It’s easy to set a goal. It can be as simple as I want to go XXX in 2020 or I want to improve my social media following, but goals like this are seldom successful. These goals are too broad. They’re undefined.
Wikipedia’s definition of a goal is:
A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieving. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
A goal is something you work for. It’s not given to you.
A goal is a way of improving, of growing, of enhancing even.
A goal is a way of measuring the success of your business.
You have to drill down and get the answers to where you are right at this moment and where you want to be in a future moment.
It’s a specific growth in a specific time frame.
How often do you measure your business? Things like:
time spent on certain projects
social media growth (each platform)
ad sources & conversions
At the end of this year, 2019, I will have published 40 blog posts. I actually thought I had done a better job and was surprised the number was so low. I run three websites and write all of the content for two of them so maybe it’s not to bad.
Anyway, I wrote 40 posts. Next year, I would like to create a blog post every week. So I need to create 12 more than I did last. year. It’s specific and it is attainable if I work a little harder.
I try and concentrate on three social media platforms even though I’m on most of the big ones. I only want to put my best effort into proven strategies that I’ve used in the past.
Wandering Web Designer is a relatively new site, but right now I have 182 Likes which honestly sucks. The Blogging 911 has 531 Likes and The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver has 862 Likes. These numbers are nothing to write home about. Facebook is the least favorite of my top three but often it is highest in referrals.
I know that I need to increase these numbers but I’m not really sure how to accomplish this. I’m also not willing to put in a lot of effort because I just don’t care much for the platform. An important thing for us to remember though it shouldn’t matter which social platform we like it only matters what our readers, customers or clients prefer.
Still, if we’re not improving we’re growing stagnant. I would like to increase each of these accounts by at least 100 likes each. That’s a specific goal and that, with a little hard work, is attainable which leads to greater success by keeping a positive outlook. Let’s face it. If we don’t like it we really aren’t going to reach the ultimate success and maybe that’s okay for some things.
I’ve been concentrating on Instagram and Pinterest lately just because I like them over FB. I’m not a people person and I like that it takes less engagement, unlike FB. I’m shy and I constantly second guess myself on what I should be posting to FB and that in a nutshell is why I don’t like it. It overwhelms me.
I have two Instagram accounts. one for The Blogging 911 & the other Wandering Web Designer. On 911 I have 3,277 followers & on WWD I have about 3,133 followers. I’ve been putting so much hard work into these two accounts and I know that I can do even better by creating the weekly content.
I also have, you guessed it, two Pinterest accounts. The Blogging 911 has 399 followers which can definitely use some improvement, but it’s not enough to say I want to build my community larger on Pinterest. You need specifics & you need a plan. I would like to build my Pinterest account up to at least 1,000 by the end of 2020.
On Wandering Web Designer has 1.6 thousand followers and I’d like to improve it by 400. So by the end of 2020, I’d like to have 2,000 followers.
Once I’ve figured out my goals, the next thing I need to do is create a specific plan to attain it. Write it all out. There’s nothing like seeing statistics and plans on paper to make them real. Check your growth at set intervals. Maybe every month or every 3 months. It’s totally up to you.
Make a plan
Write it down
follow your growth
tweak your plan
If you drill down to the specifics and set attainable (while still pushing yourself) goals you will achieve success whatever your goals might be.
Every blogger knows just how difficult it is to build a successful blog. There are so many things that you have to learn about that most people don’t even consider. Things like:
Understanding email marketing
and that list goes on and on and on. You know the old joke:
How many hats does an entrepreneur where? ANSWER: All of them!
One thing that isn’t often talked about but is definitely a necessity is analytics. If you do affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or make money off of your site in any way you need to know the stats behind it.
Things like pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rates. Terms like this usually invoke either 1. Your eyes glaze over and you skim the rest of the article or 2. Confusion about what it all means.
Today, I’m going to show you two Google Analytic filters that every blogger should be using as well.
