Shock Marketing Tactics For PPV Profits
Why Successful Young Affiliates Grow Up Fast
I’m An Affiliate Marketer, Get Me Out Of Here

Shock Marketing Tactics For PPV Profits

PPV tactics

Now, I jacked this graph from a Google image search, and it’s satire rather than actual data. But it’s pretty much true, right? People find it hard not to pay attention to scenes that jump out of their mundane lives and slap them in the face.

Since moving in to PPV advertising, I’ve tried several different approaches to varying degrees of success. I’ve tried informational adverts, humour to capture attention, and the subject of this post – shock marketing. While it’s not suitable for all offers, shock marketing is something that naturally integrates very well with PPV. When you’re dealing with interruption marketing, or springing pop-ups on a user who is otherwise engaged, you really need to have an ace up your sleeve to tear them away from whatever they’re expecting to see on the page they’ve clicked through to.

Many people fail to drive a sufficient CTR with their PPV creatives simply because they try to be too cute. They’ve been raised with conventional marketing wisdom that says that if you explain the right benefits to the right user, you’ll enjoy eventual success. While that’s true to an extent, the nature of pop-up and pop-under display adverts is intrusive.

You could be slinging Vodka to an alcoholic and there’s still a good chance that he’ll give you the cold shoulder. Maybe ten years ago you’d enjoy an easier ride. Unfortunately people are naturally inclined to turn a blind eye to advertisements these days. That’s unless they see something so outrageous or so targeted to their needs that they can find the reason to put aside whatever they were doing before.

When I approach my PPV campaigns, I always do so with the same mindset: “How can I make the user stop and stare?”

Research shows, from a number of sources I truly can’t be bothered to dig out, that you have a matter of split seconds to grab the user’s attention. Miss the boat and you’ve paid to be forgotten.

Picture your target audience. Can you honestly see these users pissing themselves in excitement at the thought of what the next 750×550 might bring?

Well, the way I see it, if you want people to catch a message on a highway billboard, you’re going to have more luck if a car has just been trashed in to the support beams. People will stop and stare.

One of the offers I wanted to test out was an auto insurance quote form. There are some great insurance lead gen opportunities, and PPV is a brilliant way of making your living with them.

The problems with auto insurance offers are pretty well documented. Most affiliates are priced out of the PPC space due to advertisers with budgets the size of Texas. The cost efficient platforms to market these offers are PPV and social media networks like Facebook. But it’s not easy to get the average floating surfer to pay attention to an auto insurance offer.

Unless you’re extremely targeted or extremely relevant, it’s going to be hard to interest people with a subject like insurance. I would personally enjoy crunching my balls against my desk more than I would being distracted from my Facebook photo creeping by a loose promise of cheaper car insurance. That’s just me.

I decided to use PPV to target several Chevrolet related websites. I was looking for users who were actively looking to buy a new or used Chevrolet. I can’t remember why I chose this brand. It was something to do with it being the most crashed vehicle in a certain state for three years running. I can’t remember.

As most PPV experts will tell you, you’re going to enjoy a lot more success if you target your traffic source and then try to match it to an offer that fits the demographics. By settling on this Chevrolet crowd, I already had an excellent idea of what my target audience was hoping to see.

It would be very easy to put together a basic creative with a few bullet points and a strapline like “Best Insurance Offer For Your New Chevrolet” or whatever. This will often be successful, but it wasn’t shocking enough – in my eyes – to draw the number of clicks that would be necessary to keep the campaign profitable.

Instead I ventured back to Google Image Search and retrieved a pretty horrific image of a crushed Chevrolet, the result of a high speed car crash. When you have eye-catching provocative imagery, it becomes so much easier to pull the user’s attention off the page. I split tested several different titles and while I’m not going to out my own techniques for driving an image like this home, it goes without saying that bolder is better.

If the aim of your campaign translates in to shocking the user, there are no shortage of directions you can take to get the job done.

How about dating? It struck me just how many advertisements choose to depict stunning women and the guarantee that you could date one of them. But what is the shocking opposite? Well let’s just say the search term “unhappy middle aged man with fat ass ugly beach whale” might have taken a Googling last month.

Got a work from home offer? Pick the ugliest face you can physically stand to look at. Paint it with the tagline “This man needed an excuse to work from home…” Maybe you can see what I’m getting at here. Sometimes being all cute with the benefits of the product simply isn’t good enough for distracting a user. Forget your marketing degree – if you’re one of the 0.06% of readers to actually have one – so much PPV success hinges on being calculating, nasty, and very aggressive. Any attention is good attention. The worst thing that can happen is for somebody to ignore your ad.

It’s possible to get away with shock marketing tactics using traffic sources like Facebook too. But everybody knows that a Facebook intern has the kind of threshold to provocative imagery that a baby has to it’s first tooth. You’re not gonna get very far before some bitch is crying about it. I use PPV for my most aggressive marketing campaigns, simply because there’s not much you can’t get away with.

