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Affiliate Marketing Explained

There are many terms being thrown around the marketing world. Here we will help define one of them: “Affiliate Marketing” (Image Source MarketingSystemBluePrints.com)

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

DISCLAIMER: This article is not an endorsement of Affiliate Marketing. It was written to define and explain Affiliate Marketing as a practice.

Affiliate Marketing is a popular method of promoting web businesses, in which an affiliate is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer provided through his efforts. It is a modern variation of the practice of paying finder’s-fees for the introduction of new clients to a business. Compensation may be made based on a certain value for each visit (Pay-per-click), registrants (Pay-per-lead), or a commission for each customer or sale (Pay-per-Sale). SOURCE:

Affiliate Marketing as a term, is used to distinguish a type of performance based marketing or advertising.

  • “Performance-Based Advertising”: A form of advertising which sees payment by the purchaser only upon clear measurable results. Performance-based advertising has become common with the advent of mainstream electronic media including the internet, which allows easier and more accurate measurement of user actions resulting from advertisement.

Affiliate Marketing has several moving parts. (Image Source: KidNamedCrazy.deviantart.com)

How It Operates:

With Affiliate Marketing, you only pay for the advertising when it gets converted (pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, pay-per-sale etc.). This means you will earn less for each sale, yet the increase in sales generally makes up for this. The most common way to operate an Affiliate Marketing program is by providing each Affiliate a link with an embedded code that is unique to them. This code is then tracked and measures conversions in their various forms.

In laymen’s terms, you are hiring “sales” people to, using the various means and methods available, wrangle potential customers into a specific per-determined action. These actions could be: visiting a site, viewing content, signing up for something or making a purchase. You pay these “sales” people (Affiliates) per action for each action that meets the contractual description.

Affiliate Marketing rewards one or many affiliates for each individual visitors or customer driven to their business by the affiliates independent marketing efforts.  So what is an Affiliate?

  • “Affiliate (Commercial)”: A commercial entity possessing a relationship with a peer or a larger entity. A corporation may be referred to as an affiliate of another when related, yet not strictly controlled, by it (similar to subsidiary relationship), or when it is desired to avoid the appearance of control, as with companies that need to avoid restrictive laws (or negative public opinion) on foreign ownership.

In many respects Affiliate Marketing is similar to other Internet marketing methods. Affiliates will often operate via traditional advertising methods, including:

  • Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Paid Search Engine Marketing (PPC or Pay Per Click).
  • E-mail marketing.
  • Display Advertising.

While traditional methods are more common, Affiliates have been known to use any number of unorthodox methods (to mixed results). These methods may include publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner or directly engaging consumers on their behalf.

Affiliate Marketing holds many similarities to Referral Marketing in that both use third parties to push sales to the retailer.  Note should be made that Referral Marketing & Affiliate Marketing are two separate and distinct forms of marketing.

  1. Affiliate Marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales.
  2. Referral Marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.

Origins of Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate Marketing got its start on the Internet when William J. Tobin (founder of PC Flowers & Gifts) created, patented and implemented it via the Prodigy Network.

“Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to The Prodigy network” SOURCE & MORE ON ORIGINS HERE:

The four key players in Affiliate Marketing (Image Source: webseoservices.org)

Who Is Involved?

There are four core players involved in Affiliate Marketing:

  1. The Merchant (or retailer/brand).
  2. The Network (possessing offers for the affiliate to choose from – the Network also handles payments).
  3. The Publisher (aka the Affiliate).
  4. The Customer.

Additional players may include “Affiliate Management Agencies”, “Super-Affiliates” and various specialized third-party vendors.

Examples of websites that have successfully implemented Affiliate Marketing into their business model are:

  1. Any search affiliates utilizing pay-per-click search engines to promote the advertisers’ offers.
  2. Comparison shopping websites and directories
  3. Loyalty websites, or those sites that offer a reward system for purchases (points system, rebate system etc).
  4. CRM sites that offer charitable donations.
  5. Sites offering coupons or rebates based around sales promotions.
  6. Specialized (Niche) marketing sites. These may include sites dedicated to product or service reviews.
  7. Many personal websites.
  8. Weblogs and website syndication feeds.
  9. Email list affiliates, defined as  owners of large opt-in -mail lists that will often utilize e-mail drip marketing).
  10. Newsletter list affiliates (often more content-heavy).
  11. Registration path or co-registration affiliates who include offers from other merchants during the registration process on their own website
  12. Shopping directories which provide lists of merchants by categories, but do not provide coupons, price comparisons etc. (due to the high level of maintenance required by information that changes frequently).
  13. Cost per action networks or top-tier affiliates. Those that expose offers from the advertiser with which they are affiliated, to their own network of affiliates
  14. Websites using adbars (Example: Adsense) to display context-sensitive and relevant advertising.
  15. Virtual Currency: A publisher (Affiliate) utilizing social media conjoin an advertiser’s offer with a handout of “virtual currency” via game or virtual interface platforms.
  16. Video Blog: Video content that allows viewers to click on and purchase products related to the video’s subject.
  17. File-Sharing Sites: Literally any site hosting file directories (including music, movies, games etc.) that allow users to upload content and post descriptions of the material or links. Payment is issued to these Uploaders based on the number of times their files are downloaded. In addition the file-hosting sites may sell premium download access to files not available to the general public. The web sites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.

