Hello everyone! This is Chris Gerbick, Business Development Manager at Inuvo. I’ve worked at our company for about two years and I am confident in making this claim: I was more excited about the Inuvo Platform’s release than anybody in the company.
Before the Inuvo Platform became available, it was my job to match advertisers with the My Affiliate Program technology (or MyAP®). During this time, I spoke with countless advertisers and agencies and gained significant insight into what customers needed from an Affiliate Marketing technology and network.
From conversations with Affiliate Managers, Marketing Directors, and Business Owners, I positively knew that the Inuvo Platform was going to be a success. First, it simplifies the means for advertisers and publishers to interact with one another. Second, it appeals to a very broad group within the Affiliate Marketing industry.
Currently, advertisers typically work through dozens of lead aggregators, which in turn work with dozens of networks to connect with publishers. Billions of dollars flow through dozens of aggregators, 500+ networks and tens of thousands of publishers. Advertisers have difficulty controlling what publishers they work with, what they are paid, and what media is being used. In short, advertisers lack control.
This current methodology is broken and cannot be sustained. Publishers should earn more, but can’t for lack of a direct path to the advertiser. Advertisers need high-quality conversions, but lose control of ads because of multiple paths to potentially unsavory publishers. The Inuvo Platform corrects this inefficiency. Advertisers and large aggregators have a scalable, feature-rich technology platform to allow them to manage their publisher relationships directly and automatically. Advertisers, which have traditionally avoided performance-based marketing due to control issues, now participate. Networks and aggregators which are value-negative or neutral are excluded.
Inuvo enables a simple and efficient performance-based marketing economy to the extent that Inuvo creates the connection between advertisers and consumers. Money flow enables more transparency, control, automation and participation. We have an excellent cost comparison model that details this scenario—Email us at sales [at] inuvo [dot] com if you’d like to see it!
I just wrote a mouthful here, so let me summarize: Inuvo provides advertisers direct control of their budget, what publishers they work with, and campaign media all in real-time.
Here’s my favorite part: The Inuvo Platform is built for everyone—from small, one-man sites to Internet Retailer 500 sites, and it’s simple to use! Just create an account, follow the Offer Wizard to build an offer, load your account balance, and you’re rolling. We have an excellent support staff in place when a client needs assistance.
I’ll end on this note—the future of the Inuvo Platform is determined by client feedback. Every month, we push new features and enhancements based on your feedback. Some upcoming features include Publisher Ratings, API, Data Feeds, and SKU-based tracking. When you start using the Inuvo Platform, be sure to utilize the Feedback feature on the left side of the screen.
Thanks everyone for lending your time to me. If the sales team can be of any assistance to you, please email us at sales [at] inuvo [dot] com or call 727-324-0211.
As 2010 starts its engines, I wanted to comment on what InuvoTM and other affiliate networks should be focused on. For us at Inuvo, nothing could be more important than our users. These days companies have to work even harder than they did in the past to make sure they bring value to the people they touch. Companies that fail to answer the call of their customers face the axe as belts tighten in these tough economic times. For an affiliate network, words like customer and client are relative and in the end, affiliates and advertisers alike have plenty of options where networks are concerned. I surveyed a group of internet marketing professionals on what their top priorities are when choosing an affiliate network. In their responses I think you’ll find evidence of where improvements can and are being made in affiliate marketing and what those of us who work for networks can do to improve our impact on those we exist to serve. First, let’s take a look at what they said. (Actual responses have been paraphrased and names have been withheld.)
A Media Buyer for a Lead Generator:
First priority is quality control. Make sure publishers follow the rules. Second is transparency. Pass enough information to identify the type of traffic I’m receiving. Third is inventory. How much of the traffic comes from internal sources versus your network.
A Content Producer:
It’s all about the technology. A network needs to have daily updates with regard to creative materials and needs an effective delivery solution for XML content to be used by affiliates.
A Business Development Director for an Advertiser:
Quality control is important but the most important thing is integrity.
Top priorities are good payouts, fast payments, good communication with affiliate managers, and a wide variety of offers to run.
Now that you’ve seen the responses I’d like to share what I learned from them.
The first lesson I took away from the feedback these good people were kind enough to provide is that a great deal of what matters most to those who depend on their affiliate networks can be summed up as good old-fashioned customer service. For people to bring up these things, I’m guessing they’ve all experienced situations where these critical needs were not met. So, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in the way affiliate networks do business. Here at Inuvo, I’ve seen a sincere focus on making a better user experience for both affiliates and advertisers. That to me is encouraging and it’s in those efforts to make improvements where information from user feedback is best put to use.
