a run and worked up a nice sweat. When I got home, I jumped in the pool to cool off. After a quick lunch, I ran out to the bank and some other errands. Back to the office for some more article editing and other work. Around 3:30pm, I switched into my soccer gear and took my son out to run practice for his team at 4:00pm. When I got home, I cleaned up, did some more work, and had dinner with my family. There was some email checking and other work on my computer, iPad and phone between then and going to sleep. This is all in stark contrast to the day job work I did from the time I graduated college through 2004. That was a time where I’d leave for the office before 7:00am and return home after 8:00pm, due to a long commute and working hard to get ahead. Back then, I’d look forward to treats like casual Friday. Hooray - jeans at work. It was fairly common that “urgent” meetings would suddenly come up around 6:30pm, as I was finishing up my 10.5 hour day. On Sunday nights, my stomach would be in knots in anticipation of a week of office politics, busy work, meandering meetings, and feeling like a trapped rat in my cubicle.
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Shawn Collins That was the work life I watched my father experience and endure. He dreaded work, and he frequently spoke of how it would all be worth it when he retired. He would take that vacation to Ireland, he’d do things on his own schedule and he’d be content. My dad never really splurged. He’d do that in retirement. But there was a hitch. He died less than a year before retirement. Two years later, I became my own boss and started working for fun. So, I sort of work seven days a week, but I don’t feel like I work at all. I’ve been on vacation for years.
Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editorin-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
By Eric Nagel If you’ve ever searched Google and have seen enhanced listings, such as those with reviews of a service or price of the product shown, you’ve seen what microformatted data can be used for. Microformats, or rich snippets, are a set of labeled HTML tags which help the search engines classify your data. You can tag many different types of data (see schema. org for some examples) but some of the common ones are navigation breadcrumbs, reviews, events, products and recipes. Microformatting does not introduce new HTML tags, but rather labels existing tags. For example, instead of <h1>HTC EVO 4G</h1> your HTML code would read <h1 itemprop=”name”>HTC EVO 4G</h1>.
Why Should You Use Microformats?
If you’re looking for an easier way to get started, Raven Tools has created a series of easy to use forms at schema-creator.org. Simply click on the type of Microformatted data you’d like to create, fill out the form, then copy the given code back into your site. There are also WordPress plugins to do the dirty work for you, such as the hRecipe plugin at feedfront.com/ hrecipe, which will properly tag recipes in your blog. It’s important to note that even if you properly tag your pages and test them, the search engines decide whether or not they’ll display the tagged data differently in the search result pages. When you’re done, users on your site should see no change, but your data will be easier to read and categorize by the search engines, and your search engine listings could be shown with enhanced data.
Properly tagging your data with microformats will do a couple of things for you. First, search engines will be able to read your site easier, allowing them to better categorize what your page is about. Second, they’ll be able to display the data in the results in a method that will draw the user’s eye and encourage clicks. Merchants should use this on their own sites, as it’s an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) advantage they could gain over their competition. Also, microformats will help the search engines read your data. If your site lists two prices for a product, retail price and your sales price, why make Google guess which one to display, when you can tell them which one is your price? Affiliates can also take advantage of microformatting their data, whether it be their own data (customer reviews the affiliate’s site has been gathering) or the merchant’s data (product information from a datafeed).
How Do You Tag Your Pages With Microformats? If you have a custom site, look up the type of microformat that best fits your data at schema. org. Schema.org, sponsored by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, is the go-to site when it comes to microformat definitions. There, you can see various data types and what values are associated with them. Once you’ve added the proper tags, use Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool at http://feedfront.com/richsnippets to verify your changes.
Eric Nagel Eric is an affiliate marketer & consultant specializing in PHP programming and search engine optimization.
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | October 2011 | 3
By Wade Tonkin
Unless you receive written permission from the trademark holder, don’t use exact product names in your domains. That exact match domain may sound great and it may lead to some nice traffic, but it’s not a long term strategy for success.
If you do Paid Search – make sure that you know and observe the restrictions on use of trademarked terms and use of the merchant’s display URL.
When you set up your Facebook Pages – be mindful of trademarks and brand names here as well – make sure to avoid any use of “official” or use of trademarked logos or images in your Page.
A disclaimer itself is not enough – you need to avoid infringing on the trademark in the first place.
In all of these cases, the big issue you are looking to avoid is shopper confusion. If you are looking to profit from that confusion, or appearing to be the official site or page in place of the true mark holder, you are setting yourself up for a fall. Infringing on trademarks is serious business and penalties for doing it start with receiving an injunction to force you to stop doing what you are doing, and end with fines and penalties that can target allproceeds that were gained illegally. If you have any doubt as to whether a domain or a marketing technique is safe when it comes to trademarks, consult a lawyer with experience with internet trademark law. It will cost you some money up front, but will save you money and peace of mind in the long run.
Trademark k (n) - A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product. It seems too easy to become successful as an affiliate – I mean, all you have to do is find a popular product, pick up a good domain with that product name in it (so you can get that exact match domain Google love), throw up a Facebook Page in the name of the product, and do some paid search using the product name and the Display URL of the merchant. The money will flow in and all will be right with the world. Not quite. In reality, what you will likely accomplish is setting of a string of events that will include Cease and Desist letters, terminations from affiliate programs, forfeited commissions and potential lawsuits. The reason for all of this legal madness is simple – in taking all of the actions listed above, you are likely infringing on trademarks. It’s unethical and illegal; and it’s also easy to avoid. Here’s what you can do to help keep yourself in the clear when it comes to trademarks in affiliate marketing
Know what is trademarked and what isn’t - there is a free tool that allows you to do this at feedfront.com/ trademarks
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Wade Tonkin is the Aﬃliate Manager at Fana cs.com and lives in the Jacksonville, FL area.
hours of wasted time and a bunch of wasted money, I realized that no design program was going to help me. I was just an awful designer and I hated every minute I spent doing anything design-related.
By Missy Ward
At that point, I realized that I was thinking too small and could either spin my wheels in hopes of getting ahead, or hire a good designer that would enable me to concentrate on the things that I do best. My biggest fear was that I was going to break the bank by hiring someone to help me. But, I quickly found a few designers through recommendations that helped with site skeletons that I could build upon, that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Today, there are many more cost-effective options to find folks to help you with design, coding, writing, SEO, social media marketing and more with sites such as Fiverr.com, Goferr.com, Elance.com and Odesk.com, to name a few. You first need to figure out what you can delegate, so I recommend taking a week and writing down everything that you do. I mean everything! Then, at the end of the week, take that list divide it into two categories: 1.
