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

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.

Affiliate Marketing in Asia – $1 Trillion Up for Grabs

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.

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

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.

5 Possible Reasons Your Website Isn’t Converting

Conversions are crucial to making a website successful, but there are plenty of things that can interfere with an optimal conversion rate. Converting site visitors into buying customers is a tricky challenge, but the right strategies can make your website a successful powerhouse that turns visitors into profit.

You Aren’t Driving Traffic to Your Site

Your website can offer the perfect look, navigation, and content, but that means nothing if users can’t find it through search engines. An optimized site makes it easier for search engines like Google to crawl and index its pages. Invest in an SEO audit; a marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization can assess your site and indicate the areas that need work.

Think of an SEO audit as a type of “health check” for your website. During an audit, SEO specialists poke around in the technical infrastructure of your site, observing on-page elements and off-page features in order to enhance search engine visibility, usability, and ultimately conversion rates. As the chart below shows, there are critical website SEO issues that can impact the way your website is run, including duplicate content, missing information, broken internal links, and the like.

Once the SEO team has assessed your site, they’ll present their findings and offer services that can help correct weak points.

Your Website Isn’t Responsive

It should come as no surprise that mobile usage continues to increase, and if your website isn’t responsive, you could be losing out on a core segment of consumers. There are two major templates used to create a mobile website: mobile templates and responsive design. What’s the difference? Responsive design does a website to adapt to any screen size, regardless of device.

In contrast, a mobile template requires a second, mobile-only website or subdomain, and these templates are built for a particular site—not for screen size. This can result in a poor user experience. According to Google’s Think Insights, if a user lands on your mobile website and can’t find what they’re looking for, there’s a 61% chance they will leave your site immediately—and there goes your conversion. Responsive design can also improve your SEO since having a single URL makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site.

Your Site’s Navigation Isn’t Clear

Navigation can make or break your website’s conversion rates—you want your site to first retain its visitors, then lead them through the conversion funnel. The right navigation features make it simple for visitors to find relevant information without requiring them to “hunt” for it. Better navigation may also improve Google’s ability to index important information, which may help your rankings in the long term.  To improve navigation, divide categories clearly, indicate these categories with accurate titles, and improve your search feature to make it easy for visitors to find whatever they’re looking for.

Your Content Isn’t Unique and Relevant

If you don’t offer unique content, what is it that separates your product from your competitors? To develop effective content, it’s important to uncover your target audience’s central motivation for purchasing your product or service. Who is buying your product? Who do you want to be buying your product? What’s their background? Is there a specific need or problem that would drive them to your offering? Answering these questions before creating a content strategy is essential.

Once you’ve honed in on your target audience’s needs, begin brainstorming titles that are tied to your business goals: answer your customers’ most frequently asked questions, write how-to’s and tutorials regarding relevant topics and tasks, and evergreen topics related to your industry that provide information your customers might be looking for. If you’re not a writer, or you simply don’t have the time to pump out content, you may also consider investing in unique articles from Constant Content.

You Aren’t Catering to Your Audience

Make sure your site caters to your target demographic. Your website design, images, copy, and products should be tailored to a specific user; trying to please everyone will alienate your target consumer. Instead of being general, get specific. Write to the right people, target your ideal customer with relevant content and imagery, and consider how your user will experience the site to better cater it to a visitor more likely to purchase your product.

These are just a few of the reasons your site’s conversions rates could be struggling, but fixing these major issues can significantly improve your consumer interaction and ultimately, your bottom line.

How to Protect Your Business from eCommerce Credit Card Fraud

Ecommerce is growing at an alarming rate. While there is nothing new to the concept of names like Amazon.com and Jet.com wiping out retail locations around the world and killing ‘mom and pop’ businesses, it should be noted that it’s not all bad for businesses owners. Instead of succumbing to the big name giants that dominated the world of ecommerce today, it’s actually become quite the level playing field and opportunity for anyone looking to create an online business of their own — especially with ecommerce and through the power of dropshipping.

However, there are many things an entrepreneur or marketer might need to consider when starting up their first online store. It’s not just about choosing the right products and knowing how to target to your audience, it’s also about using the right platform and always being sure your customer data is safe. Just as important, is making sure you know how to handle online payments and make sure credit card fraud isn’t a disaster lurking around the corner.

