Matt Giovanisci runs a site called Swim University all about pool and hot tub maintenance that he started in 2006. His site gets about 400,000 visitors a month on average.
About 70% of the site’s revenue comes from affiliate marketing which earns roughly $24,500 a month.
15 Years of Affiliate Marketing
Matt has been working in the pool industry since he was thirteen years old. His first summer job was at a local pool store in his hometown and he stayed with pools ever since.
Fast forward many years later, after he learned website design, Matt created Swim University while working as a marketing director of another larger pool company.
Now, Matt has a team of four people who help run Swim University. But affiliate marketing has always been a crap shoot. He started managing affiliate links with SimpleURLs, similar to the way Andrew at Listen Money Matters did.
“It was very simple and good for what it was. But overtime, our needs got more demanding and this plugin wasn’t cutting it. Plus, I wanted to display links in product boxes and SimpleURL simply didn’t do that.”
He and his team had to manage all their links with a combination of SimpleURL and a massive spreadsheet that they had to update every month or more.
For the longest time, Swim University just had text links and not the displays that Matt wanted. That is until he decided to build his own mini plugin to create custom product display boxes. But even he’ll tell you, he’s not a programmer. So keeping it updated was a pain.
And there was no process for keeping track of over 700 affiliate links across the site. Everything was a shot in the dark.
“I just tend to recommend products that I’ve used before and liked. And I added those links to appropriate spots on my site. I never knew if they converted or not. And since most of my links are Amazon, the reporting is even hard to obtain without doing a lot of manual work keeping track of a spreadsheet.”
At this point, Matt didn’t want to rely on his own custom plugin anymore. He needed something that would not only keep track of all his affiliate links the way SimpleURL did, but also allow him to display them.
“I figured there had to be something on the market that met all my needs. Turns out, Lasso was the only tool out there.”
Can You Really Make Money With a Pool and Hot Tub Site?
When Matt founded Lasso, it was because it literally did everything he needed as an affiliate marketing plugin. Other tools were similar to SimpleURL or Pretty Links. And those didn’t allow him to create display boxes. He had to rely on a slew of other tools to accomplish this, including his own half-baked plugin.
Plus, another worry was if a product link was broken or out of stock? He had another plugin called WP Link Status Pro to help. And he had to use a third-party tool outside of WordPress to check for out of stock products.
“I was using 3-4 plugins PLUS I STILL had to keep a freakin’ spreadsheet!”
What won Matt over was the ability to add link displays. In fact, he attributes the majority of his affiliate marketing success to displaying links with a title, image, price, and a custom description that leads people to click.
Success came quickly too. It immediately made sense to him and it only took a single day to get up and running. Being able to import all his links over from SimpleURL and his own custom plugin made it easy. From there, he started setting up displays and adding new affiliate links where it made sense across his site.
“My Amazon affiliate link conversion rate is upwards of 20%. When I tell other affiliate marketers this, they say it’s high. And I’m proud of that. Again, I attribute that to displays and being able to add my own descriptions that lead people into clicking the link. It’s all about how much people trust what you’re selling them. And I think my displays build trust similar to the way big sites like WireCutter.com does.”
In a single year, Matt was able to increase his affiliate revenue from $40,000 to $140,000. This was a combination of an increase in traffic and adding more affiliate link displays strategically across his site.
“I am constantly asked by visitors how I create those beautiful display boxes. Lasso, baby!”
After trying a plethora of plugins, he says there are some great plugins out there that do one thing very well. But from his experience, there are no plugins that can do everything an affiliate marketer really needs to run their business professionally.
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