Affiliate Marketing 101 – What You Need to Know

What would you like to promote? Affiliate marketing is no stranger to the Internet, and certainly no stranger to network marketers and article marketing is still a successful way to promote your online business or blog. Affiliate marketing offers a phenomenal opportunity for people who do not have a lot of start-up capital or a lot of time to put together a giant campaign. Affiliate marketing has some very good advantages which include no product of your own, no inventory, no shipping or overhead and no real sales force. For the merchant it can also be a cheap and effective marketing strategy.

What are Affiliate Programs?
Generally speaking affiliate programs are marketing programs offered by web advertisers or merchants that recruit website owners and bloggers. The merchants provide banner ads, links and buttons for website owners to place on their website to market the merchant’s products. In turn, the website owner or blogger will receive a referral fee or commission when a customer purchases a product that is delivered via an affiliate link. One of the most common types of affiliate links are pay per click (PPC – Pay Per Click) however, increasingly now have been intertwined with email and content marketing.

The Product:
When you are looking for an affiliate program there are some things you need to consider before choosing which company you are going to take arms with. The product should be one of quality can also be a service. As long as it’s a product viable service and it offers something of value to the customer.

There are several types of compensation plans built into affiliate marketing programs, and one of them can be a residual program. However, not all affiliate marketing programs have residual programs built into them. If you can find one with residual funds, then that would be the way to go. However, there are some that actually offer a significantly high commission rate that may make up for the loss of the residual income. There are also others that offer a multilevel marketing structure of compensation. Now if you’re familiar with multilevel marketing than that may be an avenue that you would choose to examine.

But before jumping into any multilevel marketing program, you should read up on it and do a thorough analysis. The last thing you want to do is jump into an affiliate program that is going to be a serious waste of time.

Choosing an Affiliate Program:
Back in 1994 there weren’t very many affiliate programs to choose from and most of them were revolved around offensive content websites. Today, affiliate programs have a higher standard and it is a new way of doing business. There are many companies that have affiliate marketing programs lime Amazon, web hosting companies, domain name registrars, and electronic websites, Apple iTunes, bit defender, panda security, PC health boost, Commission Junction, eBay Partner Network, Google AdSense, VistaPrint and the list goes on and on.

You can find an affiliate program for almost anything you want to sell. It is a good idea to sell something that is related to your website, providing you have one. Not everybody that signs up for an affiliate program has a website to run it through. There are some that actually write articles and direct the URLs to their affiliate program.

Becoming an Affiliate:
If you want to become an affiliate it’s not that hard. You simply go to the website of choice and look for their affiliate link program. Usually what will happen is you will sign up and get a unique affiliate ID along with some banners and links. You then place these on your website so that your potential audience can click on those links which if they purchase, you will receive a commission. Just because you signed up for an affiliate program doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to drive traffic to your website. You still need to do something about driving traffic to your website or affiliate link like write compelling articles and become an expert in your field. These articles can be placed on article databases and are a sure way of driving traffic to your website or affiliate link.

What You Should Look For:
When you go shopping for an affiliate program, try to look for high affiliate commissions, long cookies and of course you would want to get a great conversion rate. Two-tier programs which have the same structure as a multilevel marketing organization and can be quite lucrative. Such organizations that earn billions in multilevel marketing and direct sales is companies like Amway which has been in business for 53 years, Nu Skin started in 1984 and Nature’s Sunshine started in 1972 so multilevel marketing has been around for some time. Residual affiliate programs is definitely the way to go. You continue to make money on that visitor month after month. The advantage here is that eventually your sales start accumulating where you’re making more and more money as opposed to the individual sale where you have to continuously make money to stay at the same level.

Where You Can Go:
There is services out there that have a database of a lot of companies that are doing affiliate program so you do not have to run around and seek out each individual program themselves. Companies like ClickBank where you sign up and select the affiliate program you wish to support.

