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Profit with the Best PPC Practices for Affiliate Marketers

Pay per click advertising, also known as PPC, is one of the most effective forms of advertising that can be used today on the internet. However, making sure that only the best PPC techniques and tactics are used does require some knowledge and work.

Targeting
As with any other marketing strategy, it is best to start off by really analyzing your target market. Exactly who are the people that would be most interested in buying the offering? This analysis is equally necessary whether products or services are being sold.

Picture the type of person who is the ideal customer for this particular product, service or business. Then, it is necessary to begin asking questions about this person. What are their interests, goals and desires? What problems do they want to solve? What is it that keeps them awake at night? This is in addition to all of their basic demographic data (sex, age, income level, occupation, type of residence, etc…) that is already known.

Devising the best PPC strategy will mean focusing on the target market. The basic steps in actually using PPC involve signing up for accounts at one or more of the top networks (Google, Bing/MSN, etc. are covered at pay per click programs), writing an advertisement, selecting your keywords and then having everything approved. Of course, this is a bit of an oversimplification, and there are several steps within each of those broad areas which PPC tips covers in more detail.

Choosing keywords
Possibly the most important factor in the success of a PPC marketing campaign is the keywords that are utilized. These are the words or phrases that will be used to show the ad. Whenever a searcher types those words or phrases into the search engine, the ad has a chance to be shown (depending on whether the bid is high enough to rank above other advertisers with similar keywords).

Choosing the right keywords also depends upon the type of campaign that is to be run. For example, something designed to work for an affiliate marketer would need to be drastically different to work for an online retailer. The affiliate marketer is advised to start their keyword research by looking to their merchant’s site for help. Usually, the merchant will supply a variety of tools, including a keyword list. This is a good place to start.

best ppcThere are a number of other tools which can help one be successful in their keyword selection (and, by extension, producing their best PPC campaign). The top free and paid tools to use in this process are covered at keyword research tools.

Whichever tool is used, the principles are basically the same. Type in a word or words into the keyword tool which describe the type of product, service or information to be marketed. Evaluate the list of potential keywords returned. Some of the words will probably seem like a great fit, while others will not. A second round of searching may be called for; take some of the returned keywords and type them into the tool. This will return second level keywords. Avoid using “broad match” as this is likely to return many keywords that are not strongly related.

Take the results of this keyword research and plug them into the campaign. Group the keywords into focused ad-groups, with each group having highly related words. Then devise an ad for the group. Do not make the common mistake of putting all keywords into a single ad group where they cannot be targeted to different ads.

Get negative
At the same time, it is important to wean keyword lists to avoid spending on keywords that will not generate sales. For example, if you are selling a site building software, those keyword phrases to include “free website builders” or “free site building software” will be highly unlikely to generate sales even if a visitor clicks on the ad even though the other terms alone probably would. By listing “free” as a negative keyword (since it is changing the intended meaning of the phrase), wasted clicks can be avoided, leaving more money for what is effective.

In AdWords, one way to find these negative keywords is in the Search Query report under “Keywords” tab. This shows exactly what searchers have typed into searches when they found your ads. This often turns up irrelevant searches that only waste money or lower the ad’s quality score.

The ads
The advertisement should provide prospects with enough information to make them want to click on the link. Many affiliate marketers make the huge mistake of sending prospects directly to the web site of their merchant. There are several problems with this strategy. First, it may be seen as deceptive if they thought they were going to be provided information and are instead sent to a sales page. Additionally, the affiliate loses the opportunity to begin building a relationship.

Landing and squeeze pages
In most PPC advertising where the goal is to get the visitors to perform a certain action, it does not make sense to send people to a regular website. For the cost of getting a visitor to the website, those who click through will likely just wander through the pages and will never buy anything or return. What is needed is a single page with a call to action. These are called landing pages. They are focused and designed to provide users with the information they need and encourage them to perform the call to action. They should have a clear connection to the keywords the ads target.

Some marketers first direct visitors to squeeze pages.  These pages give a lot of information to their prospects and entice them to leave their names and email addresses. This information will serve to pre-sell the prospects. Only once they are pre-sold, and their email is captured are they sent to the landing page or site. Now, the affiliate will have the opportunity to follow up with the prospects through email marketing. Incidentally, a great tool to have, which will automate this process of email follow-up, is an auto-responder.

Controlling costs
Ads can be designed to attract clicks from people that are most likely to purchase. Therefore, let those who are not likely to be interested know that before they click on the ad when possible. The best PPC services will also allow the ads to be targeted for specific areas, times, etc. Learn any monitoring tools the ad network offers to find out which keywords are attracting converting visitors and adjust bids accordingly.

Everyone needs to learn and the only way to know what wording, design, layout, etc. of ad will work best without testing. Continually try different ads to see what attracts visitors. Better ads also mean higher scores on ad networks, which can help an ad rank higher even when it has a lower bid.

Display network ads will generally be cheaper but require a different strategy to be effect effective. Learn more at Google Display Network.

In all cases, regardless of the goal of the campaign, monitor costs vs. returns as closely as possible.

Devising the best PPC campaign takes some consideration and planning. By first analyzing the target market, then carefully selecting focused keywords and driving the traffic to pages, which can capture the email addresses of prospects a marketer has an excellent chance of success. This is equally true for both merchants and affiliates.

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Working full time from home, I am interested in blogging, online marketing, financial topics and technology. My aim is to constantly build my knowledge of affiliate marketing and related topics while help others in the process by creating online resources that enlighten and inform.

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