Acquisition, or acquiring visitors to come to your website, can come from many sources.

Some of the current sources of visitors include:

  • Organic search (people who come to your website from a search performed on Google or another search engine)
  • Paid search (people who come to your website from a paid advertisement on Google Adwords or other advertising engine)
  • Direct (people who type your website URL in directly)
  • Referral (people who come to your website from a link on another website)
  • Email (people who come to your website from a link in an email)
  • Social (people who come to your website from your social properties)

Some things to think about Traffic Sources (Acquisition)

  • people with courses to sell will tell you which traffic source is best and of course that will be the traffic source they are selling the course for
  • organic traffic is not FREE … you may not pay for the “click” but you do have to pay in both time and money to optimise your website and its link profile to obtain high rankings in the search engines

A Warning About Traffic and Ownership in General

Any one traffic source can be taken away from you overnight. Google can close down your Adwords account, Facebook can close down your Facebook account, a change in search engine algorithms can see your site drop out of site.

In fact, one of the key things to consider with an online business is ownership rights. You really want to be developing assets that you own and not rely solely on rented assets.

Do you own your Facebook account or Facebook business page? The answer is a very clear NO. You are only renting property from Facebook and if you break their rules they can take it all away from you without any recourse from you.

Do you own the hosting server that your website is running on? In most cases,the answer is NO if you are renting a space on a shared server or renting a dedicated server.

Make sure you own and develop your own assets that no one can take away from you. That means things like:

  • ensuring you have control of your domain name registration
  • ensuring you have control of your website source code and database
  • ensuring that you develop an email list
  • ensuring you have backups in place of everything

It also means don’t rely on a single source of traffic for your business. If that single source of traffic dries up or is taken away from you, then no traffic means no visitors means no conversions means no business.

While diversity of traffic sources is therefore a key to removing this risk to your business, it does not take away from the need for traffic source mastery. There is no value in having 5 sources of traffic if none of them convert into sales.

Every traffic source requires a unique funnel to match it….and even within each traffic source there may be multiple types of visitors coming through that require different handling within your sales funnel.

Let’s define the stages of a sales funnel for you. Here is a simple model based on the old trusted sales process called AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action)

AIDA Sales Funnel

The traffic coming to your website could be in any of these stages. Depending on your business model and sales funnels processes you will attract the traffic at the stages you need and can afford. Brand advertisers like Coca Cola have very deep pockets for advertising and all their advertising is aimed at the awareness level … keeping their name in your face.  But this type of advertiser cannot gather accurate assessments of how effective their advertising spend is.

Most businesses cannot afford this level of advertising spend and need to know what return they are getting on their spend.  The only advertising style appropriate for most businesses is direct response advertising which is measurable.  That is…we need to know that if we put $1 into advertising then we will get $10 back in returns. So, while a Coca-Cola can afford not to know exactly what return every ad promotion gives them…we as direct response marketers do need to know.  We need to match our sales processes to be in line with the propensity of the visitor to make a purchase.  The lower down the funnel a person is .. the more effort, attention and marketing dollars we can afford to spend on those people.  People just looking for information who are not ready to buy yet .. we need a lower cost, lower effort approach to serve those people..who may one day become potential customers.

Think about these different people who are searching on Google Search network:

  • how can I solve my problem about xyz
  • what is the best solution to my problem about xyz
  • reviews about xyz solutions
  • xyz solutions fact sheet
  • buy xyz solutions
  • xyz solutions
  • xyz

Each one of these search phrases tells us about a person’s intent and where they are in the sales funnel … whether they are near to the top of the funnel, in the middle or down the bottom and close to purchasing.  Factor in the length of the sales cycle for your product … is it a $5 quick decision purchase or a $500,000 6 month purchase decision cycle and you can start to see that we need to take a segmented view of our traffic and sales funnels.

A Quick Note About Statistics

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

As direct marketers we need statistics … but we also need to ensure we are using them correctly. Averages lie. Our approach is to segment everything. For example, if we had two products, one making $50,000 profit and the other one making $50,000 loss … statistically we are making $0 as a business.  This is correct … but as marketers we need to identifier the two individual products … see that one is profitable and one is a loss maker …ask the question can the loss maker be turned around? If not, then kill the loser and focus on the winner … straight away we’ve become a company with a $50,000 profit.

Segmenting allows us to identify winning combinations to focus our attentions on and losing combinations that either need work done to improve or cut them completely.

Back to Traffic Sources (Acquisition)

So even within a single traffic source there can be many groups of people in different stages of the sales funnel process. There is no value in landing someone who has never heard of you before straight onto a high ticket item sales page … just as there is no point landing a quick purchase decision small ticket item searcher onto a sales process that is too long.

Some key points to remember

  • develop diversity in sources of traffic … but only do so after mastering each one (don’t try and make 10 different traffic sources all work at the same time)
  • within each traffic source there can be multiple different segments, each with their own needs.
  • match the tone and language of the traffic source ie if attracting traffic from Facebook.. do it in a more social and light hearted way than you would if you were writing an article for a professional association magazine.
  • develop “owned” assets … in the case of traffic sources, email lists still rule (no one can take your email list away from you as long as you have backed it up!!)
  • match traffic sources with sales funnel stages…ie if a person is doing research then give them information, if a person is doing product reviews then give them product reviews, if a person is ready to buy show them the way to make a frictionless purchase.

“Traffic Sources and Sales Funnels needs to match together”


What works for one traffic source, does not necessarily work for another traffic source. There is no one size fits all answer.

Definition of the word “frictionless”

Think for a moment … how many websites have you visited with all the intention in the world of making a purchase at that moment from that business … but their sales process…their sales form..their checkout…made it too hard to buy from them .. so you just clicked away and purchased from somewhere else. Those websites had “friction” which stopped you from making a purchase. A key optimisation of the sales funnel will be to remove as much friction from the sales process as possible .. making it easy for customers to make a purchase once they have decided to do so.

The best current example of frictionless is Amazon Kindle book sales.  I find a book I like … I hit the 1-click-sale button … the book is now on its way to my Kindle reader on my phone … boom…all done with just one click, no need to enter any information.

Don’t make it difficult for people who have made the decision to buy….in the online world they will within a few seconds be on someone else’s website making the purchase with them and not you.