When I watch a movie, it’s hard not to draw parallels between it and Internet marketing. Watching Our Idiot Brother, I caught a number of great lessons for all types of marketers. So, what does Paul Rudd, also known as Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend, have to teach you about being an awesome affiliate?

1. You’re going to fail.

“I try to do good, but it doesn’t always work out.”

It’s important to realize that you’re going to fail at Internet marketing… a lot. You’re going to get it wrong, your first few campaigns won’t make as much as you had hoped, you’re going to build a bad landing page, etc. Failing is a big part of being successful, especially for affiliates. In fact, most affiliates have extremely low success rates with campaigns. So, if you’re going to fail (and you are), just remember to fail fast so that you can get to the success.

2. Have fun with it.

“I have to get back to work on the tomion.”

At the end of the day, if you’re not doing something you love, you’re wasting your time. Affiliate marketers are entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs need passion. Do you want to invest 50 or 60 hours a week working on something you think is “meh”? Of course not. Be sure this is something you love so that you never have to “work” again.

3. People are going to think you’re an idiot.

“I just figured that since you sold it to a uniformed police officer, you must be stupid.”

Everyone is going to think you’re an idiot. Your best friends, your family, the guy you carpool with on Tuesdays – everyone. Who works a 40 hour week and then voluntarily spends time doing work when they get home? Idiots. Conversely, who quits the security of a big company to venture out on their own? Who decides they want to work harder and longer just to be their own boss? Idiots, idiots.

Some of the brightest minds were considered idiots in their time too.

4. Find an unconditional support system.

“I can’t just kick him out… he’s family.”

Being an affiliate is awesome! You can work from your PJs, you can set your own hours, you can do things your own way – it rocks. Sometimes, however, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard when your first big campaign slows to a halt and there are a few weeks where you don’t earn a penny. For this reason, you want to be sure you have an unconditional support system that always has your back. Think family, friends and industry experts.

5. Live in your own world.

“I love my brother, but still, he doesn’t live in the adult world.”

Remember when you were in high school and there was the guy that spent all his time playing World of Warcraft in his parents’ basement? Or when you met that girl who genuinely thought unicorns and leprechauns were real? They were living in their own little worlds and most affiliates do too. Once you get started, it’s hard to transition back from spending hours reading blogs, going to conferences, staying up until 3 a.m. researching keywords, etc.

Have you seen Our Idiot Brother? Do you think it had real value for Internet marketers?

The call to action (CTA) is the most important part of a website. It’s what turns visitors into cash. So, before you write the copy for your next so-so CTA, take a look at these 9 tips. Take advantage of them and you’ll be increasing conversions in no time at all.

1. Use active words.
You see active words all the time. Think of all the action words you see in ads: buy, subscribe, download, register, call, etc. Why are they there? Because they inspire people to act, just as their name suggests.

2. Keep it short.
Notice that all of my tips here are short. They are to the point and do not have any unnecessary words. Use this philosophy in all of your calls to action. If you want to capture attention, don’t write a novel.

3. Use simple words.
Resist the urge to use complex words and sentence structures. If there is a smaller, more simple word to use, use it. The average person doesn’t read at a high level. Simple words have high conversion rates.

4. Convey urgency.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today, right? Wrong. Everyone puts things off until tomorrow. Your job is to ensure that your call to action isn’t one of them. Convey “now or never”!

5. Use buzzwords.
They might sound cheap and overused, but they work. Think of all the buzzwords you read each day: unique, innovative, award winning, exclusive, solution, leading, etc. Don’t count them out.

6. Avoid spam signals.
There’s a thin line that you need to learn to toe. Avoid any language or punctuation that will send up red spam flags. For example, avoid the use of “!!!” or “!?!”

7. Use numbers.
It seems like everyone is creating lists these days, right? Right. That’s because lists involve numbers, which are more appealing to the human eye than words. Notice the number in the title of this post.

8. Advertise the value.
You can sell anything to anyone when you know this trick: promote the value. It sounds simple, but it’s overlooked. Put yourself in their shoes and focus on what’s in it for them. Show them the value right away!

9. Be specific.
Did you know that you miss out on leads because your CTA isn’t specific enough? They want to know exactly what is going to happen when they click through. Explain the specifics of what you want them to do and what will happen after.

Are you already using some of these tips? Which tips have worked best for you?

