Affiliate Marketing Network Program – Tips on Getting Accepted to an Affiliate Network

To make the most money, and to provide value to your site visitors, you want to partner with the best affiliate marketing networks. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get accepted into some of them. Here are three tips on getting accepted to an affiliate marketing network.

Start by having a professional looking website. Have at least ten pages of content along with an about page and a privacy policy. To increase your chances, you might want to keep it free of all advertisements while you apply to affiliate marketing networks. At the very least, make sure there are no popups or flashing banner ads.

Use an email from your domain. Instead of using Gmail or another free email provider, take the time to make and use an email from the domain you are applying from. This shows that you are a serious marketer and proves that you own the domain that you put on the application.

Finally, consider picking up the phone and calling the affiliate marketing network. You can do this after you apply, or just use it in case of rejections. By calling, they know that you are an active marketer who is planning on taking the time to sell their products. Be professional while on the phone and don’t be pushy. Give details about how you are going to promote them and ask for tips on getting accepted into their network. While this phone call isn’t guaranteed to change their mind, it does make you stand out above all the other applications.

Doing these three things, along with fully answering the application, will ensure that you are accepted to some of the best affiliate marketing networks.

How To Make Your Marketing Strategy Work

1). Make the purpose clear
37Signals has made the art of simple in software, simple in pricing, simple in use, simple in hiring and the clear purpose the business exists. Take this extract from their stated values “Useful is forever – Bells and whistles wear off, but usefulness never does. We build useful software that does just what you need and nothing you don’t.”

2). Define the Marketing strategy, Work with it and don’t just state it
The first step in bringing your strategy to work is to figure out what it really means to you. Many people would look at 37Signals software maker and discover that their marketing strategy is to develop functional software with low cost and deliver in several versions with a 30-day free trial. A quicker check would show their actual marketing strategy is simplicity in everything.

3). Turn it into a mantra question
So, if you’ve developed a marketing strategy and now realize you can bring it to life by way of a defining characteristic, you might be wondering how to drive it deeper into the organization.

The only way for your real business strategy to flourish is to make it an integral aspect of everything you do. The simplest way to do this is to use it as the leading question for every service, product, staff, customer, marketing decision and process. The questions you must ask are: Does this product inspire? Does this decision keep fun alive? Is this process simple? Does this new hire value community? Is this pricing convenient?

4). Produce strategy scorecards
In addition to creating the key word question, teaching how to think with strategy and using strategy filters for decision making, you have to find ways to keep real strategy working in day to day activities of your business.

One of the best ways to do this is to turn strategy thinking into a game. Create scorecards that reward people for thinking, employing and acting with marketing strategy. If, in the case of a company where entertainment and surprise are the major characteristics of market strategy, bonus points could be awarded for taking action that exceeded a customer’s expectations, or for chairing a meeting that was both fun and productive.

5). Build strategy filters
In order for your marketing strategy to reach full potential, it must be the filter your entire staff uses for their work with each other, advisers, suppliers and clients. It is good to build a process that staff members can use when planning a project or even action step. This simple process lets them to view anything they choose in the light of strategy impact and either change course or know for certain that they are taking real strategy action.

Lots of start-up tries to decide the perfect business strategy to use to market only to discover that the market does not require the model they are about to use. Any business plan for that matter, is little more than a guess and I believe that your best chance for getting that guess right is to build your business model.

This assumes the role a fully developed market actually should play in determining the direction of an organization. The fact is, most people, if they consider marketing strategy at all, stop at a core message, identity elements and perhaps a sales proposition and call it a strategy.

A marketing strategy is how you plan to use the resources available to you to build an ongoing case that your business, products and services are the obvious choice for a narrowly defined ideal customer. If you accept this expanded view of marketing strategy, then I would suggest you answer the following questions in an attempt to measure where your strategy stands today, and where it could go if you understood and integrated it fully as your business model.

The 6 Critical Keys to Increasing Profits and Driving More Sales With Social Media and Technology!

I received a call from a potential client recently. This call was different than most I receive. You see, this business owner was angry! I mean outright ticked off!

He wasn’t angry with me. No. Not angry with his industry. He was very angry with new technology and marketing, and the people trying to constantly promise him the moon if they signed up for their service.

The call went something like this…

“Is this Bill?”

“Yes sir,” I said. “How can I help you?”

“My name is Bob. I am the president of XYZ Company (the names have changed to protect the frustrated.) I am so sick and tired of all the calls, emails, and letters I am receiving from people who say they can get me to the top of Google, start a Facebook page, show me how to Twitter, and promise me a ton of sales with this new marketing stuff. I have tried their pay-per-click programs and wasted a ton of money. They promised they could get me to the top of Google, and 1 year later, I am no where near the top. I am fed up wasting time and money!”

