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An Interview with Dave Bowden

Who are you and what are you currently working on?

I’m the founder of IrreverentGent.com, a men’s style blog that shows guys how to build confidence by sharpening their style. I’m working on expanding my portfolio of blog posts, creating a downloadable style guide that my readers can use to learn the basics of fashion and style, and creating an online course that will show them how to implement the fundamental principles of style to improve their looks and their lives.

How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited about it?

I got started in affiliate marketing in 2016 when I found out about Amazon’s affiliate program and started using it on my blog. What I love about affiliate marketing is that it’s a win/win for both publishers and readers. Readers are actively looking for recommendations about what to buy (and what to avoid), and bloggers supply them with that information. Affiliate marketing gives us a way to make money while doing so, without having to charge our readers for the information we provide, which is a great business model.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?

One piece of advice I’d give, which I know they probably don’t want to hear, is be patient. When you first start out with affiliate marketing there’s a lot to learn, and it can be discouraging if you don’t see immediate results. But stick with it, because as you learn and as you build an audience, it absolutely pays off in the long run.

Ignore advice that encourages you to focus on the biggest possible payday. It’s tempting to find expensive luxury items to link to because they offer a big commission, but if they’re not right for your audience, then it won’t work out in your favor. Focus on your audience: what do they need, what to do they want, and what can they afford? Link to those products and you’ll do well, even if they’re not high-ticket items.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?

One of my biggest mistakes early on was forcing affiliate links into inorganic places. For instance, after I joined Amazon’s program, I went back through old blog posts and worked in mentions/links to products where they weren’t really relevant or necessary. This didn’t work, which at first was discouraging. Eventually I realized that affiliate links work best when they’re natural and relevant to the topic or blog post you’re including them. For instance, when I write a post about the best men’s sunglasses, it makes total sense to link to each pair of shades. But when I write a post about how to be more confident, sandwiching links to a pair of sunglasses doesn’t serve my audience, and doesn’t make me any money.

What is one piece of software or a web service (besides Geniuslink) that allows you to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?

Amazon’s SiteStripe is huge because it makes creating and sharing Amazon links super easy. Another great piece of software is Ahrefs, which I use for keyword and SEO research. They have a tool that tells me not only how many people search for a keyword, but how many people click on the results. Affiliate marketing is all about clicks, so knowing which posts elicit a lot of clicks is a huge advantage.

How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast and brand is a big source of information for me, as is Neil Patel’s blog. (In addition to the Geniuslink blog, of course!)

If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?

The best way to find me is on my site, IrreverentGent.com. In terms of social media I’m most active on Twitter (@IrreverentGent), and Pinterest (pinterest.com/IrreverentGent).