Arlen Robinson [00:01]
Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing Podcast. Everyone, my name is Arlen and I am your host. And today we’ve got a very special guest, Alex Back, who is the founder and CEO of, an innovative new online platform designed to help match customers with their perfect new couches. Formerly, he was the co-founder and COO of the popular furniture brand, Apartment 2 B (, and bootstrapped the company from startup to acquisition prior to his exit last year. Welcome to the podcast, Alex.

Alex Back [00:39]
Thank you, Arlen. Do you feel like your couch is perfectly matched with you and your personality and needs?

Arlen Robinson [00:45]
It definitely is not. And my parents actually reminded me of that when they came to visit here at Christmas. They came to the Orlando area and my couches. It seemed better days. I’m probably well overdue for a replacement of couches very soon. So I got to. OK, definitely, I would definitely hit you up for sure when I’m ready to swap couches for sure.

Alex Back [01:04]
Well, if you need any tips, you got a guy now, okay?

Alex Back [01:11]

Arlen Robinson [01:14]
And speaking of that, as I mentioned, of course, you’re the founder of couch .com. One of the things that got me and I’d heard of your brand before and I don’t know how I came across it. I don’t know. Maybe I was looking for couches. I don’t know. But I did come across your site before this actual meeting before I even knew about you. And what is amazing to me is how did you get that domain? Because I know that was not easy to acquire that if you can kind of go into any detail about that.

Alex Back [01:40]
Yeah, look, I don’t know if that it was that hard. I mean, when you’re willing to spend your life savings on something, it can be quite easy, Arlen, I’m telling you, you should try it sometime. Now it was it’s a pretty interesting story. Actually, the short version is somebody told me that it was for sale, I was not looking to be in the furniture industry at all. And the fact that it was available actually got my mind thinking about like,

Arlen Robinson [01:46]
Right? Yeah, I can imagine. Okay.

Arlen Robinson [02:00]
Hmm, interesting.

Alex Back [02:07]
this larger concept and bigger scales and bigger scope, larger scope idea that I have for couch .com. So I was like, Hmm, okay. Then I looked at the price tag and I was like, well, that’s not happening. Uh, but then I really thought about it a lot. And I kind of, I, I had my, uh, an aha moment about what, what, what it could be. Um, so a platform to sort of serve the entire furniture industry. Uh, but we’ll get into that more as we talk. The domain was owned.

Arlen Robinson [02:12]
Yeah. Yeah.

Right, right, right.

Arlen Robinson [02:35]

Alex Back [02:37]
by a high net worth individual who got it in the 1990s. This is a guy who, him and his brother, who was his partner, they built the product that became Google AdSense and sold that to Google for a lot of money back in the 90s. So there was not much negotiation. And this is not like that was, you know, he was happy to hang on to it for a little longer. So it was.

Arlen Robinson [02:40]
Mm -hmm. OK.

Arlen Robinson [02:51]

Arlen Robinson [02:55]
Well, gotcha. I can imagine.

Alex Back [03:05]
It was pretty interesting, but also interesting that, you know, this person that I bought it from and had now have like a sort of pseudo relationship with is so connected with, uh, the tech and now he, and now VC world he works. Um, he has a VC firm, um, here in Los Angeles, uh, that has a portfolio of tech companies. So who knows where this can all go? I don’t know. It just seemed like it was, it was a good fit for me.

Arlen Robinson [03:23]

Arlen Robinson [03:27]

Gotcha, gotcha. Well, that’s awesome. Great story. Thank you for sharing me. That’s interesting though. Before you came across that opportunity, you had no interest in kind of getting into furniture space or anything. It was just, I guess one thing led to the next, I guess.

Alex Back [03:44]
Well, I ran a direct to consumer furniture brand, Apartment 2B. I founded it in 2010. And, you know, I was burnt out. I mean, just like anybody, you know, when you hustle for so long in one specific area, it can really, it can really sort of take over your life. And I think I’m sure a lot of people listening to this can identify with that, you know, the nights, the weekends, the lifestyle that goes along with it. And after a while, at one thing, you start to not notice it as much, and that can be dangerous.

Arlen Robinson [03:49]
Right, right, right.

