Here's Why I ALWAYS Pay For Advertising

37 replies
I've been in business for myself for almost 20 years. I've never worked for anyone else in my life. Even in high school I sold stuff in school to make a living...nothing illegal! I wanted to make a post about "free advertising" or "free traffic" and tell you why I always pay for all of my advertising no matter what! Throughout this post, "advertising" can mean traffic if you are an online only person. My business is completely offline so for me it's advertising.

First, there is no such thing as free advertising. I can print up some fliers and nail them to telephone poles and yes, it won't cost me anything, but it still isn't free. I still have to spend the time doing it and no matter how you look at it, your time is worth something.

Think about this. You have 10 hours per week to spend on your part time business. 9 of those hours will be spent on advertising and generating new business. You could spend those 9 hours doing the work or you could spend those 9 hours at a JOB making $12 per hour and spend the money you make on hiring an expert to do the advertising for you. The difference is the same!

Second, I'm a retailer not an advertiser. I'd consider myself an expert in making deals happen in my local retail economy. But I am hardly an expert in getting people into my store. There is no reason for me to pretend I'm the expert when I could just hire the real expert and let him do his thing.

I have my skills. I know what they are. I am honest with myself. MY SKILLS ARE NOT ADVERTISING. Therefor the best use of my time would be for me to concentrate on generating income from my skills and investing that income into people who have the other skills that I do not.

So here's the moral to my story. Concentrate on what you know best and pay for whatever else you need. Generate income from the things you are good at and use that income to pay for the things you are not good at.

Pretending to be the expert or lying to yourself about it will only hurt your own business in the long (and short) run.
#advertising #pay
  • Profile picture of the author webapex
    At lest one of the gurus suggests you can't build a solid business with a calculable resale value that is dependant on the whims of search engine algorithms to deliver customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author DylanJames
      Originally Posted by webapex View Post

      At lest one of the gurus suggests you can't build a solid business with a calculable resale value that is dependant on the whims of search engine algorithms to deliver customers.
      Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story. Search engine results can change in seconds.
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      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by DylanJames View Post

        Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story. Search engine results can change in seconds.
        Exactly - if you can't make a product successful (return a profit) with paid advertising then you are always going to be limited in what your business can achieve.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dave Rodman
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          I don't know if I really agree with the advice. I built my retail business into a 7 figure annual revenue business in less than 4 years by doing things myself. You can't take a big piece of your business that you know nothing about and just outsource it to someone that claims to. My adwords budget is pretty large and now I have a person who manages it for me. But I did my part for 3 years to learn the system and make sure I was turning a profit. It's irresponsible to just turn over the keys to someone and hope they do you right.
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          • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
            Originally Posted by Dave Rodman View Post

            I don't know if I really agree with the advice. I built my retail business into a 7 figure annual revenue business in less than 4 years by doing things myself. You can't take a big piece of your business that you know nothing about and just outsource it to someone that claims to. My adwords budget is pretty large and now I have a person who manages it for me. But I did my part for 3 years to learn the system and make sure I was turning a profit. It's irresponsible to just turn over the keys to someone and hope they do you right.
            Probably would have been built in 4 months if you hadn't done it yourself
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            • Profile picture of the author Dave Rodman
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

              Probably would have been built in 4 months if you hadn't done it yourself
              Yeah, letting other people do the work (competent or not) always means faster/better results.
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              • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                Originally Posted by bigredrassler View Post

                Think of an exterminator, they come get rid of the roaches in your new house, if the roaches come back, they get repeat business, but if they do the best job and the roaches don't come back, have they really lost a client? No, because you will refer your friend with a spider infestation to them, because they did such a great job.
                If that exterminator left without at least offering you some sort of ongoing maintenance agreement, he's falling down on the job. The cash flow from those arrangements to periodically spray to keep the roaches away keeps the doors open and the crews working when times get lean.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dave Rodman
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        Originally Posted by DylanJames View Post

        Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story. Search engine results can change in seconds.
        First off, you can't control everything and you're always going to have concentrations in your business. Lots of traffic here, lots of business from one customer, etc. So while you're developing multiple channels for making money, make sure you're building your war chest. A year of expenses can solve the problem of getting blindsided.

