Article Archive by Author

December 28 2007

Smile. You’re on the Internet

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Web video exploded in 2007. It permanently altered the way we receive our information. Web videos are used for different purposes such as relaying breaking news, creating buzz over a new product, to watching a video of your friends doing something funny. The friendliness of a video allows the masses to relate on a personal level. It enables you to show the story, or a product in action; ultimately giving the user a much better understanding and experience.

News companies have taken advantage of the use of web video. For example, CNN has a feature called i-report that allows users to send in videos and in essence be a freelance reporter. These i-reports have helped break several of the most major news stories of the year, from the Virginia Tech massacre to the bridge collapse in Minnesota. They allow viewers to get a better feel for what is going on and get an unbiased perspective of the event taking place.

Web video has also been playing a big role in politics this year, and will only get bigger in 2008. With platforms like youtube.com and other broadcasting sites, candidates are able to send out their messages to possibly everyone with internet access. It is a great vehicle for candidates to get out their message and relate to people on a more personal level. However, web video can also be detrimental to a candidate, or regular citizens for that matter. Since anyone with a video cell phone can post a video, the possibility of footage of you (flattering or not) ending up on the internet, is very real. Candidates especially need to be wary of everything they do.

Web video also plays a big role in marketing products and services. Companies, large and small, have realized that it is inexpensive and the reward potential is enormously high. If a web video gets some buzz, your marketing message could reach millions within minutes or hours. Remember, it can also have the opposite effect. You want your message to be creative, concise, and a little humor always helps.

More and more companies are realizing the importance of online video and therefore are allocating more of their marketing budget to internet video. The emergence of online video is getting stronger everyday. One trend that will likely grow in 2008 is professionally produced web video content. Especially, with the screenwriter’s guild still on strike, major networks are starting to focus more on producing high quality web shows. As the trend towards web video increases, so will video search results. Video search will most likely become more user-friendly and results will be increasingly relevant as the user demand increases.

All in all, Internet video has a very bright future. It is hard to predict exactly what form it will take, as the technologies and methods of delivery are constantly evolving. One thing can be said for sure, always be aware, because your next move could be viewed by millions.

December 20 2007

Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell

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You have a great idea for a new product or service that you are sure people will want. You put countless hours into developing your idea and it’s finally ready! You determine that the best way to sell your idea to the largest amount of people is through the web. So you go back to work and put together a beautiful website to sell your wonderful product. The site is up and running and you are ready for your first sale. Then you realize, “How are people going to find my website?”

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website. You can optimize to achieve high organic rankings in search engines. You can also market on the search engines through cost per click (cpc) programs. There are other methods as well such as mobile marketing, word of mouth marketing, email marketing, and the more traditional methods such as print and television. But what if you could have an army of sales people working for you? And what if you only had to pay them if they generate a sale or cultivate a lead?

It sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. That’s the power of Affiliate Marketing. In its simplest form, affiliate marketing is an interactive marketing experience that allows a business to pay their “affiliates” solely based upon the number of sales or leads they generate. The payout could be either a set commission or a percentage of the sale. It is a win-win situation for your business. You only pay if they sell!

The concept of affiliate marketing may seem simple, however there is quite a bit of work to be done in order to have a successful result. That includes continuously managing and recruiting new affiliates. The more affiliates you have, the bigger potential for earnings. Running an affiliate program, or any type of marketing campaign is difficult. However, with the right people running your program, the potential is unlimited.

A rising trend in the affiliate industry is to hire a firm which will manage your Affiliate program for you. These firms specialize in running affiliate campaigns and have the expertise to properly setup and manage your campaign. This allows you to focus more of your time on other aspects of your business. Make sure to do your research before hiring one of these companies, as not all of them have the knowledge and experience you are looking for.

In the 2007 report released by MarketingSherpa, the majority of merchants and e-tailers reported that their affiliate programs accounted for 10% to 20% of their revenue. Another poll showed that over 50% said that their affiliate marketing programs grew by over 10% last year. When asked about what they predict for their companies in 2008, 60% of them said that they expect more than 60% growth next year.

Affiliate Marketing is BIG and only getting BIGGER. If you have not already started your affiliate program, make sure that is on your 2008 to-do list.

November 30 2007

Paid Traffic, Good or Bad?

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I am sure we are all familiar with the term “If it’s too good to be true…it probably is.” in the world of the internet this is usually the case. I am sure that you have all seen ads or e-mails that claim to get you thousands of hits a day. The internet seems to be full of these companies that are promising large amounts of traffic at a fraction of the cost of normal PPC, but is it really worth it?

What these companies do really depends on the method they use to get traffic. Some use browser tool bars, some use spyware programs, some use instant messenger, and some even use viruses. Have you ever seen a “free toolbar” or some other “free tool” that you install on your computer? That’s them and they are everywhere. Of course not all of these tools are bad but how are you supposed to know which ones are and are not spyware, its simply not possible in most cases. Because of this fact these programs spread across the internet and get hundreds of thousands of users.

The problem is that these users may not actually be visiting your site at all. Once again it falls to the method of choice for the traffic company but it could be pop-up ads, pop-under ads, or even bot traffic. What this means is that if you sign up for a traffic program, your page may now have become spam. Your website would be popping up on thousands of desktops world wide to people who could not care less about your products. With bot traffic, it’s even worse in that the user may not even know they went to a website at all. Their computer automatically visits the site for them, with out them ever knowing.

You can see why these paid traffic companies are often a bad idea, and why you should avoid them. The traffic is so cheap that many only need one sale to cover the cost, but so is its quality.

If you really want quality traffic that converts, the only way is to stick to what works. Stick to reputable companies with proven track records and always research a company before you enter into a contract with them. A simple internet search could save you hundreds of dollars and your reputation. It may take more time and cost a little more, but it’s better than the alternatives.

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