Using Affiliate Programs to Test Your Advertising Strategy

Posted on April 4, 2000

by Thom Schlip

Advertising is an investment in your company. Why do companies advertise? To improve their image, to increase their customer base and to make sales. Why do most companies "really" advertise? To increase sales!

Think of how much money your company spends on advertising in a year. A three-month contract in the local newspaper can cost about $2000 for an 1/8-page ad. A campaign on your favorite radio station can run up to $3000, an ad in your state magazine can run up to $7200 and cable TV advertising can cost even more.

Let's take a look at the world of online advertising. If you are advertising on a major portal, the minimum amount you would invest is about $2000. Advertising on smaller targeted oriented sites can still cost you anywhere from $60-$500 per month, depending on the site's traffic.

Whether online or off, unless you have an effective ad campaign in place, your advertising dollars are going to waste. Your ads have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right sales message.

The Internet provides you with so many effective measuring tools that can't be found in the offline advertising world. You can actually tell how many people have viewed your ad, clicked on it and if they purchased something from you, and you can track it all in real time! You can test! And you don't need an ad agency or a web "techie" to do it!

Another way to advertise online is through Performance Based Marketing, also known as an affiliate program. Performance based marketing is taking the industry by storm!. You can actually advertise your products and services across thousands of web sites while only paying for results! You can test which ads increase traffic, which ads sell and which ads are a total flop!

Investing in an affiliate program can drive traffic to your site, increase your audience reach and increase your online revenue, but probably the most overlooked factor of an affiliate program is that it allows you to test your ad campaigns effectively, saving you time and money.

Affiliate programs provide you with the vehicle and a captive audience to do just that. Investing in an affiliate program, even if you don't make one sale can be the most important investment your company will make in its online advertising strategy!

Why? Because affiliate programs allow you to test what works and what doesn't!

The key to any online advertising strategy is to "fail quickly", so you can then test what really works. Affiliate programs provide you with the vehicle and a captive audience to do just that, and the crime of it all is you can do it without paying any up front advertising fees. You only pay for ads that perform well enough to give you a qualified lead or generate a sale.

If you could do this in the offline world, I know a lot of newspapers and magazines that would be out of business right now! Chances are very good that while you are doing all that testing, you are going to make some sales as well!

Thom Schlip, CEO
PlugInGo Affiliate Network

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