How To Launch and Manage a Successful Affiliate Program

Every successful affiliate program is connected to a successful product. Whether you are selling
a widget, a service or both, your business is the very foundation for your success and when that
foundation is strong, the sky truly is the limit. That is why you should take advantage of every
opportunity possible to let the world know about your business and just how great it is.
Launching your own affiliate program is the perfect way to do just that.

With a great business under your belt, you may have already considered the idea of launching
your own affiliate program. Well, the good news is you are already off to a great start. You have
a product that you believe in, that you know sells and that has the potential to be profitable. All
that is missing is more customers. How do you obtain more customers? Through that affiliate
program you have been waiting to launch!

No one knows your business better than you do, but you can quickly and easily employ a team of
affiliate marketers who can reach hundreds, even thousands more potential customers in a way
that is cost-effective, efficient and proven to work. All you have to do is provide the materials
and they bring in the sales. If it sounds easy, that’s because it is.

When launching your own affiliate program, it’s a good idea to start with high-quality software.
You will want to purchase affiliate management software that will allow you to create a one-
stop-shop for both you and your affiliate marketing team. You should be able to create and post
important information like your terms and conditions, your affiliate agreement, and any and all
creative marketing materials that you would like your affiliates to use when advertising your
business. This is how you will control your brand as well. In addition, you will want to purchase
software that offers a commission tracking functionality and other services like auto sign-up and
automated management of all affiliate work. Robust affiliate management software is the best
way to ensure your program will not only be successful, but easy to manage so that you can
focus on growing your business, not babysitting your marketing efforts.

Once you have created your program, you will want to attract affiliates who are familiar with
your line of work, who know and understand your product and who have access to your target
market. Having hundreds of affiliates is only beneficial if they are quality affiliates. In this case,
quality is more important than quantity. However, don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

In fact, a successful affiliate program inherently is a numbers game. The trick is to gain the most
valuable affiliates as possible so that they can reach as many customers as possible and therefore
maximize your profit. If you value your team and manage them well by paying them on time,
rewarding them with high commissions and offering incentives and bonuses on a continual basis,
you will reap the benefits of a successful affiliate program and your business will become an
even greater success.

Social Media Strategies — 5 Time saving tactics

Saving time on social media is imperative if you want to escape time wasters and time suckers. By setting up a system you can avoid many of the distracting games, gossip, and out and out worthless parts of social media. There is a time to play games, but it’s not while you’re at work. Even though you don’t have a boss looking over your head, the time wasting will catch up with you if you don’t get a handle on it.

Plan for Success — If you have no road map to your destination you’re not likely to make it. Sure, sometimes people accidentally hit the lottery, but most of the time success comes from careful and thoughtful planning. Don’t set out blindly for a hit or miss effort. Instead, make a plan and stick to it, adjusting as necessary.

Implement Automation — Social media automation is a great way to save time. There is no good reason why you should not schedule automatically new posts, new articles and new information across all your social media. There are many tools available that do a great job. This will enable you to use your social media time more wisely in conversation with your potential clients rather than just pushing information to them.

Schedule your time — If you set up automation you can then carefully schedule your time for using social media for being, social. Imagine that! The automation of updating friends and followers of blog posts will create time for you to actually read other people’s tweets, re-tweet good information, and to actually participate. The trick is to schedule the time, and stick to the schedule.

Outsource — Yes, you can outsource a lot of aspects of social media. A virtual assistant can set up all your automation. She can also keep track of your metrics, and alert you to important tweets or buzz that you need to address in a blog post or in a direct message to someone. A good long term virtual assistant can even answer your direct messages for you when needed.

Turn it off — You read that right. When you’re off work, turn off your business social media. When you are doing other work, turn off your social media completely. There is no reason to have it on 24/7 because that will only serve to distract you from money making tasks. There are better ways to monitor social media with automation and RSS feeds.

With proper planning, implementation and perseverance your social media efforts can and will pay off to bring you more traffic, more business, and more success than you ever thought possible. The important thing to learn is to control your time since that is your most important asset. If you can do something else that earns you more money, do that instead, while using tools that let you continue with using social media strategically.

3 Small but Important StumbleUpon Video Secrets

Are you neglecting StumbleUpon video strategies? If so, perhaps it’s time you gave using video to maximize your Stumble visibility and power a better look.

It can be as simple as creating a video for your site or on YouTube, and submitting it to StumbleUpon. But there are definitely 3 tips you should pay attention to, as well as other tactics you need to be aware of, to get the most impact for time invested.

1. Don’t just stumble videos: Make one yourself – after stumbling enough that you know what works for you as a searcher (and what doesn’t).

2. Make sure you have a “Stumble” button on your video page! It allows stumblers who come to it organically through search engines to instantly stumble it, putting it StumbleUpon’s database.

