I first heard about Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) while attending a social media event in San Jose about eight years ago. The way it was explained to me was these online marketing services develop lists of more than a million double opt in clients. When they find a product or service they believe their list will find enticing they send out the offer without charging an up front fee to the person who has the product. Some CPA firms will charge a nominal set up for however. The CPA firm will pay you on a per acquired sales basis. This is ideal for those who don’t have a large database to reach out to when they launch a new book or product.
The main challenge at that time was CPA firms wanted to promote those who had a minimum of $50,000 a year in sales and most authors have a hard time proving they’ve sold that many books, even if they have. Their sales are tied to a publisher or online bookstores and are difficult to track.
Yet, one of the benefits of the economy going through so many fluctuations is the CPA firms got hungry for more products to promote. What they had in their list of products had been exhausted and their databases were slowing down their buying trends.
Then new CPA firms were launched, often by existing large established firms, but with a new set of rules. They opened up their database to people who weren’t in the Fortune 500+ arena, meaning you and I could have CPA firms who would promote our products and pay us as people purchase our items.
Acceptance into their program consists of a review of what you have to offer and their research team determining whether they have the right targeted market for the product. The process usually takes about three months but can stretch out to more than six months.
Everyone has received advertisements in their email for a product or company and usually from what we think is a big budget firm such as Target, Constant Contact or a typical household product such as a space heater or cookware.
You might have even wondered how they got your email to send you the advertisement. In the past email service companies sold their list of users or crawlers would scour or scrub websites and lists for emails but since that was banned these CPA firms have been forced to create free give-away campaigns such as Southwest Airline tickets to entice unsuspecting user into leaving their email address.
The more respectable CPA firms create a double opt in, meaning you leave your email address and when they send an email to your inbox you must confirm you intentional gave them your address. Another method they use to capture email addresses is online surveys with a promise attached such as a Starbucks or gift card for providing your information.
Most of these surveys will ask a series of questions regarding your household demographics and preferences so they will know what your household would most likely purchase, but there are CPA firms to target business owners as well.
The CPA firms are not easy to find. They don’t advertise or seek new clients. They usually rely on marketing or public relations firms who they have done business with in the past to refer them to worthwhile clients.
So then the challenge is to find these marketing and PR firms who have the ability to promote your material to the CPA firm. For obvious reasons, the CPA firm will rarely engage with an individual. They would be inundated with requests and never be able to get any work done otherwise.
You will want to make sure your website/blog is up to date, is easy to navigate and looks professional. Get help if you are not comfortable in doing the work yourself. Your site should be dedicated to one topic or one product.
Once you feel you are ready to approach the CPA firms, be sure to check out their reputation. You can search the Internet for comments and even get referrals from other authors. The CPA firm will conduct an interview and generally assign you a service representative to help get you through the process.
Even though the process is lengthy, it is well worth your time when you consider the potential level of sales coming in consistently while you are still conducting business as usual.
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