Shareasale Vs. Google Adwords? Shareasale Review

When it comes to having a successful eCommerce business, Cost Per Acquisition aka CPA is one of the main factors.  Shareasale vs. Google Adwords isn’t really a valid comparison.  They are two different avenues of bringing in quality traffic and customers.  Should you choose one or the other? Or Should you combine them both? I will discuss these questions and also give some tips of how to make the most out of those two.

Genesis

Let’s start from the beginning.  Once you have everything setup to go live, you probably already have set up Google Adwords and Google Merchant account.  Those two methods of advertising are the best in my experience for bringing in customers.  You should start with Product Listing Advertisement aka PLA and slowly learn how to use other methods of running ads with Google.  Google Adwords seems so simple to use, but once you dig deeper there are so many different ways to run ads, you will be surprised.  But while you run your PLA’s and experiment with text and display ads, you should also seriously consider signing up with some Affiliate networks.

Shareasale Review

Shareasale is a network of affiliates and merchants.  Merchants will pay commission for every order affiliate partner brings, while affiliates one way or another bring customers to merchants website in exchange for commissions.  Merchants increase their sales and affiliates make certain percentage of that income.  Why is adding Shareasale into your advertising budget a smart idea? Because once your account is setup, you do not have to pay per click, you only pay when you see results.  Unlike CPC (cost per click), the system Google Adwords uses, affiliates are actually interested in you making that sale.  Affiliates get paid only when you actually receive the payment for your products or services.  The only risk is your upfront cost, which is not a lot, I think.  Adwords on the other hand charges you per click and doesn’t really care if you make the sale or not.  That’s not to say you are wasting your money.  The opposite, I think Google is brilliant at bringing quality leads.  The conversion for my website is anywhere from 4-5%.  That means I have to pay for 100 clicks in order to make 4-5 sales.  If you know your keywords and play with the bids, you will still make a lot of money through Adwords, but adding Shareasale may add even more.

The Cost Of Setting Up a Merchant Account with Shareasale

The cost is not high, but also not dirt cheap.  The upfront cost usually deters new merchants from signing up with them.  Sharesale charges merchants $550 set up fee plus you need to make a minimum of $100.  So the total cost to you upfront would be $650, which may all go to waste if you your affiliate program is not successful.  On the other hand, most merchants spend at least $1000 a day on Adwords, at least I do.  Shareasale may have larger upfront cost before you see any results, but the future sales and traffic may well be worth it.

Tips On How To Use Shareasale Effectively

If you ever sign up with them, you will need to make sure you build a good program and effective one.  Beware of coupon sites, which will use your store name and place coupons on their site.  Why is that bad? Because most of your customers will probably be looking for a coupon code using your store name before they make a purchase.  Why would you pay a commission for someone who is already a customer.  So, do not use the auto approval option of your Shareasale account.  I am speaking from experience.

Also, please make sure you prohibit your affiliate partners from bidding on your brand or store name.  There are some “wise” affiliates who will simply send you customers who have already been looking for you.  For instance, they will create text ad on Google Adwords using your store name “www.example.com” and the bid will be around 5 cents.  They will pay 5 cents to bring you the traffic that is most likely to buy from you.  The purpose of affiliate network is to get you new leads and increase your sales.  If you fall into the trap of coupon sites or other “wise” people, you will just increase your spending without actually making any more sales.  Does it make sense?

So Shareasale vs. Google Adwords?

I think the correct combination and implementation of strategies on both platforms will bring you the most.  Successful online businesses use both for marketing purposes.  You can not really compare the two since they both use different systems for bringing traffic to your eCommerce business.  I think there is less risk with Sharesale as it may look at first.  Yes, $650 is a lot, but it is worth spending that money and having access to thousands of affiliates who will drive traffic and sales to your site.
Drive more traffic to your online store using performance based marketing.
Let me know if I missed anything or if you have tips for other readers.

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I have a website, but no traffic

I Built My Website But No Visitors, Why? 6 Things You Can DO

I have a website, but no traffic
I have a website, but no traffic

It is not surprising that your website gets no visitors, if you think about it.  There are millions of websites and thousands if not hundreds of thousands created daily, so how on earth do you expect someone to notice your website or find on the search engine.  They won’t unless you do one of the few things or all of them, which I will get to in a minute.  I am not tech guy nor am I a professional traffic driver, but i know of places where such people are waiting for me to come and pay them few dollars to do the job for me.  Why? Even though I can probably do search engine optimization myself, it is extremely time consuming and I have better things to do.  Here few things that need to be done, and everyone can do it, regardless of their background:

