How to Write Blog Posts Faster Without Sacrificing Quality

I write a ton of blog posts.

By the end of 2018, I’ll have published over 150 posts on Quick Sprout alone. Once you factor in the posts on my other websites and my guest posts, that number roughly doubles.

People ask me all the time how I manage to produce such a large amount of quality content.

With all my in-depth and informative guides backed up with good research, people assume it takes me 10 hours to write one post. That’s not the case.

It takes me significantly less than half of that time to do so.

Blogging is like anything else. The more you do something, the better you get at it.

That said, there is definitely a formula behind producing effective blog content.

As a business owner, you recognize the benefits of blogging in terms of SEO, driving traffic to your website, and increasing conversions.

traffic

This graph clearly shows there is a direct correlation between publishing frequency and website traffic. That’s why you can scale lead generation through blogging.

You know you want to publish more content. But there are only so many hours in the day, and you have a business to run.

It’s a common problem I see in my consulting work.

As a result, businesses usually resort to one of two solutions. They either don’t blog as often as they should be, or they rush through writing to meet a certain benchmark. But neither of these approaches are effective.

You need to learn how to write more posts faster without sacrificing the quality of your work.

Use this guide as a blueprint for producing quality content for your blogs. Here’s what you need to do.

Have your blog topics ready

When you sit down to write a post, you shouldn’t be asking yourself what you’ll be writing about that day. This is not an efficient use of your time.

I like to have lists of topics ready for me to choose from.

Spend 30 minutes to an hour once a month coming up with a long list of titles, depending on your publishing frequency.

I usually have lists with 20 or 30 topics at a minimum. Once I start running low, I go through this process again.

Coming up with this many subjects is easier than you think.

I recommend looking at some of your competitors’ sites to see what they’re blogging about. You can use their posts as an inspiration for your own.

You’ll have a big advantage here. Since their content is already published, you can make your posts even better and more informative than theirs.

Take advantage of online tools that will help you come up with new titles to write about, such as the blog ideas generator from HubSpot:

hubspot

Write posts that tell a story about a personal experience.

Look through comments on social media and your previously published posts for inspiration for new ones. Turn other content you’ve already created into a post. Here are some examples of content you can repurpose:

  • YouTube videos
  • podcasts
  • ebooks
  • webinars
  • slideshows

There are tons of opportunities here.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a list of blog topics, refer to my guide on the best ways to come up with new content ideas.

When you do this work ahead of time, you’ll make your writing process much easier. Rather than wasting 15 minutes on brainstorming, you can pull a topic from your list and get straight to work.

Always start with an outline

Starting to write with a blank page, trying to go from beginning to end without a plan, will hurt your quality and productivity.

All too often I see new writers skip the outline process because they think it’s extra work. But the outline will save you time in the long run.

Your outline will give you an idea of the flow of your post.

At a minimum, you should have all your subheaders determined with some notes for each section. But you don’t have to stop there.

The more detailed your outline is, the faster you’ll be able to write.

I like to jot down my thoughts in short bullet points for each section. I can expand on those notes when I’m writing the final copy.

Outlining will also make it easier for you to reach your desired word count. Here’s a look at the average content length for the top results of a Google search:

content length

As you can see from this graph, longer posts have higher rankings. On average, all the top ten posts are over 2,000 words.

You should have a word length range for each post you write.

Obviously, this won’t be exact every time. By nature, some posts will be longer than others, depending on the subject matter.

But let’s say you want all your posts to be a minimum of 2,000 words.

If you’ve got eight subheadings in your outline, you know that each section needs to be roughly 250 words to meet that 2,000-word minimum.

This is a highly effective way to write quality content. It will prevent you from rambling, repeating yourself, and filling the post with useless information.

If you’re starting with a blank page and no outline, you’ll have no sense of how long each section should be or how many sections you should have in the first place.

Using an outline will help you not only write faster but also produce better quality and longer blog posts, which will be great for SEO purposes.

Finish writing in one sitting

Blogging effectively is all about time management. I do not recommend multi-tasking when writing.

Writing posts will require your complete focus and attention.

