Your online business needs leads and leads come from two things: traffic and a well-defined pathway.
Traffic can come from a variety of sources–organic click-throughs from social media and search engines, paid traffic from the same, even colleagues shouting you out, or directory listings. While the sources are varied in terms of bang for your buck, it’s all traffic.
But where does the traffic go?
That’s where the pathway comes into play!
Marketers call this your funnel. It can be an intimidating term if you don’t dwell in the online marketing world, but there’s no reason for it to stay that way.
Your pathway, or funnel, encompasses everything from your website, standalone landing pages or sales pages, all the way to podcast landing pages and learning management systems.
I’m often asked which is more important and it’s a question I’d liken to a chicken or the egg scenario.
If you have amazing content on social media, you’re a helpful commenter in social media groups, your podcast is blowing up–that’s all wonderful. But if you don’t have a place to direct that traffic to, it won’t do anything for you. It ends up just taking up space both in your time budget and often in your money budget as well.
What if, however, you have a very well-defined pathway, great offers for services you provide like coaching or other done-for-you services like nutrition plans or design packages, and your funnel is built out with a great strategy… but no one ever sees it because you don’t have traffic?
They’re equally important. And they have to play well with each other.
Your Traffic Asset
It’s all about content online.
If you feel like you’re on the neverending hamster wheel of content creation, you aren’t alone: nearly half of business owners report spending over an hour each day creating content. (Source: Vertical Response)
However–you don’t have to spend this amount of time on creating long-term.
The key is knowing the right kind of content to create so that it not only attracts the attention of your best client but keeps it.
The worst thing you can do is spend hours creating content only for your audience to scroll past, or worse, stop the scroll and read it, but not register any memory of it in connection with you. I call this filler content–you’ve posted for the sake of posting but it’s not memorable.
Three Types of Content
- Easily Google-able Content: this content is the most common kind of content most online businesses are creating. It’s not memorable at all, it’s reposted quotes or facts your audience either already knows, can easily google answers on, or they’re not ready to hear it now.
- Easily Google-able Content (but with a plethora of answers): this content might be easy to search online but your audience would get so many competing results back, they wouldn’t know what to trust. This is an area where you can make your mark. Create assets that show why YOU know your stuff, why YOUR method makes the most sense for them to fix their problem.
- Not Easily Google-able Content (that makes your audience think): this is the kind of content that will not only gain you the right audience of loyal fans but also filter away the kind of clients you don’t want taking up your time. Questions. Bold statements. Anything that makes them think differently about their problem and how you might be part of the solution.
When you’re building an authentic, automated marketing campaign online, you’ll want to limit how much of that first type of content you’re creating (or regurgitating). You’ll want to focus mostly on the second two types and primarily on the third.
Let’s go meta and use this very article as an example.
- The easily Google-able content is the stat I posted above about how much time business owners spend on creation. Other options include a quote from an influencer on content management or even something as simple as a list of the different kinds of posts you can create on Instagram or how to start a podcast.
- You can type “how to create good online content” into google and get 5,750,000,000 results. (Go ahead, I just tried it.) But… where to start? How do you know the first ten are even good strategies? That’s where this article will help you: I’m outlining three changes you can make to your traffic strategy RIGHT NOW that will help your funnel convert more and better clients. I’m providing examples.
- Finally, to double down on the meta, I’m asking you to think differently about your content strategy. Are you posting the right kind of content that will attract a buying audience? Are your traffic assets and funnel assets up to par? When your traffic does direct your audience to the next step, is it directing the kind of client that you can easily serve?
These three types of content will serve you well as you build out your personal brand online if you strike the right balance.
Your Funnel Asset
I want you to imagine a kitchen funnel, wide at the top and very narrow at the bottom. Or if you’re not a cook and you’ve ever seen a video of a tornado or a whirlpool or even, yes, a coffee filter–you’ve got the visual.
All the content we’ve already been talking about is at the top of that funnel. The top of the funnel is whatever you’re using to attract your audience.
A podcast episode. A YouTube channel. A blog article, a social media post, a Google ad–anything you’re using to get eyes on you. That’s the top of the funnel because it’s a wide net.
