I’m really excited with how well these weekly interviews are playing out. It’s really great to be able to contact so many different people in the industry and get them to dig into what they are doing online and how others can learn from their experiences.
This week we have a really great interview with Luke Kling, who is better known as LukePeerFly from his blog. Luke is an affiliate manager with PeerFly, a blogger and also an affiliate marketer himself. It’s always great to talk with people who truly see the internet marketing world from multiple angles.
Let’s get started!
1.) We’ve been “online” friends for a while and have met up several times at conferences, but for everyone else please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do in the world of online marketing?
I first started in the online marketing space about 9 years ago. I was 15 years old and I was making pretty good money building and selling websites. I had taught myself to program and design websites, which lead to me trying to monetize them. One thing lead to another and I soon found myself working as an Affiliate Manager for an affiliate network based in Las Vegas. I worked remotely from my mom’s house in high school and my apartment in college. Over time I have grown to really love affiliate management and just the overall business behind an affiliate network. I now work full-time as an Affiliate Manager for PeerFly, Inc. (including affiliate networks PeerFly.com and incent.ly). I also still develop websites and blog on the side.
2.) Everyone loves a good blog syndication web site, especially when it’s focused on the affiliate marketing industry. You just recently launched AffPosts.com and I love it! Can you tell us a bit about what made you come up with the site idea and how long it took you to put it all together?
I have been using two different affiliate marketing blog aggregates for awhile now to keep up with industry news and the reason I was using two is because they both had big flaws and I did not like. The developer in me knew I could take their original concept and improve on it. So, one afternoon I sat down and started carving out the code. Once I started I could not stop and I spent all of my spare time (literally ALL of my spare time) for about a week and hammered out the entire site.
Since it’s launch at the end of January, I have been working on affposts pretty consistently to make sure it is exactly what I envisioned. I have already done a complete design overhaul and added quite a few new features. There is so much great information available on the blogs in our industry and having all that information literally staring you in the face is just what I needed and from the feedback I’ve received from all the great people using affposts it’s just what everyone else needed too.
3.) What are some of the coolest ways you’ve seen people building ad campaigns lately?
I work with thousands of online publishers and it is so humbling to see some of their creative genius. I think I have a great idea for how something could be promoted and one of my publishers will mention something that will completely blow my mind.
I can’t really give any specifics, but I’ve been seeing an impressive shift towards mobile optimized campaigns and campaigns targeted towards social media. For awhile there no one knew what to do with the massive amount of mobile traffic available and now not only are consumers getting more comfortable doing things besides posting on their Facebook from their phone, but marketers are getting more creative in how they can get those eyes and fingers engaged in their marketing campaigns.
I’m also seeing a lot of publishers truly seeing the potential in social media engagement. For a while there many people were simply taking advantage of gaps in the Facebook/Twitter infrastructures (not really recommended), but now I am seeing more and more creative marketing on Facebook and Twitter that consumers actually like and they are eating it up!
4.) A few years ago internet conferences were flooded with ad networks that were started up by anyone who thought they were good at making money online… we are seeing the same thing again, along with a lot of networks dying in the process. What are your thoughts on all of the fly by night ad networks?
Through my experience working for PeerFly since just a few months after it’s launch and the struggle we had building it up, I can understand why so many of these fly by night networks are failing. Everyone thinks all you need to build a successful affiliate network is a HasOffers license, domain with the word “CPA” in it, and a few remote workers you can call employees. To build a successful business you need much much more. Over the past 4 years PeerFly has grown to a company with 10 employees all working out of our office in Alachua, Florida. It’s taken a lot of patience and good business planning to get to this point. Our focus is building a business. A lot of these new networks popping up just see the dollar signs and are not thinking about long term success.
5.) I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years now and I have seen thousands of companies come and go… only a few actually survive, especially in the ad network space. What makes PeerFly better than the other networks out there and has allowed them to stand the test of time in this brutal industry?
PeerFly is unique. Before I even started working for PeerFly I thought it was awesome because it really stood out in the crowd. The name, design, user experience, and people behind PeerFly are what makes it better than the rest. More networks are moving towards a custom platform now, but PeerFly has been custom since the beginning. We have features that most other networks haven’t even thought about yet.
That being said, what has allowed us to stand the test of time is creating win-win relationships for our publishers and advertisers. Both sides have expectations and we do our best to ensure that everyone is meeting or exceeding those expectations so we can all make money.
6.) I’m always telling my blog readers that you need to focus on creating your own brand and not relying solely on being a middle man for other ad networks and affiliate programs. You’ve created quite the brand for yourself over the years with your very well known and successful blog at LukePeerFly.com. Do you ever wish your named it Luke(SomethingElse).com, so you it wasn’t completely tied to the PeerFly name?
The growth of my blog and the LukePeerFly brand has been pretty crazy. I think I first realized how big it had gotten when I started getting approached at Affiliate Summit by people I had never met saying something along the lines of, “Oh, LukePeerFly, I read your blog!” Honestly, I’m not even sure if they know my last name
I’m definitely tied to the PeerFly brand, but I’m proud of it. I love PeerFly.
7.) Every day people are getting started in online marketing for the first time, yet they have no idea where to start. As an affiliate manager at a great network, what would you recommend for someone who is just starting out and only has a budget of $100?
The first thing people who are starting in online marketing need to understand is that they are going to lose money. The forums, gurus, and blogs in our industry give the illusion that affiliate marketing is easy. For the most part I don’t really think this is intentional, but people are much more likely to be open about their successes than failures. It’s also a lot more fun to talk about how you made $1,000 profit yesterday than how you lost $1,200 last week.
So, once you are prepared to
lose invest money (consider it a learning expense), your next objective should be to learn the basics of choosing, setting up, tracking, optimizing, and scaling a campaign. That will seem like a very overwhelming list to someone brand new and it is. But, those 5 things are what it takes to build and squeeze as much money as possible out of an affiliate marketing campaign. Invest as much time and money as you can to master those things and you will be successful. Here is where I recommend you get started: http://www.lukepeerfly.com/traffic-sources-based-experience
8.) What’s new and exciting for PeerFly, LukePeerFly and AffPosts in the coming months?
Everyday is new and exciting at PeerFly. We launched an incentive network, incent.ly, last month and we are hoping to launch our custom content locker soon that will completely change how affiliates do content locking. We are also working on a secret project called Adzur (http://adzur.com)
I have been working on my first product I’m hoping to launch late next month on LukePeerFly.com. It’s a game changer for how people monetize fan pages so I will be publishing some articles on my blog over the next month on how I have successfully built several large fan pages, including one that reached over a million Facebook users in a single day earlier this week.
The response I’ve received from the people using affposts has been tremendously positive. Some of the biggest names in the affiliate marketing industry are subscribed to the newspaper (daily newsletter of the top stories from the day before) and it’s subscriber base is growing every hour. My goal for the next few months is to keep getting new daily visitors through various marketing channels and to release a feature that would allow you to customize affposts.
It is exciting to be featured in an interview on your blog Zac. I have been following this blog since 2007 and like many of your readers, I really look up to you. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to seeing what the future holds for both of us!
A special thanks to Luke for taking the time to answer our affiliate marketing questions and sharing his expertise. If you’d like to get in touch with Luke, you can do so through his Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t forget to also check out our previous weekly interviews.