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How to Lose Money with Affiliate Marketing

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How to lose money with affiliate marketing… why would I you want to learn how to do that?

Simple… when you know how NOT to lose money with affiliate marketing, you can then increase your earnings.

Affiliate marketing is a special industry. It’s extremely competitive, lucrative and also has it’s ups and downs as well… many of which I will be covering in this post.

Without further ado… here are the most common methods for losing money with affiliate marketing.

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10 Ways to Lose Money with Affiliate Marketing

No one wants to lose money with affiliate marketing, but it’s going to happen. Whether it’s through never finding profitability with an ad campaign or just getting screwed over (which happens) — I have it covered below.

1 – Just Can’t Get It Profitable

This one happens to the best of us and nearly all affiliate marketers when first getting started. You are going to lose money with your first ad campaigns, if not all of them! The important thing to realize is that you aren’t losing money… you are buying data and knowledge to help you make your campaign profitable. This is why it’s so important to track every aspect of your ad campaign, split test and improve with time.

To learn more about the basics of affiliate marketing and what’s working best today, be sure to check out my affiliate marketing 101 course on Udemy. It’s loaded with all of the necessary basic information you need to find success with affiliate marketing, while also covering how to create a successful online blogging and content creation business in the process.

2 – Fraudulent Leads

Unfortunately this is going to happen every once in a while as well. Depending on the offer you are promoting and how it’s structured, it’s a bit easier to determine if you are actually sending fraudulent leads and bad data. For example, zips and email submits are prone for bad leads… especially if they are converting on just the first page submit. However, if you are pushing leads on a sales product or something people use a credit card or Paypal to buy, you shouldn’t be seeing many fraudulent leads.

When it comes to fraudulent leads, each affiliate program and ad network is different. Some of higher scrub rates than others and some may pull the offer from your account altogether if the bad numbers are too high. This is another reason why it’s important to split test not only your landing pages and data, but also the networks you are running offers through.

3 – Non Payment from Deadbeat Networks

This is one of the worst ways to lose money with affiliate marketing because in most cases, you’ve already spent a lot of money to deliver these leads and are just going to be left with a big loss. Deadbeat networks come in all shapes and sizes… which is why it’s important for you to actively monitoring your in/out going payments and also perform your own pixel tracking in addition to the stats provided by the ad network (also known as scraping).

When it comes to not getting paid from a network, this can happen in a number of ways such as them going completely out of business, saying your leads were low quality / fraudulent and just not going to pay you or the network continues to delay payments or sends a minimal fraction and they eventually close up shop and keep all their incoming earnings.

4 – Not Split Testing and Tracking Campaigns

With more competition than ever before, it’s now harder than ever to find success with through affiliate marketing and pushing as campaigns. If you are not tracking the results of your campaigns, you are just begging to lose money with affiliate marketing.

When creating your own landing pages, you need to continually split test for improved conversions. Call to actions, button colors and form placements all come into play when trying to improve conversions. A 1-2% increase might not seem like a big difference right now, but it will over the life of your campaign.

In addition to tracking the performance of your landing pages, you also need to be tracking conversions for both your traffic and the ad networks. Through pixel tracking you can see what target audience is converting best and how you create new landing pages for even more lead generation. You also need to compare your own lead generation numbers versus the ad networks you are working with as well.

Without split testing and pixel tracking, not only are you on your way to losing money, but if you do manage to find profitability you are likely leaving a lot of money on the table.

5 – Lack of Interest and Getting Too Comfortable

Another way to lose money with affiliate marketing is to let your ego get the best of you. Once you finally do start making some serious money with your campaigns, it’s easy to sit back and relax — thinking your campaigns will continue to product high returns for days and weeks to come. Soon enough your campaign starts to take a turn for the worse as you haven’t been actively tracking it’s performance and tweaking your results. A few days later and your campaign is now losing money… so not only has your laziness taken a profitable campaign to negative, you’ve also started losing money in the process.

If this has happened to you, don’t get too hard on yourself — it happens to the best of us and it’s a mistake that’s better made early on than later.

6 – Not Changing with the Environment and Industry

Similar to getting too comfortable and getting lazy with your success, you can also lose a of money by not advancing with your industry as well.

A clear example of this can be the massive movement of site traffic coming from desktops to mobile. Sure, you can still get a lot of traffic and leads through desktop traffic only, but mobile is quickly increasing in size year after year.

The same can be said for social networks. If you are still focusing on Twitter and Facebook, you are missing out on the opportunities that lie within Instagram and Pinterest.

The industry is always changing and you need to move forward with it.

7 – Trying to Game the System

No matter what industry or business you are in, someone is always going to try and game the system. Whether it’s through fraud, misleading traffic or using software to manipulate stats… it’s not only hurting the advertisers, affiliate and ad networks out there, it’s also hurting your strategy for a longterm business model as well.

When fraudulently gaming the system, it’s only a matter of time before you get caught. When you do, your earnings will likely be removed and legal action could be taken.

If you are smart enough to figure out how to game the system, you are probably smart enough to make money legitimately as well.

8 – Not Managing Your Costs

One of the most simple ways to lose money with affiliate marketing is to just not manage your costs.

For example… if you have a web site, blog, ad campaigns and tracking setup, you probably also have web hosting, email hosting, tracking platforms and designer costs as well — and that’s on top of all the money you are spending for data and traffic as well.

A quick way to increase earnings and ROI is to make a list of all of your outgoing costs and see which are really needed. By cutting out an extra $100 a month in unwanted costs, you are looking at $1,200 a year in savings, which then becomes profit.

How much money are you wasting each month in unwanted services?

How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

It’s not often that you are going to see an article on how to lose money with affiliate marketing, but it’s an important topic to talk about — especially for all of the new affiliates and marketers who might just be getting started.

Treat affiliate marketing like a real business and you are much more likely to find success.

Focus your efforts on the boring and dirty parts of the business, such as data analytics, ad network comparisons, competitor research and managing your costs.

Take a look at your existing ad campaigns and see where you might be lacking and how you can start improving earnings across the board.

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Affiliate Marketing

5 Different Scenarios Where Discussing Money Is Taboo

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Being an affiliate marketer or an entrepreneur, and working in the internet marketing industry is completely different from any other business or job in the world today. Head to any major affiliate marketing or business event, and everyone is talking about how much money they made from their recent ad campaigns, promotions, mailings, and product launches. In fact, not only are people talking about how much money they’ve made, they are also helping others to make more in the process.

Jump outside of this industry, and you will find a completely different world, where the concept of talking about money or how much you make, is completely taboo!

To further stress this point, most companies consider discussing salaries among co-workers an offense for which one can be fired. Remarkably, this mindset permeates society at large. In fact, a University College London study found people were more comfortable discussing romantic or intimate matters with a stranger than to discuss financial matters.

All of which leads one to wonder, why is discussing money taboo? To answer this question and concept, let’s take a look at some of the most popular places where the discussion of money and self-made profits usually isn’t an acceptable talking point.

At Work

Employers frown upon co-workers having salary discussions because it will ultimately cost the company more. If you find out the person at the desk next to yours, who has the exact same credentials and experience as you make more money, you’re going to seek parity. And well you should. Keeping everyone in the dark about pay means employers can choose to reward individuals as they see fit—rather than base it entirely upon merit.

In Social Situations

Money is a way to “keep score” for a lot of people. They use it to measure their relative success against others. In a consumption-driven society like ours, people tend to pass judgment on others based on where they live, the car they drive and how they dress. People with money problems are (regrettably) considered unsuccessful. Meanwhile, people who aren’t doing well console themselves by believing people must be greedy to be rich. If money were discussed openly, this would only exacerbate the phenomena. Therefore, in an effort to avoid such uncomfortable conversations, people tend to avoid talking about finances altogether.

In Personal Relationships

One of the leading causes of divorce is varying expectations surrounding money. By and large, children learn to deal with money from their parents. If one partner comes from a family prone to frugality and the other comes from a household given to indulgence, the resulting disconnect can be quite jarring. Arguments surrounding fears for the future lead to strong disagreements as well as loss of intimacy. The earlier a couple discusses finances and finds a space within the topic where they can co-exist, the sooner they can get on the path to building a solid financial future together.

Fear of the Unknown

Out of sight is out of mind for many people. They believe if they never talk about money, they can live blissfully unaware. However, this attitude can create money problems. If you give your finances no thought, spend freely and worse, resort to credit to acquire the trappings of success, you could find your income incapable of supporting your desired lifestyle. You could also inadvertently pass these habits along to your children, dooming them to the same fate.

It’s OK to Consult Professionals

As difficult as it might seem at first, especially if you’re in a situation in which money problems have escalated into missed payments and collections calls, working with a financial professional can be of great benefit. On the other hand, even if things are flowing well, you could benefit from the services of a financial planner who can help you ensure the security of your future.

If you’re having problems meeting your obligations, then one might find comfort in talking with a professional financial and loan company for guidance. A perfect example of this can be seen at Freedom Debt Relief reviews where they provide a list of financial solutions that openly discuss the topics of interest rates, terms, loan amounts, and much more.

Silence Isn’t Golden

Ultimately, keeping quiet about money does you more harm than good. Talk to your spouse, teach your children, and try to learn from your friends. There really is no good reason why discussing money should continue to be taboo.

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Affiliate Marketing

PayKickStart Shopping Cart Checklist: Can Your Online Shopping Cart Do This?

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On the surface, selling something online — whether it’s digital or physical — seems like a reasonably straightforward affair. The customer arrives at the website, adds an item or two to his or her virtual shopping cart, and proceeds with the checkout process by entering his or her payment information. The order is received by the merchant, the product is delivered, and everyone is a happy camper, right?

While robust and reliable basics are an absolute necessity, they are ultimately insufficient if you want your online business to thrive. You want to offer the best possible customer experience, but you also don’t want to leave any money on the table. It is in your best interest to consider the most valuable features that online shopping cart solutions should have.

This is exactly what you will find with the all-new PayKickStart shopping cart solution.

However, to simply call PayKickStart a ‘shopping cart’ solution would be a big mistake. There are actually many more features and built-in benefits than you could ever imagine. Aligning with the title of this article “Can your shopping cart do this?”, we are going to walk through a list of ultimate features and tools that every shopping cart should have. If your online marketing and business isn’t currently using these features below, it’s time for you to take the leap over to PayKickStart.

One-Time and Subscription Payments

This will depend on the type of product or service that you are selling, but it’s critically important that your shopping cart software can support both types of payments. Recurring payments can be a tremendous source of revenue for your company, especially since there are no additional costs involved in customer acquisition. This steady cash flow can be much more predictable and consistent too, which puts you in a better position if you are seeking investors.

Subscription Saver

Encouraging your customers to sign up for a subscription is a good thing, because it means the payments will be processed automatically at set intervals, whether that’s monthly, annually, or over any other period. As convenient as this may be, customer billing details can become invalid over time, like if their credit card expires or they move to a different address. Did you know that about 30 percent of rebills fail?

Prevent this from becoming a problem in the first place. An automated email sequence can ensure that all customers keep their billing information up to date, so every payment goes through as it should.

Free and Paid Trials

Particularly for businesses that operate on the SaaS model with monthly subscriptions, offering a free trial especially can be one of the most effective tactics for getting your “foot in the door.” Many customers are hesitant to commit to a one-year subscription or even pay for a month-to-month service until they know what they are getting. A free trial, either with or without full functionality, lets you acquire that key customer information and switching them over to the paid subscription is a piece of cake.

Pre-Filled Checkout Page

The fewer “friction points” you can have during a transaction, the more likely a customer is going to complete that transaction. This is even true with repeat customers. Arguably, it’s especially true with repeat customers. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to complete a transaction on Amazon, for instance? They already have your shipping and payment information, so you never need to enter it again. The easier the process, the better.

Payment Plans

There is a reason why the “five easy payments of” type business model has existed for so long and across so many industries. Some customers simply cannot afford the up-front cost of higher-priced items and, even among those who can, they might not want to have a single outlay of cash quite that substantial. if your shopping cart offers the option of alternative pricing options, you have a much better shot at appealing to more potential customers.

Address Auto-Complete

Much like having a pre-filled checkout page, you always create a better customer experience when the process is as fast and simple as possible. A great feature that you’ll find with PayKickStart is auto-complete for addresses. Customers simply start typing in their address and the form is able to predict and auto-fill the rest of it. This also ensures that the address format is consistent across all orders.

Upgrade and Downgrade

The situation for a customer when they first decided to subscribe to your SaaS may not be the same situation for the customer a few weeks, months, or years down the road. In an ideal world, customer needs increase and they’ll want to have a plan that scales alongside their requirements. Instead of requiring a customer to go through the whole order process again, it is paramount that the upgrade process is far simpler and more seamless. Again, the fewer friction points, the better.

Likewise, it is far more desirable if a customer chooses to downgrade his or her services than it is for them to leave you altogether. Again, the downgrading process should be easy and frictionless too.

Exit-Intent

In the business of the Internet, there’s something called a bounce rate. In the context of e-commerce, one of the biggest challenges is overcoming the abandoned shopping cart. The customer has nearly gone through the whole transaction, only to leave the site for some inexplicable reason. This can account for up to 25% of potential customers! By using a simple popup, you get one more chance at closing the sale.

Pending Order Follow-up

Perhaps that exit-intent popup wasn’t enough to convince the customer to complete the transaction. Maybe he or she had every intention of completing the sale, but had to leave the computer for whatever reason. This does not have to result in a lost sale! If you’ve got their email address, you can send out a “pending order” email as a follow-up reminder. Having such a feature integrated into your shopping cart can recapture those potential sales!

Checkout Page Library

Not everyone is a web designer or web developer. Most people aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing checkout page that is proven to work! When selecting e-commerce software for your site, it’s incredibly useful to have access to a library of pre-designed checkout pages and pop-up widget templates that are ready to go right out of the box.

Translation and Currencies

You might assume that your primary demographic is located in a specific geographic region, spending a certain currency and defaulting to English. And that may be true, but it really doesn’t take much to open up to different languages, currencies and regions when you have an e-commerce tool that automatically supports such variations with no extra effort on your part. Again, it’s about minimizing friction and making sure you don’t lose any sales over small details.

Sales and VAT Tax

Whether you deal mostly domestically in the United States or you sell to international customers, keeping up to date with sales and VAT compliance laws can feel like a challenge. This is especially true when taxes can vary from state to state, region to region. It’s far more convenient when your online shopping cart updates all of this information automatically.

1-Click Upsells and Order Bumps

Don’t leave any money on the table! Did you know that having 1-click upsells as part of your natural transaction process can boost conversions by as much as 40 percent? Suggesting additional products to buy at checkout can double your sales! If a customer is already interested in product A, they’d be a natural fit for product B (even if they didn’t know they were). You just have to nudge them along and make it as easy as possible.

Want to convert those fence-sitters into actual buyers? The option to create coupons within your landing page and order form pages exist as well. Sometimes all they need is a time-sensitive coupon that increases the level of urgency. No one wants to miss out on a good deal, so having this kind of functionality built into your e-commerce solution can increase sales significantly.

Integrations

Do you already use various third-party applications like email autoresponders, webinar platforms or fulfillment services? It’s important that all of these tools are able to work with one another in a seamless and easy-to-manage way, so you don’t waste your time with logistics and administration, manually updating data across platforms. They should all just work together.

