To Do List For Building An Affiliate Marketing Business

The successful affiliate has a plan, follows up, and is consistent. Though much is said about what aspect of affiliate marketing is the most important, the truth is, it is all important and each step is necessary to build a successful affiliate marketing plan. Here is a good “To Do” list for affiliates. When you get one started and working, move to the next, but continue to nourish the ones you have set up. Don’t forget to add a few of your own plans to your list.

Begin immediately building your personal list. Nearly everything you do is directed towards building your own list of customers.

Educate yourself. Become an expert in your field. Know the products you plan to sell, become a master and know how to use them sideways and back. Know the websites you are affiliated with. Become very familiar with them so you can direct your visitors properly. Start a blog and post as you learn. Add links to the information you post with your affiliate codes.

Website. It’s a good idea to have a landing-place for your followers. Set up a website, start a blog, set up your own social networking sites, set up a squeeze page and perhaps, eventually, one of each.

Write articles. You can join article submission websites like EzineArticles. Submitting articles to these sites can be great for SEO if it is done correctly. You can put your links in the resource box. Write new articles often and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Focus on the problem and solutions people are looking for in the market.

Post, tweet, and pin it.Make useful and interesting comments on Forums. Utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space, Web Boards, Twitter, Chat Rooms, Pinterest and others. Affiliate marketing forums of all kinds exist and you should become a regular. Look for questions people are asking and find the answers. Always be professional. Avoid unkind or lewd comments. Once you establish yourself, people will begin to trust your opinion and start clicking on your links.

Write an awesome review. People always want to read what a product does and how it will help them before they purchase. Make sure it is well written and simple to follow. Use screen shots of the software. Don’t forget a link, but don’t pepper it with links. One or two will do.

Write an eBook, something that will spread quickly. Produce a short 25 page report on a subject that you are an expert in. If you are not expert yet, study the forums; find out what people are asking and study. You can distribute your book all over the internet at a low price or free. Tell people they are welcome to give it away, sell it or put it on their website. You can kick it off yourself by selling it on eBay for a small amount. If your book is informative and useful and not filled with affiliate ads, it may spread quite well.

Post Videos on YouTube. YouTube has become the visual library of the internet. People go to YouTube for all sorts of questions. This is a quick way to build trust because people see or hear a real person. Google owns YouTube so you’ll be high in the rankings. Provide your link under the video.

Don’t limit your audience, but don’t go out of your league. Make a list of everyone who can use our product. For example, young people wanting to learn, those who trade as a hobby, those who trade as a side job, experts in the trading field, people who educate others, people who sell commodities, etc. Focus on the ones you can influence and help them, but don’t try to teach people who are more knowledgeable than you are how to trade. Just be yourself and be honest about what you are selling. Direct them to the website and let the experts at Gecko take over.

Blogs are a great way to socialize with others. Comment on other people’s blogs and leave a link to your blog. Offer to write articles for others and ask others to write for you. Offer real information, not just a nice post. Be yourself in your writing, but be your best self. You may enjoy slang but there are many people out there that may be offended by it, stay safe and avoid anything that can offend especially if you are guest on someone else’s blog. Also remember that you may be writing to a worldwide audience and local slang may not be understood. Be professional.

Submit your site to search engines and directories. There are services available like Pingler where you can notify each time you update your blog. You can use the word press plugin to create a sitemap which automatically notifies the major engines about your blog updates.

Use graphics and visual aids. Utilize banners, box shots and screen shots properly. If the company you are selling for has won awards, post them to create customer trust. Visual aids are as important as anything else you will do and an aid to everything you do.

Be a loyal customer. If you use the product yourself and let your readers know that you endorse it, this instills an overall sense of trust in the product to your customers.

The great thing about life is that we learn more as we experience more. The longer you are in the business the more you will learn what to do next. Trial and error are great teachers. Soon you will be the expert.

Last but not least, the biggest item on your To-Do list should be: “Don’t give up!”

5 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Promote the Launch of Your New Business

For the entrepreneur without a big marketing budget, there are many ways to spread the word about your new business. All it takes is a bit of creative thinking and hanging out in the places where you are most likely to find your target market. That means using every opportunity – from your kid’s baseball game to your niece’s wedding – to subtly work your marketing message into each conversation. But it’s not just in-person contacts that qualify for guerrilla marketing methods; you can use internet, print and other media to advertise your business on a budget. Take a look at these examples and see if they spark an idea.

