Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuits podcast is Andrew Fiebert. Andrew has a great story that began with the popular Listen Money Matters website and podcast.
Andrew explains to Jared (our host) how he almost accidentally got into affiliate marketing from working on the website and podcast. Learning from this experience, he now runs various website affiliate projects, which earn him some pretty serious money.
One of these projects has earned over 7-figures and reached 17.5 million people in just under five years from 430 posts. Andrew names the website and highlights the process involved in making it such a huge success.
Andrew’s passion for optimization shines through during the interview, and there’s a big focus on using the content already on your site to get better conversions and sales.
Some Of The Things Discussed By Andrew Fiebert Include:
- How to grow a website
- Building backlinks
- Choosing the best keywords
- How you can optimize your content using Google Analytics & Google Data Studio
- Content writing tips to bring higher conversions
- Finding keywords that encourage higher conversions
- The difficulty in being in a competitive niche
- Building a site in the gifting niche
- The importance of competition
- Tracking affiliate links
- How to understand your data clicks
- Plus much more
This episode featuring Andrew Fiebert is a great listen for anyone; however, if you already have a website with content, you’ll probably love this interview even more, mainly because of his approach to optimization and focus.
Towards the end of the interview, Andrew talks about a product he created called Lasso.
Lasso helps you optimize your content to make passive income and is relevant to the tips and advice he gives out during the conversation with Jared.
As always, take notes and enjoy the episode.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED DURING THE INTERVIEW
This Episode is Sponsored by: Rank IQ
Watch the full interview with Andrew Fiebert:
Read the full transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. Today. We are joined by Andrew Fiebert. Welcome.
Andrew: Thanks for having me. I’m super excited.
Jared: I am really glad to do this interview and also very excited. I feel like normally in agendas, as we prepare for these sorts of interviews, we kind of focus on one thing or maybe two things, but you have quite a background.
I mean, I feel like we could do several podcast episodes and all the different things. Had your hands in over the years. Um, so kick us off and give us a little backstory, walk us, walk us through some of the things that you’ve been involved in and, uh, and then we’ll get we’ll dive into the details.
So once upon a time, I was a data engineer for iHeartRadio investment banks and yearned to kind of like set my own destiny. I created a website called listen, money matters. I mean, it was just. Uh, and through creating the site, I met a good friend of mine match of a Niecy, and we used to Skype because zoom didn’t exist then.
And, uh, we would just like talk about money things and kind of just like yell at each other and argue. And my wife was like, you guys should record. And we obviously said that was a stupid idea. Obviously I recorded it and then we began just became super rich and it was very successful. Now. It was hard.
We built it. It was a lot of fun. We did that for a long time, kind of got into affiliate sites and doing keyword research, built some other sites, uh, in opportunities that we saw and then like where we are today. Uh, I was just going to do affiliate sites forever. Uh, but my friends wanted the automations that we had built for listen, money matters and gift lab and some of our other sites.
Um, and so I shared it with Matt. I shared it with my friend, Thomas, Frank, and eventually we just packaged it and sold it as lasso. And so that’s my main, that’s my newest baby.
Jared: I feel like a bit like walking down memory lane, when you start talking about listen to money matters. I definitely listen to that podcast quite a bit.
And so it’s super cool to now be here interviewing you. Um, what years were you guys prominently? Um, uh, doing the website and the podcast for listen money matters. What, what kind of timeframe for people to get their mind? Right.
Andrew: So we, we started December, 2012. We really hit our stride mid 2013, and we did it for like close to eight years.
We have hundreds of episodes. And, uh, multiple hosts. Matt was started with me then left and came back. It was just a lot of fun because we didn’t know how to do any of this online business stuff. We were literally like learning it as a recording. And we, in the beginning we needed like try hard. We’re just bullshitting.
I guess we were real. Yeah.
Jared: I think you guys definitely had that characteristic for sure. What was, cause you kinda talked about how listen money matters almost turned you on to affiliate marketing and affiliate websites. What was it about, what was it about that experience that kind of got you guys interested in or, you know, kind of made the website and the platform.
Andrew: So we, we started with the website, didn’t really get traction, did the podcast. And it just kinda like blew up. And, uh, it was just podcast, podcast podcast, but we didn’t know how to monetize it. And there were a lot of podcasts back then, so it was hard and we would just create show notes for every episode of that.
Created just because I don’t know, we thought that we should do this. Someone told us or something, and then like, these really mean like 200 word shownotes, uh, started ranking for meaningful meaty things and are really poorly monetized show notes. We’re making more money than the podcast. And it wasn’t like an immediate aha.
We had to be like beaten over the head by it. Um, and then we like kind of pivoted to building the site. Learned a harassed. I was an early tool back then. I’m a data guy. So love that. And then as we’re like researching these posts for like seeing all of these, what we thought were obvious opportunities and like no one attempting to rank for like Amazon would be the number one result for a term.
And we found that we could create something pretty bad and just like rank right above Amazon. And that was, it was love at, I don’t know, 10th site with affiliate marketing.
