What is ClickBank?
In short, it’s the biggest, most popular affiliate marketing network on the net(and in the world).
At ClickBank you can find all sorts of products, for all sorts of niches, in all sorts of price ranges, available for affiliate marketing for a wide range of commissions (starting from 10% to 70% and above).
As of now (2013, January), their affiliate marketers have earned a net amount of $2,314,488,348, so over $2.3 BILLION dollars!
Seeing these impressive details on what is ClickBank, you may want to go ahead and register as an affiliate right now, so that you can start earning money as soon as possible.
How to Register at ClickBank?
Registering is free both as an affiliate and as a vendor. You get one account for both activities by default.
How Can You Start Making Money?
Once you’ve learned what is ClickBank, in order to start earning, obviously you have to choose products that you’d like to promote to your audience.
This process is very easy, and it all starts at the ClickBank marketplace, where you can browse from the biggest database of affiliate products in the world.
How to Find Products to Promote as an Affiliate?
Let’s say you have a fly-fishing website and you’d like to make money by recommending fly fishing products to your audience as an affiliate. ClickBank has the key to the solution:
- Just type in fly fishing into the search box at the marketplace, and look at all the results you get back.
- Choose the product that you like the most (or that pays the highest commission), and click “Promote”.
How to Find Your Affiliate Links at ClickBank?
Once you clicked “Promote”, a window will automatically pop up, asking for your account nickname and a transaction ID.
For the account nickname, enter your ClickBank account username that you registered when signing up, and feel free to leave the Transaction ID field blank (it’s only for tracking purposes if you’re that advanced).
Then click “Create” and ClickBank will instantly serve you your affiliate link.Just try highlighting and copying the link, to see what happens if you insert it into the URL bar of your browser.
More than likely, it will take you to the product’s landing page, while embedding your affiliate ID into your computer. This all happens automatically by ClickBank’s software, so you do NOT have to do anything to make sure you always get your deserved commissions.
How to Promote ClickBank’s Products and Make Money as an Affiliate?
The rest of the”what is ClickBank” story is easy, as long as you already have targeted traffic that’s interested in your chosen product (i.e.: fly fishing).
Simply mention the product on your website’s pages and link to it using your affiliate link that you’ve just gotten from ClickBank. This way, whenever one of your readers clicks on your link and ends up buying the product, you’ll get a pre-set commission.
It’s as easy as that.
If you don’t already have targeted traffic, read the bottom of this page to find out how you can get it the simplest, fastest and cheapest way.
How Can You Track Your Sales with ClickBank?
A vital part of making money with ClickBank is knowing how to track your marketing activities’ performance. You should know
- how many people clicked on your links
- how many of them purchased
- how many asked for a refund later and so on…
This ClickBank article will tell you all you need to know to easily track everything you want.
A staggering $2.1 billion in affiliate marketing fees were paid to blog and website owners in 2008. This finding in a recent study by Jupiter Research confirms what many savvy Internet marketers have known for a while: Affiliate marketing has become one of the top business opportunities online because the startup costs are so low and the income you generate can be mind-blowing.
Affiliate marketing involves having your own site and sending your traffic to someone else’s site to buy their products or services. For every sale initiated by a link from your site, you earn a percentage–an affiliate sales commission.
Affiliate marketing can be done on a part-time basis, and many are so successful that they’ve made it their full-time job. Equally exciting, you can get in the game in just a few hours. But how successful you are is based on the amount of time and effort you devote. Here is how you can make money online with these six tips:
1. Create a website or blog
To start as an affiliate marketer, you must have a site on which to place links to the products or services you recommend. There are many inexpensive website services such as Hostgator and GoDaddy. It’s also easy to set up a free blog through services such as Google’s Blogger blog network. I also use Namecheap for domains and Hostnine (get a reseller account) for hosting.
2. Decide your product/service niche
Affiliate marketers help companies and entrepreneurs sell everything from jewelry and cell phones to website services and how-to e-books. Choose an area you’re familiar with or one you’re enthusiastic about learning. You’ll be more likely to do the work and less likely to get bored before the money starts rolling in.
3. Find products and services to promote
Many affiliate networks exist to connect merchants with affiliate site publishers who can help sell their goods. Companies such as:
- Clickbank, E-junkie and PayDotCom lead the pack in connecting the creators of e-books and software with affiliates to help sell their digital download products.
- Commission Junction is popular for those who want to sell more traditional wares ranging from travel services to janitorial franchises.