3. Don’t set your videos to “autorun” when people open your page. Give them the option of clicking “play”. People are more likely to “thumbs down” videos that autorun. When fellow stumblers were polled, sample given reactions went along these lines:

“It feels like a pop-up when they start playing before I can think and decide”
“I don’t like being hi-jacked”
“It didn’t say how long it was going to run, and I have to watch my bandwidth”
“I like to choose what I click on”

Using Videos As A Strategy on Your Profile

When you click on your “Favorites” page in StumbleUpon, notice there’s another horizontal menu bar underneath your 3 “Discover”, “Favorites” and “Stumblers” tag. As well as “All”, this menu bar includes:

– photos
– videos
– discoveries
– your tags.

Is your video tab empty?

If so, give your potential subscribers one more facet of your online personality to feel enthusiastic about. Be sure to include a few videos of your own.

And start stumbling your videos – and others’ – today!

Market Segmentation Never Goes Out of Style

Email marketing is a very important part of your overall online marketing strategy. When it comes to email marketing, one of the most important things you can do to improve response rates is to segment your list. If you don’t segment yet, keep reading to discover how and why you should be segmenting your email marketing lists.

You have to remember that while your over all target audience shares certain characteristics they’re not really all the same people. Your customers will have similarities but they need to be segmented based on differences and actions. When you can segment your customers and potential customers better your email marketing content will become more relevant to them and you will improve your results because people like feeling important and as if each email is sent just for them.

The first step to segmenting your email list is to create buyer personas. You can start with the simple fact that some of your email list subscribers are already customers and some aren’t. Make that your first important segmentation. No one wants to get emails over and over again to buy something they already own. Those who have not purchased yet don’t need to get emails asking them how they enjoyed the service or product that they’ve not bought. After that, you can come up with other ways to segment your audience such as who clicked through, who opened, who responded — or not. Testing out various ways to segment your list is an important part of finding out what works best for your situation.

By keeping in mind that your email list consists of people who are at different points in your product funnel you will be able to create more relevant and impactful email marketing messages. You will know for instance, that you are speaking to someone who has purchased product A and now you want them to purchase product B. Your email to them will be completely different than your email to the segment who has not purchased A but instead purchased B.

Segmentation will automatically give your list subscribers a better overall feeling about you. Sending targeted, relevant email to your list subscribers gets easier when you’ve segmented them in strategic ways. All your copy will be much more relevant and focused when you know exactly who the people on a particular list. You know they have or have not made a purchase, and you know they have or have not taken various actions based on previous emails. Most importantly, when the customer or potential customer reads the email they will feel as if it’s more relevant and their estimation of you will go up. Their trust of you will go up each time they receive a targeted, relevant email.

Research shows that market segmentation within email lists is an important component that improves return on investment exponentially. You’ll experience higher open rates, more clicks, higher transaction rates, and more involvement with your market when you learn how to segment so that you can send more relevant and focused email marketing messages to them. What’s more, if you start segmenting, you’ll be ahead of the game since most email marketers don’t bother.

Accelerate Your List Building with Online Contests

Contests and freebies can boost your email subscriber list exponentially. However, whether or not those subscribers add value to your list or not depends on how targeted your prize is. If you’re giving away something like a free iPad you’ll get all kinds of entries who may not even care about your product or service, especially if the only requirement to possibly win is to sign up. Let’s be frank, they’re going to simply unsubscribe when the contest is over.

So, for example, if you are teaching lessons on how to use a certain graphic design software, a good prize may be to give away the software to one lucky winner, along with free classes. But, if your target audience needs baby supplies, the prize of an iPad, for example, might not be as effective. Sure, people will sign up in droves, but are they really interested in your solutions? If you really want to accelerate your list building with online contests, think strategically when planning the type of contest that you conduct.

It’s important to not only accelerate your email list building with contests, but to also accelerate your entire contest strategy by being certain about the market you plan to target. Contests generate leads, drive traffic (both online and offline), increase brand awareness, make customers and potential customers happy, create good will, and even help you develop insight into your customers that you may not have had before via user generated content.

It’s clear that online contests can boost your email list building opportunities many times over. But it is also clear that the efforts must be targeted to your specific niche audience. It’s important to study your target audience and know everything you can about their needs, fears, desires, wants, and to then create products and services that fill those needs and solve those problems. By having good products and services you’ll have read made prizes that your target audience really wants to compete to obtain.

You can then have many different types of contests such as having customers make short videos about them using your products or services, or people who want to try them to make a video about why they should be chosen to win them for free. Let others comment on the videos and vote on them, the one with the most votes wins. Then, promote the winner in a big way. Someone who wins very publically something of value like this is likely to give you a good review on the products and services and later purchase further products and services from you.

By having a good email list, full of targeted, interested potential buyers, you can basically give yourself a raise anytime you want by carefully promoting your products and services to the list members. They have signed up to receive the information you have, and they want the information. Ensure that every email you send has a purpose, and a call to action. Do not leave readers wondering what to do next. Ask them to read your blog, ask them to buy your product, ask them to make suggestions on future products. Use the list well, and grow it well with targeted subscribers and it will serve you well for years to come.

Twitter Applications as Marketing Tools

Social media and marketing methods have become an important part business success. Business owners are finding that services like Twitter can help to get the message out about their companies, connect them to their customers and clients and bolster their bottom lines with a higher ROI.

With Twitter’s increasing popularity come hundreds of tools and applications to help manage one’s tweets. If you are using Twitter for business, there are many applications that can be used as effective marketing tools.

Twitter applications allow you to track the links you share, schedule tweets, welcome new followers, organize and monitor your followers, offer coupons, the list goes on and on. We’ve sorted through the seemingly unending list of Twitter apps to bring you eighteen of our favorites.

TweetLater – Schedule tweets, track keywords, welcome new followers

TwitterContd – Gives you more than 140 characters, upload photos, shorten URLs

Tweepler – Organize your followers

Monitter – Monitor keywords on Twitter

TwitterMass – Enables you to connect and communicate with your target audience

TwitterToolbar – Giving you access to a variety of tools & resources

TwitThis – Add a TwitThis button to your website or blog so visitors can easily tweet about your company

TweetBurner – Track links you share

Trendistic – See the trending topics on Twitter

CoTweet – Platform that aids companies in reaching customers, multiple accounts and users

Twitoria – Reduce Twitter’s clutter by revealing friends that haven’t posted in a while or track down spammers

Twiggit – Updates your Twitter status with your latest Diggs

BubbleTweet – Add a video welcome to your Twitter page

Twitter Gallery – Free Twitter backgrounds and themes

TwitPic – Share photos on Twitter

twtQpon – Enhance your marketing by offering coupons to your followers

TwitterHawk – Targeted marketing that will find people tweeting about a chosen topic and location

TweetBeep – Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, and your company

Get to know your backend

Getting to know your backend shouldn’t be too difficult – your product line is already in place, your business is established and you have had success with a decent customer base… But are those customers bringing you repeat business?

If they are, you have been lucky. But don’t depend on that sort of luck to stay with you through thick and thin. You have to strategize and work hard to keep those customers coming back for more, and you can do this without ever sending them another sales pitch – or at least not inadvertently.

So how do you do it?

How do you sell to your customers without blatantly selling to them?

You apply proven backend sales strategies that will help grow your business and your bottom line. There are a number of tried and true approaches to take, but the most important part of making back end sales strategies work for you, is understanding why and how they work in the first place.

First things first, you should carefully consider your options when selecting an e-commerce solution. Be sure it offers a scalable solution as well as one that provides opportunity to sell on the backend. In other words, you should have the ability to automatically insert specific information that appears once a customer has made their purchase. In addition, this information can be used each time the customer logs in, in the future.

For example, if a customer purchases an e-book on how to manage a successful affiliate marketing campaign, that information is then logged and stored in a database, which automatically populates their check-out session with related products. When that same customer returns a month later, their information is triggered and they are directed to products and offerings that suit their buying history.

If you have a repeat customer who is always interested in the topic of viral marketing, then their profile will reflect that, showcasing products that fall under that topic umbrella. Trending is important to take note of, and a properly designed database will help you do just that.

Once your e-commerce solution is in place, you will need to focus on the customer. In fact, you should always be focused on the customer.

Engage your customers before they ever even enter your site through enticing linking campaigns, social media and viral marketing. Once they are on your site, your quality products and first-class offerings should immediately intrigue them. Employ classic marketing techniques, creative language and lead them through the site in an intuitive manner.

If a customer finds your site easy to use, easy to navigate and welcoming, they are likely to return time and time again.

Customers are, after all, the driving force of your business, so you must cater to them on a professional and somewhat emotional level. `Backend sales strategies are about more than making a sale. They are about engaging the customer through important calls to action. Showcase your robust product line like never before by putting a quality e-commerce solution in place that will not only help with the check-out process, but will allow you to grow and enhance your business while simultaneously improving the user experience.

Online Business — Marketing Add-on Services

If you choose your add on service correctly, there should not be as much marketing as you must do for your actual Internet business. The reason is that you should be able to market your services to the people who visit your website already. You know who your target market is, so what services do they need? Do they need online content, graphic design, web design, administrative services? Perhaps they need coaching or consulting services? It is imperative that you know your target audience so that you can focus your services toward them for the best results.

If your niche is marketing information products and affiliate products to other business owners, you’re in luck because it will be simple to market a service to that niche. If your online business is marketing to another niche such as natural living, or parenting topics, you might have more issues developing a service for your website visitors, but don’t lose heart, you can offer coaching or consulting to that group.

