You have built a stellar product, closed all the viral loops you can think of – yet here you are sitting with a beautiful product that just doesn’t pull the numbers to be your full time gig (unless of course you have already sold your last project for millions.)
Let’s not sugar coat it, are you even in a viable marketplace? There are so many ideas that have been built out there that boggle the mind in how the entrepreneur ever thought it would turn a profit or create a personal audience for something even bigger. Can your idea ever be at the level it needs to be for you to put 100% into it? If not it’s time to shoot the project in the head or pass it off to someone who can give it what it needs.
“I’m positive my idea can make the cut, it just needs more traction.”
For those who are so positive that their idea “works” it just needs to scale my first questions include things like “What does your conversion funnel look like?” , “What does your at scale cost analysis consist of? Have you been too conservative on your margins at scale?”. Most blindly optimistic entrepreneurs give a deer in headlights look at this point but that’s ok. Starting a new venture is more of a learning experience than anything.
Conversion Funnel: For each new user, how much money do you make? This is calculated both in immediate financial returns as well as the lifetime value of that lead/customer. Depending on your vertical this could be a long and slow release of value or could be figured out within the first 24 hours of someone hitting your site.
The Numbers Work! I just need more!
Assuming your numbers work and you have spent time split testing your traffic to make each lead as valuable as possible, there are a few ways to drive traffic that make sense for your business. Knowing your numbers here is especially useful because it gives you leverage. Knowing your numbers let’s you pay for access to audience you wouldn’t otherwise be have access to.
Many businesses with large audiences are constantly looking for new ways to monetize their traffic in the largest way possible. They will know their numbers like the back of their hands to be prepared for shark like mentality when approaching these individuals. They only care about to things:
1. What is the conversion rate of your visitors into paid members?
2. How much are they going to make from your service by promoting you.
If you can concretely answer these questions you have a prayer of getting their attention and bringing down your servers with the ridiculous amount of traffic the big players can bring your way 😉
Hold the Presses
I terms of traditional buzz from members and blogs there is a few ways to drive traffic that pretty much breaks down into two legs.
Leg 1: give an amazing value to your users
No natter what your business, what the century, or what your skill set is one thing hold constant. Customers respond to value, and while the bar continually gets set higher and higher due to competition you are going to get people’s attention by giving them something amazing for free that solves a core problem they have.
This method has most often been used in prelaunch scenarios in things like “refer 5 friends and get a free download of my marketing software.” The value needs to be tangible and relevant but I’m sure you either have something your users want or you can build something for less than the cost of a reasonable AdWords spend.
Leg 2: piss off someone deemed important (Jason Calacanis method)
This one is the classic move, “all press is good press”. Just how millions and millions of people have heard that horrendous Jessica Black song called ‘Friday’, we were still talking about it and now she has a massive audience that is worth real cash.
Jason Calacanis uses this method almost daily, and while not really creating crappy content he will stir up the pot simply for attention and to build his audience. You see, Jason knows that every time he lies, looks incredibly stupid or just down right like an asshole – he gets press. He has been especially successful in pissing off Mike Arrington of TechCrunch which has garnered him multiple posts on one of the most trafficked blog in his space. Not to mention the hundred of comments debating the topic.
You see humans are funny, because we love a good cat fight more than we love getting shit done. It draws our attention and focus repeatedly. This ultimately turns into an audience, eyeballs and cold hard greenbacks.