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Affiliate Marketing – A Cost Effective Way to Advertise Your Business

Affiliate Marketing: Why it is One of the Most Cost-Effective Ways to Advertise Your Business

If you are reading this blog, you probably have heard of affiliate programs. But, just in case you do not know what they are, affiliate programs are forms of internet advertising that reward affiliates for driving traffic to an advertiser’s website or for other types of transactions such as generating leads.

An “affiliate” in this instance, is a person who directly promotes a specific product or service which is owned by someone else. Affiliates are not paid staff of the product’s company, nor are they considered an employee of any type.

How an affiliate marketing system works is that the advertiser provides pre-designed ads promoting their products or services to the affiliate. Then the affiliate places one, or more, of the ads on their own website. This in turn sends traffic from the affiliate’s website back to the advertiser’s site, lead capture form or other specified landing zone. Affiliates may place ads on their regular websites, blogs and even in eNewsletters. There are a variety of other ways to promote online that many ambitious affiliates make use of as well.

Payment to affiliates can be made for placing the ads on their sites. But usually, affiliates are paid only if clicks from the ads on their website result in an actual sale, lead generation or other desired transaction set by the advertiser. The ads are specially coded so that the system can easily track which affiliate’s link generated the click. The coding is important because advertisers with affiliate marketing programs usually have many affiliates who promote for them.

Simply put, affiliate marketing is about paying commissions to people who help you make sales.

The following list points out several reasons why internet marketers (merchants and affiliates) absolutely love affiliate marketing, not only as a form of advertising, but also as a means of income:

1. Affiliate Marketing is Low Cost

Many people are hesitant to begin a home based business because of the capital required. In affiliate marketing, you don’t have to spend large amounts of money to start earning.

2. Inventories are not Necessary

Product management, storage and shipping can be a hassle. An inventory is not asked to be maintained of affiliates. The merchant does the product fulfillment required.

3. Unlimited Income Through Leverage

When you have a paid job, your monthly income mainly relies on whether you go to work or not. With affiliate marketing, your affiliates alone could lead enough traffic to your site without you having to lift a finger, aside from providing them with your ads. Though not every web marketer earns a limitless income, it is a fact that all the necessary matters for the advertiser and internet marketer to be successful are available. It is simply a matter of each affiliate’s personal motivation and time spent promoting.

4. Worldwide Exposure

With affiliate marketing, you are dealing with a global marketplace. All you have to do is choose a product and prepare the necessary tools for your affiliates to lead traffic from just about anywhere in the world, to your website.

5. Low Risk

The main reason for internet marketers’ enthusiasm with affiliate marketing is its low risk factor in terms of advertising expense. For that reason, it is especially appealing to those with a small advertising budget.

6. Open 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week

With affiliate marketing, your business works every single second of every single day while targeting a worldwide market! What could be better than that?

Keep in mind, that no matter how effective your affiliates are, no sales will be made unless you work towards business success — first and throughout — the sales process. Gather all the right tools for yourself and your affiliates, and get all systems and software in place prior to soliciting for affiliates to come help you market. Be sure to provide them with a unique, in-demand product or service.

Additionally, have a professional and functional website ready for when the prospects that your affiliates send to you land there. Provide your affiliates with a variety of high quality ads to select from. And finally, be sure to follow through professionally and swiftly with your end of the transaction, whether it is sending out free reports, shipping products or contacting the prospect directly with more information.

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Free Internet Marketing Methods to Increase your Website Traffic

The following free internet marketing methods are not only for the budget conscious business owner, but apply to every business no matter where it is in terms of annual revenue. Practicing these simple suggestions can potentially bring not just more “traffic” to your website, but more targeted traffic. When you increase your website traffic with visitors who are directly interested in your topic or product rather than those that randomly land there, you will have more website success in terms of sales, signups — whatever your website’s goal is.

So below are some basic strategies that are recommended to help your products or services get presented in their most visible, thus sellable, state. Note that some are not “one time only” techniques, but methods that need to be repeated, generally on a regular basis, in order to improve your website’s visibility.

1. Promote your business through free search engine submission.

Submit your website to various search engines monthly. This will help make more people know that your website actually exists. If your time is limited for doing this task, aiming for the top search engines will be the way to go with this endeavor.

