The Secrets Behind the Best Affiliate Programs: Doing it the Right Way

Aren’t you curious about what makes some affiliate programs work and what makes other affiliate programs doom to failure? More importantly, don’t you want to know what the people behind the best affiliate programs have in common and how and why they’re enjoying so much success?

Critical Success Factors of the People behind the Best Affiliate Programs

EXCELLENT PRODUCT OR SERVICE – The success behind the best affiliate programs is not primarily due to marketing expertise alone. Beyond that, the success that these programs achieved was mainly due to the type of product or service being endorsed by its affiliates. If you don’t have an excellent product or service to begin with, you can only achieve marginal and short term success from your affiliate program.

It’s important that you concentrate first on finding the right product or service to sell before worrying about affiliate programs.

FORTITUDE – If you want the street slang counterpart for it, fortitude is also known as “staying power”. The people behind the best affiliate programs, believe it or not, went through the same things that you’re experiencing right now, obviously not to the same degree but your experiences are fundamentally the same.

What separates these people from others is their fortitude. They understood that it takes a considerable amount of time for any affiliate program to achieve success. As long as they were reasonably certain about the soundness and effectiveness of their plans and strategies, these people were willing to wait and bide their time, even if it seemed that there was no tomorrow and absolutely nothing was happening to their affiliate programs.

But something did happen, and all their waiting paid off. It can happen to you too, if you’re waiting with the right affiliate marketing strategy.

THE POWER OF ADWORD OR ADSENSE – Pay per click ads or any of its improved versions is the best way to advertise about your products and services. It is also integral to the success of your affiliate program. Indeed, if you make a study of the best affiliate programs presently in the Internet, you’ll see how most – if not – all of them have made use of this type of advertising.

Of course, making use of AdWords or Ad Sense is not enough to guarantee total success for your affiliate program. You also need to understand the types of powers it does have and to what extent it can be used before you can effectively incorporate it to your affiliate program.

IT’S ALL ABOUT SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION – The people behind the best affiliate programs in the Internet don’t allow themselves to depend completely on other people when it comes to the SEO aspect of their programs. If you want to experience success, you need to understand exactly what’s required from you and what you can do about it.

Choosing to delegate the unpleasant and troublesome aspects of the job is not the way to go about it. If you don’t take time to understand the principles behind SEO and its various techniques and choose to let someone take care of it, how will you know if what’s being done for your affiliate program is right?

SEO is what drives traffic to your website, so isn’t that enough reason and motivation for you to sit down and finally tackle the concept of search engine optimization?

ALWAYS GET SECOND PEOPLE OPINION – Although the people behind the best affiliate programs are in some way or another confident about their decisions and choices, this doesn’t mean that they are convinced they know all there is to know about the Internet and about the products or services being advertised.

Adopting such an attitude is in fact career suicide. If you wish for your affiliate program to work, you need to acquire a second or even a third opinion about what you’re doing. Naturally choose someone you trust, capable of dishing out the truth no matter how unpleasant and whose expertise is a given. Don’t feel bad if you hear something critical, because you need to learn about these deficiencies in order for your affiliate program to approve.

WHERE TO FIND CUSTOMER LOYALTY – Old clients are easier and harder to please than new ones depending on the situation. Gather the contact details of die-hard customers by building an email opt in list. With such a list, you’re guaranteed an ear that’s ready and willing to listen to what you have to offer!

Incorpate all the factors discussed in your strategy and you’re sure to end up with a winning affiliate program as well!

7 Costly Small Business Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Everybody makes mistakes and entrepreneurs are no exception. But for an entrepreneur with a limited budget, committing mistakes too often can be very costly. It is an open secret in the business world that most of the mistakes that can be committed in business have been committed; so why not just learn from them, saving you the agony of committing them yourself.

With that said, here are 7 costly small business marketing mistakes every entrepreneur must avoid:

1. An Incongruent Marketing Message

To effectively sell your product or service, your customer has to “get” the marketing message. A customer-centric marketing message educates your prospects and persuades them to become customers. Too many small businesses make the mistake of focusing their message on the product or company, instead of how the prospect would benefit by purchasing their product. Prepare the right marketing message with some of these in mind:

o Identify the prospect’s problem.

o Explain to the prospect why the problem should be solved immediately and explain why your product or service is the right solution to their problems.

o List the benefits your prospects would enjoy upon purchasing your product and provide an unconditional guarantee to allay any fears they may have.

