Successful selling from your website, requires a plan of action, so that you know what you’re trying to do with each advert, each piece of content, each image, video, graphic.
Effectively it gives you a strategy, an aim for everything you’re doing, you have direction and structure and purpose.
Firstly, you’ve got to get people on to your website, from wherever they currently are, whether that be searching on Google, socialising on Facebook, browsing imagery on Instagram, or consuming content on other websites.
So the question becomes, how do you get people who are minding their own business or searching for something, to want to click through to your website, instead of continuing to do what they’re doing?
Well, first you have to be in the same location your prospects attention is focused on. If they’re on Google, searching for information, services or products, you’ve got to be there either through Search Engine Optimisation efforts, or Pay Per Click advertising. You need to be on the first page ideally, because most searches don’t extend beyond the first page.
If they’re on social media, you also need to have a presence there, either in the same groups, or by delivering content that they find interesting, or via paid adverts.
Secondly, you need to get “noticed”, this means standing out from the crowd in some way, either with eye-catching graphics or attention-grabbing words or copy.
Once you have them on your site, you must provide what you promised them on your adverts or copy. Don’t mislead them, because they will be annoyed and disappointed and this isn’t good for your brand reputation. Trust takes time to build and seconds to destroy.
Include information that is entertaining, informative, insightful and adds value to the person consuming it.
Also make sure this content is relevant to what you’re selling. No point providing cute pet videos if your customer is looking for business solutions.
There is no point getting random traffic to your site, you want people who are going to benefit from your services/products, and only them. So keep it relevant to your target market from initial content on social media or in search results through to your website pages.
Finally you need to have a “call to action”, either getting them to sign up to your newsletter, so you can keep providing value and pitch your service/products, or have a buy now option, where they can purchase directly from you straight away.
Test different approaches to see what works best for you, but remember people buy based on TRUST, COMPETENCY, CONVENIENCE, RELIABILITY, QUALITY and VALUE FOR MONEY. Selling on the internet is the same as selling face to face, in this respect.
Getting visitors to opt-in to your mailing list (via your website) provides a great way of directly communicating with them at a later time, in fact it should be one of your on-line marketing priorities. Imagine if you lost your Facebook page or Twitter account (and it can happen), how would you contact your audience?
Having a list of email subscribers keeps control in your own hands, rather than relying on a third party platform, and gives you a direct path to people that, by subscribing to your list, have qualified themselves as being interested in what you have to say. If they arrive on your site, read a little and leave you have nothing. As the old adage goes “the money is in the (email) list” and this is unlikely to change any time soon.
What you’ve first got to think about is that, from your visitors point of view, why would they want give you their email address? They usually won’t want to be contacted unless you have something interesting or useful to say or offer.
If you think you can simply add an opt-in form to your site and people will immediately fall over themselves to sign-up, then you’re sadly, misguided. Try it for yourself and see what happens. There needs to be something else in place to get that all important email address, and incentives are a great start.
So you’ve got to give visitors some incentive, provide some benefit to them in return for their email address. They have to want to get communication from you for some perceived advantage. Generally, people don’t like to be sold to, so you need to get over to them that you’re looking to help them to either solve a problem or achieve a goal rather than sell them something, and communicating the benefit of your offer is vital if you’re to succeed. Answer the question “What benefit is in it for them”.
Benefits can be short-lived, and particularly relevant to one piece of content (content upgrade) or could be more long term focused and offer ongoing value. If you capture an email because of a content upgrade you should look to keep them as a long term subscriber by having a strategy in place to provide ongoing value and support, otherwise they will simply opt-out straight away. Check out my in-depth list of opt-in incentive ideas.
Sell the benefits – Use wording within your opt-in form that sells the benefit of this incentive to your visitor. “Increase productivity with my 5 efficiency hacks” or “5 efficiency hacks that will increase productivity”, obviously make it relevant to your particular incentive, answer the question. “Why do my visitors need this incentive?”
Don’t promise something you can’t produce or provide and never ever try to mislead subscriber’s. Be honest, and reliable at all times. Once you break trust it is unlikely, unless you have history with them, that they will ever forgive you, and why should they? Check the section about credibility, capability and trustworthiness (below), for more information.
Offsetting the risk for subscribers
If I am the visitor on a new website I consider the risk reward balance of becoming a subscriber. Asking myself “If I give this person my email address can I opt-out if I change my mind?” So adding some text to your opt-in form saying that subscribers can opt-out easily at any time, and will not be pestered thereafter, will help to reduce this concern.
The main fear for many visitors, that prevents them from subscribing, is being swamped with spam emails that don’t offer any value to them and that become a pain to get rid of. Knowing they can click a button and never see your mail again is a big risk reducer. “One click to unsubscribe at any time – guaranteed!”.
Another concern is email addresses being sold onto third parties without the subscribers permission, and this should never happen, but sadly does. Make sure you state that there is no risk of this happening if they sign up with you. “We will never spam you” or “We will never share your email address with anyone else” or a combination of the two will help.
Adding extra value
When a visitor lands on your page they probably don’t know you, they don’t particularly care about you and your brand, or want to build a relationship with you, what they want is to get some benefit from you and your site. It’s your job to answer their question, “What’s in it for me?” The benefit should be so good they just can’t resist to sign up. The promise of insider information, better quality bonus information, discounts, rebates etc. and they’ll get that exclusively if they sign up.
This content can be hidden on your site, free from being indexed like your other content, on a page rather than that a post so it doesn’t appear in the blogroll. There are a number of WordPress plugins that will help you keep this content off your sitemap or navigation. Contact me for more information about this.
Other considerations for getting email opt-in’s are:
Getting people to see your page in the first place is of paramount importance, but the traffic volume alone is no good, you need traffic that is interested in your offer, so targeted traffic is what counts. Laser focus your marketing messages to speak to people who are interested in your niche and only them. Check this post for more information.
Once they arrive on your site, you need them to stay around long enough to see your opt-in box, so having content that will keep them engaged and on your site long enough to get the chance to opt-in is another big part of the jigsaw.
There needs to be some demonstration of value in your content that makes the visitor think, “I like this enough to sign up”. Think about it, if the content on a site you visit is not engaging or of high quality or relevance, are you going to sign up for their email newsletter?
You need to be thinking “I can get some value from this person” to even consider signing up. There’s got to be an interest from the visitor in the subject matter, and then they have got to like your take on that subject matter to want to stay around and hear more from you.
Placement of opt-in
You should consider placement of your opt-in form, do you put it in the sidebar, and if so at the top, middle or bottom? In the post itself, and again where is best? There is no definitive answer to this, the best advice is to test for yourself and see what works best for your audience. Some ideas for placement testing include:
Sidebar – top, middle, or bottom separately and altogether,
within the post itself – above the fold or bottom of post or both
It’s great to include an opt-in form on both the “homepage” and “about us” pages, and again test multiple locations and see what works for you.
Make it stand out
As well as considering the location, it’s important, wherever you place your opt-in form, to make sure it stands out and is noticed. Use the rule of contrast, and make your form the opposite colour to the rest of your website. Visitor’s must be drawn to your opt-in form and the human brain is hard-wired to notice things that don’t match the rest of the environment, that stand out.
