Interview with Sarah Putman,


Our October profile is Sarah Putman, seasoned merchandiser and owner of Delicious Monsters, an online shop for designer Kids & Baby Accessories. With their nature and animal inspired designs, Delicious Monsters give shopping for the younger generation a whole new edge. With a 15,000+ following on Instagram, Sarah has certainly done something right. We find out how she manages to make her business stand out from the crowd, and what her plans are for the future. Describe yourself in 3 words Dedicated, consistent, reliable. What made you decide to start your own business? After being in the competitive and demanding clothing industry for 16 years and needing to be available to my babies, I knew it was time to start my little side-line passion project.  My ‘mommy hobby’ grew quickly and the demand was high whilst trying to juggle the two jobs. I finally took the plunge and decided to follow my true passion fulltime, creating beautiful spaces and complementing Mom’s nursery décor whilst finding a balance with being a present Mom. How did you come upon the name ‘Delicious Monsters’? I love Delicious Monster leaves and all things tropical so it was only fitting that when my own little Delicious Monsters, Ford & Steele were born, that I brought the name to life. What do you do to make your brand stand out in such a competitive space? Keep things fresh and service, service, service!  Go the extra mile wholeheartedly – your customers feel the love and care you pour into their products and shopping experience. I think that makes all the difference, well it has for me anyway. How do you attract new customers? A giveaway never hurt anyone 😉. But mostly just keeping it real and being relatable to your followers and customers.  Word of mouth and social media posts, if your customers love their products/shopping experience, it goes a long way.  Share the love, like your friends service or business posts – do what you can, every small little impression, boost or act of encouragement makes a difference, especially to our local Mompreneurs who work so tirelessly to make their brands stand out. Every great website should have…. Life! I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t love beautiful pictures and spaces.  Bring your site to life with colour and fun and of course a seamless and enjoyable online shopping experience, start to finish. How do you work with Affiliate Marketing/Advertising? I am still very new to Affiliate Marketing, and recently partnered with AdMarula to test the waters. I like the fact that their model is based on them carrying the risk for acquiring customers through their network. It’s still early days, but so far I have found their service professional and they have done most of the heavy lifting for me. What have been your highest highs and lowest lows on the journey of building your online business? I think the hardest part is the competition, people see your business and products and draw inspiration from you and replicate some of your ideas.  Sure it’s a compliment, but it’s difficult to see others taking what you have worked so hard on and putting their names against something similar.  I have realised that this isn’t going to stop though it’s all part of the game and the only way to respond is to pour your energy into keeping one step ahead and to keep innovating. The highest high is definitely being able to employ three incredible people who desperately needed the work. They are now able to support and look after their families, school their children and even build a house for their parents. Their gratitude and happiness makes every difficult day a positive one. The world is a very different place now from what it was 6 months ago. Has it changed the way you do or think about business? Thankfully for me, it has only changed for the better in the last 6 months.  Online is everything and I am grateful that I was part of the online space before the lockdown period. Many of our poor soon-to-be-moms felt scared and disconnected from the outside world and their special pregnancy journeys and I was grateful to still be able to deliver beautiful products to their door despite Covid, and add some joy during these uncertain times. Where will Delicious Monsters be in 5 years from now? I would like to continue to grow steadily, possibly even go international, but really I just want to continue to be happy and fulfilled within my business and as they say when you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. Find out more at or follow them on Instagram:

