Summary: Debbie Gartner, a six-figure blogger, tells us how she got out of debt with the income from her blog. She is an SEO expert and gets 500k pageviews a month to her blog, The Flooring Girl. I hope you will enjoy today’s episode as much as I have!
Debbie’s SEO Ebooks: “Easy Backlinks for SEO“ and “Easy On Page SEO“. Get both books bundled to save $20.
Debbie’s SEO course: Easy SEO Revamp
Speakers: Becky Beach, Debbie Gartner:
Audio duration: 59m 06s.
Becky Beach: 00:00
Did you know you have the power to change your life? It all depends on your beliefs. If you have limiting beliefs, you are limit yourself.
I’m Becky Beach. I’m here to help you overcome your limiting beliefs. So, you can design your dream life. This is the Becky Beach show!
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Becky Beach show. I’m Becky Beach and today’s guest is Debbie Gartner is a six-figure blogger in SEO and affiliate marketing expert. I’m so happy to have you today.
Debbie Gartner: 00:31
Thank you, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you!
Becky Beach: 00:34
Oh, yeah. So, could you tell us about your blogging journey? Like how did you get started doing this?
Debbie Gartner: 00:43
Yeah, so I started way back when in 2010 and I started my actual blog, which is called “theflooringgirl.com” in 2011. And back then, I didn’t know anything about monetizing your blog or about anything for that matter, but I did it for my flooring business. I had a local shop-at-home flooring business. And I heard that blogging could be a good way to find customers. So that’s how I got started with it all. And years later, it’s just completely evolved.
Becky Beach: 01:16
Oh, that’s incredible. So, I heard your blog, it gets like 300,000 page views a month? Or is it more now? Like how do you? you do that with SEO, right?
Debbie Gartner: 01:27
So yeah, it definitely gets more. So often, I’m around over 500,000 pageviews a month.
Becky Beach: 01:33
Oh wow! that’s incredible.
Debbie Gartner: 01:36
So, when you get SEO traffic, for example, is higher quality, higher value, it makes more money for you. Not to mention all the other benefits we can get into. But I basically, years ago, I was just trying to find ways to find customers for my business. I only wanted local customers because I live in New York, and I can’t help people in California, right? You go to their home. I just wanted people very, very locally. So, I learned how to do SEO and I just learned by doing and reading every single article I possibly could between 2010 and 2012, and I just, you know, tried it and did it and improved and improved. And what I learned is that the quality of my customers or my leads was way higher than the other lead sources. So back then I was running a small local business and you would get leads in a number of different ways. Sometimes you would pay for the lead, sometimes you would get stuff from other contractors, like painters, or from referrals or friends or past customers. But what I found is my highest quality leads are actually coming from people that found my blog. So, they found me at theflooringgirl.com.
I just wrote articles about flooring and all the different questions my customers had. So, I would answer them there, and then if they happen to be local, they would usually give me a call and they were higher quality customers and the leads I would get anywhere else. So that’s how I got started and as I said, SEO traffic is much more targeted. So I wanted people that wanted certain things and they liked my blog posts, and that I was helpful, and that I was a real human being and a real person that could actually write and communicate because I’m up against all these men because I was in a very male-dominated business and most of them are really don’t understand home decor, or don’t understand, like the right colors that are most stylish or know, the things that many female homeowners would know or would ask about and I love that stuff.
So, it would just come naturally to me, and I could explain everything in layman’s terms to them instead of how a flooring contractor might do it. So which color do you want this or this? [inaudible 04:11] Oh, I think that in this room or this home, on these colors would look better. What do you think about this or that a little bit darker, a little bit better? A little bit less red? shiny or not shiny? but they would ask me because I knew, which colors are more solid? which colors sell homes faster? which ones hold up better? which ones cost more? like all those key things that a normal regular homeowner would ask about and the key decision-maker is usually at least 80% of the time a woman but not always and what’s called it 95% of the contractors out there would be men and here I was the flooring girl. Helping them and so they like that, and it worked really well. And then they would recommend me to their friends, because I got them, and I can help them, and I can explain why this would be the better answer or the pros and cons for whatever it was that they were contemplating.
Becky Beach: 05:18
Got heard that you are a regular [sysco 05:20] mention on HGTV?
Debbie Gartner: 05:24
Oh, yeah, I was on a couple of shows and honestly, it was just kind of luck. I think they just found my blog. So, we were on Sell This House a couple of episodes, and also Property Brothers or something. So, they go from city to city, and then look for [inaudible 05:45] cities, and then they’ll be like, “will you do this for free?” And I’m like, “No, I’m not going to do anything for free”. Like, I’m in higher demand here. So, but that’s what they would start with. So, you go, and people would be like, “oh, yeah, sure, put me on there”. But we would usually do stuff kind of at cost a little bit higher to help out, but then it was the PR recognition and then I would just- I’m a marketing person by trade, if you will, I used to work at Procter & Gamble. So then once we had that stuff, and I think, well, how do I leverage that with my customers. So then in my emails, I would send to them, “Oh, we’re going to be on TV, Or can you believe this or ever”
Becky Beach: 06:30
Debbie Gartner: 06:32
Yeah, and it just gave us more credibility. And then we’d have the logos on there, and everything like that. So that was kind of fun.
Becky Beach: 06:40
Yeah. So, it’s adventurous how a blog can help us [sysco 06:40] on your business into other forms of media, like TV, radio, and all kinds of stuff.
