As a professional doing business on the internet, it’s so easy to get distracted. (I speak from experience.) Below are 6 tips to staying focused when trying to complete a project that requires a great deal of internet exploration.

1. Logout of all social media platforms.

2. Identify your goals and write them down. Create a master project plan.

3. Focus on 1 task/project at a time.

4. Create a deadline for each project- no matter how small

5. When doing research do not follow Alice down the rabbit hole. Sure, that link may go to an interesting article but does it contribute to the end goal?

6. Remind yourself of your deadlines and ultimate goal often.

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While listening to NPR- National Public Radio, I learned that Miley Cyrus had quit Twitter and created a rap song about it. Really? Did I really have to hear that on NPR?

How in the world did that make it into a radio broadcast that was mostly about how Microsoft’s phone made by Danger had a server outage which may cause millions of customers to lose all of the information associated to their cell phone such as photos, contacts, videos etc?

Check out this Article from Computer World to learn more about this severe server outage. Oh and… I guess you should watch this Miley Cyrus video too… Obviously somebody thought those topics complimented eachother! Really?

I recently created my very first video tutorial using a tool called Camtasia. The tutorial walks the viewer through the how to set up an ad code while using an ad tracking tool from Adminder.com.

Sales and Prospecting

September 2, 2009

When you’re down in the dumps because customers or prospects just will not buy your product or idea… Remember… it only takes 1 prospect to turn the whole situation around. Just One. So when sales and marketing efforts seem hopeless… just push yourself. One more call… you can do it…

It only takes one…

“No amount of cool software will replace good sound fundamentals when it comes to creating repeatable processes that can be taken to the masses in an organization and help take it to the next level.”

I completely agree with Brad Egeland in his blog post titled, “Process Trumps Technology“. It’s actually something I’ve personally been dealing with for a while now… staying focused on the end goal and building bomb proof processes. It’s so easy to get swallowed up in the thoughts that in order to do a project better that one must use an awesome software tool. Honestly that’s just not the case. Excel and Word, coupled with a decent file management system… ie… creating folders and grouping project together… is really all you need.

Project Management is not really about word and excel though. It’s more about just creating repeatable processes that can be applied to multiple projects… As the author stated… putting the same face on every project so that the whole organization can work cohesively in solving the problem.

It is my opinion that others who read Brad Egeland’s may find a different meaning and focus to his words. Take what you can when you can… apply it to what you know and then research what you don’t know or understand… eventually you will find the answer you were looking for.

Rant Over- AffiliateGeek Out!

If you have a product and your main source of revenue comes from affiliate’s promoting your product on their website then how should you go about identifying the best placement for your product on their site? This also goes along with prospecting because essentially you are prospecting affiliate’s to promote your product. You can’t just expect that the affiliate will be willing to spend time to think about where the best place to promote your product is? They’re busy! As an advertiser, the affiliate expects you to approach them with an idea of how and where to promote your product.

Things you might want to look at:

As an advertiser you have to think about the best possible places to promote your product on the affiliate’s website. There are many areas in which a product or service can be promoted on a website. The easiest way for an affiliate to promote your product is through a banner or link on their webpage that links back to your site or landing page. Another very easy way for a publisher to promote your product is through email marketing. Some publishers prefer to promote products via pay-per-click marketing. The latter can be fairly expensive if the affiliate is not experienced in this practice of marekting.

One of the best and most effective means of promoting a product or service is through a customer path… especially if the customer has already made a purchase or completed a desired action such as signing up for a newsletter .

Good touch points for the new advertiser could be :

  • Confirmation/Thank you Page
  • Member’s Area
  • Exit pop
  • Co-reg

Creating your project. Things to identify when approaching potential affiliates to promote your product/service.

1. Customer path- what is the exact path that each customer goes through when visiting the affiliate’s page? You should go through this just like a customer. Remember to write down every URL that you visit through your customer experience. Take a screen shot of each page so that it can be evaluated later and so that you can make recommendations to the affiliate. Mozilla Firefox has a free screen capture service AddOn. However, I personally like to use Snagit because it allows me to send to PowerPoint. From that point you can document the exact path and then create machups right from PP.

