What Content Should You Drive Cold Traffic To?

By Madison Taylor
December 28, 2021
focus on a hand drawing an arrow to the word audience in black

As a seasoned marketer, you’re familiar with the different streams of traffic that might hit your site on any given day. Part of your traffic will be returning customers, whose loyalty you want to continue to win. Then there will be the leads who have already been introduced to your brand, whose purchase you’re actively working to win. And then there are those who are completely new to your brand. They’ve just landed on your page and are ready for an introduction. Today we’re going to talk about this last segment of customer traffic, also known as cold traffic.

What Is Cold Traffic?

Cold traffic has never seen or interacted with your brand. They don’t know who you are, what you do, or how your product or service can help them. Not yet, at least. Cold traffic customers are still in the information-gathering stage of their purchasing experience.

The truth about cold traffic is that it’s, well, cold. These customers probably won’t purchase a product or sign up for a service on their first visit. That’s because they’re still in that information-gathering stage, and are just getting to know what’s out there. Most of us don’t make a purchase instantaneously, after just landing on a site and discovering a new company, product, or brand, without doing a little research first.

The good news is that cold traffic presents an important opportunity and is a crucial moment in the customer experience. Marketers and businesses have the chance to make a good first impression and usher that customer into a curated buyer’s journey.

The Buyer’s Journey

The people who will land on your site today for the first time are smart, intentional, well-informed buyers. They are discerning and comfortable doing their due diligence and research before they click “buy.” To meet the needs of these savvy customers, marketers have adjusted their strategies. Gone are the days of intense sales tactics aimed at pushing customers to make decisions. Now, selling is all about the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey describes the buyer’s experience, from first being introduced to your brand to making a purchase. Buyers go through a process in their journey and start with awareness, then consideration, and end, hopefully, with a purchase.

What is the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey?

The awareness stage is the first stage of the buyer’s journey. Customers in the awareness stage know that they have a pain point or a problem, but they haven’t solved it yet. For instance: my back hurts. A customer with a sore back can name the symptom of the problem, but they don’t have a solution.

To find that solution, they head online. Often, the place they start is by typing their symptoms into a search engine. This is where customers start to gather information and get closer to defining what might be causing their problem.

A potential customer might start by searching: “causes of back pain” and “back pain relief,” eventually narrowing in on when their symptoms occur, with “back pain in the morning” and maybe even more specifically, “can a bad mattress cause back pain?”

You get the idea. As they move around online, customers learn more about their problem or pain and what might be causing it. As they read, watch, and search, they land on sites for the first time, as, you guessed it, information-gathering cold traffic.

Now, if you were a mattress company that was confident you could provide a comfortable sleep, you would want that back-achey cold traffic. Sure, these customers might not buy a mattress the first time they land on your site, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to you. Their problem aligns perfectly with the solution you are providing.

Marketing to Cold Traffic: Be Problem-Focused

Marketers can use the first stage of the buyer’s journey to craft a buying experience that is tailored to their ideal customer, focusing on their pain point or problem, and their specific needs.

Because the potential buyer is problem-focused at this stage and still defining what exactly their problem is, brands should also be problem-focused. When marketing to cold traffic, brands should strive not to sell, but to educate and inform. When the role you start to fill in your potential customer’s experience is, at first, as a helpful resource, you’re beginning to build a positive relationship with that person. They’re getting to know your brand as a place where they can go for answers.

Content Marketing Strategy: Where to Send Cold Traffic

A content marketing strategy can help you become a trustworthy source of relevant information. Within such a strategy, brands outline their business goals and customer needs, and detail how they plan to address these goals and needs with content.

In the case of cold traffic and the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, content like blogs, videos, and ebooks are perfectly suited to addressing the specific need of the customer at that moment: providing education and information. This is why marketers work with writers, videographers, and designers to create engaging, informative digital resources that will help their customers articulate their pain points, and take the next step in solving them.

Driving cold traffic to an intentional place, and along a curated path, will help you shape the relationship customers form with your brand. If they have a positive experience in their early awareness stage, then they’re more likely to come back to you later, when they’re closer to making a decision.

When Cold Traffic Turns to Warm Traffic

As we mentioned earlier, cold traffic doesn’t typically make a purchase on the first look. That’s why the first look you give them is so important. Where you’re sending cold traffic will determine how they start to understand the problem they are experiencing, and you want to be part of their eventual solution.