August 19, 2019
Conversion Rate Optimization for Shopify with Kurt Elster

Conversion Rate Optimization for Shopify with Kurt Elster


– Hey what’s up everybody? This is Trent Dyrsmid from
the Bright Ideas Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am here to help you discover what is working in the world of eCommerce, so that you can become a more successful eCommerce entrepreneur. And joining me on the show today is a fellow by the name of Kurt Elster. Kurt is a very interesting fellow who’s got an extensive
background in eCommerce. But rather than read you his bio, I’m just gonna get him to
say it in his own words. So Kurt thank you very much
for joining me on the show. Let’s start off with who
are you and what do you do? Thanks for having me. I’ve been working in the
eCommerce for a decade. When I started, wildly unsuccessfully, to build my own eCommerce platform. Took about four years to figure it out. So for the last six years
we’ve been working exclusively with Shopify merchants to
help them grow their stores, uncover hidden revenue;
but I’m probably best known for hosting The Unofficial
Shopify Podcast, which fingers crossed, we’re gonna hit a million downloads in a couple months. – Nice. Well done. – Thank you. – So let’s start off with
maybe some notable clients. Because I think that’s
the fastest way to– Aside from almost a million downloads, which is more than me. Some of the notable clients will, I think, quickly establish your credibility. – Sure The most well known is Jay Leno’s Garage. I cherry picked that one for myself, and did all the store set-up and design. And out of that relationship,
was lucky enough to finagle a tour of Jay’s Garage
which is like bucket list, life changing, amazing thing. If you’re into car stuff,
another good one is Hoonigan. They’re like the bad boys
of car stuff I suppose. They’re a ton of fun. Prior to that we did stuff with Verizon, the NFL, Hilton Hotels. That was years ago now. – Alright. So I’m actually gonna get to go down to Jay’s Garage this fall, because a buddy of mine here in Boise sold their car to Jay. He got to go down; met Jay. And then when the episode
that they filmed goes live, he gets to go back down, and bring anybody with him that he wants. And I said that I would kill him if he didn’t take me with him. So I’m gonna get to go down as well. – I’ll give you one piece
of trivia about that. There is like a screening
room area in the garage. Look around it. The dressing around it is pieces of the old Tonight Show set. – Very cool. – Yeah.
– I didn’t know that. Now how did you come to
have Jay as a client? – Actually this is a good
entrepreneurial endeavor here. I was in– Or lesson rather. I was in the Shopify Plus Facebook group, and someone, a consultant that
was working on that brand, posted to introduce himself and was like, “Hey. Here’s the store” I messaged them and said, “Yeah. “I love your stuff, and I’m a car guy. “I’m into detailing as part of that.” And they said “We’ll send you a free kit.” And then said, “Hey did you wanna– Or I said, “Hey did you
wanna talk about your store? “I’ve got some ideas.” And the relationship just grew from there. – Very nice. Well that would have been
a very cool client to have. That aside, let’s talk about strategy. First off, where are you
seeing the biggest opportunity in eCommerce today if
a entrepreneur aspires to build a million dollar or more, a million dollar plus store by creating their own brand of some kind. – In one way you answered the question: They have to build their own brand. There’s this fundamental
mindset difference that happens. You’ve got people who, they wanna build some get rich quick scheme right? That’s like, “I’m gonna
have overnight success.” And they’re always like drop shipping And you’re just selling
weird commodity goods. The way to identify those
as bad opportunities, is if you look at the store and go, “This is a vending machine.” Like, there’s nothing beyond just this one time transactional relationship. And if that’s the case, you’re gonna struggle to
differentiate yourself. So you’re gonna struggle to be successful. Even if you are successful, you will eventually get
eaten alive by Amazon. Because you’re not bringing anything more to the table for the customer. I think the brands that have
survived, that do really well, look to build long-term
durability in that brand, by number one, respecting your customer, building trust with that customer, and providing something
that makes your brand more than just the
proverbial vending machine. – Can you give me an example? – Sure. I think personal branding,
or celebrity endorsement, those are probably two
sides of the same coin. That’s a big one. Some of the most
successful brands I’ve seen have a cult of personality behind them. I mean even think about Apple. Like when Steve Jobs was at the helm everybody just assumed that that guy was the paragon of industrial
design magnificence. And it was because of his personality. Apple had that personal branding. So it’s kind of a really
big, huge example. But something smaller, Jay
Leno’s Garage of course, we’ve got that celebrity endorsement. Kylie Jenner is always one they hold up. Any Shopify event is like
this huge massive brand that’s been successful. But really it’s like realistically they’re just selling makeup. But it’s because she is a part of it, and she’s the one promoting it that makes it successful. But okay maybe you’re like, “Yeah. But I can’t get– – That’s what I’m thinking.
