What Is CPA Marketing & How Do I Do It?
Of all the marketing methods and strategies, there’s a wrong way and a right way to go about CPA marketing.
“CPA” stands for “cost per action” – and (unlike Pay-Per-Click, where, no matter what action is taken, you are still credited simply for the click-through), a specific action has to be taken by the person clicking through, before you can receive any compensation.
Some of these actions could be:
• Providing an email address
• Providing a name and email address
• Providing a zip code
• Providing a phone number
• Providing full contact information
• Making a purchase
You particularly need to know what you’re doing, if you’re planning to experiment with CPA marketing, because the results in a huge percentage of all cases are typically small – often less than the sign-up fee, if there is one; or PPC ads you may be using to drive people to your site.
And there are definitely certain CPA areas that pay significantly better than others. You need to know what these are, so you can make sure you use them wisely and well.
Why is CPA better than PPC (Pay-per-click)?
Well, for one thing, with PPC, you’re the one doing the paying – you’re the advertiser. With CPA, you’re the one who stands first in line to receive the giant Twinkie.
These offers are typically managed through large CPA networks such as Neverblueads and Share-a-Sale. Typically, you are required to sign up first for these networks – and wait for approval. Knowing the best ways to get yourself legitimately approved is the first of our CPA “must-learns”.
These large networks have whole sets of criteria, often quite different from what Joe Lonely Marketer might be concerned with, when he’s considering you as an affiliate. (And yes – CPA networking could be seen as a form of affiliate marketing.)
You can, of course, market with CPA offers without going through a network – but there are 5 major advantages to going the network route:
1. Advertisers feel secure and professionally handled with CPA networks. They know they are less likely to be victims of CPA fraud
2. Advertisers don’t have to do any work: You capture them actual subscribers they can follow up with at their leisure – they reward you for that
3. The payout rate is usually higher with a CPA network than if you go with an individual advertiser
4. CPA networks often provide all the promotional material (and often tools) you need
5. CPA networks often tend to give extra rewards to good affiliates who generate results
Which Niche Markets Convert Especially Well – or Especially Poorly?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to that. You see, the markets that pay the best also generate the highest competition – but if you know what you’re doing, they can also pay the highest rewards.
Market research – not just keyword research – is a huge key to unlocking the jackpot… but you have to know the hallmarks that clue you in to CPA keywords and offers that will work for you and your website(s).
Some markets just traditionally pay a lot higher than others – for example:
• Anti-Aging Skin Care
• Credit cards
• Debt Relief
• Dating agencies
• Free gift cards
• Game sites
• Weight Loss
Now, mind you, this is not to say these are the ones you should leap straight into promoting! For one thing, competition is extremely fierce, and a few are considered by Google (and the rest of the world) to be on the shady side – so shady that various online sites such as Squidoo have banned certain subjects altogether. (Two of the “banned” ones would be Acai berries – a proven scam – and gambling links. Avoid those like the plague!)
However, you are certainly not limited to the above category list! If you research and find a lucrative niche, or you are an authority on one that has nothing to do with the above, by all means, find CPA offers that focus on your unique market.
Looking At The Figures
One of the most assured ways to make money with CPA marketing is to capture a simple zip code – not for you; for your network. This is usually achieved with a juicy bribe provided for your visitor by your CPA network: Something like a free coupon in exchange for an email address or zip code. Positioned and presented correctly, you will attract the most interested buyer – one who won’t feel like she’s being coerced out of her contact information. Click-throughs will flow naturally: In fact, your reader should find it harder not to click than to click!
This type of CPA offer also often pays a little better than others. You might make as much as a $1 per click (or more). This might not sound like much, but say you managed to attract 100 visitors to your website daily (not impossible, with the right tactics) and an average of 10 a day click through…
…That works out to $70 a week.
Now pretend you’ve got 6 of these sites set up, all equally successful. Suddenly, that’s $420 a week – a cool $1,680 a month! (Not bad for a semi-“autopilot” site with an irresistible offer.)
You can see here that your research and knowledge will be crucial, meaning the difference between a nice little second income… or peanuts.
(How you set up your websites, too, will make a difference, once the costs are subtracted from your click-through sales.)
