How A Site Grew Monthly Revenue From $400 to $400,000. – With Warren Jolly

Warren Jolly’s site, CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com, started out as little more than a message board for web entrepreneurs who were running affiliate ads, but he was determined to grow its revenue. So he talked to his customers, and what he heard taught him how to bring his revenues up to $400,000 per month.

It wasn’t easy — most entrepreneurs would have given up if they were rejected half as often as Warren was — but check out how he did it and tell me if you agree with me that your business can benefit from Warren’s methods.

The FULL program

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Video excerpts

About Warren Jolly

warren-jolly-photoAffiliate Media, Inc.

Warren Jolly is President and CEO of Affiliate Media, which owns affiliate-related properties such as CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com,  Poker Conference, and CAP Magazine. The company was recently named an Inc 500 company.

Notes from the interview

Owning a $400 a month forum wasn’t enough for him

“A forum is something anybody can set up and anyone can join,” he said in the interview. So he tried a new idea, “It was about wrapping a good quality product around the forum.”

I asked him if he thought of charging forum members who used his site to talk about affiliate programs. “You can’t charge the user. That’s my belief,” he told me. “You have to make your money off the advertiser who’s looking for that user, otherwise you’ll never be able to scale or build your audience.”

His advertisers were the people who ran affiliate programs for online casinos, but just running their ads wouldn’t grow his business significantly.

So he talked to affiliate managers to identify their pain

“I organized 10-20 affiliate managers who were potential customers of mine and said, ‘Hey, what are your challenges. What are you not able to do effectively online? What are you looking for?’ It was very straightforward. It sounds simple because it is.”

They told him that since they were outside the US, affiliates were reluctant to run their ads.

He created a product based on their input — but they didn’t like it

The product he created was a certification program for affiliate managers. It was designed to help them get more affiliates.

“I think like, any other entrepreneur, you’re going to get a couple of doors slammed on you. The key here is, even if you have 50 doors slammed on you, you can’t get discouraged. You need to take that experience and take it as a learning and say, ‘Okay, why did these 50 doors get slammed on me? Why did they all say no? Is it my price? Is it my product? Is it my brand name?’”

Rejection taught him how to improve his product

“We weren’t targeting the right pain point,” he realized. “We weren’t targeting the trust issue, we were targeting affiliate managers’ need to acquire more affiliates, which wasn’t enough of a sell for them. When we combined the fact that they’re going to get new affiliates from this and they’re going to convince their existing partners to continue working with them, that was really powerful.”

He says he only figured out his product “by going through the process and getting the doors slammed in my face. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

The certification was like “rocket fuel” for his business, he told us. It’s what helped him earn $400,000 a month.

Full program includes

- I went into details with Warren about how he figured out where the revenue was for his business because I want you to be able to repeat his success.

- You’ll learn how Warren would start today if he were trying to recreate his success. He would NOT start out with a forum. Listen to what he’d use instead.

- I didn’t write about it much in my text here, but Warren’s company also runs a few affiliate programs. Listen to how he makes money by being smarter about his sites conversion strategy than bigger companies are.

Suggested comments

- We had a little tech difficulty, so we put my video and Warren’s side-by-side. How does that look to you?

- Can YOU reproduce Warren’s strategy of talking to clients to figure out what YOU should charge for? (I’m very curious about your opinion on that.)

- If you learned something from this program that I should have included the text notes, could you add it to the comments?

Share

  • RoshanMartin

    Good choice for an interview Andrew! Warren is an inspiration to those who aim to be relentless. I personally feel that, what sets him apart from the other interviewees is his neophite bred spirit of ambition. He started early and, as is said within many circles, what you learn at an early age will greatly influence and shape the definition of who you will become. I'm sure Warren is very fiscally frugal, even at this stage of his career, due to the lack of funding at such an early age. Those sort of constraints illicit pure creativity and a knack for problem solving that you can't learn anywhere but through experience. Congrats on your success Warren and keep 'em coming Andrew!

  • RoshanMartin

    P.S. … the split screen looks great and audio is perfect!

  • michaelL

    Andrew, a very informative interview.

    I like the side by side video squares – feels more balanced on presentation than having the typical iChat small window inside a big window. Is that achieved via iChat or Screenflow?

    One question that interests me for all your interviewees is what business/ marketing or how to books they read to learn or get tips on how to solve their ongoing problems. Or even whether they rely at all on those kinds of resources, I'm sure many don't and that would be interesting to learn. Another great job interviewing!
    Cheers,
    Michael

  • k

    Audio was good. Split screen is an improvement. Don't go back, keep the split screen.
    The video excerpts were a waste of my time because I ended up listening to the entire video.
    Video excerpts without a description of what's in it is useless to me.
    The interview was good. A bit long but you didn't waste any time in the interview.
    Maybe show a few screenshots or photos during the interview. Or a short video of the affiliate conferences, just so we can see how it's like, what the product (website) looks like. It ads depth to the interview, imo. The take away: don't waste your time on forums, use social media tools / sites. Affiliates can make you a lot of money but you have to talk to the advertisers. In this case they came to him because he was the number one for certain keyword searches.
    Andrew, I think you should post links to your other interviews underneath this one (& others). Interviews wherein you certain relevant subjects are discussed like how do you get the first spot for those keyword searches. Oh and perhaps do an interview with the advertisers. And maybe tag your interviews. Got to go. Take care.