Alex Back [04:14]
Uh, meaning, you know, you don’t have balance in your life. I have kids. I want to spend more time with them. So getting right back into the furniture industry after I left such an intense experience was like, it felt like the wrong move, but I took some time and this idea is quite different than a direct consumer business. Um, it’s, it’s essentially a marketing platform and ultimately an affiliate marketing platform for the furniture industry. So I’m really excited.

Arlen Robinson [04:24]
Mm -hmm.

Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [04:39]
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, good stuff. Thank you for sharing that very interesting story. Well, today, of course, we’re going to be talking about affiliate marketing, performance marketing and affiliate marketing. And, you know, as far as from an e -commerce entrepreneurs perspective or e -commerce digital marketing perspective, you know, how do you take advantage of it? What are some of the ins and outs of it?

And a lot of lessons, of course, I’m sure that you’ve learned from being in this space for as long as you have. So I think what I wanted to really start off with is just because there’s a lot happening in the affiliate space. There’s been a lot of talk. Most people that are either affiliates or have their own affiliate program.

and are familiar with all of these changes that are going on with browsers. It’s been going, I mean, they’ve been talking about this for the last five years or so years as far as the elimination of cookies and how that’s gonna affect affiliate marketing. And so that’s really a big thing, but there’s also a lot of things happening on some of these social media platforms. And so within this next year, what would you say is gonna have the most significant impact on affiliate marketing?

Would it be social commerce platforms, you know, like TikTok shop, which is really just starting to explode right now. Or do you think just that whole elimination of third party cookies across the browsers, which one do you think is going to have a greater impact on affiliate marketing space?

Alex Back [06:08]
Yeah. Great question. There’s sort of, there’s, I have two answers. There’s sort of, um, a more direct effect, a direct issue that everybody’s dealing with in the affiliate space right now, which is, um, the, the changes in, in tracking, uh, Google search results, um, have massively the updates that they’ve made in the past year to sort of combat against the AI revolution, um, have directly.

affected so many affiliate sites and so many of them have seen their, uh, their, their, their traffic and their revenue drop off immensely. And they’re having to be sort of use sort of dynamic ways of getting in front of the same people. But on the macro level, the idea of affiliate marketing is being championed forward so much by Tik TOK shop and all the buzz that’s surrounding it. Everybody starts to realize that, Oh, now.

the idea of being an influencer isn’t this sort of nebulous thing where you have to create this whole lifestyle and create beautiful pictures with professional photography like it was for the past decade. Now, if you believe in a product, you can go on TikTok Shop and sell that product to all of your friends and people can make direct commissions so much easier now with.

Arlen Robinson [07:19]

Alex Back [07:33]
the sort of greater access to affiliate technology. And obviously, I know you know that personally very well. And then we shared some anecdotes before we started recording this. But I think that that, like just the awareness that this is a thing is going to broaden the scope of this industry and make it explode in this next year.

Arlen Robinson [07:41]

Arlen Robinson [07:50]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [07:54]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I totally agree. I mean, it’s already at a point where, because I was telling you my kind of background and my story and how we developed our software, our affiliate software. I mean, this was like the early 2000s where referral marketing, affiliate marketing was really kind of just kind of.

starting to take shape. And I mean, at this point, it’s on a whole nother level. I mean, that was it was really popular then and starting to get popular back then. And that was before these social media platforms. And that was kind of before the so -called influencers, if you will. You know, that term, I don’t think really even existed back then. But, you know, you did have successful affiliates. And like you said, with these platforms, like what TikTok is doing is really, I think, putting

a lot of more attention on it. And it’s gonna, I think that’s really definitely gonna be one of the main things to look for this next year, how that’s gonna change things. And then what are some of these other social media platforms gonna do? Are they going to come up with their own versions of that, which I’m sure is coming soon.

Alex Back [09:02]
Well, yeah. And you know, I think it’s all there’s, I guess if I had to make a prediction based on what we’re seeing now, I think we’ve all seen this moment in April of 2024, we’ve seen Reddit and Quora rise to the top of everybody’s any Google search that you do, you’re going to see Reddit results because they’re they’re favoring social networks and

Arlen Robinson [09:30]

Alex Back [09:30]
UGC platforms, so much more right now, again, part of like the combat against AI. So I think as social platforms are going to be sort of in cahoots with Google, so to speak, to give people the best, you know, real answers to their questions and real search results of things that people are looking for. I think that we’re going to see commerce sort of go even deeper.

