The Internet has opened up so many great ways to drive both free traffic and “paid” traffic to your website, but what are the ways that really work and deliver the ROI on the paid side? Usually, that all depends on how effective your website can capitalize on the traffic, and of course the traffic source and how targeted or not the traffic is to your website. I have written quite a few articles on the best ways to drive free traffic to your site, so I thought I would review some of the best ways to drive paid traffic to your website.
1. Paid Search – Paid search advertising is still the #1 way to drive targeted traffic to your website, bar none. The 2 platforms that deliver the most targeted traffic would be Google Adwords and MSN Adcenter (which controls Yahoo and Bing). When you advertise through paid search you are basically buying your way to the top of the search results under certain keyword phrases, like “Find Flowers” for instance. There are thousands of keywords you can reserve in your account that will allow your ads to show up when people search those certain phrases, so you have to make sure you choose the most relavent keyword phrase first so you know the traffic is the most targeted and will work the best. Another tip is to make sure your paid search accounts are set-up to display your ads on actual searches and not on the “content network,” which can make or break the effectiveness. Also, you need to make sure certain keywords are associated with certain ads you set up in your account, and then direct to certain “land pages” or product pages on your site that make sense, whichever page would be most targeted to those keywords and ads. Sending all the keywords to your homepage usually isn’t the best policy. Paid search is the #1 way to drive traffic to your site, so make sure you are capitalizing on it as effectively as possible. You can usually advertise more effectively and get a better “ROI” or return on investment by advertising on MSN Adcenter because there is less competition and you can build a larger, more expansive keyword file at a lower cost per click. The volume isn’t anywhere near what it is in Google Adwords, but the ROI should be better and you can actually get traffic at a lower cost per click, whereas in Google you wouldn’t likely generate any traffic at lower cost per click rates. Over time, you should be able to build amazingly large, product keyword campaigns, divided into “Ad Groups”, that will be your best source of sales and revenue. Google Adwords also allow you to “re-market” to users that visited your website but didn’t make a purchase or visited a particular page of your website, by serving them ads in Google broad network of sites to remind them of your website and offer a deal. This can be very effective to increasing your conversion rate at an acceptable cost-per-conversion.
2. Facebook Advertising – Facebook has a great online advertising platform because not only do they have a ton of traffic to realize, but their targeting technology is great. you can really drill down with your advertising specifications to visitor location, demographics, and their interests in certain subjects. The closer their interests are to what your site sells the better it should perform. You can advertise 2 ways on Facebook. You can advertise your site or products, or you can advertise you Facebook Fan Page, which works really well to build targeted fans. You can also do “sponsored Stories” which place your ads around related content on Facebook. At the end of the day you have to be converting the traffic with a great performing website, otherwise it may not have an ROI for you. But if you can convert the traffic effectively there really is an unlimited amount of traffic on Facebook to advertise your company or site to. Fan Page advertising is one of the top ways to build targeted fans for your company, so make sure to capitalize on that as well.
3. Retargeting – Behavioral retargeting has been all the rage in the Online Marketing world for probably the last year and a half. The majority of ecommerce and lead generation websites are running retargeting ads which will show your banner ads to your website visitors that leave your website without making a purchase. This can be really effective at increasing your conversion rate, especially since you can show products in your retargeting ads that the visitors was checking out on your site, so in effect it reminds them of what they were looking at so they can return to complete the purchase. Some companies that provide this type of advertising are: AdRoll, Fetchback, Retargeter, and a few others. Some have traffic level requirements and won’t take smaller sites, so you have to see who will allow you to run this for your site if you have a smaller site. Most charge on a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression basis.
4. Site Sponsorships – paying targeted websites, on a monthly or yearly basis, to advertise your banner ads is a great way to advertise online and get an ROI. You have to deligently search out websites that have decent traffic and are highly related to your own, otherwise the traffic won’t be targeted enough to have an ROI. You can use tools like Alexa.com and Compete.com to check and see how much traffic websites get before you offer them a certain amount of money to run your banner ads. Then you can track your conversion rates on the sales it generates to see how much (or not) was made and decide if that website worked for you. If you are an affiliate, then it will be harder to get your ROI because you are mearly a conduit for other merchants and not selling anything yourself. By buying ads on websites that are related to your own you can generate great traffic and sales through new sources. If it doesn’t convert well enough then you can stop the ads at the end of the month. If you test out 50 sites a month and half of them have an ROI, over time you can build up hundreds of partner sites that should perform for you ad infinitum.
5. Newsletter sponsorships – Newsletter sponsorships and solo email blasts are also a great way to ring in the ROI, but again you have to find relavant enough lists that will generate enough traffic to make money. Keep everything Can-Spam compliant of course. You can do a “solo” email blast, which only promotes your company to their list or be part of their newsletter layout with a banner ad. Obviously, the solo email works best, but some companies or site owners aren’t willing to do solo emails so you have to just go in the newsletter and see how it goes. You have to negotiate a great rate with the site owner to make sure the campaign works effectively. Make sure to track all the clicks and sales with some kind of traffic mechanism, I usually recommend Hasoffers.com. Once you see how effective the campaign was, you can schedule more sopnsorships going forward. You can have someone on your team searching Google for websites that rank well and then contact them asking what sponsorships they may have available. Sometimes you can get them to do it as an affiliate partner, but you might get shot down a lot just using the affiliate approach. Effectiveness of the campaign can boil down to your subject line and HTML creative, so make sure you have a great subject line and excellent looking HTML email creative to give it the best chance possible. If you are paying in advance for the inventory you can include your 800 number in your email creative to try to increase inbound calls.
There are many other ways to send paid advertising to your website, such as: cost-per-view ads, other types of “per click” ads, and cost-per-impression advertising, however you should only test out these other types once you have maximized your spending on paid search, facebook, and retargeting. Use tools like Optimizely.com to increase your website’s conversion rate. Make sure you are focused on your website’s conversion rate so you can spend as much as possible on the front-end to drive the traffic. Unless you have a well-converting website, you won’t be able to truly maximize your paid search and “crank the faucet all the way up” so to speak. I hope you enjoyed this liitle article, feel free to comment and share it socially. Thanks and have a wonderful week!