How To Improve The Conversion Elements Of A Blog

If you’ve known me for more than a day, then you know that I’m always banging on about traffic and conversion being the only 2 factors you should be focused on in your online business.

No matter what strategy (or mix of strategies) you employ, it all comes down to getting people from where they are online (Facebook, Forums, Google, etc.) to your website… and then converting them on your landing page (blog post, optin page, presell page, etc.).

Basic business fundamentals, right!

So, when Dan emailed me and told me he was getting about 4,000 organic visits a month with 1 or 2 optins a day and looking to make a “stratospheric Β£100” (his words) this month, I knew he had some big conversion problems.

Enjoy the video… Click to play.

Watch the video on YouTube “Improving The Conversion Elements Of A Blog

  • Hi Ian,
    Great information, really enjoyed your critique and the very practical tips to improve this site. Loved seeing/hearing how you think through ways to improve conversions. Great post.
    Cheers
    Alison

    • Thanks Alison,
      Its’ nice to know that people get value from this. I take this stuff for granted, so I often wonder if the information is too basic.
      Have Fun
      Ian

  • Michael

    Really like your practical analysis Ian, this is what is needed, good practical information. You have obviously been around the block a few times!

    • Thanks Michael
      It’s taken many failures over many years and hopefully my hindsight can become other peoples foresight.
      Have Fun
      Ian

  • Paul

    Great info, never thought about share buttons having a negative effect if they read zero. Just wondered about the website theme, it looks like a joomla theme, I used joomla for the last 8 years but when it came to membership the options were limited (also for Hybrid Connect) What I did is kept my front end site on joomla 2.5 (too much content and seo positions to risk the change) and then put the wordpress membership site on a subdomain of the main one. Works well so far.

    • Thanks Paul,

      If Dan decides that one of the conversion elements of his page is to get social shares then he should test the position above and then below the content. My thinking is that most people won’t share an article before they’ve read it, and most people won’t scroll back up to share.

      You are right about it being a Joomla site. I incorrectly assumed it was a WordPress site… Oops! Your solution of a sub domain is probably the best one. The only problem is that Dan will need to learn WordPress. But, if he wants to utilise all the WP marketing tools then this will be well worth it… or he could outsource the WP part.

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        My original thinking was to show people that the share buttons exist, then when they finish the article and are uber happy, they would scroll back up to share it.

        But thinking about it, I feel your instance makes more sense. Plus, I’m relying on them going back up to the top, and by them going back to the top I am taking them away from a potentially valuable area where I could improve other conversions (opt in).

  • Dan

    Haha! You know, I was pretty happy with my efforts for creating an ebook cover! However, now that I’ve seen your example I can see how it really does look amateurish.

    I’ve looked into Hybrid Connect, but unfortunately for me it’s not available for Joomla, and I can’t seem to find any sort of pop up/lightbox opt-in plugin to help increase conversions :S

    It looks like I’m going to have to pass up on some of the functionality, but Aweber still lets you customize their forms, so with a bit of tweaking and a professional looking ebook cover I’m sure I can make it look better.

    I will also look into getting an opt-in form positioned at the end of all my posts. Or maybe a link enticing people to my dedicated sign up page?

    With regards to what to send new subscribers, the idea behind recirculating traffic and sending them to all my previous posts is brilliant (not thought of that before), but I’m concerned people will be put off because I’m just making them aware of content they may have already read. What’s your views on this?

    It’s clear to me now that I have one main goal to aim for before anything else – increase my subscriber list. Once that’s in place I’ll have something very valuable to leverage.

    While I’ve got your attention, and knowing you’re an all round business kinda guy, I’ve got ideas floating around about other ways of monetizing the site in the future, what’s your thoughts on additions like classified sections and business/supplier directories?

    I really appreciate you doing this Ian, I can’t thank you enough.

    You da man πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Dan,

      Yes, we all think our baby is the best looking baby in the world… But, in business those first impressions are critical. I’ve seen a quality ebook cover graphic improve conversions by over a 600% overnight… and I’ve also seen 2 high quality graphics tested against each other and one got a 20% better conversion than the other. It’s amazing how simple changes can have dramatic results.

      I automatically assumed it was a WP site and didn’t even think to confirm this… Bugger!

      Okay, first up, don’t bother trying to improve the Aweber form. I have done this on numerous occasions and wasted many, many hours… What you have is the best you will get with an Aweber created form, except for an upgrade on the ebook cover which will help.

      Another option for your Joomla site is, rather than having the Aweber optin form in the sidebar, is to replace it with a clickable graphic in your sidebar (and post footer) which takes them to a dedicated squeeze page (no sidebars, no links, no distractions, just a call to action with optin form). It’s essentially an ad (in your sidebar and footer) and the graphic could have the ebook cover with a strong call to action and “click here”…

      Then you can track the conversion of the sidebar image and the post footer image. You might try a different call to action in the sidebar to the post footer and see which converts better.

      Re, the autoresponder follow up messages… Don’t be concerned about sending people back to a post that they may have already read. The chances are that when they get your email it has been a long time since they read your post and they need a reminder. People take in more the 2nd and 3rd time they read something anyway, and often need to read something 7 times before they get it all.

      The first time they read your braking post (for example) they may never have been on a track, and the 2nd time they read it they have been on a track twice and can relate better to your information.

      I would suggest you structure your follow up messages so they go in a logical sequence that slowly educates your audience to be a better rider… As you add a new post you should add it to your follow up sequence. you want 100+ daily messages and encourage people to reply to you. Engage them because these are the people (hungry crowd) that will give you ideas of where to go with your business (hot dog seller).

      I can’t do that (create auto delivered follow up messages) because each one of my subscribers has a unique business that requires tweaking to optimise their results, and IM changes so quickly. But, motorcycle riding techniques (and other track day stuff) mostly stay the same (like model trains)… So, it is easy to create a sequential automated delivery of information.

