« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 30, 2006

Psychology of “Sexy Selling” – Pt. 1 of 3

Let’s face it, sexiness sells. Sexy marketing is everywhere today.

In this 3-part series, I’m going to talk about the Psychology of “Sexy Selling” in three different segments. This segment will focus on why I feel that sex appeal sells; the next segment (which will be published tomorrow) will focus on some interesting facts that I discovered about sexy marketing; and the final segment will focus on how you can use sexy marketing to your advantage.

Many of you are aware that X10 likes to use images of beautiful women to help market our products. I’ve spoken to people who have clicked on our banners because of the sexual appeal of the image; and I’ve also spoken to people who feel that this form of advertisement amounts to pornography and refuse to visit our websites because of how we advertise.

But the fact of the matter is that “sexy” does sell. I’ve witnessed the power of this in several ways and I’ve also spoken to many who have witnesses this themselves.

I had an interesting conversation with someone awhile back. I can tell you that this person is very knowledgeable and successful when it comes to business and knowing how to sell. An interesting story was that he had mentioned to me that during the late 70’s to early 80’s he was very much involved in the technology surrounding the VCR and the Betamax, two different formats, who were competing against each other. He had mentioned to me that at this time, he was shifting on focusing their resources towards VHS technology and leaning away from the Betamax format for one reason: that reason being that the porn industry had invested in their technology that they were working on and was pushing it towards VHS format.

So what’s s the significance of this story you may be wondering? Well, as you know, the VHS format won out over the Beta format, and the rest is history. The reason VHS had captured the market was simple. They were the choice of the porn industry. The porn industry can wield enough power to sway consumers from one end to the other.

A few years back while I was in college, I decided to minor in Psychology. I remember reading about a study that was conducted to test how men would react around a beautiful woman. Here’s how it was performed: For the first part of the survey, the beautiful model acting as a surveyor would stand at the front of a rickety walking bridge with a clipboard asking the men some basic questions. The second part of the survey was the same. However, this time the beautiful model was then stationed at the end of the bridge stopping the men as they had just crossed the rickety bridge to ask them the same questions. The results proved to be amazing. What they found was that the men who were surveyed prior to crossing the rickety bridge would answer the questions then continue their way across the bridge then on their way to wherever they were going. As for the other men who were interviewed after they had already crossed the bridge, they would strike up conversation with the model and many had even propositioned her for a date. Why was this? Researchers proposed that by crossing the rickety bridge, the men had increased their heart rate that it gave them the additional courage to ask the beautiful model out, while those who had not yet crossed the bridge were more focused on doing that.

Just recently I decided to see how much of a difference that sexy marketing could make and I was floored by the results. I even tried to bias my research by stacking things to one way only to find that the results were still leaning in the other direction. Part of my job as the Community Director is to create video commercials relating to our products. What I did was create three different types of commercials: one type was of basic humor with no sexiness appeal, another type with some humor and some sexiness factor, and the third type with a huge sexiness appeal but made no sense at all. I posted the three commercials at different times and pulled them all on the same day with each having at least three months of exposure. Here’s how I conducted this study: The first commercial with humor but no sexiness factor was placed online first. A month later, the second commercial with some humor and some sexiness factor was then put online with the first commercial. Another month after that I placed the third commercial with no humor but with plenty of sexy factor online next to the other two. By the time I had pulled the commercials, the first commercial with 5 months of airtime had garnered 500 views, this was the commercial of all humor and no sexiness factor. The second commercials with 4 months of airtime had garnered over 1,200 views, this was the commercial with some humor and some sexiness appeal. The third commercial had generated over 14,000 views, nearly 12 times the amount of views as the second commercial, and over 28 times the amount of views as the first commercial!

But here’s the most interesting thing about this, the first commercial was rated high by the viewers as a “must watch commercial”, the second commercial rated average, and the third commercial just bombed in the ratings. However, although the ratings were bad since the first day the video was posted, many new viewers were attracted to it, even though they would rate it horribly.

So after knowing all of this, how does this affect how I choose to market? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog posting to learn more…

November 29, 2006

The Importance of Content

Each day I review many web sites from people who are applying for acceptance into our Commission Junction Affiliate Program. 1 out of every 10 applicants will be declined entry into the program because they run a banner site.

