Affiliate Buzz #348 – Vinny O’hare: Hurricane Sandy and Why It Pays to Think Outside of the Box

by James Martell on August 20, 2014

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In this edition of the Affiliate Buzz, host and Instructor of the Affiliate Marketers BootCamp, James Martell, is joined by Vinny O’Hare, online entrepreneur, speaker and author. In this edition they talk about why it pays to think outside of the box when marketing your business.

Vinny has not previously been on the Affiliate Buzz, which was a surprise for James. The pair have known each other for over a decade and been to many conferences, including Affiliate Summit and ShareASale Think Tanks, together. James considers Vinny to be a good friend and an affiliate marketing talent.

The Start Of Vinny’s Career

Vinny’s first career was placing adverts in the subway for the New York Transit. While he was doing this he noticed which adverts were giving the best results.

He took elements from the best performing adverts and used them for buying and selling products on eBay. He then realised if he could write content for an eBay page and make money, he could easily do the same with a website.

In 2002/2003 Vinny decided to leave eBay and make money from being an affiliate marketer. His first success from affiliate marketing was almost immediate.

Vinny met James very early on in his affiliate career. It was 2004 and James was getting ready to get on the second Affiliate Summit cruise. On the night before the cruise, ShareASale CEO, Brian Littleton, put on a small event in a little bar in Soho. This is where the two met. This was also Vinny’s first affiliate event.

Ten years later Vinny has become such an authority on unique marketing activities that he now regularly speaks at Affiliate Summit. This year he is speaking in New York about how last year he published 18,000 blog posts and built a house.

Many affiliate marketers struggle to create enough content, yet Vinny has unique methods to generate content and attract traffic.

One method Vinny tried was distributing business cards which had the URL to his website on one side and the URL to an affiliate link on the other side. James liked the idea so much he now has business cards for all his sites.

Images are another important part of his marketing strategy and he uses them on his sites, social media and in books. Vinny would definitely agree books are better than a business card, as mentioned by Jim Kukral in a previous podcast.

During the podcast, Vinny talks about many of his successes with the visual medium including:

  • How his photos of a space shuttle grabbed the attention of national news and generated 10,000 visits to his website.
  • Why a photo of a blue bird is helping him generate interest for one of his 30 websites.
  • How he generates some other visual content for his car websites.
  • Why your target audience can be so helpful in generating some of the content for you.

Vinny also discusses the advantages of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and Createspace for creating books which you can sell and use in your marketing. When Vinny started out using books he only sold digital books, but he found some of his market wanted physical copies.

Hurricane Sandy And Vinny

One of the defining moments in Vinny’s career is when Hurricane Sandy hit his home town. Vinny’s home is situated with about another 1000 homes on a small island. They constantly have hurricane warnings and in the previous year they had a false alarm. So when news came of Sandy they were not so worried. It was also going to be tough to move all their animals with such short notice.

Then when the storm hit their area the water rose very quickly. In a matter of 15 minutes the water level went from being about 3 inches to four or five feet deep. To escape they went to their neighbour’s house that had an upstairs area they could use. During the storm, Vinny and his wife kept their Facebook followers updated with photos of what was going on.

This resulted in a huge boost to his online Klout score. As James states before the hurricane, Vinny had a score of about 50 while after the storm the score went to 70.

After the hurricane Vinny and his wife had to rebuild their lives. Their house and most of their possessions were lost. They had to temporarily relocate but are now just getting back into the area. According to Vinny they are 95% done and admits that the storm was not the worst, it was the paperwork afterwards.

Other Thoughts

Vinny also talks about some of the lessons he has learnt during his time as an affiliate marketer. One of the biggest regrets he has is not having an email list or sending out a newsletter early enough.

For James the moment he knew he had to have a mailing list was when Ryan Allis, former CEO of iContact, told him 70% of your web traffic will never return unless you sign them up to a mailing list.

Vinny now doesn’t launch a website or even choose a domain name, without building a mailing list.

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