We need to talk about traffic. And why it really is “the lifeblood” and at the center of any online business.
First, let’s quickly define what I mean by online/web traffic:
- People & their eyes/attention.
That’s not according to some theoretical source, but my own definition so we can focus on what’s really important:
Practical ways to lead people to your offers, in order for you to make (affiliate) sales, and ultimately see the commission checks flying in… 😃
Ok, now let’s do this.
How To Get People’s Attention To Our Links And Offers?
“How do I get other people to notice and click on my affiliate link?” must be the most frequently asked question by new online marketers, shortly after they figured out how to get their affiliate links…
So that’s exactly what we’ll focus on in this article: How can we get people’s attention online and make them click on our links?
Or, in other words:
What ways exist to grab the attention of our chosen target market online?
What methods can we use to drive traffic to our (affiliate) offers?
Where are the people that we try to reach online, and how do we get their attention?
But before we answer these questions in detail, we’ve got to talk about…
“Free”/Organic vs Paid Traffic
These are the two major ways to drive traffic online: Content marketing (aka as “free” or organic traffic) and advertising (aka paid traffic or media buying).
A good entry into the topic, and to help you with your decision what’s right for you, is this question:
Do you prefer to invest time or money?
Or in different words:
Do you have more time available than money, or do you have some funds available to invest, and you want to see results faster, without spending a lot of time on content creation?
And while I have a clear preference at this stage of running my own online business…
… It’s not exactly a question of “either or”, but rather: What’s my main focus for now?
If you’re a complete beginner, I suggest you do at least some form of organic/”free” traffic generation.
That way you learn a lot of valuable skills, including (but not limited to) website creation, copywriting, compelling content creation, keyword research, ranking websites/SEO, etc.
On the other hand…
… We’re obviously in business to make money, right?
Ultimately, we need to spend at least some money on essential tools. There’s simply no way around it.
Once you made your first affiliate commissions, you can re-invest those profits into paid traffic.
“Free”/Organic Traffic Generation Options
“Free”/organic traffic generation generally means content creation of some sort.
The best way in my opinion is to work on your own website/blog, and then trying to rank your pages on Google.
This is called “Search Engine Optimization” or short: SEO.
I prefer this method as you’re building your own web assets.
And since it’s your website, you can do/say and promote whatever you want to.
The other, popular way to build an audience from organic traffic is to do content marketing on 3rd party platforms.
This includes platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, and many many more.
By Far The Best Traffic Source
Your own, existing customer list.
That’s why list building is not negotiable if you’re building a serious business.
But coming back to the discussion of building an audience on “your own platform vs 3rd party platforms”.
Content Marketing On Your Own Website/Blog (SEO)
Personally, I think this is the best, “free”/organic traffic source available to each and everyone of us.
Does it mean it’s a lot work?
I’m speaking from experience.
The same is actually true for other content marketing strategies, it’s always a lot of work.
But I also think it is worth it to build out your very own platform.
It’s the only place online - your own platform/website - where you can actually make the rules.
You are in complete control over all aspects and decisions like design, ads, user experience, visitor flow, and the level of interaction and censorship.
If you’re smart, you’re using your own platform to build your own distribution channel. (see list-building)
99.x% of all website visitors are gone forever and won’t come back, so if we build our own email list and treat it right, we have our own on-demand traffic source.
And that’s extremely powerful!
How Is The Best Way To Go About Building Your Own Platform?
Let’s move on:
Content Marketing On 3rd Party Platforms
The conversation moved on from blogs to social media platforms and a few, huge content delivery platforms.
Providing great content on these traffic-heavy platforms can be really profitable.
But - as with any of these “free” traffic methods - this also means a lot of work.
Similar to what I just described.
Keep in mind that the rules on any 3rd party platform can change at any time.
So in that sense you’re building your business on quicksand.
The big social platforms are not a free lunch.
Most of them ultimately want the customer data and sell advertising.
If the “organic opportunity” gets huge, plenty of new marketers join that platform.
And then the platform will work on reducing organic reach and introducing paid (advertising) options.
We’ve seen that over and over and over again in recent years with basically all social platforms.
So you’re warned.
I’d rather focus on building my business on my own platform… Even if it means that it’ll take longer.
My garden - my rules.
- Step 1: Find an active forum in your niche
- Step 2: Provide lots of value
- Step 3: Have a link in your signature or user-profile that leads people back to your platform, ideally onto your list.
If your chosen forum has ad placements available: See paid methods below.
The end. (of this part: forum marketing)
Free Classified Ad Boards
Please see this article
- Step 1: Find a suitable classified ad board (see link above)
- Step 2: Post your ad
- Step 3: Repeat (but don’t overdo it, otherwise you’ll get banned)
A free, proven, and working method to get traffic to your (affiliate) link.
It’s not really scalable, but it might be a good start for you.
Safelists / “Mailer Sites” / “Lead Service Sites”
Please see my article on safelist marketing
I get straight to the point:
Waste of time.
Paid Traffic Generation Options
Check out my article on paid traffic sources.
Outsourcing Any Of The “Free”/Organic Traffic Methods
Outsourcing your content marketing or other parts of your organic marketing efforts (like press releases, off-page SEO, …) can be a very good idea.
This is the way forward to scale our content marketing efforts.
However, you’ve got to know what you’re doing (read: You must have done it yourself a lot of times to know exactly what works) and - and that’s the tricky part - you’ve got to find someone who has the skills (or at least is very trainable).
Plus, the whole process of outsourcing your content creation has to make financial sense, obviously.
Cheap labor often is not very good, and needs lots of editing… Which you could outsource again, of course.
But then it’s probably not very cheap anymore, or the quality suffers.
Or you outsource to really skilled people, but then again it won’t be cheap.
At the very least, it won’t be “free” traffic anymore.
So again, it comes back to you knowing exactly what works and what you’re doing, and then outsourcing it in a professional, organized process.
It’s not that easy, but once the processes are optimized, it can be a very good way to scale your operation.
The Big Ad Networks
- an incredibly high reach,
- powerful targeting options,
- great re-targeting options,
- and lots of inventory.
However, this comes at a cost: These advertising options are anything but cheap.
It really depends on your business (model) and your numbers (LTV - lifetime value of a customer) if advertising on the big ad networks make sense for you or not.
But nobody can deny it: You can literally reach every possible niche market on the big ad networks.
And that’s really powerful.
Smaller Ad Networks
We’ll discuss solo ads here.
Paid Services Or Accounts On Forums, Safelists, Exchanges, Lead Service Sites, Ad Boards, Etc.
Head over to the paid traffic post here.
I hope you enjoyed my little “traffic overview” article.
If you think anything is missing, or you’d like to see another traffic option covered, simply let me know here.
PS: Start & Grow Your Own, Profitable Online Business, From Scratch, Today!