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A Brief History of Affiliate Marketing – (1989-2015)

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The history of affiliate marketing is a fun and exciting one — especially if you were around in the mid-90s to experience it first hand. I first started making money online in 1995 and it’s always funny to hear people say they are veterans in online marketing when they just only have a few years under their belt. The real history of affiliate marketing goes all the way back to 1994 with the birth of the CDNow.com affiliate program… which I was proudly an affiliate of!

In this post we are going to take a trip back in time and look at how affiliate marketing has grown over the years — both from my own perspective and through the documented information and data in the infographic below.

The History of Affiliate Marketing: Broken Down By Year

1989 – Prodigy Helps Kickstart Online Marketing

While the first ‘real’ affiliate program didn’t come out until 1994, it was in 1989 that William J. Tobin, founder of PC Flowers and Gifts took his marketing efforts to the internet and used Prodigy’s network to start marketing his business. So does William J Tobin deserve the title of being the first internet marketer?

ProdigyIf this looks familiar… then you my friend, are old school! (source)

On a side note, I remember using Prodigy to connect with one of my previous school teachers from elementary school. Should any of you remember the Prodigy interface and design, it was quite colorful and odd — a memory I will never forget!

1994 – CDNow Launches their BuyWeb Program

CDNow.com was an online store for buying music and movies. No… not streaming content, but real physical CDs and Tapes (or DVDs) that would be shipped out and used in a video player. The concept of CDNow’s BuyWeb program was that sites could join their program, link to their content and earn a commission from any purchases made from their site. Such commissions could be paid out via check or as compensation to purchase products through their site.

cdnow-septemberA look at the old and very simple CDNow.com site. (source)

While CDNow is credited as being the first affiliate program, Brad Waller of ePage says they were also one of the first.

1995 – I Start My Journey into the World of Online Marketing

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur or be in business for myself, but really wasn’t sure how yet. I was a Freshman / Junior in high school when the internet started to gain traction and I was immediately addicted.

Here’s a picture from one of my many desk setups over the years in the corner room of my parents house. This is where it all started.

Old Pics of MoneyReign Inc. Headquarters

Before finding success with affiliate marketing, I was creating a few fun hobby sites of my own. At the same time I was also designing banners (468×60) for my sites. I went into the AOL Web Diner chat room (where other site owners would meet) and they started asking for banners to be made. I made them for $1 each and the person would hopefully send me a dollar in the mail. Don’t forget, this years before anything like Paypal was around.

Other ventures included AllAdvantage banner program, pushing web hosting in AOL chat rooms, getting clicks for Pacific Coast pillow company and building websites for other companies… then it started to get pretty serious when I fell into the world of affiliate marketing.

1996 – Amazon Launches their Associates Program

This is the move that changed everything… Without the support and growth of Amazon.com, affiliate marketing may very well not be the massive industry it is today.

Back when Amazon first launched their associates program (which is pretty much the same as an affiliate program), they only sold Books, Movies and Music. Back then Amazon also paid around 5-15% commission on referred sales to their site.

Amazon.com was also one of my first and most successful methods for making money online before getting active with CPA marketing and realizing I could make more money from getting people to sign up to free offers or complete specific tasks, versus receiving only 5-15% and needing them to pull out their credit card.

Amazon.com: $38.72, Jul 30, 1998

While all of this is going, once websites start to realize they can link to Amazon and make money in the process, Amazon quickly finds themselves as the leader in buying anything online and continues to add new products to their store.

At the same time, LinkShare affiliate network is launched — further establishing the concept of affiliate marketing.

1998 – Commission Junction Launches

One of the most successful affiliates networks of all time, Commission Junction is launched.

A copy of the letter that was sent with checks and actually signed!

The launch of CJ.com was huge not only for the industry but also for myself. At this point in my online journey I was already actively pushing affiliate offers on a CPA basis (free stuff, sweepstakes, credit cards etc) and had my own network of lead generation sites as well. I also went onto have three of my own affiliate programs within the Commission Junction network and paid out mid-six figures to my affiliates during this time. (Insanely enough… full registration and demographic data signups were costing me less than .10 per lead!)

 

In 2000 I took a week off of school and flew across the country with my Dad to attend CJU, Commission Junctions first affiliate marketing based conference for their affiliates, merchants and brand partners. Needless to say, I was the youngest one there and it made a huge impact on my connections and understand of how to run a business online.

It was also this same conference that I met two good friends of mine, Declan Dunn and Brady Whittingham — both of which are still active in online marketing today.

Commission Junction went on to be acquired by ValueClick for $58 million and is still one of the largest and most successful ad networks in the world today.

This was also the first year that I forked up the $70 to buy a domain name through Network Solutions. Yes, domain names used to cost $35 per year, and came with a two-year commitment.