A banner site is a website that display only affiliate banners and lacks any substance or content. They have the tendency to be very busy to the eyes and very disorganized. Banner sites are declined because of their inability to turn sales, but also because they generate high impressions and clicks, potentially sinking EPC numbers for publishers. This is bad because publishers rely on high EPC numbers to attract new affiliates for it shows that a company has the ability to help them generate revenue.

Simply displaying banners on your website will not help to land new sales. So what does? The answer? Content. Content complements your banners and has the ability to work as that extra hook needed to land sales. Content can be anything. It can be copy or information about a product or a company, it can be testimonials from previous buyers, or it can be a simple paragraph describing the savings you’ll get from purchasing an item. Content is meant to be used as a reinforcing tool for your banners. It also provides credibility to you and your site by allowing you to appear more of a consultant versus a greedy salesperson.

If you’re struggling to generate sales, take a look at your site and ask yourself “Am I a consultant or a salesperson?” You’ll find that if you can be a consultant you’ll have a better chance of making the sale.

November 28, 2006

Free Advertising that Works!

Got snowed in today... As those of you who watched the Monday Night Football game know, the weather in Seattle has been snowy. I write today's blog post from home, as the roads are slicked over, and the temperatures are not going to rise up enough to melt the ice. In fact, this is the earliest I can recall the snow arriving. We usually don't even receive much snow out in the Pacific Northwest as it is.

In regards to yesterday's blog post, oddly enough I was on the phone this morning with my bank's automated phone service for over a half hour before deciding to just hang up the phone. I decided i didn't have the patience to continue to wait, and will most likely send an email request to them regarding my question, which will probably garner a reply sooner versus me waiting on the phone. What are the chances of that?

I was reading a great article published on April 24, 2006 on Articles Base, regarding 7 Highly Effective Web Techniques For Free Traffic Generation, written by Daniel Russo.

I often receive emails and calls from affiliates who are struggling to find ways to get site exposure. One lady I received an email from yesterday relies on the income from her website, but was finding it difficult to make sales and draw traffic. So, i thought that this would be the perfect topic to discuss. I thought i'd go over Russo's points and add my thoughts to them.

1) Free pay-per-click advertising that works: Russo mentions that there are dozens of search engines that will give out $100 worth of free advertising to prove that pay-per-click advertising will work for you (2006).

I did a search for search engine listings on Yahoo! and came up with a listing of a ton of sites. Some of the search engines are well known, while others not as known. However, your ability to take advantage of the free pay-per-click bonus is very available as I found multiple sites that were offering this bonus.

2) Use profitable keywords or keyword niches for your site's content: Search engines in return use keyword rankings to give away relevant search results. Russo says that if you'd like your site to appear at the top lines of search engine results, you must use proper keywords and keyword phrases (2006).

One thing i've stressed in prior blog posts is the ability to know and understand the company you are hoping to advertise for. We at X10 have a basic keyword list we are willing to provide at our affiliates request. In addition, we have a knowledgebase WIKI at http://kbase.x10.com that you can use to your advantage to find information about additional products catering to X10

3) Exchange links with partner sites: Another great idea is trading links with partner (or even competitor) sites. This works well especially when both sites feature the same niche (2006).

X10Community.com provides a free link exhchange to our affiliates or anyone catering to X10 or selling X10 products. I'm more than happy to add your links to assist you in generating more visits to your site!

4) Write articles and publish them across the Internet: There are a lot of sites that offer free submission and posting of your articles. You'd be better off to submit articles to sites containing the same subject that your site deals in. Writing articles that contain good service and knowledge would bring the necessary mileage your traffic flow needs (2006).

We like to know your stories about X10! We receive many great articles from people about their X10 experiences and publish them for everyone to read. If you have a great article send it to us and you'll find yourself on the X10 Community site!

5) Join forums, blogs, and other online communities: With online communities and forums you can build a reputation for your company. You must capture the market niche you represent and show your expertise and credibility. When you created a good foundation for your site, people will trust you and your web business (2006).

Our forum has over 6,300 registered members. Many of them have come here via word of mouth. Use the power of blogs, forums, and online communities, to help draw traffic to your site. If you do a search on Google regarding X10, you'll find many of our blog topics or forum posts rated high! These are great for generating traffic to your site!

6) Offer newsletter or eZines: Provide people with a catalog of your products and interesting useful articles. If your texts are really interesting and entertaining, more people will sign up for your newsletter and recommend it to other people. The more people who signs up for your newsletter, the more people there will be willing to visit your site (2006).

