Let’s start with a precise definition:
Connection is the moment that you make contact for the first time, using paid, organic or hybrid traffic (or even affiliates).
One of these 4 large platforms spring to mind when it comes to making the very first connection… Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (paid and organic).
I use eMail to develop that Connection.
Before we get into the details, it’s important to be transparent about why Connection really matters…
It’s a critical component of any long term business, which can work synergistically with the other components to create leverage to make 1 + 1 + 1 = more than 3.
But that’s not why it’s so important.
Understanding how to deepen the Connection and bring people into our orbit allows us to develop the one thing we want most — Control.
What we really want — more than anything — is a sense of control. We want to know that our business results (and our income) are stable, predictable, and scalable.
That next month will be better than this month.
That there’s opportunity to increase the value we contribute to the world, expand our horizons, our relationships, and our income.
Deepening Connection allows us to turn the ‘volume dial’ for our business…
Once you understand how, you have the superpower required to create stability, predictability, and (if you want it), growth on demand.
To begin developing this superpower, there are three things to understand about making that all important first contact:
- Intent matters.
- There are three ways to pay for attention.
- Two traffic platforms matter most.
The starting point for understanding the connection you have made is active intent vs. passive potential interest.
When someone searches for something, they’re demonstrating active intent.
At that moment, they’ve made whatever they’re looking for a priority.
That could be information (‘how do I improve my golf swing?’), a product (‘Callaway Big Bertha driver‘), or a solution to a known problem (‘best golf clubs to fix a slice‘).
Google, YouTube, Bing, and Amazon aggregate audiences with active intent.
Passive potential interest is present when someone is not actively looking for what you have to offer, yet they might be interested if they were made aware of it.
Combinations of demographics, psychographics, and explicit interests are used to identify these audiences.
Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and the Google Display Network aggregate audiences with passive potential interest.
A common myth is that there are two ways to create connection — Free vs. Paid traffic.
The truth is more complicated than that.
There are THREE.
A better way to think about connection is understanding that there are many ways to pay for access to audiences.
The most common are time and money or a combination of both.
‘Paid traffic‘ is the catch-all phrase for paying to access Google or Facebook audiences and inviting them to view your offer(s).
Google Ads (search and display), Facebook, YouTube, Bing, and LinkedIn all have paid advertising platforms where you can bid for actions (cost-per-click, CPC) or ad impressions (cost-per-thousand impressions, CPM).
Paid traffic also applies to affiliate marketing because money is exchanged for awareness.
It’s not uncommon for an affiliate to receive 50% of the revenue for every sale they make, for example. (Occasionally, more or less depending on the offer.)
The concept of ‘Free traffic‘ is a mirage…
It is more accurate to call it ‘Organic traffic‘.
It is still paid for but this time through you or a member of your team expending time and energy. And we all know that time is money.
Creating blog posts, articles, videos, and other methods of content marketing are effective methods for making first contact and deepening connection organically.
Google (search), Facebook, YouTube, Bing, and LinkedIn drive enormous organic traffic volume.
If you do it right.
Mastering paid or organic traffic on all the major advertising platforms is a monumental task.
The third method of making contact and deepening Connection is to use a Hybrid method of accessing these audiences.
By doing this, you straddle both worlds and benefit equally from each.
It is what I call ‘Integrated traffic’.
A very common mistake is to try to master more than one of these 3 at the same time.
It often leads to suboptimal results.
In my experience, you have to prioritise one of two platforms – Google (search and display), and Facebook – to generate new contacts and deepen connection organically because:
- Together, Google and Facebook reach an estimated 90% of Internet users worldwide.
- Google search is the world leader in active intent (accessible through its paid search platform, Google Ads, and organic search optimization).
- Facebook and the Google Display Network reach massive audiences that do not have active intent but may have passive potential interest.
How do you know where to start?
First, decide how quickly you want results and how much you can afford.
If speed is a priority, most people would recommend paid traffic (search, display, and affiliate relationships) as being the best choice.
Second, determine how you want to pay to make contact before deepening Connection. If you want to invest more time than money, consider either the hybrid or organic options.
Organic is all about creating excellent story driven content that attracts your peeps and builds relationships with them.
Hybrid is about integrating paid and organic methods to leverage both at the same time rather than just doing one or the other.
Third, how important to you is control?
Paid traffic can be turned on and off like a light switch. When it’s off, it’s off. You have no traffic.
Organic traffic takes longer to build momentum, has almost no granular control but you build long term assets which grow your audience in the process.
Hybrid traffic allows you to have the best of all worlds. Control + long term assets + community building too (more on that next…)
Fourth, how important to you is accumulating and acting on data?
Paid traffic platforms are ideal for testing ideas quickly, iterating toward success, and building audience-informed data in real-time.
New connections are fuel. Your business might be a finely tuned race car, but without fuel, it’s going nowhere.
Organic traffic allows you to test your offers before committing to paid traffic so you stand a better chance of reaching break even more quickly.
Hybrid traffic allows you to feed off both worlds to optimise your offers faster and more effectively.
Intent needs a lot more unpacking. It’s a (very) powerful lever.Okay, up next: Community.