Should You Pay to Send Traffic to Your Website?

By Dennis Lewis | Digital Marketing

Feb 15

OK. It’s true.

There’s just no question about it.

Creating a website without traffic is like putting a neon sign in the deepest depths of Lake Michigan. At best, you’ve wasted the effort, and at worst you get electrocuted.

There’s no quick answer to the problem of getting the right people to visit your site.

Unfortunately, the simplest questions often have the most complicated solutions.

By now, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that you need to do something to get people to visit your website.

But at what cost? Should you pay to send traffic to your site?

If so, how much?

First of all, the most important advice I can give you is the following:

Until you can accurately measure return on investment, don’t pay a dime for any type of traffic.

Don’t work on SEO.

Don’t share on social media.

Don’t buy a single click.

Nothing. Nada. Absolute zilch.

You have to be able to judge the return on every campaign you run on the internet. Everything else is throwing money down the toilet.

So before starting, stop and decide how you’re going to measure success.

Later in this article we’ll go over some of the most standard metrics, but whatever you do heed this advice. Measuring is key to success.

The next question you’re probably asking yourself is “why pay for traffic when there’s tons of free traffic out there?”

As a response, let me ask you a different question?

Why do companies pay to advertise in the newspaper or on tv, when they could just get journalists to write stories about them for free?

Or better yet.

Why buy tomatoes at the supermarket when you can plant them for free in your back yard?

The answer to all three questions is identical.

Free tomatoes don’t exist. Free advertising on TV doesn’t exist.

And free traffic in internet does not exist.

But wait. When someone does a search on google, sees a link to your website and clicks, you get free traffic, right?

While technically true, if your website is located on the eighteenth page of the organic search results, how many clicks do you think you’re going to receive?

The truth is that positioning your site in the best keywords requires, in the best of cases, hard work, dedication and significant amounts of time.

I don’t know about you, but do these three things sound free?

Most SEO work requires creating great content, doing onsite optimization and then building back links to your site. None of these are free.

So if free traffic isn’t free, the question remains, “How much should I pay for web traffic?”

Is 20¢ a click a good deal?

How about $1?

Perhaps $150?

The only correct answer for all of the above is “it depends”.

For example, if for every 10 clicks you make a sale worth $3,000, then $150 per click is a great deal. 10 clicks will set you back $1,500 and you’ll make another $1,500 in profit.

However, if it takes a thousand clicks at 20¢ a click to make a sale worth $150, then you’re paying too much. A thousand clicks at 20¢ will cost you a total of $200 and you will have lost $50.

The only way to determine what price to pay for traffic is to base the calculation on your specific metrics.

First of all, what are you trying to achieve? Signups to your list? Sales? Referrals?

Second, what are the metrics you’re going to track?

A few of the most typical things to measure are:

CPC: Cost per click. This is simply the cost of every click you’re paying for.

CPA: Cost per action. This is the average cost for whatever action you’re hoping to achieve.

CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost. This is the average cost for acquiring a new customer.

ROI: The economic return on investment.

Obviously not all traffic is created equal.

Traffic that is highly targeted to your ideal customer demographic will usually cost more than general “low cost” traffic. While your CPC may be low, your CPA or CAC may turn out to be prohibitively high.

So once you find a good traffic source at the right price, how much of a good deal is too much?

In the end it depends on your ability to handle the business.

If you can attend an unlimited amount of business, then you should concentrate your efforts on optimizing and scaling your campaign.

If, on the other hand, your production capacity is limited by factors such as raw materials, human resources or elaboration time, then you will need to match your marketing to get as close as possible to your maximum production level without burning out your resources.

In conclusion, the answer to the “how much should I pay for web traffic?” question should, if we do things right, transition into “how much can I pay for web traffic?”

When you have built a finely tuned sales funnel and are carefully controlling the right metrics your focus will change from worrying about the cost of each click to trying to figure out how to get as many clicks as you possible can.

Believe me, that’s when digital marketing starts being fun!

Is your sales funnel working like it should?

Why don’t you click here and we can analyze your digital marketing situation?

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About the Author

Dennis H. Lewis, CEO of Green Light Digital, is a serial entrepreneur who has lead successful startups in both the US and Europe. He has been featured on Good Morning America and the New York Times.

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