This week’s guest on Meet An Affiliate is Steven Sanders. Steven runs a successful website development business and is a professional blogger who enjoys social media marketing and helping other learn how to make money online. You can find my blog at www.steven-sanders.com and connect with me on Twitter @steven_sanders
How did you first get into Affiliate Marketing?
I surf the internet all the time often hopping from one link to the other. One day I landed on an ebook entitle “$7 Secrets” I bought it and it all went to hell from there. Although I do really enjoy it.
What was your first website?
My 7th grade English teacher asked me if I wanted to join the school webpage club. Our goal was to build the website for our elementary school. I got so excited, I stole my mom’s college website development books and taught myself.
When was the first time you started making money online? How did you do it?
I first began making money online by doing small time websites for a hundred dollars or so.
What does a normal day look like for you?
Busy as hell. The guy that wrote the 4-hour work-week makes it seem so easy, but anything involving running your own business instead of working for the man takes more hours than a person has in a day. I usually get up, drive the wife to work, and start working on everything I can possibly get done with my blog and web development business while trying to wrangle 2 little girls. Somehow I manage, but when it’s time for bed, I fall asleep quickly (when I do get to sleep).
How important do you think having a mentor is when you first get started in affiliate marketing?
If you’re really passionate about affiliate marketing and are willing to give it 110% to research and learn, you don’t really need a mentor. I’ve never had one, and I’m doing just fine.
What is the biggest challenge you continue to face in this industry?
Getting people to know about me. The hardest part of any industry is building your brand. In order to be successful, you have to be everywhere. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you’re not everywhere, in everyone’s mind, you won’t make it.
Name 5 Guides/E-books/programs that you would recommend for people looking to improve their Affiliate Marketing business.
I’ve actually got a page on my blog that lists the books I recommend for being an even better blogger, affiliate marketer, and social media expert. But in short they are: Problogger, Twitter Power, The Adsense Code, Click Here To Order, Made to Stick, Buzzmarketing, and any book written by Seth Godin.
What does the future hold for Affiliate Marketing?
As the recession continues, more and more people will start to shop online, thus increasing the number of advertisers. Affiliate marketing is big right now, but will end up getting way bigger. I just came back from BlogHer and the editor of Vanity Fair and one other magazine said advertisers will pull out of traditional media by 50% by the end of 2010 in favor of spending more online.
What’s the first piece of advice you would give to someone looking to get into affiliate marketing?
Don’t go in blindly. Do a lot of research first, then when you think you’re ready, do more research. Once you get started, don’t be afraid to play around with your creatives. Something that works for one person might not work with another.
What’s the biggest mistake you made when you first started doing Affiliate Marketing?
Joining as many affiliate network sites as possible. Instead of joinging one at a time and working with each before moving on to the next, I spread myself too thin, and failed miserably.
What’s your favorite Affiliate Marketing Conference? Why?
I’ve never been to an affiliate marketing conference, although I would love to go to Affiliate Summit. It seems to be the biggest and best of any other. Plus a good friend of mine started it.
What blogs do you frequent the most?
Any that fall within my niche. Shoemoney, Problogger, John Chow, Zac Johnson, and many others that I enjoy reading that may not be in my niche. I actually do not visit Yaro Starak’s blog very frequently. He doesn’t have that personal flair that many of the others have and the majority of his content are reviews of different products. I often get bored reading his stuff.
What’s your blog about?
I basically help others learn how to make money online. I try to teach the best ways to use social media sites, affiliate networking, and blogging to make money. You could compare my blog to that of John Chow and Shoemoney.
What do you look for in an Affiliate Network?
Customer service and payout. I like to be able to talk to someone personally that really cares about me when I have questions or issues. I joined an affiliate network before and after asking them for the referral url several times and not getting any response, I stopped using them. I also like the networks that offer a lifetime referral payout and a good number of pay-per-click programs.
What do you look for in an Affiliate Manager?
They have to be in the social media scene, make a real attempt at talking to you and not just trying to sell, and actually read my blog. Really get to know what I represent and help tailor my affiliate programs around my blog. To tell you the truth, I haven’t done much with Clickbooth, but I may start because you’re doing a damn good job at everything I just mentioned.
What is the best way for someone to reach you?
Twitter. I’m on twitter all the time, and even when I’m not posting, I’m monitoring. I get @ replies via email on my Blackberry just so I can stay in touch. The next best way is via my contact form on my blog. The hardest way to get in touch with me is by phone. I simply do not answer numbers I don’t recognize. If I add you to my phone contacts list and you call, I will answer though.
What’s your take on the new FTC Guidelines revolving Flogs and Fake Review Sites?
I hate anything that’s not geniune. Anything where the person is only their to make money and doesn’t really care about the community. The FTC should crack down on these kinds of sites, but they should also give a little freedom to those that try to use it the right way. I don’t see anything wrong with getting paid to review things, as long as there’s transparency and the review still reflects the true opinion of the blogger.
What’s your favorite book?
Twitter Power! I carry it everywhere I go. I’m really interested in connecting with others and using social media the best way I know how and Joel did a great job telling it like it is and how it works.
What’s on your iPod?
I love classic rock, so it’s loaded down with that. I do have one ebook on it though. The Roadmap to Become a Blogger from Yaro Starak has some interesting information, although none of it is really any new to me. But you sometimes learn so much that your forget some of it, so it’s always good to have things to remind you.
Are you an affiliate with some valuable info you’d love to share with our readers? Send me an email with your contact information and you never know, you might just be our next guest on Meet an Affiliate!
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