E190: Achieving Success on Amazon,Exploring Traffic Channels Beyond Facebook (Under the Hood with Greg Williams)October 22, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
I really enjoy doing these Under the Hood episodes for many reasons. I get to ‘pay it forward’ and help people who are just starting or scaling their ecommerce businesses. It’s also interesting to look at what other people are doing in niches that we may not be involved in.
Today’s interview was quite a treat because I got to talk to a medical professional and entrepreneur who has a potentially winning product and strategy in his hands.
Greg, the nutritionist
Greg Williams comes from the unique perspective of someone who not only sells his products but formulates them as well. A nutritionist by profession, Greg works with people who have chronic health conditions like colitis and Crohn’s disease. His journey with food supplements started with a desire to help his wife overcome colitis. After achieving success with this, he saw the opportunity to help more people in an easier and more affordable way by selling his supplements online.
Greg started selling his supplements back in 2016 and has enjoyed a steady increase in profit. From initial sales of £5,000 two years ago, his 10 products have now brought in over £100,000 in sales.
The statistics for repeat purchases are quite impressive too. From a base of just under 4,000 customers, his products have a 30% repeat order rate at 1.75% purchase frequency.
Greg’s marketing efforts are heavily reliant on Facebook ads so he is interested in exploring other potential traffic channels. He is also keen on bringing in more of his business into Amazon.
- Don’t push things too much with Facebook to prevent account shut down. Instead, work on your organic rankings. Have a long-term keyword and content strategy. Tap influencers who can promote your product.
- Create an email sequence to inform customers that products are already available on Amazon. Include a discount on your promotion. Use this to redirect traffic from Facebook.
- Advertise on Amazon. Start by creating the perfect listing with high-quality images, keywords, and providing as much detailed info as possible. Turn on automatic campaigns with a very high budget and do the aggressive bidding. This strategy will allow you to determine the best keywords to target for manual campaigns.
- Explore other traffic and marketing channels like Google Shopping ads and Instagram if applicable to your target market.
- Create a free plus shipping offer to achieve the ‘marketing trifecta’.
Under the Hood is a segment where we do an hour-long coaching call with one of our listeners. We 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!
Registration to EcomCrew Premium is closed indefinitely. But, you can still learn from us through our suite of free courses. There’s a total of 20 videos covering ecommerce topics like Importing from China and Building a 7-Figure Business. Find more information on the link below.
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If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Intro: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 190 of the EcomCrew Podcast. As always, you can go to EcomCrew.com/190 to get to the show notes for this episode. And we’re back with another Under the Hood episode this week. I apologize for having so many of these the last few weeks. I’ve actually come down with a pretty brutal cold. I’m almost over I think, I can definitely still feel it in my chest. It’s like a bronchitis or sinus thing and those things just hold on forever. It seems like the never ending drama of that.
I’m at a point where I can finally make it through most of the day without coughing too much. But when I lay down at night, it’s been brutal. It’s been hard to get a good night’s sleep and hard not to cough all night. And it’s definitely been tough. But that makes it difficult to do podcasts as well because it’s tough on the voice when you’re trying to talk from like the diaphragm and not to cough. So hopefully by Thursday, we’ll be back with some other types of content. But we definitely get a lot of really good feedback on these Under the Hood episodes. So hopefully you guys have been enjoying those.
And if you’re interested in becoming an Under the Hood guest yourself, you can go to EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood to sign up to be on your very own episode, and those come in handy at times like this. We’ve had a bunch of these kind of backed up in the can. We’ve used a bunch of them up now. So if you want to go to EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood, we’d love to hear from you.
Before getting into this episode, just one final reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/free to sign up for all of our free content. We have some free mini courses over there at EcomCrew.com/free, no credit card required or any other thing like that. Just some free mini courses for you guys if you’re just getting started. Those are going to be quite helpful for you. So on the other side of this intro, we’re going to be doing our Under the Hood with Greg Williams talking about Amazon and Shopify and all the things Under the Hood of his business. I hope you guys enjoy.
Mike: Hey Greg. Welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast man.
Greg: Hey Mike, thank you for having me. It’s good to be here.
Mike: No problem, really excited to dig into this, because we have like little notes here that Abby does an interview beforehand. It’ll be the first supplement company we’ve done and also you’re doing more off Amazon than anyone else I’ve talked to. So I’m excited to talk about some of my favorite things like Klaviyo and some other stuff. But we’ll get into all that in a little bit, but before I really start to dig into all that, I want people to know just what we’re doing here.
This is our Under the Hood segment. It’s something we do to give back to the community. It’s a free hour of coaching from either Dave or I. It’s been mostly me doing. I love doing them and if you’re interested in signing up and doing this yourself, you can go to EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood where again, we’ll give you a free hour of coaching to help as much as I possibly can. And in exchange we record that and turn it into a podcast episode. That’s what we’re doing here today. So with that out of the way, Greg, the first thing I’ve been asking everyone that hops on this thing because it just fascinates me is how did you get into e-commerce? I can’t wait to hear how you got to where you are now.
Greg: Yeah sure. So I’ve got two businesses really. One is the one that we’ll primarily be discussing and the other is I work with people. I’m a nutritionist and a lot of training in functional medicine and things like that. So, I work with people with chronic health conditions especially Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis because my wife suffered with colitis. She was in a bad way. And to cut a long story short, we’ve managed to turn things around naturally, so she’s feeling completely better now.
So I started working with people in that space initially and then eventually moved into the e-commerce world for two reasons really. One, because not everyone was in a position to be able to work with me on a one to one basis, and I wanted to give them a more affordable option and the supplements were a really good starting point for that to help them on their journey to turn things around with their health.
