Joining our Influencer Interview series today is Ian Fernando, founder of IANternet Media. Ian has 15 years of experience in affiliate marketing, media buying, and pay-per-click advertising. Back in 2013, he created his first SaaS project focused on growth hacking and insights, driven from advertising links and landing pages. Since then, he has been a featured speaker at seminars like Affiliate Virtual Summit, ALO Event (Affiliate Leaders Online Event), and many more. He has also been invited to different podcasts, including ClickDealer, MaxWeb, and RichPush.
Cloudways: Ian, it’s lovely to have you for this interview. Could you please tell our readers about yourself?
Ian: Sure, I am an affiliate blogger at Ianfernando. I initiated my journey in the affiliate space 15+ years ago. From being an e-commerce store reseller at eBay and selling ebooks at MySpace to being a super affiliate of hundreds of brands, my career has revolved around affiliate marketing and media buying.
Not only have I created software as a service but currently, I am also releasing a community-driven business, to Affiliate Business Club Online, which is a chat application that answers queries relevant to campaign management along with some industry-leading case studies as an example. Being pretty well-versed in the online space, I have been in dropshipping in the ecommerce industry as well. The first affiliate network that I worked with was Azoogle. You can say that I have aced and been a part of every new venue of online marketing.
Cloudways: From entering the affiliate marketing industry 15 years ago to become a renowned name in the industry, it’s been quite a journey for you. Would you care to share this story with us?
Ian: The journey in the affiliate world is like a roller coaster ride with rough patches and ups and down traffic trends, high potential offers, and other aspects. Initially, you have to understand the current market trends, then you analyze a whose offer to trust and accept. Affiliate marketing is more about trust and affiliate-merchant relationships. What to look for in specific offers, what value there is in the offer for your followers, to have a consistent trustworthy relationship with them and help them get the best results. Then you develop your workflow. It depends upon your consistency as it won’t help you earn a lot in a short span.
Let me share an experience of mine with you. There were months in which I didn’t make any money and there has also been a time where I earned 7 figure income for months. The affiliate marketing industry is all about pushing yourself to recover and learn from your downfalls.
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Cloudways: What motivated you to step into the affiliate world a decade ago?
Ian: I started it as a side hustle in order to generate some passive income as I wanted to get rid of 3 jobs. In the early stage of my career, I was working as a customer service representative at a call center over the night shift while being a barista over the weekend and Human Resource Manager at Walmart over weekdays as a full-time employee.
My side hustles helped me realize that I could get away from part-time earning by focusing on the income generation method. This had a lot of scope, but it was underutilized. I never aimed to be a successful entrepreneur or a self-driven affiliate marketer, I just wanted to get away from the two jobs and have a directional vision and that was my goal.
By doing that, I reached a ceiling at my one job. I’d climbed all the way up as the data analyst and then I told myself, “Hey Ian, if you can get rid of two jobs, you can get rid of this one as well, all while earning more with better income generation possibilities and unapproached avenues.”
I worked 40+ hours in a week while doing side hustles and then I started getting fruitful results by earning more than all the jobs I did earlier. I wanted to do more for myself, and it allowed me to push myself further.
Affiliate marketing is the most non-frictional way to get into marketing because you only work over referrals, traffic, and conversions.
Cloudways: What are the trends and challenges that newbie affiliates experience in the affiliate marketing industry?
Ian: I think a lot of affiliates start off with complications, they think it’s hard. They dive into it but don’t know how to make a path but I believe the greatest challenge is creativity. As a marketer, you need to have a creative spark. You have to understand the psychology of a user to understand what his known and unknown needs are, what the user actually wants. That’s why I would suggest aspiring affiliates to have passion as their driving force when diving into the world of affiliate marketing, rather than having money as their driving goal.
When you have the passion to achieve something, creativity comes automatically. The more you crave money instead of creativity, the more you lose your focus, time, and energy.
Cloudways: In your opinion, how can these challenges and issues be mitigated?
