What I learned from Jonathan Mizel, part 2
The Best Marketers are Testers and Trackers
There is nothing more important than tracking your own progress. As Jonathan Mizel says, "Marketing both online and off line, is not about opinion, awards, focus groups or art... it's about making a profit!"
The most important thing that you'll learn from any successful marketer is how to test and track your web site progress. You'll need to know where your customers, leads and sales are coming from.
Are prospects coming from hook pages, banner advertising, your sales letter or classified ads in ezines? Where should you continue to focus or improve your marketing efforts. Which ad campaigns need to be fine tuned and which ones need to be dropped entirely? Can you answer all these questions with certainty? Most internet marketers cannot.
Testing and Tracking
Once you've fine tuned your sales message, a certain percent of visitors will buy from you. You'll need to know exactly where those sales are coming from and which ads are pulling in sales. The best way to do this is through the use of code numbers.
Use little codes in your ads and sales pieces like ca12 which might stand for classified ad number 12. You'll know within a few days which ads to put on the shelf and which ones to keep using, fine tuning and promoting.
Did you know that the affiliate program from Active MarketPlace has this ability built in. Anyone selling AM products like my book "Nothing But Net" can track exactly where their sales are coming from. Let's examine the sample affiliate codes below.
The 6017 after the hyphen in the url is the affiliate code, that is how AM tracks who made the sale. If you follow the number with an = sign, you can place any tracking code in there that you want. The code "store" means the sale came from the online store. The b2 is from banner ad number two, and e1 means endorsement style ad #1.
This was how after three months, I was able to tell my affiliates which ads were pulling the best. Armed with this new info, I emailed my sales force and most affiliates switched to the new ads I recommended. They started doubling and tripling their sales. I got a lot of nice thank you letters from happy affiliates because when you track, you know what works, both you and your affiliate end up earning more revenue.
When it comes selling other products or tracking the effectiveness of other advertising campaigns, you can either buy affiliate program software like Assoctrac or rent a monthly service such as ROIbot Pro which costs only a few dollars a month.
Usually people buy affiliate program software to track affiliate sales and commissions but did you know it also does an wonderful job of tracking ads? Those of us that purchased Cory Rudl's internet marketing course know what I mean.
In the course, in lesson #24, "Our secret weapon or tracking sales and orders." Cory goes into great detail on how to use his Assoctrac software as a tracking tool. By using Assoctrac in this manner, it will let you account for every penny that's generated by every single ad. Every single click in multiple campaigns! You'll quickly discover working strategies, pay off the cost of the software and make a fortune in the process, because you know what works.
With ROIbot Pro, you rent the Ad Tracker service on a monthly basis instead of buying the software. The service also includes an automated follow-up autoresponder system, a web page spy to keep an eye on your competition, a free-for-all pages submitter, a newsletter server, a broadcast emailer, an order form creator and my personal favorite, the ROIbot Ad Tracker.
The Ad Tracker allows you to track the effectiveness of your various ad campaigns or any link on the net. It is one of the first and certainly one of the best services of this type. Hailed by industry experts as being great for affiliates and merchants alike, it's only a few bucks month!
So it doesn't really matter how you do it, or which tool or method that you use. All that really matters is that you test and track. Keep your eyes on what works, drop what doesn't, and you'll be well on your way to profitable advertising.
Testing Your Advertising
Don't take anyone's opinion about your "what your ad is", especially if there is someone selling it to you. The ad should make someone say "Hey, where can I get this thing?" Only people in the advertising business, say "that's a good ad". The response we want from people is... " Wow! This is great! It will change my life. I want it, where can I get it."
Testing your ad means you need total ego removal. In design school the entire class makes ads on a specific topic. Then everyone's ad is pinned up on a white board and criticized by the entire class. Talk about effective training! You know if you suck... in a hurry!
Take your ad to the bar and show it to a few friends. If anyone says "nice ad", you better rework it. If anyone asks "Where can I get this?" you're on the right track.