– Jay Leno or Kylie Jenner to my brand. Fine. Okay. If you wanna go that
celebrity endorsement route, certainly partnerships with celebrities are easier than you’d think, so long as you could be in the right place at the right time to get ahold of them. But alright, that aside. If you are passionate about the brand or the product, whatever it is. And you put your face to it, and you can communicate that enthusiasm. People want to engage with
other people, not brands. No one has strong feelings about the bullseye logo at Target. But they do engage with other people. A great example is Bombtech Golf. Just this tremendous Shopify store. Not like an amazing design, but just a guy named
Tyler “Sully” Sullivan who is into golf, realized the markup on
golf clubs was wild, started manufacturing his own golf clubs, and talking about it
and working in public, blogging about it, and
talking about it on forums, and posting YouTube videos, and then started selling
it on a Shopify store. I talked to him recently. He’s doing the proverbial
four hour work week. Where he works from home. The entire thing is outsourced. Like virtual assistant type labor. Fulfilled by someone else. And it’s a seven figure
store now on Shopify. That’s incredible. He wasn’t anyone before then. But other people in that niche, recognized the enthusiasm and liked him and what he was doing. And that’s why they buy. – Do you know the story well enough that we can go in the weeds a little bit on his site, on his story? – I could try. – Okay, you mentioned he’s designed and manufactured his own clubs. At what point did he start
building the audience? Was it bef–
– Good question. It started– I think it was born out of forums. So he started participating and being active in the community. That’s step one is just be out there. Because there’s a big difference between a guy who shows up in a
community with something to sell. They’re gonna get torn apart. Versus someone who’s
respected in the community, and then starts talking about, “Hey maybe we should
manufacture our own thing.” Like, as a community effort,
and then making it available. That kind of person now has their (bad connection interrupts speaker) and is already way ahead
of the competition. Because they’re talking to their customer. That’s such a valuable thing, to be able to talk
directly to the customer and have that feedback loop going. So that’s where he started. Then what he said really stepped it up was switching to video. Whereas there were just videos of him– He filmed them himself with
a phone in his backyard, of him like testing
and tuning the product, just doing the golf swing. It’s really– I remember him saying that’s what was like a big inflection point was switching to video as
part of that communication. – Yeah. I’ll bet. So people who want to know more about that I would encourage you to go
check out his YouTube channel and try and identify– And maybe I could even
have him on the show. So if you wanna make an
introduction that’d be wonderful. – I’ll write it down right now. – Okay. So I was listening to
an interview yesterday, with Ezra Firestone. And one of the comments that stuck with me was 75% of the customers
that come to your store: They’re never coming back. Do you agree?
