Introducing the SegMetrics Marketing Tool Vault

As long-time digital marketers, we’ve become somewhat of a sommelier of marketing tools – and we collect them with the same fervor that many people reserve for wine, pokemon cards or a good cigar.

With all the paid tools out there, it might come as a surprise that the marketing tools that we use the most are almost all free, cobbled together from various sites and sources, and solve a number of smaller needs that no one wants to spend $10 a month on, but nonetheless are a necessary tool in our marketing toolbox.

The biggest issue we’ve found with these tools is that, since they are usually built only for SEO reasons, their functionality always leaves a little (or lot) to be desired. Either necessary features are missing, or the site is hosted on some janky geocities account from the 90s.

That’s why we at SegMetrics have decided to put together a collection of the most important tools that marketers can have access to, and provide them free of charge to anyone who wants to use them.

We’re happy to announce our first two tools in the vault:


AB Split Test Significance Calculator

I’ve used a number of split test calculators in the past, but they are universally hard to use, don’t show correct significance, or don’t show the amount of improvement between tests.

Our Split Test Significance Calculator updates in real time, and shows all the stats you’ll need to quickly make decisions about your split testing. If you’d like to find out more about how to use split testing in your marketing, be sure to check out our article on how to split test, even when you have low traffic.


Personal URL Shortener

I have a love-hate relationship with URL Shortener. Something that I’ve written about before. URL Shorteners are a great way to get pretty URLs that are easy to use in publications, say on webinars, or just anywhere you need a memorable URL. Unfortunately because so many of them kill SEO and strip all tracking information from the links, they’re also the number-one support issue for SegMetrics users who want to track their site usage.

You can get the URL Shortener here. For the ultimate in branded shortening, you can get a custom short domain from a registrar like Namecheap, and point it to one of the redirection pages above. For example, SegMetrics uses the short URL mtr.cx, which we have hooked up to this URL Shortner.


We hope you enjoy theses tools, and look forward to adding new ones every month.

If you have any tools you’d like to see added to the toolbox, leave a comment below!

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Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Focus Makes Perfect: Finding Your Most Successful Niche

Success is multi-faceted, with so many factors that can make or break your business. But there’s one factor that’s underappreciated…and super important. That’s the ability to FOCUS your product niche.

Pretend, for a moment, you’re at the doctor’s office. You’ve been told you’ll need extensive open-heart surgery. Uh oh.

Would you expect your General Practitioner to perform the surgery? Of course not. That’s what specially trained heart surgeons are for.

Even your surgeon isn’t planning to do every task at your surgery. There will be an administrator at the front desk when you arrive to help you fill out paperwork. There will be one nurse to put in your IV, and another to assist during the procedure. An anesthesiologist will make sure don’t feel a thing and that you wake up afterwards. (Yay!) Everyone has their role to play.

Continue reading “Focus Makes Perfect: Finding Your Most Successful Niche”

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Expand Your Audience with Tiered Pricing and the Goldilocks Principle

When you’re hungry, you don’t always want to eat the same thing. Sometimes you crave a fancy, five-star dining experience. Sometimes, you want something small, like a salad or a slice of pizza. And other times, you want something in the middle – a nice, normal meal.

The same concept applies to your product offering. Sometimes your customers want a white glove VIP experience. Sometimes, they want something small, like a “light” or “intro” version of your product. And other times, they want something in the middle – your standard product.

This is called The Goldilocks Principle. Remember how Goldilocks tried out all of the bears’ beds? One bed was too hard, one bed was too soft, and one bed was “just right.”

Continue reading “Expand Your Audience with Tiered Pricing and the Goldilocks Principle”

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Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Why Metrics Matter More Than Ever For Your Business

Different numbers tell different stories.

Knowing your measurements, knowing your metrics, knowing your key performance indicators – call it what you will – but if you know your numbers – you can turn failures into wins.

Numbers may not be as shiny as new products, but they DO matter.