What *you* could only do, and
What someone else is capable of doing for you
Once you find assistants who can handle what you are able to delegate, and probably do it better than you, you’ll be able to concentrate on the brainstorms and the revenue-generating projects that will help you succeed.
hen you first start a business, money is tight and you might feel that you need to do everything yourself – even things you’re lousy at or frankly, just despise doing. From handling all your own designing, writing sales copy, managing client relations, managing the sales process, fulfilling products or services, running office errands, bookkeeping and more, you can quickly become overwhelmed and burnt out. But most importantly, with only so many hours in the given entrepreneurial day, you will be hard-pressed to achieve the success you dreamed of when starting your business if you get bogged down in all of the details. That was me 10 years ago when it came to designing my affiliate sites. Not only were they visual train wrecks, but much to my dismay, they were taking way too much time to have them turn out that way. So what did I do? I went out and purchased a different design program and spent many hours learning how to use it, but it didn’t help my sites look any better. I then paid someone for three hours of their time to tutor me until I knew that program inside and out. After countless
Missy Ward Missy is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Editor-inChief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs on MissyWard.com.
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | October 2011 | 5
you must also include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. •
Honor opt-out requests promptly: Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. And, you must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses in the form of a new mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
The law makes it clear that if you hire another company to do your email marketing for you this does not absolve you of your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.
By Theresa Farmer I love this industry! I’ve worked in almost every facet of it for the past 15 years, and have watched it’s evolution from an unfounded “alternative” marketing channel for some forward-thinking companies, to the trailblazing industry that we all know today. Because I love this industry, I want to see us not just survive in a brutal economic climate, but thrive. Contributing to the health, well-being, and most importantly the sustainability of this industry is something we should all try to do more of. The CAN SPAM Act is lengthy, boring and filled with legalese that’s a struggle to get through. Once one has made it through it all, there is the matter of interpreting it. Confusing language around important things like “definition of sender” for instance, is still heavily debated and often misunderstood. The following is a guideline that addresses the most frequent questions I run into. To keep it brief I have merely touched on the language specifically related
Monitor what others are doing on your behalf:
to handling opt-outs and tried to simplify them here. This guideline is by no means intended to represent the full extent of responsibilities under the CAN SPAM act. •
For more information on CAN SPAM to date, visit http://feedfront.com/ canspam
Definition of sender: The law is clear that no matter who pushes the “send” button, the Advertiser is defined as the sender.
You must provide a simple and functioning opt-out mechanism: Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. The process for opting out must be simple and cannot make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an optout request. You may provide a “preference center” that allows a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, or reduce frequency of email received but
Theresa Farmer is the COO of Optizmo Technologies.
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By Owen Hewitson he success of working with paid search affiliates is significantly impacted by your PPC policy. Consider these five points when writing or revising your PPC terms and conditions.
1. Direct Linking Advertisers facing competition on search engine results pages (SERPs) can work with affiliates to cover additional keywords and gain a stronger positioning. By allowing direct linking, affiliates can streamline the sales process to raise conversion rates and EPCs. Alternatively, consider allowing direct linking on specific terms, as many coupon sites convert brand + coupon searches better than the advertiser. However, as Google and Yahoo only allow one ad per display URL, advertisers risk bidding against affiliates and raising CPCs. As such, advertisers should designate separate keywords for affiliate use.
2. Brand Terms in Ad Title, Text or Display URL Consider the pros and cons. Consumers looking for your site might be confused by multiple ads displaying your brand. However, additional brand presence reinforces your keyword relevance and distracts from competing ads.
3. Bidding on Brand Terms A common argument for restricting affiliates is that sales would occur anyway, as brand searches indicate the user wants to visit that site. Paid search on brand rarely yields incremental sales in my experience. Consider giving affiliates brand bidding rights based on SERP competition. If advertisers run ads and no competitors are present, users find what they searched for without the need for affiliate ads. However, this may not be the case on all search engines and affiliates can plug any gaps. For brands that lack recognition in a competitive market, affiliates can help achieve better coverage or combat competitive bidding. If an advertiser’s brand is closely associated with a generic keyword, competitor ads are likely to appear in the search results due to broadmatching. In these cases, affiliates could bid on brand + generic terms and use the brand in the ads to improve ranking, click-through rates, relevancy and ultimately lower click costs.
5. Negative Keywords Requesting affiliates add negative keywords means that their ads never display when a user searches for that term, even in combination with a generic term. This term is usually the brand, but advertisers should be mindful that asking affiliates to negative match generic keywords when their brand contains these keywords (Ex ‘sports wear’) might be unrealistic. The verbiage used in PPC Terms and Conditions is also important. Rather than listing all possible terms on which affiliate activity is prohibited, specify that no activity is allowed “on brand or misspellings of brand terms, including but not limited to....” Clarifying that affiliates are not allowed to “appear”, rather than “bid” on negative match terms will make it clear that broadmatching should not be an excuse for infringements.
4. Brand Misspellings Advertisers that forbid brand bidding may also restrict bidding on brand misspellings. For major brands, this is increasingly unnecessary as the search engine will likely recognize and automatically correct a misspelling. For advertisers without a well-known brand, if competitors focus on misspellings, customers may end up purchasing from a competitor.
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Owen Hewitson is a Client Strategist at Affiliate Window and buy.at.
The Ugly Many affiliates may be hesitant to work with multiple network merchants because of potential integrity risks. Problems can result from coding screw-ups such as improper tracking whereby multiple referrers may be credited for the same action, or even the dreaded overwritten cookies problem. Needless to say, the perceived risks may discourage affiliates from joining the program on any network. Anyone launching on multiple networks should be proactive to prevent potential problems before they occur, and should communicate to affiliates about the systems in place to insure tracking integrity of the program.
By Olga Eskina Managing an affiliate program on a single network is a handful. The hours seem endless and the communication is ongoing, but the result can be a large network of productive affiliates who are supported by your content, assistance, and production. Now, multiply this by a scale of two or three, and you’re going to run into the good, the bad and the ugly of multiple network affiliate management.
In simultaneously running a program on multiple networks, maximizing the good over the bad and the ugly requires the wherewithal to tackle mountains of work, superior organization to exploit the manifold opportunities, technical competence to identify and resolve any potential tracking conflicts, and a tactful approach to assure potential affiliates of the program’s integrity.
The Good Affiliates, like affiliate managers, appreciate variety. However, affiliates may prefer a particular network, and by having a multi-network program, you can snag affiliates you would not otherwise have had. Additionally, if your commission structure on one network isn’t working for your affiliate, you can refer them to your offer on another network, rather than losing them altogether Furthermore, the manager can test and change the commission structure until he/she finds the one or two or even three compensation scenarios that best fit the affiliates on different networks. Moreover, managing multiple networks allows affiliate managers to test creatives and offers in limited rollouts before ultimately implementing them across the networks.
