Do you have a list of your customers? If I asked you right away, do you have ways to build subscriber lists?
Despite the push, many businesses don’t do it.
New. Shiny. Revolutionary. Fancy
We always want the next best thing. We watch out for trends to see if there’s something new out there that can solve the same problem you’ve had all along.
We are all like that.
But when we look at what we have, we’ll be surprised at just how much we have at our disposal.
When it comes to marketing, most people chase what they think will work: social media, SEO, guest blogging outreach, influencer marketing, paid advertising on this platform or that. You should just stop. Build a List Instead.
While it’s not to say that those things don’t work, this is just a reminder as to how much you are missing out when you don’t give email marketing the importance it deserves.
Email marketing is the only channel that’s guaranteed to make you money. If you do it right, and if you do it consistently enough, it has the potential to deliver about 4300% ROI (and it’s not a typo). No other channel comes close to that kind of an ROI. Nothing beats the efficacy of email marketing. There was nothing like it before and there’s nothing like it now.
Here are reasons why you shouldn’t ever ignore email marketing:
Note: Use Sumo to help build your email list lighting fast. It’s easy to get started and it rocks your boat. For advanced automation, use Drip.
The numbers don’t lie
Worldwide, there are over 4.3 billion email accounts (by the end of 2016), thanks to data from the Radicati group. According to McKinsey, the average order value of an email is at least 3X than that of social media. Look at the general email statistics, email ROI, and more, and you can’t help but wonder why email marketing is so important for your business.
Money lies in Nurturing Leads
You can do your blogging all you want. Spend as much time on social as you’d like to. Spend any amount of money on paid advertising – none of that is going to work if you don’t nurture your leads.
Why, you ask?
No one is going to wake up on any given morning hoping to get on your pipeline. Your customers only buy when they want to buy – and if everything else is pushing them towards your direction. None of your efforts with your ads, campaigns, blogs, content marketing, SEO is going to make them buy when you want them to buy.
So, what do you do until they buy? Do email marketing, that’s what.
Emails In funnels is Cash In Bank
When you set up dedicated funnels for your advertising and marketing efforts, you are essentially creating a system to help generate leads and nurture those leads to make sales happen.
But it’s really not just the funnels that help make transactions happen; it’s the relationships. Those email sequences within your email will help build that all-too-crucial relationship with your potential (and existing) customers.
Emails of all kinds – transactional and marketing emails, RSS-to-email campaigns, and everything else you use – help make these relationships stronger, at scale.
Email marketing caters to a captive audience
Traditional marketing is predominantly “spray and pray” – you throw money at a particular media and hope that you get responses. Meanwhile, you’d spend a lot of money doing just that.
Email marketing, in a stark contrast, caters to a very specific audience. The kind of audience that already visited your website or landing page, people who are very interested in what you have to say or what you do, and those who have burning needs and are looking for solutions (might not be immediate).
Sending emails to just 100 such people gets you more in terms of ROI than buying a list of 100,000 people and hoping that you’d get something from such a wide spread of people.
Stop whatever you are doing and focus on building a list. Period.
Are you building your email list? What stops you from doing? Have you been spending too much time doing everything that’s not important?
Too many people launch Facebook campaigns without thinking twice (the platform is like that), but you’d be wasting money if you did that.
When you waste money on Facebook, it’s because you genuinely didn’t know better, you’ve underestimated the work it takes to make Facebook campaigns work, or it’s just that you can’t be bothered with the nitty-gritty.
When you launch campaigns on Facebook, a lot of factors come into play to either make or break that campaign.
Of course, how you setup the campaign, your Facebook ads, audience selection, budget, reach, and many others will all have a role to play.
But the kind of business you have and whether or not Facebook makes for a good platform for your business will also affect how your campaigns play out.
Before you jump onto the Facebook bandwagon, use these two tools to find out if your business is a good fit for Facebook:
IsFbForMe? By Perry Marshall
Is Facebook Advertising Right for You? By Adespress
Note: If your business comes anywhere close to products, services, offers, and campaigns that are against Facebook’s ad policies, you won’t make it. There’s a profitable workaround to follow if you fall into a probable “facebook ads rejected” zone, but that requires commitment and a long-term vision. This is an obvious point, but a lot of people just don’t pay attention.
