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201: What To Do When You’re Banned From FB, Google, and Amazon

Posted by Austin Brawner on May 28, 2019

 

Advertising plays a big role in any ecommerce strategy. So what do you do if your brand is banned from advertising on Facebook, Google, and Amazon?

That’s the challenge faced by Chad Lio, Director of Marketing for Veritas Farms, a company that sells CBD. While not technically regulated by the FDA, there are still many limitations when it comes to advertising CBD.

Today Chad joins us to talk about Veritas Farms’ multifaceted marketing approach, and how they successfully drive sales, despite being banned from some of the top ad platforms. He’ll share what’s working for them with influencer marketing, media buying, SEO, and more, and the critical role research plays across their entire strategy.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 4:48 Chad’s experience in digital marketing and ecommerce.
  • 6:12 Multifaceted marketing: what it means to be the Director of Marketing for a company that sells both online and in retail brick and mortar.
  • 8:02 Navigating the wild, wild west of selling CBD.
  • 12:10 The detailed process Chad and his team follow to find the right influencers.
  • 15:32 The importance of doing your research, especially when it comes to SEO.
  • 19:15 Content Marketing: deciding what channel you want to go after first.
  • 22:15 Chad’s #1 piece of advice for content marketing in ecommerce.
  • 25:10 How Veritas Farms uses the 80/20 rule in their content marketing strategy and the role media buying plays for them.
  • 27:54 What to look for when seeking publishers for your sponsored content.
  • 29:57 The marketing strategy that’s most effective for Veritas Farms.
  • 31:47 Questions to ask before you start focusing on conversion rate optimization.
  • 35:35 The email sequence that’s most successful for Veritas Farms, and a new Klaviyo feature you won’t want to miss.
  • 37:50 Veritas Farms lead generation strategy and the importance of segmenting your email list.
  • 41:35 Why research is a critical component if you want to successfully scale up.

Links And Resources

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Transcript

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

And I have a very special episode for you today. I'm doing the intro solo because my co-host Andrew Foxwell is across the pond in Cologne, Germany giving a talk at ads camp. And we have a strong tradition here if you go and you travel to leave the stuff behind. Leave the podcast and equipment behind and go enjoy yourself. So he's enjoying himself over there and also giving a great, great talk about scaling, which we talk a lot about on the podcast.

A lot of the conversations that Andrew and I have, we talk a lot about Facebook advertising, we talk a lot about Google advertising.
We bring people on to talk about Google advertising, we talk a bit about Amazon but not as much as those two. One of the things that we have neglected to talk about is what happens if you run a company and you're not able to advertise on those channels? How do you grow?

Well, we actually got an email about three weeks ago from somebody who's got a lot of experience with that. His name is Chad Lio. He's a Director of Marketing at Veritas Farms which is a CBD company. And they are not allowed to advertise on a lot of these channels that we're talking about. So we kinda went back and forth and it's gonna be interesting to bring him on to talk about how they're growing without Facebook and without Google advertising, what they're investing in and what you can do if your business has been banned from those channels. So it's a really interesting interview, he covers a lot. Andrew leads this interview and hopes you will get a lot of it especially if you run a business that is not able to advertise on those channels. So we will welcome Chad to the show.

Andrew Foxwell: All right, Chad, well welcome to the show, so glad to have you.

Chad Lio: Thank you. I've been a fan of this podcast for a while, so it's great to be on here as a guest. Absolutely.

Andrew Foxwell: Oh man, well thanks so much for listening. It's been a crazy ride continuing to grow the podcast, but tell us what you've done in marketing and what you're doing now and really your expertise.

Chad Lio: Yeah, absolutely. I've been in digital marketing for pretty much my whole career out of college, and most of that has been ecommerce. Obviously, it's evolved immensely as every single technology in the digital space in digital marketing has evolved. I've worked for Fortune 500. I've worked for agencies with Fortune 500 clients. I was recently the Director of Marketing for Grant Cardone and Cardone Technologies, and I'm currently the Marketing Director for Veritas Farms, which is a full spectrum CBD company.