Debbie Gartner: 06:49
Right. Yeah, there’s so much that you can do with it and sometimes, you don’t even realize going in, that’s the case. So, I’ve had other places like the Washington Post has contacted me to be interviewed. And it was kind of cool, too, because with Elizabeth Mae, who you probably have no idea who she is, but she did really simple and she work for the Washington Post and so she wanted to do an article on something about kitchens and she contacted me, and I, of course, used to watch her on the Today show. And I’m like, “Oh, my God. I’m being interviewed by one of my heroes. So that was really cool. But yeah, people find you all over when you come up on SEO.
Becky Beach: 07:35
That’s so Amazing.
Debbie Gartner: 07:38
Yeah, but really, at the time, all I wanted were local flooring customers and then it was just understanding what their questions and their needs were, I live in Westchester County, which is right outside New York City. So, we get a lot of people moving from New York City, and then understanding the trends and the types of questions that they asked but it’s really nice, because they’re moving into a whole home here in the Suburb. They can still work in New York City, but they would live here.
Becky Beach: 08:10
Oh, great. Great. So, I understand you why were you saying like several and several $1,000 in debt. Like, there’s a [inaudible 08:17] you said your blog, what helped you get out of that, what happened, exactly?
Debbie Gartner: 08:22
Yeah. So, I’m not allowed to go into the details but basically, the end of- the very end of 2016, before Thanksgiving, and the holidays like the happiest time of the year. Like my life fell apart and it was so horrible, and I seriously used to measure everything in terms of Thanksgivings. Like, here’s well-being one Thanksgiving from now and now it’s two things coming to now, but basically, yeah, I found myself without a job without a source of income and $238,000 in debt. And as I mentioned, I live right outside New York city. So, in one of the most expensive areas of the country, and it was like, “Oh, my God, what am I going to do? I have to start over”. So, it was really pretty scary. And thankfully, by then I was already reading and thinking about monetizing my blog. I was going to start a new business, a new blog, I just couldn’t get my act together. So, then it’s like, you know, when the stuff hits the fan, you got to like, do something. So, then I tried to learn how to monetize my blog, and I had no idea how to do it, but I decided I would do that. I knew it would take a long time to do. So, I didn’t want to kid myself. I got two other part time jobs, so that I can make sure I had some money coming in. So, I basically, I knew how to blog. I knew how to do SEO. So, I started doing some freelance blogging and SEO for some other local businesses, don’t necessarily local to me, but they had local businesses.
Then I also basically went to a painter friend because painting and flooring goes together. So, I honestly, I just begged him for a job. So, it was like, “can you please help me” and this was January, and it gets kind of cold here in January. And we have white stuff called snow that comes every year. Okay, so here, people don’t do many home renovation projects, then they don’t want workers coming in and out of their home. So, his natural inclination was “No!” I don’t need anybody like, “why would I hire you? Like, it’s not spring yet?” Yeah, so it was hard, but I begged him, and he’s a good guy and then he basically said, Here’s what I can do. It was like, “You’re really good with a customer, you understand color, you understand design, you understand how to communicate, I will train you how to do painting, and it will be commissioned only. So, I will give you a few leads at time because you know how things are during the winter and then if you close them, you’ll get a commission. If you don’t, then you get nothing, basically”.
So that’s what I did and meanwhile, I tried to learn how to monetize my blog. So, I turn on the ads right away because I told you before I knew how to do SEO. So, I was getting about, I think, 150,000 page views a month or so without trying, just like I said, I was trying to get the local customers, but then, you know, people across the country would come and find me and so I monetized that, so I turn that on. And right away, I got some money, not a ton, but I got some money. Like I think my first month I ended up making around $13-$1,500, or something like that. And that was through a combination of ads, and then a little bit of affiliate marketing from Amazon that I had tried starting to do a little bit here and there on the side of 100 hour a job. So that’s how it started.
Becky Beach: 12:09
Yeah, I understand, you’re really good at affiliated marketing at Amazon, because you like possibly worked out that?
Debbie Gartner: 12:15
Yeah. So, Amazon was the first area that I got started with and it’s the easiest program. And for anyone that’s doing like a regular consumer focused niche, then Amazon is really good place to shop, because people trust Amazon. So, the conversion is much higher, and it took me a while to learn. And I did over a period of years, but I basically got it up to around $7,000 a month.
Becky Beach: 12:44
Debbie Gartner: 12:46
Yeah, it was it was really good, and it kept going up and up, which is really nice and then the Commission’s went down during the pandemics, everyone’s like, “Oh, move away from Amazon” but my attitude was “No, don’t move away from Amazon”, because they have the highest conversion, usually, like eight to 10 times as high as any other retail program. So, when you do the math, you’re better off going with Amazon than someone else who pays more, unless they’re going to pay. It’s just like, with physical goods, there’s a lot higher costs. So, there’s only so much they can pay you in commissions. But anyway, I knew, that was the case. We’re all stuck at home during the pandemic. So, more people would buying online. So even though they cut the commission’s it was like, more than half is what they cut them more than that. But I then ended up still making $5,000 a month. So, I said, “Okay, that’s not so bad. I’ll still take that”. But the good thing is that Amazon is just one of many places and I do believe in diversification. But I actually have a whole course on Amazon as well and I have a free guide, which maybe you can link to in the show notes or something.
Becky Beach: 14:05
Oh certainly, yeah. I’ll also link to your course as well.
Debbie Gartner: 14:09
Yeah. But from there, I wanted to diversify. It’s just like a stock portfolio, you have to make money in multiple ways, if you want to really treat this like a business. So, then I looked at other places, like rewardstyle is another one, I often make four to $5,000 a month there, and then many other programs, but basically, at this point in time, I probably make on average, around for this year, which is 2023, I make about $18,000 a month just on affiliate marketing. So that is nice.