– Yes – So you agree? – Yes. Return customer rate– If you had a 25% return customer rate, we’d say, “You know what? “That’s pretty good. “That’s not bad at all.” If it’s under 20% we’re like, “Yeah. That’s not great” If you got to 40% return
customer rate we’d say, “That’s amazing. “You’re doing something
extraordinarily right.” – So what are some of the things that one can do extraordinarily right to try and drive up that
customer return rate? – Obviously the big advantage
return customer rate is you’re extending customer lifetime value. That’s the goal right,
for you as the merchant. But it’s gotta be a two-way street. You need to provide value and support to that customer to get
that lifetime value. The number one way to do it if you’re not messing with it yet is email marketing automation. There is nothing better than
email marketing automation to bring people back to the site. It lets you provide– So number one, when they
make that first purchase there’s some excitement that happens. You wanna keep that conversation
and that excitement going after they’ve made the first purchase. So at like a traditional
store, or like Amazon, we make a purchase. We get our order receipt,
shipping notification, and then two weeks later
write a review and we’re done. – That’s it, yeah. – Well why not send more email? So number one, when you
have your own brand, and you’re selling direct to consumer, we can segment people. So brand new customers made
their first-time purchase. We could send them a little
personalized thank you note: “Hey saw you made your
first purchase at our store. “Really appreciate it. “You’re what makes us great. “And hey if you have any questions at all “just hit reply to this email.” And then you have it go to
a support ticketing software to make sure it doesn’t
slip through the cracks. And then they’ve got in
their order receipt– 90% of people are gonna
open the order receipt. It’s like a weird thing we all do. It’s just to make sure,
to ease our worry that, “Hey I did. I ordered
the right thing right?” And when you open that order receipt, there’s a great opportunity. You can include upsells in that email. And ideally you wanna do it based on the product they bought. Like, “Oh they bought a digital camera. “Hey did you wanna buy
this tripod, memory card.” Include that kinda stuff in
the order confirmation email. You can even go a step further
if your margins support it, and say “You wanna make your
second purchase right now. “Here’s a coupon code for 10%,
15% off your next purchase.” Because in that moment, that’s when they’re most likely
to make a second purchase. It’s right after the first one. – What are some of the things you can do to increase customer LTV? – That email marketing automation idea, you’d keep it going. You have to do more than just
being always selling to them. You need to be providing value to them if they’re gonna ask– If you’re gonna then ask
them for their money again. One of the–
– So like video content? – Yes. Well actually here, a great example. This guy Jake Starr at
Recycled Firefighter. He makes wallets out
of recycled fire hose. When you purchase an item in– And they use Klaviyo as
their email software. It segments you based on
what product you purchased. So whether you bought a backpack,
or duffel bag, or wallet. And then before you’ve
ever received the item. Two days after you’ve placed the order you get an email from him
with the story of the product. And it’s like a landing page
just built around the product you already bought in
which it’s a video of him. It’s a big text story in
which he explains like, “Hey here’s the idea. “Here’s how we manufacture
it, why it’s the best. “Here’s the best way to use the product. “Here’s some suggestions.” And then that way, when
the person gets the product you have preempted any weird technical support service
issue they may have had. And they’ve got that story
rattling around in their head. So now they’ve got a
better appreciation of it. And the next time they
pull out their wallet, and someone goes, “Oh
that’s a nice wallet.” They’ll go, “Oh yeah. “It’s by this guy Jake
at Recycled Firefighter.” And then they know the whole story about how this product came to be. So you can really juice
that word of mouth, and help built that relationship, just by sending this email
that is not directly selling but just trying to
build that relationship. You could also take it as– Let’s say you’ve got– You sell apparel. Returns, exchanges, sizing’s a big problem for fashion and apparel. I made a purchase from, I
think it was outdoorvoices.com, and they preemptively sent an email with their return process before I ever got the product. Because they’re like, “Hey when you get it– “A it’s on it’s way, and when you get it, “if you’ve got any issues with the sizing, “here’s how to exchange it.” So they were proactive in
those customer support issues. No one can have a bad experience when you’re preempting it like that. As soon as they have a bad experience, you’ve lost them and
you’re not gonna be able to get a repeat purchase. So customer– (interrupted by bad connection) Customer experience that customer support is as important as doing
those direct upsells. And then I think down the road, if you know what the purchase is, you wanna offer cross-sells or upsells. We could use a drone as an example. I love drones. I bought a drone recently. We could– No one has emailed me and gone, “Hey you could– “Hey. Enjoying your drone? “Here’s some accessories other people “with the same one bought and enjoyed.” So that way you’re
improving the experience. You’re extending it. So they could do that say like four weeks after I made the purchase. Then they could wait a year and on like– Depends on the product but
we’ll say in this case, they could email me on my
purchase anniversary and say, “Hey. Have you been enjoying your drone? “Would you wanna upgrade to this one?” And then offer me like a way,
something much more expensive that I’m not much more likely to buy as a result of having the experience with the product and trusting the brand. None of this stuff is difficult. It’s just a matter of thinking it up, and implementing that segmentation and automation in your email software. – So I don’t think there’s
an eCommerce entrepreneur on the planet who doesn’t
worry about getting Amazoned. So they’re always trying
to figure out ways, some of which we’ve
already been talking about, to keep the beast at bay so to speak. What are some of the, when your
clients come to you and say, “Hey I wanna make sure that
I’m not losing to Amazon. “I’m not gonna get crushed by Amazon. “That I’ve got a sustainable
business in the long-term.” And they’re asking for help. What are some of the pieces
of advice that you give them? – I think everything we’ve
discussed is already important. Having personal branding number one helps. And second, having that
great customer experience. But you could take that a step further, and start trying to fill in the things that Amazon doesn’t have. Right? They don’t have– There’s no like loyalty or
rewards program that Amazon has. That’s such an easy value add
to do on your own website. That’s an easy service win right there. – Let me interrupt there.
