Nice Idea, but How Will You Get Visitors?

Posted by on February 18, 2008 at 1:24 pm.

I had another conversation today with an entrepreneur who had an interesting online destination site idea, but few answers for attracting visitors. In general, I’m not nearly as excited about destination/media properties as I am about horizontal online services. However, a well executed destination site can still make an interesting business.

The only problem is that the same pitches are happening today that happen in the late ’90s — focused on the big target/niche market and the interesting site functionality; with little discussion of how people will find out about the site and why they will visit. Responding to such questions with a reiteration of site function isn’t sufficient, at least not for institutional capital.

A few of the tactical approaches for getting traffic to a destination are:
1) organic search
2) sponsored search
3) viral adoption
4) referral tools
5) affiliate marketing
6) display advertising
7) distribution relationships.
But, it’s not enough to just reference this list or a subset. Entrepreneurs need to explain how their niche or target audience is uniquely accessible through one or more of these methods. I’d also recommend doing some small tests with one or more of these so you can speak from real data/ROI. It doesn’t matter if you have the neatest idea with the best supplier relationships — you need visitors or you die.

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