What Do You Need To Be A Successful Affiliate Marketer?

Everyone has a differing opinion on what is needed to become a successful affiliate marketer and this includes opposing views on whether you should or should not have your own website. For my own part I believe that having some form of web site should be a mandatory aspect of you building your business. It is true that you can conduct affiliate marketing without a website, but when you consider that a number of the marketing methods available are used whether you have a site or not you might as well have sight together with a list building element for future growth and security. So what do you need?

1.You need to establish the niche you would like to promote- your starting point could be an interest, so that you are comfortable with the content of the subject. If you wish to promote digital products you can search Click bank to determine if there is a good match for your chosen area of interest.

2.Check demand, is your chosen area popular. Often opinion would suggest that an area full of competition should be avoided, but remember that this is also where the money is so is there something you could be doing better, your site, free offers etc.

3.Conduct keyword research for your chosen product, dig deep for popular search terms with limited competition so that you can build marketing campaigns. It is possible to find popular and competitive niches with long tail keywords that allow you to compete in even the most competitive of areas. To achieve this and save hours of detailed you would need to invest in some specialist keyword research tools.

4.Purchase a domain and arrange hosting. Your domain ideally needs to have your chosen main keyword in it, at the very least some link to the niche you are looking to market.

5.Your own website-although you could direct your marketing efforts directly to the merchants website, remember you are also working hard for this traffic, once its passed on its gone. If you build your own site you can implement list building techniques to secure this traffic and direct it to your merchants site.

6.Your site will require a opt-in form and be coded to accept a third party auto responder such as aweber.

7.In exchange for your visitors name and email address, you need to offer them a valuable free gift, this could be a free report, software, membership linked to the product your promoting.

8.A follow up series of email messages-it is a well known fact that if some one is going to buy it may take several looks at the offer before purchasing.

9.You then need to have an affiliate marketing strategy, including what methods of promoting you are going to use and over what period ot time you are going to measure these results and evaluate what to do next.

This is the key ingredients of one of the methods for promoting affiliate products, others would differ by operating a review page as opposed to a squeeze page web site, and other considerations need to surround whether to promote physical or digital products or both.

Other important factors are the quality of the product and the reliability of the affiliate scheme. Before promoting any product be sure of the products value, remember your reputation is on-line when promoting a product of your choice and it is you that are giving it your vote of confidence. If you choose a product of low quality this will effect you and your business.

Also be sure that you are confident in the affiliate scheme to pay you what you are owed and on time. Lastly any good affiliate scheme should provide you with as much support as is possible in the way of ads for your promotions. They have a vested interest in your success if there is no effort in this support I would recommend that you choose again.

Small Business Internet Marketing – “It Ain’t Easy”

Small business owners have the difficult challenge of not only managing their day to day operations to ensure their customers are satisfied, but also deciding how to best market and advertise their company to attract new customers. Before the Internet arrived, the choices were primarily limited to print media such as yellow pages, newspapers or local magazines. Perhaps we all yearn for a simpler time, but you can throw that notion out the window in our 24/7 new media tsunami.

Local businesses need to be highly efficient with their time and money to be successful in today’s challenging economic environment. Larger companies may have the luxury of hiring an advertising agency or employ full time marketing staff that are tasked with implementing a cost effective marketing plan. The typical local business does not have this option and often times the founder or owner is solely responsible for the marketing direction of the company. Owners face the daunting task of navigating through a constant barrage of marketing advice, new services and fancy jargon and trying to determine what makes sense for their company and budget.

All too often, local business owners end up trying out a variety of marketing services that are sold to them by companies using aggressive sales tactics. The local business owner may try out a service for a few months and if they do not see immediate results, they can become frustrated and stop using the service. When the next marketing company comes along touting their service is different and special, the small business owner may decide to try them for a while and the cycle continues.

This “hit or miss” mindset is not a winning formula for the small business owner, as effective Internet marketing plans encompass a few basic areas and can take time to yield results. Many marketing companies that sell services to local business owners typically focus on a specific marketing expertise or service (such as Pay Per Click, SEO, Email software, Directory, Leads, etc,) and either do not offer a full service option or such an option is too far out of reach of their budget.

As a result, it can be extremely difficult for a small business owner to make informed decisions and attempting to research all of this on their own would be too time consuming. A balanced marketing plan that includes a website that converts browsers to potential customers, a steady stream of targeted traffic to your website and web listings around the web and a methodology to consistently communicate and cultivate your existing customers and prospects. It should be easy, but the problem is the tools you need to pull this off are scattered around the web.

The one thing that every business owner should do, even if you do not have a website, is take control of your local business listings on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other directories and review websites. Local Business listings on the Internet can generate traffic and attract new customers. Business owners can claim and manage their listings on most major sites at no cost. Recent estimates suggest that only around 10% of local business owners have claimed their business listings on Google, so there is a significant opportunity for local business owners that are willing to invest a hour or so of their time.

There are four categories of websites that local businesses can get free traffic from:

  • Search Engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  • Local Internet Directories: Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, Citysearch.com
  • Review Sites: Directories that have developed a reputation among users to be a good source of consumer reviews. Yelp, Citysearch, InsiderPages, etc.
  • Niche Directories: Websites that are authoritative resources for your particular industry

What exactly is a Local Business Listing or “LBL”?

The LBL is a listing that contains the basic information about a business. Information can include the business name, address, telephone number, business category and other information. All of the above mentioned sites are really just big online directories, databases full of business information. The LBL, simply defined, is your business page or listing within these big directories. Local business owners may not realize that their business is probably already listed in some of these directories,especially if the business was formed more than a year ago. These sites collect information from a variety of sources and information can find its way into these sites.

How do Local Business Search Results work?

All of these sites operate in a similar manner. A user types in a few keyword for a particular location or city and clicks search. The site will display a page listing the results of the businesses that “best” match the search request. Then a user will review the results and may decide to click on one to view additional information. This will take the user to a page dedicated to the specific business.

Business owners can increase the number of times their business is discovered by web searchers by claiming their business listings. There are also many simple things that can be added and edited in the LBL that can dramatically help increase the ranking of the listing for various search terms. The bottom line is these listings can help create a steady stream of potential customers for your business and is quickly becoming a primary source for potential customers to check to see if your business is reputable.

It’s a good idea to have a say in how they are judging your business!

Connor Logistics – A Case for Direct Marketing on a Multi-National Scale

The Problem
Connor Logistics is a film industry logistics firm with over 45 years in business and operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Connor’s sales for logistics relied solely on Account Manager sales efforts, limiting the firm to the size and time of their sales staff. With the recent business climate changes, Connor’s yearly sales dropped by 15%, a total of $35 Million. The firm’s marketing team was only focused on creating marketing collateral for the Account Management staff with little efforts in customer acquisition marketing other than sponsoring a few industry events every year.

The Solution
Marketing Director for Connor and their CEO planned customer acquisition campaigns by targeting 250 film studios located in 4 countries. These firms held a potential revenue stream of $40 million for Connor Logistics. The acquisition campaign involved a robust variable-data direct marketing campaign that included customized marketing materials for each studio, with specific messaging that was relevant to the individual firms. Connor sent out postcards and brochure materials to key executives in every film studio, along with personalized calendars for secretarial staff. The investment in this marketing material was not cheap, Connor spent over 4 months generating the materials and nearly $2.5 Million to produce and mail it.

The Results
Connor’s Account Managers would follow up after ever marketing piece was mailed with a phone call to schedule an onsite visit with every studio. Over a period two years, 185 of the original 250 targeted studios had signed contracts with Connor Logistics. This produced a net increase in sales of $37 Million. 

Connor’s results are a clear example of the potential of personalized marketing campaigns. Studies show that personalized direct mail pieces produced using variable-data equipment raise response rates by nearly 55% over non-personalized materials.