In today's blog post, follow along a Q and A style interview I did with Clickbank!
Q: Do you mind sharing how you got your first sale rolling?
A: Definitely! I’m 32 today and about 11 years ago I was dancing for T-Pain as a professional backup dancer. After our tour ended abruptly and unplanned, I had to figure out a way to basically still be a dancer. I wanted to keep dancing and make a living from it but I was living in Dubuque Iowa — a very small town of about 100,000 people. I took to YouTube and started creating dance tutorials on how to dance the robot. As much as I’d like to day that I rocketed to the moon and made money right away, that wasn’t the case. I didn’t make any money for the first two years despite having the background I did.
I ended up getting a job at a call center where I made $27,000 a year. When I got home each night, I continued to work on my YouTube channel. After 3 years, I finally made some money. It was 43 cents to be exact! It took years of work to get there.
I realized shortly after that I needed to create a product. A subscriber actually brought up the idea of selling a comprehensive 60 minute breakdown tutorial. It took me about a month and a half to build and ended up being my first product. Within a month of launching, I made $1,000!
To fast forward, after I was maximizing the niche of how to dance the robot — which is a very tiny niche — I noticed that my audience loved my content. They started asking me where my clothes were from and which shoes I recommend for gliding. So, I told them! I didn’t understand at the time that I could partner with brands, tell my viewers exactly what they were looking for, and make a commission at the same time. Once I heard about affiliate marketing, another revenue stream was added.
Q: How did you start layering in more 1-to-1 direct affiliate marketing beyond the YouTube space?
A: After promoting these companies through my personal brand as a dancer, I hit a ceiling. I could not scale and find a return on my investment from selling my products alone. So, I had the idea to run ads for an affiliate offer for a brand called Skull that sells headphones. This was not an original idea — many others were doing this too. Back then, I was spending around $5 a day on ads and although I didn't see much return, I was making money. Promoting affiliate offers was the process that helped me break even and make a profit. I had small tiny wins and began searching for as many of them as I could.
Today, people ask me how I scaled my affiliate offers. The past year has unfortunately been very tough for many but I am grateful to say that it has probably been the best year of my life. My business is at an all-time high. I accredit this to all of the small wins I have lined up; I think I have over 320 affiliate campaigns to date. None are scaled to the moon but they each bring in about $10 of income a day. This doesn’t require any huge spending or micromanaging on my part. My small wins are drama-free and replicable.
I see ads of people with Lamborghinis flaunting that you too can make money like they do. It’s true — you can — but it’s so hard and unrealistic. However, I think it is realistic to find one affiliate offer, promote it, and make a small profit. Once you go through the mechanics of finding the offer, creating the setup, and the opt-in formula, making a profit is doable. I’ve been doing this for 11 years and I still can’t take an offer from scratch and scale it to 6 or 7 figures. Sometimes they don't even make $10,000 but that’s okay.
Q: It sounds like you are very diverse in the offers you promote. Do you mind sharing a little about them?
A: Yeah! So, I feel like I am almost creating my own little S&P 500 of affiliate offers. You could go through a list of every niche and I could tell you whether or not I have an offer that would fit. Currently, I live in a van and am an affiliate for nearly every product inside (and outside) of it from the solar panels on top to the toilet in our tiny bathroom.
Q: Are you focused more on physical products or do you promote offers for digital products as well?
A: 80% of my income is from physical products; 20% is from SaaS companies. I think both have their pros and cons. Since there are so many opportunities, I actually hired a virtual assistant who, all day long, applies to new affiliate programs. She applies to 20 to 25 a day on my behalf.
Q: What’s the average commission you receive?
A: There’s definitely a formula. I will promote affiliate offers with a commission rate as low as 5% if the numbers are right and I can break even on the front end. I actually have a spreadsheet calculator that I use before I run ads for each campaign that helps project how much I will have to pay for each lead and whether or not that number is too high given the other criteria.
When paying for ads, I don't want to waste any of my money. My goal is to get each lead for 25 cents. To do this, I create a piece of content to draw in the buyer. To view this content, the buyer must enter their email. From here, the guide, blog post, whatever it may be, is sent to the email. Within the content, my affiliate links are embedded in multiple different spots. When the customer clicks on one of these links and makes a purchase, I make a commission and most likely earn back way more than my original investment of 25 cents.
Now, not every lead buys. I also do the math for this scenario. I ask myself how many leads I can afford to pay for even if just one buys.
