Today we’re talking with Kim Laird, one of our fantastic Associates, about her websites like www.PrettyPatternGifts.com and Rustic Wedding Invitations where she promotes her own as well as other people’s products.
Tell us a little about you!
I grew up in a small rural town in Nebraska, and lived most of my young adult life in Nebraska, until my husband and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona about 11 years ago. We moved here because we wanted to live in a warm climate without freezing cold winters! My husband and I love sports and both of us played and coached sports at the college level. We have 3 kids who are active in sports also. We also love being outdoors and love to hike.
What is your background in? Are you an entrepreneur/designer?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Master’s Degree in Health & Fitness Management. While I love the sports and athletic side of things, I really like the business and management side. I love figuring out how to improve revenues and analyzing profit and loss reports. When we moved to Arizona, we had the common dilemma many parents have of how were we going to juggle work and childcare. How could we drop off our oldest son at school and still make it to work on time? Soon we had more kids, so it made sense for me to stop working and be a stay-at-home mom. I have always wanted to have my own business, and being a stay-at-home mom gave me the opportunity to seek out ways to make money online from home while raising our children.
I love to read and learn new things, especially about small business and entrepreneurship topics. I didn’t want to start a business that required 50 hours a week from the business owner. After all, I needed something that I could do around my primary responsibility as the caretaker of our children. I also needed to be available to drop off and pick up kids before and after school. I just kept reading and learning about different ways people can work from home and earn an income. This led me to start learning about affiliate marketing.
How did you get started with Zazzle/how did you hear about us?
I first heard about Zazzle when I read an article online about how website owners could add beautiful images to their websites by linking to Zazzle products like posters and wrapped canvases. It would give the website article a beautiful image, and if the reader wanted to buy the wall art, they could click the image and buy it on Zazzle, earning the blogger an affiliate commission for referring the sale. I was already familiar with affiliate programs because I had been doing this with Amazon products, but the Zazzle items offered a much higher commission rate and had really beautiful images. So in 2009 I started a Zazzle account. I only added a few products to my websites and pretty much forgot about it for a few years.
In late 2011, I read some more articles online from other people who were making money on Zazzle, and I started to see the big picture of how this could really be a solid online income source for me. I read as much as I could online from other people who were already earning an income from Zazzle. I earned my first payment from Zazzle in 2012 and the rest is history. Today, Zazzle provides me with a full time income from home, and I am both a Zazzle Associate, referring sales of other designer’s products, and also a Zazzle Designer, earning royalties on my own items.
How do you promote Zazzle products (linking, API, RSS feed)? How do you choose what products to promote? Which areas do you find the most success in?
I promote Zazzle items through a variety of channels including my own websites and social media like Facebook pages and Pinterest. For example, one of my websites, www.PrettyPatternGifts.com, features bright and colorful patterned products. Each page on the website is focused on one type of product, like iPhone 6 cases, or one type of design, like Pink Polka Dots. Most of my website visitors find the website through Google search results. I choose the products for the website based on designs that I really like, starting with the most popular items.
I started another website, www.RusticCountryWeddingInvitations.com, to feature invitations from my store http://www.zazzle.com/rusticcountrywedding. But there are so many other great invitations designers on Zazzle that I couldn’t just limit the website to my own items. So I started adding invitations from other designers and turned it into a website that promotes all kinds of rustic and country wedding invitations. I like to promote wedding products because some of the orders are for hundreds of invites, so the referral commissions can be substantial. I love knowing that my referral sales are providing an income for other Zazzle designers. I want to help as many other small business owners who work from home as I can, and promoting their products is one way I can do that. I recognize that fact that some of the best designers are the most creative ones, and by nature they may not like to do the tedious marketing side of things. I happen to love the marketing side of it, so I’m happy to promote others.
I also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RusticCountryWeddingInvitations that also promotes these invitations.
Also my Pinterest business account promotes all kinds of Zazzle items. I have a very popular group board where Zazzle designers can pin items that have recently sold and include their own referral id number. Based on my pinterest analytics, this board gets a lot of repins and clicks. Zazzle designers can join the group board by following the instructions listed on the board at https://www.pinterest.com/klairdonsquidoo/stuff-sold-on-zazzle/ .
What new associate/linking features would you like to see on Zazzle?
I’d love to see some type of tool that would allow you to pick a certain number of products and it would automatically make a banner in your choice of dimensions. For example, pick three items and it would automatically create a rectangular banner with the proper dimensions for a Facebook post, or another dimension would make a vertical banner for Pinterest. I’d also like to see better analytics of where our Linkovers are coming from.
What advice would you give to a new Associate starting to promote Zazzle products?
The best advice I can give to a new Associate is to just get started. Don’t be afraid to try new things and commit yourself to learning. I didn’t start out successful; it’s been a process of years of trying things out and working hard to get to where I am today. Don’t be discouraged if you only have a few referral sales in the beginning. It takes time to build up an audience online. If you already have an audience online, then start promoting items that correlate with your topic. If you have a particular hobby or skill, you can start a blog based around that topic and add products accordingly. When you find something that works, do more of that. If you see that a certain niche of products converts well, promote more of those products. Overall, treat it like a business. Set goals and work backwards to make a list of tasks you need to do to reach those goals.