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The Great Traffic Illusion

Hi everyone,traffic

I hope is well with you. This week I thought I'd talk a little about something everyone wants – traffic! But I'm going to focus in on something that, although is quite obvious, oftentimes seems to get glossed over.

Just What is Traffic?

This really is the key question. Keeping the answer firmly in mind can make all the difference to your growth online.

Traffic = people.

That's it, pure and simple.

However, we often hear statements such as “driving traffic”, “know your metrics”, “build your list”, etc, etc. Now, all these things are important, but never forget what is behind them...

People.

I know, it's obvious, right? But when it comes to driving traffic, analysing your metrics, building your list, creating your product, working out your visitor value and so forth, are you thinking purely about numbers or are you thinking about people?

trafficIs it Just a Numbers Game?

It's often said that Internet marketing is a numbers game and sure, that's partly true. Numbers are an essential component and it's important to monitor them. But, it's the human element that is truly important and that will give you the most value. Never forget that it is real, living, breathing human beings who are behind those numbers.

Let's just think about the basic sales process for a moment. You have something to sell, you put it in front of someone who wants to buy it and they buy it. That's it in its most simplistic form. So, how do you get your product/service in front of potential buyers?

If you ask most Marketers they will likely say things such as, “Drive traffic to your offer” or, “Advertise your offer somewhere that gets a lot of traffic.” Yes, that goes without saying. But it needs to go deeper than that. You need to give people a REASON for wanting to buy. This requires endeavouring to get inside the head of your ideal prospect and connecting with them on some level. Now, this may be easier said than done at times with the more impersonal types of promotion, such as banner ads. But it's what you do the rest of the time that you need to consider.

Let me give you two hypothetical scenarios for you to consider:

1) 10,000 people visit your site where you are promoting a certain offer. No-one buys.

2) 100 people visit your site where you a promoting a certain offer. Five people buy.

Which would you prefer? I would go for the second one each time. That's a 5% conversion rate. Sure, we haven't had many visitors but we've had five sales, which is a lot better than no sales, right?

Let's expand the example a little further. Let's say that in scenario number one we also make five sales. Again, that's a lot better than no sales, but it's a very low conversion rate of only 0.05%.

Why am I telling you this?

It's because 'driving traffic' is often touted as being the magical ingredient to making a success of Internet marketing. And again, I just want to emphasise that yes, traffic IS important. But it is NOT all about numbers. You can throw (or 'drive') a million visitors to your offer but if none of them buy then they're not worth much. Heck, it's better to have ONE person who buys than a million who don't!

trafficCows or Cats?traffic

So here's the thing: are you focusing on 'driving traffic' or are you focusing on connecting with PEOPLE? Yes you can have both and that's the preferred option, of course. But, instead of trying to 'drive' people, how about trying to attract people and connect with them?

Do you really want to view your visitors as cattle to be driven to where you want them to go? Or rather than trying to herd them like cows, would you rather try to attract them to you like cats? Anyone who knows anything about cats will know that a cat won't do something that it doesn't want to do! But when it trusts you and thinks that you have something interesting that it wants, it's much easier to get it to come to you, after which you can build a relationship.

What I Have Foundtraffic

"Don't chase money - let money chase you." - Alex Jeffreys

Let me tell you what I have found as a result of various methods I've used to drive traffic and get my promotions in front of people. I've managed to get lots of people to my blog and I've put my promotions out there by methods such as solo ads. But, with the exception of just a few of my most recent sales, do you want to know where my sales came from?

Direct traffic.

Yes, from people with whom I've connected and spoken directly by means of blog conversations, social media and direct e-mail.

Surely that should tell you something?

Now, I'm not suggesting that you should rely soley on these kinds of methods and ignore other, more 'mass' kinds of exposure. But you shouldn't be focused on the numbers first and foremost. Rather, whilst being aware of your numbers, you really need to be focused on the people themselves, remembering that behind each and every number, each and every statistic, is an actual person.

