As mentioned before, Convert2Media goes beyond just being just another affiliate network because it’s founders and affiliates take the time to provide guidance (note: this is not the same as handholding) to optimize and refine your affiliate campaigns. To give a boost to newer affiliates, C2M’s head boss Ruck got in front of his webcam last Saturday to answer questions affiliates had sent in.
You can check out the recording from the hour long session: (Note: the volume was increased after a few minutes)
I mailed Ruck a bunch of the most common questions I receive on the blog and he answered all of them during the session.
Some highlights from the session:
PPV (pay per view) traffic: The majority of users are targeting on a domain level. If you spend some time thinking through, a keyword-based bidding strategy might work. (Especially since some affiliates are doing $1 million off of that approach)
Getting started with PPC (pay per click): Go with Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM), Microsoft Adcenter if you’re new. Use features like YSM’s bulk upload and Adcenter’s upload features to save time. Also look at image ads, as the competition is lower in most cases
Keep at your campaigns: Unless you’re lucky, most affiliates will lose money on a campaign before it breaks even or turns a profit. Then again 95% of affiliates quit before their campaign becomes profitable. The difference is at C2M, the affiliate managers are ex-affiliates themselves, so they can give you feedback on refining/optimizing your campaigns. (note: you should have worked on your own campaign and brought it as far as you’re able to before talking to your affiliate manager. Going to your AM and asking them to handhold you from start-to-finish is likely to get you yelled at or labelled a “noob” in their books)
Becoming a sucessful affiliate is a process and you need to work your way there. Although you may hear the advice to test 3-5 offers, note that these should be within the same niche (ie: dating, weight loss, biz op). Trying to cross into too many verticals at the same time is likely to burn through your budget.
Focusing on a single vertical and testing/rotating multiple offers within the same vertical will give you a better idea of the performance/behavior of the vertical and move you towards building a proftable campaign.
There’re more coaching sessions scheduled this month and possibly a couple of “spur-of-the-moment” sessions coming up.
In addition, C2M maintains an active coaching forum and the affiliate managers are available for consults over instant messenger.
Their compliance efforts to weed out fraud affiliates also means that new affiliates might have a hard time getting in.
CashTactics.net’s head blogger and an experienced affiliate Kris Trujillo stopped by the Friday Podcast to give his opinion and insights into issues that affiliates might face as they work on their campaigns.
Some of the issues we discussed included:
Kris’ affiliate wishlist for CPA (cost-per-action/cost-per-acquisition) networks
…Although it may not be in the way you are thinking.
One of the most frustrating experiences for affiliates is working with affiliate managers who don’t understand the affiliate industry.
With the turnover prevalent among affiliate managers in the industry, it’s not surprising to have an experienced affiliate manager be suddenly replaced by a brand spanking new affiliate manager who’s just a couple of weeks (or sometimes even months) in the job. I can’t vouch for the training that they’re received, although from the looks of things, I get worried when the affiliate rep has no clue what a SubID is, how a Postback function works, or what an “incent site” is.
If you find yourself assigned one of these managers, you could be in pretty big trouble. Especially if they’re nice (or at least trying to be).
You might have an affiliate manager who IMs you at the start of your day to ask how things are going, and maybe even tell you what they did after they got off work yesterday. In their minds they’re being friendly, or even “nice” to you.
It’s likely to be a deathtrap and probably fatal to your income and earnings, because they’re not helping you become a better (and more proftable) affiliate.
Real advice in my book comes in the form of tips or feedback about a feature you might not be aware of, or even recommending third party services that might be able to help you bring your campaigns to a new level.
In my past experience within and outside of internet marketing, the best advice I’ve received are from people who’re willing to give you the uncensored truth (which usually comes with a painful sting attached), but will ultimately help you become a better person (or affiliate).
It’s hard to find someone who epitomizes the approach than Convert2Media’s Ralph “Ruck” Ruckman.
Some will read his postings on the affiliate and internet marketing forums and think he’s a total jerk, who probably ought to keep his trap shut. He’s probably been responsible for (more…)
Veteran affiliate marketer Ralph Ruckman, better known as “Ruck” has gone full circle, from operating as an affiliate using blackhat/grayhat/whitehat techniques to founding his own CPA/affiliate network, Convert2Media with 3 other co-founders.
A presence on multiple internet marketing and affiliate marketing forums, Ruck is a warehouse of knowledge, having been in the affiliate marketing trenches and having seen the good and bad parts of the industry.
Ruck’s known for his brutally frank, no-BS approach to speaking his mind. You either love his honesty, or in the same breath, hate him for showing the ugly side of things.
I’d been looking forward to talking to Ruck for some time and got him to share his thoughts during our call.
We talked about:
How he got started in internet marketing
His role in participating in forums and starting the CashTactics blog (now operated by Kris Trujillo)
His views on the affiliate industry, especially on the recent FTC press conference
How to look for hot niches to promote in affiliate marketing
How to build your affiliate business
Convert2Media’s recent adjustment in sub-affiliate recruitment incentives
Important facts every affiliate needs to know about scrubbing and shaving
Convert2Media’s upcoming coaching programs for affiliates
C2M’s next evolution as a full service internet marketing agency
Shawn Collins and Missy Ward have consistently put on a great Affiliate Summit since I first started going to them in 2006. This year was no different and if you’re an affiliate, consultant or network, the show serves as a great opportunity to network and get a pulse on the trends in the industry.
It was worth the 20 hour plane ride each way, and despite the somewhat hefty tax expense, the benefits far outweighed the time and resources to get there.
This is a first in a series of posts, more to come.
Getting to the summit is a good idea, especially with some flights being delayed and having a chance to do some chillaxing before the event. I did some shopping at the premium outlets outlet mall and met up that night with Kim Rowley and Jon Levine.
At most conferences and seminars, I usually learn more from talking to other affiliates about their sites and projects, compared to the formal sessions (unless it’s a brand new area/topic for me).
So we went for drinks and it was interesting to hear about how the program that Jon is managing was put together.
Day 1: Sun 11 Jan
I was pleasantly suprised outside the conference rooms by Shawn Collins who danced a welcome jig: