Nigel Williams
Author Archives: Nigel Williams

Affiliate Marketing for Brands

Affiliate Marketing for Brands

What if your sales force rolled at least 1,000 deep?

What if they worked the internet morning, noon and night, driving traffic to your website and sealing the deal on sales at every hour? What if their pay was based entirely on performance–driving leads and closing sales.

And what if you only paid a small percentage of the sale price or a previously agreed-upon fixed price? You don’t pay bonuses, benefits or incur any overhead costs associated with employing so many sales professionals.

If you think this sounds too good to be true, you’re obviously unfamiliar with affiliate marketing.

It’s a powerful tool that allows you to connect with a large team of highly motivated marketers that turn prospects into paying customers–and you only pay the marketers when they deliver results.

Still not ringing any bells? Don’t worry about it. Even though this little gem of a marketing strategy really started to take off back in 1996, it’s still a relatively “new” concept for many businesses.

In fact, it might be one of the best-kept secrets in all of marketing.

That’s because it’s not like traditional advertising, public relations or even marketing, which puts you in control of the strategies and tactics. Instead, affiliate marketing lets the motivated masses move your product.

And it works.

If it didn’t, how would you explain the following stats?

  • In 2016, affiliate marketing accounted for 7.5 percent of all digital marketing spending by retailers.
  • By 2020, companies are expected to invest $6.82 billion in affiliate marketing.
  • More than 80 percent of the best-known brands leverage the power of affiliate marketing.

OK, maybe it’s not such a secret.

But just in case you haven’t heard of it, or if you’re aware of it but have yet to unleash it’s product-moving power, here’s an introduction to affiliate marketing.

The definition of affiliate marketing

According to the dictionary, affiliate marketing is defined as:

af·fil·i·ate mar·ket·ing

noun

  1. a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.

And while that may be technically accurate, a better definition may be “effective.”

Affiliate marketing is a sales tactic that’s truly one of those marketing industry unicorns: a win-win-win for everyone involved.

It leads to increased sales for merchants with products and services to offer over the internet. It allows “affiliates” to earn money by using their marketing skills to drive prospective customers to your website. And it allows consumers to find products and services that enhance their lives.

Merchants win. Affiliates win. Customers win.

And it’s as simple as one, two, three.

1) You have the product, service or offer and hire “publishers,” who are also known as “affiliates,” to raise awareness about your brand.

2) “Publishers” figure out ways to promote the product to prospective customers.

3) Prospective customers click their way to your website to check out the offer. They make a purchase, and you pay the affiliate a commission.

Simple, right?

It really is a pretty simple way to drive sales. And it’s virtually risk-free, because you only pay the commission when the prospective customer does what you want them to do.

Want to build your brand? Pay affiliates for the people they drive to your sites. Want to increase sales? Pay affiliates when the people they send your way make a purchase. Want to increase leads? All you have to do is pay affiliates each time they drive a person who completes your form.

Oh, and one more important thing to note about affiliate marketing: The start-up costs are relatively low. Sure, you might have to throw some time at it, and you’ll have to spend a little cash on the front end. But it really doesn’t require an expensive ad agency, creative team or development of any new technology.

And the benefits are incredible: better brand awareness, increased SEO, leads and sales.

For small businesses, it’s a great way to grow more quickly. For established businesses, it’s a great way to build your brand.

Affiliate marketing is a monster

Right now you’re probably thinking that the affiliate marketing industry is a little like the Wild West, comprised of a bunch of cowboys roaming the furthest reaches of the internet looking for people to click links.

You’re half right: It’s wildly effective, but it’s reach spans further than just the west. Affiliate marketing can actually make it easy for you to access foreign markets–because you could have people all over the world sending people from all over the world to your website.

And isn’t that why they call it the World Wide Web, anyway?

The affiliate marketing industry is a fast-growing monster. Some estimates say it’s currently worth about $12 billion dollars, and it’s expected to grow by 10 percent over the course of the next few years.

And it’s not just a bunch of internet cowboys, either. The industry is made up of four key players:

  • The Merchants. Sometimes referred to as Brands, this is the company that produces the product or services that need to be sold.Once you decide to leverage the power of affiliate marketing, you’ll be in good company. Amazon, eBay, Adidas, American Apparel, Bloomingdales, Puma and Urban Outfitters have all used affiliate marketing to drive sales.
  • The Affiliate Network. Should you choose to make affiliate marketing part of your sales strategy, affiliate networks can make the process a whole lot easier.These are third parties who manage the entire process for merchants (you). They are a one-stop shop that offer everything you need to monitor and manage the program–technology for tracking affiliate efforts, sales, payment of commissions, reporting and more.
  • The Publishers. Publishers are essentially your sales team. They are the people who earn commissions by driving people to your products and services–and then getting them to make the purchase.And they’re a crafty lot.They use every tool available to them–blogs, videos, online advertising, social media, SMS, push notifications, e-mail marketing … anything. They are creative. They are talented. And they are motivated, because they don’t get paid unless you get paid.
  • The Customers. These fine folks need no introduction. But what you need to know is that publishers know how to find them, connect with them and send them to your website.