– Sure. – So are there Shopify
plugins or extensions, whatever the right word– Apps that make implementing
a loyalty program really easy to do? – Yes. My favorite right now, just
absolutely tremendous is Smile. Smile.io. It makes it incredibly easy to implement, and then is extremely configurable. So you can set up– Like alright you’re gonna
get x number of points, per purchase per dollar spent, you can redeem x number of points for this dollar value, in this way. And then they also add
events to it so they can– Or actions, so you could be like, “Hey on your birthday
you’re gonna get x points.” Or “For liking us on Facebook
we’ll give you x points.” So it’s really a both powerful and easy to use rewards program, Smile. – And for anyone who’s
driving and listening to this all of these URL’s, every
tool that we mention, all the key stuff is gonna
be in the show notes. You’ll be able to get to those show notes by going to Brightideas.co/260. And hopefully I don’t end up changing this and having a different episode number. But I’m pretty darn
confident it’s gonna be 260. And you’ll be able to get
links to everything there. Alright, so far two tools, Klaviyo for email, Smile
for customer loyalty. I kind of interrupted you. You got to talking about customer loyalty. And then what are some other
ways to help combat the Amazon? – Well I think two things. One, Amazon’s not
amazing at customization. There is some limited effort in there. If you have a product where you can add personalization to it. That is going to help you in general, but also let you provide a different and better experience than Amazon. So an easy app to do it
is Bold Product Options. That really lets you– People can upload art
to print on something. Or you could do all manner
of configuration of options. But not everyone’s gonna be
able to customize products. I would consider that one. The other one, go ahead.
– Let me jump in. Remember where you’re at
because I wanna jump in and share a quick story. So I was at eCommercefuel
Live in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. And there was a woman there who had started a brand of wooden watches. And she’d scaled it to 20 million bucks in four scant years and all of it– Customization was a huge, huge,
huge part of her value prop. So if you’re listening
and you’re wondering, “Well gosh does customization work?” I would say based upon her experience that absolutely it is one of the things that you should consider doing. – Yes, and implementing on
the site is not the hard part. It’s like in your fulfillment
process can you handle it? If you have that unfair advantage, where you know you can
fulfill customized products then absolutely figure
it out on the website. That’s gonna be the easy part of it. I’ll tell you the other
struggle that Amazon has is their catalog is massive, which means filtering
through it can be tough. And they’re entirely dependent
on that keyword search. All Amazon experiences
are driven by keywords including using Alexa with voice search. What you could do is just
try and build, number one, a better, easier navigation system. So if you’ve got fancy mega menus already in a limited catalog, your life is gonna get easier. But think about it
depends on your vertical. Think about like auto parts. Trying to buy auto parts on Amazon has and still is a terrible experience. They’re really not very good at it. Whereas if you could build– On your own site build a vehicle selector. It’s like alright your make, model. And then it goes, “This is the
product you’re looking for.” On my gosh, now I’m always
gonna go with that over Amazon, where I’m like, “I’m really
not sure if this is right. “None of this makes sense.” Look for those holes in
the Amazon experience. Can I make it easier to find? The reason being is what we found. Once someone lands on your homepage, the faster you can get them
to a product the first time, not even necessarily the right product, just something close, that’s the diff– It’s like walking past a store
versus walking into a store. If you can just make it easy enough to start navigating
through the product catalog you’re significantly more
likely to make a sale. – That makes sense. Can’t buy what you can’t find. Alright let’s talk a
little bit about apps. Because that is one of the things I think that makes the Shopify
platform so incredibly popular, is they’ve got a tremendous
ecosystem of apps. What are some of your favorites? – So we mentioned Smile as really good. But one I demoed recently,
and I’m totally blown away by, is Retention Rocket. Certainly you have gotten
abandoned cart emails before. Retention Rocket takes
it to the next level. It’s abandoned cart text messages. So in Shopify, the first page
of the checkout it’s like, “Oh put in your phone number, click next.” And then there’s a check
box at the bottom that says “Check here”– And we have it by default. “Check here to get emails,
marketing communications.” They add a second one that says, “And let us contact you by phone.” Like an hour after you’ve
abandoned your cart you get a text message with
an MMS link straight back to the checkout with a coupon code already applied that says, “Hey if you have any questions,
reply to this text message. “Type stop to opt out, and here’s the link “to go back to your
purchase now 10% less.” – I like it.
– This thing prints money. It’s so cool. – Yeah. I’ll bet. – There’s other features in there. Once you have that, just
like your email list, once you have your text messaging list, you can send broadcast
communications to people. But I think the magic is just in that there’s so much revenue you can recover by having these different, more novel abandoned cart strategies. Because at this point we’re all starting to get used to those
abandoned cart emails. – Alright so what are
some of the other apps that you really like? – The two others I really
like, number one Privy. Privy is a pop-up builder. Pop-ups are so important. They’re critical to your
email marketing strategy. And having them be beautiful
and flexible is nice. A good pop-up strategy
I like to go with is when they land on the
site, not immediately, but when they scroll,
we know they’re engaged. So when they hit the 50% scroll mark, alright let’s pop up a
welcome offer where we go, “Hey sign up for our newsletter “and we’ll give you a code immediately.” You know it could be 10, 15, 20% off. You can also do it– So that’s number one. I want that welcome offer on scroll. Then number two, I want
an exit intent offer. You could maybe do that on the whole site. Or if you wanna get fancier, you could do it just on the cart page. So you have like a more enticing offer. Let’s say the welcome one is 10% and then if they go to abandoned on the cart page then we go, “Wait, wait. If you enter your email “we’ll give you a coupon code for 15%” As soon as they’re trying to exit. So those pop-ups can help
interrupt someone leaving and keep them on the site. It also lets you get their email which is important to build your list. But here’s where Privy’s different than the other pop-up builders. This is magic. The issue with abandoned
carts emails normally, is they’re not abandoned
cart emails really. They’re abandoned checkout emails. In Shopify, you’re not getting that email and sending the abandoned cart email until they hit the second
step in the checkout. What Privy has done is very clever. Let’s say they fill out the email, the welcome email at any point– That pop up at any point
when they’re on the site. And then they view a product and abandon. Or they add to cart and abandon. Privy knows their email address
already for the session. And then it can send the
abandoned cart for you. So now they add the product to cart, now that is a true genuine
abandoned cart email. They don’t have to get
to the checkout process. So I think that one– Because there’s a lot of pop-up builders. So that’s how that one
differentiates itself and became my favorite and my winner. – Okay. – And then the third. Alright a little different than an app. We’re gonna go with the service Hotjar. Hotjar provides heatmaps. That’s what’s so cool
having your own website. You can now– You can see how people are using it. That’s one of the interesting
things about design, that merchants sometimes miss. Is there’s how you use your site. And then there’s the way you
think your user use your site. But until you’ve watched someone use it. Or watched a screen recording,
or looked at heatmap data, you really don’t know how
they’re actually using the site. The magic of Hotjar: It’s inexpensive. It works really well. So you can use it to fine
tune the page by figuring out, “Here are the elements
people aren’t clicking. “So maybe we should get rid of those. “We could declutter the site. “Here are the elements people are clicking “that don’t do anything. “Alright maybe we need to reconsider that. “Make it clickable or get rid of it. “And here’s the stuff people
are clicking on the most. “We should make that the
primary, prominent elements.” So heatmaps are powerful on their own. But my favorite super cool
feature that Hotjar does is exit intent (bad connection interrupts) – Say that again. We’ve got a little bit of a–
