30+ Crucial Video Marketing Trends You Must Know in 2018

Social media and video marketing are something of a hot item right now. As the demand for video content grow bigger, many social media are bending over backward to build a steady flow of user-generated content in their platforms.

Let’s take for example LinkedIn. They began implementing native video upload and playback support early in 2017 for individual profiles, and later that year for company profiles. If you were not aware, LinkedIn used to only support videos linked from external websites.

Another example is Facebook’s effort to support creators by launching a new Creator’s App. This app offers several features including:

  • Custom intro and outro for your live broadcast.
  • Unified inbox and comment management for Facebook and Instagram.
  • Create an editorial plan for your content.
  • And a bunch of other creator-oriented features that you can check at their Creator’s App page.

You might be wondering right now why there’s this craze about social media video marketing in every single marketing blog you’re subscribed to.

There are many factors that drive people’s demand for more videos, they include: more affordable technology, cheaper internet, popular culture. Here are some numbers that shows the large demand for videos on social media:

Social media is not just about video. Sure, videos are dominant traffic for most platforms but there’s more to it than that. You can share a video you like with a friend, interchange comments with other users, and share your own thought about the video by reposting it. Any television network arguably has bigger library of content to watch, but social media offers more than solitary TV-watching session.

Our Xpert, Tanya Williams, explains that there are many free and low-cost platforms available to help you create professional and engaging video content for your business or personal brand.

Check out her class: Getting Started With Video Marketing and learn how to curate the best video marketing strategy out there!

Breadnbeyond, an explainer video company, has curated 30+ of the most relevant statistics on the state of social media video marketing in 2018 in an incredibly handy infographic. Check it out and tell us your thoughts:

Infographic Video Marketing Trends

A Complete Facebook Image Sizes and Dimensions Cheatsheet For 2018

Digital commerce, whether dropshipping, as an affiliate, or selling your own products, depends on a strong and relatable social media marketing game.

Social media is a great way to spread your content and build your brand’s reputation, especially Facebook. Starting your account can be daunting – profile picture, cover photo, infographics, ads, the list of required content goes on. Each one has different requirements for descriptions, sizes, and settings.

Lucky for us, we found this incredible infographic outlining all the Facebook image dimensions for every Facebook graphic available, including profile pictures, cover photos, ad types, helpful tips, and description/links character counts.

It is the ultimate Facebook Cheatsheet for Facebook image sizes and dimensions.

It gives you little known tips and tricks that will make your brand stand out from the crowd: like adding video and sound to your profile picture. It will also show you how to format your ads to bring the most vibrancy out of them and increase engagement.

Mobile reactivity is important as more and more people are relying on their phones for exploring social media, so they made sure to cover those dimensions, too.

Last, they have also included the character limits for Ad Text, descriptions, and links so you can plan with them with confidence and know you are getting the most out of these small spaces.

With this handy infographic resource, you can sit down and plan your Facebook marketing strategy, quickly assemble graphics like pictures, videos, and add them to your account in a short time while being confident your images are all the correct sizes and will transfer between mobile and desktop beautifully.

Social media marketing can be intimidating and a frustrating process if you don’t have a plan. We are all about helping you get a killer plan in place with tools like our Facebook Infographic.

Facebook Image Sizes And Dimensions 2018
Facebook Image Sizes And Dimensions For 2018

This infographic was sent to us by Rebecca Hill, the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. While she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Blue Jays.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Reb_Hill

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rrrebeccahill/

All About Global Knowledge Training and Why You Should Take Advantage of It

Knowledge Training Person Holding Lightbulb

What Is Global Knowledge Training?

Wonder what it would be like to learn a trade or skill from a professional who’s across the world, simply by the touch of your keyboard? Welcome to the world of global knowledge training. By use of the internet and through global knowledge training platforms (just like Zeqr), information can easily be delivered from one party to another.

A teacher from a different country can share his or her education with you and help you learn a job or technique that has always interested you. Through the World Wide Web and the right professional (who resides ANYWHERE), you can be informed and become an expert in a trade like never before.

The best part of online learning is that pretty much ALL types of lessons are available. Because you have options of experts who are all over the globe, your choices are limitless. There is a class on any topic and you can become a student by the click of your mouse:

The point is that no matter what skill you are trying to acquire, there is a class for it! You could want to learn how to succeed in a new profession, or you could just want to pick up a hobby to pursue during free time. Whatever it is you would like to learn, you can do it through a knowledge training platform.

Green Cactus Reading Learning New Skills

And although the examples of classes listed are from Zeqr, there are MANY other global knowledge training centers. Lynda consists of industry experts who can teach you creative skills, along with practices associated with business and technology.

And of course, Global Training Center (the website’s name says it all) holds webinars led by instructors who have over 20 years of experience in the business world. You not only have options of the instructors to choose, but also the platform to learn from. What’s there to lose when you have so many opportunities?

Why You Should Take Advantage of Global Knowledge Training

There are SO many reasons why you should take advantage of online learning. Taking classes via the Internet is convenient and lets you choose exactly what you’ll be learning.

