As part of our BloggersIdeas interview series, today we have Nick Loper from www.sidehustlenation.com, Side Hustle Nation is a growing community of hard-working entrepreneurs. He will be answering various questions related to Affiliate Marketing Strategies and how to make more out of your affiliates. So lets start with the interview.
Please introduce yourself to the readers & tell something about your educational background.
I’m an online entrepreneur and author, just trying to keep living the dream of not having to get a real job!
I do have a business degree but mostly I’ve learned through experimentation and trial by fire.
What was your first affiliate marketing success?
My first affiliate marketing success was doing direct-to-merchant pay-per-click for specific products. I’m not even sure if this is allowed anymore by Google, but how it worked was you could find a product you wanted to promote, grab an affiliate link for it, buy keyword ads in AdWords, and send prospective customers directly to the merchant’s site. No website of your own required – it was a great way to get started.
But this set-up was difficult to maintain – products were going in and out of stock all the time, and prices were constantly changing. I wanted to make sure I was promoting the best deals so it took a lot of manual labor, checking different sites and updating links.
So my idea was to create a comparison shopping engine. The concept had already been validated, both personally by my direct-linking experiments, and by dozens of big-brand comparison shopping sites.
The only difference was, I would focus on one product line and try to do it better than anyone else. That was footwear, and the site eventually became ShoeSniper.com.
What blogs do you read in Affiliates? Tell me about an article you recently read that stuck out to you.
I don’t read much affiliate-specific content these days, but do follow the blogs of Tricia Meyer, Eric Nagel, and Rae Hoffman-Dolan.
Instead I read more generic online marketing / entrepreneurship content and the sites of people working in similar spaces as my latest project, Side Hustle Nation.
Check out: Zac Johnson Affiliates Marketing Interview
Do you believe that social media platforms can be used to promote affiliate offers? Can you explain it in brief?
I’m not sure social media is the best place to promote affiliate offers. At least I haven’t had much success with it. People are on social media to be social, to be entertained, not necessarily to be sold to.
That said, there’s a huge opportunity to build a real audience of people who care about the business you’re in and the service you provide through social media. I think that’s probably a better use of your social media time; sharing great content and making meaningful connections.
How do you see the affiliate marketing industry changing in the next 5 years?
I think we’ll continue to see a ton of innovation, especially in social and mobile applications, and I think the trend away from sleazy thin anonymous sites pitching affiliate offers will continue as well.
The best affiliate businesses in the world have built real brands around their model – think RetailMeNot, TripAdvisor, Ebates, Hukkster, etc.
What do you enjoy most about affiliate marketing?
At its best, affiliate marketing is a really cool opportunity to play connector. You’re connecting customers with businesses that can help them, and that’s a pretty cool win-win situation to be a part of. And you get paid, so it’s really win-win-win!
I also like how it’s location-independent – I can run the business from anywhere, and don’t have to carry any inventory or deal with too many customer issues.
What tools do you use on daily basis?
Some of my favorite tools right now include:
The ScheduleOnce.com calendar app – makes it super easy for people to book appointments with you.
BufferApp – allows you to schedule tweets throughout the day so you have a steady stream of content going out.
Text Expander plugin for Chrome – sweet little plugin allows you to create your own keyboard shortcuts for commonly typed text. It takes some practice, but it’s awesome.
How do you find ideas for writing and what’s your process like?
Most ideas just come from everyday life, in business, or in reading other people’s work and having that spark some creativity.
My process is generally to write an idea down in my iPhone notes app or in a Google Docs file I keep with a list of these future post ideas. Then when I’m struck with writer’s block, I’ll just browse through the file and pick a topic to tackle.
Check out : Improve Blog Editing Tips
Why would a small business want to launch an affiliate program?
Your affiliates are a low-overhead sales force. You set an acceptable CPA or cost to acquire a new customer and let them do the leg work. Then it only becomes your job to close the sale … and if you can’t close your affiliates won’t stick around.
Indirect Affiliate Marketing Tricks that Work?
SEO and Paid search are my biggest traffic drivers.
What suggestions you would give for my blog. As my blog is new I am not able to monetize it. How to monetize my blog. Any plans you would suggest .
I’m trying to figure that out myself! Hosting commissions is a big one obviously, but that becomes a harder sell once your readers start blogs of their own.
What message you would like to give to my readers.
Learn WordPress. Set up a site and just experiment with some stuff. Once you’re comfortable with that, figure out what unique value you can bring to the world and go out and sell it!
A year from now you’ll wish you started today, so do your future-self a favor and get going. Remember, every expert was once a beginner.