(Transcript continued from the Episode 142 show notes and audio podcast)

Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie

The first thing that I wanted to get to this week was an absolutely fantastic fortune cookie that I got from Pei Wei. I don’t actually consider Pei Wei to be real Chinese food, but I do like it. As an Americanized version of Chinese food, I think it’s pretty good and I really like it because of how fast it is. They have a big bowl of fortune cookies right there in the restaurant and when you’re getting takeout you can grab a handful of fortune cookies. I always do that.

For those of you that know, I’ve been on these crazy train with Cliff Ravenscraft diet for the last 65 days and I’ve lost over 30 pounds, so I’m not eating any fortune cookies. But, I’m certainly reading them. In fact, I’m not eating any rice either. When I order at Pei Wei right now, I’m getting the Kung Pao chicken with the protein steamed instead of fried in oil and extra veggies with no rice, to keep those carbohydrates down. That’s part of how I’ve lost over 30 pounds.

Anyway, I got this fortune cookie and it was fantastic. It said…

He who hesitates is lost.

I thought, “wow,” this is truly an internet marketing fortune cookie, because, as you know, everything that you need to know about internet marketing can be learned from fortune cookies.

I was curious about where that quote comes from. It’s a very popular quote. It was used a ton in the 20th Century in popular literature. It actually dates all the way back to the 1700s and you can find evidence of this quote being used over and over again.

Basically, what it amounts to is that in order to be successful you need to move forward, make progress, make a decision and do things.

So often in internet marketing I see people who are just completely indecisive. They can’t choose a niche, they can’t choose what business model to use, they can’t decide what their course outline should be, or whether or not to offer a course, or which auto responder to use, or whatever.

They fall into this thing that is essentially analysis paralysis. They just absolutely struggle with every decision and it just stretches out the time between when they start and when they have success to be such a long time that eventually they just give up.

I think one of the questions that you have ask yourself if you’re a solo entrepreneur, especially if you’re a part-time solo entrepreneur, is are you hesitating? Is that hesitation going to lead to all being lost? Or are your taking consistent bold action in your business?

A lot of times what I talk about is in order to be successful as a part-time internet entrepreneur what you need to be doing is doing at least a little something on your business every day, taking consistent action. But this ‘he who hesitate is lost’ thing also is really talking about bold action.

While you don’t want to make reckless decisions, I think it’s always impossible to have 100% of all of the information that you need. In most cases, you’re doing something that you haven’t done before, so you’re going to have to take some risk, try something, see if it works out. If it doesn’t work out, what’s the big deal? Just go to Plan B.

We’d all like to be right all of the time, but of course guys like Thomas Edison tried 1,000 different things for the light bulb filament, finally after thousands of different attempts found tungsten and now we have light bulbs.

He liked the way that worked out for him and I think you’ll like the way taking consistent bold action will work out for you in your internet business. Don’t be the one who hesitates and finds out later that all is lost. Take bold consistent action on your business today.

Three Simple Ways to Increase Conversions

The next thing that I want to talk about while we’re in heavy traffic is a couple of the interesting things that I’ve been reminded about as I’ve built this Shopify store ecommerce business.

As you know, I’ve been working with the 100K Factory Revolution program and the goal of that program is to build a $100,000 a year business using drop-shipping methods. Basically, you create a Shopify store, you advertise products that are available for sale at low prices in China, particular on a website called AliExpress, which is essentially Amazon for China, and then you make an arbitrage play. You mark those items up, market them on Facebook, sell them at an increased price and ship them directly from China to the person on Facebook that bought them from their mobile device or wherever they happened to be watching their Facebook feed.

I have proven – not that this is anything new – that this works. I’ve actually sold hundreds of dollars in products over the last month. I had a multi-hundred dollar month in May and I’m headed to multi-thousand dollar months in the months ahead. That’s the goal. I am hoping to actually get this revenue stream to six figures all by itself, that’s the goal.

Now, that’s not the reason that I took the course. The reason that I took the course was that I knew in order to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in my internet marketing business that I needed to get better at Facebook ads. As I mentioned to you in the after-the-show segment last week, one of the things that I want to build is a Facebook powered funnel that drives traffic to content on my website, there’s a content upgrade there that results in an auto responder, and that auto responder results in the sale of a course, so a four step funnel. I’d like to see if now that I know about Facebook targeting and understand how Facebook advertising works, at least at a higher level than I did before, that I’ll be able to make that work. That’s the purpose of that.

In those funnels, one of the most important things is this idea of conversion. There are conversions at every step of a funnel.

You have the conversion of your ad copy versus your targeted audience. Are people clicking on the link in your ad and coming to whatever your landing page or other target is?

Once they get to that landing page, are they doing whatever the conversion action is on that page? For me that will be a content upgrade. Sometimes that means clicking a button and giving me your email address in exchange for a download. Sometimes that might mean a direct email opt-in on a squeeze page.

Then there will be conversions on the resulting email series. Are people opening those emails? Are they reading them? Eventually, what percentage of those people are actually buying the course that I’ll be offering in the email series as part of that instruction?