X10 receives many requests everyday from people wanting to join our newsletters! When people don't receive them as they are supposed to, we definitely hear about that also! Newsletters are great ways to keep your customers informed about your business and what's happening! If you make it entertaining or informative and provide many great things that people would want to know about, you'll see your readership numbers rise

7) Use advantages of viral marketing: Viral marketing is a promotional method that allows you to spread the word about your company and product without any costs. All it takes is to bring a great idea, a good addicting game, a funny story; many ideas are still out there. Create a gossip or a buzz, many web projects are advertised by using scandals and rumors to make them more popular. With this method, people get infected with the creativity and entertainment of the website content and they will pass it on to many people (2006).

The Onion.com and the Smoking Gun are two extremely popular sites that came about because of their use of viral marketing. The popularity of these sites draw millions of visitors to them, and have the ability to generate tons of sales! How creative can you be to bring the readers in to your site?

So as you can see, marketing your website doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. there are many great ways to garnish site exposure, all it takes is a bit of creativity and the willingness to want the exposure!

November 27, 2006

Avoiding Long Phone Lines

As we get ever so closer to the Christmas Holiday season, things at X10.com headquarters are starting to pick up. I wanted to provide a few resources to help make your X10.com experience more pleasant, especially when you place your orders over the phone.

1. Expect a wait time if you plan on calling in your orders. Many people are calling in, so know that our customer service representatives are working hard to get to you. Sometimes some call-ins take longer than others, so sometimes as much as it pains you, you just have to be patient.

2. Try other means instead of the phone. Another great way to reach our service team is via email. Please know that we receive thousands of email a day, with the majority being spam. To make sure we don’t accidentally pass up your email, title your email with a reference to X10, as this usually gets our attention. Please allow enough time for us to get back to you. If you are looking to place a new order, you can do so by emailing us at service@x10.com. If you need technical support, email us at support@x10.com. It’s very important that you use the correct email address, so know ahead what you want to ask or what you are seeking.

3. Use the resources we provide. If you have a question about your item, such as are unsure of how to set it up, or are wondering if it may be defective, visit our Knowledgebase for help first! You can find the Knowledgebase at http://kbase.x10.com. The knowledgebase consists of anything and everything that has to do with X10.

4. Maybe you are still unsure after visiting the Knowledgebase. Have no fear! Our forum has over 6,300 registered members, and many of them are experienced enough to diagnose your problem. Some of our members have been using X10 for over 30 years! These guys are your perfect resource. You can find the forum at www.x10community.com.

5. If you plan on calling in, have all of your information ready. Have your order numbers, ready to go, your invoices handy, and your shipping information to expedite your call. This will help the service representative provide you better service, and allow them to properly assist you.

6. Buy online. Use our website to make your purchases. Sometimes, it's just simpler versus waiting on the phone. Here, you get instant service, and get to place your order without delay, plus you get an instant receipt and confirmation of your order.

By planning ahead, getting the service you need can be as quick and simple as possible, especially during the cheeriest (although busiest) time of the year!

November 23, 2006

Secrets To Successful Online Selling

First I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a great opportunity to spend precious family time together and enjoy each other’s company.

Paul Graham, from Yahoo Small Business, released an article in 1999 entitled The 10 Secrets of Selling Online. A great read, Graham reveals information as to how online businesses are able to overcome adversity and become profitable. Much of what he discusses are the same points I usually provide to our affiliates.

Here’s his list of what he mentions along with a quick caption about each point, followed by my commentary.

1. Work Works: If there is a single secret to selling online, it is to work hard. Hard work is the secret to succeeding in almost anything, but it is especially important on the Web. It's true what they say: the Web levels the playing field. A high school can make a better Web site than a large industrial company. On a level playing field, how big you are matters less than how hard you work (1999).

I’ve had the opportunity to ask many of our affiliates about how much time they spend on their site. The one thing I am constantly reminded from them is that they work hard and spend a lot of hours on their sites, whether it’s updating or adding new content, their site becomes another job for them, so they deserve the successes that come their way.

2. Choose The Right Niche: More important than the type of products you sell is the size of the niche you choose. In the physical world, niches are based on geography where proximity is king. Not on the Internet. Geography is almost irrelevant on the Internet. Niches on the Internet are based on what you sell, not where you are. And whatever you sell, you have to be the place to buy it, because your customers can just as easily visit any other online store (1999).

