Reviewing the Traffic Funnel

This is a guest post by Duane Johnson:

Duane Johnson is the founder of Precision Diving and runs a scuba diving blog to help scuba divers improve their diving skills and enjoyment. He teaches recreational and technical scuba diving classes in the Chicago area. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @PrecisionDiving.

A while ago I took an instructor level specialty course. My instructor trainer just happened to be the owner of the dive store I was taking the class from. During a break from class, we started talking about how he could advertise his classes. His only advertising campaign was the yellow pages. After reading Nick Bostic’s reviews from DEMA 2010, it is pretty clear that many people in the scuba industry are not aware of how to optimize social media.

Online Marketing 101

To fully optimize your use of social media, you have to look at it as a funnel. The large, open end of the funnel is your social media presence. It is your job to drive traffic from all of those sources into the small end of the funnel. That small end of the funnel can be a class, a product or a group of products. The bigger the large end of the funnel, the more traffic you can drive your way. In other words, the more social media accounts you have, the larger your funnel.

The work comes from directing the traffic into the small end of the funnel. I’ve seen many online scuba retailers just blast away ads or forget to update one (or more) social media page. While many people expect you to display ads for your products and/or services, what they really want is to interact with you. They want to know what is going on in your small part of the planet. That is why they like your Facebook page and follow your Tweets.

I’m sure Nick here on New Scuba Marketing can help you drive the traffic through the funnel. So let’s take a quick look at some social media channels you can use to get the funnel opened up really wide.

  • Web site – This should be no surprise, but you should have a web site and you need to keep it fresh and updated often.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google the term if you don’t know what it is. In a nutshell, it is getting your web site to rank high in search engine searches. This should also be your long term on-line marketing strategy.
  • Social Media – Create accounts with the big social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, etc. These sites have thousands, if not millions, of potential customers.
  • Ads – Don’t just limit yourself to only a few ads on a select number of sites. Spread it around. You’ll be surprised how cheap you can buy ad space on scuba diving blogs. You can also try your hand with Google AdWords.
  • Impressions – Impressions goes hand in hand with ads. Even if a user doesn’t click on your ad, they at least see it. If that ad is associated with something they were interested in, they will remember your business, product, service or whatever you were selling.
  • Online forums – I believe that online scuba forums are starting to lose their luster in terms of marketing. But they are still a great way to get your impression out to your target market. If you choose to use online forums as a marketing tool, you’ll need to tread carefully. Many forum members don’t like dive stores that will just sell to them. They want you to contribute to the forum community rather than make money from it.

By developing the large end of the funnel, you will get more traffic to your business. Use social media, but don’t forget about traditional marketing methods get your business name out there. Online marketing does take work and shouldn’t be viewed as a cure-all elixir. By understanding how you can create your funnel, it takes much of the stress out of building your online marketing strategy.

Photo via Je.T.

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