Here is one of the top 10 runners up for my MarketLeverage “affiliate mistakes” contest.
Let’s just get straight into it (the list is in no particular order) –
Mistake #1 – Refreshing your stats page every 2 seconds (heck I’m still guilty of this from time to time.) This is what happens –
You get 3 leads from 8 visitors and you get super excited so you up your bids by 300% only to beat yourself about it later. You guys know who you are… In fact, I’m sure many affiliates start out exactly like that.
The cure is to check your stats as few times as possible. So you don’t make decisions based on emotion and statistically insignificant data.
LET THE CAMPAIGN RUN! I’d say let it run a week before you make a decision because an offer might perform differently on different days. Perhaps your offer will do VERY GOOD on the weekends, for other offers it might be during weekdays at work-hours. TEST & FIND OUT!
Mistake #2 – Not bidding high enough-I’m now getting more and more aggressive with my bidding.
This has been beaten to DEATH on this blog. Don’t fear to bid high.
Now before you go off and do something crazy – let me tell you how to do it.
By bidding high, you can do high volume. You then ask your affiliate manager to set you a goal/target to achieve for the month. And if you achieve that target, ask them to retro your previous leads at the new payout.
For example, I promote a $4 offer and generate 100 leads for it every day. That’s $400 a day… But I’m spending $500 to make that $400. That’s a loss of $100 every day.
Ask your aff. manager that if you’re consistent and do 100 leads everyday for that offer this month, then s/he should retro you $6.
By doing this, you’ll have end up making a $100 profit everyday for the entire month.
Why is bidding high so important?
Mike Reninings from ‘The Coming AdWords War’ report (http://www.thecomingadwordswar.com – read page 47-48) did an experiment where he had 2 identical ad groups – one with low bid and the other with high bid strategy. The results were interesting –
In terms of conversions, he found the difference was 53 to 1, that is an improvement of 5,300%.
I’m not doing justice to the report. Please go and read the report in its entirety to get the full picture.
Mistake #3 – Not networking enough- I’ve been trying to figure things out myself using different online blogs, help articles & trial and error. I haven’t networked at all except through IM (with very few people but that’s not the same as meeting someome in person.)
I’ve already had little success with networking. A while ago, I was looking for a cheaper alternative to GoDaddy because they were charging an extra $8 or so to keep my WhoIS info private. I asked this affiliate dude that I knew and he told me about Google’s domain registration –
You get charged $10 for a domain and it includes whois protection.
Once I’ve registered 100 domain names, that’s a saving of $800 compared to domain registration on Godaddy.com.
Paul himself has attributed a large part of his success to networking so it’s something I must do and you guys reading this must also.
Mistake #4 – Not starting with Yahoo! sooner.
Currently, I’m running a campaign on Yahoo! & Google and Yahoo! is pulling in more leads for me than Google. (This reminds me that I need to set up an account with MSN too and test my offer on it.)
Mistake #5 – Not tracking aggressively some times.
Get a tracking202.com account. I usually only use it for the keyword data. That stuff is invaluable!
(TIP: On one particular offer, I used it to track keywords from 2nd tier PPC engines and I looked at keywords that got conversions. I further researched into that keyword and saw potential so I expanded my keyword list and put it up on Yahoo! & Google. This way you are only paying $0.10 per keywords on 2nd tier keyword and finding the converting keywords. Once you found those keywords, you can expand on them and add them to Yahoo! & Google to get the best volumes for those keywords.)
Mistake #6 – Spending A LOT of time setting up a campaign without doing a quick test to make sure that offer converts.
Once, I made a whole Powerpoint presentation for this one particular offer and then recorded the presentation using Camtasia and finally wrote some copy to complement the video which took up a nice chunk of time… Only to send a few visitors to the page and stopping altogether. BAD BAD BAD!
I should have at least tested the offer by aggressively direct linking and seeing if the offer converts. But then again, back then I had very little money and I couldn’t afford to do any aggressive bidding. And it didn’t help that it was a competitive niche.
So I understand the situation some of you guys with no money might be in – to people like these I strongly recommend getting a job and living on minimal expenses. Earn the money and then invest in campaigns. I say invest for a reason (and not ‘waste’)… Even if you lose money, you learn SOMETHING. Always ask – WHY DID THIS OFFER NOT WORK?? Did you pull it too soon? Is the landing page just PLAIN horrible? Are your keywords not targeted enough? etc. etc.
Mistake #7 – Giving up on a campaign after hitting it from one angle only. As I type this, this one particular offer comes to mind that I want to go back and give another try. After running a few clicks to it, I just gave up on it. BAD, BAD, BAD!
If direct linking doesn’t work because the merchant is advertising on PPC, try setting up a landing page. That doesn’t work? Try having an opt-in page strategy. That doesn’t work? Did you try the content network?
Mistake #8 – Not keeping up with the industry. Just drifting to different blogs and trying to pick up tips & news here and there.
Get a Google Reader account and subscribe to all the top industry blogs out there. I’ve just started doing this and I’m already seeing huge benefits. Like for example today I found out a site to get a free £30 Google voucher (http://www.here.org.uk/2008/06/free-google-adwords-voucher-30-free-online-advertising-voucher.html); another thing I found out is the new feature of Google trends that compares website’s traffic (read more here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-layer-to-google-trends.html). And finally I’m writing this article because my Google Reader updated to Paul’s latest post about getting entries in before the deadline.)
Mistake #9 – Not starting sooner with PPC to CPA marketing. Start small but do start! Skip eating out in a restaurant this month – throw that money into different offers and find out what works.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have questions, I might do a follow-up.