How to Know If You (and Your Business) Are Ready for an Affiliate Program

Just lately I’ve had several business owners approach me for advice and support in adding an affiliate program to their business. And quite often what has prompted them to think about adding this additional income stream is that someone has simply said to them “do you have an affiliate program that I can sign up to?”

Just because someone asks you this doesn’t mean you need to run out and get one set up. There are some critical steps you need to take BEFORE your business is ready to have an affiliate program added to it.

Before we get into these critical steps let’s just take a look at what an affiliate program is and what it can mean for your business…

Basically an affiliate program is your own personal sales army of people (a.k.a. your affiliates) who will go out and recommend your products and programs for you and in return you’ll pay them a commission on everything they sell. The commission amount can be whatever you want it to be, but my own preferences are 50% on digital products and 20-25% on group programs.

You will provide your affiliate with a unique affiliate ID which they will then place in their ezines, on their blogs and websites, share with their social networks etc. telling everyone about your products and programs. A visitor will come along to their blog (or wherever they’ve placed their affiliate link) read all about YOUR products and programs, click the link through to YOUR sales page, and then BUY your product. Because they came from your affiliate’s website (and the system knows this because of the unique affiliate ID that your affiliate has) your affiliate will earn commission on that sale. And it’s all automated so the system takes care of the sales and commissions.

In a nutshell, what an affiliate programs mean for you and your business is that you:

Have your own personal sales army
Can use it as a list-building/web promotion tool
Can build your business through joint ventures with other business owners
Can get others to promote your products and programs
Will generate a consistent revenue stream i.e. additional product sales

And this is why affiliate programs are so popular and why every business should have one – when they’re ready! There are three critical steps you need to have in place before you can add an affiliate program to your business:

1. The first step is having either products and/or programs available for sale, and having them available for sale directly via your website. Without a product and/or program in place there is nothing for your affiliates to sell.

2. The second step is having the right system in place to support an affiliate program. Ideally you want a system that is an all-in-one ecommerce and database management system so you’re using the same system you sell your products and programs through to manage your affiliate program. Two of the most popular programs for doing this are:

1ShoppingCart (the one that I use); and
Infusionsoft (excellent service, with lots of bells & whistles, but more costly)

3. And finally, having a library of promotional tools (e.g. articles, adverts, graphics etc.) all ready to add into your affiliate center so that it’s very easy for your affiliates to promote you.

In summary, for an affiliate program to work properly you need:

The affiliate program to be part of the same system that you use to sell your products & programs
Individual product & program sales pages for affiliates to point their networks to
The affiliate program to be able to track individual affiliates and provide them with a unique affiliate ID so that cookies can be tracked and affiliate sales applied appropriately
To have all your promotional materials all ready to go to make it super-simple for your affiliates to promote you.

How Do I Choose an Affiliate Program?

There are hundreds if not thousands of different affiliate programs and opportunities out there. Now you want to join the ranks of affiliate marketers, how will you choose one affiliate program from the other? By reading this article maybe you will find this task a little bit easier to do.

In the initial stage before choosing a affiliate program, you will first want to ask yourself some questions, and do some research about the affiliate programs that you are considering joining. The answers and information that you gather here will be the key to what program you will choose to work.

Some of the questions and research that will be useful in helping you decide are:

What will it cost if anything to join this affiliate program?

The majority of today’s affiliate programs are free to join. Because you are joining the programs to make money, why start out by paying some one to join their program?

How and when will you be paid?

In many cases you will find that affiliate programs are different when it comes to the paying of commissions. You may be offered two options as to how you are paid. 1. commissions put directly into your bank account or payment processor or 2. commissions paid to you by” snail mail” in the form of commission checks payable to you. Some affiliate will only offer one method of payment while others will offer a choice of the two. Affiliate programs may pay out monthly, or quarterly and/or only once you have reached a certain amount in commissions.

Make sure to understand this part of the affiliate programs rule and regulations so that you will know how and when you can expect your earnings.

What is the hit per sale ratio of the affiliate program?