Alex Jeffreys often says, “Don't chase money – let money chase you.” In other words, rather than being focused on trying to make money, focus on the things that in the long term, by extension, will help you to make money. So if you focus on always giving value and helping other people, the money will find its way to you. Focusing on the end result – the money – rather than the things that can lead to it, can lead to disappointment and frustration.

I believe that the same applies to other things that we wish to acquire. Replace the “money” part of the equation with “traffic” and “subscribers” and you'll have a formula to help you achieve quality results.

Another experience I'd like to relate is with regards to other people in the industry. If I was to ask you to think of some of the big names I'm sure you could come up with a few. These big names have lots of people who look up to and admire them. You could say that they even have a kind of celebrity status in the industry.

Now think about yourself. Do you view yourself as being anything really special, a celebrity in the industry if you will? If you're a beginner it's probably highly unlikely. What I've come to appreciate, though, is that a lot of those to whom we may attribute a celebrity type status often feel the same way about themselves as you may feel about yourself. Sure, they recognise their achievements, skills and experience, but more often than not they view themselves just like you and me.

Just last weekend I attended the Marketing Summit UK here in Manchester and was rubbing shoulders with some of the greats in the industry, such as Alex Jeffreys, Dean Holland and Mark Lyford. When you spend time with these guys you soon appreciate that they are just the same as you and me – they are people! Plus, even they are still learning, just like you and me. Talking with a variety of people with varying levels of experience and expertise (and bank balances!) I found that there were things that they didn't know and were willing to take on board, just the same as anyone else in attendance.

Why do I mention this? Because again, it's about our perceptions. I found that, once I'd got past any feelings of being 'star struck', I was able to make some valuable connections, no matter who they were. Dare I say it, rather than feeling like a fish out of water, I actually felt like an equal! After all, why shouldn't I? Sure, each and every one of us in attendance at that summit was at a different stage of progress, just as each and everyone one of us is who is on this page right now. But at the base level we are all the same – we are all people.

trafficThe Illusion

So, in summary, the illusion is this: that traffic is the solution to all your problems.

Traffic is all well and good but, just like anything, it's the quality of the traffic that is of key importance. And the quality of your traffic can be influenced hugely by the quality of what you provide.

Yes you should aim to get plenty of visitors to your blog or offer, yes you should aim to get plenty of subscribers to your list, yes you should aim to get plenty of buyers of your product and yes you can have people that you look up to and admire. But never forget that behind all these points are people, individuals just like you and me.

Strive to make everything you do in your business as personable as you possibly can and don't view your goals, metrics or results simply as a series of numbers, charts or lists. If you always have in mind the human element in all that you do you will be sure to approach your business in the right way and you will be much more likely to find what you do to be much more fulfilling.

I hope that I've given you some things to think about in the way that you approach your business. What ways do you currently use to connect with people in a more personal way in your business and are there any areas in which you feel that you need to improve? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment area below.

Until next time,

Glenn

Glenn is a Certified iPro Partner

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26 Comments

  1. Linda Schrier
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Glenn,

    Loved your post. I agree with you it’s the quality of traffic that counts rather than the quantity. I want to build relationships with my traffic and I mean meaningful relationships and it takes time for that to happen.

    I liked the way you described the big wigs being regular people. When I worked for attorneys, I met a lot of people who had tons of money and just like you said they were regular people.

    Thank you for the saying of Alex Jeffreys “don’t chase the money, let the money chase you”, It all makes perfect sense.

    You have an awesome weekend!

    Linda

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Linda,

      It’s great that you’re checking out some of my older posts and getting value from them. Of course, I always try to publish evergreen content, still it’s nice to see that the older posts are still doing their job. 🙂

      The quality of quantity of traffic is something I’m really passionate about, as I’m sure you can tell! In fact, it’s the subject of my brand new podcast! Yes, I’ve created my first ever podcast! If you liked this post then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the podcast too. 😉

      Thanks for all your support and for checking out this older post. I hope you’re having a great weekend. I might well be doing so myself if I wasn’t in agony, but that’s a whole other story!

