I just learned that Salesforce.com will donate up to 10 licenses for their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to Certified 501c3 NonProfit Organizations.

This is an amazing opportunity for non profit organizations. Think about how investors will open their wallets to organizations that can show them solid numbers and pipeline progression. Not to mention the project management piece. Investors give funding to companies who can prove results. Right? Salesforce.com is a great way to set that in motion.

In addition to Certified 501c3 Non Profit’s, Salesforce.com will also donate their web based product to the following types of organizations:

  • Higher Education Institutions
  • K-12 Schools
  • Fiscally Sponsored Organizations
  • Religious Organizations
  • B Corporations
  • Canadian Charities
  • 501c3 Organizations

Here’s the application for the SalesForce.com Foundation. Please let me know if you earn the donation!

Good luck!

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“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!

Project Management 101

May 17, 2009

I was recently tasked with a project to create a case study evaluating consumer purchasing behavior for a website. I started the project with a good idea of how the project should run but with no actual outline. Big Mistake! First, I created a list of customers who had purchased our product via our merchant account between certain dates. I got half way through calling my list and realized that I was leaving out a ton of customers because we also offer the payment option called paypal. Also mid way through the list I realized that I should have created a list of questions that could tell me what I needed to know about the customer. Such as how did you hear about us? What were you promoting? Were you using a tracking tool? What results did you get? Would you buy the product again? So, now those questions answered for some of our customers but not all of our customers, which gives me slightly unbiased or inconclusive results as the measurement was not the same.

Lesson #1. Outline project. Create a goal. Determine the required actions. Determine why you are creating the project.

Lesson #2 Create a script. Who am I going to call? What am I going to say

Lesson #3. Set deadlines. Mini deadlines and Major deadlines. I didn’t set a timeline for when the project would be finished. Would I call 10 customers? Would I call 20 customers? should I call 250 customers? when is enough, enough? Lesson learned. Give yourself a deadline.

Lesson #4: When collecting data, decide how to organize the data in advance. Too much data can be a distraction.

Lesson #5: Make sure you have a copy of the original data incase it is needed for that or other studies.

Lesson #6: ctrl S, ctrl S, ctrl S… need I say more?

It’s interesting to me that a Google search of the terms “project management outline template” returned top results which dated all the way back to 2003. If I were a marketing strategist for a Project Management software tool, I would certainly create some kind of article or document that could be used as an SEO tool within the search engines. Just seems like a no brainer. People need project management templates, outlines, and guidance.  Here’s an outline I just started to use for my marketing, sales, advertising and social media projects.

Project Management Outline Template

  • Define Project
  • Build Prospect List
  • Create Value Proposition
  • Define Communication Strategy
  • Discovery Call- Set Appointment
  • Conclusions/Recommendations/Sales

Seems simple, right? If you have a better project management sample or outline then please send it my way. I am always interested in managing projects more efficiently.

Content Management 911

April 30, 2009

My Twitter addiction is starting to get the best of me. Well, really, it’s not the Twitter Addiction but more the Content Addiction that is getting the best of me. hahaha… Actually, I could even take this a step farther and say that it’s not the Twitter nor the Content that is addicting but better yet it’s the Action/Reaction Factor. (Maybe this blog should be called “Action/Reaction Factor”) Hahaha… You know what I mean though. (I made that a period b/c if you’re reading this blog then you KNOW what I mean about the “Action/Reaction Factor”.) That’s when you find an awesome piece of content, a website or product, track it with something like tinyurl, Adminder or bit.ly,  find traffic willing to click the link and then hit REFRESH over and over and over again. It’s sooo addicting!

The “Action/Reaction Factor” leads me to my next thought (which is why I started writing this blog in the first place). Social Media is such a blast especially Twitter and Facebook. I really never utilized Facebook until I discovered that I could submit and retrieve status updates on my Blackberry. After that, I was addicted. Oh boy… and then came Twitter. Holy crap. I had heard of Twitter but never really played with the tool much. But then… one of my coworkers was given a project that was to figure out how to best use Twitter at an Internet marketing company. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that experiment. Seriously! So I started Tweeting. Now, I’m officially addicted to social media. I want to learn everthing I possibly can about the subject. Just like right now… I should be getting ready for bed and instead I am blogging about social media.

Pretty much… social media, blogging and seeing my stats go up are all I can think about. And then there’s all of the resources and content. What the hell do you do with it all? I mean… every five seconds I find ANOTHER great article about SEO, SEM, Contextual Advertising, PPV, PPC, Email Marketing, Direct Marketing anything and everything necessary to become an expert in the field on Internet Marketing. How in the world do people organize all of their content? I find article after article that just rocks my socks. Should you organize it via website? Should you organize it via topic? Should the content be organized by source and then by topic? What would be the best category names? I don’t even know… All of this information is making me loony. I love it!!!

Seriously though… if you have some ideas about how to best organize Favorites, Bookmarks and Content then please do leave a comment or send me an email.  You would be in my favorites 4-ever. >> Cheesy I know. 😉