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AFFILIATE MARKETING

Affiliate Site Selling For $7 Billion? 7 Key Takeaways

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Affiliate Site Selling For $7 Billion? 7 Key Takeaways

According to the New York Times, Credit Karma is about to avoid the IPO market, and sell to a financial firm for $7 Billion.

We’re talking about an affiliate site here. An affiliate site is one that earns commissions from promoting OTHER PEOPLES products (by linking to their website through a special link).

Credit Karma was founded by Ken Lin. It is a website that has grown to have a lot of content, and it makes commissions from credit repair sites, and loan sites, and so forth.

Now while it started out as an ordinary site, this is no longer an ordinary affiliate site.

They claim that one third of all Americans who have a credit profile, have used their site.

So that’s a lot of names and email addresses they have acquired over the last several years.

They have grown to be huge, and I don’t want to make this sound like it’s in any way typical.

But it is inspiring and there are many key takeaways that can be learned here.

7 Key Takeaways

#1 You don’t have to be a product owner, in order to build a big online business

Over a decade ago, I visited the headquarters of Clickbank for the first time.

And I asked them, about which vendors were making the most sales.

They shocked me by mentioning that 8 of the top 10 account owners on Clickbank were pure affiliates, and didn’t even own their own products.

They were people I’d never heard of, guys who were simply buying traffic, sending it to their own website, and earning affiliate commissions promoting other people’s products.

While I was already a strong affiliate at the time, and was also in that top 10, I was a strong vendor too. So I had assumed the top 10 would be full of vendors.

In the case of Credit Karma, they have taken affiliate marketing to the extreme.

#2 Leads are valuable

Affiliates can make a lot of money without ever collecting a single email address or lead.

However, if you go to sell your website in the future, the money you receive is not only determined by how much you are making on a daily basis…

…How many leads, and how much data that you have on those leads, plays a huge factor.

You can’t legally share that data, but if you sell your business, then it’s legal for the purchaser to acquire the data that way.

Credit Karma collected names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, credit scores and more, from MILLIONS of people. That data is now worth BILLIONS as part of this sale.

If you’re an affiliate at a smaller scale, the same principles DO still apply. Make sure to in some cases, collect names and email addresses. And have a newsletter followup sequence that builds a relationship and promotes relevant products to them.

That way, if you ever sell your site, it’s worth more money… AND you’ll make more from your site anyway, even if you never sell it.

#3 Drop Facebook Pixels on every page in your site

Looking at the Credit Karma website, I see they have 2 Facebook Pixels being dropped on every page.

That means they can now retarget to people, with ads on Facebook, Instagram and other web properties that Facebook owns or has agreements with.

You do so much to get people to visit your pages as it is, and if they aren’t on your email mailing list, then another great way to get them to come back is through retargeting ads.

Warm prospects who have visited you before are a lot more likely to interact with you and possibly make a purchase in the future, than those who are cold (don’t know who you are).

#4 Free Software often results in more shares, than other types of freebies

While it may have been more complex to build what they have today, the Credit Karma site actually started out as a very simple piece of software.

People loved using it and shared it with their friends. So that in turn helped it to grow organically, as well as through any deliberate attempts they made at driving traffic to their site.

I’ve done this in the past also, created free software, and found that the optins tend to keep growing organically from that software giveaway for years, as users share the software with others.

For it to work, it has to be genuinely useful, and be better than the other tools going around that people can obtain for free.

It’s not always easy to do this, but if you do have a great idea for software that you’d like to make freely available in your chosen niche, it can in many cases, prove to be more valuable than other forms of free gifts that get people to opt in.

#5 Optins aren’t everything

There are plenty of opportunities to get your credit reading, etc, from other sites outside of Credit Karma, without giving your name and email address to Credit Karma.

They have such useful pages and recommendations, that their site profits regardless of optins.

I personally have found that sometimes, as an affiliate, going to an opt in page is not the right way to go.

Sometimes it’s better to run ads, that go to a ‘bridge page’ or a ‘quiz’ or an article, that then leads directly to an offer that I’m promoting.

If that produces more profits, then go with that.

#6 There is a lot of money to be made in Affiliate Marketing

Now while Credit Karma is an extreme case (potentially about to sell for $7 Billion), I see new affiliates starting out every year, and making piles of sales online.

This does not happen to everyone, I’m not saying it’s push-button easy, I’m not saying it’s ‘typical’ but I regularly see newbies, coming in, and doing extremely well, within a matter of months.

There are a lot of high converting offers in many niches (health, wealth, relationships, alternative beliefs, finance, education, and more).

And it isn’t rocket science.

Here’s a simplified equation of what is in play as an affiliate:

(Leads x Conversion Rates x Avg$ Per Customer) – Ad Spend = Affiliate Profits

For example…

If it costs you $1000 to send 2000 clicks to an offer, and that offer converts at 2%, and you earn on average $40 per sale:

Leads = 2000 clicks
Conversion Rate = 2% (0.02)
Avg $ Per Customer = $40
Ad Spend = $1000

(2000 x 0.02 x 40) – $1000

= $1600 – $1000

= $600 (Profit For The Affiliate)

If you’re not in profit, then:

  • Either the traffic that is purchased is not the right audience (and conversions will suffer)
  • Or the offer is not a proven one (conversions aren’t good)
  • Or you’re paying too much for the leads
  • Or the average commission $ is just too low.

