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  • Writer's pictureROMI

Stage 1: Drive Traffic

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Magnet with cue balls

If you read our overview of the stages of the marketing flow, you know that the first step of every campaign is where you start to drive traffic.

This is also when you consider Why, What, Where, and How you’re driving traffic.

To reiterate what we said before, those points translate to this:

  • Why you’re driving traffic tells you what your goals are for driving traffic.

  • What traffic you’re driving tells you who makes up the traffic, i.e. who your target audience is.

  • Where you’re driving traffic tells you where you’re sending the traffic.

  • How you’re driving traffic tells you what strategies and tactics to use for your campaign.

We went over them briefly in the overview, but today, we can break them down further to show you how to put together this part of your marketing campaign.

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of how to drive traffic that serves your goals.


Identify Your Business Purposes/Goals

Target board

One of the very first things you have to do when marketing is determine why exactly you’re marketing.

What are you trying to do? What are your ultimate purposes or business goals?

We’re not talking about your campaign objectives, by the way. When we mention campaign objectives, we’re talking about key campaign metrics - typically numeric milestones that your marketing campaign is supposed to help you hit.

So, campaign objectives would be things like 25% more website traffic, or 1,000 more followers on your company’s social media accounts.

By contrast, campaign goals would be the reasons you even consider things like 25% more website traffic desirable. A possible goal for such an objective would be to raise awareness of both the site and the brand.

There are many possible marketing goals. Here are just a few examples:

  • Increasing revenue

  • Building a brand

  • Expanding your business’s market share

  • Building relationships with relevant parties

  • Securing funding for a project

It’s wise to identify these from the start. They’ll help you set your actual campaign objectives later, as well as guide the rest of your decisions for your marketing plan.


Set Your Campaign Objectives

Loud speaker

Now, if you’ve been thinking ahead, you’ve probably realised we have a problem. It’s this: business goals like those we talked about aren’t measurable!

Going with our first example, how on earth are you supposed to tell if you’ve actually raised site or brand awareness?

Or if you’ve (appreciably) raised revenue as opposed to just adding a drop in the bucket?

The answer is to quantify each goal in a way that makes it possible for you to tell if you’re on the right track.

A general rule of thumb is to use the SMART criteria for objective-setting. SMART is a mnemonic that stands for these:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

Craft objectives that are all of those things.

They should be specific in the sense that they focus on a single, clearly defined metric. They should be measurable in the sense that they should be quantifiable.

They should also be attainable because there’s obviously no point in aiming for objectives that you can’t possibly achieve.

Moreover, they should be relevant to the goal they’re supposed to quantify, i.e. they should provide a fair indicator of success in meeting that goal.

Finally, they should be time-bound. That means you should be able to specify an approximate date for when you can achieve that metric.

That’s how you end up with objectives like the examples earlier.

For instance, since you can’t quantify “raised awareness for a website”, you set an objective like “25% more site visits by the end of the month” instead.

In short, campaign objectives are reasonable and measurable targets that indicate whether or not you’re making progress in your actual business and marketing goals.

Thus, they’re critical in planning as well as monitoring a campaign. Measuring campaign performance against objectives allows you to course-correct as well as identify weaknesses in your strategies.

For instance, if you’re not hitting your objectives, there’s probably something wrong with your strategies. You can then examine and adjust your campaign until you start posting better results.


Describe Your Audience

A group of people

Once you’ve figured out both your goals and objectives, you can go on to the next step - describe your audience.

The key question you should ask yourself is this: what kind of people do you need to reach in order to achieve the objectives and goals you’ve settled on?

Put another way, you’re looking for the ideal customer whom you want to draw to your offerings through your marketing.

A good way to come up with a workable definition of this is to craft a marketing persona. Let’s talk about how to do that now.

The Marketing Persona

A marketing persona is essentially an archetype of your target audience. It looks like a description of a real person, but it’s not a real person.

Rather, it’s a fictional person built on generalisations about your real target audience.

Let’s take a really simplified example to show how this works.

Say we’re building a marketing persona for the type of people who’d be interested in an entirely new cleaner that’s not only antibacterial but also entirely nontoxic.

