Know These Affiliate Marketing Terms Before You Start Your Online Career

It is vital that you understand the language of affiliate marketing. It is important that you know what it means in order to sign up for programs that are worth your time.

Also read the terms and conditions for affiliates because not knowing these can bring you in serious trouble. You should at least understand the following terms and abbreviations.

Super Affiliate: This refers to anyone who is making a lot of money in affiliate marketing, if you are an affiliate. However, if you have an affiliate program for your own product, this refers to your top affiliates: the ones who are making the most sales for you.

Opt-In: This refers to ezine subscriptions, newsletter subscriptions, or email lists in general. Basically, it means that the subscribers on any email list have chosen to receive the information the list owner is sending. Typically, they have confirmed their email address and their request by clicking on a link in a confirmation email, which is known as double opt-in.

1st Tier and 2nd Tier: If you are signing up for an affiliate program, directly through the company, you are first tier. If you are signing up under someone else, you are 2nd tier. However, when someone signs up under you, you are first tier, and they are your 2nd tier. Each tier gets a different commission rate for sales. In other words, when you sign up under someone else, when you make a sale, you get a full commission, and the person you signed up under gets a partial commission.

Joint Ventures: Joint ventures are similar to affiliate programs, but they operate a bit differently. The concept is the same: one person promotes another person’s product for a commission. However, usually the commissions are bigger, and the person doing the promoting is working directly with the owner of the product.

Direct Mail: This refers to advertising that is done via postal mail. There are strict laws about direct mail, and many affiliate programs will have terms and conditions relating to direct mail to promote their product.

Cookies: A cookie is a piece of code that is written to the cookie file on a person’s computer when they click on an affiliate link or when they visit sites that use cookies, such as sites that require a login. The cookie does not harm your customer’s computer at all, and is simply there to make sure that you get credit for the sale if they come back later to make a purchase.

Affiliate Agreement: The agreement that usually lists the terms and conditions related to an affiliate program. In most cases, you will agree to the affiliate agreement by checking a box when you fill out an online form to join the program. Some affiliate programs, however, will require you to print out, sign, and fax the agreement. Make sure you read these agreements.

Conversion Rate: This is the number of sales in relation to the number of clicks received. Usually portrayed as a percentage.

Commission: The amount of money that you as an affiliate will receive per sale. Some companies will list this as a percentage, such as 50%, while others will list it as a dollar figure.

Associate or Associate Program: This is the same as an affiliate program.

Banner Ad: A graphic that is placed on your website and linked with your affiliate link.

If at any time you come across other terms or abbreviations of which you don’t know the meaning then try to find out what they are about. This may avoid problems later on.

Small Business Marketing Strategy – Create a Great Package

Package is the most overlooked of the three key small business marketing elements of Brand, Package and People. If Brand is who you are to the customer, then Package is where and how you present your company to the customer.

Brand is the gift, and Package is the wrapping paper. And–whether they’ll admit it or not–every one of your customers was once a kid who was overjoyed with the anticipation of opening a birthday present. This anticipation, rooted in all humans, is almost as delightful as the present itself. As Wordsworth wrote: “The child is father of the man”, and that’s true for your clients whether they are fifteen or fifty. (OK, just amend the wording a bit for your female clients…)

But most small businesses don’t realize the vital importance of this simple concept. Most small businesses–including many of your competitors–don’t understand that delivering the superior product to the customer is just one among many steps in truly satisfying that customer.

But your small business can be different. You can learn to look at your business through your customer’s eyes. It’s not easy, and it takes some practice, but with a few simple exercises it’s possible to step into those shoes on the other side of the counter and view just what your customer sees when she looks at your business.

Oh, and did we say it takes courage, too?

Businesses meet and sell to their customers via three different arenas:

On Our Turf. This is the Retail Arena many small businesses operate in. When thinking of Package here, you’ll want to evaluate your signage, parking, entryway, aisles, ceilings, shopping carts, restrooms (massively overlooked), and sidewalk. Basically you are looking at everything the customer sees during the shopping experience. All of this, the total presentation to your customer, is the essence of Package for a retailer.

