In this edition of Affiliate Spotlight, we are delighted to speak with Joe, an active member on our forex affiliate forum who gives some interesting insights that are thought provoking and perhaps questions most forex affiliates have been asking themselves at some point.
Hi Joe, thanks for joining us for the affiliate spotlight interview. Let’s get started with some details about you.
I’ve been in the forex industry for close to five years. My profession is that of an affiliate manager in another sector and forex is something I love and promote on a daily basis. I do have a couple of websites but prefer to not mention them. I make use of different strategies when it comes to referring traders that goes beyond my websites. I also trade on a weekly basis and put my trading skills to the test.
In your five years in the industry, what would you say has changed and what do you think are the present obstacles affiliates might face?
Well, five years is not much of a long period. However, one thing that stands out is that the forex affiliate space has changed quite a bit. In a nutshell, its become more competitive and aggressive, if I may say so.
The biggest challenge affiliates face today are competing with fellow webmasters and affiliate/IB companies that come to the playing field backed with deep pockets. For an average affiliate, it is difficult to compete with such biggies especially when you are running the same race as them.
You mentioned that your websites are just a small part of the business. Could you share some marketing tips with the community?
Well, obviously I can’t go into details. But I can do offer some points that will help affiliates to think.
Firstly, look long term. Most webmasters think that in order to make money promoting brokers and referring traders, all they need is a website filled with 20 – 50 articles and they are done and within a few months time, when they see no sign ups or conversions, they start complaining and some just give up.
As with any business, unless you come up with some innovative product or strategy, you cannot expect profits to come through within a few months. Pay a lot of attention to your domain name, who you want to target and which brokers you want to promote. Just because you promote one broker and they don’t bring you enough results doesn’t mean that you suck. Experiment with a different broker and so on.
The Internet today offers not just websites but a multitude of ways for users to interact and exchange information. Social media is still picking up and is largely unexplored by most forex webmasters. However, just tweeting your way or posting your links on your facebook page won’t get you anywhere. Build a solid plan, think like a trader and where they hang out and then pursue it. The results you get are just amazing.
Also note that traders today are very savvy and look to multiple resources to make their decision.
That’s quite some insights Joe. What advice would you give affiliates who want to get started promoting forex?
Don’t get disheartened by big websites/companies. If you look closely, you will see that what got them to be popular are the very same things you must do. I won’t talk much about SEO (which is important), but get your basics right.
Choose the forex broker(s) you want to promote carefully. Do they have mass appeal or do they cater to a niche segment. How easy is their conversion process, how good is their retention and acquisition team and so on.
If a broker doesn’t work for you, then stop wasting your time and move on to the next one, eventually you’ll find a broker that fits like a glove.
Don’t spend too much money. One of the basics with any business.. and to draw a parallel from forex trading itself, which is to buy low and sell high; I revise this as spend less, earn more. Spending money doesn’t guarantee returns, so play it smart.
Forget the broker reviews. When you google for forex reviews or broker reviews, almost all the top 20/30 results are majorly filled up with reviews from different websites. This is an age old tactic used by webmasters which is starting to lose its steam.
Seriously, if I was to choose a forex broker, I would look beyond the 600 word review articles that is mostly filled with crap or the same information you find everywhere.
What is the one thing that annoys you when it comes to forex affiliate/IB marketing?
I hate these flash in the pan websites that come up every now and then. They think that by purchasing press releases and investing in adwords, they would see big money at the same pace. Well, truth is that in my five years I have seen websites come and go.
While in the long term such flash in the pans don’t quite threaten the long term affiliates, in the short term it does increase the competition quite a bit that could jeopardize the regular affiliate.
How many hours a day do you dedicate to promoting forex?
I usually plan in advance. Weekends are when its relaxing without any pressure or unwanted distractions. I set out with a weekly goal. Which is either to increase my # of leads/depositors being delivered or to explore new options. There are times when ideas just come out, which is when I usually make a note of them and research into the options a bit more closely.
Eventually this planning allows me to spend not more than one or two hours a day.
Do you consider yourself a forex webmaster or a trader, or both? Do you think it is relevant for an affiliate to know what forex is?
My background is mostly marketing. Then I got introduced to forex by ‘mistake’ (it was Saxo bank). I initially thought it was some kind of an online investment scheme and started exploring it.
For someone who wants to promote forex, it is essential that they know what the business is all about. A well informed webmaster is one that is able to understand the end user/visitor to your website a lot better. You end up giving a better user experience, which translates to better conversions.
So yes, it is relevant that a forex affiliate knows what forex is all about and at some point did trade forex themselves.
Can you share some resources for forex webmasters in order to learn more about forex and stay updated with the latest trends on the Internet?
There are many resources to be honest and one only needs to search for them. However, besides the Internet, I also subscribe to at least 3 forex magazines. These journals help me to understand new and upcoming innovations in the industry and also at times steer me into unchartered waters such as advanced trading systems and so on.
To stay updated with webmaster trends and updates, I stick to a couple of forums including this one. More than reading up on websites, I think forums are a great way to share/explore new methods and you can ask questions, even if it makes you look silly, at least people don’t know who you really are.
What criteria do you choose when you decide to promote a forex broker?
1. I look at their website and the information they offer. Most importantly the daily market updates, economic calendar, well thought out and elaborate FAQ’s. If I refer traders to a broker, then I expect them to provide a full service. In other words, I would not want my traders to look at other resources etc to get their daily dose of information.
2. Account opening is another key point. If its too difficult then its not my kind of a broker to promote. Its surprising how some forex brokers still employ age old methods to verify trader accounts and how long it takes. Deposit methods are also equally important. While most brokers allow credit/debit cards, its always an advantage to partner with brokers that offer a wider choice of deposits/withdrawals.
3. Tracking. If my broker does not have a platform where I can see the trader’s who I have referred or how much they deposited, then there is no point. I don’t fall for the “we are honest and we will send you weekly reports” pitch. Truth be told, the account manager I deal with is someone remote and possible someone I haven’t known for long. Transparency is key!
Thanks for your inputs Joe. To conclude, where do you see the forex industry heading in the coming years?
From a webmaster/IB point of view, I think only the long term webmasters will survive. Also relying too much on search traffic is something that webmasters need to move away from. Building up good sources of other traffic will help webmasters survive any changes to search algorithms and penalties.
While we see lot of brokers coming up these days, only a few will manage to sail through. Innovation will always be the driving factor and more weight will be given to credibility and transparency. Brokers need to go the extra mile to convince their customers that they provide a safe trading environment.