Have you been doing your Facebook ads manually? That’s a great way to go to learn the basics, but at some point, you have to upgrade to a more sophisticated method. There are plenty of fly-by-night script kiddies that will try to sell you their scriptz, but if you’re in for the long haul (as you should be), you’re unlikely to find them around to support your business critical tool a year from now. So, what’s a responsible Affiliate to do? Check out the developers that Facebook itself recommends. These developers have all kinds of tools to help you manage the creation, testing, and management of your Facebook campaigns. Yes, they’re likely to be pricey, so be sure to shop around a bit to find something that fits your budget.
You’ve spent hours, days, even weeks doing keyword research, building landers, and writing copy, ….but for the most part it doesn’t really matter to your network (or the advertisers they work with).
You land right back on square one, and head right back to the drawing board.
To be fair though, it isn’t the network’s fault.
If an advertiser wants to pause a campaign, refuses to pay out on leads, or opts to shut down their affiliate partnership altogether, the network is shoved between a rock and a hard place.
But that doesn’t mean YOU have to be:
SellHealth: Exclusive, Proven and Built on Consistency
SellHealth, the #1 sexual health and anti-aging network online, has offers that have been running for over a decade, products that have all kinds of traction on the market, and an array of campaigns that are cemented within the network and not going anywhere.
What does that mean for you?
It means that if you build a landing page, put in the effort, and drive traffic, you WILL be rewarded and won’t ever have to wake up to those dreaded “Campaign X Has Been Stopped Due to Excess Leads” emails that are becoming all too common.
Consider the fact that our products are exclusive, the offers are never brokered down, and that we have some of the highest payouts in the industry, and it becomes easy to see why despite all the shiny new play toys in the biz, SellHealth continues to convert millions in sales a month.
This truly is power marketing and residual profit at its best.
CPA or CPS? Why Not Both?
Don’t get me wrong, none of us as affiliates would be where we are today nor would we have half the success we have had without the opportunities offered by networks such as EWA, Ads4Dough, NeverBlue, and so on.
But sometimes you just have to diversify.
And there certainly is no denying how good it feels to cut out the middle man from time to time, no matter how much money that middle man may have made you in the past.
Looking forward to making you money,
Questions about working with a truly exclusive network, or just want to know how I can personally help your business grow? Feel free to get in touch with me anytime at email@example.com
This is for you bum marketing types…
I’ll be up front about the fact that yes, this is an affiliate link, BUT it’s also a discount coupon link… so use it in good health
Sign up today and get 10% off your first news release! No subscriptions. No annual fees. Good through 2/28/11.
Do you know why this business is so popular? Because the tools to do the job are relatively easy to master. Do you know why there’s such attrition? Because mastering the tools is only step one.
Think about it. As a noob, you spend a long time figuring out how to structure campaigns, how to use your tracking software, how to place ads, etc. That’s the mechanical part, most of which can be automated. The value that you bring (aside from assuming risk for the merchant) is the creativity that you inject in the process while using the tools of the trade. I don’t mean the creativity to produce attention-getting, relevant, and targeted ads… although that’s extremely important, I mean the creativity that will allow you to lower the cost of your business, find new traffic sources, and build a better mousetrap than your competition.
A friend of mine recently shared with me at ASW how he got content for some of his sites: he had other people write it. Not earth-shattering, right? What probably springs to mind is outsourcing to some copywriter or VA or scraper or something. But do you really get GOOD content that way? Maybe if you pay a lot for it. And when you need new copy, you pay again, right? Well, this guy doesn’t. He used his creativity to find an unending, educated, potentially free source of copy: college kids. He advertised a $500 scholarship and to qualify, kids had to submit essays on topics related to his offers. How’s that for thinking outside the box? I’m sure you can see the advantages this technique afforded him: cheap (maybe free if he doesn’t award the scholarship) labor, highly relevant and carefully edited copy, limitless new articles, the topic of which he can modify over time, etc., etc.
What have you done today to inject your creativity into your business? Give it time and really think about it. Creativity is the lifeblood of a successful career in internet marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a risky business. For newbies starting out, you have to understand what this means if you’re ever going to build a lasting business. Let’s do this by analyzing the traditional business model.
In a standard model, a merchant holds all the risk of developing, marketing, and supporting his product. Let’s call these Steps A, B, and C.
Step A: He risks losing all of the money and time he has put into researching the market, R&D on the product, manufacturing costs, storage costs, and all of the overhead costs that go into supporting those activities. This is all before he actually sees a dime in revenue from actually selling product.