Arlen Robinson [09:37]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [09:44]

Alex Back [09:58]
in these social channels, like in Reddit, like the ads on Reddit are, are blowing up so quickly. And I think it’s only a matter of time before influencer people, by the way, affiliate marketing is rampant in the Reddit, in the Reddit sphere. And I think now, especially in this content marketing circles that I’m in, people are talking a lot about really focusing on, you know, some of these social channels, Facebook groups and Reddit and, and, and things, not just TikTok shop, like,

Arlen Robinson [10:05]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [10:28]
using all these places for affiliate marketing.

Arlen Robinson [10:31]
Yeah, exactly. It’s definitely opened up just a whole other opportunity for these affiliates to really spread the word a lot easier than it was before. Because back in the days of the early days of it, it was…

You had a website, you had email, maybe you had some forums, I think that may have been about it. There was nothing else, no other channels to promote, you know, and that’s, that’s it. But yeah, so very, very, very, very good stuff. Very exciting time. Now I’m always talk. I talk to marketers all the time. Of course I host this podcast and every week we’re talking about a variety of different strategies and

you know, there’s a number of different things that you can do as an e -commerce business owner to propel your business and move forward. And so I’m interested in if you were to reflect back on your journey at apartment .com, excuse me, apartment 2B, which do you think was more crucial for you scaling that business? Was it leveraging the influencer partnerships or focusing on like SEO or content marketing, which would you say was more responsible?

Alex Back [11:37]
So it’s interesting. Great question. I think it’s, it’s interesting because in the furniture industry, it’s incredibly hard to influence anybody to do anything. It’s a very personal thing. Influencer, the concept of like influencers as we know it, meaning social media personalities with, you know, loyal followings or your niche bloggers with

Arlen Robinson [11:51]

Alex Back [12:07]
you know, loyal followings, promoting your product or brand. It doesn’t really translate to furniture sales. And I’ve that’s based on many years of a lot of trial and error. Um, in fact, we used influencers mostly for, um, the pretty pictures that they would provide for us. And they saved us a lot of money in photo shoots that we didn’t have to do because we had beautiful UGC from, from these influencers. So it would be hard to say that they influenced, influenced our business growth. Um,

Arlen Robinson [12:28]

Alex Back [12:36]
tremendously, our focus on SEO and content marketing, and even as that relates to the affiliate space too, and all of the links that we had out there pointing to our brand, whether they were nofollow affiliate links or just making noise about something, or getting PR stories written about us or whatever, incredibly influential.

Arlen Robinson [12:37]

Alex Back [13:04]
We never did enough on our own site with regards to SEO. So, and yet it was so tremendously valuable. Our organic traffic was worth real, real measurable income, dollars, revenue after being online and focusing on SEO at least a little bit, you know, for 10 years plus. It really does pay off. And I think…

Arlen Robinson [13:26]

Arlen Robinson [13:31]

Alex Back [13:32]
It may not be the first thing for a new e -commerce startup to focus on, but it should be a fast follow because focusing on SEO and content marketing is so, so important for long -term growth and results that you don’t have to pay for. It’s a wonderful investment.

Arlen Robinson [13:35]
Mm -hmm.


Arlen Robinson [13:47]
Mm -hmm.

Yeah, yeah, it is. I definitely agree. It’s a long game. And that’s why, like you said, even if you’re a startup is something that you want to definitely have down on your on your marketing calendar. And as a kind of a major strategy that you’re going to continue to do, you know, throughout because, you know, it’s it’s something where you got to slowly start getting content out there. You got to get your site spidered. You’ve got to get link backs and, you know,

All of that stuff just does not happen overnight. And so it’s something you definitely want to jump on soon. And you said one thing that was interesting, and I think most companies are in this boat. You mentioned you were doing SEO, but you weren’t doing quite everything that you could be possibly doing. And that’s the thing, is there’s so much in it that you can do from on -page optimization to link building to…

you know, your content strategy on page, off page, all of that. It’s a ton. And so it’s, I mean, unless you’ve got a team of, you know, of, you know, hundreds of people working 24 seven, that’s all that are always on top of these things, you’ll never be able to do really enough or do all of these things that, you know, the experts say that you should be doing, you know, you have to pick what’s working and then kind of go with that double down on it. So that’s what I always suggest. So, um,

Interesting that you mentioned that, but I think many companies are in that same boat.