I originally cut my teeth on SEO as I came into the digital space. And it evolved ever since to the whole gamut of inbound marketing, content lead generation and specifically really in the ecommerce space. So, not only informational products but sales funnels, direct response and consumer packaged goods. So, I've had wide experience as far as what's going to work and what's not going to work in specific different types of products and so forth, which has really given me the experience to be really valuable in a lot of different consultations or overall just business growth.

Andrew Foxwell: Oh, that's so interesting, talking about what a wide breadth of background that you have. So, Veritas Farms does CBD, so what are you tasked with and what does that really mean? I mean I know that there's a lot of uniqueness in the industry that we'll get to here, but what are you doing on a day to day basis?

Chad Lio: Yeah, Veritas Farms is multifaceted in both ecommerce and the retail brick and mortar space. So as my title of Director of Marketing, I normally focus day to day on more of the ecommerce aspect of driving traffic, driving leads, driving sales. But at the same time, I have to put on a mask as a brand marketer and deal with a lot of the traditional retail marketing that you would see from a normal consumer packaged good that you could get at any local store.

So that comes into the media buys, the PR, the overall creative, things of that nature. Billboard designs of the traditional realm space that we don't really talk about in ecommerce because it's not as trackable. But when you work for a multifaceted brand where it's both offsite and onsite, you have to encompass yourself as both a brand marketer and as an ecommerce marketer. So, there's a fine line between strategy and execution and analytics and more, just overall brand awareness that I have to move back and forth between.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, it's interesting. I have a colleague that we work with and he does the same thing, and they were doing a lot of billboards and other things and they kind of actually have switched now to doing much more digital, but they were doing them equally before. And, I don't know, it's interesting because you're not really allowed to do certain things. So can you tell us what's unique about your industry category? And what challenges you have there?

Chad Lio: Yeah, absolutely. The CBD space is the wild, wild west. There is a lot of legal limitations of what we can and cannot do and because it's not technically regulated by the FDA, there's a lot of brands that are just more in it for the short term versus the long term, which we are the latter case of being in it long term because we are a publicly traded company, so we have to do everything by the book. But, as far as your normal ways of driving traffic from an ecommerce perspective are basically non-existent for us. So Facebook, API, ads API does not allow us to run any type of CBD related ads or any type of brand awareness ads for that matter. We're not allowed to use Google for any type of CPC, retargeting, anything like that.

Same thing with Amazon, we're not allowed to advertise any type of product on there or even have products for that nature on Amazon. So, what you would normally consider when starting an ecommerce store, the big three is something that just doesn't work for us. So, we have to be really creative in what we can and can't do to really drive targeted traffic, that's going to basically drive bottom-line ROI for us. From our perspective, the reason why we're doing these types of things like billboards and stuff, it's basically because we have to not only have the awareness to drive traffic to the brick and mortar retail stores but also to somehow have the offline drive the online sales.

We work a lot with social media influencers, which is still very much allowed for us. So we definitely utilize them quite a bit along with different types of media publications and publishers that are ... And they're coming along as far as opening up their ad platforms and sponsored content protocols that we can utilize to really drive targeted traffic.

And then it's all about conversion rate for us. We really know that it's important for us to not only drive traffic but to convert that traffic, which seems to less and less be as popular in the ecommerce space, which just blows my mind is that everybody talks about how to get more traffic to the site, but are you really converting that traffic? So, that's really important for us because we have a limited amount of spaces that we can spend the money, so we have to make sure that we're doing it in the right way and making sure that we're tracking our results.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, super interesting. I mean, you mentioned a number of things I want to go into there, but one of those that we'll just start with is talking about influencers as you mentioned, so that's allowed. And I know that you've done a lot of research here on micro versus macro influencers, so how do you go about finding these people and how are you, I mean, how do you know which ones are the right ones and how do you pitch them on what you're trying to do, and is it a monetary deal or is it a product deal or is it a mixture? I'm just curious of your take.

