Zeqr US & CA Scholarship – The Winning Essay

Even though Zeqr as a platform is only a year old, we absolutely understood our responsibilities as a learning facility right from the beginning. And it was with this in mind that we started the first Zeqr E-Learning Award Scholarships in 2017, one of them being for North America and the other being International (limited to Europe and Oceania regions), hoping to further help two specific students along the path of their formal education.

Our stance on e-learning being the way forward is absolutely firm, but it doesn’t mean that we have anything against formal education. Quite the opposite, we have strong faith in the power of education, but we see the future of all education being in e-learning.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the brilliant essay from Heather Thiessen-Kerr from Fleming College, Peterborough, ON, Canada, one of the two winners of the Zeqr E-Learning Award Scholarships for 2017.

 

E-Learning Opens More Doors

By Heather Thiessen-Kerr

When I returned to school as a mature student, I knew that it would be a different experience in relation to the ones I had in my memory. School had been a place of structure, single-paced, streamlined thinking. While I had always excelled in my studies, I admit that I approached my new adventure with some trepidation. I knew there would be an adjustment period, and that many of the students I would be learning with, would possess a more current knowledge of the ways of learning. Even knowing this logically; I was unprepared for what lay ahead, and I quickly learned that I had some additional skills to put into place if I wanted to ensure my success.

While the traditional model of classrooms and teachings still echo in the academic outlines of each program, there is a hum that is underlying that cannot be ignored. That is the sound waves of change that come from the electronic learning that is racing towards the forefront of our education system. Not only in post secondary institutions, but perhaps even more notably, in the younger school-aged systems. I am not one to shy away from technology; however, I grew up in a time where computers were for those who were privileged and wealthy. In today’s family, school, medical field, to mention only a few, the presence of computers, iPods, iPads, and kobo’s, is not only seen, it is expected.

Within the classroom environment, an educator is faced with many challenges, some of which are easily addressed, and others create a boundary to learning, growing and maturing. With the average class size within Ontario growing, there is a higher likelihood that there are individuals with varied learning styles, capabilities, as well as cultural needs. When planning out lessons, following current curriculum requirements, as well as instilling interest in the subject, there is much to consider. In a classroom, one must be sensitive to the weakest, to the strongest student. Challenging a group of young minds to be stimulated and engaged, in a world that is already so often “plugged in” is not an easy task.

E-learning creates a break in the traditional “read, make notes, memorize” model that has been used for so long within the classroom setting. There is an opportunity for learning through games, tasking, use of the internet that also gives students a lesson in judgment. Just because it is posted on the internet, does not mean that it is gospel truth; therefore, creating discernment within the minds of the researcher. Children, young adults, as well as older adults, are all exposed to a vast amount of information, much of which is portrayed through social media means. Including in the structure of the learning environment, a way to see the computer as a tool for learning and positive impact, is absolutely a progressive step.

One argument against the reliance on E-Learning, is that, in an already oversaturated market of online stimuli, we are putting ourselves and our young minds, in front of a computer yet again, and depriving them from the ability to learn simple to complex social skills. We have a generation of young people who are more likely to speak their truth from behind the protection of the computer screen. Online bullying, abuse and theft are on a steady incline; so why would one encourage MORE time at the computer, than less? Our world has changed in so many ways; some of which bring us pride, and others make us cringe in fear.

If the world that we are living in, is running rapidly in the direction of more learning online, more e-classrooms; we are also opening the doors to many opportunities that would have never been possible before. Students are able to participate in classes even while they are dealing with chronic illnesses, so that they do not fall behind; giving hope and purpose to those in a terrible situation.

Classrooms can play host to guest speakers from around the world; exposing the minds of the students in a way that may not have been remotely probable before. Men, women, and children with various ability levels are able to contribute to the fullest of their capabilities, which in turn, creates a much richer and vibrant learning experience for everyone involved. Think of the young man who has autism; and is able to use e-learning in a way that he can express and participate in a debate team, or the young woman who is ill at home with MS, who can still log in to be an active part of the lectures each week.

The basis of E-learning is to open more doors, create affluent learning environments and perhaps even a world-wide classroom; instead of just what we see in front of us. My childhood memory of the computer, was when my father purchased one for his business. It was obtrusively large, slow and only had one game. I was allotted one hour to play that one game; on the weekends- IF all my homework was done. I am from the generation that drank from the water hose, had street-light curfew, and was more likely to desire playing with friends outside then watching the latest Disney movie. The computer was only for serious, grown-up work and not for playing on. This is not the case today, as most children under the age of 4 seem to have a more apt knowledge of all things cellular, computer and e-reader than most of the adults in my social circle put together.

