Think Traffic Monthly Report – April 2012 (Compound Revenue and The 4 Points of Leverage)

  • May 8, 2012 by Corbett Barr
  • 26 Comments

Welcome to another Think Traffic monthly report!

April was a fantastic month. We had record revenue in April owing mostly to the launch of Traffic School. This was the third time we have offered the program, and it was the third time it has sold out (in record time this launch, just 32 hours).

I’ve realized something over the past year about growing revenue for a business like we run at Insanely Useful Media (the “umbrella” business name that includes Think Traffic and our other sites).

In order to grow an online business beyond a modest income, on the level of what you might make as a salary at a job, you have to find ways to leverage yourself and your time.

Note: I’m mainly concerned with ways to grow a business without adding lots of employees to produce products or service customers. In my case I prefer to keep the business as simple as possible, with very few employees (there are just two of us here now, me and Caleb, our assistant editor).

But, just because you might want to limit the number of employees, that doesn’t have to necessarily limit your revenue potential.

That’s where leverage comes in.

In order for leverage to work, you have to create products or services that can be created once and sold over and over again to multiple customers.

Digital products and information products fit this bill nicely. Online courses, eBooks, software, computer games, apps, music and online services are all easily leveraged.

The incredible thing about digital products is that you build them once and then they continue to earn income for you for many months or years to come.

We built the Start a Blog that Matters course back in December, and we enroll new members every day without having to “create” anything new. The same goes for the affiliate marketing course that I created nearly two years ago.

Finding a product that can be leveraged is just step one. Next you have to understand how multiple points of leverage lead to a “compound revenue” effect.

That’s where the magic happens.

In the short video below, I explain four of the most powerful points of leverage you can use to grow your revenue far beyond what I call the “salary” level (comparable to what you might earn at a decent job).

Watch live as a six-figure business is turned into a seven-figure one through the power of “compound revenue” and these four leverage points:

If you are reading this via RSS, you can watch the video here.

April was a record month for us because the following points of leverage have lead to a compound revenue effect:

  1. Our audience is bigger than ever (as you’ll see in the stats below).
  2. Due to strong demand, we raised the price of our Traffic School course once again, and have increased our revenue per sale of various products with affiliate offers.
  3. We had more products on offer at one time than ever before (Start a Blog that Matters and Affiliate Marketing for Beginners also had strong sales last month).
  4. We’ve increased conversions on all products over the past 18 months as we’ve learned what works and have become better copywriters.

How do you plan to use this effect in your own business? Have you seen it work already (for your business or someone else’s)? I’d love to hear in the comments.

On to the results for this month…

April Growth Stats for Think Traffic

Think Traffic - Analytics Apr 2012

We saw 44,703 visits this month (versus 43,836 last month).

If you include traffic from our case study blog of Expert Enough (but not visits to the Start a Blog that Matters or Traffic School site) we had roughly 63,200 visits to our two sites in April.

Also, 396 new comments were left on the site last month, our new posts were retweeted 327 times and we gained 902 subscribers.

7 total posts were published last month (vs. 9 in the prior month), including 1 guest post:

Thank you Maneesh for the guest post this month.

Top Traffic Sources

Think Traffic - Sources Apr 2012

Check out the monthly search visits above. At some point last year Google became the #1 driver of traffic to this site and has grown almost every month since.

We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating. We’ve never spent time “link building” or engaging in shady SEO practices. With each Google search algorithm update instead of worrying about how we might be penalized like many sites are, we look forward to seeing how we’ll be rewarded.

Google’s job is to reward good content. Engaging in grey-area SEO practices is like shorting the financial markets. You might benefit in the short-term, but you’ll lose in the long-term.

Great content is the best SEO. Stop trying to game Google and start trying to reward your visitors with the best content you can offer.

Here’s a graph of what our reader-focused strategy has done for our weekly search traffic over the past 2 years:

Top Search Terms:

  • think traffic: 759
  • blog topics: 619
  • unique selling proposition: 419
  • unique selling proposition examples: 378
  • personal introduction: 259
  • sales pitch: 201
  • blog topic ideas: 169
  • thinktraffic: 149
  • unique selling point examples: 147
  • blog post ideas: 145

Top Content

Think Traffic - Content Apr 2012

Here are two special opportunities I’d like to tell you about:

San Francisco Tweetup

If you’re in San Francisco tomorrow (Wednesday, May 9th), come meet me and some very special guests. We’ll be meeting for a casual “tweetup” for bloggers, entrepreneurs and fun people at 7:30pm.

Email me directly at corbettbarr@gmail.com for details.

Last Chance, David Risley’s Blog Master’s Club

My friend David Risley has decided to close his Blog Master’s Club down for good. Before he shuts the doors, he’s offering an incredible last chance offer to get into his famed course.

Blog Masters Club has been recommended by Darren Rowse (ProBlogger), Chris Garrett and many more big names. If anything, stop by to learn why David is shutting down this popular program (some interesting business lessons there), and to see the low discount pricing.

Over to You

What did you learn from the video above?

How do you plan to use leverage in your business?

Have you seen leverage or compound revenue work already? What are some good examples of how this works for other more established businesses?

Please share in the comments below!

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Tom Ross May 8, 2012 at 6:41 am

Really inspiring stuff as ever Corbett! I continually love your approach of putting great content first and letting the stuff like search rankings happen naturally. I’m also working on my first few digital products and I’m definitely a fan of the compound revenue model that you discuss here.

Corbett Barr May 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks Tom! Good luck with your first product.

