The marketing and sales funnel is broken. It leads you to shove as many people as possible into the top of the funnel to yield some customers at the bottom of the funnel. While this may work, it's not the most effective method. Instead, get the most relevant prospects into the top of the funnel and they will yield greater sales, more loyal customers, and more rapid sharing.

At MixedMade, we're fortunate to be part of the entrepreneurial and food communities. Part of our mission is to inspire potential entrepreneurs to launch their business, hence the transparent sharing of our journey in our blog. This is a community we are proud to be part of, but our product isn't directly relevant to that community. Our interaction with that community results in relatively few sales.

By comparison, Grub Street, a site focused on restaurants and food, featured our Bees Knees Spicy Honey. In less than a week, the article drove traffic resulting in almost 95 orders, not to mention dozens of inquiries for wholesale orders! This represents is a real boost in our typical online sales. Our product is relevant to the food community, which is why the Grub Street article generated many sales and inquiries.

So how can you get the right traffic to your business?

1. Compare Successful Similar Businesses

It was no mistake that Mike Del Ponte led one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever with his Soma water filter. His team spent weeks methodically preparing to reach the right audience. Their secret? A few clever tricks to figure out how similar successful products reached the right audience, such as using Google image search to see which blogs had shared that image the most, and using virtual assistants to determine the most influential (but relevant) media list. This was followed by a militant focus on that outreach. Lucky for you, they opened up their playbook for everyone to see and use.

2. Ask Your Customers Where They Hang Out

If you're not talking to your customers already, start right now. If you are talking to your customers, you should have a good idea of where they hang out (online, that is). Are you involved in those places? Do other people who hang out there know about your offering? Think social media, blogs, forums, and Q&A sites. Your customers also hang out with prospective customers, so ask them to provide a reference or spread the word.

3. Build Genuine Relationships with Influencers

When was the last time you helped a complete stranger? When was the last time you helped a friend? You need to make friends with the key figures in your community. You should build mutually beneficial relationships, and help them do their job more easily. For example, offer a journalist some great content or a unique angle, rather than begging for coverage. It pays to be methodical. The startup Groove outlined its plan for reaching influencers that garnered 5,000 blog subscribers and hundreds of customers in just five weeks' time.

If you get the right traffic, you'll acquire a much richer prospective customer base, which will result in more sales and customers. If you connect with your community and influencers, you might be able to get a lot of the right traffic, and you might just win big.

Want more? Visit our startup journey blog at mixedmade.com.

Published on: Sep 11, 2014