1. Build a List and Keep Marketing

You’ve got a website, right? Does it use good SEO to drive traffic? The key idea is getting people to visit your site – and then capitalizing on that by enticing them to opt-in to your mailing list. This allows you future opportunities to send them marketing materials that will turn them into customers over time.

So how do you entice visitors to opt-in? Guerrillas know it doesn’t take anything more than adding an opt-in box (use cheap or even free programs like Mail Chimp) and giving something away. Use your imagination to come up with an enticing offer that doesn’t cost you anything. For instance, your free offer – also referred to as a “pink spoon”, could be a half hour phone consultation (lawyers, business consultants, accountants), a website template or spreadsheet formula (internet marketers, website designers), a podcast or an eBook (any business). Costs you nothing, but adds subscribers to your list – that’s guerrilla marketing!

2. Use Visual Social Media

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+) is a very visual way to market your business – everyone wants to see cool stuff and share it with their friends. The best social media campaigns go viral because they incorporate fantastic imagery or really creative scenarios presented via photo or video.

How about turning the launch of your business into a mini-movie and posting it on YouTube? Perhaps you could take one of your products and use Photoshop to add it to images of iconic landmarks – something like placing your company’s game or toy or food in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Eiffel Tower – whatever makes sense for your products. Post a series of pictures starting with the first one and tease the rest, turning it into a game of sorts. This goes along perfectly with the next strategy:

3. Create a Meme

Whether it’s a cartoon character, a person or a symbol, a meme that characterizes your business and what it provides is a good way to create brand recognition and increase marketing reach. It doesn’t cost anything (or very little) but time and creativity. Your company’s meme could be a pet or a doll or an animated character.

The key is to continually associate it with your business name so it becomes part of your brand (think of the Geico gecko). Use social media to expand this strategy by giving the meme its own Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ page and Twitter account.

4. Form a Joint Venture

Joint ventures allow you to share lists, send marketing materials and perhaps even offer bundled packages of products or services. A partnership with another business owner in a related, but non-competitive niche can be a very guerrilla form of marketing – especially if you use some thought and creativity to come up with a nontraditional pairing. Could a seamstress pair with a gym or weight loss program? How about a catering company and a virtual office? You get the idea – think outside the box to reach an unexpected market.

5. Use Print Media

There are lots of things you can do to market your business with a simple printer and some paper. The key to making your efforts more guerrilla-like is to use not-so-obvious opportunities. For instance, a taxi service could gain lots of new customers simply by slipping business cards under the windshield wipers of every car parked outside a bar. If you are marketing to a predominantly female market, how about posting a flyer covered in lipstick “kisses” with tear-off slips (include your phone number, email address, URL) next to the mirrors in a restaurant restroom? One particularly creative dentist wrapped two strips of pink construction paper around a downtown telephone phone and attached tear-off slips in between shaped like teeth.

Guerrilla marketing is a way for the creative entrepreneur to launch a new business and make it memorable, without a big budget.

Gecko Carving

I did a carving of a leopard in Leopardskin Jasper back about 1991. In our travels with our gem business, the carving created a bit of a stir wherever we went. Because of it, a lady commissioned me to carve a gecko from Leopardskin Jasper. This is how it went:

The leopard required a piece without any of the occasional lines or sheets of black and tan that are characteristic in Leopardskin Jasper. The gecko carving found those features to be a big advantage. The rough piece I chose was quite flat, and had been discarded from the piece I used for the leopard. The base was already determined by the saw blade. I drew the gecko outline in permanent marker on the top of the piece and began the shaping by grinding on a 100 grit 8″ diamond wheel.

This gave me the back, head, and tail contour. I now knew the piece would be about 5 inches long. After this, I had to redraw the gecko, because the image had been ground away. The shape around the figure was done with successive cuts with a diamond cut off blade and coarse diamond burrs of different shapes clamped in a #30 Foredom hand piece with a water drip. I would repeatedly sink the blade into an area marked for removal, then take a small screwdriver and break out what was left standing, then grind it smooth. That goes pretty fast. Then, with diamond blades and burrs comes some fairly meticulous shaping around arms, toes, chin, neck, etc. Geckos and their toes have many angles, curves, nooks, and crannies.

Now, the stripes and sheets of black and gold worked out perfectly in the piece, and I can’t take any credit for it. These features just happened to be in exactly the right places for me. There was a neat and perfect little black line exactly where the mouth was to be. I just incised it a little. Under the chin it was all gold, just the way one would expect in a live gecko; and on the side, just a line of gold was visible at the belly.