With so many of us already using different membership platforms and online payment gateways, it’s important to always use a new solution that is easy to integrate within these other platforms as well. As you can see through the screenshot below, PayKickStart easily integrates with the likes of Paypal, Stripe, Ontraport, Kajabi, Aweber, Teachable and many other CMS and payment solutions.

Best of all, through the use of tools like Zapier, many of these integrations can be accomplished with just a few clicks of a button!

Affiliate Features and Tools

One of the fastest, most powerful, and most cost-effective ways to grow your online business is by offering an affiliate marketing program. And one of the great strengths of a solution like PayKickStart — you can help promote it with 50% commissions on the first year and 40% recurring commissions for life — is the amazing wealth of tools it offers to empower such a relationship.

The ability to track and pay commissions is built right into the system, including the ability to deliver instant, delayed and lifetime commissions. This kind of flexibility, combined with an easy way to share marketing materials with affiliates, empowers you with the ability to grow your customer base in a sustainable and profitable manner.

How to Get Started with PayKickStart

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing features and benefits of using a solution like PayKickStart to expand your business into a whole new area. To help better understand this process and start implementing these methods into your own business, I highly recommend you take a moment to attend the next upcoming webinar from Mark Thompson and how to take advantage of everything PayKickStart has to offer. Best of all, it’s free to attend!

There’s more to a shopping cart than just putting through a simple order. It’s about extracting as much value as possible while offering the best customer experience. You just need to have the right tool for the job.

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Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money Promoting Survey and Quiz Affiliate Offers

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Remember the days of email and zip poll/survey offers being all over the place, and how they would pay out $1-$2 per lead? Back before GDPR and data regulations were in place, these offers were everywhere you looked. They still are today, but just not as popular as they once were. While these offers aren’t getting the same attention and promotion as they used to, personal data is big money and these same types of offers are still generating millions of dollars daily.

In addition to the “Complete this survey to get a free _____” offers that you’ve seen all over the place, the survey niche is still stronger than ever before. However, it’s not so much the smaller zip and email submit offers that are getting so much attention, but actually the data companies behind them. You’ve likely seen these names and brands before — InboxDollars, Pinecone Research, Vindale Research, and Survey Junkie are some of the more popular ones.

WAHadventures.com highlights many of these surveys on their site and say it possible to make over $250 per month by using survey and incentive networks like Survey Junkie, SwagBucks, MySurvey, InboxDollars and PanelPayDay in your spare time. If you are already making good money online, this might seem like nothing to you — but the average person, getting paid $250+ to take online surveys is like a dream come true! With this same concept in mind, this is why email and zip submit offers do so well. People want free stuff!

Even more, when you start to add a viral or personal interest factor into the mix, that’s when you will really start to see some great results. Just take a look at BuzzFeed quizzes and how they are still one of the most popular sections on their site. People love taking surveys, seeing results, and when you throw an incentive, prize, or money into the mix… big things happen!

The Business of Online Paid Surveys and Giving Stuff Away for Free

On the business side, these offers still do well because customer data is worth a ton of money. Most of the data from these survey sites are sold for huge multiples over what they are actually paying for people to complete a survey. They are also making a huge profit because a large number of survey takers will simply never get to the point where they can cash out (hitting the usual minimum $25-$50 thresholds), which ultimately just keeps that money sitting within the data company.

With all of that being said, millions of dollars are being spent daily from these ‘get paid to complete survey’ companies in advertising, content creation, paid search, and of course, affiliate marketing. To make the most out of all of this money up for grabs, be sure to follow some of the recommended steps below.

How to Promote and Make Money with Online Surveys

Now that we have an idea on the offers available, you will need to focus on how to drive traffic and convert these surveys to audiences that actually convert into leads. One of the best ways to bring in low-cost traffic and convert them into leads is through a survey/poll site or creating an ad campaign with an attractive call to action. Using surveys to generate leads is nothing new, but I will break down the process for you and show you how easy and effective it is.

PRO TIP: Before moving forward, you must check the affiliate promotion guidelines for any specific offer you promote. For example, many zip/email submit offers will allow you to create a custom landing pages, but other high-end survey offers might only allow for text or banner ad placement. Either way, just make sure you are promoting the offer in the required method so you don’t get all of your leads reversed.