Put your phone on silent. Don’t check your emails. Stop taking breaks for snacks or lunch in the middle of your post.

Just sit down and write.

It might be taking some of you longer than necessary to write posts because you’re getting distracted by other things.

Here’s a look at the average time people take to write a blog post to give you a better idea of how long it should take you:

time

In just four years, it’s taking bloggers roughly an hour longer to write each post.

You can aim to spend 3.5 hours writing a post, but you can write even faster than that. However, I don’t want you to over-focus on the time right now.

When you start looking at the clock instead of focusing on your work, the quality of your work begins to suffer. Here’s why.

When you hit the three-hour mark with only 70% of the post done, you might start thinking the post needs to be finished within the next 30 minutes. Under such pressure, the quality of your content might start to go down.

So what if some posts take you a little bit longer? It’s not the end of the world.

I write very efficiently, but every once in a while, it takes me upward of four or more hours to write a post.

Am I happy when this happens? I can’t say I’m thrilled. But I refuse to let my quality suffer.

Other times, I’ll knock out a post in 2.5 hours, so it balances out.

You also need to make sure you’re in the mood to write. Find a time of day that works best for you.

People differ in their preferences for writing. I know bloggers who write first thing in the morning while they’re still in bed, others who write at their offices, and still others who write late at night.

No matter when you write, make sure you’re in the right mindset.

If your mind is elsewhere and you can’t focus, pick another time to write. Put it off until you’re mentally able to concentrate to complete the post in one sitting.

Writing a post over the course of several days typically adds at least 20 minutes to each sitting.

Write while everything is fresh in your mind. The words will flow better, and it will be easier for you to work faster.

Conduct relevant research

Adding statistics and relevant data to your content will drastically improve its quality. It gives your audience proof you know what you are talking about.

Plus, citing and linking to authority websites is great for SEO purposes.

However, I see many bloggers shy away from this tactic because they think research is too time-consuming. That’s not the right way to think.

Sure, it may require a little extra work, but it’s not that difficult to conduct a quick Google search.

Including research in your blog gives you something to talk about. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to write about a subject when you have something to reference.

Let me give you an example.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog post I wrote about how blockchain is changing the digital marketing industry:

blockchain

By taking the time to conduct some research, I was able to find an image and statistic, which are both highlighted above.

These two pieces of information allowed me to write an entire section.

When you have a reference to help you make a point, you’ll find the words to describe it. A statistic from a recent study may just be one sentence, but you can write paragraphs before and after that one piece of information explaining it and talking about its application.

If you’re familiar with my content, you know I use research and images in all my posts.

Even if this is the first time you’re reading one of my blogs, you can see I’ve used research throughout this post to illustrate my points.

Edit your own work

You don’t need an editor to review your posts.

You can do it on your own.

In fact, studies show that the majority of bloggers don’t use editors for content published on their websites.

editors

Using editors is another example of something I see people do because they think it will save them time. But ultimately, it ends up being inefficient.

If you send your work to an editor, you need to rely on their schedule to get the post finished.

When I write something, I want to make sure it’s done.

You don’t want your posts sitting in limbo waiting to be edited and then sent back for feedback and other revisions. By the time you get those notes back, the topic is no longer fresh in your mind.

Instead of using an editor, put your posts through editing software, such as Grammarly.

You don’t need to make all the recommended changes. Just see whether there are any glaring errors that need to be fixed.

After that, read your post out loud to yourself.

This is the best way to catch any other mistakes before you publish your content. You’ll be able to tell whether something sounds funny and needs to be rewritten.

Depending on the length of your content, editing should take no longer than 10 or 20 minutes.

If you’re using an editor or spending much longer than this, you need to look at how you can improve the efficiency of your editing process.

Conclusion

It shouldn’t be taking you all day to write a blog post. At the same time, you don’t want to write so fast that the quality of your content suffers.

Fortunately, there are ways for you to write quality content at a reasonable speed.

Make sure you have a list of blog topics to choose from so you’re not wasting time figuring out what to talk about when you sit down to write.

Outline your posts before you start writing.