This is actually the frequent quantity of hits to your banner or text link it requires to get a sale made determined by all affiliate stats. A visitor clicks your affiliate banners or links is a hit. Once he or she becomes a paying customer they become a sale. At this point, you consider the amount of hits that you have received to the affiliate banners and links and then divide it by the number of sales, that is how you get the hit per sale ratio. This particular detail is incredibly critical since it will show you the amount of traffic or visitors you have to deliver before you will be able to receive a commission from the sale.

How dose the affiliate site keep track of your referrals and how long they are kept?

The affiliate program should be able to keep track of all of the individuals that you refer to them. It is these stats that will determine your right to a sale. The length of time that your referrals remain in the programs systems is also important because it is a fact that most individuals will not make the purchase of your affiliate product or service on the first visit, you will want to know just how long your referral will remain active so that you will receive credit for the sale when the visitor returns days, or months later to make the purchase.

What type of affiliate statistics dose the program offer?

The affiliate program should be one that is able to reliably show you your detailed affiliate statistics any time around the clock that you wish to view them. You should have access to affiliate stats like…impressions, hits and sales you generate from your affiliate promotions tools, banners text links etc.

Are your hits and impressions also paid for by your affiliate program?

It is a good idea to choose an affiliate program where your hits, clicks and banner impressions are paid for in addition to your commissions, especially if the affiliate program is showing a low hit to sales ratio.

Who is the affiliate company?

It is crucial to find out who you are doing business with, who will be paying you, how long they have been around, what type of reputation they have. What type of products they produce or sell and how popular the product is.. This is important for making your final decision of if you will work this particular program or not. So find out as much as possible about who is the provider of the affiliate program.

How many levels or tiers dose the affiliate program have?

The importance of this question is that the single tier or level program will only pay you for the sales you alone have produced. How ever the two tier or level program will not only pay you for your sales but a percentage of any sales made by anyone you bring into the affiliate program, with some programs you are eligible to get a small fee for all the people that you bring into the affiliate program,you might say a finders fee.

Last but not least, how much will your commission be?

30% – 60% commission is commonly paid by the best programs, others can start lower or pay a little more… 01% -.05% is the average range paid for every hit. If you discover an opportunity that also will pay for impressions, the total paid out is just not a lot by any means. Clearly by the numbers, you can now see why the average sales amount as well as hit to sale ratio is significant.

Before joining any affiliate program you should at least find the answers to the questions mentioned above. if not more. Knowing the important parts of your potential affiliate program will not only definitely save you problems down the line but will help you in choosing that right program out there that is just right for you.

Tony Sanford has been associated with internet marketing and starting home online businesses for the past 8 years. He is also considered by some to be an expert in this field. Tony is the owner and creator of his own successful internet marketing help sites. He has devoted years of his internet marketing life to offering internet marketing help and advice to all those who are interested in starting or enhancing their own successful home online business through his websites. Tony is one internet marketer who really seems to get the greatest reward and success by helping others reach their home online business goals.

Are Multitier Affiliate Programs Beneficial?

Affiliate programs, be they single tier, two tier or multi tier, may vary in terms of overall quality and reliability, commission rates, statistics, the amount of help that the parent site offers in marketing the products or the services they sell. By thoroughly understanding the program, you can capitalize on your true earning potential.

What is a multitier affiliate program?

Affiliate programs are a method by which you, the strong link in the chain, help harness the traffic coming to your website by way of clicks and sales to the website you refer. This helps generate revenue, without any investment or expense of selling anything yourself.

A multi tier affiliate program works for most people. A multi-tier program is generally up to 4-5 levels deep, meaning you could get paid a lot of money by simply referring tons of people to the program and wait for them to start making the sales. Ideally, the more affiliates you sign up, the more money you can make. It is a win-win situation for you as well as the company. This system is also known as multilevel marketing (MLM) due to its multiple levels of potential commission earnings.

