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How to Make Your Campaigns Profitable
When you run paid traffic campaigns, it is important to run them with a plan. Obviously running your campaigns at a higher daily budget will make it possible to pay for more clicks, but if you’re paying for clicks that aren’t amounting to anything, you’re not going to get anywhere.
If you’re not getting a decent ROI, then the money you’re investing becomes a waste. To ensure your campaigns are profitable, you should be engaging in split testing to see which copy/design converts better, and you should be tracking your results. Only when you start seeing good results, should you consider increasing your budget to increase exposure.
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is a method of testing what works better for your business. For websites, it splits the traffic in half, sending part of the traffic to one or more variants of the pages in the site, and sending the other half to a different variation. This helps you to see how people are behaving, and determine whether the copy/design elements/placement of certain things works better on one option vs. another.
You can do this with your ads, by slightly varying your ad copy for one set of keywords and using a different variation for another set of keywords. Then, you can set the landing pages for each ad to be slightly different version of each other, so you can see which set of keywords is doing better for which landing page. Then, you can switch them around to determine whether it is the ad copy, the keywords, or the landing page that is affecting conversion rates.
You can do split testing with one variation at a time to make it easier to see what is making the impact, or you can do multivariate testing to determine the best possible combination within a shorter amount of time. However, with multivariate testing, you need a considerable amount of website traffic to get accurate results.
For those starting out, run two landing pages across the same ads. Then, run the same two landing pages against a different set of ads. Look at website analytics to determine what did better. Run the landing page that did the best with the opposite ads. Did it still perform well? If not, it’s the ad. If so, then it’s the landing page.
SplitTesting.com offers free split testing. You can use it to split test anything, from the fonts you’re using, to pricing, copy, forms, colors, and images and layout. If you’re having trouble analyzing the results and figuring out what to change, the team at Split Testing can help, but you will be charged a fee for this service.
In order to determine which split is performing best in your split testing efforts and how well your ad campaigns are working, it is important to make use of website analytics.
While your ads campaigns will have their own tracking to show which keywords are producing the most clicks, you have to go to your own website to see what those clicks are doing for your business directly.
A good way to do this is with Google Analytics. It’s a free service, and is easy to use. All you need to do is sign up for an account, and copy the tracking code it gives you, into your website’s header code. If you use WordPress, there are plugins that assist with this. Many premium themes include a place for the code to go, without requiring you to use a plugin.
Google Analytics also integrates with Google AdWords, so you can track your campaign there, as well. You can see how much you’ve spent, what keywords you’re doing well on, and more.
Bing does not have their own Bing Analytics tool like this, but Google has added Bing to their analytics, so you should be able to tell what’s working from within your analytics dashboard. However, Bing appears to currently be working on an analytics product, as well.
When looking at your analytics data, look for the traffic coming to your landing pages. Set a different landing page for each campaign to determine which campaigns are working. Look at the bounce rate, and length of time on site. If you have a high bounce rate, this means people are not spending a lot of time on your website, for any number of reasons:
- They’re not finding what they’re looking for.
- Your site is taking too long to load.
- Your copy isn’t converting well.
Also take time to look at their exit pages. Are they taking time to look around at other pages on your site, or are they leaving straight from the landing page? If you see that people aren’t sticking around, try making adjustments to design and page copy using split testing, to see what that does. Keep making adjustments until you start to see a low bounce rate, with a higher amount of time spent on site.
Important Tip: When you set links on your own site to open in a new window, this causes Google to “reset” their timer. Keep links to pages within your own site set to open in the same window, so Google Analytics can get a more accurate measure of time spent on site.[heading color=”black”]Free Traffic Methods[/heading]
If you’re running on a tight budget, there are several free traffic methods you can use to start driving traffic to your website. Remember that when you opt for free over paid marketing tactics, you will have to invest more time, and the results are typically slower.
Forum marketing is a good way to generate traffic to your website, but it will only work if you’re providing something of value to the forum members. In other words, you can’t just join the forum and start posting anywhere and everywhere, just for the sake of posting. The best thing to do is to set up your forum profile with your website URL, and include your website URL in your signature, so it’s automatically included in every post you make on the site.
The key is to make sure you find forums where your target audience is frequently found. You can do this by searching Google for “forum + your niche.” Once you’ve found a forum or two related to your niche, then it’s time to start looking for places where you can be useful.
Look around the threads, and if you see someone asking a question, take the time to answer it. Don’t sell your product or service, unless it provides a legitimate answer for their problem. Instead, offer your expertise and extend a hand to help, if you’re able to do so.
The more actively involved you become in the forums, the more you’ll establish yourself as a expert in the field, so people will learn to trust you and what you have to say. When you’re a credible expert, you’ll start to see traffic come from the effort you’ve put into forum marketing.