Just like most of us are already aware of how affiliate networks can get wiped out if one big advertiser doesn’t make a payment or goes belly up on payments owed, the same can be said of a credit disaster for an online store. It’s sad to say, but one good run of chargebacks against your ecommerce store could put you out of business. This is why preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is of paramount importance.

Adhering to the policies below will help you protect your business.

1. Maintain PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is designed to ensure the safest possible environment for credit card data. The standard includes precautions such as changing factory default passwords on all network equipment and establishing a firewall between your Internet connection and any system that stores credit card numbers.

2. Implement Transaction Velocity Limits

Yes, this means you’ll be limiting your customers to a set dollar amount in purchases each day. (What merchant in their right mind would want to do that—right?) On the other hand, you’ll also minimize the potential take, should a fraudulent transaction make it past your safeguards. (What merchant in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that—right?)

3. Require Two-Factor Authentication

In most cases, when a thief gets a customer’s credit card information, they do not have the Card Verification Value (CVV) data. This three- or four-digit number, printed on the back of credit cards, is a secondary authentication method to prove a customer has the card in their possession. The PCI DSS prohibits storing this information alongside the credit card number and cardholder’s name. In fact, best practices recommend not storing it at all, but rather asking the customer to provide it with each transaction.

4. Monitor Transactions and Reconcile Them Every Day

The fastest way to spot fraud is to know what a typical day’s transactions look like. Reconciling your accounts on a daily basis trains you to spot anomalies. The sooner you notice something is amiss and take steps to do something about it, the better chance you have of apprehending the culprit. You’re looking for red flags such as mismatched billing and shipping information. Pay attention to the physical location of customers to ensure it matches the information provided too. Some online store hosting can help you in this regard by tracking orders automatically.

5. Use Tracking Numbers on All Shipments

You will occasionally run into less than scrupulous customers who will try to claim a chargeback on the grounds their products were never delivered. Tracking all packages and requiring signature confirmation on orders above a certain dollar amount will thwart these perpetrators.

6. Keep Software and Platforms up to Date

Make it a point to install software updates as soon as they become available. In most cases, they’re issued in response to an incident, or the discovery of a potential threat. Similarly, always keep your anti-malware and anti-spyware up to date. Given the nature of what you’re up against, only business-grade products will do for these tasks. The consumer stuff isn’t robust enough to adequately protect financial data.

7. Force Customers to Use Strong Passwords

Set requirements including numbers, letters (both lower- and upper-case), and special symbols for repeat customers who want to establish accounts. Do not permit the inclusion of any of their generally available information as part of the password.

8. Instill Employee Security Consciousnesses

Employee passwords should be just as strict (if not more so) as customers’ login information. Train them to spot potential fraud and empower them to stop a transaction if something feels amiss. Do everything possible to help them understand how fraud can cost them their livelihoods and how important their vigilance is for the health of the business.

9. Maintain a Gallery of Rogue Attacks

Keep a file of all attempted (and successful) breaches. Use these incidents as teachable moments, so your people can avoid falling victim to the same scam twice.

Preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is essential to protecting your business. There will always be people out there willing to work harder to steal than they would at a regular job. These tips will help you force them to move on to easier pickings.

It’s Not Just About Protecting Your Customers… It’s Also Your Business

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to put precautions in place to make sure your customers and eCommerce transactions are safe, but at the end of the day, you also need to remember this is your business and its reputation is on the line. The last thing you want is to lose the trust of your customers, and let word start to spread online about possible attacks or customer loss of data. These can be some of the most detrimental issues when trying to grow an eCommerce site on the internet today.

One of the best ways to get around many of these issues is to simply go with a trusted eCommerce platform that already has a payment platform, third-party security and customer management already in place.

Pros & Cons of Supplementing Your Sales with eBay and Amazon

When it comes to making money online or reaching new audiences to increase your business sales, there are plenty of options to choose from. We are talking about everything from affiliate marketing, media buying, or even setting up your own online store or selling through eBay or Amazon — there is a whole world of buyers out there just waiting for your products.

With a potential market of 164 million active buyers on the internet right now, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ they will buy your product — but instead, ‘when’ and ‘how many’. This ultimately will comes down to how you list your products online and the marketing methods behind them. There will always be pros and cons for whatever platform you use, so today we are going yo look at some key points every seller or marketer should consider when using a platform like eBay and Amazon.