Chad Lio: Yeah, absolutely. I would say influencer marketing is just as much of the wild, wild west as CBD is from a perspective. So, within the influencer marketing, we have somebody that's purely dedicated to that as far as finding new people that would potentially be right for our brand messaging and have the right audience. More and more brands are spending on influencer marketing nowadays, but I feel like they're just going into it and looking for the biggest follower accounts and throwing a bunch of money at them to generate a poster, a swipe up stories for their products and getting minimal results and saying, well, we're doing influencer marketing right now. And that's the exact opposite of what we do.

We really have a process in-play of how we seek out influencers and how we gauge engagement by those influencers to see really what we're going to exchange from either a monetary or a product value, as you said, we do both. And then what type of return we're expecting and the KPIs for that matter. So, we look at not only how many followers they have, but how engaged is each follower on their posts. Are they receiving a lot of comments? Are they receiving a lot of likes? What do those comments look like? Is it just emojis or is it people asking about certain questions that are really engaged with whatever the post is about? Are they posting a lot of different products that they're being sponsored by or do they not have any?

So, there's a whole checklist that we actually go through as far as if an influencer is right for us and do we think that we can either one get targeted traffic or direct conversion ROI or brand awareness as the second KPI, which obviously isn't as first as the revenue generator. And then, once we verify if they're right for us, that's when we go into the negotiation standpoint and that's a whole another level of what we think is valuable or what we think we can do from a monetary perspective versus what they think they can do from a monetary perspective.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. That's what I heard about influencers. I've worked with companies obviously that have worked with influencers, but I've never worked with them directly. And I have heard it's like, some are totally reasonable and then some, it's like their perception of reality is so different. So, how do you navigate that? You just say, here's the deal, this is what our standard rate is and things like that?

Chad Lio: Yeah, I think we let them come over the top first as far as what they charge and we usually then start the negotiations that way. And it really just depends on previous experience that we've had and what we see as the potential return on it. Sometimes we spend a little more than we probably should. Sometimes we get a heck of a deal and we end up then bringing that person on for longterm partnerships and things like that. So, it really is a case by case subjective scenario, but we wouldn't continue doing it if we didn't see the ROI in it, which we do.

So, it's definitely something that is going to continue to grow, and it's a lot of hard work, but the return on it is so great from the audience perspective in gaining an engaged audience that it really has been a great success for us when we're so limited in other spaces.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting I think. Another tactic that you have used and utilized is content. And you talked about basically doing a lot of research around what people are looking for and building that content over time with guides, and FAQs and things. Can you tell me about that strategy, how you go about this really from beginning to end, what does this look like? And where do you think a lot of people miss out as it relates to content marketing?

Chad Lio: Yeah. As I mentioned before, my career started in SEO and has evolved over all the other omnichannel marketing. But one of the biggest things from an SEO perspective is doing the research and not just doing it, but doing the right type of research to really hone in on what your strategy is going to be, whether it is through content marketing or if it's going to be link building for that matter, or just trying to figure out who your target demographics are.

I think too many people jump into ecommerce thinking they have a general perspective on who their customer is when really there's so much more levels of depth that they don't even realize and they're completely missing out on. Especially when you're coming into a space where either it's a complete blue ocean and you can create all the content in the world, but is that really going to break down to converting people at the end of the day. Or if you're in a complete red ocean and you have a ton of competitors and how are you really going to stand out? What type of people do you really want to hone in on? And, there's just not enough being taught I would say in the digital space of spending ... And I'm going to use the quote from Abraham Lincoln, but "spending four hours to sharpen the ax just to chop down the tree."

Because when it comes down to it, you really need to pick a specific market that you're going to attack and go all in on that instead of just being a little bit more general when you're either first starting out or even a small to medium-sized business, and not gaining as much traction. So, whether it's content that we're writing, large style guides on our blog or even doing research for other media publications that we're going to work with from a sponsored content perspective, we really want to focus on some medium to long tail keywords that we know we can get immediate rankings for that are going to drive quality traffic and potential ROI in that aspect.

