Episode 21: Supercharge Your Email Marketing Part Three

Today we complete the series How to Supercharge Your Email Marketing. This is part 3 of 3. If you haven’t heard the first part of this series you can hear parts 1 and 2 here and here.

We have been talking about the success of the Colorit contests. We have talked about the email flows that contestants receive in their inboxes. These flows have really helped us get more sales. Colorit has 7 to 8 flows on Klaviyo that have a sequence of 10 emails each. Today we’re going to talk about the campaigns we do in Klaviyo.

A campaign is just a single email that announces product information. We talk about 3 of these campaigns during the episode. We had a testimonial request, a new book announcement, and an Affiliate program announcement.

Some of the topics we bring up today are:

  • How you can win a free hour of consulting with us.
  • When to cull your email list.
  • Klaviyo compared to Mailchimp.
  • Colorit’s current high ranking on Amazon.
  • The Pros and Cons of using Amazon.
  • Colorit’s acceptance into Google Trusted stores.

As you can see we have some big things happening with Colorit and we can thank email for part of that.

Resources Mentioned on Today’s Episode:



AMZ Tracker


If you have any questions or anything you’d like us to discuss on the podcast please go to ecomcrew.com and fill out the contact form. Also we would really appreciate if you would leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks  for listening!

Full Audio Transcription

Mike:   Hi, this is Mike.

Grant:  And this is Grant.

Mike:   And welcome to this episode of the EcomCrew podcast.  I believe this is episode number 21.  We’ve got over 20 episodes behind us, which  is pretty cool.  This week, we’re going to be doing part three of the supercharge your email marketing series.  This’ll be the final part.  The first two parts we went over basically how to deal with flows in Klaviyo, and this week we’re going to be talking about campaigns that I’ve been running specifically on ColorIt and hopefully those will give you some ideas on how you can do some more stuff to supercharge your email campaigns.

Before we get started we just want to mention a new promotion that Grant and I are going to be doing.  We’re going to be giving away one free hour of consulting.  And if you guys don’t already know it, Grant and I do offer consulting if you go over to EcomCrew and you want to hire us for hire if you want help with your ecom business.  But we’re going to be doing a promotion for the next few weeks here to get one free hour of consulting.  So in order to qualify for that, all you’ve got to do is be a member of our email list (so you can go over to EcomCrew and subscribe to our newsletter) and leave a comment on episode number 21 or 22 or 23 when they come out the next few weeks and let us know why you would like to have a free hour of consulting and we’ll pick one person at random to win.  One caveat is that we’re going to record the hour of consulting that we do and may or may not use part of that in a future podcast or on our Ecommerce Crew consulting page.  But if you’re interested in that and want a free hour of consulting, we’re happy to do that if you agree to that.  Does that pretty much cover it, Grant?  Do you think I left anything out on that promo?

Grant:  Yeah.  That’s going to be what we’re offering, and like Mike said, just subscribe to the newsletter, leave a comment, and you can pretty much pick Mike’s brain, you can pick my brain, and you can do whatever you want for that hour.  You could tell us some bad jokes and we’ll laugh at them for you if that’s what you want, but yeah, you just get an hour of both of our times and, like Mike said, the only catch is that we simply want the right to be able to use it in a future podcast.

Mike:   Cool, so moving on to this week’s episode and the campaigns.  And if anybody has any questions about the flow stuff that we talked about last week, obviously you can leave a comment on either one of those posts.  We actually had a couple comments, but we’ve answered those and I don’t think we need to talk about them here on this episode but we’re happy to obviously answer any questions you might have about the flow.

So I mentioned before Klaviyo has basically two different paths you can take.  You can have what’s called a flow, which is triggered based on some events, and the event on the flow can be being added to a list, being added to a segment, taking an action or not taking an action so you could say anyone that’s placed an order in X number of days or that has purchased this particular product or that has purchased something three times or five times, whatever it might be.  There’s all kinds of ways you can trigger things off of a flow and the flow also is pretty much what I would consider to be like a drip campaign or the classical sense of a drip campaign.  It can contain one email or a series of 5, 10, 20, 50 emails, whatever you want, and be scheduled to go off at any time.  You know, the difference – oh, I’m sorry.  Go ahead, Grant.

Grant:  And how many emails are currently in your flow for ColorIt?

Mike:   So I mean we have several different flows.  I think we’re up to probably seven or eight different flows for different purposes.  Some of them are for things like the free drawing thing that we’re doing.  We have a flow for after someone orders and their products ships, first time customers.  We have win back campaigns.  We have all these different flows.  But I would say the average right now is we have about 10 emails in each one and we’re building them out more and more and the main reason we even started doing this episode or this series, I should say, is because everything that we do with email is making us money.  Every single time we send out an email it makes us money, whether it’s in the flows or it’s a part of a campaign and we’re just inspired to continue to just send more and more email.  But yeah, I think we, on average, have about 10 in each flow.

