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Building a website is the easy part of affiliate marketing, getting visitors to the site is the difficult part, but not nearly as difficult as converting those visitors into buyers! Of course you can help yourself by designing a useful website, one which is easy to navigate and gives the visitor exactly what they want. But what happens if you do all that, and they still won’t buy? Why are visitors leaving the site after 30 seconds? Why don’t visitors click on those great promotions you run? Could a different web page layout uplift sales? Unless you can stand over the shoulders of all your site visitors, you’ll never know the answers to these questions – unless you spend £1000s on usability studies and focus groups.

For small and medium sized affiliates these studies are just too expensive, until now. Crazy Egg is a new online usability tool that allows you to track visitor interaction with your website. You can use it to test a new design, test content and discover which versions work best, test placement of key elements such as ads or action buttons. See where you visitors click via heatmaps, follow the visitor journey via page paths. You can also view bounce rates on individual pages, view referring URLs and track visitor via referring URL.

So how much does this all cost? that’s the good news, it’s only $9 (£5) a month! Join for one month and cancel if you like, test multiple sites or just test your homepage. We ran Crazy Egg on a number of our websites and discovered lots of ways to improve them. So if you serious about making it in affiliate marking, give Crazy Egg a go.

Twitter is one of those web technologies you either get or you don’t, the main criticism leveled at twitter is “who care’s what you’re doing?” and it’s true to some extent, many people use twitter to announce their latest bowl movements to the world! but if you continue ignoring twitter as a marketing tool your business is going to regret it! Below we take a look a 5 great ways to use twitter to reach more customers.

The biggest mistake most people make is visiting twitter.com and thinking “what’s this all about?” they see a boring homepage and once signed up to a twitter account their own profile page is empty! Twitter isn’t really about twitter.com, in fact it’s not really about a website (it’s not another facebook) the best way to use twitter is via a desktop app like TweetDeck or via a mobile phone.

The way I explain Twitter to friends is describing it like a group SMS/TXT service, you know on New Years eve when you group txt everyone in your phones address book wishing them a Happy New Year, well that’s exactly like a Tweet. Only everyone in the world can see your Tweet (if you want them too), and people can reply privately or publicly to that message.

Sounds pretty unremarkable doesn’t it? Why not just send a TXT, well for one reason it costs nothing to use Twitter, that means you could reach 100,000s of people without spending a penny, try sending a TXT to 100,000 people at 0.10p per message. That’s a cost benefit but the real power of twitter is the ability to follow or to be followed (sounds sinister, but it’s not) if we continue using the TXT metaphor, you could only TXT people who’s phone number you know, Twitter users have the choice to ‘follow’ your tweets (individual twitter messages) I follow the tweets of actor Steven Fry and so do 700,000 other people! I’ve even helped Mr. Fry fix a problem with his Blackberry phone via twitter.

After tweeting with Mr. Fry I picked up lots of new followers, probably people with similar Blackberry phone issues. Are you starting to see the power of Twitter yet? If I sold Blackberry software apps or iPhones that could be a huge source of new sales! Celebrity users have massive followings on twitter, Steven Fry (700,000) Ashton Kutcher (3 Million) Barak Obama (2 Million) which is what you’d kinda expect and then there’s DELL with 976,721 followers, you know DELL! the boring PC manufacturer. Nearly 1 million people just waiting for the next marketing message from DELL to be sent directly to them and they will get the message wherever they are. Are you starting to see the power of twitter yet? If I haven’t convinced you here’s 5 great examples of how to use twitter to market your business.

Example One ~ Chester Tourist

chestertourist

This is one of my favorite uses for Twitter and one that’s still under exploited by most tourist towns and cities. Twitter has a dirty little secret that not many people know about, using an iPhone or other smart phone device you can find Tweets based on your exact location! I use it all the time, on my iPhone I have a twitter app called ‘Tweetie’ one of the features of the app is the ‘Nearby’ function, I just hit ‘Nearby’ and I can see tweets from people within 1, 2, 5, or 10 miles of me!

So how is that useful? Well if you’re visiting a town for the first time you can get a load of local knowledge in an instant from fellow twitter users. @chestertourist tweets everyday on things happening in Chester, places to eat and drink. Chester gets well over two million visitors a year, if you owned a restaurant or pub in Chester, how many extra customers could a daily local tweet pull in? It’s worth finding out, lots of people use the twitter ‘nearby’ feature to find local information, don’t ignore them!

Example Two ~ BetfairNews

betfairnews

Betting is a subject close to my heart and business, I take a punt on the football and rugby every now and then, so it’s no surprise to find BetFairNews as one of my favorite uses of twitter. If you have a unique service or business like BetFair then twitter can really help you engage with your customers. Because betting is a constantly moving market twitter is the perfect tool to quickly update customers. BetFairNews tweets sports news, scores and the latest odds for major sporting events.

