You’ve probably seen the “death of” posts out there.
“It’s all over … doom and gloom.”
Yes, Google has slapped thousands of PPC affiliate marketers and many more will have their account closed never to be reopened.
Allow me to say that Google is not shutting down PPC accounts because it doesn’t like affiliate marketers.
It does not have a personal vendetta against affiliates.
The Google Slap is linked directly to violations. Simply put, rogue affiliate marketers have breached the Adwords TOS and they’ve paid the price.
In the process, there’s been a bit of collateral damage and a few friendlies have been hit too but overall eliminating scammy, fraudulent and deceptive offers, while a bit painful, is actually good for the rest of us.
So as the dust settles, where do we sit? Is it really all over for affiliate marketers and PPC?
Well, let’s take a look…
I've just searched three simple niches above. As you can see, many of the sponsored ads on these SERPS are affiliate ads!
This kinda gets you thinking hey…. I mean, what's wrong with this picture?
Do you really think that these guys are going to persist in promoting their PPC offers if they’re constantly losing money?
To the contrary, affiliate marketing is prospering (now that the Google axe has fallen) in a new, less competitive, lower cost PPC environment.
Well, if you’re not getting your share of the profits, here are six quick paradigm shifts that you may wish to consider.
People today want instant success. If they don’t see it immediately they think it can’t be done.
PPC traffic remains the best traffic source for top performing affiliates. If you want to become one of them, you'll need to think smarter.
Gone are the days when you simply grabbed a handful of keywords, slapped up a hastily-written ad and watched the dollars roll in.
This business has matured and it now demands higher skill levels, tools and more professionalism. Notwithstanding, great rewards are here for all who are willing to embrace the challenge.
Keep in mind that some of your campaigns will be successful, others will fail. The midas touch won't always work here.
The secret is to have patience and to persist. Learn from what’s working and what’s not and invest that knowledge into creating better, more effective PPC campaigns.
Remember Babe Ruth. He struck out twice as many times as he hit homers but he was a winner thanks to a great overall batting average.
Improve Quality Score
You will compete with other advertisers who at times will have bigger budgets than you. Not to think so is naive.
While you might not be able to spend more money, you can still get amongst the action by focusing on improving Quality Score.
Perhaps you're unaware that ad rank is determined by how much you are willing to pay per click multiplied by your Quality Score.
This simply means that if you focus on improving your Quality Score you can maintain the same ad rank as your competitors, sometimes at half the cost of what they are paying.
The biggest trick here is to chunk down your campaigns into small ad groups while maintaining a tight relevance chain between all of your keywords, ads and landing pages.
This lets the quality score brains see the strong relevance chains and tends to lead to a more positive user experience and often stronger conversions.
Target the Long Tail
There’s nothing wrong with competing on the head… But some of the keywords you’ll want to bid on will be expensive… Perhaps even in the double dollar figure range.
While they’re in high demand and will probably convert well, if you follow the leader and go head to head, you may crash and burn fast.
Have a think about targeting low cost, low competition keywords. These three and four word phrases are generally more descriptive. Using this tactic can help your ads rank on the first SERP for a fraction of what you’ll pay in the head.
Of course, you'll need more campaigns and more landing pages. This calls for more time in set up but this can be a great way to profit when you're operating on a lower budget.
Don't try and Beat the System
This one goes without saying and this is why it must be said.
If you’ve never done so, head on down to the Google TOS page and have a dig. Better to know the rules first as ignorance is not an excuse.
As I mentioned earlier, we owe the Google Slap to “bad form” rogue PPC marketers. I'd suggest giving the scammy affiliate offers a wide birth. If an offer doesn’t sit right with you, go with your gut. Slicing it, shading it and thinning usually doesn’t pay in the long run.
As an affiliate marketer you can send PPC traffic directly to the merchant. If you’re new to the game this is a great place to start. This means that you can get into the action without learning how to build a site.
The great thing about sending traffic directly to your own landing pages, however, is you get full control over visitor experience plus you can bypass double serving rules. You can also track what's working and what's not. If something's not working, you can change it!
You don’t have to spend big bucks to build your own landing pages while looking professional. There are plenty of great free web templates you can find courtesy of a Google search.
Remember, you get only one chance to make a first impression.
Commit to CANI
CANI is an acronym that was coined by the motivational guru Anthony Robbins.
Love him or hate him, I think he's got something good here.
CANI stands for Constant And Never Ending Improvement.
This last point is probably the most important of all.
Within 24 hours of launching your first campaign, get in there. No set it and forget it here!
Split test your landing pages to determine which content is converting best. Same deal for your headlines.
Test your ads to optimize CTR (Click Through Rate).
Poor conversions? Ask why? There’s always a reason. Commit to CANI.
Which keywords aren't converting? Cut out the dead wood.
Which keywords are converting? What steps can you take to push these successes higher?
The act of CANI is essential for all who wish to extract maximum success from PPC advertising.
In summary, PPC success for affiliate marketers is alive and well but in order to claim your share, you'll need to take it seriously.
I encourage you to chart your course, commit to CANI and to persist. If you'll stick with it, develop your skills and modify your approach, massive success is yours for the taking.
Here's to your success!
PS. Check out this quick video on how we improved quality score for an affiliate site by 56.5% in just a couple of minutes. It's easy when you know how.