Grant:  Okay.

Mike:   So now that we’ve kind of talked about the difference of flows and campaigns, I guess we’ll kind of go over to the campaign thing, which is anything that’s in Klaviyo that’s a campaign is a single like one-time email that goes out.  So reasons you might want to send out a campaign would be, you know, if you’re sending out a monthly newsletter or a weekly newsletter or, in our case, a request for testimonials was actually our very first campaign that we ran for ColorIt.  And it’s actually one of the things that really inspired and pushed me to do even more and more emails.  Let me kind of tell you the story of what happened here.  I was in a mastermind meeting and one of the guys in the group was like, “You’ve got to get more testimonials on the page.  You’ve got to get more testimonials on your site.”  And it wasn’t something that I had wanted to do or whatever.  This was a brand new site.  We didn’t really have any testimonials yet and we didn’t really have a lot of customers yet but I knew and obviously people in my mastermind knew that a lack of testimonials on the site was hurting our conversion rate so I was like, “You know what?  This is the kick in the rump that I need to send out some emails to our list and ask for a testimonial.”

And obviously now, the testimony request is a part of our post-purchase flow so we have a lot more testimonials flowing in all the time now.  But this is going back towards the beginning of ColorIt and our list was just building and we didn’t have a post-purchase flow yet because we weren’t getting a lot of sales and we just hadn’t really gotten to that yet.  So I was like, “All right, let me throw together an email and I’m just going to email my list and do a request for testimonials.”  I’m looking at the campaign here right now.  I sent it out to 192 people.  The email was opened 49.4%.  We had 4.4% click-through rate and the end result was we got three testimonials and I was actually like really irritated by that because I thought for sure we would get more.  I mean the email offered people $5 cash for PayPal or a Starbucks card or a $10 gift card to ColorIt.com and I was like, “I can’t believe that more people won’t take advantage of this offer.”  But how many orders do you think we got out of this email, Grant?

Grant:  Good question.  I really don’t know.

Mike:   We got 14 orders.

Grant:  Oh.

Mike:   And the email just basically said, “Please send testimonial,” and nothing in there about placing an order for anything.  And again, it was just a quick and dirty email.  I really just wanted the testimonials.  I was I want to say being lazy but I was just being efficient and trying to get testimonials and not thinking about getting orders.  And out of 192 people, 14 people purchased stuff, which is crazy because like 11 of them had an opportunity to get $10 for just sending us a testimonial but they ordered anyway without getting the $10.  So it really just goes to show you the power of email and I mean there was already some a-ha moments that we had, but this was really the real kick in the rump like I said to really start sending out a lot more emails.  And we have just been ramping this up more and more.  Every week we’re sending out more emails to our list and Klaviyo has a nice feature, and you can set this, but by default it won’t email your list more than once every day basically, every 18 hours.

So if you’re sending out a bunch of emails on a flow sequence and you have conflicting flows or layered flows that people are part of more than one flow and you’re sending out campaigns, you’re not going to end up in a situation where you email people three times in one day, which is really important.

Grant:  And one thing I was going to add to that, which is that there’s a marketing concept known as essentially like seven impressions, but it goes along the principle that for a normal human mind, you need to get a familiarity with an item before you really get to the proper buying temperature.  And a lot of sales guys know this, branding people know this, and it’s a core concept in marketing and that’s why you see Honda commercials all the time, you will see Cheerios commercials as a kid growing up, and you will even get commercials for products that you don’t think you’ll ever, ever really need and you go, “Why would I ever need that?”  Have you ever seen commercials for things like Oracle, Mike, or SAP during the football game and you go, “You know, who’s going to need that?”  Then at some point in life, you’re a director of IT or you’re a CTO and you go, “Hey, do we need Oracle?”  And it’s been building for years and email’s just like a very, very small little segment of that.

And having a lot of emails, some people are going to worry, “Well, am I going to get spammed?  Am I going to worry about somebody saying, ‘Hey, these guys are sending me too many emails?’”  But the idea’s that you really need to get them comfortable.  And what you said with the 14 people signing up for your email list, I think that kind of shows really that it’s about familiarity and I don’t want to say it’s not about the message, but just having that familiarity come through again might’ve been that final stride that made them go, “Hey, sure, I’ll get another one,” or whatnot.

Mike:   Yeah.  I think people have a product hopefully that they like and this just jogs their memory and like you said, you’re just at the right place at the right time.  It’s just you keep on throwing things at the wall until something sticks and eventually you end up with orders and even if you aren’t sending out emails directly asking for someone to place an order, it still works.