Organic search to this day is still one of the, I would say top three when it comes to quality of buyer because people are coming to your site directly based on keywords that they're searching for. So, a lot of keyword research, a lot of audience and target demographic, who our competitors are, what types of people are competitors audience look like. And you can do that through Facebook insights. You can do that through Google Analytics. You can do that through Google Trends. We just don't spend enough time as ecommerce marketers on really, really planning out what type of market we're going to go after and what type of campaign we're going to design for that market.

I think we got away from running campaigns a little bit to more like overall general strategy as ecommerce evolves and digital marketing evolves, but it really is a campaign designed for that specific demographic that you're creating on the website that lives in perpetuity. So, there's so many different ways to do research, but until you have a really locked down strategy that you're going to go after and then execute on, you really need to know who you're going to go after and get the most out of your ROI for executing on that map.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I mean it's interesting, there's a lot of stuff to unpack there. 

Chad Lio: Sure, that's very long drawn sentencing, I'm sorry.

Andrew Foxwell: By the way, that's one of my favorite things that people do on podcasts is they're like, well, there's a lot to talk about there. So, I just made that mistake. The first question I guess I have after hearing all that is if you are running ecommerce or you are teaching a class to ecommerce business owners that are running shops that are in the six figure to seven figure range and they haven't done a lot with content, where specifically do you think they should start and why? What's better, video and text or just written or? Where do they go, and then based on what you've seen building your business, what's the next step for them?

Chad Lio: Yeah, well I think it comes down to what channel do you feel like you're going to go after first. So, and part of that research aspect, it's where's your audience living? So if you find that most of your audience is interacting on Facebook or Instagram versus there's not a lot of keyword search volume for your brand, then I would go all in on video because obviously video is weighted so much heavier nowadays in the algorithm with the social media platforms versus ... It's coming along a lot in organic search, but texts still rule supreme when it comes to search results.

Now if you're seeing a lot of search volume and not a lot of competition within organic search, then by all means go crazy on coming up with a really robust guides and content that's going to answer most of the questions that your potential customers might have in order for them to continue interacting with your brand and potentially making a purchase for that aspect. And you can do a combination of both.

We're designing campaigns right now where we're actually creating a YouTube show that has somewhat to do with CBD, but for the most part it's more along the lines of top-level alternative health and wellness space that we're going to transcribe as well and put it as a blog post, but also lives on all of our social channels, so it serves both purposes. And of course, whenever the Advertising API opens up, we can use those clips as pre-roll and post-roll and things like that.

So, you've really got to put your head around where your audience lives and then doing proper research as far as what's already out there, how can you make it better, and what can you do to really gain that click versus all the other competitors out there. So, it's really going to depend on the medium and the platform.

Andrew Foxwell: And it's a slow build, right? I mean, how often are you putting this content together and out? I mean, is this like, there's three posts a week that you're doing about this or? I'm just curious if the volume that's necessary.

Chad Lio: Yeah, so advice that I always give anybody trying to start in ecommerce space and they really want to invest heavily in content is one, there's no protocol as far as how many times you should put a post out a week or a month for that matter. But you, number one aspect is you should blog for business no matter what. Do not create a blog that just talks about who you are and what's going on with your company and things like that. That is not going to generate traffic for you. What's going to generate traffic is organic search or social media or referral traffic based on content that is meant to convert. So, you should always be searching for keyword volume when you're creating a blog that's going to not only answer questions but give information or be authoritative piece of content in the space that's going to continuously drive traffic month over month versus more along the lines of a peak of traffic and then it dies afterwards.

If you look at most people's blogs and the analytics behind it, you'll see that they'll get a spike in traffic because they either pushed it out on their social media channels or they pushed it on their email and then it goes dead within a day and a half. The shelf life isn't that great on it. And you'll see that for, I would say a good majority of the blogs out there, but the majority of blogs and content marketing that works is when you do it in a way that you are using it for organic search because you will consistently see a trendline of upwards growth because month over month, Google will reward you for having quality content and links that are driven to that content. If it's good enough compared to the people that are already ranking for it and driving it that way.

