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Ethics of Affiliate Blogging

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The decision to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as using your blog posts as advertorials. The real affiliate marketing potential of your blog, after all, lies with the influence you have over the community of your readers.

Because blogs are a social medium, the readership is more than an audience. It’s a community. You have influence in that community because you’re a community leader (i.e. the blogger), and as a community leader you have a reputation.

Your potential as an affiliate marketer, then, stems from the influence that your reputation affords you. Basically, as a community leader you’ve built trust with your readership, so when you endorse a product or service, your readers defer to your judgment.

Don’t Abuse the Trust
If your potential as an affiliate marketer lies in the trust you have with your readership, it’s imperative that you don’t ever do anything to compromise that trust. Without it, not only will you not be able to refer any of your readers (and make a commission), but you’ll end up losing them, and the community that they make-up.

All this, of course, brings up the questions. How do you ethically promote a product (as an affiliate marketer) on your blog? Well, you do it simply by disclosing that you’re promoting the product.

As a blogger, the best way to (literally) capitalize on the trust that you’ve established with your readers is in your posts. After all, having a trust-based relationship with your readers doesn’t make them any less banner blind.

Catch 22: Product Placement
The real power of an affiliate blogger is in the (ongoing) conversation they have with their readers. It is here that they can generate the word of mouth buzz that converts into actual sales that they can subsequently make a commission off of.

Of course, when you start to insert product promotions in your post, you wade into the area of product placement. Because your readers are in a certain mindset when they’re visiting your blog, you have to mindful about you, er, place products throughout it. As Chris Brogan notes:

We have a little filter in our head that says, “We hope the news is as authentic as possible” and “we accept that TV shows and movies have product placement.” Those are two completely different contexts. It’s like one of my favorite sayings, “If I have you over to dinner, but then present you with a check at the end, something is wrong.”

So how do you handle product placement in a way that protects the authenticity of your blog and your voice — not to mention the trust you have with your readers? Here are a few tips.

Disclosure Page: Set up a disclosure page and link to it at the end of each post. Make sure to keep that page up to date with all the affiliate programs you belong to or have belonged to in the past. Even though you may have left an affiliate program a year ago, the posts you wrote at the time will still get hit with organic traffic, so you have to let new readers know that at the time you had a relationship with the vendor.

Be Straight Forward: Let readers know right off the bat that you’re an affiliate of the product/service in question. Your readers are smart people who can exercise their own judgment, and they’ll appreciated that transparency. Besides, the fact that they’re one of your readers means that they already trust you, so if you say that something is good, they’ll probably still be more likely to trust you than not even though you told them that you’re promoting it.

Keep it Real: Just because you’re promoting a certain brand or line of products, that doesn’t mean that you should be a full-time salesman for them. After all, you built a reputation and a community as a blogger. Don’t post only about the products you’re promoting. And don’t be afraid to give certain products negative reviews. It might seem like a waste of time because it won’t convert into a sale, but it will actually bolster your credibility for when you actually give something a positive review. Basically, call things as they are and let your readers know that you’re still looking out for their best (niche) interests — and not just trying to make a profit off of them.

Conclusion
At the end of the day, if you’re not sure how to go about promoting a product as an affiliate blogger, just ask yourself what you would expect from a blogger that you follow and trust. Basically, if you would put up with it from a blogger that you follow, read, and trust, then chances are your own readers are going to be okay with you doing it.

CT Moore (@gypsybandito) is the founder of Socialed, a Montreal-based consultancy that specialized in digital startegy, including SEO, content strategy, and inbound marketing. He also heads up Search and Social at Publikit, a boutiqe web dev agency. CT has worked with both start-ups and multinational brands in the tech, entertainment, ecommerce, and travel industries, including Microsoft Canada, WatchMojo, American Apparel and Luxury Retreats. His favorite feature of the Acquisio platform is the Facebook ad tracking module and you can ready his personal blog here.

