One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the cost of traffic.
Recently it was brought to my attention that Etsy was increasing its fees again and some people were freaking out.
Organic traffic may not cost you per click or acquisition or lead but it is certainly a time investment to create posts, engage, schedule, research, experiment, and so on.
Paid traffic will cost you more than $0.20US per listing and 5% per transaction ($5 on a $100 order).
Etsy has already done the work to build up their platform’s incoming and returning traffic and they continue to do so both organically and through paid methods.
The sellers also help to bring in the traffic not just for themselves but for other sellers.
Instead of worrying about the fees, let’s consider asking ourselves about traffic to our own website.
Driving Traffic Organically
What are the organic methods of traffic for you to consider for your shop or website?
Facebook has made a lot of not-so-business-friendly changes recently, which means that organic reach is not as easily accessible for pages.
Before you suggest that you will just use a profile then, you should know that it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use your personal profile as a business profile.
So, what is Facebook good for if not organic reach?
Facebook is still an awesome platform for organizing your audience into great, interactive groups. Funnel them into your newsletter then invite them into your groups for further interaction and connection.
Twitter can be great for reaching people if your market is on there.
Your tweets reach your audience and those searching for certain topics, so you can reach new people.
If your target market isn’t there, then you could be wasting time by making it a priority.
Instagram is growing in popularity and getting followers is easier than it is on Facebook.
However, you are only allowed 1 link, which is in your profile, until you hit 10,000 followers, at which point you gain access to adding links to individual Instagram Story posts.
Yet, Instagram has added buyable posts for those approved and using hashtags, location tags doing live videos, and now, starting your IGTV channel will get your content in front of new eyes and it’s all free.
Create a great strategy and work IG with devotion and you can see a great return.
I have found Pinterest to be an awesome way to drive traffic to my website and my client’s websites.
When I have put regular time into pinning on Pinterest, both other people’s content and my own, I have seen it being the top traffic driver for my website.
Pinterest is also a great way to make affiliate income and now also has buyable pins for US priced shops.
Online Listings and forums
You can do a search for online listings for your specific industry or problem you are solving and find quite a few I’m sure.
Many listing sites will allow you to list your business for free and others will want you to purchase membership.
In the case of organic traffic, you would be only listing in free sites and finding forums that are active on your topic to engage in.
This can help you get targeted traffic from the listings and build relationships that visit your site and grow into customers from your forum interactions.
While building relationships, either online or in person, you will find people who complement what you offer well.
This could lead to wonderful ideas of programs (like summits), presentations (webinars), guest posts, and other creative offerings that you could do together for each other’s audiences.
In turn, this would grow your audience and theirs by sharing each other’s talents and offerings.
The Low Down of Organic
While this all sounds great there’s a lot to consider.
You need to first create a strategy, figure out your branding, target market, offerings, message, etc….This is whether you use paid of organic methods.
Really though, organic is not free.
If you are doing all the work yourself at $30 an hour (obviously unpaid) and spending hours working on this then it’s still costing you in time.
If you hire someone you are looking at a
One way or another you still need to drive traffic, and everyone starts out with organic and spends hours of their time doing so.
Now for paid
Just as there are several ways to drive traffic to your website organically, there are also lots of ways to drive traffic using paid methods.
Paid methods may be more successful, but they can also break and waste the budget if you don’t know what you’re doing.
While according to Wordstream, a 2015 post pegs the cost of Adwords also around $1 per click.
Yet, according to the Google Analytics for my Etsy shop (which I don’t really do much with), I have had 5 shop visitors for the month of June.
This would have cost me $5 even though they didn’t purchase anything. Instead, with Etsy fees, it only cost me less than $2 (it was over $2 when converted to Canadian dollars).
Therefore, it saved me money which could have been spent on paid ads.
Some may argue that the paid ads on my part would have been more targeted but in the case of my Etsy example the people coming to Etsy are looking for specific types of things and are often looking to buy, whether now or in the future.
If they are just looking to Pin my products for later use they are then, in turn, giving me more free advertising.
Paid listings, membership sites, and affiliations (sponsorships)
This is quite the grouping, but I really don’t want to spend as much time here because the costs are so varied.
Just as I had mentioned that there are sites for listing your business there are also paid version. It will be up to you to read through the media kit and evaluate the value of the site before accepting its validity for your business.
This is the same for membership sites.
As for affiliations, this is a HUGE topic of its own.
This can come in paying to do a webinar for someone’s audience, paying for them to post about your business (money or product), paying for traffic (don’t do this!), paying for them to email their audience about you, and so on.
This range of cost is huge as each person sets their own rates and it will vary by so many factors.
Let’s Cash This Out
Whether you’re using a 3rd party platform for your shop such as Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, the fees are worth it when you factor in all it takes to drive traffic yourself.
This isn’t to say that you should stop driving traffic, but you could focus more on relationship building with organic methods rather than paying for ads as well.
As you make more money then you pay for ads to bring in yet more money.
By building relationships via organic methods you are building the audience to target your ads to and learning more about them along the way.
So, next time a platform increases their fees you should think about how much time and money it would take you to drive the same amount of traffic.
If you can bring more traffic and convert visitors to buyers more then add in the cost of hosting and branch out on your own to your own website such as Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce.
Otherwise, figure out all the tools the platform(s) you are using has to offer you and stop whining about the fees.
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