This is part of an ongoing series. The easiest way to read the previous parts is to go to this link HERE. There you will find links to all of my articles; the four most recent comprise the beginning of this series.
Affiliate marketing has been around for quite some time. Networks that help put together affiliate managers with affiliate marketers have also been around for a while. These types of activities are often referred to as “cost per action.” Essentially what that means is that an affiliate marketer will get paid by an affiliate manager for performing a certain action (such as generating a lead or a sale).
By far the two largest affiliate networks are Commission Junction and ClickBank. Both of these companies are probably quaking in their boots right now. The reason is simple: Google is entering the cost per action fray.
When Google entered the search engine market we saw the face of search change. When it entered the cost per click fray we saw the face of that market change. Therefore, it does not take a crystal ball to realize that Google is probably going to change this market as well. Part of the reason why this prediction is so easy to make is because this new program is going to be rolled into the wildly popular AdSense system.
That means that blogs, and other authority sites which are widely successful at converting visitors to regular “customers,” can now get involved in the cost per action “business” without having to modify their web sites very much, thanks to the way that Google will be integrating this new system with AdSense.
Unfortunately, this program is still very new. In fact, as far as I am aware, it was really only released in the middle of June; and as usual, Google has released this program to a limited number of people on an invitation only basis.
So what does this really mean? Why am I talking about this now in an article series about building a web site from scratch?
The reason is simple: planning. Let me explain some of the potential behind this program.
Imagine for a minute that a company which has a web site, and is not very good at converting web site visitors into leads for their business, decides to spend $50 to obtain a lead using the new Google program.
You, however, have a blog with lots of loyal readers. You can decide to throw leads to this other business at a cost of almost zero (or at least at no additional cost over and above what you already have) and make more money than you ever could with the basic AdSense pay-per-click program.
Or perhaps a company looking to boost sales offers web sites some set amount of money to make a sale for them. You find out that this is a product that you already know, use, and like, and would recommend to people anyway. The amount of money you could make generating sales for other companies is truly huge.
In fact, you can now begin to operate in somebody else’s business, without having to actually BE in that business. If you know how to convert visitors into customers, you can scale a business to almost any size because you don’t have to worry about producing packaging or shipping a product. You leave that to the actual company.
To say that the potential of the field into which Google is now entering is large is like saying Mount Rushmore is a big hill. People with the ability and the know-how to convert visitors will be able to easily and rapidly enter new markets and make lots of new money, all through what Google is now doing. As I said, the potential for this goes very, very far beyond the AdSense pay-per-click program.
Now let’s swing this into the web site that I am creating. It is one thing to have a blog that people will come to read and like. It is not exactly the same thing to have a blog which will actually convert visitors into people that will perform actions just because you ask them to.
To make the maximum revenue, you need to begin to condition your visitors to perform actions based only on your request, now. That means starting a mailing list (I personally like the one at getresponse.com) at the minimum. The reason for this is simple: by starting a mailing list and then asking your web site visitors to join that list, you are beginning the process of getting your visitors used to performing actions based on your request.
Now let me be absolutely clear. When you start a mailing list it needs to have a purpose. When you send messages to your mailing list there needs to be value to your subscribers for having received the message. If all you are going to do is send one advertisement after another, you’ll quickly find that your mailing list has no readership. When it comes to mailing lists, the number of people on the list means nothing. What matters is the number of READERS that it has.
Now that does mean that you will need to come up with two sets of content: one set for your blog, and another for your mailing list. However, doing this will be well worth it. In fact, coming up with content for your mailing list need not be all that challenging. There are numerous “article directories” that you can find on the Internet using any search engine. Simply go to an article directory to obtain relevant, valid, articles for your business to send out. This way you can get other people to produce content for your mailing list for you for free.
So what does that mean for the web site we are building? The answer is simple. A mailing list will need to be created, and you will need to have content to send to the subscribers. As I stated above, finding content is easy. I’ll simply use an article directory to find relevant, interesting articles that will matter to my readership, based on the market my blog serves, and send those. Content for my blog will continue to come from me, as it always has.
The one thing I can not stress enough is the need to get started now, training your visitors to do something because you asked. This is probably one of the single most important things that you can begin doing now to prepare for when the new Google cost per action program goes live.
Now, before I begin getting all of the flames in the comments section, let me say that the purpose for doing this is not to simply manipulate your site’s visitors. The real goal is to provide your site’s visitors with another service, more content, and an additional method you can use to build a relationship with your visitors. However, do not let me hide from the fact that doing this also helps to prepare for when Google starts their new addition to AdSense.
The other thing I cannot stress enough, is to make sure that you are not promoting something simply because it makes you money. If it is not a service you have used, tried, and like, then you should not be asking other people to try it. The reason for this is simple. If you promote something simply because it makes you money, and that product turns out to be no good, your visitors will blame you for having promoted it to them. Promoting a product for which you do not know the quality, or the customer service of the company producing it, is a fast way to put yourself out of business by accidentally promoting bad products.
Not only that, but by using the Google program to promote products that you are already familiar with, you can now provide honest, heartfelt endorsements for those products. In all honesty, it is the endorsement of a product which will get you the most sales. It will be through telling your visitors that you have experience with a product, that you have experience with the company, and that you find both to be exceptional, that you will get the most sales in the first place. Therefore, let me say again that you should only endorse or recommend products for which you are a customer.
Unlike with Commission Junction, where the number of available companies was still somewhat limited, I predict the new Google cost per action program that is being rolled into AdSense will draw a great many companies. Further, because of the economies of scale, affiliate marketers are likely to get paid much more money than they ever did under the Commission Junction program. The reason I believe this is because of Google’s tendency to use an auction format. If you remember, when the AdSense program was started, the average cost per click was relatively low. However, as more and more people started using the AdSense system, prices were driven up (in some cases rather rapidly). I foresee the very same thing happening with the new cost per action system. In this case however, the prices going up will likely happen a great deal faster, thanks to the huge number of AdSense users.
I truly believe that Google’s new program is likely to completely change the business models of many web sites on the Internet, just as the AdSense program did.