Month: January 2014

How To Find A Profitable Niche

6 Facebook Marketing Tips for Managing Your Facebook Page

Wondering what works and what doesn’t for your Facebook page?
Or are you overwhelmed with all of the Facebook tactics you read about?
No matter how long you’ve had a Facebook page, it’s good to review some of the basics for creating a page for your business.
This article includes six simple tips that will make you a more effective admin and make your page more professional starting today.

#1: Check Your Wall-posting Preferences

Does your page get a lot of, ahem, critical commentary on its timeline? Or maybe just more than you have time to deal with easily? If so, it might be time to set your page’s Posting Ability tab so that only your page admins can post.
Here’s how: Choose Edit Page from your Admin panel. Then choose Edit Settings.

You can add/remove admins directly from the Admin panel.
From there, edit the Posting Ability tab and decide if you want everyone to be able to post on your page, or if you want to allow only your page admins to post.

You can adjust the posting ability to fit your page’s needs.
While I normally advocate allowing open access to a page, and even leaving negative posts up so your customers and future customers can see how you deal with criticism, for some businesses it’s just simpler to let people message you privately if they have an issue. Setting to “Posts by Page Only” also prevents Facebook users from spamming you.

You’re able to choose to allow everyone to post to your page or limit posting.

#2: Use Insights to Determine What’s Working for Your Page

There are two basic types of Facebook page admins: Those who post based on hunches as to what motivates engagement, and those who look at Facebook’s Insightsto see what actually drives engagement.
Checking Facebook Insights will help you give your fans what they want. For example, if you notice that the posts with images have better reach and engagement than those that are text only, try removing the images to see what happens.
Since Facebook is always messing with EdgeRank, it can seem like just when you have figured out the formula for engagement, something changes. Checking Insights will help you stay on track, no matter what algorithmic changes Facebook throws your way.
A few months back, Facebook did a complete overhaul of Facebook Insights and Jon Loomer wrote a nice article for Social Media Examiner that walks you through the latest features.

Facebook Insights provide valuable information about the actions of your fans that can enhance your Facebook presence.

#3: Assign Admin Roles

Facebook allows five different administrator roles: manager, content creator, moderator, advertiser and insights analyst. Each role has different capabilities—only managers have the ability to change each admin’s role. Facebook makes all admins managers by default.

Each admin level has different capabilities for a Facebook page.
You can have as many admins on a page as you want. To add an admingo to Edit Page on your timeline and then click Admin RolesScroll down and select Add Another Admin.
Note: To make someone an admin of your page, the person must have liked the page.
To prevent conflict among your employees and before you assign your Facebook page’s admin roles, establish some company-wide guidelines. Some things to consider:
  • Have a quarterly Facebook training session. Discuss roles and address etiquette and expectations for employees who manage the page. At the quarterly meeting, discuss new Facebook features, address concerns about previous posts and talk about new tactics that you’d like to implement.
  • Define the voice of your page. Each individual has a unique voice, but when representing a business or brand on a Facebook page, the page admins should work together to form a consistent voice. Make sure that your page admins understand the established voice and that they are expected to use that voice when communicating with users and fans online.
  • Keep a shareable document (e.g., a Google doc) that outlines companysocial media policies. Employees should refer to the document at any time when they need to know what to post—and what not to post. This document should also include recommendations about how to interact with your Facebook fan base.
  • Keep admins to a minimum. Don’t give just anyone admin rights to the Facebook page. The fewer people managing a page, the better. Two or three admins actively updating, responding to inquiries and managing the page are plenty.
  • Keep communication between admins open. “If you’re not sure, ask!” is an elementary concept, yet it’s an important one. Whether responding to a particularly difficult user comment or sharing an article on the timeline, establish a rule of thumb that if any admin is unsure about whether something is appropriate, s/he should ask another admin for an opinion. Encouraging page admins to have open communication with one another will help reduce mistakes.

Adding new admins is easy as long as the person has liked your page.

#4: Choose Your Featured Likes 

Liking other business pages helps you build connections (and when they reciprocate, gives you added exposure), but you might not want certain pages to be among the first things visitors to your page see. Luckily, you can control which of the pages you’ve liked appear on your timeline.
Five of these likes are displayed at any one time, and the five that appear randomly change each time the visitor to your page refreshes—unless you edit which pages appear.
Why would you want to do this? You might want to feature pages that are related to your business. Or perhaps you want to feature pages that you think will be relevant to your readers. (If you pick more than five, they will rotate randomly.)
To choose featured likesgo to your Admin panelchoose Edit Page, then Edit Settings. Next, click More and then select Featured. From there you can edit your featured likes.