 Online Learning Notebook and Laptop
Online Learning Notebook and Laptop

A Global Hub of Expertise

With elearning, you are receiving lessons, tips, and advice from ANYONE across the ENTIRE globe! You as a student can learn from a teacher who lives essentially anywhere on this earth. It’s a cool concept, right? But it’s not just a cool concept, it’s an excellent and positive opportunity and experience.

See a trainer on the Internet or social media who you admire or follow and want to learn directly from him or her? Guess what…you can! Most professionals offer elearning classes that you can sign up for. And you SHOULD! You’ll be learning from the best of the best.

The advantage of taking tips from someone who lives in a different area is that he or she will have a different outlook and take on things. A skill that is taught where you live will be taught differently in an area that is not yours.

Group Learning Global Online Hub
Group Learning Global Online Hub

We are all brought up with lessons, and each country’s (or even state’s) is unique. A learning process that is taught where you live may not work for you, but if you are able to see the way a lesson is taught in a different region, you could prosper in education.

Overall, you’ll be getting an experience like no other because you’ll be exposed to the top teachers and can be taught different methods that you were not even aware of before. You are connecting as human beings from new and exciting regions of the world and exchanging ideas that are helpful. This is not just beneficial. This is a global hub of expertise.

Convenience, Convenience….and MORE Convenience

Do you have a busy schedule juggling a full-time or even part-time job? Do you have a family to take care of, an agenda that swallows up most of your days? If you’re a person who has limited time but truly wants to learn a new skill, taking an online class is the best choice for you.

You can take classes on your own time, practice the trade by your own hours and decide when to devote time to learning. Picking when you learn will make starting something new practical and realistic. In-person training does not revolve around your current schedule, and when real life chimes in with unexpected events, it’s hard to stick to learning if your only option is to take advice face to face.

Global knowledge training helps you arrange learning on your own time, making it simple to stick to and easy to achieve your goals. Do you work a 9-5 and have more time in the evening than in the morning? Sign up for a class and take control of your computer at nighttime. Do you have duties to fulfill later in the day, such as a part-time job, etc.? Sign up for a class and learn from a true expert during morning hours. Online classes can be done on YOUR OWN time, making it the most convenient method for training.

You Can Learn ANYTHING

As mentioned before, the variety of classes offered online is ridiculously impressive. There are experts in ALL fields who are willing to teach you everything that they know about a certain field. No matter how unique the job or skill is that you want to know more about, there is an expert online who is willing to teach you.

The Cost You’ll Pay

The truth about global knowledge training is that most online classes are extremely reasonable. In comparison to signing up for a course at a university, elearning classes are much more worth the money, as they are less expensive and offer SO much information. Though the classes do not cost as much as an in-person course, the information that you’ll be fed is just as, if not more, helpful. After all, the advice you’ll be given is directly from an expert.

With all the advantages that come along with global knowledge training, why not give it a try? This present-day method of learning is here to stay, so you might as well.

4 Tips to Becoming a Successful Graphic Designer Online

Are you a creative and artistic person who has always been intrigued by graphic design? Does the idea of becoming a graphic designer excite you, but you’re unsure of how to begin? There’s good news for you and so many other people like you.

Starting a career or even just a hobby that’s associated with graphic art is now at your fingertips – literally! Online graphic design classes are turning innovative people like yourself into designers each day.

The idea of attending school in person to learn graphic design may seem scary and intimidating to most…which is understandable, and the reason why online classes, tutorials or educational videos could possibly be the best choice for you. There’s no need to sit in a classroom with textbooks any longer. You can learn how to become a graphic designer online.

The first and obvious way to learn graphic design via the Internet is to take actual online courses offered through a university or school. This may seem promising to most, and also a little more credible to employers when you are applying for positions in the future. So, there is nothing wrong with enrolling for classes taught by professors at a college.

This is a great option for many who enjoy a rigid schedule and need some extra motivation throughout the learning process. However, for those who do not wish to spend extreme dollars on an education in graphic design and also would appreciate a more flexible schedule, learning the art by oneself through online classes is an awesome option.

There are many platforms that can help you learn the art of graphic design through the Internet on your own time. Are you a person who learns best through lectures and enjoys listening to a knowledgeable individual share information? Sign up for a Basic Design Course with Paulami Roychoudhury and take notes during your live video session. The intelligent instructor also offers a Basics Designing in the Corporate World to help you learn the fundamentals of transforming into a solo designer.

Looking to be informed of different graphic programs to use in order to be successful in the field? Sign up to learn how to Be Creative in Digital Arts and Fine Arts with Tatti Lobanova. Do you have not a clue how to work your way around an Adobe InDesign file and want to know how to go about using the program? Chad Chelius can show you how with Adobe InDesign Fundamentals.

These courses including live videos are prime examples of how easy it can be to learn an art via the Internet. But of course, you need to stay determined and be willing to work hard in order to become an expert at any new technique or in any field.