Network Solutions was the Domain Monopoly Back in the 90s.

Along with CJ, ClickBank, a digital based affiliate network was also born this same year. To date, ClickBank has paid out over $2 billion to their affiliates.

2000 – Enter the FTC and Regulations

If business and money is being made… the rest of the world and the FTC will surely find out about it.

While the internet can still be seen as the Wild West, imagine what it was like 15 years ago.

The FTC attempts to start making regulations for the internet and it all starts off with simple disclosure statements… but there is plenty more to come.

2003 – Affiliate Summit is Launched

The first conference I ever spoke out at was called Affiliate Force — and what made it more exciting than anything else, was that it was based on a cruise and sailed out of Miami, Florida. It was created and managed by Herby Olschewski. The event took place for a couple years, but phased out due to poor management and focus.

Marketing Veterans of Affiliate Force Cruise

In 2003, Shawn Collins and Missy Ward took the concept of creating a highly focused affiliate marketing conference into their own hands and launched “Affiliate Summit”. The concept was similar to Affiliate Force, but the direction would be the complete opposite.

Zac_Johnson__Missy_Ward_and_Shawn_CollinsMyself, Missy and Shawn while at Affiliate Summit 2007

The first Affiliate Summit (which I also attended) was in New York City and had only 200 attendees. With a tight network of friends and business already brought together from the cruise networking events of Affiliate Force, Affiliate Summit 2003 was mainly land-based but did include a short cruise out of New York City to Nova Scotia, Canada.

Today Affiliate Summit is held twice per year in New York City and Las Vegas, while also having over 5,000 attendees as each event. I must have been to and spoken at around 15 of these events so far.

2005 – LinkShare Gets Acquired by Rakuten

It took less than 10 years for LinkShare to created then acquired for $425 million — which was the largest affiliate acquisition at this time. This deal also made the CJ acquisition for $58 million look like quite a steal!

linkshare_rakuten_acquired_-_Google_Search

With more focus on affiliate marketing and money pouring into the industry from every outlet possible, the idea of compensation based marketing was more legitimate than ever before.

2006 – One Site, One Year = $1 Million

While not highlighted in the infographic below, the years of 2006 and 2007 were quite exciting in that MySpace and Facebook were starting to change the landscape of the internet and how we would connect with each other. With the ability to target a wide range of users on one web site platform, this opened up a whole new world of opportunity for online brands and especially affiliate marketers.

For myself, I went on to create a successful social media resource site that went on to generate over a million dollars in profit and over 330 million site visitors — all through viral marketing. The emphasis here is that nearly all traffic to the site was free and as more people continued to use the site, it kept growing in size. You can learn more about that site here.

Eventually, I had 16 dedicated Dell servers powering the site, as it was quickly scaling in size and reaching over 100,000 unique visitors per day.

To make this story even more exciting, the site was completely HTML with zero programming and made nearly all of it’s revenue off the concept of affiliate marketing.

2007 – The Launch of ZacJohnson.com

With roughly 12 years under my belt in the world of affiliate marketing, I decided to launch my own blog at ZacJohnson.com to establish my own brand and voice in the industry.

evolutionofzacjohnsonblog

In short, it was simply the best business decision I ever made. Through the content, resources and tutorials on the site, I’ve helped my readers earn millions of dollars online while also opening a whole new world of opportunities for myself and my business — such as walking the red carpet in Hollywood, speaking at events around the world, launching my own podcast and hearing from thousands of my readers on a daily basis.

2008 – More Regulation with the Affiliate Nexus Tax

In 2008, more regulation crept its way into the world of online marketing with the Nexus Tax. New York passed a legislation that would require individuals and organizations who have specified relationship with Amazon.com to collect sales tax from their vendors. Sounds easy enough… but the end result was Amazon.com closing their affiliate program to any and all New York residents.

Affiliate_Nexus_Tax___Commission_Junction_US

By 2013, the Nexus act would be adopted by 13 different states and Amazon would continue to kick out affiliates from each respective state. To hep protect performance marketers against any new legislation, the Performance Marketing Association was created — which would act as a voice for the online marketing and affiliate community.

2009 – Further Regulations from the FTC

As mentioned earlier, as word gets around about any new type of business or money being made… the government will always want their cut and put in as many regulations as possible.

Uncle_Sam

This latest regulation would be on disclosure and requiring bloggers, celebrities, and affiliate marketers to include a disclosure statement when using testimonials or for any compensation agreements that might be in place on any topic, service or brand they are referencing to. Today it is commonplace for nearly all sites to have a disclosure statement, privacy policy and terms and conditions located on their sites.

