Affiliate programs that were created three to five years ago and managed to survive are now doing relatively well with the base of affiliates. We know that earlier the competition was lower, the grass is greener, and the dollar exchange rate is not so scary.
The same couple of years ago, affiliate networks competed mainly with the volume of offers and the size of rates. Now these factors are also important. Due to the crazy variety of affiliate programs, many scam stories and fierce market dynamics, 99% of networks close in the first six months. They don’t have a media resource, they don’t have good marketing, and as a result, they don’t have affs. And how to attract publishers?
Abstracts necessary for understanding
Before moving on to the analysis of specific methods, I want to put my experience into your heads:
- An experienced publisher has launched so many campaigns that he has acquired built-in advertising blindness, distrust of advertising and promises. Imagine how many such empty promises he made every day.
- Affiliate search is more like B2B than B2C and requires similar promotion methods.
- There are two main methods of attracting the affiliate. The first is to hit at random, massively and cheaply. The second is to build a reputation around the brand, creating loyalty, trust, or at least the web has heard that such an affiliate program exists and does not seem to have died.
Advertising in social networks
In any advertisement of an affiliate network, placed on social networks and media resources, there must be some kind of trigger. Basically, affiliate advertising comes down to: “Come work with us, we have top offers, gigantic commissions, free applications, pre-landers…”. Or: “Come work with us, we will teach you everything!”.
Advertising of the first type is mainly placed by affiliate networks, where commission rates are never top, and offers are never exclusive. Any affiliate once or twice clicked, found out the conditions, disgusted and left. And he won’t click on it again. And who will call? Newbie.
With the learning trigger, the story is also sad. Beginners will fall for it, and teaching them is hell, pain and suffering. This process can be pulled by an affiliate network that has a strong internal buying, which is ready to spend plenty of time and effort on training new publishers. Otherwise, the affiliate program gets newcomers, on whom it spends time and resources. But it does not receive the amount of traffic that would at least approximately pay off the costs.
The conclusion is simple. Advertising affiliate programs in social networks attracts mostly beginners. If your infrastructure is built to teach new people, well done. But I know just a couple of such successful examples. Basically, affiliate networks flood ads, get a flow of newbies, affiliates hang up, supports hang up, experienced publishers suffer from a lack of attention, and the amount of traffic only falls.
There are exceptions. Sometimes experienced affiliates come up with such advertisements. This happens infrequently. And remember that advertising is quite expensive, and many newcomers fall on the tail.
This format of promotion is condemned by everyone. Many people think that this has not worked for a long time. But spam for the arbitrage market is about the same as advertising on social networks. Only cheaper. And it often works better.
Through spam, the conversion will be terrible, but there is a chance to get into the PM to the normal publisher, which is just looking for where to send his traffic. And if you have already decided on such a desperate method of promotion, make a unique text that will interest the affiliate. Ideas, tools, information — trigger a mailing list for useful things, through which you will then get customers.
And then I already hear the silent question of the reader: “Reznik! Is there a normal way to promote my network? So that you don’t merge kilodollars anywhere and don’t engage in spam? There is. That’s just about it could be the next block. But no. There will be its opposite. Worst thing a network can ever do.
Many founders of affiliate programs, especially in the most difficult periods (the first months of work, the first cash gaps), have a brilliant idea – to attract users through a referral. Let’s calculate why the referral system for an affiliate is a real bondage.
Any user can make a referral link for the network in their personal account. After creation, the link is sent to friends, chats, content is created into which it is integrated. In fact, a way of earning is being created by attracting publishers to the affiliate network.
At the very beginning of the launch of a referral program, the results often look fantastic – a rapid increase in the number of users, a rapid increase in volumes and capitalisation.
And after a couple of months, when data for analysis appears, only two problems arise. They are shockingly terrible.
- With a minimum rate of 1% and an average traffic of $5,000 per month, in 3 months, the payout for attracting the user reaches $150. $600 per year. This is a lot compared to the methods of healthy marketing. And how long will such charity continue? As long as there is an affiliate network and the attracted publisher is pouring into it. Probably for years.
- Most affiliates will create a second office for themselves through a ref. And break all the mathematics of business. Instead of spending money on a referral, it’s better to increase the rates for your publishers!
Referral is a direct way to drive your business into financial bondage. When developing a business in such a narrow market as traffic arbitrage, where everyone knows about everyone, it is important to build a reputation, and not look for a “dose” here and now, because breaking. Will the referral lead the affiliate to a minus? If you adequately calculate the business model, then no. Are there cheaper and more effective ways to engage the web? Of course!
This is a well-known and very powerful way to promote B2B (business to business). The point is to communicate with the audience through useful content. In creating ads that the audience wants to see themselves. Do not forcefully stuff your theses down your throat, but honestly and accurately show them to those who are really interested.
The mechanics of content marketing in the media buying industry can be different, but usually comes down to several options:
- Creating your own blog with subsequent SEO promotion;
- Own Telegram channel for audience accumulation;
- Publication of cases, reviews and other useful articles in the media. It is worth mentioning here that only cases based on real data can be published in the media. Otherwise, this is already gray marketing, most media will not accept such content for placement;
- Waging your own blog within the media.
Content marketing works over the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, beginner projects often avoid it. Starting with spam is a perfectly adequate idea, but if you aim to work longer than a couple of months, you should definitely include a content story in parallel.
This cost promotion format is comparable to social media advertising. Sometimes it comes out more expensive. However, it gives incomparably better results. And at a distance – generally cosmic.
Another reason why many affiliate networks do not go into content is that a strong team is needed. We need a marketer who knows everything about media, has personal experience in arbitration and an extensive database of contacts. We need a team of authors capable of producing content that will not make experienced affiliates bleed from their eyes. There are very few such content creators on the market, and most of them need to be taught or completed.
I can recommend a friend with experience in promoting affiliate programs and services through content marketing. You can consult him, I’m sure Andrey will not refuse a couple of free tips. Just write that you are from Reznik.
At a distance of 3-12 months, through content marketing, you can create an entire fan base for your brand. Recognition, trust, loyalty – these are things without which you cannot count on hundreds of experienced arbitrageurs to come to you to upload their traffic.
The most optimal bundle is spam and content marketing. Of course, spam can slightly reduce the reputation of a brand, but this is not critical for a new affiliate program. Moreover, when doing content marketing, all reputational losses from spam can be easily compensated and blocked. And if it is somehow possible to do without spam, then without a content story it is almost impossible to create an affiliate program that will live and bring good profit in a year.