All of those conversions require optimization. If you’re converting at 3% and you can double that, then you’ve just doubled your money. A lot of times that can be a relatively inexpensive, high leverage, low hanging fruit sort of way to increase your revenue by working on your conversion rates.

Now, there are principles in marketing that marketers have used for decades in direct response marketing and in other places to make these things go. I’ve been reminded of a couple of these as I’ve worked on my Shopify store and I think these are some of the things that you should be keeping in mind as you’re trying to sell things, whether you’re writing a sales page for the sale of a product or you’re just trying to convert someone to take some action in a blog post.

Create a Sense of Urgency or Scarcity

The one that you see all of the time is urgency.

What you see in Shopify stores is statements like, “You have to act now because supplies may be limited.” In that particular case, this is a combination of urgency and scarcity. Supplies are limited, that’s scarcity. In order for you to keep from missing out on this amazing offer, playing on the fear of missing out, you have to act now, that’s the urgency part.

Sometimes you see this implemented as straight urgency where you just have a countdown timer. You say, “This offer is limited and it goes away in 27 hours,” and the countdown timer is ticking.

For digital products or for products where you’re drop-shipping and there is a limited supply, a lot of times the only reason to introduce scarcity is to increase conversions. They’re not going to stop building this stuff in China just because I’ve decided that I want some scarcity.

This is a kind of decision that you have to make as a marketer. Sometimes it ends up being an ethical decision, because sometimes you’re talking about introducing false scarcity.

For me and my particular place where I live in the ethics spectrum, I’m never interested in out and out lying about scarcity. I’m never interested in saying that the sale will be over in 12 hours and you come back in 13 hours and it’s exactly the same price. I believe that if you’re going to have a sale like that, you have to change the price after the end or you have to take the product off the market after the time expires if you’re going to actually do this kind of thing. That’s my belief.

Not all marketers feel that way. You’ll see a lot of marketers who say, “This is just a marketing tactic and we’re going to do this. The fact that we’re not telling the truth to the consumer doesn’t really matter.” I think it matters to the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. I think it matters to me personally.

I think it matters to Facebook, as well. Facebook is interested in the experience of their users. They don’t really want to send users off of Facebook in the first place, so if they do you can bet they’re going to be worried about the actual user experiences that their users see.

I think you have to make your own decision about scarcity. Whatever you do, I think it’s good to add some scarcity into the mix. I think there’s no reason why you can’t decide, “I have this digital product that I’m offering at $27 for this week, but after this week the price is going up to $37.” I don’t think there’s any reason that you can’t do that. Just be sure to really change the price when you’re done. That’s my recommendation regarding scarcity and urgency.

That has a big impact on physical products as well. You see this all the time on Amazon where you’ll see, “Only 3 left in stock.” We know a lot of Amazon suppliers have a lot more stock available to them, but they’re showing you that just to increase the scarcity and urgency and get you to go ahead and make the decision now.

Tons of marketing research for decades and decades has shown that if you don’t make the buying decision now, you’re not going to come back later. That’s one thing that Shopify work has reminded me of is scarcity and urgency. Incidentally, there are lots of cool plugins for Shopify that allow you to add countdown timers.

One of the things that I’m doing, for example, in my Shopify store is offering free shipping for a limited time with no specified end date. I do expect that I won’t offer free shipping forever, but for right now there’s free shipping on certain products. That’s another example of an urgency that you can add in by adding some bonus that is planned to go away at some time in the future.

Feature Customer Testimonials

Another thing that my work on Shopify has reminded me about is the importance of customer testimonials. This is a highly controversial thing in the ecommerce space, because a lot of people are perfectly fine putting in fake customer testimonials.

I’ll never do that, but one thing that I will do is I will take customer testimonials from the supplier and put them on the website and mark them as having come from the supplier. Use some asterisk or something and say, “These are customer testimonials, not verified to me but they come from my supplier.” That’s true and I’ve put those out there.

Not too many of those. I think testimonials are much more powerful and legitimate if they come from your real customer. But, I think if you document where those testimonials are coming from that’s absolutely fine because you’re being straight up with the customer.

People want to see those five star reviews. Amazon has conditioned people to expect reviews and to look for reviews. Heck, I even know people, including myself, if I’m in BestBuy and I’m about to buy something a lot of times I’ll scan the barcode and look at the Amazon reviews before I buy the thing in BestBuy. We’re just conditioned to expect that, especially here in the United States.

On your websites and in your products, you need to have testimonials and reviews of your products in order to improve conversion. That’s something that has been driven home for me with regard to working on Shopify recently.

Risk Reduction or Risk Reversal

The third thing that I would say about Shopify that I’ve been reminded of is that your buy now button needs to have risk reduction.

We know this from writing sales copy that you want to make sure that the risk of whatever it is that you’re doing is eliminated or reversed in the case of a lot of things that we do online, where not only do you say “there’s no risk to you, Mr. Customer,” but we say, “If you’re not completely satisfied we’ll double your money back,” or whatever it is. That’s called risk reversal when you actually the customer something to gain if they’re not happy.

