Sales Development Training and How to Learn Sales Skills That Could Change Your Life

Sales development training to increase your sales skills is a great investment. But if you just learn sales skills, and don’t know how to put them into action, you won’t get the lifestyle changes you want. To make it work, and get results, sales training needs a plan that’s achievable, practical, and that has worked for others like you.

Do you see other sales people achieving more than you? While you’re struggling to make your monthly payments they’re buying new homes, expensive holidays, and great looking cars. Do these successful colleagues get attention and recognition from other people, people you would like to notice you? You have thought about learning sales skills to try and increase your sales results and your income. You may have downloaded some sales skill training, or been on sales training courses, but you’re still stuck in a rut and struggling to earn the rich rewards that a sales career should offer.

Everyone in sales now has access to sales training and can learn sales skills that could change their lifestyle. The Internet is full of a wide range of professional sales training and free sales training courses. The effective sales skill training that does cost money gives you free examples and information on the training, so you can make an educated decision before buying, and the investment cost is very reasonable. For a few dollars you can download a sales training course and start taking actions today that could completely change your life.

Anyone with average intelligence, and the right attitude, can learn sales skills that can change their lifestyle. So how come there are so many sales people just plodding along, stuck in a rut, and running out of time to achieve their goals and live the lifestyle they want. What makes a difference to so many career sales people’s lives is knowing how to put the sales training into actions. So when you decide that today’s the day that your life changes, and you are going to get serious about sales development training and putting it into action, here’s a sales development training plan to get you started on achieving your desires and dreams.

Find the sales training that’s right for you

Click around the Internet and find the right sales skill training for you and your sales career. Consider if your customers buy because of their feelings and emotions, or do they make a buying decision based on logic. What’s the value of your average sale? The sales process for a low value high volume product will be different to the sales techniques used for a low volume high value sale. Making money from repeat business sales will require different sales skills to a one off market. You want selling skills that are customer focused and avoid feelings of buyer’s remorse to succeed in the repeat sales marketplace.

When you have a clear picture of your sale, the sale process, and how you close the sale, start clicking around the Internet. Look for sales development training that offers ways to increase sales by learning sales skills that match your style of selling. It’s no good buying sales training on killer sales closes if your sales are based on repeat business from customers that feel valued. Retail sales skills are different to B2B sales techniques. Successful direct sales people use selling techniques that suit their market and their product. Look at free sales training courses and get all the information you can to decide which is right for you. Then invest in sales skill training.

Now start to use the sales skills to change your life

Once you’ve found the right sales development training, you have to use it to gain from it. It’s no good just looking at it. You have to turn the sales training on the screen into actions. Take the sales skill training and transfer it into actions you are going to take. Write them in your diary and make them time bound. Have one sales action for each day, because you know you can complete that. Each action will build upon the one from the previous day.

For example, you start sales skill training to build a new sales introduction. The sales training says your first line should be an introduction of you, and your business. It must be short and to the point with no long winded speech about you or the product. This is your first action for day one. Write the new first line of for your sales introduction. Then day two could be to add a reason for seeing the buyer to your sales introduction. At the end of the first week you have a brand new sales introduction and you’re ready to start work on the other sales stages. And you are not becoming bored with the sales training, or finding you haven’t got the time to compete it.

The difference between successful sales people and the rest is not the sales skill training they receive, and it’s not even their level of sales ability. It’s whether they take actions or just sit back and let sales commission slip away. In most markets if you don’t sell to a prospective customer some other sales person will. If you don’t take actions today to increase your sales with sales development training, you are giving money to some other sales person. Perhaps it’s one of those you have seen succeeding, and buying new cars and a bigger house. Join them now by taking action today. Look for sales development training now by clicking around the Internet, and go get that diary. Or, stay as you are and tomorrow will be the same as today.

Manufacturer Reps and Independent Sales Reps – How to Use Them to Increase Your Sales

INCREASE YOUR SALES BY USING INDEPENDENT SALES REPRESENTATIVES (ISR) MANUFACTURER’S REPS (MR)

Why would I be interested in using Independent Sales Representatives? Simply put, to achieve more sales, faster, and at lower cost than other methods.

While Independent Sales Representatives or Manufacturer’s Reps are not right for all circumstances, their outstanding advantages could be right for you. Especially, if you need to take your company into new markets or grow existing markets with a lower up-front cost.

What is an Independent Sales Representative?

An Independent Sales Rep, also known as a Manufacturer’s Rep, is an independent business composed of sales, marketing and customer service professionals, representing at least two related but non-competing products in a well-defined territory, and primarily compensated through commissions. The Principal can be a manufacturer, distributor, importer, or service provider.

An Independent Sales Representative or Manufacturer’s Rep is not the same as “inside” sales, showroom sales, or telephone sales. An Independent Sales Rep may use showrooms, trade shows or the telephone to interact with customers. But their primary focus is to work face-to-face with customers, often traveling to meet with them to show products and services, close sales, provide training and solve issues. Commonly, ISRs carry complementary product lines and cover a territory suited to effective coverage of the account base.

What is a Sales Agency?

A Sales Agency, also known as a Rep Agency, offers a management structure and a team of two or more ISRs. Sales Agencies generally operate regionally. Just as in the case of an ISRs acting in a solo fashion, sales agencies sell multiple product lines that do not compete with each other. Sales Agencies sometime have a provide showroom space as part of their services.

What is a National Sales Force?

A National Sales Force is the combination of any inside sales capability plus outside Sales Agencies plus ISRs, along with administrative and support personnel who jointly cover a country. It is common to build up to a National Sales Force incrementally, with only one or more regions in the beginning. Expanding coverage to more regions, and eventually to a full National Sales Force depends upon success in the regional markets.

To what extent do manufacturers use Independent Sales Representatives or Manufacturer’s Reps?

According to the Research Institute of America, from 50 to 80 percent of U.S. manufacturers use Independent Sales Representatives, depending upon the industry.

How do I know if there are Independent Sales Reps or Manufacturer’s Reps in my industry?

Virtually every industry has ISRs. For example: Agriculture, Mining, Utilities, Construction, Manufacturing, OEM, Wholesale, Distributors, Retail, Transportation, Information, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Rental, Professional Management, Administrative & Support, Waste Management, Educational, Health Care & Hospitals, Medical, Pharmaceuticals, Entertainment, Recreation, Hotel & Motel, Food & Restaurant, and Public Administration.

How does using Independent Sales Reps or Manufacturer’s Reps increase sales?

The major reason that ISRs can increase sales is because they carry multiple lines. When more than one line is brought to the customer, sales can be made more effectively and at lower cost. The sale of one product can “trigger” sales of other products. With multiple lines, reps see more customers in their territory than inside salespeople. Thus a broader, better-defined customer base is created. The result is more sales and better market penetration.

What are the other advantages of using Independent Sales Reps or Manufacturer’s Reps?

Principals can enter a new market quickly and cost-effectively. The Rep brings his existing customer base. The Rep knows his territory and has his own established network of both buyers and other Reps. For new companies who are still seeking to create their place in the market this feature is vital.
One product sale can “trigger” other product sales.
Reps are paid for results, leading to a highly motivated sales force.
Sales costs are known.
Provide better focus in their territory due to familiarity with local preferences. Reps quickly identify new product opportunities, whereas an inside sales force may take months or longer to make that identification.
Reps have local acceptance. They are familiar to their customers and trusted by them. They often live in their community. So they have a vested interest in their products and customers, whereas inside salespeople may not.
Provide more objective ideas for product improvement and more objective customer feedback on new products because they do not work for the Principal. Customers feel confident in sharing information with them about changes and opportunities in the market. Customers who would hesitate to bring valuable input directly to inside sales staff will openly share with Independent Reps, including both suggestions and criticism. This openness further motivates the Rep.
Provide quick response to customer issues because of close physical proximity. Customers may also feel that it is easier reach the local Reps.
Provide consultative selling, customer service, product demonstrations, product and sales training, sales analysis, credit reporting, market research, market development information, product quoting, and current product improvements, new product development, and participation in sales meetings, trade shows and conventions. Some may also offer showroom displays.
Alert Principals to new developments in their territory that could affect their lines.
How does an Independent Sales Rep get paid?

The Independent Sales Rep typically is credited for all sales in his territory, and is paid the commission stated in a written contractual agreement, sometimes called a “Sales Representation Agreement.” Payment is due only after the sale is closed.

The Independent Sales Rep or Manufacturer’s Rep operates a independent business, with its own sales and administrative staff. This business is responsible for all related operating expenses, including staff compensation, employee benefits, advertising, auto, insurance, office equipment, taxes, technology, travel, and so forth. These costs must be paid out of the gross commission received by the Rep.

Doesn’t the Independent Sales Rep or Manufacturer’s Rep add cost?

No. Using Reps can actually save money for the customer. A Principal must have a sales force. Using an Independent Sales Rep is a form of outsourcing the sales function. Just as with the well-known practice by many companies to outsource such functions as manufacturing, information technology, and accounting, using Reps is outsourcing.

To compare the cost of the inside sales force with the outsourced sales force, the overhead “burden” of the inside sales force must be included. For example, what may appear as a yearly cost of $75,000 for a salaried inside Sales Professional has a true cost of 2.0 to 2.5 times that amount, or $150,000 to $188,000 when the overhead “burden” is included. Examples of such costs are administrative support, auto, commission, office space and related costs, employee benefits, holidays, technology, and travel. Another intangible cost that is minimized is the Principal’s legal exposure, because Reps handle the cost and liabilities associated with their own employee selection, training, compensation, discipline and termination.

The bottom line is that using Independent Sales Reps reduces fixed costs and spreads those costs over multiple lines. A single sales call for many products saves everyone time. If all Principals had to sell all their products and services via an inside sales force to all territories, the additional cost to the economy would be mind boggling.

Can Independent Sales Reps or Manufacturer’s Reps serve as distributors?

Generally the Independent Sales Rep is not a distributor. However in some cases the Principal may require that the Rep takes ownership of the product and resell to the customer. In this case that Rep would be functioning as a Distributor rather than an Independent Sales Rep.

Why don’t all Principals use Independent Sales Reps or Manufacturer’s Reps?

Many Principals who could benefit from using Independent Sales Reps who do not yet sell that way have misconceptions about the method, or about inside sales forces, or both. Another reason could be that they prefer to have complete control over the sales force.

How many lines should an Independent Sales Rep or Manufacturer’s Rep carry?

Reps handle as many lines as necessary to present a sufficient portfolio of products and services for their customer base and to provide sufficient profits for themselves. By carrying multiple lines the Principal shares in the costs of a unified sales organization, as described in detail above. When the Rep is selling the line of another Principal, a positive relationship for the lines of all represented Principals is being established.

Will my Rep help build my business — or just be an order taker?

If sales could be successfully made via promotion and advertising by themselves, neither an inside nor independent sales force would be needed. However, because Reps are only paid by commissions, they cannot depend only on the sales support efforts of the Principals. They have to go beyond the Principal’s efforts to develop and implement their own incentive programs which are tailored to their own territories and customer base.

How much commission is the Independent Sales Rep or Manufacturer’s Rep customarily paid?

Commission rates vary by industry over a wide range, with the majority between 5 – 20% of gross sales.

How much commission dollar does the Sales Agency actually keep?