I would recommend taking a look at your offer and working backwards. Often the best way to come up with an ad creative is to take the single biggest lure of the offer and dump it on it’s head.

Want To Meet Hot Single Girls?
Or how about…
Want To Be Scouting For Beach Whales At Fifty? (Well, you better join now then….)

Want Cheaper Life Insurance?
Or how about…
Want Little Baby Jack To Give Up His Dreams Because You Died And Left Him Nothing?

The push is often greater than the pull.

You’re probably beginning to see why I resent the industry I work in, but that’s just the way it goes. You’ve gotta take advantage of fears and dreams. Shock your audience in to taking action and stop being so nice.

Recommended This Week:

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Why Successful Young Affiliates Grow Up Fast

I won’t lie. There’s something incredibly satisfying about sitting on the train and listening to some suited twat big himself up on a Blackberry, all the while knowing that you’ve got the capacity to earn more than him and you don’t even have to get out of bed to do it.

Living in London, I invariably find myself in bars full of yuppy tossers and “touch base” talking clowns who’ve let the Christmas bonus go too far to their heads. Affiliate marketing is still such a young industry and it’s very rare that we get the respect we deserve for the hours we put in. But this is probably because affiliate marketers generally represent a very young demographic of businessmen and entrepreneurs. The business studies curriculum hasn’t yet had to suggest that we exist.

I was reading in the comments to the last post that much of the arrogance and drama in affiliate marketing can be attributed to a young crowd with more money than it knows what to do with. While we’re blessed with great opportunities, we have to find the discipline to ensure that they lead to long term success. For many marketers in their early 20s, like me, this is one of the biggest hurdles you’re going to face.

I think it’s great that a young generation has broken out from the academic ranks and found a successful alternative to degrees and 9-5s. Let’s be honest. Most of us in this business are stubborn individuals who want to succeed or fail on our own merit. I never enjoyed working for anybody other than myself. I think most affiliates are the same.

Thanks to the Internet, we’ve got the perfect platform to show those skills in an arena where you can’t be discriminated against because you can’t be seen. Only the output of your creativity is there to be judged. That was the huge appeal of the industry for me. A learning curve that keeps on giving.

But at the same time, if you’re a part of this younger generation, you need to think long and hard about the practicalities of what you’re getting in to. I’ve seen so many affiliates making huge profits and somehow blowing it up the wall and staggering back to their day jobs within the year. To reap long term results, you have to learn to channel the positive energy of being young, creative, and web savvy – to overcome the challenges of sudden responsibility and dealing with money. You also need to stay humble.

Why humble? Who gives a fuck about humble when you’re stacking dollar bills to the sky?

There are affiliates out there who are quite happy to boast about their earnings, shove screenshots in your face, and build up a personal brand that suggests only following their every move will take you to the riches. While I occasionally drape this blog in the necessary arrogance that it requires for a cynical crowd to take notice, it’s never a good way to run your business.

One of the most important things you can be doing as a young affiliate – or simply just a young businessman – is to learn, learn, learn and learn. It doesn’t mean shit that you’re earning crazy figures today. The second you let the money go to your head and sap away your desire to become better at your craft, you’re flirting with disaster.

There is always somebody better than you, always somebody earning more. If you forget to carry yourself with a humble willingness to learn and to listen to what other people are doing, you will completely toast your long term prospects of surviving. Or certainly achieving what you might have done in this industry.

There’s times where I browse WickedFire and it completely blows my mind that such a collective bag of dicks could ever have the social or diplomatic know-how to sustain good relations with a single network – let alone the far reaching contacts necessary to run a proper business.

I know there’s a lot of “front”, and many people will talk shit simply because they’ve established a net vBulletin post count of 10,000 in the noughties where faceless web bashing has become the norm. But sometimes, people will judge you by the only face they can see. There’s a lot more to be gained by carrying yourself with respect and actually giving something back to the community rather than shitting on it.

I often get asked what it’s like to be working for myself so young. I always answer the same: incredibly stressful but always worthwhile. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of the boozy shipwrecked Friday nights on the lash that I used to enjoy week in week out. Not because I feel financially restricted, but because I’m carrying the weight of my own expectations on my shoulders. And I expect a lot from myself. If I’d allowed my ego to dictate my life, I would have crashed and burned long before now.

One of the drawbacks of being part of this younger generation of web entrepreneurs is that some of us simply aren’t ready for it. Teaching yourself discipline, motivation and the ability to plan ahead is not always easy when your first taste of success is as simple as refreshing stats. So many of us enter the industry full-time starstruck on the back of initial success. It’s a good idea to remember where you came from, and how your success can be as fleeting as the time it takes you to fall. Don’t let your bank balance go to your head and don’t book a worldwide cruise on the back of a good month’s work.

Networking with other marketers and sharing your knowledge is probably the single most effective way of gaining experience as an affiliate. We all have our own successes and failures to talk about. I can always tell when I’m talking to a young egomaniac with his head up his own arse. And I never share anything useful with these people. If you act like a lone riding dick with a chip on your shoulder, people will treat you like one.

