Traction Channels: 19 ways to achieve growth.
In our very first funnel phase blog, awareness, we mentioned the 19 traction channels. Given the major role they play in generating growth, we all agreed they deserved a bit more attention than just a bulleted list.
Picture the scene. You did your research and ran your numbers, you have a product to kill for, a problem-solving offer the market wants and needs. One minor issue: absolutely no one knows it exists. Tricky, to say the least.
Oh, if only someone would have defined 19 traction channels to help you create awareness around your brand, right? We owe the biggest shoutout to Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, authors of the book Traction (Weinberg G., Mares J., Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, Portfolio Penguin Books, 2015), a lifesaving must-read. They dedicate a chapter to each of the 19 channels, along with five chapters explaining the bullseye method to identify the channels worth trying first to start growing with the right foot.
“This is what we call the 50% rule: spend 50% of your time on product and 50% on traction.”
1. Close up on the 19 traction channels:
Let’s cut to the chase and take a closer look at each one of them.
Referral, referral, referral. Get each one of your users to bring one or more users on your platform and watch a domino effect take place. Don’t forget to reward them every now and then.
2. Public Relations
Publicity, think newspapers, tv, radio, traditional media may sound old school but are still a thing and they can – and should- be used to ignite growth.
3. Unconventional PR
Think outside the box, everything that is unexpected, unusual, and yes, can get the media attention, it’s unconventional pr. Publicity stunts, viral videos, but also something known as customer appreciation, smaller actions, from giveaways to personalised messages, that make your customers say oh wow and ignite the word of mouth fire.
4. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Keywords, bids, everything that revolves around paid advertisement, buy your space and appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).
5. Social & Display Ads
You know those annoying banners that are all over websites and social networks? Love them or hate them, users cannot help it: they work their purpose and create awareness around the brand by being always where they are.
6. Offline Ads
Offline ads are still going strong, think billboards, newspapers. In their advertising forecast, Magna states half of the money globally spent on advertising, roughly 245 billion euros, will be spent online in 2020.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It means improving unpaid results. If done correctly, it will boost traffic, improve your website visibility, and ranking on search engines. Some easy, SEO changes will go a long way, we will discuss them in our next blog.
8. Content Marketing
What kind of content do users find on your pages? how’s the blog section of your website doing? Put some time and effort into it and see what happens. Hint: the better the content, the higher the engagement rate.
9. Email Marketing
Tools like Mailchimp or Activecampaign made email marketing much easier. Build a personalized email and set up an email automation flow to acquire new users, retain the existing ones, and eventually create a loyal customer base.
10. Engineering as Marketing
Build your own traction. If you have some engineering skills in your team, why not putting them to use?
11. Target Market Blogs
The concept is pretty simple, you want to be where your customers are, and chances are they are reading blogs within your target market, probably related to their problem or interest, they are on it and your product matches those interest and solves that problem, do you need any more reasons to start targeting those blogs?
12. Business Development
The concept is simple, work together with a partner to create awareness that will benefit both of you. Unity is strength, right?
13. Existing Platforms
You don’t have to build your customer base from scratch if you don’t want to, just borrow someone else’s. And think big: social networks, apps, online communities that built a following of users over time. It’s not hard to believe that with such big numbers comes an even bigger traction potential.
The focus here is on the process of creating a solid sales funnel, from lead generation, through customer relationships, all the way to conversions.
15. Affiliate Marketing
We could call this outsourcing, other companies get to keep a percentage if they sell the product for you, helping you get the leads you so desperately need.
16. Speaking Engagements
Speak up! Bring into play your public speaking skills, find opportunities, free or paid speaking gigs to talk to people about your product, and promote your brand.
17. Trade Shows
Time to steal the show! Trade shows give you the chance to meet your users face to face, showcase your product, seal deals, it’s your stage, use it!
18. Offline Events
Human nature brings people to be social and better respond offline. Your presence in an offline event can range from being a sponsor to organizing the whole thing, from a small to a large scale event, in any case, customers will associate your brand to a positive experience where they got to engage with you and with each other.
19. Community Building
Similarly to offline events, encouraging this social behavior will result in the building of a community of users. Believe in those relationships potential, encourage them, and watch your customer base naturally grow in a passionate community of loyal ambassadors.
2. The Bullseye Framework
As different as they are, these 19 channels share one thing: they all happen outside of your own platform.
How can you then use them at best? Should you use them all together? Absolutely no, not at the same time at least. Build a structure, prioritise, and in time you can try them all to see what works best for your organisation. Sounds complex but again, someone has been there before us and paved the way for us. How? The bullseye framework. It will help you order your ideas and identify the most promising channels for your business. How? It’s kid-proof, as easy as drawing three concentric circles in the shape of a bullseye. All you have to do next is follow these steps:
- Take a look at all the channels and think about how they could be used to create traction for your business.
- Take those ideas and rank them for each channel in three circles.
- The inner-circle holds your first choices, the most promising channels.
- The middle circle contains those channels that could potentially work.
- You can leave in the outer circle the real long-shots.
- The third step is to prioritise the ideas in the inner circle. Find your #top3, the three most promising ones, and start experimenting.
- As always, monitor the results. Use your One Metric That Matters to see if the channel is working as you want it to. You can look at reach, likes, shares, engagement rate, etc.