The Secrets of Australia’s Top Online Advertisers Revealed

Michael Costin

December 18, 2019

I’m about to give you an insider’s grasp on the little-known techniques the top 3% of Australian online advertisers use to generate a huge volume of leads and sales online.

I know, because I’ve used these same techniques to devastating effect for many Australian businesses already.

The most successful Australian businesses are growing just like Jack’s magic beanstalk right now — fast, aggressively and their growth curve is seemingly straight up!

But growth like this doesn’t happen by accident. Far from it. It requires a commitment to the ridiculously effective techniques taught in this report. Keep reading to learn just how your top competitors are crushing it online right now.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this rather large post:

  1. Let’s Set The Scene
  2. It All Starts With The Strategy
  3. Getting Your Offer Right
  4. Clever Copy Is King
  5. A Website Designed to Convert
  6. Always Be Following Up
  7. Measure Everything

Let’s Set The Scene

We don’t want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want

Laura Ashley - Fashion Designer

The owner of a medical services business came to me for help.

Let’s call him Company A.

His business relied on generating a stream of new leads and they were finding their efforts to get new patients were less effective, seemingly with each passing month.

Perhaps you have noticed the same thing in your own business?

Like an increasing number of Australian businesses, they decided to experiment with online advertising to ramp up their leads.

This experiment amounted to nothing more than having a team member load a few keywords into AdWords, set-up some posts on Facebook and run a “test budget”… a budget that was blown through quickly for no results.

Perhaps that also sounds familiar?

When we started working with him, I scrapped that approach and put together a “growth plan” for the business.

Before I spent a cent on advertising, I researched like crazy.

Their market, their competitors, their customers.

Only after this research did we decide on the best strategy for the advertising.

This strategy covered, in detail, what they should offer to entice the leads, the words they should use to convey that offer, the design, the advertising channels they should use — everything.

The owner of the company trusted in the research and the strategy and we sent the campaign live.

It worked… leads came pouring in the door.

In fact, the owner was so pleased with the results he referred us to one of his colleagues providing the same service in another part of the city.

Let’s call this guy Company B.

We researched and built him a campaign too, but this time it was different.

This client insisted on chiming in to change the copy, change the designs, change the offer. Changes mainly based on his own preferences and hunches.

This time when we started the advertising… not much happened. Not many leads and a client wondering why this online advertising stuff didn’t work.

So why am I telling you this story?

Because in our experience, too many businesses rush blindly into trying tactics without thinking about the strategy .

Too many businesses decide to give AdWords or SEO or other buzzwords a crack because their mate mentioned his business is having success with it, rather than taking the time to compile a well researched plan to hit their goals.

The businesses growing like crazy right now are all investing in research, planning and market data before crafting high quality advertising to suit, just like Company A.

The businesses experiencing patchy results (at best) take the scattergun approach with no strategy, or worse, going off their own vibes, rather than what their market is telling them, just like Company B.

And in 2020 that simply won’t work.

Here’s a snapshot of the current climate for doing business in Australia:

  • There are 2.17 million businesses in Australia. (ABS, Feb 2017)
  • Roughly 70,000 small to medium companies are started every quarter in Australia. (Dun & Bradstreet, 2016)
  • 87% of Australians access the internet daily with each spending 10 hours on an internet connected device. (ABS, 2017)
  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local businesses. (Google, Ipsos 2014)
  • Online advertising will account for over half (51%) of the total advertising spend in Australia by 2019. (PricewaterhouseCoopers/IAB)
  • Almost 1 in 4 businesses (24%) had innovation in development, with new or significantly improved marketing methods the most likely to be in development (12%). (ABS, Summary of IT & Innovation, 2017)

Okay, so those stats are interesting and all, but what does that mean for you?

  1. It’s competitive out there. You already have a lot of competitors and there’s seemingly more starting up every day. Some of them are really good, too. You no doubt just thought of those one or two competitors that have it together and always appear “to be there” in your market. This report explains how they do it, but first…
  2. Australians love the internet. If it’s not a smartphone glued to their hand it’s their eyes fixated on a desktop machine at work. We’re connected all day long, and naturally, we’re using these devices to find the products and services we need.
  3. This shift to the internet is a rare opportunity. It’s not hyperbole to say it’s a once in a century type deal and the companies that do it well are really enjoying the spoils. Businesses are increasingly wise to this, shifting their advertising spend online at a breakneck speed (to varying degrees of success).
  4. Although many businesses are jumping into online advertising, as shown by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only the top 3% of businesses have a focus on innovation and are investing in new or significantly improved marketing methods.
 

Here’s a question I want you to answer, and be honest with yourself… would your business be in that top 3% like Company A from my story.

Or are you part of the 97% like Company B?

If you answered the 97%… this report is for you.

I’m about to give you an insider’s grasp on the little-known techniques the top 3% of Australian online advertisers are using to generate leads and sales online.

I guarantee those one or two competitors of yours that are killing it right now make use of some (or all) of this stuff.

So enough chat… let’s get into it.

It All Starts With The Strategy

No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never ending improvement in their lives

Robert G Allen - Investment Advisor & Author

When it comes to using the internet for growth, I’ve found there are three types of businesses:

  1. Roughly 90% of businesses are “tactical” in their approach.
  2. Around 7% of businesses are “deliberate” in their approach.
  3. Only 3% of businesses are “strategic” in their approach and utilise that rare yet effective combination of both “tactical” and “deliberate” abilities.

So, what bucket is your business in?

The tactical majority focus mainly on getting the lead or sale right away. They want to grow so they throw money at different tactics to see what sticks.

You might know someone like this.

These are the businesses who leap into trying AdWords because they heard somewhere it works, or throw some posts up on Facebook that just gather cobwebs before jumping back to newspaper advertising because they got offered a special deal.

Tactical businesses often have success, sure, but there is a lot of waste and missed opportunities.

The deliberate businesses come at this from the totally opposite angle. These businesses come up with concepts & plans that the tactical majority would never come up with.

Where they often fall down is the execution.

Whether it’s a lack of resource, working with poor partners, the inability to convert a lead to a sale, or simply being too scared or busy to follow through, despite the best laid plans the results don’t ever come.

Quite often, these businesses will revert to focusing on tactics, or give up altogether.

And then there is the strategic top 3%. These are likely to be those same businesses the Australian Bureau of Statistics say are developing new or significantly improved marketing methods right now.

These companies (whether internally or with external partners) hit that sweet spot of brilliant strategy with the tactical chops to go out and execute on it.

The Tactician vs The Strategist

Two carpenters, unknown to each other, decide it’s time to start their own home building businesses.

They each launch their company on the exact same day.

Over the first couple of years they grow organically, mainly through their existing contacts, word of mouth, referrals and the like.

After a couple of years, at about the same time, they each decide to kick their growth into overdrive. However, that’s where their similarities end.

Builder A takes the tactical approach.

He has mates in the industry who said AdWords works for them.

He has a new website in place (his wife just finished helping him knock it together) so he figures he’ll send some ad traffic to it and get those leads coming in.

He runs the ads himself while juggling everything else and in no time flat has spent thousands for next to no return.

He realises he needs help, so contacts a few AdWords management companies.

He tells them he needs help with AdWords management… so that’s exactly what they sell him.

He gets a few quotes on “management packages”, haggles a bit on price and picks a company. They knock together a new account and send the traffic to his website.

The leads dribble in, but it’s underwhelming and he can’t be sure he is seeing a return on his ad spend.

Frustrated, he stops all together, swears off online advertising and goes back to relying on word of mouth business to walk in his door. He continues to experience yo-yoing revenue, with some good months and some poor months.

Builder B takes the strategic approach.

He decides to bring in outside help from the start to give his campaign the best chance of success.

Rather than focusing on one particular form of advertising, he briefs his partner to come up with the plan most likely for his business to grow.

Together, they nut out what makes his company different & why people would want to buy from him. They research what the competitors in his market are up to. They compile feedback on common pain points from his existing clients. They identify who his ideal customer is and where they can be found.

Armed with this research, they put together an overarching strategy. Because building a home is a huge decision with an equally huge price point, they design “educational assets“ like free reports, videos and infographics and promote them all over his website.

These assets provide a wealth of information and value to his prospective customers and act to build him up as a trusted expert in his field.

They also craft an extremely compelling offer that addresses the common pain points his very own customers had told him about.

They then use clever advertising on a range of different channels to broadcast his offer and the educational assets right to his ideal customers. They deploy marketing automation to follow up with these customers and remain front of mind.

Over time the leads roll in, to the point he needs to bring on new staff to assist with the quoting.

His business doubles in the space of 12 months.

This report is going to teach you how to do the same, but first:

What's Your Approach?

Are you a tactician or a strategist?

Is your current focus on doing whatever you can to get an immediate sale or lead? Or do you have a plan in place to educate your potential customers, position yourself as a trusted expert in your field and earn the enquiry over a period of time?

The higher the price point of your product or service, the more likely it is you need to go with the latter.

That’s because at any given time, your potential customers fit into one of the five segments in this “Buyers Pyramid”:

If you use a tactic, like AdWords, and focus your copy and offer on the “now” (for example get in touch now for a quote) you are focusing all of your efforts on the small triangles at the top — the 3% buying now and the 7% that are open to it.

Let’s call this segment the “immediate buyers”.

You’re completely ignoring the other 90%. I like to call this segment “future buyers”.

For a high price point product or service, people will do a lot of research first. Plenty of great prospects for your business still sit right in this “future buyers segment”… and if you only focus on “immediate buyers” you’re totally turning your back on them!

It gets worse, because your competitors are also going after the “immediate buyers”.

If your focus is only on them it’s extremely competitive. Once your competitors have grabbed their share it doesn’t leave much to go around does it?

You have to constantly expose a huge volume of people to your offer (expensive) and be happy with the fact 90% will disappear (inefficient).

Strategists look at things a different way.

That juicy 60% of people in the middle of the diagram? That’s the bread and butter for a strategist, and the 10% at the top is the cream!

So how do strategists do it?

They rotate that diagram 180 degrees, so it looks something like this:

This is a marketing/sales funnel.

When it comes to sales, this funnel is almost as old as time itself!

With the marketing funnel, a person first makes a small commitment like giving you their email or phone number, and over time you funnel them towards purchasing from you.

In theory, a prospect first becomes aware of your business and comes in at the top of the funnel. At this stage your communication is purely informational. The key is to provide them tremendous value with that information, to the point they look forward to hearing from you. 

Over time they are moved through the funnel and exposed to just how brilliant your offer and business is until they pop out the other end (the transactional end) as a customer.

The beauty of this approach is that it’s not one sided. Your prospect benefits by learning and getting more and more value. And you benefit from earning their trust and increasing the likelihood they will purchase from you in the future.

Your top competitors are strategists, and this is how they 

 do things.

Strategists realise that focusing their advertising only on the 3% ready to buy now or the 7% maybe ready to buy is madness.

Strategists also realise that buying is a process that takes a time, particularly for an expensive product or service.

It’s a process where the buyer will conduct research, compare vendors, educate themselves and, most importantly, build trust with one or two sellers before making a decision.

A strategist will design all customer facing assets (like their website) with that “top of funnel” in mind. Instead of proposing marriage (e.g asking for the sale or lead right away) they will ask the reader out for coffee first (e.g ask them for their email address).

Let’s look at the second diagram again:

At the top of this funnel, sits their website, and more particularly what they say and offer on it. 

