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Boost Conversions Step 1: Review Your Offer

This guest post is by the Blog Tyrant.

A few weeks ago I was sitting down to dinner with my big sister, and talking about one of my web businesses.

“What’s your quotation success rate?” she asked me with a face full of pizza.

“Pretty good,” I replied, sounding—I admit—pretty stupid.

“Find out exactly what it is,” she came back.

My big sister, the psychologist-turned national-sales-leader for her real estate company, then went on to explain to me how she knows exactly how many quotes she has to send out in order to make a sale. She knows how many phone calls it takes on average, what delivery method is most successful, and when to follow up the client with a phone call or an email.

And she’s constantly trying to improve that quotation figure by getting feedback on her failures.

While she was telling me all of this a penny dropped: this quotation (or conversion) rate applies to blogging, too. Sure, knowing why people buy your product or sign up to your email list is important. But perhaps even more important than that, is this:

Find out why people don’t buy or sign up.

The first of five steps

If one of your blogging goals is to boost your conversion rates—for sales, subscriptions, downloads, or some other action—you don’t need to just consider your successes. You also need to look at your failures. Boosting conversions isn’t just about doing more of the good stuff. it’s about identifying the bad stuff, and doing less of that.

But this is just the first step in the process.

Over the next four days, ProBlogger will walk you through a process that will help you to boost conversions—for sales or signups—on your blog. In it, we’ll cover these steps:

  1. Review your offer.
  2. Revisit your conversion funnel.
  3. Revamp your communications.
  4. Run A/B tests, tweak, and refine.
  5. Reach all your audience segments using these techniques.

It’ll be quite a ride—so I hope you’ll join us for three posts that will follow this one! But now, let’s get started, and consider the question:

Why aren’t people converting through your sign up or sales page?

Getting started

Before you can really understand your audience, your product, and where things might be going wrong, you’re going to need a few tools in hand.

  • Google Analytics: If you haven’t done so already, go and install Google Analytics on your blog. It will take you all of two minutes, but it will provide you with essential data you’ll need to grow your business.
  • Email marketing software: Again, everyone who takes their blogging seriously will need some form of email marketing software that works better than Feedburner. I always recommend Aweber for bloggers, as it’s easy to set up and has amazing stats for you to play with.
  • A desire to understand some psychology: Yep, you read that correctly. I’ve always put an emphasis on studying psychology alongside other marketing techniques, because it really helps you to understand buyer behaviour and the psychology of desire, and to figure out what people do or don’t want.

Armed with these three things, we’re in a good position to help grow our conversions.

Conduct a conversion review

As I said, my sister knows exactly how many quotations she has to make to generate a sale. In blogging terms, she knows her conversion rate, and she’s always looking to improve it by seeking feedback from failed quotations.

So let’s look at three key questions that you can ask to better understand why your blog’s readers and visitors aren’t converting on a given offer (paid or free). Once you understand this, you’ll be in a much better position to dramatically boost your conversion rate.

Question 1: How well does my offer suit my audience?

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your product or free giveaway is well-matched to your audience. Pitch the wrong product to the wrong audience, and you’ll find it extremely difficult to boost conversions—that is, if you can generate any in the first place.

Let’s consider the Mercedes Benz brand as an example. This is a high-quality, luxury car brand with a higher price tag than the average motor vehicle. This means their marketing methods need to be tailored to the right audience. For example, you’ll never see and ad for Mercedes in a magazine aimed at the teen girls market. However, you might see one in a golfing magazine. Why? Because the latter is read by older men who have disposable income and a desire to communicate a certain status with their car. Obviously, teen girls don’t have either of those things.

This is fine for a offline brand, but how can you make sure your product is matched to your audience? Study your traffic stats.

Guest post stats

This image shows a few weeks of traffic from some old guest posts I did here at ProBlogger. As you can see, the red arrow shows a post that had a bad bounce rate, and the green arrow shows a post with a better (lower) bounce rate.

