It seems to be in vogue these days to downplay the
importance of web traffic. It's popular (and perfectly
valid) to say things like: "Traffic is worthless if you
don't turn it into money."
Excellent point, but this assumes that you actually have
some traffic to begin with. Each step of the Internet
Marketing Process is not just important - it's required for
success. So, let's focus today on getting traffic to your
site, and remember:
A. Getting traffic to your site is like putting gas in
your car. You can have a great engine, but it won't go
anywhere without the gas. Likewise, you can have a perfect
sales letter - but without traffic, it's just pretty to
B. The highest traffic sites of the world do not just get
a little more traffic than the next guy - they get
exponentially more traffic than the next guy. For example,
according to Media Metrix, AOL's network weighed in at #1,
getting more traffic than any other site in the world in
April of 2001. Amazon was ranked #10. Both are top ten
sites... And the difference? AOL had 89,000,000 visitors
that month and Amazon had 19,000,000. That's a whopping
difference of 70,000,000 visitors between the #1 site and
the #10 site.
Interestingly, the higher up the ranks you go, the greater
the gap between each site.
So, what's the difference? Why is it that the better a
site gets, the further behind it leaves its closest
competitor? Here are their secrets:
1. They Set Up "Multiple Streams of Traffic"
Back in 1995 I observed an interesting phenomenon. I found
that the likelihood of someone responding to your website
was highly dependent on the path they took to get there.
People may ask you "what is the conversion rate of your
website," but that is really an irrelevant question.
Conversion rates are meaningless unless they take into
consideration how someone gets to your website. (Test this
yourself and you'll find it to be true.)
So, I coined the phrase "All Clicks are Not Created
Equal." For example, traffic from a site recommending your
product is more likely to generate a sale than traffic from
a site criticizing your product. That's an extreme
example, but you get the point, right?
When people discover this, their natural tendency is to
start getting picky about how they get their traffic. Why
waste your time on traffic that won't generate a sale,
If you're paying for advertising, this makes perfect
sense. However, many people mistakenly throw away traffic
from free sources as a result.
High traffic sites never throw away traffic and constantly
endeavor to set up new traffic streams.
Let's take the worst possible traffic source imaginable:
FFA pages. Traffic from FFA ads is extremely sparse. To
make matters worse, this traffic is rarely the source of an
immediate sale. Very little amounts of the lowest quality
traffic in the world - yep, I think that qualifies it as
the worst possible traffic source.
If, however, you have an automated FFA promotion going
that doesn't take you any time to maintain and still brings
in traffic, should you throw it away?
I still have in place free automatic traffic building
sources that I set up years ago. Much of the traffic that
comes from these free sources is of low quality, but hey, I
don't lift a finger to get it any more.
Most super-high-traffic sites are constantly working on
new ways to bring in traffic - many of which are not very
sophisticated at all. Even Yahoo, for example, uses a
low-budget "tell a friend" script on their site to
encourage people to forward articles to their friends. Does
Yahoo care that anyone can do this with a free CGI script?
Of course not. It's just one of thousands of traffic
sources they've established.
When you read #3 below, you'll realize why "low-quality"
traffic may not be so bad after all...
Remember, though, if you're paying for "cheeseburger"
traffic, don't pay a steak-and-lobster price. Better: get
your cheeseburger traffic for free from as many automated
sources as you can.
2. They Use Viral Marketing
"Viral Marketing" was the vogue buzz-phrase of 1999.
Several books have been written on the subject in hopes of
cracking the code, but still very few sites are taking
advantage of this incredible concept.
Viral Marketing is any type of marketing that encourages
people to spread your marketing message around for you.
Think about this - it sure would be great if people
advertised your product for you, wouldn't it? It beats the
heck out of paying for advertising.
Here's a viral marketing story for you:
When I started the e-book marketing craze back in 1995
with the release of "Search Engine Tactics," I promoted the
book with a very simple viral marketing scheme.
Here's what I did:
I put a note in the book itself that everyone was granted
permission to give away or even sell the book on their
sites. They would benefit by giving something of value to
their visitors - I would benefit by advertising products in
the book. The people that they gave it to saw the note in
the book, and they gave it away on their sites - and so
So, did this work? You be the judge:
a. The e-book was downloaded over 1,000,000 times when we
last counted in 1998.
b. The e-book was noted by ZDNet as one of the top
downloads of 1999, and is the only e-book ever to be given
5 Stars by ZDNet.
c. Experts have since written entire books about my
little ploy showing people how, they too, can unleash the
viral power of free e-books as traffic builders.
The point? Well, one simple viral marketing tactic put my
name on the map. Granted, it was an unusually successful
virus, but this was just one simple tactic...
People are still giving this book away on their sites
today, and I haven't done anything to promote it in years.
High traffic sites are always looking for new ways to
spread their message virally.
3. They Turn Traffic into More Traffic
This is where most people blow it. Allow me to explain...
Whenever I consult for businesses I always teach my
"Internet Marketing Battle Plan" concept and use that as
the basis for everything we do. This lays the groundwork
for the best marketing possible. (Side Note: I very rarely
do any consulting anymore - and usually only as a favor to
close friends. I just don't have time for it - I love it,
but my own Internet business is too lucrative to spend time
doing anything else.)
The Internet Marketing Battle Plan is a cohesive system
consisting of 5 unique tactics that represent each step of
the Internet Marketing Process. All successful Internet
Marketing I have encountered follows one form or another of
Step 4 is: "A Tactic for Getting People to Come Back to
If you're selling a product on your site, remember that
most sales are not closed the first time someone hears
about a product. Obviously, getting people to come back
will greatly increase your chances of closing a sale.
If you're selling advertising on your site, clearly
getting initial traffic to come back over and over again
will snowball your traffic.
There are thousands of ways to do this, but you always
need to have:
a. An incentive for getting them to come back.
For example, at the killertacticsjournal.com site, we
entice readers to come back by offering free marketing
advice each week from world-leading experts. This incentive
needs to be truly valuable or it won't work.
If we offered misguided advice from self-proclaimed
experts, it would not be nearly the same incentive.
Instead, we offer battle tested advice from undisputed
world-leading experts like Jay Conrad Levinson, Brian
Tracy, Joe Sugarman, Ted Nicholas... If we didn't offer
our readers value each time, they just wouldn't come back!
b. A method of informing them of the incentive.
For example, sign up for our newsletter and we inform
you whenever this new information is available. You come
back and this starts the cycle again.
Can you think of other ways to inform people about your
incentives? Use your imagination.
High traffic websites always keep people coming back for
You now have the plan - it's up to you to put it into
action. Work on all three of these secrets every single
day and I assure you that your traffic will increase
About the Author
Mark Joyner is the CEO of Aesop.com. To quickly and
easily start using free viral traffic building as he
recommends in this article, we recommend StartBlaze.
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