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FeedFront Magazine, Issue 10

FeedFront Magazine, Issue 10

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Published by Shawn Collins
Issue 10 of FeedFront Magazine, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit.

This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes an Affiliate Summit West 2010 Recap in pictures, How to Kick the
Hype Habit by Rosalind Gardner, Walking the Straight and Narrow by Dush Ramachandran, and Increase Conversions by Shooting Your Designer by Tim Ash.

Also, the advertising tax fight, dealing with changes for advertiser landing pages, mobile marketing, and upcoming events.
Issue 10 of FeedFront Magazine, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit.

This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes an Affiliate Summit West 2010 Recap in pictures, How to Kick the
Hype Habit by Rosalind Gardner, Walking the Straight and Narrow by Dush Ramachandran, and Increase Conversions by Shooting Your Designer by Tim Ash.

Also, the advertising tax fight, dealing with changes for advertiser landing pages, mobile marketing, and upcoming events.

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Published by: Shawn Collins on Mar 28, 2010
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AffiliATe SuMMiT COnfeRenCeS: nYC AuGuST 15-17 + lAS VeGAS JAnuARY 9-11

The Official Magazine of Affiliate Summit Issue 10 | April 2010

4,125 Affiliate Marketers in Vegas!
Affiliate Summit West 2010 Recap
Page 13

How to Kick the Hype Habit
By Rosalind Gardner Page 3

Walking the Straight and Narrow
By Dush Ramachandran Page 17

Increase Conversions by Shooting Your Designer
By Tim Ash Page 28
www.affiliatesummit.com

Table of Contents
03 04
How to Kick the Hype Habit
By Rosalind Gardner

Cover photo: Dr. Robert Cialdini Photo by Brad Crooks

12 13 17 19 20 21 22 23

learning and Building Through Relationships
By Patrick Vesperman

24 25 26 27

By Joris Toonders

understanding the Mindset of Affiliates

The Work-at-Home Dad: finding Balance
By Daniel M. Clark

Affiliate Summit West 2010 Recap
By Shawn Collins

Your lifestream as One Big Affiliate link
By Brian Littleton

06

Behind the Scenes of Colorado’s Affiliate Tax fight
By Jeannine Crooks

Walking the Straight and narrow
By Dush Ramachandran

new look at Affiliate Motivation
By Geno Prussakov

07 08

Of Golf and Affiliate Marketing
By Matt McWilliams

Are You using Twitter the Right Way?
By Matt Enders

Ask Shawn Collins: Do Affiliate Marketers need a Blog?
By Shawn Collins

increase Your Productivity and Decrease Your Workload
By Brian Williams

Co-Registration 101
By Blake Hamann

28

increase Conversions by Shooting Your Designer
By Tim Ash

09 10 11

Dealing with an Advertiser’s landing Page Changes
By Ian Fernando

Should You listen To Your Affiliate Manager?
By Bryn Youngblut

Does Making S@#! up for Attention Work?
By Jim Kukral

upcoming events MasterCard Massacre Paves Way for industry leaders
By Laura Miller

Mobile first for Google. How About You?
By Michael Martin

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | APRil 2010 | 1

Issue 10 | APRIL 2010

editors’ note – 10th issue

The Affiliate Marketing Cowboy
Affiliate projects started and abandoned; blog posts, Tweets and forum posts made without thinking - those will be around long into the future; great ideas left on the drawing board. “I got a life that most would love to have; But sometimes I still wake up fightin’ mad” Working from home, flexible hours, freedom. It’s a great arrangement if you can make it work. Though it’s not easy and nothing is a given. Of course, you know that already. Maybe that’s why we get a little tense some days. “The urge to run, the restlessness; The heart of stone I sometimes get; The things I’ve done for foolish pride; The me that’s never satisfied” We’re a competitive bunch. If there is an average EPC for an offer, we want to do plenty better. If our competitors are making X with a network, we want to hit 2X. Trying to be top dog for the sake of it isn’t prudent business, though. No matter, we’re driven by our super-ego. At the end of the day, we are our business, so we’re bound to be unsatisfied by anything less than self-actualization. You’d never know I just took one intro psychology class back in college. Actually, it’s pretty clear, isn’t it? “We ride and never worry about the fall; I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all” We didn’t get into this business to be safe. It’s a constant gamble with so many variables, but that’s part of the beauty. We’re constantly trying to tame the wild horses of affiliate marketing. Yeehaw!

STAff
Co-editors in Chief
Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Co-Publishers
Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Contributing Writers
Tim Ash, Daniel M. Clark, Shawn Collins, Jeannine Crooks, Matt Enders, Ian Fernando, Rosalind Gardner, Blake Hamann, Jim Kukral, Brian Littleton, Michael Martin, Matt McWilliams, Laura Miller, Geno Prussakov, Dush Ramachandran, Joris Toonders, Patrick Vesperman, Missy Ward, Brian Williams and Bryn Youngblut

Graphic Design
Lynn Lee Design

Shawn Collins

Magazine Coordinator
Amy Rodriguez Affiliate Summit 1253 Springfield Avenue, Suite 327 New Providence, NJ 07974-1935 tel (417) 2SUMMIT (278-6648) fax (908) 364-4627 Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront Magazine always welcomes opinions of an opposite nature. For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com Interested in advertising? Please visit http://feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: contact@feedfront.com © 2010 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors

The affiliate marketer is a unique animal. It takes all kinds and there are many paths of an affiliate. We’ve got those focused on blogs, mobile, PPC, content sites, video, SEO, coupons, email, and any number of other methods to do it. Some wear a white hat. Others wear a black hat. We’re all working the frontier together and apart for some sort of common goal... starting up and building something of our own to pay the bills and enable us to live this life. I think country music artist Tim McGraw captures us all pretty well in his song, “The Cowboy in Me”. “I don’t know why I act the way I do; Like I ain’t got a single thing to lose; Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy; I guess that’s just the cowboy in me” Let’s admit it, we’re not rocket scientists. More like mad scientists. We know what we should do, but we don’t always do it. Like many of you, I’ve got a past littered with PPC campaigns that blew out credit cards, because I wasn’t paying close attention; or years of valuable content lost, due to a failure to back things up.

Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine.

