My Landing Page Tips For Small Payout Offers
CPA Marketers: Read This And Improve Your Conversion Rates
Are You Telling Or Are You Selling?

My Landing Page Tips For Small Payout Offers

“Do I need a landing page?”

Visit a marketing forum, and you will see this question treated with scorn.

Affiliates are adamant that, 90% of the time, a landing page is required to make money.

You cannot simply direct link paid traffic to affiliate offers and expect to make a profit.

It would be too easy.

Makes sense, right?

90% of the time.

So, assuming that we will probably need a landing page to make money, how do we go about producing a good one?

The Art of the Pre-Sell

When we talk about sending users to a landing page, what exactly do we mean?

We are referring to a page that ‘pre-sells’ the offer.

There are several methods of pre-selling, and some are more controversial than others.

A landing page can be as simple as a form preceded by some bullet points incentives.

Like this template provided by Traffic Plus Conversion:

Squeeze Landing Page example

Or it can be as complex (and widely derided) as a fake news article:

Banned landing page

What is a landing page?

It is a bridge in the sales funnel.

An opportunity to create tension so that when the user lands on the affiliate offer, he is ready to convert.

The only offers where you might not need a landing page are those where spontaneity is inherent in the niche.

App installs, for example.

How many of us read sales letters before deciding whether to install an app?

If your banner is self-explanatory, you can *occasionally* make money by direct linking.

But even then, a landing page that does a good job of displaying the utility of the app, will nearly always perform better.

This stumps many affiliates.


It’s easy to see why an offer that costs $69.95 would require pre-selling.

The user has to justify a purchase.

When we put our minds to this, we can be quite persuasive.

With a low payout offer, the psychology is different.

The offer may be completely free.

And we overestimate the power of ‘free’.

We expect ‘free’ to do the heavy lifting.

We also overestimate the appeal of immediacy.

What good is the ability to have X now, for free, if X is judged to be worthless?

The silence of non-conversions — particularly when an offer is free — should tell you everything about the importance of creating value through a landing page.

Here are some tips for combining landing pages with small payout offers.

Illustrate the function of the product

Users don’t want to be told what a product offers.

They want to be shown.

Your landing page must illustrate the one relevant problem that your product solves.

Focus on the tension associated to that problem.

Condense it and provide the solution.

Do affiliates promote speed booster apps with sales letters and meandering prose?

No, they use visual storytelling melded to one good incentive, like this:

Mobile landing page example

Regardless of your moral stance on this type of install-bait, the app’s utility is plain to see.

The lesson?

Keep it simple!

  • Here’s your problem.
  • Here’s how our product solves it.
  • Here’s how to get started.

The faster you combine these three elements, the sooner you’ll create a funnel capable of monster profits.

Learn to focus attention fast

The worst banners can sometimes produce the best profits.

Affiliates know this.

That’s why the web is littered with ‘creatives’ (I use the term loosely) that look like this:

Download Play Now

Play button

What is the strategy here?

It’s certainly not CPC.

The strategy is simply to get as many users as possible to click through to a landing page.

It’s a method of converting CPM display traffic in to cheaper (and more malleable) pop-style traffic, with a much higher engagement rate than you’d see on pop sources.

A process that goes like this:

  • The banner captures a stray click.
  • The landing page engages the user, very quickly, and plants a desire.
  • The offer sells on that desire.

Offers with mainstream appeal are selected, very carefully, to ensure that the funnel is relevant to a large audience.

You won’t find dating offers for men over 30, but you will find battery saving apps, speed boosters, antivirus scanners, chances to win an iPhone, and Whatsapp bundles.

The idea is that the campaign is pre-targeted to an extent that the affiliate already has a decent idea of who is viewing the ads.

(e.g. Samsung users, Android device, WIFI, USA.)

He focuses on finding a mainstream offer to serve this market.

Then aims to get maximum eyeballs on his landing page.

The landing page is where the battle is won.

Some of the crudest sales funnels in our industry succeed by pairing ‘accidental click’ banners with landing pages that assault the user’s fleeting attention span.

Bold, brash headlines with visual storytelling work well.

So does replicating the look of other popular websites to provide a comfort blanket.

Here are two popular techniques that follow the ‘bait and switch’ banner:

  • Scare tactics — Your phone may be unprotected! Scan now.
  • ‘Too good to pass up’ — I have a chance to win an iPhone? Huh?

