April 2014: Q&A Session

This website is growing.

Each week more and more people are tuning in to read the posts, thoughts and articles I’m writing on how to make money, get in shape and get their life together in general.

Each new wave of visitors comes with a new wave of questions. A lot of times they are the same questions. Emails, Facebook and Twitter messages and comments pile up and although I do my best to answer them all, sometimes things fall through the cracks.

So, today I want to try something new.

Instead of writing and posting an article for you to read, I want to have a Q&A session.

  1. You ask the questions here.
  2. I will answer them here.

Use the comment form at the bottom of this page to post any question you have and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

My hope is that by doing this I can answer a lot of questions at once and we can all use this page as a reference when needed in the future. And if you ask the right questions, it will be a great way for us to get to know each other a little better.

If it goes well, I may turn it into a regular thing.

Be cool

You can ask me anything. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to affiliate marketing.

Just don’t ask me for my exact affiliate campaign details, because I obviously can’t post that here or they’d be dead within 24 hours.

(almost) Everything else is fair game. Ask Away.

  • ChazTramayne

    Do you attend affiliate summits? Charles Ngo is clearly a fan of yours, just wondering about your overall system of networking.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Yes. I attend Affiliate Summits. Especially in the beginning. The networking you can do there is really important for setting up your solid base of relationships with networks, advertisers, traffic sources and other affiliates. That’s how I did it.

      The first Summit I went to (AS West in 2009) was probably the thing that helped me the most. I met almost everyone I work with today at that conference. I wrote about it here (about 1/3 way down): http://www.malandarras.com/affiliatemarketingtraining

      I don’t go as much these days, I’m pretty well connected now.

      If you’re new, definitely go to one. No need to buy an expensive pass. Just fly in, get a room and try to meet everyone you currently work with (Aff managers, skype buddies, etc) and meet a few new people.

  • Desmond

    Malan,

    Thanks for the opportunity. I will try to keep my comment short 🙂

    1. I am assuming that you work with long term campaigns, in one of your posts you mentioned something like “I created one more campaign this month”. In your guest post (Charles’ blog) you mentioned that you are doing email marketing as well. I am not fan of campaigns that die right after you start profiting (some ppv campaigns, dating campaigns for example). May I ask which traffic sources are you mainly using?

    2. I want to learn preselling and email marketing to create long term campaigns, which courses/books would you recommend? I am planning to go through AutoresponderMadness.

    3. Popular question: what would you recommend for a complete newbie in paid traffic? I used to be a 6-fig SEO affiliate and started with PPV last month, I was expecting green numbers but ROI is negative at the moment and I am thinking of moving to another traffic source. Charles recommends POF/adult dating for starters, but I hate promoting dating campaigns :).

    Thanks!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      1) Sorry, but like I said I can’t reveal my traffic sources
      2) I haven’t read any books on autoresponder, i normally just google it and read a few articles and then start testing.
      3) I’d suggest sticking with one traffic source and one or two campaigns until you make it work. If you jump around you may get lucky, but you’re pretty much going to have to invest some time in figuring each source out. So I’d pick one and focus.

  • Jared DiCarmine

    Hey Malan thanks for the opportunity! When testing landing pages in the beginning, do you test 2-3 totally different variations, different colors, headline, layouts etc and see which one makes the most revenue right off the bat and go from there or do you test one and make adjustments based on what Crazy Egg shows you?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      In the beginning I test completely different variations of LPs. If I have a headline and copy that works I’ll use it on all of the designs. When I find the best design (makes the most profit) I’ll start testing headlines, copy, images, etc. It doesn’t take long to see which LP is going to do best.

  • Owen

    Hi Malan, thanks for the opportunity. Seems everyone else will ask the affiliate questions so I have a slightly different one: as an experienced marketer, do you use that knowledge to help promote your music? If so I’d be interested to get your thoughts on it. I also DJ and use some of the IM practices to help get my stuff out there.
    Thanks!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Owen. I haven’t used my aff experience to promote my music – yet. Mainly because i’ve spent way more time doing marketing than making music for several years now.

      I have a lot of ideas for it though. Mainly targeted campaigns to audiences that listen to music similar to my own. Facebook will let you target people who like certain bands or styles of music. I figure with a title like “Like XYZ?, You’ll love this guy” would get crazy high CTR and bring in clicks for next to nothing.

      If I could bring in new fans for pennies and then promote CDs, mp3s and Tshirts or whatever, it’d probably be a nice easy way to build a huge audience and do music profitably.

      PPV would also allow me to do some laser targeting like that. Pop up a window on similar artist’s websites.

      But you’re right, having affiliate experience is a big help in promoting any other business / passion you have. How are your promotions going?

