What story does your website analytics tell? I probably spend way too much time looking at our Google Analytics account. But I have quickly become an expert at using this data to find new ways to build our email list — which in turn builds our traffic, our social media presence, and (most importantly) our business. However, earlier this year I was struggling to gain such insights. It wasn’t clear to me how I should even go about this. When I looked at our website visitor data I saw 99.5% of visitors coming into the website, and promptly leaving. A few shared our articles, and a few joined our newsletter, but that was pretty much it. What was I doing wrong? I dug deeper into the data, reflecting on past articles I had published, what our audience seemed to share the most, and what articles resulted in the highest email conversions. Many of the people coming into our website from Google were actively seeking answers to specific questions. That was one observation. Second, I had run a couple of experiments from the beginning of the year where I would insert email opt-in forms directly into our blog posts. For example, most of my articles are 2000+ words long so I inserted a “Read later” email collection widget which receives opt-ins almost daily now. I started studying other websites that had large email lists or who had grown a large email list quickly. Sites like HubSpot and LeadPages (affiliate link), among about 5 others. I took notes on each, and the following appeared to be key factors in building a large email list:
- The quantity of opt-in opportunities (i.e. number of forms and calls to action)
- The incentive offered
- The simplicity of the form
- How well the incentive fit within the context of the content on the page
- The overall visibility of the opt-in opportunities
“The Every Page Rule”The Every Page Rule means if you own a business, and that business has a website, you should think of every page of your site (blog pages especially) as landing pages. Again: every page on your website is now a landing page. Got it? If you’re not sure of the exact definition of a landing page, or you’re curious on how to make one for your sales funnel, read this guide. So what is the significance of the Every Page Rule? It’s significant because this will change the way you understand how your website works to build your business. Fundamentally, your thinking should go from this:
- “Opmff, well here’s my homepage and here’s my blog! I hope when someone visits they will some how magically reach the REAL landing page on my site that’s actually going to drive me some leads and sales! Or a least maybe my contact page?”
- “Most people who arrive on any page of my website will leave and NEVER return. I need to not just think of each page of my site like a hook dropped in the sea trying to randomly catch a few fish. No, it’s more like a hook dropped in the sea with a laser-guided, lead-sucking robot shark attached.”
Here are 3 easy steps to implement it1) Sharpen the blade – Abraham Lincoln once said, if asked to chop down a tree, he would spend 2/3’s of his time sharpening the blade. When it comes to sharpening your blade, start with your key sales funnel pages before you move over to optimizing your blog. For example, your homepage positions and sets the branding tone for the rest of your website. For this reason it should clearly communicate a single unique value proposition with a compelling call to action. But many websites fall short and fail on fundamental points like this. For example, here’s the homepage of one of our clients before we rewrote and redesigned it. It’s difficult to understand what they are offering with the “welcome” headline, and vague phrases like “the home of your dreams.” Now consider the redesigned version: Much clearer and straightforward right? In addition, when visually planning your website’s funnel, it’s extremely practical to have the navigation featuring the key landing pages of your sales funnel going across the entire site, namely, your blog pages. This increases visibility of these key landing pages and allows visitors to enter more easily and directly into the next level in your funnel. Consider the example below from the brandyourself.com blog: 2) Go for macro-wins on your blog’s design first – make design enhancements and feature additions that apply across the entire website. For example, one of the first changes I made to the Petovera blog was to our side bar. I popped open Photoshop and put together something decent to advertise our free course titled “Double Your Leads in 30 Days.” This was a “macro-win” because it would be shown across every page of the blog. 3) Focus on micro conversion wins that add up over time – Just about everyday I’m working to find some low-hanging, list-building opportunities. What I usually do is look at pages on the website that are getting the most traffic but that aren’t fully optimized for converting traffic into email list subscribers or leads. In one case, I observed that a recent article on growing your Facebook Likes was getting a steady flow of traffic from search engines. So, the micro-level optimization I made was was add a couple of calls to action for visitors to: (a) checkout an updated article on the topic and (b) an offer to download a video with tips on lead generation and how to steal your competitor’s followers. And even if a page is already optimized, there is always room for micro-improvements and testing because 90%+ of people arriving on that page aren’t converting.
Common mistakes1) Moving lower parts of your funnel too high up in the process. The screenshot below is from the side bar of a blog that offers an organizational training and systematization framework for growing small and medium sized businesses. The problem is, their conversion rates is probably half (or worse) of what they could be. I know this because marketing automation company, Marketo ran an AB test on one of their landing page forms where they removed 2 fields and saw a 30% increase in conversions. To further illustrate, in the example above:
- They are pushing their services in one of the form fields (assuming the prospect is already informed about their offering and possibly interested)
- It requires a first name
- It requires the phone number (seriously? I need to give up my phone number to subscribe to your newsletters?)
- And it even requires you tell them how you heard about them (which only benefits their company, not the prospective client / email subscriber)
- The Every Page Rule means that every page of your website (EVERY page) should be thought of as a landing page.
- By designing every page to act as a landing page, you can quickly grow your email list and leads, which in turn builds your business.
- The first step to implementing this is to focus on redesigning your core sales funnel webpages (the blog comes second)
- When moving on to apply the rule to your blog, start with macro-wins that apply across the entire blog design (i.e. a free report or course offer widget).
- Third, go for micro-wins. Look at which pages are performing the best and “tighten” those up pages by offering relevant content upgrade offers.
- There are some pitfalls to watch out for. It’s easy to take this idea to an extreme and hurt your conversion rates, which it why I recommend an iterative, balanced approach that will help you grow steadily over time.