Marketing Your Link:
Now let’s talk about that affiliate link for a moment. Most affiliate links are extremely long, hideous and some of them have special characters in them like a “?” or “=” sign. These links will not rank on search engines like Google very well and definitely cannot be added to pay per click like Google AdSense. What I would suggest is getting yourself a domain name and rerouting it to your affiliate offer. Let’s take for an example if I wanted to become an affiliate of a cell phone electronics company and I had a website I can actually write a review on a particular cell phone that I’m trying to market. If it’s more than one, then I could just pick a product or two to write my articles on. Anyway, I would try to register a domain name that may have something in it like cheap cell phones or something along those lines to help the search engines determine what your product might be.

Increase Your Sales:
What if you don’t have a website and you wish to increase your sales with affiliate marketing; what would you do? One way to market an affiliate program I briefly touched on is to write quality articles about the product that is being marketed. I truly suggest this strategy to increase traffic and sales. There are several article directories that you can post your articles to, but do not post the same article to multiple sites other than the article directory and your own site if you have one. Article directories can be a very good source of traffic because of their reputation and the amount of visitors they have each month reading your article. Of course, some of those readers will click on your affiliate link driving traffic to your affiliate program. I like Ezine Articles as an article directory, but there are others like; Goarticles, ehow, Examiner, Technorati, Thefreelibrary and much more, but that’s a good start. Don’t just read one article when doing your research and regurgitate the content from that one article. Try to do some in-depth study to get a complete understanding of what it is you’re writing about. Once you have that understanding, try to simplify your article by using either bullet points or topic list. To get people to click on your link you need to be compelled to do so, but the only way to do that is to write compelling articles.

Making money on the net with affiliate programs can be a rewarding experience if you know where to go the fine the right affiliate program and how to do the research needed. Just locating an affiliate program is not all you need to do, you need to weigh the gravity of that affiliate program. First determine what it is you would like to sell and do your research. Hopefully, you will look for something that accents your website or if you don’t have a website, something that you know a lot about so that you can write your reviews.

Influencer Marketing Is Now Bigger Than Digital Ads

Everywhere you look people are online looking at their phones and interacting with different social platforms.

If you haven’t noticed we are surrounded by influencer marketing on all four sides.

We inhale and exhale influencer marketing constantly every day and still many of us are not fully aware of what it really is.

While the world is modernizing and the people’s voice growing, we have broken through into a new era of digital marketing, a more natural type of marketing done through influencers.

Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be third parties.

It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

“Marketing with influencers is turning influencers into advocates of the firm.”

Before we go into any details about this type of marketing, one should clearly know what it is.

What is influencer marketing?
This kind of marketing focuses on an individual, rather than large groups of consumers to advertising the brand’s message.

The individual here is referred as the ‘influencer’ who is hired to get out the word for your brand.

In this game of influencer marketing, these influencers may be the potential buyers themselves.

They usually play the roles of content writers, journalists, bloggers, CEO’s, creative people, advertisers or advisers.

They are connected to other people around them and are looked to for advice and opinions and are regarded as influential.

Content marketing and social media marketing are regarded as the two major forms of influencer marketing.

How does influence marketing work?
Nowadays, users give more reaction to ratings on social media or opinions of a person rather than believing in advertisements.

This is made the basis of influencer marketing where an influencer will write about the products in their personal and social channels.

People tend to believe what the influencers have to say about something, over the media.

Many marketing companies don’t even have influence marketing on their radar as it such a unique method of the product. In many cases, it’s out of their control as more of an individual voice takes hold rather than the standard static corporate ad.

Digital ads are not given the same interactive and emotional response by the consumer.

The feedback and ratings on social media about a particular brand or product also adds greatly to the product or brand being showcased and is the new product placement platform.

Why is influencer marketing now bigger than digital advertising? & How did that happen?

Trust and honesty is a very important factor in marketing.

We all know which media we trust and distrust and in most cases just simply by the subject header.

Traditional media is scrambled with misinformation and the general consumer would rather interact with their products or services of interest on a social level.

Consumers do not buy goods or services unless they are completely assured that the product or service is perfect for their needs in every way.

It is believed that if you influence the mind, you have the world in your hands and that’s what influencers are doing.

Influencers have built up relations in order to gain trust to become, influencers. Much commitment and nurturing have gone into building those connections.

When it comes to building up relations and creating a positive message around a specific brand that is where influencer marketing has a higher standard compared to digital advertisements.

Let’s throw light upon, Influencer marketing as ‘THE NEXT BIG THING.’