The second lesson I took away from the feedback I received was that an affiliate network isn’t a one-size-fits-all business and must be able to adapt to the particular needs of individual users. This is something good salespeople work to perfect daily, but they need a network that provides the best possible tools in order to deliver much of what the users need.
Each of the responses I received indicates an emphasis on accountability and effectiveness, both in the human and the technology. In a service industry, it’s all about delivering on the customers’ needs. Today, and in days still to come, the best affiliate network for you will be the one that pays attention and builds itself on the feedback of those who it services.
Over the next month, love will be in the air as we make our way through the Valentine’s Day season. Not only is it a great time to make sure your offers are up and running in the Inuvo Platform, but you should also consider special creative that is tailored specifically to Valentine’s Day.
It’s true that the more specific and fresh you keep your creative, the higher the conversion rates your publishers will see. It’s easy for you to connect your offers to Valentine’s Day if you are selling flowers or running a dating website. But what if the connection isn’t so easy to make? Time to get creative! Here are some ideas to tie in the Valentine’s Day theme to your offer:
- Update your creative and landing page with graphics that symbolize love.
- Use keywords, such as “love” in your messaging. (EX. Fall in love with our products!)
- Make a limited time offer that ends on Valentine’s Day.
- Offer a special discount for orders placed in time to arrive by Valentine’s Day.
Always keep in mind, as each new holiday comes around, it presents a new opportunity for you to breathe new life into your offers. Having fresh creative and an updated landing page can make a world of difference. Additionally, more and more people are using the Internet to make purchases for holidays, so you can take advantage of Internet traffic spikes even if your offer isn’t directly related to that holiday.
If you have any topics you’d like to see covered in our blog, make sure to email me at blog [at] inuvo [dot] com with your suggestions.
For Inuvo's final edition of Advertiser Corner for 2009 we bring you the following article by our VP of Affiliate Products, John Vehlewald. John's article will walk you through the development process and give you insight into the importance of your feedback and the impact it has on the Inuvo Platform.
We’ve been making great progress with the development of the Inuvo Platform since the beta launch a few months ago. Today I want to talk a bit about our development process, and how you can help us to improve and enhance the Platform to fit your needs.
We have employed a scrum methodology of rapid development. Basically what this means is we are able to add features and enhancements quickly and continue to create a Platform that our clients want to use as the market changes. We understand that this industry is constantly changing, and your tracking solution should as well to meet new demands and challenges.
To give some insight into our process, I’d like to talk a bit about how a feature goes from concept to completion. First of all, we take client feedback VERY seriously. After all, we are building this Platform to accommodate what our clients’ needs may be. Feature and enhancement ideas come from a variety of places: from our clients through our Feedback section of our Platform and company website; from our Affiliate Managers and other internal users working with the system on a daily basis; and even ideas from those of us that dream. Nothing is too big or too small!
After the initial concept is outlined, it is taken to our developers to discuss any possible impacts to the current architecture, and decide how complex the change would be. After complexity is determined, we create a design document, and begin the development work. The finished code then goes through QA, and placed into the queue to be pushed live in the next scheduled release.
Using this sort of process allows us to quickly add features, while still ensuring quality. These releases are done on a monthly basis, and have allowed us to add a large amount of new functionality and enhancements to the current Platform, all while preserving the business that is running through it!
Now you may be asking yourself, “How can I get my dream feature into this Platform?” Well, it’s easy. Just tell us what you want! The quickest and easiest way to do this is by using the”Feedback” button on the left side of the screen both within the Platform and on our website. Simply submit your idea, and you’ll get feedback directly from me or Alberto Simon, our Director of User Experience. We’ll be able to discuss your request with you, determine if it’s something we can add, and how soon it can be done.
We have already added a variety of features to the Platform from feedback from users, and we have more on the way. We definitely encourage you to at least take a look at the Feedback section, and vote for the features that have already been requested if you don’t have a new one you’d like to see. This helps us to prioritize what to add and when.
This Platform is quickly becoming a very powerful tool that allows our clients to get the most out of their online advertising, and we won’t stop until it is the best and most cost effective way for advertisers and publishers to interact. As always, you can contact me directly at johnv [at] inuvo [dot] com, or interact within the Feedback section on inuvo.com!