      And, once you have posted everything there is to know on your website, you are done… Except for an update every now and again on the existing content and maybe some new content every month or so.

      Your autoresponder follo up sequence is taking every subscriber through every post and at the end of each email you should have an offer to fast track the delivery of the information… That could be an ebook with every post in order for $47 (or something similar). You should also have an ad on every page offering this fast track information.

      There are people who don’t want to go through your website reading every post and just want to buy your fast track information ebook. There are subscribers on your list who don’t want to wait for the daily email who will buy your fast track information. And there are people out there who just want an opportunity to give you money for the awesome content you are freely sharing…

      Re your classified sections and business/supplier directories idea… Nah! These are tons of work without a guaranteed return. You want to implement stuff that’s guaranteed to work and put $$$ in your pocket next week…

      …And that’s getting a 50% optin rate (or better) and a 20% sales conversion from subscribers.

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        Wow, this is great stuff Ian.

        Another simple idea I’d not thought of. Joomla has built in ‘banner’ tracking, so an inticing picture/ad could be my best option.

        I have thought about switching to WP in the past, but as Paul said it’s big risk, and a lot of work. In time I’ve learned that while Joomla is a better all round CMS, WP has much better marketing options for content based sites.

        With the follow up messages, would you normally just write a short intro to the article (100-200 words) and then link to it?

        Also, at present I only contact them when I create a new piece of content which is once a week (I realise now that isn’t enough). Should I continue to broadcast my lastest posts, as well as adding them to my follow up messages? My reason behind this is for people that have already signed up.

        Great idea (again) about packaging all my content into one ordered, convenient list. By the time I’ve covered everything there is to know, as you said, that could be a real valuable proposition.

        Some great info and food for thought here Ian. I feel I’ve now got some much needed direction πŸ™‚

        • Hi Dan,

          You could model my (or anyone’s) email messages which get people to the blog post. You need to construct the email so the subject gets them to open the email and then the email message gets them to click through to the blog post…

          It’s all about conversion and every touch point conversion should be measured and tweaked to improve conversions.

          When you create a new post, broadcast it to your entire list AND add it to your follow up messages. Don’t be afraid that people will unsubscribe if they get 2 emails from you in one day… It will only happen every now and again. And remember these people are excited about the hobby and can’t get enough information to improve their riding.

          Don’t wait until you have covered everything there is to know (to create your product), because that day will never come. Create the product now with the information you already have on your website… You could have a product available by the end of the weekend… if you wanted to!

          Once you have the version 1.0 product out there you can always create version 1.1, 1.2, etc. at a later date and give the previous buyers free updates.

          Have Fun
          Ian

  • Owen Shackleton

    Enjoyed this website critique immensely. Your suggestions are great as well. Actually, when I first saw the site I thought to myself that the opt-in form was very poor. Overall, its a great site.
    Thanks, Ian.

    • Thanks Owen,

      It takes experience (and a fresh pair of eyes) to notice little things like that… I’ll never forget when I was working with an affiliate a few years ago. He was buying traffic at about $0.40 a click and just about breaking even on his sales.

      The image on his landing page was of this amazingly well created model railroad with a steam locomotive. I told him to change the image to a pic (that wasn’t nearly as good) of a diesel locomotive in a more modern era… He improved his results by about 400% just by changing one image.

      You have to test, test, test and test some more… You should never stop testing because any result can always be improved!

      Have Fun
      Ian

  • Dan, another idea is to run the blog side of things off WordPress. What I mean is, load it up on blog.yourdomain.com subdomain and then link to it from the Joomla menu. Then there is a Joomla ext called WordPress posts whereby you can show all the posts on the front end module. And on the blog posts/pages you can at least use Hybrid-Connect (it has increased my opt ins no end, well worth getting)

    The strength in Joomla is that although there are less plugins etc the front ends (templates) do tend to look better, like yours with the two column layout can be hard to achieve in WordPress. By the way what version of Joomla do you run. I’m running 2.5 and pretty happy with it.

    • I would suggest just continuing with adding new content to the Joomla site. The banners going to dedicated squeeze pages would be very simple to implement and be more than enough to massively increase the conversion of this site.

    • Dan

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the tip. I think based on Ian’s comment I’ll have a go at creating a couple of banners and a more enticing squeeze page with less distractions and see how I get on. Good to know for the future though.

      I’m running 2.5 too. I’ve always been happy with Joomla really. It’s quite a steep learning curve but I like how it works. I also think there’s more scope for building bigger and feature filled sites, but as I said I think WordPress is a slightly better option for content marketing sites. Joomla doesn’t have all the fancy plugins of WordPress, but I’m used to that being a Windows Phone user πŸ˜‰

  • Okay Dan, time for me to hold you accountable… πŸ™‚

    You wanted me to help you achieve a monthly goal of Β£1000/month. The information above has answered your questions, given you ideas and a clear direction to go.

    I believe that you could fairly easily achieve an income of Β£2000/month within the next 3 months… IF you implement the correct things at the right time, tweak and measure.

    Now it’s time to test if you REALLY want to reach your goal…

    There are many little ‘obstacles’ within the strategies discussed that could trip you up, but you already have the golden goose that people would give their left arm for (well, maybe not)… A boatload of free traffic!

    But, I have been in this coaching position many, many times before and I know that if I don’t hold you accountable and guide you over the next few months, your results will probably not improve…

    …I’m assuming I know you, which is wrong, because you could be different… But most people get million dollar advice and then 12 months later have done nothing with it… They let fear creep in, fear of unsubscribes, fear of sending too many emails, fear of paid traffic, fear of what people will think of them, fear of being different, fear of success, etc.

    People also love to clutter their lives with tasks that they don’t need to be doing, and they do the same old stuff, and expect different results…

    We have all contributed to show you how to quickly achieve your goal. We are all watching your website looking for the changes. We will subscribe to your list and will be reading your emails… We will provide feedback because we WANT you to succeed!