Blogging requires your full attention. Try to write when you can complete a post in one sitting.

Add research, statistics, and images to your posts. This will improve the quality and give you something to talk about.

Don’t use an editor. This will prolong the process. You can do this yourself.

If you follow the tips I’ve covered in this guide, you’ll be able to write high quality blog posts faster than ever before.

By the way, for those of you who are curious, I finished writing this post in less than three hours.

How long does it typically take you to write a high quality blog post?

10 Tips and Tricks to Improve Your YouTube Content in 2019

Traditional marketing is slowly becoming obsolete. Brands need to prioritize digital marketing strategies to stay relevant and successful in 2019. To approach this properly, you’ll need to start producing more video content.

When it comes to video, YouTube is king. The platform has more than 1.9 billion monthly active users, and 180 million hours of video content is consumed there every day.

Furthermore, 48% of people named YouTube as their favorite online video provider.

It’s ranked first over Netflix, Facebook, and Hulu, which got 29%, 10%, and 7% of votes, respectively. YouTube isn’t just the favorite; it’s more popular than the other three networks combined.

If you think that’s impressive, wait until you hear this: YouTube is the number two ranked website in the world, second only to Google, according to Alexa rankings.

The reason why YouTube is great for marketers is because its content is easy to repurpose across multiple platformsOnce you add a video to your YouTube channel, it’s easy to share it on other social media sites, send it to your email subscribers, and add it to your website.

I’ve identified the top ten tips to enhance your YouTube videos in 2019. Use this list as a reference to help you produce better content.

1. Share links that start playback at a specific time

Once videos are uploaded to YouTube, you can share them on other platforms. But there are instances when you’ll want to share only a portion of your video.

For example, maybe you’re discussing a specific topic in a social media post. You realize that you’ve already covered this in a YouTube video. 

However, the video is five minutes long. The content that’s relevant to your post doesn’t get addressed until the three-minute mark.

No problem. Just click on the share link to get started. (This is how you would normally share any video on YouTube.) By default, the video will play from the beginning, as expected. You have the option to change this by using the options that pop up after you click on the share button. Here’s what it looks like:

YouTube start at timestamp

At the bottom of this menu, check the “Start at” box, and type the time mark at which you want the video to start playing. (Alternatively, you can pause the video before you click on the share button. The timer will automatically be set at that point. You still need to check the box for it to work.)

Once this feature is enabled, the URL’s share link changes. As you can see, the link in the image above ends with “t=158.” This link will start playing the video 158 seconds in, which is the 2:38 mark.

2. Add a transcript

Adding a transcript will make it easier for users to find your videos and your channel through YouTube as well as Google searches.

By default, YouTube will automatically generate a transcript for all your videos once they are uploaded. You just need to make sure you haven’t hidden this option from your audience. (You have the ability to edit your transcripts as well, so review them to catch any errors.)

YouTube also provides a feature for you to manually type your own transcripts as you play the video. Here’s an example of what a final transcript looks like once a video is uploaded:

YouTube Transcript

In some instances, you may want a video or audio file transcribed for other purposes. For example, maybe you have a recording of a seminar you recently spoke at or of an important conference call. Now, you want to refer to the video to help you write a blog post. It’s much easier to use a transcript instead of constantly having to pause, fast forward, and rewind a video to catch your speech.

Upload that content to YouTube, and get a free transcript of it. You don’t have to share or publish the video on your channel if you want to keep it private. You’ll still be able to get the content transcribed free.

3. Create a GIF with any YouTube URL

GIFs are one of the top visual elements you can use to improve your marketing strategy.

Rather than using GIFs from a library everyone has access to, you can create a GIF from a YouTube video. You have the option to use either your own videos or videos from other channels.

This is very easy to do.

First, find the YouTube video with the clip you want to use. Next, insert the word “gif” after the www. The URL will go from www.youtube.com/watch to www.gifyoutube.com/watch. After you change the URL, you’ll automatically get redirected to gifs.com.

