Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by Shayla Price
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by Shayla Price
The Essential Online Toolkit for Affiliate MarketersIt’s time to load up your toolkit! From several Google searches, you already know that affiliate marketing is a promising route to earn a few extra bucks or even start an entirely new career. Affiliate marketing gives you the freedom to be an entrepreneur without the inventory. With all your excitement to jump into this field, it’s unlikely anyone told you what tools you need to succeed. Like any profession, the right tools give you the opportunity to do your job effectively (and make more money). That’s why I’ve compiled a list of seven tools to move you toward success. Ready to get started? Read on...
1. Keyword PlannerContent marketing is the go-to approach to attracting and maintaining consumers. Meaningful content informs people about their challenges and offers several solutions. As an affiliate marketer, you can implement content marketing to nurture your audience and establish a trustworthy relationship. Then, you can recommend products that will solve their problems. Nevertheless, your first step is to get visitors to your site. For your content to rank high in search engines, you will need to perform keyword research. This is the process of identifying the keywords your audience uses when searching for information online. Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful tool to find keywords relevant to your affiliate marketing business. You can discover new keywords and get search volume data. User intent is part of doing effective keyword research. You want to put yourself in the shoes of your potential visitors. The more you know about your audience the more you can niche down the specific keywords to attract people to your content.
2. WebinarJamFor consumers, seeing is believing. Demonstrating a product is one of the best ways to persuade people to purchase. That’s where webinars provide the most value. Webinars offer you a chance to talk directly with your audience. “An affiliate marketer could easily add webinars to drive new sales to large groups of attendees. Imagine a weekly webinar where she hosts affiliate partners on a content-rich webinar and then offers the product at the end of the webinar,” writes Mike Capuzzi, speaker, author, and marketing consultant. WebinarJam is a tool for delivering live cast presentations. You can create webinars on the spot, share your desktop screen, and highlight attendee responses. Before you jump on camera, practice your presentation to get rid of any public speaking jitters. Carve out time in your live broadcast to answer attendees’ questions. You also may want to create free handouts with additional product details.
3. HostGatorYou’ve completed your keyword research and created meaningful content for your affiliate products. Now, you need somewhere to post that content. A website is a simple tool to elevate your brand and encourage people to click on your affiliate links. It’s your professional space in the marketplace. Of course, when shopping for web hosting, we suggest the HostGator platform. Our tool offers a drag-and-drop feature to create a website in minutes. Also, we provide 24/7/365 support to help you with any technical issues. To build a killer website, begin with a strategy in mind. Make sure your affiliate links are visible and easily accessible for visitors. You also want to be transparent about your affiliate marketing efforts. So, always provide a clear disclaimer on your site.
4. Constant ContactCommunication is key for affiliate marketers. You want the ability to connect with your audience about new product offers or special giveaways. Email marketing is your answer for building quality relationships. It’s an opportunity to provide subscribers relevant content and ask for feedback. However, don’t feel obligated to add every detail in your email. Daniel Cassady, a freelance writer, agrees: “If you have a lot of information you are trying to get across to your readers, it’s best to give that information to them in easy to handle nuggets instead of long paragraphs. Use bullet points to make the content of your newsletter easy to glance over and then link to a more in depth article on your website.” Constant Contact makes it easy to create professional emails with their customizable templates. Plus, you can send automated messages to specific subscriber groups—giving each subscriber a personalized experience.
