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.
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 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.