    To help you with this, and to make sure you understand exactly what needs to be done (and don’t clutter your business with unnecessary stuff), I would like you to create a new comment below (don’t reply to this comment) and tell us the overall strategy you will be implementing on your website. And add the 3 things you will implement in the next week to move you closer to your goal.

    Then, I would like you to diarize a weekly time to come back and create a new comment telling us where you are at, what you completed in the last week and what your 3 new things are to complete for the next week.

    I will read these and guide you accordingly, and so will other readers.. It might sound like a royal pain in the ass, but the result can only mean success for you…

    You now have a choice to make!

    Have Fun
    Ian

  • Dan

    What a call out that is, Ian!! Haha!

    Seriously though, that is exactly the kind of motivation I need. I won’t let you down.

    Ok, after scribbling down everything I’ve learned from this process, my overall strategy to reach my goal will be:

    To focus on maximising my opt-in rate, and then leveraging those subscribers by sending them to all previous content via an autoresponder sequence (which will be ever growing), all the while making them aware of my product through my emails to them as well as via my site.

    My product will be a collection of the vast majority of content I have already created and posted on my site.

    The main focus of the product will be about becoming a better rider (because this is by far the most popular content on the site, and also because I can leverage people from my current free ebook) but I will also include an array of different posts that I know will help enrich reader’s track day experience.

    This will effectively create an ‘ultimate guide to track days’.

    How does that strategy sound?

    I will report back here every Friday (so probably Saturday for you, Ian) with my previous weeks progress report.

    Over the next week I will be:

    1. Upgrading my newsletter calls to action (getting cover made, creating side bar and footer banners, updating squeeze page).

    2. Going through my site and laying out what to include in my ebook and A/R sequence.

    3. Crack out as many A/R sequence intros as I can.

    You may be thinking “yeah, and what else?”, but I’m actually away Fri to Mon, so this will be done Tues to Thur next week.

    • Hi Dan,

      You are right on the money with your planned strategy… Well done!

      There is a lot of work in those 3 tasks of yours for this week, but we’ll see how you go. The 3rd task should be more specific, like “I’ll complete at least 3 autoresponder follow up messages”.

      I always specify 3 tasks per week, because people (usually) can’t effectively complete any more… even if they do this stuff full time. They underestimate the time it takes to get all the little things right, that go into completing the overall tasks.

      We need just the right air to fuel mix so we can maximise the performance.

      Most times less is more…

      Have Fun
      Ian

  • Dan

    Ok, let’s change number 3 to at least 3 A/R intros.

    I’m confident I can get that done, but as you say the time to complete certain tasks is often underestimated.

    I’ll talk to you in a week πŸ™‚

  • Dan

    Hi Ian,

    Right, I managed to complete those tasks. Here’s how I got on with each of them.

    1. Upgrading my newsletter calls to action (getting cover made, creating side bar and footer banners, updating squeeze page).

    As you can see I have updated my right sidebar opt-in form for a single, track-able banner. I have also added a very similar banner to the footer of each of my articles. It took a little while to get the footer banner to show correctly, but after trying a few plugins I managed to find a work around so I can still track its conversions.

    As for the squeeze page, apart from changing the ebook image and removing all distractions, I did little to change this page. My thinking is to see how the banners help conversions, then I’ll be in a better position to see how an updated squeeze page changes things (though I’m not entirely sure how I would change it just yet).

    As for early results? Signs ups have definitely gone up, but not much. I’ve averaged 2.6 a day in the last three days, where as in the last two weeks of June it was 1.1, but it’s still early days for the new banners.

    2. Going through my site and laying out what to include in my ebook and A/R sequence.

    I’ve listed exactly what I want to include in my product, and on the face of it it has the makings of a pretty good guide.

    I also took an opportunity to see what a customer thinks. They sent me an email just generally thanking me for putting the site together, so I asked what he thought of my product idea and he said he absolutely would have bought it when he first started out, which was motivating I have to say.

    My A/R content list reads a little differently. Where as my ebook won’t contain any of my product pages, in my A/R list I have spread them all out across the sequence (where I most think they fit) to get people going back to those pages.

    3. Write three A/R sequence intros.

    This I did very easily. I can definitely do more.

    As for next week:

    1. Write at least 10 A/R sequence intros.

    2. Layout and finalise the content for the ‘newcomers’ section of the product (9 articles) and edit them so they flow.

    3. Research what makes a good squeeze page, and create an outline of the product’s squeeze page.

    Let me know your thoughts Ian πŸ™‚

    Cheers

  • Hi Dan,

    Those optins look so much better. There is still a lot of tweaking you could do but it’s important to first find out how these compare to the last one.

    The squeeze page needs some work though… The link below is a sample of where you want to get to…
    http://modeltrainsforbeginners.com/newsletter/

    Because you are using Joomla I have no idea how to get this look and feel. The sample above was created with OptimizePress on WordPress.

    I would suggest upgrading this page soon as it will probably make a big difference to your optins.

    You should be monitoring the following 2 metrics:

    1) Percentage of total traffic to site that click on banner 1 and banner 2.

    2) Percentage of total clicks on banner 1 and banner 2 that opted in.

    This is easy to do in Google Analytics using Goals… Or you can do it manually with a spreadsheet.

    Have fun,
    Ian

  • Dan

    Thanks Ian.

    I’ve had a quick look and there is a very similar plugin I can use that’ll make this do-able.

    I’ll also look to set the goals up. Shouldn’t be difficult to figure out

    Cheers πŸ™‚

  • Dan

    That time again. Here’s last week’s tasks:

    1. Write at least 10 A/R sequence intros.

    Completed this pretty easily again. I do have a question on this though. Do you think I should wait till I have written all 50 odd intros I have to do before I start the autoresponder sequence? Or shall I start putting them up now (I have 15 done).

