How did you get into the field of Internet Marketing?
I have always been a couponer and rebater, so I started ShoppingBookmarks.com in 1999 as a mere hobby to share my coupons, deals and freebie finds with my friends and family. Those friends and family shared with their friends and family, and the site blew up! My hobby became even more fun when companies starting paying me to promote their deals and freebies through affiliate marketing. ShoppingBookmarks.com has evolved over the years from a coupon code site to a deal site. I know also own and maintain several niche blogs, all themed after my passions: shoes, preemie twins, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, etc.
What do you enjoy most about affiliate marketing?
I love that I can work from anywhere at anytime, even in my pajamas in the middle of the night! I also love all of the friends that I’ve met over the years in the affiliate marketing industry.
How do you build long-lasting relationships with affiliate partners?
I first recommend attending the Affiliate Summit conference put on twice a year by Shawn Collins and Missy Ward. Those conferences are where I have met the majority of my colleagues that I work with (and have become good friends with) through networking events. Most affiliate networks (i.e. CJU, ShareASale, Linkshare, etc.) also hold yearly conferences that are additionally a good source of building affiliate relationships.
What trends do you think we can expect to see in the affiliate marketing industry in the next 1-2 years?
Every year, it is becoming harder and harder for the small “mom and pop” affiliates to compete against the big corporate and venture capital based affiliates, and I think this will continue to the be case in the coming years.
I think we will also see more affiliate link service companies, like Skimlinks and Viglink that automatically redirect straight links into affiliate links on websites and track commission for them. Those companies are the affiliate in the networks, and the website users are basically sub-affiliates where they split the commission 25/75. There are already a few companies, such as RewardStyle and Prosperent that have similar services, but offer more bells and whistles for websites. I, personally, use a combination of all of the above to save me having to add and update affiliate links on all of my websites.
If you could leave our readers with one last piece of business advice, what would it be?
Build a website that people want to come back to again and again, so you don’t have to rely on any one traffic referral source. Google can change its algorithm at any moment. Also make sure you collect your visitor’s email address to send out updates. Then when you monetize your website, be sure to use several different revenue streams as any one merchant or network could go out of business at any moment as well. Basically, everything boils down to “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”