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- AutoGrowth Report September – October 2018
- How to Learn from Slow Months: AutoGrow’s Sep-Oct 2018 Report
- Takeaways from September and October 2018: AutoGrowth Report
Matt: Hey, everyone.
Interviewer: Hi. We’re here with Matt Ackerson, founder of AutoGrow, and we’ll be talking to him about his company’s growth report for the months of September and October, right?
Matt: Yep. September and October. So we were pretty busy in September just still moving in here and getting settled. This report covers both of those very busy months, a lot going on, and certainly a lot learned, and we’ve made some really significant changes to our funnel.
We actually kind of scrapped our original funnel and therefore we saw a drop in revenue, which was expected, because we wanted to experiment with having a webinar-only focus funnel and also only having a single product focus within the sales funnel, and it didn’t quite work out, so we’re going back to what works.
And I think it kind of proves what I’ve always told myself: you’ve got to build on top of what works. If you were an entrepreneur asking me advice, I’d always tell you, invest in taking the next step, build on top of what works.
But sometimes, you forget to take your own advice. And if you step back and look down on your business objectively, you’ll be able to give yourself that advice.
The other thing, too, is that I think it helps to illustrate one of the laws of sales funnel physics, the law of range. Having multiple products instead of the one product that we were going to start selling, which was also a significantly higher price point.
I think it just helps to highlight the law of range where you have a range of offers, a range of price points. You’re going to convert a significantly higher percentage of your audience into paying customers, compared to if you just have one offer that’s out there.
So, we played around with it. I certainly have learned a lot too because we were actually growing conversions when we launched just this one product. We branded it as Autogrow.co’s Sales Funnel Training. And, you know, previously the Six-Figure Sales Funnel.
And we thought, okay, we can have just this one product, and we can get really great at delivering this one core product that would maybe simplify our business in some ways. But, we ran into some roadblocks because what we found was that people just wouldn’t be converting at first.
But then I started putting in place some tools. We had this chat widget for learning and for actually talking to people who were on the website, who were thinking about converting, but something was holding them back for whatever reason.
So we started engaging with these people, talking with them. We experimented with a 14-day free trial, actually. And we found better quality of the leads that would sign up for a 14-day trial, which is actually very generous when you’re doing an intro product.
Part of the reason I did that was because my buddy Lawrence Watkins, who has a different info product business, did that with some success where they had a 30-day trial. Now their market, their target market, and their products are extremely different, so that’s probably part of it.
But, at least for us, for our business, this is why you test certain things that just don’t work. And then there are some general principles of building an effective sales funnel, but when it comes down to certain nitty-gritty tactics, sometimes you just have to test to really know if it is going to work for your business. Is it going to work based on where you’re at? Is it going to work with your audience?
So we actually got our conversion rate up and up and up. We saw the balance rate come down in terms of the number of people coming to the page and then not leaving it, and staying on the page for longer, engaging with the content and clicking through to get to the checkout page.
And we saw an increase in the number of conversions, but it just wasn’t growing fast enough to where it made financial sense. It’s like, okay, well, we’re making a couple of sales every couple of days for this product, and it’s more expensive, but at the same time, we could be doing two, three, four, five times as much with our original products that we’re selling much more frequently.
By the way, I hope you guys like the fireplace in the background. You can tell we’re kind of a little more settled from previous videos where I think the last video, the last growth report we had was…
Interviewer: In the kitchen, yeah.
Matt: In the kitchen over there. And you could see all the boxes stacked in the background, and now the only thing that’s missing is like smoking cigars or something like that, or a glass of wine.
So here’s what the revenue actually looked like for these two months. The first seven months of this year, we grew by an average of 25% month over month, every single month. Our lowest month was 12% growth and our best month was where we actually tripled our revenue.
I was really hoping that we would continue that, but I guess in business you have to expect that sometimes you’re going to see a drop, like the stock market. There’s a general upward trend.
I think the stock market’s been around for, I mean, I think it’s almost 100 years old at this point. I don’t really know the New York Stock Exchange, but in either case, it’s always been an upward trend, even if some months, some days it goes up and down a lot.
Our first month that was not an up month, it was in, I believe, August, and we brought in $4,000 for that month. And that started getting me thinking about something that I want to tell you in just a second.
It was a very important lesson actually, and it’s in direct relationship to the effect that doing these growth reports actually has, in terms of making important decisions for the business in the short term.