I know I’ve gone off on a tangent here, but I wanted to mention this because, there IS a lot of money in affiliate marketing, but sometimes people over-complicate things when it comes to figuring out what’s going right and what’s going wrong.

Sometimes words in your ad itself, or on your landing page, are all the difference between a conversion rate of 0.3% and one that is 2% or higher.

Sometimes it’s a matter of needing to try several audiences to find the winning ads.

And sometimes it’s a matter of capturing leads, and following up with those leads with an autoresponder series of emails, that takes a little time to get the sales, but can lead to more sales of other products long term.

#7 Dream big and take action

It takes just as much energy to dream big as it does to dream small.

You are not protecting yourself or anyone else, by dreaming small.

Small dreams = less motivation to carry on.

I don’t see people who aim for the sky, and reaching the top of a skyscraper, being too disappointed.

I also don’t see people aiming for the top of a skyscraper, reaching the sky either.

It’s really important to eliminate any invisible glass ceilings, and have a dream that truly excites you.

Make a plan and work towards it.

Ken Lin had a dream and he chased it. His vision became more clear as he went along, but he took action.

I see the biggest difference between those who succeed at Affiliate Marketing and those who don’t, is that those who succeed are the ones who dream big, and take a lot of action.

When they take action and mistakes are made, they embrace the lessons that are learned along the way as part of the journey.

They are willing to take a lot of swings at bat, and all the mistakes make them self-correct, learn lessons, and eventually hit the ball out of the park.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and that it helps inspire you to take action in your online marketing dreams.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing several more affiliate marketing tips and videos with my newsletter subscribers.
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AFFILIATE MARKETING

Nearly 50% of Parents Have Started Side Hustles: Survey

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Nearly 50% of Parents Have Started Side Hustles: Survey

Side hustles are soaring as Americans take on second jobs to be able to afford the normal stuff.

According to a new survey, one group in particular is feeling the crunch of rising inflation and home prices, and taking on extra work in response.

Bankrate released its side hustle survey on Wednesday and found that more than one in three U.S. adults make extra money with a side gig, like a weekend job or freelance work.

The survey noted that parents of children ages 18 and under are turning to side hustles more often than those without children or those with older kids.

Related: This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can ‘Work From a Resort in the Maldives’

“Many Americans are still finding that one job isn’t enough,” Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman stated. “The cost of living has risen sharply in recent years.”

Nearly half (45%) of parents with kids younger than 18 have a side hustle compared to 36% of childless adults and 28% of parents with adult children.

The average monthly side hustle income is $891 per month and the majority of Americans with side hustles (52%) have only been at it for less than two years. They’re likely using the money to pay bills, build their savings, or for discretionary spending.

Related: This 26-Year-Old’s Side Hustle That ‘Anybody Can Do’ Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here’s What Happened When I Tested It.

“My schedule is mayhem,” 41-year-old Jordan Chussler, parent to a 5-year-old daughter and editor of a financial publication, told Marketwatch.

His daughter’s private school bill is $10,600; inflation has brought household expenses up for his family across the board. Chussler works during his lunch break and at night, as a freelancer and at restaurants, to make ends meet.

Chussler and his wife make about $165,000 combined at their main jobs; Chussler takes on extra jobs throughout the year to bring their combined income closer to $200,000 for more financial security.

He puts the extra money from side hustles into a Roth IRA and his daughter’s education fund.

Related: He Turned His High School Science Fair Project Into a Product That Solves a $390 Billion Problem: ‘This Has Not Been Done Before’

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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How Success Happened for Stephen Lease of Goodr

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How Success Happened for Stephen Lease of Goodr

This week on How Success Happens, I spoke with Stephen Lease, the CEO and co-founder of sunglasses brand Goodr. He’s had an amazing career, and I was curious to find out about what inspired him to become an entrepreneur, how selling industrial water treatment systems to golf courses taught him to identify what his core consumer base actually cares about, and how he applied the lessons he learned from his time in corporate America to the founding of Goodr.

You can listen to our full conversation above, and below, I’ve pulled out three key takeaways.

Don’t let sunk cost keep you attached to something that’s not working

When you launch a business and feel confident that it’s a great idea, your loved ones will root for you no matter what. Lease founded five businesses prior to finding success with Goodr, and despite feeling confident in all of them at the outset, it eventually became clear that hope was not a solid strategy when a business was simply not working. At the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, it was painful to come to terms with folding a company he had invested energy into, but eventually, he got good at starting companies cheaply and identifying quickly whether or not they would be a success.
Timestamp — 8:50-10:30

When you shift your mindset to celebrate the work over the results, the ups and downs of the day-to-day grind become a gift

Lease started Goodr as a side hustle, which meant that he worked round the clock for several years before running the company full-time. He’s often asked how he found the motivation to put in that time, and the only answer he can think of is that he found joy in the day-to-day. As a leader, he wants to inspire his team to take big swings, and sometimes, that means putting a ton of effort into something that fails. However, he assures them that failure is okay so long as you celebrate the work over the results.
Timestamp — 19:40-20:50

You can’t be a master at everything — identify your north star as a brand and double down on it

When Lease and his co-founders launched Goodr, they weren’t sure if it would be a lifestyle brand or an eyewear brand, but after a few years, they took an honest look at the business and realized that eyewear is what it did best. That opened up a world of possibility, but they also needed to identify what their differentiators were as a brand — those differentiators are function, fun, fashion and “‘ffordability.” Honing in on that has given the brand a clear decision matrix as it expands its product offerings, and Lease is confident that with those differentiators top of mind, Goodr will continue creating products that its customers love.
Timestamp — 21:28-23:35

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How AI Is Revolutionizing the Marketing Landscape

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How AI Is Revolutionizing the Marketing Landscape

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The marketing landscape is on the cusp of a profound transformation, driven by the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). These new AI marketing tools are poised to revolutionize how companies approach their strategies, structure their organizations and ultimately reach their target markets.

However, amidst this exciting wave of innovation, identity verification will emerge as a critical factor in ensuring the ethical and effective use of AI in marketing.

Related: How to Harness AI for a Competitive Edge in Marketing

AI marketing: A new era of possibilities

AI marketing tools are no longer a futuristic concept but a tangible reality. They offer unprecedented capabilities, from hyper-personalized customer experiences to data-driven campaign optimization. Let’s delve into how these tools are reshaping the marketing landscape:

  1. Hyper-personalization: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of customer data to deliver tailored messages and product recommendations in real time. Imagine websites dynamically adapting content and offers based on each visitor’s individual preferences and past behavior. This level of personalization can significantly enhance customer engagement and drive conversions.

  2. Predictive analytics: AI can predict customer behavior with increasing accuracy, enabling marketers to anticipate needs and proactively offer solutions. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and retention rates.

  3. Campaign optimization: AI-powered tools can analyze campaign performance data in real time, allowing marketers to make data-driven adjustments on the fly. This can significantly improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and reduce wasted ad spend.

  4. Content creation: AI is increasingly being used to generate marketing content, including ad copy, social media posts, images and even product descriptions. While this can streamline content production, it raises important questions about authenticity and the need for human oversight.

Related: 5 AI Marketing Tools Every Startup Should Know About

Organizational impact and go-to-market strategies

The rise of AI marketing will inevitably impact the structure and operation of marketing organizations:

  • New skill sets: Marketing teams will need to acquire new skills in data analysis, AI tool utilization and ethical AI implementation. This may necessitate upskilling or hiring new talent.

  • Data-driven culture: Companies will need to foster a data-driven culture within their marketing departments. This involves embracing data-driven decision-making and investing in data infrastructure. This is critical for any size organization and regardless if you’re a hyperscaler or an organization looking to increase EBITDA.

  • Collaboration: Marketing teams will need to collaborate closely with data science and IT teams to maximize the benefits of AI marketing tools.

As for go-to-market strategies, companies will need to adapt to the evolving landscape:

  • Omnichannel marketing: AI can help create seamless, personalized experiences across multiple channels, from email to social media to in-app messaging.

  • Customer journey mapping: AI can help map the customer journey more effectively, identifying pain points and opportunities for optimization.

  • Transparency and trust: As AI becomes more prevalent in marketing, companies will need to be transparent about their use of AI and ensure customer trust.

Related: AI Is Considered the “Wild West” — Here’s How Marketers Can Rein It In and Ensure Ethical Use

The critical role of identity verification

Identity verification will play a crucial role in ensuring the ethical and effective use of AI in marketing. Here’s why:

  • Data accuracy: AI relies heavily on data. Accurate identity verification ensures that the data being fed into AI algorithms is reliable, preventing biased or discriminatory outcomes.

  • Regulatory compliance: Many regions have strict data protection, age verification and privacy regulations. AI ensures that marketing practices adhere to data protection regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA, by accurately verifying identities and managing consent. This reduces the risk of legal penalties and enhances consumer trust.

  • Preventing fraud: Inaccurate or fraudulent data can lead to misdirected marketing efforts, wasted resources and even reputational damage. Identity verification helps mitigate these risks.

  • Building trust: Customers are more likely to trust brands that prioritize their privacy and security. Robust identity verification practices can strengthen this trust.

The road ahead

The future of marketing is undoubtedly AI-powered. Embracing AI marketing tools can unlock new levels of personalization, efficiency and effectiveness. However, it’s imperative for companies to prioritize identity verification to ensure the ethical and responsible use of these powerful technologies.

As AI continues to evolve, the marketing landscape will undoubtedly undergo further transformations. Companies that adapt to these changes and harness the power of AI will be well-positioned to thrive in the years ahead.

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