This is the third in a series of articles covering ‘An Introduction to Affliate Marketing’, you can find the first here An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing and the second here What To Do Before You Begin Affiliate Marketing. In this article I cover Adwords and PPC programs.
An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing. Please check back often as I will be posting more articles on this subject in the coming weeks.
An Overview of Adwords and PPC Programs for Affiliate Marketing
If you have not used Adwords to promote your business, you’ve been missing out. There is not only one of the quickest ways of advertising (you can get results within 5 minutes) but is also one of the easiest ways to reach a mass audience. You do not need good connections.
You do not need a mailing list or a huge budget (in fact, you do not even have to pay for your advertising costs until the end of the month). And you do not need a degree in computer science to “design” a web site that ranks well in search engines.
So what do you need to succeed with Adwords?
First, you need an account. If you have not registered for one yet, go to http://www.google.com/adwords to open an account.
Once you open an account, you will be able to start testing some of the features of Adwords. Try the keyword tool to find new keywords related to your niche. Use the bid tool to determine approximately how much to allocate to your advertising campaign and get familiar with Adwords.
Once you become familiar with Adwords, you will need to consider a campaign for your business. But before you do that, you need to understand two things, which will help you structure your campaigns correctly:
1) Google Adwords – and all “pay per click” advertising programs charge per click, not per impression, action or sale. What does this mean? It means that it’s up to you to make sure you are:
- paying of a fair price per click
- purchasing the right keywords
- writing adverts that people actually click on
- ensuing that clicks turn into sales.
Google will sell advertisements to you, but other than that, it’s up to you to figure out how you will get a decent ROI (return on investment).
2) There are two things determine how well an advert is listed by Adwords (but not necessarily in other PPC advertising programs), these are:
- your bid and
- your advert click through rate (CTR).
What this means is very simple: if your CTR is phenomenal, you can get a high position advert without having to pay more money for each click. If, however, your CTR is mediocre, you will have to pay through the nose for the same position. So make sure you write an advert that people will click on – or be prepared to pay.
As a new user of AdWords, you certainly have a lot to learn. But by keeping these two policies in mind, you should not stray too far from having successful campaigns and being able to capitalizing on them.
Now, with that in mind, you should not forget that there is other pay per click advertising available. Adwords while offering high quality traffic in large volumes, it also costs more to use (i.e., bids for keyword) than most other pay per click advertising sources.
You may want to consider limiting your AdWords campaigns by creating parallel campaigns with some other web sites such as Yahoo or a number of other web sites that specialize in driving traffic to your affiliate web sites.
So do your research carefully and select the advertising methods that will suit your budget. I would suggest you start really small, say up to $100 per month until you become a little more experienced in what you are doing and trying to achieve, then you can always scale things up from there.
So there you have it: a brief description of how to use Google Adwords as well as other PPC competitors.
How to write an attention-grabbing PPC Advert
Pay per click is perhaps the best advertising medium available for Internet -based _businesses and small businesses in general. It allows you to cut the fat by carefully selecting the advertising, setting a budget and paying exactly what you can afford.
They not only allow you to select the keywords you want to bid on, but you only pay when someone clicks through one of those adverts and goes to your site. This is far less expensive than paying for advertising on a billboard, which could generate a lot of “impressions”, but very little action.
Unfortunately, however, advertising through PPC programs like Google AdWords, is no pushover – despite what many gurus will tell you in their sales pitch. In fact, it may be very difficult and sometimes even impossible to obtain a reasonable return on your investment (depending on your niche) using pay per click advertising.
However, if some basic principles are kept in mind, obtaining an excellent return on investment for your PPC advertising investment can almost be guaranteed. So where do you start? Arguably the most important part of creating a successful PPC advertising campaign is to write an advert that will increase your click through rate (CTR), so this would be a good place to start.
Posting an advert that commands a high return on investment can be broken down into the following four steps:
- Choose the right keywords for your ad. While this seems like it has nothing to do with writing the ad, it actually is the first and most important step. If you want your ad to have a high click through rate, it should be tightly focused around a set of keywords that all have the same common root. This will allow you to repeat those keywords a few times during the announcement. Every time someone searches for one of those keywords and your ad appears, the result is bolded, as it is part of the keyword you searched. This will clearly stand out, drawing them to hopefully click on it.
- Avoid fancy stuff in the headline. Here, all you want is a simple description of the product or service offered: Also, remember to include the keyword in the title for example “Grand Piano for sale…”. People need to see immediately if your ad is relevant. And the best way to communicate that is to state exactly what you’re selling.
- Communicate the best features associated with your product in the first line of your advert (below the title) and describe exactly what it is that you are selling. For instance, in the advert of a “piano” above, you can add something like the following: “Choosing Between 700 pianos? “ Or “Pay only $ 500 for your grand piano.”
- Finally, in the second line, communicate a benefit associated with your product. Here, instead of saying something about your physical store, rather explain what benefit the product can have for the person. Perhaps something like “Will Save You Hundreds”. Make sure it’s compelling and relevant. Ask yourself (and possibly a friend) whether or not your advert would make them take action.And there you have it: A 4-step plan for creating an attention grabbing PPC advert. Once you have placed your first advert and allowed it to rotate, you want to start split testing it against some similar and competing adverts.The best way to do this is to alter one part of the advert at a time. For example, start by altering your title until you get a better CTR. Then work on your first line – and so on. After a few weeks of working out the changes, you should have a powerful and effective advert.
