According to a Hubspot report, 63% of marketers said generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge. However, the longer-term game is to switch to a 'customer first' approach instead of chasing after traffic.
Understandably, people will think traffic is their main issue. There’s a difference between having 100 visitors to your website and 10,000. If you make $50 with 100 visitors it’s easy to think your income will increase if only you can get more visitors.
The reasoning behind this business model is quite straight-forward. Build a website filled with great content that rank for certain keywords, let people find it through Google searches, and make money. A few years back it might have worked. Changes in Google algorithms no longer make this type of site viable.
Another reason why people find traffic generation attractive is it’s easy to understand and measure. You can measure the number of visits to your site easily.
There are, however, other more important things than traffic. For instance, Bryan Eisenberg pointed out that it’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than doubling your traffic.
Switch to a ‘Customer First’ approach instead of chasing after traffic.
1. Traffic Chasing On Social Media
Somehow this chasing traffic model has moved to social media. Everybody is trying to grow a Facebook fan page or YouTube channel. The aim is simply to get more followers to send ads to them.
What happens in reality?
It took you months to grow your following. In order not to annoy your fans, you send then an ad 4 or 5 times a month. How much money did you make? It doesn’t sound like a viable business model.
The barrier to entry on social media is low. Anyone can put anything on it. The platforms are flooded with new fan pages or channels. Nobody sees those countless Facebook fan pages or YouTube channels that have no following and don’t make any money.
If you look at social media platforms, they have what is called Social Media Celebrities. Every platform has its Social Media Celebrities and they are few and far between. You have to be the top 1% of the 1% to make money as a Social Media Celebrity. Everybody else is making little money if any. It’s best to stay out of the Social Media Celebrity business.
- Everybody is chasing more followers on social media.
- It takes you months to build a following and how much money are you making?
- Only the top 'Social Media Celebrities' make money.
2. Aim For The Middle Section
If you know a bit about statistics you’ll know about the normal (or bell) curve. It’s a bell-shaped curve with extremes at the two ends. The middle section of the curve is what is ‘normal’, hence the name of this curve. You want to be in that middle ‘normal’ section and not in the two extreme points.
Build a business where you are on the middle ground. You’re not extreme left nor extreme right and will be fine in the middle ground. Like other businesses on the middle ground, you’ll be making money. They’re just not loud about it, like the celebrities on the right or the broke ones on the left.
What are the normal steps that people want you to take?
You start your business and build a website. Then you add great content and rank on Google. Later, you start a page on one of the social media platforms and do posting or load videos. Also, you create lead magnets and optin pages to collect email addresses. Then you start sending emails to your subscribers and build relationships. At some point, you begin to monetize by selling your products or affiliate products.
So, what’s the problem with this approach?
Your thinking is “I’m this” and “I’m that”. It’s all about you. It’s ‘you’ focused.
Don’t get me wrong. Let me be clear about this. You will need to do all those things and they’re important.
But your thinking needs to be focused on the customer. What does my customer need? How can I help my customer?
Change your thinking and actions to “customer first’ and you’ll see results.
- Build your business on the middle ground. Many businesses are making money there without being 'loud'.
- Change your thinking and actions to ‘customer first’ and you’ll see results.
3. Customer First Approach
Feedback from customers is the deepest, richest, and most valuable insights.
Starting with the customer first has two meanings. Firstly, you put the customer first. Everything you do is for the customer. Your goal is to make the customer happy. Secondly, you start your business by getting customers first.
When you have customers, even if it’s only one, you no longer have to guess what they want or who they are. You can ask them. All the guesswork disappears from your business.
You ask them what type of content they want. Then you create your products with their input. Once you start selling a beta version of your product, you’ll get many AHA moments. You’ll discover what you’re missing. Allow people to give feedback and pay attention.
This is so much better than to work months on a product that nobody wants.
You get insights into what people want before you create it which leads to better products right from the start. Your optin offers will convert better. With content that appeals to the right people, you'll attract the right people.
You may be thinking you need products to attract customers. But you need customers to create products. Even though it may sound like it, this is not a catch 22 nor chicken and egg story.
- Feedback from customers is the deepest, richest, and most valuable insights.
- Your goal is to make the customer happy.
- Even if you have only a handful of customers, you no longer have to guess what they want or who they are. You can ask them.
4. Minimum Viable Product
To explain the 'customer first' concept, I’m borrowing from a book by Eric Ries, called The Lean Start-Up. He talked about something he called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Ries believes so many startups fail because entrepreneurs focus on creating their product and assume there will be a demand for it. In reality, nobody wants to buy the product and the business fails as the entrepreneur ran out of funds.
He suggests a system where you speed up your learning and validates the demand for your product before you create it. Build a prototype fast with minimal features and sell it to the early adopters.
Once you have a few customers, you start on a process he calls a Build-Measure-Learn (BML) loop. Get a new and improved version of your product to them fast, even daily if possible. Listen to their feedback and use their ideas to make a better version. Go as often and as fast you can through this BML loop and each time improving until you have a full-featured product that customers love.
If you put the customer first, focus on what they want, and adopt validated learning as your business goal, then you stand a better chance to be successful. In business, you have to do what it takes to put the odds in your favor. Putting the customer first is a huge boost in the odds.
- Startups fail because entrepreneurs focus on creating their product and assume there will be a demand for it.
- Speed up your learning and validates the demand for your product before you create it.
- Build a prototype fast with minimal features and sell it to the early adopters.
Focus on getting your first customer and forget about getting more traffic. You need only a handful of customers. With a customer-first approach, your business will grow differently. You will have a great product that customers love and traffic will come as a side effect. Start small and have patience.
Your biggest AHA moments and insights will come from interacting with customers. Get customers first and put your customers first. That’s what I mean when I say follow a ‘customer first’ approach in your business.
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Do you already use some customer focused approach to grow your business? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.
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