Case Study: $2673.60 in Zip Submits

As promised, I ran a one-month case study on a particular offer. In fact, it was this particular offer-

Consumer Incentive Promotions - $250 Grocery Gift Card - ZIP SUBMIT

This is offer #553 from NeverblueAds.

Here are the final stats for sales-

CPL: $1.20
Clicks: 9,689
Conversions: 2,228

Total Sales: $2,673.60

Advertising was done solely with Google AdWords on the content network to keep the study simple.

Here are the final stats for ads-

Starting bid: $0.50/click (Beginning of study)
Ending bid: $0.35/click (End of study)
Average CPC: $0.24 (Overall)
Average Ad Position: 3.3
Total Clicks: 7443
Total Impressions: 7,005,653
CTR: 0.11%

Total Spend: $1,758.60

And the ending total-

$2,673.60 - $1,758.60 = $915.00

And for the gritty details, here is the ad I ran:

Grocery Content Ad
Grocery Content Ad

As you can see, there's nothing amazing about the ad and the URL itself is a redirect. With a little updating, this ad can be improved significantly to increase the low CTR and increase the honesty factor of the ad (as it was slightly misleading).

Keywords: food stamp, food stamps, recipe, recipes

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The Content Network: Sure, Why Not?

I started affiliate marketing at the beginning of 2007 but it didn't really take off until I started pushing, as you might guess, ring tones. It took me from a few sales a day totaling about $50-60 on Clickbank to a couple hundred per day on Azoogle.

Starting ring tones wasn't my idea. It was my friend Paul's idea and one of the things he told me he'd done to be successful with ring tones was to stay away from the content network as the conversion rates were extremely low. At the time, I had very little experience so I wasn't about to test the waters against the good advice of an established marketer. Well, needless to say, I started to do very well and here I am.

But, what I've learned lately is that I should have taken the affiliate marketer philosophy a little more seriously. When we say split test everything, we mean split test everything. Everything you can, anyway. The content network (Google, Yahoo or otherwise) is definitely one of those things you should split test on every offer.

The stigma with content matching fall along the lines of:

  • Publishers trick users into clicking, which wastes your money
  • People aren't technically searching for something when they click, so they're theoretically less interested
  • It's difficult to track which keywords or sites convert using the content network

So it's not difficult to see why people would steer their campaigns away from content-based ads, but along with the bad, you should always consider the good:

  • The content network is cheaper to place ads on
  • You can use site-targeted ads right down to a specific ad placement, which also makes conversion tracking easier
  • You can use text, banners and more to advertise to people
  • Sometimes you'll receive a larger volume of traffic on the content network

Aside from the good and the bad, there's the reality of the situation. Until recently, I honestly hadn't even touched the content network. Crazy, I know. That was until I found out that the mega affiliates are doing tons of business there and preaching about how it's a terrible place to convert. A-ha! It was a classic "IIIIII'm dumb" moment but a welcomed one.

My advice to you is that you should take nothing for granted when it comes to your business. Split test the search network and the content network. Learn how to track specific sites/ads and you'll be fine. Also, check out Google Lady's post "Adwords Content Network Tip."

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Yahoo Sucks Less – No Longer With Fixed Minimum Bids

If you're an affiliate marketer, then you know Yahoo! has had its minimum bid set at $0.10 for the longest time. Well, now they've decided to change this, but not across the board.

The change will go into effect for sponsored search keywords only and doesn't apply to all keywords. Yahoo's intention here is, as far as I can tell, to reward those sites that are more relevant and get higher clicks.

They sent this e-mail out today, titled Pricing Update: Minimum Bids will no Longer be Fixed at $.10:

Starting in the next several weeks, the minimum bids for a number of Sponsored Search keywords will no longer be fixed at $.10. Your new minimum bids can be lower or higher than $.10. Content Match minimum bids currently will remain at $.10.

This update is intended to align your minimum bids with the value and quality of your keywords. It also is designed to help improve the overall search user experience by rewarding advertisers for better quality with lower entry points into keyword markets.

