This is a blog I wrote for a client recently about the 19 traction channels that Gebriel Weinberg and Justin Mares lay out in their book, Traction.
Do you know where to find your potential customers? Where do they hang out physically; what groups do they belong to, what restaurants do they frequent? And where are they digitally? What on-line groups, news channels or web sites do they frequent?
These are key questions you need to answer in order to create effective marketing campaigns.
In the previous two blogs in this series, we showed you how to identify your target market and then craft a great message to attract them. The final piece of the puzzle is to identify the best place(s) to broadcast your message. Knowing your target market well, creating a compelling message and delivering it right to people will greatly increase the odds of them seeing it and responding.
In their formative book, Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, authors Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, identify 19 types of ‘traction channels’ available to businesses. While their list will no doubt expand or contract over time, as new channels become available and others become obsolete, today - these are the only 19 ways a business can reach an audience.
We know you’re busy, so we’ve chosen to take a deeper dive into the 3 most universally effective channels.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) You’ve likely heard the term SEO, but like many business owners, you’d like to better understand how to optimize your web site and other on-line activities to be more effective at attracting search engines. To put it succinctly, SEO is when you make it easier for customers using search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) to find your business on-line.
Essentially, the most important thing to know about search engines is that their objective is to deliver the most correct answer to the questions people ask. For example, when someone searches for “Accountants near me,” Google wants to make sure that the top 3 websites delivered for that query are the most correct answers. What you want is to make sure that you’re always in the top 3 when a potential customer is searching for something related to your business.
SEO is essentially the steps you take to bridge the gap between your needs, and the needs of search engines.
Here’s a few tips from bloggers to make search engines love you:
Make sure your website is mobile-optimized.
Register with Google My Business.
Blog at least once per week.
Link your blogs on social media.
Advertising (Display Ads and Search Engine Marketing) Marketing and Advertising are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different. Marketing is the overall strategy a company uses to craft and deploy brand messages, while advertising is a marketing tactic. Advertising is not a substitute for a comprehensive marketing strategy, and it’s completely possible to have clever, effective marketing without spending a dollar on advertising.
However, advertising does have its merits, and within the digital world, there are really only two types of advertising: Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and digital/social ads. The main difference between the two is the platform on which the advertising is displayed. SEM is displayed on search engines, while digital/social ads are displayed on social media platforms or websites. Choosing which one is right for you is largely a matter of what sort of result you’re looking for.
People using search engines are likely to be actively looking for answers to a specific need they have. If you can provide them the correct solution to their need, then SEM is probably a good bet for your company. Display ads, whether on social media, blogs, or news websites, are good for getting people’s attention and getting them to browse what you offer.
Think of it as the difference between window displays (SEM) and in-store end cap displays (digital/social ads). Display ads are great for getting people in the store, and SEM is great for getting those in the store to move toward buying. For example: someone could be looking at pictures of new cars on Facebook for a host of reasons, but usually someone searching for ‘new cars’ is looking to buy in the near future.
Content Marketing Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing original content in order to attract new customers. ‘Content’ could include blogging, infographics, posting videos on YouTube, even creating Spotify song playlists for your audience. The theory behind content marketing is that since potential customers like receiving something of value before they buy, providing things of value both communicates your value proposition as well as starts the sales process off much earlier than your competition.
For example, would you be more likely to work with an accountant who gives you a free eBook on how to lower your tax liability, or one that requires you to come to their office before they will offer you any advice?
Content marketing is a natural partner of SEO and Social Media. Blogging regularly and/or posting videos gives your site an SEO boost, and social media is the perfect place to showcase your original content.
The combination of these three traction channels is how savvy online companies are building large audiences on tight advertising budgets.