Jim Lillig is a colorful character – in the best possible way imaginable.
Having been involved in brick-and-mortar businesses, operating mature entertainment website MrSkin.com, speaking multiple times at Yanik Silver’s highly rated Underground workshop series, operating seafood retailer Lobster Gram, and finally launching his own affiliate network, Offeratti.
It’s hard to imagine Jim as someone able to sit still. He rarely does, and just like the last time he came on the Friday Podcast in January this year, Jim was chatty and gave a number of great tips to both affiliate marketers as well as lessons from launching his own affiliate network.
Here’re some of the topics we talked about:
- 6 months on – lessons learned from launching the Offerati affiliate network
- Combat affiliate fraud – how to work towards “zero fraud” on your affiliate network
- How international affiliates, especially from Asia and Europe can increase their chances of getting accepted by affiliate networks and CPA networks
- How Offerati’s MONKS system improves conversion rates for affiliates and how it works
- Tips for new affiliates launching their first campaigns
- Why and how you can incorporate predictive keywords and demographic targeting into your campaigns
- Plans in the pipeline for Offerati
Check out the podcast below:
The recent Affiliate Summit West marked the launch of the Offeratti affiliate network founded by affiliate veteran Jim Lillig.
I spoke to Jim at the sidelines of the affiliate summit, where Jim talked about:
- How he got started in affiliate marketing
- Getting involved in projects like affiliate track
- Managing the affiliate program for an MP3 site which had 1 million paid subscribers and a budget of $500,000 each month for pay per click (PPC) traffic
- How merchants can easily create marketing tools for affiliates
- PPC optimization tips for affiliates
- How you can identify quality affiliate networks and affiliate offers
- How to get approved and accepted for affiliate programs if you are an international affiliate
- Why affiliate managers should not auto-approve affiliate applications
- The launch of the Offeratti affiliate network
Check out the podcast below:
With the Affiliate Summit just days away, here’re a few pointers especially if it’s your first time to the summit:
- Vegas Throat: Specific to Las Vegas, you will lose your voice very easily if you don’t take care of your throat. The dry desert air creates a lot of static electricity, it also dries out your throat and you’ll find yourself losing your voice at the end of day 1 or day 2 if you don’t drink enough liquids or take throat lozenges to give your throat a break. Also worth trying a a honey drink at the end of the day (real honey, not that cheap honey-flavored sugar syrup typically sold at grocery stores). I’m bringing a herbal throat syrup that I expect will do wonders (known in Chinese as “Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa”.
- Camera/Video Camera/Flip Camera: Do the touristy thing and take lots of photos during the summit. Better yet, take lots of pictures with people so you can remember what they look like. It’s fairly safe to assume that 90% of bloggers will look NOTHING like what their avatar looks like. (present company included).
- Business Cards: Yes, the reciprocity thing takes place. I give you my card, you give me your card. Generally a great practise, although if you live in the US, you can expect to get lots of follow up calls over the next week. The most important thing about collecting business cards is to follow up within a week after the summit, something that Stephanie Agresta (AKA Internet Geek Girl) is great at. On another note, if you’re like me and collect a couple of hundred business card each year, be sure to carry a pen and scribble “ASW08″ on the back of the card, especially after you put it in the huge pile in your office later.
- It’s COLD: Expect a low of 32 deg F according to the weather forecasts, so bring a heavy coat if you get chilly.
- Networks ahead of the summit: Contact people and companies you’d like to meet, especially if you go through the exhibitors list, or if you know that a particular affiliate or blogger is headed over. Some of the people I’m looking forward to meeting: Heather Paulson, Stephanie Agresta, Sam Harrelson, James and Arlene Martell, Jim Lillig, NeverblueAds’ Samantha Brachat, Revenuewire CEO Geordie Carswell. I talk to many of these folks on a daily basis, but it’s always great to meet up in person.
- Take the shuttle bus: If you’re not in a great hurry, the shuttle bus at the airport costs $7 and goes to the major hotels. The taxi ride costs $20 and is a whole lot faster, but you’ll not see as much of the Strip as you would from the bus.
- Plan your schedule: There’s lots of exciting stuff going on at the summit at any single point in time, so you need to work out a schedule of where you want to be at what time. Else there’s a good chance you’ll miss a meeting or miss a workshop session because you were out on the show floor talking to people.
- Get enough rest: With the summit lasting three days, it’s not too bad. But by the morning of day 2, you’ll start to see people dragging themselves along, or mysteriously disappearing in the afternoon to catch some rest. If you rest up on Friday and Saturday, you should have enough energy to last through the event (even with some parties going on till 4am…)
- ***Most important***: Have a goal and an agenda in mind: Are you at the summit to check out a specific affiliate/CPA network? Visit their website, talk to other affiliates before you attend the show. Are you there to network with a particular individual or company? Visit their blog, find out if they haunt a specific forum and read their posts there. If I were an affiliate manager, and if I was motivated to recruit new affiliates, I’d compile a “hit list” of the top 50 (or if I was really motivated top 100) affiliates, I’d visit their blog or website, and check them out, make some notes. Contrary to popular belief, just having ONE canned presentation doesn’t cut it. Sad to say, but going to every booth and being told “we have the highest payouts, and we have many exclusive offers” makes for quite the yawn-fest. I think being able to present your product and your network in a unique fashion, helps pique the interest of experienced affiliates who’re already have accounts on 10 other CPA networks. So please, have a little pow-wow before heading to the summit, figure out a plan of attack that goes beyond “highest payout, exclusive offers” and you will definitely hook more than your fair share of super affiliates.
Does anyone have other advice?
The writing’s been on the wall for some time – merchants and affiliates need to up their game if they’re to stay relevant, especially as the market gets more sophisticated.
Just take a look at the signs of the times:
- Implementation of stricter quality measure (eg Google Quality Score) to clamp down on “thin” sites. Especially hit hard are single page landing sites.
- The noose tightens. You can get somewhat around the QS issue with an about us, contact, privacy page and sitemap. But you can be sure that the quality control noose will continue to tighten.
- Expansion of the PPC and Affiliate market: Just like in the dotcom days, you’ll have fools rushing in, especially as PPC and affiliate marketing start to go prime time. Already, the “pseudo gurus” have shifted from pimping “Adsense in a Box” products to “CPA in a Box” products. [I've looked at a number of these products and the only person making anything from them, is the guy who sold it to you].
So is some “guru” out there going to exploit this market by issuing a free “Death of Affiliate Marketing” report?
If so, stay as far away as you can, because most expensive advice you will ever get is “free advice”.
I was reading Jim Lillig’s post “Performance Marketing Makes Sense” especially the part where he says:
“I believe engagement is to blame. The final frontier of advertising is to connect a product (and ultimately a brand) with truly interested consumers in a relevant, meaningful andlasting way at a time when they have the propensity to purchase or consider a purchase.“
In my opinion, it’s very much a “chicken and egg” issue.
If you’re promoting $1 or $2 zip or email submit offers, you’d be wondering what level of “engagement” you can work on, especially if you’re running at a 30 – 50% margin at best (or $0.30 to $0.50).
Granted some of us have the priviledge of getting Super Affiliate payouts which are double, triple or even higher than the posted rate, but what about the average affiliate?
You have a couple of options, and both aren’t exactly easy to take action on.
The first is to promote (more…)