On Their Turf. From the Girl Scout selling cookies door-to-door to the suited-up salesman selling IBM mainframes, there are a thousand variations of people out peddling on their customer’s home field and loving it. This includes companies selling B-B as well as B-C. Part of a lawn service company’s Package would be a consideration of how clean and presentable their pickup trucks are. From you and your salespeople’s clothing to presentation materials to your business cards, Package in the field demands that the owner pay attention.

Distance. This is selling without the face-to-face interaction of a person, either in a store or at the customer’s home or business. Think of companies like Dell or Lands’ End or Amazon.com that have successfully created strong customer relationships without retail stores or in-home visits. Yet this channel, sometime called direct selling or remote selling, has proven to be extremely profitable for many small businesses. Here Package is paramount–and whether it’s a website, a direct mail piece or a thirty second direct response TV ad, the marketer behind distance selling has thoroughly examined and tested each component of the package.

Most businesses stay firmly planted within one of the above three areas. However, you can realize some valuable business intelligence from studying the methods outside your own area of customer contact. But a necessary first step is to view your business through your customer’s eyes.

5 Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

In virtually every area of business, there will be pitfalls along the way. Marketing is no exception. Time and time again, businesses of all sizes make the same costly mistakes. But knowing how to avoid these mistakes can save you energy, disappointment – and money.

Mistake #1: Eliminating marketing efforts when times get tight.

When cash flow slows, advertising, direct mail and other forms of marketing are the easiest expenses to reduce, right? But cut these, and you eliminate the very activities that will bring in new customers to turn your business around.

This is the time when you may be spending more time analyzing the results of your marketing efforts. But by stopping marketing efforts, you will be setting yourself up for additional loss of business.

Mistake #2: Not measuring results.

Don’t wait until times get tight to start measuring the results of your marketing efforts. By analyzing regularly, you will be able to reinvest in what is working, and drop what is not working. Ask customers how they found your business, and then track the results.

Use coupons or advertising codes to track your customers. Or host a focus group of a variety of customers to discover what attracts them to your business.

Mistake #3: Putting all your marketing dollars in one area.

If your entire marketing budget is used on just one method of promoting your business, you won’t realize the highest return on your investment. Diversifying your efforts will increase the frequency and reach of your messages and stretch your marketing dollars.

Businesses can get hooked into one large advertising program with a local newspaper, magazine or radio station, and put the majority of their marketing dollars there. They feel as if they have to advertise with the same media source, just because they always have or because fear they will lose ground since their competitors are advertising there as well.

Some actually stay with a company for fear of upsetting their sales associate or because they simply don’t want to say no to them.

Remember, it’s your money and your investment. Don’t ever let anyone talk you into an advertising program that is not producing the best results for your business. And measure the results of your advertising dollars spent vs. the income received from your advertising on a consist basis.

When you diversify, don’t forget about direct marketing. Many business owners only do a few direct-mail programs a year, targeted to their existing customer base. They need to do more.

Your customer base and mailing list is gold, make sure you have budgeted a large part of your marketing dollars to advertise to your existing customers. They already love you, so keep them coming in by sending a direct mail piece to them at least six times a year.

Mistake #4: Allowing your ego to get in the way of common sense.

Ego can tempt a very bright person to do dumb things. Your marketing decisions should be based on factors that will positively impact some area of your business – usually the bottom line.

For example: Buying full-page ads or covers featuring yourself and not focusing on your business’ unique offerings may result in money going out the window.

Mistake #5: Not getting help when you need it.

If you find you’re too busy to handle your marketing efforts or that your materials aren’t looking as professional as they should, it is time to call in the reinforcements.

Hire a full-or part-time employee to allow you more free time to work on the “business end” or hire an independent business consultant to bring in new concepts and fresh ideas.