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Affiliate Marketing Tips & Advice from Ricky Ahuja

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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?

Ricky AhujaHey 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?

Ricky Ahuja AVGThis 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.

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Meet the Entrepreneurs and Experts of Affiliate Summit West 17

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Thousands of internet marketers, entrepreneurs, content creators and brands will ascend upon Las Vegas this weekend for Affiliate Summit West 2017. Not only has Affiliate Summit become one of the largest affiliate and internet marketing conferences in the world today, it’s also one I’ve been closely associated with ever since the beginning. From it’s first conference in a small room in New York City with just a couple hundred people to now having more than 5,000+ attendees and conferences twice per year, it’s always been great to attend as both an attendee and speaker.

At the same time, it would be a huge mistake to discount Affiliate Summit as just another networking of marketing conference. The relationships, businesses and life experiences that are a result of the event is second to none — which I why I always recommend everyone to attend, no matter their current level of expertise.

By the way… if you are attending, don’t miss the awesome “How to Become a Millionaire Blogger” panel with myself, John Chow, John Rampton, and Syed Balkhi. It’s almost always standing room only, and rated as one of the highest attended and most valued sessions of Affiliate Summit.

Affiliate_Summit_West_2017_Agenda2_-_Affiliate_Summit

Over the years I’ve literally met thousands of people through the conference and built many powerful relationships and business opportunities as well. With each new year, new speakers, entrepreneurs, and bloggers will take the next step in becoming financially independent, starting a side business or simply changing the world in some way or another.

To help you not only get inspired for this year’s Affiliate Summit West conference but also get inspired with just a glimpse of the talent at this event, I wanted to highlight some of my previous podcast guests, who will also be speaking at #ASW17. Enjoy, and I hope to see you there!

Inspiring Stories and Marketing Tips from Affiliate Summit Speakers

Below you will find a list of speakers currently on the agenda for ASW 17. However, through my podcast I’ve interviewed more than 80 different industry experts… many of which who will be also attending the event in one way or another. Be sure to check out the full list of interviews here.

Shawn Collins and the Affiliate Summit Empire

Shawn Collins of Affiliate Summit

Shawn Collins the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, which has become the largest affiliate marketing conference in the world today.

I’ve been good friends with Shawn for a while now and we’ve both been able to experience the affiliate marketing industry completely transition and develop over the past 15+ years. We were both in attendance at the Affiliate Force cruise, which was one of the first attempts at an affiliate marketing conference, but knew it could be done better. At that point Shawn and Missy decided they could do it better and the rest is history!

John Chow, the Master of Blog Monetization

John Chow

John Chow is one of the most well-known and successful bloggers in the world. If you’ve ever Google’d “how to make money online” or “how to make money blogging”, you’ve probably come across his name and site several times.

The amazing thing about John Chow was that he was never supposed to make money with his blog in the first place. What was originally just going to be a blog on his personal life and what he ate for lunch, soon became a “money making case study”. As John learned new and exciting ways to monetize his blog content and audience, the money just kept rolling in.

Jump forward several years later and his blog is now generating over six-figures per month, and most of it recurring and automated through his amazing sales funnel system — all of which John talks about in this episode.

Rachel Honoway, From Intern to CEO

Rachel Honoway

Rachel Honoway is the CEO of For Me To Coupon. However it’s not her current position that we are focusing on, instead it’s the great journey that’s led her to where she is today.

The start of Rachel’s journey in the world of online marketing is nearly 20 years in the making. Rachel’s first job was at an internet marketing company called Kowabunga, where she first came in as an intern. As the company continued to grow in size, so did Rachel’s daily tasks and her job title. The company was soon acquired and Rachel was then managing more of the company than ever before. Once leaving Kowabunga, Rachel had a wide range of opportunities over the years before ending up at For Me To Coupon, where she is the CEO today — which is all discussed in this latest episode.

Syed Balkhi, the Wizard of WordPress

Syed Speaking at Fincon13

Syed Balkhi is not only a master at WordPress, but he is also an awesome entrepreneur.

Since an early age Syed has always had a passion for business and building success. This could be seen from the early years of his life when he was just a kid in Pakistan and selling greeting cards. Then later in life while in high school, Syed started developing sites of his own while quickly discovering what the internet had to offer.

