In this segment of the Subscription Maker Podcast, we are going to talk about Internet Traffic Choices. Contrary to a lot of popular opinions this is one of the most challenging sets of decisions you will have to make.
Welcome to this episode of the Subscription Maker Podcast. This is your host Zachary Alexander, Enterprise Architect at SubscriptionMaker.net. The go-to resource for people who want the benefits of a creative lifestyle and the security of recurring income.
As you know, internet traffic is the life-blood of every subscription business. However, you may want to consider whether all internet traffic is created equal? Should it be given the same weight when you think about its impact on your bottom line?
What is paid traffic?
Generally speaking, internet traffic choices come in three forms. The first is we’ll call paid traffic. You can think of this kind of traffic as advertising generated traffic. It is the most immediate form of the traffic choices.
You determine how much you want to spend. You bid against other advertisers for ad space on your platform of choice. Next, you make an offer to those who view your ad. Based on how impactful your ad is you will drive traffic to your website.
There’s an adage that says advertising only works 50 percent of the time. However, you never know which 50 percent. The process starts with skill and ends with keeping careful notes about what’s working. Nothing is ever set in stone when it comes to subscriber success.
What is organic traffic?
For our discussion, search engines generate what you can think of as organic traffic. It’s traffic that you be earn based on how well your content meets the needs of the online public. These are people who may know nothing about you. They simply want answers to their questions.
You can think of organic traffic as the most iffy. There is no guarantee that what you produce will be well received by your current or potential subscribers. Also, there is the possibility that you may rank high on the first page today and end up on the third or fourth page tomorrow.
And if the volatility of the ranking isn’t enough to put you off there is also the time lag. Once published, it may take months or even years before Google deems your content worthy of any serious traffic.
Unlike paid traffic, your results aren’t immediately impacted by your skills. They are most affected by time. The longer that content is on your site, the better it will perform. Once you get an indication of how well it is performing, you can attempt to make changes to improve it. However, it would be generous to think of this anything but trial and error.
What is social media traffic?
Social media traffic is the attention you get from social media sites. For the most part, it is network based. This means that the more people you have in your network, the better your results will be over time.
Everything in business comes at a cost. We started to address those costs in the previous sections. There is always an opportunity cost. If you make one traffic choice, then you will not be able to pursue another just as vigorously.
The best way to think of social media traffic is in terms of opportunity costs. You spend a lot of time building relationships. Sometimes these efforts will show immediate results, and at other times it will take months to make even the smallest dent in the market.
The challenge is that while you are pursuing a social media strategy, you will be getting nothing else done. For example, at the end of the quarter, you will have nothing build on in the future. A pure social media play will leave you with no content in the form of blog posts or ads.
How mature is your business?
Let’s talk about how mature your business is before we get into what the traffic choices mean for your business. We want to talk about what your traffic choices mean. However, we can’t get there just yet.
For the sake of discussion, let’s say there are four distinct phases of business maturity that subscription services must pass through. The first is the toddler or viability phase. In this phase, you must determine if your next big idea has any legs. Will your audience support it.
You do this by getting one to ten subscribers a month to purchase your service. If you can get one to ten subscribers a month to purchase your service, then you have someone you can talk with about improving your service.
The second phase is the outreach phase of the business maturity model. In this phase, you spend all your time trying to convince 100 people to try your basic service and pay you for it. As you know, there is a big difference between liking something and liking it enough to pay for it.
The third phase is the retention phase of the business maturity model. In this phase, you start to concern yourself with business retention and churn. As you know, churn is the number you gain minus the number of people you lose each month.
The fourth phase is what we’ll call the adaptability phase. You could also think of it as the sustainability phase. It’s the phase in which you primarily concern yourself with adapting to the concerns of your subscribers. Growth is cherished. However, you’re more concerned with making the people who have committed to your subscription service happy.
What does each traffic choice mean to your business?
Finally, let’s talk about what traffic choices mean to your business. In the viability or toddler phase of business, traffic growth is not your most important consideration. You are trying to determine viability and secure commitments from a small number of subscribers.
You are much better off dealing with people who are already in your social network. Chasing numbers is not beneficial because if the service is not ready, it can sour the market. It’s much better to proceed in a stealth mode.
Once you enter the outreach phase, then you probably want to add in paid media. The reason is that you may need to diversify your market. In the first phase, all of the people who purchase your service will most likely think like you.
Paid media will allow your idea to find an audience of its own. And these people may or may not think as you do. They will simply show a commitment to your idea.
The retention phase will also benefit from both social media and paid media. The act of retention requires that you hyper-communicate with your subscribers. You’ve got to prove that you hear them so that they will stick around. You may also need paid media to overcome churn.
Finally, the adaptability phase will benefit from all three traffic choices. In this phase, you are still concerned with retention. Your business is self-sufficient. Now, you got to adapt to the changes that subscribers demand.
Growth will come with longevity and word of mouth. You can afford to let organic traffic work its magic and cover your churn. You can also top up any shortcomings or break through any plateaus with paid traffic. Welcome to the promised land.
Internet traffic choices affect businesses in different ways depending on the maturity of the subscriber base. This segment will help you understand your internet traffic choices based on where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Subscription Maker Podcast. This is your host Zachary Alexander. If you would like to continue this conversation join us in the Subscription Maker Group on Facebook.