My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 3

I had a very simple yet profitable affiliate campaign running. The next step was to try out some of the other e-cigarette companies with affiliate programs. I found another seemingly good e-cig company called GreenSmoke and joined their affiliate program.

I already knew what to do (and not to do) thanks to my prior BluCigs experiment, so I quickly setup my GreenSmoke campaign:

  • I registered a domain called BuyGreenSmokes.com
  • PhotoShopped a custom frames header for it that made it seem like part of the GreenSmoke website.
  • I made the framed header like I BluCigsStore site and got the new site running.
  • Immediately posted some Google AdWords pointing towards it.

Since I already knew what to do, within about 1 hour I completed most of this work. When BuyGreenSmokes.com went live it looked like:

buygreensmokes-shot

So just like the BluCigs page I made, anytime someone gets to this page through my link and buys something, I make money.

Speaking of the BluCigs experiment, whilst I was making the GreenSmoke page and signing up for other affiliate programs, this small little experiment of mine had been working. I had been making 1-2 sales per day from the Blu campaign, and within a few days here was my revenue:

blucig-revenue1

At this time for every dollar I spent on AdWords, I was making $6 back. So a 6X Return on Investment. At this point I had never seen the product I sold or promoted, didn’t know anything about them and wasn’t particularly “helping” anyone. In fact the people who came through my links never knew who I was or that they were coming through an affiliate.

However in about a week I earned my first check:

blucigs-check

This is a very simple affiliate experiment, and probably against the rules of most affiliate offers. You see, I’m not ACTUALLY adding any value to the companies whose products I’m promoting. They probably would’ve made these sales regardless if I was in the picture or not.

Now lets say I owned a large forum for smokers to talk about smoking….then I write an article about how great BluCigs or GreenSmoke electronic cigarettes are. If those articles contained affiliate links that people followed then purchased products, THAT would be of great value to the companies….they just made sales they probably wouldn’t have without you.

REWIND BACK to the first post of this experiment, I was talking about why a lot of affiliate marketers seemed shady.

“I can tell them I own a rave store and sell light up stuff online. It’s pretty straightforward, and they can even see the website for themselves. Why were these people acting so shady? They were obviously hiding something or lying about something.”

From this little experiment the answer became pretty obvious: They don’t want competition.

If I told someone “I’m doing this easy affiliate program for BluCigs and making 6X my money” ….what do you think would happen REALLY soon??

That’s right, tons of people copying you. Cool…a little competition never hurt. But what’s different now is since there are other people bidding for your same keywords on your ads, the PRICE GOES UP. Now instead of making 6X my money, I’m down to 2X all of a sudden….and if more people start bidding the price up, I might even start losing money soon.

So all of a sudden I’m making tons of cash, then one week later that same campaign is LOSING money. No wonder people keep their mouth shut.

So the first two questions of my original list of things to learn were mainly answered.

Now I wanted to learn about making a good landing page using Google Website Optimizer. This could be something I could use on my other businesses to make more money. All the while I was learning all these new things, I was still collecting about $100+ per week in commissions from this small-time experiment…. To be continued.

Neville Medhora blogs at NevBlog.com and is the founder of House Of Rave.


65 thoughts on “My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 3”

  1. At first I thought it risky to spend on AdWords for a niche site but, wow, a 600% return says a lot. It looks like the AdWords saved a lot of time when compared to things like article marketing and building back links.

    1. scheng1 says:

      I haven’t tried using Adwords too. I think I have to make some adjustment to the setting so that it can focus on US/Europe market instead of my country. My country is too small.

      1. Neville says:

        Fortunately small changes like that are very very simple on Adwords. Play around or watch videos about how to use it….it’s pretty intuitive.

    2. Congrats Neville…most people give up without making a penny back!

      1. Neville says:

        Thanks! First experiment was a success…but then again I probably have more experience in the online world than a typical n00b to the online world.

        Hopefully this experiment de-mystifies the process for some people.

        1. for sure, you took action! That’s more than 99% of the people that think about doing affs….

      2. Ya, unfortunately many give up very early on.

    3. Neville says:

      Adwords is by far the easiest that I’ve personally used, so for this experiment I kept it simple and stuck to Adwords….it worked!

      Haven’t tried this experiment on Bing, Yahoo or the million other ad networks (hint hint) 🙂

  2. to be continued again! oh dear….

    1. Affiliate is not small topic and I am sure 3 to 5 articles will come more …

      If he will cover everything ..

      1. Neville says:

        Exactly….I could easily condense this into one article, but that would be cumbersome to read.

        I could also remove much of the content and keep it more simple, but that wouldn’t be as informative.

        1. breaking it up was a good idea, I wouldn’t have read it all if it was one long piece!

  3. That is how you get money from affiliate amrketing for a short time but I am interested about making money from affiliate marketing for a long time.

    1. Diversify and expand is the key. Diversify your traffic sources and niches, and expand on other promotional methods as well. Bam!

    2. Neville says:

      Yes, that was the point of this experiment: Short term, quick profits.

  4. Pablo Raps says:

    I’m making a similar experiment but for spanish language. Not making good results as far. It seems that spanish affiliate program is steel on the kitchen.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I’ve been doing sp. affs for the past few years and I started by trying out the dating niche…if you can make it work, you’ll get super cheap clicks and a great ROI

      1. Neville says:

        Interesting. However it makes sense:
        Less competition = lower bids.

        1. Bingo! The trick is finding the niche’s that have very few competitors…

          1. or making yourself stand out with a new point of view.

    2. Neville says:

      Glad you’re reading this and taking action on it! Feel free to copy everything I did.

      I considered doing a Spanish version too…but I don’t think I understand as much as an actual Spanish marketer does. You’d probably have much more success than I would!

  5. Hi guys,

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. Because I’m very interested in being an affiliate. I’m just not really sure on where to start. But I’m learning a lot by reading blogs and visiting forums.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

    1. Neville says:

      Perhaps you should read all parts of this experiment first, and John’s most popular posts.

  6. Great post man! It’s all about testing different things and working to grow. Really enjoying your guest posts.

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks!!

      I like these quick experiments…they maybe quick and dirty, but I learn VERY quickly this way.

      The next “experiment” I do will build on this experience plus the experience gained through research.

  7. It seems I become more, more, and more understand how to make money trough affiliate with this post series. Keep it up mate, reveal all the secret.

    1. Neville says:

      VERY glad to hear you’re learning something valuable 🙂

  8. scheng1 says:

    I think the product sells itself. There are not many such products in the world. I do not like the idea of selling cigarettes, even e-cigarettes, since it is harmful to the body of the users.

    1. Neville says:

      I’m sure there’s many other products you can promote. The point of the experiment is to teach the PRINCIPLES of this type of marketing. The product is irrelevant in this case.

  9. d3so says:

    Nice ROI. I wonder how saturated the e-cig niche is now. I feel like replicating your experiment but I have a feeling it won’t go so well, lol. That’s true no one wants competition.
    Keep up the great posts!

    1. Yeah, that ROI was great…the hard part is maintaining and scaling the crap out of it…

      1. Neville says:

        Yea, this seems like a small market at the moment…although big enough to make some good money (I think), I’m no expert!

      2. I agree with you completely, thanks for your input

    2. Neville says:

      The good part is I barely spent any money to get started. If you only dedicate $50 to this experiment you can see quickly if you’re doing something right or wrong.

  10. Josh says:

    @d3so, very saturated, VERY.

    Great blog post John, easy way to show how to make a few quick bucks

    1. Neville says:

      Actually I wrote it, but John was kind enough to post it as a guest post!

      I suppose doing the EXACT same thing as I did would be saturated, but I’m sure a clever young mind could find a way to exploit this industry big time…I predict in 10-20 years e-cigs will be a BIG part of the whole smoking industry (which is HUGE).

  11. Free Picks says:

    I was waiting for the 3rd part, thanks for sharing

    1. Neville says:

      One more part coming!

  12. Using Adwords is very good to test website conversions and changes that might made to your website. I would recommend doing PPC before you do any SEO to your site so you can make sure that it converts

  13. I’d like to hear more about why you think you ended up losing money after a week…lower quality score? Lower CTR because of banner blindness? Advertiser scrubbing leads from you?

    These are all very common reasons most affs face…

    1. Neville says:

      I did NOT lose money on this experiment ever. I said I COULD POSSIBLY lose money if everyone started copying my experiment.

      I was at all times around 3X to 6X profitable.

  14. Hey Nev, your green smoke site looks pretty nice. Did you come up with all the creatives or was that supplied for you with their affiliate program?

    1. Neville says:

      I just designed the header…the rest is simply the GreenSmokes.com website!

  15. Congrats! Waiting to read more of your successes!Looks like you took the steps in the right direction!

  16. Sorry to hear about the new competition. Your dedication will outlast all the copy-cats though in different fields. Keep up the good work (but next time, keep it on the DL) 🙂

    Bryan

    1. Neville says:

      Well I freely published this, so copycats are expected!

  17. Thanks for the awesome information! Keep up the good work!

    1. Neville says:

      Glad you enjoyed, and hope you learned something!

  18. How do you add this banner?

  19. MaxR says:

    Thanks for sharing your information about your successful experiment on affiliation and Adwords.
    Definitely an eye opener for many affiliate amateurs.

    1. Neville says:

      I was too an amateur, so I hope this opened some eyes.

  20. First time to hear about that type of affiliate earnings. That is a very nice post. I will check your first and second parts now.

    1. Neville says:

      Glad you liked!

  21. air cans says:

    An interesting real-world example. Looking forward to the series being continued.

    1. Neville says:

      There will be one more part posted soon!

    1. Neville says:

      Actually Keith, this post was written by me: Neville Medhora of NevBlog.com 🙂

      John Chow just posted my article as a guest post. Original post:
      http://www.nevblog.com/category/affiliatemarketingexperiment/

  22. Nigel Chua says:

    What a cool experiment – love your willingness to be open, to try and learn and you go along in this affiliate experiment. Brilliant! Keep it up! =)

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