12 Practical and Immediate Ways to Strengthen Your Online Marketing Program

hows-your-strategic-vision.jpgOver the last few weeks I’ve had more and more people ask me for five or six tips to help them get their program out of the online performance marketing doldrums.

This is especially critical advice during the Holiday Season when more consumers (not just individuals, but people actually looking to consume) are online and actively seeking out deals, offers and services.

You can let this potential traffic (and conversion) spike slip by, or go on the offensive and tweak your online marketing program. It’s really not hard… it just takes dedication and a good staff.

So here are is my 12 Step Program to create a better online marketing program or presence culled from my years of experience online as a network rep, publisher, advertiser, software marketer, CPA Network COO and SVP and email marketer…

1. Try all the services you can and crunch the numbers right away. Give MyAffiliateProgram9 a look. There’s some interesting things going on in the program that could transform how and why you use data either as an affiliate or a publisher or a network. Investigate co-registrations. Consider other types of placements you might not have yesterday.

2. Along those lines, investigate CPA Networks (but don’t replace CJ or Linkshare with them if you’re a publisher or affiliate… more on that later). Call Azoogle, Hydra, AdDrive, Rextopia, CPAEmpire, RocketProfits or FiliNet and speak to a rep who handles your side of business depending on your status as a publisher, advertiser or affiliate. These networks have people dedicated to your particular side of the business. I know… I used to be one and loved it when potential advertisers or publishers called me up.

3. Call CJ, Linkshare, Kowabunga and ShareASale and ask them what they can do for you. Talk to a human at the companies and don’t rely on word of mouth or industry reputation.

4. Blog and send trackbacks to competitors, news blogs like this and people you want to reach (many networks and publishers have their own blogs… whether business or personal). People are much more likely to read your content and take the time to hear you if you’ve taken the time to send them a trackback.

5. Read blogs. Read lots of them from all different viewpoints. Don’t know where to start? Get the Google Reader and start subscribing. Don’t have the time to find quality material? Email me and I’ll send over my OPML file, which is a file of all my subscriptions at the moment that you can upload into your reader. That has taken a lot of time/energy/love to create and maintain. You’re welcome.

6. Optimize your page for organic search engine growth. Also optimize your conversion page if you have one.

7. Interact with existing, potential and even non-potential consumers/customers/individuals. How? Blog, answer the phone, open a forum, check Google Groups for your company’s name, watch the forums of the industry/area you are serving.

8. Focus on organic growth of your program. SEO is wonderful and great, but it has a glass ceiling. Don’t blow your budget as an advertiser, network or publisher on keywords (unless you are purely a search marketer, which is short-sighted in this market). Realize the power and effective ROI that organic growth distribution can supply to your site.

9. Research potential affiliates, publishers, networks or partners that you think you could (or could not) do business with in the near future. Make a file and keep that data. It’s invaluable to you. Read that file before bed every night and allow your brain to work its wonders as you sleep. You just might stumble upon a new platform, campaign, metric, keyword, incentive or recruitment tool that could make all the difference. This has worked more than a dozen times for me, and now I have an impressive file cabinet filled with priceless data on everyone I’ve done business with and hope to work with one day. In case of a fire, I’m running for that cabinet.

10. Attend conferences. Affiliate Summit is in Vegas this January. Don’t miss it. Not interested in affiliate marketing? It doesn’t matter… this conference has outgrown its namesake and is helping to create a new brand for partner/performance/affiliate/traffic marketing.

11. If you’re a network or work with publishers and affiliates, give your account representatives a face and a name. The most successful programs in the industry have personalities that have grown out of the collective personalities of the account reps. These people are not easily replaceable. They are your generals, your eyes and your ears. Treat them like royalty because they can make or break your program depending on their enthusiasm or their apathy. If you’re a publisher or affiliate, get to know the people on the phone. Make business personal. If you think business is not personal, you’re a fool.

12. Know Thy Partners. Research, research, research. Listen to account reps, have an eye on the traffic flow and don’t allow people with less-then-ethical standards to bring your program down. In online marketing, you only get one strike and then you’re out.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you’d add? Comment!

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