Qualifying Your Traffic Will Save You Money, Fool
Investing For The Future With Affiliate Marketing
Laser Targeting Small Markets On Facebook

Qualifying Your Traffic Will Save You Money, Fool

One of the biggest mistakes I see from newbie affiliates is the desire to run before they can walk. The difference between success and failure is rarely a stroke of luck. It normally has much more to do with understanding your market and reaching it effectively. So today I was hoping to chat some shit about qualifying traffic for the offers you’re promoting. It’s rarely as simple as it sounds.

By qualifying traffic, I’m talking about getting the most out of your paid advertisements. In your head you know the type of people who you want to direct to your page, right? But are you getting your message to them without massively overspending?

The difference between breaking even and 100% ROI can often be as simple as cutting out the crap. Just like the difference between slim and fat can often be cutting down on the calories you shovel down your cakehole every evening. And instead of going out to buy some berries, you should probably first look in the mirror and ask what you could be doing more effectively. Same concept for scaling a PPC campaign (err…I think…somewhere in there). If you want to increase your profit margins, you should weed out the bad traffic before you go hunting for more.

If you don’t qualify your traffic, you are quite literally engaging in the very unsophisticated art of throwing shit at a wall and hoping something – anything – sticks.

Too many affiliates think of sailing the ocean before they’ve explored the depths of their own ponds. They cast the net wide and try to capture every last stream of traffic. Presumably because this is what the “super affiliates” are doing to harness big volume and big earnings. Well fuck what the super affiliates are doing. You should start worrying about your profitability before you start dreaming of your palaces.

Right from the very first planning stages of any affiliate marketing campaign, you should be considering these key points:

1. How can I drive targeted, relevant and interested traffic to this offer?

2. How can I make sure that I’m not paying for clicks, page views and impressions that are never going to convert?

3. How can I ensure that the CTR from advertisement-to-LP is just as healthy as the CTR from LP-to-offer?

You wouldn’t believe how many campaigns I’ve created that have failed under the scrutiny of that third point. It’s very easy to get a strong CTR to a landing page. You can make up any old bullshit if you know the demographics that you’re targeting. But if your creative is mustering a stench of false promise, you’re going to see a huge drop-off in clicks through to the offer.

Successful affiliates know how to create a sales funnel. They know how to grab an innocent Googler by the wrist, drag him kicking and screaming through a text ad, appeal to his needs with a relevant LP, and then finally seal the deal by convincing him that he genuinely needs Product X.

The art of this process is understanding your traffic. You need to understand where those clicks are coming from, why the user has decided to click your ad, and what you can do to stop them from nailing the Back button.

If you are one of the many newbie idiots who moves in to a new niche, downloads a 15mb database of keywords, imports to Adwords and sets a default bid to $0.50 across the board – you are walking in to a complete unknown. You don’t truly know why your users are clicking your ads. How could you?

If you don’t know what your users are searching for, you can’t possibly design a landing page that slaps them in the face and says “it’s your lucky day, bitch, come on in”. No, you’re an Eric Generic affiliate – and considering most ordinary affiliates despise the sheer thought of losing money, this is a great way to create 1000 campaigns, lose money on all of them, and etch yourself the certainty that affiliate marketing doesn’t work.

I know there are many affiliates out there who can afford to unleash a new campaign, lose a thousand dollars, optimize and eventually see a profit. But most new affiliates are too piss poor from their day jobs to afford such luxuries. That’s why you’re following the dream, right?

So start small.

Let’s take colon cleansing as an example, if only because I’ve got it on my mind after the chilli I had for dinner.

So you’ve designed your beautiful flog to scam the living christ out of every last poor American with a weight problem. You sit there staring at your masterpiece and thinking “Damn, how could anybody NOT want their colon cleansed?” I mean, just look at the before and after pics, right?

The newbie affiliate will then assume that his hard work is done. The hard sell is there. He just needs to get people on the page, right?

So he’ll load up Adwords, create maybe 4 ad groups, empty entire categories of suggested keywords in to each and hit the Activate button. At this point he probably minimizes his window, posts some advice on the Warrior Forum, and waits for the clicks to roll in. Which they do.

He checks his stats (probably every 7 minutes), and notices – firstly – that not many of those visitors are clicking through to his Pure Cleanse Kit V909.

Secondly he notices that those who are clicking through to the offer…aren’t actually signing up their free trial. How inconsiderate of them, I know.

A few hours pass and Google Adwords swallows the equivalent of this poor mope’s subscription to PPC Coach. He pauses the campaign and moves on to the next niche.

