Categories
My Life As An Affiliate Travel

Who Said My Days Of Travel Were Over?

Not me! I often lament the necessity for self restraint on the travel front. Not only is travel with kids SO much more complex than the sort of adventure Duncan and I used to depart on at the drop of a hat, but their school tends to get a bit antsy if you go on holiday all the time instead of sending them in.

But We’re Leaving… On A Jet Plane!

Actually, it’s going to be Ryanair so it may not strictly be an actual plane. Knowing my luck, I’ll have forgotten to buy the optional extra family pressurised cabin pass. We’re off to Catalonia for the next 3.5 weeks first thing tomorrow morning. This isn’t the first time since the kids arrived we’ve had an adventure, we went to visit my lovely friend out in Kenya a couple years ago. The highlight of that trip was taking them for a close up encounter with Sudan. The last Male Northern White Rhino on the planet.

The last male Northern White Rhino in the world, Sudan. Very special opportunity to meet him. He’s since sadly passed away. As you can tell from our presence in his enclosure – he couldn’t really stand up very well, and he couldn’t see us either.
Obligatory Equator photo opportunity!
This is what happens when you get a flat… in a place where lions live. Not so much “hold my beer” as “hold my extensive collection of weapons”. I was bravely hiding in our car with the kids.

It was on this trip it became apparent our kids really don’t get along that well on such adventures. It was a great experience for them, but not one we will repeat until they are much older.

Taking Another Try At Travel

After we got home from Kenya we bought a house, and it’s taken us this long to get back around to another trip that really helps us feel the fine breeze of affiliate freedom. 3.5 weeks in Spain should be pretty cruisy, and a great low stress opportunity to see what does and does not work for our mini affiliates these days.

I’ll pop a couple posts up while we are away hopefully. I’ve a few half written drafts, so with no actual work routine I might manage to pad them out a bit more.

Wish Us Luck Tomorrow

I’m a bit nervous truth be told. When we flew out to Kenya my youngest daughter nearly got us thrown off the plane for her strong objection to seatbelts. Duncs and I virtually had to sit on her during take off. This was a fair bit louder than the noise a plane makes when hurling itself into the sky as it transpired. The other passengers were fortunately very kind about it. They all seemed to accept my apologies. One of them hugged me and advised wine should be taken. Bless her. On the way home, I hid a full kilo of Haribo about my person and handed them to her when the seatbelt sign came on. Top flying tip from Mummy of the year right there 😉

She has promised faithfully that seatbelts will be worn without question this time.

I’ll let you guys know. Or… perhaps we’ll be on the news tomorrow night. Fingers crossed chaps!

Categories
4 Hour A Week Challenge

PPC Project June

Wow, where is the year going? Quick update on my progress with my project trying to earn £211 a month just from direct to merchant PPC using only Microsoft Ads, and spending just 1 hour a day on my 4 weekly workdays on it.

Things are building nicely, I’ll cut right to the stats and bring you up to speed on what I did to get them afterwards.

June PPC Performance Graph

Clicks: 1,504

Average CPC: 0.15

Cost: £86.78

Commission: £221.34

Profit: £81.81

Profit Down, Traffic Up!

This was expected, in May just about all my profit came from a single flukey sale. Everything that had worked in April was lost to a merchant range switch out. This meant that in June I had to throw 500 more clicks out to merchants to get way less commission than I earned in May. Hence, lower profit.

In June I added 4 new merchants, and removed 4. The 4 that were losing me money account for 239 of my clicks. Two of my new merchants brought in no less than 964 of the 1,504 clicks in June. It’s proving tricky to establish that baseline of consistent performers I need to take things forward, but I’m getting there slowly. I now have two on board that are looking consistent. There’s 1 sort of inconsistent performer, but it’s got an awful lot of volume (comparatively) so I’m slowly reducing my max CPC and hope to hit a point with it where I can still make some profit without the traffic drying up.

I’m going to write a separate post about the basic performance indicators I monitor for each merchant so I can keep an eye on their overall performance in a few minutes a week. I’ll link to it here once it’s done. I think it’s important learning info and it’ll get buried (aka I’ll forget about it!) if I post it here.