  • As seen on: “Social Media”.

As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look upon at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions.

Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms.

The rise of the social media influencer has created a world of possibilities;

It has opened up a flood of new waterworks for brands to connect with consumers directly and on a larger scale through more organic natural marketing method of influence like a new age word of mouth.

  • Provides a better description with an Interactive messaging platform. With each social media interaction or reaction, it promotes the possibility for hundreds of more people to view your message through the social connections in their network.

While digital ads are solely comprised of precise information about the goods, an influencer approach to the market has its own ways of attracting people with all the accurate description and information about the products and services in a more interactive, consumer arena, that has an organic life to the message.

Influencers are trusted to provide the updated details of the products or services they are dealing with and the message can also be slowly released over many days weeks or months.

It is considered the job of an influencer to gather up all the points about the marketing campaign and forward that message to the consumers.

To ensure this, the influencers are often paid for their job. If not paid, then they are provided with incentives by the company they are working for or in some cases sharing content with their readership for no other motive than to educate and to encourage interaction among the network.

Unlike digital ads most of the time influencers are “not selling anything” and are simply sharing information to create a more positive network of influence or to encourage participation and interaction on topics that can truly help. They might choose to follow up through other methods of communication like an email newsletter to promote products or services an advertising services.

When comparing social marketing to digital ads, I sort of side by side comparison, a static digital ad does not provide depth as they comprise of banners and poster type ads and do not have any opinion oriented objective.

The old and outdated information may soon turn away consumers.

  • People are more likely to trust other people than advertisements

Influencer marketing has the concept of ‘word of mouth.’ This pretty much sums up how people get to trust the influencers. Where advertisements could be nothing more than made up stories or exaggerations in the sight of many consumers, people are likely to trust their fellow friends and society when they tell them about a certain product.

That’s when influencers form relations in order to promote the market;

The influencer campaigns help a lot in the process The earned trust helps the market to flourish, after all, marketing is based on gaining consumers trust so let’s have the consumers interact with the message.

  • Much simpler

Influencer marketing is a much easier and simpler way of marketing than the digital ad marketing.

Not only is the way of attracting people simpler but the way of actually putting it up does not require many efforts other than the creative element.

In this era where everything is made simpler by the internet, successful marketing has been made an achievable task by the social platforms and online facilities.

You write about it and post about it online and within minutes thousands of viewers are peeking into your blogs and journals.

The online facility helps to connect people worldwide.

  • Market grows faster

Apart from being a simpler way of marketing, influencer marketing helps to boost up markets at a great rate.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

– Albert Einstein

The influencer way of marketing has an advantage of doing wonders online which helps to connect influencers with people from all over the world.

  • Any queries about a product are immediately facilitated and generally much more appreciated than an email, support ticket response or any other type Q&A delivery.

May it be social media or content driven market, people get the answers to many of their questions about a product immediately in influencer marketing and much more view the comment responses making the viewership quite extraordinary.

In the case of social media marketing where the advertisement is placed on all the frequently used social sites, people get to know about other opinions about products, which greatly helps them sum up any purchasing decisions.

Apart from this, they are also connected to other people on the social media (which in this case acts like influencers) who tells them about many goods and hence solves many queries.

In the case of the content driven market, influencers are already there to respond to any queries of the consumers. This way any doubts about a product are removed.

  • It’s powerful. Yet simple.

Influencer markets are powerful in their own manner. The content shared by influencers is powerful and authentic. They have the ability to gain people’s trust and reliance, all that is needed.

Thoughts and opinions are shared through influencer markets and better relations are created even with consumers that live miles away.

“The marketing roots with any social platform are quite strong and are not easy to cut down.”

  • The writings can do wonders

All those bloggers, journalists, content writers, CEO’s out there portrays the market accurately through their writings which depend upon proofs, opinions, and ideas of many consumers.

These pieces of writings are much more convincing than the digital ads that consist of a couple of pictures and slogans. The writings talk about the feedbacks and opinions of other people and influencers which is a quality that digital ads market surely lags. We just might have seen the peak of the market for digital advertising and ads.

  • The advantage of videos

Digital ads that usually consists of banners and posters have become very less influencing when the social media is filled with videos about the products.