Alex Back [15:19]
Yeah, it’s really hard to know how much to focus resource wise and financially on SEO on this thing that does not produce a measurable ROI in the short term. It’s really just like you’re throwing at the end of the day, you’re throwing money at something that you don’t know is going to produce results for you. So it’s scary.

Arlen Robinson [15:26]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [15:32]

Arlen Robinson [15:41]
It is, yeah.

Alex Back [15:42]
That being said, you know, maybe again, maybe it’s not the first thing like you just said, like maybe, maybe there are things that are working better and you need to double or triple down on those to survive rather than, you know, linking up your site up the wazoo and, you know, writing all these SEO articles or blog posts. Um, but if you have, you know, an established business or you you’ve, you’re seeing some consistency and you have a part of your marketing budget that you could allocate to this.

Arlen Robinson [15:59]

Alex Back [16:10]
Just this long -term investment, like anything in life. It’s smart to put a little bit away, right? It’s almost like you’re, you’re putting something under your mattress and saving it for a rainy day. That’s the, that’s what SEO is like. And I think it’s really important. I would, and if I had a second chance, I would have, I would have done it more because, um, looking down, you know, having run a business for, for a fairly long period of time, seeing how much impact it had.

Arlen Robinson [16:15]

Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [16:37]
You know, in years seven, eight, nine, 10, it was unbelievable. So highly recommend focusing on it as much as you can within reason.

Arlen Robinson [16:40]
Mm -hmm. Yeah, that’s…

Gotcha, gotcha. That’s good to know. Thank you for sharing that. Now, of course, we’re here. It’s April 2024. And what’s on everybody’s, in any digital space, what’s on everybody’s mind, what everybody’s talking about is AI, of course. We can’t get around AI. All of these advancements that have happened within the past year, 12 months, and that are continuing to happen at a pretty rapid pace. And so I think AI, as we’ve kind of seen, it affects all

in almost every aspect of marketing. And speaking of affiliate marketing, looking towards the future of affiliate marketing, I always have kind of an interesting discussion when I bring this up with people, especially digital marketers, and I wanted to see where you stand on this. Where do you see the potential of AI and these machine learning tools?

contributing to affiliate marketing. Do you see that being more of a contributor or do you see spending more importance on just general human creativity when you’re coming up with these campaign strategies? Which do you see is gonna have more of, I guess you could say an impact.

Alex Back [18:01]
I have a strong take on this and I think, um, I think it’s, it’s really interesting because the last year and a half, everybody’s been focusing on how much content can I create? How can I use AI to my advantage? And it certainly has its advantages. Um, but in the affiliate space, which is primarily driven by content on the internet, we’re talking blog articles and.

Arlen Robinson [18:03]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [18:30]
videos and things like that, that, that point people in the direction and point consumers in the direction of brands and products for them to buy. There has been so much saturation. Um, I, I’m in this, I somehow weaseled my way into this amazing, uh, networking group of content marketers. And we had a forum yesterday because everybody has been talking about how badly all of their affiliate sites and content sites have been hit by Google’s recent, um, algorithm updates.

Google is, is, is, is, is, is, um, is D prioritizing, uh, all content sites, pure content sites a lot. And ones that ones that were primarily, um, driven or written by AI, um, are, are being even more deeply penalized. So all of us in this group have stories of how it worked for us. You know, we got, you know, this worked and I have some.

Arlen Robinson [19:12]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [19:21]

Arlen Robinson [19:25]

Alex Back [19:28]
you know, pieces of content that are ranking very well on couch .com that will that will produce a lot of affiliate revenue in the future. But it’s a very risky endeavor. And all of the experts in my network and the people that I’m talking to are saying like, you have to get crafty, you have to get creative. So to answer your question, the human creativity element is so much more it’s almost absolutely vital right now to find different ways.

than maybe what has worked in the past. I’m not saying to avoid AI, but some of these people in this group that I was in yesterday are talking about like, it should be less than 25, 20, 25 % of what you’re doing and content that you’re putting out there should be AI driven because Google and other search engines are going to have to react to this. And they’re gonna continue to police it as much as possible because it is diluting their product and their product is.

Arlen Robinson [20:09]
I see.

Arlen Robinson [20:23]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [20:25]
solid gold, Google. So they’re gonna find a way to work around this. Maybe it’s better that we all as marketers find more creative human ways to market our products, to serve our affiliates and serve our advertisers.

