Last week we did an article on conversions, talking about the top tips to use to make every visitor have a better chance of converting into a customer. Today I’m going to outline how I actually made one of my favourite businesses ever in 12 months and then sold it all for 3 years revenue! It was so simple and I loved every second of it. The best part about it, I made a lot of money in the process with almost no effort (not effort but maybe brains is a better word) at all. I outsourced most of the tasks and the funny thing was…. This even saved me money in the long run (and obviously time in the short term.)
The process as you can probably guess from the title involved using Amazon (in this case Amazon.co.uk as that’s where I am based in the UK.) But I’m sure this works for almost any country that Amazon opporates in. I learnt this technique from a blog called freedom fast lane, he makes $1,000,000+ a month now through scaling this technique! But today I’m going to outline my strategy very briefly.
The first thing I did was have an idea for a product that would sell well in Amazon. This can be anything from clothes to car parts to fitness equipment to books, but you must have the idea. The next stage is to go to a website called Alibaba and find a manufacturer for your product. This is what takes a lot of time and involves going back and fourth with quotes, types, getting and testing samples and essentially making sure the product is what you want your business to be around.
Once you have your product then its time to get set-up in Amazon, this for me was pretty easy as I’d done it in the past at a number of jobs. You need to get a seller central account and then put all the relevant information about your product in, add your product listing including keywords and images so they will rank and convert well, and then finally create a shipment to the FBA warehouse. If you aren’t using FBA then instead you will need to pick, store, deliver and pack your items yourself but for the fee and the effort that was involved in this, it’s probably worth just getting FBA set-up!
The next step is to start selling. Basically the more sales you make, the more money you will make (obviously) but also the higher you will rank in Amazon for your keywords, and as you can probably guess, the people who rank on page 1 for your keyword make the most sales. So this was the aim. And this is where I outsourced the 2 very important tasks. First was getting reviews, now technically this is unethical although the way I did it was inside Amazon’s T&C so it was allowed by them. So no issues there! But I’m keeping this to myself as this is my secret weapon!
The next and probably most important step after getting reviewers was to get some sales. I used Amazon’s sponsored products and hired (in my opinion) the best amazon PPC consultant on the planet to help create these campaigns. Tom’s input actually helped us get an Acos of 22% for a product with an 80% profit margin this was just incredible would highly recommend. And obviously all of the sales helped to rank the product naturally in Amazon which led to more sales, so the butterfly effect was in motion here.
All this led to eventually getting 3 products into Amazon and ranking for 4 months, by the end of the promotion phase we had around £6,000 per month per product. Which led us to £18,000 a month and about £9,000 profit. Then we had an offer to buy our company. As we could show them great growth and wanted to bank our efforts and profits we asked for a high price. Ussually you go around 2-3 years of revenue or profit. We had our asking price at £270,000 and sold on £250,000, plus our profit for the months before led to around £300,000 inside 13 months. Not a bad year really! You can do it just hustle!!
In our last article we covered an introduction to conversions. Today we are going to talk bout how to improve them. As you probably already know, getting traffic to your website is hard. You can do this from organic traffic through a hard seo effort, or through social media marketing or through PPC or through direct traffic. But one thing that all business owners suffer with is having a lower conversion rate than they like. For example if you have 100 visitors to your website and 3 convert to sales or customers then that’s a 3% conversion rate.
I used to work at a company called Ghost Marketing which is where I learnt the basics about CRO (conversion rate optimisation) – This is very important as you don’t need any additional traffic (or money investment) to essentially make more sales. If you can improve your conversion from 3% to 6% then you have just increased your overall sales by 2x. That’s doubling your profit through some tweaks. Below are the top 3 tips I recommend to making more of your traffic convert into paying customers or clients.
Get your contact information above the fold – Oh the amount of times I have seen no number, email or form above the fold on a desktop or mobile website is crazy. People and especially potential clients are very lazy. They don’t want to scroll and more than anything they don’t want to have to search for your information. This is more time where they might end up getting side tracked and leaving the site to go and do something else. Even if they think they will come back to purchase and they might…. But chances are they will forget and hence you’ve just lost a hot lead simply because they couldn’t find your information quickly enough.
Payment processing – Make it easy for people to check-out for their products. Integrate your site with paypal or at the very least another solution like worldpay or sagepay. This way they will allow your customers to feel safe when purchasing something from you and also to be able to checkout quickly without entering a lot of data and information that might put them off paying at all!
Design is critical – The final tip is to just actually build a site that looks good. People will subconsciously relate the quality of your product to the quality of your website. This means if you have a rubbish website then you will have a rubbish product. Obviously we all know this is not the case but people will do it anyway. This is why you see website redesigns improving conversions by crazy 300% figures in some industries. It’s all about perception!
Below is a video by Rand Fishkin of Moz who goes in-depth into the basics of CRO and why it is so important. It’s a good watch if you have 20 mins to spare and want some more detailed information.
