Episode 81: Plans for a New WebsiteAugust 10, 2017 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
Today I’m really excited to tell you about a domain name we have purchased and all the awesome plans we have coming down the pipe. We have just purchased Survivalfood.com. If you guys remember, we purchased Tactical.com a while back. If you go back and listen to episode 72, I talk about all our plans and some of our strategies for Tactical.com. However, today I’m going to share some of the plans we have for Survivalfood.com, which will be a sister property to Tactical.com.
Survivalfood.com will not be an ecommerce store, instead, we have plans to make it a content based site. The articles will be about food stockpiling, camping, backpacking, survivalism, and anything to do with disaster preparation. Hopefully, the content will create organic traffic and interest. I’m really excited about the possibilities because Survivalfood.com is a perfect compliment to Tactical.com! There are tons of opportunities for these two properties.
Here are some of the topics I covered today:
- The great time I had at Ecommerce All Stars!
- The launch of our new site.
- Why we bought Survivalfood.com.
- Our plans for Survivalfood.com.
- How I decided on this domain name.
- An update on what is happening with Tactical.com.
Ecommerce All Stars may be over, but I still have a couple speaking engagements coming up. I also have one to add to the list.
Global Sources — Hong Kong, October 17-19.
EcommerceFuel Live — Laguna Beach, CA, January 11-13, 2018.
Sellers’ Summit — Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 3-5, 2018.
This episode is sponsored by Stamped.io. We have recently switched to Stamped.io, so we can get the most out of our reviews, and they have a really great product. We are proud to partner with them and there is a link below to check them out.
Resources Mentioned Today:
If you have any questions or anything you’d like us to discuss on the podcast you can now email us directly at ecomcrew.com! Just send those emails to [email protected] Also, we would really appreciate if you would leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast number 81. Hope everyone is having a good day. I just got back from eCommerce All Stars in Austin, Texas, Ezra Firestone’s event; such an awesome experience being there with him over the weekend, just definitely a class act. I had a great time out there. That guy was just, was awesome to me. And I think all the other speakers and obviously everyone there loves him. It was just, it was a great event.
So I actually was on stage three times which is really cool. And it’s helping me get over my — I don’t like speaking in front of large crowds, it’s a complex I seem to have had. I definitely kind of fell into my element there a little bit. I’m glad that I’ve been doing it.
So my first session was kind of like on Lead Pages and lead magnets and just a new way of doing business, and then my second session was on contests, and then I hop back on stage for a Q&A at the end. And the whole experience was just absolutely awesome. We are going to be doing a recap episode of that, I think, if I can fit it into the schedule. We’ve got a pretty tight schedule of a bunch of other stuff that we are recording already. So we will see if I can get a recap of my talk as an episode here in the next few weeks.
So this week we are going to be talking about a new site that I bought. So it’s going to be a pretty fun episode. I’m not sure if I can fit this into a 30 minute episode. So by the end of this I might say there is going to be a part two. So I have a pretty long agenda, but we’ll see how it goes. So let’s just dive right on into it, and I’ll talk about the new site which is Survivalfood.com. And probably wondering why I would maybe buy that site. So let’s talk about that and take a step back and kind of a recap of my Tactical.com strategy that I talked a little bit about several podcasts ago.
So if you want to go back and listen to Tactical.com and what the whole strategy is there at length you can do that. But basically the idea for those of you who haven’t listened to that episode is to build a site that is a media property. A media property, not an ecommerce store but a site that has articles and content of varying kinds to attract traffic mostly organically and virally and not be an ecommerce store per se. And the whole idea here is kind of twofold I guess.
I mean first of all people do not trust content necessarily that brands put out as much as so called trusted media sites. And I’m kind of laughing because that’s a loosely regarded word these days because there is so much fake news and crap out there that it’s hard to believe what’s real and what isn’t these days. But people in general will trust content that’s from a third party over something that a particular brand is putting out.
So having that type of content I think is going to be really good. And also there is a lot you can do with a content-centric site that you can’t do with an ecommerce site. Without getting into a lot of detail, I mean a site that is basically based off of WordPress that’s made from the ground up to be a content site is just going look better and function just better than an ecommerce store does. I mean Shopify is definitely weak with this particular component, and again it is associated with the brand.
So the whole idea is to get people in that are actively searching for something and show them a piece of content around that subject. So if you think of something like ColorIt, the way that we do our Facebook advertising now is what I call interruption marketing. And basically someone is on their phone walking down the street about to walk into a light post or whatever they might be, and you show them an ad for a coloring book. And you are interrupting what they were doing, to get them to stop what they are doing and convince them that they need to purchase a coloring book or whatever the product is right then and there, versus someone that’s doing an intent-based search like on Amazon.com. When someone types in coloring book, our gel pens, or whatever it might be, they are looking to buy something right then and there.
