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Three Cheap and Effective Ways to Drive Tons of Highly Targeted Traffic to Your Web Site

It’s been a long time since I talked about a couple of my favorite Internet marketing strategies: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engines and Affiliate Programs. These are two of the best tools you can use to bring hordes of people who are interested in buying your product or service to your web site -- with little or no risk to your pocketbook.

PPC search engines are great because once you’ve done your homework and chosen the keywords people will use to find you in the search engines (I’m going to show you how to do this), it’s easy to attract visitors who are interested in what you have to offer, often for just a few pennies.

And Affiliate Programs are one of the best ways to get tons of interested visitors to your site by having other people do the legwork, promoting your web site for you. And the best part is that there’s absolutely no risk to you because you don’t pay a dime unless visitors referred by your affiliates buy your product or service -- so you don’t pay out commissions unless you already have cash in hand!

And last but not least, after we take a closer look at these strategies, I want to show you a really cool way to combine these two techniques that I’d bet my left shoe you’ve never thought of... ;-)


1. Using PPC Search Engines to Get Cheap Targeted Traffic

As many of you may know, I’ve been a strong advocate of PPC search engines for years. They remain one of the most effective tools you can use to bring quick, cheap, targeted traffic to your site.

True to their name, with pay-per-click search engines you pay a premium every time a visitor clicks on your link -- anything from a few cents to a few dollars.

For example, let’s say you have a web site that sells woolen mittens. And you want to rank #1 in the search engines for the term "woolen mittens."

To get a top-ten position in the free search engines, you’d probably be looking at a few months (at least) of arduous effort.

But in the pay-per-clicks, you can grab the #1 spot in just minutes! That’s because all you have to do is see how much the person who has the #1 position is paying per click, and simply outbid them by paying one penny more!

Then, when your potential customer searches for the term "woolen mittens," your link will show up as the first listing on the search results page. And each time searchers click on your link, you’ll pay however much you have bid for that #1 position.

Determine your keyword bidding strategy

There are three advantages to bidding on keywords in the pay-per-clicks:

  1. You get effective advertising, because you only pay when someone actually clicks through to your web site.

  2. Your listing will get posted within a couple of hours to a couple of days at the most, meaning you can start profiting from increased traffic and sales almost immediately.

  3. In order to rank in the #1 position, all you have to do is outbid your competitors, which is usually only a matter of a few pennies per click.

Done right, pay-per-click advertising can be very profitable; however, you can lose a lot of money with your PPC advertising if you're not careful. Here are some tips to help you ensure your campaigns are profitable:

  • Avoid keywords that are too general. More general keywords will attract a lot of traffic, driving up the cost of your PPC campaign and converting few visitors to sales because general search terms are not specific enough to attract the right audience.

  • Ensure that the sales process on your web site is converting visitors to buyers before you launch a full-scale PPC campaign. You don't want to be spending money on getting the traffic if your web site can't produce sales.

  • And finally, make sure you calculate how much you can afford to bid on keywords to guarantee that you still turn a profit.

To determine how much you can afford to bid on your keywords, you will need to understand the value of each visitor to your site. You can do this by determining the number of sales you will get, the profit you will earn per sale, and the number of unique visitors your site will receive during a set period of time. It’s generally easiest to calculate these numbers on a monthly basis.

Here are three easy steps that will help you determine the value of each individual visitor to your site:

  1. To determine your visitor conversion rate (i.e., the percentage of visitors who buy from you), calculate:

    number of unique visitors ÷ number of sales = visitor conversion rate

  2. To calculate your net profit per sale, calculate:

    (gross revenue – total expenses) ÷ number of sales = net profit per sale

  3. To determine the value of each of visitor to your site, calculate:

    net profit per sale ÷ visitor conversion rate = individual visitor value

Once you understand the value of your visitors, you will be able to set your maximum bid for keywords. For example, you may determine that each individual visitor to your site is worth 50 cents in pure profit. This means you can afford to bid a maximum of 49 cents per click to guarantee that you will generate profits.

The value of your visitors may also help you determine which PPC search engines you will use, as the minimum bid on keywords in some search engines may be higher than in others.

Choose a pay-per-click search engine to use

Overture.com is the largest and most far-reaching PPC search engine, but its popularity has driven up the cost of advertising with the company. The beauty of bidding on keywords in Overture is that your web site will be listed not only on Overture, but also at Yahoo!, MSN, AltaVista, CNN.com, and InfoSpace, provided your bid is in the top three for a particular keyword.

