Due to some technical issues and glitches beyond my control at that site, such as the inability to send newsletters more than once a week, I post here not only as a backup but as a more timely publication method with a more conversational format.
Don't let the title fool you, I don't limit myself to adult webmasters only. Marketing is for everyone. The only difference between selling adult materials and Victorian widgets is the target market. All the same skills, knowledge and work are required.
While it's true that adult webmasters follow in the footsteps of those in the adult entertainment industry and are the first to capitalize on technology (allowing for great ideas to be plucked by mainstream marketers), those in marketing to a mature audience often overlook the basics. So blending both sides, as it were, seems like a perfectly natural conversation.
While this blog will not post adult images per se, it will on occasion link to adult sites which may have such images ~ I will clearly warn you if the link is 'Adult' or Not Work Safe (NWS).
As a conversation, this blog is participatory. I expect to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and even your comments which contradict what I have said ~ not everyone's experience is the same and debate is healthy.
Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, networking lead etc. at TheWhore (at) marketingwhore (dot) net.
Due to the increasing number of emails with 'just a quick question...' I'm implementing phone consulting via Keen.
I'll just simply say that numbers 1 & 3 are those good old-fashioned (in web terms) 'sticky' tactics; and unless they are related to your product or service you've got little reason to employ them rather than written content which addresses questions & interests which move them to purchasing. I'd bet that the increase in sales the company noted in the first had more to do with information given (via the avatar or other site info) rather than a chatty-Cathy device. In the latter, I wonder if the widget actually detracted from sales.
And number 2 is cost prohibitive for most; although those with small product lists can do this manually (both in terms of creating links and awareness of what customers buy or are likely to buy).
if you're a woman in any service-industry job looking to maximize your tips, Miller suggests scheduling more shifts for the phase right before ovulation: "It might help to know about this so that you can exploit these effects."
Slip: ...But I find that many lingerie brands and other companies with products which are clearly associated with sex -- sell themselves based on sex even -- are reluctant to be associated directly with sex. For example, there are restrictions on ads, affiliate programs, and places where the products might be seen. And there are outrageous reactions to sexy women. Have you run into any similar troubles or reactions with your company?
Nerys: I've had a few sales calls which have ended abruptly with "we don't do anything like THAT!" and one lady even wiped her hands clean on her skirt after reading a flyer. But I'm happy to say those reactions have been far out-numbered with those of support and enthusiasm -- in fact I've had a lot of candid reactions "remember when we used to do that dear?!"
Slip: Someone actually said, "remember when we used to do that dear?!" I don't know whether to giggle or cry over that... Why should people have stopped?!
Nerys: I know what you mean... he still had a twinkle in his eye though!
It reminds me of the quote "When things don't work well in the bedroom, they don't work well in the living room either". I think there's a lot of truth in that.
In part two, Nerys says that while she didn't plan on entering the 'sex' product market, she's happy to be here:
I wasn't really put off by the sexy thing (in fact I love being able to work in that field) although I know it's perceived as 'bad' by some people. I think there are some great brands out there (Coco de Mer, Agent Provocateur, Myla) that have pioneered sexy on 'her' terms -- or in a less male-focused way and there's a clearly a market for it.
I like hearing from those happy in the trenches, don't you?
Over at Cozy Frog Titmowse has an article on choosing a sponsor. Most of it I agree with, so I highly recommend it. Especially the, "Maybe the message board philosophers are correct. There is no "best" sponsor there is only the "right" sponsor."
However, there are a few additional points I'd like to make.
When Titmowse discusses testing a sponsor she says, "If you market a sponsor for a couple of months with no results, find another sponsor. If you are making money with a sponsor, keep them."
I think this is too simple. It suggests that after a few months poor performance by a sponsor is 'all on the sponsor.' This may be true; but it also may not be true.
Sponsor performance also depends upon what you do.
For example, say you decide to promote a BBW paysite. You think the niche is funny. So you build a point-and-laugh free site, chock full of insulting text, degrading graphics and ads for your sponsor. Your site receives all kinds of traffic but literally nobody clicks your ad banners. Why do you think that is? Do you really think that the point-and-laugh crowd is going to shell out money for a membership to a BBW paysite? Did it ever occur to you that your niche-based design insults the very people that happen to like big women and are aching to find a site where they are welcomed and appreciated? Sure, if you design a site that honors BBW models, you probably won't get as much traffic, but the traffic you get will be targeted to sell. You won't waste bandwidth on a bunch of gawking freeloaders.
Design issues aside, there are other matters such as the quality of your posts/articles, your authority, and of course, your traffic. All of this affects sponsor performance.
It's easy to blame a sponsor, go get another. But they aren't the only factor.
