The GOOD News
There’s an easier way – working with an affiliate network.
Think of affiliate networks as marketplaces full of offers.
You log into their website, and you can get access to hundreds / thousands of affiliate marketing offers.
Here’s an example screenshot of what it looks like once you sign up to an affiliate network:
You have 500+ offers to choose from!
The GREAT News
I remember when I first started in 2008. The affiliate network scene was a mess.
Some networks would pay late. Some of them would hire an affiliate manager just because they were attractive, rather than their knowledge.
Today, the market is more competitive than ever, and affiliate networks should work in your interest.
Advidi is an excellent example. There are a ton of networks out there, but I rather you guys focus on ONE to keep things simple. (Plus I only feel comfortable recommending a few that I trust.)
They have their offer game down, but they don’t stop there. They re-invest heavily in your success. (Because they know it comes back to them.)
When you join a next-level network like Advidi, you can treat them as a business partner, not just a service.
Here Are The Benefits of Working with an Affiliate Network
You get access to hundreds & thousands of offers across many different verticals when you work with an affiliate network.
The second you want to ditch an offer, you simply stop running traffic to it. There’s no pressure to run any specific offer. (You don’t need to sign any contracts.)
An affiliate network will assign you an affiliate manager who can help you with your campaigns. (I’ll explain in more detail in a minute.)
Here are some of the reasons you guys should all be using an affiliate network:
1. They can help your cash flow.
Advertisers typically pay only once a month. Affiliate networks can pay you once a week (or sometimes more frequently.) if you send enough revenue. You can think of them as a bank in a way.
Advidi offer one huge advantage over other networks – they pre-pay some of their top affiliates.
2. They can be a source of information on what to promote.
Here’s an email I got recently from Advidi on what they recommend:
Affiliate networks offer a “bird’s-eye view” of the industry.
You wanna know what’s popular/trending/going out of fashion? Your AM has all that knowledge. All you have to do is ask.
3. They take on the risks of working with advertisers.
Some advertisers can be shady and decide not to pay out or they go out of business.
Networks make sure you get paid.
There are instances where the advertiser doesn’t pay the network, but the network still pays you what you’re owed. That’s the risk CPA networks take on.
The main downside of working with an affiliate network is they take a small commission. (The % ranges from 10-20%.)
If a network is charging a super low commission, you bet they are making up for it somewhere else.
Imagine if you’re competing against another affiliate.
You’re running similar ads and landing pages, but he has an extra 10% payout because he’s working direct with the advertiser.
That’s a nice advantage for him right?
Not so fast.
That 10% payout difference has to make up for all the advantages a CPA network provides. That’s a lot of time and money, especially for newbies.
Running direct with an advertiser has a ton of risks involved.
And that investment doesn’t come back quickly. Most advertisers take 30+ days to pay out, while most networks pay weekly.
Plus that secure, steady cash flow is a huge advantage.
Running Direct vs Affiliate Networks
I remember a few years ago one of my friends went direct with an advertiser. I told him it’s a bad idea because I’d never heard of them before. They didn’t have a solid reputation.
My friend decided to run with them because they had a higher payout. Well…the advertiser ended up not paying anyone.
My friend was out $50k.
The advertiser burned the affiliate network I was running through, but the network ended up paying me what I was owed.
They ate the cost because I did nothing wrong, and they wanted to maintain their relationship with me.
I’m not saying this happens every time (it’s a case-by-case basis), but that shows one benefit of working with an affiliate network.
That 10% pay bump doesn’t matter if you don’t get paid at the end.
That’s why you should only work with affiliate networks at this stage of your journey.
Once you’re generating 4-figures + a day in revenue, THEN you should consider working direct with an advertiser. In addition to the added costs, there’s a risk that you shouldn’t expose yourself to as a newbie.
What’s an Affiliate Manager?
You get assigned an affiliate manager to help you with your campaigns when you sign up with an affiliate network.
Here’s what affiliate managers can do:
- They can increase your payout
- Help you out with technical issues
- Give you industry insights you can’t see
- Approve you to run “hidden” offers in their network
- Give you tailored advice for your situation/experience
Let’s start with payouts.
Whatever payout you see in the dashboard is called the street payout.
You can negotiate with them to get paid more.
Offer X says the payout is $4.00. I can talk with my affiliate manager and get a “pay bump” to $5.50.
Your payout depends on your relationship with them, how much volume you can send, the quality of your traffic, and your negotiation skills.
So they won’t be as likely to give you pay bumps if you’re a newbie who’s brand new to the network. A great affiliate manager will go out of their way to help you earn those pay bumps. You should feel like they’re on your side.
Next, they can tell you what’s “hot” on their network.
Affiliate marketing can be trendy.
The managers can be your eyes and ears to what’s happening on their network. Some offers will blow up, and your AM will be the first to know when this happens.
Note the difference between plugging offers and consultation. Your AM should be able to give you a detailed explanation of why the offer is suitable for you, not just that it’s “hot”.
You may hear that an offer is “hot”, but it may not be “hot” for you. It may not work with the type of traffic that you’re promoting.
The legal stuff.
They’ll be checking your campaigns to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.
Deep down they want you to make more money and have your best interest in mind. (The more money you generate, the more money they make as a lot of AMs are paid bonuses.)
Developing a great relationship with your affiliate manager is critical to becoming successful in this space.
