There is a phrase that has been running through my mind for the last two years. Today, it is my mantra.
“Let The Machines Do The Work”.
I was hyper-focused on the minute-to-minute details of each campaign. I made 100s of adjustments per day.
After several weeks of losing money I realized that these constant changes weren’t helping. They were actually costing me time and money. I was investing 16 hours a day into this thing and getting nothing in return.
When I realized this, I got up from my desk, got in my car and drove into Hollywood to meet a friend for dinner.
We ate dinner and talked for two hours. During this time I didn’t think about the campaign. I didn’t check my phone for stats or anything. I just let it run.
When I got home, the campaign had had it’s first profitable two hours ever.
I laughed out loud and let the lesson sink in.
“Let The Machines Do The Work” I said to myself… and it’s been floating around my head ever since.
Hustle & Grind?
There is a common misconception in the affiliate marketing industry that success will only come to those who “Hustle” or “Grind”. And while this may be true – (you do have work hard to make money online) I think it’s only part of the puzzle.
The trick is knowing when to work hard but then also knowing when to relax. Because there is definitely a time for both.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with how the amount of time I work on a campaign relates to its profitability. I wanted to know if the number of hours I put into a campaign relates to the amount of money I make.
So far the answer is no.
More effort does not always equal more money.
I recently shared a screenshot taken directly from my Voluum tracking system. In it I showed the ROI of four new campaigns that I had launched that week.
See the responses on Facebook. Be sure to Like the page while you’re there.
I asked my Facebook Group to guess which campaign I’d spend the most time working on that week. Most of the group answered #4, because it had the highest ROI and appeared to be the most successful campaign.
But the answer was actually #3. The campaign that I had spent the most time focusing on did the worst. And I believe its failure was directly related to amount of time I spent hyper-focused on it.
Now let’s be clear. This screenshot is definitely not scientific evidence that working less on a campaign will magically make you more money. Let’s not get crazy.
But it is an interesting pattern. And as you should know by now, being able to spot and exploit patterns is pretty much what campaign optimization is all about.
What To Do Instead
So if I’m no longer spending 16 hours a day tweaking campaigns, what AM I doing?
- These days, I place most of my focus on setting up campaigns correctly. This includes choosing offers that have a proven track record of performance and using the exact traffic sources that they’re being run on. This is crucial, you can’t setup a terrible campaign, walk away and expect profits.
- I create several angles and ideas and set reasonable budgets that I can afford to lose without stress or worry.
And then I walk away.
After a set amount of time (could be 2–3 hours or 2–3 days) I check in to see how things are going. I have progress indicators that tell me if/when to change budgets and bids. I use statistical significance calculators to tell me if the data actually means anything. Then, if needed, I make these slight adjustments and then go do something else.
While I’m gone, the data comes in and the numbers pile up. Together they construct a picture that I’ll be able to review later down the line and adjust if necessary.
This laid back approach to campaign optimization has (so far) proven to be the most impactful thing that has ever happened to my business. And it seems to be working for several of the select few affiliates that I’ve been working with behind the scenes.
In other words… I’m a believer.
If I can reduce the amount of time I spend working on something – and end up making more money. Then sign me up.
Let The Machines Do The Work
If you’re currently struggling with making a campaign work, or if you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for weeks with no profits to show for it, I invite you to test this theory.
- Put all of your focus into setting the campaign up correctly. This is the time for hard work. Invest your time talking to affiliate managers, spying on what other people are doing and building your angles, ads and landing pages for launch.
- Set the budget at something that’s not going to stress you out. One of the most stressful things you can do to yourself is leave the budget on a new campaign wide open overnight. You can’t sleep, you wake up ever 2 hours and check to make sure things are ok, and if things go wrong – your night is ruined. Set the budget to 2-5x the offer payout (or whatever you’re comfortable with) and relax knowing that even if everything goes wrong, you’re only risking a small amount of money.
- Press play. Once you have everything setup, start the campaign. I like to watch things until traffic starts coming in. You want to make sure that flow is working correctly. Ad click > Landing Page > Offer page. When you see that it’s all functional, congratulations… your job is done.
- Walk away. What you do now is up to you. You can either focus on launching your next campaign, go see a movie with a friend, grab dinner with your family, or just lay down on the couch and have a wonderful, long and well deserved nap.
Let The Machines Do The Work. Allow the campaign to flow without interruption. Give each ad and landing page enough time to be truly tested Allow the data to pile up enough so that it actually means something.
And most importantly… Give yourself a break.
No hustle, No grind.
Let The Machines Do The Work.