I constantly remind our affiliates to choose their products correctly based on who you they trying to sell to. For example, trying to sell home automation products on a website focused on helping the homeless is a tough sell. However, if your website caters to electronic seekers, you stand a better chance. Choose your products wisely and you’ll have more success.

3. High Production Values: Having production values is more important on the Web than other media sources. Consumers will not buy from an amateurish Web site. So your site needs to inspire visitors with confidence. It should say that yours is the kind of company that does things right, and that if I order something from you, it will be a good experience (1999).

It’s good to keep in mind the theory of “once a customer, always a customer.” Repeat business is crucial, and can generate the bulk of your business. If you treat your customers well, chances are they’ll come back. From here, you can focus on targeting new customers and building your base around new and repeat business.

4. Make Your Site Easy: It is no accident that the people who visit your site are called "Web surfers". They have the same short attention span as TV "channel surfers". The average visitor to a Web site looks at only three or four pages before going somewhere else. Visitors will leave at the slightest obstacle (1999).

In a previous blog post I wrote about Psychology Color Marketing. This is just one of the many factors to consider when setting up your site. Also look at your banner placements, or other factors that can result in challenges for your visitors. Keep your texts simple to read and pleasant to the eye. Don’t go out of your way to be over-creative, it’s a web site afterall, not an art palette!

5. Be Real: Anyone planning to sell online should start by shopping online. When you put yourself in the consumer's place, you'll find it is not hackers you worry about, but the merchant. Almost anyone can set up a Web site. So visitors need to be reassured that they are ordering from a real company, and not just a teenager running the site out of his bedroom. Anything you can do to show that you are real will help increase orders. If possible, include an image of your catalog or building, customer testimonials, or even a brief company history (1999).

With millions of websites available for people to choose from, how do you plan on making your site stand out? It’s online companies like eBay or Amazon that are able to distinguish themselves from others that become successful. Your website is a business, you've invested time and money into it, so treat it like one.

6. Emphasize Service: The most powerful confidence builder is a top-quality site: high production values go to work directly on the visitor's subconscious. But it's also important to reassure visitors explicitly. For example, if you are determined to provide great customer service, tell your visitors so, right on your site. Guarantee that they will be satisfied with what they buy from you, or you will refund their money with no questions asked (1999).

When it comes to your customers, top notch service is key. Your customers have expectancies for how they want to be treated. They work hard to earn the things they would like to buy. If you were in the same situation, wouldn’t you expect good service and respect from where you choose to buy? If you state something on your website relating to your service, stand by it, for it’s more common for your customers to spread stories about negative experiences than positive ones -- and we know how fast those can travel!

7. Promote Your Site: Having a great Web site is not enough. You also have to bring people to it. But promoting an online store is different from promoting an ordinary Web site. You're not just looking for hits. You're looking for sales. While it's always a good thing to bring more people to your site, what you really need is buyers (1999).

I’ve spent a lot of details in the past talking about site promotion. The bulk of X10 Affiliate sales occurs through search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask. Use keyword searching if you have a budget, keep a blog or a forum to help with your rankings. Update your content regularly.

8. Lower Your Prices: One of the best ways to spend money promoting your Web site is to lower your prices. You can't lose. When you spend money on a banner ad, you have to pay for everyone who sees it, whether they buy anything or not. But when you "spend" money by charging less, you only have to pay for the people who actually place orders. So you never pay for this form of promotion unless it works (1999).

As an affiliate, your primary role is to advertise products. You have no control over setting prices, however you do have control over the banners you use. But keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal. The best deal is the one that gives the most for least. Use banners that promote daily or occasional specials. For instance, when a 7-piece alarm system normally is sold for $99, but you place an ad for a 15-piece system for $129, chances are you’ll have better opportunities selling the 15-piece system. So, price is not always the main issue, it’s the value that counts.

9. Change Your Site: Overall, the more time a company spends on its online store, the better it tends to do. Regular change in a Web site is a form of high production values. Having high production values means, in short, looking expensive. And a site that changes regularly looks expensive: for most online stores it is expensive, because the site is maintained by Web consultants who charge by the hour (1999).

Some sites are so large that maybe it’s too impossible to overhaul, but basic simple alterations can make a difference. Swap your ads on occasion, or change your content every so often. Keep your site looking fresh and keep your customers wondering about what’s new to come. By keeping the intrigue, you’ll have a better chance at having your customers come back to see what’s new.

