The 10 Commandments of Being an Affiliate Manager

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Affiliate Marketing | Posted on 23-10-2009

1) Thou shall not be annoying

Annoying affiliate managers make me want to either kill myself or kill them.  In all seriousness being annoying is not a virtue.  Unless I have a close relationship with you as an affiliate manager I do not want to hear from you on the phone……EVER!  If you call my phone a few times a week to touch base, I will hunt you down at a conference and make your life miserable.

2) Thou shall not push on affiliates whatever makes YOU the most money

Just because you as an affiliate manager gets a bonus if your affiliates push 100 sales a day of invisibility cloaks or some equally retarded offer doesn’t mean that your affiliates care.  Affiliates care about what makes THEM the most money, not what makes YOU the most money.

3) Thou shall know what the hell you are talking about

I don’t care if you’ve been in the affiliate game for 1 month or 6 years.  KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOUR TALKING ABOUT.  I’ve had affiliate managers who don’t know what a scrub is (they had to check with their manager).  I’ve had affiliate managers who don’t know the difference between traffic sources.  I’ve had affiliate managers who can’t tie their own shoelaces.  Figure out what you are doing and learn about your industry before you make a fool of yourself.

4) Thou shall respond to requests quickly

If I ask you for info about the top performing offers in a niche, I want that info quickly, not next year.  3 weeks ago, I asked an affiliate manager for some info about a certain offer.  3 weeks later I don’t have the info from that affiliate manager and I’m running the offer at another network.  Time is critical in this business.

5) Thou shall MAKE IT HAPPEN

Lot’s of weird situations come up in the contexts of this business.  If an affiliate needs something, even if it seems impossible, go into getting it done with the mindset of you can make it happen.  Lots of affiliate managers have the “I cant do that mindset.”  If you have the “I can make it happen mindset” you are going to be a whole lot more successful and be the affiliate manager that affiliates rant and rave about.

6) Thou shall not share my campaign info with other affiliates

Affiliate managers can be an affiliates best friend or worst enemy.  Sometimes an affiliate has to share campaign info with their affiliate manager to disclose what they are doing and make sure everything is on the up and up.  Sometimes affiliate managers use that info to help their other affiliates, which in turn makes the affiliate manager more money.  Don’t do this.  It will catch up to you.

7) Thou shall not play the payout game.

Just give the affiliate the best payout you are willing to from the start.  There are plenty of tools out there to find out what other CPA Networks are paying out on an offer (my favorite is Justin Barr’s OfferBuzz).  In addition to this, don’t you think affiliates talk?  As soon as 2 affiliates find out they run the same offer, the first question is “What do you get on that?”  If you want to keep long term business, just give the best payout from the start.

8 ) Thou shall not tell affiliates you are running offers on the side

I’ve heard from various affiliate managers at conferences the old “pssst I’m trying to push some affiliate offers on the side.  Maybe you can give me some tips?”  Uhhh…Maybe not!  As soon as I know an affiliate manager is trying to push their own offers on the side, I develop a distrust for them.  They are obviously unhappy where they are working and trying to make more money.  If your going to do it at least be quiet about it.  Once you start talking about it and asking for advice you seem desperate and desperation leads down a path of stealing your affiliates campaigns for your own gain.

9) Thou shall treat ALL affiliates equal

Affiliate managers have a retarded concept that goes like this:  If an affiliate is not doing any volume on my network, they are a low volume affiliate.  This thinking is horribly flawed.  There a 10 quadrillion affiliate networks.  Affiliates tend to sign up to a bunch of them for various reasons.  Just because an affiliate did $200 with you last month doesn’t mean they didn’t do $500,000 with another network in that same time frame.  In addition, don’t treat newbs like crap.  Todays newb can be tomorrows “thuper duper affiliate.”  If you treat them like crap now, they’ll treat YOU like crap later.

10) Thou shalt contribute a commandment of your own in the comments :)

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Local Online Advertising Series At A Glance

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Local Online Advertising | Posted on 19-10-2009

Local online advertising is a topic I know well. This post consolidates my entire local online marketing series so that you can see each post. As new posts are added in the future this page will also be updated:

Ad Hustler Local Online Marketing Series
The Ugly Side of Local Online Advertising
Local Online Advertising Case Study: Facebook Vs. Google Adwords
Google Adwords Local Targeting Is Badly Flawed
Google: Get Your Local Targeting Act Together
Hell Has a New Name: The Local Online Advertising Media Buy
Case Study: The Offline To Online Local Media Buy
More Fun With Local Online Advertising Clients
How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy
Offline Billboard To Online Affiliate Offer Case Study
The Twitter Local Lead Gen Machine – JonathanVolk.com Guest Post

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How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Case Studies, Local Online Advertising, Search Engines | Posted on 07-10-2009

So by this point we all know that I handle some local clients.  This is a case study of how I generated $1,700,000 in auto sales for one of these clients despite a weak economy.  Let’s set the stage:

“ABC Motors (fictitious name to protect the innocent) has a significant overstock of a particular model vehicle.  Let’s call the vehicle the ABCmobile.  All of these vehicles are brand new, same options but they do have a variety of colors in stock.  ABC Motors picked these cars up dirt cheap from other dealers around the country.  Here’s the catch.  The ABCmobile is a niche vehicle that does not sell well.  ABC Motors was baffled about how they should sell all of these ABCmobiles that were sitting in their lots collecting dust.  Newspaper Ads, Direct Mail, Billboards, Cable, Radio would all be a waste of money since these cars do not appeal to most anyone.  These cars needed to be moved fast and when you need to move inventory fast, you call Ad Hustler!”

This case study is about the steps I took to generate highly qualified leads and move these vehicles.

