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Affiliate marketing can seem like a game of luck sometimes – finding a hot converting offer, a new landing page no one has seen yet, stumbling across an underpriced traffic source compared to the market, etc.
It is great being able to find such things through luck – after all many of us have made good profits from lucky opportunities like this. However, relying on luck and just trying whatever in an unfocused manner can be a detriment. At a serious level, affiliates need to focus on their core strengths and have a way of systematically testing and growing.
I will share my rough system and approach – it is by no means the best or most optimal, but I am confident it can help some struggling beginners and intermediates.
Choose Your Focus
The first step is to focus on one vertical and traffic source. For example, sweepstakes and push traffic. Or dating and display. You will hammer this combination out until you hit minimum 3 figures a day, no excuses.
The way you do this is by dominating many geos at once. You will choose as many geos that are within your testing budget capabilities, gather all the offers you can, and systematically go through them one by one. I like to stick to testing on just one or two traffic sources I am familiar with.
For each offer you should test the most popular angles (if it is a new geo). For example, for sweepstakes you can do win the prize angle, survey angle, and delivery angle. After you do this for many offers in many geos you should know which geo responds to which angle the best. That way you can test more offers and save time by using the angle that works.
Do not expect every offer to work also. Personally, I think a 10% success rate is already ok. 20% is quite good, and 30% consistently over time is fantastic.
Side note: you should do research on the geos to see if it is worth your time before starting testing. I like to research their population (to make sure my offers will not saturate quickly and have a huge audience size), average bids across traffic sources, and average payouts. If I do not like any of these parts I will not bother with the geo. For example, if a geo has less than 10 million people, has average payout of 0.2 and average bid of 0.02 cpc (requires 10% CR), I know it is unrealistic and not worth bothering.
Once you have some profitable campaigns going, you can scale to other traffic sources, while continually testing new offers and geos. Ideally your profit margin can cover your tests, so you are still overall profit without ever running at a loss.
I like to start by scaling within the same traffic source. Easiest method is of course raising daily budget. I also like trying different bids. You should try higher and lower bids (you should look at your original campaign’s EPC to determine what is a realistic range).
Then investigate scaling to different sources. I recommend having a few different sources on standby, since not all will succeed for every campaign. For example, campaign X works on source A but not B, but campaign Y works on source B but not A. In my experience different traffic sources have their strong geos and verticals, which is something you will find out in your tests.
Throughout this whole process you should be simultaneously testing new geos, offers, and angles following the process. Whenever you find a winner, you should exploit it as much as possible. You should have the mindset of dominating a geo – by running as many working offers there, on as many sources, and bidding competitively.
Always be running new tests on what is currently working also. Refresh your creative images, headlines, texts at regular intervals. Test new bids, new traffic sources (if your cash flow allows), and small changes in your landing pages (translations, scripts, designs, etc).
I recommend everyone come up with their own system to stick to. That way the variances in affiliate marketing will not affect you as much mentally.
For example, your weekly regimen can be:
– Test 20 SOI sweepstake offers from 3 different geos
– Test 3 angles for each geo on initial offers, then use winning angle for rest.
– Test 3 banner creatives for each offer.
You can refine and adjust over time, and once you have enough profits you can teach and refine the system to a partner or employee you work with.
Once you are dominating in one vertical and traffic type (mid 3 figs to 4 figs), you can reuse the system for dominating another vertical and traffic easily. You may have to adjust specific rules and conditions, but the overall mindset is transferrable.
As you scale up and test more things in a systematic and predictable way, you can focus more on building relationships, improving technology and infrastructure, and improving cash flow and financial standing for more opportunities.
Always remember winning campaigns are found and built through experience and extensive testing. Not every campaign will win. Having a logical, repetitive system can help a lot and help you take advantage of every campaign. It also helps free up more time, as it becomes a lot simpler to teach media buyers to run campaigns effectively