In either case, you are likely to induce a reaction along the lines of…

“The fuck are you talking about?”

And it is your landing page’s task to get talking; fast.

Ramp up the tension to act today — this very second.

We are not brand advertisers.

A Shutterstocked banner that makes an inoffensive contribution to a brand’s ‘arcing story’ might secure its designer a promotion, but it won’t put dinner on an affiliate’s table.

We need strong creatives.

It is our number one priority to get a response now; today; in the next 4 minutes and 58 seconds.

One of the most common uses of an affiliate landing page is thus to artificially manufacture a sense of urgency.

We strive for that ‘Shit your pants’ moment.

Some of the greatest hits to our reputation come from affiliates acting too aggressively in this respect.

We do, indeed, succeed in creating a maelstrom of shat pants.

And the stench starts to drift.

Most advertisers treat their offer pages as a shop window.

“Great, you noticed us! Here’s what we offer. Here’s a link in case you want to get started today.”

We affiliates are the expendable sops tasked with standing outside that shop window, dressed as werewolves, and yelling loud enough that passers-by might actually listen.

The landing page is our megaphone.

Your job when designing your next landing page is to think:

“How can I take this product, match it to a burning desire (or fear), ramp up the tension, and then force a resulting action today?”

If your landing page fails to add tension or desire, then it fails.

That’s the acid test for your pre-sell.

Is it so pants-shittingly good that it works today?

Tomorrow is somebody else’s commission.

The Low Payout Dilemma

There are perfectly capable affiliates who overlook entire markets because they believe the offer payouts are too small.

What can you do if the lead is only worth $0.20, or $0.10, or $0.07?

Never mind that the offer accepts traffic in Jordan.

Never mind that click prices are exponentially cheaper.

Never mind that hundreds of thousands of users in a new market are completely bamboozled by their first sighting of the ‘affiliate ad’.

Who needs context, eh?

The story we prefer is “I’m used to paying $0.15 for a click in the US, therefore these offers are a complete washout. The economics are fucking alien. Why bother with them?”

Some affiliates will harbour this contempt whilst throwing $100, direct linked, at a couple of app installs on Decisive.

They assume that because their banner depicts the correct brand, the conversions should swiftly follow.

How simple is that?!

What part of the process instills you with a sense of job security?

Because if you can find it, I’ll buy it.

In a bottle.

And drink it every night.

You have to do better than the average affiliate.

That’s how our industry works in 2015.

  • What can’t you change? The offer.
  • What can’t you beat? The CTR of a ‘Play / Download’ banner.

What does that leave?

It leaves the landing page: your ability to get from A to C.

Your ability to create angles; to illustrate a product effectively; to deliver a blunt call-to-action that is difficult to avoid.

It doesn’t matter how small the payout is.

The result of not selling the offer is always the same: $0.00.


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CPA Marketers: Read This And Improve Your Conversion Rates

The line between profitability and hopelessness has become so thin that you are royally shooting yourself in the balls if you are not fighting for every last conversion.

A common problem I see with affiliate sales funnels is a lack of understanding for what constitutes a conversion. Sounds pretty obvious, right? “Duh Finch, I get money when another sucker joins True.” Well, that’s almost correct. Unfortunately, the ‘almost’ cripples many campaigns.

Before promoting any offer, you must take the time to research exactly when the conversion pixel fires. There’s no room for vague assumptions. “Joining True” paints a picture in my mind of the conversion pixel being fired as soon as the user selects a username and hits Next. Most of the time, this is not the case.

We have zip submits, single opt-ins (SOI), double opt-ins (DOI), questionnaires to answer, profile pictures to upload, applications to download, first orders to place… every offer comes with its own criteria for when the conversion should be fired.

The definition of “joining a site” is black and white. But your conversion isn’t. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they are one and the same.

Here are some general guidelines for how your landing pages can be adapted to suit each conversion type.

Zip submits

Generally seen as the easiest affiliate offers to promote, zip submits do exactly what they say on the tin. As soon as the user submits his zip-code, you get your conversion. The payouts on these offers are predictably low to offset the unpredictability of the traffic quality.

The golden rule of promoting zip submits is to hold the advertiser’s hand and give them exactly what they want. There’s no point in delivering poor quality traffic. You’ll be scrubbed to Timbuktu in no time.

