Paid Traffic - How To Boost Online Sales
Are you hoping to increase online sales for your business? Paid traffic - ie, online ads - is a powerful tool. Unlike organic traffic, which can take several months to kick in, paid traffic can start working the day you turn it on. However, unless you know how to properly use paid traffic within a broader marketing funnel, you're at risk of spending a lot of money, without getting sales in return. In this article, I give you tips on how to run paid traffic for strong results.
What is paid traffic?
Paid traffic is the visits a business's website receives from online advertisements the business has purchased on other websites. For example, if a business buys an ad on Facebook, when users click it and land on the business's website, the visits would be considered paid traffic.
What is the difference between paid and organic traffic?
Organic traffic is the visits a website receives that did not directly come from advertisements. For example, if a business sends a website link to its email subscribers, when people click the link and land on the website, the visits would be considered organic traffic.
Paid and organic traffic - examples
Paid traffic examples
Website visits from these sources, among others, would be considered paid traffic:
Organic traffic examples
Website visits from these sources, among others, would be considered organic traffic:
Paid vs. organic traffic - which is better?
Neither traffic source is purely "better" than the other. Many successful businesses leverage both paid and organic traffic together, to serve specific purposes within their broader funnel strategy.
For example, a business may use paid traffic to generate leads, then email those leads links to blog articles for several weeks, creating a steady flow of organic traffic.
Paid and organic traffic each have pros and cons:
Paid traffic - pros
Paid traffic - cons
Organic traffic - pros
Organic traffic - cons
How much do online ads cost?
Not all paid traffic costs the same, or is it paid for the same way. Different advertising sources have different rates and charge models.
What determines ad rates?
Some key factors that ad rates are based on:
Once you begin running ads, you'll receive a surge of data about their performance. See what's working and what isn't. Shift more of your budget into opportunities with a strong sales/cost ratio. To automate this process, consider the tool Optmyzr.
How are you charged for ads?
Different platforms charge for ads in different ways. The three major charge models:
How can you boost sales with online ads?
Before you invest in online ads, you should first map out a funnel strategy for your business. In case you're unaware, a funnel is a series of marketing tactics that turn people who've never heard of your brand into loyal customers...
To learn more about marketing funnels, I suggest you take an online course from Skillshare.
Paid ads can be effective at all four levels of the funnel. Here's an overview of each level and how paid ads can be leveraged at it:
Below, find some tips on how to effectively apply paid ads to your funnel to boost sales and generate a great ROI.
1. Know your key funnel financial values
Are you selling a high-ticket item with many potential customers? If so, you have quite a lot of flexibility for paid ads. Even if you spend a lot of money within the awareness and/or consideration phases of the funnel, as long as you can get a solid amount of customers to convert (ie, make a purchase), your ROI can be positive.
On the other hand, are you selling, for instance, an item that only costs $2, and would only be relevant to 1,000 people? If all of them purchased it, you can make $2,000. Spending $3,000 on paid ads wouldn't make sense, unless you had other items for sale and could tap into repeat purchases in the loyalty phase.
2. Identify your funnel strengths
Are you already thriving at a certain funnel stage? For instance, possibly you have a large social media following and are already driving a ton of awareness about your brand. Investing your advertising budget into awareness ads may not have a large impact on your business.
When you're first starting out - and may not have an enormous budget - you should be selective with your budget.
3. Identify your funnel obstructions
Are you noticing an obstruction within your marketing funnel? For example, whenever you get people to land on your product pages, you tend to convert a high percentage of them into buyers. However, you're only getting a few dozen people to these pages, every month.
A business like this is solid with conversion, yet lacking with awareness. A paid campaign aimed at driving awareness can make a lot of sense. As more leads enter the top of the funnel, more sales will naturally emerge at the bottom.
4. Choose an effective advertising platform
Once you've identified where in the funnel you want to improve performance via paid ads, you'll need to select a platform to advertise on. Though you can experiment with multiple platforms at once, if you're first starting out, I'd suggest focusing on one at a time.
When picking a platform, consider the following:
5. Create a landing page and follow-up sequence
In the vast majority of cases, a business shouldn't simply send paid traffic to its home page. Instead, you should create a specialized page, designed to prompt an action that's relevant to the focused-upon funnel stage. These pages are known as landing pages.
For example, with an awareness ad, you'd pay for traffic to your website. Once those visitors arrive, you want to advance them to the next stage of your funnel, consideration. You can of course pay for a consideration ad next, targeted at these visitors. However, by collecting their email addresses, you can avoid this second cost.
Visitors from your awareness ad can arrive at a landing page, where you offer them something of value for free, in exchange for their email address - this free item is known as a lead magnet. Once you have their email address, you can send them messages - without paying for another ad - that encourage consideration.
You can take advantage of various funnel-builder software tools that let you easily create high-converting landing pages, follow-up pages, and follow-up email sequences.
FYI, I put together a detailed list of these software systems.
Want to learn more about paid traffic?
I recommend you check out the great online courses from Skillshare.
This post contains affiliate links.