The cycle of affiliate programs and money making ventures goes something like this:
John Doe makes niched website.
John Doe inserts affiliate links.
John Doe waits a week, gets no sales, he soon realizes that he has little to no visitors!
John Doe doesn't have time to build traffic the SEO way, and decides to start with some PPC campaigns.
John Doe decides to use Overture, and spends almost a 1.07 a click for "blue widgets".
Spending over 22$ his first day, he recieves 20 clicks, no sales, and wants to quit his website permanently.
DON'T GIVE UP YET!
Don't be another John Doe. John's main mistake was that he didn't go into his campaign with a plan. He just slapped some bids on his most important keywords and watched his money fly out the window.
1. Determine your keywords. Programs like WordTracker are good for this, as well as the even more free Overture.com tools. Rather than focusing on paying big for the most clicked on keywords, try to get positions 1 - 5 on many smaller, more targeted keywords. Rather than drop 2$ on "blue widgets", you'd be better off spending .35 on "Buy Blue WIdgets", or "Cheap Blue Widgets". Sometimes you simply have to outsmart and outwit the competition.
2. Set your bids and spending limits low! You don't want to spend more than 5$ a day when you first begin. Set all your bids to at least show up on the first 15 result pages. You don't want to pay for position one when position 2, 3, 4 and 5 are 20 cents cheaper, and will still get massive clicks.
3. Carefully write your ads. Get your ad message out there! Don't be excessive on the capital letters or exclamation marks either. If your ad is targeted to your keywords you'll get more targeted clicks. If I was selling blue widgets I would rather have clicks for "Buy Cheap Blue Widgets" than "Blue Widgets". Only keep one keywords active at any one time, as you want to see how they react in terms of sales!
4. Monitor your results. Keep an eye on what keywords are getting the most attention, and which ones seem to be converting the best. The rule of thumb is that you can judge a keywords (or anything really) performance after 36 clicks. From here you can determine what's doing the best, and keep with it.
In conclusion, by using the 4 steps listed, you can set yourself a bit ahead of the competition. The only way to make it on the internet is to outsmart, outperform, and outlast your rivals.
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