Technology has changed the face of how we interact, how we learn, how we relate. While there is always going to be a logical case against going in the direction of more electronically driven learning within the school environment; there must be a balance, therefore, a positive. If there is black, there must be white; if a yin, then a yang. If an equilibrium can be reached, and the learning that is being achieved is tangible, real and applicable, then perhaps we should not be so quick to lite our anti-electronic torches.

While I believe that gardening, cooking, and how to do your taxes should also be a part of basic learning within the education system, I also know that being current in your teaching and learning styles is vastly important. Those seeking education want the best for themselves and their children; to get the best, you need to be open and ready to see what the best really consists of. Change is evident, imminent and constant. So can be said of learning; and isn’t that what we all truly want? To learn, grow, be educated and knowledgeable. There would be nothing more tragic than to see the possibility of a worldwide increase in connections, education and passionate learning slip away because fear was greater than hope and progress. With that I say; research, soak it in, question everything and become the very best student, educator, parent and human possible. The moment we stop being open to learning, is the moment our humanity will start to dissolve.

Zeqr EU & AUS Scholarship – The Winning Essay

Even though Zeqr as a platform is only a year old, we absolutely understood our responsibilities as a learning facility right from the beginning. And it was with this in mind that we started the first Zeqr E-Learning Award Scholarships in 2017, one of them being for North America and the other being International (limited to Europe and Oceania regions), hoping to further help two specific students along the path of their formal education.

Our stance on e-learning being the way forward is absolutely firm, but it doesn’t mean that we have anything against formal education. Quite the opposite, we have strong faith in the power of education, but we see the future of all education being in e-learning.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the brilliant essay from Alessandra Ciadamidaro from Southfields Academy, United Kingdom, one of the two winners of the Zeqr E-Learning Award Scholarships for 2017.

 

E-Learning Is A Wonderful Innovative Tool, But We Must Be Aware Of Its Limitations

By Alessandra Ciadamidaro

Lift your eyes from this sheet of paper and have a look around. Computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches. All electronic devices with constant access to the Internet, to Google, to any information at any time. All these gadgets affect our daily life, our routine, the things we do and how we do them: from the time we get up until we go to bed, monitoring our sleep and providing detailed feedback the day after. The new generation, more than any one, is integrated with all these technologies, having grown up with iPads and iPhones instead of skateboards and dolls. New technologies are part of their life now more than ever before, and their presence is not restricted just between their houses’ walls, but goes even further, until it touches education. Children don’t learn the same way their parents used to: iPad, interactive boards, online access to any sort of resource. Desks and paper textbooks are now out of fashion. However, this process is not just limited to the 21st century’s newborns: the way of learning is changing, guiding any age group though what is today called eLearning. E-learning involves learning through the use of new technologies and the Internet.

The way it works is pretty simple: as long as you have an internet connection and a device that can use it, an infinite number of resources are  readily available. From MOOCs to online   courses or conferences, everyone can learn something new about a specific topic every day. Some people say that eLearning will shape the future of education, and I couldn’t agree more. Information is quick, easy to access, and available at any time. This makes learning easy for those people who need to balance their work and family responsibilities, but who also would love to attend that advanced Mathematics course on Tuesday afternoon to broaden their knowledge about the subject.

With eLearning, they are now able to follow the course digitally while they wait for their children to end the ballet class or to listen to conferences held at the Royal Society of Arts on Spotify while they commute to work. Distances are reduced to zero with eLearning. It doesn’t matter where you are; through online resources you are able to access data and read articles from Brazil, Japan, and the Middle East. Students can access lectures held by prestigious professors from Oxbridge, research and advanced studies conducted in Chinaabout DNA, psychology or the complexity of the human body. You can access literally anything from any part of the world. Learners are then able to compare and analyse information from their textbooks with the most up to date discussions, opinions and research from scientists and academics around the world. Seen in this way, eLearning may  be viewed as just relative to high school students, undergraduates and adults. Accessing lectures, reading articles, all of this may not seem to suit the needs of children and the younger generation. Yes, surely they will be able to access all that information when their teachers start to assign them research to do. But at the age of 5, 6, 7, how will eLearning shape their future?

