Affiliate Marketing with Shoemoney

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 A Word From
 I’m Jeremy Schoemaker and I’ve been an
 affiliate marketer for almost seven years.
 Some of you may know me by my online
 nickname, “ShoeMoney,” which I use on
 my blog and social media.

 I came from a humble background and
 have a very limited education – I meant
 it, I barely made it through high school. I
 was struggling on unemployment for
 years, until I discovered Affiliate
 Marketing back in 2005. Not to make
 this sound like a cheesy scheme, but I         on my blog and occasionally saturated my own market. So I’m more than
 was able to go from unemployment to a          happy to walk through every step of affiliate marketing with you, and help
 net worth of over 10 million dollars in        out anyone willing and ready to learn.
 just a couple of years. Really, if I could
 do it, so can you.                             We’ll start with the basics of becoming an affiliate and advance from there.
                                                I’ll also walk you through everything an affiliate marketer should know
 I’ve always believed in transparency, to       about compliance, testing, networks, case studies and avoiding fraud. Let’s
 the point where I’ve outlined my tactics       do this thing!

                                               C h a p t e r s

    1. WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?                                    6. ADVERTISER’S PERSPECTIVE

    2. GET STARTED: AFFILIATE 101                                      7. WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

    3. LANDING PAGES AND TESTING                                       8. TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

    4. DOLLARS & SENSE: AVOID FRAUD                                    9. CASE STUDIES

    5. ADVANCED TACTICS                                                10. CONCLUSION

What is Affiliate Marketing?
                                  The Basics
   In a Nutshell
                                  Affiliate marketing often begins with a
                                  network, which connects affiliate marketers
 Affiliate marketing at its        to companies who are looking for help in
 core is essentially hiring       marketing or sales.                                     FOR EXAMPLE
   a commission sales
    person, but on the             Companies might be seeking leads through a
                                                                                          I used to sell dryers at
         internet.                 customer phone number or e-mail address,
                                   which means they would pay you for every               Sears, I’d get a 12%
                                   new person who signs up. Or they might have            commission of the sales
                                   a difficult product to sell, and join a network        price whenever I sold a
to offer affiliate marketers a percentage of each sale they bring.                        dryer. If I could also
                                                                                          interest the customer in
The network takes a piece of these interactions as a price for connecting
companies and affiliate marketers.                                                        a Sears credit card, I’d
                                                                                          get a flat commission of
                                                                                          $50. This is pretty
                                                                                          much how internet
                                                                                          affiliate marketing
                                                                                          works: I sell a
                                                                                          company’s products
                                                                                          online, and some
                                                                                          companies will pay me
                                                                                          a percentage of the
                                                                                          sales price, while others
                                                                                          will give me a flat
                                                                                          dollar value.

                                                                                There are many mar
                                                                              affiliates cater to, bu
                                                                                                     t these
                                                                               are the top three yo
Why do advertisers and companies need affiliate                                                       u will
                                                                                   likely come across:
Advertisers and product owners need networks to reach a lot of
affiliates at once. Some networks have tens of thousands of affiliates,     ° Dating

many of whom have worked to sell products online for years.
Suddenly, advertisers have gained access to a virtual sales force that’s    ° Religion
willing to experiment, test and improve their click rate in order to
maximize their cut. Product owners and advertises can be assured
that because they only pay in commission, they aren’t risking
                                                                            ° Weight Loss
losing a return on their investment. They also can be assured that
by using a network they are avoiding fraudulent affiliates who
generate fake sales or emails.                                                           photos courtesy of katiew
                                                                                         and baronsquirrel
      Affiliate Marketing 101: Getting Started
PASSION                                                WHAT YOU’LL NEED                                  HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
I can’t stress this enough. You need to be                                                        Signing up for an intro affiliate network doesn’t
passionate about what you’re promoting. Affiliate                                                  cost money. The greatest cost when you start out
marketing is about generating creative approaches      • A computer and internet    connection    is going to be your time. Expect at least ten hours
on a topic, and it’s very difficult if you’re                                                      dedicated to doing research, signing up for a
completely unfamiliar with it. Even more               • A lot of patience                                              network, and browsing offers
importantly, you need to get in the head of a
                                                                                     RESEARCH FORUMS                    in your subject of interest
consumer. If you’re disconnected from what they        • Background research                                            before you find one.
want, you won’t be able to sell to them. If you                                      Resea   rch for free here:
have a website or blog on this topic, you’re already
at a serious advantage.
                                                                                      • Digital Point

