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Launching an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

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We’ve covered a lot of material in this guide.

I wanna do a quick recap to show you how I launch campaigns from beginning to end.

This is the “step-by-step process” that everybody asks for.

You want to think of each campaign in stages, and have detailed steps for what you do in each part.

This keeps everything more organized and systemized.

1 Pick the Traffic Source

The first step is figuring out what traffic sources you’ll use and what offers you’ll promote.

My personal style is to focus on mastering a single traffic source type and then figuring out which offers work well there.

For example, you’ve decided to be a mobile specialist. After deciding to go into mobile, you look for what’s performing well in mobile now.

There are hundreds and hundreds of places to buy traffic from.

Here’s a list of mobile traffic sources if you decide to take that path:

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I know half of you will over-analyze this information and try to figure out which one’s the “best.”

There is no best because they all have their pros and cons. Just do your research, and make a decision.

Don’t be that fat guy who spends months trying to decide on the best workout plan while not moving off his couch that entire time.

“Taking action and failing will get you ten times farther than sitting around worrying about making the wrong decision.”

When it comes to picking a traffic source, I prefer going for sources that are proven to convert.

It’s because that eliminates a variable.

If you can’t make a popular traffic source work, then it’s because of you.

Why?

Because other guys have proven it works.

However, if you decide to take a chance on an unknown source, you won’t be sure whether the traffic source sucks or your campaign does.

Remember that I recommend mobile, native, and Facebook to start affiliate marketing campaigns as of 2017.

2 Choosing Offers

Choosing an offer for me is based on:

  • Testing multiple offers
  • Competitive research
  • Listening to my intuition
  • Seeing what the latest buzz is at conferences
  • Talking to affiliate managers and my masterminds

Suppose you chose to run iPhone 7 giveaways on mobile traffic in France. There are multiple offers from different advertisers out there.

Pick 2 to 3 offers to test against each other initially. You should always test multiple offers when you’re launching a campaign.

Some offers won’t convert well even though they appear similar. You won’t know if it’s the offer, or the vertical unless you try multiple similar offers

What to do now:

1 Get the offer link(s) from the affiliate network

2 Visit the offer page to see how it looks, and what the details are.

3 Set the offer up in Voluum

3 Researching the Campaign

Newbie affiliates will just launch a campaign and hope for the best, but the top affiliates will have an advantage before they even launch.

Have you decided on your traffic source and offer yet?

It’s time to do some research.

Spying

Are other guys running this campaign? Don’t limit yourself to just researching other affiliate marketers. If you’re running diet, look at what Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are doing. Running dating? What’s Match.com doing?

Spy tools will give you a huge ROI. You can do in 30 seconds what would take a whole day of manual spying.

Talking to affiliate managers

Stop treating your affiliate manager like the dude that just bumps payouts. They can be extremely knowledgeable because they have a bird’s-eye view of the industry and other affiliates.

I’ve definitely encountered a lot of bad affiliate managers when I started out, but I think they’ve been weeded out over the years.

Researching the offer

Go through the funnel to see how the ads monetize. Research the audience. Learn more about the niche.

Where to run the offers?

If an offer is exclusive to one network, there’s not much to do beyond this. What if it’s on a few different networks?

I highly recommend split-testing affiliate networks even if it’s the exact same offer. They can convert differently if different tracking software is used or if the advertiser’s scrubbing one place.

4 The Creative Stage

What ads and landing pages are you planning to use? A lazy affiliate will skip this step entirely and just opt to use the creatives and landing pages from their competition.

If you’re going this route, you’re always going to be five steps behind.

Here’s your next 3 steps:

  • Brainstorm angles, headlines, and ad text for your offer
  • Find pictures to use in ads
  • Design/create the landing pages

How exactly does one come up with winning creatives?

It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try.

One thing I like to do is collect amazing ads that I see around the Internet.

I’m so “blind” to ads that if there’s a creative that I notice, it must be good. I have a folder with over a thousand images that I use for inspiration.

A lot of copywriters and marketers will do this – it’s called a “swipe file”.

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Once, I was inspired by this insurance ad that had a neat Photoshop trick that I’ve applied to one of my niches. Inspiration can be found anywhere.

The only way to get really good with ads is through practice and experience—a lot of practice and experience. Soon, you’ll develop this sixth sense that will let you know if an ad is good before you even launch.

4a

Your Ads

1. Brainstorm Ads / Angles

2. Design a set of ads from your angles

3. Grab the tracking links from Voluum

4. Upload ads into your traffic source

start affiliate marketing campaigns
4b

Your Landing Pages

1. Design the landing page

2. Upload the landing page to your domain

3. Set up the landing page in Voluum

Remember to implement what I taught you in the landing page section.

Add in conversion boosters, and try to minimize the size of the landing page.

5 Setting Up the Backend

launch affiliate marketing

Here’s where all the technical stuff happens.

1. Set the hosting up for your landing page if you didn’t do it in the previous step.

*Note – You don’t need a server to host Voluum (it’s self hosted).

2. Set up all the tracking in Voluum

3. Add your creatives / landing pages to the tracking

4. Upload the campaign URL into your traffic source

Backend Campaign Strategy

An important tip is to segment the traffic.

Here’s what I mean.

Do NOT create a campaign that has both mobile and desktop traffic. You need to segment and track them.

There are two ways to go about it.

1. Segment Before

For example whenever I launch a Facebook campaign, I’ve already broken everything down by age groups.

I launch and can see within a few days that 18-24 year olds are not converting. I pause that segment of traffic and become more profitable.

2. Segment After.

Example: Target everyone and capture conversion rate data. Then create groups after the test in Voluum. I don’t recommend this because you will burn a lot of money.

6 Launching the Campaign

1. Set a LOW budget ($5 or $10). You want to make sure you set the campaign up right and everything’s tracking properly.

2. Set your initial bids. What I bid depends on the traffic source. I usually bid higher than the minimum bid because it gets you access to better quality placements.

3. Launch. The timing doesn’t matter as much as you think. If you want a set time, I recommend 4pm in the timezone of the country you’re targeting.

For example: I’m in EST time zone but promoting an offer in Singapore. I’d set it to launch 6pm Singapore time which is 5am EST time.

7 Double Check Campaign

You should double check your campaign before you launch it…

But the first few times you launch a campaign, you won’t really know what you’re doing.

The only way to really know if it’s working correctly is to send some live traffic to it.

It’s easy to hit the pause button if things aren’t working out.

Is Everything Tracking Properly?

Clicks should be tracked through the whole process:

Traffic Source Tracker Landing Page Affiliate Network

You want to make sure your links are working.

1. Check your traffic source to see if they’re sending clicks

2. Check your Voluum (tracking) account to make sure clicks are coming in

3. Check your affiliate network to make sure clicks are coming in

If you’re not sure if conversions are tracking, you can ask your affiliate manager to fire a “test conversion”.

This will help you make sure your tracker is recognizing conversions when they come in.

Tip: Whenever we first start affiliate marketing campaigns, we always set a low budget. What happens if you set a $500 budget, go to sleep, and wake to see that there were zero conversions?

We like to set a smaller budget of say $30 on a $5 CPA campaign to see if everything’s tracking properly. It’ll save you a ton of headaches.

This should be everything you need to launch a campaign and to get your first conversion.

Next Actions

1. Launch Your Campaign

2. Make Sure Everything Tracks Properly

3. Get Your First Conversion

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