Stop Losing Money With PPC!

August 25, 2008

I have been doing PPC advertising on the Big 3 Networks (Google, MSN & Yahoo) for over a year now. On an average I have spent $10,000 per month in PPC and have tested several campaigns but only 1 out of 10 have been converting to profitable ones.

I had developed a cumbersome process to track and evaluate my campaigns, adgroups, keywords, referrers & conversions on MS Excel sheets. Most of the time, I was not able to get the statistics right since I had to work manually to figure out and it takes time to do that. I usually review my statistics once a week and stop the campaigns that are in negative without investigating deeper on keyword levels.

I know that this is not the best practice and that the real goldmine lies inside my keyword list. There is a 20/80 rule in PPC – 20% of your keywords bring in 80% of traffic & conversions. If tested & tracked correctly, we can weed out the non performing keywords & bid higher on performing keywords to make any campaign – even more successful. But, all through – I have been viewing my campaigns in macro level and have decided to scrap the campaigns which were in negative, on the whole. With little more research on my keywords, I could have stopped losing money with the non performing keywords and made it a successful campaign by running it with the performing keywords.

What was stopping me from doing my keyword study?

The poor tracking and the poor analytical system I had in place to find the ROI for my campaigns was the major hurdle that prevented me from making my campaigns, into super profitable ones.

For quite sometime, I have been exploring the options to create an automated application to track my ROI drilling down to the levels of keyword & refferer from campaign level – by which I can take my PPC marketing efforts to the next level of profitability. It would help me in analyzing my data instantly and with minimal manual work from my side.

At this juncture, I have come across a PPC affiliate tracking solution and it’s called – Prosper202.

Prosper202 is a self hosted application from the stable of 202 group. It seems to be an excellent tracking tool for affiliate marketers since it will enable marketers to view performance of campaigns, keywords & ads – all in real time!

Prosper202 calculates & displays EPC values instantly for campaigns, keywords, ads & referrers. This information will be a boon to any affiliate marketer, since he will have a bird’s view of the essential statistics to stop non performers and give a boost to performers. I have decided to give it a try and test the application at once. I will post a review on the product, after giving it a good run.

And, do you know how much it costs? It’s absolutely free!

As always, your comments are appreciated on this subject and if, you too – are looking to stop losing money with PPC, it makes sense to try Prosper202, because it has already helped stop losing money by providing the application for $0!

Affiliate Marketing : Back To Work

August 21, 2008

It’s 8 days past Affiliate Summit East 2008…

I am back in Chennai, my hometown in India. Even though my return journey from New York was hectic & tiring with 22 flying hours, the thought of the pleasant experiences I had in this business tour – eased my tiredness. The view of the Liberty Statue is still doing it’s round in my mind… The view of the New York City from the Empire State Building… an evening at the Times SquareMac BurgersStarbucks Coffee… the list would go on & on!

At New York – I took the opportunity to visit the offices of AzoogleAds & Rocketprofit – two of my favorite affiliate networks.

My AM at AzoogleAds, Emily – took me around their beautiful office. It was nice that Emily introduced me to her colleagues and seniors in the business. Now, it becomes even more personal when doing business with AzoogleAds!

I just can’t forget the meeting with Matt Wasserman – my AM at RocketProfit. Their new office was just getting the final touches when I visited. The massive work space brings all their departments under one roof which is now located in three parts. These guys are growing really fast!

I have never met Matt before, but chatted a lot in the past few months. It was nice to meet him in person and time flew by over lunch, by just getting to know each other’s business & lifestyle. Working from their office for over an hour, I was able to trash all misconceptions & it has laid a good foundation for me to work on with RocketProfit more aggressively!

Now, back in Chennai – I need to get back to work. It’s going to be different from here since I have learn’t a lot of informations, ideas, techniques & secrets from my first business tour. As I had worked on a homework plan before I started my journey to the Affiliate Summit, it is equally important to test & put into action – whatever I have learn’t from the Summit.

So, I am working at a plan to list out all the new informations I have gathered – and schedule a time frame to test them before I fly to the next subject. I will also be posting all my experiments & results in this blog, hence be ready to use my testing results and take yours to the next level. You are always welcome to share your thoughts with me, right over here and also on my next posts about my experiments.

