E110: Under The Hood with Brad Bernhart Part 1

Monday, January 8th, 2018 in Podcast

We’re excited to do something new at the EcomCrew Podcast! We want to make EcomCrew a better and more awesome resource for ecommerce business owners like you and today marks the start of that endeavor. Today we are releasing a brand-new podcast segment which we believe will tremendously help you wherever you are in your ecommerce journey.

The segment is called Under the Hood, where we call one of our listeners and talk about their businesses for at least one hour. It is essentially a free coaching call–we will take a look at their businesses, provide honest feedback, offer our best business advice, and answer whatever questions they have. In exchange for the free coaching, we will turn the call into a podcast episode so that our community can benefit as well. It’s a win-win!

If you’re interested in becoming an Under the Hood guest, just sign up at ecomcrew.com/underthehood.

For our pilot Under the Hood episode, we interview and coach Brad Bernhart, owner of an online business sellling hardwood kitchen utensils. Below are the details of his business:

2016 revenue: $405k
Net margins: 40%
Channels: 98% on Shopify website, just recently re-started on Amazon
Biggest challenge: Scaling a plateauing business and keeping up with production if the business grows (he manufactures his own products)

The first part of the coaching call consists of me getting a better idea of Brad’s business and understanding his current pain points. After that we discussed the following:

  1.  The “cha-ching” Shopify alert (yes, some of us are guilty of not turning that off)
  2. If I were on Brad’s shoes, what would I do next?

In part 2 I elaborated on why I would do what I told him I’d do if I were in his shoes. I even asked him to get a pen and paper because we talked about pretty high level stuff (I hope we did not make Brad’s head explode with all that information). Stay tuned for that next Monday.

Resources mentioned:

Stamped.io
AsiaInspection
EcomCrew.com/UnderTheHood
Brad’s interview with Andrew Youderian

If you want to be on the podcast too and receive an hour or more of free coaching, just head over to ecomcrew.com/underthehood to sign up. Abby, our VA, will reach out to you for the next step.

If you don’t want to reveal your niche/products to the audience, that is totally fine. We asked Brad if he could reveal to us some details of his business, and he was happy to oblige.

Thanks for listening to this episode, and until the next one, happy selling!

 

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 110 of the EcomCrew Podcast. Don’t forget you can go to EcomCrew.com/110 to get to the show notes and comments for this episode. And guys I’m really excited to be doing something new here.

We got through 109 episodes of the EcomCrew Podcast basically doing the same thing over and over again. Me talking into a microphone, or me and Grant talking into a microphone, me and Dave, or in the few times where we’ve got a guest on, but basically your standard podcasting format. And this is something totally new and different. It was a little bit intimidating getting started, but it’s our new Under the Hood segment.

If you go to EcomCrew.com/underthehood, you too can sign up to be considered to be a guest on the EcomCrew Podcast and the Under the Hood segment. And the reason I’m excited about doing this, I like to be new and innovate, and just constantly push the envelope on anything that I do. And I wanted to challenge myself, get away from what I’m already comfortable doing with the podcast, and bring people on and basically do a one-time recording, one-take recording. This is a better way to put it with almost zero prep.

So what we do, Abby does interview our guest in advance just to make sure they’re a good candidate for the segment, but we don’t do any prerecording or talking about the interview ahead of time. My goal is to have this be completely off the cuff without any staging so I can show you guys just kind of what my thought process is like when it comes to ecommerce. You can get a full understanding of exactly how my brain ticks and works.

And again thank you so much to Brad for being the guinea pig and being the first one to come on and do this Under the Hood segment. So, I hope you guys enjoy this episode of Under the Hood, episode number one of Under the Hood even though it’s episode 110 of the EcomCrew Podcast.

And again, please go to EcomCrew.com/110 to leave some comments on this episode’s show notes. I want to know what you guys think of this. I’m excited to hear your comments. Enjoy this interview and we’ll talk to you guys on the other side.

Mike: Hey Brad, welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast in the Under the Hood segment, my friend.

