Are You Making This Landing Page Mistake?

When it comes to landing – or pre-sell – pages, many new, and even experienced, affiliate marketers make this one big mistake. 

Everyone knows a proper pre-sell page can make or break a campaign. Landing pages convince your customers to take action. Your average affiliate marketer will split-test headlines, images, and the sales copy to improve his or her pages. All that activity isn’t useful, however, if you can’t judge which one’s the real winner.

I was talking to a friend of mine who has been in the industry for years. He was asking me for tips on how to improve his landing page click-through rate (LP CTR). I told him that the metric doesn’t really matter. I’ve seen countless forum posts talking about LP CTR when evaluating a landing page, and yet affiliates rarely get it right. 

Let me explain what the LP CTR is. 

People see your ad and land on your pre-sell page (landing page). A percentage of them will click through to the offer page from your landing page.

Here is how you can calculate the number.

Take the number of clicks your traffic source shows. Let’s say it was 500. Now take the number of clicks your affiliate network shows for the offer. Let’s say you had 200 clicks. Divide network clicks by traffic sources clicks. It’s 200/500 in this case. This means 40% of the people click through on your page.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 10.52.15

 

Here’s the error that most affiliate marketers make: they judge how effective a landing page is by the LP CTR, when it’s just part of the equation. I’ve heard people say, “My landing page sucks! It only has an LP CTR of 20%.”

It doesn’t matter how many people see the offer page. What matters is how many people convert. A landing page CTR of 70% is not good if it results in low conversion rates. 

An extreme example of this is those “guru” sales letters that try to sell “make money online” courses. I remember seeing them years ago and thinking to myself, “Who has time to read all this? Wouldn’t they make more money if they kept it shorter so more people could click to the offer page?” 

Well, the sales letters are long for a reason. They make more money because of the increase in conversion rates.  

The Proper Way to Measure the Effectiveness of a Landing Page 

What is the proper way to judge a landing page? It’s simple: split-test the landing page to see which version brings more revenue. The total revenue will account for the LP CTR and the conversion rate. 

Here is an example.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 14.07.07

Landing Page A has a much higher click-through rate than Landing Page B. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude it was a winner because, as you can see, Landing Page B makes more money. 

Landing Page A might have a better LP CTR because it’s simple. It has a picture of the product and a “click here” button. People may click through it because it’s an easy path, but your pre-sell page gave them no compelling reasons to convert. 

Landing page B has a lower landing page click-through rate but higher conversions. It could have a lot text on it, pictures and testimonials. All these could cause the LP CTR to lower, but you’ve made the users who do click through more interested in buying. 

Instead of balancing LP CTR vs Conversion Rate, just look at the total revenue each page produces. It’s really that simple. 

  • Split-testing headlines? See which landing page makes more money.
  • Split-testing images? See which landing page make more money.

I still look at the LP CTR more as a tripwire that something’s wrong. A niche I’m in typically has an LP CTR of 35%. I tested out a new page and noticed the LP CTR was only 5%. I knew something was up with my landing page if only 5% of people were seeing the offer. 

I used SauceLabs to test the page in different browsers. Long story short, the button was OFF the page in Internet Explorer, and the audience couldn’t click through.

Improving Your Landing Page Conversion Rate

Now you know that getting users to convert is more important than getting them to simply click through. The next question you might be pondering is: how do you increase your landing page conversion rates? Here are 5 simple things I do on each landing page that you can too:

  • Pre-qualify your visitors. The 3-questions dating landing page is a popular example. When people have to put in a little work, it makes them want the reward more. 
  • Call them out. An example of this is “You are the Lucky Winner Today from Atlanta, GA”, where Atlanta is a script that looks up their location. 
  • Use social proof - as seen on TV, as seen on…, etc.
  • Use testimonials - “I lost 10 pounds with this!” with before/after pictures of Bob.
  • Add urgency. If an offer’s going to disappear, e.g, a warning that offer expires in 1 minute, people will want it more. 

Relevant posts:
Landing Page Tips Part 1
Landing Page Tips Part 2

Conclusion

Your landing page click-through rate is important, but it shouldn’t be the metric by which you judge your landing pages. A much better way to measure the effectiveness of your landing pages is simply split-test them to see what the total revenue is for each.

The revenue takes into account the LP CTR and the conversion rate. 

p.s. Voluum (affiliate tracking program) is coming out of beta at the end of the month, check out my guide on how to setup your first campaign. 

The post Are You Making This Landing Page Mistake? appeared first on CharlesNgo.com - Advancing Affiliate Marketers.

