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To make money in any business or opportunity, it requires that you get the attention of other people who may be interested in buying what you want to sell. If no one ever sees your offer, then no one will ever buy it.
When building an online business, that usually means getting website visitors to a signup page or sales page first. These website visitors are usually referred to as website traffic, or just traffic.
You need traffic from people who are paying attention. Generally, the more traffic you get, the more signups you get. More attention equals more results.
How do you get traffic?
First, you need to understand that there are three different types of traffic and all traffic sources fall into one of these categories. Credit goes out to Russell Brunson who came up with the names for these three categories.
1. Traffic You Earn
Traffic that you earn comes from you trading your time for traffic. If you are working for your traffic, then it falls into this category.
Common examples are blogging, search engine optimization, safelists, traffic exchanges, cold emailing prospects, posting links on Craigslist or Facebook, connecting with prospects in social media, posting YouTube videos to drive traffic, etc.
Earned traffic can be great for a beginner because it doesn't usually require you to spend a lot of money. You are trading your time for traffic instead of money.
The downside of earned traffic is that it takes a large amount of time to generate visitors. Maintaining a block and working on the search engine optimization takes time and can lead to significant traffic in the long-term, but not in the short-term, for example. If using safelists or traffic exchanges, you spend a lot of time clicking links to earn credits.
Of course, eventually you will run out of time to earn more traffic, so there is a limit to how much traffic you can generate this way. It isn't scalable in the short-term beyond a few thousand visitors per day and that will often require a full-time commitment.
2. Traffic You Control
You can also control traffic that is owned or earned by someone else, for a period of time. This is usually done through paid advertising, joint venture (JV) deals, or having affiliates promote your product.
When you purchase a solo ad from someone else, then you are paying for control of the traffic from that advertisement. The seller of the ad owns the traffic and you get to use it. Same thing with Facebook ads. When you are running your ad, you are getting some of the attention that Facebook owns.
If you cut a deal with someone else who has a list, or a source of traffic, that they will promote your product, then you have control of their traffic. Usually they want a percentage of the profits, or commission on the sales that they generate with their traffic. If you run an affiliate program, and those affiliates promote your product, then you get control of their traffic that they send to your site.
Controlled traffic is great because it is almost infinitely scalable. You can buy as much traffic from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, or other paid advertising sources as you want. There is no limit in most cases.
The downside of controlled traffic is the cost. You are paying for this traffic, either in direct ad spend dollars, or by giving up a percentage of each sale to affiliates or JV partners. To spend money on traffic like this, you need to know that your sales process will convert it into new sales. For each dollar you spend on traffic, you have to be confident that you will earn more than a dollar back.
3. Traffic You Own
The most common source of traffic that you own is your own audience or email list. When you send an email to your list, a certain number of people will click the links to visit the site you link to. Those visitors are traffic that you own.
Owning traffic is the best long-term strategy for success. Traffic generated from people who already know, like, and trust you is more than 10 times more likely to end up buying your product than "cold" traffic. It converts better and the cost to generate it is close to zero, once you have built your list.
You can also generate traffic that you own from building up an audience in social media. If you have a lot of followers on social media sites, then when you post content there, it can drive visitors back to your site. Just remember that most people on social media require a "soft touch" to get them to respond. They don't like blatant pitches to buy products sent to them in social media.
One of the most important decisions that you will make with your online business or opportunity is what traffic sources you are going to use to reach your ideal prospects. If you do not generate enough traffic, or if the traffic you generate is not from the right people, then it will be very hard to be successful.
If you want some advice on which traffic sources are best for your business, then hit reply and just put the word TRAFFIC in the subject line. I will write you back personally, learn about your goals, and offer you some advice. After almost 20 years running successful online businesses, I have used them all!
» Bruce Rae PhD CChem FRSC