The video will be ready to edit and turn into a GIF. Here’s what the screen will look like:

Making a gif from a video
You’ve got lots of options here to make your GIF unique. Start by determining what portion of the video you want to turn into a GIF. Next, you can determine the length of your GIF. Add captions. Crop the video. Play around with effects.

Once you create your GIF, download it, and share it on your other marketing channels.

4. Organize your videos with playlists

If you have lots of videos uploaded to your YouTube channel, playlists are the best way to keep them organized. When a user navigates to your channel, they will have the option to watch different playlists that have similar videos grouped together.

Here’s an example from the Food Wishes page:

Using playlists to organize YouTube topics

As you can see, the videos are organized by different types of recipes based on holidays and other events, e.g.:

  • Super Bowl
  • Christmas
  • New Year
  • July 4th
  • Memorial Day

It will be much easier for viewers to find what they’re looking for here.

YouTube also allows you to collaborate on your playlists with a friend. From your playlist settings, navigate to the “Collaborate” tab. Here’s what it looks like:How to collaborate on a YouTube playlist

Once you add a collaborator, this user will be able to add videos to the playlist. This can be a useful way to manage your relationships with social influencers—simply have an influencer upload content directly to your channel through a playlist.

5. Create a custom URL

You want to make sure your business has a custom URL on YouTube. You won’t get this by default.

If you have a new YouTube channel, you won’t be able to create a custom URL right away. These are the requirements:

  • account is 30 days old
  • photo set as channel icon
  • channel art uploaded
  • at least 100 subscribers

Once you hit these marks, you’ll be eligible to get a custom URL.

You can find this option within your account settings. Just navigate to the Advanced menu:

YouTube custom url

Before you claim your custom URL, make sure you think it through clearly: you won’t have the option to change it once it gets approved.

6. Add an actionable end screen

What do you want a viewer to do when they finish watching one of your videos? If you want the user to keep watching more videos or visit your website, you can add these CTAs to an end screen.

From your video manager page, click the “Edit” button for the video you want to change. Then find the “End screen & Annotations” link from the drop-down menu:

How to add CTA to YouTube videos

A pop up will appear. Depending on your marketing goals, you can add one or more of these elements to your end page:

Four CTA options in YouTube

7. Use enhancements to edit videos

You might already be using some third-party software to edit videos before you upload them to your channel. (Editing is a great way to create killer video promotions to increase engagement.) But if you don’t need to do anything elaborate, you can take advantage of the YouTube enhancements feature. This allows you to edit directly on the platform.

The enhancements feature lets you add or change music and audio, apply filters, trim sections out of your video, and blur portions of it.

You can even edit content after a video has already been uploaded to your channel. However, unless you are part of the YouTube partner program, you might not be able to make all the changes to videos with more than 100,000 views. 

You’ll always have the option to blur faces, even if your video has more than 100,000 views and you’re not part of the partner program. YouTube allows this to help protect the identity of people in your video.

8. Broadcast live streams

Has your business jumped on the live video bandwagon?

If not, it’s time for you to hop on board. That’s because 82% of people say they prefer live videos over social media posts from business profiles. Furthermore, 80% of people say they would rather watch live video content than read blog posts about a topic. 

Believe it or not, consumers actually prefer YouTube live streams over Facebook Live. 

YouTube more popular than Facebook Live

YouTube allows you to go live from your desktop computer or mobile device. You can keep an archive of your live streams that were added to your YouTube channel so people can watch the content even after the stream is over. But you can disable this feature if you want.

Want to grow your audience even more? Consider this: 87% of people said they would watch more live videos if they contained behind the scenes content.

8. Upload 360-degree videos

We now know that 360-degree videos increase engagement rates. These videos have a 14% higher ROI than regular videos. They also have a 46% higher completion rate than traditional videos.

This is the type of content people want to see with 360-degree videos.

When it comes to a 360-degree video, 98% of consumers living in the United States say they think it is more exciting than any other type of video.

And 90% of people believe content will be improved if it can be viewed as a 360-degree video instead of a traditional format.

Having a 360-degree video increases the chances that viewers will interact with it by 66%.