2012 – A Conference for Affiliate Managers

As the world of affiliate marketing continues to grow, so do the jobs and opportunities for businesses catering to the needs of big name brands and affiliate marketers. Affiliate Management Days was started in 2012 by Geno Prussakov with the idea to be solely focused on affiliate management training. The first event takes place in San Francisco and still takes place today.

affiliate_management_days

With an active eye on the Nexus law and the FTC trying to regulate the internet and affiliate marketing, in April of 2012, a U.S. District Judge from Colorado ruled that the Affiliate Nexus Tax was unconstitutional.

2013 – The Evolution of the Affiliate Landscape

The United States congress introduces the Marketplace Fairness Act, a law in place to require online vendors to collect sales taxes, but only after the state themselves simply their sales tax laws. Over the next several years, the FTC and government would continue to come up with new ways to try and tax online business and marketing efforts, while also having more control over what, where and how affiliate marketing takes place.

In a surprising move, Google decides to shut down their Google Affiliate Network — which was their attempt at breaking into the world of affiliate marketing (previously Doubleclick Performics). Today Google still pays out and earns billions of dollars through their Google Adsense affiliate program, which is also one of the easiest ways for site owners to first earn money online.

2014 and on…

It’s safe to say this summarize history of affiliate marketing has really only scratched the surface. The most important thing to know is that affiliate marketing is alive and well and you are simply going to get out of it, what you put in.

Over the past 20 years the industry has changed dramatically, as I have also had to.

There has never been a better opportunity to make money online or start a business of your own and affiliate marketing is simply the best way to get started.

 

The History of Affiliate Marketing Infographic

via http://shoeboxed.com

the history of affiliate marketing

 

 

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PayKickStart Shopping Cart Checklist: Can Your Online Shopping Cart Do This?

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On the surface, selling something online — whether it’s digital or physical — seems like a reasonably straightforward affair. The customer arrives at the website, adds an item or two to his or her virtual shopping cart, and proceeds with the checkout process by entering his or her payment information. The order is received by the merchant, the product is delivered, and everyone is a happy camper, right?

While robust and reliable basics are an absolute necessity, they are ultimately insufficient if you want your online business to thrive. You want to offer the best possible customer experience, but you also don’t want to leave any money on the table. It is in your best interest to consider the most valuable features that online shopping cart solutions should have.

This is exactly what you will find with the all-new PayKickStart shopping cart solution.

However, to simply call PayKickStart a ‘shopping cart’ solution would be a big mistake. There are actually many more features and built-in benefits than you could ever imagine. Aligning with the title of this article “Can your shopping cart do this?”, we are going to walk through a list of ultimate features and tools that every shopping cart should have. If your online marketing and business isn’t currently using these features below, it’s time for you to take the leap over to PayKickStart.

One-Time and Subscription Payments

This will depend on the type of product or service that you are selling, but it’s critically important that your shopping cart software can support both types of payments. Recurring payments can be a tremendous source of revenue for your company, especially since there are no additional costs involved in customer acquisition. This steady cash flow can be much more predictable and consistent too, which puts you in a better position if you are seeking investors.

Subscription Saver

Encouraging your customers to sign up for a subscription is a good thing, because it means the payments will be processed automatically at set intervals, whether that’s monthly, annually, or over any other period. As convenient as this may be, customer billing details can become invalid over time, like if their credit card expires or they move to a different address. Did you know that about 30 percent of rebills fail?

Prevent this from becoming a problem in the first place. An automated email sequence can ensure that all customers keep their billing information up to date, so every payment goes through as it should.

Free and Paid Trials

Particularly for businesses that operate on the SaaS model with monthly subscriptions, offering a free trial especially can be one of the most effective tactics for getting your “foot in the door.” Many customers are hesitant to commit to a one-year subscription or even pay for a month-to-month service until they know what they are getting. A free trial, either with or without full functionality, lets you acquire that key customer information and switching them over to the paid subscription is a piece of cake.

Pre-Filled Checkout Page

The fewer “friction points” you can have during a transaction, the more likely a customer is going to complete that transaction. This is even true with repeat customers. Arguably, it’s especially true with repeat customers. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to complete a transaction on Amazon, for instance? They already have your shipping and payment information, so you never need to enter it again. The easier the process, the better.

Payment Plans

There is a reason why the “five easy payments of” type business model has existed for so long and across so many industries. Some customers simply cannot afford the up-front cost of higher-priced items and, even among those who can, they might not want to have a single outlay of cash quite that substantial. if your shopping cart offers the option of alternative pricing options, you have a much better shot at appealing to more potential customers.

Address Auto-Complete

Much like having a pre-filled checkout page, you always create a better customer experience when the process is as fast and simple as possible. A great feature that you’ll find with PayKickStart is auto-complete for addresses. Customers simply start typing in their address and the form is able to predict and auto-fill the rest of it. This also ensures that the address format is consistent across all orders.

