Overcoming the Obstacles of Affiliate Marketing

The concept of affiliate marketing is well founded in the development of the Internet as a global marketplace. While traditional businesses use similar sales methods, an Internet-based affiliate marketing method has its unique characteristics and thus, has its unique drawbacks and obstacles. In simply stated terms, the issues that arose from traditional marketing had a business providing commissions or other benefits for the public or its dealers or representatives to promote, sell and advertise its services.

In the early years, this was accomplished mainly with banners and/or an overabundance of emails being sent repeatedly, now known as spam. Today, email communications have developed into a more mature and controlled area in online marketing which many serious businesses are embracing and utilizing in their daily marketing routines.

Here are five obstacles to overcome:

As a large crowd of affiliates might act as a powerful lead generator network, the network does incur issues resulting from that same large crowd mentality. If left uncontrolled and unsupervised, the network has been found to cause problems for a business’s reputation due to the affiliate partner’s illegitimate or even hostile spamming actions.

*This can be the first main obstacle in the setting up of an effective marketing plan. You must ensure a proper control and code of conduct towards and for the affiliate members.

For a business to effectively use affiliate marketing, another obstacle can be found at the point of the delivery in a client’s browsers. More and more of client devices are blocking 3rd party cookies by default and even blocking other advertisements. As end-users become more and more aware of these mechanisms to block any unwanted advertisement content, the potential value of affiliate marketing decreases for the business trying this method of distributing its product or service.

*The second main obstacle is then the decreasing availability of advertising access being delivered to a client’s device.

With the globally diverse nature of things, any industry established standards or training with a formal certification authority should not be expected in the near future although many local legislatures and new global agreements are addressing the illegitimate actions including and not limited to everything from spamming to the serious offenses of cyber-crime. Although this is a fast growing issue online, future industry standards and training regulations of online marketing are slowly being enacted that speak to all of the current issues surrounding affiliate marketing and online advertising methods.

*The third main obstacle is having effective regulation for the various affiliate marketing methods.

The regulations are not easy to comprehend nor comply to, nor even to be aware of. With all that a small business has to absorb and put in place to be able to legally open their doors to do business daily and with a small staff normally at startup, the small business’s capacity and ability to implement these regulations are minimal at best.

*The fourth main and top obstacle is the regulative obscurity found in the mesh-like network of these new regulations.

Content creators, affiliate marketing providers and businesses alike, are in the constant struggle with search engines trying to push up their content in the index and increase their page ranking and placement. If they are successful in accomplishing these tasks and have the increases they work for to be able to attract more traffic to their affiliate marketing page the results accomplished are generating more revenue from the company providing the affiliate marketing program.

*The last obstacle is the highly protected indexing algorithms used by the global indexing search engines.

As you can see, much work is and will be required to monitor and control affiliate marketing for it to be a business worth online respect.

Marketing With Social Media: Using Leverage In Your Social Media Marketing

Strategies for marketing with social media are fairly common. Unfortunately, high quality strategies are few and far between. As an author an online marketer, I have every reason to use leverage in my daily marketing activity. Well-meaning contractors abound on crowd sourcing sites such as Fiverr, but their tactics often leave something to be desired. Some can even hurt your business.

If you’re looking for leverage in your social marketing efforts, there are a few steps you can take that will dramatically improve your efforts without impacting your schedule.

The first thing to do is get a Posterous.com account. Posterous is great – it’s free and extremely powerful. Your account comes with a hosted blog, which is always a plus. But the reason to use Posterous is that it is the ultimate in social media marketing leverage. You can create blog posts by email and distribute them to your entire network of Web 2.0 properties. This includes other blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a complete array of top social networking sites.

If you don’t have an account, you can set one up yourself. There’s no need to hire a contractor or have your assistant get you through this. In fact, handing off this task would take longer than doing it yourself. It’s really easy to do, and it’s quick.

Choose a user name that relates to your business or area of expertise. This user name will be the name of your Posterous blog, the URL for that blog, and the email address you use for posting content remotely to your blog.