Grant:  Yup.

Mike:   So I want to just take the last few minutes that we have here for this particular episode of the podcast and I’m going to just break out a couple campaigns that we did and just give you guys some stats on some of the campaigns and give you guys an idea of why you would want to send a campaign versus doing a flow.

So we’ve had some specific things.  For instance, when our Wild Animal book came out and we hadn’t released the book for I think it was about 10 or 12 weeks in between our latest title and we actually hadn’t launched a new book since we’d launched ColorIt.com so this was like our first product launch since having our own website and not relying on Amazon.  So I’m going to talk about several different flow emails that we sent here as a part of this podcast and it’s kind of interesting because it wraps up several different topics at once.  And one thing I’ll mention just in the beginning here is one of the reasons we’ve been working hard to build our list is because we’re really trying not to use things like AMZ Tracker or SnagShout.  How does that go?  Thanks, Snagshout.  Thank you.  Or one of these other review platforms to do reviews.  So one of the ancillary benefits that we’ve wanted to have for having our email list is being able to get customers to do reviews or buy products on Amazon that are verified reviews that are not going to be deemed spammy by Amazon give us the benefit of getting reviews and also give us the benefit of boosting our product.  So that’s like the end result that I’m going to talk about.  I’m just kind of foreshadowing here and you’ll understand why here shortly.

So we had this new book coming out and we knew we had a list at this point that was growing.  I’m not sure exactly how many people were on the list at this point, but we had a product and we knew we were going to have demand for it.  So what we wanted to do was send out preorder campaigns.  So again, this can’t be a part of a flow because like we’re sending this as a one-time thing.  So this kind of gives you an idea of why you would want to use a campaign.  So we have our animal preorder campaign here that we sent out and we had a 43% open rate, a 13.8% click-through rate, and 46 people ordered directly off of this first campaign.  And this was a month out.  Go ahead, Grant.

Grant:  I’m going to clarify for our listeners real quick.  When you say “animal campaign,” that’s your animal coloring book.

Mike:   Correct, yeah.  Sorry about that.  You see, now, at the time we were releasing a new title called Wild Animals so we titled this “animal preorder” on our backend, but yeah, thank you for clarifying.

Grant:  Yeah, that would be a pretty neat adjective, “My animal campaign.”

Mike:   Yeah.

Grant:  It’s like the In-N-Out secret menu.

Mike:   Yeah.  “I want it animal style.”

Grant:  Yeah, exactly.

Mike:   “Throw some grilled onions on it for me.”

Grant:  Uh-huh.

Mike:   So yeah, I mean we had a really high open rate and we got a lot of orders and I was happy with the number of orders we received off of something that wasn’t going to be available for as long as it was.  So what we did then is we sent out basically a reminder.  We did an animal preorder reminder campaign and we broke this out into two different lists.  I was curious to see how people that had signed up for our contest list that had never purchased from us before converted compared to people that were on our newsletter or previous customer list.  So I broke this out into two separate campaigns.  You’ll find the results interesting here.  So the list going out to our newsletter and to our previous customers and all those types of people, that has a 38.7% open rate, and we got 21 more orders off of that.  And this is something that we’d really been testing and trying to figure out is are the people that are signing up for these contests, do they have any value, like any lingering value?  Like after the flows that we talked about in previous episodes where we’ve offered them a discount and they still haven’t bought at this point, we had a 24.2% open rate, and the thing that I’m happy with here is we had 11 people order.

So this was months later, literally months after the January contest ended, and we basically had deemed those people pretty much dead to us.  We were able to resurrect another 11 orders, so about $402 worth of business off of that same newsletter that went out to everyone else.  I thought that was pretty interesting, Grant.

Grant:  Yeah.  I think so too.  I mean at some point, you just figure they are no longer useful and they’re not even worth keeping one extra email in Klaviyo and you’re able to squeeze blood out of rock apparently.

Mike:   Yeah.  I mean that’s basically what it kind of comes down to, which is good.  At this point, we’ve stopped sending this out separately because I just wanted to know – and we did it a couple times.  I was just curious, but yeah, I mean we seem to keep being able to get that blood out of the rock and we’re going to figure out exactly where that ends.  At some point I think we’ve kind of done everything we can and we’ll just delete these people off of our list to not let our open rate drop and eventually we know that they’re worthless.  And Klaviyo’s expensive.  So there’s no reason to have 10,000 people on a list that aren’t going to ever buy.  But it was interesting to me that we were able to generate sales at this juncture.

