What is the best source of traffic?
This is a topical question, with many varying opinions and thoughts. One ‘expert’s’ response may be different to the next ‘guru’ and with this bloated market of opinions coming in left, right and center it can be hard to find the thing we all want; the truth.
However as Jack Nicholson alluded to once, ‘you cant handle the truth’! Everybody wants the magic bullet so they wont have to really activate their brain and critically think. If you are truly ready for the truth, then you will be a person that believes that life has many different paradigms and different situations require different responses. If you are that person with that fundamental worldview and an open mind then you may be ready for the truth 🙂
So with that enlightening, indicative spiel over, its back to the question; what is the best source of traffic? The truth is, it depends. It depends on your business goals, your budget, your niche, your audience, your product, your service, your manpower, your work rate and availability. There is not 1 straightforward answer to this generic question, as every situation is unique. If for example, you have a very limited budget and your trying to get started from scratch in a mainstream niche like health and fitness, then probably content marketing with social would be the way to go to begin with. Best SEO practices should be adhered to for sure, but do not count on ranking number 1 in the SERPS in the early days (or months for that matter particularly if its competitive keywords). Similarly if I were embarking down this path, a thorough research of competitors should be done to. There may be opportunities for affiliates, joint ventures, guest blogging etc. Either way if you have the time, all possible and potential traffic sources should be looked at but then again one medium may be better than another. For example while Facebook is gradually reaching the point of ubiquity, it is becoming near impossible for organic reach on this social channel. Twitter on the other hand is now ranking in the SERPS for tweets thanks to a recent deal with Google. So hypothetically if you only had time for one, which would you choose? All depends on the list of criteria I listed above but most importantly it should be where the target audience can be reached in the most effective way possible taking into account your given circumstances.
Now lets say you have some dollars to spend. Then there are a whole lot more options. Paid advertising and PPC comes to mind. This can option can literally get you to the top of the SERPS. However a substantial amount of people now recognize the difference between adverts and organic reach. Another option is Facebook advertising. Again depending who your target audience is, and where they can be found online will determine the best course of action here. Advertising through Facebook is ridiculously targeted though which to the untrained eye makes it seem like faith that this item is appearing in my newsfeed. This leads onto retargeting. Those subtle cookies just dropped in your browser, make it seem that’s its faith that you should make the purchase of the site they you just on, as it is seems to be randomly appearing across the Internet.
Another good driver of traffic despite being labeled dead more times than ahh dead people (Couldn’t come up with something better!) is email marketing. This is a direct and more personal way of reaching someone. Of course the danger with email is that you may end up in the purgatory that is spam. While email has the highest ROI and can be virtually free to use with such email service providers as Mailchimp, the audience still has to be sent to the email sign up form. So for the purpose of getting people on board, email is probably further down the funnel and would be engagement and retention but nonetheless it can provide ‘hot traffic’ once there is sign ups.
So there it is. The aforementioned are some of the best sources of traffic depending on ones circumstances.
Digital marketers (and people in general) should have an open mind when it comes to assessing new problems and challenges. Traffic is out there, but it is just a case of doing the right thing at the right time. Do not make the mistake of trying to shove a square peg in a round hole by using tactics that worked perfectly in the past on a completely different project his time round. Life isn’t that simple. There is no one magic bullet for every one situation. There are principles and recurring themes that may emerge but every situation should be taken on its merits. It is a simple however as adapting and having an open mind and doing what works at the given time as opposed to what should work and did work in the past. Life lesson over!