I’ve been so busy lately trying to work out some kinks in getting my first webstore online that I’ve somewhat neglected my affiliate marketing endeavors. However, as the site is slowly coming together I find myself starting to think about how I’m going to market it. As I previously posted, I have had no end of SEO related sales calls, some of them totally discounting the value of PPC advertising. I think that is rather misguided. SEO alone is like having one leg on a stool. You need more legs if you want to stand securely!
Pay Per Click advertising gets you results fast, and it also helps you really drill down to find the money words, if you’re doing proper analysis. This can really help inform you when it comes to SEO, and choosing what keywords to optimize around. So I set out on a quest to find some tools to really help me do that proper analysis, and along the way I’ve discovered a couple great ones. If you’re into affilate or pay per click marketing, I highly recommend you seriously consider these.
Disclaimer: This is not a sales pitch, and even though my affiliate links are in here (you can only be an affiliate once you’ve purchased) I honestly do recommend these products. Evaluate them on their own merit.
I’ve been looking for a way to quickly build campaigns that are trackable at the keyword level for a long time. I’m fairly handy with Excel so I’ve limped along with some homebrew solutions for quite a while, but when I found Affiliate Radar I knew I needed it. Their slogan is “Don’t Fly Blind” and it’s true. If you’re an affiliate marketer and you’re not tracking the performance of every keyword you’re advertising on, I can almost guarantee you’re both losing money (even if you’re making money) and at the same time leaving money on the table.
The great thing about AR is that I’m now able to easily implement keyword-level and ad-level tracking on pretty much any search engine I choose. I can send all the traffic to one page if I wish, and the software will handle it all for me. Later on, I simply go into my affiliate network, grab the relevant report, import it into AR along with my cost data and boom – it spits out a gigantic report that gives me cost / revenue data per keyword / ad across all my campaigns all at once! It takes seconds! From here I can quickly identify which keywords are winners and which are losers. This allows me to save a ton of time testing new affiliate offers, and means I’m much more likely to hit upon a profitable combination (even if I’m only running two keywords!).
Another interesting thing about the method of tracking AR uses is that it assigns a unique ID to every keyword – such as 7A000123 for example. The only place this has relevance is in their database, so the manager of your affiliate program will have no idea which keywords or tactics you’re using to drive sales. This effectively keeps your secrets safe.
Affiliate Radar is setup for simple report importing for most of the affiliate networks you can think of (and they’ll add more on request). CJ, Clickbank, Linkshare, CPA Networks, Azoogle, the list goes on and on. One of the coolest features is the ability to quickly export any given campaign to Google, Yahoo, or MSN. What I do is build a campaign in Adwords Editor (another FREE must have for anyone using Adwords), export the whole campaign into Affiliate Radar, add all the special keyword links, then export back to Adwords, adding Yahoo and MSN at the same time. This can really triple your efficiency when building new ad campaigns.
I just got Speed PPC the other day, and I’ve yet to really take full advantage of its power. However, using these two systems in conjunction can provide some stunning results. Speed PPC allows you to manipulate keyword lists into massively long lists, broken down by category in order to provide maximum relevancy. For example you might have two lists, one of type of shoe (running shoe, tennis shoe, hiking shoe etc) and another of brand names (Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc). Speed PPC can merge these together into every combination you can think of (Nike running shoe, Nike tennis shoe, Nike hiking shoe) and group them together. You can then do similar things building the ads themselves. The final screen lets you export all that data into Adwords Editor where you can have a campaign with hundreds of keywords broken down into dozens of adgroups live in about a minute.
Now take this data from Adwords Editor, send it over to Affiliate Radar, add keyword tracking, then export it back to the three main search engines and you’re well on your way. A competent user of both programs could have a fully fledged, optimized keyword and ad tracked campaign (with hundreds of keywords) setup from start to finish in just over 10 minutes. Where I come from that is pretty impressive.
I thought I should mention Adwords Editor in here as well. I know a while ago I was conned into buying a similar product that allowed me to edit my Google Adwords campaigns from a Windows client; however the software didn’t work that well and I ended up discarding it. Little did I know, probably at the same time, Google was releasing their free tool called Adwords Editor. By far the most impressive feature of this software is the ability to easily import / export bulk data. I can add hundreds of keywords to multiple campaigns from one screen, or change the max bid on all my keywords simultaneously. Did I mention it is free?