Every online business needs to drive traffic.
Let me say that again.
Every online business needs to drive traffic.
This is the same as a brick and mortar business bringing people through the door. Without customers, the result is obvious… A business will fail.
Driving traffic to an online business requires a different approach than that of offline businesses. Online business owners still need to get in front of the consumer. But they are doing so in a virtual environment.
Traditionally, driving traffic to a brick and mortar business required a lot of money. Then a lot of time setting up advertising campaigns and waiting for them to work.
To drive traffic to an online business, time and money are also required.
With sufficient time and money, there are two types of traffic that any online business owner can generate. These include:
- Free Traffic
- Investment Traffic
Each of these is effective at driving traffic and each is critical to the success of any marketing campaign.
Let’s take a look at what generating each type of traffic entails…
Free traffic is exactly that—FREE.
Free traffic comes with a number of benefits. It makes it possible to connect with consumers, provide them with valuable content, and build credibility.
On the flip side, even though money is not required, time is. A LOT of time and effort goes into generating free traffic.
Free traffic is a must for those who have the time. And those who don’t have the time need to apply at least some of the strategies we’re about to discuss. It will pay off over the long-term.
Free traffic can be generated a number of ways. Each of these sources of free traffic is valuable. They provide the potential for a deep connection with the target audience.
A blog can take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a method of using specific keywords to make sure a website or blog ranks high in the top search engines, such as Google or Bing.
Having a blog is an easy way to create valuable content. When posting consistent (high quality) blog content using SEO keywords, traffic to the blog will build over time. This is also a surefire way to build authority, credibility, and trust.
The people who read a blog regularly will view the blogger as an expert.
General Guidelines for Blog Posts:
- Focus on a specific topic
- Choose a title that entices people to read
- Start with a short, eye-catching sentence or question
- Avoid long paragraphs
- Make it visually appealing – Shorter paragraphs, bullet points, pictures, infographics…etc.
- Include a specific system of formula (2 types, 7 steps…etc.)
- Provide a call-to-action (CTA)
Be sure to include an opt-in box somewhere on the website. This way, visitors will start opting in to an email list. As always, offer a free gift in exchange for people’s email addresses to get more people to opt-in (see step 4 in this post for more about free gifts).
And the more traffic that goes to the blog, the higher the number of social media shares. And that will improve the blog’s overall ranking on search engines.
But blogs can be valuable in another way.
Commenting on the blog posts of others can also make an impression. The key is to find the authority blogs. These are the blogs run by the leaders in the industry. They already have a great following and high volumes of traffic.
And it is so simple to take advantage of that following!
Just follow these steps:
- Type popular industry keywords into Google and find the most prominent blogs.
- Follow these blogs closely. Subscribe to the RSS feed and newsletter. Keep on top of when posts are made and be one of the first to post a comment. Make sure this comment provides real value.
- Include a link to the desired opt-in page. This can be included as a sort of signature to the comment.
NOTE: Be careful about linking to your website. Some blog comment sections frown on this.
At the very least, commenting on blog posts gives you an in to write a guest blog post.
Most blogs are hungry for content, so if you approach a blog owner with a post filled with valuable content, oftentimes they will jump on it.
This is a simple way to leverage another blog’s audience to drive traffic to your own site.
I once built a list of 5,000 subscribers and made $10,000 in 60 days through participation in a forum!
This is a great example of the power of relationships and credibility.
I was an affiliate marketer and I was promoting some new software. I learned how to use the software so well, that I began to offer free coaching to people on the forum if they used my affiliate link.
But know this. I had been spending 12 hours a day on that forum. People knew me. They trusted me. We had a relationship. That is critical and it takes a lot of TIME.
When using a forum, follow these rules:
- Post a minimum of 10 replies per day.
- Start one new thread per day.
- Never spam or sell. Just provide value.
- Place a promotion message in your signature and include a link. Change the message every 10 days, but keep the link the same.
Over time, people will get to know you and they will be open to clicking on your link.
Another way to deliver valuable content to a target audience is via YouTube videos. Close to 5 billion videos are viewed every single day! People like videos!
So, rather than writing about something, record it. SHOW people. Give them a demonstration. And include your link in the video so that viewers are able to opt in.
Make videos consistently and more people will be exposed to the content. Commenting on related popular videos is another way to increase exposure as well.
Participating on social media is much like participating on forums. The key here is to connect with followers and build relationships.
Engage and interact with followers. Like and share their posts. Provide valuable content and post consistently. Like with other forms of free traffic, consistency is the key to success.
