Affiliate Marketing Case Study: John Gibb

Some people I meet online have quietly built large affiliate businesses. John Gibb is one of these. After I chatted with him recently, he agreed to answer some questions about one of his websites, his business and his affiliate marketing approach. And yes, he's a longtime reader of the AssociatePrograms.com newsletter.

He has built a collection of income producing affiliate websites. For example, John has 10 mini-sites grown into authority websites all bringing in $1000 to $3000 a month. He has also built extra mini-sites on the back-end each bringing in $100 to $500 a month.

John's a clever marketer and has a lot to teach. Enjoy this case study and make sure that you keep notes on the points that you can apply in your business.

Site Type: Nutrition Information
Owner:  John Gibb
Launched: 2005
Traffic/mth: Currently at 60,000 visits a month
Revenue/mth (roughly): Up to $3000 a month
Target Market: I target the health niche and specifically those seeking natural health supplements.
Theme/Topic: Alternative Nutritional Supplements
Top 3 Marketing Strategies: These are currently web 2.0 marketing, SEO marketing and power-linking websites that point links to my website.

1. Can you give us some background on yourself? Tell us a bit about your career experience before you first got started online.

My name is John Gibb and I’m 27 years old. I’ve been involved in creating websites and online marketing since 2003.  Before I started learning how to make money online, I worked in IT support taking care of problems and calls from various customers.

I realized at a very young age that working a job and working for someone else was never going to be the path I would take in life. After taking enough orders from my previous boss, I left the rat race and vowed to pursue self employment no matter what.

I never went back to a job again.

My first business was working as a trader selling electrical goods at various markets across the United Kingdom. I also branched this off and started selling on eBay too. This particular business became much like a full-time job and I gradually weaned away from doing this while I learned more and more about making money over the Internet through websites.

2. How long has your site been on the Web?

The website being profiled has been on the Internet since 2005. However, I left it for a few years as I was currently applying my system for creating an income to multiple mini-sites. Around 2007, I started building the website up, added a newsletter and added unique articles building the website out bit by bit.

3. Is it your first website? If not, how many other sites have you had?

No, I have had hundreds of websites in the past, one of which I even sold on the AssociatePrograms.com forum. That particular website was aimed at the computer and printer industry and the main method of monetization was the Google AdSense program.

4. Can you tell us where the idea for your current site came from?

I got the idea for the nutritional supplement website from a fellow online marketer who was interviewed and profiled in the same ebook I was in back in 2005. This was called “Niche Site Confessions” and was featured on AssociatePrograms.com too.

The person I learned from was working the health niche and was driving an incredible amount of sales as an affiliate for a natural health company that pay for the lifetime of each customer.
I began my ongoing education learning everything I could over email from the man who would go on to become my online mentor.

5. How did you go about developing the website? Who set it up for you?

I developed this website myself including the content. The only aspect I outsourced was the theme for the website. I used a special template to save me the headache of coding the entire website.

6. What is your target market?

Again, my target is the health niche. To be specific, the main target is those people looking for natural health supplements or natural health remedies.

7. Why did you make the choice to run your business on the web?

I wanted to work from the Internet for two main reasons:

The first reason is because I am not a fan of schedules or the mundane routine of a 9-5 job. I knew that if I set a business up online, I would be free to work in the morning, at night, or whenever I wanted too.

This was the perfect setup for me, meaning I could just take a break and go to the beach, or even take care of day to day matters while everyone is at work, thus avoiding all the queues. I liked the idea of working around what I wanted to do or needed to do.

The second reason was because I wanted the option to be able to work from anywhere in the world, or any specific location within my home country. So for example, if I take a vacation break, I can still run my business and manage everything no matter where I am in the world.

8. What kind of revenues are you earning? Where/who from?

My best day for a few months was 109 sales in one day. However, a few weeks ago I beat my own record and did 143 affiliate sales in one single day. The revenues I earn vary immensely from day to day, much like any business related to making product sales.

I don’t like to go in to specifics with daily earnings and revenue for privacy reasons. However, my average commission ranges from $3 to $10 per sale, so you can work out some of the days I have had based on these figures.