About the different types of affiliate programs

There are 4 main types:

Pay per sale
Pay per lead
Pay per click
Residual income

Each type of program has its advantages and disadvantages, and each is relevant for a particular site and situation.

Pay per sale affiliate programs

Pay per sale programs are almost always commission-based programs. They pay a predetermined percentage commission on the revenue generated by the sale of products or services on the site, irrespective of the volume of sales. However, some flat-fee programs also operate on a per sale basis. In such a case, a visitor has to actually purchase and pay for a product or service before you qualify for a referral commission.

Pay per lead affiliate programs

Many pay per lead affiliate programs which include mortgages, loans, insurance policies, surveys and follow-ups operate on a flat-fee per lead basis. Each qualifying lead earns you a referral fee wherein you are paid a predetermined amount for every visitor who carries out at least one purchase or transaction at the site, irrespective of the value of that transaction. A flat-fee program can be as simple as ‘US $10 per new customer’ or ‘US $5 per order’, or they can have a more complex fee structures depending on what mix of products or services are sold depending on the number of leads a particular affiliate manages to close in a particular month.

Pay per click affiliate program

Also known as click-through programs, this program pays a small amount for every visitor sent to the target site. Typical payments range from $0.01 to $0.20 or more per visitor. Some pay-per-click programs also pay on a second-page-click basis which is even trickier. In this case, the visitor has to click on one of the links on the page they get to after reaching the affiliate site; second-page clicks can cut earnings by about 75%-90%.

Residual income

With residual income affiliate marketing program, you are paid whenever the customer returns to the website to purchase another product. Generally residual income comes in more than once, such as on a monthly or on a quarterly basis

Different tier affiliate programs and their benefits

These programs rely on different levels or tiers by which payments are made. While a single-tier program only pays for direct sales or traffic generated for them, the two-tier program pays for traffic or sales from the recommended members. And, in multi-tier program, you get compensation for a wider number of members from the affiliate network.

Single-tier affiliate programs

Single-tier affiliate programs reward only direct transactions. You get no reward for signing up other affiliates. Single-tier affiliate programs are suitable for almost all sites; but, your ability to ‘pre-sell’ the product or service on offer, the number of visitors you are able generate for the target site and ultimately the number of visits that can be converted to actual sales, will at the end of the day determine your earnings.

Two-tier affiliate programs

Two-tier affiliate programs reward transactions generated by affiliates, as well as reward affiliates for bringing in new affiliates into the program. Payments in this program are either made on a commission or on a flat-fee basis. Alternatively, some companies also pay a flat affiliate referral fee. This program works positively for people who believe that they have a flair for recruiting other productive affiliates. However, a program that places more emphasis on recruiting instead of sales should be looked at with suspicion. In addition, this program may not always appeal to people who are vary of recruiting people who will be directly in competition with them.

Multi tier affiliate programs

Multi tier program has a lot of benefits that you can take advantage of. Having created a team, you are more likely to have people around you with similar goals. The way this program is structured, it works out for most people; they are able to build new friendships and bring about a continuous increase in their team. All you need to do is find the right service or product that you are comfortable promoting to other people online.

Role of Hexpress as a pharmacy affiliate industry

Hexpress, a global leader in the pharmacy affiliate program industry, has been in business for the last eight years. Its growth has brought about a change in the way patients seek online treatments for a variety of conditions. Apart from a deep understanding of the subject, we offer our affiliates increased monthly revenues and higher commissions.

Build A Business From Scratch

My passions have always been gardening and painting. The two seem to go together and this was born out when starting a business in landscaping. It was natural to paint a picture of the finished design in my head. This led me to undertake counseling for those who could not imagine what a garden should look like. My long-standing interest in the outdoors held me in good stead as my little fingers were always in dirt from the time I could toddle.

Once advertising started and my first consulting job came to me it led to other things. The lady was so impressed with what she was offered that she paid me $400 to draw a plan of it. This was something right up my ally.

Putting my imagination to work the plan was a great success and before long there were some 2-3 per week along with consulting jobs. The main requiring for doing something like this is confidence. If one shows that they know what they are talking about and can satisfy their client with quality work, then it has to be a success.

