The number of ways in which online marketing is manifesting itself grows daily. Some are passing trends, and some have staying power. A trend that's here to stay is the pay-per-click model of search engine marketing. The PPC model first appeared in 1997 in the form of Overture (which has become Yahoo! Search Marketing). It has since been far surpassed in popularity by Google Adwords. It is more than likely that you have already tested out some PPC campaigns and realized what a huge task it can be to keep these campaigns optimized. It requires a great deal of observation, and alongside website and promotional maintenance, it can seem like a great deal of work. In fact, some affiliates have put their webmaster tasks aside altogether to spend their time completely focused on PPC. It is important to know that if done correctly, a balance between PPC and website marketing is entirely possible. As you try to balance these two marketing efforts, you will be sure to encounter some problems, so here is a guide to help you avoid and solve them.
When approaching PPC for the first time, start with a small campaign and try something that interests you. Do you already have a well-optimized niche site? Start with that site's subject matter and keyword list. Be sure to determine what your goals are before you begin. Do you simply want to learn PPC? Do you want to use PPC to generate traffic for your site? Do you want to use PPC to send traffic directly to a merchant? By starting modestly, it will be easy to keep your eyes on your first campaigns while still managing your website and other promotional efforts. Your test campaign will be your chance to decide how you really feel about PPC, and whether or not you'd be interested in trying other campaigns down the road.
An important decision to make when getting started is whether you will be sending your keyword traffic to one of your own sites, or directly to a merchant through their affiliate program. Are you looking for more traffic to your website or are you more interested in generating direct traffic and conversions for your merchants? If you choose the direct route, it will be essential to read the affiliate terms and conditions for your program, and contact your affiliate manager to get her approval. Some merchant programs do not allow affiliates to run direct PPC campaigns, while others prefer their affiliates to run these campaigns then having them run in-house. Should you choose to send PPC keyword traffic to one of your own websites, make sure it has shown to convert well in the past and keep your keywords targeted.
What about placing some contextual ads on your site (alongside your affiliate program creatives) and earning money from them? In Google's case, this is called AdSense . If you choose to try this, be sure to integrate your affiliate ads and AdSense ads together in a seamless fashion. AdSense does well on sites with plenty of content, so any affiliate banners or links you place alongside AdSense should be relevant to the content. In the case of both AdSense and affiliate programs, it's relevancy that makes conversions happen. AdSense takes care of this for you, but you need to be sure you take care of relevancy for your affiliate program selection.
Nicky Senyard is CEO of Share Results, a vibrant affiliate network that works closely with affiliates and merchants alike, supporting and optimizing their efforts every step of the way. Some of the top brands using the Share Results in-depth reporting platform include Accor, eLearners, American Medical ID, KooKoo Bear Kids, and Real Networks. http://www.shareresults.com.