It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for another affiliate marketing interview! This week we have Jonathan Smith who is the Vice President & Co-Founder of LeadSmack. Jonathan has been in the affiliate marketing space for over 5 years now and runs LeadSmack with two other people in the company. You will find that Jonathan is also very active on social networks and webmaster/affiliate forums and always looking to help new and established affiliates out.
With so much talk about ad networks these days and who you can trust with your payouts and earnings, we will get an insider look at running a network with Jonathan Smith.
1.) Right now you have your hands busy with your affiliate network at LeadSmack.com, but can you tell us a bit more about yourself, how you got started in the industry and why LeadSmack is a good network for affiliate marketers to work with?
I’ve always enjoyed helping people make money online with affiliate marketing, while also doing so for myself. After finding success over the past several years and being able to generate a full time income for myself, I wanted to start an ad network of my own and teach others how to make money online. That is how the LeadSmack ad network came together.
LeadSmack is a great network for affiliates to work with. We are a top tier affiliate network that puts all of our efforts towards providing excellent support for the affiliates as well as advertisers. We keep our network full of only offers that convert and are direct with the advertiser. We are also working on building our own offers so that we can offer the absolute highest payouts in these verticals. There are many reasons why publishers should want to work with us but the most important reason is that we pay and pay on time.
2.) Everyone says they have the highest payouts, best offers, yada yada yada… so what really makes your network different from the other guys?
We have high payouts on all our offers but not always the highest…yada yada yads…but we do have exclusive offers that you will only find with us unless another network has decided to broker it through us. We make a point to add on the offer title EXCLUSIVE when it is our offer or an offer that is exclusive to us. These separate us from the rest. For the higher payout offers we earn them. Advertisers tend to give us higher rates because of our quality. That is because of the types of publishers/affiliates we have working with us. If we have a higher payout it is not because we have smooth talkers working for us it is because we have great publishers sending quality leads resulting in the advertiser being extremely happy.
Also, we are different because we are 100% approachable. Give me a call or shoot me an email. I am always there for publishers. Most networks have a business approach to everything. We see it as we work for our publishers providing the offers and they work for the advertisers. We are all a team…and that is the atmosphere you get with LeadSmack Media.
Another great thing that separates us is the fact that we CAN help you scale. We were once affiliates too. My partner and I used to be top affiliates working with all the major networks in the industry. I know how to convert an offer…and I can honestly say that any offer on any network can convert to profit with proper tracking in place and data collection. It is down to how much you are willing to collect to make your campaign a success.
3.) What are the day to day operations of running your own ad network?
For starters I am going to say that I was very uncomfortable with it at first. I was overwhelmed with the amount of work that would go to it. I am getting used to it more and more everyday and able to handle a more heavier work load but it was definitely something to get used to.
The main thing I do is keep order. We have hired affiliate managers, business development team and designers but I still do all they do and more. I do it because I enjoy the work. Right now we are working on our own display network which is soon to launch and loads of our own “OWNED” offers for affiliates.
The day to day tasks are checking emails, responding to Skype chats, conducting quality checks, sending affiliate payments, and so much more. Email is probably the one thing I spend most of my time because I get a ton of it.
4.) How do you plan to scale and manage your network as it grows in size with more affiliates and the need to cater to all of their needs so they don’t go with another ad network?
As I mentioned above we are working on a display network as well as our own offers. I see that as our next move but for the affiliate network we will be working more and more toward getting higher payouts on offers, exclusive offers as well as new tools to help them succeed. We have lots of plans and actually we are about to launch a reward program to give back to our affiliates. We appreciate them so we are going to show it.
5.) Affiliate marketing has become a nastier business than it has been in previous years. What should affiliates be doing to make sure they aren’t skimmed on leads, stiffed on payments and that they don’t work with someone that goes out of business next week?
Always do your due diligence. That is most important. If you choose not to work with us be sure to look for a stable network with tons of good reviews with payment proofs etc. You don’t want to work with a newer network that no one has any experience with. I know we are fairly new but we are established and work with over 3k publishers with hundreds of thousands of dollars going through us monthly.
Also, it is always a good idea to split test on the same offer with two networks. If there is a small difference ok great if there is a huge difference I would call them out on it and see what they have to say about why your converting better with XYZ network. I have done this many times and several networks lost my business because of it. You have to be on your toes in this industry and watch for any signs like networks begging for your traffic etc. I see it all the time. That is a huge turn off for me so I would never do it to my publishers.
All I can really say now is to be careful. We are a legit network and do not scrub. Actually, if you ask our publishers they will say that at the end of the month some offers get extra conversions because of a few which missed tracking. We do our best to find out who the lead should be credited to when they are missed. This happens with every network on some offers depending on the type of pixel. We feel they should be paid for any conversion they get on any offer so we make sure to credit them.
6.) What is hot right now in the industry that you are seeing more affiliate marketers focusing their efforts on?
This is a tough question because there are quite of few things I think the industry is more keen on lately. In my opinion diet, mobile and skin are the top verticals as of late but that may change…who knows. We are seeing many download and dating offers getting huge volumes as well. Dating is always big.
7.) There are lots of people who are reading this interview and blog right now that are ready to start their first affiliate marketing campaign, but many of them don’t have the necessary funds to go big. What would you recommend is the best way to get started with a budget of only $100?
This is also a tough question to answer so I put myself in the shoes of these people. If I only had $100 to spend on getting started I would buy data. Data is the key to success in this industry. I am buying it daily when I run campaigns in Google or Facebook. $100 is tough to start with because when I first started I wasted about $5k before I broke even on my first campaign. I worked at it for weeks spending $100 or more per day buying data. I think with that low of a budget I would start a wordpress blog and post to it every day with content like games, dating or something popular. Posting quality content daily will eventually get traffic and if monetized right you will most likely see profits.
I have done this with several niche blogs. One of my favs was my gaming blog. I posted game offers everyday. I would use the game as the title and a link to view it which was my affiliate link. There are many ways to become successful with this type of marketing you just have to be creative and put in the work. Not doing anything and being lazy will make you no money.
A special thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to answer our affiliate marketing questions. If youâ€™d like to get in touch with Jonathan, you can do so through Facebook . Also be sure to check out his affiliate network at LeadSmack.
Don’t forget to also check out our previous weekly interviews.
Blog Post Ideas: How to Turn Your Ideas into Engaging Blog Posts?
Blogging and creating content on the internet is all about ideas and getting creative with what you have to offer. However, what most bloggers and content marketers don’t realize is that you aren’t supposed to come up with new and innovative ideas for content or making money online, but instead, new and innovative ways to portray that message.
This is something I often cover in detail in many of my articles and online courses. The concept of making money online and getting the attention is no different than any other business in the world today. At the end of the day, people are using the internet for three different reasons.
- To find information
- To be entertained
- To buy something
Instead of trying to come up with that completely new and original million dollar idea, just spend the necessary time and focus on a legitimate business model and demand from your audience, while also catering to their needs in the process. Once you have all of this in place, you can then start refocusing your efforts on how to create better and more creative content based on these needs.
To help with this process, today we are going to share some valuable insights that will help you turn your idea in a series of blog posts, while also highlighting a few examples of what’s currently working for other bloggers, brands, and content creators.
How to Know Your Idea is Suitable for a Series?
Being a writer, you have no shortage of ideas. But when it comes to establishing your own niche, there are various things you should consider before penning down your series. This includes everything from your basic knowledge on a specific topic, how far out you would like to schedule your content, and also the monetization and optimization of your content. It would also be a huge benefit if you understand SEO and know how to look up the necessary keywords to see how much of a demand there currently is for your proposed topic.
Below you will find some of the important points that suggest your idea has the potential of a great blog series.
– Different People with the Same Issue: For instance, a physician who blogs about obesity and its health hazards can create a series of articles consisting of several diet and workout tips or plans to help people lose weight. These posts can encourage readers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
– Come up with a List: If you write for your living, then you have a sense for how to delve deep into your ideas and develop them for an audience.