The Sales Agency keeps approximately 40% of commissions received. The remaining 60% is paid as compensation.

How Can I Find Independent Sales Reps, Manufacturer’s Reps or Sales Agencies?

There are several online services that provide cost-effective access to Independent Sales Reps.
Visit regional and national regional trade shows to meet Independent Sales Reps and Sales Agencies.
Set up a booth at a trade show and post in your booth a “Sales Representatives Wanted” ad.
Employ or engage a consultant to act as a Sales Manager whose job it is to select, engage and train your National Sales Force.
Advertise in Craigslist, on-line job boards, and classified sections of newspapers.
While these routes may appear simple and inexpensive, be prepared for their hidden costs and time delays. To use them effectively, you will need an appropriate level of Human Resources staffing to screen a potential deluge of resumes, reduce their number by a factor of as much as a hundred or more, finally leading to phone and possibly in-person interviews. That is, some advance staffing may be necessary, and you will need to budget sufficient time and resources over and above the up-front advertising expense. Plus newspaper advertising can be quite expensive.

GETTING STARTED: Tips for Working With Reps

Placing productive, independent sales reps is a numbers game. Period. This fact cannot be emphasized too much.

Using one of the matching services will improve those numbers. But you will still most likely need to communicate with several reps to place that one that will ultimately be productive.

For example: to have 10 productive reps you may need to place 30. To place 30 reps you may need to have discussions with 100.

Therefore, it is important that you proceed with the proper understanding. Some of the online services provide specific guidance to their members which can prevent months of frustration in getting started with Independent Sales Reps. This guidance includes detailed tips and instructions to cover the following fundamental points.

The Best Way to Place Reps
Creating a Professional Impression
Why Patience and Persistence are Vital
The Proper Use of a Letter-of-Intent — including a sample Letter of Intent that members can begin using right away
How to Set Commission Amounts
How to Prevent Problems with Samples Provided to Reps
Proper User of Contracts and Exclusives — including a Sample Representation Agreement
How to Overcome and Even Benefit from Situations Where the Rep Truly Is Not a Good Match for Your Business
Contact RepHunter.net at http://www.RepHunter.net for assistance with the topics presented in this article.

RepHunter.net, operated by RepHunter, Inc., is a Minnesota-based company that provides manufacturers with experienced sales representation. We use a unique profiling system to facilitate a TARGETED SEARCH using specific criteria and our growing network of independent manufacturers’ representatives.

RepHunter.net is more COST-EFFECTIVE than placing traditional ads and wading through the resume response.

RepHunter.net was established by Matt Tronnier, an experienced sales professional, and Jeffrey Simon, an experienced financial manager and systems developer. Matt was frustrated by his own attempts to search for new opportunities, because resumes just didn’t capture the key criteria for finding good partnerships. By creating a profiling form for manufacturers and representatives, RepHunter.net can leverage the technology of databases and the Internet to bring manufacturers the qualified sales representatives they need, without the resume reviewing hassle.

The 7 Pillars of Branding

Although the question of branding has always been essential part of marketing and has been approached with multi-dimension models, sometimes these studies have been made without systematic approach or with full of redundancy or ad-hoc views. Unlike marketing which has the widely-known and usable, practical 7P-model, branding still misses such a sort of basic structure which makes the skeleton of all branding story.

Here I am making an outline of such a simplified model to help people in successfully designing brands and also to better understanding the already existing ones. I collected 7 layers of the branding with 7 different tasks to be completed in everyday actions. I hope this can be useful for the readers, too.

Right before entering this syllabus, we need to define what brand and branding is: in our view brand is a vision that is related to a specific company, product or any specific entity which lives in people and materializes to them. Branding is the art of deliberate control over the whole process.

First pillar: Publicly known

A brand always defines a smaller or bigger group of people who are somehow aware of the product or the service in question. This is the prerequisite or trivial condition of all brands: if you are the only one who knows a specific service or uses a specific product and no information is publicized, the service or product is unable to evolve into a brand. This is the primary task of all marketing efforts, making our specific product or service (along with its whole branding costume) widely known on the addressed market: the majority of the marketing budget is used for this purpose. At this point we normally pay attention to the details of the publicity of all brands: target segment(s), its content, geographic, demography, media, communication methods, timing etc.

Task 1: design and make your publicity

However, the fame of a product or service is not exclusively based on the publicity gained (mostly depending on the money available for promoting the brand) via frontal, push-type of promotion. Money spent on communications is a very important factor to reach the second stage of publicity: the people involved in the communications flow will probably share the information with each other and start a – sometimes very simple and few words – discussion about the product or service heard. The act of sharing the information with each other happens or has happened with all known brands. Suggestions, opinions made in public are very important in articulating brand and thus creating or strengthening/weakening brands. This is why the importance of Facebook in contemporary marketing cannot be overestimated enough, or, with similar effect, the customer service/problem handling has always been focal point of customer satisfaction and branding, too.

The publicity of branding therefore incorporates all means of sharing the information related to a specific brand or service. There are two basic type of publicities: there is of course the strictly controlled information sharing method (typically: marketing communications) and we also have to face a second publicity, the huge uncontrolled means of communication. When we are thinking on designing a new brand or just examining an existing one, we have to enlist all the ways how the specific brand gains publicity and sort them by relevance with regards to the public coverage and effect, making special attention to the uncontrolled ways of publicity.

The success of controlling publicity is a key to profit from branding, however, public control will never mean information monopoly over the media and over the outcome: even situations when a company has theoretically 100% control over the situation (e.g. customer care desk at the office or shop), it is always a challenge to control what is exactly happening there, what is going to be told or heard. Thus, from micro to macro level the publicity always carries a huge uncertainty factor with regards to reach, direct effect and future implications.

Second pillar: Associative and narrative – stories around

The discussions initiated and information shared publicly about a brand (or a branded product or service) would show up the next major characteristic of brands, that is, the power of the coupling or association related to the branded products or services. In other words, branding means that we create stories around a brand. Brand identity or personality, brand vision, brand promise are the official stories reflecting the narrative of a generic brand on different levels. Marketing creative planning is exactly doing the same around a specific product of a brand (e.g. ‘The environment friendly Toyota Prius’ as a story), while general brand stories (I mean the Toyota brand in the example) or associations are on higher level only. We therefore have to consider several layers of brand stories or narratives when examining them. It is very useful when these stories are consistent and formed professionally and are not contradicting to each other.

Brands are incorporating many stories and ideas not just from individual products and services determined by the company but stories and ideas also coming from the public. Unfortunately – as we mentioned above – we cannot control the majority of the perceptions of our brand. Individual opinions, perceived qualities, good or bad experiences are building the narrative universe, or more simply, the stories of a brand.

Task 2: define and drive brand stories

Notwithstanding the above, we can drive these brand stories and narrow them to the desired ones on at least two-three different areas. The mission statement of a company/organization is the very source of official brand stories and determines the branding direction via its written values and operational reasons. Secondly, the slogan or the tagline of a brand (like LG’s Life’s Good) is meant to embody the driving narrative story and works like a magnet: collects all the associations around a brand. The third layer of story comes along with specific products or services: repeating the slogans, taglines while inserting the logo of the brand on individual products/services makes the specific product or service painted with the general brand’s associations and qualities. The individual story of a product or service is like a topping on the branding cake. Pure brand campaigns on the other hand are always aiming outlining and fixing the desired main stories and narratives of qualities in the customers.

Controlling publicity cannot be done without controlling the stories attached to a specific brand and seems the major task of all branding and communications managers. Here, we have to highlight a related issue which behaves like the blind spot of the branding: rebranding. Rebranding campaigns are to change the very basic story of a brand. This is the reason why these campaigns fail many times and real rebranding is a very seldom event.

Third pillar: Concrete and multiplicative form

In real life we always give tangible forms to brands because we want to make profit from our money spent. Brand without concrete product/service to buy (or without a related person when we talk about personal brands) is useless or just a promise (like the newly planned Jolla mobile OS with only a demo video). The embodiment of a Brand is an essential part of its very nature.

Normally we use the power of a general Brand Name for many individual products. An already existing brand hands over its potentials (its stories of qualities, usage, value etc.) to specific, individual products and even when we see a new product of an already known brand we are already having a presupposition or sense of certain expectations towards the brand new product. A VW car is perceived for many as a reliable one; however, it may happen that a much lower quality is introduced in a new model than what the brand had fulfilled at its predecessors.

Task 3: make several appearances to utilize brand power

Most times we may say that a brand is transferred into several products and therefore it is multiplicative. It is very seldom that an earned reputation of a brand represented in only one product or service. For example the perfume 4711 seems to be transferred only into one product for a long time, but the brand’s product portfolio today consists of more than one item: after shave or even shower gel is also produced. Start-ups typically own only one product and normally the first product is the one that determines and forms the brand later on. Initially, the brand is typically built upon on only one product or service and this is why it is very sensitive when entering a market with a new company and a new product: it also determines the future brand and products the company assessed with.

Personal brands, seen superficially, are not multiplicative: a person who has double face (see politicians) and therefore not able to form a consistent and concrete personal brand, are subject to lose their reputation and their face rapidly. This is because brands can have only one concrete (credible) story, without major contradictions. The multiplicative nature of personal brands should be investigated from another perspective. In case we regard a person’s appearances in public as concretizations and multiplications of his/her brand, we are closer to the truth and we understand better why celebrities and politicians are so keen on public appearances.

Fourth pillar: Unique proposition

The history of branding is stemming from the wish of making a producer’s goods identifiable. This is not just to ensure the identity of goods but also to prevent from copying and forgery. The brands around us are still carrying these old attributes: the logo of the company/brand is expressing the uniqueness of a brand (supported by law as trade marks) and helps us to identify a specific brand in the universe of brands and signs.

Sometimes it is very hard to make distinction based on the products/services alone: Pepsi and its rivals put in a neutral glass next to each other are unidentifiable, so the use of branding techniques is crucial for gaining profit for both companies. Just like in the cola case, the technological industry also heavily relies on the branding when selling its products or services: PCs, laptops, smart phones or internet accesses are very similar to each other. Or, a tax advisory service consultant firm is facing real challenges to provide specific brand vision.

Task 4: find and use the means of brand differentiations

The unique proposition of the brands has to be built up and shown for the public: the individual logos of brands on devices for example help the company to make distinction from their competitors and help the customers to identify different market players in order to make a personal choice of preference. Most times companies heavily rely on the unique brand distinguishers, like stories about their unique market segment, tailor-made products, additional services they provide etc. Sometimes, when stories among a group of competitors are very similar or compatible (like the Big Four Auditors) and even their service is similar, a common story may evolve around them focusing on more the similarity and indirectly expressing the exclusivity of the group members.

Fifth pillar: Value

When we identify a brand on its telltale signs (e.g. design) or logo we do not think on what we see first (the product itself) but rather we focus on the brand value represented by the specific product or service. We may say (even without seeing the product) that if you are having Martin Logan stereo speakers that is very cool, but if you are having Philips that is not so awesome. Different brands represent different values: there are low-end and high-end brands with many in between. Start-up companies have to position their brand value on the axis predetermined by the existing market players. Making decision on positioning the companies’ services or products on the lower or higher end of this axis has nothing to do with ethical values: a low-end, cheap car helps many disabled or poor people without doubt. Rather, making the choice of brand values determine the market we are about to target. And this target market decision affects our business outlooks directly. When Toyota launched it Lexus series and decided to focus on the higher end cars they probably considered the higher profit option.

