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Table of Contents

Introduction

This is your personal guide to online traffic. It is like nothing else you've ever read on the subject. It will eliminate your misconceptions. It will reveal truths you may have never heard before.

It will tell you everything you need to know about traffic. And show you all the things you need to know about yourself. It will put you squarely in the center of the traffic game, and give you the keys to your very own kingdom of unlimited traffic success!

If you think you're struggling from traffic issues, this article will open your eyes once and for all.

Warning!

This article pulls no punches. It may not tell you what you want to hear, but it is guaranteed to give you what you need so you never worry about traffic again.

I got a little jacked up writing this article.

More so than usual. You see, whenever I sit down to work on any kind of communication to my clients, I go – pardon the expression – balls to the wall.

Nothing gets published until I'm proud of it. And that only happens when I know that you will get better and more immediate value than anything else out there. In other words, unless I'm sure it absolutely kicks ass.

It is the only way I work.

Anyway, this month I decided to tackle one of the most popular topics in probably the entire internet marketing world. It is certainly one of the most asked questions I get.

But First A Little Background

When I got started working on some new material, I had my assistant put together all the client correspondence I had received on this particular topic. As I read through each one, I noticed something really strange. Nearly every email was asking a very similar question.

That virtually never happens.

Normally, while I'm considering a topic for a particular article, I will look at the questions members send my way to see what they're struggling with. And almost without fail, there is usually a variety of different questions being asked on that topic. But these emails weren't like that. They were all virtually the same question.

That bothered me. I wondered why that would happen. Maybe my assistant had made a mistake. (Of course that rarely happens either!)

I checked with her anyway to see if she had categorized them in some unusual way and had only given me a section of the question file. No. They were all here.

So I did what I often do when I need to think about a problem. I headed to the beach to do some heavy duty thinking about what this might mean. To figure out why everyone seemed to be fixated on one single question.

The more I thought about it, the more it became clear to me that there was something deeper at work here.

Suddenly the light went on.

The question everyone was asking wasn't about a problem in itself, but was actually a symptom of a deeper problem.

I realized that everyone who asked a question on this topic seemed to be asking it based on a false belief or misconception. A “meme” that's infected almost every online entrepreneur today. (And if it wasn't a misconception, it was definitely an incomplete picture.) They were all missing a key understanding about the subject.

How did I know?

Because where this topic was concerned, nearly all the emails I had received were asking the wrong question.

This Article Is All About TRAFFIC

But not traffic as you may understand it.

You see, virtually every question I received asked about getting more traffic. About attracting more visitors to their sites. One after the other they asked virtually the same thing.

And while it might not have been obvious to just anyone, those questions all demonstrated a serious misunderstanding.

It is a huge misunderstanding. One the average entrepreneur or opportunity seeker clings to like a drowning man clings to a log in a river. The only problem is that log is rushing down river toward a towering waterfall.

The answer to “how to get more traffic” is simple. Heck, I will tell you right now – You get more traffic by extracting more value than it is worth. Traffic always flows to where the most value can be gotten from it. (Don't worry. I will explain exactly what I mean in a minute.)

What these questions didn't understand is there is an underlying prerequisite that goes far beyond getting traffic. You can't get maximum traffic unless you can extract maximum value from the traffic you get. And you can't extract maximum value unless you design your business to be “traffic worthy.” And you can't design a “traffic worthy” business unless you fully understand the nature of the traffic beast.

I realized I had to write a article that would open your eyes WIDE – to the fundamental truths about traffic no one seemed to understand.

Sure, traffic is critical to any online business' success – no matter what you do.

But unless you understand the truths I'm about to share with you now, the way you think about and approach traffic will actually sabotage your own efforts when it comes to getting the traffic you need to launch a business successfully – much less grow it to the level of your dreams.

And when I say the “traffic you need,” I'm not just talking about numbers. I'm talking about the measures of your own ability to provide and extract value.

The ability to extract value has to do with selling to your strengths.

When you sell to your strengths, you automatically have the ability to provide unique, superior value to your market. And when you do that, you significantly decrease the marketing (attracting traffic) you have to do. Traffic becomes almost a non-issue because your business will automatically be able to extract maximum value. And like I said before, traffic will always find its way to where the most value will be extracted.

But that whole concept is completely foreign to most entrepreneurs. (In fact, you may not even fully understand all the implications of it right now yourself. But you will by the time you finish reading this article.) And when you don't understand it, it makes your life more difficult and frustrating. It makes you “chase” traffic and struggle to get the exceptional results you want.

It eats up what capital you have. Ultimately it will put you out of business.

It occurred to me, if the majority is operating under this misconception – this incomplete picture, they'd never succeed online. No matter what.

So I decided this article had to go deeper. I knew I needed to totally transform the way you look at traffic. So you'd never revert to an erroneous way of thinking like every other opportunity seeker who doesn't understand what you are about to.

So this article is MUCH MORE than just a “Traffic” Article…

At least as the vast majority of entrepreneurs would think of one. It is going to be a look at traffic from an angle that you won't get anywhere else. Why? Because few people out there view the topic of traffic as more than…

Traffic = Money

Now don't get me wrong, there is some truth contained in that equation. But it is only half the truth. And if that's all you know or believe – you fail. It won't guarantee you success if you don't have a “traffic worthy” business – one that can extract value from the traffic that comes to you.

Believe it or not, all the traffic in the world won't help you if you can't extract more value from that traffic than it is worth. So before we can even talk about strategies for getting traffic, we have to talk about extracting value.

And that may mean splitting the herd a bit.

You see, I can't send you out there to “chase traffic” and die a slow death – which is an absolute certainty if your business isn't traffic worthy. To do that would be a breach of the trust you put in me and would make me no better than all the other hucksters out there looking to take your money and run.

Unfortunately that means we may have to face some harsh realities.

This article will give you a perspective that makes it obvious why you don't need just another “how–to–get–more–traffic” article. I want to show you about traffic in a whole new light.

I want to give you the long answer, the right answer, the true answer about how the entire game of traffic works.

So that when you're finished with this article, you will have an understanding of traffic like none of your competition does. You will know why few succeed and so many fail. (It isn't about tricks or back doors or secret algorithms. Those are the ideas that get everybody started on the wrong path in the first place.)

When you're finished with this article, you will understand the concept of traffic more deeply, more intimately, more confidently than most others.

You will be able to open the flood gates of traffic to your site at will!

If you're ready for the information in this article (meaning you already know how to extract value from your traffic,) then once you understand everything here, you will be poised for a major breakthrough. You will know exactly what your next steps need to be. And if by chance you're not, you will finally understand exactly what you need to do to get ready. And then what you must do so that traffic is never a concern of yours again.

When you understand and embrace the ideas I'm about to share, things are going to start happening for you…

  • You will see your list grow to numbers you might have previously thought unimaginable…
  • You will stop trading $5 of your money and sweat for a $1 in return as so many entrepreneurs mistakenly do today…
  • You will go to bed at night and actually wake up richer in the morning. It happens, believe me…
  • You will finally be able to reap the rewards of owning your own business, making your own decisions, charting your own course in life, living for no one but yourself and the people you love…
  • And a lot more…

So, here is the info on getting all the traffic you want. If you're ready for it, it'll make you rich. If you're not, then now you will know exactly why and what you need to do. (The good news is I've already given you everything you need.)

Believe Me, When You Understand This, The Payoff Is Huge

Clearly understanding how the game works means…

  • You will immediately start attracting more high-quality traffic to your site…
  • You will have better “metrics” which means you will have even more control over the growth of your business…
  • You will instinctively know what offers pull customers in like bees to honey…
  • You will know when it is time to pull out all the stops and launch big time campaigns for big time profits…
  • And most importantly, you will create a scalable, sustainable, continually growing business…

The payoffs are just too big to gloss over or ignore.

How Exactly Are We Going To Do All This?

We're going to take a series of logical steps that will walk you from being a confused rookie to seasoned veteran.

First you’ve got to understand what the big misunderstanding is. To do that, we're going to look at the major misconceptions of traffic.

Then I will reveal some little known truths about traffic. Realities about how the game works.

I will explain the single most important truth about traffic – one no one else seems to acknowledge.

I will tell you why the most common and popular solutions to “traffic problems” will never achieve they're intended purposes.

And quite simply how to never let a lack of traffic be a problem again.

Once you get everything just up to that point, I guarantee you will be miles ahead of your competitors. You will have an understanding of traffic that no opportunity seeker could ever comprehend. But even then, you won't be fully ready to start executing traffic strategies.

Because before we go any further, we'll need to pause and do a little self-assessment.

We have to determine where you are in your business building journey today. Then, just as important, we'll figure out where you need to be in order to profitably move forward. Critical steps that will give you clarity on exactly what your next steps need to be.

After that, we'll dive into the mechanics of traffic.

You will learn about the “Rings of Traffic” and how valuation at each level is determined. You will understand the metrics (and how to calculate them) you need to know to make traffic work for you; industry terms and conditions and the different types of media and how to use it.

By the time you’re finished with this article, you will understand traffic and how to monetize it better that 90% of the people struggling in the internet marketing business today.

First you need to understand the basic, fundamental truth about traffic.

I Hope You're Paying Attention!

If you're ignoring what I'm telling you, if you're thinking of skipping to the back of this article without reading the critical first half, then you're shooting yourself in the foot. In both feet for that matter.

You will only be adding to your own pain and suffering. Increasing the amount of time you will struggle and claw after success. You will only pile on more and more frustration in your life. You will stay chained to your business day in and day out until it consumes you. You will keep throwing good money after bad until there is NO money left.

But follow this advice and…

  • You will “scale” your business systematically growing it step by step. You will have a clear vision of your true growth potential and how to maximize it.
  • You will stop spinning your wheels and finally get traction seeing the business growth you've been looking for.
  • You will quickly and easily overcome the challenges you face with regard to “affording” things for your business.
  • You will be able to understand the difference between what is essential and what isn't.

This is the article that will put everything you've learned from me so far into action and let you launch your business to unparalleled success.

So let's get started…

Step 1: Understand The Misconceptions of Traffic

How Do You Look at Traffic?

Like I said before, there are a lot of misconceptions – incomplete pictures really – about traffic in the internet marketing world today. Depending on how you think about it will ultimately put you in one of four basic categories.

Membership in two of them won't get you anywhere. One will make your life harder than it needs to be. But one will actually help you lighten your workload and get your business growing to virtually unlimited profits. It will be like the final piece in the puzzle of building a business that actually works for you – one that gives you all the freedom and security you ever wanted.

So, what are these four categories?

1 – The Dreamers...

The first group I call “the Dreamers.” They dream about the blog post they'll write that will go viral, spreading across the internet like wildfire, launching them to instant “guru” status. They'll get a million readers in a month, their book sales will skyrocket, and they’ll finally make it to the Oprah show.

Truth of the matter is they have the least understanding of what traffic is and how it fits into any business. They have no conception of the PROCESS involved in getting and monetizing traffic. To them the ONLY thing standing between them and their success is lack of people clicking on a link to their website.

Because they don't understand the truth about traffic, they rarely have a clue about what to do to drive it to their site. They search for solutions and “tips” on building a fanatical following in articles with titles like “How I went from zero to a zillion readers in 30 days for free…” Usually written by writers with little traffic of their own.

Then they half-heartedly work to implement these scraps of ideas and then wait for the flood of traffic to hit their site. They ALWAYS fail.

These are the people clinging to that log in the river. Looking for the simplest, and most likely uninformed solution. Reality is they're looking for something on which they can place the blame for their failure. Their concept of traffic is all wrong and every ounce of energy and effort they put in to getting more traffic is wasted.

2 – The Seekers...

Then there are the opportunity seekers. They share a lot of the same basic misconceptions as the “Dreamer.” That the only thing standing between them and a business of their dreams is a lack of traffic.

The opportunity seeker, however, approaches the problem in a slightly different way. They are convinced there is a secret solution that will magically turn on waves of traffic for them. A software application or a technique that, once they master it, will give them all the free traffic they want.

They search for this “ultimate” solution as if it were hidden under a rock somewhere. All they need to do is flip over that right rock and… Bingo! They're set for life. Promise them a traffic “miracle in a box” and they've got their credit cards out and are busy implementing. They own every $97 dollar solution that promised to give them all the free traffic they can handle.

The bad news for them is, theirs is a search with no end. Like the “Dreamers” they don't understand the truth about traffic. And because they don't, they'll always be searching for the next big “traffic getting system.” Which only leads to more frustration and disappointment.

3 – The Entrepreneurs...

Then there is the entrepreneur view. Now the entrepreneur understands the key truth about traffic (if you don't already know it, I will share it with you in just a second.) But his problem is his limited knowledge about its “ins and outs.”

He might have tried one or two small sources and has pretty much exhausted them because he doesn't know how to make the most of them. Instead of leveraging what he knows, he simply tries different tactics in the same channel. Without realizing it, he ends up making his life harder instead of easier.

His efforts become like drilling for oil in a dry well. Pump as hard as you want, but the drops you get in return for your effort won't be worth it. Exhausting “mainstream” channels means you will have to work harder and harder to grow your traffic.

That's not the way of the strategic entrepreneur.

The Strategic Entrepreneurs (aka - Founders)...

Then there is the Founders way of viewing traffic. She understands the key truth about traffic. That to be effective, traffic must not only create sales, but must also contribute to a scalable business.

To do that, traffic has to be predictable. It must be able to be turned on and off at will. To be managed as a part of her business growth process. She's able to leverage the traffic she gets in a deeper way than any of the other three categories. She understands it feeds your business in more ways than by just making sales. It will help you refine your processes to the point where they'll run virtually on their own, 24/7, creating a flood of money and all the freedom you want.

Wherever you may be now, that's the group I want you to be in by the end of this article. (Or at the very least, I want you to understand the essential steps you need to get there.)

Chasing Traffic Gets You Nowhere

Chasing traffic is a bad idea. In fact, you should NEVER chase traffic. Chasing traffic will do more harm to your business than good. I will tell you why in a second.

If it is so bad, why do so many online marketers do it? Because they don't have a proper understanding of traffic. Remember, people seem to always boil the concept of traffic down to this equation:

More Traffic = More Money

And in a most basic, rudimentary sense, that equation is true. (As soon as you begin to think about traffic in a slightly more sophisticated way, you realize – like I said before – that it is only half the picture.)

That understanding comes from a promise I'm sure you've heard over and over, “Get all the FREE traffic you want!”

All you need is the traffic.

That's how the idea of traffic is promoted. An ultimate “all-you-can-eat” key to success. Like a magic Traffic Genie who – with a snap of his fingers – will grant you those three magic wishes: Traffic, Traffic, and more Traffic…

This illusion cements that over-simplified equation of “traffic means success” in a struggling entrepreneur's head.

Nobody ever makes this promise,

“Chase all the FREE TRAFFIC you want – Get NOWHERE – and GO BROKE!”

But the truth is that's much closer to reality if you don't understand these truths about traffic. (The truths I will explain to you in just a minute.)

Why? Because when you chase traffic, like so many of the gurus' marketing messages advise, it pulls you away from the things you should be doing. Like building a business that works for you instead of demanding that you slave “hands-on” day in and day out.

If you've ever bought a course or program that promised traffic and ended up no better off – or more likely worse off when you factor in all the time, effort and money you lost – then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Are You A Victim Of The “Traffic Genie”?

Have you been side-tracked into believing these false beliefs? Let's find out. Grab a pencil and let me ask you a question…

If you had all the traffic you wanted… what would YOU do with it?

I'm serious. Let's assume you had a thousand – NO – let's say TEN THOUSAND – unique visitors to your website every day. What would you do with them?

When you answer this question, I want you to be specific. List step by step the things you'd do to turn that massive flow of traffic into a huge and GROWING flow of money.

Seriously, what would you do with that traffic? Take five minutes and write your answer down.

If you wrote something generic like “I'd sell them more products and services” or came up blank, you're very likely a victim of that “Traffic Genie.”

“Magical assumptions” like “I'd offer them a valuable free article to get them to opt-in to my list” don’t count either. I mean, what makes you think 1) they want to be on your list or 2) they even want your free article?

No, if you didn't write down specific, step-by-step actions you'd take to get even more traffic flow and boost your revenue and profits, you need to do some work before you worry about traffic.

Fortunately for you we're going to fix that in the coming pages. And you will see the proof. I'm going to ask you that question again later. I expect your answer will be very different…

The key to maximizing the effect of traffic on your business is, you not only have to understand how to get more traffic you have to understand what to do with that traffic once you have it. More specifically, you must know what is THE most profitable path down which you can send your traffic before you even think about focusing on getting more of it.

We'll talk about all that in just a minute.

First, I want to take one more second to make sure you're clear on another important point. We have to eliminate any false beliefs or notions about the whole topic. If I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, please bear with me. This is important.

