Affiliate Marketing: A Deeper Look at What Separates the Super Affiliates
What separates people when it comes to skill levels at the world class level?
Let us use Chess as an example
Two guys could each have 5,000 hours of practice, but one would be an average player while another could reach Grandmaster status.
What could possibly account for the difference? And we’re not talking about innate talent or intelligence being a factor.
- being mentored by an amazing coach.
- living in a city with high level chess opponents, and having frequent access to them.
- Deliberate practice. Most people will play chess games non-stop. Deliberate practice would be identifying your main weakness. If the player was really bad at the end game, he could have focused practice sessions only on the end game.
- Besides playing games, he could accompany it by studying specific theory to enhance his knowledge.
This brings me to my industry of affiliate marketing.
I’ve seen some guys who have been affiliates for years, but have never really taken their skills or income to the next level. They work hard, but what is it that Super Affiliates do that they don’t?
I think everyone reaches a certain point in their career where they become overwhelmed by the amount of work to do.
Most will focus on just becoming more efficient. They work harder, but they never take a step back and look at their whole systems from a bigger perspective.
I want to educate you on one overlooked aspect of being an affiliate marketer: effectiveness.
Efficiency and effectiveness is often confused – an easy way to tell the difference is that efficiency doing things faster, while effectiveness is doing the right things.
Imagine that you have a shoe factory and you can make 200 shoes a day. Being efficient means you focus on your process and you can make 400 shoes a day now.
The problem is, what if no one wants to buy those 400 shoes you’re making a day? Now you have a factory full of unsold shoes.
Effectiveness is the higher level decisions that make the most impact on your bottom line
- Doing your market research, are the shoes even in demand? What’s hot next season?
- Focusing on the marketing and improving the perceived value of the shoes
- Negotiating with distributors and getting the shoes into the right department shoes.
Affiliate marketers can get overwhelmed with their tasks and their solution is to work harder. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m all about making the most money with the least amount of effort. That requires thinking.
If you want to take your campaigns to the next level, you need to be focused on being effective first, and then efficient second. Let’s look at some ways to become a more effective internet marketer.
Being Able to Prioritize Tasks
You’re busy? Guess what, we’re all busy.
To keep this simple, focus on completing the tasks that will make the most impact on your business.
We naturally want to knock out the easiest stuff on the list. Don’t fall into that trap. Identify your 3 most important tasks for the day, and do them in the morning.
The first few hours are when you have the most energy in a day. Do work instead of fucking around on forums and social media.
Also think about what tasks you can give to someone else. If I can train someone to do a task 80% as good as I can, then I delegate.
I want to focus on increasing my strengths.
No one’s scared of Mr. Jack of All Trades.
Who are the power players in the industry? The laser focused ones.
The mobile guy. The Facebook guy. The penny auctions guy. The Adult dating guy. The Adwords guy. The internet marketing experts are always focused.
People want to diversify for the sake of diversifying because they are scared. What happens if their main source of traffic or niche disappears, they’re screwed right?
I like to think of it this way.
What if you laser focused on something like mobile. You learn everything about it and you end up making $1.5 million this year.
The other option is diversifying. You decide you want to do mobile, adult dating, insurance on PPV, and adwords. Wow you sure are diversified! But you’re so spread out that you only end up making $300k this year.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is when you truly dedicate yourself to mastering something, the successes will compound. You start figuring out the little secrets that no one else knows, and that only came from countless practice.
Now what if guy #1’s money train stopped for whatever reason. Well he’s $1.2 million ahead of guy #2. I’m sure he’ll be fine.
I’ve ran everything in this industry: Facebook, adult, mobile, ppv, adwords, etc. All campaigns are mostly the same: just split test, negotiate higher payouts, be creative, work hard, etc.
That’s why I stress focusing on the fundamentals.
Coming up with a System for Profitable Campaigns
Most affiliates don’t have a system for finding their next profitable campaigns.