If you are running an information product-based business and selling online courses and you want to continue to sell and continue to grow, you need to know your numbers. Unless you’re operating off of your memory and let’s face it, everybody’s memory sucks, especially before your first cup of coffee. If you’re not checking your numbers periodically, you don’t know whether you are growing and you don’t know how things are moving in your business.

Continue reading “Why Metrics Matter More Than Ever For Your Business”

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Why Tiered Pricing Is the ONLY Way to Price Your Product

Tiered pricing is one of those no-brainer concepts that some entrepreneurs and companies are hesitant to embrace. Don’t make that mistake – tiered pricing can work for almost anyone. And without it, you’re losing potential revenue.

What is tiered pricing? 

At its most basic, it means providing your product or service at different price points. Nearly every major business you encounter uses it in some way. When you’re choosing between shipping something 5-7 day, 3-5 day, 2-day or overnight, that’s tiered pricing in action. It’s around us all the time, whether we realize it or not.

So why does this matter to you?

Here are six things that tiered pricing can do for you:

Continue reading “Why Tiered Pricing Is the ONLY Way to Price Your Product”

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Black Friday Aftermath: Analyzing $2.3 Million over Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2018

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are ostensibly the two largest shopping days of the year — especially for ecommerce. This year felt even more insane than any previous year, with Black Friday sales starting almost a week before Thanksgiving, and a barrage of sales emails coming from every direction — from Walmart to the artisanal coffee roaster down the street.

In the last two weeks, I received no less than 250 Black Friday emails, which are now warming my trash folder. 

So with this bombardment of Black Friday commercialism, how did this year stack up? Let’s dive in and find out if Black Friday was worth it.


What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is almost impossible to avoid, and if you have no idea what Black Friday is, consider yourself among the lucky.

Black Friday is the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, and since 1952 has been considered the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. While many people assume that the name Black Friday refers to retailers beginning to turn a profit (thus going from being “in the red” to “in the black”) the term was originated in 1961 Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.

Why is Black Friday Important?

Well, according to the Shop.org/Bizrate Research 2005 eHoliday Mood Study, “77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year (2005)”.

It’s the time of the year when sales and commercialism is in full swing — and everything is on sale, from books to beanie babies to $2500 online courses. Between increased competition, increased sales cycles and ever lowering prices, there are a multitude of tactics that retailers have used to increase their year-end-revenue during the pre-Christmas buying rush.

According to OpenX, 41% of U.S. consumers will make a purchase on Black Friday, while a report from Adobe states an increase of 23.6% in online purchases, totaling $6.2 billion.


The Data

In order to protect the confidentiality of customer data and marketing strategies, the following information is taken in aggregate from 39 Infusionsoft accounts who have agreed to anonymously share their Black Friday data. No email addresses, products purchased, nor any personally identifiable information were used in the analysis. All sales and marketing funnel data was combined for analytical purposes.

When we refer to “Black Friday” in this report, we’re talking about the 5-day Black Friday weekend, from Thursday Morning (Thanksgiving) until Monday at Midnight (Cyber Monday). We’ll also be ignoring any revenue generated from recurring purchases or subscriptions created before that timeframe.

Finally, it’s key to keep in mind that the data we’re looking at are predominantly for info-products and personality-based brands. In our research with our Shopify connections, we see that e-commerce (physical) sales were a completely different beast.

See the full report here: https://www.shopify.com/blog/black-friday-cyber-monday-2018

In this article, we’ll go through:

  • If Lead Generation during Black Friday Makes Sense
  • Comparing Sales and Revenue
  • Is Black Friday Really Worth It?
  • Moving Black Friday to October
  • Secret Black Friday Value through Recurring Revenue
  • Credit Cards and Product Pricing Strategies

Detail On the Companies

Historically, the data that we’re looking at are companies with annual revenue that ranges from $500k to $5M. Fairly middle of the road when looking at successful info-product companies.

  • Average list Size: 202,000
  • Average Yearly Revenue (2017): $1.5 Million

Lead Generation: Does it Make Sense?

Generally when people think of Black Friday, they focus only on the sales and revenue generation. However, could Black Friday also be an opportunity for growing your list?