Grant:  And that’s actually one thing that I do think is important to address, which is the cost of email marketing, and anybody that hasn’t really been doing a lot of it – and I’m putting my hand up there too.  I just haven’t really focused on it that much because I know my email list is getting to the point of being a critical mess but it’s still going to be a little bit poor in terms of hourly to ROI, but it is getting there.  That said, back in the day, it used to cost – it wasn’t highly expensive but it wasn’t cheap to add a bunch of people to your email list.  And the idea was that, well, let’s say you ran a contest back in the day and you had 5,000 people sign up for the contest because you were giving away a free warm fuzzy or something like that.  And now you’re got 5,000 people added to your mailing list and it’s going to add another $100 a month and you say, “Gees, you know, I don’t even want to pay that much for my small little website that I’m running on Shopify or Bigcommerce, $100.  It’s just not worth it.  You know, these people are just not going to sign up for what I’m doing.”  And you could be right.

That said, with the modern day emailing list like Klaviyo, which is what Mike’s using, and there are a lot more competitors out there that are doing this kind of stuff.  MailChimp just upgraded their own features to match.  But the idea’s that if you create a flow and somebody doesn’t buy anything at the end of it, you can actually scrub that guy right off your list.  So even though the platforms might be a little expensive, the reality is that you aren’t going to keep around the people that are just dead weight.  You actually get to knock them out and you only get to focus on the people that you’re actually generating money on.  So what’s kind of the pricing scheme right now for Klaviyo?  I’m not up to date on that.

Mike:   It’s all based on the number of people that are on your list and I think it was up in groups of 5,000.  Let me just take a look real quick at their plans here.  We’re at the 20,000 people on our list level, 20,001 to 25,000 I should say, and we’re paying $450 a month.  And basically it goes up by $50 a month for every 5,000 that are on your list and it just continues to scale at that same linear fashion up to $1,700 a month and 150,000 people and then eventually you get a “give us an email and we’ll talk to you about enterprise level pricing” so we’ll get there someday but yeah, right now we’re paying $400 a month and we’re generating tens of thousands of dollars a month in revenue off of email so it’s by far and away worth it for us.  And we were on Aweber before and I can tell you that Klaviyo has generated some multiple of revenue higher.  I mean it’s been so long since we’ve used it when we were doing it for IceWraps before but Klaviyo was just so much better at doing ecommerce and I know that MailChimp just released some new functionality and stuff but I haven’t used it yet but I still feel like just because we’re Klaviyo now and know all the functionality it has that it’s good for us.  It’s the right thing for us.

Grant:  Yeah.  And I’ll probably be working on MailChimp for the longer duration just because I’ve got a bit more familiarity on that side, but I am still using Klaviyo too and whenever I get around to building my flows, I’ll probably be able to have a little bit of expertise on both sides.

Mike:   Cool.  So moving on on the animal campaign level, so I’ve kind of told you about the preorder.  Now we’ve kind of got to a point where the book was in stock and so we sent out an email just saying, “Hey, the book’s in stock,” and let me go find the email here.  So we had a 22% open rate and this went out to our entire list so this went out to more people at this point.  Another 81 orders off of this, and at that point, it was like, “Okay, well we’ve sent out a preorder email, we sent out a preorder reminder email, we sent out an email about the book being in stock, we sent out a reminder about the book being in stock,” and then we take it one leveler further.  And of course, just to clarify here, we do not email people that have already purchased the animal books.  We’re always filtering out every step along the way here.  Why send someone an email about this animal book being in stock if they’ve already purchased it?  So we do filter them out.

And at this point, it was like, “Okay, well we might as well offer them now free shipping because if they haven’t purchased yet, they’re just obviously not interested or they need like a little bit of a nudge.”  And we do charge $3.99 shipping on all orders that are under $30.  So if you were just going to buy the animal book and nothing else, there would be a shipping charge so it’s like, “Okay, well if you haven’t bought to this point, let’s go ahead and send out an email about free shipping.”  So we did that twice with a reminder and we got another total of 138 orders off of that between those two emails.  So pretty successful campaign to that point, but I mentioned foreshadowing the Amazon portion of it and at this point, we’ve tried everything that we can to get people to order this darn book.  Preordered it, we’ve offered it when it came in stock, we offered free shipping.  Total of six email campaigns over about a six-week period and if they haven’t bought to this point, let’s take it one more level deep.  And what we did is we offered a 50% discount if you purchase it from Amazon.  And this is actually running actively right now so I don’t have all the results yet because we just ran it yesterday actually so this is a current topic to talk about.

