Traffic is the fuel all online ventures run on. No traffic equals no sales or affiliate commissions so mastering the art of traffic generation is vital for any affiliate marketer. The good thing about traffic generation methods is that most, in not all of them, are transferable from niche to niche, so once you know your way around them, you can generate traffic in any vertical.
I’ve seen a lot online about traffic hacks and black-hat traffic methods, which, quite frankly, I’ve never placed much trust in. There have been all kinds of “underground” traffic methods over the years with things like Google hacks, and Facebook hacks. These usually sound too good to be true, and we all know about things that sound too good to be true, don’t we?
My checklist of what makes a traffic generation method is short and concise:
- Will it get my account on the platform banned?
- Will it get my account with my affiliate network banned?
- Will it scale?
- Can I target my options?
- Can I track it?
The wrong answer to any of these, and I’m not interested.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into these, and I’ll try to explain the logic behind my thinking.
1. Will it get my account on the platform banned?
Over the years, I’ve made affiliate commissions using a variety of traffic methods, and I can count the number of platform bans I’ve had on the fingers of one hand. To be more precise, I’ve had two account bans in my twenty plus years of affiliate marketing. Both were my own silly fault, and both involved me trying to game the TOS (Terms of Service) of the platforms in question. It’s not as if Google will go bust if I don’t advertise on their platform, is it? Try to game the TOS and expect to get an account ban.
Developing a good working relationship with platforms involves a hell of a lot than just registering an account. Your Adwords and Facebook ad accounts are more than just a set of logins. Once you’ve built up your campaign history with either of these, you’ll find it a lot easier to launch new campaigns and approval and review times will tumble.
The moral of this one is don’t try to game the TOS of any platform you use, and any traffic method that does try to game these will cost you in the long run. Steer clear.
If the answer to this one is Yes, I’m out.
2. Will it get my account with my affiliate network banned?
I tend to stick to a few affiliate networks, and I’m delighted to say I have an excellent relationship with the networks I do work with. My affiliate managers are always on hand to help out where needed; I can rely on them to keep me regularly updated about the best converting offers and geos, and they’re always forthcoming with new creatives and any landing pages I might require.
This didn’t happen overnight. I invest a lot of time and energy in my marketing campaigns, not to mention funds for my media buying. Any type of traffic the network doesn’t allow, I don’t use. Always make sure to check the traffic methods your affiliate network allows for the various offer you want to promote and please, always abide by any restrictions or limitations.
Building a good relationship with your affiliate network is hugely important to your career as an affiliate marketer. Like the first item in my checklist, if the answer to this one is Yes, I’ll pass.
3. Will it scale?
This is one of the things affiliate marketers tend to overlook in their search for traffic methods. I’ve spoken about the importance of scale before since your real results will depend on your ability to scale your campaigns.
Every single affiliate marketing campaign starts with a testing phase. Your testing phase will determine which of your campaigns have the potential to go positive and which ones you need to bin. Getting a campaign with potential into the green relies on scaling and getting more traffic for your optimized creatives and landing pages. If you can’t scale, there’s little chance to get your campaigns positive, so the availability of traffic is vital.
Profitable campaigns can be boiled down into a simple mantra: Test, optimize, scale. If the scale option isn’t there, getting anything to convert will be tough. If the answer to this one is No, I’m not a buyer!
4. Can I target my options?
I’m sure you’ve come across ROS (Run of Site) and RON (Run of Network) traffic options before. These are basically remnant traffic options with few, if any, targeting options. Run of Site and Run of Network traffic is usually much cheaper than any of the premium options on the particular site or network, but cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good.
I’m a huge fan of tightly targeted campaigns, and the more options I can target, the better, always providing I can get some volume in the particular segment, of course. Very few, if any, marketing campaigns start out profitable, so the process of getting a profitable campaign is down to your optimization process. Optimizing without targeting options is tricky, if not impossible and definitely not a tactic I’d like to depend on to pay my bills.
At the very minimum, I need to target geos since the offers you promote will be tied to specific regions in most cases.
If I can’t target, I don’t use it.
5. Can I track it?
For my money, tracking is the absolute fundamental skill you need to develop if you want to make money consistently as an affiliate marketer. There is no way to optimize your marketing campaigns if you don’t track them. You can try it for yourselves, of course, but please believe me when I say don’t. It’s a pointless exercise and will only lead to depleted credit cards. Learn to track is my advice.
Any traffic you can’t track is just a money pit. It really doesn’t matter how good your offer is, how well designed your creatives are or how slick your landing pages are. If you can’t track it, you can’t optimize it, and anything you can’t optimize won’t ever get you any consistent conversions.
If I can’t track it, I’m not interested.
Do you need some help with your traffic sources? We’ve helped countless affiliates go from zero to hero, so get in touch with us today, and one of our affiliate managers will point your campaigns in the right direction!