If you are involved in the world of affiliate marketing then it is likely you've heard of CPA as some underground secret society where people are making fortunes online. Indeed this was the view that many have when they first start investigating exactly what CPA is, I know because I was one of them. I remember wondering whether I was even qualified to be researching them when and my very first interview.
The very first network I joined was MaxBounty and as they re-launched their updated website today, it got me thinking about my first experiences entering the world of CPA. I decided that I'd get an article out there to dispel the myths about CPA and give a brief overview of what exactly it is.
Table of Contents
CPA: Back to basics
To start out out any kind of introduction I'll first share my definition of what CPA is. It may not be dictionary perfect but it'll at least give you a model to work with whilst considering the points throughout this article.
CPA (Cost Per Action / Cost Per Acquisition): This is an advertising model where publishers are paid for an action that is taken as a direct result of their marketing. This differs from typical affiliate marketing in that you may not necessarily need to make a sale to get paid within a CPA network. Payments are usually based on lead generation such as submitting a phone number or email address to get some free product or information.
As you can imagine the fact that you can get paid without even having to make a single sale can make CPA networks very attractive to the “make money online” crowd and can potentially leave a lot of room to be exploited. This means that CPA networks will usually be a little stricter than your typical affiliate network when allowing people into their network.
When people hear that CPA networks are stricter they often get scared off. You shouldn't let this happen to you because the truth is, if you are an honest upstanding affiliate or plan on becoming one, they really do want you involved. It's really the scammers and spammers of the world that they will try and weed out.
Methods of CPA Promotion
There are many differing ways to promote CPA campaigns, some of which involve having your own website, some that don't. The truth is that CPA marketing is really not all that different than other types of marketing. At it's most basic you just have to take some time to consider the product that you are promoting and where you will actually find a market that is interested in either learning more or purchasing a product.
Having said all of that I will list a few examples of the more popular CPA promotional methods that you may come across:
- Review Website – Generally these types of websites will contain three of more products within a certain niche i.e. Weight Loss Pills or Lawn Fertilizer. They will then give you a brief introduction to each product, a review of the products performance and then usually a star rating out of five. Each of these products will usually be ranked in order and all will contain links to either a personalized landing page (introduced below) or direct to the merchant.
- Sales/Landing Page – This site is usually more of a direct sales page and will likely introduce a lot more information on the product that it discusses. It will typically be a very hard sale and work to get it's reader either clicking through to the merchant there and then or at the very least signed up to the site owners mailing list. Some sales pages will actually try to do both of these things, though it can often be beneficial to have one direct path through a landing page. Too many options can ultimately mean losing clicks.
- Splash Page – This is usally content light and will have flashy graphics with some punchy headlines and copy to encourage readers to input their details or click through to the merchant. Product information is usually minimal and these types of pages are often reserved for products that need little explanation or are already famous i.e. competition for an iPhone or Macbook.
- Quiz / Fun Landing Page – Similar to the spash page but even simpler. There will usually be a question with two or more answers that can then be clicked on through huge domineering buttons. Sometimes some sort of game may be used in page of this style and it is definitely not the kind of page that someone will be revisiting. It's only purpose is to get that click-through and get it now.
Having given you all these examples of websites that are used don't be mistaken into thinking that you can only market through your own website. Other possible methods of promoting CPA Offers include posting to message boards, emailing a list of contacts, adding links to videos on YouTube and once you've risen the capital possibly even text-in adverts in magazines or regional/national TV.
CPA: How hard is it really?
I know you're wondering how easy it is to get into all this. I mean it all sounds great in theory but what's this talk of national TV? The truth is you needn't go to these kind of lengths to make money in CPA. Whilst it's nice to know that it's possible to go to these lengths, there are ordinary people out there making thousands of dollars per day simply by running CPA promotions online. I want you to realise through this article that it's not some secret society and it's definitely not some pie in the sky idea. It is still a business model and it will take work to make it. You should really discover for yourself that with a bit of work to get yourself started you too can have success in the world of Cost Per Action Marketing.
How To Get Accepted into CPA Networks
Almost without fail this is one of the first questions that pops into peoples minds when they hear that you have to apply to join most CPA networks. Whilst there is not one simple way to get accepted every time, there are ways that you can increase your likelihood of being accepted. You should always remember that if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. As much as I'd like to claim that I'm perfect, I've been both accepted and rejected in the past. That's the way that life works, however if you follow the steps in this article you will be giving yourself the best chance of success.
- Get Yourself a Website – If you don't already have a website, then now is the time to get your first one. Whilst it is possible to get accepted to some networks without your own website you may as well give yourself the best chance of success. If you are a major publisher or an experienced marketer and plan on running the CPA ads on your site then can apply with your current domain. However it's more likely that you will have several smaller sites or none at all. In this case you will want to create a website that brands yourself as an online marketer and describes the areas that you work in. A good selection of skill sets to include are your experience with PPC, SEO, Email Marketing or any other methods that you may use. Choosing a name such as SOMETHINGmarketing.com will also give you a more professional feel. If you can't or don't want to design the website yourself then hire somebody to do it for you within a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress so you can edit yourself at a later date.
- Use an email on your domain – I received this information on good faith from an industry insider a while back. If nothing else you will want to use an email that looks a little like this ‘email@example.com'. Even if you primarily use a GMail account or similar you will want to do this and set up a redirect. Many CPA networks will instantly reject any applicant who uses a free email address as they are so easy to set up and they have no verification you are actually the person who owns your site.
- Open & Honest in All of Your Communications – Whilst this may get you denied by some of the more selective CPA networks I truly believe that honesty is important especially in this area. If you say that you plan on driving 1000 keyword targeted leads from per month from PPC and they phone you up and it's clear that you've never even used PPC it will start to raise flags about other areas. Whilst you may think that stating you can do everything will help your case it may actually hurt it. As CPA networks usually give you your own rep/manager you can often get extra support in the areas where you are lacking, even if it's just a prod in the right direction. After all your success is where they will be making their money.
- Be Proactive When Applying – Many CPA networks will require an interview over the phone or via instant message before approving your account. Sometimes it can take up to a couple of days before they get a chance to call you back. If they provide a phone number or IM contact details then you should use them. You will have all the details that you've provided fresh in your head and even if they can't speak to you on the spot it proves that you are serious about joining and they will likely recognise your name when calling back.
So there you have it, armed with the following information you should be well on your way to getting accepted into your first few CPA networks. And on that note it's worth saying that you should likely apply for a few of them. Even if you do get accepted into them all you will find that many of them have different offers available that others don't.
Hopefully you haven't been too overwhelmed by the amount of information contained within this post but I felt it necessary to give a full overview of exactly what CPA is and how you can get involved. You've learned a few of the methods that CPA affiliates are using right now to earn money online. Even armed with the information you've learned today you are way in front of the average persons level of knowledge about CPA so please don't waste this opportunity.
My personal challenge to you is this: If you're considering getting into CPA Marketing then either sign up with a network or set the wheels in motion today! Too many people read information online and then forget about it after a couple of hours and never go back. If you really want to succeed in any online marketing endeavours the real key is informed action. This article has given you the power to take your first steps into CPA, now what you do with that information is up to you.
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