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How To Promote Affiliate Programs With Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

by Marlon Sanders

For many products, pay-per-click search engines can be very good. The idea is that you decide what you're willing to pay per click through to your website.

In fact, now that advertising prices are much cheaper than they used to be, you could really clean up on pay per click. It all comes down to knowing your numbers. What marketers call your metrix. We'll talk about the metrix of advertising in a moment.

If you know that you make $1 for every visitor to your website, you could theoretically bid 75¢ per click and make money. Assuming, of course, the traffic was the same quality as your existing traffic.

Of course, I've found with advertising that is rarely the case.

The most well known of the pay-per-click engines is Google AdWords.

The thing about ANY method, including pay-per-click advertising is that it changes over time. It seems like not that long ago when I wrote the first version of this product.

I was talking about using "GoTo". That was the name for what later changed to "Overture" and is now called "Yahoo Search Marketing", and who knows what the next name for it or Google Advertising might be.

The main thing is you have to pick a method and specialize in it. Become an expert in it.

In the pay-per-clicks, what you do is bid on all the logical words. Then, you watch your clicks like a hawk and see what converts and what doesn't. Next you cut out the bad words. You probably won't be profitable until you cut out the words that generate a lot of clicks but no sales. Those are the dead wood that cost you money but don't make you money.

You can hunt down the other pay per click search engines by typing "pay per click" in google. I know I tried advertising on Findwhat, Kanoodle and some others. I got clicks but my clicks didn't convert. However, I have talked to otther marketers who DO make money using other search engines.

That's what you'll find with many of these methods. Whatever you do, you need to become an expert at it. That expertise is your competitive advantage. I don't know of any way to make money where you just click a button and forget about it.

I've seen methods like that before. But if they're that easy, in a heartbeat everyone else finds out about them, starts clicking the same button and the market is saturated overnight.

The path to profit is gaining specialized knowledge and information. What does that mean? That means becoming an expert. Buying "how to" products. Learning what you're doing. Becoming better at it than the next guy.

The words you bid on have vastly different conversion ratios. What often happens is that you bid on a word that gives you high clicks and almost no sales. That will screw up your numbers really fast.

So you track everything and kick out the words that don't produce. You have to tweak and prune. You do that and you'll soon be profitable.

Here's a really goofy trick for learning more about the pay-per-click search engines. Go to any of them and type in "pay-per-click" or "how to make money with pay-per-click." You'll find websites devoted to the topic. Ebooks you can buy. Special services. The whole deal.

The price of profit is study and experimentation. Everybody I know who makes money in this business makes it by working at it.

Once you know how much you're making from an associate program on a dollars-per-click basis, you theoretically should be able to buy lots of traffic and make money.

The thing is, with affiliate programs you aren't making ALL the profit. You're only making part of it. So you need to watch your numbers like a hawk.

There are FOUR basic approaches to Pay-Per-Click ads:

1. The name squeeze method

When people click on your ppc (pay-per-click) ad, they go to a page for which the ONLY purpose is to get you to subscribe to the list. Then, you receive an e-mail daily, weekly, or some combination thereof until you buy. This is called buy or die. You send e-mails until they buy, unsubscribe or die.

Here's a website that is a GREAT example of that: http://www.guineapigsecrets.com.

Sign up for the mailing list, and you'll receive the most amazing e-mails about guinea pigs! The great thing about these follow up e-mails is you could take many different types of products and follow the same basic formula.

Yet another site famous for its follow up e-mails is http://www.doubleyourdating.com.

You're going to receive e-mails several times a week. They are long, in depth and fascinating if you're into the topic. Of course, if you're genius enough to write e-mails like these, you could probably easily write your own product. Pay attention to how he did his initial opt-in page. It's a great example of how to do it correctly.

Also, consider the length of the e-mails you send. To a business audience, you may send shorter e-mails than to a consumer audience. You can test different e-mail lengths and see which ones get responded to best.

Another guy I've mentioned who does just an amazing job with his follow up e-mails is Matt Furey. Matt will send you an amazing story or e-mail almost daily.

All of the above sites are built on the premise of "get the opt in and follow up by e-mail until the cows come home."

You can't argue with it. It does work. We have a system we've set up for our affiliates that inserts your reseller idea into the weekly tips we send out automatically for our affiliates. That system is located at http://www.emailbux.com.

2. The site review method

Another method of using the ppc's is the site review method. If you search for "PDA," "dating," "computers" or other popular words, you'll likely find that most of the ppc ads offers reviews. For example, there could be "PDA reviews," "dating site reviews" or "computer hardware reviews." Since people percieve reviews as offering value presumably from an objective standpoint, these types of ads generally get good clicks and conversions.

However, the technique has been used a lot. So I'm not sure it's as potent as it used to be. As a matter of fact, I just checked the topics "PDA" and "computers." I see comparison and review sites in the "organic" listings (the free search engine listing section) but not in the paid ad section.

Like I said, what works at any point in time changes. But the principle of offering a freebie of some sort to generate a lead and then follow up like crazy remains the same. What changes is simply HOW that method is executed at a point in time.

As for the site review method, some people have weakened it more by hiring writers for $5.00 or $10.00 an article to pump out massive numbers of reviews on products in all sorts of categories. That translates into this method being used in lots of niches. And used in such a way that the experience of the consumer with the review is less than stellar. Meaning that next time, they may be less likely to click on a review ad.

Like any other technique, when everyone does it, the power gets diluted. The same goes for the "free report" method I've taught you. Free reports have traditionally worked extremely well in direct response marketing. However, if everyone starts using the same technique, you have to apply your brainpower and think of something else.

I've already mentioned how my friend Jim Edwards went to an audio format with his "Friday night smackdown". And Stephen Pierce is doing weekly online videos. These are examples of thinking ahead of the competition. Being ahead of the learning curve. Instead of copying what others are doing, applying some brainpower and thinking ahead of others.