People in each of these groups are not cowboys. They are professionals who have a mutual interest in putting people in touch with products and services that can improve their lives.

And money. Everyone involved in the industry has an affinity for making money.

Speaking of money …

At the beginning, middle and end of every day, affiliate marketing is all about the money, the green, the cold, hard cash.

With that in mind, it’s important that you understand how money moves among the many people involved in the industry.

Here’s a quick look at four ways you can pay your publishers:

  • Lead Gen. It’s also often referred to as pay per lead (PPL) or cost per lead (CPL). But as you might have guessed, it stands for “lead generation.” In this payment model, you pay the publishers a commission whenever a verified lead is generated.Verified lead gens could include online forms being filled out, requests for quotes or any other lead that you specify.
  • Acquisition. You might also see this called CPA or PPS. CPA stands for “cost per action.” PPS is an acronym for “pay per sale.” All three mean that you only pay a commission when an actual sale is generated.
  • Percent of Sale. This one is pretty straight-forward, too, although you might sometimes see it called CPS (cost per sale). This involves paying the publisher a percentage of the actual sales cost of the product or service that is sold.

See? It really is all about the money. And regardless of how you decide to pay for the service, you are sure to get your money’s worth.

It’s all about the ROAS

When you invest in advertising, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. You want a solid ROAS, or return on ad spend.

Sure, you could spend a few million on a Super Bowl ad, and it might surprise and delight people.

But will it sell anything?

One thing you can be sure of is that you’ll get a guaranteed return on your ad spend when you use an affiliate program. That’s because you only pay the publishers a commission when they deliver the desired outcome.

It’s simply not like other forms of advertising. Not newspaper ads. Not search engine optimization. Not billboards, radio, television or blimps. None of these types of advertising can guarantee results.

But affiliate marketing can. And that’s why it is simply the superior tactic–it delivers better ROAS.

So skip the Super Bowl ad, save your money and get yourself connected with an affiliate marketing agency.

How to manage affiliate marketing?

Remember when you started reading this post, when you were asked to think about what it would be like if you had a sales team that rolled 1,000 deep?

Yeah, that probably sounded like a little bit of hyperbole. And if you really sat down to think about it, it would probably seem overwhelming.

You’re probably asking yourself how in the world you would ever be able to monitor and manage something so large. How would you find the publishers, track performance and arrange performance?

It probably just sounds like too much, entirely.

But it doesn’t have to be–thanks to affiliate marketing agencies.

If you’re asking yourself how to use affiliate marketing, here’s your answer: Working with an agency is probably the easiest way to make the most of an affiliate marketing program.

An agency will analyze your marketing strategy and determine the best way to integrate the power of publishers into it. An agency can connect you with the best (and most powerful) publishers to ensure you’re actually going to get results. And an agency can look for ways to go even bigger, which could include networks.

They can also make sure you’re maximizing your investment by focusing on ROAS. They’ll help you get into the “sweet spot,” where you won’t be spending too little or too much–you’ll be investing an amount of money that’s just right.

Like Goldilocks.

It will help you plan your budget, develop more effective strategies. Make sure your collateral material is on point and working hard for you.

In short, your affiliate marketing agency can both find you the sales team that rolls 1,000 deep and manage them for you.

On the other hand, you could go it alone by building an in-house team to manage the entire campaign. It’s not necessarily a bad option, but it’s probably not going to be as easy as having an agency do all the heavy lifting for you.

Try Web Free – Professional Web Development


Humble Beginnings as a Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

Since 2015, I focused on developing my own businesses which included professional web development for the purposes of marketing those sites. For the most part, it was extremely hard and long to get the agency right after pivoting left and right along the way. But with each project, I profited from the experiences, friends and partnerships that I gained along the way.


Today, I am extremely proud to launch TryWebFree.com by DigiWorld Partners.

TryWebFree is a Professional web design and development division of DigiWorld. We build the very best B2B and B2C ecommerce sites including Shopify and Magento stores. Our operation is running smoothly like a well-oiled machine.

We offer FREE web page concepts and up to 12 months FINANCING on design and development projects. Who does that? TryWebFree does, that’s who!

Our design and dev team operates 24/7. They have done work for Disney, Pixar, ESPN and Victoria’s Secret just to name a few. But fear not our use of big brand names, our pricing is affordable by the masses.

Another reason why I am extremely proud today is that I get to work with my friend Gerry Hionis – who has taken on a Business Development role at TryWebFree (clap)(clap)(clap).

Together we double our capacity to bring entrepreneurs’ projects to life.

Enough of my jibber jabber! Take a look at TryWebFree.com. Ask us any questions. I am quite confident that you will see the professionalism in our work and be proud to send future projects our way.

Nigel Williams

Should I outsource my media buys?