The amount set as your minimum bid on a keyword in Sponsored Search can vary depending on multiple factors, such as:

? The relevance of your keywords (as measured by the quality of the ads associated with them)
? The number of bidders and bid amounts in the particular keyword market.

A keyword term becomes "active" -- switched "on" in the system and eligible for display -- when your bid is equal to or greater than your minimum bid. If your bid falls below your minimum, your keyword will not be displayed. You'll be notified of such changes and will have some time to adjust your bid.

What You Should Do to Prepare
? Get to know your keywords and their value.
Since minimum bids can vary by keyword, it is important to know which keywords work best for your business. Remember, you can check and set your bids at the keyword level. Learn more.

? Improve ad quality to potentially receive lower minimum bids.
Your minimum bids generally take your quality into account. In some instances, higher quality means that you could have a lower minimum bid. Learn more.

? Learn about updates to the account interface.
Become familiar with new tools that can make managing your keywords simpler. Learn more.

For more information on this change, please read our FAQs.

So there you have it. You can all rejoice now kind of.

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Free Money! No, But Seriously..

Although I'm sure you've seen links out there just like these, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't try to inform every new affiliate about these bad-ass offers. If you're just getting started with affiliate marketing, you'll probably want to get your feet wet with some play money, so take advantage.

First off, we have the free $50 in clicks for Google Adwords (courtesy of the Volkswagen). This only works for new accounts, so make the most of it.

Second, we have the free $25 for Yahoo! Search Marketing. Again, this is only for new customers, so use it wisely.

Third, we've got the free $50 Microsoft Adcenter coupon for new customers only.

I just saved you $125 in ad spending. The least you can do is give affiliate marketing a try, now that it's free.

Don't worry, it won't bite. Not that hard.

But seriously, if you do use it, tell me how it goes. That would make an interesting follow-up post.

Scott

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Negative Keywords – Use Them

When you're first starting out with affiliate marketing, you probably glean over blogs like mine and think "OK, noted. I'll get back to that." Well, it's time to get back to that. As the theme of this blog is generally to save you money and increase your overall profit margin, it's my job to make sure you're informed about the best techniques for saving every last penny. One huge way that will improve the over all ROI of all of your campaigns is to use negative keywords.

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are the same as regular keywords, except they tell the search engine when NOT to show your ads. For example, if you have a campaign that is focused on (for example) jobs, you'll want to get rid of a lot of obvious keywords: blow, hand, steve, rim, etc. You get the idea. That way, people searching for things like "gay blow jobs" (not that there's anything wrong with that) or "rim jobs' or even "steve jobs" won't pull your ads up and you won't get disinterested clicks.

What Are Disinterested Clicks?

Disinterested clicks are clicks you don't want. They're from people looking for something you aren't offering. In short, they are clicks that drive up your ad spend without increasing your revenue at all.

On the flip side, interested clicks are the ones you want. Even if someone is not looking specifically for your product, an interested click is from someone who is interested in your topic in general.

So How Do I Implement Them?

Different search engines allow you to implement them different ways. For Adwords, it's as simple as putting a dash in front of each keyword, like so:

-rim
-blow
-steve

With YSM (Yahoo Search Marketing), it's a bit different. When you create an ad group, there's a specific box you put the negative keywords into. As far as other search engines go, it's pretty straight forward and similar to what I just described.

Conclusion

Any time you can make your ad group more focused and relevant to the ad text and your landing page text, do it! It will decrease the amount you have to spend each time someone clicks your ads as well as increase interested clicks. That means less money spent and more money made. Hence, profit.

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Beginners Luck? Affiliate Marketing… Not Hard, Just Confusing.

Hi Everyone,

The name is William. I've known Scott for awhile now and I love his blog, so I thought I'd ask him to let me do a guest post because I used to own a blog long ago but sold it for quick cash. I've been trying to get my new blog set up but every coder I've tried to hire ran off and I've never heard from them again, so I miss writing to the masses.