Number of fields
Think about how many fields you’re asking the visitor to fill in – my testing shows the fewer fields the visitor has to complete the more subscribers you will get. On the flip side I have seen research that suggests converting subscribers to paying customers (further down the sales funnel) tends to be better from leads who originally opted-in via forms with more fields, so as always test variations and see what works for you.
Credible, capable and trustworthy
Credibility, although last to be discussed here, is without doubt the most important element you need to sell anything online. If you can prove you know what you’re talking about, you know your niche, your product or service, you’re three quarters of the way to achieving online success.
Credibility builds trust, and gives your audience confidence you can deliver the results they are looking for. Credibility comes in the form of customer testimonials and reviews, case studies, demonstrations, free samples, free trial periods, social media following and interaction, before and after photos, published income statements, in fact anything that shows you can do what you say you can do, and the better you can demonstrate this the easier selling will be. Think of why you shop at Amazon (for instance), is it because of their stunning website design, the colour of their sidebars or footers?
You buy from Amazon, because you trust them, you know they can deliver what they say they will, and when they say they will, you can check out product reviews, you can return it if you’re not happy with it when it arrives. If I didn’t say it before “Credibility is key”.
There needs to be so much more in place to get subscribers onto your email list than just having an opt-in form on your site. Without subscribers, selling online, while not impossible, is much more difficult for some type of businesses. This varies depending on the type of niche you are involved in of course, my photography studio business sells lots of experience vouchers online without needing to get subscribers (although I still collect the emails of visitors to send promotional offers to), but this seems to be very different for none physical businesses that sell things like digital products and solutions, where getting subscribers is much more important in the sales process.
Below is a list of elements you will need to get visitor’s email addresses.
You’ve got to get targeted traffic to your site in the first place,
Provide good relevant content to engage your visitors and keep them hanging around, also the more of this content there is and the longer you have been around helps in the perception of credibility
Have an opt-in form generator such as Thrive Leads to capture your visitor’s email address and an auto responder such as Mailchimp or Aweber to deliver the relevant incentive promised,
An opt-in incentive and the wording used to sell the incentive to your visitors. Also think about an ongoing strategy for offering continuing value that requires staying subscribed to get access to it. (list of ideas here)
Risk reducers – using reassurances such as:
We will never spam you
We will never share your email address
You can opt-out with one click at any time, but please give us a try
Positioning of the opt-in box:
On the home page
Within post above fold and end of post
On the “About us” page
In the sidebar
Don’t overdo it though, sometimes less is best.
Number of fields the visitor has to fill in – keep to a minimum.
Make sure your opt-in box stands out, use the rule of contrast when deciding what colour to use, which involves looking at the predominate colour of your website and picking the colour opposite on the colour wheel
Most importantly – being perceived as credible, capable and trustworthy – trust elements, money back guarantees, free trial periods, income reports, testimonials, review, case studies, list of major brands you have done work for, TV appearances etc. Without credibility, I doubt having all the other elements in place would lead to much success, it is the single most important ingredient of selling online, and off-line for that matter. If you were to consider what to spend most time on improving, it should be this. As I said earlier, I sell lots of photo experience vouchers online, and the main reason for this undoubtedly being seen as credible, capable and trustworthy.
Once you have all the elements, described in the preceding paragraphs, in place you have a fighting chance. Test all of the variables to see which is more effective with your audience, it’s an on-going process of testing, and re-testing. There is no magic bullet, and what works for one doesn’t guarantee will work for someone else. Don’t assume you know best either, use your hunch as a starting point and test against it.
Just a word of warning regarding testing. Don’t change more than one element at a time and make sure you are getting sufficient volume to make the results meaningful. This will be hard when starting off, because you will obviously not have the volume of visitors, but online success is not achieved overnight, and measuring performance from the start is what will give you an edge over other newcomers, and ensure you have taken a solid first step.
It’s all very well getting lots of traffic onto your website, but if it’s not targeted traffic, then you’re not going to earn much money from all those visitors. If you’re selling dog collars for instance and getting people to your website who are looking for holidays, then all that will happen is those visitors will bounce off your site and go elsewhere. So think laser focused targeting for all your marketing messages. Appeal to prospects that actually want what you have to offer. Find out who they are and where they hang out, and deliver your message to them and only them. To test the depth of knowledge you need to have a about your audience, can you answer these questions?
Who is your ideal reader/visitor
What do they look like, talk about, care about, hate, fear, desire
Who do they hang out with, talk to, argue with, ideolise, want to be
Where do they hang out online, in person, want to go, not want to go
What products, brands, personas, do they love and hate
How do they talk, formally, passionately, analytically
What lingo do they use (ie keywords)
Why are they coming to you?
Why should they listen to you instead of everyone else
What problems are they looking to solve
Where to find your audience
Does your audience frequent Facebook or Twitter. Do they love to spend time on Youtube surfing the “How to…” videos in your niche? Would it be more productive to target them via the major search engines such as Google and Bing? If so then you would need to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and getting your site up the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings. If you want to get yourself in front of your audience fast, then Pay Per Click (PPC) might be the way to go. Think very carefully about your acquisition strategy because getting it wrong can cost time, effort and money. To summarise:
Optimise your site to make it search engine friendly,
Use PPC – make sure you know what you’re doing with this method,
Participate in forums,
Get active in Facebook groups,
Network on Facebook and Twitter,
Guest post on blogs in your niche (good for reputation, traffic and SEO),
Attend events and conferences – great off-line method,
Link out to other valuable resources/sites.
Getting yourself a home
Don’t rely on making your main internet home Facebook or Twitter, because although these are great platforms to engage with your audience, relying solely on these could wipe your business out overnight should these platforms decide to change the rules, as many software companies have found to their costs. For instance Shortstack started off providing engaging Facebook competitions until Facebook decided to cut them out and do it for themselves and although Shortstack have evolved away from Facebook to some degree, they recently wrote a blog post detailing their acknowledgement of the mistake of over-reliance on a third party to support their business.
I now use WordPress for all my sites, it’s free to use (except for the hosting of course if you’re using a self hosting option), comes with lots of plugins to add functionality to the site, is loved by Google and is ideal for SEO and has tons of free themes to make it look original. Most of the modern themes are also mobile responsive which is a must these days for both ranking and user experience.
Building relationships – Email Marketing
Provide Great Content
Once you get targeted audience to your website, you need to have something interesting, useful, unique and most of all, helpful for them to read, look at and engage with. Look to help them with some problem they have or to achieve something they want to achieve. Great content should:
Be valuable (don’t waste peoples time)
Be delivered in multiple formats if possible
Be as short as possible but no shorter
Solve problems by providing solutions
Attract an audience
Above all – be results oriented.
To do this you must understand their wants and needs. Use surveys, interact with them via email and find out their pain.
Tips about Content generation
Think about what someone in your niche is going to need to follow in your footsteps. Think about your progression and map this out for your audience if they are trying to replicate you.
