Online marketing is an integral part of our lives today and all of us have been exposed to online marketing in some form or manner. This diverse and dynamic field of marketing is full of various players and stakeholders that are involved in the process. There are typically three major groups of stakeholders, being the brands/advertisers, the marketers and the consumers. Within each of these groups, there are even more subsets of stakeholders and service providers which we will explore later on, but in this guide, we will focus mainly on the Affiliate and CPA Marketer.
Understand Important key Terms to become Successful CPA Marketer
Before we start transforming you into a CPA marketing prodigy, we need to examine various key concepts to help build a rock-solid foundation, so that by the time you reach the end, you will be armed with powerful information to start building your online empire.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in… but before we get to the juicy stuff, we need to understand some key concepts…
This is a vast topic and there are entire books written on this, but in the most simplistic terms, it involves referring new customers to a product owner (advertiser) who then compensates you for the referral. Much of this guide will be dedicated to many of the concepts and activities involved in being a CPA and affiliate marketer.
This is the person or organization that performs various marketing activities in order to refer leads and potential customers to a product or service in return for a referral fee (commission).
Sometimes referred to as an affiliate account manager or relationship manager, this person is your liaison with the affiliate network. The affiliate manager’s role is to build and maintain relationships with their assigned affiliates, including assisting with support, supplying relevant marketing content and overall, helping you to achieve success. Never underestimate the value of having a solid relationship with your affiliate manager, especially when you want to negotiate your commissions or gain access to premium promotions.
The affiliate platform, or what many affiliate networks refer to as the affiliate portal, is the software and website where all referrals and performance is tracked. When you sign up with a network, you are creating yourself an account on the affiliate platform. Once your registration is approved, this is where you log in and can find the offers you want to promote, marketing materials such as banners, your unique referral links, performance tracking and reporting, and much more. Through the portal, you will also manage your personal information including payment info.
CPA stands for Cost per Action and sometimes Cost per Acquisition. When a referral meets the required criteria, a CPA commission is paid to the affiliate marketer. This action could be as simple as completing a form, in which case a commission is paid for the lead and more generally referred to as CPL (Cost per Lead), however, more commonly the commission is paid when the referral completes a transaction, such as purchasing a product, or in the finance world when the lead makes a deposit into their trading account and starts trading. Depending on the niche, CPA values can range anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars per action. As mentioned, and the focus of this guide, we are going to dive deep into the world of CPA marketing.
These are the visitors you direct to the offers you are promoting. You’ve surely heard the expression that a website has a lot of traffic, which means it gets many visitors. When it comes to CPA marketing, the lifeblood of your efforts is getting traffic which in turn results in commissions earned. To be an effective CPA marketer, you want quality, targeted traffic and not just volume.
Your target market is the optimal audience you want to promote the products or services to. Every product and service have a specific demographic that will consume the products the most. For example, when it comes to finance-related products, your target market, on a high-level, will be adults who have disposable income to invest. The better targeted your offers to the target market, the more effective your marketing will be and the more commission you will earn. It is crucial to understand your target market in order to deliver the right message, at the right time, through the right marketing channels. A big mistake that many marketers make is neglecting to understand their target market and taking the attitude that if you throw enough mud at a wall, some of it will stick. This approach can be costly and it will deliver poor ROI.
Marketing channels refers to the various types of marketing and advertising methods you can use to deliver a marketing message to the target and in turn, generate deals that result in commissions. In the offline world, it could be direct sales, newspapers, magazines, billboards, trade shows and hundreds more. In the online world, some of the most popular channels are Social media, Content Marketing and SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing, Paid Media, blogging and many more. Each marketing channel involves various steps and procedures. Later in this guide, we will explore, on a high-level, some of these channels.
so What’s the Difference…?
Before we head off on our journey, it’s important to clarify some concepts that often cause confusion or misunderstanding.
Marketing vs. Advertising
A common misconception and two terms that are so often used interchangeably are Marketing and Advertising. While you might be tempted to think these are the same, they are, in fact, two different disciplines but are strongly interconnected.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the process of identifying customer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. On the other hand, advertising is the exercise of promoting a company and its products or services through various channels.
In essence, advertising is just a component of the bigger marketing picture.
There are various ways in which cryptocurrency brokers are reaching out to their target markets. Here are some examples:
CPA Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing
A somewhat grey area that may cause confusion for both beginners and experienced online marketers is the difference between CPA Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. While much of the activities involved in both are similar, there is a difference to be aware of.
CPA, as we said, stands for Cost per Action or sometimes even referred to as Cost per Acquisition. CPA marketing pays a commission for an action taken by the referral which could be as simple as submitting an email address, completing a form or a survey. CPA marketing may not necessarily require the person to make a purchase for the CPA marketer to qualify for the commission. Typically, the CPA commission is a once-off payment.
On the other hand, in Affiliate Marketing, it does require the potential customer to make a purchase or financial transaction for the affiliate to earn a commission. The affiliate commission could be a CPA commission (once-off payment), or a revenue-share, or a hybrid of the two.
It is worth noting that the lines between pure CPA marketing and Affiliate Marketing have become blurred over the years, so don’t overthink it and rather focus on what you need to do to earn commissions.
Affiliate Program vs. Affiliate Network vs. CPA Network
This is another area where things have become blurry over the years, but let’s explore things to create some more clarity.
An affiliate program is typically owned and run by a brand who wants to promote their own products and solutions. They do not offer products or solutions from competitors or outside of their niche.
An affiliate network is like a “marketplace” of products from multiple brands and advertisers. The network facilitates the process between the affiliate marketers and the brands/advertisers offerings. The affiliate network manages the processes with the affiliates, provides the relevant referral tracking and reporting platform, supplies the marketing collateral, makes commission payments and more. The process is entirely seamless for the potential consumer. An affiliate network typically is an independent company from the brands and products they represent and even have offers for multiple competitor brands/advertisers. The affiliate network may offer various commission models, as described further up, and CPA offers.
A CPA Network is similar to the affiliate network, but they only provide CPA type offers.
Getting Started with CPA Marketing
Now that we’ve covered some of the key concepts that relate to CPA marketing, it’s time for us to dive into the specifics and learn how to get started with your CPA marketing and how to earn the big bucks! The most valuable advice to be a successful CPA marketer is to be organized, methodical and detail oriented.
The fact is most CPA marketers never achieve the success they dream of, and not because they don’t have the knowledge or abilities, but simply because they put in half effort and hope for great results.
You’ve surely heard about super affiliates that have become multi-millionaires, and there are plenty of them. Their success comes from hard work, doing things the right way and being bold to pioneer new techniques and strategies. The other key ingredient to being a successful marketer is knowledge. The more you learn and grow your knowledge and skills, the better your ability will be to identify opportunities, solve challenges and optimize your efforts.
Ready to start? Let’s go…
How to choose CPA Niche
Deciding on a product or service to promote is one of the first steps you need to take. It’s always easier to market a product that you have some kind of interest in. While it’s not crucial, because as a skilled internet marketer you can apply your knowledge to any field, when you enjoy and know the niche well, it makes things far more rewarding.
Some key mistakes that many CPA marketers make is deciding on a niche purely on potential commissions. The other mistake that many CPA marketers make is trying to be the infamous “Jack of all trades”. When you are starting out, pick 1-2 niches, focus and master these, then you can expand. There are thousands of niches, from dieting products to online dating, gambling, finance and trading, and thousands more.
Brainstorming – Collect new ideas
- 1. The first step:
in choosing a niche is to do some brainstorming of ideas. To kickstart your efforts, grab a piece of paper and jot down some things that interest you or hobbies you might have. Promoting products that interest you, as we said, is always much easier and enjoyable. The best marketers in the world understand what they are selling and this translates into being able to sell to their target audience more effectively. You don’t need to be a guru or know everything, but having solid knowledge is worth its weight in gold.
The other benefit of choosing a niche that interests you is you will enjoy learning more about it as you go along, so it’s a win-win. The more you learn and grow, the better you can sell. If you choose a niche that you have zero interest in, it can become tedious and you may find yourself cutting corners along the way or giving up.
When choosing a niche, don’t be tempted to Google things like “the best CPA affiliate niches”. Once you open that door, you will overload yourself with ideas or worse, get drawn into the trap of choosing the highest paying niches. While the idea of earning $500 for a referral will get you all pumped up thinking if you can just get 10 or 20 “buyers” it will put $5,000-$10,000 in your pocket a month, there is much more involved. There is an adage that says: “if it were so easy, everyone would be doing it”. Once you have written down about 5-10 ideas, it’s time to narrow down your list.
- 2. The Second Step:
is identifying how competitive the niche is which you are planning on promoting. This is no easy task and so many marketing guides out there will tell you to pick a low competition niche. This is not true! While you certainly don’t want to make your CPA marketing debut into a niche that is super competitive and dominated by highly experienced marketers and organizations with super deep pockets, you also don’t want a niche with no competition.
If there is no competition, it probably means it is not profitable and the reason why so few marketers are promoting it or very few people know about it might be because it is a new niche. Trying to promote a brand-new product that doesn’t have a following is possible, but you may burn yourself out before you see results. Your aim when choosing your niche is to find one that has some competition. When starting with your niche, it is always useful to be able to see what competitors are doing and not reinvent the wheel, but rather innovate and do it better.
You’re probably wondering how to do determine how much competition a niche has, so here a few quick and easy ways to give you an indication. Do not get stuck in the “analysis paralysis” trap where you either drown yourself in information and then don’t move forward, or you crush your hopes and dreams and give up.
How to know – will the CPA niche be worth pursuing?
Open up Google and do a search for some of the obvious terms (keywords) you think people would search for when wanting your possible product. Let’s say one of the niches you wrote down is “forex trading”. Now, look at the results that come up. You want to specifically look for the results at the top of the Google results with “Ad” next to them. If you don’t see any “Ads” you can more than likely scratch that niche from your list. If no one is advertising that niche on Google, it’s a fairly good indication that it is not worth your time. But wait, before you give up on that niche, the results you see will be for your region and Google may not allow ads for that niche in your region, so you may want to check for countries or regions where you could market to. The other consideration is that Google policies may not allow paid ads for that niche or there are heavy restrictions. Remember, this technique is simply a litmus test to guide your decision. If you see lots of ads, you are on the right path.
Google Trends –
With your list narrowed down a little, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Google has an amazing product called Google Trends – https://trends.google.com/. Without going into depth about this tool, you can search for some terms (keywords) and Google will show you the volume of searches by users for those search terms going back years. Make sure to try a few different search terms for your niche and see the general trend and volume. If you see a good, solid number of searches that has increased over time, you are moving in the right direction. On the other hand, if you see that the search volume has been decreasing over time, you might be entering a market that is shrinking and you could end up “swimming against the tide”.
There are endless other tools and resources on the web to determine competition, and if you really want to master the art of competitive analysis, then learning how to do SWOT analysis can help you refine opportunities; but for now, we don’t want to get caught up with over-analysis.
By now, you should have whittled down your list a little and be left with a handful of potential niches to promote. For the purposes of this guide, we will speak about financial niches and more specifically CFD Trading, Forex and Cryptocurrencies. We will simply refer to these as “online trading”.
Affiliate CPA Offers
With your shortlist of niches that you plan to focus on, it’s time to find some CPA offers for these niches. Picking offers goes way beyond just how much CPA commission an offer pays and here we are going to give you the most important factors to consider.
So, let’s continue using our “online trading” niche as an example. If you do a search for “forex CPA offers”, you will be completely overwhelmed by the number of offers out there and you are going to see some crazy numbers like $800-$1,000 CPA.
Wait…. don’t get all excited or you’ll be sucked into the marketing abyss.
Important factors before joining an affiliate program or network to promote their CPA offers:
Program / Network Reputation –
Don’t just assume because the network has a cool looking website and they offer lucrative CPAs, that you should just dive in. Unfortunately, some programs are not all they appear to be and the last thing you want is to send them traffic and never see any commissions and never get paid. Once again, make yourself a shortlist of networks and programs and do a little research first by visiting some forums and searching for info and asking questions from other affiliates and marketers.
But…. Yes, there is always a but… you may get varying feedback, so you need to try to take the feedback with a “pinch of salt”. It’s kind of like shopping on Amazon; if a product has only 5-star ratings, something is fishy, but on the other side, if a product has mainly 4-5 star ratings and there a handful of 1-star reviews, don’t let the few negatives put you off. However, if a product has only 3 stars or less, it’s time to run in the opposite direction. Forums are a great place to get other valuable insights about the service and payments of the program. You might even uncover the name of some good affiliate managers at the network which are your golden ticket to success.
In conjunction with the actual program/network research, you must do some research on the brands that you will be promoting, because as with everything on the Internet, there are good, bad and ugly (rotten) brands. You don’t want to invest your time and money in sending traffic to a brand that is considered a scam. There are many highly reputable brands, and while they might not offer the highest CPAs, you will have far greater peace of mind knowing there is consistency and you will earn, than chasing the figurative dangling carrot. Don’t forget to check which regions the brands are offered in, so you’ll know where you can and cannot target.
You may have noticed, we haven’t even focused on CPA commission values yet. The reason is we want to enter into a partnership with top quality organizations and not be blinded by big bling CPAs! Now that you have a shortlist of affiliate programs or networks, it’s time to start making connections and signing up.
Joining an Affiliate Program or Network
It’s time to register. Almost all networks have a short registration form where you need to complete some basic information. Some networks approve anyone and everyone upon sign up, whereas others will want to review your application first. One challenge you may hit is they may require you to have a website before approving you or they may want to know what marketing channels you plan on using. If you are just starting out and don’t have a site etc, then the best thing to do is write to the network and connect with an affiliate manager. You will be able to explain your situation and also start building that “golden” relationship and gaining value.
Now we’re heading into the “money” territory. When first signing up, most networks will offer you a default base CPA commission for each offer you promote, and then, based on your performance, this may increase. Now, this is a crucial part of the journey where you need to understand that a $500 CPA from one network, can be entirely different to a $500 CPA from another network….
No, it’s not a typo, $500 may not be the same as another $500, and here is why…
As mentioned in the very beginning of this guide, we explained that CPA stands for Cost per Action. What this means is that the action required at one network to earn their $500 CPA may be entirely different from another. For example, an online trading offer from one broker may require your referrals to make a minimum deposit of $200, whereas the second one requires $400 for you to qualify for a commission. It’s rather clear that more referrals will deposit the required $200 than $400.
But it goes beyond this…
The ability of the broker to get referrals to become paying customers is what we call “conversion rate”. Understanding the conversion rate is one of the most important considerations that you need to keep in mind throughout your marketing efforts.
Let’s take a moment to drill a little deeper here. The conversion rate is the ratio of leads who go on to fulfil the “action” criteria to qualify you for a CPA commission. A simple example: Let’s say you send 100 leads to an offer (i.e. they sign up) and 10 of these make a deposit (perform the qualifying “Action”), the conversion rate is 10/100 = 10%. Simple enough!
Now, let’s extend this further. You have 2 networks you want to work with. Network A is offering you $500 when clients deposit $250 and they have an average conversion rate of 15%. Network B is offering you a $1,000 CPA for clients who deposit $250, but they have a 7% conversion rate.
Here is what you could expect to earn if you sent each network 100 leads.
100 leads @ 15% = 15 conversions X $250 CPA = $3,750 commission
100 leads @ 7% = 7 conversions X $500 CPA = $3,500 commission
As you can clearly see, even though Network B offers double that of Network A, their poorer conversion rate will put less money in your pocket. This is the exact reason why you shouldn’t just jump at the biggest CPA offer. This is also why it’s crucial to do some research and ask questions about conversion rate, before committing to a network or offer.
Leverage the relationship with the affiliate manager to gain insights into their conversion rates and which offers convert best. A particularly important thing to consider about conversion rates is that it is an average of all the leads they receive. Some affiliates can bring higher quality leads which convert much higher and some bring poorer quality. Over time, you will start to understand the quality of your traffic and establish a baseline conversion rate for your referrals.
Once again, start building a relationship with your affiliate manager, so when you’ve cracked the code to getting high-quality traffic that converts well, you can then demand a higher CPA.
Other Considerations When Joining an Affiliate Network
We’ve covered a few of the big considerations, but here a few more to keep in mind:
– How often does the network make payments and what is the minimum payment amount? Also, check what payment methods/options they offer and if there any fees involved.
– What marketing materials like landing pages, mailers, promotions and more do they have for you to use?
– Are the affiliate portal and tracking platform easy to use and offer quality reporting and analytics? An especially important question to ask the affiliate manager is if you can create multiple unique links and append additional info to the links. (while this might not all make sense right now, it will later on)
– The reality is that some of your referrals will probably reverse their credit card payments at some point (known as a chargeback). It is important to understand how the network deals with this and so, will the commission earned by you also be reversed or deducted from future commissions?
Cookie / Tracking Policy
– Check to see for what period your referrals are tracked to your account. With some programs and networks, after a period of let’s say 30 days, if the lead has not converted, the lead is no longer associated to your account. The problem with this is that after that period if they do convert the lead, you won’t get the CPA.
At this point, you should have the niches you plan to promote and have registered joined a network.
Now it’s time to start the hard work…. Traffic Generation!
Traffic Generation for CPA Model
Traffic is the visitors you receive to your site or offers. There are many, many ways to generate traffic and we are going to speak on a very high level about some of the most popular ones. You will need to decide whether you plan to send the traffic directly to the brands’ websites or landing (sales) pages or first to your website and then, in turn, the traffic will click on ads or links on your site and go to the brands.
With that all said, there are 5 major categories when it comes to web traffic:
Let’s explore each of these a little:
This is traffic that comes to your website from search engines like Google. When you build a site, the search engines will index (find your site) and list it in their results, however, your site will be buried hundreds or even thousands of pages deep in the results. To reach the elusive first page results on search engines is no easy task. It takes time, money and effort. This process is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which you have probably heard of. We won’t go into the depths of SEO as it is way beyond the scope of this guide.If you’re serious about building a long term and viable business that will generate huge amounts of traffic, then SEO should be part of your strategy. A well-optimized site can produce excellent quality traffic, but you will need to dedicate a substantial amount of resources to compete with the sites that are already ranking for the top search terms for your niche.
We certainly don’t need to explain what social media is. Social media is a rich source of traffic, but once again you will need to invest a lot of time and effort to reap the rewards of social media. Whether you choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or others, there are very specific techniques and approaches for each.You may be wondering why we mention YouTube. YouTube is considered a social media platform and it is a search engine… huh? Yes, YouTube is considered a search engine as well and is the 2nd largest after Google (yes, Google owns YouTube). Every day, millions of people turn to YouTube to search for videos on the topics that interest them. With this said, similar to SEO, you should be considering adding YouTube to your marketing strategy.
When you’re starting out as a CPA marketer, paid traffic is the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Paid traffic is exactly as the name implies; you buy ads to advertise the products you wish to promote and the sites you buy ads on, their users click on your ads and the traffic comes to your offers. One of the best and most well-known paid traffic sources is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). If you’ve paid attention when you search on Google, there are results at the very top of the page with writing next to them that says “ad”.What makes paid traffic so powerful is you can switch it on and off instantly.
