When I got started online, local internet marketing was still in its infancy. There weren’t that many products or tools available, and small business owners were still of the mindset that the Internet was a passing fad.
While waiting for the market to catch up with my vision, I tried CPA — Cost Per Action — Marketing. I didn’t even know that’s what it was called until later. A guy from a performance marketing agency recruited me to build sites in the verticals that they targeted, mostly home improvement, education and financial services.
If someone completed a request for information, I’d get a commission. I was pretty good with SEO, which is how he found me, so I jumped in and start building an authority site.
With the exception of one successful Adwords campaign (500% ROI), all of the traffic was organic. Within a few months the site was generating over $2,000/month and ultimately averaged about $10,000/month before I sold it for six figures in 2009.
Then I developed a plastic surgery lead generation site, which I sold in 2012. Again, all organic traffic. At that point I went back to offline consulting, which was now booming. I acquired some clients and also developed products and services for other offline marketers.
It was fun for awhile, but eventually I grew tired of dealing with clients, and also the roller coaster world of product development, launch and support.
I had been doing CPA here and there, but when my mother got sick last year it all became too much to juggle. I decided to drop offline marketing altogether and focus on CPA. It was a hard decision to make after beating the local drum for so long but it was time.
CPA: Biggest Measure of Success
I will cover the basics in a later article, those steps are easy. What makes or breaks you is your ability to generate traffic to your CPA offers
Traffic + Conversion = Cash
Whether local or global or online, every business wants and needs TRAFFIC. Clicks. Eyeballs. Customers through the door. The need for leads and traffic is universal. It’s the lifeblood of every business — whatever you want to promote, online or offline, you need traffic.
And it’s definitely the biggest measure of success in CPA Marketing — getting traffic to your offers and converting that traffic.
“Free” Traffic is NOT Free
As I mentioned earlier, most of the traffic generated for my authority site was the so called “free” traffic from organic search engine results. Of course it’s not really free – whether you’re using traditional SEO tactics, video marketing, or social media to generate traffic, you pay dearly for it in time, energy and resources. That’s a long slow grind, it can take a long time to see results. And if you’re just sitting there waiting for the traffic to come, you’re not generating income.
Paid Traffic: Infinitely Scalable
Paid traffic includes banner ads, PPC, Google Display Network, Facebook advertising, paid emails/solos, PPV, other networks, etc. It’s fast, predictable, trackable, and scalable – almost infinitely so. There is SO much traffic available beyond the search engines. One traffic source alone has access to up to 92% of computer users.
The challenge with paid traffic is being able to convert it before you go broke. It’s very easy to lose your shirt, but if you can tame that bucking bronco, the upside is unlimited. The ability to consistently roll out offers and convert paid traffic is probably the most profitable skill you can ever possess.
Focus is the Key
I’m by no means a paid traffic expert right now. But I’ve had enough success with it and with online marketing in general to know how to get there. FOCUS. That’s really the key to success at anything. You become what you think about and focus upon. But there are so many shiny objects flashed before our eyes on a daily basis that it can be hard to stay focused.
Remember the authority site? I had the most success when I blocked everything out and maintained unwavering laser focus on building that site and getting it ranked. Content and organic traffic — that’s a formula that works.
I did have one Adwords PPC campaign that did extremely well — for every dollar I put in, $5 came out. That was for the UoP faculty program. Then they took their lead gen program in house and that gravy train ended. It takes time and patience to find a winning PPC campaign so I decided to stick with organic traffic.
Now I see organic SEO as a long-term strategy, and will definitely allocate some resources in that area. But for fast, predictable, scalable results, the focus is on paid traffic –how and where to get it, how to convert it.
Paid traffic works as long as you abide by some key rules. Just like every other area of life, if you don’t weed out the losers you can lose your shirt quick. That’s why people are afraid of it.
Well I’m not afraid. I have 3 kids in college, zero offline clients and I need results faster than the “slow boat to China” way of organic traffic building. Nothing can provide immediate results like paid traffic. It makes everything go faster — testing, finding the winners, and scaling up the traffic.
All I have to do is get results before the budget allocated for this project is depleted — stay tuned!