Follow others too. Like and share their content. Leave useful comments on popular posts. Remember, there is give and take when it comes to interacting with people on social media.
Place an opt-in link on the profile page. As followers grow and engagement happens, people will opt in.
Investment traffic is also known as paid traffic. And it is critical to driving traffic.
When paying for traffic, it is truly an investment and the return on that investment can be incredibly high.
The greatest benefit of investment traffic is the speed at which results start rolling in. However, it does cost money. Depending on the form of investment traffic, that cost can vary. But it is easy and quick to get started and produces fast results.
Now, before we go into more details about investment traffic, let’s address the issue of which is the better option.
Yes, a lot more people can be reached a lot more quickly through investment traffic. But free traffic is where relationships, trust, and credibility are built.
Free traffic is how marketers show that there is a real person behind the opt-in page.
Essentially, free traffic compliments investment traffic and vice versa. They work synergistically to produce fantastic results.
Just think about it. Having great content on social media can build credibility when using investment traffic.
Someone might see Facebook ad, click on it, then watch all the videos on the Facebook page and become a fan for life.
And paid traffic can help build an initial following and gain momentum. For instance, traffic can be run to a blog post.
This will provide the benefit of interaction and engagement through the blog. People will comment, share, and become regular followers.
Free traffic and paid traffic work so well together that…
Both options should be used.
Free traffic and investment traffic together make up a complete opt-in campaign. One can be done without the other, but the effect will be diminished.
But know this…
It is vitally important that anyone who is serious about their business use investment traffic.
4 Benefits of Investment Traffic
I’ll admit it. Investment traffic is my favorite method of driving traffic.
Even though free traffic is important in the grand scheme of driving traffic, investment traffic will amplify the results to levels not possible via free traffic. The benefits of investment traffic cannot be overstated.
These benefits are as follows…
- Faster to Get Started
There is absolutely no match for the speed at which results are obtained with investment traffic. The results are instantaneous! As soon as the message is sent, people are responding, interacting, and providing their email addresses.
A lot of traffic will rapidly flow in. There is no substitute for this. Not even if someone has all day every day to work on getting free traffic.
- Faster to Scale
Investment traffic is dynamic.
Consider an ad that is placed through the likes of Google or Facebook. Metrics are provided for these ads. This makes it easy to test different ads to see what works and what doesn’t. If an ad is working, it can automatically be scaled to reach more people.
This might be one of the best benefits of investment traffic—the ability to TARGET ads.
Investment traffic is highly targeted. It is so easy to reach exactly the right people. When placing an investment ad, there are certain criteria that can be used to ensure that ad is seen by the people who need to see it.
This means there is no time wasted with people who aren’t interested. And there is no time wasted hoping the right people will come along.
- Shows Seriousness
It’s true. Spending money on a business shows real commitment to its success.
If someone is willing to invest money, there is that much more of a commitment. Investment traffic can shift your mindset from amateur to pro.
Every single dollar is an investment. And eventually, the business will reach the point where it is guaranteed that every dollar spent will provide a return on investment that will continue to grow.
Best Sources of Investment Traffic
Since investment traffic is so important, it is critical to understand the potential sources of that traffic. Choosing a source of investment traffic to begin with will depend largely on the budget at hand.
Some of these sources cost very little to get started. Some cost a lot of money right out of the gate. However, most will get anyone started for as little as $100. Think about that! Starting to build a list of contacts for as little as $100 rather than spending thousands with traditional forms of marketing.
There is no comparison!
With that in mind, here are the best sources of investment traffic.
Email Media (Aka Solo Ads)
Email media provides anyone with immediate access to an extensive, targeted email list. The key? Someone else owns the list.
There are so many people in every industry who already have extensive email lists. Many of these people will allow you to promote your offers through their list. This allows instant access to potentially thousands of subscribers while leveraging the credibility of the list owner.
Think of this as renting another person’s list.
There are two ways email media works. The first is the marketer’s message and link is inserted into an email the list owner is sending out.
The second is what is called a “solo ad.” The list owner will send an email that is dedicated solely to the marketer’s content. The marketer can write the email and insert their link and that email will be sent out to the entire list.
This can be expensive. But it is worth it! I highly recommend that anyone with the budget for email media to take advantage of it.
How does email media work? It’s actually really simple.
