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Have you Started Affiliate Marketing Yet?

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Affiliate Marketing

With the numerous new technologies afforded us in this bright new age, companies are finding many new and exciting ways in which to ply their wares. Whilst the humble market stall holder might still be content in shouting his marketing spiel at passersby, more forward-thinking, business minded folk are starting to discover the fiscal benefits of alternative forms of marketing, chief among which is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a particularly enticing prospect for businesses that are struggling with their revenue as it has been proven to boost overall revenue if utilized well and in a market where there are hundreds, nay thousands of products and services launching annually, every little extra helps.

Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Essentially, affiliate marketing means others are getting paid to promote your service or product. Generally they’ll receive a commission based on how much they sell, which means affiliate marketing is a particularly attractive proposition for website owners who might not actively be selling their own wares.

The concept was first instigated in the 1990’s with some companies sharing revenue with people driving sales in their stores. Providing an incentive to these affiliates meant that sales increased quite dramatically and the affiliates themselves were also bringing in a tidy sum so everyone was winning.

Of course, affiliate marketing now primarily takes place online but the logistics are still the same. The reason it’s so effective is that it’s essentially marketing through word of mouth and word of mouth will always be the most effective marketing tool at a business’s disposal.

A company can tell consumers that its product or service is revolutionary and unmissable until it’s blue in the face but no matter how convincing the marketing spiel, it always sounds more sincere when coming from a third party

Affiliate Marketing in the Internet Age

Affiliate marketing these days of course works in a slightly different way.

Companies will pay online affiliates who will place advertisements on their sites. The commission generally works in a manner where the affiliate will get a set amount of money for each click and even more for a click that results in a sale. This might sound quite straight-forward (and it is in theory) but whilst becoming an affiliate is quite easy it’s a little more difficult creating a successful affiliate program for your own business.

There are numerous affiliate companies scattered throughout the internet but these companies could try to take you for a ride if you’re not 100% clear on the logistics of the practice.

Below we’ll be examining a few tips and tricks of the affiliate marketing trade that should help your businesses affiliate marketing program increase overall revenue without wasting time.

Affiliate Marketing Tips and Tricks

Start Affiliate Marketing

1) Don’t be too generous with your commission rates. A good base to work from is to offer 20% of the product or services markup. Work out exactly how much commission you can afford to pay and stick to it.

2) Have both short and long-term incentive programs in place to keep your affiliates properly incentivized. Monetary incentives are obviously strong but try supplementing this incentive with more unconventional incentives such as gifts or holidays.

3) Remember that your affiliates are essentially sales staff and as sales staff they will require management. Of course, you can’t be as hands on as you would be with your own employees but you can keep in touch with them via email or phone and always make sure you’re available to answer any questions that may have. You should also provide all affiliates with adequate training.

4) Decide early on if you’d rather use a few committed affiliates who will bring you in significant amounts of traffic or lots of smaller, perhaps part-time affiliates who only bring in a few referrals each.

5) Set up an affiliate agreement that protects your company’s rights. More professional affiliates will not work with you if your agreement is not up to scratch so be sure to study other companies agreements and maybe hire a lawyer to help you draw yours up.

6) Make sure you’re ready to respond to referrals that come through from your affiliates. Many affiliates might have reaches that extend to tens of thousands of people so you’ll want your customer service to be properly prepared.

7) Make sure your affiliate software is stable. Hiring a member of staff to specifically oversee the software would not be a bad idea.

8) Provide your affiliates with the right tools like graphics, logos, banners and text to properly promote your site.

9) Place links or banners to your affiliate’s sites on your own site to show you appreciate their services.

I hope this article proves to be a good starting point to your affiliate marketing career.

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Productivity

Finding the Right Project Management Software for Your Content Marketing Team

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A project management software is a must-have resource for business. There are hundreds of options for your project management software — all promising to do what the others can do, but better. While this may be true, the fact is that some features may not be necessary for your content marketing team. What works for some may not work for others. So, how do you choose the right project management software to suit the specific needs of your content management team, while not paying extra for features your team is never going to use?

The key to a good project management software is in the essentials. You’ll want to make sure that your software has the foundational capabilities to navigate every stage of your content marketing project from beginning to end successfully. Read below for features to look for, as well as some tips for finding the right project management software for your content marketing team.