Try choosing featured pages that are relevant to your business that you think your fans would like.

#5: Bookmark Facebook’s Page Guidelines and Reacquaint Yourself With What’s Changed Recently

Facebook changes its terms of service…often. And unless you follow the company’s blog or frequently check their Page Guidelines, it can be difficult tokeep track of what’s allowed—or not—during a given month.
Of course reading social media blogs like Social Media Examiner will help you stay in the know, but page admins should still bookmark Facebook’s Page Guidelines and read the document at least once a quarter.

The constant changes of Facebook’s Page Guidelines require businesses to read and reference them often.

#6: Use Facebook as a Page Instead of as Yourself

Chances are if you’re the admin of a page, you simply head over to your business page and when you comment or post, you act as the business. But did you know that you can actually change your profile so that you are on Facebook as a page and not just as a personal profile acting as an admin on the page?
Why would you want to do this? If you happen to own or work for a B2B company, it’s a good way to build alliances with other businesses that are in your same industry (but aren’t competitors).
Let’s say you own a restaurant. You’d want to interact with hotels nearby so that when people check out the hotel’s page, they see your (positive and helpful) comments and are motivated to check out your business. Of course there’s a fine line—you don’t want to post too often or be so complimentary that your posts appear insincere, spammy or otherwise annoying. But posting as a page is a great way to network with similar businesses and leverage the marketing power of Facebook.
To act as a page on Facebook, click on the Settings icon in the top right corner of your Facebook profile and you’ll see an option to Use Facebook as” with a list of the pages for which you’re an admin. When you choose to Use Facebook as a Page,” you are able not only to post and comment as that page, but also your news feed contains the updates from the businesses your page follows instead of your personal friends and page likes.

Using Facebook as a page offers a variety of benefits to B2B companies.
Hope you find these tips helpful as you look for new ways to invigorate your Facebook presence!
What do you think? Do you have any Facebook tips to share? Please share your comments below.

Million Dollar Email Marketing Secrets

John Chow million dollar email marketing secrets presentation to the Vancouver Business Network.

A Comprehensive Guide for beginners to Content Writing for Search Engine Optimization

Copywriting is an art of writing information for various forms of media. It has evolved through time from its early forms in books, magazines and newspapers, Copywriting has again transcended from its usual form and practices into the new internet era; Copywriting as utilized by the Search Engine Optimization business is also known as Internet Content Writing, Web Content Writing, amongst other terms. The various terms of Copywriting shall be used interchangeably throughout this text.

This article will try to tell you about the basics of copywriting and its advanced application on the SEO aspect. This article aims to provide the beginners in the Search Engine Optimization industry, an in-depth but friendly guide to seo content writing, as well as providing the more advanced copywriters with a guide to remind them of the several tricks they might have forgotten about the craft.

This guide shall be divided into the three parts of the copywriting process: the before, during, and after. This is the first part of the guide dealing with the things a copywriter must do BEFORE writing the copy. Succeeding parts shall be posted separately.

Before Writing

Before doing any writing you should first know the purpose why you’re writing that content. Your purpose should be clear and definite so no equivocation of ideas will exist that might confound your readers. Is the writing for sports? Is it for entertainment? Is it educational? These things should be clear on your mind before you write your copy, so a natural flow will exist as you write.

Another thing to consider is to know whom are you writing for and who are the people you wish to convey the message to? Knowledge of your audience will give you many benefits: people with different cultures only respond to a specific approach you use, technical terms would be very trivial when talking to beginners while spelled out and explained details would be very time consuming for experts. The internet is used by a vast network of people and your target may only comprise a very small minority. It is important that you address your target effectively if you want more conversions (making site visitors into customers) on your web site.

About the resources

Knowing the right information will certainly give you the right results. Knowing what people want and what they are searching for will be one of the keys to make it big in this business. One of the things that can help you acquire this information is through case studies, surveys and polls that can be found all over the internet. Most of these studies provide general demographic information about internet users. If you’re lucky enough (since it is discouraged), you might even stumble with information regarding the searching habits of different demographics.

Once you have decided to use particular information from the internet, make sure that it is from a reliable author or source. Incorrect and inaccurate data proliferates all over the internet and it happens that you may be misled by others to use them, so, see to it that the articles or studies you are about to use are made and conducted by certified educational institutions or known private companies so you will not have any problems about their authenticity.

