Internet Marketing Explained In 5 Minutes Or Less

Internet marketing is still a complete mystery to a large
majority of Internet users. For many net users, online
marketing is seen as some foreign area of the web, populated
with silly get-rich-quick schemes and unsavory characters
ready to rip off the innocent and uninformed consumer at
the click of a mouse.

In fact, Internet marketing could not be further removed
from this unfaltering picture. In reality, Internet marketing
is populated mainly with hard working professionals promoting
and selling high quality brand products by many of the world’s
Top 500 companies.

Worldwide there are now over a billion Internet users,
representing one large global consumer base or marketplace.
The total amount of goods sold online has been steadily
increasing each year as the Internet gains in both popularity and
familiarity. Studies have shown people shop online because of
lower prices, a wider selection of products, easier comparison
shopping, and many just prefer not having to travel to stores
to make a purchase.

Handling all this online e-commerce is a whole sector of
companies, hosting providers, web designers, advertising
agencies… and so on. All this online commerce has also
given rise to a relatively new creature — the professional
Internet marketer. Someone who makes a lucrative living
helping facilitate, in one form or another, all this online
activity.

Still Internet marketing has gotten a raw deal.

If you mention to any group of professionals that you’re
an Internet Marketer and that you work full time on the Internet;
you will receive some very skeptical looks and more than one
arched eyebrow of disbelief.

Regardless of this lingering skepticism, Internet marketing
has become a viable alternative for many disgruntled professionals
dissatisfied with their working hours or conditions. It has become
a viable alternative for many people from all walks of life, from
the college student to the bored housewife to the retired doctor…
all are enjoying a part time or full time income from the comfort
of their homes.

And since the Internet is now practically available to everyone,
anywhere in the world — Internet marketing is a level playing field.
Anyone can make a full time or part time income from the web if
they truly desire it.

There are many forms of Internet marketing. There are many online
business models you can follow. There are countless ways to earn
a good honest income from the Internet. Which path you take
will be largely determined by your own work habits, your background
and what marketing style you’re most comfortable with.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular forms of Internet
Marketing:

1. The Brick and Mortar Store Online

Most major companies and retail stores have created online
versions of their brick and mortar businesses. Even if
consumers don’t buy online, many use these sites for
gathering product information before buying in the
real world. A factor many savvy businesses are exploiting
in their overall marketing strategies.

2. Online Services

Many service industries have moved online, everything
from travel to banking to dating! Again, the Internet
can be a profitable extension for any service company.

3. Internet Products/Internet Gurus

Internet marketing has a whole history of pioneers who
have forged the methods and techniques of marketing online –
opt-in lists, mini-sites, article marketing, pay-per-click
advertising, joint ventures… a brief history populated with
such names as John Reese, Marlon Sanders, Ralph Wilson,
Yanik Silver, Corey Rudl, Ken Evoy and countless others.

A whole new industry has grown around ‘How-to’ market online,
info products, workshops and web seminars — teaching
people how to market on the Internet. A marketer creating
his own product can prove very productive; as seen
by John Reese’s 2004 launch of Traffic Secrets, which earned
over a million dollars in one day. (Without a penny of paid
advertising!)

4. Online Advertising and Promotion

Pay-Per-Click advertising such as those offered by Google
AdWords and other companies presents another viable marketing
route. Keywords (the exact words typed into a search engine)
fuel a large portion of the web’s activity, keyword marketing
has become a major driving force behind most of the economic
transactions on the web. This is a very lucrative sector for
those Internet marketers who know exactly what they’re doing.

Then there is the whole section of SEO experts and consultants
who command high prices for positioning companies or products
in the top positions on the major search engines. Acquiring
organic Top 10 search results (SERPs) will greatly determine the
profitability of your online product or company.

5. Affiliate Marketing

One of the least understood, yet one of the most profitable
forms of Internet marketing is affiliate marketing. An online
marketer can join any affiliate program and promote its products
or services on the Internet. You market the products, find
customers for the company and receive a cut or commission
for each sale you make from your marketing efforts. These
commissions can run anywhere from 2% to over 50%. One affiliate
click can earn you anywhere from a few cents to several
hundreds of dollars.