The list owner generally charges by the click. If it costs 80 cents per click and 2,000 clicks are generated, the cost is $1,600. Even if the opt-in page gets a 50% opt-in rate, that is a $1,600 investment for 1,000 emails. It is possible to recoup this and more within 30-60 days.
Google AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) method of advertising that has been around since 2000. That’s 17 years Google has been bringing PPC advertising to online business owners.
Google AdWords is powerful. It is scalable and it is easy to control and analyze any advertising campaign. It is so targeted that traffic can be driven to any website with ease.
BUT there are a lot of rules. Only those who figure out these rules and follow them will find success.
Because of the complexity of the Google AdWords system, there is a learning curve. Once this learning curve has been conquered, it is free sailing.
However, because Google AdWords can be very expensive, it is best for marketers to wait until their monthly income has reached $10,000 or more per month.
For B2B traffic, LinkedIn is ideal. It rolls social media, blogs, forums and groups, and advertising into one complete networking package for professionals. This brings many forms of free and investment advertising together in one place.
LinkedIn’s paid advertising is highly targeted and effective. It is based on the attributes users include in their own profiles. This makes the targeting incredibly accurate. Targeting attributes include:
- Groups they belong to
Plus, the size of the target audience can be seen BEFORE an ad is even created.
However, LinkedIn advertising can get very expensive. The minimum cost-per-click is $2 and the minimum per day per campaign is $10. And this form of advertising is not suitable for every niche. Only those that fall into B2B categories will benefit.
Twitter has a HUGE audience! And that audience is actively looking for content. These are the people to reach and Twitter makes it easy. They offer highly targeted ads to get the message out. These ads can be targeted based on:
- The accounts users follow. This makes it easy to target very specific audiences, even the same audiences as competitors.
- The television shows users follow.
- Specific keywords.
Twitter can also be effective for making that initial connection with cold traffic. Again, people are actively seeking content. So the right ad can be the perfect tool to initially connect with new prospects.
But here’s where Twitter advertising falls short. There are 500 million posts made every day! Since ads are placed directly into the Twitter feed, they are difficult to notice.
I discussed YouTube as a source of free traffic before. But it’s also a great form of investment traffic as well.
I am a big fan of video. Video is a great way to promote visual niches and give demonstrations. And YouTube is huge! Nearly 5 billion videos are watched every day.
YouTube advertising allows incredible targeting based on:
- Topic of interest
- Placement of pages in relation to ad
The cost for YouTube advertising is also minimal. Generally, this runs between 10 cents and 30 cents per view. But if the ad is viewed for 5 seconds or less, there is no charge. This gives users time to click the Skip Ad button.
Having said this, that’s a mere five seconds. It is easy to end up paying a lot for users who don’t watch the entire video, but watch more than 5 seconds. This can get pricy.
Plus, even though there is good targeting, it is somewhat limited. There is no way to choose the specific videos an ad will play before.
Also there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to producing video ads. Creating video ads is generally more difficult than any other kind of ad. They require time, patience and multiple areas of expertise.
Don’t let this scare you away though. You don’t have to have a professionally filmed video to create a great ad. With the right strategy, a simple smartphone video can be highly effective.
Facebook advertising is my FAVORITE way to generate investment traffic. This is especially true for anyone just starting out.
It is the ideal place for every new internet marketer to begin. And it should always remain the core of any marketing campaign. Why? There are nearly 2 billion Facebook users!
Think about this. That is an extensive number of people through which any marketer can access highly targeted traffic. In fact, Facebook provides the ability to target by likes, interests, location, demographics, and behaviors.
Facebook advertising works for any type of business, online or offline. Best of all, it is inexpensive. A successful campaign can be run for as little as 10 cents per click (depending on the niche). This makes $100 a reasonable budget to start with.
In addition to affordability, it is easy to create Facebook ads. Just a few clicks of the mouse button and some advertising text and the ad is visible to the right people.
There is no doubt that in the past marketers would have killed for the information Facebook has. Leverage this information! Success depends on it.
Traffic is a Necessity
Traffic is a must for any online business to succeed. Free traffic takes significant time to build, but offers amazing benefits. These benefits include the development of relationships, the development of trust, and the building of credibility and authority.
Investment traffic complements free traffic by building that traffic to incredibly high volumes quickly. There is simply no match for the speed at which investment traffic can be generated.
The three most important things to remember about building traffic are these:
- BOTH types of traffic should be used to ensure a well-rounded campaign.
- Investment traffic is vitally important for anyone serious about business.
- Facebook is the absolute BEST type of investment traffic.