By now you should have written a Personal Manifesto, and set a goal. Now it’s time to choose an offer to test. If you want to do online marketing for a living, this is one of the most important skills you need to learn. It’s the backbone of everything we do.
If you do this part correctly you’ll have your first profitable campaign in no time. If you do this part wrong, you could be doomed to wasting years testing random offers with no chance of ever making a dime.
Remember. Even the best campaign in the world won’t work if the offer doesn’t convert. But with a great offer, even a bad campaign can still make money.
Most people get this step wrong. So pay attention.
My first few years in affiliate marketing were wasted. That’s because I did what most new people do.
- I joined affiliate networks by myself
- I randomly looked around for an offer that “looked good”
- Then I spent a week building a website for it
- Then I would test it
It took a few weeks to get traffic started. I was doing SEO so I had buy a domain, setup a site and write 10–20 articles for each offer I tested.
Three weeks later I’d have traffic coming in. I’d get hundreds of click throughs but no sales. Everything worked but the offer. Sometimes the offer’s checkout page didn’t even function but I had no way of knowing without wasting time and money testing it.
After a few weeks of testing I’d give up on that campaign and go back to the network and look for something else that looked good and do the whole thing again.
It took 4–6 months to find a single working offer this way.
A horrible waste of time.
After six months of testing I found a dating offer that worked and I was making $20/day profit.
I Got Lucky
Luckily, I built out so many of these test sites that I was caught the eye an affiliate manager at a different network. He found one of my SEO websites that was ranked in the search engines for dating keywords and contacted me.
He was really cool and said he had some dating offers that would probably work better than the one I was using. He told me the conversion rates, the average volume people were doing and that the advertiser was solid and always paid on time.
He said there were a few people doing $200/day with his dating offers. That was 10x the amount of revenue I was doing, so I got really excited. Then – he said “but I have this other thing that people are doing $20,000/day with.”
I had to catch my breath. The most money I’d ever heard anyone making was $1000/day. This sounded like a huge opportunity.
He gave me two choices:
- He’d help me improve my dating website and help me get to $200/day
- He could show me what this other thing was and I could go for the gold
You’d think this was an easy decision, but it wasn’t. I actually had to think about it.
My ego started talking to me and telling me that this guy didn’t know what he was talking about. And that I had spend the last 6 months looking for an offer and had finally found one that was making $20/day, so why would I give that up?
Did I really want to waste all the time I’d invested? And $20/day is $600 a month. That was half of my rent. Did I really want to drop that and try something else?
I thought about it for an hour or so. Then I called him with my answer. Luckily for me, I was able to check my ego and decided to put my $20/day on pause and focus on the bigger opportunity.
We spent the next few hours getting me signed up for the network and going over the details.
He showed me the offer, the conversion rates, the amount of revenue the network was doing per day and how much volume had been done in the last few months.
He told me the types of traffic sources that were good for this offer, the ads that worked best and some of the most popular landing pages that were being used.
After months of hunting and picking offers by myself with no input from the network aside, I finally felt like I’d gone through the Looking Glass. I had an inside guy who knew all the details on hundreds of offers. It was almost too easy.
Within a week I’d launched a campaign with the new offer. I got no sales at first, so I spent 8–10 hours a day writing ads and landing page copy. I knew the offer was working for other people. So I was willing to invest all of my time trying to figure it out.
Takeaway: Choose an offer that is already proven to work for others. This way you can invest time and energy knowing there’s a good chance it will payoff.
A few days later I got my first sale, then more. Then a lot more. Within a few months it exploded and I became one of the largest players in the game. I worked exclusively with my guy for many months.
Then I went to Affiliate Summit West in Vegas. There I met a ton of new people who were doing what I was doing. I saw that there were many more affiliate networks to work with and I signed up with a few.
Everyone was unloading information at the conference. They would drink and talk. I would stay sober and listen. I wrote down a bunch of notes and started executing right away.
Now that I knew how the system worked, I joined several other networks and spoke to more affiliate managers. They all had insights and stats on the offers. It took 5–10 minutes on the phone to introduce myself, get an account and an offer and start running traffic to it.
No more guesswork.
I had people on the inside.
I’d cracked the code.
My numbers continued to grow and by the end of the year I was one of the top affiliate marketers in the world.
Takeaway: Go to conferences and talk to the affiliates and networks that are there. They each have unique information to share with you about what offers are working.
The Moral of This Story
As you can see – choosing the right offer is the most important part of a campaign. If I would have continued to test random offers I’d have missed out on the huge opportunity. I would have probably continued making $20/day for a while and given up.
So listen: If you’re randomly hunting for offers like I was, you need to stop immediately and speak to someone who had some insider info.
Even if you’re making a few bucks a day (like I was) it might be a good idea to change routes and go with something that is already doing big numbers.
Remember, making $20/day is great. But $2000/day is better. And there is probably an offer at your current network that is doing those numbers. Doesn’t it make sense to do a little investigating?
How To Choose An Offer
If you scrolled through the information above, I’ll say it again with bullet points so I’ll know you’ll read it.
- Choosing an offer is the most important part of the launch process.