Is Affiliate Marketing for you? We recommend taking time to look into it. There are definite pro’s & con’s.

In Conclusion.

Affiliate Marketing has often been overlooked by advertisers. Search Engines, E-mail, and Website Syndication are typically favored by online retailers and Affiliate Marketing is certainly more low profile. Yet  Affiliate Marketing is on the move and increasing in popularity as a tool. Several brands have cited it for their success.

  1. Epinions 
  2. Shopping.com (An Alexa top 500 site).
  3. Bankrate

Is Affiliate Marketing for you? We recommend understanding the Pro’s & Con’s of it before making a decision. A clear understanding of the past and present issues related to Affiliate Marketing is also suggested. It works for some, however is not a mainstream practice. This article was written to define and explain it and not to endorse it.

Other articles you may find useful on this subject are as follows:

“Maybe Affiliate Marketing Isn’t Such A Good Idea” – Intuitive.com

“Examples Of Affiliate Branding” – SugarRae.com

“What Is Affiliate Marketing?” – Problogger.com

“Protecting Your Brand In Affiliate Marketing” – Revenews.com

“What Is Affiliate Marketing – Video” – AskJoelComm.com

“The Truth About Affiliate Marketing Scams – Video – LadyLuckMedia

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.

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6 Small Business SEO Tips

Small Businesses can still market big.

Small Business / Big Online Marketing.

97 % of consumers polled recently stated that they begin sourcing products and services through online means, a number that is increasing with the on surge of mobile tech.

Regardless of what business one may be in, a website is a necessity.

Creating a website is a careful balance of style and function. It needs to be visually stimulating and it needs to be easy to find.

The term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the science and engineering that goes into ensuring a website appears at the top of specific search results. SEO is all about making a website the first one a consumer sees and it can take small business online efforts from zero to hero.

Here are some simple SEO techniques any small business can do today to boost its Ssearch Engine rankings:

Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips:

1. Develop The Website To Be Search Engine Friendly.

Almost every website platform is going to do this anyways. However if when a site is customized, several key areas should be examined. Consider your site map, the HTML or code readability and your Folder structure.

These technical aspects reside more or less in the background of every website. Many website designers  are highly focused on creating an aesthetically pleasing site. The aesthetics and image are very important, however a website that is not engineered properly will seldom be seen.

The engineered background of a website is what matters to Search Engines, it is what dictates the websites ranking in search results. Better search results mean a larger audience and more traffic.

Put another way. A good website succeeds in two areas:

  1. Human Audience: It’s layout and content is visually appealing, and it navigates easily – customers can find their way around without any trouble.
  2. Search Bot Audience: It’s internal coding and structure is virtually appealing, Search Engines can find it easily and quickly ascertain what it pertains to, thus affecting its ranking.

Technical engineering does not mean sacrificing appealing design, it simply needs to be considered an equal partner. When it comes to a websites technical engineering one is best to forget about “style” and concentrate on text based descriptions, content. The more clues a website provides to the search bots, the better.

Enter key words that pertain to your business & industry.

2. Determine What Key Words You Want Associated With You Website For Search Results.

This is most easily determined but quickly writing down the first half dozen ways you personally would search for your site. It is best to ask the same thing from those around you, then cross reference and determine which are the most common ways from all of the results.

A few of the results will likely be the same, those are the ones to be key in on. Once that is done, run each of the search terms and isolate where your site stands in the results. The idea is to be in the top 10 results. This may be harder to achieve, depending on the number of related sites in your industry, and how common your business name is.

Generally speaking if you site does not appear within the first two or three pages, then your site should be examined. Not many consumers have the patience to click through that many pages.

While running the test searches, examine which sites are appearing higher in the results. Are the in the same industry? Are they local or global? Small or large? Do they offer direct competition to your business?