Let’s take a look at some of the others, on both sides of the proposition.

Pro: High Traffic

Amazon has been known to pull some 183 million visitors a month, while eBay boasts 164 million active buyers (that’s BUYERS, not shoppers). This means your products are suddenly exposed to a worldwide audience with next to no real effort on your part. If you’re just ramping up your store, you have a better chance of doing business on one of these sites while waiting for your marketing efforts to take hold.

Pro: An Abundance of New Customers

Both venues offer the advantage of exposing your wares to people who may otherwise have not found them. Months could go by waiting for your site to rank highly on Google. Meanwhile, people are searching Amazon and eBay for furniture like yours everyday. This is a perfect opportunity to pull people in to see what you have and woo them into becoming repeat customers.

Pro: Mall Mentality

Over the years, the buying public has been conditioned to go to malls to conduct their shopping. In many ways, Amazon and eBay are just like malls. Shoppers find a broad variety of goods on offer at a wide range of prices and quality. If you’re there with what someone is looking for, they are just as likely to buy from you as anyone else. All you have to do is stand out in some way. And, it doesn’t always have to be with a better price. Sometimes, all you need is a better value proposition to sell your furniture online there.

Pro: Ability to Create a Blog

No matter or how you are going to sell online, it’s important to consider how content creation and blogging can play a role in all of this. When selling on eBay or Amazon, you won’t be able to create content or a blog from their sites, but you can easily start a blog of your own. This is as simple as registering a domain name, setting up your web hosting, and installing WordPress. Some of the best e-commerce stores and Amazon sellers are complimenting their business and customers, by creating niche content sites based around the products they sell — making it easier for customers to find product information and reviews through the search results. Your blog content can also act as a new way to send new customers to your products, outside of traditional eBay or Amazon paid marketing methods.

Con: It Ain’t Free

Just as if you’d set up shop in a traditional mall, you’ll pay rent. In this case, it’s usually calculated as a percentage of the selling price of your furniture. These will eat into your profit margin, so you have to make sure your business model has enough room in it. to accommodate this. So, before you get hyped about all the money you can make offering your furniture this way, run the numbers to make sure you’ll get paid too. Keep in mind; if you go with PayPal, or a similar payment gateway, another slice of your profit will go to that entity.

Con: Relinquishing Control

While eBay does allow you to set up your own store on the site, in most cases your first customer exposure will be in a long queue of product listings through which shoppers must sift to find you. What’s more, customers may, or may not realize you have a store. Listings are presented to represent the site, not you, so the odds of developing a relationship with a buyer are pretty slim. You can include your promotional material when you box the furniture for delivery. But by and large, if they’re asked where they got it, the response will be “eBay,” or “Amazon,” — not you.

Con: Inventory Management

You’ll have to be very careful to monitor what you have listed at the marketplace to avoid selling you don’t have. Your store exists on a separate basis, so you’ll have to work hard to keep your inventory in synchronization to avoid disappointing customers. In that instance, they WILL remember they bought from you as opposed to eBay or Amazon.

How to Leverage eBay and Amazon to Increase Sales

Everyone in the world knows the names eBay and Amazon, and are likely existing customers on the sites already. With so many people knowing and trusting these brands, it’s easy to gain the trust of a customer by having your products on these sites. Just being on these platforms is enough to drastically increase sales for a brand.

After reading through our list of the primary pros and cons of supplementing your sales with eBay and Amazon, you should now have some new ideas and insight on what options are best for you. Whether or not it makes sense for you will depend upon a wide variety of circumstances. Considering these factors carefully will help ensure the success of your endeavor.

3 Unique Niche Markets to Target with Affiliate Marketing in 2020

Let’s face it… when it comes to affiliate marketing, your options are pretty much limitless. There is no need to hire employees, you don’t need to purchase any inventory, and you can also immediately partner up with some of the best brands and companies in the world today.

The only thing is… you need to find the right niche focus and different angles to not only find the right audience but also to provide them with a solution as well. With affiliate marketing, it’s all about creating a valuable resource (site), address the situation or need they have, then providing them with a call to action or solution (your affiliate offer).

