Learn to Turn Your Expertise Into Expert Profits
While a well-executed product launch can bring in a lot of money in a short period of time, there’s a lot of other things you’re going to want to do on an ongoing basis to keep bringing in sales through the year.  We’re going to talk about three major categories today, and why each of them can lead to a doubling of sales relatively quickly.

Let’s dive in.

Step #1:

Make it easier for your customers to buy from you repeatedly.

There’s no arguing that making repeat sales from existing customers is insanely easier than finding new ones, yet too many businesses don’t make this a strong enough focus area.  By not optimizing the opportunities to make repeat sales off of the customers they already have, they are throwing away a huge revenue stream and dooming themselves to a never-ending focus on rework.

Rework will burn you out.  You don’t want to let this happen to you.


What you do want to do is to take a look at your sales cycle and ask yourself, “Where am I giving people the opportunity to by from me repeatedly?”  It might be humbling to realize the answer is “Nowhere,” but the question needs asking nonetheless.  If you’re not giving your customers easy options to add more value to their interactions with your business, you’re leaving money on the table.

Now, I’m not recommending overwhelming them with offers (though that tends to convert well for some markets, like the make money online crowd).  What I am recommending is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, think of how they like to buy – and how they like to be sold to.  You might discover options like these to boost your repeat sales:

  • Adding in-purchase upsells, such as “add this item to your order and save 30%”

  • Using after-purchase upsells, such as an additional offer on your thank you page or a coupon packaged with the product you’re delivering

  • Generating “chained” sales by offering a related product (or an advanced-level product) at a set time after the original purchase

  • Including special offers (with strong calls to action) in every email you send

  • Educating your customers through regular deliveries of product catalogs (whether physical or digital)

  • Creating loyalty programs where repeat customers get special perks

  • Offering a discount program where customers can pre-pay to lock in special rates

The idea here is to stop thinking of customers as single-purchase entities and look at them as a community of repeat buyers who simply need the proper care and feeding to become a larger and larger sustainable revenue stream. Because when you do that, you are laying the groundwork for 


Step #2

Make it easier for people to buy what you’re selling.

This may sound simplistic, but it’s really important because people miss this all the time – and given the hectic nature of business on the internet, it’s highly likely that it’s not a concrete focus of yours either.  What we’re talking about here is consciously and purposefully improving the effectiveness of everything related to your sales cycle, because this is where you’re going to get a lot of long-term value.

For example, if you have a sales page that converts 5% of visitors into sales, and you want to double your sales, you have two options:

  • Double the traffic you’re bringing to that page, or
  • Double the effectiveness of your sales page.

The first option often seems easier, so a lot of people go that route.  But here’s the thing: it’s not easier at all in the long run. If you stick with the first option, you’re locking yourself into a lot of re-work, because every time you want a bump up in sales youre going to have to find a way to give your traffic another boost.  That’s not the best use of your time.


But if you took the second option – honing your sales page so that you make it easier for your reader to feel good about buying from you, you get to reuse that improvement forever, without doing any rework.  You don’t have to boost your traffic at all – you’re going to get more sales from your existing visitors (and when you do get bumps in traffic, that’s just gravy).

Too often, we’re looking for the Next Big Thing, but what we really need to be working on is making what we’re already working on more effective. Otherwise, all we’re doing is running around looking for another tree to cut down with our dull axe, rather than sharpening it instead.

Remember – if you’re selling a product or service that is truly desirable (whether it’s because someone needs it or just wants it) your sales page isn’t there to “sucker them in.”  The purpose of your sales page is to sharpen the customer’s focus on their need/want and to make them comfortable coming to you for a solution.

If you set aside a specific amount of time each month to sharpen your saw (or to hire others to help you do it), you’re working once to purchase an improvement that will benefit you every single month moving forward.  You’ll make more sales because you are learning how to make it easier to get your customers to come to that important buying decision.

Here’s a solid list of areas to work on if you want to make it easier for your customers to buy from you:

  • Engaging Copywrting – writing more interesting headlines, more compelling text, and a strong close

  • Stronger Offer - either making your offer better, or presenting it more attractively

  • Credible Testimonials – gathering more, presenting credibly, relevantly and having a mix of high profile/regular Joes

  • Landing Page Conversion – improving opt-in, professional presentation and ease-of-use

  • Email List Retention – creating useful content, answering customer needs, presenting expertise

  • Calls To Action - using effective prompts to guide your customers to take specific actions

  • Visual Optimization - laying out your site in a way that draws attention to what you want customers to see most

Just taking the time to enhance any of these factors can give you a solid boost in sales.  Focus on doubling the effectiveness of a single feature of your sales cycle, and you’ll see a bottom-line difference almost immediately (and in most cases, permanently).

Sharpen that saw.  Don’t let any excuse keep you from it.


Step #3 Make it easier for your customers to bring you new customers.


In the same way that repeat customers are more likely to buy than new prospects, word-of-mouth advertising is far and away more effective than any other form of selling.  It’s the Holy Grail of sales – or at least I’ve heard it from a few good friends.  

When you can get your customer base motivated to tell others about your business – and better yet, to lead them directly to you via links, coupons or personal interaction – your bottom line changes in a powerful way.

If you’ve got a product or service that’s even remotely good, this will happen organically to some extent.  But it’s always helpful to make the process easier so you’re not relying on blind luck to bring new customers into your fold.  The question is, are you actively doing something to make it simple (and even obvious) for your existing customers to do so?

If you’re not, then get out your calendar now and make a lunch appointment with yourself to think about this.  It’s that important.  Streamlining the word-of-mouth referral process can save you so much time and effort in marketing your business that you’ll free up those precious resources to grow your business in other, bigger ways.  Make this a focus.

Here are some ways to help make it easier for your customers to bring in their “trusted audience”:

  • Simply ask them to spread the word - you’d be surprised how many will.  Naturally, don’t be desperate with this – just mention it every so often in your newsletters or posts (note how I do this at the end of this post)

  • Give them incentives for bringing you new customers, whether it’s a discount, a free product, or some other sort of meaningful recognition for their demographic.

  • Create an affiliate program and then educate them on how to use it.  You can see how I do this with my affiliate program – I include an Affiliate Success Guide to help them – and myself – make more sales.

  • Create special links or banners they can use to increase awareness about you.  Liz Strauss does an excellent job of this with her Successful and Outstanding Blogger badges.

  • Create targeted, useful content they can share with their contacts who have similar interests.  This is exactly why list posts and how-to posts are so popular.

Here’s an exercise: think of the last few products or services you were really excited about telling people about.  Why was that?  What created that powerful experience?  And how can you incorporate those lessons into what you’re doing with your business?

Make developing all three of these areas your priority, and you’ll be rewarded

Instead of focusing on external sources like traffic or A-list endorsements to pull in more business, take some time out to develop the internal side of your operations this year.  The more you can fine-tune this process, the more rewards you will see when you do get those nice traffic spikes.  Because the more you get your sales cycle running like a well-oiled machine, the less you have to stress about where next month’s sales are going to come from.

More later -

Dave


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