When choosing your search terms, remember that other sites will be fighting for top ranking as well. Keep this competition in mind. You may find it useful to break the trest results of search terms into three categories and then target as such:

  1. Strong Search Term | Low Ranking | Minimum Competition: Your results show your site low ranked, but the search term is highly relevant to your site, and there is not much in the way of relevant competition. Start here. Prioritize them and you will begin to see results quickly.
  2. Strong Search Term | Low Ranking | High Competition: Your appearance in the results is low, the search terms is highly relevant, yet the competition is as well. The high competition should be an indicator that this as a strong opportunity. However your competition is likely entrenched here and it could get expensive trying to punt them.
  3. Strong Search Term | High Ranking: Hurrah! Your site appears high in the results, the search term is relevant and you have clearly risen above any competition. Monitor these terms and ensure you stay on top.

Choosing relevant search terms, and prioritizing your targets should have resulted in at least three strong key words to concentrate on.

Make sure your website is Search Bot friendly. Image source: ezearn.info

3. Your Homepage Is To Contain A Textual Description That Includes 2 – 3 Of Your Top Key Words.

And so we begin melding the artistic and the technical. The content should stimulate the viewer, yet make easy climbing for the Search-Bot-Web-Crawlers.

Simply put: “If you want people searching for your key words to find you, then place the key words all over your site”

Think of your key words as little rock holds for the spidery Search Bots to grab hold of in their search. The more holds your site has, the more grip those little Search Bots will get on your site (that is a good thing).

Keep in mind that you do not want to cover your site in redundant textual info for the sake of the Search Bots as you then lose your Human Audience. It needs to be a careful blend of both worlds.

As you change and adjust your sites engineering and content, monitor the changes in your ranking.

4. Include A Page Or Blog Spot Dedicated To The Top Key Words.

This is a good idea for two reasons:

  1. If provides a natural text space to use your key words (again keep in mind not to overdo it, it needs to be readable).
  2. It provides an opportunity to show expertise and relevance in relation to your key words, and therefore your industry.

Rule of thumb write as if you had five minutes to explain to a friend or family member what it is you do.

5. Ask Colleagues, Industry Partners, Friends & Family To Post Content About You.

Search Engines view external links to a website as an endorsement of sorts. Like references on a Resume.

Asking external sources to post about your business AND include one of your key words within a direct link to your site, is known as a “Link Exchange”. While a useful SEO tool, many look at this as questionable when done in large quantities, or when exchanged with irrelevant sites or content (Ex. A Dental practice Link Exchanging with a Bulldozer rental site).

Mass Quantity Link Exchange Examined:

  • Some businesses and web developers will trade Link Exchange rights with other sites regardless of their content. For instance Herp.com may ask Derp.com to allow them to place a link on their site in exchange for the same privilege – even if the sites have nothing in common.
  • Others developers may go as far as to purchase the rights to share the links on other sites, or even set up a website directly aimed at nothing more than mass Link Exchanging.

There are a few schools of thought on this as an SEO strategy. Many Search Engines, like Google, do not like this type of thing – considering these types of Mass Link Exchange as misleading in relation to relevant content. These Search Engines are beginning to adapt their algorithms to give this sort of link sharing a pass.

Side Note: Google – the Search Engine with highest consumer use – has made it clear that they are geared towards search results based on relevant content, not SEO “cheats” like link exchanging to irrelevant outside sources. As such creating wide spread relevant content attached to your name is becoming important while mass link exchanging may be on the brink of extinction.

Make sure any link exchange you take part in, is relevant and provides relevant content to the reader. No misleading! That is a massive SEO party foul!

Mass Link Exchanging is frowned upon, however done legitimately, Link Exchanging is a great above-board practice for genuine websites with original content.

6. Back Link Your Website To Your  Social Media.

Relevant Content is the key to true SEO. Image source: Inboundwriter.com

I for one avoid Link Exchanging anyways. I prefer to develop my own content and utilize Social Media platforms for independent link sharing.

It is similar in nature and concept, to Link Exchange, in that it is positioning your link, attached to keywords, elsewhere on the web – yet different in that it is not on external source, but still on your own.

The Bonus here is that it is also CONTENT related, so it scores on two SEO levels and works within many Search Engine preferences for relevant content (it keeps the Google bots happy).

By developing a Social Media platform and link sharing your site, you are creating a larger “web presence” and more reason for Search Bots to find you and rank you.

The Search Engines will essentially crawl the content and trace it back to you. The more relevant content you have for them to crawl, the larger your presence and the higher your rank.

 

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds.

We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions.

TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists

The Delicate Art Of Engaging Customers

Branding is all powerful, in an ever changing world the ability to brand is hinging more and more on the ability to engage customers. Social Media is one primary means of doing this, but what do you do when a customer engages you with tough questions or questionable attitude?

FIRST: The Foreshadowing.

My wife and I had a wonderful Mother’s Day Sunday this past weekend. I muddled through making her breakfast, we attempted a hike up Rose Swanson Mountain here in Armstrong and more or less enjoyed the bright Okanagan sunshine. Nearing the end of the day we were feeling relaxed and more than a little lethargic. The thing with Armstrong is that it is tiny and tiny towns often lack many of the amenities of big cities – including family restaurants open past five o’clock. There are a few nice pubs, but they frown on bringing in an 18 month old so we decided we would simply order some take-out and eat on the patio at home. We placed our order at the local pub and then went to the park to chill until it was ready. I ordered the biggest sloppiest burger available, while my wife settled on the Greek Wrap (carefully described in the menu as being loaded with Greek vegetables). When we got our food home, we discovered that, aside from the normal tomato, lettuce and black olives, the “Greek” wrap was made up of shredded carrots, radishes and purple cabbage. We are not culinary snobs by any stretch, but we were a little dumbfounded by their definition of “Greek” Vegetables. A quick search of vegetable origins found the following information:

  • Radishes – Originate in China.
  • Carrots – Originate in Afhganistan (along with Parsnips).
  • Cabbage – Originate in either Sweden & Poland (or both).

Now yes, I get that the Greeks we a singular golden culture, and that their empire did indeed stretch across europe under the reign of Alexander the Great. I was not, however, aware that carrots and radishes were considered “Greek”. I laughed a little as I thought of a couple of quips I could post to their Facebook page (if they had a Facebook page). That lead me to think about how they might respond, which in turn lead me to think about how I would respond if I were them. One thing lead to another and now we have this blog.

Second: The Crux – Customer Engagement

Actual customer engagement tests your brand promises.

Customer Service, for many businesses, is the front line for brand image. It is where Brand promises are put to the test and in many cases it is the first “real” engagement that customers are going to have with any business brand. This can be where many large businesses lose out, but where small business can excel. The larger the company, the more people represent it and the more difficult it can be to maintain a consistent Brand message. Disconnects can occur between employees of the same department (IE Customer Service Reps answering differently to the same question) They can also occur between departments (IE Sales making promised that After Sales cannot deliver on). Larger companies tend to source out their service departments. As such there is less of a personal stake in the response and care offered. The service reps are often underpaid, understaffed, under trained and under the gun to respond according to pre-scripted operating procedures. Lack of knowledge and lack of flexibility in your service department is a big problem. Answers need to be quick, thorough and above all RELEVANT. When I call in I do not want to hold for twenty minutes listening to commercials promoting your outstanding service – that makes me bitter and sarcastic. I do not want to speak to a rep who knows less about the product than I do and I want to be able to understand what the rep is saying. Lastly I do not need a blanket response, or corporate run-around… I want an answer to my problem, my SPECIFIC problem. If you want to build a strong brand, build a strong service department. This is where small business has some advantages – there is a personal stake and a more direct line with the people to whom the business (and customers) matter. It is more consistent and more urgent. I call to a local small business and I am likely to get a response from someone who believes I matter. I am not just a drop in the bucket for those who can count their clients on their hands, and often know them by name. Engage me and I will be a customer for life. I still send my business to the little guys for that reason. I have relationships with these people, with their businesses – relationships built on previous service, honesty and faith, relationships that surpass the bottom dollar. Engaged customers are willing to overlook the occasional blunder or hiccup. They are willing to work WITH you and once engaged they will follow your brand the distance – and that is what branding is all about.

Third: Customer Engagement 2.0

Social Media acts as a magnifying glass for this engagement. For many customers it is easier to post to Facebook or Twitter then to call in. It is also quicker than the traditional means of email or snail mail, which means more emotion is included in the message and less time can be taken in structuring a response. Let’s go back to the story of the Greek wrap that wasn’t Greek. Hypothetically, let’s say that I posted to their Facebook page “Hey _____ Pub, I ordered a Greek wrap, not a Inter-European/Asian wrap – Carrots & Radishes are not Greek!” How would you respond? How would you expect a business to respond? Am I kidding around with this statement?, am I being belligerent?, am I being a troll? and how can you be sure? How do you engage the customer in a situation like this? Do it wrong and it will cost you. Do it correctly and it will promote you. Social Media requires fun, amiable, personable, creative, quick and professional direction. Those representing your business need to love people and dance on coals. The term “Social Media Ninja” is about as cliche as “Social Media Guru”, but Ninja fits the bill – keep watch, be quick, adapt and engage. Social Media is not just for big business, many small businesses are beginning to utilize it and the I’ll leave you with this nifty example of someone trolling Taco Bell, and Taco Bell’s subsequent response.