Brad: Thank you Mike, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Mike: Yeah thank you so much, and we were just talking before the podcast here. You left what we’d say is our favorite review, it’s even a part of our intro, which is this podcast is like a playbook for ecommerce. You can take a one hour episode of listening to Mike and spend the next month trying to implement it, and we turned it into our intro. I love that, the review and it probably helped get your brownie points to get on this segment.

Brad: Yeah, I think it probably did, and yeah and I totally meant that when I said it too. I’m actually — time is always of the essence as far as having time to do stuff, but I have before put it on my to-do list, listen to the podcast and spend all day, maybe not all month, but at least all day trying to implement it.

Mike: Nice.

Brad: That has been on my to do list so many times.

Mike: And we cover a wide variety of topics, and that’s kind of I think one of the things you want to talk about today. I have some notes here from like a pre-interview just like which things to tackle first, which I’m excited to talk about. But before we dive into that, we should probably learn just a little bit about you and just full disclosure for everybody.

This is actually the first one of these we’re recording, some kind of learning as we go as far as like the format; the best way to do this. But one of my goals before, when I was developing this segment in my mind, was to do as little pre-interview as possible. I want whatever we record here to be as fluid and on the spot as possible so you can kind of see my thought process on the fly, and I have a bunch of predetermined things to talk about.

So Brad besides the review that you left, I don’t know a lot about you. So let’s just talk a little bit about what it is that you do, like how you got in ecommerce, what you sell and all that first. So I guess the first thing I’m just curious about is how did you get in ecommerce?

Brad: I was a – I’m a mechanical engineer by schooling. So I was living in Portland Oregon doing some mechanical engineering, design engineer out there. And I sell wooden kitchen utensils pretty much, spoons, spatulas, spreaders, cutting boards, things like that. So when I was in college for that, for engineering, I just kind of started thinking around with a couple of tools.

I had a few pieces of wood and started making wooden spoons. And honestly, just the other day I was wondering why I did that, and I couldn’t come up with a good reason. I just did. I guess I was kind of started like artistic release instead of all the engineering and math that I was in. But I started there and I was an engineer for eight years, and I have nothing wrong with being an engineer. It’s fun, but I thought I just kind of wanted to start making and selling my spoons, and I knew there was some potential out there.

At the time I didn’t have one friend that was doing it. So I didn’t have a lot to compare myself to or go by. I was just kind of exploring it. And just one thing led to the next, and started a website, and then was working both jobs for quite a while, and then finally quit the engineering. And now I’ve been on with ecommerce for four years now. It’s a full time job.

Mike: Full time ecommerce, awesome. So we’ve been doing about the same out time.

Brad: Okay, wow, it seems like you got so much more done than I have in four years.

Mike: I mean I always say like you got to look at things like relative to yourself. I mean first of all I had done other businesses before, so this is probably like my 15th year in business for myself since quitting my full-time job. And as a part of that I did well financially previously, so I was able to put a lot more into the business. And having hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy initial inventory, it’s just all expediential from there. There’s a big part of that.

It just all started just also knowing to be able to identify an opportunity because I’ve done so much business stuff in the past. It’s been like all in. So it’s been that reason, and maybe I sacrificed personal time or whatever that you didn’t, and it’s hard to know all the stories. So don’t always worry about that type of stuff.

Brad: Yeah for sure, I got you there.

Mike: Cool, so I mean obviously even just being able to make enough to run your own business and do this for four years, I mean congratulations. There’s a lot people that can never get over that hump or get analysis paralysis and are scared to do that. And being able to support yourself with your own business is an achievement in itself. So again, congrats on being able to do that.

I love being able to talk to entrepreneurs that have been able to make that leap, and to do it for four years is no small feat, because running a business is not easy all the time. I’m sure there’s been a lot of curve balls or things you’ve been hit over the side of the head with that didn’t go quite great, and being able to endure all that is awesome.

Brad: Yeah, for sure thank you.

Mike: Cool, so I guess it sounds like in a high level here you’re selling kitchen products. They’re like wooden spoons. Have you expanded past that now or is it just really mostly those products right now?

