Affiliate-Associate Marketing

E-commerce helped to turn conventional marketing strategies upside down, and added dynamism to the marketing landscape. The internet generated article marketing, added another notch to niche marketing, and also launched affiliate or associate marketing. As a result, affiliate marketing is now at the top of every strategic business plan. Because of its success, it is now regarded as the top online marketing strategy. So just what exactly is affiliate marketing, and why do you need to know about it?

In response to the first question, affiliate marketing is a marketing technique where a merchant, (product owner or service provider), rewards affiliates, for each referral. These referrals are generated as a direct result of the affiliate’s marketing initiatives. Every business owner needs to understand affiliate marketing, because it is big business. It now generates billions of dollars in sales revenue on an annual basis. Revenue flows both to the business owner, and to the affiliate.

When well orchestrated, affiliate marketing is a very effective marketing tool. It will result in an increase in website traffic, as well as an increase in revenue. Essentially, it is a revenue sharing approach to marketing, and involves a contract between a merchant on the one hand, and an affiliate on the other. Merchants will be able to gain maximum exposure for their brand, without having to spend any money if there are no results. This exposure will lead to increased revenue and profit. The affiliate will also increase revenue, as payment is based on the number of referrals made.

In terms of revenue sharing, affiliate marketers are paid a commission for the business they refer. They will either direct traffic to the merchant’s website, or help to sell their products by placing the merchant’s advertisement on their site. The joint venture between the merchant and affiliate is usually formalized by way of an Affiliate Program. There are several programs which are now used, the two most popular are Pay Per Click, and Pay Per Performance.

As the name Pay Per Click suggests, the affiliate is paid each time a visitor ‘clicks’ on the banner or link that directs them to the merchant’s website. The affiliate will be paid even if the visitor does not make a purchase. This is probably the least lucrative affiliate program option, because payment tends to be small, usually about $0.05 to $0.10 per click. Pay Per Performance includes both Pay Per Lead and Pay Per Sale. With Pay Per Lead, the affiliate marketer will get paid on every occasion that a visitor clicks through to the merchant’s website, and then takes some action that creates a lead for the merchant.

With Pay Per Sale, an affiliate gets paid every time a sale is generated by a visitor that clicks through from the merchant’s ad on the affiliate’s site. This is a more lucrative option, as the commission can be as much as 20% of the final sale price. However, it is only beneficial if the conversion rate of leads to sales is relatively high, for the product or service. Affiliate marketing is now a very profitable method of advertising products and services. The merchant is able to market their product on several sites, and in the case of a Pay Per Sale program, those ads are free until a sale is made. In this way, merchants can ensure that their marketing dollars are being put to the best use.

One of the most successful proponents of affiliate marketing is Amazon.com. Amazon has built a successful associate marketing program, which boasts over 1 million affiliates. As with any good marketing tool you do have to plan for success. So the basis of any affiliate program must be a good overall business plan, a good product and a solid marketing strategy.

Direct Sales Success – What Direct Sales Consultants Can Learn From the NFL

The crisp autumn leaves and the sounds of marching bands means that school – and football season – are once again in full swing. It’s also the biggest selling season of the year for those of us in Direct Sales. In fact, statistics show that over half of the direct selling business for the entire year is conducting during the last quarter. Much like a football game, those final minutes can mean the difference between big gains and big fumbles. Here are the top six tips you can take from the gridiron and take your business to the next level.

1. Direct Sales requires sacrifice.

Like football, you have to give 110% of yourself to be successful. It can be very easy to make a good living in this business, but don’t be fooled into thinking you can just hang up a shingle and watch the leads come pouring in. There’s some work involved. It’s not as hard as digging ditches, but there will be times, especially early in your business, where you’ll have to make choices, sacrificing time energy and money “on the front end” to generate a bigger return on your investment.

Napoleon Hill researched the content for Think and Grow Rich for about 20 years before Andrew Carnegie ever paid him one red cent of the million dollars he promised for the work. But when the project was done, Carnegie paid in full. Hard work at “the front end” will go a long way toward improving your sales consistency over the long haul of your sales game.

2. Direct Sales requires teamwork.

Make no mistake, you can be very successful as a salesperson – a regular consultant on the showroom floor, but when you utilize the power of teamwork, everyone achieves more. It’s the reason for monthly (or weekly) meetings, coaching calls, mentoring and development programs. Each component builds character, skill and ability. And when leaders are training their recruits properly, everyone prospers. Trying to go it alone will only create more work for yourself.

When your leaders say “you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself” hold them to it! Seek out trainers and leaders that can build your skill level at presentations, host coaching, closing a sale, signing a recruit and more. Don’t sit stagnant just because you’re out of the area. Unless you are the only person in your company, there are others out there ready willing and able to helpyou grow your business, because when you succeed, THEY succeed.

