Let’s Build a Predictable Traffic System by Molly Pittman shows you how to build a paid traffic system that lets you acquire customers at break-even or less. It begins by focusing on architecting a solid funnel where you take people from simple visitors all the way to multi-buyers.
This one is very similar to her Paid Traffic Mastery, the major difference is that she uses two companies as an example to simulate the process—she’s not actually working with them. Also, she gives step-by-step campaign plans for various stages of the funnel.
The following notes from Let’s Build a Profitable Traffic System by Molly Pittman are meant to be very concise, reminding me of high-level concepts and not trying to recreate the whole course. This summary is basically a bunch of notes and lessons paraphrased or quoted directly from the course and does not contain my own thoughts.
• Traffic is essentially visitors to your website, and paid traffic is essentially buying visitors to your website.
• Think of paid traffic as a water hose, you can turn it on and off whenever you want, so if you’re buying the traffic and it’s not doing what you want it to do, you can turn it off. Also, you have control of where it’s going based off of your business’s needs.
• Think of organic traffic as rain—you’re never sure if it will rain or not:
- You aren’t sure when traffic will come and how consistently.
- You can’t stop someone else from shutting it off. If Google or Facebook makes an algorithm change, you could lose all of that traffic because you have absolutely no control.
- You can’t control where it’s going. If other sites are linking to you, you don’t really have control of which pages the traffic is being directed to and when.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have it. Organic traffic will build as a residual effect of paid traffic campaigns that you will run. Organic traffic will build as a residual effect of paid traffic campaigns that you will run. When DigitalMarketer started, organic traffic accounted for 5% of their overall traffic; now, it’s about 50%.
• It’s important to understand the visitor intent (why are they visiting your website?) and the customer journey (at what touch point are they in terms of their relationship with your business?) when thinking about traffic.
Why are people visiting your website? and, in what sequence?
• When people think about website traffic, they think that it’s way different from day-to-day interactions. A consumer’s online behavior works the exact same way as his or her offline behavior.
• The customer value journey is the journey that a customer takes through your business from awareness all the way to promoter. It is all the steps that people take as they get to know your business a little bit more.
• Most businesses have a product/service and think that they can just run an ad directly to people who’ve never heard of them before and ask them to buy—they’re asking for marriage without even dating.
On the other hand, there are businesses that keep “dating” and never ask people to take action. These businesses keep providing value over and over but never actually ask people to buy—they get stuck in the friend zone.
• The role of marketing is to move prospects and customers seamlessly and subtly through each stage of the value journey. Traffic is simply the road between the steps of the value journey.
• There are generally eight steps in the value journey:
• When applied to traffic, the Value Journey consists of multiple marketing campaigns that work together to move someone from “aware” to “promoter”. Ideally, you want to have a campaign for each stage that subtly hands off to the next stage, so you want to think of it almost as an assembly line where one campaign is leading into the next one.
Most businesses have only one campaign that’s not working because they’re trying to generate leads and sales, and where they’re running traffic to people who’ve never heard of them before.
• A marketing campaign consists of:
- Content (the vehicle): This is the vehicle that moves people from stage to stage. Content includes all the assets that you’ll drive traffic to.
- Traffic Source (the road): This is the road that the vehicle is driving along from stage to stage.
• Traffic temperature is the way you’ll talk about audiences that you’re going to target with your ad campaigns. There are three kinds of traffic temperature—as the relationship builds between a particular audience and your business, the traffic temperature of that audience will also increase:
- Cold: These are people who have never heard of your business before.
- Warm: Think of these people as acquaintances, so these are people that you’ve met before; maybe you’ve had one or two conversations but you haven’t gone out or had dinner together, yet.
- Hot: These are people that you know very well. They have purchased from your brand before.
• The traffic system is made up of multiple campaigns, and each campaign is going to have a different and specific objective because each campaign makes up a different stage of the value journey. Here are a few possible goals that you might have for your traffic campaigns:
- Introduce you to people who have never heard of you before (awareness).
- Convert via entry point offer (acquisition).
- Sell a higher dollar offer or repeat purchase (monetization).
• As you start new paid traffic campaigns and scale existing ones, it’s important to think about how your prospects and customers are finding you and how you can best position yourself in front of them.
• You want to have at least three traffic campaigns launched that make up your traffic system—one campaign for each traffic temperature. This doesn’t mean that you can’t launch more campaigns—a campaign for every stage of the value journey.
• There are four elements of a traffic campaign. These elements will look slightly different and convey different messages depending on what stage in the Value Journey your prospect is in:
- Scent: You want to ensure that the ads you create are congruent with your pieces of content.
• You can’t talk about paid traffic campaign without talking about content. You’ll focus more on the Engage, Subscribe, and Convert stages of the value journey in terms of content creation because that’s where you’ll generate new leads and new buyers.
• Ad copy is the articulation of the hook. The hook simply means the “why”, so why should someone care? Why should they take whatever action you’re asking?