In 2011 I launched a small graphic design agency. It was something I’d wanted to do for a very long time that would give me steady income between the huge fluctuations of import/export business models and without having to rely on seasonal products or Ecom in general. I wanted to do this very quickly so I read the lean start-up and integrated the minimum viable product or MVP that was discussed in this book. It’s a great book by the way for anyone wondering, I would highly recommend it. We got the entire website up and live in about 2 weeks and the office looked awesome too. Now we just needed clients.
Traffic is (almost) Irrelevant
So as someone who is (relatively) knowledgeable about online marketing – Why would I say traffic is irrelevant, well let me explain. I say this for 2 reasons really. The first is traffic can have a lot of spam in the results. For example if you have ever looked at your Google analytics account and saw a huge spike you might get excited… How did this happen? Maybe I was mentioned in a big news article, or maybe we had a mention from a major influencer in our industry. If you just look at traffic you will be happy with that increase and won’t think more about it.
Likely you will dig deeper and begin to see that this was in fact one of the many Bots that go to websites just to mess with their stats and traffic data. I’m still not 100% sure why people do this as there isn’t really much use to doing this. But I think people do it just for the ad generation from the website that is listed as the one that “brought the referral.”
But anyone this is one of the reasons I hate measuring in traffic. Instead I prefer measuring in conversions and sales. Ideally conversions to sales from specific traffic places. Back to our example in the design niche we saw this so much, we’d have hundreds of visitors and maybe 1 lead. That was 1% of our traffic which was terrible! So we hired help, why are we getting so much traffic and so little conversions, we hired a brand and marketing company to help. The branding agency was incredibly helpful in helping us realise, a.) Not only that we didn’t bring in enough customers through online sales funnels. But b.) That the ones we did bring in, we didn’t even begin to convert well enough. (This we already knew) but they went on to explain why.
We had been promoting the wrong keywords in Adwords, the wrong keywords for SEO and most importantly the site just didn’t seem good enough to people who wanted graphic design services. We made 4 key changes that lead to a 400% increase within 6 months in leads (That equalled to almost 600% more revenue!) The changes were:
Changed the keywords we targeted for SEO.
Changed the keywords we targeted for Paid ads.
Stopped doing social media marketing and invested more into the 2 above marketing methods.
Added more work to the portfolio so it had a range of work not just your average logo.
We also tweaked the website to have more emphasis on getting in touch for a “full digital branding package” this was pretty important but I think the other 4 had more of an impact!
And that’s it! Remember that just because your traffic goes up, if your leads and sales don’t follow then it means almost nothing!
Nowadays, with different kind of businesses being launched here and there almost every week, the potential customers will be divided and could lead to lesser attention focused on your business. However, one of the reasons also for the lack of success of a business is the lack of efficiency. After all, efficiency and effectiveness are the two important factors of business. Here are some of the tips on how to make a business more efficient.
Adapt a faster paying method. The main goal of having a business is getting profits and the faster you get the money flowing back to you, the faster you can get that money flowing back again so it can double. Because things can be done on the internet faster nowadays, clients tend to just pay online so that they won’t have to drive around just to pay their bills. This is also very good for you because you will be paid faster. This is a great way to make your business even more efficient.
Keep track of things and be more involved. Sometimes, because we are so busy, we just tend to let things go with the flow. In the world of business, this is a major no-no and the kind of attitude that is a catalyst for the doom of your business. You will never realise efficiency when you tend to be negligent on even the smallest business matters. Write everything down, from what’s going on in your business, the class flow, the clients that has been really good for your business, and even personal things like how much you spent and how much time do can you allocate for managing your business. This is a good way to know where you are lacking or what you should do more to make your business more efficient and profitable.
Utilize free Cloud Storage and more services online. This is a very great way to save time and money. Instead of sending e-mail or calls for regular updates, you can just sync everything on the cloud service so everyone with the access of the data can automatically get the updates. There are also many tools and services online that you can use to make your business more efficient so be sure to try them and see the great results it can render for your business.
Improve the Little Things – Copywriting on your website, or the image placements can make a huge difference to conversions and bottom line profits. This goes for staff and how they sound on the phone too! Sort these and you will be well on your way to making millions.
Don’t waste time. The goal of business is profit and efficiency. How can you get them if you are wasting time? Like they say, “time is gold” and that is very much applicable in business. Don’t wait for the clients to find you, make a way for them to notice you. Use some marketing tools and tips online to attract more customers and let them know about your business. Hire more people that are very good at marketing to spread the word about your business. Yes, you will spend a little more but the profit you will gain in the long run will be all worth it. The right marketing and maximizing time is the key to making your business more efficient.
In this article I am opening up to my biggest 3 mistakes in business. Some of these aren’t all my fault personally, but I am a big believer in taking responsibility for your actions and lack of actions. For example, its not like I caused the first option on this list, yet it was easily my biggest mistake in business to this day and had probably cost me a couple of million pounds in the process. Although its all come back now, that is a 8 year delay! Think about how much I could have made in that time if I have made the decision I talk about in this post. Anyway I hope you enjoy and as always let me know what you think.
