Michael: Have you ever asked the question, "How do I get more people aware of my company? How do I actually get more traffic to my website?" Well, today, we're going to talk about that.
Hi there, and welcome to the HaBO Village Podcast. I'm Michael Redman ...
Kathryn: And, I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: Today we're going to talk about getting traffic to your website. Or, backing up, we're going to talk about that phase in the discovery process. The whole buyers journey, just about making people aware of your company. How do you do that? How do you get more people to know who you are? How do you get more people to come to your website? How do you get more people in the top of what we call the funnel so that you can start to sort them out, and find out who the ideal candidates are, and who aren't? Then, how do you nurture them, and communicate, start conversations?
Kathryn: Well, we're not going to talk about the nurturing and the communicating-
Michael: We're not.
Kathryn: We're just going to talk about the awareness.
Michael: That would be the next time. We're going to stay at the top of the funnel today, and we're going to talk about awareness. Now, the industry has been maturing, and when I say the industry, I'm talking about the Internet and online digital marketing.
Kathryn: Digital marketing, yeah.
Michael: All that kind of stuff. It's been going from, what we would call, more of a pioneer type ...
Kathryn: Wild West kind of thing.
Michael: ... Wild West type of thing, to actually a settlement. It's maturing as an industry. Companies are settling. If you're old enough to remember the Internet starting ... If you're old enough to remember AOL being a primary company, then you're old enough to remember all of these different changes that have happened.
Kathryn: How many of you remember, "You've Got Mail?"
Michael: Ding. Or, maybe it's, "Bing, you have mail." All right, so, trivia question put in the box on our website, the movie that was first heard in. Okay. What you're doing is, you're thinking, "Okay, this industry has changed, and there was all these different things, and search engines, and people talked about SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and Google, and getting free traffic, and doing this and doing that.
Kathryn: Social media, and Facebook. You can get all kinds of free traffic from Facebook.
Michael: Yeah, if you just post something on Facebook, and you just do that, you'll have all these people breaking down your door, and it will be awesome, and that's just how you do it. And, you have people who have done that for the last year or two, or five, and it's still not working. It's not really bringing you qualified leads, it's not doing stuff for you.
These are all challenges, because in our day to day work, we have people come in who are still thinking, "Okay, I want to take advantage of organic search, I want to take advantage of just posting on social media. I've been watching this thing for three or four years, and I'm ready to jump in." Let me throw this at you. Real companies now ... Real grownup companies pay for advertising.
Kathryn: No, stop it.
Michael: They do, they do, and they pay for traffic.
Kathryn: That isn't like TV and radio? They just put, like, online... [crosstalk 00:03:01]
Michael: It's not like ... We're talking strictly online, digital ...
Kathryn: Oh, no.
Michael: They pay for traffic. Traffic is not a problem anymore. I love the fact that I hear this over and over again from folks, "I'm troubled, struggling with traffic, we don't have enough traffic." Folks, traffic is not the problem. Your problem is not traffic, your problem is getting the right traffic, and your problem is getting conversions. Getting them, actually attracting the right people who are going to potentially be interested in your company, sorting through those people who actually are ... It's the right people, they're not just window shopping, they can afford you, they're the right fit for your company, whatever.
We have a another company that sells hay to rabbits. We've talked about Rabbit Hole Hay before.
Kathryn: You have a rabbit, go to rabbitholehay.com. Best hay you can buy for your bunny.
Michael: They have premium hay. But, you know what? If somebody comes over and they don't have a rabbit, or a guinea pig, or a chinchilla ...
Kathryn: Right, chinchilla.
Michael: ... Then, why are you coming to our website? You might be interested in rabbits and read our blog, but you're not a good customer because you're not going to buy the product. Same thing for your company. So, what you're looking for is, how do you make yourself aware so people who have a problem that you can fix-
Kathryn: You're telling me I have to pay for that awareness. So, traffic isn't a problem, but what's different now than maybe five, six, seven years ago is that, the free traffic coming to my website is not as simple, or as readily available as perhaps it used to be.
Michael: I would say that it's absolutely true, and maybe even as early as three years ago. We were, for several years, doing inbound marketing as a marketing agency.
