01-01 Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back. We’re in Module 1. This is where we get started. In Module 1 we’re going to cover an overview of the physical products business, so everything that you need to know from an eagle eye view so that you can really understand the system that you are about to build. Then we’re going to move into mindset.

There’s a certain frame of mind and style of thinking and place you need to be in your head in order to be successful on your entrepreneurial journey and have the most success with your physical products business possible. So we’re going to talk about some mindset stuff.

Then we’re going to move into why this business model over other business models. What is it about a physical product business that’s so attractive? We’ll talk about that. And then, finally, we will settle on the type of business model that we have chosen, which is drop shipping; the drop ship physical product business. You’ll have a really clear understanding of why this business model and how it all works so that you can have the most success possible when we actually go in and start building.

Thank you so much for watching and let’s get started.

01-02 Ezra: Hey everyone and welcome. Ezra Firestone here for Digital Marker. In this video we’re talking about your capacity to have. Now, the only reason that we are all doing online marketing and we’re all starting internet businesses and ecommerce stores is because we’d like to have more money in your lives. So before we begin this course, I’d like to cover this concept with you guys. It may be a bit out there for some, a bit airy-fairy, but it’s really important and it’s really effective. So let’s go through it right now.

What is your capacity to have? Well, it’s a description and it’s not a concept. It’s the phenomenon of a person’s ability to have or not have things. Let’s take Donald Trump as an example. He has a very large capacity to have money in his life, but he’s got a low capacity for long term relationships. I think he’s on like his seventh marriage or something.

So everyone has the ability to have certain things. Like me, for example, I have the ability to have electronics. These things just pile up around me. I win them in competitions. I win prizes. I buy electronics. Anywhere that I go I’ve got a bunch of gadgets with me. That’s just something that I can have a lot of.

By understanding this concept, you can increase your capacity to have in any area, and specifically in the financial realm, which is what we’re all after here.

So, another example of the capacity to have is that 85% of all multimillion dollar lottery winners are broke within five years. It’s not that they are all screwed up in some way. It’s just a reflection of their capacity to have money. These are people who can’t have money. So even when they are given money they can’t hold onto it.

It’s like the analogy of a pitcher and a shot glass. If you pour water into a pitcher that pitcher is going to be able to hold a lot more than if you pour it into the shot glass. The shot glass is eventually going to spill over because it just can’t hold as much.

So what we want to do increase our capacity to have in the realm of money. We want to be the pitcher when it comes to money.

Your capacity to have; your capacity to have money. Everyone has a certain level that they can have. You can increase your capacity to have in any area if you put your attention on it. The way to increase your capacity to have money is to do anonymous good.

So, what is anonymous good? Well, anonymous good is a good deed that you don’t take any credit for. See, most of the good deeds that we do are actually a form of barter, intentionally or unintentionally. You rake your neighbor’s yard. You pay for a friend’s dinner. You are receiving credit for that action in as much as the person that you are doing it for knows that you’ve don’t it.

I’m not saying to stop doing nice things for people and stop doing good deeds. But I’m just saying that those good deeds that people know about that you get credit for won’t increase your capacity to have money. Only things done 100% anonymously will. Here’s why.

If you have siblings or housemates you’ll identify with this example. You come home and you find out that $5 is missing from your room or your sandwich that you had in the fridge is missing. What happens next? What do you do when you find that out? You start to blame people. You think, “Oh, Johnny. I knew he was a thief. I knew he was eyeing my sandwich.” You start thinking about who took it and why they would have done that, and you start placing this blame.

When you do anonymous good, the opposite of this happens. An anonymous good deed creates a bunch of good energy put out into the world with no specific direction attached to it, no one accepting credit for it. So you leave someone roses and they don’t know who left them those flowers. They go about the rest of their days the next couple of weeks wondering who it was, putting a bunch of good energy out into the world, blaming the good on people.

This subconsciously gives you permission to have more in your life. I know it sounds a bit weird and a bit out there, but try it out. Try doing some anonymous good in your life. Try doing something good for other people and having no one know that you did it. It works really well. Go out and do anonymous good deeds. That’s the first thing I want you guys to do as part of this course, is increase your capacity to have money by doing anonymous good.

So go out and do that and I’ll see you in the next video.

01-03 Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone here. In this video we’re talking about goals, inventory, and action. That’s how I’ve set this course up for you. I’ve laid out what is the goal, and then we’ve taken inventory of what’s needed to achieve that goal, and then the last step in the process is to take action and check things off the list.

So what is the goal really? Well, for me, my goal is to show you the simplest and most direct way to set up and run a profitable drop shipping ecommerce business. To that vein, I’m not going to teach you what you don’t need to know. I’ll use Google AdWords as an example of that. We’re going to be going over Google AdWords later in this course as a means to generating traffic to our stores. There are just certain things that you don’t need to know about the Google AdWords platform. I won’t teach you that stuff. I’m only going to be showing you exactly what you need to know to set up and run a profitable drop shipping ecommerce business. I’m going to keep it really, really simple as we go through it.

Now, what is your goal? Well, for you imagine the goal is to build an ecommerce business that’s profitable, fun, and easy to run. That’s the goal. Now that we know what the goal is, the next step is to take inventory.

Taking inventory of what you need in order to achieve your goal. So you lay out all the parts you need in order to achieve your desired outcome. So, in order to achieve the desired outcome of a profitable ecommerce business we need a couple things. We need something to sell. So we need a niche or a market. We need a platform to sell it on. We need a website and a shopping cart platform. We need people to sell it to. We need traffic to our store. And we need a way to accept payment—merchant account, PayPal, etc. And then we need a way for people to get in contact with us, like phone number, email address, things like that.

So I’ve laid out all these things for you. All you have to do is go through the course and knock each step off the list.

The next step is really simple. You just go through the list one by one and you just check things off. That’s how this course is set up. We’ve set the goal. We’ve created a video for each item on the list. And now you just go through the videos, you take the actions, and you check off each part of the list until your store is up and running.

I’m really excited to be participating in this with you. Thank you again so much for going through this course. I’m really looking forward to supporting you through this process. As always, if you need anything, have any question, you can reach me in the member’s area. You can reach me on my website: SmartMarketer.com.

Two more quick things before we get started. The first one is that you get what you focus on in life. What you put your attention on grows. And what you ignore disappears. So if you put your attention on your business, if you put your attention on your financial life, that will grow. If you put your attention on your health and you do yoga, your health with get better. So you are already doing really well just by taking this course, just by taking the time, energy, and effort to put attention on how to grow the wealth in your life. So, congratulations for that.

It’s really cool. 50% of the game is just showing up. And you have showed up. So, right on for that and thank you for that.

The last thing is take notes. When you take the time and energy to go through a course, it’s really good to get it in your system in more ways than one. So just watching the videos isn’t good enough. You need to write down what you learn.

OK, cool. Let’s get started.

01-04 Ezra: Hi everyone and welcome back. In this video we’re talking about why ecommerce as a business model. I get this question a lot. Why do you choose ecommerce over other business opportunities online? Once you know how to get traffic and get that traffic to convert, if you can choose any business model, why choose to sell physical products?

Well, there’s a number of reasons. I’m going to give you my big six. The first one is that there’s a high barrier to entry. You have to build out a platform. You need to do customer service. You need to set up vendor relationships and build out a website structure. It’s a real business. It takes work. And a lot of people are not willing to do that work, so they focus on other opportunities like affiliate marketing and other business models that require less work put in upfront. And this is good for those of us who are willing to put the time and effort in to build a real business. So the fact that there’s a higher barrier to entry and there’s more moving parts and more things that need to bet set up is actually a benefit because it keeps a lot of people out of the ecommerce space, which is nice for us.

The next reason, reason number two, is that most of the work is required upfront. So, most of the work that you have to do to build an ecommerce store you have to do upfront. You have to select your niche. You have to set up your supplier relationships. You gotta build out your platform. And all that stuff we cover in this course, and all that stuff is easy, but it happens upfront. And ongoing, all you have to do is worry about traffic, testing, and customer service. That’s one of the things that I love about ecommerce, is I can come into a new market and within a couple of weeks get all set up, and the only thing that I have to focus on after that is just getting traffic and doing conversion testing and making sure that my fulfillment and customer service is going swimmingly. So it’s a really good thing because you put in all this work upfront and then, basically, once you get your traffic system set up like we’ll show you in this course, you can move on and start another one.

Reason number three: the mom ‘n pop category. Most of the stores in the range that we are targeting are mom ‘n pop players. Most of the stores $50,000-$1 million revenue per year range are not big companies. There’s not a lot of sophisticated players in the ecommerce markets that are doing under $1 million in revenue. This makes it easier to enter those markets. It makes it easier for us because there’s no other sophisticated marketers. So we come in and we do cool things like setting up our website for conversion, and adding a lot of value to the marketplace, and things like that that we’ll teach in this course that other people aren’t doing. And it makes it easy for us to stand out as the leaders in our drop ship markets.

Reason number four is that there’s not much persuasion necessary to sell products. People came to the website looking for a dog bowl. So you don’t really have to have this really long form sales letter or video sales letter or anything like that to sell them. They wanted the products before they came to the store. They were looking for it on Google or looking for it on a search engine. What that results in is a lot of first visit transactions. You’ll see here in this one example of one of our stores, 95% of our transactions happen on the first visit, the first time they visit the store. And you can see in this next example that this is more of a standard percentage, which is 75% of the transactions happen on the first day. But that’s really good because you don’t have to persuade them, and all you need is a picture, an add to cart button, and a trustworthy site. It just makes it much easier to sell because you are not convincing people that they need to buy our stuff. They were already looking for it.

Reason number five is value per visitor. You can see down there in the right-hand corner that this website has a $1.54 value per visitor. And that’s average. For ecommerce it’s about a $1 value per visitor is what you can kind of expect. Most websites, blogs and things like that, have really low value per visitor, like 10-cents, 20-cents. In ecommerce you rarely make under $1 because your website…once your website is up and humming and you are getting traffic. And that’s because people are coming there specifically with the intention to buy things, to look at products. What that means is that it requires less traffic to make good money. Here’s another example of value per visitor. This one’s at $1.31. So you can generally expect between $1 and $2 value per visitor in the markets and the product ranges that I’ll be suggesting later in this course. That’s a really, really good thing. And it’s one of the main reasons that I decided to put so much attention on e-commerce all those years back, was because once you figure out how to get traffic and how to get people to buy stuff, and once you figure out, and we’ll show you all this in the course, how to set up on online business, it then becomes where do you get the most bang for your buck? And in my opinion that’s ecommerce.

Reason number six: conversion rates. Testing is required for this. And you can see in this example, this ecommerce site that we have here has an extremely high conversion rate. Given that most people come to your website to buy a specific product and you don’t have to convince them very hard to buy it. Generally, ecommerce stores have really good conversion rates. It’s not uncommon to see 2% and 3% conversion rates on your ecommerce store. The industry average for the most part is about 1%. Different industries have different averages. Electronics is a little bit lower and fashion is a little bit higher. But 1% is kind of a good medium. What that means is that one person out of every 100 people who visit your website buy something.

Now, with testing you can get that much higher like you see in this example. And this example here is more of an average site doing 1.74% conversion rate. We’re going to cover conversion testings in a later module.

So those are my six big reasons for being in ecommerce. I just wanted to share them with you because I think they are worth paying attention to and knowing about upfront. So thanks again for watching this video. My name is Ezra Firestone. You can find me at SmartMarketer.com or in the member’s area. I’ll see you in the next one.

1-5 Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone here. Welcome back. In this video we’re talking about the different ecommerce business models. What are the different options that you have when you decide to sell physical products? And what are the pros and cons of each option?

There’s three big business models in ecommerce. I’m going to go through all three of them for you right now. You’ve got drop shipping. You’ve got wholesaling and warehousing. And you’ve got white labeling and manufacturing. Then you’ve got combinations of each of those models. And each model has its pros and cons. I recommend drop shipping. That’s what I’ll be teaching in this course.

Option number one is importing and manufacturing. Now, the pros of manufacturing and importing is that you have very high margins. You get to bring products into the country or manufacture products at a really low price and sell them for a much higher margin. You have complete control over the sales process. So you have control over all of the inventory. You ship the products yourself. That’s a benefit because you get to control the entire cycle. So you are aware of what’s going on with the product at all times.

The next pro is that you have the opportunity to use wholesalers and drop shippers to you benefit. So when you are manufacturing and when you are importing and when the products are yours, you can have other people retail them for you.

Now, some of the cons to manufacturing and importing are there is a significant upfront investment. This is one of the main things that I don’t like about it. I have a business where we manufacture and import products and we’re only doing that now after we’ve been in the ecommerce business for five years. So I don’t recommend starting with this because of the upfront investment required.

Another thing is that you have to pay cash out before you take cash in, whereas with drop shipping you get money first before you spend any money when it comes to the product. I’ll tell you about that in the next slide.

And also, there’s no easy way to exit a manufacturing and importing business. You’ve brought products into the country. You’ve got a warehouse. You’ve got all this inventory. There’s just not an easy way to get out of it should you decide that you want to maybe move on to another business venture or the market is not working the way you would have liked. You kinda get stuck. You are kind of stuck with it for a while and it’s a lot harder to sell an ecommerce business when you have a warehouse and when you are manufacturing product.

The next business model is wholesale and warehousing. This is where you have a warehouse and you buy product in bulk from someone who manufactures it or imports it and then you sell it on your website or you sell it to other people. And so, the benefit of this is that you generally do business to business or volume sales. So you are generally selling a bigger quantity at a time when you are a wholesaler, when you are a warehouser. So it’s not business to consumer. It’s business to business for the most part, which can be a good thing.

The other benefit is that you get better pricing on products when you buy them in bulk instead of buying them one-off like you do as a drop shipper. So you end up getting a little bit better margins.

Now, one of the cons is that you have low margins. That doesn’t seem to make sense, right? I just said that you have better margins. Well, you have better margins if you are buying products in bulk, warehousing them, and selling them on your website business to consumer. So if you are buying a bunch of product from China or you are buying a bunch of product from a manufacturer and you are storing in your basement or in your warehouse and then you are selling that on your website one-off to consumers, you have better margins than if you were using a drop ship model, which we will talk about next. But, for the most part, when you are buying in bulk you are generally selling to other businesses so that they can resell, and you have pretty low margins when you do that. And when you do that you have fairly low margins.

And you’ve got a high upfront investment. This is a higher upfront investment than drop shipping, because with the drop shipping business model that we’ll get to in just a second, you don’t pay any money until you make money. That’s the main reason that I love drop shipping so much.

So let’s get to drop shipping. What is drop shipping? It’s where you go to a manufacturer of a product or a wholesaler—someone who’s got a warehouse full of products that they didn’t manufacture, and you say, “Hey. I’d love to sell your products over the internet.” And they let you do that. They give you images of the product. They give you pictures. They give you the prices of the product. And then you put that product on your website for sale.

Let’s say, for example, you wanted to sell dog beds. You’d go and find a supplier, which I’ll show you how to do in a later module, and they would give you a list of all of their dog beds and the prices that they were going to charge you for their dog beds. Let’s say on average it was $50. Well you’d take those beds and you’d put them on your website, but you would charge $100. And then you’d go out and do marketing like we’re going to talk about later in this course to generate a sale. So, someone would come to your website. They’d buy that dog bed for $100. And they would pay you that $100. You would then go to the manufacturer and say, “Hey. Please ship this product to this person. Here’s your $50.” So you make $50 profit and you only pay for the product once you’ve been paid for it by the customer. That’s the beauty of drop shipping. It’s got really low upfront investment. So you don’t have to pay any money out for products before you sell them. All you have to do is set up your platform, put the products up the website, and do marketing. And when you make a sale is when you actually buy the product. So you are getting cash in before you are spending cash out on products.

So you’ve got really low risk and high reward. What I mean by high reward is that you’ve got the opportunity to grow. Let’s say your drop ship business gets big and you start selling 100 or 200, 300 dog beds a month. What you can do at that time is you can take your best sellers and then buy those in bulk. So you become a warehouser. You become a wholesaler of only your best selling products to purchase them in bulk and get those bigger margins on them.

Now, some of the cons for drop shipping are that you have no control over the shipping and the fulfillment. So, sometimes you will run into a supplier who ships a little late or who doesn’t give you a tracking number quickly and you have to handle that customer service. That’s one of the downsides.

Another one is that you don’t always know what’s in stock. Sometimes suppliers won’t be quick to let you know when a product is out of stock and you’ll sell something that is actually out of stock and you’ll have to deal with that customer service scenario.

Those are really the only cons to drop shipping, is that you don’t really have control over the shipping process and you don’t always know what’s in stock.

Another beautiful thing is that you can get out of a drop ship business really easily since all of your assets are digital. You only have a website and an advertising account on Google and things like that. So it’s really easy to sell a drop shipping website because you’re just selling the platform, the relationship with the supplier, etc. It’s a lot easier to flip a drop ship website than it is to flip a website that has an ecommerce business that has a warehouse, that has a manufacturing component to it. So these are the easiest businesses to get into, drop shipping businesses, in that they don’t take much upfront investment of capital, and they are really easy to sell.

I just wanted to give you an overview of the different ecommerce business models and let you know why I’ve chosen drop shipping and why it really is the best ecommerce business model to get into when you are just starting out. And frankly, I believe it’s the best one in general just because of the ease of operation and ease of exit when you are ready to sell the company.

That’s why we’ve chosen drop shipping. I’ll see you in the next video.

1-6 Ezra: Thank you so much for downloading my ecommerce roadmap. I drew this up. Actually, I had my wife draw it because I’m not the best artist. But it was my concept and she drew it. What it is, is it’s really a roadmap of the ecommerce business of every step along the way of how to have a successful ecommerce business; everything from your business model, to your platform, to your conversions, to what education you need—everything I’ve discovered.

I mapped out my business, my ecommerce business, and I laid it out on this paper. What I’m going to do now is we’re going to head over to my computer and I’m going to take you through each stop on that roadmap and tell you about it in more detail so you really get an understanding of the business. Thank you for downloading it and let’s head over to the computer right now.

Here we are and we are looking at the ecommerce roadmap that I drew up here. Actually, I had my wife draw it because I’m not the best at coloring between the lines.

The first thing we have is the business model. You’ve got to decide what type of business model are you going to start with? I suggest starting with a drop ship business model because it requires less overhead than any of the other business models because you are going out and you are finding products to sell that don’t belong to you, that you don’t buy upfront, that come from a supplier or a manufacturer and you pay for them after your customers have paid you for them. That’s why it’s a really good business to start.

Now, with the drop ship business model you can see that we’ve got wholesaling, we’ve got white labeling, and we’ve got manufacturing and importing. And there’s also the combination of the drop ship and the wholesale business models where you are drop shipping, and then once you are up and successful and you’ve got some best sellers, you actually buy those in bulk and warehouse them because you want to get better margins on your best sellers. So that’s a combination of the drop ship wholesale business model, which is generally your next step after you’ve got a successful drop shipping business.

White labeling is a little bit different. It’s where you’ve got a business. You’ve got a product that you are putting your label on. You’re getting a product from a supplier and you are putting your label on it and warehousing it and shipping it out. So it’s not buying products in bulk and selling them. It’s actually buying products in bulk and branding them to your brand or whatever brand you want and then selling them that way through the channels on your own ecommerce site.

And then, of course, manufacturing and importing is bringing in your own products, creating your own products, manufacturing them, importing them, and obviously warehousing them or housing them at a fulfillment center and shipping them yourselves.

In the Brown Box Formula we focus on the drop ship business model because it is the easiest way to get started. So the first thing you do is you pick your business. Now, this next set here, these market criteria, only has a few points from my market criteria checklist. If you haven’t downloaded that you can get that on my website, SmartMarketer.com. And you can also get that on BrownBoxFormula.com/access. I’ve gone through a whole 20 minute video that brings you through each one of these criterion to select a good drop ship market. This market criteria is specifically for a drop ship market. And some of the ones I have on here are “gross market over 20%”, “lends itself to multiple item orders”, “has good seasonality”, “has an average order value between $75 and $200.” These are just a couple of them. I actually have a 15 point market criteria checklist that you can download. If you can’t find it on my website, if you can’t find it on the BrownBoxFormula.com/access page, go ahead and shoot me an email at Ezra@SmartMarketer.com and I will email you the checklist and the video that goes along with that checklist that takes you through that.

Next we have your suppliers. When you are dealing with a supplier there are some things that you need to take into account. You need to set your terms up, so when you are going to pay them, what intervals. Sometimes they want to be paid for every item ships out. Sometimes they want to be paid on a 15-day or 30-day basis. So you set up your terms. You figure out what way you are going to contact them, how you are going to be in communication with them, so emailing them, phone, faxing orders—how they want the orders sent over. And that’s ordering and communication.

Contact and discovery are covered in my wholesale by-side report. I created a 22-page report specifically on how to contact and find suppliers and manufacturers. You can download that also at BrownBoxFormula.com/access or on SmartMarketer.com. Again, if you can’t find that resource you can just email me: Ezra@SmartMarketer.com and I will send you the video that goes along with that PDF report as well as the PDF report itself.

And then, obviously, you need some way of checking stock and inventory and being in communication with them so that they let you know what products are and are not in stock, which is real easy to do. They all have their systems pretty much set up.

Next we move on to the platform. Now, there’s a lot of platforms that you could use. The one that I recommend is Big Commerce. I recommend that for a couple of reasons. All platforms have their ups and downs. All platforms have their pros and cons. The big three these days are Big Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion. Those are kind of the top three platforms. I liken this to the United States’ electrical circuit. If you look at the way our electrical system is set up with the telephone poles and all that stuff, and you look at the way that Asia has their electrical circuit set up, they didn’t make a lot of the mistakes we made. They got to learn from our mistakes because they set up their electrical grid after we set up ours. Shopify, Volusion, and Big Commerce are ecommerce platforms that have been created after looking at the problems that Yahoo!, and Magento, and ShopSite, and X-Cart, and some of these legacy platforms had. So these newer platforms don’t have those problems. They’ve all got wide developer networks. They’ve all got pretty open source backend. So they are all pretty good.

I like Big Commerce for a couple of reasons. I think it has the widest developer network. It also definitely has the best customer service. They’ve got great themes and templates. They are just a wonderful platform. So I recommend them.

With your platform you are going to need to set up your analytics and goals. You want to be able to track goals and track the sales that are coming into your site. So you can set up ecommerce analytics in Google Analytics. And it’s also automatically set up in most shopping cart platforms that you use.

You are going to need a payment method—a way to collect money on your platform. I recommend having these three methods—the merchant account where you can accept credit cards—Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, etc. SecureNet is a wonderful merchant processor that will help you get an account for free, actually. And you can sign up for them through the Big Commerce homepage. Amazon Payments are really good to accept because a lot of people are already signed into Amazon. And, obviously, PayPal. Google Checkout you don’t really have to worry about.

You are probably going to want a designer, so a graphic designer. You can find one on Fiverr.com. You can find one on Elance.com. These are the guys who are going to create your logo and create the banners for your store, etc.

You are going to want content, which we’ll talk about in the blogging stop in the ecommerce roadmap, which is coming up next. And the other thing that you want to think about for your platform are third-party integrations like live chat, and email capture, and Ring Central for your phone, and UPS, and all of these third-party applications that you use on your store.

The next stop on the roadmap after you have selected your business model, you’ve got your market, you’ve got your suppliers, got your platform set up is your blog. Your blog is basically a part of your platform. Your blog is a way to engage your community. It’s a way to SEO your site because you are getting fresh, relevant content. And it’s a way to add value to your market beyond just listing products for sale, which will really help you in your conversion and your sales, which we talk about a lot in the Brown Box Formula. A lot of you are Brown Box Formula members so you know all about this adding value to the market.

So let’s just talk a little bit about what you want for your blog. You definitely want to use Wordpress. It’s the biggest blogging platform out there. It’s the best one to use. And you can install it on a subdomain of Big Commerce.

You definitely want to have weekly content, so some kind of consistent content creation. You don’t want to just create one piece of content every now and again. You want consistent content. You want your content to be community relevant, so relevant to the topics and conversations of your community. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about your products, about your services. It’s got to be about things that you are relevant to your community.

If you look at our skincare company, we are not creating content about skincare. We’re creating content about menopause, and gray hair, and wrinkles, and conversations and problems that are relevant to our group of buyers.

One thing to think about with your content is you definitely want to have audio, video, and articles. The good news is that one piece of video can be transcribed, can have the audio pulled out. Different people prefer to consume media in different formats. Some people like to watch. Some people like to listen. Some people like to read. So you want to have your content laid out in different formats.

You want to have your videos transcribed and you want to channel syndicate your sub-content. What that means is shared across all your social networks and posted on your blog.

Let’s move down to the social profiles that you are going to need for your physical products business. You are going to need a Facebook page; very, very important. Probably the most important social profile of them all. You want to have a Facebook page. You want to be sharing your content on your Facebook page, running contests with things like Rafflecopter and engaging your community on Facebook. You want to have a Twitter profile where you share your content as well, a Pinterest page where you pin all your images. You want to have a Google+ page. And you definitely want to have a YouTube account for your videos to upload to YouTube.

Now let’s move on to the next step on the roadmap, which is traffic. Here are the different traffic channels you have available to you. You’ve got social traffic which generally comes when you share content on social media to your subscribers, and you run ads on Facebook Ads to boost your content, which we also talk about in the Brown Box Formula. You will get people back to your store by running relevant traffic to your community on social media. And you’ll get traffic that way.

Email marketing postcards. This kind of comes once you are getting orders, once you are generating orders. You want to do email marketing to your list and you want to send postcards out to your past customers and in your orders that you are sending out.

Amazon. The channel on Amazon Ads are a fantastic traffic source for physical product businesses. One of the best out there. We obviously have SEO and organic rankings. That comes from structuring your store properly, and creating relevant content, and optimizing your store’s pages.

We’ve got Google AdWords and Google Product Listing ads—by far the most powerful traffic source for any physical product business in my opinion. We’ve got comparison shopping engines like Price Grabber, The Find, and Ebay, and things like that. Shopping engines are an awesome traffic source. Not your best one, but they are definitely a really good traffic source for ecommerce businesses.

Then we’ve got remarketing, which is when people come to your website and you drop a cookie on them and you follow them around with ads for your products. Admazely is the platform that we talk about in the Brown Box Formula course. It’s a wonderful platform. You can also use Google AdWords to do remarketing.

And then, of course, Facebook Ads, like I already mentioned, are a wonderful advertising tool for physical product businesses, more to engage your community and generate more subscribers than to actually sell products.

Let’s talk about conversion. That’s the next stop on the roadmap. Once you have your business, your market, your site set up. You’ve got your blog. You’ve got your social traffic going. You’ve got your traffic sources going. It’s now time to try to get that traffic to convert as highly as you possibly can. So you definitely want to have video. Video converts super, super well. Users who watch video are 64% more likely to convert. So you definitely want to have video on your ecommerce store, on your product pages, on your “more information” pages, on your homepage, any way you can.

You want to use social selling. So after someone buys you want to use things like Shop Socially and Curabit Tur. And they allow you to incentivize people to share your products and services socially.

You want to structure your page and have a goal flow. Page structure and goal flow is really important from a conversion perspective. The goal here is to get people from your homepage, to your section page, to your product page, to your shopping cart. All of your conversion is based around moving people through that funnel.

You want to use incentivized time constraints. You want to pop up little things that say, “Hey. Check out within the next 10 minutes and get 10% off, get free shipping.” You can use ConversionsOnDemand.com to do that. They also do cart abandonment, which is awesome. And then live chat through Olark.com and LIvechatinc.com is going to get you a 15%-30% boost in conversion. You want to use package inserts, like I Mentioned—postcards, inserts in your packaging. You want to follow up with people after they buy and ask for reviews. And you want to make sales and offers to your community.

Now, some of the least used pages on physical product businesses are more information pages—security pages, privacy policy, shipping information, return information. People are going to look at these pages because they want that information. So it’s very important that you have videos on those pages engaging your customers and answering those questions. Make those pages really dynamic.

You want to have a very rich homepage. Rich homepages win. So, featured products, banners, testimonials, hello from the owner, all that kind of stuff. Your ad copy is very important. So the descriptions of your products, you want features and benefits. Most people only put features. They only put, “This thing has chrome and stainless steel.” They don’t put the benefit to the user of why that product is going to benefit them. So you definitely want to have benefits on there.

You want to make sure that you are using unique selling propositions in your messaging; so why people should buy from you, why your store is good—free shipping, whatever it happens to be.

After you’ve got your conversions set up it’s all about engaging your community and increasing repeat sales. This is all done through content; consistent content that adds value to your community all created to have messaging and a persona for your brand. So, someone or a couple of people are becoming the persona of your brand. You’ve got a specific type of messaging and a specific message that you are sending out to your community. What your community wants is your viewpoints on what’s happening in that community.

When all of the Lance Armstrong scandal was going on, all the cycling websites were doing videos and articles with their viewpoints on that scandal because it was relevant to their community.

You definitely want to use Google Authorship so that you are having rich snippet markup in your search results and people are seeing your brand or your face on those articles. Google Publisher Tag works if you want it through your brand.

Now let’s talk about your business structure. You’ve got your business model. You’ve got your market. You’ve got your supplier. You’ve got your platform all set up. You’ve got your blog and your content going. You’ve got traffic running. You’ve got your conversion elements happening. You are building a community and doing branding. Now you’ve got to think about the fact that you are building a real business. You need customer service. That’s why you want to have live chat. You want to have email support. You want to have a phone number. You want to actually be a real business.

You’ve got to have some kind of company structure. You probably will have set that up upfront before you did all this stuff because you generally need an EIN number or an LLC to get a supplier to do business with. Sometimes you don’t need that, but oftentimes you do.

You are going to have to worry about accounting and taxes, so paying attention to how much money is coming in and what your expenses are. And QuickBooks is a really good tool for that. Shoeboxed.com is also a wonderful tool for that. But you definitely want to make sure that you are paying attention to how much money you are making, how much money you are spending.

Your content structure—how much content is being created, how you are handling that, how you are dealing with the outsourcers who are helping you create that content, or if you are doing it all yourself, how you are handling that structure. So what the structure of your business is; what your organization, and tools, and systems are for running your business, because you are going to be having processes that need to happen. You are going to be sending orders over to the supplier each night. You are going to be answering emails from your customers. So there’s going to be these processes that have to happen. And you need some kind of system to make sure that you are staying on top of your business.

The next thing we have are your unique selling propositions. These are very important to display all over your store. You want to figure out what these are. What is it that you offer that’s unique? Why is your business unique? Do you have free shipping? Do you have hassle free returns? Do you have excellent customer service? What is it about your business that is unique, that makes you stand out from the competition?

And then lastly, you want to keep your education up. You want to make sure that you are paying attention to the latest trends and what’s going on in the industry and what are some things that you can be doing to increase your business.

I’ll just give you some of the places that I follow. I follow PracticalEcommerce.com. I love them. I follow their blog. They are a fantastic ecommerce blog. Gurock.com, GetElastic.com, Shopify.com/blog, LetsTalkEcommerce.com, and SmartMarketer.com, which is of course the site you are on now, my website, my blog.

That is the roadmap. This is an eagle eye view, a 30,000 foot level of what it takes to run a successful physical product business. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. If you like this kind of stuff, if you like following along with my research, what’s working for me in my business specifically related to ecommerce, then you can check out my membership program. If it’s not on this page, if there’s no link to it, you can email Ezra@SmartMarketer.com and I can give you details to it.

But, basically, it’s a program where we add content on a monthly basis. We have calls and webinars and private trainings. We stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the ecommerce business. We help you grow your business. Thank you for watching and I’ll catch up with you soon.

02-01 Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back, Module 2. This is where we get our hands dirty. This is where we start the real work. This is the fun part. We are going to pick your market. We are going to figure out what products are you going to sell? And it’s really fun when you make that decision.

And then, once you know the products that you are going to sell, we are going to move into finding your supplier. So who is going to supply these products? Who is going to ship them for you? We are going to figure that out.

And finally, we are going to do your keyword research so that you are ready to build your store in Module 3. So let’s dig in. let’s get into Module 2 and let’s get started. Thank you for watching. 02-02 Ezra: Hello and welcome back. Ezra Firestone here. In this video we’re talking about how to find market ideas. You need products to sell. But the problem is that not just any products will do. In the next video I’m going to walk you through my market checklist that covers my 15-point market criteria. By following that checklist you will know whether or not you have a market that’s worth entering.

But before you go through that checklist, you need an idea. You need an idea of what products you are going to sell. If you already know what products you are going to sell and you already have your products all lined up, you can go ahead and skip to the next video and go through the market checklist and make sure that the products that you want to sell score you a good category on the checklist. But if you need some ideas for what to sell, then this video is going to give you some ways to find them.

The first one, the easiest one, and this is my favorite way of doing it, is a niche of a niche. All of my best niches have been niches within other niches, or markets within other markets. It’s kind of like the Babushka doll. It’s what’s inside of the bigger market. Dog beds is a fantastic market. And it’s inside the bigger market of dog supplies. Pirate costumes is a fantastic market and it’s in the bigger market of Halloween costumes.

So where do you find these overview niches, these overview markets to look for submarkets within? Well, the easiest way is Ebay and Amazon. Now, both Ebay and Amazon, the two top online shopping destinations on the planet, have already laid out the bigger niches for you. They’ve laid out the bigger categories, and they’ve also laid out the subcategories. You can see it just by going to their sites and using their category structure, using their navigation as a way to find markets that you might want to go into a submarket of.

It’s a really good way to do it. There used to be a tool called Pulse.Ebay.com which was fantastic, because what it would do is it would show you what were the most popular products or what were the most popular subcategories within the main categories on Ebay. Now, Ebay Pulse doesn’t exist anymore, but WatchCount.com is somewhat the equivalent of Ebay Pulse. It’s kind of what the equivalent of what Ebay Pulse used to be.

What you can do is you can see what products in what subcategories are popular on Ebay. So you just enter a keyword into that little keyword box or select a main category or subcategory and click the little “Show me what’s popular” button, and it’s going to list all of the items that are popular on Ebay. That’s a really good way to get some ideas of sub niches.

Another way to get ideas for markets is to think about enthusiasts and hobbyists. People who are enthusiastic or passionate about something are really great people to sell to because they are willing to spend money on what they are into. The good news is that there are a lot of enthusiasts and hobbyists out there, everything from people who are into rock climbing. Think of all the stuff that you need from rock climbing, or like model airplanes or model train sets. Or me, what I’m into, I’m into Mao-tai kickboxing and yoga. And I buy all kinds of stuff for that. So if you think about the stuff that you are into and the stuff that you buy, you’ll get a good idea of some different hobbies and enthusiasms.

Some of the main categories for this one are sports of all kinds, collections, people who collect stuff in other hobbies.

Another way to find market ideas is to think about weird and embarrassing products. Those are great to sell online because people don’t want to go and buy them in a store. They don’t want to confront other people while making these kinds of purchases. Stuff like toenail fungus cream, or adult toys, or these little breastfeeding things that mothers buy, the little curtains that go over you while you are breastfeeding. Anything that’s somewhat embarrassing or weird is a really good product to sell online. So if you can think of some products that people buy but might be embarrassed to buy in person, that’s a really good way to get some ideas for markets.

Now, InternetRetailer.com is a fantastic resource. They publish a book called “The Top 500”. They actually have a book now called “The Second 500”. They publish this each year. What it does is it ranks the top players in the United States e-retailing space based on annual sales, growth percentages, and stuff like that. So what you get to see are the websites that are up and coming; the markets that are up and coming; the markets that are doing the best. And they also give you data like who’s up and who’s down, the top 100 retailers in the states, the fastest growing markets, and the fastest growing retailers by category, and a bunch of other stuff. So it’s a really good guide to have. And their website is just a good resource. It’s got a lot of information on there.

What I thought I’d do for you was list out their category structure. They’ve broken down e-retailer into these categories, which is good because you can look for subcategories and submarkets within each of these categories as starting points for your niches. So they’ve got apparel and accessories, automotive parts, books and music, computers and electronics, flowers and gifts, which is a really, really good. Any kind of gift is a great one. Food and drugs, hardware and home improvement, health and beauty, home furnishings, jewelry, office supplies, sporting goods, and toys and hobbies.

Some of my favorites, obviously, are flowers and gifts, and sporting goods, and toys and hobbies. They don’t have this on here, but I like body care, skincare.

So this is a good place to start to look for market ideas. Next you can get kind of sneaky. This is pretty sneaky but it’s really, really effective. One way to find market ideas is to look at the top designers on each platform. I’m talking about the top shopping cart designers, because these designers always have before and after on their website. They show off their work. They show off the websites that they’ve worked on, the websites that they’ve done redesigns on. If someone can afford to have their website redone or redesigned, that means that they are doing well in that market.

So you can just go to Google and you can type in “Magento designer” or “ShopSite developer”. And you’ll look at the paid ads and you’ll look at the organic results and you’ll see who these developers and designers are, and you can visit their websites and look at their testimonials and look at their before’s and after’s and get market ideas that way.

So here’s a list of store platforms that you can use that strategy with. You can go to Google and type in “Magento developer”, “X-Cart developer”, “Shopify”, “Big Commerce”, “Volusion”, “ShopSite”, “Yahoo! Store”, “Amazon Web Store”, “3D Cart”, “OS Commerce”, “Zen Cart”, “Big Cartel”. Those are kind of the big ones. There’s a bunch of shopping cart platforms out there.

But if you do this process where you go to Google and you type in “X-Cart developer” and you click on a couple of the paid ads and you look at those developers’ websites, and you look at the stores that they’ve redesigned and the stores that have come to them and paid them for a redesign, you’ll get some really, really good market ideas that way. That’s one of my favorite ways to get new market ideas. It’s a little sneaky, but it’s really effective.

There really is no scarcity. This whole sort of viewpoint that most people have that there’s just not enough to go around, or you don’t want competition, or you don’t want people to know what your market is in, it’s just not true. There’s plenty of space for everybody. And there’s especially plenty of space for you because you are going to be doing effective marketing. You are really going to be doing the right things to make sure that your store gets sales. So the viewpoint that there’s not enough, this sort of belief that there’s scarcity, is just not true. There’s plenty of space for everyone.

The next step is to go out there and brainstorm some market ideas. Brainstorm five market ideas. Write them down in your notebook, because as you know you are going to send me pictures of that if you want to get the opportunity to win at the end of this course. So write those down in your notebook and meet me in the next video where I take you through my 15-point market criteria checklist.

This is where we decide whether or not your market is wroth entering. Thanks again for watching. I will see you in the next video.

02-03 Ezra Firestone: Hey everyone. Welcome back. Ezra Firestone here. And in this video we’re looking at my market criteria checklist. So now you have an idea for a market and that’s really good. But now we have to qualify it and see if it’s a market worth entering. Let’s get started.

I’ve drawn up this checklist for you to use. You can download it in the Resources section. What you do is you go through each question and you answer yes or no. if you answer yes for that criteria for your market, then you give yourself the allotted amount of points. It says it right next to it on the right. Like the first one, Average Order Value, if you answer yes to that, then it’s five points.

The reason this is set up with the points system is that not all criteria are of equal value. You can see that fragmented market is only worth two points. And that’s because if you don’t have a fragmented market, hey, it’s not a deal breaker. You’d just prefer it if you possibly could have it. but if your market isn’t set up that way but all the rest of these criteria add up in your favor, then it’s fine to not have a few of these things.

What you’ll do is you’ll add up your score at the end and you’ll find out where your market stands as far as my criteria for entering markets goes. I’ll go through each criteria with you right now so that you have a better understanding of each one and can give yourself a true yes or no answer for your market.

Let’s run through them now. The first one is Average Order Value. You want your average order value to be between $75 and $200. This is different from average profit per order. You don’t really know yet what your margins are going to be and what your profit per order is going to be. But you can be pretty sure that if the average order value is $75-$200, you are not going to be making less than $20 profit per order. That’s just kind of a rule of thumb. You generally never want to make less than $20 per order profit in your pocket because you just can’t really compete and make enough money to succeed and have a profitable good, big business if you are making less than $20 on each order.

The reason why I say $75-$200 and I don’t go above that is because when you have products that you are selling that are $300, $400, $500, you generally have to do more customer service. People want to talk to you before they buy them. You end up having to do a lot more work to make those sales. But anything sort of under $200, even under $300 I’ve found, people will just log online, have a look at it, and if your website adds enough value and you’ve got all the data there necessary, which we’ll talk about later, they’ll just buy it from you. So I like the $75-$200 price point range. And when you are in that range you will never…you’ll find that if you are selling a product, even at the low end for $75, you are not making less than $20 in a drop ship market. If you are, you’ll see in the next slide you shouldn’t be in that market.

The next thing is that you want your gross margins to be 20% or more. What that means is that if your order is $100, you want to make at least 20% profit. Now, you don’t always know the margins upfront on products. but if you are considering two niches against each other at a later stage and they both have the same average order value, then you are going to want to go with the one that has the higher profit margins.

You may not be able to give yourself a yes or no definitively on this one, but what you can know is that for the most part in the $75-$200 range you are going to be making more than 20% profit. As your prices of your products go up, the margins you make on them go down. So if you are selling a $1,000 product it’s very unlikely that you are going to be making 20% or 30% margins. So this one is probably a yes if you are in the $75-$200 range. And if you already know the margins on your products, you will be able to answer this one. And if you don’t, then what you can do is once you’ve set up your suppliers like we’re going to do in the next video, you’ll be able to answer this question for yourself.