The Bad Managing a program on multiple networks comes with much greater responsibility. The workload increases, the constant communication tasks accumulate, and the stress wears an affiliate manager down. Issues are bound to arise in both the managerial and the technical aspects of this kind of setup. Depending on the number of networks the merchant launches on, certain core aspects of the manager’s workload are going to double, triple, or maybe even quadruple. Affiliate managers need to be certain that all content that’s put out satisfies the needs of affiliates in each network and a lot will vary from one network to another.
By Olga Eskina Olga Eskina is the Affiliate Manager of GovernmentAuctions.org.
Moreover, each network has specific capabilities and may require different formats. So, many things, like data feeds, will have to be submitted and managed differently on each network, which will increase the manager’s workload.
FEEDFRONT FEEDFRONTMAGAZINE MAGAZINE| |October August 2011 | 9
5. Geo Search - “Let’s grab a quick lunch” is often followed by a geographic search for “restaurant”. Get your business location correctly listed on review and map sites to take advantage of these opportunities. 6. New Business Start-up Search - When you’re setting up a website, don’t settle for a bad domain name. Search for great names available for sale at SnapNames.com and Sedo.com. Before you launch a new business check into trademark availability at feedfront.com/trademarks. 7. Crowdsourcing – This is when you ask your friends for trusted recommendations instead of doing a search. Recently I was going on a driving trip, and I received great audiobook recommendations from my friends on Twitter and Facebook. Add the Facebook “Like” button to your sites so “Likes” will show up linked to your offers. 8. People Search - We search directly for people on LinkedIn or Facebook. Create detailed profiles in Social Media sites - write full descriptions and include keywords about the products you offer. 9. Image Search - Flickr.com and stock photo sites are great resources for images to use in blogs and presentations; optimize your images with keyword rich descriptions of your products. 10. Retargeting - Have you recently visited a website, and then banner ads for that site appear on other websites you visit? This is ‘retargeting’. Google and others allow you to set a cookie for site visitors who don’t complete a purchase and target them with ads. Conversion rates are very high when using this tactic! By Jay Berkowitz We don’t only search on Google, now we search directly on dozens of sites. Here are business opportunities from ten different kinds of search. 1. Direct Search - If someone recommends a book, I go directly to Amazon.com. I search for podcasts directly on iTunes. Optimize for different sites people use to search for your products, write book reviews in Amazon and ask for reviews for your podcast. 2. Instant Search - We search for what’s happening right now on Twitter. In fact, Twitter reported at their Chirp conference that they do 600 million searches per day! Many people have automated searches set up. Include relevant hash tags and keywords in Tweets to position your products in instant search. 3. Product and Price Search - Yesterday, when I was trying on tennis shoes, I did a quick price search on my iPhone to make sure the store offered a fair price. We are empowered consumers; we go to car dealerships armed with the dealer invoice cost. Add product and price reviews with affiliate links to your websites to make the sale when consumers are doing research.
4. Video Search - Did you know YouTube was the number two search engine? My friend Tim Carter optimizes his How-To videos for AsktheBuilder.com so that they come up in YouTube searches. Add keywords to the title and description of your videos and build up your YouTube channel.
Jay is the Founder and CEO of internet advertising agency www.TenGoldenRules.com and community site www.InternetMarketingClub.org.
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By Shawn Collins
Affiliate Summit East 2011, which kicked off on Sunday, August 21 at the Hilton New York in New York City, started out early and ran late.
Registration opened at 8am and a steady stream of attendees came through to collect their badges throughout the day.
Booths for the exhibit hall were being assembled from 8am to 6pm, and attendees will be able to visit the booths on the second and third days of the conference.
Educational sessions ran throughout the day with big crowds geared up to learn the latest in affiliate marketing.
The day finished up with the ShareASale Barn Dance, which was a fun mix of live country music and dancing, appetizing food and drinks, a big game of dodgeball with Angry Birds (I wish I got it on video), a mechanical bull, and cowboy garb for all.
The Meet Market was packed from noon to 6pm with attendees networking and cutting deals. The second day began bright and early with Early Bird Whiteboarding from Eric Nagel.
The agenda for day one wrapped up with the opening keynote from Marc Ostrofsky, author of Get Rich Click. Attendees were able to grab some coffee and share their sites to this open session and get advice on usability, SEO, conversions and revenue streams.
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The whiteboard session was followed by a tasty conference breakfast of scrambled organic brown eggs, hickory smoked bacon, griddle potatoes, a selection of cereals, fruit salad, cinnamon buns, muffins, croissants, bagels, and more.
After things closed up, affiliate marketers headed out for a night of networking and fun.
Next up was a fascinating keynote on effectively doing SEO the right way from Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive.
In addition to a variety of parties around New York City for conference attendees, there was an Affiliate Karaoke night at the Hilton New York.
The educational portion of the day finished up with Ask the Experts roundtables.
After the keynote, there were more educational breakout sessions. The final day was also the second day of the exhibit hall, which was a great time for affiliate marketers to meet with their merchants and networks.
There were some neat promotions on the exhibit hall floor, such as the chance to win a “Back to the Future Time Machine”.
The third and final day started off with a second installment of Early Bird Whiteboarding from Eric Nagel.
The conference wrapped up with a speed round discussion of industry issues.
There were also a series of educational panels on the second day.
The Tuesday keynote was presented by Bryan Eisenberg, Co-Author of Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? and Always Be Testing, and he shared a steady stream of useful advice on improving conversions.
Thank you so much to all of the sponsors, speakers, and attendees who make Affiliate Summit the great community that it is – we look forward to seeing you January 8-10, 2012 in Las Vegas.
Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
The exhibit hall also opened up today with a big crowd of people visiting the booths from start to finish.
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Live without a net Broadcasting live online can be with audio or video. Audio is less complicated. Video requires cameras, lights and sets–or at least a clean room or office. Then you need to worry about your appearance. On the other hand, live audio requires a microphone. You can wear anything you like and forget about brushing your hair. The only differences are the aforementioned equipment and broadcasting service provider, otherwise, the same principles that apply to audio can be used with video. If you’ve been podcasting, live audio is a breeze. There are a few services that will stream your content out to your listeners via an audio player installed on your website. I recommend Mixlr.com. Their software runs on your PC or Mac and uploads audio from your computer to Mixlr’s server. From there, the audio is encoded and sent to anyone who uses your site’s Mixlr audio player. If you haven’t been podcasting yet, there is one step to perform before signing up with Mixlr or the provider you choose. You must get a decent microphone. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but spending just a few dollars on a USB headset will make your broadcasts sound better.