I Killed Almost All My Income Streams, And I Did It On Purpose…

It felt like deja vu. Two years ago I found myself in a place I didn’t think I could return to. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do next. The deja vu feeling appeared when I realised I was making mistakes I had made before. I was jumping...

The post I Killed Almost All My Income Streams, And I Did It On Purpose… appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Affiliate Networks vs Going Direct: Which Is Better?

When you’re starting off in the industry, you should sign up for and run through a few affiliate networks first. It’s convenient, and you’re at the stage where affiliate managers can be very helpful.  

But as you mature in the industry, a time will come when you’ll have to start dealing with your advertisers directly, bypassing your affiliate network.

Let’s look at the following example. Who has an advantage in this situation?

  • Affiliate A is running an offer and getting paid $6.50 
  • Affiliate B is running an offer and getting paid $5.00

Most people will say affiliate A because she gets paid more per lead. But what if she ends up not getting paid at all from the advertiser? She loses over 5 figures. Affiliate B gets paid because the affiliate network ate up the costs. Now it’s affiliate B who won.

As you can see, it’s not as clear as black and white when it comes to deciding whether to be with an affiliate network or to deal with advertisers directly. Each option has its own distinct advantages, and a good affiliate is able to tell which is better for each situation. 

In this post, I’m going to explain the benefits of each and give you some advice on how to go direct.

Direct vs Network

Payouts

Payout is the main advantage of going direct. 

Since you’re bypassing the affiliate network, you get its cut. Sometimes, it can be significant (someone has to pay for those fancy offices and affiliate trips).

A few years ago, I was running a dating offer at a network, and the most I could get paid from any network was $5.50. By going direct with the advertiser, I increased my payout to $6.50.

Here is another example. I ran a supplement on a network, which paid me $52.00 maximum. By switching to the advertiser directly, I started getting $60.00 per sale.  

What happens when you have a 25% margin advantage over your competition? 

  • You can outbid them for more volume
  • You can scale to other traffic sources that they can’t

There’s also one more pay bump no one ever mentions: click loss.

The click you buy from the traffic source goes through many redirects. A typical funnel looks like this:

Traffic Source -> Tracking software -> Affiliate pre-sell page -> Affiliate network offer link -> Advertiser’s landing page.

That’s a lot of redirects, and you will always lose clicks along the way. 

By removing the affiliate network, you could potentially see 5-10% more clicks. 

Another consideration is scrubbing/shaving. 

Some affiliate networks scrub/shave leads (aka stealing from you).

Here’s a common example

Newbie John threatens to stop promoting the offer if he doesn’t get a pay bump on his $5.00. Affiliate Network X can’t give him a pay bump because their margins are thin on this offer. How can they make Newbie John happy if they can’t give him a pay bump?

They bump Newbie John to $5.50, but they use their software to scrub/shave leads from him. If he sends 100 leads tomorrow, the network might keep 10 of those leads, and John only sees credit for 90. 

That’s why it’s important to always split-test affiliate networks, even on the same offer. To learn more, read my article on split-testing affiliate networks.

Getting Paid

Some advertisers are slow when it comes to payments.

Maybe they have a policy of paying only once a month or every 2 weeks. That’s where affiliate networks come in and act like a bank. They take the risk, float you the money, and pay you every week. Faster cash flow is always good! 

When you run with an advertiser, you have a higher risk of not getting paid. Let’s say their merchant processor goes down, and they decide not to pay. What are YOU going to do about it? You can’t do much. You’re a single affiliate without any power. Good luck suing a corporation located in a weird offshore country. 

That’s where an affiliate network comes in. Even if the affiliate network doesn’t get paid, they will pay the affiliate out of their own pockets (if the leads are legit, of course). Nothing can sink an affiliate network faster than rumors that they’re not paying their affiliates. 

Affiliate networks can put pressure on advertisers because they send a lot of traffic and they have lawyers, stronger relationships, and  access to Russian hitmen.

Advertisers have various risk levels. Be smart, and do your research. I find that going direct with dating advertisers who are backed by large companies is very safe. But if you’re doing nutraceutical trials, then you are assuming a significantly higher risk. 

Make sure to use common sense. If someone ever misses a payment, stop traffic immediately. Don’t keep sending traffic for the next month, hoping that you’re going to get paid. You’re just increasing the amount of money you could potentially lose. 

One last benefit to using advertisers is you can get more cap space. If an offer is good, there’s a chance the advertiser can only accept so much volume. If they have 500 leads a day in total, the advertiser has to be strategic about to whom they allocate the cap. They might want to give most of it to affiliates with whom they work directly because they have a direct line of communication with them.   