– Overflow: When you start writing, you a flow but soon you find the post turns out to be something that is focused on more than one topic, like a collection of relative ideas.
– Your Audience Wants More: This is a clear giveaway! You have received several queries related to your posts, and your readers want you to explore a specific topic, expanding your grasp and library.
– A Theory: If you want to teach your readers about something deep and complex by exploring a theory or idea, then creating a series of blog posts will be a great idea.
Hubspot also pointed out “According to our own analysis at HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. As for Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.“. This is something every blogger and content creator should focus on before and after completing their articles. Not only will the overall content length of your article be important, but so will the headline and words you choose for your article title as well.
Creating Your Own Series
It’s not enough to simply create content for your site, you also need to make sure it stands out from the crowd and has it’s own style as well. The more time and effort you put into your site content and the user experience, the better ROI and longterm growth you will likely see. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few valuable tips that will help you establish a well high engaging series of blog posts that will win you a loyal audience.
You need to an introduction to your series. This can be a dedicated blog post or a paragraph. Make sure you convey your message with it. This is something ConvertKit does extremely well. Not only are they one of the top email marketing and delivery platforms on the internet today, they also know how to create valuable content for their audience. In the example below, you can see how to create a killer introduction for one of their content marketing series. By starting out your article strong, with the necessary text, call to actions, and resources, you can immediately impact the user engagement factor from the start.
Review Your Work
Proofread your post, and search for natural breaking points. Look for areas where you stopped talking about one point and started talking about another. If you aren’t interested in proofreading yourself or would like to hire someone with a better English history, this can easily be done through freelance sites like Fiverr or FreelanceMyWay.
You need to come up with a format for each post. Try a formal layout but be quick and stay to your point. In case you are going to a traditional format, then compose your introduction and conclusion.
Make it Easy to Digest
Keep things simple, and write short paragraphs. Divide your content between sub-headings to help the reader navigate. Make your content digestible for the audience. To see an example of how to effectively do this in a ‘review style’ article, be sure to check out how the content is laid out on Frank’s review site and start implementing these same methods to improve your own engagement rate.
Write as people read every piece as a standalone post. Consider they won’t read related posts or may read them in a different way than you intended. So make sure every point makes sense on its own.
Interlink Your Content
Help people navigate through your content by putting links to your previous posts. You can also list them at the bottom of newer posts. Let your audience know what ideas you have already discussed.
How to Create the Best Content Possible, from Your Best Ideas
As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when creating content for your site or training series. The most important thing to remember is that your title is going to get the most attention, and article length is going to play a big role in the SEO process. At the same time, quality is always going to be important.
Once you’ve laid out all of your content and made sure you have some great titles with call to actions and trigger keywords, it’s then time to make sure your content is format in the best way possible. Separate your text with visuals, resources, reference links and anything else that might be of value to your audience.
Last but not least, ALWAYS put in the necessary time and research to effectively promote your content. There are more than a billion active sites online today — which means you are going to need to promote the heck out of your content in order to compete.
Follow all of these steps and you should have no problem finding success with your latest blog post ideas and content series.
7 Writing and Marketing Skills to Improve Your Guest Blogging Efforts
If you are a guest blogger or if you have guest bloggers create posts for your sites, you will want to read this post. It’s important to know how to improve the quality of your posts and maximize the impact you have on your target audience. This is true even if you are posting on other sites.
When you write a guest post for another site, the site or blog owner trusts you to represent their blog in a positive way that will improve their traffic and ROI. Remember guest blogging helps you, too because it serves as a backlink to your site. So you should treat the content that you write for others’ sites just as you would your content for your site.
How can you improve the quality of your blog posts and guest blogging efforts?
Check out these seven tips for writers and marketers that will help you to take your guest blogging to the next level.
1. SEO Content Writing
SEO content writing involves the skillful use of keywords as well as using backlinks and other techniques to increase targeted traffic. SEO is to search engines as excellent quality is to reader engagement. In other words, search engine optimization is the basic sauce you need as a writer or marketer to get your message in front of the people who will be interested in what you have to say.
In addition to having a solid understanding of SEO and writing content that ranks in Google, it should also be a required skill to have a solid foundation of social media as well. As effective and valuable as SEO and organic search traffic is, social media is still one of the most active areas of traffic today. With this in mind, impress your clients and sites that you contribute content to by staying up to date on the latest social media trends, while also growing out your own profiles and social followings in the process. And of course, always be sure to share your guest posts as often on social media and be sure to tag the site you are promoting as well.
2. High-Quality Content
Google still states that producing high-quality content is the most important factor in rankings within their search engine. You do need to include some SEO for natural results. But focusing on your content guarantees that you will rank and that people will stay on your page longer. The goal of effective online marketing and guest blogging is to increase the traffic of the site you are writing for, as well as to keep people on the blog once they get there.
Writing exciting and engaging content includes some various factors including connecting with the audience on a personal level, addressing their problem and offering solutions, and creating value for the reader. This is all a part of creating high-quality content. With practice, you can learn to hit on all of these critical aspects in your guest posts so you will get the results you need.
This is something we are seeing across many freelance writing platforms that not only specialize in creating content for websites, blogs, and brands but also in specialized writing services as well. Once such example is in the assignment writing service industry, where students, professionals, and business experts are looking to outsource their time and expertise from others who can simply put their thoughts and work into written publications. No matter the reasoning behind the content — whether for business or guest blogging efforts, the ‘high quality’ component is a must.
3. Creating Value
Creating value for your posts is perhaps the most important part of blogging. This is because you need to create the kind of content that will make people want to return for more once they read your content. To do this, try to create a personal connection to readers. Study previous posts of the blog on which you are writing and learn what their audience wants. You can do this by viewing comments that were left by readers on former posts or ask the blog owner to tell you more about their audience.
When looking at yourself as a freelance writer or even as simply a guest blogger, you need to be looking at the big picture. The act of creating quality content, value, and getting exposure on big media sites is actually an exclusive service and expertise in itself. At the same time, it’s actually become one of the best ways to turn a side hustle into a real business. If you understand the value and demand of an audience, while still providing a service, there is no reason you couldn’t flip that skill and dedication into a full-service content marketing and brand business.
Knowing the audience, you are writing for is important because you need to know who you are writing for. You are not just writing for the site or blog owner; you are writing for their audience. Recognizing this fact and understanding who you are talking to will go a long way toward improving your posts on other people’s sites.
4. Solve a problem.
The “problem/solution” method in advertising is still as effective as it always has been. Even though the methods and technologies have changed, the technique of showing how your post can help people solve a problem is very effective in creating high-quality posts, whether it is for your site or someone else’s site.
To utilize this technique, only describe a problem that reader might be having such as finding the right car dealership, and then present a list of tips that may help them to locate the best dealer for their needs. This method does not require using sales-based language. In fact, this is discouraged because people come to the blog to learn information rather than to be presented with a sales pitch.
5. Entertain and Inform: Create Shareable Content
If you can develop a skill to entertain your readers, you will be on the right path to providing high-quality, valuable content to your audience, whether you are writing for your blog or someone else’s. Some of the factors in creating compelling copy include the following:
- Discussing trending or popular topics
- Creating humorous posts
- Using emotive techniques that appeal to emotions
- Posing a question for readers to comment on
All of these techniques will help you to make your posts more entertaining. Informational text can be entertaining at the same time by merely including exciting facts that correlate to the information that you are presenting in the post. People mainly read a blog post to get the information they want about a specific topic. They probably already go to the blog regularly to read the latest post on the site you are posting on. So, when you are presenting a guest post, all you have to do is to continue the high-quality informational posts that the site owner already provides while making it entertaining by citing side references or through creative wording or other techniques.
In addition to this, you should be good at posting and maintaining social media posts and reactions. If you can master this skill, along with strong writing skills, you may be able to offer bloggers more for their money than just excellent writing.
