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Disappointed With Affiliate Marketing? Top Tips To Turn It Around
John_Blake




msg:3309433
 2:24 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is there anyone disappointed with an affiliate program so far?
This question has triggered me these days, I've read a lot about some people having bitter memories with the affiliate programs they have taken part in. Have you ever had disappointing AM experience?

John

 

abbeyvet




msg:3309457
 2:56 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would guess that taken accross all markets about 99% of affiliate experiences are disappointing. Maybe more.

Affiliate marketing is widely sold as an easy way to make money and it just isn't, so most people are set up for a disappointment before they even start.

Those who work hard, choose carefully, spend time learning to understand their users and their market, know how to convert people and are dedicated to the whole process make all the 'easy' money.

CatLady




msg:3309518
 4:13 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can certainly say from experience that most (but not all) of the affiliate programs I’ve tried were disappointing. Not necessarily the merchant’s fault, they were just not exactly what my audience was looking for.

You need to keep trying different targeted products/services until you hit on one that works well for your particular audience. Once you find a product or service that your audience wants, explore the different merchants that are offering that product and seek out the one that “clicks” best for you (payout rate, conversion rate, affiliate support, reporting features, payments to affiliates always on time, etc). In a nutshell, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince (or princess)!

mfishy




msg:3309905
 12:51 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would guess that taken accross all markets about 99% of affiliate experiences are disappointing. Maybe more.

While not near 99%, sure, many merchants are disappointing. I would say if you are using affiliate networks mainly, youa re going to have a lot of terrible experiences as most of these programs are using you as a cheap form of advertising/branding. This is why I always say to look for programs that agressively recruit and work with affiliates - not have a program that is an afterthought.

Affiliate marketing is widely sold as an easy way to make money and it just isn't, so most people are set up for a disappointment before they even start.

Hehe if someone is "selling" you a way to make money, of course it is probably junk.

I dunno. To me it still seems like the easiest possible way to make money in the world. Even if you are not a superstar you can make what the average american makes working a few hrs a day if you spend 1 month simply learning almost anything about getting traffic. How hard is it to make $150-200 a day on the web? Not very difficult.

Now, as far as big earners, there are all types, but I do know some awfully lazy ones :)

abbeyvet




msg:3309946
 2:32 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

While not near 99%, sure, many merchants are disappointing.

I didn't intend to suggest that so many merchants were disappointing, just that about that many affiliate marketing experiences are disappointing, which was what the OP asked about.

I'd say the most common cause of disappointment is not due to the merchant at all, but results from excessive expectations on the affiliate's part.

Now, as far as big earners, there are all types, but I do know some awfully lazy ones :)

So do I, but they invariabley worked very hard to get to the point where they could afford the luxury of being lazy :)

dickbaker




msg:3310042
 6:47 am on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

What I'm gleaning from the last couple of posts is that most people who try affiliate marketing fail because their sites don't exactly fit the target audiences of the advertisers?

Am I correct in reading your comments that way?

"This is why I always say to look for programs that agressively recruit and work with affiliates - not have a program that is an afterthought. "

Could you please expand on that comment? For those of us just testing the waters, is there a way to identify such advertisers without having to go through hell and back to learn?

Thanks for any replies.

CatLady




msg:3310453
 4:46 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

"What I'm gleaning from the last couple of posts is that most people who try affiliate marketing fail because their sites don't exactly fit the target audiences of the advertisers?"

Could be. If your site already has an established audience, try to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself this question: what am I hoping to find by visiting this site? Is there anything that you can offer that would complement the interests of your sites' visitors or help them out in some way?

Another thing you can try is to look at your stats and determine how people are finding your site. If they come from the search engines, what keywords are they using to find your site? What are they looking for? From those ideas, you'll just have to try putting some related products out there in front of them to see if there's any interest. If not, keep trying new stuff until you hit on something that captures their attention.

traveldude




msg:3310510
 5:30 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

myfishy - "Not difficult to make $150-$200 per day." On affiliate programs or Adsense? Selling what types of products? I'm far from lazy but for me, $1.50 - $2.00 per day is a good day.

Reflect




msg:3310584
 6:58 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm far from lazy but for me, $1.50 - $2.00 per day is a good day.

