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Buying Traffic For Your Website? Read This First (5 Lessons Learned)

Ever feel like you’re grinding your face in the sand every time you’re buying traffic? Trust me, I’ve been there… quite a few times actually.

In this post, you’re going to have a few good laughs at my expense, but please don’t underestimate the information in these lessons… they will absolutely improve your experience with buying traffic for your website, while helping you stay out of the sand.

5 Very Important Traffic Buying Lessons…

Lesson 1 :: Always Test Your Funnel First

Nothing’s worse than pulling the trigger on some fresh paid traffic, only to realize you gave the wrong link to your traffic provider or forgot to connect your email marketing system to your capture page… or any number of other easy-to-do mistakes.

You would think it would go without saying to check your sales funnel before you run traffic, but it’s the most common mistake I see people make… and oh yeah… I’ve done it myself (a couple of times).

To prevent this unwanted disaster and waste of valuable traffic, just test your link before giving it to your traffic guy or using in a PPC campaign. Pop your own email into your capture page, make sure you’re sent to the right sales page or offer after optin, check all links…. and don’t forget to check your inbox to make sure you receive any autoresponder emails your funnel should be spitting out.

Lesson 2 :: If It Sounds Too Good To Be True.. It Is

With so many offers of traffic out there, new people will most often gravitate to price as the determining factor for the traffic they buy. This almost always ends up in disaster. Paid traffic CANNOT be measured by cost alone! …In fact, most “cheap” traffic is complete garbage.

When you see offers that sound too good… like 30,000 guaranteed targeted unique visitors for $175. RUN!!

For some real-life examples of this, just check out traffic offers on Fiverr or Adf.ly. It’s not that they won’t send the traffic… it’s that the traffic they send just sucks… and will never amount to a positive ROI for your business.

I learned this lesson the hard way… time after time being suckered into cheap traffic deals… 5,000 visitors, 10,000 visitors, 30,000 visitors and more… only to be left stewing over a depleted marketing budget and 2 leads from Uganda.

Would you rather spend $175 for 30,000 visitors that amount to absolutely nothing… or use that same $175 for 300 visitors that turns into 120 new subscribers and a couple new customers, or team members?

Quality paid traffic will cost real money… and as you build your skills and have a profitable sales funnel, you can scale your business to very high levels of profitability.

Lesson 3 :: Track Everything

An unfortunate thing that’s pretty common among traffic sellers is that they tend to over-embellish their traffic quality… and some will flat out lie. It’s just the way it is. Is that a problem?… Not really. As long as you approach every traffic buy as a test and implement your own tracking, you’ll be just fine.

Not tracking your paid traffic is a massive mistake, here’s why…

Let’s say you you decide to to buy a 300 visitor solo ad. You give the guy the link to your capture page and the traffic starts flowing. Now let’s say that you are like most people and you’ve also been doing some networking on Facebook and other social sites, posting to a few of your favorite forums, and maybe even emailing a few people (or your list) that very same link.

After that solo ad completes, you’re left with some leads and perhaps a signup or two… but where did they come from?

Were your leads the result of the solo ad, the facebook sharing, the emailing.. or something else. Because you got a sale, you might very well be tempted to run another 300 visitor solo ad, right?

Now what if you knew that none of those signups and only a few of the leads actually came from the solo ad?… Would you run it again with that same vendor?

You need to be able to track every traffic source individually so that you can tell where every lead and sale came from… even if the sale happens 6 months down the road …so you can do more of what works!

Another good reason to track is to ensure that you’re actually getting the traffic you’re paying for. Tracking allows you to have valid proof of the visitors you’ve received. That not only comes in handy in the event of a dispute, but it’s really nice to know you actually got what you bought.

There are some really easy ways to do that using tracking variables, tracking URLS or tracking systems, like Trck.me.

You might also be fortunate enough to have some basic valuable tracking built into the business you’re promoting like this system that provides built in “end-to-end” tracking.