2. Improve your articles.

Yes, articles with good content do bring traffic to websites. But you can make these articles serve your website even better by including relevant keywords. Using free keyword suggestion tools will make this job much easier and quicker for you. Also, be sure to update your web site’s content by regularly checking the standing of your keywords with the current market and editing your articles as needed.

3. Acquire free content.

If you do not have time to increase the search engine friendliness of your website by doing a bit of your own article SEO (search engine optimization), you can obtain free content from article directories. This is a simple copy and paste system to get pertinent content for your site. These articles contain resource boxes — a snippet of information about the author and sometimes a link — which is a way to compensate the authors without you having to pay money for the usage of their write-ups.

4. Capitalize free comprehensive web traffic analyzers.

These are additional tools that you can make use of without costing you a cent. Your website’s hits statistics will be produced by this kind of internet marketing tool for your own analysis.

5. Monitor your website’s visibility.

Tools such as search engine position trackers may be used to see your website’s standing.

When putting to use any or all of the above mentioned convenient and free internet marketing methods, try to master their use so you can reap their ultimate benefits. Keep in mind that an increase in your website traffic will not be immediate, but can take from a few weeks to up to 3 or more months. But when your efforts do start paying off, your site visitors will be more regular and suited than if you had not attempted any of these techniques.

Feel free to comment below on any of these systems that have worked for you, or what other free methods you have had success with.



How To Place a Banner Ad Into a Traffic Exchange Rotation

The following information applies not only to Traffic Exchanges, but nearly all online image ad advertising opportunities you may come across that will require you to input your ad information into an online form.

All image ads (banner, button, micro, etc.) must be hosted on a server, not just located on your computer, in order for them to appear in a TE or any other internet ad rotation such as blogs and websites. (For directions how to get an image ad from your computer to a server ask your web host, website manager or graphic designer.)

Advertising banners need to have two URLs. (The banner ad rotation form where you are submitting your ad will tell you which URL to insert where.)

One is the URL to the image location on a server. It will usually end in .jpg, .gif or .png. ***

To check to make sure the image will show up when placed into an ad rotation, simply copy and paste the entire image URL into the address bar of a blank browser window. If the image is properly hosted, it will show up in the top left hand corner of the page. In this form, it will not be clickable, it is the graphic only, linked to nothing. It is always a good idea to do this to ensure the accuracy of the URL you are submitting, prior to posting your ad.

You can then right click on this image that comes up in your browser to find out the size of the graphic. You will need to be sure the size of the image itself meets the size requirements of the exchange you are placing your ad into. This size requirement information is almost always posted as directions somewhere within the exchange. If not, you can assume that a “banner”, “button” or “micro” ad size is as stated below.

Standard image ad sizes for rotations are as follows:
==> banner: 468×60
==> button: 125×125
==> micro: 88×31

If you place an image of a certain size into a banner exchange that requires a different size than what your ad is, the ad will display as distorted, usually illegible and present an unprofessional air.

The second URL is the destination or “click to” URL. This is the URL of the website you want your visitors to land on when they preview and click your image ad. This URL may end in .com, .biz or other domain extension; or .htm, .html, .php or a variety of other formats other than a graphics format. An ad can click to an image URL if the landing page is then itself a clickable graphic such as a splash or postcard page.

The website landing page is usually the home page of a site, but not always. It can be a detailed splash page, a lead capture page, or any other page of a website such as a newsletter sign up page, join page, product order page, etc.

When inserting URLs into online forms, be sure to include the entire URL including the http:// and “www.” if you normally use that part too. Many of these forms do not have the autofill like browsers do. Also, view the form thoroughly, sometimes they specify if you should or should not include that part of the URLs.

*** An exception to this would be certain affiliate ads that come from large affiliate associations such as Commission Junction, Linkshare, etc.. These companies add tracking codes in their banner URLs which do not work in banner rotations on TEs and the like.

How to Decipher the URLs in HTML Code

You would copy and paste these URLs without the quotation marks.

