Judging The Size Of An Affiliate’s Balls
I Have A Job, Swear!
Don’t Buy Ebooks…Tell Me Your Name, Bitch!

Judging The Size Of An Affiliate’s Balls

You can often judge the size of an affiliate’s balls by his willingness to keep scaling a successful campaign when he’s surpassed the amount of profit he was originally hoping to make.

A sense of vertigo can kill the desire of the “working class” affiliate. Maybe instead of raising the CPM bid to $0.50 and opening the traffic floodgates, he’ll settle for his slow trickle of leads at $0.45. When you’re profiting, and profiting well, you need to let go of your reservations about cranking up the heat and raising your costs. Spend serious money to make serious money. That’s how it works.

Your little friend, Volume, will make a 650% ROI micro-campaign look laughable when the powers of mass consumption are at work.

Yet many affiliates panic over the idea of bidding higher to capture more traffic, especially if they reach a level of profitability where the bills are paid and they’re living in comfort. Success isn’t just the relentless pursuit of optimized campaigns, but developing scaled campaigns that reach mass markets. A constant aching desire to increase revenue, the heartbeat of any successful entrepreneur, is why the super affiliates are wining and dining the girls you can only whack off to over Facebook in your mother’s basement.

If you want to live like a super affiliate, THINK like a super affiliate.

Don’t set yourself flimsy targets like “this month I’m going to make enough money to pay my water bills and then maybe splash out on some toys for my hamster”. If you aim low and succeed, you’ll be filled with a sense of achievement that you don’t fucking deserve.

If you’re making money with a campaign, raise the click prices. Raise those bid prices. Expand your demographics to be as all-encompassing as they possibly can be while still making you money. The broader you can survive, the sooner you’ll thrive.

There are times where I look at my Excel spreadsheet and I see a campaign with 650% ROI. Boasting any kind of volume, I’d be ready to say screw you all, pack up my blog, bust out the sun-cream and spend the rest of my life in the Bahamas. But of course, 650% ROI doesn’t mean shit unless it’s sustainable and scalable.

There are marketers out there who will tell you that to be successful, you need to tap up tiny little micro-demos and blow hundreds of dollars testing down to the smallest detail. While this can often be the case, you should allow your campaign to develop naturally before you start piss-arsing around with the “DOES THIS PERSON LIKE GAMES & PUZZLES” attribute on POF.

Every additional targeting criteria you add to your campaign is one more hurdle you’re going to have to jump in the future if you wish to scale. The truly successful super affiliates have one of two traits:

1. The ability to profit from broad ads with mainstream appeal.
2. The ability to automate hundreds of targeted ads in smaller demographics.

I’ve written many posts referring to the potential of laser targeting your campaigns down to the smallest detail. But if you’re going to take this route, you need to be able to automate the process.

Too many affiliates scratch around hopelessly to come up with a single campaign using targeting that looks like this:

POF campaign example of targeting

I’m sorry but there are only so many Hispanic chain-smoking crackwhores in Canada.

Even if you are making a ridiculous ROI, is it really worth it? If you’re not rolling out a dozen other campaigns with similar targeting, you’re simply pandering to a small crowd in a shadowy corner. Forget the bright lights of super affiliate success, you’re not going quit your day job while you’re loitering on the outskirts of micro-niches.

The energy you put in to your work should be reflected by the potential it has to grow in to something meaningful. And I’m sorry, but if you spend entire days plotting out campaigns that are born with the disability of being critically unscalable, you’re going to spend the rest of your working life in the trenches.

This all stems back to the mindset of the affiliate. Are you looking to make enough money to survive? Or are you looking for opportunities to get a really fucking big swimming pool and a wife like Jonathan Volks?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the example of targeting I’ve outlined above, but ONLY if it’s your launch pad to mass marketing.

Look at the main niches in CPA. What do they have in common?

– Everybody is concerned with how their body looks.
– Everybody wants the chance to make more money.
– Everybody wants the comfort of a relationship.

These are all qualities that appeal to the mainstream. So instead of sitting there and wondering how you can appeal to a tiny micro slice of the market, stop thinking so small! By all means get creative with your concepts, but have the persistence and innovation to scale them to wide and far reaching demographics.

The super affiliates out there, most of them, have recognized that it only takes one winning concept to get incredibly rich. Do you really think all of these guys are smart enough to keep pulling innovative campaigns out of the bag? No, it’s usually a case that they’re more efficient when it comes to scaling what already works. They have the balls to win big.

I think many affiliates are still stuck in the financial constraints of their day job mentalities. They have a fixed monthly wage they want to earn, and the second that figure is reached, scaling becomes irrelevant. Why push on in to the unknown?

Log in to your Facebook or POF account and I’m willing to bet you’ll find campaigns where you targeted micro-niches and made a profit. Was the ROI such a burning distraction that you never ventured in to broader markets? I’m guilty of the same mistakes in the past. But if you don’t scale, you’re like the hermit worker who doesn’t have the balls to ask his boss for a pay rise. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you don’t scale, you’ll never know.

