Affiliate Marketing Tips For the Advertiser

Many businesses miss out on the true benefits of affiliate marketing. As an advertiser (the business looking to obtain affiliates) you really need to understand the extremely delicate balance that needs to be achieved in order to hit that sweet spot of unbelievable business success.

So, What is This Sweet Spot Exactly?

First, this depends on the goal of your affiliate marketing campaign. For most companies there are 2 main targets that are zeroed in on:

1. Building Your Brand

2. Making a Ton of Profits

However, many businesses forget about old #3, Making a Ton of Profits for your Affiliates.

Hitting the sweet spot involves all three of these targets. I’ve seen a lot of companies start an affiliate program and generate a bunch of leads, and just dump their affiliates without even a care. If you do this you will miss out on a ton of money that could have been made.

You have to understand what affiliate marketing is really all about, and having been on both sides of the table (meaning I have ran affiliate programs for my business, and have also been a publisher selling affiliate products) I know exactly what needs to be achieved for both to have success.

You see, affiliate marketing is about much more than just you (the advertiser) making a great business decision to pay for only advertising that results in sales and therefore profits, it’s also about building your company brand while building strategic partnerships with individuals who can literally make your business explode.

It’s fine and dandy to use affiliate programs to have individuals throw up a few banner ads to make some extra money and generate leads for your business, but that’s what most companies do, so why stop there? You don’t want to be like everyone else, you want to be better than them. You do want to be better than them don’t you? I sure hope your answer is yes, because if not you can stop reading now. You don’t have to know these strategies if you don’t want to, but for those who do, pay extremely close attention to the rest of this article.

Your goal with your affiliate program from this point on should be to aim for the 3 targets I mentioned earlier: Building your brand, Making a ton of profits for yourself, and Making a ton of profits for your affiliates. Helping your affiliates will help you, I can guarantee that, and this will come down to how you ultimately structure your affiliate program.

So How Do You Structure an Affiliate Program?

First, it’s all about the commission. You have to give people a great incentive to advertise for you. Your goal is not just about making that quick sale (quick sales are good, but there is a lot more to this), it’s about the lifetime value of the customer and building that strong brand image with them. If you don’t know what the average lifetime value of your customer is, you’re going to have to go through your records, do some research, and probably do a little math. You at the very least want to know how much they spend, and for how long they remain an active customer.

Typically a good commission to start with for physical products is 6-8%, and once an affiliate shows good sales volume you can increase the commission amount to 12% or even 15% if it is feasible. Keep in mind at this point, whatever commission you decide on, make sure you’re still making a profit. I know that sounds like common sense to you, but later on after you’ve tested your campaign for a while you make actually find it more affordable to take a loss up front on the first sale. Don’t worry, I’m going to cover this in a little bit, so just keep reading, but first I want to cover informational / digital product affiliate commissions.

For informational / digital download affiliate programs, you want to at least offer a 50% commission. Statistics show that programs that don’t offer 50% or higher do pretty miserably. There have been a few exceptions with products I worked with that did well, but that was only because they had extremely high conversion rates. So use this as your baseline, test it, and see if you can afford to go higher. With downloadable products it’s usually not the first sale that will make your business, but it’s the backend products and the upsells that come later on. So just like with physical products, you want to know what the average lifetime value of a customer is, and from there, you can assess how much of a commission you can afford to give out.

Second, is cookie duration. This is very important to your affiliates because most sales do not occur on the first visit. Studies show customers on average come back between 4-7 times before a sale is actually made depending on the product that is being sold. I advise companies to use at least a 60 day cookie. Why 60? because everyone else uses 30, 30 days is the standard. Even though most sales do occur within that time period, you’ll attract a ton of more affiliates with a 60 day (or greater) cookie duration.