Anyway, here's what I want to talk about today: with my recent success at Affiliate Marketing (which you can read about on the forums here "Killafawks Journey"), everyone was interested in how I did it and really how I started killing it over night.

Well, I'm going to tell you how I set up my campaigns and how I went about turning profits over night.

But first we've got to clear some things up...

Affiliate marketing is a tricky business and can be rough to break into but it's not impossible. If you're going to tell yourself that you can't do it then you probably shouldn't be in the field. I used to tell myself that affiliate marketing was too "big" for me and that it was already saturated. I blew it off for years and spent most of my time trying to make that next big hit website. While I read stories of people making $100, $500, $1000 a day doing affiliate marketing, in most cases within months, this amazed me. So of course I wanted to know how to do it.

I finally gave it a go and failed at it and lost a good $100 or so. I left affiliate marketing never giving it a second thought. I went back to Adsense and was fighting just to reach $10 a day. Still, people where showing up every day on forums like Digital Point and writing out their success stories all over the forum, and it wasn't long before I saw Scott's success story on there. Scott and I used to share website ideas and whatnot months before and to see Scott now take a huge step up the ladder with affiliate marketing really intrigued me. Scott was in a similar boat as me not to long ago trying to make money through Adsense and to sustain a suitable income online and now he's posting about making $1,000 a day with affiliate marketing. That just told me that this stuff is real and possible. I gave it a second chance and with the help of Scott starting me off on the right path I was on my way to where I am right now.

Anyway, I am carrying on way too long. The point is - we live in the technology age and since the internet is still young in terms of the possibilities it holds, RIGHT NOW is your only shot to make it big unless you plan on going to college for 4-6 years and trying to secure a high paying job cutting people open. Even then, some 17-18 year olds make more money than some of the best doctors in the world.

Let me repeat again - most likely, never again will you get an opportunity like the present to take a chance and make money from the internet. They may say the markets are saturated and from an online marketers view, some markets are. But not in terms of how many people are actually in them. Right now I would guess the number of online individual marketers is insanely low in terms of how much money can be made from it. The rest of the offline world thinks making money off the internet is a ridiculous idea; most still think it's either from porn or you've gotta own something like YouTube to make money. We are fine with that because there is more money than anyone could imagine and we don't need any more people trying to mine from the money pit. This is a once in a life time chance to make it big, GO FOR IT.

You can't do this half-assed. Dedicate yourself to it. Once you have gotten yourself motivated and dedicated to do this, hold to it. The money is real and the possibility of living in that dream house could be a couple days or months down the road. Not 4-6 years.

Let the Journey Begin

Once you are ready to start this exciting adventure, there are some things we are going to need to make you successful.

1. Website (in this post we will be using ringtones).
2. Affiliate Network (I suggest AzoogleAds or NeverblueAds).
3. Advertising Network (Google or Yahoo; I suggest Yahoo because of its ease of use and it's not as strict as Google).
4. Advertising Budget (I know everyone wants free free free. Sorry, no free lunches. You either fork up money to spend or you can sit at your computer desk for 5 hours a day writing articles to drive traffic to your website. Either way, time is money. Is your time justified by writing 10 articles a day to only get 1-2 sales a day or would you rather fork up $50 and make $100-150 back in 1-2 hours of setting up and testing?).

Now I am going to run through the steps one by one on how to get you up and running for Ringtones (which we will be covering in this topic, you can use the method for any niche just make sure you test).

1. Website / Domain - You're gonna want to register a domain at your favorite domain registry. We all know how to do this I hope but make sure when you register a domain to make it related to your niche. Since we're doing ring tones, do something with ringtones in the domain.

2. Affiliate Network - Azoogle has the best offers for ring tones and Neverblue has its own strong points. I suggest you sign up with both just so you can switch whenever you feel like it and test offers from both networks.

3./4. Advertising Networks / Advertising Budget - I suggest you set up a Yahoo Search Marketing account for this experiment. Go search online for the free $100 Yahoo voucher. There are higher ones I think but you might have to pay to buy those off of someone. I wouldn't suggest it because of the amount of scamming that goes around from this kind of thing. Just pay the 30$ sign up and get $130 in your account and move on to the next step.