The same thing goes for Google. So someone is making a search on Google for something like, what’s the best tents for camping or whatever, the best lightweight camping tent. If we can write an article, this is just a completely random example, write an article about the best camping tents, and then if we’re selling a lightweight camping tent, having our tent be a part of that conversation, that certainly gives us a leg up over all of our competition.
So this is a much longer term strategy, and we’ve had success with this in ecommerce and also in the past. Obviously I have a long background since 2004 of doing content and organic search engine optimization and marketing.
So I’m looking forward to, over the next couple of years, building a big media property that gets lots of organic traffic that will also combine all of the stuff that we’ve learned about with Facebook ads and other ads to promote our content for people that are looking for this type of stuff. So the next part to that would be looking at tactical.com as kind of the wheel of this business. And Tactical is kind of the center of that. And then the spokes that come off that wheel would be the ecommerce properties. And one of those now is going to be Survival Food.
So that’s exactly why we purchased the site. Think about having a media property that’s writing about prepping and survivalism and bug out bags and all these different stuff that fits in the tactical space, and then also obviously as we are part of all those different things, so also camping and backpacking which I didn’t mention. All of these different things require you to eat, right? I mean you are out camping or backpacking, you need to have food.
And obviously if you are prepping for what all different people prep for which should be natural disasters or nuclear war or the government coming to take over things, whatever that might be, food is a huge component of that. So having articles that we can write that are about food that can attract media attention either through organic search or through social sharing and also get links from other websites, and then we are obviously going to then link out to our own properties which helps further our own SEO efforts.
So this all kind of works together in harmony which I’m really excited about. So Survivalfood.com, so how did we get to purchase Survival Food is probably the next big topic to talk about here. And it’s kind of an interesting story. So this is a tactic that I’ve had for the better part of a decade: going out and looking for potential properties that are around my existing stuff. So I don’t want to reveal all my secret sauce here because this is something that I kind of kept close to my vest but going over things that are very high level. The idea is that if you — let’s just say it’s Tactical since we are talking about it today — if you run a site about tactical gear and all the different activities on tactical stuff, if you can buy sister properties that already exist at a very good price, that is a really good thing to do for a myriad of reasons. And the tactic thing can be to either merge that into the first property that you have, or just let it be a free standing property that you run that’s loosely associated with the other properties.
So yeah, when we bought Tactical.com, we did a bunch of keyword research and found all the different things that kind of go along with Tactical. And then I look for exact match domain names that are in the space, because I’m still a big believer in exact match domain names. And survival food popped up on my list. So that’s how we found it. And I contacted lots of people that were in the space.
There’s lots of other domain names that I was looking at, most of which either are part domain names which I’m not quite as interested in, or they’re existing sites that are just so massive that I’m never going to have a chance to purchase. And then there’s like the things like survival food which kind of fly under the radar, and you have an opportunity to purchase them, reach out and I just cold emailed this guy.
It was just like I emailed out of the blue. And I said, “look, I’m interested in purchasing Survivalfood.com, are you interested in selling it?” And to me you know I want the biggest and best opportunity in a space. So I had no interest in anything else in this space. If I didn’t pick up Survivalfood.com I would have just moved on and looked at something else that wasn’t in the food area but in other areas that we are looking at that are related to Tactical.com. And he got back to me. And we had a conversation over a period of about six months. It took a long time to make this happen.
When I first emailed him as you can imagine he was incredibly skeptical and wasn’t very interested at all in this. And over a period of many, many months I was able to convince him that it was worth it for him to sell. So we bought the site for a remarkable $15,000 which I’m still very, very happy with. Obviously I think that the domain name itself is worth more than that. But this was a site that has been around for a very long time. And again it’s kind of like the “ripe for the picking” kind of site for us because it’s the same concept that we used with Icewraps.com. It’s a site that’s been around for a very looking time that at one time had lots of sales and traffic, but was a little bit mismanaged and has just kind of fallen apart. So if you look at Icewraps.com’s organic search results from many years ago it was a huge hit. And then it just kind of went by the wayside. We took it over and we were able to regenerate those amazing results. So I think we can do the same thing with Survival Food here. It’s using all stock photos, using all canned descriptions. It was redone in Magento in a very bad way and I don’t think they did the 301 redirects properly at the time. And just, their search results just plummeted, and I think we can get that back.
