So many small businesses are putting all of their focus on generating more traffic through search, social media and digital ads, but they’re putting very little effort into actually converting these visitors into customers. And let’s face it, isn’t that the goal in the first place? Just trying a few simple tricks like tweaking your welcome email, offering some quality freebies, being careful of the words you’re using and doing some split testing, can make all the difference to boosting your conversion rate.
As the conversion educator at LeadPages, Tim Paige spends his days helping business owners and entrepreneurs use various data points to increase revenue by converting quality leads into sales.
Rich: As the conversion educator at Leadpages, Tim Paige spends his day helping business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers utilize the billions of data points in leadpages so they can increase revenue, grow their list and further scale up their business.
You’ve likely heard his voice as the host of LeadPages official podcast ConversionCast, several live events, or as the host of one of over 300 LeadPages webinars in the past 18 months, one of which he did with me.
Since Tim joined the LeadPages team, he’s also helped LeadPages generate over 30,000 paying customers and 100,000 new leads. That’s quite a lot! Tim, welcome to the show.
Tim: Thanks so much, Rich, happy to be here.
Rich: I’m glad you’re here, too. I brought you on because I had a lot of questions about conversions. But before we get to the technical or strategic stuff, I just wanted to get a better understanding of how did you get so interesting in conversions?
Tim: That’s an interesting story, but the short version is I spent a lot of my life as a touring musician. I was in a band, toured all over the country, got signed and put on MTV, all this kind of stuff. But that lifestyle isn’t conducive to a wallet with anything in it. So I was living on $5 a day and not being able to pay this bills, so when I’d come home from a tour, I’d have to find jobs.
The only job pretty much at that point that was willing to take somebody on that was willing to leave in a month was a sales job, because they only had to pay you if you sold stuff. So I got really good at selling and making a lot of money. And once that kind of wound down I was in the process of trying to figure out what the next phase of my life was.
I was watching a television show – I wish I could remember what it was – but they said something about “passive income”. And I was like, “What in the world is passive income? that sounds awesome, I need that in my life.” So I Googled “passive income” and Pat Flynn’s site came up and I started reading it and checking out the podcast episodes and I thought I can sell stuff and all these people on here have never sold anything in their lives and they are killing it. I can do that.
So I basically studied everything I could and kind of combined the sales psychology aspect of things with this world of one to many marketing and internet and technology, and really it was an awesome marriage. And it also clicked pretty easily for me.
Rich: That’s very cool. Now what was the name of your band and what kind of music did you guys play?
Tim: We were called Honor Bright, we played kind of early 2000’s era pop/punk. So we were kind of a Blink-182, New Found Glory kind of sound.
Rich: Nice. That’s something I didn’t know about you, very cool.
Tim: Oh man, it was a lot of fun.
Rich: So there are a lot of small business people out there putting all of their focus on generating more traffic through search, social media, digital ads, but putting very little to no effort in actually converting these visitors into customers. Tim, what would you say to those people?
Tim: I hear this alot – and you mentioned the webinar we did together – every time I’m on a webinar it is inevitable that 1-1,000 people are going to say, “Tim, all this stuff you’re talking about it great, but what about traffic?” I get the questions, I understand why people are asking it and everybody thinks they have a traffic problem. But the reality is there’s kind of an unlimited supply of traffic out there, if you think about it.
If you’re willing to pay for it, you can get all the traffic you want in the world. But the problem is, if you’re not converting that traffic into leads and into sales, you’re throwing money away.
So if I were to say to you, “Rich, every person that you send to your website will generate $10 in revenue for you.” Well, in essence you could spend $.99 on any person you send to the website and still be making money. So I’m not saying that paying for traffic is the only way to go or the best way to go, but there’s not really a traffic problem, there’s a conversion problem. if you can convert people, you can have as much traffic as you want.
Rich: See, that’s really interesting. I have a similar take on it, but just from a different perspective where I’m always thinking you can get as much traffic as you want but if you don’t convert it what’s the worth of it. I actually like your approach better where you’re saying that there is actually an unlimited supply of traffic out there. And of course, that’s true.
It’s the same thing my sales coach used to say to me, too. There’s more business out there, it’s about converting that prospect into a paying customer or client. That’s awesome. So we really do need to focus on conversions.
