There is one thing everyone online business needs more of: Traffic.
We all know that the more people we get to visit our website, the more money we will make.
That’s why most of us try to learn every single traffic-getting tactic there is. Which can mean reading endless blog posts, listening to hundreds of podcasts, watching dozens of videos, and buying dozens of courses.
But there’s one big problem that we all end up making, and in the end it costs us way more than just the lost time and money we spent panning for traffic gold.
This mistake keeps us from every attracting the amount of traffic we need to grow our business. It keeps us scraping the surface, instead of drilling deep to find oil.
The Mistake: We assume we need traffic coming in from multiple places.
Before we go any further, this post is Part 3 of a series. Where I outline my simple blueprint for creating the business of your dreams. If you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you check out Parts 1 and 2!
Alright, let’s get on with it…
The Shotgun Traffic Trap
We think we need an amazing blog, a top-ranked podcast, and a ton of affiliate partners. We think we need to spend thousands on Facebook ads, Google AdWords, Twitter Ads, and Instagram Ads. We think we need to create endless amounts of content and speak on dozens of stages.
The list goes on and on and on. But the whole idea behind it is complete B.S!
Most $1M+ entrepreneurs are great at ONE TRAFFIC PIPELINE. They know Facebook Ads like the back of their hand. They’re a great blogger. They make great YouTube videos.
Getting consistent traffic from multiple sources is the exception, not the rule.
How do I know? Because I know almost all of the top marketers today. Even outside of the “online marketing” niche…I know, and have worked with, hundreds and hundreds of 7 and 8 figure online entrepreneurs…in dozens of different niches.
I’ve seen the way they run their business. I know their game-plan. And they all do it the same way: with exactly 1 primary source of traffic, leads, and customers.
And this is amazing news for you! Understanding this means you only need to lock in on one traffic source, not all of them! Congrats, you just saved yourself +100 hours of time and a big pile of cash.
Why One Traffic Pipeline Works
Listen, if you are overwhelmed, or stressed out because your dream of owning a profitable online business isn’t coming true…the answer isn’t doing more. It’s doing less.
The answer is figuring out what your primary source of traffic, leads, and customers is…then diving deep into that source and learning it better than anyone else in your niche.
If you run a dance studio, and you know Instagram better than any other studio in your hometown, you win.
If you write eBooks about women’s fitness and you know Facebook Ads better than any other author in your niche, you win.
If you’re a copywriting coach and you’re the best podcaster in your market, you win.
Don’t believe me? Lets take a look at some of the most talented marketers I know. Each of these example run businesses in the multiple 7-figure range or higher. They are rock-stars, and you’re about to see how a thriving business is built on the back of a single traffic pipeline.
1: Jeff Walker
Jeff Walker invented the product launch, which is one of the most effective ways of selling any product, online or offline, period. Jeff has been running his online business for almost two decades, and his success has inspired thousands of people to launch their own business, including me.
Most people might see Jeff blogging, creating videos on YouTube, and speaking on stages and think he gets his traffic from dozens of different areas…and today, that might be somewhat true. But when he got started, Jeff was a master at one thing: building relationships.
Jeff built amazing relationships with some very influential people, and because he had an amazing product that really helped people, those people were willing to introduce him to their audiences. This approach is called affiliate marketing, and Jeff is one of the best there is at it.
Mastering that technique allowed Jeff to build the business he has today, and hire the team that helps him do all these other things you see him doing today. But remember, just because you see people doing one thing or another, doesn’t mean that’s a primary driver of their business.
2: Nicole Walters
Nicole Walters is one of my favorite people on the planet. And she’s one of the smartest business minds I know, hands down. But a lot of people that follow her try to replicate EVERYTHING she’s doing, because they think they need it all to get the results that Nicole has. But they don’t.
Number one, no one can replicate everything Nicole does, because she moves at 100 mph, 24 hours a day. She works her butt off, so don’t try to keep up with her. Even I’ve given up that challenge.
But what most people don’t know is that her main focus is live-streaming. Whether it’s on Facebook or Instagram, Nicole has the ability to pull out her phone, live-stream in-front of her audience, and build an amazing connection with that audience, so they share it with their friends.