So, to circle that back around there really is no protocol as far as how many times you should post a week or a month for that matter. You've got to be creating quality content and you've got to be doing stuff that's different from what people are already doing out there to make you stand out.

Andrew Foxwell: I feel like it's interesting. I mean, just like the randomness of queries that you can create content around. It's really interesting. We had Nat Eliason on the show a while ago and that's really what he talked about. There are general searches, but you're never going to necessarily win those big ones. Right? So, it's things like what CBD cream, CBD cream comparison 2019 or random things like that, that kind of ... I don't know, maybe that's not that random as an example, but yeah, you're echoing what I have heard too. So that's really interesting and good to hear.

Moving onto another one that you really utilize. So again, not utilizing Facebook, Google or Amazon, we talked about influencers, we talked about content. Another one that you had mentioned is media publication buying. So, what is this? I mean, I assume this is like buying placements in articles in Forbes or something. I don't know. What is this and how does it work and what does it even cost in a range of cost?

Chad Lio: With the surge of amount of content that's happened in the last five years, let alone even, a year ago. It's all about eyes on content as far as these publications, and these different media publishers as far as how many eyes they can get on the content to sell their advertising services or sponsored content services. And really we are a big fan of sponsored content because it comes from, and we target the larger style publishers for that because they've gained the audience already to have targeted traffic come to their site day over day, whether that's through organic search or email or social media for that matter.

So, for us to create a piece of content and really ... I don't like to use the Pareto's principle in this, but relatively nowadays from a content marketing perspective, it's 20% of creating the content, 80% of promoting it. And really that takes so much time and money to have a brand that's relatively new or getting started or even if you're a medium sized business, to get that out and get people to pay attention to it. But if you can go to a publisher, and they create a sponsored piece of content for you, where you pay them, and they create the article, and its in an editorial style fashion, but has a little bit of sponsored flair into it, you're going to pay more money for it, but it's going to resonate with a lot more people and it's going to drive a lot more traffic and even SEO rankings for that matter, because they're an established brand they're an authoritative brand. And really that's what it comes down to is, is getting targeted traffic to your website.

So while we still create content on our sites to answer FAQs and questions that people have or whether they're coming from organic search, we also know that it's super important to reach out to these larger style websites that are creating editorial that have a real authoritative say in the marketplace and having them create pieces of content that's going to drive traffic back to our website. So, we focus a lot on sponsored and native content as well because we know that, that's going to really drive targeted traffic as opposed to using other sources that we can't use, whether that's Facebook ads or Google Adwords or things like that.

Andrew Foxwell: How do you even go about finding these? What are the best ones and again what do they run generally speaking?

Chad Lio: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean that goes all back to what we talked about as far as the research phase of who's really an authoritative person in the space that you're trying to either sell a product or gain attention from. And what are they doing? Do they sell their own services or how can you work with them? And really it's like influencer marketing. It's really going to depend on who they are, how much traffic they can generate, what their audience size looks like, things like that. So, that's important to ask those type of metrics when you are talking with them.

But you can start off small as a smaller ecommerce brand with localized blogs or localized brands that you see online that a sponsored piece of content may range from $1,500 to $2,000 for one blog posts, but they'll also push it on their social media networks and through their email newsletter and so forth. And make sure that you're all tracking that through UTMs and whatnot so that you can see the ROI from it. But then you have the large media publishers like the GQs and the Forbes of the world that are in the multiples of thousands. So you're looking at, depending on the campaign, it could be between 50 and $150,000 per post sometimes. So, it really just depends on who the publisher is, how much traffic they generate and if it's right for your brand.

