Conversion Strategies:

Which of these Social Proof Methods do you use to increase Sales and Opt-ins?

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:25
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How to tap the hidden profits in your current and past business for more sales, opt-ins and a more profitable list.
SOCIAL PROOF:  -What is it?  
-How does it help you improve sales?  
-How can you get more?
Part 1: Social proof in sales and marketing differs from the 
"psychological definition" but is similar.  In sales and marketing,    simply put, social proof is having clear indications (proof)    from outside, public resources (social) that your work, claims, and    value propositions are legit-   *** In simple terms, social proof is visible proof that other people    think your stuff is good or that it works . . . and   social proof can take many forms:   Testimonials are great. . . written, audio and video all work well and    you should test which ones work best for your products / services
==================== For example (true testimonial):   ====================

Brent Long of Long on Life said about Aaron Schulman (me) and Aim Advantage (developer of Squeeze-Page.com) the following. . .

"I liked how well Aaron's stuff worked that I asked him to become a  part of my [Long on Life] Team"  -Brent E. Long 2008

We have had a working relationship with Long on Life now for almost 4   years and still continue to help Brent Long fill boot camps and generate   marketing exposure for business and revenue generation here-   http://www.marketplacebootcamp.com/  

(please don't register unless you are local and plan to attend- however if you do need sales coaching or executive training- Brent's the best and you don't need to be local to have him help you generate more sales)   =============================== Example # 2  HIJACKED Website - seriously ===============================

When Dr. Won Han of Munster Animal Hospital called on us - their   web guy literally had them held hostage. . . (no kidding!)   Well, that was a little dramatic. . . they were free to come and go but   their website was being held hostage by a designer who was   AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and we quickly came in to regain   control of their "hijacked web presence" and taught their staff   how to design and update their own website.     Then. . .

Over the course of 2 plus years, we developed a forum for    pet lovers because Dr. Han had a vision to reach beyond the    walls of the Hospital but didn't know how . . . and    We helped them develop http://www.animalloversforum.com/ that now   ranks in Google's top 10 for some competitive key word phrases   directly related to pet owners and trained their staff how to run the site.   ============================================= The Money is in the List - have you heard that before? =============================================
  We also developed a "list building strategy" for them and they now have hundreds   of subscribers that continues to grow daily -  real people who    come back for monthly, repeat business from coupons   and promotions that we helped them set up through a "squeeze-page"   or opt-in page here -  http://www.munstervip.com/ -    Did you know that the average business receives about 80% or more 

of it's revenue from repeat business and in online business, there is no 

better way to  get repeat business going than to develop a highly targeted 

squeeze-page and  "permission-based" or "voluntary" subscriber list . . .
(Note of Caution,  this stuff takes time, patience, and 

research to make it profitable and effective)   Dr. Won Han also said on the phone and in email, 

"I very much appreciate Aaron's (AimAdvantage.com)

 integrity and work he has done for us."   =================================== Part 2: How does social proof help you build sales? ===================================
Not meaning to insult your intelligence,   we're sure you know that social proof helps you generate   more sales because it helps to reduce buyer inhibition and overcome   initial skepticism.  With all of the hype and spam online these days,   it takes time to earn trust "electronically" and people still like to buy   from people they like (generally) and trust.   * Social proof * helps reduce buyer inhibitions and skepticism    and helps other people see that you aren't just standing on a    corner, alone,  with a megaphone, trying to prove that your 

product is great or that your services work.   Social proof helps speed up the trust process a bit, as well   as helps to "demonstrate" your product, services and validity.   (If you get a chance,  read Claude Hopkins 

"Scientific Advertising" as he shows how "Demonstration" helped    his companies sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of household goods   and this was in the early to mid 1900's!