Of course my enterprising didn’t stop there. The main point of this article is that people need to step out of their comfort zone and use their hobbies and interests to build a business. They have to start from scratch to do it but if they have enough confidence and knowledge they will success.

Mistakes will happen and that is the learning curve one has to go through. Costs of consulting work doesn’t have to be over the top as there is no outlay to doing it. Start small and build up. For consulting my charge was $75 and that is more than affordable when most landscape designers might charge 10 times that much for the same advice.

Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Political, social and behavioral problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.

Bring Your App Business on the Right Track

Every entrepreneur seeks to know the secret recipe for success. What strategies are made to increase the conversion rate? What are the exciting ideas that can be implemented to make the company grow? It is super strategies that create opportunities for a company. There are always some brand new ideas that you can implement to grow your business. However, not all the existing tricks will give your business a boost. It is only when the right strategies are followed at the right time and the right place that you end up having a revenue-generating business.

If you have an app business, here are 5 strategies you can follow to make sure that your business climbs the ladder of success. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Know the Purpose

To start with, in your mobile app business, it is vital to know the purpose behind the creation of an app and the audience for whom the app is created. The advantages and the true value of the app shall not be confined to the number of features it has and rather on how the user experience is. One of the most significant factors in creating compelling apps is close collaboration among developers, the quality analysis team, and designers.

2. All About Planning

It is the business plans that earn you profits. Only with clear objectives can you come up with the most suitable solutions required by customers. When it comes to creating successful apps, it definitely requires sharp focus. The complexity of a mobile app can be huge but fundamentally, an app must be designed by having an understanding of the real world. Moreover, to come up with engaging apps, it is also important to identify the exact expectations of users. So you see that accurate planning is vital for creating successful apps.

3. Choose Your Platforms Wisely

A significant part of sales depends on how you reach out to your target audience and you basically have to connect with them in the best way possible. Unlike websites, mobile applications are designed for various platforms. These days, there are multiple devices and multiple vendors. For instance, most smartphone users make use of iOS devices and others go for iPhones. Thus, the process of app development completely depends on how customer engagement can be carried out on different platforms.

4. Cross-Check the Intuitiveness of the App

Do you think that the app that you design will help in making your client’s life easier and happier? Once you design an instinctive app, it can end up giving an amazing experience to its users. Apart from integrating notable UX designs and streamlined functions, it is equally important to check whether an app is responsive enough and provides suitable performance to cater to the needs of the user. Also, ensure that the app is free from bugs.

5. Promote Your App

Promotion plays an integral role in boosting your app business. One of the most significant factors behind the popularity of an app is the way it is promoted. Adequate promotion of an app through reviews, ratings, video teasers, recordings, and social media posts helps to create a buzz among the target audience.

When it comes to the app business, the competition is stiff and if you fail to follow the right strategies, you may end up causing your app to lose its visibility among an extensive range of audience. So, follow the sure-shot strategies stated above and ensure the success of your app.

The Ways to Improve Fundraising

Donor management is never easy no matter how easy it may seem; there is always some information that you will need to get and some that you will need to impart in order to learn some of the best ways of it.

In the many things about donor management the one that counts to be the most important of all is improving fundraising and getting into the skills of it all for the best results. Here in this article are the ways you need to follow and imbibe to improve the fundraising program for your nonprofit or church.

1. Be Transparent with Your Donors – Though this might seem like an obvious point, it is usually the one that is most ignored, and the most important of all. What is important about transparency is your donors being able to trust you with all – from your plans to our ideas and ideologies. Also, this is an important point to note because only when they trust you will they be able to steward their money well and you must be able to show them you are doing so. By ‘transparent’ we mean both financial and program transparency.

