From 1-5 Sales Per Day Down to 0 and Back up: What I Did That Counts
I'm always doing experiments. Some work and some don't. The good part is when I experiment, I also learn what works.
My Goal since Coming to WA
Since coming to WA, my #1 goal has always been to promote my own products. I love affiliate marketing as an added way to make an income. I understand that you don't have the customer support and other components as much as an affiliate as you do as a product developer or service designer, but it's always been what I want to do.
In fact, before I came here, I had 15 products and I haven't promoted them since coming here because I've been focused on mastering the skills here. It's always been my goal to come full circle though and to promote my products and others'.
Where Affiliate Marketing Fits for Me
I look at affiliate marketing as an additional full-time plus income opportunity that I'll be using, but creating my own products is definitely my ultimate goal. With that said, I created my website using the Online Entrepreneur Certification and somewhat a hybrid version of the Bootcamp too.
I didn't know the traffic generation best practices until I came here. I was able to get people to my website thru social media, but I wanted more sustainable methods, and SEO has been just that! Since, I've had traffic on my site, it's been all about experimenting with conversion optimization and scaling the traffic even more.
As a result, I wouldn't recommend you expect the same outcomes to these same experiments with a low traffic site (less than 200 visitors per day). Add content, build up the traffic, then work on conversions from there.
A Little Background on my Niche
My site has the entrepreneur niche instead of being an affiliate marketing niche site, make money online site, or online marketing niche. My niche has definitely had it's ebbs and flows as I figured out how to be relevant to entrepreneurs as a whole while becoming better as an affiliate marketer at the same time.
Added to that, I completely believe and see how affiliate marketing is something all entrepreneurs should be learning, but I never wanted to have a site that gives expectations thru the name and branding that it doesn't fulfill with the content. In other words, I didn't want to have a site where people are expecting to learn how to start and grow a business that only talks about affiliate marketing because I knew that would disappoint in the long run. It's been tough to figure out the flow of relevance and how to position offers sometimes.
Even with that, I've managed to figure out how to position and sell many things from my site, and I felt confident that I have proof of concept and a pulse on what visitors are looking for. With that insight, I decided to really build out the How to Entrepreneur brand and start working on products that will deliver consistent with the brand promise "to help entrepreneurs grow a business from idea to enterprise".
Ebbs and Flows of Promoting Stuff on my Site
Unfortunately, over the course of figuring out how to promote affiliate offers and prepare to create and sell my own products on my site, I've crushed my conversions more than once. The first time, I decided to try making my obvious conversion goal point to my email list.
I've seen this work great for many websites, so I thought, if the email list is a good primary goal for 7 and 8 figure websites who have their own products and affiliate products, then why can't it work for mine? I created an email course as a lead magnet and started sending majority of my traffic to the offer.
Unfortunately, what I found is that by adding a hello bar, popups, and buttons into my posts that redirecting traffic to my email list, I could grow my email list, but I also distracted attention away from my sales conversion goals--this wasn't good because I don't have products yet so growing my email list wouldn't make me any money until I was selling something there.
The Goals of my Promotions
Also, I don't want my own products to take away from the promotion of other solutions on my site. My products won't be created to compete with my other affiliate offers, so I wanted to promote them that way.
Also, while I was emailing my email list, I was feeling like I'm talking to crickets rather than my #1 goal of email marketing which is to build a tribe or community. The silence is partially because the list was small and needed some work, but still...
Tweaking the Flow of Relevance
I decided to pull back from building my list like that, and to rework my plan. I know since my site addresses affiliate marketing issues as well as issues that aren't directly answers to someone looking to learn more about affiliate marketing, then I wouldn't get the highest conversion rates to affiliate offers (like WA) if I position that offer everywhere. The flow of relevance would be off.
For example, if I write a blog post that is a review of a payroll software, and I have a popup to WA, it wouldn't be directly relevant, so the conversion rate would likely be low. I've tried making WA the universal offer and making my email list the universal offer, and neither worked all that well.
What's Worked Best for Me
Instead, what's worked best is to categorize subniches on my site, and create very relevant offers for each subniche. For example, let's say we have a MMO site and we have reviews of freelancing courses there. WA may be relevant, but what about the people who KNOW they want to do freelancing and aren't interested in affiliate marketing right now, should we miss out on the conversion opportunity? No.
If their goal is to find a freelancing course, it would be best to present a freelancing recommendation and WA as an alternative. As a result of offering more relevant alternatives, I've had increased conversions overall: here and elsewhere. This means I have recommendations on several subniches that are relevant for entrepreneurs, and it also means I had to do research to find pain points, to find relevant advertisers, and to create relevant content.
Following What Works
Added to that, I followed the template of other large sites who sell their own products and other people's products. My menu reflects my brand conversion goals. My popups and hello bar presents an offer that's the most relevant to the largest population of my site, and my in-text calls to action present an offer that's relevant to the subniche. I'm still building this out fully, but it's working!
I'm now getting steady affiliate conversions and steady conversions to my support community! I had been getting a pretty steady 1-5 sales per day in August and September (aside from my PPC campaigns) and thru my experimentation, it completely dropped to 0--that was a little scary. I had to let the experiment sit until I knew for sure it resulted from my new experiment. Once I was clear that my experiment caused my conversions to collapse (which took 8 days without WA sales), then I made a new hypothesis and tested it out.
Now that I've proven what works on my site, it's all about amping things up. Optimizing other posts for utmost relevance, and continuing to send out value upon value, meeting more and more people, and growing the business to serve entrepreneurs best.
You can also stop by my site to see what I'm doing and get ideas, but don't copy please. Modify it for your brand and give credit where credit is due. The information is on my profile.
My Questions to You
Have you done any similar experiments?
Have you ever crushed your conversions and got them back up? What did you do that made the difference?