(and his principles are still highly touted by experts today)   ====================================== Part 3:  How can you get more social proof? ======================================   1)  Ask for it - really!  Ask clients and prospects what they   think of your products and services as soon as you can.   If they are not yet a buyer and you are sharing valuable information   or reports or samples, ask them to give you honest feedback and get   permission to use their feedback - it's actually pretty simple   and you would be surprised how often people love to give positive   feedback for investing in them.   2)  Put a comment box on your "recommendation or referral" form.
If you have an online "share box" you can sometimes capture other   people's comments as to "why" they shared your info.

3)  Do some freelance work  related to your product and services   through 3rd party marketplaces like Elance and get good feedback.

4)  Use Twitter, Facebook, Social Book Marks and Community
Sites like Squidoo.com or HubPages.com to post your expertise
or valuable uses for your products and get proof that way.   5)  Do you have some other ideas on getting more social proof?       
      Reply to this post or contact us and share them if you have some ideas.   ================================
**** Now I have a question for you *****  ================================
  When you have read some or all of our report here:   http://www.aimadvantage.com/content/free

would you mind sending  us a real testimony of how    helpful or insightful, or valuable you felt that report was?  

(It only takes about 45 seconds)
When you do please give us via email (not on the site to protect you):   Your Full Name: Your City and State (or just your state of Residence)
Your business or URL: Your Positive Testimony:   Just reply to this post via email and if we post it or use it, you'll get a    link back to your site or business.
  To your success!  

 

What can you do to discover more?

First, download "101 Powerful Profit Strategies, Tools and Tips for Making More Money Online
    our 35 page report when you subscribe to our newsletter below for free.

Anytime we make a new discovery or post a helpful article on:

  • Increasing Sales Conversions
  • Increasing Targeted Traffic
  • Relationship Marketing Strategies and
  • Getting your web Social 2.0 you will receive a notice

                       

If you are already a subscriber and would like more information, contact us here or below,

or view our list of services to discover the best options for you.

Aaron Schulman for Aim Advantage  

Marketing Segmentation and List Segmentation

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Tue, 05/10/2011 - 10:31
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A Lesson on Marketing and List Segmentation:  

"How  to grow your business like Giant Eagle or Kroger"   In any business there is essentially a 3 part formula for the success of that business, whether you   are doing business online or not:    It is:  Traffic + Conversion = Revenue   The rest of what we do in generating profit should fall into the Traffic generation or the   Conversion process:  Another way to state this formula would be:   Exposure + Sales  =  Revenue     The rest is just the "how-to" of getting  that equation to work for us.   And that is no different    whether you own a multi-billion dollar chain of department stores or if you own a small start-up   online craft store. Today's lesson assumes you are getting some traffic or exposure to your   products and services and focuses more on the "conversion" process (converting traffic to sales).   If you have done business online for any length of time, you will come across this marketing   buzz word:                    "segmentation"   and honestly, there are a million and one ways to segment whether you do business online or not.                 So what is segmentation?   In simple terms, segmentation is breaking up your list, customers, visitors, foot traffic, prospects,   suspects etc. into more specific list (segments) based on their voluntary information, behaviors,    or responses.  Then serving them based on their responses. The initial pioneers of "segmentation"   started this decades ago with the simple little coupon (but that is another lesson). I'm sure there's   a more technical definition, but this one works.                      Marketing Genius Lesson from Kroger & Giant Eagle   If you ever use those little plastic cards from Kroger or Giant Eagle (the ones that track your id   with your buying behaviors) sure they give you perks, but they are doing something far more   ingenious than just giving you perks to come back and shop again.  They are tracking what you   buy, when you buy it, how much you buy, etc. so that they can send more targeted offers   your way (including coupons related to your specific habits and preferences).   This tracking is   done individually, store-wide, state-wide, and nationally so they can make better decisions to   help their company to continue to grow by serving their shoppers with more targeted offers and   insight.                     Isn't that ingenious?   Every time you buy, there is an incentive to get you to use your little key chain card that records   your buying preferences, behaviors and history.  They store the data and then send offers and   coupons your way based on your preferences.                So, how does this help you?     First, it would depend on the processes you have established for your business, and then   incorporating the right technology (or system) to help you to track,  segment, and then make more   targeted offers to those who are listening to what you have to say.  If you use email marketing or   are interested in making it  work for you, there are some very affordable & easy to use
email marketing services that allow you to segment your traffic easily so that you can improve your   offers and sales. You may not own a Giant Eagle or Kroger store, but you can segment your   marketing list, subscribers, or followers in many ways, including:   -Using software that tracks clicks from emails online -Using Google Analytics (it's free) to track traffic behaviors -Using a Squeeze Page to segment or capture specific prospects -Using Coupons in your store with tracking codes -Offering different free reports that speak to different topics  (then tracking which report your subscribers show interest in) - and this is just the tip of the ice-berg for segmenting ideas   If you need more help in segmentation, we might be able to help.  If you are not interested in   segmentation right now, perhaps these other articles will help.  Just click on the one that seems   to be more to your liking and read away (there's no catch)   1) Improving online sales conversions   2) Email and Relationship Marketing Pointers (real life example)   3) Getting more Traffic to your business or site   4)  Strategic and Powerful Web 2.0 Development   To your online (and offline) success!   Aaron Schulman for AimAdvantage.com   p.s.  If you are considering getting some help for  your business project,  we offer 10 % off    for those who are registered on our email mailing list. For more information on our   services, read more here == > http://www.aimadvantage.com/consult  