- Google AdSense, which doesn’t require your involvement to result in a sale. Your income is realized on a pay-per-click basis, just for leading your traffic to click to a merchant’s site. PPC affiliate programs pay a lot less than programs where your referral must result in a sale. Keep in mind that a site peppered with ads and no authority or trust can look and feel like spam, and you won’t get good results.
4. Affiliate site content
There are two main approaches or business models to choose from when setting up an affiliate marketing site:
- Resource Sites These sites are focused on offering lots of how-to articles and posts, and then provide affiliate links or banner ads to click for more details. Frequently adding fresh related content is vital because it gives people a reason to return to your site–and click some of your money-making links.
- Review Sites You’ve tried the products in your niche, now you write them up and rate them to help your site visitors decide what to buy. For each product you review, you provide a link or banner ad that clicks through for sales on your merchant partner’s site. Less frequent content updates are necessary–just tweak your site about once a week to let the search engines know your site’s still alive, and always try to build links.
5. Affiliate sites must attract lots of targeted traffic to succeed
Most people visiting your website or blog won’t click your affiliate links. That’s why it’s crucial to employ a mix of marketing tactics to increase traffic–highly targeted traffic–to your site.
There are four main ways to get more site exposure and attract more potential customers:
- Paid Advertising This is most effective when your ad copy headline, call-to-action message and graphics come together just right to compel people to click through and buy.
- Free Advertising Sites like Craigslist and US Free Ads are but two of many popular places that accept links and banner ads for free. These tend to be affiliate marketing sites themselves, earning the owner money whenever you click their ads.
- Article Marketing This popular marketing method offers several benefits. You’re building credibility as a reliable source in your niche, gaining a higher search engine ranking by increasing the number of links leading to your site, and pulling traffic to your site. Work in an organic manner and don’t spam using software engines. Ezinearticles is a great place to begin.
- E-mail Marketing Every visitor to your site is valuable, so capturing their names and e-mail addresses to stay in touch is important. Many people might not buy your affiliate products until the third or fourth time they hear from you. So it’s crucial to place an opt-in subscription box on your site for people to start receiving a weekly or monthly newsletter from you. My personal favorite is aweber, but many quality ones exist.
6. Learn the ropes in forums
These are online communities of likeminded people who exchange insights and ideas. Join at least one of these free affiliate marketing forums to benefit from advice shared by other newbies, intermediates and gurus alike:
- Digital Point - Huge, with about 25,000 active members. An excellent place to learn affiliate marketing tips, plus other techniques that impact your success such as link building and SEO.
- aBestWeb - One of the largest affiliate marketing forums, with nearly 100 sub-forums. Covers the broadest range of affiliate marketing-specific subjects, with heavy participation by numerous go-getter merchants and serious affiliates.
- Warrior Forum - A killer networking forum for beginners and advanced alike. Set up a profile, start participating, ask questions and promote as well.
To do well, read all you can about the opinions, tool and strategies of both experts and peers. But before you even start, choose a niche about which you’re passionate. The more you truly enjoy what you’re immersed in, the more likely you are to transform your affiliate marketing and money-making venture into a huge success.
There are lots of myths out there surrounding affiliate marketing, and these can frequently cause brands/businesses to pass on these kinds of programs. It’s important you understand some of these myths so you can make the correct decisions for the future growth of your business.
Whether you’re the brand manager at a Fortune 100 brand or the marketing director/everything else at a startup, setting up a solid affiliate program can open a revenue avenue without much of the hassle usually associated with setting up new marketing initiatives.
1. Affiliate systems are quick and easy to manage
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there’s a lot of competition so you’re not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.
The affiliate marketing business relies on fostering relationships. You foster these relationships by:
*Bringing the right partners into your program
*Seeking out better and more efficient partnerships
*Updating your content regularly to keep things new and fresh.
An affiliate program is only going to help bring traffic to your website or business; you are in charge of turning that traffic into conversions.
2. You need to work in a very popular and lucrative niche to make affiliate marketing work for your business.
A lot of companies do not even bother trying an affiliate marketing program because they think their market is too little. Some companies will try and break into bigger niches even if they don’t have any interest in the market niche.
It is true that popular niches do better with affiliate marketing, but that doesn’t mean you do not have a chance at success. Stay in line with the goals and mission statement of your company and find affiliates who understand the relevance of working in a market where you are comfortable.
3. Affiliate marketing is a strategy of yesterday
Due to Google’s new algorithms for SEO, link building is becoming outdated which can discourage affiliate activity. Even if this is the case, there are many new ways to use SEO and build your brand.