Let’s say we know that most of the people interested in it are the following:

  • Female

  • Married

  • Parents with kids younger than 13

  • Pet owners

  • Millennials

Writing of the word personas

In that case, we could build a marketing persona like this:

  • Lisa is a 33-year-old married mother who has 2 children: one is 7 years old and another 4 years old. Her family also has a Shih Tzu named Sprinklebuns.

That’s just a rough example, of course, and you could even add more detail to it based on what else you know about your target audience.

For example, let’s say you know that your ideal customers want the product because they’re afraid of the kids and pets putting dirty items in their mouths, but also afraid of the toxicity of most antibacterial cleaners.

You can add that to the description for “Lisa”!

Lisa isn’t real, of course. We personally don’t know any married women named Lisa who have Shih Tzus named Sprinklebuns.

Lisa is based on real people, however. She’s just a generalisation of them and their common traits, as we mentioned earlier.

That’s why if you aren’t targeting a new demographic, you can use current info on your primary audience to build your marketing persona, e.g. get data from Google Analytics, mailing list surveys, customer info, etc.

Just figure out what your existing (and best) customers have in common. Then, use those traits to build a marketing persona of your ideal customer.

Segmenting Your Audience

Mini figurines of people

It’s worth mentioning that most marketing plans use more than one marketing persona. That’s because there’s usually more than one type of ideal consumer for each service, product, or brand.

For instance, let’s pretend we’re raising brand awareness for a new sports apparel and accessories brand. Think of a company just like Nike or Adidas.

If you try to think of the ideal customers for such a company, you’ll realise there’s more than one archetype among them, even if they have things in common (like being interested in sports).

For example, one archetype could be professional athletes looking for competitive gear. You could create one marketing persona around that.

Another archetype in the same target market could be (non-professional) fitness enthusiasts, however.

And that would demand an entirely different marketing persona, as the needs and traits of such people would differ from those of professional athletes.

Segmenting your audience into multiple supgroups and creating different marketing personas for them can thus be useful.

It helps you target specific demographics’ precise pain points and interests. That means you’ll be able to connect with them and “talk to them” better.

What’s more, segmentation of your target audience can even help you in the next phase of driving traffic: channel selection.


Select Your Channels


Marketing channels are platforms for marketing. Here are some examples of marketing channels:

  • Websites

  • Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

  • Email

  • Magazines

  • TV

  • PPC (Pay Per Click) ads

You have to pick the channels through which you’re most likely to reach your target customers. We’ll go over how to do that now.

How to Pick Marketing Channels

First, note that we’ve been using the plural form of the word. While there’s nothing stopping you from using only one channel for a marketing campaign, it’s not generally advisable.

That’s partly because you can reach more people if you use more channels, of course -- although that doesn’t mean you should try to take on too many channels either. That’s a good way to be overwhelmed and overworked fast!

Instead, try to find the right mix of channels for reaching as many members of your target audience as possible.

You also want to try to find a combination of channels through which you can provide a ubiquitous yet non-intrusive presence for your target audience.

This is all the more important when you consider how many points of contact it now takes to convert a consumer (8 on average!). So you want to be at the forefront of their minds as much as possible without annoying them.

Symbols with a laptop in the background

So how do you decide which channels to use? It’s dependent on your overall goals and objectives, as well as on your target audience.

Ask questions like these:

  • Where am I most likely to reach my target audience?

  • What platforms does my target audience frequent?

  • What other websites does my target audience enjoy?

  • What is my target audience interested in?

  • Is my target audience receptive to marketing messages on this channel?

  • Is there a way to drive my target audience to a given destination from this channel?

As you can see, a lot of the questions ride on your knowledge of your target audience. That’s why the marketing personas we mentioned earlier are so useful.

For instance, let’s go back to our marketing persona, “Lisa”. We mentioned that she’s 33 years old.

That actually gives you insight already into how to pick channels. You see, people in Lisa’s age bracket are more likely to be on Facebook and Instagram - but not TikTok, because the user demographics for that tend to be younger.

The details in your marketing personas can help you identify good channels this way. Once you do begin to drive traffic, you’ll also be able to use campaign metrics to see which channels give you the best results.