5. YouTubeResearch shows that “online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.” More than ever, people are watching video to learn and to entertain themselves. This is your moment to seize the attention of the consumer. By creating fun-filled videos, you can build a connection with your viewers. But what exactly will you discuss? Affiliate marketers possess a unique expertise. You know about the best products in your industry, and you can use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, you can produce videos giving honest, research-backed product reviews. You can create a series of videos showing consumers unconventional ways to use a specific product. Or you can highlight how a product changed your lifestyle. YouTube can host all your video content. Just upload your video and share the link with your audience. Creative entrepreneur Roberto Blake offers tips to improve your YouTube videos. Check out the resource below:
6. HootsuiteFrom Facebook to Pinterest, social media is the spot for everyone to hang out online. It’s where consumers get their news, learn about events, and explore different interests. Social media centers around storytelling. For affiliate marketers, it’s not enough to tell your followers about a product. That’s boring, and people ignore those messages. “When it comes to selling on social media, it is a great idea to offer unique, interesting, and even diverse information about your product rather than push for a hard sell. No one likes to feel they are being sold something, but everyone likes to buy something they truly want,” states Sarah Arrow, a marketing coach. When promoting products on social channels, add your personality to your posts. Tell a funny story on Facebook or add a quirky GIF to a tweet. You can manage your social media with Hootsuite. The platform helps you engage with your audience efficiently and you can see your analytics in real-time.
7. ZipBooksIt’s important to remember that as an affiliate marketer you’re running a small business. You have revenue and expenses to track on your success journey. Maximizing profit is one of your primary goals. You’re constantly searching for ways to add more money to your bottom line, while reducing your costs. Recordkeeping is a helpful skill for all affiliate marketers. You can quickly interpret what’s an asset for your business and what’s a liability. Now, it’s even easier to manage your accounting with software like ZipBooks. This tool organizes your work into projects and tasks. You can input your expenses and generate monthly reports. When starting any business, it’s essential that you talk with financial and legal professionals. These experts can provide specifics on opening a business bank account, applying for a business license, and determining your tax obligations. So, take the time to get the necessary advice.
Tools for SuccessAffiliate marketing is similar to other side hustles or career paths. You need the best tools to ensure your success. Don’t worry about starting from scratch. You can use the seven tools above to demonstrate products, send emails, and track expenses. Grab your tools, and sign up for HostGator’s affiliate program!
Monday, July 31, 2017 by Shayla Price
Be a YouTube Star! Follow These 5 StepsLights, Camera, Action! Business Insider reports that YouTube users watch more than 500 million hours of videos every day. So, it makes sense that this video platform is ripe for gaining social media stardom. “The reach and power of YouTube has been demonstrated by the many artists, celebrities and comedians that have launched their careers through YouTube videos. From celebrities like singer Justin Bieber to actress/model Kate Upton, the effectiveness of video marketing cannot be denied,” writes Eric Baum, CEO and founder of Bluleadz. You can begin building your brand right now. Here are five ways to reach superstar status on YouTube.
1. Find Your Unique LaneIf you’ve done your research, you already know that competition exists on YouTube. There are thousands of channels that demonstrate cooking, perform comedy sketches, and even talk about celebrity news. You’re probably thinking: Why should I try? Every topic has been discussed. Well, it’s not about covering the same topic over and over again. It’s about bringing your unique talent to a subject and showcasing it differently to an audience. Creativity will separate you from the competition. Let’s say you’re a professional dancer. Rather than showing off your moves in a studio, try dancing in different settings, like a park or a museum. In 2011, YouTube star Luzu launched his channel called LuzuVlogs. His Spanish vlogging channel has more than 2.5 million subscribers. Luzu offers his perspective on producing worthwhile content: “The greatest thing about this is we are defining a lot of things. The way people consume content is changing, and this way of doing content responds to the needs that they have rather than telling them how they should do it.” Luzu doesn’t just talk the talk. He actually takes action. You can watch one of his many adventures below.
You have something special to offer on YouTube. Start brainstorming and posting your videos.