How to Kick the Hype Habit
By Rosalind Gardner
Rosalind Gardner

As an affiliate marketer, you’re far too smart to fall for a line like “Make $100 Million (Lose 20 Pounds, Score a Hottie, Cure Your Acne) by Tomorrow – Guaranteed!!!” Right? Well, if you’re under the mistaken impression that your prospects are somehow less savvy than you, or that the best way to promote products online is by mimicking the copy that shows up in your spam folder, it’s time to reconsider your approach, as all but the most indiscriminate and unsophisticated buyers are sick and tired of hype. Like you, they have endured “snake oil” pitch bombardment for years. And with less money to spend in this down economy, smart shoppers are even more resistant to blatant sales copy. Write just one word to make the needle on their B.S. detector flicker ever so slightly and you’ve killed the potential for a sale. Worse, you have also lost the opportunity to build a profitable long-term relationship. If you really want “killer” conversion rates and “eye-popping” commission checks, learn to tone down your “amazing” promotional vocabulary and kick the hype habit with the following 5 tips. 1. Avoid making absolutist claims. Unless you are the one person on planet who can predict the future, don’t offer guarantees which cannot be delivered with absolute

certainty. More than a few affiliates have had their ClickBank and AdWords accounts suspended for making false benefit claims about their merchants’ products. If you’d prefer to stay out of court for deceptive advertising – keep it real. 2. Stay away from the CAPS lock. You don’t have to SHOUT at your prospects to get your point across. Just one exclamation point is all you ever need, if an exclamation point is required at all. Attract and appeal to a broader, more intelligent audience with simple and direct wording, without the cheesy styling gimmicks. 3. Don’t sell. Avoid “buy it now” and other aggressive sales terminology to create false urgency and make the quick sale. Your job is to educate readers so they can make well-informed buying decisions. Leave it up to your merchant to seal the deal. 4. Be patient. Hype-up copywriting is a symptom of laziness. A sustainable business takes time to develop, so don’t rush. Make the effort to create rapport with your audience by getting to know who they really are - their problems, wants, needs and desires. 5. Be empathetic. Communicate your understanding of your readers’ situation on an emotional level to build trust and the basis for a long-term relationship.

Use the copywriting strategies above to create something better than “grab a sucker quick” hyped-up copy that might make a few quick sales, yet destroys your long-term business prospects. Work at it. You can have a more lucrative and sustainable affiliate business when you strive to diffuse skepticism, forge emotional connections and create relationships with prospects who trust you with their hardearned cash. Learn to craft copy that builds trust and credibility with intelligent people - like yourself.

Rosalind Gardner is the author of the bestselling “Super Affiliate Handbook” and her various blogs and consulting services can be accessed through RosalindGardner.com.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | APRil 2010 | 3

The Work-at-Home Dad: Finding Balance
By Daniel M. Clark
table and 15 boxes of comic books in it. The corner desk has no chair, and the monitor has no computer attached to it. My printer is in there, wirelessly networked to my laptop, which resides on my living room coffee table. My office isn’t my office; my living room is my office. I get work done and get to hang out with the kids. 3. let the kids interrupt you occasionally The work I do allows me the freedom to be interrupted—something regular listeners of my podcast can readily attest to. Never has my business suffered due to an interruption by the kids. Welcome it! They can be a great stress reliever during a rough day.
Daniel M. Clark

I’ve spoken with a lot of people about their work situations at events like Affiliate Summit, in forums and on blogs. In my informal polling, the number of people in our industry that work at home far exceeds any other industry I’ve ever worked in. Many of us have kids of various ages, which can make for some interesting work days. Working at home when kids are around can be a challenge. If the kids aren’t of school age, they’ll certainly want your attention during the day, and finding a balance between work and family is paramount to a healthy, stable life. I’ve worked at home and been the primary caregiver (we never utilized day care) for over four years, and these are a few of my suggestions. 1. Blow off work We generally like to brag about how our sites make us money while we’re sleeping, right? If your sites are giving you an extra six to eight hours of income, take advantage of it! Spend an extra half hour having lunch with the kids. Leave your home office at 3 or 4, instead of 5 or 6. You’ll still come out ahead with a few hours of extra “sleep time” income. 2. Make your living room your office Who says you have to work in your home office? My home office currently has my son’s crib, his changing

4. Make the kids part of your work Depending on the kind of work you do, this might not be possible for you, but I know several affiliates that incorporate their kids into their business efforts. Kids are great at offering unfiltered feedback and coming up with ideas; they’re great at jumpstarting your creative juices, too. 5. Don’t forget your spouse Make time to spend with your spouse without the kids. This is often easier said than done, but it’s vital to a healthy relationship. I’ll occasionally read something on Twitter, usually from someone that likes to post “motivational poster” one-liners, to prove that they’re not wasting time watching TV. They’ll say that that they’re “a winner” because they’re “killing it” by cutting out all the so-called fluff in their lives. If you’re not working to have time for fun with your family and friends—yes, even occasionally watching TV—what are you working for?

Daniel M. Clark is a blogger (danielmclark.com) and one half of the Geek Dads Weekly podcast (geekdadsweekly.com), a show aimed at dads dedicated to raising kids in a digital age.

4 | APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

By Jeannine Crooks

Jeannine Crooks, Photo by: Brad Crooks

Behind the Scenes of Colorado’s Affiliate Tax fight
On the Saturday following Affiliate Summit West 2010, the first email alert came: “Over the summer you alerted us to legislation that would harm affiliate marketers. House Bill 10-1193 was introduced yesterday, requiring any out-of-state retailer with affiliate referral relationships to collect sales taxes.” Sure enough, the Affiliate Tax fight had come to Colorado. For the next three weeks life revolved around this effort, navigating through the intense, complicated process necessary to fight – and win – on Capitol Hill. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat. First, forget everything you learned in Civics Class. Second, it’s important to know that there was no single “eureka” moment in the fight. We’ll never know specifically what turned momentum our way. Success came from the combined efforts of hundreds of affiliates. In Colorado’s case, the bill’s primary purpose was to generate revenue to offset a budget shortfall, using the pretense that small bookstores suffered since Amazon wasn’t required to collect sales tax. Rebecca Madigan, the Performance Marketing Association’s Executive Director, helped us build a solid case against the tax, using the revenue collection angle. Fortunately Colorado affiliates like to network. Consequently, we had several meet-up groups willing to flood the email boxes of target legislators. In fact, one Senator pleaded with us to turn off the emails. We didn’t. Affiliates also posted relentlessly on legislator’s Facebook pages and replied to them on Twitter. I’ll be honest – testifying before the House and Senate Finance Committees was terrifying. The legislators, especially the Senators, were very intelligent and asked tough questions. However, some of the questions had nothing to do with our issue; their sole purpose was political grandstanding for the record. I had to watch every word I said so it couldn’t be used against us later. Over 70 people signed up to testify; ultimately only a handful spoke, but the Committee could not ignore the sheer numbers who showed up to protest. Jen Goode, Ken O’Donovan, Franklin Baker, Anita Edge and I spent an entire day visiting 21 of Colorado’s 35 senators. Since it is unusual for average citizens to show up at the Capitol to discuss a bill, this was a true advantage. We politely but firmly explained why HB-1193 would wipe out our jobs and still not raise tax revenue. Each Senator received a personalized packet including detailed information about the impact on their districts. The next day, negotiations began to remove “affiliates” from the bill’s language. Marc Braunstein, ShopAtHome.com and David Asseoff, Adperio.com (formerly CPAStorm) provided tremendous corporate resources, including legal counsel, public relations, and even hiring lobbyists on our behalf. Both filled the audiences with their staffs during Finance Committee testimony. I am grateful to those who helped, shocked at those who didn’t, and ready to support anyone else who faces the same challenge. The battle is ongoing in Colorado and other states. On Monday, March 8th, Amazon terminated all of their Colorado affiliates.