And so I did two things here to take advantage of.  First off, I wanted to find out what time of day our emails get opened the most.  We haven’t split test that yet.  We’re split testing subject lines always along the way and with this one I just figured the subject line’s pretty simple.  It’s “50% Off Wild Animals on Amazon.com.”  Why bother split testing the subject line for this particular one?  Let’s get the data on the time open, which is interesting.  The winning time was 8:00AM just for people wondering.  We did 4:00PM, 6:00AM, 8:00AM, 10:00AM and then noon, 2:00PM, 4:00PM.  So what we did here is we offered a 50% coupon and sent people to Amazon.com to our listing and the idea here is to get a bunch of reviews and get them naturally so we get the Verified Review badge and they’re not going to be deemed spammy by Amazon.  They’re not going to get removed by Amazon.  These people don’t have a footprint in the review community like AMZ Tracker or Snagshout.  Why do I keep getting that wrong, Grant?

Grant:  I don’t know.

Mike:   Thank you.  Snagshout.  But the results have been really interesting.  We’ve actually had just under 200 orders total on Amazon with this coupon.  And we did post it on Facebook as well.  So some of those have come because of Facebook but that just happened today.  We just put it because I wanted to see how many were coming from the email.  At least 150 to 170 of them were from this email that we sent out.  And we’re going to eventually turn this coupon off, and by eventually, I mean very soon, but the results have been awesome because we have gotten almost 200 sales.  I suspect that we’ll get a higher review percentage from these people than we will from average people that buy on Amazon because we put in the email like, “The reason we’re doing this sale is to get reviews so please leave a review after you purchase the book.”  And hopefully people take that to heart and we’ve actually have people email in already like, “How do I leave a review once I get it,” which is kind of cool.  But we still obviously have Feedback Genius, so the automatic emails will go out from Feedback Genius.

But the cool this is also that because of Klaviyo, we know how many people clicked on the button in the email, and we won’t know if they ordered or not.  That is a downside.  We will know that they at least clicked through so we’ll have an idea of how many people clicked on the email and we’ll email those people and say, “Look, did you take advantage of our offer last month?”  We’ll probably do it a month out after Feedback Genius has its time to do its thing, “And just as a reminder, here’s where you leave a review if you’d like.”  And our hope is, again, we get 20 to 40 reviews, which is a lot of reviews because it takes a lot of sales to get that kind of reviews, and we now have a top 1,000 book on Amazon as a result of doing this.  We’re at 1,050 right now as we’re recording this podcast and I know that rank will slip because we obviously can’t sustain the number of sales we’ve done the last few days but having that high of a ranking will bolster our sales naturally as well and we’re still kind of seeing what the end result of all that will be but all in all, I think it’s been incredibly successful.

And keeping in theme with “it’s amazing what happens when you send out emails,” we’ve had nine more orders on our own website, people paying full price for the animal book and other things.  It blows me away.  Like I just can’t believe it and it really comes down to every time you send an email, it makes you money.  But that’s kind of the whole wrap-up of what we did there campaign-wise for the animal preorder thing and post order.  Do you have any like questions or anything, Grant, you wanted to ask about any of that?

Grant:  No, that’s pretty awesome to be in the top 1,000.  I mean the coupon at half price, I mean obviously you’re not going to be making much money off that.  I’m sure it’s still a loss after shipping and everything like that, but like you said, the natural exposure that you get from being in the top 1,000 ranking is certainly huge.  And have you actually seen any metrics on that on Amazon so far?  How long have you been in there?  I don’t even know you had broken the top 1,000.

Mike:   That just like happened yesterday.

Grant:  Oh, okay.

Mike:   So our process for launching any product on Amazon is just to get the listing up basically first and then do like the whole review solicitation period and then start doing ads.  So we had to wait a little bit because this was my plan all along with this particular book, but I needed to get through the preorder process.  Like I didn’t want to offer this 50% off discount to everyone right off the bat; I wanted to get as many sales at full price as I could.  So we had the book on Amazon just listed and it was hovering around like a 90,000 to 100,000 ranking.  Our other books are in the top 10,000-ish.  They’re right around that, which is where I pretty much expect Wild Animals to settle in at.  But yeah, I mean because we drove so much business to this, and like I said, we sold about 200 copies of it in the past 48 hours or whatever it’s been since we launched this campaign.  And because we staggered out the email, like I mentioned, we did it every two hours to a portion of our list, the sales didn’t all come at one time so it helped kind of keep our ranking solid.  So we’re actually still in a top 1,000 ranking even though the sales have slowed down.

