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How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads

In a small suburb of California, researchers went door to door with an absurd request.

They were asking homeowners if a huge ‘Drive Safely’ sign could be erected on their front lawn. As you might expect, almost no one agreed.

But, on one street a strange thing happened – over 70% of people actually agreed. The reason they said yes could be one secret to you getting more sales.

What happened?

Well, one week earlier the same homeowners had been asked if a small sticker could be placed on their window with the same message. It was such a small request that almost all of them agreed.

When one week later the same person returned and asked about placing the huge sign on their lawn. As it was much harder for the homeowner to reduce the request, the sign went up.

The Principle of Persuasion

In his 1984 ground-breaking book, Influence, psychologist, Robert Cialdini1Learn more about Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. identified 6 principles of how to get someone to say yes (convert them). They are:

  • Reciprocity – we want to return a favour
  • Scarcity – we buy because it is in short supply
  • Authority – we believe trustworthy and credible experts
  • Liking – we say yes to people we like
  • Consensus – we trust the power of the crowd, and
  • Consistency
In his best-selling book, Influence, psychologist Robert Cialdini defines the 6 principles of how to get someone to say yes (convert).

The Principle of Consistency

The principle of consistency states that we like to be consistent with what we have said or done in the past. Tell people you like Grande, nonfat, Caramel Macchiato, and next time you’re in Starbucks you’re more likely to order it (even if you’d feel better drinking tea).

Consistency also plays a part in marketing and sales.

Your waitress drops by your table to ask how your meal is. With your mouthful, you pause, consider how delicious the burger is a mumble that it’s great. What appears to be simply good customer service is also the principle of consistency in action.

Customers who agree they liked their meal are more likely to order dessert2There are many studies on the impact of a waiter’s behaviour and the number of tips they receive. One study found that if waitresses added a smiley face on a bill it increased tips (but not for waiters) and when waitresses briefly touched the patron’s arm when asking if they’d like to order a drink, tips increased an average of 25%., stay longer, and tip more generously.

The ad agency wants you to think that the new truck displayed in their ads is a perfect fit for a person like you (adventurous, rugged, and the kind of person who would happily hook a chain to a friend’s 4X4 and pull them out of the mud).

A car salesperson wants you to agree that you like the color of the new car in the showroom.

We are responding to our need to be consistent without knowing it. Applying the principle of consistency to your website can motivate visitors who otherwise might visit and leave to stop and take action.

First, you need to deal with a high exit rate.

High Exit Rate

The goal of your website is to showcase your business to prospects and fill your sales funnel. Of course, your website can help build a brand, or offer members access to a membership site, but the primary goal is sales.

Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. Most visitors to your site arrive and then leave. Quickly.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - Exit Rate
Unfortunately, most visitors to your site leave on without getting past the first page

Imagine running a store where customers walk in the door, look around, and then leave – within one minute. It would be disastrous! The reality is that one minute is the average time people will stay on your site.

The good news is that a small percentage of those visitors will stay 3, 5 even 10 minutes. Those are your future customers.

The trick for getting short-time visitors to your site to become long-time visitors is to get them to take one small step. That’s where the principle of consistency comes in.

Just like you agreeing with your waitress that you like your meal if you can get a visitor to act in a way consistent with what they believe in you have a good first step.

One Small Step in the Right Direction

A good place to start is with your customers. Start by asking yourself what does your ideal customer already believe about themselves?

Brian Clark’s company Copyblogger invites readers who consider themselves to be “smarter” to join his list and learn more from his company.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - CopyBlogger
Caption What does your ideal customer believe about themselves?

Like many software companies, Convertkit invites site visitors to take a free trial of their software. What happens next is a great example getting prospects to take one small step.

Once, you click the button to take the free trial you are asked a simple question: are you starting a new mailing list or moving from a competing product?

Depending on how you answer that question you are asked one more question about your goals and then led to enter your name and email to open a free trial account.

The genius of this step-be-step method is that prospects are being led down a path of consistency—each question naturally follows what you indicated in the last question.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - Convertkit
Convertkit using the principle of consistency by asking prospects to answer questions that are consistent with the previous question.