So, is it a fragmented market? This is the next one. Well, we’re going to talk about keyword research later, but one of the things that you are going to want to do is take your top 15 to 20 section level keywords. We’ll talk about section level keywords, but basically it’s your 15-20 keywords that aren’t for your homepage. For example, if you are selling Halloween costumes, then your homepage would be optimized for the term “Halloween costumes” and your sections would be pirate costumes, and fairy costumes, and Elvis costumes, and clown costumes. Those would be section level keywords.

What you want to do is you want to type those into Google and you want to make sure that it’s not the exact same 10 stores showing up for each one of those keywords. If you typed in pirate costumes, fairy costumes, Elvis costumes, clown costumes, you went through the top 15-20 of your section level keywords and it was the exact same 10 people who were showing up in the organic spots for every single of those keywords, well that market is not fragmented. There’s 10 people who are just kind of dominating that market.

You’ll notice that I didn’t give this one a whole bunch of points. I only gave it two points because competition is not a huge deal. You can break in no matter how competitive the market is. But it is something that you want to look at. And a fragmented market is better because it’s easier to break in. not that you won’t break into a market that’s not fragmented, but it’s a little easier to break into one that is. So check and see if you’ve got a fragmented market.

The next thing is does your market lend itself to repeat customers? Do you have the opportunity to resell to your past customers or is it one and done? An electric fireplace is kind of a one and done sale. It’s a high dollar sale, so it’s not super bad. But it’s one and done. People aren’t going to come back and buy another electric fireplace from you. But gift baskets on the other hand, you have the opportunity to sell to those people every single holiday. You can send them a Christmas gift basket. You can sell them a Valentine’s Day gift basket. So you can resell gift baskets every holiday. You can resell them every year. It’s just a market that lends itself really well to repeat customers. So you just kinda want to put your thinking cap on and think about the products that you are considering, and do they lend themselves to repeat customers?

So products with a lot of accessories are really good for this. If you think about like paintball guns, well when someone buys a paintball gun they need a mask, and they need the balls, they need a hopper thing. They just need a whole bunch of stuff. And so, after they buy the gun you have the opportunity to sell them a bunch of accessories. So product lines with accessories are really good for repeat customers. And things that are sort of yearly, things around the holidays, because you’ll get people coming back and buying their gifts from you each year, those kinds of things.

Multiple item orders. This one is pretty self-explanatory as well, just like the last one. But multiple item orders are fantastic. Let’s think about costumes again. You take a niche like dance costumes. Well, most of the time when people are purchasing dance costumes they are purchasing them for an entire dance team. They purchase like 15 at a time. It’s a huge benefit when people order more than one item at a time. Again, if your product line has a bunch of accessories this is fantastic because you’ll sell the main product and you’ll sell a bunch of accessories.

Now, the other thing that you can do is you can create your own multiple item orders by bundling products together. We’ll talk about this later when we talk about how to add value to the marketplace. We’ll also talk about it in the next slide. But bundling is a fantastic way to add value to your marketplace and sell more products per order.

But you just want to think about, like again with the electric fireplace, you are kind of unlikely to sell much of anything with that fireplace. But most product lines you can kinda figure out how to add a few items to the order or have a cross-sell. Costumes are fantastic for this because if people are buying a pirate costume they most likely want a bandana, and a sword, and boots. So it’s just like you have the opportunity to sell them multiple items in those markets. You want to just have a look at the market you are considering and think about whether or not you are going to have the opportunity to sell accessories along with your items or if people are going to be purchasing your items in bulk for group things or like that.

The next thing is can you add value to the marketplace? This one is huge. This is where you really stand out. You’ll see in our blogging module and our educational community module later in the course where we’re talking about building community and building a fan base we’ll talk about this. But, basically, you are going to want to choose a product line that you can add value to. So, something that you are willing to learn about and talk about. The days of ecommerce stores being faceless and just being stores where there’s no face, there’s no person, there’s no name behind it, they’re going away in our social society. It’s becoming more about connecting with your customers and creating a community. There’s a lot of ways to add value to a marketplace. Educational content is a fantastic one. So, buyer’s guides, stuff that solves the purchaser’s problem.

For example, I just bought a new podcast microphone. It’s the microphone that I’m recording this video on right now. The website I bought it from had a really nice video guide on the product page on how to set it up, and all the different details about it, and all this stuff that all these other websites selling this same microphone for the same amount of money didn’t have. I purchased from these people because they had added value. They made me feel like they knew…the added value to the marketplace and they sold me by doing that.

The truth is you can add value to any marketplace. So the answer to this one should be yes. I’m just going to show you the best, easiest, and most effective ways to do it later in this course.

Another way to add value is bundling like we talked about in the last slide. For example, when I bought this podcast microphone I bought a bundle. I bought the podcast microphone with a stand that connects to my desk, along with…I don’t even know what it’s called, but it’s a little thing that holds the microphone in place. These products would have been sold separately. But what this website did was they bundled them all together and they said, “Hey. Here’s everything that you need for your microphone setup. Here’s a video explaining it to you.” So they added a lot of value. They brought something more than just products to the marketplace. That’s something that you should be looking to do. Another way to do it is with a video blog, which I’m going to be advocating that you set up for your store when we talk about SEO and communities and all that stuff in later modules.

So, can you add value? The answer should absolutely be yes. If you are looking at a marketplace and you are like, “You know what? I’m really uninterested in these products,” or, “I don’t want to talk about them,” or, “There’s nothing I can bring other than the products to the space,” you probably shouldn’t go into that space. This one’s really important.

Next is: are the products to difficult to find locally? So, for example, if you don’t live in New York City, can you buy it down the street? Fire pits are a good example of this. Walgreen’s, and Costco, and Home Depot might have one or two fire pits, but they don’t really have a large selection of them. You can’t really find the locally anywhere in the country. You just can’t find a good selection. The only place you can find a really good selection of fire pits is online.

Another good example is a giant car ribbon. People who put ribbons on cars as gifts or do it to celebrated being married or whatever, you have to buy that product online. You are not going to be able to find that down the street. This one is pretty straight forward. I won’t spend a lot of time on it. But you want to be able to sell products that people have a hard time finding in their town or that people have a hard time finding a diverse selection of in their town. I live in New York City, so there is a diverse selection of a lot more things here than there are in most places. But you want to pay a lot of attention to this one and make sure that you are not selling a product that’s really easy to find at Best Buy or Home Depot or whatever.

Are the products seasonal? Most markets are somewhat seasonal. I love seasonal product lines—toys, Halloween costumes, Valentine’s gifts. I just love the craziness that it brings out in people. People don’t think twice about purchasing something when they are buying a gift from someone, or when they need a costume for their kid, or when they are sort of in the throes of some kind of collective experience, some kind of a seasonal experience.

This one only has three points because it’s not a huge deal. And most markets are going to have some kind of seasonality to them. Patio furniture is only being purchased in the summer. You just want to know the seasonality of your product. So you are going to answer yes to this. Most products are seasonal. But I just wanted to make you aware of your market and make you aware of the seasons of your market so that you know what to expect.

Google Trends, we’ll use Google Trends to look at the seasonality of your market and see how seasonal it is. There is a Google Trends module in this video because this next slide I am talking about Google Trends as well. So it will be quick and you will understand how to use Google Trends and see what the seasonality of your market is. So watch that video after you are done with this one or when you are going through the Resources section of this module. But is your product seasonal? The answer is most likely yes, and that is a good thing. If it’s not, not a big deal. I just really like seasonal markets.

I put that on my criteria because I always want to make sure that, if possible, I am entering a market that is more seasonal rather than less seasonal. I know that sort of goes against what most people say. Most people are like you want to be able to sell year-round. But I find that even the most seasonal markets, even Halloween costumes, I do 50% of my sales in the off months and I do the other 50% of my sales over the course of October. So even in the most seasonal markets you still do sales year-round. So you are not going to only sell in the summer if you are selling patio furniture. You are just going to sell a lot more in that season. And it feels really good to have a really exciting sort of frenzy of sales. So I like seasonal markets. I think that you should consider them as well.

Is Google Trends US dominated? So speaking of Google Trends like we were talking about in the last slide, are most people searching for your products in the United States? If you go to trends.google.com and you put in your keyword, and I’ll show you how to do this in the video, but it will show you the seasonality. You can see the graph here. So you can see, “Oh, wow. This market is really seasonal. It’s got a big peak each year and then it drops down really low, and then it’s got a big peak each year and then it drops down.” That kind of shows you the seasonality of your market. If it is more of a flat line rather than these big spikes, then you’ve got a less seasonal market.

And you can also see, if you look at this picture, that it says “search volume index”: 100 in the United States. If I were to scroll over Canada it would say 25 or whatever. It just means that most people are searching for this in the US, which is what you want. You want your products to be geo-located in the US. You want most people who are buying them to be in the United States.

And, you know, hey, if you are in the UK, I know there is a lot of people in the UK, or Australia, or Canada who are watching this video, it’s fine. If you are in those places and you scroll over and it’s got some level of index for your country that’s good because you are going to be selling there. You just want to make sure that there is search volume index in your country.

For me, I check for 100 in the United States for the most part. If you are in Canada or the UK you are not going to have a search volume index of 100, so don’t worry about it, because right now there is just more ecommerce happening in the United States and North America than there is in some of these other places. So no big deal if you are not in the US, but definitely worth looking at. And we’ll also talk more about Google Trends when we go into the keyword research videos.





Never sell a commodity. You don’t want to be competing against Walgreens. If your product is commoditized, you shouldn’t be in it. In economics, a commodity is a generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. That’s just kind of the generic name for a commodity. But really, commoditization occurs when goods or services lose their differentiation across the supply base. Basically, what that means is that anyone can produce it. It doesn’t cost a lot. It doesn’t require a lot of capital necessary to require and produce it efficiently. You just don’t want to sell anything that’s super readily available that anyone can produce anywhere. You want to have specific niches of products that are hard to find. If you are selling toothpaste online, you are not going to do very well. You don’t want to be selling toothpaste, or baking soda, or anything that’s really easy for people to find. This sort of goes back to the: “Is it available locally?” Well, if it’s a commodity it’s definitely available locally. If it’s not a commodity you are going to have a much easier time selling it online. So never sell commodities.

Does your niche, does your product line, does your marketplace have at least 70 SKU’s, at least 70 different items? You will likely have to guess on this one, but it should be pretty easy for you to figure out. If you are selling a product line that has accessories, you can clearly tell that there are a lot of products in your product line.

For example, if you are selling wedding favors, well you kinda know that there are a lot more than 70 wedding favors. There are bridal shower favors. There are beach wedding favors. There are a bunch of different styles to your product line. But if you are selling iPhone cases or if you are considering selling iPhone cases, or waterproof iPhone cases rather, well there’s probably not 70 different waterproof iPhone cases. So it’s probably not a good niche to go into, a good market to enter.

The reason why I say at least 70 is because when you have a store that’s sort of 50 or 70 SKU’s or under, it’s pretty hard to grow that up to six and seven figures. You just don’t have enough products to sell unless you are building a brand. But when you are doing a drop ship store, you just want to have a larger fishnet. My best stores have between 500 and 1,000 SKU’s. I think that’s a really good sort of number of products to shoot for.

You might start with only 100 SKU’s and add products over time. That’s fine. But you’ll be able to tell when you think about your market, are there more than 70 SKU’s? It should be easy for you to figure out. And if you don’t have more than 70 SKU’s, I think you should really consider that market and make sure it scores you really high on this checklist.

So this one should be pretty easy for you to figure out, but you just want to make sure you have enough products to sell; that you have enough of a fishnet. You have enough products to advertise on, enough products to do search engine optimization on. Just a big enough net to generate traffic with. That’s an important one.

Is there competition? What you want to do for this one is take your top five keywords and type them into Google. You should see a full page of ads for each one. You can see here on pirate costumes we’ve got ads up at the top, ads down the side. If there’s no one competing, and you guys probably all know this, if there’s no one competing, there’s no one buying ads on your keywords for the market that you’re considering, well then that’s not a good thing because that means that nobody’s making money. So make sure that there are people actually paying for advertising for your market.

Is the average product weight under 10 pounds? Well, if you have heavy products it just makes things more complicated. Shipping hassles can be a big nightmare. I’ve dealt with this. It’s not a deal breaker. As you see, I only gave this criteria one point. But if you can find lighter products, that’s better for the most part.

Now, personally, I sell products that are really heavy. And they are great markets. So it’s not a deal breaker. I just want to stress that. And it is something you can get over. If you have heavier products, if you are selling dog beds for example, for the most part dog beds…dog beds are a great market, by the way. They are just heavier products.

So you can get over that. But if you can find products that are lighter it’s worth doing that, because when people are shipping them back and forth, or when you have returns, or it’s easier to give free shipping on those kinds of products. It just makes life easier when your products are lighter rather than heavier. So it’s a criteria to consider, but it is not one that can’t be overcome. And you’ll notice that it’s only one point on the checklist, so it’s not a huge deal.

Do your top three keywords have at least 15,000 exact match searches per month on the Google Keyword tool? I just want to say that most people freak out about keyword volume. They just kinda go nuts on this subject. It’s not a huge deal, to be honest. The cool thing is that most markets you’ll find have a bigger long tail. You’ll make more money from your long tail than just about anything else. Most markets have a huge long tail if you know where to look.

So this isn’t a deal breaker either, but if you have to choose you’d like to have at least 15,000 exact match searches per month for your main keywords. Because when you do rank for them, it will be a really nice influx of traffic. We’ll get into keyword volume and that kind of stuff more when we do the keywords research videos. But having keywords in your market that have 30,000, 40,000, 50,000, 10,000, a lot of searches is a really good thing. And generally, what you’ll find is the market that have a whole ton of searches for the bigger keywords have a much larger long tail as well, because when you switch it over to Phrase Match you can see here those brackets around the term “dog beds”. It’s got 27,000 local, which that means within the US, exact match searches per month. If we were to switch that to Phrase Match, which means….

So, exact match means when someone types in that exact phrase. That means that in the United States every month 27,000 times, according to Google, people are typing in “dog beds”. Well, if you switch it to Phrase Match, what that means is that anytime dog beds is used in a phrase, so, for example, “red dog beds”, “big dog beds”, “where do I buy dog beds?” So anytime the term “dog beds” is used in a phrase Google’s estimation for how much that is, is like 150,000. So what that means is there’s just a really large long tail for that keyword, which is a really good thing.

So the higher volume your bigger keywords are the better. And you kinda don’t really want to have less than 15,000 for your top three because it makes it more difficult to mine the long tail and have long tail keywords. And even that being said, I have entered markets personally where there’s been less than 15,000 and we’ve still been able to do six figures. So, not a deal breaker, but definitely something that you want if you can possibly have it.

Target audience is women. I just want to tell you, I really like to sell to women. They’re just better buyers. I just prefer to sell products geared towards women. They are more willing to engage and comment on the products and talk to you about it. It’s not a huge deal because products geared towards men are great too. It’s only worth two points on the checklist. But you’d be surprised what ladies pick out. You’d be surprised what women are buying. They are buying the furniture for the house. They are buying the costumes for the kids. They are ordering gifts more often. A lot of markets are female oriented if you think about it.

I also think with ecommerce specifically there’s just not as many women out there who have ecommerce stores. There’s not as many female entrepreneurs. So there’s less female oriented stores. So it’s a bit of an opportunity for us right now. We’re starting to see that change. We’re starting to see more women starting ecommerce stores and becoming entrepreneurs and that kind of thing. So this is sort of an opportunity for right now and you ought to jump on it because there’s less markets where there’s women running stores and adding value. So if you’ve got a wife, or a sister, or a friend who is willing to work with you on this or talk to you about it, it’d be really good if you are going to sell products geared towards women to have a woman…[laughs] If you are going to sell products geared towards women, it’d be great to have a woman’s viewpoint on those products and talking about it to people and being a part of the store in some way, maybe helping you create buyer’s guides, that kind of thing, when we talk about adding value to the market.

I’m giving you guys my personal market criteria checklist. I made this fancy PDF for the course, but this is the same checklist that I go through when I’m picking markets. I prefer to sell to women. I just really like that. I find that I do better in markets that sell to women because they buy more and they are better buyers. So I’m giving you guys my market criteria checklist, how I do it. And hey, it’s not a deal breaker if you are selling to men. There are fantastic markets that are geared towards men. You know, game room tables, paintball guns, all that kind of stuff. There’s just wonderful markets geared towards men too. So if you’ve got a product line that meets all the rest of these criteria on this checklist and it’s geared towards men, you are going to do just fine. So it’s not a deal breaker.

A lot of these aren’t deal breakers on their own. That’s the point of the checklist, is that overall you have to score in a good or an excellent bracket. But if you are missing one, or two, or three of these things it’s not going to kill your market. I just really want to stress that.

The next step is for you to download the PDF. Print it out. Paste it with some superglue or a glue stick into your notebook that you are using to take notes for this course. And go through the checklist and answer yes or no to each one of these criteria for your market. And then add up the points and you’ll know whether or not your market is a winner.

I have not found a market that gets a good or excellent score on this checklist that I haven’t done well in. so if you get a good or an excellent score for your market on this checklist, you’ve probably got a pretty dang good market. If you are in the poor or fair category for your market, well, if you are in the poor category definitely do not go into that market. It’s not a good one. I can just tell you that right away.

If you are in the fair category, hey, that’s kind of questionable. That will depend on how much effort, how much energy you put in, how effectively you do marketing. There are fair markets that score fair on this checklist that have worked. So you could still enter that market.

So go through this process and go through the process in the video before this and this video where you are brainstorming and then you are checking whether or not your market is a fit. Once you have a winner, once you’ve got the idea and you’ve run it through this checklist and you know that it’s a winner, then come and meet me in the next video where we find suppliers for your market.

Thanks for watching. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. If you have any questions or need to contact me, you can reach me on my website: SmartMarketer.com in the member’s area, on Facebook. I’m available to answer your questions and talk to you about this stuff. I really appreciate you going through this course and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the next video.

02-04 Ezra: Hello and welcome back. Ezra Firestone here. And in this video we’re talking about how to find supplier. So you’ve got a market that’s a winner. You’ve gone through the market criteria checklist. You’ve got yourself a winner. You’re happy with it. Now let’s find you some suppliers.

First things first. Let’s talk about a couple things that you don’t want to do when you are drop shipping. You never want to pay a monthly fee. A lot of times you’ll run into wholesalers or middlemen who want you to pay them $100, or $200, or $300 a month so that you have the opportunity sell their products. You don’t want to get caught in that. It’s not a good way to go. You’re not actually dealing direct to the manufacturer in that instance. So don’t ever pay a monthly fee. I’m going to show you a couple examples of where people do ask you to pay a monthly fee and why not to do it.

Now, paying money for less than X amount of volume per month is fine. That happens sometimes. Sometimes you’ll run into manufacturers who say, “Hey. If you don’t retail at least a $1,000 a month worth of our product, you’re going to have to pay a $50 fee.” Basically, they just want to incentivize you to market their products, because it’s not so good for them if they have a million people to deal with who aren’t selling anything for them. So that’s an OK situation, but you don’t often run into manufacturers who do that.

Now, paying order fees is OK, because oftentimes the manufacturers or the drop shippers, if they happen to be wholesalers that’s fine, will want you to pay a certain amount of money per order shipped. So that’s on top of the cost of the item. It might be $5, or $10, or $3. And that just goes to helping them pay for shipping and handling, basically; paying for the employees to pack up and ship the boxes. So it’s OK to pay order fees. You just kinda pad the shipping with them or your pad the price of the product when you are pricing your products with those.

Some drop shippers and some manufacturers are going to ask you to see your EIN number or your state sales tax or resellers certificate. We’re going to cover that in the LLC setup. In order to have a merchant account and accept payments online, you need a business. You need an LLC. I’ll show you how to open one of those. You need a business bank account. When you open your LLC you’ll get an EIN number which is your federal tax number for that specific business entity. We’ll talk about that later. But some of them might ask you to see that. Don’t get freaked out when they do because you’ll be setting up an LLC for your website.

First things first part two. A lot of times people think, “Hey. I’m just going to go ahead and Google “my keyword drop shipper” and I’ll find my drop shippers that way.” Well, you might find a bunch of drop shippers that way, but it’s really, really likely that they’re going to be a scam. It’s just not that easy to find drop shippers. Sometimes it is. You might try it, but be wary of what you find because, for the most part, you are going to run into people trying to get you to pay for directories or people who are middlemen or wholesalers trying to get you to pay monthly fees. You are not actually going to find legitimate drop shippers that way for the most part.

Another question I always get is: Aren’t there any directories that have all the best drop shippers in them? Well, the answer is no, unfortunately. That’s just because it’s really hard to compile a directory of drop shippers across hundreds if not thousands of markets. There’s just not that many good ones out there. Worldwidebrands.com, formerly the drop ship source directory, is run by a guy called Chris Malta. That’s a good one. I’ve actually found one or two drop shippers in that directory before in the past. I haven’t actually been in it in a year or two, so I’m not sure how good it is now. But that is a directory that I have used successfully in the past. It’s the only directory and I’ve been through a million of them. So if you are going to check out a directory, I’d recommend that one.

Next thing are these big-box wholesalers. People always find these resources and they ask me about them. I think there’s probably a few others that aren’t on this list. But I just want you to know that I do not recommend any of these. I don’t think you should use any of these. You are not going to build a real business off of the back of a big-box wholesaler who works with a million different companies, warehouses a million different products. They are going to charge you an arm and a leg. They are going to make you pay the monthly fees I was telling you about. It’s just not the way to go.

Now, if you want to look at Doba, or SaleHoo, or Drop Ship Design, or any of these other places just as kind of an idea to think about products and think about markets, that’s fine. You can do that. But I really don’t recommend building your business on the back of one of these wholesalers.

This is the list that I always get. So if you’ve seen any of these before, if you are considering any of these, I just really don’t think it’s the most effective way that you could go about finding your drop shipper.

So what is the secret sauce? People always want to know, “Well how do you find drop shippers? What’s the secret to it? I have a really hard time doing it.” Well, the trick is, the secret sauce is that you want to work directly with the manufacturers of the products you are selling. For the most part, you will find that the manufacturers will work with you once you find them. They are becoming more willing to drop ship, especially if you know how to approach them, which we’ll get into in the next video. But it’s because with the internet, more and more people are ordering from websites online and less people are ordering from big-box physical brick and mortar retail stores. So these manufacturers are willing to do business with online retailers because they recognize that if they don’t, they are missing a big part of the market share.

Now let’s move on, on how to find them. Before we get into how to contact them, let’s talk about how do you find them in the first place? Well, what you want to do since you want to go direct to the manufacturer, the first step is to figure out who the manufacturers are. So you have your market. You know the products that you want to sell. This part is going to take some work. This is the part that keeps most people out of ecommerce. This is one of those pieces of the puzzle that requires some digging and it requires some working. But it’s worth it.

There’s really actually a pretty easy way to do this. I do this really effectively every time. I use this same system and it works. It’s worked for me nine out of 10 times. The easiest way to do it is to go to your competitor’s websites and look around. 90% of the time they list the brands of the products they are selling.

I’ll show you an example in just a second of an actual live of me doing this successfully in a market so you can see that this actually does work. But first, I get this question when I say that a lot, which is: how do I know if my competitors drop ship? Well, there is a pretty easy way to figure that one out, too. You just call them up and you say, “Hey. I’m considering ordering a product and I’d like to know do you ship from your warehouse or do you ship from the manufacturer’s warehouse?” And oftentimes, the customer service representative will let you know, because customer service will know that either they drop ship or they ship from their own warehouse or they do a combination of the two. But it’s often really easy to just call them up and say, “Hey. Are you shipping direct from your own warehouse or is it shipping from somewhere else?” They’ll give you that information. So you can just give a call to some of your competitors.

If you can’t get that information when you call them up, that’s fine too. You still want to do this process because you are going to find the brands and you are going to get in touch with the brands themselves and find out directly from them if they drop ship. So this step really isn’t necessary. It’s just like if you want a bit of confirmation before you go ahead and contact the brands you can do this. But it really isn’t necessary.

Moving on. Here’s a live example of this working successfully. I actually did this in this niche. I was considering retailing fire pits. Now, I usually have a few markets that I take through the entire process. I recommend that you do that too. I recommend that you have one, two, or three different ideas that you take through this process from idea, to market criteria checklist, to drop shipper research, keyword research etc. because what you’ll do is you’ll get yourself a couple different markets and then you’ll compare them. If one of them doesn’t work out you have a fallback plan.

This whole process that I’m taking you through you can do this in a couple of days and you can build your store in a long weekend. So you can really go through this a couple times and have yourself a couple different markets.

What I like to do is go through the process with a couple different markets and then compare them at the end. In this instance, fire pits lost out to another niche. So I didn’t actually go with it. But it did score really high on the market criteria checklist. And I was able to secure suppliers really easily. I’ll show you the process for it.

What I did was I went through and I looked at all the websites in the market just like I’m telling you to look at—all the sites that are paying for advertising, all the sites that are listed in the organic results. I went through and I looked at their products and I looked for whether or not they listed the brands on their site. You can look in a few places on people’s websites for whether or not they are listing brands. As you can see here, this particular site has it in the left navigation menu. You can check on the product pages themselves. And you can see to the picture all the way to the right in this slide, this particular product had the brand name. A lot of times the individual products will have their brand names listed there. And sometimes they have actual sections of different products like you see in that middle picture.

What you want to do is just make a list of all the brand names you find on each website and just keep going through the websites making a list of brand names. Once you have a list of brands, now is when you use Google to find them. You use Google to find the manufacturers once you know who they are.

So you can see back on this slide here we’re using Patina Products as this example. I just went, I Googled Patina products and what popped right up as their website. Now, believe it or not, most manufacturers have a website. It’s usually an old busted website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1995, but they have one and it’s got their contact info on it. And that’s all you need.

So what you do is you just take the info that you can get, all their contact info, and you put it in this little spreadsheet that I’ve created for you. There’s an Excel spreadsheet that you’ll be able to download from the resources section that you’ll use to store all of your drop shipper data.

For now, when you are just starting out, when you are just researching who the brand is, just take down their phone number, their email address, and their website, and any other data that you can gather from just the website itself. Put your list together and move on to the next one.

You’ll also use this spreadsheet to handle your FTP information, any other notes you have on the drop shipper, like how much their packing fee is if they have one, what their terms are, how you pay them. This will become the spreadsheet that you use to keep track of all your drop shippers. But for now, while you are going through this process, all you have to do is just write down the contact information for the website itself, because in the next video we’re actually going to be contacting these people and asking them if they will drop ship for us.

What happens is after you do that, you get an email that looks like this. It will say something like, “Hey. Here’s how you get access to our products.” Usually they will give you an Excel sheet with the info of the products on it and an FTP directory for where you can download their images. And they’ll say, “Hey. Here’s how you pay us. Here’s how you place orders with us. Here’s how you get tracking numbers and all that kind of stuff that you need to know.” And this is going to be different for each drop shipper. So you want to log it in that Excel file.

Quickly, let’s do a recap and then we’ll get into how to contact them and what to say. It’s really important how you contact them and what you say. So I did a video specifically for that, which is the next video in the series that you’ll see.

But just as a recap, you review the websites in the marketplace to find product manufacturers. You make a list of all the brands. And then you Google those brands and find their company website and info. And then you call them and use the phone script or the email script that you’ll see in the next video.

You will be surprised at how well this works. I’ve done it in multiple markets. It works really well. It’s going to work for you. Yes it does take a bit of time and energy to do, but it really is the best way, because what you’re doing is you are cutting out all the middlemen. You are not dealing with a wholesaler. You are dealing directly with the manufacturer of the product, which is fantastic. And it’s how you get the best prices. It’s how you get access to the best product lines and the most products. It’s just the way to go.

And be willing to be persistent. Call often. If you don’t get a call back or an email back, call again. You’ll find that sometimes after three emails someone will finally get back to you, or after three voicemails someone will finally get back to you. So don’t give up.

And always try to find three or four different drop shippers. Any more than three to four drop shippers is kind of a lot and kind of a lot to deal with, dealing with all those different products and all those different suppliers, because each drop shipper updates their data feed and updates their products at different times. So if you are ending up with more than four drop shippers, it can be done, and we have stores that have more than four drop shippers. But it’s a bit more of a hassle. So you generally kinda want to find one, two, or three drop shippers that you can use that will have a large enough SKU base so that you have enough products to sell, and also so that if one of them goes out of business, you are not completely dependent on that one drop shipper. If one drop shipper drops you for some reason…Now, I’ve never actually had that problem. I’ve never had the problem of a drop shipper going out of business or not wanting to work with me anymore. But just to be safe, you want to have a backup plan. That’s why I say find one or two.

That’s really it. That’s the easiest and most effective way to find drop shippers. So go ahead and do that. Find your drop shippers and then meet me in the next video where we learn how to get in touch with these people. Thanks again for watching. As always, if you have any questions for me or if you need anything, I’m here to help. Thanks and I’ll see you in the next one.

02-06 Ezra: Hi and welcome back. In this short video we’re going to talk about how to contact suppliers. You have a market. You know that market’s a winner. And now you’ve got drop shippers and brands picked out and you have to contact them.

The thing that you want to do is get them on the phone if you can. It’s just better to have a conversation with people. You’ve got a much better shot of getting a yes if you talk to someone on the phone. People just respond better and are nice when they’re talking to a real person, so it’s really to your benefit to see if you can get them on the phone. Most of the manufacturer’s websites will have a phone number. Here’s the phone script I was telling you about. It works really well.

You give them a call and you say, “Hey. My name is Ezra and I am the buyer for my company, M Products LLC. We’re an online retailer of physical products and we’re moving into the fire pit market, and we’d love to add you product line to our website. Who would be the appropriate person to talk to about setting up a drop shipper wholesale relationship?”

Now, what’s going to happen is they’re going to put you in touch with the appropriate person, because most of the time they’ve got a secretary or someone like that answering the phone. Sometimes they’ll give you the email of the appropriate person, which we’ll talk about in the next slide. But notice that you said on the phone “drop ship or wholesale”.

The reason is because if you drop ship business goes well, you’ll likely end up buying some of your best selling items in bulk, which would make you a bulk purchaser or a wholesaler. So when you actually talk to the correct person, they are probably going to ask you a bunch of questions. And the key is to be super confident. Say, “Hey. We’re investing really heavily into this space and we intend to be a top retailer. We’re going to market our product on Google with pay-per-click, and SEO, and social media, and we love your line of products and we want to add them to our website.”

You always want to tell them that you love their line of products. it makes them feel really, really good. And you can list past business success if you want; just anything to let them know that you are really serious. Oftentimes, they are going to put you in touch with the drop ship manager for that company, and they’re going to want to know that you are not just some fly-by-night website; that you are actually a real legitimate website that’s going to do sales, that’s going to invest the time to build the business and actually sell their products. So if you be confident when you talk to them that will really help.

Now, what happens when you get an email? Well, you send them this email. Keep it really short and sweet. It’s similar to the phone pitch. You say, “Hey. My name is Ezra. I’m the buyer for my company,” whatever your company name is. “We’d love to add your line to our store. Is there someone I can talk to about setting everything up?”

That would be to the info address if you just have an email address and not a phone number. Or if the secretary gives you the email of the drop ship manager, you just send them that same email and just say, “Hey. How can I go about getting set up?”

What’s going to happen is most likely they’ll respond and they’ll want to know a little bit about you, a little bit more about you. That’s when you send the second email. This was one I actually sent. You say, “Hey. Thanks for the quick reply. We’re located in New York City. We’re an online and warehouse retailer. When we move into new verticals we start out with ecommerce. And if we have success with those, if we have success online we roll those products into our warehouses. So our goal is to find manufacturers with great products and set up a drop ship relationship to start. And hopefully, if things go well, roll that into a wholesale relationship. Please let me know if you need anything more from me. Really looking forward to working with you.”

Your warehouse might be your garage. If you do really, really well and you want to warehouse some products, like let’s say you are doing really, really well on your drop ship store and you want to get better margins on some of your best sellers. Well, you are going to buy them in bulk and you are going to ship them from your house if you have to. So it’s really true. You are not lying here. And you never want to lie. That’s just not a good strategy. You should always be truthful.

So it’s that simple. Just be super confident. Make yourself sound really good because you are really good. And hope for the best. This style of communicating has been really effective for me. So you can download the PDF of these slides, and all the other slides in this course for that matter, in the resource section if you want to have the script in front of you while you’re making the calls.

Now you know how to talk to the brands and the manufacturers. So go ahead and start contacting all the people that you’ve listed—emailing them, calling them, and setting up your drop ship relationships.

In the next video we’re going to move into keyword research. We’re going to do our keyword research, and then after that we’re actually going to build our ecommerce store. So we’re getting really close to actually having a store here.

Thanks again for going through this video. As always, if you need anything you know where to contact me. I’ll see you in the next one.

02-07 Ezra: Hey. Welcome back. Ezra Firestone here. In this video we’re talking about keyword research and category structure. So we’ve got to do our keyword research. This part takes a bit of time. It’s a bit tedious to do it right, but it’s really important. So be sure to do this part and be sure to take the time to do it.

A lot of people struggle with keyword research. And they buy a bunch of tools and they do all kinds of stuff. But the truth is that you really need only one tool, and that’s Google and a bit of common sense and human judgment. No tool can really you what are good keywords for the different sections of your site. Only you can do that; only someone with discernment, with common sense. It has to be done by a human. Thought process has to go into it.

And you only want keywords that have keywords that have commercial intent and fit ecommerce. So I’m going to show you how to decide which keywords are proper for your store and where to put them. So let’s go through it and let’s see what keywords we can find.

Before we start, you should know about the five different keyword categories for your store. The first one is your homepage. That’s going to be the main keyword for your store, plus a modifier or two. Going with the fire pits example, your homepage is going to be optimized for the term “fire pits” and maybe “fire pit” because that’s a misspelling, and a couple different sort of modifiers of that keyword—outdoor, indoor, discount. I’ll tell you about modifiers later in this slide. But your homepage is really the main keyword that describes you store. If you are selling fire pits that’s “fire pits”. If you are selling costumes that’s “costumes”. Your home page is sort of the main one.

The next you have are your section level keywords. These are keywords that will represent a section on your site. They’ll have products listed under them. For example: “fire pit covers”, “backyard fire pits”, “stone fire pits”, “glass fire pits”. These very clearly represent a section of products. it’s not just a singular keywords that’s for one product. It’s a keyword that can have multiple products listed underneath it.

Now, the thing about section level keywords is you don’t really want to create a section for a keyword that doesn’t have more than 100 exact match searches per month. I’ll show you this later in this video when we’re actually doing the keyword research. But it’s really important to understand what a section level keyword is and how it differs from a product level keyword.

A product level keyword is a product-specific keyword. It does not represent a group of products. it’s represents one product and it has lower volume. So “fire pit screen replacement”. That’s very clearly a singular product keyword. “Fire pit door insert”, “cement fire pit”. Now, the reason “cement fire pit” is in here because you could think, “Well, how come cement fire pit” isn’t its own category full of products? Well, the reason is because there’s only 70 exact match searches per month for that time. So it doesn’t really make sense to create a whole section on your website for a term that’s only got 70 exact math searches.

So, section level keywords are ones that represent groups of products. Product level keywords are ones that represent individual products. When we’re going through the keywords themselves, we’ll be pulling them out so you’ll be able to see this.

Now, modifiers. These are descriptive keywords that pop up consistently across your market. So, indoor, outdoor, large, small, ceramic, table. For example, you could have the glass firepit section and the glass fire pit section people are going to be looking for large glass fire pits, small glass fire pits, glass fire pit tables. Those keywords—outdoor glass fire pits, indoor glass fire pits, those keywords are relevant across your entire site because they are the descriptive qualities of your product. So we’re going to through and make a list of your modifiers because we’re going to use these modifiers in our text, in our copy, and we’ll be able to use them for each section. That’s one of the ways that you can get each section on your site optimized for some more keywords other than just the main keyword for it.

And then the keywords that you have left are your blog or educational keywords. These are ones that don’t fit anywhere else but are still relevant. So, keywords that aren’t for a product, aren’t for a section that don’t fit on your homepage, but that you still want to use, like “how to build a fire pit”, or, “fire pit seeding”. Those kinds of keywords which you’ll see when we’re actually looking at the keywords, you’ll use them in educational content. And that way you can optimize and rank for those keywords. Even though they’re not product specific, someone who is looking for how to build a fire pit might be interested in fire pits. Or you might create “The fire pit seeding guide” because the term “fire pit seeding” has 100 searches per month, but it’s not really relevant for a product. So that’s what an educational keyword is.

So those are the five keyword categories. And this is how your store is laid out. I’ve just drawn this out for you. You’ve got your homepage. You’ve got your section pages that then house your different products, and you’ve got your blog.

You’ve also got your more information pages like Contact Us and Privacy policy and a few other things. But as far as keywords are concerned, this is your structure—you have keywords for your homepage, you have keywords for your sections, and you have keywords for your products. And you’ll be able to see this when we actually build out our site and when we’re doing the keyword research in a second here.

But I just want you to understand the categories of keywords, because when we’re going to through and finding keyword for our market, we’re going to download them into spreadsheets and then we’re going to categorize them. And then we’re going to try to fit products into them.

Next thing we’re going to do is find keywords and categorize them. But first, before you can use the keyword tool which I’m going to recommend, which is Google’s keyword tool—it’s the only keyword tool that I use. I use it for all my stores and all my businesses and it works really, really well. And I’ve been very big businesses off the backend of this keyword tool. So it’s all you need.

First you have to create an AdWords account. In order to use the Google Keyword tool effectively and appropriately in the way that we want to use it, you need to actually be signed into Google AdWords. So what you do is you go to adwords.google.com and there’ll be a link for that in the resources area. But it’s pretty simple: adwords.google.com. and you click on the “Sign up now” button. You can see the little arrow pointing to that.

And then it’s going to bring you to this page and it’s going to say, “Hey. Do you have an email address that you already use with Google services?” And if you do you click that. And if you don’t you just say, “Hey. I don’t use these services but I want to sign up with AdWords with a different email.” So you click one of these buttons depending on whether or not you have a Gmail account, which I recommend you create if you don’t have one. Create one for your store. But it’s cool if you don’t have one; just use a different email.

And by the way, the reason why I recommend that you create a Gmail account specifically for your store, like let’s say your store is Fire Pits Direct, I would create FirePitsDirect@gmail.com. And the reason you want to do this is because when you sell this store, if you ever sell this store, you don’t want it tied to any of your personal email accounts. You want it to have its own email account structure, its own AdWords account, all these different things which make it a lot easier to liquidate the store and sell it at a later date. So if you don’t have a Gmail account, go ahead and sign up for one with the name of your store and then click the “I have an email address and password already”.

That’s going to bring you to this screen, which it will ask you if you’d like to use your existing Gmail account for AdWords. And you just click yes. And then it’s going to ask you to sing in. and then once you sign in it’s going to ask you to pick your time zone and currency. You only get to do this once, so make sure to set the correct time zone. If you are in the Eastern Time Zone select Eastern. Depending on where you are, select your time zone.

Next you’ll be taken to a page that says, “Hey. You’ve created your Google AdWords account. We’ve emailed you at this email address. Now all you have to do is confirm.” So you go ahead and go to your email. It’s going to ask you to confirm this link. And then you just click the link. And now you have a Google AdWords account.

We’re not actually going to build out any advertising campaigns until later in the course, but now you have the AdWords account that you can use for your keyword research. You’ll be able to use the AdWords Keyword Tool in the way that I suggest. Then you just go to Google and you type in AdWords Keyword Tool and this will pop up, or you can go to the URL that you see here, which is adwords.google.com/o/keywordtool.

So now you have a Google account. You understand the different keyword categories that we’re looking for. So let’s go ahead to the computer and actually do the keyword research.

02-08 Ezra: Hey guys. Here we are. We’re back and we’re at the Google Keyword Tool. Now, we’re going to use this tool and we want to make sure that we’re signed in to AdWords, because if we’re not signed into that AdWords account that we’ve just created, Google is not going to give us the full amount of keywords that they would otherwise. So we’re going to go ahead and make sure that we’re signed in and we’re going to type in our main k1 into the Google Keyword Tool here.

Make sure that over here on under “Match Types” we have it set to exact match. That just means that it’s going to show us the exact number of searches for the k1 that we typed in. we’re also going to make sure that we have checked “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms”. This is going to give us k1s that either have this k1 in it, have the k1 “fire pit” in them, or that are really, really closely related. And we’re going to click search.

When we do that, Google is going to default to this tab: Add group ideas. That’s Google basically saying, “Hey. These are the different sections that we see. We see these as the different sections for your store.” “Gas fire pits”, “patio fire pits”, “fire pit rings”—those are the sections that they see.

We don’t want to use the sections that they see. We want to use our own sections. So we’re going to click Keyword Ideas. That’s going to give us every single k1 that they bring up in a list. It looks like there are 718 of them. What we’re going to do is we’re going to download all search results in a CSV file. We’re going to download that and that’s going to go to your desktop.

Now we’re going to do this same process for the plural version. Going to go ahead and search. Google brought back 215 ideas this time. Same settings here: Exact match, only show closely related ideas. We’re going to download those results as well.

Now we’re going to do that for the misspelling where it’s got “spelled all together”, so we’ll do that singular as well. This is for your main k1 you are doing this for. Click Search, and now Google brought back 167 k1s. so we’re going to download all these as well.

So we’re going through, we’re taking our main k1s, and we’re downloading the CSV files. What we’re going to do eventually is merge all those CSV files together and delete the duplicates. Then we’ll have a list of all the k1s in this niche.