Instead of going straight for the sale and asking for the user to apply for a quote or provide a stack of information, they will give away something of value like an ebook or newsletter in return for just the reader’s email address, which is a much lower commitment on their behalf.

The strategist will pull people into that funnel via as many sources as possible, whether that’s AdWords, Facebook, Display Advertising, Remarketing, Email Marketing, Radio Advertising etc. 

They are not wedded to any one channel over another. At the end of the day, it is just a means to an end — getting people in that funnel.

One caveat.

The ebook or newsletter & other top of funnel information needs to be good.

Really good.

It needs to blow away the reader with expertise, statistics and arm them with the knowledge to feel more informed.

If you do a good enough job, you will have formed a relationship and built the foundations of trust with the reader.

A good way to think of it is this.

Your customer is a bank account.

And no… despite how it sounds, this does not mean they are a bank account full of money for you to take.

They’re the opposite.

When they first discover you, they’re an empty bank account. 

It’s up to you to make deposits… deposits of value, education, goodwill and ultimately, trust.

When it comes time to make a withdrawal (e.g ask for a sale) you have a healthy balance with that customer and they don’t mind!

So, if a customer has given you their email in return for a report or whitepaper or whatever, what comes next?

You follow up over time with a few emails, each with a few extra nuggets of gold, maybe include a link to a webinar or free video or something along those lines.

The good news is, all of that can be automated (more on that later).

With each contact with the reader, you are making another deposit into your “account” with them, further demonstrating yourself to be a trusted authority in the space and remaining at the front of their mind.

You are also moving them through the sales funnel and ever closer to becoming your customer.

Four months later they decide they are finally ready to buy the product or service you offer.

What will they be most likely to do?

Search and contact a random company on Google that is demanding their details (e.g focusing on the sale)?

Or get in touch with the business that has already demonstrated expertise, helped to educate them and earned their trust?

The answer is pretty obvious isn’t it.

It is for this reason that it is the strategists that score a full pipeline of leads and sales and reap the spoils of predictable growth every month.

I know this to be true, because at Local Digital I regularly prepare “Growth Plans” (strategy) for our clients and watch them reap the rewards.

So, just like the title of this chapter, it all starts with the strategy.

Before you spend a cent on advertising, you need to do the research and have at least some idea of what your overall strategy will be.

I guarantee your top competitors have all done it.

Getting Your Offer Right

You can have everything you want in life if you will help enough people get what they want

Zig Ziglar - Legendary Sales Expert & Author

Alright, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.

Your offer is the first thing that influences whether or not someone takes the action you want them to, whether that’s making a purchase, submitting an enquiry or downloading a free report.

And there are two types of offers.

  1. An offer that is generic and easy for the reader to pass over
  2. An offer that helps them, educates them, speaks right to their needs and desires that they simply cannot resist

We’ve all seen a bog standard offer.

They are rife on Australian business websites. You know the type:

• Get a free consultation

• Get a measure

• Speak to our team now

Ugh.

Out of interest, how many sites do you think Google says mention the words “free consultation” right now?

  1. One hundred thousand
  2. One million
  3. Ten million
  4. None of the above

If you answered “d. None of the above” you’re right!

There’s actually north of 17 million sites all mentioning a “free consultation”.

Now don’t get me wrong.

An offer like this can still work, especially on the 3% of people looking to buy right now.

But you can and should be doing better.

The smartest advertisers in Australia right now all make use of offers that appeal to as many segments of that buyer’s pyramid as possible.

Let’s go back to the two builders from my story in the last chapter.

Builder A wanted leads.

So he wrote an AdWords ad that looked like this:

The ad sent the visitors to a page that asked them to give their details for a free quote.

Very much focused on those people ready to buy right now.

I’ll be honest.

It’s not an entirely terrible approach, plenty of businesses do exactly this and are happy with the results.

It can work quite well for lower priced, commoditised products and services where it’s a race to the bottom on price or where there is a pressing time issue (e.g for locksmiths or emergency plumbers).

For high ticket items, where you are selling on the value/quality/ skill/return-on-investment you provide rather than competing on price it doesn’t work so well.

Do you think the very best Australian advertisers use this approach?

Nope.

So what about Builder B?

His market research told him his customers cared about these things:

  1. Getting their house built quickly, without lengthy or expensive delays.
  2. Having an expert by their side to provide fast and responsive service during the build. First time builders were nervous about the horror stories with the large volume builders and want to feel like they’re in good hands.

So, how do we turn that into a compelling offer?

Here’s an example ad for research point #1:

That ad would send traffic to a landing page that explains the details of their offer e.g the build is done and dusted in 20 weeks or you get a refund of some sort or extra inclusions in the build or however they would like to frame it.

Instead of asking them to “get a quote”, this landing page will offer a free report titled “5 Ingenious Tactics To Speed Up Your Build”.

This report educates the reader on the building process, where time can be saved and, of course, subtly promotes this builder’s own time saving processes and offer.

Here’s an example ad for research point #2:

That ad would be targeted at people searching for “first home build” type keywords.

It would send the traffic to a landing page that clearly articulates the experience of the project managers, their commitment to making your build a smooth process and basically explaining how the customer’s hand will be held through the process.

Again, instead of asking them to submit their details for a free quote, this page promotes a report entitled “From Dream to Nightmare: 5 Construction Issues The Big Builders Don’t Want You To Know About”.

This report explains the 5 main issues customers of the big builders run into when it comes to quality, under servicing, delays etc.

Of course, at the end of the report is more information on how this builder’s offer means that dealing with them ensures that will never be the case.

All the customer has to do is hand over their name and email to get the report. It’s low commitment from them which means they’re more likely to do it.

And as you’ll learn in later chapters, that seemingly small commitment can equate to pure gold for your business when you follow up with automated marketing.

Can you see now how crafting a killer offer that is appealing to a large chunk of that buyers pyramid can have a huge impact on the volume & quality of the leads you receive?

