How I made over $100k profit this year doing PPC to CPA (NOT a sales pitch)

32 replies
I get up onto my soap box...

I haven't been to this forum since early this year. At that time I was occasionally posting my revenue & expenses in the second big thread about the Arbitrage Conspiracy course (my net income was almost always in the red during that time). That thread seems to have disappeared, so since we're at the end of the year now, I'm going to post my current update in this new thread...

I have made almost exactly $400k in revenue since I started affiliate marketing in Jan 2009, and my profit has been just over $100k ($110k to $120k - I'll find out the exact numbers when I do my accounting update next month). I have much higher goals for next year

$100k in annual profit is very far from where I want to be, but since I think I've made a lot more than most members of this forum, perhaps I can offer some useful advice. Below, in no particular order, are some things I did that I think helped contribute to the "success" that I've had so far, as well as some other random comments:

I did NOT spend my time on forums where 99% of the members don't make any real money doing affiliate marketing, and who instead make a bit of cash selling products and services teaching affiliate marketing to other members of the forum. Hint, hint!

I did not take advice from anyone who wasn't consistently making a very large amount of money doing PPC to CPA affiliate marketing.

I WAS very persistent, constantly optimizing and testing new techniques, and cutting out campaigns/ads that could not be made profitable.

I learned far more by actually DOING affiliate marketing and making mistakes than I did by taking courses or reading forums or blogs.

IMO the AC course sucked in a lot of ways and I don't recommend it because I'm sure there are far better courses out there. But I'm glad I took the course because it got me started in affiliate marketing and since it was a 12-week course it helped keep me on track during that time. But I don't recommend any AC course. Almost all the techniques I have been using to actually make a profit were not covered in the AC course.

Because PPC to CPA marketing is so complex, I DO recommend taking some kind of course to help you get started if you're brand new. There's probably a lot more to learn than you think. Some guidance when getting started can be very helpful.

When I started doing affiliate marketing this year, I was not making enough money at my day job to pay my rent, and I my net worth was in the red by about $40k (I had a lot of debt). Now I don't have a job and am feeling comfortable

I do not promote rebills or mobile offers because I think that 99% of them are very unethical. I don't promote email/zip submit offers either.

If you start PPC to CPA affiliate marketing, I think you should expect to lose a few thousand dollars before you start making any profit, and I think you should be able to put in at least 5 solid hours a day for at least a couple months before you consider quitting. IMO if you're going to quit after losing $500 or if you can only put in one or two hours a day, you'll almost certainly fail so you shouldn't bother starting.

I'm never going to try to sell you a product or service about how to make money doing affiliate marketing.

I don't do any type of coaching or mentoring so please don't bother asking.

I spent almost $300k on buying traffic this year, and only about $20k of that was on Google. There's a huge world outside of Google

Affiliate marketing is not passive. It is extremely rare that you can just let a profitable campaign run for months on end. There is always work to do.

IMO the following three qualities are required to succeed with affiliate marketing: creativity, an analytical brain, and incredible persistence.

I think that this quote applies to almost all areas of life, but it applies especially to affiliate marketing: "The reason you are not successful is because you have not failed enough. You need to fail more and faster." (I'm pretty sure it was Robert Kiyosaki who said that.) So are you not successful yet? Well then get off the forums, stop listening to people who don't know anything, and TAKE MASSIVE ACTION and never stop until you make it.

...I step down from my soap box.
#$100k #cpa #made #pitch #ppc #profit #sales #year
  • Profile picture of the author FredFarnes
    Excellent post!

    I agree that my successes come from taking action, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes.

    There is much to be learned in this forum, and from studying in general. So I wouldn't discourage that.

    However, buying all those hyped reports and courses is probably not the best use of time or money.. More can be learned just using google, and reading this forum, and making mistakes in the marketplace.
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    So, you want to sell me another way to easily make "X" dollars in "X" days? ROFL too funny! IM success requires hard work and lots of time. Most newbies do not survive the steep learning curve. Anyone who says otherwise is probably selling you a fantasy.

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    • Profile picture of the author dmurphy
      Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing. When you began, did you start with Google Adwords, and migrate to other networks from there?
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeMorgan
    Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post


    the following three qualities are required to succeed with affiliate marketing: creativity, an analytical brain, and incredible persistence.
    Nice point .

    I really like the three points that you mentioned .

    I also want to add that it is always recommended to start from what works - do not re-invent the wheel .

    I really believe you can make a lot more using PPC to CPA .

    Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Fors
    Do you mind sharing some traffic sources you use?

    I am always looking for new sources in case one shuts down, currently I am using msn, yahoo and some different media buying sites like buysellads, bidvertising and blogads.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikengo
    Cataclysmic, how long before you broke even? Also, what was your PPC budget starting out?