                                                                                     • Wickedfire

   Intro To Affiliate Networks
              Low Entry Networks                                       Tactics on Specialized Networks
                              •••                                      These are four common affiliate marketing strategies. Many specialized networks
     I’d recommend signing up for at least                             will focus on one of these tactics, and require a more complicated registration.
     two of these three intro networks. These
     are low-entry networks without a review                           Co-Reg
     process, and are great when you’re                                A co-registration network involves customers who are signing up
     starting out. They’re also massive, so                            for an email list. While they are signing up, customers will be
     you’ll have a range of products to choose                         directed to an affiliate page that says “check off any of the topics
     from:                                                             you’re interested in.” For each box that the customer checks, the
                                                                       affiliate marketer will receive a small commission.
                        ShareASale                             CPA
                                                                       A cost per action network is exactly like it sounds, the marketer
                                                                       will get a commission based on a customer’s action, this

        Commission Junction
                                                                       obviously includes a purchase, but also filling out their
                                                                       information or providing an email. CPA networks often involve
                                                                       weight loss, dating or the mobile industry.
                                                                       Lead gen
                                                                       Lead generation networks collect contact information of
                                                                       customers who are interested in a specific product. This often
                                                                       involves health insurance or beauty products, and might be seen
                                                                       in the form of “win a free iPod if you fill out this survey!”
                                                                       Incentivized network
                                                                       This is a network that contains nothing but offers where the
                                                                       affiliate marketer can actually pay consumers to complete the
                                                                       affiliate’s offer.

                                                                       Example: Many ringtone offers will allow you to incentivize. Let’s
                                                                       say you’re getting paid $12 per conversion, you can tell a customer
                                                                       you will pay them $10 to sign up for this service. You’ll be receiving a
                                                                       $2 flat commission for each subscription.
Networks Cont.
                                           Choosing the Right Network
                                         Choosing a network depends on what you already do on your own
                                         website, and how you want to leverage that.

                                         Let’s say you have a dating blog, you can place a little pop-up on
                                         your website that asks the reader if they want more information on
                                         discounts for or Or if you already have a
                                         newsletter, you can create a checkbox for users who are interested in
                                         more information, and it will pull from the list of emails you already
                                         have. This sort of opportunity would be ideal for co-registration.

                                         If you cover a very specific niche on a website, a CPA network
                                         might be your best choice. For example, I had a website on Search
                                         Engine Optimization, and would get a flat rate every time someone
Registering for a Network                bought or signed up for our partner SEO services.
                                         Other networks, such as a lead generation network, aren’t the
                                         best for people who have websites and great content. They are for
Registering for a low-entry              people who want to advertise on multiple pages, and offer people
network is a very simple process.        prizes to sign up or participate.
Be prepared to provide:
                                         Incentivized offers make sense when you receive a flat cost per
• A social security number to            conversion, part of which you can offer to the customer. If you have
prove US Citizenship                     something of value to offer the customer, such as a free eBook, you
• Address and contact                    can use this as an incentive as well.

Note: If you denote an interest in
certain types of marketing, but a
network’s companies aren’t looking for affiliates in this space, they might automatically disapprove you. Also
remember that specialized networks often require more steps for registration and approval.

                                                                          PRO TIP
 Creating great content is, of course, pivotal for
                                                                          Use Google Adsen
 boosting your affiliate marketing revenue. Don’t                                                se on
                                                                          your website, not be
 modify your content or subject in order to fit your                                             cause it
                                                                          will generate you re
 marketing tactics; if you attempt to make a                             but you can see wha
                                                                                                t people
 commission your writing will suffer. Write the                          are paying to advert
                                                                                               ise in
 copy naturally and then see how you can leverage                        relation to your cont
 it. So if you write a movie review for your film                        This will give you id
                                                                                               eas for
                                                                         what to sell as an af
 blog, for example, you can link to that DVD on                                               filiate
                         Landing Pages and Testing

Building a Landing Page             Tracking Stats
Your landing page should not        Each affiliate network                       KNOW
                                                                        TERMS TO
look like an advertisement, it
                                    provides a dashboard                                per click
needs to feel personal and offer                                                  ost
                                                                         • CPC: c
value. If you’re trying to sell a   that shows which offers
                                                                                 cost pe     r mille
ringtone, do not go in for a        are getting clicks, how               • CPM:          s)
                                                                               sand click
hard sale, consider reviewing       many and how much
the song. Include pictures,         you’re making per click, in
embed the music video, talk
                                    real time.
about the artist, then at the
bottom you can say “click here
and we’ll send the song to your           What is a SubID (Tracking ID)?
phone!” This is the crux of how
affiliate marketing differs from          Once you’ve narrowed down to the most successful
advertising, and it works. The            offer, you can rotate the ad to different places on the
key is to test different                  page: a bottom bar, a top header, in the content, a
approaches. You will have                 sidebar… and you can label these with unique sub-
multiple offers to sell, so               tracking IDs, like sub 1, sub 2, sub 3. Then you can

consider rotating them and                easily track which is performing best.

seeing which ones generate a
higher click rate. Hone in on
the offers with the higher
conversions, and focus all your
energy on the one with the
                                                     Testing Tools

                                          Google Website Optimizer
                                          This tool allows you to test offer locations, colors and sizes,
                                          and tells you what’s performing best.

                                          This tool will track mouse movement on your page, and
                                          collect visual data on what people are clicking and how they
                                          experience the site.
          Dollars and Sense                            HOW TO AVOID FR

                      PAID FORUMS
                                                        There is a lot of fraud
                                                                                in the affiliate
                                                        marketing space, includ
                             A paid forum ranges                                  ing networks that
MY PICK                                                don’t pay. The best wa
                             from $30-$100 per                                  y to avoid this is to
                                                       do your research. Goog
          .com:    This       month, and                                         le the name of your
IMGrind                  k    sometimes they can       network, and read wh
              et you bac
                                                                               at people say on
fo rum will s                 be worth the             public forums.
            s a month,         money. Paid
 100 dollar
            ave th e best      forums provide a       You can also check ou
 but they h                    space for
                                                                             t a Facebook group
            t there.                                  called “Internet Dead
  guides ou                     dedicated affiliate   people will consistently
                                                                                beats” where
                                marketers to                                   report when they
                                                      haven’t been paid by a
                      share case studies and                                  network, how
                                                      much, and for how lon
              secret step-by-step guides to how                              g.
              they are making money.

                    The Next Steps: Advanced Tactics


                                                                  Landing Page Tip:
           A great way to boost your traffic is to
           track which keywords lead to your                      “Advertorials”
           website by using Google Analytics.
                                                               You can personalize landing pages
           It will show you which keywords are                 even more by taking an editorial
           converting at a high rate, and then you             angle. This could be a review, or a
           can bid on them using Google                        personal story. Be sure that you
           Adwords. Try testing keywords that                  are in compliance with legal
                                                               requirements, you need to be
           nobody else has, sometimes that might
                                                               clear that you are advertising, but
           even include misspellings, brand
                                                               even with a disclaimer people will
           names, and things professional
                                                               often trust a blog-like page over a
           websites don’t want to use.                         hard advertisement.
Advanced Tactics Cont.
Get it Built                                   OUTSOURCE RESOURCE