Your top competitors are no doubt running with a compelling offer right now.

Make sure you do the research and come up with your own killer offer.

Clever Copy Is King

Nobody reads ads. People read what interest them. Sometimes it's an ad.

Howard Gossage - American Advertising Innovator

Imagine you’ve landed on a website.

Here’s the first lines of text on the page: 

Welcome to John’s Cosmetic Dentist.

We’re Sydney’s leading provider of cosmetic  dentistry services.

What’s your reaction?

I’ll tell you mine…

No. Just… NO! 

We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.

Robert Collier - Author

If your website includes the entirely pointless words “welcome to” or vague phrases like “Sydney’s leading” or talks a whole lot about “we, us, our, we’re”…

It’s time to rewrite your copy.

Make no mistake — when it’s all said and done, your website is an ad for your business.

And just like the Howard Gossage quote at the start of the chapter, nobody reads ads.

They read what interests them.

So make damn sure the copy on your website (your ad) interests them.

Your potential customers don’t care about your unsubstantiated claims to be “the leading company” for whatever it is you do.

Especially when a lot of other companies say the exact same thing:

Your potential customers also really don’t care if all you talk about is yourself.

Have your eyes ever glazed over when you meet someone and all they talk about is themselves?

That’s a normal reaction. 

People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.

Dale Carnegie - Author of How To Win Friends & Influence People

People inherently want to know what’s in it for them.

They want to know you’re the company that can solve their problem.

They want you to address their needs.

They want you to talk to them , not about yourself . 

Make it about them, not about you.

Simon Sinek - Author & Marketing Consultant

It took me about 30 seconds to find a company website guilty of poor copy.

I’ve blurred it for privacy, but check this out:

It starts off with a large “Welcome to” in some of the most prime real estate on the page.

That’s no good.

The page uses the word “we” five times.

It uses “company” four times.

It uses the word “our” five times.

Okay, so there is plenty of chat about themselves.

How many times do they use the words “your” or “you” and speak to the person reading it?

ZERO!

This is a prime example of a website with copy that bores the reader to death.

It does not address the reader’s mindset whatsoever, has no clear value proposition e.g why the customer would want to deal with them and also lacks a compelling offer to encourage leads, as covered in the previous chapter.

How do you think this company would fare when their potential customer is also checking out their top competitors websites?

Not very well.

Improve Your Copy with Benefits & Direct Response

You need a laser like focus on two things when writing your website copy:

  1. Benefits
  2. Direct Response

Let’s take a look at each of these.

A benefit is the value of your product to the customers.

It’s what your product or service will do for the customer, how it will improve their life. Ultimately, benefits are what will make a person buy a product or use a service.

Benefits are not to be confused with or swapped for Features. This is a mistake many business owners make with their copy.

Features are simply descriptive attributes for a product or service. For example “lightweight” or “contains a filter”.

Many businesses will rattle off a list of features as reasons why people should be interested in their product or service.

But as we have covered, people aren’t really interested in features, they are interested in what’s in it for them aka benefits. 

Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.

David Ogilvy - Advertising Legend

So how do you include more benefits in your copy?

The best way is to make a list of as many features of your product or service as possible.

Then, try and come up with as many descriptions as possible for the way the user will feel or be helped by that feature.

Here’s an example for a carpet drying company.

A feature of their service might be “dries carpet quickly”.

A benefit would be “We’ll prevent further costly damage and get your place dry & liveable quicksmart.”

See the difference?

People will always respond more to copy that focuses on benefits as opposed to features.

Onto the second point — what’s direct response copy all about?

Simply put, direct response is copy designed to lead the reader to do something there and then in that very moment.

Typically, it is used to try and generate a sale as soon as it is read.

As we’ve covered in the strategy and offer chapters, if we’re selling higher priced items or selling on value rather than price, we probably don’t want to push for the lead or sale right away.

However, we can still use direct response copy to push the reader to enter your marketing funnel as quickly as possible.

The idea with direct response is to use the powerful emotional and psychological persuasion triggers that as humans we all have in common.

Some examples of these triggers are:

  •  Fear
  •  Social Proof
  •  Urgency
  •  Scarcity
  •  Trust
  •  Flattery

There are others, but you get the point.

Direct response also uses “words that sell” rather than boring words. Words that sell take into account all of the above triggers and are emotive and encourage a response in the reader.

For example, instead of saying your service is “appealing” you could say “never to be forgotten”.

If your product includes membership or a sense of belonging, don’t say that. Instead, say “You’ll join a very select group of…”.

Do you offer something thorough or comprehensive? Don’t say that. Say “meticulously prepared” or “all the features you’d expect” or “everything you’ve always wanted in a…”

You get the point.

At its core, all successful direct response copy taps into human beings need and desire for:

  1. Enjoyment & improvement of their life
  2. Freedom from pain, fear and danger (for example, a big one is financial freedom)
  3. Advancing and protecting the interests of loved ones
  4. Social status and approval
  5. Winning & keeping up with the Joneses

If you can craft your copy in a way that highlights the benefits of your products and also appeals to the psychological triggers and those human desires, you will have some very persuasive material on your hands.

Finally, there are some further key points that should be considered when crafting your copy.

The first is that storytelling is very important.

People respond and relate to stories. That’s precisely why I started this report with a story. The more storytelling you can craft into your copy, the more likely people will be to read it.

Your ethos is also very important. How does the reader perceive your character? Do you have the credibility and expertise to persuade others with whatever it is you’re saying? Does your audience know, like and trust you? This is a tricky one to get right, but important.

If you’ve found yourself questioning your own website copywriting or your product brochure copy as a result of this chapter, I recommend you do a quick Google search for direct response copywriting guides and read what you can.

This report obviously can’t teach you all you need to know, but I can tell you one thing for sure.