Arlen Robinson [20:27]

Arlen Robinson [20:36]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [20:42]
Yeah, yeah, I tend to agree. I think I mean, nothing, as we all know, most people know, I mean, nothing, I don’t think will ever surpass human creativity and what a human mind can actually come up with because at the end of the day, these AI solutions, these large language models, they’re.

They’re programmed by human and the data is being fed and it’s truly just, it’s a computer at the end of the day. And yes, they’re definitely helpful. I don’t knock that, it can definitely, as a marketer, can definitely help do your job. Some of the more tedious tasks in marketing and digital marketing can now be streamlined when you’re trying to…

you know, analyze data when you’re trying to do a comparison of, um, you know, results or reports, if you’re trying to do keyword research, all of that stuff definitely is very, yes, this is, it’s huge for that. So I definitely say it’s, it’s definitely a place for it, but the creative aspect of it, it’s, um, and coming up with original content, like you say, Google is going to be policing this, you know, from now until, you know, forever. Yeah.

Alex Back [21:40]

Alex Back [21:55]
forever, it’s not going away. That’s the thing. It’s not like a, I think it’s hard for us as humans to see the scope or something, the scope of something as large as this. It’s like when I talk to friends and loved ones about climate change, it’s not going away. It’s going in this direction. We can only slow it down. We can’t stop or reverse it. And that’s the same thing with AI. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. So it’s important to be educated about it, to be…

Arlen Robinson [22:03]

Arlen Robinson [22:13]
Yeah. Yeah.

Arlen Robinson [22:22]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [22:25]
to be using it, but also not to be overly reliant upon it. Because if AI is threatening a business or an entity like Google, yes, obviously they’re going to find a way to preserve their product and their livelihood.

Arlen Robinson [22:40]
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Now, another area I want to kind of double back on, we talked about it a little bit earlier as far as what’s affecting the whole affiliate marketing space. We mentioned the third party cookies, how that’s going to have effect on the space. We already said that, you know, we don’t see affiliate marketing going anywhere, but we still have to, I guess, address the whole elephant in the room with the fact that there’s been a whole shift on privacy, focused advertising, you know, the elimination not only of cookies, the tracking, all of these things, you know, are going to be definitely harder and harder to do. What would you say? I mean, do you do you see that affiliate marketing is going to have to shift in a way when we have all of these? I guess you could say constraints on tracking and you know what you can and what you can’t do.

as an affiliate, where do you kind of see things headed?

Alex Back [23:41]
Yeah, look, everything’s changing. So I have two things to say. One, these tracking issues are affecting more the other advertising platforms, the Googles and the Metas, Facebook, Instagram of the world, which is putting a greater emphasis on affiliate marketing in general. I think brands are and will continue to turn to affiliate marketing.

as a more directly trackable, there are just less, there’s sort of less noise involved in these transactions in an affiliate marketing process. But I think the most impactful thing I can say is the obvious change when you just logically, when it’s harder to track something, you’re gonna see the affiliate business move towards a lower funnel.

strategy to grab customers when they’re closer to making their conversion. Now let’s take furniture, for example, furniture is a purchase that takes generally on average two to three weeks online to convert. That’s super long versus, you know, a thing like this. You may see an ad click on it. You buy it right away. So top of funnel, top of funnel, you know, affiliate marketers.

Arlen Robinson [24:42]
I see, yeah.

Arlen Robinson [24:51]
Yeah, yeah.

Alex Back [25:04]
or publishers that are writing and talking about furniture content, that the higher up in the funnel, you go with that content to meet your users, the higher the likelihood is that you’re going to lose them along the way between all of the, you know, loss and visibility and tracking and privacy versus someone who’s ready to purchase and clicks on a link directly to, you know, to the e -commerce platform and makes…

makes that sale. So I think I’m already seeing like, and I’m doing it in my own business too, rather than focusing on top of funnel, like in furniture would be like decorating ideas that would be like people who are considering getting a new couch at some point soon versus like brand reviews where someone’s like, Oh, I want to buy a restoration hardware cloud couch. Let me get all the information I can about that. Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop. Oh, here’s a great article about it. This is actually really helpful. I’m going to make the purchase click buy.

Arlen Robinson [25:35]

Arlen Robinson [25:46]
Mm. Mm.

Arlen Robinson [26:03]
Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, I like that. Yeah. I mean, I think you just said it quite well. It’s just you’re gonna have to adapt with these things and then, you know, shift your strategy a little bit. But obviously, it’s just just stuff. It’s not gonna go anywhere because.

You know, every day there’s there’s more and more influencers, there’s more and more affiliates. And so, you know, it’s just more and more of an opportunity for brands to expose their products, their services to a newer audience. And what some of the best ways to do that is going to be through influencers. And so I don’t think we can get around that. I think that’s that’s always and especially with all of these different social platforms coming up and taking shape.

Um, well, Alex, as we get ready, yeah, definitely. And as Alex, we get ready to wrap things up, um, with all of these changes happening in affiliate marketing, are there any other specific tactics, um, that you would say are underutilized that has been successful for you or successful for any other brands that you’ve dealt with or familiar with that, um, you know, that you think are going to start, it’s going to start gaining traction over the next few years.

Alex Back [26:46]
Big time.

Alex Back [27:13]
Yes. I think, um, you know, everybody’s talking about first party. Do we’ve been talking about first party data for years at this point, but right now email marketing is having this like amazing resurgence and all the content marketers who like literally never collected an email in their lives. They don’t even care about it. They’re just sending their job is to attract traffic and then send it as quickly as possible, um, to try to convert sales and, or sell advertising.

Arlen Robinson [27:22]

Arlen Robinson [27:26]

Arlen Robinson [27:30]
Right. Yeah.

Alex Back [27:42]
But everybody’s talking about that first party data. So one thing in my former company that we leveraged and did so well was co -branded partnerships and collaborations. So two important things to say about that. Like when we first started a Part 2B, we were lucky enough to have a contact and a relationship at Costco. And we started, we went to Costco and said, hey, we want to do special events in your stores.

Arlen Robinson [27:52]

Arlen Robinson [28:03]

Alex Back [28:11]
Can we do a road show? Like they have the guys at Costco selling hummus or like they have a headset and selling you some knives. Those are special events that Costco does. And they’re sort of known for that. So we did furniture road shows and we use sort of the Costco brand, even though it’s not the coolest in the world to elevate our own brand. You’re like, Oh, what’s this company? Let me find out about them. We were like three guys in a roll up warehouse at that point, but we had this one thing with Costco that was able to, that led us, you know, increase our brand awareness and use.

Arlen Robinson [28:21]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [28:34]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [28:41]
their platform and brand as a springboard to get the next one. And we work with Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon and you name it. So that’s one thing. But the other thing is more, more specifically, um, right now we’re doing a lot of co -branded giveaways and I don’t love giveaways. I don’t enter giveaways. Uh, they’re sweepstakes. Like it’s pretty cheesy and a lot of people are, are, you know, pretty averse to the idea. That being said, whether you like giveaways or not, it’s an example of.

Arlen Robinson [28:55]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [28:59]

Arlen Robinson [29:05]
Mm -hmm.

Alex Back [29:10]
a collaboration where everybody is attracting and then sharing first party data, right? So five brands get together, we all put a little bit into the pot, we give a couch, they give a manicure, someone else gives a two night stay in a hotel and there we have a Mother’s Day giveaway of epic proportions. We get 20 ,000 people to sign up for it and those 20 ,000 people who are entering the contest, they are agreeing to get emails from all the different partners. So we share them and we trade them back and forth. And we’re able to build a massive email list in a very short amount of time. Now, not all these people stick, so you have to be very careful about how you market to them after you get their email. Most of these people, they’re not interested in your product. You have to get them interested. And if they’re not, they’re never gonna be, you just have to let them go as soon as possible.

Arlen Robinson [29:41]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [29:49]
Mm -hmm.

Arlen Robinson [30:02]
Yep, yep.

Arlen Robinson [30:06]
Mm -hmm. Yeah.

Alex Back [30:08]
Obviously I have a lot more to say about that, but I think that is one very, very highly underutilized marketing tactic that is very cost effective as well for first party data collection.