How to bid With Google Adwords
Bidding to make a profit on Google Adwords may not seem as obvious to you as the _experts say. In some of their 5 minute videos, they’ll show you fast methods to estimate the amount to bid and for which keywords.You walk away thinking you understand the process. And then something strange will happen: you will be absolutely unable to implement their suggestions. No matter what you try, you’ll struggle to even break even with your campaigns.
Why is this? Why can’t you experience success that the experts suggest is completely at your fingertips? A common culprit is the challenge of inept bid setting. Many people who are new to Adwords don’t know how to calculate amounts for profitable bidding. In fact, it’s pretty simple, but you have to work through it carefully. Here is a 3 step procedure of how to do it:
- Based on past sales statistics, determine an approximate conversion rate for the product you are selling. For example, if you usually convert 4 people out of 100 who land on your sales page, then you have a conversion rate of 4%. Even if you cannot estimate this perfectly, try to arrive at some rough measure before moving to the next step.
- Now that you have determined your conversion rate, you have to calculate how much profit per sale you make. Do not get lazy here. If you are selling an affiliate product and make a commission of 50 %, you might be tempted to simply multiply the price by ½. Actually, if you are using Click bank or PayPal, will be paying a fee to them, so you need to deduct this from your 50 % commission per sale too. Don’t forget about any other fees you may have to pay as well.
- Next, take the profit per sale and multiply that number by the conversion rate. For example, your conversion rate is 4% and your profit per sale is $50, then you would multiply 50 by 0.04 and get $2. This means that the maximum amount of money you can afford to spend (if your conversion rate is 4%) is $2 for each bid – that is your break-even point. So, spend less than that $2 and you make a profit, but any more than that and you’re actually losing money.
The most important thing to note here, however, is the relationship between all the variables.
For example, think about what it would mean if you increased your conversion rate. It means that you would profit more (without changing anything else) or that you could increase the amount you bid, without exceeding your break-even point.
If you cannot make a profit with your current conversion rate, you may need to improve your sales page.
In addition, if can increase the price of your product (and not significantly lower conversions), then you can afford to bid more and still not exceed your break-even point.
It is very likely that you will continually need to refine and tweak some or all the options and figures above in order to achieve the maximum profit possible.
Say, for example, you earn $50 per sale on a product that has a conversion rate of 4%. Given the available keywords, you can make an bid of $1 per click and get 700 visitors per day or pay 30 cents per click and get 300 visitors per day. What should you choose?
In the first instance, you would sell a total of 28 units and earn $700 ((28 x 50) – (700 x $1)). In the second scenario, you would sell a total of 12 units and earn $510 ((12 x 50) – (300 x $0.30)). Even though you are spending more per click advertising in the first case, you will show a higher profit, which means that you should select this option.
At first, this arithmetic may seem laborious and unnecessary, but it is not. Without monitoring all of these variables and making decisions and adjustments based on them, you will have no idea how to tweak your bids, and will suffer as a result.
Managing and Monitoring your PPC Performance
You’ve heard of the “experts” wild-eyed raving: ” You have to test and track,” they _will tell you . They keep harping on with regards to the virtues of tracking and testing. They will tell you that you can never have a successful business without testing and tracking.
They may even tell you that if you are not already wealthy, it’s because you are not testing and tracking. But is this all hot air? Or is there something very important about testing and tracking?
When it comes to business, being able to track the effects of all your decisions is actually vital. The experts may not track and test everything that they urge you to do, but the call is correct, you should test and track.
If you do, you can determine when something is really effective and when something just is not producing the required results.
When it comes to pay per click, you have the unique opportunity to test and track everything. While you may not be able to test and track your other forms of advertising as easily, PPC is relatively easy to track, and for that reason, you should consider using it, so that you can constantly improve your campaigns.
So what does testing and tracking consist of with PPC? There are several levels. The first level is to test and track the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. For example, for every 100 people who see a given advert you have posted, how many are clicking on it? This is your conversion rate, and you should know this, so that you can compare multiple adverts to determine which is working the best.
In the above situation, the component of “tracking” is to examine conversion rates. The “testing” is when you slowly adjust the headline in your PPC advert, testing different elements to determine what works best. Finally, you will have an advert that cannot be improved significantly – and this will be determined by tracking and testing.
Next, you will need to track and test your sales page. Again, you need to determine your conversion rate. How many sales do you make per 100 visitors? Are there significant differences in conversion rates for each advertising campaign? Are people searching certain keywords and clicking on certain ads more likely to buy than other people searching different keywords and clicking on different ads?
If this is the case then you may be able to afford to spend more money on certain advertisements, or you may want to rewrite other ads, so you can eliminate traffic is not likely to convert.
Even if you are already running profitable PPC advertising campaigns, you can probably still improve your profit margins, however, in order to do that, you need to know where the deficiencies and breakdowns are in your system. Are they on the sales page? Are they in the adverts? Did you select the wrong keywords? Did you pay too much for certain keywords? Are certain adverts not converting as you expected?
Whatever the case may be, you need to figure it out if you want to increase your profit margins. Fortunately, if you are advertising with Adwords, Google offers a lot of tools you can use to track and test your PPC campaigns.
Not only can you monitor the statistics of your PPC campaign, but you can also insert a snippet of code into your sales page, allowing you to track visitor behavior, so that you know everything a visitor does from the moment they see your ad to the point in time when they buy (or not do).
Testing and tracking may not be simple, but necessary. Even if you are running a profitable business already, you should consider testing and tracking as a means to increase your profit margins.