|July 18, 2004
Online Using Google Adwords and Affiliate Networks
Selling online with minimal investment is now possible thanks to affiliate
networks (like Commission Junction or Clickbank) and pay per click
advertisers (like Google Adwords). The
intention of this article is not to add to the hype or to make you believe that making
money online is easy. It is not. Its goal is to get you acquainted with a few
tools that make online selling simple, and to encourage you to gain some hands-on
What Can You Sell?
Affiliate networks like Commission Junction and Clickbank
are one-stop-shops where you can find thousands of products to
sell. By gaining access to many products in one place, you only have to sign up once
and can consolidate payments from different vendors in one check.
Commission Junction carries a broad spectrum of products throughout
different categories. Clickbank, on the other hand, specializes in
informational products like ebooks, courses, and software (which generally offer
attractive profit margins).
Your first step, therefore, is to sign up with one of these networks and
look for products to sell.
Do You Need A Website?
A well designed and effectively promoted website is a great marketing tool that can
generate many revenue streams: advertising sales, affiliate sales, ezine marketing, etc.
However, the system I am describing doesn't require you to have a website.
It uses Google Adwords to generate relevant traffic to your
affiliate landing pages. In other words, once you sign up with Commission
Junction or Clickbank and get your affiliate ID, you can link
your Adwords ads directly to the sell pages of the companies you are affiliated with, and
you will receive credit for any resulting sales.
How Do You Advertise?
You have to sign up with Google Adwords. This only takes a few
minutes, and requires a small activation fee of $5. You can start creating your ads immediately
after sign-up. Your ads will look like the ones you see to the right of the Google search
results pages, and will have this format:
For example, if the product you want to sell is a "hand held orgainzer",
you should make those words the title of your ad (or at least include
them in the title). The description fields must be filled with marketing text that
entices your prospects to click (tip: you should avoid the word
"free" since you want to attract paying customers, not free-loaders).
Finally, you must include a URL, which can be the web address of the company whose
products you are selling. This URL is not that important (it is only referential)
since your ad will actually be linked to your affiliate URL (which includes your affiliate
ID). Your ad, therefore, will look like this:
Hand Held Organizer
Light weight, easy to carry
High RAM, email enabled, on sale
When Will Your Ads be Shown?
After you create your ad, you have to choose the keywords or keyphrases
that will trigger Google to display it. These will be the words that you believe
prospects will use to search for your product. Some keyphrases will be very
competitive and will require you to pay top dollar per click. Others will be less
competitive and will cost you less.
For example "hand held organizer" may be too competitive and
may require you to pay, let's say, $1 dollar per click. However, phrases like "electronic
portable organizers" or "portable digital agenda",
while still relevant to your product, may be less in demand and have a lower cost per
click (for example, $0.25). You can select a large group of keyphrases to trigger
your ad (you are not limited to just one).
Some keyphrases will perform better than others, and you may add or delete keyphrases
at any point in your campaign. In any case, Google will let you determine the maximum
cost per click you are willing to pay, as well as the maximum daily
amount you want to spend in your campaign, thus giving you a significant measure
of control over your ad expenditures. Adwords also offers a tool to help you choose
keyphrases; this tool will show you keyphrase options that you may not have thought about
(tip: be sure to read Google Adword's tutorials, demos
and FAQ's to better understand how Adwords work, before jumping on board).
How Many Dollars per Click Should You Offer?
That depends on the gross profit of your product and your conversion
rate. While it is easy to determine the gross profit of your product, it is
trickier to estimate your conversion rate (a brief period of trial an error may be
necessary before you can get a real feel for it).
Assuming that each hand held organizer you sell entitles you to a $20 commission, and
considering an average conversion rate of 2%, every 100 clicks on your ad will generate 2
sales, or a $40 profit. Your break even point will therefore be
$0.40 per click. If you offer more than that, you will on average lose money. If you
offer less, you will on average make money.
If the Google Adword's average cost per click for your selected
keyphrase is, for example, $0.20, you have found a bargain, since it is
way below your breakeven point.
It Is Not That Easy
As anything else in Internet marketing, it sounds easier than it really is.
The truth is that you will have plenty of competition bidding for the same keywords and
selling the same products. This will drive the average cost per click to near the
breakeven point. The hardest part of this system is to find a niche where you can
- A product with a high gross profit margin, and
- A large group of profitable keywords (keywords that generate a lot of
searches, that don't trigger a lot of competitive ads, and that average a low cost per
Any time you spend trying to find this niche will be time well spent.
What to Read Next
Fortunately, there are good resources out there to help you make the
most out of your Google Adwords campaigns.
A good place to start is Google
Cash, by Chris Carpenter. Google Cash teaches you how to find high profit
margin affiliate programs with little competition. In addition,
Chris shows you how to find the most profitable keyphrases, and how to
write effective ads that will compel the most qualified prospects to
click and buy.
If you intend to launch a large AdWords campaign and are really serious about AdWords,
Andrew Goodman's Google Adwords
Report may very well be the best resource you can buy. In this 150-page eBook he
uncovers carefully analyzed details and highly creative
strategies to help guarantee your success.
You can freely reprint this article provided that you include the following resource
Mario Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer who focuses on Internet marketing and web
design topics. He publishes The Internet Digest ( http://www.theinternetdigest.net ), a growing
collection of web design and Internet marketing articles, tips and resources. You
can freely reprint his weekly articles in your website, ezine, or ebook.
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