Financial Transparency: You might not be considering financial transparency to be an important point but this should definitely be on your list of important things. It is considered important to release a note time to time which would show how you are allocating your funds, but your donors are not going to sit and read through that long document. Make sure you give your donors an easy way to digest how you are investing their money. Create a graph, chart, infographic etc. And if it looks like you spent more in say, fundraising, than expected, explain why. Your donors love your mission and giving them a peek behind the curtain creates a sense of belonging and teamwork.
Program Transparency: Program transparency is all about the IMPACT. If you can show your donors the impact their money has made in changing the lives of those you’re serving or where the money has impacted, you can be sure you’ve done your thing right. Create annual reports showing the graphs of how far you’ve come with the support, meanwhile mentioning exactly where you want more changes and where you’re striving to achieve more.

2. Optimize our Donor Experience – Your donors shouldn’t be there for just one years or only a period of time, and that is possible only if you manage to optimize the donor experience convincing them that there are things that’ll help you stay in contact for more than one donation period. Try personalization (which definitely does no longer mean just hey and the first name); it is always recommended to stay in touch with the donors through emails, letters and phone calls. You can segment based on last gift amount, last gift date, a specific campaign – anything. And then create fundraising messaging around each category.

3. Audit Your Systems – Thought this is not important? Wrong!!! One of the most important points to be considered to improve fundraising is to audit your system – audit on your end – use the right set of tool and the right techniques. Keep the audit impartial and keep it clear – this will help you understanding how far you’ve come with your fundraising program and exactly how far you will be able to go with it.

Fundraising for churches, charities and non profits is the thing that does the most benefit and an increase in the finds over a stipulated period of time is exactly what they’re striving for. It is therefore recommended that you use these set of tips mentioned above and create a draft accordingly of you new ideas and plans for an increase in the funds.

Different Applications Of An Industrial

An industrial oven is like a heated chamber that is used for a number of applications and also considered as thermal processing machines. A number of industries demand for the device and their need varies as per their application. Every single person when heard about the oven, so, they think of baking food in the kitchen, but, no it has many other applications other than just baking, which increases its demand in the market and especially in the industrial sectors. In case you are not aware of any of its applications, so, here we are to help you out. Read the article below and get to know about its wide applications that help you know a bit more about the device and its requirement in the different industries.

Here Are Some Common Application Of Industrial Ovens:

Powder Coating: Powder coating is important to create an extra layer of protection to the object and powder coating ovens are used for such coating, as it helps in heating to fuse into a layer when the desired temperature is reached.
Drying: The application of drying means removal of moisture from products before packing them, which ensure their long-life. And Drying Ovens are the ones that are designed for the same purpose and very helpful in removing the moisture.
Baking: Baking application here means the baking of the final products, which is performed by the industrial oven by incorporating the function of curing and drying as well. The device successfully performs this function because of its heated chamber that is meant to use for such purposes.
Curing: Another application for which an industrial oven used is curing. The device mainly coated the material to a specific temperature and holds it for a longer period.
Sterilizing: Last but not the least is sterilization. Yes, Industrial Ovens mainly the Hot Air ones are used for the purpose of sterilizing laboratory and surgical equipment like Scalpels, Spatula, Surgical Blades, and Glass Syringes, etc. The device uses dry heat to perform the process of sterilization.

Each of its application requires a specific amount of heat and different type of industrial oven and therefore, considering your application is important before investing in the device. To get a quality and feature-rich device, you should buy it from a reliable company that offers only the quality solutions. The device is available at reasonable price and offers you plenty of benefits and aids you attain your industry requirement.

Business Package Become A Casualty

Every holiday season, from late October through January, finding a reliable courier or shipping company can become a nightmare. Time sensitive packages are not always given top priority by the big courier services because of their high demand for deliveries during the holidays.

Businesses who rely on courier services throughout the year know the holiday season will become a problem for them due to the overwhelming of daily consumer shipments. Whether it’s a gift being delivered across the country or a medical lab needing sensitive packages transported a few miles away, all packages are treated the same. That means without proper care!. How many times have you seen “FRAGILE” on a package only to receive it smashed. It almost seems some courier services enjoy damaging packages. They think tossing it into the back of the truck is careful. Or rolling it like a bowling ball is fun. Well, not to the medical labs, dental offices, hospitals or other businesses that hope their package is treated with care.