How you engage customer via Social Media Channels can drastically impact your brand.

Notice that they engaged not only the sender, but their entire audience, by not only going along with the joke, but coming out on top. They even utilized hash tags to further both the joke and their commanding statement. In this case context was made evident by the name of the sender (Men’s Humor) and the hashtag. It is not always so clear, and misinterpreting it can be costly. But, as this example shows, doing it right can have amazing results.

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

Is What You Are Saying, Really What They Are Hearing?

The Art Of Communication

When I was younger I did some studies in the area of Hermeneutics.

No that is not a biological study and it has little to do with Hermits.

It is in fact the science of accurately interpreting communications that have crossed social & cultural borders, often over prolonged periods of time.

My studies mostly pertained to literature – the written word. For example, what was Cervantes actually communicating, given the period and the culture of his time.

However a large portion of it dealt with the overall concept of communication. One key point that has always stuck with me, was the truth that for every communication, whether it is a spoken sentence, a text message, an email…the accuracy of it is at the mercy of the medium and the receiver.

Put more clearly, for basic communication to occur there are three parts:

  1. The Sender.
  2. The Message (including the medium: as Marshall McLuhan proved, the medium relates symbiotically with the message, influencing how the message is perceived).
  3. The Receiver.

The sender has a set communication and thought that is being put forward. That communication is influenced by the medium in which it is sent. Spoken communication is far more accurate than written communication, thanks to tone, intonations and body language (if their hands are around your throat it likely means anger). “Emoticons” 🙂 notwithstanding, the written word can be far more difficult to qualify. We have all enjoyed mis-communications related to texts or emails.

Is what you are saying actually what is being heard?
Image Source: Churchleaders.com

So the sender has put forth a thought and done their best to communicate it thoroughly within the chosen medium. Now the receiver is going to take in that message based on their pre-conceptions, background, relationship with the sender and the medium (including their own perception OF that medium). Each of these aspects plays a roll in how the communication is interpreted, and can be altered by things such as their culture or age.

The effectiveness of the communication will rely on the sender’s abilities and skills, as well as their knowledge of the recipient (or their audience). It will also rely on the restrictions of the medium in which it was sent and finally, on the dynamics of the receiver.

You cannot control the background of your recipient, their pre-conceived notions or ideas. However you can work with their background and preconceptions – and that is where the relationship between you becomes so important.

Accurate communication becomes easier as relationships develop (which is why literature spanning centuries can be a puzzle)

For example: If I receive a message saying “what were you thinking” from my wife, I will take it a certain way, based on my relationship with her. If I receive the same message from my employer…I am going to take it another way (and probably update my resume).

What does this mean and why is it on our blog? Because as simple as the concept here may be, it is often overlooked when developing emails, social media blasts and publications. It is also one of the single biggest challenges to the cold call.

Communication gets easier as relationships develop. Image Source: Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

When developing your communications, whether mass, niche or personal and whether to customers, professionals, family or friends – acknowledging the personality of the receivers can save you.

Small Business especially can thrive by being more personable with their communications.

  1. Don’t email or text clients who don’t like email and texts, unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Don’t force your customers to meet you on the medium you are comfortable with – go to them.
  3. Test your communications. If you are emailing, make sure it shows up properly when opened. If Social Media blasting – check how it is viewed across platforms. If publicly speaking, run the message by some test subjects.
  4. Make phone calls, visit locations, shake hands and try to establish a more personal presence. As one fellow blogger put it: “be their white knight”. It is an error to rely only on emails and tweets.
  5. When putting together your campaigns, consider your audience and look at separating them into groups based on the most relevant medium. Email distro lists, Social Media lists, Phone lists…. whatever makes the most sense.
  6. Consider who you are sending to when developing content. Don’t joke about sending a case of beer if they are on the wagon. Hit them up with content that you know they can relate to. Remember that episode of the office where Michael and Andy do their cold call together? Michael meets the client on the common ground of fishing, while Andy blitzes on by with an obviously false story about shooting a shark from the rigging of his dad’s boat.
  7. Provide examples. Link to content or provide images and references. There is often content already out there that can reinforce your idea, look for relevant materials and share them to help present your point.
  8. Develop that relationship. Touch base consistently. Listen to them and build your relationship based what they tell you. Customers will tell you what it takes to get them on board – if you are willing to listen.
  9. Be fun, give the customers a reason to want to talk to you, make the communication and enjoyable experience. Camaraderie anyone?

