Okay, so you’re excited for your new company and you want to start making sales right away so you can sit back and live the good life right? You’ve run projections that show you if you can just get 100 paying customers, you’ll be able to quit your day job, 1000 customers and you’ll be able to retire at 40, 2000 customers and you’ll be the richest person on the block.
Let me be the first to tell you that I’ve run those “projections” too and have been just as excited as you are.
But let me share a secret with you… it’s never that easy.
Getting to 100 paying customers is a an extremely tough journey, especially if you’re charging a monthly fee for your product/service.
What I want to talk to you about today, is the first step to reaching that goal. That first step is to build your audience.
How Do I Reach my Financial Goals?
Sales are what will get you closer to your goals, but how does one make sales?
The more eyeballs you have staring at your product or service, the more likely you are to make a sale. It’s actually a pretty simple formula:
Traffic x Conversion Rate = Sales
This means that there are two main factors that stand in your way of living the life you dream of. What we’re going to focus on in this lesson is the first of those two factors: traffic.
How do I Generate Traffic to my Site?
Building an audience is all about gaining more and more new / repeat visits to your platform. So what are the different ways of generating this oh-so-valuable traffic? Well, there are actually TONS of tactics that you can use to drive traffic to your website / product, so many that your head will spin. But what I want to highlight is a strategy that works over and over and practically guarantees success for building an audience.
I’ll warn you though, this strategy is not a “quick win” strategy, and only those who are truly dedicated to building a business (and an audience) will stick with it.
The sure fire way of building and audience and a predictable stream of visitors to your website is to create value driven content.
What is value driven content?
Well this blog post is an example of it. I’m taking time out of my day to sit down and share absolutely valuable information with you, for free. You didn’t have to pay me any money to read this article, you didn’t have to “opt-in” and give me your email address first. You just landed on this article (probably via a Google Search) and are now learning valuable lessons in entrepreneurship.
Any time you can create something that will make someone else say “Wow, that’s awesome!”, you’re creating value driven content.
Now, creating blog posts is just one way of creating valuable content for your visitors. Let’s take a moment to talk about other great tactics!
Getting found in Google will likely be the key to your success in building an audience and building traffic to your website. Google has the lion’s share of the global search traffic, and they’ve said many times before that by utilizing their Google+ platform, you’ll be giving yourself (and your site) an advantage over those who do not.
Here’s a great infographic from our very own Carter Johnson that outlines the steps to getting started with Google+:
Using Infographs to Drive Traffic
Speaking of infographs, you can also drive a fair amount of traffic just by creating helpful infographs like the one above. If you have any sort of design skills then you’re in luck, because you can create your own and share them on social media. This is what Carter did to drive over 200 visitors to his website when his site was brand new.
Let me tell you, driving 200 new visitors to your site might not seem very exciting, but when you first start, that’s quite impressive!
Remember, building an audience is a slow process.
Overnight success takes 15 years
If you don’t have any design experience, but would still like to create your own infographic, then I’d suggest using canva.com to help you design your own infographic. It’s completely free to use and it’s a lifesaver for people like myself who have no design skills at all! You can drag and drop backgrounds, text, images, neat icons, you name it. It’s the ultimate WYSIWYG service for the design challenged programmer!
Engage with Other Audiences
You can also “piggy back” on other successful people’s audiences by engaging with their audience. This is easily done by commenting on other people’s blog posts. Remember that you’re speaking to other human beings, so actually engaging in the conversation and providing meaningful feedback/comments/suggestions is key to success here.
One of Carter’s friends was able to post the first comment on someone else’s blog article that ended up going viral, and he ended up seeing tens of thousands of visitors come through to his website via that comment. So be sure to link to your website if the blog comment allows for it (normally in the “author” area of the comment). Try not to post links inside the comment itself, unless it’s relevant to the topic of course.
To take advantage of the “being first to comment” strategy, I’d recommend setting up some sort of Google alert, or subscribing to another author’s RSS feed. This way you can know almost as soon as the post goes live and you can dive into article, consume it, then provide meaning feedback in the comments section.