And then also, it was that I saw a lot of people spending a lot of money on supplements that to be honest were either very poor quality and would be probably causing them more harm than good and also, really buying things that that they didn’t need. So they didn’t really have access to this good quality information helping them really buy the thing presented to them. So that’s really how I created the company I did.
Mike: Got you.
Greg: So that’s how I got into it and then that was in really started selling the supplements in the back end of 2016. And I have been doing it steadily since then.
Mike: So just almost two years then from now when you started.
Greg: Yeah. Yeah, I think it was August 2016.
Mike: Okay. Yeah. So, just little bit under two years. Excellent, so let’s kind of go through a timeline and 2016 for the first couple months of the year there. What did you do in revenue and in 2017, and then where you at now for 2018?
Greg: So we’ve grown significantly this year. But to answer your question in 2016, our total revenue was 5,000 pounds. In 2017, the revenue was 42,000, and then 2018 so far is 107,000.
Mike: Excellent. We’re going quite necessarily not even halfway through the year so that’s awesome.
Greg: Yeah, we see this year particularly last January for example, we’ve done about just over 6,000 and then May is just finished, we’ve done 45,000 in May. So we’re on a good path.
Mike: That’s awesome growth. And what would you attribute the sharp growth recently like what’s been really hitting well for you?
Greg: Facebook really, I’ve spent a lot on Facebook and maybe I just got a bit more aggressive or brave maybe you could say in terms of spending money on Facebook. And this is possibly a little bit silly but better understanding my numbers, truly understanding what I’m happy to spend on Facebook to get a new customer. Really understanding the margins and the lifetime value and things like that has really helped me to be a bit more brave in my spending and being able to grow.
Mike: It makes sense. I mean, what is the recurring order rate? Like how many times are people ordering from you on average? Obviously this has been growing, so you have new data but from what it sounds like and just extrapolating here, what’s ended up happening is you’re realizing that your lifetime value of a customer is quite high. So you’re able to spend all of your profit or maybe even take a loss on getting a customer because they’re going to continue to order from you.
Greg: Yes, so when things are a bit more stable, so it’s a bit hard to tell, but 30% of our customers were repeat buyers.
Mike: That’s awesome.
Greg: Every purchase frequency is about 1.75ish when it was reasonably stable. And to be honest with you at the moment, I’m able to make a profit on the initial sale as well.
Mike: Even better.
Greg: …which is nice, yeah.
Mike: And with the supplements you are selling, is there like one main product or do you have a whole lineup of stuff?
Greg: So we’ve got about 10 products but yeah there’s one that is head and shoulders above the others is a turmeric based product and that outsells the others by miles.
Mike: And what do you buy a bottle and sell it for and so forth just to kind of get an idea on the margins?
Greg: We sell for 16 pounds and we’re probably making 50% on that once we fulfilled and everything.
Mike: Got you, so your shipped cost is about eight bucks.
Greg: Yes yeah.
Mike: Got it okay, and you’re obviously talking in pounds here, so I mean is 100% of your customer base in the UK or do you ship worldwide and have customers elsewhere as well?
Greg: We ship within Europe.
Greg: But I mean it’s primarily within the UK and Ireland. But yeah there’s some within the EU we’re able to ship.
Mike: Got it. Okay excellent. Well, that’s really cool. I’m curious what your questions are for me at this stage as I have a lot of more questions I want to ask, but they’re more personal curiosity than anything. I think I have enough to have some basis and if I need to ask them questions as you’re going through to help you with your struggles, I’ll do that. But let’s kind of turn the switch here and let you ask whatever you want to me and see how I can help you.
Greg: Yeah, so I think my main questions at the moment are really about I’m conscious that I’m so heavily reliant on Facebook [inaudible 00:09:59] at the moment which worries me a little bit just knowing how they do just close the accounts down without explanation sometimes and things like that and Facebook is getting more and more expensive. So I want to diversify my traffic sources and knowing really where to do that, where to focus my attention next.
And then also less than 10% of my sales are on Amazon at the moment which feels like a big opportunity for me. But also realize I’m quite late to the market in terms of these other competing products on there that have got hundreds of reviews and I’m finding it hard to compete with those at the moment and to truly know what to do dare to really step things up.
Mike: Got you. Okay well, I definitely have some ideas on how to help with that. We’ve been doing some things that have helped us break into like ultra competitive markets on Amazon. I mean, the unfortunate thing is that some of them are unscrupulous sellers and they don’t like competition coming in and we’ll do some nasty things to stop people that are kind of encroaching on their territory if you will. I can’t help with that part but we can talk about some of the other things.
And the reason I mention that, specifically supplements seem to be where a lot of that dirty stuff is played. It’s traditionally you’ve got a kind of a bad lap, supplements do kind of like almost like online poker when I was doing that. It just kind of has that negative connotation. So there’s people I think that kind of are in those industries that are doing things that are again kind of unscrupulous. We’ll talk about some of that, talk through some of that.
But it sounds like your big things are diversifying away from Facebook ads, which is interesting because a lot of people that come on this are trying to diversify away from Amazon. You’re looking at diversifying to Amazon. So I love this and I have a bunch of ideas off the cuff here that are coming to mind. So let’s kind of just start digging right into what those are. So, when it comes to diversifying off Facebook, that is tough because there just isn’t anything like it. There hasn’t ever been anything like it in history. I’m not sure what the future holds.
But as of right now, I mean, it is a very unique space where you can run ads to people very specifically for a niche or a product or a condition or whatever it might be, which is really cool because traditional advertising has been the shotgun approach. And if you have let’s say, a golf product, golf clubs let’s just say just to throw out some random thing. Well, you might advertise on a nightly sitcom back in 1980 and you’re advertising to everyone who’s watching that show, and 95% of the people watching don’t give a crap about golf and never play golf and never going to play golf. So you’re wasting a lot of your advertising spend.