Another effective source of information from the internet are pages which rank high among search engines especially those that are related to yours. Analyze and learn the effective things they have done to increase their PageRank and apply them to your work. You could also check out the pages of your top competitors, you might learn a lot from them but be careful not to copy their stuff as it is since they will be constantly checking out their competition. Copyright guidelines are finally catching up with those who replicate content, ending blacklisted by major search engines.

SEO forums are also helpful in guiding you about the latest trends in the Search Engine Optimization business. Experts usually crowd in these forums to discuss the tricks and trends of the business. Moreover, new updates and trends about Search Engine Algorithms and Technology can be found on these forums so it is highly advisable that you check out those forums. However, the forums might be a little too complicated for beginners as terms often become too technical to understand even by seasoned users.

About the words

Now let us go down to business! It is time to know what are the keywords and keyphrases you will use for your copy! The key words and phrases would be the ones that you will use and try to integrate throughout the whole copy. It would be the bait you place in the hook in order to attract and hopefully catch your potential customers.

First of all, you and your client should brainstorm together (face to face if possible) about the keywords and keyphrases you want to use for the copy. It is important that you brainstorm together so that you will be able to stay true to the brand and have an effective choice for use in the search engine optimization efforts. You could make use of different keyword tools found in the web such as Keyword Discovery, GoodKeywords, WordTracker, Overture, etc. (issues regarding their usability and effectiveness will be discussed separately). These tools can be downloaded or used directly over the internet should you choose to utilize it.

In choosing keyphrases or keywords remember to start with and use popular but “not-so-competitive” terms since it would be very difficult to compete with more established websites if you have just been starting. The above-mentioned tools will help you determine which key words or phrases you could use.

One word keywords are very difficult if not impossible to compete with as it would have a more general scope compared with keyphrases. For example, if you are trying to write content for a company selling educational toys, choosing a keyword like “toys” would be a stupid idea since search engines would give around one hundred million hits for that particular keyword, while changing it into keyphrase like “toys for students” or “educational toys” would only have hits of around five million. This means that the chance that a web searcher would actually go to your website would be 100,000,000:1 under the keyword “toys” while choosing the keyphrase “educational toys” means a chance of 5,000,000:1, greatly increasing your chance of being visited. Besides, customers are more likely to refine their searches since using or typing just one word searches would mean being bombarded with a lot of unwanted information than they need, costing more time and effort.

Your keywords should specifically target (1) the product or service that you are offering and (2) what people actually type whenever they use the search engines in looking for products and services like yours. A good example would be when writing content for a company selling kilns for bricks, you should not optimize for the keyword “kiln for bricks” if most people actually type “oven for bricks” when they are looking for such equipment. It is useless to optimize for the term kiln when most people opt to type oven since a few if none will be looking for the term kiln.

You should also identify and discover various words and terms which are closely related to your keyword or keyphrases. Some key-terms and keyphrases are so intimately intertwined with others that one group associates it with a particular field while another choose to associate it with something else. One good example would be Cosmetic Surgery. Cosmetic Surgery is a medical procedure, so, it can be regarded as something related with medicine and surgery, while it is also correct to say that it is related with cosmetics and beauty. Since the fields of medicine, surgery, cosmetics and beauty are popular fields, optimizing for both the cosmetic and the surgical aspect of the keyphrase Cosmetic Surgery would bring more keyword hits for searches from individuals of both parts of the spectrum.

Another thing to consider is to integrate local terminologies or equivalents of your products or services when optimizing with key words or phrases. An “elevator” in the US would be a “lift” in the UK, a “truck” in the US would be a “lorry” in the UK, and the list goes on. When trying to sell products or services for a huge demographically different society, you should optimize for both of the groups as each would tend to search for the more familiar local term. Better yet, you could create different sites for different demographic groups, replacing particular key words and phrases; enabling you to cater to both.

Moreover, it would be wise to consider placing regional information or regional key words or phrases. Integrating regional information along with keywords and keyphrases enables users who prefer more specified searches to visit your website. You would also benefit from the limited competition because of the more specified search. Most people looking for products and services in the internet would certainly prefer to find what they need locally, so adding local regional information would definitely be of great help to you and your potential client. Another benefit is that you could add another keyword, which is the regional information to your existing key word or key phrase. For example, instead of having just “plumbing services” add “Atlanta” before ‘plumbing services’. This would give you an edge over competitors as it would profoundly decrease your competition.