2. Produce High-Quality VideosNew technology is making it easier for you to spread your message. It’s important to produce high-quality video to keep your fans engaged. The first step is to invest in the right equipment. Do your homework and find the perfect gear that fits your needs. Your must-have list may include a video camera, lighting kit, tripod, and editing software. Next, you want to create a storyboard or a script for each video. This preparation will keep your content focused. You’ll know exactly what you want to convey and how to present the content. Don’t get discouraged during this time-consuming process. Research shows that “70 percent of creators with at least 100,000 subscribers spend at least six hours working on each video they upload to YouTube, and one-third of those YouTube stars spend at least eight hours on each video.” Award-winning YouTube personality Rosanna Pansino hosts the well-known online baking show Nerdy Nummies. Her channel touts 8.3 million subscribers with over 2 billion total video views. In 2015, Rosanna produced and hosted two-60 minute TV specials on the Cooking Channel and released her first cookbook. Here’s one of her delicious videos:
It’s time to build your very own studio. For high-quality videos, purchase the right gear and create a plan before pressing record.
3. Engage with Your AudienceEngagement is a critical factor in any social media network. On YouTube, it’s a major part of building your fan base. Many first-time YouTubers post their videos and never read the comment section. However, people like sparking conversations with influencers. Keep your fans happy by talking with them and giving their responses a thumbs up. You also may want to ask your audience questions. Get to know more about them: Where do they live? What other channels do they watch? Do they have video content requests? Beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook of GlamLifeGuru gives tutorials and offers product reviews to her 2.8 million subscribers. In her videos, you’ll see her testing out new lipsticks and adding her creative thoughts.
Tati also engages with her audience in the comments. In the image below, she drops a reminder about an upcoming video. Your fans want to interact with you one-on-one. So, make an effort to respond to their comments and to thank them for watching.
4. Collaborate with InfluencersBecoming a star isn’t a one-person endeavor. By collaborating with influencers, you can speed up your path to success. Current YouTube stars are your best resources if you want to become an influencer yourself. Reach out to influencers you admire and start building quality relationships. “Begin interacting with them, by friending, favoriting and commenting on their videos. In this way you can develop relationships with YouTube stars who can offer advice and encouragement (and access to their networks) for building your own YouTube star power,” writes Gretchen Siegchrist, founder and creative director of Video4Good. Collaboration takes many shapes and forms. You may ask the influencer for mentorship, or you could barter services with the person. For instance, if you’re a great video editor, ask to edit the YouTube star’s next project in exchange for 15 minutes of advice. As you grow, you’ll want to invite influencers to star in your videos. YouTube megastar Lilly Singh has done collaborations with Ryan Higa, Miranda Sings, and Anthony Padilla. Lilly’s social media success earned her roles in Bad Moms and Ice Age: Collision Course. Her upcoming role in Fahrenheit 451 will mark her first major acting gig. Ready to learn? Start collaborating with others to carve out your path to stardom.
5. Grow Your Email ListFocusing on the growth of your YouTube channel is vital in the beginning. But as your brand expands, you want the flexibility to interact with your fans beyond social media. YouTube is considered rented land. This means if the platform stops existing tomorrow you won’t be able to connect with your fans. You’re stuck starting from scratch. Instead, you want to own land. In the online world, you’ll want to purchase a domain and build a personal website. On your website, you can post blooper videos, add your full bio, and even highlight your next appearances. What’s also cool is that you can include a form to get fans on your email list. Email lists are an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. You can send exclusive videos or ask for their feedback. Plus, you own the list and your communication isn’t dependent on a social channel. Justine Ezarik, known as iJustine, is a popular YouTuber who vlogs about life, tech, and cooking. On the television show New Celebrity Apprentice, she coached contestants on how to create viral videos. Justine is no stranger to email lists. She includes a sign-up form on her site. Take your success to the next level. Build a website and encourage people to join your email list.
Start Your Journey TodayAre you ready for your close-up? With the right concept and camera angle, you can draw thousands, maybe millions, of people to your brand. Create a unique YouTube channel that entertains and informs your watchers. You can engage your audience to generate ideas for future videos. And of course, send people to your website where they can join your email list. Get your camera ready. Start your YouTube journey now.
Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Shayla Price
5 Photography Tips for Your Food BlogJuicy, yummy food photos. That’s the goal for every food blogger when they snap a picture of a dish. It takes multiple skills to take photos of delicious food. Not only do you have to get the perfect shot, you also have to think about how your photos complement your blog and the best way to promote them. “What separates magazine-worthy photos from their less impressive counterparts isn't a fancy camera or expensive equipment. It's an understanding of what it takes to compose an appealing image and the confidence to execute your vision,” writes Niki Achitoff-Gray, managing editor at Serious Eats. It’s time to upgrade your skill level as a food blogger. Check out these five tips to create delicious photography.
1. Capture the Perfect PhotoFor food bloggers, photos are one of your greatest assets. People love to see what you’re cooking or what meals you recommend. The photos can help demonstrate how a dish looks at every stage of a recipe. The right photo also can encourage hungry people to visit a new restaurant. To take the perfect photo, consider using different angles. Most bloggers just take an overhead shot, which isn’t useful for every food item. Instead, experiment with a 45 degree angle to get an intimate shot or a 30 degree angle to capture the entire plate setting. You want to think about the lighting when taking a photo. Experts suggest not using an in-camera flash. The best option is to use as much external lighting as possible. So, open up your curtains and get some natural light into your shot. Lastly, get creative with your photos. You shouldn’t feel confined to follow the standards of other food bloggers. You can add your personal touch by arranging the food a certain way or inserting a funny, inanimate object in each photo. Your audience is salivating to see your food photos. So, make it unique with your own perspective.
2. Optimize Your Photos for SEOWith so many food bloggers in the world, it’s possible for all your hard work to go unnoticed. However, optimizing your photos for search engines can help new visitors find your blog. The first step is to use the appropriate file names for your photos. Rather than uploading your image as “Photo1.jpg”, you want to describe the photo in simple keywords. Your file names may look like: Vanilla-Cupcakes.jpg or Chicken-Soup.png. “The images you select for your web site can make or break how your site looks, but how you upload and name that photo for search engine optimization (SEO) will actually determine whether people land on your site or not,” says Meredith Lepore, freelancer writer and content strategist. You want to follow the same rule when creating your alt tags. An alt tag is the text alternative to your image in a browser. By associating the right keywords to each image, you can boost your SEO results. File size matters, too. If your photos are too large, they can slow down your page load speed. The longer your page loads, it’s likely your visitors will get distracted and move to another site. You can use tools like TinyPNG or TinyJPG to compress your photos.
- Is your food blog on WordPress? Check out our post on the top photography plugins!
3. Share Your Photos on SocialSocial media is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels. People spend countless hours on Twitter and Instagram talking with friends, checking out the latest news, and engaging with brands. As a food blogger, you want to connect with your audience on social networks. The key is to post vibrant, relevant content that entices your followers to learn more about you. A good tip is to follow recurring trends on the social networks. For instance, #TBT (Throwback Thursday) is an opportunity to show off dishes you prepared in the past. Writing funny headlines or descriptions with your photo also adds personality to your brand. It shows fans you’re human and not a stuffy corporation. Angie Dudley at Bakerella offers a perfect example with her French fry sugar cookie cartons. This scrumptious photo is coupled with the playful words: Happy Fri-Yay! Remember to include a call to action in your social posts. Simply plopping a good photo online doesn't help you. You can drive traffic to your site by inserting a link to your blog. If you want more social engagement, you also should interact with your followers. That means retweeting their content, liking their posts, and replying to their messages. Share your photos on social media to build brand awareness. It’ll help you gain new fans and engage your loyal following.
4. Distribute Your Photos in Content UpgradesWhen visitors land on your food blog, they may read an article or two and then leave. You have no way of knowing who they are or how to contact them later. The easiest solution is to offer your visitors a content upgrade in exchange for their email address. A content upgrade is bonus material that helps your audience learn more about a topic. You can give away a free checklist, ebook, or short video. Content upgrades usually coincide with the topic of a specific blog post. Your visitors are more likely to want more information right after reading about the subject. Lori Reeves, relationship manager at EZ Portable Buildings and Tiny Houses, offers an example: “If you're a food blogger and you create a post that is a tutorial of making a specific dish, your content upgrade could be an easily-printable copy of the recipe for the dish or a list of substitutions that could make the dish healthier, vegetarian, [or] gluten-free.” The purpose of the content upgrade is to add people to your email list. So, the relationship doesn't end when you deliver the content upgrade. Start talking to your new email subscribers and getting to know who they are. The first question could be: How did you like the content upgrade?
