What do you do when you already put on the most popular meetup during ASW? Can you top it? When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ by Dr Seuss. Well, at ASW I will run the zoo…if only for a few hours…
Aff Playbook Presents – Above All Otters
So what did we do this year? Aff Playbook & Above All Offers teamed up and rented a zoo. Yep…we rented the entire zoo. Now, this isn’t your ordinary ‘look at the animals in their cages’ type zoo. This is a special zoo with exotic animals you actually get to interact with. How close will you get?
The pic above is from a few years ago when we visited. In case you were wondering, there are 3 otters in that pic. 1 is in Stefanie’s shirt. This zoo is actually the only place in the US where you can play with otters!
Otters aren’t the only thing you can interact with – the zoo has lots of exotic animals like a Binturong, Sloth, Coatimundi, Lemur, Caracal and tons more! Ever wanted to pet a camel? Ever wanted to look inside a kangaroo’s pouch? Ever wanted to meet a lemur or play with a monkey? With over 160 animals to meet and greet, there is something for everyone.
At this event, you’ll get a behind the scenes tour of the zoo, and chances to interact with some of these animals.
The entire zoo is ours for the event, so it will be an excellent opportunity for getting up close with animals and networking with your fellow affiliates!
The Above All Otters event will be on Saturday January 11th. We will meet at the Paris hotel at 2:30pm, and take a party bus out to the zoo.
Time: We’ll meet at 2:30pm, and be back by 7:15pm or so. After that…it’s Saturday night in Vegas so who knows!
Space is limited, and will be filled on a first come basis. Please RSVP yourself and any +1’s you want to bring.
This is probably the most unique event going on during ASW, and an awesome networking opportunity. The visit to the zoo alone, is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Please RSVP here – you really otter come! 😉
Beyond Hosting is offering a crazy good deal right now on dedicated servers. I personally have an R610 and it can handle anything I throw at it.
Beyond Hosting works with affiliates and knows what they need. Their servers are optimized to deliver the best performance possible for Prosper202, CPV Lab, etc.
They just got a massive order of Dell R610s into their data center and need to get them utilized fast.
So to help get this started they’ve created a promotional code that will get you 50% off your server for 3 months!
Use the promo code “GOGODEDI50!” during checkout for monthly billing to get an R610 for only $274 a month!
This is valid for R610 and R610+ Read server specs here.
This is for existing customers too! This means you can upgrade and get the discount. I would definitely recommend this deal if you’re looking for a good dedicated server.
*no affiliate links used
There was a somewhat heated discussion in the forum recently about whether affiliate marketing was a long term, sustainable business or not. It’s tough to come up with a definitive answer to this question, because it depends what you definition of a good business model is.
I think this topic brings up something bigger regarding the way affiliates think which hurts their business.
Affiliates think in terms of black or white
Affiliates have a tendency to think of everything as strictly one way or another. Some examples:
“Affiliate marketing isn’t a good long term business mode, but X is”.
“Doing X is way better than affiliate marketing, because of blah blah.”
Affiliates tend to look at stuff like this as really black or white and it just ends up hurting their business in the end. The decide that affiliate marketing isn’t a long term business model so something else definitely would be.
Not sure why so many affiliates miss the point that affiliate marketing can be a long term business model. Running traffic to CPA offers can be unstable yes, but there’s people who have been doing only that for years. It really comes down to what you like doing. Offers come and go, traffic sources get harder (and sometimes easier) to work with but that’s the nature of the CPA marketing business. Nothing ‘wrong’ with that really – you just need to be really adaptable.
I think what gets a lot of people thinking affiliate marketing isn’t a long term business model is their expectations. This is especially true for someone who has never been an entrepreneur before. They get an offer pulled and get totally discouraged and frustrated. The guys who are long term affiliates aren’t really phased by this. Of course they aren’t happy when an offer gets pulled..but they don’t dwell on it and just accept that it’s part of the business.
