More Affiliate Marketing Strategies

When choosing the marketing strategy for your product, company etc… You must take 2 things into consideration. You must first make sure that the strategy fits with your needs. Affiliate marketing strategies highly depend on the business its self; the objectives of the business, and the perspective of these objectives.

If, perhaps, your company is selling products and you want to expand the sales of these products, using affiliate marketing can really help. You can have other websites sell the products for you. An example of these websites is Amazon, Amazon sells the products and in return they take a commission on every product they sell. Amazon is a website with great traffic, giving your product good exposure.

It is important to have a clear criterion on which you pick your affiliate marketers. Further, you need to make sure that your commission structure is attractive enough and encourages hard work. There should also be a good strategy for detecting scams; this is important to avoid losing money.

The branding and polices that you have are very important to know well. For example, you need to figure out if you will pay the marketer on click per client or perhaps is it going to be pay-per-click on your banners. What kind of branding are you looking for? Make sure that those providers or advertisers which you accept follow this criterion.

Now, your focus can be on improving your search engine ranking and having your PPC campaign. You could also be working on a high quality website, where the content is impeccable. If your focus is one of these, then there is one thing that you need to do. You need to research and research well the hot niche keywords. This will enable you to bring traffic to your site. To find these hot niche keywords, you need to go through some extensive research. This may be tedious, but it will give you a cutting edge.

The content creation is a vital point to have an effective affiliate marketing strategy. In order to have effective content you need to be constantly researching nice key words. You need to research them well.

The affiliate programs and products that are presented on your site should reflect and be up for the boosting of the revenue and the selling of the products. These strategies, when effective enough, can really boost those profits.

Another new strategy that really works in affiliate marketing is the new mobile marketing trend. It’s a new technique that targets smart phones users. Here, you can use WAP connection, SMS, MMS and even SEO to get your valuable traffic.

How To Implement A Winning Marketing Strategy To Your Advantage!

A Marketing strategy is crucial if you want to really succeed in your marketing. Amongst its advantages are:

1. Helping you to focus your marketing attention.

2. Better complete utilization of resources

3. Helps in increasing sales; and

4. A powerful resource of winning over your competitors.

Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market.

When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives.

Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought out strategy in a marketing plan it means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign.

At regular time intervals the firm should analyze the marketing decision. This is done with the help of strategic models. The 3C’s model is usaully considered for this purpose. The 3C’s model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign.

There are three key parties involved in this model. These are:

>>> The corporation

>>> The customer; and

>>> The competitors.

The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C’s or strategic triangle.

The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing.

When making a marketing plan some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used. 4P’s model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not.

The four Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. Products are goods produced by the company on a huge scale for the purpose of selling them and earning profit. Price is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors like competition, market share, customer perception and product identity. Place where the product is sold can be either physical store or store on the Internet. It is also known as distribution channel. To make the customer knowledgeable about a product, the marketer does promotion. It involves advertising, public relation and point of sale.

There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria. Some of the common marketing strategies are:

1. Market dominance strategies – Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Examples of these are Challenger, Leader and Follower.

2. Porter generic strategies – Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Cost leadership, Market segmentation and Product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies.

3. Innovation strategies – Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps you as a business to incorporate latest technologies. Close followers, late follower and Pioneers are types of innovation strategies.

4. Growth strategies – Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Intensification, Diversification, Vertical integration and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies.

5. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies.

A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough market research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have the experience.

Market Concept Testing – Guerrilla Style

Marketing new products and services is vital for most companies. Many marketers, however, are unaware that fast, low cost guerrilla techniques for market concept testing can easily replace cumbersome market research, saving lots of money and time in the process.

A Simple Model For Strategic Thinking

In order to test a new market concept you need to have one, right? Use this simple, intuitive strategy model for understanding the dynamics in the marketplace you’re considering. At first you simply work through the model applying what you already know or strongly suspect is true about the market. Then you go back and support each and every assumption you’re holding with market data.

– What are the trends in my industry?
– What’s driving these trends?
– What are we currently doing about the trends?
– What are our competitors doing about the trends?
– What could we be doing about the trends to increase our profits?