For retail, usually what you see is risk reduction. You can do this in a number of ways. One way is to put verified trust seals on your site that say, “This site is certified virus free by MacAfee,” or a 100% guarantee seal, or to get some PayPal seals if you’re using PayPal, “This is a 100% secure transaction backed up by PayPal,” that sort of thing. Make those prominently displayed on your site.

Of course, the other thing that you’re going to want to do is make sure that you have a really good solid guarantee. In the case of my Shopify store, my guarantee is simply, “You can return whatever you bought from me for any reason for 30 days after you got it. If you don’t like it, you send it back.”

Now, a lot of people worry about that when they’re thinking about ecommerce, that people are going to be sending back all of this stuff. Here’s the deal…

For my ecommerce stuff, I’m selling inexpensive products. Generally everything that I sell costs the customer less than $20, its retail price is less than $20, and the actual cost to me for the product is usually half of that or in some cases less, not including my shipping cost.

I might be selling a product that costs me $7 for $14.95 or $19.95. Here’s what’s going to happen. The customer pays $19.95 for the product. They’re not happy for some reason. They have to contact me, that means they have to remember where they bought it, send me an email and say that they want to return it.

I ask them to fill out a form that gets them a return merchandise authorization number. It’s just a step that I make them go through because I want to know why they’re returning it, what’s wrong with it, attach a picture if they want to, why they’re returning it. This is the same thing that Amazon does, when you want to return something it asks you for the reason for the return. They submit that and I issue them an automated number with return shipping instructions. They’re going to return the part to me.

Now, they have to pay $2 – $4 to ship the product back to me, and probably they only paid $14. So, is it really worth it to them in most cases to go through all of that hassle and spend $5 to get $15 back? Usually not. Usually what’s going to happen in these cases is people are going to throw the product in the trash and just call it a day.

I don’t want them to do that, I want them to be absolutely satisfied, but the truth of the matter is the numbers say that most customers are going to be satisfied with what they bought, because I’m trying to only sell good stuff, and the few that aren’t satisfied with what they bought, by the time they go through all of the process of returning it they’re just not going to bother because their time is more valuable than the money that they’ll get back from the return.

You are going to have a few people that are going to return something based on principle. You’re going to issue that return in PayPal. All you’re really worried about is losing the cost of the product, because you’re out the cost of the product, except for the fact that they’re shipping the product back to you, so in some cases if there was nothing actually wrong with the product then you can resell that product as unused, depending on whether or not it’s been opened. There are some rules around that. You could use it yourself or give it away, or whatever you want to do. All is not lost there, depending on what the actual nature of the return is.

That’s another thing that you’ll need to deal with is risk reduction. Don’t fear that. Give people the opportunity to make a return. What you’re going to find out is that there are a lot fewer returns than you ever possibly imagined and they don’t cost you that much.

And you know what? If there are a lot of returns, you fix that. Either make the product better, change your terms for when people can return, or stop selling that product all together. It’s not like there is going to be this ongoing problem with returns that you can’t take actions to correct if you find yourself processing too many returns, no matter what it is that you’re doing.

A lot of times in digital products one of the things that we can do about returns is we can improve the quality of the product, improve the quality of the customer support, improve our customer retention email sequence that we have after the product sells, or we can add timed bonuses onto the product that deliver around the time that the guarantee expires so that people are incentivized to stick with the product through the return period and that will decrease the returns.

These are three things that I am reminded of by working on my Shopify store. Particularly risk reduction and scarcity, I think those are two things that you can use in whatever you’re doing online to try to get conversions. Make sure that people confident and inspired to go ahead and make your purchase, to take the conversion action that you want them to take.

Other things that I’ve been working on that are very interesting are experimenting with things like the size of the buy button, placement and words in ad copy, colors and other kinds of things that are important in these sorts of conversions, all of the traditional split testing things that you normally do.

I hope you find that interesting. I will tell you that a couple of things have come out of this Shopify experience.

One is that Shopify is just an awesome platform. If you’re thinking about doing something that is ecommerce related, you’ve been trying to decide whether to use WooCommerce or something like that or to use Shopify, unless you have a really good reason to stay on WordPress, I highly recommend using Shopify and I think that’s a really good way to go.

The other thing that I’ve learned from this, a takeaway from my experience has been that I’ve learned a ton about Facebook ads. In fact, I’ve now started working on using what I’ve learned about Facebook ads on my internet marketing funnel. I’ll be turning that on in the coming week and seeing if I can start to really grow the Late Night Internet Marketing brand with paid traffic.

That’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. The key to that is being able to pay for that advertising with some kind of conversion. I now almost have the product ready to do that, so we’ll see how that goes.

That’s been a really good experience for me and I encourage you to diversify your business and take some action that will diversify your revenue streams in a similar way.

Wrapping Things Up…

That wraps it up for this week. Thank you for tolerating my mobile recording studio. I’ll be back in the recording studio next week. Until then, I encourage you to take some exciting action in your business. Remember, he who hesitates is totally and completely lost.

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