Now, that’s just talking about people doing paid traffic to CPA offers which, in reality, is such a small part of affiliate marketing as a whole. We tend to forget that, because in this ‘CPA IM circle’ it seems like that’s all we’re really exposed to. There are tons and tons of affiliates we never run into who are quietly making a great living while never touching CPA stuff. These people have been plugging away on their authority sites, datafeed sites, coupon sites, etc, etc. for years and have some really stable and impressive incomes.
As an affiliate, you have to be really careful to not start thinking the grass is greener on the other side. It can be sure, but it can also be much more difficult. I’ve know many affiliates who tried to get into other aspects of the business to be more ‘stable’ and ‘long term’ only to completely flop. These are really smart guys too, who made tons of money as affiliates.
The really cool thing about affiliate marketing is how simple it is. I don’t know of any other business where you can make so much with such a small bankroll. Not just that – you don’t have to learn anything especially technical or complicated to do it. You really just have to be extremely dedicated and willing to work really hard.
Take the example of creating your own lead based offer
This model has just as many potential negatives (if not more than affiliate marketing). Lead generation is completely riddled with fraud – this is a nightmare to deal with. Think getting offers pulled sucks? How about spending tons of money to get leads only to find out they can’t be sold. Ready to argue with lead buyers who say your leads don’t back out? Yep, gotta deal with that too.
There’s also no way of knowing if the lead gen form/offer you set up will convert at all. Are you ready to spend hours, days, weeks, setting something up only to find out it doesn’t convert at all? That’s much more money (and more importantly time) invested than spending a few hundred $$ to test an affiliate campaign.
It’s very difficult to estimate what you’ll need to pay to get leads in any given market too. Add this to the fact that you’ll need to figure out what the lifetime value of a lead is for your client (which is usually met with a blank stare) and it’s really easy to spend way more than you’ll make back. It takes some time to get your CPA down too, and you’re spending your own money to do that.
Remember all the sucky things about traffic sources as an affiliate? You know, Google algorithm changes that nuked your SEO sites, AdWords giving you crappy quality scores, Facebook ad costs rising, etc? Surprise – you still get to deal with all that! You have to get traffic from somewhere to get your leads right? Those traffic sources aren’t going to behave differently just because your sending traffic to your own lead form instead of an affiliate offer lead form.
Think about all I outlined above (which is just a few issues with the whole lead collection business model) and how much time and money you would potentially need to put into getting one lead. You have:
– The phone calls/meetings with the client
– Building the lead capture page
– Building the campaign to get the traffic
– Spending your own money trying to get your cost per lead below what the client is paying you per lead
– Following up with the client or answering phone calls/emails about the leads, lead quality, etc
Depending on what you value your hourly time at, this is potentially thousands of dollars and many hours invested. Some of my very best affiliate campaigns have taken less than an hour to set up, and earn 100%+ ROI for months (in some cases even years) with very little maintenance.
I could say similar stuff about building your own offer, running your own traffic source, etc. Those things always seem like a better/more stable business model, but they often aren’t.
Obviously with some of this stuff, I’m playing devils advocate. There are pro’s and con’s to each side. I just see a lot of affiliates thinking ‘anything’s got to be more long term than affiliate marketing’, but if you look at all the factors involved it really always isn’t.
There is huge potential on both sides of the fence, and it’s a mistake to think yo should do just one or the other.
Try to think of everything in terms of opportunities to get out of the thinking in terms of black and white mode.
In my own case, I’ve done some form of affiliate marketing for close to 10 years now. I’ve had more ups and downs than I could count, but I’ve always worked hard and found something that works (for varying lengths of time). Have I only focused on affiliate marketing? No, but that’s mainly because I have other interests like creating my own products, writing, and developing other streams of income. I always see myself doing some form of affiliate marketing – there’s just too much money to be made to ignore it completely
Newbies to internet marketing get inundated with advice and it can be hard to sort though. It’s tough to know what is good advice and what isn’t, so in this post I want to address something specific that people teach to newbies.
