5 Key Services of a Successful Fulfillment Company

5 Key Services of a Successful Fulfillment Company

As more entrepreneurs and affiliate marketers are realizing the real profits and success in the world of fulfillment and creating their own products, there is still a lack of knowledge on what it takes to make a successful leap. For the most part, this comes down to choosing the best fulfillment company out there and knowing that orders are successfully being paid for, shipped and processed accordingly. Without these key features in place, your profit margins and business can quickly take a turn for the worse.

Whether you are looking to dive into the world of product creation and fulfillment or simply looking to expand upon what you already have in place, implementing these five key services into your business will allow you to track, manage and scale your business effectively

5 Questions to Ask About Your Fulfillment Company

Does your fulfillment company make the grade? To See for Yourself, Assess Whether or Not They Provide These 5 Key Services.

Fulfillment Services

1. Dedicated Account Executive

Do you have a go-to person if you have questions about your business or does your call get routed to the “next available representative,” who may not know anything about your product? If the latter, you may want to re-think your fulfillment company. A dedicated account executive offers consistent customer service, someone familiar with your products, inventory locations, shipping methods, and someone whose sole job purpose is to look out for your best interests. You’ve worked hard to grow your business, why wouldn’t you reward yourself with this level of service?

2. Order Grouping

Does your fulfillment center offer order grouping? If you are selling multiple products, and a consumer selects one item, your CRM can suggest additional product offerings based on their initial selection. Grouping these types of orders together can save you on pick fees, fulfillment charges, packaging, and postage. For companies not offering this option, it’s a sneaky way to add fees to your account. If your current fulfillment company operates like that, it’s time to look into one that offers complimentary order grouping.

3. Detailed, Real-Time Reporting

Can you determine how much you paid per shipment for pick/pack/ship fees? Get a snapshot by day/week/month/year? If your account invoices provide any generalized fees rather than specific break-outs for your accounting needs, your fulfillment provider may again be tacking on additional, unspecified charges to your account. Take a look at your most recent statement and kick your provider to the curb if charges are not all clearly explained.

4. Address Validation

What happens if your customer mis-keys their address information when placing an order on your site? Without address validation, your package will ship to an undeliverable address, you’ll end up paying re-ship fees, and your initial shipment may or may not get returned to you. With address validation, the transaction can’t progress until the error is corrected. Does your current fulfillment house provide address validation? If they don’t, you can bet you are incurring unnecessary fees, chargebacks, and maybe even some negative customer reviews.

5. International Shipping

If you are looking to scale your e-commerce business, the easiest way is to expand into new, international markets. Your fulfillment partner may have rock bottom shipping rates domestically, but if they don’t have economical international rates, as well as strategically-located facilities from which to ship your product, you could be missing out on business or, worse yet, paying too much for newer market entries.

As an affiliate marketer, it’s easy to treat your leads simply as leads. When you are the owner of the product and have real customers, there is nothing more important than keeping them happy and having them come back for more. This all ties back into how you run your product fulfillment and making the ordering and tracking process as seamless as possible.

7 Infographics to Help Launch a Successful Website

7 Infographics to Help Launch a Successful Website

With hundreds of millions of sites and blogs in the world today, the odds are against you that your site will succeed. When looking at some of the most successful bloggers in the world, one of the biggest reasons why other sites fail, is because their site owners didn’t put in the time and research to build a solid foundation and business plan around them.

The concept of coming up with a site idea, registering a domain and throwing content out there is not the way to find success online. While this may have worked several years ago, with more websites and competition going live every day, it’s now more important than ever to thoroughly plan out the focus and growth of your site before launching or even registering a domain name.

Infographics are one of my favorite ways to teach people how to get better at online marketing, whether its through increasing landing page conversions, protecting your reputation or even how to become a better blogger.

To help with this process, I hand selected seven infographics that break down some of the most valuable methods, key points and practices that must be considered when starting a new site. Be sure to read through each of them thoroughly, while also jotting down notes to plan out the eventual launch and success of your next site.