She might not have 2 million followers, but the thousands of followers she does have are 110% loyal to her because they actually do have a real relationship with her. She has the ability to speak with them live when she’s online. She can interact with them and actually connect with them.
Nicole has mastered live-streaming because it’s a perfect fit with her personality. She’s not afraid to get on camera, she’s not afraid of messing something up live, and she loves interacting with people.
3: Pat Flynn
If you have not heard of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, you live under a rock. Pat Flynn has built an online empire around a great podcast. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Pat, and understanding how his passion for creating a great podcast around a single idea has helped fuel a uniquely successfully and transparent business.
If you start clicking around Pat’s site, you might tell me that Pat does way more than his podcast. And you would be 100% correct. Pat and his team offer a suite of different training and software. They are active on a bunch of different social media channels. Their blog has hundreds of posts.
But if you read between the lines, you will see their entire strategy operates around one kickass podcast. Each blog post is based around a new podcast episode. Pat’s different social channels are bonus content for podcast listens to dive deeper into his world, and create an even stronger relationship. Pat’s paid services are premium content for super-listeners who are so in love with Pat’s whole brand, they are dying for more.
Now you probably do not have the resources Pat has available to him. But remember, everyone starts somewhere. Pat’s first podcast episodes were just podcasts. He didn’t start his journey with a team that could take a single podcast .mp3 file and turn it into social media posts, blog posts, and more.
Pat has a passion for transparency, and a real talent for connecting with people. Naturally, creating a podcast was a great marriage of skill and passion. And it has helped him build one hell of a brand.
4: Lewis Howes
Anyone remember when this guy was talking about using LinkedIn to grow a business? I sure do. Now the guy is sitting 5 feet from Ellen Degeneres talking about building a life you love.
Lewis is such an interesting example, because he has sort of reinvented himself along the way. Lewis has a podcast, a bunch of social media channels, makes television appearances, and sells a ton of books on top of it.
At first glance, you might think Lewis has a traffic tributary. Traffic coming his way in a bunch of different directions. But the truth is much simpler. Lewis’ entire business flows through his #1 ranked podcast.
Sure, the guy goes on TV every once in a while, and his videos will comes across your Facebook News Feed now and again, but in the same vein as Pat, everything stems from Lewis’ commitment to creating a great podcast. Each episode is recorded on video, so a single podcast episode has the chance to be throw onto Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.
Every podcast episode ends with a call to go grab Lewis’ book, which is used to further the relationship with his most engaged listeners. When Lewis’ uses other people’s pipelines (aka like Ellen Degeneres’ freaking TV show), guess where he tells people to go if they want to learn more about him?
His podcast. One pipeline fuels the whole thing.
5: Brian Moran (aka: me)
Now, this is not me tooting my own horn, because there are plenty of marketers smarter than me…but I know me pretty well, and I want to drive this one home.
I got started online in 2009 with my first site, trainbaseball.com. At first I tried blogging. Then dipped a toe into SEO. Which gave way to doing some affiliate marketing (very poorly, I might add). Over those first 12 months of wandering the internet desert, I tried a whole bunch of other crap that didn’t work.
And more importantly, I didn’t enjoy it. At the time, I had no idea how important the enjoyment side was. Until in early 2010 I tried this new fangled thing called Facebook Ads.
It was love at first sidebar ad.
Facebook ads were the perfect traffic source for me for a couple reasons:
- I didn’t have to talk to anyone – I’m not a hermit, but live-streaming from my phone doesn’t exactly pump me up. Same can be said for going to events to network with affiliates. In fact, after most events I attend (or host)…by the end of the day I’m entirely drained. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because I do, it’s just draining…so the thought of making that a daily responsibility is not a thought I enjoy.
- It’s a numbers game – Running ads online is completely analytical. It’s all about numbers, and if you can get the numbers to work, you win. That fits my personality completely. I love challenges and I love trying to figure out solutions.
- It’s a 1-time project with big rewards – With advertising, I could setup a campaign and once I got it to work, I could essentially sit back and let the ads run. I could take a break and still watch sales roll in. To me, that was the ultimate business model. I didn’t need to keep writing 2000 word blog posts, setting up podcast interviews, or network every day just to keep the lights on.