You’ll notice over here—I didn’t actually say this beforehand—that on the columns tab over here I only have local monthly searches selected. All these other things that Google shows you—completion, cost per click, all that stuff we don’t care about. We just care about the volume right now.

Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to grab the k1s that came up on the list that we just created, the first list. I’m going to grab the ones that have the most volume. What I’m going to do is I’m going to put “fire pit” back in here. I’m going to search it. and I’m going to sort it by volume.

Now I’m going to do “outdoor fire pit”. So I’m just going to throw that in here. I’m going to grab all the keywords related to “outdoor fire pit”. We’ve got 133 like that. That way I’m actually drilling down on the section level keywords themselves as well. I’ve drilled down on the main keywords. I’m going to drill down on each one of my sections. I’m going to download this.

So I go in and I do this for every single one of my section level k1s that were over a thousand. You could do it over…when I do this for a market, I actually go ahead and go down to 500. That would be all of these k1s here I’d put these in. that’s a lot of Excel spreadsheets you are going to end up with, but this way you don’t miss ay long tail or any modifiers in your market.

You could go down this list as much as you want. I’m just going to do a couple more as an example. But you’ll probably spend a few hours doing this. I’m going to put in “propane fire pit”. I’m going to get all the ones related to that. And I’m going to download all these keywords.

As you go down you’ll end up with less and less. This one only had 50 k1s related to it. now I’m going to do it for the plural versions as well, so I want to do “gas fire pit”. And you could also do it like this where you could do “gas fire pit”, “gas fire pits”. You can do the singular and plural at the same time. I find that sometimes you actually get more if you do them separately. But if you want to make it a little quicker you can do them together. Download all those search results.

So you see the process that I’m doing here. I’m basically going through and I’m taking the highest volume keywords that come off of the main keywords, because I’ve got this sorted by local monthly searches, and I’m putting them in there and I’m getting the k1s that are relevant and that are closely related to the sections as well.

And this way I end up with every single k1 and every single modifier for all of my section level k1s. so anything that has patio fire pits in it I’m going to have. And anything that has any of my k1s in it I’m going to have because I drilled down on every single high volume keywords in the marketplace.

I’ll just do this a bunch more. I’ll pause it and I’ll do a bunch more of these so that you can see.

OK. So once you have all of your spreadsheets set up, then the next step is to merge them together. You can do this by simply copying and pasting, or you can use a program called Bulk File Merger. That’s at BulkFileMerger.com. I use Bulk File Merger to make it go a little more quickly. I believe that you get a couple free…I think Bulk File Merger costs like $20, or you can get a free trial to do it just for your one or two stores that you’ve got that you are working on. If not, just buy Bulk File Merger, or do it by hand. You open them up and just copy all of the k1s and you paste them into the new one.

Bulk File Merger pops up. And you are going to need Bulk File Merger Pro to merge this CSV file. So back here over here on this page where you download it, you actually want to use the Pro version, because that way you can do CSV files, which are the files that Google gives you. Google doesn’t give you Excel files. So you are going to need the Pro version. But it looks like it’s free. So you just grab Bulk File Merger. You grab all your CSV documents, drag them over into it, and then you just click the Merge button here. And that’s going to merge it. and it’s going to ask you to create a name for this file on your desktop. I’m going to go ahead and call this Fire Pit Keywords. And I’m going to save that right onto my desktop.

Once you’ve done all that, what you end up with is an Excel sheet that looks like this. It’s got k1 and local monthly searches, and then it’s got all the k1s that you merged from all your Excel sheets. So yeah, you’ll notice that also it’s got some weird characters in some of the lines. That’s just because each Google Excel sheet has one line at the top. So when we merge it together it creates a funky cell like this. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to sort this. We’re going to go to Data and then Sort, and we’re going to sort it by local monthly searches, and we’re going to sort it largest to smallest.

So we just sort this list. And that’s going to bring us up a list of our largest to smallest keywords. Now we’re going to get rid of these ones here up at the top that don’t have anything. So we’ll just delete those. And now we’ve got all of the k1s from all of our lists here. I’m going to go down to the very bottom and I’m going to delete all the k1s with zero searches per month.

So now you can see that I’ve got my k1 list. I’ve got my master k1 list. This is the k1 list that I’m going to use to create the sections, the products, and the blog posts. Rather, I’m going to use these keywords in those separate categories. So I’m going to sort this k1 list into homepage keywords, section k1s, and blog post k1s, and product level k1s. So those five different sections.

Now this is not a complete k1 list for this market because I didn’t go through each one of the k1s listed and drill down on it. I drilled down on like five or six just to show you an example, but I’ll still be able to use this. I’ll create a structure based off of this list.

Let’s go ahead and do that. The first thing that we’re going to want to do is delete the duplicates. The way that you do that with Excel is you just click the Data link up at the top in the Excel spreadsheet like you see here, select your two columns, and then click Remove Duplicates. It’s going to say, “Hey. I found 50 duplicates. 404 values will remain.” Normally you are going to have a lot more duplicates than this because you will probably be merging together 50 or 60 Excel spreadsheets based on how far you drill down in the Google Keyword Tool. I didn’t drill down very far, so I’ve only got 50 duplicates here. Click Remove Duplicates and it does that for you. And now you have a list with no duplicates in it, and you have every keyword in your niche sorted based on volume.

So now what we’re going to do is we’re going to go through and we’re going to find our homepage keywords, our section level k1s, our product level k1s, our modifiers, and our blog post and educational content k1s. so we’re going to use this master list of k1s that we’ve created by drilling through the Google Keyword Tool to generate our k1 store structure.

You can see I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet for you that you’ll use to keep track of your store structure. It’s really simple. I’ve just got the page name, k1s 1-4, because you may have four different k1s for a single page, and then the different modifiers for that page. You can go ahead and add columns to this or whatever. And then you’ve got the title and the meta description. That’s because the title of the webpage and the meta description will be created based on the different keywords and modifiers. You’ll be using those keywords and modifiers in the title in some way. So you just put those columns in there so you can create it.

The first page we’re going to use is the homepage. We’re going to title that the homepage. We’ll just put that name there. And then we’re going to grab our k1s for it. obviously, our biggest k1 is “fire pits”. That’s going to be the homepage k1, so we’ll just put that in there, “fire pits”. And then over here on this spreadsheet, our master keyword spreadsheet, we’ll just mark it as bold so that we know we’ve used it. “Firepit” and “fire pits”, both the misspellings, those are going to be for our homepage as well. So, “firepit”, “firepits”—those also have huge volume as far as this niche is concerned, not huge volume in general, but huge volume for the fire pit niche.

The term “fire pit” is not on here, just “firepit” itself. But I’m sure that’s just because I didn’t drill down deep enough. I’m sure that will be a k1 that we’re going to use.

So those are our k1s. now for the modifiers for the homepage, homepage modifiers you always want to kind of pick ones…the reason you want to sort of pick smaller modifiers for your homepage is because you want to be able to rank for those modifiers really quickly. So I’m going to scroll down and I’m going to find a couple modifiers that I want to use for the homepage. I probably want to use “cheap”, even though a lot of people say don’t try to rank for “cheap”. I find that when I rank for “cheap”, and “discount”, and “for sale”, I like to use these kinds of words as my homepage modifiers—“cheap”, and “discount”, and “for sale”. Sometimes I’ll throw in some of the modifiers like the main modifiers, which in this case are “gas”, and “outdoor”, and “propane”. But this is good enough for now. We’re not going to write the title tag now, but those will be our homepage k1s.

Now, the next page name is just going to be Outdoor Fire Pits because it’s your first section, so you just call it Outdoor Fire Pits. What the page name means is what’s it going to be called in your navigation? Well, the first k1 for that is obviously going to be Outdoor Fire Pits. So let’s just grab that.

Then what I’m going to do is bold this. What you are going to want to do is now search for anything else; search this master k1 document here for any other keywords that have “outdoor” in it because this is the outdoor section. So we can see that the modified version where it’s together, where it’s misspelled, where “firepit” is together, both singular and plural, both have 880. Well those are going to be used for this section. So we’ll do “outdoor fire pit”, “outdoor fire pits”.

Now, in the Title tag you’re not going to write all these keywords. I’ll talk to you about how to write title tags when we get there. But I just want to have these in there because you are going to use them when you do link building. So we’ll keep going. So, “propane”; “propane” is going to be one of the modifiers for this one. We’ll put in propane. As you can see, this k1 here is a good keyword for this particular section. And this is also a good product level keyword. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to grab this and I’m going to make it red because red means that I want to reuse it as a product. So that’s just how I categorize it.

“Outside”. Now, obviously “outdoor” and “outside”, you see this k1 here, “outside fire pits”, that’s going to be the same section. You are not going to create a section called “outside fire pits” and a separate section called “Outdoor fire pits” because it means the same thing. And Google understand that. So you don’t want to just create a duplicate section just to try to rank in Google, because they understand that and it’s going to look spammy if you have an outdoor fire pits page and an outside fire pits page. So that’s going to be the same page. So we’re going to keep going through here. We’re going to look for anything with “outdoor” in it. it doesn’t look like it can find any, so let’s look for “outside”. There you go: “fire pits outdoor”. This is just the same thing that we already have, just put the other way around, so we’re not going to use that. There’s a lot more: “outdoor gas fire pits”. Look at that. So gas is going to be a modifier for this section.

So you see what I’m talking about with modifiers? Now gas and propane, they kind of fit for every section. I’m sure when we look at gas fire pits, outdoor is going to be a modifier for that section. Propane is going to be a modifier for that section. We’ll keep going down the list here.

This is going to be different for every niche, which is why it takes some thinking. “Gas fire pits outdoor”, this k1 is the same that we already have. It’s just spread out. So we’re not going to use that.

But you understand why this takes someone looking at it, because it just takes a human to look at it and decide which ones are best. So “gas outdoor firepits”, same thing, just spelled with the firepits together like that. Let’s see what we got for outside: “outside gas fire pits”.

So we can already see that gas and propane. I think the reason why gas and propane are showing up as the main modifiers in this list is because I didn’t go through and add each other section level keyword, so it’s not showing the rest of these modifiers. It’s just showing gas and propane because those are the ones that I did. But If I were to have done a full k1 research, if I would have gone in and drilled down on every single k1, or at least the ones that were big and over 1,000, then we would have seen a lot more modifiers.

Our next section is obviously going to be propane. Propane fire pits is what this is going to be called. The k1 is going to be “propane fire pit”. We’re also going to want to use this as a product level keyword. “Propane fire pits”, “propane fire pit table”. So, for this one we’re going to have “table” as a modifier.

You are going to have very similar modifiers for each section. We’ll do propane fire pits. And this is just how you do it. you just go through. You list all your different sections. So patio would be one. Put that in.

Now, patio and outdoor are similar, so you could make patio fire pits, outdoor fire pits, and outside fire pits all be the same section. But I think patio is different enough semantically from outdoor and outside as far as Google is concerned that you would create a second section, because patio could be an enclosed patio. It’s just a different thing. So “fire pit tables”, that’s going to be a section for sure.

You can see here where it says “Fire pits for sale”, well notice that I used “for sale” as a modifier on my homepage. So that keyword is already in use.

Now, DIY fire pit, that’s obviously not a relevant k1 for a product, a section, or the homepage. But it is relevant for our blog. We might want to do a blog post on DIY fire pits and then tell people what they need to buy. So when I come down here and I put blog, well, I’m going to have DIY fire pit as a possible blog section.

Let’s see if we can find some other blog keywords down here. “Fire pit designs”; that’s a really good blog k1 because that’s not relevant for any of the products, but it is a k1 that people…People looking for fire pit designs, if you did a blog post on the most popular fire pit designs and then you linked it back over to your products, you’d sell some products if people found that, if you ranked it for that. So those are the blog k1s.

And you guys understand the section level k1s now. What you do once you go through this list here once you’ve gone through…And the first thing that I like to do that I didn’t actually show you is I go through and I just get rid of any that aren’t relevant. So, like “fire pit glass”. Well, that could be someone looking for glass to build their own fire pit. It could be someone looking for glass fire pits. It’s not 100% relevant. “Building a fire pit”; this one is obviously a blog post. I’m going to label that as blog post. So I just go through and I kinda categorize them. I want to find some that are just not relevant at all.

And I like to get rid of any of these ones that are super low down here that just don’t have any search volume. Some of these can be good to keep. This is a brand name. if you are not selling that brand you are going to probably delete it. so you’ll go through and you’ll just delete the ones that aren’t relevant. You put your sections in your section list. And then you put the ones that are for your blog in your blog list. And whatever doesn’t fit for a blog or a section you are going to try to match to a product.

So after you have deleted all the keywords that aren’t relevant, set the k1s for your homepage, set the k1s for your section, and set the k1s for your blog posts, because those are all really easy to see. It’s really easy to see which ones are section level k1s, which ones are homepage k1s, and which ones are blog post k1s. whatever is left over you are going to attempt to match to the product. After you do this you just get rid of all the ones that you’ve used that are bolded here, and you are left with a list of k1s that you want to use for your products.

OK. Take this k1, for example: “cast iron fire pits”. Well, you are probably not going to have an entire section’s worth of cast iron fire pits. There’s not a whole lot of search volume for them. Manufacturers probably don’t make a whole bunch of them. So this would be a perfect product level k1.

You might have a product from your manufacturer that might not be called cast iron fire pit. It just might be a fire pit that happens to be made out of cast iron. So you would label that product “cast iron fire pit”.

Another one here: modern. Well who’s to say what modern is? You could label any one of your products a modern fire pit as long as it looked new and looked cool. So you can kind of use these k1s and associate them with products even if the product isn’t named modern fire pit or cast iron fire pit. You can use these keywords to fit to your products, which we’ll talk about when we’re actually building out our store.

Now that you understand how to take your master k1 list and structure out your store, go ahead and do that. Take your master k1 list. Make your store structure. And put down as many sections as you can. If you end up with 50 or 60 or 70 sections that’s fine. You’ll most likely only end up with 20, 30, 40 sections at the most. But put down as many as you can, because what you’re going to find is that after you do this, after you have all of your sections laid out, you are going to have to go through your products and see which products you can match to each section. Because some of the sections, like you might not have, from your suppliers, any propane fire pits. And even though that’s a good section with search volume, if you don’t have any products to fill it you are not going to use it.

So when you are doing this process, go ahead and just list all the sections that you can, and you are going to match your products to them when we’re building the store. So go through this. Go through your master k1 list and put together your store structure. And download this spreadsheet here. Download this Excel file from the resources section for this video.

03-01 Ezra: Hey everyone, Ezra Firestone. Welcome back to Module 3. So you have your products. you have your suppliers. You are ready to build your platform. So Module 3 we’re going to building your store. We’re going to be building your platform out. We’re also going to be setting up your business because you need a business. You need a way to take payments. You need a way for people to actually give you money for the products that you are selling. We’re going to set all of that up.

We’re also going to set up analytics and tracking so that you can really tell exactly what’s going on in your business on every level and understand where your profit is coming from so that you can then maximize that.

And finally, we’re going to set up all your social profiles, because even though this is a physical products business, it’s very, very social, as you’ll figure out as we go through this course. You’ve got to engage with people. You’ve got to relate with them. You’ve got to add value to your market beyond just the products that you’re selling. So we’ll get that started with the social profiles.

Module 3—platform building. Let’s get started. Thank you again for watching.

03-02 Ezra: OK everyone. We are ready to build our store. But there’s a couple things that we need in place before we begin, and here’s what they are. We need a PayPal account because that’s one of the ways we’re going to be accepting payments. We need a phone number for our store, which we’ll get through RIngCentral.com. And the reason is because an ecommerce store without a phone number these days just looks sketchy. You just gotta have a phone number. It gives you a nice little bump in conversion rates. And it’s just good to be able to take phone orders and have your customers be able to call in and leave messages. And you can use Ring Central for that and have it roll straight to your cell phone.

You are going to need a company of some kind—an LLC, a sole proprietorship. I use Incorporate.com to open my new companies. I recommend you do as well. If you already have a company you are good to go. And the reason you need a company is because you are going to need a business bank account, because when people pay by credit card, you can’t just drop that into your personal account. It has to go into the business account. In order to get a merchant account you need a business bank account. And in order to get a business bank account, you need a business or a company. So the merchant account is what allows you to take credit card payments online. I highly recommend that you get yourself a business, a business bank account, and a merchant account. Otherwise, you are just stuck with PayPal and you’ll do much less transactions if you are only using PayPal.

I’m going to give you my resource for getting merchant accounts and businesses. And then you are going to need a Google account which we already set up when we were doing the keyword research. But the reason we want a Google account is we are going to be using a bunch of Google tools—Google Analytics, Google Merchant Center, Google AdWords. And we want this Google account to be specifically for this store.

So if your store is Fire Pits Direct, well it would be FirePitsDirect@gmail.com. And that way the store itself has a Gmail account that you’re using all the Google services with so that when you sell it, if you sell it…and if not, you might keep it forever. But if you do sell it, it will be real easy to transfer.

You need a UPS account. Now, not all drop shippers ask you to ship on your own account number. A lot of them just ship for you and make you pay. But sometimes you’ll have the opportunity to give the drop shipper your UPS account # and have it billed straight to your account, which is fantastic. So you should open up a UPS account just to have that ready to go.

And then you need a domain name. Now, all this stuff is really, really easy. I’m not going to spend too much time on it showing you how to open these accounts, because all of these websites have step-by-step instructions on how to open up accounts. I’ll just show you a couple though.

PayPal we’re not going to go through because PayPal is really easy. Ring Central, I wanted to show you this because there’s a specific account that I want you to open. It’s RingCentral.com/plansandpricing.html. You want to go for the Pro account, which is $10 a month, and you’ll do the free 30 day trial. That way you get a free month on it. and when you do use it, it’s only $10 a month.

For Incorporate.com I just thought I’d throw some pictures together here of how to sign up for an account. Again, it’s really, really easy to sign up for a company in Incorporate.com. If you don’t have a company, the good news is you will be able to open your first company ever, your first real business entity, for under $400.

You can see in the top left corner is the first picture, where you just click the type of business that you want to start. You’ll probably want to start an LLC or a sole proprietorship or something like that. You might want to get legal advice on what type of company to start. I’m not a lawyer. I can’t give you that legal advice.

Once you select your entity type it will take you to a page where it asks you to get started. You just go ahead and click the “Get Started” button. And then you select your state, as you can see on the bottom left of the screen. And then at the bottom of that page is where you will pay. So I just use the $99 option, and then you have to pay the state filing fees, which in New York are pretty expensive. In a lot of other states they are not as expensive. Then you’ll go through and you’ll fill out all your information and press Submit. And you’ll have yourself your first company. And you’ll be ready to go.

The company corporation will mail you all the documents that you are going to need to take to the bank to open up your business bank account. You’ll just need your proof of your LLC, which you’ll get from the company corporation.

Once you have your business bank account, you’ll go to TakeCardsToday.com, or you can call and ask for Dina. Tell her that Ezra sent you and she’ll take really good care of you. I use Take Cards Today. I love them. They are fantastic. And you can get yourself a merchant account really, really easily and quickly, and for not any money down. It’s free. They just charge a percentage of sales and like a $10, $15 a month gateway fee.

Then the next things that you’ll need are a Google account. We already covered that. You’ll need to use GoDaddy to purchase a domain name. now, when you are purchasing a domain name, don’t spend too much time worrying about what your domain is going to be. You don’t have to worry about keyword stuff in your domain name. you want to think branding when you think of your domain name. So, Fire Pit Village, Fire Pit Universe, Fire Pit Superstore, Fire Pit Source, Fire Pits Only, OnlyFirePIts.com, the Fire Pit Guy. It doesn’t really matter what the domain name is as long as it’s memorable, as long as it’s brandable and you can build a brand around it.

You want to have your keyword in there if you can. If you can fit your main keyword in there it’s much better than having BackyardShop.com, because that’s not really about fire pits. So you want to have that main keyword in there if you can fit it in there, but it’s really about branding. So if you come up with a really cool, clever branded domain name, that’s better, or anything else that sounds good to you that is relevant to the category of products you are selling.

I’m not saying don’t make it relevant to the category of products you are selling. Obviously it has to be relevant. But just don’t spend days and days trying to figure out your domain name. the key is to get your store up quick.

Then the next thing you’ll need is a UPS account. You can go to UPS.com/1-2-1register and it shows you how to open up a UPS account.

Go ahead and get all those accounts set up for yourself right now. Get your domain name. get all the rest of the accounts set up. I’ll meet you in the next video where we sign up for our store.

03-04 Ezra: Here we are at SellerCentral.amazon.com. I’ll just delete this little appendage they have to the URL and we’re back at SellerCentral.amazon.com. this is where you go to sign up for your Amazon account. I will not bore you with why you should be on Amazon, but you should be. It’s a great place. Maybe I will bore you with it a little bit; just a little bit. It’s a fantastic platform. There are a ton of buyers on Amazon. And you are ignoring a big part of the market if you ignore channels like Amazon. So you ought to be on it. it’s a great pay-per-click advertising platform as well. You will get free sales organically, and you’ll also be able to make some sales advertising.

As we’ve discussed, it’s a great place to quickly get your products uploaded to. Before you build out your site and all that stuff, you can kinda get your products uploaded to these channels and have them up there retailing while you are building out the rest of your business. So it’s really good to get your products uploaded on Amazon right away. Just get that part done.

Let’s go ahead and get started with it. What you are going to do is you are going to click on this Register Now button. If Seller Central looks a little different, which sometimes it does, it doesn’t matter. There’s always going to be a Register Now link somewhere on that page. And it will take you to the place where you can sign up for your Amazon account.

One thing I want to point out is they are always going to have this link that talks about “Learn More. How to get started.” If you click on that, it’s going to pop up a fantastic PDF that takes you through everything that you need to know to get started on Amazon. It will also redirect your page there. So you can see it has a whole checklist: Do you have your product information? Have you listed your products on Amazon? OK. Next you get your account set up. Then you set up your seller profile. It just brings you through all the steps that you need to sign up for your Amazon account. So you don’t even need this video that I’m going to show you if you follow these steps, but I’ll do it for you anyways just so you see it on video form as well.

I recommend selling professionally, using the professional account, which is $40 per month. And the first month is free. The reason is because this way you can have more than 40 items and you get a bunch of other resources with the professional account that you don’t get with a normal account.

I’m going to click on the Start Selling button. You’ll have the opportunity to either create a new account for your Amazon seller account or use an Amazon account that you currently have. I’m going go ahead and create a new account here. I’m just going to put all my information in.

Once you’ve filled out all that information, you just click the little checkbox here and click Continue. This is the part where you put in your actual seller information on Amazon.

The display name is very important. This is the name that shows up under your listings on Amazon.com. I’ll show you what that looks like right now. This is their display name right here. It’s what’s going to show up under your product name on your product pages on Amazon. So you want to make sure that it’s relevant to the products that you are selling in your store. You might even want it to be the name of your store.

For this example account we’ll just do Boom by Cindy Joseph, which is one of my companies. You can always change this later, so it doesn’t really matter what you set it as, because you can always change it from the Settings tab later.

I’m going to go ahead and fill in my information here. Then I’m going to click Save and Continue. Now it’s going to ask me for my credit card #, where it will bill me for my Amazon seller account after my 30 day trial is over. I’m just going to go ahead and put that information in here.

What Amazon is going to do is they are going to want to verify that you are a real person by verifying your phone number. You can either have them call you or send a text message. I’m going to choose the text message option and click “text me now”. Now it’s going to ask me to verify my pin, which will be in the message that they just sent me. So I’ll just put that in now and I will click “verify pin”. Now I have verified my account. So, it says: “Congratulations. Your identity has been successfully verified. Go ahead and continue on.” So I will move on.

Now what they want to do is make sure that they’ve got all your tax settings down. So you just click this “Launch Interview Wizard” button and it’s going to pop up the interview. It’s going to say that the information you provide in this interview must be correct. And the reason is because they need to be able to issue you 1099’s and all that kind of stuff for the money that they give you. So I’m going to click “Start Interview”.

Now, it’s going to ask you to answer a couple of these questions here. And, yes, I consent. And, yes, I consent. I’ll click continue. Now it’s going to ask am I a US citizen. Yes I am. Now it’s going to ask for my business information, so I’ll go ahead and continue on. You’ve got to put in whatever business type that you have.

And now on this page it’s just going to ask you for the information on your business, so the name of your business, how you are classified. If you chose individual or sole proprietor it will be a little bit different. It will be asking for your social security and that kind of stuff. So I’m going to go ahead and fill this information out for my business.

Once you’ve filled out the information it is going to ask you for your tax identification #. This is either your social security number or your EIN number for your business. If you followed along in the earlier module and went ahead and set up an LLC or an actual business entity, you would have been issued an Employer Identification Number. If not, you’ll use your social. I’ll go ahead and put in my EIN number here.

Now they are basically just going to ask you to sign a W-9. This means that they will be able to issue you 1099’s at the end of the year. Basically, they will be able to let the IRS know how much money you’ve made on Amazon. So you just go ahead and sign this and then click “Submit W-9” down at the bottom there. Go ahead and insure that the data is correct and click the “Submit W-9” button.

Once that’s all finished you go ahead and click the “Exit Interview” button at the bottom.

So now that your tax interview is completed you’ll go ahead and click the Continue button. Once you do and you are all set up, they are basically just going to verify all this information that you’ve given them and say, “Hey, is all this correct?” And if it is, click the “Complete Registration” button. And with that you will be set up and complete as far as getting your Amazon account set up.

The next step is actually going to be to begin listing your products on Amazon. I’ll stop this here just so it will make it easy to digest. The first thing is set up your account. Next we’ll actually go ahead and list your products on Amazon. So meet me in the next video where we go about listing our products.

03-05 Ezra: OK. We’re back. We are in the backed of Amazon. I want to show you how you add products. Now, if you have your own brand new product that does not exist, you can click on this “Create new product” button. But most likely you are going to be selling a product that already exists on Amazon because we are selling other manufacturers products here and we are not manufacturing our own. I’m just saying just in case you do, you click that button. But if we’re selling products that already exist, what we want to do is we want to put in the UPC code that we get from the manufacturer, and your supplier will supply you with the UPC code of your products. So you just enter that and click the little search button.

What it’s going to do is it’s going to find that product on Amazon. Now, if for whatever reason that product doesn’t exist, then you can click “Create new product”. But very, very likely it’s going to be on Amazon already, which is a very good thing. It’s good if it’s on Amazon already. It means people are actively selling it. So that’s a good thing for you.

After you’ve done that search, you are just going to go ahead and click on the “Sell Yours” button. This is where you are going to put in all the information. Now ,the images, the description, the keywords, the “more details”, all these things, the vital info, they are all disabled because this product is already on Amazon. So Amazon already has the information for that SKU. So you are just going to put in your SKU, so whatever you want that to be, the condition that it’s in, which is obviously going to be new, and you can put in a note about the condition. You get to put your pricing, so what you are going to sell the product for and the sale price. And I always recommend putting a higher price and a sale price. And then, what you want to do is put a start date for the sale and then an end date, and just make that end date as far in the future as you want. You can put the quantity that you have for that product that your manufacturer has for that. If they don’t give you the quantity you can just put 100 until they tell you that they are out of quantity.

You don’t have to do this unless you are using Amazon’s tax collection services. Handling time, which is essentially how long it takes the package to ship. The handling date, which is whatever it takes you to actually process and get that order shipped out. The start selling date, so when you want to actually start selling this product. Whether or not you offer gift wrapping or gift messages on your product, so you can check those.

This is the date that you’ll be able to ship the item if it’s on backorder. So you can set that if you want if that’s relevant to you. Whether or not it’s imported or made in the USA. Select the country of publication. How you want to ship the product—if you are going to let Amazon ship it or if you are shipping it yourself, which, for the most part, you are going to be shipping it yourself. And then you just click “Save and finish”.

And there you go. You now have a product listed on Amazon. It was that easy. I’ll go ahead and grab a link to it so you can have a look at what it looks like live.

If I actually go look at the product page for this product on Amazon and I look at all the merchants, here I am right down at the bottom, the newest one. I’m also the lowest price. I’ll take this off because I don’t actually want to sell this product for this price. And you can see Boom by Cindy Joseph is the seller, just launched. So it’s brand new because I obviously just launched this Amazon account. I’m not actually going to use it. It’s more of a test just to show you. And I can click into this other product by me, and here we go. This is my actual product page on Amazon. You can see the price that I set, how much they save. Amazon does all that. Ships and sold by Boom by Cindy Joseph.

All this information right here, the product description, all this stuff is created for me—the product dimensions, the ship weight, all that kind of stuff, because the product was already on Amazon. So all I had to do was just throw in the UPC code and now I’ve got my product listed, because my product is already for sale on Amazon. And that’s the beauty of selling products that already exist, is you don’t have to do much work to get them set up.

Let’s go through and talk about the other ways to set up your Amazon account. I just want to show you how to add a product if it’s a brand new product that doesn’t currently exist on Amazon. You just go Inventory, Add a Product, and then what you do is you click on this little “Create new product” button. Select your category, so whatever category your product belongs to on Amazon. And we’ll just select that category.

And then from here we’re going to fill in all of this different information, so the product name, the manufacturer, the brand name, the offer itself, so all this different information here, the images you have for your product, the description, your keywords, which are very important. These are what help you rank on Amazon, and then your more information for that product if you have it.

This is all the information that you would fill out for a brand new product. Then you just click “Save and finish” and you’ve got your new product listed on Amazon.

A couple other things that you really want to pay attention to here in your Amazon account. I’ve come under Settings and “Your info and policies”. You can see all these little links—about the seller, seller logo, shipping information, privacy policy, frequently asked questions.

If you go through my conversion module, which is coming up in this course a little bit later, I spend a couple hours going through the best practices from a conversion standpoint on ecommerce and physical product stores based on my research with paid advertising and my own ecommerce stores. All of these things are so very important. And they really boost your conversion rate. Amazon understands that. that’s why they give you the opportunity to share this information with their customers on Amazon. You get to tell Amazon’s customers about your store and why you are good, and your shipping policies, and your frequently asked questions. So I highly, highly recommend filling out this section.

Another thing that you’ll want to know is the tax settings. If you need to charge tax you just come under settings and click on “tax settings”. Then it’s going to take you through the Amazon information about that. just come down and click Continue. Come down again to the bottom and click Continue. Then here is where you’ll actually set your tax if you want to set tax in a state or if you are collecting sales tax at all.

So those are a couple little things that I wanted to tell you about the Amazon account. That’s the beauty of Amazon. You don’t actually need to set up a store in order to start selling. And Amazon will actually start selling products for you, as we see, right? Anyone who is looking for this type of bar stool is going to see the one that I just listed in the list of product for that product. If I’ve got the best price or if I’m driving my own traffic through Amazon organically, or if someone just resonates with my store over another one of the options here, I will make the sale.

So, a really quick and easy way to get your products up without building a platform and start getting some sales and finding out whether or not that market is viable. I highly recommend if you are set on the market to also build a platform. But don’t ignore Amazon. Definitely do not ignore Amazon.

One thing worth nothing that you probably should do is add Amazon Checkout to your store, because a lot of buyers are already signed into Amazon. It’s just one click to check out. The way you do that is you just click on Settings and then Account Info. Then you can see all these things here. I’ve got the Selling on Amazon Professional Plan. I’m registered for fulfillment by Amazon. I’m not using Amazon Web Store because I’m using Big Commerce. I haven’t set up Amazon Product Ads. We’ll get to that later.

But Checkout by Amazon. You can just click on “Not yet registered”. And then you can fill out all this information here, the same thing we just did. Really easy to do. Put in your business name. Put in your email address. Go there their little wizard and it’s going to give you all the details you need to add Checkout by Amazon in the backend of your Big Commerce.

I know we’re not quite there yet, but I’m just showing you the backend of Big Commerce where you would select either option for Amazon. I’ll just select them both so you can see it. That will pop up these little tabs for you in Big Commerce.

Now you can fill out your Amazon information right here and add Amazon to your store. When you fill out that thing on Amazon they’ll give you an access ID and the security key. You just put that in there. So now you have also added the ability for your shoppers to checkout through Amazon on your actual web store that you are about to build after you are done with this video.

Thanks so much and I’ll see you in the next one.

03-06 Ezra: Hey guys. I’m down here at Big Commerce in Austin, Texas. If you guys don’t know about Big Commerce, you obviously do now because it’s for the course. They are blowing up. There’s a bunch of ecommerce platforms out there—ShopSite, Volusion, Xcart, Magento, ZenCart. There’s just a million of them. They all have their ups and downs. But what none of them have that Big Commerce has is the actual desire to take care of their customers.

If you scan over here you can see. That was the Big Commerce Customer Success Team. So when you sign up for Big Commerce, they will sit with you for 30 minutes to an hour and walk you through exactly how, any question you have, how to set up Big Commerce, all that kind of stuff. They really care about their customers. They answer the phone. I am finding out more about how they work with their customers so that when you sign up, I can let you know the steps you need to take to be able to get in touch with them, set your store up, and make sure that you are fully supported.

So I’m going to take you through a little bit of the Big Commerce office, and then I’m going to have a meeting with John here. Come on in.

John: Hi guys.

Ezra: John is what?

John: I’m the Partner of Sales Executive.

Ezra: John is the Partner of Sales Executive. What do you do at Big Commerce?

John: I work with different partners, like Ezra, and help them basically get ramped up on the Big Commerce platform so they’ll be able to help their clients have that same success with Big Commerce.

Ezra: So he basically sets me up so that I know how I can best serve you, who is signing up for Big Commerce. We’re going to sit down and have a meeting about that. afterwards, I will let you know what we talked about. Then the next step will be actually signing up for Big Commerce, because that’s in the next video. And we’ll get you started. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you in the next one.

Hey guys. Ezra Firestone here back after my meeting with John at Big Commerce. I found out a lot about how Big Commerce does things and why they are different than other ecommerce platforms. It just really reinforced the reasons why I chose Big Commerce for you in the first place. These people really care about their customers. They are the Zappos of ecommerce platforms.

He gave me a tutorial on how they do their customer service and how they make sure that every customer is taken care of. And if anyone has any questions, they answer them. They have this success team, where I’ll show you a video at the end of the Big Commerce models of how you can get in contact with them and set up a time to actually sit down one-on-one for 30 minutes with a Big Commerce technical assistant and get any questions that you have about your Big Commerce Store platform answered. So they will do that for free. It’s basically like live one-on-one coaching for Big Commerce for free. So you should absolutely take them up on that.

And if you need more coaching on how Big Commerce works, or how to use the platform, or you want to get more in-depth, you can just pay for it. it’s not that expensive. But they do answer the phones when you call, which is a good thing. A lot of ecommerce platforms don’t do that. and they give you a free one-to-one training, which is also really, really cool. And as you guys know, John and Big Commerce are extending an extra 15 days of the trial to you guys as students of this course.

Thanks so much. I’ll see you in the next video. Let’s get started building the platform. At the very end, I’ll come in and show you how to get in contact with the success team.

03-07 Ezra: Now let’s go ahead and point your domain name to your store so that your store is no longer hosted on Big Commerce, but it will actually be your domain name instead of whatever you set the name as.bigcommerce.com.

So you click on the Tools link in the top left here. Then you click on “move to domain”. I want to keep my domain name with my current registrar because we registered it with GoDaddy, and I want to use it for my store. So I’m going to put in BarStoolGalaxy.com. I’m going to click “Use domain”.

Now, what’s going to happen is that Big Commerce is going to give me the name servers that I need to set on BarStoolGalaxy.com. So let me take you over to GoDaddy and show you how to set your name servers in your GoDaddy account. Basically, what you are doing is you are taking the domain that you purchased through GoDaddy and you are pointing it over to your Big Commerce store so it becomes your Big Commerce store. You have the name servers, now let’s go into GoDaddy and let’s point your domain at these name servers.

I log into GoDaddy and then I scroll over Domains and I launch my Domain Manager. When you launch your Domain Manager, it will pop up a list of all the domains you have in your account, which will be the one that you bought for your store as well as any others you have. Then, down here at the bottom you see on the bottom left there’s this thing called Name Servers. We just go ahead and click “Set name servers”.

Then you select “I have specific name servers for my domains”, and you go ahead and use the ones that Big Commerce gave you, which are right here. You just copy them over. Click OK. And viola. It may take one to two hours, but you are done. Your domain name is now pointing to your Big Commerce store.

03-08 Ezra: It’s time for the signup and basic setup of our store. Let’s get started. The first thing you are going to is you are going to go Ideaincbator.bigcommerce.com. Or just go ahead and click the link in the Resources section and go through that link.

The reason why you are going go through that link, it’s just going to redirect you back to the homepage of Big Commerce. But normally Big Commerce only gives like a 10 or a 15 day trial. I think it’s 15. We’ve gotten them to agree to a 30 day trial. So we’ve gotten them to agree to double the length of the trial for you guys. So make sure to go through that link so that you get credit for that trial. And they’ll go in and manually make sure that your store account gets that free 30 day trial.

So you go through that link and that will bring you right back through to Big Commerce. Remember, you are doing that because that way Big Commerce knows you came from this course and they are going to give you double the normal trial. They are going to give you a free 30 day trial.

So you just go ahead and fill out these fields here. You enter the store name. so we’re going to enter Bar Stool Galaxy because that’s the store I’m going to be building as an example for you guys. Enter your email address and whatever you want your password to be.

Just so you guys know, EzraFirestone@me.com is not the way to get ahold of me. That’s just my Mac address that I never use. I never check it. so you are better off getting ahold of me on my fan page at Facebook.com/meetEzra or in the Member’s Area.

Then you click your “start the free trial” button. That’s going to bring you right into Big Commerce. Now it’s going to ask you for a little bit more information. So you just go ahead and fill this out. So I’m going to fill out furniture and I’m going to put my name again and my phone number. You are going to want to put the Ring Central number that you created or your personal phone number if you want to put that.

Click the “Create my store” button. And now your store is ready to go. We’re ready to start building it. they’ll send a copy of the login details to your email address, and you can also click this little link here.

OK. You are in. Now, what’s going to happen is Big Commerce is going to pop up this little quick start wizard for you. You can either customize your store now or you can go directly to your storefront and have a look at the test store. This is just Big Commerce has created a test store for you with some categories and some products. You’ll be deleting all of those and implementing your own.

Now you are in the backend of your Big Commerce store. No matter where you are, there’s always going to be this quick launch wizard that Big Commerce is going to have up there for you until you get all of the elements that you need into your store.

So you go ahead and just click on this quick launch wizard and follow along these steps. We’ll just do it now. We’ll start with updating our store settings. This is where we actually get to fill out some information about our store. You put your store name here. You put your address here, your store phone number, your email address that you want for your customer support email. This is an old email address of mine. Again, I won’t check that email if you email there. Not a good way to get in touch with me. If you want to take your store down for maintenance; if I were to save that out and then click “View Store”, you’d see now the store is down for maintenance. We’ll go back. I’ll uncheck that.

This is some physical dimension settings where you get to choose how your products are set. So when you are setting information on the product screen, this is where you specify what that is. When we’re adding products you’ll see where we enter the weight.

And then your homepage title, the title of your homepage, and your meta keywords and meta description tag, which we’ll talk about in the SEO module. But this is where you’d fill that out.

Next we have the display settings of our store. And again, I got here through the quick launch wizard and the “update your store settings”. But the other way to get here is just to go to settings and then store. We were on Website here, and now we’re going to click over to the Display tab.

This is where you will essentially manipulate the way that your store looks on the product pages, on the section pages, etc. So how many products do you want on the featured homepage across the top? How many products per page do you want? On your quantity boxes do you want them to be a dropdown or a text box? On your “add to cart” do you want it to pop up a floating cart or do you want it to take them directly to the shopping cart? You have all these different things that you can select or unselect here under the display settings for your store. Do you want to enable CAPTCHA on your forms? Do you want to show product thumbnails in your cart? Do you want a wish list on your store? Do you want to have product comparisons? All these different things. Do you want bulk discounting? Do you want product tabs, which you probably do. All this different stuff that you have choices of for your store.

Continuing on, you’ve got the settings for your category page, so how you want that displayed. Your actual product page settings; so do you want to show the SKU, the weight, the brand, and all this kind of stuff? I never show the brand or the weight or some of this other stuff. Do you want to enable these RSS feeds on your store? I disable them on my stores but you can keep them enabled. The quick view setting if you’ve got quick view enabled.

So these are just the display settings of your store; so how you actually want it to look. You can look at what this is, check it, click save, go to your store, have a look at what it did, and kind of play with it. there are no optimal settings. It just depends on your products and what you are doing on your store.

This is the cool thing about Big Commerce. They have all these features built in—wish lists, bulk discounts, product tabs, and all this cool stuff that you get to choose from just at the click of a button.

Next we’ve got our image settings. These are the thumbnails for your products that are listed on the section pages, the actual image size of the products on your product page, different image options that you have, how many products you want and how many categories you want listed when you are doing a search on your store.

Your share settings up here; this is where you get to decide how you want your social buttons to be enabled on your store and on the product page. I always do Pinterest and Facebook. I do it with account only. I do it above and I use the Like button. I get rid of these footer links. But you can decide how you want your social settings set up.

Language and date; you are probably going to want to leave that to English. URL structure; they leave it as SEO optimized short and I do as well just because it’s better for SEO. But if for some reason you want it to be SEO optimized long, like, perhaps you are transferring a store over to Big Commerce and you want to keep your old URLs.

