Direct to merchant (DTM) pay per click (PPC) advertising is being restricted more and more, with major merchants like Amazon and EBay recently saying that they will no longer allow affiliates to use the merchant site as their landing pages in PPC campaigns. What this means is that affiliates that never built websites now need to learn how to do so and how to make landing pages that convert. Even though many affiliates made a lot of money using DTM PPC, the technique has flaws that smart affiliates should have recognized long ago.
First, affiliates have been paying for traffic and sending it off to direct to the merchant. So when the merchant pulls the plug, as many are now doing, they don’t have any residual traffic to a website of their own. The affiliates perfected the keywords and ads, but instead of sending traffic to the merchant, if they had been sending the traffic to their own website they would A. be able to continue without an issue and B. would have been building a site that had some authority and customer trust.
Next if the affiliate had their own landing pages, they could have been building a mailing list to use to contact people about similar or better products. Not a spam list, but a real list built from people that were interested in the product being promoted and possibly other similar products that can be featured on the same site. You can’t go back and change the past, but for the future look at this as an opportunity to do more for building a company brand.
Affiliates that are able to sell well through pay per click ads in the search engines have unique skills that many other people (not only affiliates, but merchants!) don’t have. Leveraging those skills to build traffic to their own websites and to build their own authority, credibility with shoppers, and email lists should take them to new levels that they weren’t aware they could achieve. If an affiliate isn’t good at building websites and landing pages, I recommend they partner with an affiliate that is good at that part, or go to sites such as elance and outsource the pieces they can’t do themselves. In the everchanging affiliate and online marketing landscape, the more you are able to utilize your skills and adapt to new requirements, the more successful you will be.
This was published in FeedFront Magazine Issue #7