Video marketing is another good way to generate traffic to your website. It takes a bit more time to develop videos, though, so you’ll need to create a balance in the time you spend using this method with other methods, until you see that it is working well enough for you to continue.
If you have a computer/Internet related niche, making videos is much easier for you, because you can use screen-casting software to record your screen while you talk. You can use it to share tutorials related to your product or service. This also an excellent option for people who are camera shy, and don’t want to physically appear on camera but still want to make use of video marketing.
If you regularly engage in conference calls, where your interested customers can come to learn more about your product or service, you can use screen-casting software to record the session, and then include this as a video, too.
Screen-casting software options include:
- AVI Screen: Free
- Cam Studio: Free
- Adobe Captivate: Commercial
- Screen Flow: Commercial, Mac software
- Jing: Free, with limitations
Other niches will have to invest in a video camera, if you don’t already have one, and spend time editing videos to make them useful to your audience.
To do this, you’ll want to sign up for a YouTube account. Since Google owns YouTube, having a dedicated YouTube channel where you post videos can naturally help with your search engine optimization to improve your traffic numbers.
Invite people to become subscribers to your YouTube channel by including a link to it with your social media icons. Subscribers will be notified whenever you post a new video.
You can also include your videos in blog posts, giving you yet another cross-promotional tool. If people find your blog post, they can be drawn to your YouTube channel, and vice versa.
Twitter is another excellent free traffic promotional tool. It may take a while to see results with this method, because you need to take the time to build an audience of followers who are targeted to be your potential customers.
It’s important to get involved and interact with people on Twitter, and it’s equally important not to constantly “toot your own horn.” If all you do there is talk about yourself and your products or services, no one will listen, and you’ll quickly get lost in the abyss.
Much like you would do with forum marketing, you should take time to find things to share with your audience that are of use to them, regardless of whether or not they originate with you. A good rule of thumb is to share your own content 10% of the time, while sharing others 90% of the time. By creating relationships with people on Twitter, you may be able to find others who are willing to share your content with their following, in exchange for you sharing their content with yours.
To make this easier for you, Prismatic offers a collection of material for every niche/subject you can think of. You can automatically get share links, and then, to save even more time, use HootSuite Pro or similar software to schedule your tweets and other social media updates. This should not, however, take place of actual interaction with your followers. Use it to save time, but never to fully automate the process. People need to know there is a real person behind your Twitter profile.
Facebook and Google+ Groups
Facebook and Google+ groups are much like forum marketing, except they use the social media networks as their platform, rather than stand alone forums. The best way to use these tools is to search the networks for groups where your target customers are already active.
Become actively involved in those groups, but never by spamming the groups with your product or service advertisements. You’ll be removed from the group, and you may compromise your social media accounts. Instead, look for ways you can become helpful. Answer questions, and offer to be available for questions whenever possible. Never participate in a group for the sole purpose of promoting your business. It will show, and people will start to ignore you.
When you start to see your own brand/community expand, you may want to start your own Facebook and/or Google+ group to allow your followers to come together and discuss your product/service. They can talk about how it’s helped them, how they want to use it, ask for advice from other users, etc. all while providing a real customer testimonial base for your perspective customers. It can also serve as an excellent customer service vehicle once your business is up and running.
At this point, we’ve covered the basics of how to use various free and paid traffic methods to increase traffic to your website. What methods and what money you spend to do it is all up to you. What works for one marketer, may not work for another. What works for you in one niche, may not necessarily work in another.
For those of you with low budgets, do not be discouraged. You can build traffic without spending money, but it will take longer than spending money to build traffic.
For those of you who do have money to invest in paid traffic, to make the most of your investment, pay close attention to what your spending and what results it is giving you. If you find that you’re spending money on something that is not producing the results you were looking for, make adjustments to ensure your investment has a good return.
Paid traffic will yield faster results, and allow you to invest your time in other areas of your business. Free traffic will not require money, but the time investment may take you away from other critical areas of your business.
If you’re considering paying someone to assist with traffic promotion, it may be a better option to pay for the traffic promotion in the first place, rather than paying someone to use the free methods, just for the sake of freeing your time.
With a better understanding of the various methods you can use to increase your website traffic, you will be far more successful. If you’re not sure which path you should take, consider using a combination of both free and paid traffic methods to generate a burst of traffic to get you started. When results start coming in, invest a bit more into paid traffic, and watch what happens. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you can stop investing in paid traffic if necessary, and focus on building your community/brand with social media efforts, solid customer service, and word-of-mouth.
Check out our previous articles:
- 5 Social Network Insights that Help People Choose Better Cars
- Niche Advertising and Marketing: Zeroing in on your Target
- Social Media is a New Virtual Market! Know How?
- Content Writing and StumbleUpon Traffic Driving Strategy
- Powerful Landing Page Tips for Your Success
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