DigiWorld Partners White Paper Shows The Value of Outsourcing Media Buys

According to recent statistics reported by eMarketer, total digital ad spending in 2017 is projected to exceed 77 Billion dollars, which equates to roughly 38% of all ad spending and will surpass television ad spending for the first time globally. A large component of that advertising pool comes down to PPC Management of paid search and social media campaigns on major platforms like Google and Facebook. The trajectory of global digital ad spending is also expected to reach critical mass in 2018 with a spend of more than $252 billion overall. Those numbers seem powerful, but how much of that is dead money chasing false targets, and what kind of ROI can buyers rely on when their spend is being managed by an in-house team of traditional ad buyers attempting to monetize the period of transition while they are learning new skills at the same time?

Modern media buying isn’t just slightly different from the sort of ad channels many traditional advertisers are accustomed to harnessing, it requires a new set of tools and a completely different approach due to the velocity of the audience and the rate of change trends now create. The reason this white paper is gathering so much attention is the fact that I have a background working in both B2C and B2B markets from the client and consultant sides of the equation. The purpose of the paper is simply to help companies establish a sensible plan of action as they seek to expand their reach into new media channels without wasting resources along the way.

DigiWorld Partners explores 7 key benefits of outsourcing media buys to digital professionals based on clearly identifiable elements of successful new media campaigns. Resource Management, Broad Market Insight, Big Data Insight, Specialized Tools, Team Scalability, International Expertise and Cost Effectiveness.

Some executives mistakenly assume they would be best off attempting to build a media buying team from the ground up. The fact is, the strategic aspects of running a for-profit business campaign require an immense amount of experience, and the learning curve is usually far more costly than some may expect. Getting the most out of each ad spend requires a massive amount of data collection, analysis, habit tracking, pitch tuning and testing. That work is made exponentially more complicated by variances in local cultures around the globe, an array of billing restrictions, trend and policy changes by major platforms in the market, so having a professional team that is already well-versed in what actually works makes a huge difference.

Among clients who opted to outsource their media buy activities after attempting to manage them all in-house, DigiWorld Partners reported a median sales revenue gain of approximately 18%, while their clients also reported a corresponding reduction in overhead costs of 25-35% which demonstrates the enormous power of working with an experienced team. The savings come predominantly from eliminating the need to orient, train and retrain staff because DigiWorld retains its edge by continuing to work with properly vetted, experienced buyers that have already established a proven track record in relevant niche markets. The revenue increases are a function of running the right ads, during their best efficacy and being able to evolve campaigns effectively as trends change, marketing materials become stale and audience demand new lures to earn their attention.

The proliferation of ad blockers, pre-paid credit cards and free content online along with the rise of a more jaded millennial consumer clientele have left some companies feeling left out. It’s no longer good enough to just throw-up passive advertisements and hope for revenue to return as a result. Modern marketing is much more about creating a sense of engagement, establishing a connection with cue givers, understanding your target audience and enticing them to want to participate in your campaigns. When a customer contacts you about your product or service, rather than being contacted by you, that’s when you know your latest campaign is a success.

It’s a very simple concept to grasp – You don’t go out and tell a twenty year old college student what car they should buy, or what kind of clothing that ought to wear. In fact, if you really want them to be interested in your products you don’t want to initiate interactions with them directly at all. You want their girlfriend to mention your shirts look sexy, or their friends to chat about your car as being the coolest one in their price range. Real social media engagement and ad buying these days is about building consensus, establishing trends and fueling conversation. In the end, when done well, your target audience identifies you before you even have the chance to identify them.

6a0e36a5-500d-4f38-935e-097ee979c2e7

Credit Card Processing for Dating Sites

DigiWorld Partners had the opportunity recently to sit down with Conal Cunningham of InovioPay to discuss some of his insights regarding credit card processing. More specifically, the short session was dedicated to credit card processing for dating sites, which has become a booming industry now estimated to have annual revenues of about $2 billion in the U.S. According to Pew Research, online dating among 18- to 24-year olds has nearly tripled in the past three years and doubled among 55- to 64-year olds. This trend shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Credit card payments for dating sites, however, is considered risky business for many card issuers, which was a main topic during this interview. Why Dating Sites Are Different The reason dating sites are considered to be one of the most dangerous environments for credit card processing is because of the unusually high probability of chargebacks. If, for example, a legitimate charge is made on an individual’s credit card and this purchase is later discovered by that person’s significant other, he or she may dispute the charge and initiate a chargeback through their bank. When this occurs, the dating site receives a black mark from their card processor, even though the site itself has no control over the situation, since the purchase made on the card was totally legitimate. This is why businesses utilizing credit card processing for dating sites should have the necessary risk mitigation services in place to protect themselves from the negative aspects associated with this industry. Failure to stay ahead of chargeback problems and bank disputes so prevalent in the online dating sector can result in revenue losses, increased transaction costs and even fines.

 Charges Versus Fees While the percentages that banks charge dating sites per transaction are typically in line with those for other online retailers, the real cost stemming from disputes turning into chargebacks is in the fees your bank will levy. Cunningham explains that in many cases these can be as high as $45 per incident. In addition, many banks set fraud thresholds of as low as 1% for dating sites. According to Conal, anything in excess of this 1% can carry fines starting at $100 per incident.   Keeping Outside of the Chargeback Channel To get in front of these problematic chargeback issues, InovioPay works with networks that have good standing relationships with the big name banks that issue most of the credit cards used by dating site visitors. In the event of a dispute, rather than going to the bank whose name is on the credit card and initiating the chargeback process, it’s handled in the background without ever going through the card issuer. A refund is guaranteed to the customer and the entire matter is handled without incurring high fees or fines. This also keeps the incidence of fraud below the 1% threshold, thereby keeping the account in a healthy condition.   Friendly Chargebacks and Chargeback Mitigation No matter how sophisticated your credit card processing for dating sites may be, there will always be people who try to beat the system by purchasing your service and then later going to their bank, complaining for some reason and demanding a refund. This is called “friendly fraud,” and there’s basically nothing you can do to prevent it. If, however, you maintain a friendly relationship with the merchant banks that issue credit cards, Cunningham states that it’s possible that those banks will simply issue a refund without any fanfare and without incurring any charges, fees or fines.   Communication With Customers Good communication with your customers is another critical factor in keeping your relationship with your credit card processing company on a healthy footing. Conal explains the importance of the descriptor you include on customers’ bank statements. This message should provide them with an easy means for contacting your company, either by phone or on the website, if they have a questions, problems, or disputes. You want them to feel it’s easier to contact you than to contact their bank. This is why your customer service lines should be open and answered immediately. If someone goes to the website for assistance they should see a message that says: “Do you have a problem? Click here.” Communication should be quick, easy and responsive.   High-Risk/Low-Risk Classifications Conal goes into options the credit card companies have in classifying businesses as either high- or low-risk. He explains that much depends on your payment relationship with the banks. This can affect the 1% fraud threshold when fines start being levied. While businesses classified high-risk may have a higher fraud threshold, the downside is that some banks may decline charges from a high-risk business. Learn more about InovioPay and credit card processing for dating sites by watching the entire interview video. It’s important information for those in the dating site game. 2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

Let’s Talk Digital Marketing and Law

We had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Corey, owner of the Law Offices of Corey D. Silverstein, P.C.. Corey has extensive knowledge in the digital marketing field. When we asked Corey what he saw as the biggest errors for those just starting out in digital marketing make, he was quick to answer.

You Need an Agreement

This may seem a matter of common sense in most businesses, but Corey indicates people sometimes underestimate the need for a good agreement in their excitement over opening a digital business. He cautions that it is still a business and must be thought of as such. When asked what type of information is necessary in a good agreement, he named several factors:

*Profit/Loss distribution – Everyone gets excited about the prospect of earning money and often don’t consider how the profits will be divided. What is even more likely to cause conflict is deciding how a loss will effect each member of the deal. In regards to any business, Corey cautions, even family members need a legally binding agreement when money is involved.

*Ending of partnership – What terms are in place if one partner decides to pull out of the business completely? It is important to decide if someone can simply walk away or if they need to sell their shares to other partners. Knowing exactly what is to happen if the partnership is dissolved is necessary to avoid legal complications down the road.

*Conflict resolution – You don’t anticipate problems going into a business, but anything involving two or more people is bound to have some conflict. Having a plan already in place to deal with these issues can make a huge difference in time, money and relations. You can include details such as when formal resolution is needed, how it is to be accomplished and even who is going to mediate.

Taking on the World

We next asked Corey what advice he would give to someone who was interested in expanding their business into a place such as Europe. Here is where we learned some very surprising facts.

There is a need for extensive research. Not only do you need to know and comply with all the regulations set forth by your local, state and federal regulation committees here in the United States, but you are also required to comply with all the regulations set forth by the area you are seeking to do business in. Every country has its own laws and regulating committees, but so does each local area.

Corey states that many new business owners are surprised that if you do business with even one person in a region, you are subject to all the laws in that region. For example, we have always seen the disclaimers on certain products saying they are not available in such and such a state. Even if you are not located in an area, you must make sure you comply with that areas laws. It is not up to those who do business with you, but with you.

Privacy Issues

As Corey explains that knowing and complying with all relevant privacy issues is one of the most essential things you need to do. The subject of data security has gained a great deal of attention in recent months and every country has its own safeguards that must be addressed.

In addition, many European countries have in place censorship laws that you are required to comply with even if they are not a consideration in your area. It is important that you develop a privacy policy that lists accurately exactly what measures you have in place, what they are meant to protect and how you will deal with any instances of breach of privacy.

Corey cautions that it is necessary to write your own privacy policy, based on your particular situation because every business has different concerns. This is one area that is specifically business-based. He also states that there are laws in place that protect people when you state a safeguard is in place and it is not.

