OK, I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to marketing. I let my free ebooks, articles and newsletter do most of my marketing work.
But I also realize that in order to succeed in business, you must spend SOME money advertising. And I've been relearning this lesson recently.
Today I'd like to share with you some of my own recent results, so you'll know exactly how and where you should get started advertising online.
For starters, keep your wallet securely in your pocket. There are three things you must do BEFORE spending ad bucks online. And here they are...
1. Get a handle on how well your site does its selling.
Figuring out how good a job your site does selling is simple. Just look at your stats and do a little math. You are after just one number... how much a website visitor is worth to you. Or more simply, how much you should PAY for a visitor.
To figure this out you need to first find out how many visitors it takes you to get a sale. If you get 1000 visitors a week and 10 sales in that same week, then your visitor to sales ratio is 100-1. If you average 20 sales from those 1000 visitors, you are closing one sale for every 50 visitors. Once you know your own number, you will be able to determine approximately how much a visitor is worth to you. You simply take it one step further...
Let's say you close 1 sale in every 50 visitors and your average sale is $50. Simple math tells you that you could pay up to a dollar per visitor and break even. So a good goal would be to pay LESS THAN a buck per visitor. Any ad buy that averages out to less than a dollar per visitor should be profitable, provided traffic is targeted. If you aim to spend fifty cents per visitor you can double your investment every time you advertise.
Of course there are lots of variables. Things like opt-in email members you may receive from an ad buy and repeat visitors that your list generates. But you get idea. Until you know above numbers for your site, you cannot spend money wisely on advertising.
Once you have a handle on how much a visitor is worth to you, next step you must take before your first ad buy is...
2. Set up your email address capture strategy.
If your site is closing one sale for every 50 visitors, you may be satisfied. But if you are not offering a way for other 49 visitors to "stay in loop" you are making a huge mistake.
And it is simple to keep them from getting away. Just offer them something of value in exchange for their contact information. An example of one way to do this is offering a free gift at your site and getting their name and email address when they request it. Your gift can be a free ebook, an email course or anything else your visitors would want.
You can get as many as 20% of your visitors to leave their contact info if you do it right. That's a lot of email addresses when you start advertising and getting lots of traffic.
But what do you do with addresses?
You treat them like gold.
Regularly publish an email newsletter to your growing list of addresses. Contact them and offer your expertise. Give them more free, valuable information related to what they requested originally. Make them feel special and grow a community. This is how long-term profits are made online.
Once you have tackled two items above, there is one last step before you actually spend money on advertising...
3. Make sure you have a way to measure your results once your advertising starts.
I do this simply by copying my main entry page and using new URL in ad. When I check stats my web host emails me I can easily see how many visitors came through that URL. This is just ONE way to track traffic. There are TONS more. But you get idea. You need some way to measure results of your advertising or you are wasting your money.
OK, once you have tackled three items above, you're all set up to do some ad buys.
I have tried many strategies online and here's straight scoop on what works and what doesn't. I've ranked nine online advertising strategies as follows...
Poor: Don't waste your time. Fair: Worth a try at least once or twice. Good: A solid way to spend ad dollars. Excellent: Should be a regular staple in any online marketing budget.
OK, here they are...
1. FFA submissions (Free for all links pages)
You know, those interfaces that say "submit to 50,000 websites for a few bucks. Well, save your few bucks. FFA's had their time in sun. They worked great when they were first introduced. Now they are not worth a dime. Heck, even if you can do a free submission it's probably not worth your time. The last three tests I ran submitted my URL to nearly a half a million sites. I got four visitors. 'Nuf said.
2. Bulk email
Sure, you CAN get website traffic using bulk email. You can do it yourself or hire a company to hide behind. But fact is, you risk your business reputation and you'll anger a ton of folks. Your domain will end up blocked by many ISPs and could even get sued. Unsolicited bulk email is not worth trouble.
3. Safe lists
This is a twist on opt-in email marketing where you pay for privilege of being able to send email to a list of other marketers who have done same. While I have not tried this personally I can comment on it simply because lots of my subscribers have tried it. And I have not heard one good thing about it other than from people reselling it. The folks that have used it have found that while safe list "members" have agreed to be on safe lists, most never actually read messages or buy anything.