wrote a friend of mine on their Instagram story. Shouting it out to the world was interesting..
I privately dm'd him, "How much money did it make you?"
This is the part where you're supposed to hear, "Well I normally make $1000 a month, but now we're up to $4-or-$5,000 dollars"
Do you know what his real answer was?
"Oh, zero dollars. I'm doing experiments and haven't monetized".
This kind of stuff drives me crazy guys! We've done it before in the past as well and it just feels bad to sell hype.
The truth is that getting tons of traffic or multiplying your current traffic is something we might as well refer to as number porn or social media bait.
This Wolf of Wall Street marketing is 99.9% fake created to draw you in and sell you. So why do the masses still engage? Well my answer according to Occam's Razor is, wishful thinking.
I'm going to lead by example.
In this post I'm going to show you Logic Inbound's hyped-up traffic on its blog versus what our qualified traffic looks like.
Test 1, Ranking Keyword: "How to Contact Instagram"
Although our article on this high-volume keyword is ranked high on Google, we couldn't find a way to monetize it other than just running Google Ads on it.
As a test we decided to include a banner ad for Shopify in this article, to see how many people would click on it and sign up for a Shopify trial.
The test was successful in that we got lots of clicks - 126 - on the ad a month. We don't get that many clicks from all of our ecommerce articles combined.
That's great! You might say to yourself, but let's look past the hype: clicks and traffic numbers are useless if you aren't getting an increase in ROI.
So we checked how many people actually signed up for Shopify after clicking the ad on the Instagram article.
Only 3 out of the 126 clicks lead to trial signups.
Compare that to 24 people who signed up from 113 clicks on our ecommerce articles, and you can see why quality and intent matters when it comes to traffic.
People who read our ecommerce content are looking for ecommerce solutions. People who go on our Instagram article are not. And that's the difference that absolutely matters.
How Traffic Numbers Lie
Our Instagram article gets 60,000 hits a month.
Our ecommerce content - combined - gets less than 5000 hits..
Yet when we get down to the brass tacks we get 5 times more conversions from 12 times less visitors!
Now Vlad, you might be telling me, can't you find other Instagram-appropriate niche items to sell to the 60k-hits page? Well smart reader it's true, I'm all ears to your solution. We're an agency though and our niche is much closer to Shopify than random products and services.
Besides, we did this experiment to show you how traffic volume and those hyped up social media posts are bull shit.
I personally love the quote "those who can't do, teach".
Traffic Numbers and SEO
You might ask, if we're not looking for traffic and rankings what are we looking for in a good SEO campaign?
All this leads me to my next post and how we are now at an 80% quarterly client success rate vs. a 33% success rate in the past.
Today we measure our clients' success based on one thing and one thing only: conversions and ultimately, money made.
If your marketing campaign isn't making you money and is ONLY getting you eyeballs, then you might as well pay for 4chan traffic or Instagram ads outside of the US. Hell, spend that money on margaritas and go have a good time, quit wasting it on marketing.
The truth is that most people (marketing companies included) hate doing the hard work and digging deep to find out what metrics really drive a campaign's success.
They'd much rather jump from crypto, to e-commerce, to the next billionaire story because they don't believe in the grind-it-out hard work it takes to make a business succeed.
The reason marketing companies most people hire for $500 or even $1000-a-month rarely move the needle (I'm not saying you can't win the lottery) is because digging deep takes a lot of work and expertise.
This is why we charge what we charge at our agency and custom scope everything because everyone has different profit margins, target market, competitors etc.
As a business owner you're left with 3 routes if you want to succeed:
Keep testing as many cheap companies as you can until you get lucky.
Actually pay the money it takes to pay a qualified expert who can show you they have proven results in your niche.
Learn how to do key marketing components yourself before you outsource it.
1. Testing Cheap Companies that Promise the World
If you're paying a company $1000 a month and they make you $100,000 dollars, or 1000% ROI, you're:
- Going to get a lot of new competitors quickly that will reduce your margin
- Getting a massive price increase from your marketing company next month (they most likely priced your campaign wrong internally and made an amateur mistake)
- Being played, since the company you hired is doing a blackhat campaign that may soon get banned or slapped by whichever method you're exploiting (hopefully you don't get sued)
- Getting lucky and actually have created a viral product aka won the lottery in which case you overpaid the cheap marketing company you hired.
Most of the time marketing companies charging $1000 or less for a campaign tell me that they're learning from their clients. Meaning they don't know what they're doing and that their clients aren't getting anything, every single time I talk to them.
I can't blame them though, because $1000 a month isn't enough for anyone to put enough work to learn the nuances of your business. Even $2000 can be a stretch unless you structure that very carefully.
2. Actually Pay the Money it Takes to Hire a Qualified Expert
Our agency charges a minimum of $3000 a month (right now - we raise prices yearly) and even that is cheap.
The reason? We try to generate at least a 300% return (we can't make promises) on our marketing campaign.
This means that $3000 x 12 months would be a $36,000 yearly spend. If we get you a 300% return we just made you $108,000.
The beauty of going down this route is that if a company has succeeded with a previous client in your industry with similar competitors, then this route can have a very high return on your investment with fairly low risk.
The downside to going down this route is that if you don't do your homework on the potential company you're hiring it can turn into a horror story. We just took on a client who hired a fake SEO for a campaign and they spent $10,000-a-month that was essentially wasted.
Make sure you get biweekly reports/meetings set up if you're going down this route. This will also help you learn the marketing channel you're investing in just in case things get sour.
I'd even recommend potentially throwing some bait questions if you sense red flags.
Ask the marketing company you're about to hire if they can implement a Facebook ad campaign knowing that Facebook ads in your industry are suicide. If they don't turn that down, then don't trust them because the world has enough greedy spammy marketing companies.
We've turned clients down on SEO many times before because sometimes a campaign doesn't make sense and will just set everyone up for failure. (I'll write a post on this later).
3. Learn How to Do the Business Growth Yourself
If your company is making less than $1 million in revenue yearly then I recommend this route a majority of the time. Getting to that $1 million revenue mark will be able to help you hire a quality marketing agency or team.
The beauty of this method is that it will:
- Help you learn more about your industry
- Not make you dependant on anyone
- Get customer feedback to improve your product/service.
The hard part of this approach is that it takes a lot of work. Currently our agency is on track to do over $1 million this year, and we did over $500k last year.
I'm working every single day while my family, friends and love life are all suffering (luckily I'm blessed with their support). It takes a lot of discipline, but it works and really helps you level up as a business owner.
Note: If you're going down this route I'd highly recommend reading Traction by Gabriel Weinberg
Best book on business growth and traction I've read and I listen to 1 Audible book a week.
So anyways guys, that's it for today and those are some of my not-so-popular hard thoughts on the agency/marketing world and how to grow a business. As always feel free to comment down below and I'll help when I can