The thing I love about running my internet business is that if things are awesome, I can gloat a little bit and revel in my own genius. And when things suck, I have no one to blame but myself. Make no mistake about it, if you make the decision to run your own company you’re going to experience a little of both 😉
The cool thing is that by running a blog you can give yourself a raise anytime you want. How is this done? It’s done by paying attention to the little details. This isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it’s necessary from time to time.
First things first. In order to implement the detail-tweaking recommendations I will give you here in a minute, it’s essential to first have a couple things in place. Without these two prerequisites, you aren’t going to get much fruit from your labor.
- Be working in a niche where you have actual expertise or something valuable to offer.
- Have a responsive readership. Not necessarily a large readership (what is LARGE, anyway? Large according to who?), but you need to have a community of readers that actually read your stuff and pay attention to what you’re doing.
Give Yourself a Raise – Some Tips
- Take the opt in box (you DO have one, right?) on your site and change the offer, or redesign it completely. If you’re using Aweber or a different system that allows it, implement a few split testing campaigns to test results.
- Add a pop up to your site to increase opt in rates.
- If you’re using CPC or affiliate ads, play with ad placement. A small change can easily bump your CTR by a percent or more.
- Add an image for the ebook you’re selling or giving away. Getting a cover designed will cost you only $50-100, and it will increase your conversions and sign ups noticeably.
- If you’re not giving out a premium for your opt in list, get on it!
- Go through your site and make sure an opt in box is visible from anywhere on the site.
- Do you list the categories on your blog in the navigation somewhere? Rename your categories to “topics”. I totally stole this from Tim Ferriss. People click on “topics” more often than they do “categories”. Why? Don’t know, don’t care. I just do what works.
- Add a page to your site called “free newsletter”. A simple page dedicated to getting signups to your newsletter. When I added this page, I didn’t realize it would be the highest converting opt in form on the site, but it is. Gold mine!
Perhaps you’ve thought of some of these before. This isn’t rocket science of course. What this all boils down to is “tweak your site til it works better”. But I have a way to offer you that improves the process. I don’t believe in a shot gun method. If it involves an investment of my time, I believe it’s important to be as deliberate and methodical as possible.
Theft is a virtue
Here’s what I do. I steal ideas from others. Why? Because if it’s working for them…I know it will probably work for me. Theft is a great way to get ahead if you ask me. When you see someone getting great results from something, feel no shame in copying them.
Of course I feel obligated to clarify that I don’t think you should actually commit theft, but I don’t know why. It’s a smart audience that reads this blog. You know what I mean…you see something implemented on someone else’s site that really seems like a good idea, and then you implement that same concept on your own. Don’t reinvent the wheel. You’re not alone out there…there are a ton of other successful bloggers and marketers out there that you can learn from. Steal!
Color is a detail not to be overlooked
For example, have you ever noticed that many corporate sites like MSN, Microsoft and a million others all have a blue motif of some type? Why do you think that is? It’s all a big coincidence, right? No, it’s very much intentional. This was one of the first concepts I stole back when I was first learning to become a thief >;-)
My favorite colors for the business I conduct as a sales professional and sales trainer are; blue, green, grey, white, and black. You’ll notice I implement these colors on my site (along with orange, which is a strong color on problogger.net, and I want to be like Darren as much as possible), but you’ll also notice that in most of my avatars, I’m wearing blue, green and grey. What’s up? These colors communicate trustworthiness, confidence and expertise to the human psyche. I like em because they create the psychological impression I’m going for. Is this completely over the top? Only if results are the most important thing to you when it comes to operating your business. And only if you believe details matter.
A quick caveat
Clearly, I’m also still going to have to bring real value to the table. I’m going to have to continue actually helping the people I work with. If you’re a scammer or a schlep, you’re not going to be able to get away with it just because you put on a blue shirt :). That said, we all know walking into an appointment wearing torn up clothes and smelling like dope probably isn’t the best way to make a professional impression. So if appearance and presentation matter (they do), then it’s reasonable to address the details in a deliberate fashion and make sure you’re creating the impression you want.
Small details + more small details = big results
These details have significance. A small significance. And since the significance is small, so many people over look them as not important. But they ARE important for one reason…they add up. You have to realize that the math is being done whether you’re an active participant or not. The sum total of all your actions create an end result, and if you want a different (i.e. BETTER) result, you simply have to pay attention to these details. Make the details work for you instead of against you. It means extra work of course, but that’s why we make the big bucks.
How small details give you a raise
So can the recommendations I offered you earlier actually give you a raise? Absolutely without a doubt. Your raise is there for the taking. All you have to do is execute. Small details add up, so don’t make the classic mistake of overlooking them.
As I admitted earlier, tweaking the fine details is NOT my favorite thing to do. I’d much rather be busy creating a new site or building a project with a new business partner. However, let me illustrate. If I can go change the opt in box on one of my pages, and it gets a 1% improvement in conversion, that may seem like the most boring thing in the world, but look at the numbers.
If you’re getting even just 5,000 visitors a month, that translates to 50 subscribers per month. 600 per year…these are subscribers you wouldn’t have won otherwise. Let’s say you sell an ebook for $24 and your conversion ratio is 2%. I’m just throwing numbers out there, but you see where I’m going with this. It all adds up to $288 for the year. How long did it take you to put up a new design for that opt in box? 30 minutes? An hour? I don’t know about you but I’m still cool with making $288 an hour, and all you need to do is go tweak your site for a minute.
A guy I know who runs a business forum recently just took his adsense ad and moved it from a sidebar and put it above the fold, right under his header. It took him about 2 minutes, and now that forum makes him another $200 a month. 2 minutes of work = $2400 for the year. Geeks like us get off on things like that. You should too. Now go give yourself a raise:)