09 Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing

Pay Per Click Strategies

Performing search engine optimization is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to get traffic to your site. But it’s not the only way to get visitors from search engines. Pay per click advertising (PPC) requires an investment, but it can greatly boost your affiliate traffic and sales if used correctly.

We’ve all seen the “Sponsored Links” at the top and sides of search result pages. Those are actually PPC ads. (They’re also found on some websites.) Some Internet users have grown rather blind to these, but there are still plenty who click on them. Besides, when you run a PPC campaign, you’re not paying for each time your ad is shown. You’re paying for each time someone clicks on it.

Affiliates use PPC ads for a few different purposes. One is to get visitors to a website or blog where they promote affiliate products. Another is to send them to a squeeze page, where they can sign up for a newsletter or e-course. And sometimes they just direct visitors straight to an affiliate link. Your approach will vary depending on which of these is your objective.

If you’re directing PPC ads to an affiliate link, it’s important to use keywords that attract people who are interested in buying. Otherwise, you’re pretty much wasting your money. For instance, if you’re an affiliate for a company that sells leather gloves, try to think like someone who is interested in buying a pair. Perhaps he has a brand or color in mind. You could try using something like “black leather gloves” or “Cole Haan leather gloves” as your keywords. Or if you’re targeting bargain shoppers, “discount leather gloves” might be a good keyword phrase.

If you’re trying to get opt-in subscribers, you would use a much different strategy. The idea here is to lure prospects with the promise of information. That way you won’t be paying for visitors who are interested in buying something right now and will click away when they see a squeeze page. Keyword phrases that contain words such as “learn” or “information” are well suited to this purpose. The ad text should further emphasize the promise of information.

Those who want site visitors might use a similar approach as far as keywords go. In order to get visitors who are actually looking for what you have to offer, be as specific as possible. If you feature reviews on your site, be sure to include the word “reviews” in your keyword phrases. If it’s a blog, use the word “blog,” and so on. The ad text should be compelling, but usually not pushy.

Writing effective PPC ads almost always requires trial and error. You’ll need to implement a tracking method in order to see whether or not your ads work. If you’re directing traffic to your own site (or using redirects for your affiliate links), the statistical software will tell you what you need to know. Most affiliate programs also offer stats tracking that will tell you how many visitors made it to your affiliate link and how many made purchases.

If you find that you’re getting lots of traffic but few sales or click-throughs to your affiliate link, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Very low traffic can be a sign of a poorly written ad. But if you’re getting a high percentage of conversions out of that small amount of traffic, it probably just means that you’ve done a good job of choosing highly targeted keywords.

Choosing Pay per Click Networks

Ask any Internet marketer to name a PPC network, and there’s a good chance that you’ll hear the name Google Adwords. It stands to reason that since Google is the number one search engine, its pay per click offering is one of the most popular. Many affiliates make their first foray into PPC with Adwords, and they often stick with it.

Adwords has the potential to bring you lots of traffic. But it’s not the only PPC network that’s worth using. There are many others to consider, including:

Microsoft Adcenter – Displays ads on the Bing search engine and the Microsoft content network.

Yahoo Search Marketing – Displays ads on the Yahoo search engine.

7Search – Supplies search results and ads to over 500 search engines, blogs and websites.

Adbrite – Supplies ads through a content network.

Bidvertiser – Supplies ads through a content network.

After Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are the next biggest players in the pay per click game. But that doesn’t mean that all other networks are a waste of time. Smaller PPC networks have an advantage when it comes to pricing. On average, advertisers pay less per click than they would on the “Big Three.” So if you’re on a tight budget, you may do better to give them a try.

Each PPC network has rules that advertisers must follow, and it’s imperative that you read over them carefully. Some do not allow advertisers to use direct affiliate links. Some have minimum deposits that you must make. And all have certain guidelines for the ads themselves. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by making sure that you understand the terms fully before placing your first ad.

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