Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
6th August 2008
Filed under: Internet Marketing,Testing and Tracking — Ben @ 3:18 pm

This last week I decided I wanted to get entry into a conference room which was only available by signing up for a traffic exchange called “S.W.A.T. Traffic” and paying a monthly fee.

I’m brand new to traffic exchanges so I’m learning as I go along but as I get 750 credits a month as part of my membership I thought I may as well have a look at them and see what they involve.

So far, so good.

From what I’ve found you have two types of TEs – manual surfs and autosurfs.

Manual surfs require you to load a webpage for a specific amount of time (10 seconds or so) before a button appears that you click to load the next.

For each page you view, you earn a number of credits.

You can then use these credits to get views for your own site from other traffic exchange members.

The more credits you have, the more views you get of your own site. You don’t have to surf yourself, you can just buy credits but if you are new to the game or short of capital, surfing allows you to build up a store of credits to use for advertising.

Autosurf traffic exchanges are apparently (I say apparently because I haven’t tried any) different in that you can just leave the surfing app running and the websites are loaded on screen automatically.

As you can probably tell, autosurfs are prone to abuse as there is no need to be sat watching the screen in order to earn credits. Or so I understand.

I guess people don’t need to watch the screen so it’s unlikely that they will do. Which means it’s probably not as effective as advertising on manual surfs.

Anyway, I’ve heard plenty about TEs in the past, mainly from Robert Puddy who organises the seminars I like to attend whenever possible.

He suggests using TEs to build a prospect list – so I guess that’s what I’ll be doing with all these credits I have sat in my account.

I’ve heard people describe this type of advertising in some pretty unflattering terms but I have some spare time at the moment so I figured I’d give it a go and see what kind of results I get.

If you are struggling to get any traffic it may be worth trying to see if a traffic exchange works for you – see SWAT Traffic for more info.

Stay tuned for results and do share your experiences with traffic exchanges by using the comments form below.

13th November 2007
Filed under: Direct Mail,Seminars,Testing and Tracking — Ben @ 9:30 pm

In one post on this blog (Advertising Offline to Drive Traffic to a Website) I moaned that an advert in the Exchange and Mart didn’t perform for me.

However, this past week I received some advice from an expert in driving sales from classified advertising, Tim Lowe.

He said that I could publish the advice so here it is:

“Hi Ben

I saw you were doing this and wondered how it would turn out.

For what it is worth I have, occasionally, made out OK with Exchange & Mart but not for a couple of years.

The major nationals are my favourites.

Just picking up on your comments about visitor numbers, I wouldn’t dismiss 50 or so visitors as not enough to do well. My experience, with a good offer, has been sometimes over 20% conversion ‘visitors to sales’ so it is possible to make a decent profit from small numbers of visits. In fact if I get 300 – 400 visitors each week in total I can make a nice living.

Of course, the key is a good ad and sales letter – what may pass muster with SEO traffic, just through weight of numbers, may not do well with offline ads.

A key point that you may not have noticed is the need for hard copy follow ups. I have always offered people a few links to order an “information pack” in the post, which is essentially just the website in printed format. This is surprisingly popular as people dislike reading screens for very long and it also gives people a hard copy which they seem to like, maybe to read in bed or on the train. Whatever the reaons, I know that this brings in a huge amount of extra sales. Just recently I have been having trouble with the data capture service that I use and have not been able to send out these follow up packs, sales are literally half the normal volume as a result.

I do feel for the people that you describe who all tried selling the same products with the same sales letter. There is no question that having what looks like a unique offer will always outsell a “me too” product. Common sense tells us that 3 people selling the same thing with the same advertising will only get one third of the potential sales each. One of the things that I have been teaching people at workhops is how to make yourself stand out from the crowd with unique offers and approaches to selling similar products. It is essential to give potential customers reasons to choose your offer over other people’s, otherwise you cannot expect to sell much at all, but this is such a simple point that it is often overlooked.

I hope this is helpful, if so then please feel free to publish it.

Kind regards

Tim Lowe”

Some interesting and helpful advice there – thanks for taking the time to email me!

15th March 2007
Filed under: General Opportunities,Testing and Tracking — Ben @ 9:23 am

For the entire month of February, I decided to put an advert in the Business Opportunity section of Exchange and Mart.

Basically, this was a rather expensive test to see the kind of response an ad would generate.

It was a very simple experiment:

I paid for one 5x5cm “Photo Spot” for 4 weeks at £45 + VAT per week.

Total spend = £211

I set everything up with a new tracking domain so that I could be sure that any hits I got to my site were coming directly from that advert and that advert only.

Net gain for me per sale would be around £22 so I needed to sell about 10 to break even.

The advert started on the 1st February.


OK, first week I got 51 hits – and at this point I knew this wouldn’t be a success.

2nd week I got 58 hits, 3rd week 54 and in the 4th week I got 80 hits.

Total hits = 243

Which worked out at about 87p per visitor – not cheap considering that this type of advertising is not very targetted.

After all that, I didn’t get a single sale so it wasn’t a success and I pulled the plug.

The rep at Exchange and Mart called to ask if I wanted to extend the advert – I said a definite NO!

He then tried to cross-sell me into a smaller, less expensive advert but I pointed out to him that the response was miniscule with a reasonably large advert so it could only get worse with less surface area on the page.

Eventually, he admitted defeat.

So, my first test of offline advertising and it flopped.

However, at least now I know what kind of response to expect from Exchange and Mart.

So, time for a feedback request:

Have you ever run an advert offline to point at a website?

Where did you run it?

Was it expensive?

Was it a success?

Any tips?

Please leave any feedback by clicking on the “Comments” link below. Or, you can email me at the usual address.

In the meantime I am testing and tracking other sources for advertising so please expect some more results in the future…