Step 3: Find a good affiliate merchant that targets your niche
In order to find a merchant that offers a relevant product and pays you a good commission, check out these affiliate networks and directories:
When you're choosing affiliate merchants, ask these questions:
- Do they offer a product that directly solves a problem you've identified?
- Do they allow direct linking to their sites? Some don't. Check the terms and conditions before you commit.
- Does the landing page generate pop-ups? If so, then forget it. This is not allowed. The back button on the page also has to be functional.
- Is there a strong landing page for the product? If you send click-throughs to an irrelevant page, a confusing sales process, or a site that's just plain unappealing, then they won't convert and you'll end up wasting your money.
Step 4: Write a PPC ad that drives buyers to the affiliate merchant's site
Take a good look at the landing page your ad is pointing at and make your ad directly relevant to it. Your ad must:
- address the specific problem you've identified.
- include the keyword you've bid on, preferably more than once.
- reflect the keywords of the landing page.
- highlight a benefit of the product.
- include a strong call to action.
You can give your ad an extra boost by adding your keyword, or part of it, to the display URL at the bottom of the ad. The actual target URL will contain a big, ugly affiliate ID number, but the display version can show the domain name plus a subdirectory with a word or phrase that makes it look relevant to the search, like this:
Before you create your display link, check out the PPC competition to make sure it's unique so your ad won't be bumped. The better your ads, the higher the click-throughs will be, which means your ads will be rewarded with better positions for the same money. It's worth polishing them, and then testing them to see which ones are performing the best.
Running a pay-per-click affiliate campaign probably won't generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for you right off the bat--but it is the easiest way to leverage the keyword research and PPC skills you've developed in building your own site. And when Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing join forces sometime this year, you'll get the traffic from both, even if you only advertise on one. That makes direct linking even more appealing.