Tag Archive | "Affiliate Marketing"

Budgeting in Affiliate Marketing – How to use money as a tool and not get controlled by them.

The million dollar question: I want to become an affiliate marketer, but what budget should I start with?

Effective budgeting is what fuels successful companies, so also Affiliate Marketers. Successful affiliates budget accordingly, starting with the overall budget, broken down into campaign budgets. The overall budget it’s important because it gives you an overall capping to work with and this way you will have control also over your personal budget. The most important rule is to make sure your personal budget is less than your overall budget, in that way you have enough funds for re-investing into diversification and scaling.

You should look at your affiliate business like a stock portfolio, you need diversity in order to have cash-flow. Most successful affiliates dedicate a percentage of their overall budget to testing new campaigns, another percentage for scaling high ROI campaigns and the rest to keep rolling the “safe” campaigns.  If you are just getting started you need to focus on testing just one campaign at a time, but not exceeding the budget allocated for that particular campaign. There is a safe way that you can take, the BitterStrawberry’s global SmartLink that will provide automatic campaign optimization, the most complex targeting on the market and solutions for any miss-targeted traffic. All of this is done through a Performance Benchmarked System, which redirects traffic through more than 16 parameters such as country, device, ISP, connection type, etc. always pushing more volume to the offer that has the best C.R & EPC. You just need to sit back and enjoy the results! In this way you obtain the needed amount of liquid capital that you will need to scale up using the HybridLink, for complex targeting, or to focus entirely on specific campaigns with no dynamic payouts in the MarketPlace.

BitterStrawberry team is testing thousands of offers every day at the same time, but if you are just starting you should begin testing them one by one, not all at the same time, like we mentioned before. A decent initial budget is around $5000, so you can use around $4000 for creating campaigns, but you still have $1000 to test other offers and afford doing mistakes. For sure, the bigger the budget, the more tests you’ll be able run. But, if your budget is only $300 and you have to spend $99 a month for the tracker, and $50 for hosting, you’ll have only $150 testing budget. In general, for the cheapest and low quality traffic you pay 2$ for 1000 clicks and you will be able to test 2 campaigns max with that traffic. For quality traffic you pay around 8-10 $ for 1000 clicks and if you count also the 10% difference in click between the source and the offer, another 5-8% traffic outside the target you will not have a lot left to optimize. So, you either consider the lower CPC or increase your budget from additional sources. But, keep in mind that testing it has a high importance.

Basically there are three different variables where you should use testing: offers, landing pages and ads. The difference between a successful affiliate marketer and a newbie depends also on how many of these you are able to test. And the difference is made by the budget again. But you can fight the limitation of the budget with a good strategy. And we can help again! BitterStrawberry’s free platform delivers performance, 12.000 highest conversion direct offers, optimization and last, but not least, custom guidance from experienced Affiliate Managers. Make an account and your dedicated Affiliate Manager will contact you to ask you for more info so together you can make a custom strategy depending on your traffic source and budget. 

Start with the right GEO’s for you!

Generally, in online marketing, geos are defined in Tiers. There are 3 major ones: “Tier 1” geos which are considered to be the most competitive and generally have the highest rates, “Tier 3” geos which are less competitive with smaller rates and “Tier 2” geos that are somewhat in the middle.

If you’re asking what classifies them as most competitive, or less competitive, here is a short comparison:
Tier 1 geos are more regulated, especially in regards to carrier billing flows, due to the maturity level they reached over time. Most affiliates run them for their more than average –to – high payouts. Among the Tier 1 countries we can name Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, UK and USA.
Tier 2 & 3 geos are not that much targeted by marketers, but their markets are still growing. Payouts are not nearly as high as Tier 1 countries, but due to the market expanding you can get conversion rates of up to 1/10. This makes Tier 2 & 3 countries a good way to start, as traffic is way cheaper compared to Tier 1. But that shouldn’t mean you have to disregard Tier 1! Once you have a critical budget to target Tier 1 countries, include them in your mix! If we would name a few Tier 2 countries these would be: Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, El Salvador, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Romania, Paraguay & Portugal. If we made you curious about Tier 3, here are a few examples: Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Syria & Zimbabwe.

In general, it’s good to test 10 geos, pick 3-5 best ones and scale up your traffic sources without adding new ones, just clone your campaigns. Some Traffic Sources have predefined rules to limit campaigns on a specific targeting, so by multiplying your campaigns can get you additional volumes.