Use easy to remember forwarding URLs for certain topics to make them easier for your audience to memorise, these can be purchased as domain names and pointed to any page on your site. Promote this easy to remember URL in your marketing messages.
Use the medium that best suites your site. Look what the competition are using and do it differently and better.
know the product – be a sales agent for it, if you haven’t used it and found it useful don’t try to sell it. Become a resource of information for using that product. Give your audience tips and tricks for getting the best from it. Show the product being used, “un-boxing the product” is a popular type of video content. Ask yourself “Can I trust the product to be good for my audience?”. Become a source of information for that product. “How to….” videos and articles, show you using it for your own purposes, helpful tips and advice, and reviews
know what you want your audience to achieve by using your website what is their goal, then design a road map to help them achieve that goal, show them how using your products will help them get to their goal.
Build deep relationships with your subscribers. The deeper the relationship the shorter the pitch required. Speed up the building of relationships by:
Be personable – easier to connect. Use video and podcasts,
Tell stories and entertain,
Random Acts Of Kindness – reply to comments, give them a special deal, put comments on their blog,
Build trust first:
Give lots away for free, add value without charging. If your seen as a giver people more likely to respond positively,
Get others to recommend you
If you don’t currently use the product yourself, get in contact with the owner of the product and ask some questions about the product and write a post about the conversation.
Get a special deal just for your audience, or give a rebate (using part of your affiliate earnings) back to the purchaser if they go through your affiliate link.
Create an epic post about the product. A ONE Stop shop resource,
Multiple Youtube videos about different aspect of using the product,
Hold a webinar for the product,
Publish a webinar replay – Be sure to record your live webinar so that you can embed it on your website as a replay for those who didn’t watch it live, and those who did watch it live but want to get the information again,
Use an indirect social push – link to a post or a resource that will engage people beforehand about the product or a video about it, not directly to an affiliate link
Keep track of your click through’s – use pretty links or crazy egg,
Indirect email list promotion – For me, I like to indirectly promote on my email list – like I do with social media – it’s all about giving people as much high-value content as possible, and on the email, it’s exactly the same. I don’t directly promote anything on my email list – and if there are any links in my emails they all point back to my blog,
Indirect promotion on other people’s sites,
Be honest and disclose that they are affiliate links,
Thank people in advance for going through your affiliate links,
Review and compare products of the same type,
Focus on how it will help your audience (benefits not features),
Believe in your recommendations,
If it doesn’t work try another offer,
Test, test and test again,
Make your own product instead,
Be patient. Trust is built over time,
Provide a resource page full of all your affiliate products and links,
Offer a bonus
Extra content (i.e. extra skins for a opt-in box)
Discount price, rebates,
Tips and tricks document included,
How to use document included.
Email Sign ups
Encourage visitors to opt-in to your email list so that you can keep in touch with them and continue to help. You need to have an opt-in box on your website to do this. I have them dotted around my site in the sidebar and footer of most of the posts. I encourage you to do the same. Only ever provide great content and assistance, don’t ever spam them with endless sales pitches. We all hate that, don’t we?
You can use what are known in the trade as opt-in bribes to encourage subscriptions. An opt-in bride is something of value that the visitor has to exchange their email address for. This could include:
Tips and tricks information
A white paper
A resource list
In fact anything that adds value, and is perceived as being valuable and relevant to your visitor. If they don’t want it, they won’t sign up. If they do sign up always make it really easy to unsubscribe from your list as a matter of courtesy.
Note: If you sign up for our newsletter, feel free to respond to any of the emails we send you asking for our “Lead Magnet List” which will give you more ideas for what to use as Lead Magnets.
Have something to sell
Ultimately we are looking to build a business from our online endeavours, so we need something to sell. Something that will help our audience, something that gives more in value than it asks for in payment. Think of saving your audience time, effort, money wherever possible. Look to help them make money or solve some problem or pain they want to remove from their lives.
You can look to sell your own products or be an Affiliate and sell other people’s products. There are literally thousands of such products available to sell from physical products, services to digital products and everything in between.
If you’re starting out in online marketing, it is probably wiser to sharpen your marketing skills before investing a great deal of your resources in developing your own products, and Affiliate Marketing is an ideal option. Products can be found via networks such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, Amazon and JVZoo to name but a few.
summary of where to find products to sell
Amazon affiliates / associates but look for high value products,
Odigger.com or offervault.com,
Commission junction you can be an affiliate or sell your product through them,
Think about what you use yourself,
Directly approach the company yourself, ask if they do affiliate program,
Forums and ask for ideas to the likes of web warrior forum and digital point forum,
If you cant find a product make one yourself.
Where to use affiliate links
Put affiliate links in an Ebook
Put affiliate links within content section and as many natural links as possible, without overdoing it. Not everyone will read the full article
Create own advertisements, use text widgets to rotate text links,
Affiliate links in your images.
Keep the conversion going
Keep providing help to your audience, otherwise they will move on and leave you behind. If you’re only looking to service a narrow band of people at a certain stage in their development and don’t intend to offer support for them later, than that’s fine as long as you know how to keep the flow of new recruits coming to your website. Have a plan and work the plan.
To be truly successful in Affiliate Marketing you need to build an audience that keeps coming back to you for more, I’ve heard it described as building a tribe or engaged community, even raving fans – whatever you want to label it, it’s about engaging on a regular basis and building a relationship with them. In order to achieve this you must provide great, unique, valuable, and actionable content that your audience needs and wants. This should be your major focus. Without an audience you can’t hope to build an affiliate business.
If you’re looking at doing it as a sideline, or full time business you will probably want or need to earn money from it by selling something. I prefer to use a method that adds value and genuinely helps people. I love to talk about Marketing and Business so write about it a lot. I have to make a living but have decided to only sell products that are relevant to my audience, I would be proud to have developed myself, and that are of genuine use. If I don’t like it I won’t try to sell it.
If you’re getting into affiliate marketing then pick a niche you are passionate to write about, otherwise you won’t enjoy it and will likely give up if the going is tough. Don’t do it just to make money, do it to help others. The side effect of adding more and more value is you tend to make more and more money.
If you’re business is not currently online, you’re potentially missing out on lots of business, which is going straight to your competitors.
Is business good? Well it could be so much better with an online presence.
My photography business survives without any passing trade, it’s all done online and of course word of mouth.
It’s not enough to just have a social media profile business page. What if it goes away or get’s hacked. What you need is your own website, a based from which to grow from, that’s your own.
Next you need to be found in search results.
You can still use your social media channels, if you have them, but your website and search is a whole new marketing channel.
Staying as you are is of course an option, after all you’re in your comfort zone. But remember if you do what you have always done, you’ll likely get what you’ve always got. Well that’s not entirely true, because more and more business is being conducted online these days.
You’ve got to be where your potential clients are hanging out. This is online, sure, on social media, but also on Google search. People search for things on Google and other search engines. You have got to be there to be found and you won’t be via Facebook or Instagram.
Appearing in search means..
