Over the years I’ve met with a lot of people at internet marketing conferences, formed relationships online and conversed emails with thousands of people through out the world. A new feature on the blog with be an affiliate marketing interview series that will take place every friday on the blog.
In today’s interview we are going to be talking with Ricky Ahuja, whom you’ve probably met with and seen if you frequent any of the large affiliate marketing conferences. Ricky has been in the internet marketing game for many years now and definitely knows how to make himself and others money online.
Be sure to read through our interview below and if you would like to contact Ricky, you can find his info at the end of the post.
1.) We’ve been good friends for a while now and I’ve mentioned you on the blog a few times in the past, but please recap on who you are and what you do in the world of online marketing for anyone who isn’t already familiar?
Hey Zac – let me start off by saying THANKS for doing this interview, I am truly humbled.
A bit about me – I have been in the online space for a little over 12 years now and for the last 4 years have spent a great deal of time building the Affiliate Venture Group (AVG) brand. We started off as a sub-prime network generating leads for the payday sector with our own ping tree and then eventually morphed into a “investing-centric” network with a focus on penny stocks, Forex, options, brokerage and the like. It hasn’t been an easy road to say the least – but we pride ourselves on servicing the needs of our clients and communication, one lead at a time.
2.) You’ve been very successful with your own ad network, but affiliates are seeing more and more networks go out of business and are getting burned on money they are owed. What do you recommend affiliate marketers do to make sure they are working with the right people and not putting themselves as risk with spending too much money before getting paid when running ad campaigns?
That is a great question and I have had many a sleepless nights as I myself am an affiliate and the thought of not getting paid has literally given me ulcers. Knowing how I would feel has given me great insight in running my network and what I can do to put my publishers at ease. Communication is key when and how an affiliate runs a campaign and if this is in place there is usually no getting blind-sided on a network not paying or folding (unless they have bad intentions in the first place). Majority of the campaigns I bring on AVG all usually come with a prepay so if the affiliate sends me legitimate/compliant traffic – they WILL get paid. I am fairly certain all the big guns in the industry can vouch for our record as it comes to working with everyone to ensure they are paid and on time.
3.) What’s hot in the industry right now in terms of offers to promote?
While “Mobile” seems to be the buzz word in the industry – we often take the road not taken. For us over the last 2-3 years, our investing offers have done AMAZINGLY WELL. Just recently for our penny stocks, we have expanded most of our campaigns to take traffic from USA, CA, UK and Germany.
4.) In addition to hot offers, what are you seeing as the best ways to drive traffic for the best return on investment?
For majority of our campaigns the best traffic source has always been email marketing and media buys. There are some phenomenal people and companies out there and I would like to give a shout out to Ted Dhanik over at EngageBDR who has always gone out of his way to advise/help as it comes to media buying with their whole suite of tools and resources available. If anyone needs an intro – let me know and I will be sure to point you in the right direction.
5.) How have you and your ad network been making the change to mobile marketing?
Mobile has never been our focus and as such we have not ventured into that sector in any significant way. That is not to say we are not looking into some strategic alliance with those who do know. Stay tuned.
6.) What is the best way for new online marketers to get started in pushing affiliate offers? (search, social, mobile etc)
This is an intriguing question and one that does not have a blanket answer available. Everyone has a different comfort level with all the various technologies and sources available out there and one should start with what they are most comfortable with. For new affiliates however, I would probably suggest ppc or FB ads as they make it extremely simple to get started. The key here for anyone – is to just get started and test and then test some more and then optimize.
7.) For everyone out there who is just starting out and wants to start their own ad campaign and only have $100 to play with, what would you recommend they do?
Great question Zac – I would first learn about the campaign inside out – what the product is, where it converts, what is the cost to the consumer, is it compliant, what are demographics of the target audience they are trying to reach, how saturated the offer is – and then take a look and see what the competitors are doing and then and only then come up with an “angle” of how you will promote the campaign. Creativeness is key along with testing and optimizing.
8) What’s next for AVG, what can we expect in this coming year?
This has been an extremely exciting time for AVG – Chris Kautz, my business partner is due to have his 2nd baby in a few months and Rheya Sahni – our star AM is getting married in a few months. That aside, we are in the final stages of opening our Indian office in New Delhi to handle our overseas affiliate base and clientele. That office will provide a complete end to end solution from bring any brand online to handling their online marketing and lead generation efforts. As a footnote, India has been our fastest growing market and I think the time is right for us to step in and get it done.
A special thanks to Ricky for taking the time to answer our affiliate marketing questions. If you’d like to get in touch with Ricky, you can do so through his Google+, Twitter and his blog. Also be sure to check out his affiliate network at Affiliate Venture Group.
Don’t forget to also check out our previous weekly interviews.