Communication – Effective Communication – Requires effort, it requires time and it requires diligence, however there is no greater means of securing client faith.

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

Marketing, Communications….and Romance? OH MY!

Why First Impressions Control Marketing & Romance – How To Succeed at Both

First Off: The Lemon Law (It’s A Thing).

Well that’s it then, this is our third post referencing not only “How I met your mother”, but specifically Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Those familiar with the show, may remember the episode in which Barney implemented the “Lemon Law” for dating. For those not in the know, it operates on the same premise as purchasing a used car, in that it implements the rule of the “Firm Handshake”(IE First Impressions Are Everything).

The Lemon Law is Essentially The Rule Of Good First Impressions. Image Source: www.9wow.in

Simply put, if you are not impressed within five minutes of your initial meeting you are allowed to “Lemon Law” it and walk away. Here is what Mr. Stinson had to say:

“I henceforth declare the following – From this moment on, there shall exist in the world of dating and mating a Lemon Law

It shall operate on the following conditions: all persons involved in a mutually decided upon date have exactly 5 minutes from the moment of meeting to decide if the date will proceed for the rest of the night or not. Within the first five minutes of coming together (high-five!) either party can call the date off for any reason.”

The concept is simple really. While I do not necessarily agree that it should apply to the world of Social Interaction IE dating (I mean c’mon, I get better over time), it certainly applies to the world of Social Media. In fact it applies to all of your marketing endeavors.

Dating & Marketing share some crucial key points for success and why shouldn’t they? To succeed in either you are essentially striving for the same goal. You are convincing another human being of your honesty, your worth and the added value of being in a relationship with you (be it a romantic or business relationship).

How To Properly “Woo” & Win

There are any different ways to market and to romance. So how do you know which is correct? Image Source: www.atissuejournal.com

Whether it is a potential new customer or the cute receptionist at the local chiropractor the same “wooing” techniques apply.

Here are a couple of quick tips to succeed in the world of Marketing, and essentially Dating as well.

1. Be Interesting. This refers back to Creative Content. Whether you are having coffee, or pitching a concept via email – be unique. Be memorable. Show that you stand out. Put up a fight for their attention!

2. Be Relevant. In other words, pay attention to their reactions. Feel it out and act according to what they are communicating to you. Body language says a lot – on a cold call? watch them, measure their words and tones and proceed correctly. Blasting out via Social Media channels? Study the target markets, measure your research and communicate in a way that matters to the recipients.

3. Listen Well. Nothing kills a first date more than just going off about yourself. Your potential customer / soul mate wants to know that they matter, that you will listen, that you are interested in them and willing to learn what it takes to make a difference in their life.

4. Pick Up The Tab. Don’t go into any initial Marketing or Romantic encounter presuming the other will pay. Having lunch with a client? Pay. Having dinner with a blind date? Pay. The core concept here is not to ask what the client/romantic interest can do for you, but what you can do for your client/romantic interest. You are “WOOING” them after all.

5. Do Not Brown Nose. There is a fine line between woo’ing and “wheedling”. Nothing is a bigger turn off then being too desperate. Be confident, but not arrogant.

6. BE AUTHENTIC. If there is one thing that cannot be tolerated, it is leaving a meeting feeling like someone has just wasted your time with skin deep promises of the moon just to secure an account or a night cap. In Sales & Marketing, as with romantic encounters, there are two types of people, those who want to develop an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship… and those just looking for that quickie sale. Unfortunately it is the quickie-sale folk that ruin it for the rest of us.

Ongoing relationships within business are what lead to growth, they require trust and as with any other relationship, they require working together.

Of course in some cases, such as my grandparents, they simply require being too tired after 50 years to do anything different, but that is an entirely different story.

There is more to success in romance and marketing than just this of course and we have simply scuffed the tip of the proverbial iceberg. These tips will, however, get you on your way.

 Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

Determining The Right Goals For Your Marketing & Branding Campaign

When determining your market goals you need to weigh your strengths & weaknesses against what matters most to your customer (their interests). Using a series of Measurements and Delineations, business of all sizes can systematically filter down to the root areas of Strength, Weakness & Customer Interest.

DISCLAIMER: The concept put forward in this infographic can be a complex One. We have not touched on all aspects of this model in detail, but have attempted to paint the concept with a rather broad brush. This particular example shows a delineation of “Brand Strengths” however when using this system you would want to include areas of “Brand Weakness” as well as “Customer Interests” (areas that matter most to the customer). The concept behind it is not new, we have simply adjusted and applied some colour to it. If you have questions or comments please touch base with us!

