1. Have persistence
It takes a long time to figure out affiliate marketing. There are a lot of moving pieces and things that you need to learn through trial and error. Many new affiliates make the mistake that they try affiliate marketing for 1-2 months, not quite getting the results that they want, so they just quit and move on to something else.
In reality, the learning curve for affiliate marketing is very steep. It’s the guys that are the most persistent, constantly taking action, and not giving up that end up having success. This happened to us. Peter and I, we failed for 2-3 years before we made any money with affiliate marketing. It comes down to being persistent.
2. Be hungry for success
If you already have a full-time day job and affiliate marketing to you is a hobby devoting a couple of hours a week to it, then you may not become successful. In order to become successful with affiliate marketing, you need to be fully on board and hungry for the results. There are going to be tough times; you are going to lose money or you’re going to have your ad accounts shut down every now and then. But it all comes down to how hungry you are. If you don’t give up, then you can move forward and eventually find success.
3. Be the “mad scientist”
Another very important trait is to develop a “mad scientist” mentality. 90% of affiliate marketing is just conducting experiments: which ad, offer, landing page, email sequence is going to perform better. The people that really succeed with affiliate marketing are the ones that are constantly, every day, testing new ideas: launching new ads, coming up with angles and landing pages. You also need to take controlled risk and not just blowing money on things that aren’t going to work. Instead, spend small amounts of money testing ideas that have a high probability of success.
4. Be non-emotional
Affiliate marketing and the financial world are pretty similar: you need to leave your emotions at the door, just like a stockbroker. When you’re dealing with high volumes of ad spend and a lot of money going out, it can be very easy to let your emotions take over. I’ve been guilty of this dozens of times in the past. The people that really do well as media buyers and as affiliate marketers are the ones that are able to separate their emotions from the data. Always let your data guide your decisions. If you have a system in place where you let your ads run for a certain amount of impressions before making decisions, then the best thing to do is come up with a set of rules to guide your marketing and stick by them, rather than just let your emotions take over.
For example, we have certain metrics and guidelines that we look at while we’re testing and scaling campaigns. When we’re testing campaigns, we want to make sure that within the first $500 or so spent, we are at least at a -50% ROI. If we’ve only spent $500 on testing an ad campaign, it’s not a lot of money, and we can’t expect that we’re going to be fully profitable with it anyway. But there are certain other metrics that we look at. If I spend $500 and I’m at a 70% loss, then I’ll probably just move on and test a different campaign. But if I spend $500, and I’m only at a 10-20% loss, then I know that that campaign is great, and I should move forward on it.
So, having specific rules and guidelines that you can apply to your marketing and media buying can help you separate your emotions from the data. It’s easy when you’re running campaigns at a low scale, but when you’re running campaigns at a high volume (spending thousands of dollars a day on ads), emotions can really take over and it is easy to get stuck inside your own head and think that things are not going as well.
5. Be willing to move quickly.
We move very fast in our company. When we come up with a new idea for an ad campaign, we are immediately implementing it — within the same day or week. The problem is, a lot of people come up with good ideas for ad campaigns but don’t get around to it fast enough, putting them off for 2-4 weeks. By that point, the idea isn’t even as fresh in their mind, and maybe they don’t even get to it at all. So I think a very important trait is being able to take very fast action when you know that it’s time to move.
6. Pivot quickly to new ideas
Another very important trait is to be able to not get married to certain campaigns or ideas. When you see that things are not going the way that you want them to go, and there may not be any promise of getting profitable or improving it to success, then it might just be time to pivot to a new idea.
As long as you’re sticking to a specific set of rules and making rule-based decisions on when you should pivot or stay on track on a certain campaign, then you will do much better than people that come up with one idea for a campaign and do it for months or years without success, just blowing their money on testing a business model / campaign that has no traction at all. Pivoting fast is very important, and you might struggle with it at first. If you haven’t got your first profitable campaign yet, then it might feel to you like you are giving up too early on things, that you haven’t really given it your all yet. I think I can still turn this around.
7. Learn to manage campaigns at scale
Managing campaigns at scale can be challenging. Many affiliates start scaling their campaigns, and they end up crashing and burning. This happens more often than not. It’s important to do a bit of searching inside and identify what type of characteristics you may or may not have.
- If you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed easily when managing a lot of things at scale, then it might be better for you to bring on a partner/contractor/employee to help you manage projects.
- If you’re the type of person that gets overly emotional or isn’t good at taking fast action or implementing changes quickly at scale, then you may not be the person that should be managing the scaled campaigns.
So, it all comes down to your strong suits.
Okay, guys, let’s summarize the seven points.
#1: Be persistent
#2: Be hungry
#3: Be a mad scientist
#4: Be non-emotional
#5: Be willing to move quickly
#6: Be able to pivot fast when things don’t work out
#7: Be able to manage campaigns at scale
I hope this is helpful. These are many traits to have, and it takes a long time to really build up your competency in these seven different areas. But as you are moving forward in your career, these are things that you should keep in mind and work on constantly improving.