You have two options: you can build a              Elance provides access to
basic landing page using some HTML               freelance web designers, if your
and stock photos, or you can                    design is simple you can probably
outsource it for fairly cheap.                 get a page made for less than $50.
                                                                                        Split Testing
                                                More Testing Tips
           Masking                               Try changing between
                                                                                        Google Website
                                                                                        Optimizer will allow
            Links                                short form and long form
                                                landing pages. Even
                                                                                        you to do something
    Also referred to as
                                                                                        called multivariate
                           cloaking links,      though being concise                    split testing. This
     masking links are
                         links that you         seems better, in some cases             involves testing
     don’t want Google
                           to recognize        longer pages have more                   multiple variants,
        on your page. Whe
                             n you’re          success. Small changes in                and splitting the
       linking to pages th
                            at Google                                                   testing amongst
        doesn’t like, mas                      copy can make a big
                           king links                                                   these different
    prevent Google fro                         difference. Another
                         m penalizing                                                   variables. It will
   you on its SEO ra
                       nkings. You can
                                              technique is to include
                                                                                        then use a genetic
           use services such                  current events that relate
                               as:                                                      algorithm to
                                              to your topic. You can
                                                                                        determine which
                                             include a quote from the
                                  news source, and bring
                                                                                        ones are performing
                                                                                        better and
                                             relevance to your ad.
 ° Wordpress Plug                                                                       automatically focus
                                 ins                                                    on them. In fact, the
                                            How do you know it’s                        genetic algorithm
                                            working?                                    will automatically
                                                                                        pair and combine
                                                                                        the factors that are
Everyone always wants to know this: when testing, how do you know a
                                                                                        converting best for
strategy is working? Let’s say you have a page where you are running an
                                                                                          you. Don’t get
affiliate ad, with Google AdSense running at the                                           overzealous with
bottom. Google AdSense will often pay                                                      the amount of
you at least $1 per thousand visitors, so a    DIREC T DEALS                               variants you use,
good way to measure your affiliate                                           establish      especially if you
                                                             ave begun to
success is to make sure it’s outperforming     Once you h                          ting     have limited
                                                                     iliate marke
AdSense at least 2 times (so $2 by the          yours elf in the aff                         traffic. You need
time you’ve had 1000 unique visitors).          space  , consider s                          enough traffic
                                                                            direct deals
                                                 networks a   nd making                g
                                                                                              in order to get
1000 is a good number for measuring                            isers. If you’re gettin        conclusive
                                                 with advert                  ave              data, so limit
traffic, because it’s also how a lot of ad                     traffic and h
                                                 significant                   t               the amount of
clicks are priced. So for example, aim to get                     able contac
                                                  p ublicly avail                              styles at first,
                                                                           mes the
one thousand visitors per page for A/B
                                                  informati  on, many ti                        and expand
Testing, which is where you send visitors                                 ct you
                                                  compa    ny will conta                        with your
to two completely different sites. This is a                                                    growth.
good minimum amount of traffic to offer            directly.
conclusive data on performance.
                                                                                      photos courtesy ofnickwheeleroz
                   The Advertiser’s Perspective

        WHY ADVERTISERS                                 HOW ADVERTISERS GET AFFILIATES


    Affiliate marketers are going to         If a product owner wants to join an affiliate network they pay a flat rate
                                            of something around $5,000 admission, which is used as a sort of
    do market research, take risks and
                                            deposit. The networks credit this deposit towards their percentage cut,
    potentially even lose money
                                            which means that the network will not be taking any more commission
    getting an advertiser’s product
                                            until they work through this deposit.
    out there. The affiliate’s research
    data is sometimes so valuable that      Once in the network, the advertisers use a variety of tactics to lure
    advertisers will even occasionally      affiliate markets, like payouts or high-end product give-aways to the top
    use the market research done by         affiliates. Sometimes even Lamborghinis or BMWs. Whatever it takes to
    their affiliate marketers and take       attract the attention of the skilled affiliates who are already finding
    it in-house.                            success elsewhere.

      Events are a great place for advertisers,
      product owners, networks and affiliates
      to connect face to face. This is a great
      opportunity for you to connect directly
      with some product owners, and ask for a
      better pay out.