The value of a brand is also expressed in a more measurable way. In general ledgers brands are valued as a part of the company’s goodwill and are very sensitive for new product introductions and for amortization, too. From financial point of view brands regarded as assets that have been created due to investment and are also subject to lose or increase their values.

Task 5: define and carry brand values

The value of a brand emanates into individual products of a company and the value of the sold products affects the value of the brands. More surprisingly, the value of a brand may transfer over the buyer persona influencing the perceived value of a person in a certain group of people (see Apple fan-effect) while the network-effect of the public also modifies the brand value (exclusivity, limited models are also able to increase brand value).

The relative price of a product or the whole branded portfolio both has very special connection with the brand value: the higher the price positioned the harder to imagine low brand value. This is because the narrative of the price (see Second pillar) influences the brand value. Other narratives of a brand (how durable it is, for instance, or which celebrities are using this brand) heavily effect the brand value, too. Similarly, the extent of public spread (see First pillar – how much the brand is known, how much spent on advertising) also effects the brand value.

Brand value is determined by several other factors even not listed here. It is partly the result of deliberate actions of the company (market positioning of the brand and its products) but also exposed to external factors (like time) and public opinion.( LG’s rebranding from the low-end Goldstar brand to the higher positioned LG showed that value propositions of a brand require efforts in both areas. Grundig made the opposite U-turn when sold to Chinese company.)

Sixth pillar: personal relation

All the pillars encountered previously are summoning on personal level because the nature and the definition of branding 100% relates to human feelings and perceptions. Most cases we can translate this personal effect and feelings to perceived brand values and the position of a brand in the customers’ head. People know or do not know, like or dislike brands, become haters or fans of brands, recommend or just accept certain brands.

Task 6: turn personal relation to action

As a result, this personal disposition of a brand clearly ends up in the relation to the act of buying. We, marketing professionals should not deny the aboriginal intention of our branding efforts to influence buying decisions on personal level. We are not just simply influencing people in business for the sake of general human aims: we do not want world peace; we do want to have our specific products and services sold. We want to convince John or Clair Smith as individual customers to select our service or product. This is the action we – or more generally: the investors – expect from any investments (including brand campaigns) made.

Fortunately we not all live in the business sector, not all follow business aims (i.e. sales) in our lives. Surprisingly, non-profit organizations are not so much different from business ventures from this point of view. Non-profits also want to have a specific action to be reached: an action that is maybe appearing directly (like giving donation for starving people) but can be mental action or change to be targeted (for instance diversity campaigns).

The personal relation to a branded entity can be outlined in a matrix where on the first axis we can define the readiness or probability of buying action (or in a non-profit: readiness for action) and on the second axis we may highlight the level of brand’s emotional acceptance.

The personal relation to a specific brand with regards to the ultimate sales reason can be mapped as shown, but we should not forget that personal emotions and relations to brands are much wider than presented above: some people feel that their beloved brand is expressing also their way of life, involving several other actions well beyond a simple shopping; or just feeling neutral about a brand while the person is not going to be represented in any commercial situation (like myself with any hunting brands, although I know some of them).

We should therefore identify very precisely the personal relations to our brand of our existing and potential customers and we should make focused actions to harvest the branding efforts we have previously made.

Seventh pillar: Exposure to time

We have already mentioned before the amortization as an important factor in brand values. The simple reason of amortization is that the brands (via materialized products/services) and the customers live in time.

The general life exposure to time factor represented in concrete shapes with regards to brand itself and to its specific products/services. (Amortization is only the result of that process.) Brand perception very much effected by the products/services in timeline (e.g. how much up-to-date the product is reflects the brand’s state-of-the-art nature) and on the other hand the brand itself (without looking at individual products) also has an individual character which has its own life-cycle (how old a brand is, what type of products they represent).

Task 7: Consider time: plan and replan over time

Brands do not last for ever and are changing over time, even without deliberate actions. Amortization expresses the time-factor in economic terms but all the pillars mentioned before has a time layer. The repeated actions of marketing campaigns, the product developments or changes in market environments change the face of the brand even if it is not perceived by the company. The sad story of Nokia is a perfect example of how this specific brand was effected by the time factor in all possible way, from the publicity of its phones (a complete new generation has skipped Nokia phones), through the changes in the narratives attached to the brand, with the refreshed need to be unique again to the sharp decline of the brand value.

Branding a Winery and Its Wine Is Expensive, Necessary and Benefits the Consumer No Matter the Size

A discussion about branding is generally not a conversation anticipated with excitement. If you’re a marketing type it can be characterized as maybe interesting. But, promising most people an indepth discussion on the subject of wine branding; heck, we might have no one accepting an invitation to our dinner party. In reality, creating a brand image for wineries and wines can help the consumer to be smart buyers.

Because margins can be small for producers and a perponderance of producers are small, small margins impact the small producer profoundly. Branding can be expensive. So what can be done to entice consumers to try a brand they have never heard of before? Now we are talking about branding and it can be risky, even with great planning. Further, it is a lot of compromising.

What impact did branding have on the last bottle of wine you bought? Did you buy that wine because you knew some enticing fact about the winery, winemaker or their wine making processes? Did you buy a wine based upon a friend’s recommendation because they knew your preference for a certain varietal? Have your preferences for a wine changed over the past few years? Do you buy your wine based upon a random trial and found you liked that particular wine? Whatever the process you went through in buying a wine you have been impacted, to some degree, by branding. If you simply selected a wine based upon its price or label design, branding was involved.

Recently, I have had discussions concerning the process of business branding from a corporate perspective and a product perspective. Most of the emphases of these discussions have been specific to the value of branding a winery and their wines; predominately with small producers. Like most everything in business, decisions are generally based upon compromises in budgets, approach, etc. Obviously, the product of a winery is bottles of various varietal wines which are a disposable product that is consumed based upon ever changing sensory perceptions–mostly taste. I submit that the juxtaposition in branding a winery and their products makes this discussion difficult. For example, many wines I like and buy frequently, I don’t even know who produces them. Further, winery brands I recognize, some of their wines I don’t like for various subjective reasons.

Point being, in most branding discussions relating to the wine industry become convoluted. Wineries produce multiple labels and these labels are subjected to consumer reviews that are based on innumerable personal influences. With so many variables, the task of presenting a positive image about a corporate winery brand is difficult.

We all are influenced by branding to some degree, even minimally. For example, a few years ago Tide was going to stop sponsoring NASCAR races. Surprisingly, they found that Tide had a rabid and loyal following with female NASCAR fans and Tide is still a sponsor. The brand had made a commitment and now wanted to change it.

Another example of branding impact is Schlitz beer. In the late 1960’s Schlitz decided to change their formula for brewing their beer. Immediately they went from a premier label, ahead of Budweiser, to being virtually extinct. In 2008, they went back to their original formula of the 1960’s, but the damage to a great brand was permanent.

These examples of powerful brands are obvious. In the case of Schlitz it shows how fragile a brand can be if the consumer is betrayed. However, wine is not a mass market product (like beer) that is as ubiquitous as beer or a laundry detergent. Compared to wine, consumers do not build beer cellars in their home and collect beer. So, wine is a very unique product that is expensive to brand on a per customer basis (this is especially true when consumers understand the discounting needed for distributors to sell and promote a label (discounting is part of the branding strategy).

The demographics for the wine market are broken down into 5 segments with some under 21 years old in the millennial category. This is according to a Wines and Vines Newsletter. The largest segment of wine drinkers are the millennia’s and Generation xers making up 70% of the 5 market segments (Baby Boomers included). Wine Business Monthly estimates 1 of 4 drinking consumers do not drink wine but prefer beer or spirits. Of the 130 million adult populations it is estimated 35% drink some wine, according to Live Science. This illustrates the finite size of the market and the precision required in branding to be effective in developing a consumer’s perception of a corporate winery brand.

For this discussion on winery branding, Wines and Vines tells us that the average price of a bottle of wine keeps inching up and is now approximately $12. The real sweet spot is in the $10-15 per bottle range. When a winery looks at the cost of raw materials, marketing, packaging, sales/discounting and facilities and G/A the margins are restrictive when planning a new or improved branding program. Wineries in this position need volume and a 5,000 case run makes branding challenging, but not impossible.

Using the best information available for this discussion, we assume there are about 44% of the populations who do not drink any alcoholic beverages. Based upon population distribution within the 5 demographic segments there are approximately 65 million people who drink some wine at least monthly. We will assume here that they will buy approximately 3-4 bottles of wine per month (probably a generous assumption). This information could account for the purchase of approximately 220 million bottles of wine in the US. These purchaseswould be for home consumption with an additional amount for restaurant sales and meeting/convention sales.

Here is where the branding issues become real. There are 8,500 wineries in the U.S. 80% of these wineries produce 5,000 cases or less of wine. To add perspective, Gallo produces in excess of 80 million cases of wine in a year for worldwide sales. Keeping with the small producer for the moment, this wine is sold via the winery tasting room, winery wine clubs, on-line (Direct to Consumer), retailers (which includes grocery stores) via Three Tier Distribution that requires discounting to the distributors for retailer discounts, sale commissions, promotions and their advertising.

Remember, there has been no discussion of the wines that are imported from Italy, France, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. This is important because these producers/importers are worried about branding their products also; this causes a lot of clutter in the market.

It is probably apparent there are large producers, from all over the world, selling wine in America. Some wines do enjoy strong brand recognition such as Yellow Tail from Australia or Gallo from Lodi, CA. Beringer, Mondavi, and Coppola in Napa Valley are also high in brand recognition. In Sonoma we have Kendall Jackson and Rodney Strong. Interestingly, it takes strong revenue and profits to build a brand and if you are a small producer the money it takes for consumer branding activities is prohibitive. We need to always remember every brand (corporate or product) must be positioned differently as an image.

We see that sales of 4 or 5 bottles of wine per month to U.S. consumers is a daunting task just to get trials of the product. This is one of several reasons why wineries are spending more on improving direct sales through their tasting rooms, wine clubs, on-line (Direct to Consumer) sales and social media.

Let’s talk about corporate winery branding. The industry needs an honest relationship with consumers. Otherwise the customer belongs to the 3 Tier Distributor or wine store and the sale becomes exponentially expensive going forward. A winery must define their image, product niches, consumer profile and be targeted to the consumer with a message specific to their targeted consumer. Wine Business.com reports that the vast majority of wine consumers buy wine based upon taste. But, taste is only one of the differentiators. Obviously, wineries have to get the taster.

Branding

Effective branding is about bringing a corporate name, the company’s products, or the services to be top of mind awareness for the customer. A product may even have more recognition/branding than the company name. For example, Kleenex is more recognized than Kimberly Clark which manufacturers Kleenex. That is fine.

Wine is mostly sold, not by a winery name or a label but first through price. Of the 10,000 plus varietals in the world, California has mostly focused on maybe 25 varietals for wine and wine blending. This fact makes it even harder to brand a winery when people look for price first and varietal in third place according to Dr. Thach and Dr. Chang. Number two is branding.