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Making Money

Build Your Online Business with Marketplace SuperHeroes

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Have you ever wanted to run your own online business, but you weren’t sure what to expect or how to get started? The incredible thing about the online world is that you don’t need to be a big, recognizable brand yourself, nor do you need to develop and produce your own unique products. You can leverage all the systems that are already in place and start turning a considerable profit, but you need to know how to do it. And that’s what Marketplace SuperHeroes (MPSH) are all about.

The guys over at MPSH focus on helping their members create a 5-7 figure income stream selling low-competition, high-profit items on Amazon. And the cool thing is, they don’t just teach people to sell in the US – they work on “multiplying” sales and profits, by selling products in the US, UK and Europe, making this a global business model.

A Step-By-Step Comprehensive Guide

Approaching the world of online business can feel daunting and intimidating at first, and rightfully so. But that’s why Marketplace SuperHeroes was developed. Their flagship Core 2.0 Program is an online video course that you can follow, one step at a time, and get yourself moving towards building a successful, sustainable business that continues to make money while you sleep.

When you sign up to The MPSH Core 2.0 Program, you gain access to a number of different products, including Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Core 2.0 Program, as well as a number of bonus products such as Fuel Your Empire, The 1K Per Day Roadmap, Invincible Importing, and 30 Minute Legendary Listings. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus mostly on MPSH Core 2.0 Program (Phase 1).

This is where you really get started with the Marketplace SuperHeroes Core Program. It has been divided into six convenient modules, that you make your way through, taking action after each module. Don’t skip any, as each module builds upon the one that came before it, and so forth.  There are also helpful building blocks at the end of each module, to make sure you’re ready to move onto the next one. Realistically, you can start your business at any time, building on the knowledge and guidance as you make your way through the program.

As you open the first module, you’ll see that it is further subdivided into a number of parts. Each part comes with a brief write-up, along with a main video. Most videos are around 10 minutes in length, making them easily digestible. Conveniently, audio versions and transcripts are also available for reference, in addition to the videos themselves.

A Closer Look at Module 1

The basic structure of module 1 is mirrored throughout the rest of the MPSH Core Program. The introductory video in each module gives you some sense of what you can expect to learn in that module. That’s also where you’re introduced to your hosts.

After the introduction, you dive into the first video in the module. For example, for this first module, we learn about how you can get the most out of the system. The video course is largely structured like a PowerPoint presentation with voiceover narration. The presentation can include screenshots and screencasts, as well as more basic text-based slides as part of the deck.

At the root of it, Marketplace SuperHeroes is training you to be a successful global seller on Amazon, selling products that you can reliably source and resell in Amazon’s online marketplace. The objective here is not to become a big brand yourself or to grow into a massive company that requires significant management. Instead, it’s about creating a business and system that can generate reliable profit, day after day, from the comfort of your home, on your own schedule.

The videos explain why Robert and Stephen believe that Amazon is the ideal environment for such a business, like how it already has such a strong brand presence and how customers know they’ll get quality support. Each module wraps up with a longer analysis video where the guys provide a deeper dive into the content. Think of it like a post-show discussion or podcast episode about a TV show or movie you just watched.

Key Concepts to Begin

I won’t dive too much into the finer details here, as you really need to make your own way through the entire course to appreciate how much you can learn and apply to your own business. However, I will touch on a couple of key concepts that provide a sort of framework for the type of Amazon business you can expect to build by following this blueprint.

First, they describe the Rule of Five. If you can decide on five products that you can sell in five countries, selling five units per country per day at a $5 net profit per unit, you’re well on your way to online success. That works out to $18,750 per month or $225,000 per year. Remember that this is net profit, not total revenue. The Rule of Five really illustrates the power of multiplication and simple scale. They also mention that you should look for at least a 30% profit margin (they call it POR, or Profit on Return) for the products you choose to sell.

