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Outsourcing for Affiliate Marketers: 3 Focus Areas to Consider

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It’s quite easy to start a business online or to get started in the world of affiliate marketing, but as you continue to grow in size you will soon realize that you simply can’t do everything by yourself. Even though I’ve been a “one-man” operation for twenty years now, there are still some areas I need to outsource to get everything done. The toughest part of the process was finally letting go and hiring someone else to get the job done.

In most cases, the hardest part about opening yourself up for expansion and hiring a VA or using outsourcing, is simply making sure the job is done right. The last thing you want to do is outsource or hire someone to do a project, only to have it be done the wrong way and waste more of your time and resources in the process. At the same time it’s also important to make sure you are outsourcing the right areas of your business and never losing focus on what got you here in the first place.

While you may think you can do it all and consider yourself the Jack of All Trades, you may soon find yourself as the Master of None. Below you will find a list of five key areas that every affiliate and online marketer should focus on outsourcing at one time or another.

Affiliate Marketing Outsourcing Methods

As mentioned, I prefer to do most of my business myself. If an article is published on the internet and says it was written by me, then it was written by me. If you send me an email, I read and respond to it.

Not all businesses and entrepreneurs are the same, so not all of these outsourcing suggestions will apply the same. Be sure to consider each option carefully and also not to jeopardize the quality of your product/service to save a few dollars and time in the process.

Outsourcing_Content_Creation

Content Creation and Outreach

Content creation takes a lot of time. Amazing content takes even longer!

Throw in the amount of outreach and promotion you need to do after an article goes live on your site and you are looking at several hours, if not days of work ahead.

If you already know the process of what it takes to create great content and promote it effectively, there is no reason you can’t outsource this as well. All you need to do is document the process, hire a VA, and work with them during the beginning phases of the process. Since the formula is usually  the same 99% of the time, there is no reason why you need spend endless hours on content creation and promotion, when you could be spending it in other areas that yield higher ROI.

That is of course unless you are occasionally writing content under your personal name. Then you should definitely be writing your own work. For everything else, look into outsourcing.

NOTE: I would also throw site design, graphic design and ad copy into this group as well. You are most likely awesome at affiliate marketing because you know how to target the right audience and make campaigns work. You don’t need to be an expert designer or waste time learning how to use Photoshop. There are so many low cost solutions (like Fiverr) for getting a quick design done, that you can simply keep split testing different designs and concepts til you find one that works. Stick with the marketing and let somone else do the content and graphic design.

Scheduling_Outsourcing_Options

Social Media Management & Scheduling Events

Social media is a huge component of online marketing and branding today. However, it’s also an exhausting time suck-up as well. How many times have you went to post something to Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and then found yourself scrolling through the most recent updates for an extra 20 or 30 minutes? It happens all the time, and it’s a huge waste of time! It can also lead to shiny object syndrome if you don’t have a clear focus and are trying to find new ways to make money online.

Just like content creation and outreach, social media management can be outsourced as well. Nearly all of the big name brands have someone that is managing their social media, but most online marketers and entrepreneurs won’t have the money (or the need) to hire someone just for this. Instead, look into services like MeetEdgar where you can automate the process and send out your most recent and best content to all of your social outlets on your own preferred schedule.

Speaking of scheduling, there are plenty of tools out there to help schedule interviews, discussions, and meetings as well. Removing the manual efforts of sending an email, writing it on your calendar and then trying to remember what, when and where you had something scheduled, can save you hours of time and frustration per month. You can see a list of such scheduling tools here.

Again, these are all things that can be packaged up and taught to a new hire or VA if you want to fully remove yourself from the process.

Invoicing_Outsource_Services

Payroll Processing

I remember when I first started making money online and how I would write a check to myself at the end of each month. I also remember when at the end of the year I had to write some nasty five-figure checks to pay for taxes at the end of the year!

When you are an affiliate marketer or entrepreneur, the way you are paid is different from if you had a regular 9-5 job or an employer. This is why it’s important to setup monthly payroll processing to deal with all the tax junk and miscellaneous costs of doing business that you normally wouldn’t think about.

By automating and outsourcing your payroll and salary, you can pay towards your year end taxes out of each monthly paycheck and not be surprised at the end of the year when you owe taxes on everything you took out.

Bottom line, I’m not an accountant and I don’t want to be an accountant.