Let’s look at new leads during Black Friday:

2018 Black Friday New Leads115 Leads per day
2017 Black Friday New Leads83 Leads per day
2018 Average New Leads125 Leads per day

Survey says NO.

In fact, if you have solid lead generation strategies for the remainder of the year, on average you’re doing 8% better than trying to generate leads on Black Friday.

But obviously those new leads are going to convert to customers, right?

Again, survey says no.

The percent of new leads who also become customers is only around 4% — which, during any other time of the year, would be a great conversion rate, but considering this is the largest shopping day of the year, feels a little lackluster.

Recommendation

You should be striving for a 4% lead to conversion rate on your standard marketing funnels (90-day funnel, nurture sequence, etc). With only a 4% conversion rate for new leads to customers, combined with the low daily optin rate, the results are pretty clear:

Don’t try to build your list during Black Friday. Focus on sales.


Comparing Sales and Revenue

Since Lead Gen is obviously a wash, let’s turn and look at what might be the most important metric for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: How much did we sell?

In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015, and $2.65 billion in 2014.

Those are gigantic numbers, but let’s look at the average order value — a number that is key to revenue generation no matter what size your company is.

In 2017, the average order value was $128, down slightly from 2014’s $160.

How did our data do?

2018 Black Friday Average Order Value: $279

That’s a healthy average order value, and speaks to the fact that most personality brands are not selling $10 toothbrushes. So, how does that compare to last year?

2017 Black Friday Average Order Value: $251

That’s an 11% increase in average order value over last year! Excellent!


When Did Those Sales Come in?

Now that we know this year’s AOV, let’s look at how that revenue came in over the Black Friday weekend. Remember, the key to sales is the right product to the right person at the right time.

Number of orders (2018 Black Friday)

Wow, Cyber Monday really saved Black Friday’s bacon this year. We’re looking at over three times as many sales on Cyber Monday than for Black Friday. This is the opposite of what you would expect to see since all the emails are focused on Friday and weekend sales.

So why are we seeing such a huge burst in Cyber Monday sales when most of the offers are for Black Friday?

In the info product world, it comes down to two major factors:

  1. Tons of competition on similar products during Black Friday — which means lots of chances for your sales emails to get lost in an inbox.
  2. Last Chance Offers are a staple of product marketing, and a cart “reopen” on Monday pays big dividends.

So, things are looking good! But how do they compare to last year (and our standard sales cycle)?

2018 Black Friday Orders621 Orders per day
2017 Black Friday Orders644 Orders per day
2018 Average Orders304 Orders per day

Hmm. So we had a 3.5% drop in sales from last year. This is a small blip though, so nothing to worry about. We’re looking at a similar sales ratio to last year. What we do want to focus on is the fact that the sales during Black Friday are more than double normal sales for the rest of the year.

BUT (there’s always a but), sales aren’t everything.

We lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume.

So, what was the revenue like when compared to the rest of the year?


Revenue vs Sales: Is Black Friday Really Worth It?

Black Friday is all about getting the best deal on a product, so even though Black Friday has doubled the number of products sold, what does the revenue look like?

2018 Black Friday Revenue$173,265
2017 Black Friday Revenue$161,929
2018 Average Revenue$145,483

Well look at that! Even with less sales than last year, revenue is up (and reflected in our average order value).

However, looking at the revenue generated during a normal day, we see that twice the number of sales translates to only an 11.2% increase in revenue.

Let’s look at those Average Order Values again:

2018 Black Friday Average Order Value$279
2018 Average Order Value$479

So we’re looking at a 40% discount which resulted in a doubling of sales.

Net worth? 11% increase in revenue over 5 days.

Recommendation

This is going to be a per-business decision. For many companies sending out the Black Friday sales emails is going to be fairly straight-forward, and an 11% increase in revenue for no extra work is a nice chunk of change.

However, if Black Friday is an all-consuming event that requires a ton of prep work, copy, design and setup, you may want to ask yourself if the revenue increase (not sales) is worth it.

But don’t lose hope! There are two strategies below that will help you understand the hidden value of these Black Friday sales.


2025: Black Friday in October

This year Black Friday seemed to creep earlier than ever (like Christmas music in department stores) and this year Wirecutter, Kinja and others started their Black Friday deal roundup the week before Thanksgiving.

If we follow this trend, we’ll eventually see Black Friday starting in October and continuing until Christmas.

So let’s add in the sales from the previous week, and look at how those compare to actual Black Friday:

November, 2018

Look at that! We actually have a number of days that have sales just as high has black friday (but not cyber monday) well before Black Friday even started.

Let’s see that what looks like the year before

November, 2017

This looks more like what we would be expecting — some people taking the first-mover advantage and selling before Black Friday, but the majority of sales is happening during the Black Friday weekend.

In online marketing, it’s important to stand out from the crowd, and more and more people are starting with “Pre-Black Friday” sales in order to sell in a less crowded market.

It’s a clear trend that selling around Black Friday can be more profitable for online sales than Black Friday itself.

Also it’s important to note that the Black Friday revenue numbers for 2017 were on par with 2018, but Cyber Monday has about 400 fewer sales. What does that mean? It means that Black Friday in 2017 had its revenue spread out more naturally over the entire weekend, where in 2018 sales were more clumped into Cyber Monday and Pre-Black Friday sales.

Takeaway

One key to selling in a competitive market is differentiation — either through product, positioning or timing. We see that more and more companies in our dataset are starting to avoid the over-competitive Black Friday weekend, and are expanding into pre-sale and post-sale strategies. This allows companies to make up for lackluster Black Friday sales by targeting a less crowded sales window.


Secret Black Friday Value through Recurring Revenue

As we all know, the most effective way to generate revenue is to generate RECURRING revenue. This has been a strategy forever, and Black Friday is a great opportunity to get new customers into a recurring purchase at a reduced rate that then makes them more valuable over time.

Remember when we noted that the increase in revenue was only 11% compared to the average yearly sales cycle? What if that lower initial revenue was offset by selling a subscription product, that would create recurring revenue for the next 6 to 12 months?

In fact, that’s exactly where the sales strategy is trending:

Subscriptions make up 46% of all sales made during 2018 Black Friday, compared to only 12% of sales last year being for subscriptions. This is also three times as many subscriptions as during the rest of the year.

Recommendation

Subscription plans are one of the most straightforward ways of generating recurring revenue. Subscriptions also lend themselves to discounts and sales strategies, as discounting the initial month does not significantly diminish the lifetime value of the subscription.

This has been a long-time sales strategy for recurring revenue products, from “0% APR for 12 months” to “Your first month free” — the ease of an upfront transaction is easily offset by the continued revenue generation for the lifetime of the subscription.


Closing Thoughts, Credit Cards and Product Pricing Strategies

This year was an interesting one, where we’ve seen a number of companies start to buck the trend of Black Friday and develop strategies that help them stand out from the crowd, as well as generate strong beyond the 5-day rush.

Before you go, we’d like to share 2 more pieces of data that we thought were interesting, but didn’t have a place for in the main report:

Credit Card Failures

Failed Credit Cards (bad numbers, fat-fingering input and bank hiccups) occurred on 24% of all purchases. That’s almost double the normal rate of 16%.

Product Pricing

I’m always interested in the pricing breakdown of products. There were no huge surprises this year with the largest number of products being priced in below $200, with a long tail up to $3000.

Finally, we want to hear from you!

We’d love to hear about your experiences with Black Friday, and if your business saw similar trends, or something completely different. What lessons from this year will you be looking at in 2019?

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Everyone Loves Evergreen Webinars. But do they Really Convert to Sales?

Evergreen Webinars are de rigueur for product marketing — especially to cold traffic.

There are a number of online tools like EverWebinar for creating set-it-and-forget-it webinars that allow you to create and monetize webinars to your heart’s content.

But do they work?

This is part of our on-going series with John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire, and we’re going to answer the burning question:

Do Evergreen Webinars Really Convert to Sales?

The answer?

Yup.

In fact, leads who registered for EOFire’s automated webinar in have been worth $81.05 each — 243% more than leads who didn’t.

