WARNING: This story is personal and edgy. On purpose. I’m making no friends saying what I say here. But right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s stuff that I feel needs to be said.
It’s like Gambling
I remember it like it was yesterday…
It was around 6 in the morning on a summer day in August and the sun was just out.
I stood up from my office chair where I had spent the last 18 hours or so working to head upstairs to my “regular” sleeping place.
Most of the times I was falling asleep on the chair in front of my computer screen.
So I went upstairs, took a quick glance at my 3 kids sleeping in their rooms and went straight to bed where my wife was about to wake up in an hour or so.
I could feel the weight of my body on the bed and while I wanted it so much, I just couldn’t sleep.
My mind was still awake.
I kept thinking all those deep -100% in red campaigns -money gone forever- in my affiliate tracker.
Burning my eyes and heart and any hope I’ve had left for achieving financial freedom.
After about 30 minutes or so of turning around and not falling asleep, I’ve realized it won’t happen.
So I stood up, made some Greek cold coffee and sat in a worn out sofa on the balcony in the hope I’ll get some cool air before I was to have another go at it again…
For another 18 hours or so straight.
Like I’d done so many nights for the last 3 months or so.
I am no one special.
I’ve done a few things right (and a lot wrong), so I’ve seen a whole lot of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But due to several bad (or not taking at all) decisions I’d found myself left with $400 on my one credit card left.
And with 3 kids sleeping in the next room and a wife relying on me to support them like I always have, it wasn’t a pretty situation to be.
I just couldn’t figure it out.
I was doing what everyone else suggested doing in the forums.
I’ve even had recommendations from affiliate managers on “hot” offers.
I would set up an offer, buy traffic, send it to the affiliate offer and track the results.
But instead of my campaigns being the type of “Hit ‘n’ Go”, easy breezy, like may others suggested in the forums…
They were more like Hit ‘n’ Miss!
So then I would try yet another offer.
And another affiliate network.
And another one.
Still with the same (no) results.
And even when I’d had some success, because I was running offers from several affiliate networks, I wouldn’t get paid.
And that led to having cash flow issues.
And money was running out faster than I could think!
So while I was trying to enjoy a bit of the summer sun before I head back to a fluorescent lighted room, for yet another battle with traffic sources, affiliate networks and offers…
It suddenly hit me.
I had lost my way.
I was hooked on the potential immediate returns of the “Hit ‘n’ Go” approach.
I now realize it…
I was …a Transactional Affiliate.
I was exchanging money (for traffic) to get a sale (conversion) without any real control over the process.
I was buying and sending traffic I didn’t own nor controlled, straight to an offer’s page (direct linking). I also didn’t own nor controlled.
The problem, when you’re a Transactional Affiliate like I was, is that you are relying for a lot of things in luck and hope.
You are hoping the traffic source will send you good, bot-free, traffic.
You are hoping the affiliate network will “capture” your traffic properly.
And report any conversions your traffic has made to that advertiser’s offer back to your tracker.
And that’s assuming you’ve setup your affiliate tracker correctly to begin with…
And many affiliate marketers keep doing that.
Hoping to get conversions as soon as possible.
It might work for an offer or two, for a day or two.
But more often than not, it doesn’t.
And they jump to another offer.
And start this transactional process all over again.
Hoping for a different result this time around.
But hope is not a strategy.
But such is the pull of our natural bias towards the easy and quick and shortcuts and “just point and click” solutions.
We tend to gravitate towards the secrets, the loopholes and the sexy tactics, over fundamental strategies.
The pull towards the promise of easy and fast over the hard and slow.
But the thing with these tactics is that very quickly, the Instant Wins stop working – if they ever began (for most) to work in the first place.
”…It’s the Instant ROI (Return On Investment) potential. It can have an effect on you (instant wins – dopamine hits – It’s just like gambling….”– A friend of mine
Let me be absolutely clear on this…
By buying and sending traffic always directly to an affiliate offer, made me a Transactional Affiliate.
I realized that I was relying the livelihood of my family, on traffic sources and affiliate networks, that “don’t always play nice”* to keep things afloat …
* Some affiliate networks (& traffic sources) have been known to act a bit shady. Things like “shaving off” commissions (ie not counting them for you) and passing your methods to other affiliates that have larger spending budgets or keeping their best traffic for higher spenders are a few things that have been done to affiliates…
…Is a big gamble to take!
I was gambling.
I was gambling with my money and the well being of my family, by acting and being a transactional affiliate.
Right then and there, at 6 in the morning, sitting sleepless on my balcony I decided to change.
…Most media buyers/affiliate marketers fail to understand the thing that they have most control is traffic. Not the offers.– Darnel “DEADZ” Media Lab
I remembered reading the above quote.
It made me thinking, this is so true.
I don’t control the offers I promote.
In the sense that I can’t change them in any way.
They are what they are.
But I can buy traffic and send it anywhere I want.
So a question started to form in my mind…
If I agree that most control is in the traffic, and I’m in control of it, how can I leverage this to my advantage?
At that time the answer wasn’t a straight forward one.
May be it was due to lack of sleep.
Or may be it was due to all the hustling I was doing to get (back) to “freedom” that I couldn’t think clearly…
Even so, I managed to pull my thoughts together in some form of order…
I thought I could add a prelander (a web page I control and own) to the whole flow, between the traffic and affiliate offer.
That way I’d have some control from the traffic I pay and get before it goes to the affiliate offer.
So a few hours later…
I changed from treating my campaigns as “Hit ‘n’ Go” and the transactional affiliate approach, where I was sending traffic directly to an affiliate offer…
So now I’d buy traffic sending it to a page I control and own (the prelander).
This would allow me to show people what I wanted, before they see the affiliate offer, which I had no control.
So I could “warm the visitors up” first, sort of pre-selling them, on what they’ll see next.
This way they’d be a lot less people seeing the affiliate offer but those that do reach there, would be more “qualified”.
They would have been “pre-sold” on the message I wanted them to.
And that approach alone got me the first positive results in a long time.
And while I was still long way recovering all those loses, I was excited I was onto something.
Think about this.
Think about the last few promotions you’ve run and how you promoted that offer and whether or not was successful.
Anyho, for me it was for sure a step towards the right direction.
But I felt something was still missing…