I see affiliates using “niche” and “vertical” interchangeably, but I think sorting your thinking straight on the key difference is going to be one of the things that helps you scale your online earnings.
At first glance both words refer to a category or topic (like gardening, or finance, or games) that you hope to theme an online marketing campaign around…so it seems similar, but it’s not.
A niche in time…
Let’s look at some examples: A niche (variously pronounced as “nitch” or “neesh” depending on which side of the pond you’re on, or maybe how many beers you’ve had) is something specialized. So the stuff on Clickbank tends to serve a niche. For example “low calorie recipes to promote hair re-growth for vegans” would be a niche. “Dog training for hearing impaired pet owners” might be another niche. These tend to be specialist products with interest from a smaller subset of the Internet audience. The key driver of why this product does well is because the user can’t easily get this info or service elsewhere. After all, how easy is it going to be to find a book on “501 woodworking project for someone with zero technical skill”? So the $27 or $47 e-book on clickbank tends to find a ready audience.
In most cases these niche products tend to top out at a couple thousand in revenue per month. So to bank with these products, you’d usually have to market several of these types of products. If the products are related or complimentary, there exists opportunity to cross-sell and cross-promote, so you can, to borrow a phrase, “stack that money”. You might do this be cross-selling a range of photography books (outdoor photography, fashion photography, shooting kids (taking their photos, not going at them with an AWP…)). If you upsold stuff, you might sell camera paraphernalia, like camera equipment, online photo services, photo events, confences, workshops.
The times I’ve promoted niched products, I’ve felt like a sniper, shooting at demand for long tail demands for which people are willing to pay to make the pain go away, or bring themselves pleasure, or a combination of both.
Generally, you’d need to promote maybe 3 to 5 of these types of products to generate a decent income.
When promoting offers such as CPA offers, you’d realize that these tend to address big markets – dating, finance, gaming, downloads, travel, fashion – some of Neverblue’s top verticals. With verticals you’re dealing with entire sections of a market – within the finance vertical, you’d have credit cards, insurance, credit scores, financial profiles, stocks, mutual funds, forex, etc.
So when you promote a vertical, you’re addressing a potential market of millions (instead of just thousands in the case of most niche markets). The promo style is different too, which is why most CPA affiliates favor paid traffic.
You’d probably hear the familiar refrain that CPA marketing is a volume game. The more traffic you buy, the more leads you generate, the more you get paid.
In contrast to more specialized stuff, the key is to become a dominant player with each offer you promote. While niche marketers might be content with generating $5,000 per month with a niche product, the CPA marketer might aim at $5,000 per day or more in revenue to make their business model viable.
The CPA marketer is often arbitraging traffic. If your commissions exceed your traffic costs, you’re in the money. In most situations, you’d want to go for the offers with the highest potential in terms of traffic (ie: demand), scalability (how big you can grow the offer) and importantly for affiliates who think of themselves as business owners – your bottomline (how much it will put in your pocket at the end of the day).
My advice for newer affiliates is to find an offer that has potential to scale to something big and aim and work towards at least $1,000 or more a day in revenue. It’s only when you make this a goal in your overall business strategy that you will experience bump in your business and your profits.
One of the major challenges facing newer affiliates is finding time to work on their business.
The reality is that everyone is subject to the same 24 hours a day, whether you’re Richard Branson or Joe Blow starting out.
Sure, you might say that an experienced affiliate might have multiple campaigns making a couple thousand a day and mainly running, except for an hour or two of tweaking and optimization each day, so he or she has time to do ‘lifestyle blog posts’ or tweet about the massive filet mignon that they’ve chowing down at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or Craftsteak for lunch.
In my book, all this self-justifying, non-productive structured procrastination is what leads many affiliates to knock themselves out of the game. Imagined “high competition” and reasons that the industry/offer/traffic source is dying/saturated/overpriced/sees little or no demand, is all a bunch of BS.
