Quentin Pain
Author Archives: Quentin Pain

Is Richard Armstrong Out Of The Loop?

When you’re unknown and trying to make a name for yourself, your confidence can get a bit low.

But that was never the case with direct mail supremo Richard Armstrong.

But it wasn’t until Armstrong got to the top of his game that he got noticed by the king of direct mail, Richard V Benson.

Benson asked Armstrong where he had been hiding all this time.

And Armstrong’s response was: “I guess you’re out of the loop”.

Despite Benson’s massive fame, he had lost touch with what was going on out there in the real world.

Anyway, here’s the thing. Whether you’re in the loop with your peers or not is irrelevant.

The only ‘loop’ that matters is you and your audience.

So ask yourself the question: “Are you in the loop?”

How Your Body Helps You Become Legendary

Amy Cuddy’s talk on TED is vital for your future wealth

If you don’t get tears in your eyes by the end of this incredible talk, you need therapy 🙂

When it comes to confrontations and stressful situations, two hormones play an important role according to Amy Cuddy.

These are testosterone (power) and cortisol (fear).

The reason your mouth dries up in stressful situations (public speaking, interviews, power meetings etc.) is that your cortisol goes up.

So if you can find a way to reduce it, you should do everything you can to learn it.

And that’s what Amy’s talk is all about.

It is absolutely remarkable and will change your life forever.

Here’s the really important bit, once you know the ‘trick’:

  1. Our bodies change our minds
  2. Our minds change our behaviour
  3. Our behaviour changes our outcomes

And it only takes 2 minutes to do it!

Becoming Legendary just got a whole lot easier!

Does Video Really Improve Conversion Rates – Case Study

This case study was conducted just before the turn of the year 2014 and tests two landing pages, one with video and one without to see which one converted better over a 30 day period.

The test was carried out on Accounting for Everyone, which helps people learn accounting so they can make more sense of the figures their accountant produces for them (and in turn become better at business).

The site also has an optin front end, which I will feature in another case study later – feel free to sign up by the way – accounting is not hard and can be really fun!

After visitors optin, they are sent to a ‘thank you’ page that lets them know what to do next.

Here’s the page with the video (case study A).

image of landing page for video conversion rate case study A

 

The video is 26 seconds long and the call to action is at the bottom of the page (well below the fold).

That latter fact is an important item in this case study by the way as most tests show that calls to action should be in the top half of the page (above the ‘fold’) so they are not missed.

Landing page B is more or less the same but without the video, and the call to action link is above the fold.

The call to action for both pages is to encourage subscribers to go to week 1 of the course.

This gets them involved right away without the need to confirm their subscription immediately.

As well as the call to action in the text, they can also go directly to week 1 from the link in the menu on the side bar.

So my expectation was that there would be little difference in interaction between the two pages.

How wrong I was!

It just proves that what may seem obvious, isn’t necessarily so.

So, here’s the results. All figures were from Google Analytics by the way.

Let’s do it in reverse order:

Case B – No Video

video landing page case study B

There were 84 visits to this page and 55 clicked the link, making the conversion rate 65%.

That’s a very healthy conversion rate by the way.

Case A – With Video

video landing page case study A

There were 222 visits (this page won, so the first one got turned off, hence the higher number).

The conversion rate was a massive 89%.

Considering that the call to action was at the bottom of the page (requiring a scroll on most devices), 9 out of 10 people clicked the link.

That can only be down to the video, since the other page made it a lot simpler.

Note that this also improved the bounce rate for the site, since visitors were now staying at least 26 seconds longer.

Summary

Add a video to your ‘thank you’ pages for better retention, bounce rate and conversions.

The Biggest Mistake You Can Make In Business

Image of Steve Jobs of Apple talking about committees in business

Steve Jobs had a lot to say about running a business.

In fact, this is one of the most misunderstood areas of his life. Watch this short interview.

The brilliant thing about being the boss of a one-person business is that you never fall into the trap of having to persuade other people your ideas are good.

Because here’s the thing, other people in your business are the wrong people to ask anyway.

Even if they also consume your product, they are still wrong because they will be biased in favour of keeping their job (and worse, trying to look good).

The best bit is that you get to discover the REAL answer to what works and what doesn’t when you abandon committees in favour of your customers.

You are either successful in the market place or not and they only will decide that.

But because we are all in fear of losing our job, money, reputation, integrity, house, spouse etc., we find it oh so hard to take responsibility.

So be proud that you have an opinion strong enough to take action with and go do it.

You will learn so much more, and so much faster.

Wisdom and knowledge come from experience, and that comes from taking action.

So having said that, why listen to me? Ha!

Well, apart from running my own businesses, this is also my experience of working with Apple and touring 20+ of their Apple Stores in the UK.

Their success didn’t happen by chance or by committee.