Once you determine whether or not Facebook campaigns will suit your business well, do this:
- Setup and Get ready: Take your time to setup your Facebook campaigns right. Your Facebook campaigns should have 2 ads (for testing), pointing to landing pages (again with two versions), and your landing page must be linked to your email service provider such as Mailchimp or Drip (for triggering and delivering email marketing sequences). Once you are ready creating all of these, test the entire workflow once before you think of going live. Here’s a handy Facebook Advertising checklist for you. If you need help managing your Facebook campaigns this way, get my help. Whatever you do, don’t bother with advertising without these funnels in place.
- Launch and Check: You won’t know how your Facebook campaigns perform until you let them perform. Whatever timeframe you thought you’d run the campaigns, run those Facebook campaigns longer than you think you should.
- Run and measure: While the campaign is on, check if everything you’ve worked up to this point is working or not. Look out for your spend limit (your ads won’t deliver if you’ve reached this limit and all you have to do is to change the limit), reach, delivery, and more.
- The Pixel: Learn how to setup the pixel. During the initial stages of the campaign, check to see if your pixel is firing. The base pixel, the event codes, etc. Use Pixel Helper Plugin for Chrome to help you.
- The results: Depending on the objectives of your campaign, see if your chosen objective is being met. Leads? Purchase transactions? View content (text, video, etc.,)?
The Health Check
Once your campaigns are live, you’ll need to optimize your campaigns, lookout for the A/B test results (across the elements of the campaign such as ads, audiences (and whatever else you are testing), landing pages, autoresponder subject lines, and more), and the results themselves.
While you are at it, check out for the “Frequency” — the more this number is, the more times your ads are being seen by a single person on Facebook. Higher frequencies will lead to ad fatigue and ad blindness.
How are your campaigns setup? Are you too busy to be paying the “I-can’t-be-bothered” tax for your Facebook campaigns?
Setting up a website based on WordPress is easy. Making a website sweat it out for optimum conversions isn’t anywhere close to waking up with the smell of coffee.
Conversion optimization calls for relentless action-taking on some of the most minutest details ever. The kind of details you’d not care about much. The same details that could make your eyes roll.
It’s more important than you ever thought.
Can you imagine a scenario where 72% of your customers find completely disoriented with the fact that your website has nothing that they were looking for? Or that only 14% of your entire base of customer actually value your relationship? Those are facts, according to CEB Marketing Leadership Council. In another study by Harris Interactive and Janrain, it was found that:
“28%of respondents would give up social networks for a week, 25 percent would give up chocolate for a month and 21 percent would give up their smartphone for a day in exchange for relevant content on all of their favorite websites.”
It’s easier to make these multiple changes on some platforms than others. Websites on WordPress, however, require a lot more than just dragging and dropping elements.
Starting from the core, out towards the front end design, every single aspect of your website contributes to conversions. This includes site design, strategic placement of design elements, site speed, and a lot more.
Here are some WordPress conversion optimization tips you should know about:
Invest In the right hosting
Hosting is where it all begins. Hosting sets the right foundation for your website. While it’s unfortunate that most people go for cheap hosting, it’s far from the best recommendations.
What you need with the right kind of hosting is Managed WordPress hosting, with compression, CDN, security, cache support, malware protection, automated updates, and automated backups.
You know? The kind of hosting that you just pay for each month and 90% of everything you’d ever need to do is taken care of, for you. You’d just need to manage plugin updates after investing in a host like that.
Since there are many web hosting providers for you to choose from, I’ll make it easy for you. Here are just two of them for you to pick from:
That’s it. Don’t even bother trying to break your head over fast loading website pages that are so crucial for optimization.
Use Pop-ups Liberally
You could debate all you want over whether or not pop-ups work, but you’d be wasting time.
Hate them or love them, but pop-ups work. They just do. Stop arguing now and take some action.
Use Optin monster if you like. Or use Unbounce Convertibles like I do. I also use Sumo for some other pop-ups like the ones you’d see in the middle and at the end of this post.
Use click-trigger pop-ups, slide on scroll, welcome mats, or whatever you want. Pop-ups get you leads. Period.
Use CTAS on Your web pages
Read all about how important your “about us” pages are or learn how to make your About Us pages work for your brand as Ben Austin of Moz writes.
Lindsay Kolowich also has great examples of About Us Pages to model your own page on.