$^%# it, we’ll do it live
By Daniel M. Clark I’ve written about podcasting in several past issues of FeedFront, because it’s a subject near and dear to me. In this issue, I’m going to take you about ten steps further and give you some things to consider about live internet broadcasting.
Broadcasting anything live isn’t for the faint of heart, but don’t let that worry you. If you’ve done any podcasting or public speaking, you can handle a live broadcast. Remember: you’re not on CNN. You’re not helming ABC World News. Fortunately for the beginner, your audience will not expect perfection. Consider the benefits and potential of live broadcasting and you may find that it will take your business to places you never considered it going.
You could be a winner Why produce live content? I’ll focus on just one awesome idea here: contests. People love contests and running one is simple. The largest live audience I’ve had for any of my shows was when I gave away four Gold passes to Affiliate Summit. People tune in for the contest and stay during the content. Are you an affiliate? Partner with a few of your merchants to give away a couple of items. Are you a merchant? You could be producing a weekly live broadcast and giving away samples to your audience. Online broadcasting has a major advantage over radio and television in that we have chat rooms. We are able to see who is tuning in and participating in real time. When you say to your audience “the first person to tell me <whatever> will win <this thing>”, you’ll get an immediate response in your chat room. After the show you can connect with your winner and make arrangements for the prize.
Daniel M. Clark
Daniel M. Clark is a podcasting consultant and broadcasts live on QAQN.com.
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Driving phone calls isn’t just good business for publishers wanting to earn more commissions. Advertisers want phone calls. They convert at a higher rate than clicks (30-50% compared with 1-3%), people spend on average 1.5-2 times more when they buy over the phone. In fact, nearly one in every 25 Americans is employed just to answer phone calls (American Teleservices Association). You might be thinking all of this sounds great, but I don’t have time to start anything new right now. Well, the beauty is you don’t have to invest much or change your marketing strategy to get started with mobile marketing. You’re already doing it. Think about it. You’re already sending email; you already have websites people are accessing on their phones; and you’re already doing SEM. Just optimize your ad placements to include a phone number so consumers can more easily respond the way they want to. Right now, you’re losing sales and commissions if you aren’t marketing with phone numbers. A recent case study revealed performance SEM agency, imwave, Inc. sees a 250% increase in click-through rates over the same ads with no phone numbers. That’s not a typo. Pay-per-call programs are available on the leading performance marketing networks and make it simple for advertisers to create call-based campaigns and set up quality filters. Publishers can easily find new advertiser pay-per-call campaigns to promote and start getting paid for calls. If your mobile strategy doesn’t include phone numbers, you’re missing the boat. By Rob Duva
Do what you are already doing (better). Add campaignspecific phone numbers. It’s easy!
e all have mobile phones. In fact, more people own cell phones than own a toothbrush, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. And, did you know it takes 26 hours for the average person to report their wallet missing, but only take 68 minutes to report a lost phone (Unisys). Clearly, we’re attached to our phones, and that’s not likely to change. So, one of the biggest opportunities marketers have right now is capturing the attention and purchasing power of the mobile consumer. But, the challenge for consumers is that most traditional calls-to-action don’t work on mobile. Completing lengthy forms and typing in 16-digit credit card numbers aren’t particularly appealing to do with your thumbs. It’s hard enough to type text messages and have them appear the way you want them (see damnyouautocorrect.com). So most people will shop on their mobile but will defer their action until later, when they are in front of their laptop or tablet, making it even more difficult for publishers to get credit for the traffic they drive. So what is the best way to get mobile traffic to convert? Well, sometimes we forget mobile phones are still phones. According to Jon Jackson, Founder and CEO of Mobile Posse, “Click-to-call is a compelling call to action for one simple reason: when it comes to mobile advertising, people are more inclined to do what comes naturally on a phone -- place a phone call.”
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Robert Duva is co-founder and COO of RingRevenue.com and never goes anywhere without his phone.
The “Streetlamp Phase” In this phase, you want to buy traffic as broadly as you can while keeping costs under control and tracking as much click-stream data as you can. Be sure to set up your campaign logically and spread traffic out across all your test segments. Note segments showing “signs of life” and don’t worry if bid levels and competition keep you from hitting every target segment. Many ultimately successful campaigns lose money during this phase, so be patient, resist the temptation to dismiss a campaign if it doesn’t perform well out the gate, and consider any losses an investment.
The “Flashlight Phase” You’ll use your analytics in this phase to ramp up spending in what appear to be the most promising segments, while carefully blocking devices or sites that are the worst-performing.
Transform Your Mobile Campaign with Progressive Targeting By Gregg Stewart Gone are the days of cheap and virtually unlimited mobile advertising inventory. If you’re like most of us on the lead generation side of the business, you don’t have the luxury of buying expensive, premium traffic for your campaigns. That may sound like bad news, but being clever in how you design and optimize your campaigns makes a drastic difference. You can discover elusive, profitable segments; eliminate hidden poor-performing segments, and transform otherwise losing campaigns into big winners.
Take your time, be patient and deliberate, and don’t be discouraged if you still have lots of money-losing segments or are losing money overall. You can build on the foundation of just a few profitable segments to create a successful, sustained campaign.
The “Laser Phase” This is the phase where you get to parlay your learnings from the first two phases into profit. Carefully monitor your campaign, manage your margins and scale up as much as you can. Become an “analytics junkie” and look for patterns in the click-stream data that you can exploit. Seek out new traffic sources, experiment with new creatives and don’t be afraid to revisit devices and sites that didn’t perform well in earlier phases. And finally, as always, remember the affiliate marketer’s mantra: “Test, test, test”!
“Progressive Targeting” is an alternative to the more traditional approach of buying traffic from sites with demographics matching your target users that you might expect to convert well. Progressive targeting uses a structured analytic approach to precisely identify which segments convert better than others. By replacing assumptions and guesswork with testing and analytics you can dramatically improve the performance of your campaigns. Progressive targeting consists of three phases of media buying that I liken to “illumination with different qualities of light”. In the first “streetlamp” phase you broadly identify promising and doubtful segments; in the second “flashlight” phase you probe and refine the most promising segments and in the final “laser” phase you mine top-performing micro-segments for maximal profit.
In order to use this approach, you need to have a deep understanding of your traffic sources, a fascination with data, and advanced campaign targeting and analytic tools at your disposal. Let’s take a look at each of these phases.
A pioneer of Internet publishing, advertising and e-commerce, Gregg leads Neverblue’s New Media Platforms division.