    2. Layout and finalise the content for the β€˜newcomers’ section of the product (9 articles) and edit them so they flow.

    I’ve just completed this. I have put the 9 articles for the newcomer section into one documents and tweaked it so they flow together and make sense, as well as formatted them better for an eBook.

    3. Research what makes a good squeeze page, and create an outline of the product’s squeeze page.

    This was changed somewhat. Instead, I worked on the current squeeze page I already have. I pretty much copied exactly what your showed me on the Model Train site, as you can see here:

    http://biketrackdayshub.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up-page

    This wasn’t as easy as I thought, and I had a tough time getting the page to display correctly across multiple browsers, but I got there in the end πŸ™‚

    I shall await your word before I pick three more tasks for the coming week.

    Cheers

    Dan

  • Hi Dan,

    Yes, you definitely want to be rolling out each autoresponder follow up message as it’s done. Then monitor open rates, click thru rates and unsubscribe rates on EVERY message.

    That new sign up page is a MASSIVE improvement… Well done!

    You might want to give the newsletter a more enticing name and also get rid of the BTDH abbreviation.

    Things like “This website has grown steadily over time…” is a waste of words. Nobody cares, they just want to ride faster!

    Copy the words on the model train page exactly and just replace the model train reference with bike day riding (or similar). That page converts at close to 60% and every sentence was carefully crafted to convert. This was done painstakingly over 12 months.

    Your next stop is to get your product done and ready for sale.

    BTW Dan, don’t wait for me before deciding what to do next, because sometimes I can take a few days to get back to you. I’m forced to prioritize my time according to the different coaching levels I have available.

    Have Fun,
    Ian

  • Dan

    Thanks Ian.

    I have made some amendments to the sign up page. I followed very closely what was written on the model train page, but I tweaked it in places because I didn’t feel it fitted the service I was providing. Let me know your thoughts.

    Ok, for this coming week.

    1. Add the 15 pre-written autoresponder intros to my sequence, and complete 10 more.

    2. Layout and finalise the content for the sections 2 and 3 of the product (16 articles) and edit them so they flow.

    3. Do more of the above if they are finished.

  • Now that’s a killer optin page… It almost makes me want to optin!

    Almost because the title “Track Day Tips Newsletter” needs to be on one line…

    The “Sign Up” button should say “Download Now” or “Instant Download”… Sign up makes me feel like I’m signing a contract (subconsciously).

    And “The best track day hints, tips, guides and advice delivered right to your mailbox!” should be replaced with the following testimonial β€œFinally, A High Quality, Content Rich Bike Track Day Newsletter That Every Level Of Rider Will Benefit From… Highly Recommended!” Ian McConnell

    That testimonial is VERY important!

    Have Fun
    Ian

    • Dan

      Sorry I completely missed this earlier!

      I’ve made those amendments.

      Thanks a lot! πŸ™‚

  • Dan

    Oh I did have a question regarding these two points when looking at what to track.

    1) Percentage of total traffic to site that click on banner 1 and banner 2.

    2) Percentage of total clicks on banner 1 and banner 2 that opted in.

    I can easily log number 1 in a spreadsheet, but as for number 2, I’m not quite sure how I could differentiate whether a subscriber clicked on banner 1 or banner 2, other than creating two identical squeeze pages.

    Or have I misinterpreted the meaning?

    • Hi Dan,

      The conversion goal for your entire website has now become about getting the visitor to optin. Your intention is to build a tribe (audience) that you can offer your product to, and other stuff that will help them ride faster. These offers are made via email.

      The visitors come from Google (and other places) and land on one of your pages… Then, you want them to click a banner and optin.

      The critical factors are:

      1) Targeted traffic – the visitors need to be in the right demographic (gender, age, country, riding experience, etc.). Car mechanics looking for the best tyre pressure gauge are the wrong demographic and will not optin. Your bounce rate will be a great indicator… should be about 20%.

      2) Clicks on banners – I suspect the banner below your content will receive more clicks because it makes sense that people would read the content and then want more. If that banner gets a 20% (for example) CTR (click thru rate), then you can use that banner as your control and test other banners to try and beat your control (get a better than 20% conversion). When you find one that does, it becomes your new control.

      3) Optin rate of squeeze page – if the 2 banners are the same, then you would expect the optin conversion rate to be very similar. However when you test a new post footer banner, you want to see the comparison of optin conversions between the 2 banners. The easiest way to do this is to send each banner click to separate optin pages (even if they look identical). There are other ways to do this but at this stage it’s probably better to keep it simple.

      Banner #1 click to go to Optin Page #1
      Banner #2 click to go to Optin Page #2

      You also want to set up each of your optin page url’s as a goal destination in Google Analytics. That way you can filter out different traffic sources to see which traffic sources convert better.

      Let me know if you have any questions on this…

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        Thanks Ian, that makes things very clear. I wouldn’t mind making a couple of points.

        Regards factor 1, is it such a terrible thing that a visitor doesn’t opt-in and convert on the primary level (because they’re not targeted), but does actually convert on a secondary level? (eBay link).

        Wow 20% bounce rate, I’m way off course! Currently sitting at around 60%. Even my targeted traffic bounces at about 50-60%.

        Regarding factor 2, I’ll give it a little while to get some data in, then I’ll look to change the footer banner and see what I get out of it. I’ll create the duplicate squeeze page now though so I can separate the conversions.

        • Hi Dan,

          You want to be 100% focused on building that list because then you can offer them the eBay products as part of your autoresponder sequence (after you have promoted your own product).

          Wow 60%, that needs looking at. Look under traffic sources in Google Analytics and see which are the worst offenders. Then work out why… could be traffic from countries other than UK, or people viewing your site on smart phones.

          1,000 visitors is a good sample size for the present banners. Then make changes, reset the counter and test the next 1,000.

          Have Fun
          Ian

          • Dan

            I’ve had a look through analytics and there’s no standout content or type of visitor that is causing the issue. It’s not mobile either, because my site does have a mobile version too.