So as your business grows, give everyone within it the responsibility they deserve.

If someone you trust and employ (including yourself) says something is the right thing to do, let them do it.

If they mess up. I guarantee they won’t mess up in the same way again.

How To Choose The Best Name For Your Business

list of top business names

I have spent half a lifetime worrying over what to call each business I start, even though I know instinctively it’s a pointless task.

So I did a little research.

Let’s look at the UK first.

I needed a benchmark, and the UK FTSE 100 seemed ideal. 18 companies out of 101 include something in their name to suggest what they do (eg. Royal Bank of Scotland). So that’s 18%.

To see if there was a trend up or down I chose The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies. 25 of these have something in their name to suggest what they do (eg. TSL Education). That’s 25%.

I also checked The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies, as this is likely to include more recent players. And it turns out it’s the same.

That is 25% of the 100 best small businesses tell you (all be it very loosely) what they do in their name.

list of top business namesNow let’s have a look at the US and the rest of the world in general.

According to Forbes list of  Best Small Companies, 44 of the 100 listed have some mention of their industry in their business name. That’s 44%.

The Dow Jones 30 shows just 3 that suggest what they do in their name. That’s 10%.

According to the New York Stock Exchange Company listings, of the 83 traded, 20 have some notion of what they do in their name. Just over 24%.

And if we take the top 65 companies globally, we find 17 with their industry in their name (often very loosely, eg. Petrobras). That’s 26%

So when you next struggle to name your enterprise, bear in mind that the vast majority of successful businesses choose meaningless names!

However, if Forbes and The Sunday TImes are to be believed, then perhaps the trend is changing. But don’t count on it!

If you are stuck for a business name, the safe bet is to use your own name, initials or some play on it.

Using your own name plus industry is certainly safe and lets prospects know your area of expertise (eg. Jane Jones Photography) but how come there are almost zero top companies using this method?

What really matters is not the name you choose, but the way you choose to market it.

To highlight that, let’s go back 50 years and gawp in wonder why anyone would choose to name one of the world’s best known pop groups after a pun on an insects name. The Beatles.

So, the best advice is to spend your valuable time on productivity, especially marketing and forget worrying about names.

The proof is in the stats.

How To Invest In PPC Marketing Without Losing Your Shirt

If I told you to invest $1,000 in Google PPC right now to promote your business, you would tell me I was an idiot.

And quite right too. I haven’t given you a single good reason to invest your hard earned cash.

So here’s a question: is whatever you are selling worth buying? (this is a great question to ask yourself from time to time)

What’s your margin (the difference between what it cost to buy and what you sell it for less any tax)?

The amount you come up with is your maximum marketing budget.

Time Is Not Money

If you invest that money in marketing and you sell at least one item you won’t lose money.

(yes, you will lose time plus any business overhead – but you will also have gained a new customer and retained your shirt!)

The alternative is to spend nothing on marketing, in which case you are unlikely to sell anything at all.

All unsuccessful business owners fit into this camp.

They don’t value marketing.

So how do you convince yourself that marketing is a good thing?

There are three ways to pay for marketing:

  1. Time (your time)
  2. Time + Money (your time plus your money)
  3. Money (your money only)

Almost all small business owners I talk to (unsurprisingly) go for the first option.

And they mostly stay broke.

A few opt for option 2 and become successful (or broke).

This involves thinking about your market, then paying money to broadcast your message.

The foolhardy go for option 3 – which is to outsource everything (don’t do it unless you are happy to entrust your money to a stranger).

So you can either choose option 1 where you are most likely to stay broke or give yourself a chance of success with option 2.

 But Free Traffic Does Still Work Doesn’t It?

Yes, it’s true that someone with social marketing skills and great content creation can build a strong presence (and I would highly recommend that route to compliment the paid route), but it is getting increasingly tougher to show up in search engine results because Google are starting to squeeze the area where free listings are displayed.

In fact, if you are showing up for a ‘buyer intent’ search phrase, then 40% of the results on page 1 are now devoted to paid ads.

Take a look at the history of how page 1 went from 100% free to 40% paid.

  1. Google launches in 1998 and every page is ad free (hooray! – they win market share very quickly)
  2. Google add paid ads to the side bar of search results and make them obvious by giving them a different coloured background (the public accepts this and Google remain the dominant player)
  3. Google add paid ads to the top of search (pushing down the top 3 free slots to positions 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Google introduce the ‘carousel’ display ads and the organic (free) listings drop even further down the page (they are now below the ‘fold’ on smaller screens)
  5. Google remove the coloured background to the ads in the sidebar and replace it with a tiny ‘Ad’ flag

The writing is on the wall. The search engines need to keep their investors happy, so the trend is likely to erode free listing results further.

