At the end of the day we have two choices when it comes to traffic – we earn it or we buy it.
Today let’s take the big picture look at paid traffic methods.
The major difference is that you earn free traffic by doing the work, rather than buying ads (on places where others do the work) for paid traffic.
Now let’s look at the big picture of the paid traffic world.
Rather than grouping them by publishing, broadcasting or collaboration I thought it might be more useful to list them and then share a short insight about each…
If you develop a strong army of affiliates and work with them to promote your product for a commission you won’t have to worry about traffic again. Jimmy Brown has famously said that his affiliates send him all the traffic he needs, and I believe him.
Email marketing and ezine advertising are similar, but a bit different. The difference is that there are companies with very large lists that will sell you solo ads, but they don’t publish an actual email newsletter. These companies range from well to lesser known, so you need to know who you are buying from and avoid spam complaints. But solo ad sends to these lists can work very well.
Many large sites, often blogs, will sell you a review on their site. The costs and effectiveness varies, and these site owners won’t fib and say a product is great if it’s not in most cases. Getting a paid review amounts to an endorsement in most people’s eyes, so the value here can be huge.
Many forums sell advertising space on their site. This is highly targeted advertising, especially if it will let you buy ads (usually banners) on a sub forum. Some forums will even send email for you to their registered members.
I’m not really sure why banners aren’t used more often. A well-placed banner can bring in huge results, with low cost. Banners are often sold on a cost-per-thousand impressions basis, so it’s very important to know where the site gets its traffic. If you target correctly, and if your banner creates intense curiosity, you can do very well for a low fee.
You can host webinars, although that’s hard for most people. Some webinar hosts will actually sell ad space (which you can buy) that show during the webinar. You can also pay someone to host a webinar for you. This is best done as a joint venture, but can work well.
While I’m not a fan of guaranteed visitor programs (the traffic is usually of very low quality) there are situations where some reputable suppliers can send traffic that will help you. I personally believe this is best only for list building. Let them join your list first, so you can sell them later, and then send them to the sales page.
This is one of my favorites, because it just works so well. When you match the product you are promoting to the interests of the readers of the ezine, very good things happen. It’s vital to pay attention to this prospect matching idea when doing any form of advertising.
Simply put, the price you pay for every 1000 impressions (or times your ad is shown). CPM advertising can be very profitable and is excellent for list building.
So many online marketers overlook offline methods completely. That can be a mistake. The key with using an offline/online mix is to either create curiosity in your offline ad, or pre-qualiy a reader or listener, and then drive them to a site where they can take the next step.
Social sites like Twitter and Facebook can be fun and profitable both. They can also be hugely time consuming. So why not skip the hard work and just buy ads on the sites? This is currently very limited with Twitter, but Facebook and others, like Digg, do offer on-site ads that work well.
If you aren’t ready to shoot your own videos, consider buying ad space on videos about your promoted topic. YouTube had offered this for some time and other video networks are getting on board. The key here, as with most advertising, is to create curiosity and interest, not try to close the sale.
Ad networks can be huge time savers if you have a larger budget. Many let you get started for only a few hundred dollars (others start at $10,000 or more) and they can place all sorts of ads for you on all sorts of websites. Highly targeted and you can control costs.
CPA can be a wonderful way to get new clients while controlling costs. For example, if you know a customer is worth $100 to you and your conversion is high, you can afford to spend enough to really zero in on your target market. Since you are not paying for tire-kickers you can feel sure your money is well spent.
Many blogs accept advertising right on their site. Blogs often offer banner ads, in-post ads and more. Some will email their list for a fee or do paid reviews. Identifying top blogs in your niche and following them makes good sense. Here is my favorite blog.
Pay Per Click
Pay per click has gone through many changes. Affiliate friendly at first, many PPC providers turned on affiliates with a vengeance. Added to this is Google’s habit of canceling accounts without any notice or recourse and you can see why many feel PPC is not an option. But it can be if you do it well. My favorite voice in this world is Perry Marshall.
Advertising directly on almost any site you want can be done with Google AdWords. Many people don’t realize they can target a specific site, but it can be done. You might try an ad network, or search the site you want to advertise on for an “advertise” link at the bottom of the page.
Some physical product companies offer what is called co-op advertising, where the company rewards you for sales by purchasing advertising for you. While this does not apply to any online products I know of, if you are marketing a physical product online, ask the company about their co-op program.
While great if you have something that is actually news-worthy, press releases are often taught by people who have never used them. They sound good, and are easy to do, but in my view don’t work for most people and should be avoided. Remember this when doing a press release – the people reading your release will mostly be reporters looking for a juicy or otherwise attention grabbing story. So be sure to give them one if you can do that ethically.
Re-marketing works well but most don’t know about it. It works by setting up a RM campaign and when someone visits your site (this works best for site owners) a cookie is set. When that visitor goes to a website that is within the network of sites your re-marketing company works with your ad is shown to that visitor, in essence reminding them you want them to come back to your site.
There you have it – a view from outer space at the big picture of paid advertising. I hope it helps!