Privacy

Let’s say you take a risk on a new offer, and you’re destroying it. If you have a good affiliate manager, he or she is not going to tell everyone to run whatever you’re running. They value your business and relationship.

But what about the other affiliate managers on the network who can see what the top offers are? They’re going to tell their affiliates what you’re running, and maybe even share your landing page. There’s no honor when you work on commission. 

I hate to say this, but sometimes affiliate managers go rogue. It means after work, they go home to run their own campaigns, using data and resources of the existing ones. Why reinvent the wheel, when you know x offer works and you have a working landing page? 

Some networks also have internal media buying teams. These guys can be tough to compete against because they have higher margins to work with and they can see some of your data. But let’s keep it real. If they were that good, they would be running campaigns on their own. 

I run a large majority of my campaigns direct because I value my privacy. In general, advertisers are much, much better at keeping your privacy. 

I’m not saying all affiliate networks are shady, but take some time to educate yourself about the networks. Keep your guard up, and never reveal more information than necessary about your campaigns. 

Exclusivity

I don’t like to compete against other affiliates. I’m fighting for the same cap, and sometimes it feels like a race to the bottom. Being a super affiliate is about having an edge and having competitive advantages

I spend a lot of time building strong relationships with proven advertisers. They stop seeing me as just another affiliate, and they start seeing me as a business partner.

Some of my best offers ever weren’t on networks. I worked with my advertiser to create exclusives just for me. It could be as simple as an exclusive landing page that I created/optimized. Or it could be a completely new vertical that I helped design from the bottom up. 

If I have the exclusive, I don’t have to worry about other affiliates taking my cap space or stealing my pre-sell pages. 

If you’re stuck at the intermediate stages, then re-read this section. 

Information

It’s always tough communicating with the other party when there’s a middleman involved. You can ask for a quality check, and it’ll take days before you get a report. 

That’s another reason why I like going direct. I get real information and much better communication. 

There was one vertical last year where I was breaking even. No matter how many split-tests I did, I could not make it profitable.

Then the advertiser took a look a my funnel and gave me a few suggestions to optimize it. They had 5 years in this vertical compared to my 5 days and could identify the following problems and solutions:

  • The offer had absurdly low conversion rates in certain states. I stopped sending traffic to those states and saw an immediate ROI increase. 
  • I got detailed demographic information on their customers.
  • Apparently, my translations were not that great even though I was using onehourtranslation. They had their guy translate it properly. 
  • They provided me with detailed reports on the higher converting times/days of the week. I used this information to day-part my campaigns. 

The campaign went from breaking even to 75% ROI because of their help. Once I researched and understood the vertical more, I was able to optimize it to over 150% ROI. If it wasn’t for them, I would have given up the campaign and the potential profit.  

Affiliate managers can be a great source of information when you’re starting out, but the quality of them can differ drastically. It can be tough for a beginner to get help from a good affiliate manager, since they rather spend their time on proven affiliates. 

Ways to Go Direct with the Advertiser

There are two main ways you can go direct with an advertiser. 

Google

Google the offer to see who owns it. For some verticals, such as dating, it’s really easy. Just look at the bottom of the page for a link for affiliates. 

If there isn’t one, you have to do some more work. Find the contact form, and send an email. See if there’s a phone number, and call.

Online dating site for singles. The Best Dating service   Cupid.com

Ask Other People

This is where the power of networking comes in.

If I can’t find out who owns the offer, I ask the experts. If I need to go direct on a certain dating offer, I know that Ben at PlentyofFish has the connection (he has to help me because we’re Asian brothers).

If I want to go direct on a mobile offer, I get in touch with business developers – and I know plenty of them – who have the right connections. They help me because I’m going to get to the right person sooner or later, so it makes sense for them to provide value to me and strengthen our relationship. 

I also have good connections with other affiliates. Some of you might be wondering: why would affiliates help each other out? Aren’t we competition?

Not really. I’ve discovered that I always make more money by helping others and providing value. What you’ll find as a super affiliate is that the competition isn’t you vs other affiliates. The real competition is against yourself, trying to outperform yourself, and against the traffic source (Google, Facebook guys). 

Another way to meet more advertisers is by going to conferences. I was just at Affiliate Summit East, and I met more advertisers than I can handle. Go to parties, hang out with social connectors who can introduce you, and take the initiative to walk around, meeting people.  

Conclusion

As you can see, there are different pros and cons to going direct with an advertiser. 