Jeannine Crooks is the Director of Affiliate Marketing for OneBigPlanet.com, a marketing company providing turnkey and customizable member savings & loyalty platforms.

6 | APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Matt McWilliams

Of Golf and Affiliate Marketing By Matt McWilliams
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read.” For affiliates, perhaps it could be worded, “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for the people you follow on Twitter, the posts you read in forums, and the blogs you peruse.” I grew up playing golf and one of the lessons I learned as a kid was from the late instructor, Harvey Penick. “Don’t go to dinner with bad putters.” What? How does that apply to business or marketing or well… anything outside of golf? What Penick was saying was that if you want to be a great putter, hang out with great putters. Penick was suggesting that to learn more about putting and developing the right mindset for success, you must associate with great putters. Go to dinner with them. Practice with them. Pick their brains and observe their attitudes, preparation, and routine. The same goes for learning or improving at anything. If you want to learn how to develop a great marriage, hang out with people who have been happily married for 10+ years, not your two college buddies who recently got divorced. If you want to get into better physical shape, hang out with people who are active and eat healthy, and stop meeting your pals for greasy burgers and fries for lunch. If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, stop hanging out with affiliates who whine all the time about the industry, their merchants, or their performance. Quit reading posts from people who discourage you. Quit associating with friends who tell you that you need to get a “real job.” Instead, find people who have a positive attitude about affiliate marketing and support you in your efforts. Find people who have been doing this for a while, had their ups and downs, failures and successes, and associate with those people. Find members at a forum like ABestWeb who are positive and helpful and read their posts. In your personal life, make sure that your friends and family support you. They should understand that you are working; not playing on the computer all day, and that you are committed to being successful. FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | JAnuARY 2010 | 7 Matt McWilliams of Legacy Learning Systems (www.learnandmaster. com/affiliates) is the 2010 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award Winner for Affiliate Manager of the Year. If they remain unsupportive or critical, they have one of two choices: get on board or get out of the way. That means you may have to end some friendships or avoid certain people until their attitude improves. You must make the choice to fill your mind with knowledge from people who make you feel better, inspire you, and teach you how to improve. It will have a huge impact on your current and future success.

By Brian Williams

Increase Your Productivity and Decrease Your Workload
As an Internet marketer since 1994, like you, I began every day writing down the short list of tasks I needed to do, and the long list of tasks that I was either following up on or doing for others who did not. My biggest challenge was finishing my short list every day and failing to invest most of my time doing the highest value activities. When I mastered the “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” and “The One Minute Manager”, my success blossomed and my results soared. My secret is so simple you may have to read this twice to grasp it: I learned to only do work that was AT my pay grade, and stop doing work below my pay grade. This is not to say I ignored work below my pay grade. I literally mean I stopped doing it and made sure others finished it automatically. new World Thinking Today the world has become more efficient than forward thinkers like Steven R. Covey and Kenneth H. Blanchard ever imagined it would be. Internationally ubiquitous communication systems like Skype, GoToMeeting and Screencast go everywhere - including third world, English-speaking countries with young, talented, hard working and Internet savvy superstars. Virtually speaking, this has led to a form of business that was unimaginable 20, 15, or even 10 years ago. It is the virtual team business. Today, growing companies are taking advantage of outsourcing their staff to increase capacity and profitability. Companies failing to outsource staff will eventually die. The few companies that are able to put off the employee outsourcing model are in a niche where competition is low. The dynamics are such that an affiliate marketer who embraces and masters virtual staff outsourcing will take his business to the next level and stay ahead of lesser competition. So, What Do i Outsource? Fortunately for affiliates, many companies offer outsourced staff that match the needs we require to be successful and focus our time on higher value activities such as strategic niche building and tightening relationships with our affiliate managers. For example, SEO, PPC management, copy writing, website design, blog creation, link building, social bookmarking, viral video marketing, video editing, keyword research, A/B split testing, reporting, and my personal

Brian Williams

favorite, cleaning out my email inbox are no longer tasks that I personally do. These get done by my virtual (overseas) team. For between $400 and $700 per month, you can hire a full-time virtual employee. I repeat: Failure to embrace outsourcing and affiliates will die, just like the manufacturing business died in the USA.

Brian Williams is an affiliate marketer and President of Pear Lake Partners, LLC, www.pearlakepartners.com a full service Internet Marketing provider; was part of the founding team at uBid.com, and launched internet lead generation at Toyota USA.