What’s even more impressive is that 70% of marketers believe that adding 360-degree video content has helped improve their businesses.

9. Use Google Trends to find popular search terms

How do you know what type of content you should upload to YouTube? Try searching for keywords related to your company on Google TrendsThis will show you the popularity of a search term over time and tell you whether you should be creating content on that subject.

Here’s what “content marketing” looks like on Google Trends:

Content Marketing searches

As you can see, this is the interest in the term over time in web searches. You can’t assume it’s the same on YouTube. Click on the menu, and select “YouTube Search.”

Content Marketing searches on YouTube

As you can see, the trends are different. 

This free Google tool will enhance your marketing strategyYou can also use it to help you create titles and descriptions that are search-friendly on YouTube.

10. Run ads on YouTube

YouTube is owned by Google. This means you can set up YouTube ads through your Google Ads account.

You’ll have the option to do the following:

  • select your audience
  • choose locations you want to target
  • set your budget

This is very easy to do, especially if you’re already using Google Ads for other purposes.

Here are the different formats you can choose from to advertise on YouTube:

YouTube advertising formats

The type of ad you select will impact the price you pay.

It’s worth noting that 51% of marketers in the United States advertise on YouTube and 52% of brands plan to increase their advertising budgets on the platform. (There is a good chance that at least half of your competitors are already advertising on YouTube. Get on it!)

Conclusion

By the year 2020, 80% of Internet traffic will come from videos. That means you need to keep up with the times and produce video content in 2019.

YouTube is the best place to upload your videos. From there, you’ll be able to distribute the content on other channels as well. 

But you have to be doing more than simply uploading videos and leaving them there with no further action. You need your videos to have an edge to be successful. 

These tips and tricks will definitely bring your content to the next level. 

What type of video content is your brand adding to your YouTube channel?

What Is Your 2019 Won’t Do List?

In the world of entrepreneurship, there are endless things to do. Tasks, to do lists, new initiatives, new projects, and P1s. Leaders spend a lot of time planning, especially in the context of “we have to grow more, do more, and get bigger.”

Lately, I’ve been suggesting to a few of the CEOs who I work with to make a “2019 Won’t Do List.” While this is a high-level list of things not to do, it can be on multiple dimensions.

I like to start with things that often are optional, but consume a lot of time and energy. Examples would be “an acquisition” or “a financing” or “an IPO.” Let’s take “acquisition” as an example. Assume you are a fast growing company with plenty of financial resources. Maybe you’ve made some acquisitions in the past. But, you haven’t thought about it specifically, so it’s a reactive or opportunistic move. It’s very freeing to decide “this year we aren’t making any acquisitions and we aren’t going to be distracted by the motion around an acquisition.”  The nice thing about being a CEO, especially of a company in a strong position, is that you can change your mind. But by declaring what you won’t do up front for some time, it makes the decision one where you have to actively change your mind about what you won’t do.

Then, I like to roll into metrics that create a floor on how the business will operate. For example, “We won’t have a month of negative EBITDA.” Or, “well never have negative cash flow of more than $500,000.” Or, we won’t hire anyone new, other than replacing attrition, until after we have revenue of $X / person.” These are different than what your goals are, where the goals look like “We are going to grow 10% month over month” or “We will adhere to the rule of 40 for a healthy SaaS company.

Then, I like to end by pushing the CEO to define personal Won’t Dos. These can be behavioral or functional. Most people are comfortable with the functional ones, but struggle to identify the behavioral ones. I like the struggle around this – it almost always generates fascinating conversations that are highly personal.

An example of something from my Won’t Do list is “take on another book project.” I have several that I’m working on and I’m happy about them, but once I’m finished with them, I’m not going to do any more non-fiction for a while. I have a desire to write some near-term science fiction and see if I’m any good at it. Since I want to finish the projects I have and know that I have poor impulse control around says “sure – I’ll work on that book project,” by putting this on my Won’t Do list for 2019, I say no to everything.