Now consider the changes impacting the wine business. The industry is now impacted with labels and brands announcing: organic wines, sustainable wines, and bio-dynamic farming wines.These add a new twist to branding considerations. Over the past few years there are some trying to brand lower alcohol levels, and medals. Talk about branding overload.

Branding Impact

Wineries must recognize, after the decision is made to add focus to the company and/or its products, the company branding effort must be impacted throughout the organization. It will require constant development, refinement, monitoring, and administration. Finally, a corporate identity must become the culture at the winery. In Dr. Thach and Dr. Chang 2015 survey of: American Wine Consumer Preferences, 61% of their respondents had visited multiple wineries in California alone. This means, if a branding message being put out into the marketplace is not part of the winery culture the brand will be diminished. Consumers will see that culture in action at the winery.

Marketing is not all there is to branding, but it is significantly ahead of number two. Marketing is part of branding because it touches and introduces the brand to consumers, retailers, vendors and the community. There are many large companies that spend vast sums of money on building corporate brand without selling specific products. Boeing is such a company; consumer does not buy $300 million airplanes however they do respond to image.

Finally, companies/brands must protect their image at all costs. Once the Branding Plan (akin to a business plan) is developed, with a good foundation of research and winery metrics, that plan will dictate many things. For example: product launches and new product launches, dictate the messages coming from the company, employee hiring, PR, packaging, and the list encompasses every department is a winery.

Elements to Illustrate Branding Tasks

· Bottle labels and winery logo-Label creativity is still at the mercy of the TTB (Alcohol & TobaccoTax and Trade Bureau) relative to label content. Still it is part of the image that appears to the consumer on the shelf; it’s an identifier.

· Marketing/advertising/sales/collateral materials/PR/Sponsorships are front and center. The consumer facing image is throughout–club, on-line and tasting room sales and mailing list. Give consumers value beyond just the product.

· Training plan-Training must be centric to developing and reinforcing a new branding strategy. Employees at all levels must buy into the corporate and product positioning, not just public contact employees.

· Packaging is an element that ties the label and logo message together. In wine branding even the bottle shape and weight, closures (screw caps/cork/synthetic cork), capsules/foils, all go into the branding perceptions.

· Product consistency-Consumers who eventually accept a brand expect consistency. As the saying implies-If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

· Website, blog and social media are major elements to create, reinforce and maintain branding for products and corporate. Customer feedbacks will give almost immediate indications if the brand strategy is generating desired results and achieving benchmarks.

With wineries producing many varietal and blended wines under their corporate brand it is probably more important that the winery brand be face forward. This is a personal opinion and probably will vary based upon ownerships’ strategies for the business. For example, if a winery wanted to position the property for a sale then branding would have a different approach than a launch of a new label.

If you are a wine consumer the branding activity can be entertaining and enlightening. For example, as a consumer we enjoy winery tastings, but the chances of visiting more than a handful of wineries may be out of the question. But with so many wines and so little time, part of the fun is exploring new wines. For a winery, branding really becomes important and especially if your small but want to create a brand that meets your business expectations for a 5, 10 or 20 year time frame.

There are many occasions when I go into a Total Wines or BevMo or our grocery store, just to do fun research. With a note pad and a magnifying glass (required because of age and fine print) I will read labels for information-winery, blending, and a little of the hype. Coming home I will look up the winery website, read about their wines and form an opinion about the brand simply based on the feel of the site, label designs, the winemaker, and past awards (although that is not all that important). If I am interested I sometimes even call a winery to ask questions about the winery, owners and style of winemaking.

Amazingly, the majority of the time the people answering my questions are ill prepared.

Importance of research is not appreciated by consumers and producers. Research focuses on industry matters, winery/winery products and competition concerning the following: image, price, products, promotions, lace, historical data and competition (brands). This data will eventually direct the Branding Plan efforts.

Knowing the consumer, defining the future plans of the winery and product directions, now is the time to get to work on the business of branding. Half of the effort is about where the winery wants to go and how the winery gets there. Research gives a path. A branding without a written plan bought into by employee implementers is called gambling.

For the purpose of discussion we will assume a winery has not really focused on branding and this would be an early effort at branding. Or, maybe the current branding is not generating the desired results; then a change is in order. Sometimes branding is only to build awareness or it is image branding. If a customer can’t tell a winery’s researcher their perceptions/attributes of a wines brand then branding efforts have weaknesses.

Moving forward with the data points from industry research and the research initiated by the winery, a branding plan must be developed that focuses on the corporate brand image as well as the wines (products).

Mission Statement versus Objectives is always confusing. Some companies want a Mission Statement as a starting point of a branding plan. I am the exception to this rule; most Mission Statements I have been involved with are actually too esoteric and enigmatic to be useful throughout the organization. However, most everyone can relate to an “objective” statement as opposed to a “mission”. Here is the Mission Statement from Constellation Brands who owns Robert Mondavi-“Building brands that people love. “Their Vision statement reads-“To elevate life with every glass raised.” Do these statements resonate with you as a wine drinker? (By the way, this is not meant as a slight to Constellation Brands which is a highly successful company that has an impressive portfolio of brands) Answer this question relative to the Vision and Mission statement of any of their brands or the corporate brand image: What is your top of mind awareness of Constellation Brands after reading these statements?

In developing a branding plan objective and strategy, be focused on what the all encompassing goals are so that along the way most employees and consumers understand the message.

If this is the first time to work on a branding plan it might be best to focus on a Corporate/Winery branding strategy and let that strategy support branding objectives for the wine products. Branding is ultimately building the public’s (wine consumers) impression of the winery and the products.

For example, in the 1980’s whenever someone mentioned Robert Mondavi Wines I thought instantly of a winery with community involvement, arts, food, innovation and quality control. I drank a lot of their wines because of that image. After some turmoil, of which I know little about, I started buying other brands because my perception of the image became tarnished (to me). After Mr. Mondavi became distant for the brand it just lost some appeal. Point is a corporate brand built my perception of the wines.

After a Brand Plan objective is determined, based upon research results and the vision of the owners/managers, the specific strategies and plan-of-action items are developed by all winery departments. Think of the Objective as a military operation. Taking a hill is the objective, no more specific than that. Strategies are the options to achieve that objective.

There is always a cost associated with any launch of a branding program or even maintaining a brand. The impetus of the effort is marketing driven as that is the face of the company. Based upon revenues, cost of distribution (wine club, direct to consumer, distributors, on-line, tasting room), and product associated costs, the branding effort will dictated by a series of complex decisions; not all of which will be revenue or profit motivated.

The branding campaign can simply start off by maximizing existing marketing programs to incorporate new branding ideas. For example, add an updated logo to collateral materials or posters or point-of-sale cards. Improve e-mail communications to mail list, club members, retailers and even editors/bloggers at trade publications.

Not that the importance of branding needs further reinforcement, I digress. There was a research study conducted by Dr. Liz Thach and Dr. Kathryn Chang and published in WineBusiness.com. A question in that study ask respondents: When making a decision on which wine to purchase what were the two most important factors? 72% said price was the most important consideration, followed by brand as the second most important consideration at 67%. Interestingly, varietals were about half as important (36%) as price. The most common price range for wine bought for home consumption (32%) was $10-15 with 19% purchasing wine averaging $15 to 20 a bottle. For branding purposes 51% of the wine consuming market is buying wine in the <$20 per bottle. Point is, price is a driver in any branding.

“Wine is regarded as an “experience good (sic)” in that wine purchase of a specific brand is a personal choice and usually made after tasting. However, many consumers do not have the choice and often rely on experts and friends to help decide which wine to purchase, Nowadays, they are more likely to use social media,” as reported by K. Newman in “How Wine Lovers Use Social Media and K. Breslin in Presentation of Constellation Digital Marketing.

Just remember the old axiom-The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Here is an example of plans that don’t work out. Reported in Wines and Vines on November 11, 2015, Truett-Hurst Winery posted $800,000 in charges related to its Paper Boy brand, which had sought to use a unique bottle composed of cardboard with a plastic liner. This is the primary reason why making sure progress toward benchmarks are monitored and tested with good research.

Dr.’s Thach and Chang summarize branding precisely, relative to wine:

· Focus branding message on relaxation and social benefits of a brand.

· Adopt social media platforms to interact with consumers and get their feedback. There are conflicting views on the value of social media in marketing wines, but it is probably wise to pay attention to trends and how to use the phenomenon.

· Work with distributors to make sure wines are available in outlets. Distributors need care and attention so they understand the branding direction a winery and enforce a branding strategy with retailers.

· Whatever the price point a winery wants their products to be in, the brand must support that message. The sweet spot is $10-15 but if the cost structure in the product does not allow that pricing then there are obvious choices a winery must make.

· Wine tourism is a great way to brand which spills over into the social media, peer reviews and recommendations and word of mouth promotion.

· Through research, keep abreast of competitive tactics.

Here are some thoughts that pertain to social media branding.

“A lot of mediocre wine is being sold on the basis of a ‘story’.” (Transpose “story” with “branding”.) “That’s a quote from a New York somm, Jason Jacobeit, cited in Lettie Teague’s latest column in the Wall Street Journal,” says Heimoff a wine writer.

The following is another perspective on the value of social media in branding from Steve Heimoff. “I don’t think these top 30 wineries consider social media as the most important of their “how to sell” strategies, rather, they focus on such traditional things as a trained sales force, pricing strategies, paying attention to consumer trends, forging good relationships with distributors and key accounts (on-premise and off-premise), courting wine writers (including bloggers) and a host of other proven best practices that social media has barely any impact on.” The 30 top wineries referred to in Mr. Heimoff’s blog come from Wine Business Monthly. The 30 companies represent nearly 90 percent of the domestic wine sold annually in the U.S. by volume.” In fact, “The top companies themselves represent more than half of U.S. case sales,” notes Wine Business Monthly.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Affiliate Marketing

Most people have heard of affiliate marketing, even if they haven’t actually started doing it. Affiliate marketing is basically referring people to various products and services around the internet. For each sale you generate through your affiliate link, you earn a commission. The size of the commission depends on the products themselves, who is selling them and the percentage offered by the seller to the affiliate.

But what is actually involved in affiliate marketing? What do affiliates do on a daily basis? How do they earn money and how do they learn what to do?

1 An Example Of A Successful Website

There’s several ways of marketing products and services online. Many affiliates create a blog first and sell products and services through their blog. Martin Lewis has a very successful website called moneysavingexpert.com. This is also an affiliate website. By creating content and helping people decide which service to use: which credit card offers to choose, the best interest rate etc. moneysavingexpert.com makes money by sending website visitors to various offers. If a sale is made through this website, the link this credited to it and a commission is made. By creating content, offering value and helping people make sensible choices, the website has built a reputation and become more prevalent over time. Google ranks the site highly in the search engines and thousands of people use it to make purchasing decisions every day.

2 How Can I Get Started As An Affiliate?

Affiliate marketing is huge. There are thousands of people already making their main source of income from the internet. To get started as an affiliate you need to learn some basic strategies and build various methods of generating traffic from the internet to those offers. A lot of affiliates start with a simple blog. Many travelers ‘blog’ about their travels. If you don’t have a passion or interest to blog about, you can start by following an online course which will help. See my bio for more info on this.

