Affiliate Marketing: Thoughts & Conversations from Affiliate Summit West 13′
My 7th affiliate summit.
This was probably my 3rd best conference overall. (1st was ASE 2008 when I quit my job, 2nd was Adtech NYC 08 when I discovered mediabuys). I made a lot of solid connections and tons of knowledge bombs were shared. My goals were mainly to see my old friends, and meet some new ones. A lot of the biggest affiliates are “unknown” and the only way to network with them is by going to the parties.
Anyways I’m going to recap some of the conversations I had from the conference. I figure these kind of recaps are more helpful than a play by play of where I ate dinner and who I met.
Questions From People
Why do different carriers on Mobile convert differently?
If you’ve done mobile before, you’ll know that someone on Verizon can convert completely different than someone from MetroPCS.
- Different demographics – MetroPCS is pre-paid. Someone that pays $45 no contract for a contract is different than someone that pays $100 for a Verizon 2 years contract. To put it blunt, people that use prepaid tend to be broke.
- Different phones – Androids, iOS, feature phones, etc. all convert differently. Each carrier has a different percentage mixer of the OS and handsets.
Is it better to master a traffic source or a niche?
Like the answer to almost every internet marketing question, it depends. What do I prefer? I usually recommend mastering a traffic source. I’ve known guys who have done nothing but Facebook for the past few years. Some mobile guys do nothing but Push traffic.
Each traffic source has its own little tricks. Another way to think about it is if someone has “mastered” diet, what has he really mastered? I can see their offers, landing pages, & ads. However true understanding of a traffic source is invisible and a huge competitive advantage.
I’m making $500 a day profit, should I quit my job?
This is probably going to be a future article but I’ll do a short answer.
- Payoff your major debts such as credit cards
- Save a lot of money
- Lower your expenses
- Have more than 1 campaign. It’s also important that whatever campaigns you’re running on are stable.
- Quit PROPERLY. Give 2 weeks notice & do whatever they ask. Don’t tell your boss to fuck off. Leave on good terms.
- Don’t be in such a rush to quit. You’re emotionally stronger to handle losses knowing that you have a job to fallback on. A mistake that too many guys make is they quit as soon as their first campaign is profitable. Inevitably the campaign goes down, they burn through their savings, and they’re back at square 1.
A had a lot more questions asked but I’ll turn those into full posts.
Where Are They Now?
A LOT of affiliates have completely fell off the radar the past few years. Some have gone on to bigger and better things, but a larger majority have gone back to 9 – 5 jobs. Even some well known bloggers before are not so Uber anymore. So what happened?
- Overspending. Their expenses outgrow their income. It doesn’t matter if you made $1m last year, but spend $1.5m. Spend less than you earn. Some of these affiliates are no better than the guys in the hood who spend $5,000 in rims to put on a $2,000 car.
- KEEP QUIET. When you start having a reputation as a “baller”, people will try to take advantage of you. I’m not exactly the most lowkey guy in the industry now, but learn from an OG. If I could go back in time, no one would know who Dr Ngo is.
- Thinking short term – Businesses has its up ands downs, especially internet marketing. I always like to think worst case scenarios and be prepared.
- Confusing luck with skill. Skill means understanding the fundamentals and being able to apply them regardless of niche or traffic sources. Luck means making money and not have a solid understanding of how it happened. Your business model is shit if you depend on copying your competitor’s landing pages and ads.
- No “fallback” campaigns. My friend told me this, “No matter what happens in affiliate marketing, I can always fall back on dating with Facebook or Credit Reports on TrafficVance.”
If you can do it once, you can do it again. The traffic sources and the offers change, but at the end of the day the game remains the same: split test ads, split testing landing pages, negotiate payouts, think of new angles, etc.
Discussions With an Affiliate
5 months ago I met a newbie at Affiliate Summit East. He never ran traffic before and We bumped into each other at ASW and he’s telling me he’s now doing very…very well. So I picked his brain a little bit on what changed.
“My main problem was I kept changing my mind on what to promote. I’d launch and if it was losing money, I’d just try a different campaign. This time I decided to just stick to one niche. On top of that I focused it down to one traffic source, and one country. To stop myself from changing my mind, I told myself I can’t change my mind unless I spend all $3,000 of my budget on this one campaign. After suffering a lot of losses, I was able to turn my one campaign around and scale.”
I talked about the importance of focus in my classic article
How to Make it in Affiliate Marketing. Most campaigns these days start off unprofitable and you have to split test your way into profitability. The mistake most people make is they lose money, panic, and start another campaign. You’re not learning and instead depending on luck.
Affiliate Marketing as a Business
A lot of affiliates after a few years in this industry want to move on to the next thing. Some teach, start a network, start a traffic source, become an advertiser, do a startup, etc. There’s also a group of guys that don’t move on, but instead are in this for the long run.
When we think of internet marketers, it’s usually some guy hunched over in an office somewhere. Maybe he has a few virtual assistants in India, but for the most part he’s a one man show. Now a lot of guys are putting together offices with teams and are dominating niches. Imagine how much more money you could make if you had workers as good, or even better than you.
Something to think about is in any given niche, the top 5% of guys generate 95% of the revenues. Having a strong team can give you that edge to break into that 5%. I started a series on this a while back (which I will work on finishing)
Developing a team is something I’ll be working on this year more. I’ve done it before a few years ago, but my ex-employees were some Benedict Arnolds.
Great conference. If you are interested in being an affiliate marketer and you can afford it, then go.
Thanks to everyone I met for the good times.