Quite a long time after I started my research,
while I was still fumbling around with web sites and html code
and hosting accounts and merchant accounts and all the other
dross that can clog up your energy and make you feel that it’s
all "mission impossible" … I stumbled across a digital
(downloadable) eBook called GoogleCash, by Chris Carpenter.
It sounded neat (they almost all do, unfortunately, when the
experts write the sales copy!); I bought it, …
… and my view of the world was
Everything in his book was an eye-opener to me; but the
essence was that he shows you, with great attention to detail,
how to earn (potentially) thousands of dollars a month off the
internet with …
- No product of your own
- No website of your own
- No customers of your own to deal with
- No credit card transactions to deal with, or
- No selling
- No customer service
- No packaging
- No shipping
- No working with vendors (well, almost none)
… it sounded like a dream come true. And as I read the
book I experienced one “Aha!” after another.
The GoogleCash approach has changed a little since then, as
Google have changed some “rules,” but it remains a great
opportunity. Of course, like all the Internet opportunities you
have to be prepared to learn, then to make it happen … and then
to learn more as you do it and ultimately master it.
There are three fundamental techniques you’ll need to
understand in order to understand the GoogleCash approach.
This is very simple in concept.
Say you have a product or service you want to sell on the ‘Net
via a website… well, one thing you need, of course, is for
people to visit your website. No traffic = no
sales. (Quick aside: 99.9% of people who build
websites get virtually no traffic … because they did everything
wrong from the very start of their whole venture. We’ll deal
with this issue elsewhere; getting traffic is one of the
fundamental skills, but it starts with getting the very
fundamentals of Internet Marketing right.)
There are many ways to get people to visit; one of them is
to place an advertisement somewhere on the 'Net where many
people will see it and be interested in whatever you are
advertising. That advert contains a live link to your web site.
So, when your ad interests the reader, they click on that ad
and get taken to your site. And now they are a candidate to buy
your product or subscribe to your EZine or whatever.
The question is … how do you pay for that
One option is to pay for the ad based on the
number of times the ad is shown to a visitor to whatever web
site is showing your ad; this is cost-per-impression (usually
rates are quoted as cost per 1000 impressions). One negative
about this is, a million people could see your ad, and
therefore cost you money in payments to the company showing
your ad on their site … but none might actually be interested
enough to visit your site.
So, there is a Pay-Per-Click option. You
only pay if the person who sees your ad is interested enough to
take action – to click on the ad – and visit your site. At that
point, the ad has done exactly what you wanted it to do, the
success of the rest of the transaction is up to how good a job
you’ve done with your web site. So paying per-click makes a LOT
2. The particular version of PPC advertising
known as Google Adwords
How do you make sure your ad only gets shown to people who are
genuinely likely to be interested in your product or service? I
mean, sure, you could show your ad for fly-fishing rods on a
website for steam-train enthusiasts and some might even click
through out of curiosity … costing you money, of course … but
the steam train enthusiasts are hardly hordes of people hungry
for your product.
So ideally, you’d like your ad to be shown to people who are
definitely interested in fly-fishing; better still, interested
in fly-fishing rods; even better, interested in buying
a fly-fishing rod.
Where do you find interested people?
One option is to place your ads on other people’s web sites
that are on the topic of outdoor activities, or even better
“fishing,” or better still “fly fishing.” But even so, you
don’t know for sure that the readers are actually interested in
buying a rod off you at the time they read your ad.
But there’s an even better option. What if your ad could be
shown to someone who has explicitly told their PC (and the
Internet) “I am really interested in fly-fishing rods, at this
precise moment in time” ? Or even, “I am seriously
looking to buy a fly-fishing rod at this precise moment in
That’s where Google comes in. If you go to the Google search
engine at http://www.google.com/ and key in fly
fishing rods you’ll see a few interesting things.
Understanding Google Search Results
First, the right hand side of the blue bar (on my PC,
anyway) below the search box will show you that you’re looking
at results 1-10 (or similar) of 2 million or more web pages
that include the words “fly” and “fishing” and “rods” somewhere
on the page. (For later reference, note that if you did the
same search with the same phrase inside quotation marks, you’ll
see only those pages where the 3 words are used exactly
together as written in the quotation marks … there are only
about 300,000 references now. And if you did the search using
the singular “rod” instead of ‘rods” you’ll get only about
100,000. Incidentally, these differences are very
important, as you'll learn if you get into this
What this tells you is, the bad news … this is a market with
a LOT of competition … at least, superficially! And the good
news … there are likely to be a LOT of people interested. Now,
I say “likely” … because it may NOT be true. So a bit later
we’re going to learn about a couple of tools to tell us whether
or not this really IS of interest.
