This column was designed with both retailers and publishers in mind. For online retailers, the focus was on how to get, keep and cultivate relationships with affiliates. For publishers, we covered how to choose the best affiliate programs and maximize earnings. It no longer runs as a standalone column and has since been incorporated into the Content Marketing column.

Affiliate Marketing Turns 20: Myths, Milestones & Momentum

affiliate-mktg-240px It was the year Forrest Gump sorted through a box of chocolates, the only strike happening in Major League Baseball was between the players and management, and Sheryl Crow declared, "All I wanna do is have some fun." 1994 was also the year affiliate marketing officially burst on the scene. Now, 20 years later, the affiliate industry is poised to grow to $4.5B by the year 2016, according to analysts at Forrester Research. Here, we'll take a look at the past two decades in affiliate marketing, dispelling common myths, highlighting milestones and sharing the biggest opportunities on the hor [...]

PhotoDropper: A Great WordPress Plugin For Fast, Easy And Free Images

photodropper-featured-image Finding images for your WordPress site can be a challenge. Of course, you could take the pictures yourself -- but if you run multiple sites, that could prove exhausting. I have recently started using a WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to find creative commons images and credit them properly right from inside my blog. The plugin is called PhotoDropper -- and I am loving it! PhotoDropper has over 62 million free images that blog owners can access and insert right from their WordPress dashboard. They also have a premium tier that offers more professional photos on a pay-by-the-photo [...]

Countdown To Mother’s Day: A Four-Week Affiliate Marketing Plan

As the second biggest shopping season behind the winter holidays, more than $18 billion is spent annually on Mother’s Day gifts in the United States. Of that, 25 percent is attributed to purchases made online. This represents a steady increase over the years when you consider that in 2011, 21 percent of Mother’s Day purchases were made online. While most purchases are made during the five days leading up to Mother’s Day, the most successful affiliate marketing plans are set into motion weeks in advance. So, to help you make the most of the upcoming Mother’s Day shopping season, h [...]

5 Free Ways To Get Your New Blog Noticed

5-free-ways-570 Build it and they will come, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to starting a new blog, that is simply not true. I see many new blog owners become hyper-focused on getting Google to send them masses of traffic through SEO. And, while Google traffic is great and should not be ignored, focusing all your energy on SEO could be a recipe for disaster. In order to really build up traffic and a blog following, it's important to get off your blog and get out to places where your target market can find you. I don't care what the sales pages and "gurus" say -- there is no software or "loophole" t [...]

2013: The Year Of Affiliate Attribution?

You've probably read a thing or two about affiliate attribution in a trade publication or heard it mentioned at industry events. Affiliate attribution is one of the hottest and most controversial topics in the performance marketing industry today, and many Internet retailers are trying to figure out the best approach. Not only is it a consideration for the affiliate channel, but it's becoming an even bigger factor as more companies move toward omni-channel. The question remains: how do you fairly compensate affiliates for their involvement with your customer based on the touch-points [...]

Firefox & Blocking 3rd-Party Cookies: What It Means For Affiliate Marketing

There’s been quite a stir lately about a new release of Firefox due out this summer. Here’s the deal: a patch in version 22 is expected to automatically block third-party cookies by default. According to the latest reports, users who install this version of Firefox will no longer see targeted advertising unless they change their settings to accept third-party cookies. A user will see ads, but these ads won’t necessarily be based on their browser or shopping history. Is this new? For Mozilla, yes, in terms of it being a default setting. Apple’s Safari browser has had this defa [...]

Is Affiliate Marketing Hard?

aff-hard-570 We've all read the sales pages claiming that all we affiliate marketers have to do is churn out some sort of online content each day and we'll get rich. Plus, we can do it in our pajamas for just a few hours a day, leaving us endless free time to enjoy life. Heck, those pages say it's so easy a two-year-old can do it, don't they? So, with that in mind, why do so many claim that affiliate marketing is hard? What makes it so difficult? If we take the over-hyped sales pages out of the equation and bring this back to reality, most of us know that starting any new business requires muc [...]

What Resources Do Your Affiliates Need?

I was recently asked by an industry colleague about resources they should be making available to their affiliate partners and what affiliates want and need to be more successful. My colleague had seen channel partner and reseller programs with robust portals that included product 1-pagers, sell-sheets, etc., that was made available to approved partners. But, are affiliates looking for the same types of resources when they join an affiliate program? Yes, and here’s why. For affiliates, once they’re approved for a program, there’s a lot of information they need to curate in order to set [...]

Bloggers Take Heed: Affiliate Marketing Keeps You In The Driver’s Seat

Those of us who have been in the affiliate space for a while know that the industry is predicted to grow to $4.5 billion by 2016. Meanwhile, did you know that there continues to be a steady rise in the amount of active bloggers? According to Nielsen data, there are 6.7 million people publishing blogs on blogging websites and another 12 million that are writing blogs using social networks. Given the rise of bloggers and the anticipated growth of the affiliate industry, it stands to reason that more bloggers would get on board. However, it’s not that simple. Monetization Doesn't Mean Givin [...]

Learning Outside The Affiliate Marketing Box

outside-box-570-270 I've described myself, and have been described by others, as a "help-a-holic" online. I absolutely love helping people get started and do well with affiliate marketing. While that certainly does help those that I work with, it also helps me. I think it helps keep me sharp and in touch with all those little beginner details and skills that we come to take for granted after we've worked online for a while. However, I am also a "learn-a-holic" -- I am always learning new things, and I choose things to learn outside the affiliate marketing arena. I truly believe this helps me be a better aff [...]