During this process you’re squarely in the analytical phase of marketing. You’re creating ties between your idea and a market that will welcome or reject it. Do your work carefully at this stage or you’ll wind up with every marketer’s nightmare…a product or service that’s an answer to a question nobody’s asked!

Collecting Unbiased Customer Data
There are a couple of ways to approach this task. It’s recommended that you use both methods so that your information will be balanced between primary (straight from the customer) and secondary (conclusions from experts). The objective here is to clearly understand your WOW! and how you’ll prove it.

The first thing to understand (and many marketers don’t) is that business is a social process. Which means, to do this successfully, you’ll be spending the bulk of your time dialoguing with people…not noodling around on the internet. If the thought of this provokes anxiety you’re in good company. Most people don’t relish talking to strangers but successful people in just about every profession just bite the bullet and do it any way.

Step 1: The Internet Part
To establish a beachhead, and not duplicate effort, spend about 10% of the time you’ve allocated for this project internet research. The objective is to gain a baseline understanding of available information about current offerings and substitutes in this market space. You also want to understand the various marketing and sales channels. It’s especially good to know about substitute choices your prospects could make instead of buying your product. It’s good to look at the whole chessboard, not just the squares immediately surrounding your next-move.

At this stage we’re looking for available industry reports and similar expert analysis of:

• What are the trends in my industry?
• What’s driving these trends?
• What are our competitors doing about the trends?

You’ll find out what’s available by doing these searches:

1. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], financial analysts
2. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], market research
3. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], Hoover’s
4. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], [name of local newspaper]
5. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], business news
6. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], industry news
7. [industry name] or [product/service] or [major competitor], industry experts
8. Run similar searches on your favorite social media in case those entries were not picked up by the search engines.

If something about your subject has been written, pod casted, YouTube’d, tweeted, blogged or discussed at a conference you will find it with these searches. Sift through what you find and plug each piece of key information into the 5-point strategy planning model we’re using. Now you’ll see a shape starting to form around your strategy model.

Step 2: Create A Discussion Guideline
This is what you will use as a guideline in talking with potential purchasers of your market concept. In essence this is the heart and soul of your project. The care and accuracy you put into this step will determine whether your market concept test results are accurate.

These are the objectives:

1. Understand whether your WOW! is really a WOW!
2. Understand industry and purchasing trends related to your market concept…and what’s driving those trends.
3. Establish a view on growth opportunities for your company or division.

We recommend that you structure your guide so that it results in a discussion. People are more likely to loosen up and talk freely about your market concept, and the alternatives, if you’re not reading questions verbatim as in a market research survey. Sketch out five key areas of information that you want. These might include:

• What do you think about the concept I’ve presented?
• Steer them toward their thoughts on advantages and disadvantages.
• Ask them what would make it even better.
• What are the substitutes or alternatives including do-it-yourself and in-house solutions?
• How, when and where do you like to receive information on new products and services such as this?
• Digital
• Traditional (print ads, trade shows, telesales, etc.)
• Colleagues, friends & family
• Where and how would you most like to purchase something like this market concept?
• Steer them toward what’s the ideal venue for them, not just where alternatives are available today.
• You’re seeking every competitive advantage you can get.
• Would terms such as financing influence their purchase decision?
• Who is the final decision maker and who else is involved in making a purchase decision? Refer to your notes on complex sales and remember that large consumer purchases can often involve multiple decision makers and influencers.

It is critical that you not approach this exercise with pre-conceived notions of what your company can or can’t do. You simply want to visualize the best possible purchasing scenario for your new market concept. You can parse internal strengths and weaknesses later. Do not base a go/no-go decision on your weaknesses!

You may think of many other categories of questions. Just remember that most people will limit your time with them to 15-30 minutes so keep the number of categories low and focus on going deep in each category. You can always substitute different categories in subsequent calls with different people. Again, after three or four calls you’ll have a much better idea of which categories of information are the best for your purposes.

Step 3: Create A List of Potential Customers
The next is interacting directly with your market. This is a hugely valuable exercise for product managers, marketing managers and marketing leaders. You’ll learn more about your market concept in a day of doing this than just about anything else you might choose to do, including conjoint analysis and focus groups.