If you’ve read any of my content in the past, you’ll know I’m fond of saying that your brand shouldn’t be getting a lot of yeses. Your brand should turn off more people than it turns on. Said another way, your content at the top of the funnel needs to turn some people away so your funnel narrows.
The beauty of content that asks people to think differently about their problem is that some people don’t want to think differently. These are not your people!
If someone just wants a nodding head and sympathetic ear, my content won’t give them that. They’ll move on to the next marketing and content strategist to be their yes woman. This is not my role. My role is to tell people here’s where you’re doing well, here’s where you’re falling down, now let’s fill in the cracks so you don’t keep leaving clients to the abyss of the online world. Let’s fill in those black holes where clients leads go to die.
Let’s get the right eyes on your content so you can make the most of your time and help the most people (with the least amount of effort on your part).
That may sound a bit harsh on the face. But that is what a funnel IS.
Whether you’re aiming for a high-ticket, high-investment offer with few clients or a plethora of clients entering a low-ticket offer, your goal is to help the most people solve their problem in the most effective way possible.
At a low price, your aim is to help your clients efficiently. At a high price, it’s the same but in a high touch manner.
So your funnel needs to match those goals, whichever you’re aiming for. If you’re trying to fill a high-ticket program, your funnel needs to narrow at a steeper rate so you can focus your messaging on a very specific group of people. Low-ticket programs need tight messaging as well but include more people because the problem they solve is either more common or requires less hand-holding. But both funnels still need to turn off more people than they turn on–meaning the messaging they use needs to be specific enough that a lot of people will not “get it.”
How do you do this? Funnel Gorgeous’s Funnel RX says it’s the trifecta of a great offer, great copy and great design that create irresistibility, positioning, and trust. While not an exact analogy, it’s right in line with building your know, like, and trust factor online.
A truly great funnel that executes both authentically and automatically will have a lot of moving parts. Everything from a great sales page to follow up emails needs to be accounted for it to really grow your business without you losing a full head of hair in the process.
But at the heart, it’s designed to show up for a lot of people (your whole audience) and really only make sense for a narrow group (the clients you work with so well, it’s a joy).
This is why these two elements have to play well with each other, why they have to sound alike and feed into each other.
Merging Your Traffic & Funnel Assets
If you’ve ever lived in a major metropolitan area with freeway traffic, you’ll recognize this analogy–and probably groan a bit in the process.
Imagine you’re on the highway heading into downtown and the freeway just… ends. It empties onto a road in the heart of the city. You can go straight, left, or right, but there aren’t any (easily readable) signs telling you what you’ll get in each direction. And because the signs are absent it ends up being a huge cluster of traffic darting this way or that at the last minute.
Downtown Los Angeles was like this where the 110 ended, six lanes of traffic dumped downtown. Every bridge or tunnel emptying into Manhattan was like this. Most of the bridge entrances here in Portland are like this, tiny little signs tucked away behind buildings or trees and you miss the entrance and have to loop around again.
Now imagine: you’re on the highway and two miles before its end it tells you going straight will take you to the city center, going right will move you to a new highway, and going left will bring you to 9th Avenue.
Which scenario seems clear? Which more stressful?
In today’s world of a smaller attention span than a goldfish, we have to remember that a confused mind doesn’t buy.
And even if you’re not selling something right away, that next click you’re hoping your audience takes is a buy-in.
Most people understand that paid traffic needs to direct the viewer somewhere. They fall down often on organic traffic, though.
If someone ends up on a blog post of yours, are you telling them where to go next at the end? If they scroll past an Instagram post and the pic catches their eye enough to read, are they directed to the next step?
Merging your traffic asset and funnel asset requires strategic planning. It requires you to take that confused, jumbled mess of a freeway ending and calmly direct people where to go next via your content.
The tone of your content has to match the tone of your funnel. The next step has to make sense.
Creating and managing a personal brand is a moving target. Your brand strategy needs to encompass both of these elements in an active way to keep your audience engaged long enough to make a trusting decision.
Are you ready to look at your business from that 30,000-foot view, make sure your freeway guides the right people to your offers?
The Biz GPS Intensive may be your next right step. In it, I look at your business holistically. We look at all the moving parts and map out a strategy for your next six months so you have a clear plan to go from where you are today to where you want to be.
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