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7 Big Tips For Expanding Your Unstoppable Online Business

As an online marketer, you have to stay on top of all the latest trends in internet marketing, but once in a while, it’s also a great idea to refresh your mind on the foundational principles of online marketing.

This article is designed to be a sort of road map for those who are total noobs, but it’s also aimed at marketers who have experience in the online marketing world but want a little ‘refresher course’ to help them stay on top of their game.

The thing is, online entrepreneurs and marketers out there are at different levels of stuck thanks to the sheer amount of information there is to learn. Beginners, seasoned, and pro marketers are all looking to improve upon the things they do and they’re always looking for an edge. It’s their defining characteristic.

This article is going to help you master the online marketing stuff. And ‘stuff’ here means…

The Business System – which is the same one that Amazon uses to dominate e-commerce. It’s the same system that McDonald’s uses to corner the hamburger market, and it’s also the one used by Starbucks to crush it in the coffee market.

This particular system works for both small and enterprise-level businesses and has been used by a lot of brands all over the world to become household names.

Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a billion-dollar retailer, and whether you sell digital products, physical products, or services, this system brings results. We’re going to talk about how you can implement it into your own online business to grow your revenue.

The Incontrovertible Law of Growing A Business

This irrefutable law states that there are only three ways of growing any business:
  • By increasing the number of your customers
  • By increasing the average value of each customer’s transaction
  • By increasing each customer’s number of transactions

This is very important information and well worth committing to memory if you didn’t already know it.

Whatever tactics you use in your online marketing, from Facebook Ads to Google Analytics, and SEO, you will need to keep this formula for optimizing your customer value in mind.

This is the only way you will get effective results in your efforts to grow your business.

The truth is that there is very little gain in your understanding of tactics like SEO or Social Media Marketing in and of themselves. But, there is huge benefits in knowing how to apply such traffic generation strategies to the process of customer value optimization.

Steps to Follow For Optimizing the Value of Your Customers:
  • Ascertain Product/Market Fit
  • Choose a Traffic Source
  • Offer them a Lead Magnet
  • Offer them a Tripwire
  • Offer them a Core Product
  • Offer them a Profit Maximizer
  • Create a Return Path for Them

Let’s dive deeper into the steps:

Step 1: Ascertain Product/Market Fit

Running an online business (any business, really) is pretty simple. It all comes down to getting paid to move customers from ‘before’ states to their desired ‘after’ states.

That’s it!

While in their ‘before’ state, the person feels discontent. This may manifest as pain, boredom, fear, depression, unhappiness, or any other negative emotions.

Their ‘after’ state is where their life is much better and they are free of pain, they feel entertained, they are unafraid – basically, whatever plagued them previously is gone.

Remember, people do not buy products and services… They buy results. Outcomes. They pay for access to that ‘after’ state.

Your offer should genuinely move your customers into that desired ‘after’ state and your marketing should simply but effectively articulate that move from ‘before’ to ‘after’.

A lot of online businesses that fail, whether at start up or when they enter new markets, do so because they either fail to offer their prospects an ‘after’ state that is desirable, or they fail to make that movement from ‘before’ to ‘after’ clear to their potential customers.

Basically, their offer’s no good, or their marketing’s no good. But either way, the fundamental way to succeed is to get clear on the desired outcome that your offer delivers.

But how do you get that clarity?

8 Questions To Help You Determine the Before and After States:
  • What do your prospects HAVE in their ‘before’ states?
  • What do they HAVE in their ‘after’ states?
  • How do your prospects FEEL in their ‘before’ states?
  • How do they FEEL in their ‘after’ states?
  • What does an AVERAGE DAY look like in your prospects’ ‘before’ states?
  • What does an AVERAGE DAY look like in their ‘after’ states?
  • What STATUS do your prospects have in their ‘before’ states?
  • What STATUS do they have in their ‘after’ states?

The vast majority of (average) marketers articulate only what the customer will HAVE after purchasing the product or service, but great marketers talk about how the customer will FEEL and how their AVERAGE DAY will be better, and how even their STATUS will be elevated, and so on.