Upgrade and Downgrade

The situation for a customer when they first decided to subscribe to your SaaS may not be the same situation for the customer a few weeks, months, or years down the road. In an ideal world, customer needs increase and they’ll want to have a plan that scales alongside their requirements. Instead of requiring a customer to go through the whole order process again, it is paramount that the upgrade process is far simpler and more seamless. Again, the fewer friction points, the better.

Likewise, it is far more desirable if a customer chooses to downgrade his or her services than it is for them to leave you altogether. Again, the downgrading process should be easy and frictionless too.

Exit-Intent

In the business of the Internet, there’s something called a bounce rate. In the context of e-commerce, one of the biggest challenges is overcoming the abandoned shopping cart. The customer has nearly gone through the whole transaction, only to leave the site for some inexplicable reason. This can account for up to 25% of potential customers! By using a simple popup, you get one more chance at closing the sale.

Pending Order Follow-up

Perhaps that exit-intent popup wasn’t enough to convince the customer to complete the transaction. Maybe he or she had every intention of completing the sale, but had to leave the computer for whatever reason. This does not have to result in a lost sale! If you’ve got their email address, you can send out a “pending order” email as a follow-up reminder. Having such a feature integrated into your shopping cart can recapture those potential sales!

Checkout Page Library

Not everyone is a web designer or web developer. Most people aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing checkout page that is proven to work! When selecting e-commerce software for your site, it’s incredibly useful to have access to a library of pre-designed checkout pages and pop-up widget templates that are ready to go right out of the box.

Translation and Currencies

You might assume that your primary demographic is located in a specific geographic region, spending a certain currency and defaulting to English. And that may be true, but it really doesn’t take much to open up to different languages, currencies and regions when you have an e-commerce tool that automatically supports such variations with no extra effort on your part. Again, it’s about minimizing friction and making sure you don’t lose any sales over small details.

Sales and VAT Tax

Whether you deal mostly domestically in the United States or you sell to international customers, keeping up to date with sales and VAT compliance laws can feel like a challenge. This is especially true when taxes can vary from state to state, region to region. It’s far more convenient when your online shopping cart updates all of this information automatically.

1-Click Upsells and Order Bumps

Don’t leave any money on the table! Did you know that having 1-click upsells as part of your natural transaction process can boost conversions by as much as 40 percent? Suggesting additional products to buy at checkout can double your sales! If a customer is already interested in product A, they’d be a natural fit for product B (even if they didn’t know they were). You just have to nudge them along and make it as easy as possible.

Want to convert those fence-sitters into actual buyers? The option to create coupons within your landing page and order form pages exist as well. Sometimes all they need is a time-sensitive coupon that increases the level of urgency. No one wants to miss out on a good deal, so having this kind of functionality built into your e-commerce solution can increase sales significantly.

Integrations

Do you already use various third-party applications like email autoresponders, webinar platforms or fulfillment services? It’s important that all of these tools are able to work with one another in a seamless and easy-to-manage way, so you don’t waste your time with logistics and administration, manually updating data across platforms. They should all just work together.

With so many of us already using different membership platforms and online payment gateways, it’s important to always use a new solution that is easy to integrate within these other platforms as well. As you can see through the screenshot below, PayKickStart easily integrates with the likes of Paypal, Stripe, Ontraport, Kajabi, Aweber, Teachable and many other CMS and payment solutions.

Best of all, through the use of tools like Zapier, many of these integrations can be accomplished with just a few clicks of a button!

Affiliate Features and Tools

One of the fastest, most powerful, and most cost-effective ways to grow your online business is by offering an affiliate marketing program. And one of the great strengths of a solution like PayKickStart — you can help promote it with 50% commissions on the first year and 40% recurring commissions for life — is the amazing wealth of tools it offers to empower such a relationship.

The ability to track and pay commissions is built right into the system, including the ability to deliver instant, delayed and lifetime commissions. This kind of flexibility, combined with an easy way to share marketing materials with affiliates, empowers you with the ability to grow your customer base in a sustainable and profitable manner.

How to Get Started with PayKickStart

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing features and benefits of using a solution like PayKickStart to expand your business into a whole new area. To help better understand this process and start implementing these methods into your own business, I highly recommend you take a moment to attend the next upcoming webinar from Mark Thompson and how to take advantage of everything PayKickStart has to offer. Best of all, it’s free to attend!

There’s more to a shopping cart than just putting through a simple order. It’s about extracting as much value as possible while offering the best customer experience. You just need to have the right tool for the job.