6. Define yourself as a “go-to” source for certain kinds of information.
Another way to look at this is by thinking of yourself as an influencer. If you are an expert on a particular topic, you can create a name for yourself while also adding value and credibility to the site on which you are writing. Influencers can make a big impact on their industries by presenting helpful information for others in their industries. Big names like Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and many others all started by creating their content. But they also often serve as a guest poster on other sites to share their knowledge and skills with other audiences.
7. Creating Writing Portfolios
This tip may seem simple, but it is a good one if you want to guest blog regularly. Most online publishers (including site owners), want to see what you can do with your posts. They are primarily looking for aspects of your blogging that will help them promote their brand or purpose. You may not know who looks at your portfolios every time, but it’s a good idea to have a variety of posts that you have done that blog owners can look through.
By presenting your work in this fashion, you may be able to capture the attention of potential bloggers who are looking for a certain style or writing. You could also post a short resume or cover letter that explains what you can do for bloggers that will help promote their brand.
Guest Blogging Still Works… Just Make Sure to Use These Tips!
This is not a comprehensive list of skills that you need to be the perfect guest blogger, but they should help you to get started when going after blogs to write for. Remember to check to see what their policies are regarding pay vs. shareability. Many blog owners don’t have the budget to pay other bloggers. They may, instead, share your link with their readers in exchange for the post or other perks.
The main thing is to read, read, and re-read the blog you want to write for. Once you have an idea of their audience’s likes, dislikes, and pain points, you’ll be able to provide consistent or intermittent content that will resonate with their target audience. This means they may ask you to do it again, which will be beneficial to your sites, as well.
11 Expert Tips on How to Successfully Grow and Scale Your Business
Business growth is always exciting. Seeing your revenue, client base, workforce and market share expand is proof that your hard work and tireless efforts are paying off. Best of all, this is something that you can control, as long as you are putting in the necessary time, work, and effort.
While you may be eager to move your startup onward and upward, you shouldn’t forget about the potential negative impacts of scaling up. Expanding too quickly can mean biting off more than you can chew, and it’s easy for a business to collapse on itself if it cannot handle rapid growth.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you scale up if you want to avoid toppling your business, according to 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council.
1. Do What You’re Best at and Outsource the Rest
As you scale your business, your highest priority is to identify what you do best in the company and then find someone who is even better than you to do that task. This will free up your time to focus on growing your company and not just working for it. For example, my strength is ranking websites so I hired someone I trust to implement my system and it’s saving me 80 hours per month.
2. Invest in Talent Management Early
Too many startups hire for the present when they should be hiring people with the skills for 18 months into the future. Design roles for capable people to grow into. While a jack-of-all-trades talent seems valuable at the earliest stages, hiring experienced functional leaders is important during a startup’s growth phase. Lastly, turnover is inevitable so be prepared for this necessary reality.
3. Implement Top-Notch Project Management Systems
As you scale and hire people, there will be more to manage and more minutiae will be created to account for the increase in projects and personnel. Having a project management system that can account for tracking projects at the macro level, as well as the minutiae of each project, is essential as you grow. Find a project management solution that is flexible, customizable and scalable.
4. Make Sure Your Technology Can Grow With You
Make sure that your technology has the capability to scale with your business. For example, many e-commerce businesses find themselves needing to migrate from their current platform to a more robust solution in order to handle higher user and order volume. This is a complex process that can stunt a company’s current growth rate. To avoid this, select a platform built for scalability.
5. Constantly Monitor Cash Flow
As you grow your business, you will be acquiring new obligations and spending more money. Make sure to constantly monitor your cash flow and P&L. New expenses are not directly proportional to the contracts you are getting. Contracts have different arrangements and payment schedules. I have seen a lot of companies grow really fast and end up failing for this reason.