For example, let’s just say I have a blog called Marketing Power. I don’t really, but let’s say that I do. The fictitious URL for that blog on Posterous would likely be something such as <a target=”_new” rel=”nofollow” href=”http://marketing-power.posterous.com”>http://marketing-power.posterous.com</a>. The fictitious email address would be <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>. Do you see how your user name gives you leverage here? The next time you want to dispense advice to a customer or client by email, simply cc them. Address the email itself to your Posterous account, and will post to your blog. Now you’ve got a marketing asset that you can refer to in the future again and again, as well as backlinks and eyeballs on your intellectual property.

The next thing to leverage when marketing with social media is to link your Posterous account to your other social networks such as Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. This creates a feed to these social sites, and your content will automatically be published, posted and tweeted.

Here’s what that looks like. If I send an email to my Posterous blog from my regular email account, my email will post as content on the blog. The subject line will serve as the article title. Everything I write in the email will be posted, including photos, so it’s important to include only the material I want to publish. The content is then re-posted on my other social sites that I’ve linked to my Posterous account.

The thing is, once I’ve taken the 3 minutes to get set up on Posterous, working this way doesn’t take any extra time at all. The only thing I’ve changed in my work flow is the addressee on the email. I’ve moved my client’s email address to the cc line. See? Leverage.

You can have more than one “space” on your Posterous account. In addition to Mind Power, I have spaces for Leadership and Success, Local Business Tips, and Wordcraft. These all correspond with the topics of my published books and audios, currently selling on the top online retail sites. Using Posterous allows me to publicize my work and help more people.

Give a little consideration to how you’d like to use this social marketing strategy for your own efforts. If you’re planning to do marketing with social media, there is magic in using this strategy. Google loves to see open-ended link wheels with high quality content. If each of your web 2.0 properties is tightly focused on a specific topic, adding content regularly will only help your ranking in the search engines. Adding a touch of leverage will help your social marketing process run smoothly – and get your content noticed.

How Outsourcing Your Marketing Team Can Save You Time, Money and Risk

How successful are your current marketing initiatives and programs? Do you have a marketing team to launch and execute your marketing plans? Many small businesses struggle with making their marketing program effective because they don’t have the in-house talent and expertise to manage marketing projects such as a new product launch, a website redesign, SEO or even the creation of a well-researched and comprehensive plan. Putting all of this together takes time and money and drains valuable resources from other areas of your business.

Consider outsourcing these responsibilities to a third-party marketing consulting company. Here are several important benefits to outsourcing:

1) HIRING A PROFESSIONAL MARKETING CONSULTANT SAVES YOUR BUSINESS TIME AND MONEY:

· Your business saves money in reduced overhead costs (no internal team to hire, manage, provide office space for, etc.).

· You agree up front on how much you want to spend and can cap costs at a certain amount – no more unanticipated expenses or marketing budgets run amok!

· You spend less time spent on daily marketing management, trying to find the right people for an in-house marketing team, and task delegation.

2) OUTSOURCING YOUR MARKETING FUNCTIONS TO A WELL-VETTED MARKETING EXPERT HELPS YOU REDUCE YOUR MARKETING RISK AND BUILD BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS:

· Your marketing consultant wants and needs their programs to be effective. They will work hard to bring you marketing success, as this reflects positively on them and encourages their continued work with your business.

· Access to an enormous network of skills, talents and capabilities, such as graphic designers, copywriters, website developers, and SEO consultants, to name just a few.

· Knowledge is transferred between both businesses. A savvy marketing professional will get to know your business inside and out. As a result, they’re flexible enough to adapt your marketing program to meet shifting objectives (such as industry trends) quickly and effectively.

Here is a helpful example of a company who outsourced the creation and distribution of a direct mail marketing program:

MARKETING CASE HISTORY:

Opportunity/Problem:

A realty company agent wanted to revamp its quarterly postcard-marketing program to generate new listings. Their company’s previous program’s impact was fading and no longer produced any measurable benefit.

Solution:

The budget for this project was defined, and a cross-platform marketing program was custom created for the realty company. A direct mail postcard would be sent to about 10,000 recipients in the target market. The postcard included individual website landing pages personalized for each mail recipient. The target market was segmented so that each group would receive a more relevant and specific message and personal URL. The landing pages were created for each market segment and were hosted to receive visitors to the website.

Each time a recipient landed on their personalized page, a real time lead was created, and the client was notified of the lead for immediate follow up. The actual return on marketing investment for the first year of this program was 108%, bringing incrementally increased sales revenue and a bottom line profit that far exceeded the cost of the entire program.