“I understand Bob. What made you call me specifically?”

“My friend is a client of yours. She told you can sort this out for me.”

“Thank you for calling Bob. Yes I can help you. Let’s talk about your frustrations and how we can turn lemon into lemonade…”

I can’t tell you how many times I hear those same frustrations from clients and customers. They weren’t as passionate as Bob, but you can hear the fear and desperation in their voices too.

The new internet media can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you approach it, your mood to embrace it or not, and your passion to execute a very good plan.

Part of my weekly ritual is to spend time studying trends in consumer behavior, electronic trends, ecommerce advances, and better understanding the lifecycle of the purchasing process.

Not only do I read research articles, I pay attention to my own buying habits and those around me. And have those habits ever changed in the last few years.

With the incredible growth of Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other mobile devices, consumer buying habits are changing literally right before our eyes.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are captivating consumers in every walk of life and creating opportunities to communicate with them like never before. We now have a tremendous opportunity to tell our story and capture that lucrative group of buyers who can be very loyal to your business.

Before I get into strategies and techniques on how to improve your sales and profits through better customer engagement, let’s look at some trends. Forrester Research, Inc, Pew Research, and the Nielsen Company have all recently completed studies. Here are some interesting statistics they discovered:

  • 43% of all U.S. retail sales are influenced by the web (Forrester 2010)
  • Preference by U.S. online adults to receive customer support via the phone has fallen from 32% in 2007 to 29% in 2010. (Forrester 2010)
  • U.S. online adults report they spend equal amounts of time – 13 hours a week – watching TV and being online. TV viewership has increased only 5% from 2005 to 2010. (Forrester 2010)
  • 79% of U.S. online adults read print magazines, down from 84% in 2007. (Forrester 2010)
  • 58% of U.S. online adults prefer to research a product online, up from 43% in 2007. (Forrester 2010)
  • As of February 2012, Pew Research states that 88% of all adults use cell phones. About 50% of those are Smartphones (Up from 17% in 2010.) Over 80% of Smartphone owners use the internet with the phones at least once a month.
  • Nielsen says that adults have increased access to social sites via their phones from 11.1% in March 2010, to about 40% in September 2011.
  • In 2010 Forrester Research stated that 10.3 million U.S. adults owned tablets, and will be about 82 million by 2015. CNET states that the ownership of tablets increased from 10% in mid December 2011, to 19% in mid January 2012.

I believe this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of accessing the internet, shopping, and buying. You will see these numbers climb dramatically.

What Does All This Information Mean?

These statistics mean a few things to your business. One, there is more and more opportunity to connect with consumers in a positive way. This new reality also creates more work, the need to have a deeper and comprehensive strategy, and you will need a dramatic shift in thinking if you are not already on board with the consumer’s changes.

With the world literally at the consumer’s fingertips (anywhere), his or her tendency is to bounce around on the internet very fast and can lose interest in your company, product, or service. You must use a number of different strategies and tactics to create a conversation with these consumers, methodically move them towards purchasing from you, and not lose them to someone else that has grabbed their attention.

Consumers can now enter the buying game from so many directions. They have more options, thus more directions than ever before. They can find you with a simple Google search for your company or product. They can see your pay-per-click ad. Or a large banner ad that follows them on the internet. They can find you on a Facebook ad, or if one of their friends likes your page, you show up on their friends Facebook wall. Or what about a prospect sharing your Tweet about a particular promotion to their Twitter followers?

And there are emails, direct mail programs, print ads, radio, TV… the list goes on and on. It is more important than ever to know your prospects/customer, your target market and find out where they spend their time. Then target your campaigns appropriately to your prospects.

Once the consumer enters your marketing lifecycle, the message you send is critical to better conversions and also repeat business. You need to think of your marketing lifecycle more circular now, rather than linear. The circle is the top of a funnel. The circle includes all the different media types. You still need to move them along through the qualification funnel, but now the size of the top of the funnel has gotten much larger, and is getting bigger every day. If you continue to exclude some opportunities, your funnel top becomes much smaller than your competitors. More leads into the funnel, the more sales and profits come out the bottom of the funnel.

6 Critical Keys

Critical Key 1:

One critical key to improving your sales conversions and revenue is to reduce the friction to your sales closing (conversion) by engaging the consumer in the channels they are engaged. Embrace where they go and spend time developing strategies that will convert them right there. Not distracting them to other channels.

If you have a lead on Amazon, get them checked out then and there. Don’t count on moving them to another site where they have to think about it again.

Critical Key 2:

Make sure you know your target market very well. Where do they spend their time? Do they use Smartphones? Do they carry their tablet into your retail store? Check your Google Analytics to see how they are reaching your site and to what pages. What is their income range? The list goes on and on.