Brad: I for the most part have the same product that I started with four years ago except for I think I added some cutting boards. But to sum it up real quick, I think I have three different kinds, it’s three different sizes, they’re actually four. I’ve got some baby spoons and some toddler spoons. So that’s actually six, and then I sell spatula, scrapers, spreaders, and cutting boards.

I’ve designed them all myself, they’re not designs that you would see other places; you’ll see someone else selling. They’re all my original designs, and we make every single bit of it here, we’re in Montana. So we make it, we design it, we make it and we sell.

Mike: Awesome, very cool. Have you met Andrew Youderian up there yet in Montana?

Brad: I have met Andrew. He’s only a couple of hour drive from here. Actually I was on the ECF(eCommerceFuel) podcast. Maybe it was six or seven months ago. I think it was — no it was about probably about January last year. We were talking about what happens when things blow up and get a little bit too crazy for like your capable at hand, because we had a little bit of press right before the holidays last year.

We got on a kind of like, I don’t want to say the holy grail of gift guides for Earlywood wood, but it’s pretty close. We were on Bon Appétit Magazine, put us in their gift guide and online and all over their social. So we always know Christmas is going to be better because we honestly do as much sales in November and December as we do the other ten months of the year, but we didn’t know that was going to be as crazy as it was. And so I was on there with Andrew talking about how we tried to deal with that last year.

Mike: Very cool. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes so people can listen to that as a further on conversation. We’re not going to be really talking about that today. So it’s a perfect thing to go listen to just kind of hear how you had to deal with that. So very cool, very cool. So I guess some of the other questions I had here are like a sales breakdown. So what is your revenue looking like for 2017 at this point?

Brad: Well for 2016 since that’s over, we did 405,000 top line last year. And the previous years, we are not quite doubling every year but we’re pretty close to that. And that’s what we have there, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last four years since I’ve been full time. So that’s where we were last year, and like I said last year we had a huge spike at Christmas.

So this year, we’ve been ahead of last year the whole time, but we’re just about at the breakeven point where we’re going to end up being a little bit worse than that but pretty close this year. It’s about 400,000.

Mike: Okay you did 405 in 2016, I guess I misunderstood. And then did you double again this year? You said you’re only going to be about 405 this year.

Brad: No, we’re going to pretty much match that this year.

Mike: Okay 405 this year. So you were basically you were doubling every year, and then you kind of just hit like a little bit of a plateau this year?

Brad: Yeah.

Mike: Okay perfect. And then the next question I have is just on like net margins. I mean what kind of margins do you have in your products because it’s something that’s really important to determine ways to do marketing? Obviously some things are more expensive than others for marketing. So what are you guys running at for net margins?

Brad: For net margin, in the last two or three years, we’re averaging about 40%.

Mike: Wow, that’s awesome. I can tell you that’s on the very high side. So you’re looking at about 160K in net profit off of that 400K.

Brad: That is right from last year. But the one thing — actually Youderian hit me with this same question one time. He said, well did you already take your own salary out of that? No, I haven’t.

Mike: Got you.

Brad: I don’t count my own salary.

Mike: Fair enough, I mean but still awesome net margins even if you added the salary back in. You’re doing good compared to a lot of ecommerce companies including ours I can tell you that. So congratulations on that. And then…

Brad: Well you know I think about that from time to time because if someone else manufactures your products for you and they have to make money, you don’t see that. Then you sell it and you get that, but I manufacture it and I sell it, so I get the whole bunch.

Mike: No doubt about it, you’re cutting out the middleman and you also have a lot more protection than I do, because I mean your manufacturer can tell you I’m not going to do the same one, the trees stopped growing.

Brad: Basically.

Mike: Cool, and then I guess one last question before we dig into the main thing here is like channel split. What are you doing as far as sales on your own website versus Amazon, eBay, Houzz, all these different things?