Check out how valuable these automated webinar leads have been:

jld-did-register

EOFire uses Easy Webinar to power its automated webinars. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works.


Step 1: The Registration

Leads receive an email inviting them to sign up for a webinar, or they find a registration page on eofire.com.

jld-webinar

The lead picks a date and time to watch their webinar.

While the webinar is pre-recorded, forcing someone to pick to a specific time fosters a sense of commitment and importance.

jld-webinar2


Step 2: The Webinar

Upon signing up, leads are sent an email with a unique link for their webinar. This link will only work for the day and time they select.

When they show up for their webinar at the right time, they will see a free, prerecorded webinar on how to grow and monetize your podcast or host successful webinars.

jld-webinar3

All of this is automated, which means more free time for the EOFire team.


Step 3: The Pitch

At the end of the automated webinar there’s a pitch for either Podcasters’ Paradise or Webinar On Fire.

jld-webinar4

The results?

Leads who signed up for either of these Easy Webinars in 2015 have had an average Lead Value of $81.05.

That Lead Value is 243% higher than the Lead Value of people who haven’t registered for the Easy Webinars.

jld-webinar-reg

How does the automated webinar stack up to the Free Email Course in terms of its overall impact on EOFire’s revenue?

Clearly the automated webinar leads have a higher average value — $81.05 vs. $41.67 — but there’s more to it than that.

We also need to consider that 21,617 people signed up for the Free Courses and only 4,081 people have signed up for the Easy Webinars.

As a result, the people who attended the Free Courses have generated $900,842 to date while the Easy Webinar leads have generated just $330,769. That’s a nearly 3X difference. There’s value in getting a lot of people to do something that leads to conversion, even if the resulting Lead Values aren’t as high as they are for the Easy Webinars.

But here’s what makes the ultra-high Lead Value of the Easy Webinar leads so exciting for EOFire:
Getting an additional 1,000 people to sign up for those automated webinars could drive a $57,390 increase in revenue.

With SegMetrics, John and the EOFire team know where to direct their leads the coming year.

Ultimately, EOFire will want to heavily promote both the Free Courses and the Easy Webinars. Both of these marketing techniques involve automation that save them tons of time, and they both dramatically improve conversion rates.

Steal a page from the EOFire playbook and do both for your Infusionsoft business and track your results with SegMetrics.

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Using the Stair-Step Model for Landing Pages that Work

You’ve heard the stats.

All the way back in 1997 Nielsen showed that people don’t read online – they scan. And that’s only gotten worse. Today, you have about 8 seconds to capture a user’s attention on your website.

The human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish.

Despite this, many websites today fail to give users a single place to focus their attention when they first arrive. People land there and then they have no idea what to do next.

There are lots of buttons and lots of areas on the page… but they don’t have flow, and with social media, chat, and a cell phone never far away, that makes it highly likely that those shiny new visitors are going to wind up distracted and leave, never to return.

I firmly believe most sites start out in a good place. When someone decides initially to create a new website, they usually have a single idea.

Maybe they want people to sign up for their newsletter, or for a webinar.

And that’s great! It’s really simple. It’s clear. But then the main stakeholder has other ideas. Maybe they also want people to be able to find out more about the company’s products; or they want to give visitors a list of their best articles; or share their latest tweets… you get the idea.

Gradually, what was once a great idea for a site becomes the design from hell.

The idea behind the site isn’t bad. It’s that somewhere along the way, the stakeholder started to worry that not everyone would want to join their webinar.

So instead they try to put everything on the site. And put it all above the fold. Because it’s all important, right?

So, if we’ve known this doesn’t work since the 90’s why are we still doing it? And what should we do instead?

Why So Many Web Designs Go to Hell

The reason so many websites wind up in this downward spiral is because ranking priorities is hard. If you create a list of priorities and then try to label them a “1” (must have), a “2” (should have), or a “3” (nice to have), then it’s only a matter of time before someone decides something is even more important that the items labeled a “1” — and then before long, everything has become that important.

