4 Simple Ways to Lose Traffic and Build Your Business

Guest post by Erika Napoletano from Redhead Writing.

Aside from the fact that you’re staring at this post’s headline with a healthy dose of WTF right about now, it’s 100% true. How often do you think about what you’d give up in order to get more?

And in many cases, it’s not even about more. It’s about better. More loyal. More committed.

We’re going to talk about four ways that you can – starting today – lose traffic to your website or blog, yet still come out ahead in the long run.

Clean Your Room

You are a dirty (dirty, I said) little social media user, aren’t you? When’s the last time you cleaned out your Twitter account? Purged your Facebook friends? Took a really long, hard look at your LinkedIn connections.

Your audience should make you proud, plain and simple. If you haven’t taken the time to clean out your audience, how do you know who’s really there? Sure, you can automate some of these tasks with monitoring tools like TwitSweeper – a service that scans your Twitter followers for spam and blacklisted accounts each week and sheds the riff raff automatically – but the onus is on you. Think like a kid on this one: If you have so many toys in your toy box that the lid won’t even close, who are you going to get to the ones you really want to play with?

You can’t. Because they’ll have fallen to the bottom of the box.

Cultivating and curating your audience is a neverending obligation. And by ditching the wrongs, you make room for the rights. The people you truly want to develop relationships with.

Loss: People who aren’t really customers or never will be.

Gain: Space for real fans and time on your end to spend with them.

Quit Acting Like You’re Walmart

Quit acting like you're Walmart

You do not have something for everyone. I promise. This is a short point, but great businesses are built because an audience knows how to use that business. Walmart is great if you want to go fill your cart with piles of crap, heave that crap into the back of your car, and then heave that crap into your house.

Don’t make your audience heave and haul crap from place to place. When you take the time to admit what it is that you love, what offers you the smartest profit margins, and makes you smile at the beginning and end of every day – that’s what you should be focusing on.  The people who wanted to heave and haul crap? Sure, they’ll go away. But the good news is you’ll have a lot more time to spend on the audience who will gravitate toward who you are and what you do…and that’s because people who get what you do will refer you to people who need what you have to offer.

And then suddenly, being Walmart doesn’t matter anymore. You’re a specialty bistro.

Loss: Time wasted on trying to serve people things you don’t love serving. People who don’t really know what they want and don’t understand enough about you to bring you more loyal customers.

Gain: Focus. Fans who know who your brand is and what it’s all about so they can hand-deliver more people just like them to your doorstep.

Have an Opinion

If you’ve ever stopped by RedheadWriting, you know I’m not afraid to have an opinion. It’s time to stop thinking that having an opinion is bad.

When’s the last time you went to a dinner party and everyone around the table agreed on every single topic discussed? It’s the same way with brands and their audiences. We won’t always agree with our customers and customers won’t always agree with us. But great brands are willing to take a stand and abide by a certain set of beliefs. People will fall by the wayside – but that’s just it. They’re people. They have their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Just like your very human brand.

Don’t believe me? Think of one (just ONE) wishy-washy person in your life you’d be willing to throw yourself in front of a train to save. (Aside from a relative…) You want to cultivate an audience for your brand that will throw themselves in front of trains for you. And wishy-washy just doesn’t get that type of fan in your corner.

Oh, and I might as well tell you now: You’re going to tick some people off along the way. It’s okay. Because by ticking them off and sending them away, you’re keeping the ones who truly matter and eventually, attracting more people just like them.

Loss: The fear you’re going to offend some folks (because you are). The people who are easily offended by who you and your brand truly are. The people who never really liked YOU in the first place.

Gain: People who share similar views and even when they don’t respect you and your brand for putting it out there.

Say No (duh)

With everyone crawling out of the woodwork saying that Pinterest is social’s destination-du-jour, maybe your brand should be the one saying no. Maybe you should say no to Twitter. Quora. Facebook. Honestly, maybe the only place you should be is LinkedIn or perhaps an industry-specific forum in addition to your blog (do you need a blog?).

The beauty of our business climate is that it’s ripe with choices. It’s also a time- and soul-sucking curse. It’s time you say no to outlets that don’t serve you or your audience. And if you’re afraid of the 38 users you might miss on Pinterest by focusing on your 3800 Facebook fans who chat, share, like, and promote your brand and result in conversions, I’ve got news for you. Those 38 people? They’ll still be on Pinterest if and when you decide it’s a good move to spend your time there. And if they’re not, well – no loss, really.

Saying no in the social realm is something that we must get better at in business. It’s okay to while away the hours on one site or another sharing funny images and whatnot, but our businesses deserve a definitive NO. By walking away from outlets that don’t serve you OR your desired audience, you can stop being a follower and become a leader.

Which is why I’m betting you went into business in the first place.

Loss: Tendonitis caused from a wicked case of Helium Hand (you know, saying yes all the time). Audiences who aren’t interested enough in you or what you have to offer to understand where YOU live and hang out with you there. Audiences who probably aren’t very committed to a platform to justify your investment in it – especially if it’s the Next Big Thing.