You need a website (hosting)
You need to find out what you prospective customers are searching for (keyword research)
You need to have your site optimised for search results (SEO)
You need to fill in the gap between going live and being found in search, through advertising via PPC (Google Adwords)
You can convince yourself that you’re okay with the way things are, that you can manage without the need to go online, but really you’re ignoring all the potential business you’re giving up.
Why settle for okay when things could be great with more business coming through the door?
It’s easy to make excuses, after all they make us feel better about dealing with things as they are.
Here at Get Lasting Results, we call them coping excuses, and while they are justifications for dealing with our current behaviours and allow us to feel better about the way the land currently lays, we can all do better and demand more.
Once you deal with the discomfort of making the initial transition online, you’re there. After the initial effort it gets easier, it becomes part of your normal work routine.
In fact we can hold your hand throughout the whole process, and do it for you, from hosting, keyword research, SEO to PPC.
For more information follow this link (sign up), fill in your email and we’ll get the conversation started.
I’m asked quite a lot about the requirements for achieving online success, so have done a walk-through of the considerations for achieving online success, so check it out below.
I haven’t elaborated on each of the points, rather I am just trying to highlight considerations, there are other posts on this site that deal with details.
This site isn’t specifically designed around providing information about running an online business, but I have a number of articles about the subject, based on my research and own experience, which are linked to at the end of this post.
This post is designed for people who want online success, to get results with their online business, but are getting, frustrated, puzzled (why is it not working?), feel like giving up, have run out of ideas.
Let’s assume your goal is to achieve online success.
What’s needed to get there, and what is your target? Make sure you have an end goal in mind, before you begin. You can, by all means, have a number of interim goals, that get increasingly bigger, but by having an end goal you will ensure you are fully in alignment, and not deviating on your journey.
i.e. Making an online income of 10k month
Something to sell
Must first have something to sell that is in-demand by prospective customers, and either…
Monetise via advertising (bring audience to advertisers)
Monetise via sponsorships (bring audience to advertisers)
Get large enough audience/traffic volume to make a living from sales/advertising revenue – bigger volume needed on tighter profit margins.
Produce and use content to pull prospects to sales channel
Allow audience to get to know you
Build trust, likeability
Add value to them
Offer extra help and support
Allow them to see you in action
Advertising online and offline channels
Point all advertising back to content and sales pages
Pay affiliates to drive sales
Influencers with big audience made up of your customer profiles
Get backlinks from other reputable websites
Guest posting on other websites and linking back to your site
Share graphics or unique content with other websites with attribution link back to your site
Optimise website for SEO, using tags, keywords in content text, internal and external links
i.e. Not getting success online
A. Not building volume of traffic to lead pages and then sales pages
to social media pages
B. Not enough engagement/interest in content and then products, no free sharing to help in cost of building volume either
C. No way of monetising or not effectively monetising off back of content
A and B. Is the lack of traffic down to…
#1- Quality of content not engaging and building volume (being shared for free)?
#2- Not effectively marketing well enough?
#1- Producing the Quality Content
Is the subject matter in-demand?
If so, by whom?
Where is the attention of these people?
How can I best reach them?
What are their pains/passions/desires?
What are they having difficulty with?
Where and why are they stuck?
How can I help them get unstuck?
Generating content ideas
Go to forums, online groups, niche thought leaders and see what is being asked, and become part of that community (commenting, asking questions and adding value by giving insight) – Do this for interaction with the community (marketing) and getting content ideas
Check out books in the niche (Amazon) and see what is being written about (table of contents)
Check out magazines and publications within the niche to see what is being written about
Check mainstream media to see what is being written/talked about
Is the content good enough?
Is it attractive? Images, text, video
Is it interesting? – Valuable, useful, well presented – does it benefit the reader?
Am I talented/skilled enough to pull it off (writing skills, video capture/editing skills, speaking skills)
Is the content easily digestible (clear, interesting and valuable)?
Easy to navigate
Links to similar content
Broken into easy to digest paragraphs
Does it cater for different media preferences?
Is it presented from a unique perspective? Not the same as competitors
Are you credible enough?
Proven track record
Past prestigious customers
Testimonials and reviews
Or Documenting my journey – testing “crash test dummy”
What I’ve done up to now and what I’ve learned
Or Collating and commentating on well renown others
Talking about other’s ideas
Testing what other’s suggest
#2- effective marketing of content – look for low acquisition costs (underpriced attention)
Are you using social media effectively (where the prospects attention is focused) to drive traffic to content/sales pages?
Understand the psychology of these channels, the acceptable code of conduct and make sure you don’t break these.
Are there any other marketing channels available to target specific audience that you’re not making use of?
Look at niche specific publications, forums, chat groups, to see if any are being advertised, or discussed.
c. Monetising off back of content
Is there a service or product to sell at the bottom of your sales funnel?
Is the product service valuable (demanded/needed/wanted)?
Sell professional services/products (one to one coaching)
Via ecommerce or drop ship
Via digital media
Are there other methods of monetising available for this niche, that can be lucrative enough?
Not getting results
Online failure points
Failure to get site ranked high in SERP’s
Not enough traffic to website via
Optimise for onsite and offsite SEO
PPC or social media ads
Get to know and understand marketing channels on social media, particularly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on Google PPC
Ask for links
Make content usable for other bloggers/content creators
Get content seen on niche specific forums/groups
Get content In front of influencers who will freely promote your stuff or you can pay to do so
Post on – https://www.quora.com/
Get advert clicks on website
Make the offers enticing enough, relevant enough
Blend the ads to look like links to other parts of website (posters) so they click on them by accident
Have enough ads around content area
Convert visitor’s to subscribers or get customer’s on website
Incentivise visitors using content upgrades, free reports, white papers etc
Scarcity – make the offer limited (number/timescale)
Get more customers
Advertise/add value on channels where prospect attention is focused
or where influencers (who can increase your reach) are situated
I thought I’d cover a subject that isn’t discussed openly and honestly much, but which needs careful consideration when working out a marketing strategy particularly with regards to Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing where getting it wrong is going to cost you big time, and that’s the subject of matching visitor intent with your sales funnel. We’re talking here about delivering the right message at the right time.
When I first got started with running an internet business I found it difficult to script a focused message, mainly because I didn’t consider the visitor’s journey. What I mean by journey is the state of mind the visitor is in when they arrive on a website. Are they just browsing, researching, or looking to make a purchase? I figured if I could understand where the visitor was psychologically at that very moment, I could fashion a message just for them, and encourage them through the sales funnel without them needing to leave my site. I identified a number of stages, which I found very useful in building a marketing strategy around, and I still use it to this day. These stages include
#1 – Goal orientated search – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search
#2- Category orientated search – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search
#3- Product orientated search – perfect for PPC campaigns
#4- Brand orientated search – perfect for PPC campaigns
#5- Browsing – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search
Lets look at each of these stages in more detail:
#1 – Goal orientated search
An example of a goal orientated search would be “losing weight”, or “Getting fit”, or “making money online”
This is the broadest type of search and is designed to get general knowledge about a particular subject. For instance losing weight could be achieved by going on a diet or exercising, so “losing weight” is a more general search type then a “diet” based search would be.