The vast majority of businesses simply are not using direct response and benefit driven copy in their customer facing communications.

If you are able to work it into your own efforts you will be streets ahead of many of your competitors and using the savvy tactics the top 3% of Australian advertisers use.

A Website Designed to Convert

In today’s information age of Marketing and Web 2.0, a company’s website is the key to their entire business.

Marcus Sheridan - Author & Public Speaker

This could just be the most important chapter of this report.

It’s time to look at websites.

Your website is an education, inspiration, and trust-building tool that directly impacts sales.

It is the hub of your advertising efforts, both online and offline.

All of your AdWords, SEO, Facebook etc visitors will end up on your website at some point, and if someone is considering doing business with you, they will almost always check out your website.

This chapter explains the clever ways your website can be designed to turn as many of these browsers into buyers as possible.

But first, here is a scary stat:

Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. (HubSpot, 2017)

This stat is very much in line with the “Buyers Pyramid” I showed you in the strategy chapter of this report, where only 3% of people belong to the “immediate buyers” section.

Here are some other scary stats:

  •  For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy, 2016)
  •  Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. (Econsultancy, 2016)
  •  A typical website conversion rate is about 2.35% on average. But the top 10% of companies are seeing 3-5x higher conversion rates than average. (WordStream, 2014)
 

So what is the take away here?

Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, however, every website in the world has a conversion problem.

Now, what exactly do I mean by conversion?

A conversion is simply an action you want the user to take on your site.

This could be downloading a report, submitting a contact form or completing a purchase.

Here’s why conversion is so important.

Imagine you run a business that sells interior design consultations at a cost of $1,000.

If you have 100 visitors to your site in a month and convert 5% of them at that price of $1,000 you will make $5,000 in revenue.

However, if you can increase that conversion rate to 10% you will double your revenue, and take in $10,000 from the same number of visitors to your website.

Yep… that’s double the amount of money through the door without spending a single cent more on advertising.

It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.

Jeff Eisenberg - American Conversion Guru

Many business owners believe they need to throw money at AdWords, SEO and Facebook to grow their business, without doing a thing about their conversion rate first.

But as illustrated above, and as your top competitors all know, improving your website conversion rate will have the single biggest impact on your growth.

Here’s what you need to get right with your website (as a bare minimum):

  •  Benefit driven direct response copy.
  •  Clear offer that is appealing to your audience.
  •  Prominent call to actions that highlight how they can take the action you want them to e.g bright coloured buttons for contact forms.
  •  Well crafted headlines and subheadlines.
  •  Lead magnets designed to entice people to give you their details.
  •  A clean, modern and functional design.
  •  Easy to navigate.
  •  Make it easy for visitors to get in touch.
  •  Contact forms to have the minimum number of fields possible.
  •  Mobile friendly at a minimum, but ideally “responsive” so that it looks good no matter what device you access it.
  •  Very fast loading. This is a big one. The internet is about speed. Every second longer a page takes to load the worse your conversion rate will be.

Although by no means an exhaustive list, the above points are some of the major areas that will impact on conversion rate.

And the simple fact is the majority of businesses I come across don’t get a lot of the above right.

Low Converter vs High Converter

Let’s take a look at the above in action.

I’m going to compare two websites in the same industry.

One does not make use of high converting design principles.

The other does (hint — it’s our website).

Low Converter

Because I’m using our website as the high converting example, I’ve gone and found a web design company from overseas as an example of a low converter in the same industry.

Hopefully this causes no offence, I’ve blurred their details and since we’re in Australia and they are on the other side of the world it should be okay!

Here is their home page:

Let me explain why I’ve picked this site.

The design is fine, it does the job and is in line with a lot of other websites on the internet. Nothing majorly wrong there.

But let’s look at the “hero banner”:

This is the prime real estate on the website at the top of the page.

Their main headline simply says “Professional Web Design Agency”. This doesn’t really mean much to the user does it?

Thinking back to what we’ve learned in the previous chapters, it does not make it clear “what’s in it for me” to the person reading it.

It makes an unsubstantiated claim to be “professional”.

It lists a range of features such as “1,700 + clients”, “9 years in business” etc but does absolutely nothing to convey any benefits.

The call to action is the orange button that says “Create with Us”.

This is pretty vague.

What does “Create with Us” mean? The user has no idea what will happen if they click on it.

Turns out if you click that button you are taken straight to a contact form to get in touch with them.

This brings me back to the point I made previously about the difference between asking the reader for their hand in marriage or out for a coffee first.

These guys are asking for marriage straight off the bat.

You land on the site and already they are asking you to get in touch for a quote, before you know who they are and why you should be interested in them.

For an expensive product like a website, this rarely works.

Now, let’s take a look at the copy:

I’ve highlighted the number of times they speak about themselves in yellow.

In purple I have highlighted how many times they speak to the person reading it.

That’s 12 times they’ve spoken about themselves, and 5 times to the person reading it.

The person reading it didn’t get any love until the second last line of the copy!

As you know from previous chapters, people just don’t respond to this sort of copy.

Their eyes would have glazed over before they made it to the purple parts.

High Converter

Now let’s take a look at a high converter.

Here is the web design page from our website:

In this case, the headline says “Turn your website into a high performance growth engine”.

Straight away, it is speaking to the end user and makes the benefit of working with us apparent.

No list of features, just the clear benefit that we’ll turn the reader’s website into a tool for growing their business.

The supporting copy backs this up:

“Our websites use direct response marketing and high converting design principles to turn more of your visitors into buyers. Learn how your website can generate more leads & sales like clockwork with a free proposal now.”

And that’s pretty much all there is “above the fold”. This is just a web design term for the content on a page that is displayed before a user scrolls, which is typically the most important section of the page.

We’ve focused very much on getting the conversion, which for us is the user claiming a free proposal.

In fact, you’ll notice the Get A Proposal button shakes from side to side to nudge the reader and make it clear where they should be heading next!

There are no other distractions or wasted content in this highly valuable real estate on the website.

Conversion Summary

The conversion field is massive.

We could dedicate an entire report to just conversion rate optimisation alone, so trying to cover everything here just won’t work for this report.

But the key takeaway I want you to gain from this chapter is that a focus on conversion and the quality of your website is paramount to the success of your advertising (both online and offline).

Go check those top one or two competitors of yours out.

I bet their website and the landing pages for their advertising will contain many of the high conversion elements covered in this chapter.

If you have previously used a web designer that didn’t mention any of this stuff, or knocked together a site yourself without considering it, I recommend you take a good look at it now with everything you’ve learned from this report in mind.

You will more than likely find opportunity to tweak, upgrade or outright replace certain aspects of your site and improve your conversion rate.

Always Be Following Up

When you serve others, you'll grow. It really is that simple.

Michael Stelzner - Publisher

I’m assuming you are selling your product or service on the value it brings the customer rather than competing in a race to the bottom on price.

And in 2020, that is tough to do well.

It wasn’t always the case.

If you have been advertising online for a while (for example, 3 or 5 or even 10 years) you’ll know that it used to be much easier.

You could take your product or service, spend a dollar on ads and make two dollars back in return.

But as more people started advertising and competition started to increase, ad costs went up with it. The consumers resistance to these ads also went up and it got increasingly harder to turn a profit from online advertising.

The way around this?

It should be no surprise by now — getting prospects in your funnel and following up with them to build a deeper relationship.

The better your funnel is, and the more the people in it that know, like and trust you, the more each customer will eventually be worth to you.

The more they are worth to you, the more you can spend to earn their business: 

Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Dan Kennedy - Leading Business Author

This means you need to be taking the “ask them out for coffee” approach with your advertising efforts to get them in your funnel, just like I showed you with our own website in the previous chapter.

So that’s all well and good, but what happens once a person has said yes to coffee and given you their contact information in return for a free report?

Well, this is how your top competitors handle it.

As soon as the person gives you their email address they enter your sales funnel.

They have gone from “suspect” to “prospect”.

If you want to grow, your job is to now to serve them, just like the quote at the start of this chapter.

And the best way to serve them is to provide them with value, knowledge and earn their trust, win their business and then deliver an amazing service once they become a customer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s look at the first stage — providing them with value & knowledge.

The best way to do this is through marketing automation, which really means sending them a sequence of automated emails over time.

The beauty of this is, as the name suggests, you set it all up once and then all of the messages are sent automatically once a person enters your sales funnel, without you having to lift a finger.

Some examples of marketing automation tools are:

  •  InfusionSoft
  • HubSpot
  •  Drip
  •  Pardot

And many, many more.

I’m not going to dwell on the tools, as they are tactical, and I’d rather focus on the more important strategy side of things here.

All of the tools have their pros and cons, but the important thing is they allow you to send a sequence of automatic emails once a user’s email address is added to the software.

What Should I Be Sending?

This is the important stuff.

How do you use these emails to turn subscribers into leads and then into customers?

Well, the first email you send should always include the “bait” you used to capture their email in the first place.

That could be a free report or an infographic or a blueprint or an audio file — whatever the case may be, you should send that to them immediately.

From there, you need to drip out emails over a period of time.

It could be an email sent daily.

It could be every second day.

It could be weekly.

You will need to test and come up with your own cadance to these emails, as there’s no one size fits all approach.

The important thing to note is this:

The mantra for these emails should be to add value to the reader’s life.

It can be tempting to try and start selling with these emails right away, but resist that temptation.

Here’s some examples of what can be sent:

  1. A letter from yourself as the company owner or representative, thanking the reader for downloading your free report, introducing yourself and explaining why you do what you do, what your mission is etc
  2. A link to a really valuable blog post on your site that deals with a topic or tactic or something interesting and provides further value.
  3. An invite to a free webinar you are running that provides further value to the end user on the topic they have shown interest in (or something relevant).
  4. A link to a video you have shot. This could be a tutorial video or an explainer video or something along these lines.

And so on and so forth.

Now, I mentioned not to try and sell with these emails right away.

But as nice as providing value to people is, at the end of the day the point of all of this is to try and win new business.

So how do you do that? Let’s use a hypothetical.

Imagine you run a weight loss retreat, and your end goal is to get new attendees to buy a $2,000 stay at your retreat.

You know people are unlikely to buy this on the spot.

Rather, your sales cycle looks like this:

  1. Person becomes aware of your weight loss retreat.
  2. They get in touch with you.
  3. Your sales staff perform a free assessment where you quizz them on their lifestyle, goals, work they’ve done so far etc.
  4. Your staff then sell them in on the various options they have for your retreat and follow up over time to try and win the sale.
 

The key is getting as many people to book a free assessment with your sales staff as possible.

So, using the tactics taught in this report, you ask them out for coffee first with a front end offer for a free guide titled “5 Surefire Ways To Shed Unwanted Kilos This Week”.

When the user opts in they are sent a PDF of the report immediately by email. This is a simple email, with your company as the sender and a link to download the report.

Nothing more needed.

Five minutes later, another email is sent.

This time, it should be from you personally, using your name and your email address.

This one should be conversational.

It should read like a real email, with a passionate introduction to yourself, your business and why you are on a mission to help Australians be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves possible.

Now at the end of this email you might prepare the reader and say to keep an eye out as you’re going to send some more value over the coming days.

But you could also put a subtle ask here, for example “Interested in losing weight? Our retreat could be what you’re looking for. Get in touch now to speak with a consultant for an obligation free readiness assessment”.

A couple of people might take you up on it at this point, but the numbers won’t be huge. The thing is, because the ask is subtle you shouldn’t scare many people off.