The cool thing about Big Commerce is when you are making products you get to choose the URLs. So you can set the same exact URL you had on your store before. So these are just URL settings and you can choose how you want those. I like to do SEO optimized short. I like shorter URLs. But that’s not a big deal. It doesn’t really matter.

This next little setting is how your site search functions here; so how your actual website search will function, how many results you want to show, whether or not you want it to be full text, so anything that’s on the product or in the category page, how you want it to display and that kind of stuff.

Then just some miscellaneous settings here that you don’t really have to mess with, but you can look into them. Like if you want customers to get emails automatically after they buy asking them to review their products and things like that.

So that’s your store settings. Important to go through there and set that up how you want it.

Moving back to the quick launch wizard, you’ll come in here and you’ll click on “Change your theme and logo”. Now again, another way to get here is just to click on this Design tab up here in the header. So you just click on the Design tab and now you are there as well.

So your theme; these are all the built-in Big Commerce themes. They’ve got a ton of them and they are all really, really good. So you can select whatever theme you want. Here is where you will decide what your homepage carousel will look like, if you are using a homepage carousel, and whether or not you are using the social media icons here. And you can drag them in just like that and enter your URLs and that will put your social buttons on your carousel.

Your logo; you can upload an image from your computer. Uncheck this “resize logo” box, click “choose file”, and upload your logo like that.

Design mode; I don’t use design mode, but if you want you can’t open your store in design mode. My store is down for maintenance. I don’t recommend doing that. Basically, It’s a WYSIWYG editor and it’s kind of lets you manipulate different elements on your store through kind of like a Microsoft Word type deal. But I would recommend hiring a developer, a Big Commerce developer, if you are going to actually make any template changes rather than trying to do it yourself in design mode. Or, if you are going to do it yourself, come over here to “template files” and download the files or go through and get FTP access, which I’ll show you how in a later module. Or, actually, I’ll show you right now. You just go to Settings and File Access. Now you can click on FTP and you can FTP into your store and manipulate your files that way.

We’re going to go back to Design. I’ll show you the rest of these things over here on Design. We’ve got mobile. So this whether or not you want your store to be mobile optimized, your template. And you do want your template to be mobile optimized.

Your emails; these are just the different email templates that have to do with your store. You can click on them and edit them right here and edit the different emails that people get, like the abandon cart email, etc. if you just click Edit you will get to edit that email. Gift certificates; if you are running those. Your favicon, you can upload that here. The header for your store; but if your template doesn’t have a header image then this won’t matter. And then your template files. And these are all the files that are in the template that you are using. So that’s the design.

Moving on, we’ve got products. I’ve got a whole module on how to add products coming up later. It’s really simple to do. Big Commerce makes it really easy. But you’d go through and you’d add all your product information here. You’ve got all these different tabs. That’s the cool thing about big commerce, is everything is done in these little tabs. For every different element of your store there’s just tabs. It’s really easy to just go through and look at the tab and figure out what you need to put in there. For this product you put the product name, assign a category, set the URL, put your description, all that stuff. And I do module on that, so I’m not going to go through that now.

We’ll go through to checkout. Here’s where you’ll set up your payment methods. We talked about that as well. But another way to do this is just to go to Settings and Payments. This brings you to the same place that the quick launch wizard under Checkout and Payment methods brings you. You just choose what payment methods you’re using. So, what’s your merchant account? Are you using the merchant account that we recommended in that module we just had? Or if you are not there yet, it’s probably coming up. There’s a merchant account that works directly with Big Commerce. But there’s all these different merchant accounts. You obviously probably have PayPal. If you want to do PayPal websites Payment Standard, that’s a really easy one. You just select it and click Save. Then click on it and all you have to do is put your PayPal email address in there and you are good to go, and you’ve now got a payment method.

So your payment methods are really easy to do. You just check our merchant account that you are using and also PayPal and whatever you are using. It will pop up a little tab and then you just fill out the information there.

Moving on to the next step, we’ve got our shipping options. This is where you are going to set up your shipping. Again, if you want to go to Settings and then Shipping that’s another way to get to the same place. So you are going to want to put in your information obviously for your store location, and then your shipping zone. You’d basically add a shipping zone. You could say maybe United States. And this zone is based on one or more countries, come down here and you are going to choose the United States. Yes, enable the shipping zone. If you want to enable free shipping you can. But I’m not going to apply free shipping. So then I just click Next. Now I’ve got these zones set up. I’ll just go ahead and save that zone out so you can have a look at that. so I’ve got the United States and then I’ve got everywhere else.

Within these shipping zones, so if I go in here and I click Edit Methods, now I can edit the different shipping methods within that specific zone. So if you click Add Shipping Method, you get to choose from a different places, if you are doing UPS, USPS real time. A lot of people are probably doing flat rate per item or flat rate per order. Let’s say you want to do flat rate per order and you want to call this shipping method Ground Shipping and then you want to charge $15 for that. Click save. That’s one shipping method that you have. Now you can add another shipping method. You can do another flat rate per order. Call this “two day shipping”.

So shipping is really easy to set up. There’s a bunch of different…You can either do real time using UPS, or USPS, or FedEx or anything like that, or you can do fixed shipping quotes. So shipping is not really difficult to set up and you can figure it out. Big Commerce has really great tutorials on how to set up their shipping. But it’s very simple.

Moving on, we now have taxes. So you get to set up your sales tax. Now, again, sales tax is always changing for ecommerce. As I understand it, you have to collect sales tax in the state that you do business. My business is in New York and my drop shippers are in New York, so I collect sales tax in New York. You are going to want to consult Alavara.com and some of these other ecommerce…You probably want to talk to your CPA or accountant about it, figure out where you have to collect tax for your business. But it’s quite easy to collect tax. You just click on Tax Rates and Zones. Add your tax zone. Let’s say that you want to do…Go back down to The United States. Click save. And now you can add a tax rate in that zone. If you don’t want to do just the USA, you can do it specific to a city. But again, you’ll just go through Big Commerce’s knowledge base, which you’ll have a link to that takes you through how to set up tax. I won’t waste our time with it because it’s really, really straightforward and easy to do.

Moving forward, we have the launch of the store. So we designed it. We set our store settings. We did the product. We did all the checkout stuff. Now under Launch, this is where they are going to say, “Hey. You haven’t added any products. You haven’t added any payment methods. You haven’t set up tax.” So you are going to want to do all that stuff before you launch your store. I’m just running through this stuff quickly to show you where it is in the backend of Big Commerce so that you have an understanding of kind of where to find the things you are going to need to find.

I want to show you a couple other real cool things. In the next module we’ll get into products and how to add pages and all that kind of stuff. I just want to show you a couple other cool things with regard to Big Commerce.

Here under Apps we’ve got a couple different things. One thing I want to show you is Live Chat. These are the two that they work with: Olark and Live Person. Olark is my favorite because it’s so easy. You just sign up and they give you a piece of code. So if you want to enable Live Chat on your store you just click on Apps, click on Live Chat, click on Olark, click on Save, and now you just select it. You can create an Olark account from here or if you already have one you just paste your code right in there and now you have live chat enabled on your store. It’s that easy. So cool that they make it this easy to enable live chat.

Another real quick thing I want to show you about Big Commerce is under Marketing, View Banners. This is super cool. This allows you to put a banner at the top of any page on your store. You just click on Create Banner. Let’s say you are selling bar stools and you want to do “Swivel bar stool banner”. You can select whether or not you want that to be on the homepage, whether you want it to be on a specific brand only on your brand pages, or if you want it for a specific category, which is what I like to do. I like to put banners at the top of each of my categories. You will see this in the conversion module why we do this, but it just makes it really easy. You can add a banner to any page on your store. You can set the banner to be at the top or the bottom of the page. You can set it to only show between a specific date if you are running a sale on that. But it just makes it super easy to put these really cool custom banners at the top of your section pages. And I love that.

So, a very cool feature. I know that we haven’t fully set up the store, but I just want to show you a couple of these cool features and then we’ll get into how to actually add products and add categories and set up your analytics and that kind of stuff.

Moving forward, another cool feature that you are going to want to know about is coupon codes. So if you want to set coupon codes for your store, you just go ahead and click “Create a coupon code” and set all your information right in there. If you want to set free shipping as a coupon code, you can do that. So it just makes it real easy when you have this coupon code dashboard right here. A lot of stores don’t have this ease of use for coupon codes.

Another thing along the same lines in coupons are discount rules. You can click on this Marketing and then “view discount rules” and create a discount rule. Basically, this means that they don’t have to actually enter a coupon. For example, like they are saying, “Free shipping over $100”. So we’ll call it “Free shipping over $100”. You can see I’ve created this on one of my stores before, so it auto fills. “Is this rule enabled?” Yes. So, free shipping on orders over X amount, and then show this on the homepage, show this on the products page. I like to show it everywhere. And then you can set it right here.

And now, whenever anyone adds over $100 of items to their cart, they automatically get free shipping. So that’s what rules are. It just means that they don’t have to enter a coupon code to get that special deal, whatever it is that you set up.

Another cool thing here are the abandon cart emails which are enabled by default because Big Commerce is awesome. So you just go ahead and click “add an email message” and you can say who it’s from, the from name, what you want it to say. Go ahead and watch the bonus module with Eric Shannon on email marketing for ecommerce, because we’ll cover abandon cart emails and why they work so well. But if you just click on Marketing, “abandon cart notifications”, you can set up your whole funnel right in here.

So Big Commerce has all this amazing stuff here in their marketing section for you. I won’t get too much into it now because I want to do the next video and talk about adding products, and setting up your categories, and getting your analytics installed and all of that.

But I wanted to show you a couple of the cool features that Big Commerce has as well as just what you need to know to be familiar with the backend of your store. Everything here is under Settings—notification settings, your payments, your returns, your shipping, your store, your tax, gift certificates, file access. These are all the different settings that you have.

Tools; this allows you to manipulate your store. I wouldn’t recommend messing with any of this stuff unless you need to for any reason. Email accounts you are probably going to want to set up for your store. You need to be on a paid plan for that.

It’s real easy to do. Again, with Big Commerce all this stuff is extremely easy to do. That’s why I have you on Big Commerce, because of the ease of use of the platform. They are the Zappos of the ecommerce world. They make it really easy to use their platform. Everything is very, very straightforward and they have an awesome knowledge base.

But essentially, the other thing is this app network like I was telling you about; live chat and comments are already enabled because they do product reviews on your stores, analytics, that kind of stuff. But you can click on “get more apps” and that’s going to take you to the Big Commerce app network, which allows you to integrate a couple other really cool things with your store. If you look through all this stuff and you find something that you think might be helpful, I cover a lot of this stuff in the conversion module, so I’m not going to get into it now.

But again, I just kinda want to get you familiar with your platform and how to use it. That is Big Commerce. That’s the backend of the platform. That’s how you get yourself somewhat set up. We’ll move on to the next video now, so I’ll see you there.

03-09 Ezra: We’re back. And this time we’re implementing Google Analytics. I just want to show really quickly that it only took a few seconds, actually, for the DNS to propagate, because you see up here in the URL box BarStoolGalaxy.com, and this has my un-built Big Commerce store on it with the theme that I’ve selected for the store, the template design I’ve selected for the store.

Let’s go ahead and add Google Analytics. You just click on Settings and you scroll all the way down to Analytics. Click it. Select Google Analytics and click Save. Now that’ going to pop up this little tab for you right here where you can select Google Analytics.

Now, of course to enable Google Analytics you need a Google Analytics account. So we’re going to sign up for one under the same email address that we used for AdWords. So just go to Anaytlics.Google.com and click on “create an account”.

It’s going to ask you to sign in, so we’re going to sign in with that same email address we used for the AdWords. Now what Google is going to do, it’s going to bring you to this little screen where you get to sign up. So you just go ahead and click the signup button.

This is where we’re going to put our website information. I’m going to call this Bar Stools Galaxy, put in the web address, which is www.BarStoolGalaxy.com. It’s going to ask you for your industry category, so you can choose whichever one fits. And it’s going to ask you for your time zone, so we’ll just go ahead and put that in.

Now you get to name your account. I’m going to just name this one Bar Stool. Then you just click the “Get Tracking ID” button. It’s going to ask you to accept their terms and conditions, which you’ll do. You just click accept.

Now, there you have it. Your tracking code is set up. Your Google Analytics is set up. So you just grab this tracking code here, come back over to Big Commerce, paste that tracking code into the Google Analytics tracking code and click Save.

Now that we have Google Analytics implemented, we want to set up goals and ecommerce tracking for our store. Big Commerce shows you just how to do that right here. So we’ll come into Google Analytics and we’ll click on Profiles. We’ll click on “all website data” and we’ll click on Goals. And we’re going to click the little plus button to create a new goal.

We’re going to set it to a URL destination. And in the goal URL we’re going to put on /finishorder.php, just like it says right here in the Big Commerce directions. We’re going to change the match type to Head Match, which is right here. We’re going to leave the goal value empty. And we will click the Save button.

Now we have that new order of goals set up. We need to make an edit to our ecommerce tracking so that it tracks ecommerce.

We’re going to come on over here to Profile Settings. We’re going to click that. I’m going to rename this profile to Bar Stool Galaxy Analytics just so it’s got a little bit of a nicer name. We’re going to come down here to ecommerce where it says optional and we’re going to click “Yes, is an ecommerce store.”

We want to make sure that this default page here is set to index.php. And then we click Apply. And that’s all we have to do to set up analytics ecommerce tracking. Big Commerce does the rest for us. They make it that simple, which is really, really nice.

Now, while we’re in here, we might as well set up our Google Webmaster tools account as well. So I’m going to come over here. I’m going to go to Webmaster Tools. That’s just Google.com/webmaster tools. Click on it. Now it’s going to ask you to sign in with your same account, so we’re just going to go ahead and sign in. it’s going to make us create a webmaster tools account.

Now we’re signed in. and it’s going to follow the instructions to add our site. So we just click on www.barstoolgalaxy.com and we click Add Site.

Now what it is saying is, “Hey, can you verify that you own this site?” So we click the Verify button and it says, “Congratulations. You have successfully verified ownership of Barstoolgalaxy.com.” Click Continue.

Now there’s nothing in here because it’s a brand new site, but now we have Google Webmaster Tools access, which we really want. We want to know what’s going on in the eyes of Google for our website. I’ll show you some live examples of that on live sites later.

The last thing you are going to want to do is go ahead into the standard reporting section of your analytics account here. Click on Standard Reporting. We are going to come over here to Traffic Sources, Search Engine Optimization, and then Queries, and we’re going to click the button here. We’re going to click on “Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing”.

It’s going to prepopulate all this data for you. What you do is you come down here under Webmaster Tools Settings. You click Edit. And it’s going to ask you: Which website do you want to add to your Google Analytics account? We’re going to click on Bar Stools Galaxy and we’re going to click Save. And it’s saying, “You are about to associate this Webmaster Tools property with your analytics.” Go ahead and click OK. 
Now, there you have it. Now your Webmaster Tools and analytics accounts are both set up and synced up. And we’re all set to go as far as analytics tracking goes.

03-10 Ezra: Let’s go ahead and go through and make a couple more customizations to the store. And then we will add products, add categories, and get the store live.

I’m going to go into Settings and Store Settings and I’m going to click on Display. I’m going to go through here and I’m just going to get rid of some of the stuff I don’t want for the store, make it look a little better. I’m going to get rid of the wish list, get rid of product comparisons, get rid of account creation. I’m going to get rid of bulk discounts, get rid of inventory levels, and I’m going to pull off the shipping costs. And that’s it for there. Just doing a bit of customization to make the store look a little better. I’m going to come back up here under settings and gift certificates and I’m going to get rid of those because I don’t have gift certificates for this store.

One other thing we ought to do as far as Google is concerned is implement our sitemap into Webmaster Tools. When you finish the first seven steps it pops up another seven here. So you can just click on this one and grab your sitemap URL. Just grab Webmaster tools and we’re going to go into this site, Bar Stools Galaxy. We’re going to click under Optimization. Go into Sitemaps and add a sitemap. Throw in our URL here, which is xmlsitemap.php and click Submit. Now we’ve got our sitemap submitted into Google and there it shows. That’s our sitemap and it worked. So we’ve got our sitemap in there and we’ve got a bit more customization done. So if I refresh this, you’ll be able to see there were a bunch of links up here at the top that were making it look really funky. I just got rid of all those links. Now what we’ll do is we will go ahead and start adding products.

We are here in the Big Commerce dashboard. I’m going to go into Products, View Products, and I’m going to click on all the ones that Big Commerce had in there that I didn’t add. I’m just going to delete all these products that aren’t mine that I didn’t create.

Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to add all of our products. Before we actually start adding products and categories/section pages, we need to talk about how to write page titles, how to write meta descriptions and product descriptions, and how to write your section page content. Let’s start with page titles.

The first and foremost thing is that you should not keyword stuff your page titles. The old school of having fire pit, fire pits, black fire pits, red fire pits as your title just doesn’t work anymore. Google gives a penalty for that now. So you don’t want to do that.

What you want to do now is have your main keyword plus some modifiers and maybe a description or a benefit—something that looks natural to Google and to the search engines, that looks like a sentence. It’s got to be 70 characters or less. Any longer than that it gets cut off, which isn’t always bad, but you want to avoid that if you possibly can. This little tool here from JavaScriptkit.com lets you put in your title and then press a little button that will tell you how many characters it is.

Just want to show you guys a couple good titles. Halloween costumes is a really competitive term. You can see that the #1 result has the term “Halloween costumes”. And then it has two modifiers. Then it has “Halloween costume ideas”. So, in my opinion they keyword stuffed this title because they put Halloween and costume in there twice. But they have two modifiers and it goes on for a little longer. So it doesn’t look keyword stuffed for Google.

Now look at the next two results down. Again, you’ve got the main keyword upfront. You’ve got the main keyword as the most prominent thing in the title tag, which is what you want to do. You want to put your main keyword for that section or that product page, or whatever the page is that you are optimizing, the educational content page, as the first thing in the title tag. Then you want to have some modifiers and then some kind of a feature, a benefit, or a sentence or something like that.

If you look at fire pits, we’ve got the same thing going on. We’ve got main keyword plus modifiers. That’s the way to go with title tags. Not too difficult to write title tags, but I just wanted to talk about it and make sure that you don’t overly keyword stuff your title tags because that will get you in trouble.

OK, meta descriptions. They need to be 155 characters or less. You want to include a phone number so that people can call you straight from the search result page. This is what pops up. You can see the meta descriptions here, back on the title tag page, are those things that pop up underneath the blue title tag on the page there. The white text is your meta description.

Now, with title tags and meta descriptions, Google is sometimes pulling them dynamically right now. They are not going with what you write. They are just pulling what they think is best based on your site. So you don’t even always have control over this anymore. But you definitely want to include a phone number. And you want to include a benefit and/or guarantee and include two keywords if possible.

You can see this title tag we have here: “Gift baskets. Click or dial, and then our phone number, for cheap and discount gift baskets for all occasions. Find the perfect gift today.”

What you could do is you could have your main keyword, whatever it is for that section, and then click or dial your phone number, and then “for”, and then another keyword, and then another little benefit at the end there. You could use that formula for all of your meta descriptions. So, whatever the keyword is, phone number, another keyword, and then some kind of benefit at the end would be a great formula to use for all of your meta descriptions on every single page. It doesn’t matter if they are similar and they all have the phone number in them, because having the separate keywords upfront and the separate benefit or feature at the end will make it different enough and it won’t be duplicate.

Use two keywords in the meta description if you possibly can; your main one and then a modifier or one of your other keywords from your list. That’s meta descriptions. Not too difficult to write those. Definitely include the phone number in there.

OK, product descriptions. We’re going to talk more about how to optimize the product page later in this course. But when you’re just writing your product descriptions, bullets work. Use bullets. Use a couple bullets. And the bullets should be used for all of your product features. Your product is going to have a bunch of different features. It’s going to be this tall, this big, this heavy, whatever. All those features that you get from the manufacturer. You are going to take those and you are going to bullet them out on your page.

Then you want to include the benefits. What are they getting from this product? You can see if we look at the description here on the bottom left, they tell a little story. They say, “Hey, you are going to look fantastic in this costume if you wear it.” So you gotta tell the person what they are getting, and why it’s good, and why they love it. tell a little bit of a story and have some fun with it. Then, obviously, they’ve got the quick facts, which are their features about the product. So you want to have both of those things. You want to have your product features and then some benefits.

You don’t have to spend a whole ton of time writing your product descriptions when you first start out. You just want to get your products up as quick as possible and you can go back and rewrite all of your descriptions later. But you definitely don’t want to use the manufacturer descriptions because every single person who is selling these products is also using the manufacturer descriptions. So you want to rewrite your descriptions to some degree to make them somewhat unique so you don’t have the same content on your pages as everyone else and get hit with duplicate content.

We’re going to go back in later and talk about how to make your product pages really, really compelling with video and really fun descriptions. I just want you guys to have the basics of how to write a product description and what you need now. We’ll come back around later and talk more about it. so let’s move on to the section page content.

This is the content that goes on your category or section pages. You want to have 500-700 words if you possibly can. And you want to use modifiers wherever you can. So you want to use all your modifiers in that section content because that will give you the opportunity to rank for that. that way you are not stuffing your title tag or your meta description. You are just fitting them naturally into the content on the page.

And have fun with it. Have fun with that content. Not everyone reads it, but you do need it there for search engines. You don’t want all of your section pages to just have no content on them and just list products. Write some content all about the products, why they are good, why people use them, different ways they can be used, stuff like that.

Those are the places you are going to have content while you are creating your products and category pages. I just wanted to cover it before we actually go ahead and create these products and categories so that you’ve got a good idea of how to structure your pages while we are creating them.

03-11

Ezra: Let’s add our product categories to the store. We’re going to come over here and we’re going to go to Products, and we’re going to go to Product Categories. You’re going to want to delete any categories that are in there that Big Commerce puts in there as an example. We’re going to come in here and we’re going to create new categories. Just click the “Create category” button. You are going to name your category. This one for me is going to be “metal bar stools”. And Big Commerce will automatically generate the URL for you.

This is where you put that description that I was telling you about, that product description. I’m going to just go ahead and paste it in there. Now here’s where we put the page title. So I’m going to go ahead and set up my page title here. These aren’t actual real page titles and descriptions. I’m just going to throw them in there. But when you are doing it, you’ll be putting in your actual page title that we talked about in the last video, your actual description, all that stuff. And you don’t need to put in the meta keywords tag. That doesn’t really mean anything from an SEO standpoint.

You want to come back up here to the top and click on this little Google Shopping link, and you want to click: “Yes. Enable this category for Google Shopping.” Then you click this button and you find whatever your category is in Google Shopping. This is going to be helpful when we run Google Product Listing ads on AdWords later. But, for now I’m just going to go ahead and select the proper category. There we go. I’m going to save and add another category. I’m going to add a few categories here. Let’s go ahead and add another one.

So you just go down the list adding all of your categories. I’m going to add a bunch here. I’m going to pause it while I add a bunch. And you do the same. You can pause this video while you’re adding the rest of your categories if you are doing this along with me, or you can finish watching, take the notes, and then add your categories. But I’m going to add a bunch of categories so I can have a pretty decent categorical structure for this store.

OK. Once you have all of your categories set, it’s time to go in and add your products. but before you add your products, you need to set up the different options for your products. So your products are going to have different options. They might have color options. They might have height options. And they might even have accessories that you can cross-sell along with them, in which case you are definitely going to want to do that; you are going to want to add your cross-sells on the product page.

First thing you are going to do is you are going to come into Products and you are going to go to Product Options. And we’re just going to go ahead and click this and delete all the ones that they put in there for us. We’re going to create our own product options. Those were the option sets, rather. We’re going to go into Options and we’re going to click on these. And we’re going to delete these as well.

OK. So I want to create an option for my products. I’m going to call this Color. And the display name is going to be Color. I’m going to use a swatch as the option. Then I click next. It’s going to ask me, “Which swatches do you want to offer?” It’s going to give me the option to put as many colors in here as I want. I’m going to do black. I’m going to add another one; I’m going to do blue. And I’m going to change this over here to blue color so that it looks like the color of my product. I’m going to add another one. This one I’m going to do two colors. This one’s going to be charcoal/red. This one’s going to be brown and green because there are some products that are brown and green. So I’ll have this first one be brown and this next one be green.

So you can see how the color option works; how it works to create options for your products. Go ahead and set that, and I’m going to save that. Now I have the options of colors.

Now I’m going to create another option for sizes for my products. I’m going to call this Size. This one is going to be a multiple choice. I select that and I click Next, and now I can do radio buttons. I’ll say 24 inches, make that one the default. I’ll do 34 inches. This is where they are going to get to choose the size of the different products. I’m going to add another one here. Let’s do 36 inches. We’ll save that.

Then, if you wanted to, you could create the option of…You could use this text field and have people engrave or customize. You could have them upload a file or you could have them select a date they want it delivered using this one. And here, the product list is how we do accessories, which we’ll get to in just a second. But now you know how to create options, and you’ve got some options there. I’m going to cancel out of that.

I’m going to come back over here under Products, Product Options and I’m going to click on Option Sets and I’m going to create a set of options. I’m going to call this Color/Size. I’m going to add both the color and the size option for this particular product. And if I wanted to name this for a specific product, because a lot of products are going to have different options—different color options, different size options. So I’m going to be creating a bunch of different option sets. So I would probably call this the 0504 Option Set because this is for the 0504 product. Go ahead and click Save and Exit and now I’ve got my option set.

So now you know how to create options and you know how to create option sets. So now what we’re going to do is actually add some products. So we go up in here to Products, we click Add a Product. This is a physical product and we’re going to call this the 0504 Bar Stool. This product code is 0504. It fits in the acrylic, the adjustable, and the backless categories.

Here’s where I would put in my product description. So I’m just going to grab that out of here. This isn’t a very good product description because it has nothing but features, but that’s fine. I got my availability here. I’m going to say this product can be purchased in my online store, and the price is $165. Product weight is 15 pounds. I’m not going to include any of these other details because I don’t have them for this product.

Now I’m going to come back all the way up to the top and I’m going to click on Images and Videos. This is where you upload your images for your product. You can choose from a gallery. You can upload an image from your computer. Or you can upload an image from the web. You’ll probably have it on your desktop, so you just want to upload your image. I’m going to pick one now. I just went ahead and uploaded multiple images so you could see what it looks like to have multiple images uploaded for a product.

Now you can add a YouTube video to your product page really easily. You just grab your YouTube link, just like this one, and you just paste it right in there. You definitely want to use product video wherever you can. We’ll talk about that when we talk about conversions, but they work really, really well. So I’m going to click Find Videos. I found this one. I’m going to add it to the product.

So now we have our images and our video on our page. Let’s move on to our delivery date. We don’t have one of these for this product. We are not using inventory this product, so we’re going to skip that.

Product Options. Now, this is great. We’re going to use this option set—the 0504 option set. And we’re going to put it right to the right of the product photo. That’s how I like to do it. you could also set it below. This is the option set that we just set up.

Now here you could add some custom information on your product page if you want. I suggest just using the product details box, the product description box. Other Details—another way for you to add some other details to your product information.

Now, on Other Details, you want to scroll down. You are probably not going to fill out any of this data here. But you definitely want to scroll down and manipulate your page title. So this would be the 0504 bar stool, unless you had a keyword that this matched. You’d then write yourself a page title and you’d write yourself a meta description for this specific product. So you definitely want to add that stuff under Other Details. If you’ve got bulk pricing you can add it here. And then Google Shopping, you definitely want to enable this product for Google Shopping, put it in your different categories that it fits into. And that category I hadn’t actually mapped to Google Shopping yet, so I’m just going to map it right now.

OK, so that’s categories in there. And then any other information you have about this product, like it’s a unisex product, the age group is for adults, any of this other information that you have in here, you go ahead and add. Color, you can just do red, black, whatever your colors are, blue. I don’t have any of this other information, so we’ll just click Save and Exit. Now we’ve got a product created.

What this is telling me is that I’ve decided to enter this product without putting its width, height, and depth, which just means that sometimes UPS real time rates and stuff like that won’t work. Most of the time you’ll have this information for your products. but if you don’t, don’t worry about it. the weight will work just fine for shipping. So you click Continue.

And now that product is created. Let’s go have a look at it on the site and see what it looks like. So we can see we’ve got the name of the product here. We have its different bread crumbs, meaning the different sections that it belongs to. We’ve got our color options—black, blue, or green and gray, and they can just select the one they want. We’ve got our size options here. We have our different images that we can click and that will enlarge. And we’ve got our product video right here, which is fantastic. This just pulls all that data right from YouTube. So when you put a product video in there it drops that in there. We’ve got our similar products because this is set up for similar products; we selected that. and we’ve got our reviews because we have this thing set for reviews in the description.

That’s how you set up a product. Really, really simple. What you are going to want to do is go in and add all of your products just like that. so go ahead, add all the products to your store. Add all the categories to your store and let’s meet in the next video after you have added all of your products and all of your categories. We’re going to go ahead and create our “More Information” pages.

03-12

Ezra: OK. By now you should have your products up and your categories up. You might have noticed that I’m not going into painstaking detail about how to set up all these pages. That’s because I want you to get these things set up. Speed of implementation is everything. Like I told you before, what I’m going to show you is everything that you need to know and only what you need to know to get your store up. I know of several out-of-the-box Yahoo! Stores, Big Commerce stores that are all doing over six figures just the way that we set this store up with no extra customization necessary. I mean yes, it’s nice to customize your store and do conversion testing and make it look really fancy, but that all comes later once your store is set up, once you are making sales. So that’s why I’m having you just get your store up and we’re not worrying and spending a bunch of time on designing our pages and making them look really fancy upfront. It’s the common thing that most entrepreneurs do or most people who are going to start some kind of a business do. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past where it’s like, “OK. I gotta get my business cards, and I gotta spend a week designing my logo, and I gotta get my…” You spend all this time doing a bunch of stuff that isn’t in the direction of you getting sales. And so, what is in the direction of you getting sales is putting your site up. So that’s what we’re doing.

That was a little rant. Now that you have your category pages and your product pages built, what other pages do you need on your store before you are ready to get traffic and start selling products? Well, there’s a couple that you absolutely need. So I’m going to go through them with you right now.

You need a “why buy from us?” page. That’s sort of like the “About” page. It’s kind of a combination. I’ve sort of switched the About page to “Why buy from us?” because on the “why buy from us?” page you are going to tell them your story, so it is your About page, but it’s more geared towards: What are they getting when they buy from you? Why should they buy from you? I’m going to show you. We’re going to go through each one of these pages in detail.

You need a shipping information page. You need a Contact Us page. You need a privacy policy page. And you need a returns and refunds page and a common product problems or FAQ page. Let’s move on and go through each one of those.

The first one is the “Why buy from us?” It’s really important to have a video on this page talking about why they should buy from you. You can see an example from one of our sites here where I’ve got this video saying, “Hey, here’s why you should buy from us.” It might be that you have a huge selection, or you really care, or you are a family business dedicated to serving your customers, or you have the lowest prices guaranteed, or whatever it might be.

And this is also the page where you tell the story about your company. So, who you are, why you put up the site, why you are interested in selling these things, your background as a person, that kind of thing.

This page is often really, really overlooked. And you are going to feature this page right on the top of your navigation menu. And having a really, really good “Why buy from us?”/About page is one of the quickest ways to increase conversions. A lot of times, when I am doing conversion optimization for folks, I’ll go through and we’ll beef up their About page. We’ll beef up their “more information” pages and make them really stellar. That really helps because people are looking at these pages. People who are buying from you are looking at your returns page. They are looking at your “Contact Us” page. They want to make sure that you are real people. So it’s an overlooked part of the site and it’s important to do it properly. So if you possibly can, shoot a video. And also have everything in text as well. So you have a video up at the top and then have the text of what you are talking about down below so you have both. But having a video on this page is a really good idea. So create a “Why buy from us?”/About page.

Definitely create a shipping information page. This is the same kind of thing. People want to know how you handle shipping. It’s one of the most important things on your website. People are going to look for shipping information, so it’s important to have this page front and center. And shoot a video talking about it. Let’s say they place an order today. Well, it gets shipped out the following business day. Whatever your shipping policies end up being, just write them down and have them really easy for folks to see.

You are going to be using the shipping information video and they “Why buy from us?” video on the product page. So once you create these videos, you are going to want to put them on your product page, on every product page. And we’ll talk about this in conversion boosters, but you want folks to be able to see on your product page what your shipping details are and also what the benefits of buying from you are. So these are really important pages that you should create.

Next you need a “contact us” page. I like to have a form right on the page that they can just go to and submit that form. And you are also going to need a physical mailing address, a phone number, an email address, and then the names of your customer service people. And if you really want to take things to the next level, what you would do is shoot a video of your customer service person. That might be you. You might shoot a quick video and say, “Hey, this is who I am and I answer all the emails personally. So if you ever need anything, go ahead and submit the form on this page or shoot me an email and I will get back to you straightaway.” You make a personal connection with folks who are trying to get in touch with you.

Next thing you are going to need is a privacy policy and returns and refund page. These are two separate pages. One of them is a privacy policy. And at this link right here, OpenTracker.net, you can go to this link and find out how to write a privacy policy for your store. But you need one. Google looks at that. if you don’t have “Contact Us”, privacy policies, and returns pages, and a phone number, they give you a penalty. They don’t issue a penalty, but it’s a notch down as far as SEO is concerned. So you want to have all these pages.

And then returns and refunds. That’s kind of self-explanatory. You need these pages. For the returns and refunds you just put whatever your policy is, whatever it ends up being, whatever it ends up being with the drop shipper. It might be that the drop shipper allows you to return products after seven days if people don’t like them or defective products, or whatever it might be. You just create those pages and we’re going to feature those in your left navigation at the bottom and also in the footer of your website.

Now, the next and last page that you absolutely need is a common product problems page. You are going to build this page out over time because you are going to get questions about your products over time and you are going to add them to this page.

Any frequently asked questions you get or information that you can offer about the products go on this page. This is the part where you will be creating as many videos as you possibly can. We’re going to talk about this in the blogging and educational content modules later. But if folks are having a problem, like, let’s say, for example, you are selling costumes. Well, people want to know the different sizes. If you have adult and kids and teenagers, well they are going to want to see a video that says, “This is how big the adult costume is. This is how big the teenage size is.” 
So any of the common questions that you get that you can create videos about you’ll put on this page. This is your FAQ page. Pretty self-explanatory here as well. Let’s go into Big Commerce and I’ll show you where and how you create these pages in Big Commerce.

So we’re back inside Big Commerce. I just want to show you where you create those pages within the Big Commerce admin panel. You click on Website Content and you just click on Create a Webpage. From here, you can use these four different options at the top. You are just going to leave it on this one that says “Create content created using the WYSIWYG editor below,” which is this editor. You could also create a page that links to another website, or you could use an RSS feed or create a form on your website.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to use the WYSIWYG. So we’ll call this one “Why buy from us?” This is where you would put your content for the page, so let’s imagine you had a bunch of content in there.

This link right here will show it on your top navigational menu or not. We want this on our top nav, so we are going to keep it in here. Then you just fill out your page title and then your meta description. Then from here you’d set the order you want it to appear in on your navigational menu.

The other thing I want to say is that if you want a dropdown, like, let’s say you wanted to have a dropdown menu, then I would put this under another page on the homepage. So if I put this under Shipping and Returns and I click Save, and then I come over to Bar Stool Galaxy, you can see if I scroll over Shipping and Returns, I now have “Why buy from us?” If I remove it from there, it will be in its own line on the top navigational menu.

So that’s how you add those more information pages. You do it straight from the Big Commerce dashboard here under Website Content and “Create a webpage”.

I’m not going to spend any more time telling you how to edit the design of your store. I’ll point you over to this PDF document that Big Commerce has about how to modify template designs, so if you want to do anything fancy. And there’s a bunch of YouTube videos and tutorials on how to modify and design your store. If you purchase the upsell templates, then obviously you have my propriety store designs, the ones that I use and the ones that convert well and that I like. But if you don’t have that, then you can have a look at the customization guide. You can search YouTube videos. You’ll be fine. This is a fine way to start out if you don’t want to invest in redesigning your store. You can start your store. You can get your website up. You can start getting some traffic to it. And once you get sales you can go ahead and start putting some time, energy, and investment into redesigning your store.

But I’m going to move on and we’ll move into creating your social profiles and getting traffic. Now that your store is up, we’ll move into social profiles, and then we’ll move into getting traffic.

I just want to reiterate again that yes it’s really nice to have a beautiful high converting web store. But you don’t need it. A simple design will work just fine starting out.

03-13

Ezra: We’ve been talking about putting together your store. You should be pretty much done at this point. If you have any questions, if you need any help, if you need any support in building your store, if there’s something that you can’t figure out by going through the help documents on Big Commerce, you will receive an email usually about four days after you sign up, an email that looks just like this one that says, “Hey, the Success Squad is here to help.” It will say, “Welcome to Big Commerce. We’re the Success Squad, a team of ecommerce experts dedicated to making your store wildly successful. Because you are a Big Commerce client, you get a 30 minute appointment with us so that we can walk you through setting up your store.”

You click this little “Book an appointment” button and it brings you right over here to Big Commerce where you are able to book an appointment with them. And you can talk about creating your store, designing it, configuring your products, managing it, the conversion tools—anything that you want to know about Big Commerce you can find out from the Success Team. It’s one of the reasons why Big Commerce is such a good platform, is because they really care. They need to make sure that their merchants are successful, because if you are successful you will stick with them longer. So they understand that it’s in their best interest for you to understand how to set up and market your store. So they put aside time, energy, and money to help you do that.

So you click on this little “Book an appointment” link and it will pop up a light box. And you basically get to select your time. So you would select whatever time you want. Click Continue. And then you would just fill this out and you’d be good to go. You’d have an appointment with the Big Commerce Success Squad.

So definitely take advantage of that. Use that. It’s free. They want you to use it. They want to help you. So take advantage of the Success Team and I will talk to you in the next module.

03-14

Ezra: OK. Let’s cover the social profiles that you are going to need for your ecommerce store. You are going to need Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+. Let’s talk about why.

Well, you want Pinterest and you want a Pinterest business page. The reason is because you are going to pin all of the images on your store, all of your product images, you are going to pin your blog posts. And Pinterest ranks really well for images. You definitely just want a Pinterest business page. You can use that for search engine optimization, which we’ll talk about in the SEO module. But you definitely want a Pinterest page because people are going to be pinning your images. You want to be able to comment as your business. So you want a Pinterest page. And you just want to have that. when your store gets big and when people start searching for you, you want to take over the entire first page of Google, so basically doing reputation management for your store. And we’ll talk about that in a later module. But Pinterest is going to help you when you do that.

You are going to need a Facebook page. That’s Facebook.com/business/build. You just create a Facebook page for your store. We’re going through these quickly because these social profiles are really easy to set up, and you probably already have most of them or know how to use them. But I just want to make sure that if anyone doesn’t know that they need these profiles that you go ahead and create them.

So you need a Facebook business page. You need a Twitter account for your store. Most likely you are not really going to use your Twitter account very much. You might use it when you do a press release and you tweet that out, when you have a new product. But this is, again, mostly for SEO purposes. For the most part, you are not going to be driving sales through Twitter. Your customers are likely not going to be hanging out on Twitter. But you want to have your business Twitter account, because when you sell the business, when the business gets really big, you just want to have this profile for your business.

Same thing with Google+. You are not really going to use it that much. You might post your content on here when you post new press releases or new articles or new blog posts, new products, whatever. You will post it to Google, too, just for SEO benefits. But most likely it’s not going to be a big driver of sales for you. But it’s definitely good to have your Google business page for your ecommerce store.

Same goes with YouTube. You just create a YouTube account. Now, create the YouTube account with the same Google account that you used for AdWords, that you used for analytics and Webmaster Tools. Your Google profile that you are using for this ecommerce store is the one that you are going to want to put the YouTube account under. And this is where you are going to upload all of the product videos that you create, the “Why buy from us?” videos—any videos that you create, any educational content videos, which we’ll talk about later, that you create, you are going to want to upload here on your YouTube account.

So those are social profiles that you need. Go ahead and sign up for them now and I will see you in the next video.

04-01

Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome back. Module 4. What we’re doing in Module 4 is we’re creating visibility for your store. So we have this platform. We have these products for sale. Now we need people to know that we exist. So we’re going to talk about paid traffic; so, how we can go about getting targeted visitors in front of our store tomorrow. You can begin making sales tomorrow after you go through this module.

We’re also going to talk about organic traffic. This is the first time I bring in some experts, some people other than me who are going to be teaching you things like onsite SEO, and content marketing, and link building for physical products, and all of this organic traffic strategy specific to physical product stores.

We’ll also talk about social traffic and comparison shopping engines. See, the cool thing about physical products is you have so many different avenues, so many different channels that you can leverage to generate targeted visitors. People are looking for these products everywhere. They’re not just looking for them on Google. They are not just looking for them on Facebook. They are not just looking for them on Amazon. They are looking for them on a whole bunch of channels that you haven’t even heard of yet. So we’re going to talk all about channels.

We’re going to talk about retargeting, which is when someone comes to your site and visits and product, then when they are surfing around the internet, you can then show them that product. I’ve got a really, really special guest, a guy who built a platform specific for physical products that will index every product on your store and create banners custom for you for free for every single one of your individual products and run ads for it. it’s really cheap. It’s really easy. And he’s coming in to show us how that works.

So this is going to be a really fun module. We’re going to create some visibility for your store. We’re going to generate some sales. Thank you so much for making it this far in the course. I’m excited to go through Module 4 with you.

04-02

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back with you. Welcome to Module 4 where we are talking about traffic. So you have your store. It’s time to get traffic to your store. It’s time to get visitors who are interested in your products and services in front of them so you can start making sales. We’re going to talk about paid traffic, Google AdWords in particular. We’re going to talk about organic traffic and ways to get that.

I’ve got some really special guests coming in, some bonus modules—Audrey Kerwood, Aden Boothe, Shelby Larson, Eric Lantrus [sp], who are going to talk to you guys about how to get your store ranking on Google. We’ll talk about social traffic and how to run your Facebook page. We’ll talk about retargeting, so how to get the people who come to your website to see you again—the people who come and don’t buy from you; how to cookie them and run ads to them for specific products and services. I’ve got Peter Vilsholm of Admazely coming in to show us how his platform works and how he makes retargeting super, super easy.

And finally, we’ll talk about the comparison engines. So Module 4: traffic. Thanks for watching and let’s get started.

04-04

Ezra: Hey. Ezra Firestone here. We are going to go through now and take a look an active AdWords campaign that is not having a positive ROI. And we’re going to see what we can do from the AdWords dashboard alone, so not actually touching their site at all, just making changes within the AdWords account to the advertising campaign to produce better results than we’re currently seeing.

For the purpose of this test we’re going to be looking at just one campaign. And that’s this first one here. What we can see is that over this particular time period, this site bought 21,000 clicks for $15,000 at an average cost of 70-cents a click. Their return on investment was 76%.

What that means, if we go over here and we look at ecommerce, we can see they spent $15,000 to generate $26,000 in revenue. So that’s a 76% return on investment.

Now that sounds pretty good, right? Spend $15,000 to generate $26,000. That sounds like a pretty good deal. However, it’s actually not profitable, and I’ll tell you why. This company is running at around a 35% gross margin. What that means is that for whatever amount of money they bring in, about 35% of that is profit for them. So in this $27,000 that they brought in, after the costs of the goods, the customer service, the phone support and just running of the business, they’ve got about 35% left over. So if we do the math on that, we can see over here on my fancy little calculator, and I’ll just pull this up so everyone can have a look at it, $27,000 divided by 100 times 35 means that they only have $9,500 profit on that $26,000 in revenue. But we can see that they spent $15,000 to generate it.

So they spent $15,000 to generate $10,000 in profit, which means they lost $5,000 over this time period on this particular campaign. Now, that’s OK for a company like this because they do a lot of repeat business and their lifetime customer value is much higher than their initial customer value. So yeah, they lost $5,000 on these initial purchases, but they’ll make that up over time with additional marketing. But the goal would be to get their sales to self-liquidate. What that means is pay for itself.

So if they spend $15,000 on advertising, they’d need to generate $45,000 in sales to have that break even for them. So what we’re going to look at is within this particular campaign, how can we get the cost of conversions down? How can we have it cost us less to create a sale?

Let’s go ahead into the AdWords dashboard and have a look at that. here we are in the AdWords dashboard. We can see this is the campaign. We can see the same amount of clicks, spent the same amount of money over the same time period. The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to look at the campaign level. We’re going to look at what changes we can make on the campaign level, and then we’ll go ahead and look at what changes we can make on the ad group level and then the keyword level.

So, campaign level changes are going to be done in the settings. It’s about where our campaign is showing, what time of the day it’s showing, all that kind of stuff. So let’s go ahead and have a look at some of that.

Where I am is I’m in the Dimensions tab on this particular campaign. I went into this campaign. I clicked on it and I went into the Dimensions tab. Now I’ve sorted it to geographic region. And I’ve set it to only see the states. If you come in here under the columns, you can come in and you can add the metro area, which would show you the cities. So if we come in here, we can see how this campaign is performing and what region and what city, etc.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to customize these columns. I’m going to go back and I’m going to remove the metro area because I just want to look at this on a state level, apply that out. What I want to look at is, over this period of time, how much is it costing me to create a conversion in these different places? And where have I had very little conversions over the last couple months?

You can see for some reason this campaign is displaying in certain parts of Canada and there’s been no conversions in Canada. So I should probably remove all of Canada from this campaign.

As I look at this, I can see that Alabama over this period of time has 167 clicks for $100 with only one conversion. And you can see that conversion rate in Alabama is really low. The conversion rate in Nebraska is really low. So I am going to remove these states from the campaign. We’re not going to run in Alabama. We’re not going to run in Nebraska. We’re not going to run in Kansas. We’re not going to run in Missouri. We’re not going to run in Wisconsin. And I’m going to make sure Canada doesn’t show up in there anymore, because that’s really expensive for the place that it’s showing up in Canada, and the rest of Canada is not creating any traffic. Utah. So I’m going to remove all these places that are under 1% conversion rate over here. Because if they’re not converting, we can do a bunch of stuff on the site to get those conversion rates higher. But the cost per conversion over here, above $60, is going to be more than they’ll be able to bring it down…It’s not worth it for them to run traffic to places that are costing them above $60 for a conversion. And this is a really long period of time and these places have very few conversions, so it’s not a big total of their campaign, but it is affecting their ad spend.

Now if we look at conversion rate on the flipside, we can see that in Vermont, Vermont is by far our best state. We are converting at 4% here in Vermont for $20 a conversion. I should probably set up Vermont-specific advertising campaigns; have a campaign specifically to Vermont because I know that this site does really well in Vermont. So we could target them specifically.

I’m also going to take this data of where this site is converting the best and I’m going to use it for another campaign that’s not currently being run, which is the product listing campaign that they don’t have active right now. I’m going to run it just in these states that convert really, really well, which are all these states to about here. And I’ll show you how that’s done in just a second. We’ll use that a little bit later. But this data is really, really good data to show where these products are doing really well. That’s just the Dimensions tab on your campaign.

The next thing that we’re looking at here in the Dimensions tab is time and hour of the day. We want to know what hours of the day are working really well. I’ve got this sorted by cost per conversion. We can see down here at the bottom that 4 AM and 5 AM are pretty poor. They are costing a lot of money for those conversions. So we’re going to probably cut 4 AM and 5 AM and not advertise on that. you can see over here up at the top that 6 AM does really, really well. So we’re probably going to raise the bids at 6 AM because it converts so well at 6 AM.

Now we’re actually going to make the changes in the Settings tab here for this specific campaign. These are the campaign changes that we’re making. What we’re going to do is we’re going to come in and we are going to change this thing here where it’s targeted locations, and we’re going to exclude some places. We’re going to exclude Alabama because that wasn’t performing well. We’re going to exclude Nebraska. And we’re going to exclude all these other places. I’ll pause while I do this so you guys can see the final result.

This is what it looks like here. We’ve excluded these places here that we found in the Dimensions tab weren’t performing. You just go ahead and click Save. Now these locations are excluded for this particular campaign. It won’t be running in these states where it’s not performing and it’s not in a place where it can get to be performing through conversion testing.

The next thing here is the reason why it’s showing Canada is because it says “people in, searching for, or viewing pages about”. So people in Canada who are viewing pages about the US are seeing these ads. So we just to do people in my targeted location. That way Google won’t show these ads in Canada.

The next thing we want to look at on the campaign level is whether or not the search partners are performing. So we can see here if we go into the campaign and we segment it “network with search partners”, we can see the clicks that came to Google and the clicks that came to the search partners for this campaign. We can see that the search partners is doing really well at $23 a conversion, because the clicks are so much cheaper. Even though it’s not converting as well, it’s only converting at 2%, the clicks are much cheaper. It’s converting well, so we’ll leave the search partners on.

And then let’s also segment it out by device and have a look at how the devices are doing. We can see here that tablets with full browsers are at $38 a conversion. That’s a little high. Tablets are converting so well in this campaign. We might want to shut of tablets or set up their own separate tablet campaign, which we might do in the future. For now we’re just going to leave it alone, but we might set up a specific tablet campaign in the future. and here we can see that mobile got turned off because it wasn’t doing well. No conversions for mobile. And computer is doing great.

So let’s go back into the settings for this campaign. The other things in the campaign settings is this ad delivery thing here. It says: “optimized for conversions. Show ad expected to provide more conversions.” But we don’t want that. we want “rotate evenly: show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimize.” Basically, what that means is you can set up an ad split test and Google will give it 90 days to see which one wins. And then they’ll just optimize for the one that’s performing better. You should never wait 90 days. You’ll know within two weeks or a week, if you are driving any kind of traffic, what ads are working. But right now she’s not getting any ad tests going because she is just optimizing for conversions. So we’re going to rotate evenly. And when we get into the ad groups we are going to set up some new ads.

The other thing here is under keyword matching options. It’s including plurals, misspellings, and other close variants. We’re going to come in and we’re going to not include that. what that means is we don’t want Google to include anything other than the keywords that we’re advertising on, because oftentimes, 99% of the time, they throw in stuff that’s not relevant for you. And we can see that in the search term report in the Dimensions tab for this campaign. If we want, we can see which keywords are triggering our ads here. And there’s a lot of them that aren’t actually on any of our keyword lists. There’ just one’s that Google threw in there.

The next step is to look at the ad groups within this particular campaign and see how we can optimize those, because now the campaign settings are optimal. So we’re going to move down and we’re going to move into optimizing the ad groups for this campaign.

I want to note that this is not a campaign that I set up. I’m just coming here and doing some optimizing for them. This is on CPA, which is the conversion optimizer, which I don’t use. But it’s doing well. They are buying traffic. They are making money. And now we’re just coming in to make some changes to see how much we can boost their conversions just by doing stuff within AdWords.

The first thing we see here is the cost per conversion on some of these ad groups is extremely high. I’m going to come in here and turn off these ones that aren’t working, because it’s been a long enough period of time and it’s such a high cost per conversion, which means that they won’t be able to do…If they are converting at 0.36 on this keyword set that’s within this ad group, it just means it’s a bad set of keywords for them, because even with really strong conversion optimization we could double or triple that, but that’s not going to get them to profitable, which is why we’re going to pause these ones that aren’t working in here.

We’ll start with these ad groups that cost them the most per conversion. This particular ad group right here is costing $45 a conversion. Let’s come in and see if we can’t play around with some of the ads and look at the keywords and see how to get that done.

I’m going to click into this ad group here. We can see that most of the traffic is coming from this one keyword here. And it’s costing a lot per conversion. These keywords down here haven’t generated any traffic in that amount of time, so what we’re going to do is we’re just going to get rid of them. If they’ve only generated such a small amount of traffic in such a long period of time, we’ll just pull them out of the campaign so we don’t have to worry about them and they are not losing money.

Normally, what I would do is I would lower the bid on the keyword so that they weren’t spending so much per click, which would drop the average position down, which is OK because position 2, 3, 4 is still really good and sometimes converts a lot better than position 1. But since this campaign is on Conversion Optimizer, I can’t mess with these bids. So I’m going to play around with the ads in here.

We can see that these are the ads that are running and that this ad right here, which has very, very small amount of the market share, converted way better than the rest of the ads. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to get rid of these other two and I’m going to test this control against the main one.

Now that’s set up. These two are gone and I’ve changed that setting to rotate these evenly so it won’t just serve this one all the time. And these will rotate off and we’ll see which one of those converts better.

I’m actually going to give it a proper test. What you’ll see is we’ve got two headlines, one headline here: “Natural Walblarth [sp] Toys”, and the other one here: “Buy natural toys for kids”, and then we’ve got two pieces of body copy. What I’m going to do is I’m actually going to rotate those out again so we’ll have all headlines and all body copy running at the same time to see which one performs the best. Let’s do that.

So now we have that first headline with the second body copy. We’ll save that out. Let’s do one more. Now we’ve got a full proper split test—two different headlines, two different body copies that we can run in there.

And just so you guys know, this is a big campaign with a lot of ad groups, a lot of keywords, all that stuff. I’m just showing you guys the basics of stuff to come in here and edit and play with and use to get your numbers up. But to do this campaign really, I’d be using AdWords editor and I’d be going through all the analytics, which I’ll show you in just a second, and getting into a bit more detail than we are here. But this is just some basic stuff, optimization stuff, that is really, really effective and is just kind of the basics going through from campaign, to ad group, to keyword in the AdWords dashboard. This is without worrying about things like call extensions and all that other kind of stuff.

Let’s continue moving. What we’re going to do since I’m doing just a few is I am going to optimize for the ones that have the most clicks in this time period and get those proper, because those are the ones that are driving the bulk of the traffic to this site. So I’m going to come in here and have a look at this one. Again, get rid of all these keywords that are just in here lowering your quality score and not getting you any actual traffic to the site. I’m going to pull all those off and the ones that have never had a conversion in this period of time, and the ones that have had a conversion in that period of time but it costs a lot and there was only one. Now we’ve just got the ones that are actually driving traffic.

We’ve just got the one main keyword that’s driving most of the traffic here. I’m not going to play around with the bids on that. One thing when you are actually looking at keywords, the way to do it is to look at what your return on investment per keyword is. You can do that in analytics. You can come into analytics and you can click into an ad group and you can look at the keywords, and you can look at your ROI over here on a per keyword basis. That will let you know what you can afford to spend. That’s how you can choose what to bid per keyword because you’ll know, based on how much you are bringing in, how much you can afford to spend per click and still make money or break even.

What I want to do is play with the ads in this ad group, because we can see here that one of them is getting served most of the time, and it’s the one that is having a cheaper cost per conversion because it’s a much cheaper average cost per click on this ad than this ad up here, even though this ad is converting significantly higher. So I’m going to come in and set up a couple ads that we can have a look at.

I believe the reason why this one is so much more expensive is because it’s a Christmas ad, holiday ad, and it’s not getting as high of a click-through rate on the ad. But I’m going to come in here and test a few new ads for this particular campaign.

I added another ad in here with a better headline. We’ll see if that gets a better click-through rate. I’m going to go through the rest of these ad groups here and just get rid of the keywords that aren’t performing and set up proper ad split tests. That’s what I’ve been doing if you haven’t noticed. I’m just getting rid of keywords that aren’t performing and setting up proper ad split test. I’m not going in and changing the bids of keywords and stuff like that, that we might do if we were doing a deeper one. But this is just kind of surface level stuff.

I’ve popped into this ad group here where I was editing the ads and getting rid of some keywords. One thing I can see is that this ad here has got no conversions yet and it costs significantly more per click than this one, and that’s because it doesn’t actually have the keyword that this ad group is about in the ad at all. It’s not even in there. That’s why it’s costing them so much more and having such a lower click-through rate. It’s because it doesn’t have that keyword in there. So we’re going to go ahead and put that in there and see if this Christmas ad performs better with the actual keyword in there, which I’m sure it will because that keyword will then be bolded for people.

So we got that going. I think that’s the case with every one of these ad groups. These Christmas ads are in here but they’re not specific to the ad group itself. You never want an ad in one of your ad groups that’s not specifically targeted for that keyword that that ad group is related to, because it will hurt your click-through rates and make you pay more and you won’t be able to be profitable.

Here’s a keyword that’s generated a lot of clicks for them but has a really, really poor conversion rate. It’s costing $120 per conversion to run this keyword. Let’s have a look at where they are sending them and see if that’s the problem or if it’s just the keyword itself.

Yeah, I think it could be the landing page, given that they’re not sending them directly to a product page. But I also think that “play silks” might mean different things to different people. And this keyword is just not performing. It’s going to have to go.

At some point we’ll probably come back in and test run in that specifically to a product page and stuff like that. But for now, for pruning, we’re going to get rid of it because it costs a lot and it’s not working for them.

Where I am now is I’m in the keywords tab of this campaign. It’s showing me every keyword and every ad group in this campaign. I’m going to go through and pull out the ones that haven’t generated a conversion in this amount of time. A lot of them have generated clicks and no conversions, but it’s been a really long period of time. So if nobody has bought or there’s very few clicks in this period of time, then we don’t want to be running these keywords.

We got rid of all those keywords that were generating a bunch of clicks down here but no conversions. The reason I want to take you guys through this is I want to just give you the mindset of what you should be looking at, just kind of the checklist, the process so you can go through and you can say, “What are the different elements of my advertising campaign?” Well, there’s where I’m advertising, and what positions I’m advertising in, and what time of day I’m advertising, and what kind of ads I’m running, and how are my keywords performing; just going through the campaign from the top down and seeing what you can improve upon.

The other thing about keywords that’s interesting is it doesn’t really matter the cost per conversion on a keyword level. What matters is how much is that keyword worth to you? What is the ROI on a keyword level? That’s something to look at in analytics if you have that all set up, which you should if you went through the analytics module.

We can see if we go into this campaign. We’ll just do the same thing. We’ll look at all keywords in the campaign. So we’ll just click on Campaigns and we’ll go to the main one, and we’ll go ahead and we’ll look at all the keywords here.

We’ll go in and we’ll click on Keywords and we’ll list all the keywords down here. What we can see is that the ROI on this one, this is that one that we paused, is really poor: -76. Here is another one, really, really poor ROI generating a lot of clicks. I’ll go in and get rid of that one. I’ll just come in here and I’ll see which of these keywords is not performing and I’ll get rid of it.

That’s the basics of how I’d go through and optimize that campaign. We’ll come back and we’ll look at the results of just those little changes that I made.

So that was some basic campaign optimization from a live campaign that’s running right now, showing you stuff like geo-targeting, how to optimize on the campaign level, how to optimize in the ad group as far as what keywords to have in there, what ads to be running. Just some basic optimization stuff that you guys can take back and use on your campaigns.

The cool thing about an advertising campaign is, yes, you can spend your entire life in Google AdWords parsing all the data, running tests and all that stuff. But what I want to teach you guys is: What’s the most highly leveraged stuff? What can you go in there and do real quick to optimize your campaigns and not have it take up too much of your time and energy? Running an advertising campaign is actually not very difficult. It just takes a little bit of attention on the most important stuff. It’s the 80/20 rule all over again.

Let’s have a look at the results of all those changes we just made to that campaign two weeks ago. This is the two weeks following that date that I made the changes. We can see in this campaign that the visits are down; significantly the visits are down. And that’s because I paused all of those keywords that weren’t doing so well, that weren’t converting the way that we wanted.

The revenue is actually up, which is interesting; less visits, more revenue. Now, we do have more transactions, and that’s just because there’s been a little bit more volume to those keywords because of the increase in the time of year for this business at this point. But what’s interesting is the conversion rate has spiked to 3%. That also has to do a little bit with the seasonality, but it also has to do with the fact that we have relevant ads for every one of the keywords now because we went in and changed all of those ads. And we have no keywords that weren’t converting. So all the non-converting keywords are gone and the only traffic that is being run is to really high quality, high converting keywords. So our conversion rate is much higher because of that.

And it also has to do with the fact that we are not running in states that aren’t converting, and we’re not running at hours of the day that aren’t converting anymore. So we’ve made all these changes to increase our conversion rate on our ads and it’s been effective. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one.

05-01

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back with you for Module 5. This is where it gets fun. This is where you get to express yourself. This is where you get to do more than just list products for sale. We’re going to create content and we’re going to syndicate that content throughout your community. And this is going to be comprised of your viewpoints and thoughts on the conversations and topics that are relevant to your community. This is how you build a brand. This is how you stand out amongst all your competition, because what you are doing is more than just selling products. You are creating an experience for customers.

This is also how you get to have really big sales. And this is how you get to have people come back and shop with you again because you are engaging with them on a weekly basis.

So we’re going to create a video blog. We’re going to create content. We’re going to talk about how to do all that. It’s really, really easy. It’s not as hard as you think. You’ll see examples of me doing it live in my businesses. And I’m going to show you how to syndicate it, all for free and some paid elements if you want to boost it.

And then we’ll talk about how to take the feedback you get from your community, repurpose that, and create even more value. So it’s going to be a fun, fun module. You are going to get to do more than just list products. you are going to get to play around, have some fun, talk to people, and engage with your community. I think you are really, really going to like this module. I’ll see you in the trainings. Thank you.

05-02

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone. And welcome back to the branding and blogging module. This is a really, really big important part of your ecommerce business that a lot of ecommerce stores out there just ignore. So let’s jump right into it and talk about why it’s so important.

The first thing is branding. Why is branding important? Well, the faceless ecommerce store is dying. You can no longer just list products for sale. You need to build a brand around your products. You need to add some kind of value to the marketplace beyond just the products that you list on your store. This is the missing piece of the ecommerce puzzle that most people ignore.

Most business owners understand that they need to get traffic to their store; that they need to get that traffic to convert into buyers. So they need traffic and conversion. But then they stop there and they repeat the process and they go after more traffic and they skip this third piece to the puzzle which is called repeat business.

So if you can create a relationship with your customers and provide an experience for them that they enjoy, then they’ll come back and do business with you again in the future. it’s the biggest opportunity for growth for most ecommerce store owners and ecommerce businesses, is taking better care of the customers they currently have, staying more engaged with their community.

And the absolute best way of doing this is by creating a relationship with them through video, text, and audio content. So, creating content that’s relevant to the topics and conversations and lives of your community of customers. People prefer to purchase from companies that they know and trust.

And when you establish yourself as more than just another company peddling a product, you give consumers more reason to purchase from you rather than your faceless competitors. This is the basic principle behind ecommerce branding.

The question is: What is branding exactly? Is it a color scheme? Is it a logo? Is it a sound? Well, I think it’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s the feeling that customers get when they associate with your store. And that feeling is shaped by all the interactions they have with you in any facet of your business. So this module is going to teach you how to do that in an effective way.

First, though, let’s cover a few of the benefits of this blogging and branding strategy, because we’re doing a video blog. What this does is it fortifies you from channels so you don’t have to rely 100% on Google, or Facebook, or wherever for your traffic. I cannot tell you how many ecommerce stores that I know of out there that are big, big ecommerce stores that are relying on 70%, 80% of their traffic coming from Google organic. That’s a very precarious and risky place to be because Google does algorithm updates all the time. And you don’t want to have to rely on them 100%.

So if you build up a brand, and a community, and an email list of customers, you can drive your own sales.

Have a look at these stats over here on the right. You can see that 50% of the people coming to this store are return visitors. Those are people who typed in our brand name or our URL into the browser who had visited us sometime before. So we’ve done a great job of branding this company because we have a lot of type-in traffic or people typing in our brand, our URL and coming directly to our site.

So by creating a brand and becoming known for that and known for valuable content within a marketplace, you are able to establish your site in people’s minds. So instead of looking for specific products when they go shopping, they actually search specifically for your store.

Next is that you’ll get higher multiples when you sell your store. If you have an engaged community of people who relate with you on a weekly basis who comment your blog posts, who respond to your Facebook posts, and who, most importantly, take you up on the offers you make when you do sales…And this is just a little side note. We’ve been doing this for the past nine months now and we’re seeing 600%-1,000% increases in our sales promotions when we run them, and that’s because people are engaged with us. It’s because they are engaged with us on a weekly basis. We’re talking to them and we’re also soft selling. So we’re not trying to sell them products. we’re just providing valuable, relevant content each week, and every week they see us, they see our brand. And so when it comes time for us to run a sale, when it comes time for us to ask them to do business with us, they respond to it because we’ve been engaged with them over the week.

Back to the main point, you will get a bump in your sale price of your company because the buyer, the person who is buying your ecommerce store, is getting more of a secure bet. They are getting more of a secure deal. They are buying a company that’s not 100% reliant on search traffic. Your company has got 20%-50% of its traffic coming from direct or branded or your email list. That’s more of a guaranteed asset. So you’ll be able to command a higher multiple when you sell that store.

And lastly, like we just talked about, you’ll see that each week when you send a content piece you’ll end up actually making sales. You’ll be reminding people of your products and of your brand and they’ll come and buy from you.

You can see down here in the right-hand corner some stats from our weekly emails. That’s $1,500-$2,500 per week, $3,000 in some cases, just from the video blog. So you’re going to want to use the Google URL builder, and I’ll do a little tool on the Google URL builder. It’s really easy to use. But basically, what it does is it allows you to track sales back to a specific blog post.

Now we know that building a brand is super important. The question is: how do we do it and what are the strategies that we are using to engage the community and spread our brand across that market?

We’re using a video blog. And here’s some of the benefits to video blogging. You get more face time with your community. The goal is to create a relationship with your customers and become more to them than just a store where they go to buy products, to become their friends. That’s what this whole thing is all about. That’s what this whole “businesses going social: You hear that businesses are supposed to be social. We’re no longer just companies. With these new communication mediums—the internet, social media—companies now have the opportunities to be more than just a destination for shopping; to be part of someone’s life and world; something that they talk to their friends about. They talk about this kind of stuff and they share videos and experiences.

Rock climbers, for example, would share an education video with their friends that showed how rock climbing equipment worked. They’d also share videos on things like the 10 best climbing destinations in the country or a podcast interview with Alex Honnold, who is an amazing rock climber guy, by the way. If you’ve never heard of that guy you should Google him right now because he’ll blow your mind.

Anyways, so we’ll get into what kind of content to create in a little bit here. But the point is that you have an opportunity to connect with people. And if you want to build an asset and make an impact on people’s lives in the world, then blogging for your store is the way to do it.

And one last note is that relationships are built by consistent relating. So you become friends with people who you consistently see and consistently relate with in your life—the people you see at the gym, the people you see at yoga class every week. So consistency is key for blogs. Consistency is key for relationship building with your community.

Now, another reason why blogging is so good for your store is that it helps you with your SEO. We’ve talked all about channels. Each video blog posts gives you at least four different URL’s and four new channels to rank for your store. And Google pays attention to freshness. They give priority to sites that are new and relevant and staying up-to-date on what’s going on. Sites that haven’t been updated in four years are getting penalized. So Google is all about providing the best possible value to their users. And so, the sites that they want to display in their search results are sites that are up-to-date and have relevant products for that community. So doing a weekly video blog helps a lot with your overall website SEO because it brings freshness to your site, which is a factor in ranking.

We talked about SEO and some of the different things you need to do to rank, like title tags, and unique content on your site, and diverse links, and relevant links pointing to your site that are from websites that are relevant to your community. Another factor in the algorithm is freshness. And this blog will take care of the freshness factor for your store.

Another thing is that you’ll get social signals. Social signals are another ranking factor. They are something that boost you higher in the search engines; that when Google is going through and trying to decide which pages are the most relevant for which queries, it looks at all these things—onsite, offsite, freshness, social signals. And you get those from blogging.

So when you share your content out on the social networks, people re-share it. they like it. they tweet it. they +1 it. And so, social is a part of the ranking algorithm as well. So this blog helps your entire site with SEO because it gives you freshness. It gives you more URLs to rank. It gives you social signals and a whole bunch more. And it builds your website into an SEO machine.

The other thing is that this medium, video, can be easily transformed into every other medium. It can be transcribed and posted to your blog. The audio can be pulled out and uploaded to iTunes. And we’ll get to syndication in a second. But the thing to know is that different groups of people prefer to consume media in different formats. Some people like to read. Some people like to watch. This one video gives you every medium for content consumption so you can cater to the preference of every one of your customers.

And the last thing is that it makes sales. There is no easier way to sell your products. blogs are still considered content. People don’t feel like they are being sold to when they are consuming information on a blog. So it just kinda gives you an opportunity to put your products out in front of people on a weekly basis without sending sales emails. So you can have people really happy and thankful for your providing them good content, and you are also being able to sell them. You are being able to sell your products and promote your products through this blog.

Your blog should end up being the #3 driver of sales behind search engine traffic and channel traffic. And we’ll talk about how to soft sell and actually make that work. That will do it for the first part of blogging. Please join me in the next video where we talk about content creation.

05-03

Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome back. Let’s talk about how you actually create this content for your blog and some of the best practices for the type of content that you should create. Let’s get started.

Let’s talk about content creation. The next step when it comes to blogging after you understand it all is to actually create your content. What are you going to talk about? What kind of content should you create? A lot of people really struggle with this one, but it’s actually not that difficult. Here are some of the best kinds of content for you to create.

The first one is content with your opinion; your viewpoint on the topics and conversations of that community. People want to know you. They want to get to know what you think and why. These are the absolute best videos in terms of relationship building.

And it could be anything that relates to that group of people. For example, in my cosmetics company Boom, we talk about things like aging, and menopause, and topics that are relevant to our customers’ lives. Many of these topics have nothing to do with cosmetics. But they are relevant to that particular customer because we know our demographics.

If you sell baby clothes, you’ve got the whole topic of parenting. And another good set of topics for these types of videos are community specific topics. So if there is something going on in that community, you talk about it.

All the cycling ecommerce stores we’re doing blog posts with their viewpoints on Lance Armstrong and his doping scandal because it was interesting and relevant to their customers.

So videos where you talk about what you think and your opinions on the community are absolutely fantastic and people love them.

Next we have educational videos. These are some of the best for selling. These are the soft sell videos, because basically you are creating a video showing how to use some of your products or a range of your products and you are educating people on the specific benefits and features of your products. And these also have the benefit in that you can use them on your product page. So this is how you continue creation of product videos for you store.

After the conversions module in this course, you will likely do a really big push and create a bunch of videos for your products because they sell so well. But after that you can leverage your weekly video blog as a platform to create even more featured videos for your products and put those on the product page as well as your blog posts. So, education videos will often be your second most popular style next to those content videos that we talked about just before.

Next we have behind the scenes. People love anything behind the scenes. These videos work extremely, extremely well. So, for Boom we take people behind the scenes and we show them how the product is made. For Bella Luna we take them behind the scenes to a toy fair in Germany and we talk about where the toys come from. So anything behind the scenes works really, really well.

Now, another really great type of video comes from listener feedback. At the end of each video you ask people to comment and ask questions and give you their viewpoints. And you send out emails asking people what they want you to cover on the blog. So you find out directly from your customers and from your community what you should be creating content on. So, Q&A videos have really, really high engagement rates.

Now, a few more types of content: podcasts. These are basically a fancy way of saying audio interviews. That’s what a podcast is. It’s basically just an audio of some kind. And we’ll cover that in the syndication portion of this module when we talk about how to upload to iTunes and all that kind of stuff. And it’s all done through a plug-in, so it’s really, really easy. But basically, you’d find influential people in your community and interview them over the phone or over Skype about some topic that relates to the product line or the group of people. And you take that audio and you post it to your blog.

There’s something cool about having a podcast. They still have this prestigious air to them. basically, people don’t really understand podcasts and the podcasting medium, so you sound really fancy when you say, “Can I interview you for my podcast?” You’ll get a lot more people saying yes than you think. People like to be considered experts and asked their opinions on stuff, and so you can leverage that. and podcasts are a really good way to create content for your community and add some value. And it’s not much work for you. All you have to do is ask some questions.

When we look at the WordPress widgets in this module, I’ll show you Blueberry and how it works; really simple, really easy to do, just creating audio of some kind. We like to do interview style because it makes it easier.

Next we have articles. Good old-fashioned blog posts are not out the door. People still love them. every now and again you should write an article or a blog post about your products. you know, the top 10 uses for X; the 7 reasons why this brand is better than this brand, or whatever you want to do. People like reading articles and it’s good to include those as well just for diversity.

Let’s also not forget that the blog is where you feature your sales. You should be running some kind of sale or offer for your store at least once a month. Make sure to watch the email marketing with Eric Shannon video for more email marketing ecommerce best practices because it will teach you all about that stuff. But the blog should absolutely be used to feature your sales, so you have banners on the side that talk about what’s going on in the store. So as people are reading your blog posts, they are also seeing this imagery of the sales that you have going on.

And another last thing about content creation is don’t worry if you don’t have professional video equipment. If you have an iPad, or a MacBook, or a computer with a camera and a mic, you can record. Sometimes the realness factor or those lower quality video productions actually works in your favor.

Like the case of Boom, Cindy records all of our weekly blog videos right on her Mac in the Photo Booth application because we want to show that she’s real; she’s just like any other women. And our community responds to it. they love it. They comment about how real and intimate the videos feel. So don’t worry if you don’t have fancy equipment. You don’t need it. You just need some kind of thing to shoot video and a microphone—iPad, MacBook, whatever it happens to be. iPhone works fine. So get started with your content creation.

Next we have syndication. So we’ve created the content. Now we’ve got to syndicate it out so that everyone see it, so it gets out there in Google, it gets ranked, it gets consumed by our customers.

The first thing that you do with it is you post it to your blog. You actually post the video to your blog with some kind of title. Then you transcribe that video. We use a service called Speechpad.com. And you upload that transcription to the blog post so they have the option of either reading it or watching it.

Next what we do is we pin the page over to Pinterest. It’s best to have a custom image created for your blog post, but no worries if not. You can just use the video thumbnails. So go ahead and create a board on Pinterest and pin your blog posts over there.

You want to upload the video to Facebook like you see in the right-hand corner here. Don’t post a link to the blog post on Facebook, but actually upload the video file itself on your Facebook fan page. We’ll cover why specifically we do this here in a second. But it’s important for Facebook advertising, which we do.

You want to upload that video to YouTube and title it with a keyword and maybe also do some link building straight to those YouTube pages because they rank really, really well. And we talked about this in the traffic module, but YouTube videos are a really good option. Not only do they help with conversion, but they also rank really well and drive more traffic to your store.

Strip out the audio from your video and upload it to iTunes. This is done through a WordPress plug-in called Blueberry. Really, really easy to upload that to iTunes and have an audio bar right on your page so that it’s easy for people if they just want to listen.

And then you share it on Twitter, you share it on Google+.

So this is getting your content out in front of everyone in your community no matter what channel they are hanging out on. If they are Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, you are getting your content out in front of them. And it also creates multiple URLs for you that give you even more opportunities to rank for your keywords.

So you’ve syndicated your content. It’s been created. It’s been syndicated. Now you’ve got to give it a boost and get it out there. If you build it, in this case they will come to a certain degree. Just creating high quality, relevant content will get you a certain amount of action and activity, but you can also supercharge it.

The first way to do that is to email your customers about it. Send them an email letting them know that you have a new post for them and that you want to engage with them, that you want to talk to them.

And one key thing that you’ll notice here on your video blogs is that the same day each week will help you get more traction. We have Saturday with Cindy, Sunday with Sarah, etc. because consistency is key. People start to expect it. They start to know when it’s coming and make time for it. You want to program them that X day at X time is when they see you. People like schedules. They know that they go to the movies every Friday at 8:00. They know they eat dinner every day at 7:00. And every Wednesday at 7 AM before work they watch your video.

The next thing we want to do is set up Facebook Ads to promote our video. This is why we upload the video straight to Facebook. Rather than posting a link to our blog on Facebook, we upload the video there because it’s much, much cheaper to run Facebook ads to a video inside of Facebook on the fan page rather than running them to a landing page outside of Facebook. Facebook is a club. They want to keep people inside of it. And they give you a discount on your advertising when you do this.

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg here. Even $3 a day or under $90 a month is more than enough to get started. You can get plenty of visibility and traction with that budget on Facebook, especially in some of these smaller niche markets. We’re seeing 6% and 7% clicks on our Facebook ads. So it’s not uncommon to get 1,000 video views for $100. Over the course of the month, if you spend $100, 1,000 people will watch your video.

So this is how you start to build up a brand within that community and get out in front of people who’ve never bought from you. Let’s hop over to Facebook and see how easy these ads are to create.

05-04

Ezra: OK. So we’re over here on Facebook. I went to Facebook.com/ads/create. Basically, what this does it allows you to create a Facebook advertising account for your business, which you should absolutely do. It’s really easy to do. Facebook makes it easy to sign up. I’ll just show you what it looks like when you are actually creating an ad.

The first thing that you do is you select what you want to advertise for. So you choose a destination and it’s going to give you a list. You can put in an external URL or you can select your Facebook fan page. It’s going to say, “What would you like to do? Get more page likes, promote page posts, or see advanced options?” I’m going to tell you to click the “See Advanced Options” button because it gives you more freedom with how you bid for your ads down below.

You are going to click this little link that says “Choose an existing page post”. And you get to select the video that you uploaded, because you uploaded a video to your Facebook fan page. You created a Facebook post. And now you can select that post from your dropdown menu and set up an ad for it.

So you select the post that you want to promote. One thing about these posts, you want to have under 90 characters all together with your link. So if you are going to put a link to maybe the products that you are talking about in the video, which is a good idea, you want a title and a link that’s got to be under 90 characters, and that way you get both the title and the link in the ad. Otherwise, the link doesn’t show up in the actual ad and it’s harder to get people to click through if that’s what your goal is.

But remember, the goal here is community engagement. We’re not really trying to sell anything. We’re just trying to build our brand. This money that we’re spending is on creating customers, creating fans for our Facebook page. It ends up paying you back because when you run sales they respond to it and they buy. And some people buy straight from the videos, like you’ve seen from our emails.

You can leave these things created here, but basically, what this will do is it will create a second ad for you. So it will create one ad and then it will create a second one which is a sponsored post ad, a sponsored stories ad, basically, where it will show people…Like, if someone’s friend likes it, it will show that their friend likes it. So it’s just a good secondary ad. They won’t get near as many clicks, but the ones they do will be really targeted.

Next you set your audience. So you want to choose United States if that’s where you are trying to build your customer base and your demographic, or whatever country you are in. select your age range, whatever the age range for your store happens to be. And whatever gender, like in this store we’re actually focused more on women. Generally, you’ll have a store that’s geared towards one gender. And then you select your precise interest.

Your precise interests are kind of your keywords. You are going to know five or 10 of them. The way that you find more is you come over to this service called OptimalSocial.com. You sign up for an account at Optimal Social. You click on their keyword expander tool, put in your keywords that you know that are relevant. Like, for us, Waldorf Education and maybe homeschooling. And then you just click Submit, and what it’s going to do is it’s going to pull up a list of relevant keywords that people who like homeschooling also like Karen Kingsbury. It will just give you a list of relevant other keyword to choose.

And also, when you are choosing your interests down here, you see Facebook will also give you ideas that you can check off. So you create your audience. I don’t use any of these broad categories. I recommend that you don’t either.

You can see here this is six million. I wouldn’t actually create an audience that big. You want to shoot for 50,000-100,000 or 50,000-500,000 is a pretty good market size. You don’t want to be under 50,000 because you’ll find that you won’t get very many clicks.

Now, Connections. This is where if you have a ton of fans, if you have a lot of fans on your fan page, then what you can do is click this button and say you want to target friends of people that are connected to your fan page. What that will do is it will narrow this down. See, it narrowed it down to 349,000, which is a nice chunk. But it only works that way because we have a lot of fans. Basically, what this is saying is that it’s going to target women who are in the United States who are 26 and over who are interested in all these things, whose friends, if we come down here, like Bella Luna toys. Basically, it’s friends of friends. So it’s a good way to do it if you have a lot of fans. If not, leave it at “anyone”.

Now you come down here and you basically get to decide how you want to bid. Now, you are not tracking conversions because you don’t have conversions…Conversions is basically like if you were sending someone off of Facebook to an opt-in page and you wanted to track how many people opted in. You are just trying to get people to watch your video and comment on it, so there’s no conversions to track here.

I like to optimize for clicks and manually bid for clicks. Facebook gives you an example of what you should bid. I always double that. so I’d put like $1.55. what will happen is these video ads get really, really high click-through rates. So you never end up paying anywhere near this amount. You end up paying like 10-cents, 15-cents a click. Then you can set your budget. You only want to spend $3 a day? You set that budget at $3 a day, click Place Order, and you are going to have an ad ready to go and up for your business.

And then every week when you have a new ad, you just come in and you make a new ad. You pause the old one and you rerun it. That is it. It’s as simple as that. it’s a really, really simple to run Facebook ads. People get freaked out by it, but it’s not hard to do. That’s how you can set up Facebook ads to promote your weekly videos and build some community and build some engagement for your brand online.

The cool thing is that every community is on Facebook. There is no community out there that doesn’t have a group of contingency on Facebook. So you can get in front of those people and they are the connectors. They are the ones who are going to share your stuff and tell their friends about it and help you grow your brand. So get out there and create some Facebook ads.

Lastly with blogging, we also need to talk quickly about Google Authorship. So this is Google’s solution for duplicate content. Basically, they had the problem of people republishing other people’s content and not knowing which one was the original and which one to rank first. So, someone creates a piece of content and 15 people copy it and post it to their website. Google is not sure which one was the original, which one they should rank.

So they came up with Authorship, which basically allows you to claim your content as your own. So even if you post your article and it gets republished all over the place, which it will, or your post your video and it gets republished all over the place, you are still credited with it. So it’s really easy to add to your site. There’s a plugin called Yost SEO that we cover in the essential WordPress plugins module of this course that shows you how to do it. I just want to mention it because it’s important to get authorship of your content.

That wraps up the blogging module. The goal here is to create content that you think that your community will enjoy that will help them, and then put it out there and syndicate it, and then get feedback on it and start the cycle all over again. So add value to your marketplace beyond your products. Your blog is where you do that. you will be rewarded both emotionally and monetarily for doing it.

We get emails all the time with people telling us that our video blogs have changed their lives or changed the way that they do something or inspired them to be a better person or take some kind of action in their life. So this truly is where you serve the world, you spread your information, information that helps people, and you make sales and it’s good for your business. So it has a positive impact on people’s lives and also supports you in your business, which is really what it’s all about—serving the world unselfishly and profiting.

So this wraps up blogging for ecommerce. I hope you’ve enjoyed this module and I’ll see you in the next one.

05-05

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back here with you. We’re talking about some of the essential plugins you are going to want to have on your WordPress blog. The first one is called Yoast SEO. It’s a free plugin. Basically, it allows you to better SEO your blog posts. You basically install it and you get these settings right here. We’ll go through a few of them in a second. But on a blog post, when you are going to add a new post to your blog, you enter the title of the post. You enter the content, your video, whatever. And then down here you get to put the actual page title. You get to set a custom page title and a custom meta description. So if you want to include a keyword in there, you can include a keyword in there. So that’s what does. It allows you to set page titles on a per post basis.