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How to Make Money Promoting Survey and Quiz Affiliate Offers

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Remember the days of email and zip poll/survey offers being all over the place, and how they would pay out $1-$2 per lead? Back before GDPR and data regulations were in place, these offers were everywhere you looked. They still are today, but just not as popular as they once were. While these offers aren’t getting the same attention and promotion as they used to, personal data is big money and these same types of offers are still generating millions of dollars daily.

In addition to the “Complete this survey to get a free _____” offers that you’ve seen all over the place, the survey niche is still stronger than ever before. However, it’s not so much the smaller zip and email submit offers that are getting so much attention, but actually the data companies behind them. You’ve likely seen these names and brands before — InboxDollars, Pinecone Research, Vindale Research, and Survey Junkie are some of the more popular ones.

WAHadventures.com highlights many of these surveys on their site and say it possible to make over $250 per month by using survey and incentive networks like Survey Junkie, SwagBucks, MySurvey, InboxDollars and PanelPayDay in your spare time. If you are already making good money online, this might seem like nothing to you — but the average person, getting paid $250+ to take online surveys is like a dream come true! With this same concept in mind, this is why email and zip submit offers do so well. People want free stuff!

Even more, when you start to add a viral or personal interest factor into the mix, that’s when you will really start to see some great results. Just take a look at BuzzFeed quizzes and how they are still one of the most popular sections on their site. People love taking surveys, seeing results, and when you throw an incentive, prize, or money into the mix… big things happen!

The Business of Online Paid Surveys and Giving Stuff Away for Free

On the business side, these offers still do well because customer data is worth a ton of money. Most of the data from these survey sites are sold for huge multiples over what they are actually paying for people to complete a survey. They are also making a huge profit because a large number of survey takers will simply never get to the point where they can cash out (hitting the usual minimum $25-$50 thresholds), which ultimately just keeps that money sitting within the data company.

With all of that being said, millions of dollars are being spent daily from these ‘get paid to complete survey’ companies in advertising, content creation, paid search, and of course, affiliate marketing. To make the most out of all of this money up for grabs, be sure to follow some of the recommended steps below.

How to Promote and Make Money with Online Surveys

Now that we have an idea on the offers available, you will need to focus on how to drive traffic and convert these surveys to audiences that actually convert into leads. One of the best ways to bring in low-cost traffic and convert them into leads is through a survey/poll site or creating an ad campaign with an attractive call to action. Using surveys to generate leads is nothing new, but I will break down the process for you and show you how easy and effective it is.

PRO TIP: Before moving forward, you must check the affiliate promotion guidelines for any specific offer you promote. For example, many zip/email submit offers will allow you to create a custom landing pages, but other high-end survey offers might only allow for text or banner ad placement. Either way, just make sure you are promoting the offer in the required method so you don’t get all of your leads reversed.

Step 1: Find something that everyone is talking about!

If you want to get cheap clicks and grab the attention of audiences around the world, you need to find what everyone is talking about today. For example, “Donald Trump” is likely to be a hot topic for several years now, while “Lebron James” going the Los Angeles Lakers is bound to be a hot trend throughout the next NBA season. This also works well for any highly searched celebrities as well, or anyone is currently trending in the news. The good thing about both of these examples is that it would be quite easy to target these audiences through Facebook Ads, Media Buying, and Social Media.

Still can’t figure out what a good topic is to base your survey or ad campaign around? See what’s currently trending on Google Trends, Twitter, and Facebook.

Just for example sake, let’s take two celebrities (Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba) and plug their names into Google Trends. We can immediately see that there is a steady flow of searches being made for both and that they continually have a solid following online. Let’s move forward with that.

 

Step 2: Create a survey/poll landing page.

Using the topics above, I created a simple landing page that can be used for media buying (or banners if you were to resize it). This literally took two minutes to create within Canva. All you need to do is add some fancy images, create a title and make it look like an interactive survey.

There is really nothing that special about this landing page/media buying copy. Make sure you have a clean design and to the point. I also enticed the visitor to place a vote, by adding “BONUS: Vote Now & Qualify to Receive a Free Gift Card!“. (This can vary depending on your backend offer) All you want the end user to do is click on the image, button, or text you might have in place here.

Again, this is very simple, and depending on the time and effort you put into this, you can make it more advanced or even collect user data for yourself or a newsletter.

Step 3: Finding your backend offer

The next step in the process is to find an affiliate offer that you want to promote. Ideally, this should be a simple email, zip, or one-click submit type of offer. Once you have an audience click on your initial survey/vote offer, you can then pass them along to the affiliate survey offer to complete. You can either setup your own landing page and pass the user onto a confirmation page with stats, or pass them directly to the offer. Make sure you check on marketing options available for the campaign before promoting.

Leadbit currently has this offer active for audiences in the UK and is paying out .70 per lead. The offer can be promoted through mobile, display, emails, search and pop — which allows for a nice range of data, traffic, and split testing purposes.

Step 4: Promotions and getting traffic

Now that you have created your landing page or media buying ad copy, you are ready to go. The best way to generate targeted low-cost traffic would be Media Buying (popunders) and possibly Facebook Ads and using Facebook Fan Pages or Groups (direct relationship or ownership of a group). You could also start targeting news/celebrity sites/blogs through the use of Google Adwords (context display network), native advertising, and popunders ads.

To start playing around with demographic targeting and see how much of a demand there is for a topic, you can use Facebook Ads campaign tool (shown below), or play around with search reports on a tool like SEMRush — which currently shows ‘jessica alba’ at 368,000 searches per month, and  ‘jennifer lopez’ with 823,000.

Step 5: Tweaking and watching your numbers

The last step of making money with surveys/polls and news is to continually tweak your landing pages and ad copy to try and get the best conversions. Don’t put all of your traffic to one offer, the reason I went with celebrities, is that there is pretty much an endless supply of traffic related to them out there. See what works best with your traffic, and then expand out into different countries when you start finding success.

This concept is not just limited to celebrity campaigns, however with all of the attention towards the latest hot movies, celebrities attaching the President, and everything else going on… it’s a good market that hasn’t died down and likely won’t.

It all starts with a click…

A few things to point out here…

  • This concept is nothing new, but it should act as a reminder of how to reach new markets
  • Customization and creating unique landing pages and ad copy is key here
  • You also need to split test the end affiliate offer, as this will sway heavily

If you haven’t done anything with affiliate marketing or CPA zip/email submit offers, it’s one of the best ways to get started — as the conversions are usually very high, and the payouts are low. Which means you can start split testing campaigns fast and know right away if you are going to soon find financial success.

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Top Dating Keywords and How to Create a Profitable Dating Site

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With so many different ways to make money on the internet, it’s important not to fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome. And by this, we mean jumping from one idea to another and trying to get rich overnight. Even if this can be successfully done, it will likely only bring minimal results and only last for a short period of time.

A much better way to make money online is to look at the long-term picture and create a website, or an ad campaign that will continue to provide value, incoming traffic, and revenue for years to come. With virtually an unlimited supply of traffic and advertiser money out there to benefit from, it’s simply a matter of choosing a niche market, then making the most of it.

One such example of an industry that is completely evergreen and will have a never-ending supply of traffic and revenue, is the online dating niche — much like the weight loss and financial markets, they just never seem to die out as more people come of age daily. However, this is an extremely saturated online market as well. If you are going to jump into this area, you need to put in the time and effort to know who your audience is and create the best ad campaigns possible, specifically targeted towards geographic and demographic interest and data.

You might also be thinking about how saturated the online dating space already is — which is correct. If we take a look at the Wikipedia graph below, we can see just how many members are subscribed to the top dating sites. However, you will also learn that there are hundreds of online dating sites with affiliate programs, and millions of individuals throughout the world are trying online dating for the first time daily.

As for growth, Nasdaq reported, “Online dating is also gaining traction overseas, most notably in China, where revenue is estimated to total $1.6 billion for the year by the end of 2016.” For even more updating online dating numbers, we can take a look at some stats and revenue growth charts from Statista.

  • Revenue in the “Online Dating” segment amounts to US$1,383m in 2018.
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 3.9% resulting in a market volume of US$1,610m in 2022.
  • User penetration is at 5.7% in 2018 and is expected to hit 6.3% in 2022.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$4.70.
  • From a global comparison perspective, it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$590m in 2018).

So what does this mean for content creators, site owners, and affiliates marketers?

Simple… a world of opportunity and growth! And also, stop focusing all of your efforts on just the U.S. and English speaking markets!

With all of that in mind, today we are going to walk through the process of how to create a profitable dating and relationship blog. This is a perfect business model or marketing method for anyone to get started with online and affiliate marketing. Even better, this method also doesn’t require a lot of upfront money in the process and is ideal for anyone that would like to focus more on putting their free time and effort getting put to good use.

This process breaks down into the following three steps.

  1. Know your audience and target demographic
  2. Have a form of monetization (ie: affiliate2day)
  3. Promote your site with SEO and social media

Be sure to follow along and consider your options with making money in the world of online dating and providing relationship advice to the millions of people who are searching for these types of resources daily.

The Target Audience and Demographic of Your Site

While it might seem like your audience and the demographics of your site would be anyone who is single and is looking for a relationship, you would be correct, but you would also be way too generic at the same time. Instead, if you want to make money and be able to rank above the competition, you will need to have a very niche specific site that not only caters to a specific gender but also provides them with exactly what they are looking for.

When looking at the type of content to create and how to target an audience, a perfect example of this can be seen below in this dating keywords list from Modovo. While many sites will list one or two keywords to target, Mondovo has done an excellent job with listing a wide range of long-tail keywords and search phrases — all related to everything dating.

