A Look at What Really Matters for Conversions & Happy Customers

Todays guest-essay is from Tommy Walker, editor of one of our favourite CRO blogs ConversionXL.com  Enjoy! (and check out my comments below) .Pete

Most of the businesses I’ve spoken with in my almost 10 year history as an online marketing professional think the process for getting new customers goes something like this:

  1. Get Traffic
  2. Get Users
  3. Make Money

But it’s not so simple, is it?

I mean, honestly, when was the last time you personally handed over your money so easily?

According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth report, the average shopper consumes an average of eighteen pieces of information about a company or product before making a purchase decision.

Eighteen - that includes promotional videos, blog posts, testimonials, user reviews, comparison guides, expert opinions, podcasts etc.

Like Mattan Griffel’s excellent Slideshare says, the magic to making money isn’t in acquiring traffic or users, the magic is in what happens in between each step of the customer journey.

10 Guarantee Templates You Can Swipe to Instantly Increase Conversions

Guarantee_Boxes

 You are under no legal obligation to offer a refund if a customer…

“…simply changed [his or her] mind, found it cheaper somewhere else, decided [they] did not like the purchase or had no use for it.”

However, offering an explicit guarantee in your marketing can do wonders for your increasing your conversion rates.

In fact, tests have shown that adding a 30-day money back guarantee, you are able to increase sales by 21%.

And in a study by Suwelack, Hogreve and Hoyer published in the Journal of Retailing titled “Understanding Money-Back Guarantees: Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Outcomes,” they found:

The results of two experimental studies show that in addition to cognitive effects, Money-Back Guarantees evoke a positive emotional response, thereby increasing consumers’ purchase intentions and willingness to pay a price premium.

The reason? A guarantee is a form of risk reversal.

A risk reversal is any strategy or tactic that reduces or removes the actual or perceived risk a prospect has about investing in your product, service or solution.

As a risk reversal, a prominently displayed guarantee lessens the risk for your customer, which helps them more readily make the decision to buy. The risk stays the same for your business – after all, you are already obligated to guaranteeing your product or service anyway, despite the fact that most consumers don’t know to what extent.

As an article by Dean Rieck at CopyBlogger points out, guarantees are excellent tools for reducing risk because they help you accomplish the following:

  • Assure customers that you believe in the quality of what you are offering
  • Spell out terms and conditions clearly
  • Specify a generous time period for evaluation
  • State what you will do if the customer is dissatisfied

More importantly, guarantees are required by law. So why not pivot and make it part of your marketing arsenal to help you increase conversions?

Plus, if they’re good enough for Denzel to offer in every movie, they are good enough for us.

In this essay, we will provide you with explanations, examples, and swipe templates of the following 10 guarantee types:

Let’s take a closer look at 10 guarantees and templates that you can SWIPE and DEPLOY right now.

Improving Your Opt-Ins [PreneurCast Ep133]

In this show, Pete and Dom talk about Opt-Ins (one of the 7 Levers of Business): what they are, why they are important, and how you can get more of them. They also discuss what an opt-in might look like for various businesses.

How I Plan to Give My Son, Eli, a Million Dollars

“If only … ”

If only. As far as I’m concerned, those two words represent the single most painful realization in all of personal finance and business.

It’s something that came to me when I first started to assemble this Wealth Foundations Series, and it’s something I wanted to touch on in great detail before we really got too far along.

At first, it will seem like a slight detour from the strictly entrepreneurial-sword-sharpening topics we’ve covered so far in the series, but I think succession planning, and instilling the right wealth foundations in our children is just as important, as fixing our own finances.

It starts with learning the value of deferred gratification, of making time work for you, not against you, and not being the guy stuck saying “If only.”

Because the worst thing about this lesson is that it’s so often only learned in hindsight, meaning that your single most valuable asset—time—has already been mostly depleted.

That’s the real cost of “If only,” the price in wasted years.

Well, today’s article is about how I’m attempting to prevent “if only”.

It’s about how you can start your own succession planning by following along, and how doing so can prevent key members in your business and family from having to endure some of life’s most painful lessons.

Basically, we’re talking about imparting the perfect amount of financial wisdom at the perfect time.

How you can start your succession planning by playing along, and prevent loved ones from having to endure those same painful lessons by imparting the right amount of financial wisdom at the right time …

In my case, I’ve chosen to start building my “Family Succession Plan” with our part time Blog Editor, my son Elijah—or Eli for short—and I’ve decided to do it by setting him on course to become a millionaire …

[vimeo 87910446 w=600 h=338]

Mystery Shopping… City Beach

It’s amazing how much your perceptions change as you grow older.

