Big Plans Gone Bust?

Bummer DudeHave you ever had really big plans for something in affiliate marketing and then had it completely go south on you? Have you maybe even been making some money in a niche and started to make plans to ramp it up and all of a sudden your revenue drops like a rock before you get the chance to scale?

If you’ve been doing business as an affiliate for any length of time this may have happened to you, maybe even more than once. It happened to me in the apartment rentals niche about a year ago as I was planning to ramp things up considerably based on some very good results I was having with Apartments.com. I was making in the area of $200 to $250 per month producing leads for them at $10 each and getting one of those leads for about every 50 clicks I sent their way. Then they redesigned their landing pages about a year ago and I now produce a lead for every 200 clicks sent their way.

I’m not sure what happened there, but I was no longer able to send traffic directly to an email form that actually produced the lead. Apartments.com changed their landing pages to include a small email form on each page of an individual apartments set of pages and the conversion rate dropped by 75%. Couple that with the fact that my traffic had dropped by a little as the season changed, and I went from making an average of $225 per month promoting apartments to about $20 to $30 per month making it hardly worth the effort to continue to work in this niche.

The larger plan I was seeing was to develop a big site devoted to apartment rentals for a specific niche of renters all over the nation. In looking at Google Analytics stats for my apartment sites I could see that there is an overwhelmingly higher percentage of renters in a very specific market and I had plans to exploit that to its fullest. While that idea is still on the back burner of things I would like to do in affiliate marketing, after the bust, the steam kind of went out of my idea. But the good news is, Rent.com has just revamped their affiliate program and is now paying 20 cents per registered visitor and $25 to $70 per confirmed lease, so the big plan for an apartment rental site is a little closer to reality once again.

So what’s the whole point of this discussion?

Don’t play the single affiliate program game and get yourself stuck in the position of relying on only one source of income from one or even two programs. While I took a $200 per month hit a year or so ago, it was just another day in the life of an affiliate marketer. Sometimes I do look back at all the things I’ve made money from and thought if I could only get these at the level they once were, all at the same time I’d be making $6,000 or $7,000 per month. Yes, that would be great, but what I’m really thankful for is the programs that have been in place to cover for the ones that all-of-a-sudden decided to take a dive.

You will go for a ride on the ups and downs of affiliate marketing if you stay with the game long enough. The best thing to do is have a diverse selection of niches and programs to work with that will act as shock absorbers when the ride gets bumpy. Check out my Make Money Online page for the variety of networks and programs I use to earn a living.

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10 Responses to “Big Plans Gone Bust?”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. When I was first starting out in affiliate marketing I found it extremely hard to focus on all the information that was passing through my brain. After 35 ebooks, 16 email courses, and some one on one time with a few mentors I’ve realized that putting all your eggs in one basket with the “this is it” mentality will not get you anywhere. It might seem like the be all and end all at the time, but what happens when that well goes dry?

    Spread out your efforts equally, and don’t over do it. I like to have 3-5 solid running projects at any given time. If one drops out, I will quickly replace it without interrupting the others.

    The Guru’s always use the term “Multiple Revenue Streams” and all hype aside, that term is one of the key factors to a successful career in internet marketing.

  2. When you develop passive income, it’s imperative that you “diversify” your income. Kind of like stock market diversification, but even broader here. Diversify your income across various streams of passive income so that you don’t have all of your eggs in one landing page’s basket.

  3. This the essence of a web business. The unpredictability. It always keeps you on toes and never lets you get stagnant.

  4. One nice “out” for affiliates that market a physical product and do decent volume is that you can just start selling it. Yeah, yeah, there are customer service issues, but you know the return rates, as an affiliate right? Services popping up like shipwire make fulfillment a snap and the profits are usually higher. Since we already know our conversion rates, we know how much product to carry – plus we get a bump in conversions because there’s one or two less clicks along the way to a sale. I just realized this for one of my best niches and sleep much easier.

  5. What about contacting them and seeing if they’ll remedy the landing page situation?

    I’ve had some luck by contacting affiliate programs directly to have issues fixed.

    Asking is always free.

    Naughty Girl

  6. I like the stock market comparison. Diversification is key. One day Google can love a site of yours and the next day it’s in the sandbox. You never know; the only think you can know is to have multiple sites making money for you.

  7. That’s an interesting post… I definitely would agree with the notion that you need to have multiple paths open to stay profitable if bigger plans run aground. Great advice :)

  8. Naughty Girl,

    I did contact my affiliate manager at the time and all he could say was that some affiliates had actually increased their conversions with the change.

    When I get the time, I’m going to change all my links from Apartments.com to Rent.com because I do get at least a little trickle of revenue from people who sign up with their emaui address at Rent.com, then I get $25 to $70 for a confirmed lease. In the long run I think this deal will work out better.

  9. While you’re right about not putting all your eggs in one basket – my question is, did you contact the apartments.com affiliate rep directly and ask them to work with you? You might have been able to get a custom landing page just for you to market to.

  10. John,

    I emailed thet affiliate manager, but I have over 100 different apartment complexes I have either blog posts or web pages about, I’d have to get a custom landing page for each one. However, after looking at the Apartments.com site a little closer I think there is a page for each complex I could send traffic to and maybe do a little better.

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