Arlen Robinson [30:14]
Yeah. OK, awesome, awesome. Yeah, I can see that. And like you said, you know, personally, you’re not a fan of giveaways. Some people aren’t. I’m not necessarily a fan of the giveaways, but I see the effectiveness of it, especially those co branded types of giveaways, because in your example, you said, you know, you would team up maybe with a.

a company giving away a spa day, another company giving away maybe some type of jewelry. These are different brands selling to different audiences. And I think the key thing with coming together and doing some type of co -branded giveaway is that you’re attracting a large amount of people. Yeah, there may be some people that are interested in, may not be interested in what you’re providing, but you know, still you’re still getting that information, you’re getting them in the funnel. And, you know, you have that that information, you have their demographic information, and you could come up with some type of campaign that that may work for them. And these are people that probably would never you would never have come across before doing something like this. I definitely see the power in doing and doing those types of things for sure.

Alex Back [31:23]
Yeah, and there’s fun ones too. Like right now I’m good friends with someone who has a marijuana products like company, like very high end, nice stuff. If people partake in that, all those people guess where they like to sit after they sit on the couch. So we’re trying to put something fun together where, you know, we’re exposing the other one to an audience that they never would have thought about before, but our audience.

Arlen Robinson [31:37]

Right. Okay.

Alex Back [31:53]
is like -minded to there. So it does make a lot of sense.

Arlen Robinson [31:57]
Yeah, definitely for sure. Well, this has been an awesome conversation, Alex. We appreciate you coming on. I’ve learned a ton. I know our listeners and viewers will as well. So thank you for sharing everything that you have. I always like to shift gears here just to close things out so our audience can get to know you a little bit better if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact that you think we’d be interested to know.

Alex Back [32:19]
Well, the fun fact, I think for you today is that I used to be a, uh, an actor and a singer. I used to be, uh, sing on cruise ships. And that’s when I started my first startup. I wrote the business plan, um, in the Caribbean on a Royal Caribbean, uh, cruise ship where I was singing Frankie Valley and the four seasons music by night. So that’s, uh, that’s, I have a lot, I got a lot, I got a lot of songs.

Arlen Robinson [32:38]

Arlen Robinson [32:42]
Okay, awesome, awesome.

Alex Back [32:47]
in the closet if you ever need a pick me up and you want to have me back on.

Arlen Robinson [32:47]
Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Well, thank you for sharing that. That’s that’s some good stuff, man. So, I guess, you know, if you’re looking to, you know, get into something else, you could always fall back on the the singing, man, the cruise ship singing. I mean, I’m sure that was an interesting job and I’m sure you saw a lot and probably experienced a lot as well.

Alex Back [33:12]
Yeah, what goes on in the floor underneath where all the guests are in the cruise ship, it’s an amazing place. So if you’re on a cruise ship, anybody listening and you have the cojones to sneak down to that level, you will not be disappointed. Just go down there, take a look around. Worst they could do is kick you out.

Arlen Robinson [33:18]
Yep. Yep.


Arlen Robinson [33:26]
Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I always wonder that. I mean, it’s a it’s a whole operation that goes on behind the scenes with these major cruise ships. I mean, it’s a.

Alex Back [33:41]

Arlen Robinson [33:42]
Yeah, it is amazing. It’s incredible how things, you know, for the most part, go go pretty smoothly. I mean, I guess, you know, the little incidents that happen, we probably don’t even hear about or we probably wouldn’t want to hear about. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, Alex, thank you for sharing that. I appreciate that. Lastly, before we do let you go, if you don’t mind sharing the best way for our listeners and viewers to reach out to you and contact you, they want to pick your brain anymore about affiliate marketing, performance marketing or

Alex Back [33:54]
You don’t want to know.

Arlen Robinson [34:12]
kind of anything under that sun.

Alex Back [34:14]
Absolutely. I’m very communicative person. I’m easy to find on LinkedIn a search for Alex back couch .com. Well, you’ll find me in my email address is Alex at couch .com. Again, any questions, thoughts, opportunities like I love networking and chatting, you can tell I’m a talker. So I love to talk anytime anyone wants to reach out. I’m always open.

Arlen Robinson [34:36]
All right, awesome. Thank you for sharing that. We’ll be sure to have the link to the website and the show notes and definitely encourage people to reach out to you, check your site out and pick your brain so you can see how they, that you can help them as well. All right, Alex, well, this has been awesome. We really appreciate having you on the e -commerce marketing podcast.

Alex Back [34:55]
Thanks so much, Arlen, I really appreciate it.

Arlen Robinson [34:58]
Thank you.

Podcast Guest Info

Alex Back
CEO of