A personal example on my Won’t Do list is “buy another big thing other than art” (e.g., house, car). I’ve got enough. Amy and I talked about this around my birthday (she was looking into getting me a new car) and I didn’t want one. I suggested that we buy a half dozen Subarus and park them in front of my friend Dave’s house (Dave hates Subarus) and call them an “art installation” instead. As I thought through this, I realized I don’t want something new like this for a while. In contrast, I exempted art because when I thought about it, I wanted to buy some additional art this year (especially sculpture.)

What’s on your Won’t Do list for 2019?

The post What Is Your 2019 Won’t Do List? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.

How to Increase Average Order Values With Product Bundling

Every business needs to strive for growth.

This isn’t a secret. However, many business owners hear growth and they jump to customer acquisition strategies, new product launches, and ways to increase their conversion rates.

All of these tactics are great for your company growth. But, they’re not the only way to boost revenue and grow your business.

You can also grow when you make more money with your existing products, services, and conversion rates simply by increasing your average order value.

Are you currently tracking this metric? It’s easy to calculate with this formula.

How to calculate your Average Order Value (AOV)

Average order value formula

In order to increase your AOV, you need to encourage your customers to spend more in each transaction. Sounds great in theory. We’ll walk you through how to actually accomplish it.

There are tons of ways to get your current customers to spend more each time they shop. One of the best methods for increasing AOV is with product bundling. This marketing tactic employs a combination of upsells, cross-sells, and discounts. It also helps you generate more profit by focusing on your pricing strategy.

Basically, the psychology behind product bundling entices people to spend more with every transaction simply by buying more things at once. As a result, your average order value will rise.

Whether you sell products or services, your company can benefit from a product bundling strategy. But it’s not as simple as lumping any two or three random items together. In fact, that can do more harm than good.

If you’ve never done this before it can be a bit of a challenge to determine which products should be bundled together and how to showcase those options to your customers. So use this guide as a blueprint for increasing your average order value. Here’s what you need to know.

Don’t pair inexpensive items with premium products or services

This is the most common mistake we see when businesses attempt a product bundling strategy for the first time. It makes sense: they’re trying to maximize their profits and someone is buying something cheap, why not try to get them to buy something that’s expensive too.

Product bundling doesn’t mean you should just throw any two or three items together and assume your customers will pay more for them.

Put yourself into the mind of the consumer for a minute here.

For example, let’s say you’re shopping for a new car and your price range is roughly $20,000. If the dealer throws in a free t-shirt and a baseball cap with the purchase of a vehicle, is it going to entice you to buy the car?

Or, on the flip side, let’s say you’re shopping for a t-shirt and a baseball cap with your favorite car company logo on them. Together the two cost about $40. But then, at checkout it’s suggested you buy a car, too. This brings your total to $20,040. Do you do it?

Two items that don’t belong together are not a product bundle. This is especially true if one item is significantly cheaper than the other. But so many brands think two items = a bundle, and it ends up hurting them.

Instead of encouraging your customer to buy more things, a grouping like this actually confuses their initial purchase. Let’s take a closer look.

There’s a study from the Journal of Consumer Research on consumer perception and product bundling called The Presenter’s Paradox.

Here’s what happened. They gave people two options of how to bundle products for prospective customers. The first option was an iPod Touch bundled with a cover. The second option was an iPod Touch bundled with a cover and a free song download. Nearly everyone (92%) chose the second option, which included the free download. However, the study concluded that consumers were willing to pay more money for the first bundle, without the song download.

Why? The benefit and cost of that download aren’t enough to enhance the perceived value of the bundle.

In fact, the cheaper item — One song? What am I going to do with one song? — lowers the perceived value of the total package. That’s not what we want to do. Rather than diminish the perceived value of a bundle, we want to increase it. You can charge more for your products by enhancing the perceived value.

Perceived value calculation

A cheap add-on paired with a premium product makes the whole bundle feel less appealing to the consumer.

This Harvard Business Review article discusses a set of similar studies that had the same results. The study showed that consumers were more likely to pay $2,299 for a home gym than they were to pay that very same amount for the same gym was bundled with a workout DVD. Again, that’s because a DVD doesn’t enhance the perceived value. It actually has the opposite effect and lowers that value.

