Affiliate Summit East 2010, New York — Takeaways

Back in August, the Adventory crew took a trip to Affiliate Summit East in New York. We thought it might be useful to post and briefly let you know what our “takeaways” from each seminar were. You can check out the slideshows for the seminars here, or click the link above each summary to go straight to the relevant presentation. Video possibly to come later. Consider this a “living” post, as it’ll be getting updated and reworked as more information and resources come to hand.

Enjoy!

How to Eliminate Affiliate Fraud 100%
-Watch the transaction, rebill, card decline, chargeback, and refund approval ratios.
-Watch customer complaints.
-Check that customers verify transactions that have been placed in real time.

Info Product Co-creation Formula
-Work with your audience/list to build the product.
-Preselling–sell the product before it exists.
-Create back-and-forth with audience. Start with survey, they respond, identify core need, they confirm or deny, you give away free report, they read and respond, then presell–they buy.
-ccp + ein + is +s = $$$ (co-creation plot, early investor narrative, insider status–create status indicators, scarcity)
-Step 1: survey your users (survey, blog comments, twitter feeds) three questions:
-What free information product would you like for me to create just for you?
-What is your biggest fear or frustration?
-What is your ideal perfect outcome and how do you think you’ll attain it?
-Give away cool stuff. Don’t spend more than 2-3 days on the free product. Create a free report or video like top 10 tips related to your customers top need.
-Paid product just go deeper into what you gave away in your free stuff.
-Feedback will help you create the info product. Respond to all customer feedback.

Strategies for Marketing to Women
-Women spend more money online than men and control more generally 85% of all consumer purchases.
-Women prefer benefits to features, how products make them feel, authenticity.
-Women are extremely active on social networking sites.
-50% of women have purchased something because they heard about it on a social networking site.
-Women Want to Hear …From REAL women. From other women LIKE THEM. From other women that have the same products/brands.
-Specific stories about the product/brand. The truth. The whole Truth, and nothing but the truth.

Implementing a Successful Coupon Strategy
-Coupons appeal to deal seekers and improve conversions.
-Successful coupon programs are exclusive and involve close monitoring.
-Be careful about upsetting affiliates, using old coupons, phone operators offering them to everyone, and the percentage of sales that end up being coupon sales.

Processes for Building Profitable Affiliate Websites
-Most good ideas fail–this is part of the process.
-Predefine success metrics, accelerate failure.
-Process: brainstorm->implement basic idea->test site->check metrics against success metrics->if site might meet metrics, continue, otherwise abandon and try a new idea.
-Accelerate failure: recognise failure quickly, learn from mistakes, communicate what you have learned.

Uncovering Advanced Paid Search Strategies
-Worth expanding into search networks outside the big 3, as:
-additional reach-lower CPC
-superior customer service
-Questions to ask when considering other networks: How long have you been in business?
-Traffic estimates for my queries?
-What kind of toolset do you offer? What features?
-What kind of filtering for invalid traffic do you do?
-What kind of customer support/account management, and payment options do you have?

Turbocharge your business
-3 minute plan. Write down your three priorities for the day.
-Take regular breaks away from the computer.
-Use the end of the day to set yourself up for tomorrow.
-Use the mornings to work on major tasks.
-Success = direction + speed + luck

Curation. Can you Filter Free Content?
-You can run sites which aggregate other content and add value in that way.
-Create content, solicit for contributions, and collect content (aggregate and filter).
-Don’t steal value or remove ads from content.
-Abide by relevant copyright legislation and best practice.
-Have a voice on the site. Be transparent and honest.

Affiliate Freakonomics: Market Quirks at Work
-Outclicks, every time a click leaves you site value if created.
-Affiliate market is worth 3.3 billion.
-CPA 5% of money made is returned to affiliates versus 11% to search marketing campaigns.
-Create content around monetization.
-Readers != money.
-Focus matters, small forums + blogs can do great, e.g. knows a site on shaving that does wonderfully.
-Trust matters, be transparent, disclosure of monetized links leads to 2x better conversions.

Jim Kukral Keynote
-Success steps:

1) Say what you do
2) Solve problems
3) Know your customer
4) Be the alternative
5) Make it easy

-Doers get what they want, the rest get what they get.
-If you want to be remarkable you have to do something remarkable.

