Shawn Hill, founder of thegrillingdad.com and niche site Twitter superstar, struggled to implement affiliate product boxes while balancing growing other areas of his site.
He implemented Lasso, saving days of work versus creating affiliate product boxes for each product in every buyer’s guide manually, and also boosted his conversion rates from 8.3% to 10.1%, significantly boosting revenue.
Shawn Hill is founder of thegrillingdad.com, an online brand all about barbecue grills, smokers, and everything to do with outdoor cooking.
Started at the end of 2020, Shawn’s site grew to an impressive $25,000 per month by the end of 2022.
“It’s something I am passionate about, something I do a lot of – having a big family.
“A lot of meat at once goes a long way for meal prepping, but also it just saves us a ton of
“So it saves us a ton of
Shawn really lives his niche – he’s a family man who loves to cook:
“I say big family. We have my wife and I, we have seven kids – four of which are biologically ours. We adopted the other three.”
Shawn mostly taught himself SEO via running the site, and creating and ranking content.
“Yeah. So one of the reasons I got Lasso in the first place, I was doing everything myself…
“I was creating these custom blocks for each product to include a photo, some text, the button, adding in all the affiliate links, trying to manage when things went out of stock, which was not easy to do.
“And… it’s kind of like sneakers, you know, they come out with a new version of the grill and the old one, they just stopped selling it.”
Working in-house for some of the biggest online brands in the world for a day job, plus growing the Grilling Dad brand, meant Shawn’s time was at a premium.
He didn’t have time to check for out-of-stock or no-longer-sold products.
Any way to scale by saving his valuable time was essential.
The Solution: Lasso
“I think I just googled it like ‘product display boxes’ or something like that, and saw a few different options, Lasso being one of them.
“And when I clicked onto the site, saw the displays, it reminded me a lot of what we were using or trying to build at This Old House.
“And so I was like, wow, this looks incredible. What an awesome solution! It is affordable and it’s going to save me a ton of time. It’s going to make the site look way better.
“[Before] It looked like a guy in his basement was writing a blog, right? And adding Lasso, it just made it go from like blog to business in a really good, sleek way. Like, Hey, this guy knows what the heck he’s talking about.”
But beyond saving time, and looking like more of a big business and brand, it’s all for nothing if you’re not making more
So, what happened to conversion rates, and earnings?
“So it just, it really leveled it up. And so it did all those things at once, being able to add it in as far as the conversion rates, the conversion rates on Amazon actually increased after adding Lasso, which was a bit surprising.”
“They went from, you know, like mid eight percent. It’s to close to, it was a little over 10%. I think it was like 10.1%.”
Just to chime in, I'm not affiliated with Lasso but a big fan.
Halfway through October and at the same rev numbers as the previous 2 full months in Amz (and already up MoM for other affiliate deals). And I'm not close to being done adding Lasso to the spots it should be in. pic.twitter.com/q9IY0tJLiO
— Shawn Hill (@shwnhll) October 18, 2022
“And a lot of that I think has to do with buying intent, being able to show like, ‘Hey, this is you know, having the little prime logo on the displays, showing the price ahead of time’, which I’m sure there’s a lot of testing I could do there.
“People, when they click on that product, they already know the price. They’re not price shopping anymore. They’ve already decided that they want to buy it. I just have to lead them to the spot where they can put their credit card information in.
“And that’s huge. Being able to show that up front, I think it’s just a whole new level of transparency that I’m able to bring and definitely increase the conversion rate on the Amazon side.
“It’s certainly a net revenue increase. I mean, you can actually see it!”
How long did it take out to roll out across the website?
“Again, I was time crunched working a full-time job running this on the side.
“So it was taking a while to roll this out across all the pages. And that was actually kind of a big fuss. The pages I had it on looked amazing, but I had all these other pages that were mentioning products that didn’t look good.
“So I hired a VA, and it was way cheaper than I thought. They helped roll it out across the entire site. They were done in a matter of two days. The entire site! And this was at the time, like around 200 posts!
What else have you found helpful with Lasso?
“I mean, I tried using other products. And now, like the new Performance [Lasso’s new affiliate revenue tracking product] helps track the revenue that certain pages make, as well as which products are actually converting on the back end the best and making me the most
“Those insights are so valuable.”
From what you’ve learned, do you have any advice for other niche site owners looking to earn more?
1. Affiliate boxes in info content as a quick win
“Again, I think there’s a couple of things. Most of the time you don’t need to do a lot of A/B testing. I’m also like a super nerd who’s been able to do that on some really big media sites [like Forbes].
“I see the incremental differences and how much
“But I do think that there’s some quick wins.
“And that is adding affiliate boxes to your informational products, especially how-to guides.
“And I’ve talked about it a few times on Twitter. If someone’s looking for how to do something, there’s usually a product that will make it easier for them – and just offering that to them.
“It’s very soft. It’s not salesy. A lot of times they’re going to want to buy it. They are looking for a solution on how to do blank easier, even if they don’t type in the word easier.
“Definitely add those to your informational posts.”
2. Direct affiliate deals with brands
“Also, going after direct deals, reaching out to them, partnering with them on Shareasale or Impact and asking for custom rates through those.
“It could be a little scary, but it can pay off. If the products are actually good, and they’re actually converting… then you might as well send them there and get the extra commission percentage because you’re going to net out better on the flip side.”
“However, just because you sign up with a direct deal with the partner doesn’t mean that you’re making more
“When I switched all the links there, over three months, I had one sale. I was sending thousands of clicks per month. They just could not convert the traffic. We did several different tests. Everything was firing back that I was sending them clicks and I should be getting credit and nothing was converting.”
Shawn’s methodical organization is key to his success as an affiliate marketer. It’s easy to get your mind warped by seeing high commission rates, and be distracted by the thing that matters: revenue and earning per click.
Shawn’s management over new affiliate offers is something we should all measure: which offers are leading to the best results, and testing these and implementing the best-performing programs and products across your site.
This is what, at Lasso, we’re trying to make easier for affiliate marketers with Performance. And Shawn is already using it to make more
“I think Performance from Lasso is huge. I think as it continues to improve and give more insights and page-level data… it’s going to be huge.
“The reason being too, if there’s page level-data and I can measure the revenue per visitor, if someone visits the site and I make 10 cents every time someone visits this page, but 25 cents every time they visit another page, well, I know where to focus my time from an SEO perspective, but also I can start introducing ads.
If a page is making me 25 cents every time someone visits it, and I can get clicks over there for five cents from Facebook or 10 cents from Google and they can continue to convert at the same level, then it’s free
Shawn runs one of the fastest-growing online brands around, and to achieve this while balancing a top SEO job at Forbes, he’s built systems that save him time, make more
We’re proud to have helped Shawn save time and helped make him convert better with Lasso affiliate displays, and we’re super excited to continue helping him optimize with better data with Performance.
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