Third, besides the cookie duration, something for you to consider is the attribution of the sale. Attribution basically means deciding on who to credit the sale to. If you have a customer who goes to one affiliate, and then doesn’t buy, but a day or 2 later manages to land on a different site and then buys, who do you want to credit the sale to? Most companies prefer a last click attribute, meaning the last site to get the click that results in the sale gets the credit. This is the most common method, but there are other companies that prefer the opposite which is a first click attribute, which means even if someone bought from the second site in the above example, the site that got that first click will get the sale. Choose which rationale works for you, for me I tend to favor the last click attribute as well.

Fourth, pay your commissions on time. If you do not pay your affiliates on time they will venture somewhere else, even if it’s for a lower %. Your affiliates are working hard for you and many times are paying to send traffic to their sites for the possibility of making commissions for advertising your products, and most of the time those advertising bills come in way before they get paid, and I know because I’ve been there. Nothing would get me more ticked off than the affiliate company not paying on time, and even worse than that, some will even wait till the next paying cycle. You need to feel your affiliates pain and know what they go through. There’s nothing more agitating then spending a few hundred or thousand dollars on advertising and having to wait 2 months to get paid on it.

More Advanced Affiliate Marketing Tips For The Advertiser

So what’s the point of making sure all this happens? Why is it important to make sure your affiliates are happy? Well here’s some stuff that will really put you above the competition. I’m all about giving great content in my articles, so here’s some juicy stuff for you.

Making Outstanding Affiliate Offers

Anyone can recruit a bunch of affiliate marketers, slap up a good offer following the basics that i listed above and you’ll make a bunch of sales, but will they make your business explode overnight? Probably not. It’s where you take it from here that will depend on how much success your affiliate program will be. After you (or your affiliate manager) has started generating affiliates, contact them. Send a message to your affiliates and ask them if any of them would want to take advantage of a special offer, and how you’d love to work with them personally. You see many companies will give their affiliates coupon codes for shopping discounts like 5, 10, 15% off, or offer free shipping for people that buy through affiliate links. Now these work pretty decent from time to time, they do help people to buy through affiliates, but there is always a way to take things one step above the competition, and that’s what I’m going to teach you here.

Typical Multi-Product Website Affiliate Offers

You want to work closely with a few select individuals that responded to that email that you sent to them about working with them personally. Depending on your business structure, there are a few directions you can go from here. First I want to talk about your standard multi-product website. Let’s say you sell furniture online and really want to get your business to explode. Instead of just giving coupons to your affiliates you want to try to get your affiliates to promote different categories or even a specific product in ways that aren’t possible through your site.

Let me explain, a typical product website can only do so much. You have a product picture, a description, maybe a bit of ad copy, and a price. The only factors that you can really change to increase sales are Price, Free or Reduced Shipping, tweak the Copy, and Brand Image. This is pretty standard stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there is a whole other level that you can hit with your affiliates, but will not be able to fly on your site. Since we’re talking about furniture, let’s say you have a product that you want to work with an affiliate to sell. The product is called the Super Deluxe Bed. With your chosen affiliate there are a lot more things you can work on to get this product sold. An affiliate (with your supervision) can create copy for the product that will be able to incorporate so many other sales triggers to get it sold.

Example: Your affiliate is promoting the Super Deluxe Bed. For his customers you allow him to have an exclusive offer (or allow him to say it’s exclusive) for this bed, and that the only way they’ll get this exclusive offer is if their customers buy through him. However, that’s just the beginning. Allow your affiliate to inject some scarcity into his customers veins. Make it an “Extremely Limited” offer that’s only available for a limited time, or that you’re only allowing a certain # of these beds to be sold at this price. You can also allow your affiliate to offer a bonus to the customers that buy the Super Deluxe Bed. The bonus can either be a physical product like a “limited edition lamp”, or a Free “How to Get an Amazing Nights Sleep” Special Report. Salesmanship like this will get a ton of more products sold for you.

Exploding Your Business With Affiliate Marketing

These are things that will get your business to literally explode but something you can’t do alone. If you did this on your site for every product or category you would come off as too salesy, or too pushy. I mean think about it, if every product bought got the same special bonus it wouldn’t be special any more, or if everything is listed as “limited quantities available” you’d seem more like a business that can’t manage it’s stock rather than one that’s giving people an “exclusive limited offer”.