It’s a method that has worked time and time again. And while it might seem easy, it’s actually not — especially if you are just going to create a site, content, and then hope to rank in Google. It’s definitely possible, but will also take time, work, and effort.

To help with this process, today we are going to look at three different niche markets that you might not have ever considered. I will be providing you with some general information on, examples you can move forward with, and also ideas on different angles which have been further niched down and recommended by Google.

Custom Business Printables

If you’ve ever been to an internet marketing conference, you know how crazy it can get with all of the promotional material and marketing that is all over the place. Just imagine the costs of having a custom canopy, a full-size popup booth, printing out custom t-shirts, creating swag and much more.

And it’s not just about catering to businesses during these events and conference. Companies love spending money on things with their names on them, whether it be shirts, cups, frisbees, fidget spinners or anything you can possibly think of. Just pick a niche focus, and create the best article or resource on it, then send it out to the masses. Something as simple and generic as “business card holder” is searched more than 33,000 times per month in Google. Tap into that market by creating a list-style article on the “10 Best Card Holders for Your Business”, and then link off to your favorite affiliate program on that same page.

What’s even crazier, is when you start to think about how many business events and conferences take place on a daily basis — for whatever industry it might be. Need some examples? Check out this massive list of events just taking place in New York City.

In short, there is a huge potential to make money with catering to the world of custom business printables and having a resource site that you can earn commissions on through affiliate marketing. Many of the top printing sites already have affiliate programs in place, paying anywhere from 8%-35%+ per referred sale. Two examples are PrintingforLess at 18%, and OvernightPrints with a ranging commission of 2-20%.

Additional keyword ideas:

Freelance and Essay Writing Services

There has always been a massive demand for freelance services online — whether that be for writing, design, programming, coding, or anything in between. This is especially true with content creation, as there are now more websites than ever online, with a greater demand for daily content to compete. Thanks to freelance marketplaces like Upwork, TextBroker, iWriter, and many others, the business continues to flourish on a daily basis.

When trying to find businesses or brands that are looking for content online, don’t discount the opportunities in creating an affiliate site of your own. This way, you can earn multiple times from your content instead of just once. To learn more about this, simply read through any affiliate marketing guide, and then build out a site of your own.

The good news is that this is still an untapped industry when it comes to making money. Yes, freelance writers want to get paid for their content, and brands want to hire freelancers for their time and effort — but there is also money to be made by catering to both sides as well. This is especially true when you look at it from an affiliate marketing perspective.

Just by referring new users and customers to these types of sites, there is plenty of money to be made. A perfect example of this can be seen in the world of finance, where affiliate leads usually start off in the $50-$100+ range.

When it comes to creating content for these types of sites, it’s a good idea to take a look at other personal finance and money sites like 800loanmart, a title loans service, which is loaded with valuable information that freelancers can learn from to start writing their own unique content.

No matter what type of personal finance of business services you have to offer, it’s important to find the best freelancers that can provide you with the highest quality and writing style possible.

Cell Phone Tracking and Data Monitoring

With the massive rise in mobile device usage and advanced tracking software now being more accessible to everyone, it’s no surprise that this industry continues to generate more and more revenue every year. In the past, software that would track online browsing and keyword logs were being used to parents and businesses to track how the internet was being used when children or employees weren’t being watched. Now it’s being done across all platforms and devices.

As more parents and businesses find out about such services and opportunities for snooping and tracking, the demand for such solutions continued to grow. “Cell phone tracker” is now searched more than 74,000 times per month.

When it comes to jumping into this space and making money with affiliate marketing, look no further than mSpy, a device tracking platform, which offers a very nice affiliate program. Commissions start off at 40% and go up to as high as 60% with 299+ in sales per month. One of the best ways to monetize such a service, while also catering to an audience, is to simply create a resource site for parents/businesses, then have mSpy’s software as the call to action and solution.

Additional keyword ideas:

How to Win with Niche Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

No matter how many guides or courses you read or follow on affiliate marketing, the winning formula is always the same — provide value to an audience, with a direct call to action that you can monetize.

It’s that simple. All of the more difficult stuff is focused on how to actually create that content, get it in front of the right audiences and also figure out how to scale your growth over time.

Build your affiliate marketing business right from day one, by focusing on your niche audience and affiliate offer. This will take some time, but will play a huge role in the overall success of your earnings and business online.