8 | APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Dealing with an Advertiser’s landing Page Changes
By Ian Fernando
Ian Fernando – Photo By Brad Crooks

Affiliate marketing is an industry that keeps changing. It is imperative that you keep on top of what is going on as it can greatly impact your business. One such change that happens often on the CPA side of the industry is the constant modifications to advertiser’s landing pages. These types of alterations can damage your business, especially after the affiliate properly targeted and optimized their jump page variables to make the offer convert. The worst part is that in all probability, the affiliate will never get notified by the advertiser or the affiliate network that they are

working with. It is very likely that the affiliate will find out simply by noticing a drop in conversions. Unfortunately, by that point, it comes with a loss of income. Luckily there are some sites out there that will help you be proactive with a problem such as this. internetOwl.com is a desktop application. You simply tell it which Web page to watch and it will check for changes periodically. If it detects a change either by HTML or text, Internet Owl will send you an email when the page changes. The best part about this desktop application is when Internet Owl finds some

changes, it can display the changes for you to see. ChangeDetection.com is a Web-based service which also detects changes and sends you a notification via email. Change Detection creates a log for the page or in this case, the affiliate offer. When it detects a change, it notifies you. Change Detection currently only monitors text changes and not HTML changes. For example, if an image has changed, you are not notified of the image change - only the change in the body of the text. While these services have been around for a while, they are definitely being

underutilized by affiliates. Keeping on top of your offers and campaigns can be the best thing you can do if the network or advertiser does not detect it first. Ian Fernando is the Founder of IANternet Media LLC and Blogger/Affiliate Marketer at IanFernando.com.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | APRil 2010 | 9

Does Making S@#! Up for Attention Work?
By Jim Kukral
food, beverages, lodging and merchandise. Attention equals revenue. Think about how many millions of people have visited Loch Ness in Scotland to try and catch a glimpse legendary Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster? Or, the money made off of tracking down Bigfoot, or the lost city of Atlantis? How many historical societies have claimed ghost hauntings to get more people through the doors? How many people have traveled to Area 51 in Roswell, NV to see for themselves if aliens do in fact exist? The answer? A lot. More than you can count, and they’re all customers. There’s no reason you can’t make something up to get attention for your business. Your customers might even like a nice ghost story. The point is that making things up sometimes just works. Consider a made up idea to be marketing, because that’s part of what good marketing is... telling stories. All marketers do this in some way or another. The difference between the good marketers and the bad ones is that the good marketers embellish and create and entertain to help convince you of a need for their product or service offers, and the bad ones are just trying to deceive you. Your potential customer is looking for something from you that they can latch onto, and telling a story is a great way to give it to them. I’m not talking about having a robust “about page” on your Web site (which is important to have, yes). I’m talking about creating a story out of your brand. What is unique or different or fun or sad or amazing about how your business or career came about? Tell that story, and if you don’t have one, make something up. Storytelling is an art in many ways, but it can be learned. Successful copywriters are master storytellers. They are able to tap into the emotions of their readers, engaging them and leading them to an eventual ending. In the world of marketing, that is the call to action, and until you have a strong call to action, you’re never going to be able to turn attention into revenue.

Sure it does. It happens all the time. For instance, a town in Israel is claiming a mermaid shows up at night to frolic in the sea for all those that want to watch. Local officials are now offering a cash prize of $1 million for the first tourist to take a photograph of the mermaid. Look, we all know there is no mermaid, so nobody is going to make the million bucks. But, it likely drives a lot of tourists, and tourists spend money on

The preceding is an excerpt from Jim Kukral’s book Attention! This Book Will Make You Money, which will be in bookstores in August 2010.

10 | APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Mobile First for Google. How About You? By Michael Martin
Mobile has been declared to be the focus of marketing with statements of next year almost as long as Red Sox fans had been saying it during their 86 year drought. 2010 is finally the next year for mobile marketing as Google CEO Eric Schmidt declared it so at the Mobile World Congress with Google’s new mantra of “Mobile First”. On the same day, Facebook essentially echoed this focus as they affirmed 2010 is a watershed year for mobile with approximately half their users already accessing the service via a mobile device. Why it’s important to these major Internet companies is the same reason it’s important to affiliate marketers as mobile is quickly becoming the most popular endpoint for users. This endpoint for users is done on a personal device that is more engaging and direct while also being timely and location aware. The iPhone truly brought smartphones into mainstream use in America, and Android takes it a step further, similar to IBM PCs proliferating over the inroads that Apple and Macs paved. Over 100 different Android devices will be available this year, along with the new iPhone 4.0 & Mobile Phone 7, as they blaze an Oregon Trail to a new Wild West for affiliate marketers to lay claim to. This new frontier will quickly advance to full mobile TV and video, along with a dominance of augmented reality merged with location aware social media and gaming. Will you be amongst the first in the mobile gold rush?
Michael Martin

Michael Martin PMP is the SEO Director at Resource Nation based out of San Diego, California.

Learning and Building Through Relationships By Patrick Vesperman
In March of 2009 I was asked by the Marketing Manager here at MagnetStreet, “How would you like to start and run an affiliate marketing program?” My response was, “What’s affiliate marketing?” He handed me Geno Prussakov’s book, “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing”, and said, “Read this.” So I did. And, I was hooked. Accordingly, it was the beginning of our program and my entry into affiliate marketing. One year later, I reflect on the program and all that I’ve learned about affiliate marketing and can boil it all down to one thing: relationships. If it weren’t for relationships, I wouldn’t be actively leading an affiliate program. Rather, I’d most likely be passively watching it fail. You see, right after I finished Geno’s book, I was inspired to call him and ask for help as I knew I couldn’t start a program by myself. That initial conversation spawned a valuable relationship. To this day, Geno helps me by answering questions, providing suggestions and even warning me about potential mistakes. Although Geno is the primary contributor, I can tell he still values our relationship. After a few months, I was at a point where I wanted to continue to improve our program but didn’t know how. Melanie Seery with Affiliate Advocacy ended up reaching out and providing me with ways to progress. After talking with Melanie on the phone, we met at Affiliate Summit West. She came right up and gave me a hug. A HUG! Who does that, except someone who values relationships? Around this same time I met Matt McWilliams at Legacy Learning Systems. I was looking for advice and he responded to one of my questions. He could have emailed me and that would have been that. Instead, he called. He didn’t have to, but because he called, Matt and I continue to correspond and find that we have more in common than just our roles as affiliate managers. Next, I decided it would be a good idea to ask my affiliates for advice, as many of them know much more and I do. Ratna Venigandla, from RedTagDeals, responded. While at Affiliate Summit West, I met with him and he shook my hand like we were old friends. Ratna provided me with a great perspective as an affiliate. He is a very genuine person and understands the importance of relationships. Many marketing and business “experts” suggest leveraging your relationships. Don’t. Leveraging is a form of exploitation. Don’t take advantage of your friends; engage with them. Call them. Hug them. Ask for help and provide help without expecting anything in return. Relationships are more than being Facebook friends or Twitter followers. It’s reaching out with assistance or being humble enough to ask for it. We are created to be in relationships. Human interaction (whether a hug, a genuine handshake or phone or face-to-face conversation) is vital to success in life. I

Patrick Vesperman

challenge you to stop leveraging your relationships and start valuing them.

