So you want to be an affiliate marketer? Cool.
You’ve realized it’s the fastest way to get out of the 9-5 Rat Race and start making money online. You’ve done a few small test campaigns to get your feet wet. You’re already further along than most.
You may have already made your first sale and even though it didn’t make you rich, you know what it feels like to generate money out of thin air. Feels good doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, if you’re like most people who do affiliate marketing, you’re probably just barely scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Most new affiliates I talk to are working without a complete set of tools. Affiliate network account but no website, landing page but no tracking system.
You’re cutting corners to save time and money because you want to get some cash coming in before you go “all in” on your setup. Right?
Today I’m going to give you a checklist to see where you’re at.
Here’s are 10 tools you should have in your affiliate marketing toolbox and my recommendations for each. Some are free and some aren’t. Some are expertly hidden affiliate links. But as always, I never recommend anything on this site that I don’t use myself.
What’s your score? Read through the list and at the end, we’ll add up your score, which I want you to share in the comments.
Affiliate Marketing Toolbox Checklist
1. Web Host. If you’re going to advertise online you have to have a website, which means you need a web host. Hosting charges range from $4/month to $400/month depending on what you’re doing and how much traffic you have.
- Low Traffic: Bluehost shared ($3.95/month)
- Medium Traffic: Bluehost VPS
- High Traffic: WireTree Dedicated Server
2. Landing Page: 95% of the campaigns I run use landing pages. Why? Because they allow me to pre-sell customers on why they should buy the product I’m promoting. By the time the customer gets to the product page they’ve already decided to buy.
3. Graphic Design App. You need a way to create banner ads and landing page graphics. You don’t need to be a great designer, you just need to be able to make basic ads, i.e. be able to add borders, images and words.
I recommend Photoshop, it isn’t cheap, I pay for my software these days and feel great about it, but it is out there on pirate sites if you need something to start with.
4. Affiliate Network + Rep. I like to think of the Affiliate Network as my business partner. They find and manage products that I can sell and in return they take a commission of each sale I make. There are a lot of Affiliate Networks out there, but I recommend these 3 and have provided a contact for each one.
- A4D Performance: (Put “MALAN” in the How Did You Hear box to get a rep)
- Adsimilis: Contact: Eleah Portillo
- Peerfly: Contact: Luke Kling
5. Ad Network. Now that you have a website, banner ads and offer you need traffic. You get traffic at an ad network. The major players are Facebook, Google and Bing but there are many other networks you can use as well.
6. Tracking System. There are 3 main trackers out there right now. I will rank them here in order of my preference. My main recommendation these days is Voluum.com. I was previously paying around $400/month for a dedicated server for CPVLab. When I fully make the switch to Voluum, that cost goes away.
- Voluum.com. The newest, most innovative tracking system I have ever seen. Free for the next month.
- CPVLab. $297. Use promo code “MALAN50” to get $50 off.
- Prosper202 Old school standard, Free.
7. Campaign System. Create a simple, systematic process for launching and optimizing campaigns. This way you never have to worry about what to do next. You just follow the plan.
Most experienced affiliates do the same thing every time. It may sound boring, but when a system works it works. Avoid launching new campaigns without a solid launch system in place – or you could lose a ton of money.
Here are some examples:
- Launch: Setup 5 different campaigns/offers and set budgets for $20/day. After 48 hours choose which campaign/offer to pursue.
- Optimization: Pause losing ads after $40/spend and raise budget on adgroup with remaining ads.
- Ad rotation: Upload a set of 5 new ads every 72 hours with a $20 budget. If conversions, pause bad ads and double budget.
8. Profit Tracking Spreadsheet. If you’re going to win at this, you need to know exactly how much money you’re spending/making every day. Make an excel spreadsheet or Google Doc and track your daily spend, revenue, profit and ROI. The one I use tracks everything detail and uses several charts and graphs to give me a visual reputation of how my campaigns are doing.
- Here is a link to a simple one to get you started.
9. A Swipe File. Every time you seen an ad, landing page, headline or image that grabs your attention you should save it to a folder on your computer to use later if you’re stuck for ideas. It’s called a “swipe file” because you are swiping ideas from other people.
Ever see Don Draper tear a page out of a magazine and stick it in his pocket? That’s what this is. I have a large swipe file that I’ve built over the last few years at this point it’s a thing of beauty full of landing pages, ads, images and copy. For new campaigns I just open the swipe file, choose a few ads and start.
I let another affiliate access my swipe file once. He took a landing page and some ads and said it was the fastest profitable campaign he’d ever launched.
Make your swipe file:
- Create a folder on your computer called “Swipe File”
- Save interesting things and ideas to it
- Use it later when needed
10. Goal. Have a realistic financial / profit goal in mind for what you’re doing. Don’t just say “I want to make $1 Million Dollars this year”. Most affiliates I know started out trying to make $100/day. If you’ve brand new, start with $10/day.
Note: I am building a much more detailed version of the Toolbox full of the exact tools and services I use to run my own campaigns, stay organized and work with outsourcers. It will only be sent to my newsletter subscribers. So if you want it, click here to automatically subscribe.
Most new affiliate marketers are working with an incomplete set of tools. You may think you’re saving time but you’re actually handicapping yourself when it comes to competing with the big guys. This may seem like a lot, but to be honest guys like me are working with even more.
I have never met a super affiliate who didn’t have at least the 10 tools listed above in their toolbox, so you should have them too.
What’s Your Score?
Out of the 10 Tools I listed above how many are you using right now?
- Landing Page
- Graphics Design App
- Affiliate Network + Rep
- Ad Network + Rep
- Tracking System
- Campaign System
- Profit Tracking Spreadsheet
- Swipe File
- Realistic Goals
Leave your score in the comments section below.
Me: 10 out of 10.
You didn’t really think I’d have anything less than a perfect score did you? I have every single one of these things on lockdown, do you?