Jared: The, yeah, that was definitely, I mean more in the early days of podcasting. And so I think you’re exactly right. Like, it was a definitely kind of figured out as you go type a territory, I just am fascinated that you guys were able to take something that was more successful, maybe at the early stages, from the podcast side of things, and then turn it into success from the, from the website side of things.
That’s. Well, it’s interesting and really cool. I mean, where’s that project at now? Were you guys kind of sunsetted or what? What’s the status of, of listen money matters at this point?
Andrew: We’re on pause. It’s been a multi-year pause. I, I, some weeks I wake up and I’m like, this is the worst. Like, we’re going to go back.
We get emails about it. People ask. I been like, so into lasso that removing that recording day has been a bit of a relief, but I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t there. I, it just, it was like the first audience we built and it just, we would have meetups. And so. It’s on positive. It makes us money, the sites there.
Um, it doesn’t do what it did when we were actively building it, but, um, it certainly pays the mortgage. Well,
Jared: I’ll tell you it’s so you, you said it’s to start around 2012, just full disclosure. We’re we’re we’re we’re doing this recording in 2020. So I think this is the perfect year to get the band back together and do a reunion tour.
Andrew: Do you want to co-host
Jared: with me? Oh, no. You talked about how that recording day. It takes up a lot of time. I feel you there. So I got enough. I had enough here. I definitely feel you, but recording takes more time than you think so. I understand does. Yeah. Okay, good. So that that’s on pause. Let’s let’s let’s talk about some of these.
These content sites. I mean, you, you T’s gift lab.com and I had a chance to look at that site before we started recording. I could ask you so many questions about that. What was the process in transitioning from just listen, money matters to these other affiliate websites? Because that one, at least at the very least, it’s a pretty big site.
Now at this point. I mean, you know, if you, if you look around at it’s a really well built out site, so you felt like you were just doing a bunch of small things. These are some bigger projects.
Andrew: So, um, we say it’s the biggest gifting affiliate site on the internet. I’m not, I mean, we look, we looked at the competitors and if you don’t count, like good housekeeping, um, we’re the biggest, like dedicated to this.
The thing is with personal finance is it’s just so competitive where like you create something awesome, hours, hours, hours, you put into it. And then in a few months you have to update it and you have to keep updating and just like relentless. And so as you like grow the size of your content base, the maintenance work just becomes enormous, which was when.
Because it’s monetized. Well, you know, banks pay a hundred plus dollars for someone who doesn’t have to pay a dollar, but then when he came out and you needed like experts and. Someone that I hired off the streets, couldn’t just write a thing and rank because of the domain, then it became really difficult and we were, and the thing is like we were writing things like ha uh, just really long tail weren’t directly salt, like betterment or fun rise.
Wasn’t the salute, the immediate solution. It’s like, okay. I want to learn about investing, investing for beginners all the way down in the funnel. And we’re looking at. Lists that we were adding on the site cause it was monetize well, and we stumbled into the gifting niche and thought the intent was so high because like we were looking for gifts for like mom, grandma takes my wife and I weeks to settle on two mom gifts, you know?
And so there was nothing creative. So we just did it and, but we didn’t want to put too much time in. So we created these like dinky lists that want to being exactly what, what people wanted and shouldn’t shamefully easy to create. Um, and so it just kind of started working. We, we did other sites that didn’t just work for.
A success story. We have more failures and it took off and we just kind of, yeah. Yeah. The
Jared: difference in what you have to put out to rank for say a gifting site and for personal finance, I mean, the stories about personal finance or the, the, the competition. Did you guys, like, what was your approach to growing gift lab?
You know, maybe from a keyword research standpoint, from a topical research standpoint, cause you guys had a bunch of knowledge at that point in the. And it seems like such a different type of niche. How did you guys go about going from stumbling upon a couple of keywords to building out a whole.
Andrew: Yeah. So, uh, learning with, listen at one point, listen, money matters ranked number one for passive income.
And we were like so proud that we ranked for this massive keyword, huge difficulty, you know, took a lot of time and, and rather quickly we realized. The quality of the traffic was really, really low. Um, people weren’t doing any of the things that we suggested we iterated through from investing products to like surveys.
I know it kind of was like the lowest of below in terms of audience quality. And in that learning, we kind of went long tail. And when we looked at the gifting niche, if you look at like, I don’t know, and this is even back, you know, like, uh, five, six years ago, uh, Christmas gifts or Christmas gifts for dads, you know, a lot of intent, they’re high volume.
Um, and, and we ranked for some of these things, but, uh, if you look for Christmas gifts for dolphin lovers, You have also enormous volume, but literally no competition. And what we found over building gift lab is, is that, uh, the intent is actually higher there because it’s more specific to the person. So the conversion rates higher.
So like, You know, not birthday gifts, quinceanera gifts. And so it’s a specific birthday. Then you could create things on the list that really speak to things that others have an age, you know, based on the event. And then, and then it’s just kind of like that at scale. And so when you look at life, Christmas gifts for dolphin lovers, who is thinking of that?
Is that a real article? That, that one is not, you kept saying
Jared: it. So I was like, maybe it really is an article. Is that a
Andrew: thing? It may be on one of our lists, but what, like, we go into these a name niches,
Jared: right? Was that found through keyword research or through just kind of intuition, you know, like, cause I I’ve interviewed a couple of people recently where a lot of the types of articles that they write are.