– Similar to like the– – Sorry to cut you off. We’ve had a little bit
of an internet burp. So just go ahead and say that again. – My favorite feature in
Hotjar isn’t the heatmaps. It’s exit intent polls. So let’s say someone’s on a product page. And we could say only show this poll if the URL contains /products. So they’re on a product
page, and they go to exit. Then we pop up a window that says, “If you didn’t make a purchase today, “what was it that stopped you?” Now you’re going to have a way to finally when people are abandoning your site. they’re fleeing, running from your site. You have no idea why. You’re tearing your hair out. You’re making all these wild guesses. Why don’t we just ask them? And that’s what this exit
intent poll lets us do. So very quickly, depending
on how much traffic you have to your product pages, you can have a spreadsheet
of genuine answers to why they didn’t buy. Well now you look for trends
and you can figure out, here are the objections;
here are the issues. So maybe it’s just some
unanswered question you didn’t know people had because they didn’t ask. So you could update your
product descriptions, or update your headlines. And now suddenly conversion
rates are gonna start going up. Or there’s some technical
issue that you had no idea. And then to take that, add lifetime value to
add to the experience to improve that customer experience, You can have a second
question and just go, “If you want an answer to your question, “just enter your email.” And then some people who have
issues will enter their email and you can reach out
to them to resolve it. – Earlier we talked about the importance of increasing customer lifetime value. Equally if not more important is increasing average order value. Are there specific apps or tactics that you’ve seen to be
extremely effective. I mean I think upsell, okay great. But the implementation of the word upsell can go wildly wrong or
they can get it right. What thoughts do you have on that? – I’m glad you asked. With upsells and cross-sells the trick is to number
one make them relevant. And then number two, have
them happen at the right time. And there’s more than one way to do it. But I would say in Shopify
there’s, under analytics, there’s a report you can
run called in cart analysis. And it will give you, it
will just flat out tell you, “Here’s stuff that people
are statistically likely “to add to cart together.” So you literally have Shopify
giving you a report of, “These are things you should cross-sell.” Or there’s a free app called Bold Brain that will go a little deeper, run a similar analysis
and then come back and go, “Alright here are
cross-sell opportunities. “Here are bundle opportunities.” Give you a more in depth report. And that’s so cool because the app’s free. To get that reporting data, Bold Brain. And then for actually making
these offers to people, there’s more than one way to do it. I read an interesting report
from Baymard Institute who does user research, and they said, “If you wanna improve user experience, “List, make sure you add on
the page what’s included. “What accessories are included “with whatever thing you’re selling “so it’s clear what they’re getting.” You could use your product description to do the cross-sells by saying, “Here’s what’s not included,
but customers have purchased.” And then put the links
to the items right there. That’s like the most
basic easy way to do it. I don’t need apps. I don’t need to program anything. Links and a product description. But certainly we may want
to go fancier than that. The matching app Bold Product Upsell will let you make those same offers when someone adds to cart. Or when they click go to checkout. Then if you wanna get really fancy, and this has the highest success rate, is making those offers post purchase. You mentioned Ezra Firestone earlier. His company Zipify has a Shopify app that does this called OneClickUpsell. You could do like the
ClickFunnels style experience where after they purchase,
then you could do in that moment you could say, “Hey did you wanna add this to the order?” And now they don’t really have
to make a second purchase. They could just say add. And it gets added to the
purchase they’ve already made. So there’s no risk of screwing anything up and losing the deal because
you made too many offers. Then it also– It’s fancy. It supports upsells and downsells. So if they add the first one you go, “Do you also wanna get this one?” Or if they say no to that one maybe, “Here’s a lesser expensive option.” Which is always fancy and nice if you wanna go down that road. The other way to do it would be bundles. So not necessarily
