If you've been in the IM game for a while, you know that methods of doing just about anything come and go. Some tactics get discarded because newer methods have been developed that do the job better or cheaper. Some get discarded because the technology has changed so that they are no longer viable. But frequently, they get dropped just because they aren't "cool" any more.
Also, since a lot of traffic tactics involve "bidding" scenarios where marketers "compete" for a traffic resource, if a tactic becomes too popular it can become too expensive because competition drives the price out of reach for the majority of marketers.
However, the fact remains that those tactics still work, and they can remain profitable at some price. And after a particular method of advertising gets too expensive for a while, sometimes its price starts to come back down because people abandon it for cheaper methods.
Let's look at a three methods of generating traffic that aren't generally considered "hot" any longer, but we think are still worth looking at -- because they still work.
Think of solo mailings as a "paid cousin" to the ad swap. You can approach an existing list owner and, instead of offering to email your list with their offer in exchange for them doing the same, you simply offer a negotiated, fixed fee to them to mail their list for you.
You're probably familiar with some of the "ad swap directories" out there that help you connect with other list owners to arrange ad swaps. There used to be a lot of directories similar to this for solo mailings, but most of them have shut down as the method went out of favor. This means that you're probably going to have to do some research on your own to identify list owners and contact them directly to make offers.
If you're willing to do that work, you can still identify owners who are willing to mail their lists for you for a fee, and this can be some of the best exposure you can get. Be aware that people are more protective of their lists than ever, and you had better have a good offer with real value ready to go before you start down this path.
If you're unfamiliar with this type of lead generation, you're not alone. It's not highly favored these days, because a very popular system called "Pipeline Profits" came out in 2007 that blew out the market. The sudden influx of competition drove the prices out of sight. Now, not very many people do it any more.
You've probably purchased something or joined a site in the past, and at some point in the purchase process you were presented with a checkbox that asked something like: "I would like to receive special offers or information for 'subject X'". If you left the checkbox checked, you went on a co-registration list. Lists like these can be huge, numbering hundreds of thousands or even millions.
These email lists were then made available for marketers to "bid" to send their email offers. The leads could literally be bought for pennies, or at least they could before the great PIPS marketer flood in the late 2000s.
The good news is that after a few years of being out of favor, those prices have come back down and co-registration leads are alive and well. The bad news is that making co-reg work for you can be difficult. You'd better have a first-rate email provider and be prepared to split test like a madman. Plus, you will almost certainly burn through more than one list before you get it right. Be prepared for a few failures (think of them as "learning experiences" and split test some more) before you strike gold.
All that said, co-registration does work, and there is an amazing amount of traffic in it if you do it right!
Media/Banner Ad Purchases
Whoever started the idea that "banner ads are dead" should be shot. It's a myth, and what's more, it's a myth that's hurting a lot of newer marketers who don't know better and have bought into the idea.
PPM is still a perfectly viable option for getting enormous amounts of traffic to your website. If you want huge exposure and large amounts of traffic (we're talking millions of visitors), there is almost no better way to do it than banner ads. You can scale this traffic method like almost nothing else out there, and that includes PPC. Unless you've got huge (we're talking 6- or 7-figures) budgets to work with, you could never hope to get as much traffic with PPC as you potentially can with banner ad buys.
There are two crucial issues, however, that you have to have covered before you can make banner ads work for you. First, you have to be ready to do serious split-testing on a small scale, working closely with a really good graphics creator. Second, you have to be able to target demographics very precisely.
Don't go in to a banner ad campaign thinking you can just target a keyword like "weight loss" and spray your ads out there. You have to be able to tailor your offer to a very specific group, including selectors like education level, marital status, sex, children/no children, age range and income range. So, for example, target your ads at "college-educated women with no children, between 25 and 35 years of age, making $50,000 or more per year."
Also, while big banner ad campaigns can be significantly less expensive than PPC campaigns, you still should expect to spend $5k to $10k to really get started with these media buys.
While these are all paid techniques, only the media buys require a significant amount of money to get started. You can still get started with solo mailings and co-registration leads for well under $1,000. It takes time, care and experience to use these techniques effectively, but the methods can work wonders for you if you put in the effort to learn -- and the vast majority of marketers completely overlook them.
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