Major third party affiliate programs or companies such as
Commission Junction, LinkShare, Amazon, Shareasale…
acts as a brokerage or go-between representing thousands of
Top Brand companies such as Sony, Apple, Dell… to online
affiliate marketers. Marketers can join a program such as
Commission Junction or LinkShare and be able to promote and
market hundred of top quality products or services online. They
can consolidate their affiliate marketing through these
third party programs.

Perhaps the most common business model for the majority
of online marketers is the last example, or a combination
of advertising and affiliate sales. Many work-from-home
professionals have adopted this business model. They have
created site or sites on the topic that interests them and
of which they have or have gained some expert knowledge.

Once these sites become established and gathering a large
amount of targeted web traffic each day, making a nice income
can only be a matter of putting the Google AdSense code on
their pages and placing a few appropriate affiliate
links on their sites.

The more traffic these marketers deliver to their sites,
the more income they earn. The more unique content they create,
the more income they earn. The more web sites they design,
the more income they earn.

What many people outside of the web marketing field fail
to realize, the Internet is a 24/7/365 business. The Internet
is always on and working for you. It is automatically producing
income for you 24 hours of the day, while you’re sleeping, while
you’re enjoying a nice meal with friends, or even while you’re
on vacation.

Internet marketing can provide you with a lifestyle that is totally
liberating — you can live and work anywhere in the world. You can
be your own boss, set your own hours and work from the comfort
of your own home. Plus your whole online Internet business can be
automated so it basically runs itself.

Internet marketing is totally flexible. You can adjust your workload to
suit your own work habits. Internet marketing is scalable, once
you have learned how to make your first dollar, it is only
a simple matter of repeating and scaling up what you did to
earn that dollar. Computers and the Internet makes it just as
easy to handle a thousand sales as it is to handle one sale.

As Internet marketing becomes better known, it will gradually earn
more and more respect. It will become a well recognized profession
that many will aspire to and follow as a life long career. Mainly because
Internet marketing will give you the freedom rarely seen in any other
profession.

It offers you mobility, a high standard of living, and a working
environment that can’t be beat. It gives you the freedom to follow
your own interests and hobbies; all the while turning those interests
into viable revenue streams that supports the lifestyle of your
own choosing. When it is all said and done, earning a living just
doesn’t get any better than this.

How to Set Up an Affiliate Marketing Program – Small Business Guide

If you are not currently doing affiliate marketing then you are really missing a trick.

Affiliate marketing evolved from the simple concept that if another website sends you a visitor and that person becomes a customer of yours then you should say thanks to the other website by giving them a small piece of the pie.

Affiliate marketing has now become a lot more complex but the basics are still the same. You want as many sites as possible to be shouting about you to their visitors so that they come and see your wares, and then in return you pay a suitable reward to that site based on your business profitability and margins.

In this article I will go through a few of the things that a newcomer should consider when setting up an affiliate marketing programme:

1) The best commission/reward structure for your business

2) The best network/s to work with based on their affiliate base e.g. the kinds of affiliates that are with them and that they tend to attract.

3) How to get visibility on the key affiliates websites and with the affiliate network.

4) Working on new promotions and incentive schemes to motivate affiliates to promote you rather than your competitors.

Deciding on an affiliate reward structure for your business The first thing to look at is your new customer recruitment costs, e.g. If over one month you spend £5000 on marketing and you recruit 100 new customers then your new customer recruitment cost is £50. Cross reference this with your customer lifetime value(if you know it) to work out how much commission you can pay your affiliates.

A Basic explanation of how you could calculate this is as follows: The customer lifetime value will be the average top line profit that each customer brings you over their lifetime.

To calculate a customers life time value the best way maybe to take a group of customers that you recruited within a months date range and to track their spend over a few years, you will lose some of these customers, but others you will maintain so you need to have a good sample size for the calculation to be worthy.

e.g.