As we mentioned earlier, you should start with geos that are easy to convert. For example, if your starting budget is $1000 and you’re able to break even, you can have two choices.  You can run a campaign that pays out $100 and you will have 10 conversions. This is good. On the other hand, if you run a campaign that pays out $1, you will have 1000 conversions, you will earn that same amount of money, but the most important part is that you will have more data. What you can do with it? You can do more split-tests and you will learn affiliate marketing. This is playing smart.

If you have a low budget, you should choose offers with $5 or $10 so you give yourself enough time to be convinced your campaign is set up right and that everything is tracking properly.

Preservation of budget is key to everything, but there’s no high reward with small risk. While for CPC doing brokerage and selling at a higher CPC brings you ROI (if you have good connections), when doing CPA, CPL, CPI, users interest is the decision maker here. So setting a budget that allows you to collect actionable data on is crucial!
One more important thing! Be sure to always ASK what are the top geos EVERY DAY! There are opportunities that come and go fast, you don’t want to lose them! Register to BitterStrawberry platform and you get a daily email with top geos and offers and your life becomes easier.

If you’re a publisher and you’re not equipped with geo-targeting or carrier detection tools and you don’t want to send traffic altogether, but to advertise more efficiently to your visitors in the countries that have the best performance, let us know. We have a custom solution to only serve ads to your most eligible for conversion users, while all the rest of your visitors enjoy your quality content.

If you do relevant testing, our advice is to search out new traffic sources, maybe even consider FLAT BUYS from new traffic sources.

Keep an eye on the billing flow. 

Focus on lower payout offers & easy billing flow. Despite the Psychological Effect high offer payouts have on you, you actually CAN make a ton more money with them! The Conversion Flow is the most important to look for when hunting for offers.

While high-payout offers delights you with having fewer sales to generate to reach good payments, the higher the payout they offer, the more complicated the conversion flow is.

While converting on high payout Tier 1 offers is quite tricky and requires serious budget & a lot of testing, Tier 3 countries have opportunities such as Single Click Flows offers. The user lands on the offer and has to click “I agree” or “Subscribe” and you are in the game. Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico and a big part of Arab countries are a gold mine if you know how to work them out properly.

Keep in mind that not all the best offers for you will have a high payout. You can have a profit of 10K by running $50 offers. The payout is not always an indicator for the best offer. The most important part is the conversion. If the clicks are cheap and the offer converts well, it can be surprisingly good.

That’s all for the moment, guys! Most important is not to lose your focus and don’t set as your only target to be becoming a millionaire in few months. Give yourself time to learn, use your budget smart and if you have questions, get in touch, we would love to answer them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Things Pay Per Call Affiliates Forget to Do When They Finally Start Crushing It.

As a pay per call marketer, the beginning stages can feel like a grind, but eventually you will reach an “Ah Ha” moment where you finally begin to really get it. A big weight of anxiety begins to lift as you see the profits start stacking up monthly as your campaigns become optimized. The truth is that not everyone can reach this level of success and end up giving up too soon before they can experience this moment. In an ever-changing technology landscape, being able to do this everyday, and make a living at that, is quite the accomplishment. When you finally start crushing it with pay per call, remember these 3 tips that most people completely overlook:

Anticipate Day to Day Fluctuations

There are good days and there are bad days. Campaigns might have to be paused, your calls might drop due to a flooded call center, or competitors might creep in to drive up your average cost per call. Whatever the case, experienced pay per call marketers are prepared. You should consider looking for backup buyers and a diverse source of traffic when things are going good so that it isn’t too big of a shock when things, inevitably, start to go badly. You should also track your income and profitability trends on a monthly basis to help even things out in the event that you have a rough day or week. Many people track this on a daily basis. This is normal, but it could cause some unnecessary stress on a bad day. Tracking your workload monthly will paint a better picture as well as give you an idea of what you can plan for the next month and the remainder of the year.

