Four top sources of targeted traffic for early stage startups
You know who your ideal customer is and you’ve
created your irresistibly attractive offer.
It’s time to get some traffic.
There are a million tactics but we’re going to deal with
the more advanced stuff. As you read this, don’t focus
on just the implementation, think of how and why this
You’ll be able to use that understanding to
come up with creative ways to bring people to your
When you’re starting out its helpful to individually email
or cold call your prospects to get them to download
your app or buy your product. This one on one
approach allows you to learn what people actually
want so you can perfect the product.
When you’re done with that, here are the most effective
ways to get a lot of traffic in less than 30 days!
These are the top 4 sources of traffic (or traction
depending on what you want)
Traffic Strategy 1:Integration and Distribution
Find out who is already selling to your ideal customer
and partner with him by giving them a commission for
every sale. In some cases, some businesses will
simply ask you to return the favor.
Integration is when your product is embedded in the
product of a complimentary partner. The optician,
florist and bank in your local department store are
using this strategy. Whether you’re B2B or B2C software
business, the principle is the same. Some cloud
storage apps like Dropbox and Google Drive are
integrated seamlessly into Recruitment, Productivity
and Email apps.
Distribution is when your product becomes an upsell
or cross sell of another business’ offering. This is
good, symbiotic host meets parasite relationship. The
more traffic your host has, the better it is for you. The
more they sell, the more people get introduced to your
As long as the host is convinced that your
product adds value to his customers, he’ll be more
incentivized to add you as an extra offer to his current
offer. Spotify got a lot of traffic when Facebook anointed
them as a music provider.
The inverse of this strategy is to find affiliates who are
smaller than you to do the same thing.
If you have a product, find a complementary service to
partner with and vice versa.
Traffic Strategy 2:Endorsement traffic
The endorsement of a celebrity or an authority can go a
long way. It’s not always the case but finding people
your prospects respect or admire and convincing them
to publicly endorse you is a great strategy.
Ipsy did this with Michelle Khan. Tesla did this with
celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Khan Academy
got a lot of attention after Bill Gates talked about the
service at a conference.
The variation of this is collaboration like Glu Mobile did
with Kim Kardashian and Kanye did with Adidas.
The way to do this right is to get someone who can be
perceived to be a great authentic fit. Convince this person (or
business) should endorse your product publicly consistently to
make sure the press and their followers are reminded of your
Traffic Strategy 3:Public Relations
The founders of Warby Parker famously said they hit their first
year sales targets within 3 weeks using PR as a strategy.
Press coverage brings publicity and credibility depending on
the source and what is said about you.
The strategy here is to find out which media outlets focus on a
niche that is important to you. There are subreddits and blogs
that will give you better traffic and sales than TechCrunch or
Secondly, you should think like an editor before you submit
your request for press coverage. Look at what was said about
other startups in your category and emulate the best parts.
Traffic Strategy 4:Appearances online and offline
For years Steve Jobs gave hour long presentations that many
did not realize were sales events in disguise.
Whether it’s a speaking engagement, a guest
post, podcast interview or an event, being seen in
the right place, at the right time, in front of the right
audience is an effective strategy.
Direct Response Advertising
All advertising isn’t the same. What your bank and
favorite soda brand do is usually brand advertising.
That’s where they talk about themselves and
have no call to action. For big brands, advertising
is a popularity contest.
For startups, you want to elicit a response and
actually make money or some ROI that matters.
Advertising that offers the prospect the opportunity
to do something in exchange for your offer is what
you should be thinking about. Unfortunately retail
and other offline businesses do this better than
most software companies.
NB-in all your marketing strategies, you don’t want
everyone. You only want people who will use your product and share
it with people like them. Secondly, make sure you set up your
funnels before sending traffic to your website.
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