Get Your Campaign Going

1. The first thing is to get your website content. What you're gonna want for this test is a Ringtone Carrier Page. You can either get one professionally designed for about $80 or make your own... or if you're feeling bastardly you can look at other landing pages and copy their templates from their own site and change it up enough to not seem obvious.

Once you've got your template set up, make sure you have buttons for all major carriers. Just look at other landing pages to get an idea of what the top carriers are and model it off that. Get everything set up and when your template is complete with buttons and everything is looking good, head over to your affiliate network (in this case, Azoogle).

2. Once you're in Azoogle, look up ring tones in the offers page. Now you will notice there are all kinds of offers for ringtones. Personally, I've had good success with Thumbplay and Dada Mobile. So go ahead and look up those offers and click "promote these offers by search," the little blue button on the bottom of the offer page.

*Important* This is one thing I overlooked when I first started: For most offers you will notice that they have more than just one landing page. I never noticed this since the landing page changer was a drop down menu and it's on the very bottom!

Also Remember that not every offer accepts all carriers. The top paying offers only accept the top tier carriers like Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. So pick a high paying offer like Thumbplay for your top tier sites and Dada Mobile or another offer for your low tier offers.

Once you have looked through both offers' landing pages and you've got the two landing pages you want to use for your top tier and bottom tier, save the affiliate links and put them in their corresponding places in your landing page (Example: For the Sprint button, put the top tier offer jump link so when they click, they get sent to the top tier offer).

Once you have sorted out all the links to each button you can go ahead and close up your template and you're finished with it, unless you want to add some things to it like click tracking software (I'll cover this later on down the line).

(Optional) iFraming. Personally, I just started using this method not too long ago and it's shown some great results. iFraming will basically make it look as if the affiliate landing page is part of your site, which is great way to improve trust and conversions among visitors and it hides your affiliate link at the same time. I highly recommend it but iFraming doesn't work too well with a lot of offers, so test test test.

Here's some example code for iFrames:

<html><head>

<title>Sprint Ringtones - Step 1</title>

<script>window.status = ' ';</script></head>

<frameset rows="100%,*" frameborder="0" border="0">

<frame src="affiliate link" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="auto" noresize>

<frame src="UntitledFrame-2">

</frameset>

<noframes><p>Sorry, but it appears you are using a Web browser that does not support frames.<br></p></noframes>

</html>

Let's say your site is coolringtonesdude.com. Make a carrier for each sub page, like "Sprint, Verizon etc." so it will look like this: coolringtonesdude.com/sprint.html. In your button links, point your jump link to that page so when they land there you can put something like "Sprint Ringtones" as your title and if they see the address bar, it looks legit.

Do this for each carrier and watch your conversions increase!

3. Next let's get your Yahoo campaign going. First thing you're going to want to do is get some keywords for your campaign. Since we are doing ringtones, you want something related to ringtones.

Now for keywords. If you have a Wordze subscription that would be great but I actually like to use Google Keyword Tool more; it displays search volume along with advertiser volume.

For this experiment, we want ringtone-related keywords, but don't aim for the high volume ringtone keywords. They are way too saturated with other advertisers and it's very easy to lose money with them. Let's try getting keywords for popular artists and songs. Start typing artist names in and download the 150-keyword-return list and save the keywords. Get about 15-20 of these going. Now once you have 15-20 groups of different keyword groups for different artists or songs, we can set up the campaigns.

Go back to Yahoo and set up a campaign and ad groups within for each artist. Input the keywords and bid anywhere from 10-30 cents (whatever you feel safe with). For me, it's about 15-25 cents depending on the volume of the searches Yahoo predicts. If it's low, I'll bid higher to secure top position, so when ever it does get searched I can get top 3 spots. If it's a lot of clicks I can lower it and get a good amount of clicks still.

Once you have set up all your campaigns, talk to your affiliate manager over at Azoogle and go into your Yahoo account and get your tracking code. This is where my click tracking comes in handy. They can place the tracking code in the actual landing page you are sending people to so you can find out exactly what keyword was it that converted for you! This is all I use to track keywords.

Now that you got all your campaigns up and your landing page perfect, go pass some time, watch a movie or if it's late go to bed early and pray for good stats in the morning to look over.

4. The big day! When you wake up, it's always exciting to see where you are in your daily earnings. Here are things to look out for:

a. Total spending vs Earnings - If you're in the red, don't worry it's normal. Don't get mad and quit. Getting profit the very first day is pretty damn rare. If you're converting, that's the best thing you can hope for at this point. If you had your tracking code installed, check which keywords converted and write them down. Typically I will only let a keyword rack up to around the amount of a payout before I trash it. So if there are high volume keywords that haven't converted for one payout yet trash it and repeat step 3 (keyword part) again. The point here is to eliminate needless spending and get converting keywords.

b. Your Bounce Rate and eCPC - Look back at Scott's bidding calculator and find out what you should be bidding and go back and tune your campaigns to match it. Not exactly but roughly.

c. Delete the 100 or so keywords you know didn't convert well and add more keywords and repeat the process. You might be thinking: how am I going to get rich over night doing this? This is gonna take forever! Well, you aren't going to get rich over night and you won't get rich at all unless you do this, so no excuses. This is how people generate keyword lists that convert at 1:10 and they've got hundreds and thousands of them so do the math.

5. If you're a total control freak, you can even make sub pages for each keyword group with detailed content for each ad group. This is recommended to improve conversions. It can be tedious work but it could pay off in the end. It's worked so-so for me but I no longer do it. You should test it though as it's highly recommended but honestly I hate dealing with anything website-related so I tend to stay away from it.

6. Remember, try testing out new ads. Higher CTR is good because it means you get more clicks and if those clicks are converting keywords it's just more money every day. Never stop testing and this goes for your landing pages, too. Add some nice little tricks to your landing page, like putting high trusting logos with text related to your site on there, like a Forbes logo that says something like "ring tones are a new way to express yourself." People who will notice the logo will think your site is trustworthy and will feel safer putting in their cell numbers.

That's it.

Just test new keywords every day and delete ones that don't work and next thing you know, you've got 20-50 keywords in a week that convert and you're making 2-3X the money you put into it. It's really that simple. The same method can be applied to any niche. It's really all about a decent landing page and good converting keywords. Once you reach a certain point like $100 a day pure profit from ringtones, you can go into the dating market with the same approach and work till you get it right. Next thing you know, you've got ten offers that bring in $100 a day each and you're earning $1,000 a day profit.

What are you waiting for? Go test!

Hope you enjoyed the long article and I hope it helps everyone who's new and wants to get into the field.

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Two Great Tools To Increase Your Profits

I've been working a lot this weekend and as such, I've come across some pretty great things so I thought I'd tell you about two of them.

High Performance Affiliate Marketing

High Performance Affiliate Marketing EbookOne of them I came across while reading my buddy Jon's blog. It's called High Performance Affiliate Marketing and it's a free, extremely thorough guide on affiliate marketing from getting started to making it big. We're talking over $100,000 per month big. The guy who wrote the guide made over $1.7 million last year and is set to make even more this year.

I definitely recommend the guide. I haven't finished reading it yet, but for something free, what I've read so far is valuable so go get yourself a copy (click here).

10 Ways To Increase Adwords Quality Score

Part of running a blog like this is finding information that is lost in the jungle we call the interweb. I found this link while perusing a few search results and it's helped me to increase my quality score on Adwords already. This sounds like an infomercial but it's true.

As we all know, the key to paying less per click on Adwords for the same position is getting a higher quality score. Sometimes, the way to getting a lower QS isn't a clear-cut path and it's actually pretty difficult to do.

