Before you can build a successful online business, you must create a strategic and consistent flow of traffic to your website, content, and offers. Yep, I said it. You gotta do the work. And while the work might seem a tad overwhelming to think about (let alone get done!), I’m going to break down exactly what goes into building consistent traffic generation into your business in a way that actually makes good (marketing) sense.
I know, I know. Doing the strategic work of generating traffic for your business doesn’t sound very sexy. But trust me when I say that doing this work will really help you grow your business.
Like, for realsies.
So even if you’re thinking, “Bobby, you’ve officially lost my interest by telling me to do the boring work,” keep reading. I promise you’ll hate me less by the end of this post (probably).
The part of your business that deals with traffic generation is what I like to call your traffic machine (one of the four essential machines you need in your business), and to build one that actually works you’ve got to first step into your customers’ shoes and gain a little perspective.
That’s right… I’m talking about the customer journey. (Read this post to go deeper on what that is and why understanding it is SO important for your business.)
So let’s dive into the 5 best traffic generators for your business!
Want to dive a little deeper into the subject? Listen to Bobby discuss the concepts in this post in Episode 274 on the Certified BADA$$ Online Marketing Podcast!
Here’s What We’ll Be Covering…
- What a traffic machine is all about
- The 5 elements of a traffic machine
- Weekly Content – raising awareness and building trust with the audience
- Social Media Posts – engaging with the audience and promoting your content
- Paid Ads – attracting people to your lead magnets
- Guest Outreach – finding a way to reach out to people who’ve collected your audience and getting into their world to provide value
- Affiliates – having other people promote your products and send traffic to your and they get a commission on sales
- Why weekly content is a critical part of a traffic machine
- How weekly content bring people more naturally into your world
- Why it takes time for long-form content to get traction
- The importance of being consistent with your content publishing
- Why social media is a great way to promote your content
- What you need to consider when choosing a social platform for your business
- Why you should use paid ads, especially in building your list
- The different kinds of ads you can run
- Why you should focus on conversion ads at the beginning of your business
- How guest outreach works and how to do it
- Why you shouldn’t ask to be a guest on someone’s platform straight away without building relationships
- How affiliates work and why you should set it up at the late part of the game
- What you need to think about when creating an affiliate program
The 5 Elements of a Traffic Machine
We could probably come up with a ton of different ways and ideas about how you could attract people and generate new traffic to your platform. But in this post, we’ll be covering the 5 core elements to your traffic machine: your weekly content, your social media, paid ads, guest outreach, and affiliates.
Everything you do to build your traffic will fall under one of these 5 elements:
1. Weekly Content To Build Traffic
With your weekly content, I’m talking about long-form content, not your social media posts. It’s either a blog, a podcast, or a video show of some sort. These are critical elements of a traffic machine.
A podcast is probably less relevant than the other two to getting traffic because people don’t usually stumble upon a podcast through search engines. People listen to podcasts because someone probably told them about it, and that’s true for most people with podcasts.
That’s why podcasts aren’t great at getting new people into your world, but they can be if done right.
Your weekly content is the center of your content marketing efforts. Instead of interrupting people with ads and forcing messages in front of people, you’re creating content that people can find, and then it will bring them more naturally into your world. Creating long-form content is key to this.
Early on, however, you probably won’t get a lot of people discovering your blog or YouTube channel. That’s the case because, for the most part, these channels take time to build up.
If you do things right with YouTube, you could get some traction pretty early. But a blog is going to take some time just without getting into too many details. Search engine optimization (SEO) generally takes time because Google ranks websites based on several factors like the authority of your domain or a particular page.
So when you’re starting, when you don’t have a lot of people linking back to your website, chances are, you’re not going to have great success with SEO. You won’t show up on the first couple of pages of Google when someone is searching for something related to your topic.
But over time, if you’re consistent about creating quality content that people will want to link to and use as resources for their audience, you’ll eventually get to the point that your stuff will start to rank.
It’s a long process, but the sooner you start building it, the sooner it’ll start ranking.
When creating content, you also need to understand your people’s level of awareness. Your front-end content to generate traffic has to meet your audience where they are.
You can’t create graduate-level content if your audience is in elementary school. You have to create content that addresses the questions, the concerns, the obstacles, and the things that your people are thinking about. That will start to get attention.
Why weekly? You need to create this weekly because it’s the consistency and finding out what works. It’s about finding the message that will break through and get you some traffic.
2. Social Media To Build Traffic
Social media is also an important element of your content marketing strategy. It’s valuable because it helps you to nurture relationships with your existing audience.
But the big part is it’s a great way to promote your content. If you create a video show, a blog, or podcast each week, you can promote it on social media and get some traction that way.
Again, this takes time. You won’t immediately get a bunch of traffic right after you launch your social media sites. But if you do the work to engage with people and build relationships, your social media can become a good resource and a good way to promote your content and get people directly to lead magnets or other things on your website.
A lot of people these days focus on their social media without thinking about the fact that a big part of it should be about generating traffic for you.
It should be about getting people off of social media and onto your platform. Now that’s harder on some channels than others, but I think you start to get the relevance of it.
When you’re evaluating a social platform, you need to analyze whether it will fit into getting you traffic. If not, there might still be reasons to use it like nurturing an existing audience.
But you should prioritize social media platforms and channels that will make it easy for you to get people to your platform and generate traffic for your own business.
You’ll have to do some engagement content, information content, and entertainment content to give people a reason to pay attention.
Although social media will take time as your weekly content, it will be easier to get traction in a shorter period on social media than with your weekly content.
Your social media often can be a foothold that you can use to start getting people over to your weekly content as well.
3. Paid Ad Strategy To Build Traffic
I see people bragging about building a business without paid ads.
I like that people can build a business with organic traffic. That’s a good skill to have. But if you have that, why wouldn’t you also want to use paid ads?
Paid ads are a very easy way to test things out quickly. You can test messages and ideas. Just as importantly, they’re a great way to get in front of people and generate traffic.
As you’re building your list, as you’re doing all of those things, paid ads are one of the most fruitful sources. Now I’m not saying that you should be running ads 365 days a year, but you should be running them something close to that.
Once you have things set up in your business, like a lead magnet and opt-in pages to build your email list, my view is you should be running Facebook ads on an ongoing basis to build your audience.
Those people will convert better down the line, but paid ads are the traffic source. They’re a great way to accelerate and build things more quickly.
You can choose from different options. Facebook and Instagram ads are some of the most well-known in our space.
That’s because even as of today, at least in my experience, they tend to be one of the best sources for getting leads and traffic generation. That’s decent traffic at a reasonable price.
Another option is Google ads, which come in multiple formats. One of the most obvious forms is Google search ads. Those are the ads that appear at the top of the page when you run a Google search. Understand, however, that those ads generally work best where someone is searching for a particular thing.
Other services include Taboola and Outbrain which you could use for traffic generation to your weekly content. On some websites, you may notice sponsored content that looks more like an article.
They’re links to content outside of a blog post. That’s generally done through something like Taboola and Outbrain. Those can be great sources for building up traffic to your blog posts or YouTube channel.
You can also place ads on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. There are a lot of options out there. What you need to do though is understand at least one or more and use them effectively to build your traffic.
When you’re starting, oftentimes you will focus mostly on what is called conversion ads to an opt-in. Most entrepreneurs start with Facebook and Instagram conversion ads. It’s not for purchase but for an opt-in to get someone on your email list.
The next logical step is awareness ads, which send people to content because your content should be a key part of what you’re doing in your business.
4. Guest Outreach To Build Traffic
With guest outreach, I’m not talking about reaching out to get guests onto your platform.
This is about thinking through how could you be a guest on someone else’s platform. This could be being a guest on podcasts, writing guest blog posts, or doing a guest session inside of a membership or group coaching program.
In the case of BADA$$ Online Marketing University (BOMU), if you’re in there, you may have noticed that we have multiple guests teachers who have created courses within our platform.
By being a guest on someone else’s platform, you’re getting exposure and you’re getting visibility to their audience. When you do it, you have to put in the time and do it right, but you don’t have to pay anything for the leads or traffic that come from that guest outreach.
If you’re a guest on someone’s podcast and they send leads your way, those will be some of the most engaged, warmest, best-qualified leads you will get because those people heard you and you were borrowing the authority of the person who they already trust.
You should come up with a plan to do this. Some services will do this for you, but we’ve not had great success with it. I’m sure there are some good ones out there, but you don’t have to start with a service. Initially, what you need to do is identify people for who you might want to do this and figure out how you can get into their world.
You need to figure out how you can get into their sphere of influence, provide value, and connect with them. Over time, you can build a relationship, and then you can ask to come onto their platform.
As someone who has a podcast, I rarely accept people based on cold pitches. If I don’t know someone, I’m hardly ever going to have them onto my podcast anymore.
On the other hand, if it’s a friend of mine, someone who I built a relationship with, someone in my audience who has brought value to my community and I’ve seen it and they reach out with the topic that I think would be relevant, I will have them on.
So that gives you a sense of how you do it. You have to build the relationship and then make the ask. Don’t just make the ask straight away. If you do that, you’re not going to have success.
5. Using Affiliates To Build Traffic
If you don’t know what an affiliate is, it’s someone who sends traffic and gets a commission on sales.
We have an affiliate program in our business for our legal templates. Affiliates can promote our stuff and they get 50% of the revenue because those are truly passive income sources in a sense for us that there’s no additional work that comes with each additional sale.
In my membership and my coaching program, we pay 20%, but we have real costs in running the membership and coaching, so we can’t pay 50%.
An affiliate program is a great way to get yourself highly qualified leads. There’s a cost, but there’s only a cost if you make a sale.
What’s great about affiliate programs is that it’s the best of both worlds. It’s paid in the sense that yes if they convert you pay, but you only pay when they convert.
It gives you a chance to borrow the credibility of other people. It has the elements of the guest outreach, but they’ll be more motivated to promote your products when they’re an affiliate.
Now, you should always make sure that affiliates are aligned with your messaging. That they’re not going to be overly salesy if you don’t want that, and that they’re not going to push people to buy your products when they don’t need to.
When you find the right affiliates, they can drive significant revenue and traffic to your website.
Generally, you’re not going to put an affiliate program in place until pretty late in the game because you have to have an established product with a good track record to entice people.
And when you’re creating an affiliate program, you have to think from the affiliate’s perspective. What’s in it for them? Why would they want to promote your thing? Granted it’s going to be because they’re going to make money, but you have to prove to them that their effort will pay off and will be worth it.
So those are the five different elements of a traffic machine. You have weekly content, which is about awareness and building trust with your existing audience. You have social media, which is about posting, engaging, and promoting your content.
There are paid ads that you should run early on to your lead magnets at a minimum. Then there’s guest outreach, which is finding a way to reach out to people who’ve already collected your audience and finding a way to be on their platform to provide value for their audience so that they might come over to your website.
Then there are affiliates as the last element, which are like guest outreach, but they will get a commission on any purchases made by the people they sent.
Think about these and cultivate a strategy for doing them to generate traffic to your business because that’s what will make you successful over the long term.
Be sure to join BADA$$ Online Marketing™ University (BOMU), our totally free training program. It’s a university of multiple courses to help you build an online business that you love.