Becky Beach: 14:46
That’s amazing. Wow! I’m so impressed with how much you accomplished, it’s incredible.
Debbie Gartner: 14:53
Yeah, but it didn’t stop there. so, I had the ads I have, which is now the smallest portion of my Income, it’s probably, $5000-$6,000 a month, which is good, but that affiliate marketing is like $18,000. And I also have products now too, which I’ve been working on since, I don’t know, maybe end of 2018, my first product, which was an SEO product. So, I have that, and I have several other SEO books, but I probably make around $10,000-$12,000 a month on my own products too.
Becky Beach: 15:33
that’s incredible. A lot of bloggers think you need to have a lot of traffic for ads but that’s not the case. There are all these different ways to monetize, right?
Debbie Gartner: 15:43
Right. I mean, for most bloggers, ads are usually the entry point, and usually the easiest one to get started on, because all you kind of need is traffic. But in the long run, they’re the least profitable, because you can make so much more money by other methods. And you can scale so much more. When you focus on affiliate marketing and products, either one or both of those, that’s what can really skyrocket your income there. So, when I started, and it was really hard when I first started, [inaudible 16:19] have to give it some time to figure everything out. But I read tons of income reports and when I looked at them and see the ones that are doing better, they either did really well in affiliate marketing, or really well on products, or they did really well on both. And that was my goal. But I started with affiliate marketing and then [inaudible 16:42] products from now.
Becky Beach: 16:45
Oh, yeah, a lot of bloggers like just don’t know, they don’t really think about making their own products. You know, it’s great to see that it can be very profitable, if you know what you’re doing, because don’t you use SendOwl, right? to send everything?
Debbie Gartner: 16:59
Yeah, so I actually used two payment processors, the first one I started with is that SendOwl, which is great, I highly recommend it for people that are just getting into products, because first of all, it’s just really great. It does a really great job on there. But it’s also very simple to use and its pretty low cost. So, unlike some of the other places, they charge you like a transaction fee, as well SendOwl, does it, you just pay a small monthly fee, which is the program I use with air, [sysco 17:41] which includes affiliates on there and you can also do upsells and redirects and bundles, which is really where the money comes in Once you get to that point.
Since you have product number two, it’s huge. So, I just paid $24 a month and that said, no matter how few or how many I sell. Now, obviously when you first start out, you may not sell them any products, but the whole idea is over time, you do sell many products. So, the cost for that it’s kind of inconsequential, I don’t care, like even at this point, if I was paying $100 A month it would be so small compared to what I’m making.
The second program I use is called Thrive cart which is also really great. You can do a lot with that but there’s a one-time upfront fee so really you have pay around almost $700 for it. when you first start that sounds like a huge deal, right and I wouldn’t have done that because I didn’t know if I would do well on products or not. now, I do know, and I see the math and I see that is inconsequential, so I use that as well. But you know I just told you SendOwl was only $24 A month okay. But when you do the math on that, after two years or so if you’re paying maybe I forget if it’s two years and three months or something like that you’ve already paid the same amount as $690 that you have to for Thrive cart, I mean for every month on going you’re not paying any more for Thrive cart so the big upfront costs so not real good for people that are unsure don’t know if they will be successful but for someone like you for example because you do very well on products so you already know where your income is coming in. So, it’s kind of a no brainer for someone like you or someone else making good money on their product from what other products [sysco 19:35].
Becky Beach: 19:35
Oh yeah, I do pretty well with products I understand that Thrive cart and SendOwl they both have built in affiliate programs to so other people could promote your products for you, right.
Debbie Gartner: 19:47
Yeah, that is so important, as I’m sure you know, because I mean affiliates can really add to your bottom line. Many new bloggers mistakenly think of affiliate as a cost. It’s not a cost. It’s an investment and I probably get a good I don’t know, a few 2-3-4000, varies from month to month extra, versus had I had no affiliates. But when I first launched my products, I did not even have an email list. So, I was kind of stupid back in the day. keep learning as I go but basically, I never would have gotten out of the gate had if it not been for affiliates. So, I had several friends who were really strong affiliate marketers, they promoted my product for me to their audiences, they got a cut of it. So, they did well, and they made money, but I also made money. So, it became a win/win situation, and you need to look at it as it’s an investment, not a cost.
Becky Beach: 20:49
Oh, yeah, I totally agree because at first, it’s kind of hard-to-get people to buy from you. So, what hurdles have you overcome in regard to that?
Debbie Gartner: 20:58
Well, I don’t- I was kind of lucky [crosstalk 21:04]. So, what kind of work for me might not work for everybody else but I knew- my first products were SEO. So, I knew SEO like the back of my hand and at first people didn’t know that and I didn’t tell anybody that either. So, I didn’t want to do any work for bloggers, I would just doing work for local companies. Because I could get paid more that way and then someone who was like a pseudo friend at the time, he’s now a good friend, but he was a pseudo friend published something in a Facebook group that basically said, “Oh, I’m thinking about hiring an SEO agency. Does anybody know a good place?” and I know that if you hired the wrong SEO agency that your blog may be toast. So, I offered to help him, and I basically said, “hey, people don’t know that I know how to do SEO, but I do and if you want, I think I can coach you and tell you how to do everything in an hour”. And if you’ll just pay me, $75 whatever. But of course, it took more than an hour, it probably more like, two hours or whatever. And I helped him and he’s like, “Wow, you really know what you’re doing” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I do. I’ve been doing this for a while”. And then he said, “Oh, you started blog”. I was like, “No, I don’t like writing and I hate writing about SEO, and that will just bore the crap out it”. But I like actually coaching and teaching people. So, I decided to try that and at the time, I was also trying to get my mind off of one of my parents, my dad had a big health problem, which thankfully, now is solved. But I need more money, and I need to get my mind off of stuff and then that worked really well.