About the content

Now that you have the key words and phrases you would need its time to plan about the general thrust of the content, on what the content should be like.

Generally, the main idea of writing content is for it to be able to provide useful information for visitors in your site. You are primarily writing for the readers, the human visitors of your site, and about the products and services that you have to offer. Secondary to that idea is to provide the search engines information so they could properly and accurately index your site according to its proper category, so anyone who wants to look for something in particular, through the use of search engines, would eventually find what he needs. In other words, your content should be both customer-oriented and search engine friendly.

In order to do that, you need to plan properly on how to do your copywriting. The whole text should be able to give them what they need and want to know about the products and services you have. Hence, it is highly advisable that you read a lot of information about the subject product or service before you write the actual copy. The goal is to become extremely knowledgeable about the product, so you can explore all the possibilities and play with its strengths and weaknesses and write everything that is needed.

One important thing to remember is to write content that is unique. Copying content is not only plagiarism and cheating but is also a serious offense that could cause painful penalties under existing Copyright laws. More and more Intellectual Property Rights watch dogs are reporting cases of content stealing and have gained some grounds over the years. Major search engines are now penalizing sites which illegally acquire content from other sources. Penalties include permanently putting sites under a blacklist, sort of a “permanent not to contact sites” for crawlers. Lawsuits and cases about web content writing are now increasing day by day, with more countries enacting laws on Intellectual Property Rights. The risks are just too great if you plagiarize and copy content. So make sure that you quote or place endnotes when you choose to use parts of other’s content.

And lastly, your content should be written in plain, simple, and natural language so as not to destroy the natural flow of words as you write. Highly technical words and terms should be reserved for highly technical discussions, and should be discouraged for everyday internet use.

About the mood

You might be wondering what a section about mood is doing in a seo copywriting article, well, it certainly has a LOT to do about content writing. The mood of the reader would certainly affect the way he views a certain product or service. If you did not properly take care of the emotional side of your customer with your writing, consider him gone. Individual moods are affected by a lot of factors; although primarily it is internal, external factors could also affect his mood significantly and luckily what that individual reads is one of them.

First of all, you should be ‘in the mood’ for writing. Good copies are mostly written by writers who are either inspired or enlightened with what they are about to write. Content writers should make sure that they are in this special mood because the consequence of the opposite would be a very bad copy. A reader is also likely to be ‘drawn’ by an emphatic copy written superbly which would eventually end up making the reader get what you are offering.

One thing you could do to achieve that is to utilize emotional appeal to the reader. Try to integrate personal articles like “you”, “we”, and “us” more often; try to get your visitors as involved as possible. Avoid being too passive as it would prevent you from establishing a connection or a relationship with your target reader.

Keep your readers or customers engaged with your site. Make them think and interact by asking questions, giving riddles or trivia. All these create an air of friendliness for potential customers, and once you’ve made them comfortable reading, they are more likely to respond positively to you. As much as possible make them do all their transactions within your site, give out all the details about what you are offering so that can know everything they need to know. Trying to get online visitors ask questions and product or service information offline will be too cumbersome for them so be as accessible as possible.

Image is courtesy of

Affiliate Marketing: How Long to Make Money?

Rosalind Gardner discusses how long it takes to make money online as an affiliate marketer.

LinkedIn, the dinosaur of the social networking world is anything but archaic

Five smart and simple to implement ways to maximize Linkedin are sometimes overlooked. Check the list below to be sure you haven’t missed out on the opportunity Linkedin offers.

I was first introduced to LinkedIn in 2007. By an 82-year old woman who was making a fortune in direct sales. Like many entrepreneurs, I was attending a networking meeting, trying to drum up business for one of my start-ups; a home tutoring business. I was a tutor broker who woke up one day and realized if I didn’t get involved in social media, my business would cease to exist.

I sat there, dumbfounded, that this senior citizen was aghast when I told her I thought LinkedIn was for corporations and job seekers. Oh, how naive the younger set (me) was back in the early days of social media! My 20 plus years in corporate America were behind me. All I knew about LinkedIn (little to nothing) was that it was the blue-suit of the online networking world. And, I had given my blue, gray, brown, and black suits to a consignment store.

