Crank Up the Heat: Traffic Temperature 101

We all know that in marketing, we have the best chance of success when we can put the right message, in front of the right audience at the right time.

Understanding traffic temperature will help us craft that perfect message.

TRAFFIC TEMPERATURE is basically a way that we can categorize different traffic sources and the relationship that we have with the prospects from those sources.

You’ve probably heard people talk about warm leads or cold leads…this is basically the same thing.

Traffic temperature comes in three stages;

  • Cold Traffic
  • Warm Traffic
  • Hot Traffic

Our ultimate goal is to try and get as much hot traffic as possible so let’s start there and work our way backwards.


These are people that know who we are, know what we do and we already have some sort of relationship with them. These are our customers – the folks on our email list.

What do we know?

  • This is traffic we own
  • The relationship is built
  • They know, like and trust us
  • We have direct access – meaning we can reach out to them anytime we want
  • It costs us no extra cash to contact them

What does this look like?

When I was signing people up for one of our training webinars – the first thing I did was notify the people on my email list. These people know me and the quality of the work we do, so the messaging was really simple …

“Hey Joe – Mike here from Black Dog. Hey long time no chat – hope things are well with you. We’ve been slammed for the past few months turning our internal client attraction methods into a reproducible process and we’re going to be teaching it next week on a LIVE webinar … you need to check this out.”

It’s like a message from a friend.


These are people that know who we are and have checked us out. Maybe they read some of our blog posts or skimmed by the site, but they aren’t customers and haven’t been added to our list yet.

What do we know?

  • This is traffic we can control
  • We have a semi-relationship
  • They know of us, but not deeply – they haven’t committed yet
  • To get more traffic, we will have to spend more money

What does this look like?

About 6 months ago we ran an expert interview series where we interviewed 9 successful pet business owners. On the backend of that series we sold a program. To fill out the series we ran Facebook ads – but instead of using my picture which would make sense, when talking to the hot traffic (because they already know me) – I talked more about the experts because the experts had more value to the audience than I did.

So they know about me but now they see that I’m associating with big-time industry leaders. It makes the offer more compelling.


This is the traffic that we don’t control. We don’t know who it is, where they’re coming from or what their experience is. This is usually the worst converting traffic and we don’t have much control over how it comes to us. This is your SEO, blogging content, social media, etc.

What do we know?

  • Not much
  • We have very little control over when and where we get it
  • We don’t know anything about them
  • Our goal here is to qualify the traffic and move up the temperature scale

What does this look like?

When we were pushing the registration for the webinar, we received a lot of traffic to our site, blog posts, etc., so we tried to get users qualified as quickly as possible. We used a series of sidebar ads to lead magnets and popup windows to see what type of content the users were into.

This traffic was the lowest converting of any. That’s exactly why I’m not a huge fan of blogging and social media for small businesses. It’s too unpredictable and there are a lot of different factors that determine how much benefit you’ll get out of the work. 6-month lead time on SEO…forget it! I can create an ad in the morning and have 100 clicks by evening.

For my business … I used to pay marketing assistants to blog and do social media for me but I’ve found that I can get 10X the results by investing that money not in salary, but in traffic.

Now that you understand the three stages of traffic temperature, it is time to crank up the heat and TURN COLD TRAFFIC INTO HOT TRAFFIC ASAP!

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me how you have moved traffic up the temperature scale?

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?

The 3 Must-Know Rules of a Successful Sales Funnel

We’ve spoken about this before but in case you’re new around here… let me give you a quick primer on the almighty sales funnel.

Sales funnels or marketing funnels are just graphical representations of the relationship that you have with your customers or prospects. Your sales funnel maps the journey of your prospect into your business from Prospect to Lead to Customer.

There are three main stages to a marketing funnel:

  • Stage 1: Awareness
  • Stage 2: Engagement
  • Stage 3: Conversion

Ok back to the show…

Just like a relationship between you and your significant other… sales funnels have rules.

So when we have marketing that doesn’t work… it’s usually because we broke the rules.

So let’s do something a little different and talk about the rules. If you know the rules – you can go back to any failed marketing campaigns that you’ve EVER run and see why they weren’t as successful as you hoped.

Cool? Awesome. So let’s dig in.

Sales Funnel Rule 1: We Have To Start At The Beginning

We can’t enter a relationship in the middle it just won’t work. If you’re at a bar and somebody you don’t know walks up and says “Will You Marry Me?” – you don’t even know this guy’s name – that’s not going to work out very well and that’s exactly what a lot of people do with their marketing.

“Hi, my name is Richard… Wanna buy some stuff?”

Don’t do this… Don’t be a Richard.

The Solution: Be cool and introduce yourself first. Our goal with our sales funnels is to have our online relationships follow a similar path to our offline relationships.

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Sales Funnel Rule #2: We Can’t Jump Stages


You can’t go straight from Stage 1: Awareness to Stage 3: Conversion. Well, that’s not actually true. You can do it, and most people do, but your results will not be great.

If we go back to our dating analogy, that would be like getting married after the first date. You may hear a random story here and there about it but for all practicality – that won’t work either.

The Solution: Engage with the user before you ask them to buy something. This is often called “nurturing” the lead.

How do we do that? Easy… Just be nice and ask questions.

  • Get to know them.
  • Find out their likes and their dislikes
  • What they really want in life
  • What drives them absolutely crazy
  • What challenges are they currently trying to overcome

After all of that, if you feel like what you have to offer will help the end user… by all means – Take the relationship to Stage 3 and make them an offer.

Sales Funnel Rule #3: We Can Speed Up The Journey

This is my favorite rule of all because I’m a huge fan of “hacking” systems and trying to figure out where the balance is between efficiency and overall results.

