If you’re a marketing junkie like me, the word “Traffic” lights up your lizard brain brighter than a hydrogen bomb! But did you know this can lead you far-astray from what you really want to accomplish?
It’s 100% true.
It’s been a little more than ten years since I first successfully drove traffic to a website and made more money than it cost to get it there. Since then I’ve learned a LOT about traffic, much of which is counter-intuitive…
In fact, it took me more than ten years to put this together because it’s so counter-intuitive. I didn’t want to know a lot of this. I really wanted to believe otherwise. And so does practically every other entrepreneur I’ve run into (at least at first.) So even though these killer traffic insights were staring me in the face all these years, it’s only recently I was able to really put them together into a cohesive philosophy.
I was able to figure this all out only because I chose to teach, build an agency, etc. Which not only put me in contact with some of the strongest internet marketers in the world, but gave me the opportunity to see the dollars-in-to-dollars-out results of dozens of traffic philosophies, strategies, and actions in hundreds of campaigns. (And a recent interview I granted to Travis Cody, author of “Cure Overwhelm Now,” also helped me articulate them for myself)
So perhaps I can spare you some of the pain I went through and help you to leapfrog your way to a profitable flow of visitors? But before we do, just a word of warning OK? This is most definitely a “red pill vs. blue pill” situation:
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – Morpheus to Neo in “The Matrix”
You choose the red pill? Good for you. OK, here goes:
THE EIGHT BIGGEST TRAFFIC MISTAKES (EVER)
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #1 – CHASING IT: You may have heard me discuss this before but no treatment of traffic would be complete without the notion of traffic chasing as a sign of a fundamentally wrong marketing paradigm.
That’s because there’s really no such thing as a traffic problem. All traffic problems are really conversion problems in disguise. If you can sell a higher percentage of visitors on not only a front end product, but a whole catalog of back end products and services, then you can afford to pay more than anyone else in the market for traffic.
Let’s say I net $3 per visitor because I’ve played “the long game” and thoroughly developed my funnel. I convert better on the front end, have more immediate upsells in place, and more high-end back ends too. But most of my competitors only net $1. How much do you want to be a bunch of them would send ME their traffic if I offered them $1.50? Even $2?
Not all of them would, of course. But the traffic market would definitely start to tilt in my favor in this situation. And I could afford to bid a LOT higher for paid traffic, buy more SEO services, hire more people to build my social media presence,
Then, with more traffic in hand, I could do more tests, build better converting back ends, and generally achieve escape velocity leaving my competitors in my dust.
Traffic is never a problem when you’ve build a marketing machine with superior conversion and back end economics!
MISTAKE #2 – SPREADING YOURSELF TOO THIN: It might seem safer in theory to build “four pillars” of traffic underneath your business right away… but in practice I find this really isn’t the case. Because it takes a LOT more time, energy, and resources to master one platform than everyone seems to think. And the vast majority of marketers I’ve met who’ve built a 7 figure business did so by focusing on ONE traffic generation method for quite some time. Perhaps they couldn’t scale to 7 figures on that one traffic source, but they got their system running profitably and maxed out what they could do on it first.
So yes, AdWords, Facebook PPC, Bing, SEO, etc could shut you down at any given time. But you know what shuts you down faster? Spreading your resources across them before any of them is reliably working for you.
This only makes sense… we live in a very competitive world. You’ve got to establish and fortify a beachhead with the forces you have or else your competitors will take it from you. Then grow from that one stronghold.
MISTAKE #3 – FOCUSING ON EFFICIENCY AT THE EXPENSE OF VOLUME: After you’re firmly “in the stream”, you can usually get ahead faster by throttling the gas and accepting a certain amount of waste than trying to optimize your front end marketing. There are four reasons for this:
- You can generally add profit per visitor at a higher rate by focusing on back end products and services and/or taking better care of your existing customers than you can by optimizing your advertising spend and front end conversion rate…
- Optimizing the front end beyond a certain point not only leads to a “point of diminishing returns” where it takes progressively more time, money, and effort to get progressively smaller gains…
- The gains you DO make from front end efficiency work will often be made by convincing progressively less qualified people to purchase. This, in turn, yields a lower upsell rate, more customer service expense, and a generally lower quality business experience…
- Your front end is very visible, but your back end is not. Your competitors will relentlessly copy any wins you make on the front end. But it requires a LOT more time, money and effort for them to spy on your back end…particularly if you build a complex system with many contingencies and payment gates. So all but the most sophisticated competitor will generally leave your back end alone. (Therefore, adding back ends provides you with progressively more competitive insulation)…
Despite this I find 95% of marketers get obsessed with front end efficiency. They ask me endless questions about how to reduce their Adwords costs, for example, when what they should be asking me instead is how they could afford to spend more.
In a recent consultation I did for two friends, for example, I learned they had just gotten their first few sales of a $5,000 service in AdWords. They spent a lot of the consultation asking me questions about broad match, geo-targeting, etc. But when I looked at their total adspend of only $100 I said “Dudes… who cares if you make a $5,000 sale for $100 vs. $50. Put the pedal to the metal and make twenty sales this month. Even if it costs you $500 to make each sale, you’ll still have a lot more in your bank account and we can clean up the mess later!”
It admittedly takes time to understand this. And it takes even more balls to implement it. Further, because most people are NOT in the fortunate situation my friends are in, it can be a frustrating experiencing working on all the pieces and parts of the complex system which make it possible to get there.
So let’s all please just make note of this advice while you’re here so you’ll recognize the situation when it occurs.
