Why Do Most Affiliates Struggle?
A lot of people have been emailing & messaging me, saying that they’ve been getting a lot of value from what we’ve been putting out on the blog – particularly in video format. So, Peter and I are going to make more effort to put out more free training content for you guys, and really try to help people that went through our paid coaching program that we did with Charles Ngo called the Lead Gen Engine or maybe have been following us on the blog. Our mission is to be helping affiliates, entrepreneurs get successful in their business; sharing personal insights, strategies, and experiences from the past seven years now doing this full time. So, today what I want to talk about is something that is really important and it’s a reason why a lot of affiliates are struggling.
There’s going to be a few different points, but more or less the topic for today’s video is going to be really what affiliates struggle with the most, and how to combat and troubleshoot these different obstacles and problems that affiliates run into when they’re just getting started in business.
When it comes down to Affiliate Marketing, the most important part of it is what offer you’re promoting. You can have the best ads in the world, the best landing page, the best ad copy, the best angles; but if the affiliate offer that you’re trying to promote doesn’t get a good conversion rate or just doesn’t resonate with people, then you’re not going to be able to make money. So, a huge part of doing affiliate marketing just comes down to the offer that you’re promoting, and this ends up being the biggest obstacle for most of the people that get started an Affiliate Marketing – it’s probably the most common question I get. So, somebody starts doing Affiliate Marketing, they sign up for an affiliate network, they see hundreds of different offers to go and promote; how do you really know which one of those offers is really going to be good? There are certain criteria that I look for when it comes to picking affiliate offers and selecting what it is that I’m going to test:
First of all, the offer needs to be Facebook-compliant; it can’t be in a vertical that Facebook isn’t friendly with. For example, there’s a lot of really good offers out there nowadays, promoting things like CBD, stuff that maybe is healthy for people and helps people, but isn’t necessarily a Facebook-approved vertical to promote in. So, personally that would be an example of an area that I would stay away from. Now, a good example to pursue would be something like auto insurance, where there’s no question of whether Facebook would allow you to run those ads or if they’re going to get banned, etc. So, the first thing to keep in mind for sure is that whatever you’re promoting needs to be Facebook-compliant.
The second thing is that whatever the offer that I pick to run on Facebook really needs to have a proven track record – that is, having success: either the internal advertiser who owns the offer is having success in some form with paid traffic or there’s other affiliates successfully promoting it on Facebook and getting profitable. Very rarely do I take an offer that nobody’s having success with, that nobody knows whether it’s going to work, and allocate my time and energy and money towards testing that product or service. So that’s a very important thing, proven track record.
Also, it’s very important to have an offer that will get a good EPC. For those who don’t know what an EPC is: it’s Earnings per Click. Let’s say that you run a Facebook ad and you send 100 people to the affiliate offer. How much money do those hundred clicks generate on the offer? For the majority of the affiliate offers out there, that number is typically very, very low. Typical EPCs on affiliate offers can range anywhere from pennies to 20-30 cents, up to a dollar plus. So it’s very important that you select one that has the potential to get a high EPC when you’re picking your offer. The reason is that Facebook costs -while not prohibitively expensive- are up there. Depending on the vertical, a click on Facebook could cost you anywhere from 20-30 cents all the way to several dollars per click. So whatever offer that you’re promoting on Facebook needs to have the ability to get a high enough EPC to back out the traffic that you’re sending to that offer.
Those are some very, very important criteria, and are mostly the main things that I look for when I’m promoting offers. So, you go into the network, you see all the offers on there; how do you weed through these offers and actually find out what’s going to get the good EPC or what has a proven track record? If you’re just looking at the affiliate offer network and all you see are offer names and links, then it’s pretty hard to tell what’s actually going on behind the scenes. This is where the whole process of affiliate marketing requires a little bit more digging and outside work.
I always recommend that you build a good relationship with your affiliate manager, because when you sign up for an affiliate network you get assigned an affiliate manager who’s basically your point of contact for accessing the offers that you want to promote. They have a bird’s-eye view over everything that goes on across the entire network, generally; they know what the offers are that bring in the most revenue, what people are succeeding with most, and they know what isn’t working as well. Affiliate managers like to keep this information pretty close to their chest. They’re not just going to tell you as soon as you sign up what the very best offer is on the network or what’s bringing in the most revenue across all their affiliates on what specific offer. It would seem that it would be in their best interests to tell you that, because at the end of the day they don’t necessarily make any money until you get profitable and scale your campaigns. This isn’t generally how a lot of affiliate managers do business – which is unfortunate. It’s inconvenient for everybody that’s a part of this: inconvenient for the affiliates, because they don’t know what the good offers are; it’s inconvenient for the affiliate managers ultimately, because it’s going to be much harder for them to get more profit out of the affiliates if they’re not giving the affiliate straight answers and just sort of beating around the bush. It’s just not helpful for anyone. The best thing that you can do is to build a strong relationship with your affiliate manager.