Same thing would go for like a magazine if it’s just like a Men’s Health magazine. Now if you have a Golf Digest magazine, it might be a different story. You can target people more. But Facebook’s opened up this amazing opportunity where you can target people that have an interest in Crohn’s disease, maybe or something like that, where the targeting is ultra specific and your marketing dollars get right to the person you want. There really isn’t anything else out there like that. I mean, the only other thing out there that even comes close is Google PPC where people are typing in specifically how to treat Crohn’s disease and stuff like that.
But the problem is going to be in almost certainly, those are going to be like really high PPC costs searches. I mean 10 pounds maybe or 15 pounds even. I’m just pulling that number out of my rear end but like knowing Amazon or Google PPC the way that I do, I can see those clicks being very expensive, I would say a minimum of five pounds. And then it becomes like if your conversion rate on your website is 5%, you get to pay $100 per conversion. It’s really, really tough. So, my advice is to probably not push things too much with Facebook because it’s it is really the honey pot right now that’s very difficult to replace, just a high level thing.
Now the things you can do I think to work on that, number one would be working organic rankings for your site, those searches that people are paying really high PPC rates for writing really great blog content. And being a nutritionist yourself and having a huge upper hand on the content you could write, could really take you to the next level with that. And even as much as like having lead magnets and doing less aggressive things on Facebook, where it’s like read our study about how to treat Crohn’s disease or something that’s going to not push the envelope as much on why they might shut your account down can be some ways to help with that.
Other things that come to my mind would be influencers, getting people — I’m sure there’s influencers on YouTube and other social channels that have had personal issues with this problem. I may have people in my family that have had these issues. And having someone that says…
Greg: Sorry, I should say, it’s not just Crohn’s and colitis that we sell supplements to now, it’s really like a range of chronic health conditions. So yeah, you’re right, there’s certainly influencers but the market is actually quite wide in terms of the range of conditions that we help really now.
Mike: Got you. Well, that’s even better, right, because that means that you have more targeting options and keywords that you can be going after which is really great. So I think a strategy of YouTube influencers specifically suited to the best but also Instagram and other channels do well where you’re pushing them directly to your websites and working on your long term SEO strategy and content strategy and ranking number one for these types of terms. It’s kind of the strategy that we’ve taken with ColorIt and we’re doing with Tactical.
I mean it’s a 18 month or longer strategy to start to rank for these things but the idea is that you hope that your Facebook account doesn’t get banned between now. And then and it becomes an incremental increase in revenue for you over time because now you have these organic searches as well to help compensate with that. And what that would do is also all this outside traffic that you could potentially build would help with your Amazon sales because the way that you can break into really competitive Amazon searches is having your own traffic, and it sounds like you already have that.
So even right now, my strategy would be — if you could just tell me like how many customers have you had over like — just if you can give the number since 2016, like what do you think the number is in terms of total sales — customers?
Greg: Just under 4,000 customers.
Mike: 4,000 so mean if you were to email them and say, our products are now on Amazon or this particular product is now on Amazon. Let’s say you launch one at a time. If you were to email them and say, this product is now on Amazon, to celebrate to our existing customers, use the coupon for 10% off, 20% off, whatever it might be, and then drip that out. So you email 400 people per day over a 10 day period so you can get sales over a consistent period. Plus I would then turn that Facebook traffic towards Amazon for that short period of time.
And your basic goal is to have a great Amazon listing that converts well, has a high conversion rate that can then compete with the big boys. And we’ve been able to do that consistently now in like super high competitive searches. So that would be the way that I would approach the Amazon component.
Greg: Okay so you would redirect traffic from Facebook first to Amazon as well.
Mike: Yeah, so here is the way you need to think about it. And it took me a while to kind of get my head around this and come to peace with it, because what happens is you’ll probably sooner think, why the hell would I want to send a customer to Amazon? That’s worth less to me because I have to pay the 15% fee and they’re not my customer. I can’t market to them in the same way that I would have if they bought from me. It’s a lot easier to get that repeat sale if they buy from me etc, etc.
But at the same time, the way that I segmented in my head is it’s two completely different sources of traffic that don’t cannibalize themselves. So, people that are searching for this on Amazon that are actively searching for it, because that’s an active search engine platform versus Facebook is an interruption platform. So you have completely different things going on here. You have someone on Amazon that’s like, I’ve got this problem, whatever it is, you treat a host of problems.
So whatever the problem is, let’s just say it’s Crohn’s again, the first thing that you mentioned that or colitis, so it’s like colitis supplement or Crohn’s — it wouldn’t be — I don’t think you would type in those exact words but whatever the search would be, they’re looking for you at that exact moment. And that’s a great opportunity for you especially with the product that this is a chronic condition, which means that once they buy a bottle of your stuff, and it does give them relief, they’re never going to stop buying it again. You have a customer for life at that point. That’s worth a ton of money to you.
So putting yourself in a position where you can rank number one or high up on the first page for those searches is incredibly valuable for you. And once you get to that point, you can kind of turn the lever back the other way and start focusing again on your own website. And then hopefully in parallel, now you have a listing on Amazon that ranks high for colitis treatment or supplement or whatever it might be. And at the same time, you’re then working on continuing to build up your Facebook traffic and some of this organic stuff and other things we’re going to talk about here in a little bit.