Patrick Vesperman is the Affiliate & Social Media Manager at MagnetStreet and was nominated for Best New Affiliate Manager in 2009 by ABestWeb.

12 |

APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Affiliate Summit West 2010 Recap

The first day of Affiliate Summit West 2010 started with a series of educational sessions and the opening of the Meet Market, which was divided into two rooms for the first time to accommodate growth.

Networking events were taking place all around Las Vegas for attendees of Affiliate Summit. I headed to the ShareASale Under the Stars Party and had a blast. There were all sorts of games, food, open bar, a moon bounce, gaming tables, karaoke and more. Great time! The last thing of the night was the Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser, where over 100 folks turned out at midnight to bowl and raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Sadly, I didn’t manage to break 100. FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | APRil 2010 | 13

The second day of Affiliate Summit West 2010 started with a keynote address by Dr. Robert Cialdini. The talk from Dr. Cialdini took place in front of a packed house at the Penn & Teller Theater in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

After the keynote, crowds filed into the exhibit hall, which was bursting at the seams throughout the day.

Sessions were well attended in the morning and afternoon, too.

And even more crowds kept the hallways busy with informal networking.

The second day of Affiliate Summit West 2010 also marked the first time we held two networking events, Affiliate Showcase, where affiliates hosted tables and merchants could sit down and do business with them, and then the Vertical Exchange, where tables were broken up by vertical and affiliates and merchants in the same niche could find one another.

The conference agenda for the day ended with Ask the Experts tables, where six folks presided over roundtables on various discussions.

There were many networking events in the evening, but the one I attended was the Affiliate Summit Trivia Tweetup. There were dozens of us broken up into four teams to battle it out on Trivial Pursuit on the Wii. All four teams got each of the six wedges, but there could be only one champion.

The final day of Affiliate Summit West 2010 began with the fourth annual Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards. The Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards are affiliate marketing’s most prestigious, competitive honor for the leaders in the space. Award winners are recognized because they are innovative leaders with vision and influence.

And the winners were... Affiliate of the Year: Nicholas Koscianski Affiliate Manager of the Year: Matt McWilliams Exceptional Merchant: eBay Partner Network Affiliate Marketing Advocate: Angel Djambazov Best Blogger: Jeremy Schoemaker Affiliate Marketing Legend: Scott Jangro

The awards were followed by a keynote address from Brian Clark, Co-Founder of DIY Themes

Then there were a series of breakout sessions, as well as the final day of the exhibit hall. The conference wound up with the GeekCast.fm Live session, where podcasters from GeekCast.fm took questions and discussed industry issues. Thank you to all of the folks in the industry that came out for Affiliate Summit West 2010 – it was great to see you all. Affiliate Summit West 2010 ended up with a total of 4,125 attendees, making it the biggest of all 14 Affiliate Summits to date.

Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine.

All photos by Shawn Collins

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APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Dush Ramachandran

Walking the

Straight

&Narrow
the visitor buying the product through your affiliate link, you need to state that clearly. Provide genuine value: Whatever you do, attempt to provide genuine value to visitors. If the information you provide on your site is available for free elsewhere, attempt to provide real value by aggregating information found in a number of different places. Providing information that is available (albeit for free) in five different places, aggregated in one place may represent more value than merely reproducing information found elsewhere. Following these simple rules and exercising common sense can save you and your business a lot of trouble.

By Dush Ramachandran

Five Golden Rules to stay on the right side of the FTC, Google, MasterCard and Visa
Several marketers recently had their businesses severely restricted or completely shut down by the actions of the Federal Trade Commission, Google or the credit card companies, seemingly with little warning. There is a lot of confusion about how to stay on the right side of the law and avoid these traumatic problems. Here then are five golden rules to avoid trouble: Be truthful: This would seem to be an unnecessarily obvious piece of advice, but think about it. Are you being completely truthful on your site? If your site is sprinkled with ‘white lies’ which cannot be backed up, the FTC will not take kindly to this type of content. If the product review you’re providing on your site is thin and unconvincing, you are unlikely to convince Google that your site merits a high quality score and consequently your traffic will suffer. Do not annoy your visitors: Ask yourself if you would enjoy your site if you visited it.

Does your site automatically play a video without an easy way to stop it as soon as a visitor arrives? Are visitors, who try to leave the site, being presented with a fake chat exit script enticing them to stay? These are features of sites that real human visitors find annoying. Google takes notice of these features and you will find your landing page quality scores going down as a result. Do not try to trick or trap your visitors: If visitors are coming to your site to get information or find answers to a question, do not require them to become members or subscribe to your site, unless you’ve specifically told them in advance that membership would be required. Google will be inclined to view this type of entrapment as annoying and your landing page quality score will likely suffer as a result. Similarly, credit card companies frown upon forced continuity programs where the visitor is obligated to subscribe to a membership program to access a product. Give visitors what you promised them and sell them additional products when they are satisfied. Disclose your interests clearly: The FTC requires that Web site owners who write reviews openly disclose their financial interest in the review. In other words, if you got a free product to review, you need to disclose that fact. If you stand to gain financially by

Dush Ramachandran is VP of Sales and Business Development of ClickBank, and is responsible for ClickBank’s relationships with its affiliates and vendors, other strategic relationships.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE |

APRil 2010 | 17

Are You using Twitter the Right Way?
By Matt Enders
Matt enders

No, this is not another article asking “Do you have a Twitter account for your business?” or “How much time do you spend on Twitter?” Rather, this article is going to challenge you to ask yourself about your current Twitter strategies. The key question is, when you Tweet, are you talking at people, or are you conversing with people? We all know that social media, Twitter included, is meant to be a communication tool . What it truly boils down to is an opportunity to converse in a much more real-time, collaborative, and interactive setting. If you want to achieve success through Twitter, stop trying to lob your messages out there, hoping someone will catch them; and instead initiate and facilitate conversations. Here are some of my best tips: 1. ReTweet often. But, do not stop there. Always add your own thoughts or opinion to the original item that you found ReTweetworthy. It is perfectly acceptable to post two or three Tweets in a row for this purpose. 2. Tweet plenty of @ replies. Remember, you are having a conversation and you want the

other person to know you are talking to them. 3. Use a lot of hashtags in your tweets. This adds your thoughts into much larger conversations. 4. Similarly, search for new hashtags that you find interesting or useful. Join in those conversations. 5. Reply to everyone who sends you an @ message. No one will want to converse with you if you are not willing to throw the conversation ball back to them. 6. Use auto-responders for your followers with caution. If you must use one, keep it simple by just saying hi or thanks for the follow. 7. Do not automatically follow everyone who follows you. This is a quick way to make Twitter overwhelmingly useless. Picture this… You are in a crowded room talking to a large group of people at the same time. There are no speeches or stages; it is just a gathering with friendly conversation. Do you think people would pay attention to what you have

to say if you constantly push your own agenda, regardless of what the group is discussing? Of course, the answer is no. Why would you treat Twitter any differently? Social media as a whole is about becoming likable, while portraying a true image of yourself, and having as many people as possible show an interest in what you have to say. People, by nature, like to feel important and connected to the things they care about. If you want people to care about your message, make them feel important and connected to it by engaging them in conversation. By conversation, I mean both your conversation and theirs. Social media is a two-way street. You get what you give. Make sure you are contributing in a way which will give you the return you seek.