Raymond Chen, a long-time software developer at Microsoft (we’re talking since 1992) and blogger, calls this problem priority inflation.


  • Priority 1: must have. If you don’t accomplish a priority 1 item, you may as well just cancel the project because it ain’t shipping.
  • Priority 2: should have. If you don’t accomplish a priority 2 item, the product is significantly weaker, but you can still ship it.
  • Priority 3: nice to have. If you don’t accomplish a priority 3 item, it’s not quite as awesome as it could have been, but it’s still a good product.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a shift in the labeling of priorities in planning documents. A new priority has been introduced: Priority Zero. Nobody has explained to me what Priority 0 means, but I assume somebody invented it to emphasize that the feature is even more critical than priority 1. Mind you, I’m not sure what could be more important to a project than “If we don’t do this, we’re all fired.” Maybe “If we don’t do this, the earth will explode.”

As you might expect, priority inflation has a trickle-down effect. People whose features had been assigned priority 1 said, “Hey, how come my feature isn’t priority 0? It’s just as critical as that other guy’s feature.” Soon, everything that was priority 1 got reclassified as priority 0. Nature abhors a vacuum, so all the priority 2 items got reclassified as priority 1, and the priority 3 items got reclassified as priority 2.


The problem is that people are naturally bad at understanding what is actually urgent and what’s not. And when everything is important, none of them are.

At its core, everyone understands this problem. And yet almost everyone falls victim to it anyway.

How to Avoid the “Everything’s a Priority” Trap

This problem is so persistent that my team and I developed a system to help people create the information hierarchy of a landing page. We call it the “stair step model.”

Here’s how it works.

Start by identifying up to 5 things you want people to do on your page. The actual number of things you choose depends on how long you want the page to be. I generally recommend most people chose 3-4 tasks that people should do on that page.

Then you rank them from most important to least important.

When thinking about how to rank them, you shouldn’t just think about what’s most important to you; you should think about what’s most important to your visitor.

You may think the “most important thing” is that they buy a product, for example. But that probably doesn’t have a high chance of conversion — and is probably not the most important thing to the person reading the page. Instead, what they’re interested in is the solution they get from purchasing your product.

The second thing you want to consider is the difficulty in completing that action. If the most important action you want them to take (Priority Zero) takes 30 minutes to do, but your second most important task only takes 5 seconds, you might want to prioritize the second, as it has a higher chance of conversion.

Remember the formula: Desire / Time = Conversion

 

Now that you have your prioritization, let’s look at how to structure them into the page.

Step 1: The Hero Shot

This most important thing becomes your hero shot. Generally, this is the top section of a website, where there’s a big picture of you and a big headline that talks directly to the pain point you’re going to solve.

(In my Japanese marketer days, we called this “Catch Copy,” because it catches the attention of the reader.)

For example, if we were building a page for a health and anxiety website, we might use the headline, “Stop being controlled by your anxiety and take back your life.”

Then, beneath that, there are a few smaller lines of copy that tell them what they can do (ex: We’ve built this assessment to help you determine whether you have anxiety). And finally, below the description is a big button that reads “Click here to take the assessment.”

This is our primary call to action. That means it should be something that someone who has never heard of us, has never visited our site, should be compelled to do based on just that headline copy and some small button copy.

This first section forms the first step of our staircase.

Step 2: Tell Me About Yourself

Below our first step is our second step (let me know if I’m going too fast there).

Anyone who hasn’t clicked on that first button obviously doesn’t trust us. Everything in marketing comes back to trust — an email is not just an email and a click is not just a click. It’s a transaction of trust and value.

So if someone scrolled past that first button then they’re not convinced yet that they should trust us. That means our next section needs to focus on building trust.

Maybe that means they need more tailored content. Maybe they need to understand the results of other people, and we can provide testimonials. Maybe they need social proof, and we can share social proof icons.

Let’s say we go with that third option, so after the first section we have a section with the logos of publications where we’ve been featured. We say we were in the New York Times; we were featured on ABC; we’ve been interviewed by NPR.

We add a bit of copy that shares that we do, what we’re really good at, and asks the visitor to tell us what they’re looking for.

