Since I started this blog I knew that at some point in the future I would love to interview interesting people in the affiliate marketing community. Especially those who had made it or are otherwise interesting or inspirative for others.
I’m starting this interview series with Luke “PeerFly” Kling, the man who just 1 year ago started his very own affiliate marketing forum called affLIFT and is already having some great success with it.
Luke is in the industry for over 13 years now and he knows a lot about our affiliate marketing world from both sides – being an affiliate manager, but also an affiliate who runs his own campaigns and shares his experiences with the community.
Let’s get right into the interview!
Hey Luke! I think your activities (PeerFly affiliate network, your blog, affLIFT forum) are pretty well-known in the affiliate marketing community, but there are still many people that may don’t know you. Could you introduce yourself to my readers?
Sure! My name is Luke Kling and I’ve been in the affiliate industry since about 2006. I’ve been an Affiliate Manager for most of that time, but I also do my own affiliate marketing.
I have a degree in Web Application Development and building products/websites is one of my favorite hobbies. I have a bunch of websites and start a few new projects a year.
Last, but far from least, I’m a dad. I have 2 daughters who enjoy playing in my office and distracting me from my work. But, I’m totally fine with that 🙂
As an affiliate manager you are surely coming in touch with lot of newbies starting out in this industry. What do you think are their 3 biggest mistakes that makes them fail?
PeerFly has been known as a very newbie friendly network for about 10 years now so I get to work with a ton of people who are new to the affiliate industry. In fact, we get a few thousand new affiliate applications every week!
Newbies tend to make a lot of little mistakes that end up costing them a significant chunk of their budgets and deflate their motivation and optimism for affiliate marketing.
3 Biggest Newbie Mistakes:
- Not knowing how to budget. I had a guy last year spend $6,000 on SnapChat ads without ever getting a single conversion! It’s not as important that you have a giant budget as it is that you know how to use the money you do have most effectively. Choose a multiple of the offer payout to test with and if you do not get any conversions, test a new offer with the same multiple.
- Running traffic with garbage traffic sources. I won’t name any names, but there are some traffic sources out there that are a complete waste of money. Do your research first and ask fellow affiliates or your Affiliate Manager about a source that is new to you.
- Not using a tracking tool. The market is filled with tools you can use to track your affiliate campaigns. There are guides available for every little aspect of pretty much every tracker. There is no excuse to not find and learn how to use a tracking tool so you can properly analyze and optimize your campaigns.
On the opposite side now. During your career you also surely met some big fishes. Do you remember how much the biggest affiliates you handled were making per month? (you know we affliates just love these kind of numbers)
I’m not supposed to give out any specific numbers simply because that’s our policy at PeerFly, but I’ll share a fun story from around 2010.
I was in college and it was a Friday afternoon. I was done with class and I was walking to a bar with a few friends of mine when my cellphone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but this was before robocalls were causing everyone to hate receiving phone calls. Anyway, I answer the call and it’s one of my account reps from a company PeerFly was getting email submit offers from.
Apparently, that afternoon while I was in class, one of my publishers had made nearly $100,000 on an iPhone email submit. This was during about a 4 hour span of time. It was a pretty exciting weekend. Since I know everyone is wondering, it was Facebook traffic.
You have a pretty well-known blog LukePeerfly.com where you post a ton of tutorials, reviews and other useful content for affiliates. In fact, you are probably the only affiliate manager that I know who actively blogs. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?
I started my blog in April of 2011. At the time, I was the only Affiliate Manager at PeerFly and I was managing about 30,000 accounts. I needed a way to be able to distribute information on a mass scale. So, I created my blog.
I started to see really good results by the end of 2011 from my blog. The articles were getting a lot of traction and I kept having people approach me at the Affiliate Summit conference about it. At the time, there were quite a few people with affiliate blogs. A lot has changed since then and there don’t seem to be as many good affiliate blogs.
It was much easier to write when I had more time available. Now, I have children and a few side businesses so I don’t have as much time to dedicate to my blog. I still enjoy writing it in though when I do 🙂
Have you ever though about starting a video format (YouTube channel) or do you prefer to stick to written content?
It’s funny, I have about 1,700 subscribers on YouTube and I’ve only done a few videos. I really enjoyed doing those videos and over the past year I have done quite a few more videos for my affiliate marketing forum. I think I could build up a pretty good channel on YouTube if I spent more time thinking about and producing video content, but it’s just a time issue.
I prioritize what I do and I know that I can make more money doing other things than blogging or producing free videos for my YouTube so I don’t spend time doing those things.
I do really enjoy written content though. I prefer to consume written content so that’s what I like to do.
You do quite a lot of activities and I also know you have 2 kids. Where are you taking all that energy? Could you share some tips how do you stay focused and productive?
Kids are a game changer. Anyone who has kids will tell you that and it’s not just because it sounds cool. I’ll admit right now that I was much more productive with my work when I did not have any kids. I look back at my college days before I had kids and so much other responsibility and wonder why I wasted so much time playing video games.
That being said, I have an incredible wife who does a great job taking care of our kids so I am able to still get a lot done during the course of the week.