Today Syed runs some of the most powerful and heavily trafficked sites in the world… and yes, they are all powered with WordPress!

Stephan Spencer and the Science of SEO

Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer is an SEO expert. He’s also the author of Google Power Search and co-author of The Art of SEO… so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to SEO and ranking sites in the search results.

How sites rank in the search results can go all the way back to before 2000, which is when Stephan and his NetConcepts company started getting heavy into SEO services. The thing about SEO is that it’s always changing, so to be one of the best SEO experts in the industry, Stephan is continually at the forefront of the industry and connecting with some of the most successful experts, businesses, and brands in the world.

Geno Prussakov Shares his Affiliate Management Tips

Geno Prussakov

Geno Prussakov is an affiliate marketing expert, author, and international speaker.

In the world of the internet, being an expert is key. Geno has mastered the art of affiliate marketing and affiliate program management and through this expertise has been able to grow his personal brand and business at the same time. As the author of many best-selling books on affiliate marketing, and also haven spoke at 50+ different conferences on such topics, Geno is the voice many people turn to when looking for answers to their affiliate marketing questions.

Having trained thousands of marketing professionals through his various books and online blog, Geno also went on to create Affiliate Management Days, which is a conference solely focused on the art of successful affiliate program management.

Oliver Roup Wants to Make Every Link Intelligent and Valuable

Oliver Roup

Oliver Roup is the founder and CEO of VigLink, a company that helps content creators make money through the use of affiliate marketing, while not having to deal with all the complexities of individual tracking, manually creating links and joining multiple programs.

Before getting active in the online marketing space, Oliver had accumulated quite an exciting resume of previous work with Space X, Microsoft, Paul Allen and many others. However, what might be Oliver’s most exciting experience to date was taking his business at Viglink from an idea to the flourishing business it is today.

For Oliver, this isn’t something that would happen overnight. Instead, it was a long journey of meeting with investors and VCs, trying to convince them that his idea was worth their time and investment. After many failed attempts, Oliver finally found an investor that was interested and things started to move fast!

Years later and over $20 million dollars in funding to date, the company continues to grow and scale in size while also helping sites of all sizes make money with their content while also connecting them with some of the largest brands and advertisers in the world.

Russell Brunson and How to Create Killer Sales Funnels

Russell_Brunson_of_ClickFunnels

Russell Brunson is an entrepreneur and the founder of DotComSecrets and ClickFunnels.

While finishing up his last year in College, Russell wanted to figure out a way to make enough money so he could continue with his passion for wrestling and to take care of himself and his girlfriend. After dabbling in the online marketing space and going through various failed projects, Russell discovered that one of the most successful ways to make money online was through the use of ebooks, guides and selling information. While messing around with some friends, Russell wanted to create a potato gun and went to the internet to find out how to create one. Once he found that there was nothing out there, he quickly threw one together and made a little course of his own on how to do the same.

Jump forward several years and today you will find Russell Brunson with all of his attention focused on ClickFunnels, a WYSIWYG editor and seamless way to create high converting landing pages and sales funnels. Not only has ClickFunnels become a huge success, it’s also taught Russell how to grow and scale a company, while also learning how to remove distractions and only focusing on what matters most.

John Rampton and Living the Dream in Silicon Valley

John Rampton

John Rampton is an online entrepreneur who has become a master at pay per click marketing, but even more importantly — making connections and networking with the right people.

I first met John Rampton several years back when he came up to me and asked for an interview while at Affiliate Summit. Since then we just seemed to click and started working on various projects together. In addition to being the Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal, John’s writing can also be found on Forbes, HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur and many other top media outlets and news sources.

One of the major reasons for John’s success in the world of online marketing can be attributed to his outgoing attitude, willingness to help others and talking with just about everyone he meets. Each of these are all required skills for making it in the world of business and forming new partnerships. With all of this in mind, it only made sense for him to leave his home state of Utah and make the big move to Silicon Valley, CA — the central economic focal point for everything internet!

Thomas Smale and How to Buy and Sell Websites

Thomas_Smale

Thomas Smale is the co-founder of FE International, a company that was founded in 2010 that focuses on website brokering for mid-market online businesses.

Back in 2009-2010 Thomas wanted to get involved in the world of online marketing, but with little technical experience, his options were limited. It was then that he fell upon the concept of buying and selling websites for himself. With only a few hundred dollars at a time, Thomas began buying and flipping websites and getting quite good at it in the process. As his reputation and experience in this space started to grow, so did requests from other individuals asking for his support in selling their own websites — thus, a new business venture begins!