What can you do to discover more?

First, download "101 Powerful Profit Strategies, Tools and Tips for Making More Money Online
    our 35 page report when you subscribe to our newsletter below for free.

Anytime we make a new discovery or post a helpful article on:

  • Increasing Sales Conversions
  • Increasing Targeted Traffic
  • Relationship Marketing Strategies and
  • Getting your web Social 2.0 you will receive a notice

                            

If you are already a subscriber and would like more information, contact us here or below,

or view our list of services to discover the best options for you.

Aaron Schulman for Aim Advantage        
           

Which works better, a free trial or a paid trail - excerpt from Claude Hopkins

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Sun, 02/20/2011 - 07:11
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Which initial offer will give you a better Return on Investment (ROI) for your traffic and advertising / sales efforts?

  • Some say a free trial
  • others say a low limited trial (perhaps $1)
  • while still others say full or discounted price with a 30 - 60 - 90 day money back guarantee. 

So which works best for your product or service?

Do you know?

Have you created a real life split or multivariate test to prove your methods to your investors / partners / yourself?

According to multiple studies done by the advertising and copywriting pioneer, Claude Hopkins (My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising), it has almost always cost the company more in converts and total profit by creating a product trial with a monetary barrier.

"A coupon good for half the price is small inducement.  A coupon which requires ten cents for a sample appeals to a small percentage.  Remember that you ar ethe seller.  You are trying to win customers.  Then make a trial easy to the people whom you interest.  Don't ask them to pay for your efforts to sell them."  (My Life in Advertising - Claude Hopkins)

But does that mean this will always be true for you and your products?

The only way to ever prove it (and you owe it to your business) is to. . . 

Test everything and keep what works!

Many times we have worked with a company who uses the shotgun approach to marketing and advertising.

 "Just throw everything you have at a campaign and it will bring in enough business to keep us going.
  Besides, it's always worked in the past!"

We have worked with countless people and companies who have barriers to understanding this most basic ROI practice.  Countless millions of dollars are wasted on marketing and advertising every year from companies that do not Analyze, Implement, and Makeover their marketing and sales based off of scientific.

Do you have these barriers in your company?

Some of the barriers to testing we have run across include (but are not limited to)

  • Person of influence on the team who does not understand or resists testing and change
  • Person of influence on the team who has been the guru (pride is incredibly expensive)
  • Belief that there is not enough time to test and improve
  • Belief that there are insufficient funds to test and improve
  • Lack of understanding of how inexpensive tests can be
  • Faulty belief that the effort or investment will not be warranted by the ROI
  • Company or individual opinion is trasured more than the profit margin
  • and the list goes on and on

The problem (at least when we have worked with clients) almost always stems from two forms of bias:

  • Bias of ignorance (they just don't know or understand how powerful testing can be)
  • Bias of pride (someone is not willing to admit that change could improve how they have always done things)

So how do you / we overcome these biases?