Some high ticket health products I promote can generate me as much as $280 in commission payment per sale of that particular health product. So if I get a few of these in a day too, I’ve done extremely well.

9. Can you give us some insight into your favorite marketing strategies?

My favorite marketing strategies are using my own personal system which I have developed over the last few years. The system consists of creating mini-sites, targeting high converting health products, growing out web authority and snow-balling traffic from a variety of external platforms.

In the end, it all comes down to SEO marketing with some of my own twists for pointing links to links that are already pointing to my mini-sites making them much stronger and passing more and more link juice to the mini-sites.

10. What kind of traffic are you seeing to the site (visitors a month)?

Currently the traffic is topping off at around 1800 to 2000 visits a day.

11. Where are people finding you?

I am seeing traffic from various web 2.0 platforms, the top article directories, and from many different pages listed in the top search engines.

12. Do you use SEO to build traffic?

My whole system is based on SEO. The game is constantly changing and you have to be prepared to change what you are doing and embrace adaption over time. It’s an ongoing challenge but if you rise to it, the rewards are ongoing.

13. Do you use pay-per-click advertising?

I prefer SEO methods to PPC because you don’t have to analyze everything in so much detail. If you get a day wrong in PPC, it can cost you a fortune.

Not to put down PPC by any means, it’s a great way to drive targeted traffic fast - and people make fortunes doing so. However, I just prefer knowing that my visitors are coming to me for free once I have put in the investment of time.

14. Have you built a mailing list? How big is your list?

Yes, I have several newsletter lists in the health niche. They all vary but most of them are above 1000 subscribers currently.  The subscriber list for the website being profiled is around 5000 subscribers at the moment.

However, the daily sign-up rate ranges from 10 to 50 per day. I predict that it will grow to double the size, maybe even treble within the next year.

I entice people to sign up for the newsletters by offering a free health ebook, then I do a series of emails talking about natural health and some of the health products I use and why.

15. What kinds of challenges exist for people in your market?

That’s a good question and there are lots of challenges for people in this niche. Every day I get emails asking about my opinions on certain health matters, or if I like this product and if I have used a particular product. You need to know your topic theme, and understand the niche you work in if you run a newsletter.

You don’t have to reply to every email, but if you to reply to as many as you can, you gain more credibility and people will trust your recommendations more.

16. Would you say there are any mistakes you've made along the way?

Yeah – every day I make mistakes but every day is another chance for me to be the best I can be. Life is all about mistakes but you learn from them, improvise and adapt. If you can apply this to affiliate marketing, you will get ongoing results.

17. Could you tell us 3 tips that you wished you had known or learned when you first started your site?

I wish had of known the power of residual income and promoting health programs that pay for the lifetime of the customer.

I also wish that that I focused on making affiliate sales in the early days rather than going for Google AdSense revenue. I would be making quadruple the sales I am now if I had started doing things the way I am now, back then.

My final wish is that I should have been outsourcing my articles much earlier as soon as I was in profit. That way I would have grown more and more mini-sites and more and more websites of authority that much faster.

18. Could you tell us about 3 things that have made the most difference to the success of your site or improve the cashflow?

Sure, the first one is adding more unique articles that pre-sell health products overtime. The second is power-linking the links that point to the website. I have seen impressive traffic jumps every time I have done this.

And finally, varying where I get links from. Recently there was a major change at Google, however my website came out on top. I believe it was because the website has a wide variety of incoming links, coupled with many pages of unique content.

In the end, I am trying to help people to improve their health by giving useful information.

When you write an article, think about what someone is looking for when they type in that keyword, write about it and give them the information they seek. If you do this, over time the search engines will reward you for it.

I’m not saying any website I create is safe from algorithm changes. The truth is any website can take a hit. However, I believe if you diversify what you are doing on each mini-site, you will stand the test of time.

Recently, the famous EzineArticles.com took a major traffic hit, so no website is bulletproof. That doesn’t mean EzineArticles.com lost its authority and using that site is no good any more, far from it.

