One of the biggest keys to my success has been the quality affiliate networks I have worked with. When you get a great Affiliate Manager and a Great Affiliate Network you get the cream of the crop offers and cap so you can run them - Brian
Most of the time you will be working with Affiliate networks to find offers for Campaigns.
There are a lot of reasons why this makes sense instead of going to the source a.k.a. the advertiser.
A couple of reasons are, you are dealing with one place technology for tracking, pay outs, etc. If you had a bunch of different companies with a unique system and all sorts of payroll systems, running campaigns would be more difficult than it needs to be.
In the end it would take away the time that you should be spending on marketing
So Here is the Good News
These affiliate networks are market places full of offers.
You just have to log in to the network site and bam 100’s if not 1000’s of offers to market.
Here is a sample screen shot inside my A4D back office
With 209 offers to choose from in this network alone.
Just apply to run, get approved, get your unique link and you are in business.
And the news gets even better.
The Affiliate Network world is ultra-competitive and they are in competition to get the best advertisers as well as the top affiliates.
They will invest in your success and get you prime offers and creatives that might not be available to newbies.
Here are a couple that I use on a regular basis A4D and Common Acquire
We will revisit what to expect from an Affiliate Network in a bit.
Benefits of Working With an Affiliate Network
- You get an affiliate manager to help you find converting offers, get quicker payout, get pay bumps, and help you with technical issues.
- You get to pick from 100’s if not 1000’s of offers and all sorts of verticals.
- If you don’t want to run an offer any more you simply stop and start working on another.
Here is my take on why you will want to use an affiliate offer:
- They can get you specialized information on offers that are converting on their network and possibly some creatives to help with the set up.
- They can help with quicker pay outs. When you hit a campaign typically cash flow will become an issue and they can speed up payouts, this has kept me afloat multiple times
- They take some of the risk out of working with advertisers. I have been stiffed by an advertiser before, they simply didn’t pay me what they owed me. In most cases the affiliate network will pay you even if they get stiffed
The main issue is they are taking a % usually in the range of 10-20% of the conversion payout.
You have to look at it like this especially as a newbie, the Affiliate Network will save you a lot of time and money, getting better insight on converting offers, knowing you will get paid etc.
You might be thinking I should just try and go direct to the advertiser and make 10-20% more?
Hold your horses…
Running direct is risky business, most advertisers are on a NET 30 payout and it may be longer than that. Having secure steady cash flow is much, much better.
If you are staying 100% focused on your campaigns you will get profitable faster, make higher profits, and have campaigns last longer.
4. Running Direct instead of with an Affiliate Network
Back in 2016 I was killing it with student loan debt consolidation and was trying to get higher payouts out on a pay per call campaign
I found a direct advertiser through a Facebook group and was getting a nice higher payout with weekly direct deposits, then around New Years I remember him falling a bit behind on paying me.
Next thing you know he was $18,000 in the hole with me and I never ended up getting paid.
I tried lawyers, collections, I even had one of my UFC buddies, a 6’2” built black dude with a mohawk show up in a tank at his house in Orange Country. Nothing worked, and I still have not been paid…
I have had cases, more than once, when an advertiser stopped paying the affiliate network and end the end the network ate it and still paid me.
At this stage of this journey I would stick to affiliate networks. If you hit some big campaigns and are profiting 4 figures plus a day then maybe consider going direct, but remember the risks I have explained above
I would consider myself a super affiliate and I still run with almost all affiliate networks.
So Tell Me More About Affiliate Managers
I mentioned some of these already this is what they can do for you:
- They can get you increased payout or pay bump we call it
- They can give you insider information and industry insights
- They can help with technical issues
- They can give you special advice based on your situation
- They can give you offers that are not publicly available
Let’s talk about the pay bump.
For the most party most offers are on multiple networks around and you can do a little research on offervault.com and which networks have certain offers.
We have found that in many cases Network A is paying $32 for the Exact same offer that Network B is paying $35 on.
In many cases you can ask them to match or make sure the offer is in fact the exact same advertiser, landing page, etc
If you are a good affiliate then more than likely they will want to maintain your business and “work with you” for a compromise.
Just keep in mind there is almost always some “negotiation” room
Don’t expect bumps if you are a newbie, but it never hurts to ask.
Next, is my personal favorite when my affiliate manager gives me a tip on a hot offer and we go on to crush it. It’s a great feeling a win for both us, the affiliate manager, and the advertiser
Are you seeing how this can benefit everyone?
The mangers can be your “insider” as to what’s going on in the industry.
The will know what your traffic is like and offers you have done well with, in the past.
An offer may be “Hot” on the network but not for your type of traffic.
There are rules you must follow with every offer and part of the affiliate manager's role is to make sure you are following the rule and not doing anything that is illegal.
