Looking for an inexpensive way to generate targeted traffic to your site? Try pay-per-click search engines.
[Editor's Note: Overture (formerly called goto) has substantially upped their prices and monthly minimums. However, there are hundreds of newer pay-per-click search engines, and many of Jim's techniques are applicable. Visit http://www.payperclicksearchengines.com/ for comparisons of over 480 pay-per-click sites.]
Recently, I've been sampling new promotion methods to drive fresh traffic to my website. I had been reading quite a bit about overture.com and how other webmasters had been getting great results with it, so I decided to give it a try.
In a nutshell, overture.com is a "pay for rank" search engine. It allows website owners to bid on keywords related to their site. When users search on any term at overture.com they are presented with a list of sites, with the highest bidders appearing closest to the top.
Based on my own experience, this site not only offers a great way to find things on the web, it offers a very inexpensive way to generate targeted traffic to any site. By following the details of my own goto advertising campaign, you should be able to emulate the excellent results I've had.
Just a few weeks into my campaign, I am now generating between 85 and 100 visitors each day from overture.com. My costs are averaging about 4 bucks a day. As I continue to tweak my advertising (I'll teach you how), I expect this number to double and possibly triple over the coming weeks. But I'll get to that in a minute. Let's take things a step at a time...
Step 1: Open your own GoTo account.
The first step is to visit www.overture.com and open an account. There is a minimum investment of $25 to become a goto advertiser. The way it works is simple... As an advertiser at overture.com, you bid on search terms relevant to your site. You have complete control over how much you pay on a per- click basis on each of those search terms. The higher your "bid," on each search term, the higher in the search results your site will appear. As GoTo proudly states, "It's targeted, cost-per-click advertising and you set the cost per click!"
Step 2: Decide how much a visitor is worth to you.
You can do this by checking your current website stats. Add up your average number of monthly visitors and determine what percentage of them actually go on to become customers. This can be tricky, but it is an important step. Depending upon the average cost of your products or services, you should be able to come up with a ballpark figure as to what each visitor is worth.
Example: If I'm converting one sale from every 100 visitors and my average sale is $100, then each visitor is worth about a buck. (Keep in mind, this does not take into account the lifetime value of a site visitor or customer.)
Once you have an idea of how much each visitor is worth to you, write it down. You will use this number as a "cap" on your bids. More on this later.
Step 3: Start a file on your computer with keywords pertaining to your site.
Using any word processor, start typing anything and everything you can think of that pertains to your site. If you are selling pet supplies your list would look something like this...
(Don't worry about pluralizing all your words. GoTo's Search Pluralization feature analyzes your keywords and does this for you automatically.)
Now before you tackle this step, I must inform you that this can be the most time-consuming part of your goto campaign. Why? Well, in order to really get the most from your campaign you'll be making a list of at least 1000 keywords, or search terms. That's right, I said one thousand. You don't "need" that many to get started with goto, but I tried bidding on a limited number of keywords and the results were nowhere near the cost- effectiveness of using a large list. A large list allows you to bid as low as a penny on 90% of your keywords. Even if 10% of them get a single click each day, you're generating 100 visitors right there.
Goto offers a "suggested search terms tool" to help you. When you type in a word, you get a list of related search terms that were searched on last month at overture.com. I found their suggestion tool helpful, although it can still take quite a bit of time to compile a large list with it.
Actually, I must admit I cheated on generating my own keyword list... As a registered member of "The Challenge" I have access to a keyword generation script that generated 1200 terms for me in a few minutes. This tool saved me DAYS of thinking and typing and quite frankly is worth the price of admission to the private site. (Especially if you are planning a goto campaign.)
Step 4: Write a title and description to go along with your keywords.
When you place your bids at overture.com, you will also be asked for the title of the URL you are submitting and a short description. It is important to write something brief, yet eye-catching. Remember, the main objective is to get people to click. Use of the words "free" and "you" can be very useful here. Stick to the tried and true classified advertising axioms but make an effort to stand out from the crowd. A good idea is to write something YOU would click on.
You may want to write two or three of these titles and descriptions, especially if you plan to bid on keywords that cannot be directed to the exact same URL at your site. Ex: One of my bids was on the keywords "free downloads" so I wrote a separate title and description for the software area of my site and submitted that specific URL.
You can save time if you can write a description that covers your entire site and then link all your bids to your main URL. Although your traffic may not be as targeted when you do this, it is less time consuming than trying to break your site into specific areas. It all depends on your individual site and how much time you have to spend. (Remember, you can always adjust links once your account is online and drawing traffic.)
Step 5: Place your bids.
Okay, you have a nice long list of keywords, along with titles and descriptions. Now it's time to get your bids in! You do this at goto's DirecTraffic Center. This is their account management tool, where you can add, modify, or delete your search listings, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. You can also check your account balance, add money to your GoTo account, change your bids in real-time and view your activity reports. Once you've opened an account you just click https://secure.overture.com/s/dtc/center/ to log in.
As far as actually placing your bids, there are basically two methods to utilize --manually (by hand) or by using the Excel spreadsheet they offer. This is a no-brainer. Go for the faster and more accurate spreadsheet option. It allows you to complete one form and email it to email@example.com for their review.
Microsoft's Excel is part of the Office Suite and many PC users have it, even though they may never use it. Although I had never opened Microsoft's Excel program before, I was able to learn enough in about a half hour to get me through. Basic skills like repeating text and drag and drop of my keyword list were simple enough to figure out. Within an hour of downloading the spreadsheet they offer, I had a completed form ready with over 1200 keyword bids.
An important topic to touch on here is the pricing of your bids. I suggest you initially price all your bids at one cent. (0.01) Since you will undoubtedly be submitting some keywords that are not currently being bid on at goto, why pay more per click than you have to. A penny bid will put you at the top on these keywords! Once your spreadsheet has been accepted and put online, you can then start adjusting for more traffic. (More on this in the next step.)
Note: Make sure your spreadsheet does not contain off-topic keywords. Submissions are spot-checked and routinely refused if they contain keywords unrelated to your site.
Step 6: Adjust your bids.
This is where knowing what a click is worth to you comes into play. At overture.com's DirecTraffic Center you can now adjust your bids in real-time. This area shows you your current ranking on each of the terms you've bid on and also tells you how much you need to bid to get to the #1 spot. What a tool!
While I don't recommend you go for number one with every bid I do recommend you try for a top 50 spot. As of the writing of this, each page returned on goto searches returns 40 sites. Getting your keywords on the first page or even the very top of the second can generate traffic.
What has been working for me is this: As I go through my bids I adjust only the ones that I feel are highly likely to get searched on. If I can squeeze into the top ten on any of these by adding a few cents to the bid, I do it. Then, I make sure that the real common and super-busy keywords appear at least in the top 50.
Example: The word "business" was very popular and my penny bid had me at #153. I had received zero hits from that low position. So I bid just enough to move it up to the top 50 spot and bingo- six hits the next day. While you may be thinking that six hits is nothing, remember that I'm bidding on 1200 keywords. I've had time to adjust about 35% of them so far and I'm up to 100 visitors a day from overture.com. That's over 3000 visitors a month and I'm far from done.
As I mentioned, knowing what a click is worth to you comes in handy here. If each visitor to your site is worth say, .65, then set that as your limit, or cap. Bid up to that amount on any keyword, but not over it. This will ensure that your campaign remains profitable.
As you make adjustments to your bids, you should visit the "view stats" area of the DirecTraffic Center frequently. Checking your stats at least once each week will allow you to keep on top of your adjustments and maximize your traffic.
That's it! An effective new traffic source for your site!
While I'm not much for spending money on advertising, this new method is cheap and effective. Anytime you can get targeted traffic to your site for pennies, you need to take action.
I've managed to get some excellent results with overture.com, even with the huge amount of competition in my industry. For other webmasters who are focused on less crowded niches, overture.com could be a goldmine of targeted business.
Take this lesson plan and Goto it!
Article by Jim Daniels of JDD Publishing. For more proven Internet marketing strategies, visit http://bizweb2000.com www.bizweb2000.com Subscribe to Jim's BizWeb E-Gazette by sending any message to firstname.lastname@example.org - it's FREE forever!
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