You might come across a couple of link problems with Google if you are not managing your program, but for the most part the entire notion of affiliate marketing still makes sense to Google –it offers another relevant and related resource to consumers.
4. Success in affiliate marketing comes from getting your product on as many sites as possible
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
The real deliverables will be dependent on locating the right affiliates, big or small, which drive results. According to the same study done by Three Ladders Marketing, the most traffic for affiliates were driven by SEO, 79% and social media, 60%.
Although studies show that affiliate marketing isn’t easy, as you remember to foster relationships, focus on your niche, focus on a few key affiliates, and create a system that generates performance for both the advertiser and the affiliate you can drive profit and conversions for your small business.
There are caution flags, however when it comes to affiliate marketing. In a piece late last year, Affiliate Theft Could Be Costing You Millions, Forbes contributor Jabez LeBret wrote of unscrupulous affiliate marketers’ tactics which cost brands and businesses millions of dollars every year.
LeBret adds that affiliate theft”…could be preventing you (brands/businesses) from beating profit expectations while making it difficult for you to properly allocate your marketing budget to programs that are working.
Before I start, I would like to make one thing clear:
This article mainly covers the following topics:
- What affiliate marketing is and the different types of affiliate marketing
- The advantages of being an affiliate marketer
- Some tips and good practices to become a successful affiliate marketer
So, can you really make money from affiliate programs? Well yes and no; there is money in affiliate marketing but if YOU can make money from it or not depends on a lot of other factors such as your commitment, experience, site traffic etc.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
According to Wikipedia
Basically, you as a publisher will be rewarded when you help a business by promoting their products or services. So for example, if you sign up for Tips and Ticks HQ’s affiliate program and promote it’s products then you will get a commission when the visitor you send from your site makes a purchase.
Affiliate marketing is probably one of the quickest and cheapest (not the easiest) ways to start making money online as you don’t have to create any products yourself. You simply link up a buyer and a seller, and you take a commission on the sale that has been referred by you.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.
The sellers can track your performance through your affiliate ID and the affiliate softwares (eg. WP Affiliate Platform) that they use. You also have complete, real time access to all sales and commissions stats.
You don’t need to sell products all the time to make a commission. Different affiliate programs can use different payment terms such as:
- Pay per Sale: In this program a merchant pays you a percentage of the sale price when the purchase is completed.
- Pay per Click: In this program you get paid based on the number of visitors you redirect to the Merchant’s website from your affiliate site, whether or not a sale is made.
- Pay per Lead: You get paid once the referred visitors provide their contact information on the target site by filling out a simple contact form.
Why be an Affiliate Marketer?
Affiliate marketing is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing and best internet marketing techniques to earn money online and I will explain why:
- Cost effective: Marketing on the internet is cheap and you don’t have to worry about the production cost as the product is already developed by the seller. You don’t need a physical business location or hire employees either.
- Global Market: Online marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people all over the world easily.
- No Fees: You don’t need to pay anything to join affiliate programs.
- No Storage No Shipping: You don’t need to worry about storage, packing or shipment of the product. They are all taken care of by the seller.
- No customer support: You don’t need to provide any customer support or deal with consumer complaints as the Seller does that for you.
- Passive income: A regular job can give you a fixed income as long as you continue to work. Depending on your marketing skill Affiliate marketing can create a steady flow of income even when you are not in front of your computer.
- Work from home: If you make enough money then you don’t have to worry about going to work at the same time every day or getting stuck in traffic. You can work in the comfort of your own home.
Tips on Becoming a Successful Affiliate Marketer
After reading all the benefits of affiliate marketing if you think you will be rich over night by selling affiliate products online then you are wrong. Affiliate marketing is definitely an excellent way to make money online but it’s highly competitive too. In order to be successful in Affiliate marketing you need to know the market needs, learn how to promote products, what works and what doesn’t. The following are a few tricks on becoming successful in affiliate marketing that I have learnt over time.
1. Only Choose a Handful of Good Products
The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.
2. Use Several Traffic Sources to Promote Products
Most affiliate marketers put up the ads only on their sites. There is nothing wrong with this approach but know that there are many other traffic sources that you can tap into and promote the products simultaneously. The more targeted traffic you can send to the sales page the more your chances are of making money.
Google Adwords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your adwords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.
3. Test, Measure and Track Your Affiliate Campaign
It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
Most affiliate programs will give you basic stats that you may need but there is nothing stopping you from using your own conversion tracking software too. There are many conversions tracking sofware out there that you can use to track your affiliate campaign.