Living objects are automatically more attractive than still lives. Influencers have started making use of videos in their contents to influence the people which is turning out to be another plus point of the influencer marketing.

  • Celebrities as Influencers

Consumers are influenced greatly when their favorite celebrities post about a certain product.

This has become a growing area of influencer marketing that celebrities are used as influencers to attract people towards a specific product. Like television commercials, where celebrities are used as influencers, they are made influencers on social media nowadays where they post about how they have become the customers to a certain product.

This practice does not even require any convincing as many people will blindly believe in the quality of the thing when their favorite celebrity buys it.

No wonder, influencer marketing is taking over.

  • Online feedback

When influencer market is on social media the feedbacks of the consumers becomes very important for marketing purposes. The market grows with positive feedbacks, and similarly, it shrinks when the feedbacks are not in the favor of the goods and services.

People today believe greatly in the ratings and online opinions of the consumers.

Influencer marketing is largely driven by this concept of online ratings and participation and thus is rapidly growing.

  • Honest opinions

Consumers value opinions and ideas more than advertisements.

In the world of influencer marketing, the opinions of people act as influencers on the social sites and are just as important.

If not all then most of the feedbacks and opinions of people about a particular service or product are honest.

Finding honest opinions about a thing, a person, or a company is able to purchase the product.

In the case of digital ads marketing, there are hardly any opinions shared as the ad platform does not allow for such interaction.

  • Time efficient

Influencer marketing is instant and is purely based on the established relationship between the influencer and their network.

The fact that influencer marketing is taking over digital Ads just might be happening now.

It has been estimated that in another few years influencer marketing will take over all the other marketing strategies and will become the biggest marketing practice by the year 2020

Market Mood Swings And How To Benefit From Them

You must have heard many news like – market dropped due to some political upheaval in the middle east or the market soared due to some referendum in Europe. In the age of globalisation, all the markets and businesses across the world are intertwined, hence any geopolitical event has the potential to move the global markets.

But where does that leave the investors? What should be their ideal approach to counter such uncertain situations? The good news is – whether markets fall or rise, it’s an opportunity for the investors. Here’s how.

Investors In The Market Cycle

The reason we say that whether market falls or rises, it’s always an opportunity for the investor is because if the market falls, all the stocks on your watch-list, most likely, will be in the buying range. And when the market rises, it’s a perfect point for you to sell the stocks which have reached their target price.

The key point is – if you have a long-term perspective in stock investment, it will be your armour against all the uncertainties of the stock market.

Let’s take a look at the market phases which comprises the market cycle.

The Bear Market

The bear market is a market condition where the prices of the securities fall considerably and the market goes through a significant downturn. In such situations there is widespread pessimism about stock prices and a lot of panic selling takes place which further escalates the downturn.

Though it’s a nature of the market to swing up and down, intraday traders and short-term investors, who deal in huge quantities, have no other option but to sell their holdings to minimise their losses.

However, long-term investors have an advantage in this phase, as they can choose to hold their stocks while they also have an alternative to average their existing stocks and buy new stocks. Always remember, the bear market is a perfect opportunity to enter the market and build a robust portfolio.

Market Accumulation Phase (Consolidation)

This phase takes place after the markets have hit the bottom and some value investors think that the market situations is good to buy as the worst is over. Valuations of stocks are very attractive in this phase while the market sentiment is still bearish. Which makes it an ideal time to enter the market. In the accumulation phase, prices are flat, as the disillusioned sellers start selling while the wise investors pick it up at a healthy discount. Owing to such turn of events, market starts to pick up.

To get through such phases, investors should just be patient and hold their stocks. Giving in to your impulse of selling stocks due to continuous consolidation will only bring you losses. It’s just a phase which passes sooner or later.

The Bull Market

The bull market simply means that the market is on its upward drift. The market index goes high and all the major stocks start soaring. This is the phase investors invest for. One thing investors should ensure while going through this phase is that it’s not a buying period, it’s the time to review your portfolio and sell stocks which have reached their target price. In a way, all the investment, and calculated risks you take while the market was down pays off when you reach this phase. If you make the right choices, you will be handsomely rewarded.