059: A Tale of Two Traffic Sources: Solo Ads vs. Affiliate Networks

The good, the bad and the ugly about solo ads vs. affiliate networking...

There are many ways to get traffic. Some of the older ones include fads such as:

  • Joint Venture Giveaways: someone would sign up and have access to multiple giveaways that they could then send to their list. Everyone in the network would be cross-mailing their own lists, offering these giveaways, to attract traffic to their site.
  • Viral Reports: you have a special report (i.e. how to set up a basic WordPress site) and mail it to your list and the link back to your site is included in the report. For each of your subscribers that passes it on and gets a new subscriber to sign up, you could pay them a $1 per new subscriber.
  • Traffic Exchanges: this operates similarly to the JVG above where there's multiple people in the network. You would join it and then everyone is rotating through viewing multiple sites and each one you view gets you a credit. With these credits, you could then buy banner ads, etc. to drive people back to your site where they would hopefully buy your product.
  • Co-Registration: you would sign up with several other marketers and basically cross-promote. As subscribers signed up for your list, they were signing up for other lists in the same group as well.
  • Safe Lists: join an email-based community with several other marketers. It's really just marketers mailing other marketers each day.
  • Renting/Buying a List: you can choose parameters and order a list from a site like InfoUSA, to market to and pad your own list. Even if they don't opt-in, you can create retargeting ads that follow them around the internet.

All of the above have either gone "out of style" because they didn't work forever, or because they became illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act. Now, the major forms of driving new traffic are Solo Ads or Affiliate Networking.

Solo Ads

Solo ads are when you pay someone else to mail out your offers to their list. You are paying someone else, who already has an established list, for email leads. It sounds good in theory. What are the pitfalls?

It's a great way for the solo ad seller to make money, not necessarily you and probably not you. They don't have to expend any effort-they are not marketing their own product and they are not having to take the time to research affiliate programs.

Not everyone's lists are created equal. You don't really know where they got the names on their list from. Some are built from questionable traffic sources.

Example: AdFly. The traffic you get from using Ad.Fly is mostly from interstitial ads, the ads that are placed before you can see articles and videos, etc. It's very untargeted traffic because you can't enter keywords. There is nothing that you have that everyone wants to buy. So, in this case you'd be paying someone to send ads to a list where subscribers aren't even interested in your niche.

You could be paying $1 per click if your squeeze page is on target and converts at 50%, which is a good conversion rate. Tip: for a good squeeze page, see our Backup Creator squeeze page.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Over a 1-year period, Robert purchased $1912 in solo ads. For that $1912, he got 3209 clicks, which resulted in 1059 email opt-ins and $502 in sales. This appears to be a $1500 loss but you can keep marketing to them (until and if they opt-out) and generate additional sales later.

The good news is that 3209 new subscribers quickly builds your list-if you have a big list, you'll be excited to send out those emails for potential sales, which is the name of the game in internet marketing. Sales!

Caveats & Advice

The best solo ad sellers that will bring you success are likely those that don't do it as their only income. They may just be doing it for a time while they are on vacation, have family matters to attend to, or are between projects. Robert's experience with solo ad ‘only'

You need to put back about 20% of your business income into ad spending so solo ads aren't the worst thing and you SHOULD experiment with new types of traffic. It's not going to be the huge payday you're hoping for but you can build a list that will earn you income over time.

Make sure you have a link tracker like AdTrackz where you can create subcampaigns for each solo ad. That way, you can determine exactly how much traffic you actually generated from each solo ad campaign. Ideally, you can and should also create a spreadsheet that keeps track of all of your solo ad spend, your clicks from the sellers, the opt-in rate for each subcampaign, and any sales.

Affiliate Networks

The best way to get loads more traffic is to create a paid product and put it a on paid affiliate site, such as ClickBank or JVZoo. Our Member Genius plugin supports both these platforms.

When you put that product up on one of those sites, anyone can sign up to be one of your affiliates. You can also immediately offer the affiliate program option to all of your buyers after they purchase your product by giving them the link to register.

You position it as, "Thanks for buying my product! Did you know you could have this for free if you become an affiliate and sell it just 1 time?!" When someone signs up to be one of your affiliates, you give them a special link. When one of their friends or subscribers wants to buy the product, it sends the traffic back to your site and your affiliate gets a commission.

You want to make it easy and profitable for your affiliates-give them a reason to market YOU above others. Have your email(s) ready for them, your banner ads, etc., so that they don't have to do any work for you. Give them a really good commission-50% and 100% are good.

Tip: to check out a good affiliate site, go to the Backup Creator affiliate program.

Today's Take-Aways

You need to build a list somehow. Solo ads and affiliate marketing can be part of your strategy in addition to: having a blog to take advantage of SEO, having a podcast, running Facebook ads, running Bing ads.

Tip: to learn to podcast like a pro, go to Podcast Crusher.

Affiliate marketing can also be a great option for you to bring in income if you don't have a product ready, if you're between projects or you need to be away from your business for a period of time.

Don't be afraid of Affiliate Marketing-it's not evil and you won't burn out your list if you deliver some really cool value along with the product that you're selling.

One Last Word of Wisdom

Don't be negative. Just don't. Negativity leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy and confirmation bias (choosing only to hang on to things that reinforce our beliefs). If you're upset and frustrated, turn that into fuel.

Ask yourself, "What's good about this?" even if it means you just learned 10 ways not to do something. Have an "abundance mindset." Know that you'll succeed.

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Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016PodcastTraffic

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