As you can see, even traffic coming from the same source can vary wildly in terms of expectations and satisfaction levels with what the users find on your site. Fortunately, we have other metrics to review.

A key metric is your users’ demographics—you’ll need to know how old your blog’s users are, whether they are male or female, where they live, and so on.

While this basic information may seem elementary, you’d be surprised how often bloggers find new data hidden in their user stats—data that can point to fairly obvious changes that can help to boost conversions.

For example, if many of your blog’s readers come from an area that’s suffering high unemployment at the moment (for example, Spain), you might need to consider changing your pitch for a product to make it either seem more relevant and valuable, or more affordable to your target audience. You might consider lowering the price—so that more people can afford your product—or increasing it, to create a stronger impression of value and ensure that you get a better margin on the sales you do make.

Don’t go making any decisions yet, though! We still have some more reviewing to do.

Question 2: Are customers happy with your current offering?

The next thing you’ll need to do is to ask for feedback from satisfied and unsatisfied customers. You absolutely need to find out whether your offering is hitting the mark. While conversion statistics are one thing, they don’t give you a clear idea of what the customers who did convert actually wound up thinking of the product or service once they used it.

If you don’t seek their feedback after the point of conversion, all the hard work you do with product creation and conversion optimization could be going to waste.

Here are just a handful of the steps you can take to tap that information from your customers:

  • Use Survey Monkey to survey them: It’s a good idea to occasionally send out a survey asking customers what they like and dislike about your offering (be it a free or paid offer), and inviting constructive feedback. Obviously you don’t want to keep surveying the same users, so you need to take care not to try to survey the same customers about the same offerings over and over.
  • Set up an automatic email in Aweber: Aweber allows you to send out an automatic email called a Follow Up. The idea here is that after a few days of their signing up to your list (either through your subscription form, or as a result of a purchase on your site), subscribers receive and email asking whether or not they enjoyed the subscription product. If you like, you can take this opportunity to encourage them to pass it on to their friends, but in any case, be sure to ask them to email you any feedback or ideas they have to improve the offering.
  • Email people who unsubscribe: Aweber also allows you to keep a list of all the people who unsubscribe from your list. It’s a really good idea to email them just once to tell them you’re sorry to see them go, and to ask why they’re leaving. Their feedback will often be a lot more honest than those who still like your stuff. While the criticism can be hard to take, this feedback can be a goldmine for understanding your offering’s shortcomings.

Now, this all sounds great, right? Well, here’s the problem: sometimes people don’t know what they’re talking about. More specifically, they say one thing, but mean another. For this reason you have to be very careful about the questions you ask readers through any kind of survey. For example, if you ask a generic question, you probably get a generic—and inaccurate—answer.

“Did you like my eBook?”
“Yes it was good.”

The words “good” and “yes” here tell us nothing. This feedback doesn’t mean that the user shared your offering with their friends. It doesn’t mean that it totally blew them away and they’ll be a loyal subscriber forever. It means nothing.

People have changed their careers after reading Pat Flynn’s free ebook. People share it around and talk about it constantly on his Facebook page. That’s the kind of feedback you want. And to get it, you’ll need to ask more specific questions, like these:

  • Did you share the product with your friends?
  • What was your favorite part of this product?
  • What was your least favorite part of the product?
  • What did you do differently after you read the product?

You could also considering surveying customers about the conversion funnel itself, with questions like these:

  • What was it that made you want to subscribe/buy this product?
  • Did you think the subscription/purchase process took a long time?
  • Was it a hassle to receive the product/subscription?
  • Did you have any trouble accessing the information, or using or sharing the product files?
  • What did you expect to get? Did you receive it?

At least with questions like these, you’re going to get some clear feedback on which aspects of your offer work, and which don’t.

Question 3: How might you use this information to tweak your offering?

The next step is to tweak your product or offering based on the lessons you’ve learned.

Now, I’m not talking simply about matching your offer to your audience here. Rather, you need to look at ways to improve the quality and presentation of your offer, based on what your target market is interested in, and what you know is and isn’t working for the members of your current audience.