Constant updates is not the only reason why BetfairNews is a good example of a business using twitter. Fire off a tweet at @BetfairNews about the betting volumes matched on a football game and you’ll get a reply, ask who’s the favorite in the next race and you get an individual response. It’s this one-to-one dialogue with customers that makes BetfairNews a great example on how to use Twitter the right way.

Example Three ~ AngryBritain

angrybritain

“So Sting is able to shag his wife for 5 hours without going off. I know how he feels. My wife was no oil painting either.” that’s the type of tweet you can expect from @AngryBritain with his sharp satire and commentary on the days news and events AngryBritain has used the power of twitter to build a website and a loyal following online.

AngryBritain allows you to tweet ‘rants’ and ‘beefs’ which are then published on the AngryBritain.com website. So you can use twitter to populate at website or blog with unique content everyday of the year without constantly thinking up new and interesting thing to write about, the more popular your tweets the more visitors you can drive to your website ~ simple but clever!

Example Four ~ SouthWestAir

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Many businesses use twitter to push services or products but American airline Southwest use twitter to track what people are saying about them online. For example, when Travis Johnson, Twitter handle, “pastortrav,” tweeted a complained  about Southwest’s check-in process, he received a quick, public response from an airline employee via twitter saying, “So sorry to hear it! What don’t you like about the check-in process? Did your flight get off okay?”

Southwest spokeswoman Christi Day said “We monitor those channels because we know these conversations are taking place there, and we can either watch the conversations or take part in them,” Twitter can be a great way to proactively manage customer complaints or comments. Along with negative comments you might also discover what people really like about your company! (Ryanair is not yet active on twitter, they’re currently trying to work out how to charge customers £5 to receive their tweets)

Example Five ~ Tehran Bureau

iran2

Gil Scott Heron famously sang “The revolution will not be televised” and he was right, because the revolution will be twitter’d! During the recent Iranian election protests the majority of information coming out of Iran was via Twitter, mainstream broadcasters like CNN, BBC and FOX had to resort to showing tweets onscreen from Iranians posting about the protests. The twitter user @tehranBureau was a main source of reliable news about what was happening on the streets of Tehran. Traditional journalist would warn about publishing information which cannot be verified or checked and I agree in principal, but when events of this nature take place it’s almost impossible to check facts completely until after the event.

What we can be sure about is the ability of Twitter to connect millions of people to a news event instantly. Via the use of the hash tags like #iran, #iranelection news of the protests spread rapidly and seemingly took the Iranian authorities by surprise. For the authorities the only option was to close down access to Twitter from Iran, which they did. Until it was realized that many Iranians were still posting to twitter by text messaging via users in other countries or via proxy servers. Eventually the Iranian authorities closed down the Tehran cell phone network and started confiscating mobile phones ~ a desperate act of a regime that maybe the worlds first government toppled by tweets! The ultimate in twitter power.

It’s been a while since we last attend an affiliate conference, so we’re really looking forward to the iGaming Super Show in Dublin later in May. The conference has a great schedule of sessions and I’m Particularly hoping the talk on wordpress SEO optimisation will yield some useful information. The conference is a four day event and every day has a session I want to attend, whether that’s the talk on emerging markets or the discussion on in-play betting.

One of the best reasons to attend any iGaming event is the people you meet, we’ve always had a great time socially at these events and they’re a brilliant way to put faces to email addresses. The parties thrown by casinos & bookmakers at iGaming events are normally awesome, but I’d definitely warn affiliates about getting involved in the poker games, especially in Barcelona – as a night in a Spanish police cell is not for everyone!

If you’re heading to Dublin on the 22th of May and want to talk to us then just drop me a quick email.

If you’ve never heard of QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) then prepare to experience the next big thing in Web/Mobile/Marketing convergence. Like most technological innovations this one started in Japan.

DENSO Corporation invented the system to track automobile parts around it’s various factories. QR Codes are basically barcodes that can store lots of data and what makes them unique is that you don’t need a barcode scanner to read them, just a mobile phone with a camera and some free QR reader software.

Already Sony Ericsson is signed up to include free QR and 2D Barcode reader software on it’s phones. The apple iPhone already has a numerous QR reader apps available to download for free on the app store.