Categories
How To Get Started in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Glossary of Terms

Affiliate marketing can be a bewildering world for affiliates trying to get to grips with things. We love a bit of abbreviation or technical jargon. There are rumours we’ve taken it waaay too far but we just don’t know how to stop. So here’s my basic guide to those must know bits of affiliate terminology.

Anything missing? Drop me a comment.

Affiliate

An individual who drives traffic (clicks) to websites. When a sale, lead, or other agreed action takes place, the affiliate will earn a commission. Affiliates drive traffic in many different ways but the most common methods are via website or blog content, paid traffic from search engines, e-mail, and social media. (See also: associate, publisher)

Affiliate Fraud

Fraudulent activity by an affiliate designed to generate underserved revenue. This can include using automated scripts to falsely create leads or clicks, or humans to do the same.

Affiliate Link

See also: Tracking Link

Affiliate Network

An affiliate network provides a third party service to merchants and affiliates. The network will provide tracking, reporting and payment fulfilment services and allows merchants access to a large pool of affiliates. Networks generate performance based revenue by charging the merchant an override on top of affiliate commissions.

Affiliate Programme

An affiliate programme is a performance based form of marketing products or services offered by a website. The merchant pays a commission or lead rate on sales, enquiries or other actions to affiliate partners.

Associate

(See Affiliate)

Banner Ad

Graphic advertisement displayed on an affiliate site. (See Also Creatives)

Charge Back

(See Reversals)

Click Through

A web user clicks on an affiliates banner or link and is directed to the merchant’s site.

Click Fraud

(See also affiliate Fraud)

CTR

Click Through Rate / Ratio. Click through rate is calculated by dividing the number of clicks an ad receives by number of impressions. Thus if a banner ad was shown 100 times and received 20 clicks it would have a click through rate of 20%.

Click Reference

Most affiliate networks offer a facility to create user generated tracking links containing a “click reference”. This generally involves their being an allocated section within the tracking URL allowing affiliates to insert their own unique identifiers. These identifiers are then carried over into network reporting allowing affiliates to keep tabs on what’s generating sales for them.

CPA

Cost Per Action. Metric for payment of commission based on a recordable action,.

CPC

Cost Per Click. If you’re a PPC affiliate, you’d be subtracting your CPC from your EPC to see how much money you’re making. Hint: If your CPC is lower then that’s bad.

CPM

Cost per thousand impressions. There used to be some affiliate programmes paying on a CPM basis. *wipes tears from eyes* Sigh. The good ol’ days, eh?

CR

Conversion Rate (or ratio). This is obtained by number of click throughs to merchant divided by number of sales generated.

Creatives

Banner ads and content units provided to affiliates for promotional use on their sites.

Commission

This is the best word in the world. Refers to an affiliates payment for sales generated by their traffic based on percentage of sales or a fixed lead payment basis.

Cookie

In the case of affiliate tracking cookies, this is a small file placed on a user’s pc as they travel through the affiliate link . A cookie allows sales generated by affiliate traffic to be recorded out of session (i.e. if the web user subsequently returns to the site and does not use the affiliate link). Cookies are usually valid for a set period of time. Most commonly around 30 days, during which time the affiliate will still earn commission on any purchases made by the customer they originally referred. Cookies can also be set by merchants to specify if commissions would be payable on a repeat basis within the cookie period (recurring commissions).

See also: Session Cookie.

Cookieless Tracking

This could be a blog post on it’s own. Briefly though, with increasing privacy concerns, and some technology providers actively bypassing advertising cookies – affiliate networds have many clever ways of tracking sales without being entirely reliant upon cookies.

Cross Device Tracking

Where a user might visit a site on one device and makes their purchase on another. Those clever networks do not like to let precious revenue escape them. I wholeheartedly approve of this. They’ve therefore used what is most easily described as witchcraft to be able to identify as many of these sales as possible without breaking any privacy laws.

Contextual Linking

Process of placing affiliate links to appropriate products within related text or articles on a website.

Conversion Rate (CR)

Percentage of clicks that convert to a sale. I.e. 4 sales for every 100 visitors would constitute a 4% conversion rate. Sales are referred to as conversions.

