Email Lists That Don’t Self-Destruct In 5 Minutes
Vegas Is For Gambling, Vegas Isn’t For Marketing
Building Long Term Assets In A Short Term Industry

Vegas Is For Gambling, Vegas Isn’t For Marketing

So how did you guys enjoy Vegas?

I’ve been stalking various photos from ASW and I can’t say I’m not jealous. If I’d made the trip myself, I’d have definitely shagged something. For a single guy in his early 20s, the lure of bringing scandal to Sin City was almost enough to place my balls on a last minute flight to the strip. But alas, I’ve been busy elsewhere.

I’ve seen a lot written about the state of the rebill market. Particularly now that industry peoples have stuffed their faces discussing the topic over four course meals sponsored by every network under the sun. Things are changing, times are getting rough, yeah…we’ve all heard the drama. It’s like Kevin Hoeffer died or something.

It’s true.

Affiliate marketers have stopped making money. The game is over. Lives are ruined. We don’t know how to exist in a world where $40 street payouts and idiot:8 conversion rates are a thing of the past.

But it’s okay. I’ve got a post that can do all that.

It’s called “develop some actual assets and don’t let your paid traffic go to waste you stupid fuck”

The problem with rebills has always been the stability of the offers. A campaign that converts with a towering ROI can hit an iceberg in the night and sink before you’ve had time to wake from your fantasy. This is what happens when you buy traffic with the purpose of using it once.

I’m guessing many of you sat around the tables in Vegas and gambled away your money. It’s all about risk, right? What are your chances of success compared to your chances of failure? When you place yourself in a win or bust situation, you sometimes end up going bust.

When you buy advertising on Adwords and send a click to an offer…what are you doing? You’re taking a calculated risk. You’re anticipating that you can score a conversion to give you immediate reward. Just like many of you probably did last weekend, it’s just as possible to go bust.

So what the sensible marketers are doing is downsizing that risk. The chances of scoring a conversion are not great when you look at the state of the current rebill market. So don’t throw everything you have at crazy batshit affiliate arbitrage. Conversion rates are guaranteed to drop over the coming months, but you know what will stay the same? The percentage of users opting in to email lists. No Visa or Mastercard bullshit is going to affect the likelihood of Average Joe agreeing to hand over his email address.

Once you have that email address, you’re no longer playing the game of rolling a dice and pissing your pants for the right outcome. You can still tempt the user with an offer, but if they don’t convert – you’ve still got them on your books. You can hit them again, and again, and again.

You might not see email addresses as business assets, but if you don’t collect them – what are you doing? You’re constantly chasing the invisible margins between profit and loss. There are some niches where the arbitrage affiliate simply can’t compete with other advertisers. That’s because the arbitrage affiliate only has eyes for the one conversion, and can’t stand the thought of a loss that might take months to reverse. This is all wrong wrong wrong.

And you probably know it’s wrong, you just can’t resist January’s pay cheque.

When you build an email list, you’re taking a large slice of the risk out of your investments. Assuming you’re not a total Warrior tard. The kind who struggles to get email opt-ins without autoresponding naked pics of his 14 year old daughter as an incentive (take one look at those avatars and tell me it doesn’t happen).

Maybe it’s time you looked at your EPCs in a different way. Emails Per Click.

The great thing about becoming an emailing affiliate is that it takes away a lot of the pain that people associate to getting the scrub or shave treatment. If you’re building a list over time and get to the point where you have thousands of opt-ins, you only need to know what’s hot now. Does it matter to you that an offer is only going to be around for a week? No because when you drop that email, the large majority of recipients are going to be clicking on the hottest offer and maximizing your chances of producing the best ROI. If it doesn’t work out? Well, that’s too bad but you haven’t blown out like a bad night on the Vegas strip. You still have your data and you still have another chance to use it.

I will say that some offers are not suited for targeting with email traffic. People aren’t stupid. If you drop rebills that are attracting huge mainstream criticism, you’re probably going to pay the price. Unsatisfied customers will report you and your list will hit the skids quick. It’s important to offer genuine value. And that right there is probably the single biggest turn off for so many affiliates. Genuine value? But that takes, like, time and everything?! Yeah, it does. You’re running a business, right? Maybe consider hiring somebody to play with your balls for the nine hours that you’ll be obliged to waste doing real work. It might stop you becoming a case study of the affiliate marketing 2010 “back to my day job” brigade.

There are a couple of services you can use to make list building a simple and pain-free process. I would personally recommend Aweber (Yes, it’s an affiliate link, and yes if you’ve got any respect for my work, you’ll use it, bitch). I know a lot of top affiliates practically swear by Aweber and it really is a fantastic service.

This has been a basic poke in the tits towards considering the value of the traffic you’re buying. In the next post I’ll sum up some of the best techniques and cheap tactics for building a list.

EDIT: There seemed to be a bit of confusion over whether I was actually in Vegas for ASW. Some dude messaged me saying that it was cool to speak to me. I don’t know whether I have a double (apparently I do and she’s AdHustler’s AM), but I definitely was not in Vegas. I will be in New York for ASE though.

Building Long Term Assets In A Short Term Industry

This is going to be the first in a series of posts about long term business development for affiliates. One of my biggest regrets of 2009 was that I spent 8 months working for myself and didn’t come close to developing the number of fixed assets that I should have done. Too much of my energy was spent playing with fire on campaigns that were raking in the money one minute and draining my wallet the next. This year is different. I’m not thinking “how can I make more money than I know how to spend?” I’m thinking long term stability.

Yeah, if you’re wondering, I’m wearing slippers and smoking a pipe while I write this. Next stop: feeble retirement. But it reflects how I feel about the business right now. I’m not interested in banking astronomical profits just so that I can go on WickedFire and be a dick posting about it (like the majority of members over there, sorry but you’re lame). Money isn’t my incentive this year. I worked my arse off through 2009, made a lot of cash, and you know what happened? I never got chance to enjoy any of it. I want to live in comfort, not chained to my dedicated server incase a small wind knocks it offline and motherfucks my media buy.

2010 is going to be all about working smart.

It’s interesting how when I broke in to affiliate marketing, the niche that set me on the road to riches was the Google bizopp. And yet one year on, the goalposts have shifted so far that I’ve returned to where I started in terms of how I value my work.

When I quit my day job, it was in disbelief that so much money could be made through such a simple process. Set up a landing page, plug in some keywords, and line your pockets with money. I’d lost interest in the kinda “small fish” web projects that I’d spent my previous career undertaking. Instead of developing long term assets that would stand the test of time, I was happy to tear through more .info domains than you could fit in your economy shared hosting plan.

One year on, I’ve grown tired of living on the volatile edge. I gave up rebills a long time ago. But even now, I’m still shifting my campaigns to more long term geared strategies.

You should know how it is. A part time affiliate marketer can afford to tap in to whatever’s hot or converting at the time. Those of us doing this shit as a full time career need to move forward with slightly broader mindsets. To live comfortably, we need to develop long term assets. Or face the hair receeding bitch that comes with the pressure of producing profitable CPA campaigns week on end. I’m not joking. If I had to live 2009 several times over, I’d be bald by the time of London Olympics. There’s times where I feel myself physically molting at my desk.

When I look at the affiliate marketing landscape in 2010, I see a lot of opportunity. But I also see a lot of challenges on the horizon. Especially for those who deal in short term crash and burn arbritage and nothing else. Not to say the ballers are going to fall by the wayside, because they won’t. But the time is now to build some long term assets. Something that an Adwords slap or an offer outage can’t touch.

What are your options? Well, that’s what I’m going to bring myself to type shit about over the next few posts. But to give a basic overview:

Developing an email list: You’ve heard it over and over again. But have you actually bothered to take action? Building an email list is one of the single most effective methods of adding value to the traffic that you’re purchasing. Instead of popping a lead once, why not keep the prospect and hit them with several offers over time? Most affiliates shy away from this route because it involves sacrificing some of the immediate ROI. I’m aware of this so I’m going to outline a method of building an email list and scaling it to thousands of opt-ins without spending a single penny. It’s surprisingly easy.

Building an authority site: If you spend forever digesting the clusterfuck of information on how to get your site ranked using SEO – well, good for you. I personally hate SEO with a passion. The only time I get any kind of thrill out of SEO is when my ninja optimization skills take me to the top of the SERP for terms such as:

Shag my wife
Kiss my balls

…and various finch birdspotting phrases.

This blog receives a lowly 3% of it’s traffic from the search engines. I don’t like spending any more time than I need to optimizing for Google when The Big G could flick a switch and erase me from the search engines completely. So, I take that attitude in to every affiliate site that I develop. Yes, it’s nice to reap free traffic. But the intention should always be to establish an authority, an identity.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not impossible to blend in to a niche as an “expert talker” while pushing your own sordid commission driven agenda. Just look at John Chow. I believe a good brand is worth a lot more than a first page search ranking. But to migrate in to new niches and build long term assets, you’ve got to know your market and know your audience. It’s why I portray myself as such a cynical bastard on here.

Be first on the scene. I can’t remember where I heard it, but it’s definitely true. You don’t always have to be the best, or the funniest, or the cleverest with your marketing message. Sometimes, just being the first can be the only competitive advantage you need.

I guess I’ve learned from my year in affiliate marketing – having originally made money by recycling campaigns that were everywhere – the innovators will always find a way to get paid. If you can seize opportunity and be the first to jump on an offer or a new demand, you will make money. It’s as simple as that.

The main difference between my mindset now to how it was when I started is that I’m not looking for a fleeting campaign in today’s hottest niche. I’m looking for a long term investment in tomorrow’s new craze. I believe that’s what separates entrepreneurs on the web from those who are always chasing the seeds of what successful affiliates have already built.

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