If you think your volume of traffic equates to your volume of sales, you have it all wrong!

It is Only One Part of the Equation

If you think traffic, or a lack of it, is the only thing that's standing between you and fame and fortune, you have to re-think your whole premise. The truth is it is only one part of the success equation.

TRAFFIC IS LIKE GAS IN YOUR CAR…

Sure, gas makes your car go. And yes, traffic and sales are what drives your business and its growth.

But how your car drives when you fill up the tank depends on a lot of other things.

Filling up with high octane doesn't mean your car will go fast. It doesn't even guarantee your car will start. To look at traffic alone – by itself – as the only key to success is like thinking that simply buying better gas will transform a 1975 Gremlin to a 2011 Maserati.

There are other parts of your car (and your business) that have to come first. Key parts you have to maintain and work to keep tuned up to make sure it performs at peak levels.

The most important part of your business is its structure and design. Your business design is like the engine of your car. If you don't have a well-built, well-tuned engine, you're dead in the water. I don't care what kind of gas (traffic) you pump into your tank. You're not going anywhere.

Then consider your marketing message. It is like a car's drive train. It is what connects the engine you've designed to the fuel that will drive it.

Like I said before, traffic is only the fuel that feeds your success. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is anything more. Traffic will not help a poorly designed business just like the best gas in the world won't make a car with a poorly tuned engine go fast. (Or a car without an engine go at all.)

When you look at traffic as being more than that, you're looking to an external solution for any lack of success. An outside reason for why your business may be struggling. Essentially you're looking for better gas to make your business grow bigger, faster. Ain't gonna happen.

You have to make sure everything under the hood is in proper working order. That means rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty designing and building your business properly.

Honestly, Traffic Is About A Lot More Than Making Sales, Too...

The Truth you will never hear from another “free” traffic guru You see traffic is more than just a way to make sales. It is also a tool you use to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing and profitability of your business.

“More traffic” doesn't automatically mean “more sales” because there are other factors involved. Let's go back to my car analogy.

A successful business, like a finely tuned sports car, is a combination of systems – the “fuel” system, the “engine” system, and the “drive train” system. A system is essentially a process where something is fed in at one end, the system acts on it and something else comes out the other end. (If you haven't read that article, I strongly recommend you do.)

If your car grinds along belching plumes of black smoke out of the tailpipe, in all likelihood it is not the octane level of your gas. It is a symptom of a deeper problem. You have to tune up your engine. If the bottom line of your business is suffering, it is probably not the result of a lack of traffic. It may have more to do with one of the systems that comprise your business. Your profit model, your marketing, your offer…

Remember, success comes down to one thing: Whether or not your business is “traffic worthy.” If it will optimally monetize traffic. If it is the best place to send traffic.

And that nugget is something that most aspiring entrepreneurs miss entirely.

OK…

Now you have the first piece of the traffic puzzle. You understand there is no magic solution to suck waves of traffic to your website. More importantly, you understand that traffic itself is rarely the source of nor solution to every business problem. And because of that you realize that blindly chasing traffic will never lead to a happy ending.

Enough about the misconceptions of traffic. Let's get down to…

Step 2: Discover The Truth About Traffic

So let's talk about the truth of traffic.

But let's forget about grabbing visitors online for just a second and talk about a bigger concept.

You see, online traffic is really no different than traffic at any brick and mortar business.

Say you run a small storefront business. Every prospective customer who walks into your shop has potential value to you. So the more foot traffic you can get into your shop, the more potential cash flow and profit your business will earn.

Which brings me to the first, and possibly single most important thing you have to understand about traffic…

All Traffic Has Value!

Read that again.

Offline AND online.

Don't believe me? Think about it for a second. Why does a Madison Avenue address in New York or a Michigan Avenue address in Chicago command such high rent? Because of the traffic potential they offer – a high volume and even more important, high quality.

They are premier locations.

If you have a clothing store in lower Manhattan, you will pay a premium rent for the location. Why? Because you are in a premium location. One that offers a high volume of traffic, but more importantly, a high quality of traffic. You could have opted to set up business in a less lucrative location like Harlem or the Bronx, but then you would have had to work four times as hard just to get the right people in the door.

Where traffic is concerned two factors combine to determine value – the volume of traffic and the quality of traffic.

Now think about value in terms of online traffic.

Think about Google. They're in the “search” business. And while they currently control only about 20% of the total traffic on the internet today, they do control the vast majority (roughly 80%) of search traffic. (Though that number has been declining lately too.)

That means they have massive potential value coming to them every day.

How much is that traffic worth to them? Google is valued at $194 billion dollars!

Now think about this. Why did Google recently spend $1.65 billion dollars to buy YouTube? Because YouTube gets huge amounts of traffic.

And what about this? Why did Mark Zuckerberg snub Microsoft's $15 billion dollar bid for FaceBook? Because FaceBook controls massive traffic. Upwards of 500 million users with half a trillion page views every month. (Microsoft went ahead and invested $240 million in the social networking giant anyway.)

And why did coupon-sharing site “Groupon” just turn down Google's $6 billion dollar bid? Because they get traffic! High quality traffic. Traffic that's looking to spend money! If you go online and do a search for electric guitars, you may or may not be looking to buy one. But there is only one reason to go to Groupon – to spend money! (What's the real reason so many mind-boggling numbers are being thrown around in pursuit of these online mega-mergers? They're all trying to buy traffic!)

Do you see what I mean? Whether or not you can monetize it, ALL… TRAFFIC… HAS… VALUE.

Most don't fully understand that truth and it leads them to take inappropriate actions when building their business.

Right about now the dreamer and the opportunist are saying to themselves,

“I know traffic has value, that's why I need more of it on my site. If only more traffic would click to my site, I'd have it made.”

And with that thought in mind, they go off chasing after the genie in the magic lamp that will attract more traffic.

But therein lies the big problem. They're on that “traffic = sales” merry-go-round that gets them nowhere.

Sure, more traffic will mean more sales. But the big question is will those sales be PROFITABLE ENOUGH for you to succeed?

They never seem to get that. That you can still fail even with a lot of traffic if you don't have the the business to monetize it. That the problem can lie somewhere completely outside the realm of traffic.

Addressing The “Wrong” Cause Of Your Problems Won't Fix Them

Imagine for one second, you got up one day last year and decided you didn't want to waste time showering ever again. (I know, an unpleasant thought, but go with me on this.)

After a few weeks, you start to smell like last weeks garbage on a hot July day in Florida. Consequently your social life starts to suffer. Realizing this change, you surf over to Amazon and buy a couple books on how to make conversation with the opposite sex.

And for some strange reason, you don't get any different results.

Was it the books fault? Of course not! You're trying to solve the “wrong” cause of your problem.

What does this have to do with traffic?

Traffic has value, and if you don't have a mechanism that, at a minimum, can extract that value from the traffic that comes to your site, all the traffic in the world will not make you successful.

Traffic Math 101

So let's say you get $200 worth of traffic to come to your site. (Remember, all traffic has value.) But you can only monetize that traffic for $25. How long can you survive?

How hard will it be to grow your business – if you can grow it at all?

One of the greatest examples of this in the history of online business was Pets.com.

Back in 2000, Pets.com (the online pet store with that cute sock-puppet spokesman) went all out to get traffic. They went to buy traffic everywhere. They even took out multimillion dollar ads during the Super Bowl. In less than a year they were out of business. Why?

They were paying roughly $270 per customer to get traffic, but only monetizing that traffic to the tune of about $75.

Would more traffic have helped Pets.com? Not at a cost of $270 per customer.

This is an illusion many entrepreneurs unknowingly find themselves struggling under.

They think that simply bringing more prospects to their site solves all their problems.

They never consider the actual math that must go into the traffic equation. Math that determines whether each sale will – at a minimum – cover the cost to make it. (We'll cover that math in just a minute.)

And because they don't, they end up losing money on the traffic they get. Then they struggle to make up the difference by trying to get more traffic! They work longer hours, cut back where they shouldn't, focus on everything but what the real cause of their problem is. Of course that only worsens the situation – causes them to lose even more money.

In so many cases, their question “How can I get more traffic” should be replaced with “How can I make more profitable sales?”

All Traffic Has Value And You Can't Get Value For Free

How much do you think Google values their traffic?

There is a popular market niche that claims they can show you how to instantly access top rankings at Google. A “secret back door” that will get you all the clicks you want. Some people believe you can find loopholes in their search algorithms and get better rankings to get more traffic. Google's waiting for you.

Remember $194 billion dollars? They didn't get that big letting people manipulate them. Google is in the business of delivering relevant search results. Think about what would happen to them if they didn't…

Say you went to Google and searched for piano lessons in your area. And instead of a list of music schools you got a list of “learn to run a home based business” ads or what if you got squeezed to a landing page with no content about piano lessons anywhere to be found.

Or imagine you searched Google for health clubs in your area and all the top results they returned were for dating sites and vitamin cures.

How long are you going to keep going back there to search? Not long. You'd be off to Yahoo or Bing in a second. Your time is too important to subject yourself to wave after wave of Viagra and debt consolidation ads.

No, Google has massive traffic value to protect. And they employ armies of Ph.D. software engineers to do just that. To make sure there is nothing they'd consider “funny business” going on in terms of trying to game their ranking system. They set rules and requirements to ensure no one takes unfair advantage of their traffic.

As searchers, we should all be glad for this. But as marketers, it is made even the paid advertising landscape tougher and stricter.

Today, being successful with Google advertising requires you jump through a lot more hoops than you had to just a few years ago.

Today when you advertise with Google you have to consider your “quality score,” landing page configuration (no squeeze pages please – only relevant content,) they have restrictions on display URLs, keywords, ad terms, content.

Run afoul of them and they'll “slap” you with rule changes. Call to try and find out what you did wrong and you will be on hold until your next birthday. Write them and challenge them and they can ban you.

Why? Because they're not going to let anyone damage their ability to consistently get the search traffic they've worked so hard for. Whether or not you're willing to pay for it.

So much so, they have no problem punishing even “big names” who they view as doing something wrong.

Just this past February they bounced Overstock.com – a $340 million company – from their top three search ranking to somewhere between number 40 and 70. They caught them using “illegal” back links on educational sites to increase their rankings. Overstock.com pleaded their innocence but Google perceived them as taking unfair advantage of their market. Off they went.

Why have they made it so challenging in recent years? Because they are in the business of providing their users… their customers… their traffic with the best, most relevant results for every search. And they understand the value of all that traffic.

I don't care who thinks they have a secret way to top rankings… They're only kidding themselves.

But what about free traffic people get from blogs and articles?

There is no such thing as totally “free” traffic. Let me explain

If you believe what I just told you about all traffic having value – and after all of what I've just shown you, I don't know how you can't – you have to realize that no one will give you traffic for free.

Even so, there is a popular tactic known as “content marketing.” The idea that you can write blogs, and articles and post them online and that content, when discovered by your prospects, will draw them to your site.

Now I really need to be clear on this. I am a big fan of blogs and content marketing. But not for getting traffic.

The truth is, you can scrape up some traffic with blog or article content. But there are three big problems with this strategy.

First, whoever's telling you that blog and article generated traffic is free, doesn't really understand business and certainly isn't Founder material. Second, your source of free traffic can disappear literally overnight. Third – and most important – is the scalability of it. You simply can't scale “free.”

Let's talk about each for a second.

Free Is Never Really Free

Sure it is possible to get “free” traffic. But even “free traffic” in the sense of content marketing isn’t really free. Even if you don't pay a dime for the traffic that comes to your site as a result of your blog or articles, consider all the time you spent writing and editing that content.

Quality content takes time. Believe me. Why would you want anything out there that was cranked out by a content “spinning” program (an application that merely substitutes words in your old articles to make them new and “unique”) representing you and your products or services? Why would you do something to actually make yourself look bad?

Sorry, there are no magic buttons. Producing quality content takes time. A lot of time.

And that's a cost. It is called opportunity cost. It is one of the big behavior mistakes I told you all about in my last article. Every time you say yes to one project, you're saying “later” to everything else.

So whenever you sit down to write a blog or an article that means you can't work on your latest product development. It means you can't optimize the marketing you have running. It means you won't have time to check results, or test, or have time to properly service the customers you have (if you have any, that is.)

In a nutshell, it means you're not spending your time wisely. You're not making your marketing and business processes perform better. Turning every dollar you spend on traffic into $2.00, $2.50, $3.00 of revenue.

Every time you sit down to write a new article or blog, all the really important things get shoved to the back burner.

You get sucked into the mistake of thinking “payoff” instead of “tradeoff.” (Again, see my Behaviors article.)

If you're spending time creating content for the sole purpose of getting traffic, you're trading valuable time you could be spending to make every visitor to your website more valuable for the payoff of uncertain, irregular traffic.

It is an investment you can never be sure you will get a return on.

Disappearing From The Face Of The Web

The second problem is whatever visibility you manage to build using content marketing can disappear in a heartbeat. Don't believe me…?

This past February, Google implemented a new search algorithm called “Panda.” It is been nicknamed the “Farmers Update” because it was designed to enhance search results by blocking bogus results that come from what are known as “content farms” – online article repositories that contain little more than keyword-laden garbage linking back to irrelevant sites.

Within weeks of implementing this change, top-ranked sites' visibility decreased by as much as 97%! Ninety-seven percent. Take a look at just a few…

Site Change in Visibility Rankings
blipper.com -97.90%
suite101.com -92.50%
tradekey.com -92.20%
articleBase.com -91.50%
allbusiness.com -86.50%
ezinearticles.com -86.20%
findarticles.com -83.50%
hubpages.com -80.10%

If you posted any significant amount of content to any of these sites in the hopes of getting found via a search – just like that – you're not getting found anymore.

Frankly, if you can't reasonably predict the traffic your marketing model can generate, or it is one where your traffic can disappear literally overnight, it might actually be better to go out and get a job. Seriously. At least that way you will know what your weekly income will be.

Blogs Are Not Evil In And Of Themselves

Now let me be clear about something, before anyone starts spreading the idea “Rich says blogs are bad.” I love blogs. I think they're great tools. I think they can play an enormous role in the success of your business.

They can help you establish your positioning in your market. They can help establish your expertise and thought leadership (something very important these days) with your prospective customers. They can engage you in a dialogue with your readers and let you mine their thoughts and desires.

Blogs and articles are great for all that and more.

But NOT for building a business reliant on getting free traffic.

To have any chance at success one thing is absolutely necessary; you have to put your marketing message out in front of your prospective market. Content or blog marketing wants your market to find you. It says write interesting, compelling posts and the world will beat a path to your door to consume all your wonderfulness.

Well, maybe.

But to be successful doing that, you absolutely need to be a master of your niche. You have to be able to deliver counterintuitive ideas at will. You have to be able to crank out amazing content on a consistent basis if you want people coming back over and over and over again.

And even then, you're trading talent for traffic.

Think about my close friend Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary built a huge business at winelibrary.tv (now thedailygrape.com) using a daily video blog post about wine. He has legions of followers (over 800,000 on Twitter alone.) He's been offered television shows, radio shows, and all kinds of opportunities. (Why? Because HE draws traffic.

Traffic these media outlets know they can monetize if they put him out in front of their audiences.)

It is all come from his social media exploits. The result of what people mistakenly believe is “free” traffic.

But you have to know, none of his success came “free.” Gary is a HUGE personality – with HUGE TALENT.

He works tirelessly, endlessly promoting his businesses, his books – himself. And when he does that he's trading his talent for his position in the marketplace.

Now if you think you have the kind of talent – the same level of talent Gary has – the kind that will make TV networks and radio stations beat a path to your door, by all means, go for it. But understand this. If you don't think that will ever happen, don't expect “free” traffic to come knocking either.

You can write all you want. You can go through the process of thoughtfully commenting and back linking on other blogs.

But at best, people still have to come to you. Not just once but over and over again. And you can't count on that unless you have a big enough personality to pull that off no matter what the medium.

And that brings us to the third problem –

Traffic has to be scalable

Any “free” traffic you may get from blog or article marketing is unpredictable. You don't know when or if it'll show up. And because of that you can't build your business on it by analyzing regular results.

That's what I mean when I say it is not scalable. You can't grow your stream of traffic on demand using content marketing tactics. You have to write and hope, and write and pray.

When I was consistently blogging – writing blockbuster posts – my blog was being seen by as many as 160,000 plus viewers. And even then, I never considered that traffic reliable or scalable.

I'm sorry. There is no such thing as truly free traffic you can count on. And if anyone tells you there is, I suggest you run the other direction. So, when I say there is no such thing as free traffic, I simply mean there is always a cost somewhere. Whether it is time, reputation, brand awareness, efficiency at monetizing “cheap” traffic, your talents or whatever. And those costs must be considered in your business just as seriously as monetary costs.

What's important is what I said at the top of this section: “You can't scale “free.” It is too unpredictable. And in order to be successful, you need predictability. Predictability gives you the edge when you need it most. It increases your odds of turning a profit quicker – of succeeding more easily.

The point is, to get quality traffic on a scalable basis and then making the maximum money from it, you have to know two key secrets.

What are the real secrets you need to understand about traffic? Traffic secret number one is…

You Have To Be Able To BUY TRAFFIC Profitably!

Not real sexy, is it? (Sorry, but being a Founder sometimes means understanding and mastering basic business fundamentals.)

I know every other “free traffic” guru in the world, is out there telling you can get it all free. I'm sitting here typing telling you it is going to cost you. I know it is tempting to believe all the hype, but do yourself a favor and listen to me…

Why?

All together… Because all traffic has value, and no one - no one - is going to give you value for free.(Unless, of course, it aligns with their purpose – unless it furthers their goals. Which means, you're ultimately working for them. In other words, if you're writing content to get ranked in Google, you're working for them. And that means they get to decide if your work is worth their traffic. It is like working for a boss and not even being sure you will get paid.)

So having to buy traffic begs the question, “How much should you pay for traffic?” Is $15,000 a month too much to pay Google for PPC traffic? (That's only $500 a day.) What about $150,000 a month? How about $1.5 million a month?

The right answer is “it depends on how much you're able to make from the traffic you buy each month.” I'd pay 10 cents to make a dollar all day, every day!

But most aspiring entrepreneurs don't think that way.

Which brings us to the second secret. The second – and more important – part of the whole equation:

The traffic game is about SPENDING MORE TO MAKE MORE.

Sure, more traffic = more money… But only if your marketing and sales mechanism can extract that money from your traffic.

You have to be able to take the traffic your marketing machine pulls in and send it through a sales process that makes it more valuable to you than the value the market placed on it. And if you don't have that capability yet, then you need to make some changes.

Dreamers, Opportunists (and even on occasion the entrepreneur) tend to think that by simply driving more traffic to a substandard sales process, they'll still make tons of money.

“Right now, your business is perfectly designed to achieve the results you are getting.”

If you're not growing your business on whatever traffic you have now, traffic isn't likely your problem. Rather it is a lack of understanding about how to make traffic profitable for you.

Founders spend money to buy traffic, because they know they can make more money on the traffic they buy. That's a fundamental truth in any business. And an online business is still a business.

So what if you can't afford to buy traffic?

Well, if you can't afford to buy traffic, then you do have a problem. But it isn't traffic. I'm sorry. It is reality.

You can't put the cart in front of the horse and expect to get anywhere.

I understand, that may be a bitter pill to swallow. But I'm not going to lie to you or sugar coat the truth.

Someone telling you that you may not yet be ready to fully realize your dream isn't what you want to hear. But like I told you in my “Thinking” article, to be successful in business, you have to think accurately.

You have to have an objective, realistic grasp of the market's needs and your abilities, your tools, to meet those needs. If you don't, you're only kidding yourself. You need to focus your energy and effort on your next steps.

I've gotten emails from opportunity seekers who've told me that they've spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal improvement courses, business building courses, out of the box solutions…and they're still at ground zero. Struggling year after year with minimal success.

I don't want that for you. I can help you. But the first thing you must do is face the reality of your situation where the big picture of traffic is concerned.

Once you do, you will be in complete control of every aspect of your business. Something you never are when you rely on free traffic.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Let me put it to you another way… is it better to know the truth and to finally get on the right track, or to keep kidding yourself spinning your wheels forever? Wasting time is one of the worst things you can do with your life.

Remember – you can always get more money – but you can never get more time.

As the late copywriting legend Gary Halbert once said, “If you can think, you will never be poor. You may be “broke.” But “broke” is just a temporary condition that is easily rectified.”

Better to put the time you have to the best use possible. And if that means taking a step back and retooling your marketing or sales process instead of desperately trying to chase after traffic, it is far better than wasting your life and your dreams in a business that will never succeed.

As long as you can think and correct your situation, you will always be making progress toward your goals. But for those who refuse to take their head out of fantasyland… well, that's where they'll be stuck forever (or until they change their attitude.)

So understand now, in order to bring traffic to your website, you're going to need a budget. Not necessarily a huge one, but you will need to spend money.

If you've already had your message and process out there, if you've made sales and stalled, if you've exhausted small sources of traffic … or even if you're set up and ready to go but don't know where or how to start buying traffic - then this will be an incredibly powerful and important article for you.

But if you haven't converted sale one, then truthfully you shouldn't be worried about traffic. You should be thinking about your marketing process and in a moment I'm going to show you where to get everything you need so you can get prepared to go.

Time to Get Ready for Your Next Step

O.K. Now we have some basic – but very important – understanding about traffic. Let's recap…

First, that all traffic has value. (Yes, I sound like a broken record. But if this is the only knowledge you walk away from this article with, you're still coming out ahead of 99% of the rest of all online marketers who think traffic can somehow be had by some method that doesn't reflect this truth.)

Traffic's value is evident by the way Google protects its traffic and the value it places on sites that get traffic like YouTube, Facebook, and Groupon. Advertising with them is a tough game that's getting tougher. And trying to fool or “game” Google is a suckers bet. You WILL lose. They'll shut you down faster than you can say “traffic.”

Second, there is no such thing as “free” traffic. You can use some commonly understood methods to try and get traffic to your site without paying money, but you will be paying out huge sums of your time, willingly turning yourself into a wage slave for traffic that won't create a sustainable, scalable business.

Finally, you have to be able to buy traffic… and then extract more value out of it than you pay for it. That's the only way to grow your business.

Let's take the next steps toward getting and commanding traffic. But before we get to the “how to,” there are a couple things we need to figure out first. Then we can make some decisions.

Step 3: Get Ready – Determine Where You're At And Where You Need To Be

Whatever you do, do NOT skip this section.

If you do, I promise, you will never master the concept of traffic… Of effortlessly attracting it to your site and monetizing it for everything it is worth.

Instead you will continue to struggle. You will waste time chasing after and searching for scraps of traffic. You will waste your money on things that won't make a bit of difference to your business. You will continue to wonder why you can't grow your sales.

And worst of all, you will be stuck in the same rut you are now. You make a sale here or there. But you will never be able to count on regular, reliable, repeat business.

Attracting traffic – being able to buy it profitably – requires specific knowledge I'm going to share with you right now. Once you understand these things, there will be no stopping you in your business growth. You will find that pumping massive traffic to your site will become second nature.

So don't short change yourself and skim here.

O.K., let me ask you a question. Would you spend $50 to get a new customer? How about $100? Do those numbers sound like a lot?

Now let me ask you another question. How much would you spend just to get a qualified lead? Not a paying customer, but just someone who's suited to buy what you're selling.

These are the questions you absolutely must be able to answer in order to monetize traffic profitably.

And to answer them properly, the first thing you must know is where you're at. Another way to put it is “how much you can afford to pay to attract traffic.” This number has nothing to do with what you have in the bank or your checking account or how much credit you can access.

This number is based on ONE – and only ONE – thing…

What is traffic worth TO YOU!

Understanding what traffic is worth to you means knowing how much value (money) you can extract from your average visitor.

You can't worry about anything else until you know this.

Is all Money Equal?: I've simplified the discussion in this section to be a bit more black and white to make them easier to understand. In the reality of life and business, there are always shades of gray.

You see, there are two ways you can determine your visitor value. On a profit basis or cash flow basis. What do I mean? Let me explain.

Cash flow is immediate revenue. Money now. Profit is revenue minus expenses - what you end up with at the end of the accounting period. Profit is more concerned with lifetime (or at least longer term) value while cash flow is concerned with the terms of the immediate exchange. When you buy a prospect worth $2 today and immediately turn him into a customer worth $5, you have cash flow of $3.

When you buy a visitor today for $5, turn him immediately into a customer for $2 you have negative cash flow of $3. But if you know the customer you convert at a $3 loss today will be worth $100, $200, or even $500 in 60 or 90 days, then you have a profit situation. These are things you must often consider when thinking about your visitor value. What will a customer be worth (spend) in 30, 60, even 90 days?

Most importantly, what is their Lifetime Value? How much a client will pay you over the course of time that they are a customer. This is really the big bottom line. (For a deeper explanation, see my section on Calculating Clicks.)

Profit based values are usually much greater than cash flow values. But there are associated risks you must consider carefully. To value all your traffic decisions based on cash flow is short sighted. To value it all based on profitability could squeeze you for cash, and possibly even put you on the road to bankruptcy. (There have been many businesses before who went bankrupt while making a profit.)

Which model you use in determining your visitor value largely depends on where you are in your business. You have to have cash on hand to pay your bills, but you also have to think profit to build a valuable business. Often times your decisions will have to be made on an intermediate basis - looking at 30-day or 90-day profitability. But again, it all depends on where you are in your business .

The only way to know this is by examining your actual sales numbers. (We're going to do the math in just a second.) Not a hypothetical value based on where you set your prices. If you haven't made a sale yet, then you don't even know if your offer is working. You can't base your traffic strategy on assumed sales. At least not for any long term basis. (I will explain more about that in just a minute.)

You see, in the real world, your traffic value (or the value of every visitor that comes to your site) will vary depending on what they buy.

For example, you have an initial value – how much cash flow they'll produce on their first sale. If you have an “upsell” or “downsell” offer in place, that will impact this number as well.

Some visitors are worth zero dollars while others are worth hundreds or even thousands.

Amid all that data is the number that determines your ability to pay for traffic. How much you can profitably spend to get more customers.

It goes by a couple names. It is called your “Average Visitor Value.” It is called your “Average Click Value.” It is called your “Maximum Click Value.” They all mean the same thing.

For now, I will keep things simple and just talk about initial customer transactions at your site. As you get more experienced, you will understand that there are different numbers you can base your average visitor value off of.

Key Terms

Before we dive into the math, I want to define some basic terms and acronyms we're going to use to calculate these traffic numbers in case anyone may be unfamiliar with them.

On the cost side, there are essentially two ways you pay for traffic. By “performance” and by “impression.”

When we talk about paying by performance, we're talking about buying “clicks,” so the first thing you need to know is…

“CPC” means “cost per click”

This term is associated mostly with text ads. It is an amount you pay every time your ad is clicked. For example, Google Adwords charges its advertisers on a CPC basis.

When you buy media by “impressions” you're buying blocks of media so…

“CPM” stands for “cost per thousand” impressions (M being the Roman numeral for 1,000.)

This is a flat fee you will pay to have your ad served 1000 times in a given period of time.

Notice I said “served,” not “seen.” That's an important distinction. To pay by impression means that your ad will be included in a page load a specified number of times. (For a little more in depth discussion, have a look at the box “An Important Note on Impressions” on page 28.)

And DO NOT confuse this CPM with your Max CPM which is the amount you can profitably pay for 1000 impressions (and the number we're about to figure out for you in just a minute.)

What else? We're also going to talk about your…

“CTR” which stands for your ads' “click through rate.”

This is the percentage of people who click your ad relative to the number of times your ad is served. The higher this number, the more compelling your ad is to your market.

Calculating it is simply dividing the number of clicks on your ad by the number of impressions. So for example, if over 1,000 impressions 3 people clicked your ad and went to your page, your CTR is (3 (clicks) / 1000 (impressions)) 0.3%.

I'm also going to mention your…

“CR,” which stands for “conversion rate.”

Converting a visitor simply means getting them to take some action on your site. And your conversion rate (CR) is the regularity with which you get a visitor to take some action. Where your CTR is a guide to how compelling your ad is, your CR is a better gauge of how compelling your offer or sales copy is.

To get this number, divide your number of sales (or signups or whatever you consider a “conversion”) by the number of visitors.

Let’s say of the 3 visitors above, you got 1 to opt in for a free article. Your “CR” would be 1 (conversions) / 3 (visitors) or 30% (Just so you know – In the real world, 30% is a pretty high number.

So those are the terms you need to know right now. Now here is what we're going to do.

Remember I said there are two basic ways to pay for traffic; by “click,” and by “impression.” The numbers we want to calculate for you are the maximum you can profitably pay for either.

Buying clicks is easier, more straight forward, and more concrete. Buying impressions involves some more sophisticated assumptions, a bit more math and is a little trickier.

So what we're going to do to keep this as clear as possible, is to set up a little business scenario for you. Then we're going to take the numbers from that scenario and calculate what you could afford to pay for clicks. From there we're going to look at what you can pay for impressions.

Then you're going to do the math on your business.

Ready? Let's get going.

Welcome to your new business…

‘’’The Happy Hothouse Orchid Growers Society’’’

Here are some of the basics on your new business. When a visitor comes to your site, you make them an initial offer to buy your introductory course on “raising orchids and other hothouse flowers.”

You sell that course for $97.

When you get a buyer, like a good strategic entrepreneur, you offer them an upsell. They can get your advanced course on “rare orchids.” – which usually sells for $497

You price the upsell at $147.

Calculating Clicks: Your “Average Visitor Value”

Like I said before, a “click” is nothing more than a unique visitor to your site. To determine your customer “click value,” you simply divide your total revenue for a given period by the number of unique visitors over that same period.

For example, let's say today you got 500 unique visitors to your site and made 10 sales (you converted 2% of your visitors into customers.) Of those 10 sales, you got 2 upsells for your second course. (You converted 20% of your initial sales into upsells.) So how much was your total revenue?

  1. Number of Sales 10 units
  2. Times the value of the initial sale $97.00
  3. Initial Revenue = $970.00
  4. Number of Upsells 2 units
  5. Times the value of the upsell $147.00
  6. Upsell Revenue = $294.00
  7. Total Revenue (Initial Revenue + Upsell Revenue) = $1,264.00

Now, to calculate your Average Visitor (or Click) Value, divide that number by the Number of Unique Visitors that came to your site.

  1. Total Revenue $1,264.00
  2. Divided by Unique Visitors 500
  3. Your Average Visitor Value = $2.53

That's your average visitor value or how much a click is worth to you. It is also the maximum you can pay for a visitor to your site and still break even.

Pretty simple, huh?

Now as your inputs change, as you start to convert more, the amount you can spend will change too. But for now, if you can buy your traffic for less than $2.53 per click, hooray! You're in business.

Calculating Impressions: Your “Max CPM”

Calculating impressions is a little trickier. When you buy impressions, you buy in bulk – by the thousands. That's why it is called CPM. It means cost per thousand (M is the Roman numeral for 1,000.)

Let me back up for just a second. When I say “impressions,” I mean an ad (it could be a graphic or “banner” ad or a simple text ad) that is loaded onto a web page when that page is served. The tricky number to know here is how many times your ads get clicked. That number is called your “click through rate.”

Click through rates vary based on the page the ad is served on, the location of the ad on the page, and a bunch of different factors. Understand this, and I want to be really clear…

IN GENERAL, AS A BALLPARK FIGURE, CLICK THROUGH RATES AVERAGE BELOW 1%.

Yeah. You're going to read articles, and forum posts (and even worse – ads) that say someone is able to get their click through rate to 2%, 3%, even 5% on a regular basis. Those (the ones that are even true) are exceptional situations that arise from specific circumstances. Do NOT go by those numbers.

So assuming a click through rate of 0.5% (half of one percent,) lets figure out what is the maximum you can afford to profitably pay per 1,000 impressions.

We're going to start with our basic data from above, namely the total number of unique visitors (clicks) to our site and determine how many impressions we'd need to buy to generate that number (based on our assumed click through rate.) Then we're going to use our total revenue to determine how much we can pay per impression. Finally, we're going to convert that into a “per thousand” value.

Ready? Let's do it.

  1. Total number of clicks 500
  2. Divided by your assumed click through rate 0.50% (.005)
  3. The number of impressions you'd need to buy = 100,000
  4. Your total revenue $1,264.00
  5. Divided the number of impressions you need 100,000
  6. Equals your max cost per impression = $0.0126
  7. Your max cost per impression $0.0126
  8. Times 1,000 (a block of impressions)
  9. Equals your Max Cost Per Thousand (CPM) = $12.64

That wasn't so bad, was it?

Once you know and understand these numbers, you can make informed traffic buying decisions. (The only kind you want to make.) And from there, you will start to see results like you've only dreamed of.

You will start to see floods of traffic coming to your website. Each wave of visitors being more and more profitable.

You will be able buy traffic and trade $5 for $20, $30, $40 even $50. And you will do it on a consistent basis. Every minute. Or even ten times a minute… 600 times an hour… thousands of times a day…

Once you know these numbers, then… the more traffic you buy, the more money you will earn!

But, we're not done yet. You know where you are now – what your traffic is worth and therefore what you can afford to pay for it. Now you need to know “where you need to be” – what the highest quality traffic will cost to actually buy.

Find out where you need to be

O.K. Now that you know what you can afford, it is time to get some ballpark figures of what buying visitors (clicks) might actually cost – what you can reasonably expect to spend to drive qualified traffic to your site. (Do you see where these exercises are leading?)

Traffic from different sources have different values. That means your costs will vary.

So while consistent, profitable, scalable traffic comes with a cost, the good news is, it doesn't have to cost a lot.

And let me give some more good news. The better, more efficient, more effective your sales process is, the lower you can keep that cost. Keep that in mind as we move on.

Two ways to determine your costs – Traffic Value

Time for an important distinction. I just want to make sure you're clear on this. So far in this article, I've been talking about “buying” traffic. The truth is you don't actually “buy” traffic. You buy media – advertising space that gets shown to potentially interested prospects that will hopefully drive that traffic to your site.

So buying traffic really means buying media.

We've already talked about the two ways to buy media – by unique visitor (click) or by impressions.

When you buy a unique visitor, it means the prospect has taken some desired action where your ad is concerned. Impression based media buying simply means how many times your ad is loaded onto a page.

An Important Note on “Impressions” There is something you need to understand about the concept of buying “impressions.” A lot of rookie marketers think that buying impressions means that their ad will be seen by millions of viewers. That's not necessarily true. The strict definition of an impression is anytime your ad is loaded onto a page. Anywhere on a page. For example, impressions can be displayed virtually anywhere on a page.

That means on one page load you might be splashed across the top of the page and on another you could be tucked away “below the fold” at the bottom of the page. The important thing to remember is an impression is an impression. Whether it is front and center at the top of a page, or tucked obscurely in a corner at the bottom of a page. Which means you need to go out and see where your ads are loading to be sure you are getting the exposure you want.

Clicking on an ad is a proactive action by your prospect which means they're likely to be more motivated. That means their value would be higher. Which means – in general – you will pay more on a per click basis. Impression-based media is usually cheaper (although its costs will vary depending on the size and placement of your ad.)

The costs you incur are going to vary – even within the same media – depending on how targeted, qualified etc. the traffic is. So what we're after is a “ballpark number.” Something to give us a reasonable idea what it will cost us to get in front of the right traffic.

If you're going to buy traffic on a performance or “click” basis, I've got some good news. Finding out what this will cost can be relatively simple task. You have a couple options.

How Smart is Google? You may find it interesting to know exactly how Google charges its clients and ranks its paid advertising results. Google charges on an action or click basis, but maximizes its revenue and the value of its traffic by ranking its results based on impressions and Quality Score.

What does that mean? Let's take a look. You pay Google based on an action by a prospect - namely a click. But Google has figured out a way to maximize their revenue by adjusting their method of determining rankings in the market. When you buy search media, you actually bid for the terms you want. Years ago, search engines would simply give the highest rank to the highest bidder. Google had a different idea. They realized that the highest bid ads weren't always getting the most clicks which meant anyone ranking results on bid price alone was leaving a lot of money on the table. For instance, under the old rules, if I were paying $10 per click and you bid $9 I'd get a higher ranking. But Google understood if you got three times as many clicks as I did, it was in their interest to put you in a more prominent location - even though you paid less. So to boost their revenue, they established an algorithm that ranked ads by both bid price and the number of clicks they would get. They maximized their revenue based on the value of the impressions on any given page load. Once advanced marketers caught wind of this, they found they could game Google by using killer marketing to drive traffic to a squeeze page with little relevant content on it. Google quickly took care of that by implementing a „quality score‟ feature on which they judge the relevance of your page to their prospects search. The take away for you… if you have a higher click through rate - all other things, like quality score, etc. being equal - you will do a lot better with Google.

You can go to Google's Keywords site at: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

When you get there, type in one of your keywords you want to search for – let's say “orchids” – and click “Search.”

Once Google returns its results, look in the left column to find the section that says “Match Types.” Uncheck the box that says “Broad” and

Check the one that says “[Exact]”

Then find the button above the results that says “columns,” click it and check the box that says “Estimated Average CPC” Google will show you their estimated cost per click.

You can see here that they are estimating your cost to buy the keyword “orchids” to be $1.57.

Remember, this is just a ballpark figure. In fact, it is probably a little on the high side. Buying traffic from sources other than Google will more than likely be cheaper. Nevertheless, figure that's roughly what you will pay per click if you were to buy traffic based on that search term.

Check out how many hits that term gets. Tens of thousands a month or a couple hundred. The amount of traffic a term gets will affect its cost.

You can also see how much competition there is for a particular term. Obviously, the more popular, the more competition, the higher the cost. Try other related terms until you find something you're comfortable with.

Alternately, you can go to a site called “Spyfu.com.” Without going into all the details, Spyfu will show you what others are paying for a particular term.

Head over to Spyfu at: http://www.spyfu.com

Type in “orchids” and click search.

Spyfu is estimating you will only pay between $.74 and $.90. See the difference? In either case…

Do not focus too much on price – i.e. finding cheaper terms

Why not? The broader your search terms become, the less they'll tend to cost. But also the less targeted your prospects are and the less value they have. More often than not, less expensive means more challenging to convert into customers.

What you're looking for is the most valuable traffic you can afford right now.

OK, the other option you have to determine is if you decide to buy traffic by “impressions” as in the number of times your ad is loaded on a web page. Impression-based ads are priced in cost per thousand impressions, abbreviated “CPM.”

Depending on the site, the amount of traffic it gets, your ad placement and a bunch of other things, this number can vary wildly. I've seen CPM rates range from 50 cents to 50 dollars.

Remember, the important number is your Maximum CPM or the most you can pay based on your “click” value. (We'll calculate that in just a minute.) Knowing that means when you contact a media representative to get their CPM rates, you will be able to negotiate with confidence. For the sake of our example, and I'm just making this up, let's say you call around and get a CPM of $8.75.

Now you can figure out whether or not you can afford to buy traffic. Let's look

  1. Your Maximum Cost per Click or Average Visitor Value (#10 in previous example) $2.53
  2. Minus your estimated cost per click (we'll average the $1.57 from Google and the $.90 from Spyfu) $1.24
  3. Equals whether or not you can profitably buy clicks (Hooray! You can!) $1.29
  4. Your Maximum Cost per Thousand Impressions (in the previous example) $12.64
  5. Minus the cost per thousand you were quoted calling $8.75 around
  6. Equals whether or not you can profitably buy impressions (Hooray! Again!) = $3.89

Do you see how that works?

OK – Now YOU do the math…

Now take some time and pull up your sales and visitor numbers to see where you are today. Take several series of sales data and average them out. Use the corresponding click data to get your CTR.

Try not to use data from around holidays or special events as that can skew your averages.

  1. Number of Sales
  2. Times the value of the initial sale
  3. Your Initial Revenue
  4. Number of Upsells
  5. Times the value of the upsell
  6. Upsell Revenue
  7. Total Revenue (Initial Revenue + Upsell Revenue)
  8. Total Revenue
  9. Divided by Unique Visitors
  10. Your Average Visitor Value
  11. Total number of clicks
  12. Divided by your assumed click through rate 0.50% (.005)
  13. The number of impressions you'd need to buy
  14. Your total revenue
  15. Divided the number of impressions you need
  16. Equals your max cost per impression
  17. Your max cost per impression
  18. Times 1,000 (a block of impressions)
  19. Equals your Max Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
  20. Your Maximum Cost per Click or Average Visitor Value
  21. Minus your estimated cost per click
  22. Equals whether or not you can profitably buy clicks
  23. Your Maximum Cost per Thousand Impressions
  24. Minus the cost per thousand you were quoted calling around
  25. Equals whether or not you can profitably buy impressions

Get all this done first before you do anything else!

These are things that absolutely must be done in advance of any media buying. Trying to buy traffic without knowing this key information is like learning to drive blindfolded. You won't get far before you crash.

Knowing this information, will let you strategically plan to get the best, most profitable, most scalable results you can. It will give you confidence moving forward. It will make your business sustainable and growable.

It is going to speed you to Founder status!

Now what?

Depending on how your numbers turned out from the previous sections, you're going to fall into one of four groups. See which group you belong in and then I will tell you what you need to do next.

If you did the math, and calculated a higher visitor value than traffic value, congratulations, you're in Group #1 and ready to go. In just a second I'm going to show you how to make the most of various sources of traffic.

If you crunched the numbers and your visitor value isn't as high as the traffic value you're paying for, you're in Group #2. If you're in this group, you can look for cheaper traffic, but that will only be a “band aid.” Your real problem is you're not generating enough value from your conversions to really scale your business. Stick with me and I will tell you what's next in just a second.

If you can't do the math because you are just starting out – you have to get your business set up and start testing with some live data – you're in Group #3. You're a special case. and I'm going to address you first.

But, if you can't do the math because despite your best efforts, your sales are too erratic, your traffic is too spotty, you don't have accurate data with which to do the math (CTRs, conversion rate etc…) you're in Group #4.

So what's next?

Group #3: “I can't do the math because I'm just starting out.”

Here is what I recommend you do.

If you're brand new you're going to need to get some data. You will have to come out of pocket to get started with some testing. The good news is you can get a baseline pretty quickly.

You can figure out what your media costs will be easily enough. What you don't know is how much you can monetize your traffic for. In other words how much your marketing and sales machine will profitably allow you to pay per click.

The best and fastest way to determine this, in my opinion, is to start by buying the most targeted traffic you can afford. (In a minute, I'm going to go through all that with you.)

Don't skimp here. If you test against your most targeted audience – yes it will cost you the most up front – but it will also be the most responsive. It will give you the most certainty about where you are – how much value you are able to extract from your traffic. And it will give it to you in the shortest amount of time. If you value your money and your time like I do, keep that in mind.

Once you do this, you will have a clearer picture of where you're at. If you're extracting more value that you're paying, congratulations – move yourself to Group #1. But if you're not, then you will have to move to Group #2 or Group #4.

Group #2: “The value I'm extracting isn't covering my costs” and Group #4: “My sales are too erratic for me to be sure”

If you've ended up in Group #2 or Group #4, I've got good news and bad news.

The bad news is unless you fix your shortcomings you're going to struggle forever. If your visitor value isn't as high as it needs to be or worse, if your numbers are too spotty or inconsistent to actually draw any conclusions, you have a deeper problem.

A Quick Fix for Group #2: Depending on how far below your costs you are, you may be able to fix the problem fairly easily. Consider adding an upsell or downsell to your sales process if you don't have one. Getting a portion to pay up on an initial sale (or converting more customers by offering them a less expensive option) might just be what you need to increase your visitor value.

Of course, it depends how far below your click cost you are. For instance, if you‟re paying $4.00 per click but only extracting $3.50, this might be the solution to get you back in the game. But if you're paying $4.00 and only extracting $1.00, you need to fix your sales process. More likely than not, you have a problem in your marketing or sales process that's causing your struggles. If you're in this group, it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate the way your business is designed.

So if it turns out you're not ready to follow the steps I'm about to lay out in this article, don't lose heart. You have the tools. You have the ability. You have the determination. Get busy researching and I promise you will be on the fast track to the success of your dreams. If you're in the first group, get ready because we're pressing on. Now we're ready to cover the last three steps. We'll go through the “Rings of Traffic” – levels of targeting you need to know to be effective. We'll cover the Terms and Tools of the Traffic Trade. And finally, we'll dive into “How To Get Started Maximizing your Traffic Value.”

You're about to set out on a path that will show you how to build predictable, reliable streams of traffic and grow the business of your dreams.

Step 4: Target Your Message: Understand the “Rings of Traffic”

O.K., now that you understand all traffic has value; you may be wondering how that value is determined. Good question.

The main determinant of any traffic's value is the source of that traffic – where it comes from when it gets to you.

Traffic can come from a number of sources. You can get traffic from websites or blogs that cover topics similar to what you sell. A gardening blog can send traffic to your site on “raising orchids.”

You can get traffic when you get discovered through a search engine.

You can get traffic from a joint venture or affiliate-type mailing where someone – usually a known and respected guru – mails their list of customers on your behalf.

Why is the source of traffic key in determining its value?

Because its source determines how potentially targeted that traffic is. The more targeted the traffic that comes to your site, the more value that traffic has. It is a simple relationship of supply and demand. Let me explain…

A more targeted prospect means there is a higher degree of interest in your product or service. It means a prospect who's more “qualified” or further down the “buying decision path.” More ready and willing to actually make a purchase. And this fired-up, ready-to-spend traffic is what every marketer wants to buy.

Of course when you weed out all the looky-loos and tire-kickers, you create a smaller, more “finite” supply of that qualified potential traffic.

So the more targeted traffic means the greater the demand for it and at the same time the smaller the supply of it… Higher value.

Let's sum it up:

More targeted means traffic more receptive to your message, more qualified and therefore more likely to purchase, more finite in size and more valuable.

Less targeted traffic will be less receptive to your message, is less qualified requiring more work on your part to generate a sale, a larger pool of prospects but on the whole less valuable.(There is one type of media you can buy that is actually more targeted but less welcome. That gets a separate discussion at the end of this section.)

Hitting the Traffic Bullseye: Concentric Circles of Value

So if we understand traffic as ranging from more targeted-finite-valuable to less based on its source, we can arrange those sources in order of importance.

Think of traffic sources arranged like an archery target, with the bull’s eye being your ideal prospect. The closer you get to the bulls eye the more targeted, the more valuable the traffic. And the smaller the circle of prospects becomes.

How To Create Your Own Demand: A key skill that will multiply the value of your traffic many times over is the ability to reach out to and convert those who are actually less targeted. I call it „creating your own demand‟ and I explain how to do it in my Core Concept article. Essentially it involves making the prospect aware of a problem they're not already aware of and making that problem highly personal. Getting them to realize it has a much bigger impact on their lives than they realize.

It is important to understand these levels or “rings” of traffic because to get ramped up as fast as possible, you want to be able to buy the most targeted traffic you can profitably afford.

Did you get that? You want to start by buying the most targeted traffic you can afford.

Why? Because simply that's where you will get your best results. Not only in terms of revenue (and the clearest picture of how good your offer is,) but also in terms of how “real” your market is, since response rates normally drop off the less targeted the traffic source.

I can't emphasize how important this is. Imagine if you bought ad space for your ballroom dancing home study course in an outlaw biker magazine instead of “Ballroom Weekly” simply because the ad rates were cheaper. How much response would you expect from that?

As silly as that sounds, I can't tell you how often I see would-be entrepreneurs do just that. Literally throw away money on media that's so broad and untargeted they have literally zero chance of making a sale.

“When testing bad traffic is actually good.” While it is always good to test to your most targeted market, sometimes it can be beneficial to test at the other end. Let me tell you what I mean. Before we rolled out our latest promo, we tested it to the lowest end of our list. People who had been on the list for over a year and a half and bought absolutely nothing. Zero. You might say to yourself, „dude, what were you thinking?‟ I pretty much asked myself the same question.

Why did we do it?

Simple. We hadn't yet tweaked the messaging around the event. And before we did, we wanted to 1) see how good it already was, and 2) wait until the message was tweaked before showing it to our better prospects. As it turned out, we actually got a great response from that list segment.

And when we did, we realized that we had a potential huge winning campaign on our hands. So what is the moral of the story? A positive response to a lousy list segment can be a sign of a huge winning message. Of course, if we had received a zero response from that segment (as I had originally expected) we'd have tested to a better segment.

Just one warning here: we were testing to our own list, not traffic we purchased. Essentially it was free for us to do this. And that's important. These people already had some familiarity with us and what we were doing. When you're buying traffic, 1) be sure to target the most potentially responsive traffic you can and 2) make sure you show them a polished message. All the same, if you do have a sizeable list of your own and are planning to launch something new, try sending it to the most unresponsive segment of your list. If you detect a pulse, with an unpolished campaign, you may discover you're sitting on a gold mine.

The flip-side of that coin is overspending for traffic your visitor value won't support. Like the guy who shells out $3/click for PPC keywords and wonders why he can't make money on prospects he can only monetize for one dollar. (Now do you see why knowing your visitor value first is so important?)

Maybe you know the frustration.

It is an enormous waste of time and effort. Imagine all the work you do creating your product, putting an offer together, designing and building a marketing and sales machine, and then skimping on the final important step in the process. It not only wastes time, energy and resources, it cuts into the return on your marketing investment.

And worse than that, you end up evaluating your efforts on sub-standard data. Lousy, untargeted prospects give you lousy, untargeted data. Of course you won't make this mistake once you finish reading this article. You will understand everything you need to get the maximum value out of all your traffic. You will build a business that continually grows more and more profitable.

When you know where to target and you're targeting to the best traffic you can afford, not only are your monetary results far better, you also get much higher quality feedback. You're able to determine what ad messages are giving you your biggest returns in your market. You're able to leverage them to a wider audience with more confidence. You're no longer making educated guesses about what will work in your market, you will KNOW what works. You will gladly pay for traffic knowing you will always make more than you spend.

Anyway, back to our “traffic target.”

The Six Rings of Traffic

We can break traffic sources down into six main categories based on how targeted (and valuable) the traffic is that comes from them. I'm putting them in two broader groups because there is a certain amount of overlap in terms of targeting. Like anything else in life, there are no clear cut, black and white boundaries. Grouping them simplifies things a bit.

Group 1 we'll call “More Welcome - More Targeted – More Finite” and group 2 will be “Less Welcome – Less Targeted – Less Finite.”

This is how they break down…

Group 1: “More Welcome - More Targeted – More Finite”:

  • JV / Affiliate Traffic
  • Remarketed Traffic
  • Search Traffic

Group 2: “Less Welcome – Less Targeted – Less Finite”:

  • Solo Email Traffic
  • Contextual Traffic
  • Social Traffic

Now there is another important distinction between these two groups. All the traffic sources in Group 1 are sources that are brought to you. In some form or another, they have found you. It is more targeted and therefore more valuable.

The second group is traffic you have to go after. It is less targeted and less valuable BUT …

IT IS FAR MORE SCALABLE AND THEREFORE MORE POTENTIALLY PROFITABLE WHEN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES PROCESS BECOMES EFFICIENT ENOUGH TO EXTRACT THE MAXIMUM VALUE FROM IT.

But since you want to start out by buying the most targeted traffic your budget will allow, I will explain each starting with the most targeted.

1) JV / Affiliate Traffic

Some of you may be familiar with “affiliate networks” like ClickBank where you find products to sell on someone else's behalf. That is NOT the kind of affiliate marketing I'm going to talk about here. Nor am I talking about having someone who sells for an affiliate network, selling for you.

The affiliate marketing I'm referring to is essentially a joint venture type of relationship. One in which a well known expert in their industry, usually with a large loyal list of customers. Someone whose “implied” endorsement carries weight with their subscribers. They're the players in your niche (preferably the big ones) who have thousands of dedicated fans. When they mail for you, it is like an endorsed mailing. For that same reason, it is not always easy to get an affiliate to mail for you.

When they do, they're putting their reputation on the line and giving you access to their extremely high value traffic.

What makes their lists so valuable? Because they're generally a list of buyers – sometimes high end buyers – who have and do purchase products very similar to what you're selling. So there is a lot of interest and a propensity to spend. Plus they get your offer directed to them with the “implied” blessing of the guru they respect and follow.

Affiliates' lists are typically smaller. Of course, there are exceptions. One of the superpowers I work with – Agora Publishing – can have upwards of three million names on their lists and as many as a million buyers. But like I said, they are the exceptions.

“A-level” gurus' lists can grow to 150,000 – 200,000 or even half a million. But by and large the numbers go down from there.

Many “large” lists have less than 100,000 names. And while that may sound like a lot, when you consider it in comparison to the rest of the internet, it is really quite tiny.

But remember the flip side of that, these are theoretically prime candidates who are worth a lot more than a casual browser.

So how do you get in with these affiliates? This one is simple. A lot of people think you have to be well known with a large list yourself so that you can reciprocate on the mailing. Not true.

Your chances of getting an affiliate to mail for you go way up if you can do three things for them:

The first is pay them. Remember their list has value and they're not inclined to give it to you for free. You have to make them a great offer for their list. How much? Well, how much can you afford to spend? (I will take you through that in just one second.)

The second thing you need to be able to do is protect their reputation. Your promise and your offer must be above board and consistent with the message being sent to the list. Nothing will lose you affiliates faster than them sending a mail talking about achieving better health naturally and then having them sent to a site selling cheap Canadian prescription drugs.

Finally, if at all possible, you should make them look like a hero. When I was launching my latest program I contacted a number of potential partners to mail my promotional reports. Many agreed right out of the box but a few of them already had mailings scheduled. Just the same, I gave them my article to read. By the time they were done, they were so blown away by the content, they pushed back whatever plans they had and mailed for me instead.

Why? Because they knew it would offer great value to their readers. It would be a huge free “find” their followers would get massive value out of and more importantly – love them for. (Of course the significant money they'd make would be icing on the cake.)

If you're able to do all that for your JV/Affiliate partners, you have a pretty good chance to get your foot in the door of this incredibly valuable traffic source.

How to pay an affiliate

So back to paying them. How do you determine how much to offer a potential JV / Affiliate?

Let's look at a quick example going back to your orchid business.

Louie “the Lilac” Larson is a well known information marketer in the area of horticulture. You have yet another product you want to offer his list – “membership” in your Orchid Growing Club. You charge $29 for the membership and then $29 a month thereafter for updated how-to articles, orchid news and all kinds of other great content. You know your average member hangs around for 6 months before they drop out or move up to one of your higher value backend memberships.

From past experience (which implies this is not a route for beginners) you know with a reasonable amount of certainty, that you can get one out of every ten visitors to your landing page to become a member. (And by the way, a 10 percent conversion rate from any kind of outside list is an extremely high number. I'm just using it for illustrative purposes.)

Anyway, that means on a sale, you will get $29 in immediate revenue (cash) on the membership fee. (From there you will start trying to upsell them into a higher level backend membership – but I will get back to that in just a minute.)

Louie's list is about 50,000 subscribers strong and he knows he can typically get about 10% of them to click through to an affiliate's offer page. That means he figures he can push about 5,000 interested, qualified, targeted prospects your way.

To get Louie's attention, you decide to offer him a percentage of every sale you make. (You can make an offer based strictly on clicks or opt-ins as well, but again, for the sake of simplicity, we'll leave this as sales based payments.)

I should also mention that in the info-marketing business, affiliates who mail for continuity products will expect to be paid throughout the life of the membership rather than as a onetime sale. Depending on the industry, there may or may not be that expectation of continued payments. In industries where there isn't, and you can negotiate a deal like this, it is a great opportunity. In places where it is assumed, you probably wouldn't have to pay such a high cut in the first place. The important thing is to be aware of the expectations going in.

Anyway, you call Louie, introduce yourself and your product and offer him 33% (or $10) of each sale you make. That means if he can send you 5,000 interested parties, and you can 10% into paying customers – you will have made 500 sales. 500 sales will generate $14,500 in cash flow.

You will pay Louie $5,000 while you keep $9,500. Pretty good result.

But let's say Louie won't bite at $10. You decide to offer him 66% or $20 on every sale. Now on those 500 sales you will keep $4,500 while you're handing Louie $10,000. The tables have turned a bit. The deal doesn't seem quite as good anymore.

But now let’s say that Louie still won't go at $20. You're really anxious to get a shot at his list because you know they're great buyers. You step up and tell him you will pay him $30 for every sale. (That's 103% of each sale.) That means on those 500 sales, you pay Louie $15,000 and are out of pocket $500 on the whole deal. Who on earth would do something like this?

Top Tips: Seek out Buyers – they're your most valuable prospects. You've heard me say traffic from different sources has different values. Here is an especially important tip. BUYERS are infinitely more valuable than surfers or even searchers. What's that mean? Dan Kennedy often says „A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.‟ Someone who's bought before is far more likely to buy again. So if you can access traffic from a list of known buyers, like an affiliates list, they will be potentially far more valuable to you than any prospect you'd get from a banner reading a blog or clicking through a Facebook ad. They're proven to spend money.

Well, let’s think about it. You've got 2 things going for you here.

First you know with a relative level of certainty (or at least you should) that your average member sticks around for 6 months. That means despite giving Louie all your immediate revenue (plus $500 out of your own pocket) you're still expecting $29 in “dues” each month from 500 new members for the next 5 months. That comes to $72,500 in profit.

The second thing is all 500 (maybe more) are really hot, qualified, money-spending BUYERS who would likely be very interested in the higher priced access to the “Orchid Club” backend you offer.

Membership there goes for a one-time payment of $1,797. You generally convert 1 out of every 5 customers who buy your initial membership.

That means at the end of six months (or sooner,) as you feed these prospects into your sales funnel, you can reasonably expect 100 buyers for your advanced course out of the 500 who signed up from Louie. And at $1,797 each, that's $179,700 for you.

So now, would you give Louie everything you earn from a mailing plus money out of pocket to earn $72,500 on membership fees plus $179,700 in backend sales for a grand total of $252,200 down the road?

That may sound like a lay-up question, but it brings me to an important distinction I have to make here.

It is got to do with profit vs. cash flow and depends where you are in your business. See my previous note in “Is All Money Equal” on page 23 for a discussion.

Cash flow is essentially revenue. Income. Money coming in. Profit on the other hand is your bottom line – revenue minus expenses. While all three scenarios offer you a hefty profit, only the first two provide you any measure of cash flow.

If you are starting out in your business, or in the early stages of growing it, considering cash flow is almost always paramount to thinking about profits.

So if Louie won't do the $10 or $20 deal, it could be a big risk to offer him $30. If you're counting on deferred cash flow, in the form of profits, to pay the bills, it can sink you into financial trouble. Especially if you aren't really sure about your ability to convert and upsell.

These are the things you have to consider when you discuss affiliate relationships.

The bottom line is this: you can't build a business on favors. There is always the possibility for a reciprocal arrangement. But if you can't offer a mailing opportunity at least as good as the one an affiliate offers you – and that even assumes he's even inclined to mail to your list – you've got nothing to offer, except a cut of the profits. And at this level of traffic, you have to understand all the options that are available to you.

Good thing you're armed and prepared with all the know-how to get it done…

2) Remarketed Traffic

“Remarketed traffic” would be considered the second most targeted type of traffic. That's because this is traffic who has actually found you and come to your site already. They just didn't make a purchase.

They knocked on the door, came into the shop and browsed around a bit and left without saying why.

So who are these remarketed prospects? Potentially highly qualified – read “very valuable” – prospects. Unless they got to your page totally by mistake, they're someone who actively sought what you're selling. Or at the very least, found you interesting enough to stop by and check out what you were offering.

When someone comes and goes, the big question you have to answer is – why? Why they didn't take action on your page?

Could be your offer wasn't attractive enough. Maybe you didn't show them enough value. Or it may have to do with where they are in their buying process. Maybe they're still comparing prices or services. Or maybe they had to leave to go to their daughter’s soccer game. Whatever the reason, they found you and are very valuable prospects.

Why would you let someone like that just walk away?

Well, you don't have to. You can follow these prospects across the internet via what's known as a Remarketing Campaign. It is the proverbial “second bite” at the apple. A second (and third and fourth) chance to advance your sales message, to overcome potential objectives, to make special offers, etc…

This is done through what are commonly called “stalker” ads. When a visitor comes to your site, a cookie is set on their computer. Later, when they are at a site with content similar or related to yours, the site they're on will display one of your banner ads. They're little reminders that follow the prospect around the internet.

Think about it. It is like turning the entire internet into your own auto responder – a massive follow-up strategy.

Remarketing is typically limited to 30 days – the average length before a cookie expires – so this is an extra finite pool of prospective customers – both in terms of numbers of visitors as well as time to touch base.

And by the way, just to prove my point from earlier – that I'm not totally against content driven traffic… If you do write a blog that gets a reasonable amount of traffic to come read your posts, remarketed advertising is an excellent way to reach back out to them.

They've come to your site, so they have an idea who you are. If they've been back more than once, they probably like what you have to offer to some degree. What could be the reason they haven't bought? Maybe they just haven't been hit with the right message yet.

3) Search Traffic

This would be considered the third most targeted type of traffic. This traffic is actively searching for a solution that you are providing. They are qualified to some degree and looking. Quite possibly for you. They just haven't found you yet.

That means the objective here, is to get prominently ranked in search results as often as possible. You do this by targeting keywords and search terms that your prospects are hunting for.

Now, there are essentially two paths you can take to get your ad or page listing displayed on a search page… You can show up in the Paid or Organic listings.

When I talk about “paid” listings, I'm talking about PPC ads that show up at the top and on the right side of any Google search page.

Organic listings are the link text down the left side of the results page. You get your page ranked there by how relevant your content is to what was being searched on. There is a technique known as search engine optimization, or “SEO,” that focuses on the optimizing of the content of your pages to include popular search terms, getting linked to by other relevant or high authority pages, and a host of other factors.

One of the benefits of paid search traffic (over other forms of online advertising) is that you can “match” the buying state of mind of your prospect more closely. By that I mean you can approximate how close they are to actually making a purchase. You do this by focusing on the terms they search on.

Let's go back to your orchid club membership. If someone has come to your site searching for terms like “flowers” they're probably not too far down the buyer’s path yet. If they searched for “hot house flowers” they're probably closer to having some serious interest. But, if they typed in something like “how to grow rare orchids online” they are just about as qualified as you can get.

Understanding this and bidding for different search phrases will let you get in front of more qualified, more targeted prospects.

Another Important Thing…

You should know that only 25% of the traffic that leaves Google after a search does it by clicking on a paid (top and right side) ad. That means 75% leave by clicking on an organic listing.

But knowing that you might ask wouldn't that mean SEO is a “free” method of getting traffic?

Sorry, no.

First, if you pay an SEO specialist firm to optimize your site you're still coming out of pocket. And even if you do the work yourself, its labor intensive and a time drain. And in either case, it can take far longer than you might expect (or be able to afford) just to get your web pages ranked highly by the search engines on your top keywords.

The truth is, SEO can actually be VERY costly and a waste of time if you don't do it right. Because optimizing to achieve rankings without knowing what terms convert for you is a long, laborious and most likely losing proposition. You need to know the words and terms that will make you money. And the quickest, most effective way to do that is by buying keywords and testing how they convert for you.

If you're going to spend the time and money optimizing your pages to a certain set of keywords, you should at least know whether they'll convert for you (when and if you achieve a high organic ranking.) And the only way to do that is to buy them first and see the results empirically.

Once you have a tested list of them, meaning you know which keywords will turn into sales for you, you can hire a firm or a full time person, to optimize those words into your website. Again, neither of which are free. And if you choose to do it yourself, well then that's time spent learning a skill that may not be of tremendous value.

Bottom line, if you're going to spend time optimizing your business you should buy keywords first to determine if the traffic they attract will convert on your site.

A Quick Recap of Group 1

This first group of traffic targets includes audiences that are most targeted, most qualified and most receptive to your message. However, they are also the most finite. They represent the smallest pools in which you can fish.

What were they? JV/Affiliate traffic is A#1 stuff. Your smallest universe but usually already buyers of something similar to what you're selling. Remarketed traffic is next in the list. It is about as targeted as you can get, being traffic that's already been to your site. If they found you, it means they were looking for you. Stay on the top of their minds. Finally Search traffic will get you the people who are actively searching for something like what you’re selling. How close depends how far down the buying path they are.

So now let's take a look at Group #2.

Now we're moving to the less targeted, less qualified, slightly less welcoming crowd.

So if they're less of everything, why do we care?

For one thing, they're also less finite. There are more of their eyeballs out there quite possibly looking for you. They just haven't realized it yet.

But there is another big reason. Remember I mentioned to you earlier – the less targeted the traffic, in general, the cheaper it is. If you can get your marketing message and sales process effective enough to monetize this kind of traffic, that's where you get into the really insane payoffs. (I'm planning on covering some of that in next month's article.)

Remember, less targeted doesn't mean NOT targeted. Only that the targeting is a little more generalized. Let’s take a tour.

Group #2

1) Solo Email Advertising

Advertising on the internet – even on page one of a search listing – has certain challenges. You're usually competing with many other marketers in the same niche so you really have to stand out – a not so small hurdle these days. But there is a way you can capture a prospect's undivided attention – when done correctly.

Solo email advertising.

Solo emailing is the process of mailing to a “rented” list of interested prospects. You contact the list-owner and arrange for them to send your email to their list. It is a one shot deal.

When you do this, you get access to a prospect who is interested in the things you sell. They've subscribed to newsletters, bought other similar things, and expressed a definite interest.

You also get an added benefit of a “pseudo-implied” endorsement. Imagine your health product being “endorsed” to a Men's Fitness list.

But the biggest advantage here is this: When you launch an email campaign, you're actually going after a prospect instead of waiting for them to find you amid all the advertising noise on the internet. (This is how you scale your traffic to truly huge numbers!) And then, assuming your email gets opened, you own, for at least a few precious seconds, a targeted prospect's sole and undivided attention. If copywriting skills are one of your strengths, this may be one of the best tools in your arsenal.

Remember! The success of an email campaign depends on the list you buy along with the mindset of the names on the list.

So list renting, when done intelligently, it is a great way to make money and build your list.

Jay Abraham did an email campaign a few years back with Entrepreneur Magazine. He rented a list for about $8,000. Sent our emails out. He eventually had about 1,000 opt-ins that pulled in about $10,000 in revenue.

So he only made $2,000 on the mailing, but he built his list by another 1,000 subscribers. So he made money while building a list that would pay him repeatedly in the future.