Interview with Lizna Grobler,

This month we meet Lizna Grobler, a 30+ Beauty, Food, Lifestyle & Travel blogger since 2014 who calls Wilderness in the Garden Route, home. Being a proud dog mama and a big animal lover, supporting and using cruelty free brands is important to her. When not blogging or playing with her dogs she loves creating blogs and websites for others and trying her hand at photography. Describe yourself in 3 words Funny, Sensitive, Intelligent What made you decide to start a blog? At the time I was writing reviews for an online beauty community and had previously tried to start a food blog, but I didn’t really know how and what and where. So I eventually started by publishing these reviews on a free blogger blog and it just grew and evolved from there. How is different from other lifestyle blogs? I try to include a bit of my sense of humour into my content, because somehow things always tend to go awry! I also think my outlook on life is different than a lot of other people I know. I also grow and “morph” my blog as time passes and my interests change so my blog grows as I do. How would you describe your content strategy? Honestly, I don’t really have one. I create content that inspires me at the time. I love what I do because… It’s a creative outlet and gives me the opportunity to say out loud what I say to myself and I enjoy sharing a bit of my life and loves with the world. What makes a good blog? Well written, ever-green content. You need to create content that will always be relevant, if you are a blogger that likes to review new items and products that come into the market I also suggest that you alternate with ever-green content. Using striking images (even if they are stock) just really pulls a blog together for me. Don’t forget to be authentic and add your own voice and personality into each piece of content you create. How has the Covid-19 crisis affected you as an online publisher, and what are you doing to adapt to the ‘new normal’? I am actually one of the people that is refusing to accept a “new” normal and I only see it as a temporary lifestyle change, by doing this I am keeping hope alive that one day (hopefully not too far into the future) we will once again be able to enjoy travel, visiting friends and go shopping without masks. With the crisis at hand I am not able to create local travel and restaurant content as I did before so I’ve been updating some of my older popular content. 3 things I’m doing to keep myself sane during lockdown I chat a lot to one of my friends, we made a deal to message each other every day during lockdown, and we’re still going strong! I’ve also been baking a lot more and obviously binge watching some older shows like 24 and Law & Order:SVU. I cannot stand… Bleggers! Those are people who start blogs purely to receive “freebies” and out right begs for them. This is not a good reason to start a blog. Getting noticed and eventually getting PR takes a lot of work, effort and patience and if it’s your only goal with your blog, please, rather don’t start one. My favourite place to eat in Wilderness is… This is actually a harder question than what it sounds, since the start of lockdown we’ve lost a lot of good eateries due to the restrictions. This is really sad for our area which thrives off of tourism, I really hope with the new level 2 restrictions the area can move forward. I would love to give a shoutout though to two restaurants that’s been fighting hard for the area during lockdown. Salina’s Beach Restaurant and The Girls. My favourite place in the Garden Route is… The entire area is gorgeous so I can’t really just choose one spot! Each nook and cranny has something making it special, which is why I’m in the process of launching a second blog dedicated to the area. We have amazing scenery, friendly people, loads of walking trials, gorgeous beaches, the list just goes on.

November profile: Nicole Coutinho, Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger

This month we chat to freelance writer and Beauty, Lifestyle & Fashion blogger, Nicole Coutinho, also known as ‘The Little Guru’. Whether it’s trying a new beauty product she reviewed, going on a spontaneous getaway for the weekend, or trying a great new restaurant, she hopes her readers will feel inspired and educated after visiting her blog. Read more about her adventures, suggestions and what it’s like to run a successful blog in the full article. Describe yourself in 3 words Driven, Compassionate and Creative When I was a kid I wanted to be… A Veterinarian! I have always adored animals and would rescue all of them if I could! What made you decide to start a blog? So many reasons but 2 stand out the most- 1) I was introduced to the blogging world by a co-worker and fell in love with a blogger called Natalie. Her posts were hilarious and her photographs of the amazing places she travelled to were just breath-taking- I was inspired because I absolutely love photography too.  2)My husband is a major outdoor junkie and made me one in turn so I thought, what would be a great way to share my experiences with my family and almost keep an “online journal’ of all our adventures?! The Little Guru was born and slowly I discovered my love for all things beauty and lifestyle too! What were the biggest challenges to get it up and running? Time… When I started my blog, I was working two jobs at the time and really just needed a creative outlet, but to find the time to sit and create content was difficult. I would write my posts on notepads and head to an internet café on my lunch break to dedicate time to my blog. It was hard but totally worth it! How do you keep users interested in your content? Blogging is about writing about what interests you but more importantly, if It will be relatable to your readers. I have come to realize that now more than ever, is how people can relate to you. The Lifestyle/Fashion blog space is quite competitive and crowded. How do you make sure your blog stands out?  It’s definitely very competitive at the moment and I think the key would be to be honest with your readers. For instance, If I’m reviewing a product, I want to be absolutely honest if that product works for me or not. There is no point raving about a product that really isn’t working for you, just so that the brand can “like” you. Credibility is important and I think brands do appreciate it. Technology is developing and changing faster than ever before. How do you keep up with the pace? It’s scary to say the least but it’s the future. We are almost forced to stay up to date with the techno world because it’s just necessary, but I guess I learn from fellow bloggers, read what’s on trend and stay consistent. Any advice for aspiring bloggers/writers? Be patient and consistency is key. Keep in mind that successful blogging requires a lot of time. Blogging also requires a lot more than just content creation like SEO, social media, networking etc. so if you’re not fully committed it will be your downfall. Your favourite a) restaurant, b) beauty product and c) travel destination, at the moment Man, I just love food so this one is difficult, but one that stands out would be Lima. Clinique Fresh Pressed Vitamin C Serum Venice- The food, the gelato, the floating city is just bellissimo! How will you be celebrating Christmas this year? Our family goes big! We celebrate from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day staying up all night opening presents, playing games, singing and quite frankly, just being Merry!

Interview with Tony Seifart, MD at Incredibility

This month we chat to online marketing veteran and entrepreneur Tony Seifart. An electrical engineering graduate from UCT, Tony has spent nearly two decades in the digital marketing space in various roles including strategist, lecturer, and speaker. In 2015 his company won the Best E-Commerce Company in Europe, Middle-East and Africa from the Business Excellence Awards, and has been nominated again for 2020. Over the last three years he has built up and sold out two online businesses as well as reading his Honours in Theology. When he is not speaking at events or lecturing, he is running his own impressive list of online companies. We pick his brain on the do’s and don’ts of building a successful business online. Describe yourself in 3 words. Stubborn, Loyal, and have I said Stubborn already? When I was a kid I wanted to be… A Fireman! My best friend Craig wanted to be a cop, and since we both couldn’t be cops, I decided to be a fireman! (you can’t defy 5-year old logic!) Tell us about Platinum Club – where did it all start? A few years back I came across a podcast where the guy was giving people advice on how to structure their finances to get out of debt. I bought the course he was promoting, and the information is brilliant. But I realised that nothing like that existed for South Africans – the advice he was giving was mostly relevant only to Americans. Financial Advisors are incentivised to sell policies, not to really help you. Bank Managers are incentivised to sell you debt. But there’s no structured system to help people plan their financial futures without a proper plan. The Platinum Club was born out of the idea of providing the resources necessary for someone to follow a structured path to create their own financial plan. Of course, we need to be careful because we’re not registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, so we can’t provide advice – we only provide the tools to create the plan. Once people have a strong plan they can chat to their own Financial Advisor or CFP to put the plan into action. We’ve now also branched out into building our own Legal App for members and partnered with law firms so that our subscribers can now access legal advice 24/7 via an App (so no wasted airtime sitting on a phone). How do you decide which verticals to go into? When I started out with online lead generation, the only companies using lead generation was Insurance companies, so I didn’t have any other choice. Loans and Insurance seem to go hand-in-hand, so I’ve always focussed on those two areas. Why do some internet businesses fail while others succeed? Adaptability is probably the biggest challenge for online businesses. The bigger a site becomes, the harder it gets to change it when circumstances change (and it’s usually at government’s whim). When regulations change, you’ve got to change. When other people see what you do, they try and copy you. They dump large amounts of money into CPC campaigns, which then drives the price up. That’s been the biggest challenge for us. Unfortunately the smaller guys can’t ride out the storm. You’ve got to pick a strategy and system where big guys can’t bully you out of the market. Which channels have proven most successful in attracting visitors to your site/s? In the past we used email campaigns (the CPA put a stop to that), and we moved to Social Media and traditional CPC. Native gets us a lot of traffic, but very low conversion rates. We’re excited to be partnering with AdMarula on some of our new projects though. What is your experience from working with affiliate marketing? Gees, I love Affiliate Marketing! It’s the easiest way to make money online – you don’t have the come up with products and services, you just sell someone else’s product! The most valuable lessons learnt in your professional career, so far? Cash is King. A deal isn’t really done until the money is in the bank. I’ve had so many deals signed and sealed but collapse at the point of payment. What advice do you have for aspiring online entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid to dump an idea that isn’t working. Some people spend months (years?) on building the “perfect” website, that costs them a fortunate, but never makes a single cent. If a business idea isn’t working, dump it and move on. Best advice anyone has ever given you? Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