Brad: Right, we sell about — well we got kicked off Amazon last year throughout the Christmas because we were unable to fulfill orders quick enough. And then I didn’t repeal to get back on for seven or eight months. We’ve like quadrupled, 5 or 6x our production capacity. This year we bought some land, bought a shop on it. There was a shop on it; we fixed that, we’re in a totally different name. It’s actually setting now.

So now that we do have the capacity, I reached back out to Amazon a couple of months ago and proposed to be reaccepted and they went for it, so I am back on Amazon now. So I haven’t been there all year, but since I’ve been back on Amazon and even when I was selling the most, I’d say Amazon was less than 10% max of my sales. This year it’s now been then like five or less, and the other 95% is just straight off from my own Shopify website.

Mike: Okay, excellent. And then as far as like your traffic sources, how are you getting that traffic, how are you getting those sales? Is it organic, is it all through influencers or advertising, how do you get those customers to your website?

Brad: Well, I’ve done some of that in the past. I have done a little bit with influencers, specifically food bloggers, but I haven’t done any of that for quite a while. To kind of sum it up without going into all the detail, we’ve basically been almost trying not to sell stuff this year, because we got still crushed last Christmas.

And remember that we got to make everything we sell. And we were in a situation where we just didn’t have the manufacturing capacity. We were sharing a shop with another guy in the shop, he owned the shop. And we didn’t have enough tools, we didn’t have enough space. So we actually — I mean we used to do maybe 30, 40% of our revenue from email marketing a couple of years ago. I’ve sent out like three emails this whole year just to keep sales under control while we built the new shop because there was some times in there when we flat out couldn’t produce products.

Mike: Got you.

Brad: So did that answer your question?

Mike: Yeah, we covered influencers and email marketing. It sounds like over the last year, you’ve had capacity constraints, but in years past what were some of the things besides getting in that gift guide that were able to get that traffic to your website? Was that the primary source of it?

Brad: No, well that was the hugest one, but it was mostly the odd print gift guide, it was influencer marketing. It was I guess the emails didn’t exactly get new people to the site, but they got existing customers back to the site. I haven’t done any advertising on Amazon.

I haven’t done any — I don’t list anything with Google. I’ve just barely dabbled in Facebook ads. I’ve done a tiny bit of Pinterest and Instagram, you know other social, and honestly other than that, really not much. So when I look at my analytics data now, it’s just most like mostly organic.

Mike: And do you know like what kind of search terms you’re ranking for?

Brad: No idea.

Mike: Okay, I’m just making some notes here, no idea what the search term…

Brad: I was kind of thinking about that before we had this call, and I was like usually, I mean in this kind of situation I might do the research beforehand knowing that you would ask some of these questions and have answers for you. But then it dawned on me, I was like well, why do I want to let Mike think that I actually know the stuff when I don’t. It is ironic.

One of your recommendations at the end of this call might be, you need to get on top of your analytics; you need to figure out your numbers, you need to hire someone to do whatever it is. I don’t want to give false impressions, I’m not going to frame I know anything that I don’t.

Mike: Not a problem. I actually have a tool that I can use called SEMrush. And I know what your website is like. I’m not going to give out your website; I don’t think that that’s really fair. But I have it here and I’m just looking to see like what you’re ranking for. And it looks like you’re ranking for things like early wood, which I guess, I know a lot about wood, but I didn’t realize – is that an actual type of wood like balsa or pine or walnut or anything like that?

Brad: Well, Earlywood is the name of the company, and it’s if you look at a piece of firewood or a tree that has been cut down, and you count the growth rings, they’ll have all the trees. There is a dark part of the ring and there is a light part of the ring. The dark part grows in the summer or the – sorry the fall and the winter. That’s called late wood, and the other part, the light part that grows in the spring or summer, that is early wood. So, pretty much every wood out there is half late wood, half early wood.

Mike: Interesting. Okay well I learned something there today, so you helped me as well. And besides that you’re ranking for things like blood wood, wooden spatula, food safe mineral oil, wooden kitchen utensils here. You’re definitely making for some things here which is cool.

So I guess the next question I have, and this is a space that we know a little bit about, because as you know we’re also on cuttingboard.com. Grant Yuan, who used to do the podcast with me, runs that now. So this just happens to be a space that I know a lot about. What would you say your competitive advantage is with your products versus some of the other larger brand names?

Brad: Well, I would say we’ve got unique designs, and we use way better woods than anyone else does pretty much. And I’ve got the mechanical engineering background, so there’s just a lot that goes into the product that may not necessarily be — well at least from the design side, not a hundred percent obvious when it’s look at that in picture on the website, but when you use it next to something else, it’s going to work better.

The woods are way better, so they’re going to last way longer. And then the designs are unique. So you just land on that and you’re not going to get them anywhere else.

Mike: Got you, okay awesome. And as far as statistics on your website, do you know like what your conversion rate is?

Brad: That I was about content with a little bit I’ve been Mike.

Mike: No worries.

Brad: I look at it every now and then for the last month or so when I hop on to Shopify or Google Analytics for whatever reason. And I think the last month I checked, it was about 4%.

Mike: Okay awesome that’s high, so that’s awesome.

Brad: But that I think I checked out about two weeks I’m going to tell you the truth. So we may have already been feeling some effects of the Christmas season. But maybe not honestly because it is like I said I haven’t been really reaching out to new customers. We’re really we’re great with existing customers placing second and third orders. So without reaching out to try and drag a bunch of new traffic that doesn’t even know who we are, the people that do get there are already familiar with it and they’re going there for a reason, so take that for what it is.

Mike: That makes a lot of sense, it makes perfect sense, awesome. Well I appreciate the background. I’m sorry for having to do all that grilling and just ask question after question, but it gives me a pretty solid idea about your business which I’m going to summarize here real quickly in that you are a manufacturer. You make your own products, you have defensibility in what you sell, they’re unique products, high quality products.

You’re selling them on your own website for the most part. You tiptoed into Amazon. You are doing this full time; this is your full time gig so this is like your livelihood. And you’ve done some things in the past with influencers and some email marketing, but the biggest challenges I think that you’ve faced over the last year have been just keeping up a production, just kind of turning something that might have been almost a hobby into a serious business and being able to keep up and take things to the next level.

I was kind of liken it to walking a flight of stairs or a staggered set of stairs. You walk up a couple stairs and then you’re on a plateau for a while and then you walk up more sets of stairs. And it sounds like you’ve gotten yourself in a much better position moving forward to be able to handle the sales volume, and now you’re ready to tackle that problem. Is that all fair statements?

Brad: That sounds exactly right.

Mike: Awesome cool. So now that we kind of got that out of the way, let’s talk about what you really want to talk about today. Throw the questions at me and let me answer them as fast as I can like I was just getting from you.

Brad: Yeah I’ve got — well my first question is, do you still have the cha-ching Shopify notification every time you get a sale?

Mike: That’s funny that you asked that. I actually have turned it off because our employees like threatened to leave if I didn’t, like literally, they’re just like please — like I mean there was cursing involved. My wife was like I want a divorce if you don’t turn this, and I’m not like joking, like this is a serious thing. It was happening all the time. I personally liked it because it’s like a dopamine hit every time that the damn thing will go off, but the reality is I’m better off for not having that on.

If I’m looking at my business, a multimillion dollar business on a transactional level, that’s probably not good. So it was turned off, but I’m embarrassed to say it was turned off as recently as this year.

Brad: Oh man. I remember it was a couple years ago on the podcast you said you still hadn’t done it. And at that moment, at that point it was kind of blowing my mind. I said this thing must be going up nonstop.

Mike: Yeah it was annoying. I’ll admit it was — I mean I did put my phone on vibrate for quite a while so it wasn’t like actually making the cha-ching sound all the time. But I would have my phone off vibrate sometimes, and it would make the sound and it’s loud. It would go throughout the whole office and people were just like it would drive them crazy. So yeah it’s done. I’m been weaned off the Shopify sound.

