TRAFFIC: The Lifeblood of Your Marketing Funnel

Chances are, you wouldn’t spend months planning an elaborate wedding with fancy decorations, a rockin’ band, 3-tier cake and enough food to feed a village – and not invite any guests. Sounds a little senseless, right?

It would be like crafting a genius marketing campaign for your business, and not introducing it to a crowd of prospective clients. Again, pointless…  

It doesn’t matter how good our marketing plans are built – if nobody sees them, they just aren’t going to be able to do what we need them to do.

Finding some awesome traffic sources is the solution to that dilemma.

Before we get started though…lets run through a quick definition of the term traffic to make sure we’re all on the same page.

Traffic is defined as: Any and all sources, both online and offline, that can be used to get YOUR MESSAGE in front of YOUR PERFECT CLIENT.

Here’s the thing that we need to get –


We talk about the marketing funnel all the time but if this is your first experience with it…let me give you a quick Reader’s Digest breakdown.

A marketing funnel is just a graphical representation of our visitor’s journey through our marketing process – from a Prospect, to a Lead and hopefully all the way to a Customer.

The funnel has three stages in it and each stage represents a phase of the relationship we have with our customer.

Stage 1 – Introduction and Awareness

Stage 2 – Evaluation

Stage 3 – Conversion

Right now, we’re talking about traffic and putting our message in front of our perfect customer, so we’re really focused on the top section – Stage 1 Introduction and Awareness.

There are literally thousands of different traffic sources that we could use here, but who’s got time for that? We’re all busy professionals, incapable to doing them ALL (and I know there’s probably some of you that have done this, right? Trying to be on all the social media channels – and you end up going nuts trying to keep up.) We don’t want that – what we really want to do is find a couple of really awesome traffic sources and focus our time and energy there.


There are actually 2 criteria for great traffic sources.

#1. Appropriate

We need to find the traffic sources that get us in front of our perfect clients – obvious!

#2. Reproducible

We need that traffic source to be reproducible. Meaning that we can go out to this traffic source anytime we want and get more traffic.

It is #2, the reproducibility of the traffic that allows us to scale our customer acquisition up and down as need be. This is what gives us the first of two major WINS in this type of system – CONTROL.

Now that you know why it is vital to focus on traffic when building your marketing funnel, it is time to start testing which sources work best for attracting your perfect client.


Use the comments section below and tell me what traffic sources have worked best for your business and why?

4 Marketing Research Techniques That Give You An Unfair Advantage

So if all great marketing is customer-centered then it makes sense for us to really understand as much as we can about our best customers. Enter marketing research.

If we know what makes our very best customers tick… then we can identify and speak to those particular traits or challenges in our marketing which should attract even more awesome customers.

We do this by filling out a buyer persona (also known as a client avatar).

Our personas include information like:

  • demographics
  • goals and values
  • challenges and frustrations
  • etc.

The internal checklist that we use for our private clients has 62 questions that we ask to give us the best possible view of the client’s perfect customer.But the question often comes up…

Where do I get this data? I don’t know all of this.

That’s actually a great question because the chances are… you aren’t going to know all of this or maybe even some of this so that’s why we’ve created this post on Buyer Persona research techniques.

Below are 4 techniques that you can use the next time you update your buyer persona(s).

Buyer Persona Research Technique #1: You Are This Person

This one is probably the easiest of all…

So if you’re a 45-year-old married woman with 2 kids in high school, 2 dogs and a handful of other small animals and that’s your you target market…


You can answer the questions yourself. You know intimately the pains, fears, struggles and frustrations that your market has because you have them too.

If this is the case I would recommend looking for at least a little validation but my guess is … if this is you, you probably have friends in the area that match those criteria as well. #amIright

Pull a friend or two aside just to get a few different perspectives. This can be done by inviting a friend or two over for a get together. Grab a few beers or crack open a bottle of wine and they’ll be telling you way more than you probably want to know by the end of the night.

So research technique #1 – you are that person. Answer the questions, get a few different opinions to validate and you’re good.

Buyer Persona Research Technique #2: These Are Your Current Clients

If you love your current clients or even a subset of them, use them as your frame of reference when you’re working on your buyer personas. The best bet here, just like above, is to use multiple people when creating the avatar.

If you do it based on one person, the challenge that you come up with is that one person could be an anomaly. What we want is we want to have a larger data set.

The more people that you can use the lower the margin for error is.

Let’s say you have 10 clients that you love and if you could find 10 more just like that you’d be a happy camper.

If 8 are female and two are male – go with the odds – I’d call it a female. If most are in the 30-45 year-old range but you have a few 55’ers in there – that’s ok but for your persona – I’d keep it at 30-45 right – we want to stick with the majority.

Does that make sense?

Technique #2 – These are your clients. (or a subset of them). Use a large enough sample size to minimize the effects of anomalies or outliers.

Buyer Persona Research Technique #3 – Interview Somebody

If you don’t have anybody in your current client base that matches the criteria for your perfect customer – Find somebody that does match the criteria and interview them.

QUICK NOTE: If you’re interviewing somebody where you don’t have a pre-existing relationship – there’s a limit on what you can ask them.

You’re probably not going to probe too deeply into their financials, their sexuality, their fears or any other topic that are sensitive to that person but remember – we just want to get in the ballpark so if we focus on non-sensitive demographics like pains, frustrations, beliefs, as our source of info.

That will still get us an awesome amount of data.

Like all the rest, try to get more than one person to minimize the effects of anomalies or outliers.

Last but definitely not least…

Buyer Persona Research Technique #4: Guess

I know I’m the last person that you would expect to hear that from since I always preach data, data, data… but you know what – sometimes the data isn’t there.

It’s not like we’re putting on a blindfold and throwing darts at a wall, we’re talking educated guesses.

And if we assume that our guesses will get us in the ballpark, we just know that we’re going to have to update our buyer personas a little quicker than everybody else because this is obviously … the least accurate of all the methods.

So there you have it. 4 buyer persona research techniques that will help you gain powerful insights into your very best customers and give you the ultimate unfair advantage over your competition.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me when was the last time you updated your buyer personas?

5 Building Blocks of Your Perfect Buyer Persona

If you’ve been with us for any amount of time you know and I know that all good marketing is customer focused.

The more you know about your best customer, the better you can communicate with them and the faster you can escort them through your funnel.

The best way to identify your perfect customer is by creating what we call a buyer persona or a client avatar.

Your Perfect Buyer Persona is physical representation of your perfect customer.

Your Perfect Buyer Persona

Each buyer persona is unique and will look different depending on who is creating it but there are some core consistencies between them.

Your Perfect Buyer Persona is going to include the following 5 elements.

1. Demographic Data

Demographic data is probably the easiest to find because it’s everywhere. Just because it’s easy to get, however, don’t underestimate its power. How you “talk” to a baby-boomer is going to be drastically different than how you “talk” to a millennial.

Demographic data includes things like …

  • age
  • sex
  • marital status
  • where they live
  • do they have kids

2. Goals and Values

With Goals and Values what we’re really trying to find out here is what is important to them? What do they want out of life?

Some questions you might ask here include:

  • What is important to them in their personal/professional life?
  • What does success mean to them?
  • What types of causes do they support?

3. Challenges and Frustrations

This is an interesting category because a lot of times a user’s challenges or frustration may not be directly related to the product or service we are offering but it’s still great information to have.

Even if our product/service isn’t directly related – we can still use this information in our marketing message as an analogy or example to elicit the response we’re looking for.

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4. Sources of Information

Sources of information will tell us two different things.

  1. It provides us with more information about their likes and dislikes which we may be able to use in our marketing message but more importantly it tells us.
  2. where to hang out to find other people just like them.

As an example: If I know that my perfect customer is a business owner that likes to read my local Business Journal – the chances are that other Business Journal readers would also be a good customer for me. So … When my funnel is complete and I want to drive more targeted traffic to it .. A great place for me to start would be in my local Business Journal.

If I knew that my perfect customer was a construction worker that listened to Sports Talk Radio all day – I’d probably want to put my message out in that medium.

Make Sense?

5. Objections and Beliefs

Last but definitely not least is Objections and Beliefs. This is where we find out how Your Perfect Customer feels about your market or industry.

Here’s a great example: I’d say that at least 75% of the people that contact us here at Black Dog Marketing have had a negative experience with a previous web developer.

Crappy skills, no communication or many time – flat out not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Because I know this … I can talk about how we DON’T do this in my marketing message.

In essence I can answer the questions that my prospect is having in their mind before they ask it. If I can handle their objections early on in the conversation – then there is nothing distracting them from receiving my message.

Realistically, we may not know all of this and that’s OK but as marketers (and if you are a small business owner you’re a marketer) our goal is to find out as much as we can.

Here’s an example that we got from Shopifynation.

Sally The Dog Owner


Statement: “Ever Since I was a kid I’ve had a cat or a dog in the house and I don’t think I could live without my pet. As I’ve become more aware of the nasty ingredients in pet food, I’ve started to shop more carefully for other pet products as well as learn what I can do to make my home safer for my pet.”

Buzzwords: Pet Friendly, organic, natural, antibiotic-free.

Mannerisms: I am positive, I love to live life and to be inspired. I have an appreciation and respect for animals.

My question for you …

Do you think if I knew this about my target market that it would change how I spoke to them?

The pictures that I use?

The words that I use?

You better believe it! So if you don’t already have at least one buyer persona for your business … do that now.

If you already have one … this would be a great opportunity to dig it out, dust it off and update it accordingly.

Now it’s your turn …

Use the comments box below to let me know if you have buyer personas for your business.