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!
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?
Are you so frustrated with the results of your email marketing campaign that you’re ready to throw in the towel? Don’t worry about it – we’ve all been there. Email marketing seems like a simple way to boost sales.
And it can be, provided that you can get your subscriber to open the email in the first place. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing message is if no one ever reads it, does it?
In the busy world that we live in, you need to time the email perfectly so that they get it when they have time to open it. Is there any point in sending it through late on Friday afternoon when everyone’s getting ready to go home, for example?
Security awareness training is another thing that you’ll have to consider when crafting your email. Many companies have software that allows them to remove any suspicious messages and spam before they get delivered to their servers.
There are a good few more, but these will be dealt with in the EveryCloud infographic that we’ve published below. You’ll learn:
· Why email marketing is still the best thing since sliced bread
· How people use emails and whether or not they view them on their mobile phones
If you haven’t heard, conversion rates are a big deal. Fail to optimize them and you’ll miss out on golden opportunities. But what do you need to know about conversion rates, and what methods can you use to boost them? Let’s take a more detailed look.
They’re not just for e-commerce
As evidenced by the featured image, conversion is often considered a topic for e-commerce marketers to obsess over while they toy with their UX designs, but it’s more than that. It’s important for every business with an online presence of some kind, with very few exceptions. Just imagine how many companies there are that genuinely neither need nor want anything significant in return for the resources and entertainment they provide: a handful, maybe?
Whether you sell products, market a service, or seek to collect data, the everyday operation of your business relies upon the visitors to your website doing what you want them to do: choosing, knowingly or unknowingly, to help you out in some way. Fail to inspire the level of action you need, and your website will sink.
What counts as a conversion is up to you
The reason this can get tricky for non-ecommerce sites is that it isn’t always obvious what exactly should be considered a conversion. With a product purchase, it’s simple: when someone places an order, that’s a conversion. But what about with a promotional site for a service? Does someone sending an email query count as a conversion? What about someone calling you directly? Is that more or less significant?
It all comes down to the likelihood of any given conversion leading to a more classic conversion (i.e. the contribution of money). The most sensible way to approach conversions for a non-ecommerce site is to have a tier of connected conversions, with each one assigned a different value.
If someone reaches out to you in some way, that can be a conversion — once money exchanges hands, that can be a more valuable conversion. It’s better than only considering the profitable exchanges as conversions because it highlights the difference between those stages.
These days, marketing campaigns can be very broad, supporting more traditional forms of promotion with social media activity (typically Facebook ads or Instagram marketing) to create more varied traffic streams. If you’re getting plenty of email, phone call or social media conversions but not ever winning any new business, that will suggest that there’s some problem with your follow-up procedure.
They need more than superficial changes
When it comes to product pages, landing pages, and even checkouts, you’ll find plenty of people talking in great detail about how minor alterations can make huge differences. For instance, you changing the color of a primary CTA from blue to orange might raise the conversion rate by 2%, and a comparably-minor change a font size might have a similar effect.
This is entirely true, of course: minor changes can make major differences. But the problem with getting too hung up on this truth is that it can limit your ability to improve by getting you stuck in a cycle of simple A/B testing. One month you change the CTA color to good effect, but the rates go down the next, so you tweak the image style, and so on. You get into a habit of making mostly-arbitrary changes to see what will happen.
And while you’re spending all that time on those speculative tweaks, you’re missing out on other issues that would take much longer to address but might prove even more effective if you did. If you’re simply using a site as a short-term digital asset, as website flippers do, then it won’t be worth your time to get so in-depth — but if you’re sticking with a website for the long haul, you will eventually need to ramp up your analysis to make a difference.
It’s entirely understandable that this happens. If you’re casting a critical eye over a site and you come up with two ideas, one being to radically overhaul the payment system and another being to pad out the product tiles slightly, you’re likely going to do the latter first because it’s much easier. Just make sure that you go deeper than that and look for broader ways to improve.
The best way of measuring conversion rates is by setting up goals & filters within your Google Analytics account. Here is an awesome video that will show you step by step how to set up your own goals within Google Analytics by David over at The PPC Machine. He’s graciously allowed me to embed it below:
They can ruin otherwise-excellent sites
Frustratingly, it’s perfectly possible for a site to have a highly effective marketing funnel right up to the point of conversion, only to drop the ball and see all that hard-earned traffic slip away. It’s such a waste, especially since the flaws responsible for the damage are sometimes remarkably simple and cost-effective to address.
As such, a catch-all solution to your website woes is to find ways to improve your conversion rates. Until you’re entirely sure that you’ve polished all the conversion-relevant elements of your site to a mirror shine, they fully warrant a lot of close attention.
Let’s recap what we’ve looked at here:
Conversion rates are vitally important for all websites, not just ecommerce stores.
You get to decide what metrics they track.
They require in-depth analysis to optimize.
If you get them wrong, they can undermine great sites.
My suggestion for an ongoing conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy is to combine basic A/B testing on all the small elements you can easily adjust (colors, sizes, ordering, etc.) with more detailed reviews of specific functions. Those improvements (both small and big) will add up, leading to better rates — and thus better business.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.