Really take a few minutes to picture the 2 different sales processes I just described, and put yourself in the customers shoes to feel the experience they would have in each situation. Which do you think would be more likely to make the sale: Your site listing the product with free shipping, or an affiliate site listing the product with an “exclusive limited time free shipping offer”, with a bonus (only for the next 10 orders) Free “How to Get an Amazing Nights Sleep” Special Report (a $37 value), along with some longer more compelling copy?

See you can’t do that with every product on your own site, but with the power of affiliate marketing you can drive highly targeted traffic to amazing offers like this without tarnishing your brand. It’s really just unbelievable with how doing this with multiple affiliates with several different products or categories can blow away the competition and make you and your affiliates a lot of money, and I’m just talking about visitors coming to your site via advertising, don’t even let me get started with what this process can do for you in a product or business launch or relaunch sequence. Ever want to know what it’s like to make a years worth of sales in a few days? You just try this in a launch or relaunch and the results will surely make your eyes plunge out of their sockets.

Information Product Website Affiliate Offers

For an Information / Digital Download type of site, you can use the same techniques as above. Work with your affiliates to allow them to offer something unique specifically for their customers. Either you can create it for them or let them do it with your supervision of course. The point is to make it so that your affiliate is giving them something exclusive for ordering through them. Also, just like with the physical products above, If you do a well coordinated product launch with your affiliates you can expect to make a lot of cash quickly.

Why You Need to Keep Your Affiliates For the Long Term

So why do you want your affiliates to succeed so badly? What do you need them for after the sale is made? I mean you got your money your leads, what else can they possibly be good for? Because your affiliates, if you work with them and help train them with the example techniques I mentioned in this report, they will always continue to bring you high quality leads. You always want to allow them to make available to their customers “highly exclusive” offers on a continuous basis. Don’t forget, affiliates one way or another through using their time or cold hard cash, that they are covering your advertising expenses.

Making a Profit Selling at a Loss

Remember way up at the top of this article when I mentioned sometimes you can have an affiliate program where you can actually take a loss up front on the first sale? Well I want to get into that here a bit like I promised. You see, making that first sale is what is crucial to your affiliate marketers, it’s what gets their motor going. If you can afford to take a loss up front then do it and you’ll see more affiliates then you can handle sign up for your program, but only if you have an awesome backend to sell those customers, and this is something that requires testing. If you’re not making a profit, don’t do it. Your backend, whether digital download or physical product, has to make you a nice profit. I’m not talking nickles and dimes, I mean a hefty profit. I know the bulk of this article talks about being good to your affiliates, but you’re in this to make money and they understand that. They may be taking on the bulk of your advertising expenses, but you’re here to make a profit too. If you’re going to go for a loss on the front end, you don’t give your affiliates backend commissions unless you’re making huge profits yourself, but if you structure it so that you can make some good money on the front end, there’s no problem with thanking your affiliates with a nice commission on that as well.

Building Your Brand With Affiliate Marketing

Throughout this whole affiliate program process remember your targets. You now know how to make a ton of money for yourself and your affiliates, but don’t you dare forget about that brand! You must build your companies brand in with the affiliate marketing process. Even though the link of the product will be redirecting to your site, your sites name needs to be on that page. Those customers need to know that those Super Deluxe Bed “exclusive offers” are going to Squiggly Doo’s Furniture Store before the link sends them there. It really helps the credibility of the switch from one site to the next. Take note however, that you are not endorsing any bonuses (anything separate from your sites offers) that may be offered through your affiliates, you’re just privately approving them. It’s just a matter of protecting your brand, and guarding yourself legally. If you find yourself getting complaints about the bonuses being offered, look into the matter immediately and notify the affiliate to stop offering it because your brand is your #1 long term asset.