Leads are the lifeblood of my business. I see a lot of beginners doing the same thing I’m doing but going straight to the offer as opposed to collecting the lead. You can make money this way but it's not sustainable. What if the company you are an affiliate for goes away? What if your conversion rate drops? What if the affiliate program gets cut? You have to protect yourself long-term. I learned this through some pretty terrible experiences.
Q: I’m going to go back a step if you don't mind. You said you have a blog post that gets sent to people after they opt in. Is this a legit post on a blog or a landing page that looks like a blog?
A: Great question! I actually have a dozen different blogs. You’d only know that I am behind the scenes of one of them — my personal brand. I’ll actually talk about one that I’ve never mentioned anywhere else. It is called Simply Lioness and is a female beauty and fitness brand. This is the brand that I promoted LadyBoss and scaled a lot. The reason that I was almost hesitant to share is that if people did enough research on LadyBoss, I’m still their number one affiliate, it doesn’t really make sense that I’m a guy promoting a female fitness brand. Eventually, people would figure out that I’m tied to Simply Lioness. My team and I are on social media — you can find us on Instagram — and we are running ads. The brand is flexible and is geared towards women who are trying to improve in some area of their life. That being said, we can’t promote furniture or men’s shaving gel using Simply Lioness. It just wouldn’t make sense for the niche.
When you are just starting out, you have to pick a niche; you can’t just market everything. However, you can’t be too specific. For example, the niche of chess is too specific. What would you do if it didn’t work out? You would need to create a whole new brand and website. If you would’ve created a brand geared around games that challenge the brain you could still promote chess but if you run out of chess offers, there are still lots of others out there that would fit. Having the flexibility to pivot is vital.
Q: Is organic a strategy for you at all? Do you put out content for cold traffic?
A: For my personal brand, I focus mostly on organic traffic. I have been posting around 6 tiktoks a day for the past year. I have 800,000 followers on there solely from creating content. As for all of my other brands, I focus only on paid efforts. I see value in organic but the time it takes to grow organically is substantial. It’s possible to do but it requires you to work harder, create more content, and network more. For anybody using the organic method, I advise you to invest any money you make in affiliate commissions back into running ads. Now the first time you run an ad, you will probably lose money. It’s all a learning process.
Q: Was there a mental hurdle for you regarding spending money on ads when you first started out? If so, how did you overcome it?
A: I’ll share something that I see happen a lot to those trying to learn — I did it too. When I was first starting to learn how to run ads, I went to YouTube and soaked in all of the free material I could get. Then, I went and bought a course. The course taught me well but along the way, I was marketed to other courses as well. I thought they could teach me even more and would make me even better so I bought in. All of the sudden, six months in, I had put myself into a state of learned helplessness. I had spent $1,000 on courses and maybe $50 on ads. This ratio was backward. I was too afraid to spend money on my own tests but more than happy to spend money on education. Back then, if I would’ve invested the $1,000 into testing and lost it all, I would’ve considered it a major loss. Today, I believe that every time I lose money, it is a part of buying data to get better.
Losing your own money on your own tests is the best way to learn. Spend the $100 on yourself and learn! Get the feeling of being inside an ad dashboard. Push yourself to understand the jargon of KPIs, CPM, the CPC, the CTR. You have to get in it and try otherwise it will keep on moving and you will have to buy more courses to catch up.
Before I tried affiliate marketing, I was doing the drop shipping thing. That to me felt — and still feels — 10 times more difficult than affiliate marketing. I think one of the hardest things to do is to try to optimize an ad and get someone to click on your website. Running an ad and collecting an email feels so much easier. Maybe it's because I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m not sure.
If you want to run ads but not blow all of your money, I actually think $5 a day is enough to get a test. Run an ad and see how it does! If you spend $5 and only get one lead, you know something is wrong. In my case, it is usually my offer. This is a simple way to fine tune your offer without pouring in $100 right off the bat. You may not make your $5 back but it will guide you towards taking the right actions.
Q: What do you say to the people that say “you know, Adrian, this sounds great but now I have to learn email marketing and copywriting. I’d rather just send the user straight to the offer.” What’s your answer to that?
A: Oh yeah… I have a history lesson that left me with scar wounds for this one. As I mentioned earlier I am an affiliate for a company called LadyBoss. I heard them on stage at an info marketing event and fell in love with their brand and story. They were an amazing company! I had just been burned really badly by sending customers straight to the offers and investing in ads. I was making some money but it was barely enough to break even. When the entire operation went under, I lost a lot. I felt lost and wasted. Tens of thousands of my dollars were gone and I had nothing to show for it. When I went to this event and heard about LadyBoss I decided to give the business model and supplement niche another try. This time, I knew that I needed to protect myself as an affiliate. When you learn copywriting, when you don't build a website, when you send traffic straight to the page, you won't be in the affiliate marketing space for long. If you want to have a thriving business 10 years down the line, you need to learn the skills it takes. And believe it or not, these are exciting things to learn about!
When I first started this methodology with LadyBoss, it was life-changing. We were living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa right by a college town called Iowa City. That first week, I no joke made $1,000 every single day in income. This was 10 times what I was making before from affiliate marketing! On the Friday of that same week, the CEO hopped on a FaceTime call with me to see how I was doing what I was doing. They were thrilled. My wife and I went down to Iowa City and splurged on a fancy dinner and hotel which we had never done before. Our $300 tab at the end of the weekend was so insane to us.
Today, even though I’ve sold millions for LadyBoss, — at one point they paid me $40,000 in one month — I only made 143.79 with them in the past 30 days. How does this happen? Well, LadyBoss changed a lot. They changed platforms and commission structure. The little company that I found out about at a marketing conference is now a huge company that has scaled like crazy. Still, I only have positive things to say about LadyBoss and I think they are a great brand to team up with.
I brought around 30,000 buying customers in for LadyBoss. If I did not collect leads I would’ve gotten burned again, just like I did the first time. If you don't want to learn the skills it takes to get the leads, then maybe affiliate marketing isn’t for you! You have to do the work.
Since LadyBoss, I have not found one single offer that has produced me $30,000 of income per month. I’m actually making 2 to 3 times that amount but it's coming from 300 different brands. I don't want more than 20% of my affiliate income to come from one business. I have all these micro streams that bring in around $300 a month apiece; I feel really safe using this method. With LadyBoss, if something happened with my ads, I would stress out and lose sleep because one tiny disruption meant a huge income fluctuation. I knew that if I didn't diversify and collect leads, something could happen — and something did happen.
Because I have the leads, I am able to promote a similar brand called Pique to those customers. Pique sells premium teas that are tied to a fasting program. These teas are way above my price range but the commission they bring in is crazy! The amazing thing about this is that I didn't have to spend any money to acquire the leads — I already did that while promoting LadyBoss.
Q: Are you using your leads to make look-alike audiences for different ads?
A: Now you're sharing the good stuff! Data is the most important thing I have. Email and phone numbers are the two data points that I focus heavily on. Messenger is also great but you have to be careful because Facebook actually owns this data. Creating look alike or act alike audiences is the name of the game of scaling.
When you get to a point where you’ve tested so many things, the data you have can provide you with amazing projections and estimates. Nothing is ever guaranteed but having a lot of data will give you the confidence to try different campaigns.
Q: Before you leave, I want to fire a few quick questions at you. We get a ton of questions regarding which tools and software people should use both when starting out and when they are at the advanced level. What are a few of your favorite ESPs, CRMs, or trackers that you use to run your business?
A: I’m actually a really big fan of Convertkit. They make it super easy, or at least easier than other platforms out there. At this point in my life, I value ease of use and automation. When you live in a van and are traveling in the wilderness, there’s not WiFi all of the time. What I love about my business is that I really only work on my business for 2 days a week. Those 2 days are the days I have WiFi. Automation is key for me.
When it comes to data, I use Super Metrics. It is an expensive tool but it allows me to analyze my data efficiently.
In the e-commerce space, I use Clavio. It’s a great email CRM tool with a lot of automation built in based on if and then sequences.
To build pages, I am a big ClickFunnels user and I promote them as an affiliate. ClickFunnels is great for email building; almost all of my leads are on ClickFunnels. That being said, it is fairly expensive. Again, I love it for its automation aspect and ease of use.
In the beginning, I don't think you need any of these tools. However, as you start collecting your own data, you will see a return from them. The return might not be in the form of a dollar but it will be a return in time.
Q: Where can people find more information about you?
A: My goal for this year is to create really awesome, free content on YouTube. You can type in my name Adrian Brambila to find it or you can type in the name that I created when I was 13 — brambilabong.
Thank you so much for having me, it's been a great pleasure to be here.
As for you, my reader, thank you so much for sticking with me this far. I hoped you picked up atleast one piece of knowledge. To watch the full interview, check out ClickBank’s YouTube channel.
I’ll catch you in the next one.
Peace and God bless.