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 help affiliates & entrepreneurs become successful with their business; sharing personal insights, strategies, and experiences from the past seven years 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 about what affiliates struggle with the most, and how to combat and troubleshoot these different obstacles and problems.
When it comes to Affiliate Marketing, the most important part is which offers 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 comes down to the offer that you’re promoting, and this ends up being the biggest obstacle for most affiliate marketers – it’s probably the most common question I get.
When somebody starts doing affiliate marketing, they sign up for an affiliate network, they see hundreds of different offers to promote; how do you know which of those offers is going to perform? 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 that aren’t necessarily a Facebook-approved vertical to promote in – such as CBD products.
That would be a niche that I’d stay away from.
A good example of an offer to pursue would be auto insurance or similar services, where there is no question whether Facebook is going to allow you to run ads, or if they’re going to get penalized.
The first thing to keep in mind is that any offer you’re promoting must be Facebook-compliant.
Secondly, whatever offer I choose to run on Facebook needs to have a proven track record. Either the internal advertiser who owns the offer is having success with paid traffic, or there are other affiliates successfully promoting it on Facebook.
Very rarely do I take on an offer that nobody has seen success with, and allocate my time, energy, and money towards testing that product or service.
It is very important for an offer to have a proven track record.
Any offer must also provide a significant EPC (earnings per click.) Imagine that you run a Facebook ad that directs 100 people to the affiliate offer. How much money do those hundred clicks generate on the offer?
For a majority of affiliate offers, that number is very, very low. Typical EPCs on affiliate offers can range anywhere from pennies to 20-30 cents, up to a dollar plus. It is vital that you select an offer with the potential to get a high EPC.
The primary reason is that Facebook ad 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 make it worth your while.
Those are some very important criteria and are the main things that I look for when I’m promoting offers. How do you weed through these offers and actually find out what’s going to give a good EPC, or 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 is your primary 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, they know what offers 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 likely to tell you as soon as you sign up what the best offer on the network is, or what’s bringing in the most revenue across all their affiliates. It would appear that it should be in their best interest to tell you, 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 because it’s going to be much harder for them to profit from the affiliates if they’re not giving them straight answers.
hat’s why one of the best things you can do is to build a strong relationship with your affiliate manager.
Most of the offers that we run come direct from the advertisers – it’s very rare nowadays that we go through an affiliate network to promote our offers.
There are a select few affiliate networks that we do work with; with whom Peter and I have spent several years building up relationships with our affiliate managers, referring them business. Essentially, doing anything to strengthen our relationships, so that if we have any question, then they are much more willing to work together and communicate with us..
There is a certain level of trust that we’ve built over the years by providing value to their affiliate network, either through revenue or referring other affiliates. Maybe we met them in person at conferences multiple times, or we’ve had dinners together.
I can’t stress enough how important relationships are in this industry.
For Peter and myself, it hasn’t been easy over the years. We’ve had to really go out of our way to help the people that we want to build relationships with, regularly flying out to attend conferences.
At the end of the day, that’s how you build good relationships; by providing value to 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 build a good relationship.
Now, as far as finding good offers, your affiliate manager can be a very good resource for getting that sort of information, but the affiliate manager may not be willing to give you all the information.
There are other ways that you can go about finding out, however.
Another way that you can find out which offers are going to converting the best is to test them. 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 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 promote auto insurance, and your affiliate manager provides an auto insurance offer to promote. Potentially, that’s the best auto insurance offer, but maybe it’s not.
You need to do some 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 may perform differently as some affiliate networks utilize different filters.
Or, they may scrub the data and not pay you for the leads you have generated – which happens much too often in this industry, unfortunately.
By putting in some legwork on your end, testing multiple offers in the same vertical, letting the data inform you of 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, it requires a 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 avoid that.
Unfortunately, you need to spend money to make money, in fact, this was 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 entrepreneurial. Peter and I, had a landscaping business when we were in high school, and started working together on the Internet business further down the line.
When I started to learn about affiliate marketing and about paid traffic, the biggest obstacle for me was having to test so much stuff to become profitable. When I first got started, I was I was really broke.
I remember, at one 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 a three-year cycle for me, working a regular 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 of it testing campaigns. And it wasn’t until about 2015 after three years of doing this that I finally had a breakthrough, with Peter and I becoming profitable with some of our campaigns.
What led to that breakthrough ultimately, was some outside coaching we received from a mentor that we paid hourly to learn about affiliate marketing. We were able to take his knowledge and implement that into our own business to make our own variations of what he was doing and become successful. Testing was a big obstacle for us, financially, that we overcame.
You need to test a lot of stuff; it requires thousands of dollars.
But one tip that will definitely help you skip the learning curve is to find a mentor. 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 we may have 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.
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 were not good, they were just after our money.
I hope these insights have been valuable. As I said earlier, 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!