So if you’re currently using a strategy like this, it could be hurting your average order value as opposed to helping you out. You can fix this quickly and easily.

This guide will also you examples of the right types of products and services to bundle.

Emphasize savings

Offering a discount is a great way to make your product bundles more appealing. It’s a very simple strategy.

If a customer buys two or more items together, their total purchase will be cheaper than if they bought each one individually. However, you need to make it obvious that they are saving money. So tell them exactly how much money they can save by buying the bundle.

Here’s a great example of this from Lowe’s.

product bundling example washer dryer

The product bundle here is a washing machine and a dryer. If customers buy the pair together, they can save $340. The customer might think, That’s getting close to the price as of either the washer or dryer alone! However, people won’t know how good of a deal they’re getting if you don’t tell them.

You shouldn’t be making your customers do the math manually or hunt through your prices. Make it obvious and plaster the savings on your website, just like the example above. In this instance, by bundling the savings together, it’s much more entcicing. The customer isn’t simply saving $170 on each, which doesn’t seem like that much. They’re saving $340, which has a lot more wow factor.

As a result, they will be more likely to buy these together to get the savings.

Bundle items commonly purchased together

Remember the hypothetical scenario earlier: the car bundled with a t-shirt and hat? Those items are not commonly purchased at the same time, and that’s another reason why that bundling strategy won’t work.

You need to figure out what items people will also need when they buy something specific. Refer back to our last example from Lowe’s. If a customer is in the market for a washing machine, there’s a good chance they also need a dryer. Bundling those two items together is a winning strategy. This makes much more sense than bundling a dryer with a dishwasher. Sure, they are both home appliances, but they are completely unrelated to each other.

If your company sells shampoo, you can bundle it with conditioner. If you’re selling a mattress, you can bundle it with a box spring and frame. These are all products that go hand in hand.

Check out this example from AT&T.

ATT bundle example

It’s extremely common for people to purchase TV, Internet, and phone services from the same provider. The price bundling strategy here is a well-oiled machine. Just look at the three options above to see what I’m referring to.

It’s $60 per month for just TV. But when you bundle TV and internet together, it’s only $15 more.

This type of product bundle increases the perceived value: Customers are getting something that would normally cost $110, if purchased separately, for $75. That’s a great deal.

This is much better than offering a TV package with free remote batteries, or something cheap that doesn’t add value or entice people to buy. By doing this, AT&T can increase their order value by 25%. Think about that for a second here.

If your company does $1 million in sales annually, you can make an extra $250,000 per year just by increasing the AOV from $60 to $75.

AT&T takes this one step further by adding another bundle option, which includes home phone services. By getting customers to buy this bundle instead of TV alone, the order value is 58% higher.

Use anchor pricing

Anchor pricing is another way to show value in your product bundles.

The idea behind this methodology is that you have different prices on your website that establish a perceived value in the mind of your customers.

It’s an age-old strategy.

How do you sell a $500 watch? Put it next to watch that costs $1,300. The $1,300 item will serve as the anchor, which makes the $500 product seem like a much better deal.

Let’s take a closer look at AT&T’s third option — adding a home phone for an additional $19.99 a month. How many people do you imagine want a phone line? This option may be less about increasing the order value and giving another point of comparison to make the middle option more interesting. Because the $75 package isn’t the most expensive package, the price point seems more reasonable.

The $60 TV package also serves as an anchor. It sets the value of TV alone, so all of the product bundles after it seem like a great deal based on the customer perception of the one product.

You can use this same strategy with your product bundles by adding more expensive bundles, or selling the solo products at a higher price than when they’re bundled. It doesn’t matter if your customers don’t purchase the higher priced packages. They can serve as anchors to make the rest of the options more appealing.

Recommend products to your customers

Show your customers products that will enhance the item that they’ve already added to their cart. Depending on the circumstances, the customer may not even realize that you sell those additional products or remember that they need to buy them until you do this.

Amazon uses this strategy better than anyone else.

Amazon frequently bought together

If you’re browsing for razors on their platform, Amazon will show you which products are frequently bought with those razors: shaving cream and blade refills. The customer will realize that they need these items to complement what they were initially shopping for.