      Take care,
      »Glenn«

  2. Brian Butler says:

    Hi Glenn, what a great blog – so informative and your section on looking for quality traffic was well written and very interesting.
    I’ve now set up my 1st blog as part of the Quick Start Challenge and have recently become an iPro member with a hope to become successful online. I will certainly take on-board some of the points you have made and thank you for them.
    I wish you great success in the future
    Regards Brian

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Brian,

      You’re very welcome. I’m glad you like my blog and found my traffic post interesting.

      Well done on getting your blog set up. Just make sure you keep plugging away with it and you’ll start to see things grow.

      I look forward to seeing your progress with iPro. It’s a fantastic opportunity and is already generating some nice success for many members.

      Thanks so much for visiting and for the compliments. I’ll be sure to check out your blog too. 🙂

      »Glenn«

  3. Peter says:

    So, what we’re talking about is ‘targeted’ traffic. The best way to get that is to target the right keywords. By using the right keywords, keywords that relate to what you are selling, the quality of your visitors should improve.

    The only other factor is whether or not your visitors are in a buying mode. If not they’re just looking and not buying. At least not now. Hopefully your blog or sales page has impressed them enough to come back at a later date.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, targeted traffic (or “visitors” is a word I prefer) is what we all should be aiming for. Good keywords can certainly work towards our offers being found in the search engines by the people who are searching using those keywords.

      Keywords are an important thing to bear in mind as part of our strategy for sure, but if we’re relying on SEO and suchlike for our traffic first and foremost then we’re always going to be at the mercy of third parties such as Google and can find our numbers plummet literally overnight. On the other hand, if we give primary importance to connecting with our audience then no-one can take away from us what we build with them and we already have a firm foundation established which is independent of the likes of Google, etc.

      As I mentioned in my post, I’ve found that my best quality traffic always comes from getting myself out there and putting myself in front of people, making them aware of me and building that know, like and trust factor. It can be a longer process, requires patience and can result in fewer people through the door at first, but I’d much rather have a higher percentage of quality visitors and build on that rather than having to try to filter out good quality visitors from masses of curious passers-by.

      There is room for both approaches for sure and it would be madness to discount keyword strategies entirely, just as it would be madness to discount the relationship side of marketing, as some do.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a great rest of the week.

      »Glenn«

  4. Jon Rhodes says:

    Hi Glenn. What I see most online entrepreneurs do wrong is hang out too much with their peers, rather than potential customers. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to do some of this, but not too much.

    What happens is you get a lot of mutual stroking without anything else. People sharing your Facebook posts to the same colleagues as you. This only gets your content out in your little bubble.

    The challenge is to break that bubble and get your message spread far and wide. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Jon,

      I think a lot can depend on what niche you’re in. At times, your potential customers can be found within your peers. Plus, the exposure and reach that can be attained can prove to be very valuable. But sure, if the result is going to be nothing more than a routine of back-patting then you really need to adapt your strategy and think of ways in which you can break the bubble, as you say.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing your input, it’s much appreciated. I hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

      »Glenn«

  5. Hey Glenn,

    This was a great title indeed!

    Yes the way people look at traffic is an illusion. It’s almost as if they look at it as the holy grail! Don’t get me wrong, in order to get sales conversions we do need traffic, but like you pointed out, not all traffic is good traffic.

    I like the fact that you pointed out that you want to focus on quality traffic. Knowing what type of audience you want to put your offers in front of. And above all, building a relationship with this audience. When it comes down to it, it’s not about the traffic, but the relationship you have with this traffic! You definitely can attest to this!

    Thanks for sharing Glenn and you have a fantastic weekend!

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Sherman,

      Great to see you, buddy.

      Yes, as we know it’s one of the most sought after things. But all the traffic in the world won’t do you any good unless you actually treat it right and if you get low quality traffic, well that won’t you do much good at all!

      There definitely has to be some kind of relationship with your traffic, or at least if you don’t have one already, you want them to feel that they want a relationship.

