Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
Good Morning Onward Nation – I am so excited for today’s solocast!
I’m excited because we are going to continue the momentum we have been building over the last several solocasts where we have begun to uncover what I call the Money Draining Mistakes.
These are the mistakes that we all make – yes, everyone one of us from time to time – have made these mistakes in our business – and the net result is that cash has been literally sucked right out of our companies.
And yes, I know that sounds a bit overly dramatic but when I share today’s Money Draining Mistake with you – by the end of this episode – my hope for you is that you will see why I consider this one – this mistake – to be one of the most expensive.
It is a silent killer for most businesses.
But before we jump into this one – I want to go back to the two biggest challenges that are preventing you from moving your business onward to that next level because those challenges – those barriers to your success have nothing to do the business climate, the economy, the skill level of your employees, the location of your business, your pricing strategy, your current customer base, the size of your marketing budget, the quality of your products, your distribution channels, or the myriad of other reasons we are given today by the media and government as to why businesses fail at such a staggering rate in this country.
The obstacles in your way have nothing to do with any of those things.
Your two biggest obstacles are the Fear of Poverty and the Fear of Criticism.
I am not going to dissect both of these Fears here – instead, I encourage you to go back and re-listen to episode 65 to understand both fears more deeply – but what I will say is that the Fear of Criticism will directly impact your ability to stay plugged in to this episode and push forward to really want to master the recipe that I share with you during our time together this morning.
I guarantee you...if you are like most business owners…as soon as I say the words “Bounce Rate” as part of today’s recipe – you will begin to tune out and lose interest.
Or, as I share “data points”...as I discuss things like the “psychology of your customer”, or need to create “clear calls-to-action.”
It will be real easy for you to say something like, “I have someone on my team who does that, Stephen...I don’t have to know it.”
Why do I think you will say or at least think that?
Because you – me – we are all afraid of the unknown. We are uncertain – we are afraid we might fail to understand the concept – the lesson. And so the best way for us to defend against that fear – to protect ourselves – is for us to say, “Oh Stephen, I don’t need to know that because someone on my team gets it...they have it down. I’m all set.”
Do they really?
And if you don’t understand it – how can you possibly hope to measure their success in it?
Discounting the potential knowledge without really understanding the value of the knowledge is sort of like when we were all back in high school and it came time for Algebra or Biology class – or insert the name of your scary class here – and we tried to convince ourselves that we would never need to have access to that knowledge in our lifetime. Somehow we felt prepared to make that decision at 16 or 17 years old.
And yet, if you were to sit down with someone like Mark Cuban, one of the acclaimed investors from Shark Tank and ask him what he wishes he would have done a better job of learning along the way…he readily admits…that he would have done a better job studying those things that he quickly discounted – that he told himself he would never need – and now he wishes he had mastered those skills early on…things like Algebra, Biology, and so forth.
So this episode – episode 89 – you need to know that I am likely going to push you...to push your Fear of Criticism.
But in full transparency – I think that is part of my job to help you grow – to help you become more certain – to help you reach that next level.
And as my drill instructor said to me once – well, he actually shouted it to me one morning – I think he just wanted to be sure I heard him and never forgot the message – he stood over top of me as I was doing sit ups during PT one morning in basic training…it was June of 1990 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas...5:00 in the morning and it was already about 90 degrees – how was that even possible – and as I was doing each repetition – St. Hodge looked down at me and yelled, “Airman Woessner, you are required to perform 25 repetitions of this exercise.
HOWEVER...you are encouraged to do more.” He set the standard of excellent for me that morning. The standard was not the bare minimum of doing what was required – knowing what you had to know – or doing the least possible with as little effort as necessary.
No, the standard was more – a lot more – and undefined – my standard – my bar was to do the most repetitions that I could possibly do – my personal best – to pursue excellence – and I never forgot the message – and now I pass it on to you.
So to get that next level – you need to learn things you didn’t think you needed to learn – to master skills that someone on your team may also know – and to execute and implement with a standard of excellence – not the bare minimum.
You Onward Nation are not average.
You Onward Nation have a different standard.
You Onward Nation are moving your business to that next level. And you do that by pushing past the Fear of Criticism – the fear of failure – the fear of not thinking you are worthy or smart enough.
Are you ready to move onward with gusto?
Let’s start this off with a scenario that happens every day within a typical business…
Someone visits the website’s home page, a product page, or perhaps a blog post the business owner wrote.
The person quickly scans the page from top to bottom, left to right, and after a second or two, they decide they hate it. They puke in a bucket and then immediately leave.
And they continuing searching...except they continue searching SOMEPLACE ELSE.
That person “bounced” because he or she was not motivated enough to make one single click within the site.
Bounce rate is one of the most powerful metrics we have because it gives us insight into whether or not our customers believe we are delivering the value they want and need.
Most un-optimized websites have a bounce rate between 50 to 60 percent (this represents huge opportunity for you if you apply steps 1-2-3 below).
In other words, after all of the hard work you put toward building traffic through trade shows, advertising, public relations, email campaigns, content development, social media, and search engine optimization, between 50 and 60 percent of the people you attract will immediately leave without making one single click.
And that is why I called this mistake the silent killer way back in my introduction to this episode.
