WRONG! If you’re just getting started, or still needing to grow your customer base, then you can’t afford NOT to pay for your traffic.
But isn’t “organic” better?
Not necessarily. Paid traffic gives you vastly more control over how much traffic you receive and how it reaches your storefront. In fact, once you’ve “bought” yourself a decent customer base, organic traffic will develop as a result of those existing customers, as well as the seeds you’ve planted in the process.
So what are the actual differences between paid and organic traffic?
Allow me to elaborate…
Organic traffic happens when people just stumble upon your brand without much effort on your part. As Molly Pittman of DigitalMarketer explains it, organic traffic is much like rain – you can’t control the timing or the flow. Even if you move to a “rainy location”, or “seed the clouds”, your are still at the mercy of the market. Of course, the more effort you put in, making sure that your website is likely to reach the people who are looking for what you offer (also known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization), the more organic traffic you will attract. But this still costs you resources – mainly TIME. You might even gain traffic organically by word-of-mouth, if you’ve done such an outstanding job that your customers are sending their friends to you! When you’re busy with business and leads come your way by any of these means, it’s always a welcome boon. But when you are just waiting around for these spontaneous occurrences, you are losing money.
Alternatively, you can buy traffic, in very specific flavors, from very specific locations, in very specific amounts – and at a lower cost than you might expect. Paid traffic, is more like a hose – with your very own on/off and adjustable spigot. The more targeted your approach, the less “water” you’ll waste, and the more efficiently you’ll be spending your valuable resources. It’s crucial to direct more of your focus on who you’re selling to, than what you’re selling. If you’re not clear yet on who you target audience is – START THERE!
(Go ahead, I’ll wait…)
Ok, so now that you know WHO you’re marketing to, you’ll know where to find them – whether they’re searching for information on Google, scrolling all day in Facebook, watching videos on YouTube, daydreaming on Pinterest, scanning headlines in Twitter, reading reviews on Yelp, getting creative with Instagram, or networking on LinkedIn – go to where they are! Place your ad right under their nose.
And guess what?? You’ll only have to pay for actual attention – no cover charge just for entry.
In the world of Google, we call this “PPC”, or pay-per-click; on Facebook and YouTube, we use “Ad Campaigns”. These are currently the three biggest sources of consumer traffic, though some products or services have more prospects on the other platforms. Sometimes you will pay for actual clicks, and other times, you might configure your advertising to gain simple views rather than full-on engagement, which is great if you’re just trying to grow awareness.
Back to the question at hand – what you really want to be doing is BOTH. Set up your SEO to get that ball rolling, and then run an ad campaign on the platform your prospects use most, and get your business growing!