3 How Long Does It Take To Make A Living?

Some people go into affiliate marketing with the intention of creating a second income. Some people want to make big money. Depending on how much time you can dedicate to your affiliate business, and how dedicated you are to it, is a big factor in determining your results. Results vary from person to person. With a large advertising budget and the right business model, some affiliates have replaced their living in 6-12 months. For others it can take years before it replaces their existing income. Depending on your approach, advertising budget, and business model, it can take between 3 months and several years to build it to a point where it can replace an existing income.

4 Can Anyone Do It?

One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that the technology is now available to allow anyone to build their own online business. As long as you are prepared to learn and implement that knowledge, anyone who can operate an email, can use online platforms and tools to build their own online business. The main thing you need is the desire to learn. Affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone though. It does take a lot of hard work and it can take years before you are rewarded financially.

5 What Are The Pitfalls Of An Affiliate Business?

You need to dedicate some time to your affiliate business for it to work for the long term. Some people go into affiliate marketing thinking it is some magic pill which will pay them instantly in cash. Much like a job you can’t expect to get out more than you put in. Affiliate marketing is performance related. This means you don’t get paid unless you can successfully sell products and services online. If you don’t know what you are doing it can take years to do this. You can’t be a dabbler and expect to earn the big money. The big earnings are created over years of hard work. Don’t expect to achieve this with only a small amount of input.

6 What Are The Best Things About Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing offers an incredible amount of flexibility and freedom. You can work an affiliate business from anywhere in the world providing you have a laptop and an internet connection. You can choose your own hours and build it up around existing work. Many people come into affiliate marketing because it offers this kind of flexibility. They can choose their priorities in life: spend more time with family, choose your working hours, travel and work abroad. No more commuting to work or working long hours for a boss you don’t like.

Affiliate marketing also offers incredible scalability. A business which is local is always limited to the people who can travel to that business. An online business can be global. Using digital products in conjunction with a global reach, you can scale using tools and software to reach thousands of people through digital technology. By using automation much of the work involved with an online business can be pre-built. By building automation into the business model, you can focus your activities on reaching a larger audience through content creation and paid advertising.

7 Why Am I Struggling With My Affiliate Business?

A lot of people struggle with their affiliate businesses.This can be for a number of reasons. Firstly building up an affiliate business takes time. You need to dedicate a lot of time to an affiliate business in the first place. Only when you reach a ‘tipping point’ do you really start to see your progress. Many affiliates simply don’t realise how much work is involved. They underestimate how much time they need to dedicate to their online business to make it work.
Paid advertising can allow you to grow your affiliate business quickly. But it costs money and you need the right products too. You can’t advertise small value items with paid advertising. You won’t generate enough profit to cover your advertising costs. You need a range of products and an email list to advertise through.
Content marketing takes much longer to work, depending on your chosen area of business. If you find an untapped niche to market your blog in, you can make some fast progress. However, with a competitive niche you will struggle to get noticed above all the other content which you will have to compete with. There’s several reasons why you might struggle. The main one is lack of knowledge. Get the right education first and your affiliate business will move much faster.

8 What’s The Best Affiliate Model To Use?

There are many different affiliate models, all offering something different to suit the individual. Some affiliates target search traffic and aim to get their content found on Google. Some create their own products and sell them directly to customers. However, having a range of products which you can sell over and over to existing customers is a great model for long term success. Selling a single item online is limited. It means you can only make one commission from each sale. By choosing membership products to promote which also offer back end sales and a built in sales team, you can benefit from monthly commissions and up-sell commissions for the lifetime of any given customer. Selling membership products is definitely a game changer when it come to affiliate marketing because you make an income from each customer, rather than a single commission. But a good model to choose is one in which you have a passion for and can keep doing for the long term. Choosing products which you have no interest in is a short sighted plan. Think about what you would like to do online to generate an income. If you choose to go with your passion, your business will last much longer, and be more successful.

9 Can I Just Sell My Own Products?

Many affiliates create their own products to sell online. However, when you are starting out it is a good idea to learn the basics of marketing first. That way you can start earning more quickly from your affiliate business. I spent a long time creating my own products when I first discovered affiliate marketing. But I didn’t sell anything because of a couple of reasons. Firstly I didn’t research whether my products would have a big enough demand. Secondly I didn’t know how to market them. By joining a program which teaches you how to market products first, you can start making money more quickly. Don’t waste time creating products if you don’t know how to sell them. Marketing is a much more important skill for making money online. Once you know this skill, you can then apply it later when marketing your own products and services. Also your own products will be limited in range. By using an existing product range, you can benefit from products which are already selling. You can choose a program which offers high ticket commission, monthly memberships, back end sales and a built in sales team. Building your own products which offers all of these things not a possibility for most people when starting out.

10 What’s The Point Of Affiliate Marketing?

Some people struggle with the concept of affiliate marketing.They think it sounds too ‘salesy’. When I understood affiliate marketing I immediately found it appealing simply because I needed a flexible way to work around my contract work. I had to drop what I was doing at a moments notice if the phone went. This meant other jobs were awkward to juggle around. No-one wants to employ a ‘flaky’ employee. I wanted to work from my laptop and affiliate marketing gave me that opportunity. For many people this is the reason why they choose affiliate marketing. They can earn an income from their laptop, choose their working hours and not have a boss or place of employment. You don’t have to sell directly to anyone or even talk to a customer. There is no stock to hold. Added to this, the scalability of affiliate marketing which lets you scale up to a global audience and deliver products on autopilot, makes it the best flexible business of the future.

Online Affiliated Marketing

Online Affiliate Marketing is a revenue sharing venture between a website owner and an online merchant. The website owner will place advertisements on his websites to either help sell the merchant’s products or to send potential customers to the merchant’s website, all in exchange for a share of the profits.

Affiliate Marketing Program
An affiliate marketing program is sometimes called an affiliate program, but also may be referred to as a pay-for-performance program or an associate program. An affiliate program is a marketing tool for the e-business that operates it, called merchant or advertiser and a source of revenue for the e-business that participates in it, called an affiliate or associate or publisher.

There are three ways to earn money through affiliate marketing:
1) Pay per Click or Cost-per-click affiliate programs: Every time a potential customer leaves the affiliate website by “clicking” on the link leading to the merchant’s website, a certain amount of money is deposited in the affiliate’s account. This amount can be pennies or dollars depending on the product and amount of the commission.
2) Pay per Lead or Cost-per-lead affiliate programs: The merchant pays the affiliate a set fee for each visitor who clicks through and takes and action at the merchant’s site, such as completing an online survey, registering at the site, or opting-in to receive e-mail.
3) Pay per Sale or Cost-per-sale affiliate programs: Every time a sale is made as a result of advertising on the affiliate’s website, a percentage, or commission, is deposited into the affiliate’s account.

The Amazon Story
The world’s biggest bookstore has one of the most successful examples of an affiliate program (called their associate program). Amazon now has well over 1 million affiliates! That is over 1 million websites actively promoting their products every single second of every single day. Amazon generates over 40% of its revenue through its affiliates program. That is over $3 billion in revenue every single year! As another (somewhat humble by comparison) example, Zeald generates over 50% of its revenue using its own unique affiliates program. Admittedly, not quite billions of dollars but that is definitely millions of dollars of revenue every single year.

Thousands of diverse e-businesses operate affiliate programs: E.g. barnes&nobale, dell,1-800-flowers, rackspace managed hosting etc.

Affiliate Programs as a Marketing Tool
The two major Advantages to merchant
1. Tie marketing effort directly to a lead or sales.
2. The merchant pays only for results.
The two major Advantages to affiliate
1. Additional source of revenue for affiliate who also sells products/services
2. Primary source of revenue for affiliate who offers entertainment or information
Two Approaches to Operating a Successful Affiliate Marketing
1. Acquire a huge and affiliate membership. e.g. The Amazon associates programs have over 1 million members as diverse as:
– RVPart – Sells parts for recreational vehicles and motor homes.
– Dilbert – Site for view cartoons, play games, send electronic greeting cards etc
– Books for Managers – Site for business reviews and lists of the currant top-selling business-related books provided by Business week, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other publications.
– HaperCollins – Its site to promote its authors and their books. However, like many book publishers. HaperCollins sells its books through bookstores and not directly to the public.
2. Acquire a smaller number of highly effective affiliates that have a high volume of website traffic and offer web page content, products and services that are directly related to the merchant’s products and services.

Affiliate Programs as a Revenue Source
Participating in an affiliate program and then getting the most out of your participation involves:
– Selecting the appropriate merchant and affiliate program for your e-business
– Understand the terms of the affiliate agreement
– Add custom links to merchant’s site from affiliate Web pages
– Build traffic at affiliate site to increase click-troughs to merchant site.

Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Affiliate Program That Is Right for You
1. You have to identify a product or service for which there is a need. The product should be such that you would love and enjoy promoting it. You could start by searching for “Affiliate Programs” in the Search Engines.
2. The product or service should be relevant to your website.
3. It is always wise to join an affiliate program that is long standing, safe and secure and has a good reputation in the Internet world. This can be easily verified from the Better Business Bureau or other similar organizations. Visits to Forums and Discussion Groups will also provide you with a lot of useful information.
4. Most affiliate program providers provide a commission of 5% to 50%. The commission you earn for the sale of a product is your main income. So while choosing an affiliate program you should study the commission paid out and decide on a program that pays at least 35% for you to run your business successfully.
5. There should be a proper tracking system in place to record all the clicks and sales made through the text links and banners placed on your website, e-mails and other advertisements.
6. One important factor that is often overlooked is the “hits per sale ratio”. This indicates the number of hits that have to be made to a Text Link or Banner to generate a sale. This will give you an idea as to how much traffic is needed before a sale is made.
7. How often are commissions paid? This is another important matter that should be considered. Most reputed organizations pay their affiliates monthly or when they accumulate a minimum commission of $50 to $ 100 or as indicated by you. You should avoid any program that requires too many sales to reach the minimum amount.
8. Affiliate Programs are generally single tier or two tiers. A single tier program pays you for whatever business you have generated. On the other hand a two tier program pays you for the business you have generated and also a commission for the sales generated by a sub- affiliate, you have sponsored. A two tier program is always advantageous.
9. Long standing reputed organizations provide a whole range of tools and resources such as Banners, Text Links, Brochures, Websites and training for their affiliates. When choosing look out for such organizations because they certainly make life much easier and helps you grow your home based business.
10. Finally, you must read and understand the agreement before you join as an affiliate even if it happens to be the best organization in the world.

Understanding the Affiliate Agreement
The affiliate agreement created by the merchant and agreed by the affiliate, defines all aspects of the affiliate program and typically includes:
– Types of Web sites merchant will accept into the affiliate program
– Types of links allowed and guidelines regarding their use.
– Schedule and payments terms of fees and commissions
– Terms of usage of merchant logo, name and web content
– Technical specification that your web site must meet, if any
– Restrictions on types of content that may appear on affiliate sites
– Requirements for compliance with all government laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations.

Affiliate Tracking Systems
– Allow merchant to control how it credits click-throughs
– Monitor window of time in which affiliate can get credit for a click-through
– Record and store affiliate information
– Provide commission/fee reports

Affiliate management networks
An affiliate management network is a third-party entity that recruits affiliates, manages the registration process, tracks and properly credits all of the fee and commissions and arranges for payment. In return for these services, the affiliate management network collects from the merchant a percentage of each referral transaction’s fee or commission-perhaps as much 30 percent.