Gain: Smaller audiences that will – if they’re committed to you, find you in the places you do spend time. Time to focus on the outlets that mean the most to your brand and audience. A greater understanding of your brand and its audience, as you’ve listened to who they are, what they want, and where they live enough to know where you’d be best off spending your time.

Images by: leg0fenriscode poet,

  • Thank you for this post. I never knew about the TwitSweeper application. I knew that there were ways to remove spammy users, but I have been looking for a more effective way than look through my followers list and then click block or report for spam.

    As for Pinterest, I agree with you. I’m working on a blog post (starting now) about why Dust Bunny Mafia is no longer on Pinterest. I recently read an article that said when you post a pin to Pinterest it has the right to modify, change, and create a profit from that image specifically,
    which includes creating items based on your pin. As a creator of an illustrated based brand, I should be the only one allowed to do that or at least I should be in control of making items based off my characters. Pinterest shouldn’t be allowed to make something based off my characters and get away with it, if that were indeed the case.

  • After reading to many blogs from people who won’t admit that the new Timelines aren’t very friendly to small business owners who are not very tech savvy and can’t afford much, the type of person I serve, simply because they know that it just means more money for them, I was thinking how grateful I am for you. One of the few honest, tell it like it is professionals. Thanks! I agree with you 100%

  • Years ago, I took a shot at running my own business. Being new, I worked hard to please everyone. I’d bend over backwards for one person, then another, and another. A handful of people really appreciated it (my superfans). Others, took advantage and couldn’t care less – in fact, they asked for more. 

    It burned me out. Fast. And it wasn’t scalable. I was a one-man shop trying to build something. 
    The lesson: Stop trying to please everyone. You can’t. Commit to spending all of your time servicing your superfans because yes, they will think the world of you and they’ll refer one person after another. 

  • Bang-on article…I really like the directness of your writing. It’s similar to the 20/80 rule in retail…20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your business. And it’s very timely in my situation as I’m encouraging my employees to spend more time cultivating the 20% and less time on getting information/quotes for customers that really aren’t that interested.

    PS. I’m going to clean out our Twitter account..haven’t done that for a few weeks- thanks for the reminder!

  • This is really hard to do if you’ve got such a specific niche that needs the customers all over the place. I mean, most of the population thinks using bones is pretty gross, so spreading yourself thin BUT everywhere is the only way to go, right? *sigh* I LOVE and adore my customers, and some of them are so loyal they’ve become vocal mouthpieces and close friends, but sticking to the places where most of them congregate gets me lots of “How cool”s and not much more “How much”s…

  • Hey Ricardo, I went through the same process. I guess it’s part of starting a new business and trying to build an audience. The trick is learning who your true fans are as fast as possible so you can allocate your efforts there. It’s not easy.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • A reminder I sorely needed as I find myself foundering in the “more=better” mindset because everyone else does it.  Unloading FB faces I don’t really want to know, that don’t care to know me, and that contribute to the droning of “same, same”. 

  • My pleasure — and I’m due for a cleaning myself! A more “manual” cleaning, that is. Thanks for reading today!

  • 100% agreed. If I had a dollar for every hour wasted trying to be the Walmart of my industry, (sigh) I’d have a lot more dollars.

  • And thank YOU, lady. Appreciate the kind words and will stand by my less-is-more assertion any day of the week.

  • And there are many brands (creative ones, especially) following your lead. And seriously – anyone who steals a dust bunny in a fedora is a total douche in my book 😉

  • But less is still more — you’ve just said it 🙂 All those “how cools” — you’d trade them for “how muches” in a heartbeat. And for some brands (and given I’ve seen your work, you’re one of them), finding the right niche takes a lot more buckshot and more time than others. One day, you’ll be shooting hollow points, m’dear!

  • Having gone through that at the end of last year, I’ll share this: My life hasn’t changed a single bit for the *worse* for getting rid of over 240 people on my personal Facebook page. It’s refreshing. And now, I care about the people leaving comments instead of, “Really. YOU again?”

  • Hi Guys! I’m in this phase right now. It is terribly hard & I have to catch up fast! Going through all of this is part of the learning process, it’s unavoidable. Good lesson for the future, makes me stronger!

  • Adriana, a good way to start filtering is to use lists (or circles) from the beginning.

    Thanks for your comment and good luck!

  • This is great, Erika! One of my priorities lately has been trying to do a better job on focus: Focusing on the people, subjects and tasks that matter. So this resonates with this guy.

    I used to chase traffic on subject matter that didn’t bring my potential customer to my blog. These days, I’m much more focused on topics that lead to business. As a result, I don’t get the huge spikes in traffic, but I get a very steady, consistent flow of readers who may actually lead to business.

    I’m also with you on spreading yourself too thin. I still battle with that. I find that no matter what I do to better organize myself, I still don’t have enough time to do all of the things I feel I “need” to do every day. And considering that many of the tasks I perform are more about what’s expected than necessary, it may be time to prune.

