When I first read about internet marketing 6 years ago, it took me nearly a year before I saw my first profit. One of the biggest reasons was that I was kind of all over the place: I’d launch a campaign on Adwords, another one on Facebook, & then I’d work on my SEO sites. I was taking action, but it was spread out.
I wasn’t able to make a quantum leap until I forced myself to focus. By that point I had $3,000 in savings and told myself 100% of that money was going into Facebook ads. No chasing bright shiny objects, and no switching focus because of some blogger’s case study.
By focusing only on Facebook, I learned something new each day.
The best way to optimize bids at the time
The tricks and best time zones to get ads approved easier
Which niches Facebook allowed, and what made money
The most profitable countries
All the little “a-ha” moments started adding up. Within 3 months of this decision, I went from -$xxx days to +$xxxx days and was able to quit my job. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I was fucking around on so many places.
Mastering a Niche vs a Traffic Source
A common question I see is if it’s better to focus on a niche or to focus on a traffic source. There’s no right answer because either way makes money. I’ve always preferred focusing on the traffic sources because a lot of the knowledge is invisible to competitors. People can easily take your landing pages, offers, & creatives. However, they can’t see your bidding strategies, optimization process, your understanding of the algorithm to deliver bids, & your relationships with the ad reps.
But what about diversifying? Keep in mind just because you’ve mastered Airpush doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever. What works there probably works on Leadbolt or Sendroid, which are similar places. You can also test offers initially on Airpush, and then scale to other mobile traffic sources.
Once you felt you’ve “mastered” a traffic source, feel free to spend around 20% of your time trying out other places.
Picking a Traffic Source
I need to make something very clear: there’s no magic traffic source. There’s a thousand+ places to buy traffic from and people are making money on every single one of them. If you’re new, then I recommend sticking with the places that everyone else is advertising on. Once you get the basics down and start having a solid cashflow, you can start exploring the more obscure places.
Imagine it’s the 1800’s and you’ve arrived in California for the gold rush. You have no clue where to start digging. What I’d do is start digging where everyone else is because you know there’s gold there. Even though it’s competitive, I’m focused on improving my skills. I can also observe and learn from watching my competitors.You could go off and start digging randomly in other places, but that’s completely based on luck. A lot of motivation is due to making steady, incremental improvements.
Some Things I Like in a Traffic Source:
Volume – The most important. I’m not really looking to master a traffic source if the potential spend limit’s only $500 a day. What I’ve learned it sometimes a $500/day campaign and a $10,000 could take the same amount of work, the difference is how much traffic’s available.
They like affiliate marketers – This is probably why I haven’t worked with Adwords in years. The amount of traffic is amazing, but I don’t want to deal with the headaches of getting my accounts banned.
Good interface – Can I bulk upload ads? Is the interface clean and easy to navigate around?
Tracking tokens – Definitely useful if they offer dynamic tokens and conversion pixels to help me optimize.
Responsive ad reps – Are they knowledgable about the platform and can help me?
Payment Options – Not really a deal breaker, but the more options the better. Also I hate places that only take Paypal and pass on that 4% fee to me.
The Moats – The barriers to entry for new competitors. An example is some places require a referral or a large $ deposit to start advertising.
Accurate Traffic – This means if I want to buy traffic from Canada, I want 100% of the traffic to be Canadian. If my tracker shows 15% of the traffic’s coming from India, that means I’m already at a -15% ROI loss.
There’s literally 1,000+ traffic sources to choose from. I’ve highlighted these because they’ve been proven to be profitable over the years and are easy to start.
A large majority of guys start out with either Facebook or PlentyofFish. It’s probably because the optimization process is easier to understand: you’re focused mainly on creatives and demographics. Something like mobile might be slightly harder because you add in extra variables such as carriers, operating system, handsets, & requires a top of the line tracking system.
Also if you noticed all the places I recommend are self-serve (which means you upload the creatives and pretty much do everything yourself). Managed buys (where the ad representative handles everything ) can be very, very profitable. If you’re starting out though, you should have a solid base with self-serve platforms. They get you comfortable with the optimization process instead of relying on someone else. Also managed buys tend to require a large deposit.
But….There’s Too Much Competition
If there’s money in something, there will be competition. It’s the nature of the beast, get use to it. Don’t wish things were different, work on becoming better.
How can you compete as a newbie? You can always attack where they aren’t. If everyone’s advertising in USA, why not advertise in a smaller country? $200 a day profit in a small country is better than losing money going after a bigger country (if you’re on a low budget). If everyone’s going broad, then tighten your demographic and make your creatives more targeted.
