I am delighted to bring you an interview with Jonathan Erwin from Online Media Group, the UK’s largest finance affiliate network. I have been lucky enough to work with him as my account manager at Online Media Group and gain the benefits of his support and experience. Jonathan provides great affiliate management, is always approachable and someone I would recommend you get to know.
Q. How did you get into affiliate marketing?
A. I used to work as the marketing manager for a small English language school in Norwich. There was almost no budget for online marketing, but while looking into ways to increase our online visibility I discovered we had a free £50 voucher for Google Adwords. After burning through the voucher in about two hours it was evident that cracking paid search would take a little effort! Researching ‘success with Adwords’ and similar keywords eventually led me to the Shoe Money blog and thus the concept of affiliate marketing. Six months later I was looking for a career change and found Online Media Group, the largest finance and insurance affiliate network in the UK. OMG was growing at a rate of knots (and continues to do so) so I joined the publisher team and have been here ever since.
Q. What was your biggest challenge getting into affiliate marketing?
A. There was a six-month learning curve! I am good at building relationships but when OMG gave me accounts to manage I had to learn how the various affiliate models could be utilised to grow them properly.
Q. What are the main things merchants do that you wish they wouldn’t?
A. Taking key publishers direct – now business is business and this can’t be avoided in some instances, but it’s quite frustrating to see something you’ve spent months growing slip through your fingers.Giving short notice on creative changes is also difficult to manage, as affiliates can be removed from a programme for displaying out of date content. We make every effort to phone round to ensure top performers are compliant, and this can be time consuming.
Q. What are the main things affiliates do that you wish they wouldn’t?
A. Bidding out of hours on prohibited terms. As a Network we know that there are loop holes in some merchant’s own PPC activity,and that affiliates can help cover this off, but to make this work in the interest of all parties, a controlled, measured and agreed approach needs to be taken. Also, technology for identifying this kind of activity is improving all the time and it’s becoming more and more transparent as to who the offenders are. The impact this activity has on the bigger affiliate picture is really detrimental.
Q. Where do you see growth in the affiliate field?
A. Email marketing grew in leaps and bounds during 2008 and I think there is a lot of growth still to come. It’s surprising to learn how under-utilised this vertical is by merchants and certainly on an acquisition basis we have seen some massive returns for some of our key clients.
Q. What do you do to improve the world?
A. Invest in green ETFs to facilitate the growth of more eco-friendly businesses.
Q. What do you do that is green?
A. I’ve been an avid bike rider for years, plus recycling is a pet hobby.
Q. What is one thing about you that not many people know?
A. Although I’m from the US originally I played rugby for three years in one of the oldest programmes on the west coast.
Q. What is on your iPod?
A. What’s an iPod?
Q. What’s your favorite book?
A. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, anything by Clive Cussler
Q. What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums etc)?
A. Jonathan.Erwin@onlinemediagroup.co.uk, Online Media Group; Skype – jonathanatOMG; AIM – jonathanatOMG
Q. Who would you recommend and why?
A. Vanquis – there are several networks that advertise the Vanquis Visa Card but few of them have it direct. OMG does, and those affiliates who I’ve converted to running it through us have been pleased with the results.
Nadeem Azam (Azam Marketing )– few people have been around in online marketing as long as Nadeem. He is one of the nicest people I know and the most knowledgeable. He really will bend over backwards to help you out. Whether it’s advice on running a campaign, building websites, email marketing or search engine marketing, Nadeem can help – or refer you to someone who can.
Terry Armstrong – quite simply she’s class. A few months back Terry started an affiliate network that has gone from strength to strength in the gambling vertical. She’s always willing to listen to a new idea or just have a quick chinwag.
Anthony James – Ant is the driving force behind new business generation at OMG. He’s engineered some of the biggest wins for the business and is my personal hero for it.