cross-selling after the fact, but doing it up front where you offer, “Hey here’s the–” “Here’s our digital camera.” or, “Here’s the digital
camera shoot more bundle, “where you get a backpack and
an extra set of batteries.” So just kinda preempt it. And then you can link to
that on the product page, of the core product as well. – Let’s talk a little
bit about unique ways, or clever ways to drive traffic to store. So everyone and their dog
is buying Facebook ads. I’ve heard people finding success on– I think Ezra was actually
talking about LinkedIn being just like the cheapest
clicks around these days. Maybe more of a B-to-B,
I’m not entirely sure. There’s YouTube. There’s Instagram. There’s all sorts of ways to go and head and acquire traffic. But let’s talk about, if
anything comes to mind, if you can think of examples. You know, clever ways or unique ways that people are succeeding with. – Well we’ll start with– You brought up Facebook ads. And certainly I think that’s probably like the number one way everybody’s
driving traffic these days. But they’re getting
more and more expensive. Unless you’re doing remarketing. You just remarket. You show ads to people
who visited your site. What’s super cool in Facebook now is you can share audiences. So let’s say you have someone
in the industry you know. And they have overlapping
audiences with you but not necessarily competing products. So let’s say you sell jerseys
and someone else sells socks. And you’ve got the same people. You could share your
audiences with each other and then remarket to
each other’s audiences. So that’s an easy way to get immediate, fast access to qualified traffic. You’re adding value to some
other person in your community. You’re getting value out of it, and you’re expanding that audience with a way to do inexpensive Facebook ads. So if you already know Facebook ads works, that’s one way to double down on it a bit. The other one that I don’t
see enough people doing, and could be absolutely
incredible, is giveaways. They’re so easy to do. With ViralSweep, Gleam, I’m sure there are others. What’s clever about these
giveaway platforms now is you can award– It’s not just enter your email and you’re gonna be in a raffle. You can now give people extra entries for referring it to referring friends. So it adds a network effect to it. And you can really very– If you’ve got a core audience and a really good offer
that is compelling, like whatever you’re giving away. And you know I can’t just be like, “You’re gonna get 20 bucks to Chili’s.” I don’t know that might work
depending on your audience. It’s gotta be something that they want. You know something exclusive. With Hoonigan they gave
away a signed wheel, that rally driver Ken
Block signed this wheel, and they gave that away. It was tremend– Huge, tons of entries into that thing. – I’ll bet.
– (laughs) Yeah. So if you could do a
giveaway with something either like super
exclusive or of value like, “Hey we’re giving away an iPad.” That will certainly
get people’s attention. But if you’re gonna do it, do it with a service
like ViralSweep or Gleam, where you can add those
social actions to it, to give it some extra virality. – Let me add some color to
that because there was– As a part of my research on a project which I ultimately decided I didn’t have enough bandwidth for. A company that was gonna be
in the motorsports space. I went and I talked. I went to SEMA and I talked to all sorts of brands about giveaways. And one of the things– And I forget which brand told me about it. But we went a ways down the road. So I was able to line
up a number of sponsors for a given giveaway. And rather than to get
them to contribute product, ideally what you were looking for is to get them to contribute experiences that would not be
otherwise easy to obtain, but really didn’t cost
that brand any money. For example, brand– There was a company that was
Miller Welding Equipment. The marketing agency that
handled their account said to me, “By the way we actually have relationships with Chip Ganassi Racing. So one of the things that we could do is we could offer a experience where the winner of the raffle would get to go to the race. They’re gonna sit in the
Chip Ganassi corporate box. They’re gonna meet some of the drivers. They’re gonna get the behind the scenes. What did that really cost them to do? Not much really to be honest with you. But what was the perceived
value from motorsports fans? Well it was off the charts.
