We’re very excited to present our 40th interview with Shawn Stephens of Conducive Media.
Shawn has been making money online since 2004. He is the founder of Conducive Media, and a few other internet companies.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you?
I’m 27 years old, born in GA and have moved around a lot during the first 12 years of my life as an army brat. I work and live in Florida. I knew from the time I was 12 when I first started making my own money, that owning a business one day was something I was going achieve. I went from washing cars, cutting grass, selling golf balls during my elementary years, to starting my first real business doing car detailing when I was 19. From there, I went onto running a moving company, and then onto my first real online business. My father was a computer engineer, developed VOIP services, so we always had internet around the house. Being on the internet constantly always sparked interests of how money was made online. I then started my first internet business in 2007.
2. How long have you been in affiliate marketing and how did you get involved?
I first learned about affiliate marketing back in 2001 when netflip.com was around. I was always curious as to how these guys were making money by paying others to complete offers. I used to research and research all day on ways to repeat the same strategy. Of course being this young in age, I had too many other things in the way to really figure this out. As time passed while carrying full time jobs, I started researching more into affiliate marketing in 2004. At this time is when I found out about DentalPlans.com. I thought it was going to be easy. They provided a landing page. I’d buy the domain, put the offer up on Adwords and hope for the best. Quickly, I learned that this was not the best approach, but it did teach me a lot at first with just the experience alone. I did make money though, after initially losing some. Some time passed again, and I went onto doing online marketing for many people. I also created my first work at home opportunity in 2007 in which I had managed my own affiliates as well as my own at home workers that brought in Foreclosure Prevention leads. Ever since 2007, I have only worked online. The success led me to developing relationships with other advertisers directly to market their products or services.
3. How long was it before you realized you could live off your affiliate income?
I realized this once I had my own work at home opportunity generating $300 a day. It wasn’t overnight, but once I did reach this daily figure in 2007, I knew this is the field I would be in for a long time.
4. What has been your biggest success to date?
My biggest success would have to be the CPA network. This is one goal I have had from the beginning ever since I got into affiliate marketing. I had no idea on how to approach this goal years ago, but I knew overtime that it would be accomplished.
5. What was the biggest mistake you made when you first started doing Affiliate Marketing?
My biggest mistake in the beginning was not learning what “testing” is all about. Most newbies make the mistake of just thinking that if you throw offers on Adwords or something similiar, that you’ll see results. I figured that if it wasn’t converting with PPC, then it won’t convert at all. This is simply not true.
6. Tell us a little bit about Conducive Media and what you do over there?
Conducive Media is a cpa network founded in September 2009 offering connections between publishers and advertisers. Our network is based on keeping stable relationships with our advertisers as well as making sure that each one of our affiliates gets the most out of working with us. I started this network myself with just a few helpers who go over the pending applications. We currently have over 300+ offers and we are still growing on a daily basis. What my job consist of is obtaining higher payouts when needed, talking to and training my affiliates, and testing out offers.
7. There are already so many CPA affiliate networks out there. What makes Conducive Media different?
We do know this is where the competition comes in at- especially with how new our network is. Even though we are one of the newest networks in the industry, we do have the knowledge and expertise to make sure our affiliates get what they can with working with us. We believe in honesty and integrity, so not only are we available online nearly 24/7 even on weekends, but you will never have to worry about us ignoring your phone calls, emails or AIM messages. We believe in having not only a business relationship with our affiliates, but a personal one. In addition to this, our affiliates never have to worry about NOT being paid on time.
8. Do you offer biweekly, weekly or even daily payment? If so, how much does one have to make to qualify?
Right now we pay monthly (Net 30). However, we are able to offer quicker payments to those considering the affiliates volume amount, working relationship, and the quality of the leads / sales.
9. Do you have any exclusive offers that other networks don’t have?
We do have a few offers that are only exclusive to us.
10. Which offers are performing well on your network?
Our top performing offers are Dating, Biz Opps, Edu and Financial. Of course these verticals can change at anytime. We are always adding new offers.
11. Which traffic sources prove to be the most effective for your top earning affiliates – E-mail, PPC, PPV, Facebook, Media Buying or any others?
Facebook, PPC, PPV.
12. Do you offer online training for new affiliates?
We don’t necessarily have a 101 training class for affiliates, but we do stand by their side to help them with getting a campaign going. We provide traffic recommendations for each offer, certain strategies, answers to any of their questions; whatever they need to get up and running, we will help them.
13. I see you are using HasOffers as your affiliate tracking platform. What made you pick them instead of choosing LinkTrust, DirectTrack, Cake Marketing or HitPath etc.? Do you have a plan to create your own tracking platform?
I chose them because I was reading all these reviews about it when I was interested in starting my own affiliate network. It was the first platform I read about. They had a demo setup, and it appeared user friendly. I actually registered with HasOffers over a year ago but never did anything with it. I knew at one point I would be ready to really use the platform. I don’t have any plans of creating my own tracking platform, but I was looking into Cake Marketing’s Platform. Right now I enjoy the ease of HasOffers and I have no complaints.