Matt Enders is the CEO of MGECOM, Inc., a leading outsourced affiliate program management firm.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE |

APRil 2010 | 19

By Blake Hamann

Blake Hamann

Co-registration is a simple and costeffective method to generate prospects for mailing lists. Whether for loyalty programs, subscriptions, memberships, or other online/ offline customer acquisition and retention programs, co-registration data can be your ace in the hole. Many publishers and incentivized marketers have taken notice of the revenue opportunities granted by co-registration, resulting in a massive influx in the number of sites where it’s offered. Co-registration is an excellent way to increase sales in the short term, but its importance goes beyond the quick buck. It can also protect your current email campaign from lost future revenue due to natural attrition, opt-outs, or dead email addresses. Mere numbers in a database can provide the shotgun effect, but how can you reach your target audience who will be the most receptive to your offer? Without rapid, easy access to all market data and database technology available, pinpointing the most qualified buyers can still be a search for the needle in the proverbial haystack. In order to make co-registration data a valuable asset you need to take a systematic approach in the acquisition, multivariate-

targeted list design, market-ready data hygiene services, data validation and management.

101
Co-Registration

Co-registration allows clients to build targeted databases of qualified consumers interested in their products, services, company, brand or special offers. Whether purchasing a simple mailing list or a more complex database with targeted segments, it is essential that you get the best return on your investment. Co-registration data has been around for years, and while in the past, there was a focus on quantity, it’s now all about quality. Everyone has a different outlook on what a quality list is, but the bottom line is profit margin. In order to maximize ROI, it’s necessary to find the co-registration sources that work best in your marketing model. Utilizing co-registration data within your own list allows you to expand your marketing platform to new heights. Depending on the volume of the third-party site, large lists can be accumulated virtually overnight. Co-registration provides you with a steady stream of leads, but it’s up to you to convert them into customers. Successful co-registration practices require a working knowledge of online media buying and detailed familiarity with your audience.

Co-registration data is one of the strongest marketing sources available in our business. You can maximize your co-registration campaigns without bleeding overhead dollars by understanding the difference between what motivates casual web surfers versus your target buying audience. Even with all the advances in technology and database quality, co-registration still requires immediate deployment by the marketer. This is especially true for marketers where their primary purpose is to build their list. Capitalize on your co-registration leads to build a quality database through constant contact. Follow up quickly on your leads by tailoring your marketing campaign to your offer, and reap the rewards.

Blake Hamann is the Vice President of Marketing for Right1Data who specializes in custom opt-in business and consumer marketing data.

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APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Should You Listen To Your Affiliate Manager?
By Bryn Youngblut
I remember when I first started doing affiliate marketing; I thought most of my affiliate managers were just pushing offers on me because they needed volume on them, regardless of how well the offer performed. When affiliate managers operate with this mindset it can become a real problem. While part of the job of affiliate managers is to assist us with mundane tasks, such as placing pixels and letting us know the latest “hot offers”, I’m finding that many networks are hiring people that can only perform these basic tasks. I believe networks that don’t care enough to hire knowledgeable affiliate managers are only hurting themselves. For example, when I ask my manager simple affiliate marketing questions related to the offers and they can’t even understand basic industry terms, like CPV (cost per view), PPC (pay per click) etc., that’s a big problem. Networks should require a certain level of experience from their affiliate managers. After all, they are managing people. If the manager has never promoted an affiliate offer before, how are they qualified to manage others, let alone be able to give advice on how to make certain campaigns succeed? I’ve had experiences with the worst and perhaps some of the best managers. It doesn’t take long before you realize just who you’re dealing with. A positive example I have is my great relationship with the network Mediatrust and my manager Geofferson. Not only does he go out of his way to let me know about the highperforming offers, he operates in a similar mindset as me. Geofferson wants to see me succeed and will do whatever it takes for that to happen whether it be getting custom creatives and landing pages done for me or working to get me approved to try new marketing methods that the company did not previously allow. This gives me a huge advantage. This article is not meant to be disrespectful to anyone in the industry, but in my opinion if I was a manager at some company and my job was to assist people with running campaigns that not only earn the affiliates commission, but likely earned a commission or bonus for me as well, it would only be right that I knew the business inside and out.

Bryn Youngblut is a full-time entrepreneur and affiliate marketer. He blogs at www.bryn.me

Bryn Youngblut

UPCOMING EVENTS
SOBCon 2010
Chicago, IL April 30 - May 2 www.sobevent.com

Mark your calendars for the following upcoming events.
Digital Marketing Days
New York, NY June 14-16 www.dmdays.org

Affiliate Summit east 2010
New York, NY August 15-17 www.affiliatesummit.com

Search & Social Spring Summit
Tampa, FL May 3 www.searchsocialsummit.com

linkShare Symposium
New York, NY June 22 www.linkshare.com

Search engine Strategies San francisco
San Francisco, CA Aug 16-20 www.searchenginestrategies.com

Conversion Conference West 2010
San Jose, CA May 4-5 www.conversionconference.com

BlogHer ‘10
New York, NY August 5-7 www.blogher.com

Search Marketing expo Advanced london
London, England May 17-18 www.searchmarketingexpo.com

Audience Conference
New York, NY August 14 www.theaudienceconference.com

a4uexpo Munich 2010
Munich, Germany May 18-19 www.a4uexpo.com

new Marketing experience 2010
Dallas, TX May 26 www.nmlevents.com

Search Marketing expo Advanced Seattle
Seattle, WA June 8-9 www.searchmarketingexpo.com