10. Patience: Even the most successful online stores grow slowly at first. International Male opened their online store in 1996. They were laughed at in the press when they received only three orders in their first two weeks. But they kept at it, and now they are the ones laughing. Growth is slow at first for everyone. The winners are the ones who don't give up (1999).

I receive a lot of frustrated calls from affiliates. They wonder when the sales are going to come. When I ask them how long they’ve had their sites set up, the answers usually vary from a week to two months. New sites take time. Search engines usually take a couple of weeks to start crawling them. Be patient and continue to build your site and soon the sales will come!

November 22, 2006

Why Testimonials Work

You see them on television everytime during a commercial. They may be actors or professionals, or they may even be regular people, and usually the message they speak says a lot about the products they are talking about. When it comes to using testimonials, they are guaranteed to help sell more product. Why is this? On June 9, 2006, Testimonailblog.com publishes an interesting articles in regards to why testimonials are great.

The site goes on to explain that shoppers aren’t looking for ideas – they’re looking for product. And it’s the shoppers goal to try and predict the future about this product (2006).

The goal of a consumer is to predict the future about a product, and by offering real stories, can turn a picture of your product into a tangible experience (2006).

Companies value the power of testimonials. In fact, many companies will use them to their advantage to help promote their products. This is why they’ll go out of their way to seek consumer input and try to find out as much about what consumers think. And whether you realize it or not, your website as a shopping site puts you in this same situation where you need to find advantages to help you sell.

According to the Get Them And Keep Them Blog on a February 16, 2006 post, testimonials work best when they are done correctly. “I believe testimonials for a consumer product or service work best when they have the endorsee’s full attribution, and comments about how he/she used the product or service to get their work done more efficiently, quicker or for less cost” they go on to state.

So how do you use testimonials to your advantage? The nice thing about the majority of our X10 affiliates is that they joined the program because of a prior coincidence with X10. I hear many great stories and read many emails that come in daily about why people joined our affiliate program. Your own personal stories are same stories that you can use to your advantage to help you make more sales. Your stories have very human appeal to them, because they’re real. They speak in a way that make people listen. For instance, imagine a company telling you about how great their product is versus a consumer who purchased the item and talks about it in detail. Who are you more likely to believe? Chances are it’ll be the consumer because their intentions hold more weight.

When setting up your site, add your personal stories. Talk about why you like the products so much, or what makes the product so great. When you come across in a positive way to your customers, you’ll see your sales totals take a positive step up.

November 21, 2006

The Power of Popups

Many people find them very annoying. I even receive a number of emails each week about how much people hate our popups. They even tell us where we can put them. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s not a very nice place.

With so many people writing in providing their opinions of “where we can place our popups” why does X10 continue to do it?

Chris Beasley of the The Website Publisher, an online guide for the independent Internet publisher, released a great article in June 20, of 2003 entitled Unleash the Power of Popups.

Beasley goes on to mention that popups are wonderful tools because they draw eyeballs better than just about anything else. So, if somebody is already at your site, why would you need to place a popup? Beasley mentions that the purpose of the popup is not to advertise your whole site but to draw your readers to a specific portion of your site.

As an example, he supports his argument with the following statement: “Suppose you run an informative website that has an accompanying newsletter. You put the newsletter subscription box on every page of your site, but even if it is up at the top not every person is going to focus their attention on it. In contrast if you promote your newsletter through a popup your site visitors will be forced to focus attention on it and your subscription rates will greatly increase. If you do run a newsletter I suggest trying this for a week or a month and seeing the results for yourself” (2003).

X10.com has been using popup technology for several years. We even provide popup links for affiliates to include within their own websites should they choose to use them. We use popups not because we are trying to annoy our customers, but we do it because it sells product. If we were to generate no sales as a result of everyone of our readers hating our popups, we wouldn’t do it. However, the fact of the matter is that it works.

Yourself being a website operator, using popups is a matter of choice or opinion. You may feel that you don’t want to “alienate” your readers. Then again you may decide you want to use it to your advantage to generate more sales.

One thing that may help you decide is knowing that in terms of percentages, the numbers of complaints we receive about our popups, although may seem like a lot, only amount to a very tiny percentage of the viewers of our site. Popups, although may seem annoying to viewers, actually help bring in a strong percentage of sales… Something to consider for your website.

November 20, 2006

Adding The Right Colors To Your Website

Did you know that the color of your website has an adverse effect on your visitors? When designing a site, it’s always good to think about Psychology Color Marketing, or how you use colors to convey a subliminal message about your website. When done properly, considering Psychology Color marketing provides you the ability to generate additional affiliate sales.