Getting started

Getting a prospect to say yes to a sale will always be easier if they are acting consistently with their beliefs and the way they have acted in the past. Using the principle of consistency could be the secret weapon for turning your website into a sales funnel and converting more visitors into customers.

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How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard in Just 5 Minutes

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard

You’ve spent money on your website.

You’ve invested hours into your blog.

Now it’s time to track the results.

Just like any part of your business, if you want to improve performance you first need to know where you’re at. These are often called KPI’s, or Key Performance Indicators.

Enter your website performance dashboard.

This dashboard will give you the most important numbers you need to track and warn you when you need to make changes.

At BlogWorks, we are checking our website performance dashboard and it’s one of the first things we recommend our clients create.

It’s Monday, you walk into your office…

It’s Monday morning, you’re updating your list for the week and you stop.

There it is—that item you’ve been putting off for weeks: “update website.” Every week you’ve moved it to the next week; not sure how to start. Should you do a major overhaul (ugh!) or does your site need tweaking?

The problem isn’t your website. The problem is you don’t have the right information.

You need good information to make good decisions

Now imagine a different scene…

It’s Monday morning, you walk into your office and there’s a single page report lying on your desk. You smile.

It’s your website performance dashboard and it quickly gives you all the numbers you need to make good decisions. Cool, right?

But, before we get into what goes into your website performance dashboard, let’s look at a common mistake.

It’s called scope creep.

Avoid scope creep

As you start to build your website performance dashboard it’s easy to go too far.

For example, you want to know about traffic going to your site in the last 30 days. Great! But do you look at unique visitors (“users”), or do you look at pageviews, bounce rate, session duration, country of origin and best time of day to publish?

There are hundreds of data points on your site and trying to track any more than the essentials will quickly turn your website performance dashboard into a failed experiment.

Trying to track too much data is a recipe for disaster.

It’s like the dashboard in your car. There are hundreds of moving parts in your car, but to drive safely and make good driving decisions all you need are: speed, fuel level, distance (odometer), and maybe tachometer. All other indicators are hidden (like low oil warning light) until you need them.

Anything more is scope creep.

The perfect website performance dashboard needs to do 3 things:

  1. Give you important feedback on your online performance
  2. Be easy to update
  3. Indicate problem areas that need fixing.

The other problem with scope creep is the time it takes to update data.

The dashboard I’m recommending requires pulling data from multiple sources, so the more data points you collect, the more time this will take, and the more likely you are to stop updating it.

In the past, I have built crazy-complicated dashboards. Sure, they were full of great information, but it was a hassle to pull all the data, and inevitably they all failed.

In this article, I’ll show you how to build your website performance dashboard in just 5 minutes.

First, let’s look at where this puppy is going to live.

Where to keep your new dashboard?

There are lots of places where you could keep your new spreadsheet:

  • On your computer
  • Dropbox
  • Google drive

At BlogWorks we use Google Docs for all of the information we share with members of our team. It’s easy to use, you can select who gets to view, comment, or edit the document and there’s virtually no risk of losing the document or wasting time searching for the document on your hard drive.

Plus, it’s free when you are starting out and don’t have a lot of data to store.

The perfect starter kit

To get started, the perfect website performance dashboard will have only 3 categories:

  1. Mailing list size
  2. Website performance
  3. Social media followers

At the time of writing, I’m delivering two webinars a month, so at BlogWorks we also track webinar performance.

Here’s an example of what your first website performance dashboard can look like:

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard
Example of your first website performance dashboard

Let’s get into more detail on each category.

Mailing list size and growth.

Your mailing list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have. Unlike social media, emails from your mailing list can get directly into your prospects’ Inbox. You can deliver invitations, follow up with leads, and nurture your list with new blog posts.

Even if you only have a few hundred on your list now, growing your list should be a business goal. Here’s why…

As our world rushes to get online, most business owners are reconsidering their business model. Traditional businesses, like lawyers, physiotherapists, retail stores – even house painting – are finding ways to attract customers online. In many cases, those businesses are now delivering their service online.