Really focus on writing a headline like "Create a web site that generates leads and sales everyday". Or pick up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine and look at the front cover. Those headlines sell millions! Things like "The top ten secrets to..." or "Five things you must know about...." or "The top seven mistakes even experts make with their....".
If you are having an agency design your ad, they are trying to develop a relationship with you. They'll try and become your best buddy. They have a vested interest in you... not tracking your results. If the ad rep becomes a really good friend, you'll keep running the ad. Even if the ad bombs, the rep will pat your on the back and laugh, well, at least we're branding.... Don't believe it, run away screaming and write your own ad.
There are plenty of courses for writing ads and sales letters. They have been written by experts such as Marlon Sanders, Joe Vitale, Jay Conrad Levinson and a brand new one by
Joe Robson called MYWS, which is reviewed later on in this issue. Remember, the desired response is to get people asking. Where can I get this? It's all about me!
It's what we all do every day life... gentle persuasion to get a desired response.
Paying For Advertising
Should you choose to pay for advertising? Good question. I never have... yet. I rely on search engine positioning and the power of the affiliate network to do the selling for me.
I was talking to Patrick Anderson, author of Right On The Money and Active MarketPlace CFO the other day, and he told me about some media buys he was doing. Since Active MarketPlace is so big on affiliate programs I was surprised to find out they were paying for advertising as well. What he told me, surprised me even more... affiliate sales, or affiliate advertising is expensive. They pay out 25 to 50% of the selling price to the affiliates. When they pay for advertising, they often spend only 7 - 10% of the selling price to get a sale.
When it comes to buying media, Patrick is able to advertise in some very targeting ezines and get a much bigger return on investment and a bigger profit margin. Plus he's able to reach new customers that would not have learned about his company from any other means.
Patrick also told me about co-op advertising with affiliates. The affiliate writes the ad copy using their tracking code, contacts the ezine ad reps, buys the media, and gets billed for the ad. After the ad runs, the affiliate then bills AM for half the cost of the ad. They share the cost of the advertising and both parties end up making commissions on sales. Sounds like a good way to advertise.
Jonathan likes to get a 500% return on his advertising. So according to his formula, if your dollar per visitor value is $1.25, that means you shouldn't be paying more than around .25¢ for each new visitor to your web site. What's you dollar per visitor value? It's the only way you know, what you can afford to spend on advertising.
Getting to Know Your Dollar Per Visitor Value
Watch your web site stats and soon you'll be able to determine your dollar per visitor value. You'll need to track your unique visitors. Take total sales for the month and divide it by the number of unique visitors.
Total sales $10,000 / 8000 visitors = $1.25
Each visitor to your site is worth a buck twenty five. This is your dollar per visitor value. If you do not have a stats package included with your basic web hosting, run away screaming to one that does.
Improving Your Web Site's Profitability With Statistics
Your stats will also be able to track your conversion ratio. You'll know how many people came to your sales message. How many clicked on your order form. And how many purchases are made. You'll know what ratio of visitors become sales.
You'll also know the top exit pages on your site. If people are coming to your site, read through two pages out of a three page sales letter, then click away, leaving your site, go back and work on your sales message some more. Fine tune it until they click through to the order form.
If they click through to the order form and then you lose them at the last second, it might mean you just need to add to the "confidence" factor. The biggest confidence builders are logos from Verisign, credit card companies and the little pop up screen that says "You are about to enter a secure area".
Add these logos to your order form page. Include an email address, a physical dirt world address, and a toll free 800 number if you have one. And don't ask for more information than you need to on the order form. Do anything and everything to make the user as confident and comfortable as possible. Remove all friction from the buying process. Make it easy to do business with you
Making Your Web Site Pay By Designing for the Medium
When it comes to Jonathan Mizel, he goes so far as to use a different domain name and web site for each advertising campaign. He then tailors each order form to each promotion. He likes to "grease the chute" to reduce as much "friction from the buying process" as possible. He is the master of making the sales process seductive and seamless.