Is WordPress the Ultimate Platform for Casino Affiliate Sites?

There used to be a time when if you wanted your own online casino affiliate website you typically had to pay a web developer or web development firm (depending on the size of your budget) to design, build and manage it for you. That’s all changed, however, with the advent of open source, flexible and easy-to-use content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.

As a result of WordPress and other leading CMSs, virtually anybody with a computer, a connection to the internet and the patience and willingness to learn can design, build and regularly update their own sites. This means that thousands of people every day are cost-effectively and effortlessly adding their own easy to maintain websites to the ‘information super highway.’

This is particularly true of online casino affiliates. Ever since the first online casinos there have been online casino affiliate sites to promote them. In fact, new online gaming affiliates are emerging all the time to cater for the high number of existing and new casino sites. Affiliates play an important role in the marketing of casinos, which is why their websites are so crucial.

Look no further than leading online casino affiliate AskGamblers. a well-known and respected site. It runs on a custom WordPress implementation. There are other options such as NoDepositFriend.com which is great example of a custom CMS. NoDepositFriend.com is a deposit bonus online casino guide that is regularly updated with the latest and best bonus offers. They custom build a CMS but should they have simply used WordPress with is flexibility and extensibility offered by thousands of plugins?

WordPress Affords Affiliates Fast and Convenient Sites

As such, the answer to the question of whether WordPress is the ultimate platform for casino affiliate sites is a resounding yes. This is for the simple reason that affiliate webmasters can launch, change, maintain and remove their sites faster, cheaper and more conveniently than ever before by using WordPress. Gone are the days when a new site took a year to develop.

A perfect example of this can be seen on any typical gaming site today. The first thing you need to do is visit their site and join their affiliate network. The next thing is to find the best promotions and then highlight them on your site with the right coupon code and affiliate tracking link.

It’s also important to highlight the features of each site and offer. For example, players come in all shapes and sizes — which means some might like to sign up for promotions, or just play on sites that have the right types of games of them. A solid call to action would be something like “Play hundreds of slot games at 7Sultans Casino Online” — then highlight as much information about the site and offer as possible. This would include everything from the promotions in place, to the security of the site, and also previous player winnings and history.

Just like online casinos, casino affiliate sites must be attractive and enticing to look at, not to mention functional and easy to navigate. One of the best ways to accomplish this, is to look at the existing design and creative of any sites you want to promote. For example, just look at how professional and attractive each of the slots games are above.

It’s no secret that the attention span of internet users is shorter than ever these days due to the sheer volume of information and stimuli they’re exposed to daily. The only way to retain a visitor is to grab their attention, and keep it.

And this where WordPress comes into the online casino affiliate equation. While there is a long list of factors that contribute to the success of a website, five of the most important include look and feel, functionality, content, search engine optimisation (SEO) and promotion. Although WordPress cannot create content or promote your site, it can ensure it shines bright.

There is even a WordPress plugin aimed specifically at online casino affiliates called VegasHero. This online gambling plugin gives website owners the option to showcase as many as 1700 instant-play demo casino games that can be played for free by visitors to their site. If they choose, site owners can even use the plugin to add their own games for visitors to experience.

Right when you look at the theme design above, you will see how it has many of the attractive slot games I mentioned earlier, and how they are the clear visual attraction on the site. The individual demo pages for this team are also great for lead conversions as well, as they feature coupons and promotions for other sites.

 

Mullenweg and Little Created WordPress in 2003

But before we delve into how WordPress manages to achieve this, here’s a little background of this start-up that has changed the face of web development globally. WordPress was born in January 2003 as the brainchild of Matthew Mullenweg and Mike Little, two web developers, who decided to create a new, easy, fast and innovative way to build and publish websites.

Little did they know that 15 years later almost 30% of all websites on the internet would be designed and developed in WordPress. This dynamic duo succeeded in developing a user-friendly, robust and flexible content management system that is simple and cost-effective enough to be used by even the most inexperienced, budget-wary and technically-challenged people.

Today WordPress is a household name among regular internet users and powers many of the most highly-frequented websites on the internet today.