5. Build Brand PartnershipsMany food bloggers look for opportunities to grow their brand and possibly earn extra revenue. If you’re ready to expand your scope, brand partnerships may be your next step. Before you begin researching for the ideal partner, think about what you can bring to the table. Do you have a large following? Are you a niche expert? Write down what makes your blog unique from others. You want a clear value statement that will intrigue partners. The next step is to decide what you’re willing and not willing to do in a partnership agreement. If you’re a vegetarian, maybe you’ll never collaborate with a beef company. After you establish your values and guidelines, do your research and start emailing people about possible partnerships. Always lead with how the company will benefit. Below is an example from Neli Howard at Delicious Meets Healthy. She collaborated with Edible Arrangements for Mother’s Day. Be flexible when building partnerships with companies. Every agreement won’t earn you money. Think outside the box on how you can benefit from the relationship. Maybe you can get access to a VIP event where you’re the exclusive food blogger on location. Or negotiate for the business to add your photos in an email campaign to their 10,000 subscribers. You are more than a food blogger. Take your photos to new heights with partnerships.
Serving Mouthwatering PhotosBeing a food blogger isn’t easy. You can’t just take a few photos of a casserole and post it online. Start by following simple guidelines to take eye-popping photos. Share your photos on several social media channels to gain attention. Also, you may want to partner with other brands to build your following or earn additional revenue. Upgrade your skills. Serve mouthwatering photos. Achieve food blogging success!
Monday, June 12, 2017 by Shayla Price
Should You Get Into Affiliate Marketing?Everyone is seeking new ways to make more money, especially online. Some entrepreneurs create unique products, while others provide an in-demand service. But have you ever thought about promoting another business’s product? Through affiliate marketing, you can recommend a company’s products to your network and get paid a commission if someone buys it. This entrepreneurial path isn’t the right fit for every person. It takes a few special skills. “Affiliate marketing isn't hard, but it does require knowledge, planning, and consistent effort to make any significant income,” writes Randy Duermyer, a social media marketing consultant. Think you got what it takes to be an affiliate marketer? Here are seven signs that you were born for this role.
1. You’re DisciplinedAffiliate marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t suddenly earn millions from commissions overnight. Instead, it’s a disciplined craft for people who have unwavering commitment. But what does that mean? When some newbie affiliate marketers don't receive a commission check in their first month, they are ready to give up. They start seeking the next money-making idea. However, successful affiliate marketers possess the discipline to keep selling, even when no commissions arrive. They try to figure out how to sell differently and create a strategy to gain more sales. It's all about building a vision around your goals. Yes, you’re selling products built by another company, but that shouldn't limit you from taking it seriously. With a positive mindset and dedication, you’ll become the next success story in affiliate marketing. And it starts with discipline.
2. You’re PersuasiveThis new path you're taking involves sales. So to earn a hefty commission, you must be comfortable with selling products and services to consumers. Some of the best affiliate marketers are infectiously persuasive. They understand how to highlight the product benefits to their audiences and pinpoint how those benefits make a great impact in the person’s life. A high-converting website is part of the affiliate marketer’s toolkit. You know how to attract consumers to your site and spark their interest in learning more about the product. You add copy that engages people and offers solutions to their daily challenges. “Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor, would your [website] copy persuade you to buy this product? Are you engaged with what you’re reading? Do you want to read on and find out more about this product?” states Emily Matthews, affiliate manager at MoreNiche. It’s important not to mistake being persuasive with being an arrogant salesperson. You don’t want to sell people products they don’t need. Instead, you want to be a trusted advisor to your audience by providing helpful information.
