Garbage In, Garbage Out

It’s easy to fall into a trap of speed. Trying to get things done NOW instead of when they are ready.

Asap is the enemy of quality.

Yes, you need to launch your products on time. Yes, you need to launch them relatively quickly so that you can stay current.

I’m not saying you should wait until things are perfect, because you’ll never get there, but sacrificing quality for speed can have disastrous results.

For example:

Let’s say you’re building a new digital ad campaign. You’ve put in time to create a beautiful landing page, you have an excellent sales funnel, and your sales staff is trained and ready to go.

Your boss says “Let’s get this campaign up ASAP”.

You don’t have time to find the best traffic sources and to design ads that are relevant to this new campaign – things that are equally as important to success as the landing pages.

You end up launching with old ads on old traffic sources: introducing garbage to the cycle.

It doesn’t matter how well you created your landing page and your sales funnel, if you put garbage traffic into your campaign, your going to get garbage leads and garbage sales.

Your campaign is dead before it has even started.

Another example:

You know you have a crappy manager working for your company, but letting them go and finding someone to replace them could be too costly this quarter.

You hold on to them because you need the work done.

But this garbage manager creates a garbage work environment.

The garbage work environment lowers the morale of the employees working under them.

And the low morale produces garbage work.

You end up with garbage sales figures.

But isn’t this obvious?

You may be thinking at this point that this concept is obvious.

But It’s difficult to remove yourself enough from your project or your company to see what is really going on.

And to eliminate the garbage.

So how do you fix it?

Focus on quality.

Every decision you make should go through a filter of quality.

Will this manager produce a higher quality staff?

Will this traffic source produce quality traffic?

Will this banner ad attract quality visitors?

Will this landing page produce quality leads?

Only when you focus on quality do you stand a chance of building great campaigns.

Or great companies.

~E

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On Waiting To Get Picked

I have a friend who waits.

He waits to be picked at work. Waits to be picked on dates.

And he thinks that if he works hard enough and stays out of trouble long enough then someone will reward him.

He’s going to be waiting for a LONG time.

Leaders don’t wait to be picked. They choose to lead. That “supervisor” position you’re looking for won’t make a difference if you don’t take control on your own.

You’ll just be a figure head.

No one needs to give you permission to lead… Just do it.

You may think that it’s difficult, or that you might get into trouble.

And you’d be right.

You might get reprimanded. You might get fired.

But it’s worth it, and you’ll never look back. Because you’ll be choosing yourself.

And that’s worth a lot.

Don’t wait. Act.

~E

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Know Your Shit

If you want to be a business owner or even a manager, there is no excuse for you to not know the ins and outs of your business.

So many times I’ve dealt with business leaders who are shaky on the inner workings of even the people directly beneath them.

As an entrepreneur here are just a few things that you should know off the top of your head:

  • Your company size (you’d be surprised how many people I’ve worked with that just guess at how many employees they have)
  • Your financial goals for this quarter and this year
  • Exactly how much in sales you did in the last 4 quarters
  • What a customer is worth to you (Life time value)
  • What a customer costs you (cost of acquisition)
  • Approximately how many customers you have
  • Your most popular product or service

If you don’t know at least these things like the back of your hand, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with your business.

I mean, are you even serious about your company?

Know your shit, or look like a clown.

~E

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Herding Cats & Sales Reps

Getting sales reps to do what is best for the company is sometimes like herding cats.

If you yell at a cat and threaten her does she do as you ask?

No. She’ll look at you with disdain and most likely turn her back.

You can pick her up and force her to do as you wish – because you’re bigger and stronger than she is.

Or you can properly incentivize the good behavior.

The only true way to herd a cat is to convince them that your interests are also their interests.

The same goes for managing sales reps.

You can yell at them because you’re the boss, or you can incentivize the intended behavior enough that they choose to do what you want.

The latter choice is best for everyone involved.

~E

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Conversions Are People Too

Do you look at your stats in the morning satisfied by moderate boosts in conversions from the tests you are running?

Do you come up with ideas on how to improve your conversion rates?

Copy changes, better testimonials, photo changes etc. These can all make a huge difference.

But it’s easy to forget about the fact that those stats you are pouring over are real people. Real people who react to your landing page, and then make a decision on whether they choose to give you their attention.

You have to earn that attention.

And sometimes you can get lost in the effect that moving a photo on your landing page has on conversions… but do you ask why? What is the psychology behind why your traffic has changed their decision based on the test that you ran? Oh, and how can you profit from that knowledge?

One of the hardest things to remember is that every conversion is a person. Not just a wallet, or an email address.

Your job is to delight that person, which is a much more difficult stat to keep track of.

But it’s the most important part of the entire process.

How are you going to delight your audience today?

~E

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Your Product Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

When your product wins, does someone else lose?

That shouldn’t be the point. Your product isn’t a zero sum game.

When your product wins in the market, your market should also win through it’s use.

This means that the transaction is not complete when a sale is made. You are not even.

It has just begun.

You must continue to delight and impress your customers. And if you accomplish this, your business will be at the top of whatever field you are in.

If you don’t, you are destined for a race to the bottom. Which you will lose.

~E

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Your Product Is Crap, Not Your Offer

A couple of months ago our office was visited by some servers from a local restaurant. They were giving out free beer coupons for their restaurant.

Who says no to free beer?

This promotion is a lot like a landing page. They offer something for free, and in turn we give them our attention (by visiting their restaurant).

Anyways, a group of 10 of us went down to the restaurant a week later for some drinks and a bit of food.

We had fun and all, but the trouble was, the restaurant sucked. It had drab decor and boring servers. Basically, the restaurant could have been any restaurant in North America… very unremarkable.

We haven’t been back since.

Here’s the point:

If your offer doesn’t resonate, no amount of promotion or free giveaways is going to boost your sales. This is because you haven’t fixed the problem: Your product.

Sure you can see more traffic with a great promotion, but all you are doing is increasing the flow at the top of your funnel. The way to fix a broken funnel is not to pour more water into it.

Build a better product and your promotions will have more impact. And in turn, your landing pages will perform like crazy.

~E

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What’s a good landing page conversion rate?

A decent landing page conversion rate is one that was better than last week.

There are a ton of questions that people ask before they start designing and writing a landing page, but most of them are pointless. They use these questions to delay the test. To procrastinate.

Because if you launch your test, it just might fail.

But failure is the whole point, as long as you learn from it. Come up with website tests that MEAN something. Tests that will teach you something about your visitors.

If you do that, there is no failed tests… just steps towards better conversions.

And a stronger website.

Just launch your test already… try to be better then yesterday.

~E

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Daily Goal Setting – The REAL “Secret”

Daily goal setting keeps you focused.

It reminds you of what is important, and allows you to reflect on what is important.

It cuts through your daily bullshit and keeps things in perspective.

It prevents you from losing sight of what you want to accomplish.

This is the real “secret”.

It’s nothing magical. With daily goal setting every decision you make throughout the day starts to go through a “filter” in your mind which aligns with your goals. This brings real change to your life by ensuring that you stay on point and in harmony with your goals. Things brings more of what you want into your life. Not by some mystical force of the universe, but simply because you are making decisions based on your goals. You are noticing the opportunities that align with what you want. And this allows you to take advantage of those opportunities.

I’ve read “The Secret” and it’s garbage. Don’t buy your dreams, take control of them.

  1. Figure out a goal.
  2. Write it down every morning.
  3. Take action.
  4. Prosper.
  5. Repeat.

~E

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Most Sites Make This Costly Conversion Testing Mistake

You’ve done your research.

You’ve surveyed your customers, poured over your web statistics, searched for optimization opportunities on your website and generated a hypothesis.

You have a theory: if you change the angle of your pricing page to be more customer focused you can increase the conversion rate of that page.

After all of the research, coding and designing involved to get you here, it’s finally time to launch your test.

And away it goes….

A few days later it’s time to take a look at the results. There MUST be a decent increase in conversions, right?

Wrong.

You have a measly 3% increase. And the trouble with small bumps in conversion rates is that they take a really LOOOOONG time to reach statistical significance.

You might even witness your test go from 3% to -3% and back again in the same week.

So what’s the deal?

You could be diluting your test results.

I’ve been working with a site that has 3 different landing pages that promote the same offer: Getting a pricing quote.

In Google analytics the conversions are set up as goals. When someone hits the thank you page after filling out the form, they are tracked as a conversion. That thank you page is used for all three landing pages that collect leads.

That’s the problem.

If I were to run a test to optimize one of the quote landing pages, Google Analytics Experiments will dilute the test results because it’s tracking the conversions from all 3 sources instead of just one.

conversion-rate-3-landing-pages

When I run a test on Landing Page #1, I will see a change in conversions, but it will be diluted.

conversion-rate-3-landing-pages-2

This may look like a great test (it boosted conversion rates by 21.4% after all), but it isn’t the whole story.

In reality, this is how the test should be tracked:

conversion-rate-3-landing-pages-3

See the difference? Your test actually yielded an increase of 150%!

This is a mistake that most websites make when running multiple landing pages to the same offer. And if you track it properly you’re able to:

  • Find a winner faster
  • Save the extra time and money it costs to run a longer test
  • Record a much bigger win – which will help you to convince your boss that this whole CRO thing is worth while

Here’s a real world test

To show you the difference, I recently ran a test on a sidebar form of that website. The test wasn’t extensive, it was just testing the word “Quote” vs. “Pricing”.

If you track the test the way most sites do, the test was inconclusive.

But if I track only the conversions from the sidebar form, I see a 12.7% lift in conversions.

sidebar-test

If I had set up the test incorrectly, like most sites do, I wouldn’t have seen a winner and this test most likely would have hit the wood pile.

But in this case, I’ve found a winner and I get to enjoy almost a 13% boost in conversions.

But how do you fix this problem?

Let’s talk about how you can track conversions correctly using Google Analytics goals.

Without making a single change to the code of your thank you page, you can track your conversions correctly by landing page.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to change the URL of the thank you page for each lead form that you have on your website.

You could do it this way:

www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou
www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou2
www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou3

But then you have to manage multiple pages with the same content on them. If you make changes to your thank you page, you have to make the same change on the other two thank you pages.

Instead, you could just add a URL variable:

www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou?id=1
www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou?id=2
www.yourwebsite.com/thankyou?id=3

You get the same result (multiple URLS for your thank you pages) but you still have a single page to manage.

The beautiful part of this strategy is that you don’t even need to add any code to your thank you page. It’s enough that the URLs look different for Google Analytics.

What does this really mean?

If you’re running tests and you don’t see the results that you thought you would get, it might not be the fault of your test. It may be just that your tracking isn’t setup properly.

Always make sure that your tests are technologically sound before launching them so that you get your results as quickly as possible. Diluting test results could delay your test results by weeks or even months which could cost your company thousands of missed conversions.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

~E

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