Let’s do a quick test. Pause this episode, open your Google Analytics dashboard, and check your bounce rate.
If it 30 percent or less, give yourself a pat on the back because that is the target you should strive to reach.
But if your bounce rate is above 50 percent, then the rest of this article will provide you with three steps you can apply to drive down bounce rate while converting more of your traffic into leads and sales.
Let’s first calculate the dollar value that bounce rate is currently costing you.
Say your website attracted 12,539 unique visitors during the past 12-months.
And let’s say your website bounce rate is currently right in the middle of the 50 to 60 percent range (54.88 percent to be exact).
That means 6,881 site visitors immediately bounced from your website during those 12-months (12,539 x .5488 = 6,881).
The remaining 5,659 were the suspects you could attempt to convert into a lead or sale through some form of call-to-action, such as a phone call, visit to your store, etc.
Now, let’s say your call-to-action process has been fine-tuned over the years so 4.77 percent of your suspects are converted into leads (between 2 to 4 percent is the global standard).
This means 270 leads, phone calls, store visits, etc. were generated during the 12-months (5,659 suspects x .0477 conversion rate = 270).
And lastly, let’s assume you have a history of converting 50 percent of your leads, such as inquiries, phone calls, store visits, etc. into sales, and each sale has an average value of $500.
The revenue generated via your website should have been approximately $67,500 (270 x .5000 = 135 sales x $500 value = $67,500).
Now, let’s lower bounce rate to the target level of 30 percent.
I first learned about the 30 percent target from my friend and mentor, Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist for Google and co-founder of Market Motive.
You can learn more about Avinash in episode 40 of Onward Nation.
Now only 3,761 of the visitors bounce during the same 12-month time period (12,539 x .3000 = 3,761).
You now have 8,778 suspects instead of 5,659. Big difference.
Let’s also assume you maintained your 4.77 percent conversion rate into leads and your average order remained at $500.
Your 8,778 suspects would convert into 418 leads, and those leads would convert into 209 sales, which would result in $104,500 in revenue (418 x .0477 = 418 x .5000 = 209 x $500 = $104,500).
This represents a 54.81 percent increase in sales. Awesome.
And the only thing that changed was bounce rate.
Here’s the good news...any business owner can apply three simple steps to reduce bounce rate.
At the bottom of this today’s Show Notes you will find a mini-class I recorded to provide some additional bounce rate insights. Free video training resource – I hope you find it valuable.
So what is the first step?
We – and our business – must be distinctive.
Now, distinction is not just about being different.
Distinction creates loyal customers who continue coming back to you over and over again.
If you want to learn more about distinction – go back to episode 1 and listen to the words of wisdom from Scott McKain, the leading authority on the topic of distinction and its importance in your business.
And one of the very best recipes for how to create distinction is one that I learned from Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.
Darren calls it the X-Y-Z Exercise and there are 3 simple steps.
Just answer three questions and blend the answers into a clear and concise statement. Caution: the questions are simple but they are not easy to answer. It will likely take you and your team about 60 to 90-minutes to complete this exercise with excellence.
Then place your X-Y-Z statement on your website above the fold – meaning – so the visitors to your website do not need to scroll in order to read it. Why above the fold?
So your visitors will see it right away and they will know they are in the right place.
When that happens, bounce rate goes down.
The January-February 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review reported the results of a study on consumer choice, which confirmed that providing more options did not increase choice. In fact, more options actually decreased choice.
So instead of having 15 options on your website, i.e. photos, copy blocks, or calls-to-action, just have three easy-to-understand options and eliminate all the rest. Your customers see a multitude of options as visual clutter and that encourages bounce.
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, director of Marketing Experiments once said to me, “Clarity always trumps persuasion.”
So are you being clear with customers regarding the steps they need to take along the decision-making path?
Have a clear and concise path to purchase. That’s all you need.
Okay, Onward Nation – that was Money Draining Mistake #3…High Bounce Rate.
Now, if you if you are hearing those voices in your head – if you are having thoughts that are even remotely similar to what I described at the beginning of this episode – don’t run -- let those thoughts be your litmus test – they are telling you that you are heading in the right direction.
Push forward – don’t stop – don’t let your fear hold you back from breaking through to that next level.
And remember, you are the average of the people you spend the most time with…and look who Stacey Alcorn from episode #3 is spending the most time with.
She refers to herself as “A billionaire in the making.” And in order for that vision for her life to become a reality – she knows that she needs to spend as much time as possible with other billionaires.
Well, I will let you in on a secret she told me during our interview – Stacey didn’t have those connections several years ago.
But she DECIDED that was going to change and then she took action to make it happen.
I hope that makes sense.
Okay, Onward Nation – I hope this solocast was valuable to you.
Please drop me a line and let me know what you thought. You can share your comments at the bottom of the show notes for this episode – or – you can email me anytime at Stephen @ onwardnation.com and yes – that is my actual email address – comes directly to me – no fancy filter, routing, or sorting…comes right to my Inbox. Feel free to use it anytime.
Let me know…thumbs up or thumbs down?
Drop me a line.
I will be back tomorrow with another amazing interview with one of today’s top business owners.
Until then…onward with gusto!
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