Contrary to what you might think, all “traffic” can be broken down into 3 primary categories.
When I say “traffic” I don’t just mean web traffic… I’m referring to all sources of Lead Generation, whereby you get your message in front of your Ideal Potential Clients.
So traffic is any opportunity you have to engage your audience, whether online or offline.
Each of these categories of traffic have their pros and cons.
So let’s look at each, in detail:
1. “Brought” Traffic
Brought traffic refers to the visibility you have EARNED, through your marketing efforts, and includes things like:
- Your email list
- Blog subscribers
- Social media followers
- Search engine optimization
- Past clients
- Online radio & podcasting (self hosted)
In each of these examples, you’ve earned the right to communicate with your Potential Clients through your past efforts.
They’ve agreed to be in communication with you, by opting in to your list, following you online, or choosing to do business with you.
PROS of Brought Traffic
- High level of trust
- Increased engagement (usually)
- Medium degree of control (through your consistent, targeted efforts)
- Low cost (can be done with time & energy investment, no financial cost required)
CONS of Brought Traffic
- It often takes longer to achieve high volume
- Cost Uncertainty (will your efforts and investment of time, energy and money result in a client?)
2. “Borrowed” Traffic
Borrowed traffic refers to any opportunity you have to get in front of your audience, through a referral of some kind.
In this case, you’re tapping in to someone else’s “brought” or earned traffic, often with an explicit (although sometimes, implied) endorsement from them.
Borrowed traffic includes:
- Joint Venture referral partnerships
- Media exposure
- Speaking engagements
- Online radio & podcasting (as a guest on someone else’s show)
Borrowed traffic leverages the relationship the “owner” of that contact (or contacts) has with them, and can be incredibly powerful.
PROS of Borrowed Traffic
- Explicit endorsement and transference of trust
- Can be high volume and high speed
- Cost certainty (usually these arrangements are commission based, where you pay AFTER getting a client)
CONS of Borrowed Traffic
- Low degree of control (you are at the whim & schedule of the traffic owner)
- Can take time to develop trust relationships to get strong endorsements
- High cost of acquisition (often, the commission is 30% – 50% of your selling price)
- You need “conversion metrics” (particularly for JV partners and affiliates) before they’ll agree to promote you
3. “Bought” Traffic
Bought traffic refers to any opportunity you have to PAY to get in front of your audience, and includes:
- Facebook Advertising
- Google PPC Ads
- Newspaper or magazine ads
- Solo email buys
In short, bought traffic refers to ANY opportunity you have to advertise, for a fee, to get your message in front of your Ideal Potential Clients.
PROS of Bought Traffic
- High degree of control (you put your message where YOU want it)
- High speed (particularly in online ads like Facebook)
- Consistent lead flow (when you find something that works, you keep doing it)
- Total Control (when your system works, you can increase or decrease the “ad spend” as needed)
CONS of Bought Traffic
- Cost Uncertainty (you pay for the traffic, but need systems to nurture and convert them into paying clients)
- Requires financial investment up front
As you can see, each of these traffic systems has Pros and Cons, benefits and drawbacks.
So, which should you choose? All three!
My best recommendation is to have a specific plan to focus on ONE method for each of the three types of traffic, until you get your system running smoothly (and profitably!).
Then (and only then) you can add additional methods.
A Case Study
Here’s one example of how you might get started by leveraging all three of these forms of traffic, by focusing on ONE method for each, to start:
1. Brought Traffic – Focus on building an email list. Do this by offering a high-value “Lead Magnet” (also called a “Freemium”, “Ethical Bribe” or “Free Gift”).
Once people have opted in for your Lead Magnet, you can continue to provide value in the form of education, resources, tips, cheat sheets, etc, to continue to build trust with them.
2. Borrowed Traffic – Find Joint Venture Partners who serve a similar audience. Offer a compelling reason for them to introduce you to their Tribe, in exchange for a commission on future sales.
When someone opts-in through a referred source, you’ve “earned” the right to communicate with them in the future, but you must continue to earn their trust or they’ll unsubscribe or stop following you.
3. Bought Traffic – Begin experimenting with Facebook Ads to bring highly qualified Potential Clients to your Lead Magnet. Just remember, if you’re going to pay for traffic, you should have a plan to convert those Potential Clients into Paying Clients, at a rate that is profitable (or at least break-even) for you, as quickly as possible.
That’s it! You know the 3 types of traffic, the Pros and Cons of each, and you’ve got a sample of how to apply each of them to grow your business.
I hope you’ll use this info to serve more of the people who need your help.
Until Next Time… Go Make a Difference!