And the Reality Is…
Well, the reality, of course, is that most people half-read-up on CPA (usually a razzle-dazzle “CPA MILLIONS!”-type guide), slap something together after some hasty research, ignore SEO and promotion… and wait for the money to pour in. Then complain the most loudly when it doesn’t.
Undertaken this way, the only thing that can be “guaranteed” is that their profits will more likely be $2 a week (if their lucky).
“You Get Out of It What You Put In” – Who Said That?
So, does the old adage, “you get out of it what you put in” truthfully apply? Pretty much. If you don’t do your homework and spend at least some solid initial time in:
• Researching and signing up with the right networks
• Researching and finding the right offer for the right target customer
• Promoting it in places that target customer is going to find it
You’ll end up with probably a little less than you started out with.
However, if you put in your time up front, do the research (about 3 times more thoroughly than you’d really like to) and set realistic expectations for yourself, you’re much more likely to hit our “Average Ideal Scenario”, above.
Your CPA Rhythm
CPA marketing is also all about:
• Being comfortable with this marketing method – it should “click” and excite you, once you’ve got the basics down
• Developing and honing your intuition – no more so than any other activity you invest positive time and energy in
• Trial and error. At first, you’ll learn by finding out several types of CPA offers that don’t work for you – and a few that really do!
You need to be prepared to experiment a little, in order to find your CPA rhythm.
Your CPA Strategy
The whole key in successful CPA marketing, after you’ve selected a reliable network, lies in finding the promotion or advertising method or methods that work the best for you. This is usually (but not always) something that feels natural.
Common ways of driving traffic to CPA offers include:
Article Marketing – If you like writing, this is a good method for you. However, the real key will be two-fold: Which directory you decide to submit your articles to (how well-targeted it is to your ideal reader and topic)… and how well you’ve worded your Resource Box. Encouraging people to click through your Resource Box link to read more is done through a call to action and stirring up reader curiosity. It’s part skill – and part knack. Do it well, and it’s highly effective!
Email Marketing – If you’re already used to writing emails and sending them to your list, this may be your preferred strategy. It’s absolutely vital, however, not to send CPA offers indiscriminately to your list, if you have one. Instead, pass on only those particular CPA offers that will add a high perceived value to your subscriber’s experience. You will also need to ensure that the offer really does deliver what it promises – some offers don’t, and you end up with something you never want: A really disgruntled subscriber.
Authority Site Maximization – if you have a long-established site that is well-optimized, and which already draws in solid traffic, you are the proud owner of a CPA marketer’s dream! In your case, it really is a case of “autopilot income”: All you have to do is select your CPA ads, forms and offers carefully, and test them (equally carefully) on your site. Keep the ones that do especially well – and get into the habit of tracking them at least once a week.
Blogging – If you are already wading up to your knees in the vast pond of niche blogging, it’s easy to replace non-converting AdSense with good CPA offers. If you’re brand new to both CPA and niche blogging, however, be aware up front that you will most likely need multiple niche blogs, to make any significant amount of money. That can mean a lot of time invested for a relatively small return. (If you like writing anyway, article marketing and a simple website may be a safer, less work-intensive strategy for you.)
PPC Advertising – This can be a highly effective method, but again, it needs solid, thorough, careful research and an actual budget to work with, before you will see any returns. It is also a risky method to brand new marketers, because unless you know what you’re doing, it’s fatally easy to run up huge charges on the PPC ads you’ve placed, which will more than swallow up any profits. However, there are simple strategies to safeguard yourself against the likelihood of this happening:
• Watch your daily click-through stats
• Decide beforehand on a budget – and stick to it
• Set the ad for a limited time, initially
• Set a limit on the maximum height you will allow your bid to go
• Choose AdWords under .40 cents per click, with definite competition – but not a huge amount
Done carefully, this can be a great learning experience that will give you more confidence in other areas of internet marketing – and tracking.
Tracking: The Real Secret
It all boils down to tracking: If you’re not prepared to do some basic tracking on your CPA or PPC campaigns, you probably shouldn’t jump in at the deep end. Hopefully, however, this overview has given you some information – and ideas.
If you’d like to give CPA marketing a try, sign up for a reputable network, and give it your best shot.
After all, the very real and realistic possibility of creating a second passive source of income is not to be easily dismissed – and I’ll tell you the biggest secret of all…
…if you get into your “Zen zone”, CPA is actually fun!