Final Words

Litigation is costly. The Small Business Association contracted with the Klemm Analysis Group of Washington, DC to conduct a study of the impact of lawsuits on small businesses. The study found that “an average civil case can cost $50,000 to $100,000 to litigate through trial exclusive of appeals and any judgment.” They also found the impact of one case on the business itself and the physical and emotional health of the business owner were even greater.

Our legal expert reminds you that it may seem time-consuming and expensive to see that you have done all your homework, have prepared an extensive privacy protocol and have an agreement that covers everything; in the long run, it is less expensive than facing a lawsuit.

Watch the complete video. If you have legal questions or concerns regarding your digital business, complete our contact us form and we will get you in direct contact with Corey Silverstein.

Advanced Email and Multi-Channel Marketing

DigiWorld Partners had the honor to sit down with Ariel Roberge, head of Carma Marketing Hub’s North American operations. In our interview, we discussed advanced email and multi-channel marketing (as employed by Carma’s software solution), as well as how they help their clients reach beyond just email marketing using their advanced platform.

EMAIL AND MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING IN THE MODERN ERA

As of 2015, there are over 4.3 billion email accounts across the Internet, with this figure expected to grow to 5.6 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, 66% of these ~4 million have made a purchase online as a result of email marketing messages, as of 2013. These statistics show a massive, present-day presence of email and email marketing on the consumer side.  But what about businesses? In 2014, 55% of businesses reported 10 percent (or more) sales being generated from emailIn the same year, 88% of marketers who employed email marketing reported a positive ROI. Meanwhile, it’s even better for businesses who make usage of targeted marketing. In the United States, consumers say that targeted email marketing (based on their previous purchases and other customer data) made to them after a purchase is 81% more likely to convince them to make another purchase than other forms of marketing. For businesses and consumers alike, email marketing seems like the way to go. However, email isn’t the only marketing platform. For this reason, advanced email and multi-channel marketing (that is, marketing that takes advantage of the multiple channels of communication available with consumers) is prominent now more than ever, and this prominence is only going to grow as more and more people shop online and use the Internet regularly. Using the multiple channels available for marketers (email, web, in-app, SMS), digital marketing is growing into a larger behemoth than it’s ever been. To learn more about the latest innovations in email marketing, watch our full interview with Ariel Roberge on this page or continue reading the article below.

Ariel’s History

Ariel Roberge is an experienced marketer who focuses on email marketing. Ariel has been working online for twenty years, and was involved in ecommerce since the founding of Amazon. He participated in a few startups, B2B projects, acted as a consultant to major banks for 12 years, and five years ago he joined a company based out of Stockholm, Sweden that specializes in 1-to-1 Digital Marketing. This company’s name is Carma Marketing Hub. Taking advantage of their full suite of features is known as multi-channel marketing, which can be a huge boon to sales, data collection and data analytics. These channels are web, email, SMS and mobile apps. Effective data collection and marketing in these areas can result in a large return on investment and a higher conversion rate, both huge boons for ecommerce businesses. Carma’s goal is to allow their clients to leverage the data they have on customers and create detailed customer journeys with interactive messaging.

Advanced Email Marketing

This advanced email marketing system allows an automated system to follow up on initial purchase, the first engagement. In most buyer’s journeys, buying the product is the end: marketing afterward for repeat business is the usual goal of this kind of marketing. Interactions that continue in this post/during-purchase phase can be automated by surveys and promotions being sent to the buyer through email. Their software allows people to profile different clients based on their interests, automatically. This saves manpower and allows less-technically savvy people to manage their platform. This can be applied in both B2B and ecommerce. However, the emails being sent out through this program aren’t the same for every customer. In traditional online marketing, businesses gather data based on what the customer has purchased and looked at to create buyer profiles. From there, emails are created that fit each buyer profile, and while, say, one buyer profile may equate to, say, 7% of buyers, there’s still the remaining 93% of buyers who need to be profiled. In the past, this process of profiling and writing personalized messages for the people who fit those profiles could take weeks, or months. It required extra manpower, usually hiring marketing managers. Nowadays marketing managers can just manage the flow instead of doing the gruntwork, and the platform can do most of the work automatically. Using the platform’s Segmentation and Personalized Content Engine, a process that used to take up to a month can now be done in a few days.

Apps, Web, Advanced Email and Multi-Channel Marketing

However, Carma Marketing Hub doesn’t focus solely on email marketing. Their focus is advanced email and multi-channel marketing. Customers today are going to approach you on more than just one channel, so having multi-channel marketing in place is fairly important. Apps, in particular, add an extra element of interaction to purchases and customer interactions, such as providing better communications or discounts. Businesses who can take advantage of advanced email and multi-channel marketing (usually ecommerce and dating sites) can benefit from this kind of system, especially if they start with it from day one. Over time, the program can actually start creating and managing behavioral data. As Ariel explains, behavioral data in the dating context can be seen in someone who most often clicks, say, blonde girls instead of brunette. This preference isn’t being explicitly stated to the site, but it is being implicitly demonstrated, and the site can start showing better results based on that. Behavior like this can be tracked on apps, websites and even (albeit in a more limited form) in email communications. Combining behavioral data from multiple channels can lead to more effective advanced email and multi-channel marketing solutions. This can be significantly more effective than traditional on-site advertisements. Patterns like these benefit a marketer’s ability to more easily target market segments and client profiles.

