How To Successfuly Use Direct Linking In PPC Campaigns

If you are interested in Pay Per Click marketing using Google AdWords, MSN Adcenter, or Yahoo’s Overture you have most-likely heard people asking about how effective it is to do direct linking to an affiliate offer from your PPC ad. The idea in general is to cut out the middle man (your own landing page / website) and to redirect the customer instantly to the merchants landing page. Many merchants prohibits you from doing this, others do not. If you found one that does allow direct linking you still face the problem that is called Google Quality Score. Since you do not have control over the target website, you cannot modify the landing page and therefore a lot of steps to improve your quality score cannot be done.

Assuming you are still interested in that topic, I can tell you that it is possible to achieve very high quality scores and click prices of $0.02 with direct linking. But this requires some good research and does not work with every affiliate program. The most important thing to look at is to see if the landing page of the merchant is mainly made out of images or if there is actual text. Don’t even bother to work on the image-based landing pages with a direct linking campaign. You’ll see $5.00 and $10.00 minimum bid prices before you can say “Goodnight, Gracie”. ;) This disqualifies many affiliate programs from being used for direct linking, but still leaves some out there that you can use. I leave it up to you to find the ones that work.

Once you have identified the right merchant and found products providing enough affiliate commission worth doing PPC, it’s all yours. Scan the web page for keywords and key phrases and match those to product related searches. You’ll achieve the best results on 100% matches. Pick small pieces of the entire product name as an example. Often the online retailer will show the entire product name which can go up into more than 10 words. Nobody will search for the long name, but you can cut it into pieces and use those to build keyword lists. If you use so-called “buy” words, make sure they are located on the landing page and are in close proximity of your other keyword. The word “coupon” at the bottom of a page will not work well with the name of a specific contact lens in the upper part of the same page. Your quality score would suffer. Instead it might be worth looking at the actual page title and use parts of that for your keyword lists. Here comes an important piece of information. Pick your main keyword once you have build the Google AdWords campaign and dump it into the keywords tool. I had several cases now where Google actually suggested some really well converting and relevant keywords to me and upon adding them I was able to get minimum bid pricing as low as $0.02 per click.

Be warned – direct linking is difficult and requires a lot of work and volume. Volume in regards to ad groups and campaigns. Since you cannot modify the landing page there are only x number of words available. You can make up for that by promoting more products. Your ROI will be muss less compared to using your own landing page, but it can be a good indicator when testing stuff. If you break even by direct linking, try doing your own domain/landing page for the same product. If done right you can double or triple your profits and then expand the campaign. You probably now think about using Amazon for direct linking. Again, be warned. This can work, but there is huge competition and you will fight for the spots since only one display URL will make it onto a page showing search results. If you build up volume you could even promote book titles and then benefit from the tiered commission rate Amazon has. Build 500 campaigns for 500 different books and sell 25 books a day. Amazon is flooded by affiliates promoting Amazon products via direct linking. Most of them do not earn much money from it. Amazon’s reporting is 24 hours delayed and you do not always see when you’re outbid by someone else. It requires a lot of attention. But – there are many other affiliate program out there where you can use direct linking and easily earn a 20% or 30% ROI (again, think volume).

Effective Email Marketing Strategies

Although most online entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of email marketing, many do not know how to conduct an effective email marketing campaign. Unfortunately, these people will be very disadvantaged over competitors who are well versed in using subscriber lists to market to prospects.

The purpose of this article is to bridge this knowledge gap and offer some useful tips for online business owners who would like to implement an email marketing campaign to increase website traffic and of course, sales.

If you can afford to do it, hiring a professional to design and implement an effective email marketing campaign, is the quickest way to get up and running. The reason for this is obvious. Not only are such experts well experienced in email marketing, effective email marketing strategies are constantly being developed and adjusted.

Using the services of someone who can dedicate their working life to implementing successful email marketing campaigns means that you don’t have to experience the long and often expensive learning curve in order to achieve the same outcomes.

By being free to focus on your core business instead of having to spend most of your time learning and implementing new internet and email marketing strategies you will be better placed to achieve your business goals. So a professional who can design a complete email marketing campaign for you can provide an enormous boost to your business on more than one level.

However, once the decision is made to use a professional service, the difficulty is actually finding one that is of high professional quality and can deliver the best outcomes. Do not simply respond to a good piece of advertising or a professional looking website. You need to choose a professional who can demonstrate significant, long term experience, show a track record of successful campaigns, pay attention to your concerns, is able to detail and explain the strategies and can agree to a reasonable deadline for your project completion.

