Build a List by Offering Free Information

One of the interesting trends in the Internet has been that of free information.

Back when the web just started out, everything was free. As the web commercialized, you had to pay to get access to information. Now that competition is fierce for your web dollars, free information is back as a marketing tool.

The Free Money Formula people use free videos on Internet Marketing as their tool for getting subscribers. The videos are primarily targeted at people looking to create websites for selling affiliate products. The videos cover finding a market, finding a product, creating a website, and getting traffic to the website.

So how do websites like this make money providing free products?

There’s a saying in Internet marketing circles, “the money is in the list”. To get access to the free videos, you have to signup for their mailing list. Being on a mailing list means that you’ll get various offers from the Free Money Formula people. You’ve already, by signing up for the videos, shown that you are interested in Internet marketing, so they have a targeted list for Internet marketing products.

The Free Money Formula people also provide all members the opportunity to make some money by referring others to their site. How do you make money as an affiliate by referring to a free site? All the offers that get sent out to members will have some sort of affiliate link in them. 50% of the time your affiliate links will be used, earning you commissions.

Providing free information to build a list is a technique worth remembering for your own Internet marketing efforts. You’ll end up with a targeted list, although members haven’t yet shown a willingness to spend money. So you’ll need to send out regular mailings with opportunities for them to spend. Some members of a mailing list don’t buy for years, until you send out that one product that appeals to them.

To use a list, you’ll need access to quality autoresponders. The two top autoresponder companies are Aweber and Traffic Wave. Both will provide you with capture forms and unlimited autoresponders.

You’ll also need access to free information. While you can find various free ebooks on the web that have give-away rights, keep in mind that your target audience may have already seen the ebooks available on other sites. Your response rate will be higher if you provide unique free information. Either write something yourself, or higher a writer to produce something for you. Or, like the Free Money Formula people, create your own videos!

One Time Offers and Special Pricing, Oh My!

Signup for any free service on the Internet these days, and the chances are good that you’ll immediately see a one-time-offer (OTO).

OTOs are a widely used marketing technique that tries to build on the action that you’ve already taken to get more money out of you. For example, let’s say you’ve signed up for a free traffic exchange service. The OTO might be to upgrade your account so that you get free credits each month in the traffic exchange, and instead of paying the normal $10 monthly fee for the upgrade they’ll give it to you for a one time fee of only $97! What a deal!

The key point to remember about OTOs is that they wouldn’t offer them if they weren’t making the company money. In the case above, by offering an OTO that seems too good to pass up, and that makes the commitment you’ve already made (to get more traffic to your website) easier, they hope to get some money out of a free member. And you can believe that once you’ve established your willingness to pay for upgraded services, you’ll get additional too-good-to-pass-up offers later.

That’s not to say that OTOs aren’t worth taking. But you can’t take all of them, or you’d be out of money in short order. I generally say no to OTOs, since at the time they’re offered (right after I signup for a service), I don’t know if the service is worth investing more money into or not. Some OTOs I take because I know from experience that the same sort of service has been effective for me at other sites.

When you refuse an OTO, the chances are good that you’ll get a second OTO. Assuming that the price of the OTO was the only thing keeping you from taking it, they’ll offer reduced services for a reduced price, immediately after you refuse the first OTO. This is happening more and more these days.

Another common Internet marketing technique is special pricing. You’ll typically see something like this on a blog or website.

I highly recommend using Vista Print for your business card needs. As a service to my loyal readers, I’ve negotiated a special deal where you can get 250 free business cards if you haven’t used Vista Print before. I’m not sure how long I can keep this deal going, so get yours now!

Or it might give you a special code to type in when you’re buying to get a discount.

Special pricing like this is a regular service that companies offer to their affiliates to help them attract new customers. There’s nothing that needed to be negotiated, and no worries that the deal will go away any time soon. In the example above, if you click the link and get your 250 free business cards, Vista Print gives me a nominal fee (a bit over $3) for sending a new customer their way. You win because you get free business cards, Vista Print wins because they get a new customer, and I win because I get a bit of cash.