Data Feed

A data feed is a file (usually in CSV or XML format) containing product information for a merchant. This file will typically contain url’s, names, images & descriptions of products offered by the merchant. These files are manipulated by affiliates to create relevant commercial content for their own sites.

Deeplink

A link that is pointed to a specific page / product on a website. Most networks allow you to manipulate their base tracking link to let you send a tracked click to whichever part of the merchant site you deem necessary.

EPC / EPHC

Earnings per click / hundred clicks. A commonly used metric for determing the financial return provided by an affiliate programme. It refers to the average earnings of affiliates for every click / hundred clicks they deliver to merchant. Many affiliate networks make this data available to affiliates, but it tends to be calculated in a slightly different way by each network.

GDPR

A world of EU privacy related pain for which you must take responsibility when running a website. For the most part, this requires a well thought out cookie disclaimer covering what sort of personal information (if any) your site collects, alongside the availability of information about how your site users can opt out.

Google Adsense

Google programme offering web site owners the opportunity to include ads from its pay per click advertisers. Site owners are paid a percentage of the click cost to advertiser when one of these ads are clicked.

Google Adwords

Is the pay per click advertising solution offered by the Google search engine. Advertisers pay a cost per click which is relative to the type of site content, and how much other advertisers are willing to pay.

Impressions

The number of times a banner ad or web site page is requested from the server. (see also CTR)

Independent Affiliate Programme / In House Affiliate Programme

Where a merchant runs their own affiliate programme outside a network. Generally use an in-house tracking solution, or an off the shelf solution that can be integrated into their website.

ITP / ITP 2.0

Intelligent Tracking Prevention – A brainchild of Apple, affecting traffic via Safari. Good for privacy, problematic for affiliate tracking. Most networks have workarounds. As an affiliate, awareness of whether your merchant has implemented the required technology for the workaround to be effective is important.

Lifetime Commissions

Paid out for the life of a customer on a subscription service or other renewable product such as insurance. This means you get a revenue share for the lifetime of a customer you have referred to a merchant.

Network Override

This is the charge applied by networks to merchants on top of your commission payments. Just as the merchant pays you commission for your sale, they pay the network a percentage on top for use of their platform.

Merchant

Online retailer / business owner.

PPC

Pay Per Click. The practise of paying for traffic from search engine advertising services on a cost per click basis. Ads are served based on keywords or themes. (s

Product Feed

(See Datafeed)

Publisher

(See Affiliate)

Reversal

Is when a merchant removes sales commissions from an affiliate. This is usually due to returned goods, declined credit cards, or fraudulent activity. (see Also Chargeback)

Super Affiliate

What we all strive to be! These rare and dynamic affiliates generate huge amounts of revenue for the programmes they promote. Definitions differ, but if you’re in the top 5% of someone’s programme then you qualify. At least as far as they are concerned.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation. The process of altering and refining a site to ensure better performance and positions in the search engines.

Session Cookie

This is a cookie that only lasts as long as the browser window remains open. If the user closes the browser, or even in some cases, pops off to a different page to compare a price… PFFFT! It’s gone! Mentioned in this glossary because some affiliate programmes use them for tracking.

Tenancy

A payment made to a site in lieu of commission for a merchant or brand to be featured.

Tiered Commission

Commission structure offered by merchants which increases on a sliding scale based on performance. This can be based on number of sales or sales value.

Tracking Link

A special link containing code which tracks web visitors sent to a site by an affiliate. Each affiliate link contains a unique id specific to an individual affiliate and will record sales, visitors, and impressions generated and allow the merchant to attribute commissions.

Two Tier Affiliate Programme

Programmes of this kind reward you for signing up sub affiliates. This means that you are paid a certain percentage of their earnings for the life of the affiliate.

Unique Visitor (UV)

This differs from the number of clicks in that it is a metric which refers to the number of unique individuals clicking on a link. For example, one person could click on a link 3 times in one day creating 3 visitor sessions and one unique visitor session.

White Label Solution / Site

Many merchants offer a facility where affiliates are provided with an unbranded version of their site via which to channel traffic.

Categories
Affiliate Mindset

Dealing With Mental Load & Distraction

The title of this post should be “not dealing with mental load & distraction”. I’m terrible at it.

When I’m focused on work, it’s like everything outside my bubble of creativity fades to shades of grey. It’s all consuming, addictive, and the source of my passion for affiliate marketing. I vanish into it. When I occupy this laser focused space, my mind is calm and I feel in control. It’s not a space I often occupy in my day to day life.

She Travels At Speeds of 1,000 Thoughts Per Hour

I’ve got the most shocking concentration of anyone I have ever met. If I was a superhero, and I had a catch phrase… it’d be “… oh LOOK!! A Squirrel!” It’s an exhausting way for a mind to operate. When I’m absorbed in my work, it’s an amazing break. From myself.

Over the years I’ve developed a “grounding routine” as I get ready to come into the office. First, I remove possible distractions to productivity. I spend 30 minutes tidying and hoovering the main living area of my house. I walk through it multiple times a day, and if it’s messy it affects my focus. Then I perform the daily ritual that removes residual mental noise. I make a coffee, and I concentrate on making it properly. The process of grinding the beans, pulling the shot, and texturing the milk pushes away mental disorganisation. Myself and my beautiful coffee head to the office and look things over, examining yesterday, planning for today.

Oh Heck Yes, This is The Sweet Spot Alright. Ahhhh….

So there I am… laser focused in the zone affiliate marketing woman, with superpowers fully engaged. Faint in amazement as I zoom through an infinite universe of money making ideas with ease. Gasp in admiration as I effortlessly fashion vast lists of hitherto untapped traffic bearing longtail key…

“MUMMA!!”

…word… and… “WHAT THE ACTUAL??”

*sigh* “OK, I’ll print you off another colour in sheet. Is that everything? Good! Now let me just see what…

… Ah yes! Weaving my PPC magic, instinctively finding the right product groupings to scale and replicate and…

*Distant Sounds of Bedlam*

… “I’ll just go and check out those competitor sites now and see… OH MY DEAR LORD WHAT NOW! Who has coloured this carpet in blue? Where’s your Dad gone?! No, stop crying. What? I don’t care who it was, I’m blaming both of you!”

Ad Infinitum

That’s two real life examples that would have taken place in the space of 15 minutes. Every time I’m interrupted, it’s harder for me to get back into that blissful state of concentration. I get very, very frustrated when a train of thought is interrupted, I always have done (sorry, former work colleagues). The more frustrated I get, the more I focus on the fact I’m about to get interrupted again. In the end, I’m sitting attempting to work through gritted teeth. Where’s that zone gone? It’s the Twilight Zone we’re in now!

The Guru is Out

This situation right here. This is where my TED talk takes a turn in a successward direction! This is where I reveal all, my secret formula to doing it all and being a success in entreprenership as well as a flawlessly engaged Mother.

To quote my good friends in Queensland, “Yeah, Nah Mate”. I can’t do that. I love my children. And what have I realised?

I won’t get this time back. There’s no point in sitting stressing because I’m not able to maintain my focus when they’re around. I end up giving myself a hard time about all the work I’m not getting done, then I feel I have to keep trying to get something done, anything, because I’m not deserving of any time off on the grounds of unproductivity. Honestly, who actually could work with kids running into the office every 10 minutes or so with a new request?

So that’s why last year, about two weeks in to summer holidays and with my Mother in Law also living with us for a few weeks I leapt up from my office chair and yelled…

Oh sod all this!!

And spent the rest of the summer avoiding work like the plague. The anxiety I was causing myself was unbelieveable, my ability for self flagellation when I can’t get into the zone is infinite. So I lost my temper and refused to engage with it. I spent huge amounts of time taming my garden. Me and the kids weeded, planted, watered, and played.

Guess what? The business continued to pay me a wage without me worrying about it (although I still had my morning coffee and monitoring sesh). It was still there when summer holidays finished, and I had a terrific holiday with the kids.

Summer Break is Upon Us Once More…

So it’s holiday time again here in Scotland. But this year, I’m going to try and do things a little differently as I have a few projects half finished that I want to keep pushing along a little. I’ve asked the hubster to try *really hard* to organise his clients for the afternoons, leaving most mornings free for me to spend in the office. I’m not going to try to do anything complex, but I am going to keep up my PPC Challenge as I’ve enjoyed watching the revenue from this experiment grow and want to keep up the momentum. I’m also going to try and use the time to brief up some outsourcing on things I’ve been putting off. Oh, and hopefully I’ll do a little bit more work on this blog.