Let’s look at this for a moment. I think you need to make up your mind. Is the offer “saturated” or is the industry “dying”?
If it’s dying, then it’s dying. But if so, how could traffic be “overpriced” and the offer be “saturated” at the same time?
Sounds like a paradox, and not one of those fun ones either.
I’ve been speaking a number of affiliate training workshops recently, some as part of my role in recruiting and developing Neverblue affliates, as well as for local Internet marketing groups.
The major challenge that most marketers face is a mental one. Not so much that you’re going crazy at the stuff you have to deal with in figuring out how to get started, but more a lack of self-belief.
Talk to a top affiliate and you’ll realize that confidence is one of the keys that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.
Even if you haven’t mastered something yet, it should not keep you from jumping headlong to figure it out.
But back to wealth building in 15 minutes…
If you’ve sat waiting for the subway, or have time between meetings, or maybe 15 minutes before going out for dinner, what do you do with that deadtime?
Are you spending it checking your email? Or watching youtube? Checking for Facebook updates?
If instead of doing all that, you spend that time looking at ads running on high traffic websites, running keyword searches, doing competitive research, reading up on promoting techniques, that would help you more than just blowing that time doing something that you’d probably forget two days from now.
Yes, I like watching/listening to motivational stuff about “how you can do it” as much as the next guy, but I try to limit that to listen to that while I’m in the toilet or taking a shower. Because it doesn’t require your full focus.
So try this out for a couple of weeks, make a commitment to spending your time more productively. Stuff CAN be accomplished if you have a pocket of 10 minutes or more.
And now I have to complete this 15 minute blog post. Ping it, then head to my next meeting.
Top affiliate Ivan Ong gave a great presentation on promoting international CPA offers at Neverblue’s Interact Singapore event in December last year and some of the attendees inquired about getting additional training or even being personally coached/mentored by Ivan after listening to him speak.
While I doubt Ivan will have much time to do personal mentoring, I’ve arranged the next best thing – he’s agreed to a workshop that builds on and goes into greater detail on his strategy in promoting international offers.
You might be wondering why this might be a useful area for affiliates to pick up on. For one, North American offers, which comprise the bulk of offers in each network’s database still represents the lion’s share of revenue at most networks. If you’re a newer affiliate, this means you’re competing against established affiliates, whether they specialize in paid search, SEO, media buys or PPV. Being outbid or just being unable to run your campaign with major ad networks can be a major stumbling block.
With Neverblue’s focus on establishing a European and Asian presence, I’ve compared the offer database against other networks and am confident from seeing the offers and seeing how well some of my experienced affiliates are doing with the offers that I feel new and experienced affiliates stand to gain from either starting out promoting these kinds of offers or adding these classes of offers to their portfolio of campaigns.
For the upcoming workshop, Ivan will be presenting his system as well as showing campaign data from Europe and Asia campaigns, it’s my intention that attendees will be able to create a blueprint to similarly promote offers, which generally seem to have a higher conversion rate, and usually lower traffic costs across the board.
If you’re not earning the level of affiliate marketing income that you are aiming for, you should attend this workshop.
As it’s additional training by Ivan, it falls outside of Neverblue’s training.
Although there’s a charge for the 1-day workshop, Ivan’s offering a special rate to Neverblue affiliates.
If you aren’t already a Neverblue affiliate and would like me to be your affiliate manager, you apply to be an affiliate via my signup link.
You can check out more information about the workshop at the Facebook event page.
Note: You should be familiar with how affiliate marketing works. If you have run CPA campaigns previously, it will also help you get more out of the workshop.
Note: The workshop has been postponed due to Ivan’s commitments. You can still sign up for Neverblue here.
It seems like new affiliates might have difficulty getting accepted into a CPA network, especially if they’re new and have little or no experience.
I often read of these new marketers having their affiliate application denied, especially at major networks.
Here are some tips to increase your chances of getting accepted.
“Interviewing” for your CPA network affiliate application: Just like interviewing for a job, it’s important to be prepared when you’re “interviewing” to get into a network. It’s not very encouraging to have an affiliate apply then say they don’t know anything about the network, or worse, say “I’m brand new and I’m not in any network yet, so I applied to everyone.
Some tips that will help you get in, especially if you’re newer.
1) Do your homework: Check here and on affiliate blogs on the profile of the network. It’s a 2-way street. How is the network’s offer selection? Payment policy? How helpful are the affiliate managers (AMs)? Are they “agency of record” for the offers they promote, or do they mainly syndicate offers from other networks?
2) Have a game plan in hand. This can be difficult if you’re not already in at least one network, but if you are in one network, you can surf through the offers and get an idea of what your focus will be on. If not, you can use offers202 or another offers search engine as a means of last resort (although you might not be able to see some of the analytics like CTR, EPC, etc) Figure out what niches do you focus on? What is your traffic strategy, what are your primary promo methods? If you can’t understand this, you might score lower on the network’s internal rating system (generally the lower your score, the more difficulty you’ll face in getting accepted), also depending on the network, you might have a smaller pool of offers to choose from.
3) Invest in yourself: A lot of affiliate marketing is knowledge-based. So be sure to trawl through the available resources and know what you need to know to run your business. If you don’t have all the tools and knowledge to be effective, it’s not likely that anyone else is going to do it for you. So this step is just smart business sense.
4) Follow up: There’s a couple of ways to do this. You can call the network after you’ve submitted the application, be sure to be able to answer questions about your background, experience, promo method, niche selection, etc. Alternatively, if you get in touch with someone from the network (either from the AM side or from the biz dev side), and have a conversation with them (tell them especially if you’re brand new), then you have a much better chance of getting in. Applications at the larger networks go through an automated screening process when you first submit and may be denied during this stage. If you talk to someone, they can flag it and the application can be prioritized. It’s more difficult to approve a denied application than to manually review an application that is in the pending pile.
Ok, that was long, but hopefully it’ll give a better idea of what happens during the account application and review process.
If anyone has any questions, especially about applying to Neverblue CPA network, you can read my earlier post: “I’m looking for a few top Neverblue affiliates”
Alternatively, you’re also welcome to email me.
It’s taken about 4 years to see the launch of a major CPA network in Singapore, but I think the wait has been worth it.
Since the first affiliate summit I attend in 2008, I’d been talking to the affiliate networks about establishing a presence in Asia, especially with the growing number of affiliates in this part of the world.
So it was a great opportunity earlier this year when I started talking to Neverblue senior network manager Samantha Brachat about establishing a presence here, especially since Europe and Asia are the major growth areas for the network.
A Neverblue Asia office was set up earlier this year in Hong Kong and in October I took on the portfolio of Affiliate Consultant, responsible for recruiting and developing affiliates, with a focus on Asia.
So I’m happy to announce that Singapore will be playing host to a Neverblue Interact event later this month, in conjunction with the launch of the company’s Singapore presence.
It’ll be a training and networking session on Dec 15 (Thurs) from 6pm to 10pm at Singapore Management University in downtown Singapore. (suggested attire: smart casual).
If you’re a Neverblue affiliate or if you are not, but interested to find out about affiliate marketing, do come down for the Neverblue Interact event for an evening of training, networking and fun!
I’ve invited three top affiliates who’ll be sharing their experience of growing their online business and strategies for building a profitable business. The three affiliates are:
Ken Lee who’s one of Neverblue’s top affiliates and one of the winners of Neverblue’s recent Out of Bounds competition. Ken lives in Malaysia and rarely speaks at events, preferring to work on his business and this is one of the rare occasions he’ll be speaking.
Ivan Ong who’s a successful Singapore affiliate. He’s blogged about his PPV strategies and tips for a successful campaign at his blog.
Eddy Kuah, an experienced Malaysian affiliate who’s based in Singapore.
The evening will kick off with a light dinner before the speaker’s take to the rostrum.
