In the last half decade we’ve seen significant and continuous growth in the use of smart phones and tablets on the market and it’s changed the way internet marketers approach their work.

Change will be a constant in the mobile marketing field for a long time to come and as technology improves mobile marketing will continue to innovate and grow. Of course, the best way to make the most of your mobile campaign is to plan for the future – so here are the trends currently dominating the mobile marketing arena.

Personalisation and iBeacon

One trend we’re seeing is towards personalised offers that provide consumers with the nudges that encourage them to take up a deal on or offline. One of the big emerging technologies in this area is the iBeacon, which could change the way we experience the online….offline.

The iBeacon is a simple technology that sends a Bluetooth signal to a mobile device in the form of a push notification when a phone with certain permissions comes into proximity. It may not seem incredibly innovative from the outset. That’s until you realise the potential power.

For example, iBeacons can alert a user to a special offer on their phone that may interest them when they walk by a certain isle in a store, or it can be used to welcome them via push notification when they enter a shop. Alternatively, it can send them a link to download an app that may result in them enjoying a specific in-store experience, or offers. There’s a myriad of ways that it can be utilised and these are just some of the examples.

Narrowcasting – Mobile Marketing Trends

Why cast out your net and spend time, money and effort trying to get people interested who would never have any. Narrowcasting solves this issue.

Narrowcasting gives companies the opportunity to target qualified leads based around these people’s shared experiences and interests. Companies can locate particular groups of people by looking through their previous interests and then can send those groups targeted messages via social media channels. Its content with context for the new pay as you go social media we’re seeing emerges.

Super-short Content

As our attention spans get shorter, so will the content we consume. Digital agencies like Prototype are experimenting with this so expect to see shorter form content than ever before emerge – put it this way, if you thought a 6 second Vine was short, get ready for the 3 second Snapchat video that self-deletes within a day.

Gamification

Mobile adverts are going to continue down the gamification route and brands are going to continue to make the most of people’s inclination to be competitive. Expect more mobile ads to carry an element of gamification within them.

Rich Media Messaging

One of the most irritating things in mobile marketing (any Android user will back me up here), is when you receive a message and it turns out the content within is only capable of use by iPad or iPhone.

Rich media messaging will solve this issue as people will only receive messages for their particular device, which is great news for user experience once quality calls to action are added. It will also allow marketers to deliver the right size, sort and style of video to an individual; very important as around half of all mobile traffic is video based. In addition, RMM also sends users information on the demographic of those receiving the message, allowing them to hone future campaigns.

So, as you can see the future of mobile marketing is pretty exciting and understanding what currently works and will work for the future allows marketers create more successful campaigns.

Excerpt from:
The Mobile Marketing Trends Brands Need To Be Aware Of

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Making Affiliate Marketing Attractive to Bloggers

This article appeared in issue 27 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2014.

tl;dr – 3 principles that managers, networks and solution providers should keep in mind when trying to attract bloggers.

Ask any affiliate manager, network or solution provider what their goals are for the coming year, and you’re guaranteed to hear “bloggers” in their answer. Some will have a specific goal of recruiting more bloggers, while others have sales or performance targets to hit, and will be looking to bloggers to meet the mark.feedfront-27-cover-small

This ever-growing crop of publishers represents a huge opportunity for our industry. These people are writing unique content… about products, services, brands and stores… that is read and shared by thousands of adoring fans each day… online… where they can easily insert affiliate links… it’s a landscape ripe for affiliate marketing in it’s purest form!

It’s no wonder that bloggers are at the center of conversations, strategies, and promotions across our industry.

But – why aren’t they jumping at the opportunity? I mean, c’mon, we’re all dying to give them money in exchange for a few simple links in content that they are already writing. Don’t they get it?

Here’s the deal: they DO get it. The problem is, WE don’t.

Before bloggers will trust us and want to work with us, we’ve got to lay the foundation for them – not by flashing higher commission rates that wooed EPC-driven publishers of the past – but by developing an understanding of who these bloggers are and what really matters to them.

So, here are 3 principles that managers, networks and solution providers should keep in mind when trying to attract bloggers:

1 – Respect the relationship they have built with their readers.

Bloggers work hard to create the relationships they have with their readers. Don’t expect them to say something or promote a product just to earn a commission – the relationships are more important to them than the commissions.

Learn from their example. Build a relationship with them, and work on promotions that are relevant to their audience and natural for them to talk about.

2 – Be aware of the demand for their attention.

