A huge part of making flash sales work is creating real scarcity. People absolutely hate missing out on a great deal (which is why Black Friday is such a huge success), and there is no more powerful emotional trigger than scarcity.

But in order for it to be effective, the scarcity must be real.

For example, if you send someone and email that says, “buy before Friday and get X”….if the recipient can simply bookmark your sales page (to come back later), or open the email after Friday and the link still works, you don’t have real scarcity.

As a result, your buyers will start to realize you aren’t serious when you tell them that the special offer is only available until X – and they won’t act.

And that is the kiss of death.

In order to make scarcity work, it must be real…and therein lies the challenge that I experienced once I decided to test turning my live webinar into an evergreen webinar that I could then drive paid Youtube traffic to.

From a technical perspective, the challenge of ensuring that every single webinar registrant experienced real scarcity is incredibly complicated.

The reason for this is that on an evergreen webinar, anyone could watch at virtually any time, and in my follow up series, I needed to ensure that no matter when they watch, they still only have 72 hours to take advantage of the offer.

Thankfully, my friend Travis Ketchum had just completed the coding for a solution to my problem in his app Campagin Refinery. I’ve now been using his app for about a month to facilitate the scarcity component of my evergreen webinars and it has been working exactly as planned.

The net result is that, thanks to the evergreen webinars, Travis’ Campaign Refinery app, and my advertising on Youtube, I’ve been able to increase the growth rate for my email list from 3 subscribers a day to well over 40 a day…and we aren’t even close to done optimizing the funnel.

In today’s interview, Travis and I discuss the details of how all this works at length – plus it ties in beautifully with what Jason Fladlien and I talked about in episode 269.

Want to significantly increase the performance of your online flash sales? Grab your note pad and listen now!

Full Transcript

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Trent: Hey there, welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and I’m here to help you discover what works and e-Commerce by shining a light on the tools the tactics, the strategies and the smart people that are using them to make it work.

So on today’s episode, we’re going to do much like we did in the prior episode with Jason where we did a very interactive discussion on how to maximize conversions from a webinar. Today we’re going to talk about something that I’ve recently discovered, a new piece of software that I’ve started to use that’s in my tech stack to help with scarcity which is a huge, huge lever when it comes to conversions. My guest is a fellow by the name of Travis and I will introduce him in just a minute.

We’re going to start off first with a message for the sponsor for this particular episode which is a company called AH-REFS ahrefs.com. So, prior to discovering their tool I was definitely not much of a fan or user of SEO. I thought it was too technical or I was too late to the game and I was just never going to get any results so I really didn’t even put an effort into it to be honest with you.

Now that I’ve been using their tool for the last couple of weeks I have a different opinion I’m absolutely amazed by how powerful the tool is and how much data I have really, really easy access to that combined with some other free training content is really starting to make me much, much, much more interested in SEO. For example if I want to know which keywords are driving traffic to a competitor’s website that is super easy to discover using the nature of tool. If I want to know how to improve my ranking for my YouTube videos they have a component in the tool that makes that easy for me to do. If I want to easily perform detailed keyword research to identify important phrases that I should be using as the foundation for my cornerstone content strategy which is literally something we’ve been doing for both my flows to Software Company and for Bright Ideas in the last week.

Again, tick the tick box AH-REFS I’ve told makes it really easy for me to do that and if I want to do a little competitor hacking, I want to see hey you know for somebody else’s blog or somebody else’s software, what are the most popular pages and what kind of who’s pointing links to those pages? Maybe I should be getting links from those people maybe I should be creating content or on those topics or targeting those keywords. Again AH-REFS makes it just insanely easy for me to go and head and get that intel.

So it is an all in one SEO tool and it is far more than being just great for back links which is maybe what a lot of people who haven’t used tool might think it’s for. So if you want to grow traffic to your website AH-REFS has everything you need from keyword research, to content research, to rank tracking, to site audits and the whole shebang. And they have just launched a new beta interface for their keyword Explorer and they have nine additional sources of data and they rebuilt the entire technology stack for that keywords explorer. So now you have data for YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex Baidu a number of others so if you’re not using it yet I strongly encourage that you go check it out you can sign up for a trial for only seven bucks on their website and that is ahrefs.com.

All right with that said, Travis thank you so much for joining me on the show today. It’s pleasure to have you here even though I know you are suffering through a migraine right now so props to you for not rescheduling the episode and let’s dive into it.  

Travis: Thanks for having me on you know for better for worse; I always want to meet my obligations and do as I will do, that’s why I’m here.  

Trent: All right so we’re going to do as I mentioned there in the intro we’re going to do an interactive discussion around the webinars and scarcity and how I was struggling to do, so let me let me sort of set up the scenario and then you can dive in and sort of explain why you created what you created and how it works and the problems it solves; I guess I’ll describe that in my case.

