Major milestones in affiliate marketing usually center around the $1,000 figure. Your first 1K month, first 1K week, first 1k day etc. Those are all definitely great achievements. But once in a while, when the planets align just right, that number can be supercharged to the $1,000 per hour level. This is an example of one of those days with 4 crazy 1k hours in a row, and what factors contributed to that flood of leads. Using Azoogle’s hourly reporting option, here are the results for the morning of Feb 14th.
So how is this even possible using only pay per click as the traffic source? Well, it has to be a “perfect storm” of factors, all equally important, and all coinciding in the perfect mix. For this example the 3 main factors were:
1. Major advance preparation
2. A major holiday.
3. Multiple offers – all dialed in.
Looking more closely at each of these:
Major preparation is the key to making money on holidays, like with any campaign on any other day. You have to be willing to put in countless hours preparing everything. This includes researching the keyword trends, choosing your offers, setting up your campaigns, building your landing pages, testing, and have everything optimized well before the holiday hits. I suggest at least a month before the holiday, everything should be running well. You should have all your A/B ad copy testing done, and be confident that everything is at peak efficiency. Finally, make sure your landing pages are on a reliable host, that’s not going to crash during the crunch time. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste when the money is really flowing in.
The holiday is the engine that drives your traffic and earnings. In this case it was Valentines Day (the mother of all online holidays), but you can design campaigns around almost any holiday. A holiday can take a normal search term and increase it by 1,000%. Take a look at the search volume trend for the term “send flowers”.
Multiple offers are really important to capture all possible traffic activity during a given holiday. In this example I used flowers, which was one of the offers I was promoting. However, in the screenshot above there were about 4 offers feeding into that. Search through all the offers on your affiliate network and see which ones might be at all related to the upcoming holiday. Again, it all goes back to your advanced preparation. If your network doesn’t have a solid offer for the holiday you are trying to promote, join another network as well.
The next big holiday is Halloween, so set a reminder for yourself about mid September if you want to be ready to capitalize. Anyone can see huge returns on these days, it’s just a matter of how hard do you want to work.
Like many people, I logged in to check my Azoogle stats last night and thought “wow, what a great day!” After quickly scanning the clicks I realized that it wasn’t anywhere near the PPC traffic that I had sent to those campaigns. Sure enough, I found out later than there was a glitch that doubled everyone’s lead counts. It was fun while it lasted though…
For about the last 6 months I have been #1 in a very competitive niche at Azoogle. From what my AM tells me, I completely dominate this niche. So how did this happen? Very simple: hard work. You can’t just slap together a campaign in a few hours or days and expect to do really well. You may get lucky for a while, but eventually your earnings will dip. It’s difficult to keep a campaign profitable over the long term. Without giving away my offer, here is how I did it in general terms.
1. Keyword research and structure. Of course a good keyword list is very important. Start with a great tool, and then add every variation you can think of. More important almost than your master list, is how you break your KWs out into groups. Correct adgroup structure is a huge factor in your campaigns success. The more targeted your ad is to your keywords, the better your CTR will be and conversion rate.
2. Make a good landing page, then keep making more and split testing. You just never know what will convert until you test it.
3. Know your seasonal trends for your niche. Everything has seasonal patterns. Even the most non-seasonal product has peaks and valleys than you can exploit.
4. Buy more traffic. Once you have a well converting campaign, try it out on every possible network you can. If you don’t you are leaving money on the table. Don’t believe what you read in forums about PPC networks. Test them for yourself. One of my best converting networks is one that everyone in the forums calls crap. To me it’s gold though.
5. Know your niche. This is the most important tip I can give. Research everything you can about the product and market. Know the demographics of the target customers. Know their age, sex. geographic location, marital status, income level, browsing habits, and what they ate for breakfast this morning. Read the trade journals for the industry. Find out everything you can, because every piece of info you learn will help target your campaign. This is a step that many affiliates skip when just going for the quick buck, but if you really want to do well it’s essential. Think of yourself like a marketing contractor for the publisher’s company. They are paying you to know as much as possible about their consumers so you can better market their product to them.
I think if you work hard enough, you can eventually own any niche you want, even the most competitive ones. It’s just a matter of how hard you want to work.
So it seems there is a lot of interest in ringtones again, after the big shake up this summer. I don’t usually discuss the niches I am promoting, but with ringtones the cat is so far out of the bag that it makes no difference at this point.
Like almost all newbies starting with PPC, I tried ringtones. I did OK, nothing to brag about; at least I didn’t lose money. I eventually moved on to other niches that have been much more profitable for me. So now that I am doing pretty well and have learned about 1000% more than I knew back then, I decided to give them another shot.
I started on Jan 1st, and went about creating super focused keyword lists and ad groupings. I hooked those up to super relevant ad copy and landing pages. Using the same traffic sources as before (the big 3) and pretty much the same bid prices, the second round of ringtone testing began. The results were pretty surprising to me. The first time around I think I had eCPCs around .30-.50. This time around with my focused campaign I am seeing eCPCs in the $1.50 up to $5.00 range! Pretty amazing. I know the market hasn’t gotten any easier, so my techniques have definitely improved.
Not to brag or anything, but it would seem I now have the PPC ninja skills!