I get emails every month from new affiliates who are keen to dive straight into pay per click (PPC) advertising. Certainly, browsing the internet for online marketing will easily give you impression that pay per click is the magic key to princely profits and a life of comfort and ease.
However, there is a reason why I’ve waited until now to even mention pay per click or PPC advertising.
PPC has the potential to bring you truckloads of traffic and some downright impressive sales figures, but won’t most people don’t tell you is that it’s very easy to lose thousands of dollars getting to that point. In reality, only a small proportion of marketers are successful with PPC.
Hundreds of new affiliates end up losing lots of money and either give up on affiliate marketing all together or blame the affiliate program they’re promoting.
The truth is – PPC requires a lot more skill than most people tend to (or want to) believe. What’s more, you need to have a few things in place before you can even think about using it – like good site quality, on page optimization and effective monetization.
Many affiliates seem to think that all they have to do is get an Adwords account, bid on a few terms that have a lot of traffic, link it to SaleHoo via their affiliate link and watch the profits come in. But, I’m sorry to say, nothing is quite that easy.
That’s why I always recommend that people work on getting traffic to their website with SEO first, before they start using PPC. PPC is like a multiplier – it can push your existing sales through the roof, but 10 times nothing is still nothing. If you have yet to make a sale by another means, do not get in to PPC just yet!
For starters, let’s look at how PPC works. You would have seen the ‘Sponsored Results’ that appear on top of and to the right of your results when you do search on Google. These are pay per click ads. Advertisers write the ads and then bid a certain amount to get it ranking for specific search terms.
That’s why PPC ads are typically very relevant to your search results – those ads only show up when certain keywords are entered. It used to be that the advertiser who bid the most for the ad would get the highest ad placement – today it’s a little more complicated.
Google is now much more concerned with the quality of the landing page (the webpage the ad directs links to) and the experience the visitor will be getting when arrive there. If a visitor is going to be sent to a landing page that just asks them to sign up to a newsletter or buy something, then Google isn’t going to rank the quality of that page very highly, because it doesn’t offer the visitor any options, or much value. If you don’t have a high quality page, you will have to pay a lot more to get your ads in the top spots.
As such, it’s in your interest to create really high quality content and sales copy. Not only will your conversions increase, but your bid price will likely decrease. Likewise, the quality of your ad comes into play – the relevance of your ads copy is very important. There’s no point writing an ad about pie recipes if you’re bidding on ‘stop dog digging’.
Making sure that your keywords or search terms are in the headline of your ad is essential. People are far more likely to click on ads that contain the words that they just entered into the search engine because they look so relevant.
Another thing to bear in mind is that Google will take a look at your ENTIRE Adwords account for quality.- You can’t do much about that, and it shouldn’t stop you experimenting with a few different techniques, just make sure that all your ads and landing pages reach at least a basic level of quality.
Now: A word on direct linking. Direct linking is when you link directly from your PPC ad to the merchant’s sales page, in this case http://www.salehoo.com/learn-more, without sending people to your own landing page first. We can understand the appeal of this technique – you don’t have to build a website, and most of the hard selling work is done for you.
However, with the exception of a few canny individuals who’ve managed to turn direct linking into something of an art form, hardly anyone manages to have much success with this technique.
In fact, none of top affiliates I know (some of whom are making six figures plus) use this tactic – which should tell you something about how worthwhile it is. Rather, the most successful affiliates:
- Use PPC to direct traffic to targeted landing pages designed to be particularly relevant to the specific keywords that were entered.
- They write an effective pre-sell, that is, they introduce SaleHoo as the likely solution for the person’s problem.
- Possibly offer an added-value bonus like an eBook or additional product with purchase…
- And then send traffic to our sales page.
This technique always has a higher conversion rate than direct linking for the simple reason that SaleHoo’s landing pages might not always be directly relevant to the search terms the visitor searched for. By sending visitors to a landing page of your own first, you get a chance to prime their interest in SaleHoo so that they are feeling enthusiastic and motivated to buy by the time they go through to our sales page.
PPC is an incredibly powerful way to get traffic, as well as a great way to promote to new niches without having to build and optimize a new site. That said, it’s much more complicated than it looks, so if you’re new to affiliate marketing, I recommend concentrating on SEO first.
We want you to be successful, and I hate seeing new affiliates get disheartened because they jumped straight into PPC and lost a lot of their hard earned money.