You too can do this just by asking yourself, "What is everyone doing right now? What is the next logical step?"

3. The articles method

A third method I've seen used in the ppc's is the articles method. Thus, you'll see an ad that says "resource center offers free articles on XXXXX."

This is another approach I've seen taken. The idea is that people perceive value in articles on their topic of interest. The disadvantage might be in the quality of clicks. Maybe the people who click are more interested in learning than buying. If you're making money on an affiliate sale basis, you want to attract the buyers.

4. The buyer's guide method

To attract buyers, here's a method that is NOT overused at the moment I'm writing this.

You produce a buyer's guide on whatever the topic of the affiliate program is. So you could have a buyer's guide to Internet marketing products, or PDA's or computers. Or whatever.

If you provide a buyer's guide with true value, the method will likely work. But the more people take the quick fix way out and produce low quality buyer's guides in mass, the less likely the method is to work.

The problem is, you need volume to make money. So people find ways to crank out stuff in volume. But the problem is, they often do so the cheapest way possible. Which means the quality is low. And in the end, it ruins it for everyone.

Here's another thing to understand: All traffic is not created equal. You can convert a high percentage of visitors to sales from one source of traffic and a low percentage from another source.

Traffic quality is everything.

In our associate program at getyourprofits.com, we sometimes get an e-mail from an affiliate who sent us so many clicks and didn't make a sale. They want to know why.

The answer is that clicks mean nothing. Where did the traffic come from? What is the quality of the traffic? How does the traffic match or fit the program being promoted?

Those are the questions you have to answer.

In our associate program, we see the traffic that comes through our site. We can see every visitor and how long they spend on our site. We use (Human Click) from liveperson.com for this purpose.

We will see traffic come through from a source that is obviously some form of paid advertising. The visitors will stay on the page only a few seconds and NEVER click to a page two.

It makes me wonder if the advertising the person purchased is really a computer program that generates false click throughs. Why? Because if real people were involved, by default someone would click to page two sooner or later.

So the old saying "buyer beware" holds true. Don't buy a large amount of advertising from any source until you test a small quantity.

Why There Is No Such Thing As Cost Per Impression Or Cost Per Click

Let's say you send 1,000 visitors to a sponsor or affiliate program. You buy those visitors from a pay-per-click search engine for a .10 each. In U.S. money, that is $100. Now, let's say you made two sales.

What you really paid is $50 per sale. You spent $100 to make 2 sales. So those two sales cost you $50 each. If you made 10 sales from the same traffic, your sales would have cost you $10 each.

What I'm saying is, ultimately there is no such thing as pay-per-click. All you really have is pay-per-sale. You bought traffic. You made 10 sales. The 10 sales cost you $10 each. As long as your affiliate program pays you more than $10 per sale, then you made money.

Your goal is to double your money at bare minimum. Triple is better. So here are a few bottom line figures for you.

Assume a conversion ratio of 1/2 of 1%. That is low for some sites. High for others. But it's a good figure to use as an example. That means you make 5 sales for every 1,000 visitors you send your affiliate program or sponsor.

If you pay .10 each for those visitors or $100, and you make 5 sales, each sale costs you $20. So your affiliate program needs to be paying you a $40 to $60 commission for those numbers to work for you.

If they're only paying you $20 a pop, then you need double the conversion. You better be converting 1% of your visitors to sales.

Let's say you're on a pay-per-click search engine and that primo top spot costs you 50¢ per click. What are the numbers?

For every 1000 clicks, you're going to pay U.S.$500. Let's say your program turns 10 of those clicks into buyers. You have $50 a pop invested in each sale.

If you want to double your money, you better be getting $100 per sale. To triple your money, you need $150 per sale. Either that, or you need a higher conversion percentage than 1%.

Let's say your program converts 2%. Now what are the numbers? You have 20 sales. 500 divided by 20 equals 25. Each sale costs you 25 smackers. To double your money, you need a commission of 50 bucks a pop from your affiliate program sponsor.

How To Convert Advertising Costs To Cost Per Click

Same story. You go to a banner advertising network, blog advertising network (or other advertising resource) and buy $500 of advertising. You get 1000 clicks when your advertising runs. Your cost per click was 50¢.

But cost-per-click means nothing. You can't bank that. You can't buy food with it. You must have sales. So you get 1,000 clicks and the same 20 sales. You're back to the same numbers as above.

The point is, in actuality, you aren't buying advertising. And you aren't buying clicks. The only thing that matters to you as an affiliate is cost-per-sale.

What if your program isn't giving you conversion rates that are profitable for you? Or they aren't paying you as high a commission as you'd like. What do you do?

You have to try to increase your conversion ratio. The way you do that is by writing an endorsement for the product and placing it on your website. By adding testimonials or other proof the product works. By displaying photos of the product.

You have to work on your end BEFORE the click to increase the results AFTER the click.

Perhaps you ask people to contact you if they have questions about the product. Perhaps you use one of the instant messaging systems (see resources) to allow people to contact you live with their questions.

Another thing you can do is juice up the incentive to subscribe to your mailing list. That way, you can follow up with your prospective customer more than one time.

This puts the odds in your favor.

Marlon Sanders pioneered the popular e-book format and invented the 2-page mini-site format, thereby revolutionized the entire self-publishing and Internet Marketing industries. He is an evergreen Internet marketer who has created excellent products for the most crucial aspects of online marketing and marketed them better than almost anyone else. Check out his all-new 2006 version of "The Amazing Formula" that has helped so many people make 6-figure income with their own capabilities. Here is the CD-ROM that best reflects who Marlon is, his business strategies and what makes him click.

 

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