How to Build Your Perfect Website Performance Dashboard
Building a larger email list means you have more options in your business for future growth.

Having a mailing list makes all of those changes possible.

The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business.

The sooner you start building your mailing list the sooner you can start building online revenues for your business Click To Tweet

At BlogWorks, we track the total list size every week. And because we have multiple lead magnets, we track the number of people who accepted each opt-in offer.

Website performance

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with Google Analytics because it tracks all activity on your site. That won’t help you!

Most business owners simply need to track:

  • Number of unique visitors (called “users”)
  • Goals

Periodically you should also be checking:

  • Top blog posts
  • Source of traffic
  • Percent of mobile users
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion on top blog posts

Here’s how to find unique visitors:

Log into Google Analytics. Click Audience > Overview

In Google language “user” means the number of people who visited your site at least once (it doesn’t include multiple visits)

How to create goals in your website

To simplify your website performance tracking you need to create goals within Google Analytics. In WordPress, this is a one-time exercise that starts the data collection so in one click you can get all the numbers you need to add to your website performance dashboard.

Typical goals will include traffic to your:

  • sales page (consulting, book, products, etc.)
  • prices page
  • thank you page (for an opt-in)
  • special offer page
  • contact page
Once you have your goals created it’s easy to update your dashboard

Creating a new goal is easy:

  • Click the Gear button (bottom-right corner)
  • Click Goals > “+ NEW GOAL”
  • Click “Custom” (the last option in the list) > CONTINUE
  • Enter the name of your new goal (like “Contact page”) and for Type, click “Destination” > CONTINUE
  • Under “Goal Details”, enter the last part of the URL for the page you want to track, like “/contact” > SAVE
With a few steps, you can create a new goal and easily track your website performance

Automatically Receive your Google Analytics Report

If you want to have a bit more detail you can easily set up Google Analytics to automatically send the standard website dashboard to you on a regular basis.

Here’s how to set that up:

  • Log into Google Analytics.
  • Click on Audience > Overview.
  • In the top-right corner, click “Share”. Fill in the form that pops up including selecting the frequency you want and you’re all set.
It’s easy to set up to receive your Google Dashboard every month

Social media followers

Each social channel has its own measures of “success”. On Facebook, it is followers, likes on posts, comments, and shares. LinkedIn tracks connections, followers as well as likes on posts and shares.

That’s great to know if you’re making decisions on what posts to create next, but it’s too much information for a regular dashboard update.

I recommend your dashboard only tracks your number of followers (connections in LinkedIn.)

Create a system

Now that you have your first website performance dashboard created it’s time to add a system (or SOP Standard Operating Procedure) to make updating it a no brainer.

The worst thing to do is go to all the work to build the dashboard and then stop updating it.

If you are going to update the website performance dashboard yourself, one trick is to block time to make it happen. Create a calendar appointment for 15 minutes that repeats.

Now that you have your website performance dashboard you will want to keep it updated

You can also create a reminder that repeats.

If you have an assistant or use remote freelancers, this is a perfect task to outsource.

Your business will grow because of your hard work, but also because of good information. Just like knowing your financial information you should also be tracking your online performance.

With a little effort, you can easily create your first website performance dashboard and start using it to make better, more informed, decisions.

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How to increase your blog conversions with a test drive

The blog is not dead.

Sure, your blog might not be as sexy as Instagram stories or slapping a cool video on YouTube, but…

your blog has something that no social media has.

Your blog makes people stop, look around and test the waters.

We call it the Test Drive Effect.

In this post, I am going to be talking about what is conversion on your blog and how to get more of it!

Before I get to that, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time…

No…not THAT story. I want to tell you the story of my first speaking experience.

Long before I was invited to stand on the main stage and deliver a keynote speech, I delivered workshops, mostly in meeting rooms at my client’s building. 

A pretty safe gamble.