The next thing you’ll see looking down the page on the left
side, are the search results – each with a sort of heading (for
example “Fly fishing equipment - fly-fishing tackle, fly
fishing rods, fly ...”) that is a link to the page in question,
followed usually by a line or two of description, followed by
the URL or web address of the page. The very first one or two
are likely to be in a shaded area, not quite the same format,
and labeled “sponsored links.” These are pay-per-click
ads. They are at the top of the list NOT because they
are the most relevant, but because the advertiser offered
Google the most bucks.
Then you get the main results … and the results at the “top”
of the 2 million are those that best satisfy Google’s own
particular formula for being the most relevant, or valuable, to
the person searching for that exact combination of words. There
are people who make 6- and possibly even 7-figure incomes
simply by being very good at knowing how to get a top 30
listing … because being in the top 30 pretty much guarantees
your web site will get a good flow of traffic for a popular
search term. And again, “no traffic” equals ”no sales.” So
companies are often willing to pay “Search Engine Optimization”
experts (SEO) a great deal of money to help them ensure their
sites are highly-ranked for certain search terms.
But what we’re most interested in is the sponsored ads at
the top of the search list, and the list of advertisements on
the right of your screen. These are called Google
Adwords, and every one is a pay-per-click
So for example – and I’m NOT advocating you do this – if you
clicked on the top ad on the right, the business or individual
that placed that ad will probably be dinged for somewhere in
the region of $0.75 to $1.50; and that money will go into
The next ad down … they are in that position because they
didn’t offer Google quite as much money per-click as the one
above them, or because they don’t get quite as many people
clicking on their ad as the first ad does, or both –
Google have their own magic little formula to decide the
rankings, and they don’t share the detail … just the
At the bottom of the column you’ll see a link to “more
sponsored links” and if you click that, and the same again,
you’ll probably see that there are 20+ ads in total being
displayed. (It varies from time to time, of course; even, from
minute to minute - when someone places a new Ad, it's displayed
in seconds; and when someone's daily budget is consumed, their
ad is immediately taken out of the pool.)
Alternatively, if you went to the bottom of the Results
page, and clicked on “Next,” you’ll be taken to the next 10
search results or whatever you have Google set up for … and on
the right will be the 8 next-best Google Adwords. Ditto the
next Search results page … then as you go into the 4th and 5th
Search results page Google simply rotates the same Adwords.
Can you see the beauty of this for everyone
- For a searcher … they are being shown
ads that are specifically related to what they are
searching for. And they don’t have to visit the site unless
they are interested.
- For the advertising company (perhaps
you, soon!) the ad is being shown ONLY to someone who has
searched, this very second, for a closely-related
- For Google … they are being paid to
place a few words on a page that they would in any case
have shown to the searcher. And, they get paid a LOT per
year for doing this! Hundreds of millions of dollars, and
The other thing of beauty is … you, Mr or Mrs or Ms Average,
could go into Google, apply for a Google Adwords account, and
receive approval, with very little effort. Then, once you know
how, you could place an Adwords advert to be shown to everyone
searching for “fly fishing rods” or “how to remove stains from
cotton” or “kites” or whatever. And, assuming that people were
indeed searching for the search term you indicated, you could
have traffic coming to your web site within seconds of placing
This is INCREDIBLY powerful.
- You place the ad.
- If you wrote an effective ad, … you get traffic to the
site you specify in the ad.
- And, if the website is designed properly … “you get
traffic” = “you get money.”
- And, if the campaign is designed properly … the money
you get is greater than the money you spend on the ads that
generate that traffic.
And Google have made things very close to risk-free … if you
are prepared to learn the rules.
For example, let’s say you find a likely product and want to
advertise it but you don’t want to spend a fortune learning
whether it’s a winner or not … you can literally tell Google
that your maximum budget is $5 a day, for example. So, let’s
say you are paying Google $0.05 a click … Google will show your
product to a maximum 100 people a day. 3000 people a
month, if you want it to keep running. And, you can cut
the ads off at ANY time. So for example, if you’d
driven 300 people to a web page that is designed to sell a
product, and there hasn’t been a single product sold … you’re
only $15 out of pocket (assuming the $0.05 bid which, by the
way, is the minimum) and have a strong case to say, either get
better qualified traffic or improve the web site’s sales copy
or drop the product and look for a different product to
But hold on … didn’t I say you didn’t need a web site? Or
even a product?