The next time you’re laser targeting a campaign to a small crowd, ask yourself “How scalable is this concept?” If you can’t think of a way to take it mainstream, it’s probably not worth the bother. Save your energy for campaigns where there’s potential to earn big.

Finch guest posts on PPC.bz (Because he hasn’t slagged me off yet)

I’ve recently been looking for writing opportunities on other blogs. Dearest Barbie from PPC.bz offered me the chance. I was tempted to submit a YouTube video since that seems to be his thing these days. But alas I wrote a piece called Saving FML America. Check it out, and drop me an email if you’ve got a blog I can sling my junk on.

Until then, follow me on Twitter

I Have A Job, Swear!

This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time now. It’s something that I’ve held back from posting because I know it’s of little relevance to the majority of readers who have already found and established a successful living with affiliate marketing. But I’m hoping it’s something you can relate to in the attitudes of people outside our industry.

I’m frankly tired of explaining to people that my job equates to more than a hammock and a retirement plan.

If you’re reading this now and thinking “Well, this arrogant pom seems to be making a good living and he only ever tweets about his balls, I think I’ll do what he does” …well, you’re probably not alone. I’ve lost count of the number of occasions I’ve had to explain to family and friends that my success is the result of repeated failure. You can’t skip the failure part.

Friends often ask me if I could show them how I make money. Just give them a glimpse of what it is that I actually do that gives me the right to avoid a morning commute. Well, y’know, what would you like to see? The campaigns I can count on one hand that are actually making me money? Or the thousands that never worked out?

People don’t want to lose money and they only want to reap the benefits of a job that in reality, can be as simple as milking blood from a stone. It doesn’t help that every ebook under the sun is pointing to making money online being a rites of passage that you’d be a retard if you haven’t tapped in to yet. But some of my friends haven’t even seen the ebooks. They just assume I’m operating in a surreal home office straight out of cloud cuckoo land.

“So, what you do is pay for advertising, right? You buy leads and sell them on for more? If I give you £200 from my work wages, when do you think you can pay me back the £400?”

I shit you not. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve been propositioned with these kind of “business proposals” time and time again since I became a full-time affiliate marketer. It’s a glaring example of the two misconceptions that annoy me most.

1. Money is the only reason for my success.
2. My hard work to pinpoint an opportunity is somebody else’s “dead cert” to bring home the bacon while they’re sat on their fat arses basically saying “Go, monkey, PROFIT”.

It’s got to the point where if I’m asked what I do for a living, I stop to think twice before answering that I traffick humans. Christ, it’s easier to explain and most people just don’t want to probe any further. Tell people you make money on the Internet at home, AT HOME, and they’re on you like the prom queen after two roofies.

I will honestly give anybody a fair chance, even if I don’t believe they’re cut out for the business. If somebody emails me looking for advice on how to get started, I’ll reply to them. If a friend asks me to watch over them while they create their first campaign, I’ll do it. But this isn’t an industry where one person’s success gives you an advantage in terms of avoiding failure.

I think we can all agree that one of the best aims in life is to be able to work smarter, not harder.

For many affiliate marketers, this is the reality. We’ve given up day jobs, broken free from the chains of a Monday-Friday 9-5. But fuck you if you think it came without sacrifice along the way.

Long before I quit my day job, I was working double shifts. I’d spend an entire day working in a London agency where you’d often be sniffed at for leaving on time at 5:30, then I’d go home and spend the rest of the night slaving away on my own. My weekends? If I wasn’t out socializing, I was working. The only reason I ever managed it was because to me, it was never really work. It was my passion and a step towards where I wanted to be.

People don’t see those steps. They see the end product. They might call round and find me sitting here in my lounge on a Tuesday afternoon, and to them it’s like a seismic mindfuck. How can they join the party? If affiliate marketing is such a piss in the park, how can they get started?

There’s one trait that nearly all successful affiliate marketers share. It’s the ability to see opportunity where others see only a bunch of pixels. I can’t stress this enough. I could take a friend’s hand and walk them through the many steps of preparing a successful marketing campaign. I could show them how to setup hosting, how to design an excellent landing page. I could even introduce them to my successful ad creatives. But what we can’t do is inject the same sense of opportunism.

I’m beginning to think the best way to strike a chord of reality with people is to ask them one question.

“If you never made a single penny with affiliate marketing, would you still enjoy it?”

It sounds ridiculous to think that any of us could enjoy a moneyless profession where the urge is always there to pull your own hair out. But for most affiliates, this is how it started. I remember receiving my first cheque for something like a hundred bucks and being over the moon. It wasn’t the money I cared about, it was the entrepreneurism of generating something out of nothing on my lonesome.

Would you feel the same? Do you care about the entrepreneurism or are you just in it for the quick cash? I can tell you one thing. Being an entrepreneur will kill you if it doesn’t thrill you. Some people just aren’t cut out for the stresses and strains. And believe me, there are plenty.

In my inbox, I have a bunch of emails starred from affiliates just getting started and wanting advice. I give them exactly the same pointers and yet some will enjoy success, while others will have to learn the hard way. It’s pretty much rooted to your own expectations and passions.