The direct sales wonder woman, however, insisted I go home and sign up for an account. So, I did. She was kind of intimidating and I felt somehow accountable to her, as I knew she would check up on me. So, off I went and filled in my profile and started connecting with everyone and anyone. Turned out I also knew absolutely nothing about target markets and ideal clients. Before long, I had over 300 connections and was having a ball. Unfortunately, none of them needed or wanted tutoring for their kids. My efforts and race to 500 connections so I could be a LION were in vain.

Fast forward to 2010. My entrepreneurial gene blossomed and lo and behold, after taking a social media class, I discovered my inner online networking mojo. Luckily, I was a quick learner and the potential and promise of social media became very clear. So clear, that I ended up coaching and teaching others about the world of social networking. Tutoring business be damned! I found my passion and never looked over my shoulder when I sold my business and reinvented myself. I went back and disconnected from about 389 people (Ok, exactly 389 people) and figured out LinkedIn was going to be one of the best ways to attract business, share my story, and establish myself in my new career.

Five reasons for my love of LinkedIn that I teach my social media clients follow:

LinkedIn is not just for finding a job. What began as a recruiter’s best tool is now a networking paradise for over 259 million users. Your ideal client is on LinkedIn – go forth and wow them.

NOT being on LinkedIn is one of the biggest professional mistakes one can make, regardless if you are selling widgets or are the CEO of a major corporation. They don’t call in LINKED “in” for nothing. It’s not who you know, it’s about who you know who knows someone else who knows someone else who needs and wants to link up with you. A potential customer is thinking of doing business with you? You can bet they will check your LinkedIn profile first.

Ignoring your profile and summary can be detrimental to your career. Fill in every single section, thoroughly. And write it in first person. Tell your story, give people a glimpse of what makes you tick and how and what you’ve accomplished to arrive where you are today. Share why you are doing what you do. Leave nothing out and begin your summary with how people can get in touch with you. LinkedIn users actually read the summaries and profiles, so give it some thought.

If your target market is local, don’t run away. LinkedIn has a strong enough membership that even the 82 year old granny that I met who would only travel 10 miles from her home – during daylight hours – made a great living and had a Mercedes paid for by her direct sales company to prove it.

Linkedin groups rock – big-time. And don’t even think there are no groups that would interest you.  There are over 1.2  million groups from which to choose. After joining, participate; share  your information, knowledge, and educational based marketing tips.

LinkedIn is not about numbers, photo contests, or stupid pet videos. It’s all business, all the time. You don’t need a suit and tie. You do need to set aside some time to look at what others see (your profile and posts) and present yourself to the millions with class and poise. If the octogenarian could do it, you can.

What is your favorite feature on LinkedIn? What have you tried that worked out well? Please share your successes!

Top Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Website

Discover 6 ways to increase traffic to your website – 3 expert tips and 3 of Adam Ginsberg’s website traffic recommendations.

How To Do Traffic Generation With Pinterest

Have you heard about Pinterest yet?

Pinterest is a place where you can pin your interests. You can create boards and pin images to them to share them with your followers. That is the simple way to put it.

The two main things on Pinterest are boards and pins. Imagine it as having a cork board where you can pin images of your birthday party :) Here’s how one of my Pinterest account looks like:

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How to use Pinterest To Generate Free Traffic For Yourself?

Here’s how to kill 2 birds with 1 stone when it comes to Pinterest and making money, and how I automate a lot of it.

I’m just going to jump right into it, and if you have heard of this site before but haven’t tried it out you’re missing out and don’t let that put you off from reading the rest of what I have to say.

At the end of the day, Pinterest is still a social site. People pin stuff they like while surfing the web and they can also repin pins someone already put up over there. I put it off a long time ago just because I didn’t think it was a viable option for internet marketing. People are on the site for social reasons… they do not have the intention to buy. How wrong was I! I tried it recently and got so much traffic it was crazy. Also, after only a couple of days of use, my first Pinterest account is exploding with followers.

So here’s what I do, plain and simple.

  1. Create a Pinterest account.
  2. Then, create your board and upload a pin (i.e. a picture). Name your board according to the niche you are in to make it relevant and easy for people to find.
  3. Find images related to your niche via Google images or other means, and download them. I prefer using royalty-free images (you can google for them).
  4. Start pinning your images onto Pinterest board. You can either put your link in the comment, or after pinning several images go to Pinterest and edit the link in the image. This way, people can be linked from Pinterest to your site when they click on your link or your image.
  5. Let the traffic and money roll in.