            A lot of my highest bouncing content is product pages, which makes sense because people will be clicking the ebay links, but not sure why the pure info pages are bouncing. It could be because visitors are just looking for an answer, finding it and then leaving.

            However, even given the high bounce rate, I’m confident the site can build a good audience (which is where most of the sales will be made), and with the level of thankful emails I’ve received, I feel this strategy is still very much doable.

            Though what do I know… πŸ˜›

  • Dan, a bounce rate of 60% means that 2,400 of your 4,000 visitors per month are bouncing straight off your site. At a very low optin rate of just 20% that’s 480 optins per month you are missing out on…

    480 x 12 = 5,760 missed optins per year, or at the industry average of $1/subscriber/month about $60k/yr!

    This video explains why bounce rate is a metric everyone should pay very close attention to…

  • Dan

    I completely understand your points, but I just struggle to see how I’d achieve those numbers. Take this page as an example which is one of my most popular posts:

    http://biketrackdayshub.co.uk/how-to-get-your-knee-down

    It bounces at 73% which is huge, but the search terms from the SEs are laser targetted, and I can’t find any particular type of visitor that is bringing the average up.

    Maybe I need to try some navigation changes on the left sidebar, or maybe people are just seeing too much text and just can’t be bothered to read it.

    It’s a toughie.

  • Dan, that’s what separates the successful marketers from the average marketer… Attention to detail!

    Nothing is tough, you just need to dig, analyze the details, test and measure… It’s actually very simple!

    Small hinges swing big doors… Just a small 5% improvement in your bounce rate could mean many, many extra thousands to your bottom line.

    However, your focus now should be to get a paid product to market… We can work on your bounce rate in a future blog post.

    Have Fun
    Ian

    • Dan

      You’re right, I don’t need to be heading off on a tangent.

      Eyes on the prize πŸ™‚

  • Paul

    Dan I think you hit the nail on the head. In my opinion you may have way too many free articles. As an outsider I would be thinking, “wow loads to get through here I will save that site to my favs and come back to read more later what a good free site”

    A lot of membership sites that have a lot of teaser articles split the article into “to read more you need to subscribe or join” A very clever way of doing it in my mind is to make a level of membership free, so not only do you have them in your autoresponder but you have them inside your membership site.

    I think the problem is when you give a lot of free content is knowing where to draw the line. I’m by no means an expert. My site is growing slowly but thats because I am limited on my time to work on it, but the teaser content seems to work for me. That article you mention that is really popular, I bet you any money if you let them view the first bit but protected the juicy bit they would join. I know there are Joomla plugins that would do this, maybe you could test it on just that article alone or a few.

    • Dan

      Thanks Paul. A good insight there.

      Definitely something to look into in the future after the first product is live.

  • Dan

    Hey Ian,

    I’ll keep this brief as I’m doing this on mobile on the road.

    I completed both tasks. I now have 25 emails in my autoresponder sequence. I also completed the parts of the ebook I specified above, which puts my ebook at about half way complete.

    As for this coming week I shall be putting the remaining 25 or so emails in my autoresponder sequence to finish that.

    As for the product, I have quite a bit of free time from Sunday, so I feel I should be able to get the first draft of the product completed by Friday. Then it will just be a case of reading through it, to make sure it flows.

    I know I’m never going to be completely happy with the final product (as a result of fear) so in your experience, how much work do I need to put into the finalization? Probably too open ended a question really.

    • Dan, everyone is scared the first time around. I remember being terrified that people would hate the ebook and send me hate mail, or turn up at my door demanding a refund…

      I procrastinated badly and my coach got me over the line by making me set a date (a week ahead) and whatever stage the book was at (at that date) became version 1, and was put up for sale.

      He also got me to offer each purchaser lifetime access to any future updates to the ebook.

      I soon realized that my initial need to deliver a perfect product, and delaying the delivery, was actually a disservice to my customers. That’s because the customers shaped versions 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.

      My idea of a perfect product was not theirs…

      The tip is to quickly get a minimum viable product out there. Give them a 60 day 100% money back guarantee, if they are not satisfied with their purchase. Give them lifetime updates, and you will have completely removed the risk of the purchase for them.

      Then, after a week of their purchase, ask them for feedback. Ask what they think should be changed or included and let them shape the ebook updates.

      So, what date have you set for version 1 of your ebook?

      Have Fun
      Ian

  • Dan

    Once again, this is fantastic info Ian. Thanks so much.

    Like I said above I think I should be able to get all the content together by Friday, but obviously I’ll need to go through the whole thing and tweak it, so I’ll give myself another week for that, in which case I’ll say that version 1.0 will be complete by 2nd August.

    I’ll obviously get back to you this coming Friday though for the usual update.

    Oh also, out of interest, how many pages was your first product? Mine’s looking like it’s going to be around 100.

    • Dan, I believe it started at around 85 pages with about size 16 font and massive margins. About 30% of the ebook was images.

      100 pages or more will probably be too much… Readers buy ebooks to get the best information quickly, so make sure you exclude the fluff.

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        Oh wow, mine’s looking like it’s gonna tip a good few pages over the 100 page mark, and that’s with size 12 font, normal margins, and not an awful lot of pictures.

        I’ve clearly got some weeding out to do.

        • Ian McConnell

          Dan, don’t do any weeding in version 1. Save that for version 1.1 if your customers tell you it needs it.

  • Dan

    Ian, I’ve just checked my Aweber stats, and in the last three days I’ve had three unsubscribes and one complaint (marked as spam).

    Should I be worried? Or just think of it as a purge of people sitting on the fence.

    Cheers

    • Ian McConnell

      Dan, it depends…

      If you have 10 people on your list with 3 unsubscribes, that’s a 30% unsubscribe rate and needs looking at.

      If you have 1,000 people on your list with 3 unsubscribes, that’s a 0.3% unsubscribe rate and acceptable.

