First, the title is stolen right from a book by my new favorite author Vince Flynn. My ‘third option’ has nothing to do with national secrets or highly trained assassins taking out terrorists…although I wish it did!
Usually the third option is in place as a triple back-up. Everything else is screwing up, or not working, and BAM ‘the third option’.
My third option has to do with MAKING MONEY!! In online marketing and sales there should be a third option that you’re using, or have in place in case the first two ways of making money fail! These options are aimed at the sales of a product, but can be applied to opening brokerage accounts, getting opt-in leads, etc etc…and I’m sure you’ve tried the first two.
So let’s look at the ‘Options’
First Option: Ad Buys, Ad Buys, Ad Buys!!
This is often where most things start. The logic is easy…’we need more traffic now!’ Ads give control over the message, the location of where it’s going, who’s seeing the message, and what product the audience will see. Who wouldn’t want all that!!?? The more people that hit your site, the more potential buyers, and since you’re controlling how much you spend, you can control your margins better.
Problem with ad buys is that eventually things get dried up, conversions stop, blame gets thrown around, and it’s no longer worth the investment. The same, or slightly adjusted, ads go out and don’t get the reception from X list, or Y site. So it’s switched to something else and so and and so on.
I’m not saying ad buys are bad, not at all, they’re just the first option that’s explored and often the first option that’s dropped.
Second Option: Affiliate Program and Partnerships
So now that ad buys have fizzled out, there must be a traffic problem…and affiliate marketers and partnerships are the answer. They hold a closer relationship with traffic and leads, and therefore can send more conversions then just straight ad buys. First, this is true. Second, as a company you’re only paying for the converting traffic those affiliates send! That’s why affiliate marketing is so appealing!!
But with affiliate programs and partnerships comes problems. What if you don’t have an offer that affiliates like? What if your affiliate manager is just that…an affiliate manager and NOT RECRUITER! Anyone can be an affiliate manager, I’ve seen it, but to bring in new people day in and day out is difficult…and finding that employee is even harder. Affiliates are also fickle sub-contractors. They can stop working with you for any reason at all; sun wasn’t shining right that day, they found a better product, they don’t like the product, etc etc. That’s why new affiliates are so important.
The other problem: what if your offers don’t convert for them?! If they don’t make money, they’re gone. They can go to another company and pick up their material and start pushing away if it makes them money. They have loyalty to cash…and who doesn’t!!??
Affiliates are a great way to make money, but it’s also a tough game to play…but it can be done.
OK so WHAT’S THE THIRD OPTION…I’m getting to that geez…
Third Option: LOOK INWARD!
Let me explain what I mean…
Most people who are trying for more conversions are always blabbing about ‘more traffic, more eyeballs, more leads, blah blah’. In a sense they’re right. You do need more people visiting before they can convert. But what 99% of the companies I see, know, and have worked with, is that their internal conversion SUCKS!
Why does everyone assume that it’s not their stuff that’s the problem? They think their conversions are good, but the reality is that they can ALWAYS be improved. This applies to email marketing, lead gen pages and offers, sales pages, and every other aspect of external marketing.
The markets are always changing, and adapting, and with your marketing it should be no different. Always be reviewing your open rates on your emails, conversion numbers on your lead and sales pages…and NEVER BE CONTENT! One thing I’m always doing is tweaking and changing as time marches on…you should be doing the same.
Ads and affiliate marketing SHOULD BE USED!! That’s really the only way to get traffic and conversions flowing, sorry, but it’s true. But instead of looking for the next thing, look internal.
How are your pages converting? What are the open rates on your emails? Does your product need a refacing and ravamping? Do you need to go more social on your lead pages?
These (and MANY more) are the questions you need to ask yourself. With all FMPG clients I make them go back to square ONE. It’s like putting the cart before the horse…’we need more traffic, then we can figure out how to convert it’…WRONG!!
So what are YOU doing to improve your conversions? Are you keeping an eye on stats and tweaking regularly? Do you have a company that’s supposed to be doing that for you? Do you have regular meetings that never seem to solve anything? Are you hammering employees to do more…when you know they can’t? Or are you not doing anything????
Let me know in the comments and if you’d like FMPG to take a look at what you’re doing just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. I’ve been studying some Facebook material (both public and private) and I’m thinking of writing an article on how it should/shouldn’t be used in our niche…what do you think? YES or NO? (comment below)