Your sponsor can be doing everything right, but if you don't pay attention to these matters, well, sponsor choice just doesn't matter.
My daddy, one helluva real salesman, taught me early on about the unsung glories of being in sales. Commissions which went unpaid, territories carved-up when you were successful, quotas set so high no one could make them, and lean times when your market was so affected by the economy that no matter how good you were there were no sales to be made. But still, I was entranced.
When I heard how he managed to help solve a company's problem, saw that satisfaction in his eyes, I wanted to feel that too. I adored the idea of problem solving to mutual satisfaction. I loved that a person could make money from helping another ~ even it was 'only' to help them make more money. I dreamed of being able to match need to benefit, problem to product, and of being paid to do it.
I spent my early years working in retail. I've sold nearly everything a woman can wear, men's apparel and shoes, and a few other assorted items. I've sold on commission, by quota, and at flat cashier rates. When a customer told me, "No," I was challenged to find out why... What did they need or want? Often, they didn't know what they needed or wanted, so I had to listen really well and, rather like a counselor, find out what they were looking for. Usually I go the sale. If not, I told them where they could find what they wanted. I may have 'lost' that sale to another store or company, but they always returned to me because I solved their problems. (Even if the problem was 'just' the perfect pair of the red high heels.)
I broke records, won divisional contests, and created some rather simple and innovative customer retention tools (even without permission). For my efforts I was "promoted" to management.
This was to me, a less spectacular position. For awhile I consoled myself by focusing on motivating the 'real' sales force and mentoring those who felt dirty about sales. But it just wasn't as rewarding, mostly as the companies I worked for had DMs and other 'higher-ups' with minds closed to employee moral and a general ignorance of what it was like to be in sales.
So I went 'back to school' and got my B.A., then I moved on to public relations and fund raising for non-profits. There I sold concepts and Utopian ideals to an all-too-often less than concerned public. And for less money than I made in most (if not all) of the other places. Along the way I also tended bar and held other customer service positions. *wink*
All of this is what's lead me here today. I'm rather compulsive about seeing the unmet needs, the poor (or nonexistent) customer service, the desperate hype designed to move products, the the way people just don't just stop and think. I've learned most products and services are not dirty, and that marketing and sales need not be either. And that this is the least true in the adult industry where most of us market a product or service for what it is, not what it isn't.
Daddy doesn't know about my sex pro work (which is a whole other story), so I've not sent him here; but he would be proud of what I do. Because at the end of the day problems have been solved, sales have been made, and I've got that gleam of satisfaction in my eyes.
But Gracie, how are paid postings any different than a blogger promoting a site via affiliate programs? Well, that's rather like saying commission sales is like payola.
In commissioned sales, you are paid for your performance. You make a sale, you get a cut. The reason folks join individual affiliate programs is that they believe they can make money off of it. Why? Because they like it or that their readers will. They select programs they are naturally interested in, those which suit their blog theme or mission, those which seem to fit their style. They believe in it so they invest their time &/or effort in selling it for the reward of part of the sale.
Can they lie? Sure. For example, anyone can say they're a member of a paysite and they love it so much they're telling you to join to ~ when they've never done more than see a tour page. But then again, anyone anywhere can lie.
Can a blogger or webmaster be solicited to join an affiliate program? You bet we are. But since we aren't paid to select them, we decide if this would be a good fit for our readers ~ because that's how we'd get paid. We decide if the site or product is worthy of our lending our name to it ~ because our readers who got burned would sure let us know. At least the good ones do this.
In payola or pay per post, you are paid for your mention of the item ~ your 'play' of it, if you will. This means, whether you like the product or not, you get paid to mention it. Each and every time you mention it. And from any company willing to pay. (And many of these companies are equally oblivious to targeting in this "post about me now!" mentality; so honestly, what's the point?)
Some of you will argue that bloggers may pick and choose what they will mention, what paid postings they will do, but kids, let's be as honest as the day is long and admit that there are many people in the world (not just the Internet) who are hungry for money and will take what is offered. The incentive, the "pay," is to "post," not to be authentic, not to match blogger readership, or anything else.
We're not talking about small sums either. Affiliates generally pay a smaller amount per sale, whereas paid postings are larger sums up front or at least much quicker than waiting to reach an affiliate pay-out limit. The proverbial 'quick buck'. (Too bad their momma's didn't tell them there's really no such thing, because once the word gets out that you're only after a quick buck, who is gonna give a f***?)
I've been offered up to $85 for a paid posting ~ one that I wouldn't even need to write because they would write the 'article' for me. That's free content, supposedly tailored for my readers, plus $85 in my pocket ~ and I turned it down because I care, damnit. I've also turned down ads for products which are illegal, products I believe to be dangerous, and just plain old shams (the latter of which mostly come into this blog).
