E217: Reviving a Dying Ecommerce BusinessJanuary 23, 2019 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
We received this rather dismal email from Ryan Barr, one of our Premium members:
My business is dying. I’m getting pretty desperate. I was at 1.6M Rev in 2016 and this year I finished at 850,000. I’m not sure what to do. Seems like everything I’m doing makes things worse. Conversion rate keeps slipping. This is an awful and scary time.
This email led to Ryan being on the podcast today. This is not an uncommon situation and I’m hopeful that the lessons in this episode will help others in the same boat.
The strong start, the plateau, then the decline
Ryan started his business around 2011. He enjoyed explosive growth in the first few years, starting from 50k in his first year, to 200k, then 500k.
In 2016, he hit $1.6 million in revenue.
After he hit his $1.6 million high, things began to plateau.
Things didn’t get better from there. In 2017, sales declined to $1.3 million, and then last year, it dropped to $850k.
Reviving the business
Ryan and I start by diagnosing the problem. We talk about what worked for him before and trace where things started to go wrong.
We talk about actionable advice that he can implement immediately to recover from the slump:
- Firing his ineffective SEO and PR company which are only costing him money with zero returns
- Going back to doing PR himself, then transitioning the process to a Filipino VA
- Dealing with negative emotions brought on by the decline
- Increasing margins to have more advertising dollars
- Creating a referral program and building a hand-curated list of referral accounts to avoid bottom feeders and coupon sites
- Reaching out to influencers
- Taking advantage of paid ads, specifically Google Shopping ads
- Getting to know his customer and creating a customer avatar
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Until the next one, 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.