Web-design-uk.biz publishes a great article discussing this topic. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the article mentions:

Light Versus Dark Backgrounds: Light backgrounds generally create a sense of tidier and uncluttered interfaces. However they can have a tendency to tire out your eyes from the glare emitted by your monitor. Darker colors can strike a sense of cosiness or “nocturnalesque” feelings. According to web-design—uk.biz, when it comes to using darker colors, “younger” audiences tend to have a better tolerance versus those who are “older”.

The article also mentions that for websites that are meant for shopping purposes or reading information, such as content, it’s usually good to stick to lighter backgrounds.

Saturated Colors: Saturated colors are colors that are pure and strong. Saturation refers to the amount of white light (or gray) mixed with the hue. Examples of saturated colors are red, pink, green, yellow, and purple. According to the site, saturated colors should be avoided at all times because of their “cheap” attempts to add relief to webpages. They continue to mention that they are very tiring to the eye, and look just dreadful when combined or used in large areas.

So, if this is the case, then what colors should you consider for your background when designing your site? I found another interesting site that dove into individual colors, and the effects that they conveyed, courtesy of precisionintermedia.com.

Black - According to this site, black conveys authority and power. It’s a serious color that evokes strong emotions, and can be overwhelming when overused.

White – White is considered the color of “purity”. It is also used to project the absence of color or neutrality. In certain parts of the world, white is even considered the color for mourning a loss of a relative or loved one.

Gray – Gray is associated with practicality and timelessness, and using too much gray leads to feeling mostly nothing, but using just a bit can add a rock solid feeling to your product. Be careful when using gray, because it can be associated with depression.

Red – Red is the color of energy, associated with movement and excitement. The article goes on to say that red is not a good background color to use, but using just a little amount in the right place can really help.

Pink – Pink provides a calming effect. In fact, its considered the most calming of all colors.

Blue – Blue is the favorite color of the majority of people. Much of our world is blue, with everything from the sky to the water. The article also goes on to mention that certain shades of blue cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming. However some blue shades, or evening using too much, can send a message that is cold and uncaring.

Green – Green is considered the color of growth, nature and money. It’s a calming color that is also pleasing to the senses. It’s also the color associated with envy, good luck, and generosity.

Yellow – Yellow is a color associated with optimism and happiness. Yellow can be overpowering if over-used but if used sparingly can be very effective. The articles stats that some shades of yellow can be associated with cowardice, but golden shades can be considered colors of a promise of better times.

Orange – Considered the most flamboyant of all colors, with happiness and energy. It’s also associated with ambition or with a new dawn in attitude.

Purple – Purple is a color associated with royalty. With royalty usually comes riches, prosperity, and power. However when used, has a tendency to seem artificial.

Brown – Brown, as it’s the color of the earth, is the color related to reliability, stability, and friendship. It’s usually associated with things that are natural or organic. However, be careful to know your audience! For in India it’s also the color used in mourning a loss.

So how does this all relate to your website? It all depends on what you are trying to promote and how you are trying to promote it. Think about who you are trying to sell to, what you are advertising, and what you think works best to get your customers to make a purchase. By choosing properly, can lead to additional sales and extra profits. If you choose incorrectly, your sales may suffer as a result of your selections.

November 17, 2006

Coming Soon...

I was creating an article that I was hoping to publish tonight regarding the Psychology of Colors for your websites. Unfortunately, it's taking a bit longer to draft then I had expected. Look for the article to be published by early next week, hopefully by Monday. It's a great way to help you figure out how to setup your X10 banners to best attract your customers.

Have A Good Weekend!

November 16, 2006

Top-Selling X10 Items

The new affiliates usually ask me what the top selling items are at X10. Especially the items that do so well for affiliate sales. I wanted to put out a quick mention to let you know.

In no particular order, the top three selling items are the alarm systems, the wireless camera systems, and the home automation softwares.

The alarm systems are always in high demand because people don’t realize they need one until something unfortunate happens. It’s at this point that when they are searching for alarm systems on the Internet that they are more likely to buy one sooner than later. Usually purchasing decisions for alarm systems are quick and sudden. So the more banners you put on your site along with proper content will help you make a few sales.

