Is it good when other companies bid on your keywords? It depends. If your competitors are doing it to redirect visitors to their sites, then it’s probably not too great for you.
But if your affiliate partners are targeting your keywords and creating new business for you … well, who can argue the benefit there?
That’s the great thing about pay-per-click PPC affiliates. When you partner with them in the right way, you strengthen your brand’s presence on search and find new customers in a cost-effective way.
Before you can get serious about innovating your search presence with PPC affiliates, there are a couple assumptions about search and affiliate marketing you’ll need to change:
- Your search results are good enough already
- Affiliates will go off-message and ruin your brand
There’s also a third concept that you need to embrace:
Affiliates act as extensions of all your digital channels.
Affiliates are not just coupon websites. While many think of affiliates as a separate marketing channel from organic or paid search, social media and email, the truth is that affiliates function in all these areas, and you can leverage affiliate business more effectively if you think about your affiliates as extensions of all these digital marketing efforts.
We’re not going to dive into specific tactics here (more on that here). Rather, we’re focusing on the results and benefits that emerge from this particular aspect of affiliate and search engine marketing (SEM).
All that said, there are three main benefits of partnering with your affiliates to bid on keywords that you’re targeting too:
- Increase brand awareness through search
- Protect yourself from off-brand messaging
- Reduce customer acquisition costs
Increase Your Exposure at the Top of the Search Page
The big three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) allow four to five paid spots in various locations on their SERPs. The problem for brand awareness is that since you can’t occupy all those paid spots at the same time, you’re forced to share real estate with your competitors. There is, however, a way you can occupy several spots within the same SERP. But you need partners to achieve that, and this is where PPC affiliates can help.
Allowing affiliates to bid and monetize your trademarked keywords allows you to dominate to the top of SERPs related to your brand, product or vertical.
Bonus: As part of increasing your exposure on SERPs, PPC affiliates can help complement your SEO and help you dominate your targeted keywords for organic (non-paid) search results.
Complement your organic SEO traffic.
You may be saying to yourself, “But Nick, I already have perfect SEO practices and my organic search rankings have never been better.” To that I say, “Congratulations! I hope that lasts forever.”
But what if it doesn’t? What if Google updates their search algorithm and months of hard work disappear almost overnight? When you participate in SEM, you can fortify your SERP presence against organic upheavals.
To top that off, paid search ads are becoming more and more “native,” which lends to fewer and fewer consumers being “ad blind” to paid SEM. Where many users will seek out the first organic (non-paid) result, many more will engage with informative and useful SEM ads that were tailor-made to the search experience.
I can still sense some resistance.
“What about losing control of my brand and messaging? If I let PPC affiliates target my favorite keywords and then point visitors to me, they’ll say the wrong thing.”
Essentially, you’re worried about consistency with your brand messaging, and that brings me to my next point.
Protect and Influence Your Brand Message
News flash: Your competitors are bidding on your trademarked keywords right now. They’re allowed to do so as long as they don’t include your trademark in the title, copy, or URL slug. Also, it’s possible that search results for your brand prominently feature some negative reviews from dissatisfied customers.
What if you could hire a team to help push competitor site and negatives reviews further down the SERPs? Partnering with PPC affiliates allows you to do just that.
Utilizing these relationships, you can influence the messaging in ad copy other than your own and direct traffic to destinations that you’d like instead of to competing product pages.
Here’s the key thing to understand: Affiliates have monetary incentive to follow your suggestions, which allows you to have an influence on what they say and where they send users.
So not only are these PPC affiliates helping to push competitors and negative reviews out of your search space, they’re strengthening your brand by keeping messaging consistent across different properties and channels.
Reduce Your Costs
If you’re still not convinced, let’s talk about the bottom line. By that, I mean your actual bottom line: costs.
Consider the ROI on your different paid marketing channels, especially if you utilize in-house SEM. You’re paying per click or per impression each time a search engine serves your ad. When you partner with PPC affiliates, the affiliates are the ones bidding per click, not you.
This means you only pay when a user buys something, so you’re in much better control of your margin. If you get a lot of tire kickers that engage with ads but don’t buy, the risk is on the affiliate to optimize their keyword bidding, not you. It’s a no-brainer.
As an extension of your overall digital marketing strategy, affiliates add a greater reach to your efforts than you can by yourself or as a team. You as a digital marketer can only inhabit so many digital spaces. Partnering with PPC affiliates isn’t just expanding a single channel of revenue, it’s multiplying your voice in the market and doing so with the highest ROI potential. It’s performance marketing at its best.