Before I get to that, let’s talk a little about newbie psychology. As a newbie, you’re first instinct is to look for something that’s ‘easy to get started with’. Seems logical enough – why jump into something that’s complex and will take a lot of time and money to learn if there’s an easier way? This is the psychology ‘gurus’ use to sell you a course – ‘hey, I can show you an easy way to get started..’.
That last point might seem logical, but it’s actually a flawed way of thinking. Affiliate marketing isn’t quite so black and white like that. Yes, there are techniques that don’t require as much technical knowledge than others but there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘great newbie traffic source’.
Here’s an example – Somehow people started saying that 7search was a great source of traffic for newbies. The logic was that the clicks are cheaper, it’s easier to get things approved, and once you move on to another traffic source like Microsoft adCenter. In my opinion this is terrible advice for numerous reasons.
First, a traffic source like 7search is not good quality traffic. If you tested offers there, you would probably throw away some potentially profitable campaigns. The reason is that 7search traffic just doesn’t convert that well. You might have a campaign that gets 0 conversions on 7search but does great on adCenter (the opposite is pretty unlikely but possible). Newbies taking the advice to start on 7search are probably throwing away some good campaigns without even knowing it. If they do move on to a traffic source like adCenter, they probably wouldn’t try that offer/niche again because they already tested it and it didn’t work.
Second, 7search doesn’t have the ability to scale. I honestly don’t know one big affiliate who runs on 7search and the main reason is because you can’t do much volume there. Now, the argument would be ‘yeah but 7search is just to learn on, then you move on’. Again, that sounds logical, but is a very flawed way of thinking. Yes, 7search is PPC traffic just like adCenter, but it’s still a very different traffic source. Even if you got a campaign working on 7search, you would be starting from square one when moving over to adCenter. Starting your campaigns on 7search really doesn’t teach you anything that wouldn’t be better to learn on adCenter.
This is why I don’t teach anything about 7search, Clicksor, or any other low quality traffic sources on the forum – I see it as a waste of time for affiliates. If anything, you should expand to those traffic sources after you get something scaled as far as you can on a quality traffic source. I’ve worked with, and known a ton of successful affiliates and they all share this viewpoint.
Again, this isn’t to say you can’t make any money on a traffic source like 7search. It’s more about why it’s better to put your focus somewhere else. To sum this up lets compare 2 affiliates starting at the same experience level.
Affiliate 1 starts off on 7search. Over the course of a couple months, he tests lots of campaigns and has a few small successes but trouble scaling campaigns. When he decides to move onto adCenter – suddenly he has to learn everything over again. The campaigns that might have done ok on 7search aren’t doing well on adCenter. He’s confused about quality score, ad position, keyword slection and just basically how to get the most out of adCenter. None of his 7search experience is helpful here so it’s back to the drawing board.
Affiliate 2 starts off on adCenter. Over the course of a couple months, he tests lots of campaigns and finds a few with potential. With a few months of testing under his belt, he knows quite a bit about adCenter and works at scaling his successful campaigns.
Both affiliates started at the same time, but affiliate 2 is already scaling successful campaigns on a traffic source that could net him into the 5 figures per day while affiliate 1 is pretty much starting from scratch.
I see this a lot on the forum, and talking to other affiliates. The ones that succeed are those focus on traffic sources that have quality traffic and potential to scale.
A couple years back (wow has it been that long!?) I wrote a post about failure. The basic idea of that post was that you have to fail a lot to succeed.
Since then, my thinking has changed a little. Instead of thinking of things as ‘failures’, I’ve started to simply think of them in terms of results. I either get the results I want, or I don’t.
What I’ve seen over the years of coaching people is that the more people use the word ‘failure’, the more discouraged they get. I’ll see people posting about failed campaigns, failed businesses, etc. Now, for many people this isn’t an issue. They just accept that failed campaigns are a part of this. For others, using the word ‘failure’ slowly chips away at their resolve. This is mostly subconscious – these affiliates don’t say ‘I just had another failed campaign’ and go cry in the corner (well, some do but that’s another blog post). The point is, they don’t realize the damaging effect it’s having on their mindset.