Boiled down to the fact that they really understand their target market and they understand what the website is about. And so they might use an AE traps or a SEMrush or a tool to maybe aid in some of the high level research, but then they just really start turning out longer tail content that is basically they understand because of their target audience.
This is something that they’re going to be.
Andrew: So with listen, money matters. We did that. We had like an opinion and things we wanted to cover, you know, same idea with lasso. We, you know, we’ve created affiliate sites. We want to talk about specific topics that we feel are important. And so we’ll like come up with an idea and we’ll use a rough select, like shoe horn it into what people are looking for with, with gift lab.
We had this like kind of arrogant thought where we’re like, we have good takes. So we’re just going to create lists because we know we know better than someone else, what they, people might want to buy, you know, ridiculous. Of course, we’re just going to go and create it. And, you know, we look at other articles that people have created, or we look on Amazon on uncommon goods, we get ideas, but, uh, I think what’s really one.
Well, so we have like a two-part process. So I, so I don’t want to like, uh, make it, like, we just kind of like put these lists together and they rank, and then like we ride off on a unicorn into the sunset. I’m a data guy. So we use a hubs obviously for research, and then we connected Google analytics with Google data studio, and we treated a click as a vote on one of our lists.
And so we look at every item on the. And based on the number of clicks, we retreat that as like its popularity. And so every few months we’ll we’ll optimize. And so we’ll export what’s in a Google data studio. Um, and then someone in the team will reorder items. And if it’s below our threshold on a click rate, we’ll remove those and test new ones.
We, we usually land decently, but then like over the years, we’ve refined where the intent is high and the performance is so high. It’s just difficult to compare.
Jared: That is fascinating. So you like generally speaking, could you just walk through how you’re able to learn what people click through a Google data studio, a Google analytics kind of integration?
Andrew: Absolutely. Um, we use Google tag managers and nothing crazy. Um, and you can Google it, you know, how do you Google tag manager specifically? Every external click being an event in Google analytics. And so, um, we, you know, uh, all of the external links are affiliate links. You’re a hundred percent on GitHub. I mean, 95%.
And so it it’s good enough for us and truth be told Amazon uncommon goods, their click rate beats out any of the others anyways. Um, and so once they’re all of them, You can create a Google studio dashboard. I believe Matt from money lab has an article on that least teeing up like level one of this. Um, and, uh, then what happens is because you have all the clicks and all the impressions on this list, you can just start to drill into specific URLs and see all the external links clicked.
Sort it, um, and then we do like a distribution. And so say there was a thousand clicks on this article, two external links over some time span. The number one, you know, has 200 out of a thousand clicks. Number two has 50. And so it goes down. You know where the best one moves the top. Maybe it was the fifth on the list originally.
And the ones that are like in, we use like a color coded thing in Google sheets, the ones that are red, essentially based on like an auto distribution, we just remove. Yep. Yep.
Jared: Yeah. So, you know, like if an article gets fewer overall outbound clicks than the threshold might be a little different than article, it gets a lot of outbound clicks.
That makes a lot of sense. Do you find, I’m just curious, this is totally off topic, but on the same vein of what you were talking about, I, I feel like a lot of the times, my most traffic to affiliate articles. Don’t end up selling those products that are recommended on Amazon with any higher frequency. So you go on Amazon, right?
And you kind of look at the products you sold in the last 30 days. And then you go over to your website, Google analytics, and you look at the, the, uh, the URLs that had the most traffic and the products they recommended. They don’t always sync up. Is that I’m wondering with you. With how much optimization you’re doing.
Are you seeing a lot more correlation with the products before a bine or, and is that because I’m just not doing that, that I’m not really recommending the products that people may be really are attractive.
Andrew: Okay. So, so we’re obsessive. We optimizing these lists, all the lists are only items. So it’s literally just like a shopping site.
Um, and for every item that gift lab sells, uh, there’s five other items that we didn’t link to that itself. And so I think it speaks to the. The card effective Amazon, uh, like we’re really try, like, I would love them all to be things that we put on the list. Cause then like, we’re, we’re, we’re so good. Like look at us, but I think the truth is like, you get them close.
Um, and then they didn’t want to buy Snoop Dogg’s cookbook, but there was another cookbook that they think would be better for their mom.
Jared: Okay. And he got them to Amazon and you cookie them. And so whatever they ended up buying. You got them over to Amazon through the way that you put the content on
Andrew: the page.
Yeah. And I think because the intent is so tight, it, you’re usually not looking for gifts. And then like, okay, let me do this in three weeks. When it’s time to do it, it’s like, oh my God, thank God I have Amazon prime because my mom’s birthday is in two days and I literally need something tomorrow. And so people just cut like.
Outside of Christmas conversion rate is about 16%. And then in Christmas it’s over 20. And so people like click.
Jared: You have talked many times about audience quality, about search intent about optimizing around the audience and what they might or might not be looking for around what they click on. Um, how important or how related are the, the, the, the search intent behind the keywords you’re writing about, and then the overall audience quality you get, and then what they end up doing and the money that you make from.