3. The concept of Affiliate
Now, my nearest and dearest are in universal agreement that I’m
not always the brightest light on the Christmas Tree but I
still consider myself to be reasonably well informed; yet I had
been entirely unaware of the amazing world of Affiliate
Marketing until I read this download-able
Once I was aware of it, the concept led me along many more
avenues. Affiliate Marketing has a thousand different shapes
and flavors, and GoogleCash is just one of them; and it's
actually far from being the biggest in terms of dollar
potential. However, most of the others require some form of web
site … and I deal with these on the Affiliate Marketing page.
But let’s just get clear on the Affiliate Marketing concept.
It’s quite simple.
There are tens or hundreds of thousands of people wanting to
sell their products on the Internet. I mean, people who already
have websites promoting their products. At the same time, the
last statistics I saw showed that there are almost a billion
people using the Internet. No-one – not even Microsoft – has
what it takes to reach all of their potential buyers
So, in addition to their own marketing efforts many of these
merchants look for other people who will find potential buyers
for the merchant’s products in return for a commission every
time one is sold. Remember, they are actually looking
for YOU! And look at the situation:
- THE MERCHANT owns the product.
- THE MERCHANT develops the website.
- THE MERCHANT handles the credit cards, or cheques, or
purchase orders, or faxed orders, or phoned-in orders.
- THE MERCHANT handles the manufacture and stocking and
packaging and shipping if it’s a “physical” product or else
they handle the downloads if it’s a digital product
(software, or an eBook).
- THE MERCHANT handles issues with unhappy customers, or
complaints, or questions, or returns … etc.
All you do, as the Affiliate, is send
appropriate traffic to THEIR web site. Where
“appropriate” means, people who are interested in their
product, with the means to pay and the willingness to buy if
they find what they want.
There is a simple technique for a merchant to recognize
whether the “lead” came from you. So, if the traffic you send
to the site actually buys something … the merchant knows the
lead came from you, and pays you a commission.
How big a commission? Well, it depends. On
downloadable, digital products … often as much as 50%,
sometimes even 60%, of products that typically sell for $30 to
$150. On physical products … more commonly 5% to 15% or even
20%. Rarely, 30% or more.
Now, 15% of a home-gym selling for $1000 is not to be
sniffed at, of course; $150 is a nice piece of change. Whereas
10% of a product selling for $50 may not seem much … unless
you’re selling 10 a day. Or 100 a day. Or more. Then it, too,
is a nice piece of change.
How do they pay you? Often, it’s your
choice. They can transfer the funds into your bank account. Or
mail you a cheque, for example.
How do you find these merchants? There are
many ways. The GoogleCash e-Book walks you through some
of these techniques in great detail, literally step-by-step.
For example, the eBook tells you where there are entire web
sites devoted to helping these merchants find people like
you! Where you can go, and look for a list of merchants
selling products you are interested in promoting; and, you
can find at a glance how much commission they’ll pay you,
and even what level of success their Affiliates are having
selling their products. It's almost unbelievable. But
How do you get the traffic to visit their
site? Via Google Adwords, of course! (There are other
ways, of course, which I deal with in the Affiliate Marketing and e-mail Marketing sections of this
OK, now the foundation is laid.
In its simplest form, here’s how the GoogleCash opportunity
Step 1: Using any or all of a series of
different techniques, you find a product or a
type of product that meets certain criteria, such as:
- There are merchants offering Affiliate deals with
decent terms (GoogleCash shows you how; there’s a whole
chapter devoted to finding and choosing lucrative Affiliate
- There is a large enough volume of interested
people searching for these products on the Internet. Again
GoogleCash shows you how to do this; but you can always
visit my section on Wordtracker and Overture in the
Tools of the Trade section.
- The people searching are actually willing to spend
money. GoogleCash shows you how to check this, but you can
always do a bit of pre-reading here with my introduction to
the Overture tools in the Tools of the Trade section.
Step 2: You contact the merchant and
apply for Affiliate status. GoogleCash includes a chapter on how to do
This can take as little as 30 seconds, it’s usually entirely
automated, and you’ll often have their e-mail approving your
account and giving you the unique information you need before
you’ve had time to close your web browser after submitting the
Sometimes the merchants ask you for a website, presumably so
that in theory they could go and check out that you know what
you are doing. Most of the time this is meaningless, demanded
by merchants who don’t understand the GoogleCash approach and
believe you must have a web site in order to promote their
products, and they don’t check anyway. In fact, Chris Carpenter
(the GoogleCash author) gives you an immediate way to overcome
this obstacle; I don't want to mention it publicly but it does
the trick, most times. In reality, though, this is
a non-issue most of the time. If a merchant rejects you on
this basis, you can often e-mail the Affiliate Manager and
explain what you’re doing (using Adwords directly), and receive
Just as an aside; when I hit this problem, it did block me
from a couple of the merchants I wanted to work with. Sometimes
I then went to their less-rigorous competitors; but
eventually I built a simple website, of the right
type (Affiliate Marketing) and that was the end
of the issue.
Step 3: You do some
keyword research, in order to know what are
the best search terms to place your Adword ads for.
This is probably where you have the most to learn.
For example, to keep going with the fly fishing example, if
you place an ad to be shown only when someone searches for
"Sage fly fishing rods," and you happen to sell Sage fly
fishing rods … there’s a decent chance the searcher is
interested in buying one, wouldn’t you agree? So, providing the
numbers work out, I’d probably be comfortable spending the 75
cents or whatever to get the searcher to come to my site by
clicking on the ad. Let’s say 100 people do just that … I’ve
therefore spent $75 generating 100 visitors. Now, since these
are people who are truly interested – enough to have even done
some research and know the exact brand they’re interested in –
it might be that 2,3,4, even 5 of the 100 actually buy
something. And I’d probably make much more than the $75 I
spent, from these sales.
Whereas if I decided to show my ad to anyone who keyed in
the term “fishing” I might get all sorts of tire kickers
visiting my site, costing me $75 per hundred visitors, yet
barely one in 1000 might actually buy anything. Bad deal.
Now, there's more to it than simply this. You also have to
work out how much you're willing to pay, for which keywords.
Until you know what money you can make from a merchant's site,
you have to be cautious; you want to pay as little as possible
per click; so you need to know the keywords that are relevant
to the topic, but where few others are advertising, so you can
get your ad placed with a minimum cost-per-click. You can do
this the long way, or the quick way; the quick way means
investing in a tool or tools to help you. I talk much more
about this in the section of this site called Tools of the Trade, and the Fundamental Skills section. You have a lot
of choice of keyword research and analysis tools; but there
are some freebies, and of the paid ones some are head and
shoulders more useful than others, so don't waste your money
until you've learned a little more.
Be aware, however, keyword research is a critical skill that
applies to almost every Internet Marketing opportunity. In my
opinion, it's an area where the right tool pays off massively
in terms of the value of good information, and the value of
So, keyword research is important. It’s the second longest
Chapter in the GoogleCash manual (the longest is the
chapter where the author walks you through examples of
profitable campaigns), and justifiably so.
Step 4: Write the ads. Now, take a look at the
Adwords on the right hand side of a Google search. They are all
small, very few words, exactly the same format, and that means
you have to make every word count. So, predictably … there’s a
chapter in the book devoted to this, too.
If this interests you at all, you'll find some of the
ad-writing issues fascinating. A single word change in a
headline can make a huge difference to your click-through
rates. Switching line 2 of an ad with line 3 can cause a
similar change. Or, worsen things. And the truth is, no-one can
predict it! While there are some rules of good copy, and of
good Adwords copy, the ONLY way to know for sure whether one ad
is better than the other is to test them against each other.
And what do you know ... Google will help you do that, too.
Step 5: Set-up a campaign. This means open-up
a Google Adwords account, and decide on all the elements of
your advertising campaign – which ads for which search terms,
maximum budgets, and so on. I hate to be boring, but again …
the eBook and the videos that come with it walk you through all
this. It's picky work; Google seems to make it a lot more
complex than it needs to be, and in fact there's a new piece of
software just launched that is being bought by experienced
Adwords marketers simply because it makes the whole task as
easy as Google should have made it in the beginning. If you get
"into" Adwords, you should check the tool out; it's called
Adwords Dominator. It makes Adwords
easier, and saves time; and, it provides some analyses you
just can't get from Google.
Beyond Step 5: track results, then refine
your campaign to squeeze the maximum profit out of it; and, if
the campaign is a winner, look for other ways to bring traffic
to the web site! Adwords is only one of many ways to get
traffic. But it’s a great starting point, and it may be all you
Now, some final words on this opportunity.
