There are two things that business owners need to have a successful online business.
Not so ironically, its the name of a very popular marketing conference.
No, this is not a promotion for that conference, but you should attend anyways because you will learn something.
Those two things are traffic and conversions.
In my previous business before starting LearnToBlog.com, I had an online offer doing blog setups. We would build the site for free and make money on the hosting affiliate commissions.
The offer converted well, and people loved it. The problem was, we depended heavily on affiliates as our primary source of traffic. If I recall correctly, it was something like 90% of traffic that was being sent by affiliates to our offer (in exchange for an affiliate commission).
Affiliate traffic is not a bad thing, but as an online business, owner you want to be in control of your source of traffic internally. If your business relies on doing launches or promotions and you need affiliates to send the traffic, you are up for a tough road ahead.
You are one bad offer away from people jumping ship. Affiliates should be a compliment to your traffic sources. Actually, the time you bring affiliates on board should be the time you don’t need affiliates in your business.
But, hey…I understand the hustle. You have got to do what you got to do to make sales.
Which is why when I started LearnToBlog.com, traffic would be the most important thing on my list to crack. Think about how many business owners have a traffic problem. I decided to spearhead this straight on so that it would never be a problem in my business.
My old business partner and I put together a webinar to sell our training course. I had some experience with webinars, so the offer had a decent conversion rate out of the gate. Eight percent wasn’t incredible, but it wasn’t horrible. We had a combined list of something like 30,000 email subscribers, so we had free internal traffic to test the offer.
In most cases, you will see a better conversion rate of people buying your offer from your internal list over cold traffic like Facebook ads. If not, something is broken with the trust between you and your audience or the wrong people are on your list.
So, I started testing some Facebook ads. At first, I was losing money because I had no idea what I was doing. Sticking with it, the webinar began making a small profit. At this point, I talked to my partner and told him we need to hire immediately someone to manage and grow this. Clearly, I remember he told me that I should be the one doing it because I’ve got it figured out.
“No, you don’t understand. I am not an expert at this,” I told him.
Facebook ads was a nightmare for me. It was fun tweaking around and learning a little about it, but it takes management and targeting to see success and scale a campaign. I wasn’t the guy to do that. I told him I knew a guy, and I wanted to hire him and it would be expensive.
Money was tight, but I knew if he could even do a little better than what I was doing, we could get our money back and more quickly. After a back and forth discussion, we eventually saw eye to eye. He was more of the “operate lean” guy, and I was more of the “go for broke” guy. We balanced each other out.
We handed over the ads to my friends agency, and they ran with it. They were able to improve the conversions on the ads and the quality of traffic to pinpoint our ideal audience. Soon after hiring them, we decided that the webinar conversions had room to grow by a couple of percentage points based on comparable webinars in the market.
Since, I learned webinars all from trying and failing, I knew we needed to hire a pro. My partner said you are good at webinars, you can fix it. Lol, here we go again. I like to learn just enough so that it appears I know what I am talking about. He trusted me on this one since I didn’t bomb the last hire.
We got a referral of a guy who does just that and paid him $1,500 to tear our webinar offer to shreds. He told us what to fix, and we implemented these changes. Immediately, we saw an uptick in conversions to between 15% and 18% and were able to continue scaling our ads.
These two things (traffic and conversions) were probably the two biggest things that led to the rapid growth of our business. We had invested about $350,000 in ad spend, and that helped grow our audience and email subscriber base.
Where most entrepreneurs go wrong is that the moment they start losing money, they panic.
I know because I have. Try spending $2,000 per day in ads and hitting a dead streak a few days in a row. Or, your webinar craps out during the sales pitch and along with it goes $2,000 down the drain. We all have these days, but we have to stay tough for the long haul.
Traffic diversity is important, but so is keeping your cool when things go south. I learned this playing poker. You will have ups and downs. But, sometimes you just got to play through. I made sure ALWAYS to keep the ads running even if we lose money. The growth is more important to me that making money on my front end offer. Once you have a lead, you can continue to build trust and sell to them over time. But, with no leads, you are dead in the water.
Traffic and conversions.
They are what you need to grow your online business. Assuming you have the heart. Assuming you have the inspiration. Assuming you have the expertise.
It all comes back to traffic and conversions.