Affiliate Summit East 2008 : My Final Day

August 13, 2008

This is a great day for me to be remembered in my life!

My first experience of the Affiliate Summit has reached the final day. Lot of things have happened in the past three days. I live in Chennai – INDIA – and have traveled approximately 8200 miles to attend this event!

I just rethink on what I have in store to take home…

  • 20+ Precious new friends in the affiliate marketing arena
  • 10+ Contacts with experts with whom I could refer & get more info
  • Experience of face-to-face meetings with my Affiliate Managers at the networks
  • Information and contacts with networks to make new business
  • Abundance of knowledge gained from educational sessions
  • Priceless ideas that have popped out in my mind like idea bulbs
  • Knowledge of the latest trends in the affiliate marketing industry

What more can I ask for from my first Affiliate Summit!

I need to thank Shawn Collins, Missy Ward, Amy Rodrigues, Teressa Caldwell, Kim Rodgers, Ian Fernando, Emily Bouton, Greg Gillman, Jason Gill and all my new found friends for making my experience a great one at the Affiliate Summit.

More on the sessions of the final day…

Web 2.0 for Affiliates – By Ernie St. Gelais, Co-founder of LinkConnector

In this presentation, Ernie clearly classified the difference between – Web 1.0 & Web2.0 – and also provided clear examples to understand the difference. A simple explanation would be that – a static site is Web 1.0 & an interactive site is Web 2.0. He explained the utilization effects of Yahoo Pipes and sure, it is a great tool to organize your feeds and you can do a lot more.

Twitter, Pownce, Tumblr, FacebookApps & WidgetBox are all considered as the hot tools/services in the Web 2.0 environment that can be utilized to generate traffic. And the rule of thumb in the game of Web 2.0 is to think of ideas to generate traffic by providing what the web community likes and then, try to monetize the traffic you have on hand.

My next session – Lead Generation for eMarketers – a panel discussion

This session brought out the new ways that are being tested by advertisers to generate leads and the compliance required in email marketing in today’s scenario.

  • Click to Call – It’s the next level in online lead generation process. By this method, advertisers are able to get quality leads because they have a system to rinse off all the accidental clickers & get to speak only to the qualified leads that cross their IVR system. The advantage is that the lead is being taken one step closer to conversion. There is an advantage to affiliate marketers too…. the advertiser pays upto $60 a lead!
  • Mobile AdsSMS Ads is a great way to reach a target audience since it is a service used by everyone in a day to day life. Creating mobile content that may be useful is a key factor and you can monetize them with SMS Ads that can be a Click to Call too!
  • Email Marketing – According to the statistics provided by John, 59% of all advertising inventory is next to your ‘INBOX’. This shows that email marketing converts well – but compliance is a big issue in email marketing that you should address immediately to be on the right side of the game.

In an overall perspective, I had a lot of new information on this final day of affiliate summit east 2008. My next homework would be to list out all the tips, ideas and informations I have learn’t from this event and take a day to test all of them before it gets out of my memory.

I urge everyone who have attended the event, to sum up all that you have learn’t and try them in practice – because the key to success rests in applying what you have learn’t into your own business!

Affiliate Summit : My Second Day

August 12, 2008

Affiliate Summit East gets even more juicy on the second day!

The day opened up with an inspirational key note by Cory Booker. I liked the way he narrated an incident about Mahatma Gandhi. ‘Practice before Preach’ was a magic formula for the Mahatma and Cory brought it out well in his speech. The essence of his key note brought out the importance of self belief, vision and responsibility.

The exhibit hall opened up and it was great to see 100+ affiliate network teams in one single place, battling out to explain the affiliates – why their network should be chosen to work with. I had the opportunity to stroll down the exhibit area along with Ian Fernando for a while. Later, I visited the booths of NeverblueAds, RocketProfit and AzoogleAds – all where I do business with.

I met Emily Bouton, my AM at AzoogleAds booth and quickly fixed an appointment for lunch. We had to jog down to Morton’s Steak House, just next to Seaport Hotel – since it was raining out there. The food was great as well as our conversation. I have been working with her since I joined AzoogleAds and this was the first time I am meeting her in person. We have chatted literally every other day, but speaking face to face was really special.