The objectives for this stage are:

• understand who holds the knowledge you need
• understand the role each influencer will play in a complex sale
• understand where, when, how and from whom they get their decision influencing information

The people you need to talk with can hold one or more of the following roles:

• Decision maker
• Influencer
• Approver
• User
• Deal killer

With some products and services, mostly consumer products and B2B products costing less than $1,000, you’ll be talking straight to the decision maker. With most other products and services you’ll be talking to the decision maker plus one or more of the other types of buyer. If you’re not familiar with the mechanics of a complex sale you’ll need to pause the project until you’re caught up. Just do a search on ‘complex sale’ and you’ll find what you need to know. This is critical for B2B and higher-end or more complex consumer products and services.

Your objective is to talk to at least 100 people who have direct influence on the purchase of this market concept you’re testing. If you’re testing a consumer concept (for example tax preparation software) start talking with people in your circle of influence including friends, family members, colleagues and professional contacts. You will qualify your research participants based on who prepares his/her own taxes and whether a software product is used. Once you have the list and their telephone numbers you’re ready to move on to Step 3.

If you are testing a B2B market concept you must go straight to the companies to whom you’ll be selling your products or services. You may have a few contacts in these companies but you’ll spend the bulk of your time talking to people you don’t know. Be up front about your mission and never disguise yourself as a student doing research for a term paper or project. Just be yourself and be honest in describing what you’re doing.

If you’re cold calling a company start where you can get a foothold. If your market concept is a new and better alternative to traditional inventory control systems in mid-tier manufacturing companies, likely you will be talking to people in logistics, purchasing, operations and accounting. Go to the company’s website and list the names of key people in those functions if they’re identified. Then call the main number or department number, if listed, and ask to speak to that person. You may get through or you may not. Regardless of whom you talk with, even if it’s the main switchboard operator, just give him/her your 25 word elevator pitch on what you’re doing and ask who they’d recommend speaking with.

You will find that after calling three or four companies your comfort level will rise dramatically and you’ll start getting through more often to people who have the information you need.

Summary
This sounds like odd work for marketing people doesn’t it? However the advantages of this approach are many.

First, it gets marketing people immersed in the marketplace. This is far better than the superficial practice of having marketing people shadow a sales person for a day or two once a year.

Second, it gives marketing people an affinity for the role of the sales team. It helps them understand selling so they, in turn, can work with salespeople on devising strategies to overcome resistance and objections.

Third it gives marketing people solid confidence and much more enthusiasm for introducing new concepts if they have discovered the marketplace dynamics and purchaser habits and practices. This confidence will spread to other areas of the company, giving the marketing and product teams more support than they would have otherwise.

So yes, it’s a truly different approach but it’s highly effective and takes a lot less time and money than traditional market research.

Case Study
A startup company in California has a new market concept for virus protection solutions for iApp (applets for Apple’s iPhones) vendors. This startup is reluctant to spend $50-100K on formal market research so they’ve decided to do the project in-house.

They plan to assess the current competitive landscape for iApp virus protection by:
• Conducting a search for iApp virus protection vendors, if any
• Interviewing a small number of current iApp creators
o Do the trends they’re seeing suggest a market opportunity for our concept?
o What do they know about current solutions on the market?
o How would our offering solve a current problem or pain point better than other offerings?
o What would they pay to solve that problem or pain point?
o What level of disruption or complexity can the organization handle for installation and testing?

Next, the startup will assess current substitutes for their concept. They’ll do this by conducting a search and gathering product specifications, distribution models and other key information for each of their potential competitors. Some of this information they will already have from collecting customer data from the internet and other resources they used. The rest of it they will need to go after using the same information gathering techniques. These are some possible insights gained from their efforts:

• Their new market concept would need feature adjustments
• Their new market concept would be targeted at iAPP creators only
• They can lean heavily on digital marketing rather than traditional marketing
• A utility pricing model (pay based on consumption) would give them a strategic advantage
• A unique guarantee would give them a strategic advantage
• Acquisitions would not be a source of competitive advantage near term

The team now has enough information to make a go or no-go decision. If it’s a “go” the next step is to make sure there’s plenty of money in the bank, or coming in, to fund development and commercialization. Before the software writers kick in, though, the team needs to create a marketing requirements document and a commercial release process to make sure they won’t run out of money before sales revenue kicks in.