    Thanks,
    Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author bravo75
    Clucking Bell, that is a lot of money.
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  • Profile picture of the author TVChatten
    Yeah that is a lot of money and some great tips/advice was given. He's right though when he says not to rely on courses and the people that don't constantly make huge profits.
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  • Profile picture of the author TE2
    Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post

    I learned far more by actually DOING affiliate marketing and making mistakes than I did by taking courses or reading forums or blogs.
    I support your 3 points but the real key is what you stated earlier and it's what most people are missing in their quest for gold. See quoted text above...

    Regards,

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author RyanEagle
    Congratulations on your early success with CPA marketing - it's much easier to make more money quicker than promoting any of the clickbank products. I mean think about it - it's easier to sell a 1.99$ trial product instead of a $39.99 ebook.

    The best experience was from getting into the trenches myself, and losing money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cash37
    So you spent 300k to make 400k? Thats terrible ROI.
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    • Profile picture of the author Burtgummer
      It's still a ROI.

      $100,000 profit is $100,000, no matter which way you slice it. Then bring in further scaling. Spend $3,000,000 to make $4,000,000. Still profiting a huge $1,000,000.

      Having any sort of consistent positive ROI in IM is good in my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cataclysmic
      Originally Posted by dmurphy View Post

      Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing. When you began, did you start with Google Adwords, and migrate to other networks from there?
      Yes. But I migrated to other networks before I was profitable on Adwords. If I had to go back and do it again, I would not start with Adwords, because I think it is one of the most complicated and difficult places to make a profit, and also if you're brand new it's too easy to piss Google off as an affiliate and get your whole account slapped or banned (been there).

      Originally Posted by Fors View Post

      Do you mind sharing some traffic sources you use? I am always looking for new sources in case one shuts down, currently I am using msn, yahoo and some different media buying sites like buysellads, bidvertising and blogads.
      Sounds like you're diversified better than a lot of people. I'd rather not share my own sources because I'm not looking for competition

      Originally Posted by mikengo View Post

      Cataclysmic, how long before you broke even? Also, what was your PPC budget starting out?
      I spent about $3,500 on PPC before I broke even (not counting the cost of the course I took which was over $2k). But I already had small amount of experience with internet marketing which helped.

      What was my budget? Tough question to answer because I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Depends on the campaign...

      Originally Posted by RyanEagle View Post

      Congratulations on your early success with CPA marketing - it's much easier to make more money quicker than promoting any of the clickbank products. I mean think about it - it's easier to sell a 1.99$ trial product instead of a $39.99 ebook.
      Yes, it's easier especially if the advertiser's business model counts on people not reading the small print and therefore not realizing that they're going to get rebilled. BTW I haven't promoted anything on ClickBank.

      Originally Posted by RyanEagle View Post

      The best experience was from getting into the trenches myself, and losing money.
      Amen.

      Originally Posted by Cash37 View Post

      So you spent 300k to make 400k? Thats terrible ROI.
      No it's not. If I have a system that makes me $1.33 for every dollar I spend, I'll dump my whole bank account into the system as fast as I possibly can, and I'll also dump all my profits back into the system over and over and over. If you would not do the same I pity you.

      And anyway, ROI doesn't matter nearly as much as how many dollars of profit you end up with in the end. I'd rather spend $300k and earn $400k than spend $100 and earn $1000. Heck you can even get an infinite ROI by getting free organic traffic. But if you're getting an infinite ROI and you make $1000, and I make $100,000 from a 33% ROI, I'd rather be me.

      And one more thing: If you have a profitable campaign, don't think that you have a limited budget, and that you therefore need to maximize your ROI on that limited budget. If you have a profitable campaign your budget should be unlimited - find a way to get the money - you can do it. The only thing that should limit you is how much traffic your ad network has available to sell you.

      (BTW, I've had some campaigns where I've lost almost everything I spent, and others where I made up to about 10x what I spent.)
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      • Profile picture of the author blackjack
        Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post

        I do not promote rebills or mobile offers because I think that 99% of them are very unethical. I don't promote email/zip submit offers either.
        Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post

        Yes, it's easier especially if the advertiser's business model counts on people not reading the small print and therefore not realizing that they're going to get rebilled.

        So what type of CPA offers do you promote because I got confused with your posts.

        Thanks
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        • Profile picture of the author Cataclysmic
          Originally Posted by blackjack View Post

          So what type of CPA offers do you promote because I got confused with your posts.
          Sorry about the confusion... I was saying saying that I don't promote rebills because I think they're unethical, and I was also trying to imply that RyanEagle's "easier" method of making money is by promoting those unethical rebill offers. Easier, probably, but I personally won't do it because I like to sleep peacefully at night.

          One vertical that I've personally a lot of success with is dating, but that doesn't mean much. A lot of people have failed with dating, and a lot of people have had great success in other verticals that I have failed with, so my own success in any vertical shouldn't mean much to anyone else.
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      • Profile picture of the author allbeeg
        Thanks for sharing your success with us.

        greg
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      • Profile picture of the author Judge Groovyman
        Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post

        Yes. But I migrated to other networks before I was profitable on Adwords. If I had to go back and do it again, I would not start with Adwords, because I think it is one of the most complicated and difficult places to make a profit, and also if you're brand new it's too easy to piss Google off as an affiliate and get your whole account slapped or banned (been there).


        Mind sharing where you would start?

        (fantastic post btw)
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    • Profile picture of the author Psy
      Originally Posted by Cash37 View Post

      So you spent 300k to make 400k? Thats terrible ROI.

      Stupid comment.

      Bearing in mind this is his first year of PPC-->CPA, and you'd assume that the first 3-4 months he would be building up from loss making --->just over break even --->small profit.

      At that rate you'd think that spend $600k, make $1million wouldn't be out of reach in 2010...I'd take that
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  • Profile picture of the author texhost
    That is not a bad roi at all. Most offline businesses operate are around a 25% margin. Hs margin was over 30%. Not too shabby.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheDebtEliminator
    Hrat Post

    Good to hear that your are full-time in IM now.

    Kudos on taking the lumps until you found the way

    All the Best
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  • Profile picture of the author affkin
    It's good to know that people are making nice profit without rebills. I made about $2,100 in Nov 09 with rebills (mainly get ripped niche) but felt that's not the way to go and then stopped promoting these offers. But the result for december, I lost about $1,000. Now my question is I want to go without rebills but can't find any good offers/niche or even reasonable traffic source where I can promote good offers. I don't want to go back to the rebills path but can't see a good path at this moment. Any help/suggestion would be appreciated!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fox30
    Excellent write up.

    To summarize, you made $100K by actually DOING!

    A great thing to keep in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author G Allan Roberts
    I'm an SEO guy myself... I this found part very interesting

    "And anyway, ROI doesn't matter nearly as much as how many dollars of profit you end up with in the end. I'd rather spend $300k and earn $400k than spend $100 and earn $1000. Heck you can even get an infinite ROI by getting free organic traffic. But if you're getting an infinite ROI and you make $1000, and I make $100,000 from a 33% ROI, I'd rather be me."

    It's the reverse of what I was thinking... My thinking I would to test with PPC and then replace it with SEO. (So what you are saying is your traffic sources are out side the relem of SEO)

    But your approach is to test PPC and then suck all the traffic by increasing you revenue spend.

    What about the delay between the time you do your ad spend and the time to get paid? Most networks I have used, pay out in 60 days or so. What would I do if spent all the cash in 30 days and then had to wait 30 to recoup my earnings?
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    • Profile picture of the author J smith
      Most newtorks will payout weekly if you do large enough volume (1k/week I think) you could also talk to your AM and ask them to pay you more often. After all if you have a track record and delive quality leads, then the network/am will be interested in helping you any way they can.

      I am curious on what other none rebill offers are there that pay and convert well. Dating is one of those, but I have a hard time thinking of another that does not involve buying physical products. Only one I can think of off hand is hosting services and various software that has affiliate programs.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    Excellent post and congrats!

    You hit the nail on the head, taking action is a must. Reading about taking action gets you no where fast. Also if adwords is pissing you off, don't use them. They account for less then 5% of all traffic you can buy. Screw them, use other networks, use other methods.

    Key is do something.
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  • Profile picture of the author swarnaw
    Thank you for sharing your success with us
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  • Profile picture of the author syedasim786
    Excellent post, especially for a newbie. I was about to jump into PPC marketing with only $200 left in my bank account. It's good to hear the nitty gritty behind PPC marketing besides just the Hype and how much money one can really earn from the method. You usually don't hear the truth behind PPC which is almost everyone fails in the beginning and you will loosing money at first.

    To be honest after reading your post I do feel discouraged to jump into PPC marketing with limited funds available for me to use, perhaps maybe in the near future when I have at least $1000 dollars to use for PPC.
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  • Profile picture of the author President
    Thanks for your post!
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  • Profile picture of the author mrizos
    Originally Posted by Cataclysmic View Post

    I spent almost $300k on buying traffic this year, and only about $20k of that was on Google. There's a huge world outside of Google
    ...I sooooo wish I could get a list of that "huge world". I want to move beyond Adwords.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cataclysmic
      Just wanted to say that I can't respond to PMs because I don't have the minimum 50 posts yet so the system won't let me... so if I'm not writing back to you that might be why.

      G Allan Roberts - What J Smith said about the networks paying you weekly if you do enough volume is correct. I've heard that people effectively use both PPC and SEO together as you mentioned (i.e. using PPC to determine effective keywords, and then trying to rank for those with SEO) I've never done that myself so I can't comment on it. You can definitely usually scale up faster with PPC though!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ash R
    Congratulations Cataclysmic! It's always inspiring to hear about stories like yours. And I agree, it's the net profit that matters, not the ROI. WHen you scale something, ROI tends to decrease anyway.
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    Don't sweat the small stuff :)
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    • Profile picture of the author TonyV
      Excellent post. I completely agree with one of your main points which PPV coach also pointed. The key to making money is to spend the majority of your time on revenue producing activities.
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