Paid traffic is just one of those things Internet marketers, and all business owners who have gone online, “graduate” to. Initially, close to 100% of all those who go online look for free traffic methods.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. In fact, I know plenty of people who use just free traffic, and they make a living off of it. Search engine optimization, social media, forum marketing – there’s a whole lot of different traffic sources out there you can use that come with no price tag attached. Pretty cool, really.
The Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Traffic
Like with all free things, there’s a “cost” attached. And usually, that cost can even be monetary. For example, how much will not using paid traffic cost your business in terms of both instant revenue and buying customers in the long run? True, you might be able to sustain yourself with organic traffic right now, but think of the potential leads and prospects you could gain if you were to dive into the realms of paid traffic instantly, straight off the bat.
Right now, you might not be thinking of that cost, but five years down the road, you could be ruing not having gotten into PPC and Facebook ads immediately.
And then, there’s another, more important reason why free traffic isn’t always such a good option: it’s not very dependable. A proper SEO service, for the most part, will get your business where you want to be in the SERPs, but what if Google were to suddenly update their algorithm, and all traces of your website on Google were to be lost?
Just think of the damage it would cause if you hadn’t diversified. You could go from six figures a year to zero overnight. It’s happened before, in 2011 and 2012 when Panda & Penguin hit.
Of course, your business might not suffer much if you’ve diversified enough with different strategies so that there’s a steady flow of visitors from a variety of sources. But still, free traffic is simply not dependable.
Additionally, most of what you’ll get in the way of free traffic is “junk” traffic. They don’t click your ads, subscribe to your mailing lists, request quotes of your services, or buy your products. If you don’t do it right, you might be getting a lot of untargeted traffic that isn’t worth peanuts. All that does is increase your bounce rate, which never helps.
Reasons To Use Paid Traffic
On the other hand, there are a whole host of reasons to go with paid traffic. You get almost everything you don’t get with free traffic.
Paid traffic converts. If you target the right keywords, the right market, the right age group with the right interests, you could be looking at a sky-high conversion rate. Paid traffic is usually very targeted (although it may take quite a bit of trail and error to find the right market for your product), and thus converts much better than any free traffic source.
Paid traffic is interested in what you offer. If you run a blog on your site, then you will definitely benefit from paid traffic. Paid, targeted traffic is usually very interested in what you offer. If you consistently update a company blog with stuff relevant to your niche (and not just content relevant to your company), chances are that your paid traffic will stick and browse around your blog. That enables them to have a better chance to connect with you, which builds trust, and ultimately leads to more sales.
Paid traffic takes any business from a stand-still to a superstar. If you’ve just bought your domain, hired a developer, set up your sales funnel and got everything working and in place, then all you need to do is get people’s eyeballs on your offer, i.e. generate traffic. However, that’s not so easy to do right off the bat with free traffic – there’s quite a bit of growth hacking involved before you are actually able to make a living off free traffic. Using paid traffic sources, you could have hundred pairs of eyeballs visiting your offer within the next few hours.
That said, paid traffic also has a bit of a learning curve. As you’d expect, lots of marketers have also lost their shirts trying their best to figure out PPC and Facebook ads. You have to be careful to ensure that you are setting yourself up for a good ROI with paid traffic.
The Most Popular Paid Traffic Sources<
The most popular paid traffic sources are the ones that are the easiest to find, but not necessarily the easiest to start with. The following three are marketers’ automatic choice when it comes to paid traffic.
Google’s (or any other search engine’s) PPC. Pay-per-click is a simple idea. You pay every time someone clicks on your ads in the search engine results page. For low competition keywords, you’ll pay a few cents per click. Keywords like “car insurance quotes”, on the other hand (or usually anything to do with fitness, finance, and insurance) can cost you close to $50 a click. You might not want to think of PPC right away, but it’s definitely something to start working towards, as it truly can setup your blog for a crazy ROI when done right.
Facebook ads. Of course you’ve seen these. Who hasn’t? Facebook pulls in billions of dollars annually through the ads that line their sidebar and occasionally appear in the middle of your feed as sponsored posts. One of the pros to using Facebook as a paid traffic source is the targeting you can do with it. Everything down to age, interests, geo location – nearly every aspect you can think of can be targeted. Needless to say, this allows just the right people to view your offer, which leads to a higher conversion rate.