There aren’t many industries where you can be so successful in such a short space of time. I hate to say it, but just because you’re making money, that doesn’t mean you’re great at what you do. I think many young affiliates will drop out of the business as competition becomes more fierce and the road to riches becomes harder to negotiate. Those still standing will probably be the ones who haven’t spent all day living the jet-set affiliate lifestyle they took for granted and thought they’d always have.

So you’re young and rich. That’s a notorious recipe for ending up old and lazy. Working hard through the good times, staying humble around your peers, and helping others to succeed. These are all qualities that are likely to work in your favour at some point. The riches for young affiliates are mind boggling. But you’ve gotta grow up fast to enjoy them.

I’m An Affiliate Marketer, Get Me Out Of Here

How many of you have seen The Wire?

There’s a character called Stringer Bell who fronts a Baltimore drugs gang (Ask Cakes for details), and slowly becomes disillusioned with the shady shit he has to deal with on a day to day basis. In a bid to escape the wrong side of the law, he uses the gang’s drug money to invest in property and real estate. Ultimately it all goes wrong and he gets shotgunned down for his sins.

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about – or why – it’s because I’m feeling the strong urge to pull a Stringer Bell, leap out of this shady industry and throw my money at something that doesn’t make me blush when I explain the mechanics of how it produces profit.

Affiliate marketing is full of so much bullshit and unnecessary drama. You can do everything in your power to avoid the drama, but when networking is such an integral part of your business, the drama becomes a lurking fixture of your day. Staring in awe at a cyber shitstorm over nothing in particular. None of the time management tools in the world can fully isolate you from an industry which regurgitates endless shit like no other.

I’ve been thinking about how I can limit the negative aspects of affiliate marketing. How can I cut down on the bullshit and learn to see through the lies without wasting any more of my time than I need to?

It’s a very shady space to work in. Some of the things I see affiliates doing – some of the things I engage in myself – would certainly rank low on the list of “topics to discuss with the grandparents over Sunday roast”. You can say that it’s a dog eat dog world. But one look at WickedFire and I’d change that to “dog eats dog while cheered on by pack of starving wolves”.

You people love drama. And as a guy who blogs to the exact crowd that love it most, I would be a colossal hypocrite to sit here raising a white flag and begging for mercy.

Instead I’m thinking about how I can adapt a business model that allows me to sleep easier at night. Most of us who’ve been doing this for any length of time appreciate that there’s a system in place. I haven’t promoted rebills for so long that I’ve convinced myself they’ve gone out of fashion. But even working with dating, gaming and a bunch of other CPA offers – I’m still riddled with the guilt that making money shouldn’t be this easy. So much of marketing is about creating false positives and selling a user what deep down you know they don’t really need.

I’ve made a personal effort to promote reputable offers and steer well clear of the continuity market. But it still bothers me that my working day involves tapping in to consumer weaknesses and surrounding myself in these negative energies. Negative energies? Yeah, I had a curry for dinner. I’m pretty fucking full of negative energies right now.

At the moment, it’s fine.

Affiliate marketing is an addictive circle to be working in. It can be so incredibly lucrative. I speak to guys who are millionaires in their early 20s and it’s all thanks to an industry that anybody can excel in if they have their fucking nuts screwed on.

But are you planning on doing this forever? Or do you have an exit strategy?

Last week, Nickycakes took a backlash from some of the WickedFire community for releasing a product that allegedly clashed with some of the rants he’d written in the past. I noticed a few posts mentioning how he obviously couldn’t be making as much money as he once did if he was willing to release a relatively low margin product in comparison.

This is such bullshit, I can barely believe I’m even writing about it. I’m not leaping to Cakes’ defense by any means. I’ve never met the guy and I’ve never tried his product. But are all affiliate marketers expected to live and die by the arbitrage game for the rest of their careers?

Whether Nick’s product blows or not, it’s pretty irrelevant. Escaping the “buy traffic to sell traffic” trap is something that I think any affiliate would be a mug to ignore. I don’t see how all of us can possibly get away with exploiting something that is this lucrative forever. Especially if affiliate marketing continues to grow at the same rapid rate.

I’ve been mulling over my own options and thinking about what I want to do. How can I use affiliate marketing as a launch pad to a stable long term business that reaches beyond basic CPA arbitrage? Well, I’ve been posting recently about building long term assets, and there’s a lot more to come there.

For me personally, I don’t plan on sticking in this industry for long. I’ve seen enough of affiliate marketing to know that while I’m enjoying it now as a 22 year old with no family of my own to support – I don’t want to be riding this horse for any longer than I need to be. I have my eye on property investment as an exit plan.

Make enough money as an affiliate to finance the kind of investments that would go beyond what the average 22 year old is capable of laying down. Every day is a constant drive to increase profits and give myself that flexibility sooner rather than later.

Do you have your own exit plan? You might be making money now, but how are you going to keep making money if the tap ever runs dry?

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