As opposed to organic and social media traffic that take months or years to build up, you can set up a paid campaign on any of the thousands of ad networks and search engines, and within a few hours, you will start seeing visitors to your site. While paid traffic can be expensive initially, it can also save you loads of money in the long run and push up your ROI. With the ability to get traffic so quickly, it gives you the ability to test and tweak and optimize on the fly.
A great example of how paid traffic is your friend is when you want to test a niche and offers. With paid traffic, within a few days, you can test multiple offers and determine which ones are going to work for you. In fact, even if you plan on developing an SEO or social media strategy, paid traffic is a great tool to set you in the right direction.
Let’s say you want to go the SEO route – running a paid campaign on Google Ads will help you identify keywords that work and which don’t. Because SEO is a long term strategy, the last thing you want to do is invest time and money and wait 6 months for your site to reach page 1, only to discover that you have optimized for the wrong search terms. A similar approach can work with Facebook ads to give you an idea of what may work on social media platforms.
The name says it all. Referral traffic comes from other sites. This source of traffic occurs when other sites link to yours. Generating referral traffic is no easy feat and your site will need to be high quality for other sites to want to link to you. When your site becomes well known or an authority site (this takes huge amounts of time and money), other websites will link to you naturally. You can short circuit the process by approaching top sites and paying them for backlinks to your site, but top sites command big prices to link or buy ad space directly from them.
Direct traffic is traffic that comes directly to your site when users type your URL into their browser. This type of traffic only develops when you’ve had a site for many years and built a reputation. An example of this is eBay or Amazon.
Getting Your Website Ready
Odds are pretty good you will want to have your own website, which should contain high-quality content that will add value to the visitors and in turn, the aim is that they will click on the ads and links on your site which will then take them to the offers and advertisers you are promoting etc.
If you’re not quite ready to go with a full website when starting with a new niche, then you should at least create a single landing page that will presell to the visitors and get them pumped up to take the next step. Whichever route you take, you need to build the look, feel and content around the offers you plan to promote. The more focused, targeted and consistent your message is with the offer, the better it will perform.
Today, you don’t need to be a developer or designer to have a good looking and functional website. There are many well-known site builder services that have drag and drop functionality. One of the most well-known is Wix. If you have no knowledge in this area and are prepared to invest some cash, then you can hire a web developer through one of the many freelance websites and they will guide you and do the hard work.
Getting Started in the world of CPA Marketing
When you’re just getting started in the world of CPA marketing, you probably will want to get your hands a little dirty and do some of the tasks yourself so that you understand what is involved. If nothing else, you must gain the knowledge to at least implement and/ or change your tracking links.
Don’t forget the analytics! The only way to measure success is with data. While the affiliate platform will be tracking your referrals and conversions, your website analytics will give you deep insights into the traffic sources, the types of devices (desktop vs. mobile), how long visitors stay on your site and which countries, regions and time of day they visit, plus so much more. This data is vital for optimization in order to squeeze as much value from every click. One of the best and most comprehensive analytics solutions, which is free, is Google Analytics. In the world of successful CPA marketing, data is the king!
Time to Make it Happen
By now, you should have some great knowledge to start making things happen. In the world of affiliate and CPA marketing, successful marketers are those that formulate a plan and take action. Way too many online marketers have great ideas and ambitions, but when it comes to putting in the hard work, they simply don’t follow through, which in turn results in no commissions earned and they abandon their goals and dreams. You don’t need to spend weeks doing research and you don’t need the perfect website to get the ball rolling. Get started and then you can tweak, optimize and polish while you learn and earn some commissions.
If you’re ready to start earning and learning, then Algo-Affiliates should be at the top of your list. Algo-Affiliates is a highly focused and professional CPA network that offers a selection of high-paying niches. They have an exceptionally intuitive platform that gives you access to all the tools you need. Their extensive range of marketing materials and funnels, available in many languages to reach global markets, have all been optimized perfectly to deliver exceptional conversions and to put more commissions in your pocket. Their team of experienced affiliate managers are helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. This is one CPA network every marketer should consider.