I think the poster meant $150 -$200 not a dollar or two.

I think you need to develop the site, make good content, get some traffic. Then start looking for aff programs.

Like on a wedding site of mine that is baking still prior to adding ads and aff programs I can see on the section for wedding dresses finding some good programs for wedding dress sales. This way I bring the surfer in targeted to start. He/she reads the article and then gets motivated to click the link.

I know the above is over simplyfing the process. I wanted to show you just don't buy a turnkey site add some aff programs ads and you make money out of the shoot.

It takes work.

Take care,

Brian

mfishy




msg:3310717
 9:47 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

myfishy - "Not difficult to make $150-$200 per day." On affiliate programs or Adsense? Selling what types of products? I'm far from lazy but for me, $1.50 - $2.00 per day is a good day.

I don't really know where to start. I assume you are working this part time, not living off of $40 a month?

I think, yet again, I am on a totally different page than many of you. When I say "affiliate marketing",i am refering to those who are actively marketing, not building a site and putting some banners up. You got to sell! I really do not know what niches, other than maybe books pay that low. I mean, I can get $1-1.50 for an email address with a zip code.

Perhaps I shouldn't have said "not difficult". I think that there is a learning curve, and one needs to have a certain attitude. If you have one or two sites that require maintenance and that is your gig, I can see it being tough - unless they are big time sites. But for the proactive affiliate, one can easily find 100 programs to join where they make $1-$2 on each on average days.

"This is why I always say to look for programs that agressively recruit and work with affiliates - not have a program that is an afterthought. "

Could you please expand on that comment? For those of us just testing the waters, is there a way to identify such advertisers without having to go through hell and back to learn?

Man, using a couple examples would make this easier....Ok, here is a small list of good signs. Of course this is not written in stone.

1. A link to their aff program on their home page.
2. A response within 24 hrs from an affiliate representative
3. Their affiliate program pitch page should..well, they should BRAG about how much money their affiliates are making. NOT talk about how this will be a nice option for your visitors.
4. Offer bonuses based on volume
5. If they are in CJ have a decent EPC for their genre
6. Have the look of a company that is geared towards doing nearly all their business online.
7. Have direct product links or data feed. (not just links to home page)
8. Not use Linkshare
9. Have good prices (I know some argue this doen't matter but IME it does)
10. take every single type of credit card.

There are tons, but that might help. Either way, you will get burned once or twice - that's just life.

I think anything can be hard work but in this game, I truly believe that smarts beats work ethic in a BIG way. can't hurt to have both I guess but you would have to ask someone else :)

traveldude




msg:3310771
 10:56 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your comments. I launched my main site, which focuses on cruises, about a year ago. I loaded it with good, original content and I add content frequently. All pages are SEO'd but the field is very crowded. I joined CJ and Linkshare, launched a PPC effort with AdWords, but the ROI wasn't there. Affiliate text/banners are now replaced by AdSense. I'm doing this full time as I'm another engineering-type who's job now no longer exists in the US.

(Just curious - you said 'don't do Linkshare'. Why? If you would like to respond by sitemail that's OK.)

mfishy




msg:3310789
 11:27 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cruises are tough dude. I would think YPN or adsense would be ideal (if you can get YPN that would be best)

When you think about affiliate programs think about areas where the consumer is likely to buy right then and there - no phone calls - preferably no credit cards at all but if there are charges involved, it has to be something they won't call about or shop around too much for deals.

traveldude




msg:3310795
 11:39 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yep, the numbers are poor. Usually about 1% who click an ad actually book a cruise (or hotel for that matter).

Hadn't thought about about YPN. I'll look around and determine what the differences between YPN and Adsense.

Truegho




msg:3310853
 1:51 am on Apr 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yeah, ME. I have been trying affiliate programs - from books to dating to Clickbank - for a few years now, yet mostly have only made a few quid. One of my sites, a paranormal one, now gets 900-1000 new visitors per day, yet I have only made a meagre £24.00 on the ghost books.