Step 1: Find something that everyone is talking about!

If you want to get cheap clicks and grab the attention of audiences around the world, you need to find what everyone is talking about today. For example, “Donald Trump” is likely to be a hot topic for several years now, while “Lebron James” going the Los Angeles Lakers is bound to be a hot trend throughout the next NBA season. This also works well for any highly searched celebrities as well, or anyone is currently trending in the news. The good thing about both of these examples is that it would be quite easy to target these audiences through Facebook Ads, Media Buying, and Social Media.

Still can’t figure out what a good topic is to base your survey or ad campaign around? See what’s currently trending on Google Trends, Twitter, and Facebook.

Just for example sake, let’s take two celebrities (Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba) and plug their names into Google Trends. We can immediately see that there is a steady flow of searches being made for both and that they continually have a solid following online. Let’s move forward with that.

 

Step 2: Create a survey/poll landing page.

Using the topics above, I created a simple landing page that can be used for media buying (or banners if you were to resize it). This literally took two minutes to create within Canva. All you need to do is add some fancy images, create a title and make it look like an interactive survey.

There is really nothing that special about this landing page/media buying copy. Make sure you have a clean design and to the point. I also enticed the visitor to place a vote, by adding “BONUS: Vote Now & Qualify to Receive a Free Gift Card!“. (This can vary depending on your backend offer) All you want the end user to do is click on the image, button, or text you might have in place here.

Again, this is very simple, and depending on the time and effort you put into this, you can make it more advanced or even collect user data for yourself or a newsletter.

Step 3: Finding your backend offer

The next step in the process is to find an affiliate offer that you want to promote. Ideally, this should be a simple email, zip, or one-click submit type of offer. Once you have an audience click on your initial survey/vote offer, you can then pass them along to the affiliate survey offer to complete. You can either setup your own landing page and pass the user onto a confirmation page with stats, or pass them directly to the offer. Make sure you check on marketing options available for the campaign before promoting.

Leadbit currently has this offer active for audiences in the UK and is paying out .70 per lead. The offer can be promoted through mobile, display, emails, search and pop — which allows for a nice range of data, traffic, and split testing purposes.

Step 4: Promotions and getting traffic

Now that you have created your landing page or media buying ad copy, you are ready to go. The best way to generate targeted low-cost traffic would be Media Buying (popunders) and possibly Facebook Ads and using Facebook Fan Pages or Groups (direct relationship or ownership of a group). You could also start targeting news/celebrity sites/blogs through the use of Google Adwords (context display network), native advertising, and popunders ads.

To start playing around with demographic targeting and see how much of a demand there is for a topic, you can use Facebook Ads campaign tool (shown below), or play around with search reports on a tool like SEMRush — which currently shows ‘jessica alba’ at 368,000 searches per month, and  ‘jennifer lopez’ with 823,000.

Step 5: Tweaking and watching your numbers

The last step of making money with surveys/polls and news is to continually tweak your landing pages and ad copy to try and get the best conversions. Don’t put all of your traffic to one offer, the reason I went with celebrities, is that there is pretty much an endless supply of traffic related to them out there. See what works best with your traffic, and then expand out into different countries when you start finding success.

This concept is not just limited to celebrity campaigns, however with all of the attention towards the latest hot movies, celebrities attaching the President, and everything else going on… it’s a good market that hasn’t died down and likely won’t.

It all starts with a click…

A few things to point out here…

  • This concept is nothing new, but it should act as a reminder of how to reach new markets
  • Customization and creating unique landing pages and ad copy is key here
  • You also need to split test the end affiliate offer, as this will sway heavily

If you haven’t done anything with affiliate marketing or CPA zip/email submit offers, it’s one of the best ways to get started — as the conversions are usually very high, and the payouts are low. Which means you can start split testing campaigns fast and know right away if you are going to soon find financial success.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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