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An Interview With Rich Anand

Who are you and what are you currently working on?

My name is Rich Anand and I’m the Founder, COO of Evolvez Agency. ‚ÄčOur mission is to evolve brands’ Gen-Z initiatives by employing influential College Brand Ambassadors.

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

During my junior year at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, a few of my friends and I set out to solve the classic “chicken – egg” dilemma we were seeing in our peers’ quest to secure a summer internship – specifically, one needs experience for an internship, but needs an internship for experience. We wanted to introduce brand ambassadorships into the process – students start off with an ambassador position, ultimately using that experience as a launch point to secure an internship.

Over the years, we have worked with the likes of The Economist, Dollar Shave Club, Panera Bread, CBS Sports, etc to develop and execute ambassador programs. Students are hired to represent the company at their respective campuses, and through in-person experiential and “word of mouth” activations, drive whatever KPI the company is tracking (subscription sales, app downloads, first time orders, etc.)

The fact we are providing so many students jobs and experience through this affiliate avenue is what keeps me excited about the space. It’s a good feeling when someone I’ve worked with reaches out expressing gratitude and how it helped them land an internship/full time position.

What is one piece of advice you would give a newbie affiliate marketer? What is one piece of advice they should ignore?

One piece of advice is to let the affiliate work their magic. Don’t try and micromanage – sure, you can help out with the brainstorming and sharing of brand principle, but affiliates know their network best. They know what they have to say/do to generate the most success.

One piece of advice to ignore is related to compensation. Affiliates are always willing to negotiate, so try and go for a payment structure based on success rather than a fixed cost that they will usually present on their end.

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

It’s not really a mistake we made and I hate calling it my “favorite” mistake since it has caused so much hardship, but Covid-19 really opened our eyes into the true potential of our business.

Prior to Covid, we timed our affiliate campaigns to end when students left college campuses. Hence, we were working on a seasonal basis, with temporary hiatuses during the summer months.

However, with the digital revolution currently taking place, we realized that students would/should be able to continue working through the summer. They are already connected digitally to all their networks (GroupMe, Zoom calls, etc.) that they can just continue with the campaign – albeit at lower levels, but still better than stopping it entirely.

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

For us, Slack has been absolutely paramount. Our clients provide all the tracking links and such, but our structure also entails the management of students – providing weekly updates, setting weekly goals, etc.

Slack allows us to house all the student ambassador in one group, with the ability for them to cross-communicate and make each others’ initiatives more productive.

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

I am an avid reader – truly believe reading is the best form of education one can take on. On that note, people should check out Feedly and tie RSS feeds of blogs related to affiliate marketing. CJ is a good one to connect.

Also, there are yearly reports released by various institutions pertaining to affiliate marketing. Just do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of hits.

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

Connect with me on Linkedin

Furthermore, check out our website for more information on Evolvez – www.evolvez.co