And the other cool thing is because we use HelloProfit, I’m able to see exactly how many full price sales we’re getting.  So if I just take a quick minute to look today, when I looked earlier we had four full price sales on Amazon.  Those were just people that has naturally found the book.  we’re at seven today right now, and then we had 19 more.  So far today, 19 people used the coupon.  So our natural sales are climbing, which is what we’re really looking to see happen.  So I mean the real hope is that that seven becomes ten tomorrow and then becomes 12 or 15 and sustains itself at 15 copies a day.  That means that we’ve done a good job with this promo.  And as you mentioned, the 200 copies that we’ve “given away” or given this 50% discount for, first off it’s a lot cheaper than selling it for $1, which is what we were doing.  And I don’t know if you have done any of those types of things, Grant, with reviews.

Grant:  Yeah, I’ve never really done the whole $1 thing and I’m in the same boat as you pretty much: AMZ Tracker.  I’ve got my own thoughts about that and I would say that whole area is getting to become a very, very big gray area, kind of nasty in terms of how Amazon treats that.  I mean we can see that all of the Verified Reviews are no longer being tagged if they’re using a disclaimer at the bottom.  And for my coupons, yeah, I never go down to $1, I never do free, and I think it leads a little bit of a wrong signal.  And I would say actually the idea of building out an email list just to almost secondary-support your Amazon sales is pretty much kind of a novel idea.  One thing that we, as ecommerce operators (I mean as in store owners, not just Amazon sellers), that’s one of the huge things that we have over traditional sellers.  We’ve got a massive leg up because we actually own our customer list and the fact that you’re able to do the marketing.  And I might take a page out of your book and just offer a whole bunch of my random do-dads on Amazon to my customer list because at this point I’ve got around 2,000 people I can still peddle my stuff off to and say, “Hey, want to get some highly discounted stuff?  Like this is a great way to get it.”

Mike:   Yup.  And again, we did it after we sold it at full price to our list and I think that’s the key.  We made sure we filtered out people that had bought it at full price so they don’t get irritated.  But even if they find out about it, it’s like just as well.  “If you want to go buy another copy, here it is at 50% off.  We’re doing it limited time because we’re looking to get reviews.  We’re just now launching it on Amazon.”  People can be upset about it if they want but I think we have a pretty good path there for having a legitimate reason to do this.

Grant:  Yeah.  And in terms of the Amazon coupon, for the coupon, did you use a service to uniquely send everybody a different coupon?

Mike:   Nope.  We just used one coupon.  I mean we had been using unique coupon codes in the past, but in this we just blasted it out to our entire list that hadn’t purchased the animal book.  I keep a close eye on how many copies or how many of these are being used, but I don’t want like thousands of these to sell with this coupon.  I mean there’s obviously like a limit to what I want but what I know is that we’re basically breaking even on the sale of each one of these books, which is something that anybody that’s selling on Amazon is willing to do with ads anyway.  Like if you were to run Amazon-sponsored product ads, pretty much everyone that does that is willing to have sales that are up to a break even because that helps bolster your ranking and you end up getting more sales and there’s like all this ancillary benefit from running ads and I feel the same way about doing this.  I mean if we’re getting people that are using the coupon and things are getting out, we’re only offering it on one book.

And the hardest thing that we have to communicate is the quality of our book and like how awesome they are because people have a predisposed thing in their head of like what an adult coloring book is because that’s how every other book on the market is.  So when they get our product in their hands, our hope is that they become a customer and a fan for life and then they go buy all of our other books at full price because the coupon’s not going to exist out there for the other books.  And this is something that is legitimately a limited time.  I mean when I see enough books selling or if things take off like wildfire, we’ll just kill the coupon.

Grant:  Yeah.  Here’s an interesting question for you then since we’re talking about channel merging and really doing a true multi-channel strategy.  What do you feel about telling your customers about Amazon?

Mike:   I mean I don’t know.  Obviously there’s good and bad to it.  We sell on Amazon.  I feel like they’re kind of a partner of ours or we’re a partner of them, whatever way you want to look at it.  And I truly feel that like the Amazon crowd is the Amazon crowd like no matter what.  People are looking there to buy.  I don’t think it’s really cannibalization.  Because it’s our own brand, I think we can do stuff like this.  That’s one of the advantages of having your own brand.  Sure, we make more money when we sell the item directly on our own site, but we end up making more by selling it on Amazon than we do with a typical Facebook ad to get to our site because that obviously gets expensive with that marketing.  So it depends on how you want to look at it.  I mean yes, as a true organic, if someone were to search on Google, go to ColorIt.com versus go to Amazon.com, yes, we make more money off of the ColorIt.com sale but I’d just rather get the sale is what it kind of basically comes down to at the end of the day.  And whether they buy it on Amazon, Etsy, EBay, or ColorIt, because it’s our brand, we’ll take the sale.

