Hey everyone, it's me, Spencer. I just wanted to introduce my guest real quick. Taylor Hendricksen is a super smart guy that I have known for a while. Not only did he design and build NichePursuits.com, but he's also helped in various ways in optimizing my blog here as well as Long Tail Pro.
I hope you'll check out what Taylor has to say, he knows what he's talking about…
Who Am I?
First off, I’m Taylor Hendricksen, and I’m a marketing consultant with web design tendencies. I’m by no means the be-all, end-all expert, but have learned a lot from much wiser people than myself (Dan Kennedy, Ryan Deiss, Russell Brunson, etc.).
Over the few years I’ve worked in the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations, from large universities and public utilities, to multi-million dollar companies, to the small-time mom-and-pop type stores, and about everyone in between.
Through that, I’ve seen a wide variety of marketing and sales systems, with their effectiveness as wide-ranging as their business types. Some have making money down to a science with German-level efficiency, and others are playing hide-and-seek blindfolded.
Any established business that actually sells something (not speculative startups, or CPM advertising-driven websites) is governed by a set of immutable marketing fundamentals. These fundamentals dictate the success or failure of that business. They can be implemented in any established business to find significant success, or ignored leading to inconsistency and a continual struggle to turn a profit.
I’m not going to talk about high-level strategy or business theory today. I’m going to talk about a few specific, actionable, and fundamental steps that any established business can use to immediately grow revenue.
But first, the ground rules…
If I HAD to Double Revenue of a Business in 3 Months…
The whole purpose of this article is to distill down the most essential actions I would take in a business if I absolutely had to double revenue in 3 months.
Similar to Tim Ferriss’s idea of identifying the specific daily activities you would do if you had a heart attack, and were only allowed to work 1-2 hours per day, I’m going to identify the select few most effective actions that any product / service based business should take for maximum results.
… Without Adding Any Traffic…
All too often, it’s easier and sexier for a business to focus more on traffic and “getting in front of more people”, than the actual fundamentals of their sales and marketing process.
Most businesses don’t have a traffic problem. They have a business problem. They’re using “lack of traffic” as a cop-out, and they don’t even realize it.
Traffic is only one piece of a marketing funnel:
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Most of the time, businesses aren’t effectively converting their existing traffic. They aren’t fully maximizing the value of their existing customers. Just by focusing more on those two parts of the funnel, almost any business can realize immediate results.
… With as Few Steps as Possible …
Tactics and lists are like crack for the Internet Marketing community.
You would never want to hear about every single possible way to get from San Francisco to New York (including walking, skipping, bicycling, crawling, pogo-sticking etc.) – you just want to be told about the most effective ways (planes, trains and automobiles).
So why would you want to hear about the “754 Ways to Make More Money Online”?
We’ll skip over the smaller tactics that contribute to the overall whole (such as site architecture, page load speeds, semantic SEO, conversion rates, button colors, marketing automation platforms, etc.). I’ll stick to the most effective, most specific, and most distilled down actions you can take for maximum results.
… Using a Real-Life Example
To show you how effective these action steps are, I’m going to back them up with a real-life example of how these specific actions impacted one of my most recent clients. It just so happens this client was actually referred over to me from the Niche Pursuits website redesign project, so is a member of this current audience! Chris, the business owner and I had a joint effort on this wildly successful project.
We Increased Recurring Revenue Over 400% (4x) within 7 Months, Without Adding Additional Traffic.
The two sites went from making $10,000 in March 2015, to over $40,000 in October 2015.
I chose to be conservative with my “doubling revenue” headline, and use an example that was actually “quadrupling revenue”.
The cool thing is we have only partially implemented the plan so far, and will continue to incorporate many of these tips I’ll share with you to expand our sales funnel, to meet our goal of a $1 million per year monthly run rate by mid-2016. Not bad for a niche website 🙂
So let’s get down to business. Here are the 5 most powerful steps to doubling revenue.
1) Make a Clear, Value-Packed Front-End Offer, Then Follow Up
Almost every established business has their “core offer,” which is the bread-and-butter product or service, and earns a majority of the revenue. Most of the time this “core offer” is pitched and sold from as many places as possible. Oftentimes it’s only step for visitors to take.