Unlike a consumer who can pre-schedule their package to be delivered, many businesses do not have that luxury. Flexible delivery dates are not part of the business world. Too often a special delivery package needs to be sent within a few miles. It could be within a 100 mile radius or just a 10 mile distance. No matter how far, the package needs to get there NOW.

Don’t wait for your packages to have these issues with your existing courier service during the holiday season. One reason why this happens is they hire temporary drivers and those drivers might not be familiar with the area. And more than likely, they are paid by the hour, so what’s another hour or two on the road to them it’s more money! Managing time-sensitive packages like medical supplies, medial lab tests, or legal documents can get lost easily during this busy season. Local same day courier services are small enough yet large enough to give you the personal care for all same day deliveries.

Isn’t it be time you find a local courier service that is reliable and doesn’t hire temporary drivers? If your business has packages that need to be delivered within 100 miles, ask your business friends on who they use for their deliveries and if they are satisfied. Be sure they have a solid reputation with medical labs, hospitals, pharmacies, dental labs and other businesses that require sensitive packages to be delivered on-time. Many businesses require same day delivery!

Using Advertising Flags to Increase Your Sales

If you are going to establish a new business, know that it is not going to be an easy job. Starting a business is not about setting up a new office. As a matter of fact, the most difficult part of running a new business is getting it promoted the right way. Nowadays, you can use advertising flags for the promotion of your products and services. You can find a lot of promotional tools in the here and now. As far as choosing marketing tools is concerned, you have a lot of things to choose from. One way is to use advertising flags. Let us know more.

Advertising flags

Since technology has introduced so many ways of promoting products and services, the conventional methods have experienced a drop in popularity. They have not lost their usefulness but new methods have rose in popularity with the passage of time. Flags for advertising were used in the past and they are still very effective.

If you have made your mind to make use of this marketing tool for your business, we suggest that you learn to use them well. Given below are some tips that may help you.

Offer discounts

You can make your customers glad by offering special discounts. And for this purpose, this tool can work in an effective manner. All you have to do is put these flags on the sales counter or other areas of your office or store. The thing is that you have to place them somewhere where they can catch the eyes of the visitors.

New products or services

Another way to use them is to put them outside your physical store like the car roofs, hotels, shopping malls, busy streets and restaurants, just to name a few. if you have a new product or service to promote or you want to give a huge discount, this marketing tool can help you a lot. Just put them somewhere where you know that a lot of people see them.

Online business

The use of advertising flags is not limited to new launches and deals. You can also use them for improving your web presence, and endorsing different contests, just to name a few.

Trade shows and exhibitions

If you are going to take part in a big exhibition or show, you may be excited to see a huge audience. You may want to let the people know about your presence or participation in the event. If your prospective customers don’t know about you, they are not going to get in touch with you. Therefore, what you need to do is make them aware of your presence in an easy way. And one way of doing so is to use a promotional flag. All you have to do is put them up at the right place so that others could see it.

Business Growth Leveraging Your Personal Brand

Marketing is like sex. Everyone thinks they’re good at it.

– Steve Tobak

We are in a golden age of solopreneurs: independent, innovative experts who are turning the traditional working model on its head. No longer content with working under layers of organizational management, workers around the globe are increasingly making the decision to take full control of their careers. To carve their own niche and capitalize on their skills. To join the solo revolution.

And you are one of them. A revolutionary!

Creating your own brand has never been easier. With the explosion of social media, solopreneurs have immediate access to billions of people around the world. You can speak directly to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Likewise, the number of services and products consumers have instant access to is infinite. Neither business nor buyer is bound by location anymore.

It is an incredibly liberating age. But it’s also one that some entrepreneurs and businesses find overwhelming.

We’re Living in a Digital-First World

In his book Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel discusses the term “digital first”. He reveals the five key movements that organizations must embrace to future-proof themselves – or go out of business. One of these shifts is the fact that now, the first place your brand and business are validated is online. Essentially, the internet and social media have the power to make or break your chances of success.

Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of how to cultivate a successful business by leveraging digital media. Born in the Soviet Union in 1975, Vaynerchuk immigrated to the United States in 1978. From humble beginnings, his father went on to own a liquor store in New Jersey. In the early days of the digital-first world, Vaynerchuk could see the burning potential of his father’s business. After graduating from college, Vaynerchuk transformed the liquor shop into a retail wine store, which he named the Wine Library. In 2006, he started a daily video blog, Wine Library TV. This hugely popular webcast turned him into an internet celebrity. It attracted 90,000 viewers a day and led to a flurry of TV and speaking engagements. In just six years, Vaynerchuk grew the family business from $1 million a year to a whopping $50 million a year.

Not too bad for a small family business, right?

So, as you can see, traditional marketing has been blown out of the water. We’re no longer restricted to cold calling and setting up meeting after meeting to generate leads and sales. Digital marketing has opened an array of cost-effective avenues for self-promotion and lead generation. Sales are now about leveraging your social networks, engaging with people online and educating.

This is, essentially, the social sales model: (see link below)

Today, the businesses and entrepreneurs that make the most impact on their audiences are role models. They’re trusted advisers who create tribes – powerful online communities that help their brands grow. They educate and provide solutions. They’ve jumped on board the social sales train and embrace the connection economy whole-heartedly. Because if you don’t, you get left behind.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. We must build on this massive sales reform and look to the future. We must become industry ambassadors. We must become thought leaders who engage meaningfully with our followers, share generously of our expertise and regard our audiences not just as leads or dollar signs, but as lifetime partnerships.

Why Stand Out from the Crowd

Solopreneurs are the way of the future. They account for 61% of Australian businesses[1]. And with the advent of freelance sites such as Upwork, 99designs, Freelancer and Airtasker, an increasing number of Australians are freelancing. According to freelance marketplace Elance-oDesk, 30% of the Australian workforce – or 3.7 million people – undertake some sort of freelance work[2].

Digital marketing presents an enormous opportunity for solopreneurs. According to Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, the average person spends two hours a day on the internet. Furthermore, IBM’s Global CEO Study found that CEOs believe social media utilization for customer engagement will increase by 256% over five years. This means social media will become the second-most popular way to engage customers after face-to-face communication.

Social media has created a level playing field. It’s cheap and readily available. You don’t need large amounts of money to build a business. You don’t even need an existing client base – you can start one from scratch online. The internet has given everyone the potential to create a successful solo business.

But there’s a downside to this equal opportunity. Despite the accessibility of social media, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs continue to face is finding leads and retaining clients.

The digital marketplace means you’re competing against everyone else with a business like yours. You can’t simply create a LinkedIn or Facebook account and expect clients to come to you. How will they know you’re there? What makes you stand out? When everyone else is pushing their own unique selling point, what will make people choose you?

In a world where customers have immediate access to information on every kind of business around the world, it’s hard to cut through the noise. To gain that competitive edge, you must create a connection.

Being a solopreneur is not enough. You must bond with your audience by offering more than your products and services alone. You need to educate, lead and gain trust. You need to make a real difference to the lives of your clients.

Position, Position, Position

Positioning is fundamental to creating trust and having influence. It’s more than just creating an image. It’s about owning your space in your industry. It’s about flexing your expertise, starting conversations, changing the game, creating engaging content and enlightening others. It’s about being the go-to expert for peers and clients needing guidance.

And it’s what leads to sales.

When you have a rock-solid positioning, your return on investment is second to none. Digital media and technology company Burst Media’s 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report found that on average, marketers who implemented an Influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media.[3] The primary tools used in Influencer marketing were:

Blog posts
Social syndication and branded content distribution
Influencers and influential content

Blogs. Content. Social media. These are indispensable, cost-effective tools if you want to elevate your positioning from business owner to leading industry expert. And they are what will build your audience’s trust in you.