      A better question would be “Is a 10% (or whatever yours is) unsubscribe rate acceptable?”

      That’s the wonderful thing about Aweber. The reports allow you to dig deep and find out exactly which messages are getting the most unsubscribes.

      And re the spam complaint, you will always get the idiots… In this industry you need a thick skin. They will report you for spamming, they will complain on the forums, they will refund… all mostly because they are jealous.

      Fortunately these idiots are rare. They are about 0.1% of your audience, but they can rattle your cage in a BIG way.

      I had a few idiots over the other side of Australia who tried to beat me down with emails accusing me of profiting from model train information that should be free.

      I got really upset by this, but as my coach explained, I was getting 30+ emails thanking me for the information compared to the 1 email that bashed me. In the beginning though, that one bad email had 100 times the emotional effect and it took a while to get over.

      As a marketer you are raising your head above the crowd and there will always be someone who wants to cut you down. In Australia we call it the tall poppy syndrome… If you know it exists (syndrome) it makes it easier to deal with.

      Most of the time these people are not angry with you, but angry with themselves and taking it out on you.

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        Unfortunately, tall poppy syndrome is something that I see almost every day in the UK, even among my closest friends, so it is something that I will try my best to not let it affect me too much if I encounter it.

        With regards to my list, apart from a couple of anomalies early on, these are actually the first 3 unsubscribes in 138 total. So I’ll keep my eye on it and see how it continues with the autoresponder sequence set up.

  • Dan

    Hey Ian,

    All my planned content is now in one document, with the vast majority of the formatting done.

    Also I have put the rest of my autoresponder intros into my sequence, which means the count of follow-up emails now sits at about 60. I’ve had no more unsubscribes since those 3 in succession, but it’s something I’ll keep my eye on.

    This week I also had a go at setting up goals in Analytics to track traffic and subscriber conversions. Currently, traffic from my two banners (going to the duplicate squeeze pages) is converting to subscribers at 45% each. However this average is creeping up it seems as more traffic funnels through.

    This coming week will be all about getting product 1.0 finished. This will mean reading through the whole thing to make each article flow together, adding in a cover page, foreword, possibly a disclaimer, contents page, and a seperator page for each section (five sections).

    I’m confident I can get this done by Friday, then it will be a case of sorting out payment methods etc.

    I did have a question regarding the format. I was just going to go with PDF, but what’s to stop people buying it then just getting a refund, and just keeping a copy of the ebook?

    Is this just something I have to accept might happen? Or is there a way to deal with it?

    • Hi Dan,

      WOW a 45% optin rate is MASSIVE… I think I should double my coaching fees πŸ™‚

      That is going to earn you many, many thousands of $$$ over time… woohoo!! Well done on the speed of implementation because most people get the advice and then do nothing…

      Version 1.0 needs to get to market quickly. You want a standard pdf and you will get ripped off… Most people are honest but expect about 5% will refund, or copy your work and then give it out freely online. It happens to all of us… Get over it now and don’t waste any energy on worrying or trying to deal with it. It is impossible to make content online 100% secure, even with a membership site.

      I can show you (and I won’t obviously) where you can find almost anyone’s paid content available freely online, or at a fraction of the price. If you can’t find your paid content for free online it’s because your content is not valuable enough…

      It used to annoy me intensely and I’ve just had a case of blatant stealing of my intellectual property… But, you can spend many hours getting them to remove stuff and, in a week, 2 other thieves will pop up.

      The honest people are the ones you need to focus on. Just as a retail shop has shoplifters, you will have your own shoplifters. It’s a part of doing business!

      Well done and have fun,
      Ian

  • Dan

    Thanks Ian, it just goes to show the power of accountability. I knew I had the aptitude, I just needed the impetus.

    However, before you re-invoice your current clients, I just want to clarify that’s not 45% of total traffic, I meant the squeeze page is converting at 45%.

    I haven’t got a figure for total traffic conversions yet, but I know it’s gone up. Before I was getting about 0-2 subscribers a day, now it’s 2-5. I’m pretty pleased with that at this stage.

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  • Dan

    These Fridays come around quick don’t they!

    I can happily say that eBook v1.0 is complete. I’ve been through the whole thing (all 45,000 words of it!) and just made little tweaks, and I’m happy with the end product.

    The only thing I need is a front cover, but I’ve just put an order in over at Fiverr for an ebook graphic, so once I have the design for that I can create one.

    Up next it will be a case of writing my sales page, and after doing bit of reading on the matter I have a fairly good template in my head which follows the ‘normal’ sales letter script.

    Then it will be a case of setting up the shopping cart and payment system, for which I have decided to use E-Junkie. I like how they charge and how the system works, and it looks like it’ll be very easy to integrate with Aweber to move people over to a different list when they buy.

    Not sure how long the sales page will take to write, but I would like to think that I could have it all set up and ready to rock come next Friday (preferably before).

    I can’t believe I’m about to launch my first product. This wasn’t anywhere close on my to do list, and it’s all down to you Ian.

    Thanks so much πŸ™‚

    • Ian McConnell

      Congrats Dan, that’s great news!

      The front cover of your book will make or break it. This is an essential conversion element of your sales page (the ebook cover image). Don’t scrimp on this…

      E-Junkie is a start, but if you want to make the big time you have to sell on Clickbank, like I did in the model train niche. Their affiliate network is huge.

      Have Fun,
      Ian

      • Dan

        I’ve just had this made. What do you think Ian?

        http://biketrackdayshub.co.uk/images/TheUltimateTrackDayGuide.png

        Do you think I would benefit from Clickbank’s affiliate network? The reason I’m asking is because I have been over there in the past looking for products around, or at least related to, my niche I don’t see a lot going on.

        But maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way.

        • Paul

          Hi Dan, looks great. Did you do it yourself or have it done for you at fiverr, would be interested to know and if you can recommend someone.

          Regards
          Paul

  • Ian McConnell

    Hi Dan,

    That ebook cover is a great start.