When evaluating the customer path, be sure to answer these questions: could your product/service benefit or compliment the customer who signed up for the initial product? If yes, then, how?  If you decide that your product or service is a good fit then you need to next identify the “where” piece of the equation. Where would be the best more relevent placement for your product within the affiliate’s website?

How much information is already on the confirmation page? How can you pitch the product or service so that it 1) Fits with the current product or service 2) Offers a benefit to the consumer 3)Teaches the customer something they don’t already know

There are so many ways to promote an affiliate product. It’s overwhelming, but if you get it right then rinse, repeat, rinse repeat. Affiliates do it all the time! It’s time that the advertiser steps with suggestions!

-Rant Over. AffiliateGeek Out!

So I just finished creating a competitive analysis of 9 sites that offer website traffic. This was the first paper I’ve written since graduating college in 2004. I had forgotten how much work needs to go into such an important project.

Like most projects, I dove in head first. I did a keyword search on the type of traffic/media buys that were of interest. My list grew to 33 companies. I collected data from each site: Alexa Ranking, Type of traffic offered, Other Services offered, etc. Since 33 companies at almost $80 a pop is a little much, I decided to narrow the search even further. I decided to segment the companies into the *types of traffic that they offered. I was looking for a specific type of traffic and was able to narrow my search to 9 companies. Again, I dove in head first. I created my list of prospects and started the 1st process: “Tracking”.

If you are going to test ANYTHING online or even offline for that matter then “tracking” is absolutely essential. I mean, think about it… you have to “track” the campaigns. You have to “track” the results. You have to “track” the correspondences. Tracking is a BIG deal!

So, let’s expand upon this topic. If your doing a competitive analysis, what needs to be tracked? Well, I can tell you from my experience that you better keep close tabs on the traffic you purchase on the internet. My experience was incredibly confusing.

For Example, and this is for real, I identified a company that offered exactly what I was looking for. They looked totally legitimate. I read through their terms and conditions and everthing appeared fine. Thinkin the company was kosher, I made my purchase. Once I made my purchase I was taken to a confirmation page that told me that I needed to email a company with a completely different domain name the url that I wanted to promote. Guess what… the company name that I purchased from was not even listed on the receipt!

If I hadn’t been smart about purchasing traffic and documenting or tracking my actions then I may have never received my traffic. I mean, think about it… what if I had spent several hundred dollars with this company. Do you think that just because a company has customer support that their really going to help you “find” your order? No! Probably not, especially if the company goes through added steps to make the purchase path incredibly confusing. There is a good possibility that I would have NEVER received my visitors if I had not been tracking and documenting my purchase step by step.

So, that was kindof long winded. I’m sure you get the point. If you’re going to perform a competitive analysis on anything that requires a purchase then you need to document every step. Here’s how I did it:

1. Set up a special Google Mail Account. Gmail.
2. Created Labels in Google Account that corresponded with name of each company that I planned to purchase traffic from.
3. Set up an ad tracking account. (I used Adminder.com for this particular experiment. They offer a 14 day trial with no credit card request. It’s simple but does the trick.)
4. Set up an ad tracking code that helps you identify the company that you purchased traffic from
i.e. I created an ad code called xyz b/c I purchased from xyc company. This helped me identify my purchase b/c the term xyc was in the url which was listed on my receipt
5. If you set up a username and password then place that info with your ad tracking information. For me, this was added to the description alread in my ad tracking tool. I documented the sign up link, user name and password.
6. Take a screen shot of your confirmation page. Save it in a folder that corresponds to that particular company.
7. Immediately check your email for a receipt of purchase.
8. If recieipt of purchase is in your email then quickly label it using the labels you set up in Gmail.
9. Ask questions. Send customer support tickets. You can do this right of the bat. If the company does not answer your customer support tickets then do NOT do business with that company.
10. Hold the company accountable. Make sure you have every piece of information/correspondence available documented. I cannot stress this enough. If the company does not give you the information that you requested then go to IMReport.com or any other review site and write about your experience.

Hope this helps you better organize your media buys. I’m sure this post will get cleaned up in the future, so feel free to ask questions. We’re in this together!

Rant Over- AffiliateGeek Out!