7 Behind-the-Scenes Growth Secrets from Top Marketers and Entrepreneurs

It’s not every day you find incredible strategic smarts and incredible generosity in one entrepreneur.

Or so you might think. And it’s understandable. After all, one reason to continually search out better business-growth tactics is to outdo your competitors. That mission might reasonably inspire you to keep your cards close to your vest.

But despite that natural motivation, each week at LeadPages, Tim Paige finds a new great business and marketing mind to pull the curtain back on their success for listeners of our podcast, ConversionCast.

These guests have opened up about everything from their A/B test results to the strategy behind their messaging to the specific marketing emails that have accelerated their growth. And often, they’re sharing the latest discovery they’ve made about what’s working for them—sometimes as the results are still rolling in.Here are 7 of the most interesting growth strategies we’ve heard from them in the past few months. 

1 . Grow your Facebook lead conversion rate

You’ve probably heard this advice before …

When you’re asking for an opt-in, make your landing page as short and simple as possible.

As in, headline, value proposition, call-to-action, done.

That’s been successful for many businesses over time, but it’s always necessary to consider the context of your unique audience. And recently, business coaches Melanie and Devin Duncan had a hunch that the typical paid-traffic landing page wasn’t going to reach their target audience of online business owners.

Why not? It’s just a hunch, but I suspect online business owners are one of the most marketed-to demographics in the world. They’re constantly being asked to put their faith in one new product or another, and as time goes on, their guard goes up. Another one-sentence tagline about improving some aspect of their business—no matter how catchy—is likely to be ignored. It takes a little more to establish credibility in this space.

Melanie and Devin Duncan, seen on Devin's website

Melanie and Devin recognized that their alternative landing page was a bit unorthodox. “Usually blog posts are just a bottomless pit where you know your opt-in rate is going to be super low,” Devin acknowledged on ConversionCast.

The Duncans structured their blog content with care to make sure their post succeeded as a landing page. About a month before the 2015 holiday shopping season, they launched a post called “Four Ways to Host a Sale or Promotion without Damaging Your Brand” and began running Facebook ads directly to the post.

The headline was timely and relevant enough to hook small business owners on Facebook, and once they clicked through, they found an article subtly engineered to lead them toward opting in for a checklist related to the post—and, eventually, toward joining the Duncans’ membership site.

“The biggest resistance we usually see from people is when we try to teach them about running sales—they’re worried it’s going to damage their brand,” Melanie explained. “So we knew that was a number-one objection we needed to get people past in order for them to want to learn how to host a sale.”

By running traffic to a post designed specifically to address that objection, the Duncans saw opt-in rates of 40%. Over the course of a month, that translated into 2,100 new leads—at a cost per acquisition of just $0.91 each.

The next time you’re stuck on a landing page, consider the Duncans’ approach. Rather than emphasizing your product’s benefits, think about the objections instead. You might be surprised by an idea for high-converting content.

2. Grow your sales from cold traffic

Another take on finding prospects’ biggest objections comes from Taylor Welch of Traffic and Funnels. Instead of using a blog post, he turned to a less common marketing tactic: the quiz.

“When I tell people this, everybody thinks we’re joking until I show them the numbers,” Taylor told Tim Paige.

When you hear what those numbers are, it’s clear why other marketers might ask to see the receipts. In short: using a three-part quiz sequence, Taylor was able to turn 27% of visitors from Facebook ads into paying customers—of a $300 product—in the same visit.

If that weren’t impressive enough, 75% of those new customers then went on to accept an upsell offer.

The strategy relied on Facebook ads, a quiz page made with a tool called Survey Funnel, and custom thank-you pages. First, Taylor ran Facebook ads warning viewers about several common, money-losing Facebook mistakes business owners tend to make and asking them to click through to a quiz page, made with Survey Funnel, to discover which mistakes they were at risk of making.

Along with more topic-specific quiz questions, participants were prompted to enter some basic demographic data such as their age and how long they’d been in business. After submitting their answers, they saw a custom thank you page—which was actually one of several custom thank you pages.

Based on audience research Ryan had previously conducted, he created a series of thank-you page videos, each addressing address the biggest hurdle people in a different audience segment had to overcome in order to buy his product. That meant that once someone submitted the quiz, they’d instantly see a video that answered their segment’s typical biggest objection.

This seemingly uncanny matchup of content and motivation paid off in the spectacular stats that had Taylor’s friends calling for proof.