Andrew: I think it’s the only thing that matters. And I think like a level one, when we were doing listen, money matters, I looked at a Sheriff’s graph and the higher, my organic and a was, it was literally like the higher I was flying. I felt better about the business. I was like, look how good I am. I know what I’m doing.
And until we learned that, Keywords are not created equal. I would rather hit a term at number one where a hundred percent of the people are going to buy lasso or whatever item on Amazon, forget the really high volume ones. And then the really interesting thing is a low volume has less competition. So you can kind of spend basically let’s not create it until we’re absolutely sure it should be created and that we can win.
So we spend more time debating. Then actually creating, I mean, that’s a lie, but we spend a lot of time debating it and then it’s cheaper. I don’t have to pay people to create things that don’t matter.
Jared: I was going to say, I mean, the, the intensity that you go about to understand your audience and then the background you share.
About your discoveries that listen money matters. And then clearly how you’ve kind of applied that at diff lab for just, you know, for clarity. So, yes. Um,
Andrew: so, uh, we, we were at one point a really big affiliate for betterment and they brought us to this meeting and, um, the, the team from dot dash was there.
And so they have, um, that really big investing site. It’s sort of aiding me now, but, um, anyways, they ranked for how to write a check and they kept talking about it. They’re like, we’re like the CEO of Betterman’s there. There’s all these like really big publishers. They keep talking about it. It’s massive volume.
But the thing is like, I don’t know, uh, how you could possibly monetize that because you’re not even going to sell checkbooks because if they want to know how to write a check, they already have a check. And so it’s like display ads, I guess, but. Just about dead, you know? And so you can chase those. Now. I want to build something that like, when I disappear, I leave with some money matters.
It’ll still make money because. Uh, our time was put in there and I want that to like pay off forever.
Jared: So what are you, you, you talked about competition. You went from seemingly an incredibly competitive niche in personal finance to, I actually don’t know if gift giving is, is, is, is much less comp, uh, much less competitive.
I imagine it is. How important is competition in the sites? You build this keywords, you target the terms you go after and the affiliate products. Um,
Andrew: I think it’s, I think it’s really important. And so it is more competitive now and within the last year, good housekeeping and started creating gift lists and, you know, a recipe.com and started creating gift lists.
And so, uh, we have a bit of a headstart, but in like the, we in gift lab in under five years has generated, uh, over seven figures in revenue. And so even, yeah, People edge in and beat you out. And you could earn quite a bit of money before the big dogs like move in. And so that all those, you know, and we’re looking or trying to make our lists better, but those four and a half years that they were not looking, we were generating revenue that funded our other businesses and grew our other sites.
Um, and. Revenue solves all problems.
Jared: That’s a good way to put it. I think that’s a very good phrase. You could hang that. I bet people would buy that as a gift. And I’m
Andrew: like welcome to my household revenue
Jared: solves. Yeah. I mean, it sits above the family mantle. It’s like, you know, happy family revenue solves all problems.
Um, give us a little look right now at what your, because I want to talk about lasso because, you know, I had a chance to poke around at that site and, um, Akin to my data, Google data studio question earlier. Like, it seems like that has a lot of advantages for affiliate marketers, but before we get there, what does your, uh, website portfolio look like right now?
Um, and I maybe just want to ask a couple of questions about how you manage several websites, several typical things in your portfolio.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say that we have, we have five sites, I would say maybe we have four sites. If you’re judging by one. Even earn a dollar and you know, we’re, we’re actively building the bottom too.
And it wasn’t like we, I mean, we definitely put more time into my matters and gift lab, but it, it it’s like a self fulfilling prophecy where we plant a lot of seeds, even just on like one site. And then when something starts to stick, like we double down. And so give I’ve got more attention because it worked really, really well really quickly.
Um, but we’re trying to replicate that in other areas, uh, an inane example, and I have an example pulled up rustic farmhouse bedding, uh, is a difficulty of. NARF. And if you look at the, uh, things that rank it’s just e-commerce sites, which are very new site, you can like, we would just place above the sites and the, the U S volume is 70.
And so these are people who want rustic farmhouse bedding. I don’t even need to know what that is. Cause I guarantee if you give me 10 minutes, I could have a pretty good idea of what that is and how to service it. And then again, like if you have decent tastes, I think it can perform well. And so it’s fun.
Can you bundle a bunch of these opportunities together so that you have a niche instead of like finding your niche, find the opportunity and then like, you know, butter dish, another one that’s pretty decent. I wouldn’t create a site that talks about butter dishes and rustic farmhouse bedding. You know, you could, but it might not.
Right. Cause it’s, it’s unfocused. I don’t actually, I don’t even know if I answered your question. I feel like I’m just, you did
Jared: what you’re going into kind of how you go about thinking through what to target and, um, and what to build sites on. I mean, carry that example out, you found a couple of good keywords.
What would the site look like? Especially when you’re competing against e-commerce, uh, you know, websites at that. So
Andrew: what we’ve learned, and this is, you know, a hypothesis, but we’ve been able to play it out quite a bit is a, the first hypothesis was like, if Amazon is in the top 10, we can create something reasonably bad and beat them.