14. What are the criteria for a marketer to be accepted at Conducive Media? How does Conducive Media prevent and handle fraud?
We accept all affiliates at Conducive Media regardless of marketing experience. We feel that everyone should be given a chance to get into this industry. The only requirement is that we must be able to get ahold of our affiliates one way or the other; email, phone, or IM. We like to be able to check in on our affiliates to see if there is anything we can help them with, ask them questions, etc. How we prevent fraud? We can’t necessarily state how we are able to do this, but we have been able to prevent 99% of fraud from entering our network so far (knock on wood). We don’t use anything special, we just use the common internet practices to research everything we can about a publishers application. As long as everything matches up properly, then we are able to approve.
15. For those who are interested in working with you and your affiliate network – What’s the best way/time to reach you?
The best way would be through AIM @ conducivemedia or email us at email@example.com. Even though these may be the best methods to reach me; potential affiliates are more than welcome to contact me at 727-485-6619. I’m pretty much available all the time. I am constantly responding to emails no matter what the time is. I’m even available on weekends for the most part.
16. In your opinion, what are the best places for a new affiliate to learn affiliate marketing? What advice would you give for them?
I would say to check out some of the message boards like wickedfire.com and warriorforum.com. A few of these forums will give you the basic understanding for learning the lingo in the industry and how it all works. But do not cloud your mind with everything you read. Just understand that in affiliate marketing, it requires massive testing and learning through trial and error. I would say the best way to learn is to get right in it. The only way you will learn this business for real, is to gain the knowledge by experience. Read what you can to set a goal, but then just do it. Don’t waste any time.
17. In your experience, what are the three most critical elements to run a successful campaign.
Traffic Method, Offer / Niche, and Budget. For your offer choice; get a list of some top converting ones from your affiliate manager to test out first. I normally test out between 8 and 10 offers at once but if you’re just starting, test at least 3 at once. Take some from the top converting list and pull one from each niche/vertical that you’re interested in. It’s good to test out an offer in your favorite niche, but do not ONLY stick to that niche. You may find yourself getting some conversions within a completely different vertical than what you’re interested in.
18. What are the keys to building successful relationships between Affiliates and Affiliate Networks?
One of the keys to building successful relationships would have to be the communication between affiliate networks and their affiliates. I hear too often that many affiliate networks ignore not only potential affiliates but even their current affiliates. To us, this doesn’t lead anywhere. You must be in tuned and personable with your affiliates when you are a network owner. Communication is the key.
19. If you could change one thing about the affiliate industry, what would it be?
I have watched the affiliate industry change over the years and truthfully I wouldn’t change anything about it right now. I think there are more opportunities now in the industry than there ever were before.
20. What do you think about where the industry is going? Where Conducive Media may be going? What advice would you give to affiliates to keep up the pace.
I think the industry is heading in the right direction. Even though more and more networks are popping up such as ours; there is still a huge interest in affiliate marketing to keep each network busy. Conducive Media is not going anywhere. We plan on continuing our progress in the years to come while maintaining stability and professionalism. Advice I would give to affiliates is to be on top of whats converting and whats not. Keep in tune with any advice that your affiliate manager can give you. You will make money, but its a process. The more you keep at it, the easier it will get to earn a full time income.
21. What are your goals in 2011?
Our goals this year is to grow our affiliate network, obtain more offers that would suit our affiliates, and continue testings as much as we can in order to become a well known network. We believe with all this and having direct relations with our affiliates, we will be able to stand out from a few other networks out there. We are basically looking to continue these goals so that each one of our affiliates can produce a steady income.
22. What are your hobbies/interests/passions? What’s your favorite movie and why?
I consider work a hobby for me. Anything that is related to generating income online becomes an interest and a hobby to me. This is by far the biggest passion I have. For other hobbies outside of work; I enjoy going to the gym everyday, spending time with the family, girlfriend and just doing activities that are usually not planned. I like living day to day when it comes to having fun. My favorite movies are Goodfellas, Grandmas Boy, Waiting, Taxi Driver, Old School, Fear, etc. So many others to list. But I mainly like anything with comedy, and Robert De Niro.
23. Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.
Typically my day starts off at around 7:30am. I get up about that time and check any emails, stats, and have my coffee. From there, I hit the gym for about an hour and a half. Afterwards, me and my partner begin work. We start working around 11 – 11:30am. Working to us just means setting up new campaigns, monitoring ones that are live and their performance, helping our affiliates and adding offers. Even though we are planted at our desk starting at 11:30am, we are still available to take calls and respond to emails earlier than this. Sometimes I’m in the gym at 8:30am responding to emails, taking calls etc. We normally take off around 8pm and enjoy the time with our significant others for the remainder of the night.
Many thanks to Shawn for sharing your time with us and for sharing some great insight tips here! If you have any experience with Conducive Media, please write a review for them on the Conducive Media review page.
Ps. If you are an affiliate marketer, AM or Network owner and are interested in answering a few questions about you, your network and affiliate marketing, please drop us a message.