FBN’s Charles Payne, NewOak Capital President James Frischling, small business expert Susan Solovic, retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar and Penn Financial Group founder Matt McCall on the outlook for Cubist Pharmaceuticals.
A&G Capital CIO Hilary Kramer, small business expert Susan Solovic, FBN’s Charles Payne, retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar, Penn Financial Group founder Matt McCall and FBN’s Tracy Byrnes on the opportunities for investors in the defense sector.
Small businesses are always looking for inexpensive ways to advertise; budding entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to start a business on a shoestring. Affiliate marketing programs can be what both groups are looking for, and that’s a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say. However, in the corner of the Internet where all the over-the-top, super-hype lives, affiliate programs are often touted as get-rich-quick schemes, and that’s a bad thing.
Affiliate programs can be a sound way to advertise for a business and a decent way for a person to start a business and begin to make a little money on the Internet. But starting or joining an affiliate program is not a way to turn on a gushing cash spigot.
If you already offer products or services over the Internet, starting an affiliate program will extend your reach. Websites will sign up to promote your business. When a visitor of the affiliated site buys something from you, the affiliated site gets a percentage of the sale.
You don’t pay anything—except for your overhead to set up the program, create graphics, etc—until a sale is made, unlike paying for “clicks” or “impressions,” which seldom result in an actual sale. The very nature of this system encourages your affiliates to diligently promote your products. If their marketing efforts fail, they earn nothing.
Today you have several options to start an affiliate program for your small business: there are third party services and networks, you can custom code your site and some shopping cart systems include affiliate solutions.
When small businesses establish affiliate marketing programs, they generally want to enlist as many affiliates as possible, without becoming associated with sites that their customers might find objectionable or cause other problems.
For the other side of the affiliate marketing proposition: Should you become an affiliate? If you’re looking to create an e-commerce business just through affiliations, it’s a tough row to hoe. The competition is intense and high search engine rankings are usually the critical factor. Of course, the startup costs are low, so you don’t have much to lose.
Consider another scenario. If you’re already doing okay in e-commerce, should you become an affiliate of other online sellers? You’ve probably noticed that many of the big-server (the online equivalent of “big-box”) retailers, like Amazon.com and Buy.com, sell products offered at other e-commerce sites. They generally carry the “marketplace” label.
There are three sound reasons to add an affiliate dimension to your existing e-commerce site:
* To gain incremental revenue.
* To better serve your customers, and
* To test the potential of new product lines.
The additional revenue may or may not be significant. The second two points are probably more salient. If your customers are buying products related to your catalog at another seller, grab the finders fees for those sales. These may be products that you can’t or don’t want to warehouse yourself.
Using an affiliate membership to test the potential of new products is a great strategy. Be sure to check out any non-compete language in your agreement so you can handle the situation properly if you decide to drop out of the affiliate program and begin selling the product line yourself.
While affiliate marketing isn’t a panacea, the fact that it has been part of e-commerce since the very early days and continues to grow, shows us that it’s still very useful and worth investigating.
“[A tax loophole is] something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform.”
Sen. Russell B. Long (D-LA)“The Eiffel Tower is the Empire State Building after taxes.”
Anonymous“Our party has been accused of fooling the public by calling tax increases ‘revenue enhancement.’ Not so. No one was fooled.”
Dan Quayle“When we played, World Series checks meant something. Now all they do is screw up your taxes.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale“When it comes to finances, remember that there are no withholding taxes on the wages of sin.”
Mae West“The question is: What can we, as citizens, do to reform our tax system? As you know, under our three-branch system of government, the tax laws are created by: Satan. But he works through the Congress, so that’s where we must focus our efforts.”
Dave Barry“Late one night, just blocks from the Capitol, a mugger jumped into the path of a well-dressed fellow and stuck a gun in his ribs. ‘Give me your money,’ the thief demanded. ‘Are you kidding?’ the man said. ‘I’m a U.S. congressman.’ ‘In that case,’ the mugger growled, cocking his weapon, ‘give me my money.'”
Playboy Magazine“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
George Bernard Shaw
Karen Fisher, CPA is the President and founder of KBF Consulting, LLC, which provides a broad range of financial, accounting, tax, auditing and advisory services to small and medium sized companies.
Karen has close to 20 years of experience in accounting and finance. Her career began in Public Accounting working as an auditor for one of the top 4 accounting firms in the country. Her strong accounting and auditing skills combined with her experience working with many Fortune 500 companies helps her to easily pinpoint where there are opportunities to improve the financial aspects of your business.
After a successful career working in Corporate America for many years, Karen decided to fulfill her vision of leading an accounting firm that empowers the small and medium sized business owners. Specifically her goal is to provide the big company advice and strategy to smaller companies that usually do not have access to this type of advice.
Karen holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Rutgers University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Adelphi University in Long Island, New York. She is a Certified Public Accountant in New Jersey. Her firms website is: http://www.kbfconsultingllc.com