Search engine Strategies Toronto
Toronto, Canada June 9-11 www.searchenginestrategies.com

22 | APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

MasterCard Massacre Paves Way for industry leaders
By Laura Miller
laura Miller

Once again, affiliate marketing was jolted by the swift moves of outside forces. The sudden mass exodus of MIDs (Merchant ID’s) by MasterCard swept many advertisers just in time for the New Year. It had been rumored that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and Credit Card Associations, which encompasses Visa and MasterCard, had been meeting to develop guidelines that would regulate our industry. These guidelines have yet to be published, so it was the abruptness by MasterCard which caught many industry players off guard. The number of advertisers and/or actual MIDs that lost processing is a direct result of a few “bad apples” that unfortunately bled across the compliant and ethical advertisers. There was no advance notice passed down from the bank to the advertisers. The advertisers typically found out after they stopped receiving new orders. The advertisers that MasterCard targeted were the trial plus continuity merchants. The continuity piece of this business model was the portion that caused those advertisers the most heartache, as they could no longer bill any customers that had already enrolled into their programs.

These advertisers count on a certain rebill percentage and retention rate in order to recoup their marketing costs. Since they were unable to process rebills, most customers were written off as a complete loss. So, now what? We change. We adapt. A few years back, many networks eliminated incentivized traffic. Those publishers evolved and learned new promotional methods. Advertisers who were reliant on this traffic source learned how to fully optimize the other traffic types those networks accessed. More recently, the FTC came out with new guidelines. Publishers and advertisers, once again, complied and changed to meet these new requirements. This latest blow does not dictate the death of trial products or the end of subscription-based programs. This simply opens the doors for those advertisers and publishers committed to this industry. The short-term players who saw our industry as an opportunity “to get rich quick,” will fade. Those that are committed to success will prevail. Many of the affected advertisers are processing again. Several merchant processors have instituted “best

practices,” which are guidelines that these advertisers must follow to get new MIDs. These “best practices” are a foreshadowing of the predicted guidelines that will be published by the Card Associations, so it is best to begin optimizing according to these changes now. This is an extremely exciting time for anyone looking to enter performancebased advertising. It is going to be those companies who look at the changing times as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage that we will see as leaders for years to come.

Laura is the Director of Advertising for Clickbooth.com and leads Clickbooth’s team of Advertising Consultants.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE |

APRil 2010 | 23

By Joris Toonders

Joris Toonders

Understanding the Mindset of Affiliates
Affiliates like to compare the performance of several advertisers to be sure they’re monetizing their traffic the best way. It’s easy for them to do so by looking at the advertiser’s EPC (Earnings Per Click). Here is an example of how to calculate EPC: • An affiliate refers 10,000 visitors to a Web site that sells clothes. • These visitors purchase $8000.00 in products. • The affiliate receives a percentage of this revenue, so if it’s 10%, they will earn $800.00 in commission. • $800.00 divided by 10,000 visitors = $.08 EPC. As an advertiser, you can influence EPC using these important strategies: Your affiliate commission is important Think about the commission you can pay to your affiliates. While it is important to mind your margins, it is equally important to remember that affiliates take the full risk. The higher the commission you can pay, the more volume you’ll generate via this channel. Start your affiliate program with a fixed CPC Many affiliates with niche Web sites are promoting several competitors within one site. When you’re kicking off your affiliate program, it’s necessary to make it very attractive to them in order for the affiliate to give your program a chance. Since your program is new to them and they are unaware of your EPC, one way to minimize their risk is by giving them a fixed CPC in the first month. Share important information with affiliates When you give your sales people more information, it’s easier for them to sell your products and services. That’s also the case when you work with affiliates. Tell them which products are doing well, new product launches on the horizon, PR efforts you have going on, average order value, and how they’re performing against other affiliates. The more information you can provide to affiliates, the more you can get them to generate leads and sales for your business. Work on conversion optimization, everyday Your conversion rates can influence the EPC greatly. When your conversion rates double, the EPC of your program can multiply, too. Use analytics tools to measure the way people are using your Web site. Be sure to run split tests and multivariate tests daily and inform affiliates about the conversion developments. The higher your EPC is, the happier your affiliates will be and the likelihood of them sending you more traffic will be greater. Joris Toonders is the founder of Yonego B.V., and ROI driven Internet Marketing company which generates millions in revenue for its clients.

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APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Your lifestream as One Big Affiliate link
By Brian Littleton
“Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby.” - Dave Barry I’m reminded of that quotation every time I try to explain Twitter to anyone, or defend its worth. As a performance marketer, or someone on the verge of entering into our world, this is a critical piece of information to understand. It may sound counterintuitive, but your lifestream (the daily journal of your life) is worth money. From where I’m sitting, I’ve can safely say that lifestream marketing has kicked off more performance marketing careers than likely any other cause. Today, getting involved is even easier, due to the development of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. There is virtually no barrier to entry nor learning curve. Lifestream marketing simply involves telling the world about what you are good at and what you enjoy. One of the largest communities of lifestream marketers includes those in the Tech/IT/Development world. Developers know that if they run into problems they can’t solve on their own, simple Internet searches can yield hundreds of results. This same principle holds true across all hobbies. At some point, an individual will come to the same bridge that an old pro has already crossed. This particular niche has developed some highly recognizable names such as “Experts Exchange”. There are other niches that are much less developed, and are essentially wide open audiences waiting for someone to speak to them. While there is no current data on this theory, to my knowledge, my educated guess is that the majority of money to be made in lifestream marketing encompasses problem solving. As most searches on the Internet involve finding an answer to a question (especially those embarrassing to ask in public), so think about what you do well. Are you good at fixing computer problems? Do you have experience repairing air conditioners? Are you an expert car technician? Have you been to the local deli today know what soup they are serving? You get the point. It is extremely likely that the solution you found can help someone else. No matter how easily the solution comes to you, never make the assumption that the problem isn’t a big one to someone else. Start with a WordPress blog and, quite simply, just start posting everything you do regarding your area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be technical, nor does it have to be difficult. It just has to solve a problem. Use keywords or titles in your posts that match what you would say if you were asking the questions. For example: “What are the best low-fat Thai recipes?” Think about how another person would ask the question and tailor your post to that. If you stick to it, you’ll likely end up with a decent amount of traffic that you can begin to monetize using affiliate marketing. Brian Littleton is the President & CEO of ShareASale.com, Inc., a performance marketing network based in Chicago, IL.