More on the sessions of day 2…

My 5 Favorite SEO Strategies Exposed – was the topic for the first session I attended today.

Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive, an SEO specialist, came out with a few techniques that involves zero cost. He explained the benefits of using Google Knol and he dissected a google knol page to explain what google looks for in a page to be ranked higher in search engines.

  • So, google looks for – poster quality, rating & rater quality, content length, freshness, reviewers & reviewers quality.
  • Free tools recommended – Rank Checker, Link Diagnosis, SEO Quake – all firefox add-ons
  • Paid tools recommended – SEO Spyglass, SeoMozPro – all independent tools

The final one I attended – ‘PPC Super Affiliate Strategies You Must Know’ – by Amit Mehta

Amit’s presentation was great and really helpful since I do a lot of Adwords stuff. He exposed some interesting aspects of how to manage bids and a lot of methods on how to do PPC if we need to succeed.

Some of the interesting tips provided by him were

  • Overcome the fear of losing money – while testing you lose money but gain knowledge.
  • 20/80 rule – only 20% of your keywords work, so refine them and scrap the remaining 80%.
  • Testing in PPC – ad copy & domain name should be tested always | You could use splittester.com to find which ad copy should stay | 30 clicks on each ad would help to decide.
  • Testing Landing Pages – checkout headlines, call to action, images and color scheme.

Both the above mentioned sessions gave in a lot of information that any affiliate marketer should know to succeed in SEO & PPC.

I also attended other sessions -

  1. Anatomy of a Great Affiliate Program
  2. How is Social Media Changing Affiliate Marketing.

Both of these sessions were panel discussions and I could’nt find any juicy information from them. I wanted to attend the session with the topic ‘Compliance – It’s More Than a Buzz Word’ – but it was in clash with ‘Anatomy of a Great Affiliate Program’ and I opted to participate in the latter because my friend Ian Fernando was a speaker in it. Although there was’nt any juicy information for me to take, he did a good job!

Looking forward to my final day at the Affiliate Summit East 2008!

Affiliate Summit: My First Day

August 10, 2008

Just crossed the long awaited anxious moment…

I am in Boston… at the Renaissance hotel… completed my first day at the Affiliate Summit East 2008!

What a great day it was… I attended 3 insightful sessionsdropped 7 cards at the meet market… made 24 friendsexchanged 38 cardsinteracted with more than 70 people… and the knowledge gained?! – can’t be measured!!

I was happy to introduce myself to Shawn Collins and Amy Rodrigues of the Affiliate Summit. The latter identified me quicky as she helped me in getting my Visa Papers done. Ian Fernando is a fantastic guy. I dashed on him at the meet market hall and introduced myself. He was quick to spare his time and give some insightful tips. My long worried issue was tracking my ROI and when I queried him about the solution, he quickly took me to Wes Mahler of Prosper202.com. And Yes! I have a tracking solution to use… and it’s free. Thanks to Ian, I would give a try at the software.

Couple of great minds I met include – John Chow, Teresa Caldwell, Kim Rodgers, Charles NGO, Patrick, Nittin Gupta, Rana Bassi, Jeffrey Evenmo, Bosco & Neil Raj. I have got some close friends too – Amit Sharma, Sunil Kumria & Brian – all three are cool guys.

More on the sessions…

The topic for the first one I attended was – Which PPC Engines Work and How?

John Hasson of johnhasson.com handled the topic efficiently – from his point of view. He came out explaining the bad conversion traffic and good conversion traffic from the PPC networks other than the Big 3 (Google, Yahoo & MSN). His positive vote goes for SuperPages.Com & Business.Com while his negative votes are for Searchfeed, Adbrite & Ask.

He also talks about a simple strategy to test Facebook advertising. You just need to create different profiles for you in different demographic locations and check the ads displayed on your profile pages for a week. The ones that show up constantly on those particular demographic profile might be the successful ones for those areas. Why not, give a shot at duplicating the ad for that demography and send the traffic to the same or similar offer on the ad?

My next session was – Leveraging Social Media – presented by Sam Harrelson of CostPerNews.

Sam explained how the social media can be utilized effectively by affiliate marketers. His core focus was on Twitter.com & it was amazing to know that we can get to know opinions of people in a matter of minutes from the twitter community. Not lot of information, but was presented well by Sam.

