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AFFILIATE MARKETING

Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

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affiliate link building how to do it the right way via juliaemccoy scaled

Affiliate link building is like commissioned sales for the 21st century.

The concept is simple: With an affiliate marketing program, brands and businesses select leading influencers to promote a service or product by using a unique affiliate link.

Affiliate link building provides businesses an opportunity to earn additional sales through user-generated content. Profits are shared with influencers based on the number of links clicked or purchases made.

3 Benefits of Affiliate Link Building

Affiliate marketing is an effective way to gain exposure, drive traffic, boost conversions, and increase sales.

Let’s take a look at the three main reasons your business should be using affiliate link building strategies.

1. Easy Tracking

Affiliate marketing tracking software monitors the affiliate program and tracks links. When your company joins an affiliate network, the network’s program tracks the numbers for you.

Being able to track the effectiveness of each campaign or influencer is an essential part of an effective affiliate marketing strategy.

Some affiliate marketing programs provide detailed reports based on different marketing tools used, such as text links or banners.

Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

2. Targeted Ads

If your business is running an in-house affiliate program, you have the freedom to accept influencers to join your program based on their reach and relevance.

When your business is partnered with an influencer through an affiliate network, there are steps in place to ensure that the influencer will reach your target audience through their content.

When an influencer creates new content using their affiliate link, their campaign (your advertisement) has the potential to reach your target audience in high volumes through channels like social media and the influencer’s website.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Affiliate link building can boost conversions and increase sales with minimum effort and investment.

When setting your business’s marketing budget, consider these four costs for affiliate marketing:

Platform

Will you be running an in-house program, or joining an affiliate network?

Running an in-house program may be more expensive and take more time initially, but is lower-cost in the long run.

It gives your business full control over every aspect of the affiliate program and enables you to communicate directly with your influencers.

Joining an affiliate network is much cheaper to begin with, but might not be as cost-effective in the long run, since the network itself does take a fee.

This means a lot of the initial work is done for you, including selecting influencers, tracking, reports, and even issuing payments.

Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

Creatives

Whether you choose to run an in-house program or join a network, your affiliate marketing program will require creatives.

That is, graphics and images for banners, copy for text links, videos and flash content, and any other tools that your influencers may use to promote your service or product.

Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

Product Feeds or Landing Pages

If you’re running an in-house program, provide a detailed product feed to your influencers, including product names and descriptions, prices, categories, and creatives associated with the product.

The product feed serves as a resource for influencers when they’re preparing a new campaign.

If your business is selling a service or has a limited number of products, another option is to set up a unique landing page for each influencer.

Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

Program Management & Compensation

Your business will need to hire an Affiliate Marketing Manager to:

  • Recruit and onboard influencers.
  • Create and monitor rules and policies.
  • Communicate with affiliates (or with the network).
  • Regularly update and optimize the affiliate program.
  • And more.

And you’ll need to compensate your influencers!

Profits are shared with influencers based on the number of links clicked or purchases made, at a rate that you choose.

Keep in mind that if the commission rate is too low, many influencers may opt-out.

How to Start Affiliate Link Building (Correctly)

Keep in mind that like any other marketing tactic, there’s a right way – and a wrong way – to start affiliate marketing.

Now that you understand why your business should be using affiliate link building strategies, let’s take a look at how to implement affiliate link building strategies.

1. Have a Plan

Your first step is to get organized.

Implementing any new marketing strategy without a plan of action is a recipe for disaster, and it isn’t any different for an affiliate marketing strategy.

Plan your budget, decide which platform you’ll use, determine how you’ll select influencers, and set your commission rates.

Create a timeline and a content calendar, design your creatives, and watch your competitors. The time you put into planning your strategy is invaluable and will set you up for success.

2. Communicate Consistently

Your Affiliate Marketing Manager should be an expert communicator.

They need to:

  • Be willing to reach out to your influencers personally.
  • Always keep your influencers updated on new products or campaigns.
  • Provide current copy and creatives.

Many companies use forums or private Facebook groups to communicate with their influencers.

3. Build Relationships

The Affiliate Marketing Manager needs to be willing to assist your influencers and provide support when needed.

Asking your affiliates questions and sending polls to request feedback will let them know that your business can be trusted, you’re listening, and you want to work with them.

When you begin affiliate marketing, your influencers are partnering with you. Their voice is your asset.

4. Be Open to Change

Monitoring and checking numbers and metrics is crucial to the success of an affiliate marketing program.

You need to be able to understand what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll have to make decisions based on new information about your KPIs and ROI.