4. Research the Demand of the Product
If you try to sell a product that is in low demand then chances are that you are not going to get many sales no matter how hard you try. So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time researching and finding out if a product that you are thinking of promoting is a product that your audience needs. If your site gets decent traffic then you can conduct an online survey and easily get input from your visitors.
5. Stay Current with New Methods and Techniques
Affiliate marketing is a very competitive field and people are always coming up with new techniques. Try to stay current with these new techniques and market trends otherwise you will fall behind.
6. Choose the Right Merchant
When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.
7. Use Helpful Tools
If you are serious about affiliate marketing then try to find tools that will help you be more efficient. There are many helpful tools out there. If you are using a WordPress powered site then consider getting a plugin similar to the Affiliate Link Manager.
Don’t just hope and pray that visitors will buy; setup everything correctly and make it happen! If you think that visitors will click on your affiliate links and buy just because you placed dozens of affiliate links on your website then you are wrong! You need to have a structured plan in place. Affiliate marketing is a business so you will have a much better chance of succeeding if you treat it like one.
There are many benefits to getting into an affiliate partnership, whether you take on the role of merchant or affiliate. Keep in mind when thinking about these benefits the fact that the Internet has become a highly collaborative space, especially with social media taking such a dominant presence on the web today.
Here are some of the key benefits to affiliate marketing.
Partnerships and collaboration
The relationship between affiliate and merchant is a symbiotic one. Both affiliate and merchant benefit from having an affiliate partnership with each other.
With affiliates, there is the fact that web hosting fees may be paid through the income earned from being an affiliate and some affiliates can actually earn a substantial income from the merchants they work with. This does not mean, however, that it is as simple as signing up for an affiliate program. The affiliate has an incentive to get traffic delivered to the merchant’s site. When done well, the affiliate also benefits by being credited with the sale or lead.
This is actually one of the original problems that occurred and made affiliates question their role in affiliate partnerships. They might say to themselves “I am sending traffic to their site, but that means I am losing traffic.” This is called Click and Bye, which means an affiliate might lose a viewer to its bigger merchant via a textual link or banner.
Merchants, though, recognized this problem and came up with the solution to credit affiliates when a successful sale was made or a new customer signed up with their website or newsletter. As you can see, affiliates and merchants must constantly adapt to make affiliate marketing work for them.
The benefit for merchants through this relationship is that they get new traffic and potential customers they might not otherwise have access to by advertising on affiliate websites. Best of all, their advertising dollars are only spent when they successfully make a sale through an affiliate.
Affiliates’ site content is relevant
Let’s say that you, as a merchant, sell dog food through your company website. Your affiliate should be somehow in line with your product or service for an affiliate marketing strategy to work. That is to say, if you sell dog food, you should sell advertise dog food on sites that attract dog owners.
If you think about it, this makes reasonable sense. Your dog food company might know a few websites that cater to dog owners and perhaps have forums and discussions about dogs, ranging in subjects from teaching them tricks to how to keep them healthy. This is a smart potential affiliate option because it means you can advertise to your demographic. Smart affiliate marketing strategies involve continuing to think creatively about where your demographic is most likely to be so that you can have your advertisement present there as well.
In contrast, a bad marketing decision would be to form an affiliate partnership with a website that caters to cat owners. What interest would they have in dog food when they have cats to feed?
More effective use of advertising budget
As we stated earlier when we described the difference between plain banner advertisements and affiliate advertising, we mentioned the fees and rates that you are required to pay. Every website is different in what amount they expect to be paid, but one thing is clear: performance based marketing allows you to waste less money in advertisement allocation.
Marketing is all about increasing ROI for prospective customers, and affiliate marketing is no exception. When you spend money on any kind of advertisement, you want to make sure that the amount you spend to get a new customer is worth the investment. Performance based marketing lessens the amount of money you spend and reduces the risk of having a bad ROI.
Let’s say that you have an affiliate for your dog food company. Each time you make a sale, you might pay a 5% commission. Since you are only paying when you made a sale, you are certain that you only make an investment when there has already been a return.
Like other types of Internet marketing strategies, such as email marketing and website creation, one of the greatest benefits to doing affiliate marketing is the fact that it can be tracked. Affiliate programs often allow you to see certain things like click-through rates or views of your site as a result of a customer having viewed an affiliate web page.
This is an important part of building an effective affiliate marketing strategy because it allows you to see which affiliates work and which do not. Additionally, it may also tell you how you are performing on the different affiliate websites with different marketing tools, such as through a banner ad or a link placement. This will help you spend your money more effectively by continuing to invest in the types of ads that seem to get the best results.
