26 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

We don’t need no stinkin list…

Over the years there have always been people talking about building a list like it doesn’t  matter, saying lists don’t matter, don’t waste your time building a list, etc… so why do you need a list?

Low Entry Barriers
In the Traffic Exchanges, something like a lead capture page is a very low resistance method to get them in the funnel – they don’t have to remember to do anything, only have one or two form fields to fill out, and can do it while they are surfing without interrupting their flow — it’s easy for them to complete the goal of your page (fill out the form) and move on with what they are doing.

Generate Repeat Sales
Using a Lead Capture page is much more efficient than any other advertising method.  With a splash page you are hoping someone clicks your ad, then clicks signup, then fills out a registration form… if they do all those tasks now you have generated 1 referral.  If you are trying to build multiple downlines and it takes you 1k views to get a lead, you’re fighting a losing battle.  If you are building a list and getting that same 1 lead out of the 1k views (you can easily get more, or less, depending on the effectiveness of the capture page), since you have that leads email address, you can sell them multiple products and turn that 1 lead into a referral or sale in several different areas.

Take Your Leads With You
One of the biggest cases for building a list is on those rare occasions when a site closes up shop, or when they randomly decide to remove their affiliate program taking away all earnings from that business.  If you weren’t building a list, all of those referrals are just gone and that is it.  With list building you have all their contact information and can simply contact them and move them to a different site with you.

So how do you do it?

Provide Value
The key to having an effective email list, is getting your emails opened.  If the only thing you do is send marketing messages, you will find you get very poor response.  People learn to simply ignore your emails.  The best way to get them to read your emails is pretty simple — provide value.  If you send emails with just tips and tricks and valuable content, you’ll get your emails opened and people will even look forward to opening them.  Providing this value not only gets your emails opened, but it also gets your downline active.  If you are providing real value on how to use a product they purchased with you (ideally a monthly subscription) you are going to create more active referrals since they better understand the value of what you are selling, and the tips you provided to use it more efficiently.

Use a Hook
The easiest way to get an opt in, and provide value, is to give them a hook.  Something simple like a free ebook or guide can not only provide as a targeting tool (pulling in people interested in a certain market), this is an easy way to get someone to jump in.  One method I prefer is to create a series of 8-10 emails and then send them out every 3-5 days or a week.  This way you can get people excited to receive your email and anticipate your next email, this is great for getting people in the habit of opening your emails.

Make it Easy
The key to getting someone to opt in is by reducing as many barriers to signup as possible – as little information as possible, just their email address and name is enough.  Making it easier makes it more likely for people to do it.  The main reason why splash pages are generally so inefective is because you are asking too much of a user.  Most members are just trying to get their surfing done, asking them to do all these tasks (become interested in the ad, click the ad, read the sales page, click the signup, fill out a form to signup, then with any luck actually use the product).  With a lead capture page you just have the form right there in the surf frame, they can easily put in their information and move on and continue what they are doing.  You now have their time later to sell them when they aren’t busy or focused on another task.

Always Test & Tweak
Your lead capture page can always be more efficient, the first step is just setting something up and having something out there, so you always want to be tweaking and testing things to improve your conversions.  Something so simple as changing a background color can effect your conversion rates, so you always want to be using several different capture pages and creating new ones based on your best performing to make sure you are constantly increasing your conversion rates.

Scale it up!
When you are satisfied with the conversion rates of your capture pages, it becomes really easy just to scale the system up.  If you get 5 opt ins per 1k views, then pump 100k views into it.  It works the exact same way, but to a larger scale and since it’s an automated series it will not take any more work on your part other than the advertising and getting the capture page in front of people’s eyes so they can fill it out and enter your funnel.

 

If you don’t have an email autoresponder service already, I recommend Traffic Wave.  It takes a bit to set up but is the most cost effective and reliable autoresponder on the market.  Most charge based on subscribers and it may seem like the low price point of an autoresponder is ‘good enough’ but the larger your list becomes, the more difficult it becomes to move and by the time you reach the higher price tiers, you often will find yourself ‘stuck’ there.

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31 January 2014 ~ 18 Comments

What’s the Goal for your affiliate program?

Adding an affiliate program to your product or service is an excellent way to reward your customers for spreading the word, but there has been a trend lately in small businesses to increase limitations on the affiliate program, which begs the question – what are you trying to accomplish with your affiliate program?

It seems every day more and more websites pop online with strangely limited affiliate programs that are in complete contradiction of the idea of an affiliate program.

