What makes an affiliate an expert?
Experience, skill, and knowledge are certainly requirements. However, in an industry that changes as quick as affiliate marketing, a heightened sense of awareness is also necessary. You need to have the ability to understand the current environment better than anyone to know how it will evolve so that you can then act accordingly.
This rare level of perception can be an invaluable teaching tool for those who hope to one day become experts themselves.
Knowing that, we thought we would ask three of AffFly’s most successful affiliates questions that will provide beginners with beneficial answers.
Answering those questions will be Kris, whose success is attributed to his proficiency at promoting working from home campaigns using Facebook and his website, Rohit, who uses e-mail and other traffic sources to make money in the finance vertical, and Aaron, who specializes in promoting biz opp campaigns using several websites. The three of them have over 20 years of combined experience promoting affiliate marketing campaigns.
We wanted to talk to multiple affiliates who have each taken different paths to success to ensure we’d get three different perspectives and answers to each of our questions.
If you’re a beginner affiliate who’s looking to propel your own journey, perhaps our experts’ answers can provide you with the knowledge to make that happen today.
1. What is one thing you know now that you wish you could have known when you first began promoting campaigns?
Kris: How to properly test and track traffic sources. I’ve wasted a lot of time and money in the past not tracking effectively. It’s also something that I think a lot of beginner targeted resources don’t focus enough on considering how integral it is to what we do.
Rohit: There’s several things that would have changed a lot for me when I was first starting out if I had known about them then: targeted audiences, click-through-rates (CTR), and how important it is to frequently test almost everything. Even just having a better understanding of EPC (earnings-per-click) would have also been beneficial.
Aaron: For me personally, I wish I would have known more about EPC values and to not be so scared to try different campaigns that are in your vertical. There are a ton of companies in every market that want your business, so if you aren’t seeing the results you want, don’t be scared to try a different product/campaign with the same landing page. I have seen campaigns convert at 2-3% and the next day I try a different one in the same vertical and see conversions on the same site with the same traffic average 22-27%.
I also really wish I had started using my own landing pages sooner instead of direct linking.
2. Other than the CPA rate and vertical, when you are searching for a new campaign to promote, what are the qualities you look at to determine if it has potential to make you money?
Kris: Eye appeal is one of the first things I’ll look for. I need to feel that the landing page is going to be visually attractive to users. One of the ways I determine this is if the design of the landing page is making good use of the space above the fold, so how well it presents itself before you scroll down the page.
I’ll also make sure I understand when and how the pixel fires and check to see if the campaign is properly mobile optimized.
Rohit: The EPC of the campaign as well as the quality of its landing page(s) are the two most important details for me. Campaigns can have a great rate and product and still fail because of a bad landing page.
Having an eye for good landing pages is something that you’ll develop over time.
Aaron: I’ve reached a point where sometimes I need to negotiate to make sure an advertiser can support my volume while also making sure I’ll be earning enough for the volume I send. This is one of the first things I do now. Some advertisers won’t see you and your traffic as a good fit but don’t take this personally. Use that time and money elsewhere.
Something that can help you develop a better understanding of a campaign’s potential is making your own “test” account on the offer and seeing for yourself the process your customer is going to go through to generate a conversion. You’ll get a better idea of all the steps and time required for a conversion and whether that fits well with who you’re targeting and what you’re promoting.
3. Do you think it is best for beginners to do as much research as possible before they ever run a campaign, or do you think the most valuable education comes from what they will learn when they are actually promoting those campaigns?
Kris: If I could suggest one thing to beginners it would be to stick with proven campaigns that are already performing well overall. Once you’ve made that decision, then you can start testing traffic sources.
I also think there is more value to gain out of action than just pure research or education. You’ll learn more DOING than you ever will sitting on the sidelines.
Rohit: Education and research are an important element of understanding the product/campaign, but a well researched offer can still fail at making you money. I personally think it’s best to promote an offer while simultaneously continuing to do more research. This allows you to gain a better idea of what’s happening with a campaign, traffic source, or strategy while those things are in motion. This can assist you in correcting mistakes.
Without research you wont fully understand the campaign and without failure from ineffectively promoting a campaign you won’t truly understand how to be successful, so I think both are equally important.
Aaron: Both, but for me I more or less like to jump in head first. Now that I have been doing this for years, I know the average traffic I produce and what that traffic should earn. I can see when a campaign isn’t going to work within a few hours of testing.
I think if you have the budget, it’s good to play around and test the waters. Do some research and promote the campaign. If it takes you too long to see results or even break even, ditch the offer and move on!
4. What is one resource or form of support that your AffFly Affiliate Manager provides you that a beginner may not think to ask for or utilize?
Kris: I don’t think beginners have the confidence to lean on their AMs enough when they’re starting their affiliate marketing careers, so I’d say just utilizing them in general. To this day I still try my best to wear my affiliate manager out with questions, tips, tricks and intel whenever I can. They’re a free resource so you might as well use them.
Rohit: Transparency. They’re very willing to discuss almost anything with you regarding campaigns you’re promoting or want to promote which can be helpful in several ways.
In some cases your AM can help you get traffic restrictions lifted. For example, if you’re an e-mail expert and you’re confident you could send quality traffic to an advertiser using email but the campaign doesn’t currently permit that, your AM can communicate with the advertiser and potentially remove those restrictions for you.
Aaron: Honestly, everything!
They are there to be any type of resource you need. If you are frustrated and need to vent, they will listen. If you are happy and want to give them a compliment, they will take it. If you have issues with a campaign, they will dig down and find the issue. No matter if your needs are positive or negative, they have your back and are there to help! They can’t give you an exact blueprint for success, but they will help you with your ideas and with whatever comes up as you make your journey.
When I first started, I was scared to ask my manager for anything, and now I think I message my account manager at least five times a day even if it’s just to say hello!
5. How do you think affiliate marketing’s identity has changed from when you started compared to what it is today? Do you have any predictions as to how it will evolve over the next 5 years?
Kris: Affiliate marketing certainly hasn’t become any easier, but it has great upside potential and I don’t know of any other industry where one person can make a few million a year in revenue without an office, employees, or the headaches of managing overhead.
I don’t see affiliate marketing going away anytime soon but I do see it becoming more challenging as time goes on.
Rohit: Affiliate marketing is not a part time job. It’s more complicated than a 9-5 corporate gig but it also has unlimited potential.
When I started 7 years ago I was thinking: “How can I make $100k a month?” Today I am thinking: “How can I make $400k a month?” and in the next five years I hope I will be thinking: “How can I make a million a month?”
I think that potential will continue to grow but so will the obstacles that will be between us and reaching that potential. Just how it’s always been, the affiliates who develop the ability to adapt to changes are the ones who will continue to have the most success.
Aaron: I think what has changed since I started is the perception of working from home. Whether its affiliate marketing or MLM, when people see success they want to be a part of it. Over the years the entire “work from home” industry has changed and become more common. With that comes more competition and suddenly the strategies you used a few years ago may not work today. You must adapt and keep learning new methods! Five years from now you’ll likely be able to read this same paragraph and say the same thing: you need to be able to adapt.
Ill end with this. Whether it’s today or 10 years from now, always remember when you see something you like and you click on that ad or purchase that item, someone somewhere made money on that lead. You just happened to be in their funnel. Think about the funnel you can create and the niche you are passionate about and you will find your opportunity.