Well-established affiliate management networks: Example: Commission Junction, LinkShare [2]

Affiliate tracking technologies
To achieve this we develop a strategic online relationship with advertisers to improve the creation, management, and analysis of online marketing and sales activities. These activities are supported by a scalable and reliable tracking technology. Keeping track of the click-throughs and properly crediting the affiliates is a complex programming task. Companies such as BeFree and ClickTrade sell software that automatically monitors and credits all followed links resulting in a sale. Note that ClickTrade was acquired by Microsoft and is now co-branded as part of Microsoft bCentral.

Some tracking technologies are following:
– Custom links containing affiliate information or affiliate and merchant information
– Tracking cookies
– Third-party tracking software
– Application service provider tracking service
– Sub Domain tracking
– Database record matching.

Affiliate Marketing Risks and Challenges
Affiliate marketing is not without certain risks and challenges primarily form unethical affiliates and the negative perceptions online consumers have about tracking technologies.

Unethical Affiliates
– Cookie stuffing – Multiple cookies placed on visitor’s hard drive during a single visitor affiliate site.
– Spyware – General term used to describe software that has been installed on a personal computer without the owner’s permission, its unknowingly download and install spyware when you download games, screensavers, freeware utilities and so forth.
– Parasiteware – Redirects affiliate links and Replaces content of existing tracking cookies
– Spammers – Merchant is responsible if affiliates use spam to promote sites
– Negative perception of tracking cookies – Many consumers install and use blocking software which includes Block tracking cookies and Delete tracking cookies.

Why Affiliate Marketing Is Profitable for E-Business
If you have been considering an affiliate marketing venture, there are some very good reasons why you should go with this method of generating recurring revenue. Here are some of the ways that affiliate marketing can be a lucrative means of creating income that will be stable and allow you to grow exposure over time.
– One of the first advantages of affiliate marketing for the new entrepreneur is that the startup cost is very low. Most companies that offer affiliate marketing programs do not require any type of monetary investment on the part of the affiliate.
– The second expenses are limited to what you have to pay to connect with the Internet, the software you may need to load on your computer, and a web site where the ads associated with the affiliate marketing program can be placed. With web site hosting such an inexpensive service these days, setting up your own web site for the affiliate ads will be a breeze.
– Another reason that affiliate marketing is such a moneymaker is the fact that there are so many different types of ways to set up the program. You can go with the pay per click option, which works out great when it comes to promoting special offers. Ads that lead to product review sites often are a way to allow product users to go through your portal and leave comments on the items they purchase.

First Thing’s First-Avoid These Silly Affiliate Marketing Mistakes!
While affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a living, the fact is that many people become discouraged and drop out of programs. In many instances, the failure to be successful with affiliate marketing has to do with making a few simple mistakes. Here are some examples of those mistakes and why they should be avoided.
– A low-quality website with no original content and tossing in some affiliate links. While it is certainly true that you need to have a web site up and running in order to participate in an affiliate program, there is also the need to apply some effort to getting the word out about your site. Otherwise, the chances of people visiting your web site and clicking on one of the links are pretty slim.
– Another mistake many affiliate partners make is not choosing products that have some relevance to the content of your web site.
– Keeping your site content and the ads more or less relevant to one another will make it easier to generate revenue, and not fail as an affiliate marketer. Now, this may seem intuitive – but many make this mistake in subtle ways (i.e. they mismatch their customers with products).
– One final mistake that many affiliate marketers make is not sprucing up their web sites from time to time. Keeping the content fresh is one way of building and keeping a loyal reading audience because keeping the same old look and the same old text with nothing new to entice people back is a sure way to limit your chances at being a successful affiliate marketer. The fact is that you do have to proactively promote your site, keep the content fresh, and make sure the ads have some connection to the subject matter of your site.

What You Need Before Getting Started and Affiliated Marketing
While there is not a lot of expense in starting up as an affiliate marketer, there are a few things that you need to do if you really want to make money marketing other people’s products.
Here are some basic tips to help you line up all your things to do before you ever sign up for that first affiliate program.
– One of the basic needs for any successful affiliate program is to have a web site of your own. While it is possible to purchase ad space on sites and to advertise through Google Adwords, this is short term strategy setting up a basic web site that has a particular focus will make all the difference in the world to the success of your program. Keep in mind that your web site does not have to be complicated with a lot of flash media, animation or other fancy bells and whistles.
– In fact, if you plan on focusing your attention on affiliate marketing strategies that target the home consumer, you are better off with a basic site that will load quickly on a dial up connection. After all, dial-up is still extremely popular in a number of locations.
– Online payments are a great way to easily receive your affiliate payments and keep track of your earnings. From this angel, you may want to look into opening an account with one of the more popular online services that send and receive funds. i.g PayPal
– Another important aspect is determining just what your contact information will be, regarding communication with your affiliate program. This would include an email Address and physical mailing address. The email address should be one you have set aside specifically for your marketing business.

How to Pick the Best Product with the Best Payout and Great Demand
– One of the first things to think in terms of when it comes to affiliate marketing is determining where your talents and expertise happen to reside. One of the keys to picking the best products for your particular situation have to do with what you know and how much you know about it. As an example, a person that has worked in telecommunications for a number of years will probably know a great deal about telephony, related services, and technology that are used within that industry.
– Another aspect about setting up with the right products to promote has to do with where you see a niche to fill in. Finding a population or business sector that appears to be largely ignored in the marketing process can provide the inspiration you need to create a successful affiliate marketing program.
– Do not allow yourself to get discouraged simply because everything is not crystal clear as you begin this part of the process. Practicing some patience and giving yourself time to find the right products to promote as part of the program will only serve to make you more dedicated to the success of the program
In the end, you will find the products that will lead to a very successful affiliate marketing scheme and provide you with not only a handsome revenue stream, but also a lot of personal satisfaction.

Recommended Top Affiliate Networks on the Internet
When you decide to enter the world of affiliate marketing, there are a number of markets that are worthy of consideration. Here are three programs that have captured the attention of a lot of people, simply because of their stability and reliability.

1. Perhaps the best known of the three programs is Click Bank: clickbank. There a number of reasons why people find ClickBank such an attractive option when it comes to affiliate programs. One aspect is that the revenue generated by any purchase made through the ad portal is credited to your account within two minutes of the completion of the transaction. Because Click Bank provides such a comprehensive tracking program.
2. pavdotcom is also an excellent choice as an affiliate network. Just as with ClickBank, PayDotCom provides an easy to use affiliate interface that allows you to view your numbers in real time. You can easily track such data as the number of clicks on the ads and the amount of commissions you have made by directing visitors over to the marketplace through the portal on your web site. One of the advantages of PayDotCom is that this program will interface with your PayPal account, which means that vendors can send your monthly commission directly to your PayPal account. It is important to note that not all vendors will use PayPal as a payment method, so you may still receive payments by check as well.
3. shareasale is a third option that is rapidly gaining recognition among affiliate marketers. As a program that is designed to match up to the content of your existing web site, Share sale is free to join as an affiliate.

Rising to the Super Affiliate Level – What Constitutes a Super Affiliate?
A super affiliate is a marketing affiliate that has created a network that provides a high volume of traffic to affiliate products and a high percentage of completed sales from that traffic. The super affiliate is not one who reaches this level once, or even once in a great while.
– Creativity is an hallmark of a super affiliate. The ability to present the same old information is new ways will keep people interested. Super affiliates know how to look at products from a variety of different angles, determine a series of ways to present the product, and then go out and find an audience to match up with each one of those ways. For the super affiliate, there is always one more way to draw attention to a product, and find a larger audience than ever before.
– Another characteristic of a super affiliate is the desire and ability to master technology. This does not necessarily involve becoming an expert in information technology. But it does involve learning enough about existing technology to make good use of avenues already open on the Internet to promote products.
– Making the most of your status as a super affiliate means enjoying the opportunities that come to you through word of mouth; additionally, it means taking matters into your own hands and promoting your status in such a way that you increase your visibility.

The Super Affiliate Marketing Tactics Exposed!
So what is it that allows a super affiliate to make hundreds or even thousands of sales when you struggle to make 5 sales of the same product? Why is that super affiliates rake in the cash while you struggle to get by? Think about this carefully: you are both selling the exact same product. The only possible difference is the tactics you use to market it. Below, we have included a couple tactics that we should use to sell more like super affiliates. Try to incorporate them into your strategy.

Tactic #1: Play the Long Game
Whenever some new launch is coming up, they will throw together a promotional website; and try to direct traffic to it using pay per click search engine advertisements or solo ads. But there is a major flaw with this approach: almost without exception, people will purchase a “big launch” product from an Internet marketer they already know this is why you have to play the long game, rather than focusing on each individual launch, prepare an approach that will work consistently for years to make more sales.
Tactic #2: Steal from Super Affiliates Whenever Possible
Many super affiliates are also big name Internet marketers. They have public personas that we can follow quite easily. We can find their user ld’s, blogs, mailing lists and their web site’s. Through this approach we can learn from each of them.
Tactic #3: Ignore Talk; Look for Revealed Preference
Talk is just that: talk. Many Internet marketers will talk about all sorts of different methods you can use to make money. They will tell you to advertise using Google AdWords or to build a list or to create viral reports. While some of this information may be useful and legitimate, we should ignore what they say and watch what they do. This is called “revealed preference.
Tactic #4: Make Friends with the Seller
Believe it or not, the seller wants you to be successful, too. So contact him ahead of time, make friends with him; and see if he has any particular advice for you on selling the product. Keep in mind that he talks to a lot of affiliates on a regular basis (especially around big launches) and has the best understanding of the tactics they actually use.

Become a Supreme Affiliate Marketing: Additional Supreme Affiliate Marketing Tips
If you want to make a six figure income – and possibly a seven figure income – then you have to do something that is truly different than what you are doing now. The big question is “how can I do this”? Here’s following suggestion:

Tip #1: Start Acting Like a Business Owner
If you want to be a successful affiliate product marketer, you have to find people who can augment your weakness (and, trust me, no matter how smart you are, you have plenty of weaknesses). Additionally, affiliate marketers do not work in isolation. Most of them are friends with the marketers they sell products for; and this gives them far more leverage and information than you have access to. So start thinking of yourself as a business owner, rather than a completely self-sufficient Internet marketer.
Tip #2: Concentrate on Regular Sales
Regular sales are easier to quantify and predict; and, for this reason, it is far easier to continually ramp up small, regular sales until you are making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars each year. So don’t worry if you’re the top affiliate for some major new product launch. Instead, focus on regular sales and regular increases in sales.
Tip #3: Do What They Do – Not What They Say
Observe the channels of marketer through which he promotes his product. Watch carefully to determine what methods he’s using to make sales, so you can replicate his successes, rather than chasing after dreams he’s written about.

Conclusion

We may conclude that choosing an Affiliate Program that is right for you might be time consuming but a worth while process. Going through the above whole process will also be a learning curve for new entrepreneurs who are serious about starting a successful home based business. So there is an opportunity for business students and young entrepreneur to develop a simple website with limited budget that can be arranged easily through their own personal savings. This website can be developed with only $100 to $200 (Approximately). You can increase your business growth through adopting the approach where you can affiliate your business with different websites having relevancy with your business and internet heavy traffic as well.