      • Owen

        My own are going OK. I have mainly used the ability to have protected data on facebook pages. eg ‘like’ this page for an exclusive download linked to soundcloud then fed those out via some well known blogs. That’s produced some good ‘engaged’ fans.
        I breifly tried payign for mixcould placements but they have very little in the way of targeting so it did not produce much.
        I’m just helping a friend with his DJ agency’s social stuff which is all at 0 fans/likes now so will be interesting to see how much I cna grow that by.
        Thanks for the reply and awesome site. Getting a load of other AM advice from here!

  • Kylegfitz

    Do you ever take on apprentices? If so I would love to be on the wait list 🙂 I can let you know what my qualifications are and why you’d want to tutor me in the first place. Thanks for the great blog!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Kyle – thanks for the question. i’ve never done that. I’ve helped friends before but have never had an apprentice. The truth is I have a list of close friends and family a mile long that want me to teach them.

      If I were to ever do it, I’d prefer someone who already knew the basics and was making money. It’d be much easier for me to show them how to go from $200/day to $2000/day than showing them how to make their first banner ad.

      • Kylegfitz

        Cool. I’ve been doing corporate SEO and online advertising for the last five years, so I know the ins and outs. I’ve just recently gotten into affiliate marketing, I’ve also signed up for some traffic sources and ran a couple offers, but I haven’t been able to hit a home run yet. Would love to chat more… I’m on skype at kyle.fitzgerald2 or email at kylegfitz@gmail.com

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          cool, keep trying 😉 with that know-how, you’ll hit one out of the park.

          like i said I’m not looking to do an apprentice thing right now though.

  • H. Banna

    How much money do you recommend to invest in paid traffic for newbies at start?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      *hard question to answer

      I’d say as much as you can afford. The more you spend, the faster you’ll get data and learn.

  • risenshein

    What is your opinion on travel? I think you mentioned it briefly but didn’t go into much depth. Have you travelled much?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      i have not traveled much outside of the US. Right now I’m not a fan of travel or long flights. I’m actually in Oklahoma as I type this (I live in LA) and I’m finding it really hard to get things done.

      People will read this and say “Traveling teaches you about the world, opens your eyes to new cultures” and all that stuff. But for me, at this time – I don’t like it.

      I think for some people traveling is a passion. I prefer my routines.

      • Pete

        Personally speaking, I find travelling messes up my work routine, and I need a lot of rest especially if its a long trip. I think it may be Ok if you’re planning on staying in one place as a ‘work base’ for a while (several months), e.g. Thailand, then explore the areas around ‘gradually’. Or if its a quick trip for networking.

  • http://wikimediamarketing.com Luis Barrios

    Hello Malan
    What is the best forum for you to start learning and improving mobile affiliate skills?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I can’t comment on mobile specifically because I have never done it. But I’d say the best bang for your buck as far as paid forums go, check out http://stackthatmoney.com/forum. I’ve gotten some decent info for non-mobile campaigns outta there.

      I just checked their mobile section and there are 15-20 new threads started in April (this month). So it might be worth checking into.

      What you might want to do is find a few other affiliates that are doing mobile and start a mastermind where you all work/learn together. You’ll learn much faster that way. You can find people on Wickedfire or other free forums to join forces with.

      Also, Charles Ngo posts a lot of mobile info. You can check out his website for free.

  • Angelo

    Do you outsource certain aspects of your campaigns? If so, how do you use them to get the most out of it? Thanks again for all your posts.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Angelo. I’ve had outsourcers work for me in the past. But at this time I am doing everything. I’m not saying it’s the best way, it’s just how I’m doing it right now.

      In the past I used outsourcers to find images for campaigns (but they could never find the good high CTR ones), do my daily profit/loss reports, setup new landing pages, install CPVLabs, send emails, etc.

      But I work very fast and have a lot of free time, so right now I’m a one-man army and do as much if not more volume than most teams.

  • http://wikimediamarketing.com Luis Barrios

    You don’t said anything about just one question, so i will do more.

    I have read a lot about start, but what do you recommend on the begining?
    – Open one offer at time or open several offers at week

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Here’s the easiest way for a new person to start:

      1. Talk to an affiliate manager or another affiliate about what is working and on what traffic source
      2. Do research and get the offer, LP (if needed) and ads that are working for other people.
      3. Test their creatives against a few of your own and see what happens
      4. Test until it works

      If it’s working for them, you can probably make it work for you.

  • http://wikimediamarketing.com Luis Barrios

    What would be the average of time you spend to launch a new offer?
    – Direct link
    – Presell

    Thanks for you answers

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I work very fast and have a template of landing pages and ads for most things I do. I can setup most campaigns and be running in an hour or less.

      A lot of guys make the mistake of trying to launch the perfect campaign. By the time they get their copy perfected and design just right I’m already all over the traffic source, split testing my creatives on live traffic.

      I remember a guy asking me once how many days I spent writing the copy I had on a particular lander. He’d been working for 2 weeks on his. I told him it took me about 30 minutes to write and then went live immediately for testing.

      • Desmond

        Now this is crazy Malan,

        How/when you do the research for the target market?
        It took me more than a month to finalize my presell copy and it was not successful.

        By the way, generally, how long is your presell copy (number of words)?

        Thanks,

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          Desmond,
          I don’t spend much time on research. And I would never spend more than an hour (or a few hours, max) writing copy for a lander pre-launch.

          I prefer launching fast, with sub-par copy if needed and then improving it based on data. So instead of investing more than a month on writing presell copy this is what I do.

          1. Take a quick look at the market (5-15 minutes). News articles, blog posts, etc.
          2. Write my first draft of copy (10-60 minutes)
          3. Make a second version that is very different from the first (10-60 minutes)
          4. Launch the campaign
          5. Decide which direction is best, based on data. Pause the other
          6. Start optimizing the winning copy on live traffic

          While you spend a month perfecting your copy (based on guesses, that may or may not work), I am live – writing copy that improves performance based on real data.

          Switch up your game.

          1. Write quick copy
          2. Test on live traffic
          3. Optimize

  • Albert

    Not IM related, but why did you get a place in town instead of near the beach?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Every time I visit the beach I ask myself the same question…

      That said I have a really sick view of the city right now, and my place is all windows, 15 floors up. The view does something for me, it’s inspiring and makes me feel good. The beach may do the same thing, but for now I am enjoying the view.

  • dscastro

    Hey Malan!

    Hope you’re well dude..

    Just wondered where you perhaps envisage affiliate marketing going in the next 5-10 years…

    Do you see longevity in the affiliate game with new niches and evolving platforms, or more and more saturation?

    Thanks in advance…

    Dan

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Affiliate marketing will be around forever. The internet, technology and traffic sources will change completely. Mobile phones as we know them now may be looked at like an old atari 2600 in 5 years. Devices are moving to watches, glasses, wearables, etc.

      But there will always be $$ to be made by finding customers for product owners.

  • Rick

    Do you run mobile traffic? If so, do you setup servers nearby the traffic when using LPs? Thanks!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      no. i don’t run mobile. But I have been a part of many tests where we split tested hosting on local severs in international countries where the traffic came from vs US hosting.

      For me – hosting locally made no difference in ROI. Tested it several times. It’s something I no longer do.

      If you really want to know, setup some hosting in the local country and split test it versus your US hosting for a few days. Each campaign is different, so best bet is to try it for yourself.

  • Marcos

    What niches do you think are the easiest to make 5k/day?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Anything with mass appeal. The big niches are health, wealth and self-improvement. Everyone wants more money, a better body and a better life. Men, women. Old, young.

  • Zack

    What are your thoughts on the phenomenon of the difficulty in repeating an observably successful campaign? It has perplexed me to the point of near insanity that I cannot figure out what “thing” prevents a campaign from simply being copied. Not to simply copy others’ campaigns, but the protect my own campaigns as well. By simply collecting very detailed observations, one can obtain nearly every single variable to an existing affiliate campaign, yet replicating the campaign with identical variables, more times than not, will produce an unsuccessful (unprofitable) campaign. It seems that the only rational answers to this question are that the successful campaigns being observed have some element impossible to deduce, such as exclusive deals with traffic provider, affiliate network payout bumps, etc. I realize this is not a definitively answerable question, but I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions/experiences on this.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      You basically answered your own question there in the last line.

      Every campaign is different for each affiliate. If you rip off a campaign verbatim you’ve most likely lost that first mover advantage and the ads, LPs are burnt out.

      The guy you stole from may have had that ad there for months with ridiculous early CTRs that drove his CPCs down to pennies. He could have backend deals with the advertiser, higher payouts from the affiliate network because he’s doing heavy volume. He could be getting different placements than you by working with a rep at the ad network.

      You should not be trying to steal a campaign to make money. You steal a campaign and use it as a place to start. Your job as an affiliate is to test, test, test and figure out how to make it work.

      If copy/paste verbatim worked. Everyone in the game would be making millions.

  • adrian

    Quick question. If you were to start afresh with no knowledge on Affiliate Marketing, who will you look out for to learn affiliate marketing and how will you get started?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      same way i got started 5 years ago.

      1) Save up as much money as possible
      2) talk to an affiliate manager or other affiliate to get ideas on what’s working on a traffic source
      3) Do the same thing they’re doing
      4) Test until it makes money

      For SEO tips: Quicksprout, Viperchill
      For paid traffic tips: Charles Ngo

  • Nasif

    For A/B split testing, how many visitors are sufficient enough to get statistically significant data?

  • snowy

    Please recommend a business & tax lawyer (preferably located in So Cal).