Waiting Periods
One of the most common practices is a waiting period, many websites will tell you that you must wait 14 days before any commissions will be validated.  This one actually does make some sense because the claim is that the person could file a chargeback or reversal, the pitfall however is that chargeback periods are typically 90 days, so what does a 14 day period really benefit anyone? I’ve always had no waiting period for my affiliate programs because the rate of people that actually do file reversals or refunds is so small that it is of little consequence.  If you want to hold a purchase due to chargebacks, then your waiting period should probably reflect the actual time period, if not then you as a business are not really reducing any loss by having a short waiting period, and all you are doing is slowing down your affiliates.

Requiring Purchases
One thing that is also becoming increasingly common is forcing people to make a purchase in order to receive commissions.  I have no problem with giving free membrs or free trial members a 0% commission rate, but allowing them to earn a commission, but not paying it, doesn’t make sense to me.  One of the most motivating things of affiliate sales is seeing those commissions come in, and for me personally if you offer a higher commission rate to upgraded members, then when I see those commissions come in as a free member, it is very motivating to me to want to upgrade at that point.  When I promote your product and you tell me I earned a commission, but am never going to see it, then what is the reason for me to continue to promote your product over your competitors?

Requiring Activity
I have even seen some sites now that require you to do certain arbitrary actions in order to get paid.  I’ve had my commissions deducted from my account at one site for not surfing, and other sites for not logging in for a certain period of time.  Why?  If it is a traffic exchange and I am earning credits from my referrals, why should I have to surf in order to get my commissions?  Why are you taking commissions away from my account that I have earned?

Limits
More common in PTCs, but also becoming more common in Traffic Exchanges also, is the idea of limiting earnings.  Having either a maximum amount of money you can be paid, or a minimum time period you must wait between payments.  I don’t understand this one at all, if I earn money using your product, then why are you limiting how much of it I actually get? If you didn’t want me to get paid, then why are you paying me to begin with?

 

RESPECT YOUR AFFILIATES
What this comes down to me is.. Why do you have an Affiliate Program?  What is your motivation for providing people commissions and cash prizes?  What are you doing to that motivation when you add stipulations and hoops to jump through?  Why are you even offering an affiliate program, if you aren’t going to pay anyone? Your affiliate has worked their butt off to promote your product in the good faith that you will reward them for their efforts – they brought you not only new members, but are actually generating sales for you — that is literally money that they are putting in your pocket, so don’t disrespect them by trying to increase your haul by taking from theirs.

Paying People to Use your Product?
It’s OK to not give out ridiculous cash prizes or to pay people for actions on your site — in fact I’d argue that it’s even better not to;  if it takes monetary motivation to get people to even use your website, then you have a serious flaw in your business model and your business that you desperately need to address immediately before becoming completely bankrupted.  If you can’t sell your product or get people to actively use your website, without having to pay them to do so, then your business is not going to succeed.  Sorry to be a downer, but it’s just simply not.  This is a massive indication of a huge flaw in your business model or execution of that model.  Obviously if you have to pay somebody to use your product, you have very small chance of someone actually buying it.

Giving Vs. Taking Away
When you decide to make changes to your affiliate structure, are you adding value or removing it?  If you have a flaw in your affiliate program and it is not working as you intended, what do you think is going to happen when you start removing features of it?  Do you think that is going to motivate people and make it more effective?  Telling your free members that they can’t do this or are limited to that, isn’t going to motivate them to support you, it’s going to run them away.  Take a dedicated affiliate who may just not have the funds yet to make purchases at the level you want and then punishing them by limiting what they can do is very far from motivating.

Don’t want to pay? Don’t give it away!
Pretty simply.. if you are not wanting to pay people, wanting to limit what they can get, or simply not pay them at all unless they’ve met some condition – then why are you even giving it away in the first place?  If you don’t want to pay the cash, then don’t stop telling them you will.  If I have a bag of skittles and I don’t want to share, then why would I offer one to everyone in the room?

So… What’s your motivation?
So why do you have an affiliate program on your product?  What’s the point?  What is it you are trying to accomplish by offering commissions for your product?  Is what you are doing support the goals of your affiliate program, or does it limit them?  Quite simply – if you don’t want to pay people; then don’t offer it to them.  If you don’t want to pay cash prizes, then don’t give cash prizes.  If you don’t want to pay commissions, then don’t give commissions.  If you have to pay people to use your product then you are grossly misunderstanding the market you are in, and likely wondering why you are failing.  Address the cause of inactivity or failing sales by getting to the root, are you really providing a product that is of value?  If your members can’t see the value, and if you have to pay people to use your product, then how do expect any of them to actually be able to sell it anyway?

I’d like to ask all business owners reflect on their business and ask themselves – What are the goals of my affiliate program, what can I do to accomplish them, and is what I am doing now support or hinder those goals?

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