Imagine you were going to college to become a [insert profession here]. You would have to pay for that education to graduate, get your degree, and land a job. Most college students just go to class and know in a few years they’ll get a degree, then a job and don’t think a ton about each individual class they take. Now, imagine if you went to class every day and after each class you told yourself you were a failure because you hadn’t got your degree & job yet. Doesn’t make sense does it?
This thinking is exactly how affiliates treat the word ‘failure’ though. If you look at an unprofitable campaign as a failure, you need to shift your thinking. How can you expect every campaign to be profitable? Even successful affiliates might have a profitable campaign ratio of 1 out of every 20. Especially if you’re just starting out – you need to think of your campaigns as gathering data or paying for your education. The reason the above college example doesn’t make sense is because it’s just accepted that you have to do X amount of classes to get your degree. Affiliate marketing isn’t like that exactly, but the idea is similar. You have to learn the business before you can expect to have some success.
You can do a few things to help combat this way of thinking:
1. Instead of a failure, look at a campaign as simply collecting data.
You can actually think of unprofitable campaigns as a ‘success’ – you found out what doesn’t work. That’s great because then you know what doesn’t work, and are that much closer to figuring out what does work.
2. Look at all campaigns as getting an education
You wouldn’t think twice about paying for college, so why should putting money into campaigns be any different? You have to run campaigns to learn how affiliate marketing works, so look at any campaign you do as part of your education.
3. Think in terms of results
This sounds kind of zen but – there is no failure or success, only results. You either get the results you want, or you don’t. If you don’t get the results you want, you change your approach until you do get the desired results.
I think it’s really helpful to stop thinking of things in terms of failures. You might not realize it, but you could be quietly discouraging and sabotaging yourself. Try to think of things in terms of results and I bet it will get easier.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that affiliates are moving into different, and away from pure internet marketing. I’m glad to see this change, becasue It’s one we’ve been talking about on the forum for a long time.
My goal with the forum was always to get people building long term businesses.
Is Affiliate Marketing Long Term?
This depends on what you mean by long term. Things change so fast in this business, it’s hard to look at many online ventures as long term. When you talk about pure affiliate marketing (ie sending traffic straight to affiliate offers), it’s not really a good long term option.
Most affiliates seem to have a 2-4 year lifespan. Some quit after this, and some take those skills and build other businesses. Why don’t affiliates last longer than this?
– They get tired of the constant up’s and downs that are out of their control (traffic sources, offers being pulled, etc.)
– They did great in a vertical or traffic source that’s no longer viable
– They see greater opportunity elsewhere.
The affiliates I’ve seen become really successful usually follow this formula:
They get really good at affiliate marketing. They learn a specific skill, or skills that enables them to make a lot of money.
They then take those skills (and hopefully money they saved) and move into their own offer, traffic source, startup, ecommerce, etc.
Why Even Do Affiliate Marketing Then?
Good question! Why not just start with your own offer, or something in ecommerce? You can do that certainly, and people do, but the skills you learn in affiliate marketing are usually vital to make those businesses work well. Not to say you couldn’t succeed at one of those without doing affiliate marketing, but the skills you learn from becoming a successful affiliate will give you a great advantage. Many people view affiliate marketing as a stepping stone to something else.
With an affiliate background, it’s something you can always go back to or do a part of it. It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing. Maybe you can outsource the affiliate stuff you do at some point while you build other businesses? Maybe you can, like Mike Geary, send traffic to your own offer.
Even if you build the best ecommerce store, or CPA offer, you have to understand the affiliate side of things to make that business as successful as it should be.
Just to be clear – I’m not saying affiliate marketing is dying, or that you should jump ship. I think affiliate marketing in some form will be around for a very very long time. My goal, is to get you thinking about what your long term plan is.
What are you going to do when you get tired of chasing offers? What will you do when you can’t scale a campaign any further? What will you do when you realize your income could double when you become the one retaining the customers, instead of sending them to someone’s offer?