So, I do a live webinar once a month and I had scarcity in my offer and so each person they only had 72 hours to watch the replay and in the replay is going to be taken down and the offer goes away and so forth and that worked really, really effectively.  I should say works really effectively in terms of conversions.

And then a couple of months ago, I decided well you know I’ve never really tried paid traffic and I interviewed a guy on my show who they run a YouTube agency that goes and drives pay traffic and I’m trying to dig up that interview now because it was a really fascinating interview. And what I realized is I thought you know I’d kind of like to hire this guy to see if he could drive some pay traffic to my funnel but I needed to create a funnel in order to do that and to do that I needed to Evergreen my webinar and therein lies a big problem.

With an evergreen webinar, people aren’t on my set schedule. They could literally be watching the replay or the webinar anytime. And so the tech stack that I was using made it impossible or ridiculously difficult to figure out how am I going to get you know a countdown timer on my sales page and in my emails for every single person no matter when they watch it and have that countdown timer appear with the right numbers at the right time and so forth? Travis you and I got talking in and around that point in time and that was when you started to tell me that you know, “Hey you’ve actually built that functionality into your tool” so over to you to talk a little bit about that.

Travis: Yeah so I mean the tools campaign refinery but it really kind of stemmed from an even deeper problem from that I wanted to build Marketing Automation that just wanted to be marketing automation and not everything else and to me marketing automation is two things, it’s deliverability and conversion tools.

And when we looked at our past and where we were our sales revenue generated it was a disproportionate number of those sales came at the end of scarcity events, right? Whether that was a webinar that was going to happen, a flash sale, fill it off or whatever. A huge amount of our conversions came at the end of a scarcity offer and so we said, ‘Hey, if so many of our sales came from scarcity offer why are we doing this more often and why are we automating it?”  

And as we looked at all the tools in the marketplace most of the time if you could even get close to something that’s you know resembled a real scarcity event; you were trying to put together some janky timers on WordPress, some gift countdowns in your e-mail that you didn’t work very well or didn’t work at all. And it was really easy for a user to get a really inconsistent experience to be able to maybe accidentally go through the funnel more than once and always kind of weird scenarios that didn’t make it a hard start and finish based on the journey of that user which was the really critical component here right coding of Evergreen, it could be Tuesday, it could be Sunday. It like it needs to be able to adapt to the way that that prospect is coming through your funnel and it needs to be a genuine scarcity so that it actually gets removed, the offer gets removed. When you say well and go into an old email doesn’t you know give them access again, bookmarking a link doesn’t save it for you know all the weird things that sometimes people do to get access to an offer and there’s been a few tools that I’ve tried to attack this but one of the best ways that we felt we could do it is by baking it right in to the automation tools.

So, when you’re building your campaign, you’re already writing emails and doing delay timer’s right? And so if you’re already doing that, we thought you know it wouldn’t be that much more work from our end to give you the ability to have different stages of a link and insert countdown timers and automatically calculate when that offer should expire based on the delay time you were already using to structure your campaign. So that’s what we built, it’s a way to dynamically insert an accurate timer into email that gets generated every time the user loads your email and when they click the link, they don’t ever actually see the real sales page they’re on it’s a masked link, that then is forced redirected when that offer actually expires.

So you have real genuine scarcity, so no matter if they bookmark, that they send it to a friend, if they go to an old email, if it’s the window it should be open it will be open, if it’s the window it should be closed, it will be closed every single time. And so that was really what we were striving for.  

Trent: And I can affirm having used Travis’s tool that it works exactly as described and for me so it all comes down to benefits. My goal in doing this was I wanted to see could I significantly increase the number of e-mail address captures? Could I grow my list faster? Because everything is the byproduct for my Bright Ideas brand everything is the byproduct of list size my number of downloads of my show, which affects how much sponsorship revenue I can bring in the number of sales of my products, everything is the byproduct of being able to grow the list quicker.

And if I’m going to be able to do it you know unless I want to spend a fortune on advertising, I have to figure out a way to be able to break even or even in my case be profitable on the ad spend and I’m very, very pleased to say that so far the experiments having this scarcity work has been critical to that end. We went from you know getting organically three email addresses a day to now like 40 or 50 a day. And at 40 or 50 a day, I’m still actually– I don’t have a cost of customer acquisition I am ever so slightly profitable on those leads because of this front-end offer that I’m making in the webinar never mind any of the stuff that would be you know back into front-end offers that would happen later on.

Travis: Yeah well one thing that sticks out to us when we were looking at all of our sales that people who bought during a scarcity event what was kind of crazy to us is that about 60%-75% of those sales back on a 3 day sales and example, were in the last 4-6 hours of the sale. So if you’re not doing a real scarcity event, it mean you’re leaving like 75% on the table. So when we say you know increase your results 300%-400% that’s not just the thing, that’s the real difference of having a scarcity event versus not.  

