10 Tips to Help You Make Money With Google Referral 2.0
Last modified on 26th July, 2007
Now that Google has made their Referral program available to everyone, I’d like to share a few tips to help you make more money from it.
While making money from Google referral isn’t much different from making money from other pay per lead/pay per action affiliate programs, certain restrictions apply when it comes to recommending Google’s referral products to your users.
Things You Should Know When Promoting Google Referral 2.0
Google AdSense Help states that you are allowed to endorse or recommend the products you’re referring on your site. However, AdSense program policies don’t permit you to encourage clicks or draw ‘unnatural” attention to the referral units you’re displaying on your site. So you are not allowed to use language such as “Click here”, “Visit these links to support our site”.
Clicking your own referral ads for any reason is also against Google policy. Now this is the part where I am having a little problem with. Since advertisers are not billed by clicks, this policy should not have applied to referral ads.
While you are allowed to say things like “This is a good product and I highly recommend you using it”, you are not allowed to click on the referral ad to see what you are actually endorsing!
Not being able to click on your own ads is also bad in that when the merchant’s website is down for whatever reason, you would be wasting your time promoting their product during the downtime period.
Now, pay per lead or pay per action program works best if you’ve tried the product or service yourself. A genuine recommendation usually works better than trying to recommend something just for the sake of trying to make a sell.
Another thing that you should be aware of is that you are only allowed to place up to three referrals on page. In addition, it’s against Google policies to place referrals in emails, software applications or pop up ads.
10 Tips to Help You Make Money from Google Referral 2.0
Despite my complaints above, I think Google referral is still the way to go if you are looking for ways to supplement or increase your AdSense income. Being different from the normal pay per click ads, you’ll need a different approach when it comes to promoting their referral products.
- Promote Free Offers
Publishers who are new to referral program will do better promoting free offers. These are pay per lead or pay per action products that require users to download trial software, fill an online form, participate in a survey and so on.
The conversion rates for these products are generally higher than pay per sale because your users aren’t required to buy anything. However, the commissions are usually less than pay per sale products.
- Start with Products and Services That Interest You
It’s easier to promote something that you are genuinely interested in. If you have a blog, just start with products that belong to the same niche as your blog. If you love music, you could start promoting products in the entertainment category.
Your interest in the product will help you keep going during bad times. As they said, follow your passion and the money will follow.
- Select Popular Products to Promote
Ask your self if the product you want to promote is currently in demand. The second question you should ask is how many other publishers are promoting the same product. This help you get a feel for the competition.
Alternatively, you can look at the product’s network performance star rating that indicates how Google expect it to perform relative to other products. Just keep in mind that highly rated products don’t necessarily sell better. How you decide to implement the ad, among other factors, determines how it will perform on your site.
- Select Products with Seasonal Demand
Certain products such as tax software is in high demand before the income tax submission deadline. There are also opportunities to promote certain products during the special occasions such as Father’s day, Christmas Day, and back to school season.
Take advantage of online tools such as Google Trends to help you identify hot products for a particular season.
- Differentiate Yourself With A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
USP is basically the benefit that a product or service can deliver to users that’s not offered by any competitor. It’s important because it makes you stand out from the crowd.
Since you are promoting Google referral products and services, the USP in this case is associated with your website and how you use your USP in your referral ads implementation matters.
Let me give you an example, let say you want to promote a web hosting product. Instead of tossing in the text link somewhere in your sidebar, you can do a complete review of the product.
Ideally you should sign yourself up (but not via your own referral ad) so that you can share your own personal experience by using the product or service yourself. I often find users are more receptive to my marketing effort when I offer a unique perspective that they can’t find anywhere else easily.
Here’s one product that I find interesting and related to my niche.
If I have a personal experience with the product, I could write a tutorial or guide for using it. In my tutorial I could include screenshots, tips and tricks.
Currently, Google pays USD96.15 for each user signs-up for any Homestead website package. Just do the math and see how your one time effort could potentially produce passive income continuously long after your first wrote the tutorial. That’s the power of Unique Selling Preposition.
- Learn About Pre-Selling
Most affiliates fail to make money from pay per lead/pay per sale programs because they try too hard to sell the product or service. You job as a Google publisher is to pre-sell. When you are pre-selling, you don’t talk to your potential customers like a stranger or salesperson. You become their friend.
Here’s a good definition of pre-selling I quote from The Website Squad
Pre-selling is how you make your visitors like you.
Pre-selling is how you establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your visitors.
Pre-selling is why they think you are their friend, not a salesperson.
Pre-selling is why you will ultimately be able to sell successfully.
Put very simply, it’s everything that you do to create an open-to-buy mindset in the minds of people. Things that you do before the selling even begins. Things that happen before your visitors are even aware that they are going to buy something from your site.
- Find Targeted Traffic
While it’s important to get traffic to your website, it’s more important to drive targeted traffic as it could improve your conversion rates significantly. You could make more money from 100 highly targeted visitors to your website than from 10,000 untargeted visitors.
Finding targeted traffic is a large topic in its own right. One way to get targeted traffic is to buy them via the pay per click search engines such as AdWords or Microsoft adCenter. If you are using AdWords, check out my AdWords category for some ideas.
- Promote Pay Per Sale Only When You are Comfortable With It
Currently, many of the AdSense referral ads compensate you when users buy something. Pay per sale allows you to make more money when your users buy multiple items at once. The commission is usually higher than pay per lead.
The disadvantage is that it’s harder to promote. The commissions can also be small when users buy small ticket item. That said, once you’ve become successful with the pay per lead/pay per action, promoting pay per sale products or services should be you next step.
- Make Your Site Sell
You can start with you blog as a platform to promote Google referral products right away. Alternatively, you could create a website dedicated to promoting referrals products and services. You could create a review website to provide reviews, tips and tricks, tutorial and so on.
It’s important to realise that in general, your website content is more important than its design when it comes to selling products or services. Good users experience is all that matters. To help you make your site sell, I recommend you download Ken Evoy’s ebook Make Your Site Sell.
While it was last updated in 2002, most of the advice contains inside still applies today. Don’t worry; it won’t you cost anything.
- Test, Test & Test
Like everything else, you need to test continuously to find what work best for you. Things you need to test include but not limited to
Your website/landing page
Referral ad implementation,
Your sales copy
Your traffic source
Your AdWords ads etc
You can find related information to the above scattered all over my blog. Just start with the category that interests you.
Success is not a destination but a journey. Keep learning and equip yourself with all the necessary skills to help you maximise your earning potential.
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