I spent my first $ in paid affiliate marketing on the 21st of July 2013. It's been about 8 weeks since then and I've come a long way. I thought I'd go over my progress and how I've evolved over the weeks to where I am at now.
I started off just reading a crap load of information. I've saved all the good articles here and i recommend anyone new to the industry to read them. Especially the articles under 'Beginner Information/Articles'.
My First Attempt
After a good two weeks of reading, like I said, I took action on 21st July. I made a crappy website promoting an Amazon product, (Drawing Tablets), where I wrote some tips on how to use it with a few recommendations. Here is the website I made. At first glance it doesn't look too bad but when you're trying to make money off it there are many problems that one can see.
1) The 'Call to Action' is unclear. You need to make it very clear what you want a visitor to do. If I wanted a visitor to just read the information and go away then this website serves its purpose but I wanted the visitor to BUY something and you need to direct them to do so. A better approach would have been to compare the products and actually have a 'tick list' to what features each tablet has and which one is best. Also to have a big 'buy now' button somewhere at the top and bottom.
3) I also think the product I was promoting was way to expensive. I mean how often do you buy something around $1,000 after a quick read of something? Most people do a lot of research before committing that sort of money. I think I would have had more luck with a much cheaper product. The issue was that I was promoting with Amazon who only payout 4%, (at the start), for each sale you make. I was aiming for about $20 - $40 commission hence the price choice of the product but I still think I should have picked something cheaper.
4) I was promoting what's commonly referred to as a 'CPS' offer. This refers to 'Cost Per Sale' which means I get paid commission for each sale I make. It turns out that there are many other ways you can make money in Affiliate Marketing. You can promote 'CPA' offers which are 'Cost per Action'. This 'Action' sometimes could be just a simple sign up, a download or even a phone call. The payouts aren't too bad either and since the barrier to 'convert' the user into a sale/action you want them to take requires no one pulling out their credit card, there's more of a chance to get a conversion. (Conversion usually refers to a visitor taking an action to make you, the affiliate money).
5) My FaceBook advertisements were more catered to people who liked the anime's I had on the website so I captured people that were fans of anime not artists or people that wanted to buy a drawing tablet. (No wonder I made no sales!).
There's 5 reasons I could think of at the top of my head of why my first campaign flopped. i spent about $30 on it which is pretty small so that could be another reason why I saw no success.
On to campaign number 2 - Still no sales.
This time I wanted to concentrate on the educational industry. There's a website I've been wanting to promote for ages called Udemy. They provide online courses on just about anything and payout 50% commission for each sale you make them as an affiliate!. This could turn out pretty profitable if you can generate some sales! Here is the website I set up for it. I chose a 'black and white photography' course which I had absolutely no clue about. I don't do any sort of photography, (unless you would call pulling out my S2 Galaxy every now and then to take a selfie of myself photography), and have never messed around with a SLR Camera before. Here's the reasons why I think it failed.
1) I just print screened and edited a lot of what was on the actual offer page. I didn't even bother to change any writing to make it 'sales friendly'. Some of the text was too small to read making the site look a little low on the quality side.
3) Again, call to action button isn't laid out well. I think a bigger button near the top with a few dot points as to why this is an awesome course would have got people in more of a buying mood.
4) Too much information. After I realized what DOES work, I noticed that I had way too much information on this website. I now concentrate very heavily on PPV where you make a simple landing page, straight to the point where people get a good feel of what's on the other side. It's used to 'pre-sell' the offer and can do a lot better than direct linking if you learn some simple strategies. A lot of these landing pages I make are REALLY simple. 2 to 3 dot points, one big button, one big picture, etc. I've noticed that people have a VERY short attention span and just scan through information to get what they need and go. For this website I should have implemented a somewhat similar strategy. At least near the top of the page so the visitor knew exactly what the page was about. Example of one of my landing pages below,
5) I was promoting a small niche which I knew nothing about. I didn't really know anything about photography in general so it was hard for me to 'sell' the course. It's not a bad thing if you start with not knowing about what you are promoting provided you take the time to learn about it as you go. You need to know what problems people have with certain product to tailer your ads into 'solving them'. I didn't do this and therefore I could never find the 'sweet spot' when advertising
6) Bad, non-targeted keywords. Related to point number 5. I didn't really know what keywords to target and so chose really generic keywords like 'photography courses', etc. How many people do you think that search 'photography courses' in google would be interested in black and white photography? Very little I would assume. For this reason I burnt through my budget and ended up spending a good $35 on this one.
Did I give up here? Pssht nah, that's just the beginning! Here's campaign #3
HostGator is a pretty popular hosting website. It's who I used to use before switching to BlueHost to host my website. They pay $50 or $65 per person you get to sign up on to their hosting plans. This isn't too bad at all! I thought I could spend a lot more on this as the payout was pretty good. I quickly burned through $60 this time with absolutely NO SALES at all. Why did it fail?
1) I was chosing keywords that were REALLY expensive. Things like 'cheap hosting' or 'website hosting' were $3+ per click! I only got about 20-30 clicks and I was $60 down haha. That was actually depressing.
2) I think I would have done a lot better if I had done some research and found out what some long tail BUYER keywords were for this niche. Buyer keywords are keywords people put in the search bar with the intention to buy. Most of the keywords I chose came with the intent to 'research'. Keywords such as 'best domain hosting company' pointed to a landing page where I'd compare the top three and clearly recommend one at both the start and end of the article, in my opinion would have done a LOT better!
3) I was direct linking this offer which means I was pointing the person from my advertisement straight to the offer page. I have since learned that it's best to point people to a landing page or review site where I'd PROPERLY pre-sell the product I am promoting so that when the visitor continues to the product site they are ready to buy,
So there's my first few campaigns. Although I didn't make a single dollar after about $300 spent on advertising the amount of 'not to do's' I learned were incredible. I knew if I kept learning at this pace it was just a matter of time until I start seeing some sales. I made a few more campaigns where I made no sales before I decided to switch to CPA offers and that's where I started seeing some success. Here is a post 2 months after all this and when I finally saw some sales. I break down what I was doing right this time!
Hope you guys enjoyed the post