Remember, traffic has value. And so do LISTS. So your goal should be not just to make a sale now, but to be able to keep collecting in the future. And often the easiest way to build a profitable list like this is through solo emails.

Of course there is a warning. Done incorrectly, email can be spam and a waste of money.

What are they worth? What will they cost?

What they're worth (and more directly, what they'll cost you) depends on a couple considerations.

Their value to you will depend largely on the match between your message and your market as well as their potential receptiveness to your message. And that comes down to the source and specificity or “segmentation” of the list you get.

For example, if you're offering a financial information publication, renting a list from a body building site would be a pretty bad idea. You may or may not get some response. You definitely wouldn't get the biggest bang for your buck.

Targeting a list from Entrepreneur.com, however, may be better as entrepreneurs do tend to have an interest in the markets. But you'd likely realize the most value on a list from Forbes.com, Investor’s Business Daily, or even the WSJ. That's where you'd get the best message to market match.

Of course, there could be overlap. If you're in the self-defense niche certainly your best market would come from a list like Black Belt Magazine or something similarly related. But it may be worthwhile to test against a weight loss or fitness niche like Men's Health. You might be surprised what you find when you cross-market like this. Just don't go crazy to start.

In either case, you're only going to get that critical “message to market match” when you use specific criteria to segment the list you rent.

For example, you can specify you want to rent a group of “hotlist” names. A “hotlist” is a site's most recent sign-ups. This has two important implications. First, it means their interest in whatever they signed up for, is still at an extremely high level. Secondly, it means they haven't been deluged by email and email ads already, so they're probably more likely to click and open any mails they receive.

Other segmentation criteria you might stipulate include things like demographics – age, income, gender, etc… – and psychographics – hobbies, beliefs, political and religious affiliations, charities they support, etc.

The more criteria you set for the list you buy the more value it should add and, of course, the more it will cost.

To maximize your potential results here, you want to make sure your message is as on target as possible.

Probably the easiest way to do this is to get on lists where similar stuff is mailed. “Seed” yourself (that means sign up or opt-in) on the email lists of several competing or target publications. See what they're writing about. Listen to their language. Get a feel for the subject lines. Read and keep the sales emails they send you (the solo emails other businesses are sending to their lists.) You can use them as templates.

Anything you see being mailed over and over, you can pretty much bet the farm is successful.

2) “Contextual” Advertising

“Contextual advertising” is a fancy name for running your ads on sites with content related to your business.

It is essentially hanging out where your prospects do and putting your ad in front of the crowd that is most likely to buy from you. If you're familiar with Google's Adsense program, that's an example of contextual advertising.

Conceptually, contextual advertising goes back over a hundred years.

In the early days of radio and television, soap manufacturers used to sponsor dramatic serials known as “soap operas.” When do you think these dramas were broadcast? That's right. During daytime weekday slots when the majority of listeners would be housewives – a female demographic targeted as the main consumers of these products.

So many years later, it is the same idea just a different medium. Today, instead of targeting housewives listening to the radio, you're able to target prospects with interests very much related to what you're offering based on the websites they frequent.

For example, I may be reading an article on Black Belt magazine when an ad for Matt Furey shows up. Or I might be reading an article on a site dedicated to salt water fishing when I get served an ad for deep sea fishing tours. Essentially it shows you an advertisement that's related to what you're reading.

As a whole, contextual advertising is generally less targeted. But depending on how you approach the whole universe of contextual advertising, you can find different levels of targeting – and that means different levels of value. For instance, letting a content network manage all your advertising will put your ads in front of the right crowd, but by and large that's it.

But you can drill that down even more.

You can get more targeted if you cut your own deals with individual sites. That way you can have your ad placed on specific pages. Or served when specific content or when specific videos are played. (You Tube – now owned by Google – is now a major contextual advertising outlet.)

Let's go back to your orchid raising club. A good place for you to run an ad might be on a site like Horticulture Magazine. That will put you in front of people who have a keen interest in the things similar to what you sell. But since you're offering an extended “how to” subscription, even better place to have your ads placed might be the “gardening how-to” page within Horticulture Mag's site.

Here you're targeting not only people who like horticulture, but you have them looking for various workshops. Potentially even more targeted.

Or you might look at sites less obviously related. Maybe you want to get on Amazon.com's network to display your ads on pages with books about raising flowers or specifically orchids.

Get out to the sites your prospects frequent and see what kind of content they include. Specifically look at the specialty pages that make up the larger site and see if any fit your prospect any better.

3) Social Advertising: Facebook etc...

Today, social media advertising is proving to be one of the best outlets to get started in. Facebook is without a doubt the leader in this marketplace, so I will refer to them here but there are others that are just as valuable. Like any other traffic source, there are some hurdles and restrictions to consider when getting into this market, but it is hard to find an easier way to get started.

The thing about social media, especially Facebook, is that many people have opened up to it like a part of the family, sharing all kinds of information about themselves. And because of that, social media herds virtually self-select themselves by way of the fan pages, groups, and “Likes.”

That means you can get a huge advantage in the social media market by going after prospects based on a whole different set of criteria. And being able to capitalize on that is the key to being really successful here.

When you tap into the world of social media marketing, you not only have access to users' demographics, you also get a line on their psychographics – their beliefs, their hobbies, the charities they support, etc… And to a smart marketer, that's a goldmine.

Success in the social traffic world comes down to having a killer offer with magnetic ads, and tailoring them to the different demographics and psychographics you want to target. It could be as simple as asking the question “Do you like Orchids?” in your ad.

How do you get in the heads of your target?

One tactic some use is to create a couple different accounts for yourself. Set your own demographics and psychographics to match those of your target market. Things like your age, your relationship status, different groups and most importantly what they “like” (pages they click the “like” button on.) Then keep an eye on the ads you get served for some competitive intelligence as well.

Knowing what the competition is doing (and what you see a lot of is almost certainly working) is as important as almost anything else you can know.

This is important: Before you do this, check the “Terms of Service” on your social network agreement. Multiple accounts may be prohibited. If there is no prohibition, it is an excellent tactic. But if get your account shut down, it'll do you no good at all.

And remember, unlike Google, Facebook and many other social sites let you use “graphical ads” – text ads with a picture attached to it. And in the world of social media, graphics have a whole different purpose.

In regular advertising, graphics within an ad should be carefully selected and tied to the topic of the ad – either the product itself or showing someone enjoying the benefits of the product. Their purpose being to increase and maintain interest in your message.

On social networks, you're already pitching to targeted parties – people who've already raised their hands and said they're interested in the things you want to talk to them about. So your images only have to capture attention. For that reason, you see a lot of outrageous graphics that work really well in this world. This is important!

Say for example the graphic you are running in your ads hasn't gotten any attention. In such a small universe, that fast feedback means your pictures aren't working. Time to change them.

Every time you change a picture, you should get a bump in response.

When it is time to scale here, rather than trying to create three different winners, create two or three versions of your control ad with only subtle changes. A simple change in graphics can get a lot more attention and lead to a big increase in response rate. In fact, changing your graphics should be done fairly often. Pictures lose their attention getting impact faster than copy.

Again, with all the advantages that come with social networking, they have to watch out for potential abuse. So like other sources of traffic booming in popularity, they've had to start enforcing some rules as well. Every social community has its own set of regulations. You can find Facebook's at http://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php

Recapping Group #2

The three traffic sources in group 2 are generally less targeted but still have a lot of strengths to consider. Solo-emails can be more targeted depending on the segmentation you do on the list you rent. They also offer you potential for the prospect's undivided attention. Contextual Ads combine your sales message with pages that carry similar content. You know you should have interested parties looking at your ads. Finally Social Media gives you an edge you can't get anywhere else… your market's psychographic profile. The things they “Like.” Learn to use that information to your advantage and you've got a major marketing advantage.

Remember – making the sources of traffic from this group work is what makes your business truly sustainable and scalable.

The Outlier

I should mention another source of traffic that lands somewhere in the middle of these two groups. It is actually quite targeted in that the prospect has gone searching for something of interest similar to what you are offering. But at the same time, they can be hugely unwelcome. So when you get your message in front of your prospects here, you have to take a whole different tact.

I'm talking about what's called “cost per view” or CPV advertising.

CPV is a method of delivering pop-up windows via an “adware” application your prospect downloads on their computer. The fact that your ad gets its own little window makes it a little more likely to be viewed than regular impression based ad. Of course, pop-ups are often considered major intrusions so they may not be viewed for a longtime.

Suppose a prospect has downloaded a “search bar” and installed it on his browser. And let's say he's interested in turning his thumb green. He heads over to Louie “the Lilac” Larsen's web site to look around. When he does, the search bar application notes this and serves up an ad for YOUR web site in a separate window.

I want to stress here that I'm not talking about any kind of virus, spyware or malware. The applications that serve these ads are called adware and they're on virtually every computer out there today. If you've bought a computer in the last 6 or 7 years, you probably have adware installed. If you've downloaded a “toolbar” from a search engine or a free game, you've probably agreed to run an adware application.

There is always an opportunity to turn them off, so it is not in a CPV network's interest to bombard your prospects with ads. In fact, they really only kick in when they're searching or surfing for something related to you.

The other thing I mentioned is that they're generally not welcome. Which means you have to take a very different approach in your marketing should you decide to go the CPV route. You can't come out selling when your ad shows up.

Your promise has to be much bigger and your technique has to be much more indirect. It is a much more subtle approach. Never show an opt-in page on a CPV ad. Instead offer them something like a free article and an invitation to click to get it. Then they can opt-in on the next page in order to get the article.

Top Tips: Focus = Success. If you've got to be afflicted with something, it is better to be „OCD‟ than „ADD.‟ When you test, test multiple creatives - but for the same niche, and toward the same goal. You have to know exactly what you want to accomplish before you start. Focus. Too many offers, too many networks is a big mistake. Before you can scale, you have to know what works. Period. So start out obsessing on a couple creative ideas for a single offer.

Work in one vertical market - one niche - and one related network to master that before you even consider moving to another network. I see a lot of new marketers trying the spaghetti approach - like throwing strands of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Focus. Know what you have and what's working BEFORE you try to scale it.

Summary: So there are the six rings of traffic.

So now we've covered six major sources of traffic that you can readily tap into. At this point in our discussion, there are a couple things I want you to remember (besides your new mantra “all traffic has value.”)

First, traffic will have a different value depending on its source – where it comes from, how targeted it is, where it fits into your sales path when it gets to your site. Second, the cost of bringing traffic to your site reflects the ease of conversion of that traffic. The easier the sale, the higher the value.

Remember, traffic by itself, guarantees you nothing.

It is still your responsibility to get the right message or offer to the right market. That's why you want to start by buying the most targeted traffic you can profitably afford.

By focusing on that, you get some major benefits that will get you ahead of the game including…

  • The ability to turn a profit as quickly as possible…
  • The ability to get better feedback in terms of your marketing results allowing you to better optimize your strategies…
  • You will generally get a higher payday from more qualified traffic at the outset…
  • It generally will land prospects deeper into your buying path increasing the value of traffic to you…
  • And overall you increase your chances of big success…

So now that you've got the lay of the land, let's take a look at some of the specifics in the traffic business before I show you how to get started.

Step 5: Speak the Language: Terms, Metrics, and Tools Understanding the Landscape

The “local language” is important to understand.

Have you ever travelled to a different country where they speak very little English? It can make getting around pretty challenging. Trying to get directions can get you more lost than when you started. Or ordering a nice meal can get you served something particularly unappealing on your plate.

Understanding even a little of the language makes things much easier.

Same thing with traffic terminology.

If you're going to walk the walk, you should at least to be able to talk a little of the talk. The paid media business is full of acronyms and terms, and the more you know, the easier you will navigate the business.

So I want to take a few minutes here and introduce you to some important terms you will need to understand going forward.

I've already told you about performance based (CPC) and impression based (CPM) costs. Here are a few more details on the costs you may incur.

Performance based costs

Again, performance based means you don't pay unless the viewer actually takes some kind of action. Generally the cost scale for “performance” based ads is higher. That's because someone is actually taking an action, rather than your ad simply being served. That means this source of traffic is more targeted and therefore has more value to you.

We already talked about CPC but there is another arrangement called CPA or “cost per action.”

This is even more performance based. This means you will pay only when a prospect takes some predefined action, like purchasing something or opting onto your list. And their value will vary depending on the action taken. For example…

A double opt-in is more valuable than a single opt-in. Someone opting in for a free trial plus shipping and handling is more valuable than a double opt-in. An actual sale is more valuable than a free trial. The deeper the action goes into your sales funnel means the bigger commitment they're making to you – and the greater value they have.

Per click and per action are “bid for” costs. So depending on what's popular, they are going to fluctuate. They're almost always changing. Go back to the section on determining “where you need to be” and review how to determine keyword values. That should give you your best current approximation.

Remarketing can be done on a CPC or CPM basis. Costs here will vary based on visitors and other factors, but you can expect to spend between $1 and $5 for a CPM campaign while a CPC campaign – typically only run when targeting really qualified candidates who have come to your site – go between .50 and $2.50. In general, it costs around $1 per person who clicks on an ad and returns to your site.

Impression based costs

We already talked about “CPM.” What else is there to know?

How about “how much?” Well, costs will vary here, but recent industry averages all the way back to 2009 show CPMs can range between $2 and $18 depending on the niche or “vertical.” Numbers in the $3 to $5 range seems to be most reasonable.

The recent surge of social media advertising has impacted CPM rates by actually lowering prices. Studies have shown average internet CPM rates being closer to $3 while average CPM rates on social sites running at only 56 cents!

Again, don't get fixated on these prices. These aren't hard numbers. Costs can be less or more depending on variables like the site, where you want your ad placed (if that's an option,) the size of the ad (if it is a banner), the niche or “vertical” that you're in, and how targeted your traffic is among other things.

The point is you will have to figure out where you want your ads to run and then contact some ad networks. Don't hesitate to compare rates.

Another impression based cost is the one we talked about in Step 4 on the sources of traffic – CPV or “cost per view.”

When buying CPV media you deal with a network. CPV networks include groups like Traffic Vance, Media Traffic, Lead Impact, Clicksor, among others.

CPV networks like Direct CPV charge by impressions that can be bought for between 0.4 cents and 1.5 cents per impression. Sounds cheap but that's per impression. Multiply that by 1000 impressions and you get the equivalent of $4 to $15 CPM.

Remember though, while this is only “average” pricing, traffic here tends to be more targeted and therefore more valuable.

Metrics

We covered most of the metrics you need to know in Step 3 – calculating where you are. You're familiar with your Max CPC, your Max CPM, your click through rate (CTR) and your conversion rate (CR.)

One term you may come across that I haven't mentioned yet is Earnings Per Click (EPC)…

Your “EPC” is your Earnings Per Click. That is how much you can expect to make when a visitor clicks on one of your ads.

You calculate EPC by dividing total sales by total visitors over a specific period. (Does that sound familiar?) So, as an example, let's say on a given day you get thirty visitors to your site. On that same day, you made a total of $300 in sales (the number and price point of the individual sales is pretty much irrelevant here.) Taking these numbers into account, your EPC would be $300 (total sales) / 30 (total visitors) or $10 per click.

Essentially your EPC is just another way to look at your Average Visitor – Average Click – Max Click Values.

Here are a couple tips from my experience that should help you make better decisions about which direction you may want to take.

If you work under a CPC arrangement, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. So at the very least you know there is some action being taken. If you're entering a new niche and aren't sure how your ads will perform, paying per click can be a less risky option. You do have to monitor your CTR however to make sure your costs (CPC) don't exceed your earnings (EPC). If you can do this, you should have a campaign that can run for some time.

When you choose the CPM method, you're paying for groups of 1000 impressions. This can be economical if you have a “brand presence” in your niche – and if you know what copy / ads will resonate with your audience. A general rule of thumb, if your click through rate is above 0.1% you're better off choosing the CPM method. That's because of some simple math – the higher your CTR, the cheaper your CPC.

Of course, that doesn't mean free money. You will still have to keep an eye on conversions to make sure your cost per click doesn't spike above your earnings per click.

IMPORTANT: You have to track all metrics by every source of traffic that generates them. You must know the costs and value to you of every traffic source you employ.

Some other terms you may need to know… Insertion Order: Essentially this is the contract you sign when you agree to buy media from a content network. It lays out the details of how you are going to be billed, creative deadlines, dates your ads are scheduled to run etc. It also includes any restrictions on the media such as day parting, frequency caps etc… Run of Network (RON): This is the least targeted form of ad display. Networks will randomly load your ads throughout their entire network.

Remember, less targeted means less valuable so while its cost may be attractive; this isn't really a good option. Day Parting: Only having your ads served during specific times of the day. In theory, these would be the times you would most likely get the best response. You won't know this, however, unless you test for several weeks to see the results of different times of the day. Even Delivery: Means multiple ads are served evenly throughout the day. This is especially important when testing new ads and themes.