Either way… be sure you have tracking set up before you run paid traffic.

Lesson 4 :: Don’t Blow Your Wad… All At Once

Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. No matter how much you want to “go big”… don’t just dive into a large traffic buy without testing smaller with that same source first. Of course you need to run enough so that your numbers are statistically significant, but you can get a pretty solid idea of the traffic quality after around 200-300 visitors.

It’s also never a good plan to buy some traffic one time and see if it’s profitable, you need to have a plan for consistent traffic buying over a period of months. Patterns of traffic on the internet change constantly with holidays, events, seasons, social issues, etc… and it’s that consistency over time that really provides the best results.

Here’s a few things to check and measure traffic quality:

  • Lead conversion. A decent capture page should convert around 40-45%… or higher.
  • Lead responsiveness. How many of these new leads opened your first followup email? I personally like to see at least 30% opens on day 1.
  • ..and of course sales, or new member signups!

Important Note: Not getting sales right away with a paid traffic source does not mean it’s bad traffic. If you’re getting good responsive leads, you’ll likely get sales down the road as you continue to build a relationship with those subscribers. Falsely judging good traffic can be a huge mistake. Put a big emphasis on communicating with your list and NEVER leave the job to an autoresponder message series alone.

Lesson 5 :: You Can’t Handle The… Traffic!

The best way to articulate this lesson is with a story. Although this may be quite funny to look back on, I can assure you that is was very painful at the time.

It was 2004, and I was generating leads for a service-based business I had at that time. I had been using a few different pay-per-click networks for traffic, but just could not seem to get enough clicks per day to hit the lead flow I wanted. I started searching around for traffic and came across a traffic broker company. I put in my info and waited for a call.

A very fast-talking woman called me back a couple hours later and sold me on how great their service was. She pitched me on a banner ad placement on a couple of the most traffic’d sites on the internet at that time… Alta Vista, LookSmart, AllTheWeb.

This was a guaranteed 5,000 click package on a few specific targeted pages of their networks that get over 3 million pageviews per day… and man I was excited. I paid via check-by-fax a sum of $5,000 ($1.00 per click), and anxiously awaited my leads and sales.

I got up the next morning since my traffic was slated to start a few hours prior, I logged into my email to find an inbox with only about a dozen new leads. I thought to myself… “That can’t be right.”

For the next few hours I kept refreshing my inbox… and nothing. I went to my capture page URL and my stomach churned as I saw the words “Internal Server Error 500” displayed.

After a call to my website hosting company, they revealed that around 6am that morning my site was overrun with traffic, and their server safe-guards shut it down after about 30 seconds. Then after a call to the traffic broker, she told me they already sent all 5,000 clicks.. the campaign was finished in less than 20 minutes. They basically sent all 5,000 clicks at once.

And in case you’re wondering… NO REFUNDS! 🙁

Don’t let this happen to you… always find out the delivery period and flow of traffic, and please make sure your capture pages and sales videos are hosted on a server that can handle it. Shared hosting accounts are NOT your friend!

BONUS LESSON :: Know Your Business Metrics

The reason this 6th lesson is labelled as a bonus is simply because in marketing, odd numbers in titles perform better than even numbers (really).

This may actually be the most important lesson of all… because if you don’t know your business metrics, such as how much a customer is worth to you… how do you know how much you can spend to acquire a new customer and still be profitable?

Most of the people I see marketing online are a stone’s throw from disaster, simply because they are spending more on traffic than they even stand a chance to regain in their business model. They treat their business like a lottery; throwing money at it… hoping to hit the big time.

That’s no way to run a business. If you’re going to build a real, sustainable and profitable business, you need to step up and take ownership. Start making informed business decisions… and take your online marketing education seriously.

First things first…

If you’re thinking about buying traffic, you better have a marketing funnel (automated online sales process) in place. That starts with a capture page to collect subscribers, and automatically add those subscribers to your list… a list maintained in a professional email marketing/autoresponder system like GetResponse (best choice), or Aweber. Trying to use substandard tools or cheap autoresponders will not work out for you in the long run.

