What you will learn
As we promised, we are going to keep on giving quarterly updates in 2017.
Our second quarterly update of the year will provide some insight into what we’ve been doing over the past three months and what we’ve learned from it.
We’ll also be giving some insights into the state of the link building and sharing some of our ambitious plans for the next quarter.
We’ll try to be explicit as possible by letting you guys know as much as we can tell you. However, there are a lot of people who just, out and out, copy what we do. Sometimes we’ll have to be vague but we’ll be as honest as we feel we can be without damaging our own business.
Authority Hacker Pro Launch
In May, we launched AH Pro and it went pretty well.
In September last year, we did our first big launch. This time we followed a similar format. We did a giveaway pre-launch, a lead magnet blog post (which we ended up taking down) and a daily podcast series that ended up being really successful.
Last time we did a launch, it was around three weeks. It was long. Probably too long.
So, this time around we decided to cut the launch down to 9 days. The launch was more manageable but we found that each day was more stressful.
In fact, there was no margin for error. Each day was jam packed. All the emails had to be spot on – going out at exactly the right time. Luckily, we had Lewis to help which drastically improved things.
Over the course, there were very few errors. It ended up being a pretty tight process.
The major change, beyond the shorter launch period, was experimenting with different ways to create scarcity.
As we have found in the past, the early bird offer proved to be the most effective offer we used. It increased sales in the region of 3-5x.
We also put scarcity around bonuses and availability. We saw a boost for both of these offers but when you include a price based offer, then there are significantly more sales.
Because we have added more content, the early bird price for AH Pro ended up being around the same as the full price for AH Pro last year.
There are more blueprints in there along with The Authority Site System (TASS).
TASS is our “newbie” course that shows people how to build a website. It outlines the basic of an authority site.
In fact, Gael built a site using TASS and it is now making $300-500 per month. This is without any link building whatsoever. He spent five days on the site and hasn’t touched it since. Thankfully, this shows that the model works.
A lot of the things in AH Pro cannot be applied until you have a site. This made it crucial to create a course, like TASS, which lays the groundwork and allows you to take full advantage of the lessons in AH Pro.
Increased Customer Service
One additional thing we did for the launch was to man the live chat 24 hours a day for the full nine days of the launch. Mark, Gael and John split the day into three shifts to answer questions.
For a high-ticket item, such as AH Pro, people have questions. They often just need some piece of mind and to know that if anything does go wrong, there is a physical person to talk to that can solve their problems.
For our live chat, we use Intercom. It has a built-in case management system that allows us to see all past interactions with the customer. This makes it easy to answer questions or understand what their concerns are.
As an estimate, we can safely say that we made five figures worth of sales from the chat. Just simply being there to provide customer service made a massive difference. It more than paid for itself.
At the last launch, a lot of people came to the webinar but didn’t purchase immediately. So this time round we made some bonus material that was time-based. The results were great. In fact, it was the single biggest jump in conversions for any webinar that we have done before.
We would recommend if you want someone to purchase from the webinar, to add one of these time sensitive bonus offers that expires within the region of two hours after the webinar finishes. From this, you should see a jump in conversions.
Extending the Early Bird Offer With Pricing Plans
Payment plans are always a good thing to have. There are downsides (i.e. people getting in, completing the course and exiting before paying the full amount) but in general, we feel they are a positive thing.
What we decided to create for this launch was a “fair pricing plan.” This was almost an early bird payment plan.
Let me explain…
What usually happens with payment plans is there is a markup on the monthly fee. So if something costs $1,200 to purchase, the monthly payments over a year might be $150 per month.
Although the payment plan was only available on the full price course, what we did was to not include the markup for a limited time.
This, again, creates scarcity and was a stealth way of extending the early bird offer.
In general, we do not receive 100% of the payment when people sign-up for the payment plan. So we calculated the payment plan so that we would receive the same financial value as the early bird offer.
This, essentially, allowed us to extend the early bird offer. Meanwhile, we could appeal to a different segment of our audience.
The results were good. In fact, we would say that it worked better than the bonus based scarcity offer.
After the fair payment plan expired, we were still able to offer the standard payment plan method with additional markup.
AH Pro 2.0
The re-launch of AH Pro is underway.
We have started with a new WordPress install and a new LMS (Learning Management System).
We are not going to re-shoot every single video but we will watch them all, makes notes, and edit wherever is necessary.
At the moment, we are developing concepts.
The aim is to have this ready for the next time we launch.
Also new to AH Pro will be guest content. This will not be promotional content but will be lessons, guides and tips that actually help. We’ve also had members create a huge amount of material within the community (such as guides, Google Sheets and processes) we have been looking for a more permanent place to keep for easy access.