Grant:  Mm-hmm.  Very interesting.  Yeah, I don’t know how I would totally feel about it yet, and one of the reasons is that on my site, because I am not quite to the point on CuttingBoard of having my own products on yet – in some areas I do, but not all areas – I would feel that because I’m at a price premium to Amazon, I would probably piss off some customers that go there and go, “Oh my gosh, I could’ve got it 10%, 15% cheaper on Amazon.  Why did I not buy from it here before my original purchase?” which would always be a little bit of a bad thing and, again, is a huge drawback of not having your own brand and private label.  On the other hand, Amazon is simply, like you said, a beast and the people that are on Amazon are on there already so I could see some pros and cons.

Mike:   Yeah.  And I definitely am in the pros and cons group.  I just feel like the good outweighs the bad mostly because we are our own brand.  I definitely think the bad outweighs the good for something like CuttingBoard.com.  I mean sending someone to Amazon about a John Boos board or something doesn’t make any sense because like if you sell it there or if the sale happens on Amazon, it’s probably not going to be your listing, or if it’s any one of the other competing products that you have.  But if you control the entire thing, if it’s all your own brand of products, I think there’s probably an argument that the good outweighs the bad.

So I just want to talk about one last campaign.  We’re already running late for this episode but there was one more thing on my list I wanted to talk about, and we’ve run several other campaigns but I just wanted to give you one last idea of what a campaign can be.  And this is another recent campaign that we ran for announcing our affiliate program.  So we basically got to the point where we had a lot of people writing these amazing reviews for us and I was like, “Okay, well why don’t we start an affiliate or a referral program, whatever you want to call it, and offer referrals $5 for each new customer that they send us?”  And we picked that number because we’ll still make money on a sale if someone buys just one thing and never comes back.  It ends up costing us less than the typical Facebook ad or cost per acquisition from any other channel, so this would actually end up being our cheapest channel.  And we also offer the customer 10% off if the referrer sends the customer.  So it’s basically like posed as a win/win.

And this is another campaign that we used.  So we sent this email out to our entire list as well, had a 24% open rate, but I want to mention again, this thing had seven orders so we were just talking about just the affiliate program.  Again, we weren’t trying to sell anybody anything, but seven people that got this email ended up placing an order.  So another successful campaign, and obviously campaigns that we send out like I mentioned in the animal preorder where we’re actually trying to sell something specific, we end up with hundreds of orders over the life cycle of the campaign.  I mean we had something like 300 and something people or whatever it was order the animal book preorder, which I thought was really great for our first new book and we only have a few thousand customers on ColorIt.com, paying customers at this point.  We have a lot of people on our list but if you remember, ColorIt.com launched only three or four months ago.

So those are just some examples of campaigns and really trying to solidify in your head that every time you send out an email, some portion of your list is going to end up buying because it just becomes one of those things that they’re thinking about today.  And the closing thoughts I want to kind of say here are that we continue to expand the number of emails that we’re sending out all the time and we just had an internal meeting here this week and we’re going to start sending out a weekly newsletter to our ColorIt list and we’re building four or five templates and the idea for us is to spend as little time internally putting this together and we’re just going to cycle through templates.  So like one of them will be basically the ColorIt Times or whatever you want to call it.  We haven’t come up with a name for it yet, but basically it’ll be what’s happening at ColorIt and we’ll do that once a month and it’ll be whatever new releases that we’re coming out with and kind of start priming people and getting some excitement, profiling an artist or something along those lines.  We’ll just be a basic what’s kind of going on in the world of ColorIt this month.

Then the other template we talked about is user-submitted content, so people that are submitting in their photos and things of that nature.  So we have a few different ideas that we’ve been talking about and obviously in a future episode we’ll share how that stuff’s going but we basically picked Tuesday.  So every Tuesday at 8:00AM and we’ll set up the campaigns in advance.  They’ll go out and hopefully that’ll generate even more sales.  And it’ll take us probably 8 to 16 hours, you know, one- to two-man days to set up the templates the first time, but each month after that, we’re looking at probably 20 to 30 minutes maximum.  So even if we only get one sale, and I know it’ll be way higher than that, off of each newsletter that went out, it would pay for itself.  But I think that we’ll probably be in the 10 to 20 to 30 range on the average newsletter order and certainly worth our time.  So that’s kind of a closing thought.  I don’t know if you have any other things to throw in, Grant, before we sign off.

Grant:  Yeah.  It’s great to have that like automation and I think most people are probably scared from just the get-go because you’ve got to put in all the work for the templates and everything and get all of that flow up and it really makes me think we should probably at some point have a resources on our website, just boiler plate email templates that aren’t the ugly boiler plat email templates, and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Mike:   Yup.