        But beyond that, most people get blindsided by things that are not obvious. Largest site banned by Google, Adwords Slapped, regulation changing industries, suppliers shutting down, etc.
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      • Profile picture of the author MarketingVet09
        Originally Posted by DylanJames View Post

        Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story. Search engine results can change in seconds.
        Not trying to be a smartazz, but, I'm a very technical person. You said, "period, end of story." Well, you have no control over paid advertising methods... Whoever you advertise with, if a newspaper, the delivery boy could throw them in the trash so he can go home early.. If online with a banner, someone can screw you and cheat you out of impressions... If you advertise in a magazine, someone might spell your website wrong...

        Their risks in everything you do, cant just bottle everything up and say, "period, end of story." If it works for you, that's great. But their are time's where free advertising will be logical.. Like when first starting up, or in some special cases like craigslist.
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        • Profile picture of the author DylanJames
          Originally Posted by Jusumax Inc View Post

          Not trying to be a smartazz, but, I'm a very technical person. You said, "period, end of story." Well, you have no control over paid advertising methods...
          Yes you do. Just the same way I have control over the Pizza place I buy Pizza from. I buy it and if I hate it I don't buy it again.

          Originally Posted by Jusumax Inc View Post

          Whoever you advertise with, if a newspaper, the delivery boy could throw them in the trash so he can go home early.. If online with a banner, someone can screw you and cheat you out of impressions... If you advertise in a magazine, someone might spell your website wrong...
          And you can choose to not use that service again.

          Originally Posted by Jusumax Inc View Post

          Their risks in everything you do, cant just bottle everything up and say, "period, end of story." If it works for you, that's great.
          Yes, there are risks in everything you do. Managing those risks correctly is often the difference between going out of business in your first 3 months or generating millions of dollars in yearly income.

          It's not about "working for me" it's about working in general. The whole "works for you" thing is a joke in my opinion. Almost every successful business person will tell you the same thing - there is no secret! They all did it the same way!

          Originally Posted by Jusumax Inc View Post

          But their are time's where free advertising will be logical.. Like when first starting up, or in some special cases like craigslist.
          Who is posting those craiglsist ads? Writing those articles? Posting those fliers?

          If it's YOU, it's not free. If it's someone else, you are paying for it.

          There is no such thing as free traffic. Period, end of story.
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      • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
        Originally Posted by DylanJames View Post

        Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story. Search engine results can change in seconds.
        Since when does any major search engine change rankings in seconds? I usually have to wait weeks or months to see a change in my rankings on Google.

        And furthermore, never depend on anything you have no control over?

        News flash: YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER PPC JUST AS YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER SEO!!

        You don't have control of who you're bidding against.

        You don't have control of whether or not Google allows your site to even use their platform.

        You don't have control of your CPC although you can change it a bit by quality score.

        In fact, when you stop and think about it, just about any traffic generation you don't have control over because it's reliant on driving visitors from someone else's site to yours. Anyone who owns the site you're getting traffic from can shut you down in a second.

        I say good day to you sir!
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  • Profile picture of the author Online Bliss
    Never depend on anything that you have no control over. Period, end of story.
    Dylan,

    That is the Best Advice I have heard in a while
    and it applies to many other circumstances as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    One more vote for building a list. It makes no sense to pay for advertising to get one-off customers. I guess if you sell Ferraris or Rolex watches, then you could survive, but for the vast majority of businesses (online and offline), you need repeat customers. So get a nice sales funnel in place, then pay for traffic that gets sent through that funnel. At least then you're investing when you pay for the advertising, not risking expensive capital.
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    • Profile picture of the author jan roos
      Definitely some great advice to be shared here. Build a sales funnel and a list is very important. Free traffic is definitely not free, not by a long shot. I love free traffic and the price I pay to get to the top of the search engines is well worth it so far. With that being said, I also love paid traffic which you can control more and in my opinion there is much more traffic available if you go the paid route.

      Cheers
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      • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
        Originally Posted by jan roos View Post

        I also love paid traffic which you can control more and in my opinion there is much more traffic available if you go the paid route.

        Cheers
        I'm not so sure this is a matter of opinion. According to a piece I just read by Ryan Deiss, the natural listings get 95% of the clicks. That seems to mean the opposite of your opinion. If the number is close to the truth, it means that there is close to 20 times as much free traffic available as there is paid.

        That said, I agree with you and others who think there's no reason to marry free or paid traffic, when you can continue dating both without being accused of cheating.
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        • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
          Originally Posted by Greg guitar View Post

          I'm not so sure this is a matter of opinion. According to a piece I just read by Ryan Deiss, the natural listings get 95% of the clicks. That seems to mean the opposite of your opinion. If the number is close to the truth, it means that there is close to 20 times as much free traffic available as there is paid.

          That said, I agree with you and others who think there's no reason to marry free or paid traffic, when you can continue dating both without being accused of cheating.
          95% of the clicks from 3% of the online traffic available

          google only controls 3% of traffic online....

          you can buy traffic and gets 9700 times the traffic than you can get from a google listing
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    • Profile picture of the author bigredrassler
      Interesting advice. I agree, and not just because I'm actually an ad guy, but because unless you know advertising, or are willing to learn the rules, formulas, and tricks to creating a successful campaign, handling your own advertising could be disastrous. If you don't know anything about electrical work, and you don't want to take the time to read up on rewiring your house, hire an electrician to do the job.
      I do partially agree with zeus66, if your business thrives on repeat business, you need to make sure your business is a place to return to, however, you can still be successful with few repeat customers even if you're not selling $100,000 dollar items. Think of an exterminator, they come get rid of the roaches in your new house, if the roaches come back, they get repeat business, but if they do the best job and the roaches don't come back, have they really lost a client? No, because you will refer your friend with a spider infestation to them, because they did such a great job.

      Back to paying for advertising, if you own any kind of business, and you want the best ROI on your advertising, then either start studying advertising as an art, science, and business (as an advertiser I read at least two books a month on advertising strategies, creative campaigning, and keep abreast of laws for all marketing methods, the least you should do is read a couple of books a year, and make sure you know the rules and laws concerning your medium) or hire someone who knows how to get you business.
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      • Profile picture of the author DylanJames
        Originally Posted by bigredrassler View Post

        Think of an exterminator, they come get rid of the roaches in your new house, if the roaches come back, they get repeat business, but if they do the best job and the roaches don't come back, have they really lost a client?
        Why do you think Dentists are so into the whole "save the tooth" thing. Sure, there's benefits to saving a tooth but in reality, if the client has no teeth, they have no need for the dentist.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulie888
      Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

      One more vote for building a list. It makes no sense to pay for advertising to get one-off customers. I guess if you sell Ferraris or Rolex watches, then you could survive, but for the vast majority of businesses (online and offline), you need repeat customers. So get a nice sales funnel in place, then pay for traffic that gets sent through that funnel. At least then you're investing when you pay for the advertising, not risking expensive capital.
      Most definitely. If you're going to be paying for advertising, you might as well maximize the lifetime value of your customers, and this will ultimately increase your ROI by a lot for every dollar spent on advertising.

      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author JeffLam
    Dylan,

    That makes a lot of sense.

    However, with smaller businesses initially, budgets are usually tight. That's why the founder or the entrepreneur himself usually handles everything. That includes marketing. And you know what? Most startup entrepreneurs are mostly about marketing. Everything starts with marketing.

    Your post hits me quite hard though as I'm currently in this dilemma. I find myself not very good at marketing my businesses, and was thinking if I can hire someone to handle it for me or something similar.

    Since you have such experience of outsourcing, any recommendations where I can find them?
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    I love BOTH free and paid advertising. I don't think someone has to do just one or the other. I agree that "free" advertising is not really free and can actually take considerable time. Both methods have there place though and can reach different audiences. For me a combination of the two is tapping into the best of both worlds.
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  • Profile picture of the author excuzemee
    I agree with Dylan. I would much rather have too many customers than not enough, because that is the point of this thread.

    As a start-up entrepreneur you still do need to learn the marketing no matter what, because it can be counter productive handing all your money to people who can't live up to their promises.

    Learning the most effective way to market your business is key. Then hand it over to people who know... people you know that can deliver.

    I can have great skills and a wonderful problem solver, but if nobody knows about it, it will die a sure death. Paying the right people to market your business gives you more flexibility (if your business cashflows properly) and a better ROI than any other investment you can make.

    Marketing generates more money for you... PERIOD. The only non-renewable asset each of us has is time, and paying for your effective advertising buys you more time.

    more time to spend on your business.
    more time to spend on yourself.
    more time to spend with your significant other.
    more time to live your life.

    One of the biggest mistakes I made, and I see many others do it, is to spend your money on your business rather than spending it on marketing. More marketing should equal more sales, more sales equal more money. More money equals more time.

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    • Profile picture of the author Goliath
      Originally Posted by excuzemee View Post

      I agree with Dylan. I would much rather have too many customers than not enough, because that is the point of this thread.

      As a start-up entrepreneur you still do need to learn the marketing no matter what, because it can be counter productive handing all your money to people who can't live up to their promises.

      Learning the most effective way to market your business is key. Then hand it over to people who know... people you know that can deliver.

      I can have great skills and a wonderful problem solver, but if nobody knows about it, it will die a sure death. Paying the right people to market your business gives you more flexibility (if your business cashflows properly) and a better ROI than any other investment you can make.

      Marketing generates more money for you... PERIOD. The only non-renewable asset each of us has is time, and paying for your effective advertising buys you more time.

      more time to spend on your business.
      more time to spend on yourself.
      more time to spend with your significant other.
      more time to live your life.

      One of the biggest mistakes I made, and I see many others do it, is to spend your money on your business rather than spending it on marketing. More marketing should equal more sales, more sales equal more money. More money equals more time.

      Thats what its all about... Buying yourself more time; yes you... the true ENTREPRENEUR. Not marketer, or developer, or whatever other expertise that are out there. You as THE business man should be a JACK in all (most) traits, and a MASTER in one. Thats what entrepreneurship is all about...

      A lot of different perceptions here, but all WORTHWHILE to know. Peace!
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  • Profile picture of the author LauraJames
    How do you get noticed within the world of online marketing?....marketing, marketing, marketing. Some methods of marketing are free, including social networks and forums. Others methods, of course, come with a price tag. Whether you choose on path, or both, please be sure to maintain your professionalism at all times. Best wishes to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
    Originally Posted by DylanJames View Post

    I've been in business for myself for almost 20 years. I've never worked for anyone else in my life. Even in high school I sold stuff in school to make a living...nothing illegal! I wanted to make a post about "free advertising" or "free traffic" and tell you why I always pay for all of my advertising no matter what! Throughout this post, "advertising" can mean traffic if you are an online only person. My business is completely offline so for me it's advertising.

    First, there is no such thing as free advertising. I can print up some fliers and nail them to telephone poles and yes, it won't cost me anything, but it still isn't free. I still have to spend the time doing it and no matter how you look at it, your time is worth something.

    Think about this. You have 10 hours per week to spend on your part time business. 9 of those hours will be spent on advertising and generating new business. You could spend those 9 hours doing the work or you could spend those 9 hours at a JOB making $12 per hour and spend the money you make on hiring an expert to do the advertising for you. The difference is the same!

    Second, I'm a retailer not an advertiser. I'd consider myself an expert in making deals happen in my local retail economy. But I am hardly an expert in getting people into my store. There is no reason for me to pretend I'm the expert when I could just hire the real expert and let him do his thing.

    I have my skills. I know what they are. I am honest with myself. MY SKILLS ARE NOT ADVERTISING. Therefor the best use of my time would be for me to concentrate on generating income from my skills and investing that income into people who have the other skills that I do not.

    So here's the moral to my story. Concentrate on what you know best and pay for whatever else you need. Generate income from the things you are good at and use that income to pay for the things you are not good at.

    Pretending to be the expert or lying to yourself about it will only hurt your own business in the long (and short) run.
    Okay, fair enough, but if I could make 100 dollars from posting a few fliers or make 100 dollars from putting a 50 dollar newspaper ad up, which should I logically choose?

    Especially if I can pay the local newspaper boy to do it for 25 dollars, which is how things end up working out in the long run with SEO versus PPC.

    Free traffic is just a lot more profitable.

    And as far as maintaining the traffic being a bad business plan, you're going to get a lot of flak for that one, and it won't be just coming from me.
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    • Profile picture of the author theemperor
      Originally Posted by Cataclysm1987 View Post

      Okay, fair enough, but if I could make 100 dollars from posting a few fliers or make 100 dollars from putting a 50 dollar newspaper ad up, which should I logically choose?

      Especially if I can pay the local newspaper boy to do it for 25 dollars, which is how things end up working out in the long run with SEO versus PPC.

      Free traffic is just a lot more profitable.

      And as far as maintaining the traffic being a bad business plan, you're going to get a lot of flak for that one, and it won't be just coming from me.
      Yes this becomes a moot point when you consider that SEO can be outsourced, and therefore made into a form of paid advertising, be it a lot cheaper one.

      It's horses for courses - in my niche I found SEO traffic converted better and is of course a lot cheaper per visitor than PPC. Once I have a system I can pay someone to write articles for me and another person to submit them to article directories.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
      Originally Posted by Cataclysm1987 View Post

      Okay, fair enough, but if I could make 100 dollars from posting a few fliers or make 100 dollars from putting a 50 dollar newspaper ad up, which should I logically choose?

      Especially if I can pay the local newspaper boy to do it for 25 dollars, which is how things end up working out in the long run with SEO versus PPC.

      Free traffic is just a lot more profitable.

      And as far as maintaining the traffic being a bad business plan, you're going to get a lot of flak for that one, and it won't be just coming from me.
      if i am going to make $50 profit from every $100 newspaper ad, then i would pay $5000 right up front and make $2500 profit every week instead of going down the flier route

      Only so many fliers you can put out, and paid ads are limitless

      a question of scalability that you dont factor into your equation
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  • Profile picture of the author dave147
    With paid advertising it should be geared towards attaining and maintaining paying customers, like your list building ventures would do well with the right paid advertising
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
    Very interesting points here. The OP makes a great point that it's important to use your time to do what you're best at that can generate revenue and outsource or JV the rest.

    The only thing is, I think marketing is somewhat of an exception-not that you should pretend expertise you don't have, and not to say you shouldn't outsource parts of it, such as buying ads. But as Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer often point out-whatever business you are in is a "marketing" business first and a [whatever you offer] business second, so I don't care if you charter jets or walk dogs-your primary business is to market the service/product.

    That doesn't mean you can't outsource it, but you must learn about marketing so you can intelligently select, and intelligently communicate with your outsourcers, and know when to fire one, or give them a raise. You ultimately will want to decide on the overall thrust (hehe-I said thrust) of the marketing and make major decisions about how you want those outsourcers to spend their time. To do that, you must be a serious student, if not a master, of marketing. If you are a plumber, knowing marketing is as key in your business as knowing how to use your hand tools.
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    • Profile picture of the author theemperor
      Originally Posted by Greg guitar View Post

      Very interesting points here. The OP makes a great point that it's important to use your time to do what you're best at that can generate revenue and outsource or JV the rest.

      The only thing is, I think marketing is somewhat of an exception-not that you should pretend expertise you don't have, and not to say you shouldn't outsource parts of it, such as buying ads. But as Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer often point out-whatever business you are in is a "marketing" business first and a [whatever you offer] business second, so I don't care if you charter jets or walk dogs-your primary business is to market the service/product.

      That doesn't mean you can't outsource it, but you must learn about marketing so you can intelligently select, and intelligently communicate with your outsourcers, and know when to fire one, or give them a raise. You ultimately will want to decide on the overall thrust (hehe-I said thrust) of the marketing and make major decisions about how you want those outsourcers to spend their time. To do that, you must be a serious student, if not a master, of marketing. If you are a plumber, knowing marketing is as key in your business as knowing how to use your hand tools.
      Greg,

      You make some excellent points here.

      This is how I see it and is why I am going to be spending some time doing some mundane stuff - writing articles and submitting them by hand. Then once I get a feel for the ins and outs I will think about outsourcing that. I think it is important to understand marketing to some level and detail before paying someone else to do it. That is, unless you are happy to lose a few $1000 in trial and error. Which may not be a bad thing if your time is worth a lot more than that or you are very confident you will turn a profit quickly so your cash doesn't run out.

      I think once you can prove through testing using your own marketing that a targeted visitor = $0.50 or $1 or ... and you know how to get those visitors then it is possible to formulate a budget to go to the advertising experts with and decide which forms of advertising to use.

      I do love the idea of outsourcing SEO - you get the cheap traffic without doing all the mundane back-linking work. Although I think it is still worth doing a few manual link partnerships but you can go for bigger fish like a homepage link from authority sites, while the outsource company takes care of the menial work.
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  • Profile picture of the author TomVa
    Ive always learned never put all your egg's into one basket! With that, yea you may not know everything but if you try and try again you will learn it! For the things you don't know hire someone, learn what they did and repeat it! *shrugs* Good advice to the OP as well. If you think you know everything then you will fail, if you're always learning and admit to yourself you don't know everything then you will earn! *shrugs*
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  • Profile picture of the author JonAlfredsson
    Dylan, I think you're able to make good points here. I also believe in the power of paid advertising like on websites. It has its benefits that you'll not get from free services.
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  • Profile picture of the author arcadiasmith
    Paying high quality website directories and articles directories to include your site in their suitable categories can really create huge web traffic to your sales pages. The articles directories need you to write unique articles and submit them to their websites. You can hire freelance writers to write for you and create great articles for this purpose. These directories have massive traffic to their websites, and interested readers can visit your website to learn more about your content, products, and services. They are targeted web traffic and may buy a lot of products from you if you can impress them with your expert writing on the topics that really interest them. With these methods too, you are buying web traffic to your website, and these visitors are quality visitors because most of them buy your products and services. :p
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    • Profile picture of the author DylanJames
      I think the point I was trying to make in this post was somewhat missed by some people.

      A lot of you are saying things like "free traffic is more profitable" or "the budget it tight so I have to use free traffic methods".

      The problem is, no matter how you look at it, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE TRAFFIC OR ADVERTISING! You are either paying for the work to be done or you are doing the work yourself.

      You could spend 10 hours per week advertising, which more than likely you are not an expert in, or you can work 10 extra hours in the field that you are an expert in, take that money and pay someone who is an advertising expert to advertise for you.

      I choose to run my business as people like Henry Ford did. I concentrate on my strengths, use my skills to the best of my ability, and pay for experts to do the things I cannot do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vince L
    Dylan, really good insight. Good reminder to stick to what you know.

    I like finding ways to drive "free" traffic, but as you said, there is always a cost. It's kind of a game, really.

    I will say that some of my best results have come from Adwords versus articles, social media, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Outsourcing has its benefits.

    Also remember that nobody cares about your opportunity as much as you do.

    Ultimately a mix of the 2 may prove to be of benefit.

    RB
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    Ryan Biddulph inspires you to be a successful blogger with his courses, 100 plus eBooks, audio books and blog at Blogging From Paradise
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