Most people looking to promote their online presence buy website traffic from the usual places. These include sites that sell pay per click ads, banner ads, cost per view, contextual ads, co-registration, cost per action, paid reviews, paid blog placements, and solo-ads in ezines. There are other methods of paid traffic, but this is a good representative list.
While the methods by which the ads are displayed varies, the paid advertising methods listed all have one thing in common… They are clearly seen as “ads” by online customers and prospects. And because they are recognized as ads by customers, there is less believability in the message that they are trying to convey. This results in them being less effective than desired by the advertisers.
Yet product advertisers and their affiliates spend billions of dollars paying for ads in order to get traffic to their websites. We see the advertisers knocking each other over for premium placement. If they are doing pay per click, they pay outlandish click fees to get placed on the first page. Banner advertisers pay more than they should to be seen above the fold. Cost per view advertisers pay even more often times than banner advertisers. And the trend is getting worst in terms of competition and cost.
“Yes, it’s expensive to advertise. But it works,” many will say to defend their ad budgets. Of course it works. The fastest way to get visitors to your website is to buy the traffic. The real question is, “What is your ROI?” And, “How long can you remain profitable given all the online spying tools that are available today?” It’s easy to clone both your ad copy, your keywords, and your banner graphics. The web is transparent that way.
If it is easy for you to buy traffic, then it is equally easy for your competitors. And even if you can get someone to your site by paying for that click or impression, you have to deal with the discount factor that customers put on ads.
So what are we to do as website owners?
Having worked with many clients, I see that one of the most effective ways to get website traffic is to issue online press releases. While it is still a paid source of traffic, it is more credible in the consumer’s eyes than an ad. People naturally think of “news” as more trust worthy than a blatant ad. Smart advertisers know this — witness the popularity of “advertorials” over the last 30 years.