The biggest myth every marketing guru wants you to believe is that all you need is a sales funnel, or all you need is this marketing tool, website builder, etc.

People love to throw around the phrase, “Build it and they will come,” but that only applies to luring ghosts to baseball fields in farmlands.

Where your website lives doesn’t matter if nobody ever sees it.

What platform your sales funnel was built on doesn’t matter if nobody ever sees it.

A fancy well-designed opt-in PDF doesn’t matter if nobody ever sees it.

A well thought-out email sequence doesn’t matter if nobody ever sees it.

A comprehensive course doesn’t matter if nobody ever sees it.

You need traffic.

You need eyeballs on your offers, and they need to be strategically selected eyeballs.

You need targeted traffic.

So how do you get traffic?

To get traffic you can leverage any or all of some existing systems. There are options for both paid and free traffic, so you can decide if you want to spend money or spend time.

Paid Ads, like Facebook Ads or Google AdWords (Spend Money, Save Time)

You can “pay to play” if you want to get your stuff in front of people now. You can even target specific traits, demographics, and interests. It can take a lot of time, effort, and hard work to nail down the right cocktail of wording, imagery, and targeting, so hiring a professional saves you a ton of time and headaches. I don’t even run my own ads because it’s a specialized skill-set and I prefer to spend my time doing the things I am best at. The best professionals know what to do with your ads that will get them approved by being compliant with policies and rules from both Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This is super important because Facebook can shut you down for policy violations, and the FTC can sue your business for violating its laws and regulations. It happened to Frank Kern and he dedicated his career to learning how to be compliant and helping others do the same, while making boatloads of money in the process.

Search Engine Optimization / SEO (Spend Money, Spend Time)

You can play the long game to build your ranking in the major search engines so you can eventually bring in more people and spend less money on it. SEO is an upfront investment of money and time that pays off later on by bringing in more traffic with less time and money. SEO is an ongoing job and it’s not for the feint of heart. I don’t even offer full SEO services for my clients; I hire out a specialized professional to handle them. That said, you can get a head-start on good SEO by using better quality tools. Google loves WordPress, mobile-friendly layouts, fast web hosting, and relevant content.

Content Marketing on Social Media (Save Money, Spend Time)

You can play the algorithm game and build an audience to view your posts. This is by far the most excruciating process, because most of us don’t see a return right away. This strategy is all about building momentum from nothing, but once it finally takes off, it becomes unstoppable and highly valuable. Building a loyal following is one of the most useful things you can do for your business. This can also be a great role to hire out if it isn’t your specialty. Key things to look for are a copywriter who can emulate your voice, and a strategist with a strong grasp of conversion-focused marketing tactics.

So what do you do with all that traffic?

Do you have a Value Ladder?

A value ladder is a progression of offers that your prospective client will want in order to guide them to the thing you offer that they’re not yet ready for. As an example, if you want to sell your 1-on-1 coaching services, your target audience might have some people who are ready and know they want to work with you, thus happily making the investment. Other people might not be ready yet, or might not have the investment. For those people, you can offer smaller products or services that help them bridge the gap between where they are now, and where they need to be if they want to work with you. This demonstrates your ability to help them and gives them the means to work with you in the capacity you prefer.

The smaller items on a value ladder are usually “low-touch” which means as automated as possible so they don’t use up much of your time or resources. This blog post is part of my value ladder. I don’t have to help you read it, you just read it. Once you’re done you are a little better off in your business, and thus more likely to be able to work with me at some point in the future. Other low-touch offers you might want to implement in your business can be downloadable checklists, infographics, eBooks, courses, and all sorts of digital things that take some work to get set up, but then don’t cost you anything to make more of. These things can range in price from free to several thousand dollars, depending on the content, context, and audience.

Do you have a Sales Funnel?

No, I don’t mean a sales page on your website. Despite what the marketing tools would have you believe, a sales funnel isn’t a “website” or, at least not only a website. The Sales Funnel is the process someone in your audience goes through to go from stranger to buyer. It’s a process that often contains strategically planned website pages, but it still needs a traffic source to feed them.

The same thing applies to the traffic you bring to your business. What do you want these people to do? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to send you an email? Do you want them to make a purchase online? You need to figure out where they usually are when they arrive, and what they need in order to get to the point of doing the thing you want them to do.

Do you have a strategy in place?

Strategy is everything. As soon as you get some traffic, you need to know where you are sending them, and what you intend for them to do when they get there. If you are throwing a birthday party for a 6 year old, you will need games and activities for them, right? If you put a bouncy-house in your yard, you’ll expect some of your target audience (the kids) to crawl in and jump in it, right?

Next Steps

In a perfect world, the best combination of traffic sources would be a combination of all 3 methods. Use content marketing and a solid SEO strategy to set yourself up for future success, and supplement those efforts with paid ads to bring in traffic now.