Android Affiliate Mobile Marketing
-Mobile ad market is big and will be huge.
-Google backs android and wants to advance the mobile web experience.
-Mobile users are more about finding than searching.
-Smartphone use lead by 24-35 Males earning over 100k/year.
-Click to call and location-based ads do best.

Using Social Media For SEO
-Use Social Media To Build Links.
-Leverage Existing Users.
-Find New Users.
-Establish Best Practices.
-Yearly Events Retain Same URL.
-Don’t over complicate. Pick 2-3 Services.
-Bit.ly works exceptionally well.
-Wordpress has worked in built in functionality for short[er] links.
-Once a URL has been used, 301 it out elsewhere.
-Go around your site and make a list of “social opportunities.”
-Incentivize. “Show us you made a tweet about us and get 30% off” (Another great outsource project)
-Use Google Analytics URL Builder for tracking.
-Affiliate Programs.
-Considering using GET variables. http://Josh.com/?product=123&aff=45
-Create artificial status.
-Photo galleries, “Check ins”, activities, scavenger hunts.
-Leverage the “Gotta catch them all!” mentality.
-Use artificial status to create social opportunities. Forum referrals, badges, points, tweets, etc
-Always try to use a real URL.
-Try to match ratios of “influential profiles”.
-Retweet good links, hope others follow suit.
-Build a nice link profile for your Twitter page.
-Use hash tags on Twitter to get aggregated.
-YouTube Channel – 1 Way Followed.
-Google Profiles – 1 Way Do Follow Links To Your Sites.
-UrbanSpoon, Yelp, et al – Most are Followed.
-Yahoo Answers.
-Facebook Profile – 1 Way Followed.

Link Building Victories and Failures
-Authority links can fail you because they get so buried so quickly, gave example of site with nytimes.com, cosmo.com, oprah.com links that didn’t perform.
-Reciprocate, do stuff for other people those who are interested in your content
-Follow up-and-comers; retweet their stuff, build up your karma bank.
-Use a Greasemonkey script that puts twitter search in the top of Google search results.
-Great SEO book by @GarrettFrench
-Make real relationships.
-Use Majestic SEO, compare against competitors and reverse engineer, look at % anchor text, domain age, delicious tags.
-Make sure your % of anchor text isn’t too different from those in the results i.e. don’t an unnatural link profile.
-Use SeoMoz’s Open Site Explorer; export the SeoMoz data to .xls compare competitors.
-Look at competitor sites, use a firefox pluging to search similar sites for broken links (go through directories, yahoo, dmoz, delicious). If there’s a broken link, find out what the content was, duplicate it or update if possible then let site with broken link know that their site has a broken link and suggest an updated alternative.
-Go to page 10+ of Google results for term you want, plug into OSE, often people who’ve given up on optimisation.

Crowdsource Your Success
-Averaged opinion is better than the average individual’s opinion.
-Crowdsourced Adwords companies exist which work well.
-Quirky.com, crowd-sourced product development/refinement.
-Crowdsource your naming and brand, designs, product ideas, landing page design.
-5 principles

1) You reap what you sow
2) Tight deadlines work
3) Keep it simple
4) Don’t be Scrooge
5) Don’t be a douchebag

Facebook Advertising
-Facebook’s product is you.
-Be patient.
-Start off cpc.
-Tweak text.
-Try tons of images.
-Rinse and repeat.
-Do day parting; stop ads when no one is clicking.
-Flip to CPM once you have it dialed in.

Turn Website and Social Media Traffic Into Gold
-Use a Welcome page on facebook page that indicates people should click the “like” button.
-Info product launches are a great way to monetise social media platforms.
-Build your list, help people, follow people with similar interests.
-Monetise content through paid subscriptions.
-Bloggers: investigate payperpost, sponsored tweets.
-Use YouTube.
-Create a community.

Affiliate Marketing in a Digital World
-Strong growth in sales of all digital product categories.
-Promote cross-selling and upselling to make up for lower average price of digital goods.
-Advertise physical version alongside digital version.
-Use social media to promote digital products.
-Add digital samples to content promotion.

Why Q4 is the Year Long Season
-A lot more money spent during the Q4 holiday season, worth targeting.
-Strategy:

Jan-Mar: Evaluate and Get Organized.
Apr-Jun: Let the Communication Begin.
Jul-Sep: Negotiate and Implement.
Oct-Dec: Evaluate and Get Organized.

