In an online world where information is moving blindingly fast, attention is lost with the blink of an eye. Make no mistake, claiming your mindshare is the biggest game on the Internet. The innocent web traveler has become an unknowing target. I’m here to let you know how we hunt.
Why are you so important?
Narrowing the scope
There are lots of things we will not talk about today. Sales and marketing are huge topics that we’re not going to touch, and branding is a giant holding its own in discussions like this. We’re going to leave those topics, the theories and the big picture for another day. Instead we’ll talk about some of the cool tools and techniques that are used to draw your attention whether you like it or not. Good news – if you know about these things, you can choose how to act on them. Bad news – if you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve already been caught in one of my traps, or soon will be. Read on to learn more…
Setting traffic traps all over the Internet
Before we can hypnotize our visitors with our great products, services, or content, we have to make you come to us. We need you to visit our web sites, because that’s where we do business. We increase relevant traffic by carefully and deliberately putting traps in your path, aimed to take you into our lairs. I’ll now show you ten powerful traffic traps that help catch visitors for our sites.
Trap 1: Advertising
Obvious one, true. But these days it’s not about putting a poster on the wall, not even a virtual one. We can target our audience in a number of interesting ways. For example, when using AdWords (an ad program from Google) we can target our audience based on our pray’s location, the time of day, their gender, and their age (not all of these are exact). We can do this both when you’re searching on Google and when visiting one of the millions of sites who take part of their ad program.
My absolute favorite is called remarketing, which is a great trap for when you’ve already visited my site, but perhaps left without buying (or whatever my goal was to have you do). Here’s how it works. I put a simple code on the site that stores a cookie in your browser. When you leave my site, it stays with you. And when you go to another side that displays ads (using the corresponding AdSense program), I am able to stay in your face with an ad that relates to the products of services you were looking at when visiting me. Even offering you a discount if I want to. That’s an awesome way to pull users back and can really tilt the odds in my favor.
Learn more about AdSense and AdWords by clicking the logos below.
Trap 2: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most people have heard about this one, too. It’s another neat trap (or a science, if you talk to people who work with SEO) that includes optimizing web sites and web pages so that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, …) rank them high on the keywords you are expected to type. Basically, it’s like herding cats. SEO is given a great deal of attention by many organizations – one of the reasons why I totally ignore it. Also, strictly speaking this trap is for traffic harvesters, not hunters and trappers.
How it works? By knowing how search engines work and knowing your demographic group’s search patterns, we adapt our web sites, web pages, and link patterns, to make sure that when you type in a search, our web site ends up near the top. The great thing about it is that it’s your search, so you still feel in charge when clicking the links and setting off the trap we put there by predicting your moves.
Trap 3: Social media cross-posting
Visibility is everything, and by posting on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and the other hundred or so most popular social media, we get inside your head, increasing the chances that you’ll visit when we get a clickable link in front of you. It’s a little bit of brainwashing involved, but hey, we need that traffic. Lots of people automate their social media cross-posting, although that usually degrades the outcome.
It works a bit like fishing; present a bait enough times to a fish, and finally you get a bite even if it’s not really hungry. The lure these fishers use is usually a clickable link with some temptation that takes you right into our lair. We’ve got plenty of links in Cortex City that makes it easy to follow us.[twitter-follow screen_name=’CortexCity’]
You’ll find some surprising themes emerging when setting traps in social media. On YouTube, our most popular Cortex City is currently one with pigs playing soccer. Go figure.
Trap 4: Forum activity
What better way to gain your trust than by helping out when you’re in need? Depending on the domain the hunters are active in, they’ll often be available to offer a helping hand, support you with expert tips and tricks, and become your trusted advisor. When you need to buy something, who are you likely to go to? That’s right, people in the business you already know and trust.
This hunting technique is awesome, because it provides value to everyone involved, and gives the hunted a fighting chance to make informed decisions. A small twist is to provide your own forum, which also works really well if you can make it active and helpful enough.
Trap 5: Epic posts
By writing a great and thorough article that becomes authoritative in its field, lots of people will link to it. We call those epic posts. They’ll drive traffic, increase credibility, is great for SEO, and the only real issue is to manage to write such a damn good thing in the first place. A beautiful trap, because even your competitors will want to link back to your site. The ultimate win!