Grant:  Because every last software service out there that has like the beautiful pre-done templates, none of them are beautiful and none of them are like even remotely useable and I think we’d do a lot of people a service by just having some nice looking ones that people can use out of the box.

Mike:   Yeah, I love it.  I think we can work on that together and get it posted up in the next couples months on that.  So closing off here, there’s three things I have on my list I want to mention real quick.  One’s a brag post I guess if you want, whatever.  We got ColorIt this week approved for Google Trusted Stores, which I’m proud of.  That’s our third store getting approved for Google Trusted Stores and anyone that’s done that before knows it’s not the easiest of processes sometimes and obviously you have to have a lot of orders and a lot of happy customers to get approved.  So we got approved for Google Trust Stores.  I highly recommend it for anyone that isn’t in that program.  It helps with conversion rate and I’m pretty convinced that it helps with SEO over the long-term.  I think Google looks at Google Trust Stores and gives them a boost whether they’ll admit to it or not.

Second thing real quick to mention is the thing I mentioned at the top of the episode.  Again, don’t forget to head over to EcomCrew and sign up for our newsletter, and if you sign up for the newsletter and leave a comment on any of our podcast posts over the next month, we will pick a random person to get a free hour of consulting, which I think will be cool.  And Grant and I have been actually doing more and more consulting lately.  It’s something that we enjoy quite a bit.  We take a different approach to consulting.  We don’t ever look for long-term contracts or anything like that.  We basically bill ourselves as a knowledge transfer type organization, where we’re looking to do as few hours of consulting for people as possible.  It’s certainly not our business.  We’re not a consulting business, we are ecommerce owners, and doing the consulting’s really just our way of giving back but we’ve got to charge a little bit for our time.

And the last thing is if you’ve got time to leave a review over at iTunes, we certainly appreciate it.  Those reviews are important to us and it helps people discover the EcomCrew podcast.  We’re just two lonely podcasters out there in a big sea of podcasters, so any reviews certainly help.  It helps our ego a little bit too, makes us want to keep doing this from week to week.  So with that said, we’ll see you next week, everybody, and thanks so much for listening.

Outro:  If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.  Head over to EcomCrew.com and sign up for the EcomCrew newsletter to get regular updates on what’s working in ecommerce today, and get the latest from our blog.  If you haven’t already, we’d really appreciate an honest review in iTunes.  These reviews help us make sure we’re delivering exactly the content you need to be successful.  And make sure you subscribe to the show for more tips to move you up in the business ladder and into success.  We’ll see you next week.

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6 years ago

Howdy! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the good info you’ve got here on this post. I might be coming back to your blog for extra soon.

8 years ago

Since your first podcast a few weeks back on email, I’ve first made the commitment to (1) be more intentional about getting customers opted-in to our email and by adding a free shipping code overlay for joining (2) send a weekly email newsletter. We are now working through doing some automation for existing customers … Therefore … Here is my official comment for my free hour of consulting: We are still fairly new but are starting to see traffic come in through our very active Instagram account (and we have two great promotions coming up for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) as well as organic search, as we spend a LARGE amount of time putting together quality blog posts with top-notch photography. We are now working with InExpress from your recommendation to expand internationally, which we want to be about 30% of our business, and are seeing some traction there as well. But, what next? Do we continue to add brands as we get cash flow? Do we develop some of our own products and cross-sell on Amazon? I feel like I could easily spend 100 hours a week and $100k on everything that is going on in my mind but would love advice on prioritizing it.

Grant Chen
8 years ago
Reply to  Jackie

> 100 hours a week and $100k on everything that is going on in my mind

Welcome to our world Jackie! :) Staying focused on the prize is probably the hardest part for an entrepreneur. It’s hard to answer your question without a full nuts and bolts run down of the business, but whatever is making you the most money (it sounds like social media) would be a great place to focus. Facebook marketing would seem up the alley if Instagram conversions are high.

I’m sure Mike and I would argue that getting your own brand is going to be your best long term bet. That said, there’s a lot of perils in manufacturing in relation to cash flow, volume requirements, QA and logistics. White labeling or private labeling is usually the safe way to dip your toes in and get some sourcing chops before taking it all on.

The problem with the EDC market is that there’s a huge amount of gadgets, so your inventory SKU count could keep exploding to keep up. Then you have to worry about Amazon pricing. I would say service, emotional appeal and trust is your value proposition. If you can figure out that game, then you can boost your LTV, which in turn puts email/marketing/PPC/SEO all turbo boosters.

Michael Jackness
8 years ago
Reply to  Grant Chen

I agree with Grant, staying focused is the hardest part. What I would do is… WAIT, IS THAT A SQUIRREL? GTG.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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