It’s Time to Kill These 8 Deadly Online Marketing Myths (From KISSmetrics)

In talking to countless entrepreneurs, business owners, I’ve found that there is a remarkable contingent of marketers still harboring unrealistic and often dangerous expectations based on certain erroneous principles that are supposed to lead to online marketing success.

 

So when one of my favorite online marketing blogs, KISSmetrics, asked me to contribute an article dispelling these myths, I jumped at the chance.

Read More

How Can I Put Email Marketing to Work for Me Through Automation?

As a company grows, maintaining a relationship with customers and leads without a scalable, automated system can quickly become an unmanageable task.

 

Email marketing automation lets you stay in touch with your customers, subscribers, and prospects, reaching them at just the right moments with the right messaging and helps build stronger relationships.

 

Being able to deliver content that’s triggered by the behavior of your recipients drives more traffic to your website, increases engagement, and ultimately brings you higher sales conversions.

Read More
hiring a freelancer

Hiring A Freelancer For the First Time

Often the hardest decision for a small business owner is when to hire another employee.

 

Hiring a freelancer or an independent contractor can be a highly effective way to grow your small business.

 

Perhaps the best aspect is that it allows you to delegate certain responsibilities based on the amount of work you have available, even if you cannot justify a full time employee.  If you have a repetitive task in your daily routine that is not the best use of your valuable time, you can hire a freelancer to assist you, even if it’s an hour a day.

 

This frees you up to focus on growing the business.

 

Additionally, depending on where you source your labor, their hourly rate could be significantly lower than what you would pay for an in-house employee. Plus, you’re not paying for additional employment costs such as office space, equipment, or benefits.

 

Furthermore, you can choose from such a wide talent pool that you can find experts in the specific tasks that you require. Whether these experts are at a lower rate than an in-house employee (which is often the case,) or even a higher rate, hiring a high quality freelancer can save you significant time and money in the long run.

Read More

What is Conversion Rate?

conversion rate

Conversion rate is simply the percentage of visitors to your website that achieve a certain goal that you set as your objective.

Your objective might be making a purchase of a product, filling out a contact form, signing up for a mailing list, registering for your site, or whatever else you are trying to achieve.

If you are spending time and money to draw visitors to your website, increasing your conversion rate may be the single most important metric to focus on to grow your business and improve ROI.

Yet many businesses don’t focus on this and instead just spend more time and money trying to attract new customers, when they aren’t maximizing the customers they already have at their site!

Imagine you own a retail clothing store…

Customers are walking in on their own and browsing the racks. But instead of your sales staff tending to them, making suggestions, trying to convince them that they would look great in that new dress they are eyeing, and helping them check out, they are all standing outside holding up posters asking random strangers on the street to come inside the store. How many of those customers who were just a small step away from becoming a paying customer might instead walk out empty-handed?

It’s easy to see a similar impact in nurturing the customers on your website.

As a website operator, you might spend 5 hours writing a newsletter for your company or you spend $500 on a banner advertisement on a relevant website with the objective of acquiring new customers.  If you double your conversion rate, that very same 5 hours you spent or the same $500 would actually generate twice as many new customers.  And it’s not a one time thing, either. When you improve your overall site conversion rate, every piece of marketing that you do will provide a better ROI, forever! Because every newsletter you send, every advertisement you run, every visitor is now being driven to a better performing website that achieves more of your goals with the exact same amount of effort.

Ok, what else can conversion rate optimization do for me?

Conversion rate optimization doesn’t just help increase the ROI of your existing traffic, it creates great new opportunities for increased marketing to really accelerate your growth.

All businesses should have a target cost per acquisition (CPA) which is the amount it costs you to get a visitor to achieve your goal.

If you get 100 new registrations for your website from an advertisement that costs $1000, your cost per acquisition is $10. If you spend $12 on pay per click search ads to get one new customer, your cost is – you guessed right – $12. Your target cost per acquisition is influenced by your margin, overhead and lifetime customer value.

A simple example would be if you’re selling dresses for $100 and your cost is $50, perhaps you’re willing to pay up to $25 to obtain a new customer, leaving $25 in gross profit to cover your other business expenses and have some profit left over. As your conversion rate increases, your cost per acquisition decreases. Doubling your conversion rate means the $1000 that used to get you 100 new registrations now gets you 200. The PPC ads that used to require $12 to get a new customer now only cost you $6. With PPC bidding getting more and more competitive, conversion rate optimization can be absolutely critical in maintaining profitability.