The last session I attended for the day was – Pepperjam Network Education Clinic

I wanted to attend my mentor Kim Rodger’s panel discussion, but her topic was ‘NY Tax Laws – Issues & Solutions’ – which was irrelevant for me since I do not stay in New York – and so, I peeked in at the Pepperjam Clinic. It was more of a promotional presentation and am sure that all of the information they provided was already available on their website. The session lacked any educational value from my point of view.

And the late evening session was…. ShareASale Party @ SpiritCruises on the Seaport Riverfront… it was rocking!

My anxious wait for the second day starts now…

My Affiliate Summit Journey Begins…

August 8, 2008

As the days get near to the Affiliate Summit, the excitement builds up for me.

My journey to the Affiliate Summit has just begun. I left the Chennai Airport in India and arrived in Paris after 10 long flight hours. Although it was tiring, the fact that I am visiting Paris for the first time in my life, has made me forget the tiring journey.

My Paris visit at a glance

Paris is a wonderful place to visit. The city is well connected with Metro trains and buses. I visited a couple of places in the last two days – The Notre Dame Church, Seine River Cruise, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Grevins Museum and the exciting Paradis Latin Show.

It was totally a different experience for me and am still wondering how the French architects have build monuments and buildings that could last for centuries together!

The Eiffel Tower is one of the seven wonders of the world and when I was next to the tower, I was really excited. The huge size of the pillars, the lift, Altitude 95 Restaurant in the first floor – all these were amazing. Grevins Wax Museum is one of the masterpiece in Paris. It has the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lara Croft of Tomb Raider, Charlie Chaplin, Leonardo Da Vinci and much more – all crafted to reality. Visitors were rushing to take snaps with the wax dupes – I too managed to click a few!

With just one more day here at Paris, I plan to check out the shopping malls for perfumes and some souvenir. Once done, I would feel happy of completing my Paris tour in style!

Not to forget, I have my Affiliate Summit Homework done and I would revise when I land in Boston on the 9th of August’08. I think I should have some time on the first day in Boston to gear up to the Grand Affiliate Summit East 2008 – for which I would have traveled about 6000 miles to reach there!

My Affiliate Summit Journey Continues…

Affiliate Summit : Homework Is Essential

August 3, 2008

I never thought that I would need to do any homework before going to the Affiliate Summit. But, after browsing through the contents of the Affiliate Summit homepage, it’s networking site & related blogs in detail – I find that the Summit offers too much to be consumed.

  • There are 1000+ companies registered to participate in the event.
  • There are 124 booths setup by companies to showcase their products & services.
  • There are 25 hours of closed door conference sessions with industry leaders.
  • There are 4 hours of ‘open to all’ conference sessions.
  • Attendee numbers are expected to cross 2000+.
  • There are 2 dinner bashes to socialize.

With so much people, with in depth knowledge on their specialized fields – culminating at the venue – it’s just going to provide an enormous wealth of informations to be learnt. Also, it would be a great opportunity to meet industry leaders, affiliate networks we work with and fellow affiliate marketers with abundance of knowledge. My head started to spin when I put in all these facts together.

My immediate questions were

  • what should I do to utilize the knowledge base that is going to be available at this event?
  • how should I organize myself to learn more from this event?

Well, the answers also came in as a result of checking blogs on ‘what to do’ as an affiliate summit first timer. I have decided to do my homework!

My homework plan

  • I need to understand my objectives and set a goal for me.
  • List companies that would be of interest to me & learn more about them.
  • Set up my event schedule by choosing the sessions that I should participate.
  • List individuals that I should meet & learn more about them.
  • Prepare an elevator speech to expose who I am.
  • Create a Business Card specific to this event.

With these homework plans in mind, I have made printouts of the Exhibit Hall & Meet Market layouts – that would be useful to get an orientation to visiting the booths.

And I have compiled a document to list the Sessions available at the Summit. You can download my word document – Affiliate Summit East 2008 : Sessions Overview – over here. It would be useful to analyze and choose which session you need to attend since there would be upto THREE SESSIONS taking place at the same time.

Am just getting excited as the days near by and my homework continues…