6. Invest in Continuous Education
When I first launched AFS, we were a small company with an idea. As we expanded to a national player, we maintained the way we did things as a small company, and we didn’t adapt well. Once we instituted a continuous training and education program, we built teams that could adapt to growth and I found myself better equipped for the new challenges we faced as a larger organization.
7. Build Your Internal Processes to Handle Scaling
Scaling a business is not necessarily about getting more sales or hiring more employees. If your internal processes aren’t built to handle more business, then you could be wasting money overstaffing due to repetitive tasks that can bottleneck the workflow — an error that could cost you in potential sales and revenue.
8. Have An Exit Strategy
When times are good, it can be deliriously satisfying to expand your business exponentially. However, it’s important to have a plan for when the money stops flowing in. Markets are unpredictable and can turn sour at any time. A bit of foresight and careful planning can ensure that your business survives a recession.
9. Improve Your Customer Service
Too many complaints can bring your business to a crashing halt. You can’t stop every complaint, but you can reduce them greatly by beefing up your customer service. Train staff to resolve complaints. Stay engaged on your social media pages where customers love to take out their frustrations. Reply and make them feel like they are a priority. Just replying can make a huge difference to customers.
10. Prioritize Employee Career Development
To sustain high growth, a company needs to retain and attract the right people. One necessary tactic to employee retention and attraction is designing career growth within a company. Employees need to see themselves progressing as fast as your company — and there needs to be buy-in from both employer and employee on what that career development looks like so you can both grow together.
11. Take a Slow and Steady Approach to Growth
It can be easy to get caught up in growing quickly, but I’ve seen a ton of businesses do that and then have to downsize immediately. It puts people out and isn’t a great way to build a solid reputation for your company. It’s important to take a step back, move slowly and really think about the next steps you’re taking to grow your business so you don’t get ahead of yourself.
Grow Your Business, By Growing Your Personal Brand
Of the many different ways to grow your online business and brand, don’t forget about the importance of growing your personal brand in the process. This is especially true if you are the face of the brand. Through the power of social media, it’s extremely easy and effective to not only reach new audiences but to also rank higher in Google for personal names and brand names in the process. Be sure to try out this method, along with each of the recommended tips above for growing your brand or online business in 2018.
Most Read Articles
5 Expert Guides on How to Rank YouTube Videos on Google
Want to rank your YouTube videos within Google? Sure, we all do… but the truth is that most people think...
5 Reasons Why Media.net Is a Top Alternative to AdSense
Many online publishers assume that Google AdSense has a monopolistic stranglehold on the contextual ad market, particularly for smaller publishers...
How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing – 57 Experts Share their Tips
Affiliate marketing is simply one of the best ways to make money on the internet today. It’s actually been one...
I have Ulcerative Colitis. This is My Story.
I have Ulcerative Colitis (also commonly referred to, or confused with Crohn’s). There is a big difference between the two,...
Amazon Dropshipping 101: 3 Expert Guides to Start Selling on Amazon
Amazon is the ultimate beast for buying and selling anything in the world today. With their massive reach and billions...
Insider Secrets to Making a Million Dollar Web Site!
A few days ago I released my first post on “How I Made $860,538.38 PROFIT in 4 Months!“, along with...
How I Made $860,538.38 PROFIT in 4 Months!
First off, I would like to make it clear that this post is NOT to impress you, but to impress...
Affiliate Marketing1 month ago
Affiliate Marketing in Asia – $1 Trillion Up for Grabs
Entrepreneurship2 weeks ago
5 Ways to Make Real Money with Legalized Sports Betting
Most Read Articles1 month ago
5 Expert Guides on How to Rank YouTube Videos on Google
Solutions2 years ago
Top 7 Lead Capture Tools for Growing a Mailing List
Affiliate Marketing8 months ago
How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing – 57 Experts Share their Tips
Affiliate Marketing12 months ago
Amazon Dropshipping 101: 3 Expert Guides to Start Selling on Amazon
Make Money6 months ago
70+ Personal Stories on How to Make Serious Money Online!
Affiliate Marketing10 years ago
Insider Secrets to Making a Million Dollar Web Site!