As a marketing consultant, I’ve looked at hundreds if not thousands of deadbeat websites, but what’s so disheartening is that true monetization is so attainable! Most are too close to the forest to see the trees. So here’s my 5-step website monetization strategy to make 2012 a break through year for you!
STEP 1 – Build A Kick-Ass Website, DUH!
The first step, of course, is to have a kick-ass website! One that looks great, gives you control, and is flexible enough to meet your ongoing, and sometimes ever-changing needs. And my recommendation for this, hands down, is WordPress.
Well, here’s a few statistics that make WordPress a no-brainer:
WordPress is powerful enough for the big boys (CNN, TED, WSJ, Time, Ford, to name a few), but is easy enough for the average, non-technical person to use. In fact, throughout 2011, over 100,000 WordPress sites were created EACH DAY!
A leading marketing research firm conducted a comprehensive analysis and found that WordPress sites were less expensive to build and less expensive to maintain compared to Joomla and Drupal for the exact same site. WordPress 1, Drupal and Joomla, 0.
WordPress received 5-out-of-5 Stars for Out-Of-The-Box-SEO. And, unless you’re an SEO-god, letting WordPress do most of the SEO heavy lifting can save you a ton of time and several sleepless nights of utter frustration.
Did you know that, all things being equal, you’d pay more for PPC traffic if your site was built in Joomla or Drupal? Nearly 1.25 times more for Joomla and over 2 times for Drupal! This is for the exact same keyword, folks! Which means, if you have a Joomla or Drupal site, you’re literally throwing your money away!
Bottom line – WordPress websites get MORE traffic for LESS cost than the other leading platforms.
Take a look at where most businesses stop in their online marketing efforts…
Take a look at the above graphic. Think of how few websites actually integrate any “mojo” into their marketing? It’s crazy – and yet, since the money’s in the mojo, you’d think more people would’ve figured out this simple little formula.
Anyway… moving on!
STEP 2 – Attract Massive Amounts of Free Traffic with SEO!
This is where the men are separated from the boys. Successful website owners know that building a great, attractive website is the starting point, not the end game. They know that in order to truly monetize their site, they need to get found when their prospects are looking for them.
We do this through SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, this is about getting found in the search engines when your prospects search for keywords related to your product or service. But, you know that…
What you may not be aware of, is that WordPress and SEO are like the Brangelina of the internet. Like it or not, they just work together. As I mentioned above, WordPress received 5-stars for “out of the box SEO” which means a lot of the heavy lifting is already done for you.
Like many, I used to use a plugin called All-In-One-SEO to ignite my SEO efforts. But now, I’m switching all my sites to the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. I like this plugin better for a few reasons:
For one, Google asked Yoast to create the plugin, so I give him some solid street cred for that. Mainly though, I like the way the plugin is organized and structured (making it easier to interact with and use). It provides clear, straight-forward instructions within the plugin itself – a big plus for my clients. I like that it seamlessly connects with Google/Bing Webmaster tools as well as Facebook. For a free plugin, this is easily my top pick for SEO purposes.
Below, I call out a few reasons of what I like about the on-page optimization features:
STEP 3 – Generate Leads
Almost 100% of the websites I analyze for clients struggling with their online business either have NO lead generation mechanism, or if they do, it’s so poor, they might as well not have it.
In order to have an effective way to generate leads, you need 2 main things:
- The actual lead generation form
- A benefit-oriented promise (ie, the carrot on the other side of the form that compels people to give you them their email in exchange for the carrot. I call this a “Profit-Lure” because every time you lure a prospect with it, you’re that much closer to making a profit!).
Here’s an example of a lead form I made for a supermodel client of mine:
STEP 4 – Nurture Leads
Again, this is another step that many, many UNsuccessful marketers skip. Too often, businesses jump straight into bed with their customer and ask for the sale. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t offer the ability to sell something right away, but for those that aren’t immediately convinced that your business has the right solution for them (hint: most won’t be), you’ll need to nurture that lead until they’re more apt to buy. And we do that through email marketing.
I find that the best way to increase sales is to first fan the flames of desire and interest. Your prospect registered to get your Profit Lure for a reason. When you’ve identified it, you should continue to remind them about it.
Here’s an example of an automated email sequence that would go out after someone signs up using your lead generation form:
- Thank you for registering (or thank you for requesting _____________) (goes out immediately after they register).