To learn more about payroll and how to set one up for your business, read through the guides at ADP Employment Tax & Compliance Services.

There are plenty to solutions out there for invoicing and automated billing as well, such as Freshbooks, Due and Paypal.

Do Not Outsource These Areas!

While outsourcing and automation are great, there are some areas that you should always manage yourself (unless you trust the source with your life).

Here are just a few to consider:

  • Email: Some people like to outsource the management of their email, I personally don’t. Only you should determine the importance of email directly to you.
  • Affiliate Account Management: This one is more about your security than anything else. Keep your affiliate and advertiser account access to yourself
  • Campaign Tracking: Keep the core of your business safe by not allowing access to your campaign creatives, tracking, stats and keyword management.
  • Paypal and Financial Accounts: There are lots of ways to outsource billing, payroll and invoicing, but you shouldn’t be granting personal or direct access to any places with your money can go in and out.
  • Personal / Brand Representation: Unless you have a well-trusted PR person or agency, represent yourself with your own content and responses.

Always remember what it took to get you to where you are today. Hard work, effort and focus. Outsource the small stuff and keep your eye and personal touch on the big stuff.

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Affiliate Marketing

GDPR Rules, Fines and Compliance – What You Need to Know

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As most business people know, taking care of sensitive and personal data of customers is of the utmost importance. Failing to do this could see you getting on the wrong side of your customers and the wrong side of the law – and the penalties can be severe. In the past, the Data Protection Act has provided regulations and guidelines to help businesses to implement data protection policies. However, this is now changing with the introduction of the GDPR.

How will this affect your current business and email marketing efforts?

The biggest question is always what needs to be done next to make sure you are compliant. iContact answers this easy enough with the following statement from the site:

The good news is, if you are already following email marketing best practices and asking your subscribers for permission to join your email lists via a subscription form on your website or requiring the subscriber to tick a box on your ecommerce site (and you can prove this ), you are well on your way to GDPR compliance.

Just like CAN-SPAM came out several years ago, and caused a big fuss, GDPR will likely do the same but everyone (and all of the major solution providers) will make compliance process quite simple and direct.

In order to ensure you do not end up being penalized as a result of failing to implement these new regulations properly, it is important to keep up with the latest developments. Businesses that do not follow these new regulations, which are due to come into play within a matter of weeks, could find themselves facing serious consequences. These regulations are all linked to how data is handled by businesses and it is important for all businesses, large and small, to get to grips with them.

Just like any new laws and regulations that are about to go into place, they have some hefty fines lined up for anyone looking to be made an example of. Imperva has a nice write-up and infographic on the new laws, and their associated fines as well. As you will see from the infographic below, the fines associated with the GDPR are quite high… with maximum fines hitting the $22 million range! In short, prepare your business now, or pay the price later on!

Fortunately, the government has already put a lot of information online about the GDPR, so those with lack of understanding can make sure they do their research to find out what needs to be done. Furthermore, specialist experts from specific industries are being taken on so that businesses can turn to someone with expertise in their specific industry in order to ensure they are following the new regulations to the letter.

One thing to remember is that your business does not have to be located within the EU in order to be tied to these regulations. The regulations also apply to businesses that are not in the EU but that sell products and services to others that are in the EU. Therefore, make sure you do not ignore these regulations just because of the location of your business, as you may find that they also apply to you because of the location of your customers.

How to Prepare for the GDPR Going Live on May 25th, 2018

As fun as it is to read up on all of these new laws and legal jargon, it’s much more exciting to watch a short video that breaks it all down. Not only will you learn more about what GDPR is, but you will also discover eleven things you need to make sure you have in place before May 25th hits and the law goes into effect.

An even better and more detailed resource on how to keep your business safe and compliant is this Forbes article on how the GDPR will affect advertising and e-commerce. With nearly all websites, blogs, and online businesses collecting emails, data, or placing cookies on their visitor’s computers, this is something we all need to be aware of.

How to Stay Up to Date with the Latest GDPR News

Since the new regulations are only just coming in, there may be some teething problems to begin with. This means that there is a chance there could be some changes and adaptations to begin with. In order to ensure you continue to implement the regulations properly, you should keep on top of any chances and developments. You can also hire the services of experts to help you get to grips with the GDPR as well as to help keep you informed as and when any changes are made.

