Using Paid Advertising to Drive Affiliate Sales from Your Website

OK, so you’ve launched your new website or blog…now what? How are people going to find you and how are you going to generate the all-important traffic to your new site?

Of course, it’s critical that you build your organic rankings through the generation of unique and interesting content, links and trackbacks from popular related sites, registrations in the important directories, and more, but these activities take time.

You can jumpstart your traffic flow through paying for site visitors. It’s a great way get eyeballs to your site. However, before you start investing in paid traffic sources, you need to consider your site’s ability to monetize that traffic so that you will at the very least, breakeven with your investments. If you’re not an ecommerce site, then monetizing through paid ads or affiliate ads and links is a great way to generate revenue.

Once your site is set up to properly monetize visitors, then consider these various ways to generate paid traffic:

1. Paid Search – Paid search advertising, often referred to as pay-per-click, is by far, the most popular way to drive targeted traffic to your website. Your two best choices are Google Adwords and MSN Adcenter (which controls Yahoo and Bing). When you advertise through paid search you are basically buying your way to the top of the search results for certain keyword phrases, like “Sciatica Pain” for example.

There are potentially thousands of keywords you can reserve and bid on for your website – each will allow your ads to show up when people search those specific phrases. Your job is to not only identify these terms, but also to decide how much you can afford to spend per click. You need to make sure you choose the most relevant keyword phrase first so you know the traffic is the most targeted and will work the best. It’s suggested to make your account is set to display your ads only on actual searches and not on the “content network”.

Also, make sure specific keywords are associated with specific ads you set up in your account, and then direct to specific “land pages”, product pages or articles on your site that make sense – the page most targeted to those keywords and ads. Sending all the keywords to your homepage usually isn’t the best policy.

You can usually advertise more effectively and get a better ROI by advertising on MSN Adcenter because there is less competition and you can build a larger, more expansive keyword file at a lower cost per click. The volume isn’t anywhere near what it is in Google Adwords, but the ROI should be better and you can actually get traffic at a lower cost per click. Over time, you should be able to build amazingly large, product keyword campaigns, divided into “Ad Groups”, that will be your best source of sales and revenue.

UPDATE: Since LinkProfits is now a certified member of Google Engage for Agencies, we have access to $100 vouchers that can be used to start a new AdWords account. If you’d like to receive one of these voucher codes, please contact us and we’re happy to send one to you.

2. Facebook Advertising – Facebook has a great online advertising platform because not only do they have a ton of traffic to realize, but their targeting technology is great. You can really drill down with your advertising specifications to visitor location, demographics, and their interests in certain subjects. The closer their interests are to what your site sells the better it should perform.

You can advertise two ways on Facebook: You can advertise your site or products, or you can advertise you Facebook Fan Page, which works really well to build targeted fans. You can also do “sponsored Stories” which place your ads around related content on Facebook. At the end of the day you have to be converting the traffic with a great performing website, otherwise it may not have an ROI for you. But if you can convert the traffic effectively there really is an unlimited amount of traffic on Facebook to advertise your company or site to. Fan Page advertising is one of the top ways to build targeted fans for your company, so make sure to capitalize on that as well.

3. Site Sponsorships – paying targeted websites, on a monthly or yearly basis, to display your banner ads is a great way to advertise online. The challenge is that you will need to spend time searching out and contacting websites that have decent traffic and are highly related to your own. This is a critical step, otherwise the traffic won’t be targeted enough to give you a return on your investment.

You can use tools like Alexa.com and Compete.com to check and see how much traffic websites get before you offer them a certain amount of money to run your banner ads. Then you can track your conversion rates on the sales it generates to see how much (or not) was made and decide if that website worked for you. As affiliate marketer, it will be more challenging to see an acceptable return because you are primarily a conduit for other merchants and not selling anything yourself. By buying ads on websites that are related to your own, you can generate great traffic and sales through new sources. If it doesn’t convert well enough then you can stop the ads at the end of the month. If you test even just 20 sites a month and half of them have an acceptable ROI, over time you can build up a valuable group of partner sites that should perform very well for you.

4. Newsletter sponsorships – Newsletter sponsorships and solo email blasts are also a great way to drive qualified traffic, but again you have to find relevant enough lists that will generate enough traffic to make money. Keep everything Can-Spam compliant of course. You can do a “solo” email blast, which only promotes your company to their list or be part of their newsletter layout with a banner ad. Obviously, the solo email works best, but some companies or site owners aren’t willing to do solo emails so you have to just go in the newsletter and see how it goes.

Be sure to negotiate a great rate with the site owner to make sure the campaign works effectively. It’s critical for you to track all the clicks and sales with some kind of traffic mechanism, I usually recommend Hasoffers.com. Once you see how effective the campaign was, you can schedule more sponsorships going forward. You can have someone on your team searching Google for websites that rank well and then contact them asking what sponsorships they may have available. Effectiveness of the campaign can boil down to your subject line and creative, so make sure you have a great subject line and excellent looking HTML email creative to give it the best chance possible.

There are many other ways to send paid advertising to your website, such as: cost-per-view ads, other types of “per click” ads, and cost-per-impression advertising, however you should only test out these other types once you have maximized your spending on paid search and facebook.

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