A few days ago I posted A Brief Interview with The Behemoth. At the end of the interview, Scott offered to answer any questions that were left for him in the comments during the following 24 hours.
In case you are wondering why your question might not have been responded to below, it’s because a dozen of you actually left comments after those first 24-hours and so Scott didn’t respond to them.
Here are the questions and answers from Scott (The Behemoth):
Barry: Congrats on the great improvement over the last few months! In 4 days you will have made as much as I make in a whole year working at 8:30 to 5:00 job. I am pretty new to affiliate marketing and have only made about $17.00. What do you think the best thing for me to do to try and make more money at it?
Scott: I don’t want to come across as a jerk here, but honestly if you only have made $17.00 why do you have a Make Money Online blog? Most affiliate marketers will tell you that the financial returns they get compared to the time spent is far worse for blogging than anything else they do. Spend the time learning what works and doesn’t work for you with affiliate marketing and when you become an affiliate rock star then go ahead and dust off the blog.
When starting off with marketing I think that working with offers that have a high conversion rate is important in that it helps you build your confidence and more quickly determine the effect of tweaks to your ad, landing page, and overall strategy. Ask your affiliate manager to provide you with a list of offers that convert at say 10% or higher.
As far as strategy of promotion for the offers you select: I do not personally know your financial situation, but if money is a bit tight then I would recommend starting off promoting offers using article marketing and/or SEO and go for longer tail keywords. If you have maybe $1,000 or more that you are willing to invest in yourself, then marketing via PPC will allow you to test out new techniques faster and ramp up campaigns quicker.
Barry: How long ago did you start affiliate marketing?
Scott: I started building websites about three years ago, but only really put any effort into CPA marketing a year ago.
David: Considering the fact that you’ve made quite a lot of money with affiliate marketing, have you ever considered putting together a coaching/mentoring program with a select group of people that you can teach your methods to and see if they can earn a living like you? If you were to do that and your “students” performed well think of how many people would join your program. You’d have another set of income rolling in daily.
Scott: Just knowing myself, I know that I am too much of a perfectionist and would never be happy until everyone was successful… and with the various motivation levels of people, that just might not be possible.
Honestly, there are very few if any training programs out there that are worth a dime. Your money is much better spent on experimenting with your own campaigns. There are a thousand ways to make money with affiliate marketing and if you are completely motivated to succeed you WILL find that 1001st way.
Chris M: Well done Scott! I would love to know what kind of website or multiple sites you’re running!
Scott: I have maybe 30 websites in total covering a wide variety of topics… I don’t specialize at all.
Larry: Very well done Scott. With all that money rolling had you set yourself up under some type of business structure LLC, corp. at the start or some point during your venture? How many sites do you run?
Scott: I have recently set up an LLC. A corporation just seemed too complicated
PPC Noob: Well, I guess this is two questions really. You mentioned in the interview that your techniques involved a combination of SEO/PCC and direct click-through/banner advertising. I am particularly interested in the SEO element. Are you building (and promoted) highly optimised sites for specific offers, or do you have several, large/SEO’d sites you simply place various offers on?
Scott: I have a few websites that I built before I got into affiliate marketing and now I add focused landing pages to those sites and just link to those pages from existing pages on those sites. Sometimes those offers do not pan out when being promoted via PPC but I just leave the pages in place and it is amazing sometimes how much traffic they naturally get from search engines. A person starting out can certainly use the same technique if they do not have the funds to run a PPC campaign.
PPC Noob: I guess my second question is the inevitable “how to get started in PPC?”. I do fairly well online via other methods, very well in fact, and would be willing to throw $10-$20K into PPC to just give it a try. My question is: is it better to go all in with a fairly large budget – the shotgun approach if you like – and see what works and what doesn’t, or simply start off with a few hundred dollars like most and learn the game that way?
Scott: Even with experience I’d say maybe only 1 out of 10 campaigns are profitable for me so I always go with the shotgun approach. Assuming I am promoting an offer with a payout under $30 or so I’ll spend $250 and evaluate where I am at. If I’ve made under $75 in return at that point I know that I’ve completely botched how to promote the offer and will just shelve it unless I have another promotion technique I think is worthwhile. If I’ve made over $75 I’ll take a close look at the bid prices for my traffic, split test with other similar offers and make changes to my landing page if I am not direct linking. I’ll then spend another $500 and see if I’m making progress in the right direction or not. If I am making progress I’ll test and tweak some more and if not I’ll just make note of what I learned and move on.
Simon: What do you do about Google slaps and the Quality Score? Just one landing page won’t cut it as it looks like a bridge page? Or do you get away with it somehow?
Scott: I personally don’t think that the sales pages for most affiliate offers do a very good job of “selling” the offer as strange as that may seem. I like to build my own pages that have a list of maybe 5 bullet points and 2-3 paragraphs of text that explain in a non-hype way what this product is about, why the person needs it now, and why they need to buy it from me right now. Just in the course of writing that page, naturally sprinkle in the keywords you intend to bid on.