But by making that sole offer up front to every first-time visitor, you’re repelling a majority of them right off the bat. They need to get know you first, and actually trust in the value you provide, which takes time.
You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first or second date. You’d build the relationship, and take time to date and court them over a longer period of time.
Instead of swinging for the fences and losing trust, make an up-front offer that is either free, or a very low $. You get the chance to begin the courtship process with your visitor.
This offer should be PACKED with value and re-affirm their decision to make the small investment of an email address or money.
Then, you will need to be in touch with them continually over a long period of time, and present them with ways to actually say “yes” on occasion, and give you money.
Studies show only 3% of visitors will buy up-front the first time, while 47% will buy within the next 3-12 months, but just aren’t ready to right now. If you only focus on the 3% that are ready to buy right away, you’re completely missing out on more than 15x the customers you could have.
For Chris, the main core products were ExBoyfriend Recovery PRO, and ExGirlfriend Recovery PRO. Both are extensive guides to helping people who just went through a breakup improve themselves, take control, and get more of what they want out of life ( including their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend).
While we do link directly to the main sales pages from many of the blog pages, a large portion of revenue for these products actually comes through the free opt-in that is placed around the website. The opt-in an extensive email sequence that delivers a ton of value to the readers, then encourages them to continue learning more and getting more value from the core product.
This little sequence is so value-packed that Chris regularly gets emails from people, begging for the next email in the series if for some reason the email delivery is later than expected.
They will go through this main email sequence for 2 weeks, then be placed on a general email list that gets mailed to regularly, in perpetuity. So whether they’re ready to buy right now, or will be ready to do so in 8 months time after the next breakup, Chris’s brand will be front-and-center in their minds as the best solution for their pain.
Another client of mine has a follow-up sequence that automatically follows up for a full 2 years, and sees business trickle in from that every single month. As soon as people are ready to finally purchase they contact my client.
This one worked very well, so we decided to add the same idea to ExGirlfriend Recovery.
This is an area Chris and I are planning on expanding significantly in the next few months. We’ll be implementing segmented opt-ins (very similar to the ones here on Niche Pursuits) to better solve specific problems that people are having with more specialized lead opt-ins.
2) Raise Prices 25% – 50%
Most people are self-conscious. It’s just a fact of life.
It’s for this reason (along with countless others) that business owners will often underprice their product or service relative to the market price. They will say that this is to “be competitive.” It usually just means they are not confident enough in the value it provides to price it higher.
This is a huge mistake, and will make a business susceptible to dealing with the dreaded “discount shopper”.
I have nothing against being frugal, and my wife and I have both been raised to be particularly price-conscious ourselves. But whenever you aim to have the lowest price, you are attracting people who are far more concerned about the price than the service.
Prime Example – http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/.
These will often times be the worst, most needy, penny-pinching clients and customers you can find. I’ve personally found that these customers often cost me more money than I was making on them. Definitely not worth it.
Something magical happens when you start to increase your price:
- The penny-pinchers start to go elsewhere for a lower price.
- Most clients stay on / continue purchasing because they are more concerned about the problem you are solving, or the value you’re providing, than the price point.
- You start to appeal more to the “premium” customers who are looking to buy the best (i.e. – most expensive).
- The clients who are paying the higher price are actually be happier with the product or service than they were before. They have psychologically valued it higher.
- You make more money!
Most of the time you have room to increase your price anywhere from 25% to 50%, but in some cases, you should literally be doubling or tripling what you charge.
Yes, you might and will lose out on a tiny portion of business because of that. But that’s a portion of business you probably didn’t want anyway. The increased revenue will more than make up for the small loss in business, and each of your customers will be much more profitable than before.
I did this with my own business, and ended up getting rid of all but a tiny handful of clients on at a higher price. The result was my business doubled, I worked a fraction of the hours while traveling the world with my wife, and the few clients I have are much happier than the lower paying ones from before.
For Chris and ExBoyfriend Recovery / ExGirlfriend Recovery, this actually happened before I started working with him.
He was originally pricing his product at $39, and it was selling decently well. After all, $39 is a rather expensive product for his particular demographic (primarily 18-25 females).
