Neil Patel Interview @ AWA 2017

 13 min read

AWA 2017 Interview Series: Neil Patel

Affiliate World Asia was one of the best events of all time!

We had the chance to connect and meet with remarkable entrepreneurs and driven affiliates who will rock in 2018!

Most importantly, though, we were fortunate enough to interview some of the coolest marketers of this era!

And guess what?

We interviewed Neil Patel!

Ready to check this interview and learn what you need to know from a real master?

Check the video!


Prefer reading?

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Let’s go!

Neil Patel Interview at AWA 2017

1. Tell Us About Yourself

My name is Neil Patel.

I’m a serial entrepreneur and marketer.

neil patel blog

I have an ad agency which is – funnily enough – called Neil Patel.

We help large Fortune 1000 companies get more traffic and conversions from the web using digital marketing.

2. What Motivates You to Keep Blogging?

I enjoy it!

For me, it’s a passion.

I don’t care for the money because I make the money from large companies.

And I don’t care to charge for the information because…I’m not saying I’m rich but we don’t need the income, right?

I just love helping people.

group of friendly people

My mom was a teacher.

I love helping others and educating as well.

That’s one of my life goals.

3. Strategies to Succeed

E-Commerce is hot right now.

But the big advice I would give if you’re a newbie affiliate?

Think long term.

A lot of affiliates think offer after offer after offer.

You do one offer.

After it stops working, you go to the next one and to the next one.

What you wanna do as an affiliate is to start thinking about what you can end up promoting that you can continually expand upon.

And here’s what I mean by that:

Let’s say you’re selling wrinkle cream to older women.

Now that you’ve built up the audience, you collected subscribers through push notifications, you collected an email list, you have an audience.

Then, you can keep pushing them on different offers that are related to that demographic.

You don’t wanna just think about offer after offer.

You want to think about a segment such as:

“I’m gonna stick with Beauty.”

woman with make up

“I’m gonna stick with Finance.”

“I’m gonna stick with Mobile Technology.”

Whatever it may be:

Pick a niche and then stick with it.

That way, once you’ve built up a community, you can keep monetizing.

A lot of affiliates monetize and they make their profit and then they keep looking for new offers.

What happens is that, after offers are done, you’ve gotta go find new ones and then you’ve gotta build up the audience all over again.

If you can stick within the same vertical, like Beauty…you know Beauty is not gonna go away.

You know Finance isn’t gonna go away.

A lot of the major industries aren’t gonna go away.

Build up an audience and then keep trying to monetize and upsell and keep going after more offers.

Then you can make way more money from your ad revenue.

And here’s the difference between Big Affiliates and Small Affiliates:

A lot of the Small ones are looking to make money right away on their ad spend.

The smarter players and the guys that are gonna create the biggest companies wanna break even on the front end and they’ll make money by selling more and more on the back end.

That’s how you really grow a big company in the affiliate space.

4. Biggest Challenge for an Affiliate Marketer

The biggest challenge that I see in the affiliate space right now is that – as an affiliate – how do you know what offer to go with?

You’re starting off, right?

This is for newbies.

You’re starting off and you’re like:

“What should I do?”

“What offer should I go after?”

For that reason, I don’t recommend newbie affiliates to start without going through a network first.

For example, you guys are a network.

I’m not getting paid to speak.

This is just my honest opinion.

Because you guys are a network, you guys have data on what works, what doesn’t, you can guide people, and you can end up telling the newbie affiliates…you can give them advice, education.

You guys are building this platform to educate people.

Not just people on your platform, but anyone.

You’re really gonna help the whole affiliate community, which is amazing.

You guys have account managers.

call center

They can guide people, not just through your online content but you can guide people and make sure they’re more likely to be successful.

That’s why I recommend anyone who’s starting now that the best place to get started is through a network because they can educate you for free and they can guide you on what’s working because they see everything first hand.

5. What Skills Are Needed to Become a Super Affiliate?

The biggest skill that an affiliate needs to have is creativity and data analysis.

Data analysis is an obvious one because – if you can’t analyze data – you don’t know if you’re making money.

You can be making wrong decisions.

Creativity is important because – in affiliate marketing – the ad costs of Google AdWords, Facebook Ads are gonna keep rising.

SEO is continually harder and harder each and every single year.

The good affiliates are the ones who come up with really creative ideas.

If you’re creative, test your ideas every single week.

man with computer

They’ll either work or they won’t.

But the ones that work?

As long as you know how to analyze data, you can keep doing those.

6. What Would You Tell Media Buyers Who are Experiencing Difficulties?

Media Buyers and affiliates are having problems in which ad costs are going up.

That’s not gonna change.

But here’s the thing:

Affiliates are looking for offers to make a lot of money from.

person with money bills

You don’t need a lot of offers to make money from.

You need offers to break even on.

The goal shouldn’t be to make a lot of money on your first offer.

It should be to break even and do it in scale because then you’ve collected a big list, from traffic sources to push notifications, emails.

Once you have that, then you can keep pitching more and more offers.

The money is in the upsells and downsells, and multiple offers.

The key is that they drive traffic to these companies.

They don’t ask them:

“Hey, can you share the contacts that we’re driving with you so we can double check?”

A lot of companies are happy to share the email addresses of the customers you’re driving them.

Why not keep pushing more offers?

Why not do push notifications so you can sell and educate more and then continually sell people?

It’s not all about selling the offer:

It’s about getting the offer that allows you to at least break even.

You educate people more.

You build up a relationship with your base.

happy people

Then you take that base and sell them more and more offers.

That’s where the real money is in affiliate marketing.

Have you heard of Agora?

They’re big.

It’s a multi-billion dollar company.


Because they don’t look to make money on the front end.

They’ll even be willing to lose money on the front end because they know their back end is so strong.

That’s a powerful affiliate.

7. What are the Best Tools & Resources?

I believe there’s an ad comparison tool called AdPlexity, right?

That one’s good.

SEMrush is another good tool.

WhatRunsWhere is another one.

You should be using Google Analytics.

You can be running A/B tests continually.

man typing on laptop

Google Analytics has that for free.

There are other tools out there as well.

Optimizely, CrazyEgg.

The list keeps going on and on.

8. Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

The most common mistake that I see affiliates do is that if their first traffic doesn’t convert, they move on to the next.

They don’t try to improve and find out why it didn’t work.

You have to be relentless.

woman looking intensely

The second thing that I see affiliates making is that they see what other people are doing and they just copy it.

They don’t try to improve or be creative or come up with their own solutions.

The third mistake that I’m seeing affiliates make is that they’re looking for a quick ROI.

Everything is:

“I spent 100.000 dollars. What did I make?”

They have to start thinking long term.

Affiliate marketing could be a long term business if affiliates change their mindset.

But a lot of them are too short sighted.

You don’t build a big business being short sighted.

You think Google and Facebook and all these companies happened overnight?

You guys are a big affiliate network.

You’re doing well.

Did you guys come and make a shitload of money in the first 30 days or one year?


It takes a long time.

You have to think long term.

If you don’t think long term, don’t even get into the business.

9. How to Develop Your Skills?

There’s a lot of blogs.

Go read blogs.

I have a blog.

Moz, SearchEngineLand.

There’s a lot of affiliate sites like AffiliateFix, STM.

Go to conferences:

AWA, there’s one in Berlin as well (Affiliate World Europe.)

You have to keep learning.

two persons reading

And you can even go to masterminds, networking events.

Just continually learn.

You know it’s funny:

Back in the day, before you guys were even around…

How long have you guys been around?

6 years.


Do you remember back in the day when there was Azugo and all these old companies?

They’re no longer around, right?

One of the best places to learn is really talking with your account managers.

And people don’t use their account managers enough.

They can teach you so much.

They may not be the smartest people.

But they see so much data.

Talk to them.

Learn from them.

Don’t take it for granted.

The best part about being an affiliate on your network is that they can talk to account managers that will give them advice.

And yes, this account manager may not be an affiliate, but do you know how many other affiliates they deal with?

That knowledge is priceless.

People take that for granted.

10. Affiliate Marketing Trends


You’re gonna start seeing a lot of E-Commerce.