Other good, cheap PPC search engines worth exploring include Findwhat, 7Search, and Kanoodle.

Get listed on the first page of Google

Google Adwords is also an excellent option, though technically it's not really a pay-per-click search engine. Instead, it's a "pay-per-position" advertising model that is the only way to get listed on the first page of Google without fighting your way through the free listings.

Google Adwords listings show up in colored boxes on the right-hand side of Google's free search results, giving you tons of great exposure.

With Google Adwords, you bid on keywords for placement; however, Google Adwords also lists ads by popularity (how many clicks they get). You may be paying for placement, but unless your link receives more click-throughs than your competition's links, your listing may not appear in the top spots of the search results.

Find the keywords that your market is searching for

Start by checking your web logs to see what keywords your visitors searched for to arrive at your site (check with your web host if you don’t have access to these statistics). These will provide a good indication of what kinds of terms your potential customers think of when they’re looking for a product or service like yours.

You may also want to consider using a service such as WordTracker, which allows you to easily see which keywords are frequently searched by your target market in the major search engines -- but are not being used by your competition.

All you have to do is enter your keyword, and WordTracker will check its massive database to see how often people are looking for that term, how many competing sites are using that particular keyword, and how much they are bidding in the PPC search engines.

A tool like this will help you choose excellent keywords to bid on. It will also allow you to view the bid price of each keyword in separate PPC search engines, which will help you decide whether the cost of bidding on the keyword is in your ballpark or not.

For example, WordTracker might display the following results for the keywords "Atkins Diet" in Overture.com:

Keyword: Atkins Diet
Bid Rank   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Bid Price   $0.48 $0.38 $0.37 $0.35 $0.31 $0.30 $0.29 $0.28

As you can see, if you wanted to be ranked #1 in the search engine results for the keyword "Atkins Diet" in Overture, you’d need to bid 49 cents. You would also need a great sales process -- because at over 24,000 clicks in the last 30 days alone, this term would cost you almost $12,000 a month to keep a top listing at 49 cents a click!

A free trial version of WordTracker is available at: www.marketingtips.com/wordtracker. There is also a much more robust paid version as well.

Now let’s shift our focus to an even more powerful tool that I’ve used to grow my own business, and that I strongly recommend as one of the key strategies you can use to direct massive amounts of qualified traffic to your site... without spending a dime up front!

2. Using Affiliate Programs to Get Loads of Qualified Traffic

An Affiliate Program (also referred to as a "Reseller" or "Associate" Program) is a way to get other people to promote your product or service. For every customer (not visitor) that your "affiliates" send to your web site, you pay them a commission.

Your affiliates send visitors to your web site using banner ads, text links, letters of referral, etc... and you track these visitors using special software. For every visitor who decides to buy, you pay your affiliate a commission -- a percentage of the profits you make.

It’s an extremely powerful, profitable way to grow your business because:

  1. It’s a win-win partnership, so enlisting an army of affiliates to promote your product is extremely easy. Your affiliates get paid when they refer a paying customer to your web site.

  2. There are no up-front advertising costs, because you only pay your affiliates for advertising that gets you sales. Whether they send 10 visitors a day to your site or 10,000, you only pay them for the sale of your product or service.

  3. It’s extremely low-risk. Setting up your own affiliate program doesn’t cost much at all if you’re prepared to do some work yourself.

  4. You can literally explode your online sales by enlisting an army of affiliates to promote your product or service for you.

Since you know your product or service better than anyone else, you’ll probably have an idea of how you want to promote it. Providing your affiliates with banners, product images, text links, etc. will allow them to get started promoting your product or service faster and more effectively.

One of the best strategies for motivating your affiliates to promote your product or service is to pay them well for their efforts. If the commissions you offer aren’t attractive enough, your affiliates just won’t be motivated.

Additional incentives, such as bonuses for a certain number of sales, will motivate your best affiliates to actively promote your site, putting in as much effort as possible to refer sales on your behalf.

Set up and manage your affiliate program

In order to run a successful affiliate program, you need to be able to:

  1. Create a separate account for each new affiliate
  2. Track each of their referred sales on each of your products that they are promoting
  3. Calculate commissions based on referred sales

A few years ago, there was no special software to do all this. It was a complicated and time-consuming process to track affiliate sales.

But today, you can use software to automatically keep track of which affiliate made which sale and exactly how much you owe each affiliate. Tracking 10,000 affiliates is just as easy as tracking one!

A number of software programs are available to manage your affiliate program, but you’ll want to check out a few to see how easy they are to set up and use.

