Driving Traffic

Forum & Email Signatures

Adding your affiliate links to your email and forum signatures is a good place to start your promotion efforts. This is a very simple and easily implemented tactic, though you should be careful not to go too far and come off “spammy.” Spam is a serious problem, and you would think that this would be common sense, but people still do it. Use your email  account as you would normally, and don’t go off sending unsolicited mail to a bunch of people. Only comment in a forum when it adds to a discussion, and make sure that whatever you’re promoting is relevant to the topic at hand.

Links in your forum signature have an added benefit in that it provides another way to get free backlinks to your site. If you happen to be knowledgeable in the subject you’re posting on, this will help build your reputation. As you post more, your reputation will grow, until you’re recognized as an exert on the subject. Once you’re reached this point, people will trust the product recommendations that you’ve made in your signature.

If you want to have a great resource for learning more about how to use forums effectively, we recommend Forum Traffic Gold.

Blogging & Article Marketing

You can find many, many resources out there on how to use writing to bring traffic to your affiliate links. Posting to a blog that you own and writing articles for others to use as content are the most well known and proven methods out there. Content created for these purposes are utilized in different ways, but they share many common aspects. Here are some guidelines that you should follow:

  • Content is king. You should aim for between 300-500 words to whet your reader’s appetite. according to our research, shorter articles appeal more to today’s shorter attention spans, therefore they tend to convert better in terms of click-through.
  • Context is king. Keep your message on point, but try to keep your target keyword density under 5%. Any more than that and your article could become redundant or unreadable.
  • Be original. Everyone has a subject that they’re knowledgeable about, and there’s surely an affiliate program for a related product on any subject. If you can’t think of anything to write about, you can hire a ghostwriter or buy PLR material. Be careful when using such material, however; surely someone else has used it in the past, so you should edit it a bit to make it different. We will cover this more in a bit.
  • Don’t forget your links. About 2 or 3 per article or post are acceptable. They should be placed toward the end of your article, using your target keywords as the anchor text. Include your URL as well because some people may be republishing your article as text only.

Once you’ve come up with something, you should post it to your blog first. Once posted, you can share it with the rest of the world by “pinging” it at places like Ping-o-Matic – this lets search engines and blog aggregation services know a post has been added. You can also submit your post to social bookmarking sites. We cover how to do this further down the page. You should start getting some traffic to your site, which in turn will guide some clicks on your links in your post. The more often you post, the more traffic you receive, which will lead to more sales.

You can take your content a step further and get it to work harder for you by submitting it to article directories. Before you do this, you should “spin” it. Spinning is when content is rewritten or edited so that it appears to be a new and unique work. Many people do this so that their links will get counted by search engines. Search engines will check to see if links are attached to unique content, and the more unique content attached to a particular link, the higher the link’s rank will be. If a link is attached to content duplicated elsewhere, it won’t rank as high with search engines.

Spinning articles is tedious, time consuming work. Fortunately, there are tools to help automate the process, such as Mass Article Control and Magic Article Spinner and Rewriter. These tools are also wonderful to use in turning PLR articles into unique content.

Now that you’ve turned your initial blog post into hundreds of unique articles, you can now submit them to article directories. By far, the most popular directories are Ezine Articles and Go Articles. Another great place to submit your articles is with the Free Traffic System. The great advantage that Free Traffic System has over traditional article directories is that your content is guaranteed to be posted to other people’s blogs. Other article directories cannot promise this, but it is still worth your effort to publish with them because they attract a very large volume of publishers.

Integration Marketing

If you operate your own website, be it a membership site or a simple squeeze page, this can be a very powerful method for driving traffic to your links or other websites that you run.

  • 404 Error Pages – These are the pages that a visitor will see when they type in a URL for your site that doesn’t exist. Instead of just displaying a boring “page not found” message, the visitor would see ads for the products you’re promoting. This is a very powerful tactic which is not very difficult to implement. If you’re unsure how to do this, Jason Dinner’s free guide 404 Secrets will show you.
  • Thank You Pages/One-Time Offers – If you’re running a membership site or are capturing leads using an autoresponder form on a squeeze page, the page your visitor sees next, whether it is a thank-you page or login page, is another great opportunity for cross-promotion. A quick and easy way of setting this up is by using OTO Gold Mine. This free service auto-generates a page for you with various Clickbank products. All you have to do is redirect your leads to your page after they log in or opt in. However, this method of traffic generation typically works best with a membership site. If you want more information on how to establish your own site and have it flourish, check out Membership Gold Rush.

Safelists & Traffic Exchanges

As a lead generation source, these are probably the most misunderstood methods, though they can be very lucrative if used properly. These systems often attract many people looking to inexpensively drive lots traffic to their sites. However, most of the people using these systems are typically only visiting pages long enough so they can receive credit to get their page in front of other people using the system. Most do not realize that the landing pages that they’re sending others to through their affiliate links are not geared to these systems. Worse than that, they are often promoting the wrong kind of product. Here are some guidelines in how to leverage these to generate leads:

  • Promote the right kind of product – As we’ve said before, most of the people using traffic exchanges and safelists are only doing so that their affiliate sites gain visitors. Most are not interested in purchasing anything themselves. They will be receptive to free tips on list building and affiliate, network or Internet marketing. If you can find a product that offers a freebie like that up front with a big upsell on the back end, that would be ideal.
  • Get their attention – The page the lead sees needs to be provocative yet brief; you typically only have 15 to 30 seconds before they leave. You will want to set up a squeeze page which sends visitors to your affiliate landing page or otherwise captures the lead.