Jonathan is also a master of testing and tracking with small test emails to a tiny portion of his massive opt-in list. He likes changing only one element of his sales letter or "control piece" at a time. It may be the email subject line (which is treated like a headline), the price, the actual headline of the sales letter, or what he is offering.
After a few tests like this, you also will be able to fine tune your sales message so it becomes even more profitable. If you have emailed your opt-in list before, you know that a certain number of people will buy and you know what your usual percentage of buyers is.
Follow Jonathan's method of changing one element of your sales piece at a time and watch the percentage of sales go up or down. If sales increase due to a new headline, make it part of your new "control piece".
The Best Time To Offer Back End Products
If someone is in a shopping mode or mood, they are far more likely to keep shopping and be willing to spend more. They've already got their credit card out. So what's Jonathan's secret strategy to making additional sales? Put what you want them to buy next on the thank you page.
That's right. As soon as your secure credit card transaction is approved, up comes a thank you page with Jonathan's most highly recommended products. Not too many choices, as that would be overwhelming, put in a choice of two to four at most.
So as you're sitting there credit card in hand, just having purchased, from someone you now trust, here are his four most highly endorsed money making products. Besides, they are the only links on the page. Yep, if you do it right, the thank you page will be your number one exit page off of your site. And of course you linked to affiliate programs that you belong to so you get a cut of the action. Very smart!
Two Biggest Secrets of Opt-In Mailing Lists
The more you are willing to give the prospect, the more they will give to you. If you are offering a free newsletter maybe you'll get their name and email address. If you put up a report with a perceived value of $500.00 maybe they'll fill out a questionnaire. Always try to give people more value than what they have paid for.
One the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Ralph Wilson goes so far as to not even ask for your name for his marketing newsletter. He simply asks for your email address on every single page. And he must be doing something right as the last time I checked, he had over 100,000 subscribers. The easier you make it to do business with you, the more business you will get.
Now for the most debated secret. Don't deliver you ezine via email!!! Deliver it over the web. Deliver a notice via email that the newsletter is ready and where it can be found. Remember that not everyone can read html in their email, so any time you deliver content by email, it could end up looking like junk.
There may be strange word wraps or weird characters inserted. Links might not work, what about AOL and other services, what will they do to your precious ezine by email??? How will it get formatted? What will it look like after bouncing off twenty or so routers and mail servers?
The best thing to do, as demonstrated by the top internet marketers, is to put your newsletter on a web page. You can include graphics, it will have nicer formatting, and it will be easier to print and read, you can even track how many people clicked through to the site. You can even sell banners or ads in your ezine, saying this month's issue is sponsored by "blank". But best of all, an online newsletter has working clickable hypertext links that can quickly lead to additional sales.
Pay Per Transaction Marketing (PTM) - Accountability in Action
The face of the internet is changing forever, and the old model of paying for advertising without guarantee of results is on the way out. The new model of per transaction marketing is where the market is going.
It may be paying by the click through or paying by the sale or sign up. The net is moving to a model where "I'll pay you $5.00 for each person that signs up" as opposed to $30.00 per 1000 impressions whether anyone responds or not. Bottom line? Don't pay by the impression, if you don't have to. It's an old TV, print and radio model that no longer applies to the internet. At least if you are going to pay buy the impression, do it smart like Patrick Anderson and buy only highly targeted media.
Instead of selling the media or unused space on your web site, use it to drive traffic to affiliate programs on related topics. So instead of running around trying to find advertisers for your site, put up an affiliate ad where they pay by the click through and by the sale. You'll do a lot less work and usually have a much higher return.
Declan Dunn, author of "Winning the Affiliate Game", has just written a new book all about per transaction marketing called "Net Results". It has a big interview with me and several others that have used the per transaction model with great success. It includes sections on everything from how to find a super affiliate to using the search engines to your advantage. I highly recommend "Net Results" to gain a clear understanding on how you can benefit by putting putting per transaction marketing to work for you.
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