    Thanks for the post!

  • I can’t even tell you how freeing it’s been today to unfollow a whole load of Twitter followers whom, I’ve got to say, I have no idea what they were even doing there. In the handmade world you end up with LOTS of other crafters following you and when you’re starting out, you follow ’em all back. Awesome, right? Except we all make the same stuff so aren’t each other’s markets, and there ends up being an incredible amount of noise. So glad I did this!

  • Erika, 

    Awesome as I expected especially after our chat yesterday.  One of the things I realized that our BlogcastFM facebook page has been more or less dormant, and our G+ page has been talking to us actively every single time we post something, even though it’s a smaller group. To add to that, those people who have all bought from us. So, we actually realized there was no sense stressing about improving our Facebook page as crazy as that sounds. 

    As we’ve focused on making the most killer experience for the people who we do connect with we’ve made dramatic improvements and progress. So, needless to say I think by focusing on a few small things that you’re good at you end up doing much better. 

  • Great article. Well through the whole process of starting an internet business, including setting up a website, writing content, various ways of monetizing, getting traffic (visitors) and more. You can browse a variety of online business ideas, and you will certainly find a concept that suits you.

  • Isn’t it cool how our audience TELLS us where they want to hang out? In my world, that’s a helluva lot easier than trying to TELL our audience where the *should* hang out 🙂

  • And you brought up a great word: NOISE. If you don’t pay attention to what the numbers mean — in any venue — all you’re doing is building an echochamber. Pretty soon, you’l find it deafening. Way to hit the “purge” button 🙂

  • You bet, Jon — and thank YOU for stopping by. (PS: stealing the word “prune.”) 😉

  • Lissa_Matthews

    I am reading your book, Erika and loving it. I want to apply the principles into my romance writing brand and platform. I don’t write the typical romance that the younger generation likes and wants, so that sometimes makes it a bit more of a challenge to locate the readers for what I write. Thank you for the permission to cull the following and dim the noise. I think sometimes we need to be told it’s okay. 

  • Oh, I’m just stealing that from someone else, so you’re hand-me-down stealing.

  • Best article I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for giving me permission to do what I was feeling I needed to do–cut out some fluff that wasn’t doing anything to help my business. 

  • Kick-a– post girl. I think people struggle to just be themselves and having the guts to say I don’t like it might be even harder. Do what you want and stick to your guns, because no one else will do it for you. I am drawn to all kinds of blogs, but really like blogs that take it one step further and just say it like it is, instead of what it’s worth. For every blog out there, there is a blog or business with listeners. 

  • Thanks Erika for this interesting Post. Your post’s title grabbed my attention on twitter (and I ended up here).
    “Clear Your room”
    Your post makes a lot of sense, even though at first glance I thought that your are swimming against the tide.The (non) Common sense would be: “the more followers the better.”
    But Quality matters more than Quantity.

  • I’ve definitely learned that you can’t be everything for everyone. I decided that I want to work with smart, respectful men early on.

    Does that turn some guys off? Sure. But it means the people who share the same values care even more.

  • Robert Spiller

    Absolutely great and brutally honest. This is information that I would guess that 98% of the people need to know, and I’ll do my part to post this on Linkedin, twitter and facebook.  Now it’s time for me to lose some serious wait.  Thank again for this article.

  • I like your “straight forward tell it like it” is style. What else  would I have expected from your title and description.   Truth and fact are so very simple but most of us, want more instead of less, and in the process clutter up the benefits, like a hand pump sloshing water instead of the rhythmic smooth flow of water, The heart also works this way, and now I see that business does too.

  • You know already the recipe for success, as there are millions of sites giving you the same advice and mentioning patience and perseverance above all. But did it ever occur to you to think how to proceed to lose traffic? I don’t think so.

  • Andrew

    great tips thanks

  • It’s also a time- and soul-sucking curse.

  • Audiences who probably aren’t very committed to a platform to justify
    your investment in it – especially if it’s the Next Big Thing.

  • And it wasn’t scalable. I was a one-man shop trying to build something. 
    The lesson: Stop trying to please everyone. You can’t.

  • Audiences who aren’t interested enough in you or what you have to offer
    to understand where YOU live and hang out with you there.

  • Audiences who probably aren’t very committed to a platform to justify
    your investment in it – especially if it’s the Next Big Thing.
     

  • Rdopping

    Damn you’re god…..er good. Typo or not.
    It’s kinda like the newbie blogger manual. Stop being such a damn slut and have some morals already. Cleaning house is on the agenda. It won’t take long in my case but that’s what the other tips are for.

    Gracias Francesco and your red head guest. Bouyah!

  • It’s about better. More loyal. More committed.

  • Purged your Facebook friends? Took a really long, hard look at your LinkedIn connections.

  • Such an informative insights which guides through the right path and give the actual facts about Social media.