You can have the fastest web server in the world and the best domain, but if you don’t have any affiliate offers to promote, you’re not going to make any money. Good offers are the reason for dinner on my table and stamps in my passport. They’re what makes our world go round, so promoting a good offer is pretty frigging important to your chances of success.
Before you can start promoting affiliate offers, you need to get with an affiliate network. These are middleman companies that will take a slice of your commission, in return for dealing with all the crap that you really don’t want to be concerning yourself with on the advertiser side.
If youâ€™ve followed a networkâ€™s application process correctly, you shouldnâ€™t have too many problems getting accepted.
However, there are some cases where you’ll need to make further contact before your application can be processed. Many marketers assume that if theyâ€™ve heard nothing back from a network within a couple of days, theyâ€™ve fallen victim to some kind of auto-decline button. This is rarely the case.
It’s more likely that the network has simply put your application to one side and not acted on it yet. Iâ€™d recommend you pick up the phone and chase the network if you havenâ€™t heard back from them within 24 hours. This might make you seem like a keen bean, but ultimately, it shows the network that youâ€™re serious about working with them. Networks like to feel pampered by the enthusiasm of keen publishers. It gives them a break from dealing with moody bastards like me.
Iâ€™ve had situations in the past where networks have failed to get back to me. Instead of grovelling on The Warrior Forum about another rejection, Iâ€™ve busted out Skype and dialed internationally asking them to take a look over my application. Nine times out of ten you will be approved by the end of the conversation. Unless you suck really badly at talking on the phone.
You will find it extremely hard to get accepted on most mainstream CPA affiliate networks without a phone call to verify youâ€˜re not working out of a small hut in Indonesia. And if you happen to be working out of a hut in Indonesia…sorry, pal. Maybe the Warrior Forum can help you.
What Kind Of Network Should I Join?
There are enough affiliate networks to waste an entire day processing registration forms if you so felt the urge. Most of them will claim the same incentives:
– Top payouts!
– Get paid weekly!
– 1000s of offers!
– Dedicated affiliate manager!
If you believed every network’s hype, you wouldn’t have time to promote any actual offers because you’d be forever bending over to register with another. The most important thing I can point out is that some networks are ideal for affiliates planning to drive traffic to their websites by paying for it. And some are more suited to the affiliates who use free marketing techniques.
You may have heard about CPA (Cost-Per-Acquisition) networks. These networks are famous for offers that are lucrative, easy to promote but often unstable. With CPA networks, you don’t have to deliver sales. You can get paid for simply convincing a customer to register an interest in a product. And this is why it’s so much more lucrative. A customer is generally much happier as long as he isn’t paying money. CPA is known as a Performance-driven industry, however, and with good reason. If you send a bunch of crappy customers who don’t want to spend money, the offer won’t back out for the advertiser and everybody loses.
If you’re working with an ordinary network and only getting paid by the sale, you better be good at persuading those customers to whip out the credit card.
I prefer CPA networks, because that’s where I had my big break. But you will find many more reputable offers on networks like Commission Junction, ShareASale and Linkshare – and most of these companies deal with advertisers who are paying by the sale.
So which type of network suits you? The choice is yours. I’ve included a selection of my recommended affiliate networks below:
You’ve probably heard of CJ. It’s the largest affiliate network on the planet. It’s size can only be compared to the scale of the headache you’re going to have if you ever need to speak to them.
Now let me get this out of the way before I go any further. Commission Junction is tainted by some of the worst publisher communications I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with in my life. Emails go unanswered, support is aloof and the network has an uncanny ability of being able to make publishers feel like worthless small fish in a large pond. Even when they’re earning five figure sums in the space of a week. So why would I recommend them? Quite simply because they have the widest selection of offers encompassing almost every niche you’re ever going to need in Internet Marketing. I fucking hate working with them. But it’s almost – just about – worth it for the rewards.
>> Sign Up With Commission Junction
If you’re looking to work with sales rather than leads, I’ve found ShareASale to be an excellent network that delivers a wide range of publisher features and much better support than the CJ juggernaut. It isn’t blessed with anywhere near as many offers, but there are some really great products to choose from. Many of which I’ve enjoyed a lot of success with on a personal level.
As far as the interface is concerned, you’re either gonna love it or hate it. I think it’s fine. There’s support for deep linking, all kinds of custom goodies and the tracking has never done me wrong. This is a stellar network, check it out.
The first of the CPA networks I’m going to recommend, and a powerhouse player in the rebill market. Convert2Media is one of the most respected CPA networks in the business. You know what you’re going to get with this crew. And that’s a two way relationship where respect is given both ways. So don’t screw it up. From my experience, these guys are pretty strong on all rebill/continuity type offers (some of the most lucrative in the industry). But more recently they’ve been pushing quite a lot of gaming campaigns and zip/email submits too.
It’s probably best to bed in at a more beginner-friendly CPA network if you’re just getting started. Once you’ve got an eye for what you’re doing, shoot the C2M guys an application and go make some money. You can read my full Convert2Media review here.
Adsimilis is a network I’ve had a pretty close relationship with over the last few months. They are very hands-on with their publishers and the communication is excellent. If you ever have any questions about promoting an offer, or simply need to know what’s working well for others, they’re a great network to have in your repertoire. I recommend them primarily to publishers who are wanting to stray from the usual USA based offers.
The network has a large selection of campaigns for Europe and South America. It has some rare dating offers, usually on very high payouts. The management have proven to me in the past that they’re willing to pay you more if you’re willing to send them good quality traffic. If you’re not registered with these guys, I would highly recommend you get with them. Minor complaints over the irritating interface aside (Edit: Now updated), this is an excellent place to drive some traffic.
Now that you’re registered with a few good networks, you need to select an offer you’d like to promote and think about how you’re going to get some eyeballs to that offer.
Choosing The Best Offer To Promote
For those of you who suffer heart failure at the thought of selecting the right offer. Allow me to give you some blatantly phoned in advice.
The EPC is MUCH more important than the payout – When you login to your affiliate network interface, you will be greeted by a bunch of columns and stats. EPC (Earnings-per-click) shows an average of what affiliates are making from an offer. A payout reveals absolutely nothing about the quality of the offer, or whether it sells. I could stick the essence of my balls in a jar and tag it at $100, but it doesn’t mean people are queuing up to buy them. EPC gives you an accurate baseline of how well an offer is converting.
Never promote shady offers on reputable websites – Facebook, Google and co will ban your advertising account if you promote offers that don’t coincide with their draconian guidelines. Be very careful about what and where you’re advertising.
Look at what offers other affiliates are promoting – When you log in to Facebook, what advertisements do you see? Are you being bombarded with dating ads? Then there’s a good chance a large number of affiliates are profiting from those dating ads. Work out which offer they’re using, find the network that hosts it and copy them.
Avoid the most saturated markets if your budget is thin – Industries like weight loss are worth millions and millions of dollars. So competing in that space is going to be a super competitive dogfight where you won’t succeed unless you have a very unique take on the market, or a budget the size of Finch’s pants. Choose an offer that has mainstream appeal, but a unique selling point that you can capitalize on. For example, instead of promoting general dating offers, try cornering part of the market. Like… horny Catholic widows, men who like beach whales or women looking for older guys. Much less competition equals much greater chance of success.
Don’t become loyal to an offer – Never stick with what you know. You’re an affiliate marketer and your greatest strength is that you can change what you’re selling in an instant. Shop around with different networks for the best payout on any given offer. You can use this tool. Test different offers within your niche and keep testing until you find the maximum ROI.
Choose an offer that appeals to your strengths – If there’s something we could use more of in the affiliate marketing industry, it’s definitely the presence of genuine experts in their field. If you’re knowledgeable on a subject, and can find an affiliate offer to match to that topic, by all means run with it. You have an enormous competitive advantage over 95% of the rest of us.
Want to know how to get visitors to your offers? Show me where to buy some traffic
One CommentLeave a comment
Great post Finch.
Whilst I agree that EPC is more important than the payout, I would actually be careful about relying on EPC as a factor in itself; if you take into consideration that you may have affiliates who are driving all sorts of traffic (some from crappy sources) to that specific offer.