A person that already knows what they would have to do to lose weight wouldn’t need to carry out a goal search in this instance, instead moving to #2 category search. So although each stage is sequential, not everyone needs to go through every stage, it all depends on their existing knowledge about the subject.
However as a marketer, it might be advisable to cater for each and every one of the stages so that you capture all knowledge levels and potential searches, and move them through the learning process. This will help position you to appear as an expert in the subject and allow the visitor to get to know your brand and build some trust in you because you are providing helpful information.
At this point I’d like to talk about “seeker behaviour” (seeker in this instance is the person carrying out the search)” and promiser behaviour”, which refers to you, the marketer.
The seeker/searcher is researching all possible broad options, with little prior knowledge going into this phase and acting on the data gathered to focus on preferred options thereafter. It is the first stage of their research and data gathering and can vary in length depending on complexity of the subject.
In your role as promiser’s (marketer) you should look to show them a path they can follow (at least 4 steps) and take them through the steps to succeed in their goal.
You should show them the end result and make it believable, so make sure it’s not too fantastic and unbelievable. If the visitor doesn’t believe they can achieve it they will likely leave without trying.
You can look to offer them a shortcut alternative that will save them time or effort either through an affiliate product or your own solution.
When acquiring traffic for this type of search you should look to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC because this is an early search and is unlikely to yield a paying customer, until they have gathered more information.
#2 – Category orientated search
An example of a category search (if we stay with the “losing weight” example used previously) would be say “diets” or “exercise”. This is a deeper level of research than the “goal search” and uses the findings from that search as its basis.
The seeker performs a broad category search focused on preferred course of action. Has knowledge of other options outside of the category but is more interested in this option i.e. diet preferred to exercise.
Offer the visitor a review article showing them the options and alternatives within category i.e. different types of diet available to the seeker.
Have affiliate links to each of the options websites
When acquiring traffic for this type of search you should look to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC because this is an early search and is unlikely to yield a paying customer, until they have gathered more information.
#3 – Product orientated search
For example this would be a particular diet such as X plan diet (I made the name up, I think!), or in the case of an exercise, yoga (specific products/actions to carry out the plan)
Very focused search to find more about a single product i.e. X plan diet, and wants reassurance this is best for them
You can provide:
In-depth single product review
how to product guide
demo of products
opening the box demo video or inner workings demos
Show them why they should listen to what you have to say. Why you’re qualified (you have used and benefited from it, or you’re experienced in that field)
Give them the other options and alternatives open to them and why your solution is better than them. Include free or cheap alternative etc
Have affiliate links within the articles taking them to sales page
Using PPC for this type of search is likely to provide a better return on investment than the previous two, simply because the initial research has been carried out and the visitor is closer to making a buying decision.
#4 – brand orientated search
For example with would be the actual product search
The seeker has done enough research and is ready to buy a particular product of their choosing.
Content and monetise
Use a direct link to products sales page. Make the sales process as easy as possible and remove friction and risk.
PPC is a good source of traffic for this type of search simply because there is likely to be less resistance at this point of the buying cycle, get in while the irons hots. You could have a jump page in between the advert the final sales page, but think about reducing the amount of friction (obsticles) you put in front of the visitor, as this will only act to discourage them.
#5 – Browsers
The browsing stage isn’t really a final stage, it’s more likely a first stage in reality but in my mind I see it as separated from the other four stages which is why I’ve put it at the end. The seeker is not searching for anything, just killing time or being entertained moving aimlessly through the web.
For this type of search you as a marketer need to grab attention, distract the seeker from there aimless time-wasting, and pull them into your sales funnel. The other 4 stages are about supplying a demand, however this stage is about creating one, so you have to align your message accordingly. Assuming you need to start from the basics, conveying a “lose weight live longer” message over a “enjoy the X plan diet” is more likely to capture their interest.
Hopefully reading this article has helped you appreciate the value of understanding how aligning your message and content with that of the visitors journey and communicating the right message at the right time to add structure to your marketing strategy. Always look to help the visitor not manipulate them, add value and make the internet a better place for us all.
P.S. Make sure you do your own research before embarking on any paid traffic activities. If you found the content useful and interesting please sign up for our newsletter and get notification of all our latest posts, as well as exclusive content.
Well I thought I’d do a few articles about setting up websites and online businesses as well as online marketing, as support for my business and marketing guides. Online marketing and online business, isn’t what this website is about specifically, but I do believe it should be covered, as it is becoming increasingly more important to have an online presence, even if your business is predominantly carried out off-line.
So you’re a small business owner looking to move your business online or start a new business from scratch, but not sure where to start. You’ve heard of SEO and PPC, optimisation and opt-in forms but don’t really know what they mean and how to use them to make your business an online success.
You can search Google or Youtube using terms like “make money online” and see what you get, but be warned you will spend hours, weeks, even months wading through the marketing spam and hype to find any nuggets of gold. The information’s out there you just have to know where to find it.
This websites a pretty good place to start as I’ve got a lot of information on the subject, having built up a vast resource over the years, as part of my own research. I am also tapped in to a great network of online experts who provide great insight, as well as keeping abreast of the latest developments, without the BS you usually get. I will digest the best bits and present them for your benefit, as part of my contribution towards marketing and business content for this website. I would also suggest checking out my business and marketing guides for more insight.
Well first off I would suggest you get yourself a website. I use WordPress for my businesses, because it’s free, and easy to use, being a content management system (CMS), which means you don’t need any coding skills to update the content, as you build it up. It’s supported by a large community of designers and coders, so is always improving and evolving, becoming better each year. You can download it here, and all you will need to do is upload it to a server of your choice. I have used a couple of different hosting platforms in the past:
but there are a lot of others available, along with reviews.
If you don’t know, or can’t be bothered to learn it yourself, I will be glad to do it for you with my “done for you service”. Email me if you want more information about that. It’s not that difficult to do for yourself though to be honest. It’s a good idea to get yourself a business Facebook page set up, if you haven’t already done so, and again this is free and really easy to do. If you intend to create videos, a business Youtube channel is also a good idea, you can always embed the videos you create, in your webpages.
Word of Warning
Now, if you have yourself a Facebook page or Youtube channel you might not bother about getting yourself a website, instead using Facebook or Youtube as your internet home, but be wary about building your business based on a third party platform, because you are relying on them either not going away or changing the rules and taking your business from under your feet. Having your own website gives you control and makes you look more serious in the eyes of visitors, but they will cost that little bit more, in terms of hosting fees and domain name registration etc.
Now there are 2 major considerations at this point
Getting visitors to you website – otherwise known as getting TRAFFIC
Getting visitors to buy from you – converting visitors
Your site is not much good to anyone, if nobody can find it. So getting visitors, or traffic as it’s better known, is key to your success and you have three main options:
SEO – (search engine optimisation) is a number of activities you can undertake to get your site listed on the major search engines like Google and Bing. The idea is to optimise your site so it gets indexed and ranked, hopefully on the first page of these major search engines. If you’re only listed on page 10 of search results, its very unlikely that anyone will search through 10 pages to find your site. So if you’re not on the first page you are going to get limited traffic volumes to your site. It’s free but takes time to get ranked, even with a well optimised site, it can still take a few months, if not more.
