When it comes to choosing between Organic and Paid traffic, you’ll need to take a lot of factors into account. In this article, we’ll explain the fundamental differences and why they matter.
The most obvious difference between Organic and Paid traffic is that Organic traffic is free. A lot of people are naturally tempted to choose organic traffic when they first start out. However, paid traffic has a lot of benefits which are worth considering when making your choice. Let’s first take a closer look at what organic traffic is and the benefits of using it.
Organic Search Traffic
Organic Traffic comes from organic visitors. Organic visitors are people who were attracted to your site through ‘natural’ means. Therefore, to get organic traffic, you’ll need a website which attracts visitors.
Websites come in all shapes and sizes, from huge e-markets to personal blogs. In the world of affiliate marketing, most marketers who want to gain organic traffic will create a blog. This is because it’s the cheapest way to get your voice heard and can be very profitable if you get it right.
The basic idea behind blogging is to communicate with people who share similar views, passions and hobbies.
The first thing to do if you want to set up a blog is to decide what you want to talk about and why. It’s crucial that you work out your niche early on, as this will be the driving force behind everything you do. Therefore, make sure it’s either something that you know about or have a passion for.
A lot of people tend to choose things they know about because they have the chance to teach others. They can then become an expert within their online community. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert though, there are other angles.
If you’re not an expert, then you can write about your journey to become one. There are just as many people online who want to give advice as take it. We’ll explore angles in the future and give you lots of ideas to start from. For now, just note that there are different means to an end, and sometimes the pursuit of knowledge is just as interesting as the knowledge itself.
Blogging isn’t easy, and while it might seem cost-effective at first, it takes a lot of time, and can fail. You could spend months pouring your heart and soul into writing great pieces which get no attention. To give you a quick snapshot of the size of the blogging industry, here are a few statistics from 2018:
- 2018 Blog Stats
- 30.6 million bloggers in the United States.
- There are an estimated 3.9 billion internet users worldwide
- 77% of people online read blogs which means that there are approximately 3,003,000,000 or just over 3.003 billion potential readers worldwide.
- WordPress alone got more than 20 billion blog post views a month in 2018, while users wrote more than 2 billion throughout the year.
As you can see, the industry is alive and well and growing year on year — however, the more bloggers, the more content and the more content, the more competition. The problem with organic traffic is that you have to get people to notice you, share your content and boost your Google rank.
Making a successful blog takes a lot of time, and hard work and often has to show off your personality, good, bad or ugly. It’s virtually impossible to know what will work right from the start, so you need to be prepared for it to take time to adjust, listen to feedback and criticism, and learn as you go. You don’t need to get it right first time and you probably won’t, but that’s part of the journey.
Organic traffic takes a lot of time, effort, learning and skill to get right, so while it may be ‘free’ from a monetary point of view, you could be earning money in the time that you are spending trying to get people to your site in the first place. The way to speed up the process of gaining visitors is to pay for them using paid traffic.
Paid Search Traffic
If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet, then you’ll have noticed that it is an advertiser’s playground. You can’t do anything online these days without being met by advertising in one form or another.
If you scroll down your Facebook feed you’ll bump into ‘sponsored posts’, you might even have found this post by using one. That’s because Facebook allows you to pay to put your post in front of people who wouldn’t otherwise see it.
Other forms of paid traffic include Google Ads and native advertising. We’ve already gone into detail about native advertising in our article Going Native: What is Native Advertising? so we won’t talk too much about it here, other than to say there are lots of ways to get traffic to your site if you are willing to pay for it.
If you choose to run a blog, then you can, of course, rely on a mix of Organic and Paid Traffic, so that you can boost the number of people that view your content. This can be a great way of starting out if you don’t want to spend too much money at first. However, the reason that people use paid traffic in affiliate marketing isn’t to increase the number of people who visit their blogs. It’s because they don’t necessarily need a blog in the first place.
Remember, affiliate marketing is all about promoting products, and so the aim of the game is to get people from A-B. It might seem a bit strange to think about an online business which has no official website or homepage, however, once you can wrap your head around the idea it actually begins to make a lot of sense.
In sales you have funnels. Funnels are how you get your customer from a state of never having heard about your product to eventually buying it. The problem with homepages is, quite often, people have multiple funnels for a single product, which they use to target different demographics.
Let’s imagine you are selling burgers. If you look at a McDonald’s menu, you’ll see a range of different things on the menu, but at the end of the day, all McDonald’s wants is to get people to come through their doors and buy their products. So, how does McDonald’s get people from all different walks of life through their doors?
They use different angles. So, for those who value their health they advertise based on their healthy options ranges. They use a similar angle to target parents who want healthier choices for their kids. They’ll be less worried about buying a Happy Meal if it contains a small bag of apple pieces, right? Apparently.
Of course, not all of their angles have worked.
But if teams of people working for a massive global company like McDonald’s can have a few PR disasters, then you can feel a bit better when people don’t engage with your ads.
Each step is a learning curve and McDonald’s learnt that making a low-budget E.T. rip off with a family of aliens who can only survive on Earth if they drink Coca-Cola probably wasn’t the money maker they were expecting it to be. Go figure!
The great thing about paid advertising is that it allows you to speak to an audience quickly and directly. Your job then is to get people to buy your product.
Why affiliates don’t send traffic to homepages
The reason many affiliates don’t send traffic to homepages or blogs is because they can be misleading. Instead, it’s all about the landing pages. We’ll give you a quick idea about the purposes of landing pages here but, for a more detailed guide to landing pages, check out our article 3 Tips to Creating the Perfect Landing Page.
Imagine that you have seen an advert for a new camera on Facebook. You click the link and it takes you to a page showing you just how awesome it is at taking underwater pictures. You’ve made your mind up and you’re ready to buy it, so you click the link. But wait, what’s this? You’re now on Amazon’s homepage with 1000s of products being shown to you, and you can’t find the camera you came here for in the first place!
In the scenario above, it would have been much better to have shown you a simple landing page telling you exactly what to do to get the camera you wanted, rather than send you to a completely irrelevant sales funnel to the one you were already in.
Homepages work well with organic traffic, as they boost SEO and allow people already searching for products to find what they are looking for. However, if you want to use paid traffic to generate quick sales, then you have to keep your customers with you from start to finish.
Getting customers from first seeing your product to buying it is where the skill lies, and it will take a lot of time, money and effort to optimise your offers until they work. However, once you get there, it can be really profitable.
We’ll be looking at sales funnels a lot more closely in the future, but for now, note that the difference between organic and paid traffic is key to the type of funnel you will use. Homepages are good if you want to get organic traffic to your products, however, you should probably bypass them in you paid traffic funnels and take customers directly to landing pages, where they can buy your product without confusion.
The trouble with homepages is that they will get traffic from multiple sources, whereas a good funnel will/should have quality traffic which is primed and ready for the sale. For many affiliates, this can come from many different places, and each funnel will be tailored for a specific demographic. However, if all those people end up on a homepage how do you make a homepage that speaks to all of your audiences? You can’t!
This doesn’t mean that homepages are necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people will research products before they buy, and homepages can lend authority to a product. However, unless you own the homepage, any sales made from it will end up going to someone else, so you really need to keep people with you and provide them with enough trust that they don’t start to stray.
One thing to take away from this is that there are lots of ways to use paid traffic which don’t involve leading people to a homepage. Instead, you can bypass that entirely and aim at getting people to a product sales page.
The Main Advantages of Paid Traffic
Paid Traffic allows you to start quickly, which is great; however, a bigger advantage is that it will enable you to scale when things go right. If you test a campaign with a small number of visitors and find that they convert well and you can make a profit, then you can buy more traffic and benefit from higher volumes of people buying your offer.
This sounds nice and easy, but in reality, there is a lot of work that goes into paid traffic too. For a start, you’ll need to invest quite a lot of money before you figure out what works and why and, while it may be a quicker start than organic traffic, you’ll have to learn a lot too.
If you want to get to a stage where you have profitable campaigns, you’ll need to first learn how you can actually buy traffic. After which you’ll need to analyse and optimise it. Alongside this, you’ll also have to generate creatives which are convincing enough to get people to convert. This can be a lot of hard work if you don’t have help. Here at Converting Team, we help all of our affiliates to manage their campaigns to become profitable and even provide free creatives to help you get the sales you need.
Organic and Paid Traffic both have advantages and disadvantages, and there is plenty of success to be had from either. It’s up to you to decide which route you take. However, if you are new to the industry and want to get a basic idea of how internet marketing works and how you can build a business online without spending a fortune, then try starting a blog and building some organic traffic. You’ll see just how much motivation you have, and if you give up at the first hurdle, then affiliate marketing probably isn’t for you. However, if you start finding that you are having some success but not enough, then you can begin to think about using Paid Traffic to boost your campaigns.
Thinking about starting? Then here are a few links to some useful tools.
Tools for creating landing pages
There are a lot of tools out there for creating killer landing pages but here are a couple to look at to give you an idea.
Wix is a general drag and drop website builder which has grown over the years. Generally speaking, easy fix website builders can seem good at first, but they can be pretty buggy, so make sure you check out the reviews before subscribing. Wix is huge and far more reliable than most, but nothing can beat learning a bit about HTML, CSS and Java so that you can build your own.
Lead Pages specialises in landing page creation, so it’s a little more tailored to the purpose. They also make it easy to connect your tracking tools and optimise your pages.
It’s important to do your own research though if you want to find out what is best for you.
Tools for Tracking Traffic
If you’re running a Paid or Organic Traffic campaign, then there are a lot of tools available to help you with optimisation.
CrazyEgg and Hotjar provide tools such as heatmaps and A/B split testing. If you’ve never used heatmaps before, they are really cool! They allow you to see where most of your visitor interactions are on your sites. So if you’ve got a headline that gets a lot of attention, you’ll see it glow bright red, while areas which don’t get attention will show little to no colouration.