Successful and Failed Experiments
Have you ever had anything that failed online?
If I asked you to raise your hand, everyone’s hand should be up.
One of the steps I take at the end of each year is look back over the past year for what worked and what hasn’t worked online.
I’ve made it a habit from the very beginning of my online business to look at EVERYTHING as a test. And you learn just as much from the stuff that doesn’t work as you do from what does work.
This attitude also allows you to not take any specific failure personally. It was simply a test. Some things work. Some things do not.
At the end of the year I go back over my notes and figure out what worked best during the year and what failed. Obviously this is so I can do MORE of the stuff that’s working best in the future.
I suggest you do the same in your business.
So what exactly are you looking for?
Show Me the Money
First of all, look for which products are producing the most money. In my shopping cart I’m able to pull up Analytics and see how much money is coming from each product for the year. My one-on-one coaching clients come from another payment system (not the main shopping cart) so they weren’t included in this listing.
The most profits came from the Monthly Mentor Club, yet I didn’t even promote it that heavily for a majority of the year. In second place was the Internet Lifestyle System. In 3rd, the A-to-Z Internet Truthprints. There is a LARGE dropoff in numbers after these 3 products.
My failed experiment for the year was trying multiple lower cost products as lead generators ($10 to $27). They were profitable, but the numbers show I would have been much better off focusing more attention and promotions on the Monthly Mentor Club.
This fact holds true for clients I’ve worked with this year as well. You’re better off focusing heavily on a strong lead generation and conversion system on one primary product than trying multiple doorways into your business. It simply separates your attention to much to go for the multiple approach.
All of this means heavier focus on the Club next year.
Where’s the Traffic?
More important than where the traffic is coming from is where the BUYING traffic is coming from.
The #1 way a majority of people find me the first time is through the search engines, specifically Google. They land on a page of this blog. Normally they visit a couple of additional pages here. Then they subscribe to the email list. Then the email list makes the sales (almost all sales come from people who are already on the email list).
The next biggest way that people are buying from me is through affiliate JV partners. I’m referring to them as JV partners because the ones making sales all have a few things in common:
1. They have a large email list (audience).
2. It was a special contact we had. I may have spoken to them over the phone, they’ve been a subscriber for a while, etc. They weren’t just random affiliate signups.
3. We often did some unique for their promotion – special price, extra bonus, or at least a fully custom set of emails for their list.
A third method visitors find me is through OTHER people’s blogs. What has surprised me from a few tests is just how valuable participating on other blogs is (posting comments, writing content for, etc.). Everyone gets so excited for the social media, but the simple step of high quality comments has produced better in tests.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention PPC. I still like and use PPC, but I’ve noticed my use of it has been decreasing over the year. It is very useful (especially for testing), but it is not essential to my online marketing.
What about failed traffic experiments? Any paid ad on a social network has failed for me. Stumbleupon for example sells paid clicks. Wasn’t worth it. Bought reviews from blogs. Wasn’t worth it. They send visitors, but not buyers from my experience.
Where’s the Content?
What kind of content has done best for my emails and blog posts? First of all one interesting test I’ve been running consistently lately has been the first name used in the subject of an email versus not using it. It has been a close race with multiple trials for MY list. The winner is not using the first name in the subject line. I’m still using in the opening of the email but not in the subject line anymore for this list.
What about emailing a full post versus posting on the blog with a short teaser to the email list? For sales offers, the full email wins. For shorter posts (say 800 words or less) sending it all in the email again wins. Once you get longer posts or multimedia (audio/video), you’re better off with the short teaser taking them to the blog for the rest of the post.
What types of posts have done best at generating traffic and sales? Obviously straight up offers have been the best at producing sales…a discount for a limited period of time.
Here’s a very interesting stat I’ve noticed from my own results and that of my clients during 2009. It seems that on any specials, a huge majority of the sales are made in the last 24 hours. In fact, several times I’ve run a special and thought it was a failure because very few people bought on the first day or two.
Very consistently it seems that 60%+ of sales even on a week long special have been coming in the last 24 hours. So running 24 to 48 hour specials are where it is really at right now. I’ve found this interesting because it wasn’t true a year or two ago. Sales were pretty consistent over the sales period, but not anymore.
For generating visitors and subscribers, the best producing content for me has been lists…those posts where I tell you 5 predictions, 21 ways to increase sales, and so on. Those posts are also fun to write. You simply brainstorm all the ideas for the post and then write a quick couple of sentences for each.
So you’ll see even more of those in the future.
So now it turns to you. Feel free to add what you’re seeing in your results over the past year from your business in the comments section below.Related Entries:
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