But on the advice of numerous experts, he tested a price increase from $39 up to $47 (only a 20% increase).
The results? The number of sales stayed at about the same amount, but revenue per-customer increased from $39 to $47 almost overnight.
That’s even a price point we will continue to test to find that optimal range.
No matter what you think about your current pricing, you should at least be testing out a higher price point. Just see what happens. Chances are you will end up making more money, and not losing as many clients as you think.
3) Add a Packaged / Premium Version
A certain percentage of customers will always go for the higher priced option. Whether they believe that the higher priced option is a much better value, or just have a habit of buying the best – they will consistently be willing to pay more for almost anything.
That’s why McDonald’s doesn’t just offer dollar menu cheeseburgers. They offer an extensive selection of gourmet burgers at about 8x the price. They may not sell as many, but make 8x more money per customer on each of those burgers sold. Same cost to acquire, but about 6x the profit.
If you can come up with a higher-priced option of your core product offering to offer alongside it, you can immediately see a substantial boost in revenue-per-transaction.
For ExBoyfriend Recovery, we took the existing core product of ExBoyfriend Recovery PRO priced at $47, and added an “Audiobook Version” which was just the Audiobook at $67, and a “Deluxe Package” that included 2 additional small eBooks in addition to the audiobook and main PDF, also priced at $67.
The intention was to try and make the Deluxe package look as appetizing as possible, by contrasting its value against just the basic and audiobook versions.
The results? About 40% of people started buying the higher package (37% took the Deluxe, and 3% took the Audiobook version).
Our value-per-transaction for these customers immediately went from $47 to about $55.5 (about 18% boost).
4) Add an Up-Sell
Every single day you see up-sells all over the online and offline business world. Why? Because they work. Really, really well in fact.
If you can increase the amount of money you make from an existing paying customer by making it easy to purchase something else, you make a ton more money.
Almost every convenience and retail store does this by placing candy and gum at the checkout counter to encourage people who are standing in line waiting to buy something to maybe just grab one more thing.
Online behemoths like Amazon use up-sells and cross-sells to generate about 35% of their revenue (over $31 billion in 2014 alone).
Heck, it’s even how McDonald's makes a majority of their profits.
It costs them about $1.91 in advertising, labor and materials to sell a single hamburger for $2.09 (a measly $0.18 profit).
But by asking every customer if they’d like fries and a coke for an extra $1.77 ( only costing them about $0.27), and getting a certain percentage of takers,
They’ve effectively increased profit from $0.18 to $1.32 (a 633% increase!)
That's without having to pay to acquire any more customers! Multiply that by billions of hamburgers sold per year, and it adds up to billions in additional revenue, all because of the simple question “would you like fries with that?”.
The up-sell itself can be anything:
- Additional training resources
- Complimentary product / service
- Recurring maintenance or service program
- Additional quantities of the same thing you just sold them
- Basically anything to increase the value of that transaction!
Sure, only a percentage of your buyers will say yes to it, but those “yes” answers are by far the cheapest you can get.
For ExBoyfriend Recovery, we already knew that up-sells worked in this exact market, because Chris had seen about a 20% – 30% upsell take rate from promoting affiliate products in the past.
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So we implemented an up-sell right after a purchase of ExBoyfriend Recovery PRO and ExGirlfriend Recovery PRO of “The Texting Bible”, for an additional $39.
Sure enough, we started getting about 26% of customers who had just purchased a product from us for $47 – $67, say yes to another product for an additional $39.
That just increased the average value of each of our customers from $55.50 to around $65.50.
*** Math Break ***
Just because everybody loves math!
But to simply demonstrate how only these last 3 steps affected the revenue of ExBoyfriend Recovery and ExGirlfriend Recovery, I’m going to break down the numbers with a sample set of 100 customers:
That means that as soon as we raised prices, added a premium version, and added an upsell, our revenue increased 67%.
That's already about 2/3 of the way to doubling revenue of the business, by only doing 3 things!
This boost in Average Customer Value (ACV) also made all of our advertising, marketing and promotional efforts much more profitable. Each customer went from being worth $39 revenue to us, to $65.50. Now we can afford to pay much more to attract customers, because we’ll make more off of each one in the end.
“Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.”
– Dan Kennedy
Now that number only shows the impact of three specific actions (price increases, premium packages and upsells).
That doesn’t take into account the increased conversion rates, opt-in boosts, additional traffic to landing pages, etc. that all led up to the 400% increase in revenue.
5) Create Something New to Sell to Existing Customers
The last simple action you should take right now if you have an established business is to create or re-purpose something to sell to your existing customers.
The most profitable sales you can ever make are to existing clients that you’ve already paid to acquire.
You have already spent money, time and effort to acquire them as customers. They have already said they trust you enough to purchase something from you. That means that they are about 7x more likely to buy from you again, vs having to get new customers from advertising, word-of-mouth, etc. first time visitors.
So if you have a massive list of people who have already given you money for something, make or offer something else to that same group!
You can use an effective communication method like email marketing to send out a 2-3 email blast to your entire old customer list, announcing a new product offering, and you’ll be sure to get a certain percentage of them to say yes, and take you up on that offer.
Those are transactions that cost you a fraction of a normal transaction, and can easily explode profits in your business.
For ExBoyfriend Recovery, this was an additional product that the market had been demanding for years – The Texting Bible. It’s basically the go-to guide in the industry for how-to effectively text with and attract the person you’re interested in.
When Chris first released the product, we sent a 2-3 email blast out to the entire email list. No big launch sequence, or JV partners, or anything like that.
That email blast alone accounted for about $5,000 in extra revenue in the first week.
No additional customers we had to acquire, and no additional costs. We just told the people we were already in contact with about a new product, and bam – thousands of dollars.
We’ve got a number of additional products lined up soon, and a much larger list now, so will be seeing much higher revenue figures for launches in the future.
Ready to Double Your Revenue ?
There you have it! Doubling your revenue in a short time period is now much simpler and more clear than ever. I’ve shown you how we’ve taken these exact steps.
I’ve outlined how to more than double value-per-customer, and given a few examples that helped contribute to the 400% growth in 7 months that ExBoyfriend Recovery and ExGirlfriend Recovery saw.
To quickly recap:
- Make a Clear, Value-Packed Front-End Offer, and Follow Up
- Raise Prices 25% – 50%
- Add a Packaged / Premium Version
- Add an Up-Sell
- Create Something New for Existing Customers
Every business is different and there is no guarantee that taking these steps will yield the same results. The truth is most people will do nothing with this information, and see absolutely no results at all, so these results are definitely not typical for everyone reading this. But it is most definitely possible for those who implement. The only guarantee is that if you don’t implement any of these, you won’t see any of the results. Try them out or find someone to do it for you.
Want to Calculate the Growth Potential for Your Business?
These steps I’ve outlined above are by far the fastest and most effective ways to grow revenue of an established business that already has paying customers.
There are a large number of other areas of marketing and sales improvement that can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line of any business that sells a product or service.
My company runs a program called the HD Growth Program, which is a performance-based business growth incubator for business owners who are feeling stuck with where they are currently. We partner with a few select established businesses ($10k+ /m), to fix and re-engineer their marketing and sales funnels, for dramatic results in monthly revenue.
Then we only make a percentage of the growth above what the business was already making. No money up front, and nothing until you make more.
We’ve taken the exact calculator (The Growth Potential Calculator) we use to evaluate the potential of each of the business applications that we get, and made it available online.
After you take the 5-10 minutes to fill it out, it will not only spit out a few things:
- A specific number that represents the Growth Potential of your business
- Specific suggestions ranked on the most impactful actions you can take to increase the revenue of your business right now
You can take this information and immediately implement it to see $1,000’s of extra dollars in your pocket, or apply to the HD Growth Program, and let us help you take your business to the next level.
We are looking to take on a few more clients for 2016, and are opening applications for a limited time to the HD Growth Program for this new year. Spots fill up fast, and we only currently take about 5% of qualified applicants on.
I’ll be around to answer and respond to as many of the comments as I can below! So if you have any specific questions or comments, I’ll do my best to answer them (hopefully without giving out more information than I should).