Without a doubt, exposure is key to any component of a marketing strategy. By having affiliates, you can have your product or service held out for the online world to see. And by staying present on appropriate sites, your exposure will increase exponentially by staying in tune with the correct, targeted demographics.
Exposure also allows you to build an image and brand name. Building those allows you to leave a lasting impression on prospective customers so that they are more likely to come back and make a purchase. And because it leaves a lasting impression, that means it is likely to be spread to others through the Internet and even word of mouth.
Is affiliate marketing right for your business? If so, then you can contact our marketing experts for more information on how to develop an effective affiliate marketing program.
A subset of performance marketing (and often confused for being performance marketing) is affiliate marketing. With the seemingly thin line between performance and affiliate marketing, I wanted to take a closer look at the affiliate model.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising model in which media partners promote the products or services of advertisers.
Media partners receive compensation for the promotion only if their efforts result in a predetermined event (normally a sale or a lead) as outlined by the advertiser.
Within the affiliate model, there are two basic roles to understand. Media partners, also commonly known as “affiliates” or “publishers”, manage channels (such as websites, search, social media, etc.) on which they promote the products and services of advertisers. Advertisers have a product or service they are looking promote via some form of advertising on a media partner’s site.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is selling products on a commission basis. You own a business that advertises and sells products for other companies.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
In affiliate marketing, media partners seek out advertisers whose products and services complement the media partners’ content and vice versa. So, for example, a fashion blogger might look for advertisers who sell shoes or beauty products. Or an advertiser looking to promote their latest line of bake ware might want to advertise with a media partner who focuses on cooking.
When media partners and advertisers enter into a partnership, there are two key aspects of the agreement. First is the desired outcome. Typically, advertisers are looking for either sales or leads as a result of their media partners’ promotional efforts. The completion of the desired outcome leads to the second aspect, the payment or reward structure for media partners. Often the payout to a media partner is either a percent of the total sale value or is a fixed amount for every sale or lead.
After a media partner begins promoting an advertiser, affiliate tracking systems are used to monitor when a media partner’s efforts result in a sale or lead for an advertiser. Tracking is done in a number of ways – tagging site visitors, unique promo codes for different media partners, unique phone numbers, etc. – and can be done either in-house or via 3rd party tracking solutions. Without an unbiased system in place to track the progress of a consumer from media partner to advertiser to conversion, the affiliate model simply does not work. Accurate tracking thus becomes the cornerstone of any successful affiliate marketing program.
Once consumers turn into leads or sales, advertisers analyze performance data provided by their tracking system. From this information, advertisers not only determine the proper payout for media partners but also evaluate the performance of campaigns with specific media partners in various channels. When all is said and done, advertisers pay media partners for their performance either directly or through a 3rd party service.
In a recession, most executives are not keen to invest in any new gadgets. Stretch out the laptops as long as possible, keep the software you have, and upgrade only if there is a clear business ROI reason to do so: These are the thoughts running through most IT decision-maker’s heads. On the other hand, there are always new technologies that, no matter the economic conditions, are worth investigating. Here are a few reasons why your organization may want to consider purchasing smartphones.
1: People can do more work, on their own terms
Right now, most employees must do more with less, be extra productive, and be as available as possible — particularly if they’re taking on more workload with contractors and employee head counts are going down. The fact that people are working harder and longer is not a happy situation, but it’s the reality. An updated smartphone, one that delivers great performance (for fast Web browsing and e-mail use) and a good user experience (easy navigation between applications and services) can help people squeeze in a bit of extra work in the after-hours or on the weekends without being chained to their laptops or schlepping into the office. That means more time with family and friends.
2: Smartphones are fast becoming the productivity tool of choice
Many analysts predict that smartphones will be the most important computing appliance for employees going forward — surpassing laptops by leaps and bounds. Why? You can do everything on these devices: manage your personal life, your work life, and all your communications; search for information and reach colleagues more easily; receive and review documents wherever you are; and entertain yourself while stuck on the bus, train, airplane, or at the in-laws. Highly intuitive mobile tools and applications are what employees need — and crave. By 2013, smartphones will double their share of the cell phone market to about 20%, according to a March 2009 report from In-Stat.
2. Smartphones are the hot area for mobile business software developers
It’s true, the average CIO might hesitate to purchase a device that allows employees to enhance their social and entertainment activities while at work. But these mini-computers have changed from toys to sophisticated multi-functional power tools:
- On the Apple iPhone, there are more than 300 business and productivity applications for download, many of them free.
