Traffic Cop: The Pros and Cons of Generating Targeted Traffic to Your Website Using Paid Services
Manage your expectations if you plan to use paid services to boost your numbers.
“If you build it, they will come.”
It’s a dramatic and promising quote from the 1989 Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, but not much about it plays out in our real-world quest to generate website traffic. It turns out even the quote itself is, well, not all that. What’s actually said in the movie is, “If you build it, he will come.”
Your online presence, like Costner’s field of dreams, is more of a metaphor for the law of attraction than it is a marketing tenet. If you build it, you’ll increase the odds of visitors, but only because you’ve actually got something for them to see. And, hopefully, start them down the sales funnel to becoming a customer.
People have to find out about it, though. It’s why there’s an entire industry of companies that will charge you to find people and send them to your website.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em – there’s no in-between
Some people swear by paid services for generating website traffic. Others spit in their general direction, placing these services in the same category as pickpockets. It’s a strange dichotomy. How can this service be praised and despised at the same time?
Simple. You love Pay Per Click when it works for you. You hate it when it delivers trouble instead of prospects. We’ve distilled things down to 3 main considerations, with pros and cons for each.
1. Somebody else does all the work.
What’s good about this. It’s not like you’ve got nothing else to do, right? Time-starved marketing professionals are always looking for concussion grenades they can toss out into the general public awareness to draw attention. The allure of paying a company to generate traffic for you is certainly bright and shiny. Saying “I want these types of people to pay our website a visit” is the level of effort you need to invest. Well, there’s also the money you’ll pay for the clicks.
The removal of this big chunk of time spent finding website visitors often is the prime reason to consider a paid service.
What can go wrong. It’s easy to set up a service that finds traffic for websites. What’s not so easy is finding quality traffic – meaning prospects who have been carefully vetted and who fit the description of your client’s prospective customer profile. If you choose an unqualified company to bring you traffic, you could end up with nothing more than a bunch of angry people who add your company to their spam filter.
Add social networks to the mix and you could be stirring up a recipe for further disaster. Instead of connecting with prospects that will find value in your product or service, you’ll instead set off a chain reaction of intrusions that have exactly the opposite impact.
2. Boom! Fast results.
What’s good about this. We generally pay for services based on cause and effect. In this case, you pay a service to see a boost in traffic. It’s pretty cut-and-dry. Unfortunately, this is only what happens when you engage the services of a reputable company. They’ll mine the Internet with strategically placed links that’ll quickly cause a measurable increase of traffic to your website.
What can go wrong. Careful what you wish for; it just might happen. Such is the case with turning to a paid service to bring you targeted traffic. Let’s assume the paid service you’ve partnered with has done their homework and hit it out of the ballpark. (We did start off with Field of Dreams, remember?)
Home run! You’re watching a rising tide of new visitors coming to the website. The stats just keep ticking higher and higher. That’s what you paid for, right?
True. But now you’ll also pay for something else. Every one of these new website visitors gobbles up more than a cookie. They’re consuming bandwidth. This is okay if they move further down the sales funnel and become customers. Window-shopping no intention ever to buy is no big deal for brick and mortar companies. It’s a huge pain in the bandwidth for websites. This is the most important reason why you must be absolutely sure that the paid service you choose didn’t just come close, but precisely zeroed in on your target market.
3. Look boss, more hits!
What’s good about this. Even if you mess up and pick a company who basically just ends up spamming a bunch of mail lists, you’re going to get more hits. So, if all you really want to do is move that needle, just about any paid traffic tactic will generate an increase for you.
What can go wrong. Who are these people, and why are they suddenly visiting our website? Oh, you mean that huge spike of never-gonna-be-our-customers? We paid for them! It’s the moral of many Pay Per Click stories. While even the most harrowing of Greek tragedies explored a theme of redemption at the end, there is no way to spin this into a benefit. Unqualified visitors do nothing but consume resources. They aren’t interested in you. They won’t come back and they won’t be sharing their discovery of you with their social networks.
There’s no argument
Paying for targeted traffic to your website yields results. Those results are often nearly instantaneous. The thing to consider here, though, is whether you define success from these results through quantity or quality. And that’s why paid services continue to be something that give people the warm fuzzies, or send them screaming into the night.
Your experience will vary. Happy endings here depend on what you expected in the first place.
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