• Your copy should explain why your offer—the pieces of content—is something that the market wants, not that it simply exists! Just because you exist doesn’t mean they want to click. You have to convince them and give them a reason why they should click. You also need to have a reason for disrupting them because, on Facebook people, don’t ask for your stuff.
• A great sales message simply articulates the shift (a.k.a. transformation) from a “before” state to an “after” state. You want to articulate how what you’re asking people to do going to transform them in some way. You should fill out a Before & After Grid for your company as a whole, and also for each offer or piece of content that you create.
• Your goal is to reach the avid segment of your market that actually wants to buy your product/service. You can build the best ad campaign, but if you put it in front of the wrong audience, it will fail. And if you don’t test enough audiences, you might get a false positive/negative.
• If your market permits, you want to create at least five ad sets, as long as they’re still relevant, for your cold traffic campaign—these don’t have anything to do with lookalike audiences.
• The creative is the image or the video that you’ll use as the visual representation of your message. It should:
- Convey the message—so much more important than color: You need to think about how to create an image or a video that says the same thing as your ad copy; this is because some people are going to read, while others are going to just look at the creative.
- Stand out in the newsfeed: You want to do this without being annoying, so you don’t want to use bright colors or anything crazy to catch people’s attention.
- Be “on brand”: Even if you don’t have a brand or never created ads, you want to make sure that there are some similarities between all of your visuals so that when people see ads from your brand, and they’ve seen you before, they’ll have an ad recall.
- Play off of associations with an existing visual in our culture: You want to leverage visuals that already mean something to people in order to shortcut getting your message across.
• Ad scent is the congruency between your ad and the piece of content that you’re sending traffic to. You have to make sure that those two are aligned; when people click on your ad, they have to get what they’re expecting on the destination page.
• You have to maintain consistency between:
- Design/imagery: If you’re using a picture of a human in your ad, you should use it on the destination page.
- Offer: You want to offer on the destination page what you said you’ll offer in your ad.
- Copy: A lot of times, your copy should be words and phrases that you pick off from the destination page.
• Every Facebook campaign has three tiers: the campaign, the ad sets, and the ads. At the campaign level, you have to decide what objective you’ll use, and the objective of the campaign is based on which play you want to run.
Within each campaign are ad sets, and this is where you’ll define your targeting, placements, and budget. Each ad set will contain a different audience.
The third tier is your ads, and these are the actual ads that people will see. This is where you’ll test your ad copy and ad creatives.
• After you launch a campaign, do not touch it for at least 3-5 days because that’s the amount of time that Facebook needs to optimize your campaign.
• You want to create anywhere between 2-6 ad variations within each of your campaigns—if you include too many, Facebook will not be able to optimize for the winner because they’ll be too many to choose from. The variations can take on many forms, so you could test six different copy chunks with the same creative, or you could test two different copy chunks with three different creatives, etc.
• Not only will you test the ad copy and ad creatives, but you also want to test multiple ad sets (i.e. targeting groups) to see if one can generate a much lower cost per lead or cost per click.
• The budget will really depend on whatever you feel comfortable with. For cold ad sets, it’s recommended that you start with at least $10 a day for each ad set, so you would have ad sets which could be $50 a day, and you would run tests for at least 3-5 days which would mean an initial investment of about $150.
• Before you figure out what to do to either fix underperforming campaigns or scale well-performing campaigns, you have to figure out what’s going on.
• Turn off every ad set that is low is not necessary. You’ll only turn off ad sets that are not under your benchmark—they cost you more money and are not profitable. For example, if your benchmark for Cost Per Lead is $7 or lower, then you’d want to keep an ad set that costs $6.99, even if the rest are costing you less than $1. Sometimes, they all win.
• For the Relevance Score, anything that’s 4 and above is good; if it’s below 4, then you should question whether your targeting is off or if your copy just isn’t resonating with the audience.
• Frequency will make sure that you’re not showing the ads too many times. It shouldn’t exceed 10, and effective frequency is around 7. This is a good metric to look at to see if your audience is getting tired.
• You want to check in and analyze your data every week so that when it’s time to go troubleshoot, you’ll know which areas really need optimization, and which areas are going to make the biggest difference in your campaign if you improve.
• If you’re looking at your success metrics, and you’re not hitting the goals you need (e.g. you’re not seeing a positive ROI, your CPL is not where you want it to be, your CPC is not where you want it to be), do not panic! Most traffic campaigns fail right off the bat, and that’s okay. You’re running these campaigns to get data, and then optimize to get the results you want.
• Scaling is what you do when your campaign is working and you want more of the same results.
• You can scale vertically by increasing your budget, which lets you show your ad to more people in a particular ad set. You can scale horizontally by taking the ad that’s working and showing it to more people by creating new ad sets that target different interests or different lookalike audiences. Or you can do both at the same time.
• If you’re able to boost conversion by 50%, it means that you’re cutting down on ad spend by 50%, which lets you allocate funds elsewhere.