Martijn Scheijbeler

Diversifying Channels for Actual Growth

I’ve worked with many companies who’ve shown exceptional growth, triple digits year over year that brings them to the next levels in their industries (music, education, marketplaces, etc.). But… in some cases, it wasn’t as good as it should have been. Because the main channels that they were using were vastly too big for what they should have been. So let’s dive a bit deeper into what that means.

When 80-90% becomes a problem

For some of these top performers in their space, they all had one fundamental problem: They were far too much relying on one specific channel that was driving their growth. If one channel (which is/was often Social Media or Organic Search) is driving over 80% of your traffic and/or revenue you might be growing but you’re also in immediate danger. As you can see in the following graph, this company was growing greatly for years before this. However what they weren’t realizing is, that they were not particularly setting themselves up for SEO success. They weren’t doing anything wrong, but they also weren’t doing anything in a way that I would consider a world-class SEO program. Then Google decided to change their approach to certain sites in their algorithm and this happened in the span of a few months. They lost over 40% of traffic and with that approximately 20-30% of their business.

So ask yourself, does your site/business have a healthy divide in traffic? Have you looked at the difference in channels for new and returning visitors? Looking at it the wrong way (combined) will likely skew your approach.

What channels this applies to

In all these cases, still focus on these channels, they’re great drivers of growth for your business. Don’t rely on just one of them!

Why not other channels?

In my opinion, the problem doesn’t apply in most cases to referral traffic, affiliate marketing, and multi-level-marketing. As the majority of traffic from these is spread (it should) across many different partners and sites.

Valid Traffic Model

To marketers and founders, I would say, think more about the divide of your traffic and what is bringing in the actual revenue. Explore other channels, it’s not bad to kickstart growth on one channel (social/community, SEO, paid acquisition), in most cases I would encourage founders & startups actually to focus on this. It’s better to take a leap of faith and double down on a channel then to suck at a few channels.

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