Recently, I created a post on Digital Point Forums in order to help those that are either new to Azoogle or those that are frustrated and need a little guidance to make their first dollar. In general, people seem to be having a lot of difficulty getting their campaigns off the ground, so I thought I'd help anyone with this problem out and give them a little push in the right direction.

First off, you should register with AzoogleAds if you haven't already. Next, you should get very familiar with the interface. Once you've checked both these things off your list, it's time to choose your offer(s).

Choosing Offers

Choosing the right product is probably the second hardest part of affiliate marketing, next to advertising. There's definitely no right answer when it comes to choosing products, and in general, I like to test every product I come across. Honestly, that's the best way to determine which products actually work for you to sell. Just think, if you could test every product you saw, you might find just 5 that convert profitably and you'd already be in business.

The downside to this way of choosing is that it requires a decent investment. There's no way you can do a good job of testing a few hundred offers without spending at least a few hundred per day and the sad part is that it's just not realistic for most people who are just starting out, unless you've got ungodly amounts of free traffic. Most people will be using PPC (Pay Per Click) to generate their traffic, which makes this idea very difficult.

So instead of choosing all products at once, you should start from the top and work your way down. That's right, even if the payout on the offer is $1.00, you should test it. I can tell you from experience that you really will never know unless you try. Some of my best campaigns running right now are for offers that pay less than $2.00 per lead. Not all will convert profitably, but some will and those are the ones we're counting on.

On the other side of the token are the more expensive offers. You might think it's best to just run the expensive offers, but then, so does everyone else. So this automatically creates a very high-competition environment and therefore, increases minimum bid prices tremendously for PPC. What that means is that searches that would normally require a $0.10 minimum bid to stay active are more likely to cost upwards of $1.00 (MINIMUM) to stay active. Some bids are set at $5 and higher for the top positions, so you have to really know what you're doing to make these work. Or you have to be really lucky. Do you feel lucky, punk? :) Well, do ya? Most people aren't, so I advise you to wait until you get much better at what you're doing until you think about attacking the offers that pay $50+/lead. Everything else is fair game.

Landing Page, Frames and Redirects, Oh My

Choosing whether to use landing pages or another method depends solely on the product itself. There are some products that work very well just being framed, but keep in mind you have to make sure the company you're selling the product for allows framing. As a general rule, if you don't see it stated on the website, you should definitely ask directly and only set up a framed page if they allow it.

Redirects would be great in a world where search engines didn't care how a customer gets to the product they like, but unfortunately they do. You can try redirects out for a while but as sure as the sky is blue, the search engines will check each link you have over time and eventually, you'll see your bids sky rocket. What they're great for is short-term testing of offers before you get an actual landing page.

Landing pages are generally your best bet for increasing your chances of making a sale (in most cases). The reason for this is that they allow you to pre-sell the product from a personal perspective and add information you think is vital for the sale, vs. just having the potential customer wander around aimlessly. You can tell them exactly what to do to get what they need. True, it takes time to make landing pages and if you aren't particularly gifted at it, it can get expensive to have other people make them for you, but for $50 you can get a decent landing page that will most likely earn that much back within a few days. Of course, if you don't feel like shelling out $50 for a landing page, you can always "borrow" other peoples' landing pages but you should only do this short-term while you're modifying it to look unique. People don't like duplicates and neither do search engines. One thing I like to tell people is that they can always use software like WordPress to create their landing pages, especially if they're doing something like a review site where there are multiple reviews. Each review can be its own post and that way, you don't have to do all the messy coding.

One word to the wise- Azoogle generally doesn't like websites with free hosting. The idea behind this notion is that free websites are generally supported with ads and provide a bad end-user experience and our goal as affiliate marketers is to provide the best experience for the end-user as possible so that they're more likely to complete a sale and stay happy with it.

Mailing Lists

Another benefit to having a landing page is being able to collect opt-in emails from your visitors. Using a service like AWeber (www.aweber.com), you don't have to come up with any coding (they provide it for you) and you can send out mail blasts that don't take up any of your server resources. That and everything is handled for you as far as opt-outs and things of that nature. Personally, I use AWeber for all my mailing lists because their service is second to none.

To set up email collection on AWeber, just set your mailing list up (give it a name and a reply email) and then go to 'Get HTML' for that particular mailing list. You can choose from a hover-over form, a pop-up form or an inline form (one you can just place anywhere you want on your landing page). On this blog, I've placed just such a form on the top right so I can keep people updated on the latest and greatest on Affiliate Marketing, but you might do the same thing to keep people posted on (for instance) Christmas Tree products.

So why would you want to collect emails? Well, just think-- if you spend $0.25/click getting people to your site, would you rather settle for one sale or would you rather have the chance to sell to them twice, three times or more? Exactly. If you collect emails from your visitors, that means they are obviously interested in what your landing page has to say and they will most likely be interested in similar offers. If you were to get, for example, 1000 emails and you have a 1% conversion rate per broadcast that means a $10 product will get you $100 for.. wait for it.. FREE! That's right, if you aren't collecting emails, you are losing business, period.