When you answer these eight simple questions, you will be able to craft an effective marketing message that will have the maximum impact even if you’re not an expert copywriter. When you’re clear on the two states – before and after – the marketing copy basically writes itself.

But, that’s far from the only benefit that you derive from understanding the process of how you will transform your customers into their ‘after’ states. This also has a huge impact on how much you can charge.

Value – The Distance Between Your Customers’ Before and After States

Value comes from the distance between the two states. If you want to be able to charge more for your product or service, then simply create greater distance between those states. To do this, you can either create an improved product or service, or you could articulate that movement from ‘before’ to ‘after’ more clearly or differently.

This basically means that if you want to charge more, then you either create a better offer or you improve your marketing.

Step 2: Choose Traffic Sources

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again:

You DON’T have a traffic problem.

What you might have is a problem with your business model, your offer, or a problem with your measurement, but you definitely do not have a traffic problem in your business.

Let me explain…

If I were to tell you that every single time a visitor comes to a page on your site you’d make ten bucks in profit, wouldn’t you get traffic to that page?

You bet you would!

You would be able to pay anything up to $10 for that visitor and you’d still break even. (In fact, if you really understand the process of customer value optimization, you’d be able to pay more than that and still make a profit in the long run.)

So, traffic isn’t really a problem, is it?

You have Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all the rest lined up to sell you extremely targeted, affordable traffic. You have SEO agencies eager to send you tons of traffic. You also have PPC (Pay Per Click) agencies who can’t wait to send you clicks…

You just need to do the following:
  • Learn to measure what your traffic is actually worth
  • Learn how to extract the maximum immediate value that you can from that traffic
  • Understand that traffic generation tactics are worthless without a firm understanding of the customer value optimization process.

Most bloggers and online business owners have no context and no system, and that’s why they are frustrated.

Once you understand this system, you will start to see real results from your traffic generation efforts such as blogging, social media marketing, email marketing and so on.

No matter which sources of traffic you decide to go with, the goal is to drive prospects into your customer value optimization funnel. A word of caution on choosing traffic sources: Some marketers try to do too many things at the same time and end up being ineffective in all of them.

You should choose just one steady source of traffic and focus on it until you know it through and through. Once you have mastered it, you can then move on to a second one and then a third, and so on.

Traffic sources to choose from include:
  • Email Marketing
  • Organic Social Media
  • Social Media Ads (Twitter/Facebook/YouTube ads,..)
  • Banner Ads
  • Blogging
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • And so on

Step 3: Offer them a Lead Magnet

If your traffic strategy goal is to acquire new leads and customers, then you obviously want to drive visitors into your customer value optimization funnel and that begins with an effective lead magnet.

In this and the next section on offering a tripwire, you will learn how to grow your online business by increasing the number of customers.

A lead magnet is something of value that you offer prospects in exchange for their email address or other contact info. Even though no money changes hands here, this is still a very important transaction and you need to provide enormous value with your lead magnet.

A lead magnet is often offered on a landing page or a squeeze page.

Such pages are optimized for converting even cold traffic to leads. Since the lead magnet is at the top of your funnel for customer value optimization, when you increase opt-ins, it will enhance the entire system.

The lead magnets that perform the best have one thing in common: They are specific.

They don’t have to be complex or lengthy, but they do have to be specific and laser focused on your ideal customers. Lead magnets that solve specific problems for specific people will result in more leads, and more leads mean more tripwire sales…

Step 4: Offer them a Tripwire

The fourth step in the process of optimizing the value of your customers involves offering a tripwire, which is an offer that you make to those who displayed an interest via your lead magnet.

Keep in mind that the main goal involves increasing the number of customers, and although (so far) we’ve generated leads by way of the Lead Magnet, no new customers have yet been generated.

This is where the tripwire comes in and when executed effectively, you will be able to convert prospects into buyers. The best way to do this is by offering an extremely low-ticket product or service.

This could cost anything between $1 and $20 depending on your market. Make this offer irresistible. The decision to buy it should be a no-brainer for your prospects.

How to make Irresistible Tripwire Offers:

One of the ways to make a tripwire irresistible is to sell it at cost (or even at a loss to you, in some cases). Yes, you heard right. You’re not going to be making a living from selling tripwires, but you do want to acquire buyers. You don’t just want a list of possible buyers, you need a valuable list of actual buyers, and this is how you get it.

Once you get to the end of this customer value optimization process, you’ll understand how this part of the funnel is vital to the success of your business even though you don’t make any direct profit from it.

The trick is to convert as many people as possible into paying customers (from the Lead Magnet).

Even if it costs you your profit margin, it’s going to be worth it in the end because getting a paying customer will actually deliver more profit through these next three steps:
  • The Core Offer
  • The Profit Maximizer
  • The Return Path

Now that you have a firm understanding of the process of increasing the number of actual customers, we can talk about how to increase the average value of each customer transaction.

Step 5 – Offer a Core Product

Your flagship product(s) is your core offer. Most marketers make the mistake of offering their core offer to cold prospects. If you want to see the sales of your core offer explode, then add a lead magnet as well as a tripwire offer.

After all, you have already had not one, but two successful transactions with the customer at this point, so the odds of them buying your core offer are very good.

Step 6 – Offer a Profit Maximizer

This is where things get very interesting.

Remember the second method for growing your business? It’s by increasing the average transaction value of each customer. This is exactly what the profit maximizer does.

When your business lives and dies selling its core offer to cold prospect, you’re letting yourself struggle when really you should be prospering. You need Tripwires and Profit Maximizers in order to get the best results from the least effort.

Take McDonald’s, for instance. Do you know that they make next to no profit on their hamburgers? That is their core offer, but their profit maximizers are the fries and the sodas. This is called an immediate upsell.

Another example of this is Amazon’s profit maximizer: ‘People who bought that product also bought this product… ‘ This increases their average basket value.

They also use the ‘Frequently Bought Together’, which is a Bundle profit maximizer, to achieve that same purpose. Subscription offers also make great profit maximizers.

As you can see, between up-sells, cross-sells, bundle offers, and subscription offers, there is a lot you could do to ensure that you don’t just rely on your core offer to make a living. But, that’s not all. There’s still one more way to grow your business:

Step 7: Create A Return Path

The final way of growing a business is by increasing the number of each customer’s transactions. This is where the Return Path comes in. A return path refers to anything that you can do to bring the customers or prospects back to your funnel more frequently.

The aim here is to frequently have strategic communication with your prospects and buyers in an effort to make them buy from you again and again. You have their contact info (through the lead magnet) and now it’s time to continue marketing.

Offer them new lead magnets, tripwires, different core offers, and other profit maximizers. You can even bring them right back to those tripwires, core offers, and profit maximizers that they did not buy first time around.

Return Path Example Include:
  • Exit Offers
  • Organic Social Media
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Content Marketing
  • Outbound Sales Calling
  • Ad Retargeting

And that, fellow online marketers, is the entire system that you can use to massively grow and scale your business.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published August 13th 2018

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Michael

    Thanks for these great tips on how to grow and scale a business. I think one of the major difficulties for online business owners is getting traffic…

    That’s why I’m glad you brought up that obtaining multiple traffic sources was key to having and growing a successful online business.

    What’s some of your favorite ways to get traffic online?

    1. Steven

      Facebook ads. They are affordable and effective. I’m not crazy about Facebook otherwise, I have to admit. :))

      If you are interested, here is a primer to get started.

      Thanks for the comment Michael!

  2. Bibian

    Nice post dear
    I normally read about various articles about online business success but yours is unique. It breaks down the concept into little bit that can make very understandable for new comers in the field. But I didn’t get this your statement “optimizing the value of your customers involves offering a tripwire”.

    1. Steven

      A tripwire is just a low cost, high value offer to get prospects to become customers. You usually make little money on a tripwire. But, it gets your new customer excited about your business and more likely to buy more expensive offers from you in the future.

      Hope that helps and thanks for the comment Bibian!

  3. Taylor


    Everything about this article is appealing! I’m new to the world of affiliate marketing, so I’m looking to build my business.