- A great marketer cannot make a bad offer work
- A bad marketer can make a great offer work
- Never randomly choose something that “looks good”
- Only choose offers that have a proven track record to work
1. Always Use Insider Information
If you’re currently testing random offers by yourself and losing money, stop right now. I recommend you use the insider information available to you.
It may take a little time and effort but it’s totally worth it. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- Affiliate managers.The fastest route to choosing a good offer is to ask an affiliate manager at a network. They get paid a commission on your traffic, so it’s in their interest to point you in the right direction.
- Conferences. There are 5–10 good conferences that go on all over the world every year. Pick one that is close to you and spend the money to go. Skip the show (and the high price tag attached to it) and just try to meet other affiliates and networks. Look up Affiliate Summit, A4D Meetup, Ad-Tech or Affiliate World Asia.
- Other affiliates. If you can’t make it to conferences you can go directly to other affiliates. Find a few people with more experience than you and get them on Skype or Facebook and swap info.
- Private Forums. If you don’t know any other affiliates and don’t want to leave the house to find them you can join an affiliate marketing forum. I recommend StackThatMoney.com. It’s $99/month and has hundreds of experienced affiliates that will help you.
2. Find Multiple Versions
One thing I like to do is find an offer that has multiple versions available at the affiliate network. That way you have options in case something happens.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a great campaign going and then the offer goes down for some reason and the whole thing has to be shut down.
If you have multiple versions of the offer you can switch them out if something goes wrong. Even if the second option doesn’t convert as well as the first – you get to keep the campaign going.
3. Use Multiple Networks
I recommend joining several affiliate networks. A lot of the time, all the big networks will have the same offers. And each network’s version of the offer can convert differently.
Maybe their tracking system is slower. Maybe they’re keeping some of your sales for themselves (happens a lot). Either way, you can test THE SAME offer on two different networks and get drastically different results.
So if you find something that works. You might look for it on other networks and give them a split test. I’ve seen anywhere from 10% – 50% lifts in conversion rates this way.
P.S. If a network continually loses these same-offer split tests it means either their tracking system sucks or they are stealing from you. Either way – don’t work with them if you can help it.
4. Choosing A Payout
Your research is probably going to reveal multiple offers with potential. Then it’s your decision where to start. Some offers pay a ten cents for a lead, other pay $150.
Here’s how to choose between the two.
Low Payouts ($.10 – $10). These low payout offers are a great place for new people to start. That’s because they convert more often than high payout offers. More conversions means more Data for you – and Data is gold.
If you spend $100/day and break even on an offer that pays $1, that means you got 100 conversions every day. With that many conversions it’s easier to make split test decisions about ads and landing pages.
High Payouts ($20-$100+). Don’t be seduced by an offer with a $100 payout. Remember the example above. If you have a $100/day budget and you break even with a $100 payout offer, you’re only get one sale per day.
It will take you three months to get the same amount of conversion data the low payout offer gives in one day.
Tip: If you have $5000 or more to spend on collecting data go with a high payout offer. If your bank roll is smaller, go with a low payout offer.
Different Payouts at Different Networks. Also, don’t be seduced by a higher payout on the same offer at another network. Many times networks will entice you with an extra $5 on your payout to get your traffic. Then – they will simply redirect a larger portion of your traffic to their own bank accounts to make up the difference.
Always split test and see which offer makes you more money and use that one. Payouts don’t matter so much in this case.
5. Big Markets or Small Niches?
I hear from new affiliates all the time who are afraid of going into large markets because they fear there is too much competition.
In my opinion and experience – the larger markets are where you want to be.
Lots of competition means there is lots of money being made. You don’t have to be the biggest player in the market – you just need to find a way to tap into the revenue stream that is already there and you’re good to go. Even a small piece of the pie can be life changing.
On the other hand – you can pick a small niche market with no competition and become the biggest player there and make very little money.
I prefer to be a small fish in the biggest pond possible. That way, if I do happen to find a way to take over the space…
The possibilities are endless.
6. Mobile or Desktop?
Choosing between mobile and desktop is kind of like choosing between using your bank’s drive thru window or walking into the lobby to withdraw money. Either way, you’re going to leave the bank with your cash.
Yes, mobile is booming and popular right now. And yes there is a lot of opportunity in mobile to make a lot of money. But desktop is also booming. And there is a lot of money to be made there as well. I mean, people still use laptops… right?
The point is that it doesn’t matter where you advertise so much. You can do well in either place. My advice is to pick one and stick with it.
Desktop and Mobile are different animals and it makes more sense to invest your time into becoming a Master of one of them.
And after you’ve made your choice – don’t worry about what other people say. If you’re doing Mobile someone will always say “Desktop is killing it” and if you’re doing Desktop you’ll hear “Mobile is blowing up!”.
Just stick to your decision and do your best to tune the “Grass is Always Greener” talk.
The number one mistake new affiliates make is choosing the wrong offer. Remember, even the greatest marketer in the world can’t make money with an offer that doesn’t convert. But a newbie can accidentally make money with a really great offer.
If you’re currently working by yourself, testing random offers and losing money you need to STOP now. Call an affiliate manager, or a friend in the business. Go to a conference or join an affiliate forum and get some insider info.
I would much rather spend a few weeks researching and finding an offer with a chance to win than throw things at the wall for six months to see if something sticks.
But the choice is yours.