Single opt-ins

A single opt-in requires the user to submit his email address. However, the conversion is triggered after the submission rather than at the point of confirmation. You’ll find a lot of single opt-in offers paying around $2-$3.50. It’s not big bucks, but it’s better than a zip submit.

In my opinion, the large majority of affiliates use landing pages that are aimed at achieving a single opt-in. It’s the standard entry point. But think about it logically. If the advertiser is paying out on a single opt-in, you can probably increase your traffic quality substantially simply by treating the offer like a double opt-in. Encourage and incentivize the user to confirm his email address. This may have to come at the price of one of our favourite affiliate tactics: completely bullshitting the real nature of the offer. “Hey, where all the single soldiers at?

Double opt-ins

A confirmed double opt-in is worth infinitely more than a single opt-in. Your payouts will traditionally reflect this by offering double for the confirmed email.

Something to keep in mind with double opt-in campaigns, particularly in the dating vertical, is that it makes no sense to calculate ROI on an ongoing ‘live’ basis. A small but significant percentage of users will not confirm their double opt-in straight away. They will get busy, distracted, or otherwise torn away from their Gmail. This can lead to a small trickle of conversions being fired the next morning. Ever had 0 clicks and 3 conversions? Well, there you go.

However, if you’re monitoring your stats like a hawk, what are you going to think when you finish the evening taking a loss? You’ve probably already deleted the campaign by then.

Always let your conversions filter through before making any snap judgments.

Survey/questionnaire completion

Some offers require the completion of an entire questionnaire before the conversion is recorded. Now imagine you’re the stereotypical battering-ram of a publisher who cares not for such details. You design a landing page with a teasing call-to-action like this:

Register in 45 Seconds or Less!

Sounds nice and coaxing, right? In some cases this works as a great hook. But it’s a terrible call-to-action when the conversion pixel is only fired after a 15 minute questionnaire.

I see it happening time and time again. Affiliates go for quick dealmakers. They sell every offer with the brevity of a single opt-in, when they should actually be shooting for a solid incentive to complete Steps A, B and C.

In instances where the user is required to navigate his way through a complex 15 minute interrogation, your landing page has a duty to sell this process and make it seem worthwhile. How could you get a user to answer a questionnaire?

To give you an example, on dating sites, I use it to filter out the ‘bad dates’ that the user will be avoiding when she joins the new service. It’s quality protection, because she only deserves the best.

Profile photo upload

This is another common requirement on high-payout dating offers.

Offers that convert only after a profile photo upload would have worried the crap out of me 5 years ago. But now thanks to Facebook, even technophobic 75 year old grandmas have photos at their disposal.

The secret to nailing these conversions is to make a direct reference to the benefits of uploading a photo. If you’re branding the site as an unusual paradise where men actually receive messages from hot girls, you should make it clear that communications increase X% when the user adds his photo. Or say that members without a photo are being culled and will not qualify for the free trial offer. Whatever puts the thought in his head and safeguards your conversion.

Converts on download

There are many toolbar and gaming offers out there where the user is expected not only to sign up, but to download and sometimes even play the game for the first time.

For single opt-in minded folk, I like to call this the ‘minefield offer’.

It’s littered with so many what-ifs that the challenge is as much about hitting the right carefree demographic as it is selling the product. A golden rule that I’ve adopted is to avoid targeting users who are likely to be on their work computers. This crowd does not want to download and leave a trace. So you will need to day-part and keep a tight hold over your demographics.

There’s no point in trying to con the user here. Your best step forward is to sell the offer as a legitimate must-have and hope that the user’s interest is perked enough to follow the necessary steps.

For gaming offers, “Can you beat this ridiculous score?” is a winning hook.

So, how are your conversions today?

Take a look at your own sales funnels. Be honest.

Has it all gone slightly tits-up?

Your landing page must not only sell the offer. It must sell the required steps necessary to secure the conversion.

As I said on StackThatMoney this week, your sales funnel has to be designed to shove the user to the conversion pixel, NOT purely to get them to choose a username and press Next. Be clear with your objectives!

Recommended This Week

Are You Telling Or Are You Selling?

Because there’s a big difference.

Good sales copy is an art that’s slowly being forgotten. Lost under the piles of misinformation about traffic sources, how to get the best CTR and whatever else is the current flavour of the month on Affbuzz. I get the distinct impression that affiliates are forgetting the method in their madness. The fact that wherever they buy traffic from, however many eyeballs they drag to a page, you still have to sell the god damn product you’re promoting.