Social Media Marketing for Affiliates
-Value == exposure, links, increase value of content, branding, traffic, conversion.
-Get in front of influencers.
-Don’t engage in a community unless you’re sure they have value to your business.
-digg == make more mutual friends.
-When you create accounts on social pull in contacts from other accounts.
-Be natural on social sites. See what the awesome people do and do the same.
-stumbleupon campaigns show you what tags are used and by how many people if you sign up to their ads, can use that info to decide what tags you use.
-On all social sites, share other people’s content as well as your own.
-Investigate using fark.com. Titles in fark.com are everything.
-Content: People love lists. Don’t use 10, choose a random number.
-Memes: meme mashups are popular.
-Top lists targeting nostalgia.
-How to/instructional. Illustrate it. Things people WANT to know. Keep it simple.
-Current events: you won’t be first. But when you can see something about to happen you can make an article that takes and angle and run it as soon as the story breaks. Don’t out-news the news sources. Play off the news that is in your niche.
-Infographics: source it and allow others to embed it. Give them an embed code with a linkback.
-Strange/offbeat works, hyperbole (-est) works.
-Know who your audience is. Choose the right topic/format for your readers. Don’t ridicule your readers. Know what you want to rank for.
-Be pithy, funny, and smart.
-Outsourcing: odesk, elance, virtual employee, guru (odesk lets you monitor employee)
-Hire individuals through odesk not agencies.
-Give bonuses rather than raises.
-Audition people: hire 2-3 times as many people as you need for one week then fire everyone who sucks.
-Prices: researcher $1-2/hr, writers $3-5/hr.

Master of Your Domain
-Right to domain name has foundation in trademark law.
-Attach a [TM] to anything, (R) means you’ve officially registered it.
-UDRP is completely online.
-Have to prove that they’re using your domain name in bad faith.
-Bad faith: cybersquatting; block TM owner; disrupt competitor; confuse web users.
-Remedies in UDRP can be a transfer or a cancellation of the registration.
-”X sucks” sites are usually impregnable.

Leveraging Profits Through Social Media Connections
-Establish yourself as an expert.
-Read the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.
-Law of reciprocity, people will buy from you because they know you, like you or trust you.
-People like comments on their websites.
-Watch the 16 minute video at validation.tv.
-People treat books with respect, people buy books they don’t read.
-Scribe (WordPress plugin) is good for content analysis.

Fast Track Your Business with Outsourcing
-Use Elance.
-Do what you do best, outsource the rest.
-Don’t assume outsourcing will be too expensive.
-Use escrow.
-Set milestones and negotiate on price..
-Pay and respond to messages quickly
-Work on your business, not in it.

Innovate! New Exciting Applications of Affiliate Marketing
-Innovation products are new, better quality, for a new market, or use new production/packaging.
-Growth in voucher/content/reward marketing, PPC affiliate marketing in decline.
-Social media integration.
-Retargeting-advertising products visitors have already viewed or placed in carts.
-Mashup datafeeds with apps to add value.
-Link to products from within images.
-Micropayments, social media dominance, real-time data.

Supercharging WordPress for SEO
-Thesis is a good theme for SEO.
-Use plugins to set up your site for stats and search bots.
-Permalinks: use post name only.
-Use caching, speed is a factor.
-Use plugins to improve accessibility.
-Cloak affiliate links.
-Plugins to autopublish to social networks.

The New Lead Generation Model: Social – Mobile – Viral
-Social marketing: sell to pleasure; not to pain.
-Customers are the best affiliates.
-Love travels faster than pain.
-Email is cool again.
-Use facebook email notifications to market to your fans… people like receiving email from social networks.
-BUILD. YOUR. LIST.
-Shift to mobile is coming… move away from desktop.
-Uses games/treasure hunts/play a game. Have fun with your audience.
-Two-step marketing: make friends with your audience first.
-Micropayments through mobile. Use mp3 (not video) to sell.
-Make your brand a star.
-Little picture + little text works for mobile ads.
-Click to web/click to call/click to video/click to sms/click to local/click to buy/click to storyboard.
-Video doesn’t have to be you in front of a camera (you can hire an actor).
-Be real to engage people.
-Top mobile sells: games, retail, financial services, automobile info/services, coupons for food.
-Get to know your audience by asking questions. Don’t ask too many questions. Keep them simple.
-Men don’t pass things on like women do.
-Always ask yourself: “Why would my audience want to pass this on?”
-Use social networks to create consumption, but don’t do it up front.
-First two weeks critical for autoresponder sequence.
-Ad/click -> community of like-minded people -> tell them what to do.
-Funnel for mobile is really mobile to email. mp3 rocks for mobile.
-Goal on social/mobile is to get them to remember you.
-Customer ecstasy is your purpose.