But when we launch stuff, when we launch new products, or even though we want to diversify off Amazon as much as possible, we also can’t ignore Amazon, and we know how valuable that that long term value is of a listing on Amazon that ranks on the first page for a competitive keyword. And once we’ve hit that plateau, there’s not much else you can do. So then we have our fallback plan which is our long term plan of having our own website and hopefully all that kind of makes sense to you.
Greg: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I’m familiar enough with that, I’m soon to be launching another product. And I’m actually thinking about actually launching that on Amazon and then telling my existing list about it and point them over to Amazon. So it kind of gets traction from the go.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. That’s the exact process that we take with all of our products. I mean, marketing is full of some white lies, right? So I mean one of the things that we do every time we launch a product, I’m sure at some point people are going to catch on but we’ll say, we’re so sorry that we got — we’re really excited like this new product launch, we’re sorry that it’s not available on ColorIt.com yet. It showed up at our Amazon warehouse first. You can buy it there now or you can wait a couple weeks and get it on ColorIt.com later.
For people that have already purchased from us before and they’re excited and clamoring for this new product, especially if they already have an Amazon Prime account, it’s a great way to get them over to Amazon buying the product and it like rocket ships it up. And on top of it, those customers are going to leave a review naturally. We don’t have to bug them three or four times the rate of a typical customer because they already have experience with us and we do so much off Amazon community building that it really helps with that angle.
So it’s a very unfair advantage that we have by having this massive list of six figures of people between email and Facebook Messenger and pixel audience. It’s well north a couple of 100,000 people at this point. So we can point all of them over to Amazon over a 10 day period. And once the product is already ranking well, then we just kind of turn the dial back the other way. And it’s like okay, well now it’s back on ColorIt.com. It’s available ColorIt.com.
We’re actually fulfilling it from the same inventory source. We do fulfillment by Amazon. But the strategy is in the short term, we have some short term pain as far as having customers buy from Amazon and having to give up the 15% and not getting all the customer data that I would love to have for the long term game of I can now rank on the first page for XYZ keywords that are ultra competitive, that people are never going to find me otherwise for day after day and month after month, and it’s incredibly valuable.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Okay. Yeah I understand. It sounds good. Would you advertise on Amazon as well?
Mike: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, that’s a very important component, especially when launching. We just did a whole episode about PPC that you can take a listen. So I won’t take up a ton of time here going over that. But at a high level, what’s really important when you’re first launching your listing is to make sure that you first of all have what I call the perfect listing. So you have like really high quality imagery, all of your keywords are filled out on both the front end and back end, all the miscellaneous fields in the back end that everyone always ignores because they don’t seem relevant.
Make sure that all that’s filled in and then turn on automatic campaigns with a very high budget and a pretty aggressive bid to get as many sales as you possibly can through PPC at the get go. And you’ll find over a 68 week period of letting that run as you can then go through and say, okay well, here are all the keywords that generated sales for me on Amazon profitably or not profitably, it doesn’t matter.
We then take all those keywords and move them over to manual campaigns both exact match and broad match, and then start having automatic bidding turned on, on those to bid up and down based on performance automatically by using Sellics which then over a pretty relatively short amount of time, now you have your keywords being dialed in perfectly and you’re setting your SEO list to a comfortable paying and not going over that because if you’re overpaying, Sellics will automatically lower your bid, and if you’re underpaying and can pay more, if you can afford to pay more, it’ll start to raise the bid. And over time, you’ll get all of your keywords down and perfectly. And it’s a pretty important component especially in the early going to have that setup.
Greg: Okay, I think I have been hesitant to go into that because of the — I’m competing probably with people with [inaudible 00:25:37] and I just didn’t know if it would just end up expensive because they was just going to go with the more reviews.
Mike: Yeah I mean I wouldn’t worry about that too much. I mean, I used to worry about these things as well because again, we’re going into ultra competitive niches. And there’s no question about it that when you first launch and you have zero reviews especially with something like a supplement, it’s a much tougher road to have. Like there’s no doubt about it. But Amazon does have something called the early reviewer program. So you can do that. You can put yourself into that.
You can potentially email your list of customers and ask them to leave a review if it’s an existing product on Amazon for you. You’re not incentivizing them in any way, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. You can get — maybe you email people that have bought the same product five times and say, hey look, we could really use your help. We’re a small company; we’re now selling on Amazon. If you could leave an honest review, it wouldn’t be a verified review but you still get the stars which is all that people really look at.
There’s some other strategies and things you can do to get some reviews, but you got to be careful about getting too many reviews too quickly. And there’s a lot of rumbling that Amazon is going to be really cracking down on that. But again, I find that once you even get to just something as simple as 10 reviews, it makes all the difference and we’re able to compete against companies that have 1,000 reviews even once we get to 10. So I wouldn’t stress as much about that.
Greg: I think I’m in twenty something to be honest.
Mike: So you’re in a good shape already. And what star ranking do you have? That’s the most important thing. Is it a 5 star product or 4.5 star product?
Greg: It is 4.5 stars. I think there was one bad review because she changed her mind about the product or someone, it was a doc review. But yeah, everything has been five stars.
Mike: Okay. I mean, it’s hard to have anything above 4.5 stars. I mean, we have a couple of products that are outliers that are five stars. It’s statistically like almost impossible to have a five star product, but a 4.5 star product is very obtainable and what we really shoot for everything that we launch. And we’re really aggressive about reaching out to people who have left negative reviews, which is another strategy. I would definitely reach out to the person that that changed her mind. I mean, it’s hard to do if it’s been six months ago because we try to be very timely with this.
