In this chapter I will teach you how to start your first campaign. Before launching anything, I advise you to do one very important step - spy on your competitors to see what is hot. How to do this? There are two ways: manual spy - check what kind of banners, offers and pre-sale pages are showing on websites for a particular niche. You can do this with your laptop, if you are interested of running desktop optimized offers, or with your mobile if you want to run mobile optimized offers. One important application you will need for spying is a VPN software. VPN will allow you to change your IP for a particular country (GEO), so you can see what offers are popular. There are bunch of VPN apps out there, but the ones I use is HMA and SpyOff. Lets say you want to see what offers are currently running in UK (assuming you are located in US). Choose the website of your interest, connect with the VPN and see what ads are displayed on the page. Remember to refresh the page several times to see more than one ad. Do not assume if a particular ad makes profit if shows more than several times per day every week. Maybe it generates profit or maybe its just freshly launched and the advertiser still collecting data about its performance. All this is for your own reference to get an idea what offers, niches are popular now.
Do not copy and paste blindly everything what other people do. What works for them may not work for you.
The other way of collecting intelligence data fast will cost you some money. Fortunately one of the best service in the industry - WhatRunsWhere will charge you only $1 for a 3 days trial access to their huge database. I suggest to go ahead and sign up after you have an idea what to advertise, so that way you wont waste your 3 day access wandering which niche or offer to go after. Using this tool is easy and pretty much straight forward. One can spy on mobile or desktop offers. Lets say you want to see what are the top banners running for UK, using Adwords: click on the Top Ads tab, choose UK from the geo selection, choose Adwords form the network selection, set the results to be sorted by relevance score and also choose which banner size to spy on (there are different banners sizes, I usually start with 300x250 pixels, because this size is the most popular). When you click Search, you will see tons of banners linked to a particular websites where they run, pre-sale pages, networks, niches and most importantly - how long particular banner/offer/landing page is running on given traffic source. If it runs long enough, most likely it makes money. Play around to get familiar with the system or if you doubt or have questions - ask the support, they are great guys and always ready to help. I will advise you not to take this data as granted that a particular offer will work 100% if you just copy and paste everything what you collect and apply it for your campaign. I use this instrument to get an idea about what kind of offers run on a particular network, what kind of landers and angles (I will write about these later) people are using to sell their products and what kind of banners they came up with. WhatRunsWhere is a powerful service if one knows how to use it in the right way.
I will not go into many details here and only describe in short what is what and how these elements can affect your campaign.
Angle - angle is the element that makes your sales (conversions) come real. This is usually the idea + strategy how one will approach of selling its product, wrapped with pre-sale page, design and various banners. I will give you a couple examples. Lets say that you advertise a weight loss offer from AdCombo. First thing you need to do is to come up with an idea how to engage your potential customers. You start to brainstorm ideas and came up with two angles:
- "Angie has a blog and she describes how she lost weight"
- "Fake news article about pros and cons of a given product"
The next step is to design and build your pre-sale page around these ideas. I am sure that you have seen plenty of these type of landers out there. Spy on your competition, see what they do, but most importantly - be creative and do it by yourself. This will give you huge advantage in front of your competitors. Think about it - do you think that you will have success if you and thousands of other affiliates use the same banners, landers and advertise the same product? I do not think so. Spare time and brainstorm angles. Its imperative for you success.
Banners - Design banners which are not blur or low quality. Write short, but descriptive, engaging texts and always put "call-to-action" elements like "Click here!", "Continue", "See more", etc. Try to make your potential customer interested about your banner and click on it. Usually banners with pictures have higher CTR ratio.
Important element of your campaign is to track the clicks which bring you conversions, so you can optimize it effectively. Improper tracking or lack of any tracking can sink your campaign and you will lose money. Do not worry if you are not a programmer or experienced webmaster or do not know how to set up your tracking. Most of the traffic sources will give you a special (usually very simple) code, called "pixel" or just "tracking code", that one can embed into the last page which is shown after given event (sign up, registration, sale, etc.). This code comes with a detailed instructions how to "plug and play" it, if not, ask the support and they will help you out. For example you can track simple flows like this: banner 5 -> lander 3 - > conversion.
When I launched my first campaign I did one big mistake since the beginning and lost all my investment without getting a single sale to cover at least partially my loses. What I did? I ran my campaign with only ONE banner, ONE landing page + angle and an offer I assumed it will work, and no tracking at all! I was trying to figure out why my campaign is not performing well and not making any money. After many hours searching and reading different articles I found why - I was skipping one of the most important rules in the affiliate marketing - to split test my campaign elements and see which combination of banners, pre-sale pages + angles, traffic sources and all other parts will drive my campaign to a profit.
Lets launch here a simple virtual campaign and see how the all process works and if will lead us to success. Assume that you already picked an offer from ClickDealer in the adult dating niche named "Date hot girls" with a payout of $2.50 per each free registration. You also did your homework on spying, collect a few banners and landing pages from your competitors to use them as a controls, set up a budget for advertising, etc. As a traffic source you choose TrafficJunky (recommended, because it is more easy to see quick results). You started with 2 banners (one yours and one copied from the competition), three pre-sale pages (two you created with different angles and one you ripped off from your competitors), and one direct link to the product sales page. You ran the campaign for full 24 hours with a small budget (lets say $60) on a low bid - you didn't want to burn out your budget immediately by setting up a high bid. Also you kept an eye on your campaign to make sure the clicks are distributed equally during time (making small adjustments on the bid will help with the distribution). Bellow is a scheme how your split testing and final results will look like:
As you can see from the picture above, the combination: banner 1 -> pre-sale page 1 -> offer worked well and brought you 50% profit (150% return-of-investment or ROI). Attention: this is only an example how you should approach when launching a campaign. Here is the moment to mention that here we don't take into consideration other important elements available for split testing as: the website sources, operating systems, browsers, etc.
When you launch a real campaign, most likely you WONT see profits from the first day maybe not even from the second day or even a week! Breaking even will be considered a success. Do not give up if you do not see positive results immediately! No one said it would be easy, right?
Remember this: always test your offers/angles and do not stop launching new campaigns!