Instead of having to go back and browse for these products, Amazon has a button that makes it easy to add all three items to the shopping cart. You can get more conversions by optimizing your checkout process. Click to add and Amazon has increased the order value with product recommendations.

Here’s the kicker: none of the products are even discounted.

You don’t necessarily need to offer sales or drastically slash your prices to have an effective bundling strategy. Just by showcasing and recommending similar items that add value to the consumer, you can increase your AOV.

Offer volume discounts

But, you can also offer discounts. In addition to bundling products with other items, you can bundle the same product or service with itself. Amazon does this with Subscribe & Save. It gives your customers a reason to buy more, order-value wise, than what they were going to buy — and to make that next repeat purchase from you, instead of wherever else they would be in the future.

Just like the 5% subscription discount on Amazon, as the volume increases, the price per item decreases. But your average order value will still rise. Here’s a perfect example from Todo Bien Tours.

volume discount example

This company provides a service: bus tours. The price per ticket for their tours varies by the number of tickets sold at once. If you buy two tickets, they will cost $84.15 each, so the total transaction will be $168.30. But, groups of ten pay $69.30 per ticket. While the price per item is less, the total transaction ends up being $630. That’s more than a 400% increase in order value.

Notice how their pricing structure is set up on the website.The chart displays the percent discount based on the number of tickets purchased as well as the monetary value saved per ticket. This is an example of one of our previous points: emphasizing savings. By combining this strategy with volume discounts, Todo Bien Tours can benefit from higher average order values.

Allow customers to create custom bundles

Studies show that 80% of customers are more likely to buy something if they are offered a personalized experience.

Furthermore, 68% of customers will pay more for this type of experience. That’s why customization can highly benefit your bundling strategy. It’s a great way to increase your average order value. Rather than telling your customers which products you’re bundling, let them decide for themselves.

Look at how Texas Beard Company accomplishes this.

By purchasing the bag, their customers can benefit from discounted prices on other products. The customized bundle makes it more enticing for people to buy. Here’s why. Let’s say that the bundle was preset with a bag, beard balm, mustache scissors, and beard brush, but the customer already owns a pair of mustache scissors. For that person, the bundle isn’t enticing. They don’t need one of the products offered, so it’s not a good value for them.

This goes back to perceived value. Though the mustache scissors have a literal value, the value to that customer is $0, so the entire perceived value of the package is lowered. Customized options make the bundle so much more enticing.

Find a way to implement this strategy for your business as well. It can work regardless of if you’re offering products or services.

Conclusion

One of the easiest ways to grow your company is to increase your average order value.

That’s because you don’t need new products, new customers, or higher conversion rates to accomplish this.

All you need to do is find ways to get your customers to spend more money each time they shop:

  • Make sure you’re not bundling something inexpensive and irrelevant with one of your premium products.
  • Bundle similar items. You can even recommend products to your customers to create a bundle.
  • The savings should be obvious, which enhances the perceived value of what you’re selling.
  • Focus on your pricing strategy. Offer volume discounts and use anchor prices.
  • You can charge more for your products by letting your customers customize their own bundle.

If you follow these strategies, you’ll be able to increase your AOV.

What types of product bundles is your business offering to increase the average order values on your website?

Ramping Up For A March 2019 Marathon

My running is going well so I’ve decided to do the Knoxville Marathon on 3/31/19.

I’m putting a running team together for this, so if you are interested in being part of it, the only requirement is that you commit to doing the Knoxville Marathon. If you are interested, email me.

2018 was a tough running year for me. I was injured in the spring (calf injury) and then again in the summer through the fall (bone bruise). I’ve only managed 290 miles for the year (I’ll break 300, but that’s less than 30% of my norm for a year.)

However, the last four weeks of running have been solid:

  • miles / week: 11.5, 11.5, 12.4, 17.6
  • TSS / week 147, 154, 203 478

Distance is improving and pace is improving.

I love running at the time of the year, especially when it’s 50 degrees and sunny in Boulder.

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