The Most Effective Thing You Can Do For Your Business Right Now
The ultimate guide to bang for your business’s
You used the prioritisation flow chart in part 3 of this series to work out what to do first.
You looked at it, and thought – hmm, that’s simple but it might just work.
And then you got frustrated with me. Because the first question in the list is hard.
Is this the most impactful thing you could do for your business?
Definitely a hard question, right?
Maybe you have a method for deciding. Maybe you’ve looked at the Do What Matters section of my free guide.
But, if you’re like a lot of people, that question is so hard that it can become counterproductive. It can stop you from working on anything because you’re not sure that it’s the most impactful thing.
It can have you flitting backwards and forwards until you get to the point where you’re not actually doing anything.
So how do you figure out the most important thing?
The answer is different for everyone. You have to figure it out for your business. To help you, let’s take a step back to the fundamentals of any business.
We’re going to use some maths. ARGH!!
I promise it won’t be anything like your school maths class (unless you loved maths at school like me, then I promise it will be exactly like what you loved)
This formula is something that originates from e-commerce, but it’s generally applicable if your business is offline too.
$ = Visitors x Conversion x AOV
OK, what does that mean? Lets look at each part:
Sales, Revenue, Income, Top Line – the amount of money coming into your business. Easy to understand I hope, because without it, there is no business.
Straightforward – how many people visit your website in a given period.
If your business isn’t entirely online, substitute in the number of prospects you can get in front of. If you own a brick and mortar shop, how many people come in? If you sell door to door, how many doors did you knock on? If you get clients thorough emailing or cold calling, how many did you send or make?
For the sake of an example, lets say you have 1000 visitors to your website in a month.
Put simply, what percentage of your visitors bought something from you? How many browsers did you convert into buyers?
In our example, if 50 of the 1000 people who visited your site made a purchase, your conversion rate is 50/100 = 0.05 or 5%.
This is a bit of jargon that stands for Average Order Value. It’s sometimes called Basket Value or Average Spend but all it really means is how much did the average buyer spend with you.
If you have different priced products, you can do a simple sum: divide the total value of all your sales by the number of orders you received.
To continue the example, if those 50 people who bought spent a total of $2000, your AOV would be$40
Let’s put that back together:
$2,000 = 1,000 Visitors x 5% Conversion x $40 AOV
OK, maths interlude over, those who skipped can start again here.
How the hell does this help me decide what I should be working on?
To have the greatest impact, anything you do must focus on one of these 3 important measurements.
Exactly what you do will depend on your business, and how developed it is. But if you’re not focused on one of these metrics, you’re wasting your time.
All very good in theory. But you want to know exactly what to do. That’s cool – I’ve got one tactic for each area, depending on whether your business is beginner, intermediate or advanced.
If you have no sales yet, then follow the beginner category. Start with conversion, then visitors then AOV. (Sounds a strange order I know but give it a try)
If you’re already making sales, then you’re probably intermediate or advanced. Write out the formula with your business data. The area to focus on will likely become obvious – start there. If you haven’t executed the beginner tactic for that area, do that first.
I’m about to tell you WHAT to do for 3 stages in 3 categories. I’m not going to get into the HOW here. That would be a ridiculously long post. I am going to give a link to at least one epic how to guide or resource for every strategy though, which means everything you need is here.
Here are my 3 suggestions if you’re trying to increase visitors
Share with your network then reach out to influencers and ask them to share your site
If you have very few visitors at the moment, the first thing to do is to get people you already know to look at your stuff, and if possible share it.
Even better, get influencers in your industry to share. I suggest starting with Boost Blog Traffic’s guide to blogger outreach. The principles work for all kinds of businesses, not just blogs.
You’ll need to make your site worth sharing in some way, whether that’s through great content, great product or something else. This classic post on Fizzle about epic content is a good place to start, or this Copyblogger post about eliminating your competition by being great.
Get guest posting
The idea of guest posting is simple – write amazing content for other sites in your niche, put a link to your site in the author bio and direct interested visitors back to your site.
It’s win-win for all involved – the site owner gets great content, you get exposure. To that extent, it’s simple, but there’s an art to making it happen.
Boost Blog Traffic is again my go-to resource for getting guest posts. Don’t be put off if your business isn’t a blog – the techniques still work for other businesses and products too.
Advertising is a guaranteed way to get visitors. What isn’t guaranteed is how much those visitors will cost. The investment required is why it’s in the advanced section.
You want to be ready to capitalise on your investment by having some way of making your money back. In other words you need something to sell to these visitors.
There are a million and one places to advertise on the web, but depending on what you’re selling, I would start with either Google Adwords or Facebook ads.
A word of warning – both of these can be black hole money pits if you don’t know what you’re doing so go prepared. With the right strategies and tactics, ads can be incredibly effective, just make sure you’re armed with info from an expert.