Of course, if you were to look through his stats, you’d probably find active keywords like this:

“cleanse my colon”
“clean my car”
“free colon kit none of that rebill shit”
“professional colon treatment in texas”
“lose weight with colon”
“put on weight with colon”

I’m exaggerating, but the point I’m trying to make is that each of those keywords expresses a different need. A different want. A different desire.

It doesn’t matter how well suited your landing page is to your target market…if you’re not finding that target market. What is actually a very easy problem to correct for the experienced affiliate becomes a campaign breaker for Average Joe. He assumes that because he’s tried every last keyword in the colon niche, there can’t possibly be any profit there for him.

If you’re new and inexperienced, I can’t even begin to stress the importance of testing with the lowest number of factors to consider. Troubleshooting is a lot easier when you have less data to work with.

Start with small ad groups that are direct matches for the content of your landing page. Worry about scaling in to general and broad terms when you’re making profit. I know a lot of guys will say that their best success has come when they tested a few thousand keywords and filtered out the crap. Well…nice. But I’m speaking to the affiliate mindset that’s still paralyzed with fear over the idea of losing money. And it’s all a learning process. If you scale upwards slowly, research your niche well, and target separate content to separate audiences, you’ll find that you lose a lot less money on clicks that were never going to convert in a million years.

Another classic example of qualifying your traffic comes from working with CPS offers. If you’re promoting something that requires the target to part with his credit card and pay a hefty sum – you damn sure better mention it in your ad text.

Your CTR will naturally take a nosedive if you start mentioning that Product X costs $74.95 plus shipping. That’s because most people surfing the Internet are not in a buying mindset. You can decide not to mention the price, have them click your ad, and smile at your lack of conversions. But that’s pretty stupid, don’t you think?

The CTR from LP-to-offer is just as important. There is absolutely no gain in having somebody click your ad on Google if they never even had $75 in their bank account to begin with. Bust out your most appealing ad text but do yourself a favour and mention the catch. If you’re paying by the click, you don’t want to waste a windfall on unqualified traffic.

To advertise something like dating with PPC, particularly if you’ve chosen an offer where your payout is only confirmed for a specific market (say 30-40 males) – it goes without saying that you should be dressing your ad text with incentives for that audience.

“Aged 30-40? Want A Girlfriend?”
“We’re Offering A Free Pass This Weekend”
“Chat To A Girl Near You Tonight…”

You’ve qualified your traffic in several ways. You’ve narrowed down the field to only 30 to 40 year olds. And you’ve mentioned the search for a girlfriend. In theory you should be attracting males in the right age plan. You shouldn’t be wasting too much money on clicks that can’t bring you conversions. Either that or you’ll attract a bunch of keen bean lesbians. And if that’s the case, opt them in to an email list and forward that shit to me.

At the same time, it’s very easy to play some neat mindfuck tricks on your target audience to get them to click ad texts that they otherwise would have ignored. I’m a believer that if you can get the user to say “yes” to several questions, they’re more likely to say yes when it matters.

There are many other examples. You really should be making use of negative targeting to filter out the crap traffic that isn’t suitable for your offer. I normally make sure that any search query with “free” doesn’t get the slightest sniff of my sponsored ads. The same could be said for “torrent”, “download” and a few others. Your negative terms will vary according to the offer.

I’ve been talking a lot about PPC here. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what form of advertising you’re currently using. There are many ways to qualify traffic and avoid wasting money. The super affiliates might be happy to burn through their wallets for quick success. But you have to earn the right to enjoy that freedom. So you better start from the ground up and get to know your target markets.

If you’re wondering why you always fail, it’s probably because your sales funnel is trying to please too many people. Make everybody who visits your landing page feel as if it’s been designed just for them and you will start to see a lot more success.

Investing For The Future With Affiliate Marketing

It seems funny to think that I’ve only been a full-time affiliate marketer for six months – and I’m already planning what to do next. There will probably be a large number of you who think that jacking in the day job to work from home is the ultimate retirement. The chance to put your feet up, bust out the cocktails and wake up when the sun goes down.

The problem, of course, is that affiliate marketing happens to be one of the most volatile industries to be making a living in. At any point your campaigns could go to bust, your traffic source could eject you, or an inexplicable server downtime could cost you thousands of dollars. My ex girlfriend once told me that I’d been talking to her about affiliate marketing in my sleep. Besides bowing my head in shame at the obvious, I was quite shaken at how quickly this industry has enveloped my day-to-day thoughts, concerns and ambitions.

As much as I love what I do, I’m slightly paranoid about the long term prospects of it all. Can any of us honestly say that those $35 commissions are going to be there in 15 or 20 years time? The industry will evolve and so will the techniques that we use to reach the millions of users online. But that in itself is a constant challenge. No matter how much money you’re making today, the Internet is transforming at such a rate that you always have to be learning. Or you’ll get left behind.