But someone in the Philippines every single day is looking at our negative reviews and we jump on them like flies on poop once they do it and try to rectify the situation and hope that they change their mind. We don’t really reach out and say, please change the review because you can’t do that. But maybe they had — we have all kinds of stupid things happen. Someone will buy a five pack and they’ll only be three in there because some jerk off like bought a five pack, took two out, kept them and returned three and Amazon gives them a refund. And Amazon is not smart enough to like not resell the five pack as a three pack, and then we end up with a negative review because of that.
It wasn’t our fault, but those are things that are easily rectifiable. People do the same thing. It’s like I changed my mind or I haven’t tried this yet is like another one will get and they’ll leave a three star review. It’s like I don’t know yet, like I’ve three stars. And we’ll write back to them and just explain how crushing that is to us and if you could please give us an opportunity to send you not only the replacement packs but all five of them because we’re going to use the same fulfillment method to ship them a five pack again, we’re not going to go just open up something and send them too.
So, there’s a lot of things that can be fixed and a lot of things that can’t unfortunately. But even if you only can fix half of them, it gets you a much better chance of trying to get to that five star product. And if you can’t have a five star pride over a long period of time, that does make a massive difference as we do have a couple of those. And we’re really on top of trying to keep it that way.
Greg: Okay. Okay, I’ll do that.
Mike: Cool. So what other ideas or things you do want to talk about?
Greg: Are there any other advertising channels that you think are worth exploring over and above like Facebook? Maybe Google and Amazon, and just Twitter is — Twitter feels like an untapped resource for me, but I don’t hear anyone talk about Twitter.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, we’ve done Twitter ads with the brands that we have, and with very little success. Instagram, which is still a part of the Facebook platform, does better with — it depends on the demographic. So, what we found is that younger millennial type people respond very well to Instagram ads. So for ColorIt, it doesn’t work at all, because it’s all 45 plus year old women. And it’s really mostly 55 or 60 plus year old women that don’t really do Instagram. But for something like WildBaby, it’s younger people having kids and it seems to resonate way better.
So I don’t know, it seems like these conditions would be age agnostic. If you got Crohn’s disease or something like that, you can be relatively young. So you might try something like Instagram. Pinterest probably isn’t going to work for this at all because it’s the type of platform that is more for visual type things and not lifestyle or story and things like that. So it’s going to be tough to get — Pinterest would work way better with clothes or home decor and things like that versus this. So I would just stay away from that.
On the Google side, man I tell you like trying to do Google PPC with AdWords is going to be really tough I think for these products. But Google Shopping ads have been very successful for us. It seems to be the one thing that still does relatively well. So you might want to give those a try. And one thing that you didn’t talk about here that you if you listen to the podcast, you know that I’m a big fan of this, free plus shipping offers.
And I don’t know how many of these pills you would need to take before you would start to feel a difference. Can we talk about that for just a second to kind of explore this? I mean, let’s just pick the condition and the pill because I know you treat multiple conditions and you have multiple products. Which one of your products can you take the fewest amount of times and notice results the quickest?
Greg: It would be the turmeric product but it does very much vary in terms of how quickly someone responds to it. And that is why I’ve been a little bit hesitant to offer the samples or free plus shipping or something like that just because I don’t want someone to take it for a week and then literally decide that it’s not going to help them, because sometimes it does take longer than — not always but sometimes it gets very, very quick results in a matter of days, but not always. And maybe that’s just me overthinking things a little bit.
Mike: Yeah, I mean I would probably play with the 80/20 rule here. So, like if 80% of the people notice results within a week, I would just go with that, or maybe it’s 10 days or 14 days, whatever the number is. But like the reality is, is that the bulk of the people are going to notice results within XYZ timeframe. And that would be what I would go with, and the people that don’t are probably not going to be the ones that end up loving your product anyway, because probably the people that have these chronic issues, they feel miserable. And if you can make them feel better in a short window of time, they’re going to become your biggest fans naturally. So I would focus on that.
So , a Facebook ad campaign to do a free plus shipping offer that’s like a seven day or 10 day or 14 days supply with really good retargeting and like a video campaign around it explaining that it does take time and exactly the medical science behind what this product is doing. Especially coming from someone like you that’s a nutritionist that can speak really logically and educated about it, I think can be an amazing opportunity for you and that could lead to — your launching products could lead into the Amazon funnel or you could — when you don’t want to be doing the Amazon funnel, you can have it go over to your website either way like mostly perfect that funnel.
It can be incredibly valuable for you to get new customers and potentially be a way — I don’t know exactly what the issue is with Facebook because I know that they’re sketchy. With supplements you got to be very careful about the things that you say. But if you offer a free trial and you don’t have to be as aggressive with your messaging because the offer is more compelling because it’s free and they can have a self realization moment themselves. Like they feel the difference, their stomach isn’t like in knots all day long or making them bend over in pain, they’re going to open their wallet and want to give you their money.
And once you have them on your email list or pixelled or on your ManyChat list, or wherever it might be, you can market to them however the hell you want at that point. You don’t have to worry about Facebook’s restrictions at that time.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Okay. So with that free plus shipping, you’re not necessarily putting them automatically into a subscription program or anything like that. It’s just really purely to be able to retarget them and sell to them more [inaudible 00:35:11].
Mike: Absolutely. I mean you would have their email address and I think that putting them on a subscription product at that point is disingenuous or deceitful a little bit. I mean it’s like that’s scummy kind of supplement marketing that everyone hates. So, if you can prevent blowbacks from that and people complaining because you’ve done that which will risk your account getting shut down versus taking the approach of this stuff really works, because it sounds like it does because that it’s got a good review rating on Amazon and it sounds like it helped your wife out significantly which is awesome.
So, you know it works. So being able to get it in their hands and them trying it and then having that self realization moment is invaluable to you. And if you can make that happen more frequently and reduce the barriers to making that that transaction happen, I think that’s going to be really valuable to you.
