Saturday, May 19, 2007

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a method of promoting web businesses (merchants/advertisers) in which an affiliate (publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts.

Affiliate marketing is also the name of the industry where a number of different types of companies and individuals are performing this form of internet marketing, including affiliate networks, affiliate management companies and in-house affiliate managers, specialized 3rd party vendors and various types of affiliates/publishers who utilize a number of different methods to advertise the products and services of their merchant/advertiser partners.

Affiliate marketing overlaps with other internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates are using the same methods as most of the merchants themselves do. Those methods include organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, email marketing and to some degree display advertising.

Affiliate marketing - using one site to drive traffic to another - is the stepchild of online marketing. While search engines, e-mail and RSS capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing, despite lineage that goes back almost to the beginning of online retailing, carries a much lower profile. Yet affiliates continue to play a fundamental role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What Is Affiliate Marketing And Does It Really Work?

Affiliate marketing has always been quite a hot trend when it comes to internet marketing. But does it really work? Can you really earn decent amount of money from affiliate marketing? These are the questions that we are always asking.
Let me start by explaining what affiliate marketing is. When you are doing affiliate marketing, you are promoting and selling other people's product, as opposed to your own product, for a certain amount of commission. Affiliate marketing is a win-win solution for both of the affiliates and the merchants because affiliates can earn money without having to create your own product, and the merchants don't have to spend a fortune for advertising.
Since the Internet became more and more popular, so were the affiliate marketing. As long as you have a computer and internet connection, you can practically start marketing other people's product right now and start earning money! It's just as simple as that. You don't need to have any qualifications and you don't need to have marketing experience. That's the reason why affiliate marketing on the Internet is so popular.
As with any kind of marketing, the basics of affiliate marketing remains the same:
Find the right market
Find the product that would target that market
Advertise your product to your audience
Convert it into sales
When it comes to marketing on the Internet, finding the right market has always been a tricky one. Remember that competition on the Internet is extremely fierce. Generally, when you are a beginner, you would want to find a market that is not already overcrowded with marketers so the competition is less intense.
Once you find your market, finding the product should not be too difficult. Remember that you always aim for products that offer decent commissions. I always recommend people to promote information based products instead of physical products since generally they offer very good commissions. For those of you who do not know what an information product is, it is basically a product that provides information (such as how to start an affiliate marketing, how to create your own website, how to gain muscles).
A good place to start searching for information product is ClickBank ( Start by signing up as an affiliate. The process is very simple and takes less than 3 minutes. After you sign up, go to the area called marketplace (you can find it by clicking the link on the top-right), then browse for the products available in your chosen market.

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Internet Marketing

It seems that everyone wants to be on the Internet. And for good reason. It is safe to say it is the most important new method for conducting business in the last 50 years if not longer. Unfortunately, many marketers jumped in with little knowledge of how to do it right. Internet marketing experts agree that anyone who is interested in doing business on the Internet should take time to learn about what it is they are getting into. Well before you take the leap you may want to take a look here.

Area Coverage:
get up to speed on the internet with information on internet basics, internet history and current internet news
see how search engines are quickly becoming the most powerful information and marketing tool on the internet
learn basics for building a web site and also the techniques for promoting a web site
read about effective marketing strategies for doing business on the internet
locate affiliate programs (a.k.a. associate programs or partnership programs) on the internet and find out how this can be a source of revenue for a web site operator
basics of electronic commerce including explanations of the key terms and technologies
extensive coverage of electronic transactions including internet payment methods such as smart cards
research issues in electronic commerce

Definition of Marketing

f you look around the Internet you will find marketing defined in many different ways. Some definitions focus on marketing as the process involved in satisfying the needs of a particular market, while other definitions lean more toward defining marketing in terms of its most visible functional areas, such as advertising and product development. There probably is no one best way to define marketing, though whatever definition is used should have an orientation that focuses on satisfying customers.
For the purpose of this tutorial we will define marketing as follows:
Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer.
Let's examine this definition in a little more detail by focusing on a few of the key terms.
Strategies and Tactics - Strategies are best explained as the direction the marketing effort will take over some period of time, while tactics are actionable steps or decisions made in order to follow the strategies established. For instance, if a strategy is to enter a new market, the tactics may involve the marketing decisions made to carry this out. Performing strategic and tactical planning activities in advance of taking action is considered critical for long-term marketing success.
Identify - Arguably the most important marketing function involves efforts needed to gain knowledge of customers, competitors, and markets. We will see throughout this tutorial how marketing research is utilized in all decision areas. And since it is so important, Part 2 of this tutorial will examine marketing research in greater detail.
Create - Competition forces marketers to be creative people. When marketers begin new ventures, such as building a new company, it is often based around something that is new (e.g., new product, new way to distribute a product, new advertising approach, etc.). But once the new venture is launched innovation does not end. Competitive pressure is continually felt by the marketer, who must respond by devising new strategies and tactics that help the organization remain successful.
Maintain - Today's marketers work hard to insure their customers return to purchase from them again. Long gone (see History below) are the days when success for a marketer was measured simply in how many sales they made each day. Now, in most marketing situations, marketing success is evaluated not only in terms of sales figures but also by how long a marketer can retain good customers. Consequently, marketers' efforts to attract customers does not end when a customer makes a purchase. It continues in various ways for, hopefully, a long time after the initial purchase.
Satisfying Relationships - A key objective of marketing is to provide products and services that customers really want AND to make customers feel their contact with the marketer is helping to build a good relationship between the two. In this way the customer is made to feel as if she/he is a partner in the transaction not just a source of revenue for the marketer. In recent years this has lead to the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which has emerged as a strategic approach that insures that everyone in an organization, not just the marketer, understands the importance of customers. Maintaining close and consistent relationships with customers through all points of customer contact is crucial but difficult to do well. We'll see in later sections technology plays a key role in carrying out CRM, so that nearly anyone in a organization that comes into contact with a customer (e.g., sales force, service force, customer service representatives, accounts receivable, etc.) has the necessary information and is well prepared to deal with the customer.
Value for Both Customer and Marketer - Value refers to the perception of benefits received for what someone must give up. For customers value is most often measured by how much they feel they are getting for their money, though the value one customer feels she/he obtains may differ from the perception of value from another customer even though they purchase the same product. On the other side of the transaction, the marketer may measure value in terms of how much profit they are making for the marketing efforts and resources expended. For a successful marketing effort to take place both the customer and the marketer must feel they are receiving something worth while in return for the efforts. Without a strong perception of value it is unlikely a strong relationship can be built. Throughout this tutorial we will emphasize value and show ways in which the marketer builds value into the solutions they offer.

