So I finally got off my ass and decided to pick the brains of some successful affiliates. Now I could have gone straight after some of the successful u.s. gurus but I wanted to keep more close to home. So the first person I wanted to interview is U.K. affiliate Fraser Edwards.
Fraser Edwards has been involved in affiliate marketing for more than 5 years after starting out in business as a website developer. He has an excellent reputation in the industry and his affiliate blog is on the recommended reading list of this years AffStat Report.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Fraser for doing this interview, I know he’s quite busy with 2 projects at the moment www.redwine.co.uk and www.whitewine.co.uk and I appreciate that he took the time out to do this.
So here’s the interview:
1. Frazer, I got to know you via the blogroll on affiliatetip.com and from doing research on the affiliate marketing industry in the U.K. For the benefits of readers who might not have a clue about who you are, can you briefly introduce yourself and describe your experience in the industry?
I stumbled into affiliate marketing back in 2001 when I was running a small web development business. After finding the UK affiliate community at http://www.affiliates4u.com/ I picked up a lot of tips and quickly switched to being a full time affiliate and gently dropped my clients J I’ve worked on a mixture of projects at first only relying on natural search and then switching to paid search. In 2006 I started my blog and podcast interviewing many of the top affiliates and networks in the UK.
2. Now you’ve been blogging about this industry for over 5 years. In this time there has been a lot of changes online, i.e. the birth of social networks, twitter, etc. What would you say is the biggest change in 5 years to have had an effect on the affiliate industry?
I think the biggest change has to be the dominance of Google and how much it controls what affiliates can do. 5 years back it was a simple process to get anything ranked but now you have to approach it differently. Paid search used to be a different ball game too but the opportunities aren’t quite as easy to find now.
3. Now with 5 years experience behind you, do you have any tips for the readers of what you would do differently if you had to start again?
To start again I think I would have focussed on building 1 or 2 really top quality sites and creating a brand. Instead I think I spent too much time churning out throw away sites that earned well for a few months but don’t do anything for me now. The guys that built genuine brands and invested their time in just one site are the ones that I have seen do well and sell up and exit. I really think you need to work on something you are interested in too. For example I did well from promoting perfume site but in the end I realised I didn’t care enough about perfume to take it to the next level.
It’s advice I’ve given myself this year and I’m working on fewer different projects. My main project for the next few months is going to be White Wine www.whitewine.co.uk and Red Wine www.redwine.co.uk which are in the early stages but I’m getting loads of new content on there and aiming for the long term.
4. On your blog over the years you have done many podcast interviews with affiliates. What would be the common characteristic amongst them all that you think made them successful affiliates?
I think most successful affiliates have to be hard working and self motivated. It’s one of the biggest myths around that it’s ‘easy’ to earn money online. It’s definitely possible for most people but it’s going to need a lot of hard work. In my early days there were a good number of fellow affiliates up working all night long and that’s the dedication it takes if you are expecting a full time income.
5. AffStats 2009 has just come out and there is some interesting stats but the one that interested me was regarding how many campaigns/offers affiliates run at the same time. Whats the most offers you’ve had running at the same time?
I used to run loads of different merchants at the same time, probably into the hundreds through various datafeed sites. Now I just work seriously with a handful. I tend to work more in retail commission based programs rather than CPA lead based stuff.
6. Theres a lot of information online regarding affiliates running successful campaigns, i.e. make 20k a month etc. I believe that most experience comes from failure and the key to optimising campaigns is by analysing the data and tweaking accordingly. What would your ratio of successful campaigns to unsuccessful campaigns be?
Well I logged into my adwords account just now and I have 5 active campaigns and 126 paused or deleted campaigns so that gives some idea. Many of these are things that worked for a time and then dropped off or things that I tried and never worked at all. I agree that you need to get on and fail a few times to at least start learning. There is lots of great advice out there but don’t spend too much time reading and instead just get started and learn as you go.
7. Theres a lot of discussion currently about PPV traffic. Have you used it yourself yet? And do you think that it provides any sort of value traffic?
I’ve got to admit it’s not something I’ve tried yet or really know much about but from a quick read it’s never going to compare with quality targeted traffic.
8. Out of all the interviews you have conducted, which is the one that really sticks in your mind? (This should hopefully send some traffic back to your site)
I think the interview with Doug Scott has had the most positive feedback http://www.affiliateblog.co.uk/doug-scott-asap-ventures-interview.html
Doug is involved in some pretty interesting projects, has been very successful and is a really straight talking so I think people appreciated the advice he gave.
9. Apparently UK affiliates rely more on SEO than PPC when compared with their US counterparts. (http://econsultancy.com/blog/3452-10-differences-between-uk-and-us-affiliate-marketing) Do you think this is true? And do you belive this will change?
Econsultancy do a lot of great research and that’s an interesting post. It’s certainly the impression I’ve got as well. I think PPC was huge in the UK but has faded a little more as merchants have looked to take control of this again. I think also that the US seems to focus more on CPA offers via PPC but the UK seems more based around retail merchants and less lead based so I think this changes the promotional method as well.
10. Can you describe your first successful campaign, i.e your feelings when you realised it was going to be successful, your feelings when it peaked and what you did when you knew it was coming to an end?
My first successful campaign was an accident when someone started advertising a similar URL to one of mine on national radio J It got me hooked on affiliate marketing but I started a few different projects as I knew just one source wouldn’t last.
When I first realised that I could make money from affiliate marketing while sleeping I knew that it was always going to be better than billing hours as a web developer.
11. What do you think will be the trends in Affiliate Marketing in 2009/10?
There is a standing joke over here that everyone says “mobile is the next big thing” and we’ve been saying that for 5 years now and it’s never happened. I still don’t think mobile ecommerce is about to be huge but I do think we’ll see some really interesting iPhone apps and that’s an area I know affiliates are looking
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