If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how she manages to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
She’s got good systems.
It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:
- Work faster and produce more
- Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes
- Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do
The Magic of Templates
How many times do you answer email from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.
Checklists Prevent Mistakes
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.
As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.
So, of course, you’ve optimized your opt-in pages and monetized your download pages and encourage more buyers through well-placed upsells and down-sells.
But what about the follow-up? Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?
If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.
Segment Your Audience
Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to sent a follow up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.
In more sophisticated systems, such as Infusionsoft or Ontraport, you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the very best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.
Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.
All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel.
For a business owner with a solid funnel in place, it’s easy to take a look at the number of subscribers at each level of the funnel and predict pretty accurately what the sales are going to be from day to day or week to week.
If you’ve got a funnel in place, though, and your numbers aren’t looking great, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Your funnel has a hole (or two or three) where subscribers are falling through. There are four common causes for funnel leaks, and once you spot them, they’re pretty easy to fix.
Not enough traffic. The very heart of your sales funnel is the traffic you bring in. Without visitors to your blog or opt-in pages, you’ll have no subscribers. Without subscribers, you’ll have no (or very few) sales. Without sales, you’ll have no business. Yet this is where a lot of people struggle. How can you get more eyes on your content and more subscribers into your funnel?
How to fix it: Traffic generation is an entire industry of its own, but here are some tips: Use good SEO to encourage search engines to rank your content well. Be present and active in the places where your ideal reader hangs out, whether that’s on social media, in niche forums, or at live events. Use paid ads to drive targeted traffic to highly relevant pages. Recruit JV partners and affiliates to promote your offers. Buy solo ads in related email newsletters.
No follow-up. This is a leaky funnel mistake that a lot of new entrepreneurs make. They spend a lot of time and energy setting up a great squeeze page and driving traffic to it, then they deliver the goods to their subscribers, and then…nothing. No follow-up emails. No offers to buy more. No related services or products. Nothing.
How to fix it: Before you spend time building that opt-in page or offer, be sure you have a back-end to promote, or those subscribers you so carefully collected will end up costing you money instead of earning it back.
No call-to-action. This happens most typically at the top of the funnel. Your blog posts, social media content, podcasts, YouTube videos—everything you offer for free—must have some kind of call-to-action, or it’s all just wasted energy. Your call-to-action can be as simple as “Subscribe to my YouTube channel” or “Follow me on Facebook for more tips,” but it must be there.
How to fix it: Every time you write a blog post or an email, as yourself, “What do I want my readers to do when they’re done reading/listening/watching this?” That becomes your call to action.
No product offers. When you’re just starting out, this can be a problem. You know you need to be building a mailing list, but with nothing to offer them, what’s the point? The truth is, there are lots of ways to make money in your funnel even if you don’t have a product to sell.
How to fix it: Promote affiliate offers. No matter what industry you’re in, there are a variety of tools and products your readers need. Find those tools, sign up for the affiliate programs, and recommend them to your readers. Not only will your readers thank you for pointing them in the right direction, but you’ll earn a little cash, too.
Got a leaky funnel? With a few tweaks and some attention paid to your follow-up sequences, chances are you can fix those holes and increase your profits in no time.
SEO seems to be one thing that confuses most people and it really doesn’t have to be a great mystery. SEO stands for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION which is simply making your website or blog post as appetizing to search engines as you possibly can. The easier it is to read, the higher your rankings. SEO is your website’s currency.
Keywords Are The Secret Sauce
There are several tools that can help you achieve this elusive mix of great content & relevant keywords. Keywords are the secret sauce in this recipe. From the very beginning, before you even build your website you probably had a niche. Maybe it’s food blogging, or building sales funnels or even dog grooming.
After deciding on your niche (even before naming your site) you should be thinking about 8 -10 important keywords that you know are the very basis of your website. Using the three examples above let’s see what we come up with.
Once you choose the top keywords in your niche you should start building the site with these words in mind. In your name, in your blog posts, in your social media posts every time you put something out there it should be with this strategy in mind.
Simple Strategies Already Provided
That’s not to say that these are the only words that you can use. On the contrary, it should be used as a guide to build on. WordPress is built on this system and by incorporating the use of correct headlines tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6), proper categories, and relevant tags consistently you will build a foundation that is search engine friendly.
A Well-Established Website Can Still Tighten It Up From Time To Time
Even if you have a well-established website you can still tighten it up from time to time and to use all of the options open to you to get the most bang for your buck. Go into your analytics and start with the top 10 posts and then just clean it up and I also suggest taking the bottom 10 and find ways to make them better. Do one a week, do them all at once whatever it’s just normal content maintenance. (it’s a thing!)
I use the SEO by Yoast plugin on any website that I build. It works, it’s easy to set up and it’s compatible with just anything. (plugin conflicts are the #1 reason for website troubles). BUT I don’t see people using it to its full potential and it confuses me. Why bother creating content if you’re not going to make it easy for search engines like Google, Pinterest, etc to find you?