And then this thing down here is the Blueberry where you would upload your audio file. You’d upload your podcast, which would give you a little audio player that looks like this one right here. They are asking you to put in a media URL. Basically, you record your audio. So you have an MP3 of your audio. And you take that and you upload that to AmazonEZS3. You can just go to EZS3.com and create an account. Or you can use any other audio hosting service. I just like to use Amazon. And you would basically just take the URL of the audio file and put it right in there. I’ll show you an example of what that looks like.

This is what EZS3 looks like in the backend after you upload files. There’s a little button you can click to upload your file. And basically, you’d be able to drag and drop your file into Amazon EZS3. Then you would just go to Browse Files, click into your folder, and you probably will have a subfolder like we have here, or you’ll just have the file sitting there. And you’ll be able to see your MP3 file. You click on the actual specific file, and then this little link here that says “Download File”, so this is where the file lives in Amazon EZS3. You just go ahead and right click it and click “Copy Link”, or you can just click on it and it’s going to take you to the file, and you can copy that link. You would then take that link and you’d paste it right back here into the media URL, click Verify, and now you’ve got an audio bar on that blog post.

We’ll look into Power Post. We’ll look into a few of the settings there. The first thing that we’ll take a look at is the audio player. You’ll be able to see that for our audio player we’ve chosen this big pink one that fits our brand. You can kind of customize the audio player there.

Now, if you don’t want to upload your podcast to iTunes, like if you don’t want to connect your audios up to iTunes and be a part of iTunes, that’s totally fine. You can still use this plugin just to have a player on your website, just to have an audio player that goes above your video that has just the sound from the video, because some people like to listen. They like to download the audio, etc. if you want to upload your podcast to iTunes, I will show you a video after this that explains how to user Blueberry Power Press and how to upload it to iTunes. It’s a onetime thing. You only ever have to do it one time. You have to submit your podcast to ITunes with an image, and then the rest of the time all you do is, for each post, you just go ahead and paste in the URL where the MP3 is and Blueberry automatically uploads it to iTunes for you.

Let’s take a look at Yost SEO. Here’s one of the most important things about. On the Title and Meta settings, you don’t have to worry about any of these settings. The only thing that you have to do is click “Author Highlighting” and you can select the author. What that’ll do is it will do a rel=author tag, and then you put your Google+ link right here, so your Google+ page. And then from your Google+ page you link back to the homepage of your site saying that you are a contributor, and now you will have authorship like we talked about beforehand—rich markups, rich snippets on your blog post that show that you author the blog post.

The way that you can test that is by going to the Rich Snippet tool. So you just go to “Rich Snippets Tool” into Google and it’s going to bring you into their Rich Snippets Tool. So you would paste in a URL of your blog post, and there you see it. it shows the rich snippets. It shows that it’s authored by Cindy Joseph. You click on that and it’s going to go back to the Google+ profile for Boom. That is why you need rich snippets and Yost SEO will allow you to do that.

Moving on. The other settings we have, you’ll notice we’ve got Lead Player here. What Lead Player will do is it will allow you to pop up an email opt-in after your video is done playing, like you see here on my blog, which basically allows you to capture leads from people who are visiting your blog from Facebook and from people who are finding it in the search engines and people whose friends are sharing it with them. So you want to have Lead Player on there so you can capture email addresses.

Now, the next one we’ve got is Share Bar. If you look in Settings you can see this plugin is called Share Bar. You can come in here and manipulate it and set it and play with it. what that does is it gives you this nice little bar over here on the left with all your social buttons. You can choose what social buttons you want to have in there. So, Share Bar is a good one. It’s the social plugin that I use for my blogs. You definitely want to have a social plugin.

Now, one thing on Lead Player, this is a software created by our buddy Clay Collins. If you have any questions about how this thing works or you want to learn more about it, you can just go to LeadPages.net or just Google “Clay Collins Lead Player”. There’s a ton of information out there on Lead Player and on how to use it.

Let’s point out another element of the blog. We’ve got an email opt-in over here on the right. We’ve got our Facebook embed code. This is really easy to get, the Facebook embed code. All you do is you go to Facebook Like Box; you just Google that. it’s going to bring you into Facebook Developers. You just click on it. Come in here and put in the name of your fan page, whatever it is, whatever your fan page is called in the URL field. You can customize it. and then bang, you just click “Get the code” and now you have that code that you can put in a widget in your sidebar and have the Facebook like box on your blog.

Here we are back in the backend of WordPress. Now we’re looking at Google Analytics for WordPress. Really simple plugin. It basically allows you to connect your Google Analytics profile with your blog and better track exactly what’s going on, on your blog. You just enter your Google Analytics UA code right in there, which is easy to get. And you need to get it to set up analytics on your website anyways. So you just install that, come in here, and just edit that in, throw that in there and you are good to go.

Next we have Speak Pipe. Speak Pipe is an amazing, amazing piece of software. Basically, what it does is it allows people to click this little button right here on your blog and leave you a voice comment. So, in your blog posts, in your podcasts, you can say, “Hey, please leave us a voice comment.” And then people can click and call in, and you can then actually play that message, play that audio, back to people on a future episode and answer it. So you are basically having interactive Q&A with your customers. We use Speak Pipe to do that.

The next thing that we have here is Facebook Open Graph. Basically, what this does is it makes it so that when your website is posted to Facebook, you get to choose what gets said. You get to set the images that get displayed when someone posts a link to your website on Facebook. And it allows you to set what shows up when someone puts a link to your blog. So you can set a custom link here. You can look where we set this custom image and we set this custom text where it says here, “It’s about women. It’s about beauty. It’s about time.” And it has this image. If you look back in here in the settings that we were just looking at, you can see that we put that description right there so it would pull that, and we uploaded an image that we wanted it to show when our blog posts are posted.

So those are just some basic plugins you are going to want to use on your blog that will make it easy for you to manage and give you some cool effects that you may not have had on your blog otherwise.

Now, the other thing I want to mention is this little guy right here where it pops up. It’s the Facebook “you might also like”. Basically, it will just grab some of your other blog posts and ask people if they want to engage with those.

The way that you find that is, again, right through Facebook Social Plugins. They have all these plugins right here for you to use. So you can play around with any of Facebook Social Plugins.

So get in there and add some cool plugins to your blog and I’ll see you in the next video.

05-06

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back with you for a quick tutorial on how you can get the most out of your ecommerce store’s Facebook page. So, what can you do to really engage people and get the most out of your page?

Well, the first thing you want to do is participate in memes; so, these quotes and pictures with words on them. That’s a meme that’s going around right now that everyone is participating in and that people love. So you can find pictures with words on them that are related to your market, or you can create quotes that have your brand, and your image, and your URL on them so that when they get shared, you are getting exposure as they get shared.

One thing with Facebook is you want to post often. You want to post often and you want to post multiple formats of media. So, videos, text posts like you see over to the right, podcasts, images—all kinds of different media so that you are hitting every person, because some people engage with your videos, some people engage with your text posts, some people will engage with your podcasts and images. It just depends, so you want to make sure that you are posting often, at least once a week, hopefully three or four times a week. And if you can get up to it, a post once a day really is best.

Let’s move on. You want to have custom apps. If you look in the top right-hand corner, you can see how we have these apps laid out. The first thing you’ll notice is in the description we have a link to our website. That’s key. A lot of people will click that link and go straight from your Facebook timeline over to your website and start shopping.

We have a fan reviews plugin. There’s a few different plugins that allow customers to leave reviews right on Facebook. It’s just another place that you can accept reviews. So when someone is scrolling around on your Facebook page and like, “Oh yeah, I want to leave a review for that person or for that company,” this gives them another place to do it. And you can follow up with them in their follow-up sequences. And if you don’t ask them to leave a review right on the product page, you can ask them to leave a review right here on Facebook.

We also have Speak Pipe voicemail. So we talked about Speak Pipe in the blogging module. But this allows people to leave a voice comment or a voicemail with you straight through Facebook, which is kinda cool. And we use the YouTube plugin. So one of our custom tabs is our YouTube page. It’s just the YouTube custom app that you can search for in the Facebook App Store.

The point is that you want to make use of the real estate at the top of your Facebook page because people are going to be visiting it when you are running these Facebook ads to promote your video blog. So make sure that you are making offers up there, you’ve got links to your website, and you’ve got apps and custom tabs that are driving people to your sales or whatever you have going on.

And lastly, run contests and raffles. This is a really good way to engage your audience. There’s a piece of software out there called Rafflecopter. It’s a hosted solution; really, really easy to make contests and raffles. So, RaffleCoptor.com will integrate Facebook contests and a Facebook raffle right into your fan page for you without much trouble on your part.

So just a quick video showing a few different things you can do to engage your community on your Facebook page. Thanks for watching and I’ll catch you in the next one.

05-07

Ezra: Let’s look at how this podcast thing works, how you set up a podcast for iTunes. Let’s roll with it. We’re going to go back into the backend of Wordpress and I’ll show you the plugin and how it all works and how I have it all structured.

The plugin is called Blueberry Power Press. You can see it here. You just go over to Blueberry.com and you’ll have to download the free plugin. And if you want to get the statistics, your podcast statistics, in the backend of your blog, you’ll just need to sign up with them. It’s super easy.

Next thing you do is you come over to Power Press, click on Settings. I’ll show you the settings that I use for this. On the Welcome I just leave everything as it is. Under Basic Settings, these are basically what shows up in the backend of your post, and I’ll show you an example. I’m not sure what comes natural or what comes when you install it. But I select these three here. Basically, these are what’s in the podcast entry box when you are entering your podcasts. And then these are the iTunes fields, so I do the keywords and the summary. I don’t actually use the subtitle. And I leave all the rest of this stuff unchecked. I’ll show you what that looks like in a second in the backend of ITunes.

Services and Stats; you just click that if you want to display the Blueberry stats, which shows you how many podcast downloads you have. And you have to configure Blueberry stats by signing up for Blueberry on their website.

Let’s keep going. This basically enables the links. So if you come to my site you can see a podcast episode. We’ll just click on this. It enables these things right here: Play in a new window and download. So you just leave that as it is.

I like to set my podcast to display above the page content, above everything. You can also have it displayed below. But if you look over here you can see it displays right above, and that’s how I like to have it set.

Then here is the media player. These are basically just customization links; how to customize the way it looks.

Now, your feeds. When you install Blueberry…By the way, leave it on “enhance all feeds”. When you install Blueberry, it’s going to create a special feed just like this, a podcast feed. So it will be right there. It will already be created for you when you install it.

Then for images, you need a podcast image. The RSS image needs to be 300x300. You can see here I’ve got my podcast image. I’ll bust that open. The main podcast image needs to be 1400x1400, and then you need a 300x300. You just upload those. The 300x300 goes into this RSS thing here. Over here you just kinda fill out your information, copyright, whatever.

And then in iTunes, this is your iTunes subscription URL which you will get after you validate your feed, which we’ll talk about in just a second. And then here you can put your subtitle and your summary for your thing and your keywords. And here’s where you select your iTunes category. So I do Business Marketing Management. And then here’s where you do your main podcast image, the big one. Put in your talent name and your email.

So that’s all your settings. Now, what happens is you can’t validate your feed until you upload a piece of media to a post. So if you go to your posts, what will happen, we’ll go ahead and click on this post right here. You can see down here at the bottom I’ve got this thing that says “Podcast Episode”. I’ll just click on “modify existing episode”.

Basically, what you do is you put in your iTunes keyword, you put in your iTunes subtitle, you put in the summary, which, for me, I just use the video, basically, table of contents that I create. And then in the media URL, this is where you have to have an EZS3 account, and you have to upload your audio to EZS3, and then you put your EZS3 thing in here, and then you click Verify. And what that will do is, basically, Blueberry will verify that this media exists.

Now, once you have at least one episode uploaded in here, what you can do is you can come then…So you’ve got a podcast episode uploaded. It’s part of your broadcast. This is a podcast episode. This is the MP3 for it. You’ve put in your keywords, all that stuff. You verified it.

Now, under Power Press, if you go back to Settings and you go back to Feeds and you click Validate, what that’s going to do is it’s going to launch iTunes. Actually, it’s going to validate that this feed exists, and it says, “Yes, this feed is good.”

So now, if you come over to ITunes, what you are going to do, it says, “Click the following link to publish the podcast on iTunes.” So you just click that. That’s going to launch iTunes. And it’s going to bring up a little screen and it’s going to ask you to paste in your podcast feed URL.

Now if we go back to the blog, we can see that the podcast feed URL is right here under feeds, the one that was created for you which you’ve already validated. You just grab it, copy it, and you just paste it right into here. You click Continue.

Now, what ITunes is going to do, it’s going to ask you for your password and it’s going to say, “Hey, this is all the information you’ve given us. This is the artwork. This is the name. this is your summary. Do you want to submit this podcast to iTunes?” Then all you have to do is submit that podcast to iTunes, which I have not done yet because I’m building up a bank of episodes before I submit to iTunes. But basically, that’s all you have to do and now you have a podcast on iTunes. And each time you publish a new episode, you basically just edit the audio, slap on your intro and your outro from whatever the recording is and however you recorded it, upload it to Amazon S3, and upload it to your blog and you are good to go. And you never have to submit to iTunes again. You only have to do that part once. So that is how you submit a podcast. Let me know if you have any questions.

06-01

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone here. Welcome to Module 6. Module 6 is where we’re going to talk about how to get more from your store. No matter what stage you are at, there is more you can be doing. There is more you can be getting. There are more sales you can be making from your store if you put these elements in place.

We’re going to talk about site wide elements across your physical products store—things that you can do to increase people. Because the thing about a physical products store is you’ve got one goal, and that is to get people from your section page where they are looking at your products to the product page where they are actually viewing a specific product, into your shopping cart where they’ve decided to take action and purchase a product from you, all the way through to your sales funnel.

So we’re going to talk about site-wide conversion elements—what you can do across your site that’s going to increase the flow of people through your site. Homepage conversion elements, section page, product page, more information page. Most people won’t talk about these “more information” pages—contact us, about us, privacy policy, shipping information. Those are some of the most important pages on your store because people are looking for that information. They want to know what your return policy is. They want to know how to contact you. They want to know why they should buy from you over your competitors. So we’re going to talk about some really cool things we can do on those pages to have the people that look at them trust us a little bit more.

And we’re going to talk about your pay-per-click landing pages and your checkout and shopping experience. That is probably the most important part of your store, is once people get to your checkout, the cart abandonment rate, meaning the amount of people who leave the shopping cart after they add something to it in ecommerce in physical products is 85%. So I’m going to show you a few strategies that will cut your cart abandonment rate in half.

If you are into testing or if you just want to add some of these elements to your store, then hop into this module. Learn all about ecommerce conversion and how to get more from the store that you already have.

06-02

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone here for the conversion boosters module. We’ve got a lot to cover. A bunch of videos in this module; a lot of really, really cool stuff. This is the fun part. This is where we get into how to get more from your store. Let’s cover some of the site wide conversion boosters and then we’ll move into more specific parts of the ecommerce store.

One thing to know is that all of this stuff compounds. It’s not uncommon to make all of these changes and additions to your store and see your conversion rate double or triple. If you bought my website template, then you have most of this stuff built in to your store template already. And if not, or if you are on another platform other than Big Commerce, you are just using a regular template, don’t worry, because this stuff can be added one by one. It can be added to any platform. So just do as much of this as you can and fit the rest in when you have time. Let’s get started.

The first thing to know with ecommerce conversion is that it’s all about goal flow. That’s what we need to be thinking about as we are doing our conversion rate optimization. Our goal is to get people to move through the system.

This image on the left is from a store that has really, really good goal flow stats. We have 25% of the people that are hitting the product page are clicking the “add to cart” button. That’s a really solid “add to cart” ratio. So 43,916 hit the product page, and 12,000 made it through to the shopping cart. That’s 25%. And then, 7,000 of those made it down to the checkout. So that’s 50% of people are making it from the shopping cart page to the checkout page. And then 79% of those people are finishing a sale.

If you look at just the shopping cart to sale ratio, we’ve got 12,000 who hit the shopping cart and 5,800 or just about 50% who are completing the actual sale. So it’s a really good cart to sale ratio.

The image on the right is more from one of your standard stores. This is post-testing, but it doesn’t have quite as good stats as this other store over here on the left. We’ve got about a 37% cart to sale ratio. And it was down at 25% before we began testing.

The reason I’m showing you this flow is because I want you to understand that the whole goal with ecommerce is to move people throughout the store, get them to go from your homepage to your section page. And once they are on your section page looking at a category on your store, we want to get them from that category to a specific product.

Once they get to that product page, we want to make sure that they click that “add to cart” button and get into your checkout experience. And then, once they start your checkout experience we don’t want them to stop.

This is just another way of looking at that same data in Google Analytics. This is a goal flow instead of a funnel visualization. The way that you get here in Analytics is you go Content, Conversions, Goals, and Funnel Visualization. We’re looking at the traffic type here. That’s kind of an interesting statistic. We can see organic search and referral traffic, and we can see the different forms of traffic that are leading into our goal flow.

And then here’s another one where we can actually see the medium. This is the medium where you can see…It’s a very similar report. But the point is that it’s important to track your goals so you can see these reports. And we set all that up in Analytics. So go ahead and follow through that and set up goals for your store. It’s not super difficult to set up goals in Google Analytics.

But this allows you to have insight into what’s going on in the flow of your store and to make changes and then monitor those changes. It’s all about goal flow. I just wanted to drill that in. let’s move into some of the things that are going to help people getting through your store and people buying and converting.

The first thing to know is that search is your best friend. Look at the headers for all of these stores. We’ve got Amazon, Zappos, Ebay, Sears. These are all top 10 ecommerce retailers. These are in the top 10 of highest grossing stores online. What do they have in common? They all have really big, prominent search boxes right in the header.

I’ll give you a list at the end of this conversion module of the top 100 highest grossing ecommerce stores so that you can have a look at those and follow along with what they’re doing. Those people, they are doing hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars a year, a lot more in some cases. And those guys are doing really, really significant split testing. So it’s always a really good idea to pay attention to what they are doing.

If you go through all of these, you’ll notice that they all have these really big search boxes at the top of their store. The reason they do that is because people who search buy. It goes back to the old Robert Cialdini Commitment and Consistency principle: If you get someone to take an action on your store and actively look for something, they are much more likely to buy something from you.

I first noticed this by accident. I was looking through the site search tracking in the Google Analytics for one of my stores and I saw that 2% of people were searching the store. And I went in and I looked at revenue, and I noticed that 10% of my stores revenue was coming from those 2% of people. That’s a significant portion of revenue to be coming from such a small segment of users.

At that time, the search box for that store was in the left navigation; it was at the top of the left navigation. I decided to see if moving it up to the header would increase the amount of searches and, subsequently, the amount of buyers. Let’s have a look at what happened.

As you can see, the visits on this website in this top image here jumped to just over 5%. So when I moved that search bar up to a real prominent position, 5% of people were now using the search bar. But the crazy part is if you look at the image below, 30% of this store’s revenue is now coming from that 5% of users. So it just jumped significantly. And some of these other stores where I’ve made this change haven’t had that big…it’s not 30%. It’s 15%, or 20%, or 25%. But you absolutely need to make this modification to your template and put that search bar big and prominent right in the header and surround it with a little gray box or something to make some people really see it. We’re seeing some stores getting as high as 10%-15% of their visitors to search and up to 40% of their revenue coming from that one segment. So it’s really, really huge.

And there are some other benefits to getting people to search your store. If you are tracking site search, which is really easy to do; it’s something you should do. It’s beneficial. It’s a part of Google Analytics; you can see over here in the Events. It’s something that they let you track quite easily. So here are some of the benefits that come from that.

It alerts you to a couple things. The first one is it alerts you to what’s hard to find on your site. So, basically, what people are searching for is stuff that they can’t just easily find. And if there’s a ton of people searching for the same thing, you should think about prominently featuring that on your homepage or one of your category pages. So you get ideas for what products are hot that you should feature in your market, or maybe what products to do videos on, or what products have interest from your subscriber base.

The second thing is you get to see what people are looking for that you might not have on your site or you might not have in stock. This image, you can’t actually see the search terms; I’ve removed them for privacy reasons. But what it shows you is the actual search terms that people are looking for. So it will give you an idea of new products to add to your store and new products to stock on your store that you might not have on the site.

The next thing is you find high value keywords, because if you have ecommerce tracking enabled, you can see, just like on this image, which of those searches has a really high value per visit, which of those searches has really high conversion rate, which of them has a high average order value. So you get really in-depth data on keywords that you can then take out to PPC and you take out to SEO because maybe you are not targeting these keywords in SEO, you are not targeting them in PPC. So you get some really good data from your users about what keywords are really hot for the market.

The other thing is that you can see the per visit value of some of your top items. So you just get such good data from this. It’s a no-brainer to set up search tracking in Analytics. It can be added for any platform. It’s a standard part of Google Analytics. All you have to do is enable it. We’ll make sure to cover that in the analytics module. But if you are not on Big Commerce, it doesn’t matter what platform you are on. Any analytics person who works with your store’s platform will be able to enable site search tracking for you. Search is a really, really big part of conversion. If you just make that one change you will see a really nice boost in your conversion rates.

Let’s move on to the header. This is site wide. These are header best practices. Now, as far as I’m concerned, Zappos started this trend and then everyone started doing it. And I’ve adopted it as well. I call it the double header.

You’ll notice that if we look at this first Zappos header here, they’ve got that sort of first header up at the top there where it says “24/7 customer service”, has their 800 number, has their informational pages, and their live chat, and it’s got kind of information that you need.

Then they’ve got the section where it’s got their logo, and their big search bar, and a guarantee, and an offer, and their cart, and a couple little navigation links. That is sort of the middle part of the header.

And then below they have their sot of main navigation for the store. So the double header is a really good style of header that is popular right now. It’s popular because it works really well. It gives people the opportunity to have all the information they need from your store in one place. Everyone looks at your header. It’s not uncommon to see 40%-60% in conversion with header changes. So absolutely implement this double header.

The cool thing is when you look at these top 100 ecommerce stores that I’m going to give you a list of at the end of this conversion module, you’ll see that many of them are using the double header. It’s sort of becoming a standard thing for ecommerce.

One of the things that these top 100 ecommerce stores do is they kind of set the expectations for smaller retailers like us. People expect us to have similar things. They learn from Amazon. They learn from Zappos. They learn from these other stores that they are consistently shopping at what a shopping experience should be like. And when they come to your store, if it’s consistent with that you end up with higher conversion rates. Let’s look through some of these headers and look at some of the things you are going to want in your header for really high conversion rates.

You definitely want your logo. Often, top left corner is where you put your logo because people click it and they expect that you’ll have linked that back to your homepage. You want your big prominent search box. You want a guarantee of some kind; some kind of guarantee or benefit like Zappos has the free shipping and 365 days returns. 1-800 Pet Meds has the 100% happy guarantee. Foot Locker has got the free shipping and guaranteed to fit. So you want some kind of guarantee.

You want your contact, your security, your privacy, and your “more information” pages, which we’ll get into in a second because “more information pages are really big”, but you want links to all of those in the top part of your header. Notice Zappos has “My Account”. Foot locker has “My Account” and their phone number and their help. So you want all those links up there at the top.

You want some kind of offer. Foot Locker has got a free shipping offer. Zappos also has a free shipping offer. And 1-800 Pet Meds also has a free shipping offer. So you want some kind of an offer. Free shipping is a good one. It could be a discount. It could be a sale. It doesn’t matter what it is. You definitely want an offer in your header.

You want a link to your shopping cart; absolutely need to have that, and it’s really good to have it in the top right-hand corner the same way that the logo is supposed to be in the top left and people expect that. They expect the cart to be in the top-right.

Next is live chat. You absolutely want to have a link to live chat in the header or very, very close to the header at the top of the left navigation. Live chat is huge. We’ll cover that in a bit. But it’s really important.

Foveal view. So if you look at Zappos, notice how everything sort of fits…There is this concept of the foveal view and they did all this eye tracking testing. You can only consume one little piece of the page at a time. So you definitely want a little bit of space. You want each of the sections to be broken up. I would say Foot Locker’s header is just a tiny bit too cluttered, actually. I would actually break that up a little bit more. Zappos is done really perfectly. So you want to make sure your header has all this stuff but it’s also not cluttered. It’d be fine to leave out some things, because once you clutter up that header it no longer becomes useable. So you are going to want to test that and not stuff it too full but try to include all this stuff in. and having that double header really allows you to include this stuff because it gives you so many more options and places to put things.

You definitely need a phone number in your header. Phone numbers are huge for conversion on ecommerce. You will get a 30% bump in sales if you have the ability for them to phone orders. And you want that featured prominently right in your header.

You want a unique selling proposition in your header as well. What is it that you do better than anyone? Why should they be buying from you? 100% happiness guarantee; largest store there is; best selection of products, whatever it happens to be. “We’ve got the best outfits for kids”. Whatever one of your unique selling propositions is, you want to fit them in the header. And you also want to put social buttons in that header if you can fit them.

So the header is really, really big for conversion. Those are some of the main things that you absolutely want to include in there. Again, you’ll want to go through that list of the top 100 retailers and have a look at all their headers and see all the things that they are including in there in common. And if you don’t have this double header implemented on your template, go ahead and implement it. If you have the template that we put together for you based off my best practices, then you will have this header template already and you’ll just have to fill it out with your own information, which will be real easy to do.

So header is really big. Be sure to include all of those elements in your header. Let’s move on. So that does it for video one of the site wide conversion boosters. We’ve got video two and three next, and then we get more specific and get down into the actual specific pages of your store—the homepage, the product page, the section page, and look at what boosts conversion on those pages.

So meet me in the next video where we cover more site wide conversion boosters. And then we’ll get down into page specifics. I’ll see you there.

06-03

Ezra: Ezra Firestone here, video two of site wide conversion boosters. Let’s get started.

Here are some more site wide conversion boosters. You want to have a favicon. It’s more for branding than anything. You don’t really get a big bump with having a favicon, but it’s a good thing to have. You want to have social buttons. A lot of people are not including social buttons on their stores. You need social buttons on your product pages. You need social buttons in your header. And I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Those are the main, most important ones you want to have on that product page.

You want to have video. Video is so big for conversions. We’ll get into this. We have a whole section on video here, but it’s really, really big.

You want to have frequently asked questions and educational content for your particularly market. We talked about that when we were talking about how to add value to a market. One of the best ways that you can add value to your market is by educating your consumers on your product base and having information guides about how to use the products and lists of resources of things that go well with the products or that they might use.

And we’ll talk about this when we talk about “more information” pages, but frequently asked questions are a really good place to increase your conversions because everyone has the same questions about your products. If it’s Halloween costumes, what are the sizes that fit what types of people? If it’s gift baskets, can we ship these things? Which states can we ship alcohol to? You know, whatever it happens to be for your market. So you are going to want to create that content or those videos and display them really prominently throughout your site on your product pages, in your header, etc. Educational content, frequently asked questions, best to do video form when you are doing those.

Randomly displayed testimonials; this is so good. It’s easy to get testimonials. We’ll talk about how to do later in the conversion module. But it’s good to display those throughout your store, on your homepage, maybe rotating at the bottom of your left navigation, maybe rotating in your footer. Really good to do; adds social proof. You’ll see a good little 6% conversion bump with those testimonials.

The footer is a really, really big conversion as well. Take a look at the footer here. This is the image over here on the left. This is the footer for diapers.com. They’ve got all of their navigation, then they’ve got their phone number, and then they’ve got their trust and security images down the bottom. So you want to include trust in your footer. You want to include all of the relevant links, contact information, all that stuff that’s not in the header and some of it that is. You want to put that down in the footer. I like to have security images. I like to have guarantees and unique selling propositions in my footer. And I like to have links to the most relevant sections and pieces of content on my site. If you have the template that I put together for you, you’ll see there are some really nice boxes in the footer to fill out with links. And I also like to include an opt-in if it fits in with the template. It’s another one of those options to get an opt-in, which we’ll talk about in the next slide here.

You can also put another search box down there. I’m seeing people do that now. Any place you can get people to search your store is a good one. So those are a few more site wide conversion boosters that will give you a little bump. Let’s move on to some really, really fun ones that work extremely well.

We’ve got incentivized time constraints. Hot dog! These things work so well. An incentivized time constraint is an action that you can trigger based off the amount of time someone spends on your site, the amount of page views that they’ve looked at. So if someone spent 30 seconds or they looked at four pages, you can trigger this little image here that will pop up in the left hand or right hand corner of their screen that will say, “Hey, check out within X amount of time and receive X% off.” So you are basically incentivizing them with a time constraint to make that purchase while they are on your store. And it works incredibly well.

There is a company that creates this software that integrates with pretty much every platform. And I’ve even got a video tutorial for you in this conversions module on how to use that piece of software because it works so well. It’s the same piece of software that’s responsible for the Daily Deal bar. Daily Deals are becoming really popular. People look for them. They are a great way to feature sections of your product. They sit right at the top of your page. And the same piece of software by the company Conversions on Demand, which I’ll show you how to use; makes it really easy to add Daily Deal bars.

Next thing is we’ve got the incentivized opt-in. this one is controversial. The thinking behind it is, “Hey, if you are willing to give someone a discount just because they come to your store and sign up for your email list, well what about the people who are going to come to your store and buy anyway? Won’t you be giving them a discount when they wouldn’t have used one?”

Well, I say raise your prices a little bit. I go the route of having the incentivized opt-in. and you can see this little link over here that says: “Save 15%. Sign up for our email list and you’ll get a coupon in your first email.” I like to do that. Maybe you don’t give them 15%; maybe give them 5%. That’s what I recommend doing. But the reason is it gives me prospects. I end up with about 20% of people on my ecommerce email list who have never bought from me. And it allows me to email those people on the next holiday or on the next sale and follow up with them then and make sales from them then. So I really like this strategy. It works quite well for me. Some people disagree with it. I think it’s worth doing it. Raise your prices if you have to.

Now, peel away specials; you can see these two left-hand corner images. The first one all the way left says a little special offer. It kinda peels back from the corner of the screen. When you scroll over it, it says, “Hey, look. I’ve got a special discount for you. Click here to get it.” It’s just sort of another daily deal bar style special offer for people on the store. People are getting used to these things and they are really good to have. They work extremely well. Again, Conversions on Demand. We’ll show you how to use that.

Exit pops. This is the one you can see down here right in the middle of the page here. When people try to leave your shopping cart you can pop up a thing that says, “Hey, wait. Before you leave, let’s make a deal.” And if they say, “Yes, I’ll take the deal. I’ll take free shipping or I’ll take 10% off,” then you make a sale because they take that discount instead of leaving your store.

You can see here on the next slide I’m tracking these events in analytics and I can see that the cart closer, the incentivized opt-in, the incentivized time constraint, all that stuff is resulting in sales that I would not have gotten otherwise. It works really, really well. So be sure to check out the module where I teach you guys how to use Conversions on Demand. It’s at the end of this conversion boosters module. There will be a video showing you how to use that. And it makes it really easy to do all of these things; integrates to any store you want. So, very, very cool software that will help you with your conversions. Let’s move on to some more site wide conversion boosters.

The next thing we have is live chat. Man, live chat works so well. It’s probably the one thing that I’m going to tell you if you do nothing else that I’m recommending to you, if you do nothing else at all to increase your conversion, use live chat. It just works so well.

You can initiate these sessions based on actions the same way you can initiate the incentivized time constraints. You can do it after someone has viewed a certain amount of pages on your store or after they’ve spent a certain amount of time, or you can do it just for fun if you see someone searching around. These give you a huge boost.

Live chat is often responsible for a 20% conversion rate boost if you do it right. I like to use Olark. I love Olark. Livechat.com is a really great one. There’s a couple others that integrate straight with Big Commerce. And Olark and Live Chat pretty much integrate with any website you want to see or any platform that you want to use. These things go straight to your iPhone, straight to your Gmail chat, straight to your Skype. It integrates with whatever you want. It’s really easy to integrate with Google Analytics so you can track it all.

And I want to show you something. Look at Crate and Barrel—the #1 ecommerce retailer. Crate and Barrel is a huge ecommerce retailer. If you are not watching these guys, you really should watch what they are doing. They are some of the smartest ecommerce people I have ever seen. I diligently watch the split tests that Crate and Barrel runs. I watch what they do every week because they are so good at it.

You’ll notice that they pop out this session. After about two minutes on their store they will pop out this: “Do you want to chat with me” window. Let’s have a look at these other two stores.

The Disney Store. This is like the #6 ecommerce store on the planet. They pop this same thing out: “Hey, let’s have a chat.” Zappos pops this same thing out: “Hey, would you like to have a chat?”

I’m going to give you a list of these top 100 stores like I was saying, but you’ll notice everyone is doing it. And everyone is doing it for a reason, because it works really well. Super easy to integrate. And the other thing is you can set it up so that it pops it out, or if you are not there it allows them to leave a message with you. It’s just a really easy thing to do. And if you are not available to answer it, when you are offline it will automatically switch over to say, “Hey, we’re offline. Leave us a message.” So it’s not like people are going to be trying to chat with you when you are not there, but they will be leaving you messages. So, really a good thing to do. It also integrates with analytics. They make it easy to do in the backend of Olark there and Live Chat. So you can track sessions and you can track values.

You can also get transcripts within the backend of LiveChat.com and Olark.com and Live Person and these other services. You can track what your employees are saying if you are not the one handling the chat message. And you can learn how to craft messages that work.

Here’s a little tip about how to craft these messages. One of the things that people love is coupons. So give them coupons! They will use them. So after someone asks a question or after someone chats with you, what you want to say to them is, “Hey, we just wanted to say thanks so much for reaching out to us and chatting with us today. Here is a coupon for 10% off your order.” You will be surprised at how many people you will pick up with that one strategy.

There’s a whole lot of strategy you can use for live chat. Just get out there and test it and use the chat function. It will give you a really nice conversion booster if you are not already doing it.

The next part of site wide conversion boosters, this is the biggest opportunity that I see most ecommerce stores missing. Most people do not pay attention to this opportunity. They just completely forget about it, or they don’t pay attention to it, or they don’t know about it. I don’t know. But if you look at most people’s “more information” pages, most ecommerce stores out there, even a lot of the ecommerce stores in the top 100, they haven’t caught on to this yet. But I guarantee you over the next year or two they will catch onto this because it’s working so well for us. I see this becoming something that people do because it works so well.

When I say “more information” pages, I mean Contact Us, shipping information, privacy policy, frequently asked questions, return policy, whatever those pages are; all the pages that offer more information about your store that people need to consume and need to have before making a buying decision. You want to make that stuff easily consumable.

So what we do is we shoot a video that explains it, because again, different users prefer to consume media in different formats. Some people like to watch videos. Some people like to read text. Some people like to listen to audio. So we have all this stuff available for them. We put a big video right on each page. This is our shipping information, our customer commitment page, which is the “Why buy from us?” page on one of our stores. You should absolutely create a “Why buy from us?” page if you don’t have one, which is basically you talking about your unique selling propositions, whatever they are. Create a “why buy from us?” page. Put it in your footer. Put it in your header. People will click on it. They will go through it and they will buy from you.

We see a good solid 8% conversion boost across stores that implement this video more information page. So what you do is you create a video for your shipping information, your return policy, your privacy policy, your frequently asked questions, because you are going to have those pages anyway. You want to have those pages set up in the Q&A style.

You can kinda see here on the shipping FAQ, this image on the left. We’ve got the shipping FAQ and then we’ve got the question, and then we’ve got a red A and the answer. And we’ve just got these questions that go down, down, down. So you want to lay these out that gets the best consumed, and we’ve tracked this with user sessions where we watch people consume these pages. The best way is to have a video up top, have a really big featured benefit up top. You will notice both of these pages have a benefit in that yellow box which is grayed out at the top. You’ve got your video, then you’ve got your Q&A. so that’s the way to lay out these “more information” pages.

People look at these things. They are key. They will get you big bumps in conversion. Have videos. Have text on the page. Have images, info graphics and graphs, if that helps explain your deal, or where you ship to, or whatever it might be. Have forms so that people can contact you. Just make it so that people can consume these “more information” pages really easily, because the people who look at them…Not all of your customers look at these pages. Maybe 5%, 10%, 15% of your customers will look at them. But the ones who look at them are absolutely looking at them for a reason. They are going to your shipping information page because they want an answer to that. They are going to your “Why buy from us?” page because they want to know why they should buy from you other than their competition. They are going to your return policy page because they want to know about that. So if you make these pages really easy to consume, you see a nice big bump in conversions.

That wraps up video 2 in the site wide conversion booster section. Meet me in the next one. We’ll get through video 3, finish out the site wide conversion boosters and move straight into the page specific conversion boosters. I’ll see you in the next video and thank you for watching. 06-04 Ezra: Welcome back. Ezra Firestone here with video 3 for the site wide conversion boosters.

Online video. Hot damn does video convert for ecommerce. Video is just as important as live chat. All this stuff is important. I don’t want to say one is more important than any other. I just want to say do as much of them as you can.

I want to give you guys some stats about video. The average United States user consumes 19 hours of online video per month. The product videos on ecommerce stores are watched 60% of the time, so you absolutely need to create product videos if you don’t have them. 52% of people say watching video makes them more confident in their buying decisions. Three out of five will spend at least two minutes watching a product video. And shoppers who video are 174% more likely to purchase, which is why we go so crazy about video. And this is all in the blogging module in the course, which you may have already gone through or you may be going through it next. We just really drill this home that video is so important. 40% of people report that videos increase their likelihood of buying.

And this is key: one in two people are less likely to return after they’ve watched a product video. So you want to have these things.

Now, an interesting stat is that online video production will soon account for more than one-third of online advertising spending. So this is what people are doing. This is what stores are doing. If you want to be with the cutting edge people, if you want to be meeting your shoppers’ expectations, people are starting to expect that you have video on your stores that explain the details of your products, that explain the details of who you are and all that kind of stuff.

I want to thank Invodo.com for these stats. Invodo is a cool ecommerce video company. You can check them out. I got these stats from them.

Let’s have a look at where you should use your videos. You should use the videos on your homepage. Absolutely want to have a video on your homepage, multiple videos. Here are the ones that are most important for the homepage: a hello from the owner; very, very important video to have on your store. When we talk about branding and community, we talk about making your store not a faceless ecommerce store; having a brand behind it, having a persona and someone, a personality, behind the store who is the face of that store. So, have the hello from you on your homepage. It gives you a nice little conversion booster.

You also want to have product videos, product reviews on there. Like, whatever your most featured or prominent products are on the store, you want to put those on the homepage. And testimonials; if you can get videos from your customers it’s a really good idea to put those on your homepage. They give you a nice little bump for your homepage. We’re talking about homepages in the next video in this conversions module.

Product page. Here’s what kind of videos you want on your product page—any videos. It doesn’t matter. Have videos on your product page. These could be a product review by the customer if you let customers send in product review videos. These could be product reviews by the owner, so you featuring that product, opening the package, talking about the features and benefits of that product. If it’s a big product, like bar stools for example, and you don’t want to have them shipped to you, that’s fine. Just shoot a video of yourself talking about that stool. It does not matter. You just absolutely need to have videos on your product page. 200% increase in conversion with videos on your product page. You need to put them on there. It’s huge.

You want to use videos on your cart and checkout pages. So, a video that says, “Hey, we are secure. You don’t have to worry about buying from us. We are 100% secure. This is how you can contact us. This is how we do our privacy.” So you put a little video. It doesn’t have to be a long video on there. But just one that people can watch while they are going through the checkout that will make them feel secure.

You want to have videos on your “more information” pages like we just talked about. And you want post action videos. You can see here on the left, this is a video that people see after they opt-in to our blog on the Boom by Cindy Joseph website. Look over there on the right. You can see this video has a 93% engagement rate. So after people take actions, they are willing to watch videos. So, after they opt-in, after they click a “contact us” link, after they purchase something, whatever the action is they are willing to watch videos. So make sure you have video there for them, because this also creates more of a relationship with you and the customer, which is what you want.

So it’s good to have the same person. Get creative with it. Put videos wherever you can think of. And this helps you build your brand, which we’ll talk about in the branding module, but you want to have your education videos. You want videos on your blog. You want videos on PPC landing pages. Anywhere that you can test having a video that’s relevant to your products, do it because you will see bumps in conversion with video for ecommerce. It’s just proven.

Next thing we gotta talk about is your unique selling propositions. Now remember, we’re just in the site wide conversion portion of ecommerce. These are just the site wide elements or the sort of brand wide elements. We still gotta drill down into the homepage and the rest of the page structure.

But unique selling propositions and offers. So what differentiates you? We talked about this when we talked about: How do you add value to your market? Are you educating your consumers better than your competition? Are you doing special bundles in the package? Do you have unique products that no one else has? Do you have excellent customer service? What is it that you are bringing to the table beyond the products? Those are your unique selling propositions. And you want to absolutely feature those throughout your store.

You also need to have offers. Take a look at this image down here. They’ve got a 17% off offer. They’ve got a free shipping offer. They’ve got free exchanges. They’ve got 15% off to sign up for their email. They have all these offers right in their header. So you definitely want to figure out what offers you are going to make, what sales you are going to do and display those, what coupons you are going to have and display those prominently throughout your store.

And the last thing, we talked about this in a previous slide, which is a “why buy from us?” page. Really important part of the store to have. Nobody thinks about this. Not a lot of stores do this. People will visit the “why buy from us?” page. Create a page. Call it “Why buy from us?” Talk about your unique selling propositions. Talk about the offers that you are making throughout your store. What will happen is people will click that page and you’ll basically just be saying, “Hey, this is all the stuff that you can see on our store.” You are just articulating for them the things that are displayed on your store—the offers that you are running, the unique selling propositions that you have. And it gives you a nice little boost for the people who come and view that page, which is quite a lot of your users.

So, the more you can do to add value, the better, and the more you can do to communicate that value the better. So these have been the site wide conversion boosters. If you just implement this stuff, if you don’t even get into the homepage, or the section page, or any of this other stuff we’re going to talk about in the next videos, you will see massive conversion rate increases. And that’s my goal, is to help you get more from your store, to help you double your conversion rate, triple your conversion rate. It’s what I’m passionate about. It’s what I love doing.

Thanks so much for watching this video and I’ll see you in the next one where we drill down even further into more specific and page specific conversion principles and conversion best practices. I’ll see you in the next video. 06-05

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone back here with the section and product page conversion boosters, as well as our shopping cart and checkout pages. Let’s get going.

The first thing we have is the product details page. This quite possibly is the most important page on your entire website. Let’s go over some of the things that are going to help you get more from this page.

The first thing that you want to do is get rid of your left navigation if you can. Some templates don’t allow for this. But if you can do it, if it’s possible for your template, go ahead and remove that on the product detail page. It gives you more room to display the most important things on your page. And you will see a 5%-10% bump in “add to carts” when you do this, because it gives you the option of having the “you may also like”. It gives you more space for bigger images. It gives you more space for tabs. It’s just a really, really good thing to do.

If you look over here at Zappos, if you look at this big costume store, none of the top 100 are cluttering up their product pages with a left navigation. That’s just because your store converts much better when the product page is full across, has full width, and isn’t crowded with a left navigation that is just going to take up space and not get used.

The next thing that you want to do is tab it up. What that means is put your information into tabs. This is huge. You don’t want to list a million things going straight down the page, having this really long form sales letter. You want to make sure the stuff that is absolutely necessary for people to know is right there in a tab.

Look at the Zappos image. They’ve got their images. They’ve got their item information. They’ve got their similar information. And they’ve got their sort of “more information” or about the brand. Look at the duck image as well. They’ve got their quick facts in their description. They’ve got all the stuff that you need to know about this product and about this company in tabs right on the product page instead of having one long list for people to read. They make it a little bit easier to consume.

We’ve split tested this. You always see a boost when you add tabs to your product page, when you add more relevant information right there underneath the product, which makes it easier for someone to make a buying decision. So you’ve got to use those tabs.

What do you want to put in there? Remember those videos that we created for our “more information” pages in the site wide module, the “Why buy from us?” video, the shipping information video, the frequently asked questions video? Those are the videos that you want to put in tabs on your product page. You’ll see this in the next slide.

So you want to give your customers all the information they need to buy from you in one spot. You don’t want people navigating off of this page looking for your shipping information or looking for an answer to a frequently asked question like what your return policy is. So add these videos, these customer value videos, as we like to call them, in the tabs on your product page. You should have already created these videos for your “more information” pages, so use them here too. You will see a nice lift. It will give you a nice boost in conversion.

Along the lines of videos, we want to include product videos. We went over this in a previous module as well. But product page conversion rates have been known to double when adding a video. Now, you don’t want to hide your product videos away in a tab either. You want to put those front and center right in the product description box with your product description text.

So create a video for every one of your top products, even if it’s just you talking about the product and you don’t have the product with you. They are huge and they go along with why a lot of this stuff works because you are providing value to the customer. You are creating a shopping experience that they are not getting at every other ecommerce store.

Product videos work. 60% of people who come to your page will watch them. and you’ll see at least a 50% boost in conversion if you have a good product video. And they are not very hard to create. You can create educational videos that talk about how to use the product, videos that display the product and its features, videos that talk about the benefits of the product and why it’s a good product, classic unwrapping this product video where you show the product, and you show the box that it comes in, and you unwrap it for them, and you show them the experience that they are going to get when they buy this product. It’s a really, really good style.

There’s also just the simple product image circling with music. It doesn’t even have to be anyone talking. It can just be the product itself going on a rotator. There are companies out there. I think Treepodia is one of them which can take your images and make a 360 degree scale of your image and have it rotate to video. And they do that automatically. I’ll find a link to the company that does that.

But better than that is having a real video for your top products. but if you are not going to do that, then at the very least you can do a 360 degree rotation of the product with some music that will also give you a boost.

You want to have social buttons. These are obvious. The obvious ones you want to have are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and mail to a friend. You can see both Zappos and this Halloween store doing that. it just lends a bit of social proof to your product page.

The next thing that is absolutely critical is product reviews. These will singlehandedly give you at least a 15% boost. People love these things. They get to see what other people are saying about your products. And along the same lines are user submitted pictures and videos. Most review plugins that you’ll use will allow people to upload an attachment or upload a video. But if not, it can be hard coded in. it’s amazing. You get images and videos of people using your products and people wearing your products and your products in people’s houses. And you ask for this stuff in your follow-up sequences which we’ll talk about later. So you remind people to come and use this feature. And it adds a level of social proof to your product pages that can’t be manufactured.

Next we have the Q&A, which is along the same lines. There’s a lot of plugins for this for each platform. And if there’s not one for your platform you can have it hard coded. Basically, what happens is people can come and they can ask questions about that product with this Q&A plugin, and all you have to do is answer that question one time and then it sits there right on your product page for all your future customers to see. If one person has a question about product, most likely other people are going to have that question as well. And it lets you leverage that fact and turn that into content for your product pages.

And this is the Amazon model. They really pioneered this stuff. Products with reviews sell better, even products with negative reviews. It just makes people trust you. So you’ve got to have product reviews on your product page.

Next we’ve got the “add to cart” button above the fold. Some people actually make this mistake and it’s a killer. They put the “add to cart” button below the fold. So you have to scroll down to be able to click “add to cart”. Most people don’t scroll on pages, so you need to put that “add to cart” button above the fold. It’s a really, really important element of the page. You want people to be able to use it. You want them to be able to click it. And remember, the goal on this page is to get people to click that button. That’s the whole thing we’re trying to do on the product page is get people to click that “add to cart” button. So you want it to be front and center and prominent.

Next we have cross-sells. Now, these are huge. 40%-60% of people will take you up on them. It’s money left on the table in any market. So, what is a cross-sell? It can be a bundle. You’ll see Amazon do it where they have a bundle of the product that you are buying with two other products that are relevant that create a little bit of a kit, or it could be related products. and you can take a look at this giant duck costume here. One of their cross-sells for this product is a cowboy hat, because obviously if you are running around in a giant duck suit you need a cowboy hat.

It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be stuff as simple as a store warranty on the product that extends beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. It doesn’t matter what it is. That’s actually a really good strategy. You can have a warranty on your products that extends longer than the warranty that the manufacturer gives, and a lot of people will buy that upgraded warranty. And not many of them will cash it in, but the ones who do will be really happy when they cash it in. they like having that little bit of extra security. So you don’t even have to come up with an extra product to bundle together or to cross-sell. You can just do an extended warranty. But you should absolutely figure out something to have as a cross-sell on your item pages because you will get a lot of people taking you up on it.

OK, “you might also like…” Have a look at the duck product page here and see all the way over the right-hand corner where they are listing other products that you might also like. “If you are interested in this giant costume, you might also be interested in a giant diaper costume.” “You might also like…” is a really, really good one.

These are basically similar products; products that might go well with the product that they are currently looking at. And this cross promotes products on your store and sends traffic internally. It keeps people on your pages longer and gets more of your product views. It’s kind of like the section page within a product page strategy. You get a nice bump when you add these products into your section page because it allows people who may not be interested in the product that they are looking at an easy way to navigate over to other products. So you see a nice little bump. It’s not huge. It’s 5% or so. But it’s a good one and it’s easy to add, so you should absolutely put it on there.

Next we’ve got bundles. These are similar to cross-sells. You can cross-sell with a bundle or you can have a cross-sell of a cowboy hat and then a bundle that has the costume, the cowboy hat, and a whip or whatever else you need. Amazon does this. You offer the product that they are looking at in a bundle with something else. It’s kinda like a cross-sell on steroids. They are a very similar strategy and you can use both or one of the other. But, on average, you will sell 10%-20% of the people who come to your store on the bundle if it’s a good bundle that actually adds value.

Next we’ve got features and benefits. This one has to do with your copywriting. Too many people only list the features of their products. they only pay attention to the specs of the product and they forget about or they don’t talk about the end benefit to the customer. So, what people care about is the benefit they get by having that product.

A feature would be, “This microphone is stainless steel with a chrome cover and a 36 Watt input.” That’s a feature of the product. A benefit would be: “Crystal clear recordings so your elderly grandmother will be able to hear you on Skype.” It’s the reason they are buying the product. It’s the pain they had that drove them to your store in the first place. You are covering that fear for them. so you need to have both the features listed and the benefits. And a lot of people don’t list benefits. If you start writing benefits into your copy, you will see your conversion rates on your product pages go way up.

This one is a little ninja trick that I don’t see anyone but us doing and it works so well. Have a guarantee image, a trust image, one of your unique selling propositions, and whatever your offer is, if it happens to be free shipping, right underneath the “add to cart” button.

Remember the goal if this page is to get people to click that “add to cart” button. And having these images down there that remind the user right before that critical action that you are OK, that you are going to handle their order in a way that feels good, it just brings some trust to the situation before one of the most critical actions in your goal flow. So definitely add these to your product page if you do nothing else that I’m recommending in this course. We’ve done this on all of our stores and we’ve seen as much as double in our “add to cart” lifts, which is huge when you look at the compounding effects of this.

You can see these two images down here on the bottom of the slide show the “add to cart” button and show the features and show the benefits and unique selling propositions right under those “add to cart” buttons.

Now, what goes right along with this is the unique selling propositions and offer box. We’ll look at this in the next slide. Basically, this thing is key. We found it to give us a nice little bump on our stores. You add a unique selling proposition box somewhere on the products page above the reviews, because the reviews can get really long, and so people won’t actually see this if it’s below the reviews. We like to put it across from our information tabs. It basically states whatever your unique selling propositions are—excellent customer service, or thousands of items to choose from, or whatever your offers happen to be—free shipping, whatever it is. You are just hammering this stuff in everywhere you can in different ways across the store.

Let’s have a look at what that looks like. You can see this image over here on the left is basically a “shop with confidence” image. It displays right below the product image and right across from the tabbed information boxes. It will give you a nice little boost. It comes with the template that I’ve created for you guys if you bought that template. If not, you should absolutely add it to your product pages.

The other thing here, I just wanted to show you an example of product video. Zappos does a really good job with this. You can see the little video thumbnail is right down there with the image carousel. I may have skipped over that in the last slide, but it’s very important to have multiple high quality images of your product. And the way Zappos does it is they throw that video right down there in that carousel, so it’s really easy to see. You click on it and it pops right up in the page. So make these videos easy to see and easy to consume.

Let’s move on. This is just an example of these image zoom. You can see here that when you scroll over this rabbit it pops up that little hover zoom. This image over here on the left just shows you what it’s like when you click the “image enlarge” or “click to enlarge” button, which is also a really necessary element. It’s a form of zoom. I like the hover zoom. It converts a little better.

But something that we’re about to test is popping the “add to cart” button over the bottom corner of the hover zoom effect, so giving people the option to buy right then and there when they are hovering over the product and looking at it closely. If you look over here to the right of this slide where we see the zoomed in rabbit’s head, there’d be a little “add to cart” button right there in that hover image that popped up with it.

We’ll see how that one does. I’ll let you know. Definitely have both a “click to enlarge” and an image zoom effect.

This here is just an example of the reviews and the user submitted questions and answers, so you can have a look at what that looks like on a site. Really good way to do that is to also have it tabbed up. So just another place where you can use tabs on your product page to save space and make this information easily consumable, because if you have all the reviews listing down the page and the you have the questions and answer field, it’s going to be harder for people to see that you have questions and answers. It’s better if you throw that in tab right next to your product reviews.

That will do it for the product page. Meet me in the next video where we go through your section page. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one. 06-06

Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome back. Ezra Firestone here and we’re talking about homepage conversion boosters, so things that you can do on the homepage of your ecommerce store that are going to boost your conversions.

Now, your homepage is big for conversions. People expect your homepage to be nice. They expect it to feature your best products. they expect to be able to consume all of the information that you have available to them on that page. And anything that they’re looking for, they will come to the homepage to find it. if they want your return policy information, if they want to contact you, whatever it is, time and time again we’re seeing with session capture software that whatever people are looking for, for the most part they are going to come to the homepage to look for it. So you need to have a solid and filled out content-rich homepage. So let’s get into some of the things that you need on your homepage.

Rich homepages win. The richer your homepage is, the better. More often than not, 50% of the time in most cases, your traffic will not start out on the homepage. It will start out on a product page, or a section page, or a pay-per-click landing page. So less than half of your traffic is starting on your homepage.

But most visitors end up visiting your homepage during their visit session on your store. It’s just something that people do when they shop. They expect that whatever they are looking for they are going to be able to find on that homepage. So it’s your job. So here are some of the things that you want to have on the homepage.

You want to have testimonials; randomly displayed testimonials from throughout your store and the products that you sell. You want to have a hello from the owner, like a, “Hi. This is who we are. This is what we’re doing. Thanks so much for visiting.” And you want to have images, so big banner images. We talked about this in the site wide, but we’ll get to this in the next slide as well. But you want to have images. You want to have videos. You want to have frequently asked questions. You want to have product videos and educational videos. You want to have links. You basically just want to have all of the different offers that you are making right there and available straight from the homepage.

A standard homepage structure that you will often see is a big banner, which are these big things you see right at the top of the homepage on these sites we’re looking at here, and then some kicker images. On the first two, the left image and the middle image, those kicker images are right below the main banner, and that’s how I like to do it. And if you look over at Zappos, the kicker image is to the sections and the offers are to the right of that main image.

And then they feature some more products. so each one of these stores is doing the same thing. They are featuring some products from their store. And then as you scroll down, there is more information about what they are doing. There is a left navigation and there is a header navigation. We went over the header conversion best practices in the site wide conversion booster module.

So these are just some standard homepages. Again, I’m going to give you a link to the top 100 grossing retail ecommerce stores so you can have a look at what everyone is doing and get some ideas and inspiration for what you should be doing.

The main banner and the category kickers are really important. You are going to want to split test this against just listing products. Sometimes what we’ll do is we’ll just right at the top of the homepage a list of our products. And about 30% of the time that will beat out a banner and kicker images. But, the banner and kicker images kind of give you a professional look. They give you an interactive and a sort of…it’s expected.

This is what I was talking about with the big box ecommerce stores training consumers and shoppers about what’s supposed to be on an ecommerce store. So, all of these big box stores that you look at, Disney Store, and Zappos, and all these stores have these main banners and kicker images.so people expect that when they come to ecommerce stores. They subconsciously think that you are a better store if you have these elements that they see on all the big stores that they shop off of.

Now, you should base these main banners and these kicker images off of season and off of analytics, which you’ll see in the next slide. It’s good to have a solid, catchy banner. I like just one main banner and maybe a rotators. Rotators don’t always improve conversion rates. There’s actually data suggesting that they lower your conversion rates. I don’t find having rotating images to lower my conversion rates. I just find that they don’t necessarily give me any bump. But it just gives the customer more things going on, on that page for them to consume.

Another nice layout for this main banner section of your homepage is to have the main banner and then four little kicker images going down to the right, and then an offer image right under the main banner like you see here in the left-hand corner of this screen. They have got a different layout for their main portion of their homepage. So it doesn’t really matter how you lay it out. I like to do the main banner with three kicker images and an offer underneath that on my stores. But the point is that you’ve got a main section and then you’ve got some little offers and some kicker images over to your sections, and you’ve got some kind of an offer. These are just inspiration for you.

Now, the reason I’m saying these don’t matter a whole lot is because people tend to use the navigation and the search bar. They don’t use the main banners on the homepage a whole lot. So these aren’t going to drive a ton of traffic into your sections, but they are going to give you a nice little boost in conversion because it has your store look a lot more professional. So it’s just good to have. And it’s sort of becoming a standard for ecommerce stores. Let’s move on to what happens underneath this.

The next thing we have are tabbed featured product boxes. This would be right under your main banner and kicker image section, and we’ll see this in a couple slides. We’ll actually see a full page. You want to, again, base these categories off of your analytics interaction and sales. I’ll show you that here in the next slide. These best sellers on a per-category basis, as you can see, these top four images here basically are tabbed. So you’ve got multiple best seller sections within tabs right there on the homepage.

I like to put them in tabs to save space, but it’s not necessary. You can just list them down the page. If you look at the bottom right-hand corner of this screen, you’ll see that this website was just listing their section and the main best sellers and products from that section all the way down the page. I like to put four or five of my sections in tabs and then maybe do one or two more.

You can also split test this. You can split test having these featured products in tabs. If you look at the way the Disney Store did this, they did this in a way I haven’t seen before, which is they have the tab navigator over the left. That’s the bottom left-hand image on this slide. So you can scroll through the tabs on the left-hand side and it will switch the products. The way we always do it is we have the tab navigation up top. But you could test that out. Disney Store is doing it. They do a lot of split testing. I watch the split testing that they are doing. So if they are trying this new way of featuring products on their homepage, there could be a reason to it, so we might have to test it.

Remember that the goal is to get your most popular products listed on the homepage, hopefully from your most popular sections, which we’ll talk about in a second here, right on the homepage. So you want that main banner, those kicker images. Then you want to list your featured bestselling items from your categories. And then underneath that would be a hello from the owner video, a couple testimonials, maybe a featured product video. So you’d just enrich the homepage beyond these elements. But these elements are key. You want that main banner. You want that kicker image. You want these featured products from your sections, and then you want to go into your “Why should you buy from us?”, the hello from the owner, and some testimonials. Let’s move on to show you some in-page analytics.

This is what the in-page analytics report looks like in Google Analytics. Anyone who is running Google Analytics gets this report. Basically, it lets you see where people are clicking on the page. It lets you see what links and what sections on your page are most popular. So you can restructure your navigation based on what people are clicking on. So you should definitely check this report out once a week in Google Analytics, because it allows you to give your users the best possible experience, because they are basically voting for what links and what sections are the most popular on your site, and then you can then rearrange your navigation and your site structure to match what people are already clicking on, making your site even more consumable.

Here we have a report of the most popular pages. So you just go to Site Content and All Pages and it’s going to show you which pages are getting the most page views. It will give you an idea of what sections to feature on your homepage in that main banner and those kickers and those featured products, because you want to feature your most popular sections. It’s also going to give you an idea of some of your most popular pages because you want to display your most popular pages on the homepage, and this report will help you see that.

You can also see, if you look over to the right, the value per visit of each of those pages. This is good because it gives you insight into how that product group is performing. So definitely have a look at your Site Content, All Pages report and have a look at what pages are getting the most traffic, what pages are getting the most page views, and use those as a starting point for what to feature on your homepage. Of course with seasonality you’ll switch this out if. If it’s Halloween season. You will feature Halloween themed products or whatever it happens to be. You want to keep an eye on seasonality. You’ll be switching up these banners and kicker images as the seasons go on.

Here are some other things just to talk about. We already discussed this, but basically you want to have testimonials on that homepage. You want a hello from the owner video. This is not the actual video from one of our homepages; just illustrating what the video might look like on your homepage. You want to have images, videos, frequently asked questions, product videos, educational videos, and special offers. You want to feature your special offers because, again, people are trained by these bigger retail stores on how websites should look. So they are trained that there are offers on the homepage. People go to the homepage to look for offers. So you need to make sure that you are displaying your special offers right on the homepage. I’ll send you that list of the top 100 and you can look at what they are doing on their homepage and you can get some ideas for your own homepage. But these are just some of the structural elements.

So we’ll have a look at how Disney does it. You see they’ve got that double header. Then they’ve got their main banner. And that main banner switches as you navigate through those links on the right. Then they’ve got their featured products based on section, their best sellers. And below that they just have their footer.

Foot Locker is doing something similar. They’ve got an offer at the very top. They’ve got their main banner which navigates with a bottom navigation on it. They’ve got some of their best sellers. And then their page goes on and they’ve got a lot more content going on.

Cabela’s is a great store to watch and see what they are doing. They’ve got a really nice right-hand navigation with all their offers on it. and they are basically just doing a really offer rich homepage where they are doing everything I’m talking about by featuring all of their best stuff right on the homepage. Their educational content is on that homepage. Their offers are on that homepage. Their email opt-in is on there. Their best sellers, their sections, their store locators; all that stuff that people are looking for is right there on that homepage.

And, of course, Diapers.com; fantastic ecommerce store to have a look at. When you go to Diapers.com you’ll see a whole bunch of other stores that they own that have their same template. Also good to look at.

But the homepage is a pretty simple, standard layout, not too hard. One thing that you absolutely want to test against all of this stuff is just listing products. so none of this stuff that I’m talking about and just a list of products and see which of those pages converts better. In some markets, just getting straight into it and listing the products you will convert better. We see that happen about 30% of the time.

This has been your homepage conversion boosters module. I will you see in the next video where we drill down into product pages, section pages, and shopping carts, and a few other page specific conversion boosters. Meet me in the next video. Thanks for watching. 06-07

Ezra: Welcome back. Ezra Firestone here with conversion boosters for your section page. Let’s dig right in.

This is a very important page on your store. One thing that we want to talk about with the section page and really get across is the goal of this page is to get people to consume your products, to take in what you have. This means testing multiple items across.

Most ecommerce shopping cart templates have a standard of three items across. Look at what Crate and Barrel does here. They have five items across. If you look at this image up in the top right-hand corner, they have five items across that second row, three at the top, and then an offer. But most of their section pages have items across.

If you look at eBags.com, some of the best split testers in the game, they are going with four items across on their section page. We often find that four items across on the section page out-converts three items, five items, and six items. But it’s market dependent. It depends on how big your images are. So it’s definitely something worth testing. Test the number of items that you display across the section page. You’ll often find that four is a pretty good bet.

The next thing that we need is the price, the sale price, the “you save” and the “you save” amount. So, the “you save” percentage, the “you save” amount, and a star rating. You can see how this is laid out on our costume store here right underneath these bullet points.

Not everyone does all of these. Most of the big guys out there have some of these, but more is better in this instance. So we have the retail price and the sale price. All of your products should be on sale all the time.

Look over at Crate and Barrel in the top right-hand corner. They’ve got the retail price and then the “our price”. And the reason is because people want to feel like they are getting a deal. They want to buy a product that’s on sale. So price your items however you do and then set a retail price that’s higher than the price that you’ve set for your item, maybe one that matches the most expensive price for that item on any store online, or whatever it happens to be. But the point is that you want to have all these items listed underneath your product images on the section page because you will see a boost in conversion by showing people not only the percentage that they save, but the dollar amount that they save, as well as the review stars.

Up next we’ve got the quick view feature. Look at the upper right-hand image of Crate and Barrel. You can see that when you hover over that knife image, a little quick look button pops up. This is becoming standard amongst the big boys. So it’s important, like we talked about, that you keep up with the game and you have these features that people expect. This one converts really, really well. This is responsible for a 20%-50% increase in item views, which is your goal on the section page. So you want to get them to look at products.

And this lets people quickly have a look at the details of a product without actually having to leave the section page. They just click that little quick look button, a little hover image, a light box is what it’s called, pops right up over the section page. They can have a look at the details of that product. If they want, they can move to the cart. Or they can just X out and keep scanning that section page.

So before this invention, people would have to click onto the product page, and then if they wanted to go back to the section, they’d actually have to press the back button on that section page. So it was a lot less useable. That model was broken. And this just makes it so much easier for people to navigate and consume on your section pages. It will give you a nice little bump in conversions if you give people the ability to view products without leaving the section page.

And if I haven’t said this before, have a look at what Crate and Barrel is doing with their ecommerce store. They are very proactive split testers. And if you are getting into ecommerce and you want to have your attention on what people are doing, then Crate and Barrel is a really good one to watch because they run a lot of really cool split tests.

Let’s have a look at the image in the very bottom left-hand corner of this slide. You want to have a featured item bundle or deal at the top of your section page. Now, traditionally, people have a little bit of text sort of above their products introducing their section pages. I’d recommend dropping that text down below the listings of your products down to the bottom of the page and using that space above your products to offer some kind of a special, some kind of a bundle or a featured product, or, at the very least, a banner that mentions one of your unique selling propositions. So it’s a really good idea to check analytics and use one of your top bestselling products from that section or the product bundle from your top selling product in that section. People are going to take advantage of this deal that you promote. They are going to take advantage of this exciting offer as far as they are concerned. It’s just a good way to really push one of your products, perhaps one of the products that you have better margins on than another one. If you’ve got multiple similar products and there’s one that you have really good margins on, you definitely want to promote that one and you want to push people towards that because you are going to make more money per sale with that item.

And remember with the section page that the goal is to get people to move through to the product page. So anything that you test on this page should be done with that goal in mind.

And lastly, forget about pagination. People don’t use it. if you have 60 products in a section, just list them all the way down the page. Don’t break up the page into multiple pages, two, three; those things never get seen. Just list your products all the way down and you’ll find that product pages that list all of them, when you test it against paginating that page, the section page that has the listing of all the products will win out in a conversion race.

Here we’re just having a look at a few product pages, having a look at how these big hundreds of million dollar stores, Disney Store, Zappos are using these principles. You can see all the stuff we’ve talked about—the tabbed boxes, the really clean images, the video, the “add to cart” box, the “you might also like…”, the reviews, the question and answer, the zoom. They all are using all these conversion principles.

And here’s just an example from the template that I’ve created for you guys. If you purchased that template you will recognize this. We’ve got our “add to cart” box with our unique selling proposition images right underneath that “add to cart” button. We’ve got our tabbed information boxes for our product description. We’ve got our multiple image carousel. We’ve got our image zoom, and our “click to enlarge”, and our social buttons, and our unique selling proposition box on here, our reviews section. We’ve got all the good elements that you need on a product page right here on this product page.

And that will do it for the section page. Let’s move on to the next video where we’re talking about your shopping cart, your checkout, and your post-purchase flow. I’ll see you there. 06-08

Ezra: OK. Let’s move on. Let’s talk about the shopping cart. This is a really big page on your store. This is where everyone wants to start with ecommerce conversion. Everyone wants to do shopping cart conversion. That’s because over 80% of people bail on the checkout process for one reason or another. So you want to do everything in your power to keep them in your funnel. They’ve gotten as far as adding a product to their cart. It would be a shame to lose them now. So what can we do to keep people in your checkout process?

The first thing is that your checkout needs to be congruent with the rest of your site. I can’t tell you how many times I press an “add to cart” button and I’m taken to a page that looks completely different from the rest of the site. It freaks people out. A 100% boost in finishes of the checkout process are not uncommon when making this switch for ecommerce stores. This is one of those “must fixes” on a ecommerce store. If your checkout is incongruent from your store, you are losing sales.

What do I mean by incongruent? I mean that the checkout page should have the same header, footer, background. It should look like your store. It should look like the store that they’ve just been shopping on. It should not look different than that.

Next thing we’ve got is a progress bar. You can see down at the bottom underneath these bullets what that looks like. It’s nice because it lets people know where they are in the process. This is another one of those things that’s become standard in ecommerce that you definitely need to have and that you’ll see a little decrease in conversions of your checkout sequence if you remove it.

Next we’ve got a shipping calculator. These are really good to have on the shopping cart page. Someone adds an item into their cart, they immediately want to know: How much does shipping cost? If you have free shipping on your store, you don’t need this. But if you don’t have free shipping, you want to have it right there on the shopping cart page so people can calculate their shipping costs rather than leaving the shopping cart flow and looking for shipping information somewhere else. You want them to be able to calculate it right there within that flow.

Have a look at Zappos and have a look at Buy Costumes, which is the Halloween store here, and look at how they have these proceed images at both the top and the bottom of the shopping cart. We started doing this on one of our stores and it gave us a boost on how many people moved from the shopping cart to the shipping and billing pages. Since then, I’ve seen all the big boys adopt this.

I’d like to think that we started this trend, but I think it’s probably more of one of those “great minds think alike” things. There testing team came up with the same concept, tested it, and it worked. So look at Zappos. Look at Buy Costumes. Go to Crate and Barrel. Most of the top 100 are using this strategy and it’s a good one. It just gets people a little bit more…It makes that move through to the checkout option a little bit more prominent.

Next we’ve got our product images, our product quantity, and our information—all those details about the product. Some stores still only have the name and the price of the product in the shopping cart. You absolutely need to have the image of the product that they are buying. You need to show the customer what they are buying. Removing the product image from your shopping cart is a conversion killer. So you want to make sure that the product image is available in the shopping cart and they can actually see the product that they are about to buy.

And lastly for the shopping cart, another thing that gives you a nice big bump is to have your phone number, your guarantee, your security symbols, your trust symbols like your shipping carriers and your credit card logos and all that stuff. You can kinda see here down in the bottom right-hand corner on this Halloween store they have that little image over there on the left that’s got their security images and their trust images and their phone number.

Basically, this goes in place of your left navigation on the shopping cart. We also like to have an image box that highlights one of our unique selling propositions in this left navigation of the shopping cart. And one of the things that we noticed that gave us a slight bump was that if the unique selling proposition that’s highlighted in the shopping cart’s left navigation is not mentioned anywhere else on the site. So the only place that that USP is ever seen is on the cart page. It might be something like “100% satisfaction guarantee” or an online delivery guarantee image. But the point is that the image is only ever seen during the checkout experience. It’s one of those little subliminal things that will give you a conversion boost.

So that’s what we’ve got for the shopping cart. That’s how you optimize your shopping cart page. Let’s move on.

Here’s just an example of Crate and Barrel how they are doing it with their Proceed top to bottom, how they are using all these elements that we’re talking about. They’ve got their secure checkout. They don’t do it with left navigation, but they’ve got it down there at the bottom.

Let’s move on to the checkout page. Let’s talk about some checkout page best practices. Number one: Have as many payment methods as possible. Look at how Disney does this. They are amazing. They’ve got five different payment options and 10 if you count each different credit card they use. They’ve got Disney Rewards, Disney gift cards, PayPal, Bill me Later, credit card.

And at the very least, you need two. You need credit cards and you need PayPal. If you are not accepting PayPal, you are losing 30% of your sales. So absolutely add PayPal to your store. Add Amazon Checkout, Google Checkout. Not many people use Google Checkout, but you want to have more ways for people to pay you, because not everyone uses the same payment services. So you want to make it easy for people to give you money, easy to collect your order. So multiple payment options is a really big one.

The next thing is your checkout page should be a single page. So after they press Continue from the shopping cart, and after they enter that checkout experience, they should be able to complete everything right there on that page. It can be a progress system where they fill out one section and then another one becomes available or whatever. But the key is that it all happens on that one page. You don’t have to continue to multiple pages.

In very, very few cases will multipage checkout, where the shipping is on one page, then you move to the billing, and then whatever, that will very, very rarely win in a conversion test against a single page checkout. So just go for the safe route. Use a single page checkout. Almost every shopping cart out there has the single page checkout options.

And you need congruency here as well. Sometimes people will have congruency on their cart, and then when you actually move into the payment area where you are connecting up to the payment gateway it will look completely different. So keep the congruency through the checkout experience all the way through from product page, to shopping cart page, to checkout page.

And here you also want to have a coupon field. If you are offering coupons on the store, then have a field where people can enter those. Now, if you are not offering coupons, you don’t want to have this field. And some store platforms have these cool things where you can run sales that are auto-applied by your shopping cart. Like, if you get free shipping over $50, then once more than $50 is added to their shopping cart then it automatically applies that free shipping coupon. Most store platforms have that option, so you should use that option instead of a coupon if you have that available to you.

Moving on, we’ll talk about some additional conversion boosters that have to do with your checkout experience. The first is shopping cart abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment emails are really big. You can pick up to 25% of the people who bail on your shopping cart with shopping cart abandonment emails. Basically, it’s an email that goes out that says, “Hey, I noticed that you were trying to check out with us. We’d love to give you a coupon or we’d love you to finish that order.” You can watch the bonus module with Eric Shannon for more information on this method. We go really, really in-depth. He’s a genius at email marketing for ecommerce. And I got him to come on and do a whole webinar for you guys on how to get the most out of your email marketing.

Most carts have a plugin for this. Big Commerce has it built right into the platform. And we’ll do a module for that. But it’s really, really easy to do and it will give you a really nice boost in your sales for your store. So go ahead and add this on.

Next thing we have is social selling. This is really big. This is post-purchase. After they buy a link pops up and it says, “Hey, share this with your friends on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Google, or email, or whatever and get a percentage off your next order.” Or, “If three of your friends buy through the link that you send, then your product is free.” Whatever it is, you can offer some kind of incentive for people to share your products, your services. And it works really well.

Curebit and Shopalize are two great plugins for Big Commerce. They also work really, really well with most other store platforms. So if you are not on Big Commerce, you can use Curebit on whatever store you’ve got.

Next we’ve got the Thank You page videos and survey requests. This is a really good strategy. What you want to do is have a video on your Thank You page after they buy. It says, “Hey, thank you so much for buying. We really appreciate it. Here’s what you can expect in terms of when your product will ship. Here’s how you can get in touch with us if you have any questions. Also, we’d love it if you could join our Facebook community. There’s a link right below this video where you can just go ahead and click the Like button and you’ll be able to stay up to date on what we’re up to and what offers we’re making.” And you can also ask them to take a survey on why they bought from you.

We use a service called Survey Monkey for this. We ask questions like, “Hey, what made you purchase from us today? Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve our store? Was there anything that you were looking for that you didn’t find? Or based on your experience here, would you recommend us to other people? Would you shop here again? Is there anything that you think that we should have in stock on our store that we don’t currently have in stock?”

And you get a ton of information. You get people taking this survey and giving you information that your competitors in the market do not have. It gives you information on products you should stock. It gives you some information on what people might not have liked about your store experience. It’s just a really, really easy thing to do. And it’s a piece of value that you can add to your store. And it’s a piece of real estate that you can use. The confirmation page is a valuable piece of real estate and you should use it to your advantage. Someone just bought something from you. They are willing to watch your video. They are willing to like your page. They are willing to take a survey explaining why they bought from you and giving you their viewpoints. So it’s a really cool thing that you should absolutely do and will get you a lot of value in your ecommerce store.

Next thing we have is a package insert. Man, this is really, really big. More often than not, you can get your drop shipper to pop a postcard into the outgoing shipment. What you do is you just print one up, and on side you’ve got a coupon off their next order and an invitation and the URL to join your Facebook page, and a notice about your blog, which we talked about. You know, your informational content value blog that you have for your market. You give them a notice and you say, “Hey, this is the kind of content that we’re providing over here. Heads up. We’re going to be emailing you about it,” because you are going to be emailing your customers with your new blog posts. And you also give them a coupon that they can give their friend and a thank you for ordering your product. So it just gives people a little coupon they can pin up on their fridge and they can use it the next time that they buy a product from you.

The other side should feature some of your products, should have the phone number to your website, and a note like, “Use your special coupon to get X, Y, and Z products.” And you might want to feature a product that is complimentary to all the products on your store, maybe an accessory or a cross-sell.

So this little insert acts as just another thing. See, the thing is, when people open a package, they read the mail that’s in there. They look at the coupon that’s in there. If they are opening your package, they are going to look at the information that’s in that package. So you might as well include a little coupon in there, a little note, a little thank you, just another way of engaging with the customer, building a brand, and making an offer. And if you have a really good offer, 20% or so, we’ll use that coupon.

Finally, after they receive your product, after they’ve had the product, they’ve used it for a week or so, you send them a follow-up email requesting that they write a review of it. this is how you get product reviews on your store which give you an enormous boost on your product pages. You gotta email people individually with a link to the specific product that they ordered.

Now, right now this has to be done manually. And perhaps there is a business opportunity here for one of you that’s watching this. If you create a software that will automatically email people a week or so after the product has been delivered that will give them a link directly to the product that’s they bought in your store requesting a review, people will buy it. I will buy it from you. It will be big in the ecommerce space.

This really works to get people to give you reviews because you are sending them directly back to the product that they bought. This is why Amazon gets so many reviews. They make it really easy for customers to leave a product review, and you want to do the same. One of the best ways to do that is to send them a personal email. Have your customer service person do this. If you are doing your own customer service, do it yourself. Send them a personal email that says, “Hey, thank you so much for buying. I wanted to request that you leave us a review and let us know what you thought of our product. Here’s a link right to the product page where you ordered where you can leave your review down at the bottom of the page.”

OK, so this does it for conversion boosters. Ezra Firestone over and out until the next video. Thank you so much for watching. I hope that this has helped you double or triple your store. If you use all the elements in these videos that we’ve just talked about for your site wide, for the individual pages on your store, you will see a nice boost in conversion on your ecommerce store. So go ahead and do it. Let me know how it goes for you. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one. 07-01

Ezra: Hey everyone. Ezra Firestone here and welcome to the bonus section. Now you remember at the beginning of this course I told you that my viewpoint is that if I want to really teach you guys the physical product business that I need more than just me. I need more people than just me. I need more experts who have viewpoints, who have experience, who know how this stuff works, who are better at certain elements on this game.

This is where you get that. I’ve got Eric Shannon coming in to teach you email marketing for ecommerce. This guy is a genius at email marketing. The things you are going to learn in that module alone are worth the price of this entire course.

We’ve got Shirley Tan coming in to talk to you about business systems. We’ve got James Shramko of Super-Fast Business coming into to talk about wealthification for ecommerce. And my buddy Terry Lin of BuildMyOnlineStore.com, which is a fantastic ecommerce podcast that you should check out if you haven’t checked it out already, is going to come in and talk to you about the most common mistakes he sees made in the ecommerce business.

And finally, we have Eric Owens of AtBusinessBrokers.com. Eric is the guy who sold the $220,000 physical products store that I sold last September. He sold it for me. He just sold another store for me last month. So this guy really understands how to liquidate in a physical product asset. He’s going to come in and show you how to do it. and I’m sure if any of you are interested in liquidating a physical product asset, or any kind of asset really, any kind of online asset, Eric is a really good guy to talk to about how to do that.

I have a few other surprise bonuses in there that I won’t mention now. But it’s a really, really fun module. You are going to be talking with people who are very successful in the physical product business who don’t always teach this stuff. But I’ve gotten them to agree to come out and share some of this stuff with you.

Thank you guys so much for making it through the course. I hope you enjoy these bonus modules. And again, if you need anything, contact me on social media, contact me on Facebook, hit the Support link; anything that you need, I am here to answer those questions for you. Thank you again so much and enjoy this module. 07-02

Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome to another bonus video. We’ve got a really special guest today. His name is Eric Shannon. Eric Shannon was a trainer at Stomper Net, which was a company that did trainings on all kinds of things related to internet marketing and ecommerce. And Eric ran a website called OhMyDogSupplies.com, which was a dog supply ecommerce website. He’s just really, really smart at ecommerce, and he’s tested all this stuff with his own money. One of the things that Eric excels at is email marketing for ecommerce stores, which is something that a lot of store owners sort of leave on the table. They don’t do anything about it. so I’ve convinced Eric to come here today and share some of his email marketing secrets.

Eric is just a really good guy to learn from because he’s in the trenches doing this stuff himself. Eric, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with us today.

Eric: Thank you very much for that lovely intro, Ezra. What we’re going to talk about today is email for ecommerce stores. I put in parentheses that there is nothing ninja here. The reason why I put that is because when I started in ecommerce, it took me a long time to actually start doing email, because I was pretty intimidated by it, because you all these internet marketing guys and they talk about copywriting, and a lot of them are really, really good at copywriting and they are really good marketers. That intimidated me from doing email.

But what I learned is that stuff doesn’t matter. Email for ecommerce is a lot different. Most of the battle is just actually doing it; just setting up a couple processes, being confident in what you send, because you don’t need great copywriting skills at all when you are emailing for ecommerce. Now, if you are good at that stuff, great. There’s much more you can do besides what we’re going to cover today. But we’re going to stick to the basics.

Ezra: I’m just going to interject here and say I love that you started off that way, because oftentimes in business, 50% of success is just showing up and just doing something. So I like that. I think that’s really true, specifically with ecommerce stores, that anything is better than nothing, which is what most people do.

Eric: Yeah. When I had my pet supplies business, I really waited a long time to get started. I probably didn’t bother doing a broadcast email till our list was about 30,000 or so, which was so stupid, because once we implemented it, a lot of the stuff I’m going to talk about today, our revenues went up by like 15% right away. And then as we got better at emailing, it went up even more.

Anyway, let’s get started here. The one thing to understand is that with ecommerce you have three separate lists. Depending on what email you use, it could actually literally be three lists or just different segments of your list. But you are going to have a customer list, a prospect list, and then a cart abandon list. So we’re going to talk about how to set each one of them up.

The customer list, there’s really not much to talk about here. Just make sure your cart integrates with your…When I say ESP, it just means Email Service Provider. Now, some carts and some providers are going to be harder than others. For example, AWeber is horrible for this. You can integrate some carts, but they are going to force your people to double opt-in. hopefully you have a better, more ecommerce friendly ESP than that. but some of them, like Shopify is good. MailChimp automatically integrates.

