Go International for Broke
Most affiliates are still not doing this, and I have no idea why. International dating has much less competition than US, Canada, and the UK. The only traffic that has what in my opinion is a decent amount of competition is Facebook. Outside of that, if you’re having consistent success in US dating, then international dating is like taking candy from a baby. I think it’s the extra step of translating the copy that has most affiliates throw up their hands and say: “Well I don’t understand their language, I should just focus on stuff I understand.” Just so yet another trusted source chimes in about this so you have no more excuses: One Hour Translation is a terrific service. The translations are very high quality, and they do it fast.
The key to international dating is just to keep it SIMPLE, starting with offers. Make sure the offer landing page has as few fields to fill out as possible. Check out Adsimilis for some great international dating offers. Walk through the conversion funnel from the perspective of your target as much as possible. It might be foreign so you will need to translate it for yourself. For the ad copy, don’t beat yourself to death thinking about super creative angles. The competition isn’t there yet, and since you don’t understand the language, keeping it simple will keep your errors to a minimum. It’s better to test 5-10 simple, straightforward ad copy than try to come up with a few convoluted messages.
Lastly, test a LOT of images. The traffic is so much cheaper internationally that you can test a lot more ads to find the best creative. Most of the time you can direct link if your offer has a decent landing page. As for traffic sources, obviously Facebook, but if you really want to take advantage, look for direct media buys. Most international sites, especially blogs, are not monetized well yet. Find the right sites for your dating niche and get clicks for pennies on the dollar.
Buy Your Way into a Competitive Advantage
Many advertisers consider females age 30+ to be higher quality traffic, especially if they have higher income. Many experienced affiliates with track records have built up a barrier to entry after sending massive amounts of these leads over time. They get paid more than you and can therefore bid more for the traffic. This is a competitive advantage that makes the rich richer.
How do you overcome this? Well, you have to begin building your competitive advantage. Make an effort to send your offer a high percentage of what they consider to be high quality leads. Find out exactly what this is and send them this traffic. Even if you are losing a bit of money on it, consider this as an investment in your competitive advantage in promoting this offer.
After you have sent a substantial amount of high quality leads (ideally hitting caps), ask your affiliate manager for a pay bump. Keep asking for these bumps once in a while and demonstrate quality. Yes, I know that different networks supposedly scrub, shave, or whatever you want to call it, and the bumps don’t mean much. At least, however, you can now take your payout to multiple other networks and tell them you’re getting X payout at Y network. You will get the same if not higher payouts. Test multiple networks until you find the highest EPC for your offer. This way, you will eventually have a wider margin to defend against and surpass the competition.
Beat Banner Ads to Death
When purchasing ad space, purchase the most prominent, above-the-fold banner ads from your traffic source. They will be more expensive, but that also means less competition and more exposure. There is no question in my mind that these ad inventory are worth the investment over smaller, less prominent inventory.
Banner ads are great to get targeted traffic to click, but there’s a lot that can go wrong with a banner ad. The main theme that I am going to preach about banner ads is again: simplicity. I have no idea why there are so many cluttered, unreadable banner ads in cyberspace. Literally a one liner with a white background will do better than these ads. Your traffic will catch a glimpse of your ad and make a decision to read your copy in a split second before they even decide to click. Create banner ads that apply to the context of your traffic source. Make your ONE message and unique proposition clear cut and straightforward. Don’t try to jam in 5 features and 3 signup buttons. Give the viewer a reason to click on your add with a call to action to tell them so.
Let’s face it. With dating offers, we are selling sex. That does not, however, mean porn. Having a knack to find the seductive images that don’t imply porn is something you will gain over time. The more revealing your images are, the higher your CTR’s, but your conversion rate and quality score from your advertisers will suffer. For your images, feel free to try different kinds of images, but please don’t make it look like a 3rd grader put together the ad. Don’t use cartoon characters. Use believable amateur images that speak to the audience of your targeting.
Bottom line: tackle these banner ads as they are big money makers in the long run. This is where dating offers are the most lucrative as dating traffic is highly visual-driven.
The Approach is STILL Niche
I have no idea why certain marketers preach to target broad demographics. The days of throwing up a scantily-clad girl with the promise that you can date her tonight have been dead for over 2 years. The rationale is usually once you find one profitable campaign, you will make it big. The way I approach marketing, however, is not get lucky and hit it one campaign. I am building a skill set for myself that I can generate consistent income with. Stop looking for short cuts to building a cash flow you can depend on.
My job as an affiliate marketer is to add value to the advertiser by finding the appropriate potential sources of prospective customers and catering my marketing message to them. In order to do so, I need to segment my pool of available traffic into niches so I can better understand them and serve them better. The more similar my target group is in demographics the better. Then I can present an angle that caters specifically to them to attract them. The data gathered on my ads are also more dependable. I can optimize every part of my campaign according to their behavior.
I am able to better understand a group of similar people so I can even attempt to walk through their thinking as they travel through my conversion funnel. Yes, it is more work to build more campaigns when targeting multiple niches. But that will produce higher returns for your investments without question. You are actually adding value instead of throwing ads up and hoping they would stick with a broad demographic. As more niche marketers get into your targeting, the profitable broad offer you built up would vanish overnight.