You asked, I answered! In today’s episode, we’re covering some of YOUR most frequently asked questions about running your eCommerce business. Plus, I’ll share some other episodes you can check out to dig even deeper on a lot of these topics.
Check the timestamps below to skip to the questions you care most about!
We’re talking all about YOUR most frequently asked questions.
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Question #1: How Can I Get More Traffic to My Website
The answer to this is its own episode, so check out episode 56 for more details.
My #1 piece of advice for driving traffic is making sure you’re getting in front of your audience.
We can’t just expect people to magically find us. It takes a lot of interactions with your brand before someone will buy from you.
Remember that your business is not about you, it’s about your customer. Think of ways to make it worth their while to come to your website—having cool products isn’t enough.
Whether that’s educational content you can direct them to, new collections that you release regularly, or even just reminding them why they want a product like yours, it’s up to you to make sure that your customers remember to check out what you offer.
So, how do you get in front of customers?
There are a number of ways, like organic and paid social media, SEO or search engine optimization, affiliate and influencer marketing, email marketing, and collaborations.
Today, let’s focus on collaborations, because that has really been the biggest contribution to my growth. That, and word of mouth from happy clients.
Collaboration can help you grow your business too. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in business for years, getting in front of other people’s audiences is very powerful.
How to Use Collaboration to Grow Your eCommerce Business?
That depends on your business and product, but let’s talk about a few different options.
1. Collaborate with another eCommerce business owner who sells a complimentary product
You can do things like create a bundle of your products that you both sell on your websites. You can shout each other out in your emails or on social media. You can include inserts to promote the other in all the orders you ship out. Maybe you even do a joint live video where you sell your items.
2. Collaborate with an expert in your industry or position yourself as the expert
If you sell CBD and market your product as a way to beat anxiety, find someone who educates on anxiety. Do a live video together, be a guest in their program, have them write guest posts for your website, offer their audience a discount to try your product for the first time.
If you want to position yourself as the expert, hook up with someone who educates entrepreneurs and talk to them about how they can use CBD to have a more productive workday.
The same is true if you sell makeup. Partner up with a personal stylist or an image consultant. Do a guest training spot in their program or their free Facebook Group.
Ultimately, the focus here is about educating people, helping them solve their problems and obviously showing them how your product can help them get the result they’re looking for.
3. Collaborate with influencers
As you make a name for yourself in the industry, you can also start doing collaborations with influencers.
- If you sell candles, partner with a vlogger to create a signature scent they can promote to their people
- If you sell kids clothes, partner with a mommy blogger to design a piece for your next collection
Even if you only end up breaking even on these types of partnerships, the goal is to get your brand in front of new eyes. Generally, when they come to your website for this one thing, they’ll likely buy other items from you as well. Give them a really great experience, and you up your chances of bringing them back.
Ultimately, there are sooo many ways you can lean into this collaboration angle, and I truly believe that if you’re taking advantage of this, especially when you’re just starting out, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities for exposure.
Question #2: Should I do Facebook Ads and will they make me more money?
The answer to this one isn’t so cut and dry, it really depends. Prove product market fit organically first, but that can be hard to do when you’re just starting out. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg situation.
The important thing to know about Facebook Ads is that they are NOT a silver bullet—nothing is. They can have a very positive impact on your bottom line, BUT…
My number #1 piece of advice for Ads is treat it like gambling: invest what you can afford to lose. And then be pleasantly surprised when you make money.
That’s not to say everyone is going to lose money, but some people do in the beginning, especially if you’re going to go at it alone.
Understand your numbers first
- What is your website conversion rate?
- How much is your average order value?
- What is the lifetime value of your customer?
It’s okay if you don’t make money on that first sale because the goal is for you to bring them back to shop again and again, that’s your lifetime value.
So if you know on average a person spends $500 with you, and it costs you $20 to acquire them, it’s still well worth it to spend that $20.
It’s important you understand the numbers in your business so you can determine what you can afford to spend and figure out what success looks like for your business.
What about those iOS14 horror stories?
I’m sure you’ve heard about these. Yes, there are definitely some things being affected, mostly re-targeting and lookalike audiences. But cold interest based audiences that are mostly based on Facebook’s first party data are performing just fine, at least for our resident Facebook Ads strategist Nicole Diedrich of Diedrich Marketing Strategies.
If you’re ready to get help with your Facebook Ads she’s definitely my #1 recommendation.