Let the lions fight over the the buffalos. You can either be trampled by the lions hunting in the same area, or be somewhere else eating rabbits.
At the end of the day, keep in mind the fundamentals are always going to be the same everywhere. Lower your costs, find the best offers, find the best ads, find the best landing pages, & scale. My point is by focusing on mainly one traffic source, you shorten the learning curve and start building knowledge most of your competitors won’t have.
Keep a lookout on the next article where I’ll talk about the bidding process, analyzing the competition, building relationships, and much more.
The Life Force 8 are the eight basic human instincts hardwired into every person:
Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
Enjoyment of food and beverages
Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
Comfortable living conditions
To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
Care and protection of loved ones
In other words, these are the eight things that people really want…more than anything else. We’re literally biologically programmed to follow these eight desires.
So, how do you apply them for better selling?
Well, it starts with internalizing them. Read them over, hand copy them a few times, and really let them sink into your memory.
Because if you can hit on one of these desires at the right time, they can change everything in a sales call.
But you shouldn’t just internalize them – you should also mold them into your sale message and pitch.
Let’s illustrate with an example…
One of my former colleagues was a door-to-door marketer for a windows and roofing company when he was younger, and he told me all about how his “pitch” aligned with many desires in the “Life Force 8”.
Once the homeowner opened their door and he greeted them, he started his pitch. Let’s see if you can point out the different “Life Force 8” desires in action.
“I’m John with XYZ company. We just finished up a roofing project down the street, and as I was walking by, I noticed you have some wear and tear on the roof. While we’re in the neighborhood, we’re giving you and a lot of the neighbors free estimates on roofing. We’ll be around all day today and tomorrow if that works better for you?”
Could you point them out? There are a few packed in there. Let’s look again.
“I’m John with XYZ company. We just finished up a roofing project down the street [Keeping up with the Joneses, social approval], and as I was walking by, I noticed you have some wear and tear on the roof [Comfortable living conditions]. While we’re in the neighborhood, we’re giving you and a lot of the neighbors free estimates on roofing [Keeping up with the Joneses]. We’ll be around all day today and tomorrow if that works better for you?”
As you can see, the “Life Force 8” really is threaded into the pitch – the main desires being social approval and the “Jones effect”.
To make his pitch even stronger, when homeowners seemed uncertain about signing up for an estimate, he’d point to some of the houses where he’d already talked with homeowners.
“We’ll be meeting with John and Cindy across the street at 6pm, we can swing by right after that if that works for you.”
This just made the Jones effect even stronger. If everybody else in the neighborhood was getting a free estimate, even their friends, than they’d be left out if they didn’t get one…at least, that’s how they might feel.
You can test different desires to see which have the biggest impact for your product. For example, maybe the weather forecasters were predicting an active hurricane season, or harsh winter. My friend could have changed his pitch to include this forecast, and thereby appeal more to the care and protection of loved ones.
You never know what will resonate more with one prospect over another, so having multiple Life Force 8 appeals in your arsenal can be quite powerful.
So now, let’s ask an important question…
How can you incorporate “Life Force 8” desires into your sales pitch?
Keep in mind, you don’t need to hit on all of them. That’d be pretty difficult to do. But even just hitting on one or two of the desires can make a big difference. Go through the list and see what you can come up with.
The Jones effect worked well for the window and roofing company, and maybe it can work well for you too. Perhaps you sell B2B and you can talk about how all the businesses in the industry are updating to a particular software (like yours).
Or maybe you sell life insurance B2C. In that case, think about the best ways to hit on the “care and protection of loved ones” desire or “survival, enjoyment of life.”
No matter what you sell, there’s always some sort of “Life Force 8” desire that you can hit on. So, figure out which desire (or desires) it is, and start crafting it in into your pitch.
What do you think are the most prevalent “Life Force 8” desires in your industry? How can you apply them for better selling? Let us know in the comments below…
Who doesn’t want to make more profits from their campaigns?
Every campaign you launch has the potential to make life-changing money.
But sometimes you’ll test and optimize to get a campaign profitable… and it only makes a few dollars per day.
What do you do?
Ditch the campaign, because $2.50 profit per day won’t turn you into Dan Bilzerian, or
Try to squeeze more from it?
It’s a tough call, but here are my thoughts on when to ditch a campaign to help you out.
There were some affiliates a few years back that made a killing with hundreds of laser-targeted campaigns on PoF.
They each brought in a couple of bucks a day.