You should expect:
- Transparency and honesty.
- Fast replies and quick fixes when problems arise.
- Proactive advice that directly increases your profits.
- Tips on which tools and resources are best for you.
Your success should be their top priority. Don’t accept less.
If you don’t get along with your affiliate manager or they’re not responsive, it’s possible to switch to another affiliate manager.
Just email whoever is in charge of affiliate managers at the network.
You get what you put in. I’ve had affiliate managers who were amazing, and other people hated them.
What was the difference? I put more effort into developing a relationship with my affiliate managers.
- This means I tried to get face to face time with them at conferences.
- I tried to get to know their lives outside of affiliate marketing.
- I’d send them a card on holidays or their birthdays.
- I treated them with respect.
What Sets the Affiliate Networks Apart?
Not all networks are equal!
There are hundreds of affiliate networks out there. How do you know which one to work with?
It’s a running joke in the industry that every affiliate network has “exclusive offers and the highest payouts”. These days, they gotta do a lot more than that.
1. Vertical Specialization / Exclusive Offers.
Some networks will specialize in different verticals. You can go to one network that only has gaming offers, and another network only has dating offers.
They might be able to get more offers exclusive to them if they specialize. The best networks expand to multiple related verticals, which allows you to expand your portfolio without switching networks.
There’s a difference between offering and specializing in multiple verticals. You need expertise, not just availability. I like Advidi’s approach.
They set up “mini shops” with separate teams dedicated to each vertical – Mainstream, Dating, Health & Beauty, and Casino.
That means your AM is 100% focused, but can still help you expand when the time is right.
2. Highest Payouts.
One network might pay you $5, while another one pays you $5.50.
This goes beyond face value. A lower payout at a network that always improves your bottom line is clearly better than a high payout at a network that takes their cut behind the scenes.
3. Affiliate Managers.
Some networks have better managers on staff than others. Affiliate managers who have more experience and better training means they can provide you with better support.
Would you want to work with a network that has a reputation of not giving high payouts? What if they’re known for paying affiliates late?
Do your due diligence. Find recommendations from trusted sources, check forums, FB groups, etc. before joining.
5. Global Presence.
Advertisers and affiliates are based around the world. If your network only specializes in one geographical area, you’ll miss out on opportunities to hit big numbers in other countries.
(Not to mention the delay in replies due to time zones, which can seriously cost you in a 24-hour industry.)
Most affiliates are working with a few different networks at any time. Each one will have its own strengths.
In the beginning, you should only focus on one affiliate network for cash flow reasons.
(If you’ve got $100 in one network, $50 in another etc then it’ll take forever to get paid out.)
Sticking to one network also helps you build a relationship with your affiliate manager. If the network offers multiple verticals, that’s even better.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE APPLYING
It’s not always easy to tell if a network is shady or not from their website.
Do some research first. You should be able to answer these questions easily:
- Do you know who the affiliate managers are? Do they have public Facebook/LinkedIn profiles? Can you prove that they’re real people?
- What do others say about them? Are they active on forums? Do they have testimonials?
- Where is the network physically located? Do they have an office? Are they registered with local tax agencies?
- How well-established is the company? How long have they been around? Do they have separate departments (good) or a couple guys who “do it all” (bad)?
- Do the affiliate managers seem happy? What’s the company culture like? Are they coming to work 100% energized and ready to help you, or are they clocking out right at 5pm?
These questions can give you a strong sense of what working with them will be like.
Applying for a Network and Getting Approved
Here’s a bit of a shock: It’s not that easy for a newbie to get into an affiliate network.
I know what you’re thinking…
”Why wouldn’t they want me? I could be the next super affiliate and make them tons of money”
It’s because the networks take a risk every time they approve an affiliate.
You could send them fraud traffic, promote their offers using illegal tactics, or you could damage relationships with one of their advertisers.
Another reason is that affiliate managers have limited time and resources. What happens if they spend months working with you and you don’t send them any traffic? They wasted their time.
Common network application questions will include:
The easiest way to improve your chances of being accepted is to follow up after you apply.
Get in touch with them the next day to see how your application’s going.
The networks wanna see that you’re a real person. (They get a lot of shady applications.)
They want to see that you have a plan, and that you’re taking affiliate marketing seriously.
What happens if you get rejected?
Apply for another one. Each network has different standards / criteria. Just because you got rejected from one doesn’t mean you’ll get rejected from another.
If you really want to work with the network that rejected you, then apply again in a few months after you gain more experience.
Warning: It’s significantly harder for people from developing countries to get into networks (Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, and Southeast Asia in particular). From what an owner told me, there’s more fraud affiliates coming from those countries. Because of this, they have their guard up.
See if you can get a reference from an affiliate friend of yours who can vouch for you. Tell your friend to contact their affiliate manager to help you get approved.
One final word is to follow the rules
You can find affiliate offers and strategic advice by signing up through an affiliate network.
Affiliate networks will assign you an affiliate manager who can help you with your campaigns. Their role is to improve your bottom line and help you use the network.
It takes some work to get accepted into an affiliate network. You should show them a plan, and follow up to increase your chances of being accepted.
Let’s get you signed up for an affiliate network.
This is usually the biggest challenge to getting started, but your boy Ngo and Advidi are teaming up to help you out. Advidi has set up dedicated affiliate managers for new affiliates who have read this guide. They’ll get you up and running.