Your brand is what will keep those customers coming back to you for repeat business and continually buying your products. Another reason why you want to keep your affiliates for the long term is because if they know the right techniques (which you’ll enlighten them with) they will build deep relationships with the people that just bought through their link. So you want to encourage your affiliates to build a list and stay in close contact with your shared customers so they can continually promote for you, and both make a lot of money. So for your benefit, reach out to your affiliates and make sure they can capture leads effectively. It’s much easier to have individual affiliates build those relationships with you’re customers as opposed to having it all on you. With you and your affiliate marketers working as a team you all will make lots of cash, and build a solid brand.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s about all I have for you now. There’s just a ton of information out there that I could write hundreds and even thousands of pages about it, but for now I’m going to have to stop here. I would like to thank you for allowing me to help you in you new affiliate marketing venture. I hope you found these tips helpful, and I’ll be looking to post some more articles soon.

How To Implement A Winning Marketing Strategy To Your Advantage!

A Marketing strategy is crucial if you want to really succeed in your marketing. Amongst its advantages are:

1. Helping you to focus your marketing attention.

2. Better complete utilization of resources

3. Helps in increasing sales; and

4. A powerful resource of winning over your competitors.

Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market.

When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives.

Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought out strategy in a marketing plan it means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign.

At regular time intervals the firm should analyze the marketing decision. This is done with the help of strategic models. The 3C’s model is usaully considered for this purpose. The 3C’s model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign.

There are three key parties involved in this model. These are:

>>> The corporation

>>> The customer; and

>>> The competitors.

The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C’s or strategic triangle.

The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing.

When making a marketing plan some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used. 4P’s model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not.

The four Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. Products are goods produced by the company on a huge scale for the purpose of selling them and earning profit. Price is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors like competition, market share, customer perception and product identity. Place where the product is sold can be either physical store or store on the Internet. It is also known as distribution channel. To make the customer knowledgeable about a product, the marketer does promotion. It involves advertising, public relation and point of sale.

There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria. Some of the common marketing strategies are:

1. Market dominance strategies – Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Examples of these are Challenger, Leader and Follower.

2. Porter generic strategies – Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Cost leadership, Market segmentation and Product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies.

3. Innovation strategies – Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps you as a business to incorporate latest technologies. Close followers, late follower and Pioneers are types of innovation strategies.

4. Growth strategies – Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Intensification, Diversification, Vertical integration and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies.

5. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies.

A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough market research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have the experience.

Successful Brand Marketing Strategies For Online Marketers

What are brand marketing strategies and how can utilizing brand marketing strategies help an online business? Just like a bricks and mortar business, an online business also needs to suggest a positive image to the customer. In spite of what many people believe, branding is much more than creating a company logo and using a specific color scheme. Brand marketing strategies should also include the purpose, focus and image of the business. Let’s discuss some of the benefits with regards to brand marketing strategies.

Benefits of Branding:

  • Having your own brand helps people to remember your company as opposed to companies using a common name. Brand marketing strategies are about helping the target market to distinguish your company focus and purpose. Consumers are more likely to turn to your business when they are aware of what you do and what you’re all about.
  • Brand marketing strategies also will help you to become well recognized. People who may not yet have done business with you should still be able to recognize who you are and what you do. If they see your advertisements on the internet, receive your newsletter, receive regular mailings from your company by email, etc. then you’ve established a brand identity. When the tine arrives that they require your product or service then your company will be the first that they think of.
  • Using brand marketing strategies will help get and retain customer loyalties. It is a fact that people bond closely with brand identities. The astute consumer wants a quality product or service from a company they know they can trust. In delivering great brand identity people tend to remember you and your company. Quite frequently they’ll refer family, friends and associates to you based on their level of satisfaction.
  • Buyers will pay for image, it’s that simple. Society is very “brand aware.” Commonly people associate certain brand names with superiority and only choose to purchase certain brands for that reason. Brand marketing strategies can reward a business well when done wisely. When a consumer only wants one certain brand of a product or service, they are willing to pay any price to get it. Establishing a great brand using brand marketing strategies will give your company a superior brand image and make the consumer forget about the competition.