Tim: We get so caught up in this stuff, and I think part of it, too, is like when we get this big number of hits every month, it’s kind of a vanity metric. Now I’m not saying that traffic is a vanity metric, but for folks who aren’t focusing on converting those folks, it doesn’t matter if you get 50o\0k visitors to your website a month if you’re not bringing in any revenue or none of them are becoming leads.
I think a lot of the time we look at it like we look at podcast downloads. It’s like, yes, you have 100k downloads a month that’s awesome, you’re ranking really high in “new and noteworthy”, but what’s that doing for you. Is it just making you feel good about the fact you’ve got a podcast or is it just making you feel good about the fact that you put up a website and people are actually going there. What does that mean? And really, we focus on what to do with that.
Rich: That is cool because I never thought of traffic as a vanity measure, but on some level – unless you’re selling ads – it really is a vanity metric in terms of it doesn’t actually produce any business for you, per se.
Rich: Alright, so let’s move past how we get people to our website. Once we get people to our site, what are some of the most effective ways that you found to turn visitors into prospects or customers/
Tim: Let’s start with the simplest way. I’m not going to say this is my #1 most effective way, but if you want to get something done in 30 minutes right now and have something up to start generating leads, this is the first thing I would do. And that’s to create a resource guide landing page. That’s a fancy way of saying a page that gives away a .pdf that has a list of tools or resources on it.
And the reason why I mention this is because we have actually split tested everything you could imagine. I mean we have split tested every kind of giveaway, ebooks, courses, coaching calls, everything. And the one that converted the best and took the least amount of time was a 1 page .pdf that gave away 5 tools. And it was like, Five Tools To Create All Of Our Videos, that was it.
Rich: Were you giving away the tools or were you literally just curating a list of things saying here are 5 things that you should be downloading or buying?
Tim: It was just the list, It was just a .pdf that said the camera we used was x, the software we used was x. It was just a simple list and it was literally exactly what we were using so it didn’t require any research. We already knew it, we just put it into a .pdf, and that was what we gave away.
And that out converted every other lead magnet that we tested, except a webinar. And we can talk about that in a little bit as well. So that‘s the first thing I would do, the resource landing page. A simple landing page, don’t put a video on it, don’t put a ton of copy with bullet and all that kind of stuff. Just call it what it is. So just “Free Guide:” and then say what the guide is. And then a button, that’s it, that’s all you need.
Rich: I want to be as clear as possible with this. So when I;m doing this, I’m going to give away the Top 10 Small Business Tips & Tools, or whatever is going to be my resource guide, where am I promoting this? Am I buying ads in social media on Facebook, am I having something on the right column of my homepage? How do I promote this so people say, “Yeah, what’s this all about?”, and they click through?
Tim: Yes and yes. So this is what I would call kind of your catchall lead magnet. This is the one that you can use if you maybe didn’t create something custom for whatever you’re doing. You can use this is you need to send people somewhere, for example if you;re interviewed on a podcast and you need to send people somewhere, “go to mywebsite.com/freegift”. It is the catchall landing page. You can drive ads to it, you can put it in your sidebar, you can put a link to it in your menu bar – and I would do that – you can kind of make that your general one that’s always there for you and always your trusty lead magnet.
Rich: Alright, awesome. So a lot of different ways of promoting this page. Like you said, keep it simple. Did you say there was a form on this page to collect a lot of information or just a name and an email, or just an email and a button? what have you found to be the most effective technique, or does it depend on your business?
Tim: First I would recommend that you don’t put the form directly on the page. We use something called a 2 step opt-in – which the tool in LeadPages is “Leadboxes” – if you’re not using Leadboxes you’re just going to look for a 2 step opt-in. All that is is on the page itself will just be a simple button and it will say something like, “send me the report.” And when someone clicks that button an opt-in form/box will actually appear then. It will pop up and then it will say, “enter your email address below.”
As far as what to ask for, there’s data to back up a lot of different things. I’ll say this, the less form fields you ask for, the better your conversion rate will be and the more people will opt in.
Now. there are arguments all over the place for whether you should ask for name, phone number, zip code, annual income, all these different things. Just know that wil every additional field, you’re going to lower your conversion rate. However, if you ask for other things like name, that may have an impact on the number of opens you get, because you might put their name in the subject line and that might get more people to open.
Or you might be in a business like real estate where if you get a lead you want to call them right away, so then you might want to ask for a phone number. Your conversion rate will be lower but it will translate potentially into more leads, more opens and whatever later. So you have to consider how that’s going to affect your business later and think big picture. Do I need a phone number, do I need to know their annual income, do I need to know the industry they’re in, the size of their company? If you need to know those things then put them on there. If they’re not critical for you, then I would just go with email and you’ll get the highest conversion rate.
And if you start to get sophisticated, you can always ask for those things later and add them to their contact record.
Rich: That’s a good point. Along those same lines, I sometimes found that in certain business you actually want to raise the bar in terms of making it more difficult for people to become a lead to get rid of the tire kickers. And I know if you’re just starting out, yeah, you want as many leads as possible.
Interestingly enough I was doing some work with a small business development center and they had this 40-question questionnaire to get a free consultation. And I would beg them to take it off the website and just ask for a couple pieces of information. And I actually even use them as an example of what not to do at a presentation. Years later I ended up doing more business with them and it turns out that they went out of their way to make it difficult because what they were doing was giving free counseling, and what they didn’t want was people with a business idea. What they wanted was to find people who had an established business who were looking to grow. Those people would take the free counseling and be able to run with it.
So again – like you said – it depends on what your business goals are about how many of these questions we should be asking people.
Tim: Yeah, and you need to be careful also not to get caught up in that idea either, which is something I’ve seen a few people do. They want qualified leads on their list. Yes, but you can have qualified leads on your list without asking for all that stuff, and you can get them on your list now and curate later if you need to.
One of my favorite tactics that I ever saw was Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing. He has a part of his followup sequence that actually tells you to unsubscribe. He literally says to you if you don’t like this or I’m not within your top emails that you’re reading, then please unsubscribe now. So you can get the tire kickers off your list and get the unqualified folks off your list later. So I would always err on the side of more opt ins and then curate later.
Rich: That’s a good approach, too, It’s funny that you brought that up because it actually segues right into my next question. I wanted to know if you had best practices for effective follow up? So in other words, once we get somebody on our list, should we immediately email them, should we call them, should we set them up on an auto responder like the guy from Firepole Marketing, send them an ebook? What have you found that’s the most effective way to really engage people?
Tim: The first thing that you want to do is you need to have a welcome email You absolutely need to have a welcome email that basically thanks them for subscribing and sets the tone for what’s about to happen.
So here’s what we found works – it’s not a formula – it just works really well. So start off by thanking them for subscribing, invite them to link up to their free gift – if you want to give it to them in that email – and then something along the lines of, “In the coming days/weeks/months/years, I’m going to be sending you more great tips/tools/resources to help you accomplish x goal. Here are some of the things that you can expect in these emails.” And then a nice 3-5 bullet point list of the idea of what they’re going to get, whether it’s worksheets, headlines of ideas, blog post, whatever it is that you’re going to give them.
And then here’s my favorite. The next sentence should say something like, “If you just wanted the free gift, click the button below to unsubscribe and you won’t hear from us again. But we hope you’ll stick around because we really can’t wait to help you accomplish x, y & z.”
And then make something personal in there, and the little ninja tactic is in the P.S, say something like, “Hey, by the way, in 3 days we’re going to be sending you one of my favorite [products]’s – a checklist, or some sort of extra thing – but tease what they’re going to get in the next email. Then follow through with that and send them something awesome in your next email.
So there are 2 things that happen here. One is you prepare them for the fact that they’re getting more emails and it’s not a surprise. The other thing is, the first 2 emails they’ve gotten from you have provided something awesome of immense value to them. So it implants in their mind that whenever they open your email, something very positive happens. And now it sets the tone that every time you send them an email, they need to open it.
And beyond just the fact that means you’re going to get people to open your emails, consume your content and see your marketing and sales message and relating to you. It also – because they’re opening your messages – it tells Google and other service providers that this isn’t junk or spam mail, people actually want this. So you’re going to have a better deliverability rate.
Rich: That’s some good advice. Thanks for that. So one of the things that I’m always fascinated by when it comes down to conversions is A/B split testing. What can you tell me about A/B split testing, and do you think it’s important for small businesses?
Tim: Yes. I think that A/B split testing is critical for small businesses. And let’s kind of define it a little bit. A/B split testing is the ability to send traffic to 2 different versions of the same page. For example, let’s say you had a landing page that had a background, a headline and the button. And that was all the page was. It would allow you to have half of your traffic see one version of the page with a background of a pretty girl, and half of the traffic see a version of that page with a muscular man. What that allows you to do is see what your audience best resonates with.