PPC – (pay per click advertising ). This is where you pay to have your website advertised on search engines advertising sections. Paying for traffic is faster than the free options, in fact you can have a presence on the first page of Google within 10 minutes of starting a campaign, which means you can be found by searchers almost immediately, but you are paying for this privaledge, so is costlier than free methods obviously. Costs per click can range from 20p to £10 and more depending on your niche or market, but generally speaking a click cost of £10 infers that there is more money to be made in such a niche, after all advertisers wouldn’t be prepared to pay so much if they weren’t making money out of it.
Social Media Channels – Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, to bring people to your website is the third major option open to you. It does mean learning the best practices for doing so, which is beyond the scope of this article, we will however cover it in more detail in future posts.
Converting visitors refers to converting them from being just visitors to customers, who are going to buy your product/service. I would recommend you get your site search engine friendly first then work on conversions as soon as possible. Simply because if your site converts visitors well you don’t need as much traffic for it to make money. Here’s an example to illustrate the point
If you get 100 visitors and make one sale at £100 that’s a 1% conversion rate
However if your site converts at 10% you would only need 10 people to make the same about of money.
Now I’m not saying you will ever get a 10% conversion rate, (in fact if you do please tell me how you did it) I am just using these figures as an easy-to-see illustration of the power of increasing your conversion rates.
Tools needed to get the job done
Now, how do we increase conversions? Well first, you need to have a focused squeeze landing page that is designed to get people to opt-in to your email list. The strategy here is based on the fact that it’s easier to get a person to give you their email address than it is to get them to buy from you, without them having heard of your brand before. It is often referred to as “selling the click”.
Once you have their email address, via your landing page, you need to send them a number of emails, providing useful information related to your product/business offering, such as tips and tricks, insight or a free sample for instance. This is aimed at building your prospects trust in you, without which, you’re unlikely to get them to buy anything. At the end of the process, you will eventually pitch them an offer, which should be aimed at helping them in some way. Gary Vaynerchuk calls this process “jab jab jab, right hook”, meaning provide value (jab), provide value (jab), provide value (jab), then ask for a sale (right hook).
At the end of the email sequence a second landing page, a sales landing page should be used so that the prospect is encouraged to purchase your product.
There are a number of landing page software providers who offer WordPress plugins, which add functionality to your WordPress website. I have used Thrive Landing page plugin for many campaigns I have run in the past, simply because it does everything I needed to do. With a simple drag and drop interface, you don’t need any coding skills to build effective layouts. It was less than $49 to buy, with no on going subscription charges, and also came with lots of educational videos to help you succeed, so is well worth the investment.
There are a number of email providers available, MailChimp offer a free service for smaller mailing lists and leads onto paid services as your list increases. It’s a great service, from my experience. Also check out Mailpoet, which is a free WordPress plugin, and works well.
I use Paypal to take payments over the internet and this is relatively easy to set up and insert the code within landing pages.
I’ve tried to outline the steps needed to get your website presence up and running, shying away from going in-depth too much and scaring you into thinking it’s just too hard.
If you want any specific questions answering please put them in the comments below and/or sign up for my newsletter.
I do provide a “Done for you service” which involves setting up an hosting account and getting WordPress installed, I’ll also add the necessary plugins mentioned above. Alternatively, have a go yourself if you’ve got the time and patience to learn.
Good luck with the new venture and hope I can provide lots of great, actionable information for you over the coming months.
The light blue writing highlights the monetisation methods
The model above, highlights the ways of providing useful free content to your audience while also paying the bills. Having run a number of businesses off-line where you can’t afford to give things away, getting used to this online business model took some adjustment.
In a nut shell the idea is you provide information people want to read, listen to or watch, which genuinely helps them to solve some problem they have, or help them achieve something they want or need. You monetise on the back of this content with advertising banners, PPC adverts or affiliate links, so that when someone clicks through or buys the product, you get paid a commission as a reward for bringing in the traffic.
The better the content you provide the more people will want to share your content or talk about it on forums etc and the more people will come to your website. Increased traffic should mean you get more clicks on ads and links and enable you to make more money, at least in principle anyway.
The best method seems to be providing content such as “How to…” information and then having links to tools that help your audience get things done faster or with less hassle. Pat Flynn over at smartpassiveincome.com makes thousands of dollars per month by offering advice on how to make money online and then having an affiliate link to Bluehost so visitors can get a website hosted straight away. He then gets a commission from Bluehost for referring clients, get the idea?
PPC and Adwords
The easiest way to make money online is to get Google Adwords set up on your site and let them manage the ad delivery side of things by showing relevant ads to match your on-page content. Although this is the easiest method to set up you will need a lot of clicks to make any decent amount of money using it.
Affiliate links can provide a lucrative income if you can find a product that is relevant to your content. Many website owners build their entire site around a product or range of products with the sole purpose of making money off the affiliate links. Generally the visitor has to buy the product(s) after following the links for you to make any money, but with commissions often as high as 75% of the sale price you can quickly rack up some income if you have the right traffic, content and affiliate product alignment. Check out Clickbank for affiliate products you can sell as an affiliate. I have a number of affiliate accounts set up for products I believe will help my audience to get things done faster, with less hassle, or that will help them make more money.
Develop your own products
Probably the best method of making money is to sell your own products, so you make more, in terms of margin. However you do have to spend more time creating the products in the first place. Products could include digital information products such as Ebooks, and Video Educational systems, or you could hide content behind a pay gate as with membership sites and charge monthly subscriptions for access. If you have the know-how you could provide software solutions, or physical products via Ecommerce and drop shipping sites.
Getting traffic and converting
One of the hardest parts of any business is getting customers to buy from you, with websites it’s about getting as much of the “right” kind of traffic to your site and then getting them to either buy your product or click on the ad links or affiliate links. Paid methods of driving traffic to your site include PPC such as Google Adsense, which is the marketer’s side of the Adwords platform. You can even use affiliates to drive traffic to your site, or paid social media advertising. Free methods include SEO, blog networks, links from article sites, and link wheels although algorithmic changes by Google are rendering some of these methods ineffective or even damaging to your sites search engine ranking so do plenty of research before using any of them.
One thing you should be doing on your website is capturing email addresses using an opt-in form such as the one in the sidebar of this website and at the bottom of the post. This will help you to build a relationship with your visitors and further help them in their search for a solution to their problem. You can find out what they need, what problems they are trying to solve and tailor your products to achieve an effective result for them.
I like to go one further with regards to emails, I like to provide exclusive tailored content via emails, in such a manner that best serves subscribers. I can find out specific needs and add maximum value. Websites are great for general information, but people tend to struggle most when applying acquired knowledge to specific circumstances.
Only by solving problems and providing genuine solutions will you be able to build a sustainable, value-added business. There are many people on the internet looking to make a quick buck and game the system, avoid this and make the internet a better place.
If you would like to keep up-to-date when I publish new content please subscribe to my newsletter below or like my Facebook page (in the sidebar) and thanks for taking the time to read my content.