Follow each campaign with a keen eye. Run some A/B tests with different campaigns and different influencers.

Using affiliate marketing doesn’t mean a business gets to sit back and watch while their numbers increase. Get involved and be open to making changes to your strategy.

It’s Time to Build Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy

Affiliate link building is a growing and ever-evolving channel of marketing that more brands and businesses are integrating into their overall marketing strategies.

There’s a lot of freedom with affiliate marketing: you decide which strategies to implement – and which influencers you want to work with – for your content and exposure.

Affiliate link building is about performance marketing, with a focus on content that is going to reach your target audience naturally, benefiting both your business and your affiliates.

Summary

Timeframe: Month 8, then ongoing monthly

Results detected: 4-12 months

Average links per month: 30

Tools:

  • Affiliate marketing platform
  • Affiliate marketing tracking software

Benefits:

  • Easy tracking
  • Targeted Ads
  • Cost-effectiveness
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How to Create Effective Recognition Programs for Startup Founders

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How to Create Effective Recognition Programs for Startup Founders

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the bustling world of startups, the concept of “sweat equity” often buzzes in the background, unrecognized yet vital. Founders pour their time, expertise and relentless energy into building their ventures from the ground up. While financial investments are typically acknowledged and rewarded, the non-financial contributions — or sweat equity — of these entrepreneurs are just as crucial for success but often go unnoticed.

The recent surge in tech layoffs and its impact on the startup ecosystem is a testament to sweat equity. In 2024, the tech industry has experienced a significant wave of layoffs, with 60,000 job cuts across 254 companies, including major players like Tesla, Amazon and Google. This development highlights the precarious nature of tech and startup employment, underscoring the importance of acknowledging and valuing the non-financial investments that founders make in their startups.

Additionally, Microsoft’s recent initiatives, such as the Startups Founders Hub, demonstrate a growing recognition of the challenges founders face and the support they require. This program provides up to $150,000 in Azure credits to help founders develop their startups without heavy initial investments, emphasizing the value of supporting the non-financial contributions that drive innovation.

Related: How Startups Can Boost Team Morale and Drive Success Through Recognition

Understanding (and recognizing) sweat equity

Sweat equity is not just about the number of hours logged; it encompasses all the non-financial investments founders make in their startups. This includes the late nights, the strategic decisions made in the wee hours of the morning, the continuous learning and adapting, and the personal sacrifices. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, over 80% of startups are bootstrapped, which means founders are both chief executives and chief investors of their time and skills.

Recognizing the immense value of sweat equity is a strategic move. A survey conducted by Gallup and Workhuman found that companies with high employee recognition levels are 20 times more likely to be engaged as employees who receive poor recognition. When founders feel valued for their non-financial contributions, it boosts their morale and loyalty, directly influencing their enthusiasm and commitment to the venture. Recognizing these efforts fosters an environment where the intrinsic rewards of entrepreneurship are celebrated alongside the financial gains.

Creating a recognition program for founders should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. It should be as unique as the startup itself, reflecting its culture and growth stage. For instance, a tech company might recognize breakthrough innovations with annual corporate awards, while a social enterprise might highlight efforts toward social impact. Buffer, a social media management tool well-known for its transparency, extends this value into recognizing its founders by openly sharing the challenges and successes in their monthly blogs, which not only recognizes the founders’ efforts but also engages the community in their journey.

Related: From Launch to Succession: Tips for Building a Thriving Business

How to pump up your recognition efforts

By integrating a few detailed action steps and leveraging insights from successful companies, you can create a robust recognition program that acknowledges the hard work of founders while driving your startup toward greater success and cohesion. Consider the following:

1. Assess current recognition practices:

Before crafting a new recognition program, conduct a thorough assessment of existing practices within your startup. According to a Gallup study, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. This highlights a significant gap in recognition at many organizations. Start by surveying founders and key stakeholders to understand what is currently working and what isn’t. This initial feedback will serve as a baseline for developing a more impactful recognition strategy.

2. Develop personalized programs aligned with values:

Personalization is key in recognition programs. A study by Deloitte found that organizations with high-performing recognition practices are 12 times more likely to have strong business outcomes. Take inspiration from companies like Zappos, which tailors recognition strategies to match its corporate values and unique culture. For instance, Zappos offers “Co-Worker Bonus Programs” where employees can award each other monetary bonuses for going above and beyond. Aligning the program with your startup’s values ensures it resonates well with the founders and reinforces the behaviors that are critical to your startup’s success.