But listen, that’s just ME!
If you were to ask Nicole, Jeff, Pat, or Lewis, they would have their open arguments/opinions for their business model! I can tell you from first-hand experience that Nicole is energized by doing livestreams with her audience. Jeff thrives on building new relationships with potential partners. Pat absolutely loves building and deepening new relationships with followers.
In the same vein, whatever traffic pipeline you choose needs to match who you are. There is no answer to: “What traffic source should I focus on?” No one can tell you what to do, because it depends on who you are as an individual.
All Roads Leads To Traffic
And don’t forget, they ALL can work! Facebook, Google, podcasting, Youtube, Instagram, Reddit, blogging…they all work. And only you can truly understand what is going to energize you, instead of drain you. What is going to spark your creativity and unlock something that is truly unique.
So let’s shift our focus for a second. Instead of ending this post by telling you, “Every traffic source can work.” I want to provide a bit more direction. So let me share what I would focus on, if I was just starting out.
If it was my time to search for my traffic pipeline, this would be my shortlist of places to start. Remember, you and I are completely different people. I have my own biases, my own motivations. Take this list, and run it through your own filter, and then take some action.
5 Traffic Pipelines I Would Start With
- Facebook Ads: It’s too easy. Creating a Facebook Ad is just so simple. Write a headline, throw in an image, pick an audience, spend $25 and see if they like it.
- Podcast: There are just so many people searching around iTunes for their own unique interest. Find a way to launch a podcast and make iTunes “New and Noteworthy” section, and Apple will gift you a traffic pipeline for free.
- Youtube: Video is so engaging. Videos can be re-purposed on different platforms. They are easily shareable. And the ads platform can help you amplify what you’re doing better than most.
- Instagram: Notice a trend? All of these places have massive audiences. Just a crazy amount of eyeballs out there right now looking through their feed. Engaging content can spread awfully quickly on this platform.
- Guest Blogging: No, not writing on your OWN blog. Write on other people’s blogs. Everyone loves free content, so offer to create content for an existing site with a lot of eyeballs. Direct people back to your own stuff.
4 Traffic Pipelines To Avoid
And just for the hell of it, here’s a quick list of places I would avoid. Remember, this is the “I’m just starting out, so I’ll probably steer clear for now” list. I am not saying that these traffic sources are worthless. Just saying if I was starting out today, these are not my first stops.
- Google Adwords: Might get some arguments here from some friends, but Adwords is just a complicated beast. Lot of compliance to consider, partnered with high costs mean it can take a lot to get enough information to understand wether your idea is working or not. Not the ideal first stop.
- Google Display Network: Think banner ads. An offshoot of Google Adwords, often liked because you can get your stuff seen on different websites all over the internet. Just a lot of unknowns here, and not somewhere I would start.
- Blogging: Starting your own blog from scratch can take a while to gain traction. I like blogging. I mean, you are literally on my blog right now. I just prefer to use my blog differently. Instead of blogging every single week hoping people show up, I prefer to have a smaller number of premium posts that I can share with my existing audience. Blogging doesn’t build my audience, it gives them more stuff to consume.
- Reddit Advertising: Reddit is a great site, and it has turned itself into a traffic monster over the past few years. With a advertising platform in its infancy, I can tell we are just a few months away from seeing a lot of “How To Get 3,000% ROI Using Reddit Ads” headlines. But for someone trying to start out, there’s too many unknowns.
Your One Traffic Pipeline
So there you have it. Shift your focus from opening up your traffic pipelines, to honing in on exactly one.
Give yourself permission to hone in on one thing. Because you’ve seen how a single traffic pipeline is enough to fuel an entire business. Until you find the traffic source that fits you and your needs, mess around! There’s no harm in firing up a quick Facebook Ad, and then deciding that Instagram is where you want to invest your time.
Finding your one traffic pipeline is just a matter of experimenting. Take some risks. Invest a few dollars. See what happens. Get a feel for what tasks and skills it takes to run Facebook Ads or write up some great blog posts.
Trust me, something will jump out at you. And when you hit pay dirt, dig in and drill down deep. Pick your pipeline, and lean into it. Go all in, and invest all your time, energy, and creativity into making that pipeline fuel your dream business.
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