When I was new to the internet marketing game, the sheer amount of acronyms I found myself running across was simply astounding. One that I saw time and time again as I looked on was CPA, and a quick Google search made it reveal to me that it was, in fact, “cost per action.” It’s actually not nearly as complex as it seems, and in fact it might be one of the best ways around when it comes to webpage monetization.
The Basic Idea
You sign up with an affiliate network, you promote a product or service on your page, and everyone who does a certain action nets you a little bit of money.
This can be lead generation for the person you’re working with in the form of an e-mail sign up, convincing them to get an estimate on something, signing up for a trial of the involved service, or even just convincing them to buy something.
For each of these individual actions that you put someone through, you’ll be receiving a bit of money. An established web page in a profitable niche can make a killing through a CPA campaign, particularly if you’re careful and select a great product or service to advertise.
For the person running the site there’s a definite advantage: you’re higher on the food chain than pretty much anyone but the product owner themselves which means that your “take home” is increased over CPC advertising or even standard affiliate advertising.
It’s also more work, but there are a lot of people who are using CPA marketing to run extremely profitable campaigns. If you do it right, with the right product, you’re virtually guaranteed a high return on income at the end of the day.
Advantages to the CPA Model
Many people’s first experience with trying to make money with their page comes in the form of CPC advertising. The simple fact is this: it’s extremely hard to run a profitable CPC campaign, especially nowadays.
It leaves you with ugly banners or underlined text which leads to something vaguely relevant on your page. It looks bad and most people are so used to this kind of thing on the internet that they rarely even take a second look when they do pop up.
In essence, you’ll only be able to hit suckers with it for the most part.
Instead of making your page an obvious advertisement, you can actually pretty seamlessly integrate a good CPA campaign into a professional looking website. For instance, if you’re running a site on fitness and happen to stumble across a good campaign for a book you really believe in… well, all you really have to do is recommend it.
That’s not to say there’s not a shady side, but if you’re careful these campaigns can be run without losing your reader’s trust.
The best campaigns will always be for those products you already believe in. Honesty and a product which genuinely meets the end user’s needs will net you a lot more money in the long run than just finding high priced offers and slamming them up one after the other.
Finding CPA Offers
Of course, if you’re completely new to this sort of thing then you’ll want to take a look around before you decide to do anything.
There are two ways to go about finding leads: aggregators and recommended networks. Both of these have their advantages, but once you’ve gained some experience you’ll find that aggregators are the way to go.
When you use a highly recommended network, you can usually be sure that there won’t be any problems with payment or other shady, behind-the-scenes business. Just like any other corner of the internet, there are plenty of people willing to profit from your time and effort then skirt the issue when it comes time to pay you.
Aggregators, on the other hand, are a search engine for CPA offers across differing networks. I recommend oDigger and OfferVault.com. Both of them are easy to use and allow you to narrow down the offers you want to see with a ton of different variables from price to the specific user action you’ll be paid for.
This means, for a newbie, that aggregators allow you to quickly find ideal offers for your page. It also means, that you need to do your research on the specific network which is handling the offer.
There are always going to be a bad review or two(take a look at Amazon, or any popular business’ Yelp page) but if the majority of the reviews are good then you’ll generally be good to go.
On the other hand, if you’re looking at tons of reviews with people complaining about different issues with the network itself, then you probably want to skip on the offer even if it’s higher than a trusted competitors.
A friendly relationship with your AM(affiliate manager) is also a good idea to cultivate. As with any aspect of your business, good networking and people skills can help you get ahead and this is a person you want to be on good terms with.
Always make sure you can trust the CPA network you can use. It’s never fun to do a lot of good, supposedly profitable work and then get burned.
Setting Up a CPA Campaign
CPA campaigns work best with the following in place:
- Your site’s users trust you already.
- You don’t come across as pushy or “salesy” to the end consumer, instead giving a fair review to the product you’re offering.
- Your site looks very professional, instead of looking like somewhere cheap ads go to die.
The above are super important if you’re integrating CPA offers into an existing site. You may find they quickly make up a large amount of your website’s income if you do things properly.
Of course, if you have your SEO on point, then you can actually center an entire site around CPA offers quite successfully from the ground up with a little bit of fore thought.
The real end result of all of this is a great way to monetize your site, but it definitely requires more effort than just relying on people clicking ads or reading your reviews of Amazon products and picking them up.
Give CPA marketing a shot. Whether you rely on it or are seeking to integrate a new monetization strategy into your page, it’s one of the most rewarding forms of marketing around.