    Also, any book recommendations on these topics?

    Thank you.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I hesitate to respond to this at all. But i’ll give you this. For business legal and compliance check out Coast Law Group in San Diego, specifically Rob Berkowitz.

      For accounting, get an accountant, not a lawyer.

  • Pete

    I can only afford one fast VPS and one cheap shared host. Should I host:
    (a) the landing page and the tracker (Prosper202) on the same fast VPS, or;
    (b) the landing page on the fast VPS and the tracker (Prosper202) on the cheap shared host, or;
    (c) the landing page on the cheap shared host and the tracker (Prosper202) on the fast VPS, or;
    (d) something else?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      host both on the fast VPS, get rid of the cheap shared host. when your profits are there, you can get a separate VPS and split them up. While hosting them separately is optimal its not necessary.

      You can definitely host your tracking system and landing pages on the same server.

      • pete

        Thanks Malan. Much appreciated

  • Bill

    Hi Malan,

    What is your advice for introvert like me to network with other affiliates?

    Thanks

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Great question Bill,

      I’m a big time introvert. And affiliate marketing is actually great for that because most of us are introverts as well. (that’s why we can do this)

      1. develop a relationship with an affiliate manager at a network. Send them some traffic, talk to them often, don’t ask newbie questions all day.

      2. Meet a few affiliates on twitter. Follow them and retweet and respond to their tweets. Don’t badger top super affiliates and celebrities, just find a few guys you can talk to and get along with and make friends.

      3. Try to meet the manager and affiliates at a conference, in person if possible. This is how you’ll build really tight relationships.

      I’ve written two posts about it:

      1. Read this: http://www.malandarras.com/affiliatemarketingtraining (The part about Affiliate Summit West 2009, scroll down a bit to find it)

      2. Read this: http://www.malandarras.com/introvert

  • leon

    Hey Malan,

    I hope you will understand what my question is about. Charles Ngo and you also advice to not give up to early. Even if you are losing money you should just keep testing, improving and collecting data.

    This advice is suitable for someone who is experienced and who has the confidence in his skills from earlier sucessfull campaigns.

    Without experience it is not easy to decide why a campaign is not working. Is it because of wrong targeting, a bad landing page or is it just a bad offer that does not convert?

    What should an affiliate newbie do to be sure that he does not stop a campaing to early even if he is losing money? And what variables should be tested first?

    Thanks a lot for your time there is so much value on this site.

    Greetings from Austria,

    Leon

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Leon – the key in the beginning is to make sure the campaign is working for other affiliates.

      If it’s working for others, it can work for you with testing. If I know a campaign is working for others, I will spend months on it if i have to (did in the beginning too) without giving up.

      If you can’t make your current campaign work and other people can, you’re not going to be able to make the next campaign work either. You need to fix you and get your skills up.

      So it makes more sense to stick with one proven campaign for as long as it takes.

      For more, read Adrian’s question below. I also have a blog post about it coming soon.

    • Adrian

      Are you the same Leon (Penny Per Click ) ? Just asking out of curiousity…

  • PG

    Just reading your response to Adrian’s question below – what do you realistically recommend budget/money wise to have to start off with before jumping into running Aff campaigns. (Obviously this depends person to person, circumstance etc.) I’m sure you probably answered this before (if so please direct me). But is $5-$8k enough to weave gold from straw!? I ask as I’m planning on kicking off with some campaigns the next 1-2 weeks and feel that $1-2k may not be enough money to get going. I fully expect to lose 2-4k before I get anywhere bytway. Thanks in advance!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      $5-8k is plenty to start with. $2k is good too – but the more the better because you’ll feel a little easier spending if you have $$ in the bank. Also remember that you (hopefully) won’t be losing everything in the beginning. Say you spend $100/day on traffic the first few weeks and make back $50/day. At the end of the week, you’re not $700 down, you’re $350 down.

      On my first Adwords campaigns I started real slow, around $50/day to make sure all my links, ads and pages were working. Then slowly moved to $100/day then, then $250/day then $500/day and on from there.

      If you’re totally new, don’t blow your wad on that first campaign. Take it slow and you can learn as you go.

      • PG

        Awesome! Thank you so much for that. Makes total sense. Gotta say you & Charles Ngo are delivering some box office content. Better than some paid forums I would wager. Thanks again & keep it up!

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          no problem PG – thanks for stopping by.

  • CalinT

    Hi Malan, first of all thanks for all your comments I can definitely say that I learn a lot from them,(all of them). I also have two quick questions:
    1 You are talking a lot about the importance of socializing with fellow marketers and get to know people this industry and share knowledge. Can you point in right direction?
    2 I’m interested in mobile as a traffic source. Where do you think, its the best place to learn besides (STM Forum)?
    Thanks!