By understanding the rules and what is needed to proceed from one stage to the next – we can speed up the journey that our customers take through our funnel.

This is where the challenging part kicks in… What is required to move a user through YOUR sales funnel is most likely going to be different than what is required to move a user through MY sales funnel.

To take this even one step further – for a given company that sells multiple products, the journey might need to be different for each product.

For example: My business, Black Dog Marketing, sells a variety of marketing training programs and “Done For You” marketing services. They range in price from $7 up to $50K+/year.

The journey that my prospects take before they buy a $7 video-based training program is drastically different that the journey a prospect takes before they are eligible for my private coaching.

Guess which one takes more time?

I’ll give you the answer next time but for now…

It’s Your Turn

Use the comments field below and tell me about how you nurture your leads and get them ready to buy from you.

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.

Why You Need A Sales Funnel In Your Life …

Warning: This “F-bomb” Can Triple Your Business This Year

If you’re interested in growing your business and have been looking for a solution for any amount of time, you’ve most likely heard somebody drop the “F-bomb”.

That’s right … FUNNEL. (ha … see what I did there ;))

All kidding aside, if you aren’t using lead generation and sales funnels in your marketing – you’re throwing out a lot of time, energy and resources in your marketing efforts that most likely isn’t giving your much of a return on your investment … am I right?

What is a Funnel?


A funnel (aka marketing funnel, lead generation funnel, sales funnel, etc.) is nothing more than a graphical representation of the customer lifecycle as a customer travels from prospect to lead to customer in your business.

What Does a Funnel Look Like?

Funnels can be laid out vertically like a traditional funnel with prospects entering at the top and customers coming out the bottom or they can be laid out horizontally with prospect entering the funnel on the left and customers popping out on the right.

Whichever option you prefer … both will allow you to track your visitors journey.

Why Is This Important?

The reason funnels are so important is for one reason and one reason alone …

Gut feelings are great for choosing who to date or what lunch special you’d like to try today but for marketing … we want to make marketing decisions on actual, real-life data.

Let me give you an example:

Life Without A Marketing Funnel:

Statistically speaking – only 2-3% of people that visit your website will ever buy from you. If you run a retail location that mean that for every 100 people that walk in your front door – more than 97% of them will continue to walk out without breaking out their wallet.

I don’t know about you but for me … that is totally unacceptable. I’m going to market and advertise to get 100 people into my store and only two will buy? HORRIBLE.

The problem is .. without a funnel in place where we are gauging the customers interest along the way, we have no way of knowing why the 97% of the people won’t buy.

Maybe they’re just tire kickers.
Maybe they didn’t like my prices.
Maybe they didn’t like the re-heated fish I had for lunch

Nobody really knows for sure so any changes we make to our marketing strategy are going to be guesses based on gut feelings and nothing more.

That is NOT the way we want to run a professional business.

Now let’s take a look at life with a “general” marketing funnel and see what we can learn.

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Life With A Marketing Funnel

Let’s say you run a local pool supply company and you are trying to kick off some killer summer sales with a large display in the front of the store for oversized, inflatable rubber duckies (don’t ask me how I know about this)

Seems like a pretty good plan because as a pool supply company (or any other company as far as that goes) the hardest part is landing the new customer – once you have them you can always upsell and cross-sell them with additional/related products and services and just generally win them over with your spectacular customer service.

So let’s take a look at what that funnel might look like

New Customer Sales Funnel Example:

Step 1: Customer walks into the store (thanks to the 4’ tall rubber duck in your front window)
Step 2: Customer looks at the rubber duck display
Step 3: Customer grabs their own rubber duck and puts it in their shopping cart
Step 4: Customer heads over to the checkout line
Step 5: Customer completes the purchase and goes home to inflate their ridiculously oversized rubber duck.

To understand the magic of the sales funnel we aren’t going to look at the actual steps, we’re going to look at the gaps between the steps because this is where the customer is making their decisions. This is where they are deciding if they are going to continue the relationship.

Let’s say our numbers looked like this…

Step 1: 100 people
Step 2: 90 people
Step 3: 10 people
Step 4: 4 people
Step 5: 2 people

Here we still have the same 2% conversion rate from prospect in step 1 to customer in step 5 but now we have more data to understand what is happening in their heads.

Here are three useful elements that we can pull out of this example:

  1. 90% of the people that came in the door looked at the giant rubber duck display. That’s great! So it would appear the Giant Rubber Duck in the front of the store is doing a good job of gathering attention.
  2. Only 10 out of 90 people that saw the display actually put one of the products in their cart. This could be an indication that there is a disconnect between the user liking the product and wanting to purchase the product. The price could be too high. The quality may be low. Obviously if they’re in our store we can just ask them about it but even if we’re online only – this gives us two different options to test.
    1. Test 1: Lower the price and see if you can get more people to purchase.
    2. Test 2: Order a similar product from a different manufacturer and see if you can find one of better quality.
  3. Of the 10 people that put it into their cart … only 4 actually made it to the checkout line with it. Again, if it is a physical store you can just keep and eye out ad ask users. If not, we can come up with some additional things to test based on the reasons people would put something back after adding it to their cart.
    1. They talked themselves out of it
    2. They though it was too pricey
    3. etc.

So you see by having your funnel steps clearly identified, as long as you are tracking your numbers, your funnels (and sales), should always be increasing because there will always be additional items for you to test.

The really cool part is … when you track your data like this – there is no such thing as throwing marketing dollars away. Everything you do is a trackable test – your conversions either get better or worse and when you test one thing at a time – you know exactly what made the difference.

Now It’s Your Turn …

I’d love to know if you are already using sales funnels or marketing funnels in your business. Use the comments below and let me know if you’re currently using funnels and how they are working for you.