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HOT TOPIC AMA: Affiliate Marketing

lludwig

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Since I just sold my business for 7 figures (Investor Junkie) that was affiliate marketing based, I would consider myself an expert on the subject.

Ask me anything about the subject.
 

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The Abundant Man

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What is affiliate marketing?

How does one get started in Affiliate Marketing?

What are the best niches?

How does affiliate marketing work?

What is the best method for affiliate marketing?

#1 book to read and why(Besides Unscripted and Millionaire Fastlane)

What problems do you see in affiliate marketing? If so, how does one go about solving them?

Do you have a mentor?

What is the best method in goal setting?

Do you keep a journal?

Do Vision Boards work?

How does one network?

What is E=MC^2

What came first the chicken or the egg?

How did the chicken cross the road?

What is the meaning of life?
 
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100k

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I vote for the 2nd post (the troll post) to be removed by mods @MJ DeMarco

I'd like to know how OP managed to sell his business for 7 figures. Can you do that with any niche? Like even promoting ClickBank products ? I guess you'd need a real website built around your niche i.e with useful content, e-mail capture & sales funnel ??
 

Timmy C

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What is affiliate marketing?

How does one get started in Affiliate Marketing?

What are the best niches?

How does affiliate marketing work?

What is the best method for affiliate marketing?

#1 book to read and why(Besides Unscripted and Millionaire Fastlane)

What problems do you see in affiliate marketing? If so, how does one go about solving them?

Do you have a mentor?

What is the best method in goal setting?

Do you keep a journal?

Do Vision Boards work?

How does one network?

What is E=MC^2

What came first the chicken or the egg?

How did the chicken cross the road?

What is the meaning of life?

I laughed so hard. It's just a bit of humour relax guys.

Thanks for doing the AMA would you recommend affiliate market for a business just starting as one of many avenues to generate revenue?

What is the best way to get affiliate marketers on board, do they only consider products with high selling margins?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Is affiliate marketing still relevant or how would you do it differently today?
I would say more so than previously. The reason is because traditional ad banners are becoming less and less effective and companies are looking for other ways to spend their ad dollar. Also because affiliate marketing is typically CPA and not CPC so the vendor only pays for what is converted.

I would focus more on paid ads via social media and widgets for the site created to have other use on other sites in that sector (with perhaps rev share). In my case was considering a best robo advisor widget to allow others to use on their site. We had relationships others didn't have and would could have gotten a rev share with the site the widget was hosted on. But I sold before I considered expanding in that direction.

Organic SEO is becoming harder and harder to break into plus don't know if the how profitable the SERP is until you climb that wall. With a paid ad via adwords you know instantly.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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The Fastlane forum is not reddit. People here are actually busy with life. Plus, the questions in the first post would discourage him from answering.
BINGO!
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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I'd like to know how OP managed to sell his business for 7 figures. Can you do that with any niche? Like even promoting ClickBank products ? I guess you'd need a real website built around your niche i.e with useful content, e-mail capture & sales funnel ??
No you can't do it with any niche. I purposely picked personal finance because I not only had an interest in it but also knew had high payouts. That's NOT saying you should start in a sector like personal finance for that reason only. There are only sectors as well like fitness/supplements, small business to name a few.

I wouldn't touch most Clickbank products, the payouts are very low for shit products that have no brand equity. I would only do Clickbank products to test my own products/services to sell to see if there's a market for it. I might use Clickbank for my own products/services though.

With my specific site, I didn't find email marketing as effective compared to other niches (ie entrepreneur sites) where the audience is much more engaged.

I also know of others who do a form of arbitrage, and just create landing pages for an affiliate service and bounce from one niche to another. I personally not a fan of this and IMHO gets into the scammy part of affiliate marketing. I would rather create my own brand and build off of it.
 

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lludwig

lludwig

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I laughed so hard. It's just a bit of humour relax guys.

Thanks for doing the AMA would you recommend affiliate market for a business just starting as one of many avenues to generate revenue?

What is the best way to get affiliate marketers on board, do they only consider products with high selling margins?
Yea I get the joke, but I'm not going to waste my time either.