I would be given a room full of employees who HAD TO BE THERE. At the time, it was perfect for a not-so-good amateur like me.

Then I was invited to the big game – my first speaking engagement at a conference. I was to deliver one of 5 concurrent workshops in the 10:30 slot leading up to lunch. 

Now, the stakes were higher…people had a choice—5 “break-out” sessions all happening at once.

Here’s what happened. 

I noticed that when people arrive BY CHOICE (just like when they choose to read your blog) the energy is different. They were more interested in learning and applying what they were learning.

And they stayed longer, asked questions and wanted more information.

And when I offered my book, more people bought my book.

I call it the Test-Drive Effect.

The Test-Drive Effect

Here’s how it works.

When people come to your website, on average they only stay for about one minute (that’s pretty typical of all our clients’ sites). But when they go to your blog posts they stay for 4, 6, even over 10 minutes! 

“When people stop to read your blog they are staying for 4-10 minutes – that’s a big opportunity.”

Just like the break-out session at the conference, they are test driving your solutions. They don’t get the full solution they might if they hired you, but they begin to understand how you think, how you solve problems, your style and most importantly, how you can help them.

When people read your blog they are test driving your solutions and your business. Click To Tweet

You are giving them a test drive.

To increase blog conversions, you need to first appreciate what is conversion and then there’s one more thing you need to do…

What is conversion?

Now imagine people come to the break out session and there’s no offer? No call-to-action? 

Sure, they might have learned something, but they weren’t invited to take the next step. It’s no different from your blog—if you don’t ask you won’t get. People might stop and give you 6 minutes of their time, but if there is no reason to take another action, they’re off checking Facebook.

You have to ask for the next step.

In Robert Cialdini’s brilliant book Influence, he describes the principle of consistency “People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.” When you ask for a small action – like joining your mailing list – you are one step closer to a big action – like a purchase decision.

Why? Because when people take that first step with a small “yes” they are that much closer to saying “YES” with a big purchase. 

When people take that first step with a small “yes” they are that much closer to saying “YES” with a big purchase. Click To Tweet

Just like test driving a car. When you take the car off the lot for a spin around the block the salesperson knows that if you come back saying all sorts of wonderful things about the experience you are much closer to saying “YES” to the car purchase. You are motivated to be consistent with your behavior.

That leads to increased blog conversions.

What small ‘Yes’ can you can ask for? It could be as simple as:

  • Invite them to read a second, related blog post
  • Ask them to join your list and receive future blog posts directly to their InBox.
  • Direct them to see your services or products.
  • Suggest they download a special report or one-page cheat sheet you created.
  • Send them to a self-assessment test.
  • Invite them to book a consultation or coaching call.
  • Give them 2 chapters of your new book.

Now it’s your job

Now it’s your job to put your blog to work. Sure you can fiddle away trying to get more Instagram followers or likes on Twitter – all good stuff – or you can convert blog readers to sales. It’s your choice.

When we work with small business owners we always start with the end goal. Just like a break-out session at a conference or test-driving a new car, there is always an end goal.

From there we design blog posts that get readers to stop and make a decision. There has to be a next step (I’ve given you 7 above).

Once your reader takes the first step (the test drive) it’s always easier to help them take the next, bigger step. And that leads to your ultimate goal: increased blog conversions.

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5 questions to ask before building your first mailing list

Notebook with notes about building a mailing list

“Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI.”  Karl Murray, Founder of Send.ie

There’s one marketing strategy that will never get old.  Grow your mailing list.

Of course, today we would rarely call it a ‘mailing list’ – it’s your list of followers, enquiries and clients.

Sure, you want Instagram followers, more retweets, YouTube subscribers and more site traffic. But none of those can compare to…

an email from you being opened and read by a loyal follower.

More on that in just a minute…

In this post we will share why a list is so important and how to build a list with your blog.

Why a mailing list is so important

Something magical happens when someone joins your list (read this post to learn the 5 ways to make money with your blog).

When a reader of your blog accepts an invitation to join your list, the relationship with you and your company changes.