    Clickbank was an essential part to my success in the model train niche because of the affiliate program.

    However, it’s something you can always do later, so if you are set on E-Junkie then go with that solution. I have never used E-Junkie because I have found Clickbank the perfect solution for me.

    Have Fun
    Ian

  • Dan

    Cheers Ian. Hoping to have everything set up soon πŸ™‚

  • Dan

    Hey Ian,

    Well that’s it. Done an dusted (for now, of course). My first product is live πŸ˜€

    I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of tweaking to be done, but this is how things are the moment. You can see my sales page here:

    http://biketrackdayshub.co.uk/the-ultimate-track-day-guide

    Everything is set up with e-junkie, and purchasers are automatically moved over to a different email list in AWeber when they purchase (though annoyingly they still have to opt-in).

    Also, on any other page on my site you can see a banner on the left hand side about mid way down. I’ve set up event tracking to track banner clicks and ‘add to cart’ clicks.

    I made my current list aware of the product, however no sales yet πŸ™

    Now I need to work the product into my autoresponder sequence. I was thinking of sending a sales letter as the sixth follow up message, then putting a ‘P.S’ at the bottom of every (or every couple) of emails. What do you think to this?

    Thanks again for this Ian. I would be nowhere close to this if it wasn’t for you.

    • Ian McConnell

      Well done Dan! Great job on the implementation.

      I suggest offering the product immediately on sign up at a one time only discount. There are impulse buyers that will take you up on this.

      The best way to sell is after your blog post… “If you liked this, then you are going to love my ultimate track guide. Click here!”

      I think your emails should only have one call to action. Either read the blog post or sell your product. Don’t give readers 2 options because then they usually don’t do anything.

      Have Fun
      Ian

      • Dan

        Thanks Ian.

        Since my comment I’ve have two purchases, woooo! πŸ˜€

        Could I be bold and ask one or two questions please?

        Do you have a system in place to separate converted customers onto a different email list?

        I’ve hit a snag where I’ve setup ejunkie as an email parser (so subscribers get moved to the new ‘buyers’ list when they buy), but this means they have to confirm their subscription again. And on the very first sale the buyer (who was subscribed to my original list) didn’t opt-in to the new list, and because of the Aweber automation rule I put in place to remove them from my original list upon purchase, I’ve now lost that subscriber.

        If you do separate prospects and clients, could you simply point me in the direction of your method. I can do the rest.

        Thanks a lot!

      • Dan

        Was meant to add in my latest comment, would the offer at the end of each blog post replace my free opt-in offer, or run along side it?

        In this instance would you keep the stance of only have one compelling offer in front of readers?

  • Ian McConnell

    Hi Dan,

    I remember my first sale more than anything in my IM career… It was an exciting day because I had validated that this stuff actually works and the effort was worth it. So, for you to get 2… well that’s just simply awesome and well deserved!

    I also remember my 2nd most exciting day (and you can look forward to this)… It was when I checked my Gmail account and saw 22 “payment received” emails. I was so conditioned to seeing 1 or 2 “payment received” emails every day that I thought there was a Clickbank or Gmail error… I thought they had sent the one “payment received” email 22 times. But then I opened the emails and found 22 different sales had occurred… WOW!

    I’m getting goose bumps now remembering that day. It was soooo amazing!

    21 of those sales were made by one affiliate, and that’s when I realised the importance and amazing leverage of affiliates (that’s why I always say Clickbank was a very important part of my success).

    It would be interesting to know what your sales page is converting at (number of sales divided by total sales page views x 100). I expect around 1%, but it could be higher.

    Re the subscriber and customer lists… If you email me your thank-you page I’ll look at your customer optin. If they are not opting in it’s because it’s not compelling enough. I used to say “Enter your name and email to register for the free lifetime upgrades” and got about a 95% optin rate.

    But… why not just leave them on the subscriber list? They will subscribe to the customer list and in the first customer email you can tell them how to unsubscribe from the subscriber list. That way they have the option. But, if I was your customer I would still want to get your subscriber emails, because it will compliment the ebook.

    Dan, I’ll tell you a little truth that many people forget about… Less than 10% of your customers will read your ebook from cover to cover. Most of your customers will buy it, read the first few pages, maybe have a quick skim through the rest, close it and never read it again. But, next week they’ll be buying the next book available…

    So, keeping them on your subscriber list means you could be offering the next book available on Amazon, or some where else (as an affiliate)… or any other resources you can find. People passionate about something usually buy every bit of information they can find on their passion, and think they’ll get around to reading it one day. You want to make sure you are the authority in your niche and people are buying through your links, and not going somewhere else.

    If you do that, then your customer list is just for emailing any updates or special one-off offers that you don’t send out via your subscriber list.

    Exciting stuff and you are only just starting. There is so much more to come…

    Have Fun
    Ian

    P.S. Dan, asking if you can be bold and ask questions implies that you feel like you are putting me out or taking advantage of me by asking… I want you to know that this is not the case at all. You should ask as many questions as you want or need. There are hundreds of people following this post (I can tell from my analytics). They are the silent majority and I believe that your post is inspiring and motivating them. We may never know of their successes, but there will be many. You are helping many, many people by asking questions and me answering them. There is no need for you to apologise, because you are doing a great thing and I love helping people that take action.

  • Dan

    Hi Ian,

    Last night I had my third sale. I’m so happy! It sounds funny because it’s only Β£60, but not only have I made half of last months earnings in a little over 24 hours, but as you said it shows it’s working and it justifies everything that’s been going through my head in recent weeks, and silences the worry.

    An affiliate scheme is definitely something I want to implement. E-Junkie does have this facility, but obviously the marketplace won’t be as good. I guess this is a little out of the scope of this post though, so maybe something for a future post as you say.

