Hello everyone, we are in the third month of the year and 2017, is quickly disappearing into the dust behind us, but did you prepare your online business for what is to come? One of my favourite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Carol,” 1951, version starring the British actor Alastair Sim. In the movie, he is Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist, who has a number of flaws. The main ones being mean and miserly.
Being a Strategic and Operational Planner before retiring, the movie reminds me of a part of planning where you review the past and present to determine where the future is going or trending. For those who do not know the movie, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, get the picture, no pun intended.
In any business, the probability of success is increased if you plan. It is your road map to where you want to go, how you will achieve it and what you want to achieve when you get there. Before you prepare your plan, however, you do need to do what is called an environmental scan and that is where my three ghosts come in.
You need to reflect on what happened in your business in the past, including 2017, (the ghost of Christmas past). You need to review what is happening now in the year you are in (the ghost of Christmas present). Finally, you need to see where things are going for the year you are in and the not so distant future (the ghost of Christmas future).The term we generally use for things to come is Trend, and that is what this post is all about. There are several, brick and mortar business that are no longer relevant because they did not pay attention to either where technology was going or how consumers taste were changing. Here are four of the trends in 2018, that the pundits forecast will have an influence or impact on affiliate marketing.
In a previous post, I mentioned Cryptocurrency as a possible online business in which you could start your own business. Using and investing in Bitcoins or any of the other cryptocurrencies currently on the market, will continue to trend going into 2018, and beyond.
How will that affect affiliate marketing? As Blockchain Technology becomes more widely used, Affiliate Marketing Networks, especially the newer networks will probably adopt this technology to record the date and transaction data between the affiliate and merchant and the merchant and consumer. Blockchain Technology or cryptography secured chains of blocks (list of records that is growing continuously) was started in 1991.
The first Blockchain was developed for Bitcoins, in 2008. By adopting this technology, networks can track transactions between two parties in a verifiable, secure and permanent way. Networks will not only adopt this technology but they will also seek to pay affiliates in cryptocurrency. Look out for this trend to grow in 2018.
Affiliate Marketing is a part of e-Commerce. It uses the most passive way of earning income, where other e-Commerce businesses create an online store from where they sell or buy products or services. Both require the use of a website to attract traffic and turn that traffic into consumers. There are two kinds of e-Commerce that both the online store and affiliate marketing utilize. One is the Business to Consumer (B2C) that connects merchants or products (e.g. Amazon, Oberle, Shopify, Affiliate Networks) with consumers who want to purchase products. This type of e-Commerce links the consumer with information on the products and the best pricing. The other is Consumer to Consumer (C2C). C2C is where two individuals transact whether buying or selling a product. There are two methods of conducting business:
- Auctioning products or services (e.g. eBay, Esty)
- Classified ads (e.g. Craigslist, Kijiji)
You are seeing people worldwide using their credit and debit cards increasingly to buy products or services online. With the introduction of PayPal consumers and businesses have become more comfortable in purchasing or selling items over the internet, especially internationally where this service exists. The pundits believe that services like Shopify, WordPress, eBay, Amazon, will continue to grow especially in developing markets.
Apple came out with Siri in 2011. Since then, we have Cortana by Microsoft that was launched in 2014, Alexa by Amazon in 2014, and Google Assistant in 2016. These are some virtual personal assistants you can use on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone to search. You no longer need to type. Just say what you are searching for on the internet, and let the assistant you are using, do the rest.
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are the four largest players who have taken the whole process further and created smart speakers. These speakers integrate several other services, like streaming music television shows and movies, controlling smart devices (Smart television, home security, thermostats and lights) in the home and searching for information on the internet.
Amazon was the first to launch a smart speaker with the Echo in 2014. Google Home was launched in 2016. Microsoft partnered with Harmon Kardon to launch Invoke in 2017, and Apple has just launched the HomePod this year.
All this to say within a period of three to four years our searching habits have quickly changed.
With three generations (Millennial, iGen, and Gen Alpha) in the marketplace and who rely on their tablets or smartphones for just about everything, affiliate marketers will need to ensure that their websites are mobile friendly and definitely create a mobile Application for easier access to stay competitive.
To be successful at Affiliate marketing most services like Wealthy Affiliate, will tell you that one of the keys to driving traffic to your online business is posting reviews of products or services associated with your online business. When a customer is reviewing a product, they are ready to buy. If your review resonates with them there is a likelihood that they will click on an affiliate program and purchase that product or service.
The quality of the content you develop on your business page is crucial to your ranking with Google and that ranking is critical to attracting visitors to your website.
The more time you put into building an authoritative website that offers sound reviews, the more traffic you will generate and the higher the probability of some of that traffic converting into buyers.
Review posts will continue to be a major driver of traffic to affiliate marketing websites in 2018.
The three parts that are needed for affiliate marketing to exist are the affiliate/publisher, the affiliate program and the consumer/customer are all growing and I do not see an end to this. More merchants will be joining networks or creating their own affiliate programs. This provides opportunities for affiliates to find programs to partner with and monetize their sites. The number of people seeing to create their own online businesses can only increase, especially as people seek to control their own destiny, rather than creating wealth for someone else. These affiliates will be creating niche websites and seeking affiliate programs to monetize them. As more and more people adopt the new methods of researching products and services using the smart speaker or mobile applications it means more and more purchases will happen online. As an Affiliate Marketer it is important that you do your research on the trends that are here now, those that are on the horizon and how you can take advantage of them in to get your online business ranked by the search engines like Google or Bing.
I would love to hear your ideas, comments or respond to any questions you may have. Please leave your comments or questions below, I will get back to you.