Site Build It! Advisor

Monetization Test

Yes, building a successful online busines is getting more difficult. With Google's algorithm changes, known as Panda and Penguin, getting traffic takes longer and requires more work now. That's just the facts.

If you are new to Site Build It, and just starting your site, you probably don't want to hear this. And if you've had a site for awhile and maybe considering building more sites, this may be a hard pill to swallow.

But if you've been hit by Google's changes then you know what I'm talking about. Building a site correctly is more important than ever, and yes, it just takes longer to do that.

The fact is, to build a successful site and online business will end up taking hundreds and hundreds of hours. You'll need to create lots of pages on your site, but you'll also have to work hard to get links to your site and promote your site on other online places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and others.

So before you go "all in" and commit to a particular niche, or the time it will take to build it out, why not do a monetization test to guage the buying intention of your niche. This way, you know your time won't be wasted.

Plus you'll be more motivated to do the arcane and sometimes tedious things that it takes to build your site. As you may already realize, building hundreds of pages and doing the off-site SEO required to succeed, is not always fun or easy. And it certainly does take time.

The Test

The goal of the test is to find your conversion rate for your sales page. That rate is the percentage of visitors who buy the product or service you recommend. The higher that percentage, the more buying intention, and therefore, the more viable your niche and website. You'd like to see at least a 1-2% conversion rate for your sales page. That means for every 100 people who visit that page, 1 or 2 people will actually buy the product or service you recommend.

A monetization test will be a bit of a change from the typical SBI process and recommendations. It will take bit of adjustment in your thinking.

SiteSell teaches you to avoid selling in the beginning, until you have enough traffic and the search engines "like you" and have indexed your pages.

With this test you will begin selling right away.

Or at least as soon as you have enough pages to move your visitor through your Sales Cycle. You can learn more about that Cycle and the Sales Funnel you'll need to setup here.

But here are the steps you take to do your monetization test.

1. Research Your Niche From A Marketing Point of View

Yes keyword research is still important. But to do a good monetization test you'll need to understand more than just the best keywords for your niche. You'll need to thoroughly understand the problems and the solutions that are most popular to your potential customers. You'll need to know the most popular products that are being sold and have a very good idea of what it takes to get people to buy those products or services.

You'll do this "market research" by taking a look at your competition closely to see what they are doing. You'll learn about the products that are being bought and why.

You'll also spend time learning to understand your potential customers. What is "the conversation going on in their heads" and where do they go now to talk about and get information about their problem. Until you know what makes them tick and how to empathize with them, you won't be able to speak the selling language that will get them to move through YOUR sales cycle and eventually buy your solution... or at least the one you recommend.

This step is critical for being able to setup your site pages and particularly your selling page where your potential customer will be completely ready to buy the product you recommend. If your product is through another merchant you'll provide an affiliate link to do that.

2. Find A Product To Sell

Now this step is easier than it sounds. Your research in Step 1 will have already told what is being sold and what the problem/solution equation is.

The challenge in this step is to try and find something that you truly and honestly believe in and can say good things about on your website. This is classic PREselling. But it may take actually buying the product to convince yourself.

Once you find a product, you'll want to join the Affiliate Program for that product. One of your selection criteria will be the quality of their program including what promotional tools they provide. One of the most important tools will be good reporting so you'll be able to track your conversion rate.

Your Own Product

You can also create your own product to sell. This is the ideal way to go because you'll be able to believe in the product. The problem is, it will take a lot of time to develop a good product. And until you know for sure your niche has solid buying intention, you may not want to invest that kind of time.

Adsense

Another option would be to put Adsense on a selling page and track the conversion rate for that page using the tracking and reporting supplied by Google. This can work but it will be harder to get a real handle on your conversion rate.

3. Build Your Site and Sales Page

From your analysis of your Sales Cycle you know what pages you'll need to move people through that cycle. That's all the pages you'll need to start with, but be sure you have enough to PREsell your visitors and create interest in solving their problem. You can review the Sales Cycle here.

Then it's on to the Sales Page.

You'll want to have one page on your website where you will do the selling of the product you select. For the test, you'll drive all your traffic to this singel page from various links on your site. Having only one page will make it easier to track.

This page will need to be built in a certain way to maximize conversions. For example, once someone gets to this page, the only option should be to buy the product or not. No other distracting options should be available. Not even navigation. Otherwise you may leak sales and not know for sure what your conversion rate will be.

You'll use what you learned in Step 1 to create the sales copy that should motivate someone to buy. What you learned about your Sales Cycle will help you understand what to say. If you've found a good product that has a good affiliate program, the merchant should have suggestions on how to convert your visitor to a customer. If they have a good program they'll be anxious to help you figure out the best way to sell.

4. Setup Your Tracking

This may be the most important step. You can't manage what you don't measure so you want to be able to accurately know your conversion rate and to be able to A/B Test many aspects of your Sales Page and Marketing Funnel. Google Analytics offers many good tools to help you track, test and tweak your headlines, calls to actions, and all your sales copy.

Over time, you'll be making adjustments to the sales page and your sales funnel to increase the conversion rate of not only your sales page, but also your email optin page, and any other action that you want your visitors to take. Remember, you will be constantly tracking, testing, and tweaking your site and sales funnel to optimize your income. That's what all great marketers do to maximize their ROI (return on investment).

5. Send Traffic To Your Sales Page

Yes this is where the hard work comes in. Getting traffic to your site will take time. Until you have around 200-300 visitors to your sales page you won't have a statistically relevant test of your niche monetization. But these visitors don't have to come in a day. If it takes a month or more to get those 200 visitors that's fine.

So how do you get this traffic?

Buy It

You can use Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo or Facebook advertising to buy traffic to send to your sales page.

Will this be expensive?

That depends on your niche. Some keywords are more expensive than others and certainly Google Adwords can be expensive. But Facebook traffic is relatively inexpensive, but it may not convert as well as AdWords.

Work For It

You can spend time on Facebook participating in relevant niche groups and providing links to your pages. You can also go to some Forums and use signature links to drive traffic to your site, if not your sales page. Also YouTube and Pinterest and other Web 2.0 sites might be other places where you can create content with links to your sales page or site.

Now Facebook will probably not be a good place to sell outright by putting links to your sales page, but it certainly it can be used to offer links to other helpful, non-selling content on your site. Once they get there they will see the links to your sales page and if they are interested they will click. This is a bit of a "bait and switch" approach but because they are choosing your links themselves it is less pushy.

Results

So how do you know if your test has been successful? Great question.

You can safely assume that if at least 1-2% of your visitors to your sales page buy something, then you have found some fertile ground to build out your site.

Now of course, you'd like that conversion percentage to be higher, but if you can start there, with some tweaking you may be able to get that number higher. After all, it's about tracking, testing, and tweaking to get your conversion rate as high as possible. That will be an ongoing process going forward with your business and all of your websites.

Now if your conversion rate is below 1% then you may want to seriously consider abondoning (or selling) your site. It may be time to "cut bait" and cut your losses. You can then move on to another niche and another site. With what you learned in this monetization test the next site will have an even better chance of success. And the whole process should be quicker.

If you need some help with your monetization contact me. I'd be happy to help you.

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