One of the most popular ways to use email marketing is to offer an e-course on a topic related to your niche. Ideally, such a course will comprise short, easy to digest sections, be genuinely informative and of interest to your target audience. You can also write the course in such a way that the information can be used to support selling points for various products and services. However, it is very important that you do not use your e-course to directly sell because this could be deemed to be spam. Simply offer information and links they can follow to your website where you can more directly promote your products or services.

Another very effective email marketing strategy is the publication and distribution of e- newsletters. An e-newsletter is simply an email equivalent of a more traditional print newsletter which is distributed conventionally. The cost of distributing an e-newsletter is next to nothing so it is an ideal method of disseminating information and directing readers back to your website. Most of your e-newsletter should be good quality content including feature articles, briefer articles offering helpful tips, and possibly product reviews.

You can also include graphics if you wish, however you need to be aware that people with slower running computers or on slower internet service plans may become frustrated and close the newsletter. Include links to your website pages or to affiliate sales pages and use some soft sell sales pitches to encourage your readers to click through. Although you can certainly encourage people to buy a product in an e-newsletter, you can be more convincing on your own sales pages.

No matter which email marketing strategy you decide on, you will need to monitor your results regularly. While some aspects of your email marketing strategy may be working, others may not be and will need to be replaced or adjusted. You also need to know what aspects of your email marketing campaign are most successful so that you can use them more often or more comprehensively.

For example, you may notice a spike in website traffic whenever a new newsletter is sent out. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to send your e-newsletter out more often. Just by paying attention to what is working and what is not, you can maximize your email marketing success.

Relationship Marketing for Prospects

As personal selling to cold prospects becomes more difficult and expensive and as business-to-business marketers come to realize the prime prospects in their niche markets are relatively few, relationship marketing becomes the priority.

First there were the separate discipline of advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion, event management and personal selling, then integrated marketing communications brought all those separate disciplines together in one combined approach to the marketplace. Relationship marketing is integrated marketing communications to qualified individuals.

For the business-to-business marketer relationship marketing has four components:

- Developing and maintaining a list of key prospects, which means winnowing down a mailing list of 2000 to the best 200, or to the top 100, decision-makers in your specialty.

- Staying in contact with the list and requalifying it; “Still the same decision-maker? And assistant? Same address? Same general qualifications?

- Establishing credibility with key prospects over time by offering choices of content by trade media, the Internet, phone, mail or in person.

- Being on call when a need arises. On first contact perhaps 95 percent of your key prospects will have no immediate need. But over time, perhaps 100 percent will have a need.

The last bullet point is why repeated direct mail canvassing of a large database to gain a few immediate prospects is not a wise relationship marketing strategy. Instead of harassing key prospects with that kind of mail (and cheapening the perception of your company), it is better to send valuable information to a much smaller, more qualified list and create a favorable perception with them. Include qualified opinion leaders on that list. So they may digest your information and have knowledge of your products/services when asked by a decision-maker.

How do you get the attention of decision-makers, and how do you get them interested in your products or services?

Today decision-makers are scan-readers bookmarking, or rolodexing, future resources. Unless there is an immediate need, they don’t have time to thoroughly read valuable, targeted content on particular products or services, they only have time to differentiate between good content and promotional schlock. The source of the good content gets filed, put in a rolodex, or bookmarked on a Web browser for the inevitable future need. That exchange, your good content for the decision-maker’s interest and attention, is the beginning of a marketing relationship. It is no coincidence the increasing dominance of the Internet and the World Wide Web and the resulting overflow of information have made credible, targeted content important to every business-to-business sales and relationship marketing effort.

How do you stay in touch with and on the short list of the majority of your prospects who do not have an immediate need?

Canvass your select prospects regularly offering content by phone, email or mail in exchange for more information about their needs. They will respond as their needs change and develop, or if they tire of their current provider(s). Sometimes making it onto a short list of invited bidders is as far as the prospect will allow the relationship to develop. But if you make that short list, you are conducting a successful relationship marketing effort.

Establishing the credibility of your company’s special expertise in solving prospective purchasers problems paves the way for your sales consultants to provide the decision-maker with expert professional service to customize your offering and close the sale. The consultant is introduced into the relationship as a person possessing valuable information needed by the prospect to solve a problem.