According to a Hubspot report, 63% of marketers said generating traffic and leads are their biggest challenge.
It’s understandable that 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 this 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.
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 did you actually 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 I call 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. My advice would be to stay out of the Social Media Celebrity business.
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 is what is ‘normal’, hence the name of this curve. You want to be in that middle ‘normal’ section.
You want to build a business where you are on the middle ground. You’re not extreme left nor extreme right. You’ll be fine in the middle ground. You’ll be making money like all the other businesses on the middle ground. 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. You start a page on one of the social media platforms and do posting or load videos. You follow influencers and post helpful comments in the comments sections. You create lead magnets and optin pages. Then you start sending emails to your subscribers and build relationships. At some point, you begin to monetize by selling affiliate products or your own.
What’s the problem with this approach?
Your thinking is “I’m going to do this” and “I’m going to do that”. It’s all about you.
You’ve lost your customer somewhere. The process puts the customer last and there’s no customer focus.
Don’t get me wrong. Let me be clear about this. You will need to do all those things at some point and they’re important.
Feedback from customers is the deepest, richest, and most valuable insights.
Why don’t you rather start with the customer first?
Starting with the customer first has two meanings. First, you put the customer first. Everything you do is for the customer. Your goal is to make the customer happy. Second, 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. You start creating 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. Give people the opportunity 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. You create better products right from the start. You have optin offers that convert better. Your content appeals to the right people and you attract the right people.
You may be thinking I need products to attract customers but I need customers to create products. Isn’t this a catch 22 or chicken and egg story?
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. You build a prototype fast with minimal features and sell it to early adopters. Once you have a few customers, you start on a process he calls a Build-Measure-Learn (BML) loop. You 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. You 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, you stand a better chance to be successful. In business, you have to do what it takes to put the odds in your favor.
My suggestion would be to 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 in a different way. 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.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.