Being an affiliate in 2007 is not all it's cracked up to be. Take it from someone who knows – the products you promote, the ad groups you create, the pre-sell you choose … it all has an impact on the level of success you attain as an affiliate.
The “old school” techniques that worked two years ago will not set you up for life … not any more, with the level of competition being what it is.
And now for the solution: “Think differently.”
Rather than give you a general “how to do this” article, what follows are three techniques that will instantly boost your chances of success by a sizeable percentage, each time you heed my advice.
If you are a newbie affiliate, you should refer to the free material on the web to familiarize yourself with basic concepts such as how to use AdWords, how to write pre-sells, etc.
Here are a series of techniques I use to leveraged myself from zero to seven figure success in less than 12 months. The list is not exhaustive and I do not have time to cover them thoroughly here, but to many of you they will be the extra trick you need to start generating affiliate income, be it from ClickBank or another network.
Advantage 1 – Limit yourself to the Daddy of all keywords
If you are promoting affiliate products on AdWords and tend to lose hundreds of dollars at a time, never making a sale (and then repeating the process, sound familiar?), here's a technique which will (1) ensure you rarely lose on AdWords, even if you don't always win big, (2) increase your chances of finding a winning campaign 10 times over. Ready for it? Only ever bid on the keyword that relates to the product you are promoting. Selling a Sony DVD recorder? Only bid on the keyword [sony DVDR550] or whatever. Selling a ClickBank product? Only bid on the keyword [affiliate project x] etc. Do not try to bid on broad keywords to start.
Rather than spend $100 promoting one product, spend $5 on 20 products (there are far fewer searches for product names, but when you do get clicks, they often convert at 5% to 20% or more). Typically you will find many of these campaigns are profitable, even if the volume is far less than you would otherwise want. Deal with it. It's better to get rich slow than go broke fast.
You can in turn promote the product via pre-sells, squeeze pages, or whatever you like… but if you only ever promote the product via the super-targeted [product name] keyword, you will get a small amount of consistent super targeted traffic. You should expect to pay more per click, but the chance of someone searching for the product name and buying is extremely high. In summary, if you are losing cash on Adwords, restrict your promotions to a very narrow band of super-targeted, highly profitable keywords: only bid on the product brand name.
You can get clever and open up your keyword list only when you are making money from the campaign. This instantly stops you getting into the “get lots of clicks, lose money fast, stop and repeat” dynamic that most affiliates fall prey to.
Advantage 2 – Tracks keywords religiously
One thing I have found is that the majority of ClickBank affiliates throw up Adwords ads on a dozen keywords, lose cash and give up. Very often, they will get a few sales but still make a loss.
At first, I just thought this was due to mediocre niches or products. The affiliate could try to lower his or her average cost per click, or give up on the product altogether. Nothing else could be done, I thought. However, what I now realize is that a large part of the problem is the keywords the affiliate is bidding on. You now know that the [product name] keyword is a great one to bid on. What you might not know is that there is a huge amount of variance between even GENERIC keywords.
To give you an example, I set up two ad groups for an ebook on how to date beautiful women. I had two ad groups – one based around the keyword [seduce women] and one based around the keyword [attract women]. At first glance, both appear pretty similar. You would imagine the conversion rates wouldn't be too different. Same consumer, same generic key term – same conversions – right?
What I have found is that my [seduce women] ad group converts at over FOUR TIMES the rate of the [attract women] ad group.
Why is this the case? There are various reasons – it could be that the [seduce women] searchers are far more qualified as they are older / richer / more interested in the niche. And there could be a million and one other reasons. I also found that the keyword [get laid] converts at a reasonable level, somewhere in between the first two. In truth, it is sometimes difficult to work out exactly why the conversion rates differ AFTER the stats come out. And if you try to guess before you start the ad running, it will even tougher – especially if you know nothing about the niche.
In short, you need to track, track, track. Luckily, ClickBank now allow for a tracking code – so you can use one code per ad group to see EXACTLY where your sales are coming from.
Even generic keywords are not created equal, and you will find it difficult to turn a profit with AdWords unless you use one tracking code per ad group as a raw minimum. If you don't, you are probably wasting 30% to 70% of your ad spend – and giving up on niches thay may well be profitable.
Advantage 3 – Cheap ClickBank product selection – the easy way
The hottest products to promote are invariably the new ones – that is true for physical products (PlayStation 3 anyone?), but it is also true for ebooks, which brings me to the biggest affiliate network for digital products, ClickBank.com.
ClickBank lists its latest products in a separate category, titled “New products”. Here is a simple technique that fits in the above guidelines – each week, 50 to 100 new products are added to the ClickBank marketplace.
In our experience, do you know what factor precedes a product about to blow? The number of brand searches for that product. If five people search for [affiliate project x] today and 50 tomorrow, it's about to blow, BUT you wouldn't be able to see this by glancing at the ClickBank marketplace until it's too late…
So, that's the background; here's how we are going to do market research on new products AND only promote on super targeted keywords. First, each time a new product is launched on ClickBank, set up a single AdWords ad for that product targeted the [product name] keyword. Chances are, at this early stage there will be no other affiliates there (and often not even the merchant).
We simply throw up a direct affiliate link (going straight through our hoplink). Ideally, cloak the link and upload it to your website (so you get around Google's “double serving” rule). We insert a bid price of $0.50 – and let it run. For 90% of the products there, you will get very few searches (but quite a few clicks). However, every so often, the product will suddenly start go gather steam – which is the opportune time to go to the next step and write a full pre-sell for the product, or start promoting it on broader keywords (as now it has been proven to convert). You can see which products are getting popular by looking at the impressions for each product – if any product suddenly starts to get lots of impressions, you should take a closer look.
This method allows you to use AdWords impressions to track market research, and also to pay cents for super targeted clicks that no one else is bidding on. It's a time consuming technique, but it works.
Chris McNeeney is the author of three hugely popular ebooks, AdWords Miracle, Affiliate Project X and Day Job Killer. For in-depth advice on how to profitably promote affiliate products using AdWords, get his ruthless new ebook, Day Job Killer.