In fact, now would be a good time to use such a platform as most people quit, thinking that article marketing is dead. Changes like this level the playing field.

By the time you have more customers built up under you for various different health companies you won’t be worrying about these algorithm changes any more.

19. If you had a complete newbie sitting down in front of you right now, what advice would you give them as they're just getting started on the Web?

Unsubscribe from all the newsletters you’re on trying to work all of this affiliate marketing out. Many of them will just try to sell you product after a product filling you with far too much over-promise and then constantly under-delivering.

Subscribe to a quality newsletter like AssociatePrograms.com that is reputable and contains practical information you can use to grow your online business.

Focus on one working method until you make that work for you. Rinse and repeat that method until you’re at the level you want to be, and then diversify your income by applying what you know on various companies and products.

20. How would you say running your site has affected the way you live your life now?

I don’t answer to anyone any more and that is the greatest achievement for me. I love the feeling of being my own boss and making money while helping people at the same time.

The only person I answer to is myself and that’s the way I like it. Of course my old man still tries to tell me what to do, but that will go on for the rest of my life no matter how successful I become ☺

To Your Success

John Gibb

[UPDATE: John is now providing elite private affiliate training. He does a surprising amount of the work for you - even creating a new mini website for you. I recommend you check it out. The money-back guarantee is one the strongest I've ever seen.]

UPDATED: September 17, 2013
April 5, 2011

Comments (25)

Said this on April 7, 2011 At 07:11 pm
Thanks Brad-

Ah, what a good tip about unsubscribing to the newsletters. Hard to do but I can see it's worth it. Each day there's another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that'll never happen again :-|

Thanks for the quality content.
Said this on April 7, 2011 At 07:53 pm
HI Guys,

Nice article. Really encouraging.

What is this 'power linking' Brad refers to?

Thanks
Said this on April 7, 2011 At 08:17 pm
Hey what great answers and questions.It's nice to get real straight and no bologna content.
Thanks
Said this on April 7, 2011 At 09:13 pm
Excellent information, thanks for writing it. I am starting to implement several of the ideas that you outlined and am starting to see results. The days of chasing the golden bullet are over for me.
Thanks again,
Alan
Said this on April 7, 2011 At 10:55 pm
This is quite a short and useful information.I hope to implement about 20% of your suggestions.Thanks a lot.
Said this on April 7, 2011 At 10:55 pm
That just confirm one truth; A rolling stone gathers no moss. In the beginning, you try to do everything, but nothing sticks. Then you start reviewing all that you've done and you'll find out almost 90% of what you have done doesn't quite fit, if ever you are just applying bits and pieces of other people's idea and method. A complete waste of time. Moral of the story, find a method that you are comfortable with, believe in it faithfully and build upon it.
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 12:12 am
Hi Gibb,

Your article is very encouraging and eye-opening.

It will definitely help the newbie affiliate marketers who are struggling to understand the intricacies of affiliate marketing.

It would be nice if you could elaborate and explain in detail, maybe in a separate article, your marketing strategies that you have mentioned in point 9.

Cheers
Raj
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 12:23 am
This was a really good article, full of common sense and great things to focus on for success. I unsubscribed from the newsletters a long time ago, and have no faith in the latest and greatest push button million dollar a day product. Thanks for the informative article and encouragement that, if you keep providing original, quality content, it will pay off down the road.
John Gibb
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 02:10 am
Robert - What is this 'power linking' Brad refers to?

Power linking is when you boost up links that point to your website. For example, as well as getting links to your website, you also get links to links.

Thanks

All The Best

John Gibb
John Gibb
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 02:39 am
Hi Raj

My strategy consists of in short, locating a high converting residual paying health product. Meaning, the health product is known to convert in to a sale - and has a good re-order rate (people come back and buy the product over and over, thus giving me repeat commission)

I then locate super targeted low competition keywords based around this health product and the sub-niche
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 06:22 am
Thanks for the insight John.

So many people give up before they see the fruits of their hard labour when building a site. As you say you need to stick with one single system until it works then repeat and try and do it more efficiently on your next site.
Lee John
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 06:34 am
Hi Gibb:

Excellent article!

