Free Traffic may be the ghetto of marketing but is it dead?

Free Traffic may be the ghetto of marketing but is it dead?

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Image courtesy of user Tim Olsen. Click for more.

Free Traffic is the Ghetto of Marketing.

It is. That’s why I chose it in the first place.

If you think that’s a bad thing you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the American ghetto has birthed into American culture. Not just the black ghetto either.

Our art, poetry, songwriting, it doesn’t come from people who aren’t in pain. And the more money you have, the less acute your pain is. I’m not picking on the rich. I own two businesses and though I’m broke from time to time I haven’t been poor in years.

To get back to the point, I wanted to help the most people. And the people who needed the most help. Those people are doing searches for free traffic, how to increase my visitors, or increase web traffic, not digital marketing consultant.

Most people won’t look there for prospects, customers you can start with when they’re small and grow with over time. At least they didn’t until they saw me make a business out of it in 2002.

Great things come out of the poorest parts of the USA. Take for instance, hip hop.

There are five elements of hip hop culture; MCing, DJing, Graffiti, Dance and Knowledge.

These days most people are only acquainted with MCing from listening to rap artists on the radio.

There’s so much more to it, that if you isolate your experience to that single element, much of the experience is lost. In my opinion, ignoring the other elements is how we got from 90s hip hop to the mainstream rap music of today, which so many believe to be empty, meaningless, violent and misogynistic.

What could that possibly have to do with digital marketing and free traffic?

 

Image courtesy of Flickr user Clarice L. Click for more.

Oh everything my friend. Everything.

Most likely due to how I was educated when overseas, I believe in the interrelation of disciplines. It’s why I think it silly to use social media tactics with no reference to an overall digital marketing plan. And why I believe that it’s a given that digital marketing isn’t the only marketing in the world – the world outside the internet has to play into a marketing plan as well.

This point, injected into any discussion of online marketing smacks of ignorance to me what sane person thinks that you never have to pick up a phone, network in person or meet clients to maximize your profits?

Even people with fully digital businesses occasionally attend conventions, summits or trade shows, and participate in conference calls or talk to clients on the phone.

But I digress.

The point is that I had a revelation in November that put such a strong pause into me that I have not added a post to that site since then. Yes, I’ve been ill, struggling with a condition I have on and off, but that usually doesn’t make me completely stop posting.

Eventually my entire writing life went on a tangent.

Image courtesy of Flickr user DennisM2 – click for more

That revelation was I hardly ever talk about what this site was supposed to be about anymore;

  1. free information about all traffic methods,
  2. free traffic and how to get it
  3. what to do before you get started, and,
  4. how to proceed after you’ve exhausted all those options.

I used to have forums, free giveaways, downloads, a series on free traffic. When I started out I used to update three to five times a day, and was listed as a top resource long before blogging ever went mainstream.

Indeed I was one of the people who insisted that blogging become mainstream for business, if for no other reason that I envisioned a world powered in the background by RSS.

That didn’t quite come to fruition. Browsers, especially internet explorer, implemented RSS in a way that made us closer to what should have been background technology, instead of farther away. Chrome should come to your site, know it’s a blog by the presence of the feed, and offer your visitor some kind of alert.

The browser should open on a page that then has all your feeds that you accepted organized neatly in a sidebar or an optional configuration of your start-up page. Instead, our start-up page is Facebook or Twitter if you’re really smart.

I digress again.

But here’s what my revelation led me to realize.

Image Courtesy of Flickr user Ben Stephenson – click for more

If I’m not writing about what this site is supposed to be about, I’m usually writing content that my colleague read.

Which is great. Love my peers, the crew I run with is made up of some of the smartest people, with an amazing level of integrity to boot.

As a result of that I started having a conversation with myself. For months and months.

It went around in circles, centering around three points.

1- Most people believe that free traffic is dead. In other words, most people truly believe that if you aren’t spending a fortune on your digital marketing, it isn’t going to work.

As a digital marketing consultant and producer of ebooks and video guides on how to get free traffic from various internet resources, it could easily work to my detriment to talk about this idea. By the will of some, I should keep my tips to myself and let us all make more money off the ignorance that prevails.

But I’m one of those change the world do-gooders. I can’t know that I can help and not help. I’m not bragging – I brag about a lot of things but this one is mostly just annoying to the people who know me. It brought me to this second thought.

2- If they don’t believe it works, why am I writing about it? What is the point of my site? I simply could not afford, mentally or financially, to start this site back up again, and make any attempt to bring it to its previous level of popularity, if I had not intentions of writing about what could help entrepreneurs bootstrap themselves from free traffic to the next level.

3- If I’m not going to write about free traffic, why not just take to my two other sites from now on?

People believe in reputation management and microbusiness tips. I’d have an especially good results writing about resources and tips for disabled entrepreneurs.

Why not indeed.

Again, I’m too much of a do-good type. I put a lot of work into this site. It helped a great many people who come here even when I don’t write much of anything for up to a year at a time.

Then, about a week ago, the answer became so very clear to me.

Make. Them. Believe.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Bala Sivakumar – click for more.

I could do what DJs do after they play a new song the crowd isn’t feeling. Reach into the crates and pull out something classic that you know this crowd will love.

While I was writing content that was more relevant to my colleagues than my customers subscribers, I wasn’t only neglecting the topic that brought people here (with the added complication that many of my internet marketing peers and digital marketing freelancer/consultant colleagues ARE customers).

In so doing, I’ve also abandoned why I used to write those topics, the thing that made me come alive, the thing that made me love my business so much that I’d forget to socialize, or during daylight, even eat.

I stopped writing about things that I was doing to increase my own web visibility, because I didn’t indulge in my favorite thing anymore. It’s hard to juggle enterprise level clients And experiment with new techniques, then record what I was doing and how I did it.

Social media, search, video, mobile – these are things that were a chore to me, extra stuff to do after I made the clients happy. I find someone else who looks like they might be on the same path and I share their stuff on social media, lazily curating instead of creating.

Like an emcee that can’t freestyle.

If I was going to pull an LL Cool J though, I’d have to address it all.

So what to do? The answer was simple.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jon Elbaz – click for more

Have fewer clients.

Get more help.

Like the true hip hop artists I admire? Go back to doing my thing. For the LOVE. A place I could get back to with Knowledge of Self.

Leaving me with only one final reservation I’ve been back before. I even retired once because I thought my health would be too poor.

So this time I’m going for broke. This resource ascends to its former glory or I’ll let my partners sell this place at a handsome asking price.

And I’m not one to sell my baby.

In the next post, we’ll talk about what the foundations of a working digital marketing system are – you’ve seen this before, but not at this level of intersection and detail. And not with the easy to remember tie-in to the five elements.

"How Can I Move the Crowd?" The Classic Hip Hip Route to Increasing Your Visitors
7 Days of Marketing Awesome- My 1st Homage to #MPB2B (and @Pistachio)

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