- Research in Motion is soon to launch its online store App World for BlackBerry users. Currently, there are thousands of applications available from third-party vendors.
- Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung have already launched or will soon launch online app stores for the U.S. market.
- Google, for its G1/Android OS smartphone, offers the Android Market, “an open distribution channel for mobile applications” featuring 1,000 apps and growing, including enterprise-focused third-party applications for exchange connectivity, office document access, and VPN, according to a Google spokesperson.
3: Smartphones can help you stay better organized and track information on the fly
Smartphone apps — which include many free or low-cost downloads — allow you to enter, monitor, track, and search for all sorts of information, including budgets, project hours, FedEx shipments, password data, and taxicabs. One of the popular time-saving iPhone applications, FlightTrack Pro, sends updates to your phone about current flight itineraries, including cancellations and gate changes. On my iPhone, I use an application called Recorder (one of many such apps) that easily records a conversation or just thoughts I voice while I’m driving. I also love my Google voice search application, which allows me to speak a location into my microphone to retrieve my destination Web site and address within moments.
4: The smartphone can deliver BI at a low cost
The notion of using a smartphone as a tool to review and manage business intelligence data is still more of a pipe dream than reality for many companies. But expect this area to grow. According to Ken Collier, a senior BI and agile development consultant with Cutter Consortium, the growing availability of user-friendly BI applications and the focus on real-time decision-making based on business rules and exception-based reporting are two trends creating demand for mobile BI. He gives the example of a trucking company that can deliver alerts to a manager’s device about service problems or other high-priority issues with its fleet. Mobile BI can be less complex than it may appear, however, and shouldn’t require special software on the device as in the past, says Collier. “Push to me what I want to see so I can get it wherever I am. You can use a simple text message as an alert that a report is now online and then go click the URL to see that.”
5: They’re getting cheaper
It took only a year for Apple to chop its iPhone 3G price in half. Other vendors have followed suit, and now, you can purchase a smartphone for $200 or less. Unfortunately, data plans are still high — but that may not last long in this economy.
6: Smartphones deliver more ways to keep in touch with customers and provide excellent response times
If a customer sends an urgent e-mail about an order and you’re not in the office to read it, you miss the opportunity to provide superior service and foster customer loyalty. Companies that use their smartphones to quickly answer questions, solve problems, and find product information will have the edge over the competition.
7: Smartphones may become the best platform for social networking and collaboration
Social networking is all the rage, but it’s only effective for business purposes if the tools are easily accessed from anywhere and provide appropriate search features and rich content. Your IT department can provide secure access from smartphones to internal Web sites for collaboration and research. Let’s say an employee is at a customer site and needs to get some quick feedback to recommend the best product based on the customer profile. He or she could log on to an internal social networking site and search for feedback. According to The Kelsey Group, the number of mobile devices users who connect to social networking sites or tools increased from 3.4 percent to 9.6 percent in 2008.
8: Options for securing smartphones are getting better
With all the data you can carry around on these devices, it’s no wonder CIOs have a love-hate relationship with the smartphone. Technologies to enable secure mobile computing are here, and they’re increasingly embedded in server and networking applications. For instance, IT can enforce VPN access to corporate data from a mobile device, require passwords to access a device, encrypt sensitive data on the corporate network, and control data assets by wiping a device that has been lost or stolen. For a bigger investment, you can purchase mobile device management (MDM) software, which verifies device configurations, bans access to insecure WiFi networks and applications, enforce security policies, and so on.
9: Mobile technology is the center of innovation
Savvy IT managers look to where the technology investment is focused — and smartphones and mobile technology remain a hot area. It makes sense to keep watching this market and stay as current as you can, since smartphones and other small mobile devices are one sector of the tech industry that shows promise in terms of R&D. Mobility will continue to drive new applications and benefits for business even in a recession.
10: Your CEO probably uses one and wants the best
This is certainly not one of the biggest reasons to purchase new smartphones for your workforce. However, the top guns at your company expect you to be investing in the tools that have the potential to make the most difference for productivity and deliver a large number of features wrapped up in one device. High-tech executives, in particular, won’t be keen about smartphones that are slow and cumbersome to use. Those employees in your company who travel a lot rely heavily on these devices — in fact, many company officers don’t even bother taking a laptop on the road anymore.