Another key concept is what they call the B.E.S.T. product strategy. This describes how you should go about choosing which products you want to sell. B.E.S.T. stands for Boring, Established, Scalable, and Tangible. In other words, you’re not looking for trendy products that could be a flash in the pan or brand new products that have not yet been adequately tested in the market. Instead, boring is best. These are the products that people will keep buying, outlasting fly-by-night trends.

The 4S Product Gauntlet

Another huge component to how Marketplace SuperHeroes guides your path to building a successful online business is the 4S Product Gauntlet. The 4S’s stands for Search, Shortlist, Select, and Source, and it’s the four-step process that goes into deciding which products you should sell on Amazon and how to get them. This ties into the related tool, which accompanies the online course.

As you can see in the provided screenshot here, the navigation is simple and logical to follow. The four “S” steps are all listed along the left column, so you can work your way through them one by one. There’s also a “Goals” tab at the top for working out some of the numbers you’d like to achieve. For the 4S, it’s easy enough to add products to your list for research purposes.

Remember that product research is an ongoing process, so while the starting objective is the Rule of Five, recognize that there is always room for improvement and refinement too. The videos explain how the 4S Product Gauntlet works, as well as how you can implement that strategy using the provided tool.

Become a Best Seller

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. As you work your way through Phase 1 of Marketplace SuperHeroes Core 2.0 Program and into Phase 2, you’ll be guided through a series of other concepts and frameworks. These include business structure, purchasing and importing, listing optimization, and international expansion. It’s critically important to understand these sorts of logistical matters, as they are part and parcel of running a successful online business.

Marketplace SuperHeroes really is a comprehensive guide to starting your own Amazon seller business. You are provided with hours of video content presented in a format that’s easy to follow and understand. It’s just up to you to put those lessons into action.

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Making Money

How to Drive More eCommerce Sales and Leads with Marketing Automation

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Something that you’ll learn very quickly, or at least that you should learn very quickly, is that it pays much more handsomely to work smarter rather than to work harder. If you want to run a successful business, particularly in the realm of eCommerce, you need to get out of the mindset that more hours worked will necessarily lead to more dollars and cents; it doesn’t. Instead, it’s much more about the effectiveness of those hours worked. The more you can automate and outsource, the more hours you’ll have free to focus on higher level, more executive tasks like strategy and positioning.

To that end, Flashy can take your eCommerce business and elevate it to the next level with advanced ecommerce marketing automation and email marketing. It’s positioned as “the smartest way to understand your visitors and customers,” giving you the opportunity to get the results you desire. Let’s take a closer look.

The Flashy Approach to eCommerce

There are a multitude of tools out there that you can use for different facets of your overall marketing plan. You might already use an email marketing platform for your email newsletter, for instance, and another as a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, and another still for optimizing website pop-ups or push notifications. Flashy brings all these components together as an all-in-one eCommerce solution.

One of the more profound and remarkably common challenges that you’ll find with eCommerce is that all of these moving pieces don’t “talk” to one another in the most effective manner. Each platform might maintain its own user list, for example, and you don’t get to capitalize on cross-referencing that data for maximum impact. Flashy overcomes this, because it’s an all-in-one system.

Indeed, the best and most effective forms of automation marketing are heavily reliant on customer and visitor data. The more specific data you can gather on any individual user, the better positioned the system can be in providing just the right message at just the right time. Flashy monitors and saves each and every interaction, crafting a unique customer journey for optimized conversion and the best customer experience.

Email Marketing Platform

Let’s take a look at some of the individual components of the Flashy platform. First, there’s email marketing. You can start with any number of the delightful themes and templates as a starting point, which you can then customize to best suit your specific branding and messaging.

Built right into the Flashy platform is a dynamic, yet easy-to-use email editor with drag and drop functionality. This makes it really easy for you to move the elements around to suit your particular needs. No coding experience or knowledge needed. And the emails are already mobile optimized, so you’ll know they will look great whether your subscribers are accessing them on their smartphones or computers.