Greg: Okay yeah good idea okay.
Mike: So what we’ve done with those types of things is [overlapping 00:36:12] yeah of course up yeah definitely. What we’ve done with these types of things is manufactured specific sizes just for the free plus shipping offer. So instead of sending a full bottle of this, you can even package it specifically as a free plus shipping offer. And there’s a lot of things that go into that thought process which is again like how many days supply does it take before the person notices results? What am I just want to be thinking about like package size and weight because we want all of our free plus shipping offers to ship really cheaply.
So we specifically weigh them to the ounce of like where we want them to be so the shipping is cheaper. And then also your follow up sequence has to be really refined and well thought out, like inserts in the packaging that take them to a certain URL to watch some video content about this and learn more. And you got an opportunity to educate them over that period of time and really take advantage of that. So, having all that really tightly thought out from day one I think is important.
Greg: Okay, that sounds good.
Mike: Cool. So what other ideas and stuff do you want to bounce around?
Greg: You mentioned ManyChat which I have got set up but I’ve not really been focusing on a huge amount. Do you feel like that is something that really should be, that is really worthwhile right now, and is it going to be as big as a lot of people are saying is in the future?
Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think it is and that my crystal ball says that up. But of course, my crystal ball doesn’t help me win the lottery either, so it’s not too good. But let me tell you why I think it is really important and we have the advantage of that we go to China twice a year. And the reality is, the sad reality is that the United States especially is not the number one country anymore in a lot of things and one of them is technology. You go over to the Asian world, whether it be China or South Korea, or Hong Kong, you see where things are going to be in a couple of years with the US or with the UK.
And WeChat is the equivalent of Facebook Messenger in Asia, and everything happens through WeChat. I mean, like everything, they communicate with everybody; they pay everyone, order everything. WeChat is ubiquitous in the Eastern culture and in Chinese culture. And I think that Facebook Messenger is destined to be that thing. I don’t think that anything is going to supplant it, because there’s that first to market advantage that it’s really hard to get people, for 50 million people to install an app on their phone, I mean, which I think is where Facebook Messenger is or something, just in the United States alone.
So, if everyone already has that app, and things are already heading in that direction, where you’re going to be able to pay people through Facebook Messenger and order an Uber through Facebook Messenger, order food or Uber Eats, or things like that, I think that’s where things are going. And the reality is, is it’s really hard to ignore a Facebook message. I mean, the open rates are over 90%, the click through rates are over 60%. It dwarfs email in open rates and engagement. And like anything else, the early adopters pay less to build their list.
I mean, if you think about Google AdWords, back when I was first getting into Google AdWords in what was it, year 2000 or whatever the heck it was, it was way cheaper than the paid on traffic than it is now. And when I got into Facebook ads, three or four years ago, it was way easier than it is now. And I think the same thing goes for Facebook Messenger. And so this is why we’ve been focusing on it so intently in our business. We’ve built over 50,000 people now companywide on Facebook Messenger.
And if Facebook Messenger continues to get more expensive and more difficult to acquire people on our list, we’ve already got a massive head start. We’ve probably saved ourselves in future value something like $50,000 to a quarter million dollars in acquisition costs on those people if you take into account what it might cost in the future to acquire the same people. So I do think that it’s very important, and I do think that the reality is that it’s going to be ubiquitous in Western culture in three to five years.
And it works now. That’s the other thing is you don’t have to even extrapolate. It’s like, who cares if it goes away in the future? It’s way cheaper and more effective to do advertising this way immediately today than it is in any other way that we’ve done it. So, even if you think it’s going to completely crash and burn in a couple of years, it’s still more effective to do it this way now. So that’s kind of the way that we look at it.
Greg: Okay, so would you run an advert specifically to get people into that or is it you’re doing it trying to get them in your email addresses first and then send them over to the ball? Is there a particular way of doing it that you’d recommend?
Mike: Yeah, this is like one of my big passion so you’re hitting me softball questions here, things I’ve been talking a lot about on the speaking circuit. So what I call this is the trifecta. So if you ever go to the horse race track, you hit the trifecta, that’s when you win the most money. And so from a marketing perspective, the same thing goes here. If you can hit the trifecta on a marketing perspective, you’re going to make the most money. And the trifecta to me in the marketing world is getting them on your Facebook Messenger list, getting them on your Facebook pixel list or library and then getting their email address.
So it’s like, how can I do all three of those things in an effective way? So the way that we’ve done that is by running super low engagement offers as Facebook ads to start with. So, you think about your Facebook ad when you’re trying to sell somebody something, it’s way more difficult when you’re trying to get them to make a full price purchase out of the gate than if you had a free piece of content to download like read our guide on how to — you can’t say cure colitis or Crohn’s disease but alleviate your symptoms or whatever. That’s free to download. That’s really easy to get them to want to read, especially if they’re having a problem.
Or a free plus shipping offer like this bottle will solve all your problems by the time you’re done taking it in the next 14 days. And obviously, there’s things you can’t say. I’m being facetious because I know you can’t promise these things on Facebook ads, but you can push it to the limit of what is allowed. And getting them to take up a free plus shipping offer is going to be way easier to do, so all that first and foremost. And the way that we do it is we run — video ads perform way the heck better than static images. We have really compelling video ads to this low friction offer that says, click send message below to get started.