I admire the dedication and ingenuity there, but creating and monitoring a million little campaigns would drive me crazy. It’s so fidgety, there’s no scale, and it sounds like it’d be a nightmare operation.
Having 2-3 campaigns pulling in $1k each per day versus 1,000 campaigns pulling in $2-3 each day?
Smart, successful affiliates would much rather build scalable campaigns.
Creating winning campaigns is tough, but it’s MUCH easier to improve the ROI of an existing campaign, than to start fresh.
It’s like that old sales quote: “It’s 5x easier to upsell an existing customer than sell a new customer”.
So don’t get disappointed that your campaign isn’t a home run yet.
You worked your ass off to get this campaign profitable, or near to break even. It’s time to make some decent profits on it.
1. Test Other GEOs
I can’t get over how many affiliates forget that there are other countries outside the United States (especially with adult dating).
Most people will only run traffic in countries that seem familiar to them – it’s a basic cognitive bias that you have to overcome.
The bids in most countries are a lot cheaper than US, since far fewer people are targeting them. Conversions are often much higher as well, since these neglected markets don’t have banner blindness by trigger happy affiliates.
If I’m exploring new GEOs, I try to keep everything exactly the same. The same lander, same ads and same targeting (except for the country and language). You want to isolate the country, so it’s the only variable that changes.
I also go broad when testing GEOs.
I’m not going to test Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom as new GEOs.
They are too similar. They are English speaking, high incomes, high bid prices, high GDP, and higher payout offers.
I’ll test India, Brazil, Iran, Kenya and Estonia.
These countries are radically different from each other – language, custom, culture, income etc. One of these places might be a gold mine for any number of reasons.
Most affiliates are too lazy to translate and learn about new countries. This is an opportunity for you to take your already testing landers/ads and run them in a new GEO.
Here’s a bonus tip: you can create angles based on the region/culture to get more profits.
2. Commit to Continual Optimization
Affiliate marketing isn’t neatly split between profitable and unprofitable campaigns. Unprofitable campaigns can (sometimes) be turned around, and a profitable campaign can always be made better.
In either case, test new headlines, new images and new landers. The best way to boost your profit is to keep testing.
The BIG WIN is to test new offers.
If you’ve only tested 3 offers, you’re just lazy bro.
Go into your affiliate network dashboard and apply for 20 offers to test.
Don’t assume your current offer is the best because it has a slick landing page or requires fewer steps. You can’t tell what offers convert the best until you test them.
Testing new offers requires almost no extra effort on your part and can make a HUGE increase to your ROI.
It’s literally 30 seconds – clicking a button inside your affiliate network dashboard, and setting it up in Voluum.
Getting the campaign profitable is the hard part – now it’s time to have fun.
Get creative, test new angles, crazy headlines and weird images.
Think of it is this way – you have a campaign that’s making you $5 a day with a 100% ROI. If you keep testing it, you can boost it to $10 a day. Big deal, right?
Well, yeah, it’s actually a very big deal. You’re planning on scaling this campaign, remember?
Down the road, doubling your ROI won’t make the difference between having a $5 and $10 a day campaign.
It’ll make the difference between a $500 and $1,000 a day campaign.
3. Ask for Payment Bumps
If you’re driving quality traffic, your AM should be willing to grant a payment bump. They want to encourage you to push as much volume as you can (as long as the lead quality is good).
Don’t just take the payment bump and use it as a bonus.
Think about how you can use your higher payout to get squeeze out more traffic. Maybe site IDs that weren’t profitable before are now. Or maybe you can now bid higher and see how your volume increases.
Maybe this means you can get the campaign profitable on a bigger traffic source with more volume.
Always be thinking like a businessman – how can you use an increased revenue to get even more revenue?
So the question is: How do you get a payment bump?
Let’s use some psychology. You have to ask and phrase it to benefit them.
“Hey John can I get a pay bump on my my iPhone offer?”
“Hey John, I’m losing money right now on the iPhone offer and might have to stop running it. I did some calculations and if I were to get $.50 more I could make money and scale this campaign.
I already talked to a few other networks and they’re willing to give me that payout. But I really enjoy working with you and your network.
If you can up the payout then I’ll do my best to increase the volume.”
Which answer is better?
Always be thinking from THEIR point of view.
They won’t give you a pay bump just ‘cause you want more money. But if you’re able to make it a win/win – why wouldn’t they hook you up?
4. Split Test Networks
This is yet another test that 99% of affiliates never try. They see the same offer on a couple of networks and just run with whichever one has the highest payout. Why not, it’s the same offer right?
