No more “driving traffic” for me

You’ve heard it a million times. The secret to success online is driving traffic – without it you are sunk.

I say that’s nonsense.

I’m growing weary of many of the trends and terms associated with Internet Marketing including the the consistently misleading driving traffic myth.

Who wants to be driven anywhere?

The suckers (you and me) that have bought into the driving traffic hype have made a good number of supposed guru’s rich because, as wide eyed and willing guinea pigs just enough of us (not you or me of course) struck it lucky and kept the rest of us excited enough to keep digging for “traffic gold”.

Driving traffic has been sort of like the lottery in that respect. All the guru’s need is a few success stories to keep the masses emptying their wallets.

Sure, I use a few tools to help spread my message as efficiently as possible, but there are no magic buttons you can push to become a success online.

Here’s my theory:

Fewer websites matter now than they did ten years ago – and the list of sites that actually matter is getting shorter not longer. The skill of driving traffic is becoming irrelevant quickly.

That may seem like bad news, but it’s not if you are a using common sense in your online business efforts.

You don’t need a huge following or even steady stream of traffic to succeed online. It’s nice to have these things, but just like in the “real world” very few people achieve success using a trick or a secret tool.

I’m done being driven or driving anyone anywhere on the Internet and whether you realize it or yet or not, so are you – as is everyone else. The game is drying up.

Internet prospects typically know what they are looking for, and they go find it from sources they trust. They spend the vast majority of their “surfing” time on the same handful of sites. The wow factor of the Internet is fading. Virtually no one is randomly surfing from site to site looking for something random to purchase.

Banner ads, interruptions, and pushed/forced advertising of any kind is a dying institution online just as much as it is in the “real world”. As anecdotal evidence I have a serious question: Have you bought ANYTHING as a result of a Facebook ad? Advertisers are spending money every time you see an ad, but you aren’t clicking or buying are you? I didn’t think so (and that’s supposedly “cutting edge” – give me a break).

You may find this hard to believe, but I do VERY well in my businesses online while not relying on any of the traditional marketing and advertising tactics that you (and nearly all of your friends and neighbors) are already instinctually ignoring. My students and readers are taking the same approach.

Stop learning “traffic tips” and start building something real.

Some examples of what I teach and endorse currently:

1. Many success stories are as simple as deciding to hang out where the crowd is already hanging out (i.e. eBay, Amazon etc.) and giving customers what they already want and need. Getting an advantage here is easy. The crowd is ready to buy.

2. Find a little niche and delight your fans. You don’t need SEO, driving traffic skills or any other ninja skills in order to create great content and engage your fans. If you can get 10 strangers online excited about what you do, you are onto something huge – build on it by delighting them, engaging in conversation, and creating content to attract more followers. That’s not driving traffic or SEO – that’s being a leader.

3. Take your basic skills OFFLINE and help businesses apply the basics. (offlinebiz.com teaches you these skills)

Check out SilentSalesMachine.com for more ideas along these lines.

Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment using the link at the top of this article.

  • http://www.iwantcollectibles.com/ Terry Gibbs

    I clicked on some online ads yesterday. I was comparing prices for dog anti-barking collars. Oddly one of the ads was on an Amazon page for a product that was about $50. The ad led to a page with a similar product for $100!

    Driving traffic is backwards. It’s “ATTRACTING PEOPLE.” Note that I said PEOPLE rather than TRAFFIC.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Marketers that forget they are dealing with REAL PEOPLE and not “TRAFFIC” are already at a disadvantage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimorronline Jim Orr

     Dead on again as usual. Here I thought it was just me. I do not recall ever buying anything I found from an online ad. 

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      There was that one time I just couldn’t pass up that “lose 160 lbs in one week ad”…it really worked! I used to weigh 330 -wish I had a before pic.

  • Anonymous

    I sincerely appreciate your honesty! Thank you.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Thank YOU for reading!  ;)

  • http://wayneostanila.com/ Wayne Stanila

    ‘Affiliate Marketing’, ‘Driving Traffic’ & etc.is something I have been chasing for years.

    I know you have been discouraging that biz model for some time now but for me it has taken some time to sink in. Even with the success I have had with your ‘pec & pac courses’ I kept trying to become a ‘super affiliate’.

    Time to quit wasting my money and my time.