April profile: Jeff Siepman, Blogger & Author of

Meet Jeff Siepman, ‘a Benoni-based, coffee-fueled creative, foodie, occasional cyclist and blogger/content creator @ManvsMind, as he describes himself. As the author of Jeff spends the majority of his time testing the latest tech gadgets, writing restaurant reviews, test driving cars and watching Netflix Marvel Universe – a life most bloggers (and males) only dream of. Or is it? Branch Out finds out more.   When I was a kid I wanted to be a….. As a kid I loved designing and building houses with Lego so I guess I’d say I really wanted to be an architect.   What made you decide to start a blog? I started my ‘blog’ years ago with the intention of having a place I could share all the interesting things I found, but this never really worked out and it transformed into what it is today when I got the opportunity to do a  car review for Peugeot in 2017.   Tell us more about the name: ‘Man vs Mind’. I wish it had a hidden meaning or was more philosophical, but is actually pretty simple. Man is me and vs Mind is the decision of what content to post and what not to post.   Describe the ideal Man vs Mind target audience. Everyone! (Cliché much?). I try keep my content simple so that it appeals to more people.   What marketing channels do you use to attract visitors to your blog? Currently I rely on a few channels to attract visitors to my blog. These are word of mouth, an email newsletter, my social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and to a lesser extent Instagram and Pinterest) as well as a few 3rd party websites like Bloglovin’ and Zomato.   What you do would be considered the ‘dream job’ by many people. Is it as much fun as it seems? Yes and no. While I get to experience new things before some people and I get the odd freebie, it isn’t as glamourous as it seems. Blogging is time consuming and if you’re not on the right PR lists you have to pay your own way.   What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers? Just get started and keep in mind that successful blogging requires a lot of time. Blogging also requires a lot more than just content creation like SEO, social media, networking etc so if you’re not fully committed it will be your downfall.   When I’m not working I’m… So many things, but watching more YouTube tutorials/reviews than I’d like to admit to and spending time with my family are the main two.   If I could dine with a celebrity I would choose… I’d have to go with Peter McKinnon. Besides the fact that he seems like a pretty rad person, he has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to photography.