3. Foster peer recognition and celebrate achievements:

Peer recognition can significantly enhance workplace morale and productivity. A report from SHRM/Globoforce found that peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. Encourage a culture where founders and team members frequently acknowledge each other’s efforts. This can be facilitated through platforms like Bonusly, where employees can give each other micro-bonuses that add up to meaningful rewards. Celebrating achievements, big and small, ensures ongoing motivation and engagement.

4. Continuously evaluate and adapt recognition efforts:

Effective recognition programs require ongoing evaluation to stay relevant and impactful. Regularly gather feedback through surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews to understand the effectiveness of your recognition efforts. Companies like Salesforce exemplify this approach through their “V2MOM” (Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures) process, which involves continuous feedback and goal alignment across the company. This method ensures that all team members, including founders, are aligned and can contribute to the evolution of recognition efforts. By maintaining a dynamic feedback loop, you can make data-driven adjustments to the program, ensuring it evolves with your startup’s needs and continues to motivate and inspire your team.

Related: The Psychological Impact of Recognition on Employee Motivation and Engagement — 3 Key Insights for Leaders

By using such a dynamic and inclusive approach, startups can ensure their recognition programs remain effective and responsive to the needs of their founders and team members.

Developing a founders’ recognition program is about nurturing a culture that values each drop of sweat that goes into a startup. Such a culture accelerates growth and cements a foundation of loyalty and mutual respect that can endure the challenges typical of the startup world. As startups continue to evolve, the recognition of every contribution, financial or otherwise, will remain a cornerstone of sustainable success.

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These Website Mistakes Could Be Costing You Thousands. Here’s How to Maximize Your Return and Drive More Sales.

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These Website Mistakes Could Be Costing You Thousands. Here's How to Maximize Your Return and Drive More Sales.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re losing thousands of dollars on your website and might not even know it. You have a site and a marketing team, and traffic is flowing in. But your site — and business — may fail because you’re losing customers and conversions.

How?

Leads fail to convert because of poor user interface, slow speeds and bad design practices. If your site isn’t optimized for SEO, it gets even worse: leads will never land on the site in the first place.

How much does a website cost?

Small websites cost $500 to $5,000. Your costs will vary depending on whether you use a template, hire a developer and the complexity of the site. Sites with hundreds of pages, expert optimization and design can cost $10,000 to $20,000. Your initial investment can’t be recuperated if your site isn’t optimized properly or set up to convert leads into sales.

Site visitors have higher expectations, and there is a growing list of requirements that sites must meet. You need a snappy site, and it must be accessible. However, you also need to capture the right data from your forms, continually optimize your site and fill in the leaks that are causing you to lose money.

Related: 3 Powerful SEO Techniques That Will Boost Your Website’s Search Engine Ranking

Is your website investment worth it?

Small business owners lose customers, even with a well-functioning website, because they don’t know how to utilize the data available to them. So, after all, is your website investment worth it, and if yes, how can you make sure you get an ROI?

Nobody tells you that web forms can cost you a lot of money

Forms are boring input fields to failing site owners and a goldmine to successful ones. What are leads doing when they enter data into the form? Are errors causing potential customers or clients to leave the site? According to WP Forms, more than 67% of site visitors will abandon your form forever if they encounter any complications; only 20% will follow up with the company in some way. Analyzing how users interact with forms is especially critical for small businesses, which may not have as many opportunities as larger corporations. They can identify common issues such as broken forms, confusing fields or errors. This insight allows small businesses to simplify and optimize the form-filling process, improving the overall user experience and significantly increasing the chances of conversion. Thankfully, you can use a form tracking system that will help to pinpoint problems with data entry and missed opportunities, ensuring that small businesses are not carelessly losing leads.

Testing your forms and sales funnel regularly can save you a lot of money if you fix issues that are found in the test phase.

Data is the king of website optimization

Analytic data is king of website optimization, but you need to know what to look for and how to make changes. For example, if you have a high bounce rate, your site may look like it was designed in 1999, or it takes 15 seconds to load.

Bounce rate means users are leaving the site on the page of entry, and you have multiple areas of potential improvement.

Review your site speed and follow PageSpeed Insights’ recommendations to optimize your site. Try to bring loading time down to two to three seconds at most. Complex navigation and poor-quality landing pages can also cost you sales. Work with a copywriter to optimize your sales funnel copy.

Data will help businesses to pinpoint exactly where users engage most frequently and where they face obstacles. With careful analysis of this data, companies can optimize every aspect of their website, from navigation to content.

