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Product Review: Google Cash
First a quick story and then the product review.
I was quick to jump on board with Google AdSense. Have to say I don't regret it at all. Though that isn't the topic of this review you'll see how it relates in a minute.
I wanted to try my hand at some paid advertising. It was something I had avoided for the past few years. I just wasn't sure about how cost effective it would be plus the topic of my site goes up against some pretty heavy hitters.
Each time I priced the keywords I'd be interested in they were just too expensive.
I decided to go with Google AdWords. My budget? The revenue I was receiving from Google AdSense.
Before getting started I wanted to learn more about Google AdWords. After a lot of searching I decided to go with Chris Carpenter's Google Cash
After just the first chapter I realized I needed to wrap my mind around a new concept. Rather than "PREsell" with content I had to learn to sell with advertising. My website doesn't actually sell anything. It provides information and recommends products and resources. In order to make money I'd be better off having my ads link directly to merchant sites.
Google Cash provided a quick refresher on how to choose lucrative affiliate programs and then took me step by step through the process of setting up a Google AdWords account, writing the ads and tracking campaigns.
Chris did confirm my biggest fear about paid ad campaigns, costs can spiral out of control and money can be wasted. In Google Cash Chris details how you should manage and track your campaigns.
He teaches you how to carefully track your costs and income. He even gives you the spreadsheet that he personally uses.
Some of the examples Chris gives are outdated but the instructions and advise still apply.
Google Cash teaches you :
How to get started with Google AdWords
How to find and choose lucrative affiliate programs
How to research and select keywords
How to write Google AdWords (that get the clicks!)
How to set up your Google AdWords campaigns
How to track your Google AdWords campaigns
After reading through Google Cash
I set up a test campaign. I didn't want to spend a lot and I wanted quick results for the review. It was November so I went with calendars for Christmas and for the New Year.
As per Chris' advise I researched keywords and then I wrote my ads.
I went with breed specific dog calendars like "white terrier calendar" and paid the lowest US$.05 per click. What I didn't do was invest time into researching higher paying affiliate programs. I just went with something quick that paid around $1.20 per calendar.
November-December dog calendar campaign cost $59.55
November-December dog calendar commissions $76.66
This was just a quick campaign I threw together. I didn't track it like I should have. I also realize now that some of the keywords I chose weren't specific enough. I set daily limits lower than I should have for some of the highly effective keywords. Which are some of the things that Chris can help you avoid.
Bottom line following Google Cash
step by step did pay off. Start off small, do some testing and follow the steps Chris outlines.
June-August 2005 Quick update
Funny how time passes. I've finally gotten around to running another Adwords campaign. I read Google Cash
again. This time I paid more attention to Chris' advice I picked a product that paid a healthy commission US$30.28 each, and monitored my campaigns a bit more. I know I didn't put enough effort into choosing keywords, testing ad effectiveness or monitoring results but I was still able to yield a higher return.
Total costs for the campaign US$48.51 and so far my commissions are $92.94. The reason I say so far is because I ran the ad for about a week back in June (it's now August) and I just got another sale.
Generating affiliate commissions using AdWords takes effort. You need to be organized and monitor your campaigns diligently. This particular tactic isn't for everyone. In fact personally I'll continue to promote only one product at a time with a low budget. However I will run more campaigns throughout holiday shopping periods.
My time is limited (monitoring, testing, tweaking = time consuming) and I'm not a big risk taker when it comes to an advertising budget.
If you're looking for ways to boost your affiliate income especially if you've contemplated using pay per click advertising I highly recommend reading Google Cash
I also suggest that you start with "keyword targeted" campaigns (you'll read more about that when you set up an actual campaign).
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