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More selection of quality websites to shop through
Dynamic options for pricing/ fees in their own currency
More selection of merchandise available for shipping within Canada
Fair shipping costs that don’t exceed price of the product
Transparency of fees like customs/duty during checkout
No surprise charges on delivery
For those merchants willing to go the distance, there are ways to overcome these challenges. Services like FiftyOne’s “Guaranteed Landed Cost” which allows merchants to calculate and guarantee costs of shipping and duty during checkout, or like Canada Post’s “BorderFree” services, help reduce the hassle of cross-border fulfillment, by offering an interface to manage everything from cost quoting to customs clearance and everything in between. By Liz Gazer Canada, a hotbed of opportunity for internet retailers and marketers alike; is largely untapped. Canada was cited the “most engaged country online” with 28 million+ users spending 38% more time on the web in 2009 than the average US user (Forrester), The general perception has been that Canadians don’t shop online like US consumers. While this has been true, retailer hesitation has more to do with that than Canadian conservatism.
largest international market by sales volume with big clients like Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Barney’s, Overstock and many more. Their 2010 report proves Canada a leader in “Cross-Border Power Shoppers”, holding nearly 40% of the world’s weight from 12 countries studied. “Canadians are definitely interested in shopping online... they have a hearty appetite,” Lynch confirms.
Offer Canadians a convenient internet shopping experience complete with a full product selection, convenient shipping and be transparent about costs. You will reap the benefits.
So why are they holding back?
Misconceptions abound, marketers have been hesitant to invest time or resources to a demographic that didn’t seem to show signs of life. Labelled too fiscally conservative, at a glance, Canada seems to be a nation of “lookie-lou’s” with high order-abandonment rates; a phenomenon usually blamed on distrust.
Canadians say they are frustrated in their lack of selection with so few websites meeting their needs. For example, most retailers don’t offer dynamic currency options or ship to Canada. And there’s the issue of shipping and duty, often totalling more than the order itself – often not quoted during checkout, contributing to buyer dissidence.
Meanwhile, few have stopped to ask Canadians what it is they want from their online shopping experience, or why they aren’t spending more cash online.
What’s more, many Canadian retailers still don’t showcase a full product assortment or offer a convenient means of fulfilling orders online; they often neglect eCommerce in their overall business strategy.
John Lynch, Marketing Manager at FiftyOne Global eCommerce, a NY agency specializing in internationalization; serving customers in 90+ countries, agrees that a healthy growth opportunity exists, calling Canadians their
Today, Canada is poised for growth, representing opportunity for Canadian brands to better establish themselves and for international brands to expand into new markets.
So what is it that Canadians want from their online shopping experience?
Liz Gazer is the President at Growthspurt Media Affiliate Management Services, in Ontario, Canada.
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Product Data Feed If you are an online retailer, you will want to supply your affiliates with a detailed product feed. If, on the other hand, you will be using your affiliate program to generate leads, you’ll want to experiment with different landing pages. Depending on your in-house capabilities, this may tack on additional costs for programming, or web-design and possible conversion optimization fees.
Management Most importantly, you will have to have someone manage your affiliate program, from its announcement and recruitment of first affiliates on through the ongoing policing of affiliate compliance with your program’s rules, activation of stagnant affiliates, keeping the program fresh and attractive, and other responsibilities that we will look at in further chapters. Non-management is not an option. You may either have one of your in-house staff handle this, or hire an outsourced affiliate program manager to work on your program.
By Geno Prussakov As with any marketing endeavor, your affiliate marketing program requires a budget. While it is true that in comparison with the majority of other types of online advertising, affiliate marketing generally requires a significantly smaller budget, it does require one.
The sum total of all of the above four expenditure points can vary anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In the past I have launched programs with as little as a $300 investment to as much as $9,000 on others. As mentioned above, much will depend on your or your company’s own involvement in the affiliate program’s setup, launch and management.
So what investment is required to get an affiliate program rolling? Below you will find a basic breakdown of expenditure points that you want to be aware of right from the outset. Whether you decide to tackle these tasks in-house, or not, there is an outsourced option for each.
Platform At the outset, you will have to pay for the platform on which your affiliate program will be run. There will essentially be two options: going with an affiliate network, or with affiliate program tracking/management software. On the budgeting level, you need to know that you will either be charged some setup fees, or have a choice of one-time, monthly or other periodical fees, depending on what platform you go with.
Creative Inventory You will want to put together a creative inventory for your program. These will be your banners, text links, and possibly Flash and video creatives. Out of all of these options, the creation of text links is simplest. As far as graphics and video go, you may have to hire someone to do this for you. If so, this will be an additional investment.
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Geno Prussakov is an international speaker, book author, blogger, affiliate marketing consultant and program manager.
Step 4: Online Marketing Channel Strategy Evaluate different marketing channels to reach your market and your goals. Look at various strategies such as SEO, PPC, social networks, press releases, affiliate marketing, video, email, and more. Think about where your target market is and how they are finding solutions to their problems. Focus on one channel at a time. Launching too many campaigns at the same time without executing any one of them carefully is a waste of time, money, and brand image for your company. If you’re going to be exceptional, focus and make it count.
Step 5: Financial Analysis Set sales projections, budgets, and timelines. Focus on the highest converting options that produce the highest ROI. Leave the rest until you’re ready. By Sarah Bundy It’s amazing how few business owners that I speak to, that don’t have a marketing plan. In this highly competitive business environment, it is essential that you create your marketing plan, outlining goals, strategies and tactics needed to help your business become successful. Here are five easy steps to create an effective internet marketing plan that can help your business prosper:
Step 1: Situation Analysis Define your business, your product/ service and your target groups. Describe each in as much detail as possible, focusing on the benefits of your product and what problem you’re trying to solve for your prospective customer. Focus on narrowing down your target audiences and create personas for them. You should have one primary target audience and possibly one or two secondary markets when you’re done.
Step 2: Competitive Analysis Once you’ve defined what you do,
why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for; research the market to understand who your main competitors are. Don’t consider only online direct competitors but also indirect competitors such as brick and mortar locations, shopping comparison sites and other related websites where the customer can also find the solution to the problem they are trying to solve.
If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in the beginning, focus on the options that produce the fastest and highest returns. Then put those earnings back into growing your business more. Make sure for each of these steps; realistic, measurable goals are set. Without set goals, a final destination and plan of how to achieve them will keep your business from growing into the success it deserves.
Then describe why your solutions are better, different and more valuable than your competition.
Step 3: Main Messaging and Positioning Once you’ve defined your situation, identified your target markets, and differentiated yourself from your competition, you’ll be able to identify what your value propositions are and clearly communicate those into your main messaging on your website and across multiple channels. It’s best to focus on one or two main messages that are short, memorable and targeted specifically to speak to your target audience(s).
Sarah Bundy is the CEO of AIM, Canada’s leading Full Service OPM (allinclusivemarketing.com).