Back during those late night shifts at Athlete’s Foot, prior to Spotify and listening to the homemade mixed CDs, the mystery shopper was the one thing we all wanted to avoid each month. “What a waste,” we thought. “How does this help?” we groaned.

The funny thing was that we always seemed to be able to remember who the mystery shopper was, after the fact… when the report came back with our “review”.

They always seemed to behave in the same strange way, asking the same silly and annoying questions — yet no one ever was able to be present during that moment, realise who they were, and subsequently up their level of customer service.

I guess at that age, hindsight was still far overshadowing foresight. (In fact, I think it still is.)

Either way, as I progressed through my journey I began to realise what you don’t measure you can’t manage, and began to see the immense value in mystery-shopping your staff. A small tweak in the way they approach a casual shopper can easily increase the number of shoes people try on (opt-ins) or the number of upsells sold at the point-of-sale (items per transaction).

No wonder the industry in 1999 had $750 million annual revenues in the USA alone!

So I thought we should all get a lesson in retail mystery shopping… and invited Kristian Mahony, TheRetailGuy, to contribute a review of a major brand’s retail presence.

PreneurMarketing.com Internship Opportunity [Lots of Free Books]

A recent New York Magazine story estimated the astonishing amount of swag a B or even C-list celebrity takes home each year:

On average, a regular red-carpet walker will receive about $100,000 in free goods and services annually, some in all-gratis pop-up shops and some unasked-for in the mail.

…and, if you take a look at the U.S. median household income figures,  you’ll see that the value of these celeb hauls is nearly double what the typical household earns annually. Insane.

Now, I’m not saying we’re anywhere near that league. But as the size of our Preneur Community continues to grow, we are constantly sent more and more free nerd swag in the from of books, as people try and pitch us for guest spots on the PreneurCast podcast.

This is just a sample of some of the recent books we’ve been sent in the mail:

Recent_Books

… and here’s a shot of my iPad Kindle with the most recent batch of e-galleys.

Kindle_Books

 As I am sure you’ve guessed by now, little old me just can’t keep up with all this demand by himself…

So I Need Your Help!

We’re going to start a new series here on the blog, featuring excerpts from many of the great books we are sent that we just can’t squeeze onto the podcast.

We published the first one earlier today - from Mark Middo’s 5 Minute Business.

So we’re looking for an intern to join the team for a few months, to help test this out with regular posts.

The role is very specific. So if you like to read free Kindle books, can write well, and want to learn about marketing from/with our team — this is for you!

Content Marketing, the Preneur Hierarchy & a 5-Minute Business

5 Minute Business - Mark Middo

5 Minute Business – Mark Middo

Content marketing. It’s the buzzword of now. Content marketing this, content marketing that.

But here’s the problem: If you’re doing content marketing in hope that it goes viral, you are not going about marketing to “reach people when they are actively trying to solve a problem, with their wallets.”

As we discussed during PreneurCast037, and I wrote in my first book:

The key to effective marketing is not large headlines, bright colours or an eye-catching image. Sure these things will help attract attention to your ad, but the aim of a marketing campaign is not simply to have people notice the ad, the aim is for them to notice the ad and then purchase from you. The first step means nothing without the second. The key to successful marketing is reaching the right people with the right message using the right advertising at the right time for your business.

I’ve since refined this to be:

All you need to do in business is find a group of people with a problem, figure out where they proactively go to search for a solution (with their wallet), and do everything you can to position yourself there.

Simple as that. Nothing more, nothing less.

The people you want to reach are searching on Google, and yes some people are still looking in the Yellow Pages.

The so-called content marketing strategy that most people use is the modern version of billboard advertising… Plastering your message everywhere, in hope that one person, one day, after seeing your content 7 times, decides that the stars are aligned, opens their purse.

However, as I was reading one of the chapters of Mark Middo’s new book, 5 Minute Business, he indirectly gave another take on it.

It’s not explicit, but

Can you find the one take on Content Marketing, that made me open my mind?

Here’s the excerpt from Marks book…

Rich Dads, Sweepstakes, Bounce Rates & Finding a Mentor [Noise Reduction .71]

Howdy, Folks…

Well, we got past April 1 without too much shenanigans… however, it does mean the first quarter of 2014 is over, gone, never to return!