– Huge. – Because they get to go and
they get to take pictures and put it on Facebook
and brag about it forever. And so have you seen– Can you think of examples
in your wheelhouse of where experience type
giveaways have really done well? – Well we’ll see. The thing we’re working on setting up will probably be live
on the site in March. Giving away a tour of Jay Leno’s Garage. It speaks to exactly
what you just described. – Okay. I’m just keeping my notes up to date. Alright. Where are we at? 36 minutes. So two more things I wanna touch on. One of them will mostly, probably make it into the show notes. And that is, do you
have resources available that folks can access or download for best practices for running, “Hey I’ve got my store.” Because it’s kind of a formula right? Like you should be doing this, and you should be doing this. And it’s kind of a checklist or a standard operating
procedure as I like to say. – There you go. – Do you have some resources available? And if you do, make sure
you get me the URL’s so I can put them into the show notes. If you wanna mention anything
now please feel free. – Yeah. If you want a
here’s a PDF checklist of conversion rate optimization
ideas to try in your store. I’ve got that available
at ethercycle.com/guide. Or I’ve got well probably
a ton of free resources just baked into The
Unofficial Shopify Podcast. But check out ethercycle.com/resources. And that’s just here’s
a list of free stuff we put together for Shopify merchants. – Okay. And then the other thing you and I did not talk about at
all in our pre-interview because I hadn’t
formalized this partnership which I now have. A business partner of mine,
we have decided to start a company called HPI Ventures. And we are on the hunt to buy
existing eCommerce brands. And this is something that we wanna spend five to ten years doing. A good long time. To follow what’s called
the classic rollup strategy where you’re buying a
bunch of little companies, but they have overlapping audiences. They have overlapping all sorts of things, and you can merge them together
all into one bigger company. And make money in all sorts of different ways from doing that. Which brings me to my question. From a due diligence perspective, What are some of the things, if an investor or a buyer is looking at an eCommerce
business that is for sale, what are in your opinion some
of the things that they should be looking at from a due
diligence perspective to make sure they don’t drive
their car into the proverbia– Proverbia- I can’t say to talk today, but
you get the idea: brick wall. – Yes. So the thing that’s very scary
about eCommerce is cashflow. When you’re selling a physical good right, You’re always robbing Peter to pay Paul, and that you’ve got– You’re making sales but
then you have to spend that money on the next round of inventory. So you wanna make sure that they have done good and proper bookkeeping
on their expenses. Because they always know exactly, “Hey here’s how much
revenue we’re making.” Yeah but you can show me a store that’s making seven figures in revenue and still losing money. That happens. They just absolutely wanna make sure that the cost of goods sold in particular is calculated correctly
and truthfully number one. And then I think number two is, Is their customer acquisition
strategy sustainable? So if they’ve got– Whatever strategy they’re
using to drive growth, can you keep it going? Is it realistic to keep it going? Or does it work but have risk to it? Where it’s like alright they’re a hundred percent
dependent on Facebook ads. Anytime you’re totally
dependent on one channel, that kinda spooks me. That should spooks me a little bit. It’s risk. Those are the two big red
flags I would look for. – Alright, with that
said let me finish off with a question that I always like to ask. If you were interviewing yourself, is there anything you would ask yourself at this point in time? In other words, have I missed anything? – I’d say what’s the number
one most important thing when conversion rate optimizing a store? And I would say we talked
about so many cool things. Shiny toys and these services and apps. The most powerful thing
we’ve consistently used: It’s copywriting. Doing customer development
surveys and then using language from those surveys and
trends from those surveys to write, positioning, messaging, Facebook ads, headlines, product copy. That has always had an outsized impact on revenue and conversions. – Wonderful. Okay. Well Kurt I want to thank you very much for taking some time to be on the show. It was a pleasure to have you here. And folks if you wanna
know more about Kurt, I’m guessing ethercycle.com
is the best place to go and do that. – Or Google me: Kurt
Elster, Kurtelster.com If you sign up for my newsletter and send me a thoughtful question, because that’s my real email, I will send you a thoughtful answer. – Alright thanks so much. – Thank you.

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