They are now one step further down your sales funnel. You can email them directly to their InBox. They recognize your emails and are more likely to read them.

They see your sales offerings and consider them (not sure how to make this happen? Book a call for a free consultation).

To use the old marketing line – they know, like and trust you. And you now have a follower.

And here’s the most important benefit…

when it comes time to buy your product or service, you are now a preferred supplier.

A real life example

In 2013 James Clear, a part-time photographer, weight lifter and neophyte writer started publishing two blog posts a week. To nobody.

Cover of James Clear book Atomic Habits

No list, no reputation, no marketing…nothing…just a desire to learn how to blog and to see if there was a possible business opportunity.

Fast forward to early 2019 and Clear is a New York Times best seller (his book Atomic Habits takes a fresh look at the now-classic 3-part habit building model popularized by Charled Duhigg in The Power of Habit.)

How did he do it?

He built a list. From the very start, Clear invited readers to join his list. At the time, the offer was simple: join my list and I will email my blog directly to your In-Box as soon as I publish the next article. That’s it!

To give you a more concrete idea of the bizarrely viral growth of his following, in 2018 alone he added over a quarter million readers to his list!

To put this in perspective, it is extremely unlikely any of this would have happened without a list.

What about you? Are you growing your list?

How to grow your mailing list

To get serious about growing your list, there are 5 considerations:

1. Where to keep my list?

This question deserves an entire post, but the basic questions you need to ask are:

  • What is a simple, inexpensive way to get started? Mail Chimp is the gorilla (sorry) of inexpensive mailing list tools. Constant Contact and ConvertKit are great alternatives to get started.
  • What tool offers room to grow, but is also simple to use? Resist the temptation to dive into the deep end with a subscription to a full-blown CRM (Keap, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, etc.) until you are ready. You can lose hundreds of hours learning how to use a system you aren’t ready for.
  • How can I quickly get started? Ask anyone who has subscribed to a mailing list tool and they’ll admit that all their learning came from just getting started. If you are new to the game, simply sign up for Mail Chimp, get started and consider moving your list to a more robust system once you have experience growing the list.

2. What’s the offer?

Surprisingly, you don’t need a fancy, complicated offer to attract followers. To get started, you can simply offer to send your articles to their InBox.

mailing list opt in form

Once you have some experience, you can add a “Lead Magnet”, like a free self-assessment tool, or self-help How-To article (see our Lead Magnet on our site).

3. What opt-in to use?

The two ways to position an opt-in on your site are a static “box” or responsive pop-up. If you know how to log-in to your site, you should be able to add (or update) a static box opt-in in a few minutes.

There are lots of excellent tools (plug-ins) to add a pop-up on your site, like Optin Monster, Thrive Leads and Convert Pro.

example of a site pop-up

At BlogWorks we use both a static opt-in (at the bottom of our site pages) as well as a pop-up. Despite the possible annoyance for some readers, when used well, a pop-up will consistently get you better results.

4. How to promote the offer?

Having a static invitation to grow your list is a good first start. Even better is promoting the offer.

Remember, getting an additional 1,000 interested followers on your list could turn into more subscribers to your membership program, sales of your online course, or sales of your product line. Every year.

Some of the easiest ways to promote your optin offer are:

  • Invitation in your blog post.
  • Experiment with settings on your pop-up optin.
  • Change the invitation message on your optin.
  • Signature on your emails.
  • Monitor and adjust your current campaign with new Lead Magnets.

5. How to use my mailing list?

The most obvious way to your list is to announce every new blog post. Even with a 15-3-% open/click through rate, this will give you a nice boost in blog traffic.

More sophisticated campaigns use lists to promote book launches, product sales and new products, surveys, conferences and anything that your followers might want.

The bottom line

Here’s the bottom line…

You can spin your wheels chasing YouTube subscribers or fixing your hair for the next Facebook Live, or you can build followers on your land.

You own your list (you don’t own followers on any other platform) and you can use it any way you want. Over time, that list will turn into loyal followers who will read what you write and buy what you offer.

It’s time to get started.

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