With the introduction of the new regulations, all countries within the EU can benefit from the same data protection laws, which can help to make things much fairer and far easier to understand. Having different sets of rules from one EU country to another could be confusing and frustrating for both customers and businesses. Experts believe that these new regulations will help make things far easier to manage and understand as well as ensuring fairness across all EU countries.

However… only time will tell, and it will be interesting to see how the next few months play out after GDPR goes into affect.

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Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing in Asia – $1 Trillion Up for Grabs

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Affiliate marketing has completely changed the way advertising and business are done on the internet today. What started out as a simple referral-based monetization platform from Amazon, and then soon adopted by Google, quickly spread throughout the industry and is now used by millions of businesses and brands around the internet today. At the same time, affiliate marketing first got its start in the United States, but soon found itself making its way around the world over the years.

One of the most common things United States-based affiliate marketers and brands neglect to focus on is the power of affiliate marketing and targeting towards other countries around the world. Just because you are living in a specific country or region, it doesn’t mean that you should be focusing all of your advertising and online marketing efforts there. This is especially true when you factor in the amazing demographic and geographic targeting options available online today. At the same time, language and translation barriers are really no excuse as well — there are plenty of low-cost services out there that this can be outsourced to.

Affiliate marketing in the U.S. is expected to be worth $6.8 billion over the next five years; in the UK alone it is already worth $1.6 billion. With these two markets already in demand and quite saturated, it might be best to start focusing your efforts on Asia. It was also pointed out that “Asia’s e-commerce spending hit US$1 trillion in 2016 alone”. (source)

With all of this in mind, today we are going to take a look at affiliate marketing in Asia, and why it simply can’t be ignored. Special thanks to Leadbit, an industry leading direct advertiser and affiliate network, for providing the infographic visuals and stats on each of these breakdowns.

Affiliate Marketing in India

Of all the countries and regions in the world today, India is growing at one of the fastest rates — both with people and their technology. More people are getting online than ever before, and with a population of more than 1.3 billion, this market is huge enough for any business or affiliate marketer to see huge results from. At the same time, of those 1.3 billion, less than half of them have access to the internet (whether it be through the internet or mobile devices).

When it comes to internet usage, most Indians are spending their time watching online video and using social networking platforms — both of which offer amazing demographic targeting and advertising options. It’s also important to consider your language usage and targeting as well. While English is one of the main languages in India, it’s just one of many.

As for promoting offers in India, this is something that many affiliate marketers and brands might struggle with, as traffic to individuals with India is usually pretty cheap, but the conversion rate on any type of credit card or payment offer is usually low. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find success. Evergreen offers like weight loss, health supplements, and anything else that everyday people need on a daily basis is well worth a test in this region.

Affiliate Marketing in Thailand

While India is one of the largest world markets that many brands and affiliate marketers are taking advantage of right now, Thailand is also making its way onto the radar. With a population of around 70 million, and more than half having access to the internet, this demographic is quickly getting online and looking to take advantage of what the internet has to offer.

Just like with promoting offers in India, it will be tough to find winners, but again… traffic costs are also at a fraction of what you would expect to pay to target countries like the United States, Germany, New Zealand and others.

Internet usage in Thailand is mainly focused on search engines, social networks and shopping online. Thailand residents who have access to the internet, are getting online nearly every day.

Affiliate Marketing in Vietnam

The common theme that we are seeing with affiliate marketing across Asia, is that the traffic sources are cheap, and the monetization and affiliate offers are slim. The benefit here is that the competition is low, but if you can master the art of finding success with one offer in an Asian country, you can likely replicate it with others as well.

Next, on the list, we have Vietnam. With a population of almost 100 million people and nearly half of them being online, this market is just waiting to earn affiliate marketers millions of dollars. Like many other countries on this list, social media and search engines are the best ways to reach such audiences.

When it comes to social media in Vietnam, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google+ Lead the way — which is quite different from what you might be used to seeing in US and English-based markets.

Affiliate Marketing in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most well-known and recognized names in the world, yet they only have a population of around 6 million people, which more than half of them already being online. With an average daily internet usage of seven hours, most users are spending their time in the search results, social networks and watching online videos.

One of the key takeaways to remember about targeting an audience in Singapore, is that 91% of the people in the country are accessing the internet daily. Even though there are less than 10 million people in the country, almost all of them are accessible online.

