A Tale of Two CDs

By Jonathan Harricharan, Affiliate Manager

It’s been almost a year since I joined affiliate.com and took the plunge into the world of affiliate marketing.  As I only knew a superficial amount about the industry before I started here, I knew that there was going to be a lot to learn.  Little did I know that in my new role, I would become a sounding board, business partner, friend, and even a teacher to some of my affiliates.  Many of the affiliates that I came to work with initially had just started in the business, much as I had.  As with any new business relationships, you learn that some individuals are naturals and can pick things up quickly while others struggle to grasp the fundamentals.  I also learned that every affiliate had their own approach to the business, with some being more successful than others.  For every successful affiliate, there are many who never get anything going.

Here are two success stories from affiliates I have had the pleasure to work with over the past year and how they grew their businesses when others didn’t. To the old pros in the business, these stories may mirror your own experience. To the individuals just breaking in, perhaps you can take away a couple of nuggets of good advice.

When our first successful affiliate initially signed up with affiliate.com, he was a true newbie who had only just started learning about affiliate marketing.  He had gotten a few pointers from his friends on how to drive PPC traffic, but still had to learn the lion’s share by himself.  To get started, he chose a few offers in the Education and Dating verticals to test, instead of trying one offer in every vertical in our network, as many newer affiliates will do.

After a couple of months of testing, he realized that his efforts were better focused in the Education vertical due to a better conversion rate on his offers and an overall higher rate of return on his investment.  In the month that followed, he whittled his offer roster down to just a select few in the Education space and consistently split-tested them to better understand the performance variables and consistently optimize his results.  By month three in the affiliate marketing world, this very focused and concentrated approach was helping him drive profits of $5k a month, which he has continued to improve upon since.

Our second success story is about another new affiliate who came into the business with a plan in mind.  This individual knew that he wanted to focus on the Military niche but had no affiliate marketing experience to speak of.  He actually used his lack of experience to his advantage, as he reached out to his core audience and asked them what they wanted instead of “spit balling” various offers to send out until something stuck.  With this knowledge gained from his target audience, he created some dedicated sites focused on their needs and direct linked several targeted offers to these sites.  The process took him about three months, and eventually yielded profits of over $10k a month.

So, here I am a year into my affiliate marketing career.  After 12 months of working with numerous affiliates, what are some of the biggest lessons have I learned that can help a new affiliate?  Basically, my recommendation is to focus on a specific niche that you are interested in or have a base knowledge about and then match that with the particular method of driving traffic you want to use (PPC, email, etc.).  Two other major attributes that both of the affiliates in the stories above have in common (along with every other successful affiliate I know) is a tenacious desire to learn and a lack of fear of failure.  It is one thing to become an expert in the field of online marketing, but it is in actually taking the leap and using that knowledge that sets many successful affiliates apart from the rest.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed what i am reading is really what is happening to me now. I understand that an extraordinary person is a man with a focus. Really it is not easy being focused at all. This is really what separates high flyers from mediocres. Great content.Got some valuable lessons here.

    • I think that focus is one of the absolute key differentiators between people who are successful and those who struggle in affiliate marketing and many other pursuits. It definitely isn’t easy, but can really make a difference in your business.

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  • Very useful article and it shows my problems when I was starting out. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS is the key.

    • Hey Monty – absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Jonathan Volk

    Cool article! 🙂 Some good advice

    • Hey Jonathan – glad you enjoyed the article!

  • I’ve seen too many times people who pick a traffic source, pick a niche, then go try it and fail then give up and then go to another traffic source and do the same thing over and over. The best thing to do would be to pick one traffic source and master it, and then once you do, you can move onto another one. I generally think the reason most people fail is that they’re not patient and focused.
    Great article!

    • Well said Dan. I think that situation is very common among newer affiliates. A big piece of it is just impatience. They get some promotions going and want instant profit. When it isn’t there, they jump to another offer or vertical and try again. Experienced marketers know that just because a campaign isn’t successful on day 1 doesn’t mean it can’t become profitable with testing and optimization. But, it takes persistence and a willingness to fail before you succeed.

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