Traffic is said to be the lifeblood of every business. Without traffic, your business will ultimately die. However, as an entrepreneur or business owner, what you really need to focus on is not just acquiring traffic, but laser targeted traffic. Traffic that can be converted into leads and later clients.
So, step one is to determine who precisely and where these prospects are.
The second step is you must decide on whether to use free organic traffic or more expensive, but typically more responsive, paid traffic.
There is a famous Russian proverb that proclaims: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one”.
Translated into business lingo, it simply means if you try and please everyone, you risk satisfying no one. So, it is critical that you know who specifically you are trying to target and that your offer is something they are looking for.
The best way to do this is to create an avatar of your ideal client. Entrepreneur, marketer and web developer Ryan Battles suggests doing this by following four simple steps:
The result might be something like this Ryan suggests:
“Adam is a 28 year old freelance graphic designer from Michigan. He spends about 4 hours a week reading blog posts and following links on Twitter, and that is where he discovered a link that pointed to Harpoon.
Adam makes between $60,000 and $80,000 a year as a designer, yet feels like he doesn’t really have a good grasp on how much he is going to make in the next year, so he’s not sure if he should hustle for more work, or tell his wife: “Yes, we can easily take that vacation this summer”.
Adam spent 4 years working for a large agency in town, when he realized that he could do better on his own. He has been freelancing for 2 years now, and is interested in learning about honing his business skills as well as his design skills.
He’s been married for 4 years, and is starting to think seriously about having kids. One of his concerns about having kids is having a good grip on his family’s finances, and feeling a sense of control over how things are going with his freelancing income.
As he learns about Harpoon, he is thinking that this could be the tool that helps him to gain the needed control over his finances, giving him the confidence to embrace fatherhood without financial fears.
His wife is excited that they can take that vacation without Adam worrying about how much it all costs and his lost work income.”
The advantage of having an avatar over just some bullet pointed list, is the personality of the avatar. As you look to market to this audience, you get a better idea as to how this avatar would react to your offers or where their preferences might lie.
For any entrepreneur starting out on a budget, organic traffic is preferable because it is free. However, you must also realise that building an audience organically takes more time and requires that the content you create adds value, is distributed consistently and distinguishes you from competitors.
Here are 5 ways expert marketer Neil Patel suggests generating free traffic for your business:
BLOGGING: Share thought leadership and expertise in your industry. Your company blog can help you to become a trusted resource for your customers and prospects.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Develop a presence on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Quora. Focus on the networks that best position your organization to reach target audiences.
CONTENT SYNDICATION: Don’t have an audience for the video or blog the content that your company is producing? House it on your blog, and distribute it through a website, publication, or video channel (like YouTube) with a larger audience base. A proportion of these viewers or readers that you reach will find their way back to your website.
PUBLIC RELATIONS: Build relationships with journalists to gain visibility in media channels. Connect with top blogs in your industry to contribute content and thought leadership on behalf of your brand.
SEO: Develop a strategy to improve your website’s visibility in search engines. When prospective customers are searching for information online, your company should be the first-responder to these questions.
To reiterate, the benefit of free traffic is exactly that…
It is free.
However, there is no free lunch and where you will save on money, you will spend on time. Therefore, for those with a budget, paid traffic is a better option, provided you have already tested and confirmed you can generate a Return on Investment from this strategy.
PARTNERS: Build relationships with fellow bloggers and marketers in your industry and offer to cross promote. Although you will pay commissions on the sales these partners make, none of it is out of pocket so in many ways, this is more a hybrid of the paid and free models. Without an established reputation, it is difficult for a startup to run a partner program.
AFFILIATES: Create an affiliate program for your product/service by enabling other marketers sell for you in return for a commission. Websites such as Clikcbank facilitate such an approach. This is also more a hybrid strategy and unless you have conversion rates and performance statistics for how your marketing campaigns perform, it might be difficult to attract affiliate partners.
PAID ADS: Once upon a time, Google pay-per-click ads were king. Although still relevant, Facebook has now become a cheaper and even more dynamic solution due to just how targeted you can set your ads. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is fast becoming the #1 place for professionals and those operating in the business-to-business space.
PRINT: With the advent of technology and online marketing, man proclaimed the days of traditional media would die. However, traditional media has adapted by offering their service both online and offline. Therefore, popular magazine, newspapers and journals in your chosen industry now can track the metrics of your marketing campaign, making it a worthwhile traffic consideration.
Now it’s over to you. The biggest mistake startups make at this juncture is to try and do too much all at once, instead of selecting just one approach, developing and then refining that strategy.
Only once you have optimised that first strategy, should you add a second, third, fourth, pillar of distribution.
As always, I’d love to hear about the traffic strategies you use and the success you are generating.
James is a digital marketing consultant and online business strategist. He helps coaches, consultants, and solo professionals market their business online so they establish authority positioning and predictably generate 5-20 high-ticket, new clients every month.