Put Together Your Strategies

Man overlooking papers

You now know the following:

  • Why you’re marketing

  • What you’re measuring in your marketing

  • Who you’re marketing to

  • Where you’re marketing

This means you have to figure out How next.

The trick here is to craft your strategies based on the answers to the earlier questions. Since the answers to those questions vary, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all strategy here.

For instance, the type of demographic you’d try to reach when brand-building isn’t necessarily the same you’d try to reach when securing funding.

In the same vein, the way you reach out to them wouldn’t be the same.

So, try to come up with marketing strategies that can help you reach as many as possible of your target consumers in the way you’d like.

Adopt a multifaceted approach as well, because it often boosts the amount of traffic you can get.

You see, all other things being equal, this is when optimising for volume becomes handy: the bigger the volume of (relevant) traffic you’re driving, the better your actual conversion figures… But we’ll talk about that in a later stage of the Marketing Flow.

A Hypothetical Example of How to Drive Traffic

Let’s take a rough example of a basic marketing strategy for a hypothetical company. Let’s go back to the hypothetical sports/fitness apparel and accessories company.

Now let’s say your goal is to build awareness of your brand. Your objective is to bring up website traffic by 25% in a month.

(We already covered some of the possible marketing personas for this earlier too, so we won’t be repeating that.)

Now, given the above data, a possible marketing strategy for the brand might include the following steps:

SEO Implementation

Search function gif

Implementing SEO (search engine optimisation) on the website would help it rank higher on search engine’s results pages. Those are the lists of results you get when you use a search engine like Google to find something online.

That way, the website will show up among the top results when people search online for keywords like these:

  • The name of the company or brand

  • The names of its products

  • Relevant keywords like “best fitness apparel” and “professional sports shoes”

That makes people more likely to click on it in the search engine results pages, besides also making the brand more visible.

Social Media Marketing

Laptop gif

Promoting the brand via social media would help more people discover it organically. You could use the company’s social media accounts to interact with people, talk about sports topics, and more.

This way, you build a living presence for the brand in your target market. You can aim your marketing at them by using specific hashtags (#fitness, #fitnessgear, #sportswear, etc.) that you know sports and fitness enthusiasts use.

You can also try to reach them by joining social media communities like Facebook Groups dedicated to sportswear, fitness accessories, and the like.

Paid Ads

Whether on social media or elsewhere, paid advertising can sometimes offer a quick boost in traffic and visibility. You could take out ads on sites where sports-lovers and fitness-lovers tend to congregate, for example.


Some Final Thoughts on Driving Traffic

Papers on a table

That’s pretty much how you can get started driving traffic when marketing. It’s important to note that none of your methods here are ever truly set in stone, however.

This is due to something we’ve noted several times now: that when you drive traffic, you have to collect data in tandem with it.

This means you should be monitoring your data at set intervals to figure out if your attempts to drive traffic are going well or not.

The goal is to optimise your strategies until you’re getting as much high-quality traffic as you can possibly get. And the key to doing that isn’t just systematic planning before you start - it’s also about systematic planning and adjustments after you’ve begun.

Only when you take a look at the numbers can you figure out whether or not your methods are working out. Are you driving enough traffic to your site to hit your goal within your timeframe? If not, adjust!

Don’t be afraid to try new things or tweak your marketing efforts every now and then. Use your data to determine what needs adjustment and what doesn’t.

On the flip side of the coin, don’t be too hasty to give up on a strategy entirely, either. You want to give each strategy time to mature and yield results - and different strategies do that in different time frames.

SEO tends to be something that yields results in the long term, for example. On the other hand, paid ads tend to give you quick results that are for the short term.

The trick is to know what each technique or strategy’s time frame for results is like. Once you know that, you’ll be in a better position to adjust without jumping the gun.

At any rate, this is just the beginning for your marketing efforts. We still have to go through the other stages of the Marketing Flow, beginning with Stage 2: Capturing Traffic.

Until then, feel free to leave queries or remarks for us below! We’d love to hear what you think of our explanation of how to drive traffic, or help you out if you’re just starting to do it.

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