Then someone else said, “oh, I need help with SEO”. And I said, “Oh, I think I can teach you” and then that person paid me. And then then word got out and then some bigger blogger said, “oh, you know how to do SEO, like, can I sign up for that lesson”. And then like, word got out, like crazy. And a few of the Facebook groups, people knew me then as doing SEO, I would give little tips here and there and I just became very well known. That was before I launched any books, I wasn’t even trying and wasn’t even planning to do any of this stuff. So, then it got more and more popular. I had a waitlist for three months and I couldn’t keep up and I felt bad on people. I’m like, I’m not free until like, you know, whatever month. And then someone said, “Oh, why don’t you just create a book or a course?”, I was like, “what?” all these people that I quoted, “yes, you should totally do that. So, I decided to do that. And that’s how I launched my first book. So, I had a bit of word-of-mouth PR going on without any plan. And then several different people that blogged about blogging and had email list, knew about it, and then they were willing to promote it and give it a try. It just worked and I was so nervous. I can’t even tell you. So, I was like, “Oh my God, this thing is going to flop” and I’m like, “if I just make $1,000, I will be so happy if I just make $1,000” then I couldn’t believe it. But people liked it. I worked really hard on it. So, I couldn’t believe it in that sense, but I couldn’t believe that I’ve made like more than $1,000 or something the first day or so or day or two and I’m like, “Oh my God!”. But I launched it like in the middle of December, which is probably the worst time to launch anything and before the end of the year, like in the last two weeks, I made this revenue I made a little over $6,000.
Becky Beach: 24:58
Wow, that’s great!
Debbie Gartner: 25:00
Yeah, I was like, floored and surprised and yeah, it just worked. I did not pocket that amount of money because I had affiliates, I didn’t have any email list or anything. But I think at the end, I still made about $3,800, which for me was a huge deal, like, “Oh, my God”. And then I continued to make some more money in January and then I realized there was a need. So, my first book was Easy backlinks.
Easy backlinks for SEO and at the time, like, no one was really talking about backlinks, they would tell you, “Oh, you need to get backlinks” but they wouldn’t tell you how you do it. How do you do it? Where do you get the link? What types of links, what sort of anchor text? so I did that it was really an unmet need at the time. Now a lots of people are talking about it here and there, but I really go into all the details. But I realized that I was helping people that were slightly more advanced, and not the beginners, the beginners needed to know how to just write a blog post that will do well for SEO [inaudible 26:07].
So then in February, I launched my second book, which is “Easy on-page SEO: and that’s really the first book that people should read so you understand what you’re shooting for. And the second book is really on “Easy backlinks for SEO”, and that now I have them offered as a bundle together. So, it works. So, in February it did not go well. But then what surprised me, and it sounds so obvious now is that as soon as I launched the second book, the first book made even more sales, and then I would do like cross promotions of “buy this, you can get this if you buy that you can get this” and gave people different options to buy based on what they needed. And I did really well, and I just kept doing more and more and then, but at all I didn’t even have an email list at the time, [inaudible 27:04] like “Oh, how stupid am I?” Like, I can’t be- I just told you that affiliates are really good, and they are, but you never want to be dependent wholly on your affiliates because how often can each affiliate promote your stuff, like at certain point, they’re going to get bored of it, their listeners can get bored of it. They have other things to promote. So, you have to be- basically as time I would say the master of your domain, essentially, you need to leave the ship. So, then I started an email list from there, but I didn’t do an email list until six months after I launched, which is like quite funny.
Becky Beach: 27:46
For six months? That’s awesome. [inaudible 27:49] how many sales from affiliates. Then when you launch your list like, Did you automatically get more sales that way? how was your frequency of emailing?
Debbie Gartner: 28:02
Yeah, so I didn’t know what I was doing at all with email, and I created a free lead magnet, just with my free SEO course. And I told you know what I was doing. I’m not tech savvy. I did the free course, but I couldn’t get the stupid landing page to work. And I posted in a group and then someone said, “Oh, I can help you with that. And I can help you for free”. Because remember, I’m hugely in debt. So, at this point until, and I think at that point in time, I think I had I don’t know $150,000 or $175,000. I can’t remember.
Becky Beach: 28:45
Yeah, that is a lot of.
Debbie Gartner: 28:47
Yeah, it was terrible. My life was terrible. But I basically could not spend any money on myself. And all the money I had was going into my business or to pay off debt. So, I just tried to minimize all my expenses. And so, someone who was a previous students said, “Oh, I can help you with this and I can do this for free”. And of course, I’m like pretty Yeah, awesome I need help.
Becky Beach: 29:14
[inaudible 29:16] help.
