Traffic

Free targeted traffic mistake that kept me broke for 3 years

Free targeted traffic is a myth.

It’s a turd in a candy wrapper you’re being fed since day one in internet marketing.

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It’s the sole cause of misery for tens of thousands of marketers who put in 40-60 hours a week into their online businesses without a return.

Eventually you find out there’s no such thing as “free” in this business.

No such thing as free help.

No such thing as free education.

And yes.. No such thing as free targeted traffic.

The free tools you’re using for productivity are restricted and buggy. The coach that promises to help you for free is misinforming you so bad it slums another 2 years on your learning curve. Worst part – he doesn’t even know he’s misinforming you because it’s blind leading the blind kinda thang. And the free targeted traffic technique you learned in a YouTube tutorial? Its taking so much time to set up and manage it’s not worth it even if you make less than min wage. Plus, by the time you’re done, there’s 14,563 other people trying to do the same thing so it doesn’t work.

Of course, yours unruly had to learn all this the hard way.

My first business opportunity was Global Domains International. The $10 per month GDI membership and a $9 per month GetResponse account was all a broke teenager could afford at the time.

Since I sunk all the money I had in getting positioned, I didn’t even bother with paid targeted traffic techniques.

Frankly, even if I had the money, I’d try free targeted traffic methods first anyway. When you get started online you don’t feel you’re qualified to use paid advertising. As if you have to be initiated into an inner circle of worthy marketers who are allowed to do this sort of voodoo magic. Of course, there’s no initiation rituals or board of council. No one can give you permission to use paid traffic. It isn’t given or taken by anyone but you. But more about that later.

The first free targeted traffic technique I tried was MySpace. Don’t scoff. We’re talking 2008-2009 here. MySpace is all the rage. Facebook is still in its infancy. Twitter’s only starting to make noise.

For the next 2 months I did nothing but create fake MySpace profiles that told my “fake it ‘till I make it” story. I had no idea what I was doing. I was just copying off my idols Budd and Dillard.

MySpace was a waste of time in terms of getting any actual traffic to my GDI affiliate link. But I learned a lot.

Next, I got bit by the Web 2.0 bug. I created Squidoo lenses (whatever happened to that site?), I posted my articles on EzineArticles dot com, I put up Google diary pages (what a fiasco that was) and even posted on Hubpages. I then turned my articles into YouTube videos by talking out what I wrote to a camera. Then I’d tweet all these links fingers crossed someone finds my rambling useful and shares it. That was my plan for getting rich quick.

Without even realizing I became a content-generation machine.

I was producing more content weekly than most Pro Bloggers bothered to write in a month. Yet, I wasn’t making progress. Besides an occasional pat on the back from my upline Jodie Thompson, all I got was getting myself banned from 3 internet marketing forums for spamming.

Free targeted traffic was already costing me tens of thousands of dollars in missed opportunities, time investment and misery. But I’m a determined SOB when I really want something, so I pushed on.

Right about that time auto-tweets became a new fad. I bought a software that automatically followed people (so they would follow me back). I could also schedule my tweets which meant I could tweet when I’m at work, pooping or playing FIFA.

Reflecting on this time, I can’t help but see the irony in buying a software to get free targeted traffic. But such is internet marketing. It’s ironic and it’s never free. It wasn’t long before I did the same thing on Facebook. I’ve had 5 profiles maxed out with 5,000 friends each. 3 of those profiles got banned for auto posting. I dropped the automation idea altogether.

At this point I’m thinking something’s wrong with me. I couldn’t possibly be wrong about free targeted traffic, can I? I mean, so many people enjoy free automated traffic doing the same thing. Why can’t I?

Something must be missing. But what? Oh, I know! It’s blogging.

At this point I can write an article about my neighbor’s kidney transplant or pretty much anything in 30-45 minutes. It wouldn’t be a very good article. But it’d be good enough to pose as valuable content on a web 2.0 site. So if I’m that proficient at producing content why not build an authority site doing it?

That day I set off an 8-months journey into the blogging world. I publish new unique content every day. I buy a domain, hosting and an actual WordPress theme. Hell, I even buy a search engine optimization course for $997 and go through it in a day. I pull no punches. Within just 4 months my blog starts ranking on the SERPs.

I’m getting visitors. Lots of ‘em. But the problem is nobody’s buying anything. I check Google Analytics and discover I’m not ranking for any of the keywords I’ve optimized for. Instead, I rank for a bunch of weird keywords. Keyword that could never result in buyer traffic. Turns out, the keywords I was targeting were too competitive.

Nothing a bunch of organic backlinks can’t fix, right?

Off I go guest posting on Daily Blogger and a bunch of other B-grade internet marketing blogs. And the weirdest thing happens.

I’m still getting visitors that don’t convert. I’m still broke and I’m still overworked trying to juggle a real job and my blog. But now I’m being perceived as somewhat of a gooroo by my readers. I get fan mail. I get coaching requests and I get JV proposals.

My excitement was short-lived, because as much as I’ve tried I couldn’t deposit my newly-found fame into my checking account. After having tried every free targeted traffic method there was, I finally gave in and turned to the dark side of paid traffic generation.

The hardest part was to break away from the belief I wasn’t qualified to run paid traffic for my business. That it wasn’t my birthright to play at the big boys’ poker table, so to speak. It kept me from even looking into paid traffic for years.

I decided to take it slow. I must’ve bought half a dozen paid traffic courses before pulling the plunge on my first paid campaign. Within just 3 weeks I knew everything there was to know about Google AdWords, Yahoo PPC (it’s called Bing Ads now), Pay Per View marketing and even CPA (cost per acquisition) marketing.

AdWords was the first thing I tried. Everyone was doing it at the time. AdWords was the Facebook ads of the 2000s. These days everyone has abandoned Google for the greener Facebook pastures. They’re wrong, of course. Facebook is way too competitive, ineffective and time consuming of a marketing strategy to be ranked even in the same category as AdWords. I’ll leave this argument for another time.

It took Google 27 hours to ban me.

I violated some kind of close in the user agreement (that I frankly never read – who does?). They didn’t bother explaining or warning me. They just kicked me out. So I tried Pay Per View marketing. Those were the fastest $200 I ever lost. Not because it was bad traffic. Probably, because I didn’t know what I was doing.

But it was a start. My first bump on the long road. I mastered paid traffic (solo ads primarily) over the next year. First, I relied heavily on PPV. But when solo ads came around, although they were pricier and it took me a while to figure out how solo ads work, I moved all my marketing dollars there. The rest is history.

The pursuit of free targeted traffic cost me three and a half years.

I lost money too. But it’s the time I can never get back. It was the most expensive lesson I’ll never forget. And neither should you.