Classic Mistakes Of A Former Affiliate

The riches are so great in this industry that the virtues of patience are easily forgotten.

If you’re a new affiliate, trying to come to terms with the challenges ahead, there are two commodities you’re going to need in abundance – patience and vision. In the hope of having one successful campaign, many affiliates test a hundred of them. When they all fail miserably, the “testing” process is typically so sketchy that to find a golden nugget worth chasing would be like running your hands through elephant shit thrown at a wall.

Let’s take the newbie dating affiliate who calls this a working day:

He knows that a lot of affiliates are making money from dating offers. So he picks out the best dating offer, based on his AM’s recommendation, plugs a few ads in to Facebook, targets ages 35-45, and blows $50 on a handful of conversions that barely break even.

In the face of a loss, he realizes he doesn’t want to lose anymore money. So he rejigs his campaign.

He picks another dating offer, based on a recommendation he sees in one of Nick Throlson’s park video blogs, switches his ads over to Plentyoffish, targets ages 45-65, and blows $50 on zero conversions.

No conversions? Oh shit, it must be the advertiser scrubbing, right? So he chooses another dating offer and relaunches his Plentyoffish campaign. But not before completely overhauling his landing page, targeting a different country and launching at 6am in the morning when any singleton in said market has already whacked off for the night and signed out of POF.

Still no conversions.

He then thinks to himself…fuck this shit, there’s no money in affiliate marketing.

The ability to test variables methodically ranks right at the top of the list for “desired qualities” in an affiliate marketer. It’s no good to have the best ads, the best targeting or the best landing pages. They have to function as a system, cogs turning as one, slowly grinding towards the end goal of profitability.

If you’re still looking for your first taste of success, REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR VARIABLES.

Once you know beyond reasonable doubt that an offer is converting well for other affiliates, stick with it. Hunt out the traffic source where ads appear most regularly for that offer. Now you have your two most important variables nailed down:

A good offer, and a profitable traffic source.

There are still a ton of variables, and it’s your responsibility to test them thoroughly and transparently. There is absolutely no point in split testing the performance of two different age brackets if one of those age brackets is being redirected through to a different landing page. Every variable matters. And until you regain control of your variables, you’ll never truly know what is working, what isn’t, and what money you’re leaving on the table.

I think most affiliates know and readily admit to the importance of split testing. But not many are patient enough to follow through in their execution. Usually because they either – a) find success and have little ambition to improve on it, or b) start to panic when their daily ROI drops below ballin’ status.

Patience is everything. Expecting miracle results overnight, or even just results, is the classic mistake of many a former affiliate.

In terms of why you’re most likely to fail, a lack of patience is second only to complete disregard for the challenges ahead.

I often use a metaphor that finding success in this industry is like climbing a mountain. Success is there at the peak, but you have to be patient. You have to build your base camps along the way and prove that you can overcome the inevitable challenges. Finding a profitable campaign might be your first step, but sustaining it is another. Surviving through the next FTC crackdown or dealing with a banned Facebook account might scupper your best laid plans along the way. Setting your eyes on the summit and ignoring the beast in front of you is called living in cloud cuckoo land.

Reaching the summit, discovering those riches and having your dream business, requires acclimatisation along the way. It can’t be achieved in one night’s work. If you have aspirations of rolling like Richard Branson, but reservations about spending $5, well let’s just say you’re going to be stuck at low altitude until you progress beyond those fears.

Most of us are aware of the challenges. But If you think your latest idea makes you Reinhold Messner, capable of scaling any peak without putting in the hard hours of acclimatisation and learning from your falls – you’re going to get blown off the mountain. There are many failed routes – tough challenges – before you ever find a way to the top.

Some are self-inflicted… the mistakes you will inevitably make along the way, never a bad thing if you learn from them.

Some are caused by others… everybody in this industry is hoping to use you as a stepping stone to their own summit.

Some are caused by fortune fucking with you… Suck it up and deal with it.

Whatever the reason, if you want to enjoy the riches on that summit, you need to respect what comes before it. There’s no such thing as a success formula in this business, but you can make life easier for yourself by methodically ruling out what doesn’t work.

This is what many of us have done over the years. We rarely have the foresight to know when a campaign will become profitable. But it’s having the patience to learn enough about what NOT to do. This comes with experience, patience and vision.

Every mistake you make needs to be another hazard avoided in the future. And every variable you test needs to be another factor eliminated from your monetary equation. Affiliate marketing is very simple if you take a methodical approach. The problem is that most newbie marketers have a love affair with the desired results rather than the consequences of their actual actions. They stare at the summit instead of concentrating on their next step. Most become former affiliates.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Definitely one of the better networks with a wide range of dating offers, all on high payouts, including lots of stuff in Europe and South America. I think you’ll like them.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

19 Comments

Leave a comment
  • I agree that patience is really key, but thats what separates most people from the people who wont be successful.

    Theres also that one metaphor about getting the ball rolling, the hardest part is to get it rolling, but once you get it going, it gets much easier and easier to make a lot of money … 🙂

  • How are you going to write a post about how your blog is a waste of time and then follow it up with some sound advice on the fundamentals of successful affiliate marketing?

  • Worth mentioning in this context: Beware of trying to optimize a campaign with zero conversions. The only hing you can do when you’ve spent enough dough and see a big fat zero is to check everything for errors – including double checking your traffic source and offer are a good match. And making sure you’ve REALLY spent enough for conversions even at a loss – you can’t expect profitability out the gate.

  • Spot on…though I have just started to play with POF and FB…always favored SEO for traffic..that has taught me all about patience 😉

  • Another solid post Finch – I see so many affiliates split testing every variable under the sun before they even see if the offer will convert.

    You should eliminate as many variables as possible, and narrow down as much as you can when you are first testing an offer.

    Like you said – once you know it works then you should start tweaking it and scaling it out.

  • Awesome post man,
    I have been guilty of that in beginning, I think most people starting out in this biz have been guilty of it. It’s those that realized it, adapted and modified their mindset, that succeeded. I wish someone posted this about three years ago. Would have saved me some money.

  • “He then thinks to himself…fuck this shit, there’s no money in affiliate marketing.”

    Yes I hope all noobs will think this and fuck off back to 9-5. Noobs are burning through all the domains. The noobs are the ones giving the industry a bad name. fuck noobs.

    “blogs like these are a waste of time”

    Yes. noobs have either got it or they havent. 90% dont. fuck em.

  • Finch is a noob!!

    Lets assume you have a new offer and wanted to run some facebook ads. A typical noob would not bother split testing demographics, and would end up bidding on male and females aged 18-100 worldwide.

    Now lets assume that all of finch’s blog posts are aimed at noobs. Since 90% will struggle, fail and quit IM, then his posts are not targeted correctly and a complete waste of time!

    Conclusion: finch is a noob 🙂

  • As simple as it sounds, getting control of your variables is a very powerful concept. Your reminder helped me find a new profitable campaign. Well done. So much for wasting your readers’ time…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2009-.