It really is easy to forget just how incredible our smartphones are, especially now that they’re capable of doing things that we used to have several different gadgets for. Tech Guru Daily has posted an infographic produced by U.K.-based office supplies retailer Viking that shows just how many different gadgets that our smartphones have made redundant or obsolete just over the past few years.
Included among the carnage are gadgets such as landline phones, compasses, handheld translators (remember those?), alarm clocks, DVD players and handheld video cameras.
While it’s certainly fair to see that smartphones haven’t completely killed off these gadgets — most of us still use a DVD player of some kind since Netflix’s online streaming catalog still leaves a lot to be desired — it’s still amazing to think about how many different specialized gadgets we used to own that have now been packed into our smartphones. In fact, we can think of a couple that Viking left off its list — for instance, does anyone still buy a standalone basic calculator anymore when the one on your smartphone is fine for doing basic arithmetic?
Check out this image below to see what old gadgets our smartphones have killed:
The use of smartphones has seen a steady and rapid increase over time and space. These days, any decision to buy a smartphone is one motivated by knowledge that a good smartphone can allow you to accomplish more than you thought you could – whether professional or personal – and remain mobile.
However, as with most other electronics market spaces, there are an insane number of manufacturers and smartphones, making choosing your next big gadget-related investment a dicey proposition, if you have not conducted sufficient research into all possible angles.
There are a number of requirements you need to consider, ranging from something as simple as price and budget to whether or not you want a camera or a particular kind of technology; even brand can play a big role in determining what you will eventually plump for.
A survey conducted by GSM Arena on this topic threw up a huge list of criterion, from which select the ten most important points you should consider…
- Social Networking
Social networking refers to the use of online platforms that focus on building social networks across the world, allowing users to share common interests, notifications of activities or events and even daily thoughts. The popularity of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has grown exponentially in recent times and shows no real sign of slowing down, suggest that a smartphone capable of seamlessly integrating with any one or all of the aforementioned services is a must.
According to the survey, 53.2 percent of users polled tend to update and read statuses as well as upload photographs to their networking accounts every day, while another 26.6 percent do so occasionally. The most frequent users are, logically, enough, the younger generations (up to 24 years old) are the most active and account for nearly 60 percent.
- Taking Photos
Smartphones users have long realised the utility of a good camera on their phones and manufacturers have hastened to comply with their requests. The survey suggests that 98.6 percent of polled users are frequent users of their smartphone’s cameras – teenagers are the most frequent (take photographs every day) compared to people over the age of 50 (take photographs once a week). Women tend to use the camera’s special features more often than men, who, however, retaliate by taking more photographs.
- Listening To Music
As much as 60.7 percent of polled users said they listen to music on their phones every day, while another 34.6 percent said they do so occasionally. In effect, more than 95 percent of people with smartphones use their phones as much as portable music players as anything else.
- Watch Online Videos
Perhaps unsurprisingly, men are more likely than women to watch videos online and these usually tend to be music videos or short comic clips and GSM Arena claims their popularity is almost double that of regular films.
Business Wire reported a 34 percent increase in accessing videos on smartphones over the past year and that 52 percent of all smartphone videos are watched at home, between 5 pm and 11 pm.
- Mobile Gaming
Naturally, the thrill of mobile gaming is a big reason to buy a smartphone, particularly since the high-end devices like the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S3 sports such fantastic graphics and processing power. Predictably, mobile gaming is most popular among youngsters, with 60 percent enjoying games every day. The interest in mobile gaming seems to decrease with age though; the feature’s overall score is only 47.7 percent. Finally, the survey suggests women are less enamoured by mobile games than men.
- Web Browsing
According to the survey, 78.6 percent of all users browse the web on their phones daily. In fact, only one in 80 respondents has never done so. Women and people over 50 years of age tend to use the web less often than young men do.
- Installing New Apps
Unlike traditional cell phones, smartphones allow users to install apps of their choice. According to the survey, only 45 percent of the users check the app stores every day, while the total visitors who tend to browse the app stores are double that number. Naturally, teenagers are the most frequent users, while women and people over 50 hardly browse the app stores.
- Send SMS
One of the most obvious advantages of any mobile phone, let alone a smartphone, is the ability to text. Although its popularity has waned a little over the years, the report says as much as 78.7 percent of polled users confirm texting is something they do often
- Alarm clock
Interestingly, according to the survey, a total of 97.8 percent of all phone users use the alarm clock feature; 82.7 percent use it every day. The reports suggest people in the age group of 25 – 32 use it the most, while the youngest (under-18) and the oldest (over 50) rarely do so.
