Start Working...Stop Checking Your Stats

Written by The Shops at 24Seven on Thursday, July 31, 2008

This post was inspired by Zac Johnson who wrote a great post today on a similiar topic. To often we spend to much of our time logging into CJ, ShareASale and LinkShare seeing if we got any sales. Then you see that your balance went up and you check out where the sale came from. Now, off to see what other merchants generated a click yesterday. And we do this for all the affiliate networks we promote. Whew! An hour has gone by...

Now, don't get me wrong, reporting and analysis is critical in affiliate marketing, but...

too often we are wasting too much of our time logged into the network and not enough time working on projects.

Now, these next set of rules may seem a little hardcore for some, but I guarantee you, that if followed, you will get more work done and more commissions earned.

  1. No TV watching. The biggest no-no in affiliate marketing. You will get distracted.
  2. Turn off your IM. When your focused on a project, this is nothing but a distraction.
  3. In line with #2, no replying to emails, especially that one from mom. Get to work, this isn't social hour!
  4. No Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other social time-waster. No matter how much you've convinced yourself that your "networking", they are called social tools for a reason. If you must be social go Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Mixx and Propel your money pages.
  5. Close iTunes or at least start your play list and minimize it for the next few hours. I'll admit, I can throw on some tunes and get into a great work groove.
  6. No Googling...unless it's essential to your project. Googling only leads to surfing unrelated to your project.
  7. No phone calls. You have an answering machine right? You'll be OK, they can wait.

Don't get me wrong, some of the above activities are business related. But when your focused on getting a project done, they ARE distractions. You'll be amazed by how much you can get done in a few hours by minimizing distractions and focusing completely on your goal.

Favor Affair Re-Design Launched

Written by The Shops at 24Seven on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - Yesterday we launched our new design for Favor Affair. Our designers did a great job, a vast improvement over the previous look. We wanted to give the site more of a party feel and I think we accomplished that. Check it out and let us know what you think.

We expect the new design to improve our conversion rates, which of course, means more commissions for our affiliates!

What Is EPC?

Written by The Shops at 24Seven on Friday, July 18, 2008

When evaluating an affiliate program it is always important to look at the merchants EPC. EPC in a nutshell is Earnings Per 100 Clicks. Here’s an example of what your EPC would be if you earned $150 in commissions off of 767 clicks.

EPC = (Commissions/Clicks) x 100

EPC = ($150/767) x 100

EPC = $19.56

What does an EPC of $20 tell you? Well, on average, affiliates earn $20 in commissions for every 100 clicks they send that merchant. If you divide this $20 EPC by 100 you’ll see that comes out to $.20 per click. This is a very helpful indicator to use when deciding whether to promote an affiliate program or run Google Adsense. Interestingly, many website owners think they are earning the most they can by just using Google Adsense. However, if they were to actually test Adsense next to a strong converting affiliate program, they would earn more by promoting the affiliate program.

I’ve found the main reason website owners like Google Adsense is because they make at least a little money every day, even if it’s $0.20. They tell me, they can count on it. Maybe so, but they are losing money. They can’t stomach not seeing any commissions for 10 days or sometimes more. We have one affiliate that was hesitant about promoting our program. They were using Adsense but agreed to test out one of our links also. For a month or so they didn’t see any sales come in. But they didn’t give up. Just a few weeks ago they generated a $632 sale for a commission of $102!

Why wouldn’t I just promote the programs with the highest EPC?

Great question. Too many times affiliates make the mistake of just promoting the programs with high EPCs. A high EPC usually means, the merchant pays well, but in a very competitive industry. The cost to promote their products is much higher than the programs with a lower EPC. Most of the programs with EPCs above $80 in Commission Junction fall into 2 categories. Web hosting and Insurance. Very competitive markets, very expensive to promote.

30-Day EPC vs. 7-Day EPC

What does this mean? It’s pretty simple. The 30-Day EPC is what affiliates average EPC is in the last 30 days. Therefore, the 7-Day EPC is what they average within the last week. Currently, in ShareASale the My Wedding Favors programs has a 30-Day EPC of $34.11 and 7-Day EPC of $38.55. Why the difference? It’s not always easy to say, but last week wedding season began its peak season.

EPCs Can Be Misleading

While an EPC is a good indication of a program, it is not a great indication. In some cases an EPC can be a skewed number. Here are some reasons:

  1. A program can have an EPC of $5 (not too great). However, it could be low only because one of their affiliates is sending a bunch of garbage traffic to them. They could be launching that merchants site as a popunder. Those clicks would still be calculated in the overall EPC, even though all their other affiliates have an EPC around $15. But you’ll never see the $15 EPC, only the $5 EPC.
  2. An EPC can also be inflated. A merchant can have a great affiliate who drives 80% of that merchants business. That particular affiliate could have an EPC of $50, while all the other affiliates are more in the range of $12. However, since most of the clicks are coming from this large affiliate, their EPC will be closer to $40.
  3. Lastly, an EPC can be inaccurate, typically lower, only because they do not yet have many affiliates promoting them. And the ones that do, are not very good at it.
To Conclude

It’s always better to test for yourself. What converts on your site may not convert as well for someone else. EPC should only be used to eliminate a really weak candidate. If you want to promote wedding favors and the My Wedding Favors EPC is $14.72, while another WeddingFavorXYZ has an EPC of $1.50, that’s a no-brainer!

Affiliate Marketing Mistakes I Still Make

Written by The Shops at 24Seven on Friday, July 11, 2008

Paul Bourque at UberAffiliate had a good post recently titled, Affiliate Marketing Mistakes I Still Make that is worth the read and reminders. Paul has quickly become a young super affiliate at age 19! I suggest reading the full post, but here is a quick summary.

  1. Getting distracted
  2. Focusing on too many campaigns at once
  3. Laziness
  4. Not using Yahoo/MSN for PPC
  5. Not split-testing