Book(s) Your Currently Reading? You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard by Bert Decker & Terrible Nerd by Kevin Savetz
Coffee or Tea? Diet Dr. Pepper
Best Business Purchase? Futon for my office for siestas.
What’s the first think you do at work each day? Clear out my inbox – I am big on maintaining Inbox Zero.
Resource or website you use every day? WordPress
Shawn Collins first reached out and left a comment on How To Get The Most Out Of The Affiliate Summit West 2013 Without Attending. Since than I asked he would be willing to complete and interview, and he was nice enough to say yes. I want to thank you Shawn and I know that there are a lot of golden nuggets that Shawn can share with us so let’s get down to it.
Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Shawn?
I co-founded the Affiliate Summit conference with my partner, Missy Ward, in 2003. We run a couple big conferences a year. I focus on that, as well as publishing FeedFront magazine quarterly with Missy. And I have been an affiliate continually since 1997.
You run Affiliate Summit which is Amazing conference or should I call it party for any serious Affiliate Marketer. How did this Summit evolve and what’s your current role with the Summit?
There are pleny of parties, but we focus on the daytime activities – all of the networking and education. The parties are held by third parties. It’s the largest affiliate marketing conference in the world (over 5,000 people at the last one in January 2013 in Las Vegas).
We started it as an alternative to another conference back in 2003 that took place on a cruise ship. We wanted something for the industry that focused more on learning and making deals, and started with a small event of 200 people.
We’ve kept a very small staff all along – only two employees. I focus on marketing and handling the speakers for the conference.
So how much of your time do you spend on the Affiliate Summits now and what else is keeping you busy (personal sites, affiliate networks, etc)?
Affiliate Summit is a good 90-95% of my time. Then FeedFront magazine takes up a lot of time for short periods throughout the year, and whatever time is left is for my personal affiliate sites and my blog on affiliate marketing at http://blog.affiliatetip.com
How do you explain the term “affiliate marketing” to the person that has never heard of it before?
I recently read that the Summit attendance continues to grow. What kind of attributing factors do you feel play an important role is this?
We focus on asking what our attendees want and give it to them whenever possible. We’re obsessed with making Affiliate Summit a very productive time for everybody, and want them to get a great ROI, so we have a high percentage of return attendees and good word of mouth.
I know of the most talked about features about the summit are the parties that are thrown (at least in Vegas). Talk me through some of this, are these parties you plan and throw, do you ask companies to do this, and would you agree that is very attractive bonus feature of the summit?
Lots of people enjoy the parties, but we play no role. We are happy that there are so many social activities for attendees, and there is an official one each night from a sponsor.
How do you respond to the person that says there is no money in affiliate marketing? Or better yet I have tried that affiliate marketing and it does not work for me?
Anybody who thinks there is no money in affiliate marketing should look at the top e-commerce companies. It’s unusual to find one that doesn’t have an affiliate program, and most have had them for a decade or more. If it didn’t work for all involved, nobody would be doing it.
It’s common for people to struggle to make it work – it’s not easy. It takes lots of patience, dedication, time, and creativity. Anybody who is looking to get rich quick is going to cycle through quickly and complain it doesn’t work.
How much does content and content marketing play a role in affiliate marketing?
It depends on the type of affiliate – I focus on writing my own unique content, so it’s central to what I do. Others use content from advertisers for email or write ads for paid search. There are so many ways to be an affiliate that there are no absolutes on how to
Do you have any marketing secrets that you could “snitch on” that you could share with the readers of Snitch IM blog?
The people who have long-term success in affiliate marketing are focused on creating value and solving problems for consumers.
Do you see new trends for promoting, marketing, or industry specific that you’re seeing or maybe just assumption of what’s to come in the future?
I’m paying close attention to pay-per-call, mobile and video.
What advice would you give to my readers trying to stick out of the crowd and be different?
Be consistant and provide quality. Don’t ever do anything because Google might like it – do it because your target audience might like it.
Would you recommend any Books or Courses?
I just wrote a book called Extra Money Answer for people who are brand new to affiliate marketing. It’s available for $2.99 on Amazon. I created it to provide quality, cheap information as an alternative to the over-priced bad advice people are trying to sell to suckers.
What would you say is the biggest single reason for your success?
I always strive to under-promise and over-deliver.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding your business?
Invest more heavily in PPC arbitrage. I was buying clicks for a penny from GoTo.com back in the 90’s and reselling for a nickel, but I didn’t scale up like I should have.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t burn bridges.
Anything else you would like to share?
When creating affiliate sites, focus on topics that interest you, rather than trends. If you go with the flavor of the day, you’ll find that you are quickly bored.