Being a frequent commenter who constantly provides valuable information can also help you build a relationship with the author of the blog. In doing so, you could even get to the point where you could ask the blogger for a guest post.
Guest Posting on Popular Blogs
Guest posting means that you write up a blog post/article and have it published to another author’s blog. This tends to be a win-win scenario for both you and the author. The author gets to post fresh new content to their website and share the value with their existing audience. You get to gain some exposure to your website by including a link at the bottom of the post that points back to your own website (usually in the “about this author” section).
I’ve also seen this tactic used in email courses. Some of the “value” that’s sent out via an email course can be written by guest authors.
Question / Answer Communities
Yet another great way to help drive traffic back to your site is to participate in the Q&A communities that exist on the interwebs:
Head on over to those websites and start engaging in conversations with people and answering their questions. Often the most beneficial way to answer their questions is if you have a blog article that you’ve written that answers their question. So it’s a great strategy to search for people asking questions related to articles that you’ve written in the past.
Leverage Existing Platforms (like udemy)
Okay, so you have a lot of amazing knowledge in that big old brain of yours, but nobody’s listening to you. How can you get your valuable content out to the world as quickly as possible?
You need to go where you audience is
For myself with my technology blog, I realized that a lot of my potential customers are hanging out on sites like udemy.com, which is a marketplace designed to sell video courses. Once I uploaded a couple of courses I saw some organic sales start to pour in every day and I created a new source of passive income for myself.
Had I created these courses and launched them on their own domains, I would have had a lot of work ahead of me to market those courses and perform some SEO tactics to get it ranked in Google and found organically by people.
Instead of doing all this extra work, I just leveraged the traffic that existed in an existing platform. So be sure to understand all your options before you start creating something like a video course.
If you’re dying to get traffic and have a bit of cash to invest into your business, then paid advertising is a great route to choose. It’s commonly said that people “don’t have traffic problems”, they have conversion problems. This is said because there are many companies “lining up” so-to-speak to send you traffic, the catch is that you just need to pay them for it. These companies include:
- Google adwords
- Facebook ads
- Linked in ads
- Stumble Upon Ads
- Twitter ads
And there are certainly more companies that allow you to pay them for traffic, but I think you get the idea.
Now the trick is, how do you most effectively use these platforms for paid advertising? Here’s a lesson many entrepreneurs have learned the hard way.
DO NOT just pay for traffic and send it directly to your sales page. This kind of tactic gets such a low conversion rate that you will most likely just lose all the money that you put into paying for the ads.
Instead – DO send the traffic to a landing page that asks the paid traffic for their email address. Your landing page should abide by the rules that we talked about in the last episode where we offer value in exchange for their email address.
A typical use case is to pay to send traffic to a landing page for a webinar, or to claim the first couple chapters of the book you’re trying to sell, or to get access to an exclusive video that offers valuable training.
The trick is, once you have their email address, you can then contact them as many times as you want without having to pay the “big boys” for it again and again. You can then apply all the things you’ve learned about creating a relationship with that audience and turn them into people who know, like and trust you. THEN and only then, should you actually ask for the sale.
The point is, all roads lead back to building a relationship with your audience, no matter what techniques you’re using. Remember, we’re dealing with real people, not statistics.
Use “up and coming” Technology to Build your Audience (i.e. Podcast)
Take a look at John Lee Dumas of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, this is a man who started with ZERO people in his audience with ZERO experience in broadcast or podcasting. And in about two years, has built a company that will generate over $1 million in revenue.
How the heck did he do it?
He used a podcast! More specifically, he looked at podcasting (which is on the rise in terms of popularity) and also looked at the podcasting landscape to see if there was anything missing. Sure enough there was! He realized that nobody was producing a daily podcast and he ventured out to be the first!
Long story short, he leveraged an up and coming technology to stand out from the crowd and hit a home run!