That’s it. It’s so simple and so effective. Just give it a try for 1 week and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and be sure to make your links bit’ly or something else that keeps statistics of the clicks so you can see what I’m talking about.

Here’s what I do to get more followers and traffic.

Explode Your Followers With Pinterest

Find someone that looks real that has a pretty even amount of followers and the people they are following. Then follow who they are following. The limit is about 200/day

Like 20-50 pins/day

Repin 20-40 pins/day

Comment on pins (with call-to-action for people to visit your boards) 30-50 pins/day

Now, do you see how simple this is? But do you also see how much time you would need to do this everyday if you want to get results? Say you pin 20 new images every day.

– Time to find 20 images: 20 images x 1 min = 20min

– Time to find people to follow on Pinterest: 0.5min X 100 = 50min

– Time to find people to like: 0.5min x 50 = 25min

– Time to find pins to repin: 1min x 40 = 40min

– Time to find pins to comment: 1min x 30 = 30min

– Total time required everyday: 2hrs 45min!!!

That is roughly the amount of time you have after coming home from work. What about time for dinner? Time for shower? Family? Social life? Personal stuff? You know what I mean. Hello~~ You are doing internet marketing so that you can have more free time, not to take up more of your time!

Get Your Life Back By Automating Pinterest!

Click To Enlarge

This cool piece of software was developed to help me automate all the process of finding pictures online, pinning and repinning pictures and finding people to like and follow. And now, I use this to help me free up my time while I do more value (i mean money)-adding tasks like product creation and webinar creation.

As you can see, the first tab “Find Cash Pins” will help you to find pictures on flickr using specified keywords and pin them on your board complete with the url link and description. You can even determine how many pictures you want to pin.

The second tab “Pin Drop” allows you to find relevant pins (using specified keywords) to comment. When people see you comment on their pins, they would also be more likely to visit your boards or repin your pins too!

The third tab “Liker” helps you to find pins on Pinterest to like. Also, people whose pins you liked are more likely to follow you back or to like or repin your pins.

The fourth tab “Re-pin King” helps you to re-pin other people’s pictures onto your own board. When your board grows, so will the number of followers :)

The last tab “Traffic Avalanche” is designed to help you find people with similar interests to follow.

As you can see, all these functions are developed with one aim in mind — to increase your exposure on the net by increasing your number of pins (and the url embedded within) as well as your number of followers. As your web grow, the more traffic you will get. 

Wouldn’t you like to have a software like this to help you? Now, this doesn’t come cheap at all… It costed US$15,000 to develop this software, many a Friday and Saturday nights spent testing the software and discussing with the developer how to improve it. Normally, I will let go of this software for US$997. However, you can get this software for absolutely FREE if you sign up here right now for Matt Lloyd’s “My Online Business Empire”Then send me your receipt and I will send you your Pinterest automation software for FREE! 

Happy Pinning and Watching Your Money Grow

Email Marketing Trends for 2014

ClaraThis webinar, presented by BlueHornet’s VP of Strategic Services, Kara Trivunovic, will take a look at what’s on the horizon for 2014. Including:

– Doing more with progressive profiling
– Continuing to optimize your email for mobile rendering
– Leveraging interactive content
– and much more

Affiliate experts share their frustrations from 2013 and expectations for 2014

Affiliate Marketing had a big year in 2013 with the industry now estimated to be worth a staggering £9bn. With that in mind I asked some thought leaders in the Affiliate Marketing industry for some of their thoughts on 2013 and what they think will change in 2014.

A big thanks to Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director at Affiliate Window, Helen Southgate, UK MD Affilinet and Owen Hewitson, Associate Director Acquisition from Starcom MediaVest Group.

2014 has come. Where do you think we will see the biggest changes over the next 12 months?

Helen Southgate (HS): I’m not sure we’ll see any big changes as such, more a developmHelen Southgateent and progression of the current channel. There will be some regulation areas to look out for though. The RMR comes into effect from 1st Jan meaning cashback cannot be used in the utility sector. The “cookies” legislation is still ongoing and is not likely to be resolved soon. The FCA will likely want to show their worth since taking over from the FSA so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some potential impacts there in the financial sector. The IAB AMC is keeping tabs across all of these changes and will keep all relevant stakeholders updated.


Owen Hewitson (OH): The biggest challenge in our industry lies in how we represent ourselves.Owen1 Collectively, affiliate marketers have been guilty of far too much naval gazing and talking to ourselves about ourselves. As a result we have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to how those outside of our channel see us, and where we fit in the multi-channel mix. The challenge for 2014 is to recognise this and reposition our industry as an acquisition-focused delivery mechanism. I offered my view on how we can do that earlier this year.



