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Cross Town Traffic

Cross Town Traffic

March 15, 2003
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" Testing a sample is just common business sense, because if you can’t test it, you won’t be able to judge its quality or have a good idea on how well or how badly it will convert. "

Traffic, traffic, traffic! That’s all you ever hear about these days. On the resource sites, in the chat boards, on the radio shows; how to get it, where to get it, how much to pay, how much not to pay. I can’t take it anymore: can I get an Amen?

When dealing with your traffic management, apart from a few straightforward rules or ‘guidelines’ about how to best reference your site, the rest depends on you! Sounds scary doesn’t it? When it comes to traffic, you are the master of your universe. Ok, so it obviously helps if you’ve got a stack of dollar bills the height of the Sears tower to work with, but as John Claude Van Damn would say, it’s all about being “aware.”

When you hear about some traffic for sale that interests you, make sure you do a test run with a sample. And I don’t mean that the guy sends you 50 email addresses if you’re about to buy 1 million. Any honest partner will give you at least a sample of 100 or 200k if you’re about to buy 1 million addresses. Getting these samples for free will depend on whether you can convince the guy that you’re interested in developing a “strategic partnership” with his company. In simpler terms, this means that if the first batch converts well, and if he has more on sale later on, then you’d be more than happy to continue buying. Or reversibly, if ever you have traffic to sell, which you think may interest him, then you’d be happy to make him a nice deal. If he thinks the partnership with you is going to be a good investment for him, then there should be no problem in getting the sample for free.

Testing a sample is just common business sense, because if you can’t test it, you won’t be able to judge its quality or have a good idea on how well or how badly it will convert. We all have a pretty good idea of how well our products/sites convert with targeted traffic. But buying new traffic always has some degree of uncertainty attached to it; so testing its nature is vital. You have to make sure that the traffic you’re buying or trading corresponds to your site or sites. That seems obvious, but still every day thousands of people end up buying lists of email addresses of surfers who would never visit their site, blowing their hard earned cash. So remember, Test, Test, Test!

You may be cautious about buying what you’ve heard to be “tainted traffic,” but just remember that tainted traffic is only tainted to those who can’t use it or who don’t know anyone to sell it to. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If some guy across the other side of the globe is ready and willing to sell you 5 million email addresses for $10k; great! But what kind of traffic is it? Do I trust this guy? How much is he going to let me do a test on? And what do the results from the test say? They should tell you whether or not the traffic he’s selling is adapted to your kind of site and likely to convert well. The sample may perform averagely and if this is the case you’ve got a good argument for getting the list at a lower price. But you should still go ahead and buy, in the hope that conversions will increase and in the knowledge that the extra weight to your overall email database will prove a strong argument in future deals or on the day you decide to sell mailers or lists.

Finally, a word on negotiating deals. The mood of the dialogue between you and this contact during the deal is extremely important. If you’re communicating by telephone, be sure to be polite, but firm. Never let him have the upper hand in the conversation; make sure it flows equally both ways. At no point allow him to feel superior to you just because he has the traffic. Remember, he wants and maybe even really needs your cash, so you’re just as important in this deal as he is. Make sure he realizes that you’re a professional (even if you’re not yet) in your manner of negotiating different aspects of the deal.

If you’re communicating via chat format (ICQ, AIM etc..) then this will mean you’ll have to go that extra mile to be polite and generally friendly, as the lack of contact, both visual and audible leaves gaps in the communication which must be filled. Try using smilies or emoticons so that the guy on the other end knows when you’re agreeing with him or trying to make a joke ;0) Take care ~ Totemack


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