- Mobile internet usage
Finally, the lure of mobile Internet on the go makes for a very convenient way of accessing the Internet from a smartphone, via a USB modem. According to the survey, over 90 percent of all the users access the Internet (71 percent do so every day). Incidentally, teenagers score below average on this count, possibly because of the high cost of using the Internet.
It’s no secret that smartphones are everywhere these days. It seems like nearly everyone has one, even if they’re not sporting some fancy new model. That’s why we’ve compiled this definitive list of the main advantages and disadvantages of cell phones.
Whether you’re a current owner nodding your head in agreement or a late adopter looking for the lowdown, we hope this article helps you make some sense out of the mobile phone craze. If you already have one, make sure to make a web video of your amazed expression as you read this post.
Communicating with Friends, Family, and Coworkers
This one is pretty obvious but bare with us. Since the first cell phone, we’ve been able to make calls while on the go. But given the fact that almost everyone today owns at least a basic mobile phone and the majority have their phone on hand at all times, you’re able to get in touch with people nearly 24/7.
Add to this the cell phone towers constantly popping up to give us ever-improving reception and even being in a building or outside of the city isn’t the problem it used to be. This comes in handy in so many ways. Let your boss know about last second changes to an important business deal, keep tabs on your kids, hit a friend for an impromptu hangout, or even call for help in an emergency. All these things and more are easier than ever.
Constant Internet Access
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to come up with tons of advantages of having the internet at your fingertips any time you need it. Want to find all the local movie times? No problem.
Need to look up the number for that restaurant you were supposed to make reservations at? Just pull out your phone. Smartphones have also been effectively solving friendly arguments about random trivia for years.
Applications and the All-in-One Device
It’s tough to fit an mp3 player, digital camera, phone, and GPS all in your pockets at the same time – at least comfortably. Fortunately for you, today’s cell phones mean that’s not a problem anymore. It’s been our go-to calculator and flashlight for at least the past decade and a smartphone is probably the only camera many people even own.
If that weren’t enough, there are apps for practically everything. Now your phone is also an ebook reader, currency converter, and handheld gaming device. There are even apps that help you learn foreign languages on the go.
Hinder Real Human Interaction
Our phones can do so much these days that some people have trouble tearing themselves away long enough to reconnect with the real world. You’ve likely seen them around town, on public transportation, and in stores with their eyes and fingers glued to their mobile device. Instead of interacting with the people around them, they ignore face-to-face conversation for virtual ones.
Many believe that our younger generation is actually less capable of normal socializing because of this. They’ve gotten so little practice that they’re simply not comfortable with chatting with someone they meet out in public. Since humans are social creatures by nature who need real life connections, this runs the risk of becoming a huge problem for society.
Lead to Some Pretty Serious Accidents
That’s not the only way the inattention to their surrounding caused by cell phones creates problems. It can actually cost lives when drivers focused on texting or social media lose control of their vehicle and have major accidents. Is letting your friend know you’re on the way really worth dying over?
And it’s not safe to do it while you’re walking either. For one, people have stepped into oncoming traffic while staring at the screen of their phone. Less seriously, you can fall down stairs, trip over something on the ground, or bump into a wall or another pedestrian while you’re absorbed with what’s happening on Facebook.
Breaches of Privacy and Security
While having all your information in one handy device can be extremely convenient, it also has the potential to be very dangerous. All it takes is forgetting your phone in some bathroom or movie theater and suddenly, your whole life is exposed to the person who finds it. Your contacts, documents, social media accounts, and even banking information is theirs to do with as they please.
The privacy aspect is less damaging than your compromised bank account but probably a little more embarrassing. Are there any photos on your phone that you’d rather not show to some random stranger? How about those sappy text messages with your boy or girlfriend? We thought so. Just leaving your phone on the couch while you use the bathroom can be enough to give a snooper a peak into your private life.
And even if you never let your phone leave your sight, hackers can still break into your information remotely if the motivation is there. Keep that in mind the next time you’re thinking about putting important or otherwise sensitive stuff on your mobile.
Do the Disadvantages Outweigh the Advantages?
What do you think? Does the bad outweigh the good? I personally don’t think so.
The cons of mobile phones are mostly a case of too much of a good thing. Pull yourself away from your device when you’re out on the town and don’t isolate yourself from the people around you. Don’t even think about touching that thing while you’re driving, walking, riding a bike, or anything else that requires your full attention. And use a course to learn about keeping the information on your phone safe.
Then you’ll be able to enjoin all the helpful things mobile phones bring to the table without the negatives.