Features of A Good Project Management Software

Communication

Without a proper way of communication, your team won’t work as a cohesive unit. Especially for groups working remotely, constant communication with coworkers is among the most vital of components when working as a team. It is critical that your software has a way for effective communication and maintaining adaptability when problems arise.

Trying to run a content marketing campaign without talking about the crafting, writing, and publishing of your content will be virtually impossible. Furthermore, how are you supposed to know who is handling what project and how far along they are? In any aspect of business, communication is vital, and emails will only get you so far. In many cases, a second form of communication is necessary for instant messaging for the clarification of instructions and problems in real-time.

Collaboration

The foundation of a functional content marketing team is the ability to collaborate. Creating and publishing content involves the hands and eyes of everyone on your team. So, it is imperative that your project management software has collaborative functions.

Content creation and marketing relies on the sharing of ideas, and this includes file sharing. Email cannot provide the pace in which a content marketing team needs to work on files and pass them back and forth between members. Additionally, email can come with some drawbacks — some people don’t check their email often, files can get lost in inboxes, and other email disasters can happen. In recognition of these drawbacks, your project management software must have the file-sharing capabilities at speeds that can keep up with your team members’ ideas and processes.

It is also recommended that you supplement your project management software with a collaborative tool such as Google Docs. Google Docs is an extremely cost-effective app that allows team members to work on the same document, in real-time. With these two tools combined, you can work on a document with a coworker on Google Docs, and send it to another employee through your project management software for them to work on or edit.

Project Management Duties

Other than the functions above, you’ll want to make sure that your project management software performs all of the duties that will keep your content marketing campaign running smoothly. Since there are different project management software, each one puts their flare on the user experience of the functions they provide. However, you’ll want to make sure that your software provides some crucial elements.

First and foremost, your project management software or tool needs to have a working calendar. In the process of content creation and marketing, there are deadlines to meet, and you don’t want projects to be constantly up in the air. The firm tracking of dates to remember is vital in any business operation, and your content marketing campaign is no different.

Marking the priority, and the ability to assign tasks to others is another part of a content marketing team’s processes. Facilitating effective time management, understanding the priority of upcoming tasks can keep your team members in the loop. During the creative process of content creation, it is good to know how much time you have to work on a project while acknowledging projects that you have to get started on shortly.

QuickBooks illustrates the importance and convenience of a project management software, saying that “with a project management tool, you won’t need to ask your employees for that one email or the status of that one project. All ongoing and completed work—along with all relevant information—will be instantly accessible.” So, make sure your software can let a team member work on a task, mark it as urgent, and notify the next team member that the project needs to be at the top of their list. This function will elevate time management and productivity levels while avoiding confusion.

Tips For Finding The Right Project Management Software

Calculating Cost

Deciding how much you want to spend on your project management software is tricky. Of course, you want to provide the best tools for your content management team, but you’d also like to be cost-efficient. Things to consider when calculating the cost of your software are how well it performs necessary duties, alternative software, and your team’s feedback on the software you’re considering to go with.

You don’t want to be paying for extra features that are going to be seldom used or little understood by your teammates. So, make sure you try out and  do your research on other project management software and listen to your team’s feedback.

Trying Alternatives

How else are you going to find out exactly what you need in a project management software than to try out all of your options? You wouldn’t blindly buy a car without doing your research first, would you? While a project management software is not as expensive as a car, it will save you time, money, and frustration to take the time to make sure you are going with the right one.

There are many options for a project management software, and all come with different ways to perform the same tasks or offer different functions entirely. Your object here is to see how well the user experience and services offered corresponds with your content marketing objectives and team member preferences.

Get Feedback From Your Team

Your team’s input on the project management software you are considering could ultimately make your decision for you. If your team doesn’t like or understand the software you are thinking of choosing, it is in everyone’s best interest to go with another software — rather than spending the time and money trying to learn and deal with software that no one likes or understands. User experience is subjective to the people using the software, as well as the tasks you will be performing. If the software you are considering doesn’t fit your content marketing team’s goals or preferences, don’t waste the money on buying it.