Most of the offers that we run are just direct to the advertisers – it’s very rare nowadays that we go through an affiliate network to promote our offers. There are a few select affiliate networks that we do work with primarily, with whom Peter and I have spent years and years just building up relationships with our affiliate managers, referring them business; basically doing things to strengthen the relationships, so that if we have any question, like whether an offer performs well, or how other people are doing with it, then there is much more willing to work together and communicate openly about things like that.
There is a certain level of relationship and trust that we’ve built over the years by providing value to their affiliate network, either through revenue or referring other affiliates, or just overall relationship building. Maybe we met in person at the conference multiple times, maybe we’ve had dinners together if we’ve gone out to drinks at affiliate summits; things like that. So, I can’t stress enough about how important relationships are in this industry.
For Peter and, it hasn’t been that easy over the years. We’ve had to really go out of our way to help other people that we want to build relationships with, flying around to conferences constantly. At the end of the day, that’s how you build good relationships; by providing value to other people and creating a give and take relationship where it’s not only you hitting up your affiliate manager asking, “Hey what’s the best offer?” or “What’s this?” and “What’s that?” – only taking things… You have to give, too, in order to actually build a good relationship.
Now, as far as finding good offers, your affiliate manager can be -obviously- a very good resource for getting that sort of information, but the affiliate manager may not be so willing to give you all the information. There are other ways that you can do it, too.
Another way that you can learn what offer is going to
convert the best is just by actually testing it. This requires an
investment on your end: you need to go and buy traffic and you need to send it
to the affiliate offer, but typically, what I recommend doing is not just
sticking with one particular offer.
Let’s say that you sign up for a network and you want to go promote something in a certain vertical, let’s say auto insurance, and your affiliate manager gives you the auto insurance offer to promote. Well, maybe that’s the best auto insurance offer, maybe it’s not. You need to do the legwork on your end as far as testing offers, not only on the same network but across different networks. Even if it’s the same offer with the same payout on a different affiliate network, it could actually perform differently as some affiliate networks might have different filters, or might even scrub the data and not pay you for all the leads that you generate – which happens more often than not in this industry, unfortunately.
So: putting in some legwork on your end; multiple offers in the same vertical; and just really letting the data tell you what’s the best offer (versus relying on what the affiliate manager tells you) are all very important aspects.
If you are testing a lot of different offers, obviously it requires a good solid testing budget in order to get through the data and tell what’s good and what’s not – there’s no real way to beat around that. Unfortunately, you need to spend some money on testing, in fact this was probably the biggest barrier that I faced when I was getting into affiliate marketing in 2012.
Just a little back-story here about my journey:
In 2012 I was graduating high school, I was 18. I was going into college and I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, but I knew I wanted to have my own business. I had always been sort of entrepreneurial. Peter and I, we had a landscaping business when we were in high school and started working together with the Internet business.
When I started to learn about affiliate marketing and about paid traffic, the biggest obstacle for me was the whole deal of having to test so much stuff to become profitable. When I first got started, I was I was really broke. I remember, at one certain point I had a negative balance in my bank account – negative 15 or 30 dollars – not only did I have no money to my name, I had negative money to my name…
It was really a three-year cycle for me of working just a normal job, saving up a few grand here and there, and testing it on campaigns. For three years I was in a cycle of making money and losing all that money testing campaigns. And it wasn’t until about 2015 after three years of doing this that I finally had a breakthrough, and Peter and I really got profitable on some campaigns.
What really led to that breakthrough ultimately was some outside coaching we had, a mentor that we paid hourly to learn about affiliate marketing, and we were able to take his knowledge and implement that into our own business and make our own variations of what he was doing and become successful ultimately. But the whole testing thing was a big obstacle for us, financially. You need to test a lot of stuff; it requires thousands of dollars.
But one thing that can definitely help you skip the learning curve is finding a mentor. So, that’s the next tip that I want to give for people that are getting into affiliate marketing. It’s super important to find a mentor – somebody that you can trust, somebody that has your best interests in mind that isn’t just after your dollars, somebody that legitimately wants to help you and see you succeed.
It’s something Peter and I found in 2015 that led to our breakthrough. Who knows what would have happened if we didn’t have that mentor… Potentially what would have happened is that we would have just quit, because after three years of not seeing results, it’s sort of like “enough is enough!” We either needed to make it happen, or we needed to figure out something else. So, finding a mentor is very, very key, and a good one at that. Peter and I, we’ve had a lot of mentors over the years, paid for consulting, etc. and the majority of them really were not good. They were just after the money, more or less.
Anyways. Guys, I hope these insights have been valuable. As I said, I’m going to try to do these videos on a more regular basis.
If you have a topic that you want me or Peter to talk about in a video, we’ll cover it, go ahead and shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – this is a shared email that Peter and I both check regularly.
I hope you guys are getting value out of this, and let me know if this is helpful. I’ll see you in the next one!