2. “Spray-and-Pray” Marketing Instead Of Precision Marketing

The days of marketing as a zero-sum game are over. You must demand accountability from your marketing efforts, expecting tangible results in the form of a healthy ROI (return on investment). Differentiate your marketing messages and target them to meet the specific needs and wants of your prospects and customers.

Many small businesses are guilty of the dreaded “spray-and-pray” marketing ideology, which inevitably drains their resources to the point where it very often leads to their demise.

Do not commit this same mistake, but instead practice precision marketing, where every aspect of your marketing and advertising efforts are measured and tracked for maximum returns.

3. Failing To Realize Marketing Is About Value Creation

To create a sustainable small business, you have to market something of value to the prospect and customer. Marketing is your business and creating value for your customers should permeate through all your marketing efforts. Strive to always over-deliver because customers love to receive more than they expect and the easiest way to do so is to develop a thorough understanding of their wants and desires.

4. Selling Instead Of Educating

You must have heard about the age-old principle that “people love to buy but hate being sold to.” It is a principle that will continue to hold true for ages to come, but unfortunately, many small businesses still fail to adhere to it. The fastest way to get rid of a prospect is to try forcing a sale out of him or her.

Education-based marketing, however, is a powerful marketing strategy to overcome this problem of being sold to. This strategy makes use of giving away valuable information, educating your prospect about the benefits of owning your product or using your service, offered to them as free reports, video cassettes, CDs, or DVDs in exchange for their contact information.

It is a strategy that builds trust with the prospects resulting in a much higher closing ratio. So, forget about throwing a sales pitch and try educating your prospects instead for a higher conversion rate.

5. Failing To Test

The biggest mistake any entrepreneur can make with their business is the failure to test every possible variable most important to their customers. This applies to both online and offline marketing efforts.

I can understand if small businesses faced more difficulty with market testing because of limited budgets years ago, but the Internet has done away with this excuse. It has become so cheap to conduct price tests and sales copy tests and identify what campaigns, keywords, and metrics give you the best ROI online that not testing any of these has become a cardinal sin.

6. Not Following Up With Prospects Or Customers

Small businesses spend a great sum of money acquiring customers, which makes it all the more difficult to understand why many of them don’t follow up with their customers, or even their prospects after the “front end” sale.

It has been well documented that true riches are to be found in the backend sales and the reason for this is simple. If a customer or prospect raises his or her hand to do business with you, it means an element of trust has been established and a business relationship is ready to be formed. They are more then likely to buy from you repeatedly if you make it a point to capture their contact information and develop a follow-up system for communicating with them frequently.

7. Selling To The Wrong Target Market

Never assume that your product or service will appeal to a general audience because this assumption has profoundly resulted in many small businesses shutting up shop. Large businesses are guilty of this too, but you can save yourself from committing such a rash mistake by asking yourself these two questions:

o Who are your customers, or who is your target market?

o Who will use your service, or who will buy your product?

Answer these questions with absolutely clarity and segment these markets by demographics and psychographics to zero in on your ideal customer. The time spent doing this correctly will add nicely to your bottom line.

Just remember that to succeed, you must be prepared to fail, so don’t fear the eventual mistake but learn from it.

Effective Small Business Marketing For Beginners

Effective small business marketing is the lifeblood of any small business. An unsettling high percentage of small businesses fold within the first year of operation with most of the first year survivors closing shop by the end of the third year.

One of the major reasons that small businesses fail is a cash flow crisis. Effective small business marketing is one of the few business tools available to a small business owner that GENERATES cash.

Effective small business marketing starts with being able to write a simple and practical marketing plan, specifically for your business. This marketing plan then forms the basis of all your marketing efforts and acts as a reference point when you have to decide between two or more courses of action.

The result of following a well constructed marketing plan is that all your different marketing efforts form part of a co-ordinated strategy aimed at attaining your predetermined goal. That is in stark contrast to the marketing efforts of most small businesses and immediately puts you ahead of the pack.

Effective small business marketing naturally comes with some challenges – and advantages. Challenges might include a lack of marketing savvy, a limited marketing budget, time constraints especially if you are a one person business and so on. Anyone who has run a small business should recognise the danger of spending too much time working in the business rather than on the business.

There are many advantages however in marketing a small business as opposed to a corporate giant. These include a lack of a hierarchy of decision makers, no red tape to fight through to get anything done, direct contact with your target market and many more.

Effective small business marketing should and can be the cornerstone of every small business. Your simple yet effective marketing plan is the map that will guide you out of the woods towards a profitable business, irrespective of the market segment you operate in.