There’s a mindblowing amount of stuff you need to learn if you want to succeed in performance marketing. This market is constantly evolving, innovating and improving. New ideas, strategies, and tools continue to emerge at a rapid pace.
How to speed up? And at the same time not lose yourself somewhere along the way? Well, I’ve searched forums and articles across the web, written by some of the industry’s old hands, and here’s what I found out.
Choose the right offer and the right angle
One of the most important things you have to do as a performance marketer is finding a good offer. To get noticed, you either need to promote an offer that is new and potentially interesting for people or promote a proven offer in a new way.
You can always ask for recommendations on your Affiliate Network or the STM forum or keep up to date with newsletters, but recommended offers will probably be targeted by a lot of other marketers too. The best approach is to test out as many as you can, preferably alternating between the offers you found in the networks offer selection and recommendations. Remember that if you choose a mature market and target broadly, the sophistication level will be high. In other words, if there were many similar products or services on the market before yours, the level of audience awareness will be high and you will need to come up with something really special to be visible.
Don’t hold on too tight to an offer. You might think it’s a good catch, but if you don’t see a promising ROI after four angles maximum, move on to a new one. Remember to split-test offers amongst all the networks that are running a certain offer. The same offer running on two different networks can have completely different ROI.
Don’t be a penny-pincher when buying traffic
You can have outstanding skills that enable creating new angles and building flawless landing pages, with convincing copy and vibrant graphics, you still need to invest in enough traffic to test your campaigns properly.
Your budget should be proportionate to the traffic price and offers’ payouts. Traffic costs differ quite considerably between ad types. So, for example, if you want to invest in native ads, which have higher payouts and more expensive traffic (as they’re custom targeted and the visitor has to express his interest by clicking on the ad), your budget needs to be bigger than the budget you’d plan for popups. If you want to find out more about Native Advertising, check out this article.
Of course, it all depends on what traffic source you run on; not every traffic source requires a four-digit budget to be profitable. But if you want your campaigns to hit four-figure profit, you’ll have to invest big first.
Don’t scale up without constant learning
Performance marketing is an industry where there are very few barriers to entry but very high barriers to scale. The set of skills you need at the start differ from the skills you’ll need during the first months or after your first year. With the growing number of your campaigns and appetite for scaling, you’ll need to keep learning.
Scaling is one of the hardest things to do in this industry because it requires an enormous set of skills and assets to succeed. For me, though, some are more important than others:
- Technical knowledge – You don’t need to be an expert, but it’s essential to know how the Internet works in terms of servers, browsers, and connections. What hosting is, how to choose a server, use cPanel, FTP, and so on. If you do, it’ll help you greatly later on when you face technical problems with your campaigns.
- Website Design – Another must-have is a web-design tool. You don’t need to know how to code to build an attractive web page, but you do need a proper CMS. There are many to choose from, and some, like Joomla, WordPress or Drupal, are even available for free. Check out this list to find out which are the most popular tools in 2018 and the differences between them. As users these days are more demanding than ever (more than 50% of visits are abandoned if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds), pay special attention to page speed optimization.
- Graphic Design – To effectively communicate your message, you need more than fake stock images, cropped inappropriately. To make your landing pages and campaigns more graphically appealing, you’ll need to know the basics of image manipulation. You can go with Photoshop or another tool, like Gimp, which is free. Even the very basics knowledge of color theory, typography, gradient, and patterns will help you create compelling and vibrant graphics.
- Data analysis – Your clicks (or lack of clicks) tell a story. You can turn it into your own fairytale, but to do so you have to know how to read data and use it effectively to optimize your campaigns. With tools like Voluum, you don’t need to be a math whizz anymore, especially with AI doing the majority of your work. But still, you gotta know how to look at the numbers as they should be the main driver of your decisions.
- Copywriting – To turn user interest into action, you’ll need to write compelling ads & good landing page copy. You can find some great resources on the STM Copywriting Forum.
Be decisive and persistent
A lot of market wizards state that far more important than skills is the mindset. Why so? Because there is no guidebook in performance marketing and the only people that can give you advice are, in fact, your competitors. You won’t have anyone else to make the hard decisions for you, like when to dump under-performing products, bid higher or cut your losses when profits don’t flow. That’s why the ability to make decisions, and most importantly stick to them, is incredibly important.
But … what if you take the wrong turn? That’s the question most people ask themselves. And guess what?—you will! And no, you won’t make a lot of money fast. Knowing and accepting that you’re going to have some bumps and hard times along the way is crucial in this business.
Success comes in small incremental stages, long plateau periods, and then spurts of growth. Rinse and Repeat. But as the Japanese proverb says, “Money grows on the tree of persistence.” If you’re persistent, hardworking and patient for long enough, you’ll get there. And if it turns out you made the wrong decision, don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes and move on!
I hope that you found my article helpful, but remember these are just my points of view. Do you have any golden rules of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments!
- Take time to choose the right offers, and for each offer, develop 2-4 different angles.
- If it’s possible, split-test your offers across different networks.
- Invest enough to test your offers; adjust your budget to the ad type.
- As you scale up, be prepared to acquire new skills and knowledge.
- Be decisive and don’t be afraid to lose money in the beginning.
- Don’t give up too fast.