All-in-one affiliate tracking software like AssocTRAC (www.assoctrac.com) will cost a few hundred dollars and will give you an easy and functional way to automate your affiliate program. Remember that cheaper programs may be appealing at first, but may lack the functionality of tried and tested software.

3. How You Can Combine These Two Strategies for Even BIGGER Profits!

Now that you’ve had a "refresher course" on the power of PPC search engines and affiliate programs, I want to show you an extremely effective way to combine the two strategies and boost the flow of targeted visitors to your site!

Here’s all you do: Encourage your affiliates to try bidding on your keywords to market your product or service in the PPC search engines.

You might think that this would drive up bidding costs, and that you’ll wind up actually competing for pay-per-click placement against people who are supposed to be working for you. But the fact is, encouraging your affiliates to bid on your keywords can help to get you a LOT more exposure in the search results!

Think about this: Typically, when searchers enter their search term and your site appears in the results, your link will be listed alongside links to other web sites... your competitors' web sites.

Now imagine you have a handful of affiliates using the same keywords as you. People enter their search term and your site appears in the results. But instead of being surrounded by links to your competitors’ sites, you are surrounded by more links to your OWN web site!

By using this strategy, you are taking up valuable search engine "real estate." Picture the search engines as a strip mall, and the web site links as the storefronts in the mall (also known as real estate). The more of these storefronts you occupy with your product, the less space there will be left for your competitors’ product -- and the more likely it is that a shopper is going to see your product and buy it.

You may feel that some keywords should be yours and yours alone -- like your company name -- and wish to include a clause in the contract between you and your affiliate, restricting them from using those keywords. It’s up to you if you want to do this, but note that your affiliate does not need your permission to bid on your company name unless you’ve specifically asked them not to.

That said, it really doesn't hurt to let your affiliates bid on your company name in the pay-per-click search engines. Whatever your affiliates are doing to get qualified traffic to your site can only benefit you.

So there’s no need to worry that your affiliates could outbid you, or drive up the costs of your PPC advertising...

Because the most important thing to remember about your affiliates is that they are your teammates or business partners, working with you to market your product or service. Competing with them for the top spot is counterproductive, especially since the goal is to occupy as much of the search engine results page as you can with links to your site.

If your affiliates are taking the initiative to advertise on your behalf in the pay-per-clicks, don’t waste your money outbidding them. Instead, check to see how much your competitors are bidding on keywords and spend your time and money keeping ahead of them. Your campaign should be aimed at outbidding your competition, not your affiliates, for top placement in the PPC search engine results.

You may want to consider actively encouraging your affiliates to try PPC advertising! If you decide to do this, you might want to provide them with a few tips and strategies on how they can use the PPCs to their advantage -- because, in the end, this will be to your advantage, too.

4. Final Thoughts

By themselves, both PPC search engines and affiliate programs are hugely effective ways to draw a paying crowd to your site. They are two of the most powerful traffic-generation techniques on the Internet today, and the real beauty of them both is that they will cost you next to nothing.

Once your affiliate program is up and running -- and automated with software like AssocTRAC -- you won’t have to spend any time or money at all. As your affiliates promote your products for you, your software tracks their sales for you, and it makes sure they are only scheduled to be paid after a sale is made.

It’s one of the smartest marketing strategies you can use.

And I feel just as strongly about using pay-per-click search engines -- particularly if you are a small business owner going after a niche market on the ‘Net. Pay-per-clicks are the fastest way to get your product in front of your exact target audience so you can see immediate results. And, by keeping a close eye on your return on investment for each keyword you bid on, you can ensure that your pay-per-click campaigns are always enormously profitable.

By combining these two powerful strategies to maximize your coverage in the pay-per-click listings, you can dominate your market space swiftly and effectively. Having your affiliates join you in the pay-per-clicks is really only a natural extension of both affiliate programs and PPC advertising, but it’s a technique that doesn’t get taken advantage of often enough.

There are lots of online resources to help you get started with your affiliate program or PPC campaign. One of the best is the "Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet -- Version 2004" course, where you’ll find detailed descriptions of how you can profit with these proven strategies.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Corey Rudl is the owner of four highly successful online businesses that attract more than 6 million visitors and generate over $5.2 million each year. He is also the author of the #1 best-selling Internet Marketing course online.

To check out his site that's JAM-PACKED WITH THE EXACT INFORMATION YOU NEED to start, build, and grow your very own profitable Internet business,
I highly recommend visiting his website.

Click here to visit his website now.

This guy really knows what he's talking about

   
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