Did you know that one of the most popular types of “free traffic” can cost you WAY MORE than ANY type of paid traffic?
We’ve spoken before about the difference between free and paid traffic.
Usually, you pay for free traffic with your time.
Blog and forum posting, content creation, social media posting and the list goes on. For a list of a few of these sources, check our previous post on the subject…
Obviously, your paid traffic takes dollars. And there are plenty of options available there as well.
But the whole idea of “free traffic” isn’t quite this simple.
Take affiliate traffic. The source many top coaches, gurus and authorities claim is the ultimate source of warm and targeted traffic. And it doesn’t cost a dime…
Or does it?
Affiliate traffic only comes when you have some sort of product to launch. You offer a commission, and the affiliates get paid from the revenues your product sales generate. Technically you’re not out of pocket. Completely free traffic, right?
NOT when you big picture this scenario and look at the long game.
Why do people create and launch products? Mainly, to build a list of buyers. That most treasured of assets online.
And of course with this list, product creators can then go out and make affiliate commissions by promoting other launches. It’s the way of the IM world.
So let’s break this down into an easy to follow hypothetical scenario:
Sally creates an awesome product and launches. Bob signs up as an affiliate and sends all kinds of traffic, and makes 100 sales. Great stuff, right?
Sure! Sally’s made sales and added 100 buyers to her list. Bob’s made a bunch of commissions. But what else just happened?
100 subscribers of Bob’s have now been added to Sally’s list. And sure as the sun rises in the east, they’re now going to be subjected to MORE promotions and offers from another marketer. In this case, Sally.
These 100 subscribers that were originally Bob’s have now been diluted and added to a completely new list. There is NO WAY that these subscribers any longer have the same monetary value to Bob as they did before he promoted Sally’s product.
Think about it. Bob and Sally will now BOTH be promoting to these 100 people. Of those that act on a recommendation, some will buy from Bob, others from Sally. Bob has in effect lost a chunk of long term profitability simply by promoting 1 product!
This scenario gets better. Bob’s just promoted for Sally and made 100 sales for her. Bob’s a smart guy and also launches products. Guess who he’s going to lean on to promote for him on his next launch?
Exactly. So now Sally is somewhat obliged to promote for Bob on his next launch. She’s not forced to in any way, but this is the way online business works. Kind of an expectation. You promote my stuff, I promote yours. Obviously if it’s a fit for the subscribers and if the value is there, but these are blurry lines.
So in the above scenario, 9 times out of 10 Sally’s going to promote for Bob when he next launches.
And without going into the step by step, the subscribers of both lists just get FURTHER diluted.
This is all with a simple exchange of 2 people.
Imagine if Sally got 30 affiliates to promote for her most recent launch. And then over time “reciprocated” by promoting for even just half of them.
See what’s happening here? With each promotion and subsequent reciprocation of a product launch, subscriber lists are getting diluted further and further. Customer value is decreasing at an EXPONENTIAL rate for everyone in the party.
Moral of this story? Affiliate traffic sure as hell ain’t free. In fact, if you look at the long term value of a highly engaged subscriber on your list …
It just might be one of the most expensive forms of traffic you’ll ever pay for. Most people just don’t see the reality of this because they focus on the short term commissions that come from promoting every product under the sun.
The savvy and smart marketers guard their lists like the precious treasures that they are. Of course they promote to them: but they’re choosy as hell in terms of what and when they will promote.
But Mark, you and The Rebels are strong advocates of both product creation AND affiliate marketing! Aren’t you?
We sure are! Darned tootin’. BUT, we also HIGHLY recommend you protect your most precious asset (yes, that’s your list) by sticking to the following simple guidelines:
=> When you create a product, give INSANE quality and value
=> Be choosy when asking affiliates to promote for you – you don’t need masses of people to have a successful launch. 10% of affiliates will always account for 90% of your sales. Choose affiliates with integrity that treat their lists like gold.
=> Be ESPECIALLY choosy when you promote to your list. Consider the long term costs. If you stick with promoting quality products that offer real solutions to your audience, you’ll maintain a lasting relationship with your subscribers, minimizing the very real dilution that happens whenever anyone promotes.