      Here are a few big events:

      1.                 LeadsCon

      2.                  AdTech

     Direct Marketing Association

      4.                Affiliate Summit

                                                                                                    photos courtesy of kk
       MY PICK
  Key Things to Look Out For

 Compliance                                       Copyright and Trademark
 There are countless incredible
 opportunities for affiliates, but                 When you’re creating an affiliate page,
 there is a cost. Be sure to read FTC              remember to get permission for any photos or
 guidelines on disclosure and                      logos that you use. Even if it’s a company
 terms of service, because they are                you’re marketing for, never assume you can
 going after people who aren’t in full
                                                   use anything because the damages on
 compliance. Also keep an eye on the
                                                   infringement cases can run incredibly steep.
 Affiliate Nexus Tax on affiliate
 revenue, which has passed in four
 states already.


Shaving is when new companies only
pay out some of the time, let’s say 4
out of 5 times.You often don’t have
any recourse as an affiliate, so be very
wary of suspiciously high payouts.

          S    HAVED
DON’T GET                                                                  ••••••
                                        d or
                          etting shave
If you th  ink you’re g                  r            Scrubbing is when a product owner
                           tate the offe
want to    prevent it, ro             other           changes and specifies the criteria for
                        between an
 you’re   advertising                 e exact
                       ven if it’s th                 which they’re willing to pay. They
 netwo   rk’s offer. E                 rotate a
                         ood idea to                  suddenly may only be willing to pay for a
  same   offer, it’s a g            ffic
                      e of your tra                   specific demographic, so keep tabs on
  sma  ll percentag                          ur
                               ake sure yo
                tworks to m                           this to be sure your revenue is not being
   between ne                     par with
                   click are on
   e arnings per                                      scrubbed out.
    one another.

                                                                                         photos courtesy of Stefán
Affiliate Master: Taking it to the Next Level

                 Retaining Users
  Once you start garnering a lot of clicks and money, advertisers
  might start to copy your methods. One of the best ways to
  minimize this potential blow to your traffic is, rather than merely
  directing users to the product, retain them yourself. One of the
  best ways to do this is through an Affiliate Cash Tree.

  An Affiliate Cash Tree means that instead of linking
  users to an offer, you create your own offer. For example,
  invite users to sign up for a free newsletter with dating tips
  by Dr. Anna. They will get an initial greeting from Dr. Anna,        LEVERAGE HIGHER PAYOUTS
  maybe even a picture. In another email you can include a
  break-down of how to use with an affiliate link
  at the bottom that will generate you commission. Next you            If you’re starting to deal with a higher
  can send a review of eHarmony. And so on.                            volume of traffic, consider negotiating
                                                                       a better price with your affiliate
  BENEFITS                                                             manager. Let them know that you
                                                                       can handle more volume, but need
  1. Personalized                                                      better payout because your margins
  2. Educational value                                                 are too small. Many affiliate
  3. 3-4 times the conversion rate                                     managers get a percentage of your
                                                                       traffic, so it’s in their interest to get
                                                                       you a better payout.

                                                                         NETWORK SOFTW
A successful affiliate marketer will eventually aggregate
their own database, assets and products, and at that point      is
may consider creating their own network. If you already                  for the first month
have a good payout and can pay a higher starting price                   $90 monthly after
than other affiliate networks, it might be worth starting               This network-build
your own network. For example, if you moved up from an                  software was made
                                                                        affiliates and is extr
initial payout of $5 to $8, you can create a network with a                                    emely
starting payout of $6 and still earn money.

