So you want to start making over $1,000.00 per day?
Not a day goes by that I don't get asked how to scale a campaign to $1,000.00/day and beyond. In fact, not only do I get asked but I read the question being asked elsewhere on a daily basis. Put simply, the people want to know! That's why I'm putting this post together to give you fine people a compilation of information on how to do just that. It's not as easy as 1-2-3, but it's not completely out of your grasp either.
First and foremost, you need to know that funding an expansion on your campaign isn't cheap. Not only do you need enough money to pay for the advertising, but you need to be able to eat your losses and not go into debt. If you're rocking $1,000.00 in your bank account, that's not going to cut it. You need to either use a credit card with a decent limit or start with at least $5,000.00. Personally, I started with $5,000.00 and then moved over to a credit card once I was profitable for about a reasonable period of time. This is key to ensuring you can pay your balance off on a monthly/bimonthly/weekly basis.
I'll give you as much information as I can in one post, but in the end, no single person knows all there is to know about scaling. That's why you have to bust your ass researching as much as you can. You've got to read, read, read. Read forums, read super affiliate blogs, read e-books and anything else you can get your hands on. People aren't going to spoon feed you the information; it's highly coveted. Make yourself an expert and you'll be much less likely to squander your investment bankroll.
If you aren't running a profitable campaign as we speak, there's probably some good information in here for you, but in general, if you scale at this point, you're just going to scale your debt right along with your revenue. It's not pretty, so focus on getting into profit, then come back and read this bad boy. Additionally, if your payout is anything less than $10.00 per lead/sale, scaling is going to be much more difficult for you, so keep that in mind. Scaling works best with more breathing room.
Now here is where it gets interesting. Volume is at the very heart of scaling. You can increase volume in any of several ways: keyword volume, search engine volume or overall spending volume.
Increasing keyword volume just means using more keywords in general, but before you go dumping tons of keywords into your campaign, let me clarify. I've run campaigns that have done $5,000.00 and more off of just ONE keyword. The trick here is to use broad match short-tail keywords that fit your niche really well. For instance, if you were selling potato chips, it's time to work on going for the gusto with short-tail keywords like 'chip', 'pringles', 'lays', etc. Make no mistake, these are highly competitive keywords but if your keywords are highly (and I mean as much as possible) relevant to your ads and your landing page text, you can avoid paying super high bid prices on these. In fact, over time you can get your minimum bids down to $0.05 and below. Aside from adding high volume short tail keywords, you can also work on adding a lot more short tail keywords that don't necessarily have high volume individually, but together, they'll add up to one short-tail.
What I mean by increasing search engine volume is simply using more sources for traffic. For instance, if you're using Yahoo for all your PPC, try jumping into Google Adwords. You'll see your traffic double, triple or even quadruple for the same keywords. Don't stop there though, you can join networks like MSN Adcenter, Ask.com, etc. Also, if you're running solely 'search network' traffic, try split testing the content network to see if you can get increased traffic that way.
To increase your spending volume, you can do a few things. First of all, you can increase your daily budget in general. That's a given, but you can also test increasing your max bid per keyword. It might be counter-intuitive to you now, but even though you're converting at X% now, you might be able to double that with an ad in a higher position for a particular keyword. You'll also be increasing your CTR (Click-through ratio) for that particular ad, which as you know, decreases your average cost per click. That means you're paying less per click to stay in that higher position. On a side-note, being at the top of the page has another benefit people don't often discuss- you're one of the first clicks (hopefully the last) a user makes for a particular search and that means you don't get disgruntled clicks from people who have visited other sites and have less patience for yours.
Next in line in terms of importance to scaling is your payout. Payout is the amount of money you get paid for each sale/lead you generate and for high volume campaigns, a few cents can be the difference between life and death. Guess who stands in the way of you and a higher payout? Two people: your affiliate manager and yourself. Your affiliate manager will almost never start you out on a payout that is as high as s/he can go. Therefore, if you don't have a higher payout, it's because you didn't ask for it. Of course, there may be some negotiation involved (you might have to show them you mean business with some initial volume or hitting a particular goal), but in the end, you should end up with a decently higher payout and thus, a higher profit margin. It doesn't end there though.