Debbie Gartner: 29:16
Right, exactly. So, I said but I can’t have you work for me for free. So, I said I like “I can give you SEO lessons if you fix this one” and then the funny thing is because I wrote I posted in a Facebook group that was fairly large, where I was pretty well known. And I said I’m trying to do this and then people said, “oh, I want to sign up where do I sign up?” And after I put in there so quickly got like 300 email subscribers right away and then it just kept going up from there and then I was in BC stack for the first time and three years ago or two years. I can’t remember what it was, but I’ve done it now three years in a row. And I remember, like Dan said, “all these people want to hear from you”. I was like, what? Like, who am I? Like? Nobody knows who I am. Like, what the heck am I going to do? I’m like, I don’t even have an email list. I have 300 people on my email list. And then Dan said, “oh, yeah, well, not to worry. You can bring other bloggers in and if you do, you get 10% of their commission.” I was like, “Yeah, but all the bigger bloggers are already doing these things. who do I know?” And so, I asked him, a few people are like, “Oh, no, no, they’re already, you know, cookie to someone else, blah, blah, blah”. And then I said, “Do you know Jennifer Maker?” and he said, “No”, I said, Okay good. I’ll call you back later. Got to go”. I called Jennifer maker and said, “do you know about the BC stack?” And she’s like, “Oh, I would love to do that”. And I said, “Okay, well, I’ll see if I can get you in this side”. This is like 24 hours before it was supposed to launch. So not planned out very well. So, then I called Dan back, I said, “Okay, remember, I said, Jennifer maker”, and I said, “you want to know her? Believe me? You want to know her, Can you get her into this thing”. And he said, “Well, someone just cancelled so I can fit her in”. So, he fit her in. And then she, of course, did number one that year. So, it helped me as well. But it was a win/win for her and for Dan, and for me. And that’s kind of how some of these things worked.
Then I started getting a whole bunch of subscribers from there and then just gradually, grew things, but at the time, I was probably only emailing. I don’t know, once a week, maybe twice a week. The funny thing is, I thought that I hate email because I hate writing. I know that sounds so ridiculous because I’m a blogger, right and I hate writing. And I mean, when I say hate, I mean, hey, like is my worst subject. But I’m like a math science person, not a writing English person. That’s just not me but thankfully, on my blog, I was writing about stuff I really knew well, so I knew home decor. I knew flooring, I knew painting. So, I had to pretend that I wasn’t writing, I had to pretend that I was back in my customers home, talking to a real-life customer and they’re asking me questions, and then I answer. So, I was like, What am I going to do with email? I don’t understand how email is going to be.
[inaudible 32:46] So much extra work, blah, blah. And then someone said, “Oh, it’s just like helping people and talking to people”. And when I was able to reframe it in my mind, okay. It’s not really about writing. I mean, I do write, but I basically pretend that I’m talking to a friend and that’s how I write my Emails. That’s all I do.
Yeah, so I basically started out and maybe once or twice a week or something, and over time, things got much more profitable and I enjoyed it more, I was getting good responses back and people would send me nice notes, and blah, blah, blah. So, it felt kind of good but I’m now at the point where I make more than $10,000 a month, just from my email, and doing that. Yeah, just like a minimum of $10,000 every month this year, and sometimes it’s been much more like this month. What’s today’s date? It’s 25th.
Yeah, so through the 24th, which is yesterday, I’ve made $15,000 for the month from my email list. And I’ve had other months where it’s been like, you know, 12,000 or 13,000, I’ve had one month, or it’s been $21,000. So, I really see the benefit of having an email list. I mean, I kind of alluded to it before, like, you need to be master of your domain, and you want to have control over that list. Not just be dependent on affiliates, but look at affiliates as your partners, but not the only driving force behind your brand, just one of them. And so anyway, now I email more often, probably usually, four to five times a week is what I do, and it’s not like I’m really disciplined about it. So sometimes it’s just when something pops into my head or there’s a promotion going on that I think would be good for my people. But yeah, that’s what I’m doing now, and I still missed it for so many years. I didn’t know so I went years with no email list.
Becky Beach: 34:56
Yeah, it’s so great that you have more now. So how do you find these affiliates to promote? they just contact you or how does it work?
Debbie Gartner: 35:04
I don’t know, over time I just learn and do so. I mean, there are certain promotions that happen at different times to kind of hear and learn and that sort of thing, but I often will seek out people. So, I don’t want to be like everybody else. So, if everybody else is promoting a product XYZ, I would not do something that other people are doing. So sometimes I’m just actively looking for people. So, I stumble across. So, like, John Dykstra is a good example of that, like, I saw a video, and no one in my sphere was promoting him. But I could tell from that video, that he thought about SEO the same way that I did and so I talked about SEO, but I know how to do longtail keyword research, but I basically cannot explain it, while I can do it. I just cannot explain it well, so I believe it’s [inaudible 36:04] really good at and really good at explaining. So, I’m like, I’m just not going to cover that. And then I could tell from the way he was talking in his video, that he thought about it just like I did. So, I said, let me just reach out to him. And I randomly just reach out to him and so I sent him a note, he doesn’t know who I am. I just gave him a little backstory of who I was. And that I saw eye to eye with how he does long tail keyword research. And would you be willing to make me an affiliate? I said, “Would you be willing to talk on the phone?” It’s all I said.
Remember, I don’t like writing. I like talking. So, I like talk on the phone all the times. You know, I’ll call you sometimes and everything. But that’s my comfort zone, and always has been so ever since high school. I like talking on the phone. So anyway, I called him we must have spoken for an hour and a half, and it was really, really fruitful conversation. And then from there what happened that, I learned maybe six or nine months later, that he is a total introvert. And he hates talking on the phone. I think I hate writing as much as he hates to talk on the phone. And so, when I learned that, and he said he never takes anybody’s phone call. I said, “Oh, I’m so glad and honored that you took mine”. He said, “Well, that was one of the most productive phone calls I’ve ever had”. And then I promoted his stuff and then it did really well because of course, I believed in that product. And I have an email list that’s trying to grow their SEO. So, it was just a great fit from there other people started copying me, which is kind of a bummer. But that’s just the story with him.