Affiliate Marketing in Indonesia

As we move away from the small population of Singapore, we jump over the massive population of Indonesia, which is around 262 million. With more than half of the country already having access to the internet, it’s yet another country on our list that will offer an amazing opportunity with demographic and geographic targeting, while also offering low-cost traffic in the process.

Something to consider when marketing to Indonesia, is that Islam is the main religion of the country. Considerations here shouldn’t be just on the language and religion factors, but also what type of offers might better apply to them as well.

Like many other countries, Indonesia is very social media hungry — with more than 106 million people accessing social networks regularly. With Facebook being the number one social platform of choice, it also paves the way for great demographic advertising through the Facebook Ads platform.

Affiliate Marketing in Taiwan

Taiwan is another big name in Asia, and there are currently has more than 23 million people living in the country. What makes this country stand out from others in it’s surrounding areas, is that there is a heavy demand for Facebook, and a great majority of people in the country already have access to the internet.

With more than seven hours of internet browsing taking place daily, most of this time is spent on search engines and social media, while some shopping and emailing, of course, takes place as well.

Affiliate Marketing in Hong Kong

Another well-known name, yet small in population, is Hong Kong. With nearly all of their population already having access to the internet, if you can find a profitable way to market to this audience, you could find some big success.

More than 97% of residents within the country are accessing the internet daily, mostly to use search engines and social networks — while also spending 6 hours a day online in the process. The one demographic stat to point out here is that 38% of the population falls into the 25-34 age range, which is perfect for selling products, services and offers to. However, it’s simply a matter of finding the right offer to promote and squeezing enough profit out in the process.

Affiliate Marketing in China

Last but not least… we have the massive population of China, which currently sits at 1.4 billion. With so many different factors at play, China can be one of the most profitable, yet frustrating, markets to master. Not only will affiliates and brands have to master the art of language and translation, they will also need to cater to a whole new world of regulation, censorship, and limitations that Chinese users have to deal with on a daily basis.

Of all the countries mentioned in our list, China has a steady structure of what users are doing when they get online — which consists of mostly shopping online, checking the weather, communicating through social media and downloading photos online. Something interesting you will also notice is that none of the major social networks are in play here either. (as they are mostly all blocked)

China is a massive multi-billion dollar market, but also one of the most confusing to master. There is also a lot of focus on how affiliate marketing is bringing new brands and businesses into the Chinese market right now as well. Since this method has worked so well in other countries, there is no reason why we shouldn’t continue to see the same success as more brands make their way into China.

How to Find the Best Affiliate Offers to Promote in Asia

While we tried to cover the many different ways affiliate marketing can play a role in Asia, it’s actually more about how to best understand, target, and monetize the audiences around you. With so many traffic sources and demographic targeting options available today, it’s quite easy to run an ad campaign to any of the countries listed below, and also doing a quick split test.

The other factor in play here is to find an affiliate network that provides access to offers for each of these countries. When doing so, be sure to keep an eye out for different ad copy, creatives, and landing pages that are already pre-built to the specifications of each country (ie: in their own language and style).

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, special thanks to Leadbit for the visuals and stats to make this post possible. Affiliate marketing is changing all of the time, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to start expanding your campaigns to new areas of the world.

Leadbit currently has affiliate offers for all of the countries listed above. Be sure to check out their ad network and explore your options with affiliate marketing in Asia today.

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Affiliate Marketing

5 Reasons Why Media.net Is a Top Alternative to AdSense

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Many online publishers assume that Google AdSense has a monopolistic stranglehold on the contextual ad market, particularly for smaller publishers who may not be able to work out more lucrative deals with other networks or privately with advertisers directly. They assume that Google AdSense is the be-all and end-all of this type of advertising and that is simply not true.

Whether you’re getting into this market for the first time or you’ve been suspended, disabled, unapproved or even banned from AdSense and are looking for a viable alternative, Media.net is more than worthy of your attention. It’s an ad network that powers the Yahoo! Bing network of advertisers, meaning that you are working with a couple of the biggest technology brands in the history of the web. They say you can “tap into one of the largest pools of advertisers in the world” to “maximize revenue from your online content.”

So, what are some of the biggest reasons why you should sign up with Media.net as a publisher?

