iStock_000003137149XSmallWhen I was a little kid, I loved to go down to the local lake and fish. Never to eat… just to catch and release. I used a simple fishing pole, with a simple hook, which I would put wet bread on and tossed into the water. I was lucky enough to catch and release the occasional blue gill and that’s all I wanted to do. When I got older, I became friends with people who took fishing a lot more seriously than I did. They had world class bass boats, depth finders, multiple reels, different poles and lines, and tackle. They have also learned how each type of fish could be found at certain places, at certain times of day, and could be caught with certain lures.

Some people treat trying to find new clients like fishing. Some just cast a net, while others pay big dollars on software and programs and SEO and so on… but a little knowledge about the fish you are trying to catch can make it so much easier and effective.

Driving traffic to your website has three components… kind of like fishing, the hook, line and sinker (but in reverse order). The sinker is part of your message that gives it depth to get it to the audience that you are trying to reach. The line is directionally guiding them to your website. Finally the hook is what you try to get them to bite to reel them in. Too many people treat marketing, and especially on-line marketing, like fishing with nets (that’s the way of Yellow Pages and old school broadcast marketing techniques). Cast your marketing net out into the water in the right location, and you will get fish (some you want, and some you don’t). But with thousands of messages barraging us every day, the net is starting to show it’s age. It’s got holes in it, and more of the fish you want to haul in are escaping, and more of the ones you don’t are eating up precious time that could be spent elsewhere! Let me explain further.

1. The Sinker

The sinker (planning & placement) is your social media, advertising, and all activities, that add depth to your messages. Fishermen know that certain fish like to feed at certain depths. Too much weight, and your messages sink too low to the bottom. Not enough weight and they float at the surface. Having the right amount of sinker weight let’s your messages hang around right where the fish feed (where your right customers are).

I am jumping the gun to the hook, but you have to know what bait the fish like at the depth you are sending it… so know what fish you are fishing for and having the right bait at the right depth are key to your success. More on the bait later.

2. The Line

The line (motive & measurement) is what you need to reel them in. Once they have grabbed the bait, you have to direct them where you want them to go. One of the biggest mistakes on-line marketers make is, they drive people to their home page and let them choose for themselves which fishing boat to jump into.

You want your line to get them to the message they expect. This could include a landing page made specifically for an ad or a post. It could also be a specific page already within your website. Don’t make them have to make a decision where to go next (other than a call to action – Buy Now or Contact Us). The shortest distance between two points is a straight line!

3. The Hook

The hook (message & media) is what’s needed to reel them in. First it needs good bait. That what your ads and social media can do. Is it fresh and attractive and tasty? Make your headlines and content appealing to those you are trying to attract! Then once you get them hooked, can you reel them in to give you contact information or entice them to contact you?

If you don’t take the hook and the bait seriously and thoughtfully, it can lead to a lot of nibbles (or what car salespeople call – Tire Kickers!). How much time are you spending trying to convince people that your product or service is the right answer for their needs?

It takes the right lure for the right fish. It takes the right bait to get them to bite. You have to know the right combination to get the greatest results. Knowing who are are marketing to and knowing what makes them react, is key to getting people who WANT to interact with you, to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST your products, service and business.

Final Thoughts

I know this is like a fish story of the one that got away, and I am NO Babe Winkelman (Fish Master Extraordinaire), but it shows that having the right information and the right equipment can make all the difference! Casting a net reaps quantity, but having a plan, purpose and perseverance can reap quality!

Are you spending too much time picking the wrong fish out of your net, or are you using the right techniques to catch the fish of your dreams?

I would love to hear your sonar (feedback) and your fish stories (comments)!