Additionally, listening to your team’s opinion will illuminate some function of a project management software that you will lean on heavily and some that you may not use at all. Why pay the extra money for things you won’t use, or waste the money on software that doesn’t carry out the functions you need it to? Your team’s feedback will be valuable during your decision to choose a project management software.  

Finding the right project management software is a decision that can make or break your content marketing campaign. Instead of wasting time and money, your team could be on its way to creating some very compelling content and marketing strategies. The information above will help you get started on your way to finding the perfect project management software for you and your team.

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Productivity

Scaling Up? Don’t Forget About Employee Retention

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There are a lot of important things a startup leader needs to keep track of when their business is scaling up. Sales, marketing, production and other operational processes are all crucial for rapid growth, but don’t forget about the element that drives everything else: your people.

If you don’t focus on retention while scaling up, you run the risk of losing the team members who helped you get to this point in the first place. The high cost of turnover, including the time it takes to hire, onboard and train new employees, will likely set you back and hinder your growth, so make sure your team sticks around.

We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council what it takes to keep your top talent around as you become a bigger, better company.

1. Spend Quality Time With Them

As your company grows, it is easy to focus on the new people coming in, depriving your loyal employees of quality time. The typical thought here is: “Well, they know what they are doing already, so they don’t need me.” That may be true, but they still want you. The best way to retain employees while scaling your company is to carve out some one-on-one time every month with each of your employees.

Mike A. Podesto, Find My Profession

2. Listen And Implement

Find out what your employees like about working for your company and, more importantly, what they would like to see improved. Listen to them and actually implement their ideas. Keep up training — most industries evolve over time so your employees should be provided with the appropriate tools to keep up. Treat your employees with respect and show them that they are valued.

Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics

3. Offer Retention Bonuses

In industries where talent is in super high demand and job hopping is common, retention bonuses are an effective tool. These bonuses are paid for staying on board for a certain period of time and generally escalate for lengthier periods of time. For instance, offer $1,000 for one year, $2,000 on the second anniversary, etc.

Eric Mathews, Start Co.

4. Pay Special Attention to Those Who Have Been There Longer

Make sure to recognize the staff members who have been with you for a long time so they never feel unappreciated. People need to feel purpose about what they are doing. When management spends less time working with the veteran staff because they are too busy with new hires, you lose great employees. Spending time with your long-serving staff transfers their positive energy to your new employees.

Sarah Yeverovich, Empowered Staffing

5. Find Out Why They Stay

Make sure employees know what is expected of them and how they can grow as your company grows. Everyone is familiar with exit interviews, but few conduct stay interviews. Find out why employees who have been with you for awhile have stayed and use this information to improve employee retention. Losing employees on a regular basis costs you time and money, so get to the bottom of why people stay.

BlairThomas, eMerchantBroker

6. Reward the Best and Cut the Fat

When you see that your company is growing at a fast rate, you have to prepare your company for it. That means rewarding your best workers and letting go of the least productive. The money you’re paying the slacker will go further when given to the employee who’s already putting in 110%.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

7. Set Very Clear Expectations

We have spent a great deal of time creating an employee handbook and fundamentals for our team members to follow. We set expectations upfront with our staff and make sure that they understand what our mission and vision is for the company.

Michael Hsu, DeepSky

8. Be Transparent And Provide Access to Support and Resources

As your company scales, it’s inevitable that you will face new challenges. It can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important: your team. To scale effectively, maintain a level of transparency and ensure your current employees have access to the support and resources required for achieving success.

Stephen Ufford, Trulioo

9. Promote Internally

Try to promote internally as much as is relevant for your company. Take the time to look at the internal people first and see who is ready for more challenge and responsibility. It will help grow overall morale for people to know that you’ve taken the time and that growth and potential are possible.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

10. Improve Your Employee Benefits Package

As your company matures, both early and later stage employees will appreciate more robust benefits like a 401(k) match, generous vacation policies, etc., especially as they compare your benefits package to those at similarly sized companies. Benefits are easier and more equitable to apply to your whole company than individual raises and will have a positive impact on morale and company culture.

Roger Lee, Human Interest

11. Make Sure Your Vision Is Aligned With Theirs

The employees who are most likely to stay with you are the ones who share your values and vision for the business. Choosing the right people can help you grow faster and more smoothly as replacing key team members is time consuming. Take a little extra time in the screening and interview process so that you’re sure you find employees who are a perfect fit for your company.