Keep your eyes peeled for some new upcoming features such as direct linking for all creative types, a rating system for publisher and advertisers, and a revamped Offer Creation Wizard! I look forward to what 2010 will bring, and I will see you all in the Feedback Forum!
In this edition of Advertiser Corner we have some great ideas from Shelby Nousain, Business Development Manager, on how to stand out from the crowd. Many of you have already worked with Shelby in the PrimaryAds Network. If you haven’t worked with him yet, make sure to reach out to him at shelby [dot] nousain [at] inuvo [dot] com and set a time to meet up at ad:tech New York!
Competition has recently become increasingly intense for CPA advertisers. Between bidding wars to keep publishers from jumping ship, similar offers with slightly higher payouts, and the Fedral Trade Commission (FTC) cracking down on landing page language, it has been progressively more difficult to produce a profitable offer. How do you differentiate yourself from the masses to produce a unique, profitable offer? In this blog I’ll discuss two ideas that will help you ensure you are on your way.First, go International! In life we’ve all learned that to be truly successful you have to go where everyone else isn’t. If a product or service is successful in the US, there’s a good chance that it would be successful in Europe, or maybe Australia. Not only is keyword bidding cheaper, but by bringing a success product to a new market, you are setting things up for massive growth. Imagine if you were one of the first to create an acai offer just 12 months ago!
Second, get niche focused. Take a product and make it more niche focused. The most successful offers on our network have laser targeted landing pages, focusing on a niche market. Instead of making a general debt offer, why not create a debt offer targeted towards college students or foreclosed home owners? The landing pages with the highest EPCs and conversion rates are targeted towards a very specific audience and can address their very specific needs. This will make an offer much more attractive to publishers as well, as they tend to have specific markets they work with.
Those are two ways in which advertisers can stay ahead of the game and find success in an increasingly competitive market. Heed this advice and bring your offer to the Inuvo Platform! You can sign up here https://platform.inuvo.com/register/advertiser/new or contact me at Shelby [dot] nousain [at] inuvo [dot] com.
Do you have a solid offer but you need help getting the right publishers promoting it? We have come up with a list of quick tips you should keep in mind to help in your search for quality publishers.
- Get Active Where Publishers Hang Out: Become a member of forums and recruit from there. A lot of people won’t really respond unless you are an active member and you’ve gained the respect of people on that forum.
- Research Publishers on Search Engines: Search keywords for a particular vertical you are recruiting for and see who owns the domains that show up in the results and contact those people directly.
- Ask For Referrals: Get publishers you already work with to refer quality publishers they know. Nothing’s better than a personal referral to get the right publishers on board!
- Attend Conferences: Get out there and meet people face to face. This will get you face-time and recognition in the community and improve your professional network. (Meet up with Inuvo at ad:tech New York November 4-5 and we can help point you in the right direction!)
- Reciprocate: Get involved in the performance-based marketing community. People will talk to you and see what you can do to help them make more money and vice versa.
- Become a Premium Advertiser on Inuvo: Not only will you earn credibility by showing publishers you are a serious, dedicated advertiser but Inuvo will also push your offer through our social media touch points. To find out more about the benefits of being a Premium Advertiser, email us at sales [at] inuvo [dot] com.
Looking for more tips? Email us at blog [at] inuvo [dot] com or put you comment below.
Looking for an extra push from your publishers during the holiday season to get you an end of the year bounce? Now is a great time to start planning ahead! If you don’t already have holiday-themed creative available, now is the time to start developing these items and loading them into the Inuvo Platform for your publishers to run with.
Publishers also get busier during the holiday season. Being proactive will ensure your offers get the attention they need, and will earn you some well-valued appreciation from your publishers by taking some of the holiday stress off of them. Work on getting these items up in the Inuvo Platform well in advance so you can allow your publishers plenty of time to grab them and get them up and running! Your publishers will be able to drive more traffic to your offers during the holiday season if you have provided them with specific creative they can use to target each holiday. Before you know it, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and the New Year will be upon us in the United States market. Taking the time to target and optimize your emails and banners during each holiday will help you and your publishers generate more revenue. And, who doesn’t need some extra money in their pockets?
If you have offers available for traffic in other countries, make sure you first research their holidays before providing holiday creative. Familiarize yourself with the correct customs and symbolism associated with the holiday so as to avoid embarrassing mistakes. Last Fall I received creative from an overseas advertiser targeted for Thanksgiving, but the creative was filled with American Flags, fireworks and a prominent red, white and blue background, which made it look like it was intended for the Fourth of July holiday. Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with their customers in the United States!
In general, it is a good idea to constantly work on refining your messaging and optimizing your creative. Some of the hottest offers I have seen are offers that produce brand new creative on a monthly basis. They also make sure to target any holiday or major cultural events, like Tax Day and use current event themes, like the Recession or Health Care Reform, if is it a good fit for them. When a hot topic comes up in the news that you can use to market your offer off of, seize it and use it to your advantage. If you have a solid offer, new creative can renew interest from publishers and revitalize your numbers.
If you are looking for any other tips, drop a line to blog [at] inuvo [dot] com.
Everyone here at Inuvo hopes your week is off to a great start. To make your week even better, John Vehlewald, VP of Affiliate Products, has developed this step-by-step guide to beginning your journey as a valued and prosperous Inuvo advertiser. John has been working his way up the ranks here for over five years now and in that time has become our go-to guy for many complex advertiser-related items, so who better than him to get you up and running! If you have any questions for John, please reach out to him at John [dot] Vehlewald [at] inuvo [dot] com.
Today I’d like to talk about the Inuvo Platform, and give some direction on how to get started as an advertiser. The Inuvo Platform is a new type of marketplace to allow advertisers and publishers to connect directly. We feature transparent pricing, and aim to provide a world-class platform to allow these interactions to take place. The most important thing to us is to provide powerful features that will help you make more money; but we can’t do this alone! The Platform is designed to evolve and address your needs. We have a long list of features in our development queue to be added to the Platform and your feedback and ideas are invaluable to us as we continue to grow.
As we move through the beta process, we are asking for your feedback to make the Platform better. Ultimately, you are in control what it becomes. Of course, in order to give us feedback, you must get an offer set up first, so I’d like to cover that today.
The offer set up process is being refined, and as a result, requires a few manual steps of contacting our staff directly. This allows us to have insight into every step of the process and to work closely with you, so we can improve functionality for the final release. In the future, we expect the whole set up process to require very minimal interaction from our staff, which will allow much faster offer setup, from start to finish, than anyone else in the industry.
The first step to getting an offer into the Inuvo Platform is to set up your advertiser account. If you have not done so already, you can click here and set up a new account. The process takes just a few minutes, and is very simple to do.
After your account is set up, you will need to complete your contact and billing details before the account is approved. This allows you to input a very minimal amount of information to get started quickly and take a look around. However, we do require complete contact and billing information before an offer can be created and promoted to publishers.
Once your account is approved, you can begin setting up your offer. This will include both setting up the offer details, like payout and cookie life, using our wizard, and adding any creative you want available for your publishers.
Our team will then work with you to integrate your offer with your lead form or ordering system. After integration, testing, and any feedback we may have for you about your offer, we will be able to launch the offer for publishers to begin joining!
We have created a Quick-Start Guide you can download that details each of these steps. Please remember, we are available at any time to help you through this process. We are striving to make this platform the ideal place for advertisers and publishers to work with each other.
Any input you have can be shared with us by heading to www.inuvo.com, and using the “Feedback” button on the left side. Once there, you can vote for features and changes others have suggested, or add your own. This queue of feature requests from our users is very important to the development of the platform, so I would encourage you to use it regardless how small (or large) you might think your request or comment might be! We are counting on your feedback to make the Platform the best solution to your performance-based marketing needs. I’m personally looking forward to your valuable feedback, so please, take some time to head over to our feedback forum and we’ll get your ideas into our development queue!
Chris Gerbick, Sales Account Manager at Inuvo, has created this video tour of the advertiser account interface to guide you through the Inuvo Platform and demonstrate how easy it is to get up and running in just minutes. Join Chris on this video tour and get familiar with the following features:
- Pending and Existing Publishers
- Pending and Existing Transactions
- Editing Existing Offers
- Offer Wizard
- Offer Creative
Don’t just take our word for it, after viewing the video sign up as an advertiser and experience the Inuvo Platform for yourself! If you have any feedback or questions for Chris, you may contact him directly at Chris [dot] Gerbick [at] inuvo [dot] com. Also, you can utilize the “Feedback” feature located on the middle of the left-hand side of your screen to tell us your thoughts via the Inuvo Feedback Forum. Stay tuned! We have much more coming for you, so please check back daily for new content on our blog and forum.