If you are looking to make money online you need to be aware of this very simple equation
The internet equation: Traffic plus Conversions equals Online Success
There are only 2 ways to make more money from your website :-
#1- Get more traffic onto your site, which involves promoting on other websites, search engines and social media, which can add cost if you need it to be effective and in a timely manner.
#2 – Improve the number of conversions on your website, which doesn’t involve any more cost. It is best practice, to improve your conversion rate before getting more traffic, so that you make the most of any traffic and don’t waste resources increasing leads only to waste them. Think of it like pouring water into a bucket, which has a big hole in it.
The success pyramid, illustrated below, shows the likely success rate of website visitor’s either providing their email address or buying from you. Starting from the bottom of the pyramid, X amount of traffic comes to the site, a small percentage of which will convert (give their email address) with a smaller amount actually progressing onto buying something from you. So out of 1000 visitors, you might get one paying customer at the end of the process. If you can increase your conversions to 2 for every 1000 visitor’s you have doubled your sales from the same amount of traffic. Focus on improving sales with existing traffic volume for best results. Don’t focus initially on getting more traffic to start, as this will increase acquisition costs
The conversion system I’m going to recommend works in the following way:
Generate traffic via PPC or SEO (subject of another post)
Traffic arrives on focused landing page (known as a squeeze landing page because it’s designed to squeeze the email address from the visitor)
Traffic is incentivised to provide their email address
Auto-response email sequence is sent to build relationship with prospect by providing more info, adding value and building trust. Prospect is warmed up to allow sales pitch to be more readily accepted and acted upon
Sale pitch (via email and taking to a sales landing page) is aimed to help prospect speed things up, save time and money, or make things easier etc.
Let me add just one thing at this point, it is vitally important to add value to your vistor’s/prospect’s lives by providing a product/service that will genuinely help them achieve something, or save something. Don’t get into online marketing just to make money, do it to help visitors in a business-like manner, so that you can sustain your help and provide even more value going forward.
To improve website conversions there are a number of things you need to have in place.
A focused squeeze landing page and sales landing page,
An email capture form and
A system to allow visitors to pay you over the internet such as Paypal.
There are a number of tools available to you, in your quest for online success, some of which cost money and some of which don’t. The system I use for my businesses cost me less than £100 for all of them as one-off lifetime payments, with no monthly recurring subscriptions. I will be happy to provide links to such resources if you subscribe to my email list.
Reduce fear and build trust
Having a squeeze page is one thing, but you still have to make that page effective in capturing visitor’s email addresses. Before a visitor is likely to provide their email address, you will need to prove to them that you are trustworthy. Visitors don’t like to give their email address because they are worried that you will send lots of unsolicited emails, or sell their email addresses onto third parties, who will then go on to spam them with no value offers. So make sure you assure them that this is not the case, to help reduce this fear. Use statements such as:
We hate spam just as much as you
We will never share your email address with any 3rd parties
We will never spam you
100% privacy guaranteed
next to your opt-in form to help reassure the visitor. But make sure you keep your promise.
note – There is some evidence to show that the subconscious mind is unable to differentiate between negatively framed words and positively framed words. For example using the word “spam”, even if you’re using it in the context of “We will never spam you“, causes a negative association and can lead to lower opt-in rates than if you were to use a generally more positive phrase such as “100% privacy guarantee“. The best way to determine if this is true, is to run your own test to see what works for you and your audience.
Get the email address and build a relationship
A squeeze landing page should be constructed around one idea or offering. Give your visitor something in return for their email address. Providing valuable free information is one way to do this, in the form of a white paper, e-book, diagram, a free tool, list of handy resources, a cheat sheet, recipe, or video lesson etc. The strategy behind this approach, of giving them valuable information in exchange for their email address, is so that you can build a relationship with them via email, and over time hopefully convert them to paying customers, once they know and trust your brand. It is much easier to sell to someone who you have already had some dealings with, than if they are a complete stranger.
Having something to sell
If you haven’t got something to sell at the end of it, then you’re not going to make any money and you won’t be able to continue provide a great resource for your visitor’s, unless of course you’re just doing it in your spare time for fun, which means you have limited time to devote to helping your audience.
It’s best to start from the sale and work backwards. For instance if the product you’re selling is a cookery coaching program, you can give lots of cooking tips and tricks away for free and have a buying guide for equipment as your opt-in incentive. Alternatively if your product is a photography course, you can give lots of tips and tricks to improve photography for free and have a photography equipment buyers guide as an opt-in incentive.
The difference between a Sales Landing Page and a Squeeze Landing Page
A sale page is the same as a squeeze page but instead of trying to solicit an email address from the visitor, it allows the visitor to buy your product/service.
Anatomy of a landing page
Both squeeze pages and sales pages should contain the following elements:
An eye catching relevant headline – This should be linked to the source of the visitor, for instance, if they came from a Pay Per Click (PPC) advert, then the headline on your sales pay should be the same as the text used in the original advert they clicked on. They should know they are on the right page once they arrive on your landing page based on what they saw on the previous page.
The headline should address a need or want. It should promise a clear benefit or offer. The headline must encourage the visitor to read on. If it’s not engaging enough the visitor will leave without taking action. If you have used PPC to get the visitor onto your landing page this is a wasted click and has incurred a cost to you, so make sure you test your headlines to get the best chance of conversion.
Call to Action
Have a clear call to action, with action oriented text, “click here to get…“. The whole purpose of the landing page is to get the visitor to take one action. This is the call to action. The one call to action on a squeeze page should be aimed at getting the visitor to give you their email address, or on a sales page it is to buy now. If you don’t get it from them, the landing/sales page has failed, pure and simple.
With just the headline and call to action in place the full bare bones of the offer should be completely evident. Everything else on the page should just support these two elements.
Supporting text to expand on the headline promise and provide more detail and also address any possible objections. You will most likely need more supporting text on a sales page than a squeeze page simply because people will give their email address away more easily than money.
An image relevant to the offering
Bullet points of exactly what you are offering in exchange for their email. The greater the value you are providing the better the chance to get that email address or a purchase.
Trust elements – such as testimonials, case studies, customer logos, press mentions, number of followers, customers, subscribers
Risk reducers – such as money back guarantees, free trials, free samples etc.
Tell them who you are. Tell them exactly what you want to do with their email, what offers you will be sending them, and that they are relevant to the offer you are currently providing etc. You will still need to reinforce this on a sales page, even though they should already know you from the squeeze page and your email sequence.
There are a number of email options you can use, some for free, while others have a monthly fee. You can set up auto-responder emails which will send out pre-written emails at set intervals once someone has opted-in.
This can be set to deliver your valuable information directly to their inbox and of course, your sales message and link to the sales page. Growing an active email subscriber base is a key element to online success, because it gives you access to the people who are likely to want your products and services and who already know you.
The old adage “The money is in the list” could not be more true. The key to keeping subscribers on your list is keep providing them with great useful, relevant information, insight and value. If you want to convert them into paying customers you must have something of value, which they’re willing to pay for and that adds more value to their lives than it costs them.