Andrew Foxwell: Interesting. Yeah. It's just fascinating to get into that. I know that there's been a number of Facebook advertisers that have utilized that media publication buying piece as a prospecting strategy. And that's a really big thing for them. So, it's interesting to hear you utilize it as well. So, of those three, you talked about, influencers, content, media publication buying, which of those has been the most effective overall for you? Is it content? That's what my guess is.

Chad Lio: Yeah, I would say it's content, but content, you can stretch content through all three of those mediums. So the content, that's the foundation in the hub of everything that you do from a brand perspective. So, you can use that content to also give to social media influencers so that they can post or give it to media publications so that they can feature certain parts of it in their editorial or native content that they're creating, whatever the case may be. So, content is always the foundation. You always want to bring people back to your website versus just building a brand on Instagram or just building a brand through any type of other relative platforms. So, content is always going to be the driving force when it comes to not only answering questions from return customers but also gaining new customers as well. And it really cuts down on your customer acquisition costs when people see that you take the time to answer their questions.

Andrew Foxwell: I think one thing that's interesting that you also focused a lot on, and I think every ecommerce business owners always heard of how, wondering how they approach it, and the challenge is conversion rate optimization, right? How do you approach that? How are you monitoring and running tests? And do you do it in-house? And if so, what tools do you utilize?

Chad Lio: I initially give advice to people that are like, hey, I really want to focus on conversion rate optimization. And the first thing I think I ask them is, all right, how many sales are you doing a month? Are you doing over a thousand transactions a month or under a thousand? Because I really don't think that it makes sense if you're not doing somewhat of a good amount of volume and the only reason for that, that I say that is because it really comes down into these statistics point of, can you convert enough traffic? If you don't have the traffic, conversion rate is really not going to fluctuate that much. But, if you have a massive amount of traffic and you're not converting small little changes that can absolutely bring you up from a 2% conversion rate to a 4% conversion rate, it's going to significantly drive the bottom line.

So, with conversion rate, I always say first, one, do you have enough transactions and do you have enough traffic volume to warrant if that's something we need to dive into? And then after that, it really goes into, there's so many varied tools out there that all do a great job of it. Some of the ones that we use here are Hotjar and Visual Website Optimizer. Those are two of the big ones that we use. But, any type of conversion rate software is going to do the job. It really just is, what's your goal? Are you just trying to do it to maybe bring a little bit more sales up or maybe it's not even for sales overall. Maybe you just have a landing page that you want to submit requests to and any type of changes to that landing page are going to greatly increase conversion rate.

But too many people get caught up into it too early in the stages of ecommerce. So, while it's super effective for us going from a 5% to 7% conversion rate, it's going to really pad the bottom line. It really is for more established ecommerce brands that have the traffic but aren't really seeing the results that they need to see. And that usually falls, we say in the ecommerce space that an average conversion rate is between 1.5% to 3%, and I'm sure it's a little bit more varied as far as the industry average goes. But, if you're driving a significant amount of traffic every month to your website and only seeing those rates, there's obviously some work that needs to be done as far as keeping people on the site, getting them to visit more pages and getting them to add to cart.

Andrew Foxwell: It's interesting. I get your point around, how much do you really have coming through? And is it going to be worth your time? It's surprising to me how many people don't have anything running like a Hotjar or Crazy Egg or something, right? That's surprising. And so for me, I always feel like as a paid traffic person like I'm only half the equation. And so if you're going to spend this money, you might as well do something with CRO and have it there to be able to watch these sessions and continue to make improvements.

So, I think your point is valid, which is statistical significance, to some degree is like massive changes or my new changes in button color and things like that. That's hard unless you have ... You have to have a decent amount of traffic flowing through. But I also think that it's good to keep in mind to just hearing how much you can help other people and personal experience, how much CRO can really drive it for you I think is worth it to put it in.

Now, going on email and shifting gears to talk about that, that's a big driver for you I know. I know that you utilize a lot for returning customers. Can you give us an overview of what your email marketing strategy looks like? How you segment people a little bit and how you utilize it?