If you don't mind I ask, what affiliate companies do you promote? What's the high ticket health product you mentioned?

THanks
Keshawn
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 11:14 am
John -

Thanks for laying out your basic strategy for building an authority site. I've seen this process once before but it wasn't explained clearly. Also, that is a great idea to cancel all the mailing lists that are just promoting products! You can get side-tracked really easily and lose sight of whats important.

I do have one question though. Are you using an affiliate network to find products or are you finding manufacturers with an affiliate program?
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 11:42 am
John - thanks a million for your thoughtful answers here. I've seen less valuable info in a $37.97 "must-have" IM guru course!
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 04:36 pm
Thanks John for sharing such valuable information. Those of us that are just starting out with Affiliate Marketing are always eager to hear how successful people got where they are. These examples are so helpful, thanks again for sharing.
Said this on April 8, 2011 At 08:19 pm
WOW! Awesome post right above mine John! This is truly an executable plan that anyone can follow. I will definitely take this to heart and change my plan up a bit.

Can you give us any ideas about other niches that are residual? Or, are there a lot of niches that are residual? I would think insurance is residual but too highly competitive.

I am currently working on Google Adsense sites, but I think I will start looking for some of these types of niches.

I look forward to your reply.
John Gibb
Said this on April 10, 2011 At 06:16 am
Hey guys,

Thanks for all of the kind words.

I work in the health niche and I tend to stay in this niche because once you have income and customers built up, well forget about it - you don
Said this on April 10, 2011 At 07:36 pm
Thanks Brad/John for an inspirational story.

It is refreshing to see someone sharing honestly tips and strategies on building simple, but powerful online business.
Said this on April 11, 2011 At 08:36 am
Thanks for sharing some specifics about your business model. It's nice to know that there are many roads that lead to success.
Said this on April 13, 2011 At 02:45 pm
Hi John,

Thanks a lot for your explanation.

Very powerful indeed!

Cheers
Raj
Said this on April 15, 2011 At 01:14 am
I am very grateful for this information you shared. The only issue with most affiliate markers that I have met is procrastination. Most of them do not possess the quality of going very far to get exactly what they want.

Thanks Brad for this very educative interview with John.

I hope to hear more from you sometime.

Thanks.
Margie
Said this on April 15, 2011 At 12:35 pm
Hi John,

Thank you so much for your candid information. I am just starting out and was seeking information on affiliate programs when I came across Allan Gardyns article about affiliate marketing on the How To website. I read his whole artilce and printed it and joined SBI under him. I became his friend and he doesn't even know it. So now he had brought you to me and I am so very grateful for your information. I am a nurse who has gone alternative and want so much to help others too through natural products. Do you have two tier affiliate programs because if you do and want another affiliate under you to bring income then that's one way I can give back to you for being so generous with your info. I market one natural product now by MLM for residual that will build even more and will be working with affiliate and other MLM products. Margie
John Gibb
Said this on April 19, 2011 At 07:23 am
Hello Margie - yes, you can see more this coming week via the newsletter here. Stay tuned!

Thanks for the kind words, means a lot to me.

Thanks
John Gibb
Costa
Said this on July 5, 2012 At 07:52 pm

what would be my total investment besides your $39.99 mo.

Said this on July 11, 2012 At 05:48 am

Hi Costa,

The fee is $39.99 per month. There are no up-sells or any of that BS. However, if you want to expand your website presence at some point (I strongly recommend students do) you will need extra funds for domain names and hosting later down the road.

You may also want to invest in unique content/templates using our in house services. Again, nothing is pushed on you and you can do just fine without using any of the extra services.

We do have some extra (optional) services inside the private forum that are truly optional. Those services are there to save the headache of students trying to find outsourcers or other services to do much of the manual work.

You will need to get involved in link building and unique content creation, so there is an investment of time for this kind of course.

I hope that this reply clears everything for you in full.

If you have any questions, you can always contact me directly over on my web form. Go through the link on the home page of this website and then go to “contact” me on my website if you need anything else.

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