Ideal Clients and Content Marketing

An ideal client for Ariel’s business is anyone who has customer data that they can leverage. Size doesn’t matter that much. Some clients, however, make the mistake of thinking they can handle marketing in-house and as an afterthought, creating mass-messages to send out. These clients usually discover that this is more difficult than they thought, so they come to the company for assistance. In addition to all that Carma offers with marketing and advertising, they also offer Content Management Software. CMS is a key part of the company’s offering, in addition to its advanced email and multi-channel marketing tools. This CMS boasts the following features:

  • It allows an entire content marketing team to work on content simultaneously.
  • The software prioritizes user-friendliness above technical expertise, so less training and less employees are required to use it properly. Without advanced technical knowledge as a requirement, more business experts can use the software effectively.
  • The ability to reuse elements from old advertising campaigns, such as page banners.
  • Easy building and testing of segments without needing an SQL database expert. As long as the person understands the data, they can create segments to market to.

Machine Learning and What’s Next For Carma Marketing HUB

As you may have gathered from previous points in the article, Carma Marketing is all about utilizing customer data analytics for advanced forms of targeted advertising and search results. This is called Machine Learning, and Carma hopes to use it to create new marketing segments and find new ways to market to those segments. For more email tips & tricks, read “Why List Segmentation is a Must for Email Marketing“.


2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

5 Basics You Need For Effective Lead Generation

As a mark of an effective sales funnel, lead generation is an important metric for marketing. However, few marketers actually feel that their lead gen campaigns are useful. To make sure you’re creating the most leads,  here are five basic tips and techniques you’ll need to follow:

1. Create Irresistible Offers
Entice your leads by making an offer they can’t refuse, so to speak. There are certain keywords that can induce a psychological response that increase your offer’s appeal. In other words, while your product or service may be great, the way you present it needs to be greater. It should create a sense of urgency and need in your potential leads.

For example, one of these keywords is “scarcity.” When something is in short supply or only available for a limited amount of time, it creates a sense of exclusivity. Whoever is lucky enough to get in on the opportunity feels that they have been given a special experience.

It can also work to show how popular something is. As unique as people wish to be, they also don’t want to feel left out. If you can prove your product or service’s impact with numbers, it can be a great way to reel in potential customers.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to tailor these offers to different stages of your sales funnel to guide your leads through it. If your leads are at the later stages of buying, you don’t want to provide them basic educational materials, like you would for those who are just beginning the process. Use a variety of product formats with varied, interesting language to engage your leads and see the deal through to the end.

“You can’t settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to CTAs.”

2. Use A Superior Call To Action
If you aren’t using effective calls to action, you’re missing out on an important aspect of lead generation. CTAs are essential for driving conversions, so you can’t settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to this part of your marketing.

First, make sure they’re visible. You don’t want website visitors to gloss over your CTA, so make it visually enticing and place it in a spot where it can’t be missed.

Next, don’t think too hard about what it says. In fact, the more straightforward you are, the better. Marketers can get caught up trying to be pithy or clever in a CTA, but the result ends up confusing viewers and driving them away. Instead, help it stand out with color and position it strategically. For example, a “thank you” page that follows an action on your site is prime real estate for a CTA.

3. Enhance Your Landing Pages
In many cases, your CTAs will link to landing pages, which are vital to lead generation. According to MarketingSherpa, landing pages are effective for 94 percent of B2B and B2C companies. Clearly, you don’t want to let this part of your website falter.

The anatomy of a landing page isn’t very complex. You need a headline that matches the corresponding CTA, a brief description accompanied by an image and a form to collect information. You’ll also want to make sure visitors aren’t encouraged to move away from the page. You can delete your main navigation bar to do so.

Just as with your CTAs, the mantra for landing pages is to keep it simple. That means a clean, informative page that is clarifying, not confusing. If you’re looking to boost their effect, having more landing pages can be beneficial. The more content on your site, the more opportunities you get to generate leads.

Keep your landing pages and their respective forms simple to enhance their effectiveness.

4. Optimize Your Forms
Forms are an important part of your landing page. They’ll help you gather information to convert leads.

While there is no exact right way to build the forms for your pages, some suggest that shorter is better. Long forms can look like a lot of work and visitors may avoid them altogether because of it. You don’t necessarily have to limit how much information you ask for, though. You can shorten the form visually by tightening the space between fields. However, the best way to determine these aspects is by testing them out for your company and target audience.

Another tip is to avoid using the word “submit.” Instead, associate the form with a specific action to let visitors know what they’re getting out of it, like “download our whitepaper.”