Step B: Now, he has to risk capital and time on marketing analysis, advertising, and public relations to get the word out in the right markets. He has to know his product and market well enough to be confident that all the money that he’s expending will come back to him in a greater than 1:1 ratio, because if his marketing and advertising budget only comes back $1 for every $1 spent, he’s losing all of his overhead (and TIME) spent on marketing the product.
Step C: He has to support the operations of manufacturing and marketing the product. This includes customer support, managing returns, dealing with shipping issues, etc. Depending on the product, this may or may not be a significant cost. Obviously, these costs and the associated risks can be minimized with digital products, but they do still exist.
Ok, so we have Steps A, B, and C that a merchant has to go through to be a merchant. Affiliate marketing allows the merchant to now shift some (if not all) of the risks and costs in Step B to YOU. Of course, with risk comes reward. This is why you get $35 for posting a $0.50 Acai Berry link on Google. If you have been paid for that conversion, then you have figured out how to market effectively enough to earn your reward… at least for that conversion. Don’t let this success fool you, though. You will always bear that risk, and it can bite you at any time because of all the external risk factors that you expose yourself to as an affiliate.
External Risk Factors
External risk factors are factors that expose you to risk, but that you don’t have direct influence over. In affiliate marketing, external risk is a way of life. If you have built the typical affiliate campaign, you have:
- selected an offer
- selected a traffic source
- built an ad (or many, many ads)
- possibly created your own LP
- linked to the merchant’s offer LP (probably through an affiliate network’s link)
Great. Now, consider just how much external risk is built into that chain:
- the risk that the offer doesn’t convert [external]
- the risk that your traffic source doesn’t generate traffic (or worse, poorly targeted traffic) [external]
- the risk that your ad doesn’t perform (or worse, drives the wrong traffic to your LP)
- the risk that your LP doesn’t generate the CTR you need
- the risk that your network ‘s link doesn’t work properly (or redirects to an offer you weren’t promoting) [external]
- the risk that your merchant’s LP doesn’t convert (or is slow, or goes down, or…) [external]
- the risk that your leads get scrubbed. [external]
That’s a lot of external risk! I’m not writing this to discourage you from getting into affiliate marketing. Risk is an inherent part of business, and managed properly, can produce fantastic rewards. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that YOU CANNOT PROFIT WITHOUT RISK. But you also will likely not profit without managing your risk and mitigating or minimizing your external risk as much as possible.
Risk Mitigation and Minimization
The point of this post is to make sure that you understand WHAT these risks are so that you can properly manage them. With this in mind, let’s revisit the list of risks above and see what mitigation or minimization strategies we can employ:
1. the offer doesn’t convert
The best thing you can do here is to work with you Affiliate Manager (“AM”) to find out which offers convert. Be cognizant that networks do want you to succeed, but they also have other motivations that may or may not be in your best interest, so take the advice with a grain of salt. Make sure to include in the discussion with your AM what category your planned traffic source will be.
2. your traffic source doesn’t generate traffic (or worse, poorly targeted traffic)
Do your research here. Alexa, Quantcast, and other tools can help with this. If you’re dealing with an ad network, they should have some good targeting tools and should be able to provide you with plenty of data. If you’re dealing with an individual site owner, ask to see his Google Analytics reports and ask to speak with some of his other advertisers.
3. your ad doesn’t perform (or worse, drives the wrong traffic to your LP)
As with all of the risks that you hold direct influence over (“internal risks”), this risk is best mitigated by split testing and letting the numbers speak for themselves.
4. your LP doesn’t generate the CTR you need
5. your network ‘s link doesn’t work properly (or redirects to an offer you weren’t promoting)
My best advice here is to write a tool (or have your programmer write it, if you’re not PHP savvy) that checks this every day and notifies you if something goes wrong. There are services out there that will do this for you as well. MAKE SURE you don’t have it checking your ad’s link, but rather the link that the network gives you. You sure as hell don’t want to be driving up your own CPC on your traffic source.
6. your merchant’s LP doesn’t convert (or is slow, or goes down, or…)
I see the solution to this as a combination between #3 and #5 above. If you have an offer that is very similar on two different networks, with two different merchants, you can split test between them. You can also have a script that checks for you to make sure that the merchant’s site is up and responding properly.
7. your leads get scrubbed
The solution to this is to go on your favorite forum and bitch and moan Or, you could have a discussion with your AM about what’s going on with your account. You might be surprised to find out that in a lot of cases, simply contacting the network and discussing the situation with them can get you paid for your leads. If this is a persistent issue, you’ll obviously have to change merchants or networks.
There is a lot here to consider, but the news isn’t all bad. You just have to know the risks that are out there and how to handle them effectively. If you do so, you may find that your risks turn into big, big rewards!