If you have realized that becoming a graphic designer online is a good choice for you, these four general tips will help you throughout the process. Though simple, these little tricks can surely aid in achieving your goal of learning how to maneuver your way around graphic design.

When learning, use materials that show visuals.

If you read course material or details before viewing a tutorial, it’s useful to take advantage of materials that also include visuals. Different parts of the brain absorb various types of information. One part of the brain processes text as you read, while the other takes in imagery. Both are needed to properly be educated on a topic. If you read copy and then view a picture that displays what you just read, it’s much easier to learn a new skill. Visuals are always helpful when reading text, especially in graphic design. It’s a practice of art, right? So, it only makes sense to view art while learning.

Indoor workspace

During tutorials or live sessions, take notes.

Some will say that they learn solely by listening, but taking notes is never a harmful idea. While watching a video or even interacting with someone through a live video, there is only so much information that you can take in and remember. If you write down steps or notes throughout the learning experience, you have resources to go back to when trying to perform the task on your own. You don’t want to waste time repeatedly watching a video.

In addition, if you are doing a live session (which most online design classes are based on), you will not get another chance to learn the exact information that was just taught, unless you take the course again. It’s stressful to try to remember everything in one shot. Your mind will be at ease knowing that you have written down the lesson.

Always be clever and unafraid to try new methods.

Becoming a graphic designer is all about learning your own style. Learn the rules and then color outside of the lines. Try combining new colors or typefaces, click around on computer programs that you’re implementing to create art and do not be afraid to take risks.

Your online classes will teach you the proper use of programs and the typical rules of thumb to follow while designing. However, it’s fun and enlightening to learn on your own as well. You can create your own sense that will be appealing to the crowds you want to impress and the needs you want to serve.

A piece of advice is to follow the rules you have been taught for a while, but once you feel more comfortable, go ahead and step outside of the box. Stepping outside of your comfort zone could lead to fond discoveries!

And last, ask questions.

The pro of taking online design classes or learning through live videos is that you have the advantage and ability to ask questions. If you decide to take a course through a school, the teacher will without a doubt be happy to share as much knowledge as possible. But that can only occur if you ask questions.

And the same goes for online live sessions. Instructors are there for a reason, and that is to teach you to the best of their ability. If you ask questions, your chance of learning more quickly is higher.

Ready to become a graphic designer via the Internet? With so many outlets and opportunities to do so, there’s nothing to lose and only to gain.

4 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills

Last night we saw the American president, Donald Trump, deliver an important speech: the State of the Union. Even though his presentation skills were okay while giving the message, we were quick to compare him to former president Barack Obama—a fantastic public speaker. And now, we can’t help but wonder: how does someone become a great speaker, with such outstanding communication skills?

First, let me ask you something.

Does the thought of public speaking cause your heart to beat a little faster, your palms to start sweating, and your head to feel lighter?

If your response is  ‘yes’, don’t worry—you are among the 75% of individuals who suffer from speech anxiety.

The good news is that you are not alone. The bad news is that you won’t be able to avoid facing some public speaking in your lifetime. Whether you’re a business professional, a student, or a volunteer, you will need to deal with public speaking at one point or another.

Public speaking is an excellent way for you to position yourself as an expert and, frankly, a necessary skill to master. Renowned speakers, such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy were successful in their quest to inspire and influence a mass of people because they knew how to share their thoughts and deliver their message.

You’ve probably heard of all the tricks out there: picture the audience naked, admit you’re nervous, don’t look at the audience members in the eye, etc. But do any of them really work?

Maybe for some.

The team behind the Zeqr knowledge sharing platform has perfected the journey of becoming a great speaker and has prepared this article to make you a great speaker, too! Don’t let your fear of public speaking get in the way of a promotion, a good grade, or another successful outcome

So, without further ado, here are some essential tips on how you can improve your public speaking skills.

Know Your Audience

First and foremost, a great speaker is someone who knows their audience. What does this mean exactly? Well, your audience will differ from a situation to situation. A group of executives will be much different than a group of college students. The message that will resonate with each group can be the same, but the delivery can differ if you want to register with each respective listener successfully.

Prepare For Public Speaking

Having the right type of content is only half the battle. To ensure that you have the right tools to deliver your message, it is highly recommended that you invest in live online communication skills training with a professional communicator. You can practice in front of your mirror all day long, but until you have feedback in real-time, from a professional, you will not be able to work on your flaws and reach your full potential fast enough.

To find practical communication training, visit sites like upwork.com, Lynda.com or Udemy. For live and interactive sessions, Zeqr has many experts who can focus on perfecting your craft.

For those looking for help in writing a compelling and attention-catching article, join Eugene Yiga in his Speech Writing Class, where he walks you through choosing the perfect topic, pointers on drafting your speech, and tips on dealing with stress and anxiety of public speaking.

Already have your speech written out? Well, you can book the live session Public Speaking for Business with Dr. Allana Todman-Da Graca, where she tells you all about different levels of public speaking, including voice projection, benefits of the different types of speeches, and overall guidance for success.

If you fidget when you are nervous, then the live class Powerful Stage Presence for Business Presenters by Mike Clayton is the one for you. This 25-minute course will teach you how to take control of the room, how to use visuals, and how to show to your audience that you are an expert in your field.

Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, you have heard this before, but let’s say it one more time: practice makes perfect! Do not wait until the day before your presentation or speech to look over your outline. Instead, if time allows it, be sure to read and re-read your speech before the big day.

We even recommend that you videotape yourself and play the recording back—this will help you notice and avoid filler words such as “uhm” and “like”, and any nervous movements. Your professional online classes will be the perfect time for you to hear feedback on any tendencies you have while speaking publicly.

Be Your Genuine Self

As easy as it may seem, being yourself is harder than it sounds—especially when it comes to public speaking. The most successful speakers are those that are their authentic selves and can pass on a bit of their personality to the message they deliver. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, embrace it!

Public speaking skills are like a muscle: the more you use them, the stronger they become. Therefore, keep practicing, especially with your online expert. And remember—you will not be perfect every time, and that’s ok. Take a breath, calm your mind, and keep going. Becoming a professional speaker does not happen with you sitting around and thinking about it—so, get out there and start practicing!

4 Important Growth Tips for Women In Business

Building Your Career as a Female in a Male-dominated Business World

Are you a woman in business?

I hear you. It’s not easy working in a male-dominated business world. From the very start of our careers, the road to success can seem like a steep, uphill battle.

According to the Women in the Workplace 2016 study, businesswomen are less likely to receive the first critical promotion, meaning it takes them longer to reach leadership positions.

Women in business get less access to people and opportunities that can push their careers forward, and although they negotiate just as much as men, their ideas are challenged more often.

And with the way things are going now? Well, the gender gap won’t close for another 170 years.

Ultimately, this issue should be resolved by governments and employers—they need to make policies that will support women rising to the top. Still, this doesn’t mean that women in business should just sit back and accept their place on the sidelines. We need to work extra hard to stick our heads above the crowd and show our true value.

Here are some ways that we can do so.

Continue to Build Your Professional Skills

Although there are more women graduates than there are men in the business world, it doesn’t mean that their on-going journey of learning should end. Today, it is easier than ever to reach information from all over the world. Knowledge-sharing platforms, such as Zeqr, are a great way to develop new skills and also to keep old skills sharpened.

Live, interactive classes are a fantastic way to not only learn something new but to also network with experts from around the world. Online classes are the perfect way to stay ahead of the game and still having time for other life commitments.

Demonstrate Your Professional Background via LinkedIn

Haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in ages? It’s time to get back on the bandwagon.

The professional network LinkedIn is where future employers and business partners go to review your experience—and you need to show them you know your stuff.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, meaning that it has a professional photo, current position, skills, and a description of your responsibilities at each job. According to LinkedIn, you’ll have far more success on the platform if you do. Users with profile pictures get nine times more requests to connect, and those with more than five skills listed are 27 times more likely to be found.

It’s also important to ensure your profile features recommendations from previous employers or co-workers. To someone looking at your page, this is a proof that you’re a great person to work with. Recommendations from personal contacts are the most credible form of advertising, so it’s not a bad idea to ask colleagues you have a good relationship with to drop a testimonial on your profile. You can write recommendations for them in hopes they’ll return the favor. You probably shouldn’t ask your mom though, that might look a bit strange!

But most importantly, you need to engage with other users on the platform. This shows people you’re passionate about your field, which is something that’s taken highly into consideration for hiring, promotions, etc. So, by liking and commenting on content that others publish—or posting articles or content which you feel is valuable, too—offers a means of breaking the ice, and building relationships with those who may help your career down the road.

Show Your Face

With communication technologies such as texting and emailing, and project management tools such as Slack, it’s become pretty easy to get all your work done from behind a screen.

However, you can never really build particularly strong business relationships with those you’ve never seen in person, do you?

Well, that’s because to build trust, face-to-face communication is essential. Studies show that a lack of in-person communication makes people less empathetic and, therefore, less trusting of those they engage with. However, when you’re a woman in the business world, it’s imperative your managers and co-workers trust your expertise, your ideas, and your overall capabilities.

 

Even if it’s not possible to meet your business partners in person, there’s no reason why your online communication can’t be done using real-time video platforms, such as Facetime, WhatsApp video calls, or our own platform, Zeqr. Over time, meeting ‘face-to-face’ can build stronger relationships with those your work with, more than communicating via email ever could.

If you can, it’s a great idea to conduct live webinars, create video presentations online, and speak at live events, too. Seeing you in person will not only help build trust with current and future business partners but will also show them you’re confident and know exactly what you’re talking about.

Build Social Proof

 Here’s a fact: women in business are less comfortable flaunting their professional achievements than men. In a study conducted by LinkedIn, 42 percent of the UK’s businesswomen say they find it difficult, compared to 28 percent of men. And while 64 percent of women know it is important to talk about their professional development to advance their careers, they feel like they’re bragging when they do.

It’s time to flip that rhetoric on its head. To build a career in a male-dominated environment, it’s important to exhibit your social proof without reservation. After all, they are your achievements and you have worked damn hard to earn them.

Aside from career milestones, promotions, and awards, social proof can be developed by online coaching, publishing written content, creating industry-related podcasts or videos, and speaking at events. Your social proof becomes more relevant if your content is attached to a leading publication or popular network. Basically, to be relevant these days, your name needs to come up on Google searches as much as possible.

Business woman

So, apart from creating your own content, try reaching out to an event you believe your presentation would add value to, or a publication with a contributor network you’d like to write for. If you don’t know where to start, create an account on knowledge sharing platform Zeqr and create classes where you can share your expertise and establish yourself as an expert. E-learning platforms will allow you to connect with students/clients from around the world.

Once your content is online, go ahead and show it off. Post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even your company’s Slack, in order to not only show everyone what you’re up to but to ask for their support in spreading the word.

Women in business and women entrepreneurs face many barriers to business success. And while we’re a long way away from breaking down those barriers completely, there are small things we can do every day to demonstrate how much we have to offer.

Why a Mentor is Essential to Your Success

Tips on why you need a mentor and how to get one – at any stage

Learning from your mistakes is the goal. Learning from others mistakes is even better. One way to make this happen is by finding a willing, seasoned and talented adviser and mentor.  The concept of mentoring originated in ancient Greece in Homer’s Odyssey but now has developed into a world of its own. Today, mentoring has progressed into an entirely different realm with all types of beneficial relationships forming; primarily for students, employees, entrepreneurs, etc.

The role of a mentor can be crucial to the success of one’s personal and professional growth and the success of one’s business – a great mentor can be life changing. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, stated “If you ask any successful business person, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” Whether you are looking for someone to guide you during high school or college, while you start a business venture or as you move through your career, the right mentor can have a tremendous impact in the decisions and outcomes of your life decisions.

Finding a mentor that is knowledgeable in your field

Of most importance is to define the reason why you are looking to find a mentor to begin with. Once you have identified you “why”, ensure that you engage mentors who are knowledgeable and experienced in your desired field. Are you looking for industry knowledge? Personal growth experience? Defining the purpose early and correctly will be the factor between having a successful relationship and one that is unfulfilling and a waste of time for both parties.

Once the appropriate mentor has been identified, there is no limit. Building on this relationship will take time. But with this new found partner, there are many perks. A mentor can save you time and effort in many aspects of your life. By merely listening to their own experiences and outcomes, mentees can assess how they react in their real-life dealings. Digesting the information provided and tailoring it to your individual situations is key. A mentor can also suggest improvements in your current life/business. Mentors can have an unbiased perspective on a specific condition.

Creating your sounding board of mentors

For an entrepreneur, having a strong sounding board is an invaluable asset. A mentor can take the role of an unofficial advisor and seek to better the situation of a company by merely suggesting improvements. Although having a mentor will not prevent mistakes from taking place, having a seasoned mentor who has gone through similar experiences in the past can deter the budding entrepreneur from making “rookie mistakes”.

Also, don’t think that you can only have one mentor. In this scenario, the more the merrier. Having mentors from different walks of life will bring in fresh perspectives and different understandings of your situation. Seek different genders, age ranges, and even ethnic backgrounds to get a well-rounded level of feedback.

Network and connect

An often overseen and underrated perk of having a mentor is having potential access to the network of professionals that the mentor knows either personally or professionally. Having the opportunity to meet someone who might be able to help you in the present or in the future is great. Building on those relationships will be beneficial in the short and long run.

Making connections and networking are one of the most important aspects of having a mentor. Take advantage of what comes with the territory!

Finding a mentor

Finding the right mentor can be hard, however, in today’s digital age it has become a little easier to connect with enthusiastic mentors who are happy to share their wealth of knowledge. Live online platforms like ZEQR.com offers a wide range of experts at the tip of your finger. Connect with a motivational mentor, a business planning mentor or a student mentor to help answer any questions you might have. Online sessions with a mentor from anywhere in the world can prove to be enlightening and time-saving.

Looking for an in-person experience? Professional networking events are a great option to meet local entrepreneurs and mentors who are willing to connect and advise. Alternatively, industry events and meetups are a great place to meet experts in your desired industry. For students it is imperative that they connect with their school to inquire regarding programs which help students – many already have initiatives in place.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today in finding the right people to join your corner.

Are you looking to share your knowledge and become a mentor? As Mark Zuckerberg once said, “A small amount of time invested on your part to share your expertise can open up a new world for someone else.” Join us by signing up as an Xpert and create your first class a mentor.

“The wise man learns from someone else’s mistakes, the smart man learns from his own, and the stupid one never learns.”

Why Your Affiliate Program isn’t Working for Your Business (Part 2)

This article is written by marketing Xpert, Melissa Cocks.

This is the second post in a two-part series on Why Your Affiliate Program isn’t Working for your Business. To read the first post and fully improve your affiliate program, click here.