Finally there’s no single path to affiliate marketing riches – and that’s a good thing. Instead, there are many pathways through which you can make your millions. So scout carefully, look for functional methods you can use, and implement them in your own efforts. You may be surprised with the results. But whatever you do – don’t continue to use strategies that haven’t worked in the past. Always think like super affiliates because they use a range of tactics and adopt different ways in order to consistently outperform other affiliates. But one thing you should always play the long game and build lists, create forums, and secure a captive audience in advance of product releases.

Before You Advertise Know the Facts! Offline Advertising Vs Online Advertising

What forms of advertising are available to you in Cookeville? Should you advertise your local business Offline or Online? You can better decide that once you understand the buying process a person goes through before spending money on a service or a product. It could take days, even years for a person to go through this process.

Understanding this journey will assist you in determining what advertising methods would work best in spreading your message. We will be discussing reach and estimated cost between traditional offline advertising and Online Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

Typical Consumer Buying Process:

Most all consumers have the same pre-defined actions before buying Anything! Listed below are the purchasing steps people like you and I unknowingly use.

Potential customers become aware that they have a need, want or problem
They gather information about the product, service or solution that could possibly fix their problem
They ask their friends opinions, read customer reviews & consumer reports, watch videos and the list of fact-finding research methods goes on
Only then, when people have gathered this information, do they feel comfortable enough to make a buying decision. The information gathering phase accounts for roughly 95% of a client’s buying process. This leaves only 5% of customers ready to buy at any given time.

What does this have to do with advertising in Cookeville?

Simply put, the buying process is common to all potential customers. When you advertise your business in Cookeville or your Cookeville business to potential clients in Nashville or Knoxville, you must understand who your message will reach and when. Telling the world about your business is only effective if it produces a return on investment, Right? In order to produce result oriented advertising you must inform shoppers and provide buyers with exactly what they are looking for, giving them incentive to buy.

Offline Advertising

Advertisers in Cookeville can choose Offline Advertising in the forms of radio, TV, newspapers or other publications and billboards. Average monthly cost for these services when opting in for minimum exposure can cost you an estimated $20-$35 a day. That translates into an average of $825mo or $9900 a year.

These forms of advertising can take your message into Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Constant exposure can brand your business by “keeping your name out there” in the community to shoppers and attract potential buyers along the way.

How it Works

Essentially it comes down to exposing a message or multiple messages to the people who read a particular paper or publication, use a common street, listen to the radio or watch TV in a predefined area or location. The goal here is to advertise to the majority and hope you catch some buyers along the way. In theory you are only advertising to 5% of the population for direct response.

Now, I understand, you are advertising to everyone in your chosen area, but only five percent of the given population will be ready to buy today. It is important that you position your ads in order to market to the all the potential customers that may come in contact with your advertising.

It is best to provide an informational message that speaks directly to the 95% of people who are gathering information about the products or services you offer. You will also want to provide your viewers or listeners an alternative message driven towards direct sales in order to support the cost of your advertising. This increases your exposure, branding your business by informing shoppers and giving buyers what they are looking for with good reason to complete their buying process.

If you are a small business trying to grow, you will most likely want to keep your message focused towards the 5% of the people on the verge of buying. Dealing with smaller budgets requires you to increase you odds for making sales and money immediately from your advertising. Although it will cost more than the estimate above, it is always a good idea to multiply these messages on different advertising platforms, including online advertising for maximum results.

As with most advertising, the more you spend, the more people your message is exposed to, the more your chances increase for making sales along the way.

Online Advertising

Advertisers in Cookeville who choose Online Advertising can advertise on major Search Engines, Social Media sites and on literally hundreds of thousands of websites relevant to your business. Average monthly cost for professionally managed online advertising when opting in for minimum exposure will cost you an estimated $16 a day or $492mo or $5899 a year.

Don’t have a website? You don’t need one! Unless you intend to build your online presence for sales and branding together, then you will need a professional website. A fully customized, search engine optimized website will run you an estimated $1000. This is the real deal. Add that to the total cost and you are looking at $19 a day or $575mo or $6899 a year.

Online advertising does exactly the same thing as above, plus so much more. You can take your message to Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Online advertising also gives you the ability to advertise your business to multiple cities of choice or entire states across the US. You can even take your business advertising global if you so desire. That’s not all, you can also add multiple ads or advertising messages whenever you want and target your customers with keyword terms so the right message is reaching the appropriate clients.

How it Works

Online advertising is most commonly implemented through one of many pay-per-click (PPC) programs. These programs are offered by the worlds largest search engines or websites. Google by far being the leader, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook are a few you can probably relate too. With the one time account setup, you essentially tell the PPC provider who, when, where and what.

For Example: Let’s say you own a lawn equipment business and you sell weedeaters, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. With pay-per-click you target customers by using targeted keyword searches producing as many ads as needed to get your message(s) out to the right people.

You start by building one ad for lawn mowers that will target anybody searching online for the key terms – JD ZX9 Super Model, zero turn lawn mowers and lawnmower shops near Cookeville. By doing this you target the 5% of buyers who are looking to buy a commercial lawn mower close to Cookeville. Next you place another ad about lawn mowers but this time you target customers looking for service. So your ad reads, “Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring – Blade Sharpening to Full Service – Call Now for More Information.” You set it up so only people searching for the key terms – Lawn mower service, lawn mower blade sharpening and lawn equipment service see it. This ensures your getting the right message to the right people 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The cycle can go on and on to target weedeaters and leaf blowers as well. Before running these ads in what we call ‘Traffic’ you also tell your PPC provider to do a few other things as well. Things like only spend $250 a month or $8.30 a day, only show my ads to people searching for these exact terms and only show my ads to people within a ten mile radius of Cookeville, Crossville and Smithville. You have complete control over your advertising.

Drill down further and place ads like “Bob’s Lawn Shop – Lawn Mowers, Leaf Blowers & Weedeaters – 10% off Service During May” and place these ads on many other relevant websites. For instance, I send you an email asking you if you know of a place that sharpens lawn mower blades. You reply with a no, but because the conversation is relevant, your ad is showing on the side of the page and catches my attention. Or, perhaps, your target customer is looking on Lowe’s website at zero turn mowers and he spots your ad (like a billboard) on the side of the page and clicks through to your website. You could even set it up where they simply click the ad to call your business immediately from there mobile phone because you provide what they need today, locally. This is a great way to catch shoppers nearing their final buying decision through mass marketing. Keep in mind, there are no additional cost.

The Biggest difference with online advertising is you only pay when someone visits your website “Internet Store Front” or takes action from your advertisement. By targeting pre-qualified customers where they live (home, work, cell phone) at exactly the time they are looking for your businesses service, product, location or solution, you increase your chances of return on investment. This takes the “Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” aspect out as well because you choose who sees your ad, when they see it and what information they get when they take action. The best part is you can collect data by tracking conversions and begin to filter out what doesn’t work and build upon the target markets that are producing revenue for your business.

With 91 million searches a day on Google alone, people are looking for your business by way of the internet. When is the last time you cut out a newspaper ad, pulled over to write down a number or hunted up a phone book?

Advertising Comparison

-Offline Advertising

Pros:

Reaches local customers with option of running multiple messages
Targets customers throughout the buying process
Brands your business image in your selected viewing area
Cons:

Short ad exposure times
Unable to target any deeper than location or interests
No precise way to track results or effectiveness
Estimated Cost: $825 a month

-Online Advertising

Pros:

Only pay when someone acts upon your advertising message
Target pre-qualified customers with specific ads for sales and branding anywhere in the world
Capability of tracking data, optimizing to eliminate non productive advertising thereby producing increased results over time
Ability to pause, change or adjust your advertising any time day or night without any contracts
Cons:

A professional website is crucial for long term advertisers
Complex. Needs professional management for best results
Setup takes 2-3 weeks
Estimated Cost: $575 a month

Advertisers from the Middle Tennessee area have some very good choices for advertising there local business to the people of Cookeville. You know your business and hopefully this information will give you better insight on not only how you can advertise your business but also what cost will typically be involved.

Viral Advertising Business Performance

Why use viral advertising strategies in your business marketing efforts.
Using shock therapy to implement an online advertising campaign for your business.
Using viral advertising in your social media marketing and Facebook Fanpages will excel your results much faster.
Don’t shove your advertising message down their throats, let it go viral naturally.
Present unique and creative advertising campaigns to increase traffic and expose new prospects.
Creating a viral epidemic of buyers is your main business goal with your advertising strategy.
Learning to leverage your advertising budget for sustainable momentum.
Establish a success formula that can be repeated in your business viral advertising over and over again.
Add the most important ingredient to your advertising campaigns and that is creativity.
Be prepared to embrace new technology, software and APPS in your marketing strategy.
1. There is nothing more effective in promoting your message as a good viral advertising campaign. Viral advertising is designed to use the power of many and inspire others to promote your message for you. This is simply “word of mouth” advertising, is amazingly effective. A business owner can start a viral advertising campaign with no money invested, and let the online community spread your message like wildfire. You can now save advertising money that you were spending on newspaper ads, flyers, door hangers, and even TV commercials. Viral advertising is estimated to be 500 and even up to 1000 times more effective that a regular ad campaign.

If you can learn how to express an idea with commitment and dedication that has an emotion attached to it, you will get people’s attention. It doesn’t matter if you are a madman or idiot, even bad press gets good press time. You can’t please everyone but you can get an emotional reaction out of most people, when owning a strong opinion and sharing it. Being neutral in your viral advertising will not bring you in the sales. Have something to say that will impact their life, or at least make them react a bit. Don’t worry about whether or not they love you or hate you, just be confident that your product is worth their attention either way and stay committed to gaining their trust.

2. Get your business noticed by shock marketing, state something completely unexpected that will make them stop and read more. Being dramatic and doing something out of the ordinary with your product gets attention. Are you just marketing advertisements, or are you marketing an extraordinary exiting story about your product. If you Ad is interesting and highlights your product in a subtle way, you will keep people’s attention longer, and get closer to bringing them to the “I want” it stage. Viral advertising is 100% about emotions, so take them by surprise and do something totally unexpected.

3. Set Up Exciting Viral Content in Parts and then sequels, where the viral advertising message continues.

Ever hear of Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 – once you create Part 1 they start looking for where do I find Part 2 as they want to know the end of the story or the end of the feature comparison prompting them to purchase your product. Make sure you keep their attention once you have it by providing a “Call To Action”. Sell them on the value of why they need your widget, gadget or useful product then introduce an offer they can’t refuse to purchase the product.

The next step is to motivate them to share your awesome and exciting presentation with another associate. This is the meat and potatoes of viral advertising, present information that is so interesting and unique that everyone wants to tell someone else what they read, heard or saw. Set up your “Shock Wave” content so that others can download and then embed it into their own blog or email to others. Upload a short video series on all your advertising “bloopers”, or business bloopers, maybe trying to put together a piece of furniture or equipment and getting it all wrong the first time. Then provide another “Call To Action” using your Facebook Fanpage that they can “Like”, along with the other top social media sharing sites.