They rely on either asking their affiliate managers “what’s hot?” or by just throwing shit against the wall and hoping something sticks.
Instead of fishing for campaigns, consider thinking more in terms of being a factory that produces profitable campaign.
An example of a system could be
- You know a campaign’s working before you even launch it
- You can do proper competitive research, and can make your campaign better than theirs
- You have proven traffic sources to test offers
- You have a system for testing
If I launch 10 campaigns, most of them aren’t going to make money. But I know out of those 10, there will be 2-3 that will blow up.
You know what makes a system more powerful? You can scale it beyond yourself.
You have employee who can apply your system and make money for you. (but won’t they steal your campaigns? that’s a different post)
The toughest part about growing as an affiliate marketer isn’t coming up with great ideas, it’s actually saying no to all the other options.
You can drown in opportunity – Marc Cuban
It’s a common scenario in the industry. An internet marketing rookie gets their first profitable campaign. Instead of dominating it, they get distracted.
- Affiliate managers want you to run this campaign and that campaign
- Your real life distracts you. Now that you’re making money the girlfriend wants to go on a cruise or your boys always wanna hang out
- You just read on this forum that something is hot and you wanna test it out.
You get so distracted that you forgot what got you there in the first place.
Be aggressive because there is always a next level.
If I’m a Super Saiyan 2, then I will train to become Super Saiyan 3.
Focusing on the 80/20
The Pareto Principle means that 80% of your rewards come from 20% of your effort.
In a real world business, this could mean that is you have 100 customers, 80% of the revenue could come from just 20 customers. It would make sense then to focus on those 20 customers. The 80 other customers you could just cut them off. Most impact, least effort.
These principle heavily influences my campaign strategies
- I only go after the big campaigns. Sometimes I’ll have a $500 profit a campaign and I’ll throw it away. Why? Because it takes time and energy from my bigger campaigns.Think about it. If you’re at $5,000 a day, it just takes a few more tests to get it to $10,000. Forget that tiny ass campaign.
- There are hundreds of ways to optimize a campaign. I only focus on a select few elements that make the make impact.I don’t bother with the little details such as changing the button of the color on my landing page, it’s not going to make or break my campaign. Instead those efforts could be spent on finding the right ad text headline.
- I only master large traffic sources and niches with broad appeal.
Work With Power Players
This one’s simple – don’t settle to work with average people. If you want to be the best, then surround yourself with the best.
If my employees can’t keep up, I replace them.
I don’t work with affiliate managers that take days to get back to me.
I only mastermind and exchange information with the best.
I don’t have time for bullshit.
You are who you surround yourself with.
Super affiliates don’t play fair – they seize every competitive advantage they can get.
When you are making money with a campaign, there will be hundreds of guys fighting tool and nail to take what is yours.
Did you just spend 10 hours custom coding a brand new landing page? It’s going to get stolen within 5 minutes. I don’t bitch about it, I just adapt.
You want to build a wall around your campaigns. Then a moat. Then put some piranhas in the water.
Super Affiliate Wall
How do we do that? Here’s a small sample to get your brain moving.
- Direct deals
- Getting offers exclusively
- Buying traffic directly
- Buying out placements
- Cutting out middlemen wherever possible
- White labels
- Exclusive landing pages
- Exploiting traffic sources
I don’t want an even playing field where whoever works the hardest wins. I want to create situations that are always in my favor.
If you like this article, then check out my friend Jason Akatiff’s (Smaxor) series of posts. Hopefully this burst of traffic will get us some new posts from him!
A common criticism of affiliate marketing is how “unstable” it is.
I don’t know about that.
In the past 6 years in this industry, I’ve seen plenty of 9 – 5’s lose their jobs. I’ve seen “SEO Ballers” go work at Starbucks because of Google’s latest updates.
My point is never be complacent. Always focus on becoming a better marketer.
– Ngo Knows