11. Affiliates Don’t Understand Your Product

If an affiliate doesn’t understand the value of your product or service, it’s likely they haven’t had first-hand experience with it. Either that, or it’s simply not relevant to them.

Find ways to facilitate affiliates trying your product before they promote it. Their endorsement will be much more passionate and genuine. Not only that, it makes it easier for them to create unique visual content with your product in-hand.

Selling a digital product? That’s even more reason to give your affiliates a taste of what you’re selling.

With digital products, in most cases there is no reason not to give it to your affiliates for free.

After all, the affiliates you’re inviting to your program are highly relevant influencers, right?

If you deem an affiliate worthy enough to join your program, you should also believe they’re worthy enough to have a sample of your product or at least be given a major discount on their first purchase.

Remember, this could also mean your affiliate becomes a new loyal customer.

12. You’re Not Recruiting New (and Quality) Affiliates

This really should have been closer to the top of this list of reasons why your affiliate program isn’t working, as this applies to many affiliate programs.

If you’re not actively recruiting new affiliates into your program on a regular basis, your program won’t grow.

Recruitment is one of the most difficult parts of running an affiliate program. It’s time-intensive, and it’s difficult (even for someone who is full-time).

The research that goes into finding new affiliates can be extremely tedious, and it’s even more of a letdown if they don’t take action–whether this means they don’t respond to your emails, apply to your program or even become activated.

To alleviate some of the headache down the road, choose quality over quantity. The key here is to get picky with whom reach out to. Don’t email everyone and their mother to join your program, and avoid generalized pitches. Customize them to each affiliate.

Scout out affiliates who have loyal audiences, great engagement on their platform(s) of choice, and who utilize blog posts and newsletters. They don’t necessary need gigantic followings.

Many of these “big-time” influencers likely won’t respond to your emails, because they have bigger deals that involve guaranteed paychecks (corporate sponsorships or TV shows) on their plates.

So don’t turn your nose up at someone who has a newsletter list of 5,000 highly-engaged subscribers. This could be a great opportunity to experience sales growth alongside their own growth.

13. Your Affiliates Have Little to No Traffic

If your affiliates don’t have regular traffic, you’re not going to see sales. No further explanation needed.

14. Your Affiliates are Primarily Social Media Influencers

If many of your affiliates are primarily social media influencers, this is another potential reason why your affiliate program isn’t working.

What’s a social media influencer? It’s someone who uses social media platforms as their only (or primary) channel for broadcasting content. Have you ever seen a clickable link in an Instagram caption?

And don’t forget about Facebook’s quest to push affiliate updates out of their followers’ newsfeeds. You see where I’m going with this.

15. Coupon Sites are Snagging the Last Click

Do you have RetailMeNot or other coupon affiliates (or cash-back/loyalty sites) in your program? Do they seem to be driving most of your sales?

If you’re not actively monitoring these affiliates, this is another reason why your affiliate program isn’t working.

Coupon sites are notorious for snagging the last-click attribution. This means that a hard-working blogger will send a paying customer to your site and right before they check out, the customer searches Google for your brand name + “coupon code” or “promo code.”

Then, when the customer visit the coupon affiliate’s website for the code, they require your customer to click to reveal a code. Get what’s behind that click? An affiliate link.

This qualifies them for the commission, pushing your hard-working affiliate out of the equation (unless you implement commission-splitting). If you’re reading this article in the first place, you should just remove coupon affiliates from your program. They require active monitoring and you need to establish a clear understanding with them and what they cannot do within your program.

Coupon affiliates can deplete your margins and also snag attribution from other marketing channels. In one way or another, this will become a problem for your business. And then it will fall into your lap and become your problem.

16. Sub-Affiliate Networks are in Your Program

A sub-affiliate network will join your affiliate program under a single name (for example, “Skimlinks”). Sub-affiliate networks essentially provide technology to bloggers and other publishers that automatically skims the blogger’s text and apply affiliate links to it.

This becomes problematic when a blogger or publisher is already an affiliate using your program’s affiliate links, and then a sub-affiliate applies their own affiliate links to the blogger’s site. There is the potential that you’re paying two separate affiliates for the same transaction in a way that will deplete your margins.

The other possibility here is that

If you’re unsure of how to manage these sub-affiliates, don’t allow them in your program.

Fraudulent affiliates (see #19) might also join a sub-affiliate network as a way of getting into your program if previously declined or removed.

17. Your Program Manager is a Bottleneck to Success

If you have a program manager (either in-house or outsourced) who is making it difficult for affiliates to access the tools they need to promote your brand, this is a problem.

Laziness and/or grouchiness will turn your affiliates away. Since many of your affiliates might be customers themselves, you not only might lose affiliates, but also customers. Make sure whomever is communicating with your affiliates remains approachable, responsive, friendly and helpful.

18. Your Links Are Always Breaking or Tracking is Faulty

Are your links always breaking, or is your tracking down often? This will flaw your reporting and payouts, and it will also cause your affiliates to lose trust in your program–and therefore become less active or leave.