Critical Key 3:

It’s really the old K.I.S.S. principle. Keep the conversion and closing very simple and easy for the customer to understand.

From and ecommerce point of view, the checkout needs to be very simple and streamlined. The customer needs to feel comfortable and understand everything about the sale. How much is shipping going to cost me? How long will it take? What is your return policy?

Critical Key 4:

If you are promoting a product in an email campaign or any campaign for that matter, the link from the media to the product needs to be directed to a landing page with a specific call to action, or directly to the product page. Don’t make the customer search for the item on your site, or other sales page. All too often I see clients directing their campaigns to the main page of the site instead of a dedicated page. A huge mistake.

Critical Key 5: Cross Channel Marketing.

Consumers use many different ways to communicate with their friends, family, and you, their retailer, e-tailer, or service provider.

Expanding your marketing message beyond just email, or direct mail is critical to your success. Those businesses who don’t engage with their prospects and customers through multiple channels and cross over between these channels will not be maximizing their opportunity to sell, and will not see their business grow.

Traditional marketing has always been explained as a three-prong approach. You need to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. We now need to look at a fourth prong, delivering all these through the right media.

Critical Key 6:

Embrace the opportunities. Check your mood about the new marketing opportunities. Be careful selecting multiple companies that will tell you they can promise to get you to the top of Google, or fix your reputation online, or will put together a pay-per-click campaign that will change your world.

Bob was a tough one to win over. Once I was able to help him understand the big picture, we were able to lay out a great plan and then execute making small adjustments along the way. I have to say, Bob is much happier today. And his qualified leads more than doubled once we were able to define his target market and refine his unique selling proposition.

All of these things can happen, but with a strategic plan, and a compelling message. Now, commit to yourself that you will first formulate a comprehensive internet marketing plan, and then execute the plan to bigger sales and bigger profits.

Good luck and great marketing!

Bill Mooney

Best Affiliate Marketing Network

Finding the best affiliate marketing network is just a matter of what best suits your business. For example you may want to get paid by wire transfer and some networks do offer this option while others don’t.

So what do you look for in an affiliate marketing network?

The basic things you should look for are:

  • How do they pay.
  • How often do they pay.
  • Quality of merchants & products.
  • Types of products they offer
  • Ease of use (user friendliness)
  • Ability to easily check reports and stats and track your links
  • Policies & terms of usage.
  • Good customer service/affiliate management

The best affiliate marketing networks will usually satisfy you in all these areas. Some of the best affiliate marketing networks in my opinion are:

Clickbank – If you’re completely or fairly new to affiliate marketing then this is probably the best affiliate marketing network to start with simply because:

– no waiting to get approved by merchants

– no restrictions on how to promote

– no reviewing your website (you don’t need one)

– consolidated payments every two weeks.

– marketplace thats easily searchable.

– real time stats and reports

– over 20,000 digital products for affiliates to promote.

Clickbank only has digital products and services.

Commission Junction is also a very good affiliate marketing network – in fact its the largest in North America. The site deals with a lot of big brand name merchants so the products are already known to consumers.

However for new affiliates this may not be the best affiliate marketing network to start with because some persons have said that its difficult to sign up, merchants decline their applications and you need a fully functional website.

If you’re already doing well though Commission Junction is an affiliate marketers dream network. There’s lots of digital and physical products and lead offers in their huge marketplace and payments are consolidated as well.

There’s also good tracking and reports and the ability to get different links, banners and creatives for you website.

These are just two of the best affiliate marketing networks generally. Of course there’s hundreds more for you to choose from and in the end it all comes down to where you are going to find the best products to match your customers with.

Naked Web Marketing – Part 1

Less means more

It’s possible to do too much and it happens with SEO where sites get penalized by search engines for stuffing keywords. It happens with web design where the graphics compete too much by complicating the navigation and minimizing the marketing content. It happens in web marketing when the sales hype or the boastful language gets too repetitive and turns customers away.

The thing to remember about bragging is that when you really are that good other people do the bragging for you.

Is naked web marketing a frightening thought?

Marketing without pretense should be a welcome idea. You cannot get close to your market when you are not yourself. When you look and sound like something you are not how can your web market relate? And why is it so important to relate to your web market?

If you can’t relate to the person you are talking to then how can you create a customer relationship? But even before we build relationships we have to understand how different the web is from all other marketing mediums.

The web is not like anything we have known before, so we can toss out the idea that we can market like newspapers. We can toss out the idea that our web site can market like television with a bit of video. Nor is our web confined to marketing like print advertising. All of the above are too limiting.

There is no time or space on the web

The reality is that the web swallowed all those marketing mediums and then altered how they would be used on the web. It was not the web that adapted to earlier media, but rather the other way around.

