My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4:

So for the first part of this experiment I decided to try something really simple that could just be a proof of concept….just to if it could work. I wanted to do a simple campaign where I promote an affiliate link over Google Adwords. When someone clicks through to the ad and buys, I get a commission. So long as I spend less to buy the ads than my commissions ad up to, I make money. It works in theory, now to see if it works in action….

Step 1.) I had to find something to promote:

I could’ve either joined something like CJ.com or ClickBank.com to find affiliate offers to promote or find one myself. I decided to steer clear of the affiliate networks for this simple experiment solely to find something easy to promote without tons of competition doing the same thing.

I had seen some videos about this new thing called “electronic cigarettes” becoming popular in bars, and started Googling. I’m not a smoker, but this e-cig concept seemed like a brand new industry which has the potential to become big, but hasn’t yet.

I did a little research on e-cigarettes and first joined the BluCigs.com affiliate program simply because they had the best looking marketing material and easiest-to-buy-from website (See that link for BluCigs in the previous sentence? THAT’S an affiliate link in action! If you buy after clicking that link, I make a commission).

So now they gave me an affiliate link to place on my advertisements:
http://affiliate.blucigs.com/idevaffiliate.php?id=3257_0_3_1

Whenever you click that link, it takes you directly to the BluCigs website and if you make a purchase after you click that link, I make a commission! Simple affiliate marketing in action. Understand?

I now have something to promote….e-cigarettes…and I don’t even know a damn thing about them.

Step 2.) Get some people to click that link!

I could either make my own ecigarettes site and build up a readership over time, but this is supposed to be a quick experiment, so the best way to get traffic is to BUY IT.

Since e-cigarettes aren’t such a massively popular keyword at this point, the traffic is was dirt cheap. I could pay $0.05 per click and still be in the top results (or only result) for many keywords.

I immediately made a couple of Google AdWords ads and posted them.  Here was one of them:

Once again…Whenever you click that sponsored link, it takes you directly to the BluCigs website and if you make a purchase after you click that link, I make a commission! Simple affiliate marketing in action. Understand?

Step 3.) Make some moola

So now I just sit back and waste money on buying traffic to see if I make a sale. I thought this would take longer than it did, but sure enough in about 2 days (or maybe less, I didn’t check) I made my first sale! The BluCigs program gives me 20% of each sale, and it was a $59.95 sale, netting me $11.99 in commission….so far I’d only spent about $0.50 in ads! Pretty good return on investment!

This 24X return on investment was on an extremely small scale, so I was excited to see if that pace would keep up.  However if it does, you see how certain people can make lots of money with very little?

A day or two later, I made ANOTHER SALE for $104.95, netting me a total of $20.99 in commissions! Even though this isn’t a whole lot of money, I was excited my dinky little experiment was giving a good ROI (return on investment). Using less than $5 I now made $32.98 back. At this point I still didn’t even really know what an e-cigarette was, but I was making money off them.

Step 4.) Get caught

Google first slapped my hand in the beginning of this experiment and and pulled my ad since cigarette-related terms cannot be advertised. I changed the text so it never says “cigarette” or any closely-related term:

This worked for two days, then Google denied the ad again saying the link-to URL was different than what was advertised (I guess since I had the referral link in it) so they asked me to change it. Unfortunately I couldn’t get Google to accept my ad anymore…..I’ve been doing an affiliate marketing experiment for only a few days and ALREADY I was caught for doing something shady! :-)

Well, Google has a fair policy to ensure quality, so I decided an alternate and perfectly OK way of doing this….

Step 5.) Make my own domain

I bought a domain called BluCigsStore.com (if you recall the actually website is called BluCigs.com, without the suffix “Store”) and made an auto-direct script for the page to forward to my affiliate link. I immediately changed the banned ad to BluCigsStore.com and Google accepted the changes, I was back in business! This cost me about $19 to privately register the domain name (so my name is not immediately associated with it).

A problem I noticed earlier was if people browsed around the internet researching these BluCigs, they would invariably click on several affiliate links. Whoever was the LAST affiliate link gets the commission.

To help improve my odds of being that person, I made a simple frames page (just used a template in Microsoft FrontPage since I can’t even write simple HTML). Nothing shady or illegal about this, and it actually added some value to the customer because it makes it easier for them to navigate. I used Photoshop to make the graphic for the frame header, and FrontPage to create the simple frames page and picture-link the graphic.

Now when you go to BluCigsStore.com you see the normal store with a static header on it that doesn’t move. When you click around the site, that header stays up. If you want to navigate home, it has a button for that. It also has an EXIT button that is a link to my affiliate link:

Using the frame bar on my own browser made it easier to navigate the site for me, so I’m guessing other people probably found it helpful (and probably never expected it was an affiliate tactic…just part of the normal site).

So Google once again approved my ads and I started making more money….

Go to Part 5

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    Blog posted on: February 17, 2010

    10 comments on “My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 4

    1. Robert

      Quick thanks for continuing to post your thoughts and “experiments”, I mainly read via RSS, but wanted to comment to say thanks and keep it up.

      Hook ‘Em!

      Reply
    2. me2Press

      I do a lot of affiliate marketing and some companies do not like iFrames or the use of a URL that looks like there’s. Make sure to read the terms of usage before you spend lot’s of money on advertising and then end up not getting paid. As for the shady part, I think most affiliates just don’t want to share winning formulas with others. The re-bill offers are the only shady affiliate trick. If you offer any other product or service your won’t have any problems. New FTC rules also ask that the landing page be truthful and that you disclose facts. Good luck Nev my blog is all about affiliate marketing and making money online take a look http://www.vendingmatic.info as a long time reader of your blog I thought you had tried affiliate marketing a long time ago.

      Reply
    3. OTC

      Wow, great idea, you guys are way sneakier than me. not in a bad way but I guess my minds not working on all cylinders this way yet.

      Reply
    4. Blu Aff

      I set up my blu ecigarette domain http://www.blucigs.tk And advertised blu ecigs 50% off retail and posted to identi then pinged identi and 5 hours later made 33 sales and still rising.You can go to my site blucigs.tk and become an affiliate and make more money under me because of the tricks I use.

      Reply
    5. Pingback: My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 5 - Neville's Financial Blog

    6. Pingback: My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 6 - Neville's Financial Blog

    7. Pingback: My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 7 - Neville's Financial Blog

    8. Aditya

      If you plan on being successful with affiliate marketing, you must select a niche that will generate revenue. When participating in affiliate marketing, you are aiming to make money. Otherwise, you can just create a personal blog about your interests. Therefore, you need to do research to ensure that the niche you pick will be profitable for you.

      Reply

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