Remember, Your Affiliate Business Can Change In A Single Day

Ending yesterday’s post about my February Income Report, I reminded everyone that your affiliate business can turn around in a single day. Well, because of a kickin’ ppc campaign that started running yesterday morning and a big sale from one of my vacation sites through a CJ merchant, that’s exactly what happened.

Yesterday was a record day for my affiliate earnings and brought in more than half as much profit in a single day as I earned in all of last month. The total affiliate earnings for the day was just over $800 after expenses and a majority of that came from just one pay per click campaign through Google Adwords. Funny how things happen, you’re just trudging along trying to make something work on the affiliate roller coaster ride and boom, like magic you find a winner.

Check out the screenshot from Market Leverage below:

ML PPC Campaign

But it’s not really magic, it’s because I kept hammering away at it until I dug up a winner. Initially I had some good success with PPC Coach in working small campaigns involving email and zip submits with payouts of around $1.25, but was hesitant to move on to anything with bigger payouts because that usually involves spending more money per click. The best I had done in the past with anything that pays over $10 was only breaking even or earning $30 a day or so, until this present campaign.

I had slowed down on working ppc because it’s pretty intensive and needs constant attention and I had other projects and previously good earning sites that needed more attention. But because of the potential of ppc marketing, I would occasionally throw some mud at the wall and see if something would stick. But it wasn’t just random junk, there is a plan behind the whole thing, and here’s what I’ve been doing:

One of the tricks I gleaned, or at least deduced, from PPC Coach is to look for a traffic source as the first priority. I know that may sound strange to get your brain around, but if you think of major sources of traffic first and then pair it with an offer, instead of thinking about that acai berry pill nonsense and how you’re going to get traffic to it, amazing things can happen (I know, some guys are making bank on acai berry scams, but most aren’t).

I log into Market Leverage, Neverblue and Azoogle almost every day and just look at the offers to get familiar with what’s there and at least once a week or so, I spend a few hours in each affiliate interface to look at payouts, EPC, network earnings, landing pages, creatives and more so I’m pretty aware of the kinds of things I want to run. I don’t salivate over something with a $32 payout, I just want to know what’s there that fits my business.

And then every day, or multiple times a day I head over to Google Trends and see what the top 100 searches at Google for that specific hour are (Trends is updated every hour). When you click on an individual keyword phrase, you can also see what other related terms are hot as well. It doesn’t happen but a couple times a week, but every now and then it all clicks and there’s something that could be a hit.

I’ve been sending traffic directly to Amazon and various offers through the CPA networks using this method and the great thing about it is, even if your campaign is a loser it doesn’t cost very much to do because most of clicks cost less than 10 cents each. Do a search on most of the hot keywords at Google Trends and you’ll see that sometimes there’s not even one advertiser bidding on them. Can you say, 1 cent clicks?

The point is to be familiar with the kinds of offers that fit your business and a couple times a week you’ll identify a big source of cheap traffic that will fit an offer you’ve already identified. Most of these good campaigns don’t last that long, but sometimes because these trends get picked up and blogged about frequently, the life cycle gets extended and you can continue to earn a little, or a lot, for a decent length of time.

I don’t work this system that hard because I don’t have time, but if you wanted to dedicate some serious time to following Google Trends, I’m sure it would pay off even bigger than what happened yesterday. Hopefully that campaign will last for a few weeks.

Never forget, your affiliate business can change in a single day.

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Central Florida Dot Com Steak Out – Virgin Edition

Dot Com Steak Out 

Without the aid of a government check or government workers, bloggers, business owners and affiliate marketers stimulated the economy in Central Florida this weekend. The virgin edition of the Dot Com Steak Out (Facebook Group) took place at Logan’s Roadhouse in Kissimmee this past Saturday Feb 21st and had a pretty good turn out for a first time meeting of affiliate marketers, newbies wanting to get in on the game and CPA networks from around the central Florida area.