About three days ago I was babysitting my neighbour’s little daughter. She is seven and just started dealing with sums and subtractions. Her parents asked me to help with her maths homework and I was really happy to do it, as I have not dealt with primary school level homework in a while. I thought it would be fun to see if any new way to sum two digits numbers changed or if everything was still the same. Now, just a quick introduction. I was born in an era when new technologies had just started their first boom and children did not have the easy access they enjoy today. I had  my first mobile phone at the age of 13 and downloaded Instagram at the age of 15, removing the by then out-of-fashion Facebook. We were part of the new generation that dedicated a bit of more time to computing, but nothing extraordinary. I still used to write essays on paper and write plenty of notes listening to the teacher explaining history with only the text book in front  of her. When I arrived at my neighbour’s house I was expecting the girl to come to me with her exercise book, a pen and her text book to start her homework.

But she didn’t.

Instead, she came to me with her mini iPad and her School Pod website open. She opened the link her teacher sent her and a new website page opened in front of us, with a little green alien giving us additions and subtractions to do and an annoying and repetitive song in the background. We worked for about an hour, listening to this little box and choosing the solutions of our equations between the ones proposed. Neither paper nor pens needed.

That afternoon I realised how much the traditional learning model has changed in only a few years’ time. This girl is barely 10 years younger than me and her education system is mainly based on online School Pods, smart boards, iPads and iPhones. This digital environment is a daily routine she deals with; interactive tools replacing old-fashioned books. She is engaged, motivated to receive that “Well done!” or “Excellent!” compliment from that puffy green alien and reach the next level of additions and subtractions, to get that reward that will make her stand out with her friends and with the teachers. The system is now personalised, adapted to everyone’s abilities, and teachers are more than ever aware of the level of their students, which makes them more productive in terms of helping students achieve their goals and deal with any difficulties.

Education is facing inevitable changes in and out the school environment. There has been debate about the idea that teachers could be completely replaced by robots; with future generations of children being taught by machines and artificial   intelligence. These rumours, however, don’t consider the complexity of the human being as a whole, the thing that machines will never be able to replace. Apart from knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills, humans also have a sensitive side, missing in machines and robots. Teachers can understand when students are particularly upset and they can read their feelings and help them not just as teachers but also as life educators. Machines programmed to teach students human biology will never be able to feel that empathy and this is something they cannot be programmed for.

Nothing can replace human contact.

In conclusion, how does the future of education look like? With the advancement of eLearning, surely it will be innovative, exciting, individually tailored and unrestricted. However, elements such as the human factor and the accessibility to this new education model are problems that  must be addressed: not everyone, globally speaking, can access digital equipment and broadband, and the human nature makes the presence of human contact required, in and out of the classroom. eLearning is a wonderful tool to innovate the way we learn but, as with all the new technologies, we must be aware of its limitations.

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.

Top e-learning trends to watch out for in 2018

The learning process doesn’t end once you graduate from college, and the term shouldn’t be mixed with education. Because education yields temporary results, while learning brings permanent improvements. We are capable of absorbing knowledge throughout our whole life and it is never too late to learn new things if you are determined and motivated.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”Zig Ziglar

The problem about learning in this day and age is that things change extremely fast and world knowledge keeps growing exponentially. Something that we learned as little as five years ago may have changed drastically in the meantime and our knowledge and skills can easily become outdated and irrelevant.

So, how can we overcome this problem? With constant learning. Just like working out regularly helps our bodies be in a good shape, constant learning helps our minds stay healthy and proactive which consequently results in a constant growth of our learning capacities.

Luckily for everyone, the concept of e-learning has been developing and improving over the past two decades. Today, there is a plethora e-learning platforms available online, making constant learning absolutely possible for anyone, anywhere and at any time.

If we had to make a list of the benefits that e-learning brought about, then it would look something like this:

  • You can learn from anywhere, anytime and start over when you want.
  • You can choose what to learn and learn what you love.
  • You can obtain or improve your skills and keep up to date with new trends
  • E-learning is more affordable.
  • E-learning is personalized, innovative and interactive approach of gaining knowledge.

As we’re now nearing the end of year 2017, we think it’s the right time to look at the status of the e-learning industry and see what we can expect from to see in 2018.

This infographic from Zeqr reveals some interesting stats about the current statistics, e-learning trends, most popular e-learning platforms and much more.

If you would like to share it on your social media or website, feel free to use the links provided below!