These include:

  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Sony Music
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • The Official Star Wars Blog
  • MTV News
  • Beyonce
  • Katy Perry
  • Time Inc.
  • TechCrunch
  • Bloomberg Professional
  • Microsoft News Center
  • BBC America
  • Reuters Blogs
  • The New Yorker
  • PlayStation.Blog
  • The Mozilla Blog
  • Usain Bolt
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The New York Times Company
  • Variety

WordPress a Hit with Inexperienced and Experienced Developers Alike

Content management systems like WordPress let users add, remove and modify content (including text, pictures, graphics, themes, colours etc.) of a website, and then update and publish their site. Amazingly, although WordPress was initially aimed at people with limited web design and technical knowledge, it has been equally embraced by experienced web developers.

Where web development and design in the 1990s and 2000s involved hours upon hours of coding by programmers, developers and designers alike, WordPress has cleverly managed to cut development and design time through the use of templates. The age old saying ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ was no doubt an important inspiration behind the development of WordPress.

By making use of templates – both free and available to purchase – WordPress allows users to pick and choose from a wide range of themes and designs they think will best showcase their site, and by association their product, service, brand or any other offering. Add to that WordPress’s quick and simple user interface and you have an unstoppable recipe for success.

Plenty of WordPress Forums for Online Help

Think of WordPress as a pre-made cake mix where you just need to add a couple of key ingredients and bake to make a cake you can call your own and impress your friends, family and guests with. If, however, you do struggle to master the basics of this popular CMS platform, fear not. A quick online search will reveal a host of WordPress forums with the assistance you need.

Since its launch, WordPress has continued to make its presence felt on the net by making website development easier and more accessible than ever before. They even have a help section built right into their site. By its very design, an entire industry of WordPress themes and ‘plugin’ purveyors has evolved alongside this CMS. Developed in PHP, these are able to simply and seamlessly integrate into the WordPress framework.

WordPress themes encapsulate the appearance of a site and can include specific images, graphics, photos, fonts, colours, design elements and other visual features. WordPress plugins, meanwhile, give specific functionality to WordPress websites for the benefit of the site owners and users. While not obligatory, most high-traffic WordPress sites have many essential plugins.

10 Most Popular WordPress Plugins in 2018

For example, here are 10 of the most frequently used WordPress plugins as of 2018:

  • Yoast SEO – search engine optimiser
  • BackupBuddy – backup system
  • WPForms – contact form
  • MonsterInsights – Google traffic analytics and monitoring
  • Freshbooks – accounting software
  • BirchPress – appointment booking system
  • Buffer – social media post scheduler
  • CSS Hero – stylesheet customiser
  • Beaver Builder – drag and drop page builder tool
  • Constant Contact – email marketing service

Now that you know a bit more about the history of WordPress, how it’s made the process of site design and content creation a whole lot easier — you should definitely agree that it’s a top solution for creating affiliate sites across all niche markets.

Remember, it’s not just about going live with a site and creating content, it’s also about finding the right WordPress theme as well. Look around for the perfect affiliate theme for your site, or spend an extra few dollars to have one customized to fit the needs of your business and your audience.

Mobidea Academy – Where and How to Learn Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is still one of the best ways to make money on the internet. Not only does it allow you to connect with some of the biggest brand names in the world today, it also allows you to work from anywhere while also not having to hold any inventory or even deal with customers in the process.

When I first started making money online over 20 years ago, the majority of my revenue was generated through affiliate marketing. This was actually first done through Amazon.com, where I would earn a commission on all referred sales to their site, then I discovered the much more lucrative world of CPA marketing. It was the learning process and concept of affiliate marketing that allowed me to scale my business and personal brand into what it is today.

However, the world of affiliate marketing and the process of making money on the internet is always changing. With this in mind, it’s always important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and discover new ways to make money online — whether that be through the latest affiliate offers, creating your own products or finding the best traffic sources and audiences possible.

In reference to where the best places are to find such information, everyone has their own recommendations and preferences. Whether it’s a blog like this one, an affiliate marketing forum or even a Facebook Group, there’s always going to be new sources of information available to those who are willing to put in the time and effort to find it. At the same time, however, it’s important to make sure you are following the advice of trusted experts and not wasting your time on old marketing methods that simply no longer work.

