When you see a “that one government lie” banner and such, it naturally sparks your curiosity even if you have seen such silly claims a hundred times before. This is the very reason why such approaches to advertising are still out there — they yield results here and now. It is quite easy to fall down that rabbit hole and start attracting vast audiences by misleading them, but this will give you no stability. Moreover, many advertisers and affiliate networks don’t look kindly upon the so-called grey-hat and black-hat approaches. But the affiliate industry also has a lighter side — it’s called white-hat marketing. And this is what we will discuss today.
While white-hat approaches will be suitable for many offers out there, we want to concentrate on lead generation, as it is a great combination for long-lasting campaigns and stable profit. As we see the traffic sources introducing more and more stringent policies it is truly wiser to go “white” and we will tell you how you can do it.
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The meaning of “white-hat”
In some respects, affiliate marketing may be seen as an industry where people would do anything for money. This is because many are ready to do what it takes to survive in the highly competitive market and make a profit while they are on it.
Straightforward fraud, scamming, and general rule-breaking is the so-called black-hat (BH) area where the competition may run truly unethical campaigns. Both advertisers and the audience may be at the receiving end of your black-hat actions. Black-hat is usually risky but attracts many gullible people willing to believe misleading information and waste their money. This is the reason some affiliates are ready to invest their effort in cloaking their campaigns and bypassing all the possible regulations to get that profit. This approach is not suitable for a long-lasting relationship with brands and networks, and at some point it becomes exhausting for the affiliate themselves.
There is a borderline grey-hat (GH) zone which is best described as toeing the line and crossing is slightly on occasion. When you promise the customer a miraculous solution to lose a lot of weight in a week (and you know it’s a ruse) or you promote an innocent flower shop via an adult website (and you know it’s prohibited) — you are doing grey-hat marketing Or maybe you use a promotional method that is not allowed for the offer. Maybe you will get away with it, or maybe the network will kick you out since “borderline” is still not white and fluffy enough.
The white-hat (WH) dealings are, on the contrary, the most transparent kind of marketing you can imagine. Driving an interested audience to a trusty brand by describing the actual properties of the product. Nobody is under any kind of illusion here. White-hat marketing is your shining armor in the eyes of advertisers and networks. The most valued and sometimes the difficult-to-obtain customers — are the white-hat leads. It may be much easier to deceive the audience, get your reward and move on to the next offer — as you will be cut off pretty quickly for violations. But white-hat approaches are the most viable ones. You can run such campaigns for years as they are stable and kind of predictable in performance. These are the reasons why Reflex Affiliates sees white-hat lead generation as the most promising vertical and invests heavily in its development.
Offers and payouts
To be frank, you can run white-hat campaigns in almost any vertical from dating to e-commerce. But the lead generation vertical is just ideal for WH approaches as long as you work with a legitimate advertiser. Check the advertiser’s reputation with affiliate communities and forums before you launch a campaign.
The most prominent sectors (sub-verticals) of the lead gen vertical are home renovation/improvement, solar panels, finance, education, and insurance. These are usually SOI (single-opt-in) offers promoting a product or a service. The landing page describes the features and USPs (unique selling points) of the product and prompts the user to leave their contact data and to place an order.
The pricing model for lead generation is CPL or cost-per-lead and it varies depending on many factors including: GEO, traffic source, sub-vertical, etc. For instance, the CPL for death insurance and solar panels offers for a European GEO is usually about $6, while home renovation and air conditioning equipment — may be up to $11–$12. Reflex Affiliates can provide you with WH lead generation offers with rates up to $22.
The following are the sources that would perform well for white-hat lead generation campaigns. Although, bear in mind that it is not a “one size fits all” solution and you must always access your situation and run some tests.
Contextual advertising means displaying your ads in search results. This is classic paid advertising. The white-hat approach makes your campaigns fully compliant with Google and other search engines which is helpful. The clue here will be strong content and catchy headlines to actually bring the audience to your landing page.
Paid ads in social networks like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Facebook, for example, is very well-known for hunting down and banning illicit marketers, so you wouldn’t want to spend your effort running black-hat there. On the contrary, white-hat advertising will flourish on the platform. Facebook gives access to granular targeting, and the algorithm itself will help promote your ads. TikTok will be better for younger audiences, so maybe try education and finance offers on this social network. The main idea is to be catchy and make your creatives really unusual. Instagram is known for erratic algorithm movements, but e-commerce campaigns seem to run just fine and it is possible to build a dedicated community of brand followers there.
With any social network you would pay for your ads to be displayed, then send the interested users to a landing page with different CTA buttons (call to action), quality copy describing the brand’s competitive advantage, and the features of the product. Then you opt people in by asking for contact data for the order, usually it’s their email, phone number, and a zip code for the future delivery.
SEO with personal blogs and mailing lists. If you have a website or a blog that will be suitable to promote a product, you can place your affiliate links and prompt visitors to click. In case you run a push or an email subscription, you can insert the offers in between the “value letters”. Don’t overdo it, the audience does not like to feel pressure. And never do spam mail, this kind of traffic is not white-hat and will earn you a ban instead of bringing profit.
Basically, the white-hat lead generation conversion flow would include an ad, a pre-lander, and an offer page. This is an example of how you would tackle a WH lead generation offer.
- Study the brand and offer and research the target audience.
- Choose the traffic source, prepare the promotional materials, and set up the targeting.
- Attract the audience to your offer with any kind of paid advertising or as native traffic to your website. Once the interest is high enough, you get the click.4. The click transports the visitors to your pre-lander where you tell them more about all the marvelous features of the product/service and warm up their interest. For example, here we offer the visitors to calculate how much they would save by installing these solar panels.5. And finally, when the visitor is ready for purchase they click on the CTA button to make an order/get a discount/use a promotion — and get to a data submission form.
This is the step when a visitor becomes a lead. The advertiser receives the order and processes it confirming the data, the details for delivery, the additional features, and so on.
You may ask “Why bother doing white-hat if it is easier to post saucy ads and get the audience anyway?” The answer is pretty simple: white-hat campaigns are more stable and have a longer lifespan than any other kind. You don’t have to invest your time and effort into cloaking and avoiding bans. Imagine creating hundreds of accounts per day to outrun the moderators — it does get really tiresome after a while. Moreover, white-hat campaigns allow you to predict your income to some degree, and it is possible to re-launch a great WH campaign after some time, say in a year, and get the same predictably high profit. Cool, right?
To make sure that you really are running white-hat, read the terms and conditions of every affiliate network and offer you work with. If you doubt that it’s allowed to do something, for instance, use a brand logo in advertising — better refrain from doing it. The white side is the safe and secure side. You don’t want to forsake it for a minute’s surge in profit. Concentrate your efforts on really knowing the product and creating quality copy and thoughtful creatives. This will pay off, believe us. The idea of success, after all, includes stable income and great opportunities. White-hat marketing is as stable as it gets.
And if you encounter any issues or need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us. We at Reflex Affiliates always look out for you and value your success as our own. So, get out there and run some great WH campaigns!