Bloggers are a coveted bunch in the affiliate marketing community, and in the search markets, and in the CPM space… and so on. Everyone wants a piece of them.

Don’t be surprised if your emails go unanswered or your offers are ignored. You are one of hundreds of voices clamoring for their attention. Again, learn from their examples. Follow their blogs and see how they are connecting with readers – and connect with them in the same way.

3 – Appreciate their ability to “just say no”.

See point #2. You’re not the only one trying to throw money at this crowd.

Affiliate marketing needs to stand out. If we all work together approaching this group with these three principles in mind, we can show bloggers that this community offers them a variety of choices in long-term partners – not just another set of ads to run next month.

Go here to read the rest:
Making Affiliate Marketing Attractive to Bloggers

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7 Things All Great Brands have in Common

A business’s brand is the way people perceive that business – in essence your brand is your business. Brands and perceptions of brands are created in a number of manners – from your messaging on social media, to your website design and content.

A holistic approach is a winning approach when it comes to branding, however not all businesses succeed in accomplishing this all-inclusive methodology. Branding that doesn’t match internal and external audiences’ perceptions can cause conflict, problems and ideally should be changed.

Fortunately, though you can’t control what people say about a brand, you can help shape the brand and alter their perception of it. Here’s how to do so:

Attentiveness

Be attentive and monitor and listen to see what peopbrandingle say about your brand, the conversations they are having, what they say about your products, competitors and the industry as a whole. Following, gathering, gauging and then adapting your business around this information, allow you to fill gaps, meet demand and repair potential issues before they hit. It can even be used to create new products. This sort of attentiveness is the backbone of successful brands.

Honesty Helps

If there’s an issue, don’t ignore it. Always apologise and say sorry if there is a problem with your brand, product or service. People will always appreciate a bit of honesty and allow you a second chance if they feel you are making inroads into solving the problem. Not doing this often causes significant issues for a brand.

Be Open to Criticism

Don’t get angry when someone criticizes your company, product or brand. In fact, be grateful as it could be a crucial opportunity to improve your brand and discuss issues and policies. Criticism is a form of feedback that you would otherwise pay a lot of money to marketing companies to uncover. Be grateful people are offering you feedback and use it to change your business for the better and create more loyal customers.

Be Smart and Be Active

Businesses need to be at the cutting edge of their field; however they should not be outside of their field. By saying this we mean that though Twitter may be the Holy Grail for a lot of businesses in finding prospects, it may not work for everyone. If your prospects aren’t on this particular social media site, there’s no need to be. Often using a marketing company with knowledge of social media and branding can help you reap rewards. Remember, always be active in new areas; however gauge the need to engage with them before doing so. If there is a potential audience to participate with make sure to, if not then it’s a waste of time.

Consistent Branding

Branding should be consistent and messages should be consistent across all areas for a brand. This allows them to create a ubiquitous brand. Figure out a universal vision and implement that across the business in a holistic manner to create a brand tone of voice that works across all areas.

Be Open

Be open to complaints even if they can’t be solved or even if they don’t deserve to be. Be creative and open and even if the complaint is not solvable, other customers will see you tried your best and appreciate that.

Shout it Loud

When you create that branding then go ahead and post it everywhere and shout it loud. It will become something people will become accustomed to and people will know what you stand for.

Follow these tips online and offline and you will be able to create a winning brand that reflects your mind set and company aims through every one of your channels.

 

Credit:
7 Things All Great Brands have in Common

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Generating leads is one of the most challenging activities a business can face, with managing conversions one of the difficult aspects of this practice.

But despite the digital age, phone calls provide some of the highest quality leads and they play a crucial role in generating online sales and enquires too, as a group of online retailers discovered.

According to a case study recently published by web analytics and call tracking software company, Mediahawk, telephone conversations play a significant role in hastening the path to conversion. Their research into the telephone calls of a group of online retailers revealed that of those who called their online stores “converted much more quickly than those who did not”.

So not only is a telephone number on a website imperative, but the handling of those telephone enquiries also plays a significant role in converting leads to sales, whether they be converted online or offline.

Here are five tips to follow to maximise the efficiency of your sales team.

1. Set clear goals

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The first step in generating leads for your business is to identify clear goals that your call handlers can work towards. These goals may be as simple as ensuring all calls are answered within three rings or, more sales based target such as an X% conversion rate. Communicate these targets to your staff and offer incentives based on what targets they reach or when they exceed company expectations.

