An Interview with the Affiliate Challenge Winner

July 22, 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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The winner of my first Affiliate Marketing Challenge which ended a week ago completely dominated the competition. He casually entered the contest with less than 2 weeks left to finish with over $3,300 in commissions. This secured him 1st place and he won an 8GB iPod Touch for his efforts.

Known as participant CD8470, this behemoth is already leading the leaderboard for the Affiliate Marketing Challenge 2 and is the “man to beat”.

I contacted CD8470, whose real name is Scott, and he kindly agreed to participate in an interview. He shares some good tips and advice, so definitely check it out. Here’s the man behind the numbers:

Tyler:
You didn’t start to compete in my Affiliate Marketing Challenge until late in the competition. Was this due to simply not finding out about it until late, deciding to enter it late to come up as a dark horse, or for other reasons?

Scott:
No, there was not an evil conspiracy to fake out the competition or be a dark horse. :) I was vacationing in the Mayan Riviera for the first two weeks of the contest and did not find out about it until I got back. I’d heard good things about MarketLeverage, but simply had not taken the time to apply so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

Tyler:
Even though you entered the competition late, you managed to generate over $3,000 through MarketLeverage to completely dominate. Did you go all out to try to win the competition, or did you simply change over some of your campaigns over to ML?

Scott:
I really wasn’t focused on winning the competition when I entered, but after being accepted by MarketLeverage I took a look at their offers and picked out a couple that I thought would perform well and kind of just left it at that. ML has some really nice offers and Mike my affiliate manager is absolutely fantastic. I look forward to working with them more in the future, but I have a few too many irons in the fire right now and have not expanded upon those first couple of offers that I started driving traffic to.

Tyler:
If you don’t mind sharing, what method or methods of affiliate marketing do you do? PPC Marketing, E-mail marketing, SEO/Web, or perhaps a mixture of all?

Scott:
I do a mixture of banner advertising, SEO and PPC with PPC probably being the lion’s share overall right now.

Tyler:
How long have you been an affiliate marketer, and how did you get started with it?

Scott:
You know I think it was a spam e-mail I received about three years ago for something like “Get Rich With eBay” that introduced me to the fact that there even was such a thing as affiliate programs.

I spent the next two years developing content websites that make income from a combination of AdSense and affiliate programs and eventually got them to the point where they would consistently pull in several thousand a month in profits. During those two years, occasionally I would throw $50 at an ad campaign here or there to experiment with paid traffic, but never with any success.

At the beginning of this year I committed myself to removing all other on-line distractions to focus solely on driving traffic to CPA offers and the results have been even better than I had expected.

Tyler:
Do you use any 3rd party tools such as WordZe, SpeedPPC, WordTracker etc.?

Scott:
I actually have some of the higher end tools like SpeedPPC, but I have never even installed them. I am a firm believer that especially for the beginning affiliate marketer that all of these expensive tools serve as nothing but a distraction and the money is much better invested your campaigns themselves. There are plenty of free resources available to help you get your your first campaigns off the ground.

For example, I really like the SEOBook tool and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Tyler:
If you could give three tips to beginning affiliate marketers, what would they be?

Scott:

  1. There are no shortcuts or secrets to being successful. Unsubscribe yourself from every mailing list promoting the latest Day Job Killer, Blackbook, Project X, Butterfly Traffic Secrets version 3.0, etc. that is released every Tuesday at noon. The old saying goes that – “Those who can do. Those who can’t teach.” and that is just as true in affiliate marketing as anywhere else.

    You need to develop your own style and eye for what works if you want to be successful long term and that does not come from a $67 E-book.

  2. Keep track of everything! Personally I maintain four spreadsheets and they contain the following:
    • Sheet #1: A list of TV ads, PPC ads and banner ads that I think are impressive and/or unique in one way or another.
    • Sheet #2: A list of traffic sources and keywords that seem like they would have potential in the future but I currently do not have time to pursue or do not see an offer well suited to the traffic.
    • Sheet #3: A list of CPA/affiliate offers that look promising but again due to a lack of time or promotion ideas I chose not pursue at the moment.
    • Sheet #4: A list of all CPA/affiliate offers that I have promoted, how successful or unsuccessful each offer was, what I learned from running the offer and what I would do differently in the future. (Editor’s note: what a simple/good idea…)

    I look through those sheets at least once a week to try and identify a new opportunity or means of promoting an offer that I overlooked in the past.