Adsense has been the best source of income for me. I don't have much faith in affiliate progs.

dickbaker




msg:3310884
 3:25 am on Apr 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

mfishy, I can think of a few affiliate programs where visitors don't have to pull out the credit card. Loan applications for auto's, insurance, etc. They don't have to pay up front, but they have to fill out some forms.

Other than those, as well as the free offers for catalogs or other such things, I can't think of ads I've seen that did not involve going through the checkout page.

Am I missing something?

skibum




msg:3310923
 5:35 am on Apr 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

mfishy, I can think of a few affiliate programs where visitors don't have to pull out the credit card. Loan applications for auto's, insurance, etc. They don't have to pay up front, but they have to fill out some forms.

Personals for the free reg, patio awnings, credit card apps, any kind of financial lead, some medical supplies and a few others....

Just curious - you said 'don't do Linkshare'. Why?

I don't think there is anything inherently bad about LinkShare, it's just that if you are going to work with a network, pick one that is easy to work with and generally has merchants with higher payouts like CJ.

It's easy to create all sorts of links in CJ, easy to get data feeds, you can use the search box in CJ to actually search for merchants - try something simple like that in LinkShare. LinkShare has some good merchants and if they have merchants that suit whatever it you are promoting then pick the best merchant. IMHO it's just much easier to do things in CJ and as a lazy affiliate I'd rather not have to jump through hoops to do simple things. As a result CJ will probably get about 1000X the sales that LS gets from my efforts.

mfishy




msg:3311350
 9:50 pm on Apr 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

There are leads in tons of areas other than finance(where the user does not pay)

Auto Purchase
Auto Lease
Time Share
Free product trials
Ringtones
Dating
MLM
Work at Home
CC processing
Tax Relief
Online Degrees
Freebie offers ($1-1.50 for an email address)
Music Clubs
On and on....

I said Linkshare should be avoided because they are difficult to use and, well, in general they have the worst merchants - big corporations paying 2% :)

Greenboy




msg:3312099
 3:58 am on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Have you ever had disappointing AM experience?

Yeah, my first six tries at affiliate programs were all disappointments. I think the only way to be successful in AM is to jump in with both feet and make some intentional failures. By that I mean shoot first and aim second, if only to get the experience of it. It took me six tries and a few months before my first (insert Borat accent) "great success".

Having said that, I definitely studied and learned from someone who has had success and that has been unquestionably the biggest factor for me.

John_Blake




msg:3312374
 12:45 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello, everyone,

I nearly couldn't believe my eyes when I saw so many answers in my thread...Obviously, affiliate marketing is reaching immense heights of interest. Anyway, I would be very glad to read you on, so please, don't take make comment as a conclusion to our discussion here. I'd be very pleased to get even more perspectives of AM.

John

traveldude




msg:3312437
 2:19 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agreed 100%. There should be a generic way to discusss strategies and tactics of running a successful AM program without worrying about giving away the farm to potential competitors.

For example:
Do you gain visibility via PPC or content?
Do you combine AM with Adsense?
Are email capmpaigns worth the cost?
In any campaign, always do this ________.
In any campaign, never do this _______.
Do you promote one specific market segment or mass market a broad spectrum of unrelated products?

John_Blake




msg:3314596
 1:28 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Traveldude,

Thanks for your noteworthy comment. From my side - also I agree 100% with you. So, if you, guys, want to give even more share in this thread and make it useful for others to read, we can have comments on the points posted by Traveldude. Unfortunately, I don't have any personal experience with affiliate programs so I won't be take part in.

Anyway, yesterday I thought a lot about AM - I contemplated on the reasons why AM sometimes fail. What makes them fail. Apart from some other minor reasons, what I often see in some affiliate marketers' comments is that somehow they underestimate their initiative...And I don't think AMs are an easy way to make money. What do you think about it?

Greenboy




msg:3315343
 2:23 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

In any campaign, always create a focused landing page that promotes a single product. Anything else you put on there is a reason for a visitor not to buy.

In any campaign, never stop testing new landing page elements, ads, and content.

I think it's vital to test several products/services from several different merchants until you find one that works for you. Then, scale it as large as possible and find every way you can to get the most out of the program. Then, try to replicate that success with another similar program.