But you know what they say about the grass always being greener, right? If you’re stargazing at the apparently novel lifestyle of an affiliate marketer, ask him where he came from instead of where he is today. You’ll get a much more accurate depiction of what it takes to be doing this shit for the rest of your life.

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Don’t Buy Ebooks…Tell Me Your Name, Bitch!

Are you the kind of affiliate who shuns daylight, appears offline on AIM, never responds to emails and does everything he can to avoid conversing with the shadowy bastards known as his competitors?

We work in one of the most accessible industries imaginable. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’re online. And if you’re a good one, your ego has probably exploded to the point where you’re not hard to find. I often wonder why newbies rush to buy ebooks from self appointed gurus when they could speak to those same gurus free of charge in the space of a basic AIM window.

Networking is free knowledge, ladies and gentleman. And yet it’s a subject that divides opinion for many marketers out there. Partly because it’s confused with the trait of time wasting, and those who do anything possible not to have to actually work.

For me, networking isn’t just a case of wanting to learn more about my industry. It’s an element of human interaction that I’ve missed since I jacked in my day job. While it’s pretty rare that you’ll find me piss-arsing my day away with idle chit chat on AIM, I do feel a regular need to speak to new people and to understand different paths that others have taken to find success in affiliate marketing.

But why is it important? Who would choose to spend an hour networking over the important split testing of their latest Facebook campaign?

If you’re the kind of tombraiding CPA urchin who makes his living through the constantly shifting dynamics of traffic arbitrage, then you definitely need to have an ear to the ground. Networking is your way of staying ahead. Much more so than the practical affiliate who develops long term projects with milestones stretching in to 2011 and a disregard for his daily ROI.

It’s tough for me to sit here and preach the importance of developing relationships. The popular word is that if you’ve stuck your weary eyes out of the rabbit hole long enough to engage in a 10 minute conversation on AIM, you’re simply not working hard enough. That’s bullshit. There can be no excuses for not taking a moment to integrate yourself with your peers, to seek out new business and to actually network with other like-minded individuals.

Oh and by the way. Some affiliates seem to preach to the crowd that they work 16 hour days, more or less Monday to Sunday. So they don’t have time to network. That’s real nice. But you do realize that just because you’re plugged in to the Internet and your modem is flashing, it doesn’t mean you’re actually working – right?

If your breakdown of a 16 hour day equates to 3 hours of keyword research followed by a WickedFire binge from lunch through to moonlight, then you’re probably not reaping the benefits that a dumbarse motherfucker “working” 112 hour weeks probably should. Your net working day can be established by subtracting “time spent chasing skirt on Facebook” from “hours spent building out campaigns”.

I am certainly not one to knock the hard working affiliates who strike through their to-do lists whether the wife has gone in to labour or not. It takes commitment and great discipline to stay focused on your goals. But without keeping an eye on your peers, you’ll never know how relevant those goals are to business success. Simply put, we work in an industry that evolves too quickly to be out of the loop.

Christ, I took a two week break not too long ago and the first thing I did upon rebooting my Mac was to Google search “is affiliate marketing still for real?”.

Networking and sharing knowledge means you’ll never have to buy another ebook in your life. Why? Because it puts you in touch with the REAL people of this industry. The people making money every day. The people making money before the lame ebooks have been outsourced for creation.

I like to think of it as a spider building his web. Broadening your horizons and spinning that web might not reveal any immediate benefits. You might even feel like you’re wasting your time while you could be out chasing after riches. I’ve certainly felt that sensation while aimlessly discussing Cheryl Cole’s sex appeal with Andrew Wee in the past. But when a knowledge bomb drops, when tomorrow’s big niche lands, you want to be there to catch it. And if you don’t make an effort to integrate yourself with real affiliate marketers, to reach in to every corner where opportunity might land – well…

You’ll be a hungry spider?

Yeah fuck that anecdote, it’s been a long day.

My point is that somewhere on the horizon, chugging towards your doorstep, is the same kind of gravy train that most of us were too slow to capitalize on in 2008 when it was loaded with acai berries. My excuse for missing out was simple. I didn’t really know about it. And by the time I did know about it, I was too late.

If you can establish working relationships with the right people in the right places, you WILL see that next gravy train coming. Whether you jump on for the ride is probably a matter of how intuitive you are.

The next time you find yourself stargazing at the promises of Mr Guru McBullshitsalot’s latest ebook, stop and think for a moment. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of buying a book that this smug bastard dreamed up six months ago when his methods actually worked…you could talk to him now and find out what he’s currently doing?

And there lies the power of networking with real affiliates. You will learn far more by simply being connected with the right people than you will by purchasing their products or reading their blogs. Make an effort to establish actual business relationships. Without them, you’re simply the pawn they’re trying to sell to or the sheep us bloggers like to write to.

Ready to start networking today?

Clearly the moral of the above post is that you’d be a retard if you didn’t follow me on Twitter.

Follow me up!

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