I may whore my wares, the wares of other, but I'm honest about that. I'll whore what I like, thank you, and when I do, you'll know it.
But I'm not going to sell my soul, my loyalty, and in the process sell you all out too. My word matters to me. It's one of the few things, I'm told, I get to take with me when I leave this place.
The symbiotic relationship between selling something to someone and making money off of that transaction is written-off as bad. The sales person profits from something 'done to' the customer, affiliates are parasites which feed off the wide toothy grins of unsuspecting blog readers, and marketers are the tapeworms feeding off the insides of rich corporate fat-cats.
But I'd like today's word to remind you that this is not necessarily so:
Symbiotic: An interrelationship between two different organisms in which the effects of that relationship are expressed as being harmful or beneficial; intimate associations in which organisms of more than one species live together.
The association may be beneficial to both (mutualism), beneficial to one with no effect on the other (commensalism) or beneficial to one with harmful effects on the other (parasitism).
It's up to you, as a buyer and as a seller, to decide what sort of symbiotic relationship you'll have.
Big Snake Sale! Sssssave! Sssssave! Sssssave! Pick and choossssse! Mix and match, everything'sssss marked down! Thessssse marvelous petsssss are quiet and refined. Rid your house of rodentsssss and unwanted baby chicks, ssssstartle your friendsssss today!
Which got a few of us off our own "S's" and thinking... Why not have an ad sale and help a few of our friends with stuff stuck in their backrooms? (We bet that even the adult industry has a few snakes which must be moved. *wink*)
So here's our SSSuper SSSmut SSSpecial.
Get the Standard (150x200, 16K + 300 char) Blogads at the three following sites:
All three blogs, one month ~ at half price! Just $214.50
All three blogs, one week ~ at half price! Just $65
(In case you're too freaked-out by the offer to focus on the math, a week at all three sites would normally cost you $130; and a month is regularly $429.)
Also at Sex-Kitten.Net only, buy a Hi-Rise ad (150x600, 35K + 300 char) for one week (normally $200), now just the price of a one week standard ad.
(That math means you pay only $100 for the week!)
These are Limited Time Offers ~ We Aren't Kidding! (And we know this offer isn't a turkey; it won't hit the ground like sacks of wet cement either! *wink*)
Here's how to do it:
1) Make your ad payment via PayPal to Pay (at) equilibri-yum (dot) com.
2) Email me at TheWhore (at) MarketingWhore (dot) Net with the following ad information:
Ad Headline: Max. 32 chars. No html allowed Ad Text: Max. 300 published chars. Max. 3 empty lines. Simple HTML (a, b, i, u) allowed. No more than 18 continuous visible characters please! URL: Your website, product etc. Standard Ad Image: 150 X 200 pixels and 16KB jpg/gif OR Hi-Rise Ad Image: 150 X 600 pixels and 35KB jpg/gif
Yes, you can reserve future dates ~ with your payment only. Please include your requested ad start date with your other ad information.
Fine Print: Since this is an ad special, you won't be using the Blogads interface ~ we will be placing the ads for you, so it's really important that you email with your information as soon as you make your payment.
These offers end when we say they do. The only guarantee you have that your ad(s) will run is once you've made your payment. So reserve your spots now!
Having hosted before, I have a new appreciation for what Hurlbert's work load was like. I know his task was neither simple nor easy, and he's selected some really fine offerings. As usual, I suggest you go there and read, read, Read.
My favorite post from this week's carnival is Non - Linear Leadership Thinking vs. Behavior, by Charles H. Green. Hurlbert describes this post as "how it seems the best leaders are sages, able to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time, believe both, and reconcile them." (Which is far more succinct than I could ever hope to be, so I must use his phrasing.)
What's excellent about this post, what's so exciting, is that Green describes what every good salesman knows ~ and I'm speaking of real salesmen in the legendary ways of old, when the profession was deemed noble.
Once upon a time every good salesman knew that if you keep the customer's needs and objections in mind and at the same time know your products well enough you can find the solution to the customer's problems via a sale.
'Tis the same with my philosophy of marketing. You know you, your product or service can't be everything to everybody ~ but you know and believe that you, your product or service can be just the thing your customer is looking for. Help him to see how, solve his problems ~ and make a sale too. It's holistic, a symbiotic win for all. This is what Green is talking about in his discussion of leadership.
Since Green's left the salesmen and marketers out of it, perhaps many more will listen. *wink*
Which brings us back to Hurlbert (and other fine hosts of CoTC): They create lists of the best postings, points and pontifications for the rest of us to read. Hopefully, they are read and respected in return. Another win-win.