One of the key factors of success in Affiliate Marketing is being able to drive quality traffic to your website and landing pages. Free Traffic and Paid Traffic are two of the primary methods of achieving that goal.
Here are some thoughts on both methods that you can use to improve your campaigns.
Free traffic is any kind of traffic that you drive to your website or landing page by unpaid means. Besides not having to spend any money to drive traffic and convert sales, free traffic is great because it takes less time and skill to manage and can keep producing results long after you’ve moved onto the next project.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the different types of free traffic available to you:
Search Engine Optimization––SEO refers to the practice of tweaking your site content to maximize organic search rankings and organic traffic. It’s labour intensive but free to setup and fairly easy to maintain once you figure out how it works. A good starting point is to consult with an SEO expert, get the basic knowledge, and then conduct your our own site content audit––checking tags, meta-descriptions, headers and page titles, and trying different keyword phrases that you think your prospects are searching with. Yes, SEO involves quite a bit of trial and error at the outset, but once you get good at it you can drive a lot of traffic to your site, generate sales and spare your bank account in the process.
Social Media Sites––Mass traffic juggernauts like Facebook and Twitter have spearheaded the social media revolution. These kind of sites allow you to drive traffic for free by building profiles, groups and pages, as well as using specialized search-weight features such as the hash tag (#). Building up robust social media profiles allows you to create a strong following, establish a valuable online presence and engage potential customers to the point where they’re more likely to buy from you.
Online Forums––As you already know, there’s a forum for pretty much everything under the sun. So, all you need to do to drive traffic from forums is pick those that are relevant to your target niche, interact with other members, drop your sales page link occasionally, and build a reputation for being an authority in your space. Just remember: Getting active and staying active with regular posts and comments is the key to success when using forums as a source of free traffic.
Video Marketing––Youtube is a phenomenon all on its own. Millions of people are using it today to send traffic to their websites and landing pages. It’s the perfect platform to show your prospects product demos, tutorials, and viral content that can bring droves of visitors to your digital doorstep. Youtube and other video marketing sites also appear in the SERPs, so it has the benefits of organic search exposure as well.
Blogs & Article Marketing––Blogs and article marketing play perfectly on the philosophy that ‘content is king’. Blogs are great places to showcase niche content that attracts and engages specific types of consumer. You can target any topic of interest related to your product––from antivirus to athletic shoes. Writing and hosting guest blog posts with other sites will also help you build links and move up in the search ranks. Whatever the angle of the content you choose to take, just remember to make it relevant to the product you’re promoting.
Paid traffic includes PPC (Adwords etc), PPV, Facebook, Plenty of Fish, Media Buys and more. With this type of traffic, you’re basically paying to leverage someone else’s ad space. One of the things that makes paid traffic great is that you can see the results of your hard work almost immediately.
Paid traffic has some distinct advantages For one, you can test offers quickly and see if they’re converting before you decide to run with them. You can also usually increase your ad targeting by bidding on terms that you aren’t able to rank for organically. Another advantage is the ability to fine tune, and optimize your campaign to reach the desired demographic.
There are a few challenges with paid traffic that you should also consider. First, you have to have enough capital upfront to get up and running and to keep your campaigns profitable. With paid traffic, there is a risk of overspending without generating sufficient sales to cover daily ad spend. So it’s best to be cautious when first starting out and adjust your spending based on results.
Now let’s take a quick look at some of the different types of paid traffic out there:
Google Adwords––This is the paid traffic’s most dominant and profitable force. Adwords are a fast way to drive highly targeted traffic to your website, but it can also quickly use up your budget. All in all the quality of traffic generated through Adwords is pretty high, so it’s definitely something you’ll want to give a try.
Facebook Ads––Advertising through Facebook has exploded in popularity recently because it allows you to target incredibly specific demographics. Since Facebook records profile information, user preferences (and ‘Likes’), user networks and friend associations, this data can be used to create highly-targeted advertising campaigns. The advantage of Facebook is that you can reach your target consumer with stunning accuracy, resulting in above-the-norm conversion rates and big ROI. Again, just as with Adwords, keep a close watch on spending because Facebook can quickly use up your budget.
Media Buys––Media Buying done right can yield amazing results, and be extremely profitable. Buying ad space like a text link or banner spot on another related website can bring you significant profits. Just be sure that you’re placing your ads on sites that are relevant to your consumers and the product you’re promoting, otherwise you’ll be paying premium rates to generate unqualified traffic that doesn’t convert to sales and just ends up sapping your capital.
Ad Networks––If you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding websites to buy ad space, you can always work through an advertising network instead. Ad networks act as middle-men between you and the website that’s offering advertising space, and they are very capable of brokering ad placements for you that turn a handsome profit.
So, Which Method Is Better?
The short answer is both. They both work well and they both have their shortcomings––for the reasons we’ve discussed today and more. The best approach is try and use both. The more diverse your campaigns, the more resilient they will be. Try to stay away from putting all your eggs in one basket. This will help you protect yourself against poorly performing campaigns and maximize your profits at the same time. Try working with a mix of both paid and free traffic sources and see how it works out.
There are just a few ideas for you to consider in terms of paid versus free traffic. We’d love to hear your ideas on the subject as well! Feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org