The fact is, we all have pride and ignorance to overcome, and when we forget that, we will either stop growing or our company will decline and suffer unnecessary loss (but no one will really know why- it will all be speculation because nothing was tested and approved).

Perhaps one of the best ways to overcome this is to give your trial a trial.

If your product or service is currently offered at a free trial, try a split test or multivariate test where the trial is offered with 3 different options (but only one is presented per prospect).  

Then track a few simple things
(it's easier than you might think and it will almost always improve your business and understanding of your prospects and advertising):

  • Track which trial converted the most initial trial members?
  • Track which trial returned the best on the investment?

Both are very different questions and both should be tracked - Why?

Because an increase in trial members does not necessarily mean a higher ROI.

Here's a hypothetical example (but similar to real trials we have tested) with 3 options and some simple tests that you can try following the example.

We advertised a membership to training courses that cost $47 per month.

We tested 3 options:

  • No trail (control group A)- just initial cost of $47 to get started (no contracts) with a money-back guarantee
  • Free trial (experimental group B) - pay begins after first 30 days
  • $1 trial (experimental group C) - full price starts the second month

Here were the results (numbers are estimated):

  • Group A:  1000 offers were tested - 30 members bought - 27 members remain after 1 month
  • Group B:  1000 offers were tested - 280 members initiated - 120 members remain after 1 month
  • Group C:  1000 offers were tested - 120 members initiated - 100 members remained after 1 month

Out of 3000 tested offers / exposures - 240 new members remained.

Assuming that the costs for acuiring each Group was fixed (the same amount),

  • which group gave the best ROI and
  • which group would become your new control group?
  • which group would give the best long-term ROI vs. short term ROI?

*** NOTE *** Because the product was intellectual / informational / digital, each trial investment was the same for our company.  

The ROI would be quite different if the comany had to invest differently for each trial (explanation below).

Here are the results:

Group A:  Total acquisition cost (cost per sale):  1000 offers at $.50 per offer (CPA - cost per action) = $500

Membership Revenues first month: $1410   -Revenues second month $1269  

Total Simple Profit:  = $2679 - $500 = $2179

Profit return per advertising dollar (simple) =  $2179 / $500 = $4.36

Group B:  Total acquisition cost (cost per sale):  1000 offers at $.50 per offer (CPA - cost per action) = $500

Membership Revenues first month:  $0.00  -Revenues second month $5640

Total Simple Profit:  =  $5640 - $500 = $ 5140

Profit return per advertising dollar  (simple) = $5140 / $500 = $10.28

Group C:  Total acquisition cost (cost per sale):  1000 offers at $.50 per offer (CPA - cost per action) = $500

Membership Revenues first month:  $120   -Revenues second month $4700

Total Simple Profit:  =  $4820 - $500 = $4320

 

Profit return per advertising dollar  (simple) = $4320/ $500 = $8.64

 

In most cases, the numbers aren't this clean / simple, but the principles remain:

  • The free trial brought the most trial users, but experienced the largest percent loss after 1 month
  • The $1 trial brought fewer initiates, but experienced the highest percent retention
  • The full paid trial brought the fewest initiates, but retained the highest percent of members and lowest total revenues.
  • If digital products were not used in this trial, final results might choose a different winner
  • Small companies that cannot afford free trials might be forced to stick with Trial A until margins allow for tests
  • Many other conclusion could be drawn from these 3 trials and would vary greatly between companies, products, services and means of advertising and acquisition of new cleints / customers.

So where does a company go from here?

First, do an analysis to determine which trials are actually possible for your company or product / service line:

Then implement some very simple tracking and testing methods:

  • Use different phone numbers for each of the 3 lines of advertising (but alter nothing else)
  • Use different landing pages online for each of the 3 lines (but alter nothing else)
  • Use different coupons with tracking numbers that must be redeemed for each of the 3 lines (but alter nothin else)
  • Use 3 different business cards or brochures, with 3 different phone lines, coupons, or landing pages to track
  • Use another channel of media (fliers, magazine ads, newspaper ads, etc.) but only test 1 variable in 3 versions as above.