It’s growing.

graph increase

But you’ll start seeing a shift in the affiliate world and I’ll talk a little bit about this today…you’ll start seeing the transition to recurring billings like software and SaaS companies.

The lifetime value is so high.

Affiliates will make less money in the first month or first two months, but a lot of these software plays have lifetime values of 2 to 3 years.

This will make affiliates way more money in the long run.

You’ll also see a big push in B2C.

You’ll start seeing a bigger push in B2B, over the next few years.

These B2B companies have so much money and affiliates aren’t tapping into it yet.

They’re spending so much on marketing.

Why not give that money to affiliates?

The risk is even lower.


There’s so much potential.

There’s very little competition right now in the affiliate world.

11. Surprises in 2017

Nothing was a really big surprise.

I know a lot of people started to complain that Facebook is getting harder and more expensive.

The same thing happened with Google.

Of course it’s gonna happen with Facebook.

These guys make so much money from big corporations.

Once they get enough inventory, you’re gonna find it harder to burn accounts on Facebook and get new ones and warm them up.

Facebook’s not stupid.

Facebook is making it so you can get accounts up and running.

You watch.

Look at different regions, the regions where they have a lot of advertisers.

I bet it’s harder to get accounts up and running and get it working for affiliate marketing.

The regions where they don’t have as many buyers and more inventory…of course they’re gonna make it easier for affiliate marketers to go buy inventory.

These guys have to hit stock prices.

They’re publicly traded.

Know what their game is and leverage it to your advantage.

12. Opportunities & Threats

The next big thing in affiliate marketing is shifting the mindset of affiliates.

Affiliates will start collecting more data.

man working

Right now, affiliates are promoting companies and getting very little of their data back.

I bet you that in the future – I’m already seeing it – they’re gonna want the customer details that they drive and they’re gonna continue to remarket to that base that they promoted to.

That way, when they’re buying the traffic, they’ll control a big user base that they can educate, build a community around and – most importantly – keep selling more and more offers to.

Look at you guys!

You guys are a network.

You don’t have just one offer.

How many offers do you have right now on your network?



Why shouldn’t an affiliate be able to control and get back the data of the traffic and customers they bought so they can keep promoting all those other 2000 offers on your network?

That’s where the real money is made.

Not just on the affiliates, but on your guy’s end as a network and for the corporations.

That’s gonna allow the affiliates to spend way more money on ads.

13. How do You See Mobidea?

Your brand positioning is good.

I think you’ve grown quite a bit more in the last two years.

And you can see it.

The brand is getting out there.

I think you’re doing a good job of giving back and as long as you keep doing more and more of that, I think you’ll be better off than most networks.

A lot of them are just looking to make money but they’re not looking to give back.

What separates the biggest companies from the smaller ones?

The bigger ones build brands.

The way you build brands is to help others and not think just about money but long term.


And you guys are doing this right now with the Academy.

It’s just a question of how you can do more of it.

I think the Academy is a great first step.

As you guys do more of it, you’ll have a loyal brand and you guys will keep growing.

So far, I’m happy with what I see with you guys.

14. Were you Excited to be Considered one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs?

I was honored to.

The most beautiful part about that is that I appreciate them and the awards that I got.

Just being a part of it and helping the world grow, and educating, and teaching more people about marketing and entrepreneurship, and helping stimulate the economy.

It just makes me happy.

excited man

The greatest gift for me is…the recognition is amazing but the fact that they love that I’m helping others and educating…

I feel that’s valuable.

To me, in the world, I don’t care if you’re from Brazil, Germany, US, Thailand.

I believe that everyone has the opportunity to learn.

The more people that can get amazing education, and because of the web these days and technology, you can learn from anywhere and it shouldn’t cost money.

I’m happy that other people are recognizing that education should be free.

People shouldn’t be charged to learn and advance their careers and their lives.

15. Future Plans

I usually don’t talk too much about what I’ll do in the future but my goal is to just keep educating, helping others, grow my traffic, and attend more events.

Keep cranking away on my companies.

That was a cool interview, Neil!

Thanks for offering such great and actionable advice!

As for you, our reader, keep checking the Mobidea Academy because we’ve got more Affiliate World Asia Interviews for you!

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