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  • briteguy

    Wow, this is amazing, I am going to listen to it now…

  • http://OpenSwipe.com caseyallen

    This is uniquely cool for me because I'm pre-launch and ripping out my hair trying to figure out how to build an “aff” program. I had no idea affiliate managers existed. Best news ever. And I had no idea Tim Ash had a company. Even more great news. I'll probably end up using them.

    I appreciate you stopping entrepreneurs and making them explain exactly WHY they did what they did. What their thought process was. Where the payoff was, and how great. That's what makes you unique from all the other blogs and interviews out there. You must think like we do.

    Split screens indeed. Good testing.

    I honestly didn't feel any of it registered on the sketchy-meter.

    Warren–congrats on the INC. props and great interview. Of all the interviewees on the site you're easily in the top 10 all-time best communicators Andrew's had. Thanks for your story telling.

  • http://twitter.com/livedomainer Jamie Parks

    Great job Andrew. Thanks for sharing your story Warren; very insightful.

  • briteguy

    I am not a big fan of affiliate marketing, thinking of it being a sleazy world always. But it is not bad to get to know couple of tricks making money online.

  • http://yewhealth.com tanyewwei

    Heh, I guess I have to agree there. This interview was a lot more context specific to the affiliate market and I that I think that many points were pretty vague. Notably, comments like 'take care of the user' is probably something we've heard from many other interviews here.

    Anyway, Great work from Andrew with the interview. I will agree that the split screen is great!

  • briteguy

    As a technical person, I would rather be interested in how tech people startup and create real value for the society.

  • jimfmunro

    Thanks for offering more great interviews. Just a thought, I've downloaded 20+ interviews and I still have to hunt the page for the MP3 link. It's proximity to the video make it seems as thought its a caption to the video file. Maybe it's just me, but I'm usually looking for an audio icon or larger “audio” references.

    Just a suggestion. Thanks again. I can't wait to listen to this one.

  • PokerAffiliate

    Its to bad Warren didnt keep his original business model instead of trying to compete with the operators on the same level while taking money from them with the other hand. That and not paying the affiliates who built his forum which in turn was the key selling point that allowed him to generate 400K from the partners.

    I think you need to google the cardspoke scandel to get what im talking about.

  • Affiliate28

    Warren built a successful affiliate community I will give you that. But he also goes down in books as someone who was able to destroy that community and the trust of his partners quicker than anyone in the industry. While its great to have such a business model, it would have probably been in his best interest to keep the same model instead of getting money hungry and competing with his competitors. While taking funds for advertising in one hand, the other was reaping the rewards of consulting *cough* operating a poker room/casino of his own. Followed by not paying the affiliates he aquired during the 6 mth operation of those sites. If your unsure google “Cardspike Poker Scandel” and you'll find plenty of details

    Lets not forgot that Warren also had a partner who Im sure without him he wouldnt be where he is today. Those 50 doors slammed on you because you neglected to tell the people you were charging money for advertising that you were in direct competition.

    Lets get the story straight please. btw Warren since you make 400K how about paying the affiliates you still owe :)

  • Stephen

    It's amazing that anyone would even bring this site up as a 'successful' case study. Honestly it was a massive hit for a while but has since lost all trust, traction and vision. For those wondering how this could have happened visit: http://tinyurl.com/warrenjolly

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I do like to see this kind of growth and ambition. I'll keep following his
    progress.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    - The picture-in-picture layout is from Skype. The new format is from Ecamm,
    a new recorder.

    - Book recommendations is something that I keep being asked about. I asked
    the founder of FreshBooks about it yesterday (will post the interview soon),
    and I'll try to ask it more often. Good suggestion.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Wow. This was a mistake — we only did it because of a technical problem on
    my end — but it looks like we hit on a new way to present the interviews.
    I really appreciate this feedback.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    This detailed comment is very helpful.
    - I still have a few older interviews to post before I can post the
    side-by-side format, but I'll start recording my interviews that way in the
    future. If you like it, I like it.

    - I try to keep my interviews at about 45 minutes, but sometimes I can't
    stop being curious. I'm about to post an interview that took me about 1:30
    to record — twice as long as I usually like.

    - I'd love to add more footage, but any more editing work and I'll go nuts.
    (Or Paola, my editor, will.)

    - Good suggestion to post related links. I bet a basic WordPress plugin
    could help there. I'll try to find the time to add it.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Let me know how you like it!