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Getting Beyond the Source with Afﬁliate Web Analytics By Kevin Webster
Geno Prussakov of AM Navigator offered his thoughts on affiliate analytics. “I strongly believe that responsibility for conversion is always a shared one -- affiliates want to be sending targeted traffic, while merchants must do everything they can to convert this traffic into customers. Neither of these is possible unless both sides measure, and do so in an educated way.” For now, we’re left with bits and pieces of the whole analytics puzzle. Affiliates must continue to build their own deep analytics tools. Perhaps a better solution is forthcoming, offering affiliates the ability to truly connect traffic and revenue without extensive programming knowledge.
If you’ve gone beyond “casual blogger”, and into data driven websites, such as product feeds or other information API’s to populate your affiliate websites, web analytics should be an important part of your daily viewing routine.
writing custom code, it’s still not possible to determine what traffic actually buys from those merchants.
Equally critical is the way you handle your web analytics, and the effect it can have on your business outcomes. A full discussion on how to best accomplish this could easily fill a book, so here; we’ll have a look at the industry as it stands, and where it should be headed.
“In my experience, most affiliates do not have extensive knowledge of analytics other than to find traffic sources and keywords. Any education they can find would help them fine tune their traffic and increase conversions”, says Greg Hoffman, Outsourced Program Manager at GregHoffmanConsulting. com.
A secondary question is what type of a role networks should play in providing more detailed analytics. Most provide custom tagging of links to support affiliates in building their
Kevin Webster is an affiliate and web analyst, blogging at KevinWebster.US.
In order to truly understand what’s driving revenue to your affiliate accounts, there currently isn’t an out of the box solution. While Google Analytics, Piwik, and other free solutions can tell you where your traffic is coming from, without
But a little tweaking can show you which portions of that traffic is visiting your merchant partners.
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revenue, clicks, conversions, impressions, EPC and other deal specific data. Think of “opportunity” as a synonym for “campaign”. Opportunities are then scored based on the chances of closing the deal to calculate a sales pipeline. Here’s where things get really exciting.
By David Vogelpohl
Management can use sales pipelines to determine if affiliate managers are prospecting effectively and which prospecting strategies work best. Additionally, the affiliate managers can use pipeline reports to prioritize prospecting based on projected revenue, chance of close and any other data points they prefer.
Your options etting high productivity from affiliate management can be difficult but, with the right tools, affiliate managers can automate relationships and scale efforts across a larger number of prospects. The first step in super charging affiliate managers is to equip them with a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. A CRM platform is software which automates relationships, tracks status history and forecasts opportunities for prospects and existing customers, which in this case are the program’s affiliates.
Automated Relationships The most powerful part of using a CRM solution is the ability to scale your affiliate managers’ time by using automated relationship management tools.
CRM software is available from a wide variety of vendors including Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, InfusionSoft, SugarCRM and more. Look for a solution with customizable records and reports to give yourself the most flexibility in how you use your CRM software.
Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR) CRM software enables you and your affiliate managers to automate relationships, forecast revenue and scale your acquisition efforts, resulting in more reliable growth and loyal affiliates. If you’re still using calendars, spreadsheets or your head, it’s time to step out of the 90s and start using CRM software to super charge your affiliate prospecting and affiliate management efforts.
CRM software reduces human error by setting up a series of recurring tasks under specific contacts. These recurring tasks eliminate the need for affiliate managers to keep track of relationships in their head or hacked together calendars. By focusing on daily tasks, affiliate managers are able to work effectively with a much larger group of prospects and affiliates while still keeping up with follow-ups and obligations. The result is more powerful relationships with affiliates, which may come in handy the next time a competitor tries to entice them away. “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend” – Mark McCormack, lawyer and sports agent (1930-2003).
Forecasting Sure, powerful relationships will result in publishers running longer campaigns and becoming more passionate about your brand, but to really cash in on the benefits of CRM, you’ll need to understand forecasting.
In affiliate management, CRM forecasting revolves around “opportunities”. Opportunities are records (often tied to a company) which include things like projected
David, CEO at Marketing Clique, has over 15 years experience in online and affiliate marketing.
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By Rob Cox When seasonal products are mentioned, most everyone thinks of year-end holiday gifts, or maybe pool supplies. However, many other opportunities exist for affiliates interested in capitalizing on other seasonal buying trends.
If nothing else, keep yourself organized, with a folder system to keep your seasonal copy, products, keywords and campaigns separate.
Gift giving holidays are the largest seasonal bracket, followed by other American and international holidays. Outdoor pursuits change with the four seasons, as do “Home & Garden” needs. Sports, politics, religion and other secular holidays all have buying seasons.
Similar holidays/event, reaching same demographic
Same demographic segment, but different season
Pre-season promos and post-season
Ask any salesman of any product, and in most cases, he can name a season where he sells the most. Businessto-business products sell better toward the end of a fiscal year, or timed with the cyclical pattern of a company’s selling season.
Merchants If a merchant is in any way seasonal, their team should help affiliates plan timely campaigns, so that the selling season or event is not mistimed, and budgets are not misspent. Here are some tips that you should consider instituting:
Monthly newsletters should highlight upcoming seasons with industry insights and sales outlooks.
Email your affiliates seasonal content, widgets, banners and ideas.
Seasonal promotions, coupons and holiday specific landing pages.
Seasonal datafeeds with banners, promos, widgets, products, keywords, and demographics.
Sales contests for affiliates to coincide with the holiday season.
Promotional calendar for affiliates, with start and end dates for particular categories.
Keep your eye on these extended revenue opportunities:
Networks Affiliate networks can and do help the affiliates and merchants by highlighting seasons within a particular industry vertical. Allowing merchants to post creatives and widgets in holiday groupings, for instance, makes it easy for affiliates to find. Shareasale and others have a holiday marketplace that showcases merchants within a particular holiday category, which is also very helpful. Networks do a good job of assisting in making seasonal affiliate sales happen. They understand how much of their sales, no matter what season, are seasonal sales. They also highlight the upcoming seasons, and offer training and assistance to affiliates and merchants to create more seasonal sales. Maximizing affiliate sales in seasonal product categories is all about the planning and making use of the available resources from merchants and networks. Get ready to mark your calendars!
Afﬁliates For affiliates, the easiest way to maximize seasonality is to plan for it. Use a calendar application to map out your plans three months in advance. Plan smartly, and make to-do lists for each campaign. Preparing ahead for selling seasons and one-day events is the secret to success. Don’t forget to retire expired creatives. You can automate with expiration and refresh dates for content and campaigns and consider building scripts to juggle seasonal products and all of their attributes. This can allow affiliates to scale to thousands of products.