1. Large Established Base of Quality Advertisers

One of the primary appeals to Google AdSense is just the sheer number of advertisers who are actively bidding on the network. This intense competition lends itself to better ad rates for publishers who run the units on their websites. But again, Google is hardly the only player in town.

As mentioned above, Media.net exclusively powers the Yahoo! Bing ad marketplace. This gives you access to all the major buyer networks and around $6 billion worth of search demand. All of the major demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad exchanges are actively competing for your traffic, which in turn will help to maximize your revenue.

You’d be extremely hard pressed to find another Google AdSense alternative that boasts that kind of volume, that kind of competition, and that level of quality among its advertisers. That is the reason why huge online publishers monetize their traffic with Media.net too, including everyone from Forbes and Reuters to WebMD and Marie Claire.

2. Dynamic Optimization

Having access to a massive base of high-quality advertisers doesn’t mean very much if the wrong ads are being shown to the wrong people at the wrong time. If you’ve got a website that online marketing, ads about vintage tea sets probably aren’t going to perform very well.

Media.net boasts of some truly impressive ad serving technology that will dynamically optimize the ads to best suit your content at just the right time for just the right audience. Media.net is a pioneer in the display-to-search (D2S) advertising format, monetizing your content using a CPC model. Advertisers bid on your display placements on larger CPC budgets and you get paid the most possible as a result of filtering the intent of the audience.

One feature that is especially handy is the fact that the simple two-line JavaScript code you paste into your website’s design template will dynamically yield either text ads or display ads. The network technology will automatically optimize this decision for the highest revenue potential. You’ll also enjoy a 100% fill rate across all verticals and ad formats, so every last impression is being monetized to its fullest potential.

3. Highly Customizable Style and Design

Relying on the advanced optimization engine is one thing, but you still want to exert a certain level of control over how these ads will look on your website, right?

The Media.net ads that are served on your website can be customized to match the color scheme and style of your design and layout. It has been clearly demonstrated that a “native advertising” approach to such ads is much more effective, blending the ads in more effectively with your original content to create a more aesthetically-pleasing experience for your website visitors. The ads should feel like they belong there.

The versatility of options here, particularly in terms of different ad formats, is equally impressive. You can utilize desktop interstitials, like the above example served on Forbes, to maximize returns on these high-value impressions. Advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for this kind of exposure and attention.

The “below the article” ad unit takes on a form similar to the native advertising that you may see all around the web these days too. It looks like recommended content that is seamlessly integrated with your own content.

On the mobile side, you can take advantage of the mobile docked ad unit. This ad unit remains docked at the bottom of every page, ensuring that every mobile impression counts. It is supported on all iOS and Android devices, including iPads and tablets. Considering the continued growth of mobile usage, it is absolutely critical that you monetize your mobile content just as effectively and specifically as you do with your desktop content.

4. Ad Specialists Optimize Your Earnings

A very common complaint that you’ll hear from just about anyone who has had to deal with Google, whether that’s with AdSense or any other product, is that it becomes almost impossible to connect with an actual real-life person to come to a suitable solution. Your emails may never get answered and, if they do, you may only receive a canned response. That’s no good.

Media.net is different in that every partner, every publisher, every advertiser is assigned a dedicated account manager to address any questions or concerns you may have. That personal touch makes all the difference, because it means that you have an actual person to help. This is the kind of service that is usually reserved only for “top tier” publishers. But at Media.net, every publisher, large or small gets dedicated personal support. Furthermore, there are optimization specialists working around the clock for your mutual success and benefit.

5. Powerful Self-Learning for Contextual Ads

You know how the predictive text on your smartphone’s keyboard gets better and better the more you use it? After a while, it starts to understand what words you use most frequently and in what order, getting better and better at not only completing the words you type, but also predicting the next words to follow? The learning algorithm with Media.net works in much the same way.

The contextual ads that show up aren’t being called up based solely on information gleaned in that single moment. Instead, advanced calculations are being conducted based on your history with Media.net, gleaning what ads perform best on your platforms and channels for what kind of content. It needs some time to understand and absorb your content.

Once it does, though, it will be remarkably well equipped to serve contextual ads that are specifically relevant to your particular audience, ads that are more likely to attract clicks and perform well for you. This auto-optimization process is continuous, so your performance with the network will only get better over time.

Here is where you can sign up with Media.net. You can get started in less than 10 seconds by providing your website and email address.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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