There was something there that was almost blink and you’ll miss it: “Tell us what they’re looking for.” This is a chance to let your visitors self-select into the content that will most likely turn them into leads, and customers.

This self-selection has two powerful points.

  1. The visitor is getting content that applies directly to their issue, which is much more valuable than generic content.
  2. By looking at our site analytics, we can tell which of the pain points most of our visitors are experiencing. Once they opt in, we can also determine which pain points are the most effective at converting from leads to customers.

This becomes our second call to action.

If they click on it great! If not, then on to stair step three.

Step 3: Share a Story

At this point they’ve missed two calls to action. That means we need to find a way to empower them a bit more. We need to take a softer approach.

This is where we might add in a personal story, sharing the problem we had that we overcame that led us to create our product or business. Or maybe we share a client’s story or testimonial.

This time we don’t ask them to do something right now — instead, we use a button that says something like, “Learn more” or “Find out how…”

We’re inviting them to have a larger conversation; this is good for people who are looking around and trying to figure out what it is they want. They’ve passed the direct “Do this now” and the “Tell me about yourself” steps. That likely means this person is someone looking for a solution, but who isn’t really sure what that solution should be yet.

Step 4: The Final Step

If they pass step three and are still scrolling then I generally think this person isn’t actually looking for a solution — they’re just gathering information. So that’s where I like to include information about you or the business, or a block with a few of your most popular blog posts.

The call to action for that section becomes, “Check out these articles” or “Don’t know where to start? Start here.” And that becomes your fourth and final step.


With the Stair Step Model You Build a Better Website

Using the Stair Step method allows you to avoid the usual problem of “everything is important” by creating a prioritized and logical order for your users to follow down the page.

It allows you to capitalize on different user types without cannibalizing your design. That is, it allows you to build a better website — one that lets you return to the good place you started from.

What’s your top priority — the one action you want users to take — on your website? Share it in the comments.

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

How Upsell Funnels Are Like Printing Free Money

As a marketer, you have a bucket list of tactics to try — things that you’ll get to one day. The challenge is which tactics will be the most effective, with the least effort. The proverbial “low-hanging fruit.”

You know that in order for a business to thrive, it needs to sell more than one thing to each customer… maybe you’ve even tried to do just that. Or maybe you haven’t even thought about it before.

In either case, there’s a good chance you’re leaving money on the table.

That’s because the truth is acquiring a new customer is hard (and expensive). So wouldn’t it be nice if it was possible to sell them more than one thing at a time, without chasing customers away?

Fortunately, it is — in fact, that’s what upsell funnels are all about.

What is an Upsell Funnel?

When most people hear the word “upsell” they probably think of a McDonald’s drive-thru cashier saying, “Do you want fries with that?”

That line has undoubtedly made McDonald’s billions of dollars, but that’s what we’d call a pre-purchase upsell. For course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses, trying to sneak in an extra product before you’ve closed the deal may lead a prospect to hold off on clicking “buy.”

So, for these kinds of businesses, what I recommend instead is a post-purchase upsell.

A post-purchase upsell funnel happens after the prospect has already completed their transaction… after they have already paid. This allows you to avoid discouraging them from purchasing that first product, while still creating an opportunity to increase the value of the sale.

Let’s look at an example.


John has been scoping out an online course about learning to launch a podcast. He’s decided to take the plunge, and purchase a course from PodcastingBeginner.com (a fictional site, made up entirely for the purpose of this example).

He adds the course to his cart and goes through the process of checking out. After entering his credit card information and clicking buy, he’s greeted with a thank you page — and beneath a message that says “Thank you for purchasing Launch a Podcast in 30 days” is a note asking him if he’d like to add on a package of 6 interviews with professional podcasters, each making $5,000 or more from podcasting each month — a series full of tips and best practices to help new podcasts do the same, which usually sells for $250 or more — for an additional $100.

That is a post purchase upsell funnel. And when done correctly, it’s a bit like printing free money. In fact, on average, they generally increase revenue by around 30%.


