I was reading an article today on the website of a well respected Nottingham publication. It was revealing that whilst 95% of Nottingham businesses have a website, only 26 percent of businesses were taking advantage of affiliate marketing opportunities. But the article was about using social media like Twitter and Facebook. This is not affiliate marketing.
I do not know whose mistake it was. It was either the business journalist or it was the spokesman for the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce. What is clear, is that if people in positions such as these do not know the difference, how can small business owners be expected to know the difference?
Maybe your friends and business colleagues have been telling you that you need to be on Twitter and Facebook. It is the fashion of the day it seems. And maybe you are worried that you are not using them. Well it is time to stop worrying because I doubt that any of these people encouraging you really know why you should or indeed whether you should.
So here is a list of these marketing methods and my opinion on whether or not they should be used.
I have a perfect example of how Twitter can be useful. A customer of Net Quality regularly introduces new products on a regular basis and until recently, their customers had to visit the website of my customer to discover which products they were. They asked Net Quality to provide an mass emailing system to which their customers could subscribe and allow them to keep their customers informed. This is something well within our capabilities but instead of just charging our customer for this service I suggested they try Twitter first. It is free and is so simple to integrate into your website. Customers are free to subscribe and can receive updates from you on their PC's, netbooks and mobile phones. This service is perfect for them.
However, unless you do have regular messages you want to send to a customer it is best not to have a Twitter page for your business. No Twitter page is far better than a Twitter page whose last entry was in July 2010.
This site can be useful if you want to build a community feel around your business. You can make announcements on here and integrate it with Twitter very easily. Your Twitter updates can be incorporated on your Facebook page and given more detail as well as photos. However, the same rule applies. Only do this if you have frequent and useful information to give to your customers, otherwise there is no purpose behind it.
Here is the nub of the article. Affiliate Marketing has nothing whatsoever to do with Twitter or Facebook. It is a marketing method whereby other people promote your services and/or products on the Internet for which they receive a commission from you when sales are made. Trust is required, especially on the side of the affiliate marketer. It can be a useful method of marketing your business because you only pay on results. The downside is that good results take time to achieve so should be part of your long term strategy in marketing your business.
Affiliate Marketing only tends to work with ecommerce type websites. If you feel this would be of use to you and your business then please call us and we can se this up for you.
I hope this article has cleared up for most of you what these differences are. And if you are ever speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, can you put them right for me please?