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.
…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
I first got to meet Ralph “Ruck” Ruckman (right) on the internet marketing forums more than a year ago. He got some attention as an active poster on the Rich Jerk forum, and for blog posts on his CashTactics blog, such as the one where he mentioned making more thant $159,000 from one of his sites. (From about 17 hours of work).
Since then, he’s published more posts related to PPC traffic generation and CPA affiliate marketing. If you’ll read some of his posts like his Questions and Answers post:
His reply to the question about what he should have known as an internet marketer starting out is frank and uncensored: “That 99% of marketers writing ebooks to sell to other marketers are nothing but forum slime who copy other peopleâ€™s ideas and steal the glory to make a penny. Had I known that when I started I would not have wasted a shitload of money”
Instead, the foundation of how he determines what works and what doesn’t isn’t by reading an ebook, but by testing it out. And it’s not just posts about how he made big money either. In an update to his testing, he removed the entrecard and scratchback blog widgets because they weren’t performing.
One major lessons that internet marketers wanting to be successful from their efforts is to continually research, test, analyze new campaigns and products and services. “Failing” once does not put you out of the game.
The other point is that blogging about the experience (good or bad), helps you (more…)
One of the issues that has been bothering me since I started out as an affiliate has been “why do affiliate and CPA networks pay out such miserable recurring payouts for sub-affiliates”?
If you’ve checked into an affiliate or CPA network control panel, you’ll typically see a “Super Affiliate” or “sub-affiliate recruitment” link with payouts ranging from about 1% to 2% of commissions generated and if you’re lucky, you’ll sometimes see 5% or 10%.
At those levels, is there any real incentive to go out and recruit affiliates/publishers for your network, aside from wanting to build goodwill and possibly a couple of bucks for a nice Friday night dinner?
I understand that margins can be pretty thin, especially since a number of CPA networks are the ultimate traffic arbitragers – they “buy” traffic from you at $1-$1.50 per zip/email submit lead, and attempt to upsell them into an affiliate offer or merchant-direct offer on the backend.
Granted, I haven’t seen the financials of one of these networks yet, but I’m wondering that if you are already relying on affiliates to generate your sales…why not go the extra mile and incentivize them to go out and recruit more affiliates for you? Especially with a decent payout. (we’re not even considering networks which pay you $3 or $5 to recruit an affiliate…).
But I think the game of getting top affiliates is like going out on a fishing boat. You cast your nets and get a whole bunch of prospective affiliates, but you won’t know who’ll be a top performer until you haul in your catch and sort everyone out.
On that basis, the less-skilled affiliates will weed themselves out and a higher payout won’t matter anyway. On the other hand, a better performing affiliate will be motivated to go out and get results.