So Just What is Affiliate Marketing?

I had a conversation with a friend today about a new web site that we're planning for him. I brought up the subject of "Affiliate Marketing" and suggested that we incorporated that into his new site.

His response was familiar, as I find that most people do not really understand what affiliate marketing is and how it can add revenue to your bottom line. Here is this article to try and shed a little light on the subject.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing, simply put, is when you Sell Other People's Stuff (SOPS). This can really be as simple as making a recommendation on your web site and getting rewarded for it.

Now, word-of-mouth-marketing has been around forever. Think about how many times you go to see a good movie or eat at a great new restaurant and then tell your friends about it. This is all great and happens everyday. Unfortunately in most cases, however, there is no easy way for that movie theater, restaurant, (or any other brick and mortar business) to track your referral and reward you for it. Would not it be great if they could, and they would send you some money for every referral you sent them ??

Affiliate Marketing works in an online world because technology allows the online merchant to track the referrals that you send to their web site through a special link, and if that referral purchases something … the merchant can then compensate you for the referral.

Let's take Amazon.com as an example. Obviously Amazon.com sells a lot of things, so a lot of different types of companies could benefit from their selection. You can sign up for their affiliate program (Amazon calls it Associates Program). Once you sign up, their system allows you to create special links to specific products on their site or groups of products. This special link has your affiliate ID in it – so it knows who is sending them business.

You can then take that link and put it somewhere on your web site. It can be part of a product review, it could have been embedded in a blog post, or it could have been a banner too. Lots of options.

If someone clicks on that special link and purchases a product from Amazon.com – you get referral credit and they pay you a commission. You simply provided the recommendation and the link – and Amazon took the order, ships the product and handles all the customer service. How cool is that?

There are thousands of merchants who have affiliate programs. Usually you look for a link called Affliate Program or something along those lines. You do not even have to have a web site to participate in some affiliate programs. You can send out your special affiliate link in an email newsletter or post it on your social networking sites or use a Pay per click campaign. Again, the link contains all the information the online merchant needs to track your referrals and pay you if your referral makes a purchase.

Why am I a believer in Affiliate Marketing?

Because I've seen it can be a very important part of a company's revenue stream – on both ends of the spectrum. I've built ecommerce businesses using Affiliate Marketing as the main marketing tool, and I also currently receive a nice portion of my revenue every month from promoting other people's stuff.

So here's how to get started;

* identify merchants that have affiliate marketing programs and products within your industry and sign up for their programs. Continuity programs are great too (like our membership training program) – where you get paid every month for referring someone.

* you can also join affiliate networks such as Linkshare.com or Commission Junction, or clickbank.com. These networks represent hundreds of merchants in one place, so it is easier to join programs and manage links.

* setup a website so you have somewhere to put product reviews and of course the special links (recommended, but not always necessary).

* create the links to specific products or sites using the merchants affiliate marketing tools.

* Place these links on your website, in your email newsletter, on your social networking sites, etc.

* Do not spam, especially on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I've seen people post their same affiliate link on their Twitter profile 10-15 times in a row – to the point of making you want to unfollow them in a hurry. Instead, add value in other ways, be part of the community, and every once in a while post an affiliate link.

Understanding Residential and Consumer Mailing Lists for Better Business Promotion

Consumer mailing lists play very significant role in e- Commerce expansion. The consumer list is the database or information of potential customers. With the targeted demographics, the consumer lists offer personalized services and information to various businessmen who could use some expansion. Most of businesses which are in start-up phase or stopped growing due to the lack of customers or blindfold marketing, can utilize the benefits of these lists. They can send e-mailers, promotional materials and catalogs to them but to make the most of these lists it very important that marketers and businessmen understand the value of mailing list selection.

Mailing lists are of two types: consumer mailing and residential mailing lists. The later is also referred to as saturation or occupant lists. The residential list is bulk list of postal addresses. It contains the addresses of residents completely qualified from the US post office. This data is updated on monthly basis. Based on these address lists, you can pull certain statistics and information on potential customers such as average income, lifestyle and the other eligibility criteria. For instance, you would not like to offer high-end furniture to a person who is living in one room apartment. Every deliverable of this list can help you reach every mail box and communicate your business. If you are running a restaurant or coffee shop, want to promote a religious program for church, this address based residential list is for you.

You can contact many compilers to get these lists. You can find them online as well. The residential mailing list is very cost effective. You can also ask your compiler to provide you a saturation list to reduce the charges further. It implies that majority of the addresses (about 90 percent or more) come from the same route. It should also be in a walk sequence which means the addresses are within walking distance for the US postal service delivery. Both inexpensive and easy, the address lists compilation can save a lot of money for your business.

Although, the residential lists are not fit for the businesses which are looking for more targeted and aggressive market approach. They prefer consumer mailing lists for more accurate information on the customers. Compiled from various sources such as telephone directories, credit cards, mail responders and other records, the consumer list is expensive but a sure-shot guarantee of increasing results, revenue and sales.

iPhone Application Development For Yahoo Stores

Yahoo Store has emerged as one of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the internet today. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this award winning ecommerce platform comes packed with simplicity and price affordability compared to other ecommerce platforms available on the Internet. Thus, many people have cashed in on this opportunity and are successful ecommerce store operators today.

Along with this development on the Internet, the world is witnessing another phenomenon. This trend relates to mobile phones. According to a recent MOCOM report, there are around 4.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. This translates to a penetration rate of around 60%. According to another report, nearly 91% of the United States population has mobile phones. This picture gives a bright scenario of the capability of conducting ecommerce using mobile phones around the world and in the United States.

It is estimated that a significant percentage of this population has access to internet capable mobile phones and wireless devices such as the iPhone. The iPhone is a revolutionary device from Apple that has took the world by storm when it was introduced. This device combines three products into one – an extraordinary phone, a wide screen iPod and an advanced Internet device that gives access to HTML email along with a desk-class web browser.

It is now possible to marry the iPhone to the Yahoo Store by creating unique and dynamic applications for it. With the help of versatile team of iPhone developers, many companies are now venturing into this field. Other than the routine retinue of making applications such as multimedia, games, travel, social networking, it is considered niche to develop applications for the iPhone specifically pertaining to Yahoo Store. Thus, users can access features like deal of the day, orders, statistics, inventory, and other specific Yahoo Store features on their iPhone.

iPhone applications developed specifically for the Yahoo Store help store owners keep a firm tab on their operations regardless of their location while also improving sales. Buyers get more opportunities while on the move to make their purchases while giving the opportunity to store owners to track their sales and other proceeds.

This feature can exclusively benefit Yahoo Store owners since they can access their store whenever they are on the move, or view specific details about the performance of their store. In the era of Web 2.0, these user-friendly features can go a long way in building a strong rapport between store owners and and their online community. Developing user specific applications on iPhone for Yahoo Stores can help store owners reap the benefits of the mobile internet revolution and utilize the iPhone as a brilliant platform for technology advancement pertaining to Yahoo Stores.