Here’s a little something for you: none of that will do you any good if you let the page be a “page”.
Instead, if you use buttons in the middle or at the end of every page (including your About Us page), you are better off. You’d be giving visual cues for your readers and urging them to take action off their pages.
Don’t underestimate the power of small talk, especially those you’d have with your website visitors. When you place livechat strategically on your website and if you engage actively, each of those conversations has the potential to put money into your pocket.
Honestly, it’s not even hard to install LiveChat anymore. Use LiveChat itself or other tools like GoSquared’s chat feature.
There are many others, of course.
Talk is normally cheap. But talk isn’t cheap when it’s active engagement, listening to your visitors speak up, and when you answer questions leading to sales.
What are some WordPress conversion optimization tips that you think I’d missed out on? Let me know.
Here’s the thing with paid advertising if you don’t get it right: It entails a relentless charge on your card, it’s a constant burden on your budget, it’s a colossal waste of time, effort, opportunity, and resources.
While you have taken a step up from many entrepreneurs who dream but don’t dare put money up for an ad, your work is far from over if you just thought that putting up an ad on Google or Facebook is going to solve your problem forever.
Digital Paid advertising is a boon in the sense that you get access to phenomenal reach. You have access to possibly every single person on earth. All that is available for much less than what you’d have to spend to advertise your business locally.
With Paid advertising, you also have access to analytics, insights on your visitors, a much better understand of your leads, and you’d even be able to precisely pinpoint who saw your ad first and where and then when they actually purchased something from you (attribution).
You could take informed decisions, you could control your own results, and you could generate leads like a machine.
Just not when you continue to do silly mistakes, however. Here are some of them:
Set it and Forget it
There are Shady agencies guilty of this, and I’ll reserve my spite for them but it’s sad to see so many businesses just launching campaigns (and even that’s not done right) and then leave it to Google, Facebook, or whatever platform you use for paid advertising to do all the heavy lifting.
Google and Facebook don’t care. In fact, they’ll punish you for being stupid. You’ll end up spending tons of money while you sleep without ever knowing why all that ad spend just watered down a hole.
You’ll then say, “Paid advertising doesn’t work”.
Paid campaigns — whether you choose Google or Facebook – require active management. Dedicated campaigns each for multiple products or services, dedicated landing pages for each offer you make, connecting all those landing pages and your email auto responder service together, managing leads, nurturing leads, and tracking sales (if you are tracking sales offline, that’s another story).
Paid Advertising to Cold Audiences
I’ll come out with it right away: this isn’t a deal breaker, but the fact that most advertisers, marketers, and business owners only do this and nothing else (like retargeting) numbs my mind.
I recently wrote on How to Warm up your audience so that you could sell better, drive leads at a much lesser cost, and make it easier for you overall.
It’s not wrong to launch paid advertising campaigns to completely cold audiences. What you’d need to do in addition to this (after the campaign runs for a while) is to build up audiences for retargeting.
Not running campaigns long enough
There are way too many folks out there guilty of this, and that includes me when I first started: we don’t run campaigns long enough. Without giving campaigns the time they need to sort out the best possible ad and copy combinations, the offer, the bidding strategy, your optimization game, and you’re a/B testing, you are not doing the campaigns justice.
Think of campaigns are little plants in your garden – they’ll fall flat and die if you don’t water them, prune out the dying leaves, and care for your plants, right?
Google Adwords and Facebook are incredibly smart platforms that also rope in machine learning, complex algorithms, and savvy technology to gain a better understand of what you are trying to achieve with your campaigns.
Related: Why you Should Run Facebook Ads Longer Than You think?
Stop doing these silly mistakes. I am assuming that your money still matters to you and that you can squeeze the most out of every dollar you spend on ads.
How do your campaigns look like?
I wrote about why it’s so important to make some critical decisions quickly, but I also realized that we all suffer from something we didn’t see coming when we started off on this journey of trying to run our business by making use of technology, digital marketing, and all the goodness we have at our fingertips today.
The starting point (after validating ideas and thinking all that you think about pricing and strategy) is usually the website.
Most people will choose WordPress, and that’s understandable. But even after making that decision, the pain won’t end. You’d then have to look for a WordPress theme to represent your business.
