AMA: Charles Ngo
Charles AMA is happening on: July 15th 2015 at 1pm EST
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Charles Ngo – Affiliate Marketing Expert – Transcript:
The AMA with Charles Ngo was held on July 15th, 2015 . This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.
I just got off the airplane – literally flew from Atlanta to Vietnam, over 22 hours. I’m at a cafe right now.
Woah, long day then.
Well, gotta power through it.
How do you find new media buyers for your team? What skills do they usually have and what training do you give them?
Due to the NATURE of my industry, most of my media buyers are found through my social circle. There’s a LOT of money involved in my business and low barriers to entry. Last thing you want to do is hire someone and they run off a month later with your campaigns. When I hire people, the quality I look at the most is loyalty, because everything else I can train.
As far as training is concerned. We have a training center. Screencasts, standard operating procedures, a curriculum, they go through my accelerator training program,and finally, they are trained by other members of my media buying team. Because I feel it helps develop existing media buyers, if they have to teach otherswith these processes, I’m able to grow my team without me DIRECTLY training them.
My question is in regards to long-form landing pages (like the one you’re using here: https://affcelerator.instapage.com/): from what you can tell, are they still as effective as other types of LPs, and what verticals/markets do you NOT recommend them for?
That landing page style is mainly for the info product space. A simple guideline I use for landing pages is the more information they have to give up, the more detailed the landing page. If it’s an app install signup, the landing page could be SUPER SIMPLE. In this case, I’m collecting an email for a high end course so I wanted it to be detailed, so I could collect HIGH QUALITY leads.
Any reason why you chose Instapage vs OptimizePress or something along those lines?
As far as Instapage vs OptimizPpress, I’m relaunching the website soon, and we’ll be using Clickfunnels. We went with Instapage because it’s what my designer preferred and was easier for him to work with.
What did you do when you made your first amount of serious money?
I guess it depends what “serious” means. It took me 6 months to make my first $2,000 profit day. Withina year of starting, I made my first million in profit online. My complete bio is here: http://charlesngo.com/the-rise-of-ngo-chapter-1/ And honestly, my story is NOT typical at all. It was the right timing, right verticals, and a lot of hard work. I think it takes the average affiliate around 1-2 years to become a full-timer.
What are the top two things that you think stop most affiliates from making money?
#1 is going to be the FEAR of losing money. Easily. If you want to become good at basketball, you just play basketball over and over. If you lose, there’s no losses really. But in affiliate marketing, it’s different. I focus on PAID affiliate marketing, which means you have to invest resources. Domains cost money, TRAFFIC costs money, ads and landing pages cost money. http://charlesngo.com/conquer-the-fear-of-losing-money/ I think the best way to get over this FEAR is to realize that it’ s necessary, and that you’re COLLECTING DATAlike a scientist. The second issue as to why more affiliates are not successful is due to BRIGHT SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME. You launch one campaign, and someone else tells you this is hot. Affiliate manager says this is hot. A blog says this is hot. A forum says this is hot. Newbies are constantly DISTRACTED and bouncing from one venture to another. The PROBLEM is you’re not spending enough time on any vertical or traffic source to MASTER it. I believe in the 80/20 rule. So in any given vertical ortrafffic source, 20% of affiliates make 80% of the profits. You can’t compete against them if you’re only giving 5% effort. To wrap the question up, the two most common issues stopping affiliates from becoming more profitable is fear of failure, and bright shiny object syndrome.
What stuff do you read? online? offline?
Offline I read 30 mins to 1 hour a day. I read a LOT of business strategy books. Some of my favorite include RHYTHYM, SCALING UP, The 4 Disciplines of Execution. I don’t read too much online TBH, I have a few blogs I like such as asianefficiency, Cal Newport Study Hacks… and most online reading is to keep up with news for my industry. And of course, I waste time on Reddit like everyone else.
If you had to recommend a course that is not yours (or any affiliation with you). What would it be?
There’s not a single course out there I’d recommend. If there’s a product I’d recommend, it would probably be the StackThatMoney private forums. Affiliate
marketing courses are just not very good in general. They are either outdated or taught by people not qualified.
If someone were getting into affiliate marketing right now, which traffic source would you recommend they get started on (e.g. mobile, display, Facebook, adwords, etc.)?
I always recommend newbies get started with Mobile marketing, as the monsters don’t have as much lead time on you. Mobile’s only been around 3’ish years so there’s not as much catch-up to do, and there’s TONS of growth due to international. Also, there’s too many issues with other traffic sources. For example, Facebook would be great, but as soon as your account gets banned for whatever reason, your learnings become wasted. Focus on the best traffic source right… xD
For those coming into IM right now with no experience, what would you recommend they read/buy to learn?
I recommend reading my blog and joining the STM forums. www.charlesngo.com/start/
If you were to advise newbies just starting out in affiliate marketing, what vertical would you have start in or does discipline to stick to one matter more?
