I’m reading this great SF novel called Too Like the Lightning: A Novel (Terra Ignota) by Ada Palmer.
She creates a world where the concept of physical boarders (countries) no longer exist.
Today where you are born gives you your citizenship with not a huge amount of choice in changing it.
In her world you choose your citizenship and your associations more like the tribes that Seth Godin talks about. Just look at Facebook to get a clue about this emerging trend.
It also examines the politics of a world in which citizenship is a choice. She looks at the impact of a transportation system based on a world-wide traffic grid of cars that moves you safely and very quickly around the globe so physical location is very fluid.
What does this have to do with Traffic Exchange Innovation?
Bare with me I’m getting there.
Peter Diamandis talks about trends and their impact in the very near future.
He bases one of those talks on self driving cars. If you haven’t listened to how that will affect our world in a mere 20 to 30 years you are in for a treat. The trend he talks about is the far future stuff of Palmer’s novel.
The video below is an example of innovative thinking.
Take a moment to think about Video stores, where you use to go to rent videos! Think about taking your roll of film in to get processed.
Think about Facebook. The statistics from Facebook stagger the mind.
Like this: Photo uploads total 300 million per day. That’s a day.
Or this one: Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted.
You can see more of these mind-boggling stats click the photo:
Our world is changing faster than ever in ways we don’t fully understand.
Failure to change or innovate means either the end of your business or being forced into some little backwater place few people notice.
Now think of your favorite traffic exchange.
There are two ways to look at Traffic Exchanges.
One you are a hobbyist who enjoys surfing, chatting, collecting badges, and participating in surf competitions. Nothing wrong with that.
Or, you are an advertiser intent on growing your list by promoting lead capture pages which collect names directly into your autoresponder list. You are serious about growing your list.
My aim is to grow my list, not collect badges or points.
One of the basic tenets of marketing is you advertise to your target audience.
Having a healthy mix of those two types of users would make for a vibrant and responsive TE. However, if the scales tend to tip more toward the surfer who isn’t serious about building a business, then that TE becomes a difficult place to get conversions: not impossible but difficult.
Before writing this article I decided to audit a few traffic exchanges. At this writing I’ve done five. I surf only one TE at a time and I note the advertisers over 30 clicks.
Here’s a photo of the four audits. (I went to medical school but they kicked me out for poor handwriting!)
Here is what I found so far.
I Love Hits: 30 pages, two sites with personalize lead capture pages that would get a sign up to that person’s autoresponder list. The rest of the sites were mainly traffic exchange ads, and various generic splash or lead capture pages where the sign up goes to the program owner and shows as a referral for the advertiser.
Cool Cat Hits: 30 pages, 0 personalize lead capture pages where the lead would go into the advertisers own autoresponder. Most of the sites advertised were for traffic exchanges with a smattering of other generic pages.
Tezzers: 30 pages 0 sites with a personalize lead capture pages that would result in a new subscriber to a list in that person’s own autoresponder. This site had a wider variety of sites with Traffic Exchanges in the lead. I have three “?” because I couldn’t figure out what the site was about.
Sotuk Traffic 30 pages: 1 landing page leading to an autoresponder capture. I ad for a blog, Traffic exchanges and various generic pages. This site had a few different TE’s advertised.
Major League Advertising 30 pages surfed. 4 pages that lead to a autoresponder and into someone’s list. 2 of those pages personalized, 2 generic. Better results than average. The rest of the sites where either TE’s or generic programs of one kind or another.
Once, when I did a lot of Traffic Exchange advertising using pages with my image ,name and logo, even if the page didn’t convert I was building brand awareness. That was the strategy. That seems to have gone by the wayside. Out of 120 pages surfed I saw 5 names with an image.
On a causal scanning of the pages shown: Is this where you would want to spend money to run a lead capture page?
Before I get accused of being a whiner, I want to move on to some of my suggestions for innovation. I’m offering up possible solutions. I’m ready to have each one of these ideas shot down in flames. That’s okay. But if you do shoot one of these ideas out of the sky, at least offer up one in its place.
That’s my challenge to you.
How do you change things up and bring back the serious marketer to TEs?
1 Top Converting Sites:
This is an innovation that Matthew Graves started using in his “Your Viral” family of sites.
I can go to my back office to see the best coveting site as an example, “Your Viral Mailer”, converted the best. Probably harder to do for a TE but still possible. Then I use those sites as my best advertising resources because my chance of converting is higher using those programs.
This list updates automatically across all those sites.
2. Your Conversions .
Again something Matthew Graves is doing. I can go into any of the 4 sites, and see for a 7, 14 or 30 day window the sites I used to send traffic to his sites to see what is converting for me individually.
This saves me lost of time and effort.
3. Integration with an Autoresponder.
This is an idea that Shane Bost used with TEPays, where your sign-up goes automatically into to your autoresponder list. He started with Rocket Responder, but has added other sites.
4. Improved Access to Referrals
Even if Integration with an autoresponder isn’t possible better access to referrals is important. As an example, EasyHits4U allows you to email your entire downline. Some site you can go in an email individually but that is time-consuming if you have a large number of referrals.
After all you did the work to get the referral you should have full an easy access to them.
5. Variable Timers
I’ve only seen these in a couple of places where the longer you stay on the page the more credits you receive. Rather than pushing people to surf as fast as possible reward them for really looking at the site. This might then spark advertisers to try harder to attract attention.
6. Better Training at Each TE
If more TE owners took it upon themselves to do more training on how to best advertise on their platform then perhaps the message would start to sink in.
This could be done in a number of different ways. Some variation on Sweeva Surf Party. Those were fun.
Owners doing weekly video, on the best ways to use their site to get results.
This includes owners being more active in challenging their members to stretch and grow.
7. Customer Service
In chat recently I saw a TE owner swearing at a customer and treating them in a very degrading way. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this. This is bad optics. I once contacted a TE owner on Skype to explain something to me, and he told me to “Summit a fucking ticket.” How about instead, “Nick could you please submit this as a ticket.
Find ways to let your customers know you appreciate them. I’m talking about more than a surf promotion or canned messages.
I know some of you out there do that, but not enough.
Surely traffic owners aren’t so busy they couldn’t occasionally send a personalize thank you for a purchase, especially if that subscriber spends money at the site regularly. I still remember the personalize card I received from Jon Olson at I Love Hits for becoming a I Love Hits Member. Touches like that stick.
I did not write this post to complain about Traffic Exchanges but to express my concern at the current state of TE’s as an advertising platform and to offer up my ideas for innovation. I am not a TE owner but someone who would like to see a renewed TE industry.
What are your ideas, or idea, that your believe would help improve traffic exchanges?