Choosing An Affiliate Network For Your Business

When’s the last time you went shopping around for a new affiliate network? Everyone’s heard of the big networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, Google Affiliate Network, etc. — but what about the others? Without searching too hard, you can find hundreds of different affiliate networks on the Web with new ones popping up daily. CPA (cost-per-acquisition), CPL (cost-per-lead), CPS (cost-per-sale), CPC (cost-per-click), CPM (cost-per-1k impressions) — it all can become very confusing quite quickly.  At the end of the day, you just want to know: 1.  What affiliate network is [...]

Affiliate Marketing & Transparency – A Clear Path To Success

For years, advertisers, publishers and networks in the affiliate industry have been talking about the need to increase transparency to avoid black hat tactics and fraudulent transactions. While talk of transparency can quickly divide a room, let’s be clear about what we mean in the context of the affiliate channel. [caption id="attachment_31064" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Essentially, improving transparency in performance marketing is about protecting each stakeholder’s investment by ensuring visibility into traffic, conversions, commissions, and [...]

4 New Year’s Resolutions For The Affiliate Marketer

new-years-570-270 I've always loved New Years, but I've never been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. Kind of a strange combination, don't you think? What can I say; I'm a bit weird. To me, there are 365 days each and every year to make resolutions to change and be better. However, it's come to my attention that my readers and members of my training center have a collective need to "start fresh" from a certain day forward. What better day to start fresh than New Year's Day? To help them start the year off on a good foot (and remind myself of how to be more effective this year), I have put together four [...]

Affiliate Management: 5 Ways To Improve Your Affiliate Relationships In 2013

If you’ve researched affiliate management and the factors that contribute to a successful affiliate marketing program, you’ve likely read that the relationship is a key component. Like any relationship, you need to start somewhere. Sometimes, you are starting from scratch; other times, you may have a pre-existing relationship that you can build upon and make better. [caption id="attachment_30008" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] If you’re managing your affiliate program in-house and you don’t have much affiliate management experience, you may find [...]

Affiliate Marketing Trends For 2013

affiliate-marketing-featured Earlier this year, Forrester estimated the affiliate marketing industry would grow to $4.5 billion by 2016. The key drivers for this growth are expected to be the affiliate channel’s ability to produce new-to-file customers, generate incremental customer acquisition, and attract consumers who spend more than the average online shopper. While all indicators point to marketers investing more in the affiliate channel in 2013, where and how those budgets are allocated will vary. Here's how I believe we’ll see those investments divided -- among the following five key areas. 1. Global Expans [...]

Multi-Channel Marketing: Working With Affiliates And Resellers

When Paid Search Isn't Profitable For software and consumer technology companies, working with affiliates and resellers can quickly become a cross-channel tug-o-war if there’s not a clear multi-channel marketing strategy for both channel partner programs. Having a game plan for both channels will ensure partners are participating in the program best suited for their business while minimizing cannibalization and channel conflict. To create an effective multi-channel marketing strategy, it’s important to have well-defined channel partner programs so you can evaluate prospective partners efficiently and on-board them in [...]

Omni-Channel Retailing Isn’t Omni Without Affiliate Marketing

shutterstock_92512636-tabletShopping It would be impossible for marketers to ignore the buzz about omni-channel retailing. Given the opportunities it presents to increase average order value, there’s no surprise that omni-channel is top of mind for CMOs. As it continues to move from concept into everyday practice, let’s not forget about the role performance marketing plays in ensuring the success of an omni-channel strategy. First, a quick refresher on omni-channel retailing and the omni-channel shopper. Omni-channel retailing is all about providing a seamless consumer shopping experience across every platform includ [...]

Article Marketers: Do You Know The Right Length For Well-Performing Articles?

articles-content-featured There's a very interesting conversation taking place inside Warrior Forum discussing the "right" length for an article being used for article marketing purposes. The thread started with the original poster sharing a link to a pdf put online by Inside the pdf, the staff at EzineArticles wrote: A 500-Word Article Will Always Outperform A 1000-Word Article? That statement has caused quite a bit of debate by others in the thread. Is a 500-word article better than a 1000-word article? Or is that nonsense? With all the crazy updates from Google lately and all the str [...]

Affiliate Management: Things To Do In Q4 To Prepare For 2013

It’s hard to believe that we’re already a month into the fourth quarter. Most affiliate management initiatives are centered around the holiday shopping season; and, now that those plans are in motion, this is a good time to start thinking ahead and planning for 2013. While it may take a little more doing to get your affiliate program planning done during the peak shopping season, it can also be the best time to do so because of the increase in performance and affiliate activity in Q4. Increased revenue means higher visibility within your organization, making it easier to be top-of-mi [...]

Seven Best Practices For Black Friday & Cyber Monday

As the biggest shopping weekend of the year approaches, advertisers and publishers are gearing up for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping bonanza. While affiliate marketing strategies should be firmly in place by now, there’s still time to tweak your content and promotions to make the most of the upcoming shopping season, which promises to be even bigger than last year. As a matter of fact, expects online sales to grow 12 percent over last holiday season to reach as much as $96 billion. When you look at last year’s trends and this year’s forecast, there are seven critic [...]

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