What can you do now to begin improving the returns for your marketing, advertising and web efforts?

 

 

 

 

Crafting Headlines that Convert - get attention appropriately

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Wed, 02/09/2011 - 08:52
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Crafting headlines that get attention is fairly easy, but

crafting headlines that receives appropriate attention is quite different and relies on several ingredients:

  • art
  • research 
  • know-how
  • connection
  • and more. . .

But, certainly the surest way to get appropriate attention with headlines relies on 1 process:

Tracking, testing and improving.

You can do a lifetime of research and have decades of experience in crafting headlines, and then complete all of the market research on competition, studying industry controls (copy that has garnered more sales than the competition), survey and understand the depths of the customer - product - benefit connections, but if you do not test, track and improve - you will never know how much advertising and efforts are being left in neverland.

How to get attention appropriately:

Research and foundation:

Do the usual "due-diligence" by surveying all of the competitive advertising that costs real money by your competition.

Why?

Copy (ads) that costs real money is a significant investment and if your competition continues to run ads that drain the profitability, they would not be in business for long, or they would change the ads (and stay in business), and better

they would test and improve their ads and increase profitability.

Formulate an "insight list"

Build a "top 20" list of headlines that appear to convey different benefits, or convey similar benefits differently.

If you cannot find 20, brainstorm the benefits (not features) of your product or service

If you find more than 20, build a list of the most relevant.

Pilot test before taking the plunge

There are a million ways to pilot test your insight list.  

Finding the most appropriate media to test your ads (while giving you complete control of tracking) is vital.  

Additionally, it is important to test in media streams where your prospects will be actively responding (an entire other variable to  test alone).

Running a simple Google AdSense campaign (or other trackable PPA or PPC service), using Google Website Optimizer or other split testing tools can help you figure out which ads are pulling the most response.

but here is a major catch. . .

More response is not necessarily appropriate response (depends on the goal)

Getting people to click on an ad is fairly easy, but getting the right people to click on an ad is another science (not a game, a real science)

It would be fairly easy to create a headline or Ad graphic that

  • arouses a ton of curiosity
  • pulls a lot of clicks or response
  • is easily related to your product and their desires
  • but performs poorly for sales conversions 

Many ads get attention and action, but do not get the attention and action associated with a willing or future buyer.

So what makes the difference?

Multi-point tracking: Tracking the entire conversion process from ad to sale or ad to oblivion is essential 
(we call this pipeline tracking and involves testing and tracking things that we can change or control at every point in the sales and marketing funnel.)

Single-point tracking:  Tracking an ad to a single action is simple and can be highly misleading, unless that single point action is testing a single call to action which is the end goal.

However, most first time sales do not happen at first contact (there are exceptions in certain markets and conditions, but we're talking about every day sales and marketing funnel processes).

Once you have your sales funnel and tracking processes in place, test away!

  • If your traffic is fairly low, do simple A/B split tests with a single variable starting with (free) Google Website Optimizer.
  • If your traffic is fairly high, multivariate tests are the way to go (and there are tons of softwares and services for this). 

You can start with Google Website Optimizer for either case, but if your budget allows, there are other options that might fit your needs more appropriately.

Conversion-rate-experts.com created a great little website that if fairly complete and compares many of the latest in MVT software.

You can compare them here: http://www.whichmvt.com/

So what can - should I test in my headline?

The number of things you can and should test are fairly endless, but you can start with some of the following generalities:

  • Test the Font face, size and color
  • Test the headline placement (on the page)
  • Test the use of words like "you" and "your" in the headline
  • Test different hooks in the headline (a hook draws the reader's interest deeper into the copy)
  • Test different benefits
  • Test the approach or wording of the benefit
  • Test the mood or attitude of the benefit (avoiding a negative or approaching a positive)
  • Test the "hype-factor" of your headline (do your buyers prefer pizzazz or a little toning down?)