In a medium that has eliminated time and distance the rules for marketing are going to change. The only limitations about time or distance for the web is that of hardware issues and the speed of light. For all intent when a web site gets published it is available to all people everywhere in the world – at once.

And then consider the volume of space that any web site can make use of. For small business web sites we can say the space is limitless because the hosted space is megabytes more than we need.

Our small business web site can pack enormous amounts of info and be accessible everywhere at once. We can work toward turning the accessibility into more visibility as we shuck off those pretentious robes and get real.

We can’t run out of time

Suppose your web site just went live today. In a year it will still be there. In 4 years it will still be there. Just keep paying your hosting fee and the site will always be there.

Newspapers come and go, TV channels come and go, Best sellers come and go, but your web is isn’t going anywhere. This is important to know.

Your web site is not going anywhere because it is actually a destination – not a vehicle. We are conditioned to think that our business web site is going somewhere, like up the ranks with search engines or maybe Oprah will feature our site and it will really get going.

The truth is that our web site is stationary and the only thing that moves is our market if, and when, we attract them.

The web has a huge marketing potential

So why is our business web site not reaching anywhere near its potential? The main reason, in my mind, is because we are not letting our web sites live up to the web’s potential. Our marketing is too limiting as it is based on old offline marketing concepts. The world has changed and we are still using 20th century marketing concepts.

The 20th century marketing methods were always based on our business, our products, our location and our services. This focus is no longer appropriate for web marketing.

Small business web sites will need to look away from their own self interests and use their web site to cater to the needs of their market. No business web sites are doing this, other than just paying lip service. Do you see your market as the boss and do you take the time to know them and to give them what they want?

Imagine your market as millions of tiny kings and queens which require your attention, and your web site as the servant giving them that attention. How would you like to serve a million kings and queens and take their gold?

What does the web do better than any other marketing medium?

I keep asking this question because the answer is going to put wind beneath your wings. The answer is simple and in hindsight it stands out as a no-brainer, and yet it seemed like a revelation at the time.

Do you want to try and answer that question on your own?

Naked web marketing (part 2) will start off answering this question and tie it into other naked marketing methods. The goal is to see how a shift in awareness can be an experience where you have both a change of mind – and a change of heart.

Network Marketing Products, Will They Make Or Break Your Business?

Network marketing products have been known to be some of the best products on the market. The network marketing business model allows for the company to cut out several levels from production of the products to the end consumers. With this strategy, comes the ability of the company to focus more intent on the quality of the network marketing products.

So there is no question why network marketing products are popular. However there is a big question from a business perspective. Does a product add to the ability for a person to attain more success in the mlm / network marketing / direct sales industry?

Now this is a somewhat controversial subject and you will get many different opinions about it. Some will say that the product a company has makes the difference between success and failure of all the distributors. From others you will hear that it doesn’t really make that much difference.

So who is right? Well, coming from more than 10 years of experience in the industry, most of the people saying that their products made a huge impact on their success, are usually some of the top income earners in their company. Many times they are saying this so that people in their organization continue to be on their autoship. There are some people who the products truly did change their life completely and in most cases these people typically stay consumers for life but never really build a business. Now of course there are exceptions to this, but in the grand scale of the industry this is pretty much the reality.

There are also a lot of people who even suggest how much success a person can have in business because of their network marketing products. You have probably heard someone say, “This product is so great, it basically sells itself.”

Well if that is really true, then I challenge the person who says this to take their product out of the box it came in, walk outside and put it down in the middle of your front yard. Now go back inside and check your company back office and see if you made any commissions. In fact leave it out there for a few days and then check your back office again. You will see that you did not make any money because the product did not sell itself.

In my opinion, network marketing products are some of the best products available. They have the ability to completely change an aspect of a person’s life, whether that be physical, mental or both. The more change a person goes through in their life as a result of the product, the more likely they will stay involved at some level with that company.

Now when it comes to building a business however, in my opinion, the product is not nearly as important as the person who is building the business. I say this because people do business with people they know, like and trust. A person will only join or become a customer if these three factors are met.

Think about outside of this industry for one second and look at your past experiences of dealing with different sales reps. There is usually some that you remember as being magnificent in answering all your questions and making sure it’s a great fit for you. There is also those ones that you actually left the store and bought it somewhere else because of the sales rep. The same applies with network marketing products and companies.

When it comes to network marketing products and the success in your business, in my opinion you have to be at least somewhat passionate about what you have to offer. This further enables your ability to attract people.

Now, with that said, since people do business with people they know, like and trust, I highly recommend you learn how to market yourself instead of your company or network marketing products. If you can learn how to brand yourself as a leader in the marketplace, you will attract far more people who want to be in business with you.