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Rob Cox is President of Poolcenter.com, a swimming pool supply merchant on the Shareasale platform.
If a question might only pertain to a small segment, such as a question meant only for coupon affiliates, do another survey later that targets only that segment. Don’t risk alienating your entire affiliate base.
Give the respondent the freedom to offer additional feedback. Include a comment box with each question. Also acknowledge that the affiliate may want to talk about things you didn’t ask by including a “Share any other feedback you may have” comment box at the end of the survey.
Ensure your afﬁliates that their feedback matters. Actions speak louder than words. Make the time to thank each affiliate for his or her feedback. And if someone asked to be contacted for more discussion or assistance, do it.
Follow up! By Wade Sisson Success in affiliate marketing comes from a number of factors – not the least of which is communication between the merchant, the affiliate, and the affiliate manager. Creating an affiliate survey is a very effective way of aiding such communication. An affiliate survey benefits more than the agency or program manager who created the survey. It also benefits: 1. the survey creator, who wants answers;
The information you gain from the survey is only valuable if you act on it. Use the responses to develop a plan of action – and present it to the merchant and /or network. If the majority of respondents say that taking a certain course of action would greatly improve their effectiveness, you will be able to make a strong case for that course of action. The best case scenario: to be able to deliver on your affiliates’ wants and needs.
Offer an incentive if you can. Remember – affiliates are entrepreneurs, and their time is valuable. If you can offer value, beyond the inherent value of gathering information that can make the program stronger, you’ll get a better response rate.
2. the merchant, who wants affiliate feedback; 3. and affiliates, who want to feel their thoughts, wants, and needs are heard and addressed. Here are a few steps that will help you effectively create, distribute, and collect an affiliate survey.
Ask the right questions. Your survey has a lot of ground to cover. You want to gain information about the affiliate, such as what tools he/she uses to promote the brand (blog content, coupons, data feeds) and what would inspire him/her to do more (better creative, higher commission). You also want to learn about the effectiveness of the current program. Is it competitive? Do the affiliates feel they have everything they need to succeed?
Keep it simple.
Try to keep your survey at ten questions or less. Remember – you want answers. If this starts to feel more like the SATs than a survey, your response rate will plummet.
Wade Sisson is Director of Marketing for affiliate program management agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
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By Scott Allan
If you’ve noticed a rise in fashion bloggers, you’re not alone. This niche community is growing at a steady pace with Technorati citing more than 8,500 fashion-focused blogs as of September 2011. In fact, fashion blogs like TheBudgetFashionista.com are driving hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue annually. Having attended the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference in New York City this past September, enabled me to hear first hand what’s driving this community and the role of affiliate marketing in it. First, let’s understand three critical factors that differentiate this audience of publishers. 1. Passion for fashion: Fashion bloggers thrive on being the first to report on the latest fashion news as well as share recommendations and shopping tips. 2. Prioritize influence over monetization: Their online presence and ability to influence the fashion industry is a higher priority than monetizing their blogs. The top bloggers are becoming celebrities in the world of fashion in their own right, which opens up a wide range of financial opportunities. 3. Performance marketing is still largely unchartered territory: Many have only recently tuned into the fact that performance marketing can
be lucrative without impacting their credibility, yet are still figuring out how to approach it. Fashion bloggers need to be nurtured to understand the ways they can add tracking links to their site in ways that are in line within editorial content. Now that you have a better sense of the fashion blogging world, here are three ways advertisers can build mutually beneficial affiliate relationships with these publishers. 1. The right fit: Identify the bloggers most closely representing your brand and assign a team member to provide insight, advance news and exclusive images. While you can’t expect a quid pro quo situation, this will help foster a stronger relationship by remaining on their radar. Make them feel important by giving them the inside scoop on your brand and your plans.
fashion in an ethical way without compromising their mission or relinquishing their transparency. To do this, advertisers should consider hosting tailored workshops. Focus on educating bloggers on the vision the brand and the benefits of deep linking to your site. Encourage them to learn about affiliate marketing tools including Word-Press plug-ins that can help bloggers find links to products related to their posts. Cultivating relationships with the fashion blogging community will be critical for online apparel advertisers who are looking to seize more of the e-commerce market, which is expected to grow at a compound growth rate of ten percent over the next five years1 according to Forrester Research.
2. Private showings: These publishers crave access to industry influencers and company executives. Whenever possible, facilitate introductions with the goal of increasing the publisher’s knowledge as opposed to trying to direct your marketing messages through their blog. 3. Image creation: Assure bloggers that affiliate marketing programs can help them build relationships with leading brands while monetizing their views on
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Scott Allan is the Vice President of Marketing for LinkShare.
addition, agencies sometimes have exclusive access to private offers, ensuring that the offer is not already saturated in the market. By offering a seasoned team of digital professionals, agencies offer accuracy and effectiveness when it comes to representing the publishers’ needs leading to successful client relationships. Working hand in hand with clients to analyze and test creative, agencies ensure proven and consistent results for all parties, allowing for higher margin campaign with higher conversion rates. Publishers can also expect open communication and transparency from the agency on conversion rates, client needs and feedback. For publishers, working with a brand advertiser can raise the value of your inventory. Affiliate marketing campaigns are frequently run in conjunction with a traditional advertising campaign and for publishers this can mean an increase in brand recognition and a boost in conversion rates. By delivering quality leads for the brand, publishers have a higher potential for an increase in payout.
The Benefits of Working with an Agency
By aligning your media with top digital performance focused agencies outside of the affiliate networks, publishers can be exposed to bigger and more sustainable clients.
By Dinesh Boaz As publishers, you’ve likely had some experience working with networks: sign up with a network, get approved, select offers that are in-line with your audience and (hopefully!) make some money on the campaigns. With digital marketing agencies however, the process is a little less turnkey but the rewards and long term gains can far outweigh the detail–heavy process.
If an agency is satisfied with the results a publisher is able to deliver for one of their clients, then they are more likely to refer additional business which can open the doors to additional profits.
To begin with, performance focused digital agencies look for established and experienced publishers who are proactive and forthcoming with information. Since agencies work with leading brand advertisers, they expect publishers to be transparent about their audience profile, the types of programs and verticals they have shown success with, what the conversion rates have been on those previous campaigns and the traffic sources and data collection methods the publisher has in place. Similarly, agencies expect strict campaign compliance from publishers and have zero tolerance for fraud. Working with an agency is a hands-on experience for both parties, as agencies are looking out for the best interest of their clients as well as their publishers. Since they work directly with larger and more established brand advertisers, agencies can help publishers monetize their traffic with branded performance-based opportunities. This opens up many new avenues, as larger brands can translate into higher payouts, more campaign longevity, and less liability which can often be found in many ‘make fast money’ type campaigns on affiliate networks. In
Dinesh Boaz Dinesh is Managing Director and Co-founder of Direct Agents, a fullservice digital marketing agency (directagents.com).