Ian: The best way to get creative is to know your audience. The phenomenon of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) works hand in hand with your success. Think outside of the box. For example, when I did ads, I did a teeth whitening offer and people asked why would you do a teeth whitening offer in a business category for a social network. But all I thought was don’t you want white teeth for a good job interview. I didn’t say buy this tooth whitener. I said, “Hey, land that job with this one teeth whitening trick.”
You’ll get creative after you figure out the value. The best way to pull out creativity is to pull out a piece of paper and express what users would think about it.
Cloudways: How can affiliates exploit emerging opportunities in this industry? It would be great if you could name a few opportunities that have true potential!
Ian: There are many opportunities. For example, a lot of affiliates are moving towards the lead generation for sales. Some are also doing survey analysis for data research about how consumers behave, perceive, and expect from a product/service they are recommended. The affiliate industry is still unexplored, even though every business needs a referral.
And you can make referrals through a variety of avenues, like media buying, organic search or social media. How can you explore what you are best at? Simply find the direction where your passion drives you, and start exploring and experiencing different ways to move forward.
Related Content: 7 Content Marketing Tips to Boost Your Affiliate Earnings
Cloudways: With more than 15 years of experience in digital marketing, project development, lead generation, and affiliate marketing, what are the common mistakes new affiliates make in your experience?
Ian: Giving up. It’s the greatest mistake affiliates make. Like if you lose $50, you quit. That’s the wrong approach and persistence is required. I have lost hundreds and thousands of cash and I still push through because I know the industry dynamics are shifting, changing, and flourishing, so I need to a/b test the right approach to get the best results. Affiliate marketing is the most non-fictional way to get into marketing because you only work over referrals, traffic, and conversions. You don’t have to worry about merchandising, logistics, or any other thing that other entrepreneurs have to focus on to generate a high-income stream.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that it teaches you to apply different approaches like lead generation, digital marketing, initiating an agency, or becoming an advertiser for promoting a product and posting product reviews
Once you get to know this tactic, you can promote your own digital product as well. Even when you walk out of this industry, you would have the skillset to start your agency based on your promotional tactics.
The second mistake affiliates make is to fear losing. The affiliates need to know that losing is actually winning when you learn from your losses.
Cloudways: You reached a 6-figure affiliate revenue and became an inspiration for many affiliates, all as you turned into a super affiliate of many brands. What is the secret recipe for your success? Any advice for beginners?
Ian: Treat your affiliate product as your own product that you need to make the promotional strategy of. Consider the company you work with as your client and its product as your client’s mega project. For example, if you are a part of the Cloudways Affiliate Program, treat Cloudways as your client, be in constant contact with your affiliate manager, and discuss your promotional strategy and roadblocks to smooth your process.
The biggest issue for beginners is that they are scared to get out of their comfort zone. They are fixated on their routine-based traditional ways of promotion but they need to take risks to stand out in the crowd.
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Cloudways: Okay, enough with the shop talk. How do you spend your leisure time?
Ian: My routine is quite focused. Like I do gymming and yoga in the morning, and I give time to football or basketball. I enjoy traveling. Currently, I am in Columbia. Before this, I was in Asia for the last 5 years. My leisure time is about enjoying every second of my life by meeting different people, knowing their culture, and being a part of it for the time being.
Cloudways: All right, here are some rapid-fire questions to help us understand your perspective of life, happiness, and success.
Here we go!
- Your Motto in Life: Stop living in fear
- Source of Motivation: My parents
- Your Inspiration: Living life and enjoying every second of it
- Ideal Vacation Spot: As a digital nomad, I don’t have a specific spot but I like the beaches of the Philippines.
Are you a super affiliate?
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Cloudways: Ian, thank you for your time! Lastly, whom would you recommend that we interview next?
Ian: KJ Rocker
The social links of Ian Fernando are given below:
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Faiza Ismail is a Digital Marketer and handles affiliate partnerships at Cloudways – A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform. She has an extensive history of working in various facets of Digital Marketing, Community Management, and Corporate Communication. She loves to play chess. Get in touch with her at [email protected]