Solo ads. Solo ads are sponsored e-mail broadcasts sent out from the owners of mailing lists to their lists. Using solo ads saves you from going through the trouble to building and profiting from your own list. They can also be excellent tools to build your own list, by directing solo ad traffic to your squeeze page. The downside to solo ads, however, is that mailing list owners often take advantage of buyers by sending automatic, robot traffic to your links. This increases the number of hits on your link tracker, but the reality is that you’ve got zero traffic (and if any, all of it was not targeted). You have to be especially careful with solo ads and only buy from those who have proven track records.
Are You Ready For Paid Traffic?
So, it all boils down to the question “Is your business ready for paid traffic?” Are you at that point where you can profit from your paid traffic investments, pull off a huge ROI, and make money like nobody’s business?
If you answer positively to the following questions, then that’s probably a sign that you are ready to dive into the realms of paid traffic.
Can you convert your visitors? Doesn’t matter whether those conversions come in the form of new subscribers to your mailing lists, new calls to your insurance company for quotes, clicks on your ads, or even sales of your product. Can your traffic convert? Do you have a system set in place so that you can make your traffic do a certain action that will benefit your business?
If yes, then move on to the next question. If no, then you had better start working on that, ASAP.
Can you recycle the traffic? Here’s a quick secret – you don’t want to pay for visitors who will come once to your site, and never visit again. No, that’s not very profitable to your business. What you want is to be able to get someone onto your site for the first time, then keep coming back again and again and again.
A few quick ideas to recycle traffic is to give them the opportunity to subscribe to a newsletter or mailing list of some kind, follow a social media page, or even regularly (even daily) add new, helpful posts to your blog that will want them to keep coming back for advice in your niche.
Can you profit from your visitors? They can’t just convert – you need to be able to make money from them after they convert. If the conversions you were aiming for were product sales, then get them onto a list where you sell higher and higher ticket products to them, so that you’re still making money off of them multiple times. If the original plan was to get them to subscribe to your mailing list, then you need your autoresponder series to be already in place and ready to go.
In any case, you need to be able to make money off your visitors. That means selling to them. Getting money in your bank account. If you aren’t able to do those two things yet, you shouldn’t even be thinking about paid traffic, ’cause all you will end up doing is lose your shirt (or at least tear it pretty bad).
Do you have a testing/tracking system in place? Eventually, with paid traffic, you want to get yourself to a place where you are spending the least amount possible for the most profit possible. Essentially, what that means is that you should have a huge ROI. On the first day with paid traffic, however, you can hardly expect a 541% ROI. In fact, you’ll probably be lucky to break even.
The only way you’ll be able to progress beyond 110% yields or less is to split-test. That means tracking each and every visitor that enters your blog, seeing what they do and why they don’t convert. Then, change the conditions to make them more conversion-friendly and spend another $5 on clicks. See what happens there, and adjust once more. And again … and again … and again. You get the point – return on investment doesn’t come overnight.
If you have answered with a resounding “yes!” to these questions, hook up a paid traffic source right now, and get into it.
Things To Remember When Using Paid Traffic
Here’s a few quick hints, tips, and tricks to get you started on your way with paid traffic.
Hire a specialist. Yes, this means that your investment will probably be considerably higher, but the fact is that specialists help you to get a bigger ROI overall. And don’t skimp here either – go for the best, just as if you were choosing an SEO service.
Find something that works, and keep doing it. If you were to give me $10, and I was to give you $50 back, wouldn’t you be handing me ten dollar bills all day long? Because if the roles were reversed, I sure would!
Once you find something that works, stay with it, and go big. Yes, we did just talk about the potentially disastrous results that could occur if you don’t diversify, but remember that’s only with free traffic. Paid traffic is considerably more reliable than free traffic. As long as the vendor of that traffic is making a decent profit as well, chances are that it isn’t going anywhere.
Keep in mind that ROI is everything. Don’t jump for joy because you were able to get 1,000 visitors to your blog in one day. Jump for joy because you were able to make $500 off those 1,000 visitors by spending only $100 to get them to your blog. There’s a significant difference between the two.
Go high ticket. It’s not impossible to get rich selling $0.10 paper clips, but it’s a lot harder than selling $2,997 coaching programs. High ticket offers may not convert as well as low ticket, but in the long run, you’ll see that lower conversion rates are well worth it in the profit you generate. Of course, that also depends on how good/bad your product is (or how good/bad the affiliate product you promote is).
Paid traffic is definitely something that you will want to consider for your online business as it expands. But keep in mind that ROI is everything. If you’re getting hoards of people to visit your blog, but you’re making nil off of them, something’s wrong (aside from the fact that you are probably losing your shirt).
But master PPC, and you could be looking at a comfortable, automated business that generates decent profit for you for a long time.
Images courtesy SXC.HU.