It’s not just setting up the plugin, there are certain steps you need to take for every single blog post, page, etc. When I’m in the backend of a website I see these important bonuses left empty time after time so I thought I’d make a quick video showing you how to use your SEO by Yoast to its full potential.
Your readers have short attention spans.
I’m sure that’s no big surprise to you. In fact, you probably browse the Internet at light speed, too, scanning titles and subheads, skipping to the bottoms of sales pages, and fast-forwarding through videos just so you can get to the next thing.
The same is true for your readers, and if you want to capture their attention long enough to entice them to opt-in to your mailing list, then you have to keep that in mind.
A Tip From Newspaper Publishers
Have you ever noticed that everything you need to know about a news story is in the first paragraph? Journalists are trained to answer all the questions—who, what, where, when, why and how—in the first few sentences, just in case the story gets cut off when the paper goes to print.
In today’s online world, where column inches no longer matter, this type of story formatting isn’t quite so critical anymore, but it’s still a useful tip to use when you’re writing an opt-in page.
Think about it: If your readers are skimmers (as most of us are) then making sure you include the most important information right at the top of the page is going to greatly improve your conversion rates.
For opt-in pages, that means putting the biggest benefits in your subject line and following it up with two or three sentences that build on your headline. That’s it. Keep it short, sweet, and benefit-driven, and you’ll have greater success than you would with longer content.
Whether your opt-in incentive is an eBook, a video, or even a simple checklist, having a graphic representation of your offer is an important component of your landing page.
Typically, you’ll create (or have created) a digital book or CD cover. You can easily outsource this, but be sure you follow these strategies:
- Bold fonts and short titles make your cover more readable.
- Use high-contrast colors for more visibility.
- Be true to your brand. Stick with colors and fonts your readers expect.
Crafting a Compelling Call to Action
While it seems as if you can expect readers to know what to do when they land on your opt-in page, it’s just not true. You have to invite them to take the next step. Give them specific instructions and you’ll have higher conversion rates than if you just leave it to chance.
Your call to action should tell a reader exactly what to do, like this:
- Click here to download
- Enter your name and email for instant access
Watch the text on your form buttons, too. After all, “Subscribe” or “Sign Up” doesn’t exactly make you feel excited, does it? Consider using a phrase that matches your call to action instead, such as:
- Get the Checklist!
- Send the Video!
Take a look at your opt-in pages. Do they follow these strategies? If not, consider making some changes to your copy, your images, and your calls to action, then watch your results. You’ll more than likely see a boost in conversion rates if you do.
Confused about how exactly sales funnels work? You’re not alone. In fact, that’s the number one reason small business owners say they can’t get their funnels set up—they simply don’t know what to include where.
Here’s the easy answer: At the very least, your sales funnel needs three pages.
This one obviously comes first. You might call it a landing page, or in the case of a free opt-in, a squeeze page. It serves one purpose—to get the reader to take action. Whether that’s to buy a product or offer up their email address in exchange for a free gift, this is the gateway into your funnel. Everything that follows depends on this page, so you want to be sure you:
Include a clear call to action—“Buy Now” or “Click here to download this report for free”
Eliminate distractions—that means no links to other websites or even a navigation bar
Address the readers’ pain points and how your offer provides the solution
Here’s where we ask the reader to confirm their intent. For a sales funnel, this confirmation page might actually be your checkout page. It’s where they enter their payment details. For a free offer, it’s simply the page your email management system directs them to next. It’s a holding page, if you will, while you wait for them to confirm their email address.
If you’re setting up a free funnel, this page has great power—and you don’t want to waste it!
Here is where you can offer an upsell, remind people to follow you on social media, and give them a peek at your other products and services.
Remember, though, that they will only see this page once, so don’t put anything here that they will need to refer back to. That’s what the thank you page is for.
Thank You Page
This is where they actually collect their downloadable items or get information about how your product will be delivered.
Like the confirmation page, this is valuable real estate, so you want to be sure you use it wisely. In addition to the downloadable item your customer just purchased (or opted in for) you also want to showcase your other offers—especially those at a slightly higher price point. Here’s why: the person looking at this page is a hot prospect. He or she is in a buying mood. You want to be sure to take advantage of that by putting your most relevant offers on this page. To encourage buying, consider including:
A limited time offer—scarcity sells, so if you can legitimately limit sales to a few hours/days or number of units, then this is the place to do so.
A “no brainer” coupon offer—an insider’s only deal can be a powerful motivator, especially if it’s a fantastic price.
Extra bonuses—give them access to additional products/services if they buy through your link on that page. These should be bonuses that aren’t advertised on the public sales page for that product. Again—insider’s deals are motivating!
Putting together a sales funnel isn’t complicated—or at least it doesn’t have to be. As your business grows and you have more products to offer, you can expand your funnel to include more upsells and downsells, but for now, this simple setup is really all you need.