At a minimum, I would use affiliate marketing to supplement an existing business. No matter what business you are in there are products/services that complement your business but you don't have the time/expertise to do it yourself. Affiliate marketing can help assist in generating revenue for your captive audience.

Take web hosting (my previous business). I had affiliate relationships with a domain registrar, SSL provider, and email newsletter service providers. I could (and should have actually) linked up with other affiliates such as Inc. companies (ie LegalZoom) and logo designers (ie 99designs). These services are typically needed after creating a domain name.

The ideas are endless. You have an audience who trusts you but nowhere near maximizing your revenue potential.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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What is the best way to get affiliate marketers on board, do they only consider products with high selling margins?
I'm not sure I understand the question. Meaning to get a vendor to start an affiliate program where none exists?? Can you give me a specific example?
 

Timmy C

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I'm not sure I understand the question. Meaning to get a vendor to start an affiliate program where none exists?? Can you give me a specific example?

Sorry I probably explained that poorly.

Let's say I'm selling a product for $20 and I want to get affiliate marketers on board, why would they waste there time pushing my product for $20 when they can push someone else's products for $100 and get better commision. Will this be an issue for me.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Sorry I probably explained that poorly.

Let's say I'm selling a product for $20 and I want to get affiliate marketers on board, why would they waste there time pushing my product for $20 when they can push someone else's products for $100 and get better commision. Will this be an issue for me.
IMHO you aren't asking the right question. It depends upon the LTV (LifeTime Value) of this newly acquired customer.

Let's say the LTV is $100 from other products/services you sell but this intro $20 is the lead into your sales funnel. Then you could give $20 per lead or even hell give $50 and still make money on this affiliate program.

It could be a loss leader for this one product, where you make more money higher up your sales funnel.

By itself a $20 product, yea it would be a hard sell IMHO to entice affiliate marketers to join your say $2 CPA because of the low payout.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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If you were starting your journey today, would you still choose the path of Affiliate Marketing?
Yes without question, but it does count against one thing MJ talks about is control. Understand you don't control the product and that affiliate revenue can be cut partially or completely at any time. The other lack of control is with SEO. Since you typically can't buy the vendors brand name keywords, you have to rely on organic SEO to get you there if you are doing say reviews.

I would supplement revenue via my own products/services, then the only way to generate revenue like I did.
 
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Thanks for doing the AMA.

I was wondering if you could share some experience with how the affiliate sales were tracked. More specifically, were you (your merchants) using in-house software or 3rd party services (like CJ, Shareasale)? What were the biggest challenges and what could be improved there?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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I was wondering if you could share some experience with how the affiliate sales were tracked. More specifically, were you (your merchants) using in-house software or 3rd party services (like CJ, Shareasale)? What were the biggest challenges and what could be improved there?
Depends upon the vendor. Some were using 3rd party services, some inhouse, some relied on our service we were using (Clickmeter) to track conversions.

The biggest issue IMHO is trackback for any conversions. With the hundreds of affiliates we were managing I wanted a central place to track all of these conversions and get real-time to near real-time conversion info. Plus wanted to push this info around to other systems to use this data as well.

We were slowly getting vendors on board with this and the biggest services (ie CJ, Impact, etc..) have it available already. The inhouse ones we would have to ask for them to install a pixel so it would fire when the order was completed. This wasn't ideal since many CPA wasn't based upon a traditional "order" like when you buy a physical product. Server-to-server trackback IMHO is the best method than relying on a pixel.

We had a tracking system that is second to none. I can't go into the specifics but can say we were able to track all conversions and the source (ie organic SEO, paid ads, social media, email, push notifications, etc) and show the history of each individual through a funnel. We are able to track individuals through the various touch points listed.

We were slowly using this info to better understand what made individuals convert for specific services compared to ones who didn't. Plus gave us info on perhaps interest in converting for other complementary services after. Also IMHO this is critical for any paid ads, otherwise you are shooting in the dark.

In general, affiliate tracking is horrible for most sites and needs much improvement. Most get a monthly report of the conversions without any tie into the source of the conversion and where on the site they converted. This is BAD!!

Affiliate marketing should be treated no differently than if they were your own products/services. IMHO what is important in affiliate marketing isn't the amount of conversions but the quality of them. Meaning in specifically my space what was important is making sure the visitor found the best service that fit their needs than just going for the conversion.

In the end with affiliate marketing, you want both the customer (your visitor and the vendors new customer) and the vendor to be both happy in the transaction. If you are recommending or listing a service which isn't the right fit for the customer this doesn't help the customer or the vendor.

The value add with affiliate marketing is using your brand to instill trust and helping the visitor find a service to fill their need. What matters is where in the sales funnel is that visitor. Someone who has an issue but doesn't know the solution is at a different stage of that sales funnel, than an indvidual who wants a promotion code for that vendor.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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What were the biggest challenges and what could be improved there?
Oh the other biggest challenge with affiliate marketing is your brand becomes part of their sales funnel.

Meaning if their landing page sucks and you get paid per CPA, then you'll won't make much money off of their service.

It could be the best product in the world and perfect fit for your audience, but if their landing page and onboarding stinks you won't get much for it.

I saw countless vendors take on affiliate marketing as their new channel not understanding a lick of how it worked and expected miracles in their sales. Affiliate marketing typically doesn't work that way.

I've seen so many classic marketing mistakes, like sending the visitor to the home page with no specific call to action. Just dumb marketing 101 errors.

They would get poor results and ask why? Only to close up the affiliate channel a few months later because of lack of sales. In many cases it was issues after the visitor left our site that was a problem. The vendor didn't take our suggestions on how to improve conversions.

The vendors must realize that once the lead leaves the affiliate, the ball is in your court. It's up to you to get that customer to convert. Slight improvements in a sales funnel can yield great returns for little effort.
 
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c4n

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Thank you for the comprehensive reply, rep+ from me.

Would you say that most of the conversion tracking relied on cookies (not perfect, of course, but it's what most use) and promo codes? Do you think improved privacy concerns (blocking cookies) cost you a significant number of sales?
 

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lludwig

lludwig

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Would you say that most of the conversion tracking relied on cookies (not perfect, of course, but it's what most use) and promo codes? Do you think improved privacy concerns (blocking cookies) cost you a significant number of sales?
No in my case.

Well the 3rd party systems use multiple methods for tracking the conversion. You are correct cookies are far from perfect, but they are ways around this to ensure conversions a tracked correctly. This is why I recommend server-to-server trackback tracking instead of the pixel. Pixel tracking is far from ideal since it relies on a cookie.

From my own stats I see around 20-30% (I've seen similar stats listed on the interwebs) of all sessions are using cookie blockers. It's only going to get worse from here. This was more important for my source tracking than for the affiliates conversion tracking. It prevented me from doing effective remarketing campaigns or knowing if the conversion came from say a paid ad.

I believe membership based sites are the future way to ensure you are correctly tracking the visitor. They must login to get the info they want and that in turn allows you to correctly track them and establish a closer relationship to that visitor as well. It's all about trust and becomes an even more important factor. If you are offering something of high value the visitor will go through hoops to gain access and would allow themselves to be tracked.

Start segmenting your visitors into three segments:
- Anonymous (cookie and privacy blockers)
- semi-anonymous (can be tracked but never gives you detailed info on who they are) They may become tracked users at one point
- tracked users (via as simple as an email, to login to a membership site)

Obviously, the tracked users are the most valuable, but with affiliate marketing it really all comes down to a numbers game. Meaning if you are measuring 10% conversion rate via the semi-anonymous and tracked users, you can pretty much assume you are getting a 10% conversion rate for anonymous users as well. With a large amount of traffic a sales funnel becomes very predictable and measurable because the collective typically does the same actions when presented with the same info.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Thank you so much for you time btw.

What 3 products or services were most crucial to your success?
  • ClickMeter
  • Ahrefs
  • Hotjar/Crazy Egg
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Hey lludwigg, what in your opinion is the best way to get started in Affiliate Marketing?
Follow the Nike motto "Just Do It".
 

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How do u see Youtube as a platform for affiliate marketing? Im thinking of starting a youtube channel related to Tech(coding) or stocks.Would you recommend any niches which are good to get started in 2018?
 

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This won't be a popular question, but it's one I've mulled over in my head, and I'd be curious to get your perspective. Do you believe affiliate marketing to be ethical?
 

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