The mistake that a lot of folks make is that they test either too many things, or they test things that are very unlikely to have an impact on conversion rate. So there are a couple of things that can give you the biggest bang for your buck. My personal favorite is “button copy”, so the actual words that are on the button. We tested a lot of copy and we’ve found that things that are in the first person on the button tend to convert best. So for example, “send me the guide” or “give me access now’.
The problem is, as entrepreneurs we want to talk about ourselves. It’s inherent in us, we tend to go, “We have this guide..” . But if someone is looking at this button, they’re not thinking, “I’d really like to download YOUR guide, they’re thinking, “I want to download MY guide.” So you need to think about your customers. I think it was Eugene Schwartz that said, “You need to enter the conversation your prospects are having in their own minds.” So think about that and put the button copy in that.
A couple of other things to test are the headline and the background image. Those 3 things are some pretty strong, basic things to split test.
Rich: Alright, so that was it. We want to test the headline, the background image and then also the button language. It’s interesting on the button language, of course in the copywrite they always tell you to use the word “you”, and that’s to avoid talking about yourself. But then all of a sudden you get down to the action that we’re asking people to take and suddenly we’re using their voice rather than our voice. So that’s an interesting switch right there.
Tim: Yes. In your general copy, in the headlines, in your emails, in your blog posts, in your podcast episodes, YouTube. All that stuff is “you” when you‘re talking to your customer. But in the button itself, any time the prospect or the customer has to take an action, it needs to be in their language.That’s going into the conversation they’re having in their own mind. So it’s this weird, little subconscious thing where we think when something is an action that we need to take and it’s in our mind, it feels more natural to actually go and click that button.
Rich: Alright, cool. Are there other things besides A/B split testing that you can think of that will help us continually improve our conversion rates?
Tim: I think the most important thing is just keeping an eye on everything that’s happening throughout the process of what you have to offer. People use words like “funnel” and “sequence”, but all that means is you want to know what happens from the minute somebody finds you until the minute they continuously become a customer and buy more products. And the entire process, just consider every step of that process and what it would be like. One of the things that I do fairly frequently is I go through the process of that. So I will go to LeadPages.net or I will click on our ads, adn it will take me to the landing page and I will opt-in and I will see what the thank you page looks like. And then I will check my email and I’ll read those emails and I’ll click the links in them and we have an account where we can buy the product and I’ll actually but the product.
It’s important to do those things and see where there are disconnects. Where the language doesn’t make sense, where the colors don’t match anymore, where it feels broken, and kind of fix that. The first step is you, and then your customers will start to tell you those things. You need to fix it first, and we need to think of the entire process when you’re creating a landing page, what is that landing page designed to do once they opt-in? What is that first email going to do and does it connect to the landing page? Did it make sense for them to get that email after they opted in on that landing page?
Once you can put this all together, it’s going to feel so beautiful when the whole process works and it would be almost difficult for somebody not to sign up for your product or service.
Rich: That’s great. And I think we have a very good sense of how to take whatever traffic we’re getting and improve our conversion rates. As you said, there’s always more traffic out there, it’s really what do we do with that traffic once we get them to our website.
Tim: You got it.
Rich: Now I’m sure there are people who are super excited right now and feeling very empowered to increase their conversion, and I know you have a lot more information to share. Where can we send people so that they can learn more and maybe pick up some of your tools?
Tim: I would love it if you would first off go check out our website, you can see we have lots of great free training there. We have blog posts and YouTube videos and podcasts and all that kind of stuff. Everything is at leadpages.net/rich that you could possibly want. And then the other thing is, if you have questions about anything we talked about, you can engage with me there or hit me up on Twitter @TimThePaige. I’m on Twitter pretty regularly, it’s one of my favorite social networks, I’ll be happy to interact with you there.
Rich: You made a special page just for me, that’s so sweet. Awsome. Tim, thank you very much, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing everything with us today..
Tim: Thanks for having me here.
Check out Tim’s website to learn more about how he generates impressive leads that help grow businesses.
Interested in hearing more from Tim? Check out his podcast for other great tips and advice.
Want the chance to interact with Tim? He’s active on Twitter and would love to hear from you.
Tim talked about how reading an article and listening to podcasts by Pat Flynn served as a driving influence on starting him on his current path. The Marketing Agents Podcast also talked to Pat about Public Speaking For Small Business. You can hear that interview here.