So we are going to be using other manufacturers’ products to get this thing started. And the thing I’m most excited about long term is that we have an opportunity to then make our own brand of Survival Food. As someone who has eaten a lot of this stuff, the stuff that’s out there is pretty gross or raw. And our hope is to be able to develop our own brand of Survival Food at some point with that brand name, something else again you just can’t combat, we’ll have a leg up over everybody else. Survival food is the biggest search in this niche. And we already, when we bought the site, it already ranked 11th. So I think getting it back on the home page and eventually ranking number one for the term survival food is well within reach. And the long term prospects for me are just incredible of what we can do with this brand; build some like other people’s products and having our own brand of food.
The other thing that I wanted to buy this site for, it’s also for a hedge. They are about to go through budget negotiations here in congress. I’m trying not to get too political on this show and stay agnostic to that. But one way or the other whether you are for this or against it they are going through budget negotiations and tax cuts very soon here in Congress. And one of the things that is on the table is what’s called a border adjustment tax.
Basically the idea would be if we are going to be having a bunch of tax cuts we got to supplement this with another tax, another way to get income. And one of the things they are looking at doing there is the border adjustment tax. And the other concept is that the border adjustment tax would help save and/or create US jobs.
Again, I don’t want to say which way or the other I feel about this, whether or not works or not. It’s just that it’s a proposal that’s on the table that they are very keen to get through. So basically what that would mean is anything that you have manufactured outside the United States would not be deductible as a cost of goods. And anything that you manufacture in the United States that you export, you wouldn’t have to count any income against that.
So basically my hope is if this were to pass and we developed our own brand of Survival Food, and we are able to sell a bunch of it internationally, then we would be able to write off the difference. Basically we’d have to write off our imports against our exports, our exports against our imports. And it just would give us a huge leg up over everyone else that’s just basically online, the Amazon business that isn’t doing anything else but that. So again just long term thinking here, and it’s kind of like an outside additional benefit to me in this space.
So we’ll see if that comes to fruition or not. I certainly don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Congress can get much of anything done right now. I’m somewhat convinced that we are going to have a government shutdown because it’ll just be a bunch of people, grown men arguing with each other and women. There are a few women in the center, which, if there were more, I think that there would be better conversations and less chest pounding. And we’d actually get something done in government these days.
So I’m not convinced that it’s going to pass or anything is going to get really done at this point, but we’ll see. So anyway that kind of covers that point, or those points. So the other thing I want to talk about here just for a little bit is what has the progress been on Tactical.com. I kind of announced that we were launching that site a couple of months ago.
So what have we done since I talked about that? I think I mentioned it in late May. It might have been early June. So since then we have been running contests. Every month we’ve had one for June, July and August. And so far what that has done for us is generate over 10,000 email list at a really good price. We’ve also pixeled over 30,000 people. And we got about 1,400 fans for Tactical on Facebook which I’m incredibly happy with these results. It’s been absolutely amazing.
And in the background we’ve been writing content for Tactical.com. We have over 35 articles already ready to go in the can. And within a few days of this podcast coming out we plan on launching the site. Certainly by the end of August it will be launched. There’s a couple of things going in the background right now that we are looking at doing. So we’ll see when we can get that launched. But it’s certainly coming up pretty soon. So what else did I want to go over here? A bunch of different notes here. I already kind of went over how did I find Survivalfood.com so I don’t need to go over that any more. I’ve mentioned the border adjustment tax. Let’s see what else is huge here.
Yeah, there’s another thing I want to mention real quick. We’ve already added a food section to Tactical.com to write about a lot of articles on this subject. I knew that we were looking at purchasing Survival Food. So again there is a lot of synergy with the Tactical space. We have camping, backpacking, prepping, survivalism, homesteading, all these different things, disaster preparation et cetera. So Survival Food fits perfectly within this niche. So you have things like freeze dry foods which is basically these packets where you just add water and it takes like nine minutes for it to kind of cook.
Or there is, there’s bars like MRE type bars or nutrient bars. And there is also canned food and a bunch of other things. And basically the idea is that you can either buy single servings of this stuff to go backpacking or camping with like I did when I went to Alaska, or you buy a whole pallet of it and store it in your garage just in case a disaster happens. And this food is good for quite a long time, and that’s kind of the whole market. So there’s lots and lots of content that can be written around this subject.
So we are already knee-deep in that. Just talking about the types of food you bring with you when camping, the type of food that you need for prepping and survivalism and stuff like that. And these are articles we’ll talk about: doing things like raising chickens or gardening or collecting rainwater, or all these different things that are related to this topic. But then there’s also — you probably should have a palletful of things like dehydrated macaroni and cheese. Or beef stroganoff or chicken Teriyaki or whatever it might be on a pallet, also freeze dry ready to go that you can just add water and eat.
So again the synergies are just absolutely incredible for this. So it’s pretty darn exciting. Yeah, so I think that actually covers all. I thought this was going to take a lot longer to talk about and bang out, but I think that covers everything. It covers why Survivalfood.com, how I got Survivalfood.com, what we’ve been doing with Tactical.com so far, our plans for Survivalfood.com moving forward.