Chad Lio: Email has been huge for us from a return customer perspective, and I think that it really, really helps bring down the customer acquisition costs, and it helps increase their lifetime value. And people say that, oh, email's dead or things like that are really just not experienced enough or have dealt with enough in the ecommerce space to know that it's a massive, massive deal when it comes to your bottom line.

Our abandoned cart is probably one of the highest drivers for us, and anybody who doesn't have an abandoned cart sequence, I suggest that you go on right now and research it and get it implemented on your site because we bring anywhere from 10 to 15% revenue into the ... New revenue, into the door based off just abandoned cart alone.

And, you guys pitch them all on the show, but I love them. Absolutely. I've been to a number of their private workshops, Klaviyo is awesome and that's who we use as well. And they've got some really great flows in there for some really cool stuff.

They brought out a new flow, which is a machine learning flow that analyzes your current customers, and their repeat purchases and when they've purchased or when they've not purchased or if they're first time buyers and then predicts a date on when they're going to make their next purchase. And if they don't make it on that purchase, you can send them an email the following day, saying like, hey, maybe you want to try something new in our store, which has been ... I was a little skeptical at first and as we started running it, we're getting the same return rate that we are for our abandoned cart, which is amazing. So that's really a cool feature that not a lot of people know about yet, but they should definitely check into that.

Right now, we primarily use email as an inlet to our returning customer base and whether it's we have promotions going on or sales or new pieces of content or guides or things like that. As far as lead generation wise goes, we're starting to play into that a little bit more because we're relatively new when it comes to being an ecommerce website. But, that is also going to be segmented on the front end of it as far as, okay, these people came in through a piece of content or downloaded an ebook or subscribed to our newsletter. So we have to treat them extremely different than how our return customers are. And it's not just sending the same message to everybody in our email list because now you're just being lazy with it, and they're going to respond differently to certain things.

So, with our newsletter, we just didn't want to have a newsletter on the website because that's just boring, and it doesn't really stand out. So, we're creating more or less a free club that you can join, that not only gives you an ebook off the start but also enters you into our monthly giveaway every single month that you can win up to $250 worth of product. And so, it's creative ways like that you're going to need to be able to onboard people without just throwing every single pop up that comes on an ecommerce website of, hey, join our mailing list, get 10% off kind of thing, which I'm just so bored by from the ecommerce space. I don't know why it's still converting the way that it does.

But it's important to segment based on new people that are incoming that come for free things versus people that actually bought a product, how many products they've bought, how frequently they buy. And there's a lot of automated flows that Klaviyo and I'm sure other email service providers provide from an ecommerce perspective that allows you to really do some custom stuff.

So, from an abandoned cart perspective, we have a different abandoned cart sequence for people that come in for one value versus a higher value of product. If they abandon under $100, we give them one email sequence, and over a hundred dollars we give them a completely different email sequence that has a couple of different incentives in it, so, and we've seen great success with that.

Email is massive and not enough people are investing the time, or the money because they think it's a dead platform when really it's the only way to actively get in front of all of your customers at the same time.

Andrew Foxwell: It's just, it's so powerful. I mean, Klaviyo's is a perfect example of something I think almost everybody that listens to this podcast uses it, and if they don't, you should. But, it's wild to me how smart it's becoming because it's meeting people where they are. And I think that that's a big part of what your strategy really is to utilizing influencers in a way of saying like it's a genuine connection right? These influencers, they believe in the product and it's maybe your products have helped them. That's meaningful and that's a good connection and content people are looking for those specific things.

And even in the media publication buying, you're putting out pieces that are helpful, that maybe wouldn't have been in those publications before talking about topics that are really useful to people that are going to drive them to your site in a genuine way. It's not a gimmicky type thing like you had talked about with the same 10% off type thing. So it's interesting.

I think a big theme of what you have been talking about in this podcast that I've heard is research. And I think doing the necessary research to make sure you get the most value. What's your, I guess parting words as it relates to utilizing research as a small business owner and what this can do for you in terms of finding your true customers and helping you scale?