So we run a standard video ad but we use it with the Messenger conversion ad unit objective. So they’re clicking send message instead of buy now or shop now, whatever it’s called, or learn more, whatever the button is that goes to a landing page, we’re sending them into a Facebook Messenger ManyChat sequence with a JSON growth tool. And that part is incredibly simple. It just pops up a message saying, thank you so much for your interest in our autoimmune or whatever product for Crohn’s disease product, we want to send you — like our product is so effective that we’re going to send you a 14 day supply for free. Just click Get Started below to get started or however. I would word this in a much better way or click never mind if you don’t want it.
And then there’s two buttons there. It’s I want my free stuff or never mind. If they click I want my free stuff, by the very action of them clicking that button subscribes them to your list. So now you’ve got part one of your trifecta is done by that simple action of them clicking that button because they’ve now engaged with your list. And if they click never mind, I just unsubscribe them and say sorry for bothering you. Once they are subscribed, when they click the button, it’ll run — the sequence will then start and just say, thank you so much for your interest. Click here; click this link below to go claim your free offer.
And the link below is just a link to your landing page for your free plus shipping offer that you can do through Zipify pages or through ClickFunnels or whatever it is that you want to do it through. And you send them to a landing page to clean that offer. Now when they get to the landing page, the landing page has a pixel on it. So now you have them pixeled. So that’s part two of the trifecta. And when they eventually check out and purchase your product, your free plus shipping offer, now you have their email address. So now you have like all three things on this trifecta done.
And maybe this is like the Quintanilla [ph] because now in the free plus shipping offer world, if that’s the route that you go, you now have your product in their hands so they can experience it firsthand and have that visceral aha moment and in this case like feel significantly better and never want to stop taking your product. So you actually have a huge leg up here on this funnel. And when executed right, I think will be your most successful advertising campaign.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Okay, that sounds good, it sounds really good. Thank you again.
Mike: Of course yeah.
Greg: Great. And one other thing I wanted to ask you was, this might be a relatively small thing. But it’s just about the homepage. I’ve realized recently, I’ve not really given a lot of love or attention to the homepage on my website, which is possibly daft. But do you have any specific tips, have you seen anything specific that you think works from that perspective?
Mike: Yeah, so I mean, if you’re running Facebook ads, I would never send people directly to your homepage if that’s…
Greg: No, I’m sorry [inaudible 00:46:39] to get a fair amount of traffic to.
Mike: Yeah, so like your homepage will end up being one of the more highly visited pages on your site so it is quite important. So I think that having messaging around the things that people have barriers to when shopping online, which is trust. So having messaging on there, that’s — we have 4,000 happy customers and testimonials or talking about the fact that you offer free shipping, or talking about your return policy and things like that. So you’re using your homepage to communicate a message of lowering barriers that people have when purchasing online.
And consequently, on Amazon, they have like a huge leg up with this because people already trust Amazon inherently more. They’ve already got their credit card information and they know that they’re going to ship the products to them quickly and they know that they can return it for any reason, even the most ridiculous thing. Even if you use it for a month and return an empty box, Amazon will still take the damn thing back. It’s ridiculous. But people know that they’re safe in that world. So, establishing that messaging with your homepage I think is probably the most important thing.
And you do — you were kind enough to share with me your URL, which we’re not going to talk about on the podcast today, which most people aren’t comfortable doing, which I understand. But you have on the bottom of your homepage, a bunch of selfies, all this social proof. To me, that’s what I would lead off with and put that in a format that makes more sense. But there’s, looks like 16 images here are people that legitimately have your product in their hand with their face in it, which is like, really, really powerful. And using that as a mechanism to help with building trust on your homepage, I think would be — especially with something like a supplement would be the way that I would go.
Greg: Mm-hmm, okay. Okay, sounds good. I think that was all the questions that I actually had for you. Thank you.
Mike: Okay. Well, we actually have a few minutes left and I have written something else down that I didn’t know if it was going to come up or not. But since it didn’t, I have a couple more things I want to throw out if you don’t mind.
Greg: Mm-hmm sure.
Mike: So, one of the things that has been really powerful for us, and I know you use Klaviyo because it was on your show notes here. So that’s what I want to talk to you about. But with something like ColorIt, 52% of our revenue comes from email marketing. So, and I don’t know like how much you’re working on retention type stuff, but that’s what I wanted to just take a minute to talk about. You happen to have a product that needs to be purchased on a very definitive frequency which is a marketer’s dream.
So you have like a 30 day supply of turmeric, 20 days later hitting them up with an email that’s like it’s time to order more turmeric, and then synchronizing that with — I don’t know if you use the Facebook component what Klaviyo does where you can synchronize custom audiences to Facebook by like running an ad like your time to reorder more turmeric to the exact people that have already purchased from you can be incredibly powerful. And then let me just take a break there with that one thought process before going to the next thing. But have you tried to implement any of that, and so what’s been your success with it?
Greg: So yeah, I’ve got Klaviyo. Just to give you an idea, over the past month, 14% of my revenue has come from email. So, it sounds like it’s quite significantly lower than yours. And yeah, I’ve got a number of flows in place and I do link out to the Facebook audiences. I occasionally run a customer wing, so I run retargeting campaigns on Facebook adverts, certainly, but it’s probably a little bit more generic in terms of it just really targets previous buyers.
So it’s probably not looking at it as closely in terms of the time period as perhaps what I think you were suggesting, like 30 days that the tab is running, let’s specifically target those people. I’ve not been doing that. I have been doing my customer win back campaign as well periodically to people that haven’t bought for, I can’t remember, 60 or 90 days, trying to get those back. I run that one.
Mike: Okay. Yeah, that was actually — the win back one was going to be the next one I was going to suggest. So it sounds like you are doing that, but then also synchronizing that up with — so synchronizing that segment to a custom audience on Facebook and then running an advert for that specifically like works incredibly well. So, just making sure you have that component in there. But the thing that works even more exceedingly well is the timeliness of it’s time to order another bottle of this stuff.