You should be checking your affiliate platform each day to make sure there is normal activity. You should be doing this anyway, because, for instance, if there is a large spike you want to find out what awesome affiliate activity caused this, or, if the tracking is flawed (or your links are broken).

If this is an internal problem, address it with the appropriate people and put a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Internal communication across departments is vital to keeping your tracking working, because that tracking pixel is living on your web pages.

So, for instance, if your engineering team makes a change to a web page and the pixel query string gets mistakenly deleted or changed, this is a problem. Similarly, if a page is deleted and not redirected, a links can break.

You should always test a few affiliate links each day just to be sure nothing has gone awry.

19. Fraudulent Affiliates Exist in Your Program

If you have your program on autopilot, or if your affiliate manager isn’t paying careful attention to your program, you run the risk of allowing fraudulent affiliates into your program.

Fraudulent affiliates will find ways to generate false transactions through their own affiliate links. Some of the ways affiliates can commit fraud through their own links are the following:

  • Using stolen credit card information to place orders
  • Filling out a lead form over and over again with different email addresses (a concern for affiliate programs that pay per lead or new customer)
  • Ordering through their links with made-up email addresses and then returning the orders for a refund

Smart fraudsters will often test the waters with your program first by slowly making a few fraudulent transactions, and then they will ramp these up over time.

You should be reversing commissions for returned orders each month, as well as looking for abnormal levels of affiliate transactions that aren’t congruent with affiliate activity.

To combat fraudulent lead activity, you want to check the IP addresses on transactions from specific affiliates driving a ton of leads. If these IP addresses are very similar or if they’re all the same, there’s something fishy going on.

To further pinpoint fraud, look up the location of the IP addresses. If they’re coming from places that your customers definitely wouldn’t be located (and locations that are known for nefarious activity), you want to look into this.

In order to combat affiliate fraud, be picky about who you allow into your program in the first place.

A website that has little to no activity happening on their site, or one that doesn’t match what they put on their affiliate application, is suspicious. There are sometimes legitimate reasons for this, but I caution you to reach out to the affiliate before you accept them into your program.

Make sure the legalese in your affiliate program Terms & Conditions contains language about what activity is considered fraudulent or impermissible, and the rights you reserve to when an affiliate has been suspected of fraudulent activity. Ask a lawyer about this.

20. Your Product is the Problem

If you’ve genuinely tried everything on this list, you either haven’t been trying for long enough, or there’s a chance your product isn’t that great.

Either that, or there just isn’t enough demand for it (or the price isn’t right).

If your product falls within a niche that just doesn’t have that many affiliates associated with it, this also might be part of your problem. In this case, perhaps a traditional affiliate program isn’t right for you.

You can always try an ambassador program where your customers are rewarded for referring friends.

Okay, I Know Why My Affiliate Program isn’t Working. Now What?

Now that you’ve pinpointed why your affiliate program isn’t working for your business, you can go in two different directions.

  1. You fix your program.
  2. You decide to can it altogether.

This is a big decision, and you want to make sure you make the right one.

If you need help making the decision or need more information on how to approach a solution specifically for your affiliate program and business, I’m here.

Contact me via Zeqr for affiliate marketing advice specific to your business.

You will get advice about the best approach for you to take, from someone who has managed and overhauled an entire affiliate program.

This article is written by marketing Xpert, Melissa Cocks.

Why Your Affiliate Program isn’t Working for Your Business (Part 1)

This article is written by marketing Xpert, Melissa Cocks.

If you’re wondering why your affiliate program isn’t working for your business, your arrival here is a great first step toward turning it around.

Managing an affiliate marketing channel on behalf of your company involves many different moving parts and requires a considerable amount of time. That being said, there are many potential reasons why your affiliate program isn’t working.

It might just be one of the following reasons, but it’s likely more than just one.

As you read through the potential reasons why your affiliate program isn’t working (not generating enough sales or net profit), take note of which ones resonate with you.

Why Your Affiliate Program isn’t Working & How to Fix it

1. Your Affiliate Program is Running on Autopilot

Do you let your affiliate program run itself, aside from the occasional check-in to approve affiliate applications and whatnot?

If you’re not taking steps to proactively manage your program, most of the following issues likely apply to you as the reasons why your affiliate program isn’t working. Having your affiliate program run on autopilot is at the root of these problems.

2. You Don’t Have a Dedicated Affiliate Program Manager

If someone doesn’t have a role dedicated to managing your affiliate program, this is a red flag.

If you want to scale your affiliate program, you’re going to need someone whose sole job is to manage it. There is simply too much involved in running a successful affiliate program to merely have one person’s attention split between the affiliate program and another role.

The absence of a full-time affiliate program manager is one of the top potential reasons why your affiliate program isn’t working for you.

3. Most of Your Affiliates are Inactive

If you look at your affiliate list and see that many of them aren’t generating sales, or even clicks, this means most of your affiliates aren’t actively promoting your products.

