We had a little bit of a delay in continuing this series – a couple of new clients had some pressing issues coming in, and we had to get them on the right footing.
In the first post in this series, I gave you an overview of the blueprint that we use to move our clients’ businesses into a rapid growth mode.
While you may not be accustomed to “measurement” being a top priority, it should be – especially for you consultants out there.
Until you get the right instrumentation in place, there could be “hidden problems” that will keep you from producing the type of results that you and your clients deserve.
Here are just a few things that we’ve uncovered in the Measurement phase with clients (and Braintrust Insiders), just this year:
- One client was losing 80% (you read that right) of their prospects at the first step in their lead capture form – that’s four out of five people who started the process, bailing out at one step. Their business was doing well, but flipping that number around is worth 4-5x as much revenue. Is he happy that we wanted to measure everything? You bet he is!
- Another client – an online retailer – was “only” losing 30% at the first step of their checkout process, but when you flip that number, the opportunity was there for us to steadily improve their conversion rate from around 6% to over 8% over the course of a few months. That’s real money – and it’s opened the door for us to start advertising on some of the most competitive “generic” keywords in their market this summer.
- This one is *almost* funny… One of our Insiders grabbed some .htaccess code off of a webmaster forum a few years ago, to help him get rid of spam comments. What it was actually doing was blocking visitors from all but a handful of countries. He finally noticed the problem in January, when we were looking at the map view in Google Analytics together, but a professional-grade website monitoring tool like Pingdom would have caught it right away. On the bright side, at least he doesn’t have to think about how much money he lost… he wasn’t measuring, so he doesn’t even know.
Okay – so are you SOLD on measuring stuff yet? I’m going to assume that the answer is yes, because nobody likes to throw money away, so let’s move on to what you need to DO about the stuff you measure.
That moves us into Phase #2 – Optimizing and Improving – and just like in the last post, we’ve got some best practices that everyone should be doing, “no brainer” steps that will virtually guarantee an improvement in your results:
- First off – get used to testing as a regular part of doing business online. Most of our clients and members use Convert.com – not only is it very easy to use, their support is great, and because we’re friends with the founder, our clients and Insiders get 10% off on the cost. If the word “testing” makes you flinch, it’s possible that you haven’t been keeping up with the pace of technology, because testing stuff on your website these days is usually as easy as dragging stuff around in a WYSIWYG editor.
- We use a technique called Dimensional Analysis to discover hidden profits in all our marketing campaigns, from Adwords to email to social media and content marketing.
What you’re looking for is variations in conversion rate, average order size, and the type of things people respond to, based on factors like the day of the week. If you think that’s not important, one of our “case studies” involves a 230% increase in email sales, just by figuring out what kind of offers to mail on which days of the week.
- SEO these days is as much about your website’s structure as it is about the way you use keywords, and improving your site’s structure can also make a huge difference in how much money you make, even without the search engines. The easiest thing that you can do TODAY is to “start fresh” – not by blowing up your website and building a new one, but by beginning the process of thinking about WHY every page on your website exists.
That last one is actually the main topic of my presentation for Brainstorm 2013, but we can start looking at it today, like this:
- Your website is there to do something – for people – like help them find a new pair of shoes, or a lawn mower, or a mortgage quote, or an article about how to grow their business. Make a list of these things – that people will want to DO on your website.
- You have certain ways that you make money from that – like showing them ads, getting them to sign up for a mailing list, selling them the shoes they need, or referring them to another website as an affiliate. Make a list of these visitor actions (hint: these should be trackable as Goals in Analytics) that make you money.
- Now go look at your home page. It may help to print it out, or if you have a projector, put it up on a whiteboard so you can write on it. Take a black marker and mark out *anything* that doesn’t contribute to either of the lists you just made, unless it’s legally (or semi-legally) required.
- By “boiling things down” to what is actually necessary for your visitors to accomplish their goals, and to let them reach your goals, you now know what you MUST focus on with your site’s structure and design.
- The home page is just the start – look at the pages the home page links to, look at every category of page on the site. Some pages might not look so good – keyword stuffed blog posts, all the “cruft” that builds up over the years… and you should not be afraid to remove stuff that isn’t serving any useful purpose.
Once you’ve mapped out everything your site needs to do, once you’ve taken a hard look at all the junk that’s accumulated on it, start back at the top, with your VISITOR’s objectives, and every step of the way through your site, ask this one simple question:
“Is it EASY and OBVIOUS for my visitors to figure out how to do that?”
That’s where we’ll leave it for today… and I know I may have killed some of your (less valuable) traffic by killing some of those junky blog posts and whatnot, but tomorrow, we’ll start talking about how to replace that with the right kind of traffic… the kind of traffic that not only pays you, but helps to boost your reputation and position in the eyes of the search engines.
Don’t freak out – as a wise man once told me, “it’s not all that hard – it’s just a LOT.”
Tomorrow, we’ll put it all together into a simple checklist, for all three phases, so you will always know where you stand.
P.S. Yes – we do still have free tickets available for Brainstorm (this October in Las Vegas) - for a couple more days, and you can go grab one (or two) right now.
P.P.S. No matter what the Pandas and Penguins have done to you – you can overcome that. It’s going to be okay.