I don’t recommend verticals, but rather I recommend you find a good TRAFFIC source to start with, because if you can master a good traffic source, you can run any vertical you want.
Charles, do you get a lot of groupies in affiliate marketing?
I have a LOT of MALE groupies, especially in Asia.
There’s a huge difference in my Asian vs my USA audience. My American readers are like, hey great to meet you, I love reading your blog, keep up the good work, bro. My Asian readers when they see me, “OH MY GODD…..WOWW….CAN I TAKE A SELFIE?!?”
So for my courses and seminars, I’m actually focusing more on the Asian market.
What’s your advice on amazon affiliate sites? Any experience?
No experience, sorry.
How would you recommend somebody start with mobile marketing?
OK, that’s a tough one, because there’s not any courses I can send you guys to, and I don’t have any guides written (yet). My recommendation is to pick a TYPE of mobile traffic – there’s banners, push ads, popunders, pay per call. Next you wanna talk to affiliate managers, get a list of top offers that matches that type of traffic source. Here’s an example. Let’s say Iwanna focus on the traffic source DECISIVE. I would talk to the traffic source manager there, and ask what’s working over there for affiliates, or I can ask my affiliate managers. They would say a few things, now you have a direction to start with. Now you wanna test a few things – offers, angles, ads, landing pages… For mobile in particular you need to test operating systems and carriers. Don’t bother with handsets.
How did you get started with those? Who told you about those options you had for mobile marketing in the first place?
Well, I started mobile marketing three years ago. Keep in mind, when I started I already had four years of experience.
The biggest advice I have for affiliate marketing is to get INSIDER INFORMATION. Whenever I launch a campaign, I DO NOT GO IN BLIND. I spy, I reverse engineer the competition, I talk to my friends, I talk to affiliate managers, I talk to traffic source managers, etc. The idea is you want to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible.
Where would be a good source to find out the different types of traffic sources? I assume something like STM forums? Up until now, I have never heard of DECISIVE. But going along those same lines of having a newbie do mobile marketing, you wouldn’t have them do something like Adwords mobile marketing, right?
I have a list of traffic sources here: http://charlesngo.com/mobiletrafficsources/
As far as other places, yeah, if you browse around STM forums, you can find some names that just keep popping up and up.
Charles, thank you for answering the groupie question. What would you say is the “acai berry” of 2015?
Probably Tech Support offers for pay per callOR iPhone 6 sweepstakes. For those of you that don’t understand, he means what is the super hot offer for this year, aka makes a lot of money, and broad potential.
Didn’t think these were hot lol.
That’s a mistake in affiliate marketing – making assumptions.
Yesss. THANK YOU.
I judge what’s hot by seeing numbers -make DATA DRIVEN DECISIONS, because I have been WRONG so many times before due to my assumptions.
I’m a newbie that is getting started on affiliate marketing with Google keywords planner and then AdWords in the women’s health and wellness area. Can you course correct me?
What do you mean by “course correct”?
As in steer me in the right direction, if it’s not something you recommend, personally.
I don’t recommend AdWords for affiliate marketing. The issue is Google hates affiliates, and it’s a matter of time before you get banned.
How long would you say it takes you to do research before you launch a campaign? As far as talking to people and looking at numbers and spying on the competition, etc.
One day. We don’t get obsessed about it. “SPEED OF IMPLEMENTATION” – we do enough research, once we find what we need then we launch and take action. I find most affiliate marketers make the mistake ofthinking too much, and it causes ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.
What do you mean by “enough research”?
When you are in the research phase, SET GOALS. For example, I want to know what are the top offers to test, where are the top traffic sources, what are the top landing pages everyone is using, what competitive advantages can I bring to the table, what split-tests do I want to perform, and in what order. One I get the main information I need, then I just move on and launch.
What are your recommended spying tools for mobile/display?
I use two – MobileAdSpy and something calledGeoEdge that lets me spy on carrier traffic. I also do a lot of manual spying. I have VA’s across the worldthat go on specific websites, scrape stuff, etc. I don’t spy THAT much.
Virtual assistants. I find that coming up with my own angles and innovations usually does better. Spying is good for bench marking and finding new ideas I wouldn’t have, otherwise.
What would be examples of competitive advantages?
Some ideas of a moat include getting an offer exclusive, getting ASPECTS of an offer exclusive, such as a landing page… you can also go direct with a traffic source, a publisher, but the idea is you don’t wanna be another affiliate who rips and copies and pastes campaigns, because other people can do the same to you.
What do you use that isn’t Google Adwords?
I found that when I have tried my hand at launching affiliate marketing campaigns – my speed of implementation is slow as far as like getting the landing page/copy/tracking set up; I recognize that I’m the bottleneck and have considered to just outsource some stuff. Any advice on tools and processes that can greatly speed up the speed of implementation?