Recently on my blog we talked about whether or not the free ebook giveaway is dead or not. Most people agree that it’s not, but we all agreed that the poor quality ebook is dead. People are looking for better and better quality all the time.

This is where the psychology of marketing comes in to play. Here are two examples in which we can look at the behavior of an audience and try to better shape our offer to suit them:

  • Mothers: Studies have shown that women who are mothers respond poorly to promotions and products that use hype to sell their benefits. These women are highly practical and intelligent, but they’re also tired and overworked. They just want honest, trustworthy products and landing pages that don’t “over-promote”. Women in general don’t like unrealistic marketing.
  • Male teenagers: Studies have shown that male teenagers, on the other hand, are more likely to be interested in quick fixes. A generation of boys raised with video games, mobile phones, and the web generally show less patience and a greater desire for instant gratification than other market segments.

As you can see, it’s not just about aligning your offer with your market: it’s also about making sure your product pitch, and presentation to your target market.

For example, your offer might be an ebook. Great. Now, let’s imagine you’re targeting the younger male audience segment mentioned above. Tweaks you might make to your product and its pitch include:

  • Using short chapter and section titles.
  • Using imagery to communicate quickly wherever possible.
  • Keeping the design and layout simple.
  • Making sure the product delivers instantly, and communicates that it does so both in its body content and through any marketing materials.
  • Using instant, easy-to-use marketing tools like video, which suits the instant-gratification needs of the target audience as well as the fact that they’ll be more likely to access the offer through a smart phone or tablet.

By this point, you should have a list of potential ideas that you can use to try to boots conversions by tweaking your offering.

Trial and continuous review

The most important thing that I learned from my sister is that we should be constantly assessing and changing our product and pitch. Trends change, competitors come along, and people’s interests shift.

You probably won’t make all the changes on your shortlist of ideas for improving your offer. That’s fine—you can test the ones you feel will give you the best impact, then check your results and consider the rest of your list (which you may have added to!) in light of those results.

How can you choose which elements to change? The feedback you obtained from existing customers, coupled with conversion and market data, should give you a push in the right direction, but often these decisions come down to your own intuition or “feel” for your target audience, and what they want, like, and need.

Don’t be afraid to change aspects of your offer, and don’t be afraid to ask people hard questions about your product. The best products in the world have all got there because of constant improvements.

Once you have your new product and offer prepared, you’ll need to tighten up your funnel to ensure you’re not leaking potential conversions. Tomorrow, Darren will take us through that process.

But for now, I’d be interested to hear what you’ve found out about why readers aren’t signing up for your product or service offering. And if you made tweaks to it, what did you change? Share your stories with us in the comments.

The Blog Tyrant is a 26 year old Australian guy who plays video games at lunch time and sells blogs for $20,000 a pop.

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Comments

  1. Ehsan says:

    Blog Tyrant, I agree with all steps you shared in this post. But using email marketing like Aweber isn’t needed thing because I have seen many Bloggers using Feedburner and they are successful Bloggers. So why to pay $19 a month to Aweber?

    • Blog Tyrant says:

      Hey Ehsan.

      The main reason is because with Feedburner you can only send out blog updates. Aweber lets you send out direct emails to your whole list or a group of that list about anything you want. So you can promote things directly.

      Very valuable.

    • Robert says:

      Feedburner syndicates your posts, they won’t allow you to send your own email with personal messages

  2. Keith Burtis says:

    Great article and brings up a lot of things to look at for sure. I’d love to throw an additional item that dovetails here on your survey advice. That is do perform traditional market research surveys that go out to populations outside of your blog. This is a great tactic because the people that you are surveying using a tool like Survey Monkey are only going to provide feedback on users coming to your site. At that, many don’t have the amount of traffic needed to provide results that are statistically significant. If you can identify a profile for example, men – ages 18 to 24 – own a car and own a dog, you can ask that target demo questions that can deliver amazing insights.
    @keithburtis

  3. Blog Tyrant says:

    Thanks Keith! Great idea.