The base of the carving was rough ground enough to look like rough ground. The stone was ground down to the black sheet just to separate it that much more from the gecko, which was polished. The idea was to illustrate a creature camouflaged to its’ native habitat.

The eyes were a special feature. A gecko has huge eyes, and gaping holes were ground to accommodate them. I used yellow Apatite from Durango, Mexico for the eyes. I cabbed the gems on one side, and I faceted them on the other side just using a simple 16 facets at 42 degrees reaching from girdle to point with only a semipolish. I wanted the viewer to see movement, but not brilliance. Now, here’s the problem. How to attach them into their sockets without using glue on the facets? The glue would destroy any effect the semipolished facets would have. The eyes needed pupils, but the dome shape would magnify, so what had to be done for the pupil had to be very small and black. A small, thin cut was made, taking away the faceted points at the backs of the Apatites, and a very thin sliver of Wyoming black jade was cut. The length of the sliver had to be just right. The eye sockets were drilled through the head. The sliver of black jade was epoxied into the slit of one Apatite. When cured, it was inserted through the head to be epoxied into the other Apatite. The slit had to be vertical, and the eyes couldn’t wobble around. The arrangement was held in place with masking tape until cured. When the tape was taken off, the effect was pretty good. As the piece was slowly rotated, the eye did indeed appear to move.

It was a very nice challenge, and the lady liked it!

Happy Trails!

How to Make Your Local Business a Household Name

 Scripture tells us to not be weary of small beginnings. Another supporting adage is that much comes from little. Presently despite the struggles of our nation’s economy business is booming yet for some. If you are a local business owner and are interested in becoming more known at large, consider the following!

Simple Promotions

If you have not instituted coupon giveaways into your yearly activity calendar, this is a great way to reach masses that would otherwise ignore what your business has to offer. Most know the benefits of coupon shopping, whether it involves getting a car wash or buying ink toner for a copying machine. Incorporating coupons into the equation can ultimately produce profit if successful as you bring in new business, old business, and keep loyal patrons happy!

Market Research

Customer service surveys or customer satisfaction surveys are valuable resources in knowing the lasting effect your business or service has on consumers. As a senior at UNCW a local museum was the subject of a telephone survey project my promotions class had to conduct. We had to cold call so many individuals and get their opinion of the museum. Thereafter we compiled a report for a grade, but ultimately this was to benefit our local museum. Speaking of which, that museum is yet thriving today!

You may think this is too costly for a local grandma or grandpa shop. However, making voluntary surveys that your customers can complete while waiting, on their way out, or mail in can be prioritized in your budget. The feedback will pay off in the long run! There are tons of templates for survey on the trusty web or you may wish to contact a local advertisement agency or small business bureau for free information available.

Mascot

When you see the following what comes to mind?

Pillsbury Dough Boy

Green Giant

Burger King King

Ronald McDonald

Gecko

If you replied Pillsbury brand, Green Giant foods (Betty Crocker), Burger King, McDonald’s, and Geico you were absolutely correct! Brand recognition for a local business can have a tremendous effect for a boost in sales, loyalty, and credibility. Developing a mascot for your local business can help establish that local brand recognition.

Think about your local high school and about how the cheerleaders root on the team and keep the crowds hype whether good or bad competition. Many times a mascot is the added benefit who also stirs the team spirit and fan hoopla!

Developing a mascot is not done over night. However, if you propose this as a part of a revised business plan, all parties involved can certainly brainstorm a prototype of some sort for starters.

Feature this mascot on Fridays outside of your business, near Holidays, during parades, on flyers, coupons, or even that customer service/satisfaction survey! Customers or potential customers will associate the brand of your business or service with that mascot and remember when it comes time to make a purchase decision.

Charity and Community Involvement

When is the last time your business wrote a check in charity to the local food kitchen, orphanage or group home, or local church that is involved in community outreach? Not only are you following the principles of sowing and reaping, but you are further broadcasting your service or business to the otherwise unbeknownst.

Sponsoring Christmas Basketball tournaments is another way to get your name before many. Granted there may be co-sponsors or you may can only provide a donation, yet your name will be displayed as a contributor.

In closing, local businesses are not yet an endangered species, but they face much more hardship in today’s economy as never before. Local business owners, stay encouraged and take every opportunity you have to further your capital, longevity, and credibility in the eyes of your patrons. I hope that my suggestions will behoove you to increase in success!