  1. Share your link with those whom you know- social media sites are the best places to let your friends and family know about your new website and ask them to share it with their friends.  Depending on how many friends you have on FB and how many followers you have on Twitter and other sites, you might start getting visits.  I personally do not have a large group of friends on Facebook, so this method does not work for me.
  2. Hire an SEO specialist- go to websites like upwork.com (formerly known as oDesk) and post a job.  You will be surprised at how affordable this things are.  Within minutes you will get 10’s if not 100’s of applicants.  The challenge will be choosing the right person for the job.  And don’t forget, SEO takes time and you will have to be patient before you see results.  But once you get some rankings and your website is useful for visitors, you will start growing exponentially.  Another great place to search for freelancers is fiverr.com, where you can find people who can submit your site to search engines, send you traffic, and so on.  Really great place.
  3. Do some keyword researching- Go to google adwords and use the “keyword planning tool” to find some low competition and niche keywords for your website.  You can target those keywords on your website and do if you are running a business, not a blog, start writing a blog.
  4. Start writing a blog- why? Because google favors websites that give information for free and are not trying to sell products.  If you are selling products, they want you to advertise and pay for those clicks, traffic, and sales.  If you are running an e-commerce business, you will have to start writing blogs and sending links to your store.  Write articles about your products or ask someone to write a review about your product and send links over to your site.
  5. Record a video and upload it to YouTube- Youtube is a great place to get free traffic.  If you sell products, make a video about that product and explain the benefits and so on.  You can place a link on your videos description and send people who are interested in buying directly to your product page.  The same goes for those who sell services.
  6. Start advertising- Google Adwords, I find, is the best place to advertise your products or services.  Again, you can find professionals on upwork.com or Fiverr.com who can create killer campaigns for you, but you can do it yourself as well.  If you correctly identify your keywords, you can start selling the same day and be in business.  If you sell physical products, google Merchant center is the BEST! Using Google Merchant center, you can publish your actual products, and get traffic that is very well targeted and interested in your product.  If you  sell local services, use local ads and you will see results right away.  Google advertising is a treasure.

If you decide to do some SEO yourself, just know that it takes time, otherwise, you can probably hire someone for about $50 a week who will work really hard to get your website rank on the first page of Google within 3-4 months.  Thats a good deal.  If you combine all 6 suggestions, you website will rock and you will see results right away and if you keep working and let other work as well, within 6 months you will see lots of free traffic.  Good Luck

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Free Services That Are Essential For Building Your Website

man-free-signFree Services New eCommerce Websites Need

There tools available online that are free of charge and are essential for building a successful online store.  Every website owner will need to use them in order to build a reputable site that will eventually start bringing in free traffic or aka organic traffic.  The two search engines used by most people are Google and Bing.  Those search engines and many other website directories offer free services that cost you nothing, but your time and attention, so that your store can slowly start building audience.

How do I let people know that my store exists?

One needs to ask himself or herself one important question, how do I let people know that my store exists? A logical conclusion will be to let search engines and all kinds of directories know that you have opened up your store front for business and are happy to see visitors and eventually customers.  In this post, I will list few services that you will want to sign up for and submit your website to, so that search engine robots can scan your site and index your pages into the database of their respective organizations.  Google and Bing both offer a service called Webmaster Tools.  I will discuss their importance shortly.  There is also Google Analytics, which will track visitors to your website and track conversions, let you know where they are coming from, etc.  There are also directories, such as Dmoz, which doesn’t really send much traffic, but it gives Google a positive impression about your website if you are listed on it.  Social media presence is another necessity this days which can not be ignored and are also free.  Now let’s talk about each of the free services in detail separately.

Webmaster Tools

This tool allows website owners to submit the sitemap of their website and let search engines know that the site exists.  Once submitted, robots from Google and Bing will scan your site and index those pages into the search results.  It is number 1 step, I would suggest, for any site owner to do, since it allows to show up in search made by people and potential customers.  Obviously, there are millions of websites that are submitted to the database of Google and Bing daily, so your store showing up in the 1st page of any of them is minuscule.  But, and it is a big But, without the first step you can not start the second.  When you submit the sitemap to Webmaster Tools, you will have to verify that you are the owner of the site, which will require posting a code provided by Google and Bing into your websites html code, which is quite easy.

Google Analytics

Analytics is one of the most used tools that is free by website owners and those who manage their SEO for them.  It allows you to monitor your website and shows you very detail and an in-depth analysis of your store.  You can track where your customers are coming from, where they are going, what are they searching for, how did they find your store, and how many visitors turned into customers.  This tool is a dream come true for anyone who manages a site and wants to know every possible detail about it’s visitors.  When marketing your site by paid advertisement, it will be a great tool to monitor your campaigns success.

Directories

There are thousands of them, but one of the most important ones is Dmoz, or at least that’s what I was told.  DMoz is a website directory that looks very old and doesn’t seem to bring much traffic, but gives a positive impression about your website to Google and Bing.  I was able to get one of the websites I worked on to get listed on Dmoz and it was one of the steps for success.  With the SEO strategy we had and the luck of getting listed on Dmoz eventually gave that website a page rank of 3.  The traffic from DMoz was almost zero, but my guess is that Google thought highly of the website once it was listed by the directory.  There are cheap services online that offer you to submit your site to directories and I recommend using them, but be very careful, because if Google senses you are using some funny methods to build links to your website, it may suspend your account and remove you from it’s database.

On-page Optimization

One more thing I would like to discuss is the importance of on page optimization, which means your website’s pages are optimized for the best search engine optimization.  By using meta tags and meta description you will increase your chances of your site being indexed by Google and show up in the search results.  By implementing good SEO strategy and working on on page optimization, you are combining your force and with time (it takes patience), you will see results.

Social Media Presence

Social media presence is a must in todays connected world and it is a great place to be for businesses, since the word of mouth is the best advertisement.  If you have a large group of friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and many others, it will be easy for you to get your first audience and maybe even customers, who knows.  Creating business page in any of those social media websites are free and cost you noting.  While it is free to have presence, you may want to try running some ads through FB and Twitter to see if you can find some audience outside your group of friends and family.

Always remember, Knowledge is Gold and having the resources and building the right team is your key to success

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