1000 customers recruited in June 2008.

  • Over the following 2 years they spent an accumulative 1,000,000GBP therefore you have a customer lifetime value of 1000GBP
  • BUT
  • Cost of goods sold were 700,000GBP
  • Business fixed costs were 100,000GBP
  • Variable business costs were 80,000GBP

Therefore a total profit for these 1000 customers of 120,000GBP over 2 years, and a per customer profit of 120GBP/customer.

This is obviously a very rough fag packet example but it is worth doing this exercise so that you can then determine the profitability of all of your marketing channels through looking at what their cost per new business customer acquired is and comparing it to the customer lifetime value.

Anyway, to keep from steering too wide form the point of the post… From this figure you can then determine how much you are willing to spend per customer on your affiliate marketing.

You now know that if you spend 120GBP per customer acquisition then you will break even on that customer so if you build in that you want to make 50% profit and spend 50% of the customer value then you can spend 60GBP per customer acquired.

Now, if you work out the average number of orders of those 1000 customers over the 2 years then you will know your average order size through dividing total revenue by total orders.

Say for example that the average number of orders was 4 then you will have an average order size of 250GBP.

So based on this if you can spend 60GBP per new customer order then your commission level for “new” customers can be just under 25%.

However, not all orders are from “new” customers so you could do one of 2 things:

1) Decide to average out commission across all sales by saying that every 1 in 4 customers is new therefore you can pay 6% commission overall

2) Decide to have a higher level of commission on new business orders and a lower level on other orders e.g. 10% and 5% respectively (although you will need to have the backend website functionality available to track different customer segments).

As well as the cost to the end affiliate you will need to figure in a network cost. As a basic guide this is about 25-35% of the commission paid to the affiliates. Therefore if you pay affiliates £1000/month then you will also need to pay your network a fee of around £300/month so this needs to be factored in when determining commission levels.

Always set your commission levels slightly lower than you can afford so that you have the option of increasing commissions for seasonal promotions and for giving high performing affiliates added incentives etc.

What is the best affiliate network for me? The amount that the affiliate networks are willing to disclose to you will depend on your skills as a negotiator and also the potential size of your business for the affiliate networks.

Approach all of the big networks – Tradedoubler, Buyat, Linkshare, Commission Junction, Affiliate Future and Clickbank, explain that you are going to be setting up an affiliate marketing program and that you want as much information as possible on why you should go with them.

Ask them:

  • How many affiliates drove a sale for them last month?
  • So that you can compare their size and reach with others
  • How many affiliates are promoting merchants in your industry?
  • So that you can see their reach in your vertical
  • How much revenue did they drive for your entire industry last month?
  • To judge the level of bottom line success in your vertical. You should also look (if possible) at the % breakdown of the revenue by affiliate e.g. what % of revenue is made up by the top 5 affiliates? Is there a lot of long tail/small affiliate opportunity?
  • How many new affiliates did they recruit last month?
  • To judge how actively they are growing and how proactive they are.
  • How many new merchants did they recruit last month?
  • Ditto, are they an arrogant and lazy network?
  • How many merchants from your industry are with them? (good to go with the bulk as there will be a good affiiate base ready to promote you if they are already promoting your competitors).
  • Who are the biggest 5 affiliates working with them?
  • Who are the biggest 5 affiliates with them for your industry?
  • How much commission will they charge on sales?
  • Can they run multiple commission rates?
  • Can they do lead generation on a fee per lead basis?
  • What does their management fee include? How much support and help can you expect from them with affiliate recruitment/reporting/problem shooting/industry updates?
  • What technology do they offer that is unique to them?

If you can get a fair bit of detail on all of these questions then you should be in a good position to approach the negotiating stage and play them off against each other. Obviously the amount of leverage you have and how far you can go will largely depend on the size of your business and what kind of revenue you will bring the affiliate networks. Make the networks excited about your marketing and growth plans. Explain your past performance and what your plans are for the next year – if they see you as an expanding and growing brand then they will stretch further to meet your needs.