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    - Let me know if you Tim's contact info.

    - If you need help with setting up an affiliate program, Brook Schaaf's company is one of the top in the business. Let me know if you need an intro. Here's my interview with him:
    http://mixergy.com/affiliate-tips-zappos-shoes-

    - I'm getting excited that so many people like the side-by-side layout. I think it'll be much easier for me to do too.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Glad you thanked Warren. The more you and I tell interviewees that we appreciate the time they spend here, the easier it'll be for me to get more entrepreneurs to come. I need them to know that the time they spend here is valuable.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I hear that a lot. If you have details about why you feel that way or what you saw in the business, share. So far I'm not seeing it.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks for the compliment despite your feelings. Here are some lessons I think others can use:

    1. Talk to potential clients before creating the product.
    2. When create what you think they want and customers still turn you down, don't give up on the product. Refine it.
    3. Instead of running banners, try creating programs that have a higher ticket price.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Please suggest some. I'm always looking for more people to interview here.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I really need to put a nice image next to the audio to draw people's attention to it. I hear this a lot. I'll see what I can do.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I'm open to hearing more. If you want to email me privately, you have my
    personal email address.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Update: My email to this commenter bounced. You don't have to use a fake email here. I won't publish it, but I do like to contact people and hear their perspectives.

    And I leave negative comments up, as long as they're not being disrespectful.

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  • RoshanMartin

    You know the funny thing Andrew… the night before you aired this segment, my business partner and myself were viewing the entire Neil Patel interview and we ended up discussing the visual presentation behind our own site…the most accepted suggestion that came up was the Anderson Cooper style on msnbc, with the split screen approach, and we wondered why you hadn't tried that out yet….and here you are!….its exactly what Warren said, in that he never assumed that something would work until he tested it out on many different levels…and in some cases, the best outcomes, start off as accidents!

  • RoshanMartin

    Definitely appreciate the grace and transparency with which you moderate your site. It sets a good example Andrew! Keep it up….

  • faithbarnard

    Great material and very detailed. I liked the fact you didn't gloss over anything and asked all the pertinent questions that we as potential affiliates, product developers would want to know.

  • http://thynews.com/wrightlabs John Wright

    I thought it was good overall advice about learning from getting doors slammed in your face. He said he was just guessing what was needed but that experience gave him invaluable insight into the market needs.

  • tycooncashflow

    This is a great interview. I have learned so much from this and also from Tycoon Cashflow. Learning to become an affiliate is great not to mention the money.

    Make Money With Tycoon CashFlow

  • philhogan

    Wow..that's impressive income, any for an affiliate site.

  • pokerrakebackdeals

    Interesting how warren doesn't mention that his certifications were meaningless, and were in fact just handed over to affiliate programs for hard cash with no actual auditing of their programs. trust factor = zero.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Hmm. I wonder if I can get some kind of animated wallpaper behind our split
    screen, like the guys on the news. That will probably come later, but I'll
    keep an eye out.
    -a

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Sometimes I think entrepreneurship is about how many doors you can stand to
    have slammed in your face without giving up.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Really is. I hope to do more interviews like this.

  • davidwarner

    Ran hard nice work

  • http://www.jamesphart.com James P Hart

    Bit late to the party with this one even though I tried my best to listen to it earlier. It's a pity that any ideas Warren has are so tainted by the very public break up he had with his former business partner, who was not mentioned at all in the interview. Even if you believe 25% of what was said in forums etc, it still doesn't portray Warren in a good way. Perhaps that's why he doesn't like the forum model anymore.

    To give credit where it is due though, at least Warren did issue a public apology for misleading so many people in the online gambling space which is something I don't think his former partner has done yet. Also, hats off for implementing a business model that makes it very difficult for your clients to leave. Once a program lost it's certification because they no longer wished to pay the certification fees, their reputation would take a beating and they could be incorrectly lumped in with the rogue programs who were decertified. They had to be very proactive in getting the message out as to why they were leaving CAP.

    If success is only measured in dollar terms then Warren is successful. If other factors are taken into account such as ethics, honesty and morality then maybe not as successful.

    Andrew, this interview does remind me of something I have been going to mention for a while. I'd love to know more detail about how people deal with having partners in business. Not everything is smooth sailing and it would be great to hear how people deal with the disagreements that come up from time to time when there is more than one active owner (as opposed to investors).

  • http://matthewkrawse.com Matthew Krawse

    Excellent interview. In my opinion, the best part of this interview is Warren's outlook on rejection/failure/nos. I completely agree. Every situation (especially the ones that don't end the way you want them to) allow you the opportunity to learn, grow, and better yourself (and your product). Warren, thanks for sharing your insight!

    P.S. I agree that the split screen is the way to go.

  • Prof

    he is a scumbag who screws over everyone, this is crap

  • Prof

    he is a scumbag who screws over everyone, this is crap

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