Mobidea Academy

For anyone that’s already looked through most of these places and are looking for a new resource, one that you should consider is Mobidea Academy. I previously covered Mobidea and their CPA network in the past on this blog, and I’ve also been featured in an interview on their site as well. With the recent redesign on their website and lots of new informative content and case studies now available, it’s definitely a resource that all affiliates and online marketers should consider.

In addition to reading text content and resource articles online, Mobidea has also added plenty of new videos that walk audiences through the process of how to make money online, better understand the mob idea platform, and also gain person-to-person experiences through expert interviews on their site. This can all be found in the new “Learn the Platform” section of their site.

Something else to always keep in mind is that all affiliate marketers and online businesses are always going to be at different levels in their experience and journey to profitability. With thousands of new people just learning about affiliate marketing every day, they are going to be looking for just the basics and how to get started. While veteran affiliates and marketers will be looking to scale their business and be more interested in advanced marketing tips and ready to spend big bucks to make such improvements to their business.

Through the new Learning Paths section of the Mobidea Academy, they’ve created five different levels of learning to showcase each different level of complexity found in the world of affiliate marketing and how to best relay such information and guidance to their audience. Once readers have walked through one level of marketing and training, they can simply move along to the next which is more in-depth and actionable (as seen in the screenshot below). This section of the site was created to walk a beginner affiliate through everything they need to know, while also providing value to those who are already experienced in this space.

If you are looking for affiliate marketing guides, Mobidea has also spent a decent amount of time to create such content and resources for their users as well. While content articles are always great, sometimes you just want a heavy resource article or guide to walk you through the process of a specific task or method. Mobidea currently has guides in place for Native Advertising, Media Buying, Setting Up Ad Campaigns, and several other new affiliate marketing guides are on the way.

Lastly, if you are completely new to the world of affiliate marketing and looking to up your vocabulary on the latest CPA, CPC, or other affiliate marketing acronyms and definitions, be sure to check out Mobidea Academy’s Affiliate Marketing Glossary.

How to Make the Most with Affiliate Marketing and Mobidea

The world of affiliate and internet marketing is growing all the time. With more businesses online and new audiences around the world accessing the internet for the first time, the earning potential and opportunities are still limitless. However, this also comes down to the actual time, work, and effort that one is willing to put into this. As more competition continues to enter this space, the harder it gets to find profitability and long-term success.

No matter what level you are currently at in your affiliate marketing or online business efforts, it’s always important to network with the top names and businesses in the industry – this also applies to affiliate networks and educational resources.

Be sure to invest some time in the Mobidea Academy and the Mobidea Network as they are great sources to start generating money online while also educating yourself and becoming a better marketer in the process.

The Benefits of Using BigCommerce to Build an Online Store

The barriers to entry for starting and running your own business are far lower than they have ever been in the past. You don’t need to have a physical storefront in order to sell physical goods to actual people because you can do all of that online. You don’t even need to have physical goods, for that matter, because you can get into the business of selling digital goods instead.

Better still, you don’t have to deal with the painstaking frustration of building your online store from scratch either. You don’t need to get into the unnecessary expense of hiring a team of expert developers and designers. You can just build your online store with BigCommerce, which is ready to go right out of the box. Sell what you want, how you want, with just a few quick clicks of the mouse.

Your Custom Online Store

With BigCommerce, you get everything you need to open your own online store. What’s great is that when you sign up for even the entry-level standard plan, you gain access to some key features that you don’t find in the equivalent “basic” plan through Shopify.

The built-in ratings and review system gives your online store that same level of credibility that you find on much bigger sites, like Amazon. Many customers may otherwise be hesitant to go through with a purchase when they’re not so sure about a product, but when they see that other customers are happily enjoying the item, they’re much more likely to take the plunge.

Another great feature, which isn’t included in the equivalent Shopify plan, is the ability to sell gift cards. Some people might want to buy a gift for a friend or a loved one, but they may not be exactly sure what to get. Gift cards are a huge business in the traditional retail space, so being able to offer the same through your online store is a huge plus. It puts extra cash in your pocket even before you have to ship out a product!

Attractive Designs

We’re oftentimes told not to judge a book by its cover. The truth of the matter is that we all do it all the time. First impressions mean a lot and this means that you want your online store to look good. An attractive site design can make a world of difference.

