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Are You Still Waiting For "Free" Traffic To Your Website?

Aug 1, 2008
There is a funny mindset amongst some internet entrepreneurs and marketers that things online should be free. And this affects their businesses. Many people are drawn to the notion of free traffic to your website. Now, there are a few ways of get "organic" or "search" traffic and certainly it is nice when it happens but how does this come into play in a business model?

There are a few built-in downsides to the idea of free traffic. One is that it normally takes some time to build up. SEO or Search Engine Optimization can take months to produce results. First you have to put up your site, make changes, wait for results and repeat. Sounds easy enough but the search engines take time to produce the results and this whole process could take 3-6 months. Now depending on the purpose of your website, this might be acceptable, but if you are running a real business, you are sitting there loosing potential revenue as you wait around for your "free" traffic.

Let's compare that to paid traffic. Now understand that there are a number of sources of paid traffic available. You could buy advertising through Google Adwords on a Pay Per Click (PPC) basis, you can buy advertising on blogs or a lot of sites that get a good volume of traffic. Often these are based on the number of visitors such a site receives. You can buy advertising in online newsletters or ezines and so on. But, there are some distinct advantages to paid advertising.

First, you are in control of it. You can turn it on and off at will. Flip the switch (start paying for ads) and traffic comes in. Turn off the switch (pull the ads) and traffic stops. When you are ready to handle more sales, you turn up the volume of ads going out. No problem. When you are relying on free traffic, it can be unpredictable and not the best business model.

Secondly, with paid advertising, you can track your ads very easily. You know which ad or publication someone come to you from, you can get a good idea of what they searched for and what is going to interest them. This knowledge can help you build a better product or service because you can learn to target your customer better. When you are running a proper business, this information is very valuable to you because the better you can tailor your product or service to your customer, the more effectively you can market it.

I guess the biggest problem that people have is that they don't have a good plan or do proper testing before they get started. See, if you have a product or service that sells for X dollars, you need to know how much money you can spend to acquire a sale for it. Then you need to look over your conversion rates and how to improve them. See, a lot of people think that more traffic can solve their problem and boost sales. Well it can. But a more compelling offer and a better converting site can do it faster and cheaper. If you start at the beginning of the sales process and increase the conversions from surfers to clickers, from ad views to sales letter reads, from sales letter reads to sales, if each of these steps is slightly improved, then you start to see an exponential growth in sales for the same amount of traffic or the same number of visitors.

Once your site or sales letter converts traffic to dollars like a well-oiled machine, then turn up the traffic. Now you can go and pay for ads to get the word out. And when people find you online through an organic search, that is a bonus. But don't waste your time sitting there waiting for it.
About the Author
Jonathan Hook works with small business owners to increase their sales by 20% in 90 days - without spending an extra dime on advertising - guaranteed. Rush over to TheMarketersMind.com to claim your free copy of the "30 Day Marketing Makeover".
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