This could be a symptom of many of the following issues. You need more of your affiliates actively promoting your brand on a regular basis in order to increase your sales.

4. Your Landing Pages Don’t Convert (or they’re “Leaky”)

Another possible–yet commonly overlooked–reason why your affiliate program isn’t working is that your landing pages don’t convert.  

If your affiliates are sending leads to your website and the landing pages aren’t converting leads into customers, you need to take a second look at your landing pages.

As an affiliate manager, landing pages might seem outside of your responsibility zone. However, it’s important to communicate with your colleagues responsible for conversion optimization/landing pages, since you’re responsible for generating sales via affiliates.

What’s more, if your landing pages include a phone number for a lead to call and purchase through, your affiliate program might be generating sales that perhaps aren’t being reported.

The phone number on your affiliate landing page should have call tracking on it in order to tie those phone sales to an affiliate within your program.

5. You Don’t Educate Your Affiliates

If your affiliate program isn’t working for you, a possible reason why is a lack of educational resources made available to your affiliates.

Upon acceptance into your program, affiliates should be presented with educational materials. These should cover how to use the affiliate platform, as well as how to set themselves up for success in your program.

Whether this is in the form of a YouTube video or a Google Doc, you can link to this from the “Welcome” email that you send to them upon acceptance.

Affiliates should be educated on an ongoing basis with examples of successful affiliate promotions. This will reinforce that you have a vested interest in their success, and it will help them get started on the right foot.

6. Your Affiliates Don’t Know How Much or How Little They Earn

If affiliates aren’t regularly signing into their affiliate portal, they likely don’t know how much they’re making. And this is a potential reason why your affiliate program isn’t working.

If an affiliate is involved with multiple affiliate programs that automatically deposit earnings into one banking account, they might not be checking for exactly how much or how little they are making from your program.

This could mean that they aren’t seeing the value in spending time on your program, or they’re not seeing that they need to make improvements in the way they promote your brand.

7. Your Affiliates Dislike Your Creative (or it Just Doesn’t Work)

If you’re wondering why your affiliate program isn’t working and your creative is subpar, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

When affiliates dislike the creative you supply to them for promoting your products, they’re not going to use it. This goes for both visuals and copy.

It’s common for affiliates to request custom banners to fit specific dimensions on their site, or that message a specific product. While you can’t always provide custom creative to all your affiliates, the key here is to provide your most promising affiliates with custom banners or other types of visuals.

Make sure you also provide attractive banners with a call-to-action button to all affiliates. You should have some general options, as well as ones that feature your most popular products.

Oh–and make sure it’s obvious what your brand is from looking at the banners. You would be shocked at how many brands serve ads that are nearly impossible to decipher!

8. Your Commission Structure is Flawed

If your profit margins are depleted, or affiliates just aren’t motivated to join your program (or promote your products), your commission structure is possibly flawed. This could be a major reason why your affiliate program isn’t working for your business.

Your affiliates only have so much room on their web properties to promote so many brands, so you want to make sure that your affiliate program incentives are enticing.

If your commission structure isn’t competitive, your brand will fall at the bottom of the priority list for your affiliates. This will make it harder to recruit new affiliates and activate your existing ones.

Another reason your commission structure might be flawed is if your company hadn’t accounted for profit margin when it first launched the affiliate program. When evaluating your commission structure, you want to take this into account.

When you discount your products or have a sale event, will you still have your desired profit margin after you cover costs, pay your affiliates their commission, etc.?

It might be worth it to reconsider your commission structure. This should allow you to pay your affiliates fairly, but you also don’t want to deplete your profit margins.

A well-thought-out commission structure will help you avoid needing to change it down the line. Keep in mind that you will receive backlash from affiliates if you change your commission structure frequently.

9. Many of Your Affiliates Only Use Banner Ads

If affiliates are only using banner ads to promote your brand, this could be another major reason why your affiliate program isn’t working.

Some affiliates will approach affiliate marketing like it’s CPM advertising, in which advertisers pay publishers for impressions. If your affiliates are bloggers, you will run into this quite often.

Affiliates can make decent money with CPM ads that are served by big advertisers, and it’s essentially easier for them to make money in this respect if they have ample traffic. It’s understandable that this would be the modus operandi.

Education is important here since affiliate marketing can be a pretty new concept to some influencers. Getting your affiliates onboard with active promotion within blog posts and newsletters is paramount to growing the success of an affiliate marketing program.

10. Affiliates Don’t Feel Supported

There are going to be certain things that affiliates ask for that you might simply not have the resources to deliver; things that are completely out of your hands or that you cannot seem to get approval on from higher up.

However, if affiliates don’t feel they’re being supported or heard, they might give up on promoting your brand–even if they have been some of your most loyal customers.

If you absolutely cannot deliver on a specific request, come to a compromise. Is there anything else that you can give an affiliate to help them be successful? Try to deliver that.

To continue reading, please visit Why Your Affiliate Program isn’t Working for Your Business (Part 2).

This article is written by marketing Xpert, Melissa Cocks.