And again to reiterate the early stages here, the idea is just to re-launch it with a Shopify store versus the Magento store that’s there right now and replace all the current photos with our own photos. All the description with our own descriptions, make a good looking store that converts easily. Start getting traffic and conversions there, and then work long term to potentially building our own brand. And I say potentially because it might not be something that we absolutely want to do. I think that we’ll see how this website performs and how well we are able to convert our traffic from Tactical.com over to Survival Food will dictate whether or not we go the extra step and launch our own brand. And also certainly the border adjustment tax issue will dictate whether or not we decide to develop our own brand. Because if that does pass like my immediate priority is going to be to develop a couple of brands of things that are developed in the US, and food is definitely one of those things that has a huge leg up. I mean you don’t want to bring food in from China.
Obviously most food products are not really a good candidate to import. The typical food has expiration date and has a lot of FDA and other requirements to even bring in here. So food is one of those few things that makes sense no matter what. It’s already more cost effective than to bring in to the — to have made in US than bringing in from another source. And the cool thing is that any food that I make here would actually be sellable and brandable and et cetera on a worldwide stage, certainly especially to Canada and things like that. So definitely really excited about that. And I think that there is an opportunity on Amazon as well.
I mean there’s already a bunch of survival food type products on there and things like Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry. All these different really big brands sell very well on Amazon so I know there is a space on Amazon to use this with. And we would have a leg up already knowing all the manufacturers in the space, all the third party co-packers, and stuff like that. And then knowing what types of food are selling better than others.
Plus I just have a personal interest in this. I guess that I’ve been using the product myself a lot as I’ve been doing more and more camping and backpacking and I can wholeheartedly say that most of this food is just like borderline edible. It isn’t the most tasty stuff in the world, and I find it like I get a fatigue from it over many days. If I had to eat it for a month if there was a disaster, natural disaster it would be pretty rough.
So I think that pretty much covers everything I want to talk about here with Survivalfood.com and Tactical.com. Hopefully you found this to be interesting, something to be thinking about your own content and media strategy, and using like kind of a “spoke of the wheel” approach to do this. I mean certainly we are planning on developing our own Tactical brand. Things that — a brand of tactical gear stuff that will sell things like gloves and vests and pants, and maybe even shoes and stuff.
That’s one brand but that doesn’t make sense to sell food under that brand. So we’ll another brand for food and maybe another brand for some other things that we are looking at doing I don’t really want to talk about yet. But the idea is to have — not to continue to launch media sites and brands over and over again, because this is what takes all the time and effort. And my hope is as Tactical.com continues to grow we can do so much with it all over the place. There’s lots of things I think that we can do versus something like ColorIt where we just start to hit a wall in the number of products we can develop.
So like as I continue to grow my list of things we look for, one of the things I’ve been looking for now on new brands is just breadth of products, right? I mean having something like Tactical; I don’t know that we’ll ever run out of different products we can develop. Just there are so many things that can be done in this space. So it’s really exciting.
That’s going to be it for this week guys. A couple of programming notes for us. I just want to mention that the EcomCrew Podcast is sponsored by Stamped.io. So if you need reviews for your Shopify store, definitely check out Stamped.io. Next speaking engagement coming up is going to be Global Sources over in Hong Kong, October 17th through 19th. And I was just told by the lady who puts that conference together who I definitely need to email back that there is going to be a special discount going for EcomCrew listeners.
So if you are looking to going over there, definitely stay tuned for that. I’ll have that by next week. And then Ecommerce Fuel January 11th through 13th. And I was just invited back to speak at Sellers Summit next year again in Florida. I believe that that’s going to be May 4th and 5th next year. So that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing Steve Chou again out there at that event and all the other people out there that attended this year. That was fun to meet those guys. So that will be next May.
Already I got next year’s stuff kind of lined up already. So looking forward to speaking to everybody out there. And as always if you get a chance to leave us a review on iTunes, we definitely appreciate it, or head over to Facebook.com/EcomCrew. Hit the like button and when we go live on Mondays, you’ll get notified.
So thanks so much everybody for listening this week. As always after I get done recording this, I’m going head over to the live stream and answer any questions live that we might have over there. So if you pop up so I’m looking forward to help everybody over there. And until next week everybody, happy selling and I look forward to talking to you next week.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/EcomCrew for weekly live recordings of the EcomCrew Podcast every Monday. And please do us a favor and leave an honest review on iTunes; it will really help us out. Again, thanks for listening. And until next week, happy selling.
Abby is based in the beautiful tropical island of Cebu, Philippines. In her past life she worked as a freelance tech and business writer, and was a top customer service representative at a big ecommerce company.