Your Affiliate Strategy Sucks
By on Jan 29, 2012

I apologise for the title; it sounds angry. I love you all dearly however today’s post is not of my quill.

The ever so graceful Angry Russian is back and is about to explain to you a proven affiliate strategy that takes the luck out of this game.

angry russianAngry Russian:  Does this sound like you? You hear of a hot new offer or a hot new traffic source so you fire up Photoshop, bang out some creatives, and launch a new campaign. You sit and wait for approval…then…BAM all of the sudden $100 spend and 0 conversions.

Mr Green: Yes I hate that. I always think I could have spent that $100 on a day’s worth of laser tag.

Angry Russian: STFU! Don’t start this crap again.

The Problem.

A lot of  you affiliates wait until your affiliate manager throws another “sick offer that’s crushing it” your way. Then you repeat the process, launch the campaign and again, you curse “this shit don’t work!”

Of course it doesn’t work.

How can it when all you do is fling shit against a wall and hope it sticks? Let’s face it, most affiliates treat their business like gambling. They keep waiting to hit it big. So they throw $50 here and there testing new traffic, new offers and wait for that jackpot.

Now don’t get me wrong. If you test enough, something will make money.

BUT

… how long before that shit dries up and falls off the wall? We experienced affiliates have seen this too often. Traffic sources dry up, affiliates copy your campaign, ad networks rip your stuff or out your strategy, it’s just a matter of time.

Success in affiliate marketing isn’t achieved through luck, it’s found in scrupulous process. You need to build a systematic approach to how you run your campaigns. Mr Green can agree, and is actually one of the people who encouraged me to systematically test campaigns.

Mr Green: Ye speak truths. If you want to be in this long-term, you have to have a method to the madness. Relying on wishbones and horseshoes will only guarantee you a good conversion rate for a heart attack.

Angry Russian: Indeed. A seasoned affiliate has developed a process to which he can make almost any offer work on any traffic source. The only question typically is volume not profitability. A solid converting offer doesn’t need to be a monster to be scaled to $x,xxx a day. All of these “killing it” offers are just distractions. Stick to steady offers and develop your process and you will feel better knowing that no matter how this eternally evolving  industry shifts, you will have a system for testing and optimising campaigns.

The Solution.

Angry Russian uses a simple 7 step routine.

Just to share a real world example, here at FlipSite Media we’ve broken down our process to something like this:

Mr Green: Nice Plug. Very subtle.

Angry Russian: …I wish I could physically hurt you through the internet.

  • Step1: We have a “go to” traffic source(s) with whom we test offers. What we look for are reasonable rates, CPM bidding, quick approvals and easy launching.
  • Step2: We then leverage our media buying experience and use past experience of creatives to build new ones to compare against controls.
  • Step3: We collect data. At this point profitability isn’t vital. We just want to know which ads and landing pages work and if we’re lucky we gather some targeting info as well.
  • Step4: We take our data, dissect it and launch more campaigns to figure out the exact [banner + lander + targeting] that yield the best results yet still have enough VOLUME to warrant us pressing further. NOTE: You don’t need to use a lander – you could direct link – but often advertisers have more than one lander so we try to test all combinations.
  • Step5: Once we know our combinations, we scale to other traffic sources. Typically once you know your target demographic, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make it work elsewhere.
  • Step6: Rinse and repeat for new offer(s).
  • Step7: Always be split testing and optimising existing campaigns – usually weekly or monthly depending on ROI and volume.

Mr Green: Thank you Mr Happy Fappy Man. My strategy is very similar to yours, except I tend to use landers the majority of the time.

Angry Russian. Yep. This is how real affiliates scale. They enforce their success, rather than leaving it up to trail and (mostly) error.

Mr Green: For sure. Take a look at Bear Grylls, he uses the same strategy in every single survival situation. 1. Climb to the highest point, to have the best view on surroundings. 2. Find food and water. 3. Sort a shelter. 4. Find a stream and follow it down (it always leads down to civilizations).

Angry Russian: What has this got to do with affiliate marketing?

Mr Green: Not too much..it’s just that I’ve wanted to talk about Bear’s strategy and never got the chance.

Angry Russian:

———————

I am curious how many of you readers follow a systematic approach when creating campaigns. If you don’t, have you successfully been doing affiliate marketing for more than a year?

 

Comments (33)

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  1. Ryan Eagle says:

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  2. inbeforedino says:

    ^^ I've bought that offer before, it didn't help.

    In terms of strategy I havent actively gone out to make a good one but i think ive created one that works for me without knowing it.

    Good post guys!

  3. Great article…and very true. We approach our campaigns with a similar systematic method. Whilst a lot of what we do is PPC based, we have rules in place for how long we can test a campaign (eg – 100 click/keyword) and then wait to see what sales come through and what the cookie period is.

    If you see a keyword is profitable then you can look to increase bids, extend time targeting, look at different geo-targeting options etc.

    We are aware of other PPC affiliates in the UK that dont have such a process in place, bid on generic keywords and then turn campaigns off when they blow their budget within a couple of days. The trouble many new PPC affiliates have is seeing which keyword is driving sales as affiliate networks dont always provide this kind of data and then they need to have their own tech/website which they can track which keywords are performing well through. A tough job if you are small time just starting out. But if you keep your campaigns small and tight to begin with, after some initial success you should be able to look for some of the tech that is out there to help with this.

    BH.

  4. Snoop says:

    Wait, so basing my affiliate strategy off the Underpants Gnomes profit plan is why I continue to lose monies?

    Step 1: Collect the Underpants
    Step 2: ?
    Step 3: PROFIT!

    Doh!

    AR, is there a typical time frame you test/collect data on new offers before you either make significant changes or even pause…days, weeks, month?

  5. pjs says:

    Great post my russian brother.

    After struggling my first year in Affiliate Marketing, I found a system that works. Since then, that's what I'm doing for 3 years. Finding new systems and improving them…

    Checkout Moneyball, it's the best example of using a systematic approach.

    Shesliva.

  6. @Snoop

    Thats the part of the system you have to develop. I can't tell you X amount of clicks or X budget or even X time because it all depends on your offer, your traffic, and most importantly your risk tolerance.

    To this day I use this little guy to help me see if the data I'm looking at is significant or not : http://splittester.com/

  7. Tom Fang says:

    1000% agree with systematization. I can't approach anything in any other way. I don't want to a build campaign, I want to build an income source. More systematization = more room for automation = more hands free process.

    Like.

    -Tom

  8. African Dave says:

    Can I ask what your 'go-to' traffic source is?

  9. @African Dave

    For mobile I can't discole my traffic source, but for web POF and SiteScout were great.

  10. Alexei Goudzenko+ says:

    Its really hard to make a universal systematic approach to any niche but if you're one that specializes in a certain niche and have experience working with youre market. Then im sure with a lot of critical thought and testing you can be well on you're way to a successful systematic approach to offers.

    I'm surprised a post was written on this topic. Everybody should be aiming to be able to do this. Keep learning from you're mistakes and remember them. Write it down. Anyway helpful post anyway. Hats off to the znakomi ykrainski pastan

  11. [...] Mr. Green and The Angry Russian explain why your affiliate strategy sucks. [...]

  12. pamela says:

    This is so true. Many new affiliates and some who were affiliates for a while but struggle follow some crappy methods and think they will strike it rich in an instant. I think people need to spend some time learning the basics of the business before the even become an affiliate.

  13. doryphoros says:

    @AngryRussian: Great post, I've definitely been developing a system for testing/scaling.

    @MrGreen: You forgot Bear Grylls' most important step…drinking his own piss.

  14. Hi, this is a great post for people who feel stuck in their strategy. Finding the right strategy for one probably requires to tweak once and again what others have proved that works for them until it fits you.

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  18. Pakar SEO says:

    I am appreciating on this article.

  19. Always be split testing and optimising existing campaigns – usually weekly or monthly depending on ROI and volume

  20. Interesting and informative post, especially Affiliate marketing strategies that provide the ability to website owners to earn money for referring the sales to the merchants in a safe way. In my understanding, there are three core parties involved in the affiliate marketing scenario. That is the affiliate who owns the website and wishes to earn the commission on the sales, the retailer who has the products and wishes to sell them and the technology provider that is an affiliate network that is the central hub between the affiliate and the retailer to support the affiliate transactions.

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