One of the easiest services to offer almost any visitors is coaching or consulting. Even a parenting focused website is a great place to offer coaching. Many parents just need someone to support them in their endeavors. Start by offering group coaching calls to talk about a specific aspect of your niche, then up sell at the coaching call individual coaching that is more expensive. Before you know it, you’ll have added an income stream to your passive income site that can support it until you’re more successful.

Another way to market add on services is to the people you meet at online “water coolers” to discuss your business. Forums and message boards that have other work from home, or Internet business owners are full of people to whom you can market your services. Use your online business as a sample of what you can do for them. Perhaps you’ve built an impressive website, or have excellent content on your site, you can help others to do the same via your services.

Speaking of online forums, another way to offer services is to go to community forums where work at home people hang out and wait until someone offers “over flow” work. This works especially good for writing content. The pay will be pretty low when you subcontract and take over flow. Ensure that you get payment upfront or only take over flow from people whom you trust. Deliver quality work on time, and you’ll get asked to do it more often without having to wait for it.

Another way to market an add on service is to try using a service like Fiverr.com. The pay is low to start, but if you do enough business you will be allowed to offer up sells to those who purchase from you. Also, what is really good about a service like Fiverr.com is that payment is handled by a third party service so you do not have to worry about nonpayment. On Fiverr.com and other services like this, you simply put up your offering and wait for people to make orders.

Product Review Website Mistakes

Many people think they can throw up any old website to review products and see results, but the truth is, there are mistakes that can guarantee failure. Don’t worry I’m not going to just tell you the mistakes, I’ll tell you how to fix them too.

Not doing research — Doing research on your niche is one of the first things you should do before you start any product review website. You should know your target audience intimately enough to know their demographic information so that you know what products to review and what words to use to review them.

Using wishy-washy call to action — Even product reviews have a call to action, or should. The call to action might not be as clear, but every word you use is important. Do not use the word “If” when you should be using the word “When”. This is true in all your copywriting when it comes to product review pages or product sales pages.

Avoiding smaller niches — Many product site review publishers focus on huge niche markets because there is money there, but micro niches are perfectly profitable too. If during your market research you discover some untapped markets with products that they’re not finding you can fulfill that niche.

Avoiding a larger niche — When doing product reviews, going after a larger niche is perfectly acceptable. You may not be able to afford to purchase pay per click ads for the majorly competitive keywords, but you can still go after a large niche like Apple Computers if you want to create a product review site for all things Apple. People love hearing the view of real people over the corporate propaganda.

Not delivering — Once you’ve done your research and are focusing on a particular market it is a huge mistake not to deliver. If search engines bring a reader to your site, and your site delivers something different than expected due to poor choice of keywords, or trying to fake users out, they will take note and simply bounce right off your site. No trickery, just give your target market what it wants.

Not using multiple mediums — Aside from blog posts, sales pages, and text you can also promote products with videos and podcasts. Create videos showing yourself using the product, or others using the product. Interview people on a podcast who are using the product. Have a webcast with the creators of the product. There are many ways to review a product, depending upon the product leave no stone unturned.

Not explaining benefits over features — In marketing class you may have learned that it is important to sell benefits over features to your audience this includes product reviews. In a product review list the features but use words that show the benefits of the feature.

Not being honest — All products have good and bad features, you must be honest and listen to all of them. You don’t have to completely trash a product, but do list the negatives when they exist. It will make your review more real, more honest, and create trust between you and your audience.

Focus on Your Target Market When You Blog

When you have a business blog, it’s important to focus on your target market because they are potential customers for your business. They are your bread and butter. So how do you focus your business blog to your target market?

Begin with the name of your blog. When you set up a business blog for the first time, the blogging platform will require a title for your blog. Carefully consider what this should be. Should it be the name of your business (i.e. Sam’s Hardware Store Blog)? It depends on the type of business you own because you definitely don’t want your blog name to be too cheesy. Neither do you want it to be so long that no one can remember the exact wording, so choose your blog name carefully. If you sell a specific product, say jewelry, you could use something catchy, like Gems from Julie, or whatever your name is.

A great way to come up with an appropriate name for your blog that your target market will easily find when they do a search, is to do a search yourself. Do a keyword search to see how many hits certain words that pertain to your business receive. Then incorporate those words into the title of your blog.

Another way to focus your business blog to your target market is to stick with topics that pertain to your business. When readers come to your blog, they are expecting to find information about what services you offer and product info. Don’t sell them short by posting about stuff that has nothing to do with your business. They will leave and never come back.

In addition, be sure ads placed on your business blog are relevant to your business. You won’t make any money if you have buttons advertising jewelry when you sell tools. Besides your readers will get the sense you are just trying to make money instead of truly helping them which really is the main goal of your business blog.