Wireless cameras are popular for several reasons. One reason is that people have a need for them. Like alarm systems, people want to have an extra added sense of security after something negative has occurred. Another reason people purchase wireless cameras is the intrigue factor. Many of our customers don’t necessarily have a need for them, they just have a “want” and end up purchasing.

Most people who purchase Home automation items do so for novelty purposes. However, I have talked to quite a few people use our products because of a specific need. One lady I interviewed talked about how her friend who is disabled and in a wheelchair uses X10 to extend her mobility. She has the capability to turn on her lamps or reach items that would usually be more of a chore.

By properly targeting and knowing the customers who go to your website, you have the chance to make more sales. Think about why people make the purchases that they do. If your website is more novelty, find ways to appeal to your audience by making the products you sell look fun and exciting. If your website consults and provides serious information, then find ways to discuss the products you sell and talk about why there is a need.

By spending the extra time to analyze your market, you’ll be cashing in the checks come payday!

November 15, 2006

Answers to Your Emails

I receive a lot of email from people around the world, and wanted to take the opportunity to address some of them. As many are general repeat questions, I’m not going to post the name of the sender or where they are from, as these are many of the same questions I am asked on a daily basis:

How can I order X10 products with a 220V electrical plug?
Unfortunately, X10 no longer manufactures our products with the 220V plug in mind. Our products are designed for the North American standard 110v plug.

How much are shipping costs to the United States?
For standard shipping, all purchases of $49.99 and up are free. In the event you are looking to expedite your purchase to receive it sooner, we can accommodate, but rates will vary depending on what you choose.

How much is shipping to Canada?
All standard shipped orders shipped to Canada are $10 USD plus GST. You do have the option for expedited shipping with the rates varying.

Where are X10 warehouses located?
For those of you on the east coast of the US, your orders will ship from the X10 warehouse in New Jersey. Those on the west coast of the US will receive their orders from the X10 warehouse in Las Vegas. If you live in Canada, the X10 warehouse is located in Mississagua.

Where does X10 ship product to?
X10 ships products throughout North America, both Canada and the United States included. In addition, we also ship to all US territories (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Guam).

I need support, what is the best way to receive it?
The first thing we recommend when asking for support is to view our Knowledgebase WIKI. You can find the WIKI at http://kbase.x10.com. You can also talk to the X10 experts on our community forum. You can find the forum at www.x10community.com. Post your question to over 6,200 members and you’ll be sure to get a reply! In the event you need additional assistance, you can email X10 support at support@x10.com. Please entitle your email “X10 Support”, as we receive thousands of pieces of spam in our mailbox daily!

Do you have a question and need an answer? Feel free to let me know!

November 14, 2006

Anyone have a spare ark we can borrow? It’s been raining like crazy here in the Pacific Northwest, and as our headquarters sits right near a river bank, it appears we may need to build one to escape the flood waters!

All kidding aside, although the weather has been,…well, rainy… At least it reminds me that it’s a good time to stay indoors and work on websites.

I’m looking over the affiliate numbers as we speak, and it looks like affiliate sales are doing well. Now is a great time to jump right in with your website and start earning a few dollars, especially with the upcoming holiday season.

The web development team has been working like crazy to update our landing pages, so you’ll start to see new content coming out. In addition to that will be inclusion of video commercials regarding our products to help provide a better background about them.

We also hired a new Creative Director by the name of Eric Burritt, who’s role will be to produce and direct our newest commercials. Eric will be busy, to say the least, as he’s got various casting calls, and location shootings to put together. If you’re in the Seattle area and are interested in starring in an X10 commercial, feel free to drop us a note!

November 09, 2006

The Landing Pages, Banners, and Text Links Coming Soon!

The affiliate team is busy working on new landing pages and banners to replace some of the current and out of date ones you can find online.

Recently, we posted new banners to the Video Calling System, added a new Text Link that tracks back to X10.com, and added a new banner that tracks back to X10.com.

Right now, we are working on a new Protector Plus landing page which should work well to help you make more sales.

Look for new changes to come soon! Check out www.x10affiliate.com for more affiliate advertisements!

November 02, 2006

To the only readers of my blogs.... =)

To the only two readers of my blog in this huge cyberworld (haha) thanks for all of your support! I just wanted to say hello Mom & Dad! So with all of these tips I’ve been providing on Affiliation, are you sill wondering what the heck I do? Thanks for your kind words, even though you don’t post any comments. Now if you would only implement these things I am writing about, we may be able to retire!