5. Generate Through Multiple Channels
While we’ve been discussing the many ways your website plays an instrumental role in lead generation, you’ll need to spread your efforts to other platforms. Some channels to consider are blogs, emails, social media and search engine optimization. By targeting buyers in a place that’s convenient for them, these avenues can help you significantly increase your outreach and overall success with lead generation.

With these tips, you have the tools to improve your overall marketing strategy. Lead generation is one of the most important steps in creating an effective sales funnel and increasing revenue, which is why it deserves your time and attention. For further reading, be sure to check out our ebook, “Top 30 Tips & Tricks for Lead Generation.”

2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

When’s The Best Time To Post On Social Media?

Any solid marketing strategy nowadays includes social media, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is adept at using these platforms. One of the more challenging parts of including social media in your marketing plan is knowing what times to post – the answer is certainly not whenever you want to or can.

Hubspot explained that ideal posting schedules depend on a few different factors, which include the platform, target audience, target region, the content of the post and its goals. While these specifications can influence your social media strategy, there is some data on when and how often you should post on certain sites. Fast Company went as far as saying there’s a certain science behind the right social media approach, and that following those parameters can almost certainly help you achieve your marketing goals.

“There’s a certain science behind the right social media approach.”

Facebook
Based on data compiled by SurePayroll in a handy infographic, Facebook’s highest average click through occurs between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The site’s peak is on Wednesdays at 3 p.m, which SurePayroll called the “afternoon slump” – a time when people take a break from work to check their phones.

Neil Patel, columnist and founder of Crazy Egg, a site that shows businesses where its audiences are clicking, also praised the afternoon as the best time to post. According to Patel, 1 p.m. posts get the most shares, while 3 p.m. posts get the most clicks.

SurePayroll’s data showed that the worst time for Facebook posts is on weekends, before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. – when users are presumably either asleep or out doing better things than browsing the web. However, Catriona Pollard, an author on PR and social media strategies, wrote for the Huffington Post that activity on the site increases just before the weekend, going up by 10 percent on Fridays.

For more insight to help you assess the best times to post, Facebook gathers the information for you based on your fan activity. In the posts section, you can regularly check up on the data in “When Your Fans Are Online.”

Twitter
According to the SurePayroll infographic, the best times to post on Twitter are Monday through Thursday, between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The site’s peak time is Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s no coincidence that these times are close to lunchtime, when people are on a break checking their Twitter feeds. Commute times are also ideal for posting. Pollard pointed out that Twitter users are much more active on the site on their way to work, making posts at 12 p.m. or between 5 and 6 p.m. She also said that posts by business-to-business organizations should focus on Monday through Friday, while business-to-consumer organizations should target weekends and Wednesdays.

To boost your chances of engagement even further, tweets with images result in higher percentage of clicks, visits, retweets, favorites, conversion rates and leads. Pollard also explained that tweets have a much shorter shelf life than other social media posts, requiring a higher posting frequency – the publication recommends around four tweets a day to maintain exposure on a feed. As a time saver, try using a tool that can schedule your tweets. You can compose them in the morning and let them post on their own throughout the day.

Beyond the basics, know when your target audience is online and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an extremely useful resource for B2B marketing. According to Patel’s infographic, 93 percent of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn as their top source of social media lead generation. Based on the site’s purpose and audience, it makes senses that LinkedIn’s peak times are during work hours on weekdays.

SurePayroll’s data showed that the best times to post on the site are Tuesday through Thursday at noon or between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Understandably, Fridays are a slow day for LinkedIn, when professionals are winding down from the week and straying away from work-related content.

SurePayoll also indicated that the number of mobile LinkedIn users are increasing – going from 38 percent in October 2013 to 41 percent in the 2014 survey. Unlike Twitter, Pollard said to avoid scheduling LinkedIn posts – it can give your audience the impression that you’re not really active on LinkedIn. Instead, make the effort to post once a day and ensure that the tone fits the site. Since your target reader will be looking for more professional content, it shouldn’t read as casually as a Facebook post or tweet.

Conclusion
Overall, the best rule of thumb to follow is to tailor your content and positing schedule to the platform you’re using. Each site serves a distinct purpose within the social media landscape, so believing that a post for one could be equally effective on another is a rookie mistake. Make sure you’re factoring in your audience, their goals and the times that they visit these websites with each post you make. It’s not an exact science, but treating your social media strategy like one can help.

2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

5 Important Marketing Trends for 2016 [Infographic]

While there are certain tenets of marketing that will always remain true, the industry is constantly being reshaped by new trends and technologies. For this reason, it’s all too easy for a marketer to fall behind and lose an edge on the competition. To get your efforts up to speed, look at these five important trends that are anticipated to make the biggest impact in 2016:

1. Community and Relationship Marketing
Consumers are more savvy than ever these days, which is why marketing in 2016 will stress the importance of building relationships instead of direct sales pitches. The goal of relationship marketing is to obtain customers who are loyal and engaged, instead of short-term goals like acquisition and sales. Having a solid relationship with your customers means ongoing business, free word-of-mouth promotion and leads for more business.