If you’d like to come with a friend, do indicate it in your reply.
Be sure to register your attendance at the Facebook event page and drop me a mail via my blog contact form.
One of the occupational hazards with working at a desk all day is that you tend to neglect exercise, eat junk food and end up putting on weight and having your body in bad shape.
For me, this has translated into putting on about 33lbs (about 15kg) since getting married and not being able to do most of the things that I used to be able to do.
Yes, I could probably have signed up for a continuity plan for colon cleansers and acai shakes, but the plan for me seemed to be opting for a lifestyle change.
All the money in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re not able (or around) to enjoy it.
Especially with 2 young kids, aged 2 and 5, I am hoping to be here for a long time to see them grow up, attend their sports games and performances, see them graduate and get married one day.
I enrolled in a hospital-managed weight loss program which started about a month ago.
It has a lot of fancy stuff like getting a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and a MRS (magnetic resonance spectrometry), and a battery of other tests to establish my baseline health before the start of my program.
The results are that my BMI (body mass index is 29 — anything over 27.5 is considered overweight). At about 1.78m (about 5’10”) I weighed about 92kg (202lbs). With a 39″ waist you’d think that most of the fat would be around my abdomen/stomach. But instead the MRI scan showed large deposits in the love handle around to the left and right of my lower back. The fat deposits look like it was a couple of cm thick. Around my abdomen, the fat looks like it’s about 1cm thick.
But that’s not the worst of it. I’m at an increased risk of heart disease and being overweight means my insulin levels and ability to process sugar are lower than usual – which could lead to an onset of diabetes. None of this is particularly fun.
If you’re not like – not particularly happy with where you are now, or heading to where you want to be – then taking a comprehensive medical will give you pointers on what your next direction will be.
On the plus side, my metabolic rate appears to be higher than normal, at about 1780 calories/day. The average 20-something has a metabolic rate of about 1400 calories/day, so some of the stuff I’d discovered when I was younger, that I was able to lose weight pretty easily and put on muscle mass pretty easily, seems like they would work in my favor in achieving my goal.
The regimen that I’ll be starting involves changes to my diet and getting on a regular series of exercise.
For now the diet changes involve cutting down on fried food (mainly because most food prepared in restaurants are fried in palm oil, which is high in saturated fat and trans fat), fatty food (like pork belly), and reducing my food portion sizes. Over the years I’d kinda become the de facto “food finisher” for the family when we went out. So finishing up the food was having a long term negative impact on my health.
Having worked on medical stories for a Singapore newspaper and reading about people who have heart attacks and strokes and ending up paralyzed or even worse, suffering from “locked-in syndrome” (where you’re aware of what’s happening around you, but you’re not able to talk or move your body – I’m becoming more aware of my own mortality.
Whether you’re an affiliate, a product creator or service provider, all the money in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re in poor health and not able to enjoy it.
So back to the diet – besides cutting down on unhealthy food, reducing my food portion sizes, the other major thing is taking meal replacements. The meals are rated at about 600 calories each and consist of (from what I can tell), a type of carbohydrate similar to milk powder, and a whey protein powder, which lessens your hunger pangs. By replacing two of my meals each day with these meal replacements, it reduces the overall calorie intake and theoretically should result in a net loss of weight (unless you decide to finish off a pint of ice-cream cos you’re hungry…..).
For the most part I’ve been good and followed the diet, and have lost about 2kg (4.5lbs) since starting this past Monday.
I’ll be tracking my weight loss in this Google doc spreadsheet.
The exercise sessions will start up next week with a personal trainer – they’re three times a week, of about 2 hours each session. So I expect the pounds to fall off.
I don’t expect that it’ll be as intense as going on a p90x program, although I’ll probably be at 80% of my heart rate, so that should ‘burn the fat’.
The plan is to see this program through and come out it healthier and even more ready to take on the world. And you’ll get to read periodic updates here.
Post your comments or questions below.