 

But Paid Traffic Costs A Fortune

You can pay less than a penny a click or over $100. It all depends on the popularity and buyer intent of the keywords you are targeting.

And that comes down to how much time you are prepared to research your market.

Or more precisely, understanding the mindset of your audience when they are thinking about the possibility of making a purchase.

It all comes down to the buying decision journey.

There’s A Big Problem

And that almost always starts off with some kind of problem.

Even luxuries often start this way.

Take a holiday for example.

The reason someone goes in search of a holiday can start with the ‘problem’ of where to go during their annual leave.

Or what to do as the year runs out and they still have a number of days leave to take which they would otherwise lose.

Once that process has started. It follows that they have a choice of staying at home or going away.

And this is precisely where you can get in cheaply.

What’s the thought process going through your prospective buyer’s head?

Put yourself in the position of that ideal customer and imagine what they would be thinking (and what they are going to do about it).

I know it’s basic marketing 101, but this type of thinking is still way beyond what most businesses are currently doing.

And that is, target pre-buyer intent keywords.

And then do something even more remarkable – don’t try to sell them anything.

What You May Not Realise About PPC And List Building Costs

Let’s take this a little further.

First you need to find out your average customer yearly value.

This will tell you how much you can afford to invest in marketing to that customer.

This system relies on your ability to collect their details and re-market to them again and again.

So the first job of your PPC campaign is to collect their name and email – or even just email if you want to maximise engagement.

(in fact there are even better ways of doing this, which I will cover in another instalment)

Because we are targeting less popular keywords, our advertising costs will come right down.

And we will be building a list of prospects that we can market to again and again – without needing to pay for them again and again.

Here’s an example. Month one investment of $100. Selling a recurring item to 10 prospects for $3 a month.

Return on investment is therefore $30 (i.e. a loss of $70 on our investment).

This is the point where most people give up because they are losing money.

Month 2 sees another investment of $100. The return is double (because you resell to the first group of prospects) $60.

By the time you get to month 4 your monthly return is $120, yet you are still only spending $100.

By month 12 your return will be $360 a month for a $100 spend.

Obviously this implies a 100% customer retention rate, but you get the point.

PPC advertising works when done with a good strategy, plenty of testing and a little forecasting.

Get it right and you can scale it up as big as you want.

That is what successful businesses do.

And once you start you soon realise there is more to online success than Google.

Meanwhile you may want to take a look at some PPC campaigns I am testing on Facebook.

Facebook Advertising Case Study #2

Facebook Advertising Case Study #2 image 1

In the first part of this series I jumped straight in with what I would a medium dive.

That is, not too broad and not too narrow. Just to get a flavour on whether my initial hunches were on the right track.

Oh, and I should just explain if you are here for the first time, that there are two goals for this exercise:

  1. Let my target audience know about the Legendary Business Owners Club and these case studies.
  2. Help small business owners see how they could leverage Facebook advertising for their own businesses.

If you haven’t seen the first part, you can view it here: Facebook Advertising Case Study #1

So back to business.

This time I went very broad.

Four adverts over two days.

The fact they ran over Christmas was probably not a good idea, but, well, it adds another level to it (and may explain the lousy results!)

Anyway, I may run the same experiment on some ‘ordinary’ days, just to make sure.

The four advertisements covered the following demographics:

Ad 1: Women 35+ in the USA interested in Advertising.

Ad 2: Women 35+ in the USA interested in Marketing.

Ad 3: Men 35+ in the USA interested in Advertising.

Ad 4: Men 35+ in the USA interested in Marketing.

They were all ‘Promoted Page Posts’ (that is I added a post to the Legendary Business Owners Facebook page – not the Facebook Group I also run).

All the adverts targeted desktop computers only (i.e. not mobile devices like smart phones and tablets).

When clicked, the adverts took people to this post:

Facebook Advertising Case Study #2 image 1

I should also point out that before this went up, the  page had 3,644 likes and afterwards it had increased by 1 to 3,645.

(if you want likes you need to put up something outstanding or ask people to like the page – the latter works very well by the way – just don’t overdo it).

Facebook has an audience ‘meter’ on their advertising interface and my target demographics were bang in the middle of. That is, neither fully broad nor fully specific.

The maximum reach of each ad was as follows (all USA, aged 35+, using Facebook Newsfeed only):

  1. Women – Advertising – 4m
  2. Women – Marketing – 13.8m
  3. Men – Advertising – 2m
  4. Men – Marketing – 6.4m

That’s an interesting statistic in itself. Twice as many women as men say they are interested in advertising and marketing in the USA.

According to Facebook, 80% of their active users are outside the US and Canada. So as these case studies continue it will be interesting to see how the rest of the world pans out.

Results

The total number of people who saw the ad was 3,487.

The total number of actions taken was 26.

The total campaign cost was £20 ($33)

So the cost per action was £0.77 ($1.27)

Interestingly the cheapest cost per click (CPC) came from USA Men interested in Marketing.

This was £0.25 ($0.41). However, whilst this ad got the most clicks, it did not get the most ‘action’ (as Facebook calls it – and it’s actions that count), so the Action cost was £0.58 ($0.95).

An Action can be a click, like, share or comment.

That came from the smallest demographic group: USA Men interested in Advertising with a CPC of £0.56 (around $0.92) and an Action cost of £0.67 ($1.10)

Women interested in Advertising had a CPC of £0.50 ($0.82) and an Action cost of £1 ($1.65) – considerably more than men for both our target interests.

The adverts graphic was a blue background Christmas tree, so my next test (had Christmas not ended!) would have been to test it in pink (in hindsight I should have gone ‘safe’ and used a green background – although that is still just an assumption, and assumptions are dangerous things!).

Summary

Don’t go broad when advertising on Facebook!

I know that is blindingly obvious, but unless you try these things for yourself, who are you going to listen to and trust?

Next time we will niche right down and see if we can get some real action going here.

If you are not a member of the Facebook Group, please click on the ‘Request to Join’ button on the top right of this page: Legendary Business Owners Facebook Group.

How To Become A Thought Leader (and how not to!)

In my last company we paid a small fortune (around $200,000) to a PR firm to position me as a ‘thought leader’. It wasn’t entirely my idea, but we had investor money and my ego loved it!

The result was the odd piece in regional newspapers, some online coverage here and there, a nice piece in the Sunday Times (see the link below – well, ‘nice’ as far as ‘me ,me, me’ is concerned!). Plus I was the ‘Money Doctor’ for a month in a free mass circulation paper called the Metro (ABC circulation 770,000).

At a family get together my nephew told me he saw one of the articles in the Metro and it had helped him save money. I was incredibly grateful, but it was the only direct feedback we ever got.

In hindsight, we needed to spend time, not money. We put no effort into it, therefore it had no real value. The PR firm did what they thought was best, but their agenda was to keep their business going, not ours. To be a thought leader, you need to be… well, a thought leader – Ha!

But this much I know. If you don’t put a great deal of effort into spreading your message (which can only really happen if you care enough) then someone else will show up and trump you. It has happened to me before in my Acorn Computer years. I would have been a millionaire in the 1990’s if I had just bothered to show up.

Spread your message whenever and wherever you can. It’s worth it.

Facebook Advertising Case Study

The campaign was carried out over 9 days in December 2013 and consisted of three campaigns.

All of them were based on what Facebook calls a ‘Promoted Page Post’, which means a click on the advert will take the visitor to a post on your Facebook page.

This keeps the visitor within the Facebook environment and so according to the Facebook experts I have talked with will cost less than sending them to an external page (eg. your website).

I will cover that aspect in another case study (watch for announcements in the Facebook group – and please do join us if you haven’t already).

The Facebook page I will be sending people to if they click the ad is here: https://www.facebook.com/marketingbible

Campaign 1

The cost was £25 and the campaign ran for 3 days.

  • Ad Reach: 10,206 (screenshot below was taken just before the campaign ended)
  • How many clicked on the ad: 75
  • How many signed up as new members: 24
  • Cost of each additional member: £1.04 ($1.70)
  • Click through rate: 0.735% (clicks on the ad)
  • Conversion rate: 32% (ad click to member sign up)

Landing page:

Facebook promoted page post advert plain text image

Campaign 2

Change: seasonal image of Christmas tree

The cost was £10 and the campaign ran for 2 days.

  • Ad Reach: 6,933
  • How many clicked on the ad: 31
  • How many signed up as new members: 13
  • Cost of each additional member: £0.77 ($1.26) – 25% cheaper
  • Click through rate (CTR): 0.447% (clicks on the ad) – lower CTR!
  • Conversion rate: 42% (ad click to member sign up)

Landing page:

Facebook Advertising Case Study #2 image 1

Campaign 3

Change: Seasonal image of smiling woman

The cost was £5 and the campaign ran for 1 day.

  • Ad Reach (how many saw it): 1,047
  • How many clicked on the ad: 24
  • How many signed up as new members: 1
  • Cost of each additional member: £5.00 ($8.17)
  • Click through rate: 2.292% (clicks on the ad) – 314% increase
  • Conversion rate: 4.17% (ad click to member sign up) – significantly lower

Landing page:

Facebook promoted page post advert with image of woman

Facebook Advertising Case Study Summary

The best CTR came from campaign number 3, which ironically also had by far the worst conversion rate (visitors were obviously far more interested in the image than the message)

Campaign 2 produced the best result for our purpose even though the CTR was 40% lower. The audience was more receptive to the message attracting new members for 25% less.