The main determining factor for the quality of a CPA network is the quality of the people using it. Low-entry public CPAs tend to have low payouts and poor advertising because they let everyone in. Higher tier public CPAs are that much harder to get into, but they’re more beneficial to those who maintain the quality standards necessary.
The best CPAs are the private networks that rarely advertise and are rarely open. You have to be someone special or fit special criteria to get in. However, you can take a few steps to help make it much more likely.
1. Learn the Industry
There’s one thing that unifies virtually every private CPA network, and that’s their exclusivity in the face of the inexperienced. If you want to get in, you can’t just try to jump in. It’s like trying to compete in Olympic swimming when you’ve never been in the deep end of a pool before.
Thankfully, the Internet is filled with great information and guides. Unfortunately, a lot of it comes from affiliates looking to sign you up under their programs, or users developing and selling courses and training that you can otherwise find free. Some of it might be valuable, some won’t; it’s up to you if you trust someone enough to spend money on their courses.
Once you’ve learned the basics of CPA marketing, you can start looking for specific offers within specific industries. Use something like OfferVault as a CPA search engine and build up a list of potential offers in your niche. This will give you an idea of what rates to expect for what kind of offers, as well as how the industry itself works.
You should also take a moment to review this questionnaire. It’s full of questions you are likely to be asked when you sign up for a CPA network, as part of an interview process. Treat it like a job; be transparent, be honest, and don’t try to misrepresent your history, experience or performance.
2. Establish Legitimacy
It’s entirely possible to be successful in CPA using platforms that already exist. For example, you might base your entire project on a series of custom audiences you’ve built up on Facebook and Twitter. However, it’s generally better and easier if you establish yourself a niche website.
You don’t need to be dominating the Google search results to have a website that’s attractive to CPA networks. All you need is an audience of interested, real people. Emphasis on real, here; buying traffic and trying to leverage that traffic into a CPA admission isn’t going to help. They might let you in, but you’ll have no future with the network when you try to run their ads and your fake traffic doesn’t convert.
A website also gives you a URL and a potential reputation to use to back your application. You can claim to be the owner of a business rather than just a newbie looking to break into the already-saturated industry.
Once you apply to a network, contact that network. Think of it like trying to get a job; a bit of eagerness and a dash of being proactive is near-essential. The easiest way to get in touch with the managers of a CPA network is to just give them a call over the phone, which you should do pretty much as soon as your application is submitted. However, you can also use Skype, AIM, GTalk or any other messenger, as long as the managers of your chosen network publish contact details for those messengers.
Make sure you do plenty of research into the rules and regulations of the networks you’re applying to or are part of. You need to make sure you’re avoiding anything that will give you a bad reputation or will get you kicked out of a program. Not only does this hurt your income; it hurts your ability to get into more networks in the future.
3. Work Your Way Up
You’re not going to be able to join the exclusive country club style CPA networks when you’re new to the business, for much the same reason that you won’t be hired on as a CEO or upper manager when you have no experience with a firm.
Once you have your legitimacy established, you can apply to some of the less exclusive and more open networks. You won’t get a lot of work from them, or if you do, you won’t be earning a lot for each offer. That’s okay. Your goal is two-fold. First, you want to be able to tell CPA Network B that you’re a member of CPA Network A. Second, you want to be able to present legitimate statistics of your conversions and traffic.
Essentially, you’re going to want to work your way up the ladder of networks. Apply to as many low-quality open CPA networks as possible, determine which are best in your niche, and roll with those for a while. Once you’ve established a presence, dial back to only the best offers and apply to a list of one tier higher CPA networks. Leverage your history and experience to get in with these networks, drop the less valuable networks, and continue.
After a few rounds of this, you can begin applying to the high tier exclusive CPA networks. You should have some name recognition, a history of conversions and a proactive attitude backing you up.
Don’t worry too much about rejections. Sometimes, CPA networks just aren’t taking on new publishers. This is particularly true of the highest tier private networks, which have to maintain a careful balance of publishers and advertisers so they can monitor quality. The most time consuming part of this entire process, actually, is waiting for the best CPA networks to open up to new publishers.
You’re probably going to spend as much time looking for networks and reading up on their reputations, their niches, their contact information and their terms as you are advertising, especially in the beginning. Unfortunately, there’s no true shortcut in CPA marketing; you either do the legwork, or you suffer rejections.
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