The final additional will be standalone posts – premium blogs or advanced guides. These are things that we are not comfortable publishing openly on the web but we are happy to share with the AH Pro members.
In general, these will tend to be for shorter points that still have a lot of value rather than a full blueprint.
Plans for the Authority Hacker Writing Team
We have hired one more writer to the team, Danny. He’ll be working with Gael to create library type content.
At the moment we are working on niche breakdown articles that compare a whole bunch of niches. We’ve found affiliate programs for these niches, sites that are doing them well, different angles you can take when setting up your site and some curated keyword research.
These will all go live on the site as static content and hopefully help people with something they often really struggle with – picking a niche.
At the moment, Lewis is working on site templates. We feel there is a lack of inspiration when building websites.
Lewis’s role is to build demo sites that can be used as inspiration. We hope that, eventually, we can tell you what plugins to install and then have the templates set up so that you can do a one-click install. From there you can customize it to suit your site or your niche.
Perrin is keeping the blog ticking over. He is working on a huge resource post on monetization methods that should be really useful and interesting.
Recently we have had controversial blog posts. For the latest post, we took $1,000 to spend on testing link building services. We picked five services and bought one link from each of them.
Most of the links were not very good. If the had linked to our sites, we would not have been happy whatsoever. That is why, in the end, we did not end up recommending any of them.
For one of the link services, we did make a mistake. For whatever reason, we missed the email that confirmed the link had been placed. This left us with the impression that our order had not even been completed. This turned out not to be the case. However, the link was still not of the quality that we would have desired.
A lot of the link sellers got mad. We can cause these people to lose custom and we do take this responsibility seriously.
However, we do try to be on the side of the readers and we felt that looking at the money spent and the results, there are definitely better ways of doing things.
We recommend products or services all the time. In fact, we would love to find a link building service that we could recommend to our readers but, as far as we know, it doesn’t exist.
In future, we know that we have to be careful that we are reviewing things in a fair, even-handed and impartial way.
Health Ambition Update
Overall, Health Ambition is going well at the moment.
The revenue is strong. In fact, it is up there with the strongest that it has ever been.
On the other hand, traffic has gone down a bit. On the plus side, the pages that have dropped in traffic have been informational posts that drive a lot of traffic but not particularly valuable traffic.
According to Ahrefs, we are now in the top 90,000 sites on the internet (whoop whoop)!
Our plans for the future are to update the navigation, update the design and do a bit of a re-brand.
In fact, we are repositioning the site. We are going to niche down to focus solely on nutrition and weight loss rather than health in general.
The site was slightly too broad. With so many different sub-categories to manage it became disorganized. There are ways around this but it is very difficult to manage.
Launching New Sites
Over the past three months, we have also launched a bunch of new sites. It was a really interesting process to launch the new sites with all the knowledge we have built up over the last few years.
With these sites, the biggest mistake had to be not hiring an editor fast enough. In future, an editor will be one of, if not the, first person hired when we’re launching a site.
We made a mistake by hiring a writer first. The writer wrote 30-40 articles and then when the editor came in and reviewed them, they almost all had to be re-written.
It is so important to make sure the quality and editorial direction are there from the beginning.
Overall, it feels great to have well structured and well thought out sites that we know in which direction we are taking them.
For these sites, we feel like we can create A+ content that is much better than our competitors.
We are also creating Facebook pages and communities. Some of these are already highly engaged where people just keep on coming back for more.
The cost is pretty low. It creates a lot of social proof.
In fact, it will probably end up being a blueprint in AH Pro 2.0.
Link Building is Dead
Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.
What we are finding, however, is that a lot of the link building tactics that we are using are not as effective as they used to be. While they still get the job done, the returns are nothing like what they used to be.
The reason for this is probably that so many people are doing it. We get so many link building emails to Health Ambition that are using our own templates!
The fact that we can receive ten emails with this same template into our inbox in one day makes us reconsider sharing some things with the wider internet community as a whole. Sometimes it feels like people will never learn in the SEO community.
They overuse a technique and modify it until it is some kind of spammy, Frankenstein’s monster version of the original that then becomes useful for all involved.
The good news is that we do feel comfortable sharing a lot of this stuff with the AH Pro members and this ties back into the standalone, premium blog posts we mentioned earlier that will be included in AH Pro 2.0.
All in all the past three months have gone well.
We have had a successfully launched AH Pro, hired new members of the team, strengthened Health Ambition and launched some new websites that we will be working on over the next quarter.
There are big plans for AH Pro 2.0 and we can’t wait to get put that together for all you guys to check out.
All things considered, we are happy with our progress and looking forward to kicking on from here.