It's a common refrain from new online marketers - “I don't want to BUY traffic, I want to get it for free!”
At first glance this sentiment makes sense. After all, why would you pay for traffic if you could get it for free? But the smart marketer - or at least the marketer who knows how to consistently make money - will adamantly disagree. In fact, the most profitable marketers routinely pay for traffic because overall the more they spend, the more they make.
Wouldn't you pay $1 to make $1.50? In fact, wouldn't you do it all day long?
Before we go further into paid traffic, let's dispel a common Internet Marketing myth:
If you have a great product, people will find you.
In 99 cases out of 100 that's utter rubbish. Let's say you're selling a product that produces wonderful benefits to the consumer. And you're selling it from inside your bedroom closet, and no one knows about you or your product. How many will you sell?
Building a website and thinking people will magically come is no different than the bedroom closet scenario. No one will stumble on you or find your product unless you go out and bring them back to your house.
Yes, there are methods of getting traffic without paying for it up front. For example, affiliate marketing is often touted as being the best way to get free traffic. Of course, you pay in time to recruit the affiliates, and then you pay a high percentage to the affiliates for each sale they make. So while this kind of traffic is excellent, it most definitely is not free.
And it's not repeatable, either. That is, you must continually find new affiliates to promote for you or your sales system sits idle. It's a never ending cycle of recruiting new affiliates, getting their sales and then recruiting more affiliates. The exception? If an affiliate is BUYING traffic to send to your offer.
Think about that – if your affiliate is buying traffic, you could do the same thing and keep ALL of the sales instead of splitting it with the affiliate.
And as a side note, affiliate marketing can actually be risky. Many people on JVZoo and WarriorPlus have lost money to scam affiliates. In addition, all it takes is a handful of bad affiliates to send you lousy, non-converting traffic to send your conversion rates down the tube. Now when a good affiliate looks at your stats, they'll think you have an offer that doesn't convert and they won't touch it.
Then there's the 'free' traffic you get from forums, from YouTube, from blogging and so forth. This isn't actually free either because you have to invest your time, effort and skills in getting the 'free' traffic. And there is no guarantee after all of your hard work that the traffic will show up, especially in any real quantity.
Next, there's cheap traffic, also known as junk traffic. Buy 1,000 visitors or 1,000 Likes or 1,000 Tweets and see how much you make. Nothing. But you have done is you've found a way to waste $5 on Fiverr.
“But If I Have to Buy Traffic, I'll Lose Money”
This might be true if your funnel is non-existant. Let's look at two examples:
Joe is selling a $10 ebook.
Andrea is also selling a $10 ebook, with a high converting $47 upsell, a second upsell for a $19 a month continuity program, and a third upsell of a $1997 coaching program.
In both cases, Joe and Andrea will also market affiliate products to their customers.
So Joe's lifetime value of a customer is $10 plus whatever affiliate sales he might make in the future, if any.
Andrea's lifetime customer value might easily exceed $100 (depending on how many upsells each customer typically purchases) plus any affiliate sales she makes in the future.
$10 versus $100 – who can afford to buy traffic?
They both can, but in Joe's case he's going to have to be extremely careful and cautious because he's got very little room for error. He's got to test everything to make sure he's converting at the absolute highest level. And he's got to get just the right traffic in just the right way to his offer that is presented perfectly to each particular traffic stream.
Joe also has to take up meditation to deal with the stress of having such a tiny profit margin. 😉
Andrea, on the other hand, has 10 times the profit to work with. So while Joe might only be able to afford to pay a few cents per visitor, Andrea can likely afford to pay several dollars per visitor.
Do you see the difference? If your funnel is set up correctly, you never have to fear buying traffic. The trick is to make the right offers and then buy the right traffic. When you do this, you're set. You're not dependent on organic traffic, on Google search, on affiliates or anything else. You have a stand alone system that works for you day in and day out, and you know that as long as you work the system, the system will continue to pay you.
This is a radical shift in thinking for many marketers who have always focused on getting 'free' traffic. Paradoxically, buying traffic can be an extremely freeing experience. Gone are the days of hoping you persuade a good affiliate to promote you, or hoping that your latest guest post will send a rush of traffic, or hoping that someone “discovers” your product and tells the world.
Yes, you absolutely should still recruit affiliates because they can sometimes bring you huge results. But the difference is you no longer DEPEND on those affiliates – affiliate sales are just icing on your already large triple chocolate cherry cake.
When you use paid traffic, you are in the driver's seat. You determine how much you make. Want to make more? Then you can either improve the conversions on your funnel to sell more people, increase the number of products your customers can purchase, or buy more traffic. Better still, you can do all three.
What Kinds of Traffic Can You Buy?
Pay Per Click is a performance based ad model
You're only charged when someone clicks your ad. If you target these ads only to your ideal customer, you'll get fewer clicks and higher conversions, thus making your campaign even more profitable. And while PPC used to be the domain of search engines, you can now find extremely affordable channels through social network platforms and niche-based PPC platforms. Once you have a winning campaign, you can continue to run it as long as it stays profitable – which can be months and even years. In most cases PPC is the easiest and most reliable method for buying a continuous stream of profitable traffic.
Solo Email Ads can work great in many niches
The problem with this model is you are continually looking for new, hot converting lists. However, if you make a note of lists that convert well, you can have great success mailing to them again periodically.
Media Buying or Buying Banner Ads can be an excellent source of traffic
When done correctly, you can drive a ton of targeted traffic this way.
Email Marketing is fantastic when you've got your own list – so much so that it can be profitable for you to pay to build your list
In fact, you can use any of the above paid traffic methods to build your list. Think you can't afford it? Think again. Simply make your squeeze page the first step in your sales funnel. Once they've opted into your list, offer them your low priced product. If they don't opt into your list, offer them the low priced product anyway with a “Wait, before you go” pop-up box. Using this method you can actually get paid to build your list, since the profits you're making on the backend are larger than the money you're spending to drive the traffic.
Of course, with any campaign there can be a period of time where you are figuring out exactly what works and what doesn't. And if you're inexperienced or new to your market, this might take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During this time you might spend more money than you make. And there lies the rub – new marketers are afraid to see more money leaving than they see coming in. They throw in the towel too soon and stop just short of finding their acres of diamonds.
Here's what you might keep in mind
That money you spend in the beginning to find out what works and what doesn't is an investment that can pay off handsomely. How else will you find out exactly what sort of ad and what sort of traffic will work for your offer? And once you get the magic combination that makes you money, it's simply a matter continuing that campaign for as long as it's profitable.
To put it another way – would you invest a month of your time and several hundred dollars to find a winning campaign that pays you several hundred dollars every single week for the next year? Only a fool would say no to that offer.
So the next time you need traffic, don't automatically try to get free or cheap traffic. Instead, think like the six and seven figure earners do, and set up a system that can continue to pay you for months and perhaps even years to come. Only then will you be living the true Internet marketing lifestyle.