The first thing is you have to MAP out the processes. I keep it simple with Excel. Map out the process of launching a campaign, write how long it takes for you to do it, write your skill level, and how much you hate doing it. For instance, I SUCK at programming, landing pages, design, so I have part time designers on staff. I rarely hire full-time outsources, always part time. The problem is sometimes you just don’t have work for them. I’d rather keep things LEAN as possible. Somap out your process, and outsource different parts of it that you’re slow with. Also, communication is key. I use Slack, Asana. I also establish set meetings, daily, weekly. I keep them short and concise as possible.
What do you think of video as a new means of doing content marketing? Kind of working on a test at the moment.
I’m not a fan of video marketing. Seriously, it’s a LOT of work, shooting, editing, etc. I don’t like putting in a lot of work into a video, and a lot of the results is luck, as far as virality.
If just starting off with affiliate marketing and testing out new affiliate products what is the best criteria for selecting profitable and marketable products in your niche?
The best criteria is to talk to affiliate managers and get a spreadsheet on what the top performing offers are. A lot of offers out there “look good,” but there are so many things going on in the backend that affect conversions. My feelings isif other people can make money from it, I can make money from it. I’m not afraid of competition. If there’s competition, it means there is money to be made That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life.
Coke or Pepsi? Lol
Neither, I gave up sugar… but I gotta go with Coke because I’m from Atlanta.
For how long on average do you let a single campaign run? For as long as it converts it stays?
It’s not just as long as it converts it stays. I am looking at PROFIT and TIME it takes, because if it makes $500 a day profit, but takes me 5 hours a day to run, I’m not interested. I’d rather invest that time in launching other campaigns, so I can find that one campaign that can do $5k a day profit, for 2 hrs a day of work.
When you get a spreadsheet of top offers from your AM, what metrics are you looking for to determine what offers are good to run?
Well, I sort by revenue. The next thing I’m looking for is probably payout. This is KEY for newbies – you gotta look at the payout. Here’s what I mean by that. Let’s assume you all have $500 a month to spend, which is what I had when I started. If you’re running an offer that pays $1 a lead, you can get 500 conversions, assuming you break even. That’s a LOT of information and conversions. Your goal should be LEARNING. Now assume you use an offer that pays $50 a sale – 500 breaks even, $50 a payout…10 conversions.
What is 10 conversions going to teach you about affiliate marketing?
Hey guys I only have 5 more mins, it’s 1am in Vietnam and my girlfriend’s giving me that look.
What’s a good network that will take a newbie and has good mobile offers?
That’s a tough one to answer, because it’s like graduating from college. You graduate from college and want your first job. They want someone with experience, but how do you get experience in the first place, when everyone wants someone with experience? You can try signing up for one of these networks: charlesngo.com/start, name-dropping me, saying you’re my friend, and after you apply, CALL THEM. That is the #1 thing. They need to know that you’re not a frauder from SE ASIA or somewhere.
Where are the next locations where you’re holding your AFFcelerator workshops, and do you recommend them to someone who may not have had success with affiliate marketing but is familiar with the concepts and ideas and is tech savvy?
London Singapore, Miami, end of the year. I don’t recommend my workshops to people who haven’t launched campaigns before. They are extremely pricey, and a lot of the concepts will go over your head, so I actually turn down 25% of people who apply to my program.
What’s the date for the Miami one?
Miami is Sept 18-20.
If we’d like to follow up with you afterwards, in relation to this AMA, what’s the best way to connect with you?
The best way to contact me is Twitter.com/dr_ngo. I always answer back on Twitter. Emails, etc. always get lost in the shuffle.
Wonderful. Twitter is also my preferred platform. Looking forward to connecting.
Twitter is for nerds. Instagram is to look at hot girls.
What’s the best platform for a beginner to start on with paid advertising, and how much money will they need to see the campaign gets enough data to get to positive ROI?
The best platform is mobile marketing, and as far as data, I think $200-$300 a campaign is my benchmark.
Are you also on Periscope or Meerkat?
Yes, I Periscopedtoday, actually. I’ll be doing some Periscoping on my Asia trip.
Charles, thank you very much for going out of your way to do this AMA. It is truly appreciated and hopefully you’re able to do another one in the future. Enjoy your stay in Vietnam!
Heading to Angkor Wat next week and hoping to do a session there… Thanks for having me guys. I really enjoyed it and would love to come back. just lemme know whenever.
Going to check out your Periscope broadcast. Thanks for sharing.
Periscope is @Dr_Ngo.
Take care! I gotta do some damage control… why after 22 hrs of flying, I am on my laptopand not with my GF.
Guys, I recommend his newsletter – this guy constantly inspires me to be the best possible version of myself. He drops a lot of knowledge bombs. There’s so much to affiliate marketing, it’s insane, but I think the super affiliates have the CRO aspect of it down.
Thanks… amazing job.
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