They will be checking your campaign and traffic quality and be the liaison between the advertiser and you.
Keep in mind they are making money of your conversions and ultimately want you to succeed.
Simple as this the more money you make the more they make.
These are some things you should expect from you affiliate manager
- Easy to get a hold of via Skype (we use SKYPE in affiliate world)
- Honesty and Transparency
- Tips and tool suggestions on what you need to do and use to succeed
- Technical help with post back URLs and Pixels
- Advice on improving campaigns
If you are not getting all these then don’t hesitate to ask for another affiliate manager your success depends on this relationship. Just email whoever is in charge of the network.
Here is my 2 cents, not everyone gets along perfectly if you feel like you need a change then ask, I have had affiliate managers that were terrible at responding but giving me offers that we crushed $$ wise, have to ask yourself what’s important to you?
So things to consider with building this relationship:
- Always treat them with a certain level of respect, usually they reciprocate.
- Try to meet them face to face at one of the various affiliate conferences around the world
- Try to get information about their lives outside of work and talk to him like you would with a friend
- Consider sending them a card during holidays or a gift of some sort or a birthday card just like you would anybody that you care about stuff like that goes a long way most of the time if you do a lot of business with them they'll probably send you something around the holidays as well
Make sure you read a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Robert Caildini and use some of the tactics in there to improve relationships with your affiliate manager and other affiliates.
Learn more about the books that helped me along the way.
What make a good affiliate networks verses a bad one?
Sometimes there is a huge difference in Networks.
There are literally hundreds of affiliate networks out there, so how do you know which ones to work with?
You'll probably hear of certain networks having higher payouts or exclusive offers but there's a lot more to it than that, let me give you some examples of why they are different.
- Exclusive offers / Specialization in Verticals
A lot of networks out there specialize in different verticals like mobile or app installs eating or gambling.
If they happen to specialize in the particular vertical you want to run there's a pretty good chance they may have exclusive offers or be able to get you potentially a higher payout because of their relationship with Advertiser.
Typically, the best affiliate networks have a number of verticals they're strong in and what I've learned over the years is typically they have a few offers that are their bread and butter.
A lot of times as well certain Affiliate Managers (AMs) are more well-versed in certain verticals on that particular network.
This is something to consider when you first sign up is asking for them if they are a specialist and say app installs if that's what you are looking to do.
You want to get all the possible things correct from the get-go improve your chances of success
2. Higher Payouts
Generally, when I say higher payouts that means you could be talking a difference $20 vs $21 on a pay per call campaign for example.
One trick that I have learned, some Affiliate Networks have a lot better converting offers even if it's the same offer than others or in some cases they may be scrubbing the leads and decreasing your conversions. I have caught that happening before so it's always good to test one against one against the other even if the payout is lower it may convert better.
3. Affiliate Managers
Just like in any business there are people with a lot of experience and some with very little experience.
Some AMs that been around for a long time and really understand the game and making a huge difference in my business.
Some of these companies hire people that are just fresh out of college, they don't have a clue what they're doing and if anything, they might hurt you more than help you.
Keep this in mind as you gauge the experience level up your affiliate manager in the beginning never be afraid to ask for another affiliate manager but getting one with a lot of experience is a huge advantage help you in the long run.
I would definitely ask around the industry about a certain affiliate network if you're unsure if they're legit or not there's always a possibility that they stiffed someone in the past and you don't want this to be you.
For the most part I found that if you're dealing with networks that have been around for a long time we have a pretty good reputation pretty safe to work with will probably help your business in the long run.
But reputation is important so do a little research online some Facebook groups, etc
Quick story here:
One time we did this ecom offer for this affiliate Network out of Israel and basically we are getting like a $20 payout or something around there and the customer thought they were paying around $20 for their initial sale
They ended up getting billed way more than that and reoccurring charges and other bull shit so technically I was running an offer that was pretty much a scam.
The only way we caught them as we actually went in and did a purchase ourselves on one of my credit cards and went through the funnel, I would recommend doing this on all the offers you run.
So just keep that in mind some of these Affiliate Networks might have scam offers and if you are running them, you could be dealing with the FTC at some point because you're the one running the traffic! 5. World Wide Presence
This is a 24-hour seven-day-a-week business and worldwide I personally run offers in Australia Europe Mexico Brazil New Zealand.
Something to consider in Affiliate Network is our ability to advertise globally you may find in some cases that offers might not convert in the US but kill it in another country.
In the beginning I would focus on English speaking countries so you get the hang of this business and then you might want to consider some of your creatives in another language.
It is important for you to be that certain affiliate networks might not be strong in other countries others may be amazing.
Start by building a relationship with one or two then go from there as you're progressing in the industry.