And we’ve been able to do that consistently. And, you know, to pull it out further, it’s like if an e-commerce site is ranking, we can beat them. And, you know, part of me feels like Google is like, Hey, you got to buy ads. So we’re not giving you a free. And so they’ll let me beat them, you know, and then they just pay out the nose to the affiliate channel.
Um, or it’s just not really servicing cause our programmatic, um, and like badly programmatic. And so, uh, what we do is we create a listing of items. This list display that we call it is something that we’ve packaged into lasso, but. Well, if you look at lasso and a harass, or if you look at gift lab and tariffs, they’re shockingly similar, they’re their ally items list items.
So it’s structured data. Google loves that because they understand how it works. Uh, it’s easy to process out for the team to build. Um, and so we go there and the thing is if it’s a difficulty of three and it could be a difficulty of three, and a lot of people answered it, but if it’s a difficulty of three, you know, or a low difficulty and there’s e-commerce sites, I think it’s just an opportunity, uh, to create something.
And then there needs to be 10 or maybe 11 other people. They have to have the same idea. And in 2022, if they haven’t found it, you know, not many people were having these ideas. Um, so 11 people have to also go in there for you to be pushed off the first page. And so, um, Yeah. So, so the, the formula is really finding the opportunity, um, something that lends itself to ideas, but there’s like buying intent.
And then we do something like a list display. So it’s structured. They could pick up rich snippets that they generally do at least in the beginning. Um, and, and we don’t have to land the best. You know, or the budget, the best budget pick item. It’s like, Hey, we gave you 30 options. If you can’t find it, then maybe you don’t want to buy it.
Jared: Maybe not ready to convert at this point. Yeah. So that’s very interesting. So you’re almost using e-commerce to create content ideas instead of using content keywords to create content.
Andrew: Yeah. Like, you know, maybe Walmart should hire an affiliate marketer for their programmatic pages. You know, someone who thinks beyond a jamming in a category and it’ll just whatever, it’s just being a bit more thoughtful about it.
Jared: Yeah. And so those look like. I mean, um, certain affiliate, uh, certainly affiliate marketers are kind of familiar with like a Roundup review, you know, like playing that out, like the best, um, rustic would just say farmhouse bedding, you know, and kind of go through rate and review kind of select some different options for different types of folks that, that, that might be, um, hitting your page.
Andrew: It’s even leaner than that. Like each item gets like a paragraph or two. I’ll be honest. There, there are words on the page, but not a lot of words per item. We look at, um, what Amazon writes. We rewrite it because we don’t want to duplicate it. And generally you could do better than what’s in an Amazon description.
Um, it’s hard not to, I, you know, I bet you Jarvis that AI could probably do better a lot better, but, but that’s it. So it’s, you know, it’s, uh, like I see people, right, because for lasso, we’re trying to like rank. Uh, you know, best financial affiliate programs and they’ll pick 10 and they’ll write like six or seven paragraphs.
I’m gonna put this like big, irrelevant image in there. Cause they’re like Google one’s content and kind of words will rank more words. And then when you think about people, like, I don’t want to read about the BA you said thermos of good affiliate pro okay. Click sign up. That’s it. Like, I literally read none of your words.
And if you ranked, I don’t know. I don’t care. I just don’t care. And so it was a same onus for the other displays we built is when we first build this, the money matters, texts, links, converted. You said betterment, you made the link go to betterment. And it was a, an affiliate link. And that was. And you made money and you’re a winner.
And after enough of that, or just too many links, people don’t even see them like the sidebar. So you need like a big button or a big box like this, this is the price click here, if you want it budget pick. And so it’s just like pulling them to what they want and then not give them more choices.
Jared: As we round out on some of these affiliate sites, like what kind of, um, you know, you mentioned that, uh, gift lab is, is one of, uh, maybe four or five you’re working on, but what kind of, whatever numbers you’re comfortable sharing and what kind of traffic, what kind of revenue is maybe that site generating or maybe, um, all five of your sites, collectively, uh, you know, revenue, page views.
People love to kind of hear it and get context around some of these.
Andrew: So, so, so I, I definitely agree. Uh, when I started my personal finance site, I was like, I load that thing cause it’s like, I feel like everyone was lying. And so I figure if I just didn’t even like, don’t tell, let me tell you that I do well.
Just look at what I do. And if you think it’s good, then maybe I do well. Hopefully I can put it all the pieces together. Um, give to lab. Because whatever I confirmed with my wife, that we could share numbers on that we feel differently about this business. Um, and so in under five years, uh, we’ve reached a little over 17 and a half million people on gift lab and it’s earned a little over 1.2.
Banta and it’s like a 430 posts. So to give you more numbers, just to be like, as salacious as possible
Jared: headlines now, you know, on the YouTube banner that the podcast title.
Andrew: I’m hoping for you too. This will be better than me going top. I think it is.
Jared: Well, you, you, you teased us with a button or two, so, you know, you’re gonna have to just rely on numbers now to make up for it.
Andrew: That’s right. Uh, so in terms of posts, we have like a, about like 430 that we’ve covered. We paid $200 to create a post. Um, you know, we optimize that super cheap. It’s maybe a hundred dollars or less, a few times in a Post’s existence. And so to break it out in terms of numbers, it causes about 200, maybe two 50 to create a post.
