AB #387 | Understanding Attention Conversion with Entrepreneur and Online Educator Declan Dunn

In this edition of the Affiliate Buzz, host and Instructor of the Affiliate Marketers BootCamp, James Martell welcomes entrepreneur and online educator Declan Dunn. Declan Dunn explains the concept of attention conversion and how he discovered the first point of conversion wasn’t a sale, it was simply getting, and retaining, their attention.

Introducing Declan Dunn

Declan Dunn is an internet pioneer with over two decades of hands-on experience in online education, corporate performance enhancement, and affiliate marketing. He also taught a course on business development at the University of California Santa Barbara for three years.

Declan is the co-founder of FMG Network which delivers practical and inspiring information to clients, students, and participants worldwide and the founder of the award-winning Remember.org, a community to help teachers and students find the best online sources for educating about the Holocaust.

James begins the episode by talking with Delcan about how he got started. Declan got started while living off the grid. He used a backpack mobile phone and a generator to send research papers over the internet. Having to complete work before the gas ran out was great incentive for meeting deadlines.

Shortly after Declan was introduced to Netscape, a web browser that allowed him to work on something besides CD-Roms. After getting his information online, he had to find a way to drive traffic, a necessity that led to his affiliate marketing career.

From Off the Grid to Online Marketing

Declan points out the irony of how similar the early days of affiliate marketing online were to today's affiliate marketing that targets mobile devices. One thing he says has never changed, and is even more important today, is a killer headline. James concurs and recalls the simplicity of some of the earliest websites.

Declan moved from his educational site to the marketing community by writing books. Although the cover left a lot to be desired, he attended a conference where his book got in leading to a round of introductions with the great names of affiliate marketing at that point which he then interviewed.

The biggest first success Declan feels he had was his Director of Sales book which taught people how to sell websites in plain English. On the other side of the coin, he cites his biggest as a video series. For the rest of the 90s, with the help of some industry professionals, Declan learned to rethink his attitude about marketing, which he claims was his biggest crutch.

By the time Y2K rolled around, Declan says things really got interesting. Declan and his associates took the profits from selling their books and created an agency during the dot-com times, where he worked as an outsource project manager, or OPM, for companies like American Express Network Solutions. Even after the dot-com crash, revenue continued to expand.

James and Declan met again at the 2005 Affiliate Summit where about 500 affiliate marketers conferenced together. By this time, Declan moved on from his agency to work with exclusive clients and projects. That time taught him that everyone feeds everyone else -- in other words, the search engine guy, the social media guy, and the email guy are all connected.

How to Use Multi-Step Marketing

Then Declan segues into the topic of multi-step marketing. He explains that people dislike "marketing speak" and says buying a click no longer guarantees making a sale.

Declan goes on to outline the different steps people take between the first click and the last one that leads to a sale, and says anyone who isn't paying attention to the in-between clicks in the middle is pretty much out of luck on social media.

James then asks Declan to expand on the phrase attention conversion from stories to sales. Attention conversion is a term to describe using things that make customers happy in order to get their attention so they continue with the following steps leading to a sale on your webpage.

Declan continues by saying content marketing, inbound advertising, and other terms all revolve around the same thing - the ad in front of the customer has a killer headline and intro that, if done correctly, gets their attention, drives them to your page, where you then convert them into a sale.

The Attention Conversion Model

The attention conversion model is a long-term approach to converting leads into sales. Declan cautions that you may not see results for 60 to 90 days, so do not limit success to what happens within the initial 30 days after the first click.

Declan uses the example of back in the days when software would give a 30-day free trial but get the credit card number. He compares that to today when they take away the credit card requirement and instead focused attention on answering emails and being there during the trial period. The result was that sales dramatically increased.

James chimes in that he has had good experiences with sales-to-service software as well. One such service he uses is Basecamp, which does everything that Declan describes as necessary components of a successful attention conversion marketing plan. Basecamp allows new users to explore the software free for two months. James says within just a few days, his entire team was integrated.

Declan goes on to compare how new advertising stacks up to previous attempts. He uses the example of Square, a service that allows everything you need to take care of your business including payments and point-of-sale tools, invoicing capabilities, and more. Their ads use real stories from real clients that engage people.

Declan also references Buzzfeed, a site filled with a wide range of content that falls into categories both trendy and trending. Each piece of content is a subtle piece of advertising. Declan suggests that the content you put out doesn't even have to be your content, but can be from a third party.

How to Measure Attention Conversion

Then the topic turns to how to measure attention conversion. He explains that attention conversion means we have all this activity happening on social networks - likes, shares, and other forms of referrals. From there Declan focuses on Cost Per Action, and abbreviates the phrase into two terms: CPA1 and CPA2.

CPA1
- Someone who registers for a free account on the website.
- They try out the software for free with no obligation to buy.
- CPA1 is the source of the traffic for CPA2.

CPA2
- This is how many people from CPA1 became buyers.
- CPA2 tells us how many people we're converting

Between these two, you will see the cost of traffic separated from the cost per sale. If you look at your software as a service, then for CPA1 your process for getting them onboard is high. Declan explains that it is important to look at the source that brought in this traffic, which might include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • Pinterest
  • Linkedin
  • Email

Declan says few people use all of the available networks at the same time. He suggest choosing the social media source with the best potential to generate traffic, but also can reach the area your target audience uses.

Of course, this only works if the quality of CPA1 converts very highly. Declan says CPA1 tells you not only the cost, but also the volume. For example, although Twitter is a quality social network, it may have a smaller volume for you to reach out to compared to a different network like Instagram.

Finally Declain shares this bit of advice: If you don't love your customers, then someone else will. James wraps up the episode by recapping the main points of the interview with his guest as well as Declan's current and upcoming projects.

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Contact Declan Dunn:
Declan Dunn - http://declandunn.com/
Twitter - @declandunn
Google+ - https://plus.google.com/+DeclanDunn/
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/declandunn

Resources:
FMG Network - http://fmgnetwork.com/
Remember.org - http://remember.org/
Basecamp - https://basecamp.com/
Square - https://squareup.com/
Buzzfeed - http://www.buzzfeed.com/
Instagram - https://instagram.com/

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