Frida




msg:3315826
 3:30 pm on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

[quote=Greenboy] In any campaign, always create --a focused landing page-- that promotes a single product. Anything else you put on there is a reason for a visitor not to buy.

In any campaign, --never stop testing new landing page elements, ads, and content--.

I think it's vital to test several products/services from several different merchants until you find one that works for you. Then, scale it as large as possible and find every way you can to get the most out of the program. Then, try to replicate that success with another similar program. [/quote]

Great tips for those desiring to join an affiliate program, Greenboy. Thanks a ton for your share..."Tweaking" a marketing campaign (in our case - an affiliate one) is crucial, I guess.

Greenboy




msg:3317832
 7:42 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Absolutely, tweaking is essential. Can you think of any aspect of life where everything is perfect right out of the gate? Perfection is not attainable - I think the key is to get out there and do it, and make adjustments as you go along. I've been able to consistently improve my conversion rates by double digit percentages through continued testing. The affiliates that track their campaigns the closest and make necessary adjustments will earn more than those that don't. It takes time and effort, but that's where the work comes in.

Besides, I think we can all agree that running statistics on your accounts to see how much money you made is better than running statistics on an employer's accounts to see how much they made :)

markwelch




msg:3317931
 11:08 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've probably explored at least 10,000 different merchants' affiliate programs over the past 10 years, and more than 90% were so poorly designed that I'd never consider posting a link, and 99% wouldn't plausibly generate a meaningful income. It's that 0.1% of programs (that's about 100 of the 10,000) that have a reasonable prospect of paying out for a legitimate affiliate. And of course, once I find a merchant in that 1%, I generally keep my mouth shut since I don't want a zillion other affiliates to sweep in and potentially bump out some of my sales.

John_Blake




msg:3318852
 1:51 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The affiliates that track their campaigns the closest and make necessary adjustments will earn more than those that don't. It takes time and effort, but that's where the work comes in.

Besides, I think we can all agree that running statistics on your accounts to see how much money you made is better than running statistics on an employer's accounts to see how much they made :)

Hm, running statistics does take time but it comes out to be very fruitful in the end, I agree with that.

Thank you a ton for your comment,

John

davewray




msg:3319423
 11:24 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Testing, tweaking, and fine tuning are all keys for success in affiliate marketing :)

John_Blake




msg:3322373
 12:17 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Testing, tweaking, and fine tuning are all keys for success in affiliate marketing :)

Davewray,

From what you write I guess you have some experience in Affiliate Marketing, would you mind to share what traps you think an enthusiastic young affiliate marketer-to-be can face when planning such an initiative?

Cheers,

John

traveldude




msg:3322475
 2:29 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good question, John. I'm tweaking, tuning, adding content as the CJ tutorials suggest but with poor results. I obviously don't know what to tweak and what to tune. Some of my pages make it to the front page of search results with an average CTR of 4%. I dunno if 4% is good or bad. When evaluating an affiliate program, is there a minimum threshold to consider on EPC and commission rate? Somewhere in this thread a person mentioned to look for affiliate program that brags about the $$ that the participants are making. I have not found any that boast with examples of specific payouts.

davewray




msg:3322552
 3:39 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I generally run affiliate programs via PPC methods, so that's all I can answer to. What mistakes does an enthusiastic newbie make? Here are some:

1. Doing minimal keyword research...and then wondering why they're getting no clicks. Put in the work in the beginning to come up with a kick butt keyword list!

2. Bidding way too much and draining your budget and declaring your campaign a failure because of it. Bidding high at first can work, but you need to watch your campaigns closely, and then adjust bids accordingly.

3. Test ONE thing at a time. Kind of like a controlled experiment. To start, test different ads with one landing page. Try and establish a good ctr, and if possible, good conversion rate.

4. Once you've found an ad that performs...then test different landing pages so that you can find the best converting one.

5. Keep doing keyword research by looking through your weblogs...you'll find some diamonds in the rough there. Using the same technique, look through weblogs to find negative keywords...keywords you don't want your ad to show up for! If you come up with a big list of negative keywords, this could mean the difference between a successful campain and a failure.

There are lots more, but this is a start :)

Dave.

This 67 message thread spans 3 pages: 67 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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