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Sherman. I hope you have a great weekend too. 🙂

      »Glenn«

  6. LeslieZ says:

    Wow, what a novel approach Glenn! Actually focusing on people in a business that is too often focused on only numbers (conversions, profits, targets). Thanks for reminding us why we are human….we love the interactions with other humans.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Welcome to my blog, thanks so much for dropping by. 🙂

      Thanks very much for your comment. I’m not sure I’d describe it as a novel approach, more like common sense really! But I know what you mean, as so many people and businesses appear to get a kind of ‘people blindness’ and forget that behind each and every number in their statistics is a real, living, breathing human being.

      Of course I still monitor my statistics, numbers, etc, but the people are of paramount importance to me. Obviously, I am trying to build a business and, ultimately, make money. But without people at the other end, this won’t happen. Therefore it only makes sense to treat the people the best I can do, look after them, and give the best value, service and help that I can.

      Thanks again for stopping by, I hope you have an awesome week.

      »Glenn«

  7. Great Post, Glenn 🙂

    I am going through a ‘restructuring’ phase right now…I had the right goals and vision in mind, but not the right strategy (well, not for the goals I wanted to achieve).

    I spent too much time on commenting and too little on marketing…commenting is awesome; I get to build more relationships, but ultimately I also need more traffic (and commenting isn’t a great referral source).

    But, I do agree with your point…I have to be careful not to focus on numbers; I need to invest more into building relationships (through social media and other methods, apart from commenting).

    Also loved your point about focusing on long term goals that help to make money..great way to put it 😀

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this! Appreciate it!

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hey Jeevan,

      Thanks, buddy. 🙂

      You’re absolutely correct. Marketing is essential and although commenting can be viewed as a form or marketing itself, relying on it soley can take a long, long time.

      I’m sure you’ll do great, Jeevan. You’re already getting yourself out there and establishing a presence. Just leverage that, build upon it and I have no doubt we’ll see some great stuff from you to come! 🙂

      Thanks for your support as always, buddy. I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend.

      »Glenn«

  8. Adrienne
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Glenn,

    You are SO right about traffic just being people. You have to look at what your target audience wants and then give that to them.

    As you know I studied under Alex as well a few years ago and I met a woman at that time who was taking the same course. She went on to do a different kind of business and had a lot of success but lost it all. She came back to blogging and now looks up to me. She finally got it that it’s more about the relationships because her instant sales weren’t repeat customers because there was no relationship.

    She was sharing on her blog just this week about how people rarely make money from driving traffic to their blogs but to offers and I had to laugh. I told her that with Alex’s course I started a separate blog. The very first month I started making sales and I made them the entire time I was promoting them but it was mostly through the relationships I was forming on my blog, not the sales pages themselves.

    Our traffic are people and all they want is for someone to care. Be that person and life will be so much easier.

    ~Adrienne

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Yes, I did know that you studied under Alex but I’d forgotten until you just mentioned it. I found that just a couple of simple points he teaches completely transformed my mindset and approach. One of those important concepts was, as you say, not focusing on the sales but rather focusing on the people first, building those relationships.

      Thanks, Adrienne. I hope you have an awesome weekend. The sun is out here currently, although it still feels likes winter. 🙁 Hopefully it will warm up soon!

      »Glenn«

  9. Hi Glen,

    I rather have quality than quantity. I learned this lesson with my off-line business 30 years ago. When I came into the internet world, I applied the same principles.

    I have a firm belief that connecting with people will go further than trying to connect with the masses! Let them come in one by one. Then by word of mouth my business grows.

    I attribute it to the “know, like, and trust” factor. Plus I do enjoy people that come into my business. My why is always there and that is I want to see people grow and attain financial freedom.

    I never liked the numbers game because it just didn’t suit me plus the ROI will be less than having a smaller targeted group that can connect with me.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!

    -Donna

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Donna,

      Absolutely! Quality should always come first. After all, if we’re relying on certain sources for sheer traffic volume and something goes wrong with it then it can be almost wiped out overnight. People who rely on SEO (and SEO has its place, sure) are finding this all the time. Whereas a good reputation and word of mouth can be the lifeblood of your business which can only keep on growing, provided you don’t do anything silly to damage it, of course!