Ads will probably make you more money, but they won’t save a failing business
Ultimately, yes Facebook Ads are likely to make you money. However, they will not necessarily save a failing business, and you still need to provide an awesome customer experience that will bring them back again and again.
If you’re going to do ads, make sure you have your email automations set up so you can continue to nurture that relationship with them.
Question #3: How can I grow my email list with people who actually want to buy from me
Just like giving people a reason to go to your site, you also have to give them a reason to get on your list.
You can listen to episode 43 for more tips on this, but I want to talk about 2 tactics that probably aren’t talked about enough…
The pdf download freebie and the quiz
The download freebie, which is so common in the educational and online informational space, can also work for product-based businesses.
Not sure what to create for your business? Take a step back and think about what else does your customer care about or what is the problem they are trying to solve when they buy your product? Then create content around that.
- If you sell a planner or productivity tools, talk about productivity and organization
- If you sell fitness apparel, talk about healthy eating
- If you sell makeup, talk about skincare or makeup application
- If you sell jewelry, talk about styling jewelry and mixing and matching it
Lean into educating your customers. Remember, people don’t buy products. They buy solutions to problems. Show them how your product can solve that problem for them.
I love the quiz option because not only is it fun for your customer, but it helps you collect more data about them AND helps them find the right product mix for them.
My new favorite quiz platform is Prehook.
What makes it the best is that the sync, from when the customer hits submit to when the data reaches
Tools like Typeform have often been used to create quizzes and collect the info inside
What kind of quiz can you create?
Just like with most things, it’s going to depend a bit on your product.
- A quiz to help them figure out which of your products would be best for them
This works best when you have a pretty wide assortment of items and if you want to see a live example, go check out Glossier. Their skincare quiz asks you things like what your skin problems are and how many steps you’re willing to commit to. Then it gives you recommendations on products that would make the most sense for you. And if you say you only want to commit to 3 steps, they show you 3 products. If you say 6, they show you 6.
- If you sell apparel, a Find Your Style Quiz is obvious and is a great option
- If you have a really small product assortment, you can create more of a personality type quiz, like your favorite BuzzFeed quizzes
Position the quiz to help them find the best way for them to incorporate your product into their life, giving them some other tips and tricks for how to accomplish the goal they want to accomplish or solve the problem they’re trying to solve.
How do you set up a personality quiz?
Let’s say you sell a collagen supplement and you want to help the customer figure out how to incorporate it into their life.
- Start by asking them some questions about why they think they need collagen, mostly for your own market research
- Then ask some questions about their daily habits so you can recommend the best way for them to use it
Maybe you find out that they never skip their morning smoothie so you recommend adding it to that, or maybe they tell you they love to cook a healthy meal each night so you show them some great recipes they can add your collagen to, or maybe they suck at habits overall so you encourage them to add it to their water bottle and drink it throughout the day.
The most successful quizzes are going to help them reach their goals while also collecting vital information that you can use to market to them, whether it’s identifying what type of content to create or helping you segment your customer in your email marketing.
Question #4: How should I segment my email list and scale my email marketing
Ahhh, segmentation. That buzzword we’re always hearing in the email marketing space.
I’ve talked all about this in episode 68, so definitely go back and listen to that.
My #1 tip is to not overthink it and to just start leaning into this channel.
Before we get into the how, let’s walk through some email marketing benchmarks.
On average, email marketing drives anywhere from 20 to 35% of eCommerce revenue.
Some businesses drive a lot more than that from email, but I don’t want you to feel you have to hit those crazy numbers. Of course, I don’t know all the things about everyone’s business, but generally if their numbers are significantly higher than that, it means they’re not getting enough new customers or they’re not utilizing their other channels as effectively as they could be.
Some businesses will be lower than this. Often you find that with newer businesses who are still acquiring a lot of new customers or who are on a subscription model with a lot of recurring revenue.
How do you get to that 25-30% point?
Honestly, the first step in scaling your email marketing is by just sending more emails. And what that looks like for you depends a lot on where you’re starting.
To keep this really general, first let’s talk about how you can start increasing your email sends without alienating all your subscribers. Because you can’t go from sending 1 email a week to sending 4, that’s going to confuse people and you might lose a lot along the way.
Start by increasing the number of emails you send per week by 1 at a time. Stick with that new cadence for 8 weeks, monitor your results, and then increase it again by 1 for 8 weeks, etc.