Brad: Got it cool, well good to know. All right so my other questions. I would say kind of the overarching theme of what I’d like to know, so as we talked about a little bit earlier, my profit margins are pretty good. My production capacity is limited. And I feel like that people enjoy the products, and when I have done a little bit of marketing here and there, it worked quite well. But I feel like I really haven’t done any of that stuff.

I’ve kind of just dabbled here and there and that’s about it. What I would really like to know is if you were me, and you were sitting here, where would you go next? And you can just shoot for whatever you would like to do, and then I’ll show you where my constraints come in. But I mean I can think of all kinds of things that I could do that I haven’t done in all these ecommerce techniques. But having not done them, where should I start, which ones should I go for, which ones are the lowest hanging fruit?

We’re a pretty lean operation. It’s me and one, two, three other people right now. So I want to grow, but I also want to maintain that profitability. And I know, I think you’ve kind of concentrated on growth with ColorIt. More so the profitability maybe I’m putting words in your mouth, but that’s kind of what I thought. But I’m definitely looking to keep the probability up as possible.

Mike: Yeah.

Brad: I don’t want to produce [inaudible 00:24:31]. And I don’t want to waste my next two months, or my next six months doing something that’s there’s not that that’s going to give me more bang for the buck.

Mike: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. It makes a lot of sense because I mean the reality is you’re just a small company. I forgot to actually ask the question of how many employees do you have, you mention that you have three other people including yourself. So it actually fired off two more questions I need to ask you real quick before we get right into this because they’re going to directly relate to what I recommend.

But before I do, and this is what every small business faces, and if you try to do too many of these things, you’re actually going to be doing more harm than good. You can definitely get to the point of diminishing returns. So I think yeah we will identify that one or two things that I think can have the biggest impact for you, and I already have some ideas. But I wanted to also ask you, you just said real quick here again that your production capacity is still limited. So what could you do, like in 2018 what could be your like your revenues before you exceed your production capacity again?

Brad: Good question. Let me see here, did 400 and there was basically three of us in this shop. In the new shop that we are in, I think we could easily handle two million in annual sales with the production we’ve got going right here, with the tools we got. And that could expand even farther on that within the same building. We’ve got another 3,200 square feet behind us we’re not even using that we could easily kind of move into. I would be comfortable saying we could handle two million.

Mike: Okay, so you could 5X from where you are at right now without much of a problem?

Brad: Uh huh.

Mike: And would there be any capital or cash flow constraints?

Mike: Right, right I mean it would obviously like it would turn your business into probably a circus. I come over there and not get my jukebox out and play some circus music for you.

Brad: There you go, monkey on a bike or something.

Mike: Yeah exactly. Yeah so I mean the other thing is, is their cash flow constraints, would you have cash flow constraints before you can actually hit that two million, or are you able to buy materials, manufacture and turn that around quick enough that that isn’t a problem for you?

Brad: I think it’s not that big of a real problem. We used to have a cash flow crunch one time a year, but I planned on — every year the month we have that cash flow crunch gets pushed back by a couple of months, and then this year I don’t think we’re going to have one. We did spend a lot last year and we took long for the bulk of it with this building and what not. But yeah I think for the most part we’re going to be fine unless there’s less profitability, net profit goes down or that percentage goes down drastically, then we might.

Mike: Okay fair enough, excellent. So I have some ideas. Get your pen and paper out. I’m ready to start filling some stuff out here with the things in mind that you mention here.

Brad: Okay go ahead.

Mike: I mean not real pen and paper, I was joking.

Brad: I literally have pen and paper out.

Mike: Okay perfect. So what I’m thinking here to kind of meet your goals, let’s kind of just go back over those again here. Your goal isn’t necessarily hyper growth. I didn’t answer the question for you, not just for ColorIt but our entire company, we are looking for growth. In my mind, as we continue to grow here, it’s easier to fix profitability later.

And we’re still a smaller company ourselves, but we get to ten million dollars next year, twenty or thirty the following year or whatever. And it’s such a time where like, okay let’s focus on profitability. That’s supposed to be really easy to work on down the line. It’s a lot harder to get the sales like flywheel and engine spinning.

And there’s a lot of effort that goes into launching new products as we would spin that down as well around those inefficiencies and stuff. Launching new products inherently increases profitability. There’s also a profit and scale and all these other things. So that definitely is a focus for us versus what you’re looking for which is fine. You’re looking again just to make sure you maintain your profitability, that you will maintain your lifestyle and that’s really cool.

I think everyone needs to focus on what’s important for them and not again look at other people and be jealous, or keeping up with the Joneses kind of thing. So I think that that’s all awesome. So with that in mind, I think that the lowest hanging fruit as far as how to get more sales in your situation, I think that the thing that’s key to everybody listening here, this is very product specific.

I’m looking at your website and your niche, and the number one thing that comes to mind is email marketing for the reason of it sounds like you have a lot of repeat business. You have a lot of other things to offer to people, and a really robust like email marketing campaign I think can do you wonders. I look at what we have done with ColorIt, as a for instance I was just looking at this number today so it’s on top of my head.

On a trailing 30 day basis, 56% of our revenue is from email marketing. It’s a staggering number. And the reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s relatively cheap to implement. The cost of getting an email marketing system package appear whenever is relatively small. I it’s not going to eat into your margin, you don’t need a necessarily higher full time person just to be on top of that, and you can implement it in stages as you have time. So it’s just like a really low hanging fruit piece to me.

And we’ll talk about here in detail the things I think you can be doing with your company with email marketing just real quick at a high level of things I think that will have the biggest benefit for you. So email marketing would be the first. It sounds like you’ve already done some of that in the past which is great, but there’s some particular email marketing campaigns that I can think of that go really well.

The next part would be — I’m going to just go over all the things I’m thinking of, and I will go and deep dive on each one. So email marketing is number one. And these aren’t necessarily in order. These are again we’re doing this on the fly, so I’m trying to think of things as they come off the top my head.

The next thing would be some basic Facebook advertising, remarketing ads specifically because they’re just such low hanging fruit. They convert so darn well that I would want to see you implement that stuff. I think that we can talk about how you can do that very easily without a lot of experience. So Facebook remarketing.

The next one would be Google product listing ads. Not like just Google AdWords, but Google product listing ads for these types of products do really, really well. And you can set a target budget for them in a way that it won’t eat in your margins too, too bad. So that would be the next one, and then the last one I have here on my list is Houzz. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Houzz, H-O-U-Z-Z.

Again just because we have experience with cutting board, I know that Houzz has been a great source of traffic for us. And again all of these are relatively low hanging fruit. And then there’s one last one here I have is Amazon. Amazon is only 5% of your business right now, and I know that you can increase that significantly. So email, Facebook, Google product listing ads, Houzz and Amazon are the five that I have and I would like to take a deep dive into those if that’s sounds good to you.

And that’s a wrap for now. As I’ve said before, we try to keep the EcomCrew Podcast to about 30 minutes or so, and this interview took about an hour. So we’re breaking this up into two parts. A lot of the Under the Hood segments will be two parts. So stay tuned for episode number 112 next Monday for the rest of this interview.

Again I want to thank Brad for coming on and doing this. I also want to give a special shout out to Abby who is our EcomCrew VA in the Philippines. She produces the podcast for us. I know this is a lot more work, a lot more challenging than just me turning on the mike for 30 minutes and doing what we call me one take mic around here. I usually get it done on the first try, and there’s not a lot of patchwork to do.

But with something like Under the Hood, it’s a little bit more challenging, and I want to thank Abby for producing an amazing podcast as always. So stay tuned for episode 112 next Monday for part two of my interview with Brad. We really get into the meat and potatoes of my suggestions in part two and I think you guys will really enjoy that. So until the next episode everybody, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.

Thanks for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ecomcrew for weekly live recordings of the EcomCrew Podcast every Monday. And please, do us a favor, and leave an honest review on iTunes, it would really help us out. Again, thanks for listening, and until next week, happy selling.

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.


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