Once you have finished your page, if you intend to promote the offer via PPC go to the AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool and enter the URL of the page you’ve just created. If the suggested keywords it comes back with are those you were planning on bidding on, you’ve done your job, and if not, keep tweaking the page until the suggested keywords are similar to what you want to bid on.
I’ve never had an initial Quality Score less than 7 when I’ve used this method. Once running, if your quality score drops to the point that ads won’t run at the price point you want, give Yahoo and MSN a shot with the page you already have built.
Simon: Do you build mini sites around a particular offer? Have you any hints and tips regarding getting a high Quality Score with the site itself? Thanks and well done.
Scott: I sometimes add landing pages to existing sites I have, but when I am starting from scratch I don’t normally build mini-sites. For whatever reason, my Quality Scores usually start out at 7 and will go up if I have a nice CTR on my ads. I don’t remember ever getting a 9 or 10 out of the box.
Paul B: Those are some really impressive gross figures but I’m more interested in what you’re netting on a daily basis? What sort of costs are you seeing to generate that $10,000? Keep up the good work.
Scott: It varies from day-to-day and I’ll sacrifice profits up front sometimes by split testing different offers and ads in order to try maximum profits long-term, but $6-7k might be typical in terms of expenses.
Richard Bonner: Congrats on your success, got a quick question about the PPC side of things of your business. Do you focus on both the search and content network or do you find yourself focussing on one of them. Also what type of ROI do you run at (or aim for) ?
Scott: I try most offers on both the search and content network. Certainly 30% is nice to shoot for in terms of an ROI, but as long as a campaign is breakeven or at least heading in that direction, I’ll keep running it. By split testing ads, landing pages, and offers, I figure that I can always turn a breakeven campaign into a money maker.
David Crowther: Thanks for answering these questions Scott!
1. How do you pick offers for your campaigns? Do you do research? Gut instinct? Or do you play the numbers game to find the winners?
Scott: All of those
2. At what point do you decide an offer will not make you a profit and stop the campaign?
Scott: As long as I am heading towards profitability and I have new ideas to try I’ll keep running a campaign.
3. Do you run direct linking campaigns? If so, are you more successful with with direct linking or creating landing sites? Many thanks Scott.
Scott: In most cases I have more success with creating my own landing pages, but if an offer has an outstanding sales page or if I just want to test out the offer quickly I won’t hesitate to direct link.
Jay: Mr. Behemoth, Out of that total amount Tyler quoted you making, how much of it was actually profit? Thanks!
Scott: I honestly don’t track it that closely, but maybe 1/3rd?
Tom: Great revenue numbers! But – what are your costs? I don’t expect you to give your exact numbers – but I personally would not want to be spending $275K on PPC or other sources for a 10% return. That is a lot of risk. I would hope your returns are in a high percentage range. I guess my question is: Does your return on the total revenue outweigh the risk you are laying out?
Scott: Well, I guess that I really don’t see it as all that risky. Through MarketLeverage or other affiliate networks you have up-to-the-minute statistics on exactly how much you are earning and with the ad networks you have nearly real-time updates on how much you are spending.
At any point you find that you are losing money you can simply stop your campaign. I would gladly take a 10% daily return on my investment. In fact, I need that kind of return to compensate for the 40% that my mutual funds lost in the past year. Now that is risk!
Tip Jar: Congrats on your success! I do have a few questions, something that others have already asked but: How much of that is profit?
Scott: Like I said earlier, maybe 1/3rd.
What search engine is your favorite to work with?
Scott: Probably Yahoo. They don’t approve ads as easily as MSN and don’t have the traffic of Google, but it is a happy medium on all fronts.
Do you do any social advertising?
Scott: Not much.
Any secrets to success?
Scott: These aren’t really secrets, but stay away from e-books, listen to your affiliate managers, limit time on forums and blogs, keep a notebook of ideas, split test everything, don’t get discouraged and just stick with it.
Keith: How long have you been in affiliate marketing?
Scott: Just over a year [Editor’s Note: Good Lord.]
Do you suggest starting small with email/zip or obscure niches or going where you know there is money and take your piece (financial, weight loss, dating)?
Scott: Like I said before, if you are new to affiliate marketing I’d suggest starting in an area with higher converting offers to get your feet wet.
What’s the quickest/most efficient way to test an offer without putting too much time into building a page/site? Thanks Scott and Tyler.
Scott: Run it on MSN. Whenever I look at offers, I think a lot are junk or spammy. I’m willing to test them though because it doesn’t matter what I think to be honest.
Brandon@20yearbillionaire.com: What Vertical?
Scott: I try a little bit of everything.
Scott: I just like free stuff! Honestly, if Dina sends me some free ML gear, I am far more excited about that than making $10k.
Becky: Scott, Are you single? And Can I have $30,000??? Hey, you make that in 3 days, why the hell not give that to me? Anyways… Tell me everything you know. EVERYTHING! And great interview guys.
Scott: Oh, too bad that this question did not come in during the first 24 hours so I can’t answer it, but just out of curiosity what were you going to do with the $30k?