Having this kind of relationship must come from creating content that serves your audience in various ways, maybe through learning or problem-solving. Keep in mind that any communication with your audience, whether it’s through content or direct correspondence, should feel personal and interesting. A solid relationship is also contingent on having reliable and responsive customer service.

2. More Video Ads
Google searches already favor pages with videos, but it will also include video ads in search results this year. Now more than ever, this tool is an invaluable asset. When Google tested video ads with some of its business customers, most said it played a part in boosting revenue.

Regardless of Google’s plans in the coming year, videos continue to be extremely prevalent. In the U.S., 78.4 percent of Internet users watch videos online. The numbers are similarly high in other parts of the world.

Taking advantage of this popular platform follows the same protocol as any other type of content. On its website, ReelSEO, a resource for video and online marketing, wrote that those in the mobile generation, aka the demographic for videos, hate being the target of obvious sales pitches. Videos need to be fresh, creative and serve a bigger role than just promotion.

x_0_0_0_14121145_800
Connected devices within the Internet of Things are becoming a pinnacle of marketing in 2016.

 

3. The Rise of the Internet Of Things
In any industry, the 2016 trend talk is all about the Internet of Things. With the advent of wearable devices and other technology that can communicate with one another, digital marketing has more platforms to work with than ever before. This means more insightful data for marketers, as well as an opportunity to better organize than information.

4. Location-Based Marketing
With so many people connected to devices, location-based technology has become a burgeoning focus of 2016. This type of marketing relies on data collected from consented location-tracking, whether it’s through a user’s check-in or in-store beacons, to deliver personalized advertisements to a customer’s phone when in a certain area. Across the U.S., digital markets have already begun using RFIDs and iBeacons in their strategies.

5. Increased VR Experimentation
As they’ve become available, marketers are also hopping on virtual reality products to provide more experience-based content for consumers. While it can cost more than other traditional methods, marketers are expected to have a worthy ROI.

While these aren’t the only trends that will crop up in 2016, they will make an indelible impact on how marketing moves forward in the next year. Anyone lagging behind will surely feel the disadvantage. So you can better remember some of these topics, check out this visual guide:

 2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

The Growth of Video and How To Leverage It

Online video has shown tremendous growth over the last couple of years. From 2013 to 2014, the number of videos viewed increased by 49 percent, according to comScore’s 2014 U.S. Online Video Rankings. That upward trend is continuing into 2016.

In a recent report, Cisco found that by 2019, nearly three-quarters of the world’s mobile traffic will be video-based. This is a considerable jump from 55 percent in 2014. More so, video has grown as an important marketing medium. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 82 percent of B2C marketers use video as part of their content marketing tactics.

“In the digital age, your competitors expand beyond your own market.”

While online video has a certain prevalence, not everyone knows how to leverage its power. One of the biggest challenges is creating the content without spending a fortune. The other is standing out. In the digital age, your competitors expand beyond your own market – you’re in pursuit of someone’s attention against millions of other options.

However, there are a few ways you can make sure you’re producing quality content and using this rapidly expanding medium to best serve your marketing strategy. Here, we discuss four ways to do so:

1. Take an Integrated Approach
If you want to make sure your video content works with the rest of your marketing strategy, build your efforts around it. You want to offer consistency in your brand, which means no weak links in your content. According to Marketing Magazine, this means leveraging your budget to ensure that every aspect of your marketing strategy is working seamlessly.

2. Look At Your Competitors
If you want to stand out in an age so rich in video, you’ll need to study what your competitors are doing and see how you can do it differently or better. For even more inspiration, look beyond your industry at anyone making interesting video content. Marketing Magazine points to TV channels that create extra content for their websites. Ask yourself: How do they separate this media from what they air on TV? What about it reels in an audience? Identifying what makes good video content will help you create yours.

x_0_0_0_14125252_800Some marketing experts argue that content is more valuable than video quality when it comes to online videos.

 

3. Serve a Purpose
While video quality counts, the content is still worth more. Your videos should serve a purpose, like to educate or entertain. If the content is interesting, your viewers will respond to it. MediaMiser, a media monitoring and analysis software provider, said it’s better to focus on creating the content than perfecting it. While certain quality details – like sound – do make a difference, making videos that portray your brand identity and exhibit a passion for the subject or industry is what counts when it comes to captivating an audience.

4. Don’t Limit Yourself
If you’re creating video content, the last thing you’ll want to do is limit where you share it . Don’t just share your videos on your website – post them on YouTube and other social platforms and get them out there for people to see. The more exposure you seek, the more views you’ll get. You’ll also give your audience more chances to share the video themselves. You can further expand how you share by repurposing content so each platform gets a unique experience.

Despite any challenges, online video is a great platform for any company in virtually any industry. The ways that consumers engage are always evolving, but online video has maintained an impressive growth. Now is the right time to take advantage of this medium – when it can be cost-effective and show a return on investment.

2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

1 2 3