4. It is not surprising to hear that many consumers feel jaded when it comes to online shopping. Nobody wants products shoved down their throats through mass advertising methods and using hard sell marketing. If you want to get the consumers attention in this fast paced modern world, you need to be unique and most importantly interesting. Smart consumers are quickly distracted from boring content and they will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to your viral advertising message.

A proven and trusted method of advertising and marketing that get results is viral advertising, and fortunately for the marketer new software developments can make all the difference. Your personal recommendation is still stronger than any other form of advertising on the planet period! People trust people, and with smart phones using text messaging by the second, and social media sites getting posted on every event of the day, if you have presented your product offer in a way that makes them remember you, you have one half the battle.

5. By fulfilling some unique marketing strategies you remove your business from the mainstream humdrum advertising practices. It’s a known fact that many people feel frustrated with the usual conventional way many businesses sell their products. Don’t let your business fall into this pitiful trap of no return. Step to the plate and be the one who stands out in the crowd, who motivates prospects to burn blisters on their fingers, texting about your great buy of the day.

Business owners are becoming much more conscious of profits and losses due to advertising decisions they have made, and it’s impact on their ROI (return of investment). So the questions comes forth “can we affect people from the inside, from their emotional self and not just from the mind”? So is viral advertising becoming not only the new trend but the must have trend to succeed online. It is our ability to influence the mass public at large that creates successful viral advertising campaigns. Ads that influence the behavior of the viewer in such a ways that they are motivated to share their exciting experience is the purest testament of what viral advertising is all about. If enough of their friends and contact embraces their excitement over what they have been exposed to the viral advertising cycle begins to circulate.

6. Your ultimate goal of course would be to create an viral advertising campaign that causes a behavioral epidemic of buyers. An infectious viral result where everyone wants to be able to say “Yes I Saw That”, or “Yes I heard about that”, or “Yes I watched that”, so that they appear to be in the loop with the latest and newest hot selling protégé. Some marketers prey on the idea of owning a “Secret”, something so special that only a few get access to it. It then becomes an obsession everyone wants to know the secret and will go to any length to get access to it. If you can only offer medium media exposure of your product, then relying on these viral advertising methods becomes essential.

So is your goal to place an advertisement that is seen by 10 who tell one person each, becomes 20 who tell one person becomes 40 and so on. Or do you want real viral advertising success where you place your viral advertisement and get 100 who tell 10, who tell 10 who tell 10. So who is in control here, the business marketing manager of course, the one who decides how the advertising budget is allocated. Is he reserved and old fashioned, or is he brave and uninhibited and adventurous. It is an knows fact that Viral Advertising does in fact work very effectively, and it is the business owners goal to seek out a reliable viral advertising business source.

7. Once your viral advertising campaign has become viralized, it is proof that you have found a suitable target market audience for your product. Once this is identified, you can leverage your viral advertising budget maintaining a perpetual cycle and not a static ad campaign. In order to always be able to identify your most effective viral advertising campaign, it is important to use proven methodologies with specific tracking measures built right in.

8. So does your business have an “Online Viral Advertising Formula”? Is your business aiming high for thousands of hits, a true testament of a successful viral advertising campaign. Marketing consultants know that the more informative your advertising the more persuasive it will be to the consumer. What really makes the consumer decide to purchase your product is based on the content provided in the advertisement more than it’s layout or and whether or not their is something worth sharing, or texting about.

With the ever changing fast moving internet world coming up with a formula for viral advertising is not an easy task. A good rule of thumb is “What motivates you to share a viewed advertisement is different to what motivates you to get out your credit card and finish the purchase.

9. Going back to our conversation about emotions, if you can make someone laugh or gasp or look in disbelief to what they are viewing your chances are the best that they will share that experience with their friends, associates, and followers on social media sites.

The magic of every successful viral advertising campaign begins with a great unique idea. The one main ingredient in all online successful advertising campaigns is creativity in your graphics, your presentation, your keywords and your identified target market. Training business owners though to give each viral advertising campaign they embark on time to mature, time for the seed to sprout, time for the momentum to build and the rewards to pour in from all their hard work and efforts.

10. Don’t be shy to take advantage of the ever fast changing technology world to benefit your business advertising efforts. Finding a great viral advertising business can be a real game changer for your online advertising results. Most importantly look for a viral advertising business that is free to join, and that uses state of the art software designed to drive your business into the next galaxy.

Viral advertising will always win in the end simply due to the abundant measure of viewing numbers. A strong viral advertising strategy will encourage individuals to share an article, a podcast, a video or simply an online advertisement, resulting in exponential exposure by it’s massive influence.

The rippling effects of one single viral advertising message can literally reach hundreds and even thousands of readers in a few short hours. You can quickly enhance your viral advertising success by offering a free give away product. This “FREE” product can be a small physical product that can be mailed out, or it can be a digital product that is delivered instantly online.

It is a well known fact that “FREE” if the most powerful word a marketer can use in any viral advertising campaign. Often the business owner experiences what can be called delayed gratification when using the “FREE” power word in their viral advertising campaign. Add the common expression “OTO” or One Time Offer” that almost always follows a free give-a-way, and you have a winning combination. First you got their attention, and then you offer them something of such great value, they can’t afford to say “NO” and purchase it while it is so cheaply priced.

Always keep in mind that the whole purpose of engaging in viral advertising methods is to spread an idea, and that idea while it is spreading throughout the internet, actually helps market your niche business or product and is attached to your website.

Have you noticed how business owners have become obsessed with Free exposure in any arena? Too many times marketing campaigns have been thrown together much too fast and may get attention but your product or company does not.

Closing

Peoples attention are so fragile, try designing your viral advertising campaign with a strong viral element built right into it. Getting your media to go viral is not the hardest part of your marketing strategy, the most challenging part is getting your media to produce tangible results that show up in your bank account.

The Difference Between SEO and SEM

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. This is how a website purposefully designs it content, including their titles, content and meta tags, for the sole purpose of getting the attention of search engines like Google, Yahoo and the lesser known Bing. What SEO wants to achieve is an organic or natural flow of traffic to their websites that is not bought or paid for like we do when we pay for advertising. A search engine result is free.

SEM is an acronym for Search Engine Marketing. It is a concept often associated with SEO, sometimes even confused with SEO. They have some goals in purpose but are very different in technique. SEM has come about because large search engine websites like Google have offered fees to show case ads on the top of their page listing. These are pay per click or PPC ad campaigns. SEM is closer to traditional advertising in that you pay for the direct exposure you are receiving. SEM has made it possible to be a website with high visitor content just because they pay more to be advertised and promoted by Google. Both SEM and SEO are sets of strategies to bring in visitors. Except you pay up front for SEM, it is a direct advertising strategy. While with SEO, you look for indirect ways to get noticed.

Optimizing a website for search engines, will mean evaluating particular keywords and keyword phrases the internet users may type into search engines to look for service and products that an ecommerce based business may offer. The grit of SEO is editing website content with keywords. Including keywords and keyword phrases in tags and meta tags. Even links and HTML is edited to suit SEO. HTML and links are worked out in a way to get the website user to move a certain way within your website. Ideally, the website visitor is presented with links around the website, going from page to page to read information they are interested in. This design makes it so the website user does not leave the website immediately.

SEO works best when the SEO professional does not try to find underhanded ways to cheat the search engine system. Such tricks will get a website flagged by the search engines, since they use practices that are discouraged. Even if the website does rise to prominence for a moment on the Google rankings, reading content over peppered with keywords will get the website pulled down even faster. SEO tricks like link farming, keyword abuse and page cloaking get picked up by the search engine algorithms and they push the website to the top of search results. You can trick the machine. But after people start reading your content, it becomes apparent that the website is a fraud.

The best way to climb to the top is by following ethical SEO guidelines. Write good content with proper technical guidelines. You can learn to do this yourself. You can also hire a writing service who will do this for your. But if you want to really get out there the fast way, consider SEM. A Pay Per Click ad campaign means that you only get charged for clicks on the link to your website. You know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Search Engine Marketing is guaranteed promotion for any business. Pay per click is one for few guaranteed strategies for success in attract the coveted targeted consumer. But you can and you should use both SEO and SEM at the same time. Both are invaluable resources. Here is a list of benefits that will be available to your website with the help of SEM:

1. When somebody types in a query into a search engine, the search engine will present them only ads and banners in the same industry or interest of the query.
2. Pay Per Click is great for corporate awareness, aside from online sales. It increases the value of the brand name.
3. Pay per clicks and sponsored links are transparent. You know what your money is paying for, as presented by the numbers.
4. Keeping well written and informative landing pages will lead readers to explore your website and see what else is available.
5. You only pay for the traffic volume that the pay per click ad has brought in. And this traffic is select, meaning they have interest in your service or product.

In a way SEO and SEM are the same concepts wrapped in different presentations. SEO will last longer because it is content based. You do not pay for it every time it shows up in search engine results. If the competition is low, your website will be highly ranked for a very long time. SEM operates with the same traffic volume objective buy in a different way using paid Ads, banners, sponsors and Pay per click services. It brings in traffic too over a shorter period of time, unless you can keep payments indefinite. But the websites that gain the most use both SEO and SEM aggressively.

1. They get more traffic that increases exponentially if they keep up content.
2. They keep up with rankings over a long period of time.
3. They keep it innovative and fresh, so loyal visitors have something new to see and come back to visit again.
4. Content keeps up with relevance to search engine guidelines.
5. They cultivate repeat visitors who also become repeat customers.

Being SEO ready means your website is easy to access, user friendly, and easy to navigate for the average user. There are gimmicks, games, polls, promos to entertain the internet user and keep them coming back. This attracts visitors and other websites to link to your own website.

What Is SEO and SEM?

You have a brand new website and update it weekly. You rank high in the search engines, but you’re just not getting the website traffic you want. So you get on either Google or Bing and you do research on how to attract more attention to your website. Two patterns surface, the terms SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) and SEM ( Search Engine Marketing). What is SEO and SEM and why do I need it?

Looking deeper you find that having this type of knowledge on your side is a strategic tool to attract more customers online. Whether you decide to optimize your website or market your website, doing a little bit of both will give you the ultimate results. So what are the differences?

SEO – Search Engine Optimization strategically gains search engine’s interest by focusing your website on what search engines like. You gain more exposure when your website provides top content and user experience. There are many optimization tips and tricks out there, but what it really comes down to are your long term and short term goals. A great start would be to make sure your website has fresh content, correct code hierarchy and an updated blog.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing gets your website and company out there. Promoting your website through quick advertisements or creating keyword pay per click campaigns will get your product or service in the lime light. You will begin to see website traffic improvement almost right away. (Accurate readings will vary within 24 and 48 hours)
If you’re seasoned or just starting out, doing your research first can help better prepare you when you need to make that next step into hire an SEO or SEM professional. You may find this method very freeing. It will decrease your concern of your online presence and open up your staff to more in-house projects.

Optimization and Marketing can be powerful tools for your business. When gaining recognition online with goals and campaigns you will notice an increase of traffic on your website and a higher ranking on your favorite search engine. Keep in mind that there are a few disadvantages when targeting organic search results. For one, AdWords does not guarantee keyword performance, and second it could become pricey when in competition with companies that pay more for exposure. However, understanding the triumphs for SEO and SEM while still reading the fine print will give anyone successful campaigns.