A common question being raised by online marketers of all levels is “Which are your best traffic sources?”. Everyone asks a perceived successful marketer what are his or her best traffic sources.
But is that a good question? Or will the answer help YOU? I think that’s debatable.
I am not a traffic expert, and for full disclosure not a marketing expert either, but I have a list of “best” traffic sources, which have worked better for me and the campaigns I ran. Would they work for you? I honestly have no idea.
Before we can have a more informed answer to this question, let’s consider these elements of marketing:
- (type of) advertising campaigns
- time frame
And now, let’s do a simple exercise. For the above elements, let’s add “same” in front of all elements but one (chosen at random), like in the example below. The one element without “same” should have “different” at the beginning:
- same marketer
- same product
- same audience
- different (types of) advertising campaigns
- same time frame
So, how do we “read” the example above? If all conditions are exactly the same (marketer, product, audience and time frame), but we use different (types of) advertising campaigns — even if that means only different lead pages — we have different results for them. Some campaigns will work and some won’t, while all other elements remain the same. It means that if we choose to use different lead pages, some will convert better than others. It also means that if you use free and targeted paid per click traffic you will probably obtain different results for them.
How do we translate the other possible situations? Here’s how:
- Two different marketers promoting the same product to the same audience and using the same type of advertising campaigns(?) during the same time frame will have different results. That’s where realities like know, like and trust make the difference between them. Also their experience, relationships, determination, availability for questions or guidance, etc. I said in this scenario they would use the same type of advertising campaigns, but in a real scenario that would rarely be the case: the more experienced marketer would take advantage of his list, pre-sale copies, bonuses, sales funnels, etc.
- Same marketer promoting different products to the same audience and using the same type of advertising campaigns during the same time frame will have different results. It depends a lot of the perceived association of the marketer with the type of product being promoted and if the promoted product is well targeted for the audience.
- Same marketer promoting the same product to different audiences and using the same type of advertising campaigns during the same time frame will have different results. You can’t sell sand to someone living in the desert, but you can easily sell him drinking water. You can sell sand to someone who wants to build a beach though.
- Same marketer promoting the same product to the same audience and using the same type of advertising campaigns during different time frames will have different results. New pairs of eyes are ready to see your ads, plus those who already saw them haven’t been bombarded in a while by the same ad. It also depends whether a product has just been launched or is mature already.
Where do traffic sources fall in the picture painted above? Well, different traffic sources usually mean different audiences and / or different types of advertising campaigns.
When marketers tell you which are the best traffic sources, it usually means the best converting traffic sources for the program(s) they were promoting in a given time frame, using their advertising campaigns. It makes sense, because that’s the data available to them.
Moreover, a marketer may be an expert in mailers or in social media marketing or in pay per click advertising (Google Adsense style). They will of course tend to give you resources they have experience with, and ignore other options. Take that into consideration when you look at someone’s best traffic sources.
If you look at the elements that make up successful or unsuccessful marketing, traffic sources can influence at most two: audience and (type of) advertising campaigns. That’s why the same traffic source can work for someone and not for a different person. We have at least two different marketers, probably different products and different time frames which can result in different results.
Therefore, these best traffic sources should be taken as a broad guideline, because results are yours and you should take your time to see what works and what doesn’t for you, one step at a time. You will only be able to do that, if you track your advertising, as I exemplified in this blog post.
I do have a recommended list of traffic sources (and other resources) for our members. These lists have changed since I first put them together and will continue to change. Yet, as I said above, my lists don’t have to be yours. Just guidelines, and especially useful for newcomers to online marketing.