It works by adding so much value for others that they choose to invite you right into their homes (by which I mean web sites and social media). For the record, I might be tempted to expand this article into an epic article in Cortex City if it gets lots of attention, since we’re in the business of helping companies and individuals maximize their positive online exposure. As it stands, this article is merely a comprehensive introduction suitable for…yes, posting in social media and blogs.
Take a look at this solid blog post about increasing web traffic, by Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe. It certainly aims for epic, and so it gets links from all over the place. Including Cortex City.
Trap 6: Guest performances, part one
Participating in interviews on other sites, guest writing on other blogs, doing videos featuring other people’s products, are all good ways to put link traps all over the web. Good hunters will find plenty of opportunities to execute the guest performance idea. It works well because we’re doing work for others, freely giving them value to place on their sites to drive traffic to them – and ultimately back to the hunter. A very symbiotic hunting technique.
(If you’re reading this and desperately want to interview the mayor of a universal virtual city, send me a note.)
Trap 7: Guest performances, part two
Get others to come to you. Again, do interviews, show their videos, allow them to do product placements – things that others will be glad to do in order to promote themselves and thus work for you for free. If you can get people who are well known in communities you target, that’s a great bonus. Our pray tend to search for famous people, which will now include your site. The trap is not the guest performance itself; it’s in the links the guest and others will place to your site, where the hunter is waiting.
Trap 8: Lists of things
A clever trapper can easily create lists that build on other people’s work. Compared to a lot of the other items on this list of traps (aha!), creating a list of content made by others doesn’t require that much effort. A list of great articles, good advice, solid web sites, awesome products, important reviews, or even a list about lists, is valuable and easy to create. When the list is posted, all who are represented on the list are made aware of that fact. What do you think happens then? Yes, they usually put a link to the list on their site, setting up the trap. That’s how it works, by having others voluntarily set up your traps.
For example, here’s a list of three great articles for increasing web traffic:
- 101 Simple Tips to Increase Web Site Traffic
- 39 Actionable Ideas For Driving Traffic To Your Website
- How To Get 100 Visitors a Day, Every Day Starting Today
(Let’s see if any of these three choose to link back here — I certainly don’t require that they do so, but it would prove my point and be fun!)
Trap 9: Newsletters
Here’s a hybrid trap for the seasoned hunter to use. We need to get people to our site in order to sign up for the free and absolutely great newsletter (don’t miss the one we have in Cortex City with unique content for subscribers!), and then we have a repeatable and reusable trap. We use it to promote new products, services, offers, content, and anything else we want to sell to you. The newsletters usually have very clear calls to action – making it easy for the pray to set off the trap and travel to our sites. It works by using another media, in this case email, to find an additional way of getting your mindshare and ultimately draw you back to visit us.
Trap 10: Word of Mouth
I’ve saved the best for last. Nothing can beat the traps — I mean tips — sent out there by our loyal community. In the online world, word of mouth often comes in the form of sharing content on social media, and it’s one of my favorite traps. It works by delivering great products, services, support, and content, that our communities are willing to share with others. It binds us closer together and it helps find more people that might decide to visit us and learn more. I’ll tell you right now, that if you want to become a hunter like me and help me set some great traps, it’s only a few clicks away. You know you want to…[addtoany]
As you can understand, setting all the traps we have talked about today takes a massive amount of work and maintenance. However, that’s nothing compared to the amount of effort we must spend on the sites – the things that happen when our traps are triggered. That’s where the real business happens. I’ll cover some great on-site techniques in a future article. (To make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for our free newsletter.)
Large corporations will typically have a separate marketing team working as hunters and trappers. Small to medium-sized businesses usually don’t. I’m saying that if you want to grow your business and web site traffic, you have to do start thinking about setting some traps.
My advice to normal people and small businesses is to let someone else take care of a large portion of the work with traffic trapping. Unless you really like it and have a huge work capacity, it’s better to focus your energy on the core business and to serve your customers. That’s always most important. Consider finding others who can help you come up with the right strategies and tactics for maximizing the business contribution from your online presence.
Calls to action:
- If you are responsible for a business and need our help, come to Cortex City. Talk to us.
- If you are a hunter and need to promote what you do, come to Cortex City. Talk to us.
- If you feel like a more enlightened pray after reading this article, join us.
Thank you for reading. I hope this article helps you recognize some of the traps you’ll encounter when traveling the Internet. We’ll still catch you. 🙂 And for all the trappers out there, good hunting and good fishing!
Talk to you soon,
Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson