Newspapers vs. Online Sites

MarketingVox.com comments on a report by AdAge.com:

Papers Might Lose Billions in Classifieds to Online

Newspapers will likely be losing billions of dollars in classified ad revenue to non-newspaper online classified ad sites by 2007, according to McKinsey & Co. execs who addressed the Newspaper Association of America’s annual conference

Another indication that there will be a huge demand for quality online ad space (get those status content sites built people! :lol:).

Are You Linking Out With Framed Windows?

Are you linking out to your merchants in a framed window? Might want to reconsider that:

Emarketer.com – Worried About Buying Online

The challenge for online merchants is to ensure that their online payments systems are secure, and to then convince women, a key shopping demographic, that it is safe to use a credit card online. Alternate forms of payment, such as Paypal, or the one-time purchase numbers offered by credit card companies, could help encourage more female consumers to make purchases on the Net.

I’ve seen an affiliate site or two (well actually several) that have their aff links open a new window that frames the merchant site. I understand the benefits to this, it helps protect against parasite or adware thieving, protects against ad blocking plus gives your shopper an easy way back to your site (there’s usually a link home in the top frame).

The downside is that the customer cannot be assured the buying process is secure or safe. Because the checkout page is framed, the yellow padlock that even newbies watch for before entering their credit card details online won’t appear on the status bar.

I wonder how many buyers leave the checkout process without making a purchase because they’re afraid the transaction won’t be secure vs. how many commissions are lost by taking a hit from a parasite on the shopper’s computer? I tend to think there’s a higher rate of shoppers not willing to risk a non-secure transaction and walking away. I know I would.

I think it’s important that we encourage our visitors to shop safely and securely – not condition them to ignore built-in security features and believe it’s safe because some webmaster ‘told them it was’. That’s just setting the stage for negative experiences, and then the big headlines (which is baaaad for business).

$5,000 Reward Offered

Bad news today as it was announced that Affiliate Manager Forum was hacked and the forum wiped out:

The Hacker that Knocked Out My Affiliate Manager Forum and the Bounty I Have on Them

Shawn Collins is not going down though and will rebuild. He also offered a reward:

I really appreciate the outpouring of support. But please, don’t feel sorry for me. Pity the lost soul that finds satisfaction in tearing down the work of others, rather than building something of their own.

By the way, if anybody knows anything about who did this, I’ll pay a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrator.

How’s that for a CPA?!

I know I’ve said it here before, but make sure your databases are backed up daily (it’s important):

Free Auto MySQL Backup Script

So What Are You? A Technician?

Here’s the typical mindset of a person getting started:

“I’m starting out, so where do I get my domain name, hosting, autoresponders, how do I design a webpage and get it live on the Internet, how do I process credit cards…�

Then this misguided individual will go all out to find out how to do all these things, and still go on to fail anyway.

And my definition of “failure� in this case, is simply being unable to bring home the dough.

There is a good reason behind this…

You can read the entire article here:

The No #1 Reason Why People “Getting Started� In Internet Marketing Are Getting It Wrong

Now affiliate marketing is a different animal than internet marketing, but the article has some great food for thought.

And I have to admit – I started out as a technician. Learning how to do html, how to upload and host, how to buy a domain name, how to install scripts, how to cut and paste aff codes, stuff like that. Well actually I still am learning, still trying to figure out the ‘techie’ stuff. To be involved with affiliate marketing, you pretty much need to know how to do the basics, it’s not worthwhile paying someone to set it up for you. At least until you figure out what works, what doesn’t, and why.

So sites are up and running, now what?

No traffic.

Off I go to dig into SEO and ppc and other methods to figure out how to get the traffic. Still working on that part. 😆 But I do see Jo’s point, we can get ourselves too bogged down with the technical stuff and not stretch our sites and ourselves into driving business, making sales, nailing down that marketing part.

Effective marketing doesn’t rely on Google’s results does it. The algo tweaks can’t touch it. Stuff to think about.

The Growing Ad Blocking Trend

What are your plans for the growing ad blocking trend? More and more surfers are installing popup blockers (heck I hate those popups too) and activating ad blocking options in Norton’s and other software. Then we have Firefox and the tweaks and addons to block ads (including RSS ads and Adsense btw):

The Ad Block Project

Adblock – Firefox Extension

Mozilla – Blocking Advertisement

Popups Die

GreaseMonkey

We also have DMOZ’s list of advertisement content filtering resources to see how the resource pile is growing:

DMOZ Content Filtering: Advertising

Don’t forget to throw in all the cookie filters, blockers, wipers and one click deletion too.

Articles:

ClickZ – Ad Blocking Revisited

FireFox- Consumer’s Friend- Marketer’s Foe?

We know ad blocking isn’t going away – it isn’t going to wither and die off and lose appeal. Ad blocking features and tools are growing in simplicity and effectiveness day by day, making it easier than ever for surfers to erase advertisements. Everyone loves the free resources and information the net provides, but so many want that both free AND ad-free.

What are your plans to keep your sites revenue alive? This elephant in the room is going nowhere, it’s staying put and growing fatter.

Killer Marketing Strategies – Dan Kennedy

So the latest ‘oldie but goodie’ I’m reading is Dan Kennedy’s 63 “Killer” Marketing Strategies (see free download link below). Somehow I found it in my mile high ebook pile.

Although the focus is on direct mail, surely there are some nuggets for us affs to grab hold of?

Some notes:

Every element of an ad, printed piece, or strategy should advance the sales process. If something does not move the prospect closer to purchasing, what is its purpose?

I wonder if that means ‘dump the cursor trail’ or ‘dump the strobing, flashing banners littered all over your site’. Ya think? So I like my aff sites nice, tight, and clean. I don’t do well with clutter, both in real life and online. My sites do reflect that. But do I have wording placed in spots that really aren’t necessary? Do I have graphics that tend to take away from the product focus? Things to look at.

Dan also mentions the importance of a USP (we looked at that a few blog entries ago). He has an interview listed with Tom Monaghan and Domino’s Pizza and the USP he used: “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less — guaranteed!”

Then there’s a quote from Eugene Schwartz from the book: Breakthrough Advertising:

‘The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work comes from the market itself, and not from the (advertising) copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.

Dan comments on that:

This is why success comes from identifying a buying motive and structuring a product-service-offer to fit it not from creating a product-service-offer and then goin in search of a buying motive for it.

No amount of advertising can sell a product no one wants.

Let’s take a look at that. To apply this to aff marketing, what is one of the biggest recommendations? Find demand – then fill it. And that is what Dan’s saying here. This is the hard part (for me). I can find a great niche, lots of demand, little competition – yet no product to promote, or a merchant I’m willing to work with. I guess that’s why there’s little competition! 😆

The ad copy needs to focus on emotions – not logic.

Another blurb:

What about “even dollars” versus $19.95 or $19.99? Overall, I find that a price ending in .95 works better than .99; often .89 out-performs .95, and the odd numbers almost always out-perform even dollars.

I know as affiliates we can’t fiddle with the pricing. But we can sure try applying this info to other things we do have control over, such as reseller products, our own product offers, etc. Good bit to note.

This was also interesting:

Direct Mail Best Months – Excluding Christmas Holiday Season

Best Months:

February – May
September

OK Months:

January
August
October

Worst Months:

June
July

Remembering that this excludes the holiday shopping season, how does this relate to your online marketing efforts? I’m surprised at how the two correspond (from what my current experience has been).

I’m not even half done the ebook yet, but found plenty of info to pull and apply to online marketing. If you’d like to read the ebook yourself, I’ve uploaded it here for you to grab:

63 Killer Strategies – Dan Kennedy