Sam and his family decided to move west to create a new life for themselves. So he hitched his two horses to his only wagon.
Then he filled the wagon with sacks of food, blankets, tools, and other supplies.
He piled pots and pans into the wagon, and they banged together a bit as the horses took the wagon over ruts in the path.
Remaining excited about their new life, Sam and his family traveled for several weeks, through hot sunny days and cold windy nights. Sam knew roughly where he was headed, but he was also open to finding the perfect spot. He figured he would “know it when he saw it”.
They passed through several other camps where there were already a lot of people. But he didn’t want to try to make a stand where others had already staked a claim.
And they passed through some barren lands too; but he didn’t want to be totally out on his own either. He needed something in the middle.
They finally arrived at a green meadow near the edge of the woods. There were two other families nearby, but not too nearby. And the most important thing was right there: a watering hole with fresh, clear water. Sam had found the perfect place.
Their family started building a log cabin and setting down roots. They planted crops and got some chicken eggs to hatch. Everything seemed to be going along really well.
Until… the watering hole dried up.
It happened over night. One day there was water. The next day there wasn’t. And despite waiting around for a week or more, it never filled up again.
Sam had put all of his money and all of his hopes on this one source of water. And when it dried up, he was left with nothing. They had to pack up everything and move away. They had to start all over.
Sam had learned his lesson, and vowed to be sure there was more than one source of water when they started rebuilding. He didn’t want to leave his family without any hope again.
Putting all your hopes in one “basket”
As you may have guessed, this story illustrates what happens to people who put all their hopes in one “basket”. In Sam’s case, his basket was that one watering hole. For some other people, it might be just one type of investment vehicle.
For marketers, that basket could be one source of traffic.
Look, I know there are plenty of people who will tell you that, for instance, “pixeling” and “retargeting” is the absolute best way to get traffic. And maybe they are right, in certain circumstances.
I know there are people telling you that you can use retargeting to create the perfect audience for your ads. It’s like the gold rush.
But you never, ever want to be at the mercy of one type of traffic. I know you know this. But I also know that many marketers don’t actually do something about this until it is too late.
What’s your one source of traffic? In which “basket” are you placing all your hopes?
The reality is, if you rely only on social media, your Facebook account can get shut off. If you rely only on SEO, Google can change the search algorithm. If you rely only on Google ads, they can change their criteria.
Gone – overnight
Not only that, but just like what happened with me, they can retroactively change the criteria, and decide that even though there was no rule six months ago about optin pages, now there is; so your account will get shut down today, for something you innocently did six months ago.
No matter how effective your retargeted lists are, you don’t own them inside Facebook. You could have 55 different custom audience segments of people that visited this blog page, that product page, your About page, the sales page, etc. You could have this segment of people who took the upsell and that segment who didn’t.
If your ad account gets shut down, all those custom audiences are gone. Overnight.
If you rely on third parties to help you get traffic – which most marketers need to do, at least to some extent – you simply must diversify.
You see, when people complain that they have a traffic problem, I just don’t understand it.
You don’t have a traffic problem. With paid traffic, you could go to Google, to Bing, to Twitter, to LinkedIn… You could buy banners. You can retarget, or use AdRoll. You can do solo ads…
There are infinite possibilities for getting traffic.
That’s why I say that traffic is never the problem. You could spend $20,000 on different sources and buy yourself some traffic, as long as you have a great funnel in place.
Just don’t depend on one source for your traffic. Or else, like Sam, you’ll be standing there, looking at your dry watering hole, wondering what you should do, now that there’s no more water flowing…