I’ve seen it all. I’ve burnt my fingers. I purchased some good themes and plenty of bad ones. I was suffocated by my inability to make any changes to existing WordPress themes. Either that or I couldn’t run fast enough from the problems that Shared Hosting providers cause.
Here are some of the best sources for WordPress themes. Do me a favor and look no further than this:
The official WordPress Directory
You can’t start a list like this without the big brother accounted for, right? The official WordPress directory is the starting point on your hunt for the perfect WordPress theme for your business.
Now, remember that you get what you pay for. When you pay nothing, expect hassles and trouble. Or maybe a theme that’s not even fully cooked yet. At a time when even paid themes don’t stand a chance, free themes are to be picked with a pinch of salt.
However, if you are just starting out and if you are in no position to spend at all, picking up a free theme from the official WordPress directory is a no-brainer. You know? One of those critical decisions you’d just take quickly and get on with the show.
When you want themes with Clean code, classy designs, ongoing support, and backed by some of the best in the Industry, it’s the path of the Genesis that you should be taking. The Genesis framework is a marvel by itself. But even if you weren’t using Genesis, you could still be using some of those WordPress themes from Studiopress.
Owned By RainMaker Digital – the company that also owns the famous CopyBlogger blog, Synthesis Hosting, The Rainmaker Platform, Authority, and more – Studiopress has evolved from a few themes to Genesis to a Mix of Genesis Framework + themes to an all-hosting solution for WordPress today.
If you look at Studiopress today, you don’t need to break your head on the wall anymore. Pick a plan and run with it – you get hosting from Synthesis, themes from Studiopress, and their support for a single payment.
There was a time when Elegant Themes was known for its themes (it still does, just so I am clear). Today, however, Elegant themes is known more for it’s Divi Builder, the default Divi theme, and their other popular theme called Extra.
Now, there’s a reason I am pointing out at Elegant Themes today since it does something really nice for the modern-day WordPress user. Instead of forcing you to pick from one of the themes already created for you (and thereby limiting your freedom to design your website the way you want to), the Divi Builder lets you build absolutely anything you want with WordPress.
You can pick their Divi theme as a base and build anything you want out of it. Or you can pick absolutely any theme you like and make any kind of changes to your pages “after” you purchase and install your theme.
The Divi builder is fast, code bloat free, and an absolute delight to use.This website, by the way, has also been designed with the Divi Builder.
You see? It’s like this. I don’t care about how nice a theme looks or about website design at all. What I care about is how well the website converts.
I really love Thrive for the fact that they have a little bit of marketing mojo in them. Unlike many theme development shops, WordPress marketplaces, and others, the folks at Thrive themes focus a lot on the marketing side of WordPress also.
With some innovative products on the anvil, they are really doing what they really should be doing when they sell WordPress themes and related products.
You get conversion-focused products from Thrive. Period. This point alone is enough for me to consider taking Thrive seriously from a marketing standpoint.
If you about my rah rah, it’s easy to see why: Thrive has WordPress themes, Thrive leads, Thrive Architect, clever little widgets, headline optimizer, a way for you to build landing pages, a scarcity marketing tool called Thrive Ultimatum, a testimonial tool called Thrive Ovation, and also the Thrive quiz-builder (want to grow leads quickly, anyone?).
What do I say? Most WordPress themes you’d end up buying are crap. They are overloaded with features and code. I still don’t understand why they don’t let go of those sliders (I absolutely loathe them).
When I look at Press 75 themes, I can’t help but think of it as SquareSpace style web design for WordPress. Each of the themes available at Press75 have been designed with Minimalism in mind. There’s no code overdose. There are no bells and whistles. Every theme is simple, elegant, and functional.
If you are a minimalist or just like plain and simple design, you’ll love what Press 75 has on offer.
I am usually aware of most theme marketplaces but this one came out of the woods, and I didn’t know it existed. When I checked it out, I was impressed. Pipdig came highly recommended by the folks at Converkit and they have the best WordPress themes purpose-built for bloggers.
If you are a small business looking to make blogging a serious endeavor or if you are a blogger, look no further than Pipdig. Stunning themes, great support, modest pricing, and they also have blogger and blogspot templates to boot (but I wouldn’t go there).
Am I missing any of the obvious sources here? The good-looking, or really fast, or really clean WordPress theme sources, anyone??