Affiliate Marketing: 7 Strategies to Take Your Campaigns to the Next Level
Often times we’re so caught up with being in the middle of running campaigns that we don’t sit back and analyze with different strategies.
These are some of the higher level concepts I’ve developed over the years and I hope they serve you well. I want you to start approaching campaigns like Sun Tzu and not Conan the Barbarian.
1) Winning Campaigns are Built, not Discovered
Does the following scenario sound familiar?
Your do your research on a new campaign and spend a few days setting it up. You’re enthusiastic because you’re thinking about all the reasons why it’s going to work. You finally launch the campaign and it bombs.
“Man this niche blows, I’ll just try another one and it’ll be better.”
This was how my first 15 campaign launches went; it was a never ending cycle of hope, launch, despair, restart the cycle. If I started losing money, I couldn’t handle the pressure and would switch to setting up another.
What changed was telling myself my next campaign, I have to spend $1,000 on this before I can move on. After losing $300, there was that all too familiar feeling of wanting to give up and pivot. Since I made a pre-comittment, I was “stuck” with this campaign I had to learn how to improve it. A few angle, ad, and landing page tests later I built my first successful campaign.
My mentality started shifting from a “throw shit against the wall” affiliate into a split testing specialist. Most guys start off launching campaign after campaign and hoping one of them immediately makes money. Even if that happens, can you replicate what you did?
It was extremely easy to make money being an affiliate marketer a few years ago – I know plenty of guys who were able to hit 4 figure days just by copy and pasting a campaign and running it on Facebook. Eventually the gravy train stopped and they couldn’t adapt in the upcoming years.
They got lucky by throwing shit against the wall and something stuck. Sure they made money, but they never went through the process of building a campaign from scratch. If you get lucky than that’s great, but don’t confuse your luck with skill and become overconfident.
Work on developing your skill set and don’t depend on luck.
2) Don’t Be Scared of Competitive Niches
When I first started off, my affiliate managers would suggest offers that were doing great on their network. My initial instinct was always, “No way that’s too competitive. The other guys have more experience and money than me, there’s no way I can profit.”
Instead I would just fuck around in the affiliate interface. I’d look around for “untapped” markets and brainstorm some unique angles. I’d launch campaign after campaign and they’d all fail. In hindsight, I realize that most of the campaigns I tried to run were unproven offers in unproven markets.
The benefit of running popular offers is that they’re proven to convert, and if an offer’s hot that means there’s potentially volume in it. If I launch a campaign and I’m losing money, it means I’m doing something wrong because I know other guys are making it work.
Instead of focusing so much on brilliant ideas and angles, I realized that it’s the execution that really matters. Competitive niches means the rewards are greater. When you’re at the club, aim for the HB9’s and not the drunk 5’s. Competition makes you stronger because you have to bring and develop your A game. Don’t be scared.
Don’t aim to be a big fish in a small pond, aim to be a shark in the ocean.
3) Don’t Get Emotional WIth Campaigns
I use to play poker for fun and one thing that helped me improve as a player is to keep my emotions under control. Bad beats are a part of poker. It’s when your cards are a heavy favorite to win a hand vs the opponent, and the other guy with worse cards ends up winning due to luck.
What you have to realize is shit happens. Are you going to be pissed off the rest of the night and play horribly, or are you going to let it go and play strong?
Your best offers go down, payouts drop, advertisers start scrubbing, competitors jack your ads and landing pages, new regulations happen, etc. Roll with the punches and do the best you can. Don’t let things that are out of your control affect you emotionally.
Be a man, do the right thing!
4) Speed, Speed, Speed
A few weeks ago there was a new offer that just launched that piqued my interest. I started testing it the day the offer went live and it proved to be very profitable. A few days later the advertiser was running low on budget until the end of the month and set it on private just for me.
Since I started it early, they had sales data on my leads. If I started the campaign a week later than maybe they would’ve given the offer to someone else. Now I have a pretty good advantage in this market since it’s the best offer and I’m the only one on it.
Has the following situation ever happened to you? You have an amazing campaign idea but for some reason you just keep procrastinating on launching it. Once you actually launch it, it becomes a $$$$$ campaign. Fuuarkkkk! Think about all the potential money you could’ve made if you launched it like you originally planned.
Success favors speed. Fuck what Aesop’s fable says; I want you to be the hare, not the turtle.
5) Don’t Diversify Out of Fear
I had a Skype conversation with someone the other day. Basically he was making $500 a day profit on adult dating. What did he do next? Expanded into mobile marketing and PPV so that he could be diversified. He didn’t want to have all his eggs in one basket and was scared of something happening to his main campaign.
What happened next? The mobile marketing started making $100 a day, the PPV didn’t make any money, and the adult dating ended up dying to $0 profit.
An analogy I like to use is to think about an ancient Roman conqueror. He spends all his time focusing on conquering new lands that he neglects governing and defending Rome. Eventually he loses Rome, and he loses his new territories and he’s left with just his dick in his hand.
Diversifying is good, but it should never be at the expense of mastering a niche. The problem is he was competing in 3 different markets as a newbie. Each marketer was getting 33% of his attention, and he was competing against guys that focus give 100%.
I looked into his campaigns. He could’ve tested out more traffic sources, he had at least 10 solid countries he could’ve scaled to, he didn’t have a system in place for adding creatives to prevent banner blindness, etc. It’s quite possible that with a few more tests he could’ve turned his original campaign into a $1,000 or even a $10,000 a day campaign.
Diversifying should come when you’ve “maxed out” all you can do with your main niche, and you have the time and resources to handle more.
It’s better to make $1,000 a day in one niche, than $500 a day total in 3 different niches.
6) The Money Factor
Once you start getting good at this, you’ll realize that there are more opportunities than you can handle.
I’ve had campaigns before that made good money, but I hated running them. Some campaigns felt like a boat with a hole in it, and I was spending 10+ hours a day just keeping the water out.
I rather have a campaign that make $2,000 a day and only takes 2 hr a day to maintain, than one that makes $3,000 a day, but takes 7 hrs a day to maintain. With that extra time I can work on different projects, or I can just go and live my life.
So many guys are overworking themselves chasing the money and they end up burning themselves out. They become stressed, out of shape, haven’t gotten laid in years, and lose passion for the business. Sometimes you can make more money by pursuing less campaigns, than constantly adding in new ones.
It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential. – Bruce Lee
7) The Expected Value of Campaigns
There 3 broad categories of campaigns:
a) You launch and they are instantly or easily profitable
b) They break even or lose money initially, but with enough testing you can get it profitable
c) This is a campaign that you can’t get profitable because it’s a shitty campaign, or you lack the experience and resources to turn it into a money maker.
If you’re starting out, it might look like
a) 5% of campaigns b) 45% of campaigns c) 50% of campaigns.
Lets go back to the very first point I made about building campaigns. Lucky campaigns are rare so consider them a bonus rather than actively seeking them out.
The better you get at this, the numbers start changing positively.
After a few years it might start looking like
a) 25% of campaigns b) 55% of campaigns c) 20% of campaigns
The number of campaigns that were impossible before start shrinking. Not only that but you can start recognizing campaigns that have potential from the ones that don’t.
The harder you work, the luckier you get. The experienced guy starts off with maxed payouts, has a bigger budget so he doesn’t flinch when he’s losing money testing, he can reverse engineer his top competitors, he can knows which traffic sources convert, etc.
Did I describe you in any situation? Which strategies are you going to implement. Comment below!
Keep Hustling Cuz,
– Charles Ngo