In that same article, we can also take a look at some of the most searched dating keywords as well. When doing any research on these dating keywords, be sure to look at the additional long tail keywords and other ways that you can spend this into more creative topics while giving the audience exactly what they want. For example, you might see that “dating app” and “dating sites” have more than 600,000 searches per month. But going after a search phrase like “what to do on a first date” (with 5,400 searches per month) has a completely different focus and mind set. Depending on what keywords and search phrases you are going after, you will have to create content based on these needs and individual call-to-actions that relate to the users need.

When creating the content for your site, it’s important to always focus on not just your end goal (which is likely to get users to sign up for a dating offer) but to also rank higher in the search results with the most targeted content possible. If you have a site that is strictly focused on kissing, you can cover every type of kissing/making out search phrase there is. You can see a few more examples of these keywords below.

Sticking with this same concept, you can use any of the most searched for phases at the beginning of this section, then plug them into Google and see more “related searches” like the ones above. For best results, create one super long article with all of these topics covered, or multiple articles (2,000+ words in length) and link each of them back to each other on your site.

How to Best Monetize Your Site Content

The great thing about creating dating tips or relationship blog is that there are plenty of ways to monetize your content. At the most simple form, you can always use Google Adsense ads on your site and make a small portion of the revenue generated, or you can promote individual dating related offers or actual dating sites in themselves. In most cases, going with an affiliate offer to send leads to a dating site is probably the best option — since that is likely what your audience is interested in.

As mentioned earlier, there are now well more than a billion active sites on the internet today. That is a lot of content, and way too many distractions out there. This is especially true if you plan on converting your audience into a lead after just one visit. A better way to connect and provide value to your audience, might be through the use of an autoresponder series where you can deliver quality information, guides, and resources over time.

This is just one of the many forms on monetization available to site owners and bloggers today. Through the visual below we can see how marketing might start through ppc ads, forum posts, banners, or even social media… but that is just the start of the process. It’s then up to your content and websites to flow the user through a process where they trust your content and find value in it, then also subscribing to your mailing list, and also be ready to take action through your site.

This isn’t just an effective business model for brands and site owners selling courses of digital products, it also works in the world of online dating and relationships as well. Once you have a content focus and target audience in place, don’t just think of a monetization play and how to make money — consider your options with longterm subscriber and revenue growth as well.

Also mentioned earlier, the online dating space is absolutely saturated with content, competitors, money, and advertising options — however, there is still plenty of room to compete and make money as well. There are many well-known brand name US dating sites, many of which you probably already know and maybe even use or promote. The same holds true for dating outside of the US. If you are only targeting the USA or just English-speaking countries, you are missing out big time! Take a look at this list of the world’s most single countries.

  1. BRAZIL, 10%
  2. KENYA, 15%
  3. SOUTH AFRICA, 24%
  4. RUSSIA, 25%
  5. CANADA, 27%
  6. U.S., 28%
  7. ITALY, 29%
  8. JAPAN, 31%
  9. BRITAIN, 34%
  10. SWEDEN, 47%

To make all of this easier to follow, we will use Affiliate2Day as our example affiliate program for monetization on dating tips or relationship blog. Like many other affiliate networks, Affiliate2Day is a dating-specific affiliate program that offers compensation when someone joins or purchases on one of their dating websites.

The benefit of using a dating-specific platform like Affiliate2Day, is dating is all they do! This means they know what type of landing pages, ad creatives, traffic sources, and types of audiences and demographic targeting work best. With all of this in mind, their platform also has affiliate managers with this same knowledge, who are more than willing to pass it along to any dating affiliates to increase leads, revenue, and earnings for both sides.

If you don’t already have an affiliate account with them, you can create one by clicking here. It’s free to create, and you will quickly be assigned to an affiliate manager that can help you get started with your first dating ad campaigns or placements on your site.

Most of my site readers should already be familiar with the process of affiliate marketing and how to set up their first campaign. You simply join a program, grab your affiliate link, and post it to your site. For a program like Affiliate2Day, it would be best to place call-to-actions throughout the content on your site. If you were going to promote the dating offers through paid marketing and media buying, then using unique landing pages that cater to different demographic audiences and their interests would be best.

When attempting to make money with a dating and relationship blog, it’s important to keep your efforts focused on one common call to action. For example, if you know your target audience is ‘single men’ living in the ‘United States’ and speak ‘English’, this should be the main focus of your landing page (while also have a call to action on the page for “Single Men” and also having a picture of a female on the page. This all simple advertising 101, but if you have any questions or need custom ad copy created, Affiliate2Day can help with that as well.

Generic monetization methods that are commonly used are often a rev-share solution like Google Adsense, an individual product/service, or affiliate marketing. In the case of Affiliate2Day and running dating offers, this would prove most effective on sites that have dating or relationship offers. No matter what you decide to promote, make sure not to load the site up with too many monetization options or distractions, as this can lead to site readers being overwhelmed and simply leaving your site. This can also be a headache for tracking site earnings as well.

In reference to making money with Affiliate2Day, affiliate partners have three monetization methods to choose from.

  • Pay Per Sale: 25% of sales amount + $25 sign-up bonus
  • Pay Per Lead: $6 to $8 per lead generated
  • Pay Per First Order: $150 to $250 per first order

If you aren’t sure which monetization method is best for your site, I would recommend going with the “up to $8 per lead” option, as this will give the best results overall while also letting you know the type of data and leads you have flowing through your site. For sites with higher quality content, or those focused strictly on dating/relationship articles, it would likely benefit more from the “$250 per first order option”. The same holds true for the 25% pay per sale program as well, so it’s worth testing on both sides.

Affiliate2Day Referral Program:

Another way to make money with Affiliate2Day is to refer other site owners and affiliates to their network, and then earn 10% of their commissions. This is an ideal offer for any bloggers or site owners that already cover the topics of making money online or affiliate marketing.

Now that we have a content monetization method in mind, we can now move onto the content promotion part.

Affiliate2Day Anniversary Bonus Promotion:

Everyone loves to celebrate their anniversary, and Affiliate2Day is doing just that. Best of all, they will be sharing the experience with their site partners and affiliates as well. Here’s what you need to know:

This promotion will take part between September 1st – September 30th.

The bonus promotion hasn’t started yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for the event to take place.

The program is broken down as follows:

FOR ALL AFFILIATES

  • Earn $100 for each new sub-affiliates referred to the platform
  • Affiliates will also earn 10% from the earnings made by each affiliate referred
  • The more sub-affiliates referred, the more potential earnings throughout September
  • Log in to your affiliate account to grab your code and start referring affiliates today

FOR PPS AFFILIATES ONLY

  • Boost your affiliate earnings to the next level by referring as many customers as you can. A $1000 bonus is up for grabs to any PPS affiliates that can reach 200 sales!
  • Start today and get a jump ahead of the competition. The more referrals you send, the more likely you are to hit your bonus and sales required in September.

As stated on their site, if you’d like to take part in the event, “simply send a request via the contact form on their site, and mention your affiliate ID or username.” — once that is done, you will then receive a confirmation from their team, and results will be posted on their site and the bonuses will be added to the winner’s accounts by October 20th 2018.

Attracting New Site Visitors with SEO and Social Media

Creating a website or a blog is extremely easy. Content creation is also very easy as well, and can even be outsourced if you don’t know what you are writing about. One of the most important factors when attempting to make money online with a website or a blog, is knowing how to get a consistent flow of new visitors to your website.

Two of the most common and effective ways to accomplish this is through the use of SEO and social media. As mentioned earlier, ranking at the top of Google for any type of generic term is nearly impossible. This is why you are going to have to get creative and unique with the type of content you create. We recommend you go after long tail keywords and make your content as specific as possible, not only so you can target your audience, but also make it more likely that they will take action when they get to your site.

However, there are better ways to approach this process. For example, using a tool like SEMRush, we can plug in any dating or relationship blog and see what keywords they are currently ranking for. We can also see their placement in Google, how many people search for that phrase monthly, the difficulty in ranking for that keyword, and also a direct link to the article that is ranking. Obviously, you don’t want to copy the content on these sites, but instead, study the long tail keywords that are ranking and getting traffic, which you might not have found otherwise. You can see an example of all of this below.

At the same time, if you are completely against the idea of waiting around for your site to organically rank in Google, you can also focus your efforts on social media. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are three of this hottest social platforms for building a following around relationships and advice — and Facebook Ads is ideal for targeting singles based on their interests and locations (think custom landing pages here).

No matter what method you choose, understand that it’s all about the time and effort that you put into your content, call to actions, and link building/promotion efforts. With more than a billion active sites on the internet, creating a site and content means nothing — it’s all about the value, delivery, and getting it in front of the right audiences.

Can You Really Still Make Money in the Online Dating Space?

Without a doubt. Just ask any of the top dating affiliate platforms on the internet today, and they will tell you they are paying out thousands of dollars per month to hundreds, if not thousands of their site partners — and best of all, affiliate marketing is paving the way. This means you can test different dating sites, content offers, and traffic sources, to see which work best for you.

As always, I can only provide you with so much information and details. To see real results, you need to actually put all of this into action. If you haven’t started a website or blog yet, follow this guide, and feel free to shoot me an email when you get started. I would love to hear about your online success!

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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