Kevin Edwards (KE): I would like to think we’ll see the industry working with third parties to

Kevin Edwards crack the cross-device challenge if individual companies cannot do it themselves. We’re way past the tablet and handset tipping point and all research shows us consumers are interacting with multiple devices in order to purchase online. Without additional insight into what this journey looks like the affiliate channel, like any other digital channel, will effectively be working blind.

I’m sure individual companies must be assessing what they can do, so the challenge will be whether they innovate or they rely on piggy backing someone else’s technology to understand consumer behaviour.

The other change will be a further move towards granularity. The industry has been working to drill down and down into data, and we work reasonably effectively on a granular level, but more and more affiliates will recognise the power of their data and use this to build better client relationships – as well as to create additional complexity and sophistication in our understanding of the channel.

How have you seen mobile impact the channel and how do you expect this to evolve?

HS: I always find the question of mobile entertaining as mobile has affected us much the same as most other digital channels. I read a lot of reports in the industry about the growth of mobile and always wonder why we are surprised at this and why it is headline news. It’s a change of consumer behaviour that’s not limited to the affiliate channel, and one pioneered by the genius of Apple! Despite talking about it a lot and releasing lots of data, I don’t think that anyone in digital or the affiliate channel has totally embraced mobile, probably because it’s moving so fast.

If I think about my Christmas day at home the room will have 3 iphones, 3 ipads, 1 kindle, 1 Hudl and a smart TV. I think the industry has struggled to keep up with the rapid change and growth of technology in this sector, but when we do get it right it will be hugely valuable. It’s about getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time and in the right format. There are so many opportunities going forward which not just the affiliate industry needs to embrace but also the broader digital industry. Once they catch their breath that is!

OH: I think that some of the developments in mobile such as receipt scanning apps could help ease the introduction of many FMCG advertisers into industry where traditionally it’s not been clear what their place could be. Looking ahead, there are some interesting technological developments on the horizon that have immediate applicability to our industry. Apple’s iBeacon technology, which use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transmit or receive with an app to offer micro-location awareness may not be immediately applicable for publishers’ apps but provides a huge opportunity for app download campaigns as retailers start a land grab to get their apps on consumers’ devices.

But in the latter part of 2014 there will be one major new development that I foresee as revolutionising mobile: Glass. With Apple hardly innovating in mobile technology it’s only Google that has the capability to produce a game-changing device. I’m not convinced by any of the wariness around Glass and expect that its extraordinary features will outweigh concerns around looking stupid when wearing it. This time next year I expect that when we talk about ‘mobile’ we’ll mean much more than just phones and tablets.

KE: It can’t be understated how much of an impact mobile is having and will continue to have but few people have crystallised the opportunity well. I think we’re all confused by what we’re supposed to be focusing on and that lack of vision has led to a scatter gun approach with some companies throwing everything at mobile in the hope that some of it will hit the target.

For me the focus has always been about evolving e-commerce into m-commerce. It’s frustrating that we’re still talking about tracking as being a challenge: that a network can make a statement that 75% of their mobile sales track and pass it off as a positive news story is pretty damning when some clients are seeing one in three or one in four sales through handsets. Let’s not run before we can walk: app download campaigns, mobile wallets and Display are all well and good but if we’re haemorrhaging revenue that should, by right, be ours, then we’re doing a pretty poor job.

I want 2014 to be the year when we stop talking about the ‘tracking challenge’ and we start talking about clearly defined mobile opportunities for both existing and new affiliates.

What has been the biggest development in 2013 for you?

HS: Personally, the growth of the UK business at affilinet. We have had a very strong year despite a slow summer period for online which has been mitigated with a strong end to year. The UK market is really dominated by one affiliate network but I think there is room for a quality network, with excellent people looking to deliver top class affiliate marketing; and this is what I intend to do.

OH: The publication of the IAB’s Online Performance Marketing Study was a major step forward in demonstrating the maturity of our industry. Whereas previously the best guess of the value of performance marketing was Econsultancy’s slightly finger-in-the-air guess, now we have a study that’s concrete, broad and properly-audited. That another is planned for publication in 2014 can only solidify the progress made by this year’s.

KE: From an Affiliate Window point of view it’s been the transformation in how we process data internally. The insights we have as a network now, compared to a year ago, have changed how we approach certain elements of the business and how we talk to clients. I think data should be about empowerment: unlocking the potential to make better business decisions. And as soon as you start to unlock one dataset, another presents itself to you.

On a more macro level, seeing how affiliate marketing is perceived in the UK by overseas affiliates and advertisers has been eye opening. We have an industry we should be very proud of and is hugely appealing. There’s great untapped potential there and we should all be working harder to bring it to these shores.

It goes without saying that Google continues to cast a long shadow and we know anecdotally some traditional affiliates continue to slip from the channel. The revenue is being replaced with new blood but it’s critical we try and ensure we support those who are struggling. This should be a USP for networks but I don’t think any of us are doing enough.

What have been your major frustrations of 2013?

HS: A lot of talk and little action. I’ve seen a lot happen in our industry over the years and our industry has definitely grown and professionalised, however I feel the industry has lost some of the entrepreneurial spirit that it used to have. I feel that some apathy has crept in at all levels of the industry from networks, to advertiser, to agency and to publisher. I hope we get some of that spark back as we need it to not only grow, but to fight to keep what we already have.

OH: Amongst budget-holders both client side and internally to organisations our industry seems to suffer from a confusion between the aim of activity and the channel through which it should be run. Very often a client request for a mobile acquisition campaign (for example, an app download campaign) will be funnelled to a mobile team or agency that will then typically run a display-based campaign. But the original requirement was to produce app downloads, which is an acquisition, the budget for which should therefore naturally sit in our channel. Likewise with email. A client’s request for an ‘email strategy’ should not be interpreted to mean simply that they want to send more emails. In most cases, there is an acquisition-based KPI behind such a request that is front-and-centre of a client’s mind as an aim, even if articulated with reference to a channel. We are better placed as an industry when we can put ourselves in a position to identify that need.

KE: Poor decisions based on perception rather than fact. This is nothing new but nothing irritates me more than the peddling of certain beliefs that are passed on as fact when little critical analysis has been done to prove or disprove them. I’m also not a fan of multi-attribution commission models and have seen a certain creep (still a trickle rather than a flood) towards them that worries me.

It’s also depressing that networks seem content to appeal to the lowest common denominator as a point of differentiation to win business: price. It commoditises a complex channel and makes us all poorer, with fewer resources to support what is still by far the best solution for most advertisers looking to run affiliate programmes.

What should brands be doing to get the most out of affiliate marketing in 2014?

HS: Working closely with their networks to understand the value of their affiliate channel throughout the customer journey. The channel is diverse and wide-reaching yet we focus too heavily on the short-tail of publishers. To have a truly sustainable and scalable programme naturally you need to focus on the short-tail, but nurturing a long-tail will drive awareness and actions and advertisers will reap the benefits.

OH: For me, the obvious answer is to focus on the post-sale story. Rather than getting bogged down in fruitless debates about cross-channel or multi-channel attribution that seek to weigh the contribution of each channel and apportion a budget on the basis of a perceived value from sitting in a certain part of the user’s path-to-purchase, we should look at what happens after the conversion. Or more precisely, what the customer referred via the affiliate actually looks like – their relative value to the advertiser against other channels, and against other affiliates, in terms of metrics that would indicate this value. This is incredibly simple to do, requires no technological trickery and does not necessarily mean interrogating huge amounts of data.

Whether the affiliate channel produces customers with higher spend than other channels can be ascertained simply by looking at AOVs; whether affiliate-referred customers are more loyal can be demonstrated simply by looking at churn/retention rates. Advertisers that have done this have generally a very positive story to tell about the affiliate channel, a fact I have argued for earlier this year and which I believe we should seek to emphasise in case studies and media packs in 2014.

KE: Challenge your network on your data. Think of all the parameters you collect when storing affiliate sales and how these can be linked to provide better insights. It goes without saying that not all affiliate traffic is equal but this understanding needs to work across the whole purchase cycle from initial interaction to longer term customer value. A network typically only captures a certain segment of that data so when brands challenge them on making informed decisions, appreciate the limitation of what they have access to in order to do so. If you don’t have the ability to challenge that data, give it to your network who might be able to do it for you.

Get stuck in and allocate more resource to it: don’t judge purely on pricing and challenge your network on who your affiliates are, where their traffic is coming from and how you can work better with them.

The basics haven’t changed over the year: there remain few shortcuts, but if it’s not already, try and make 2014 the year your programme turned intelligent.

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