Brian littleton

new look at Affiliate Motivation
By Geno Prussakov
Geno Prussakov

A year ago I came across an article on motivation in a January 2003 issue of Harvard Business Review. It was authored by Frederick Herzberg, a famous management psychologist. As I was reading through it, it struck me that making all things go right within any given affiliate program -- i.e. having a 100% affiliate-friendly Web site (without “leaks”, with well-converting wisely-formatted landing pages, etc), running ongoing bonus campaigns, providing performance-based commission increases, satisfying every possible creative need affiliates may have, providing a wellcategorized detailed product data feed, and so on -- has little to do with real motivation of affiliates to perform for an affiliate program. Herzberg wrote that “things that make people satisfied and motivated on the job are different in kind from the things that make them dissatisfied”. Additionally, at one point extrinsic motivators (your bonuses and prizes) stop being motivating unless they are replaced by more profound sources. This is because true and lasting motivation always comes from “interesting work, challenge and increasing responsibility” as “these intrinsic factors answer people’s deepseated need for growth and achievement.” Herzberg also emphasized that a manager “can charge a person’s battery, and then recharge it, and recharge it again,” but “it is only when one has a generator of one’s own

that we can talk about motivation” (italics mine). Super affiliates inevitably come to mind. They do not need much outside stimulation. They are not joining an affiliate program because of activation or even performance bonuses, but because they have a plan on how to succeed with it. They are intrinsically prone to growth, learning, continuous advancement, and internal recognition. With novice, or unconfident affiliates, you do want to be the “battery charger” in the beginning; but gradually lead them to a point where they are mainly motivated from within -- by interesting opportunities in the affiliate campaigns you run, and growth potential. Another article that comes to mind is Bronwyn Fryer’s “Moving Mountains” (Harvard Business Review, 2003) article. Fryer wrote: “There’s no trick to motivating others. It requires a clear, unbiased understanding of the situation at hand, deep insight into the vagaries of human nature at individual and the group levels, the establishment of appropriate and reasonable expectations and goals, and the construction of a balanced set of tangible and intangible incentives.” Do you, as an affiliate manager have (i) a clear and truly unbiased understanding of the situation, and (ii) deep insight into what your affiliates want/need both individually, and cooperatively as an industry? Do you (iii) set

realistic goals, and (iv) continuously motivate by a bouquet of tangible and intangible incentives? Fryer also proposed several practical techniques that make one a better motivator. I have hand-picked those immediately relevant for us: • Start with the truth • Appeal to greatness (once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, etc) • Make them proud • Stick to your values • Provide constant and consistent communication channel • Build trust • Care for the little guy • Set different incentive levels Best of luck becoming a better/deeper motivator!

Geno Prussakov is the Founder of AM Navigator, and author of “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing” and “Online Shopping Through Consumers’ Eyes.”

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APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

Ask Shawn Collins: Do Affiliate Marketers need a Blog?

Q:

i am new to Social Media. i am thinking of either starting a blog, or article marketing, maybe a Web site. However, i don’t know which would be the best idea. Since i don’t sell anything, i don’t know if the Web site would work. My question is… do you need a blog to do affiliate marketing?

The short answer is that you don’t need to have your own Web site. You can use Google AdWords or one of their competitors and buy targeted traffic to drive straight to a merchant. Please note that some merchants prohibit this, so you will have to read the terms of the affiliate program to be sure it is permissible. Anyhow, if you’ve got more time than money, I’d suggest going with a blog or other type of site and just start developing it. Pick a topic that is some sort of passion of yours, so you will stick with it. But if you have some money you can invest in affiliate campaigns, go ahead and get started using PPC without a Web site.

A:

Got an affiliate marketing question? Go to AskShawnCollins.com to ask it and it will be answered at http://blog.affiliatetip.com. Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-inChief of FeedFront Magazine.

Shawn Collins

If you go with PPC, be aware that it takes a lot of testing and close monitoring, or else you could be out a great deal of money.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE |

APRil 2010 | 27

increase Conversions by Shooting Your Designer
By Tim Ash
Registration at Affiliate Summit East 2009

Tim Ash

I do not mean the title literally, so don’t send me hate mail. But, graphics designers are rarely trained in maximizing conversion. The best ones pride themselves on being nonconformists, and their ability to “think outside the box”. They are bored with doing regular production-oriented graphic design work and like to keep themselves entertained by doing something new and interesting on every project. Maximizing profits requires putting aside your own corporate and personal needs and considering everything from the perspective of your visitors. Only they matter, and without them you would not have a business. The key to effective landing page design is clarity. The visitor should be focused on taking a simple path that leads to the desired conversion action. This simple path should arise out of the Zen-like stillness of your landing page. Worst Practices Unfortunately many landing pages are at the opposite end of the spectrum from this desired state because of the heavy hand of the graphic designer. They scream and demand the visitor’s attention. They are a visual assault on the senses that force the visitor to determine which of the many striking visual elements on the page is the important one.

Here is a short list of the more common visual transgressions found on landing pages: • Wild background colors – Many landing pages use dark and dramatic color themes. Often the background of the page or large sections of it are black or fully-saturated bright colors. Unfortunately these kinds of color choices often create a dark and brooding atmosphere, or imply something so exotic that it would only appeal to teenage male adrenalin junkies. • Garish text – Page text and headlines are haphazardly placed on the page and often use very large font in highcontrast colors. Font sizes are often enormous, and are further emphasized by the use of edging effects, drop shadows, color transitions and fades, and fill patterns. • Visual embellishments and flourishes – Even simple page elements such as box edges are emphasized y drop shadows, glow, or other effects. Simple round disks in bullet lists are replaced by colorful graphical checkmarks or other icons. Neutral background space to the sides of the landing page is often filled in with intricate patterns or photographic images.

• Animation or video – All of the other design sins on the landing page pale in comparison to the aggressive use of motion, animation, and video. Images and text that pulsate or revolve; image slideshows that use wild fly-in transition effects; intricate animation sequences that draw the eye and full-motion video auto-plays on the page – yes, these attention-grabbing tactics are very powerful. Unfortunately they are rarely tied to the desired conversion goal on the landing page, and only serve to squander a few precious seconds of the limited visitor attention. Never deploy rich media on your page without testing it first to determine its impact on conversion. “Boring” works. And it makes you a lot more money – that should make it a lot more exciting.

Tim Ash is the CEO of SiteTuners.com, the author of the bestselling book, “Landing Page Optimization”, and chairperson of ConversionConference.com.

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APRil 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE

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