Think back to when you first tried your hand at affiliate marketing. What was your first campaign? Was it a success? The fact of the matter is that new affiliates make tons of mistakes. Heck, even affiliates who have been in the game for years make mistakes. There are two very common, very dangerous affiliate mistakes that shine above the rest though.

It’s natural, especially when you’re new to the game, to want to move on and multiply. If things aren’t working out, you’ll want to try a different offer, a different niche. If things are going great, you’ll want to expand and build campaign after campaign.

The problem here is that most campaigns aren’t successful from the get-go. It usually takes quite a while to perfect a campaign and really make it work for you. While it’s important to fail fast to succeed fast, you want to make sure you’re not in too much of a rush. Like all things in life, it’s about balance.

Of course, there’s the opposite approach. That is, sticking to one or two campaigns for too long. Whether or not they’re profitable for you is irrelevant. Putting all of your eggs in one basket, regardless of the industry, is not a good idea. What if one of those campaigns takes a nosedive?

Remember, affiliate marketing is not a perfect science. It’s true that most affiliates have seen the majority of their success from approximately 10% of their campaigns, but that other 90% is important. You have to try new things and experiment if you want to reap the rewards.

Plus, this is not a predictable industry (for the most part). There are ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs. What happens if you’re only running two campaigns and they’re both going down at once?

The moral here is to find a happy medium between too many campaigns and too few campaigns. Leaning too far in one direction could mean the difference between affiliate success and affiliate failure. Often, it is hard for new affiliates to master this delicate balancing act, which is the real barrier to entry in Internet marketing.

This data is based on sending 30 million emails.

Keep in mind these are not spammers. These are well branded e-commerce or service oriented companies using an enterprise solution.

I just want to be clear on that. These companies combined have a email rate spam report rate of .0006. But that is also very low because they are emailing their existing database of clients as well as new clients interested in their services or products.

Ok with that said I have put together the following stats. Again please keep in mind these are mostly “value add” emails.

People open and click on the most emails between 9am and 11:30am CST on weeknights and 7pm to 10pm CST on the weekends.People open and click on the most emails on Mondays. People make buying decisions from emails received on Thursdays (they clicked on a link and made a purchase). The average time someone takes to make a buying decision from a email is 4 days. The average time of day people make a purchase 7pm to 10:30pm CST. The longest we have seen for someone to purchase a product or service from a email we have sent is 6 months (since we started the company). Shorter subject lines get higher percentage rates.  1 word subject lines scoring the highest. Capitals on every word in the subject line have a 25% less open rate then subjects with every word in lowercase.

The first feeling that comes to mind when you mention the term ‘email marketing’ usually is not positive. With technology constantly developing newer and newer ways to communicate via the internet, some feel that the bland, mundane tasks of email marketing are behind us. Wrong! Even though the world of marketing is constantly changing, email remains a viable way in which to communicate with subscribers about virtually anything. Best of all, you can revamp the process to make it easier, more creative and therefore more appealing to your subscribers. We will discuss a few strategies you can use to deploy this type of success.

Gigantic Potential

The fact is that more people are connected to one another through email than through any other outlet – including Facebook. Email has remained the bridge between “old” and “new”; for those who do not wish to make a phone call but do not want to use social networking, email is a vital component of communication and business. Backing up this assumption is the fact that over 70% of all internet users check their email more than five times per day. While some bloggers, webmasters and businesses are worried about pinging search engines with updates on their site, others are striving to build a line of communication through the most tried and true medium currently on the web.

Personal Preference

Most web users still state that email is the preferred form of communication when it comes to day-to-day business and notifications. Facebook and other social networks may have allowed users to find lost friends and new acquaintances, but people still prefer a more personal form of communication that is generally achieved via email. Another statistic shows that nearly 4 out of 5 people prefer to receive commercial communication via email as opposed to Facebook or other methods – this number alone should seriously make you re-think a strategy that is currently neglecting email marketing.

Effective Reach

We all may think that email marketing is hit or miss; this is true to some extent. However, it is more effective than taking out advertisements or pinging search engines with content in terms of the % of people who read or follow-through on the email. Data shows that nearly 70 percent of people have purchased an item or service within the past twelve months as a result of an email they received. While you certainly will not be buying email lists to accomplish this, this should still give you confidence in maintaining and improving the communication you have with your existing subscriber base.

Conclusion

While many have labelled email as an old, ineffective means of communication, the data shows us that people still prefer email to newer social interaction and do in fact respond to those messages. You can even use email marketing as a way to encourage your subscribers to connect with your brand through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are willing to accept this and re-commit yourself to expanding and improving your email marketing program, you will be successful.