Chad Lio: I've taught a few classes in ecommerce and in marketing in general, written a bunch of articles, been on a couple of different podcasts and with research, the biggest thing is that as more and more or as much as the digital marketing channels evolve and more and more content comes out on growth hacks and things that you can do to immediately increase traffic to your website. Too many entrepreneurs that are getting into the ecommerce space or even small to medium size or even large size for that matter, ecommerce marketers tend to focus on these shiny little things that are going to potentially get them a little percentage of traffic that most of the time don't even work for their website or not even sure if it's right for their website, when really they should be focusing on a core set of things that they do really, really well and continuously optimize on those, so that you can break into other channels.

Too many people I think are preaching the message of omnichannel marketing where you have to be on social media, you have to be doing podcasts, you have to be doing video, when one, you don't have the team or just executive manpower to scale a business that fast. And two, it might not even be right for you. So that's where that research platform all comes in and where I'm huge on that is really hone in on where your customers are engaging, where your potential customers live and do those one or two things where they live really, really well. Because otherwise you're just dabbling and dabbling is not going to get you to scalability of where you want to go. And that's why that research is so important.

So if you're going to invest in organic search or if you're going to invest in social media ads, or if you're going to invest in podcasts, make sure it's somewhere where not only your audience lives, but you can go 110% into because otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels, you're wasting money, and you're not going to see any return. And then, come up with some saying like, "Oh, we tried that. It really didn't work." No, you really just didn't invest the time to actually make it work for you. And that's where too many people get caught up in this space because there's so much content from, "I grew ecommerce store in three days, and it made me $4 million," when that's really not the case for 99% of the ecommerce marketers out there. So what are the foundational platforms that are really going to consistently drive significant growth?

Andrew Foxwell: Right. Yeah, I think that's true. I think it's easy to get just misaligned and heading in the wrong direction. And I think that a backbone, a lot of it is like just simply thinking about what are you trying to do? I mean, to me it's surprising to me too how many times I audit an ad account and I'm like, have you actually read this ad? What you're saying to people, does it really make sense? So, it's funny because you get caught in that and I think that's okay, right? I think that's okay to know that and I think it's important to know that you have the ability to make that change and move to research-based thinking.

Well, I really appreciate your time. It's been really insightful and I thank you for sharing your insights with us. If people want to get a hold of you and have questions, how do they go about doing that?

Chad Lio: Yeah, absolutely. My social handle profiles, I work a lot through DMS, so you can either message me on Instagram at the Chad Lio that's T-H-E-C-H-A-D-L-I-O. Also my Twitter handle which is the same handle or you can find me through LinkedIn. I'm actively engaging on all social media channels and I work for Veritas Farms, we're a full spectrum CBD company and you can always find me through Veritas Farms website as well.

Andrew Foxwell: Well, thank you very much for joining us Chad. It's been an absolute pleasure chatting with you.

Chad Lio: Likewise, it's been a pleasure as well as being a guest on the show and I appreciate all the content that you guys put out.

Austin Brawner: Hey guys, it's Austin again, I have a quick message for you. If you enjoyed this podcast, I have something really exciting for you. For the last year, I've been coaching ecommerce business owners and marketers in the Brand Growth Experts membership. You might've even heard me talking about it on this podcast. Now, with launches an experiment has become a game changer for over 120 members, and on June 12th the game is changing again. We've been toiling away over here on version 2.0, and we're ready to launch it to the world. On June 12th I'll be opening up enrollment for the coalition, which is the Brand Growth Expert membership evolved.

If you'd like me, and my team of expert marketers in the ecommerce operators to coach you on your journey to scale up your ecommerce business, this is your opportunity head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Again, that's jointhecoalition.com to learn more. I'm excited. Hope to see you inside.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

And I have a very special episode for you today. I'm doing the intro solo because my co-host Andrew Foxwell is across the pond in Cologne, Germany giving a talk at ads camp. And we have a strong ...

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