A successful affiliate campaign is like a jigsaw puzzle. You can have all the traffic sources, all the hottest products and all the best ad ideas. But if you don’t piece them together correctly, you’ve got precisely jack shit. And in my opinion, the piece that keeps getting confined to the affiliate’s peripheral vision is the sales copy.

I don’t think many affiliates are actually that competent when it comes to selling what’s in front of them. And it makes perfect sense because, well you know, not many of us went to marketing school. I sure as hell don’t have a degree in the art (or any other art for that matter), but I have taught myself to appreciate the importance of creating a sales funnel.

And so should you.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in the UK we’re currently facing a spending crisis where you’ll often hear the term “we need to do more with less”. In a slightly different way, I think affiliates are going to soon hijack that quote and apply it to their own businesses. Prices are rising on traffic sources and it’s no longer as easy to get the same CTRs as you were scoring twelve months ago. So you’re going to have to make the most of your advertising outlay. And the best way to do so, in my opinion, is to stop publishing such shitty amateur landing pages.

Stop assuming that x amount of clicks will equal a sale, no matter how good or bad your landing page happens to be. Start working with the mindset of “How can I maximize the likelihood of a conversion with every single click?”

Good sales copy isn’t only noticeable in it’s ability to turn features in to benefits. I won’t waste my time explaining why that’s important. I’m sure most of you already know. But good sales copy is also adept at highlighting the potential stumbling blocks that could prevent a sale – and then eradicating them from the reader’s thoughts.

This is even more important than selling the benefits of a product. You have to be aware that before you make a sale, or a lead, the reader is weighing up two sides of an argument in his head. “Do I stand to gain more by using this product/service than I stand to lose by not using it?”

Unfortunately for you, nearly every potential customer is more inclined to find reasons NOT to buy a product than he is to find reasons why he should. We’re a generation that’s so trained to the monotone world of advertising that it takes a significantly greater number of incentives to outweigh the modern day consumer concerns.

Now you could argue that the acai berry craze proves the argument to be wrong. There was no shortage of buyers there, right? But I’d attribute the acai boom to some incredibly misleading advertising which sufficiently weighted the argument – for those dumb enough – in to making the risk worthwhile.

Look at three of the biggest concerns to the potential customer, and how affiliates neutralized them to eventually force the sale:

Customer thinks: Well, it sounds like it costs a lot of money to buy these wonder supplements and they might not work.
Affiliate says: Not at all! You can have a FREE trial to see for yourself.

Customer thinks: Well, they sound amazing. But has anybody actually tried them and seen results? Where can I find a review?
Affiliates says: I’ve got a dirty great flog with your name on, baby.

Customer thinks: Okay, it’s cheap to try and people are seeing good results. Why is this the first I’ve heard of it?
Affiliates says: Have you not SEEN my “breaking news” YouTube video? What about my box of copy and pasted “As seen on” TV channel logos?! Pretty sure you’ve just had your eyes closed all this time, fatty.

The way to nail that conversion isn’t to explain extreme weight loss in four weeks, list a bunch of exotic ingredients and hope for the best. But to ANTICIPATE what concerns the reader is reacting to as he/she reads through your copy. And if you can pinpoint the source, you can blast those concerns out of the water.

Before I promote any new product, I like to brainstorm as many questions as possible that a potential customer would have. And sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to really understand what’s going through your target market’s mind when you sell to them.

For example, I was doing a little background research to see what would stop a Facebook user from installing a dating application. I learnt more from that research than I ever learnt from posing the question “what do you look for in a dating application?”

One of the things I discovered was that a large percentage of younger users didn’t want to install a dating application in case their friends found out on their profiles. They didn’t want to be seen as virtual dating sad-acts of the twenty first century. It’s something I would never have worked in to my ad creatives before, but armed with the information, you can probably imagine some of the aggressive sales copies I came up with to combat the fears.

When you’re creating your sales funnel, it’s important to place yourself in the reader’s shoes. And don’t be afraid to ask questions that shoot holes in your existing sales copy. Your sales funnel is effectively a corridor heading towards the conversion. The reader normally can’t be bothered to play along and is looking for the first exit out of there. Poor sales copy leaves doors wide open for the reader to justify leaving at any time. It’s your job to keep those doors bolted shut and direct them towards the end of the corridor where your money is made.

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