But wait, there’s more!

Think about how many new keywords you wanted to bid on or other ad campaigns you wanted to run to acquire more customers, but they were just too darn expensive. You’re thinking, “I’d love to be there, but there’s just no way I can justify the cost of that ad if I’m only getting 1% of my site visitors to convert.”  When you increase your conversion rate, all of a sudden ad campaigns that were once unable to produce a sufficient ROI now are affordable, helping you to grow your revenue and scale your business faster.

How do I improve my conversion rate?

Renown Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley, who writes at Abovethecrowd.com, makes an important point: “Unfortunately, conversion improvements typically are the aggregate gain of 100 tiny improvements, not one silver bullet. Rarely will you find one single change that is going to have a 5% lift in conversion (you might if you have never tried, but this type of win will go away quickly). Rather you will find 30 things on a page that all have a tiny impact, and the overall impact, after months of work might be 5%. You have to be willing to toil in the minutia knowing that the impact on the overall system will be the combined result of many tiny little changes.”

Don’t get discouraged. These small incremental changes really start to build over time and have an exponential impact. Stay tuned for new posts on some great ways to test and find ways to perform conversion rate optimization or contact ME to help you with your conversion rate optimization.
[button size=”extra-large” color=”mystic-red” url=”http://www.getonlinewithme.com/contact/”]Improve My Conversion Rate![/button]
[googleplusauthor]
How He Built and Sold a Multi-Million Dollar Company Using Freelance Workers

How He Built and Sold a Multi-Million Dollar Company Using Freelance Workers – Interview with Michael Epstein

Many thanks to Jonathan Taylor at the Beginner Internet Business podcast for asking me to speak to their listeners on the topic of outsourcing and utilizing freelance workers.

We covered some great topics, including:

  • How I was able to save over 70% in labor costs and remain competitive in an industry with significant pressure on margins
  • What outsourcing service I use for getting top talent at a reasonable price.
  • The biggest challenges that most entrepreneurs face with outsourcing and how to overcome them.
  • How to make sure your project deadlines are met by VAs (virtual assistants)
  • and so much more!

Learn how you too can take advantage of freelance workers and outsourcing to help grow your business!

Find more details and listen to the entire show including my interview here.

 

freelance workers

Conversion Rate Optimization Funnel for Healthcare.gov

Healtcare.gov Could Use Massive Conversion Rate Optimization!

According to the latest statistics released yesterday, there is indeed significant interest from users in the new government healthcare exchange portal, Healthcare.gov, with almost 27 million visitors, or 8% of the population. However, here’s where things go south. While there are around 900K users either starting or completing the application for healthcare plans (around 3%), which would be an important “goal” to track on any website, actual “conversions,”  people who selected a plan from the exchange are only just over 100K, or less than .4%. Yikes! That represents only about 1/5 of the Congressional Budget Office was projecting by this point. Another fail.

That is a pretty ugly looking conversion funnel (I posted a graphic showing stats from the first week,) with massive drop-off at every stage of the process. Imagine you just made a huge investment of resources, financial and time (in the case of Healtcare.gov, the most recent reports quote the tab at $174 million), to get people to your ecommerce site and 97% of them never even added a single item to their cart. And of those that did, almost 90% of them never completed checkout. Obviously there is a big disconnect and you’ve got your work cut out for you to bring up those conversion rates. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is the process of identifying and testing changes to the website by utilizing tactics such as surveys or split/testing changes that increase the amount of users on your site who are actually achieving what you have defined as your goals (I.E. submitting a request, signing up for a service, purchasing a product, etc.) Clearly there are big issues with users likely not finding what they are looking for, confused about how to go through the process, feeling overwhelmed and not getting the reinforcement or answers they need to proceed, and surely more hurdles that they are unable to overcome to convert.

Now that the site appears to at least be more technically stable, I sure hope they have a team of conversion rate optimization specialists analyzing the data and deploying simple, effective tools and testing to improve performance. We’ll talk about these conversion rate tools and tests in more detail in future posts, but you can see how important this is as you start investing time and money to drive traffic to your site.

[googleplusauthor]