What’s great is that you don’t need to concoct some sort of completely custom solution here, either. BigCommerce offers an array of free site templates to get started, all of which can then be adapted and customized to suit your brand, preferences and customer base. The designs range in style, so you’re sure to find something you like.

If you want something even more special, BigCommerce also sells a great number of premium site designs at a relatively affordable price too. Many of these templates will run you about $195, and several of these templates come in multiple styles. The Mogul Clean template, for example, includes four styles.

You can sift through the theme store based on industry. You can also filter for designs that are optimized for either small or large catalogs, as well as staff picks or those best suited for large images.

The Growth Potential

According to research conducted by Ipsos, merchants who use BigCommerce experience an average year-over-year growth of 28 percent. That’s nearly twice the industry average.

A big part of this can be attributed to the fact that BigCommerce is so much more than just an online shopping cart. Yes, it can handle the logistics of helping you set up product pages and walking customers through the checkout process. At the same time, it goes well above and beyond that to arm you with best-in-class marketing, multi-channel selling and conversion tools.

This empowers you to capture every sale you possibly can, resulting in higher conversions and more repeat business too.

You’ve got access to shipping label discounts (including real time shipping quotes), professional reporting tools, integrations with payment gateways, high risk merchant processing accounts and free sitewide HTTPS and dedicated SSL, for instance, but with the right plan, you can take advantage of automated customer groups and segmentation for improved targeting, and product filtering to help customers find exactly what they want. The abandoned cart saver helps you win back customers by sending an automated email, with an average conversion rate of 15 percent.

Another great feature is the ability to create a number of different product options. A great example of this would be if you sell t-shirts. For each product, you can easily create options for different sizes and colors. This helps to clean up your catalog considerably with improved flexibility.

Sell Where Your Customers Are

A common misconception that people have about ecommerce is that you need to direct your customers to your own website in order to complete the sale. That simply is not the case.

While you can absolutely direct potential customers to your online store, it’s also true that you should go where your customers already are. Many of the big brands already do this, so why shouldn’t you too?

BigCommerce is configured such that you can take your products and just as easily sell them on Amazon, for example, as well as through eBay, Google Shopping, Square and Facebook. This grants you access to a remarkably larger customer base, people who may not otherwise be exposed to your brand or products at all.

And if you’re looking for even more flexibility, BigCommerce also offers a “buy button” that you can just as easily insert almost anywhere, including blog posts and emails.

No Transaction Fees

BigCommerce charges merchants no transaction fees when you use one of the more than 40 pre-integrated payment gateways.

You can use the in-house payment processor if you’d like, but having the flexibility to use another trusted name in this space will provide your customers with added convenience and confidence. BigCommerce works with PayPal, Square, Apple Pay, Stripe and more.

By contrast, Shopify only applies its 0% transaction fee on purchases when you use their own payment processing system. If you use a third-party solution, they’ll charge you up to 2% of your sales. This is tacked on top of credit card processing fees mind you.

Better still, as you step up to higher plans with BigCommerce, you can gain access to reduced PayPal fees (powered by Braintree) if you choose to take that route.

Affordable Plans

If you opt for an on-premise solution to handle your ecommerce needs, you can expect to pay about four times the cost to do the same thing through BigCommerce’s cloud-based platform.

The company’s site also notes that you’ll “spend less time managing technology” and you’ll also “get regular updates with new, cutting-edge features.”

The convenience of the cloud means that you can access and work with your online store anywhere you have an Internet connection and a web browser. And your overhead will be dramatically less than if you were to open a traditional brick-and-mortar location.

The Standard pricing plan is just $29.95/month. This includes unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, as well as unlimited staff accounts and your fully branded online store with online sales of up to $50,000 a year. The most popular plan is the $79.95/month Plus plan, which bumps your sales ceiling to $150k and throws in an abundance of marketing tools for boosting your conversion. Beyond that are the $249.95/month Pro plan and custom Enterprise plans. All plans come with a 10% discount if you pay annually.

It’s true that other ecommerce platforms offer basic plans that are significantly cheaper than BigCommerce, but the features included on those are likewise basic. To see the same value there that you get here, you’ll need to opt for account add-ons in the form of plug-ins and third-party apps that end up costing you more in the long run – and that often don’t work as well as they ought to.

Still not sure if BigCommerce is for you? Sign up for the 15-day free trial and see for yourself.