Two days later, another email is automatically sent through.

This time, it could be referring to a blog post published on your website on the topic “A Healthy Mindset — Are These Common Excuses Holding You Back?”.

This post goes on to list the common objections/excuses/ reasons people give when not making changes to their diet and lifestyle in order to lose weight.

It also provides motivating ways to deal with these objections. Chances are, people will identify with some of the points in the post and the trust for your business is starting to form.

At the end of this post, you could have the same offer to speak with a consultant for an obligation free assessment that you made in the previous email.

But this time, it could be a very prominent call-to-action button and graphic that really stands out.

Some people will opt in for the consultation there and then. For the ones that opt in, your software will automatically remove them from the email sequence so they are not swamped with additional emails.

For the ones that don’t opt in, maybe two days later they receive an invite to a webinar you are running on “Weight Loss Life Hacks”.

This webinar teaches little-known weight loss and lifestyle hacks used by celebrities and time poor people to live a healthy, happy life.

The beauty is, this webinar can also be totally automated.

And of course, after providing 30 to 60 minutes of pure value and education with the webinar, at the end of it you again ask for the viewer to book in a free assessment.

After you have provided a bunch of emails like this with pure value, you can now start sprinkling in emails that blatantly ask people to get in touch for the free assessment.

As a rule, you probably want to send 3 value emails for every 1 sales email.

So there we have it: an example of a standard “welcome sequence” that is sent when a user subscribes to your list.

This sequence might end up being a chain of 10-15 emails sent over a set period of time.

Once the user does what you want them to, they are removed from the sequence.

If they get to the end of it and still haven’t been in touch, they should be moved to another “Generic” list, which you should keep in touch with whenever you have new blog posts or news or whatever.

And that, in a nutshell, is how the process works.

Of course, as with most things covered in this report, there is so much more to it than that.

Your top performing competitors would be really dialling in their marketing automation.

This includes:

  •  Tagging subscribers based on what they do and don’t do or read, and sending emails customised to that.
  •  Having multiple different buckets of users based on how they have interacted with your emails and your website.
  •  Integrating your webinar software with your email software and sending emails based on how they interact with webinars.
  •  Having triggers set up for everything, so that no subscriber ever falls through the cracks.

To name just a few. 

The only way to get on top of this is to pick one of the tools I mentioned previously and start experimenting, or to outsource it all to a partner that knows what they’re doing. 

The important thing is that you’re thinking along these lines and implementing it in your own advertising campaigns. 

Your top competitors are already doing it.

Measure Everything

War is ninety percent information

Napoleon Bonparte - French Military Leader

Alright, so the rhetoric could be a bit thick in that one, obviously you’re not really at war.

But make no mistake about it.

You absolutely are in an “online war” with your competitors for the attention of your potential customers.

Once you have your sales copy, offer, website and marketing automation set-up, how do you really dial things in to ensure you’re using your budget as efficiently as possible?

By tracking and measuring everything you possibly can.

The beauty of digital when compared to traditional forms of advertising is that you can measure pretty much everything and know with a high degree of certainty whether or not a particular channel or tactic is working.

Here’s the kicker:

A lot of the businesses that come to me every day are doing a pretty poor job with their tracking, if they’re even doing it at all.

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.

Peter Drucker - American Management Consultant

In order to make informed decisions about whether to spend more on AdWords, or if your SEO campaign is working or whatever the case may be, you need to track and analyse as much data as possible. 

There are a range of tools available to do this, but at a minimum you want the following two tracking & analytics tools on your site:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Facebook Pixel

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the industry standard for web analytics. 

It’s a free tool that tracks and reports on the visitors to your website and helps you get a grasp on how it is performing. 

Google Analytics allows you to:

  •  Find out which online campaigns bring the most traffic and conversions. 
  •  Determine what your best (aka most profitable) visitors look like and where they are located.
  •  Identify your top performing and worst performing pages.
  •  Track and monitor your conversion rate.
  •  Log the people that have visited your site and show your advertising to them when they go and visit other websites.

The tool can be installed quite quickly, and it will integrate with a huge number of other tools and software, including the majority of marketing automation tools from the last chapter.

Now what is the downside to this tool? 

Well, there are a few:

  1. It doesn’t do everything “out of the box”. You can install it on your site and get useful data, but to really track everything properly, it requires quite a bit of fiddling and custom set-up.
  2. It can have a relatively steep learning curve to use and interpret the data.
  3. It is a free Google tool, and when a tool is free it means YOU are the product — so you have to be happy with Google having access to all that data.

However, it’s my recommendation that at a bare minimum you get an account set-up and the basic tracking code installed on your site. 

However, your top competitors would take this further. 

They would all have custom set-up in the account performed to:

  • Report on the number of times your contact forms are submitted.
  • Report on the number of times your assets like free reports and ebooks are downloaded.
  • Report on every transaction performed on your website with full insights on revenue, products etc.
  • Track users as they use various parts of your site and record them in buckets, which are then used for other marketing. For example, if you’re a pool builder you could log people interested in above ground pools or people interested in custom pools based on whether or not they visit those pages on your site. You can then show them ads for those products in future if they didn’t happen to convert the first time around.
  • Integrate Analytics with their AdWords account to dramatically enrich the data and insights available on your AdWords campaigns.

And a multitude of other advanced settings and integrations.

Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is an absolute must if you spend a cent on advertising on Facebook. 

All too many businesses decide to “boost posts” on Facebook, or test an ad, without ever touching the Facebook Pixel. 

This is a surefire way to blast through budget and see very little in return. 

The Pixel is a bit of a code that can be installed on your site and then tracks every person who uses your site. 