Affiliate Tactics, Opportunities and Traffic Comparisons
-Shop around networks for best affiliate offers.
-Have a call to action in ads
-Branding, even if your ad isn’t getting clickthroughs the impressions can lead to a large number of visitors.
-In ads include information about the person that you’ve deduced from demographics.
-People bid in 5 cent increments, beat them by a cent and you’ll be by yourself
-Ugly POF ads do great.
-Ads burnout quickly, keep them fresh.
-Track ads carefully, have a lot of options, text, images etc.

Podcasting 101
-Podcasting is easy and cheap to get into.
-Promote your podcast on podcasting networks, similar podcasts, and social networks.
-Have guests interact on forums, iTunes.

Building Niche Affiliate Sites That Produce Revenue
-Do it fast: use wordpress, plugins, product feeds.
-Build traffic via frequent posting, chasing the long tail, syndicated feeds, social bookmarking, socialising the content, commenting, article submission, and joining related forums.
-Capitalize on traffic.
-Work hard on your relationships with advertisers.

More Money Same Traffic
-Collect data with your jump pages.
-Big FREE on display ads doubles clickthroughs.
-BMI page to get email addresses.
-icontact (best), aweber, bronto mail constant contact.
-Seed your data with email addresses that come to you.
-SMS offers http://b2mobile.com/.

Avoiding the Google Slap
-Quality score is largely automated, user complaints will generate a closer look though.
-CTR is important.
-Having thin landing pages is a poor user experience and penalised.
-Direct linking is fine, preferred, although affiliate programs less pleased with this.
-Look at the bounce rates of your pages, if this sucks it’s something you should work on.
-Very long copy tends to be the sort of pages that make dubious claims and therefore trigger QS penalties and/or slappage.
-Stuff with automatic or monthly payments are dubious.
-Any kind of dubious business practice likely to be closely scrutinized.
-If new campaign triggers Adwords alarms, older campaigns likely to be re-reviewed.
-Affiliates should explore Google Display Network, not as competitive yet.

How Bloggers Can Successfully Connect with Audiences
-Interview people.
-Let others be featured.
-Meet people.
-Give then get.
-Be more personal.
-Respond to every comment on facebook, flickr, blog, draw people back to the main site.
-Your audience engages with you across sites, maintain a profile on other sites.
-Encourage comments by starting and closing blog posts with a question, then ask the question on twitter.
-For advertising paid blog posts get best prices.
-Encourage sharing, make the share button more ‘call to actiony’.
-Guest post, just send the guest post to bloggers and they’ll often just use it, minimal friction. Too many steps to wait for a reply etc.
-Build up a newsletter, list. Use a popup lightbox leads to 3x more signups. It’s ugly but it works, and means you don’t become too dependent on Google for traffic.

Search Engine Marketing Reviews
-Business name should be at the end of title tags.
-Keep meta descriptions short and sweet.
-Place all code in external files and call them… compress HTML.
-Don’t use duplicate meta descriptions.
-Use the variable excerpt in wordpress for the meta description.
-Do 301 direct from www. to non-www, or vice versa.
-H1 tags are ridiculously important.
-Navigation links should include relevant keywords.
-Avoid category drop-downs (UI).
-If running campaigns for your site don’t use your homepage as your landing page.
-Use facebook landing page and get people to “like” you then market to people through your facebook page.
-Consider social networks (especially niche sites/forums) outside facebook/twitter.
-Tweetdeck is awesome.

Affiliate platforming: building and keeping an audience
-Marketing is not a task. It’s any time you interact with any audience.
-Make people know like and trust you.
-Your newsletters should have content.
-People spread AWESOME.
-Try living on twitter for a while.
-”Don’t say or do or post anything that you don’t want to see on a billboard”.
-Build a relationship in Social Media, and take the business somewhere else.
-Haters love you.
-Friends rule.

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