Continuing with the mantra of leading with data to optimize the automation, the email platform offers robust and deep segmentation for your contact lists. You can segment your list based on a number of attributes, like geo-location and gender, as well as by actions, like purchase history and website visits. For instance, you may have a special message crafted specifically for a customer who has visited the “women’s jeans” page, is over 22 years of age, is located in Canada, and was last seen more than 30 days ago.

With a personalized message, delivered based on this segmentation and on the specific triggers you define, you give yourself the best shot at increasing leads and sales. You can track all of this through real-time campaign analytics, giving you key insights into who opened the email, who clicked on the links, what they did when they got to your website, and more.

Marketing Automation Platform

Really, the biggest benefit that you’ll see with Flashy is when you take advantage of the marketing automation component of the platform. You can set up the automation to be as complex or as simple as you like, as segmented or as generalized as you like. These specific workflows are really easy to understand and adjust, because they are all visualized in a drag-and-drop editor.

You can customize and segment these types of automations down to the individual customer, giving each and every one of your contact as personalized an experience as possible. For example, you might set up one series of automations that are targeting cart abandonment. From there, you may have one path for customers who have a cart value over $100 and a different one for under $100. You might set up an automation for customers who are subscribed to your emails and have opened them, but maybe they haven’t clicked on any of the links inside.

That one-on-one interaction empowers you to deliver just the right message at exactly the right moment, all happening automatically behind the scenes as you work on other aspects of your business. The deep segmentation and filters available to you are outstanding, from email and website activity to purchase history and customer lifetime value (LTV). Drip campaigns are all a part of this too.

Smart Popups, SMS Marketing, and Push Notifications Too

As alluded to earlier, Flashy isn’t just about email marketing either. The all-in-one eCommerce solution also empowers you to connect with customers in various other ways, including smart popups on your website, SMS marketing to their phones, and push notifications to their desktop and mobile devices as well.

Just as you saw with the marketing automation and email marketing, the smart popups are equally intelligent in their execution. Again, you can take advantage of advanced triggers based on specific activity, like scrolling, purchase behavior or exit-intent. These popups can also be populated with dynamic content based on specific customer activity too. If they browsed around on Product X, you might automatically suggest Product Y.

This improves opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, as well as a chance to reduce cart abandonment and grow your email or SMS list.

Pricing Plans Starting at $0 Per Month

The monthly pricing plans for Flashy depend on the package you want and the number of contacts you wish to manage.

What’s remarkable is that you can literally start for free with the starter plan and 250 contacts. That includes basic marketing automation, unlimited emails, and both email and SMS marketing for up to one user. More features are offered in the Professional, Master, and Enterprise plans, like smart popups, CRM, more users, unlimited history, a custom domain, and more. For context, the starter plan with 1,250 contacts is $13 per month, going up to $251 for 50k contacts and $394 for almost 100k contacts.

No matter the type of eCommerce business you run or the number of contacts you wish to manage, Flashy has a plan for you. And with advanced marketing automation to free up your time and to drive more sales and leads, it’ll pay for itself multi-fold in no time.

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Making Money

Evadav Native Advertising Network With Push Notifications

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It’s been said that the only constant in life is change. In few arenas does this ring truer than on the Internet. If you hope to succeed online, either as a publisher or as an advertiser, you must be prepared to adapt to the times. What may have worked for you a few years ago could be completely irrelevant today, especially in the increasingly competitive space to grab the attention of users.

Staying ahead of the curve, Evadav is a native advertising network based on push notifications. And it could prove remarkably lucrative for publishers, just as it represents a tremendous new opportunity for advertisers. Let’s look into this a little deeper.

Push Notifications for the Win with Evadav

When you think about most of the advertising that you see on the Internet, it’s largely passive in nature. You might see an ad banner running in the sidebar of a blog, or the sponsored listings at the top of a search engine results page. Users can just glaze right on past them.

The push notifications of the Evadav platform are able to by pass that traditional ad blindness, because the push notifications literally push themselves front and center to grab a user’s attention. At the same time, the ads are balanced against the desire to maintain a positive user experience where the ads don’t feel overly intrusive or annoying. The net result is a win-win for publishers and advertisers alike.