  3. Believe in yourself! If affiliate marketing were easy, everyone would be successful right off the bat, right? Realize that probably only 1 out of 20 campaigns will be successful when you are first starting out. That is just the nature of the game.

    However, view each of those 19 other campaigns as small investments that will pay dividends in the future and you will be well on your way. A successful campaign is the intersection of opportunity, perseverance and creativity and when those three combine in just the right manner you will have the first of many big winners on your hands.

Tyler:
What did you think of the competition? Be honest!

Scott:
I did not follow all of the various competitions that MarketLeverage sponsored, but I think your’s Tyler was definitely one of the best. Rather than selecting a random blog post comment as the winner which really benefits nobody, your competition encouraged the readers to actually run the ML offers which provided value the both the participants and ML in return for their sponsorship of the prizes. I also liked you daily update widget that provided a status for all of the participants. Great idea!

Tyler:
Will you be competing in my Affiliate Marketing Challenge 2 and do you plan on securing 1st place again?

Scott:
Like I said earlier, I look forward to working more with Mike and ML in the future, but I have a lot going on right now so it is not a primary focus. I’ll gladly take the monitor if I do happen to win though!

Tyler:
I’d like to thank Scott for taking the time to doing this interview, and we’ll have to wait and see if anybody can take this guy down!

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Posted: July 22nd, 2008 under Miscellaneous  

21 Responses to “An Interview with the Affiliate Challenge Winner”

  1. I wish I had this guy consulting for me. He sounds like he knows what he’s doing.

  2. Scott,
    I can’t agree more that trying to learn from some course or ebook is mostly useless. As you pointed out , the key is finding your own unique angels on every offer and not just following some cookie cutter approaches designed by so called “gurus”.

  3. ClogMoney says:

    This was a really good interview Tyler, this coupled with your own attempts at ppc have been really entertaining to read over the last couple of months. I hope it continues!

  4. m.dinesh says:

    I just read the rss mail and came here,
    I want to know one thing Tyler or Scott, please answer me : What is PPC that you are discussing above.

  5. Georgia says:

    Amazing! He lost the first two weeks but still winning the prize.

  6. ClogMoney says:

    @m.dinesh

    PAy Per Click

  7. I would like to know how Scott identifies what he thinks a winning campaign is. Usually I pick nice, professional look landing pages that seem to have a demand for their product, but I’ve also heard ugly sells. Also, I wonder if Scott uses his own landing pages or if he direct links?

    • Scott says:

      Whether the landing page is professional or ugly really does not make a difference to me. I like to have a landing page which has all of the relevant details above the fold on the page and it is readily apparent to the user what the offer is all about and what they need to do to go about getting it.

      Regarding landing pages or direct linking – I do about half and half.

  8. EntreBlast says:

    Thanks for sharing Scott. Great tips! I’m excited to start my PPC/affiliate marketing journey once I get back from vacation this week.

  9. IronBlogger says:

    That is pretty amazing that he could generate that much revenue in such little time.

    Thanks for the interview Tyler, was interesting to see what he had to say.

  10. Chris says:

    Great interview Tyler, and I agree, Scott really does sound like he knows what he’s talking about. I’m new to affiliate marketing and haven’t managed to really make much money yet, but I’m going to stick it out and I hope I can get half the success that Scott has in the next couple of years.

  11. Great interview… great insight into a successful marketing strategy.

  12. Runts Life says:

    Great interview and well done for winning.

  13. m.dinesh says:

    @Jeff, thank you for answering my question about ppc,

    Is adsense related to ppc ads.

  14. Dan says:

    Scott seemed like a nice guy. :)

  15. Jay says:

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it because it wasn’t there, but does Scott have his own blog or anything by chance?

    Jay

  16. Jay says:

    Oh, I forgot to ask (even though I already know the answer) but would Scott be willing to share a landing page of his? :P

    Again, I already know the answer but I figured it doesn’t hurt to try to ask, right? :D

    Jay

  17. m.dinesh says:

    Can people really earn this much huge amount with just a simple blog.

  18. Great interview Tyler! Thanks for the info that you guys discussed, it’ll come in handy.

  19. [...] actually interviewed Scott back in July of last year after he won the first the very first Affiliate Marketing [...]

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