I work from home, but most mornings you can find me working at one of the local coffee shops in my area. I love working at coffee shops. I’ll spend 3-4 hours drinking 2 lattes and get a ton of work done. I’m able to be super productive because I use an app called Todoist to plan out and prioritize what I am going to do. I do not waste any time. I focus on specific tasks until they are done and then move onto the next.
I get the bulk of the work done that generates the majority of my revenue during the 15-20 hours I work in the mornings Monday-Friday.
I do work in the afternoon from home during the week but that time is definitely less focused and productive. That’s okay though. I get to be home with my 2 daughters and my wife every day. I spend a lot of time with my girls. I am sure when they get old enough to go to school I will start putting in more work hours, but my plan is to just keep doing what I have to do to be able to spend as much time with them.
Lastly, I am determined to get as much done as possible that needs to be done. For example, I know this interview is going to provide a lot of value so I’m spending my Monday night watching hockey at 10:30pm and typing my answers.
If you would start today as an affiliate marketer, what verticals and traffic sources would you choose?
I get this question a lot. The answer changes based on what’s hot. Right now, push notifications are still really hot. I think it’s going to fizzle out a bit by the end of the year, but everyone should be taking advantage of it while they can.
What I really recommend newbie affiliate marketers learn is the fundamentals. Traffic sources and verticals are going to change over time, but if you learn how to properly run an affiliate campaign, you can utilize those skills on any traffic source with an offer in any vertical.
I had some of my most successful campaigns running dating offers on Plenty of Fish. I applied a lot of what I learned doing that to my early push notification campaigns and did really well with that too.
One year ago you launched affLIFT, a private forum for affiliates. Could you tell us more about it tell us also how is Afflift different from other private forums?
I have been a member of all the popular affiliate marketing forums. I joined WickedFire in 2006. I joined WarriorForum in 2011. I was one of the first moderators on AffiliateFix.
However, last year I decided that there is a gap in the market.
The really premium affiliate marketing communities are too expensive or intimidating for many new affiliates.
The free forums are more work than it’s worth to find the few good pieces of content in them (which is likely outdated).
So, I wanted to create a friendly community with premium content at a cost that any serious affiliate should be able to afford. I want every member to be able to be ROI positive on their membership investment.
We already have over 14,000 registered users and we’ve established an amazing culture and community. Now, we’re working on building the next generation of super affiliates 🙂
affLIFT is now 1 year old. Could you share some background stats with us, like how many members, posts etc. do you currently have?
As I mentioned, we just crossed 14,000 registered users. The goal is to hit 25,000 by the end of 2019. To do that, we need at least 50 new users a day. We’re on pace to hit it.
There are about 1,700 threads with about 17,000 messages posted on them. It’s not the busiest forum on the internet, but we have some really good discussions about everything affiliate marketing.
Something that is unique to affLIFT is our live chat. At the bottom of the forum, there’s a chatroom where you can talk to the members online. I am not sure how many messages were posted in the chat this year, but it’s pretty active.
I’ve spent quite a bit of money this year investing into our Affiliate Marketing Link Directory. I’m hoping it’ll become a valuable resource for every affiliate. We have information about traffic sources, tracking tools, spy tools, and more. Check it out!
Those are very impressive numbers! Building a project like this from scratch is not easy as you have to solve a “chicken or the egg” problem. You need to get members, but also at the same time you need to have interesting content for them. How did you tackle this challenge in the beginning?
At the beginning of last year, I was running a few Zeropark campaigns that were generating about $5,000 profit a month. I used these campaigns as examples in my video lessons in the forum. I didn’t completely give away the campaigns, but I did go into a ton of detail on how I had gotten those campaigns profitable, which provided a lot of value.
I did an “Early Bird” promotion when I launched and pushed it hard to my blog email list. I did some Facebook retargeting and was able to make about $20,000 in the first 2 weeks after launch.
That was enough to get the community off the ground and there’s been a nice network effect since.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember that affLIFT took off with discussion around the trending push traffic. I know you also ran some push campaigns yourself. Many people these days are worried about future of push as it might be killed by a browser update. What is your opinion on this and how do you personally see the future of push?
Push has been interesting because when I launched affLIFT, we didn’t even have a section of the forum for Push Notifications! I added the Push Notification section in September and it’s our most popular topic of discussion.
I believe that push notifications have great browser functionality so it’ll be difficult for browsers to get rid of them completely. Gmail, Slack, and most web apps have them built in.
I am concerned about the ad networks abusing them though. I tweeted this picture showing some notifications I got when I signed up for a push offer on PeerFly from one of our clients.
I imagine browsers will regulate frequency and make it easier to unsubscribe from notifications. This will decrease supply, but should help increase quality. The decrease in supply and increase in quality will drive prices up. All the new super affiliates from affLIFT will make bank and newbies will need to learn the basics on a cheaper traffic source 🙂
Thank you so much for your time, Luke! To wrap everything up, please tell my readers where they can find more information about you? Also if there is anything you would like to add you can do it right now!
Thanks Erik. I really appreciate you participating in our discussions on affLIFT and being a member of the community. I believe value brings value. I work hard to provide value to the community at affLIFT, the readers on my blog, my publishers on PeerFly, and everyone I have the opportunity to work with because I know it’s what is going to drive my business forward and provide for my family (including those 2 cute little girls I mentioned above).
I tried to provide value to you through my community and now we’re having this discussion on your blog.
Let’s make some money!