The Value of Traffic Unrelated to Your Product

3 min read

Outseta recently saw a huge influx of traffic to our website and generally attention online, leading to everything from an influx of job applications to a tidal wave of invitations to be a guest on podcasts. Awesome, right?

Yes and no. You see the attention comes with many benefits—which I'll certainly take—but all it was focused on something other than our product. Specifically, I wrote a post about the compensation model that we use at Outseta and it caught like wildfire.

Here's the post.

Now, I'll be the first to tell you that I knew this was a topic of interest—I've written a bit about it previously, and it's always interesting to other founders and people in the start-up world when it comes up in conversation. In writing this post and filming the accompanying video, I was simply diving into this topic in more depth than I had before.

My own post—shared on Twitter—did pretty well:

  • 34.5K impressions

But even more interesting was the reach of the same ideas when they were shared by Mike Karnj, a successful founder with a far larger audience than mine. I had a just over 3,000 followers on Twitter when I initially shared my post—Mile has over 47,000. Here's his post and it's performance:

  • 403K impressions

Pretty interesting and compelling data to show the impact of a sizable Twitter following, at least when it comes to the reach of your ideas.

While all of that was exciting—and I admit I love seeing our method of working resonate with so many people—the actual value of this attention is something worth contemplating. That's the real topic of this post.

While we saw an undeniable surge in website traffic, the truth is May was a very average month for us in terms of both new customer acquisition and revenue—all the attention didn't translate in any major way to business results.

And I don't think we should have expected it to! How we work is very different from what we are working on. In the wake of all the attention, several founders I respect shared the same message—I should lean into all the attention. Write a definitive guide to how we build our business. Double down!

I do think that's generally good advice; if we're talking about "looking for signal," we certainly found signal that this topic is of interest to others. But time spent on such work also comes at the expense of marketing effort that could be more directly correlated to our product...

So what do we do?

Ultimately I think value was realized here in a few ways, most of them relatively unrelated to growth:

  • We did sign up a handful of customers who genuinely needed membership software, who heard of Outseta via these posts
  • We saw an influx of people interested in jobs at Outseta
  • This definitely helped us build general brand awareness for Outseta in the start-up world
  • I'm sure my post will continue to garner backlinks that help us with SEO by building domain authority

The whole scenario was pretty interesting to watch unfold. I think it's clear that attention does not necessarily equate to new customers; but there are certainly tangental benefits to leaning into other areas of your business that may be of interest to others.

More than anything, be cognizant of the time you invest strategies that bring attention from people who are not necessarily in your target audience or who don't have genuine buying intent.