Kathryn: I like inbound marketing.
Michael: I like inbound. Inbound marketing, philosophically, has matured, as a philosophy, but in the beginning it said, "Don't ever buy ads, don't every buy advertising, don't buy TV, don't buy radio, don't buy newsprint, don't buy AdWords on Google..."
Kathryn: Right, essentially they were talking like, if you are doing any kind of those things, which is outbound ...
Michael: Or, interruptive ...
Kathryn: ... You're essentially interrupting people, and they're not looking for you, so why would they want you? Instead ...
Michael: You're the scourge of the Earth.
Kathryn: Yes, instead of going out there and putting something in front of them that they're not looking for, the philosophy of inbound is that you create content they are looking for, and you use that as a magnet to pull them in.
Michael: If you've ever heard the term, content marketing, that's part of where this has all come from, is you put enough content on your website, and enough is a very vague, fuzzy term, and you put that on your website, on your blog or something, and you do it on a regular basis, that Google's going to love you, and they're going to send you more traffic. We've had people come in and say, "I'm doing that. I put two blogs a month on ..."
Kathryn: Two blogs a month.
Michael: Yeah, two blogs a month on my website. We had somebody come in just the other day who said that. Okay, so even in the days that it was working well, you needed one a week. That means four different articles a month, if you were going to do organic traffic, inbound marketing. Then, it went up to those probably should be at least three to five hundred words. Then, it went to that it might be five hundred to a thousand words.
Kathryn: And, if you really want to grow, you really need three to five a week.
Michael: At least two to three a week.
Kathryn: You think about it, it's not rocket science. The more people were doing content marketing, the more content was being developed, the more you have to sift through everything, the harder it is to target that stuff. It's just prolific.
Michael: So, there's a couple of things for us to think about there. That whole concept is, that's what you had to do to get this organic traffic. It was free traffic. Then, the challenge was, I've got all this traffic, but I can't get it to do anything, I can't get it to convert, because you might be writing on all different subjects that aren't pertinent to your business.
Now, that's a lot of content. Let's just assume right off the bat, and we have been doing this for clients, and we've got clients that we've gone from zero to five, six, seven thousand people a month coming to their website this way. We've got clients that we've done this and gone from zero to twenty-five thousand people a month coming to your website. But, what happened over the last five years is, it got harder, and harder, and harder to start, and to keep it going, and to keep the growth going, and to keep that ...
Michael: ... Momentum, thank you. And, while it was free, it was not free to our clients. Because, while you don't pay Google for that, you pay your staff, you pay a company that you outsource to, like ours. Or, you choose to do it yourself.
Kathryn: In which case, it costs you loads and loads of time.
Michael: It costs you the time it takes to do it, and the opportunity costs you're losing because you're not doing something else. So, the free was a misnomer, but you didn't have to actually dig into your pocket and pay them for it. If you were in a bootstrap mode, you could do it. It was achievable.
Now, what has changed and transpired is, while that has gotten to be a harder market, one of the reasons that you started to speak to, Kathryn, is there are more and more people on the Internet competing for those people searching, so there's more and more websites, there's more and more companies. There are exponential growth on the Internet, and the amount of people trying to compete, and businesses, and so on and so forth.
Just remember, you had 80 million Baby Boomers. You had 42 million of their children, the X Generation. That would be Kathryn and I. We're not 42 million, but there's 42 of our peers, of our closest friends and family. Then you have 80-plus million kids ... Kids. They're not kids anymore. And, the Millennials. That's the Millennials, and that's somewhere between 18, 19 years old and 35, 36. These people are in college, they're starting their careers, they have families with multiple kids. Some of them have been in their careers, 10, 12 years.
Kathryn: Some of them are young enough that they're starting online businesses every day.
Michael: All of these folks are out there, and they're looking, and they're searching, and they're competing, and they're starting their own companies, and working all over the place. So, all of this competition exists for that free traffic. You might say, "Well, if there's more people, there's more traffic." Ah, it didn't work that way. It's actually, there's more competition, and less people looking for it. The competition for those eyes- [crosstalk 00:09:52]
Kathryn: Dilutes it.
