Those of us who spend most of our days online tend to focus a lot on “internet” businesses – ecommerce, affiliate marketing, info products, etc.
But there’s a whole world of “real world” service providers out there – financial planners, attorneys, chiropractors, consultants, etc. who increasingly rely on the internet to grow their practices.
If you’re one of them, this interview is for you. We’ve lined up one of the best. Internet marketing consultant Chris Goegan (“The Marketing Engineer”) who specializes in helping service providers leverage the Internet to book themselves solid.
Chris uses his marketing process to help small businesses in 61 different industries, generate tens of millions in revenue. In this interview he shares some of his keen insights into how service providers can use the internet to grow their client base.
1. Can you share an example of a change you’ve made to a client’s website that’s had the biggest impact on conversions (the more specific the numbers, the better for the Crazy Egg audience)?
One of my favorites is from a local high end photographer that allowed us to help him. He had a great product and was successfully selling it. For some reason the number of phone calls and sales went flat and started spiraling downwards. We analyzed what was going on and found opportunities for growth.
The biggest was how he was telling his story.
When I interviewed him I was astonished at the people he was commissioned to photograph – Princess Diana, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Michael Jordan to mention a few. He had a great product, with a great story and a unique offer, the problem was he was falling short in how he was presenting it.
His biggest issue was that he was so busy being successful that he didn’t have time to talk with every prospect on the phone and try to sell them on his services. He wanted to tilt the table in his direction and simply have clients call to book appointments so he could focus on what he did best – taking breathtaking photos.
We built a new landing page with brand new copy that was much more emotional and had a viral component to it.
It was completely different from anything else on the market. The results – he went from 5 calls per week and closing one, to 7 calls per week of clients pre-sold and wanting to book appointments.
His wife was the one taking the calls and she commented on how much happier she was because the calls were now easy and fun. A happy wife is always a good bonus!
His average sale increased by approximately 15% and more significant was his increase in sales volume. He brought in $70,000 in sales over 67 days above and beyond what he was previously doing.
2. Tell us about a change/test you thought was going to work in boosting conversions but backfired.
I had a program that was a complete flop. Very humbling. Nobody wants those stories but we all have them.
While we have well over a 90% success rate from working with hundreds of clients, there was one that pains me the most. A fitness model was publishing a new book and wanted help promoting it.
We were sub-contracted by a marketing consultant to help build out a sales page and follow-up sequence. We had helped a couple other authors sell over 100,000 books each that were both translated in 8 different languages at last count so I thought this was a slam dunk.
Did you ever have a project you look back on and wonder why you took it? That’s how this was for me.
I thought the copy we made on the site was solid. The problem is that I was told there was a large list of loyal followers. Normally I like to test a list. For example, I have a different client that had a list of 24,000 people but the problem is they had NOT communicated with them for years.
So the effective list is closer to 2000. That’s a BIG difference that greatly impacts the strategy! With this fitness model, I don’t know why I assumed the information was accurate that they had a large responsive list that loved her. I should have checked this and didn’t. I also didn’t check who the real market was that we were selling to and the segments in the market. I went off of too many assumptions.
And you know that old saying about when you assume things right? Well, I felt like the donkey. The mailing went to what was supposed to be a HOT and RESPONSIVE list. We mailed to a test of about 3000 people. I think 3 bought the book. Two were family members. Ouch. Live and learn eh?!
I made changes to our operating system to help ensure that doesn’t happen again. In my opinion, painful lessons should only be experienced once.
When it comes to conversions, here’s a vital point to understand – you want to test things. That means you have to be prepared to fail. I’ve had to get over that. I’ve made it into a game that both me and my clients like to play. It’s all about understanding your customer better. Whoever understands the customer best wins.
3. If a service provider was only able to focus on 1 aspect of their website (ie. headline, offer, copy, layout, images) in order to boost conversions, what would it be and why?
Copy. Hands down it is the copy. Why?
If you had to focus on only one aspect for a salesman for your company, what would you pick? If the whole livelihood of your business, if your income source was only dependent on one characteristic, what would it be? … haircut, smile, handshake, appearance or the ability to sell?
Your website is your salesman.
The copy is your sales person working. Get their pitch down then work on their image (And please match their image to the market.)
If you’re selling to the affluent, dress your copy in a classy suit. If you’re selling to blue collar, dress it down some. We had a really ugly site with killer copy that was converting above 20% and several “image” or “branding” consultants approached us saying how ugly it was and how horrible it was. When we told them how it was converting we didn’t hear from them again.
Images are important and make sure you have them, just don’t make that your focal point at the expense of the copy. A nice outfit might get a date or two, but it’s the substance that will lead to marriage.
4. What are the top 3 metrics you’re looking at on a service provider’s site to gauge the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and what are you looking for in each?
I divide things up into what I call the Three Circles of Wealth – their TCP (Traffic, Conversion, Profitability). In the last 20+ years of working with hundreds of businesses, I’ve found that every business has these. If they understand their TCP and how it works together, it brings them great success, the ones that don’t stay flat or spiral downwards.
For traffic, I’m looking at the traffic sources coming to their website – Adwords, PPC, SEO, email blasts, direct mail, etc. I’m looking to understand all the different traffic sources and what volume of visitors it brings to their site.
For conversions, I’m looking at traffic flow through the website. With your website, set up the path you want visitors to go on, then observe the path they are taking and adjust to make it easier for them.
For profitability, I’m looking to see if they are making money. What are the traffic costs? What are the conversion and opt-in rates? What is the ROI? Are they making money off of the initial transaction?
Most service providers should be very profitable off the initial transaction. What is the average sale? What is the cost per lead? What is the client acquisition cost? What is the value of a client? What is the lifetime value of a client? These are some of the questions you should have answers to. Do you?
5. What resources would you recommend for someone focused on improving conversions on their site?
I also recommend getting books on sales. Two of the best little-known books on selling are “Why People Buy” by Guy Baker and “Sell Little Red Hen! Sell!” by Jeffrey Hansler.
6. Do you have a favorite software/tool (not including Crazy Egg) that you use to help optimize websites?
Analytics and telephone. Analytics will help you understand what people are doing. The phone will tell you why they’re doing it.
Most people are afraid to use the phone and talk to clients and prospects. I’ve done thousands of interviews and people LOVE to give their feedback. It helps to be curious and genuinely interested in them.
There’s a very short list of questions I have that service providers can ask to increase conversions on their websites. Maybe someday I’ll share that! … Hey, I can’t give away all my secrets can I?
3 Big Takeaways
There are some golden nuggets in this interview…and not just for service providers. Here are the big 3 I got from Chris:
1. The Three Circles of Wealth – Traffic, Conversions, Profitability. This is a deceptively simple system but just about everything you need to know about marketing comes down to those three things.
2. “Whoever understands the customer best wins.” Do your research and truly get into the head of your ideal prospects. If you understand their problems, needs, desires, emotions, etc. better than your competitors, you’re in the driver’s seat.
3. “Sell Little Red Hen! Sell!” – I read this book based on Chris’ recommendation and there were some very enlightening insights into sales and marketing in it that I haven’t seen before. Particularly when it comes to understanding the values of those you’re selling/marketing to and why it’s so important to understand those values.
What was your big takeaway from the interview? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Chris has created a free report for The Daily Egg readers that shares more of his cutting edge, yet time-tested and proven online marketing strategies. You can get this report, “5 Critical Factors to Turn Your Website Into The Ultimate Selling Machine” here.