For Facebook, Claire’s Free Guide to Facebook Ads is an awesome place to start.
For AdWords, Perry Marshall is still my go to person. His ultimate guide is a classic. (Beware how much email you’ll get from Perry though – he is an internet marketer from the old school…)
Collect opt-ins and use email marketing
All visitors are not the same. Those visitors who you have a relationship with are far more likely to buy from you. The best way to start this relationship with your visitors is through good old-fashioned email.
Getting permission to email people about your content or offers is the fastest way to increase your conversion rate. The usual way to get this permission is by offering an incentive for people to sign up or “opt-in” to receive your updates. The incentive could be anything from a discount on your products, to a free information product or even a free sample. For a great post about creating the right incentive to encourage people to sign up, have a look at this or this.
You’ll also need a method of collecting addesses from those who want to opt in and sending mail to them on mass. This is usually by signing up to an email provider such as Mailchimp and Aweber.
Posts showing exactly how to set these up for your site are sparse, Update: My friend Tom has created an AWESOME guide to everything you need to know about getting your Aweber list set up. Try this guide if you prefer to use Mailchimp.
Once you’ve started growing a list of people to email, it’s time to use that relationship with them for the good of you both. The Seth Godin classic, Permission Marketing is in my opinion a must read to get your head around how this works. If you’re more interested in how to write better, then this epic round up from KISSmetrics has all the copywriting resources you could shake a stick at (don’t read them all though, you’ll never have time to do anything again).
Clarity of your website
The next thing is to take an objective look at your website. What job are you asking it to do, and is it clear to the visitor what you want them to do?
If you do anything at all for the web, I suggest Steve Blank’s Don’t Make Me Think is a must read. Whilst it’s been updated, this book is way old in web terms – but the principles it contains are just as valid today as they ever were.
It was written at a time when the biggest thing that most websites need to simplify for today didn’t exist though – mobile users. Unless you are in a very unusual niche, mobile traffic is here, growing and set to eclipse regular traffic, if it hasn’t already. Global stats say mobile usage is 25%, up from 14% last year, which seems low to me – over 50% of my visitors use mobiles or tablets.
Does your site look right for mobile visitors? If not, check your stats to see how many of your precious visitors you’re annoying by making them pinch, scroll and probably give up because they can’t click the buy button.
If you realise that all is not well, this usually this involves going back to the drawing board with your design or theme. If that’s not feasible right now, then focus on your high traffic pages, and consider using landing page creation software to optimise them. My favourite tool for this job is OptimizePress if your website is based on WordPress. If not then LeadPages is another good option, but I find it less flexible and more expensive.
Oh, there’s potentially a third thing you should do – set up analytics on your site if you haven’t already. This isn’t complicated, but without it you cant expect to improve your conversions. This is a great guide to get started if you use wordpress.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Once you have the basics in place, it’s about experimenting and seeing what works for you. There’s a whole industry around conversion rate optimisation, I suggest Conversion XL as your starting point – these guys are seriously awesome, and give away incredible amounts of knowledge for free. This post for instance has a mere 53 ways to increase your conversions
Average Order Value
Creation of your first product / offer
This one is simple: you need something to sell. If you don’t have this yet, there’s no point moving much further — get it done.
Now I won’t pretend to tell you how to create your product – that’s going to be a little different depending on whether you’re selling cakes or consulting services. What I will urge you though is not to create a product before you know that people want it. Learning about the Lean Startup concept of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) will serve you well. I love the book, and this post has a great summary of what a MVP is.
Once you’re making sales, there are two ways to increase your average order value – get people to add more things to their basket, or charge higher prices. I recommend starting with your pricing, purely because it’s usually less work than trying to introduce new products. Here’s a great post on experimenting with pricing.
Cross-sells and upsells
What are they?
The easiest definition is that an upsell gets customer to spend more money by offering a more expensive version of the same product, and a cross-sell gets the customer to spend more money by buying more products.
There are alternatives to this definition, and the terms are often used interchangeably, but they work on the principle that the best time to sell something to someone is immediately after they’ve bought something from you. This link is to an inc. Article about why it’s true, but the one you really want to read is this one from Ash at TMF – you’ll totally get why you HAVE to do this after you read it.
It’s an advanced tactic because you need to have the products in the first place, and there are a thousand ways to do it, but the rewards can be huge. Look no further than Amazon’s checkout to know that this works.
The list of things to implement above is not exhaustive There’s no mention of SEO, Social Media, Blogging, getting a professional site design or many many other valid business activities.
I can’t tell you everything that you should do with your business in one blog post – and if I tried you shouldn’t listen.
I can tell you though, that if you focus on these and get them working for you, your business will be in significantly better shape than it is now. Even if you ignore everything else you could do, you’re going to be doing just fine.
Just make sure you’re using the flowchart and doing the most important thing first.