a fundamental aspect of modern marketing

First, here's something that is fast becoming the most fundamental aspects of marketing to get right, especially if you want to build a truly sustainable high quality organisation (of any size) in the modern age:
Ensure the ethics and philosophy of your organisation are good and sound. This might seem a bit tangential to marketing and business, and rather difficult to measure, nevertheless...
Price is no longer the king, if it ever was. Value no longer rules, if ever it did. Quality of service and product is not the deciding factor.
Today what truly matters is ethical and philosophical quality - from the bottom to the top - in every respect - across every dimension of the organisation.
Modern consumers, business buyers, staff and suppliers too, are today more interested than ever before in corporate integrity, which is defined by the organisation's ethics and philosophy.
Good sound ethics and philosophy enable and encourage people to make 'right and good' decisions, and to do right and good things. It's about humanity and morality; care and compassion; being good and fair.
Profit is okay, but not greed; reward is fine, but not avarice; trade is obviously essential, but exploitation is not.
People naturally identify and align with these philosophical values. The best staff, suppliers, and customers naturally gravitate towards organisations with strong philosophical qualities.
Putting a good clear ethical philosophy in place, and communicating it wide and far lets people know that your organisation always strives to do the the right thing. It's powerful because it appeals to people's deepest feelings. Corporate integrity, based on right and good ethical philosophy, transcends all else.
And so, strong ethics and good philosophy are the fundamentals on which all good organisations and businesses are now built.
People might not ask or talk about this much: the terminology is after all not fashionable 'marketing-speak', nor does it correlate obviously to financial performance, but be assured; everyone is becoming more aware of the deeper responsibilities of corporations and businesses in relation to humanity, and morality, the natural world, the weak and the poor, and the future of the planet.
Witness the antagonism growing towards certain multi-nationals. People don't rail against successful corporations - they rail against corporations which put profit ahead of people; growth ahead of of society and communities; technology and production ahead of the natural world; market domination ahead of compassion for humankind. None of this is right and good, and these organisations are on borrowed time.
People increasingly prefer to buy from, deal with, and work for, ethical, right-minded organisations. And whether an organisation is ethical and right-minded is becoming increasingly transparent for all to see.
So be one.
Aside from which - when you get your philosophy right, everything else naturally anchors to it. Strategies, processes, attitudes, relationships, trading arrangements, all sorts of difficult decisions - even directors salaries and share options dare we suggest.
And it need not be complicated. The ultimate corporate reference point is: "Is it right and good?... How does this (idea, initiative, decision, etc) stack up against our ethical philosophy?"
Organisations are complex things, and they become more and more complicated every day. A good ethical philosophy provides everyone with a natural, reliable reference point, for the tiniest detail up to the biggest strategic decision.
So as you start to write your marketing plan, be it for a new start-up, a huge corporation, or a little department within one, make sure you put a 'right and good' ethical philosophy in place before you do anything else, and watch everything grow from there.


Sales is the act of meeting buyers and providing them with a service for a negotiated compensation. It forms an integral part of commercial activity. Selling is a practical implementation of marketing it often forms a separate grouping in a corporate structure, employing separate specialist operatives known as salespersons (singular: salesperson. Sales is considered by many to be a sort of persuading "art". Contrary to popular belief, the methodological approach of selling refers to a systematic process of repetitive and measurable milestones, by which a salesperson relates his offering of a product of service in return enabling the buyer to achieve his goal in an economic way.

Creating a sales plan

Creating a sales plan
The questions you should answer in your sales plan are:
What are you going to focus on?
What are you going to change?
In practical terms, what steps are involved?
What territories and targets are you going to give each salesperson or team?
The sales plan will start with some strategic objectives. Here are some examples:
break into the local authority market by adapting your product for this market
open a shop in an area that you believe has the potential for generating lots of sales
boost the average sale per customer
You can then explain the stepping stones that will allow you to achieve these objectives. Use objectives which are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
Using the example of breaking into the local authority market, the stepping stones might be to:
hire a sales person with experience of the local authority market on a salary of £24,000 by the beginning of February
fully train the sales person by mid April
ensure that any changes the product development team has agreed to make are ready to pilot by the beginning of April
As well as planning for new products and new markets, explain how you're going to improve sales and profit margins for your existing products and markets.
It is often helpful to identify how you will remove barriers to sales:
Can you increase the activity levels of the sales team - more telephone calls per day, or more customer visits per week?
Can you increase the conversion rate of calls into sales - through better sales training, better sales support materials or improved sales incentives?