So, then in September we brought in $3,000, and this is when, right around the end of August, we started to make major changes to our funnel, where we were shifting everything toward trying this webinar funnel to see if that would work.
Because we thought, okay, we could just focus all of our leads and all of our energy into making it a great webinar, a great product offered on that Webinar, and send all of our audience to that webinar in terms of making that kind of like the core offer. Maybe that could have some positive effects for our business in some way.
We saw revenue start to drop then. It was not an up month in October either. So October is when I just kind of pulled the plug, at the end of October. I was like, okay, like this is not working.
We brought in just $1,300 in revenue and then we turned back on the majority of the components for our original funnel that we knew was working so much better in this month, November. So we’re about 10 days into the month of November and we have already made about 30% more revenue in those 10 days than we made in the entire month of October.
So, you know, that’s just more proof to show that people want the variety of offers that we have, but we have a lot of traffic coming to our website.
We purposely have not chosen a specific niche. We address a few different niches specifically. Primarily, the top needs that we look to address for our audience are, how do I grow my traffic to either drive more product sales or client leads into my funnel?
How do I increase lead generation for my services? And there’s overlap between these topics. How do I create a sales funnel that’s effective from top to bottom? So those are kind of the top three needs and the top three segments of our audience that we’re going after going forward.
And there’s some other popular but a little less popular topics like starting up a business online, building and monetizing an email list, for example. But, it’s been a learning process and a build on top of what works. I think that’s kinda like the biggest takeaway.
Also, I felt a lot of pressure in August, I have to say. Like this stress from wanting to do these, and to be honest, the stress from wanting to do these growth reports and have every single one be a growth. Because every single month I’d be like, okay, we grew last month, are we going to do it this month?
Just the anticipation, the excitement of wanting to say, oh, you know, like 18 months and running and we’ve grown every single month, as well as just not wanting to say that we didn’t have an up month.
But I think that honestly, it’s just realistic. You’re just going to not grow some months because sometimes you really have to invest in things that are going to take longer than a month.
And so the growth report was actually causing me to take action and make decisions that were short term. So if you ever choose to do a growth report for your business, you have to be very careful with this because it’s a very powerful and potentially harmful psychological effect in terms of your decision-making.
Just having done one of these in two months, I got to tell you guys everything that’s useful to you. So, I remember reading an article around the same time when I started to think about this problem, too.
People like Elon Musk, the president, CEOs and your corporate America–a lot of people have some aversion, for example if you’re a public company, to reporting results on a quarterly basis because oftentimes it creates an incentive to make shorter-term decisions that are going to juice profit, and that are going to potentially not be in the best long-term interest of the business. And that can get results for a while.
And I think that we did really well because we were getting all of the components into place, doing all the best practices those first seven months. But in terms of growing your business, there are two types of growth.
There’s exponential growth and there is a kind of plateaued growth. It’s where you’re growing more slowly, more incrementally, and then eventually you’ll usually discover something that will cause exponential growth again. But then you’ll hit another plateau and you’ll grow more slowly again.
It’s kind of like step-based growth and you really have to keep an open mind to that, because there’s only so much growth that you can get out of any one part of your sales funnel at a time. You can only get so much growth out of traffic, for example, because after a while the traffic might not be targeted.
Then you have to adapt the middle of your funnel to that traffic, to that audience’s change to that wider array of traffic, and then maybe the bottom of the funnel also has to be adapted, and you just kind of go around and around.
Part of what we teach in the Sales Funnel Blueprint and, you know, through the articles that I write on our blog and resources that we put out is, what does that process look like? How do you do it in a way that’s predictable in terms of causing sales and getting you results in a sustainable long-term way?
I think that’s some of what I’ve learned and what’s been happening.
Interviewer: And what are you going to be focused on right now, in this month, since you have been going through a lot of changes in this past months?
Matt: Now what we’re focused on is: I want to upgrade our branding. I want to show people that we take a lot of pride in our products and that our products are designed to solve really specific solutions.
Because, one of the most common questions that we get from people is, “Okay, will this work for my business?” So I want to show more examples of customer success stories. I want to show people that it’s relevant to them, and I want to help them to see themselves and see themselves solving their marketing problem with whatever product it is of ours that they’re considering.
So, we’re going to be doing that. We’re also going to be better segmenting our audience, going after those top five segments that I mentioned and just building out our survey funnel. Because our survey funnel is engaging like 40% of our audience every single day and it’s doing really well, in that way.
But now we switched back and we’re still in this transition. I know that there are things that if they were all working 100% smoothly, that we’d be making more sales on a daily basis right now.
Today I think we’ve made, 10 days into this month, over $1,600 so far. And I know that if our messaging was more targeted we would be better able to connect with people in certain emails and in certain ways, and I think that we’d see a better conversion rate. I think the final thing that we’re doing is we’re going to be coming up with new products that are specific to the problems that people say they have when they enter our survey funnel.
Interviewer: Okay. And what can you say was like the lesson that you learned, like the biggest wins and the mistakes from this past month?
Matt: Mistake: not building on top of what’s working. Biggest win: relearning that lesson.
Also, I think that our audience really loved the video training, the free video training, that I had just started to put out. We saw sales really jump up in the first week of this month, once we started sending out those emails.
And there were some laws of sales funnel physics here again, the law of zero was in place, because we were still changing everything back to the original, more effective funnel structure. And so there were some links that were broken here and there, and just like silly mistakes that we’ve gotten fixed now.
Regardless of that, we still saw a really nice jump in sales, which meant that people really connected with the content. I think just getting in front of the camera as often as I can while keeping the quality of the content really, really high.
That’s another thing. I think I took my eye off the ball a little bit in terms of content in recent months, and so it’s been a win just putting out high-quality content that I’m proud of, and that personally connects with our audience so they can see me and they can see what exactly they can get when they actually go through our training.
Interviewer: Are you going to keep doing the monthly growth reports? Are you going to continue with that?
Matt: I think so, but now that that line has been crossed where for the first time we didn’t have an up month, I think that’ll put me at ease. So the benefit too is that it’s kind of an accountability mechanism for me.
And by the way, if you’re getting value from these monthly growth reports, please leave a comment, because I would like to hear from you. I don’t just want this to be beneficial to me, I want to make sure that it’s designed to be relevant to you guys and that you’re getting something out of it.
Because I know at the moment, a smaller segment of our audience is interested in these. We don’t talk all about lead generation, for example, and necessarily building a funnel, but it is about obviously just sharing the journey with you guys in a real, authentic format. I mean, we got a fireplace behind us, right?
Interviewer: Is there anything else that you want to share on these past months? Any other lesson, experience, wisdom?
Matt: Yeah. Having an apartment is great. Having that kind of stable location. After we were traveling for a year, having that is really great.
We bought a new bed, so getting a really good sleep. I mean, this thing like vibrates and it goes up and down. It’s so comfortable. It’s the best bed I’ve ever had.
So, getting a great sleep is great for accelerating your thinking and helping you to think more clearly, and accomplish more during the day. So basic things like that.
Another one is that we’ve gotten into a routine now. We’re going to the gym. I think this week or the last two weeks, we went four times per week. Now we’re going to go five times starting this week. And I feel better. I feel like I have more energy.
Interviewer: That’s good.
Do you want to say something else? Maybe share something important with, I don’t know, people who are starting a business right now, who are coming to watch this video, hoping that they can find advice. Something that you can like teach them in a couple of seconds here.
Someone is looking for a mentor, a coach for their business. Is there something quickly that you would want to tell them? Like, you have been teaching me with our business bookies. Is there some quick advice?
Matt: I think this is something that you and I were talking about the other day. I think that everyone has an internal switch for survival that can be applied to everyday life. I think that you can tap into this switch, you can turn it on, whenever you want.
So regardless of whatever position you’re in, if you’re starting up, if you want to transition out of a job, if you’re starting up or if you’re in a place where maybe you’re struggling, or you feel like you’ve plateaued, just keep in mind that you can turn this switch on.
It’s within yourself and you just have to be open to the possibility of learning. You have to not be married to any of your previous ideas, necessarily. Just focus on the data, focus on seeing if the data will tell you something new by looking at it.
And pay attention to our blog too, because we’re not married to any idea either. We’re married to data and giving you the best possible tactics and advice that have gotten us results and that we are seeing get results for hundreds and hundreds of our own customers.
So I think that’d be the best advice and just, you know, just keep moving forward. Just keep moving forward.
Interviewer: Thank you.
Matt: Okay, great.
Interviewer: I think this is it.
Matt: So, we’ll see you guys next month.