Your, I Mean YOUR Marketing Concept

Let’s start with a definition:

Management philosophy according to which a firm’s goals can be best achieved through identification and satisfaction of the customers’ stated and unstated needs and wants.

OK, it sounds rather clinical but it’s a pretty simple concept. Easy to understand but not so easy to implement. Every business is different and needs it’s own marketing concept. My marketing concept will not work for you because of many factors. Considerations to be made in every business include:

  • Your location.
  • Your products.
  • Your customers.
  • The time of year. (or month, or season)
  • Your competition.
  • If you are a physical location or an internet business.
  • Your budget for marketing.

Your marketing concept must take these points into consideration. Answer these questions and you’ll have a good grasp on what you need to do.

  • Your Location.

Particularly if you have a brick and mortar location, you need to know your area. Are you in an urban or rural location? What is the population of the area you want to serve? Are your potential customers willing to travel to where you are to buy what you offer?

  • Your Products.

What a your products and/or services? What sells best? What has the biggest profit margin? What is your “signature” product? What product or service is unique to you and your business?

  • Your Customers.

This is the most important item to consider for your marketing concept. We could spend hours talking about knowing your customers but for our purpose, let’s consider a few questions to answer. Are they mostly male or female? What is the average age of your best customer? Where do they live? What is the average income of your ideal customer? Write a paragraph or 2 describing your ideal customer. Do people shop online for the products that you sell? Are your products and/or services considered a luxury or a necessity? If you live in an area that is experiencing high unemployment, will people still be interested in your offer at the price you are asking? These are just a few questions to be answered. Given your particular situation, I’m sure you will come up with more.

  • The Time Of Year. (or month or season)

Many business marketing concepts have to take into consideration what time of year it is. Take for instance where I live. Here in Northern Michigan we live in an area that depends on tourism. In the summer we see a great increase in population and many businesses rely on good summer sales to make them profitable for the entire year. In another town, Frankenmuth, Michigan, much of business there is related to the Christmas season. (If you’ve never been to Frankenmuth, you owe it to yourself and family to make the trip. Especially to see my old buddies Kevin and Ron Kern at Kern’s Market!).

  • Your Competition

Knowing your competition is key to your success. What are your differences? Are your prices in line with the others? (Not that price is the most important factor, but it puts you in the game to be competitive.) Is your customer service better than theirs? If not, what changes do you need to make? How close are they to you? Do you compete with them or do they compete with you??? Think about it!

  • Physical store location or an internet business.

Depending on your focus, either or both can be very successful if you plan it out. Here are some questions. Is you store location easy access to walk by traffic. Does what you sell rely on impulse buying? What is your parking situation? Is it easy to get in and out of your store and does it have good handicap access? Do your hours of operation match with your customers shopping habits? Does your store have a public bathroom? Is the lighting good?

If you run an Internet business, how are your skills at SEM and SEO? Do you use WordPress for your website? How are your writing skills?

  • Your Marketing Budget.

Important here is, make a plan and follow it. Nothing will kill a great business quicker than poor funding. One of the great things about an Internet business is that it can be started and run on a shoestring, this isn’t meant to discourage you from a brick and mortar business, but it is the truth. Anyway, Questions: What is your largest funding source? Who do you have to answer to, if anyone, before spending money on marketing? How much does it cost for a Yellow Page ad? Is that where your customers find your products? Other places to advertise can be: local newspapers, Craigslist, Google AdWords, radio (can be a great source), TV, word of mouth (the BEST if your existing customers love you!) and some other things coming up that can really change the marketing game and give you the advantage you deserve.

This article is meant to get the old inventive juices flowing and I’m sure you can come up with many more questions to answer. As always, the more you learn, the better chances for the success you want. America is still the BEST place to be when it comes to business start up (and for everything else). Time to build your dreams. YOU CAN DO IT!