Then there are other people, I’ve done the same sort of thing. I’m like, oh, like, that’s really interesting. So, I kind of like when I have these little fines or these Aha! moments. And then I can be, “the only one promoting them”. Sometimes that means the only one at this time. So, if I take another product, whatever product it is, but if it’s not like, on sale, I might just be like, “hey, you know, like, this is really great. We’re going to go [inaudible 38:48] occasionally run a sale, maybe?” And then some people say sure.
Becky Beach: 38:32
Debbie Gartner: 38:33
Yeah. So that’s the sort of thing that I do because I hate being like everybody else. So, like, I personally love Genius Bloggers Toolkit, okay, but I hate the fact that everyone is promoting it at the same time. And I hate that everyone like, “Oh, Use my link, use my link, because that is like, use my link” as opposed to Genius Bloggers Toolkit is great because of XY and Z. And that’s more my style is like, what’s the benefit? Because the benefit is not to me, like, benefit is to my reader. I cannot promote stuff for the heck of promoting stuff to make me money like that. That’s asinine and it’s like selfish. So, I don’t do that. So, I usually look for what are the products that will help my readers, my list? And why do I think they’re great and that’s just my philosophy. I mean, I come from a marketing background. So, I used to work at P&G and get in part of that company. There’s always like, who is your target? and what’s the need? What’s the solution? Tell them the benefit and that’s just how I do everything naturally.
Becky Beach: 39:47
That’s an incredible mindset, I love that. [sysco 39:47]
Debbie Gartner: 39:51
Yeah. You have to be like that. A lot of people are like, “Oh, let me just promote this because I’m going to get a big commission”. And you can’t like that’s the wrong philosophy, it has to be, “this is going to benefit someone. Here’s why and here’s why it’s a good value for you”. Okay. And then I am helping them find the right product. And as a result, I am getting a commission as well. So, it becomes a win/win. But I really believe in promoting people and products that are right for my people, not I’m making big commission. So, I don’t really promote really expensive products. I mean, I have a few that are more expensive, but not like $1,000 courses or something like that. It has to be, this is going to be good for you. Here’s why often are usually it’s something that I myself have taken, there are a few times where I have promoted people, because I’ve taken other courses, and [inaudible 40:54] have tactics out, but I never just will be like, “hey, buy this because, you know, or start with the standpoint of what’s going to make me a big commission”.
Becky Beach: 41:05
No, that’s like, nobody told us that way of thinking, you know. [sysco 41:08]
Debbie Gartner: 41:11
Yeah, you have to do that, and you have to believe in it and that can’t just be like, buy this buy more buy, you know, whatever, you will exhaust your list, and they won’t trust you. I mean, trust is the keynote, right. Because if you’re just always promoting every single thing, and I see some people doing that, and I don’t know whether or not that’s working for them. But if I promote something, and my people aren’t happy, they will usually let me know, although I tried to prevent that from happening because I tried to make sure like I just said that something is actually good, or, and here’s why. But there are plenty of people that will just be like, “hey, buy this, you know, buy this, this is really good” and some of them never have bought the product in the first place. So, they don’t really know or have experience or know why it can help them. So, I’m just not like.
Becky Beach: 42:01
It’s just amazing. So, you kind of touch on this in your affiliate marketing course that for Amazon because you are used to it so well, maybe that is why because you’re telling these people why they should get this product. You know, it’s a really great idea.
Debbie Gartner: 42:16
Yeah, so my background is helping homeowners and I’m in a male dominated niche. And the contractors are trying to sell, sell the job. I’m not, I took a more consultative approach. Okay, what’s the best floor for you? I don’t care if I make less on it, as long as I find the right floor for you. so like, I know that sanding and refinishing an existing floor is way less expensive than replacing the floor or putting a new thing in there. So, I will make less money on selling a standing and refinishing job than selling a new hardwood job but that’s not my job. My job is to help my homeowner find what’s best for her and her home. And sometimes the answer is standing and sometimes it’s not. some people can’t deal with getting out of the house, they don’t. they just have nowhere to go. So, it doesn’t really work. It’s different now with COVID but, you know, it’s like you got to solve their problems.
So then when people lived in a home for let’s say, 30 years, they’ve accumulated a lot of stuff and they have hardwood all over the place. Like what are they going to do with all the furniture? Like, what are they going to do? So, my job became, how do I solve that problem? “Okay, we’re going to do your home in two phases, we’re going to do the biggest phase first, I’m going to take all the furniture and put it into two or three rooms, and we’ll do all but that and you will go away that and then we’ll let everything dry, then we’re going to move the furniture back. So, then we move the other furniture into the other place. And we’ll do the other two or three rooms. So, it’s the least expensive for you. And doing the other two or three rooms isn’t going to smell as much, or you can go away. [inaudible 44:06] It’s December vacation, you do this whole portion and then February vacation for schooling you do The second portion”, it’s all about problem solving.
The other contractors that I’m competing with, they weren’t about helping the customer, I was always about helping the customer finding the best solution for them. And so, then when it came to affiliate marketing where I was getting my start and doing Amazon, well, I know that bunch of contractors don’t even know the best polyurethane, but I do because I know the problems with all these other ones and let me just tell you, which is the best one or the best one for this circumstance. Now what if someone’s pregnant or what if someone needs to get into their home faster, you have to think about what they need, and then which is the best polyurethane for them or what color do they want? So, there are different answers all the time. It’s not one size fits all. It’s like, “okay, given your particular needs, the color that you want, and the timeframe that you have, this would be the best solution. Here’s why. And then here’s the cost, or here’s option A, B, and C, you choose” and often it might be, “hey, this is the one that’s more convenient, or this is the one that costs less”, let them decide, but explain it to them in terms they understand. So, I thought about it. Well, you know, I’m helping all the women out there how to make buying decisions for their home. And if that is go with product A or go with product B, they can decide what they need for their home based on what type of hardwood they have. Its [inaudible 45:53] or engineer, what type of foundation do they have and they’re all like, you live in Texas, right? Dallas?
Becky Beach: 46:00
[inaudible 46:01] yours, but you’re like comparing and contrasting the different [inaudible 46:05]. So whatever decision they make, you’re still going to make a profit, right?
Debbie Gartner: 46:12
Right, we see homes in very different, across the country. So, I’m guessing in your area that there are a lot of homes that are built on slabs. is that right?
Becky Beach: 46:23
Yeah, we had problems with our foundation, so we had a foundation repair. So, it’s always shifting and Texas in, there was always tons with a foundation repairs needed. [sysco 46:29]
Debbie Gartner: 46:33
Right, and that’s totally different from how homes are built in the northeast, middies Midwest, sorry, [inaudible 46:40], the Mid Atlantic, it’s all different, through here, the most homes are most houses, I should say. They are not on concrete slabs and most of them have based totally the opposite of what you find in Texas, right. So, you got to figure out what’s the best for them. But also, I might have a homeowner that needs to figure out what to put in their basement. And that’s totally different than what they put in their kitchen, which is different from what they put on the main floor of their home. So, you had to figure out what makes sense, given the room, the customer, the way the home is built, and everything and what the customer needs, and what the customer wants. So, you got to roll those things together.
Becky Beach: 47:25
[inaudible 47:25] has never thought about that way. It’s just, it’s incredible. You’re probably a marketing genius, Debbie.
Debbie Gartner: 47:33
I don’t think I’m a genius, but I guess as I’m talking out loud, we need to think about ourselves as problem solvers and the problems don’t need to be huge, they can be very simple problems. Like, I only find the right color for this, or which is the best hardwood for basement and kitchen. Answers usually “don’t do hardwood in the basement”. But you get the idea. people have these questions all the time and you got to figure out what’s right for their particular situation. You know, what problems that our customers have? Or do they go in to search for online for Google, and this is why SEO is so important because when people will search for particular problems, and if they find my article on, what’s the best, whatever, whatever, for whatever, whatever, then I want to give them the solution going by, and hence I make an affiliate commission. That’s kind of how it works but it’s not about me making a commission, it’s about me solving their problems, and then giving them the solution and then they buy. It doesn’t cost them anything else. I’m not going to be like the contractors to tell them. Here’s the one I’m going to make the most money of it. No, it’s about here’s what’s going to solve your problem the best and that’s the difference in mindset.
Becky Beach: 48:54
Oh, yeah, like a lot of bloggers, they just start write about their lives, but the problem is the way you make money is the answer the problems, just like you said, because they just wrote about their lives, like a journal, it’s not an online journal, they will make nothing.
Debbie Gartner: 49:08
so true. Yeah. And when I started blogging, that’s a lot of people were doing and my natural inclination was like, what’s the good of that? I mean, I don’t mean to say that, like, a waste or anything like that. But I was in business to be in business. I had a flooring business, and I was helping people with their flooring. So, there was no need to talk about my life. Where I needed to do was establish trust and authority and the solution to their problems and that’s how I did everything. I remember when I first started my blog, my dad looked at me and he’s like, “who’s going to want to read your blog?” And I said, “nobody”. I said, “I don’t really care if they read my blog. All I want are the people in my local area who need to do hardwood flooring to find me” and that was my philosophy. [inaudible 50:02] issues of questions they have, let’s solve them, they’re going to naturally come to me. Because I am a marketing person, I am not a salesperson, I am terrible at sales but I’m good at solving problems. I’m good at figuring out solutions. Once I know the issues.
Becky Beach: 50:20
That’s just a great way of thinking, because a lot of people think, “Oh, I got to be this cheesy salesperson”. But think of yourself as a marketer first, you’re trying to solve the customer’s problems, like you said, because that’s what you do and that way you can overcome your fear of selling, you know?
Debbie Gartner: 50:35
Right. Because they’ll always be closing your ABC always be closing on like, there is always something [sysco 50:42] and people say ask for the sale. [inaudible 50:45], I’m terrible and I would have been better maybe if I did, but I would not ask for the sale. Instead, my customers say, “Oh, how do we get started? what are the next steps?” And then I say, “Oh, here’s what you do, blah, blah, blah”. And then I knew they wanted to work with me because they could have worked with someone else or they could have worked with me, because they trusted me, they knew I would do a good job. we’re also you know, it’s a woman owned business and I would have a lot of customers, the husband says, “Oh, I am never going to the male business again”. I’m going to work with women because I had all these women, I had to men too. So don’t misunderstand me there. But we were more attentive to their needs. So, we would explain stuff as we went along. If you have a problem and issue a question, they could contact us, we’ll tell them the answer and it’s just a different experience.
Becky Beach: 51:38
Oh, Debbie you are totally an inspiration. I will definitely link to your books and your course to the show notes, and it’s been a pleasure having you today.
