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Interview and STM Forum Review with Matej Cechvala (Matuloo)
Papa Whale: Hi Matej! We're thrilled to have you with us today. Please tell our newcomers a bit about yourself.
Matuloo: Hello! Where should I start?
My name is Matej, I come from a small country in central Europe (Slovakia), and I'm in my 40's already. Does that make me an old dog? Probably, even though I don't feel that way at all.
I've been in online marketing since 1999, which seems like forever. I was still studying at that time, and truth to be told, the first $$$ I made online almost made me quit the university.
It just felt like a waste of time to keep on studying when there was so much money laying on the online ground, waiting for me to pick it up. But long story short, I pushed myself to finish the Uni, so I got a degree in business too.
During those years, I tried pretty much everything you could do online: building and running websites, helping others to start online businesses, running affiliate campaigns, etc.
Right now, I focus on two main activities in the online world: affiliate marketing campaigns and my moderator role at the STM Forum.
When it comes to the affiliate campaigns, I focus mainly on dating offers such as the ones you guys at CrakRevenue provide, but I also promote some sweepstake offers. Whenever something new pops out, I jump on it immediately.
Affiliate marketing moves fast, and one has to act quickly, or someone else takes the opportunity instead of you.
I mentioned the STM Forum, so let's talk about that for a minute too. STM is like my second home, where I try to help new affiliates to make their dreams come true, along with the other skilled moderators and regular members.
STM helped me a lot when I was starting with paid traffic, so I try to give back to the community.
It's amazing how even a piece of simple advice from someone with the right experience can help you move forward and save you a lot of money by avoiding stupid mistakes you would make otherwise.
On top of that, affiliate marketing can feel lonely at times as it's hard to find other affiliates locally. That's why it's great to have at least an online place where I can meet with like-minded individuals.
So if anyone needs some advice regarding affiliate marketing or just wants to network, we would be happy to see you at stmforum.com.
Papa Whale: When not working, you seem busy enjoying life. How do you spend most of your free time?
Matuloo: Well, that's quite an easy one to answer! I'm married to the mother of our 3 sons… do I have to explain further? *laughs*
Family takes up pretty much all of my free time, not that I'm complaining though, I'm happy to be in this position.
One of my sons is a fishing fanatic, so I get to spend a lot of time at the shores of our local lakes and rivers. The other two are certified teenagers at the peak of their puberty by now, so I just try to make sure they don't kill themselves while becoming adults. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep my sanity in the process...you know, the regular joys of a parent! *laughs*
We also used to travel quite a lot in the pre-covid times, so I hope we can get back to that again soon. My wife loves the seaside, and I prefer the mountains, so we mix it up.
Other than that, I enjoy reading a good book or watching some good movies or series. I'm quite a fan of sci-fi and fantasy stuff: I'm waiting for the 2nd season of The Witcher now, and I'm totally looking forward to watching the new Dune movie!
And there is one more thing I love, which happens to be cooking! BBQ in the summer, regular cooking all year round. I think that if it weren't for affiliate marketing, I'd probably become a professional chef!
Actually, I started to work on a small online hobby project a couple of months ago. It's a cooking blog and youtube channel. A friend of mine is a video producer, so we teamed up to make it happen.
We're just starting, so it's far from perfect, but if anyone wants to have a look, here is the Url: cookwewill.com.
Papa Whale: You once said the knowledge people can get from Affiliate Marketing is applicable in many areas. What are your key takeaways from AM to run any business successfully?
Matuloo: Right, affiliate marketing is basically just "regular" business taken online.
Let's take a car dealership as an example. They sell cars in a dealership, there are salespeople trying to make you buy, and they need to advertise for people to find them.
It's the same in an affiliate campaign. The offer is the car; landing pages are the salespeople, and banners are the ads. It's the same concept, just in a different skin. And it works the same in any business, online or offline.
What makes affiliate marketing stand out, and that's also the main takeaway, is the ability to measure the effectiveness of whatever you do.
Everything is measurable with the help of trackers and analytics software. Affiliates know exactly what ads work, what LPs bring the best results and what products sell the best with specific funnels.
This is a massive advantage we have compared to the offline world, where it's often just about "guessing". In my opinion, even a semi-experienced direct response affiliate armed with a tracker is a better marketer than some senior dude at a regular agency.
Affiliates only get paid when they deliver results, which makes us pros at effectiveness.
So takeaway no.1: know where you spend your money, track everything and toss campaigns that don't deliver the results.
Another valuable skill that affiliates gain while running campaigns is the ability to test a ton of stuff quickly. Only a fraction of the available offers are good converters, and affiliates know that.
We test first, then scale what works. I've seen many people in the offline world make the mistake of stocking products without trying to sell them first. Some were lucky to hit the winners, but most were left with a ton of inventory they couldn't sell.
So takeaway no.2: test the products first and only focus on those that have the potential.
I could also mention the mindset of a successful affiliate: we just don't give up.
We know failing is normal and happens even to the best of us. Failing is not a problem; it's part of the process, and there is no success without failing first.
This is a valuable lesson one can learn in affiliate marketing so let's mark it as takeaway no.3!
I'd like to mention one more: Affiliates have to deal with all parts of the process, at least in the beginning.
Setting up landing pages, doing some tweaks to the code, working with the ad and affiliate networks, setting up tracking, etc.