Frequency Caps: These stipulate how often your ad can be shown to a unique user during a specific period of time. Typically one showing every 24 hours (noted as 1/24) is the norm.

Tools of the Trade

Analytics...

Analytics essentially means keeping track of who comes to your site, how often they do, where they go and what they do when they get there, and from which page they leave.

You MUST understand analytics to make the most of the traffic that comes to your site. In just a minute, when we get to the “How To Get Started” section, I'm going to talk a little more in depth about what you need to know and how to use your analytics program, but for now, let's just go over some basics.

Analytics data are collected and analyzed by putting a small piece of code on the pages of your website. When a visitor comes to your page, that code ID's the visitor and tracks their movement around your site.

I know that may sound a little sinister, but it is all very legal and done anonymously. You're not collecting any personal information, only visitor trends. This trend information tells you two important things: are the right people finding their way to your site (via your banners, ads, keywords), and what interests them or sends them packing once they get there (your content, offers, ads…)

There are literally tons of services that can provide web analytics. These days you can even get results in real time – dashboards that update and track users as they click. Most people don't need data that fresh unless you're dealing with a LOT of traffic. Here at Strategic Profits we use both types. I will tell you why in a second.

Analytics programs have different capabilities and different costs.

Awstats and Google Analytics are both free. Google Analytics, the free tool from Google, is especially popular given its integration with Googles' Adwords program. It can do virtually everything you need. Its only downside is that it has a 3-6 hour delay in displaying its information.

Low cost analytics programs can cost anywhere from around $20 a month and up and include services like Yahoo metrics.

Then you get into your high end analytics programs. They do remarkable math – and cost top dollar. Typically their costs are usage based so companies will ask you to call to discuss pricing. A couple of the most popular are WebTrends and Omniture.

Typically someone in a small business won't need all the intense data from a high end service. Even we don't use them here at Strategic Profits on a regular basis. About the only time I do is when I'm consulting with a giant international corporation like Microsoft or Apple. So I wouldn't worry about real time data.

A Quick Story....

Real time monitoring can make a difference though, during high volume surges. Over two years ago, we were in the middle of a big launch here at my office. Because of that, in addition to using our regular Google Analytics, we also added Woopra – a free real time analytics program – to the mix.

We were using a long audio teleseminar (about 3 hours!) in the sales process and I was worried that the length might cause a drop off in viewership. So I asked my team to put a button under the video that said “Refer a friend to this video and download a copy to view at your convenience.”

I was working late in the office the evening of the launch and decided to check on the number of clicks on that button. The number of clicks to download the video was surprisingly low – only 2%. So I went over and took a look at the page. To my surprise, the button that got put up only said “Refer a friend.” It didn't give them the incentive of downloading the presentation!

I quickly made a new button with the corrected offer and posted it. It read “Click here to download the audio and transcript.” When they did, it took them to a page that explained they could get the mp3 and transcripts if they referred 3 friends. Almost immediately the number of visitors who referred three friends to download the audio soared to 62%. Imagine how many more viewers we'd have lost if I had to wait 4 hours or more to get that click information!

Tracking...

What's the difference between “analytics” and “tracking?” OK, honestly, there is no cut and dried delineation between the two, but here is a definition I personally like to use. If analytics is about what a prospective visitor does on your site, “tracking” is about their coming and going. Where they came to your site from. The page they're on when they click away from your site. And where they go when they leave.

You can get this kind of information from your ad networks article or usually from Google.

This is incredibly important information because tracking traffic is all about Competitive Intelligence.

C.I. is a big enough topic that I could write an entire article on it alone. But I will tell you a little more about it in the next section.

Ad Servers...

An ad server is used for delivering or “serving” banners and text ads. It is an application that, among other things, basically keeps track of the different ads it sends to different sites and the number of times everything gets clicked.

Say for example you have an insertion order to display 1000 impressions of a campaign. The ad server application will deliver the banners you give it according to any specific instructions you may include. So it may only serve an ad to a unique visitor at a given site once per day – or it could serve that ad 10 times a day.

Let's go back to your orchid growing club. Say you're running a campaign on two sites where you think qualified prospects hang out. One includes pages for gardening books at Amazon.com, and one is the website of the local botanical garden. Obviously you'd expect the visitors to the second site to be more qualified for what you're selling. So maybe in your instructions you order ads to be served to Amazon only once per visitor every 24 hours while at the botanical garden's page you show your ad five times per visitor in a 24 hour period.

When you check your statistics at the end of the day, you will be able to see which ads were shown on what site, how many times, how many times they were clicked. You will be able to determine with confidence what banner with which specific message is resonating the most with visitors at a particular site. When you have that information, you can specify that only those banners are shown to visitors at that site. That information is priceless.

Top Tips: Leveraging your banners. An advanced technique for testing - one that a lot of the big guys in the market use - is to test a series of themed banner ads all pointing to one generic landing page. Rather than sinking time and resources into building a detailed landing page for each, they'll latch on to the theme in the broadest terms possible. This allows them to use a single landing page with multiple banners. (They do not do this at the expense of at least some congruency between the ad and the landing page, however.)

Once they have a winner in terms of their banner ads - which themes are getting the most clicks - they go ahead and build a landing page around the winning theme. In other words, they're using the millions of impressions they buy to find out which appeals, which themes, and which positioning resonates the most in their actual market. Then they can design a landing page using all that data. This takes 99.999% of the guess work out of creating banner ads.(By the way ad networks – especially Google's content network – can do a lot of optimization on your ads as well. This is an enormous edge I will tell you more about in the next “How To” section.)

Typically an ad server application runs on a computer at the network you're advertising on. You generally don't need your own unless you are doing an extremely high volume of advertising across multiple networks or if you're buying your own ad on individual sites.

If you venture into your own ad server, you can check out OpenX which is an open source – or free – ad server. Another option would be something like Ad Shuffle which is one of the best for the money.

Shopping cart systems

Shopping cart systems are applications where your customers buy.

Usually it is a clip of code that integrates into your website and shows up as “buy” or “order” buttons. This software then links to a database through a secure ordering protocol like https/ssl where transactions are processed. This is a “must have” for doing business online.

Beyond processing sales, shopping carts can do inventory tracking, offer thank you pages, calculate tax as necessary, calculate shipping and handling as necessary, accept “coupons” for discounts, process credit cards to your merchant account, support refunds, do recurring billing automatically… They can also integrate into your auto responder system or even your fulfillment company.

All the functionalities of shopping cart software are way too long to list here. But at their most basic, these applications provide a secure way for your customers to pay for what you're selling.

There are a couple ways you can go with a shopping cart system and there are advantages to each.

‘’’Done for you…’’’

Hosted shopping carts like on 1Shoppingcart, Office Autopilot, or Infusionsoft will run the whole show for you for a small monthly fee.

Going this route makes the whole process fast and easy to get set up. You don't have to have any technical skill – the software company will host the whole thing for you. They easily integrate into your own web page. And maybe most important, the hosting company will look after things like server uptime, backups etc.

One of the other big advantages here is knowing exactly what your monthly costs will be.

‘’’DIY..’’’

If you're inclined to install your own shopping cart, you will need your own web server. It is usually not a problem to rent space for that. Installation can often be negotiated with the shopping cart company. However, you will be largely on your own when it comes to support – which means you will need more technical knowledge. One of the best parts of the DIY method is they can be very customizable (although customization will incur programming costs as well.)

All that said this option is usually cheaper in the long run. They're more customizable and give you greater flexibility in how you configure the system. Still you’re up front costs can be high and do require some technical knowledge.

Bottom line, if you're just starting up or unless you really have a need for something customized, it is probably better to go the hosted route. It is a lot less in the way of headaches and you will always know what your monthly costs will be.

Suffice to say, if you're going to be taking money online, you need a secure method to do it. And a shopping cart is the only way to go.

One final thing you need to be aware of…

Before you can use a shopping cart, you have to have a merchant account – an account that lets you accept all major credit cards and settles approved funds to your bank account.

It is something you simply must have. It boosts your sales by giving your customers more ways to pay. It speeds up the transfer of funds to your account. And it gives you more credibility as a business.

But many merchant accounts can be tricky or unpredictable. They have to protect against unscrupulous business behaviors and in doing so can cause trouble for the most honest entrepreneur. For example, a big sales day can set off red flags in the system and your merchant account can literally put a freeze on all your money. It can and does happen.

Step 6: Get Started: Tactics and Strategies to Get You Ahead of the Game

OK, here we go. Let's talk about “How-To's” of traffic.

Let's go back to the first and most important thing to remember: all traffic has value. So more traffic will mean more money. But stopping there is the rookie way to look at it.

Marketers who make big money not only get traffic, but also look to squeeze the most value out of it. So while more traffic may mean more money, it doesn't necessarily mean MAXIMUM money.

And since that is what we're after, we need to revisit our discussion on analytics before we get into sources.

You can't maximize the value of the traffic unless you understand analytics.

Let's say, just for example, of every 100 visitors coming to your site you're only able to get two visitors to opt in to your list. That's a 2% conversion rate. It also means you're letting 98% of the traffic you've brought to your site get away. See what I mean? How big of a waste is that?

You want to raise your conversion rate of the traffic you already have to an acceptable level before you ever worry about getting more traffic. To do that, you have to implement and understand your analytics. To see where, in your sales process, the bulk of that 98% are getting lost.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Here at Strategic Profits, we use a very sophisticated sales funnel to bring prospects in and convert them to buyers. We lead our prospects through a series of educational steps to a place where we believe the only logical choice a prospect should have is to buy.

For the sake of clarity, I'm going to simplify the whole thing.

We start by getting the prospect to sign up for one of three different days to watch the first of two webinars. They sign up and come back to watch webinar number one. If they don't come back, they get the opportunity to watch a replay of the webinar.

After the first webinar, they then sign up for a time to view part two of the webinar. If they don't show up for the time they select, again, they get another option to watch the replay of that.

After the second webinar, they should be led to a sales page. From there they either buy or don't.

If the webinar doesn't convert them, we invite them to watch a video of me speaking at an event. (Some people are more responsive to webinars, some to video.) We tell them it was an event attendees paid $2,000 to see and we're giving it to them for free. We, of course, tell them the availability of the video is limited in a series of emails. After they view the video, we give them the opportunity to register for our program.

So you can see we have a number of spaces in this sales process where we can lose a prospect. Between the initial sign up and their first viewing. Between the first viewing and signing up for the second webinar. Between not showing up and going to one of the replays. After the invitation to the event video.

(Just so you know, visitor drop-off was enough of a concern for us here that we've actually just revamped this process. If you go to watch our webinar now, you will see it is been condensed into a single viewing.)

We know with reasonable certainty that if we get a prospect to our sales page, we'll get an extremely high conversion rate. So we have to find out where we lose them between the initial sign up and the final page. That's what we track with our analytics.

Each step of this process is monitored by our analytics program. If there is a significant drop off at any point, we know where we have to focus to tighten up our sales process.

Your sales funnel must lead a prospect down a path from merely interested to totally convinced they need what you're selling. And anywhere along that path a prospect leaves – especially if they're leaving in large numbers – you need to look to fix the process at that point. That's the only way to get the maximum number of people to your sales page, in the right frame of mind so that the only choice they have, is to buy.

How to use your analytics to the greatest effect

Here are a few things you want to focus on:

  1. Set goals: To be an effective entrepreneur, you have to have goals. Without clear goals, you will never know how you're doing. It doesn't matter what business you're in. If you're into e-commerce, your goals are most likely sales. If you’re a publisher, your goal is registrations. Setting and tracking your goals is critically important to judge the progress you're making.
  2. Track Conversion Data: Turning suspects into prospects – and turning prospects into customers. How many sign up for your mailing list? How many pull out their wallets and buy? Bottom line – how are your sales doing? You've got to know this and virtually any analytics package will tell you. But here is something else to consider. Can it sort by geographic region? This will tell you who's coming to your site from where, what specific words or ads brought them there. Regionally based keywords can be a wide ranging variable in a lot of markets. So if you market nationally, it may be worthwhile to see and segment your marketing from there.
  3. Visualize Your Sales “Funnel”: Specifically where visitors “bail out” of your website sales process. It is critical to keep an eye out for the speed bump that makes them say no thanks. These are the key spots you have to fix on your web site.
  4. A Navigation Summary: This will show you what pages visitors clicked on while they were on your site. Where did they go from your homepage? What's attracting them there? If visitors aren't following the path you want them to, there is work that needs to be done on your page.
  5. Bounce Rate: How many visitors come to your site and leave without going anywhere? If you have one main website and this number is high, you have a serious problem. If on the other hand, you're tracking multiple landing pages, you can simply cut the highest bouncers.

Top Tips: Double your sales instantly! Well, maybe you won't double your sales, but one of the fastest easiest, most reliable techniques for boosting conversion is to focus on your bounce rate. Specifically your most visited pages with the highest bounce rates. When I consult with large corporate clients, this is one of the very first areas I focus on because 1) so many enterprises miss out on this detail and 2) because the payoff is almost always significant.

Sort your metrics by your pages that get the most visits and then do a secondary sort by bounces. The one or two pages at the top of that list will be your biggest offenders. They're the pages that both attract and lose the most attention. Focus your efforts on fixing the problems there and you really will see a spike in conversion.

One of the best analytics tools on the market today is Google Analytics. It is a free tool that does virtually everything you need. It is the main analytics tool we use here at my office.

Once you've tightened up your sales funnel, you want to know where your biggest source of conversions are coming from. Again, your analytics program will tell you this. If you're running a banner series that's converting at 30% while your search traffic is converting at 6% and your CPV traffic is doing 4%, you obviously want to focus on building traffic from your banner efforts.

Knowing this kind of information lets you start scaling your marketing to your most profitable channel. Focus on that area until you get it ramped up to where you want it. Then move on to another traffic source.

Competitive Intelligence: The Most Important Use For Your Analytics Data...

There are no secrets on the internet. And “Competitive Intelligence” (CI) allows you to track and leverage your biggest sources of traffic.

You see, your analytics will show you which sites are your best sources of traffic. But that's only the beginning. From there you can use CI tools like Alexa, Quantcast, and Keycompete to find out what their biggest sources of traffic are.

For instance, you can find out what keywords they may be leveraging that are resonating with the crowd that's coming to your site. If certain words are hot, you want to leverage them as much as possible in your own marketing. It is like having someone else do your keyword testing for you.

You can also do some detective work on “referring sites.” Look at the sites that send you the most traffic and then search to find out who are their biggest sources of traffic. You can start running your own ads in those areas or you may even want to contact site owners to discuss an affiliate deal.

And then you can do it all over again. Digging into your now bigger and better network of referring sites and uncover their best sources of traffic. You will continually grow a richer and more reliable network of traffic sources you can continually mine for bigger and bigger profits.

Maximizing the use of competitive intelligence is simply the fastest and most reliable way to grow your traffic to virtually unlimited proportions.

Getting More Traffic

Before we dive in, there is one more important thing I want to tell you that applies to advertising on all sources of traffic. Congruency.

Top Tips: Don't reinvent the wheel. Build a „swipe‟ file of working stuff including creative: Banners, text ads, landing pages, squeeze pages, article pages, and emails etc… Keep a list of keywords your market is drawn to. Don't start anything from scratch that you don't have to. Whenever possible, know the metrics of what's in your file. Know who they're targeted at and how profitable they've been in the past. This will give you the double advantage of competitive intelligence and speed!

One of the biggest mistakes rookie marketers make is linking their banner to their home page. This creates a huge disconnect in the prospects mind about what made them click on the banner.

Say your banner was about getting a free article on 1957 Chevys. But when they click the link they're taken to your homepage which is selling auto parts. See what happened? They were looking for a free article and instead they're at a sales page that has nothing to do with what they were clicking after. Bye-bye – lost sale!

This is an obvious – but very common mistake. When you design the theme for your campaign, make sure you have a landing page that is congruent with what was said on the ad.

OK, let's get going…

Blasting Banners on Contextual Networks

If you're heading into the banner market, you need to connect with a “content advertising network.” They are the media people responsible for serving your ads to different sites. The thing you want to know is which content network you want to get in with.

The best way to do that is to check your analytics. When you do, you will see the TYPE of website your best traffic is coming from. Once you do that, you can go and surf around some of those sites looking for ads similar to what you're selling. Check out the sections labeled “Sponsored Links” or something similar. Mouse over those ads and you should see the ad network at the bottom in your browser's message bar. You will see something like “msn.com,” “google.com” or “doubleclick.net” in the message bar at the bottom of your browser. Those are the networks that are serving the market you are after and that's where you want to be.

Next you want to figure out your ad's theme.

Top Tips: The Banner Start-up Check List Remember - The more creative you have to test… The more offers you have to test… the higher your odds for getting profitable fast.