We didn’t talk a whole lot of business, but it was great to meet some of the peeps you correspond with online and over the phone, and read their blogs and tweets, but rarely get to see in person. Plus, we got some cool schwag from Convert2Media and Amped Media. C2M has a nice bling T-shirt you should get, but hey, don’t expect freebies every time we get together now.

Dot Com Steak Out schwag:

Dot Com Steak Out Schwag

Every third Saturday of the month we meet at a steak house somewhere in Central Florida and the group is open to anyone associated with affiliate marketing, blogging and making money online. All you have to do is sign up for the Facebook group so you get the updates and attend the meet-up whenever you can. You don’t even have to live in Florida. If you’re going to be down here on vacation or whatever and it’s convenient, join us for lunch, ideas, entrepreneur talk and general discussions on how to make a living in a different way than most of the world does.

Meet-ups like this are incredibly motivating, at least for me, because it continues to remind me how much money can be made in the affiliate marketing space and how much opportunity there is.

Those that attended are below:

Kiley Lenstrom – Thanks to Kiley for getting this gig up and running.
Alan LeStourgeon (me)
Ken Jenkins – Newbie and willing to learn
Steve Katz (Market Leverage)
Richard Bruner (Market Leverage)
Ralph Ruckman (Convert2Media)
Ryan Machara (C2M)
Steve Howe (C2M)
Johnathan Gies (Amped Media)
Nicole Gies (Amped Media)
Edward Murray (Amped Media)
Janell Kowalski (Amped Media) + guest
Amanda Colvard (Amped Media)
Nick Waddle (Amped Media)

Hope to see you next time at Dot Com Steak Out.

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July 2008 Affiliate Income Report – A New Record

Another affiliate income report is due and July turned out to my best month in affiliate earnings so far, topping last month by 24% which was also a record month. Fortunately I haven’t been slowed down at all by the summer slump many affiliates experience.

Two of the biggest increases in July came from a new record in AdSense earnings, beating the previous best month by $200 and earnings from the eBay affiliate program for the first time crossed the $1,000 per month barrier thanks to Build A Niche Store. Earnings were also good from Pepperjam Network, Market Leverage and AzoogleAds.

Expenses were a bit higher than usual this past month due to experimenting with PPC and having some success. I hope to scale that up a bit this month. Total income for July 2008 came in at $4,312.31 and breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,694.94
Commission Junction – $35.94
EPN – eBay – $1,196.73
Meal Planner Ebook – $85.00
TripAdvisor – $216.63
Clickbank – $88.08
Private Advertising – $140.00
AzoogleAds – $182.20
Microsoft – $300.00
Pepperjam – $278.09
Market Leverage – $219.50
Other Affiliate Programs – $302.77
Total Revenue – $4,739.88
Total expenses – $427.57
Total Income – $4,312.31

Three things I’ll be working on this month to hopefully increase the income again will be paid advertising through Facebook Ads, Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing, getting more incoming links to my travel sites and continued work on my Build A Niche Stores. A single BANS store produced more than $800 in revenue this month and I’d like to get that store over the $1,000 barrier.

I’ve also started working on a store mash-up that can bring in content from eBay, YouTube, any RSS feeds, ClickBank, Amazon, Overstock and more that could be pretty lucrative. I’ll be explaining more about that coming up in a few more weeks.

With another 24% increase in August that would put things over the $5,000 per month mark which is a fairly significant milestone in earnings. I’ll be taking a week off this month and a week off in September for a birthday and anniversary so it will be hard to keep up the steady pace of seeming non stop work for the next couple of months. Hopefully there are enough things in place to keep the income on auto pilot while the work pace slows down until mid Sept.

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Facebook Advertising Report

Facebook AdsOver the last 3 weeks or so I’ve had the joy of trying to make money with Facebook Ads and trying to figure out what the minds in the ad department will allow to be shown on their site. Luckily I was able to secure $250 in free Facebook advertising coupons (some have expired as of this post) via NeilsWeb.com so this little advertising experiment didn’t cost me anything.