I mean that the thing that all of us marketers fall into as a trap even entrepreneurs in general is getting more customers. That’s like the exciting thing, when you get more customers in the door. But the most effective thing to your bottom line is selling more of the same thing to people who have already bought, a really important component to the profitability of e-commerce. And so much so that if you can get this up from 14%, let’s say to 25% just as a for instance, which I think is very achievable, the side effect of that is now you can pay something like 20% more for acquiring your customers.
So now you can bid more and spend more on upfront ads, and scale even higher and bigger because you’re doing this repeat business stuff. So, a really important thing to dial in and work on, because the amplification effect of that throughout your businesses is really big.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Okay yeah sure. Yeah, I do you have a flow Klaviyo in place that says — no I think it triggers after 28 days so it acts as a reminder. And I’m split testing all of my flows now, every single email is getting split tested too. Over time that should gradually improve as well hopefully.
Mike: Awesome, and what is your open rate in general on these emails?
Greg: I think it’s around 25%.
Mike: Okay, that’s actually quite good. So yeah, anything…
Greg: Between 20 and 25.
Mike: And one thing you want to also do that might even get that higher for you is using a tool called GlockApps, G-L-O-C-K-A-P-P-S. And it’s a really cheap tool that you can buy credits for and you can send your emails, whether they’re flow emails or campaign emails as a test to a seed list that they give you or something like 50 email addresses, and then see what in boxes they’re going into. So whether it’s going in the main inbox, a promotions tab, or spam.
And a lot of times these types of emails will end up in promotions and there’s very subtle things you can do to your email like change one word sometimes in the email, or optimize an image or remove an image, things like that, that will get your emails into the primary inbox versus in promotions tab. So, that might be one more thing you want to test just because that could have your open rate go from 20% to 30%.
That was the effect that it had for us, so increased our open rate by 50%. When you go from 20% to add 10 more percent, that’s a 50% increase in open rate. That’s really massive. If you again amplify that result over a long period of time to many, many people, something that makes a huge effect of just taking a couple minutes to go through and look at that might be another thing for you to work out as well.
Greg: Okay. Yeah, that’s a big increase, 20 to 30% is nice. So yeah, definitely I’ll look at that.
Mike: And then the last thing I had here is just scrapping your list. We have a segment that we’ve created for people who just aren’t opening our emails anymore. They haven’t marked them as spam, they’re not bouncing, but they just stopped opening our emails. So once we email people, and we email at least once a week, mostly twice a week. So if we email them over a 13 week period, which is a one quarter of the year without them opening an email, we just unsubscribe them and stop emailing them. So that keeps our open rates higher, and having our open rates be high helps significantly in getting your emails in the inbox and not in spam or promotions.
And it sounds like you’re already getting a good open rate, but even still like if you want to try to remove people from your list that are underperforming. I think that’s really important, so that’s one more thing you can do is to create that segment. And maybe you don’t want to be as aggressive, maybe you want it to be it’s been six months, but at some point people just aren’t ever opening your emails, you want to just stop emailing them.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Sorry, how long did you say you do, three months was it?
Mike: For us it’s 13 weeks, because we’re emailing at least twice a week and we email a lot of value throughout that period. So, it’s not just hey, buy this product, or there’s a sale on this product. It’s a lot of how can we provide more value to you. And depending on your niche, it’s easier or harder to do, but for coloring, we’ll send them videos on how to do shading or blending for instance as a value. For WildBaby it might be something comical, like we put together like a social roundup of like the funny things that kids do. For Tactical it might be how to prepare for a disaster or something like that.
So we try to provide value. And then interspersed in between that we were sending, hey, it’s Mother’s Day sales here or Father’s Day sales here, whatever it might be because we do want to do some marketing as any good marketer would do. But throughout a 13 week period, if they just stop opening our emails, studies show that they’re pretty much done.
Greg: Okay. I do have something in place. But I’ve got a feeling it’s like I think my segment is no purchasing a year, and no opens in six months. So maybe I’ll need to shorten that a little bit.
Mike: And you can test that a little bit. You don’t have to delete them. What we do, we suppress them, and then that way you can still use their data to do Facebook ads with. So they’re still in segments that allow you to create custom audiences where you can still advertise them on Facebook. Because what ends up happening a lot of times is like, people — and that’s where that trifecta thing is so important. You have them on Facebook Messenger.
If you can’t get them there, then you have them on your pixel so you can give them on Facebook ad. If you don’t get them there, then you can email them. Very rarely is one person going to respond to like all three mediums. Now you have all these different ways to potentially communicate with somebody. And that’s pretty powerful.
Greg: Mm-hmm. Okay, it sounds good.
Mike: Awesome. Well, that’s the end of the things that I had for you. Hopefully, you found all this stuff to be helpful. And hopefully we can follow up with you in six to 12 months and see how things are going. And you’ll be going from 45k a month to 450k a month and you’ll still have maybe some time for us small people over here to tell us how things are going.
Greg: So thank you very much. It’s been really, really useful. So thank you. I really appreciate it.
Mike: Of course Gred. Thank you so much and best of luck in your business, bye.
Greg: All right thank you. Take care.
Mike: All right guys, that’s a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed the 190th episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. Again, you can go to EcomCrew.com/190 to get to the show notes for this episode. And if you want to be on your very own Under the Hood, don’t forget EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood to sign up for that. Abby will reach out to you, do a pre interview and then we’ll get you an hour to an hour and a half of free consulting time that will then turn into one of these episodes. I want to thank you guys again for supporting the EcomCrew Podcast. And until the next one, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
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.