If you're having difficulty, definitely give this post from RedFly Marketing called 10 Ways To Increase Adwords Quality Score. It was written in March of last year but the rules still apply today. No, there are no short-cuts per se, but it will definitely give you a better idea of how you can create a better quality website and adset so that Google will "like" your campaign enough to increase your quality score (hopefully). So far, it's worked for me and that spells profit, baby.

And profit is king.

Scott

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Microsoft Wants To Own Yahoo

Bill Gates Wants To Own Yahoo

And in more ways than one. If you've been hiding under a rock this morning, you might not be aware of the fact that Microsoft is throwing a $44.6 BILLION dollar offer at Yahoo in hopes to acquire their search engine and all the benefits that go along with it, such as YSM (Yahoo! Search Marketing). Not to mention, with Yahoo in their pocket, Microsoft would now be an even more looming threat to the Google gods.

Besides the blow to the ego this must be for Yahoo, it's just another blow they've sustained since the recent downturn of the economy. Yahoo is reported to have said that they're going to lay off 7% of their work force (1,000 people). That spells trouble.

So why am I posting about this, you might wonder. Well, this will have a great impact on our beautiful little affiliate marketing industry. Now, instead of three big competitors and lots of little fish, there will be a big two.

While this might normally be good, I honestly doubt the battle will be between customer service departments (meaning, their customer service on both sides will still suck the big one). It will probably be some place on either platform that will annoy us all.

Of course, who knows, perhaps some good will come of this. Both services (Adwords and YSM) have no where to go but up in terms of interface, so maybe we'll see an improvement there. Still, I can't help but wonder where this will lead. Perhaps this will end up where everyone says it's going -- an all out war between Microsoft and Google. The rumored Google OS is a pending threat to the clunky Microsoft OS line and could strike a deadly blow to Gates's empire.

Maybe that's just what we need.

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Another Cool AdWords Trick – Stop Hurting Your CTR

Google Adwords advertisers! If you don't know about this, you're only hurting yourself.

This is just a cool little trick I learned from one of my friends while chatting with them today. We were talking about a dating offer and he nonchalantly pasted a link to me and, despite how long I've been marketing, I had no idea this was a feature. I was happy to find out about it though.

So basically, you can go on Google and search for any keywords you have ads for, but in the URL you place this little bad boy:

http://www.google.com/search?q=dating&adtest=on

Yup, it's that easy. Google will say the following at the top of the page to indicate that you're viewing ads in test mode:

Warning: This page is a tool for AdWords advertisers to test their ads. For full Google functionality return to the Google homepage.

How awesome is that? On top of that, you can't click on any of the ads accidentally. This is especially great for people who have max bids above $1.00, but also good for anyone who just doesn't want to get charged for clicking on their ads.

The best part is that it doesn't run up your impressions, which directly affects your CTR (Click Through Ratio) as the formula is literally Impressions / Clicks. You want as little impressions-per-clicks as possible.

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know. Hope it helps.

Scott

** Update 2/1/2008 **

Okay, so I found out there's an actual URL you can go to in order to perform this search and it's even more powerful than I thought. Just go over to-

http://adwords.google.com/select/AdTargetingPreviewTool

You can preview your ad from different contexts, like location, which google search engine, display language, etc. Very cool stuff.

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Cool Adwords Trick

If you're an avid Google Adwords user like I am, then you probably get frustrated with it sometimes. I don't know about you but I get especially frustrated when I can't figure out exactly what users typed to pull up my ads and even though I have tracking turned on, I still don't know what actual terms converted into sales for me.

That was until today, my friends, when I stumbled on this post at Apollo SEM titled "NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!"

This was posted back in December of 2007, so if this is old news to you I apologize, but it's news to me and I felt it was worthy of sharing with you fine people. At the very least, it deserves a Sphinn.

One thing I wanted to point out was that they stated their source at the bottom of the post, like so-

Our source for learning and applying this secret to our client accounts and our own accounts comes from a November 2007 blog post by the GA-Experts. Thank you, GA-Experts, for sharing this secret with us!

Regardless, it's a great bit of knowledge to have

You're welcome.

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