7 Great Infographics to Study Before Launching a New Site

Building the Foundation for a Successful Website

One of the very first things you will need to do when launching a new website or blog, is taking the time to build the foundation of your site. While this may seem like a tedious and simple tasks, it’s one of the most important things that need to be done. Thousands of blogs are started every and are inspired with a simple thought, then left to die after the site owner realizes they took the wrong direction in the beginning.

In this Five Steps to Build a Successful Website infographic from you will see the five steps to building the right foundation for your site, which cover everything from finding a niche, to choosing the right domain name, setting up your hosting and going live with your eventual site.

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How to Find the Perfect Niche for Your Site

Knowing your exact target audience and the content you are going to create for them is one of the most important aspects of a successful website or blog. Way too often we hear stories of bloggers that want to create a site based on a topic that simply isn’t “niche” enough, and they end up generating a lot of content, but there is no clear focus to the site.

Instead, site owners need to niche down as much as possible so they can have the end goal of becoming the authority within that space and not spreading themselves too thin by covering too many topics. A good example of this would be if you wanted to cover “sports”, this would simply be way too generic. Even if you went down another level to “basketball” or individual players, it would be tough to compete and monetize in the process. It would be much more effective to go after tiny niche markets within sports or basketball, such as “jump training” or “athletic training”.

One of the best ways to know more about your audience and to find hidden niche markets within your existing niche, is to use many of the recommended methods found in this hot niche infographic, which mentions such methods as Google Trends, Amazon and Flippa.

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Choosing the Right Domain Name

One of the most crucial decisions you are going to make before launching your site, is what domain name you are going to use. While a domain name isn’t going to make or break the success of your site, it is something you are going to have to keep around for the lifetime of your site. This means you will need to put in the time and effort to think about what you want your domain name to represent and how it will brand the content on your site. You will also want to make sure it’s easy to spell, remember and using one of the main TLDs, such as .com, .net or .org. All of these topics are covered in this How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business infographic.

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What CMS or Platform to Run Your Site On

In addition to choosing a niche, domain name and hosting for your site, you will also need to choose the right CMS platform as well. For most site owners these days, WordPress seems to be the solution of choice, with over a 54% market share among all CMS platforms. However, there are also many other options out there as well, such as  Joomla and Drupal.

In this Most Popular CMS for Your Business Needs infographic, you will get to take a look at each of the CMS solutions out there, while also discovering what makes each of them special and seeing examples of different sites using each platform.

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Have a Site Monetization Plan in Place

The goal for most websites is to ultimately be able to make money with their traffic and content. If you aren’t specifically selling any products or services directly, it might be hard for you to figure out how to create a site that drives high quality traffic to your site that can also make you money in the process. Fortunately, there are many different ways to make money online with a site of your own.

In this creative Ways to Monetize Your Website infographic, you can walk through the process of answering questions and moving through a flow chat to see what type of monetization might be best for your site. Monetizations include banner ads, in-text ads, sponsorship, affiliate links and more.

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Content Creation is Key

The driving force for visitors coming to your site is going to be based off the content that you provide to your audience. This ties back into the beginning process of finding the right niche for your blog and knowing who your audience is. Creating content that provides value, a solution and also a call-to-action is key — however, unique content ideas aren’t always the easiest thing to come up.

Through this 22 Ways to Create Compelling Content infographic, you can take your niche topic and spin it through a wide range of content creation ideas such as letting a guest write content for your site, interviewing other experts within your niche, reviewing products or services and also using world trends to write link bait based articles.

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How to Build High Quality Backlinks to Your Site

Content creation is always going to be important, but even more important is content promotion and getting high quality backlinks to your site. This is one area that many bloggers and site owners struggle with. A common theme is after writing numerous articles and seeing no visitor growth or incoming revenue, the site owner gives up and leaves their site to die. This can usually be attributed to not focusing on content promotion and building the necessary backlinks required to have a site rank in the search results.

In this How to Determine the Value of a Backlink infographic, you will understand what type of backlinks provide the most value, why they are important and how they affect the overall score of your website and the content you create.

