Justin Christianson is a digital marketing guru whose core emphasis is on conversion optimization and implementation. He is the number one Amazon best-selling author of Conversion Fanatic: How to double your customers, sales and profits with A/B testing. He is also the co-founder and president of Conversion Fanatics, a full service conversion optimization company.
Conversion Fanatics provides its services to e-commerce, finance and software companies that have revenues of between $1Million and $200Million. The services have helped companies worldwide improve their revenues, increase their customers and retain existing ones.
Justin shares with us how to improve the performance of a website in terms of revenue and overall growth through conversion optimization and implementation.
Core Revenue streams
Revenue for Conversion Fanatics comes solely from the conversion optimization services they offer to diverse clients. They are currently developing proprietary software that will help support their services, allow other people to use it for business purposes and also generate additional revenues for the company
Starting out in business
Started in business in 2002 and has been in full time business for the last 11 years. Initially owned a successful information publishing company with some partners which he sold to them in 2009 and went into digital marketing.
Tip: Personal development is the best way to develop yourself as a new entrepreneur and some of the best ways to achieve that is through working in marketing, improving your mindset, and learning different things from free information accessible online
Getting the first set of clients
Has been doing A/B testing since he started working with his previous employer. He kept getting people asking him about various aspects of digital marketing like implementation and other technical aspects. Initially, as Conversion Fanatics, they provided a broad range of services but eventually specialized on services related to conversion optimization and implementation.
Helping clients develop and grow their online presence
Conversion Fanatics starts by finding out where the client’s target customers are online, where they go in terms of websites, blogs, etc., how they interact with the client’s online experience and how they relate to the client’s brand. They find out why the target customers do not visit the client’s website and why those who visit it do not do what the client desires them to do, for example, buy a product.
Tip: Pay attention to your website visitors, the analytics and understand the interactions of the target customers online. This is achievable through Google Analytics which is available for free. Other affordable software like Hotjar and CrazyEgg can help in determining how people interact on a website. One can also conduct usability testing by interviewing a few people from their target market
Starting up Conversion Fanatics and the growth strategy at the beginning
In the beginning, Justin and his partner invested $750 and started their company under the name “ROI Society”. They started building their clientele from scratch by creating a basic membership website through which they used webinars to train people on the importance of conversion optimization and how to do it themselves but the eventual feedback they got was that people did not want to learn optimization, they preferred it being done for them which is how the two entrepreneurs started offering implementation and optimization services to their first clients and specialized in that area to date.
Growth strategy now
Justin and his partner are currently using the more traditional direct response marketing channels like email marketing, direct mail, trade show sponsorships, and others because they discovered from their customer behaviour analysis that their target customers do not utilize social media and other online resources the way they used to, and therefore, the more cost effective marketing methods like social media marketing were not being as effective as they were in attracting new customers
Success stories helping clients
Recently helped one client achieve 1882% premium subscription sales, helped another company achieve 1850% growth within 10 months and helped countless clients increase conversions by 30%, 40%, and 50%.
They also helped one client (an artisan treats and confectionary company) double their active paying customers and reduce their advertising costs (customer acquisition costs) by 25%. The company was spending $25 to acquire a $50 customer and had about 1,000 active paying recurring customers at the time. They had problems retaining customers and getting new ones. Conversion Fanatics went in, streamlined their advertising, tweaked their offering, streamlined their online experience, reduced their customer acquisition cost to $13 per $50 customer, and within 45 days the company had reached 2,000 customers. Conversion Fanatics achieved that by getting rid of free trials on the company’s website and instead started offering customers a bonus for trying out what the website was offering through purchase. This worked very well because customers would buy products and get bonuses for their first purchase. This pay to play strategy also worked in bringing in the more serious, valuable customers that were easier to retain for longer
Tip: In some markets, like in the software industry, offering free trials on a website works but in other industries it doesn’t. Offering bonuses to customers who choose to buy a subscription works well in other markets in comparison to offering free trials
Period taken to do split testing/analytics
In the example of the artisan treats and confectionary company, it took a dozen split tests and 3 weeks to get through all the analytics, understand what was happening with the website, develop a test hypothesis, figure out what to test, and set up the test
Upcoming service offering
Conversion Fanatics is developing software that will help clients with reporting and split test management because it’s currently very difficult for people to use the traditional project management tools, set up split tests and calculate the overall improvement cycles. The software will help people manage the historic data related to their split testing/conversion efforts
Helping a client who is launching a new product without existing data
Justin recommends market research as the first step to launching a new product in order to determine whether it’s viable. Conversion Fanatics is very picky about the clients they choose to help because some businesses may have products that are not viable enough to succeed in their respective market. Conversion Fanatics has to believe in a product before they can take up the job of helping grow that product
Tip: Learn to SAY NO to clients that you don’t believe you can help. The money you get from a client you can’t help is not worth the trouble you will get because you can’t deliver good results
Testing for growth and scalability in a market
Tip 1: Check what is being sold, the size of the market, and whether people really want what you want to offer. Don’t go into a niche market until you find out whether it has enough customers to sustain you in the long term. Make sure that the market is big enough for you to scale and if there are people in that market then chances are it’s a good one
Tip 2: Go to Amazon and search for a product that you plan on launching and if there is a category there for that product then there is a high chance that it’s a good market to go into
Getting people to respond to surveys online
Justin recommends the use of incentives like ebooks, gift cards, or anything of value in exchange for their feedback. When carrying out usability testing for example, Conversion Fanatics always pays the people who participate in their tests. Paying them works when the testing is on a small scale but for larger scale testing, cost effective incentives work better.
Using the information collected from the surveys
Tip: Find commonality and trends in the information
The best available survey software to use
For general surveys, software like SurveyMonkey works well and they are affordable. Many autoresponder services are also convenient because they have survey features built in
How to craft a survey
Tip 1: Keep it short, normally not more than 10 questions
Tip 2: Keep the questions open-ended which means don’t ask for specific yes or no answers. Allow the participants to elaborate on their answers
Biggest breakthrough with Conversion Fanatics
“Finding out where our target market is and what keeps them up at night. We figured out that they weren’t necessarily online and that their biggest pain point was that they just didn’t have time to do what it is they knew they needed to be doing”
That was achieved by asking the clients, many different companies, and prospects what was going on and asking them relevant questions in relation to Conversion Fanatics
Period it took to achieve initial income goals
Justin and his partner were living off their savings for the first 9 months after which they were able to hire their first employee. For 6 to 9 months, they were ploughing back all the income they got from serving different clients into the business
Fear of failure
Justin had had times when he second guessed himself a lot especially when he decided to leave his formal employment. It even caused enormous fear of the unknown and uncertainty because at that time he and his fiancée were about to get married.
Tip: You can’t be one foot in, one foot out. If you’re going to do it, DO IT!
Faith, Fun, Family, Finances and Friendships
Family comes first then fun, finances, friendships, and faith
Day in your life when you started the business verses a day in your life now
It’s very similar. Works less hours now. Gets to the office by 7 to 7.30 am and goes home by 5 pm. Ranks family very high in life and tries to make sure he is always home to do dinner and bedtime. Works very hard and fast which ensures he does more than other people at the company
Investing in mentors and why
Always invests in mentors for education and personal development, and recommends it for every aspiring entrepreneur. It helps entrepreneurs grow and succeed. Justin and his company have hired business development coaches, overall agency coaches, sales coaches, management coaches, and any other mentors/coaches that help them gain an edge
Tip: If you have to hire a mentor or coach at a great expense then it’s worth the investment
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
- Playing to Win by Alan G. Lafley
- Slight edge by Jeff Olson
Links to the book can be found on www.conversionfanatics.com and is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. Wrote the book to highlight the importance of split testing and optimization. Justin used a lot of specific examples and case studies in writing the book, and has gotten great feedback and reviews from his peers and mentors in the digital marketing field.
To make the world a better place and be remembered as an honest, trustworthy, hardworking person that really tried to help people – Justin.
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