This post is NOT meant to bash affiliate networks, but rather to educate my readers. 

There are many affiliate networks out there, and most of them aren’t special. They are running Cake and brokering the same offers everyone else is. I’ve been hearing the same “highest payouts, exclusive offers” pitch forever, and it’s not a competitive advantage if everyone says it. 

Start thinking higher on competitive strategy. How can your network offer value to affiliates? If I could go direct on your offers, and 10 different other networks are offering the same offer to me, why would I run with your network? It’s time for networks to evolve. 

P.S. Here are some affiliate networks that I will personally vouch for. Sign up and run with these guys if you want to make more money. 

The post Affiliate Networks vs Going Direct: Which Is Better? appeared first on CharlesNgo.com - Advancing Affiliate Marketers.

2 Free Templates to Record Your Daily Profits

Graph

You have to know your numbers if you want to be successful in this business. 

It surprises me when other affiliates don’t know exactly how much they’ve made each day or week.

To know your numbers, you have to record them manually. Why should you record your profits when you can see how much you make through trackers like Voluum.com?

It’s because Voluum.com’s data is not 100% accurate. The costs are based on estimates. Trackers are great for getting a quick overview and for analyzing data, but they shouldn’t be your only tool. 

My spreadsheets are for me to record my exact revenue and costs. I want to know exactly how much money I made each day. If you have employees and you’re giving them a percentage, you have to take that into account and calculate what your real profits are.

I have been launching campaigns for 6 years, and I have every single profit recorded. It’s nice to have these numbers for accounting reasons and for referencing your old campaign data.

I’m re-launching a campaign I was running earlier this year. Because I switched from CPVLabs to Voluum, I don’t have access to any of the old data, provided by the platform. But at least I have the Excel sheets so I can see which countries/traffic sources were the most profitable. 

To help you with your tracking tasks, I am giving you two spreadsheet templates I have used myself.

Deep Analytics

I recommend this template for newbies or people running a few campaigns.

Record all the information here, e.g., clicks, cost per click, landing page clicks, etc. Typing in all the numbers yourself will give you a deeper understanding of how the metrics affect each other. 

Play around with the data to see how you can increase your profit. 

How can you become more profitable? Here are a few ideas:

  • decrease your cost per click (higher CTR on ads, buy ads in bulk)
  • increase your payout (ask your affiliate manager for a bump, go direct) 
  • increase your conversion rate on the offer (higher converting ads/landing page copy, better targeting) 
  • increase your landing page effectiveness (better landing page copy/headlines/pictures) 

In simple terms: affiliate marketing is about lowering your CPM and increasing your eCPM.

Download the Deeper Analytics Template

Profit Overview

I run campaigns across many verticals, placements and traffic sources. At some point, it becomes too much work to track everything. 

Instead, I just track the total profits, and I use Voluum.com to analyze the data. 

Download the Profit Overview Template

Recording the Data

I do the analytics myself each morning. I set a 30-minute timer to record the data, and then I analyze it. 

I used to outsource the analytics task. Someone else would log into all the traffic sources/affiliate networks and record the data for me. I would get a nice email each day with an in-depth overview, accompanied by fancy charts. 

If you know Ngo, then you know I’m a fan of delegation, but not in this case. I stopped outsourcing data recording and analysis for a couple of reasons:

  • Typing in the numbers myself allows me to understand them better. It’s like reading a book vs reading a book and taking notes. 
  • I don’t want any errors. One time my helper recorded the data incorrectly, and I made optimizations based on faulty information. It cost me a lot of money. 

I have a programmer friend that has the data completely automated to avoid any errors. That’s another great solution you should consider. 

Should you use Excel or Google docs? It doesn’t really matter – either one works. I switched over to Google docs because it makes it easier to share the information with a team. I record the data, and my employees can see the numbers but can’t change them. 

Other Tips

I like to match the timezone to the data perfectly. If the traffic source is showing you the data in PST time, then make sure your stats are also showing in PST time. Fortunately, most affiliate networks are using CAKE, which lets you choose the timezone.

Tabs are your friend to help you keep data cleaner. A tab can represent a country, traffic source or a vertical. How you want to use it is up to you. 

Sometimes you will be sending visitors from a few different traffic sources to the same offer. How would you separate the revenue from each traffic source? You could utilize additional SUBIDs to keep track of the sources, e.g, SUBID3=PlentyofFish (or use a code if you don’t want to let your network see the sensitive information).

In my current setup, every big traffic source has its own sheet. For example, Adwords has its own document. Mobile is one big document, but I have a tab for the traffic sources. I also have a “master” sheet that records profits for everything. 