I say you stand in your own way because you can never let yourself become lazy when it comes to your payout. Remember, this is business and you need to treat it like one. If you get $X amount with one affiliate network, check at least five other ones. Some sites offer tools that allow you to cross-compare offers from multiple networks all at once. For instance, OfferVault.com has a free service that does this for you. Keep in mind, these types of services will only compare the default payout on offers. It's up to you to talk to your affiliate managers and use leverage to negotiate the highest payout possible.
Sure, you may have negotiated the highest payout possible for the particular offer you're running, but have you split tested other offers that are very similar to yours? This doesn't always work but the only way to know for sure is to try. You just might find an offer that converts even better than the one you have now (even if it pays less, you might profit more overall) OR it might have a higher payout but slightly lower conversion rate but end up paying you more in the long run. Again, the only way you can know for sure is to try it out.
Right along with disinterested clicks, bounce rate is one of the biggest enemies of an affiliate marketer. Bounce rate can be defined as the percentage of clicks for a given period that don't result in clicks through to your hop links. That means clicks you pay for end up either clicking the "back" button or unique users click multiple times on your ad as they aren't sure what they want or even accidental clicks (they happen). In any case, they are clicks you pay for that don't pay you back. So the solution is to decrease your bounce rate as much as is humanly possible. That means grabbing the user with some call to action right off the bat, just like your teachers told you to do on your essays. Personally, I like short, easy-to-fill-out forms that kind of pull the user along. Hopefully they think "well, I've gone this far, I might as well finish." Basically, you want to do anything short of forwarding the customer to your hop link. But a word to the wise: Never *annoy* your customers.
When you're scaling, you want to decrease your overall bounce rate because you'll really start to notice a 50-60% bounce rate when you're dealing with thousands of dollars. Ideally, you want your bounce rate below 40% on most campaigns. Of course, there will always be some campaigns where a higher bounce rate is inevitable but that doesn't mean you should settle for it.
A large part of decreasing your bounce rate and increasing sales is determining which combination of ads, keywords and landing pages convert as efficiently as possible. If you aren't tracking keywords on an individual level, you won't survive scaling. For those of you that don't want to shell out hundreds of dollars per month for trackers, you can use Tracking202.com, a free keyword tracking service. I've been using them for a couple weeks now and even on my smaller campaigns, they've helped increase my ROI.
The Next Level
Once you start getting into $1,000+/day territory, you'll start to get noticed. Trust me. Not only will you get noticed by your affiliate manager, but also the advertiser (the one you're generating sales for) will most likely start to notice you. Assuming, that is, you aren't in a highly saturated market where you're still a small fish. At this point, you'll start to have more leverage for higher payouts and you might even be able to contact your advertiser directly and you can start talking about a whitelabel relationship. As UberAffiliate puts it:
The ultimate method of scaling?The Whitelabel. Once you?ve optimized, tested, and scaled your campaign using all the methods above, it?s time to contact the advertiser and negotiate a direct relationship. You?ll be able to host the offer on your domain and it will be a fully built site (which means a higher quality score). Conversion rates are generally higher and the biggest plus is the huge payout bump. A lot of networks take around 20% on certain offers, some even more. That?s 20% added to your revenue that again, is pure profit.
Without a doubt, your goal should be to negotiate this direct relationship with the advertiser. With another 20% added to your revenue stream, you can bid higher and get better ad positioning. That means other affiliates with lower payout will have no chance to compete with you. And that, as they say, is money.
Just remember, if you aren't willing to put in the time reading the breadth of information there is on the subject already, you won't get very far. You've got to research your ass off and only then will you have what it takes to manage such large campaigns. Oh and one more thing: I gave this information out for free, but that doesn't mean it's worthless. Don't take it for granted.