Online Media Buying – Part 1: Traffic and Conversions

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When it comes to remaining humble, media buying is the ultimate way to be put in your place…

That’s why the top media buying folks on the planet credit their success to the 3 biggest rules:  test, test, and test some more.

With each test, you’re looking for what’s working and what’s not. From there, the formula is simple:

  • Do more of what is working
  • Do less of what is not working

…And always seek additional ROI with incremental improvements.

Now, before we get much further… Like you, I’ve got a business to run.  

I’m managing employees, clients, new opportunities, and building strategies for long-term, predictable, and ever-increasing growth. 

I’ve got clients who come from all over the world asking me to help them grow their businesses and understand the importance of online traffic.

Let’s face it: the majority of consumers go online before making a buying decision

I’m sure you can relate… 

One thing is clear: if you’re not everywhere your potential buyers go – and you don’t have the right system in place – you’re making it easy for your competition to steal your customers and prospects away from you.  


So, please pay attention!

If you’re not investing in any sort of online traffic, you’re inadvertently preventing yourself from scaling to a level that your business is capable of achieving.

Rich Schefren said something along the lines of:

“You don’t have a real business unless you can buy customers.”

If you’re solely relying on word of mouth, referrals, SEO, or any other “free” sources – and don’t have a profitable strategy for acquiring paid-for clients – the good news is that you have A LOT of untapped opportunity available.

If you don’t have a profitable online media buying strategy, you cannot scale your business to its full potential.

That means you must have:

  • An online strategy that successfully collects leads
  • A proven process for converting leads into sales
  • A strategy for nurturing unconverted leads into eventual clients

…Not to mention all the strategies for maximizing the long-term value of a client.

Radio, print, television, direct mail, and so on are all excellent sources of media – but the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way for most businesses to generate traffic starts on the internet.

Make internet advertising work for you first, then scale to other paid media.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of what we’re covering, however, I need to give you the cold hard truth about the most effective use of this information to scale your business…

Understand that we all have a natural tendency and temptation to take on everything ourselves. 

Many of us do our own accounting, marketing, sales, customer support, team management, hiring, and so forth. We wear many hats – required in the early stages of our business – but it only works to get us to a certain stage. You can’t keep doing everything yourself and expect to take your business to the next level.

So, one of the important (and critical) ingredients for scaling your business is to spend more time working within your unique ability… And delegate everything else.  

When you look at Pareto’s rule (80% of your profits come from 20% of your efforts), you’ll likely find that your biggest profits were born from an idea or action-step taken while working within your unique ability.

“At the heart of who you are lies the secret to your greatest success, best quality of life, and biggest contribution to the world. This is your Unique Ability — a hard-wired set of natural talents that you’re passionate about doing in every area of life.”

— Dan Sullivan

Your ultimate goal is to spend most of your time working within your unique ability and delegate everything else.

Why would I tell you this?

Because today, we’re talking about online traffic – and while I will share best practices with you, this is something you can easily delegate to an employee or a vendor!

Even if you choose to delegate, you must know this information. Let me explain: 

Many years ago, I owned a real estate development company recognized as having one of the highest profit-margins in the industry. I built homes, roads, and neighborhoods… And I generated millions without ever swinging a hammer, hanging drywall, or jumping on a bulldozer.

…BUT I did know the steps, processes, and materials required to produce an exceptional product.

I had countless subcontractors who attempted to cut corners, overcharge, and tell me “this is the way it’s always been done” when, in fact, I knew enough to call them on their bullshit. 

And of course, there were several vendors who talked a big game but couldn’t back it up.

With media buying, I’ve (sadly) hired and fired more companies than the number of socks in my drawer.

Here’s the problem: most media buying companies only think in terms of getting you more traffic.

However, more traffic doesn’t always translate into more dollars.

For example, an independent movie producer called me to look at his account, wondering why he was having trouble selling movies. He claimed he was getting plenty of traffic – but it wasn’t working.

It took me 90 seconds to look at his keywords, and the trouble was clear. He was getting a lot of traffic, but most of his visitors were looking up “voyeurism” and other related terms… 

These were not the terms that were going to drive buyers to his movie (and by the way, his movie has nothing to do with porn, but whoever “optimized” his strategy chose the keywords for whatever it was going to take to generate the most traffic).

Why would they do this?

For starters, many media buying companies are paid based on a percentage of what you spend on media (with no correlation to performance). For others, it’s a matter of ignorance.

Traffic is only one component of successful media buying – and arguably the least important.

Conversions are far more important.

To be successful at buying media, you must be fiercely committed to testing and tracking your advertisements, audiences, keywords, targets, etc. for optimizing conversions.

Some keywords, audiences, targets, etc. will convert better than others.

Now, understand that technologies and platforms change all the time, so I don’t want to get bogged down in the minutia of every media channel (Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc.) or the different types of online media (PPC, contextual, native, mobile) – rather, the purpose of these articles is to pick up where most gurus leave off…

In Part 2, I’ll give you evergreen principles proven to work across thousands of the largest media buying corporations – companies that have collectively invested billions of dollars acquiring traffic over the last decade. Success leaves clues, so let’s explore what makes these principles so successful…

what now?

Continue reading for more resourceful information.