Once More Into The Fray:

In Marketing, as in Manufacturing, success is marked by results. Results are determined by measurement, and to measure one needs a target. When developing a Marketing campaign/strategy one must know which results matter and set their target appropriately. By doing so one ensures a direction, and measurable results.

Each business sets different goals based on products or services offered, brand strengths, target markets and resources. To achieve the greatest success a company must do the research, discern the priorities and set their targets appropriately.

One business may see value in Niche Marketing to specialized customers via Customer Service Strengths, while another may see more value in Mass Marketing via Product Integrity. The key to effective Marketing Strategies is to know what goal is right for your company.

That is where the use of the “Delineate & Measure” model is so key. It uses very bare bones concepts taken from Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing and applies them to Marketing & Branding to accurately discern Brand Strengths, Weaknesses and Key Areas of Gain for Marketing Campaigns. These “High Gain” areas are considered “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Low Hanging Fruit? A practical name taken straight from Six Sigma. It refers to the areas of quickest, most immediate gain.

The concept here is to take all of your research, customer feedback, polls, demographics etc. and measure against them in order to delineate or “filter” downwards to discern three things:

  1. Your root strengths and competencies (Your Branding should be based on these).
  2. Your weaknesses and areas for improvement.
  3. The areas that matter most to your customers.

By isolating highly specific areas of strength, weakness and customer interest, one can determine the areas that make the most sense to “exploit” (dirty word) for quickest, largest immediate gains.

In other words once you have these three areas isolated, compare your existing Strengths with Existing Customer Needs to determine which areas you can succeed in most immediately. BAM! Low Hanging Fruit (or areas of most immediate gain).

Your Customers Needs should play the primary role when developing your goals. It is the only way to ensure the best bang for your buck. To further illustrate here is an example of proper prioritizing that I read while doing some introductory Six Sigma Studies:

A local pizza franchise was experiencing terrible sales in their first quarter. As a part of their Marketing Campaign they began to offer a variety of new ingredients: exotic meats, Asian vegetables and gourmet cheeses. They advertised as necessary but sales were still dismal. As it turned out they lost money attempting to keep and circulate all of their new inventory – the result of the new ingredients.

Shortly thereafter, and entirely by chance, they begin discussing their issues with a Six Sigma Brown Belt. He asked them how they had determined their strategy of diversifying their menu, to which they answered that they were keeping with the trends of several of their national competitors. He then asked them what their customer research had indicated, they replied that they had only done some preliminary polls, but had spent most of the budget on the advertising for the new ingredients.

It was recommended that they poll their customer base and then determine how the resulting feedback played into their own root areas of strength and weakness. The feedback indicated that two primary frustrations for customers were late deliveries and burnt bottoms on their crusts.

The took a look at root causes for these concerns and determined that two of their weaknesses as a business, were employee phone training and dated ovens. They implemented training for the staff answering phones, to ensure accurate and detailed directions for their delivery drivers, then – at a fraction of the cost of the previous advertising campaign – they installed new ovens to reduce burnt crusts.

The results were outstanding in the fourth quarter, as word of mouth circulated and happy customers provided repeat business the struggling chain turned themselves around and we soon leading the local market. They established Brand Integrity with far less resources and far more result then their previous Marketing campaigns.

The concept is simple. Use the Delineate & Measure System to find your strengths, find your weaknesses and find what matters to the people purchasing your products and services, then use these areas to determine the “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Targeting the “Low Hanging Fruit” provides the gains that will fuel your climb upwards to the next “High Gain” area. They will also provide the growth required to improve areas of weakness, thereby increasing the number of “High Gain” areas available.

This is one method we use when sitting down with customers to discuss what direction to take their campaign. What is great about it, is its flexibility. It can be applied to Marketing Goals regardless of the business or industry. It can also be applied to determine Brand Strengths when developing Company Branding Strategy.

We developed the above infographic as a highly undressed depiction of how to utilize the system. The fields in the infographic were populated with filler info based on different strengths or areas that various companies may possess. Effective use of the system requires far more depth, description and research than is depicted in the infographic. This particular example only shows a delineation of Brand Strengths, when using this system it would include areas of Brand Weakness as well as Customer Needs.

Determining The Right Goals For Your Marketing & Branding Campaign

When determining your market goals you need to weigh your strengths & weaknesses against what matters most to your customer (their interests). Using a series of Measurements and Delineations, business of all sizes can systematically filter down to the root areas of Strength, Weakness & Customer Interest.