Once you’re collecting subscribers, you need to create a series of emails to provide them value and connect them to YOU. People are 100 times more likely to buy from someone they know, like and trust… and email is a very effective way to communicate with a large audience at once, and stay in front of them at that right time when they’re ready to buy or join.

Then… one of the things that is so often overlooked is the continued relationship building with your subscribers. I have found that the best way to do that is to provide as much value as you possibly can in the form of helpful emails, videos, blog posts… and getting them connected to you on a more personal level such as Facebook. The more your subscribers get to know YOU, the more likely they will be to buy from you or join you in a business opportunity. It’s what we term the “Know, Like, Trust” triangle. Complete the triangle with your subscribers and you’ll have a much easier time turning paid traffic into conversions. I provide a complete training on that here.

If you take these lessons to heart and set a few things in place before you make that traffic purchase, you’ll find that you get much better results. If setting all this stuff up seems like a daunting task, you should consider using a system that has it all setup for you… high converting capture pages, proven sales videos, done-for-you autoresponder messages, personal coaching, end-to-end tracking, followup automation… this is the system I use.

Here’s the kind of conversion numbers that are possible when you come at this with all the right things in place… (a small paid traffic test from today)

buying traffic for your website

==> Click Here to see the exact system I used to get those results!

Do you have questions or additional tips I may have left out? …have you had your own traffic faceplant? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

38 comments… add one
  • Wow dude! …that is one awesome post for sure. This is why I think everyone should be following you. You share the stuff we really need to know, but others never share.

    Thanks for keeping it real.

    • Hey Paul, you’re so welcome my friend! Thanks for that awesome compliment. I believe in total transparency and have no problem sharing everything about what I do… even the stuff that doesn’t work.

      Keep coming back man… I’ve got lots more to share 🙂

  • Thanks for the tips, Jon! Very helpful. Nothing better than the voice of experience. Bless you!

    • You’re welcome Deborah… appreciate your comment 🙂

  • So much good information here. I must admit I’ve bought some traffic from a couple of the sources you give here. Great for traffic to your site, but usually unresponsive. Keep the value coming. Loving it.

    • Hey Ralph, thanks!.. good to see you here. I think it’s almost a right of passage for success to have wasted some money on crazy traffic deals LOL 🙂

  • Excellent article !

    • Thanks so much John B.!! 🙂

  • Wow Jon. Awesome post. I see you using what Neil Patel taught us and you are truly a great writer. Your warnings about buying traffic are detailed, clear and super informative-just like your videos. I am impressed and thankful.

    • You’re so welcome Nancy, and thank you! ..Always love having you read my posts. 🙂

  • Another excellent post! Excellent advice, and once I am ready to buy traffic I will surely be referring back to this article!

    • That’s good to hear Jeremy… I’m glad you got value from the info. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  • Great as always Jon. You never fail to deliver the goods. 🙂 I can actually relate to a few of these in my short time in the biz. 🙂

    • Yes, I know you’ve experienced a couple of these Denise.. I was there LOL. These are the kind of things that will take some right out of business, while others just get stronger. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  • Quiet a journey Jon!
    Learning on your own mistakes is good, but if you can avoid it, much better.
    Thank you for this powerful lesson.

    • For sure Nataliia! …I had to go through all of these completely on my own, but I made the decision to share these experiences with others so they don’t have to –provided that they actually listen 🙂

  • Jon! Totally inspired by so many of the teachings you share. You really break it down to such a simple methodology and love your live trainings to ,keep em coming!

    • I will certainly keep them coming Frank… thank you so much for your comment. Rock on my friend! 🙂

  • Jon, I’m new to buying traffic and appreciate you sharing these nuggets. Great share from first hand experience.

