As an affiliate I start with the offer. So I login to say ShareASale, realizes there's a bunch of companies trying to sell mattresses, see commission rates of 5-7% per sale or a flat 50$ per sale. So the what is mattresses, the next part is the who so I start thinking about the target audience which is likely to be older people or people with neck/back/sleeping problems. Now here's where two problems come in, I need to figure out how I am going to get traffic and how the targeting is going to be setup. So just as a quick example I head over to Bing and toss [mattress] in and I see about 300k average US searches a month and a $2.81 suggested bid, which is perfect. Now I already know there's way more than enough search volume and it's competitive since the bid isn't something like $.25. There's more parts to this, since I know that a mattress is typically something people put some time into thinking about before they buy, I need to get them on to a email list and since I have zero campaign data, I'm going to assume that running head first into the main keyword is campaign suicide. I need an angle and a region. From experience, I know that AU traffic is cheaper than US/EU traffic and I need an offer that will convert in the AU. I kind of got stuck in this thought experiment with the AU issue, so I'll go back to the US as none of the offers I looked at ship internationally. Looking at the nectarsleep.com shipping FAQ, I notice there's an extra 150$ shipping fee to Alaska/Hawaii. That's important. So I now know that if I am going to run ads into those states, I need to segment the campaign.
So where I'm currently at: (Need 5ws, an angle and a problem.)
Who: older people with neck/back/sleeping problems
How: Bing PPC
Where: 48 US States
When: Have to test that on the email list, they may happily click affiliate links in the first piece of content I send to them or I may have to warm them up with a bunch of emails that link to content without any affiliate links.
Problem: This is way too vague and the user flow makes no sense. A person who has sleeping problems is probably not going to type "mattress" into Bing, click an ad, come to my landing page, and enter their email address to get a free guide on how a mattress can solve their sleeping issues. The search query was an object, not a problem. This wouldn't be an issue if I sold mattresses, but I don't, I'm an affiliate.
Angle: None yet.
So looking through the keywords in the planner: I see " best mattress back pain " which has a monthly vol (in Bing) of ~50k searches monthly and a $1.22 suggested bid. So that's perfect, that's reasonable volume for Bing and the search intent is extremely high. I know exactly what they are looking for and I know their problem. Tip: I usually start at the suggested bid, allow Bing to get some data on my ad, then after say 25 clicks, I turn the bid down. All internet advertising is calculated based upon ad quality scores on a CPM basis, not per click. So if you start low then dial the spend up, your QS or your earnings to Bing on a CPM basis, will likely be low, so the ad will slow less frequently/in a lower position.
So with this new keyword I can do two things: Make a landing page, with an opt in form for a guide for people who have sleeping problems due to back pain, and an email sequence that links to content (in the content there's affiliate links.) This is all clearly ethical and my ESP won't care since all I'm doing is linking to free information and that information (on my website) has affiliate links. Bing will likely approve this ad but Google may not. In Google you would need a cross comparison table with aggregated reviews and have to link to the offers for the mattresses. A form for the email list could be on the LP but with Google, they won't typically approve ads when the search intent doesn't mesh perfectly (since they're searching for "best mattresses :anything:" the page the user lands on should be a page with mattresses.)
The last thing is the angle and it just has to be tested out.
Maybe millions of people just don't know, or there's actually a way to hack your sleep, or maybe bad sleep is making you fat...
There's so much to test here as each different angle is going to have different target keywords.
Now as I'm testing things, if I start to realize that I have a lot of content that I could turn into a blog, I do that and get some decent links to the site so I get even more leads from free organic traffic. For this topic, I would just do guest posting to get say ~5 quality links to the site, since this isn't really an SEO project. The target keywords should be extremely easy and Google should return less than 20 results when I search intitle:"the keyword" with Google set to display 100 results at a time. The search volume for these keywords isn't that important, so keywords with ~100 searches a month are fine, since I'm just recycling content anyways.
Once the paid Bing ads campaign works (30 day ad spend + other costs <= 30 day revenue, which works since the users will be getting emails for a year+), I'll grind out GDN placements (see what Google Ads suggests then visit each one) then pick extremely relevant placements and create ads, a tip there would be that you can target specific URLs as long as they run Google Adsense. I'll also try ads on YT videos; tip there would be just to search YouTube and not use the placements Google Ads recommends. I'll also try transplanting the Bing campaign to Google search ads but from personal experience, this has to be working extremely well for that to pan out. I do see an affiliate ( top5-mattresses com ) running ads in the SERP but from experience; I have no idea how those sites make money (TrafficPoint has a ton of those top blank sites) since the suggested big is like 7$ a click, so they're likely getting private deals that they setup, or got pay bumps by the vendor/network.
Tip to save money: you do not need landing page creator software or a tracker. It's a lot more work but you can just use bootstrap and create static html pages, then tweak their filenames and Google analytics goals to do segmentation/testing. The only goal conversions you care about are the opt in conversion rate (easily tracked with a GA goal), and once they opt in, you are the traffic source. So to suggest that certain keywords perform better than others: the users aren't searching anymore, they are opening your emails, you can track all of that stuff on your end with your ESP + GA. Example how-to-sleep-better-kw1.html, how-to-sleep-better-kw2.html, how-to-sleep-better-kw3.html. That might seem like a lot of extra work but click funnels is 100-300 a month and voluum is 300+ a month, so that's $4,800 a year saved by copy/pasting/renaming some files and modifying a free landing page in sublime text for each test. https://startbootstrap.com/template-categories/landing-pages/