Cristina Ansbjerg May 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

I’m experiencing the power of leveraging my content.
If your content is high quality it will be evergreen. Like you said, great content is the best SEO.
But most importantly, great content is the reason to be here. Creating bad content or stealing other people’s you won’t help anybody.

Great results, Corbett. Congrats!

Corbett Barr May 8, 2012 at 10:08 am

Thanks Cristina, good point. Great content is the reason to be on any site or blog. Funny how so many people don’t get that :)

Kate May 8, 2012 at 7:32 am

Thanks for sharing all of the details Corbett! We are following your model, create real value, share free info, and stay consistent. Congrats on the Success!

Corbett Barr May 8, 2012 at 10:09 am

Awesome Kate, let me know how it turns out.

duncan May 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

Wow, great post. And, David Risley’s restructuring brainstorm is kind of where I am at with my own business model. I got google slapped on a couple of my niche sites and am going to “ween” myself off the Google machine…can’t build a business and then allow the G to decide it doesn’t approve of what I am doing…so, my business model is changing for sure…

Like you mentioned in your post, creating great content and extracting evergreen content from that creation is my new model. Give and over deliver…..I’m currently creating a digital tutorial in the real estate niche and feel like I can pull out of those video tutorials another 6-8 books as evergreen products/books/tutorials. Really cool stuff you are doing here. I found you through Pat Flynn a while back. Keep up the good work. Duncan

Corbett Barr May 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

I think a lot of people are in your situation with the big G at the moment. When you use techniques they don’t agree with, your “audience” is really just a house of cards. I much prefer to build a reputation and group of people who are here because they love what I do (and not because I gamed the search engines into putting my mediocre content at the top of the results).

Good luck Duncan. I’d love to hear how your transition goes.

Marius May 8, 2012 at 10:09 am

I really like your monthly income reports Corbett, because it inspires me as well to do something, when i see how is it going to others.

Corbett Barr May 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks for reading Marius.

Jayme May 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I love the emphasis on “great content is the best SEO.” When the Panda then Penguin update came out, some were in a panic about how to deal while some were launching tools to “maintain rankings.”

This constant scramble for rankings on Google was what finally convinced me that I would be better off with a more solid and sustainable online business model, one that would rely on the quality of connections than the quantity of links on Google’s page one.

Now that I’m starting as a mompreneur, I’m focusing on putting out quality content while building a community. I have to admit it’s tough and challenging at every turn. And while sometimes, it’s tempting to get those quick fixes, I know that smart work will pay off. Your monthly reports are proof of that.

I just have to keep going.

Thank you Corbett! :)

Jade Craven May 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Just curious (as someone that has written about you twice on Problogger), what posts are sending the referral traffic? Am now thinking about the compound effect of recommendations in blog posts :)

Steve May 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Hi Corbett,
I really enjoyed this video but I have a question. Please correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t the conversion rates decrease to your existing audeince as the product was on the market longer. More and more fans would own the product. It seems that your initial conversion rate would apply only to new fans and wouldn’t apply to preexisting fans/traffic.

Corbett Barr May 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hey Steve, that’s a great question. It hasn’t been our experience.

Typically the conversion rates will start very high during the first couple of weeks a product is out (because your most dedicated customers are anticipating the launch, and because you may have some kind of launch promo). Then, conversion rates dip shortly after launch.

If you did nothing, I suppose conversion rates would stay the same after the dip. But we’ve been able to improve ours over time by A/B testing and by making changes to our copy and offer.

An audience actually has quite a bit of turnover. You’ll have dedicated fans who stick with you forever, but there’s a whole other component of your audience that will be coming and going. The portion of new people you attract becomes bigger and bigger every month. Those people are likely buyers and you can certainly improve conversion rates among that group.

Again, great question Steve. It just hasn’t been our experience. I suppose for a stagnant audience it might be true, or if your conversion rates were very very high to begin with.

Jamie Alexander May 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Things like this make me smile: the fact that you could potentially double your online income by making a few small changes. Try working 120 hrs per week offline to quadruple your income. It ain’t gonna happen.

I’d like to add one though I don’t know if it would fall under increasing conversions: Go back to the start and try repackaging your product. Different name/packaging etc.

I’m actually doing this just now on Kindle and going to see how it affects my sales.

Sajan Elanthoor May 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Corbett,

Aswesome man. Truly inspiring and I really want to hug you and look at your eyes and congratulate you for this tremendous achievement. It really inspires us to move ahead and achieve our life goals fast.

Amit Shaw May 9, 2012 at 9:38 am

Corbett you just rock. Really inspiring. Congratulation for your success and Best of luck for your next

Sharon May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Great post Corbett and very inspiring. I’m taking part in the MDBP and would like to create an online course but I really need some guidance with the technical aspect and the process of building the course itself. Can you recommend any books or online resources?

Corbett Barr May 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

Hey Sharon, I’m sorry but I don’t have any good resources to recommend. We typically use WordPress and the S2Member plugin to handle our courses. S2Member has some decent tutorials.

We may be creating our own tutorials on this subject later this year.

Carlos May 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Nice work. How many people are in your company?

Caleb Wojcik May 23, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hey Carlos,

There are just two of us.

Steve May 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

awesome answer Corbett. Thanks for taking the time!

ruben May 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Is possible to create good content by hiring a freelance writer? Im asking because I hate writing but I love building websites/blogs..

thanks,
Ruben

Corbett Barr May 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

How about partnering with someone who loves writing but hates building sites?

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