If you’re not sure what metrics are good, listen to episode 19 of the podcast where I share what you should aim for.
Two other things to keep in mind are the size of your email list and your product assortment. The bigger your list and wider your assortment, the more emails you can send.
If you have a small list, or only a few products, that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your sending volume… you just have to ask yourself, what’s in it for them?
This is not just you pushing your product 3 times per week instead of one, it’s you bringing more value to your subscribers’ inboxes. You're helping them solve the problem they are having right now. Whether that’s the direct problem your product solves, or it’s helping them find the perfect gift for someone else.
Question #5: Should I upgrade to Shopify Plus?
When you’re just starting out, it’s a no-brainer that you don’t need this. But as your revenue climbs, you’ll wonder, or a Shopify rep might even encourage you to make the switch.
At each level of a Shopify plan, you get larger shipping discounts, lower payment processing fees with Shopify payments, and lower transaction fees if you’re using a 3rd party payment processor.
You’ll also get some additional reporting, staff accounts and a few other features from the basic plan through the advanced plan.
Shopify Plus, however, also comes with a few features and apps that you can’t get on the regular Shopify plans, including even lower payment processing rates.
What are the Shopify Plus features?
There are 3 main features or apps that truly set the Shopify Plus experience apart.
1. Discount scripts
Discount scripts allow you to run more complex promotions than you can with the built in Shopify engine, but it still comes with its limitations. The first being the fact that they are scripts that need to be written by a developer or created with an online tool.
The discounts I most often used scripts for were to do a real buy more, save more, where each tier used the same discount code. Something like spend $100, get $15 off, spend $150, get $25 off etc. To do that with regular Shopify you would need a separate discount code for each of those tiers making it very confusing for the customer.
The other discount I did a lot was offering a higher discount, like 25% off but on only 1 item, the most expensive one inside the customer’s cart.
Scripts is also great for creating a true buy one get one, where it would match up the prices of the products to give the customer the best deal. Unlike Shopify’s native discount engine, where it just discounts the cheapest products in the cart.
Discount scripts also allow you to automatically apply discounts to the cart without having to apply a discount code. You can do that in Shopify with their automatic discounts feature, but all that does is automatically apply the code to the cart. In which case, the customer still can’t add another code to the cart or even remove the one that you applied automatically.
This came in handy when we wanted to discount a particular collection, but still wanted the customer to use their welcome discount, for instance.
The other app you get access to on Shopify Plus is called Launchpad, which allows you to schedule the publishing of a theme in advance. So if you wanted to update your homepage banner for an upcoming sale, but you wanted it to go live outside of regular business hours, you can use Launchpad to do that.
2. Shopify Flow
This lets you automate a bunch of tasks on your Shopify store, like hiding products when they’re out of stock, tagging pending PayPal orders, automatically creating URL redirects when a product is archived, etc.
Flow also integrates with other Shopify apps so you can do things like awarding loyalty points when someone leaves a tip, or when they hit a certain number of orders.
In addition to the apps, you also get a dedicated Customer Success Manager and can create multiple stores either to create a staging site to test new apps or to even have multiple front facing websites if you want to sell in different currencies.
All of that sounds pretty cool, right?
But here’s the thing… pricing starts at $2000 per month and goes up based on how much revenue you’re doing.
Now, of course, you will save some money with your payment processing and shipping if you use Shopify shipping, so it’s worth it to do the math. But jumping from $299 a month for Advanced Shopify to $2000 per month for plus is pretty steep.
So the question is, is it right for you?
That’s so hard to answer without knowing more about your business, so it’s really up to you to think through those extra features, your current workflow and whether it’s worth it for you.
One thing I will say is that while having the Customer Success Manager is cool, it’s definitely not worth the extra spend. They’re still very limited in what they can help you with.
The decision truly comes down to those 3 apps: Discount Scripts, Launchpad and Shopify Flow. In my opinion, and my experience with Shopify Plus, that’s truly where the value is.
So if you’ve been thinking about it, I recommend you think through your systems and processes, talk with your team and map out how you would use them.
Check out some of the Shopify Flow templates and see if that would make a big impact on your workflow and then do the math.
- How much will you save in payment processing and/or shipping fees?
- Would you save on payroll because your team could be more efficient with these additional tools?
- Are there just one or two things you wish you had that you could accomplish with a one-time development fee instead of an ongoing monthly charge?
It’s a lot to consider and I recommend you take your time with it.
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