Trent: Oh yeah absolutely, I mean when I started to do this test webinar and this was when I was doing the scarcity manually, you know we would do— oh I just do the math in my head– around before back end up sells anywhere from $18000-$20000 of revenue for over a 3 day period and $7000-$9000 of that would come in on the last day. Shock Yeah everyone’s crazy. Yeah even for my website launches which are huge big coordinated events they only happen twice per year 50% of the revenue comes in on the very last day.  

Scarcity is— and Jason on who’s known on the Internet as the hundred million dollar webinar man because he’s done so much in the space and he’s consulted with the who’s who of selling online in the interview that I just did with him which is Ep269, I mean of all the things we talked about, scarcity was by far the number one influencer of conversions.

Travis: Yeah I’m not surprised about that at all; in the early days I was surprised when I would go like make sure that a sales page was actually going to pull down at midnight and like literally orders would be flying in like up to the last second of the countdown timer hitting zero, so yes it’s pretty wild.  

Trent: So Travis, for people who want to give this thing a shot because I think we’ve pretty much accomplished what we set out to accomplish in this interview. I wanted people to be aware that hey there’s a new tool, it works really well it’s not expensive at all and they should give it a shot.

I know we didn’t talk about this beforehand but do you have any type of offer or a special link and if you don’t have one verbally now we can always put it in the show notes later.  

Travis: I mean we offer a 14 day free trial already for them marketing automation suite. I’m sure that you and I can come up with something extra if we need to maybe some extra training or something that we can give them access to that I think could be cool, so we’ll come up with something.

But yeah there’s a 14 day free trial and what’s kind of unique about us is you know one ways that we send email is through SMDP providers. So you bring in your own separate account or Amazon or spark post or whatever there’s a handful to pick from. And so that actually allows us to give a really affordable fee for unlimited contacts. So it’s a 14 day free trial, does require a credit card and it’s just 97 bucks a month after that for unlimited contacts and you know your price for email can be as low as 10 cents per thousand e-mails through Amazon.

And it’s a great way to get started and then we also have something we didn’t talk about which is the campaign library. So those who are interested in running this kind of campaign they will just go to the campaign library, pick the 3 day sale click copy and they have an entire campaign a dollar that is really is added the emails and swapping their links. All the logic is there, all the tagging is there, all a doorway timers that are there to automatically run are really powerful three day sale and then whether that’s included with a webinar or not. You know you can even kick it off from when people click a certain link in a broadcast. You could just say, “Hey, apply this tag to queue them up for a three day sale next week” So it’s a really good way to get these high performing campaigns built and ready to go. So the drop of a hat is you’re doing your normal content strategy, you can sort of siphon off the clickers that are clicking at the right kind of winks and raising their hand of interest and putting them into a flash sale to turn it into revenue.  

Trent: And let me add one other point too this just came to mind for the folks who are listening. You know if you follow me you no idea have this successful Amazon business where we partner with suppliers and we get exclusivity for their products on Amazon. This is something between the last interview talking about webinars and this one talking about scarcity.  

When you’re having conversations with prospective suppliers, these are the types of concepts that you definitely want to be bringing into those conversations you want to be asking questions to your supplier like, “What are you doing to launch your new products? And what are you doing to drive traffic to your own sales on your own website or even if you want what are you doing to drive additional traffic to your products on Amazon to take advantage of the flywheel effect?” And they’re probably not going to have really great answers for that.

And so becoming someone who is well versed in how to do webinars and also scarcity to make those webinars convert that is an extra tool that you absolutely should have in your toolbox because it’s things like that that they’re not hearing from other third party sellers that are approaching them and saying, “Hey we want to sell your stuff on Amazon and the like Yeah go to the back of a very long line everybody wants to do that” So you need differentiators and these two concepts here are very clearly a differentiator that virtually no other third party seller other than maybe folks that are listening to my show right now are going to go and talk to those suppliers about so I strongly encourage you to take the deeper dive and become vast enough that you can start to have these conversations.

And Travis I think what we’ll do is we will come up with a link, I’ll put it in the show note so to get to the show notes for this episode it’s going to be brightideas.co/270 and Travis and I once we stop, hit the record button here we’ll figure out something that’s a little bit special for you guys and you can go and check it out.

So Travis I know you have a migraine; I don’t want to keep you on for very long. Thank you so much for making some time to come and share a little bit about what you’ve built. And again folks I’m a raving fan so I strongly encourage that if it applies to the business that you’re in, that you go ahead and check it out.  

Travis: Thanks so much for having me on Trent.

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Today’s Guest

Travis Ketchum is the founder of Campaign Refinery, a powerful marketing automation platform that radically improves deliverability and conversion rates.

Helping over 20,000 business owners and marketers grow their email lists and convert those prospects into customers since 2012.

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