The Clickbank Pirate system is ideally suited for these types of systems. They have ready-made squeeze pages which automatically capture the lead and add your affiliate ID to some very popular Clickbank products in the niches we mentioned. It is a very powerful and useful system, whcih we highly recommend.

There’s another thing we should mention, especially if you’re using safelists: you will be receiving a very large volume of email. We suggest that you set up a separate email account specifically for this. Gmail usually works best; it’s free and has powerful filtering tools to automatically sort and tag mail from various lists. before you start setting up your safelist advertising, you should go grab a copy of the Ultimate Safelist Survival Guide.

As with any other marketing method, you should do some testing to determine which safelist or traffic exchange works best for you. Here are some of the most popular safelists and highest-rated traffic exchanges to get you started.

Web 2.0 Marketing

Web 2.0 is a rather nebulous term that encompasses a lot of new and different type of sites which all typically have a “social” or sharing aspect to them.

  • Social Bookmarking – These types of sites allow you to simply post a link which gets shared with all the other users. The more people that note that they like the link, the more popular it becomes, which makes it more likely to be seen on the front page. This will lead to more traffic. Generally, you don’t want to post your affiliate link, but rather use these sites to assist in your blogging strategies. In order to reach as many of sites as possible with a few clicks, we suggest you use Social Poster or Social Marker to submit your blog articles.
  • Social Networking – These include sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. They allow you to connect with other like-minded individuals through groups. Any of your followers or friends will be able to see whatever you post, which makes it another way to generate some unexpected leads. Facebook and MySpace also offer PPC advertising, but they tend to be very selective about the ads you place. However, leads you generate though PPC con these sites tend to be much more targeted than through traditional PPC means, which we discuss further down the page.
  • Video Sites – We’re sure by now that everyone has heard of Youtube or sites like it. However, many marketers have discovered that these sites are also a good way of getting their message out. People like to be entertained, and video is a uniquely effective method of informing while entertaining. Camtasia Studio is the most popular and easiest to use software for making entertaining informational videos, but free alternatives such as Debut do exist for those on a smaller budget.
  • Other Web 2.0 Sites – A couple other sites of mention that seem to defy category are Hubpages and Squidoo. These are sites that allow you to create a page on just about any subject and share in the advertising revenue from Adsense, Amazon, or eBay ads that are displayed on your page. Because these sites are free, they’ve attracted many contributors. New content is added constantly, and because of this they’re very popular with search engines. You could use these sites in conjunction with your article marketing efforts and possibly earn a little extra on the side.

PPC Advertising

This is probably the most instant and targeted traffic generation method that you can use. However, you need to make sure you use it properly, or you could end up throwing away a lot of money. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • You will need an account with a pay-per-click advertiser. We suggest starting out with Google Adwords. They’re the most popular, but there exist many other PPC advertising companies that you can try.
  • Decide what you want to promote, and then create a list of short phrases, keywords and search terms that relate to your product.
  • Keep your short phrases as on topic as possible. So, if you were promoting ASUS Eee PC 1000HE, you might want to choose terms like “ASUS Eee PC 1000HE” or “ASUS netbook”
  • If you are promoting a Clickbank product and choose terms or keywords that include “Clickbank”, you will get lots of traffic/clicks etc., but you may not have as many people purchasing your product as you would if your traffic were more targeted.
  • Your cost per click will usually be lower if you include your keyword in your headline, ad text and in the url.

Please visit Traffic Generation 101 for a much more in-depth guide for using Adwords or other PPC advertisers.

Classified Ads

Online classified sites are an online advertising medium that allow you to post your ads and get them seen by masses of people for very minimal costs. Sites such as Craigslist and USFreeads receive over 5 billion page views a month. That’s a lot of people searching for ways to either make money or buy products. Many of the people who are looking at these ads are looking for employment, or ways to earn extra income, so share something about your success. Don’t forget to provide your affiliate link.

Giveaway Events

You can signup as a contributor for  a JV Giveaway Event in order to generate and capture leads for free. You must provide a free downloadable gift as a contributor. This can be an e-book, software, website templates, PLR articles or any other free product that can benefit the members of the giveaway. We suggest using safelists or traffic exchanges to refer people to these events. We have covered strategies on how to best use these for lead generation purposes earlier on this page.

Here are some sites that will help you find the hottest new giveaway events:

Offline Marketing

Typically, offline marketing methods revolve around purchasing ad space in other forms of media such as radio, television, billboards and print publications, but it doesn’t have to. You see URLs on just about everything nowadays, and sometimes it doesn’t cost you a cent to do the same. A couple low-cost ideas would be to put your affiliate URLs on business cards, bumper stickers, t-shirts or fliers.  You could try spreading your links through word of mouth, or even network with other business owners through your local Chamber of Commerce. There are hundreds of other ways to promote your affiliate links offline. The point is, just because you run an online business, that doesn’t mean you can’t use other advertising channels. After all, before the advent of the Internet, all forms of advertising were offline.

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