                                                                                             photos courtesy of andy doro
Affiliate Master Cont.                                                  RETARGETING RE

 Complex Testing Tactics                                    
                                                                                       m: allows you to
                                                                      and target users                   track
  Once you’re competing with the big dogs                                              across the intern
                                                                      and follow them                    et
  and managing a lot of traffic, there are                                             with ads.
  some very complicated options for testing.
  You can test multiple times a day, see if
  certain offers convert better in the morning                    Retargeting
  and others at night. You can also look into                     A great way to monetize your affiliates is re-
                            what pages across                     targeting. The average person needs to interact
                            the web convert                       with a brand at least 8 times before they make
 CHECK OUT                  better, what                          a buying decision, which means as an affiliate
                 l: a free   browsers work
 Link contro                 better with specific
                                                                  marketer you’re hoping to catch a person on
                  roduct                                          their 8th interaction with a brand. This leaves
  open source p              pages, or even if
                   people                                         only a 1 in 8 chance of catching them during
  that will allow             there are                           their purchase phase. Re-targeting allows you
  to  test these              variations
                      icals                                       to track a person who has visited your landing
   complicated vert            between Apple                      page, and show them your ads as they continue
                               and PC users.                      through the internet. This is an incredible way
                                                                  to bring in returns on your commission.

Affiliate Marketing Done Right                                                               Examples of low investment/high
                                                                                               reward affiliate projects

The Cornhusker Quiz                                           FREE SEO REPORT: THE POWER OF “FREE”

I mentioned earlier that Netflix offers a great payout        I created a site called that hooked
of $30-$40 for signing up a user to a free trial. I live in   people in with a free SEO report on their website. The code
                                                              for the report cost me about $3000 to program, and after
Lincoln, Nebraska, and I decided to take advantage of
                                                              that the site was fairly sustainable. I would charge users
something I knew well: people’s obsession with
                                                              $10 for additional reports, but also offered another free
Cornhusker football.
                                                              report if they referred another person. This referral system
                                                              brought us from 4 to 500 people in one day.
In less than 20 minutes, I copied a free quiz template I
found online and created a Cornhusker trivia quiz             We also had an affiliate program with 100% payout, which
with a Nebraska logo at the top. If you scored well, you      sounds crazy, but it brought in a ton of traffic. We educated
would win a free trial of Netflix. In fact, even if you       users on what they wanted to know: SEO. We would offer a
scored terribly you still won a free trial. But the point     paid SEO tool with a guide on how to use it, or offer to
was the challenge; people could share it on social            design a webpage for free if they use a certain web host (a
media and challenge their friends to get a better score.      referral). We weren’t making money on the front end, but
                                                              on the back end they were making us $50 or $60 a piece on
This Cornhusker quiz went viral, and hundreds of
people signed up for a Netflix free trial they easily
                                                              I also ended up selling this site in 4 months flat for six
could have acquired on their own through Netflix. But
                                                              figures, due to the amount of traffic and interest it was
after the quiz they felt as if they’d earned something.
                                                              garnering from the obsession with “free.”
                                                         in place, and be prepared to jump on
                                                         opportunities. A lot of the things you try will
                                                         fail, and some of the most unexpected
                                                         endeavors might succeed. Don’t be

                                                         Secondly, compliance is incredibly important.
                                                         Keep up with FTC regulations, and have
                                                         attorneys look over your landing pages and
  A Final Note on Affiliate Marketing                     terms of your offers. Look out for being
                        •••                              scrubbed, and remember that affiliate
There are a few key things I want to re-                 marketing probably won’t be around forever,
emphasize for those of you considering affiliate         so try to build assets and a sell-able business
marketing. First, is that things change rapidly,         by using the Affiliate Cash Tree method
so you need to be willing to act quickly and             mentioned earlier. But for now, it’s jungle a out
keep up with the trends. Always have tracking            there, so get swingin’.
                                                                                            photos courtesy of slorp


  Jeremy's Blog:               Events:
  Jeremy's Twitter:!/              Affiliate Summit:
  shoemoney                                              AdTech:
                                                         Direct Marketing Association: http://www.the-
  Google Resources:                            
  Adsense:                 LeadsCon:
  Wedbsite Optimizer:             Testing and Page Building:
  websiteoptimizer                                       Clicktale:
  Analytics:            Elance:
  Forums                                                 Retargeter:
  Digital Point Forum:   Bitly:
  IMGrind:                       Networks:
  Advertisers Who Don't Pay: http://                     ShareASale:             ClickBank:
                                                         Commission Junction:
  FTC Website:
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