Once again, this tool requires quite a bit of custom setup, but in the right hands it is an extremely powerful tool that allows you to:

  • Place visitors to your site into buckets based on what they showed an interest in and then show ads to them when they are using Facebook.
  • Track how people interact with your Facebook page or content like videos then show ads to them based on the actions they do or don’t take
  • Keep a record of people that have converted on your website, and then use the Facebook algorithm to show your ads to new people who have similar attributes as the people that have already converted with you.

And a huge amount of other really cool stuff. 

I won’t go into it all here, as it’s outside the scope of this report, but here’s a tip: 

Don’t spend a cent on Facebook ads until you have the Pixel installed and totally customised for your site/business.

Metrics That Matter

Now, if you have all this tracking in place, what do you report on?

There are a myriad of metrics and variables that you can report on.

Many agencies like to report on soft metrics like the number of clicks you receive or the number of visitors or impressions, or your keyword rankings etc

And sure, all of the above is nice, we report on that too.

But those metrics are the supporting cast, not the headline act.

They’re not really that interesting to you as a business owner are they?

As a business owner, you probably care much more about the answers to the following questions:

  1. Is my advertising making me more money than I spend?
  2. Am I profitable?
  3. Am I growing?

So, with that in mind, here are the “must report on” metrics I believe all business owners need to be on top of each month.

Front End

On the front end we want to keep on top of how well your campaigns are doing at getting people to hand over their details and enter your sales funnel.

Here are the metrics that matter for this:

  1. Advertising Costs
  2. Number of Visitors
  3. Number of Conversions
  4. Cost Per Conversion
  5. Conversion Rate

By Advertising costs I mean the total money you spend on each advertising channel (AdWords, SEO, Facebook etc) as well as whatever you spend on the people that look after it for you. You can report on this as a whole, and also on each individual
channel. 

The next two points are straight forward, it’s the number of people that visit your website and how many times they convert (e.g submit a form, download a free report, make a phone call). 

Conversion rate is simply the percentage of people that visit your site and convert. As a rule, and as I explained in the web design chapter, you want to always be trying to improve this conversion rate. 

Now, cost per conversion is the big one. 

This is essentially the total cost of your advertising (e.g your AdWords media, Facebook media costs etc.) as well as the cost of your agency services (if you have one), divided by the number of conversions generated. 

Again, you should report on your overall cost per conversion, as well as split it down by the various channels. 

Here’s how it works:

If, in one month, you spent $5,000 on your media and agency costs, and generated 100 conversions, your cost per conversion for the month would be $50. 

This is an important metric, as you should have a clear idea of what you are willing to pay to get a person in your funnel. 

To do this, you need to work backwards from the sale. 

Confused? I’ll give you a hypothetical to explain it. 

Let’s say an average customer is worth $2,000 to you. 

And let’s say that for every 100 people that sign up for a free report on your website (a conversion), 10 of them will go on to eventually enquire for your service. 

Let’s assume that for every 10 enquiries for your service, you can convert 40% of them into customers. 

So, for every 100 people added to your funnel, you can expect to make 4 sales and generate $8,000 in revenue. 

And to make this easy, lets say your profit margin needs to be at least 50% to break even. 

This means you can afford to spend up to $4,000 to get those 100 conversions.

Giving you a maximum cost per conversion of $40. 

If you spend less than $40 for every conversion, you will make money. 

If you spend more, you’re losing money. 

By knowing your numbers and tracking your cost per conversion, you’ll know quickly whether your advertising is working or not.

Sales/Marketing Funnel

Since we’re going for the sales/marketing funnel approach of educating and providing value to your prospects over time, it’s important you track some metrics around that. 

I like the following:

  1. Email List Size
  2. Email Open Rate
  3. Email Unsubscribe Rate
  4. Email Traffic Conversion Rate

These are pretty self explanatory.

Obviously, you want to see your email list growing each month as more and more people enter your funnel. 

You also want to keep an eye on the % of your emails that are opened each month. If there’s a drop here you may need to look at re-wording subject lines to better catch people’s attention. 

Likewise, you don’t want your Unsubscribe rate to blow out. If your Unsubscribe rate is high, this is a pretty clear sign you might not be providing the value you think you are. 

By email traffic conversion rate, I mean how many of your subscribers go from reading your email to convert into a proper lead e.g make a real enquiry about your service. 

Obviously you want to see a good number of these coming through each month.

Back End

This is where the important stuff happens. 

Conversions are great, and so too is increasing your list and keeping your unsubscribe rate down. 

But it’s all for nothing if these people aren’t eventually turning into paying customers.

To that end, you need to be keeping a close eye on the following each month: 

  1. Number of New Customers
  2. New Revenue Generated
  3. Cost Per New Customer
  4. Lead to Customer Conversion Rate
  5. Lifetime Value of Customer

Number of new customers is pretty obvious. How many of the leads did you turn into actual paying customers? Once again, this should be an overall number and also broken down by each of the channels. So customers that came from AdWords leads, customers that came from SEO leads and so on.

New revenue generated is just as it sounds — what is the gross amount generated from these new customers?

Cost per new customer is your total advertising costs divided by the number of new customers generated. You can then compare this to the new revenue figures and work out how profitable your advertising is.

Lead to customer conversion rate is another big one.

This is the number of leads/prospects you get each month that turn into paying customers.

For example, if you get 100 leads but only 5 customers, your lead to customer conversion rate is 5%.

A close rate this low could suggest a problem with the sales side of things (depending on your industry).

Obviously, the higher the close rate the faster your business will grow.

Unfortunately, we come across many businesses who have issues here.

In many cases, they will blame the quality of the leads or blame the marketing, rather than addressing this conversion rate.

It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to this conversion rate.

Is there more you can be doing to close these sales?

Are your sales staff producing at the level they should be?

Is your offer/product right?

Any improvements that can be made on the lead to sale conversion rate is obviously massive for your growth.

Keeping on top of all of the above metrics will ensure you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to your marketing efforts.

About Michael Costin

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