If you are a leader, take that role seriously. Make contact with your team a regular, ongoing thing. Know your team – their wants needs and goals – even if they are not your direct recruits. The most successful leaders know their team mates, and their team mates know, like and trust their leader!

3. Direct Sales requires discipline.

Even when your calendar is full, you get on the phone to schedule appointments. Even when your shows are successful, you’re making networking connections. Even if you have zero recruits and zero shows on your calendar, you’re practicing the scripts and doing all the things you need to do consistently to bring in the sales. Highs and lows are a fact of life in sales, but all of that can be evened out by remaining consistent.

It’s so easy to get complacent when things are going well (I’ve done it – I’m sure you have too). It’s even easier to give up when things are going bad. Before you do either, check yourself in the mirror. Prepare a weekly audit of the things you must do – and see if you’re really doing them. Consistency – and disciplining yourself to stay consistent – are the most important aspects of building a successful direct sales business.

4. Direct Sales requires participation.

Selling is not a spectator’s sport. In football, no man rides the bench the entire season – there’s practice, training, and games to be won! Are you a fan? Spectators sit on the sidelines letting the pros do all the work. You need to get your hands dirty, do the work and win the game. Like football, selling is not a game for cowards.

5. Direct Sales has opposing teams

Ah! Now we come to it: competition. Every market has competitors – and in direct sales, you can be competing with other consultants within your own company. It can be tough to beat the opposition. You have to develop special skills and abilities to outpace – and outplay your competitors. Develop your personal brand much like a football team develops their own play book. Dig deep into what you’ve been taught and be creative in finding ways to win the sales game.

There are also other competitors: fear, doubt, guilt, anxiety, and even our family and friends can come between us and a successful direct sales business. The key is to recognize these obstacles and again – dig into the knowledge and training you’ve gained from your leaders, coaches and mentors – and whip the competition no matter how stiff!

6. Direct Sales requires ongoing conditioning.

A football player doesn’t attend one session of pre-season training and figure they’re all set to go to the Super Bowl. Heavens no! These guys are in the gym, on the field, and in their own heads on a regular basis, learning, growing, developing, picking up new skills and better ways of being the best they can be on the gridiron. The same holds true for Direct Sales. Sure, you can buy a kit, read the manual and start selling products, but imagine how much better you can become when you take the time to go to training events, invest in personal development materials, and even coaching programs designed to strengthen your best attributes and build on your opportunities! Ongoing conditioning ensures you always stay at the “top of your game” and that you are the first person that comes to mind when customers think of your products and services. It’s about getting strong in product knowledge, client rapport, and understanding your direction and role in meeting the needs of others.

No one is born a star salesperson, much like no one is really born with a pigskin in their hand. It takes consistency, team work, sacrifice, hard work and focus. With ongoing training and a commitment to participate fully, you will find yourself on the all-star team that is your Direct Sales organization. You can’t beat that!

5 Direct Response Marketing Methods for Your Business

In this article, I will discuss great ways to market your business and achieve measurable cost-effective results. Image advertising involves paying lots of money, waiting for customers to come, then never knowing what customers bought your product as a result of that advertising. Direct response advertising allows you to measure results and know exactly what your return was for each marketing dollar spent.

Below are some examples of direct response marketing methods-

1) Direct Mail – When a mailing campaign is targeted to a specific group of people, it allows you target the specific market that would have an interest in your product or service. Sending a mailing to every household would be less effective and more costly because many of the individuals are not in the type of market you want to reach. You would also have no results from which to base your next decision.

2) Google AdWords – Google’s service to pay for every click you get on the internet also is a form of targeted marketing. It will only go out to those who type the specific keyword the marketer chooses. The cost is controlled by selecting how much you are willing to pay-per-click and what keywords you want to target.

3) Email Marketing – Email marketing is where a targeted group of people receives an email regarding your topic. Usually, the list is created when people opt-in or subscribe to a mailing list about a particular topic. Emails are sent out to these subscribers on an ongoing basis. There is little cost to the marketer except a little time and a monthly fee for an auto-responder service.

4) Article Marketing – Article marketing is another key online tool that allows you target traffic with keywords. When you write an article you can get traffic from those who read your article and want to learn more. It allows you to track ratios for those who view your article. The best thing about it is that it’s free – except for the time it takes to write the articles.

5) Per Campaign 800 Number – An 800 # normally does not allow you to easily track the amount of volume from a specific marketing campaign because numerous individuals have that number (if only listed in the yellow pages or on the Internet). However, if you tie each marketing campaign to a specific 800 number, it will become easier to know from where you customers are coming and how to track the information. This can be used in conjunction with any marketing method – mailings, radio, TV, billboards, or any other form of general advertising.

When designing your marketing campaigns, keep in mind that only two things really matter – how much does it cost and how much business do I get from the campaign (both current and future business). By using direct response advertising, you can spend less, earn more, and make informed decisions for your next campaign.