Shawn Porat, Scorely

12. Give Employees New Opportunities and Challenges as You Grow

As your company scales, it’s so important to keep employees engaged by informing them of where they fit in with progress and what the overall vision is, and by showing gratitude for their place and role within the company. It’s also necessary to show employees that they have room to grow by keeping them excited and challenged with interesting projects that aid in growth.

Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint

13. Foster an Open Relationship Between Managers and Employees

While there isn’t a single solution for employee retention as you grow, one important key is fostering an open relationship between manager and employee, or the departmental manager and their team. Having regular time out of the office is a good way to foster that direct and open dialogue so you or your managers can have a good pulse on issues that may arise.

Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot

If you enjoyed this round-up article and actionable tips from experts around the world, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to create content and bring audiences back to your site. Make sure you have a quality blog representing your brand onli

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Productivity

Benefits of a Good Posture for Bloggers

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Good Posture

As bloggers, we are the influential marketers and a lot of depends on the content we publish. Being responsible for the content that is circulated throughout the world, we are among those who singlehandedly provide the much-needed information to the readers.

Apart from existing problems like increasing weight and poor eyesight, another recurrent problem we face is poor body posture. Sitting continuously for several hours a day on a chair affect their posture that could lead to numerous health problems, including bones and respiratory issues.

Maintaining a good posture is not just about keeping the spine as straight as possible. Doctors say that managing a good posture means dealing with the two curves at the back. One is maintaining the concave curve starting from the back to the bottom of the spine, and the other is keeping the similar curve from the bottom of the head to the starting of the spine.

The bad thing about us bloggers is that they do not pay attention to their body posture which results in numerous health issues.

To motivate such bloggers, I have listed some of the benefits of having a  good body posture.

#1 Prevent Health Issues

The primary problem that poor body posture causes is numerous health complications. Some of them being back pain, improper blood circulation, and slipped disc. One of the worst cases is of having a slipped risk where the back loses the capability of keeping it straight which is why people need to use the slouch to walk. Having a good posture will reduce the chances of suffering from all these diseases.

#2 Improves breathing

Breathing and posture are related to each other. Having back problems means that the person will be inclined towards the front to get relief from the pain it causes. In that scenario, the person may feel difficulty in breathing, and the airflow might not be as smooth as it was before. In addition to that, improper air intake could also result in reduced blood flow which can be increased with a healthy posture.

Good Posture

#3 Decreases Upper Body Strength

One of the highlighting features of the body is the upper body. Most of the people exercise in the gym just to make their top body strong. However, improper body posture will make the upper body weak as it distributes the body weight improperly. This situation leads to increased pressure on the lower body which makes the upper body a lot weaker than before. A good body posture will distribute that weight equally and will keep both the upper and the lower body in good shape.

#4 Boosts Thinking and Concentration

For a blogger, concentration is necessary to convert their thoughts into words. When a blogger is incapable of thinking, then there are very fewer chances that they can write good quality content. When it comes to creativity, the brain needs more oxygen to perform this task. As mentioned above, having good posture boosts the oxygen intake which means that the brain will have more oxygen to function properly.

#5 Decreases Self- Confidence

People with poor body posture are likely to feel less confident than the people with a good posture. The reason behind this could be that people with good posture look attractive than individuals with poor posture. People are allured towards attractive people and start avoiding lesser attractive people which decrease their confidence. One of the worst things that this could result in is giving depression. In a study by San Francisco State University, it was found that people with poor body posture are likely to end up with depression.

#6 Improper Sleeping

Back pain is one of the primary causes of improper sleeping habits among the young adults. Most of the bloggers sit continuously on their chairs without any proper posture which results in back pain. Hardly there will be any person who can sleep when they have any kind of pain in their body.

When bloggers are not able to sleep properly, then there are lesser chances that they can do their work effectively. A good posture reduces that chances of back pain and leads to better sleep. Bloggers could also opt for the Leesa mattress, which is amazingly comfortable, firm, and contours the back perfectly.

Endnote

A key to a successful blog is creating high quality and engaging content. If a blogger is incapable of concentrating, then there is no chance that they can create better content. A good posture will not only help you in concentrating but also in enhancing their overall personality.

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