For performance measurement, make sure you have the right tools in place. A call centre will benefit from call tracking, which can help you define realistic performance goals by showing which offline and online advert engagements, campaigns, backlinks and web keywords are generating the most phone calls.

2. Prioritize customer calls

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If you are advertising one or more offers, or even businesses, the use of call prioritising is key to making the biggest sales. Identify and prioritise customer contact based on the type so that your most-important inbound calls are dealt with first. A call whisper function can be used to pre-announce the call source, so you can qualify the call and focus on urgent or VIP communications.

3. Manage staff during peak periods

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Get your staffing levels right for the busiest periods of the day, week, month, or year. Monitor your calls by time and date so you can keep track of the peak periods and adjust your staff levels for the future. If adjusting your staff levels is not realistic, you can route calls to queues or mailboxes. When you know what your peak periods are, you can also target your marketing for the quieter spans.

4. Invest in staff training

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Make sure you don’t neglect the customer experience that you offer over the telephone. Staff training is essential if you wish to make the most of potential leads. Use call recordings to assess your current level of service and to personalize training to suit your staff and help build stronger relationships with your customers. Listen to both previous inbound and outbound calls to make sure your team are finding every opportunity to convert leads into sales via the telephone.

It’s also a good idea to share your company call handling best practice and reinforce the behaviour you wish your staff to strive towards; this way any untrained staff to can learn from the rest and, everyone can aim for the same standards.

5. Empower your call handlers

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As a customer, there’s nothing more infuriating than being passed from call-handler to call-handler in the search for an answer to your query. Make sure your staff are cross-trained to answer the most-common cross-departmental issues, this will give your agents the power to make decisions and promptly assist your callers – in turn empowering all members of the team to contribute to the bottom line.

To sum up

It’s important to remember how many inquiries and leads come through traditional channels as well as online mediums. Whilst we have endless amounts of analytics and data for online activities, using call tracking software can help you to implement key operational practices to improve your handling of all telephone leads and ultimately drive more sales.

 

More here:
5 Crucial Call Handling Tips for Increased Sales & Conversions

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Look Up at Conferences

This article appeared in issue 27 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2014. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-27

This isn’t a new age article about improving your attitude and feeling good. Although there are studies that show smiling and having better posture do make you more positive. No, this is quite literally a recommendation for you to look up instead of down while you’re at Affiliate Summit East 2014, and everywhere else in life.

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It was difficult at Affiliate Summit West 2014 in Las Vegas last January to dodge all of the people with yellow name badges who were walking around while staring at their phones. It’s as annoying as dodging tourists on New York sidewalks, or the bike path in Santa Monica. There are rules of sidewalk dynamics that apply wherever large numbers of people move about.

What was so important that they were missing the best networking opportunities of the week? Personally, I had scheduled more meetings than for any conference (and I’ve been to every ASW), but some of my best meetings happened because I looked up and spent a few minutes talking to someone in an open area of Paris Las Vegas, or an aisle of the exhibit hall or Meet Market.

Look up, as in looking directly into people’s eyes. I’m as guilty as the next affiliate marketer of staring at those bright yellow name badges… only to be embarrassed that it’s someone I’ve known for years who is looking at me laughing because of where my eyes went.

Make eye contact. Have a personal connection with everyone you pass, whether you know them or not. Maybe you’ll get a chance to look at their badge for a second after. Maybe you’ll see them later and you’ll have a connection because of that earlier eye contact.

There was a company on my target list and I almost missed talking to them because I made eye contact and only saw their name badges after we passed in the exhibit hall. I was a full five feet past them when I realized and made the bold move to stop them from behind. We now have a successful business relationship. It works.

If you catch yourself looking at your phone, ask yourself if it’s more important than meeting someone else who may change your life. Yes, my life has changed for the better because of meeting random people at Affiliate Summit.

Can that e-mail wait? Do you have to check Facebook right now? I didn’t take out my laptop the 4 days I was at ASW and don’t think I’ll take it to ASE. I go to talk to people… and to look them in the eyes as we pass in the halls.

Have you heard of FOMO? That’s Fear of Missing Out. You can miss out on the unimportant things on your phone or you can miss out on the people around you. The choice is yours.

Look up and I bet Affiliate Summit East 2014 will look up to you.

David Lewis is CEO and Co-founder of Prycing. He’s been around affiliate marketing for a long time.

 

See the rest here:
Look Up at Conferences

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