So let’s take a look at why they work.

Using Psychology to Make a Second Sale

I’m fond of saying that Marketing is just applied Psychology. So let’s look at the psychology of WHY post-purchase upsells work so well.

Imagine for a minute that someone knocked on your door and asked you to place a large, gaudy sign reading “Drive Carefully” in your front yard, practically blocking your house. You’d probably laugh in their face — you might even slam the door.

Yet in the mid-1960s, psychologists Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser did an experiment that led 76% of homeowners included in the study to agree to exactly that. The experiment was designed to look at what most salespeople consider “getting a foot in the door” and what is more properly known as the consistency principle.

The concept is simple enough: people want to make decisions that are consistent with the decisions they’ve made in the past.

Robert Cialdini talks about the concept in some length in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. We try to be consistent because doing so is a survival skill — it gives us a helpful shortcut. We think about something once, and then never have to think about it again.

Which means that when the consistency principle is triggered, decisions are made almost automatically.

So, how did Freedman and Fraser get 76% of homeowners in their experiment to agree to have a large sign placed in their yard?

They had a volunteer stop by a few weeks before making the request and asked those same homeowners to display a smaller, three-inch sign that read “Be a Safe Driver.”

And, in case you’re thinking people back then were just more willing to do things for the greater good than folks are today, there’s one more fact that I’ve left out.

Like any good experiment, Freedman and Fraser also had a control group. For this second group of homeowners, they only made the second request — going straight for the larger ask of the billboard in their front lawn. Their success rate? A much smaller 17%.

I think you’ll agree that that’s a pretty dramatic difference… and that the consistency principle is a pretty powerful tool.

Getting to Yes: Using Consistency In Your Upsell Funnel to Get More Sales

Of course, putting the consistency principle to work for you, and creating a successful upsell funnel isn’t quite as simple as just slapping up another product and calling it done.

As with all things in life, there are some things that are more effective than others. In my experience, there are three post funnel upsell concepts that work best.

Upgrade at a Discount

Like in our example above about the podcasting course, this type of post-purchase upsell offers another package or product that provides additional value at a discounted rate.

That discount is directly tied to the customer having just made a previous purchase — so you might use language like, “As our thank you to you, we’d like to offer you a discount on…” and then name the item you’re offering as an upsell.

This is the same strategy as the “Super-Size” strategy used at McDonalds in the 90s. For a LOW, LOW price, you can get even more!

Upsell a Subscription

In this type of upsell funnel, the customer purchases a product (or maybe a few products), and you offer them a recurring supply of goods or services for a monthly fee.

Think buying a printer, and having the manufacturer offer to send you ink anytime you run out, if you pay them a few dollars a month for a subscription service. This is also common with products like dog food… but it’s not limited to physical goods.

For those with online courses, this may be access to a forum, a mastermind, or weekly “office hours” where they can ask you questions live.

Selling a Secondary (Related) Products

Finally, the third option for a post-purchase upsell funnel is to offer a related product at its usual price… and that price does not necessarily have to be lower than the price of that first purchase.

You might try to upsell them to a higher level of the course they just purchased, or even sell them on a whole new course that serves a related need. The important thing here is to test your funnels, and use dollars as the key performance indicator (KPI).

One of the most surprising things is that the upsell product doesn’t necessarily need to be cheaper than the original product. In fact, we’ve seen that offering a $1,000 product as an upsell on a $300 purchase can actually bring in MORE revenue than going with a cheaper product.

After all, if you use a $1,000 product as your upsell item, and sell 4 of them in a month that’s more profitable than if you use a $50 product as your upsell item and sell 15.

Getting to Yes — Again and Again.

Finally, I want to leave you with the idea that a post-purchase upsell funnel isn’t limited to 2 steps. If a shopper says yes, and then says yes again, why not ask a third time?

That said, if they say no twice in a row, I usually recommend sending them to a final thank you page without another product. More than that and they’re likely to leave the site… and we’d much rather they stick around and leave the door open for more sales later on.

What are some great Upsell Strategies that you’ve seen, or implemented, in the past? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below.

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.