DISCLAIMER: The concept put forward in this infographic can be a complex One. We have not touched on all aspects of this model in detail, but have attempted to paint the concept with a rather broad brush. This particular example shows a delineation of “Brand Strengths” however when using this system you would want to include areas of “Brand Weakness” as well as “Customer Interests” (areas that matter most to the customer).The concept behind it is not new, we have simply adjusted and applied some colour to it. If you have questions or comments please touch base with us!

Once More Into The Fray:

In Marketing, as in Manufacturing, success is marked by results. Results are determined by measurement, and to measure one needs a target. When developing a Marketing campaign/strategy one must know which results matter and set their target appropriately. By doing so one ensures a direction, and measurable results.

Each business sets different goals based on products or services offered, brand strengths, target markets and resources. To achieve the greatest success a company must do the research, discern the priorities and set their targets appropriately.

One business may see value in Niche Marketing to specialized customers via Customer Service Strengths, while another may see more value in Mass Marketing via Product Integrity. The key to effective Marketing Strategies is to know what goal is right for your company.

That is where the use of the “Delineate & Measure” model is so key. It uses very bare bones concepts taken from Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing and applies them to Marketing & Branding to accurately discern Brand Strengths, Weaknesses and Key Areas of Gain for Marketing Campaigns. These “High Gain” areas are considered “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Low Hanging Fruit? A practical name taken straight from Six Sigma. It refers to the areas of quickest, most immediate gain.

The concept here is to take all of your research, customer feedback, polls, demographics etc. and measure against them in order to delineate or “filter” downwards to discern three things:

  1. Your root strengths and competencies (Your Branding should be based on these).
  2. Your weaknesses and areas for improvement.
  3. The areas that matter most to your customers.

By isolating highly specific areas of strength, weakness and customer interest, one can determine the areas that make the most sense to “exploit” (dirty word) for quickest, largest immediate gains.

In other words once you have these three areas isolated, compare your existing Strengths with Existing Customer Needs to determine which areas you can succeed in most immediately. BAM! Low Hanging Fruit (or areas of most immediate gain).

Your Customers Needs should play the primary role when developing your goals. It is the only way to ensure the best bang for your buck. To further illustrate here is an example of proper prioritizing that I read while doing some introductory Six Sigma Studies:

A local pizza franchise was experiencing terrible sales in their first quarter. As a part of their Marketing Campaign they began to offer a variety of new ingredients: exotic meats, Asian vegetables and gourmet cheeses. They advertised as necessary but sales were still dismal. As it turned out they lost money attempting to keep and circulate all of their new inventory – the result of the new ingredients.

Shortly thereafter, and entirely by chance, they begin discussing their issues with a Six Sigma Brown Belt. He asked them how they had determined their strategy of diversifying their menu, to which they answered that they were keeping with the trends of several of their national competitors. He then asked them what their customer research had indicated, they replied that they had only done some preliminary polls, but had spent most of the budget on the advertising for the new ingredients.

It was recommended that they poll their customer base and then determine how the resulting feedback played into their own root areas of strength and weakness. The feedback indicated that two primary frustrations for customers were late deliveries and burnt bottoms on their crusts.

The took a look at root causes for these concerns and determined that two of their weaknesses as a business, were employee phone training and dated ovens. They implemented training for the staff answering phones, to ensure accurate and detailed directions for their delivery drivers, then – at a fraction of the cost of the previous advertising campaign – they installed new ovens to reduce burnt crusts.

The results were outstanding in the fourth quarter, as word of mouth circulated and happy customers provided repeat business the struggling chain turned themselves around and we soon leading the local market. They established Brand Integrity with far less resources and far more result then their previous Marketing campaigns.

The concept is simple. Use the Delineate & Measure System to find your strengths, find your weaknesses and find what matters to the people purchasing your products and services, then use these areas to determine the “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Targeting the “Low Hanging Fruit” provides the gains that will fuel your climb upwards to the next “High Gain” area. They will also provide the growth required to improve areas of weakness, thereby increasing the number of “High Gain” areas available.

This is one method we use when sitting down with customers to discuss what direction to take their campaign. What is great about it, is it’s flexibility. It can be applied to Marketing Goals regardless of the business or industry. It can also be applied to determine Brand Strengths when developing Company Branding Strategy.

We developed the above infographic as a highly undressed depiction of how to utilize the system. The fields in the infographic were populated with filler info based on different strengths or areas that various companies may possess. Effective use of the system requires far more depth, description and research than is depicted in the infographic. This particular example only shows a delineation of Brand Strengths, when using this system it would include areas of Brand Weakness as well as Customer Needs.