[1] Make sure you create at least 3 or 4 banner sets with different approaches and themes to test. Going out with only one is a huge waste of money. Create at least 2 landing pages.

[2] Make sure your insertion order has a 24 hour out clause. You may never need it, but it is good to have if something goes wrong.

[3] Make sure you insert a Frequency Cap. That's how many times in a specific period any unique visitor will be shown your ad. Once in 24 hours (expressed as 1/24) is usually a good place to start although 1/48 is usually better for smaller networks.

[4] Make sure to check your Geographic locations. Unless you're dealing with international customers, don't run your ads overseas. And definitely stipulate U.S. if your ads are in English. (Why waste clicks or impressions in India if they can't understand what you're saying…)

[5] Make sure to run an „even delivery‟ program first. Time Parting and Day Parting are very effective techniques, but you have to know what the best times and days are for you. The only way to discover that is to distribute evenly for a few weeks or even a month or two.

[6] Then keep your stuff together on line. You should have versions of your landing pages, banners, order devices, thank you pages etc located in a folder on your domain. That way when you're talking to ad network reps describing what you want to do, you can forward them the link and they can see exactly what you're talking about.

Suppose you're selling all natural hair care products. You may want to tell your prospect in your banner that your shampoo leaves their hair “silky smooth.” When they click on the ad, your landing page should talk about silky smooth hair – not dandruff.

O.K. Once you have that done, it is time to get your creative done. I'd recommend you keep it simple and go to a site that will do it for you like “$20 Banners” or “99 Designs.”

Contact them and tell them you want a series of banners with graphics that convey “silky smooth hair.”

You also need to test multiple themes at the same time to see what is resonating best with your market. So get several dandruff themed ads where you solve a prospects' problem and have them go to a different landing page.

Keep the ads simple. Only one offer, one benefit, etc. per banner. You can test different elements against each other on different banners, but DO NOT over complicate any one ad.

When you're testing, make sure the ad network does an even distribution of your ads. If you buy 1,000 impressions and are running 3 different ads, make sure each one is served 333 times.

Once you start getting results on the ads with messages that are getting the best results, then you can go back to them and start tweaking. Changing the language, graphics, etc.

Put Google's Army of Traffic Experts to Work for You

Imagine this. What if you could hire all of Google's PhD traffic analysts and put them to work for you? Analyzing your marketing. Testing response at various sites. Delivering you the best results they could uncover? How fast would you be able to go from “zero to hero” where your traffic stats are concerned?

Well, you can.

Google offers a traffic optimization option when you advertise on their content network. Here is how it works… Google offers a FREE feature called the conversion optimizer, when you advertise with Adwords (for both pay-per-click and impression based banner advertising across their content network).

When you use conversion optimizer, Google rotates your ads across multiple sites; geographical regions and their sophisticated software take care of your campaigns in order to maximize its performance. You must be thinking “What’s the catch? Why would Google help me make more with less?” Well, they do this because the more you make, the more you are likely to spend, and the longer you will stick with them.

How exactly does the conversion optimizer work? Well, the answer is really simple. Google provides you a snippet of code to place on your “Thank You” or order confirmation page. Every time someone buys or subscribes to your product, it is recorded as a conversion and when you get to 15 conversions or sales, Google activates the FREE conversion optimizer option for your campaign.

At this time, the system has an idea where it can get you the most sales based on ad performance, geographical region, keyword, time of day and even the website where your ad was shown. It literally starts learning where the cheapest sources of buyers are and weeds out non-productive ones as it goes along.

Which means that what could have taken you months or longer (and maybe yielded only half-certain results) you can get done for you in a fraction of the time, with the knowledge that your results are from one of the biggest traffic experts on earth.

Make Your Search Traffic a Goldmine

Search has two components – paid and organic (SEO based.)

We're talking about paid. You have to know paid, even before you consider SEO. I explained the importance of knowing which keywords convert earlier in this article.

Google is the market leader here. But probably not the best place to start. Since they do so much search traffic, they have to protect it and protect it they do. By putting up stiff rules against anything that seems “gamy” unintentionally makes things hard with them.

So what's a good way to get started? Bing.

Top Tips: Two things you must know. No matter where you go to drive search traffic, there are two sources of information you need to know to be successful. Your market i.e. your prospective customers and the keywords associated with them. (If you're wondering how to find out everything you possibly can about your market, I'd refer you go back to my very first article titled Your Business Blueprint where I covered it all in depth.)

Bing is Microsoft's search engine that recently bought the Yahoo ad network.

And let me save you a few thousand dollars. Bing (or Yahoo) is the only viable alternative to search advertising on Google. If your advertising isn't working on Google or Bing, don't bother trying a different or smaller search site.

Big advantage of Bing? They're a lot more relaxed in their rules for advertising.

Recall that I mentioned earlier in this article that Google actually serves impressions by click through rate? So does Bing. But the big difference is Bing is a lot more forgiving about how you get those clicks. Whereas Google is extremely strict on the language you use, the promises you make and your relevance to the searched topic, Bing gives you more leeway.

Also, since they don't control as much traffic as Google, you can generally get keywords at lower rates.

Getting started is the same process as with Google. Head over to https://adcenter.microsoft.com/ open an account and get started.

Get In Your Prospects' Heads With Social Media

Facebook has a paid ad network as well. But like I mentioned before, you get the added advantage of being able to target by “psychographics” – the things your prospects like, think, believe, support (like charities) etc…

This is done largely through Facebooks' “Like” button.

When you log into your Facebook account and decide you “like” something – let's say me, for example – you get identified as a fan of Billy Joel.

By tying your ad to specific “likes” you can have your ad pop up when a user is on a similar fan page.

Top Tips: Always use a landing page. Unless you're Apple, you're probably not well known enough to drive traffic directly to an order page. Use a landing page - a page customized to follow-up on the theme of your ad. Landing pages let you bond with your prospect and offer them some value. Even better, it is a place to tell your story and put your prospect in the right frame of mind for your offer. And they give you the chance to… Always squeeze 'em.

Attach a form to your landing page so you can collect some form of contact information - even a first name and email address will do. Think about the different forms of profitability. If your campaign isn't a home run - say it just breaks even - or even loses a couple hundred bucks - you will still have grown your list, possibly by a significant amount. And someone who has opted into your list is way more valuable than they were a few minutes before. Don't waste the opportunities landing pages offer.

Now, rather than targeting prospects by keywords they may or may not search for, you can target prospects by what you already know they “Like.” This gives you a huge head start into making the sale.

In ordinary online sales, you have to stir up some interest in what it is you have to sell. Here, you already have them interested.

Target your ads at related fan pages and related groups. And make sure your message picks up at that point. “Crazy about orchids? Here is the greatest site on growing orchids you will ever see.”

And remember, costs are always fluctuating. Right now (May 2011) Facebook ads are cheaper than Google Adwords, but it is getting more and more expensive every day. (Literally!)

To get started just click one of the links to create an ad on Facebook. They'll step you right through the process.

Boost Your Response With Solo Emails

There is a theory among psychologists that when you're cold calling, it takes between 6 and 8 contacts to get your prospect to agree to the next step. Not the sale – just the meeting, just to review your material – just the next step.

When you mail to your own list, you can touch base with them as many times as you like. But you don't have the option of that kind of repetition with a rented list. So when emailing, it becomes very important to think about what you want to say in your email.

Remember the goal of your email. You want them to click a link to go to your landing page.

Don't load your mail up with details about your product or its benefits. Speak directly to the prospect in terms of a promise they'd be interested in or problem they're likely dealing with. Offer to show them all the details of the solution if they'll just click to your landing page.

If you have the opportunity to follow up, then you can worry about countering objections, building value, offering more benefits, or what have you.

If ever there was a time to be prospect focused, it is in that initial email. Remember, you will never make the sale in an email. Your only goal is to get their attention and get the click.

Turn the Entire Internet Into Your Personal Auto responder With Remarketing Campaigns

Like most online advertising, Remarketing is done via a Remarketing Advertising Network.

Let's say you write a blog titled “Traveling on the Road Less Traveled.” You have a book you've written about going to exotic places on the cheap. Maybe a decent flow of people come to read your blog but never take notice of your banner ads for your book.

You can get your blog on a Remarketing network. What do they do?

Remarketing networks, like Advertise and Traffic Evolution, contract to buy a certain percentage of space on the big outlets – CNN, the Wall Street Journal, ESPN … sites like that – and will serve your ad when your visitor goes to a page on that site with any relevant content.

When a visitor comes to your site, the network will tag their computer. Then when they go to a travel page on, say the NY Times site, the network will serve your ad inquiring “Want to go someplace really exotic?… Click here for the best destinations for 50 cents on the dollar…”

Top Tip: If you're using banners, make sure your copy is extra good! When a banner catches a prospect's eye, they experience something Jonathan Mizel calls „Pattern Interrupt.‟ That means they were taken away from what they originally set out to do. That means they're going to be more antsy, more impatient, your bounce rates could be significantly higher… What combats this? FAST well organized sales marketing campaigns. Is your process ready to withstand „pattern interrupt?‟

You should also consider setting up multi-step campaigns on your Remarketing network.

For example, you can use a remarketing campaign with a multi-step sales process.

Let's say, for example, you have a free educational audio series (pitching a course you offer) that you want your prospects to sign up for.

When they register for the series, you can set a cookie that serves a series of ads reminding them about the actual audio series. If they come and listen to the first installment, you can re-cookie them with a “don't forget the rest of the series” message. Once they finish the series, you can change the cookie again to serve ads that try and drive them to your sales page.

There are virtually unlimited ways you can employ a remarketing campaign. And it is a huge advantage in terms of managing your sales process out in the internet. It makes the entire internet your auto responder!

You supply the Remarketing network with your banners, and any specific instructions you may have and you're all set.

These networks will typically run your ads for 30 days by default before their cookie expires although you can set them for longer periods depending on your remarketing strategy.

Eliminate the “Pop-Up Reflex” in CPV Efforts

Cost per View is largely the same as other networks as far as getting set up goes.

One thing you should note where they're concerned… Typically these ad networks offer the option of a “popup” or “pop-under” ad. A pop-under is a window that opens behind the prospects current browser window.

Pop-up windows push into your prospects consciousness. They interrupt whatever it was your prospect was doing. Like the telemarketer calling during dinner. When you interrupt your prospect, you're starting from a disadvantage. You're putting the prospect in a bad mood to look at any ads. Pop-ups usually get closed pretty quickly.

That's why it is often much better to use pop-under windows. They don't interrupt whatever your prospect is doing. Generally your prospect won't see the window until they're done doing whatever it is they're doing. Leaving them uninterrupted puts them in a much better frame of mind.

Remember, even when using the pop-under tactic, you're still basically intruding on your prospect's life. So you still have to be much more subtle about what you say in your ad. Make a prediction, start a story, or offer to reveal a secret in exchange for a click – just don't start selling them in the pop-up.

And here is a bonus idea. Combine a remarketing campaign with your CPV effort. Every time a pop-under appears, it can set a remarketing cookie on that prospects machine so that when they're out on the internet you get the benefit of putting your banners in front of them. A pretty nifty 1-2 punch.

Make Affiliate / JV Marketing Your Best (And Last) Source of Traffic

Earlier in this article, I told you to approach traffic by buying the most targeted traffic you can afford. And I told you that Affiliate / JV Marketing was the most targeted.

The reality is this should be the last step you attempt.

Why?

It is really about self-sufficiency in your market.

When you market through an affiliate, yes, you're getting targeted traffic, and yes the traffic is valuable, but you're also at the mercy of that affiliate.

If they're can't or won't mail for you, your options are virtually zero. Believe me, I have nothing against affiliate marketing. I do a lot of it myself. It is just that putting your ability to generate traffic in the hands of someone else it not a smart way to build a scalable, sustainable business.

Should you want to pursue this path, the surest way to get an affiliate to promote your product to their list, is to offer them an enticing payment. And to be able to do that, you have to know exactly (or as close to it as possible) what your traffic value is worth.

Offering a high payment and miscalculating your visitor value can cost you big time.

Yes it is targeted, and yes, when an affiliate mails for you it is an implied endorsement. But you've got to know what you can convert.

Back in 2002-2003, when I was in the traffic business full-time, there were guys whose products I'd run who would pay me $60 to $80 per buyer for buyers who were buying a $47 product! How could they do that? They knew exactly what their traffic was worth.

Don't head down this path until you've got your game under control…

Congratulations!

You've just taken another giant step closer to “Founder” status. And just to prove it to you, let me ask you my question from earlier in this article…

If you had all the traffic you wanted… what would YOU do with it?

A thousand unique visitors – NO – let's say TEN THOUSAND – to your website every day. What would you do with them?

Now answer that question below and compare your answer with what you wrote in the first earlier on.

This time if you wrote anything like… “I'd measure the value I'm extracting from each and every source of traffic coming in and compare it to what the market is able to extract, and determine where I stood. From there, if I was…

(1) Significantly below what the market could extract, I'd redesign my entire marketing process (the core concept, the core myth, the offer, etc.) until I was able to extract more money from those visitors than the rest of the market…

(2) In line with what the market could extract (a little more or a little less) then I'd begin testing different upsells and downsells to extract more. I'd also start split testing like crazy to see how I could tweak my results to get them even better…

(3) Extracting more value than the rest of the market could (or found myself in scenario 1 or 2 and had already worked my way through it) I'd determine my most profitable sources of traffic, then use competitive intelligence to uncover their sources of traffic, and quickly turn those profitable 10,000 visitors a day into 50,000…100,000…or more to quickly grow my business to the size and income I desire and therefore achieve the freedom and wealth I have always wanted.” If what you wrote is similar to that, then my friend, all I can say is…

Congratulations!

Now you're thinking about traffic like a Founder. Now you know how to approach traffic like the goldmine that it is. You know how to maximize its value to you and how to find more. You know how to test to uncover your biggest sources of value and profit.

Right now, you literally hold the keys to the kingdom of online business success in your hands. No matter what the source or amount of traffic you are getting today, you have the roadmap to turn it into a tidal wave of profit!

It is time to get started

Now that you've finished this article, what you do with all the powerful, profitable knowledge you've gained is entirely up to you.

I've done everything in my power to shed a new and unique light on the subject of traffic starting with whether or not you're even ready to think about it.

No one else would touch that traffic topic with a ten foot pole.

Other “gurus” would tell you what you want to hear and then throw you to the wolves.

But that wasn't an option for me. I couldn't in good conscience send a single entrepreneur out there who I thought wasn't fully armed and ready to take on the challenge, who wasn't ready to be as successful as they have always dreamed. Especially when they already have all the necessary tools at their disposal to prepare themselves.

And now you should be ready. So where you go from here is entirely up to you.

I'm sure some who aren't ready to jump into the traffic pool – who should be reviewing my past articles, and reanalyzing their businesses – will head out to start buying media anyway. In a few months, they'll be out of money and wondering why. The good news for them is this article is theirs and maybe someday they'll come back to read it with an open mind, ready to accept the truths I've shared and make changes to their businesses for the better.

Some will raise an eyebrow in interest and go back to doing things the same old way. Making the mistakes they'll inevitably have to make.

Stringing out their path to success. Not realizing that all it takes are small changes to garner big results.

And then some will take what I teach in this article to heart.

Those who need to go back and review my past articles will do it knowing full well that it is only a minor detour on the path to their ultimate success. They understand that any lasting business has to be built properly from the ground up and not hastily slapped together.

They'll also realize the amount of frustration and stress, not to mention money, this article has saved them. They'll have clearer goals in going through and reviewing everything and they'll ultimately come out ten … no, possibly one hundred times better off than when they took that small step backward.

And for those who are ready to build a flow of traffic, it is time to get out there and get it done. They'll understand there will be some confusion, some stumbles at the very beginning. They'll also understand that even though they may start out slow, they'll be running to the next level before they know it. Because they know that they are armed with a huge competitive advantage over almost every other “opportunity seeking entrepreneur” out there.

So whether you start now or six months from now…

You will hit the ground running, armed with the most powerful information you can have. You will understand the real secrets of how to succeed in the traffic game while others around you keep on struggling.

You will never chase after traffic again…

Your business will be predictable, scalable and more profitable than you ever thought possible…

Every visitor will be like the ring of a cash register because you will understand exactly how much they're worth to you…

Every marketing decision will be based on cold hard data so that your results will be predictable and you will never be faced with a shred of uncertainty…

You will become a master of your own destiny – never again stressing about traffic or profits because now you know how to make traffic work for you!

If you ever wondered about this topic, I guarantee you now know more about traffic than you may ever have realized there was to know.

You're leaps and bounds past the rest of the competition.

So it is time to get out there. You're armed with the most important information that you can have to analyze, manage, and ultimately cash in on all the traffic your business will ever need!

Business | Marketing


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