I’ll never forget 4 August 1997 for it is the day Azam Marketing came into being (although the business had a different name in those days) and today marks our 11th anniversary.

It’s been quite a ride, full of ups and downs, and I thank God for having given us the resilience to survive the many dark days when income levels were pitiful and the future of the business would hang on a combination of how soon those cheques from Books.com and Dealtime would arrive and how much longer I was willing to live on a diet of Sainsbury’s baked beans.

I never forget those bleak days and, when the times are so good that we have new clients beating their way to our door on a daily basis, I keep reminding myself and my team to not become complacent, and to continue to work with the same hunger and humility as those pioneering days in 1997.

I see the majority of businesses and business managers on the interweb become big headed when they become successful and, as sure as night follows day, they eventually pay the price for it. I am constantly reminding myself to keep my feet on the ground. I stay in touch with the grassroots by attending more gatherings than almost anybody else out there and listen attentively to everybody’s views about the industry be they 18 or 48. Just as we’ve always done since day one, the entire Azam Marketing team makes sure everybody we deal with, irrespective of size, is treated like a king.

As we charge into our 12th year, I have to say none of it could have been done without our many friends and supporters, and offer a special thank you to the many terrific people in online marketing who make it the most inspiring and exhilarating industry to work in.

To shake things up in this month’s round-up of what’s hot and what’s not at Azam Marketing, we decided to list the updates on a divisional, rather than client by client basis.

Affiliate Management

It felt that everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong in the four days in the run-up to the launch of the Moneynet affiliate program, but both our Senior Affiliate Manager Sinead and Commission Junction were at the top of their game: everything got sorted out and we were delighted to launch it on the target day of Thursday, 24 July (we usually launch a program on a Tuesday or Thursday to gain maximum visibility). We’re waiting upon some Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed on a document and then will also be launching the affiliate program on Webgains towards the end of this month.

All our other affiliate programs are rumbling along nicely and we have published a PDF guide providing an outline of what they have to offer here.

Affiliate Marketing (publisher angle)

Because of the credit crunch, there’s not too much to smile about when it comes to the advertisers we are marketing in the finance sector. Approval rates for credit cards, for instance, have been declining and it has invariably impacted on us as we generate several hundred credit card leads a month.

But our affiliate arm is continuing to grow at such a blazing pace, whether it is in the finance or non-finance verticals, that increased scrub rates or decreased commissions do not stop each month smashing the previous month’s records and being our most profitable to date.

Paid Search Marketing

Long gone are the days when paid search involved ruffling up a few relevant keywords, bashing together an advert, deposting cash into a PPC account, and hey presto, you’re receiving more or less quality traffic.

Such as the complexities, intricacies and inconsistencies of the likes of Google Adwords and Microsoft AdCenter and such is the competitiveness of the search space now, that more and more clients who had an internal person carrying out PPC are outsourcing the work to us to squeeze more revenue out of their campaigns.

We are winning accounts from other agencies as well. Two months ago we took over the paid search account for a retailer previously being managed by one of the supposed top PPC companies in the land. In July we increased the click-through rate from 2.70% to 3.45%, the conversion rate from 1.76% to 2.34% and reduced the cost per conversion from £10.32 to £7.66.

If you too would like to increase the ROI on your PPC expenditure by using our eight years of experience in paid search, contact us at results [at] azam.net .

Search Engine Optimisation

Even though we’ve only been carrying out the SEO for three months for some new sites, we’ve managed to climb to the number four and five slots in Yahoo for several popular brand terms they are focused on. If only Google was so easy, but we’re chiselling away as usual!

It’s satisfying to see companies finally beginning to appreciate the value of high organic rankings and willing to invest to achieve them: last month we were invited to pitch for a £300,000/$600,000 a year and a £50,000/$100,000 a month contract.

Email Marketing

Write to results [at] azam.net if you would like to use our unparalleled experience to monetise your database
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We are now managing the email newsletters for a number of companies, and clients are always overwhelmed with how we use our knowledge of most things internety to generate incredible results. For instance, here’s a quotation from the Director of Purple Parking: "Azam Marketing have been managing our email list since March 2007 and the results they have produced have far exceeded our expectations. Using their considerable know-how, they have ensured that each mailing to our customer base results is highly profitable. The standard of support is second-to-none."

Our newsletter management operations are carried out in a refined and considerate manner, only to double opt-in subscribers, and we are obsessive about the quality of every email we send out to subscribers (many agencies use us to advertise their brands and present the emails we sent out as case studies to their clients). It is therefore incredibly frustrating to see spammers, who have no consideration for whether data is opt-in or not, or collect email addresses from tacky websites promoting prize draws which nobody has a cat in hell’s chance of winning, give the discipline a bad name, but we can only hope that the people who pollute our inboxes with junk – some of whom will be showing their faces at Affiliate Summit Boston in a few days – will eventually be cornered by the law.  

Related:   The Secrets to Success in Affiliate Marketing Revealed: An Interview with Awin Affiliate Network

Our other divisions, which deal with Public Relations, Web Design and Domain Name Trading, are as busy as ever, but I’ll leave insights into their workings until a future update… plus I’m not at liberties to write about projects as candidly as I’d like to (one sales guy, who has become a friend of mine, told me a few month’s back "Nadeem, I made sure I’d read your articles every week because you would reveal your clients and then I would cold call them to try to win them over to our company!"). Over and out.

 

Coming Soon: the third and final part in our series on how we designed Froggybank.co.uk.

Job Openings: the Azam Marketing team is growing and we are seeking a new Web Designer and Manager to join us. Flexible hours to suit your lifestyle. See the ads here and here respectively. Also experienced freelance Affiliate Manager sought: send your full details to vacancies [at] azam.net .