    • Thank you Nancy… and you get to bypass the beginner mistakes and get right to business. 🙂

  • What a great post, John!!! I am definitely someone who has done a full “face plant” on traffic buys in the past! LOL

    • Yeah Kevin.. that’s kind of a right of passage in this industry for most I think. Hopefully some will learn from this and not have to experience the faceplant first hand. Thanks for your comment bro! 🙂

  • Jon this is gold, Im about to go for a second round of paid traffic and needed some guidance, got it right here in this post! Thank you!

    • Awesome to hear that Val… You found this just at the right time 🙂

  • You totally rock Jon!! Thanks for sharing this valuable post 🙂


    • Thanks so much Sonny… you’re very welcome 🙂

  • AWESOME well detailed article, as usual, Jon!!!
    Love your breakdown and the real world practicality of it.

    Loved the “Can’t Handle the Traffic” segment. It’s an important point that’s easy to miss when you don’t know.

    Thx for the great post!

    • I so much appreciate that Jason… I poured a lot of old memories into this post. 🙂

  • For anyone reading this post and comments… Just wanted to add this since I’ve gotten some questions about it.

    There are many types of traffic available for purchase on the internet:

    Solo Ads Traffic
    Facebook Ads / Facebook PPC
    YouTube Ads
    Banner Ads Media
    Pay Per View Traffic networks (PPV)
    just to name a few.

    For any of those, you can find people using them and doing very well… but other losing their money. The difference is simply in understanding how to use that specific traffic source and matching the traffic with the right type of offer or sales funnel.

    For those that are serious about learning their craft and creating a solid and sustainable online business using paid traffic and/or organic free traffic… I’ve found no better source of training, tools, mentoring and community than what I currently promote.

    Be ready to invest in yourself, your training and focus on doing the right things and you’ll excel here – http://ipas2go.com

    (that is my affiliate link, and if you join there, you’ll be joining my team with me as your mentor.)

  • Thanks for your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you’re a
    great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and may come back at some point.
    I want to encourage that you continue your great posts, have a nice holiday weekend!

    • Thanks Lauri… come back often, I’m always adding new content and updating information. I never stop learning and sharing 🙂

  • I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff
    right here! Good luck for the next!

  • Jon, this content is priceless…I’m new in iPas2 and Empower Network and because men like you share their past experience, people like me, people that value information based on personal experiences can take the shortcut to what it’s called…success and I’m glad I found your article. God bless you.

    • Thanks Levi… Sharing personal experiences is what resonates with people the most, and if I can help others navigate the information and avoid costly mistakes, even better 🙂

  • Hey Jon, thanks a lot for sharing your lessons learned. I have tried PPC paid traffic as well as solo ads and found that, for me, PPC works better. But then, as you point out in your post, I may have been using the wrong strategy for the solo ads. I also have learned from your post that I need to be consistent over a period of months, something which I have to admit I didn’t do so far.
    It’s a pleasure to have you in my extended team that I can learn from. Thanks a lot for your wisdom and keep ’em coming!

    • Nadim.. you are so welcome man! You are so welcome 🙂

  • I was searching for someone used Adfly to know her/his experience about it and your article here is very useful but i want to mention that Adfly ads work as PPV ads, so, it’s all about ‘let the visitors see my logo’.

    This small note from my side to clear this trick to your readers, Facebook use PPV ads to let people always remember FB logo. I use PPV ads to just lead daily traffic to my websites and let many people visit them and know / see my logos, it’s good to let people know you.

    From my experience, the PPV work good because the advertisers be more care to buy ads spaces on my website because the organic visits become more after i set PPV ads ‘i told you the truth – i paid money to know this trick’.

    Again, use PPV to let more people know you, do not expect sales/leads/signups, so, do not use PPV as affiliate marketer and lead traffic to JV Pages BUT use it to your website.

    Thanks Jon for very useful content and hope my comment be useful.

    • Hey John… thanks for your comment.

      The strategies I use and share are targeted to those in small business / home business niche. Running paid traffic for brand awareness is not really very effective in that market… and even if it was, there are far better traffic sources than adfly or even PPV networks. 🙂


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