We’ve all heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” True – but your online business actually can be. Thanks to automation, search engines and Internet sales, you can be up and running with a cash positive web business in little more than one day. The key is being able to instantaneously sell a product that already exists, without having to build a vast infrastructure of support, manufacturing or HR behind it. With affiliate marketing, you can stand at the helm of such a business almost immediately.
Here are the steps:
Create an Affiliate Account
The first step is signing up for an account with an affiliate network. These networks have direct partnerships with established companies and can “deputize” you to re-sell their products online. While there are dozens of different networks, the two prominent ones are:
These are the networks with the most high-end companies, the best reputations and the most systematic processes for paying affiliates. (In other words, they never fail to pay out money that’s owed to you.) Simply sign up for a publisher account with one of these networks. Then, you will receive links and instructions for re-selling the products of any company you choose. Any sales (or leads) recorded through your link will be credited to you and paid out at month’s end.
Create PPC Accounts
Next, you need to find customers, and fast. When you’re out to build a web business in days instead of weeks, there’s no time for newspaper ads or radio spots that you hope will work. You need to find targeted customers now: people you know for a fact are interested and who are already in buy mode. For that, you use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This is when you advertise to people at the exact moment they’re looking for what you have (example shown above.) The two premier PPC networks are:
- Google AdWords
- Bing AdCenter (which lets you advertise to both MSN and Yahoo! searchers)
With PPC, you display ads only when people search for keywords of your choice (like “free insurance quote”) and you pay only when those ads are clicked. Having an account with one or both of these PPC networks will be instrumental once you’ve selected a product to promote, which is covered below.
Select a Niche & Product
Now it’s time to scour either CJ or PepperJam for a product you can start selling. Be warned: you will have a seemingly limitless supply of companies, niches and products to choose from. This includes big-name merchants like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Sony. However, what you are looking for here is not just a product that sounds cool (or that you’ve heard of) but one that you, personally, can sell. Try to select products that you have personal experience with or great knowledge of.
Additionally, search for products with high payouts. The more a company will pay you for a sale or lead, the more attractive they are. Conversely, a company that only offers $2 per lead might be totally unprofitable. Each company’s payouts are stated within CJ or PepperJam.
Estimate Risk & Costs
Even though you’re aiming to get up and running in a day, you need to estimate risk and costs. Remember: you’re going to be promoting whatever product you select on the search engines via PPC. That means you’ll be charged every time your ads get clicked. Therefore, you need to be reasonably sure of:
- What your average CPC (cost per click) will be
- What your expected conversion rate (percentage of clicks who wind up buying) will be
- What your expected profit margins will be
- What kinds of keywords the most motivated, ready-to-buy prospects (as opposed to tire-kickers) type into search engines
- What payout the company you’re affiliate selling for is offering
For example: you’re affiliated with GEICO and decide to run ads when people search for “free insurance quote.” But let’s say the average CPC for that keyword is $50. If CJ says GEICO only pays out $6 per lead, then you need either a new product to sell or cheaper keywords to advertise on. At these cost levels, you could convert every single click (virtually impossible) and still lose money. Don’t press play on any PPC ads until you’re confident of making money or, at the very least, not losing a ton of it.
Build a Landing Page
Finally, you need a landing page, which is what people will see after clicking your ad. What you’re looking to do here is display something to the user that “continues the conversation” which began in your ad. For instance: if you’re affiliate selling citrus juice, bidding on the keyword “buy citrus juice” and showing ads that promise citrus juice for sale, the page pictured above is exactly what you would want to use. By the time they reach your landing page, visitors have pre-qualified themselves by typing in the keyword they used and clicking your ad.
Now, it’s up to your landing page to seal the deal. Use a clear call to action and a linear page layout to specify exactly how visitors should proceed. Together, your PPC ads and landing page form a 1 + 2 punch that will generate sales for you day and night, more or less automatically. Get this combination right, and your web business is as good as built!
About the Author: Bryan Cochand is a freelance writer for Adobe. Adobe software and services revolutionize how the world engages with ideas and information; anytime, anywhere, and through any medium. On their website you can find web design tools as well as many other tools to help with your online meeting.