    Thanks Jim for your continued guidance and support.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      I was stuck in that mind set for a long time as well…

      Even some of the “guru’s” I trust the most and learn a lot from are coming out with BRAND NEW products showing you how to drive traffic to affiliate offers for the same old saturated niche markets (wieght loss, income opportunity, relationships and the always thrown in “dog training” niche etc.). There is money to be made, but you’ll face a steady onslaught of incredible competition and you’ll be running full tilt to stay ahead. No thanks.

      Build a real business instead.

  • whitestar

    Guess I have tried about all of them, Affiliate Marketing, Driving Traffic, Building Websites, ect., ect., ect. Put in a lot of long hours, money and work, with very little profit (if any) to show for it. About a year ago I decided to get back to the basic of when I first started (9 years ago) trying to generate an income online. I’ve always had very good success selling physical products thru websites that already have  the traffic, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, ect.. Now this business model I focus on 100% of the time.

    Jeff

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Always good to hear from you – your progress is inspirational!

  • http://www.vintagemotorcyclesparesaustralia.com/ Taharaherbfarm

    Makes all sense to me. I don’t like pop-up ads when I am working on my online business and I don’t normally click on the ads on the side. If I want something I use Ebay and Google.
    We have a small niche and work on a good relation ship with our customers.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      no one likes to be in the herd. I don’t want to “herd” my customers either. I want to work with smart, slow to decide, loyal customers. Sounds like we are on the same page.

  • Eric

    I couldn’t have said it better myself; only as succinctly and honestly as you have Jim.

    Thank you.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Brevity is the soul of wit. I have at least half that…

  • MsLaughOutLoud

    Thanks for telling it like it is!  I so appreciate it.  You’re right – I tend to ignore almost all ads on the internet.  I use Google to find what I want and go directly to those sites.  Everything else is just clutter to me.  We are bombarded by so much junk and clutter, that they no longer have much of an affect on us.  It’s all background noise, so to speak.

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Thanks Ms. Loud (can I just call you “Laugh”)?  ;)

  • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

    Thanks for the good word John-

  • Janet Montgomery

    Hi Jim, I was led to your site via my Masterclass with John Thornhill (which by the way – so far I’m thoroughly enjoying).  I took notes on your post, bookmarked you and plan to come back for some more thought provoking information.  I’m a novice so I’m taking it all in but I want to thank you and let you know I’ll be back!

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Thanks for leaving a post – I hope you find some great ideas on my blog, and here’s to much success online!

  • http://twitter.com/Sellerzon Sellerzon.com

    This article has truly left me a little confused…I have read and learned so much about the whole driving traffic to your site and SEO, backlinks, White Hat, Black Hat, all that Mumbo Jumbo. So you think it is a more a matter of just word of mouth? Doing what you do and doing it well and hope to attract a small following and build off it with good content and engaging conversation? How does that translate with getting your site higher in the page rankings? Are you saying focus on the content and building your site more grass roots style and the page rank will come? My business Partner and I are working on something big and was planning a big Marketing Push based off of SEO type stuff…I’m confused how best to plan to get are name out HELP lol

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum

      Sorry to confuse…not sorry about challenging some of your assumptions however.

      To be clear I don’t endorse the over simplified strategy of “doing what you do and doing it well” as you put it as the ONLY strategy for getting attention online.

      Do what you do well, and create great content and THEN…

      … add to that the constant pursuit of powerful partnerships (who has the audience you wish you had? Partner with them!) Set about finding audiences that are eager for what you have to offer. Grow your email list by leaps and bounds as you find creative ways to create 3 way wins. Read other articles on my blog in the “finding customers” and “Leadership and Influence” and email marketing sections. Great content alone won’t do squat for you (unless you are REALLY lucky).

      Now let’s talk SEO…
      You can hire the best of the best SEO experts on the planet, pay them to do their chants and work their magic, and wake up one day on page 39 of google just like the guy that deserves to be there…because his content sucks and you tried to “fool” google…both offenses get you slapped. The only “SEO” you truly need is other respected sites linking to your stuff (which will happen if you have good stuff). If you get that, and you have good content,
      and you have good partnerships, google will love you, your audience will
      love you, and you won’t need any “tricks” that have random success rates
      even in the best “SEO” shops.

      • http://twitter.com/Sellerzon Sellerzon.com

         thanks for the “direct” response it is refreshing and much appreciated, I will read the other articles thank you very much!!!!