One thing that never seems to change in this industry is the hunger people have for information about driving traffic. Whether new or experienced, everyone with an online business is constantly looking for additional ways to bring visitors to their Website, and this is definitely one of the main struggles for start-up ventures in cyberspace.
Traffic generation, and for that matter online business as a whole, is pretty simple, though not necessarily easy. Right away I want to emphasize a key point: there is no magic link that will make all of your traffic problems go away, and anyone who promises you such a solution just wants your money. Promoting your Web presence to the world takes a lot of hard work, patience, and most likely some form of monetary investment; if you’re not prepared for these genuine business realities I’d recommend some other sort of entrepreneurial endeavor.
Having said this, let’s next look at the critical main objective we all have as Internet Marketers. The one thing we all have in common, regardless of niche or market, is the fact that we’re trying to sell something. Maybe you’re selling a product or service, “giving away” a free Ezine subscription, or even just providing information to support some sort of idea; in every case the principles of selling apply because you’re working toward convincing your site visitors to take a desired action or accept a specific ideal. Once you understand that your intention is to make the sale, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding with your traffic-generation efforts.
Obviously, you want your sales efforts to be profitable. Immediately, therefore, you must understand the need for an active audience or niche. In other words, right from the start you want to build your business around product ideas that lots of people are already interested in. You could build a product that you’re passionate about but, if few others share your interest in a given subject, you’ll be spending an enormous amount of time and energy trying to find qualified prospects for your sales process.
Let’s use an easy brick and mortar analogy for this. Imagine you’re starting a barbeque restaurant. Would you prefer to set your shop up inside a mall where there’s already plenty of traffic, or would you save money by renting a cheap property in the middle of the desert? On one hand you’d have little trouble finding prospects because you’d already be surrounded by shoppers. In the latter scenario your whole life would become a struggle to get people out to your obscure location. It’s an extreme, maybe even silly example, but it does the job of getting my point across.
I recently summed this up in one of my Webinars with the phrase:
“It’s wiser to build a hut by a river than to hope for rain in the desert.”
What I’m saying here is twofold. First, your best bet is to select a business niche that’s already (at least somewhat) popular, or has the potential for large consumer interest. Second, when you actually begin the process of promotion you’ll want to “tap into” existing currents of traffic as often as possible; this is something we’ll cover in a future article but I’m bringing it up now so you can give it some consideration.
Returning to our example of choosing your location, consider the costs a traditional (brick and mortar) business owner might weigh when deciding on either a space at the local mall or a spot in the desert. Clearly, one would undertake quite an investment in order to get their operation into a crowded shopping center, whereas an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere would be available for a fraction of the price. The serious, forward-thinking entrepreneur would grasp the value of the mall space investment. Sure this route takes more to get up and running but the payoff would undoubtedly be well worth it. On the flip side, the business owner looking to skimp by on the smallest possible investment might choose the isolated space. Such a decision would doom him or her to a life of constantly struggling to attract customers, since very few people are already flowing in the direction of the lonely barbeque. The choice in this sample scenario is very much like the thought process that precedes the launch of an online venture.
The marketer who invests deeply in the right location is building his hut by the river. He doesn’t have to work nearly as hard to bring in traffic because there are already loads of hungry shoppers walking around the mall every day! You can be like this smart fellow by taking the time to seriously research a strong niche for your business. When you establish a Web presence within an active sector where surfers are already looking for info and buying products, you vastly decrease the strain involved with finding customers.
The last thing you want is an obscure niche that forces you to spend all your time and money scraping together enough visitors to generate a few sales. A surprising percentage of people find themselves in exactly this scenario. More often than not, when a student expresses frustration with a lack of sales, I find they have fallen short on the research phase of their business; they’ve jumped into an idea based on their own interests and passions but failed to confirm a valid market interest in their products or services.
Time is your most valuable asset, especially if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re like most people who want “free” traffic you need to accept the fact that you’ll be spending many hours each day setting up your Web traffic system. I can’t count the number of Visine bottles I went through during my first year online; it takes a lot of time to learn the basics of each specific traffic generator, and then even more time to actually implement what you’ve learned. For this reason it is imperative that you don’t have to waste your time struggling to promote something in which very few people are interested.
Commit to putting the time and energy into nailing an ideal niche, one with lots of active readers and buyers, and you’ll be able to stay efficient and effective when it comes time to actually start promoting your site. You can easily find plenty of content about keyword research, niche testing, and so forth – my goal with this article is to illustrate emphatically that before you take your first step or spend your first dollar toward bringing visitors to your sales page, you must be sure a strong flow of potential visitors (interested searchers) exists. Once you know “where” your river of qualified prospects is, it’s a straightforward matter to build your hut or Website in the appropriate spot.