Let’s talk about how to turn cold traffic into paying customers…

For the last couple months, I’ve been running a series of experiments to try to crack the “paid traffic” nut for BTMSinsiders.  With any new offer, this should be your #1 goal.

But what does that mean?

Well, essentially, I’m trying to create a money machine.  🙂

That is, I’m working on creating a system where I can spend $1 on advertising, and have it bring back at least $1 in return, with a new customer in tow.

Or, more accurately to my situation, I’m trying to figure out how to advertise to cold traffic, and make each sale for less than the $37 first-month membership fee.

Why is this so important?

In short, because when this happens, I’m able to spend an almost unlimited amount of money on getting new customers.  If I know I can spend less than $37 getting someone interested in, excited about, and willing to try my training…  Enough so that they spend $37 within the first couple days, if not the first day…

Then my NET cost of getting a new customer is effectively zero.

If I’m making enough revenue to pay the cost of advertising before it comes due…  My main limitation is only in how fast I can spend comfortably, while keeping all those numbers in check.

Comparing that to some of the advertising I’m running now or have run recently…

I’ve been able to get new customers for anywhere between roughly $45 and $90.

Which, honestly, is not bad.  I know my lifetime value numbers.  I know I could spend $90 or perhaps a LOT more, and because I focus on developing a relationship and providing value that will keep folks around for 12 years or 12 decades, all of that is profitable.

All of that is critically important.

And still, if I’m spending $90 to get a new customer, that means it’s roughly 61 days (when the 3rd monthly membership fee is charged) before I break even.

In the long run, as a business matures, you have to be willing to float numbers like that to expand in your market.

But in the early days, bootstrapping, that’s not a fast way to scale.

And in fact, I’ve made this harder on myself. 

First, I decided to undercut the average monthly subscription fee in our space by a factor of about 1/3.  While most marketers charge $97/month for a 12-page newsletter and one or two hour-long webinars (where they sell you their high-end training programs), I set my price at $37.  And that includes everything — there’s currently over 40 hours of training available for instant streaming access, and in September, the average member watched nearly 6 hours worth of training.

Second, not only do I offer a lower price to get in the door, I currently don’t have any big back-end built into the offer structure.  When I’m not building BTMSinsiders, I’m still so busy creating breakthroughs with clients, I literally can’t add a consulting offer on top of this to pick up the slack.  So while others may offer a $2,000 training package and $10,000 consulting day to quickly bump up that lifetime value, I don’t currently have that (though that is likely to change, to keep up with demand for my time).

Boardroom is a good example of a company built on these economics.  They went mass market with $39 books and annual newsletter subscriptions, and scaled to $150 million per year, $39 at a time.  Heck, their economics were worse, because they paid for direct mail, and paid to print and ship their books and newsletters.  And I’m certainly not complaining — just stating the limitations of the situation that create an interesting business challenge.

All this is a long setup for something I ran across recently…

As I’ve tried to understand the paid traffic landscape and best practices…

I’ve run into concepts like “cold leads, warm leads, hot leads…”

I’ve run into strategies like “engage them first with articles and content, then retarget them with more direct offers…”

And so on.

All of this is fundamentally sound.  All of this is based on direct marketing principles, adapted to the unique challenges and opportunities of paid advertising (especially on social platforms such as Facebook).

But I was looking for an overarching strategic rule that made it all abundantly clear.

I wanted to know:

— Where a lead was at in the process.

— What that meant for the next step they needed to take.  And…

— What I would need to do to guide them through that process.

A perfect system would not only do that, it would support that same fundamental progression whether the sales process was taking place in an hour or a few months.  So that even though I’m aiming to accomplish all of this before the advertising expenses come due, it will continue to pay off over the days, weeks, and months that follow as well.

That’s when I stumbled onto…

The 3 Cs of online paid traffic!

I got this from Keith Krance, the co-author of Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising (the next edition is coming out in November and you can preorder it from Amazon now).

But from what I can tell, it goes back even further.  And again, it’s based on direct marketing principles that are older than the internet.

Here are the 3 Cs…

  1. Connect
  2. Cultivate
  3. Convert

What’s great about this is that it’s a process.  It’s a series of milestones along the customer acquisition journey.  And it’s as true of a process if it takes a few minutes or a few months to complete.

Let’s walk through the steps.

The first step is to CONNECT…

You absolutely MUST get the attention of your target market, if you want to sell to them.

But how?

In short, connect with them by promising something worth spending their time with.  Promise something of value.  Promise something that they will prioritize over every other option of how they can spend their next few minutes.

Often this is a compelling article or piece of content.

Something that stands alone and is valuable in and of itself.

And in the context of advertising on social media platforms, it gets extra points for being a nice distraction from their current situation.  Since we go to social media specifically to get distracted and disconnected, your advertising can benefit by offering that.

(Perry Marshall once compared Google to the Yellow Pages, where people go to look things up, and Facebook to a coffee shop, where people go to kill time.  Both can be great venues for commerce — but they each require a hugely-different approach.)

Once you’ve connected with them, on-platform or on your website, you move on to…

The next step is to CULTIVATE…

Once you’ve made the initial impression with that first piece of content, then it’s time to move toward building a relationship.

This can take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, a few months.

And it’s largely dependent on your prospect base, your offer, your marketing, and a whole lot more.

For a lower-cost offer made to individual decision-makers, cultivating the relationship is going to be quicker and simpler than, say, selling a high-end something to buyers stuck in the middle of a corporate or other organizational bureaucracy.

The question is how?

Let’s flip this.  In your life, right now, there are people with whom you have a great relationship.  Who you’d drop everything to give your time and attention to.  What is it about those people that have created this relationship?

Here’s the secret: they give you good feelings.

You move toward people and situations that make you feel a certain way, that you interpret as good.  Even if they challenge you, they do it in a way that makes you feel better.

When you start to expect this — and have your expectation fulfilled — you have a good relationship.

If this is sporadic, if they constantly fall short of expectations, if they make you feel bad, or — maybe worst of all — they don’t make you feel anything at all?  There is no relationship cultivated.

Once the relationship is there, the next step is easy.

The final step is to CONVERT…

Basically, here you just put a dang offer in front of them, that’s relevant to them.  That helps them pursue their dreams, desires, and sense of destiny for themselves.  That helps them avoid what causes fear, frustration, and failure.

Most traditional selling focused on this step.  So as the salesperson or marketer, your job was to beat them over the head until they gave you their wallet.

Nope.  Today, there are too many options available.  Leaving you is as easy as clicking that back button, back into the infinite scroll abyss of the social media from whence they came.

Today, you build the relationship.  You start it by connecting with them, on a point of value.  You cultivate it by giving them more of the feels that they want.  Then, you offer them even more of that, through your products and services.

What this doesn’t cover…

What you’re not reading here are all the specifics and technicalities about where to use email, how to create landing pages that convert, when to put your sales message in front of them, and all of that.

Those are tactical, superficial details.  And you have to figure out where they are most relevant in your selling situation.

For example, one business may do a lot of the cultivation by combining lead nurturing campaigns with live consultative salespeople.  Another may do it all through automated email sequences.  One may stack offers, while another has a single front-end offer.

All of that is specific, and represents the technical, technique-based, and tactical implementation of this strategy and the principles they represent.

Here’s what I can tell you:

Part of the reason I’ve been able to make BTMSinsiders hugely-successful out of the gate is that ever since 2014, I’ve been in the cultivation of relationships, through these daily essays.

While running my copywriting business, I grew Breakthrough Marketing Secrets organically, subscriber-by-subscriber, cultivating a relationship of giving you value and those good feels, every time you read another daily essay.

Converting and becoming a BTMSinsiders member was the natural next step for many.

This next phase is all about getting intentional, so I can invest as much as possible, at a profit, in connecting with even more people I can serve.

While on a tactical basis I haven’t translated the above discovery directly into how, for example, my ad campaigns are structured…

It’s exactly what I’m doing and implementing now, and what will make it possible.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr