The “Barack Obama” Formula: How the President gets traffic to his website

2 months ago I was driving down the road listening to Colin Cowherd on the radio.

Leading into the 10 o’clock hour he began teasing an upcoming guest.

The guest? Barack Obama. It’s pretty abnormal for the President of the United States to go on a sports talk show.

So, I sat in my car for the next 30 minutes waiting for him to come on. I had to hear what this was going to be about.

What happened next was the biggest “AHA!” moments for me this year.

We’ll come back to this story in a minute…

The #1 hangup I had when starting Videofruit was “How will people find me?”

The motto of any brick and mortar store is location, location location.

Why is location sooo important? Because your location produces your traffic.

Wal-mart traffic leaches

If you want to open a Waffle House, just buy some property in front of Walmart.

You will have traffic and customers because Wal-Mart attracts them. You don’t have to do any marketing, just pay the rent.

Next time you drive by Walmart, look at all of the businesses that have sprouted up around it.

They do this because they know that Wal-Mart gets 450,000 people into their store per month and that they can convert a 2% of that traffic into customers.

The marketing plan is simple:
  1. Find a source of high traffic
  2. Build right next to them
But everything changes when you start an online business. There is no built in traffic.
Your map looks more like this:
You ain’t got no traffic.

You could make the best hamburgers on earth, but if your restaurant is in the Sahara Desert you are going to go out of business.

Same thing with your blog, you can have the best content, the most innovative ideas and the best eBook download the internet has ever seen, but if you have no traffic it does not matter.

How do you fix that?

Do what Waffle House does:

    1. Find a source of high traffic
    2. Tell those people about you

I’m going to show you exactly how to do that and give you a few examples.

Step 1: Find a highly qualified traffic source

One of my current coaching clients is Andre. He runs Bread’n Beyond, an animated explainer video company.

His #1 goal this month is to increase his traffic.

In a physical store this would be hard since the vast majority of your traffic is coming from a nearby anchor store.

You can’t exactly duplicate that. But online we can.

Want to get traffic from three big sources? No problem.

What’s better than one Wal-Mart? How about three?

First you have to identify your target traffic sources.

Here are three steps you can use to do that.

Step #1: Research your competitors traffic sources

Use to check your competitors backlinks. For Andre we did a quick search on and checked the linking domains.

This shows us the most authoritative sites that are linking to Demo Duck. If these sites are sending traffic to Demo Duck the chances of them being relevant traffic sources to us are high.

Demo Duck's top linking domains
Demo Duck’s top linking domains

This produced 3 potential traffic sources:


Step #2: Make a list of highly regarded blogs in your industry

Don’t be too narrow here. Even though Andre makes explainer videos his broader market is internet marketing.

That means if people are search for articles on ‘Guest Blogging”, “SEO” or “Inbound Marketing Strategies” they would also be in the market for video marketing as well.

So, who is the Wal-Mart of internet marketing? Doing a few relevant keyword searches on Buzzsumo produces 2 potential candidates.

Buzzsumo keyword results
Buzzsumo keyword results

You can also goto Technorati and look through their directory to find prime candidates.

Step #3: Google your keyword phrases

Write a list of 10 keywords and phrases that are relevant to your site. For example, Andre wants to rank for phrases such as:

    • “explainer video”
    • “video marketing”
    • “how much does an explainer video cost”
    • “how to make an explainer video”

Next, perform a Google search for this list and write down a list of the top relevant sites.

Google search results

Go through these three steps until you have a list of 20 high traffic sites that are relevant to you industry.

Make sure they are relevant.

There is a reason that Ruths Chris doesn’t have restaurants outside of Wal-Mart and Waffle House does.

Step 2: Tell that traffic about your product

The girl scouts do a great job of this.

They go to the manager of Wal-Mart and ask them if they can setup a folding table at the front door of their store to sell cookies.

The manager says “Yes!” and the girl sells tons of cookies to Wal-Marts foot traffic.

Now that you have a list of traffic sources how can you do the same thing?

How can you get Wal-Marts traffic to pay attention to you?

Technique #1: Guest post

Guest posting has a certain negative connotation in many circles. I don’t get it.

Guest posting will always work.

There is nothing Matt Cutts, Google or anyone else can do to kill it. All you are doing when you guest post is setting up a folding table outside of a highly trafficked store and telling that existing traffic about your product.

I have guest posted 4 times of the last 30 days. Can you guess when?

Google Analytics graph from last 60 days.

For step by step strategies on how to come up with good ideas for guest posts and pitch the blog owners, see these two articles:

Technique #2: Be interviewed

Back to our story from the beginning…

As I sat in the car listening to the President and Colin talk about March Madness and their brackets, I kept asking myself why he was doing this.

Then they got the the end of the interview and the President pitched his big initiative, The entire purpose of him coming on the show was to get the attention of the shows audience and tell them about his product.

That’s what guest posting is and that is what most every interview you ever listen to is about.

What does Tom Cruise do when a new movie of his is to coming out? He goes on Leno and Letterman for an interview.

He doesn’t do that because he was bored that night and needed someone to talk to. He does it because he wants the audience to go see the movie.

It’s advertising.


You need to do the same.

Who has your audience? Get that person to interview you.

Here is a good step by step guide to help you through that process.

Technique #3: Give away a resource

This isn’t popular. Not because it doesn’t work, but because most people are too lazy and short sighted.

What if, instead of creating a 30 page eBook, infographic or video series to put on your website you gave it to a high value influencer instead?

What would this look like?

Instead of me designing and creating the “Ultimate Guide to Ultimate Guides” or “My Personal Swipe File of 150+ Landing Pages” and promoting them on Videofruit I would give them to Buffer to publish.

They had 729,832 unique visitors last month. Do you think I would get more traffic by owning and promoting that guide to the 8,331 unique people that visited this site last month or to the 729,832 that visited buffer last month?

…that is an easy answer.

Yet, know one does it.

Technique #4: Try everything you can think of

There are hundreds of ways you could team up with other sites to get them to tell their audience about you.

  • Throw a contest where there readers get a free lifetime membership to your product
  • Giveaway 50 copies of your book to their audience
  • Preform a complete site audit for them and publish the details in the form of a guest post
  • Giveaway a one year membership to your Crossfit gym to a major local news anchor
  • Sponsor targetted up and coming blogs
  • Be active in hyper relevant forums and comment sections

Here is a list of ideas from Noah (founder of Appsumo)

How do you use this?

So, how does the President get traffic to his website? He finds other people that has his audience and give them a reason to talk about him.

If it’s good enough for the POTUS, it should be good enough for you