Today we are speaking with Ben Steed – a long-time Zazzle Associate and owner of the company Infinite Publishing. Ben has been a Zazzle Associate for eight years and promotes Zazzle on several websites including WeddingStamps and Swatched.
Tell us a little about you!
I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart (16 years) and we have two children. I currently live in Birmingham, Alabama but have lived various places in the Midwest. I’ve been building and managing websites since 1998.
What is your background in?
I started building websites while I was a freshman in college. I have a degree in Information Technology but most of my learning and experience came outside of the classroom through trial-and-error. Though I have an appreciation for design I’m an entrepreneur at heart and love to utilize the internet for business-related pursuits.
How did you get started with Zazzle? How did you hear about us?
Before the 2008 election I had some affiliate websites that promoted t-shirts including political apparel. I first encountered Zazzle at that time and was awestruck at the (seemingly limitless) number of available designs. In those few months it was clear to me that Zazzle had one of the best Associate programs available. My earnings reflected that their products sold well and the company was sound. From that point on I focused much of my affiliate-related work to utilize Zazzle. Hard to believe that was eight years ago!
How do you promote Zazzle products (own website, social media, ect.) and what tools do you use (linking, API, RSS feed, etc.)? How do you choose what products to promote? Which areas do you find the most success in?
I promote Zazzle products in several ways, but primarily through linking to Zazzle from my own topical websites. Many of those websites focus on the wedding industry, so products such as custom postage stamps, invitations, save the dates and other wedding-related items are what I feature. On those websites I use Zazzle’s RSS feeds to create galleries of topic-related products.
I also utilize the Zazzle API for creating personalized canvases and posters that are designed on home décor websites. That was more complicated to design but simplifies the process of customizing the product *before* the customer arrives at Zazzle.
I find the most success by staying within a topic or theme and then promoting those products to an interested audience (ie. weddings, politics, home décor, etc.). Often I see Zazzle Associates promoting a particular design across several products or promoting too many products to an audience that’s far too broad. Focusing on one or two product types and themes can often be more fruitful than trying to sell everything to everyone.
What new Associate Program features would you like to see on Zazzle?
I’d love more in-depth reporting regarding linkovers. It would also be great to have a product API for querying Zazzle’s collection of products, not just creating new ones.
What advice would you give to a new Associate starting to promote Zazzle products?
Find a spot in the Zazzle marketplace and become proficient in it. Whether that be product creation through the API or promoting political tees on Twitter—whatever works for you. Zazzle has so many product types and categories that you can be overwhelmed when trying to promote Zazzle. Rather than attempting to promote all that Zazzle has to offer, focus on one or two niches (be it products or topics) and grow from there.