Last week, the Philadelphia Convention Center hosted the Affiliate Summit East, a conference for marketers, merchants, bloggers, and anyone looking to learn a little bit more about affiliate marketing. (If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing, to wit: it’s a type of marketing in which a website pays another website or marketer for each visitor it receives thanks to that marketer’s own advertising efforts.)
While some of the sessions were somewhat advanced, there was a lot of great information for anyone — small business owner, blogger, writer — looking to get the most out of their web presence. If you own a web domain but feel as though you’re not getting anything out of it (be it money or just eyeballs), here are some of the best nuggets of information shared at the Affiliate Summit last week:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — and marketing smarts. Evan Weber, CEO of Experience Advertising, Inc., said that they key to a good marketing strategy is to look at the big players in your space and see what they’re doing. Then, do that. “Usually,” he said, “the bigger players have spent the money to see what works.” This means that if you’re a small-town baker looking to start selling your cookies on the web, for instance, look at other small town bakers who have made a name for themselves to see what their website looks like, where they’re advertising and what they’re doing on social media.
Google is good, but Bing can be better. Yes, Google is the number one search engine, but buying Google Adwords can get expensive. If you’re just venturing out into search-engine-optimization (SEO), Weber recommends looking instead at Bing. “The volume is high, the volume is there,” Weber said, noting that Yahoo and Facebook also feed off of Bing ad words. “It’s the low hanging fruit. People neglect Bing ads… [it’s a] good opportunity for smaller merchants to buy keywords more cost effectively and get a better ROI [return on investment].”
Build social media karma. Weber says he spends an hour a day on different social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram — just liking people’s posts or interacting with other users. “People see that ‘Evan is liking my thing,’ so they’ll do it to mine. And when they do that, their friends see it so it creates a nice viral effect,” he said. He was also emphatic that bloggers and merchants join Instagram to boost their web presence. “Instagram is freaking on fire. Their user base is very engaged. Everyone should be on Instagram,” Weber said. “If you’re not on there, be on there.”
Videos aren’t just for funny cats. Hillel Scheinfeld, COO and co-founder of Viewbix, said that while everyone knows that the number one search engine is Google, what most people don’t realize is that the number two search engine is YouTube — and consumers are doing more than watching cats take baths. “They’re looking for products, seeing it in use, trying to get a sense of what the product looks and feels like,” Scheinfeld said. “YouTube is the number two search engine out there. That underscores a basic fact that video isn’t just a tool to be used for entertainment, but it’s a tool people are using to market themselves.” Not sure where to start with your video? Scheinfeld says that the sweet-spot in terms of length is one minute and 30 seconds, and viewers should be able to understand who you are and what the point of the video is within the first ten seconds. “If you can’t get that message across within the first ten, max 20 seconds,” he said, “they’ll stop watching the video.”