Basic HTML Code:

< a target=”_new” href=” http://www.yourwebpageurl.html ” >< IMG alt=”WhatTextYouWantUsedIfImageDoesNotShow” border=”0″ src=” http://www.yourfullimageurl.gif ” >< /a  >

==> the click to URL/target URL = http://www.yourwebpageurl.html

==> the image URL/src URL = http://www.yourfullimageurl.gif

Affiliate Program Ad Code with Tracking Links:

< a href= http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ZZZQRW8ls0&offerid=999970.10000012&type=4&subid=0 ” >< IMG alt=”Save the Children Evergreen” border=”0″ src= http://kieranhawe.com/STC/Ads/Evergreen/Evergreen_468x60.gif ” >< /a ><IMG border=”0″ width=”1″ height=”1″ src=”http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=ZZZQRW8ls0&bids=189270.10000012&type=4&subid=0″ >

==> a href= is the “click to URL”: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ZZZQRW8ls0&offerid=999970.10000012&type=4&subid=0

==> the first src= this is the image URL: http://kieranhawe.com/STC/Ads/Evergreen/Evergreen_468x60.gif

The second src= is the tracking code and you won’t need that. Your ad clicks will not get tracked (by the affiliate company) when using the URLs separated out of the code in this fashion, but any resulting actions at the website will be credited to your affiliate account.

Most TEs require that your image URL end in one of the standard image formats or their software will not accept your information. This is to prevent cheating by use of rotators and other cheat methods.

If you have an affiliate image URL that does not end in a graphic format, you can get the original URL easily. Just copy and paste the URL into an empty browser page address bar and be sure to hit enter to get it to dial up. Most of the fancy affiliate image URLs then redirect to the original URL which will be a graphical URL. Then copy and paste the image URL from your address bar into your TEs banner ad submission form.

Feel free to contact me directly if you need hosting, website management or graphic design services to help you with all of your internet advertising and marketing needs.

Happy promoting!

 

 

How to Spread the Word About Your Business

Learning the Terminology of it All

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But how to make your business seen by others to accomplish this is a daunting task to most home-based and small business owners.

Whether your business is online or offline there are some basics every business owner needs to cover to get these customer$:

You need to make it:
• easy to find
• stand out in a crowd
• memorable
• easy, manageable, understandable
• attractive/pleasant/professional so that it draws in visitors who want to stay and browse and $hop

“Okay, great!” you say, “So where do I start? What works best?” The questions go on and on…

A great place to start would be to know your types of options available to spread the word about your business. Your basic list of terms to learn about as a business owner includes, but is not limited to (sorry to tell you that!):

Promotion
Advertising
Branding
Marketing
Public Relations (PR)/Publicity

Following are descriptions of these terms to give you an understanding of the basics of the various business promotion methods available to you. It’s a good idea to include several techniques from this list, if not all, at one time or another.

Once you read this entire article you will see the light and hopefully feel positive and excited to promote your business! I encourage you to print out this article and keep it next to your appointment calendar. This will help you create a To Do list to help you address your weekly business promotion tasks & goals.

~ ~ ~

Promotion – The dictionary defines it as: 1.) the act or fact of being raised in position or rank; advancement 2.) the act of furthering the growth or development of something, especially: the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through advertising or publicity

Promotion is the overall umbrella to all of your efforts to keep your product or service in the minds of your customers, and to gain potential new customers, clients and sales. It is an ongoing process and includes a variety of activities. This usually encompasses your overall company vs. a specific product.

~ ~ ~

Advertising -The dictionary defines this as: 1.) the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements

To a business owner, this means to communicate your informative, influential and persuasive message, usually focusing on one particular product or service.

This is done in the form of announcements which are the specific item chosen to promote your business and come in a variety of media such as print advertising like magazine ads or billboards, or electronic media such as banner ads. Other advertising opportunities are brochures, direct mailings or emailings, and even personal contact which would include networking. It is also television and radio commercials, which also are sometimes considered public relations.

~ ~ ~

Branding -This is defined by the dictionary as a noun: 1.) a trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer 2.) a distinctive category 3.) a mark indicating identity or ownership as a verb: 1.) to mark (with) to show ownership 2.) to publicize 3.) to impress firmly

Specifically for a business owner this would be to identify and differentiate one’s products or services from others by means of a name, term, symbol and/or design.

This is the public’s perception of your business. Good branding will confirm your credibility, connect your prospects to you in mind and heart, motivate them to buy and create user loyalty.

Branding should be instituted at every point of public contact. This is the cornerstone of your communication to the public, therefore it is very important to invest the time to research, define and build your brand.

~ ~ ~

Marketing – The dictionary defines this term as: 1.) the act or process of selling (or purchasing) in a market 2.) the process of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service 3.) an aggregate (mass) of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer

Marketing for a business owner consists of going through the process of a variety of activities to meet the demands and needs of their targeted market thus turning their prospective customers into satisfied buyers.

Precisely, this includes such steps as market research, pricing, distribution and promotion to satisfy these objectives.

~ ~ ~

Public Relations – The dictionary defines this term as: 1.) the act of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public 2.) the methods and activities employed to establish and promote a favorable relationship with the public

Publicity – This is defined in the dictionary as: 1.) the quality or state of being public 2.) an act or device designed to attract public interest; specifically: information with “news value” issued as a means of gaining public attention or support

Publicity is one of the few things that a business owner can generally receive at no cost to themselves. It is a result a business owner aims for, but cannot be guaranteed, and once achieved it has great credibility.

It is information about you, your company/business and your products or services which appears in the media. Yes, it is hearsay and testimonials, reviews and comments. The good… and unfortunately, can be the bad.

To keep your public image a positive one, always offer something for others in a pleasant, positive and professional manner.

With the advent of the internet, business owners have a wealth of resources to gain free publicity and do it quickly. From submitting articles to websites, to posting comments on blogs, plus there are forums, networking sites & groups — the list goes on. You can also get yourself profiled or interviewed relatively easily because many other website owners are always looking for new content for their own websites.

And the great thing about all these techniques on the internet is that most of them stay published for the life of the site they appear on. So eventually the search engines begin picking up on “you/your business” making you even more in the public’s view.

Some offline publicity techniques include getting interviewed by television or radio news reporters, or newspapers, magazines or other publications. Also, attracting attention by the media through public endorsement or sponsorship of others’ products or services, publicity stunts or hosting news conferences are among other ways of creating public awareness of your business. Donations, community participation, volunteering… this list goes on too.

Basically any positive thing you do in front of others, in the public’s view, is a public relations act creating publicity for you/your business.

~ ~ ~

Prior to beginning any business promotion endeavor, you need to research your market to understand the needs and wants of your prospects. Jot down notes as you think about who is buying your products and services, where will they be most likely to look for your goods, what income range are they and what are they willing to pay for your offerings.

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Make Yourself Clickable

Here’s a quickie tip that helps you get a bit more traffic to your websites:

When you send emails, post messages online, contact online help and support systems, always include your URL to your website(s) — generally after your name as part of your signature.

But make sure the URL is clickable so the viewer can get to your site instantly without any copy and pasting tedium involved.

To do this, simply include the ‘http://’ part of your URL and the ‘www.’ if that applies also.

Most online systems now a days automatically turn full URLs into clickable links. Anytime a URL is presented without the prefix characters, it will not be recognized as a URL and therefore will not automatically turn into a clickable link.

Use this everywhere you can, it’s the norm and people won’t get offended.

Welcome to My New Blog

Professional Freelance Web and Print Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Writer

I have been working in the print and web design field for over 25 years. I specialize in custom, creative and quality business promotional materials and services for businesses of all sizes and all industries. I also have a degree in Illustration and enjoy being able to actualize my image ideas through computer generated illustrations or via traditional media as each project requires. I absolutely adore Adobe Photoshop and wish I could spend nearly every waking hour creating Photoshop collages, images and effects.

My goal for this blog and ultimately for you — is to provide resources and articles to help you present your business in a professional and memorable fashion.

I will be providing a host of common sense and original, branding, advertising & marketing ideas, tips and resources to help you sustain and grow your business.

Please be sure to subscribe to this blog (see the top left hand sidebar) and also bookmark the home page. I hope and trust you will be glad you did.

And, feel free to forward the URL ( http://bloggin2.make-me-seen.com ) to your business associates, and even friends and family, who have or are working towards having, their own business.

Wishing you peace and success to you in all that you do,

Claudia Beck
Owner & Artisan
Sunflowers and Seagulls Promotional Services

Sunflowers and Seagullls Promotional Services