Important aspects of a high-converting website

High-converting websites have a lot in common:

Content

Expertly written content, with the help of a copywriter, will allow you to hit on the pain points of leads and close more sales. Hooks and storytelling from an experienced copywriter can help you turn a low-performing sales funnel into one that exceeds sales forecasts.

Design

Poor design practices cause sites to fail. Yahoo! is a prime example. The site was once Google’s biggest competitor, but with the bland and outdated design, the bounce rate was high, and people flocked to Google.

Work with a design team to create a functional, feature-rich site that appeals to your target demographic.

Lead capture forms

High-converting sites use lead capture forms to collect basic information about visitors, such as their email or phone number.

In exchange for providing information, leads receive something valuable in return, such as a discount or free eBook.

Once a user provides their email address or phone number, you can start nurturing them and eventually convert them into a customer. It’s important to note again that receiving instant notifications about broken forms and issues is a solution to avoid losing potential customers.

Related: 9 SEO Tips to Help You Rank No. 1 on Google in 2024

Call-to-action: More than just a button

Call-to-actions (CTAs) tell visitors what to do next, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase or scheduling a consultation. They play a crucial role in improving your site’s conversion rates.

Without them, visitors would leave your site without taking action, resulting in lost opportunities to convert leads.

To increase conversions, CTAs must be clear and concise and use action-oriented language, like “Buy now” or “Contact us.” Tell your visitors exactly what to do next so there’s no confusion and they feel confident taking the next step.

CTAs are highly effective at improving conversion rates, but visitor behavior can change over time. Testing and optimizing your site’s CTAs can help maximize your conversion rate and adapt and change as user behavior changes.

Make sure that you’re engaging in A/B testing to determine which CTA works best for your audience.

You must respond to leads right away

Research shows that 78% of customers purchase from the first responder. Surveys also show that the highest-ranking companies in lead response audit reports respond to leads in 30 minutes or less. The quicker you respond, the better. Conversion rates can be as much as eight times higher if you respond in the first five minutes.

Every minute that passes increases the chance that the lead will move on to a competitor.

How can you improve your lead response time? Start by automating your lead qualification process to identify and prioritize high-quality leads. Track the lead from start to finish and pinpoint the issues that leads are facing. Set response time goals, train your reps, and streamline your lead management processes to reach out to leads as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

You spend thousands of dollars on a website. To maximize your return, you must ensure that your site has all the right elements to increase conversion rates. Once you have these elements in place, you must respond to leads immediately to seal the deal.

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What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every U.S. State: Report

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What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every U.S. State: Report

Sometimes, it’s not just about finding a job that pays well, it’s all about location.

A new report from Career.io shows that compensation for the same job can vary from state to state, so where a job is located can really matter, especially if you’re trying to maximize your earnings.

The report matches pay to location by figuring out which jobs yield the highest average salary in each state compared to the national average.

The result is a map of the jobs with the highest earning potential specific to every U.S. state.

Credit: Career.io

The map shows the professions in each state with the highest differences between the average statewide salary and the national average pay.

Related: These Jobs Have the Highest Entry-Level Salaries

Every state has a minimum of one job that pays at least 25% more than the national average.

In midwestern states, such as Minnesota and Indiana, medical professionals make more than they would in other parts of the country.

Physicians take home 38.63% more pay in Indiana, and dermatologists make 56.98% more in Minnesota than either profession makes on average in the U.S.

Related: College Graduates Make the Most Money in These U.S. States

Three states have jobs in business and finance that pay more than 50% more than the national average.

Alaska pays personal financial advisors 66.69% more, Nebraska pays credit counselors 59.46% more, and New York pays credit analysts 50.98% more than the U.S. average overall for those occupations.

1716944163 691 What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every US StateCredit: Career.io

Here are the highest-paying jobs in some of the most populated U.S. states and how much more (%) each job pays than the national average.

1. California

Craft artists: 89.06%

2. Florida

Quarry rock splitters: 42.40%

3. New York

Crane and tower operators: 109.03%

4. Pennsylvania

Iron and rebar workers: 65.30%

5. Illinois

Hoist and winch operators: 71.79%

6. Ohio

Mathematical science occupations: 40.46%

7. Georgia

Cloak room attendants: 52.49%

8. North Carolina

Healthcare practitioners and all other technical workers: 34.49%

9. Michigan

Plant and system operators: 63.48%

10. New Jersey

Floor layers: 90.03%

Click here for the full list.

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