New to affiliate marketing? New to this blog?
I get many readers who stumble across my posts and end up slightly confused.
When I launched FinchSells.com, it was aimed at ‘paid traffic affiliates’.
As the blog has grown, it has attracted readers from the wider online marketing world, as well as those who have no idea what affiliate marketing is — but want to make money from it.
This page is to clear up the confusion.
It’s designed to explain:
- What I do for a living.
- The difference between paid traffic affiliates and free traffic affiliates.
- How the affiliate industry is segmented.
- How you can get started in it.
Let’s not get bogged down in too much detail.
You only need to understand the basic models for now.
What I do for a living
I am a performance marketer who relies on paid traffic to generate sales.
A performance marketer (interchangeable with ‘affiliate marketer’) is somebody who only gets paid for results. Those results will depend on what we are drafted in to achieve: sometimes it is user acquisition, but normally it will be sales.
Performance marketers do not typically own the products, services or apps that they promote.
We operate as non-contracted middlemen.
We deliver customers for somebody else’s business, but we only get paid after those customers have been delivered.
It is your typical commission model.
It could involve:
- A payment per lead — referring users to try a product or service.
- A payment per sale — referring users who become paying customers.
- A payment per install — referring users who install an app or piece of software.
- A payment per call — referring users who pick up their phones and call a sales team.
In short, affiliate marketing means: to refer users to somebody else’s products or services and get paid for the results delivered.
It is a revolutionary industry where you get paid your exact worth.
There are no politics.
The industry attracts thousands of enthusiasts (as well as fiercely talented professionals) who are captivated by this transparency.
If you want to earn a million pounds, you can earn it this week — by finding a way to deliver a million pounds worth of value, to any of the thousands of companies waiting to work with you.
Needless to say, this is easier said than done.
Note: If you are wondering where we find these companies to work with, the answer is (usually) through an affiliate network. An affiliate network is essentially another middleman that connects merchants needing customers to affiliates who know how to get them.
The difference between paid traffic affiliates and free traffic affiliates
Once you understand the model of getting paid for results delivered, the next obvious question is this:
“How am I actually going to deliver these leads, sales, installs and calls?”
There are many ways to generate customers. Each strategy will fall in to one of two groups:
Free traffic or paid traffic.
The majority of the affiliate marketing world is focused on monetising free traffic.
The most obvious example of free traffic is when a user searches Google, finds your website, clicks the link, and arrives on your page.
Another example would be the affiliate who dedicates his time to building Facebook Fan Pages. He can then post an update and have it seen by hundreds (or thousands) of users.
Note: I say free, but no traffic is ever free. There is always opportunity cost — the price of your time.
Free traffic is the cheapest way to get started in affiliate marketing because it only requires an investment of time. You don’t have to pay for advertising.
This advantage is also its greatest weakness.
It is very difficult to scale an online business if you are relying on free traffic.
Likewise, if you do hit the jackpot and get your affiliate website listed at the top of Google, you are at the mercy of Google being kind enough to keep you there.
Search ‘Google Panda’ or ‘Google Penguin’ for further information on said ball-ache.
Affiliates who rely on paid traffic, like myself, are using an arbitrage model.
It goes like this:
1. Mr. Big Balls Affiliate discovers that there’s an insanely hot product taking over a market. Let’s pretend it’s called the Get Ripped Quick Workout.
2. Instead of building his own fitness product, the affiliate signs up to promote Get Ripped Quick on a pay-per-sale basis.
3. Instead of building his own website to showcase the product, he puts together a brief sales page that explains why everybody should be using Get Ripped Quick.
4. Instead of waiting 6 months (or longer) for his sales page to appear at the top of Google (a long shot), he buys advertising using Google AdWords and receives ‘paid traffic’ from Day 1.
5. Let’s say the affiliate receives £50 from Get Ripped Quick for a new customer, and he delivers this customer at a cost of £30 using Google AdWords. He has just made £20 in profit without having to own: a product, a website, or a working SEO strategy.
6. The affiliate pours more and more money in to AdWords until (if he’s very good) he’s spending £3000 per day, and making £5000 in commission.
The beauty of the arbitrage model is that it is infinitely scalable.
Millionaires are born from it.
The downside is that by relying on paid traffic, you might end up losing your time and the money spent on advertising, too.
Make no mistake, that is pretty fucking likely to happen.
I am a paid traffic affiliate. This blog covers mostly paid traffic strategies.
There are gazillions of marketing blogs out there happy to teach you how to exchange your time for a long shot chance at success.
By reading this shit, you join a small club of paid traffic enthusiasts who don’t have the time or desire to wait forever for success. It is a skill that — if mastered — can make you one of the most sought after advertising experts in the world.
How the affiliate industry is segmented
If I were to promote a product called Get Ripped Quick, I would be working in the fitness market.
Understanding the fitness market is a challenge unto itself.
The best affiliates are blessed with a vital understanding of their market:
- Which products are hot
- The profile of a typical customer
- The behaviour of the target demographics
- Any trends that are exploding
It is extremely rare to find an affiliate who excels in more than one market.
For example, you aren’t going to find too many super affiliates who do big numbers in both the fitness and dating verticals.
For your best shot at success, you need to choose a segment of the affiliate industry and really nail it.
The most popular segments include:
- Weight loss products
- Fitness products
- Skincare products
- Mobile app installs
- Gaming offers
- Dating offers
- Adult services and products
- Finance products
- Business opportunity packages (bizopps)
- Insurance products
Most of the examples on this blog over the years have come from the dating and adult verticals, because that is the market segment I work in.
It is very difficult to be dominant in more than one segment.
I suggest you choose one, and choose it wisely.
How you can get started
I started this post saying:
I am a performance marketer who relies on paid traffic to generate sales.
Well, let me add to that:
I am a performance marketer who relies on paid traffic to generate leads (and app installs) in the dating and adult markets. My focus is on mobile traffic sources.
Does that seem very glamorous to you?
I’m guessing 95% of my readers wouldn’t read a blog that used said explanation of what the author does for a living in its strap-line.
But my ‘niche business’ exists in a multi-million dollar industry, and that explanation is a damn sight more accurate than the umbrella term of ‘making money from affiliate marketing’.
Which means… what, exactly?
Ignore the bullshit artists who try to convince you there are millions to be made without targeting a single legitimate industry — it’s simply not true.
Affiliate marketing is a smokescreen to the real challenge: to find, master and dominate a market where customers are ready to spend money.
The key choices you have to make are these:
1. Will I rely on paid traffic or free traffic?
2. Which market will I operate in?
3. If paid, which traffic source (Facebook, AdWords etc) will I use to reach that market?
Answering these three questions will not lead you to success.
It will lead you straight in to battle.
And make no mistake, unless you have some extremely novel answers to those core questions, a battle is exactly what you will face.
What this blog is not: a guide to some intangible form of online success; where money rains from simply knowing about it.
Affiliate marketing is a massive industry with equally massive competition.
Whether you choose free traffic or paid traffic, your execution needs to be brilliant. Or success will fall to the next guy.
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Need more help?
Besides this blog, I have assembled one of the most definitive lists of affiliate resources on the planet. Good luck working your way through it!