By the time you have got to this stage you will have your preferences, go with the data, the best deal and your gut feel. If you like and get on with the people on a genuine level and trust that they will take your business seriously and will spend time promoting you then go with them, but only if the commercials and their business proposition stack up too. Getting visibility with the key affiliates for your market Once you have your account set up and you are ready to go the first thing to do is to put together a target list of affiliates that you want promoting you. Rank the affiliates on the list by potential and then work with the networks on getting the best real estate possible on the affiliates sites.

Get the affiliate network to give you a list of every affiliate who has driven a sale for any competitor of yours (that is in their network) within the past 6 months. Ask the affiliate network to rank the affiliates in order of revenue driven (obviously without the sensitive data) if they mess up and give you the sensitive data (unlikely) then all the better. Put together a promotional plan for the first 3 months and make sure that your offers blow the competition out of the water. Affiliates are businesses in their own right so are just interested in promoting the merchant who can earn them the most cash, so if you give them a better % commission and your conversion rate is as good as your competitors or better then you will quickly win them over. Check out the top affiliates EPC (earnings per click). You then need to work out how you can give them the opportunity to earn over this with you – basically calculate: (site conversion rate x (commission rate per sale X Average order size).

Ensure that the affiliate network have agreed to give you featured merchant status for the first month and that you are featured all over their website/blog/twitter/facebook etc and emails.

Email all of the other affiliates straight away introducing yourself as their support at your company, explain your proposition, affiliate program terms (commission rate etc) and explain that you have an unbeatable offer for the first month that is going to have sky high conversion rates.

Save some fat in the promotional spend plan for the top affiliates so that you can offer them something special for a great location on their site.

Once you have the top 10 on board and are recruiting the long tail through the email then get on the phone and work your way down the list getting more and more affiliates on board, there will be many that you cannot get hold of and/or who do not reply; do not be disheartened as this is normal, affiliates are busy people. Just try to think of good ways to grab their attention and leverage all contacts at the network to aid you in getting in contact with the affiliates.

Keep in close contact with the network – let them know that you will make them work for their commission, be thankful and complimentary when they are good but beware of them being more lazy after the initial flurry – you need to hold the pace for at least the first 3 months and then it should start to get easier as you have some secure relationships that do not need too much maintenance. This applies to both affiliates and the networks.

New affiliate promotions to get the affiliates promoting you instead of your competitors This is obviously a tricky one with no clear right/wrong way. There are a few rules that I would stick to though:

Keep things fairly simple – as mentioned above affiliates are busy so if you come up with a highly complex (however fun) promotional idea they may just switch off before you sell it in to them.
Keep things fresh – do not just dole out the same old promos every month to the affiliates, there will be no real incentive for them to keep promoting you and trying new things for you if they already know how it will perform on their site.

If possible base your promotions for the top affiliates around their site and what works well for them e.g. if you sell T-shirts and cushions and one site is flying on the cushions then give them special offers around cushions.

Use the data you have after each promo – see what works for who and try to understand their site use profile so that you can meet their needs.
Show your face at affiliate events, make friends in the industry, do people favours and just generally enjoy yourself as if people see you being fun and positive socially then it will impact the business relationship you have with them.

If anyone has anything that they think could be added to this post then just let me know and I will add it in. All the best with your affiliate marketing!

Marketing Communications

For people to understand each other, they need to converse. To spread the message or idea to another party, a person must communicate to them. This is not different in terms of marketing. In order to get the message across to the targeted market, related media must be used. The formal term for this type of communication is marketing communication. This kind of communication is also coined as integrated marketing communications. Examples of media used in this type of communications are advertising, promotion, packaging, direct marketing, sponsorship and the likes.

