CPA stands for Cost Per Action.
You get paid because you caused a prospect to take some sort of specific action which creates a lead or new customer for a company.
It could be as simple as joining the company’s mailing list.
Or it might be to hand over not only email, but also a phone number so the company can call them.
Some CPA offers are product trials – the prospect pays a token amount of money to try a product.
CPA offers differ from affiliate offers in that you’re harvesting leads more than making sales.
Even in the case of the trial offer, the prospect or customer is often paying just a few dollars to get a product sample.
It’s up to the company to turn that person into a real customer.
For example, you sign up to promote for a weight loss company.
For every prospect who agrees to sample the product, you get paid $20.
But the prospect only paid $7 for a one month’s supply of the product.
How does the company make their money? On the backend – if that customer continues to buy the product month after month, the company makes a profit.
The benefits of promoting CPA offers over affiliate products is that it’s generally much easier to get conversions.
For example, it’s easier to get a prospect to agree to join a list or even sample a product, than it is to actually sell them a product at full price.
To promote CPA offers, you need to join a CPA network.
And this is where it can get a little tricky.
A CPA network acts as the middle man between the company looking for new leads, and the affiliates (that’s you) bringing them those leads.
The CPA network takes care of everything like tracking, conversions, payments, support and so forth. And in return, the CPA network takes a cut of the earnings.
Now you might be thinking you’ll just bypass the CPA networks and go straight to the companies, but this is actually the hard way – especially if you are new to CPA marketing.
Most companies don’t want to deal with individual affiliates. Instead, they prefer to hand everything off to a CPA network and just receive the leads.
Most affiliates feel the same way, because CPA networks streamline the process for everyone.
And when you are accepted into a CPA network, you’ll generally have hundreds of different offers to choose from.
Join more than one CPA network and you’ll never run out of offers, even if you specialize in only one niche. Every CPA network will have different offers, different commission amounts, different payout schedules and so forth.
So how do you get accepted by a CPA network?
It’s not as easy as simply signing up. There is an application and approval process you’ll need to go through.
No, the CPA networks aren’t trying to be jerks and exclude new affiliates – not at all.
But they are trying to prevent fraud. Imagine if a new CPA affiliate gets bots to fill out the CPA offer forms – let’s say a million of them. The new affiliate is a millionaire, the CPA network has just paid out a boatload of money for bogus leads, the company who ordered the leads is mad as heck, and … well, you get the idea.
Fraud is a major problem the CPA networks must constantly guard against, which is why there is an approval process in place to try to filter out the fraudulent affiliates before they ever get started on their evil schemes.
Which is to say, the CPA networks aren’t trying to filter you out just because you’re new. They’re simply trying to eliminate fraud and keep everything legit.
If you’re new to CPA marketing, the choices of CPA networks can be almost overwhelming. But I suggest you start with one of the following three, for a couple of reasons. First, they tend to be fairly friendly towards new CPA marketers. Second, they have lots of offers to choose from and they’re trustworthy, too.