Selling online with minimal investment is now possible thanks to affiliate networks like Commission Junction orClickbank, and pay per click advertisers like Google Adwords. The intention of this article is not to add to the hype or to make you believe that making money online is easy. It is not. Its goal is to get you acquainted with a few tools that make online selling simple, and to encourage you to gain some hands-on experience.
What Can You Sell?
Affiliate networks like Commission Junction and Clickbank are one-stop-shops where you can find thousands of products to sell. By gaining access to many products in one place, you only have to sign up once and can consolidate payments from different vendors in one check.
Commission Junction carries a broad spectrum of products throughout different categories. Clickbank, on the other hand, specializes in informational products like ebooks, courses, and software (which generally offer attractive profit margins).
Your first step, therefore, is to sign up with one of these networks and look for products to sell.
Do You Need A Website?
A well designed and effectively promoted website is a great marketing tool that can generate many revenue streams: advertising sales, affiliate sales, ezine marketing, etc. However, the system I am describing doesn't require you to have a website. It uses Google Adwords to generate relevant traffic to your affiliate landing pages. In other words, once you sign up with Commission Junction or Clickbank and get your affiliate ID, you can link your Adwords ads directly to the sell pages of the companies you are affiliated with, and you will receive credit for any resulting sales.
How Do You Advertise?
You have to sign up with Google Adwords. This only takes a few minutes, and requires a small activation fee of $5. You can start creating your ads immediately after sign-up. Your ads will look like the ones you see to the right of the Google search results pages, and will have this format:
For example, if the product you want to sell is a hand held orgainzer, you should make those words the title of your ad (or at least include them in the title). The description fields must be filled with marketing text that entices your prospects to click (tip: you shouldavoid the word "free" since you want to attract paying customers, not free-loaders). Finally, you must include a URL, which can be the web address of the company whose products you're selling. This URL is not that important (it is only referential) since your ad will actually be linked to your affiliate URL (which includes your affiliate ID). Your ad, therefore, will look like this:
Hand Held Organizer
Light weight, easy to carry
High RAM, email enabled, on sale
When Will Your Ads be Shown?
After you create your ad, you have to choose the keywords or keyphrases that will trigger Google to display it. These will be the words that you believe prospects will use to search for your product. Some keyphrases will be very competitive and will require you to pay top dollar per click. Others will be less competitive and will cost you less.
For example "hand held organizer" may be too competitive andmay require you to pay, let's say, $1 dollar per click. However, phrases like "electronic portable organizers" or "portable digital agenda", while still relevant to your product, may be less in demand and have a lower cost per click (for example, $0.25). You can select a large group of keyphrases to trigger your ad (you are not limited to just one).
Some keyphrases will perform better than others, and you may add or delete keyphrases at any point in your campaign. In any case, Google will let you determine the maximum cost per click you are willing to pay, as well as the maximum daily amount you want to spend in your campaign, thus giving you a significant measure of control over your ad expenditures. Adwords also offers a tool to help you choose keyphrases; this tool will show you keyphrase options that you may not have thought about (tip: be sure to read Google Adword's tutorials, demos and FAQ's to better understand how Adwords work, before jumping on board).
How Much per Click Should You Offer?
That depends on the gross profit of your product and your conversion rate. While it is easy to determine the gross profit of your product, it is trickier to estimate your conversion rate (a brief period of trial an error may be necessary before you can get a real feel for it).
Assuming that each hand held organizer you sell entitles you to a $20 commission, and considering an average conversion rate of 2 percent, every 100 clicks on your ad will generate 2 sales, or a $40 profit. Your break even point will therefore be $0.40 per click. If you offer more than that, you will on average lose money. If you offer less, you will on average make money.
If the Google Adword's average cost per click for your selected keyphrase is, for example, $0.20, you have found a bargain, since it is way below your breakeven point.
It Is Not That Easy
As anything else in Internet marketing, it sounds easier than it really is. The truth is that you will have plenty of competition bidding for the same keywords and selling the same products. This will drive the average cost per click to near the breakeven point. The hardest part of this system is to find a niche where you can have: a product with a high gross profit margin, and a large group of profitable keywords (keywords that generate a lot of searches, that don't trigger a lot of competitive ads, and that average a low cost per click). Any time you spend trying to find this niche will be time well spent.
You can see a real example of all these tips at work in my blog: [shoestringbranding.comURL redirected]. Mario Sanchez publishes [theinternetdigest.net site can't be reached].