OK, so far I can tell you’re not impressed!
Why would anyone want to use this system? Well all I can say is that once you try it, you’ll instantly see it’s real world possibilities. Here’s just a few way to use QR Codes…

Embed Website Addresses In QR Codes
You can embed a website URL into a QR Code because as we know typing URL’s into cell phones can be tedious and mistyping a URL is a common problem. Wouldn’t it be much easier to print a QR Code on a poster or press ad and have the reader snap the code on a camera phone and be directed to the website instantly? Remember not everyone in the world uses the standard English alphabet! QR Codes will overcome language barriers and make visiting websites easier than ever before.

Embed Geotags Into QR Codes
Let’s say that you’re holding a special event or sale and you want to direct people to it, just embed the Geo co-ordinates of the event into a QR Code. Nearly all high end mobile phones now have GPS and google maps as standard (soon even low cost phone will have them) and Embeded QR Code geotags can link directly to google maps on the users phone and let them know where to go. Large shopping malls or stores can use this to guide shoppers. Even tourist boards in major cities can use it to direct visitors to attractions and places of interest.

Send SMS Messages With QR Codes
That’s right, you can even embed SMS messages directly into QR Codes. As a business you might run a special offer or promotion via SMS service and explaining the instructions to customers can often be long winded and confusion can easily arise. Why tell someone to “TEXT ‘OFFER’ to 2654”? Why not just show them a QR Code! I can imagine that QR Codes will soon be flashed up on TV screens to enable people to vote in reality TV shows or to receive a promo code from advertisers.

Basic Information QR Codes
How about using QR Codes to give basic information? Your business card may have your phone number, address and email details buy why not just print a QR code on a business card and link it to a webpage with your full contact details? If you ever change premises or telephone number, just update the website. No more reprinting business cards!

These are just a few of the real world ways to use QR Codes and I’m sure, over time, people will come up with even more innovative ways to use them. Eddison-Media is really excited about technology, so much so that we’ve registered a few QR Code domains already. So far we have qrcodez.com, qr-barcodes.co.uk and qr-code.me.uk. We also plan to run a QR Code promotion in the next few weeks.

If you want to test a QR Code then try this one! It links to one of our websites.

qrcode

A quick video to show you how fast QR codes work.

You can find out more about QR Codes and 2D Barcodes by following the links below.

Make Your Own QR Codes

QR Code Article On Wikipedia

QR Codes On Mashable

QR Codes On BCC Click

If you need a free QR Code reader for your mobile phone then try these…

Barcode Scanner ~ Android OS

QuickMark QR Reader ~ Various Phones Including: Nokia, HTC, Samsung, iPhone

It’s been a long time coming but finally a main steam newspaper seems to have cottoned on to the potential of the iPhone as a delivery method for a news. For too long newspapers have seen themselves in the business of selling paper. What newspapers really sell is news and editorial comment. The delivery method is unimportant, the English national newspaper ‘The Independent’ has just launched The Indy on apples iPhone app store, the application offers readers the chance to read articles from The Independent both on and off-line. Once launched the App automatically downloads all the articles and images for offline reading, talking around a minute on a Wi-Fi connection and a few minutes on a standard mobile connection, making it possible to read the latest Independent news even when without mobile reception, a real bonus for those stuck on the London Underground without phone signal.

The new app delivers 12 categories of articles, including World and UK news, Sport, Business, Football, Opinion, People, Politics, Technology, Arts and Entertainment and Environment. I’m sure the Indy is hoping the new app can help stem the raising losses at the newspaper. the app can be download for free from iTunes app store. Reviews from users on the store seem very positive, many describe it as the best news app on the store.

The ‘Big Ben’ clock tower is normally a landmark you associate with London not Cheshire! Yet motorist passing along the A51 Chester Road to Nantwich have been stunned by a 70ft replica of Big Ben made from 500 bales of straw. The “Little Ben” as locals are calling it , even has a working clock face that illuminates at night just like it’s big brother in London.

The design is the latest in a long line of straw sculptures which appear at Snugburys Ice Cream parlour at Park Farm, near Nantwich every summer. We think it’s a fantastic marketing idea and so does the English press, today Snugburys Ice Cream parlour got full page spread in the Daily Express national newspaper. Not a bad return on a few hundred bales of straw, I expect to see more of ‘Little Ben’ over the coming weeks as I’m sure it will get more media attention during the newspapers ‘Silly Season’. Click here for the location of Little Ben. Click image below for copyright free photos of ‘Little Ben’ taken by me after a quick visit to Snugburys!

Click here for 7 copyright free photographs of the straw big ben

One of our newest websites (www.retrofootieshirts.co.uk) has just been updated with new club shirts and we’ve applied some backend  tweaks to help visitors find the shirts more easily. Since launching we have been amazed by the level of actively the site enjoys, visitors are buying shirts everyday from our featured merchants (Toffs, Kitbag & Subside Sports) we hoped the site would do well but never expected the traffic levels and conversions to be this high this quickly.