Is Your Sales Funnel Working for You?

Sample rate conversion

Sample rate conversion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a sales funnel to be effective and efficient, it needs to be carefully tracked and measured. In fact, tracking and measuring is the most important thing you’ll do in your entire sales process. When you monitor each part of your funnel, you can see exactly what’s working and what isn’t, and what areas of the funnel need to be tightened up.

Traffic Sources

The entry point of your sales funnel is your landing page and its success depends upon traffic. You need to know how much traffic you are getting and where it’s coming from. Traffic sources could be social media, SEO, paid ads, or referring sources. Always monitor your traffic statistics. When a source isn’t pulling its weight, tweak it or drop it. Try to focus on sources that are bringing in a great deal of traffic compared to the time and money you spend on it.

Your Opt-in Conversion Rate

Your opt-in conversion rate tells you how many of the visitors to your page who see your offer actually take you up on it. This is an important statistic, because it tells you whether or not your landing page is working. If the conversion rate is low, consider spicing up your offer by improving the copy, offering something better, or making it a one-time only or limited-time offer. Start with tweaking your headline before you change anything else.

Testing Landing Pages

A tried and true method to tweak landing pages is to split-test. This means creating several different pages and seeing which one performs best. You can then analyze the best performing page to figure out why it works and apply this information to future pages as well.

Start by testing just one element on two or more different versions of the same page so you can be sure to compare apples to apples. Otherwise, you won’t know what is actually working.

Site Activity

Monitoring your analytics will tell you what people are doing when they hit your site. You can discover how much time they spend on each page and what they click on. Bounce rate is a statistic that tells you how many visitors hit your site and when they leave it. When people don’t spend much time on your page it could mean the copy isn’t compelling enough to keep them or that your traffic sources aren’t relevant to your offer. For example, you don’t want an article you’ve written on mastering social media to lead to a landing page for a guide to blogging.

Sales on Back-end Offers

Keep tabs on sales figures for your back-end offers. If they’re not selling like they should be, something may be wrong within your funnel. Identify the spots where you’re losing prospects. You may also need to add more small ticket offers throughout the funnel to better qualify your subscribers.

Email Conversions

You can monitor conversion rates for your email promotions as well. If you are offering your subscribers the relevant products that they want and need, you should have a healthy conversion rate. Whenever you try out new offers, drop the ones that aren’t converting. Look for areas in the funnel where there are many unsubscribers.

Tools to Help You Monitor

There are a number of tools available to help you monitor the effectiveness of your sales funnel. One of the most comprehensive is Google Analytics. This is a free program that measures traffic sources, time spent on site, bounce rate, and a whole host of other stats. Professional squeeze or sales page themes should offer other data as well. In addition, there are specific tracking software tools you can install and use to create separate tracking links for different campaigns.

For email analytics, autoresponder programs offer a wide range of stats to tell you how well your email marketing is going. They measure open rates, sign-ups, demographic information, and unsubscribe rates.

Social media measurement tools, such as Hootsuite, monitor your traffic and activity on social media. They can help you search and analyze discussions, as well as gather data on your followers. A good social media tool offers a dashboard where you can manage all of your different profiles at once.

Your Monitoring Routine

Monitoring is an ongoing task that must be done regularly. Divide your monitoring tasks into categories based on frequency; for example, you might have daily monitoring tasks, weekly monitoring tasks, monthly monitoring tasks, and so on. Every few months, set aside an afternoon for in-depth monitoring over a longer period of time.

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What Products Should You Promote in Your Follow-ups?

Follow-up emails to your subscriber list are all about building relationships and qualifying them as buyers. They’re also the best way to actually convert your prospects to customers. The offers you decide to make to those on your list are extremely important in the conversion process and should be chosen very carefully.

Relevance Is Key

What makes a good product offer? A good product is one that is relevant to your target market. It should be directly related to the reason they signed up for your list in the first place. It solves their problems and addresses their needs. It’s something they can put into use almost immediately.

If you offer something that isn’t related or appropriate for those on your list, it will undoubtedly turn off your subscribers. To them, you’re simply marketing whatever products you can because you got ahold of their name and email address. These irrelevant products will not build relationships nor generate sales. In the end, it will probably cost you subscribers.

Where to Find Products

You have two options when it comes to promoting products. You can use your own products or affiliate products. Obviously, the best products to offer are your own. These are products that are truly exclusive to your list and since you created them yourself, you know that they are of high quality and relevant to your customers. They’ll also result in the highest profit margins since you’re getting the full price of the product, rather than just a commission.

Offering affiliate products is a much easier way to go about selling to your list because you don’t have to create the products yourself. However, you have to take the time to check and make sure your affiliate partners are offering high quality products.

You can search for affiliate products to promote by using an online marketplace such as ClickBank.com. Use the advanced search function and keywords relevant to your niche. Check out various vendors before considering their products. Choose only vendors that have a good reputation. Look for products that have high sales and few refunds. Affiliate networks offer all of these statistics.

Stand by Your Products

If you try to pass off just one bad product on your list, you may lose a good number of your subscribers. You’ll lose that trust that you worked so hard to build in the first place. For this reason, every product you offer needs to be something you can stand behind.

The best way to make sure an affiliate offer is worthy is to buy the product and try it out yourself so that you know exactly what the product is all about. Another advantage of doing this is that your promotional content will be based on personal experience and you can speak from the heart when you discuss it.

Many or Few?

There is a great debate amongst marketers about whether it’s better to offer many different products to your list, or whether it’s best to focus on just a handful. Offering a number of products is perfectly acceptable, so long as they’re outstanding products that provide what your subscribers want. However, always remember that one bad product or experience can ruin your list. The advantage of focusing on just a few products is that they’re safer and much easier to promote.

 

 

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Email Follow-ups – What to Send Your List

US AOL Subscribers, both Dial-Up and Broadband...

US AOL Subscribers, both Dial-Up and Broadband, as listing in Time Warner’s Quarterly and Annual Reports (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting people to sign up on your list is an important first step, but it’s only the beginning of a successful sales funnel. Now you have to successfully market to them and transform them from prospects into customers. The point of an email list is to build relationships with your subscribers and qualify them. You need to keep in touch with them by continually offering a steady flow of new content and offers.

Fulfilling Your Promises

What should you give your subscribers? You should give them everything you promised them on your opt-in page. This may seem obvious, but it’s a very important point. Your squeeze page makes bold promises that you need to deliver on. You should be continually sending your subscribers helpful hints, news on current events, exclusive content, special offers, and any other valuable information that will help them.

Keep Your Messages Relevant

Once you have subscribers on your list, you may be tempted to send them a variety of promotions. However, you really need to stick to only content that’s relevant to what you initially promised. In other words, give them only what they signed up for.

If you send people content that’s not directly related or that seems like it is coming out of left field, it could cause people to become disconnected and you’ll most likely lose that prospect. This is especially true regarding promotions. Your promotions need to be laser-targeted to your audience. If you promote things that are irrelevant, your customer may feel as if you’re trying to take advantage of them.

Content vs. Promotions

As a rule of thumb, you should be sending out a higher volume of valuable content relative to promotions. Over-promoting may feel like spam to them, even if you’re offering good deals. It will seem like you only keep in touch when you want something from them. Think of your email marketing campaign as a way to help your subscribers gain information, with occasional promotions being thrown in less frequently (with the purpose of eventually leading people to your back-end offers).

Listening to Your List

What kind of helpful content should you send out to your list of subscribers? You can find out by listening to them and paying attention to their needs. Your prospects and customers will tell you exactly what they need if you know how to do this correctly. You should research your market by connecting to them on social media sites, participating on forums, and reading blog comments. You can also come right out and survey your email list directly.

Further Freebies

As you market to your list, keep the freebies and good deals coming. Like your promotions, mix them in with the regular content you’re offering. It’s important that you continue giving your subscribers valuable content as you are nurturing the relationship. If you build strong relationships now, it will translate to sales later. This is what’s called the ‘wow’ factor – exceeding people’s expectations so that they absolutely love you and can’t help but come back to your site.

How Much Is Too Much?

It’s tricky to know how often you should email your list. Different niches, as well as different lists within a niche, respond differently. Emailing every day may be a bit too much for some markets. Two or three times a week is usually the minimum frequency. The only way to know for sure is to experiment. Try different frequencies as well as different times of the day in order to monitor your response rate.

Moreover, make sure you stay consistent in the frequency with which you email your list. Don’t mail 5 times one week, then forget to email for then two weeks. People will forget who you are and might think they’re suddenly getting spam emails.

Planning Your Follow-ups

Use all of the tools available to plan your follow-ups. It is best to have your entire email campaign mapped out before you launch it. Use mind maps, spreadsheets, and other tools to create a long-term plan. Never attempt to wing it, except for the occasional time-sensitive content.

 

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What Are One-Time Offers and How Do They Work?

After the Sale infographic

After the Sale infographic (Photo credit: Prudential Preferred Realty)

A one-time offer is an excellent way to qualify prospects early on in your sales funnel. It’s most commonly an offer that you make to prospects as soon as they’ve shown interest in you by opting in to your email list. It’s often a deeply discounted product or even another freebie. What makes it a ‘one-time’ offer is that it’s only available for them right at that moment. As soon as prospects click away, the offer expires. One-time offers are also called OTOs.

Why One-Time Offers Work

One-time offers work because they add urgency. The visitor has to buy it right now or it won’t be available again. It’s an exclusive deal. OTOs also play upon the idea of scarcity. Since the offer is exclusive, this raises its value in the prospect’s mind. They feel as if they are privy to something others are not. For prospects who are on the fence about taking advantage of the offer, the scarcity factor knocks them off that fence and right towards that “buy it now” button.

The Mechanics of a One-Time Offer

One way to implement OTOs is to present it to prospects immediately after they’ve shown interest. You can do this by redirecting them to your OTO on the next page they see after they sign up for your list or make a purchase.

By showing people your offer before they have even finished the opt-in process, your prospects are even more likely to grab the OTO because of what’s called compliance. They have already accepted one offer from you, so they are much more likely comply with your second request. They are also still focused on the benefits you have to offer and haven’t been distracted by the freebie itself.

This strategy also works brilliantly for qualifying prospects. After you’ve given people a freebie, you can then offer them something at a low price. If they don’t take advantage of the second offer, you know that they’re probably only after the freebie. These prospects are less likely to make any future purchases.

The Exit Pop-up

Another strategy for OTOs is to use an exit pop-up. This is a pop-up window that appears when the visitor leaves the page. It says something like, ‘Are you sure you want to pass up on this special one-time offer?’ Although many visitors ignore these pop-ups and close them immediately, there are those who will take the time to read and act on them, especially if the copy is compelling and the offer is good.

OTOs for Your Email Subscribers

Another great strategy for using one-time offers is to send them to your email subscribers. Occasionally, make your subscribers offers that need to be acted upon quickly. You can then gradually increase the price of these offers in later emails. This naturally leads your qualified prospects to your back-end products.

When creating your one-time offers, keep in mind that they don’t always need to be profitable for you. OTOs are often used as just one element of a sales funnel. They may simply get people to subscribe to your list or help you build a trusting relationship with your customers. Think of this as a way to lead customers through your sales funnel and qualify them. The high-ticket items you offer at the back-end, further down the funnel, are what will earn you the profits.

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