Remember this is your document. Personalize it the way you want. Add charts to help you visualize your data, or add or remove metrics to deepen your understanding of it.  

Conclusion

Start treating your affiliate campaigns like a real business. Without knowing exact numbers, you can’t make the best decisions for your campaign. The numbers tell a story. Tracking them with precision will give you the clues you need to get your campaigns to massive profitability.  

Did you enjoy this post? Want more templates/giveaways? Share this post, or comment below to let me know. Also, if you have a template you want to share, feel free to leave it in the comments. 

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30 Day Challenge #4: Stretching

STRETCH

Previous 30 Day Challenges

  1. Meditation
  2. Daily Gratitude
  3. Drink More Water

I’m about to wrap up last month’s 30-day challenge: drinking more water. I’ve never drunk more water in a single month than I did during this one. 

How do I feel after the challenge? More energetic. I’m also able to think more clearly. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, my go-to routine is to take a walk, drink a glass of water, and meditate for five minutes.   

The main downside of the challenge is that I have to use the restroom pretty much every hour. Overtime, however, your bladder will get used to it, and you will be able to hold more liquid. 

Let’s get ready for August’s challenge! I want to continue the theme of improving your health. If you’re a “computer guy or gal” (which I’m sure most of you are), then you need to do the stretching challenge.

Why Stretch?

My posture has gotten worse over the years.

Let’s just say that sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time, year after year, isn’t good for your body. Our ancestors spent much of their days outdoors, hunting, farming, and being much more active than we are. These days, most of our activities are sedentary: we work, commute, and even play sitting down.

I don’t want to have back pain when I’m older, nor do I want to start looking like Quasimodo. I thought that working out would be enough to help my back, but it’s not. Remember that the gym is only one hour, but we’re in the sitting position for most of the day. 

One of the easiest ways to counteract our inactive lifestyle is to start a daily stretching routine. 

Besides improving posture, here are some other reasons why I stretch:

  1. Better circulation. It provides more efficient blood flow throughout the body. 
  2. More energy and lower stress. After a stretching session, I feel like I have more energy. 
  3. Injury prevention. Better flexibility will help me prevent injuries while performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. 
  4. Stronger willpower. As beneficial as stretching is, it can be boring. There are plenty of other things you could do with those 15 minutes. The temptation to avoid stretching helps me be more disciplined. I might not want to do it, but I know I should. When you commit to these types of activities, you are training your willpower muscles. 
  5. It feels good.  

P.S. I have been using a standing desk for the past six months. I will write a post on that in the future.

When to Stretch

I stretch after a workout since it increases my flexibility the most. It’s best to do static stretching after a workout, not before it.

To warm up before a workout, I like to do dynamic stretches – stretching while moving. For example: on a leg day, I warm up by doing some body squats and lunges.

You can incorporate stretching into your morning routine. I already run for half an hour in the morning, so I think adding the stretches would take up too much time. 

Which Stretching Routine Should You Do?

starting-stretching-cheatsheet
I discovered a great routine at Reddit called Starting Stretch. I find it hits a lot of the body parts that need work such as my hips, shoulders, hamstrings, and my back. I like to keep it simple and follow an established routine. 

The routine only takes 12-15 minutes, which is a reasonable time commitment. 

For the first exercise, I hang from the pull-up bar for a minute. After that’s complete, I head to the stretching mat area of my gym. I can do the rest of the exercises there.

I start a stopwatch, and after each minute, I switch positions.

On my off-days, when I’m not working out, I increase the time for the stretching routine to make each exercise two minutes long.

Action

  1. Go to the Starting Stretch website for a more detailed explanation of the routine and its variations.

  2. Pick a trigger. This is what reminds you to start the routine. My trigger is the end of my workout at the gym. If you want to do it at a specific time of day, set an alarm to remind yourself of the activity. When it’s time to start stretching, immediately get into the routine. If you wait for too long, you’ll get distracted, or you’ll talk yourself out of it.

  3. Routine. Do the Starting Stretch routine. Use a stopwatch to keep the time.

  4. Reward. After the stretching is done, I like to lie down and relax. My reward is having the satisfaction of completing the challenge, knowing that I did something good for my body, and experiencing that nice post-stretch feeling. 

 

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Whom Do You Lean On When Nothing Is Working?

I’m at a party. The pretext is simple, people drinking and chatting, attempting to form meaningful connections, to bond over shared interests. As expected, everyone asks what I do. When I answer that I “work online” the response is an expression like I just said something in another language. I...

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