So, how was the first 1/4 of the year for you? Are you 25% of the way to your goals?

If not, you have a choice to make… you can either change your goals to align with where you are today, or you can change your actions for the remainder of the year.

Which is it going to be?

Now while you decide, make sure you check out this week’s Noise Reduction recommendations.

Pete

[Ethically] Manufacturing Credibility + Social Proof To Increase Opt-ins & Conversions

Social proof is hugely important to marketers. Social proof speaks to your audience in terms that are valuable to them. After scarcity, Influence, by way of social proof, is the most powerful marketing tool of all.

In the 1950s, researcher Solomon Asch proved that people ultimately just want to fit in, to be part of the crowd. His experiments proved that 75% of participants would go along with the group in a variety of scenarios – even if they had reason to believe the group consensus to be wrong.

In all likelihood, you have seen social proof at work before. If you are visiting a new city and drive past a restaurant at 8 o’clock on a Friday night and the parking lot is nearly empty, you are likely to opt to eat at the packed restaurant across the street – even if there is a queue stretching far outside the doors!

Lack of social proof is the online equivalent of an empty parking lot. Photo from Grist.org

Lack of social proof is the online equivalent of an empty parking lot. Photo from Grist.org

The implication here is that the restaurant with the empty parking lot must serve lousy food, because everyone in town (apparently) is at the place across the street. You can assume that those in the know (the locals) have an idea of just how bad the food is at the empty restaurant. For dining establishments, an empty parking lot is damagingly bad social proof. (It’s also why they seat the first dinners of the evening towards the front, near the windows)

So how does social proof work in a Web-based context? Are you more likely to watch a video on YouTube that has 67,523 views or one that has 52 views? Looking at video thumbnails in YouTube search results offers no other indicator aside from social proof (view count). Yet, videos with high numbers of views tend to draw even more views in a kind of snowball effect. This is basic social behavior that goes back to Asch’s studies of the 1950s.

Since social proof connects to two of The 7 Levers of Business, opt-ins and conversion, we’ve created this essay to help you get more of both, by adding credibility via social proof.

In this essay we cover the following:

  1. Why social proof matters to you
  2. Highlighting positive social proof
  3. How to manufacture social proof.
  4. Avoiding negative social proof
  5. Social proof superstars [Examples for opt-ins and conversions]
Social Proof on Etsy. Image by Zurb.com

Social Proof on Etsy. Image by Zurb.com

Social proof has a lengthy psychological meaning, but it also has a simpler explanation that matters to marketers.

James Chartrand of The Micolancer Blog sums up this second meaning of social proof in the following way:

“Social proof can also mean that someone bought a product and found it useful. Or they read a blog and learned something new. Or they’ve tried a service and got results. They’ve experienced something before you, and they survived – they even liked the experience!”

“Your perception is one of increased safety and less risk.”

In other words, social proof shows your customer that your offer is something they can accept without worry.

Let’s look at how you can harness the credibility of social proof to increase opt-ins and conversions.

How a Stock-Standard Recruitment Agency Crafted a Blog Readership of 20,000

Social media marketing reached a level of prominence a year or two ago and was widely proclaimed to be the new lifeblood of businesses. Sadly, most who tried to use social media came up against brick walls. Some made it through and reached a certain level of success, such as Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck, but many who tried to put the methods in place got really frustrated with a lot of effort resulting in very little reward. Very few managed to get 20,000 subscribers within just a few months.

Enter Carolyn Hyams – the founding director of Marketing at Firebrand Talent, an Australian recruitment agency that specialises in digital marketing roles. They were starting from scratch: no mailing list, no social media following and a barren website waiting to have some life breathed into it.

With Firebrand’s initial position being one of having zero budget for advertising or traditional marketing they realised they had to take an effective digital approach using a well-crafted content marketing strategy. The only other promotional activity they engaged in was job board listings; an expense that they were able to reduce by 90% over the first two years.

On the surface the success they were able to achieve looks like just a skilful execution of a stock-standard content approach. Rather than outlining how a social media/content strategy should be crafted, we are going to highlight how Carolyn and her boss overcame the common limitations and frustrations that most organizations hit.

about-pete
Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

Download Pete’s First Book For FREE!

“Now that I've got the rights back from the publishers, if you enter your email address below, you can instantly download a free audiobook version of my first book, How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality.” - Pete