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If your site isn’t indexed, it won’t appear in search results. Ensure search engines can find your pages by creating an HTML sitemap and/or an XML sitemap.
4. Get links from other websites. Links from other websites, or inbound links, are like getting votes for your site. Inbound links are probably the single most important factor outside your site that help it rank higher in search results. The best way to get links from reputable sites is by creating great content that people want to link to. Then promote it on Twitter and Facebook in a conversational manner. Don’t just post links. Because you want people to “retweet” and “like” your content, do the same for them.
5. Don’t duplicate content. When search engines see the same content on two web pages, they regard one page as the original, and the other as a lower-quality duplicate. By Aliza Earnshaw Want more site visitors? These five top SEO (search engine optimization) tactics will help you rank higher in search results and attract more customers.
1. Choose and use the right keywords. Lots of people use insider jargon on their sites. You may think you sell “performance-enhancing stabilizers for over-pronators” – but your potential customers are searching for “running shoes.” Google’s free Keyword Research Tool is a great way to find the keywords people actually use to search for what you sell. Use these instead of jargon terms, and more people will discover your site.
2. Write a unique, accurate title and meta description for every important page.
Low-quality pages won’t rank well in search results, and duplicate content doesn’t help your prospective customers, either. Duplicate content also splits link juice. If two pages on your site are identical, and people link to both, the power of those links to boost your content higher in search results is diluted by half. If you do have two pages with good inbound links, redirect one page to the other using a 301 redirect, to concentrate the link goodness on a single page. Google Webmaster Tools helps you discover whether you have duplicate pages. Sign yourself up, go to the Diagnostics section, and then find the “HTML Suggestions” tab. From there, you can check the “Duplicate Title Tags” section to identify duplicate content.
The title of a web page tells search engines what the page is about, so be sure each page title includes the most relevant keyword or two for that page. The page title appears in search results as the underlined blue link to the page. An attractive title with relevant keywords close to the beginning can entice people to click it in search results. Search engines don’t use the meta description to decide what a web page is about. But they do use the meta description as the “snippet” that appears below the title in search results. People read that snippet, so a persuasive meta description and accurate title are like an ad for your page.
3. Make sure search engines index your site. 26 | October 2011 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE
Aliza Earnshaw Aliza is director of sales & marketing at AboutUs.org, the largest index of websites.
If you are using Google Analytics and tracking goals higher than your competition, that might signal Google that you have a better site. Could Google filter out all the websites that list an email account with a free account like Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail? Seems like an easy thing to do. Will they look for social proof like a Twitter or a Facebook account? I bet they already are but using the amount of interaction in the search engine results could weigh more towards brands who have teams working their social media accounts. My biggest fear is to have a site on a server with a bunch of other websites that I don’t control. Call me crazy but when I moved my sites off cheap web hosting last year all my sites went up 20-30% in traffic. I was no longer on a server that could have porn, gambling or be used to send spam emails in bulk. Keep an eye on the Google webmaster guidelines and read between the lines to make your website better. This might keep you one step ahead of sweeping Google updates.
By Vinny O’Hare Since the Google Panda update a few months ago, many folks have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the algorithm. As for me, I’m simply left wondering... what’s next? Google is not likely to stop finessing the search results anytime soon, which leaves me to think about the quality Google wants and continue to make adjustments accordingly. Last month, while at a search engine conference, I peered upon an exhibit hall full of booths offering link building services. And while link building businesses have been successful, I don’t see it lasting in the form it is in now. Gaming the system is something that Google will simply not stand for, and as the web becomes more social, they might consider discrediting links and focus more on social to weight the listings. Focusing on making your website better will enable you to avoid being caught up in a sweeping Google change when it happens. While this is just conjecture, these are some of the things that Google might consider adding to their next update: If Google decides they now want to see a phone number or an address on every site it would likely eliminate a significant portion of the MFA (Made for Adsense) sites out there. This would clean up the internet at the same time, as it’s not likely that these website owners would go through the trouble of getting a P.O. Box and a Google voice number to avoid it)
Vinny O’Hare is the president of Vincent O’Hare Consulting and his site is Vinnyohare.com.
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As a young professional going on his first business trip to Sin City, there was obviously some worry that all of Las Vegas’ glitz and glamour would hinder information retention. This couldn’t have been any further from the truth. I filled my schedule with relevant sessions to increase my knowledge as a merchant. I wanted to learn how affiliates thought, what they liked, what they hated and how I could make their job easier. The most important session I attended while I was out at Affiliate Summit West was “Inside the Minds of Affiliates”. The panel gave great advice and gave me my most important tip to date, affiliate marketing is about relationships. Affiliates are taking the time to build sites and promote your product, make their job easier with an open line of communication, relevant data on pricing and conversion rates and plenty of tools to help them along the way. I was new to the industry when I flew into Las Vegas, but felt like a seasoned expert on the plane ride home. I started creating banners, including affiliate links directly in my emails for easy cut and paste, sending out monthly newsletters after the first week of each month, etc. I became the ambassador my affiliates deserved. In addition to all of the information I gathered, I also made great connections with some of my program’s most successful affiliates and identified the right affiliate network for a small company who is cultivating an affiliate program. The growth of our affiliate program can be attributed to two things:
Afﬁliate Summit Increased Our Afﬁliate Sales 400% By Justin Rondeau
I remember just nine months ago when our affiliate program was in shambles. Being a small business in the B2B space, it is very difficult to create a thriving affiliate program. Products in the B2B space generally have higher price points and longer sales cycles, which keeps prospective affiliates at bay; and to be absolutely frank we had no idea what we were doing. Keeping this in mind, my boss asked me to find a way to ramp up our affiliate program. This is when he decided to send me to Affiliate Summit West 2011 in Las Vegas.
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The Small Business Niche
You will often hear my CEO Jim Kinlan say, “The great thing about marketing to small businesses (SMBs) is that there are millions of them, and the bad thing about marketing to SMBs is that there are millions of them”. There is an incredible amount of opportunity to market towards SMBs and to successfully convert them. SMBs have far less red tape when it comes to buying decisions. This is the strength of SMBs; they are agile and are thus easier to convert. Thanks to our niche of B2SMB (Business to Small Business) and the knowledge imparted by the Affiliate Summit, we increased our affiliate sales from last year by 400%; in less than 8 months across 2 affiliate networks. Thanks Affiliate Summit!
Justin is Director of Marketing at TemplateZone and markets software for small businesses.
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