May 28, 2020

6K MRR + huge affiliate marketing learning for you

Yannick Veys @YannickVeys

We hit another significant milestone this week. We reached $6,000 MRR after a little over six months of being in business.

6k MRR BABY

Super proud so many people are finding our Twitter scheduling and automation tool super handy!

I decided to dedicate this milestone to an exciting learning all Indie Hackers can benefit from.

How affiliate marketing can accelerate the growth of your Indie Project

We’re running an affiliate marketing program that is very successful. With affiliate marketing, you’re outsourcing a considerable part of your marketing to people who can directly benefit from it. As an Indie Hacker who’s mostly into code, this gives you access to a worldwide marketing team.

You can learn a lot from what your affiliates are saying about your product. Most Indie Hackers are probably also too shy or too modest to appear on YouTube.

Below you'll find a small selection of videos created about our product on YouTube. (There are dozens)

YouTube results on Hypefury

Here I’m doing a Google search without including our domain to see how many other pages are talking about us. A big part of that is because of affiliate marketing.

Google search results on Hypefury

Yes, we offer a significant part of our revenue to our affiliates, but a considerable gain in marketing effort is offsetting it. They are generating the awareness for our product, and we only pay a fraction we would otherwise pay if we did it all our selves.

Below you'll see the search volume and number of clicks on our branded keyword Hypefury (taken from Google Search Console).

Branded search Google

Biggest takeaway up until here: affiliate marketing works great, and I suggest every Indie Hacker starts a program themselves. Most Indie Hackers are not that good in marketing. Luckily other people can do it for you!

The dark side of affiliate marketing.

Look back at the graph containing the brand name Google searches and clicks. Anything out of the ordinary? What’s weird about the chart? Look at April 20th and beyond. Our number of clicks drop. Not much, but you can definitely see it in the graph.

I decided to start digging in Google Analytics and found one traffic source that was sending a lot of traffic.

Bad affiliate

Someone was sending a bunch of traffic to our website… Hmm, 🤔 who could it be?? :)

If you’re running an affiliate program, the answer is usually simple—your affiliate.

I’m okay with them running Google ads on keywords like Twitter scheduler, social media tool, etc. But that’s not what happened here.

I searched for our brand name in Google and lo and behold:

Google ad

We were advertising on Google!! Complete with a nice Trademark icon. It looked legit. Just like the big guns!! :)

Except this wasn’t us. This was one of our affiliates stealing our traffic. Our branded traffic.

You can advertise on your own (Indie) brand name for a penny a click. So this person is having a laugh sending all that traffic that would otherwise still visit our website via its affiliate link.

If you have an affiliate program or are planning on starting one after this post, the number one rule you must add to your affiliate terms is that they can’t advertise on your brand name and misspellings.

You can’t completely stop people from advertising on your branded searches. You can, however, prevent them from using your brand name in their ad (except for the visible URL). You have to file your trademark (as a Word, not an image). Once you receive your Trademark number, you can apply for brand name protection with Google.

Affiliates who’re doing this kind of marketing aren’t delivering extra traffic. They’re leeching off of your existing traffic. It only costs you money, and it’s the lamest form of affiliate marketing.

Doubling down on our affiliate program has been one of the key drivers of our growth, and we suggest everyone to set it up yourself. Just be vigilant because even if you have clear rules (like we do) some affiliates still try to go for the quick buck.

Stay vigilant! Happy growing!

Loading comments...
Today's Top Milestones
  • Delete a user account for the first time😣
    I sent a notification email to users and one of them DMed me on Twitter, saying he wants to be removed from AskMakers… Ouch! My heart got bumped a bit
  • Started something new!
    Hi Indie Hackers! Like many of you, I've read the super interesting [post](https://www.indiehackers.com/post/creating-dynamically-generated-images-for
  • First $100 in Ad Sales
    Just last night I closed 2 ad spots for remotists.substack.com at $50 each. Both were for remote tech roles for a global audience. I recently added a
  • Created a demo Weather Widget
    I built the first of hopefully many demo widgets over the weekend to show what's possible with sheet2api. This one takes a spreadsheet which has been
  • Finished MVP Launched on Gumroad.com
    After looking at my case study for gumroad. People asked me create a service that needs complete redesign their websites. I created a bunch of example
  • New features
    Super happy that I've now added spaced repetition and revision notes to Mathematico! Spaced repetition: when users complete an exercise, it gets added
  • First 100+ likes on Facebook page
    Last month we were focused on gaining first users and fixing bugs. Here's what we tried: — engaging our personal FB audience through a series of annou
  • Blinding Lights - The Weekend, software UI Lyrics
    How to showcase UI in a more interactive way and dance while doing so? Showcasing UI is often boring, that's why we've created a video with lyrics in
  • Idea Validated
    Friday I launched an ad campaign on Facebook to validate the idea. How did I do it? - Made a nice looking add using Canva - I've already experimented
  • June update
    Even tough the weather mostly has been fantastic in June I've managed to put in some significant work on QuizMe since I have vacation from day-job. I'