The traditional way on this type of marketing is through the use of traditional channels such as the use of TV ads, radio ads and newsprint. These are already considered traditional ways because it has already been used in such a very long period of time. With all honesty, this type of communication is still effective but everything in this world changes and the way of communication is not an exception to that rule.

The new communication of marketing is through the use of the internet. The internet has a lot of use in terms of business to business marketing. It has greatly benefited from the success of the internet. With the internet, the mode of communication is limitless. One can make an article just like in the newsprint. A video can also be made and uploaded to the internet. One can also make voice ads just like in the radio. A very own website can be created so that all the information pertaining to the product or service can be placed on that site so that everyone can see. With the rise of social networking sites, it has opened another avenue to communicate with the targeted market.

To further differentiate the traditional from the new trend of communication, you must take notice on how articles are submitted to be advertised. Before, it is given to newspaper or other form of print media and hope that it will be accepted but now, with the internet, all you have to do is just make an article and give it to article directories and it will be published. The simplicity and quickness is very evident if the internet is being used. Another example is the use of video for advertising. Before the only way is through TV ad slots and it entails too much cost but with the internet, only you have to do is upload the video on a free video repository and it is ready to be everyone to be seen. With this, it is perfect vehicle if you are on a tight budget.

If everything is taken a closer look, the difference is only the way it is being delivered but the concept remains the same. Just like for article marketing, articles are still written but it is just sent via internet rather than to newspaper or other newsprint. It is the same with the use of videos, videos are to be made but now it is just posted in YouTube for everyone to see.

In conclusion, everything is changing and you must be up to date of the change especially when it comes to marketing because it may be the reason for the rise or fall of your business.

How To Choose The Best Affiliate Marketing Networks

For those who have just recently begun running an online business, you probably are in the midst of facing the tricky task of trying to promote your Web site, without having sufficient capital to do a great deal of advertising.

This is a common concern facing start-up online businesses: You need to spend a lot of money on advertising in launching an internet business so that you can make some money, however you also need to make some money so that you would have some to spend on advertising. So what would be the best solution for this?

One of the best ways of solving your online marketing concerns might be through an affiliate program. With this program, anyone who has a Web site can post an advertisement for your business on their Web site in the form of a banner or a text link. If someone clicks on that banner or text link and later purchases your product or service, you have to pay that affiliate a commission on the sale.

How Affiliate Marketing Operates

The methods employed by affiliate marketing usually overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some extent, since affiliates are also utilizing the same methods as most of the merchants themselves do. Those methods include organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, email marketing and also display advertising to some degree.

To promote your program, you will need to post ads for it on as many online affiliate directories as you can find, and some of the directories may charge you a minimal annual fee to be enrolled, and others will allow you to join the program for free. There are literally hundreds or even thousands of different online directories where you can add your listing, and remember, the more listings you can create, the more affiliates you can potentially acquire.

If you are an individual affiliate and you want to join a program, then the more networks you join, the better chances you have of weighing which ones are best suited for your online marketing approach.

Criteria In Choosing Which Affiliate Network To Join

Affiliate networks are marketing channels that take your online promotion initiatives to a much higher level. There are a lot of benefits in using affiliate networks, as there are also plenty of options for online retailers wishing to exploit the clout of affiliate marketing. Using paid-on results gives you an unrivaled level of control and removes much of the hassle from running an affiliate program.

Affiliate network help in allowing merchants and affiliates to partner together while it serves as an effective Internet marketing tool. In choosing which network to join, affiliates should select a network which is user-friendly and has good features to be profitable when participating in your programs. With the network, you should be in a position to promote many programs and better analyze productivity for better performance.

For any merchant, the goal of having an affiliate program is to earn bigger profits. The more sites that promote his products, the more sales he surely will make. Wisely choosing an affiliate network is a very intricate process, and one the main reasons for this is the cost it entails. Below are among some of major criteria that affiliates can use in deciding which network is suitable for them:

– Cost.

– User-friendliness of the account interface.

– Responsiveness and helpfulness of account reps and other contacts.

http://affiliatenetwork.ws – Affiliate Network