Creative Advertising

X10 affiliates are some of the most creative bunch of people when it comes to finding ways to make sales. Aside from the traditional ways of advertising via a website, many use some unconventional ways that seem to work.

One affiliate who lives in a large metropolitan area I spoke to uses one of their independent newspapers to place ads. By adding his website, his Affiliate ID, and the X10 Affiliate sales hotline number to his ad, he finds great success in making sales.

Another affiliate uses the power of community sites. Placing a listing on the classified section of MySpace, Friendster, and Tagworld, she had the ability to create an interest and make a few sales.

Last month I spoke to another Affiliate who advertises in their church bulletin. He says it works oddly enough and has the sales to support it. And the most interesting thing is a gentleman who works for the State Prison system. With many prisons in the area he was able to capture an interesting market.

Hmm…. How do you make your X10 sales?

November 01, 2006

Making Money on Google With X10

How does Google do it? Many people have asked me this very question, especially those new to search engines and keyword bidding. You look at the site and you see a plain and simple looking page. Yet, they have the world’s financial backing behind them and have deep pockets consisting of billions of dollars.

The secret to Google’s success lies not on the fact that anything and everything on the web can be found on their website, but the fact that retailers, merchants, and those in the web industry pay for advertisement space on their site. How are they doing this you ask? Since Google likes to list every site in the world as it is for free?

The key to a web site operator’s success lies in placement, or where they can be found throughout Google when a user types in a search. Kind of like an auction, Google allows you to bid on top placement throughout their site. The higher you “rank” on a search, the more likely you are to gain business. This is why advertisers are paying so much money and throwing it Google’s way.

Google’s success is so evident, that our top affiliates generate the bulk of their sales on there versus other search engines, especially other popular sites that provide the same service.

So how do successful affiliates advertise X10 products on Google and make money you ask? In a recent conversation with many of our top affiliates, their strategies are all alike. The best way to go about making money is to know the company you want to advertise. Do your research and put together a keyword list of about 50 popular terms that that company would use. These could be words to describe the company, products they manufacture, or general things evolved around that company. The next thing to do is have your list ready and to start your bidding on Google AdWords, Google’s program that allows you to bid on these key terms. After time, it’s important to keep re-updating your list, especially if that company keeps pushing out new products, Many Affiliates keep their lists close to them and hate to give up their key terms, especially when competing against other bidders, or they may have discovered a magic word that generates revenue that others may not have thought of.

Remember, placement is key when bidding on terms. You want to get listed towards the front of a search, but you don’t necessarily have to be listed first, especially when cost is key. What you must keep in mind is that you pay each time someone clicks on your text link as a result of your listing. So when listing a site, your goal is to make as much revenue as possible to offset the costs of your biddings. Make sure you have a site that has the ability to make sales and generate revenue for you, this ensures your keyword bidding experience on Google will be as profitable and beneficial as you can make it. This leads to a reminder, if you choose to use the pay-per-click channel, X10’s only rule if you bid on a keyword that X10 bids on, is that you not outbid X10. We do this not because we always want top spot, but we do this to prevent a bidding war between the affiliates, meaning a fair bidding for everyone.

So you have no budget, can you still make money on Google? Absolutely! Recently Google re-upated the rankings of websites on their search engines. During this re-ranking, many sites were moved around. During a search a site that may have been previously listed on the first page was now showing up in the fifth page, and so on. So how do you counter this and get your site back towards the front? This was a question I posed to many of our top affiliates. As they saw their pages start to fall towards the back of a search, they started to add new content to their pages. Content such as articles, write-ups, and faqs about the products they were advertising. The reason for this was to strengthen their site placement and drive more traffic to their site. Now instead of just advertising banners, they were providing comparisons, they were also providing instruction and reviews. So as readers start to find their ways to their sites, their rankings started to rise putting them back towards the front of a search.

What else affects site placement?
Many top affiliates who do not use the pay-per-click campaign rely on forums or blogs to help them with their rankings. By adding daily blog entries it shows to the search engines that constant new information is being updated on a website and that the site is not stale. This looks good to search engines. There are also special search engines for blogs to get your sites listed. This helps to draw traffic to your site and also helps with your Google Rankings. Forums are great for their ability to bring people to your site. Especially if you can garner constant posters and readers. Forums help your rankings when your site is active and will result in a rise of your ratings.

I want to know what you think. Especially if your site was affected, or if you use other techniques to assist in your Google rankings. The more we know the more we all can benefit.