Debbie Gartner: 51:49
Thank you. Yeah, it’s been fun being on the podcast and everything like that but it’s a long journey for anyone who’s starting it. it was really hard, my first year really hard and I already had a head start, because I already had a blog establish, I already knew how to do SEO, on my first year was really hard. I figured I’m going to make so much money. My goal is to make $10,000 a month, I’m sure I can do it. I ended up missing a reasonable goal that I set the first year and I think by month 12, month, 11 is when things started to click, and then I made $31,000-$3,300 a month or something like that but it took a while year two is easier. But I won’t say that year two was easy, because it wasn’t it was just easier, and I had a huge amount of debt. So that was really stressful. Year three got much easier. My timeline is probably compressed, because I told you I had a head start and everything like that.
Becky Beach: 52:59
[inaudible 52:49] Right, Because they’re usually [inaudible year two, because I didn’t start making money until I was in like year two or three, because like, before I did many [inaudible 53:08] have my family was also like telling me that I was wasting my time as well.
Debbie Gartner: 53:14
Oh, my God, yes. Yeah, my parents were not supportive. And I’ve had so many people say, “Oh, my husband, my boyfriend, my family, my friends, they all think I’m crazy”. And I mean, you have to have some confidence in yourself. It’s really hard at the beginning because you’re really unsure. I didn’t know if I would make it, but I did know that blogging worked. Even though I wasn’t making money from it. I knew that SEO worked, and I knew other people are making a lot of money. I’m like, “Oh, if I can just make 10% of that, I’ll be good”. So, then you learn over time but for most people, you don’t make much at all, in year one, I’m more the exception than the rule. year two is easier but for a lot of people, they don’t make much money until maybe month 18 or 24.
Year three is much better and the thing is, so many people quit before they even get to that point. So, you have to go in with this mindset. It’s going to take a while and thankfully, I knew that it would take a while. So, because I read a lot of stuff. So that’s why I had those two part time jobs to make sure I brought money in the door. So, people can do other stuff like they can be a virtual assistant or freelance blogger. Or also like what I did I just took a part time painting job which had nothing to do with blogging. I mean later I turned it into my blog, but that wasn’t the plan was just like make money survive. I have to buy time because I have to pay off this debt. So, I need it’s going to take time for my blog to make money. And how do I get money coming in the door? To get me to that point I need to go, that’s how I think about it.
Becky Beach: 55:00
That’s like really smart to have like services on your blog when you’re just getting started, like you had SEO services, can make like a service page on your blog, maybe for any services that you might want to do.
Debbie Gartner: 55:11
You could. I didn’t even do that, I didn’t even start teaching any SEO until, maybe month 18 or 19, or something like that. I could have done it. Did a few things locally, but I never had a page for it and like I said, some of myself might have just been good luck. And I got in a little bit earlier who knows what, but it was just word of mouth that worked for me, there. [inaudible 55:43] sign up for anything like that. It’s funny.
Becky Beach: 55:47
Oh, yeah, word of mouth, it’s always really good. You know, that’s like, that’s cheaper. That’s free advertising. So, if you do a good job, people are going to recommend you.
Debbie Gartner: 55:56
Right. it’s really like third party endorsement, which is a really big thing and that’s why affiliate marketing works, too. It is a third-party endorsement. So, if I’m recommending, a blogger product, because I think it’s good. That’s a third-party endorsement. Or if I’m recommending an Amazon product, that’s, I’m recommending that because that’s the right thing and I know, because I’ve done 1000s of work, that mean personally but, my guys have and I’ve seen so many messed up floors, it’s not even funny but you have to basically do that.
And recommend stuff, not just because [inaudible 56:35] make money, as I’ve said, a million times and not because it’s the highest price product and make the biggest commission, but because it’s the right product, with the best product, here is why. Even if I make lower commission, I don’t care but that’s kind of my philosophy is what is right, for this customer?
Becky Beach: 56:58
Debbie Gartner: 56:59
Yeah, you need to think about what are the different segments these customers might need this, these customers need that? Got to think about it that way?
Becky Beach: 57:09
Oh, yeah, it’s important to segment your list, because don’t want to do that, you know, depending on what the customers can click in all you can do that and convert, I believe.
Debbie Gartner: 57:18
Yeah, I use Active Campaign and I love it. And you can definitely segment in different ways based on their behavior or their interest, or, you know, what they bought before. And there’s so much you can do with email, I had no clue. I mean, once I understood what you could do and then going back in time, and all the marketing [inaudible 57:40] over time, so to direct email and segment there, all that stuff. You just had to put your marketing hat on and do it.
Becky Beach: 57:51
That’s just so great. Well, to access the show notes, go to #mombeach.com/podcast/ and I’ll have the links to all at Debbie’s courses and all her books, you can connect yourself, they’re just awesome products, I highly recommend them. Because I personally have made, like now I’m getting like over 200,000 page views a month and it’s like, mostly because Debbie’s books because I’m a big fan of Debbie.
Debbie Gartner: 58:17
I really appreciate it. Yeah, SEO has been the saving grace for everything and if you want to do well in affiliate marketing, SEO is one of the keys to do it so.
Becky Beach: 58:27
Oh, yes, I am so grateful to have you today. [sysco 58:27] You just been great. Like I learned so much myself. You know, I’m sure our audience has too. It’s been a pleasure.
Debbie Gartner: 58:37
Becky Beach: 58:39
Thank you so much for listening to the Becky Beach show. Please go to #mombeach.com/podcast/ to learn more about my podcast and For show notes. If you want a 2023 free printable gold planner, please go to #mombeach.com/subscribe/. I hope you enjoy today’s episode. Have a great day.
Transcribed by Neeraj_Chand