  4. Shaleen Shah says:

    I think that no amount of marketing ( content, search, social media ) can really help you grow your business if your product or service is mediocre or worst, a copycat of something good that’s already out there. I love that you mentioned about making sure that your product is well-matched to your audience. Most often, businesses fail because they target the wrong audience ( or they’re really clueless about what their products/services solve ).

  5. Romy Singh says:

    Hello,

    Great post, You covered all 3 most important question which pops up in every customers mind. So thanks for that.

    Aweber is must to get our message heard. I’ve seen many people’s Aweber success stories that makes me to spend 19$ every month. And after reading your point now i’m happy with my decision. Right now I don’t have many subscribers but soon I’ll. Because i know the secret.

    “Nobody likes to know about products they like to know about how it’s going to change their living. _ Romy Singh”

    Thanks For the awesome post.
    Romy Singh

  6. Gjivan says:

    Very informative post, thank you Blog Tyrant.
    I havr a good and a bad experiences regarding subscription. My blog is multi-niched i.e, i am targeting multiple niches for creating contents. But, the process of increasing and decreasing of subscribers is random and difference is huge. When i publish an article regarding iPhone, tech savvy and iPhone lovers subscribe me, but when i post an article regarding fitness and they get email notification of this post, they unsubscribe my blog as this is not a related niche which interests them. And this applies to everyone targeting multiple niches. So, is there any solution for this, like identifying and sending updates regarding niche or category to the selected people??

    • mario monk says:

      Yes, there is. I’m using mailchimp (though I’m sure aweber has it too), and there’s a possibility to create segments of subscribers.

      I made segments for people interested in reading about dogs, cats or pet fish, and added chechboxes in sign up form. Now, every time I send an email, I have a possibilty to choose who gets it. One group, several groups or all subscribers.

      Same is available for rss driveb campaigns and there are other filtering options available as well.

      • Gjivan says:

        Thank you Mario, for this reply. I really was in need for this. The variation of people subscribing and unsubscribing in my blog is huge. On the day a post is published, sometimes i get 30+ subscribers at once. And when another post relating another niche is published, i lose almost 75% of them and this is pissing me off!! But we can learn that the trend of people using internet is changing from random to relevancy!!

        • Blog Tyrant says:

          Perfect solution!

          But maybe you need to address the issue of it being multi-topic because you might be losing RSS subscribers as well?

          Perhaps offer category based subscriptions on your site?

  7. Tash Hughes says:

    Thanks Blog Tyrant – they are some great questions to ask to get a better idea of your audience and their needs.

  8. Thanks for the article! I’m learning so much from this site it’s unbelievable. I am wondering, what is your opinion on using the technique of a pop-up on a blog that says “get my free eBook, enter your name and email, etc”. Do you think it’s better to be subtly on the side of the page or use a popup? (I guess that’s something to split test, eh?)

    • Gjivan says:

      Yes, you can use it with caution ( with caution means without irritating and interrupting your visitors ). There are lots of cool plugins for you to customize the way you want. Either you can use them as a pop-up or just as a notification bar at the top of your blog!!

  9. Linda says:

    Have you found a way to increase the traffic to get them to take say for instance a survey? Do you have a magic key to unlock the waves of traffic to your site? I am sure that with all of the conversions you have stated above, you have a key way of doing business.

  10. First of all, great, informative post that was very useful to me. Second, to blogs that have relatively low traffic, this might not work as not many will take the survey. The location of the survey is also challenging, as it has to be both noticeable and not distracting, which are 2 opposite things I guess…

  11. Love the article, but with my client in mind, I am checking everything off: survey done, hundreds of responses, readers love the blog; traffic consistent and big; emails sent every week. But conversions (donations) to this non-profit site are tiny. What is the psychology that gets people to donate?

  12. Great article, thanks for the Info