Interview with Jim Kukral

Jim Kukral – A Cleveland born blue collar guy, became engaged in internet marketing in 1995, mainly designing websites, writing code and managing projects for various major corporations.  Since then, Jim Kukral has been featured in magazines, Revenue Today and FeedFront, and has written for several websites, including clickZ and he also wrote for, where he served as a publisher for 2 years.

Jim’s Internet marketing passion has led him to be a professional speaker presenting at many different events across the country, including the Affiliate Summit, on the topics of Web-entrepreneurism, Internet marketing, success and failure to name a few.

In addition to his speaking engagements, Jim developed a free guide called the Online Video Toolkit which has been featured at Marketing Sherpa and other popular entrepreneur blogs. As if this weren’t enough to do, Jim Kukral is also an instructor for the University of San Francisco’s online marketing courses.

Jim Kukral ASW10 Affiliate Summit West

Jim Kukral has several books to his credit, including:

  • Internet Marketing for Business Answers
  • Attention! This Book Will Make You Money
  • How to Catch Happy
  • No Publisher Needed
  • What is a Personal Badge?
  • Business Around A Lifestyle

Jim’s specialties encompass the areas of affiliate marketing, blogging, online marketing, search engine marketing, web video production and video marketing.

Jim Kukral Interview Questions

Can you describe your first attempt as an affiliate marketer? What did you learn from it that led
you to eventual success?

I learned how to do affiliate marketing by accident really. I had a website I built in 1999 that was about helping people find resignation letters. I needed one, and I couldn’t find any online, so I made a website about it. I immediately started to get traffic to the site. Then one day I came across the Amazon Associates program. I signed up and added a bunch of books on my site using their affiliate code. You know, books about careers, resume writing, etc… All things related to my site. Back in those days Amazon didn’t even have anything else but books!

So I added these books on my site and forgot about it. A few months later I get a check in the mail from Amazon (Affiliate link) for about $50 or so. At first I didn’t know what it was for, and then I remembered the affiliate links. I was shocked! They were sending me money for essentially nothing; just promoting their products. From there I’ve generated high six figures in income over the years from affiliate marketing. The lesson here is you have to try in this business. You’ll get nowhere if you don’t give it a shot. Anything could happen, even success!

What do you consider you most successful affiliate achievement?

I bought a car once, in cash, from the money I earned directly from affiliate marketing. That’s certainly a great achievement. But mostly, my greatest achievement is that my wife hasn’t had to work in over 10 years because of the income I am able to generate. That’s all without a staff of people or having to sit in a cubicle. I have a lifestyle I want now, and that’s a major achievement.

Do you have any tips on how to become successful as an affiliate marketer?

It’s all about content. You have to pick a niche that you know and love, then create tons and tons of content for that niche that either solves people’s problems, or entertains them. People come to the Web for those two reasons, and those reasons only, to have problems solved and to be entertained. Create content, lots of it. Webinars, blog posts, podcasts, articles, white papers, eBooks, etc… Do it over and over and over. People will be attracted to you because you have it, then you build trust with them.

There are a lot of affiliate networks available today. Do you have any recommendations for
choosing a good affiliate network partner?

I highly recommend (Affiliate link) for everyone starting out. It’s a wonderful network that has amazing merchants in every category. The other networks are also good. Try Commission Junction and Linkshare as well.

In your experience, is it hard to make an income from internet marketing? What do you see
different today than when you got started?

The biggest difference today is that there’s more competition. In the past it was more wide-open. Now you have to really work hard to get noticed. The good news is that you can still break in if you know how to create great content that people want/need. Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work, and no, there is no easy button, unfortunately.

What would you recommend to someone brand new to internet marketing whose goal is to
eventually make a living from online marketing?

Pick a micro-niche. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you’re going to start a coupon affiliate site (Affiliate link), make it for people who want coupons for Labradors, or coupons for people who are into gardening tomatoes. See my point here? You’re going to have a much easier time targeting into a micro-niche. Not everyone can be Wal-Mart and sell everything.

Next? You need to become a doer and put something out there and keep at it. Keep creating content and wowing your readers/viewers/listeners. Keep providing value. Once you stop, you’re done.

What is your forecast for marketing online?

Growth! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger! More and more people shop online now and those numbers keep growing and growing.

Do you see Google impacting internet marketing, and how can a marketer take advantage of it, if
there is an advantage?

Yes, Google directly impacts affiliate marketers both in organic search results and pay per click advertising. Those are two primary ways you get the word out. You must learn what Google wants, and doesn’t want. That means learning search engine marketing as well. Take the USF search course. :)

Where do you see the biggest opportunity for individuals and small businesses today?

In affiliate marketing, there is lots of opportunity for businesses to run their own affiliate program and to increase sales and leads.

Can you give the readers a couple of examples of successful viral marketing techniques?

Here’s what you need to know about going viral. Emotions create reactions. When you can initiate an emotion in a human being you have a much better chance of them having a reaction. A reaction is a download, a click, an email signup, etc… When you create emotions in any content you make it more easily gets shared, and gets people to react to it. As a marketer, you want reactions!

What’s the most memorable thing an affiliate program manager has done to build/strengthen their relationship with him?

Flying out to my city and taking me to dinner and simply showing interest in me and my business. Personal connections, especially face-to-face, go a long way.

And finally, do you have any parting advice for new marketers?

Look for bloggers that write content that matches your product/service. Then approach them to be an affiliate. But make it easy for them and treat them like a valued partner. That means not just sending them a pre-written template email. Try calling them. Engage them on social media. Treat it like a professional relationship. It’s a lot of work to find good partners.

Jim Kukral Websites


About the Author

This guest post was provided by University Alliance and submitted on behalf of University of San Francisco.  USF offers online marketing courses including SEO training, search engine marketing, social media training, mobile marketing and more.  To learn more about USF’s certificate programs visit

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