-What other factors could you test in the headline?  

-What other factors HAVE you tested in headlines?

For more information on headlines, there are many great books out there, including a great read by Victor Schwab " How to Write a Good  Advertisement - a Short Course in Copywriting"

You can also download our free squeeze page report that has more about headlines and other parts of the process to help you increase your opt-ins and response rates.

Get the Hello Bar to Direct Traffic and more!

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Fri, 02/04/2011 - 11:53
Forums:

Great Free Conversion Bar, easy to install

Look at the  top of our website and you will see this nifty free hello bar (currently free)     Recently, we found out about the Hello Bar - A great free tool in beta version that you can get for any website as long as you have a twitter account, a website and email address.  If you look at our website, we use the hello bar to help people opt-in to our newsletter (at the time of this post - we may discover it has more effective uses later-  but we'll see).   It is the neat little bar at the top of every page with a single headline and link to go to our opt-in / free reports / newsletter page - and it is a cinch to install.   First- go and grab your free account at https://www.hellobar.com -   Currently, you have to post their link in a twitter message and then wait for your approval account link - but that may change in the future   Once approved, you will go through the following steps to customize and build yours.   Step 1:  After getting your account approved, login to your account at hellobar.com   Configure whether you want to make your hello bar have a specific link or whether you want it to display a message and links via an RSS feed.  This setup explanation is for a sinle headline and link to our opt-in page with a special report and newsletter.   Step 2:  Customize the Headline and links for your bar - simply type your hello bar message, link and link URL   Step 3: Configure the color, font and overall style of your hello bar. (you can check whether you want to update your hello bar using twitter or not as an alternative)   Step 4: Save your custom hello bar.     Step 5:  Copy your code and go to your php template or html page where you want the hello bar to show up on your site.  Make sure you past the code from here between the body tags "<body> and </body>"   Then test your hello bar.  It's that simple.   Let us know how it works for you.     If you need help installing this or if you would like a more thorough diagnosis of your site conversion rate and process, please contact us for an evaluation.

Improving your conversion through user experience feedback forms and tools

Increasing Website and Traffic Conversions - Wed, 01/26/2011 - 13:13
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While searching for a great beginning to a dynamic (java script based) feedback tool so that visitors could give us unsolicited (perhaps) and free-form text feedback (instead of canned, click only robotic responses), I found and installed this great tool developed by Ollie Rattue of http://www.toomanytabs.com.

You can get this nifty comment feedback tool and install it for free in under a minute if you know where your page files are and can add a snippet of code.

 

The basis of wanting a feedback tool that is un-canned (user can write their feedback freely instead of just clicking on buttons) is because unsolicited feedback where a user can thoroughly explain their thoughts can be far more useful for enhancing your site and usability than simple canned responses or Likert scales where a person just rates on a scale of 1 to 5 or whatever the scale might be.

Additionally there are many open source codes out there to configure, as well as paid 3rd party server sources for feedback forms including but not limited to:

http://www.kampyle.com/

http://getsatisfaction.com/

http://uservoice.com/features

etc.

There are many great feedback tools, but if you are testing or are on a limited time or budget constraint, this is a great start for a tool and so far it is working seamlessly for me.  

This installs in less than a minute if you have access to your page template or html code for your website.

Step1: Register with only an email address

All you do is register for your site code with your email address here: http://getbarometer.com/

Fill out your emailaddress and click on "get your barometer now"

Then, it will take you to a second screen where your css and javascript code will be located.  This code is unique to your site and runs through amazon aws servers.

Step 2: Copy your unique code on the next page

 

 

Step 3: Open your php template or html page and insert the code before the end body tag

 

Once you are finished, make sure you have saved it on every page that you need it.  If your site runs from a php template, you may only have to do this once.

Try it out and let us (or the builder of the tool - Ollie Rattue here: http://www.toomanytabs.com ) how it works for you!