While this sequence depends on a particular technology, the larger concept doesn’t. Perhaps you’ve run surveys of your existing customer base, or done some demographic research. Look for beyond-the-obvious patterns in your data, then use them to make connections your precisely targeted audience wasn’t expecting.

The end result? Leads who come away from your site thinking, “Wow, they really get me.”

3. Grow your YouTube views

Most of the time, when you think about video marketing, you probably think about all the things that go into a great marketing video: scripting, lighting, content, editing.

With one recent project, however, Jeremy Vest’s work began only after the final cut was released. Jeremy’s the CEO of video marketing company VidPow, which had been hired to improve YouTube views for a very big client: anime giant FUNimation, owners of properties like Dragon Ball Z.

VidPow produced some impressive results for FUNimation across the board by stacking up some seemingly minor changes. For instance, a 39% uptick in monthly views—equating to 3 million more views per year—came simply from updating the videos’ thumbnails (that is, the images that appear by default before you’ve played a video on YouTube).

“Believe it or not, the suggested videos on the righthand side when you’re surfing in YouTube is usually the number-one organic ranking factor,” said Jeremy during his ConversionCast episode. “A thumbnail is a billboard, right? So we basically took the show’s logo and just really pumped up the saturation and colors and the vividness … If you see five or six colors and logos that are similar on the righthand side, you’re going to click on that before you even click on the first-position video.”

Observe FUNimation's standout thumbnails.

After that, the team made sure to research popular search keywords on YouTube and add them to playlist names, description fields, and meta tags. Then, they took one more step to get more channel subscriptions as well as more views: changing the ambiguous channel watermark on screen to a YouTube-red “subscribe” button.

“We were able to increase their monthly playlist views by 50%, we were able to increase their overall organic views by 9.8%, and we were able to increase their organic monthly views by 7.5%,” Jeremy reported. “That may not sound like a lot but when you’re talking millions and millions of views, it’s pretty substantial.”

If your high-quality videos aren’t getting the views you’d expect on YouTube, take a look at everything around the edges. You may find plenty of room to optimize.

4. Grow your online sales

A lot goes into a homepage redesign, and if sales rise afterward, the boost can’t always be tied to one single factor. But one recent redesign gave Tilted Pixel founder Matt Inglot unusually clear insights, and he shared the results on ConversionCast.

Matt and his team thought their first version of the homepage was a pretty good one. “It’s not like we had built the homepage not understanding how conversions, headlines, and all of that stuff worked,” he said. “We had a headline, we had a subheadline, we had what we thought was a good enough button to stand out … We just kind of did our standard formula.”

But then they put the homepage to the test, using an interesting tool: EyeQuant, which simulates eye-tracking tests to produce heat maps of where visitors’ attention goes.

When he ran the test, Matt discovered something unexpected: the program predicted that most of visitors’ attention would instantly be drawn to … the distinctive tie the client was wearing in his homepage photo.

He was a little skeptical about this: “We tested it, because of course this is software, so what do machines really know about people? So we made some minor homepage adjustments. The reason the client’s tie was taking all the attention was partly the tie itself; partly I think it was the size and placement of the button relative to the tie.”

So they enlarged the button, found a photo with a different tie, and ran an experiment. Matt reported: “We did a split test, and sure enough: with this new design—no other changes, just redesigning that upper section—sales increased by 35%. It’s a big enough site that the data is very substantial.”

Before you change anything else on your homepage, take a look and see whether you might have a “loud tie” of your own that’s drowning out your call to action.

Don’t want to shell out for eye-tracking software? You can approximate this test with a few friends. Try showing them your homepage for 5 seconds, closing the window, and asking them to recall what caught their attention on the page. If it’s not your headline or call-to-action button, you might need to tone another element down.

5. Grow your webinar show-up rate

A lot can happen in the time between the day you sign up for a webinar and the day it actually happens.

You might forget about it. You might double-book yourself. You might get caught up in a Netflix show and be unable to resist the pull of just one more episode.

Amy Porterfield knew this was happening for many of her webinar registrants, and she wasn’t alone; it’s not uncommon to see only 25%–30% of registrants show up at any given webinar.

To change that, she had to go against some of her natural instincts as a marketer. “I don’t like to email tons and tons,” she told Tim Paige. But to increase her show-up rate, she figured it was worth a try.

If you sell an online product or program, you probably have some kind of onboarding sequence for new customers. It gets them comfortable with your product and excited to use it more. Amy’s innovation was to take the idea of an email onboarding sequence and adapt it for her webinars.

Starting six days in advance of each webinar, registrants would receive a special email each day preparing them for the webinar. These weren’t simple reminders. Amy sent out a workbook, shared testimonials, relayed entertaining stories from past participants, asked questions about registrants’ experience with the webinar topic, and other kinds of content designed to indicate that this webinar would deliver exactly what registrants needed to learn.

Then, on the day of the webinar itself, she sent three emails—which felt “aggressive” to her. “But, holy cow, it totally changed the game,” she said.

As a result of this strategy, Amy was able to boost her webinar attendance rate by a relative 66%.

If you’re letting your webinar hosting platform do all the work of reminding people about your webinars, Amy’s story suggests that you need to get more involved. Build anticipation by teasing your content until each webinar seems like an unmissable experience.

6. Grow your launch revenue

Targeted marketing is simple, in a way. You take a look at who’s using your product (or similar products), figure out what they have in common, and then create ads and messaging that speak to the needs of other people like them.

But what if you don’t have any customers yet? What if your product doesn’t even exist right now?

Consultant Khierstyn Ross specializes in improving crowdfunding campaigns, but the insights she shared recently on ConversionCast apply to anyone who’s launching something new.

The first crowdfunding campaign she took on didn’t seem promising. In fact, it had failed on Indiegogo, earning pledges of only $16,700 toward its $50,000 goal.

By the time Khierstyn was finished, the rebooted campaign hadn’t just met its goal—it had exceeded it more than 10 times over, earning about $600,000.

“The first time around, we really had to guess who was going to buy our product,” said Khierstyn. “We didn’t get into the right forums, we didn’t figure out who the right customer profile was. So the second time around … we actually surveyed our audience that were actual buyers of our product as soon as they bought a perk.”

Surveys can have hit-and-miss response rates, but Khierstyn got the answers she needed by framing the survey as a way for backers to select their desired color or size of the product. Along with those specifications, she asked for five pieces of optional demographic data.

“When we did that, we actually got real-time data of who is buying our product,” said Khierstyn. “What we could do at that point is take it a step further and figure out: okay, if it’s 70% males between the ages of 25 and 34 that are buying this, we have a much clearer idea of who our customer is and where those people are going to hang out. So then we can tailor the online advertising and then the forums and the bloggers and the publications that would have that exact audience.”

The lesson: as long as you’re getting a few sales or opt-ins, it’s not necessarily a problem if you’re not able to target with confidence before a launch. Just be ready to jump in and get the data you need from your first takers, then use it to make your campaign exponentially more effective from there.

7. Grow your website conversion rate

The traditional content-marketing funnel has a predictable shape. You get people to an opt-in page, ask them to sign up for free content, and then, after a suitable interval, ask for a sale. The assumption is that your purchasers are generally a subset of your existing leads.

But the real world isn’t always quite so orderly. Mike Pisciotta of Marketing Your Purpose had that insight recently, and shared it on ConversionCast.

He’d signed on to help fill an internet-marketing event that writer and business thinker Steve Olsher was holding in Los Angeles. The event page was getting thousands upon thousands of visitors, but—naturally—not everyone would end up buying tickets.

What happened to the people who weren’t necessarily very familiar with Steve at the start, were intrigued by the event and visited the page, but ultimately decided they couldn’t commit to the event right then?

In most cases, the answer would be nothing, or maybe some retargeting ads at most, if the page had a tracking pixel set up. These people had veered so close to becoming customers, but they left as virtual strangers.

Mike thought he could change that with a strategy he calls the “exit funnel.” He explained:

“When folks said no for whatever reason, they were offered some instant gratification: an instant download of Steve’s book Internet Prophets Live … We then presented with them a different offer—something that was cheaper, something, again, that was in line with instant gratification. And then from there we would upsell them.

From that alone, Steve was able to get 4,300 people on his list. There are 4,300 people who said no who then opted in and then went through the funnel. He made somewhere around $7,300 from those folks who said no—and this was a very cheap kind of offer, around $17 or $27.”

How can you add an exit funnel to your own next offer? Simple. You can set a lead magnet pop-up opt-in form to appear just as someone moves to exit your page. Here’s an example:

An exit LeadBox™ in action.

Offer something enticing here, and you’ve created an onramp back into your funnel—no matter that it started in an unexpected place.

Did any of these strategies surprise you? Tell us in the comments.