      Thanks for stopping by, Donna. Have a great weekend. 🙂

      »Glenn«

  10. Dan Black says:

    Great thoughts here, It shows the importance of building relationships with our readers/fans. Keep up the great work.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Dan,

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment. 🙂

      I believe that good relationships are the cornerstone of any business, indeed, everything that we wish to achieve in life. Sure, some people may be able to stumble through business or life going it alone, doing everything in an egocentric way and have success doing that, but it will be a much harder slog!

      ~Glenn

  11. Jerry Handy
    Twitter:
    says:

    Awesome info Glenn and very well written. You have hand on the pulse of your niche and understand exactly what you need to do to bring value into their lives. We should never forget that we are solving problems in the lives of real people.

    As you say, they aren’t just numbers. I recall the exact phrase that AJ mentioned as well and that has stuck with me for sure. Overall you lay out some very actionable advice that if applied will work wonders in your business.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hey Jerry,

      Thanks buddy. I’m definitely trying to keep my finger on the pulse. I’ve still lots to learn though!

      You mention another key point – actionable advice. I was on a blog just the other day (I can’t for the life of me recall whose it was!) and the post was talking about how their advice is useless. And it’s true – all advice is useless unless it is acted upon. That’s another thing that Alex is constantly driving home – taking action. So obvious really, yet something that many people struggle with.

      ~Glenn

  12. It ties in with the fundamental consumerist business model, AIDA:

    Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action.

    Simply making a person Aware of your product is only the first step in the journey they will make towards purchasing it. You have to target the right person and offer the right product if you want them to have any interest in it whatsoever; it’s ineffective advertising tampons in between a football match, for example. At the risk of sounding a little sexist, the demographic numbers simply don’t fit, although aren’t strictly exclusive to men, obviously. Once you have the right audience and the opportunity to attract Interest in it, you have to create Desire. This is where your product must be appealing, whether it be for value or originality. It’s the crucial step in the thought process your ‘customer’ will make before purchase, and the ball is in your court here in terms of making an effective, tempting advert offering a ‘good deal’. Only then will you see Action, and therefore positive results and sales. It sounds simple, but as you say, your target audience are human beings and you therefore must consider the process it takes for each of them before they will decide to take Action.

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Greetings, nephew!

      Indeed, AIDA is a proven model of course, yet many people don’t make a success of it. Why not? Because recognising and even trying to implement the model alone isn’t sufficient. A realisation of how to address each component correctly and effectively is key.

      I’ve got some interesting stuff about that actually, I’ll have to let you see it if you ever decide to grace me with your presence at some point….. :-p

      ~Glenn

  13. Ashley says:

    Interesting read Glenn.
    I have been coming to the same realization lately while trying to make money.
    Sure I have traffic, but it does not always help. So the goal is then to get qualified traffic and learn to drive them to buy.

    The other thing you mention about all being the same is also interesting. I met a big star in magic (my hobby) a few years ago. Was all awestruck, and then actually become kinda friends with the guy. He is just a normal dude. Just has lots of followers and exposure (including discovery channel show).

    have a good one
    ashley

    • Glenn Shepherd
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hey Ashley,

      It’s definitely all about quality at the end of the day, both in what you have to offer and the quality of the traffic. Matching the two can be the tricky part!

      I think it’s really interesting how our perceptions of people can change how we react to them. I was actually approached in the street a couple of years ago by a TV celebrity who was filming a new show. I had never heard of him and had no clue who he was. Honestly, I just thought he was an annoying weirdo! But when I told some of my friends about the encounter they got excited, thought it was marvelous and would have loved to have met him. Now, would have I viewed him any differently if I’d have known who he was? Perhaps, although I think I’d still have found him to be an annoying weirdo!

      Maybe therein lies another lesson – find ways to connect with people and give value, but don’t be an annoying weirdo! Hmm, that may rule me out then…. :-p

      ~Glenn

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