Not at all. Even the SAME OFFER can convert very differently on different affiliate networks.
Why? Advertisers may scrub more harshly on some networks than others. Networks use different technology to track conversions or payment processing.
I can’t tell you the number of times I got a higher ROI with the network with the lower payout.
This is a really easy split-test that can give you 20% ROI.
5. Learn the Traffic Source Inside and Outs
Regardless of their chosen traffic source, successful affiliates have one thing in common.
They’ve learned to dominate it to get more volume, cheaper bids and higher conversions.
The single best way to master a good traffic source is to use ONLY that traffic source.
You’ll come up with your own little hacks that’ll help you create campaigns quickly and boost your ROI.
You’ll discover what offers and verticals work best on it
You discover the best placements/ad sizes
You can do some insider deals with the traffic source if you push enough volume
This is one of the biggest reasons behind a super affiliate’s success – they become a master at one traffic type.
6. Network with Major Players
Forming relationships is a great way to skyrocket your affiliate career. This doesn’t just mean building relationships with other affiliates. You want to build relationships with everyone that can help you turn your small campaigns into beasts.
The most successful affiliates thrive by building the following relationships.
Too many affiliates have almost no contact with their affiliate manager or other people from their top networks. They ping their AM once or twice a month to request a payment bump and that’s about it.
You’ll do a lot better if you recognize the importance of having strong relationships with these people. They can go to bat for you if you have a special request (like joining a private offer or asking for permission to run on an unapproved traffic source).
They can also give you the lowdown on the offers that are converting the best and the angles that work.
Plus if your AM likes you, they might give you automatic pay bumps just ‘cause you’re pals.
You may have spent $10k testing your chosen traffic source, but you still won’t know it nearly as well as the guys that manage it.
Make friends with them. They can give you a lot of tips to get more traffic and boost your ROI. They want to see you thrive, especially if you’re spending a lot of money with them.
The more traffic you buy from them, the more they won’t want to lose you.
Most affiliates only think of their AMs because you don’t often talk to your traffic source manager. Big mistake.
Shoot them an email, introduce yourself, and get on their radar.
I’d say that 99% of affiliates never meet the advertisers they push traffic to. You can open a lot of new doors by reaching out to them. Getting to know the advertisers lets you:
Get access to other offers that aren’t listed on your network
Push for better payment bumps
Go direct with them for more profits
Get insider tips on new angles and demographic targeting
Get approved for different traffic sources other affiliates aren’t given access to
Advertisers love their best affiliates. Give them a shout out and see how you can make them (and you) more money.
Where do you meet advertisers (the offer owners)?
Conferences – big advertisers will be at Affiliate Worlds and Affiliate Summits
Email them – you might be able to find their details on offer page
Get your affiliate manager to point you to them (although they probably won’t want you to go direct, so they may not do this)
You should also network with other marketers who us your traffic source. Affiliate marketing may seem like a profession for lone wolves, but it’s much more powerful to have small masterminds.
7. Day Parting
I get a lot of questions about day parting.
It seems like a popular way to optimize campaigns. Possibly too popular, which is why I didn’t put it at the top of my list.
Don’t give me wrong – day parting has its place. It can turn some of your “meh” campaigns into real winners. But overall I don’t recommend it very often.
The problem is that loads of affiliates think day parting is a silver bullet to turning break even campaigns into ones with 100% ROI. They start messing with day parting features without enough data and often end up tanking otherwise good marketing campaigns.
So when do you start day parting?
Answer: After you’ve tested everything else to death, OR, if you’re on an ULTRA tight budget and you can’t afford to run traffic for full days.
For example, if you’re trying to run a RON campaign on mobile, some traffic sources don’t let you spread your budget out through the day.
You might decide to run at night when people are home from work and in a more relaxed (buying) frame of mind. This can give you a better chance of getting profitable, especially if you bid high and your budget gets used up quickly.
You need to be certain you can’t get a positive ROI during certain hours before pausing your ads.
Suppose you’re running a dating campaign with the following data:
You got 22 leads between 5 AM and 6 PM.
You got 45 leads between 6 PM and 5 AM.
Most affiliates with this campaign would pause their ads between 5 AM and 6 PM. This could actually be a really bad move.
But why? Aren’t you getting fewer leads during those hours?
Yeah, but that could just be because there’s less volume during those hours. If bids are lower and conversion rates are almost as good, you may even be getting a higher ROI and more profit during the hours you get the fewest leads.
You don’t want to day part based on when you get the most leads. You need to factor for the amount of money you spent during those hours. Never pause your ads during hours they’re profitable.