3. You Build CommunitiesSuccessful entrepreneurs repeat this piece of advice often: your network determines your net worth. This statement rings true when it comes to affiliate marketing. To generate more commissions, you must be willing to build a quality community. To grow that community, you’re willing to network outside your comfort zone. You understand that every person you meet offers value. You also realize that all the members of your community aren’t your customers. For instance, you might connect with Sam, who isn’t interested in your products. However, Sam can get you in touch with Allison, who is a perfect match. Referrals lead to future sales. Sustaining a community is just as important as building one. You need to provide as much value as possible. Creating useful content—blog posts, infographics, and ebooks—is an effective way to help your audience. Take a few tips from Instagram expert Sue B. Zimmerman. She produces practical video content for her Facebook community. The post below received more than 3,000 views! Start with who you know and continue to engage people with an authentic attitude. That’s how you build communities and your sales.
4. You Stay OrganizedIt’s rare for people to associate affiliate marketing with being organized. Exactly what are you organizing? Well, most affiliate marketers don’t just sell one product. To reap the rewards of more revenue, they usually set out to sell two, three, or even five products. This means you’re working with several brands and acquiring multiple affiliate links, login URLs, and payout details. You can easily get disorganized and find yourself overwhelmed by information. To keep your affiliate products and services organized, you might consider creating a spreadsheet. Addi Ganley, blogger and affiliate marketer, says, “Whenever I sign up with a new affiliate program I like to keep track of all the important details for quick reference. I used to constantly login to each individual company when I needed to get my link, or even figure out when I would receive a payment. Now, I just hop into my toolkit and have all the information I need.” If a spreadsheet isn’t your style, try project management tools, like Trello, to maintain accurate records. You’ll save time and won’t stress out.
5. You Enjoy LearningAccording to an independent survey, the affiliate marketing industry in the United States is expected to grow to $6.8 Billion by the year 2020. Senior managers at companies see the value in developing robust affiliate programs to boost their ROI. That’s great news for affiliate marketers. You have an opportunity to make some extra cash on the side or possibly supplement your entire income. To become the best in the field, you must have a passion for learning. You enjoy researching about new products and watching videos to upgrade your sales skills. We already know you’re a learner because you’re reading this blog post. So, if you’re interested in becoming an affiliate marketing or promoting an additional product, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program and start earning money right now.
6. You’re PatientWe live in a very fast-paced society, where we expect everything to happen now. We can get a latte in five minutes and get an order shipped to our homes in under two days. You can’t expect that same quick results in affiliate marketing. For every product you recommend, only a few consumers will actually purchase it. Others may buy, but it could be six or 12 months later. You’ll face a lot of rejection and won’t reap the rewards instantly. “I’ll be the first to admit that affiliate marketing is not for the impatient. You will experience trials, challenges, and you will put forth a lot of fruitless labor. You will have to make sacrifices with your time,” says Craig Junghandel, a web developer, blogger, and internet marketer. Think of affiliate marketing as a long-term strategy to earn more money. The actions you do today will have a positive result tomorrow.
7. You’re HonestToday’s consumer is very skeptical. They get bombarded with advertising every second of the day. And you can’t blame them. They might have bought defective products in the past, or never received a refund for an awful service. That’s why affiliate marketers must be transparent with their audience. You don’t want to intentionally deceive someone about a product. Be honest and avoid exaggerating about what a product can or cannot do. You also want to be upfront about your commission. On your site, disclose to potential customers that you will receive a payment when they click your affiliate link, as in this example from the EOFire podcast. No one wins when you’re not honest. So, strive to build a trustworthy relationship.
It’s Time to SellAffiliate marketing isn’t meant for every entrepreneur. The first step is to actually figure out if you have the skill set to take on the challenge. The best affiliate marketers are lifelong learners who research for quality affiliate products. They know how to persuade their communities by highlighting benefits. Affiliate marketers also understand it takes time to build up a solid revenue stream. Were you born to be an affiliate marketer? If so, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program today.