Converting visitors into customers is key to online success. The elements on a landing page, while crucially necessary can be varied in their construction. For instance there is no one great headline that will work for all products and services. The only way to know what’s best for your particular niche is to test, test and test again. Testing different, headlines, different calls to action, different landing page copy, and different images is crucial to improving your landing page performance.
You can use products like Google Analytics to measure your landing page performance. It is vital not to overlook such a great feedback opportunity. If you don’t know what your audience is doing or not doing, you are left to guess and hope for the best. Of course ultimately your bank account will tell you whether your efforts are providing a return on investment or not in the end, but knowing where your efforts are failing within your sales funnel, will help focus your attention. Are you getting lots of clicks on your PPC adverts but no one is opting-in to your email sequence? Are you getting lots of opt-ins but no one is converting on the sales page?
This is what it takes to become an online success. Having a strategy, working the strategy, testing the variables, measuring and reading the feedback data, testing again, improving all the while in an ever improving cycle.
I will be adding more information about each of the elements of a landing page in more detail in future posts, such as killer headlines, and call to action best practices, so please subscribe to my email list so that I can keep in touch.
Lead Magnets otherwise known as “opt-in bribes” or “opt-in incentives” are the little bonuses you promise your website visitors in exchange for their email address.
Why do you want their email address you may ask, well you want it so that you have a method of contact, a direct way of keeping in touch with them, so that you can let them know when you have something to share.
Imagine what would happen if your website crashed and your audience couldn’t find it, you could simply send them an email to let them know where they can continue to follow you while it’s down and explain what has happened.
If you have a time sensitive offer that needs to be acted on quickly, you could easily send them an email to make them aware of it.
Getting your audience’s email doesn’t mean you should keep pestering them with endless communication. But it’s a way you can keep in touch with them directly, rather than hoping they can still find you or them having to keep checking your site to find new content.
In fact growing an email list is one of the most important things you should be doing in your efforts for on-line success, no matter what type of business you run, whether it is an e-commerce site, an affiliate site, or a site that just provides information, like this one.
You’ll need three things to grow your list, an opt-in form on your site, an auto-responder service (sends automatic emails to subscribers) and a lead magnet (see below for examples)
The list below is a general lead magnet list, but when you create a lead magnet yourself, obviously, you should make it relevant to your business/niche. It’s no good offering a recipe download when you’re in the furniture restoration niche.
Make sure it provides value in some way, and is not available elsewhere on your website without your visitors, first, exchanging their email address.
Lead magnets can come in the form of a PDF document, HTML page, video, audio file, slide presentation, or whatever best suits the content you’re providing. People like to have something they can keep and is easily accessible on their preferred device, whether that be phone or computer, and preferably, without having to go on-line to access it, so make it downloadable, where possible.
Lead magnet ideas
White papers – A white paper is an authoritative guide or report designed so the reader can understand a specific topic or issue. Traditionally they have been used by government bodies and business to business (B2B) marketing.
Re-organised blog posts – Put existing content into a PDF download and call it an e-book – Blog posts aren’t always particularly well organised, they are rarely in the best order to be able to consume information about a specific topic, but rather, in the sequence they were written and posted. So if you write an article about say, lead magnets and then do another post about the subject taken from a different perspective, some months later, the two posts may be separated by other content, which means the audience have to search for the two posts separately. If you’re organised you should link the two posts via page links, but many times this doesn’t happen. You could even put them under their own specific category, but if you talk about a lot of topics, this could become unwieldy. So putting the posts into one document and offering it as a lead magnet could be beneficial to the reader.
Ebooks – are one of the most popular choices as an opt-in bribe. They range from a few pages, up to hundreds of pages in length and are usually in PDF file format. If you’re very knowledgeable about your subject, share it in an ebook
Recipes – we used recipes in an early example of what not to do, but they’re a great idea as long as you”re doing a cooking related blog.
Resource lists – People love resource lists because they provide tools that actually help get things done. I have a resource list here, that you can check out
“How to…” guides/tutorials – Another favourite of many blogs. Teach people to do something that’s important in achieving their goal or solving a problem. These can be in text form as a PDF file or in video/audio format. If you’re going the way of video, host them on platforms such as Youtube or Wistia, you can always embed them within your blog posts, on your own website. Make sure that you don’t list them publicly though, otherwise, people won’t need to exchange their email address, to access them, they’ll simply go to your Youtube channel to view them.
Tips and tricks – if you have any nifty short cuts or other time saving tips and advice, when doing something specific, or using a particular piece of software, then share these with your audience via an opt-in.
Case studies – If you can access case studies that prove a point or show some achievement, relating to your niche, share them.
Quiz or Competition – Allow people to enter a competition or quiz in exchange for that all important email address. People love to spend time doing quizzes and winning prizes.
Offer a link to a Questions and Answers or a Frequently Asked questions document where you spell out important information that you know your audience are desperate to know the answers to.
Provide a “5/10/20” day training series in return for an email. A multiple video training series gives your audience an ideal opportunity to get to know you a little better We’re conditioned to deal with people face to face, and while this is not always possible, video allows viewers to see the person behind the brand. Make sure you give them some great information to-boot, and you’ve got a very compelling persuader.
Interview your client/supplier/yourself/industry leader/influencer
Tell a story
What’s new/hot in your niche
Your opinion on (your industry, economic trends, best practice)
Notification for future announcement
Notification of latest blog posts
The “Take Away”
The more perceived value your audience sees in your lead magnet, the more likely they are to opt-in. The best advice I can give you is, test different options and see what work for your particular niche. Use best practices as a starting point, and build on these, but you won’t know what’s best for you and your audience until you try and compare results.
There is some evidence that offering different lead magnets on individual articles, relating to the content of that article, can significantly increase opt-in rates, and this seems logical when you think about it.
If you have a site wide opt-in for say, “Facebook lead generation tips” and this appears at the bottom of an article about “Creating Content”, they reader is unlikely to find your lead magnet offer interesting, because it’s not relevant to their interest at that time, and as a result, they will most likely leave after reading the article without opting in. However if it was relevant to the content, they would surely find it more compelling to opt-in.
The added benefit of this approach is you are segmenting your audience into their specific interests based on which offer they opted in to. They may find multiple lead magnets also more engaging and encourage them to hang around on your site longer.
I recently read an article by Jeff Bullas that talked about “Content Upgrades” being an effective lead generator. Basically a Content Upgrade is something that is related to your article that adds extra value. So it could be a PDF version of the article that the audience can download and store on their device, or a checklist version of the article containing the main take-away points from the article. It could even be a video or audio version of the article containing extra value in the form of extra information or deeper insights into the material.
Getting email addresses from prospective customers should be one of the main objectives for your website, and lead magnets are one of the most effective tools available to you in achieving that objectives. It’s considered much easier to get new visitors to part with their email address, than it is to part with their money, so selling the click, is a sensible marketing strategy for new visitors, who don’t yet know you.
Use your email communication to build trust, liking and credibility in the eyes of the receiver, all which are needed before people will part with their hard earned money, and buy from you.