You have probably all heard about cold calling in connection with sales. And most of you probably know, that the success rate for warm sales as for instance through referrals from happy customers are much higher than for cold calling. Not talking about the bad feeling many people (including me) have when they have to do cold calling.
Recently I heard Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing transfer the concept of cold and warm sales to traffic. I love this concept because for me it gives an easy to grasp explanation why not all traffic is equally desirable (or rewarding) and how we all can heat up some of our traffic for better results.
The concept of Cold Calling
Cold calling in connection with sales describes the process of making the first contact with people who most likely have not heard about you or your product before. Most likely the people at the other end of the cold call have not expressed any interest in you or your products/services before your call.
There are two reasons why success rates for this concept are low: Since you have not had any contact with these people before, they are likely not to be very keen on buying your product in the first place. And second: Even if you find some people who would be interested in what you are selling – why should they trust anyone, whom they have never heard of and who is just calling them by chance with the single purpose of making them buy.
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Most of us usually do not generate traffic for our business just for fun. We have a goal in mind what we want these website visitors to do. Buy a product, signup for our newsletter, comment, share our content, and much more. And with some traffic these goals are much easier to achieve than with other traffic. And that is where Danny Iny makes the connection between sales and traffic and distinguishes between cold traffic and warm traffic.
Danny Iny makes this easy by saying this is all traffic referred to you by a machine, like a search engine or an ad. With cold traffic your bounce rate is usually going to be very high. The reason for the high bounce rate with cold traffic is the lack of trust these website visitors have in you: They most likely do not even know you. You have no connection with these website visitors. To build trust you have to reconnect with them. And with this kind of (cold) traffic, building trust (or even getting to the second point of contact) is hard. After all, these people were coming to your site by chance referred to you by a machine.
Warm traffic according to Danny Iny is any traffic that is referred to you by a person, a person they trust. And part of this trust, the other person has built before referring their audience to you, is naturally transferred to you. With this gift of trust it is much easier to get these people to do what you want them to do (sign up, buy, refer you, share your content,…).
In a way, the temperature of your traffic is a synonym for the amount of trust your audience brings with them.
What about Social traffic?
Now you will have noticed that so far I did not mention social media traffic. The reason is that with social media traffic the system of cold and warm traffic is a little more complicated. Social traffic is not always cold, but it isn’t always warm either. It is the place where you have the chance of heating up, at least, part of your traffic.
When you are starting out in social media, the traffic you will get is probably low. And it is most likely also rather cold traffic: People who had not heard of you before and came across your profile or a piece of your content by chance.
In some social networks from my experience, it is rather hard to warm up the traffic. For example, we have seen loads of traffic from StumbleUpon and Reddit. For us, that was totally cold traffic.
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On the other hand, there are many places in social media where you can easily heat up your traffic with consistent work and by constantly providing good information. And with growing your accounts also the temperature of your traffic will go up. Also, you have the option to convert some of your lukewarm (social media) traffic into newsletter signups – and then it is all up to you how blazing hot your traffic from your email marketing is going to be.
In social media, the decisive factor for the temperature of your traffic is only partly due to the network you are using. To a large part, it depends on how much value you provide over a long time. Social Media gives you the unique chance of staying in touch with your followers and not only connect with them once. This is a huge opportunity you can use to heat up your relationships with your audience and to turn cold traffic into a blazing hot cook pot.
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With a constant stream of valuable content, you have the chance not only to build trust but also grow your audience. A good indicator whether your activity is heating up your traffic through social media is the count of your followers and your response rate in the social networks. If many people find your accounts worth following and talking to, usually the traffic resulting from these followers and conversations is already warming up to you and your work.
The same goes for your Email marketing: Providing value with information and content you share over a long time gives you the chance of building trust and warming up your audience. Shouting out sales messages with your newsletters instead will simply freeze your audience to death.
If you already have a strong brand with a good reputation and trust, cold traffic can serve as a reminder to people what great offers you have. For new or small brands this cold traffic often stays cold as it is hard to get the chance of building any relationship or trust with these website visitors.
I have seen blazing hot social media accounts and freezing cold ones. The value you provide on your social accounts in the form of valuable information and content is the fuel that heats up your accounts and the traffic resulting from them.