Ryan Mathews is a popular name in the world of affiliate marketing, boasting over $20 million in annual revenue and over 400 employees. He is the owner and founder of Revolution Marketing, which specializes in paid traffic acquisition and affiliate sales. In this detailed interview, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how Ryan Mathews makes money online and his advice for other marketers.
How Did Ryan Mathews Start Affiliate Marketing?
Ryan Mathews initially got involved in affiliate marketing back in 2011, when he noticed a huge demand for products that he liked and had previously recommended to his audience.
At the time, Mathews was working with a small affiliate marketing agency called Blue Strawberry, which he had founded in 2009. One of the products that Mathews noticed had the potential to be a massive hit when launched was an e-book on conversion optimization. Mathews saw the potential to make lots of money from the sale of this one product – and he was right.
It turned out that the demand for this product was so great that it actually exceeded Mathews’ expectations. He had to shut down his agency and go into full-time product creation and affiliate marketing himself to satisfy the demand.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Mathews began creating products for affiliate marketing because he saw the potential to make a lot of money from the sale of affiliate products. He noticed that the products that performed best were the ones that had a “high profit margin” and were based around a “proven concept” that had “already been tested and verified to work.”
This is a key point to make – successful affiliate marketers build products that they know will generate sales, because they know that products with the highest profit margins are more likely to generate sales.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already familiar with affiliate marketing. If not, here’s a quick primer.
Typically, in affiliate marketing, a company (the ‘affiliate manager’ or ‘agency’) promotes products (‘affiliates’) for someone else (the ‘marketer’), with the aim of generating sales for that product. For example, a company may agree to promote a weight loss product for someone else, in exchange for a commission based on sales.
There are two major types of affiliate marketing – pay-per-click promotion and cost-per-action (CPA), which is also known as ‘conversion-based’ or ‘hybrid’ marketing. In pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, the affiliate marketer earns a commission when a potential customer clicks a link or buys a product that they’ve been promoted in.
In cost-per-action (CPA) marketing, the affiliate marketer earns a commission whenever a potential customer performs a specified action – such as making a purchase or filling out a form – on a landing page or in an email campaign that they’ve been promoted in.
What Are The Main Differences Between Pay-per-Click (PPC) And Cost-per-Action (CPA) Marketing?
As the name suggests, pay-per-click marketing is when you pay per click (PPC) – usually through Google AdWords or similar platforms – to get prospective customers to click a link or visit a landing page.
With PPC, you only pay for clicks, but you don’t necessarily profit from conversions. When someone clicks a paid link or visits a paid landing page, the merchant will pay the affiliate. You don’t necessarily earn anything.
By contrast, in cost-per-action (CPA) marketing, you pay when a customer performs a desired action – such as making a purchase – and you profit when that customer performs the action and you’re paid by the merchant. So, with a CPA marketing strategy, you not only get paid when a customer performs a desired action – like making a purchase – but you also profit when they perform that action because you’ve been promoted in the marketing material.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce store and you promote the purchase of an iPad with the aim of generating sales, you’ll earn a commission anytime a customer makes an actual purchase from your website, regardless of whether or not they’ve been previously exposed to your promotion or were even thinking about buying an iPad when prompted by your marketing material.
What Makes One Product Over Another?
When deciding which products to promote, successful affiliate marketers look at a number of factors, including brand recognition, profit margins and how well the product fits within the affiliate marketer’s niche.
One way to think about this is in terms of ‘competitiveness’. When you compare two products, you can measure their ‘competitiveness’ by considering how easy it would be for someone to find the best (read: most profit-generating) version of a product and promote it. Consideration of how easy it would be for someone to undercut you is also important when you’re deciding which products to promote. If you think that a product that you’ve promoted previously will easily be outcompeted by newer, more innovative versions, it may not be a good idea to promote it again.
How Does Wealthy Affiliate Differentiate Itself From Other Affiliate Marketing Platforms?
Apart from the obvious – which is that you don’t have to join Wealthy Affiliate to start an affiliate marketing business – the platform offers a lot of benefits for prospective affiliates. Here’s a short list.
1. Verified Accounts. Most affiliate marketing platforms verify the accounts of their affiliates, to make sure that they’re a real person and that they’re not a robot or a phony.
2. Training And Tutorials. While many affiliate marketing platforms offer training videos and tutorials for their (paid) customers, Wealthy Affiliate is one of the first platforms to offer training and tutorials to their (free) members too.
3. Community. Wealthy Affiliate is a thriving community of over 150,000 people, and one of the best parts is the ability to connect with others and get help from experts in your field. When you have a question, you can ask it in the forums – there’s almost always someone who can help.
4. Tutorials For Newbies. The platform does a good job of breaking down complicated topics into easy-to-understand pieces, which can be a big help to newbies looking to get into affiliate marketing. The amount of information that newbies need to know is exponentially increasing, and it can be hard to know where to start.
5. 24/7 Support. Just like many other platforms, Wealthy Affiliate offers support via email – but the difference is that their live support is available around the clock, seven days a week.
The key differentiator between Wealthy Affiliate and other platforms is how well they serve their free audience. Most affiliate marketing platforms are designed for paid audiences, and as a result, don’t offer as much value to their (free) customers.
How Is The Industry As A Whole Doing?
The industry is doing well, which is to be expected given the state of the economy and the fact that people are looking for ways to earn extra money, supplement their income or start an affiliate marketing business. In 2020, over 500,000 new products were introduced to the market through affiliate marketing – a 12% increase from 2019. Many established brands have also seen an uptick in interest in their products, due in part to the growth of digital marketing and social media, and also because more people are looking for ways to reduce their daily shopping baskets.
What Should You Be Worried About?
There are a few things that you should be worried about, as an affiliate marketer. First off, the economy. As we’ve established, the economy is in a state of flux, and while things may seem to be heading in the right direction, you should never be completely confident. Next, the regulations. In the United States in particular, the rules and regulations are constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. Some of the things that you need to be careful of include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Just because a product is ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ doesn’t mean that it’s safe, and you should always be wary of any product that you’re not 100% sure about.