If you come across a product or service you want to buy, and you see a box for entering a promotional code or discount code, it’s worth doing a web search to see if you can find one on a blog or website somewhere. The chances are good you will. You’ll get a discount, and some random webmaster will get a commission.

When you’re learning Internet marketing, it’s important to learn from these sorts of techniques as you’re doing your own buying online. When you see an OTO, pay attention to whether you feel compelled to accept it or not. It’d be a good idea to keep a collection of OTO headlines and ad copy to use as inspiration for your own OTOs later. If you’re able to offer special pricing on your product or service, don’t just offer it to the general public, save it as an incentive for affiliates.

What’s the best OTO you’ve seen lately?

Testing Splash Pages to Improve Click Through Rates

I’ve talked recently about the importance of using splash pages on traffic exchanges, and the use of ad trackers to know which links are getting the most clicks. These are two great concepts that work even better together.

The idea is that you should not just limit yourself to a single splash page. If you do, how do you know if it could be improved or not? Instead, create half a dozen variations on your splash page, and put them into a URL rotator. Either use an ad tracker as the link from the splash page to your website, or use a URL rotator/splash page combination that allows you to track click through rates on the splash pages (the TEToolbox is one such combination that will let you track click through rates on splash pages for free).

So when you place ads that should lead to a splash page, you put the URL of your rotator page. Each time someone clicks on the link, they get to a different splash page. Over the course of time, each splash page is shown quite a few times. You can then check on the click through rate of each splash page to determine which ones are doing better at getting people to click on the link.

This works best if you change only small things about each splash page. That way you know which change is causing better click through rates.

I ran across a great example of this the other day while doing research. The specific splash page I encountered was this one. The splash page itself wasn’t very effective. In fact, it was later that night that I finally figured out why the woman pictured was wearing boxing gloves.

But, I noticed that the file name in the URL was splash7.php. So I poked around and took a look at the other splash pages they were testing. Here’s the complete list: splash 1, splash 2, splash 3, splash 4, splash 5, splash 6, splash 7, and splash 8.

You can see between these that they have three main splash page designs they’re testing. Each main design has a couple of variations, with the woman and the boxing gloves having four variations. In a couple, the only change in the splash page is a dark background versus a light background. Yes, that sort of change can have an effect on click through rate.

To get reliable data on which page is more effective, you need to process a lot of hits to each page. The hits have to be from the audience you’re trying to target. Run a thousand hits through each page, and you’ll have some nice data on which variation of the splash page is doing best.

Then rework the splash pages to incorporate the elements that seem to attract the highest click through rates, get rid of the other variations, create some more variations, and test them all again. Over time you should be able to steadily increase the click through rate of your splash pages.

Note that if you start targeting a different audience, you have to start this process all over again. What worked best for one audience may not work at all for another.

Doing this sort of testing gives you a huge advantage over most Internet marketers, who either don’t use a splash page or have just a single one they use.

Have any tips for the rest of us on what’s worked for your splash pages?

Update: Recently, over at Forum Know How, one of the experts has been reviewing member splash pages and giving advice on improving them. If you’re not a member, you can still get in for $10 for the year, and get some free advice on improving the response rate of your splash page.

Using Ad Trackers to Fine Tune Your Marketing

One of the problems with marketing online, whether you’re promoting affiliate products, your own products, or a website, is knowing which promotional efforts are attracting traffic.

After all, you put a link out onto safe lists, traffic exchanges, PPC ads, forum signatures, basically anywhere you can think of to get exposure. And you start getting traffic. But which of those links is attracting the most traffic? Which promotions should you ditch, and which should you expand?

If you’re running a website and promoting it, you can use various analytics tools to know where your visitors are coming from. But if you’re promoting an affiliate program, you’re probably sending people directly to the merchant site. You don’t have access to the analytics there.

You’ve probably seen services like TinyURL. Services like this are used to transform a long web address into, well, a tiny one. Many people use this for hiding affiliate links, which is a big mistake, since TinyURLdoesn’t track clicks.

An ad tracker is a way of knowing how many people are clicking on which link you’ve placed out into the wild. An ad tracker is similar to services like TinyURL, in that you replace your normal link with a link to the ad tracker site. When people click that link, they’re taken to the site you want them to go to, but the ad tracker site records the click. Later, you can know exactly how many people clicked that particular link.

