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How to build traffic for your Internet start-up

February 14, 2007

If you build it, will they come? If you have a great product, then perhaps – but that’s no reason not to have a traffic acquisition strategy in place.

In this week’s Media Week, Richard Eyre suggests that

The mood of the web now is that if it’s good enough, people will find it and share it.

Eyre also points out that:

The perfectly logical argument goes that old media owners have the competitive advantage of cross-promotion from old media to new. But each of the brands above [Yahoo!, Google,YouTube, Skype, Craigslist, eBay] has acheived its fame with no such rich uncle to get it started.

Ironically enough, Eyre himself made that very argument – that traditional media have a competitive advantage from cross-promotion – in his column about a year ago. Perhaps things have changed – or perhaps you do still need a strategy for traffic acquisition.

Over at Scoreboard Media, they have compiled a list of 8 Simple Steps to Build Traffic For Your Internet Start-up. Of their points, my favourite is Understand the Cost of Traffic. I’m always harping on about this – but my comments are often mistaken for a dislike of paid-search. It’s not that I don’t like paid-search – I’m just not sure why you’d want to drive traffic that you won’t retain and that that costs more you’re monitising it for.  I’ll leave the full rant for another day, so here’s what Scoreboard says:

4. Understand the Cost of TrafficThis is especially important for media and E-commerce sites. You should do everything in the early days to create a large traffic data sample. You need to know what it costs to generate specific types of organic search, paid search, email, offline, direct navigation, social media, etc., traffic. It’s impossible to create an intelligent monetization or brand strategy until you know what is coming down the funnel. Then you let the math dictate how you fill the funnel. As much as I love Search, sometimes renting an email list or running a TV spot yields a better converting audience cheaper. Math will prevent you from drowning in your own Kool Aid.

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