Anyhoo, the kids have been in the office about 105 times this morning (hubster had a date with 3 tons of topsoil and a wheelbarrow), and I wrote most of this post when they were away having fun with the Grandparents. I’ll keep on trying to find ways to combine work and family. Most importantly, I’ll forgive myself when I fail and keep trying new ways to find that balance!

Categories
4 Hour A Week Challenge

PPC Project Update May

Hey chaps. It’s been a while, I had a bit of a holiday mid-May with an old backpacking chum in the Netherlands and when I got back we had some work done on our house, and the wheels sorta fell off my work routine. It happens to me often. So I just allowed myself the time to rearrange my thoughts, and I’ve finally arrived back at the blog.

I’ve decided to output my results on a monthly basis now, weekly wasn’t really turning out to be terribly helpful – it doesn’t really show useful progress. My thanks to one of my readers Rich Hickson for helping me out creating this nice graph after I said I wasn’t getting my head around a way to embed something into my posts. Isn’t that a beautiful shape to chart progress?

PPC Project Results – April & May 2019

There’s only been two full months so far, and here’s how it’s all looking.

April

Clicks: 564

Average CPC: 0.15

Cost: £84.70

Commission: £193.44

Profit: £108.74

May

Clicks: 1,010

Average CPC: 0.17

Cost: £73.24

Commission: £291.09

Profit: £117.85

It’s Going Great! Isn’t It?

Have you heard of the saying about statistics and lies? Well, in April I made most of the profit from one strong performer. At the end of the month, they discontinued the lines I was making 90% of my commission from. I’d spent a lot of time refining keywords and ads to capture this lovely traffic and it wasn’t to pay off. Sigh. This is fairly typical of direct PPC. Although you can just as easily get a couple of years or more out of something with minimal input. Thems the breaks.

In May, I tried out a lot of new things (as we can see from the clicks doubling). The profit above? Almost entirely from one blinding left of field £135 commission I got after spending precisely £1.75 on traffic. By no means a bad thing, this is the Yin to the Yang of the often “sudden death” nature of PPC. Subtract that from my £117.85 profit and May could have been a different beast entirely!

However, these freak (and frankly wonderful) surprise commissions will always feature in the mix.

No Pressure

So yeah, no pressure for me in June eh? Fortunately, as I’m trailing behind a bit on my blogging updates I’m happy to say I’ve hit an even keel in June. I will say no more, fickle old PPC can burn through smugly regarded profit fast.

More from me on this at the start of July. I’m going to try to work out a way to do a series of mini articles about the thought processes around direct PPC. However, as many of them also stream into niche selection, and other affiliate research too – I need to try and come up with a useful framework to insert them into.

Please, if anyone has requests or suggestions for helpful content – drop me a comment or an email.

Till next time 🙂

Categories
Affiliate Quick Tips

Affiliate Quick Tips – Using Cashback Sites For Merchant & Niche Research

I’m resurrecting an old post format I used to pop out on a weekly-ish basis where I shared anything I’d thought of, or found on my internet travels that didn’t quite justify a decent post of it’s own, and didn’t immediately fit into any upcoming post ideas.

Merchant Research – A Shortcut

Often when I have a wee lightbulb moment and come up with a niche idea, the first question is “where’s the money”. For me, there’s no point in moving forward unless there’s quality merchants I can leverage to monetise the flash of inspiration.

Have you ever tried to navigate the various merchant directories on the networks? Yuck. The categories aren’t great for the most part. I quickly adopted the habit of popping onto sites such as Topcashback here in the UK.

Using their search functionality and (much more intuitive) merchant categorisation I can quickly discover:-

  • Merchants with affiliate programmes in the niche area I’m researching.
  • The commission rates they offer. Some offer special deals via cashback that don’t reflect their standard rates, and many offer much lower rates for cashback (for obvious reasons). If you see a 1% or 2% rate it’s worth double checking at network level.
  • Which network they are with. I also use this if I simply need to work out where a merchant has their program and they aren’t detailing it on their own site. I usually just click on the cashback link and watch what the URL does to see which network pops up in there.

Slight proviso – not every merchant works with cashback sites, but enough of them do to make this a handy “finger in air” way of discovering who is in a space. Particularly when you’re at the “pie in the sky” stage of an idea.

Once I have these outline facts I can hop onto the networks and hopefully get some info about how well they convert and if they are likely to want to work with me.

Stand by for more affiliate quick tips in the coming weeks. I’m trying to get better at noting these ideas in the back end of the blog here so I can batter out a quick post when I’ve finished work for the day.

Categories
Productivity

Jump Starting Momentum

Disengagement. It’s a bit of an issue for me, and I’m sure I’m 100% not alone there. We all have times where we just “can’t even”. My ability to engage enthusiastically with all the things that have been exciting me so much recently evaporated around this time last week. It’s like a bit of your brain suddenly getting reposessed by the HMRC for non payment of creative VAT. Yesterday as an example, Duncan finally completed a little web project for me. I’ve fairly been widdling myself in anticipation over it for months. Finally I can get stuck in to promoting it!!

But… NOTHING

Balls. Hello? Is this thing on? I appear to be malfunctioning. It’s not just work, it’s everything. Can’t be bothered. Before we go further, I must just mention this little bout is caused by hayfever. Its making me incredibly tired, and the medication for it just seems to make me more tired, albeit without itchy eyes. Lets take a moment to think about unintended consequences of moving to a gorgeous rural idyll. The quiet will help me concentrate she said. Trees are lovely (their pollen is not!).

Preventing a Spiral of Inactivity

To try and re-engage my enthusiasm chip, I got up on Saturday morning and resolved to spend the weekend doing things that had been on my personal “to do” list for a while, and more importantly things I could do without the enthusiasm bit of my brain being available to me.

Cooking My Way Back To Wakefulness

So, I make a strong correlation in my head between affiliate marketing and batch cooking. No, bear with me I’ve not lost my mind honestly! Affiliate marketing is a highly scalable, time efficient way to make money. Batch cooking is a highly scalable, time efficient way to save money.

On Saturday I spent 2.5 hours cooking 14 family meals worth of Chilli Con Carne. Sunday, I made up 7 lots of cauli and brocolli cheese for our weekly family roast. Then I indulged my favourite pastime, and worked out my “profit” margins.

  • 12 weekday hours of cooking to be replaced with an extra hour in the office. Less slog, more earning time. Profit – 9.5 hours.
  • Ingredient cost for chilli – £18.50. Cost per meal £1.32. Based on average “pre-made” meal items for 4 price of £5, Profit – £51.52
  • I’m not calculating monetary profit on the cauli cheese, but it took me 1.5 hours to make it all. Profit LOTS OF YUMMINESS, because who can be bothered doing that every Sunday along with all the other roast type accoutrements? (my version is a total gutbuster with huge chunks of leeks and a ton of blue cheese).

If you think I’ve calculated all this for blogging purposes. That’d be a no. This is simply how I live my life. There’s a profit margin in most things for me. My kids are probably the noteable exception to my endless brain which has to work out the net benefit or profit margin on everything. They’re filed under “pure love” and sometimes “agggghh!” in my personal ledger.

On Monday when I returned to work, I had a bit of a patchy day. In the end, I finished up early and sorted out another personal project that I’d been trying to get started for months.

Charity shop find, and some old broken pottery my Dad dug up turned into a planter for my front doorstep. I can’t tell you how tremendous it felt to get this finally started. Still needs a few plants but it’ll be easy to finish now.

The Point Of This Is…

When I’m struggling, I use this sort of thing as a reconnect to productivity. It’s a mindless and manual way to connect with my passion for scalability and creativity. As a secondary thing, we all start to get bogged down when we feel like we are failing. By getting on and “doing” rather than slumping into a doldrum of “I can’t” I jump start my own productivity.

Will This Help You?

I hope so! Affiliate Marketing can be a slog, and I think it’s important for anyone intending on being involved with it to find their own little ways to get themselves going again when things fall over. Did it help me? Yeah, I’m still exhausted with hayfever today, but by just keeping on and making myself “do” I’ve found that my brain has (eventually) learned to deal with the tiredness and can get on with the skills to pay the bills again.

Categories
4 Hour A Week Challenge

My 4 Hours Work Per Week Challenge WK 4, 5, & 6

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a bit of a hiatus for some much needed family time. I did keep records every Friday though, so I’ll pop them below. I think from this point on I’ll limit these posts to once a month as the value of them here on the blog will get limited and repetitive. For anyone really interested in following along weekly, I do a tweet with my stats every Friday morning. You can find my Twitter here.

Week 4 Results

During this week I didn’t work at all beyond keeping an eye on my campaigns most days (Bing phone app – most handy!) to make sure everything was running as expected. As I suspected when I was getting frustrated in my last post, I just needed to give what I’d already done a wee bit of time to bed in.

Total Clicks: 122

Total Cost: £17.15

Revenue: £35.84

Profit: £18.69 

Week 5 Results

Again during this week I was enjoying time with family, so just the odd tweak here and there which took a minute or two each day.

Total Clicks: 116

Total Cost: £16.48

Revenue: £36.75

Profit: £20.27

This was all very encouraging. A few things I’d done in the week before I went on holiday were looking promising. One thing that had been running for 3 weeks and had 75 really targeted clicks hadn’t had any sign of a sale, so I switched it off at the start of week 6.

Week 6 Results

Back into things this week. I did a bit of adjusting of all the existing campaigns, made sure they were all triggering as they should, and added in new adgroups, search terms, and ad extensions to things that I’ve identified as working well.

Total Clicks: 127

Total Cost: £18.04

Revenue: £77.59

Profit: £59.55

Monthly Total For April: £98.23 profit

Oh yes. This is a bit more like it! You’ll see that the total clicks haven’t increased that much, but the revenue and profit has. This is because I’ve been stripping out stuff that’s not working, and enhancing things that are working. I’m really childishly excited because I’ve identified a new niche I wasn’t aware of before – that’s where a lot of this profit has come from. It’s converting like the blazes, so I hope to build on this discovery as much as possible.

I must just add, there’s likely to be a fair bit of flukery in this week’s stats. I wouldn’t really expect such a return on investment. This may be an atypical week of the very best kind. But I’m not complaining!

I am now 47% of the way to my monthly target of £211. That doesn’t mean I don’t have all that much left to do. I could lose a lot of this in a week’s time and have to grapple around to get it back or find something else. I love this aspect of affiliate marketing. I have always dabbled in PPC direct to merchant where I could because I do often find little niche gems without the need to laboriously build a site. I’ve now got a new bit of niche knowledge to work with and feed into other ideas.

I’ll update this section again at the end of May, and as I said check me out on Twitter if you are interested in a weekly heads up on how this is going!

Categories
My Life As An Affiliate

Easter Fun with the Family

Bit of a blogging hiatus! I’m just back into the office after a 2.5 week break over Easter. I’ve long since given up trying to work during school holidays, and we booked a last minute cheapie for the first week just so we could get away for a change of scene.

One of the few downsides of the work at home lifestyle for me is that because my home is my office, it’s important to make the effort to get out for a change of scene during down time. I’ve found if I don’t, it can really affect my mood and mental wellbeing.

So we popped off to the Trossachs and enjoyed a blissful chilled week in a lodge straight outta the 80s. To my children’s horror, the wifi was also authentically 80s in that it was completely absent. But they soon adjusted and enjoyed playing outdoors and some family time.

Refreshed and Ready to Go Again!

I tend to get very bogged down by the slog of affiliate marketing. I love my work, but there’s a lot you have to do to stay competitive and keep the revenue flowing that fairly has your brains flowing out of your ears. As a PPC affiliate I spend way too much time bogged down in spreadsheets and fiddling about with ad accounts. If I don’t take breaks my productivity takes a dive. I am incredibly easily distracted and have to fight against my brain going “ooh look, a squirrel!!”. Just the task of staying focused on throwing out a days work is exhausting for me. These breaks are essential, although I often find them difficult to take if my productivity has already started to slip, as I give myself the most tremendous hard time when I don’t think I do enough.

