, "> danielndukwu1@gmail.com, Author at PayKickstart

Author: danielndukwu1@gmail.com

Finding the right price for your products and services is essential. There are a lot of pricing methods you can choose from but none of them actually tell you how much to charge.

No one can.

Pricing is one of the decisions in your business that has the highest leverage. If you choose wrong, you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table.

If you choose correctly then you’ll increase your bottom line while delivering value to your customers.

This article will show you the key elements to consider when you’re pricing your products and services so you unlock the most value and accelerate your growth.

Start with pricing strategies in your industry

Pricing is a wide topic and will depend on everything from your products, industry, positioning, and financial muscle.

It’s important to understand pricing isn’t something that you set and forget. You can go back and evaluate your pricing as often as you want. If you go the route of constantly testing your prices, you should protect your current customers from fluctuations (for example, if you have a membership product) by grandfathering them.

To find a benchmark to start with, look at what’s going on in your industry.

Almost every industry has an accepted norm for how they price products. It’s not a must that you follow the same methodology as everyone else but it is important for you to understand the strategies being used.  

This may save you a lot of time and energy down the line. For example, retail stores and manufacturers tend to use cost-plus pricing. SaaS companies gravitate towards value-based pricing.

When you figure out how your competitors are pricing their products, you have three choices:

  • Price above the market
  • Price below the market
  • Price at parity with the market

Each one has nuances. For example, if you’re trying to capture a larger market share, you may price below the market. If you’re trying to position yourself as an exclusive or premium brand then you may price above the market.

Remember, no price point is written in stone. Just look at it as a starting point and the more you optimize your price, the better results you’ll get.

Now, let’s look at the keys to arriving at the perfect price for your products.

Willingness to pay

This may be the most important factor when determining your price. How willing are your customers to pay for the product in the first place? Is it important enough for them to pay a premium price or do they look at it as a commodity?

The way you market your products will have a direct impact on your customer’s willingness to pay. Apart from that, certain products are simply more valuable to your target market than others.

Let me illustrate using two different examples.

Bob is an office manager and his 7th marriage anniversary is coming up. His wife is really big on collectible action figurines that can go for hundreds of dollars through auctions on sites like eBay.

There’s one type in particular that she has been eyeing for the last few months, but the price was too high so she’s been saving towards it. Bob knows she won’t be able to save enough for it for at least 2 more months. He also knows that she’ll be thrilled if he can surprise her with it.

He jumps on eBay and places a bid when the item has about 12 more days left. His bid is set at $120. With just 24 hours left, someone comes and places a bid for $450. It’s still less than Bob planned to pay so he ups the bid to $475 and dares them to bid again.

They bite and increase the bid to $500 with just 8 hours left.

A bidding war ensues.

Bob checks eBay every ten minutes to make sure he’s still on top. His opponent doesn’t seem to want to give up. With just 30 minutes left, the bid is at $950 and Bob is on top. His opponent swoops in with just 15 minutes left bids $1,000.

Bob sighs in resignation as he adds another $50 to his bid amount. He wins.

In this case, there’s a lot of willingness to pay. Not because of the intrinsic value of the figurine but because of the value to Bob’s wife.

In another example, the same person – Bob – is playing with the idea of starting an online business but doesn’t know where to start.

He ends up on the list of a marketer that has a course about that exact topic. Bob consumes the free material and when the launch rolls around, he seriously thinks about buying the $997 course.

He contemplates it for a few days but decided he has more important obligations and goes about his business.

He has low willingness to pay.

When you know the willingness to pay of your potential customers, you can price your products accordingly.

You can use surveys to determine the willingness to pay of your target demographic.

Cost to create

This can be hard to determine when you have an intangible product like an Ebook. You sit down for a couple of hours and write the book.

The cost of fulfillment is negligible and doesn’t factor into the costs of making and distributing the product. On the other hand, if you have shirts, physical books, electronics, etc. There’s a real cost of the goods.

You may be manufacturing them yourself or reselling them after purchasing from a distributor.

When you’re in a situation like this, the cost of the goods is a solid benchmark when determining the retail price of your product. If it costs $5 to produce then you know you need to, at the very least, charge more than $5 if you want to turn a profit.

Market competition

Competition is also a huge factor in determining your price.

If you don’t have anything that differentiates you from the others in your space then your products and services will be perceived as a commodity.

What that means is you’ll have a hard time charging premium prices.

Think of it like this. You’re selling a white shirt with no brand, no special features, and no unique factor that differentiates it from other white shirts. For some reason, you decide to price it at $29.

The people who land on your page will read everything, possibly watch a video, and then search Google for an alternative.

Within a few minutes, they’ll find dozens of competitors that offer a comparable product for much cheaper. When you don’t have anything that differentiates you from the competition then the way they price their products will play a big role in your pricing strategy.

If, on the other hand, you have a differentiation device then the competition becomes less important to you because you offer something people can’t get anywhere else.

An example of this is FrogTape that uses Paintblock® technology. No one else in the market offers Paintblock® technology so it’s able to stand out and charge a premium for its product.

Conclusion

Your price is never set in stone and can be reevaluated at any time in the future. With that being said, you should still put the time and effort into getting it right.

Start by looking at what other organizations in your industry are doing. What’s the methodology behind their pricing and does it work for them?

Using that starting point, look at specific factors in your business such as

  • Customer willingness to pay
  • Cost to create
  • Competition in the market

When you’ve gathered all of these data points, it’s much easier to settle on a price. Let me know how you’re going about pricing intelligently in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Customer acquisition cost is the amount you spend to attract new customers into your business. This number is so important because it determines if your business is profitable or not.

When it’s too high, there isn’t enough money left over from your acquisition to support all the other things that are important in your business.

Whether you’re paying $10 or $10,000, you’ll positively impact your business and profit by reducing your CAC. Even if you’re happy with it right now, things may change in the future so it’s important to constantly work towards a lower CAC.

In this article, I’ll go through 6 strategic ways of lowering your CAC so you can take home more profit from every customer you acquire.

Improve conversion rates on key pages

There are tons of ways to improve your conversion rates and going through all of them would require a 500-page book.

Instead of that, there are a few high-impact areas which you should focus on at first.

  • Your presell flow. What kind of content does your potential customer interact with before they get to your sales page?  If there’s a mismatch between what you say there and what they experience on the page, your conversion rates will be negatively impacted.
  • Powerful risk reversal. This is especially important online. There are tons of risks when anyone makes a purchase so let them know they’re protected. Money back guarantees, a generous return policy, and trust/security signs help reduce the risk associated with buying from you.
  • Urgency. If your products lend themselves to urgency then don’t be afraid to use it. There are different types of urgency which can be combined with scarcity.

Here’s an example of scarcity (which also creates urgency) from Walmart.

Promote better offers

Many entrepreneurs have no idea how important the offer itself is. Apart from targeting the right people, the offer you present can have the biggest impact on your sales conversions which in turn will reduce your CAC.

You don’t have to change your marketing, your advertising budget, or your branding to improve your results. All you need is a better offer.

I’m not talking about the price alone because that’s just part of what makes up your offer. Other things to consider are your payment terms, the bonuses, features, risk reversal, etc.

Look around your market. What’s the length of the money back guarantee? Can you make yours better? What kind of payment terms is everyone else offering? If they spread it out over six months can you spread it out over 12 months?

Retarget people who visited key pages

There are countless ways to retarget the people who visited your website. You can show offers to people who read your blog. You can push for the email for people who visited specific landing pages and more.

The highest impact thing you can do with your retargeting campaigns is to focus on the people who visited your checkout page or added items to the cart. This usually shows high intent but they may have run into one of the common cart abandonment reasons like unexpected shipping costs.

Create retargeting ads that show the product they were about to purchase and give them an incentive to come back and complete the purchase.

example of retargeting ad to reduce CAC


This example from Wayfair reinforces the ability to get free shipping and shows its products in action. A certain percentage of people will click through so all your effort spent getting people to your page in the first place won’t be wasted.

Clarify your customer avatar

Your target customer is everything.

Your products should speak to your customers and no one else. When you’re not speaking to them clearly then they can get confused about whether or not your products are for them.

This results in a lower conversion rate and increased CAC.

There’s a simple way to further refine your customer avatar. It may not be the easiest thing but it’s worth it.

I’m talking about performing customer interviews to better understand who your customers are and the problem they’re using your products to solve.

A great book for this methodology is When Coffee And Kale Compete by Alan Klement. There’s a free ebook available on the web.

Conversely, if interviews aren’t possible based on your situation, you can also focus on running surveys. You’ll need to collect more responses because surveys lack an interactive element and many people will give short answers.

When you’re done, use the data you gain to further refine your customer avatar.

Referral and affiliate programs

What better way to improve your CAC than to get other people to do the work for you. Both affiliates and referral partners are a tried and tested way to get more customers through the door without direct spending.

With that being said, it’s important to understand the numbers in your business such as CLTV (customer lifetime value) so you can give a commission that’s competitive but still makes sense for you.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the commission you give is recurring or a one-off fee. With the PayKickstart affiliate features, you can take advantage of both recurring, one-off, and product-specific commissions for your affiliates and referral partners.

If you have a longer sales cycle that may not be attractive to affiliates, it may be a good idea to pay them for every qualified lead they generate. Whatever route you choose, it can go a long way towards reducing your customer acquisition costs.

Articulate a differentiation device

This is a much more difficult way to reduce CAC but it’s also one of the most powerful. Not only will it help you reduce your customer acquisition costs, but it can also help you stand out in very competitive markets.

A differentiation device, like the name implies, is something that helps you position yourself as unique in a crowded market. More than that, it makes your prospects pay attention and gives them hope that your solution will be different.

An example of this concept is the home workout program called P90X. In the early 2000’s it was launched in a crowded market and their prospects ignored them. The company struggled to gain traction and lost money on 14 infomercials.

It then came up with a differentiation device known as muscle confusion (you can read more about muscle confusion here). In essence, it gave people hope that this workout program was different and they could see results.

Over the course of the next decade, P90X amassed 23,000,000 customers and the parent company cracked a billion dollars in sales.

Conclusion

Your customer acquisition cost is one of the most important metrics in your business. It determines how much you can expect to profit when you acquire a new customer and which channels will work for you.

The lower this number is, the better.

This article has gone through 6 effective ways to reduce your CAC and, in turn, create a more profitable business. Choose one to focus on first and see how it works in your business. ‘Once you have implemented it successfully, move on to the next one until you’ve worked your way through the list.

Let me know how you’re reducing customer acquisition costs in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Wix is one of the most popular website and page builders. You can create a professional website in an afternoon.

You get hundreds of templates, social media integrations, SEO tools, support for dozens of languages and much more.

It even comes with a basic Wix shopping cart through Wix Stores that will allow you to collect payments. That’s enough for beginners or people who’re not concerned with maximizing revenue.

For you to be here right now reading this blog post, I’m going to make an assumption – forgive me if I’m wrong.

My assumption is that you want to maximize revenue from every transaction and the Wix shopping cart is too basic for your needs.

 As you know, we don’t do basic at PayKickstart.

In this article, you’ll understand the benefits of using PayKickstart to handle payments on your Wix site and how to integrate with Wix.

Benefits of using PayKickstart as your Wix shopping cart

After you’ve done the legwork of generating the right traffic, getting your message right, and sourcing (or creating) the right products everything is good – right?

Not exactly.

One of the main challenges of online shopping is the high rate of abandonment. The statistics vary but everyone agrees that over 70% of shoppers fail to complete the checkout process.

This is abandonment and it’s one of the main issues PayKickstart was created to address. It does this in a number of ways.

Optimized checkout templates

Part of the reason people have so much trouble checking out is because the process is difficult. There are multiple pages, forms to fill, and a lot of unnecessary information.

templates for wix shopping cart

Our templates have been tested in the real world and proven to increase conversions. They ask for the most important information and leave off the rest so your customer can get in and out quickly.

In addition to that, you have the option of capturing contact information separately. That way you can send follow up messages if your prospects don’t make it through the checkout process.

Multiple payment methods

There are hundreds of alternative payment methods and they’re getting more popular every day. Over half of all online transactions will be performed with an alternate payment method by the end of 2019.

What many online business owners don’t realize is that almost half of all their shoppers will leave when they don’t see their preferred payment method.

When you have multiple payment options, it encourages trust from your new customers and may even promote repeat purchases.

In addition to that, it can be more secure because payment methods like PayPal process the transaction off of your website.

Conversion boosting tools

This is one of my favorite parts of PayKickstart. There are tons of conversion boosting features that other shopping carts simply can’t stand up to.

Here’s the thing, Wix Stores is fine for collecting payments but it’s not built to maximize revenue from every transaction. PayKickstart is.

This is made possible with a few key features:

1-click upsells

The problem with a lot of solutions is that they don’t support upsells or the customer has to jump through a few hoops.

Both situations are far from ideal.

With PayKickstart, all you have to do is set up your upsells and your customers can simply click for it to be added to their cart.

Order bumps

Order bumps are smaller products you present on the initial checkout page. They’re closely tied to the original product and make it easier to use or complement it in some way.

On average, our customers see a 30% increase in transaction value.

Jeff Hunter was able to bump sales 5x when he switched to PayKickstart and started using the conversion boosting features.

Cart abandonment recovery tools

Traditionally, setting up your cart abandonment workflow requires multiple tools. PayKickstart is a self-contained system that allows you to send cart abandonment recovery emails to the 70%+ shoppers who don’t make it through the checkout process.

It doesn’t end there, when your buyers click through the emails to continue shopping, the shopping cart has their information already filled out from the previous visit.

Clear reporting dashboard

You don’t have a business if you don’t understand how everything is working together. PayKickstart has a clear dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of the most important metrics in your business.

It’s also possible to drill down and look at metrics individually to spot areas of improvement. Key dashboards include:

  • Conversion reports
  • Sales reports
  • Subscription and churn reports
  • Traffic reports
  • Affiliate reports

How to set up PayKickstart as your Wix shopping cart to accept payments

There are two methods of collecting payments from your Wix website using PayKickstart.

Checkout pop-up widget

This is ideal when you want to present the checkout form after a button click but don’t want your customers to be redirected to another page.

In PayKickstart, it’s necessary to set up a sales funnel and product before creating a checkout page. You can learn how to do that here.

After you’ve created your product and sales funnel, you can begin setting up your checkout pop-up widget.

Step 1: Click funnels in the left navigation panel and then click the light blue manage button.

Step 2: Click on checkout options for whichever product in your funnel that you’d like to associate a checkout form with.

Step 3: select popup widget and then choose a widget design.

Step 4: Grab the embed code and paste it anywhere below the head tag of your website.

Step 5: click on “step 3 – link widget.” The code that appears here will be pasted as the link for your button instead of a traditional URL. When you’re done, the button will now show a checkout pop-up when clicked.

That’s it, your Wix page is now ready to start accepting payments.

Embed checkout form

This option is ideal when you’d like to separate the sales page and the checkout page but keep everything on your domain. The process is similar to the checkout pop-up form. Complete steps 1 & 2 from above, for step 3, you’ll select “form embed.”

wix shopping cart form embed

Step 4: choose your form design and decide whether it’s a single page or multi-step form.

wix shopping cart form embed

Step 5: Choose individual design options and customize your form.

wix shopping card form embed

Step 6: Click on embed code. Copy the code presented and paste it anywhere on your page to enable your Wix shopping cart.

Wix shopping cart form embed

That’s it, you’re all set up.

Conclusion

Wix is a powerful page and website builder. It has everything you need to create a professional looking website in a matter of hours.

What’s lacking is the ability to create a conversion optimized Wix shopping cart right. For that, there’s PayKickstart. It works seamlessly with Wix to create a checkout experience that increases revenue and drives down cart abandonment.

It only takes a few steps to integrate PayKickstart with Wix and reap the rewards you can gain from a shopping cart built to maximize your revenue.

Let me know what you think about using PayKickstart as your Wix shopping cart in the comments.

As an online business, there’s a ton of data available to help you make better decisions about what you’re selling and how you’re selling it. With this data, you can make strategic choices about what to sell, when to sell it, and how to sell it.

When used properly, upsells and downsells can have a major positive impact on your revenue. If used incorrectly, they can create a poor user experience because it’ll feel like you’re shoving offers down the throats of new customers.

That’s far from ideal.

In this article, I’ll look at how upsells and downsells affect your income as well as a few ways to make the most of them.

What are upsells and downsells

They’re used in similar situations but are very different.

An upsell is the process of recommending a more expensive yet complimentary product to someone that has just purchased from you.

A downsell is the process of recommending a product that’s less expensive than the original upsell but it’s still complementary to someone that has just purchased from you.

Both of them are geared towards suggesting beneficial products to new customers in an effort to increase the current cart value.

Here’s a simple diagram illustrating how upsells and downsells work together.

Upsell flow

The first step is their purchase. It’s important to show upsells and downsells only after someone has completed the initial transaction. If not, they may get annoyed and abandon the cart halfway through the process and you’ve missed out on the purchase they would’ve otherwise made.

After someone completes their initial purchase, they’ll be shown an upsell page. Here, you explain what the offer is and they can then choose whether or not they’ll take advantage of it. If they decide to purchase the upsell, they’ll be redirected to the thank you page.

If they didn’t purchase the initial upsell offer then they’ll be redirected to a downsell page and offered something else.

Whether they buy this one or not, they’re redirected to a thank you or confirmation page.

That’s an upsell to downsell sequence at a really high level but there are many different permutations which I’ll touch on a bit later in this post.

Let’s look at how upsells and downsells affect your bottom line.

The revenue impact of using upsells/downsells

The best way to illustrate how powerful this strategy can be for you is with an example.

Acme Inc. is a company that sells fitness related services to its customers. It gets the majority of its revenue from a calculator on its website. People go through the calculator, fill in their information to get their results, and are taken to a results page that contains an offer.

A few people click on the offer and buy it at $50. That’s the average order value and the only product that Acme Inc. was selling.

Acme Inc. wasn’t happy with the revenue it was getting from this process and decided to implement a few things.

The first step was to add an order bump to the checkout page for a $27 product. It was a complimentary add-on that offered 100 recipes people could use to improve their results. It had a 35% conversion rate.

After the order bump, the average cart value increased from $50 to $59.45. That’s not bad but Acme Inc. wasn’t satisfied.

It tested two different offers for upsells. The first one was a personalized meal plan and the second one was a personalized workout plan. Both of them were priced at $197. The personalized meal plan offer was more popular and got a 12.5% conversion rate.

After that, the cart value increased to $84.07. That’s almost a 70% increase. Acme Inc. still wasn’t done. For the people who refused the upsell, it implemented a downsell for a smaller version of the personalized workout plan which cost $97.

5% of people who saw it decided to take advantage of the offer. That bumped the average cart value up to $88.92.

Acme Inc. by presenting a series of offers after the initial transaction was able to increase the value of each order by 77%. Without increasing the traffic to the site, changing its marketing strategy, or any other overhaul to its business, it has almost doubled the value of each customer.

That’s the effect a properly implemented upsell sales funnel can have on your bottom line.

How should you structure your upsell sequence

There’s no hard answer to this question and before I share an upsell sequence, I recommend you use them as a starting point but test on your own.

First,  this post breaks down upsell sequences for different types of products and services. In addition to what’s recommended there, here’s one to try out that I’ve not seen used in many places before.

Checkout + order bump -> upsell #1 -> Upsell #2 -> thank you page. That’s pretty standard. It’s what happens after the first upsell is declined that things get interesting.

Checkout + order bump -> Upsell #1 -> (if it’s declined then) -> downsell #1-> (whether you buy or decline) -> upsell #2 -> (if you decline) -> downsell #2 -> (regardless of your choice) thank you page.

This sequence is much more aggressive and can’t be used effectively in all markets. It’s dependent on how used to upselling and downselling your customers are as well as your ability to create a seamless process.

The funnel I just described was for a training program related to marketing. It started with an Ebook, then went on to a $291 product, then offered different payment terms for the product as the downsell. This was unique because they didn’t offer a smaller version of the upsell product or different product which is common. Instead, they offered the same product with a payment plan.

This may be something to try out in your business if you can offer payment plans to customers.

Conclusion

There’s no denying the fact that upsells and downsells can work wonders for your business. What’s not so clear is the right sequence to use in your particular situation.

Use the examples in this post as well as the resources linked here to get a better idea of how to structure your own campaigns. After that, it’s just a matter of testing until you find the combination that works for you.

Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share.

As you’re making money, you’re spending money (in some cases being charged fees). That’s what happens when you process credit card transactions through your website. These fees are called interchange fees and depending on your setup, it can be a big deal or something you can easily manage.

It’s important to know what your interchange fees are, how they’re calculated, and the impact they can have on your business.

That’s exactly what this article focuses on – the most important things you need to know about interchange fees.

What are interchange fees?

Interchange fees are transaction fees that your bank account, as the merchant, is debited every time a customer makes a purchase with a credit or debit card in your store. This applies whether you have an online store or physical location.

These fees are paid to the customer’s bank – the issuing bank – to handle the transaction costs, as a hedge against bad debt, and other risks involved in credit card transactions. Your bank and credit card networks also collect a portion of the fee.

Many people don’t realize just how many institutions are involved in a single transaction. Each of them gets a piece of the interchange fee pie. Card creators like MasterCard and Visa, the issuing bank, and payment processors charge their own percentage.

When you, the merchant, is shown the bill for the interchange fee, everything is usually bundled together. Of course, this is a simplified version because I don’t want to mention the 100s of individual transactions that actually make up the interchange fee.

Interchange fees fluctuate

Just like the value of money, the interest rates, and other factors in the financial markets fluctuate – so do interchange fees. Visa and MasterCard adjust it every year in April and October. The rates can also vary widely between different card networks. Visa & MasterCard tend to have the cheapest fee while American Express has the most expensive.

It may also be different because of the nature of the card you use. Debit cards have lower interchange fees while credit cards have higher fees. Amongst credit cards, there’s usually a higher fee for rewards or premium cards.

If a card is used in person with a pin then the fee tends to be lower and if a transaction is made over the internet or phone then the fee is higher. There are many levels and permutations in the interchange fee which is why banks will usually lump everything together and present it as one fee.

How interchange fees get calculated

As I explained in the last section, there are a lot of factors that affect the amount you’ll pay per transaction. In order to make it easier for everyone involved, merchant banks calculate the number as a single percentage plus a fixed fee.

Online payment processors like Stripe and PayPal that double as your merchant account tend to have much higher fees than merchant accounts maintained by your bank. For example, with your bank, you can expect to pay around 2% +$0.10 per transaction.

With an online payment processor, that number is around 2.9% +$0.30 per transaction. A single percentage point and twenty cents per transaction seems like a small amount but 1% of a one hundred thousand dollars is $1,000. The more effective your marketing machine, the more money you’ll make which in turn increases the fees you pay.

Controversy around interchange fees

Originally, it was thought that interchange fees were implemented to maintain a healthy mix of issuers and acquirers in the card network scheme. Professor Adam Levitin of Georgetown University Law Center paints a different picture.

From his research, it was found that it was implemented by banks to avoid usury and Truth-in-Lending Laws.

In short, it’s a great way to make money for banks. Visa and MasterCard alone make tens of billions every year. Remember, they get the smallest percentage of every transaction. Banks rake in the rest.

Many organizations and regulators have questioned the validity of the fees being fixed in the way that they are. The actual cost of performing credit card transactions has gone down considerably but the interchange fees have been rising steadily over the last few years.

Another issue was raised by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It performed a study, which you can find here, and found that low-income households transfer a portion of their wealth to high-income households through the interchange fees and rewards cards. It’s interesting to see the significant impact it can have over the course of years.

What can you do about your interchange fees?

As far as paying it or not, there’s nothing to be done about it if you want to continue accepting credit or debit card payments. It’s the system we find ourselves operating in.

With that being said you don’t have to accept the interchange fees you’re being presented while sitting on your hands.

What do I mean by that?

As I mentioned in this article, online payment processors like Stripe and PayPal charge considerably more than a merchant account set up through a bank. They’re aware of this but they’re hoping a lot of their customers aren’t.

Even if they’re aware, they’re hoping they don’t get worked up over it because it’s just 1%. When you’re doing a decent volume, that 1% adds up pretty quickly. Doing a lot of volume is also your key to getting a better interchange fee.

Once you’ve hit a certain level of success, your payment processor will take note and reach out to you to ensure you’re happy with their platform. Even if they don’t, you can be proactive about it and reach out. Request they give you better terms.

Even a half of a percentage point will make a huge difference over time. It may not work but the most important thing to do is ask.

Conclusion

Interchange fees are a normal part of business – especially online. Instead of looking for ways to beat them, accept them as a part of life.

Just because you accept it as a part of life doesn’t mean you can’ do anything about it. After all, rain is a part of life but we figured out umbrellas work well.

Likewise, you have some wiggle room in the interchange fee you pay.

If you process a considerable volume of transactions in your business, reach out to your merchant account holder and see if you can get your interchange fees reduced. Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Online funnels are intricate creations that, when used properly, can make you a lot of money while building brand awareness and goodwill.

What may take you days to set up can be completed by your customers in a matter of minutes. If something breaks along the way, they won’t tell you, they’ll just bounce and not return. 

Because funnels are so complex, it’s important to test them over and over again to make sure everything is working smoothly. If you were doing that with a live transaction, you’d get billed a lot which would be annoying. Of course, that’s not feasible so payment processors developed test mode which enables you to troubleshoot and work out the bugs before going live.

In this article, I’ll look at both Stripe’s and PayKickstart’s test mode to give you a better understanding of which one will work best for you.

Stripe Test Mode

Stripe test mode can be used when you’ve made a custom integration with the platform or are using a third-party tool that supports it. If you’re using a third-party tool then you’ll need to grab your test keys instead of your live keys.

Stripe test mode transactions will show up under the test view of your Stripe Dashboard.

The way transactions are dealt with is slightly different in test mode. For example, failed webhooks are tried multiple times over the course of a few hours while live failed webhooks are tested over the course of 72 hours.

Another difference is the strict policy around using live cards on a test transaction. It’s against their terms of service and if they find out you’ve been doing it intentionally then it can have serious repercussions for your account.

Instead of live cards, they provide specific Stripe test cards for you to use. If you’re trying a different type of transaction like an ACH payment then they’ll also provide details for that. Taken together, the Stripe test mode works but can be a little complicated if you don’t know your way around the platform.

That’s far from ideal when you’re trying to whip up sales funnels and checkout pages quickly.

PayKickstart Test Mode

PayKickstart has it’s own built-in test mode. There are a few key differences between it and the Stripe test mode which I’ll get into soon. For now, let me give you a quick rundown of what it is and how it works.

Just like with Stripe, PayKickstart allows you to test your forms, checkout flows, and everything in between before setting it live. After you’ve created a campaign, it’ll be able to collect payments by default.

In order to activate test mode, just go to the campaign options and click test mode.

What this does is hide the card field for transactions and allows you to go through your funnel from beginning to end to make sure everything is working as expected.

There are no restrictions on the type of information you can submit and it’s easy to access your data by clicking the payments tab and selecting test transactions.

It’s important to note that all the integrations, notification emails, etc. will still work when you have test mode enabled. That means if new customers are meant to get added to your email marketing tool then the email addresses you use to test will also be added to your email marketing service. If an account is supposed to be made in your membership site then that’ll still occur.

Really, the only difference between test mode and live mode is the fact that payments aren’t processed.

The difference between Stripe and PayKickstart

There are a few key differences between the Stripe and PayKickstart test mode.

Stripe still requires credit card information in order to perform test transactions but you can only use their specific test cards. If you forget you’re in test mode and use a real credit card (hopefully that doesn’t happen), you’ll be violating their terms of service and may get yourself in hot water.

PayKickstart removes the credit card field entirely so you can go through your entire workflow without worrying about whether or not you enter the right card information.

Also, a lot of the integrations you use with Stripe may not work the same. Webhooks will still fire but they’ll be tested differently if they fail. With PayKickstart, everything keeps working and your integrations still get your data so plan accordingly to make sure your tools aren’t filled up with too much dummy data.

The main difference between the PayKickstart test mode and the Stripe test mode is simplicity and use case.

PayKickstart has taken care of the heaving lifting for you when it comes to integrating with Stripe for payment processing. You can create beautiful checkout forms and sales funnels with much less effort. It’s already difficult enough without battling to understand the tech behind it.

Instead of having to use multiple cards for multiple types of transactions, you already know they work when you integrate Stripe to PayKickstart. The aim then becomes testing your funnel to make sure the triggers are working correctly and the payment is being captured the way you want.

Conclusion

Test mode is essential whether you’re building a simple checkout page or a five-part funnel that upsells, downsells, cross-sells, and everything in between.

The most important thing with your test mode is the ability to check everything and make sure it’s set up properly. Not only that, you want to accomplish it in the shortest amount of time possible or be able to troubleshoot easily.

For that, PayKickstart is ideal. If you want to see how things are working at the level of your Payment gateway because you have custom rules then Stripe is the ideal test mode. The key takeaway is that they can be used together to help you build a more efficient business.

Let me know what you think about the different test modes in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Business is a numbers game. When you know your numbers, you’re in a better position to scale, acquire customers, and maximize customer lifetime value.

When you don’t know your numbers, it becomes a guessing game about what’s working and what isn’t.

That’s a dangerous place to be. 

The first number to look at is your average order value (also known as AOV). When you know that, it becomes easier to set KPIs and make campaigns that grow your business.

This article looks at what average order value is and what it means in your business.

What is average order value?

The average order value is the average dollar amount (or whatever currency you bill in) a customer spends when they buy goods from you.

The AOV is an aggregate number and isn’t indicative of any single transaction. It’s still important because it normalizes how much you can expect to make every time you process a transaction.

In other words, the AOV doesn’t reflect a single transaction but when you have a decent number of transactions, on average, they’ll equal your AOV.

The calculation is simple.

Take total revenue for a given period and divide it by the number of orders in that same period.

AOV = total revenue in a given period/the number of orders in the same period.

Here’s an example to better illustrate average order value.

Acme Inc. made $150,000 in revenue over a 2 month period. During the same 2 month period, they recorded 1,000 individual transactions. For them, average order value would be:

150,000/1,000 = $150.

It can expect $150 every time they get an order. AOV is also an important part of the customer lifetime value calculation which you can view in this post here.

When you’re using PayKickstart, your average order value is automatically calculated and shown on your dashboard.

paykickstart dashboard showing average order value

Why average order value matters

There are two major schools of thought when it comes to using AOV.

  • Use it to ensure you’re making a profit on every transaction
  • Maxing out AOV to acquire a new customer

It’s an important distinction that will affect how fast you can grow your business.

Making a profit on every transaction

This is the traditional school of thought and is where most entrepreneurs start out. When people spend money on your products and services, you should be turning a profit – right?

Here’s how it plays out in the real world.

An entrepreneur launches a campaign to acquire new customers on Facebook, Pinterest, Googles Ads, or wherever. The AOV for new and existing customers is $100.

In order for them to be profitable, they know their acquisition cost shouldn’t exceed $50 so they optimize for that.

They cut their bids a bit so they can get cheaper clicks and they also keep an eye on how much they’re paying designers for creatives. After optimizing their campaigns, they’re able to hit their target of $50 for customer acquisition and turn an instant profit.

They’re then able to reinvest in acquiring more customers. Customer acquisition is stable and they’re growing their business by profiting on every transaction.

 Maxing out AOV

The second school of thought is where successful entrepreneurs eventually end up. Instead of making a profit on every transaction, they use all the revenue from the first transaction to acquire a customer.

Here’s how that will play out in the real world.

An entrepreneur launches a campaign to acquire new customers on their platform of choice. The AOV, just like in the first example, is $100.

Instead of trying to turn a profit on that first transaction, they’re focused on acquiring as many customers as possible within the constraints of AOV.

They’re willing to deploy the entire $100 to acquire that customer. They’re able to bid higher in ad auctions, spend more money on design, and hire more people to help out.

In essence, they can deploy more capital to reach more people and acquire more customers.

Why would they do this?

Because they understand that initial transaction is the first of many a customer will make. It’s the front end. The bulk of their money is made on the backend because it’s many times cheaper to get an existing customer to buy again.

If it costs you $100 to acquire a customer then it may only cost $20 to get them to buy from you again.

When you deploy more capital – the entire AOV – to get customers, you’re accelerating growth. You’re building a list of buyers for free. You spend $100 to get the customer and instantly earn $100 back.

You’re not losing anything but you’re gaining a list of buyers and leads which you can sell to down the line. Some companies even go further and spend more than their average order value to acquire customers.

These are the businesses that grow the fastest but it’s important to have a clear handle on your customer lifetime value and cash flow. If you’re too aggressive then it’s possible to spend yourself out of business even though you’re acquiring customers.

How to apply this in your business

Your goal, as an entrepreneur is twofold.

  1. Spend more capital to acquire more customers
  2. Increase your AOV so you have more money to spend on customer acquisition

The first part is a decision. You have to decide to spend more money to acquire customers because you know the benefits of it. PayKickstart was built to help you with the second one.

With the platform, you’re able to create upsells, downsells, cross sells, order bumps, and more to increase your average order value.

The higher your average order value, the more you can spend on acquisition.

The more you can spend on customer acquisition, the faster you grow.

Business is a numbers game – simple math. When you know your numbers, starting with AOV, you’re able to grow faster than the competition.

Conclusion

Your average order value is an important number to track. It informs almost every other aspect of your business.

When you know it, you can decide how much you can spend on acquisition, calculate your customer lifetime value, and accelerate growth.

When you don’t know it, you’re focused on the wrong parts of your business. This post has covered what it is and, more importantly, how to use it to accelerate your growth.

Let me know what you think of AOV and its impact on your business in the comments. 

There are countless ways to grow your brand but few are as effective as word of mouth from a trusted brand ambassador.

Think about the last time you acted on a recommendation from a friend, family member, or influencer. What made you take them up on the offer?

More than likely, you believed the person delivering the recommendation was being honest. Even if they had something to gain, they valued your relationship more than a few bucks.

That’s at the core of an effective brand ambassador. Even though they’re being paid, the people who listen to their recommendation believe in and trust them.

It’s word of mouth at scale.

In this article, you’ll learn what a brand ambassador is (and isn’t), key traits to look out for, and tips for recruiting the best ones.

What is a brand ambassador?

Traditionally, brand ambassadors are people hired by a company to represent them or one of their brands. The goal is to increase awareness and sales by tapping into the influence and reach of the brand ambassador.

Today, the concept is similar but many companies are missing a key ingredient. Instead of finding someone who personifies the brand and its values, they’re focused on quick wins.

They just want the person with the largest reach and who can produce the fastest ROI. At first, it works fine but the long term effects may be more expensive than any revenue you produce in the short term.

A brand ambassador expands your reach and sales but is also in line with your brand ethos.

A brand ambassador is not a one-off campaign, a comarketing partnership, or an affiliate really. A brand ambassador stays with you for an extended period of time.

Key traits of a brand ambassador

Before you can go out and recruit brand ambassadors, you should know what you’re looking for. There are key traits that the best brand ambassadors share.

Credible in the eyes of your target market

Credibility matters because we buy from people we know and trust. Many people may be well known but not trusted in the context of your product.

For example, if you’re selling copywriting software, The Rock wouldn’t be a good ambassador because he doesn’t command credibility in that market. Someone like Frank Kern would be a great choice.

You should already know the influencers in your space and if they’re in line with what you stand for then it may be worth exploring a partnership.

Understands the nuances of brand marketing

The way you treat your products and services when you’re building a brand for the long term is different than if you’re building for the short term.

When building for the short term, the branding part of the company may be an afterthought.  When building for the long term, it’s at the core of everything you do. The right brand ambassador will make this process much easier.

They’ll be able to suggest ideas, tools, and resources to make your relationship more fruitful. Even if they’re not an expert, they’ll be bringing something to the table.

Professionalism

Though your brand ambassador isn’t directly employed by your company, people associate them closely with your brand. That means if they have a scandal, your name can be dragged through the mud as well.

In 2003, Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault. The charges were later dropped but before that happened he lost endorsements with McDonald’s, Nutella, and Coca-Cola. Before signing up a brand ambassador, make sure they’re professional in every aspect of the word.

Jennifer Anniston represented GLACÉAU Smartwater for years.

smart water brand ambassador

Relationships

At its core, a brand ambassador is a relationship builder. This may be with their friends and family as well as the people who come within their sphere of influence.

They serve as your spokesperson wherever they go and will often speak on your behalf. If you choose the right one, this can open countless doors for your company.

These are some of the most important characteristics of brand ambassadors. Now, let’s look at how to recruit them.

Tips for recruiting brand ambassadors

There are a lot of ways to find brand ambassadors that’ll help you spread the right message to your target audience. I’ll look at a few that you can start using today to build your word of mouth cult.

Be sure they match your target customer demographic

People react best to people who look like them or are similar to them. For example, Jared Fogle was one of the most iconic brand ambassadors. He was extremely obese and lost over 200 pounds by eating a diet that consisted mostly of Subway sandwiches.

People resonated with the message and Subway gained market share as a result.

Tap current customer base

Your customers clearly like what you have to offer because they’re patronizing you. The key is looking for the ones that are already fans and officially make them an ambassador.

You can start by looking for the ones who’ve been with you the longest, the ones who’ve spent the most money, or the ones who purchase frequently. These are the people who actively use your product and who are likely to appreciate the opportunity to be an ambassador.

Reach out to influencers in your space

If you’re just starting your company then a major influencer may not want to work with you and that’s OK. If the one with ten million followers isn’t interested then move on to the one with 1 million or 500,000.

Look long enough and you’ll find an influencer that’ll be happy to work with you. After all, you can convince anyone as long as your offer is good.

Get current ambassadors to refer more

This is an often-overlooked way to recruit the right people for your ambassador program. Once you’ve secured a few ambassadors, refined your processes, and are happy with the results you’re getting then it’s time to grow the program.

Ask the people who’ve worked with you and have generated tangible revenue for your business to recommend a few other people who’d be a good fit. You’d be surprised at the quality of people they refer your way.

Conclusion

A brand ambassador program is a powerful way to start the word of mouth movement and expand your reach.

Not everyone will be a good fit for your brand or as an ambassador in general. Look at the key traits mentioned in this article when setting up your program. Once you know what you’re looking for, use the tips outlined here to find the perfect brand ambassador for your organization.

Let me know who you’re using brand ambassadors in the comments and don’t forget to share.

What’s the big deal? They’re all phrases that pretty much mean the same thing – right?

At first glance that’s true.

All of them tell a visitor the button they’re about to click will initiate a transaction but each has a different effect on the person viewing it.

Add to cart, in many situations, means something completely different than buy now and order now.

If you get it wrong, it can have a marked impact on the number of people who complete a purchase.

But, how do you know when to use each one for maximum impact?

In this post, you’ll learn the nuances of each phrase and when they should be used to get more people to take your desired action – making a purchase.

The context of each phrase

Think about how people shop online and offline.

A person goes into a department store or website with the aim of getting a specific item. They may have already decided on it or be on the hunt for more information.

In either scenario, they’re actively considering a product to buy.

They find it and instead of heading directly to check out, they put it in their basket or shopping cart. While walking through the aisle or clicking through pages, they may see a few other items that catch their eye and also add it to the cart.

By the time they get to the checkout, they’ve decided on one or two items and are on the fence on about the rest.

At this point, they’ll either get everything or put a few items back.

Adding an item to the cart isn’t a guarantee that they’ll buy it. It just means they’re considering it.

If, on the other hand, they’re on a website or even a store that only has one item, there’s no need for an add to cart button because there’s nothing else to shop or consider. Once you pick the item, you’re checking out immediately.

Though more common online, there are a few offline businesses that only sell one item such as La Maison Du Croque Monsieur (The House of Mr. Crunch). All it does is serve a toasted French sandwich called Croque Monsieur.

An order now button is reminiscent of the era of direct mail copywriting when people like Joe Sugarman and Gary Halbert made millions.

There would be a long print ad that captured attention and got cold audiences to fill out a form and mail it in to order now.

Though not visible here, there’s an order form at the bottom of this advertisement. On a side note, this ad pulled like a mofo.

Moving on.

As you can see, different phrases compel people to behave in different ways. Let’s look at the context where you’d use each one.

Add to cart

Add to cart has two things going for it:

  1. There’s no pressure to buy anything right now
  2. The shopper can use it passively to save items they’re considering

When people click add to cart, they’re signaling that they’re interested in the item but may not have committed to buying it. It’s in the cart and saved for them so there’s no pressure – they can continue shopping.

This is ideal when you have multiple products on your website and each can be purchased separately. For example, you have multiple bags and accessories on your website that complement each other.

Instead of having a buy now button, it may be a good idea to allow users to add to cart and continue their shopping. This leaves the doors open for an increased average order value.

A member of Warrior Forum ran an informal experiment and found that “add to cart” was the most successful phrase for increasing conversions.

The downside of the add to cart button is that people may be on your website for an extended period of time and forget they’ve added items to the cart. It happens.

You can cut down on this by using popups that remind them about their cart items when they want to leave your website. Another method you can use is designing the cart to show people how many items are inside and even adding an animation that makes the cart shake every few minutes.

Of course, you want to test these elements so they don’t have a negative impact on your conversion rates. Every group of shoppers is different so it’s important to figure out what works in your particular situation.

Buy Now

There’s interesting psychology behind the buy now button.

People, by their very nature, are prone to make impulse purchases.

Have you ever been in a Sam’s Club, tasted a free sample, and ended up buying it? That’s a combination of reciprocity and impulse buying.

83% of millennials say they’ve made impulse purchases. I’d argue that the number is much higher.

Factors affecting the use of a buy now button:

  • High level of attraction to the product
  • A sense of urgency around buying the product now rather than later
  • Disregard for possible negative consequences of buying the product
  • Excitement around buying the product

When all of them are present, it increases the likelihood that someone will buy immediately.

This phrase is well suited to standalone products and services that are delivered immediately. For example, an Ebook, software download, training material, etc.

Order now

The order now phrase is similar to buy now in that it’s ideal for standalone products. The difference is that there’s an association with longer wait times. Maybe the item needs to be prepared or shipped to them so even though they’re paying now, they won’t get it immediately.

If you sell a limited range of products that need to be shipped or otherwise prepared for your customers, an order now button sets the right expectations.

Conclusion

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the best button text.

At most, there are best practices.

This article has looked at three button phrases:

  • Add to cart
  • Buy now
  • Order now

For each of them, I’ve laid out how they work and why, as well as specific situations where they may make sense. Use the information in this article as a starting point for your own experimentation. You may get a completely different result which is OK.

Let me know what you think about button phrases in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Affiliate marketing has come a long way since its inception and when it was considered a scam by many.

It’s now a proven way to generate income for both the business and the affiliate marketer.

Even if you the best affiliate program in the world, you may experience challenges because the wrong affiliates are signing up for your program.

Instead of generating income, they’re a drag on your campaigns and skew your data in the wrong direction. In the end, your affiliate program doesn’t live up to the hype.

This article looks at the characteristics of the best affiliates. When you see them in the people signing up for your program, be sure to give them the attention they need to be successful.

The best affiliates possess authority

Previously, you could crush it in affiliate marketing by buying a bunch of paid traffic and throwing it at offers. As long as the landing page was decent, you’d get some traffic to convert into customers.

The affiliate would take that money, reinvest in ads, and start the cycle all over again. It was a pure numbers game.

Now, buyers are smarter than ever and have tons of information at their fingertips. If an affiliate that’s recommending a product isn’t an authority on the subject then potential customers will be skeptical.

They’ll focus more on the financial relationship between the affiliate and the program they’re promoting than the merits of the program.

In the end, they don’t convert visitors into customers.

An example of an affiliate marketer that’s built authority and makes millions a year is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

Patt Flynn best affiliates example

Niche focused

This follows on the heels of possessing authority. The world is too big and too varied for you to be the authority on everything that your audience members need.

You simply can’t have a blog that focuses on SaaS metrics like churn and ACV (annual contract value) as well as parenting and fashion. At best, you’ll confuse people and they’ll only put faith in some of your content. At worst, they’ll completely ignore you.

The best affiliates avoid this entirely by focusing on specific niches. Even if they want to go after multiple niches, they create different websites.

There are, of course, strange niches that give the affiliates a lot of leeway. For example, the mom blog niche combines content about parenting and making money. This is the exception to the rule – not the norm.

A good example of a niche affiliate website is Well Kept Wallet. They focus on personal finance which includes making money and saving money.

Creative

No matter which niche an affiliate marketer finds themselves in, there will be competition. In fact, competition is growing every single day.

If they don’t come up with creative ways to stand out from the crowd then they’ll end up blending into the white noise of the internet. They won’t be able to attract and keep attention long enough to make a difference – or a sale.

Look out for affiliates that have creative branding, marketing campaigns, and messages.

Understand the psychology of conversions

Conversions are the backbone of affiliate marketing. Without conversions, you can have all the traffic in the world but it won’t make a difference.

Conversion optimization is a nuanced field. It’s more than changing a button color and seeing an uptick for a few weeks. At its core, it about understanding the psychology of buying and desire.

For example, if an affiliate is promoting PayKickstart to an audience, there are many ways to position the software:

Each message will appeal to a different audience and solve a different problem. Good affiliate marketers know what their people want and position products accordingly.

The best affiliates have marketing skills

This is non-negotiable. The entire point of affiliate marketing is expanding your reach and visibility. To do that, marketing is a must.

It doesn’t matter which aspect of marketing they focus on whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, search, etc. What matters is that they’re good at what they do.

An affiliate’s job is to sell. They connect the desires of their audience with the products that can fulfill them. This ties back into the psychology of conversions. The marketing aspect is getting the message in front of people. The psychology aspect is getting them to take your desired action. 

Analytical

We live in a world where data about almost anything is available. Facebook has data about everything from your location to preferences.

The same is true when you’re an affiliate marketer. There’s data about everything from demographics to website usage. There are also tools that can give you an even deeper insight into what’s happening with your campaigns.

For example, heat maps let you see what people are clicking on, how much of the page they’re reading, and more.

It’s important to be able to sift through the data to understand what’s important and what’s not to optimize conversions and increase revenue.

The best affiliates communicate

This may not be immediately obvious but it’s also a trait the best affiliates share. While they may not be communicating directly with people who sign up for a product they’re promoting, they’re communicating with their audience as a whole.

They send out email newsletters and ask for regular feedback. They talk to members of the niche they’re targeting in forums, social media, and Slack channels.

In addition to talking to the members of their niche, they communicate with vendors. They let the affiliate program manager know what people are saying about the products and ways it can be improved.

In essence, they’re a conduit through which valuable information flows up and down the value chain. This makes them an asset to their audience as well as the vendor they’re promoting.

Conclusion

Not all affiliate marketers are created equally. Some will go out there and crush it which in turn helps vendors grow their business.

Others will struggle to make even one sale no matter how much support they get. It’s important to know the traits of the highest performing affiliates and hold onto them when you see them. If possible, optimize your affiliate program or approval process (if you have one) to check for these traits.

Let me know what you look for in your affiliates in the comments and don’t forget to share.