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #4: Taking Too Long to Delegate Traffic Management: Most people have something like the following criteria in mind when it comes to hiring a traffic manager: “Gee, I’ll have to add the management costs to my cost per lead or per sale, so I really can’t delegate this until I’m making the inflated lead or sales cost back. Or, at the very least, until I’m sure the manager will be able to REDUCE my cost per lead or per sale by at least as much as I’m paying them.”
But this is a false economy, because it doesn’t include the opportunity cost of your time. And in many situations, you can probably earn more than the additional management costs by focusing elsewhere in your business. So if your manager can only hold the costs steady but free YOU to work elsewhere, you’re ahead of the game.
Plus, a smart manager is a good marketing strategist too. So you’ll get an extra person for your team… another pair of eyes on your system, and another set of thoughts and strategies to consider as you go forward.
The question isn’t “How much is it going to cost me to work with a traffic manager”, the question is “how much is it costing me NOT to!”
Note: My point here isn’t that everyone should work with a manager, but rather that most businesses wait far too long and set the bar way too high for evaluating when it’s time to do so. Please also note that as of the time of this publication I no longer represent any traffic management service, so this is simply good business advice from me to you!
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #5: SHORT TIME HORIZONS: Playing with the big boys usually means you have to go negative for a few months, sometimes the better part of a year. Get in the game and stay in the game until you figure it out. Make money with back ends. Be willing to use a loss leader. Getting the customer is everything. The name of the game is staying in the game until you win the game!
I can’t tell you how many businesses I’ve seen who could triple their size tomorrow if they just had the nerve to go to a bank to fund their cash flow curve. Internet marketers don’t usually think like business people though. We think we’ve got to make money right away.
Sure, keep working at that. But if you’re getting customers and you’re breaking even four to six months down the line (I’ve gone as much as 10 to get things started) then consider more traditional routes to scale up. With more volume, you can not only realize the profits sitting on the table (over time), but you can test more back ends and continue to improve the economics of the business overall. And with this confidence you can also continue to work on ways to flatten the cash flow curve.
Does it kill your dream to have to go four months out to make your money back? Get over it. Welcome to the real world!
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #6: LACK OF FINANCIAL FORECASTING: I find very few businesses have taken the time to put every last product, expense, and conversion rate into a big hairy spreadsheet. And so they don’t even know WHEN they break even, HOW MUCH cash it’s going to take to get there, and what their projected profits are actually likely to be.
Having such a spreadsheet (and staring at it while running what if scenarios until your eyes bleed) is a tremendous competitive advantage. Because every piece and part of that sheet represents a LEVER you can adjust until the whole machine is humming like you need it to be. What’s more, it gives you a clear and concise picture to compare to reality as you roll forward. You can see exactly where you need to work.
And eventually you’ve got enough levers in place that you’re virtually invulnerable to things everyone else in your market freaks out about.
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #7: UNDER CAPITALIZATION IN BOTH TIME AND MONEY: I find very few businesses have seriously considered what it’s going to take to maintain the traffic they’ll require to reach their business goals. As a result they charge into battle way under-capitalized and with a blind eye to how long it might take to really establish themselves.
In very competitive markets, it’s not unusual to take 18 months to work your way into a solid position. Have you planned well enough to keep the ship floating during this protracted time period? (You’ll need a good financial forecast to do this, of course!)
TRAFFIC MISTAKE #8: NOT PLANNING OUT AND IMPLEMENTING TESTS IN SETS: This is something I’ve only recently realized. I used to just always ask myself (or my mastermind buddies) “what’s the next test I should do?”
But the truth is, in order to figure out what works in a market you really have to “carry the torch” through a whole series of tests.
For example, maybe you don’t know whether your front end should be a $7 ebook, a physical book at the same price, a $200 DVD set, a free consultation, a paid consultation, a free video, free whitepaper, etc.
It’s really only through a set of pre-planned and prioritized tests that you can figure this out. Unless you’ve got so much traffic up front that you can rotate all of them at once… which is rarely the case if you’re operating on a budget and don’t have your back ends in place yet.
In the absence of this prioritized list, you have manic depressive episodes every time something goes right or wrong. But when you’ve got the list in place, it’s just another test in the series. And you’re just gathering information until you’ve got the intelligence you need to roll forward.
Think in “testing sets”, not individual tests.
OK, so there you have it. The eight biggest traffic mistakes this old man has seen, and the best ways to combat them.
Now, if you ARE a marketing junkie like me but you haven’t yet found the right business of your own to apply it to, let me ask you a serious question: Is it possible that the business you need to be in is business itself? Because Terry Dean and I are about to launch an incredible new certification program for Business Coaches…
And that might be the fastest way for you to turn your passion for marketing and business in to a lucrative, fun, and meaningful career!
Sound like you? If so you’ll want to do two things:
- Get on the priority notifications list. We’re taking a very small founder’s group at a very significant discount in just a week or two, and it is likely to sell out very fast. This list will give you notice a full hour before the rest of our audience.
- Watch your email for the free videos. (You can see the first one here. It’s about the Golden Glove, which many of you probably are already familiar with. But take this refresher anyway because it is the foundation of free video #2, to be released tomorrow, which will show you a proven system for attracting dream clients)
Onwards and Upwards,
The Very Good Dr. G 🙂
PS – Turn Your Passion for Marketing and Business into a Lucrative, Rewarding, and Fun Career…Using Our Turnkey-Systems to Create Instant Credibility, Attract Dream Clients, Multiply Their Profits, and Live the Lifestyle You Desire!