Here are some questions to consider before applying
If you read the story above then you can see that it's not easy to tell if an affiliate network is shady as we went above and beyond and bought the product in the funnel and really uncovered what that affiliate network was all about.
You really need to do some research first:
- Does their website lists the affiliate managers, are they findable on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook?
- Check the forums and Facebook groups ask around to other affiliates about their reputation
- Find out if they have a physical location and if they're actually registered in that country to pay taxes
- Has a company been around for awhile?
- Can you tell if the affiliate managers are happy?
- Ask about the culture of the company keep in mind this is a 24/7 business and if you got people that are working straight 8 to 5 and impossible to get a hold of after they leave work it might not be the best fit for you.
This is your business partner I need to get to know them before you work with them
Application Process and Getting Approved
This might come as a bit of surprise to you but it's not that easy to get accepted into these affiliate Networks
Yeah I used to think the same thing why would they not want me? I spend money and they make that money.
Well just like they're bad affiliate networks, they're bad affiliates and they take on a risk by having you run traffic through their Network
As I mentioned earlier - There are rules for every offer maybe a certain offer is not supposed to run social traffic on exclude networks like Facebook, but you go out and run Facebook traffic to an offer and somehow they find out, in that case that gives the affiliate network a black eye with the advertiser.
You might ask why wouldn't they want certain traffic well potentially the Advertiser may have an in-house team and they run their own Facebook traffic but want Affiliates to run other traffic like native ads, just to give you an example.
Another thing to consider is that these affiliate managers have other affiliates and they only have so much time and energy in a day to work with affiliates especially new ones.
Imagine an affiliate manager out there working with a guy like me who spends $200,000 a month on regular basis and then they have to devote a bunch of time to someone that might only have a budget to spend a thousand a month who should the affiliate manager be working with?
These AM’s are in the business to make money and if you make them money they're more likely to work with you.
In the beginning they're going to want to know your budgets, know your traffic, and know your experience level.
Expect some kind of interview and be prepared with proof that you are a real affiliate and a real affiliate in the industry.
If you are a newbie, start on networks like ClickBank where you don't have to go through an interview process.
For the record in Fall on 2018 I was doing $200K a month and with 75-100% return on investment with Click Bank so don’t let these gurus tell you Click Bank is garbage.
Some common questions include:
- What traffic sources are you using?
- What's your monthly advertising budget?
- What offers are you currently running?
- What networks have you run before or currently? Will need Proof?
- Do you have a website for your company? (You will need this)
- Do you have a team of people you work with?
- Do you have some examples of some landing pages you've run in the past?
Usually after you apply there's a little bit of a waiting period sometimes two to three days maybe even up to a week.
I would wait at least one day before you contact them if you haven't heard from them. They want to make sure you are a real person. They do get a lots of junk in.
Another piece of advice is if you have a company website which you should have make sure you have an email that is NOT a gmail.com for example:
www.surrealllc.com is my site, my email is email@example.com
The Networks want to make sure you're a real person with a real legit company and are taking this business seriously.
You're going to want to have an LLC and an EIN in the United States which is a tax number for businesses. There are other reasons to have an LLC, I would get this from the get go.
They're going to want to see proof probably that you work with other affiliate networks usually a screenshot of a campaign will do. This 1st one is the hardest one to get in. Once you get that 1st one under your belt then you can use that as leverage to get into more.
So what happens if you get rejected?
I wouldn't worry about it too much there are so many affiliate networks out there, go apply at another one that might have little less stringent guidelines to get in.
You can always go and get a little bit more results after that affiliate network later with some more proof of your campaigns.
One thing I want to mention that if you are from a country outside of the United States, potentially a third world country it might be significantly harder to get into some of these networks apparently there's a lot of fraud that goes on in 3rd world countries.
In this case you might want to consider getting a referral from a friend that may already be an affiliate with them.
Follow The Rules is My Final word on Affiliate Networks
I have been burned once before by one of my media buyers running a page that was technically not approved.
If the copy on the page is not up to the advertisers standards or misleading then you could be asking for some trouble.
I've actually had to negotiate with the Affiliate Network in the Advertiser how to get the traffic money that I spent on the offer back, certainly not any profit.
The Dirty Landing Page was converting better and we are making more money but in the end it actually cost me money.
Making a little less is better than making nothing at all or losing money.
It's important that you think long-term here and we certainly don't want to burn a bridge with an affiliate Network and a good Advertiser.
You're a business partner here and generally what goes around as a business comes around from my experience.
Make sure you read the rules on these offers and stick to them if you have stuff that's questionable ask your affiliate manager, what their thoughts are on the situation.
Again, I will stress this is a long-term business and you should treat it like that.