Restoring Attention

As an aside, I’m fairly sure I have some kind of attention disorder. I was that “daydreaming” kid in class at school. My school reports are all total horror stories. I was unable to learn how to tell the time, or tie my own shoelaces (that’s made me laugh writing that as I still have to tie them like a kid would!). I remember when I gained entry to uni. A classmate of mine was the son of one of my primary teachers. He gleefully let me know just what a pathetic case she thought I was, and that she was shocked I’d achieved a uni place. I can’t even begin to describe my smug levels when I think of her 😉

But in typical style, I digress. I feel it’s important to know when you need a break, and thankfully affiliate marketing pays me to do it. That’s a huge luxury, and it’s worth fighting hard to maintain.

Right, onwards and forwards. I’ll be updating my 4 hours a week PPC challenge in the next day or so. I’ve kept a note of what happened on a weekly basis and have been back working at it this week. It’s all progressing nicely, and I am surprised at how much I’m enjoying doing it. Onwards and forwards!!

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4 Hour A Week Challenge

My 4 Hours Work Per Week Challenge WK3

Week 3 of my PPC challenge, I thought I’d keep a little day to day note of how I felt about things every day. Just for a bit of insight into the self doubt!

Day 1 – Started off the week feeling disheartened after a weekend of zero sales! Shattered, kids awful. But nevertheless I cranked out two new mini campaigns and did not enjoy it at all. The campaigns get a few clicks immediately. I go to bed feeling quite excited. I’m sure there’ll be a sale from somewhere in the morning

Day 2 – Still no new sales. God I suck, I really don’t know what the point of this is. Why are there no conversions? Really disheartened. I log into Facebook to distract myself from my feelings of impending failure. Everyone’s just been paid FFS. What’s the issue here!! But I’ve been here before. I get disheartened and stop the project. Two months later, everything’s working marvellous and I SHOULD NOT HAVE STOPPED. With great reluctance, I get my hour done and pop up 5 new adgroups.

Day 3 – sigh. Not a new penny. Also, discovered I’d stuffed up and left the “search partners” option activated on Bing. No wonder my click levels have been fluctuating madly. Now resolved. However, It did make me realise I’ve added a lotta adgroups since the start of my project. I’m up to over 120 now. I’ve popped up another 5 adgroups today to add into the campaign I did yesterday.

Day 4 – Small commission made, One new campaign set up. I only managed one Adgroup due to the time it took me to find the appropriate test areas to start off in. The merchant site I chose wasn’t in one of my “preferred” niche areas so I had to cope with a little bit of unfamiliarity.


Week 3 Results

Total Clicks: 111

Total Cost £15.97

Total Revenue £12.80

Loss: £3.17

Cumulative Results

Total Clicks: 238

Total Revenue: £31.91

Total Loss: £3.54

The Swear Jar is Rammed To Bursting

This right here is the point at which this sort of promotion drives you freaking batty! All the revenues over the three weeks have come from different places. What performed in Week 1 has died in week 2 & 3, or the traffic has vanished. Some of the new things I’ve added which make up the extra traffic have volume but have done nothing. I’ve been doing a lot of silent swearing under my breath this week as I check my stats, and really feel a bit disheartened. I’ve only spent £3.54 on all this though and I’ve gained 238 data gathering opportunities on the click front. I can’t see any reason to not just keep pushing on.

Giving My Work Time To Succeed

A lot of what these campaigns need is simply time. Bing in particular takes weeks for PPC to bed in. I’m also only using phrase and exact match for my little experiment as I mentioned in week 1. That does mean volume will fluctuate, as I have found you do need to venture into broad match with modifiers to really get the old Bing volume flowing. However, I’m not doing that until I can see who is converting as it’s fairly labour intensive to manage that traffic stream initially.

What I’m Doing in Wk 4

I said that in week 3 I’d be honing things, I didn’t do that. I added a new merchant every day because I remembered I am going on holiday this coming week. I won’t add in new things on holiday, and I won’t be doing my hour a day challenge in it’s full form. My kids will be in a log cabin with me, and I am incapable of concentrating on being creative around them. Also, they should get to enjoy a bit of Mum time without the “Shh. Working!” thing happening. I will spend time doing bid management and negatives though, when my darlings go to sleep.

Wow, Affiliate Marketing Takes Time!

That’s right Susan. Remember that the next time you see an infallable making money product online 😉