Most of this could be outsourced, but a newbie affiliate usually doesn't have the funds, so there is only one way: to learn it all.
So takeaway no.4: know all the parts of the process.
The best managers are those who understand every part of the process, from production to delivery, even if just partially. It's so much easier to communicate with your subordinates when you understand what they have to deal with.
Obviously, one shouldn't try to fully understand everything, but speaking the "same language" helps a lot.
I could go on with the examples, but I don't think we should turn this interview into a 50-page monster. *laughs*
Papa Whale: You are now one of the most notable moderators and marketing veterans on STM Forum. How much of an impact has STM had on your career?
Matuloo: When I started with paid traffic, I already had a ton of experience with organic traffic-based affiliate marketing. But switching to paid traffic was an entirely different game.
I didn't have much experience with tracking or landing pages, and that's what almost made me fail. I was at a stage where I started to believe it was all a scam.
I could get some campaigns close to profit, but it just wouldn't last no matter how hard I tried. I was pretty much ready to give up, honestly.
Then, I discovered STM, and it all changed. Just by following the advice of the STM moderators, such as the legendary Caurmen, I was able to identify some bleeding points and save a lot of money on stupid mistakes I was making.
For example: I wasn't using landing pages almost at all. And the ones I used were made by myself from scratch simply because I thought I could make them better. Well, I was wrong.
As soon as I started to use the proven ones, with some minor tweaks, it all changed for the better.
STM also helped me to pick a better tracker. I learned about CDNs and how to set up my hosting infrastructure in a more effective way. I learned about statistical significance and how to optimize campaigns. I had no idea how many affiliate networks and traffic sources there were before joining STM.
To put it simply, STM opened my eyes, and I was amazed by how large the affiliate world is.
But there is more to it. The forum helped me to stay in the loop, so to speak.
Whenever there is something new, the people at STM talk about it.
For example, TikTok is booming right now, and we have several members who are testing campaigns on the platform with great results. And the best part, these people are willing to share quite a lot of details on the forum, so those members who can read between the lines can benefit from the information a lot.
The simple fact that the forum is a paid one simply gives it a feeling of a private community, and people tend to share more on those.
On top of that, the fee helps us to keep irrelevant and toxic people away from the forums and sustain a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Interested in joining STM Forum? Don't forget your promo code: CrakSTM30
Papa Whale: If you could have one magic power, what would it be and why?
Matuloo: Hmm, that's a tough one. I keep on having a dream over and over.
In that dream, I know how to fly just by moving my hands like birds move their wings. That would be a cool power or ability to have.
But honestly, that would be a selfish one to ask for. I hate to see people suffer, and more often than not, it has something to do with their health.
So I'd wish to have some healing power, that could really make a difference. People can usually make their lives better when healthy, so yes, that's what power I'd like to have: to heal people.
Papa Whale: Several experts like Charles Ngo recently shared their thoughts on the future of Affiliate Marketing. What is your answer to people saying AM is dying or dead?
Matuloo: Affiliate marketing can NEVER die because there will always be businesses that are looking for customers. And that's the core principle of affiliate marketing. We bring customers to businesses.
What can and will die are some parts of affiliate marketing. It all comes down to what one understands when we say affiliate marketing.
For some people, it's running scammy products by using blackhat tactics to fool Facebook and escape the ban hammer. This is on the way out, and even though it will likely never disappear completely, it's a dying part of the "business".
Then there are affiliate offers that once flourished but will die because the regulations will make them impossible to convert well enough.
Let's take carrier billing as an example. When it started, there were no regulations at all, and it was a goldmine, literally. But not exactly ethical, and that's why regulators stepped in and started to require certain measures to be taken to protect the customers.
As a result, the conversion rates dropped so much that it became impossible to make a profit with a large number of such offers. And some countries banned this billing process completely.
So yes, some parts of affiliate marketing will die for sure, but others will flourish. It's up to the affiliates to choose their playground.
Some will try to beat the dead horse and complain about how AM is dead, but the smart ones will move to areas that work now and will work in the future.
Whitehat and legit affiliate marketing will be here for the long term, likely forever.
Papa Whale: What should CrakRevenue do to stay on top of its game in 2022?
Matuloo: That's easy! Provide affiliates with offers that convert and the tools they need to make it happen.
You've been in the game for a long time, so you obviously know how to play it, and I don't really feel like a qualified person to give you advice when it comes to running a network.
But generally speaking, when working with a network, I only ask for a few things: a solid point of contact, a good selection of solid offers, an easy to set up platform with accurate tracking, timely payouts and open communication when it comes to the quality of leads I send.
That's pretty much about it, and you have all this nailed down already.
And one more thing: follow the trends!
So when there's something new that seems to gain momentum, jump on it and give your affiliates the option to profit from the new trends.
Papa Whale: If you could automate one thing in your daily life, what would it be?
Matuloo: You know what would be cool?
If I could automate my kids' daily routine, so "something" would wake them up, organize the morning hygiene, feed them breakfast, and drive them to school, that would be kinda cool. *laughs*
Papa Whale: Thank you so much for generously sharing your time and knowledge. How can we make sure we don't miss anything you'll say in the future?
Matuloo: I used to post on my blog, but I don't find the time for this lately, so the best way to get in touch with me and see what I'm up to is to follow me on the STM Forum. I'm posting there pretty much daily, so that's the best way to stay in touch.
Thanks for having me for this interview!