Probably the biggest drawback to advertising on Facebook is just trying to figure out what the ad editors want. In a previous post I lamented that the ad editors were so arbitrary in their decision making that they were causing blood to shoot from my eyes. After posting some 28 ads and getting 8 disapproved, I think I finally have somewhat of a handle on what is acceptable. They won’t accept anything that even remotely resembles spammy advertising, whether it be in the way you write your ads or the product you’re advertising.

Their old advertising guidelines don’t give you much direction on how your ads should be worded and while their new guidelines (not yet published, but found at Nickycakes.com) are much better at explaining what they’re looking for, their philosophy on advertising in general is bizarre to say the least. The text in your ad can’t imply that there is anything wrong with a person who might click on your ad. For instance, ads for weight loss products can’t say something like, “Want To Lose That Weight?” because that would be implying that those who want to lose weight are overweight. Well ya! Your ads must be worded in a neutral way such as, “Lose Weight With Product X” or Product X Weight Loss”. Completely lame.

It seems like the ad department at Facebook needs a little schooling in long established marketing principles because they seem to be hell bent on rewriting the rules of advertising. For Facebook to not even allow you to creatively pique a potential customer’s interest by asking a question, to establish a need, is just plain foolish. The powers that be at FB might have to rethink that one when their ad revenue starts drying up.

So what exactly happened with the $250 in free advertising credits? Well, my results didn’t turn out all that well. After spending $247 of the $250 I managed to only earn back $87.15, not a good return. Here’s how it all breaks down:

28 total ads created

8 disapproved

4 ads generated revenue

AzoogleAds Campaign = 9.50
Azoogle Campaign 2 = 23.35
Azoogle Campaign 3 = 2.50
Market Leverage Campaign = 51.80

Total = 87.15

3 Paused due to bleeding revenue to the tune of $97 in about 2 days time.

Probably the biggest hindrance to earning back the $250 was the high bid prices that are suggested you start your campaign with. Many of them are in the 50 to 70 cents per click range and I started 3 campaigns that ate up $97 rather quickly and produced zero results. I didn’t really figure out how some people such as Neil from NeilsWeb.com are able to get their bids low and still get a decent CTR. Most of my campaigns ran at a ridiculously low CTR of 0.03% and while I ran one campaign after I’d spent the $250 in free credits that got a 0.27% CTR, it ended up producing zero revenue after spending around $30.

Okay, what did I learn from this? While it’s still somewhat of mystery as to how some people are rockin Facebook Ads and cleaning up in revenue, I learned these basic things:

  • Don’t advertise spammy offers.
  • Find the fine line between neutral and creating too much of a sensation and you will get your ads approved.
  • Watch your ads closely and reduce bid prices accordingly if you are spending too much.
  • Look for offers or products that pay high, cost the consumer little and have appeal to the young Facebook audience.
  • Don’t listen to me, I essentially lost money! For crying out loud, read NeilsWeb.com and NickyCakes.com and learn from people who actually make money with Facebook Ads.

I’m not taking this as defeat though. There is a way to make money with Facebook Ads because other people are doing it, I’m just going to be a lot more careful with the next $250 spent, because this time it’s my money on the table.

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Featured On Market Leverage TV – MLTV

I got an email on Tuesday from Debby Phillips over at Market Leverage letting me know that they featured AffiliateConfession.com on the latest episode of Market Leverage TV or better known as MLTV.

MLTV features the top 5 best performing offers of the week on the Market Leverage network and one of the offers they’re featuring this week is Vegas Baby where anyone interested can get free Las Vegas accommodations for 2 nights at the Summer Bay Resort just by filling in their first name, last and an email address. I’m making a little with this offer through search and was pretty surprised to find out you actually can make money with an offer that only pays $1.65. Little did I know how well some of these email and zip submit offers convert.

Vegas Baby converts between 20 and 30% and if you think I’m completely giving away a little niche here, think again. There is a trick to getting this to work on search that I learned from a friend and it definitely works. Just use your imagination, that’s all I can tell you.

Anyway, watch below and check out some of Market Leverage’s offers during the video and think about how you might put them into your traffic stream. The Affiliate Confession spot is towards the end.

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