I’ve been running this blog, and several other websites, without ever focusing on earning money. That’s a mistake for two reasons.
1. It means I’m more focused on myself than on finding out what readers want and giving it to them.
2. It means I didn’t pay attention to conversion rates.
Conversion rates = getting accidental blog traffic to stick around long enough to see what you have to offer, and then making that offer so good they can’t refuse. This week I’m doing a major overhaul of several websites, including this blog, and the formula I’m using, I got from Jeff Walker. It’s called the “Product Launch Formula” but I don’t think you have to use it just to sell products. It’s basically just a fast way to get people to give a shit.
Here’s the process.
1. I’m using Leadpages to make compelling landing pages, optin-forms and “squeeze pages” that are great for conversion. In the past I’ve used random WordPress plugins to make popups, optin boxes and other forms, but nothing really works well or looks as good as Leadpages.
The trick, I think (still testing this) is to get rid of my big blogs/websites/sales pages and start out with a great free offer. So instead of a sales page making a big long argument about why they should buy my product, I start with a small but powerful page that says, “Get FREE video training on how to easily make your own book covers, and I’ll send you some free cover design templates as well.”
Basically, don’t make it hard for them to make a decision. Make one good offer. Don’t give too much information. Don’t beg. My conversion rates were really low and sales weren’t great either, so I’m switching things up and will keep testing until I find the best homepage that gets the MOST signups.
2. Once you have someone’s email, it’s up to you to overdeliver value. Jeff Walker has a 3 video sequence. Videos are great because they establish you as an expert, and if you can get people watching you and listening to you, it’s far more likely they’ll remember who you are or recognize your name and face. So for more of my websites, I’ll be introducing this format – I was excited to see Leadpages even has Jeff Walker’s own templates, so I can set up a similar process really quickly.
3. The other thing Jeff does that’s smart, is add Facebook comments and a like button under the free videos, for social proof, and then asks for people to leave a like, “because everybody likes getting likes” and also comment. He also asks people to share the videos with at least 3 other people. That builds up over time and adds credibility.
4. Each video will give a ton of valuable information, and also some free downloads. People will be happy that I’m giving useful and valuable information away for free.
5. In the last video, you can mention your product and focus on the features and benefits, but I’ll keep it very soft-sell. The important thing isn’t making that sale, it’s building the relationship with someone by helping them out.
6. Jeff’s formula is supposed to be mailed out Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday… so you get people in the habit of hearing from you and opening emails to get the next video in the series. But you also need to set up an autoresponder – I’ve found the lists where I’ve built up a great autoresponder, 25+ long, very useful, content-heavy emails about book marketing or publishing, have been open rates. I’ll be redoing all my autoresponders soon to make them even better. The trick is to help, not to sell. I’ll still link to products and tools I recommend, but only because they’re helpful, and I’ll explain why and how to use them. It’s more important for readers to like you and trust you, than it is to make any one sale.
So: get them to sign up quickly to grab something so you control the conversation. Get them watching videos right away and give them loads of value and free content. Get them to share and like as they go through the process – this will add up and make those pages authoritative. Keep sending helpful emails for several months (on automation).
I’m excited to be testing these tools out, I’ll report back next month when I have some hard figures.