Take the art of SEO as an example. I know guys who work every day on building long term websites that rank well in Google. If that’s not hanging your balls on the line, I don’t know what is. Your riches and fortunes are hinged on some Google suit deciding not to tweak the algorithm in somebody else’s favour. I would not want to be sitting there knowing that everything I have is prospering in a virtual universe that could change tomorrow and completely forget me.

I think enough affiliates have been banned from Google and Facebook for me to assume you already know the dangers of being a one traffic source wonder.

Affiliate marketing is a game of cat and mouse. The mouse being very rich, and the cat being a Warrior Forum sized stampede of nobodies. Every last one of them would enjoy your riches and it’s up to you to stay one step ahead. If you’re sitting at your desk and thinking it’ll only take one lucky break, one lucky campaign, to turn your life on its head – well, you’re wrong.

Try one lucky campaign, every week, for the rest of your working life.

That is the reality for marketers who intend to make hay forever as affiliates. Personally, I’m working hard now to provide greater opportunities for my future. I see affiliate marketing as the launch pad to something else, something better, something that doesn’t have a stinging acai aftertaste. If you’re not investing in your future, you’re setting up your eventual fall. Nobody’s luck lasts forever – especially for an affiliate.

Security is the word that springs to mind when I consider what I’m trying to achieve. And that’s ironic because most affiliates who’ve achieved great things have had to risk it all at some point. I think the mass banning of Adwords accounts back in the summer acted as my warning. Since then there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t forced myself to think several steps ahead.

It’s very easy to watch a successful campaign rake in several thousands of dollars. But you should assume that the offer caps tonight. What’s your next move? Say some Wickedfire dick has outed your campaign and the whole world can see what’s been making you money. Your work ethic needs to be such that they’re only talking about the weaker split test. If you’re constantly evolving and seeking out better results, you’ll find them before your competition catches you.

I had a couple of emails after my last post about “outing” successful Facebook techniques. It’s never my intention to harm anybody else’s campaigns, and it’s true that the tactics I talked about have been good to me over the last few months. But do you really think I’m so stupid to post how-to guides on what’s currently making me money? This is the big problem with affiliate marketing blogs and why you shouldn’t be reading them all day every day. By all means go ahead and teach a bum everything they know, but don’t teach them everything you know. Most affiliate bloggers are very good at that. In fact, they don’t teach shit to begin with.

What I’m trying to say is that to enjoy long term success as an affiliate, you simply have to learn as much today as you did yesterday. To do that, you need to be humble (under the surface), willing to learn from your mistakes and constantly seeking improvement.

If you check out my profile, you’ll see a quote that I believed in when I started this blog:

“Entrepreneurs live for a few years the way most people won’t so they can live the rest of their life like most people can’t.”

Maybe I’m still living those few years, but I don’t believe it anymore. If you truly have the dedication to achieve something, the desire to improve your business, you’ll never start working less. And that’s a good thing because determination, drive and commitment are qualities that some people will never dream of having until the sirens of failure are ringing in their ears.

You might work smartly. You might move away from the daily grind that contributes to so much stress – but will there ever be less work? Less on your mind? I don’t think so. When I look back and ask myself “when was the last time I had nothing to worry about?” I think my answer is when I was sitting at my day job. That’s the truth. If you take the solo road, you are going to carry a burden. You might not feel it through the good times, but it’s waiting to reveal itself to you when shit gets hairy.

Laser Targeting Small Markets On Facebook

There are a number of ways to skin the cat on Facebook.

As tempting as bribing an intern can be – after the 91st rejected ad notification – you should keep faith that eventually some stupid son of a bitch is going to risk detention and hit the big red “approve” button. As an entire office of Under 22 whores Zuckerberg would love to shag gasp with horror, it’s possible to make some pretty good bank. That’s if you’re willing to persevere. Facebook is a love hate relationship for many. But when I love you, Facebook, I really fucking love you.

The thing that really gets on my tits about Facebook is the effect it has on my working day. I’ll plow through a giant list of dating ads, only to have to do it all again at 10pm when an intern decides my hussy is showing too much skin. I mean, seriously, do yourself a favour, Facebook. Wake up and smell the bacon. Guys are more likely to click on a chick who’s making no effort to keep her modesty outside of the 110×80.

For those of you following my Twitter, you’ll have heard my CTR-raising trick. It’s basically to find girls sucking lollipops. This seems to draw immediate attention and bag the clicks. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because more guys are interested in blowjobs than dating.

I feel myself drifting off with another aimless tangent, so I’ll cut to the chase. The most success I’ve had making money on Facebook has been by laser targeting very small markets. To do this, you’re going to need a greater investment of time – and probably patience – considering you’re going to be submitting many more ads.