Using different ad tracker URLs to send people to the same location lets you know which promotional methods are working best. For example, if you use free classifieds for advertising, use a different ad tracker URL in each classified ad you post. That lets you know which ones are most effective at getting people to click. You might also discover that certain ads work best in certain classified sites.

If you already have access to a set of tools such as the Traffic Wave tools, then you have access to ad trackers. If you don’t currently have access to a set of Internet marketing tools, you can get free ad trackers from URLFreeze.com.

You’ll need to signup for free to URLFreeze.com to get ad tracking capabilities. After that, you can add as many URLs as you want, and see how many clicks each has received. An ad tracking URL looks similar to a TinyURL one. For example, this one from URLFreeze.com, http://urlfreeze.com/jshaffstall/L-1c90/ , just takes you to this blog. But I’ll be able to know how many people click on it.

Clicking the above link you can see that URLFreeze.com puts a small bar across the bottom of the screen. That’s the price you pay for getting an ad tracker for free. If you want to remove that bar, you can upgrade to a pro membership for a one-time $27 fee. That’s actually a good value, given that other sites charge monthly fees for ad trackers. But the advertising bar in the free ad trackers is not at all intrusive.

While ad tracker technology is simple, using them requires some planning. The basic idea is to use a different ad tracker URL every time you place a link.

For example, say you promote an affiliate link on your website by writing a couple of articles and placing a banner. Create a separate ad tracker URL for each article and the banner, for a total of three ad trackers. This lets you know which article is doing better at getting people to click the link, and how the banner compares to the articles. If the articles do great, you’ll know to put some effort into writing more of them. If the articles don’t do well, you can save that effort and put it into something else.

The same strategy applies to every link you place throughout the Internet. Use a different ad tracker URL every time you place a link.

While going through the stats for all these ad trackers can be time consuming, the insight you gain into what advertising efforts are getting people to click will be worth it.

How to Learn Internet Marketing

There are many ways of learning Internet Marketing. I’ll highlight some of the ways in this post, starting with free resources and moving on up in expense.

Blogs

There are a lot of blogs out there providing Internet Marketing tips. The main problem is finding information that’s reliable. One key is to try and determine if the person who wrote the blog knows more than you do. If so, there’s a chance you can learn some useful information from them.

Another key in evaluating a blog is, when they link to a product or service, does their blog post sound like the sales page for that product or service? If so, then they might be trying to simply earn some affiliate income. I don’t have a problem with clicking on an affiliate link in a blog, but I want the review of the product or service to be a review, not a sales pitch.

My current “must reads” are Self Made Minds and DoshDosh. Both are ahead of me in the Internet Marketing curve, but not so far ahead that I can’t learn from their posts.

For a newcomer to Internet Marketing, of course, the archives here at Online Opportunity have some good information.

One of the problems learning from blogs is that it’s a bit like learning how to play piano by reading about it. At some point you have to start practicing Internet Marketing to gain the skill and confidence you’ll need to succeed.

Forums

The main problem with learning from forums is that low cost of entry to post in a forum. Anyone can post and claim to be an expert, and many forums are plagued by spam bots. Strong moderation in a forum is key.

The Digital Point Forums are one of my favorite forums. I found the logo design company who created my logo there, and they have boards for nearly every topic related to Internet Marketing you can imagine. The moderators are firm, keeping the spam to nearly nothing. The Digital Point Forums also share Adsense revenue with its members. You won’t get rich this way, but it’s a nice way of acknowledging the people who contribute most.

Forum Know How is a new forum about Internet Marketing. Forum Know How’s attraction is that they have 8 heavy hitters in the field recruited as experts, including names such as Pat Lovell and Liz Tomey. They each provide advice on a different aspect of Internet Marketing. The forum is so new some of the boards don’t have posts in them yet, but the potential is nice. Forum Know How does charge for access (currently $10 a year), and has disabled in-forum registrations to keep spam bots out. Instead you register through the link above.

Wealthy Affiliate is another experts forum, run by Kyle and Carson. I’m not a member of this one, since it costs $29.99 a month. The tools and services offered sound impressive, though. They offer tools for doing Adwords market research, and a mentoring program where Kyle and/or Carson will examine your landing pages and Adwords ads to give you advice on how to improve them. I personally don’t consider Wealthy Affiliate a good investment unless you’re looking to become serious about doing Adwords campaigns, and want some help getting past the learning curve.

Ebooks

Most ebooks available are not really worth the money. There are some notable exceptions, such as Aaron Wall’s SEO Book, but many ebooks provide information that is freely available elsewhere and don’t really add value. Providing a free ebook is also an Internet Marketing technique in itself, so they’ll often provide enough information to get you interested and link you to their website for the rest (where you often have to pay for it).

I do ebook reviews in this blog primarily to help newcomers to the field avoid ebooks that will just drain their money without providing any added value.

Trial and Error

I list trial and error last, because I consider it to be the most expensive way of learning Internet Marketing.

You can certainly try techniques to see what works, but be careful about how much money you spend to try the techniques. In particular, an Adwords campaign can suck a lot of money out of you if you’re not careful (set a budget you can stand to lose). Other forms of traffic generation may cost money, and seem like a good deal, but not be effective.

Trial and error can be the most effective way of learning, but be careful to not spend much money in the process.

What are your favorite resources for Internet Marketing?

Using Traffic Exchanges for Traffic

The basic formula for making money online goes something like this:

Traffic * ConversionRate* Commission – Expenses = Profit

In that formula the commission is usually fixed, although if you get the other factors in good shape switching to a similar product with a better commission can have a great effect on your profit. Normally, though, you can more easily affect Traffic, ConversionRate, and Expenses.

I’ll focus in this post on using free traffic exchanges, to boost Traffic and lower Expenses at the same time. Note that traffic exchanges are not targeted traffic, no matter what they say in their advertising, so your conversion rate will be lower. But it’s free, except for your time. And I’ll talk later about how to improve your conversion rate when using traffic exchanges.

Boosting Traffic

The basic idea with a traffic exchange is that you agree to view other members’ websites and they do the same for you. Your hope is that your website will be so compelling that, despite themselves, they’ll buy something (or signup, or whatever your “conversion” is). Their hope is the same. Traffic exchanges generally have a timer that forces you to have a website up for a certain amount of time before you get credit for having seen it. The more websites you view, the more times your website gets viewed.

The archetypal traffic exchange is Traffic Swarm. You get 100 credits (views of your website) as a signup bonus, although you have to view some number of other websites to activate those free credits. While you can choose your interest areas in Traffic Swarm and other traffic exchanges, it’s a bit pointless. The object is not to find something interesting to buy (which would increase your expenses) but to view as many websites as possible while avoiding buying anything. So just check all the interest areas so you have as many websites to view as possible.

Traffic Roundup, and TS25 are two other traffic exchanges that work in the same way as Traffic Swarm. StartXChange is another Free Manual Exchange.

The cheapest way to earn credits on the traffic exchanges is to set your browser’s start page to the traffic exchange, so you earn a credit every time you open a new browser window (and get in the habit of using new windows, not new tabs). But if you’re working all three of the above traffic exchanges, how do you set your start page to all three?

A URL rotator will give you a single web address that cycles between some number of other web addresses. A very nice free rotator is available at the TEToolbox. The free version allows rotating up to 5 web addresses, which is plenty for traffic exchange purposes. So create a rotator that cycles between all the traffic exchange surf pages, and then set your browser’s start page to the URL of the rotator.

Increasing Conversion Rate

Traffic exchanges will get your traffic up, but typically are not good for conversions. After all, their purpose for viewing your website is to get traffic to theirs, not because they’re really interested in buying or signing up.

There are two keys to increasing your conversion rates through traffic exchanges: offer them something useful, and use a splash page.

The people using traffic exchanges are all interested in Internet marketing, so you could offer a free report of some sort on how to boost traffic to their website. This works well if you’re interested in building a list. Just make sure you’re offering something of value to them, otherwise the value of your list will be low since their trust in you will be low.

Splash pages are the biggest key to increasing your conversion rate through traffic exchanges. Traffic exchange members must keep your web page up for a certain number of seconds. They do not have to look at it for more than the half a second it takes to load, or the half a second it takes to close the window when the timer expires.

Send them to a page full of text, and they won’t bother to read any of it. Send them to a splash page with graphics and a clear message in large text, and you just might catch their attention long enough to get them to click through to your real website.

Creating a splash page is easy at the TEToolbox. They have a WYSIWYG editor and a built in library of cool clip art that’s free for your use as a member. You can easily point all your traffic exchanges to your splash page, and from that point on the TEToolbox will track how many people saw your splash page and how many people clicked an outgoing link from your start page.

For example, here’s a screen shot of the stats for a splash page I setup to promote Marketing Pond.

You can see that I have an 8.4% click through rate, which isn’t bad for traffic exchanges in my experience.  Of those 85 click throughs, about 25% converted for me, resulting in a bit over 20 signups.

The TEToolbox will also give you stats based on the referring traffic exchange, and how many of those people were repeat visitors.

Other Traffic Boosting Programs

There are some programs for boosting traffic that are not traffic exchanges, but are worth mentioning.

ClixSense pays you for viewing advertisers’ pages for a given amount of time. You can convert your ClixSense earnings into advertising credits, or you can just buy a certain number of hits. ClixSense has some nice targeting options based on demographics. You can target certain areas of the world, certain income ranges, etc.

Traffic Digger and Free Viral are both viral marketing schemes. People sign up in order to get their website viewed for free by thousands of other people. Each person who signs up must view the websites before adding their own. There are generally 7 pages listed, and when you add yours it goes into the #1 slot. As you refer others, your page will go into the lower slots, until it drops off the end. By the time that happens you’ve gotten a lot of views of your page.

These programs all have the same basic quality of a traffic exchange, in that the traffic doesn’t want to convert. So use a splash page to catch their interest.

Have any favorite traffic exchanges I haven’t mentioned? Leave a comment and let me know.  More traffic is always good!

Article Marketing, but with Video

A reader suggested I take a look at FreeIQ, and I liked it well enough to do a review.

The basic concept behind the site is providing helpful and educational videos for free. Think of it like article marketing, but with video and audio. Videos are not to be too promotional, but rather educational with links to your own site for more information. The same sort of standards as EzineArticles has, in fact.

The videos don’t have to be of you talking, but could be demos of programs or techniques. Using something like SWF Demo Maker you could put together a nice Flash video tutorial. You could show, for example, a case study involving online keyword research tools. Or how to setup an Adwords account.

FreeIQ provides an affiliate system that gives you a commission on any purchases your referrals make for one year. You also get a commission on their referrals’ purchases.

At this point you should be asking yourself, “If they provide videos for free, what’s the commission on?”

Content providers can provide videos for sale. The basic approach would be to provide a free video that gives an overview, and more detailed videos that must be purchased. It seems like the real money at FreeIQ would be made referring content providers to them, since you get a cut of all the sales they make.

Since commissions expire in one year, you’d need to keep traffic flowing to continue making money with FreeIQ. So it isn’t the sort of opportunity that will allow you to retire to the beach after a few years, but you could make some additional online money with it.

And if you have the sort of product or service that would lend itself to using video, you could combine FreeIQ with article marketing to attract more traffic to your site.

FreeIQ is still in beta, so it’s hard to say how popular it will become. It’s a logical extension of article marketing, and many people don’t have the patience to read articles but will happily watch a video, so I think it has good potential.

To take a look at the videos currently available, click through to FreeIQ.

Google Cash Detective Launch Review

Note that this is not a review of Google Cash Detective, but a review of the launch.

Along with a lot of other people, I’d bought Google Cash years ago, only to find that the Adwords market had changed. The low hanging fruit was gone, and you had to go for the low-traffic long tail keyword to get anywhere. Since they were low traffic, you had to make up for it in volume, and I didn’t have the patience for it.

And for years, the Google Cash mailing list was quiet, with only the occasional announcement about a new version available. Then, on May 17th, I get an email about an automated version of Google Cash that would be available soon. What had been a dead mailing list suddenly has daily traffic with announcements about the new product, that, according to Chris Carpenter, was so good it would revolutionize the PPC industry.

Chris wrote an ebook about the product, created demo videos showing it in action, and even offered everyone $0.50 per person they referred to the free ebook.

Finally, June 4th came and Google Cash Detective was put up for sale. The website had some technical glitches, but eventually you could get through to purchase. But he was only selling 500 copies, until he saw how this revolutionary tool affected the PPC market (for the cynics among you, 500 copies earned Chris about $200,000 before expenses).

This is a great example of how to create a buzz in a dead mailing list, and in the PPC community. From a marketing perspective, there are many things Chris did exactly right:

Premarketed Via The Ebook

The ebook told enough of the story to get those people interested who were like me, and had bought Google Cash but had trouble making it work. A totally automated system for finding out what was working for other people.

The referral bonus for the ebook was a nice touch, and a good investment.

Demo Videos

Actually showing the product in action was a great move. A properly run demo can make a product seem much better than it really is, as I should know from working as a computer programmer for 15 years. You can target the big ticket features and gloss over the parts that need work.

Marketing Via The Google Cash List

The Google Cash list represented Chris’ best prospects. They’d already bought Google Cash, and if they weren’t successful with it he had the perfect product to offer. This is a great example of the benefit of maintaining a mailing list and keeping at least minimal traffic on it over time.

The tone of the emails was also great for building anticipation. Phrases like “…receive numerous emails begging me not to release this software” helped to validate the value of the product in his readers’ minds.

Delaying The Launch

By delaying the launch, Chris allowed the anticipation to build for those who were interested in the product. By announcing in advance that he would only sell 500 copies of the software, he built in a sense of scarcity. I have no doubt that many of the website glitches were due to his server getting hit hard at noon on June 4th (the time when you could first buy Google Cash Detective).

The Fine Print

While Chris made a considerable amount of money on the initial launch of the software, there are two ways that he continues to profit on it.

One is that while you can get data on the number of clicks a keyword has gotten through Google Cash Detective, you have to pay a bit extra for it. While the amount per keyword is small, if you’re running numerous campaigns it can add up.

Second, there are two aspects of building a PPC campaign. One is finding the niche, which is what Google Cash Detective helps you to do. The second is actually creating and running the campaign, and adjusting it as needed as conditions change. That’s done by another product, the Google Cash Automator, which is available for a monthly fee.

Conclusions

If you have a mailing list you haven’t been getting much out of, you can learn a lot from the launch of the Google Cash Detective about how to revitalize the list by offering them a new product that addresses common shortcomings in the existing product.

And no, I wasn’t one of the ones who bought Google Cash Detective, since I don’t have any interest in doing PPC campaigns right now. If anyone did get it, let us know what you think of it.

How To Not Market To Internet Marketers

So you’ve found the perfect online business opportunity. It doesn’t cost much, and you only need to recruit two or three other people before your membership is free and clear. It’s got great incentives to join. You practically drooled to get involved, so you just know that other Internet marketers will jump at the chance.

Having just read my post, FFA Pages Work, But For Whom?, you sign up for Link Scout or Traffic Wave and get your very own FFA page.

Within minutes you’re getting people adding links to your FFA page, and each and every one of them is receiving your carefully crafted sales letter in return. You wait for the signups to start.

And you wait…and wait…and wait.

The problem is that every person who leaves a link on an FFA page is involved in a program they believe in as much as you believe in yours. They don’t want to hear about your program, they want to sell their program. While they’re highly qualified leads, in the sense that they have proven they’re willing to invest time, energy, and money into an online business opportunity, they’re also already taken. It’s a bit like saying a married man is the best candidate for marriage, because he’s already proven he’s willing to commit.

You simply cannot sell to those people. So how do you use FFA pages to your advantage?

You build relationships with the people who add links to your FFA page. Your goal is not to get a quick sale, but to build relationships and generate a level of respect for your opinions. You want to help these people succeed at their opportunity. That will make them much more likely to signup for your opportunity.

Even if they don’t signup, you’ve built goodwill that can only benefit you in the future. I’ve had people give me free advertising space on their website in exchange for help I’ve provided.

When using FFA pages, your biggest hurdle is catching the attention of the person adding a link. They’re obligated to receive your email, but they’re not obligated to pay any attention to it. The better FFA pages will require they click a link in the email to add their listing, so at the very least they’re seeing the email.

A good approach is to keep the email short, and offer them something free. Free tips to help them market their business opportunity, for example. Free tips to drive 10,000 hits to their website. Free tips to advertise for free (you know they’re interested in free advertising because they’re using an FFA page).

Offer them something that would truly be useful to them, and you may get their attention. Once they sign up for the free tips (or ebook or whatever), your autoresponder kicks in, sending them regular emails with the information you promised. In these emails, link back to your main web site. For example, if one of your emails is about getting free web hosting, link back to a blog post you wrote about getting free web hosting. This puts them onto your site, where they’ll also see posts about the opportunity you’re marketing. As they return to your site through the course of multiple emails, you’re building their trust in you.

Help them succeed in their biz op, and they’ll be far more likely to join you in yours.

FFA Pages Work, but for Whom?

If you’re new to Internet Marketing, you may not have heard the term “FFA page” before. It stands for Free For All page, and is a way to advertise a link of your absolutely free.

The basic idea is that you go to an FFA page and you’ll see some number of advertising links (often up to one hundred). In order to add your link to the page, you need to click on one of the existing links and/or enter your email address (different FFA pages use different approaches).

Here’s an example of an FFA page. It’s perfectly safe to leave a link here if you want to see how it all works. You’ll get a single confirmation email in return, and that’s it.

The lure of FFA pages is easy to understand. They’re free advertising, and since in many of them you have to click on a link to leave a link, this means that anyone who leaves a link after you might be clicking on your link.

But they don’t work, at least not for you.

What’s more, they’re not designed to work, at least not for you. The problems with an FFA page boil down to two factors.

First, your link is one of hundreds, so the chance of a person clicking on your link is slim. If they do, there’s no requirement they leave your page up for any length of time, so they won’t even read it. But at least it’s free, which is more than you can say for pop-under traffic.

Second, the people who visit FFA pages are other people like you, who have websites to advertise and online business opportunities to sell. They don’t want to buy your opportunity, they want you to buy theirs!

So, how do you get FFA pages to work for you?

Run one. Every person who posts a link, and there are quite a few of them, receives an email with your message in it. If you tried the example FFA page above, you received an email that included a message from me. While that message just points to this article, it could have just as easily pointed somewhere else.

Where to Get an FFA Page

The best way to get started running your own FFA page is with a free service, Link Scout. By joining Link Scout you get an FFA page of your own that goes into the Link Scout rotation, so you’ll start getting hits to it without any effort on your part.

They also have a number of other tools for advertising web sites, such as a search engine that displays your featured links (this also goes into their rotation).  You can also bid Link Scout points for keyword positioning in their global search results.

There’s far more available at Link Scout than I’m going to go into here, since my focus in on FFA pages.  It’s free to join, so take a look around it and explore the features.

Here are my stats for Link Scout since I signed up on May 18th.

The main bit I want to point out is that I’ve received a fair amount of traffic to my various Link Scout provided sites, all without any advertising on my part at all.  It’s all due to being in the Link Scout rotation.

Also, notice that hits to the FFA pages are low.  Link Scout’s FFA pages don’t seem to get as much traffic as others.  Link Scout is worth a look because it’s free and you do get traffic, but if your focus is running a high traffic FFA page you’d be better off with Traffic Wave. 

Traffic Wave is not free, but they do have a 30-day free trial.  And the way their commission system works, I can afford to upgrade your account to paid status for the first 30 days so you can take a look at all the features provided.

My statistics for Traffic Wave FFA pages are a bit better than Link Scout.  I’ve averaged about 150 people per day leaving links on those pages, again without any advertising on my part. 

Conclusions

I would never recommend advertising on an FFA page, because they’re not designed to be an effective means of advertising.  What they are designed to do is generate leads for the person running the FFA page. 

In my example FFA page above, all I do with those leads is refer them to this blog for helpful information.  You could just as easily try to sell them on your opportunity.

But that’d be a mistake, too.  Tomorrow I’ll share the best way to make contact with these leads.

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