8. Build a List
You’ve probably already heard this a million times: “The money is in your list.”
While so many people emphasize the importance of list building, new CPA marketers don’t do much with it. It’s a lot of work and many CPA networks don’t allow email traffic from most of their offers.
Yet, for many niches, building a list can be a powerful way to monetize your traffic.
Why not kill two birds with one stone? You’re already pushing traffic to your landers. Sometimes you can capture emails from your leads before referring them to the advertiser.
Now you can upsell those leads to higher paying offers or push lots of other offers to them.
You can also look into directing people to an opt-in page if they aren’t interested in your offer. If you’re good at coding, or you’ve got a good tech contractor, this is something to consider.
Start Squeezing Your Campaigns
Successful affiliate marketers got that way because they’re never satisfied. They see a positive campaign ROI and, rather than sitting back on their asses, they think, “How can I get even more out of this?”
Be that guy. Be the guy who isn’t satisfied with mediocre profits or a few dollars a day trickling into your accounts. Use the tips above to take even your most successful campaigns to the next level.
Which one of these tips will you commit to trying this week?
Leave me a comment below with the action steps you plan on taking:
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After World War II, the U.S. forces occupying Japan invited American managers to move to Japan and help rebuild the Japanese industry. A statistician named William Edwards Deming was one of those managers, and he worked under General Douglas MacArthur, consulting with the Japanese government on its census.
In 1950 he started working with Japanese manufacturers who wanted to reduce their costs and improve their product quality. Deming believed that improving quality would create lowered costs (because there would be fewer mistakes to correct) and greater productivity, which would then improve a company’s value.
Deming also believed that while you can improve processes, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” process. You should aim to continually improve the process of creating a product. This philosophy (along with other factors) helped create the huge economic growth of postwar Japan.
This philosophy of constant improvement became known as “kaizen,” which is the Japanese word for “improvement.” Toyota applied it to their factories, which contributed greatly to the company’s success. Amazingly, Toyota employees create more than 1,000,000 process improvement ideas every year – and 90% of those ideas are implemented.
Kaizen and Self-Improvement
Kaizen has moved from being solely a management philosophy into the area of personal development, and it has a lot to teach us about habits. It’s had a huge effect in my life and in the lives of many of our students at Asian Efficiency.
Instead of aiming for huge, drastic changes (lose 50 pounds! Save half my paycheck!), what if you aimed to improve by 1% every day? That might not sound like much at first, but since each daily 1% increase builds on the increases you’ve already gained, the growth intensifies fast.
What could this mean in your life? Here are a few examples, just from people I’ve talked with:
Eat one more vegetable per day (one tomato or one small salad)
Get up five minutes earlier every day until you’re waking up at the time you want to
Meditate for 30 seconds, adding five seconds every day
Write in your journal for three minutes, adding 30 seconds every day
Start reading 10 pages of a book a day, adding one page a day
The point here isn’t to get exactly 1%. It’s to find small changes you can make starting today. Small, continuous actions are the foundation of habits that stick.
To put that in a numerical perspective, compare the numbers below of what daily 1% improvements versus stagnation result into.
If you had a dollar and got 1% interest each day, at the end of the year you would have almost $38. On the other hand, if you lost 1% interest each day you’d end up with just 3 cents at the end of the year.
Do you see how powerful small, incremental changes are? To go one step further, watch this video below. It’s one of my favorite videos on behavioral change and it has nothing to do about habits.
I hope that video demonstrates one powerful idea: small changes lead to big results. All you need is to make that small domino fall, that 1% change, to get to your big hairy goal.
Take a lesson from the Kraft marketing handbook, add you own twist and see what happens. Kraft ran a Twitter promotion in which the company identified pairs of people tweeting about Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and then contacted them, awarding prizes to the first to respond. This simple campaign garnered 1.5 MILLION tweets, yet it only cost the company awards of t-shirts and boxes of Mac and Cheese.
Now the company is trying something new: Turning the best Macaroni and Cheese tweets into commercials that run the same evening as the tweets were sent.
And while you might not be ready for prime-time, these ideas can easily be adapted to your own business. In the case of the first campaign, simply offer free downloads to the winners, or physically mail them CD’s or DVD’s.
As to turning tweets into same day ads, why not put the best tweets about your products on the home page of your website and make the tweeters “famous” for a day? You could even incorporate your favorite tweets right into your sales materials, videos and books. Lots of people want to see their name in print, and it will cost you next to nothing to create your own viral tweeting campaigns.
For more information on the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Twitter campaigns, click here: