Eugene Ware goes behind the scenes of Noble Samurai and reveals his conversion discoveries that led to Market Samurai building a user base of 711,000 (where 72,000 have been converted into full paying customers)… James Schramko asks him all about it.
Notes from this discussion:
WordPress software development enables more people to access cool stuff
Conversions are vital for success in business
Email List building lets you grow an asset
Noble Samurai have been able to generate:
711,000 copies of Market Samurai
72,000 paid customers from that list
The best Software companies develop technology for themselves.
The goal for Scarcity Samurai was high conversions and high opt-in rates
The most powerful sales element tested by Eugene was scarcity and deadlines. Copywriting is important yet the scarcity on poor copy sites still really improves conversion rate (example: Ebay)
Eugene recommends: Influence by Cialdini
The six elements mentioned in Influence are:
Commitment and consistency
These elements are not weighed, so Eugene tested them and he discovered scarcity was the most powerful by far.
Note: ebay has a 40% conversion rate of sales
Eugene gives us some secrets about how to get feedback from beta users of software
and how to use commitment and consistency.
Tip: you don’t need hype sales when you combine hard wired instinct behaviours
How Scarcity Samurai Works:
Offer a 7 day sale when you opt-in and cookie visits
All emails mention the sale saving
The countdown timer in the app and on the site matches
This gives you an evergreen launch
With conversions at almost 12%….
Boost affiliate sales using Scarcity Samurai:
Noble Samurai has 10,000 affiliates
60% revenue come through affiliates
(This is because the opt-in and conversion rates are excellent).
Traditional product launches are great except they finish…
Build around an evergreen business
Why the gurus don’t have a business
Going from promotion to promotion
Do occasional promotions to get the extra sales
Build a consistent business that uses scarcity
This WordPress plugin allows:
fixed date promotions option
Scarcity Samurai integrates with your auto responder and has been responsible for a 450% increase…
The average tester improvement is over 100%
Focus on being customer number one of your own product
Biggest aha moments from 1000 testers – it works on everything!
James Schramko here in this episode is going to be covering aspects around WordPress software development, conversions and email list building. And for this call, I’ve brought on a special friend who I’ve known for years now. A great Australian developer with a software company we’ve probably all heard of by now called Market Samurai.
James: Good day Eugene, how are you today?
Eugene: Thanks James, how’s it going?
James: Good! Now Eugene, we’ve been dealing with each other for a long time and initially, heard about you through Ed Dale and Market Samurai. And of course, pretty much everyone in the internet marketing space has a copy of Market Samurai sitting on their computer. I’m not sure of your exact numbers but I know that it must be at least in the hundreds of thousands of customers, is that right?
Eugene: Yeah, I’ve been really really blessed. As I said, it’s just been runaway sort of success. I think the current numbers now, just had a look at it the other day, we’re about 700,011 people have got copies of Market Samurai because I’ve got a free version and a paid version and about 71-72,000 of those people are customers.
What’s new at Market Samurai
James: Wow! Okay, so I’m sure most listeners would die for a customer base that big. Now this sort of leads me to today’s discussion. I noticed recently a little bit of activity around the Market Samurai base there. It looks like you’re coming to market with your own WordPress plugin that has been tested in-house and is partly responsible for you being able to collect a lot of these email addresses and I’m interested in covering that today. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s happening over there?
Eugene: Yeah. Well, being a software company, we’ve been really blessed. We’ve been able to develop our own marketing technology so we’ve actually came from web development backgrounds and so we’ve built a whole bunch of things which are responsible for like our high op-tin ranks, our high conversion ranks. And only recently, just from the marketing team screaming at me going “Have we actually moved our front end marketing websites to WordPress?”, so that’s actually been a challenge but it’s actually been a good thing.
It’s enabled us to take a lot of the technology and stuff that we’ve been using for conversion of the last five years and actually make it as a standalone. WordPress plugins and a couple of the guys in the cooperating team have actually on my case for the last couple of years going “Hey, can we get this particular…this technology or that technology available” so they could use it on their sites, so that’s actually our very first WordPress plugin that we’re bringing to market but the actual roots of it have actually we’ve used it for the last five years.
So, the particular thing that we’ve been using or we’ve been testing and so we’ve used it to build this incredibly large list has been around scarcity and around deadlines. And one of the things I’ve kind of noticed around copywriting, and I don’t sort of talk much about copywriting but beyond sort of SEO and market research, one of my real passions and what I really regard myself as a real student of, much like yourself James, has been in conversion and in copywriting.
Six principles of influence
And I really noticed really, really sort of early on that just how having a deadline, having some aspects of scarcity around your offer really improves chronic conversion rate and there’s this incredible book that surely your listeners have read but if you haven’t, you just got to have to get this book, and it’s called Science of Influence by Robert Cialdini. And it talks about the sort of six principles of influence and these are really, really universal. Like this guy is scientifically guided. He’s run all these double blind tests and done all the math behind this sort of stuff and his experiments have been repeated all around the world.
But to basically boil it down, influence, which is the stuff behind conversion down to six kind of basic factors and these are social proof, authority, liking, reciprocity, commitment and consistency, and scarcity. Right, now that’s really interesting. Everyone knows that and just as a quick tip for anyone who’s crafting a sales message, if you can just, whatever you’re if it’s an ad, it’s a sales letter or an email, just ask yourself these six kind of questions. Like, “Does it have social proof?”, “Am I incorporating authority?”, you know, “Is reciprocity in there?”, “Is scarcity in there?”.
It’s a really easy way to just really amp up the copy that you’re writing. But the interesting thing and he doesn’t mention this in the book and this is kind of where I think a kind of breakthrough sort of was in this area was that while these six factors of influence are all really, really interesting and they all work, we test this stuff and it’s really, really great, Robert Cialdini’s book doesn’t really talk about how which ones actually have the most impact.
The power of scarcity
Like if you had the six factors of influence out there, if you had to choose one or two or is one ten times better than the other one or three times better than the other one? Of course the answer means it kind of depends but we are really obsessed about split testing, opt-ins and conversions and emails and all that sort of stuff at Noble Samurai and what we’ve discovered is that out of all these things, scarcity actually trumps them all.
Like if you had to, like I joke about it with the copywriting team, that if you could just take every trick and everything I know about marketing and sales and if you just leave me with one thing, it would be scarcity. And it’s really, really interesting, when I actually studied and looked into this kind of area, I just sort of started seeing scarcity everywhere and the obvious place to look is places like eBay right?
Now, and in eBay, obviously, everyone’s bought something in eBay auction and it’s all really exciting and there’s all these emotions involved, but if you look behind the statistics behind eBay, did you know that 40 percent of like all auctions that get run close with a sale? So an eBay auction has a 40 percent conversion rate, which is crazy. Like, if I could get a 40 percent conversion rate in my business, I’d be really, really, really happy.
James: And that’s when someone’s paid something for that conversion to happen too. I mean it’s not just free conversions.
Eugene: Right, that’s right. Like 40 percent, that’s an opt-in rate. That’s not a paid conversion rate. But the interesting thing about it and I think this is where people like James and myself, we’ve studied copywriting like for years and years and years and it’s a skill. It takes a long time to learn. But something like eBay, the copy on these sites is hopeless. This is rubbish copy. You check at them, sometimes it’s only a couple of blinds.
James: Well it’s usually left up to the customers right?
Eugene: Yeah, absolutely.
James: And your average punter is not that great at describing things in a compelling way.
Eugene: Absolutely not. And usually they, if you go to list something on eBay, you go with a default copy that they give you which is just products and it’s the description, the features of the product, like there is no sales copy there. So it’s really interesting that what these things which require good copywriting are these things which work. So in terms of those six factors, I’ve actually broken them down into kind of like two different groups so if you talk about the six factors of influence, there’s social proof, authority, liking and reciprocity and I like to call these “Trust Building Factors”.
So if someone is looking to buy something from you, you’re a stranger and all these factors of social proof like people say good things about you, like “Everyone I know who’s been a student of James is…”, they just keep raving about how good the programs are and that’s that social proof on element.
So authority, the same thing, liking and reciprocity, these are all things which help build trust. If I give you something first, a free report, a free trial (say if Market Samurai) or something, these all build trust so they take away some of the reluctance in the buy process. But the other two factors which are commitment and consistency, and scarcity, are actually not really trust factors, They’re actually much deeper than that. I call them “Primal Motivators”. So commitment and consistency, I’m using this more and more, it’s not as effective as scarcity but it’s probably one of the least used influence factors in conversion today.
Commitment and consistency
People have this great need to be consistent with previous actions. So if you promise you’re going to do something, then there’s this social proof on you that there’s a pressure that you need to go through it with that kind of thing. So for example, we would use this testing program shouldn’t probably reveal all that tricks but really helps.
James: Go ahead. The more tricks, the better Eugene. It makes for a better discussion.
Eugene: So for example, like anyone who’s got to selling software and stuff, it’s really easy to say “Hey, I’ve got a better program”, what’s really difficult is to get people to give you feedback. It is a form of influence. Every time you’re asking people to do something, it is down to influence. So, stop thinking about influence just in terms of sales, start thinking about it anytime you want to get something to take action.
So, we’ve had people signup to a beta program, so then when we actually go and ask people for their feedback for bugs and testing it, we will begin the email update, we will say “Three days ago, you generously promised to install the software and give us feedback”, so that’s the commitment and consistency side of things.
So you said “Hey, you did this thing in the past” and then I’m going to use that to remind you of that and influence you to say “Hey, can you send your feedback” for example, that’s an easy way. So, or say in the case of Market Samurai, if we’re selling an SEO product or a rank tracker stuff, we will say something like “As a Market Samurai customer, you are serious about SEO, so that will you use something else?” that they’ve done with us.
James: So I think with Cialdini, he also calls that “labeling”.
Eugene: Yeah, absolutely.
James: I did this too recently in my SuperFastBusiness community. I asked people “Who’s coming to my event?” and then the next week, I was encouraged by the response enough to go and plunk down a deposit with the venue and then I said “Hey, the Order Button is ready”. And in fact, this time for the first time ever, I’ve used a scarcity element which has been a really interesting experiment and I’ll share that a little bit further on.
So I guess we’ve arrived at similar conclusions that you don’t have to amp up your traditional “sale-sy” stuff if you have a couple of devices working in your favor. Is that sort of where you’ve arrived at from the eBay experiment?
Eugene: Yeah, that’s right and I think it’s down to the neurological level like it’s this stuff’s wired into you at a very primal nature; people about the reptile brain and all the emotional brain versus the logical brain. This aspect of commitment and consistency or scarcity which is the punch line is that out of everything we’ve tested, scarcity has actually been the most powerful non-copywriting device that you can use that works consistently across different markets.
James: Okay, now let’s talk about how you’ve taken this discovery, applied it to your business and subsequently developed something that’s so worthwhile that you’re now rolling it out to the rest of us WordPress users. I’m glad you’ve joined the fold by the way. Welcome to the club.
Eugene: It’s been a long time coming. So if I wind back sort of five years, and I can’t even take the credit for this idea I was actually Robert Somerville’s idea, but the usual thing you would do if you had a product right, is you would do a big launch, do a big offer around a launch and then close shop and then maybe reopen it in a couple of months’ time and that would be the traditional way to kind of do scarcity.
Rob has this idea and it was a brilliant idea and it wasn’t necessarily a unique idea but we played it, which was how about the price of Market Samurai is 149 dollars, what happens if as soon as you opt-in to get a free trial of Market Samurai, we actually drop sell you to a price of 97 dollars but for a period of 7 days.
So as soon as you do this only kicks in at the opt-in stage. If you just go to the homepage and you buy your 149 dollars, so that’s the price that’s everywhere, through the website. But once you opt-in, we wrote this code that integrates in with the autoresponder and make sure that we know who you are and every click that comes through and the cookie and all that kind of stuff means that if you but within 7 days, you’ll get it for 97 dollars but this is also supported and this is what we’ve kind of worked out through all that emails mentioned the 7 day period was counting down you’re 7 days left, 6 days left, 5 days left.
If you go to the website, there’s a little countdown timer that pops up and counts down to show you how much time you’ve got left. If you open up the app and you’re in the trial mode, there’s this countdown timer which is kind of in your face saying “Hey, you’ve got this many days left” and effectively what we did is create all the benefits of a traditional kind of launch but in an Evergreen scenario.
And when we implemented this, like the conversion ranks just skyrocket. I mean, you probably could do the math already like 71,000 people over 611, that’s like close to a 12 percent conversion rate, which is just rather good when it comes to conversion rates in the industry. And because of that, and okay this is where it comes back to list building, I’ll talk about list building in a sec, but if you’ve got 12 percent conversion rate, people would buy your product.
So, we’ve got over 10,000 affiliates, James has been one of the early guys that got on really early and he’s been one of our top affiliates but we’ve got 10,000 affiliates, about 60 percent of our revenue every month come through affiliates but we haven’t done a massive amount to go out there and get affiliates. It’s the fact that our opt-in ranks, our conversion ranks are sort of high that it makes sense to promote our product.
So the best way or thing that you could possibly do to build a massive list is to have a crazy performing opt-in and conversion process. And most people, what they’re doing today to get those, they’ll do a traditional product launch and they’ll reap some of the benefits of that scarcity through an initial launch but then, after the launch is finished, they’re kind of stuck; “What do I do?”, “Do I put people on a waiting list?”, “Do I wait 3 months and reopen again?”. What if you could actually get all the benefits of having a traditional product launch but every single day of the year?
James: That is the most important element here because in my business, I’m not running product launches. I haven’t run the product launch model in the traditional internet marketing sense, I think maybe well forever. I’ve never really had a huge coordinator thing. I do little mini ones but I’ve had a six figure monthly income for going on four years in a row now and without product launches but I love the element that you can tap into the scarcity of it, but continue to have it and it doesn’t stop. And I think that has to be one of the biggest flaws of your typical marketer’s business plan is that they revolve around one single promotion, and then when they get stuck…
Eugene: Don’t get me started James, don’t get me started.
Promotions versus evergreen
If you’re doing marketing properly too, this is what, we kind of discovered this the hard way too for all of us saying “Hey, this kind of makes a whole lot of sense and things” like, we’ve been experimenting with different promotions and things and we get cocky and we think we do that pretty well. And there’s a reason why they call it “Marketing Campaign” because it’s like war. There’s so much effort, so much energy and so much focus goes into crafting all the copy.
We’re doing a launch and we’ll do Evergreen afterwards. We have to write something. We’ve written something like 30 different emails, each email takes us half a day to a day to write plus the video that we’ve done it has taken us 3 weeks in terms of scripting and all this kind of stuff. We put a lot of effort into marketing. To do that and then throw it away, is the most stupid thing that you could do!
If you’ve got something that’s converting, yes it’s really nice to have a big pile of cash in your bank account, you know that’s really, really good, that’s fantastic, but what’s much nicer is to get a really nice amount of cash coming in each and every month. That’s the stuff that pays the bills.