    I really like your 8 questions on the “before” and “after” states. I’m definitely going to use that from now on.

    My issue is that, while your article was very well-written and informative, it was also full of jargon and left me with a lot of questions.

    Do you have a place where we can go to learn to measure what our traffic is actually worth, learn how to master a traffic source, or better understand lead magnets and trip wires?

    Everything seems to be super helpful, but I’m not exactly sure how to implement any of it.

    1. Steven

      Below are a few beginner’s guides. I am working on a free Introduction To Digital Marketing course but it won’t be ready for a couple of months, sadly. Once it is, there will be links to it from this site and it will be free to all.

      I get what you’re saying about jargon. I agree, when starting out, it’s annoying to be bombarded with industry jargon. Maybe I should put together a glossary, interesting idea…


      A lead magnet is sort of like bait to put it crudely. Something you trade with prospects in exchange for their contact information. It could be anything from an ebook, video, exclusive content, etc. It should be free and valuable.

      A tripwire is highly valuable, but a very inexpensive piece of content or product that gets the prospect to become a customer. Usually, you break-even or lose money on tripwires but the prospect gets to experience your product or service and becomes a repeat customer later. A tripwire should seem like a steal from the customer’s perspective.

      Here are a few articles that might help get you up to speed on basics:

      Understanding Digital Marketing For Beginners

      The Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Brand Identity

      A Beginner’s Guide To Market Automation

      A Beginner’s Guide To Google Display Ads

      How To Get Started With WordPress – A Beginner’s Guide

      Hope this helps and thanks for the comment Taylor!

  4. John

    Wow ! This article got me excited !
    I believe that every principle has a promise and that principles always work when we put in the work. But unless we work hard on appyling the principles we can not expect anything to change. Thank you for introducing others (including me) to those principles. I will work harder on myself and my buisness 🙂

    1. Steven

      Good to hear you got some useful information from the article.

      Thanks for the comment John!

  5. Paul

    Dear Steven,

    Recently I started my full-time blogging career your post 7 Tips For Growing And Scaling An Unstoppable Business is a greater help for me. I appreciate it for sharing the valuable information.

    “Offer them a Tripwire” is a great insight and I need to work on that. McDonald’s example in Offer a Profit Maximizer is an eyeopener and I was thinking different ideas on modeling it. Thanks for sharing.

    This article can be used as a blueprint for newbies and it contains loads of value in it.

    I only focus on organic traffic for my site… May I ask… As a newbie is it advisable to go for paid traffic? Please advice. 

    Wishing you great success!


    1. Steven

      If you have a budget, even a small one, you can and should consider some paid traffic. It will take months before you see any organic traffic if your site is young. Use the time to build up your site. Once it’s ready for traffic, start a limited PPC campaign on Bing. You will get better prices there compared to Google.

      Stay focused on building organic traffic by creating quality articles. In the mean time, you can get things rolling, even on a small budget, with a PPC campaign.

      Here’s something that might help:

      How to Build an Internet Marketing Business with Content Marketing and Paid Advertising

      Thanks for the comment Paul!

  6. Stella

    Wow, Steven, this post was great timing for me. I’m somewhere between newbie and experienced. I have a new-ish blog and it’s starting to get traffic. I put in lots of time with content creation. But I was starting to feel that I needed to explore taking it to the next level.

    Email marketing is actually the area that I was mainly looking at, so what you have said about it here is very timely for me. Great tips and info for me to bookmark.

    I also really like what you had to say about the only three ways to grow a business. That really hit home for me. I finally got those points!!

    I appreciate this detailed post for growing and scaling my business! 🙂

    1. Steven

      I’m glad you liked the article. If email marketing is your current focus, I have written extensively on the subject and have a few articles that might help you out further:

      7 Top Email Marketing Services – 2018 Comparison

      10 Insanely Actionable Strategies To Grow Your Email List

      How Often Should You Be Emailing Your List?

      How To Get Paid To Build Your Email List

      Email Marketing Tips To Dramatically Increase Your Open Rates

      Email List Segmentation For Beginners

      Hope this helps and thanks for the comment Stella!

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