Prepare for The Government’s Cut

No one is immune from the government and its tax requirements. What do you think is going to happen when they send you request for payment and you reply with, “Sorry, I spent it all at the Spearmint Rhino while at the Affiliate Summit.” The Government likes to get paid first and not planning ahead for tax payments is the single, biggest mistake that rookie publishers make. Thus, take a lesson from those who have suffered the consequences and do what is necessary to ensure you won’t go broke in the Spring. One piece of advice is that you might want to consult with an accountant at regular intervals throughout the year so that they may guide you on a proper tax strategy. When I was a solo pay per call marketer, I made sure to treat my operation like an actual business. I opened up a business checking/savings account and signed up for a business credit card with cash rewards or airline miles – Adwords and Facebook expenses can rack up credit card points fast! Also, I never mixed my personal and business accounts. All business expenses came out of my business accounts and I made sure to include an explanation for each transaction as this could be used as a defense against any IRS audits. I hate to hear stories of pay per call marketers who were making $20K+/month profit only to end up broke come tax time because they didn’t plan for a big tax bill.

Structure The Day

People used to always tell me how lucky I was to be able to create my own hours and work from home, but without a proper structure to your day, productivity really takes a back seat and anxiety sets in. One way to hone in that anxiety and keep your production high is to set up a structure to your day, week, and month. A sample of my morning structure that I adapted from Miracle Morning and use to win each day and stay motivated is below:

  • 1 – 6:00AM wake up and immediately drink 1 liter of water
  • 2 – 6:10AM eat a balanced breakfast with some coffee.
  • 3 – 6:30AM Set aside 10 mins for each task:
    • Meditate
    • Affirm my goals using the formula “In order to achieve “X goal”, I am committed to doing “X”, “X times per week, until “X Date” – Be as specific as possible and your subconscious will do the rest.
    • Visualize what I want out of business/life.
    • Read or listen to something positive.
    • Write out a “Power List”. This is a list of the top 5 critical tasks that I need to get done during the day in order to achieve my goals.
  • 7:30AM Exercise for 45min to 1 hour.
  • 8:30AM Shower and get to the office by 9:00AM, ready to absolutely destroy my day.

During my actual work day, I focus on the tasks that were outlined on my “Power List” which serves as a guide for my focus and energy. You will start to notice that over time, your focus becomes sharper and your productivity levels go through the roof! Make time to listen to some podcasts during your day as well. A few great ones to get into are the MFCEO Project, Origin of Man, and Perpetual Traffic.

Being able to work from home surely has its perks. You create your own hours, lounge in your pajamas and so much more. However, independent contractors need the skills necessary to plan for fluctuation, tax bills and organization. Without taking these major components into consideration, you will crash and burn quickly. There is a little extra work involved with working on your own, as contrary as it may seem. You have to maintain the mindset that all your days will be different, but with the right preparation, you will have the tools to make it in this business, successfully.

 

 

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How to Protect Your Profit in the Affiliate Industry

By Moris Katzobashvili, Sales Director Edge226

Moris holds over 5 years of experience in the industry, Supply and Demand Master, Consulting Startups, Senior Ad-Networks, Affiliate Networks and SSP’s, B2B Leader in company growth and in exploring new verticals. 

ROI, Margin, Profit, Revenues – We measure our entire network and business success in a one simple line with a $ sign next to it. But behind that bottom line there are numerous parameters that inflect our performance and monthly earnings.

Most of us are familiar with the common and obvious factors such as media cost, employees, office expenses etc.  Although we must not avoid the hidden parameters that are effecting our cash flow without us even noticing it.

Neutralize Scrubs

Whether you are on the Affiliate side or the Advertising side, when closing on your billing cycle 15th of each month you are preparing yourself for an all-out war against scrubs. “Everybody goes through it”, we say to ourselves in the back of our mind, and all is left for us to do is to reduce the deduction as much as we can. So how can we limit scrubs amount to the minimum?

Before taking any active steps practical we must change our mindset, we need to become the proactive side and stop being passive. Our main goal should be finding a quick and reliable process for detecting immediate suspicious traffic sources in real time, easily disable these sources and notify your partners.

Now you can use Echo226 Mobile and Affiliate All-in-One Platform to gain back control with quality management enhanced feature-set like: Automatically pausing affiliate with low CR, or Multi fraud protection tools reports integrated to Echo’s platform in real time. With that kind of power, you can diminish the number of scrubs by preventing them in real time.

API – Can Make You or Brake You

Personal relationships in the Affiliate Industry has its benefits but for scaling up your numbers there is no other choice but automated workflows. API has become a huge “Buzz” word in our industry so no need to present its importance here, but how to use its endless productive possibilities is a completely different thing.

