I was digging around.
Looking for an offer in an unfamiliar affiliate network’s website.
There were 100s of offers in 25 different verticals. Payouts ranged from .45 cents to $190. When I clicked a link to preview the offer some worked and some didn’t.
I kept digging around until something jumped out at me. It was a dating offer with a nice image of a hot girl. It paid $6 per lead and accepted US traffic.
“This looks good!” I thought. And I started building an SEO campaign.
I registered a domain, installed WordPress and started writing articles about dating. I wrote content for several days straight and then posted them one by one over the next few weeks.
I did some social bookmarking and got a few backlinks and waited for some traffic.
- After 3 weeks of work, traffic started trickling in.
- People were clicking on the offer links and banner ads.
- I didn’t get a single conversion.
- Turns out – the offer didn’t work.
Don’t feel like reading? Watch the Insider Information for Affiliate Campaigns video
There is a big problem in the affiliate marketing industry. Lack of information for new affiliates.
Right now, as you read this there are thousands of brand new affiliates hunting through affiliate network offers looking for something to promote.
- All of them will test something
- A few will get lucky and find an offer that works
- The rest will fail miserably and quit forever.
The Big Turnaround
The big turnaround for me, came when I was contacted by an affiliate manager who politely listened to what I was doing (blindly testing dating offers on an SEO site) and then told me to change course immediately and do what some other people were doing.
As I’ve posted before, this was a game-changing moment for me and put me on a course for my biggest campaign ever.
And it was all because I got a little bit 0f insider information before campaign launch about what was working for others.
How Much Should I Spend on a Test?
I get asked a lot about how much money it costs to test a new offer. You commonly hear people say things like “spend 5x the offer payout and if it doesn’t work dump campaign and move on”. And while that may work for some – I prefer taking a different route – and it works better every time.
Pre-Launch Intel Gathering
Before I start a new campaign I gather as much intelligence as possible before choosing an offer. I use affiliate managers, other affiliates, spy tools, manual research, conferences and meet-ups to figure out what’s working, who it’s working for and where the traffic is coming from.
Using that information as a guide, I put myself in a position to succeed from day 1. I also give myself the confidence needed to feel comfortable losing/investing money into the campaign for days, or even weeks without jumping ship.
I know if it’s working for other people, it can work for me – all I have to do is figure it out.
This is why I pick an offer and stick with it until it works. I don’t spend 5x the payout and move on. If it doesn’t work I know it’s not the offer, it’s me. And out of all the different variables that make up a good campaign, “me” is the one thing I know I can fix.
Here are some ways you can do it too.
- Talk to Affiliate Managers. The right affiliate manager or affiliate network rep can make a huge difference in your success. These managers are working 8+ hours a day with other affiliates and (most of them) know what’s going on. I ask them “what are the top 3 things working for other people” they say “X, Y and Z”. Now I have 3 choices for a new campaign that I know have potential. I don’t have to worry if the offer functions or not. It works, and other people are making money with it. That means I can too.
- Talk to other affiliates. Every affiliate needs to have a few friends. A group of people that share information on a regular basis. It’s hard to get someone to tell you exactly what they’re up to, especially if they’re doing well. But sometimes, a nudge in the right direction is all you need. It sounds counter-intuitive but in my experience, the more info you share with each other, the better everyone does. I’ve been a member of a group where we shared our campaigns in detail, landing pages, ads, sources, everything. We swapped ideas and challenged each other on a daily basis and made more money overall than we ever would have alone.
- Spy Tools. Another way to gather intel is to use a spy tool. These tools will show you what ads are running, what site their on and how long they’ve been out there. You can spot a trend that looks like it’s been going on for a while, download all the creatives and give it a shot for yourself. If other affiliate have ads running on a source for 4 weeks straight, you can bet there are gold in those hills. Check out WhatRunsWhere (display), LotsofAds (Facebook) and MOAT (free, but less useful).
- Conferences / Meetups. Another great way to figure out what’s hot is to go to a conference or a meetup. Most of the time there will be a buzz going around about an offer, a new market or some type of campaign. Everywhere you go, people will be talking about it. If the entire conference is talking about it – there’s a reason. Find a network that has the offer, talk to a manager there and launch a campaign.
I made a huge mistake in the beginning. I worked in a vacuum, spent weeks testing offers that didn’t convert and wasted a lot of time. Don’t make the same mistake.
Use the industry resources listed above to your advantage. Talk to people and gather as much pre-launch insider information as you can. Doing this puts you in a position to succeed from day one and will give you the confidence to stick with a campaign long term until it’s profitable.
Or – if you want to jump around from offer to offer testing blindly on your own, then 5x the offer payout sounds good to me. Maybe you’ll find a “lucky win”.
But if you’re waiting for luck to make your fortune… you should just go play the lottery.