Kathryn: Yeah. Especially the qualified traffic.
Michael: So, what do we mean when we say you have to pay for it? Well, you're going to have to pay for it either services or time, or something else if you're going organic. But, really what I'm trying to help folks understand now is, paid advertising on Facebook, paid advertising on YouTube, and paid advertising on Google. If you're going to buy advertising, those are the three big ones. Pay attention to the three, and my first advice is, don't invest your money anywhere else, invest there. Once you've mastered those, and you've saturated those, and everything else, then go on to smaller ones, and little places here and there. Because, if you're just beginning, those are great places to start.
Second, why would you buy advertising? Well, by buying advertising, you know way more about what's coming, because when you're doing an organic inbound process and writing blogs, you don't know how much traffic you're going to get. You can't budget it. You can't plan on how many leads you're going to get. You can't budget or plan on what kind of growth you have. With paid advertising you can refine your funnel, test is, and know what kind of conversion rates you're getting. After a bit of adjusting and refining, you know exactly how much traffic you're going to get.
Kathryn: Then you can scale it up or down from there, depending on your needs.
Michael: Depending on your needs, and the market, and everything else. You can also refine the cost. Now, the costs vary, but when you start to ask yourself the question, first of all, how much does it cost to acquire a lead? How much does it cost to acquire a new customer in your industry, in your business? Then you ask, what is that customer worth? You may not know the lifetime value of a customer ...
If you haven't heard that term, take the average length of time you have customers, that they've been with you, the average amount that every customer has spent, and even the time is not as big a deal. The average amount that your customer has spent, then divide it by your customers. What you end up doing is you come up with the lifetime value. Over time, the longer a company is around, and the more successful they are, what a lot of companies will see is the lifetime value continues to increase. They've been around longer, so you've had customers that have been around longer with you.
I know with Rabbit Hole Hay, a smaller company, we sell products ... We're regularly seeing our average customer value go up, because we continue to be around longer, and we have these customers that have been with us for, now instead of 12 months, they've been with us 24 months, or 36 months. That kind of stuff is great. Now I know, what's the average value?
Let's say the average value is a hundred dollars. Then, let's say it's costing me ten dollars to acquire a client now. Then I can go out and go, whatever I'm doing now, if I divide it all out it's costing me ten bucks per customer. Then, you want to look at your advertising as, that's how much I can afford to spend somewhere else. Can I at least afford to spend ten dollars?
If I can get a customer through Facebook ads, or through YouTube videos or something like that, for seven bucks, five bucks, three bucks, then you're doing yourself a service. But, most companies, when they come to us they've never figured this out, they don't know the math. They haven't thought through it. I want to encourage you to think through it, because your goal is to make as many people aware of you that have the problem that you solve.
Kathryn: You've talked about Google and Facebook, but they are very different animals in terms of the way you would design an awareness opportunity.
Michael: You're so smart. It's almost like you work in this business.
Kathryn: It's almost like I do. So, I feel like we ought to clarify a bit, some of the differences between what you would do on Google and what you would do on Facebook. Because, Facebook has changed so much, and the opportunities there have diminished and increased all at the same time, depending on whether you're actually willing to pay to be in front of people. Let's talk about that a bit.
Michael: Facebook's wonderful because there's literally a couple of billion people on there on a regular basis; so many people. If you have somebody telling you that it's not a place to do business to business ...
Kathryn: They haven't been on Facebook lately.
Michael: Most people we know, it's a great place to do business to business. LinkedIn is becoming super successful and popular for business to business stuff too. You don't need to be in all these places, but that was just a sidenote. LinkedIn is also valuable, I'm not ignoring that. Just not part of this conversation right now.
The difference between Google AdWords and Facebook. Imagine this. Facebook is really good at interrupting people and helping them become aware of not only your solution, but becoming aware of a problem that they don't even know they have. We call Facebook advertising interruptive, or outbound marketing these days. It's like TV and radio in so many ways, because people are going there to catch up on their stuff, they're not looking for your solution in Facebook. 99.9% of the time, they're looking to catch up on their friends, talk about their life, see what's going on.
An ad shows up, whether it's a video ad, or a picture ad, and it shows up to say, "Hey, think about us. Hey, did you know we exist? Hey, did you know this was a problem? Hey," and you're trying to make it as interesting as possible, but the goal is to be in front of people with enough frequency, enough repetition, that when they have the need ... If they have the need, they become aware of the need, they become aware of your solution. If they have the need they become aware of your solution. If they don't have the need at all yet, they just kind of, sort of become comfortable and aware, and familiar with your brand, so that when they, or somebody else they know has a need, your at least top of mind.
Kathryn: With that unpacking the history of Facebook changes, why can't I just get that by writing stuff on my Facebook page, and boosting it, or something simple like that? Why can I not get in front of people that way?
Michael: The average person, three years ago, if you had a hundred friends on your Facebook page, your business page or your personal page, and you wrote something on your page, all hundred of your friends were shown that post in their feed. Today, it's less than 10% on average, and for businesses, it's less than 3% on average.
Kathryn: So, if I have a hundred friend, or a hundred people that like my business or whatever, and I just am posting stuff, then you're telling me three people will get that in their feed?
Michael: On average.
Kathryn: On average.
Kathryn: That's not very many.
Michael: It will go up if you're more engaging, but the reality is, if you've spent time building a hundred, or a thousand people on your business site, because you thought that you could get free advertising, and you put all this work and energy that really costs you time and energy ... It worked three years ago, but something small happened at Facebook that's real important for people to understand ...
Kathryn: Is it that going public thing?
Michael: It's kind of the going public thing.
Kathryn: Like, having to talk to stakeholders and investors and stuff?
Michael: Like, it was no longer a privately held company by a bunch of kids. It was a actual company on the stock exchange that was worth over a billion dollars, with a lot of big money invested, and a lot of money bought in stocks, and stockholders saying, "I want a return on my investment." You have to start responding to Wall Street. So, at that point, that is when the entire advertising machine really ... It was in existence, but it really started churning. What they had to do is figure out, all these people were using Facebook, now how do we get them to spend money, because nobody was spending money; it was free.
They started changing it, and they started tweaking their algorithm, so now you know that it works, and people can be exposed, but now you have to pay for that exposure, and that's where the advertising comes in. Now, some people curse Facebook like they're Satan himself, and, the man, he's taking advantage of us, and the man is taking away our rights, but they're a company, and they need to make a profit, or they can't continue to actually provide a service. And, it's an opportunity for you who own a company to a platform that you can pay to help make people aware of your organization.
Now, there are ways to network and do all kinds of stuff, and there are some organic solutions you can work on, and there is all kinds of other things that you could do that require a lot of time and energy. Heck, go to the Chamber of Commerce meetings in your town. Be involved in social organizations like Rotary, or Kiwanis, or something like that. There are all kinds of different things you can do to network in your local environment. Or, go to trade shows and conferences around the country if you have more of a national market.
But, when you really want to be systematic and efficient, and you need to expose your company to more people, you need to deal with the awareness phase, make them aware of you, and use advertising to do it. Now, the difference between Facebook, that's interruptive, and Google, to kind of answer your question earlier, is Google is where people are actually going and searching for solutions.
Kathryn: Right. So, there, the thing that matters the most is that you're actually creating ads that answer the questions that the audience that you want is asking.
Kathryn: That matters in Facebook too, but in Google, we're talking about, they're actually going and saying, "I am looking for X to do Y sometimes, and ..."
Michael: They're looking for a solution.
Kathryn: They're looking for a solution. So, if you don't create ads that speak to their pain points, or the things that they're looking for, then you're not going to get the traffic you want there either.
Michael: So, there are two search engines that I pay attention to the most. One is Amazon, and one is Google, and it depends on what we're selling or buying. Kathryn and I have a gate at home that I built a couple years ago. I didn't sink the post far enough, it's sagging a bit, it drags, it's really- [crosstalk 00:20:49]
Kathryn: Don't ask me how I feel about it.
Michael: It's a total drag. I decided I'm going to put a wheel on the gate. They make these things, for those of you who don't know, and it bolts to part of the gate, and it's a wheel. So, what did I do? I have a problem, this sagging gate, and I was looking for solutions, and I went out to Google and I said, "Solutions for a sagging gate." Then, I thought about wheels, and I started searching for wheels for gates, and looking at different models, and different ones. I realized there's some of them that don't fit my gate. Then I started refining my search even more, but every one of those searches was getting me closer and closer to the one I bought.
Kathryn: Did you buy one?
Michael: I bought one.
Kathryn: Did you put it on?
Michael: It's not here yet, it's coming.
Kathryn: It's, oh ... Okay. I don't know, listening world. Just know that I could not be more excited about this. I'm just learning about this, and that ... Okay, sorry. Personal side note. Yay. Okay, moving on.
Michael: So, I had a problem. I went and used Google to find it, and searched for solutions, and then went from there. And, it turns out that what I did is, I kind of went back and forth between Google and Amazon to try and decide where I could get what I needed. Because, I can't always get what I want to buy on Amazon. Then, where I could get the best deal. That's a consumer process I just described to you. I went to Google because I knew I had a problem, and I was looking for a solution.
People either are looking for solutions, or they're researching something. That's the two biggest reasons why they're going out. So, if they're just researching information, you could be your website ... That's where inbound marketing and everything else was so popular, and so valuable, but not the best way to create traffic. I want to find an article that's going to do it, but there's so many people competing with it, trying to get my attention to come to their website to find the answer that it's hard.
It's not that you shouldn't have content on your website, but that's not the best, because it's the secondary or tertiary way. If I pay for an ad on Google in AdWords, then my ad can be at the top of the page. That kind of stuff ... Then, all of the sudden when somebody searches, I don't have to worry about competing with everybody to see if I get free traffic, and wondering, when strategically, I can get somebody to go, "Oh, I'm paying X amount of money for X amount of views, and X amount of clicks. Now I can do the math, I can have a budget, I can plan, and I can refine and tweak it so my costs are within good parameters."
It has been said that every paid lead, everybody who clicks on an ad is worth 10 organic clicks. So, if I have 10 thousand people coming to my website from Google search, I can get the same leads and customer ratio that I get from those 10 thousand people by paying for one thousand leads through ads.
Kathryn: So, the 10 thousand is organic, and the 1 thousand is paid.
Michael: It's paid. It's a 10 to 1 efficiency, because I now can control it. We can't go into all the little details, but you lose a lot of control in organic, and Google gets to choose what's happening. In paid, not only do I get to choose who I'm showing the ad to, I get to choose exactly what page they go to. I have so much more control over the entire marketing and sales process, which moves from awareness to engagement to subscription, and on to purchase.
The big thing here today, folks, is we hear over, and over, and over again in our company, people want free traffic. It turns out that there's nothing that's free. It's going to cost you time, money, stress, resources. It's going to cost you lost opportunity. You've got to give up, you've got to say no to something and say yes to something else. How do you want to plan? Do you want more structure and control? Do you want to be able to predict the results you're getting from your investment of time and resources, and do you want to grow your company on a much more predictable way? If you're going to do that in today's world, especially on the Internet, buying ads should be your primary way of making people aware and getting traffic to your website, and to your brand.
Kathryn: There you go.
Michael: All right. If you have any questions, on our website on the show page there's a great place to put comments. Or, go to our Facebook page at halfabubbleout.com or Half A Bubble Out on Facebook, and comment there too. We've got folks watching all of those. If you have any comments and any questions in these at all, and if your company is saying, "We really need to work on our awareness strategy. We really need to work on how we find more people to be aware of our brand, and our products and services. And, we need to figure out how to convert more of those people so it's more cost effective," we do this on a regular basis for our clients. We work on a holistic level, creating a holistic solution so that your money is well spent, you have better understanding and plan, and you're getting predictable results. That's the goals.
We would love to help you if we can. At halfabubbleout.com you can give us a call, or fill out a form, and touch base with us and we'll connect, because we want to connect. So, I think that's the really big things today, is just really going, "This is such a misunderstood subject-"
Kathryn: There's just so much that's changed. It's just important to keep up. Keep up.
Michael: And, there's so much information out there. Thank you so much. That's it for today. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And, this is HaBO Village Podcast. You guys have a great week.