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Plug Those Leaks
Whatever your marketing funnel, you don't want it to have leaks.
If you pour a litre of oil into a funnel while topping up your engine, you want to know that a litre of oil makes it into the engine, not half a litre.
Judging by many funnels I see, people are content to get just 1 drop in the engine from a litre bottle!!
In this post I'm going to show you a couple of free or low cost tools that you can use to plug leaks in a couple of typical scenarios.
Every time you do something that directs a visitor to a page, you need to be thinking about leaks. If I send traffic to an affiliate page, most of that traffic will leak. In fact if I send 1000 visitors and 10 buy from the page, that's pretty good - isn't it? Well it's not bad, but what about the 990 that leaked never to be seen again?
The only surefire way to have zero leaks is to only promote affiliate products from your list.
That way if they go take a look, they may not buy but they're still on your list so you can try something else in the future. However, you're going to be doing lots of other activities than just promoting products to your list - this is where you want to plug as many leaks as you can. So how can you do that?
Well the first thing is that it very much depends on context so the pointers I give here should be taken away and adapted to your own funnels or pipelines.Much of this isn't rocket science and much of what I'll be saying is just pointing out something that may not be obvious to you right now (because you just haven't though about it). But once it's pointed out, you'll slap your forehead, say doh! and never make the same mistake again.
Just think of the number of different strategies for sending someone to a sales page to try to make a commission:
- You can email your list and ask them to visit the page
- You can send paid traffic directly to the page
- You can send traffic to a pre-sales page and from there on to the page
- You can send them via a forced opt-in
- You can send them via an optional opt-in
- You can have a passive optin on the page*
- You can create an SEO page that directs them to the sales page
And many more possibilities. If you're sending visitors that are not on your list then there's the potential, no the certainty, that you're going to lose most of those visitors. So let's look first at two attempts to plug some leaks - the forced opt-in.
Of course there's no such thing - you don't have a gun to their head. But a forced opt-in means the vistor either signs up to your list (and then gets to see the intended page) or they don't see the intended page at all.
At one time, this was all the rage. But you'll find now that it's becoming increasingly unpopular with visitors. Visitors are on enough lists, they don't want to opt-in or have to register just to see a sales page. After all, from their perspective if they don't buy, they've just added themselves to another list for nothing. However, done right it still works and can be done without annoying your visitors.
For example, in the link or advert they click, explain why they should opt-in. A good example would be an advert that says 'join my newsletter for a $20 discount on the RRP". Now the visitor won't get so annoyed. It's also reasonable and expected that someone should exchange their name and email in return for a free report.
So forced opt-in has it's place, just don't use it unless you're offering something in return. Don't use it just to restrict access to the sales page.
This is more visitor-friendly. Just ask them if they wouldn't mind opting on to your list. Of course, the more you offer in return, the more likely they are to comply.
Optional opt-ins could be a gateway page (a page you send them to before the main sales page) that has an opt-in form and a 'no thanks, take me to the sales page' link. It can also be an opt-in form on the sales page itself. This is a passive opt-in. They are totally at liberty to opt-in or not.
To get good opt-in rates depends on having an opt-in form that catches their attention and a compelling reason to do something that is optional. Free gifts are the norm, be it newsletters, reports, ebooks, discounts etc. The point is that you want to capture people that don't buy before they're gone forever.
Exit pop ups
Another popular optional opt-in method is to have an exit pop-up. This is a special form that appears if they attempt to leave the sales page. Sometimes these pop ups require a mouse click to dismiss them, sometimes not. Sometimes there is a fake live agent that might offer a discount. These work on newbies but not on anyone that's been online two days or more.
Done the wrong way, these are becoming quite unpopular with visitors. If they click away from the page, they don't always want to see another offer and it can simply antagonise them. However, if the offer is genuine and worthwhile and, most importantly, closely related to the original advert (or link and description) that got them to the sales page in the first place, this works moderately well; "ok, you don't want to buy this gizmo, how about you grab my free ebook on how to care for your gizmo - just give me your details and I'll send it to you."
Hedging Your Bets
Another way to capture more of your visitors is to have a related offer on the page. This can be done in a wide variety of ways. The idea is that if one product doesn't appeal, the other might. However, this can be counter-productive; it really depends on a lot of factors.
Peel away ads are a very good example of this. They are so eye-catching that they can get a good response rate. The theory is that if someone is interested in the sales page, they'll ignore the peel away ad. But if they aren't interested, they might just peek at the peel away ad before they leave for ever. And the peel away adcould be an opt-in or lead to an opt-in.
Doing It Right
There isn't really one right way, though a few ways would certainly be considered definitely wrong. As mentioned, don't force them to opt-in to see a sales page without giving something in return - you opt-ins will be negligible and so will your sales. Done right then hypothetically your sales page should do no worse than it would have done originally but of the 990 visitors that previously would have just disappeared into the ether, you'll get another 20 opt-ins to your list.
The Tools To Achieve It
Firstly, you do need an autoresponder to plug leaks. I recommend Aweber or TrafficWave. Secondly you need to implement your chosen method of leak-plugging, i.e. opt-in strategy. If you own the sales page then you could consider designing an opt-in form into the page. Just grab the form code from your autoresponder and design it in. However, there are a couple of specific scenarios I'd like to show you because they're very powerful...
A Wordpress Blog
Do a search for "wordpress optin plugin" or "wordpress autoresponder plugin" and you'll find many possibilities, many of them free. I haven't reviewed extensively because I already have two that I found that work well for me. Neither are free but considering the potential value of plugging your leaks, they're very worthwhile.
However, once you grasp the principle then you may be able to find free alternatives.
The first one is Digi List Builder. I really like this and it's really easy to add to any WordPress blog. You can actually see this in action on this blog - the opt-in form at the bottom is one aspect but there's more.
You may also have by now seen a timed pop-up. This is part of the same plugin. The second works differently in that if someone moves their mouse out of the area of the page (like to hit back or click on a toolbar bookmark), a visitor friendly opt-in appears. I say visitor friendly because they're not forced to click anything to carry on.
You may also see this one in action if you try to move away from the page. It's called wpLapDance but please don't be put off or offended by the name - it is a seriously good product. At the moment I run both because they plug leaks in complementary ways and if I had to recommend just one or the other I'd find it a tough call right now.
Pages You Don't Own
This is something that gets me really excited because it is so easy to implement.
Suppose you really want to tweet an affiliate link. You do know you shouldn't do that, right? It's rarely very effective. Well the following technique can be used to plug a leak on an affiliate sales page but works best if you create your own gateway page, like a review page.
The two tools I recommend can both do what's needed (and a whole lot more besides). Take a look at this link to an article I wrote on the IMfaceplate site. Now ordinarily I would send a visitor to the article with an IM Faceplate URL - in fact it's this link here. But what would they do if they like my article? If I'm lucky they'll browse around IMFP and maybe join under me or find my twitter follow link.
But by using the first link where I use my BZ9 tools to create the opt-in bar at the bottom I've given the visitor an easy and clear way to sign up to my list if they like the article.
Another similar set of tools I highly recommend is Widget Quik Both of these tools can do so much more than just this. My preferred tool right now is BZ9, particularly for the opt-in form at the bottom of a page.
But you can use either of these tools to create exit pages that can capture the visitors details and a host of other things. I'll be creating an article in the future on each of these tools. Both tools have great demo pages so you can see what they're capable of.
Most people have a leak the size of a dinner plate in their marketing funnels. Use the tools on this page to significantly plug those leaks and stop throwing so much traffic down the drain.
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