Most important SEO trends in 2019

New year, new challenges and for any affiliate/online marketing professional staying on top of the latest SEO trends and changes should be high on the priority list. We know you are busy, so we’ve saved you the effort of scanning through all the sources and brought you a short-list of the most current SEO trends you need to be aware of (and aim to implement) in 2019. Don’t build your whole business on Google – Google and other search engines CAN provide high quality and targeted traffic, BUT there are so many other places to obtain traffic from including social media, email marketing, Yahoo Answers or network with other bloggers and affiliate marketers. Understand your user’s intent – Does your audience prefer text? Images? Video? Audio. Knowing this will all be more important than ever in 2019. Super content  – If you’re still creating content just to keep your blog alive, that won’t be good enough any longer. Google is intensifying its focus on evaluating content quality and rewarding sites that provide exceptional depth – this trend will continue in 2019. Mobile-first indexing – In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking, BUT that does not mean “mobile-only.” There’s still a single index with both mobile and desktop versions so best to get both right and no better time than now. Page speed – Google’s nuts about delivering the best UX and delivering it fast. Desktop page loading time has been a ranking factor for a while. And it recently got a twin sibling – mobile page speed’s become a ranking factor for mobile. Perhaps time to speak to your hosting provider about that loading time? Structured data – With the rise of AI this is becoming more and more important. If Google wants to move from a mobile-first to an AI-first world, structured data is key. Time to start looking at and understanding structured data, schema, active and passive search behaviors, and how they can connect to behaviors that signal intent. Increate your E-A-T– Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness – better known as E-A-T in Google’s search quality rating guidelines. Hire experts to author and leverage data from known entities, and ensure credentials and credit is given to both, OR get more of your employees to blog, write, and speak. That is the level of expertise that Google is looking for to power their results. The techie stuff – don’t forget the technical side of SEO. Three words: Speed (your page should definitely load under 3 sec), JavaScript (here to stay, so familiarise yourself), Progressive Web Apps/PAW’s (start thinking about how your website can live on as a PAW in the future). Good luck! Affiliate Management Team

10 KPI’s all affiliate marketers should be measuring

In a time when there is no shortage of data to measure how a website could improve in effectiveness, publishers should have the mind set of marketers, which means continuously finding ways of improving their ROI. This is only possible if you are measuring the right metrics. While measuring your impressions, clicks, social media shares and conversion rates is important, you should also be measuring how these metrics relate to one another in order to get a holistic picture and understand the value of each touch point. Here are 10 KPI’s every affiliate marketer should be measuring: Total visits – Measuring your total number of visits will give you a “big picture” idea of how well your campaign is driving traffic. If you notice your numbers drop from one month to the next, you’ll know to investigate one of your marketing channels to figure out why. New sessions – A metric found in Google, it’s a good one to understand because it tells you whether your site is sticky enough to encourage repeat customers as well as how effective your outreach efforts are. Channel-specific traffic – Found in Google’s ‘Acquisition’ section this metric will segment your traffic based on their point of origin i.e. direct, referrals, organic or social. Bounce rate – Generally, you want the bounce rate to be as low as possible because the more time someone spends on your site, the more likely they are to convert and perform meaningful action. Total conversions – Total conversions is one of the most important metrics for measuring the profitability of your overall marketing efforts. Low conversion numbers could be the result of bad design, poor offerings, or otherwise disinterested visitors. Lead to close ratio – This metric is easy to define: simply divide your total number of sales by your total number of leads, and you’ll get a ratio that defines your sales success independent of your marketing efforts. Customer retention rate – Most conventional businesses can measure this by calculating what % of customers return to their business to buy again. A low retention metric can be a symptom of a product or service that isn’t sticky, or an indication of lacking outreach programs. Customer value – Customer value is a difficult metric to calculate. To find your average customer value, you have to take into account all sales the average customer will initiate over the course of your relationship. Knowing your customer retention rate will help here. Cost per lead (CPL) – To calculate your cost per lead, take a look at the average monthly cost of your chosen campaigns and compare it to the total number of leads you generated with that specific channel over the same period. Projected ROI – The single most important factor for any individual marketing campaign because it demonstrates its profitability. The formula is simple: compare your cost-per-lead against your lead-to-close ratio, and compare that figure against your average customer value. For example, if you pay R200 per lead and close 50% of your leads, you’ll pay R400 for each successful new customer. If your average customer value is more than R400 in this example, you’ve generated a profit and your marketing campaign can be considered a success. AdMarula’s tracking platform already provides several of these metrics where publishers on the performance and transaction reports are able to measure their conversion ratios whether it is from click to lead or lead to sale and so on. These combined with your own web analytics can give you the insight necessary to maximise your content and your marketing efforts and ultimately your and the client’s ROI. Happy selling! Mawande Barnes – Affiliate Manager