I live in the UK now and the 2008 recession hit us so hard, both personally and as a business. I also do a lot of investing and lost half of my entire investments in about 3 months. During this time I was expanding the business very quickly as I thought there was nothing that could stop us. And really there wasn’t. We managed to stay in business but it took us close to 7 years to regain all the losses from both the investment portfolio and the business itself. Mainly due to clients we had going out of business. And can you guess what a business that doesn’t have any money is going to do? – Pay us! We lost a lot of money through clients not paying, as well as individuals simply not spending any money as they were too scared things would get worse.
Realistically could I have seen this happening? – Most people will not blame themselves, “Owe I didn’t have any debt so I didn’t contribute to the recession…. But how much did you lose? – Oh about £500k….
It’s not about who made the problem is about when you can see things happening. If I would have kept up to date with basic investing information and followed the currency and forex trends closely, then I would have known that this was going to happen sooner, rather than later. And I publicly said this to my family, friends and business partners and even my employees. I would say something along the lines of “I’m sorry about the current situation of the business. I am personally sorry we have expanded at a time at risk was terrible.” People would most of the time say something like “John, how could you have known.” or “John, you didn’t cause it, it’s not your fault” – But the truth is, everything you do, every decision you make is your fault. If I made a £10 million business in 5 years, I’d be taking credit for it. So if I destroy it, I’ll take the blame for that too.
Late on Tech
This one isn’t so common, Most people lost money in the 08 recession. But I think only the older generation lost money when the technology revolution hit. I am talking about the time around 2005 when smartphones and laptops became mainstream. Apple exploded onto the scene, and if you were anyone you had an iphone or at least a smartphone. The difference is I got on this late. I still had a fax machine well into the 2000s and haven’t used it since 2002 I think. I didn’t bother to get a website properly set-up until 2009 and I really needed to sort out the social media presence in 2012, but didn’t get round to it until last year. All of this led to being miles behind the competition on this front.
Nowadays I like to stay up to date with the latest tech trends, just to make sure I am not missing something that could be extremely valuable to my business, or even to my personal life. If I see something that I can afford and think will benefit my business nowadays I will purchase it almost on the spot. Lets take drones for example, I use drones to transport goods to my customers, this is very easy to do and it’s almost impossible to do it in the same time as driving, it’s also a lot less hassle too!
Making Too Many Trades
This refers to my investment portfolio and my general old philosophy to trading. I used to make a lot of trades, upwards of 10 trades a month on stocks and shares. That’s 2-3 a week. If you’ve been a trader for any length of time, you know that the number 1 failure of new traders is making too many trades.
I learnt this the hard way, but I knew I was doing it, I just couldn’t stop. I would see a forum talking about a particular share and then go ahead and purchase this share for a small stake – Thinking it’s only a small amount of money, even if it goes down then I won’t lose much.
That is completely the wrong mindframe to be in. Although stocks and trading in general is risky. If you do your research correctly and follow the basic principles of trading there is seriously not a lot that you can do that will make bad trades. You might get unlucky, and the markets might crash like in 2008, but generally businesses will continue where they are going. For example if someone is doing really well and the business is growing, it is likely to continue growing…..
Being a business owner is definitely difficult. It is not always fun and games, it is definitely not always amusing, or fun or easy! Once you realize all these things it is very likely that your business have started crumbling down all of sudden. If you need some tips on how to jumpstart or resurrect your business and how to pull your business out of this difficult situation, you have come to the right place! Here are some more than useful tips for you!
Hire Competent People
That being said, you should make every effort you can and hire competent people. You probably know that you cannot do everything on your own, and this is why it is helpful to have people who will deal with certain aspects of your business that you cannot attend to. Make sure you choose with the best from the best if you want your business to become successful.
Pinpoint Your Mistakes
If your once successful business is now crumbling, it is certain you have made some mistakes. Not to worry, everyone makes mistakes, you just have to make sure you will learn the mistakes you have made that is all. Perhaps you have missed out on a golden opportunity,or perhaps you have been too lazy to work on your business or on a marketing strategy.
Pinpointing your mistakes, can be the answer to your future success, since it will allow you to learn from them and improve your business so that you can enjoy it for years to come and never repeat the mistakes you have already made.
Think Of A Plan
Work out and come up with a plan if you want to achieve any kind of success. You have to sit down and carefully devise a plan. Make sure that the plan is not too ambitious, but achievable, so in other words try to be realistic and down to earth when planning grand business adventures. This will make it easier for you to stick to your plan and realize it in the future. A plan that is too ambitious sometimes can have a negative impact on your business and demotivate you rather than make you more ambitious and more successful.
Hiring Staff Of Professionals
If your business is crumbling you have certainly been making some mistakes, but in addition to that people who are working beside you have also been making some mistakes. In fact, since no one told you you are making mistakes, they too were to incompetent and weak to warn you of your potential downfall. Do yourself a favor and hire competent people in the future. Also, hiring a professional adviser to help you out with your particular problem is more than advisable.
Invest More In Advertising
Perhaps your business went on a downward spiral because you weren’t investing in advertising as much as you should have. Make an effort and start investing more in advertising, also start using social media. In addition to that it would be wise to hire a marketing expert will run your social media what you and help you jumpstart your business.