Tim Linden popped up a very informative and educational video blog post yesterday on results — click-thru rates and conversions / signups / sales. Lots of good scoop there. Check it out.
A lot of new Internet Marketers don’t realize just how big the numbers-to-sales gap can be.
They get discouraged, and eventually give up, because they’ve been led to believe that it’s a matter of spending a few spare minutes a day clicking up 50 or 100 traffic exchange views and watching the sales, list signups and affiliate referrals roll in.
The really bad thing about that is that many of those marketers would have done the extra surfing or spent the extra money on upgrades and credits to build their businesses if they’d known they needed to. The steady diet of “guy smoking expensive cigar, driving expensive car, lazing by the pool with laptop” videos encourages them to think that they’re doing something wrong when the biggest problem is that they’re just not doing enough of what they need to be doing (they may be doing something wrong too, but that’s a different topic).
After the jump, I’ll share a test case from the last 12 hours with you.
Yesterday afternoon, I rolled out a little project, a forum called We Have Ways of Making You Talk. I’m not going to call it a “launch,” because there was no pre-launch hype. It’s not a “program.” There’s nothing to buy. It’s not even something people have to “sign up” for (they can log into it with any number of accounts they’re probably already logged into — Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.).
I started promoting the site at about 3pm Central US time; it’s a little after 3am now — 12 hours. I didn’t track all of my promotion (I got in a hurry), but most of it ran through TE Toolbox trackers, so I can give you a reasonable take on how it’s going:
- I mentioned and linked the new site in an email to my list, which has about 100 members. That resulted in one near-immediate new forum participant.
- So far I’ve displayed my splash page 1,080 times (at an average of about 38% unique surfers — so 400 people, give or take, saw the splash) and have received 24 click-thrus — a CTR of 2.22% by number of hits and about 6% by number of surfers.
- I didn’t get banner ads into action until much later — so far the banners have been viewed 355 times and have received three clicks, a CTR of 0.85% (TE Toolbox doesn’t display uniques on banners).
Want to take a guess at how many new forum participants I managed to wring out of those 1,435 ad views and 27 click-thrus?
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. So far, the only person who’s joined me is the one action-taker from my list (and she happens to be one of perhaps five people — one in 20 — on that list who regularly takes action on things I bring to her attention; she’s a gem).
Now, it could be that what I’m offering is just bad — not of interest to Internet Marketers. I’m willing to consider that possibility (and I’m already planning improvements to the site).
But I’m not panicking. If I bring in one new forum participant per 2,500-5,000 ad views, my toes will be tapping (if for no other reason than that, as I explain below, this project is at least as much about personal branding as it is about the success of the forum per se).
I think if most marketers are honest, they’ll tell you that a 2.2% CTR on a splash page is pretty good, and that a 0.85% CTR on a banner on a traffic exchange is way above average. I suspect the only reason my ratios were that good is that I’m the only one promoting this thing — I’m the purple cow in the herd of Holsteins that all those surfers are weaving their way through.
In Internet Marketing, if you can get 1 in 100 users to click thru your ad for a closer look at what you’re offering, and 1 in 100 of those who clicked thru to take further action (sign up for your TE, download your ebook, whatever), you’re ahead of the curve.
That’s not always going to be the case. If you come out of the gate with the most kick-ass splash page evah on the morning of a major launch (especially if it’s your own product or service), and if all the “big dogs” who can plug 25,000 credits into the TEs without sweating it slept in that day, you might make some rain. If not, you’re just going to have to accept that it is a numbers game, and work on putting up bigger numbers.
In the regular course of things, you should assume that you’re going to run through several thousand ad views for every referral, sale, or list signup, especially if you’re competing with a bunch of other people promoting the same opportunity. That’s just how it is.
All the more important, then, to maximize the value of your advertising above and beyond click-thrus and signups.
Don’t just promote a product or service, promote YOU. Use those ads to put your name and your face out there. When your ads are running on “social” exchanges (and even when they’re not), be there and talk to people. The more of that you do, the lower the numbers required to produce results will get, because when everyone is promoting program X, most people will prefer to buy into it through someone they at least recognize, and hopefully know and like.
Addendum: If you find the traffic exchange numbers discouraging, wait until you see the safelist numbers! I just sent out 44,959 safelist emails with their own tracker (no conversion bit — I think I’d get dueling stats if I did that). I’ll give it a couple of days and then let you know the CTR from mail splash. It won’t be pretty. BUT — them’s just the numbers. You still need to use safelists, and I strongly suggest that you let Jerry Ianucci show you how.
The Safelist Numbers after 24 Hours: 285 hits on the splash page from 44,959 safelist emails. So, 6/10ths of 1% actually even looked at the ad, let alone clicked thru it.
A little nugget on safelist performance: In theory, safelist traffic should be 100% unique — only one account per user, right? In fact, you’ll seldom see that, but some safelists are better both on that and on actual user engagement. Finding out which is which is something those TE Toolbox trackers are really good for.
For example, my tracker shows me that 6000 mails sent out via Solomon Huey’s Elite Safelist produced 40 hits at 85% unique (so a REAL view ratio of about 1/2 of 1%), while 15,327 emails sent out via AdTactics produced only 29 hits at only 59% unique (a REAL view ratio of about 1/10th of 1%). I’ll continue using both because they’re free, easy and do reach people, but guess which one I’m more likely to consider upgrading with?