Additionally, with AWeber you can set up what are called Follow Up Messages. Essentially what these are are pre-written messages that go out on specific intervals after the sign up of each person. Put simply, when a person signs up they would get an email right away (the first follow up message), then maybe 5 days later they'd get another message from you, and another 5 days after that. You specify the wait in between messages.

One more thing AWeber allows you to do is create dynamic messages. All that means is that instead of writing one person's name, you'd put in a place-holder for their first name and AWeber will automatically fill it in for you when it sends out each message.

Sure, there are other services like AWeber but I've tried several and none of them compared to it. So my advice to you is to go get your account right now.

Advertising

If you have little to no experience with advertising, it can all seem very daunting at first. True, there are a lot of parts to get used to but once you're familiar with the general process, you'll find it's really easy. In general, search engines are the best place to advertise, so I'll cover the basics here. When people talk about PPC (Pay Per Click) they're most likely referring to search engine traffic that you pay for.

For those just getting started, I recommend steering clear of Google AdWords as it is very easy to spend a lot of money there without getting much in return. Instead, I tell people to try Yahoo! Search Marketing or Microsoft AdCenter. What they lack in traffic, they make up for in consistency. It's far easier to keep your ads up and running with YSM and AdCenter than with AdWords.

With that said, there are several key points you should know before you sign up with any of these search engines:

  • They take your money up front, which means you need a funding source before you've made any money. This can be the downfall of your business if you don't do it right (more on this later).
  • If you don't maintain a high CTR (Click Through Ratio) on your ads, they will show less and less often until they stop getting displayed, so it's important that you watch this.
  • They aren't something you can set-and-forget; ads and keywords take finesse and tweaking and interests change over time, so don't get locked into the mindset that you can just let them run forever.

Besides that, there are some basics you should know about their systems. The grouping hierarchy of these ad networks goes like this:

Campaign > Ad Groups > Ads & Keywords

That is to say, each campaign can have many ad groups and each ad group can have many ads and keywords. Simple enough, right? Right.

Ads are triggered when people type the keywords (e.g. 'christmas trees') into search engines. Ad Groups exist to group specific keywords that will display the same set of ads. Campaigns exist (in general) to group Ad Groups and to set a daily/monthly spending limit for that group of ads. That's basically all there is to it.

Here's an example of a way you could organize a campaign for Summer.

Say you want to limit the campaign to $50/day. You would create a campaign called 'Summer Sales' and set the spending limit to either $50/day or $1500/mo.

Then you might create an ad group for 'swimming pool quotes' that would house all your ads that are specific to quotes for swimming pools and in that same group, you would add different variations on keywords that you think people would type into search engines to find swimming pool quotes (e.g. 'swimming pool quotes', 'pool quotes', 'new swimming pool', 'inground swimming pool', etc.).

The next thing you would do is set a maximum default bid for the keyword group (say $0.10/click), which means that the maximum you are willing to spend on any given click is $0.10. Additionally, you can set individual bid prices on keywords to anything you want. The idea here is that the more you spend, the closer to the first ad position for a given search your ad will be. You should be aware that the higher your CTR (Click Through Ratio) is, the higher your quality score will be and the higher your quality score, the less you have to pay to stay in any given ad position for a search term. Always keep this in mind when creating your ads: the more people click, the less you pay in the long run.

One last thing you should be highly aware of when creating ads is that there are two different types of traffic you can get from a given search engine: content and search. The content side of the network is made up of thousands of websites and in general, this is poor quality traffic. The reason for this is that a lot of clicks on these types of ads are accidental and so you will pay for them but they will most likely not lead to sales. My advice to you is to only use the content network when necessary. However, the search network is great for targeted traffic. People go to search engines when they're interested in finding something to buy and that's exactly where you want to be.

Funding

Where you get your money to pay for advertising is completely up to you and far be it from me to interfere, but should you use credit to pay for your affiliate marketing business, I have a couple of tips for you.

First and foremost, make sure you have enough money to cover your advertising expenses times two. So if you are planning on spending $3000 in a month, make sure your credit can handle $6000 or more. The reason for this is that services like Yahoo! Search Marketing will pad how much they charge you to cover your money. Essentially, they want 3X your daily spend in your account at all times. So if you are averaging $100/day, they are going to want $300 in your account at all times so any time your account dips below that much, they will charge you until they're back above that point. That's just how they roll, so be prepared.

Secondly, hammer your affiliate manager until they give you net 15 payments (payments every 15 days). The official way to do this is to write them an email requesting net 15 payments so that your business can thrive and you can drive even more sales for them. As long as you've actually done some sales, they will usually allow it and you can pay your credit card off.

Also, make sure you pay attention to your ending balance for the payment period on your credit card. THAT is the amount you should pay off when you do get paid from Azoogle, not the whole balance. To the best of my knowledge, you won't get charged if you pay that amount off before the due date.

Conclusion

When you put it all together, you will start to see the dead presidents piling up (mostly George Washington at first). Now that you're armed with the knowledge and a starting point, go out there and kick the tires and light the fires, baby. Remember, you should never stop researching and you definitely need to go deeper than I've gone here to really understand the process.

I hope you put this knowledge to work for you. Let me know when you start earning the money. I'd love to hear about it.

- Scott

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