Many naive entrepreneurs think that all web traffic is created equal. They think that marketing is just about advertising. Consequently, they direct all online traffic to an offer to buy their product or service before the prospect has had time to establish a relationship with the business.
In today’s market, this strategy often meets with failure as buyers no longer respond to a sales pitch like they did in the past. Today a customer requires more of an experience before they are willing to open their wallet and buy from you. You need to be able to communicate with the customer in a series of communications to build trust as you move them through your value ladder.
A typical value ladder often starts with bait (something you offer for free). It is key that you understand that you are not trying to sell the customer anything at this stage. You simply want to get them to enter your communications funnel. Once in the funnel, you can continue to communicate with them until they are ready to buy. Thereafter, since they are in your communications funnel, you can upsell them new and more expensive products or services as your trust factor with the customer grows and they move up your value ladder.
In order get your prospects into your communication funnel, you will need the means to communicate with them regularly. That means you will need their email address.
Few prospects are willing to give you their email address right off the bat and that is where understanding the source of your traffic comes into play. Based on the source of the traffic, you will need to employ a different process to obtain their email address so they can begin their journey through your value ladder.
It is important to understand that not all traffic is created equal. There are essentially 3 types of traffic:
- Traffic You Own
- Traffic You Rent
- Traffic You Attract
Traffic You Own:
This is ultimately where you want all traffic to reside in the end. When you own the traffic, it costs you nothing to reach out to them. You can communicate with them when you want to and you control the message.
Examples of traffic that you own are your subscribers, followers, fans, and best of all, contacts in your email list. Once you own the traffic, you can make them different offers and drive them through your communications funnel.
When you own the traffic, you have the opportunity to build up a rapport through a communication process to find their motivation and guide them toward ever more valuable sales.
Traffic You Rent:
When you rent traffic, you have temporary control of the contact to tell them where to go. Essentially when you rent traffic, you are purchasing access to a prospect through some form of paid advertising. Google, Facebook, etc. own the traffic but you can control it if you are willing to rent access to them for a fee.
As indicated earlier, the naive entrepreneur uses paid advertising to drive the traffic directly to a sales page. At this point in the relationship, the traffic barely knows you and here you are asking them to already buy something from you.
This is like a guy going into a bar and asking every woman he sees if they want to get married. Your chances are slim to none that any prospect will bite on such a proposal. Just like any relationship, the prospect has to know you exist, grow to like you, and then learn that you are trustworthy before they will buy.
When it comes to traffic that you rent, savvy entrepreneurs do not squander the opportunity trying to sell to the prospect right out of the gate and risk losing them. Instead, they understand that the goal is to convert them into traffic that they own.
Therefore, the savvy entrepreneur knows that when they use paid advertising they need to send the prospect to a squeeze page before trying to sell to them. A squeeze page is a simple page with no navigation where you offer something of value, most often for free, in exchange for their name and email.
As bait, perhaps you can offer the prospect a tool, a fact sheet, a paper, an eBook, or something. That way the prospect is willing to become traffic that you own by providing you with their email address in exchange for your bait.
The problem with traffic that you rent is that it costs you money to rent it. The more of it you want, the more you have to be willing to pay for it.
Traffic You Attract:
The third type of traffic is traffic you attract. You do not have direct control over the message or where the traffic will land. Essentially, you have to create content that acts as gravity to attract traffic.
Traffic that comes to your site via a search (SEO), social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), guest blog, YouTube video, or other similar source are all examples of traffic that you attract.
The traffic you attract can land anywhere on your site, so the savvy entrepreneur will always include some way to convert the traffic you attracted to become traffic that you own at potentially every point of entry.
All the pages on your site where traffic that you attract are likely to land, such as blogs, need to include some form of bait. After all, the goal with traffic that you attract, like with traffic that you rent, is to convert the traffic into traffic that you own. However, since you can’t control where the traffic lands on your site, like you can when you rent the traffic, your goal should be to make a good impression and dangle some attractive bait to drive them to where you want them to go.
Understanding that traffic comes in 3 different flavors and recognizing that your ultimate goal is to convert all traffic into traffic that you own so they can enter your communication funnel is paramount to a small business’s online marketing success.
How are you converting the traffic you rent and the traffic you attract into traffic you own?
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