To take dating for an example, I know there are a lot of affiliates who direct link and manage to stay profitable. If that’s working for you, great. I don’t think I’ve ever direct linked on a dating campaign and gotten the margins of profit that would make it worthwhile for me to keep running. Instead I prefer a little market segmentation.

If you’re running dating ads, you should probably be using the CPM system. Paying by the click is notoriously expensive for this vertical and your ability to have success will pretty much hinge on what CTR you can muster. I drop any ads that aren’t getting at least 0.09% as a general CTR rule. Not only do I drop the ads, but I also banish the girls from my hard drive forevermore. You can forget HotorNot.com. The real beauty contest is whether I can use your face to get a bunch of 25 year old American guys to sign up for some lonely hearts piss-parade. Anything less than 0.1% CTR and I’m sorry girl, but it’s over.

The best way to raise a CTR with dating ads, from my experience, is to drill down and target by the city or state. I like to change my ad texts to something that is relevant and local. Better yet, I like to make it sound like the target is the hot commodity. Check this shit out but don’t go copy and pasting it or I will track you down and break your fucking balls.


You can probably change the colour of the lollipop and do some pretty advanced split testing. Maybe even the tint the lipstick. I’ll leave it to you. What I’m trying to say here is that you’re sending a message to the single guys in London that they’re wanted.

The next part of the puzzle is to build a landing page that delivers on the geographical promise. If you haven’t tracked down a PHP script for geo-targeting the user’s current location, you’re about 5 years behind the porn industry and you should probably get up to scratch right about now.

I was stumbling across a porn site the other day (research purposes fyi), and I noticed the targeting had advanced to such an extent that it was almost asking me if I’d like to fuck my nextdoor neighbour. The porn industry has been geo-targeting for so long now and it’s taken the rest of the marketplace a good couple of years to catch up. If you’re ever sitting there looking for some inspiration, looking to take your creatives to the next level…I shit you not. Go and find some porn. You’ll see marketing tactics employed that are a few light years ahead of the rest of us. Why? Because the competition encourages innovation.

Well, as far as geolocating goes, I like to jack that particular innovation and shove it straight in to my dating landing pages. If you can get the average simpleton Joe thinking that there’s a shag around the nearest block, he’s gonna be salivating all the way to that shiny Mate 1 confirmation email.

I have a custom built CMS that makes it possible for me to add a couple of location specific images, change my region settings, and spit out a fully functional landing page for any dating market in the world. This works like a wet dream for setting up new Facebook campaigns. The only problem, as you can probably imagine, is getting the intern to play ball and approve the damn thing.

The real challenge with any small-scale Facebook campaign is something that a surprising number of affiliates fail to understand: retaining your CTR.

See, not only do you have to worry about getting an initial CTR of above 0.09%, you also have to keep it stable. Many affiliates watch with confusion as their super targeted campaign starts with a surge of success – only to fade to shit by the weekend. Well, you need to conquer the banner blindness syndrome.

If you’re targeting a group size containing less than 100,000 Facebook users, you really need to be actively switching out your banners and testing new ad texts.

It doesn’t take long to rack up 100,000 impressions. Let’s say by some statistical miracle occurrence those 100,000 impressions are distributed evenly with 1 impression per user. After every user has seen the ad and decided not to click on it, you’re going to have great difficulty changing their mind when it next pops up on their screen. Banner blindness kicks in surprisingly quickly. Users begin to ignore your best worded ad texts. Your CTR fades day-by-day until your profit margins are bust or your volume of clicks is a trickle.

To beat the banner blindness, you need to create many different ad variations and KEEP THEM RUNNING. Even when one ad significantly outperforms it. I’ve felt the temptation, believe me. You see one ad raking in a CTR almost double that of another, and you remove it – what happens? The CTR of the best performing ad will invariably drop.

A lot of the time this is because the top performing ad starts to receive all of the impressions. Banner blindness quickly sets in. There’s no alternate text or image to keep the message fresh and shit begins to go wrong.

Some small scale campaigns are destined to never make it beyond a short lifespan. This is reality. You can’t milk a cow forever. But if you want to get the most out of an ultra targeted campaign, you really need to be mixing up your creatives and keeping your message fresh in the user’s mind.

One of the best examples I’ve seen on Facebook is the current campaign for Mafia Wars. I’m not going to out any creatives, but every time I refresh the page, it seems like they’ve changed the ad text or the image or something else to drag my eye back to their message. Take note and remember not to let your own profitable campaigns slip away through neglect. Keep it fresh and you’ll keep on banking.

EDIT: Just last week, this blog was voted in as one of the newest additions to the 9rules network. 9rules is a highly respected members-only community for the best content from the independent web. Naturally, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing there. But thanks for reading.

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