If I were to ask you what's limiting your growth, you'd likely tell me traffic was the culprit. If you had more traffic, you'd make more sales, right? Actually, low traffic is never really the problem. It's merely the byproduct of another problem you haven't been able to see. Take a look at four invisible problems that'll limit your selling opportunities and how to correct them.
Problem #1: Your ads aren't convincing.
Solution: Write better ads.
Do your ads speak to what the customer actually cares about, or do they speak only to what the customer ought to care about? You're an expert in your business category. You can't think the way your customer thinks because, frankly, you know too much.
Have you given your ad writer explicit permission to push you beyond your comfort zone? A good ad writer will often ask you questions you feel are irrelevant. "You don't understand," you'll say. "That's not what matters. This is what matters." And you'll convince your ad writer to write irrelevant ads.
When it comes to ad writing, naiveté is a virtue. The best ad writer doesn't know any more than your customer knows.
Open the Yellow Pages and look for a plumber, a heat and air conditioning contractor, or an electrician. Most ads will tell you how many years the company has been in business, that all the company's technicians are highly qualified, or that the company's committed to fair and friendly service. But these are the answers to questions no one was asking. Today's in-home service customer has one major concern: Will they be here when they're supposed to be, or will I have to sit around all day waiting?
The fastest-growing service company today was built on a single selling proposition: Always on time or you don't pay a dime. If we're not there within one hour of the time we promised, whatever you need is free.
Do your ads speak to the need of your customer, or do they answer questions no one was asking?
Problem #2: Your ads aren't reaching your prospects with sufficient repetition.
Solution:Focus your ad budget.
Most business owners spread their ad budgets across a wide variety of opportunities because they don't want to leave anyone out. The result is that their ads reach too many people with too little repetition.
The longer your product purchase cycle, the more repetition your ads will need to drive traffic. How often does the public buy what you sell? An ad for groceries will generate traffic more quickly than an ad for refrigerators. Do you sell jewelry, appliances, dentistry or home services? Focus on the same small group of people each week for 52 weeks, and become the provider that pops into their head when they finally need what you sell.
Problem #3: You're selling the same thing to the same people in the same way.
Solution: Expand your business model to appeal to a new category of customers, or begin selling your current customer base an additional product or service.
It's often the most successful businesses that complain the loudest about low traffic, because they're not growing like they used to. Focus is a double-edged sword. Has the same focus that created your initial success now got you bumping your head against a glass ceiling? You know there are more customers in your product category; you just can't seem to get them in the door.
You're going to have to expand your definition of "your customer." There's not an infinite supply of the customer profile you've been targeting. It's likely you're going to have to sell products you would've preferred not to sell.
Problem #4: Your reputation has slipped, or your product is no longer viable.
Solution: Reinvent yourself and become relevant again.
Would better advertising have saved 8-track tapes, or was it simply a technology whose time had come and gone? The marriage rate is declining in America. So why are jewelers surprised that engagement ring sales have declined? The problem isn't with their ads, their schedules or their self-limiting styles of selling. The problem is with the marketplace. Is your marketplace changing beneath your feet? Move with it or risk falling down.
Would more traffic increase your sales volume? I at least guarantee you'll generate a lot of it when you find solutions to these four problems.