Who are you and what are you currently working on?
My name is Nick and I work at Envato in the partnerships team. In my day-to-day life here in our company headquarters, I oversee all media buying and affiliate activity for Envato Elements, our flagship subscription product for the creative industry.
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited about it?
Well, I never studied marketing or had any formal training. I grew up as a creative kid in Denmark and got into graphic design when I was around 20 years old. After 4 years as a digital designer I got my first non-design job, which was in Envato’s content team. Here, my job was to investigate and launch new business opportunities for our marketplaces. This involved a lot of on-the-job learning, emailing software companies, using dashboards and getting a hang of just how to persuade aspiring designers to create new and exciting products to sell.
After a year and a half, my manager was promoted to channel team manager of a new aspiring customer channel – the affiliate channel. At the time, our affiliate channel was an untapped, and unmanned revenue stream.
What gets me excited? I tend to get a big serotonin boost whenever I get to present initiatives that involve untapped potential. I find that these opportunities often come about as a result of past-me’s understanding creative people work, where they browse for industry updates, and how their websites are coded (something I regularly keep an eye out for, these days).
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
That depends strongly on what side of the table we’re sitting here. If you’re an affiliate publisher, I recommend that you focus on building awesome content that you yourself would love to engage with. Also, make sure to team up with a monetization expert to consult you on how to optimize your revenue potential.
There’s almost always a revenue potential you haven’t explored. After all – if you’re a blogger, and you blog about one thing in particular all day every day, how can anyone reasonably expect you to know all about funnel optimization, A/B testing, affiliate networks, retargeting campaigns, paid search etc. They can’t, and that’s why you need a monetization expert you can trust.
If on the other hand, you are an affiliate marketer working at an advertiser, I would recommend that you make it easy for your affiliates to work with you. The partners on your program are people with normal-person-concerns such as picking up the kids from school, managing their work/life balance, grabbing lunch and so on. Their email is likely heavily trafficked as well, and chances are good that you’re just one in a handful of emails, asking for them to join the program. This same way of thinking should ripple into every single aspect of your work that involves communication with your affiliates. Need them to update a link, launch a new ad, install a plugin or promote your Cyber Monday Sale? You’ll find that you get a much larger return if you just make it easy for them.
I also highly recommend that you learn how to code, and fast. With the web constantly evolving, ad technologies constantly offering new opportunities for you to clock clicks through to your site – you would be missing out so much if you don’t fully leverage the canvas of what we work with, which more often than not is somewhere on the web.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?
Working in-house at an advertiser in a channel as green as ours were, I really hadn’t figured out how managing all of these affiliates worked. I went through 6 months of manually using Gmail to reach out to potential/existing publishers and partners to bring them in and maximize their performance. I tracked all of my efforts through a Google Sheet, and discussed our progress with the team once a week.
I have since then picked up a vast range of software and tools to help eliminate a big part of my work. My mental focus points are now only spent on things we can’t possibly automate yet. That said, as much time as I wasted during those 6 months of manual work, they have been worth their time ten times over, as they taught me the true value of automation and workflow optimization.
What is one piece of software or a web service that allows you to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?
I now oversee every step of the partnerships lifecycle through a combination of Mediarails by Impact, and the Streak CRM. Each one of these makes your life as an affiliate marketer much smoother. Let’s have a look at MediaRails (since you asked for just one).
MediaRails by Impact is our partnerships management platform. It helps us qualify new leads and easily divide them amongst our team. We have the luxury of having a designated full-time person for each of our products, and logging into the platform to divide leads among us is a powerful feature. As an added bonus, the tool has Similarweb/AHREFs integrations so we can quite quickly assess what their top keywords are and whether or not the traffic is from the US and what channels are their strongest.
The fact that MediaRails is owned by Impact is perhaps the biggest strength of the software. In my book, there are two companies out there that are fundamentally transforming the industry – Freestar for fairer publisher conditions and Impact for better advertiser automation. Make sure to familiarize yourself with both!
How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
I continue to educate myself on affiliate marketing by keeping a close eye on a variety of blogs, publications and YouTube channel. I’m not going to mention any particular resource, but I will mention that Panda, the chrome extension is a wonderful tool, because its Cockpit view feature lets you scan dozens of feeds from news sites and Reddit feeds whenever you open a new tab. I used it to spy on all the big publications in the creative industry from my content team days, and it is still, to this day – the best way for me to keep updated on whichever industry I’m monitoring.
If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?
If people want to say hi, they’re more than welcome to find me on LinkedIn. Search for Nick Rasmussen. Look for the pink shirt 🙂