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A Successful Website Starts at the Foundation

Starting a website is one of the most exciting times for a site owner, blogger or online marketer, however the due diligence and research period in the beginning can get quite boring. Invest the necessary time and research into the foundation of your next website in the beginning, so you don’t find out a few months down that road that you took the wrong approach and completely wasted your time.

Discover how to create your own web site or blog today by following my simple walk through at blogging.org.

7 Things Successful Affiliate Program Managers Do

7 Things Successful Affiliate Program Managers Do

Your affiliate marketing program is a serious marketing campaign that requires diligent ongoing involvement. Unlike some may think, affiliate program management is a full-time job; and within its framework the affiliate (program) manager should be taking care of seven very specific things which I’d like to cover for you in this blog post. There are five that correspond to the key responsibilities that every affiliate manager has, and two that ensure the solidity of the base on which the five stand. It is helpful to visualize affiliate program management as a façade of a building that rests on five pillars which, in turn, rest on a foundation and a footer (as exemplified below).

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Education

There are a few good courses and books devoted to affiliate management education and training out there (including a few authored by yours truly); and while they are definitely worth delving into, the education that should be the undergirding basis of everything that you do in affiliate marketing, is your ongoing self-education. By its very nature, affiliate marketing touches every possible online marketing channel. This makes it an extremely dynamic and quickly developing industry which, in turn, calls for daily time spent on self-education.

Networking

To paraphrase the famous saying, what you know will give you direction, but it is who you know that make things moving. Too many a time we have witnessed what a difference a direct connection means (especially when it comes to the first two of the five responsibilities described below). You will hear it time and again that affiliate marketing is a business model that is founded on the idea of an ongoing relationship. Believe it; and spend time creating new connections, developing those that require nurturing, and cementing old ones.

Moving on to affiliate manager’s duties, every manager should be expected to actively attend to the following five tasks: recruitment, activation, policing, communication, and optimization.

Affiliate Recruitment

An affiliate program manager is responsible for identifying and recruiting new affiliates. Affiliate recruitment should take anywhere between 70 percent and 85 percent of the affiliate manager’s time and is one of the most important parts of the program manager’s work. After all, affiliates are the main driving force of every affiliate program.

Affiliate Activation

Affiliate activation is one of the most frequently overlooked components of affiliate program management. Activation is a step between affiliate recruitment and conversion of the recruited affiliates into producing ones. I believe that activation should be practiced in three phases: the recruitment phase (where you motivate affiliates not only to join your program but also to put up your links and refer their first orders/leads), the welcoming phase (where you motivate affiliates to get active in the very text of the application approval email), and the routine phase (where you run aggressive monthly activation campaigns to move those who are already in your program but not yet active).

Compliance Policing

Next in importance to recruiting and activating affiliates is the policing of inappropriate affiliate behavior. Whatever you prohibit in your affiliate program’s terms of service (TOS) — be it cookie-stuffing software, typosquatting, paid search bidding on your trademarks, URL, or any variations of misspellings of these — you want to constantly police affiliate compliance with these rules. Rules and TOS do not ensure compliance, but give you grounds to police and enforce it.

Communication

An affiliate manager should also be expected to support a two-way communication channel with affiliates. I believe this responsibility is threefold: maintaining stimulating relationships with the current affiliates and continually motivating them to perform better, keeping affiliates up-to-date on new products and any affiliate program enhancements, and handling ongoing communication campaigns and all affiliate correspondence.

Optimization

Continuous affiliate program optimization is the final area of responsibility worth underscoring. Every affiliate manager is to be identifying and implementing opportunities to enhance your affiliate program, developing and monitoring affiliate-centered promotions (do not confuse these with promos directed at customers), reporting for affiliate marketing promotions and activity, monitoring competitors’ affiliate campaigns and promotions, and uncovering what actionable knowledge can be deduced from this data.

 

All of the above will be covered at great extent during my upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference, the only show dedicated specifically to affiliate management, which is set to take place on April 3-5, 2016 in San Francisco. Use code ZAC to get 25% off any full pass. I hope to shake your hand there.

 

This article was contributed by Geno Prussakov, who call be followed on Twitter at @eprussakov.