And on average, a post earns us about $2,600. If you consider like the life of the site. So it’s about 10 X-ing the creation cost.
Jared: So you, you know, you know, your numbers, like I’m a numbers guy. I’m well, I’m a numbers guy too, but I mean, man, you know, numbers like that is
Andrew: I watch every single shark tech episode and they’re like, no, your numbers,
you know, you look at Google, it likes refresh, refresh, and I get another visitor. If I get another 10,000 visitors.
Jared: I I’m fascinated by the, the success you’ve had. I mean, it’s really well done. Um, what gave you the impetus to then go on and start another project? Like lasso and, and fill us in on a little bit more about what lasso is.
Andrew: It’s either like can’t stop, won’t stop. Or I’m like a psychopath glutton for punishment. All
Jared: of the above. All of the above. Yeah.
Andrew: Cause, uh, there’s this like thing where it’s like, you have this idea, you want to know. And like you see it. And so it’s obviously easy. She know what to do. And I think of, I knew how hard any of these things were going to be.
I don’t think I would have done any of them. I probably would have just kept my job, but, uh, we built this tool for our own sites. It was a competitive advantage. Um, The personal finance, the super competitive, I don’t want other people using my displays to promote their products or rank like, or, you know, other gifts sites to use my gifts, the tech that we built, you know, to, to find broken out of stock links, whatever.
Um, and then realize that we’re like in a little gold rush, um, and. You know, I had already given it to my friends and if you want it to compete with gift lab, you can have my tech stack, but you also have to be as good as me. You also have to have my team, you have to be able to do research. And so I started to feel like giving these I’m a developer.
And so I want to code more than record a podcast. Why I stopped on my podcasts because I didn’t bring me as much joy as, as building, um, or coding. And so figured, like, I, it was just, I, everyone talks about SAS businesses and they’re sexy. So we just kind of went for it
Jared: at the end of the day. It comes down to how sexy it was.
I got it. Okay. Yes.
Andrew: It’s a salacious sexy, you know, affiliate businesses. Right. What does that,
Jared: what does lasso do? I mean, clearly it’s it’s um, it’s, it’s about the way that you guys. Yeah, clearly, there’s a pattern of success for you in terms of the way that you display the recommendations and the way that you optimize around those recommendations.
Both from a data standpoint, from a look standpoint, from an appeal standpoint, from a way you speak about it from the type of links you do, there’s, it’s pretty clear, you know, 40 minutes into this interview, like you have a lot of baked in knowledge around optimization. So what does lasso do for you to help optimize those?
Andrew: Yeah. So when we were building listen, money matters. Um, you know, I think it was maybe at the 300 post point, it started to feel like we were getting all this organic traffic to posts that were not making us any money. Or we were public. I would catch after, you know, weeks after something published, like a show notes that I got like a blast hit of people that there were no affiliate links in there.
And I just, it drove me insane that we were leaving these opportunities on the table. Initially lasso. It was just a bundling of, of automations to make sure that you don’t have like this leaky ship. So if you put an Amazon link on your site, Lassa will automatically monetize it and automatically bring down the price.
It’ll make sure you’re compliant with Amazon’s terms of service. If the image updates, things like that, where are my links? So I linked to betterment, where are they across the site? How are they performing on this post versus that post? And then. Uh, you know, I started working with Matt on match of uneasy on like his sites and maths way more visual than me.
I’m a numbers guy. I want to look at like, I want to look at a spreadsheet of where my links are across my site. So I built that because that’s what I want. Matt was like, it has to be beautiful. And so he made something beautiful on his site and. We package that into lasso. And so that’s the displays and it wasn’t like, um, it, it worked really well for Matt.
It was just obvious beyond that you look at the numbers, people click on big buttons. They click on displays wire cutter. Does it not because they want us to think their site looks beautiful because it performs really, really well. And so lasso is the automation. And then the, the front end aspects to kind of, uh, make sure that you’re converting.
Jared: you talked about being able to track which links perform best on which pages. I mean, that’s level of transparency that I think probably doesn’t get talked about much. Most people would probably slap Amazon affiliate links or even links to other affiliate programs, but they go kind of, you know, across a whole multitude of pages, maybe hundreds of pages.
And so it’s hard to. In-depth information. Um, how does that look with lasso? Like what kind of depth can you get and what kind of depth of understanding can you get with, with, with, with that sort of.
Andrew: Yeah. So what happened? And then there’s like, we only created these things because we needed it because I actually liked to not work, even though I work in succinctly, I was
Jared: going to say, hold on, now we’ll reference five minutes ago, but okay.
I’ll leave that one there.
Andrew: Um, you know, you make $5,000 a month from betterment or. Cool, but you want to do more of what was working so that you could actually earn more or maybe apply what worked to other posts. And so, um, you need to know posts level. And so with lasso, you’re just putting your Google analytics code.
So universal analytics go on next for work with all of them. And then you will get the level of event data that I was describing with gift lab. So you could see based on every single affiliate. You know, how many clicks were there? Where were they clicked on? You know, on which page within the next few months we’re going to have link levels.
So it will be what page, which links on the page. You can start to see if like a link above a display box or at the bottom even matters because the thought. You have a hundred links on a post. If there was a hundred possible clicks, it’s going to be like kind of evenly distributed between, you know, the a hundred links roughly.
But if you have five links, you’re gonna get more clicks per link. And so it’s as important to add the right. As he removed the ones that don’t work. If they’re not like, if you look at a post of mine and there’s like an insane amount of links, you may click none because it feels spam. And so it’s really trying to, like, you created this thing that ranks and I’m just like Polish it, or use tech to help you say, like, do this, this, this.
Jared: What recommendations do you have for people even with that kind of data, but that might struggle with the numbers and understanding how to actually interpret them. Like when, when they, maybe when they’re looking at that data, what are some maybe key insights you’re looking for and then things you do as a result of it, maybe we could just spend five minutes on, Hey, what does that data look like?
And then what should people do with that?
Andrew: Yeah. So when you pull it together in Google data studio, and a lot of this, you could even just do in Google analytics, um, you can learn like, okay, so let’s say I have betterment review and I get a bunch of clicks on betterment review and it’s actually my highest clicked posts to betterment.
And it’s my highest converting. Cool. I guess I should just create 10 more betterment review posts. Right. Cause that, that makes sense. Um, but you can only have one, right. And so, you know, And then maybe you need to discount the betterment review. Cause obviously the intent is high. And so if you exclude that and look at everything else you could.
Learn that a beginner in tent posts convert better. And so you put betterment there and maybe more advanced ones you put on finance or Robin hood. Another way to look at it. Something that works specifically with personal capital for us is a invalid analytics. You can see demographic status and, you know, I don’t know that you may learn much versus male versus female, but age worked really well for personal capital.
And we found that people. Uh, or other posts that were geared to people who are 40 and up converted better. So then we went to the Olympics, we looked for every post that was for 40 and up, and we flipped out better than the links, whatever. And we just promoted personal capital because it’s just a product, more geared towards the audience.
It’s like, You’re going to use mint at the time. If you were young now, I guess you’re old. If you use mint, you know, and it was all the views personal capital. And so, you know, uh, it’s understanding which posts are working. And so you can kind of back into intent or the types of people that are resonates with, because your article may be excellent and it may rank, but you mentioned you’re putting the wrong, wrong product on the article.
And so you can. It’s not like this. Just click this link and it’ll tell you exactly what to do. You have to like meander a bit. You look at all the posts, where are the betterment clicks coming from? They’re all investing posts. So you could start.
Jared: That makes a lot of sense. What is a, like what, what kind of would be the typical, if let’s say I would, uh, I have a, an, uh, a sole website that’s monetized as affiliate and I were to, to kind of drop this tool on there.
W am I going to be getting like a big round of data back? Uh, or is it, is it something where you, you kind of start to slowly sift through page by page? What the data looks like, and then. If I get that data back, is it pretty easy to make these changes with class? So, or is it more page by page, post by post?
Andrew: Yeah. So, um, when you start lasso, uh, we, uh, build an index of every link on your site. Um, and so we, we pretty much know what’s going on once you’re getting started, um, as part of the kind of onboarding you’ll put in your Google analytics data. But if you do within 24 hours, you all the vents from every page that you’ve used, the last of links on, uh, if you have Amazon and auto Amazon enabled, it’ll just kind of deploy across your site and you’ll be done.
So for a site like gift lab, it’s really like flipping one button and then just like, wait, and you’ll see the. Um, and then, uh, it really depends how you want to do it. I’m I think that if you were more bespoke about things, it, it kind of lends to higher quality and it’ll perform better. And so LASA was built with that in mind that said you could do blanket kind of automated.
But the, the gist of it is say you have a relationship with Grammarly. They have an affiliate program. Uh, last lasso we’ll show you all the links to bromley.com automatically. It’ll be like, Hey, these are not monetized. Yeah. And they’re like, and we say, Hey, we also know there’s an affiliate link. So if you’re not signed up, click here and sign up so you can go and sign up.
And then right after you sign up, we showed you where all your links are and you just flip a toggle and it’ll make it a monetizing. And so
Jared: I might be sending, I might be send people to Amazon for a product where there’s already an affiliate program that would pay higher commissions. And, um, and is that, that gets recommended.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, one of the things we also learned that I didn’t know until running lasso is that, uh, people are talking to, and you may have talked about this before, but they’re talking to vendors directly and they’re making direct deals with vendors that are getting the Amazon commission. And then in addition, Uh, payout.
And so, um, Having the data and being able to kind of like automate that, like makes it easier. Cause you can. So one of the things with lasso is say you link to a bunch of cowboy hats, um, and then you actually just want it to link to a different cowboy hat. You can do change at one place, no cloaking because it’s Amazon and we’ll update it across your site.
So if you make these direct deals, we make it really easy to kind of onboard and move content at scale to the direction that will make you the most money.
Jared: Might I add you have an insane ability to come up with really, really wonderful, odd examples on the fly. We’ve talked about dolphin, lovers, cowboy hats, and everything in between.