    As for conversions, since it went live two days ago I’ve had 95 unique page views and 3 sales, so I make that about 3.1%. Though I imagine the broadcast to my list would have affected the numbers. Still….3% eh? πŸ˜€

    Re subscribers, since my comment I hatched a plan to change the previous setup for getting buyers onto a customer list, one that sounds like it follows very closely with what you suggested actually.

    I’ve removed e-junkie as the email parser, so customers are not signed up as soon as they buy. Instead, I have put a custom thank you page in place that customers see straight after they click ‘pay’:

    http://biketrackdayshub.co.uk/thanks-for-your-purchase

    This does exactly what you say and uses the free future versions as the incentive. I think this will do a fairly good job of converting buyers.

    The critical point though is that if existing subscribers choose not to sign up to the customer list, they will still remain on the prospect list, so there will be zero subscribers lost.

    Re keeping customers on both lists, would this not cause complications when sending out ‘latest content’ broadcasts? Because the people that are on both lists will receive two of the same email.

    (I’ve just re-read what you said, but I’ll keep the above question in)

    Are you basically saying, only send follow ups and latest content to subscriber list, and use customer list for offers and future upsells? This sounds logical, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind trying to convert people on the customer list to fans with my great content (latest content broadcasts).

    It is very exciting indeed. I feel like my dreams are finally starting to be realized, and my goal of making a fulltime income and leaving my job getting ever closer!

    It’s good to know people are still tuned in, because I don’t want to be the only one that gets something out of this. I wish everyone reading this the very best of success, but the only way to succeed is to take action. This post is proof of that.

    Thank you, Ian. So so much!

  • Paul

    Well done you deserve it. Did those buyers come straight off page or were they on the list first and then bought?

    Paul

    • Dan

      Hi Paul,

      All three buyers came from my list from what I can see.

      I’m hoping though that with a couple of additions to my autoresponder and a couple of tweaks to my site, I’ll get more natural traffic through to the sales page.

  • Ian McConnell

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad it has all worked out for you.

    The customer list are the action takers. If they have bought from you once, they are very likely to buy anything else you suggest. Treat these people like your very best friends, who happen to be track bike riders. You can ask them for help, you can ask their opinion and you would only ever recommend stuff that you are 100% convinced will help them improve…

    The subscriber list are the strangers. They hang around, but you have no idea if they are spectators, thinking about trying the sport, beginners, or have years of experience. So, you put everything you can in front of them to get them to put up their hand and say yes I’m interested, where do I sign up.

    With this in mind you can now work out what information you would send to what group.

    Have Fun,
    Ian

  • Dan

    Here’s a quick update for those wondering what’s been happening.

    As you’ll know the product went live 8 days ago. Since then I have made 9 sales, 7 of which came from readers already subscribed to my newsletter, the other two came from off page, signed up to my newsletter and then bought my product shortly after having seen the ‘limited time offer’.

    At this stage I’m really happy with the results, and before it went live I said I would have been happy with 10 sales for the remainder of August which it looks like I’m going to easily do.

    Now it’s just a case of working to improve conversions and increase traffic to the site. If I can do those two things there’s no question that I’ll see more sales.

  • Ian McConnell

    Dan, that is awesome…

    I was looking at the date of your first email and it’s been only one month since this post was initially published.

    So, in one month you have created a brand new product, created a lead generation funnel, created a complete sales funnel, implemented a delivery system and made 9 sales. WOW… now everyone should believe it’s possible!

    So why did you get there so quickly?

    1) You got some free advice from someone who has been there and done that. That gave you direction, clarity and belief.
    2) You were held accountable. So the motivation was there (or you would look like the average Joe who does nothing) and you got over the fear.
    3) You asked questions, you were persistent in getting me to respond and at the end of the day the squeaky wheel got the oil. Well done!

    What were the results?

    Prior to this exercise, you said you were lucky to make Β£100 a month. In the last month (with some help) you have made around Β£180… and the product has only been available for just over a week!

    That’s 180% increase in sales…

    What’s next for you?

    Dan, you’ve done a great job with measuring the touch points of your sales funnel… now you just need to improve the conversion of all of those touch points, as we discussed via email.

    With a small improvement on each touch point, you should make a 400%+ improvement on your bottom line (net profit).

    Traffic can be improved by looking at the existing web pages and maximising the traffic and conversion of each page. Improve the bounce rate, improve the rankings in the search engines, etc. That will get more people into your sales funnel.

    Take all the profits and invest them back into your business. The efficient way to do this is to start buying some targeted traffic. This will speed up the process, give you valuable metrics, and you can scale it as much as you want. The idea is to be paying around Β£5 for a customer who spends Β£19… That’s a great return on investment.

    There are also many other ways to scale your traffic and the best way is to get your product on Clickbank and leverage the massive affiliate program… This could scale your business more than 10 times (like my model train story)!

    Creating a membership site is an absolute must for you in the future… At this stage your average customer lifetime value is Β£19 and you need to get it to Β£100+. This is easily achievable with a membership site.

    You have many exciting ideas and many great times for you in the future.

    I promise I’ll do another blog post and cover these scaling and leverage techniques in great detail… Then you can implement those and report back with the results. I’ll make a start next week…

    Have fun,
    Ian

    • Dan

      I can’t tell you how much it inspires me when I read these replies, Ian. They are priceless. Really.

      It’s high time I started digging through my analytics and seeing which are the best and the worst performing pages.

      From a traffic standpoint, shortly before I contacted you I signed up for BuzzStream (an outreach and link building service) and started compiling a list of prospective sites. I’ve hit it hard over the last couple of days and have contact information and names of around 200+ targeted sites that I can reach out to to tell them about my site. There are also a good few sites in that list that I think would be interested in becoming affiliates too.

      Buying targeted traffic is not something I’ve done before, so I’ll look a little deeper into that while I wait for your next chapter.

      Re a membership, I do struggle to see how I would implement that and why people would spend money on it, but at the same time I couldn’t see myself releasing a product any time soon….and look what happened there πŸ˜€