First, be aware that while the simplest approach, described
above, can be nicely profitable, you can do much more with the
For example, veteran marketers will tell you that you’d make
a lot more money if, instead of driving traffic directly to a
merchant’s web site, you first had the visitor go to a 1-page
web site of your own (called a “landing page”) where you’d try
to persuade the visitor to give you their e-mail address before
you passed them along to the merchant’s site. (Typically you
offer them a bribe of some kind … for example, a free download
of a valuable report … in return for their address and the
right to e-mail them.)
Reality is that you’d get fewer immediate sales by doing
this … but by having a list of people you knew were interested
in (for example) fly-fishing you could send e-mails to these
people perhaps once or twice a month, telling them about other
products or special deals. And whenever they clicked on the
link in your e-mail, and ended up buying something from the
merchant … you’d make commission.
So you’d ultimately make much more money from this
Any veteran marketer would trade one, two even more
immediate sales for a valid e-mail address of someone
interested in that topic. But of course, even with automation,
it’s definitely more work to capture names and set-up a bribe
and set-up autoresponders and a download page and manage a list
You should also be aware that many experts in Internet
Marketing, especially those who specialize in the Adwords
skills, look down on the GoogleCash opportunity; I’ve heard it
called “bit slinging” and “ad brokering.” My response is, … who
gives a (insert dirty word) what they think? This is a
legitimate and potentially very lucrative technique to make
money by advertising someone else’s product in such a way that
the buyer gets what they want, the advertiser (you) gets what
they want, the advertising medium (Google) gets what they want
and the merchant gets what they want.
Why is it looked down upon by the adword snobs? (a term I
use tongue-in-cheek; some of these critics are actually
very, very good with Adwords, and they have a lot of my money
from the books they’ve sold me.) It seems … because the classic
GoogleCash approach isn’t “adding value” by either having an
in-between web site between the Adwords ad and the merchant’s
site, or collecting names for future marketing. And while I
agree that the former certainly makes the Googlacash
opportunity much more accessible, and the latter is just plain
good marketing, choosing NOT to do these is still the simplest,
most elegant choice of all.
I have found myself at a loose end in a hotel room on a
business trip, with 20 minutes before dinner, skimming the
‘Net, seen an interesting opportunity, conducted a few minutes
research, put the first test ads into play within 10 minutes,
and come back from dinner to find I’d just paid for that dinner
(including wine!) in the 90 minutes I was away. And knowing I
now had the basis for a nice added stream of income if I took
that opportunity and put some brain power into it.
If you remember, one of the introductory points for the
GoogleCash approach was that you don't need a web site. While
that is still true, you should be aware of some changes in the
way the game is played.
I first became involved in GoogleCash-type opportunities in
2004. In 2005, Google changed the rules, and one consequence is
that there genuinely are many more cash-generating
opportunities if you are prepared to build a 1-page web site,
called a “landing page.” Then, when you set-up
the Adwords ad you simply have the Ad send people to this
1-page landing page instead of directly to the merchant's web
site. Then, on your landing page, you take the chance to
"pre-sell" visitors ... just a few lines, or even a para or
two, perhaps a personal endorsement. Then you encourage them to
click on a link to the merchant site. (Your choice whether you
also try to collect their name and e-mail address first.)
To put this in perspective, what I do is have a domain name
and web site on one of my hosting accounts just for adwords
landing pages. Something like, www.somename.com (not
really that name!). I can set up a new landing page on this
site, typically, in just a few minutes. If after a few hundred
clicks the opportunity is a winner or even borderline, I will
then create a sub-domain that mentions the keyword, something
like www.fishingrods.somename.com. Creating a sub-domain just
takes a few seconds, but this can boost the click-through
rate of an Adwords ad significantly. By the way, this is why I
insist on using a web host that offers unlimited sub-domains,
or at least a heck of a lot of them.
If you aren't prepared to do this, you can still do
extremely well ... but you'll find there are some opportunities
you can't take advantage of. And that's a shame, for want of a
little bit of web site know-how. In fact, you can find free or
inexpensive “Landing Page generators” that create a
simple, effective landing page in seconds without you knowing a
word of html code or owning an html editor.
While many people cursed Google for making the rules change,
I'm delighted; if you’re prepared to learn how to create
landing pages, it gives you a huge advantage over the lazy
majority who aren’t. By the way, Chris Carpenter updated the
GoogleCash manual in 2005 (he also added
about 50 pages to it) so it fully reflects the current
Good luck. I hope you get as much pleasure (and profit)
from GoogleCash as I do.