Thank you. It’s a skill. It’s a skill don’t don’t don’t anybody tell you otherwise I offer
Andrew: in a podcast. So, I mean, that’s true.
Jared: I should, you should be hosting. You should be hosting this one just to get you back into groove here. Um, Didn’t it doesn’t look like it left you. It looks like you’re good to go.
You could just pick it right back up. Dust the mic off and you’re off to the races. I accept how much, um, how much, I mean, how much money do you think people are leaving on the table by not focusing? Cause again, I interview people every week and I think the typical, uh, When we just do an hour, right. And interview people about their success and their, their website success.
A lot of the conversation tends to be around, um, you know, focusing on growing the amount of content they have, um, focusing on back links, which we have made it through an entire podcast without talking about backlinks. That’s kind of a variable. Um, you know what it’s about? Content is about backlinks.
It’s about SEO. It’s about optimization and this has really been about optimization. This is really. Revenue conversion and increasing conversions. How much money do you think the average website at the average affiliate website is just leaving on the table?
Andrew: So I’m going to rule out super beginners because they may be leaving out all.
Um, but generally the, the good fits for lasso. They tend to get a few thousand, at least a month in organic traffic. Um, and maybe make, I mean, they’re making revenue from affiliate income, maybe thousand more. The, the ideal customer for us is like a thousand or more. And they tend to be leaving about 30% on the table through broken links out of stock links.
And then just like on monetizing things where they have a relationship and they didn’t link it across their site, or they’re linking to someone didn’t even know there was a relationship. And so like connecting those dots.
Jared: That’s that’s, that’s, that’s great. That’s, that’s a real good avatar and target market for, for who that would be best for.
And that gives people an idea. When it’s too early to think about something like that, versus when it’s leaving a lot of money on the table, if you’re not focused on something like that. So, um,
Andrew: I think it’s important to have best practices and like cloaked links and stuff like that. And, you know, I think we could provide value, but.
We’re best when like you’re earning so much more than a monthly fee. We don’t have to like convince you that.
Jared: Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s like the easy one, right? That’s the easy way to kind of get people on board is if, is if they just can capitalize on so much money left on the table and to be fair, I mean, like I’m a numbers guy.
I went to school for numbers and I’m not nearly as focused on it as you are. It sounds like. Without these tools that you have, like Alaska or something like that. So it does sound like a lot of work to optimize this, um, these articles without, uh, and if, if you, um, if you don’t want to sign up for all that work, or if you have a limited timeframe, if you’re still writing for your website and these are all different, you know, different reasons to consider a tool, rather than trying to go in and optimize yourself with some of the things you shared, like Google data, studio and events, and those sorts of.
Andrew: You know, um, we, we were buying Google ads for the term affiliate link manager, which could be software. But when I started, that was a person. Uh, and for a lot of people that is a person, someone who kind of like manages the relationships, make sure you’re actually like monetizing. You know, not to say person or software, but I could certainly say software’s cheaper and then you don’t have to have one-on-ones with lasso.
Jared: Yup. Yup. I mean, that’s a good point guy. We went through a lot of things here. We talked about, listen, money matters. We talked about, about gift lab and some of your other affiliate projects we talked about last. So, I mean, is there anything that you think we didn’t touch on that you, you think kind of left out or glossed
Andrew: Um, you know, I think we covered the highlights. Uh, we, um, we’re like obsessed with quality and I love teaching whether it was personal finance. Now I get to do it again with affiliate marketing, which is how we really made our money. Not because we budgeted well, although we did. Um, and so we’re, we’re putting a lot of time into, uh, the content we create there kind of showing, explaining all this stuff.
Um, and our newsletter. Uh, I want to say it’s like better than indie hackers, but it’s certainly along those lines, we try and like highly curate and like teach you something like not, I don’t think you should necessarily care what I published yesterday. It may not be relevant to you, but, but we really try and like bring actual advice because at the end of the day, if you are successful with affiliate marketing, you’re going to stick with the lasso.
So we need our customers to be.
Jared: That’s great. Well, where can people follow along on what you’re doing? And, um, where’s the best place to connect with you? Cause you have a lot of projects and uh, you say you, you, you don’t, uh, you, you want to save yourself a bunch of you. Don’t what’d you say you don’t like to work, I think is what you said, but I’d argue otherwise, but yeah.
Where can people follow along? Given the, the, the number of projects you have going right now?
Andrew: When, when it’s fun, it’s not. And when other people work for you and they can do the things you don’t want to do, it’s not work. Um, you can find [email protected] We are obsessed with Intercom’s to hit the chat bubble.
Say, Andrew, I love you, Andrew. I hate you. I will read it. I will probably respond to that. I love you. And if you say I hate you, I’ll just try and sell it. Yep.
Jared: That’s fair enough. Cut. Straight to the chase. Hey, this has been fun. It’s been a real treat to, um, to have you on the podcast, you have a really storied background.
I’m going to guess that the majority of people listening will have heard of at least one of your projects that we talked about, if not more so, um, and it was really cool to hear about what you’re doing now with lasso. So, um, thank you again and until we talk next time.
Andrew: Absolute. Thanks for having me. I had a blast.
Jared: Good. All right.
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