Brand Marketing Strategies Initial Steps Of Branding Yourself

It’s worth repeating that branding is much more than a logo and color scheme or a catchy motto. When using brand marketing strategies there are some initial steps that should to be followed to create a successful brand image.

Step 1: Brand Marketing Strategies Focus On the Competition

A key factor in creating a successful brand image for the network marketer is to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s imperitive to find how the consumer sees the competition and to recognize how the competitor sets themselves apart from others. Identifying the competitors weaknesses and strengths is also important. When the competition’s weaknesses are learned it’s much easier to learn from their weaknesses and can be an asset in helping to portray your business in a more positive manner.

Step 2: Brand Marketing Strategies Recognize Your Strengths

Once the competition’s weaknesses are known the focus should move to defining your own company’s strengths. Running a target market analysis can be most advantageous when what is learned from it is used. The usefulness of this tool will be realized by confirming that your company strengths are actually important to your target market. In knowing your company strengths and what strengths are important to your customers, you now have the ability to market these successfully to the public involving them in your branding campaign. Branding marketing strategies have to be implemented properly to work.

Step 3: Brand Marketing Strategies Be familiar with Your Customer

Getting familiar with the consumer is another key branding marketing strategy not to be ignored. Find out about their buying behaviors, how frequently do they buy? Are their purchases a select few or a wider array of services and products. Asking these types of questions can help to better market to the consumer. Also finding out your target customer’s needs, standard of living, attitudes and mindsets. In discovering and working with these personality qualities another key to marketing success has been found.

Step 4: Brand Marketing Strategies Be Your Brand

Be your brand, live your brand by making certain that your company truly expresses the brand identity you’ve established. In other words if you’ve established quick response time to customer inquires as one of your brand marketing strategies, then you must give response time to your customers. Every member of the company should live your brand and be your brand for your brand marketing strategies to be useful.

How to Make Sales With Branding

After the brand marketing strategies are in place then what? When thinking of the McDonald’s brand what comes to mind? Do the golden arches come to mind or Ronald McDonald? Similarly it is important to choose a niche online and brand our business accordingly. Get recognized for doing well in I area before moving on to another. Here’re some of the things needed to sell online with branding after the brand marketing strategies have been implemented.

1) Your own company website. This shows that you’re in fact a serious entrepreneur. Nothing screams amateur more than somebody showing a replicated affiliate web page. Your own domain hosted website is a wise brand marketing strategy.

2) An auto responder service and opt in form are two “must haves” in brand marketing strategies. Very likely your site’s visitors won’t purchase or join on the first visit. So when they leave your site you may lose them for good unless you capture their name in an opt in form. In doing this you are able to follow up with a series of emails messages. The follow up email messages help to reinforce your brand name in your target consumers’ minds. Remembering to keep the follow up at a respectful level of persistence can win sales.

All serious entrepreneurs must have an auto responder service. In adding to this brand marketing strategy you can increase your chances of capturing visitor names by offering a free gift like a report or eBook.

3) A profile picture of yourself and online signature adds not only a personal touch to your brand marketing strategies but lets your readers see that you are a real person.

4) Sound, if your speaking voice is pleasant then put a voice recording together with your profile picture and signature to help humanize your company website and establish a relationship with your audience. This is a great brand marketing strategy that works well for many marketers.

5) Start a business blog. Your blog can be an add on to your primary domain or if you’re working on a tight budget you can use a free blog service at least until you start to realize some profits. Every brand marketing strategy discussed here can be used into a free blog. The blog should be updated often with fresh, unique content that is relevant to your niche. The message of the blog should remain a consistent one, so off topic content should not be added. The goal is to keep the theme and message consistent. Readers of your blog can be kept updated about your blog’s content by using RSS feeds.

6) A final brand marketing strategy that will be very important to the online marketer is a domain name. A domain name can be registered and forwarded to point to your blog if you don’t use an add on to your primary website domain. Showing your audience that you’ve registered your own domain will show them that you are serious about your business.

Brand marketing strategies should be an integral part of all online business as people do want to do business with people that they know, like and trust.