Placing Your Team in the Spotlight

Three Reasons We Place Our Team in the Spotlight (Rather Than Ourselves)

By Daniel Hedlund

 

Branding expert Simon Mainwaring said “CEOs must embrace the role of serving as the public face of the company to their customer community and the marketplace at large.However, rather than stepping into the limelight ourselves, myself and my co-founder decided that while it’s important to have a face for our company, more often than not, it shouldn’t be ours.

Why? Well, we like the peace and quiet for one. But mostly, because we founded our company to connect people with experts on a human level. To allow people to build relationships, and learn from one another. As such, our company talent and networks have always been our most valuable asset, which we try to showcase as much as possible.

We have found that offering the chance to other team members to be brand ambassadors improves team morale, keeps members engaged and interested, and allows us to show different sides to our company.

Here are three reasons why we decided to place our team and our Xperts in the spotlight rather than ourselves

As CEO you have plenty on your plate already

In the current age of mass media and social media, many CEOs from leading companies become celebrities in their own rights. Well spoken, intelligent and well-liked founders and CEOs like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg become the face of their brands, and are very present in the public eye.

But the fact is that for companies who have not reached the dizzying heights of Facebook, Virgin Group or SpaceX, and still have smaller teams, the CEO plays an essential business role which doesn’t leave much time for being a public figure.

CEO is a strategic, managerial position which includes many essential day to day roles to keep the company on track and moving in the right direction to meet its big mission, and look after the interests of all of its shareholders.

Generally, as CEO and COO of the company, we have our hands filled with business and strategy decisions about our platform, our network, which markets we should be moving into next, what’s working and what’s not. We also have an ever-expanding team and network of mentors to keep happy, successful, and on board, which takes priority for us.

One role of a CEO which cannot be ignored is to make sure that our community of users, mentors, and stakeholders, are kept up to date with the direction the company is moving in and our vision for the future.

While this vision falls mostly on our shoulders as leaders, we try to include our team in decision-making processes as much as possible and have regular meetings, and brainstorming sessions to make sure everyone is one the same page.

To give others the recognition they deserve

Most of our newer team members are millennials, a generation of notoriously ambitious people who are stereotyped as job-hoppers and at the same time happy to uproot at a moment’s notice in search of more fulfilling employment opportunities.

However, a recent survey by Capital Group featured by Forbes shows that while millennials will leave jobs they don’t feel fulfilled in, they are loyal, and want to work for employers where they are valued, and can develop their careers on the long term.

Millennials don’t want to viewed as numbers, they want to feel part of a team. As such, whenever our team is doing well, and there is a chance to speak to a journalist, close a big deal with a new partner organization or client, or contribute at a conference or event, we feel that this is an opportunity for us to show team members how valued they are, by making them the representative of our company, our brand ambassadors, rather than stealing all the glory ourselves.

Millennials are the least engaged generation in the U.S, and according to a recent Gallup study are the most sensitive to receiving (or not receiving) due recognition and praise at work. When newer team members see other colleagues getting their moment in the spotlight, in a manner which is good for their careers and CV, this inspires them to work harder, and go the extra mile, in the knowledge that their hard work will in some way be repaid and recognized.

To give team members a chance to excel

In the modern world of business, social proof means everything. LinkedIn and Crunchbase have become the new curriculum, and employers now look at much more than previous jobs, also focusing on recommendations, published content, mentions in the media, to which events and conferences a potential hire has contributed in.

My co-founder and I have successfully launched multiple companies, and although social media channels play an important role for us too, we won’t be looking for jobs any time soon –we hope — so this visibility, this social proof which will could help us down the line, is less important to us.

On the contrary, it is very important to our employees. In the same way as putting someone in a leadership role can help them excel, we often find that allowing our members to grow their own social proof, and get their moments of fame internally and externally is great for their careers, and keeps them motivated and engaged.

Our platform, Zeqr, is designed to bridge the gap between experts and seekers of knowledge. So, from day one, when we bring new team members on board, we introduce them as experts in something. The point is that everyone knows that this person has a particular skill or talent, which makes them special.

We also encourage them to put themselves out there as an expert as much as possible. Being a speaker at a conference or event, publishing an article on a leading publication or doing an interview with a journalist offers the chance to grow personally as well as professionally. As well as visibility, its gives people confidence, and shows them that they are going places in their careers. Also, it generally makes people more dedicated to their own personal projects too.

As the C-suite of a company, it is important that everyone knows who calls the shots, and who makes the big decisions. However, there are times where, in my opinion, there is no reason for the upper management to be the face of the company. If you are confident that your team will represent your brand in the best way possible, then place the trust in them to do so.

I am proud and excited by the group of Xperts that we have to offer on Zeqr. When we set out to create the best live, online learning platform, we envisioned the world’s top experts available to anyone. This platform has become a great tool for employees, entrepreneurs, students and polymaths and I look forward to highlighting everyone who becomes a part of this journey.

 

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Xpert Spotlight: Health and Fitness

Reaching your personal fitness goals with live consultations and our e-learning blog

As winter is right around the corner, we’re getting close to that time of the year when we all strive to change, with resolutions and fitness decisions popping up everywhere. Whether it is to quit smoking, start saving money, or even take up a new hobby, we all set challenges for ourselves that will introduce change into our lives and help us improve.

However, most of the resolutions we make are based around personal well-being, including the way we look or feel. Many people wait for this specific time of the year to decide to start taking care of themselves, neglecting the problems throughout the year.

Did you know that the percentage of children and adolescents who are considered overweight or obese has tripled since 1970? This is a scary fact to comprehend.

Still, everything is not lost, since several chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility, insomnia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, stress, and many more CAN be avoided or put under control with a healthy lifestyle that also includes regular exercise.

Apart from suffering from various diseases, roughly 69% of the population is not satisfied with the way they look. This makes fitness the perfect choice for your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2018.

With the benefits of regular exercise being better health and improved physical appearance, you may even want to dive into a new lifestyle straight away and with our selection of Xperts available for live online consultations, you could do so much easier.

As we all know, e-learning is popular among many different subjects, and learning health and fitness is no different.

How can elearning help with health and fitness goals?

Now, you are probably wondering how could e-learning and engaging in live online classes resolve the health and fitness goals we set for ourselves. We could hire a personal trainer locally or just subscribe to a random fitness instructions YouTube channel, or download and follow a top ranked meal plan on Google?

Well, joining a live online class allows you to gain insights in a personalized way and from a reliable source, in contrast to pre-recorded, generalized content available on other platforms, or completely incoherent, separate tutorial videos found on Instagram or YouTube.

Zeqr provides you with real-time one-on-one classes, which allows interaction between the learner and the instructor, making it possible for any advice or guide provided by the Xpert to be tailor-made to fit your needs and goals precisely.

Majority of people who set getting in shape and focusing on their own health as their New Year’s resolution will start looking for coaches who are popular online and in social media, free diet plans and nutrition tips, and, by doing all of this, spend a lot of time and perhaps even money searching for a quick solution.

However, Zeqr aims to stop you from wasting your time and nerves going through a dozen different diets and other offers, and instead provide you with a unique opportunity to gain insights, tips and diet or exercise plans from some of the finest experts in the fitness and health industry.

Interested to get started and hit your goals early this year? Beat the holiday madness and find the Xpert for you below.

Health & Fitness Experts

We kick off this list with Jovanka Ciares, a holistic practitioner who has been featured on People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, Whole Foods and Fox News. Jovanka’s  Herbalism and Nutrition Consultation live session will take a deep look into your own health history and present struggles and from there assess the best herbs to help you achieve your goals. Join this TEDx speaker and learn how to kick off your health goals with herbalism!

For a less structured, yet high impact class, join Lars Desmet’s Personal Consultation: Fitness & Lifestyle live session where he conducts an hour of open dialogue to establish goals and obstacles to get there. Lars will give you actionable strategies to take home and implement into your fitness regimen.

Are you interested in running your first 5K? Marathon? Matthew Henshall, a runner from South Africa, delves into the intricacies of training and excelling at running marathons. His live session, Ultimate Guide to Running, will go over running techniques, cross-training, stretching and injuries and even give you access to six hours of video lectures and presentations plus real-life training footage.

Are you working 40+ hours per week and finding it impossible to stay fit? Bob Choat, founder, producer and host of The School of Transformation, advises executives, athletes and other performers on reaching higher levels. In his one-hour class, How Fitness Helps Increase Productivity and Success in the Workplace, Bob discusses ways in which you can stay fit to increase your energy and performance levels at your workplace.

Learning Tips

Most of the time we hear our students mention that they do not have time to meet with trainers, nutritionists or other health and wellness coaches due to their schedules, however, having access to someone 24/7 and at the convenience of your own home is priceless and invaluable.

We urge you to take advantage of the access provided by Zeqr to the world’s top Xperts and industry thought leaders.

For a look at a full list of classes, make sure to check out our search list.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? No problem! We have recently launched our Job Board where students can post classes that they are looking for.

New to Zeqr? Join us and tap into the world’s top experts knowledge by signing up for your first class.

Happy Learning!

Entering the world of live online learning

In the past few years, it has become increasingly popular to learn new skills via online classes and sessions as opposed to going to physical classes and/or hiring freelancers. Although pre-recorded sessions have many positives, students often feel neglected or unfulfilled with the many questions they have after committing a large amount of time to learn the new skill.

At Zeqr, we sought out to create a platform where students and experts could connect with each other in real-time and distribute knowledge without jeopardizing the personal element of teaching: interaction.

The live sessions have proven to be revolutionary and students/Zeqrs from around the world are excited by the opportunity that is presented: connect with industry thought-leaders and experts, regardless of their geographical location.

To make the transition easier, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions from Zeqr’s who are looking to join the movement! See below:

Q: How do I search for the right Xpert?

A: Head over to https://www.zeqr.com/search/class and search for the expertise that you desire. Typing the keywords that are most popular in the subject matter that you are looking for will help lead you to the right Xpert.

Q: What if I can’t find the expertise that I am looking for?

A: We have created a brand new platform that allows students to post the expertise that they are looking for. You can do so by going to our job board and type the details of the class that you are requesting. This tool is great to inform Xperts of the type of class that you need.

Q: What time are the sessions booked?

A: The beauty of live online classes is that the sessions can be booked at a time that is convenient for both the student and the Xpert. You can reach out to the Xpert of a specific class and request a time that works best.

Getting started is easy. If you are either a student, an employee, an entrepreneur or just looking to learn something new, you can certainly find what you’re looking here!

Still hesitant to join? Why not take our free demo session which walks through the entire platform. You can book your own session with our VP of Client Relations at your convenience. Also, check out our more recent blog post on our top 4 learning strategies to get the best out of your learning campaign.

Happy learning!

Xpert Spotlight: Personal Finance

Getting out of debt and into savings

The amount of debt that we, as consumers have, varies from country to country and state to state. Still, most consumers owe a tremendously high amount of money, be it in car loans, student loans, credit cards, etc. It has even been reported that as of June 2017, U.S. households have more than $1 trillion in credit-card debt alone!

With all this money owed, it is only natural that personal finances planning becomes harder and harder. Consequently, some people will be unable to keep up with payments and even miss a few, leading to a disastrous downfall which can often lead to late payment fees, lower credit score and even bankruptcy.

Making the decision to take control of your personal financial situation is not an easy one, but it sure is an important one. Taking the first step includes a full assessment of where you stand today, and creating a game plan for how to tackle your debt. If you are looking for guidance, you’re in the right place, as our financial management Xperts can help you tackle any issue.

The masters of the game and their personal finance classes

In Vijay Sekhar’s online class, “Solve Your Financial Problems”, students can have access to a financial management veteran of over 15 years. In this session, students are able to get advice on their current financial standing by receiving direction on the best course of action for their specific problems. Consider Vijay as your own personal financial advisor, but at a fraction of the cost!

As Tim Mann would put it, “if you see a personal trainer for your body, a dentist for your teeth, and a hair stylist for your hair, doesn’t it make sense to see a money coach for the money that pays them all?”. This money coach brings over 25 years of experience to those suffering from the stress that money brings. In his class, “Find Your Financial Peace of Mind”, Tim will ensure to dissect your current financial standing and finish with a Financial Action Plan for you by the end of the session.

For those that have a plan in place and are simply looking to change their mindset, Shakaya Leone’s online session, “How to Manifest More Money” is the perfect class to change the way you think about money and your relationship with money. This class is an eye-opener and a must-have!

You simply cannot stay on top of your bills if you do not have any income. A great resource for solving this problem is Ginger Spark’s “Make Every Employer Want You” class. In this session, Ginger will walk you through ways to eliminate all limiting beliefs and also go step-by-step in creating your Curriculum Vitae and motivational letter. Get the dream job you have always wanted and get back on the way to financial freedom!

Lastly, sign-up for Alife Star’s “Motivational / Mentor Lifestyle Coach”, where he taps into your financial needs and wishes and discusses ways in which you can change your lifestyle to attain your financial goals. This class will be an instant game-changer and benefit to your personal life!

Whether you are simply looking for a few personal finance tips or searching for a hands-on financial advisor, you can find the level of expertize that you need on our platform. Go ahead, take the first step to taking back control of your money and your life!

You can also find more classes by searching for Xperts and you can also sign up for my free demo session to ask any questions you may have.

Happy learning!