- What did you think about _____________? (goes out next day after registration)
- I get a lot of questions about _______________, so I copy/pasted the top FAQs below.(The reason why I say, “I copy/pasted the FAQs below” is because I want the email to look authentic, as if I literally just sat down and sent it to them – even though it’s automated). It would look unrealistic if I sent them a gigantic email with FAQs on it. But, it looks much more real if it’s a 1-sentence email that says, “Hey, I hadn’t heard from you since you registered for _________ and I thought maybe you had some questions about it. I copy/pasted the top questions from my FAQ page below…”
- Send them something of high value that gives them an immediate, results-oriented benefit. In the example of the supermodel lead form I referenced above, it could be a report on how to care for your hair during the dry winter months.What information could your business offer that gives an immediate result like that?
- Send them an email that reveals more about your beliefs and your purpose. The intent of this email is to help them connect with you or your business on a more personal level. Someone who shares similar beliefs is much more apt to buy from you because they trust you.(Note: I recently conducted an interview with author, Simon Sinek. Simon explains in his book, Start With Why, that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it). If you fake this, your audience will know it. So, make sure it’s legit.
- It’s around this time that I’ll consider sending out a sales-oriented email. By now, I’ve continued to give them value, built up their desire and interest, answered some objections and bonded with them.
(Note: This will vary depending on your typical buy-cycle, but you get the gist here).
STEP 5 – Maximize Sales
When most business owners want to make more money with their website, they think “get more traffic.” But, almost always, you can increase sales simply by making a few tweaks to your site. Here’s some tips to increase sales without ever paying or getting more traffic.
Create better copy – Great copy is worth its weight in gold. But, how do you write great copy if you’re not a professional copywriter? Well, you can “steal” from the professionals. Create a “swipe file” and keep note of what stands out to you and what you know works. My swipe file contains:
- Sales pages
- Email headers
- Email body copy
- Design (for sales pages, squeeze pages, buttons, etc)
As always, test your copy against itself to determine which headlines, calls-to-action, etc get the best results.
Ask for the sale more often and in multiple ways – This one isn’t rocket science, and yet when applied, it most always increases sales. Here’s a couple suggestions:
- Include an offline order form on your website (Yes, there are still people who actually may prefer sending you an order via fax. Hey, it’s not that hard to set up and to date, I’ve had no trouble cashing extra checks).
- Have an 800 number that goes straight to voicemail and solicits orders.
- Include a signature line in all your emails that give people the opportunity to click through to your order page.
- Include PayPal as an order option. Some customers just like using PayPal, so be sure to include it.
- Same thing with Google Checkout.
- Use single-step check out – Multi-step check outs are good if you have multiple products and you want a customer to add products to the cart and then click on the “continue shopping” button to add more products. But, if you sell a product or service whereby a customer would add only one or two at a time, then the single-step check out is the way to go.The reason is because the customer clicks on the “buy now” button and it takes them to a page that lists all the information needed to order right there. Any time you add another step, you will see people abandoning the shopping cart before clicking “submit order.” Not good.
- Test the order process in various browsers, platforms and devices – It’s not good enough to just have a sales page that works in your favorite browser. Test other browsers and computers to see how it looks and that it’s formatted correctly. Test it on your mobile phone and tablet to see if it works the way you’d expect it to.
- Show them the banana – Popular marketing guru, Seth Godin, explains in his book, The Big Red Fez, that – for lack of a better way to think about it – you kinda need to think of your customers as monkeys and it’s your job to show them the banana.Don’t make them hunt around for a buy now button or a registration form. Whatever it is you want your customer to do, make it obvious. Use contrasting colors to draw attention to your call-to-action. Bold important headlines. And don’t overwhelm them with options either. Options may sound like a good thing, but too many can kill your conversions (I recommend two or even just one… No, seriously!)
~ Peter M. King
Peter resides in St Louis, Missouri with his wife and 2 children and is blessed to be providing a full time living from his many online businesses. In the last 6 years, Pete has taught well over 70,000 small business owners, marketers and professionals how to monetize their businesses online, including multi-million dollar manufacturers, information marketers and high-profile supermodels. You can discover the complete blueprint to monetizing your website with Pete’s latest product at: http://www.WPMojo.com. As Pete likes to say, “The Money’s in the Mojo!”