After speaking with the owner of ABC Motors I found out that there was some demographics data that I could use to my advantage.  The majority of the prospects who would be interested in purchasing an ABCmobile lived in about 10 states in the U.S..  ABC Motors had a hookup that made it possible to ship these cars affordably to any of these states, meaning that a deal could be closed over the phone.  I proposed that to get the most highly qualified traffic we do some Search Engine Marketing in conjunction with a landing page designed for this campaign.  Since Google Adwords has by far the most advanced regional targeting capabilities, I decided we would concentrate our effort there.

Step 1: I bought a domain.  I wanted something that would make it appear that we were associated with the manufacturer.  Since ABC Motors is a licensed franchisee of the manufacturer this isn’t a huge stretch.  I got lucky and picked up the domain name 08ABCmobile.com as the vehicle we are selling is a 2008 ABC mobile.  I liked this domain and felt it would be great for quality score considering the relevancy.

Step 2: I setup wordpress on the main domain 08ABCmobile.com.  I created a simple blog about the vehicle.  It had 10 posts with vehicle information and details as well as a few articles I found and spun.  I also used wordpress to setup a simple contact page and privacy policy.  At the bottom of each post I linked to 08ABCmobile.com/offer which was the page the offer/actual landing page will reside on.  I link spammed this blog a bit to get it indexed into Google before going live with the campaign.

Step 3: 08ABCmobile.com/offer needed to be created.  We’ll go into what I did with the landing page a little later.

Step 4: I setup a Google Adwords campaign targeting the geographic areas that I was told were particularly good.  I made 1 ad group and within that ad group bid on a few broad keywords.  Heres the general concept of what I did

08 ABC mobile
ABC mobile
ABCmobile
etc.

My goal here was to be bidding on only a few very relevant keywords and use negative keywords to get rid of the junk that would be searched for.  I started with the obvious negative keywords and then added to the list as I watched the sitelogs of what searches were leading to the site.  Here are some obvious negative keywords I used:

-parts
-service
-free
-used
-insurance
etc.

What this keyword method accomplished was generating large volume traffic that was still relevanct, and increasingly relevant as I got more data of what keywords paired with my main keywords converted.

The ads used in the campaign were pretty straight forward.  Since we were enticing people with a rather large discount off of MSRP, that was mentioned in the text ad.  We split test a bunch of ads to see what got the best click through rates.  Overall the campaign had 5%+ CTRs.

The landing page being used was a “thin” data collection page which is why we setup the wordpress blog earlier.  When I set the ads up, I directed all of the ads to 08ABCmobile.com.  I then set all the keywords at the keyword level to 08ABCmobile.com/offer – This resulted in a stellar quality score.

Those are the 5 main steps used to create this campaign.

Let’s talk a little bit about the landing page.  I can’t show you the landing pages due to an agreement with the client but that doesnt keep me from drawing you a rough diagram of what we did.

Landing Page 1:

My original thought was just to let the visitors get a quote on ABcmobile.  This would leave negotiation leeway between the dealership and prospect.  Here is a rough sketch of the original landing page

abc1

We found that a lot of the prospects were not as qualified as we may have hoped.  ie. virtual tire kickers.  The new idea was to just lay all of the information out there and if someone responded, they would surely be qualified:

Landing Page 2:

This was the winning landing page:

abc2

The above page is the one that generated the most leads and ran for the majority of the campaign.  Leads were tracked through the form as well as the tracking 800#.

Below are the stats of the campaign:

Total Ad Dollars Spent: $32,133
Clicks: 19,537
Email Leads: 852
Phone Calls: 647
Vehicles Sold: 68
Approximate Vehicle Sale Price: $25,000
Total Revenue: $1,700,000

After all of the negative things I told you guys about local, I wanted to show you a campaign that actually worked out for the client.  Online Advertising is going to be huge for local small to medium sized business in the years to come.  Print is dying and dollars are shifting.  Will you be a part of the action?

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A Gift To You: Top 50 Alternative Advertising Marketplaces

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Affiliate Marketing | Posted on 04-10-2009

I was reading through WebsiteMagazine and saw a list of top 50 Alternative Advertising Marketplaces.  There are some gems in this list and should give you some good sources to buy traffic:

shopping.com
superpages.com
pricegrabber.com
cj.com
bidvertiser.com
local.com
miva.com
looksmart.com
payperpost.com
shareasale.com
chitika.com
reachlocal.com
federatedmedia.net
valueclick.com
admob.com
linkworth.com
genieknows.com
marketleverage.com
adonnetwork.com
revenuegateway.com
maxbounty.com
mediawhiz.com
mammamediasolutions.com
industrybrains.com
brightroll.com
bannerconnect.net
adbrite.com
clickbank.com
adengage.com
accelerator-media.com
tribalfusion.com
burstmedia.com
vibrantmedia.com
7search.com
valueclickmedia.com
tradedoubler.com
zedo.com
blogads.com
kontera.com
revenue.net
clickbooth.com
247realmedia.com
cpxinteractive.com
marchex.com
paypopup.com
zanox.com
pheedo.com
kanoodle.com
addynamix.com
affiliatefuture.co.uk

enjoy.

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If You Promote E-Cigarettes – Read This

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Affiliate Marketing | Posted on 01-10-2009

It’s no secret that e-cigarette ads are popping up all over the place.  I was reading through Consumerist.com and saw an article asking “Would You Smoke e-Cigarettes.”  For those of you who promote this newest craze, reading through the comments on that post may give you insight into what people think of them and better ways to sell (or not sell) them.  Although I don’t personally promote e-cigarettes at all, I always find it interesting to get into the mind of the user who would actually use products that affiliates promote.

Would You Smoke e-Cigarettes?

Did the comments on that post give you any ideas of ways to sell it?  Post a comment.

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