Beside the ability to pull the full offer information from partners with a press of a button, we need an API service we can trust. I cannot stress this enough, but a malfunctioning API could be the reason for closing your network with trail of very angry partners behind. When you decide to depend on a machinery to do your manual work, make sure it can handle your missions. Echo’s API is the only product in the industry with API Per User and not Per Network, meaning it’s the most powerful API tool for demand collector, reporting API and Live Bulk API.

Syndicate Your Affiliate Tools

If you are in this business long enough, you have probably heard about the Pareto principle more than once. Many affiliate networks had translated this principle into overwhelming their team with affiliate tools for testing, measurement and endless unique features that they must have. But instead of investing time on their core business, affiliate networks have started to get lost in the woods of multi-platform and tools that may increase profit for a specific account in the short term, however it’s a huge deviation from the right Pareto path.

With Echo226 All-in-One Platform there is no need to use different affiliate tools and having to sign in and out from numerous platforms to get the full picture. All information is available in one place. Now you can plan, deliver and optimize based on information on one platform, one dashboard – One Place.

There is a simple reason why Echo’s platform answers all the key issues regarding the affiliate network’s needs. We have entered this market after years as experienced SAAS product providers, and when the performance world was controlled by Right Media and Appnexus (remember them? :)) we came and changed the game. Now we have come to change the Affiliate Network industry with our All-in-One Platform. Give us a chance to show you how it is a game changer both professionally and financially. 

BOOK A DEMO TODAY AND GET A FREE TRIAL

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Make money sending web push notifications with ReachMobi

In an ever-evolving online landscape, niche publishers and content marketers always keep a keen eye towards new revenue-generating opportunities. Monetized web push notifications are a new way to monetize your audience that is well worth looking into.

Leading the way is ReachMobi, a web push notifications provider who’ve built the first web push notifications platform focused on monetization. They offer an innovative solution that publishers and online marketers, desiring to increase their revenue channels, should take a very serious look at.

Check out ReachMobi web push notifications.

Why Web Push Notifications?

Monetized web push notifications bring two significant new advantages to Internet and content marketing:

  1. A new marketing channel via the web browser that allows the marketer to communicate with their users no matter where they are on the web.
  2. A new monetization channel. ReachMobi is the only web push notification provider in the industry that is currently offering a monetization component.

What Are Web Push Notifications?

You’re undoubtedly familiar with push notifications received through mobile devices. Web push notifications function similarly, but are delivered through a web browser rather than an app. You’re probably already noticing many websites asking for your permission to send you web push notifications. Like their mobile counterparts, they offer a headline, description, image and a clickable link. It is this clickable link that provides a pathway to monetization.

One reason publishers and marketers should consider web push notifications as a new marketing channel is due to the decline in the effectiveness of email. Deliverability is one of most significant hurdles. Web push notifications relieve some of these issues. As a result, web push notifications give you the opportunity to acquire subscribers you’re not able to capture with email.

Now that you have an overview of what web push notifications are, let’s look at ReachMobi’s solution and what it offers…

How Monetized Web Push Notifications work with ReachMobi

  1. Messages are sent and delivered in real-time. For sending time-sensitive messages, web push notifications can’t be beat. Since you’re delivering the message directly to your subscriber, deliverability is not an issue. With ReachMobi, you can submit and send your message within five minutes.
  2. Web push notifications are delivered through the web browser. ReachMobi can message your subscribers whether they are on your site or off. You can reach your audience anywhere they are on the web. It’s truly game-changing.
  3. Web push notifications are highly visible. They appear at the corner of the web browser where they don’t go unnoticed. If the user has their browser closed, they will receive the message the next time they engage with their browser. Compare that to email, where you have to wait until users check their email – and even then – they can simply ignore the email and not open it.
  4. Retarget and remarket to your audience. Web push notifications are highly effective at re-engaging visitors due to the ability to reach your audience in real-time, as well as, reaching them no matter where they are on the web.
  5. Growing your audience. A significant portion of visitors today are unlikely to subscribe to an email list. However, an increasing segment of visitors prefer the simplicity of push notifications, especially younger visitors. This is because push notifications are inherently brief, requiring only a moment of time to interact and receive your update. This allows you to grow your audience and gain subscribers you otherwise would not, especially those suffering from email fatigue. The opt-in is one-click easy, and requires no personal information submission on the visitor’s part.
  6. Monetizing your audience. ReachMobi’s web push notification solution adds the ability to earn revenue with the messages you send to your audience. No one else in the industry currently offers this. Not only that, but ReachMobi provides premium advertisers that are targeted to your specific content vertical – meaning, advertising offers that are relevant to your audience. Their programmatic advertising uses specialized analytics and big data to deliver the right offer at the right time to the right audience.

The way to earn revenue with ReachMobi is straightforward. In addition to the web push notifications you send out to your audience, ReachMobi will include one relevant advertising offer per day. You’ll share in the revenue generated by advertising offers on a dynamic basis.

  1. Quality advertisers. ReachMobi’s advertising offers sends to your audience are of the highest caliber. They come from the elite Google and Yahoo top-tier, premium advertisers. These are the top products and brands. Offers are matched with a high degree of relevancy to help ensure they are the type of offers your audience is most likely to respond to. All offers are highly targeted to your specific audience verticals.
  2. Support. ReachMobi has a dedicated team to help ensure your monetization success. Their team will work with you to ensure your messages are optimized to achieve the best possible results. It only makes sense, given that they share the revenue with you. Therefore, your success is their success as well.

ReachMobi’s web push notifications work with Chrome, Firefox, Safari (desktop only), and Android.

In addition, ReachMobi offers a vast library of e-books and articles to help you understand web push notifications, as well as, more advanced information to help you with a complete web push notification marketing and monetization strategy.

Summary: ReachMobi’s Monetized Web Push Notifications

Web push notifications are still a fairly new marketing channel, but is one that is growing rapidly. While ReachMobi is not the only web push notifications provider – they are the only provider in the industry currently focused on monetization. This is a unique revenue-generating opportunity for marketers and publishers alike.  

ReachMobi is not just talking the talk when it comes to monetizing web push notifications. They have literally walked the walk, by using their own solution to help them monetize and grow their own audience of 20 million plus uniques. Bottom line, when it comes to web push, nobody even comes close to ReachMobi.

If you’re looking to explore new opportunities for earning online, check out ReachMobi and their monetized web push notifications.

How to Get Started with Monetized Web Push Notifications

ReachMobi’s web push notification service is free to use and you can send unlimited messages. It’s open to all online publishers. A simple line of JavaScript and you are up and running. ReachMobi’s team will help you integrate if needed.

ReachMobi has a dedicated team who will work with you to ensure that your web push notifications are optimized for successful monetization.

Visit ReachMobi and get started with monetized web push notifications.

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Growth Hack Your Content To a New Level

 

Growth Hacking is a not so new term that is being thrown around the marketing realm, specifically in conjunction with startups. Forget “pivoting” and “iterating.” This newish term is all about, you guessed it, growth and just how fast one can hack their way towards a huge dollar payout.

What does growth hacking mean though?

According to Wikipedia Growth Hacking is:

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. Growth hacking refers to a set of both conventional and unconventional marketing experiments that lead to growth of a business.

Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.

Growth hackers often focus on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. using social media, viral marketing or targeted advertising instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

In layman’s terms, growth hacking is exactly what it sounds like. It is a marketing strategy that focuses specifically on growth, whereas traditional marketing focuses on various forms of growth via attention grabbing and brand building. Growth hacking revolves solely around the numbers and growing your business towards a huge bottom line.

The term was coined by Sean Ellis, who said “a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”  

Basically a growth hackers primary focus is to make their primary metrics go up and in a big way. What makes this type of growth different, (from it’s more corporate counterpart) is the scale in which it must occur. For a startup to be deemed successful it must grow from zero to millions (or more) of users / buyers in just a few years. 

One of the earliest examples of growth hacking can be seen all the way back in 1996. When Hotmail launched, they added a small sentence to every outgoing email with a link back to their homepage.

PS: I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.

Hotmail.com circa 1998 – One of the first Growth Hack examples.

This came at a time when most people had just the one personal email that was connected to their internet provider and was only accessible from their home computer. Hotmail made it possible for anyone and everyone to gain access to a personal email that could be brought up in any web browser from any computer.  

The tagline rocketed their user database from next to nothing to an additional 3,000 users each day. Within six months they had their first million users. By the time they sold to Microsoft, just a year and a half after their initial launch, Hotmail had 12 million users.

How can growth hacking help your content marketing game?

Content marketing is all about using content that is relative to both your audience and your product to drive significant traffic that converts, brings sales, and strengthens your relationships with your customers.

Since both growth hacking and content marketing both have the same end goal – growth – consider using a few of the the same growth hacking methods below to increase your content marketing initiatives.

# Let the data dictate your actions

If you are an avid follower of this blog, or any other digital marketing forum, you have probably had the three T’s pounded in your head more than once. Test, test, test!  You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

In order to hack your content to the next level, you want to use the data and analytics on every single test that you run to make a data-based decision.

Using such tools as:

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media platforms
  • Email statistics

It’s best to gather and use the numbers from every test performed to dictate your future steps towards growth. Let the data decide for you.

#2 Speak to the heart .. and gut of your audience

Appeal to your readers emotions.

Emotional engagement can make a huge difference in the overall success of your content marketing efforts. It’s simple really, by triggering an emotional connection or response in your audience, you can compel them to want to share your content.

According to Cox Blue:

Eliciting an emotional response is an essential element of all successful viral content marketing campaigns. It’s human nature that people want to share the experiences that stir their emotions by communicating them to others. When people develop strong, deep feelings like surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy around an experience or message, social sharing becomes impulsive.”

Try these simple tools:

  • Visual content – both static and in motion.
  • Create a mixture of both words and images.
  • Use visual social media platforms to distribute your content – Pinterest & Instagram

#3 Write killer headlines

Yeah, I know this sounds like old news, but there is value in it. It’s crazy how much is riding on your headline, that’s it’s worth reiterating here.

If you screw up, and flub on that one bit of text, you might very well have lost your chance at ever achieving a real content hack.

Take Hotmail’s “PS: I love you,” footer for example, granted it wasn’t a headline but it had the same power as one.  With the addition of just six words at the bottom of every Hotmail email sent, the product itself became Hotmail’s promotion and distribution channel.  

Upworthy.com: The Sweet Science Of Virality

Upwothy.com is also a great go-to source for learning the important task of crafting a killer headline.  In their slide deck The Sweet Science Of Virality, they stress the importance of the headline over and over. For each post, Upworthy crafts a minimum of 25 different headlines. They then pick two and run a simple A/B split test.

The full Upworthy presentation is an excellent source of knowledge and worth the read.

 

Conclusion

Content marketing has changed and molded the way businesses today operate online. And while it’s possibilities can be somewhat amazing, it’s also not a cake walk.  It takes hard work, dedication, and an open-minded approach to earn results.

By using the best tools, ingredients, and effort, one can create a better path to successful content. The growth hacks above will ease your journey to that success, which means more subscribers, traffic and of course growth.

What are you doing to hack your content marketing growth? We would love to hear about it in the contents below. And of course don’t’ forget to share this article with all your fellow content marketing friends.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Content CreationComments (1)

FTC Drops Hammer on SPAM Email Marketing and Unsubstantiated Weight-Loss Claims by Diet-Pill Marketer

The FTC has announced that three Florida-based affiliate marketers charged with using unlawful SPAM email, false weight-loss claims and phony celebrity endorsements to market bogus weight-loss products will pay $500,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges.  Terms of the settlement also prohibits the defendants from the deceptive advertising and marketing tactics alleged in the complaint.

According to the FTC’s complaint the individual and corporate defendants paid affiliate marketers to send consumers millions of illegal SPAM emails from hacked email accounts, making it appear that the messages came from the consumers’ family members, friends, or other contacts.  The email messages linked to what purported to be a “news story.”

However, the links actually led to websites that the FTC alleges deceptively promoted the defendants’ unsubstantiated weight-loss products (e.g., Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean).

According to the Commission the websites deceptively claimed that the defendants’ products could cause rapid weight loss.

As set forth in the complaint, the websites also falsely represented that the products had been featured or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey or the hosts of the television show “The Doctors.”  The FTC alleges that these weight-loss claims were false and unsubstantiated, and that the featured celebrities had no affiliation with the defendants’ products.

The FTC alleged that the defendants’ email practices violated both the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM Act.

The settlement also sets forth that the defendants: must possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up any health of efficacy claims they make in the future; are barred from falsely representing that any health claims have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; are required to preserve all scientific evidence used to support health claims made for their products; are prohibited from misrepresenting, or helping anyone else misrepresent, that a product or program has been endorsed or approved by specific celebrities, that testimonials reflect typical consumer experience, that any website or other publication is an objective news report when it is actually an advertisements, and that independent tests demonstrate a product’s effectiveness.

The order further prohibits the defendants from making a range of misrepresentations about their products, including their total cost, as well as claims related to refunds or cancellation terms.  The order  specifies how the defendants must monitor their affiliate marketers in the future, and bars them from violating the CAN-SPAM Act in the way alleged in the complaint.

Finally, the order imposes a judgment of $1,303,822.98 against the defendants, which will be partially suspended upon payment of $500,000 to the Commission.  The full amount will become due if they are later found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

If you are the subject of an Attorney General or FTC investigation or enforcement action, contact an FTC Defense Lawyer to ensure that your matter is handled properly and proactively, from the start.

Copies of the complaint and order can be seen, here and here.

Richard B. Newman is an Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense attorney at                 Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising and digital media matters. His practice includes conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns, representing clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General, commercial litigation, advising clients on promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements.

HINCH NEWMAN LLP. ADVERTISING MATERIAL. These materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. No person should act or rely on any information in this article without seeking the advice of an attorney. Information on previous case results does not guarantee a similar future result.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, LegalComments (0)

Content Marketing Trends to Follow in 2017

As a content marketer it is not only a good rule of thumb to keep up on current trends, but also to look forward into the future for helpful tips that could very well either make your marketing agenda or brake it.

For instance, what trends will carry over from this year to help shape your plans for 2017? What new advancements will change the way marketers operate or carry out their current plans?

While it’s true that we don’t have a crystal ball or some fancy-schmancy scientific doo-dad to tell us the future of the ever-changing world of content marketing, there are plenty of strategies gaining momentum heading into this new year.

The current research shows that content marketers are becoming more effective in their efforts, with 62 percent of B2B marketers alone feeling more confident than in previous years.  Eighty-five percent of those marketers stated they believed enhanced content to be the key to success. And changing it up was the winning formula for 72 percent of them.

So how can you, as a content marketer, get a leg up in the coming year?

Personalization

Regardless of the industry, personalization is here to stay.  In the content marketing space, this has less to do with writing the customer’s name on their product and more to do with creating content specifically tailored to the targeted audience.  Content that will not only engage them, but also speak volumes to their personal or professional life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do they care about?
  • What do they most desire to “fix”?

Content marketing is often about helping others ease their fears and anxieties or fixing a specific problem they are searching out the answers for.  Appealing to your target audience is a powerful way to show individuals that you understand and wish to offer a solution to their situation.

Quality

Quality content is nothing new, in fact it is something that is likely hammered into our heads the most.  Sure, you can churn out trash content all day long without any issues.  But will that actually bring in the views? Probably not.

With so many voices in the crowd, you have to try even harder to not only be heard but to be taken seriously. 2017 will be no different.  It will be equally, if not more so, important to create only high-quality content in order to get noticed.

Going Live via Streaming

2016 was the birth of Facebook live with all it’s bumps and hurdles.  For instance, getting someone to click on your content (whether live or static) is one thing, but how do you get them to stick around for more?

Data from Social Media Today showed that people spend almost triple the amount of time watching live video on Facebook than they do watching recorded content.

Let’s face it, people are spending incredible chunks of time watching live streaming via Facebook, Periscope, YouTube Live, and SnapChat.  So why not capitalize on this knowledge?

Email

I personally am so tired of hearing the phrase: “Email is dead.”  Really? Then explain the numerous studies that suggest otherwise.

According to Campaign Monitor, BuzzFeed added over 1 million new email subscribers in 2016 alone. How and Why?  The answer is simply, with social media channels moving further and further towards revenue growth, brands have very little control over communicating with their fans and followers. So what does that leave you? Email.

The Washington Post, for example, has over 75 e-newsletters, while The New York Times has 12 people dedicated solely to churning out newsletters for their subscribers. So while there will probably always be those nay-sayers squawking that email is dead, the media is telling us otherwise.

What trends do you expect to see in 2017? We would love to hear about them in the comments below. 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Content Creation, Email Marketing, Social Media MarketingComments (1)

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