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infographicWith plenty of different forms of advertising and publication forming over the past several years, many bloggers are looking for alternative ways to catch the eyes of their readers while also creating something that will spread beyond the realm of their own blog – hopefully attracting others to become readers. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a infographic that summarizes a topic or event in an aesthetically-pleasing fashion. By boiling down the subject material into an easy-to-digest format, you stand to gain much attention from those seeking refuge in an internet environment of information overload.

Origins

Before you begin designing the finer points of the infographic, you must first develop a concept. By having a stellar idea sketched out from the beginning, you will be able to keep on track and deliver all the necessary information. Since your blog most likely is dedicated to a particular niche or category, it is smart to stick to this subject material – although other bloggers have had great success using an infographic outside their own realm to generate buzz and hype about their site. Generally speaking, a good concept will cover the history and facts of the subject while also maintaining a creative element. These tactics combined will result in a wave of people and search engine bots viewing and pinging your website.

Data

With your idea solidified and brainstorming finished, you can now move to the research and data-collection part of building your infographic. Some concepts may cover factual, historical events or ideas and will have a plethora of information to support your premise. Others may be circumstantial or involve trends that are not as clear; still, you will need to locate data, statistics and other concrete facts that support your position. After you have assembled the data necessary for putting the infographic together, you should then proceed to organize it in a word processing document or similar program so as to make the final part simpler.

Design

At this stage, your worries are putting the collected data into a graphically-pleasing format that viewers will enjoy and can appreciate. Usually, you will want to start off with a large canvas in a program such as Photoshop; an infographic is usually shown in “thumbnail” mode and are meant to be clicked on to see the entire image. You can always resize the image later, so feel free to make it as big as you feel comfortable doing. Colour schemes, borders, fonts and other elements are variables that will depend on your own likings, the theme of your website and the theme of the topic.

Distribution

Finally, you are ready to begin pinging your website with the new infographic. We recommend that you host the image on the same server and domain as the blog; you will most likely receive a boost in traffic and an uptick from search engines by earning inbound links. You may wish to put it on its own page, followed by a click-through link to the full-size image. You also want to place social sharing options on the page so others can spread the word about your newly-published infographic.

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Most websites and companies have heard of mega social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Their omnipresence on the internet is something that we all either use on a day to day basis or are witness to when navigating just about any website. What some webmasters and businesses fail to realize is that there are dozens of other social networking websites out there that cater to smaller yet more dedicated audiences. In the world of niche marketing, these tiny social networks can be valuable in getting your products and services seen by those who are interested.

The Premise

Many people use the major social networking platforms, but they may also enjoy using platforms that are less populated and therefore more relative to their particular interests. Instead of a social network of 100 million users who have an array of different interests, many of these networks instead have populations closer to 100 thousand users that share the same unique interest. If your site is built around the premise of a particular niche or isolated category, then there is most likely benefit in finding a social network that caters to these interests. Those who successfully utilize these systems can stand to gain a heaping of new traffic and revenue for their sites, companies and projects.

Finding Your Niche

As previously mentioned, there are plenty of smaller social networking platforms on the internet that offer people like you the ability to market a brand to interested users. If your current operation revolves around pinging YouTube videos about art to interested users, then you may wish to use a site such as deviantART that currently boasts over 20 million users. Likewise, a campaign that revolves around the sales of custom comic strips may find welcome arms awaiting them at ComicSpace, which has a dedicated fan base of around 100 thousand users.

Building Your Base

Upon joining one of these niche social networks, you will probably notice that there is a pecking order of sorts – that is, there are a number of established, reputable posters who have earned the respect of their peers by providing quality information and updates. If you think you can simply begin pinging YouTube videos and instantly become a star, then think again. You will need to gain the trust of fellow community members by providing substantial value to the discussion at-large. This is perfectly feasible but does usually take some time before people begin to notice your worth.

Conclusion

With a plethora of niche social networks currently available on the web and new ones constantly being created, you are sure to find a network that matches the criteria of your site or business at one point or another. By being an active member, providing valuable content to the members of the community and occasionally plugging your own project in an intrusive-free way, you will begin to reap the rewards that these networks can offer. Best of all, most of these networks are absolutely free to join. With no excuses left and only time to spare: why are you still waiting? Begin your newest social networking adventure today!

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