When I was studying for my MBA, my most challenging class was statistics. And even though I managed an A- in the class, it took every one of the few analytical brain cells I had to do so.
So when I sit down to analyze the statistics of my business every year, I’m still surprised to find myself engrossed, fascinated, excited and practically dancing for joy. Armed with this critical data, now I know exactly where to spend my time and efforts going forward to receive the highest and best rate of return.
I ran a total of about 10 reports, but let me share some of what I learned specifically from my shopping cart’s reports:
The backend system I use (Infusionsoft) has the ability to run sales reports in a variety of ways. Below are four of the reports I run, what my results are, and how you can apply the results to your business:
a. My Monthly Sales Totals…
…showed me how many sales I made each month, and from that information, I discovered that my best month financially was November, followed very closely by December, then January.
I reviewed my marketing and sales activities (in other words, the offers I made) for that month, and what I found was this:
In November, I opened the Lively Biz Business Club membership for the first time.
In December, I opened the Lively Biz Accelerator small group coaching program for the first time.
In January, I offered a handful of spots for private Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats with me, which always sell out very fast.
While the Club has a low price point, I designed and followed a specific launch plan, which resulted in a lot more enrollments. If you only have higher price points in you business model at the moment, consider if you can add a lower-priced leveraged offer to your menu of services.
Both the Accelerator and the Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats have higher price points, so if you’ve already developed some products or programs at the lower-priced end of your funnel, consider adding a more comprehensive program at a higher price to your offerings to increase your bottom line.
b. My Sales by Campaign…
… showed me which special offers were the ones you were most interested in taking advantage of. Now I know which offers to consider repeating, or offering on another product or program in the future.
This is something you can do as well. Guessing if a special campaign you ran worked well or not doesn’t make good business sense. Tracking actual numbers does, however, and it’s super-simple to do if you have a backend system that has that feature.
c. My Sales by Clients/Customers…
… showed me who my top clients/customers are, what they’ve bought, and how much they’ve invested in my offerings. And since I know that one of the most effective ways to grow a business is to make additional offers to those who have already bought from me, you can bet that not only will I do that, but I’ll do it in a way that makes them feel special – because they are to me – by offering them special access or discounts or additional benefits as my way of thanking them for their continued business and loyalty.
If you track this information, you can do the same and increase your sales and your customer loyalty at the same time.
d. My “Where did you hear about us” Report…
… showed me that even though I thought that some of my online networking efforts weren’t really paying off, mainly because I didn’t think I was focusing enough time on them, I was wrong. It seems even the small amount I had been doing was making an impact.
So now I know the top three places to really focus those efforts going forward. If you’ve found online networking to be a struggle for you, tracking this information makes what can seem like an overwhelming marketing activity (some lists are SO active) into an extremely manageable and once-again enjoyable one.
I gleaned all of this information from just four reports from Infusionsoft. And this doesn’t include the reports I ran for my web stats via Google Analytics.
Measuring the results of your business activities is critical to your success, and anyone can do it (it’s really one of those “if I can, anyone can” kind of things). I really want to encourage you to take a look at where you’ve been over the past 6-12 months, analyze that data, and make some strategic decisions about where you want to focus your efforts going forward to get where you want to be.
I’d love to hear which of these tips you’re willing to embrace today. Feel free to share with me below.
Whether you’re publishing an ezine, sending an ecourse, posting to a blog, or building an email list of clients and customers in another format, there are a few things you need to know to make sure that you’re complying with the legal aspects of sending email as well as for making your list-building efforts that much more effective.
1. Only Use Permission-Based Email Marketing
Simply put, opt-in email (also called ‘permission-based’) is email sent to people who have given you permission to contact them via email. So if someone hasn’t directly requested information from you, they should not be on your opt-in list.
2. Single or Double Opt-in?
Depending on the email list service you’re using in your business, you may have a choice between single or double opt-in email. With single opt-in, someone gives you their email address once and they are added to your list. With double opt-in (also know as confirmation opt-in), someone gives you their email address, to which they then receive an automated response from your list service asking them to click a specific URL to confirm that they do in fact want to be added to your list. Only once they click that link are they then added to your list.
So, which should you use? It depends, but for your main email list, I want to encourage you to use the double opt-in process. It means that you will lose a certain percentage of those people who signed up for your list because they then don’t confirm their subscription, but it protects you from being labeled as a spammer – something you want to avoid at all costs.
4. Have a Clear Unsubscribe Link
In every email you send to your list, have a clear way for your reader to unsubscribe if they desire. Usually this is in the form of an unsubscribe URL at the bottom of the email. When someone clicks on the link, they should be taken to a page where they can remove their email address from your list. Just make sure your unsubscribe function works!
5. Multiple Lists
In the beginning, you’ll only be setting up one list, most likely for your ezine. But at some point you’ll want to have multiple lists, for different products or programs you offer, to more easily connect with specific people on your list.
For example, I have a list for my ezine subscribers, one for the members of my group coaching program, one for my live event, and several others that perform various functions for me.
When you’re choosing an email list service provider, this is something you want to keep in mind – the ability to create and manage multiple lists.
6. Q’em up
Being able to compose your email messages ahead of time and then queue them to be delivered on the date and/or interval of your choosing is another great benefit to using an email list service provider.
For example, you can set up an 30-lesson ecourse to be delivered once a day for 30 days. Or create 26 issues of your ezine and set them up to go out every two weeks. This is one of my favorite things about using an email list service – it’s the ‘set it and forget it’ kind of marketing – my favorite kind.
I use and highly recommend Aweber as your email list service provider.
7. What about my shopping cart?
Some shopping carts also act as an email list service, but I actually recommend you use both Aweber along with your shopping cart.
Here’s what I mean:
Use Aweber for your listbuilding, autoresponders, ezine (and ecourse) distribution, and any other mailings to your list. Let Aweber be your email list manager.
Use PayPal to process payments (it integrates with Aweber). THEN when you start consistently bringing in $500-$1000/month in income, sign up with a shopping cart That’s when the fees of using a merchant account and a shopping cart become a wash.
Use your shopping cart for selling downloadable products, payment processing (it also integrates with PayPal), subscription/recurring payments, running special offers, affiliate marketing, and housing your customer list (meaning those people who have bought from you).
Only use your shopping cart’s autoresponder system for confirmation emails when a customer buys something from you, and only use their broadcast system when you want to send an email (for a special offer, for example) to your customers.
With this method, your MAIN list of prospects (which will include both those people who have bought from you, assuming they’ve come to your offers via your communication to them via your list, and your potential clients and customers) are always kept at Aweber, so you never have to move (and lose) your list once you migrate from PayPal to your shopping cart.
I’d love to know your thoughts – please feel free to comment below – thanks!