Filters are a way of weeding out the events that you don’t want in your final counts. The first of which is the IP filter. What does this mean? You need to be filtering out your own IP address so that you are not counted along with your other stats. Why you ask? Because without this particular filter you won’t get an accurate picture of how your site is doing.
So, together we’re going to set up an IP filter. It’s really simple so don’t panic!
The next filter we’re going to set up is to keep your analytics from being hijacked. In the video below I show you exactly how to set up both filters.
How can someone hijack your analytics? Well, there’s a little known way of finding out anyone’s GA code. It’s very simple.
Go to your website.
Right-click your mouse.
Choose “Page Source”.
Hit CTRL + F for the find command and type in GA.
Scroll down and you’ll see your own GA code.
There isn’t a way to hide them from this view so the only thing you can do is to add a filter that will keep your GA code safe from hijacking.
Go into your GA account, click on ADMIN>>Filters. Add a new filter and then choose “CREATE NEW FILTER” and give it a name that you will remember.
Scroll down and hit “CUSTOM” and then check the “Include” button. In the dropdown choose HOSTNAME and in the box below type in YOURDOMAINNAME.COM & click save! It’s that easy.
Need a little more help? Try this video I made to show you how to quickly filter out your IP address and including only your own hostname.
Have questions? Let me know in the comments below!
We should be used to it by now, every few months Facebook & Instagram find other ways for them to make more money and that has our reach shrinking faster than a $3 shirt from Walmart. They can’t stop a Russian from interfering in our election process but they can sure as hell drop your page likes like a hot potato fresh out of the oven!
Listen, FB knows it, we know it, hell even the kids down the street know it. Even with all of the turmoil, they cause somehow they are still the best marketing game in town. Even with the changes, they are making and there are many it’s still easier and more cost-efficient to run FB ads over any other kind of ad. It just is. There are 2.27 billion (That’s a Billion with a capital ‘B’) and 75% of us log in every single day!
So what are these big changes you ask? Well, let me count the ways…
The desktop FB feed is getting a total overhaul. There will be an algorithms update sometime in the Fall of 2019.
Organic Targeting improves your ability to increase your organic reach on FB pages.
Comments & shares will become more valuable and a heart will be worth more than a like.
Organic reach will depend on relevancy and quality.
The more engagement=the more reach.
On FB mobile feeds you will only allow 3 lines of text & smaller image sizes.
On Instagram, likes and video counts are going away. Lower interactions and the new social proof is catching one’s interest.
Removing low-quality posts, the explorer feature or low-quality hashtags.
Comments will become more important.
So what can you do, the small business owner, that will keep your business in the green & keep you from seeing red when you’re FB or Instagram reach grows smaller and smaller.
Don’t waste money boosting posts.
Have a sales funnel in place.
You have to do seven things:
Acknowledge pain point.
Encourage immediate attention with a great value offer (39% of users will interact with what they see as a good value.
Maker yourself relevant– Build that know & trust factor.
Capture as little information as possible (Name & email).
Nurture your future clients.
Your email list is your most IMPORTANT ASSET!
Close the sale.
Follow through and up with.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this information? You can’t beat it and you should probably join them because let’s face it FB ain’t going away any time soon.
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.
They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.
Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.
Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.
Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.
Step 1: Survey your market
All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.
The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.
Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.
Step 2: Create your opt-in
Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.
Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:
Step 3: Map out your autoresponder
Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.
Step 4: Make an offer
Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.
Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your coaching offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.
Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.
Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels:
Lead Pages—when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.
It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.
Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.
AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.
AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations.
PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.
Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained.
Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.
You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:
A way to create web pages. A simple WordPress website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.
A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact.
A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.
I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.
For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.
As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.
A Simple Sales Funnel
At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.
Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.
Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.
Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.
How Your Funnel Works
If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.
Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.
Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.
Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering sales funnel in depth. Want to keep up? Sign up for my email list and you’ll get it first!
Do you use a sales funnel? Do you recognize one when you see it?