Evadav offers a “new form of monetization for your website” with “fast integration” and “the highest eCPM rate among all advertising formats.” You get paid whenever someone from your website (or from traffic that you purchase) subscribes to the push notifications. And that person who signs up is associated with your account forever, representing a long-term opportunity for continuous revenue.

Be Seen and Get Paid with Evadav Placements

Push notifications work on both mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, as well as on laptops and desktop computers.

You’re likely already familiar with the notifications you receive on your phone whenever someone sends you an email or you receive a social media message. The advertising side of push notifications work much the same way, and they work on desktop too. These small pop-ups appear on the screen of the user’s device, and they’re much more effective at grabbing a user’s attention than other ad formats.

You can monetize any geographic region (“geo”) with Evadav. Along with an average 12% conversion rate, 60% click rate, 100% system uptime, over 172k campaigns, and some 287k daily impressions, it’s no wonder that publishers are enjoying some of the highest eCPMs on the market.

Creating a Native Ad

Signing up for an Evadav account literally takes just seconds. All you need to provide is an email address and password, plus either Skype or Telegram as a means for your account manager to contact you. Account registration does not require moderation, so you’ll have access to the dashboard immediately. From there, you can get started with creating your “stream.”

Configuring the native advertising widget is easy. After giving a name to the stream, you give a name to the native ad, as well as the domain (HTTPS only) where the ad will appear. You can then optionally customize settings like the customer service worker name, time to next display and display delay.

The prompt constructor is what brings up the additional settings in the lower half of the screenshot above. That’s the pop-up for asking to show notifications to the user. Once they click “allow,” that’s your conversion and you’re well on your way to making money. You can customize the main text, as well as the text in the allow and cancel fields, plus the icon on the left if you don’t like the default bell. Once you click on “create,” the widget is sent for approval, which typically happens very quickly.

After the widget is approved, you simply go back into your dashboard to grab the code. You’ll need to download the JS file (it’s less than 1kb) and upload it to the root directory of your website. Then, place the ad code on your website where you want the ad to appear. And that’s it.

Creating a Popup Ad within Evadav

In addition to the native advertising option described above, you can also choose to create a popup ad that converts in exactly the same way: if someone clicks to “allow” push notifications on their device, either mobile or desktop, then you’ll get paid for that conversion. Accessing the popup ads is in the same area as the native ads; you just need to switch over to the popup tab in the widget creation tool.

There, you’ll see a place to give your popup widget a name. You can optionally include postback pixels and postback links, if you’d like, as well as a trafficback URL. If you use the default trafficback, you can maximize your earning potential through Evadav. There’s also the “complexity,” which represents how many times a user can cancel the subscription. And then there’s the option of choosing between a revenue share or a CPA model for payment.

Below that are a great number of templates for the popup ad, both adult and mainstream. Fro each, you can see the template name, as well as average conversion rate (CR), valid platforms, and allowable geos. Unlike the native ads above, popup ads do not require moderation and are available to you immediately after creation. You are given a popup URL if you buy traffic, as well as popup codes for your own website, both with and without your sub IDs.

Regarding how much money you can expect to earn, here is the current list of CPA rates. As a general rule of thumb, mobile earns higher rates than desktop, and most of the top-performing countries are of the tier-1 variety.

This Is Your Notification

As a publisher, the Evadav Native Advertising Network offers a lot of appeal. You can expect the highest conversion rates on the market, an easy-to-use interface, an effective monetization model, and weekly payments too with a low minimum threshold of just $25. They can pay out via PayPal, Paxum, Skrill, Payoneer, ePayments or Webmoney; there’s also the option for SWIFT with a $500 minimum. There are no minimum traffic requirements too.

If you’re looking for a new and lucrative way to monetize your traffic, whether you have a website or not, give Evadav a look. That’s one way to push your way to profitability!

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