Today Thomas is the co-founder of FE International, which has offices in two different countries and 11 team members — all with the focus on website brokering and mastering the art of buying and selling websites.

See you at Affiliate Summit West!

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10 Strategies to Take Your Facebook Marketing to the Next Level

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How should brands that rely on Facebook marketing shift strategy in light of Facebook’s latest newsfeed update (which makes brand pages more dependent on users sharing posts with friends)?

Facebook, with over 1.7 billion users, is a powerful marketing platform for any business. It allows you to reach consumers on a platform that they are already using every day.

But when users told Facebook that they wanted to see more stories from friends and less promotional content, Facebook implemented a news feed update that gave them just that. So what does that mean for your marketing efforts?

Facebook Marketing

Businesses now need to work harder to ensure that their content is shareable rather than promotional. We asked ten entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best tips to ensure that your content still makes it on the news feed.

1. Be the Supplier for News Breakers

Step back and think about the sharing behavior of your own friends. They always want to be the first to share content that others have not already seen. Be fast and be first to break new stories relevant to your audience. Your Facebook page fans are more likely to share exclusive and engaging content to their own personal audiences if they feel it’s fresh and new.

– Anthony SaladinoKitchen Cabinet Kings

2. Stop Selling and Start Engaging

Unless you want to pay Facebook to promote your content, you need to push more content that your audience is likely to share. The more shares and likes you drive, the more reach you get with your content. With Facebook’s recent change, the key is to stop using Facebook to sell and instead use it to educate, entertain and engage your audience.

– Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

3. Pay Facebook

Facebook is a public company. Any updates to its newsfeed algorithm are meant to help the company maximize its return to shareholders. My advice? Play the game. Pay Facebook its advertising dollars to ensure your content gets discovered. The cost to create content (designers, copywriters, etc.) is usually more than advertising. Budget a little extra for Facebook ads to produce your best content ROI.

– Brett FarmiloeMarkitors

4. Embed Interactivity

Reduce the number of links that you post on your page and focus on embedding content – articles and videos – into Facebook instead. Since Facebook users prefer to stay on Facebook, giving them content without sending them away will help to guarantee they actually share your content, which will then place you in front of other audiences. Share stories that are informative, not promotional.

– Marcela De VivoBrilliance

5. Focus on Proven Tactics That Yield More Shares

Tactics like video content and helpful advice are some of the most commonly shared type of posts, so businesses should redirect their content strategy toward these tactics if they haven’t done so already.

– Peter DaisymeDue Invoicing

6. Diversify Your Marketing Strategies

It is not a good idea to be solely dependent on just one marketing platform. In this fast-paced world, change is inevitable when it comes to marketing via various social media platforms. Diversify your marketing strategies across numerous platforms because safety comes in numbers. If changes on one platform don’t suit your business, move your marketing money to another.

– Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty

7. Make Ad Campaigns Pop

 With social media platforms now “competing for screen time,” companies need to make their advertising campaigns funny or memorable. We always remember those funny Super Bowl commercials, share them and talk about them. Making an emotional connection through storytelling will make potential customers remember your brand and create more buzz.

– Nemoy RauUS Biometrix

8. Network and Be Personal

You need to connect with friends and family on a personal level. Then you can market your services, just like you would in real life. You would not consistently blast your friends and family with announcements of your services, so don’t do it on Facebook either. However, a well-placed announcement for something interesting or important can be effective.

– Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

9. Make Content Sharable, Then Pay

If you have the right approach, this shouldn’t be a problem. You’re already creating shareable content targeted to the right audience. But even if your content is popular, you’ll have to pay to promote posts to a wider audience. Find out which posts generate the most engagement and pay to promote them. For brands, Facebook isn’t the free ride to huge audiences that it used to be.

– Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.

10. Provide Value

Facebook is a game changer for any business that can master it. By providing value to the users that share your posts, it will give them an incentive to do so more often. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, offer a coupon code to anyone who shares your post. If you’re providing a service, give the users access to an exclusive blog post for sharing.

– Chad KellerWUDN

 

The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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Affiliate Summit – Stories and Moments You Don’t Want to Miss

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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