There’s not much for me to talk about here. Just talk to your programmer, talk to your cart and figure that part out. But it’s really shocking how many people don’t have their customers automatically end up on an email list. And this is going to be your best of the three lists. Just stop everything and figure that part out before you really keep going.

The second part is your prospect list. These are people that come to your site but don’t buy anything. There’s three different ways you can build this list. But before you pick one, the first thing you gotta do is figure out what you are going to bribe these people with to join your list. One thing that you see out there a lot is people offering information or free reports. But in ecommerce that’s usually not the best way to go.

Think about it for a second. If you are buying pet supplies…Let’s just use pet supplies as the example throughout this presentation, because that’s what I did. Let’s say you are selling all kinds of pet supplies—beds, bowls, food, everything. And somebody comes to your site because they searched on Google for dog bowls or they saw an ad somewhere where you were pitching dog beds.

What’s your free report going to be? It can’t be about a specific product because you don’t know what product they are interested in today. You could do a free report about something like dog training, but do they really care? That’s not why they are on your site. They’re not here to learn about dog training. They are here to buy something because they saw a link somewhere on the internet that told them that your site is where they could buy the thing that they want to buy.

So what I always did was mainly discount offers. There are three ways to collect these email addresses. The first way is just by building it into the template of your site. Usually that’s in a sidebar on either the left or right hand side. Some people put it in the footer, but it doesn’t get much visibility there. I’m not a huge fan of putting discount opt-in offers into your template, because if somebody is going to buy anyway, why give them the discount? If somebody is already on your product page and ready to hit “add to cart”, why distract them with something that says, “10% off”. Best case scenario, they are going to buy the same thing they would have bought anyway and eat into your profit, or worse, they are going to opt-in and something will distract them and they will never finish their purchase.

So I’m not a huge fan of the sidebar discount offers. We had it on our homepage, but that’s it. we didn’t really put it site wide.

The second way is with an overlay. I’ve never personally done this on an ecommerce store. I’ve always wanted to try it to see what would happen. An overlay, you see it more on info product type of sites and blogs. It’s where you get the big flyover thing. It’s not a popup, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. That’s something you could try too. But if you are giving a discount offer, again, be careful because now you are giving a discount to every single person that’s hitting your site. And that may or may not be the smartest thing to do. An overlay, if you wanted to try an information offer, that’s where you would try it.

And the third way, this is the way I like the best, was an exit offer. There’s different pieces of technology that will do this. An exit offer is where somebody leaves your site and they get that little box that says, “Hey, are you sure you want to leave?” You are trying to drive them to an opt-in offer. We used to give 12% off in this offer. And this worked very, very well. We found that as high as 20% of the people that opted in at that point would complete a purchase at some point in their history on our list.

The problem with exit popups if you’ve got to be careful of the technology. A lot of the stuff you can buy off the shelf for $50, $100 won’t work because it pops up anytime somebody hits the back button or enlarges an image. That gives you the problem we just talked about a minute ago, which is you are extending discount offers to people that would have bought at full price anyway.

So when you are researching your technology, make sure that it’s not going to pop up your discount offer when somebody hits the back button or enlarges an image. And also, we like to set behavior rules on it, such as only pop to people that are first time visitors, and only pop to people that have visited at least three pages on this visit. We don’t want to pop it up to everybody. Does that make sense Ezra?

Ezra: Yeah, I think that’s really, really smart. And that’s definitely something that you’ll probably have to have custom coded into whatever solution you are using. A lot of the folks going through this training are using Big Commerce. I don’t actually know of a resources of someone who can do that. but I’ll look that up. And if I find someone who can custom code that into Big Commerce, I know it’s available, I’ll put that resource next to this module.

But I think it’s a really good idea. And the template a lot of these folks have does have the discount coupon site wide. We tested that and it worked, and a lot of people would use that coupon. But you are right. You might lose sales. So it’s something to think about. We’re only giving 5%, so it’s not a big deal. But it’s true that you might be giving that to people who would have purchased anyway. If the option of popping it only to first time visitors, if we can figure that out then I think it’s a much better strategy.

Eric: Cool. Let’s talk about the cart abandon list setup. If you guys are mostly using Big Commerce, there’s probably a couple of apps that already do this. Just some that I know off the top of my head are the ones I listed here. What that’s going to do is when somebody is in your checkout and they type in their name and email address, it’s usually a piece of JavaScript or something that just yanks that information out of your checkout form and sucks it into your ESP. So now, even if they don’t finish the checkout, now they are on a list.

Now, some ESP’s have this built in already. They are mainly the higher end services like ListTrack. But your basic ones, your AWeber’s, your MailChimp’s, InfusionSoft, they are not going to have this built in. But the $1,000, $2,000 a month things usually will.

If you are on a shopping cart that doesn’t have this built in or if you can’t do an ESP that has that, you can just ghetto rig this thing. And that’s what we did with Oh My Dog Supplies.

Here’s exactly what that looked like. This was Step 2 of our checkout. I didn’t show Step 1, but it’s the basic “add to cart” screen where it’s, “Here are the two products in your cart. Click here to continue”. When you click Continue you would get this, which is Part 2 of the checkout: first name, last name, email address. However, this actually has nothing to do with checkout; nothing at all. We added an extra step into checkout. This is actually just an AWeber form. That’s it.

Ezra: For those of you who are familiar with info marketing, this is akin to the hot list. So when someone clicks “add to cart”, Step 1 is enter your email address and you drop them on to what’s called the hot list, that if they don’t buy they are an autoresponder sequence where you follow up with them and give them discounts and that kind of stuff. I remember years ago when I saw that you guys were doing this on Oh My, and I was like, “These guys are super smart.” I had never seen anyone doing it for ecommerce.

Eric: Yeah. It’s the best converting list you are going to have. I’ll get into this more in a bit. But the first email that goes out after this…See, we used AWeber. And one of the things with AWeber is you have to send an email immediately after signup. You have no choice. I was mad about this at first because it’s a cheesy email. It just says, “Hey, Ezra. We know you started a checkout. I don’t know if you finished it or not, but if you didn’t, here’s a link.” I really thought that was kind of two-bit. But the people that clicked that link converted in 25%. Now, some of those people would have bought anyway. But still, I mean it was crazy how well that list performed.

So that’s how you set up your three different lists. Let’s talk a minute about what you actually send…

Ezra: I just want to stop for a second really quickly. I just want everyone to take note of that. 25% of his abandoned carts who actually opened the email that they got buy or bought. Big Commerce has multiple plugins in the app…And we go over this in one of the conversion modules at the end of the course you guys have probably been through, but multiple plugins where you can just plug that right in and do abandoned cart emails. So it’s something you should start with right away, because why not? You are leaving money on the table if you are not.

Eric: Yeah. And we can do most of the work with autoresponders with the cart stuff. So it’s really just spend half a day on it and set and forget, which is the best part about internet business in general.

Let’s talk about the different types of emails you can send to people. I just put them in four general categories. There’s probably more beside this. But you’ve got your trust builders and your social proof emails. Those first two aren’t directly selling something. You are just trying to make it more likely that somebody will buy from you in the future. Your third kind is a content email and then you’ve got your offers. The offers are where most of the money comes from.

I just pulled a couple different examples out here. With Oh My Dog Supplies, this was our main trust builder email. It might be too small for you to actually read this, but people would get this as either the first message when they opted into a prospect list. They would get this on Day 2 if they were a cart abandoner. Or if they bought something, this would be the first autoresponder message they would get as a customer.

It just restates the different reasons that people should do business with us. We use three points here. So we’ve got our return policy, which was, at the time, six months long, which is much longer than our competitors. We had a low price guarantee, so we restated that here. And then the third thing is we had this little uniqueness guarantee thing that was kinda cool, and we just restated that here as well.

So this is like if it’s a prospect or cart abandon, it might help nudge them over the fence a little bit. If it’s a customer, it’s more of a stick strategy, where somebody orders something, just in case there is some buyer’s remorse, something like this might make them feel a little bit better, slightly less likely to do an order cancellation. But that’s an example of a trust builder.

Ezra: That’s really, really good. It’s good to hear stuff a couple times. And it’s also good to…You guys had probably the most successful email marketing of any ecommerce store I’ve ever seen and talked about and actually seen stats from. So for you to break down the different types of emails, why you are doing them, where they fit in is just really generous of you to share that with people. I think it’s super cool. Thank you.

Eric: Yeah, and it’s also basic, too, when you really think about it. It took me so long to actually implement, but it’s really easy stuff.

Social proof emails serve a similar function. These would mainly be used in autoresponder chains for prospects. This is mainly, “Hey, we’re really legit.” Let’s be honest. We thought we were kind of big at Oh My Dog Supplies. But nobody on the street would know who we are. The person who opted into our email list, there’s maybe a 1% chance they had heard of us before they opted in. and most of the people watching this are going to be in the same boat. We don’t work for Target or Amazon or something like that. we were completely unknown.

So when something cool happens to your business, you might want to think about putting it in an autoresponder. So this example was we had a bunch of our stuff in a photo shoot that CNN did. It was posted on their website. So we just had a little email go out. At the time it was a broadcast to our customers, but we later put it in an autoresponder to say, “Hey, did you see the photo shoot on CNN?”

So, nobody buys anything from this email. But again, it’s an early autoresponder message for prospects. So it’s just helping to build your credibility in their eyes a little bit.

Content emails. I didn’t put an example of an actual content email in here because you all kinda know what that is. Content emails can really be anything. I resisted these for a long time because I thought, “Ah, nobody wants an article in their email. We sell pet supplies. How do I know what somebody wants to read about? There are so many different possible interests.” Or if you are in more niche stuff, like, say your store has something to with Valentine’s Day, really, what are you going to send except if it’s a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day?

But if you think about in a more broad base, just send them stuff. Look at stuff that’s popular and getting shared a lot on Facebook. Go to StumbleUpon. Just look for quick things—photos, videos, news stories that are popular. With pets it’s a little easier than if I sold lawn chairs, for example. But you can find stuff that’s popular in your market. And if you email the people, you are going to get a response.

Now remember, you are not offering anything. So your sales aren’t going to be through the roof. So the absolute most important part of a content email is that you wrap it in a template, like an actual email template that looks like the header of our website.

See, one of the first things I learned with email marketing before Oh My Dog Supplies, before I did this all the time for myself, I was an ecommerce director for a pretty big catalogue company. And I didn’t really know much about anything when I started. But I had the keys to these lists that were well into the six figures and I had all these analytics tools that were really cool, and I just was able to try stuff and see what happened.

One thing that really surprised me in the beginning was I would send an offer for a specific product and then go into Omniture, which was the analytics we were using back then, and it shocked me. I was like, “Wow. If we got 100 sales, only 10 of them were for the product that I pitched in the email. The other 90 were for completely random stuff.”

And then when I looked into it deeper to see what they were actually clicking on, a lot of these people weren’t clicking on the links specific to the product. They were clicking on those links in that header that were for the kitchen category, or the home organization, or whatever it was.

So when you send these content emails, the content doesn’t matter. It just has to be interesting enough to where it puts a smile on their face maybe, or is interesting to them, or it just doesn’t make them unsubscribe. Once they read it, you are getting your navigational links in front of their eyeballs. And some of them will click them and go into your store, even though you didn’t offer anything, and they’ll buy stuff.

So content emails are something that I really wish I did more of in my Oh My Dog Supplies time. But it’s really one of the easiest, most non-offensive ways to increase your frequency. If you don’t have any offers to send, just send a content email. Nothing bad is going to happen and it will get you sales. But just make sure you have a real email template with navigational links at least in the header, maybe something in the sidebar. Just have links to your site in there.

Ezra: I think that this alludes to what we’ve been talking about in the course about the faceless ecommerce store dying. Most ecommerce store owners are so afraid to send anything other than sales emails. That’s the opposite of what you want to be doing. You want to be engaging with your customers, building a community around your brand, sending them content that you think is relevant to their lives based on what you know about who they are. All that stuff adds up. And those content emails, they make sales exactly like you are saying. So I think that’s cool that you have hard data on that to show.

Chris: The other thing, too, that made me resist content emails is because I always had the attitude of, “Look. I am not an expert in anything having to do with dogs. And I don’t want to be an expert. So I will never position myself as an expert.” And that made me shy away from content emails. It wasn’t until the last couple years when I realized, “Oh, wait. You don’t have to position yourself as an expert. Just send out interesting stuff from other people.” That’s all you need to do with content. You don’t need to be the expert.

Ezra: That’s awesome. YouTube is a really good source for stuff. It doesn’t matter what the market is. There is some interesting stuff related to that market on YouTube.

Chris: Absolutely. So let’s get into two different types of offers. I’ll make this pretty quick. There are evergreen offers, which are just offers that never go bad, and there are broadcast, which are usually time sensitive.

Evergreen offers could be something like if you have free shipping on orders over $100 or free shipping just in general. That’s an evergreen offer. This example here, we had free shipping on all dog beds. So this was just something that never goes bad. We had this offer for all seven years. So this was part of the autoresponder sequence. Some shopping carts have promotional abilities that let you get pretty good with this. We were on Xcart and they were good on this. So we’d have not only free shipping on dog beds, but dog toys: Buy two, get one free. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but let’s just say dog bowls: Buy one, get the second one 20% off. And these all increased conversion a little bit, and they just gave us an excuse to add another evergreen offer into the autoresponder chain.

And the broadcast offers. This is a perfect example of the type of email we would send out. It’s not fancy at all. You’ll notice there’s really hardly any copy. You don’t John Carlton level skills or Frank Kearn level skills to write this. It’s really just a paragraph of text that we got from the manufacturer; we might have edited it a little bit. And it’s just pretty pictures.

With ecommerce emails, words don’t sell the clicks. Pictures sell the clicks. So it really takes a lot of pressure off of what you have to come up with. All you need is a good graphic designer and that’s not expensive at all. Each email will cost us maybe $75 to send. But you can get people on ODesk to do it much cheaper than that.

And that’s all this is. We just made a custom graphic up top and then four product shots with a little [xx 0:22:43- audio cuts out]. And this particular one did really well.

So let’s talk about sequences and frequency starting with the prospect list. I’d recommend setting up at least seven days’ worth of autoresponder. I believe we had 10 or 12 days with Oh My Dog Supplies. Use your own recipe, but this is kinda how we did it. We started off with that trust builder that I showed you earlier. Then we would mix in social proof emails and evergreen offers. That CNN one was in there. We had other stuff like that from different TV shows and cool stuff that we were featured in. and then we had those evergreen offers. We had seven days’ worth of that.

What we found is that the bulk of the purchases happened off that email. But they trickle in for the rest of the seven days too. They were all worth doing.

Other examples of good stuff to put in there would be…we had one for our top 10 best reviewed products, which is a nice social proof one too, because you just put in an image of the products along with the actual review from the customer.

The only thing to watch out for with featuring products in an autoresponder is discontinued, out of stock type of stuff. That can be a real pain. So only do products that never ever, ever go out of stock.

Then at the end of the autoresponder, you can put in a strong offer. Maybe that’s 20% off anything in your store. Maybe it’s two free day shipping, whatever it is. You can put it in there and make it a one day event and that’s it. after that you just move them onto your broadcast list. Actually, that’s bad wording. You don’t actually move them on to a separate list, but they are done with your autoresponder.

Cart abandon lists is like this. The first email they get is, “Hey, Ezra. Just want to let you know we saved this stuff in your cart. So if you want to come back and finish your checkout, here’s a link.” You do not need to give them any offers whatsoever; no discounts, no nothing. If you want to show pictures of the products, great. But you really just need a link to the cart and that’s it.

On Day 2 if they still haven’t finished their checkout, you can send a trust builder or some kind of credibility booster. No offer yet, just something that makes it more likely that they might buy from you.

Day 3 is when we normally put in an offer. The one we used was…I think it was $10 off a $50 purchase, with is a pretty good discount.

On a side note, I found that $10 off $50 often converted better than 20% off. At a $50 purchase it’s the same exact thing. But anything bigger than $50, the 20% gets much, much better as the dollar goes up. But, for some reason the $10 off $50 converted better.

Ezra: We’ve found that same thing. When you label a specific dollar amount you get a better conversion rate. People understand the value of $10. They don’t really know 20%. It’s why on the section pages of our store when we tested having the percentage off, where it was like regular price, sale price, and then it says 20%, for each one of those we also put the actual dollar amount that they saved. So, “You save $6,” whatever it is. And adding that dollar amount gave us a boost.

Chris: That makes sense. Yeah. So, Day 3 is when you give the offer. And then the last day…Let me back up a second. When you give a discount offer, you always give a deadline; always, always, always. In this case, I am doing “expires in three days”. So after I give the first offer, I’m going to leave them alone until that last day, and then I’m going to send them a last email that says, “Hey, Ezra, just want to let you know we’ve still got your stuff in your cart and that $10 off deal expires today. So if you want to take advantage of it, let’s get a move on and let’s finish this up.” And that’s it. now they are done with the autoresponder part, and then you just move them into your normal broadcast group.

And then the customer list. So in terms of autoresponders, I don’t really think you should do more than one. Just send them that stick strategy kind of thing where you are restating your reasons to buy and just leave it be. Then you are just going to send them broadcasts.

OK, now here’s what to broadcast. These are the general categories of stuff we would send. My favorite one was always, “We’ve got new stuff”. It’s not the one that brings the most sales. But the reason I like it the best is because you are not giving discounts. I hate doing discounts too often because you don’t want to train people to never buy from you until you have a discount. So, “We’ve got new stuff” is great because you are selling at full price. If you want to, you could do a discount, but we usually did not. So you are selling at full price. You are showing new stuff. And it gets sales. People like new stuff.

The second one is the one that probably gets you the most sales, which is just discount off anything in the store. We did 20% a lot. We did $20 off $100. Those are probably the two we did the most. Well, yeah, combine that with free shipping on any size order. Those are probably the three biggies. And those always pull in the most sales. But remember, if you are giving away 20% and your average gross profit after you pay for shipping is 35%, which is probably pretty normal, well you are giving away significantly over half your profit. So use them sparingly. If we were disciplined we would do them once a quarter at the most.

One notch down from that would be a category blowout, which is, say, a discount on a specific category like dog beds or dog bowls. Those do pretty well, but not as good as site-wides.

And then clearance items. This is great for you ecommerce guys that take returns on products where your vendors don’t take returns. We ended up with just so much crap over the years; just random pet supplies. It’s hard. When you have 50,60, 70 vendors like some of you guys do, you can’t set your return policy based upon your vendor’s return policy. You’ve either got to take everything back or take nothing back. I think it’s kind of foolish to take nothing back. So you end up with lots of extra inventory. And emails are a great way to get rid of some of it.

So at my catalogue job, they had a set couple emails that they would send out all the time. When I first saw them I was horrified at how stupid they seemed and how ugly they were. And this one turned out to be one of the best performing series, but every single Sunday an email would go out of all their clearance items. And these things were ridiculous. I mean it would be an email with pictures of 95 products. You’d have to scroll 80 times to get to the bottom of it. but the thing sold. And that’s how they got rid of their extra stuff.

So if you have stuff sitting around, whether it’s like one SKU or 10, email it. Get rid of it. in total sales volume, since you are limiting to what you have on hand, it might not be a ton of overall sales, but it’s getting rid of that junk that you are just eating anyway.

Ezra: The crazy thing is it would sit there, but people love sales. So they buy it even if they don’t really need it.

Chris: Yeah. And you can give 50% off on that stuff, because anything you get for it is found money. So you can even do 80% off if something is really hard to move. Just get rid of it. get some money in your pocket instead of just taking up space around the office. So that’s clearance items.

Stupid holiday sales. This we did a lot with pet stuff. If you just go to Google and type in “stupid holidays”, “weird holidays”, “unusual holidays”, you’ll find all kinds of stuff. For example, with dogs, I forget what day it is, but there is a national “Scoop the Poop” day or there’s national “Dog Biscuit Day”; all kinds of stuff. So we would find those and use them as excuses to send emails, usually in combination with some kind of smaller discount or in combination with a new line of stuff we were putting on the site. But I always liked sending those.

Ezra: I just want to drop in real quick that there should be a little ninja image that pops up for that one, because that’s super smart, sending stupid holiday emails. People are OK to be communicated with about collective experiences—experiences that everyone is having. So, introducing holidays that they didn’t even know about is just so genius.

Chris: We were never smart enough to do this, but especially if you combine that with a Facebook thing. So if you put a little Facebook post about it as well and just encourage some sharing of that, maybe run some ads to it, you can probably get a lot more traction with it, because that’s the kind of thing that is shared on Facebook.

So a couple miscellaneous tips. The first one is always, always, always use deadlines when you run offers. It just increases the conversion exponentially. So even if your cart doesn’t support deadlines, say there is a deadline. So even if you can’t set an expiration date, you tell the customer, “This expires today.” And then if you ever get around to deleting the coupon code, great. If not, who cares? But just set an expiration date.

I like 24 hour sales. And I also like the two-step where you have either a three or a seven day discount window, but you are sending an email at the beginning at the offer and then a reminder email on the last day of the offer. You will get more sales on the first day, but you will add a good chuck on that last day as well. So I can’t tell you which one is better. They both work. But the important part is always use deadlines, and if it’s a multiday offer, make sure you send that reminder on the final day.

Ezra: There’s a reason that scarcity is in every marketing book you ever read about. It works. Time constraints work really, really well. It’s good to incentivize your customers to take action.

Eric: Yeah, because otherwise they don’t. So the more you push them along, the better the conversion get.

My last miscellaneous tip is you need a good looking design with nice product images. It’s not like info products where words are what sells, unless you sell a really unique product line and you only sell that one line of products. Like Ezra with skincare stuff, words can go a long way because you are selling the one main thing that has a distinct benefit.

But when you are selling dog collars, what are you really going to say? People buy it because it looks cool. So put good images in there. Have a nice looking template. Ezra, I didn’t put this in a slide or anything, but I’m going to give you some contact info for my old graphic designer who did all our Oh My Dog Supply stuff. So if anybody needs a design person, she’s somebody you can contact.

Ezra: Awesome. What we’ll do is we’ll put the link to her site, her name, all that stuff right underneath this video and in the Resources section for this piece of media, this video. We’ll have all that ready for you. So if you want to use her, that’s awesome. That’s a great resource. It’s always good to have designers, particularly designers that are endorsed by other people who have used them. so we’ll take advantage of that for sure.

Eric: And what makes it easier, too, is if you get a graphic designer that can also work with your HTML template and even load it in your email provider, it makes everything so, so easy. At that point, all you need to do is come up with the idea. You say, “All right, Bob. I want to do a dog collar offer…” And then they just do the rest. It’s beautiful. But it takes a while to get to that point. You really have to work with somebody for a while.

But that’s all I got Ezra. Hopefully that was valuable to some people.

Ezra: That was awesome. This only grows as your business grows. We’ve got people who are just starting out taking this course. We’ve got people who already have ecommerce businesses, people of all levels. So the cool thing about email is it doesn’t matter how many customers you have or how big your list is or any of that kind of stuff to be effective.

I’m really appreciative for you coming and taking the time to share this stuff. This is ninja, ninja, ninja email marketing for ecommerce stuff. So thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Eric: Sure.

Ezra: And everyone who is taking this course appreciates it. is there a place where folks can find out more about you if they want?

Eric: There might be. Depending on when people watch this, there is going to be a site at some point in the future called Ecommerce Upgrade. It’s not a product or anything, but it’s a little project that me and my good friend John Butt are starting to work on now. But it’s EcommerceUpgrade.com. By the time you see this there may or may not be anything there. I think right now it’s still a parked domain. But at some point it will be cool.

Ezra: We will flash that URL across the screen here in this video, so you should see it right now. And we’ll also put a link to it. if there’s nothing there, just check back later because there will be at some point. And I’ll tell you what. Eric is a good dude to follow. So if there is stuff on that website all about ecommerce, you should follow it. You should get on their list. You should find out what they are up to, because the best kind of trainers are the people who have been there and done it.

Eric: Thanks Ezra.

Ezra: Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it and we’ll talk to you soon. 07-04 Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another bonus module. Today we have Shirley Tan of ecommercesystems.com. Shirley is an ecommerce genius. She’s very good at scaling businesses. She understands ecommerce and she understands how to translate her knowledge into easily consumable pieces of information that you can take action on. I’m really excited to present Shirley Tan to you today. Shirley, thank you so much for joining us.

Shirley: Thank you, Ezra, for that nice introduction. Welcome everyone. Thank you for being here today. Today I’m going to show you how to grow your business from where it is now to over 10 million and beyond. My name is Shirley Tan and in 2004 I split off from another business and went on my own. The day that I took over the online business I was de-indexed from Google. We went from being on page 11 to nowhere. So, being page 11 wasn’t bad. I was so sick and worried that I didn’t even know if I was going to be in business by the end of that year.

But it’s not in my nature to quit or give up, and I decided that I was going to get resourceful and figure this out. Once we figured out how to work our way back into Google, the work really began from that point and I decided that I was going to get my house in order and to grow my business from that point. One of the things that this process that I did, this key change in my business, which was the game changer, took my company from almost bankruptcy to $4.2 million in two years. This was in 2006.

In 2009 I sold the business to a publicly traded company. I stayed with them for a year. And afterwards I left. And I am now starting to do consulting work with businesses, not unlike yours, that are just starting out or businesses that have been in business for a while, sales maybe stagnant or a company is going through some growing pains.

Today I would like to share with you the key thing that saved my business and helped me grow that business. The one thing that I did was process management. I’ll be speaking to you for about 30 minutes. Obviously it took me years to learn the process and perfect the strategies, but I’ll give it to you in a few steps that you can get started right away in your business. At the end I’ll show you how you can continue to work with us if you so choose.

Typically, when you’re starting out your goal is to grow your top line sales, you want to increase your profits, and your goal may be to get a bigger market share in the marketplace. When you go to put into action all the things that you’re learning from Ezra’s course, you’ll need a system to manage it all. This is what some people look like when they’re running their own business. You do everything yourself. You have a hard time delegating. You think that if you want it done right you have to do it yourself. But this strategy, as you know, even if you’re not there yet, is not a sustainable one and you start looking like this gentleman here in the slide. How many of you have felt like this before in the past? You can nod while you’re in your seat.

The training method of most entrepreneurs is that you park a new hire with someone, or yourself, you give them a new notebook and a pen and you train them side by side. On its own this is not bad, but what happens is it’s usually not a full training or a comprehensive training. That notebook that you see there should not be a blank notebook; it should be a notebook that already has the steps and processes in your organization or in your business.

What happens is employees start feeling that they’re only somewhat trained and they’re going to have to sink or swim and figure it out. As a result, most employees start feeling that they’re not formally trained, they don’t know how to do things, they might ad lib and add their own processes or systems, their workaround; their workaround to the workaround. That structure, as you know, is not effective.

The biggest thing I get on a feedback when I do business audits on companies is that employees feel there’s unclear direction, they have a sense of overwhelm, and the biggest, biggest feedback is that lack of guidance is the number one feedback that I get from the interviews. That’s actually really a shame, because owners have good intentions when they go in, when they have new hires, but it doesn’t work out to be that way.

As a result, if you have unhappy employees you’re going to get unhappy customers. You can bet that your unhappy employees will somehow negatively impact your customer service or other aspects in your company that have customer touch points of some fashion. Unhappy customers talk negatively about your brand in this day and age; there’s just no escape. Whether it’s on Yelp, it’s on Facebook, it’s on Twitter, the internet is a brand new platform for them to complain about your company. That’s the biggest thing that you need to mitigate and avoid. Unhappy customers also equals to losing sales, losing profits, and could lead to the demise of your company. Remember, your goal is happy employees create happy customers which create profits for your business.

You can start, especially right now as you’re taking Ezra’s course, and you’re learning all these wonderful tips and skillsets that can take your business to the next level and you’re off to a great running start. If you’re starting out today, you can have the mindset of starting with the end in mind. You can imagine that you are going to be selling this business to your sister who adores you. How would you set up this business for success so that she can take over and you can move onto your next adventure? How would the decisions you make today be different? If it’s not your sister, how would this next person take it over so they can have a turnkey business and they can pay you a much deserved profit that you have worked hard to earn?

My solution, and what I did for my business, is to document all my procedures. The first thing I did. We were very haphazard; we had a process here and there, a binder here and there. It’s not updated, pieces of it are mishmash. It’s like a smorgasbord of things to do or a task list to do. But if you are very strategic about how you go about it and you create a procedure like this that you see on your screen, a step by step where you do this, do this, then this, and underneath here you do these three things, and you go back to following the next step in great detail, then this can be used as your training manual for the next person. Whether the person who’s doing it leaves or gets promoted, the next person comes in and fills the role is equipped to learn the procedures of your company and you’re not training the procedure over and over to different people. This allows you to help guide your employees, help them stay focused, and help you, actually, stay on course.

So what is a business process? Business process, in my definition, is a series of interconnected documents on what activities takes place in your company and all the tasks, all the to-dos, step by step, associated with these activities. Each process and procedure includes the name of the process, who owns it, meaning who’s doing it. You can put a name there or you can put “account clerk” or “accounts payable clerk” or “accountant”, you can put “purchasing manager”. Whoever is going to be doing this job is the person who owns the process.

The most important piece of this business process to me, and this is the piece that’s mostly missing, is the stated purpose. Why is this process important? Why is the person even doing it? The person who is responsible for this procedure must understand why they’re doing the task. They don’t even have to like it. They can grumble. But if they understand it they will do it. And this is very key to the success of the process and to the protection of the integrity of the process, because if you don’t have a purpose, people just make things up as they go along and they’re not attached to it. They’re not going to keep it going, keep it running. They’re not going to follow the process. They’re going to make things up. And pretty soon your process doesn’t look how it was when you first started.

The next step is, once you’ve done the process and put in the purpose, is to jot down each step, as mundane as they may be. Start with “open the box”, if you’re in the shipping department. I recommend some kind of a flow chart; I’ll show you in a few minutes why a flow chart will be very helpful to your company.

Here’s an example of one that we’ve done for a client. It’s a receiving process flowchart, pretty straightforward: “Open the box, pull out the paperwork”; typical thing that you would do in the receiving department of a warehouse. By doing a workflow mapping, it allows you to find gaps in your process. I do apologize if you can’t see the screen that well, but the area that we found, and I should have circled this so I do apologize for that, but the area we found a problem with is that section where you see “call tag” and there’s a question mark right underneath it. In this piece we found out that the piece of the follow up is being dropped, the vendor call tags are not being followed up on, and it not only affects the warehouse because the good just stays there in limbo, taking up space, and could get lost. There’s a possibility of it getting lost, misplaced, getting damaged. Not only that, but it also affects the accounting department because they have this invoice they could be paying and you’re out that money and that good is just sitting in the warehouse. It also affects your inventory because this is money that’s just stagnant, just sitting there not doing anything, not getting turned over and not getting sold. It affects so many levels that you may not be aware of because it’s one little thing that someone forgot to do or there was a process that was forgotten because it’s not incorporated into its daily to-dos, if you will.

Perhaps you may not fully convinced yet why processes are important, so I want to share with you the benefits of processes. One thing that it does is reinforces your core competency. It helps you stay on track. And it reminds you, “This is what we do. This is what we’re really good at. This is how we do it and that’s why our customer loves us.” It helps you stick to the key thing that you’re very good at and it helps you avoid the shiny penny syndrome; all the distraction that goes along in business, all the great ideas that come along or somebody tells you. It helps you. If you have a process in the business you stick to it. It helps you stay focused.

The second best thing about processes is it defines responsibility. Just like we talked about process owners, it helps you define who’s responsible. The next thing that aligns with responsibility is accountability; this person’s doing this and we know who that is. Not only does the person who’s doing the process know that, but everybody in the organization knows it because there’s transparency. We don’t build processes and hide them. We put them up to be seen, to be shared, to be studied and reviewed and to build upon.

The most important thing with all this transparency is defining the linkage, where how one department is connected to another. As we mentioned in the previous examples, the warehouse is tied to accounting, is tied to the inventory, which is tied to the purchasing department. It defines the linkage, it defines the handoff. When you’re done with the paperwork in the warehouse you hand it over to accounting with the receiving report, as an example, and it defines the linkage and the connection. It helps define to the employee, “Before I can do my job, I need…,” as I said in the previous slide, “…Kathy, who is in accounting, to do the pieces in the warehouse so that I can hand the warehouse paperwork to Kathy so that she can do the accounting piece of the completion of the task.”

Click a couple more times for all the images to show up. One more. The shipping is missing. One more. Perfect.

Ezra: You’re rocking it by the way.

Shirley: Thank you. This is called a Venn diagram, and this is another way for you to show, for you organization, how they’re connected. This piece I really like. It shows how the resources of marketing, merchandising are being shared by the retail store, by the web store. This is an actual client that we did. They have a retail store and they have a web store. And they’re sharing marketing people, the merchandising people. And these are all the elements that go into running their organization. Everybody learns differently; I’m very visual myself, and something like this really helps me wrap my head around how a company works and how we’re so intertwined. My success is interlinked to my co-workers’ success. Next slide.

As I mentioned before, it finds gaps. I want to give you another example just to emphasize the benefits of having a work process flow. In this slide, again, this is an actual client, as I was creating this slide with the client, we discovered that in this one particular process, it says right here, “This step triggers customer to call, because when they see it online it says pending, which is confusing.” At this point we recommend they change the word “pending” to something else. I forget what they decided to do with that, but this is a very good example where you will find pieces to improve. When you write things down as in the previous slide, you don’t necessarily see these kinds of gaps because you take what is written as true, as factual. Therefore, sometimes it doesn’t allow you to ask the necessary questions when you actually walk through this step itself.

Believe it or not, there’s actually an extra bonus benefit. One of the by-products of having a great business process is that you will gain a better company culture. You will have higher employee engagement. You’re weighing, “How does that actually work? If they’re working they should be engaged.” Working and being engaged, I think you’ll probably agree by now, are two different things. For one, they’ll understand what their roles are in the organization. Even people outside the organization, people who interact with you, your vendors, customers, your employees, they will know and understand how they contribute to the success of the company because their roles are very clearly defined. They know where they stand. They will know and understand the direction on how to grow the company. The processes, when it works, are relied upon by your employees. When you ensure that they’re in place, you help set them up for success. When they’re successful, obviously you’re going to be successful. Processes have structure. And when there’s structure, there’s a lot of autonomy. They know what they have to do. You don’t have any reason to micromanage them.

Which is, by the way, in interviews with our employees, is one of the biggest complaints. They feel as though they’re constantly being micromanaged. If they know what they have to do and you know what they have to do, then if they don’t do that’s a different conversation. Not that you do that, but who amongst you who has not been guilty say, “I”. I’ve been guilty before. As I was learning this and working on this kind of process for my company, I had been very guilty of micromanaging people in the past. This helps you reduce that possibility of you having to micromanage.

It’s important when we build our business not just to think about the numbers, the sales numbers, the conversion, the click-through rates, all those metrics which are very, very important. But if you don’t want to be a solo practitioner, it’s also important to gauge your success not just on financial ones, but on happy customers, on happy employees. The companies that you all have heard about before, Zappos as an example, or some other great ones that I can’t think of right now, but the best companies to work for that happen to be the most successful ones are the companies who focus on measuring their employee engagement, their employee retention. How many people leave and how many people stick around? Those are metrics of success that should not be ignored.

Effective business process allows the leaders, allows you, you key man, your vice president, your co-founder, to focus on providing consistent and implementing consistent work policies that help you to encourage employee ownership of their careers and their jobs. At the end of the day, that’s what you want-- their ownership of the piece of the business that they’re responsible for, because you can’t make people do things if they don’t want to. You need to get the buy-in. That’s really key.

This is an example of a different way to show...I’m just showing you different ways you can create, because we all like different things, create organizational interdependencies. This is a different way to show the Venn diagram. We did this again for a client. In this case we wanted to show the client that they shared marketing, they shared merchandising, and these are the resources being used by the store and the web store. This is one that I did on my iPad. The app is called iThought. It’s pretty cool. I just wanted to share that with you.

When I was writing my book I created all these mind maps of what to do: under accounting you do this, under purchasing you do this, all the things that go into it. This is different way as well, another way to get an overall view of what happens in your organization, and then you can build upon this. This is something people can really visually appreciate. It’s very impressive when you have all of this stuff on paper and you go, “Oh, we have so many touch points.” It helps you organize all of it.

This one I used is a free tool; I believe it’s called Free Mind and I use it on my PC. This is just a different way, again, to create a mind mapping process. And after you’re all done you can go to your local Kinko’s or FedEx and get it all printed and see this one gigantic sheet. It’s very, very cool.

We talked a lot about a lot of things and you have a lot on your mind with all the cool things you’re learning from Ezra’s course. I’ve given you one strategy to manage it all. The key thing is that you need to develop a system. And once you do, you’re not done; you need to continuously improve your system and focus on how you could do it better. But when you think about how you’re going to do it better, you’ve got to ensure you’re also focused on how you do it better for your customer. Your processes have to be customer-centric. They should not only be good for your employees. Your primary directive is to be good for your customers first. What’s good for your customer will be good for you….you may be jumping steps for your employees, but the end game is to make your customer happy. Your employees should be happy that they’re able to make the customer happy, and then you can build upon this. This is the foundation on which to build a successful enterprise as you’re learning all of these things and implementing them, as you roll them out. Make sure you develop a system to help support your venture.

I do want to say that you can do this in many different ways. We find companies who’ve been doing it for a while, who’ve been in business for a while, that they need an external person to help them do this, to help get out of the politics and all of that. So whether you hire me or you hire someone, make sure you get it done. You need to know where your company stands if you already exist. And if you’re just starting out this is a great way to get going and doing it and starting off on the right footing.

Just a few things for you to do as a reminder: your goal is to develop an organizational development program with clear job descriptions, with process flows for each department. You want to make sure you’re reviewing them, you’re evaluating, you’re testing, you’re tweaking. All of this is just really being involved. Do not abdicate your responsibility. Don’t say, “I’m just going to find someone to do it and they will take care of it.” Even if you do find someone to take care of it, you need to be part of the conversation. Don’t abdicate your responsibility. This is one thing, as I will share with you, that I hear most commonly from business owners that have been there for a while. So I’m giving you the heads up. I assume you’re just starting out because you’re taking this course. But if you’re already there you might be a little guilty of this where you’re like, “ Oh, I will find someone to take care of it for me.” I’m saying you’re got be engaged.

We have a saying in Chinese. Literally translated, it means, “No one will make money for you, because if they’re that good they’re probably doing it for themselves.” So, a little Chinese. I don’t know if it was from Confucius, but a little saying in Chinese I want to impart to you.

Ezra: Confucius say, “You make your own money.”

[laughter]

Shirley: That’s right.

Ezra: Are we going to move to the next slide now?

Shirley: We’re done.

Ezra: Let’s move on. I just want to say Shirley, thank you so much for spending this time with us and sharing your knowledge with us. For everyone who’s listening to this module right now, Shirley really gets business and systems and scaling. A lot of you are just getting started. Some of you are intermediate and advanced. There are people of all levels watching this video right now and I highly recommend you go to Amazon and you search for “Ecom Hell”, which is Shirley’s book, because it takes all this stuff and it really goes into much deeper detail. She’s a fantastic resource for information on how to grow and scale your ecommerce business. And she does consulting, so get in touch with her: Shirley@ecommercesystems.com. She’s awesome, she’s amazing, and she can help you. Shirley, thank you so much for spending this time with us. I really appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us.

Shirley: Thank you Ezra for having me. I enjoyed it. 07-05

Ezra: Hey everyone. Welcome to this bonus module. I’m really excited about this video we have for you today. I’ve got my friend Terry Lin here. And Terry hosts the number one ecommerce podcast on iTunes called “Build my Online Store”. You can find it at Buildmyonlinestore.com. It has downloads in over 100 countries.

With unique expertise drawn from successful ecommerce businesses around the world, Terry also advises business with their online marketing strategies to create systems in place to find better prospects, generate more sales, and build authority in the customer’s mind.

Terry is a badass, to say the least. And he’s here today to share his ecommerce tips with us based on the mistakes most people make getting started. So with that said, Terry, thank you so much for coming on.

Terry: Awesome, Ezra. Thanks for being here today. Today my topic is just about kind of the four biggest mistakes I see that people that want to get into ecommerce make. So I’ve titled this “The Four Horsemen of Ecommerce”, because if you get one of these wrong it will be very bad for your business. Let’s just get into it.

The first one I have is delusional assumptions. This is kind of the first category that a lot of people have when they want to start making money online. They hear all these fairy tales of internet marketers making millions of dollars within a couple of months. These transform into the ecommerce world in some sense, so we’re just going to kind of break the glass on these assumptions and make sure these don’t happen to you too.

So, the first one is what I call the magic silver bullet. This is when you have a grand idea and you believe that it’s going to make you instantly a millionaire and then you can retire on the beach. What happens is, someone’s got an idea. They start doing the research. They find a good keyword. But they don’t do the necessary due diligence into each market—talking to suppliers, talking to customers, finding out of this is really something that the market needs.

What happens is this silver bullet usually results in disappointment later on when you don’t have the right research, you don’t have the right tools, you don’t have even the right passion for the industry. If you are just doing it just for money, business is a long term game and it’s not going to be sustainable.

This also ties into the one hit wonder idea, which is similar to the silver bullet. This kinda goes into a little Chinese math. For example, let’s say there’s one billion people in China and half of them are women, you want to sell female handbags. There are 500 million people. If you can only sell to 1% or 2% of them at $30, you instantly have $50-$60 million. The fallacy of this is that you are missing out how much it will cost to acquire a customer. And when you are doing something so broad, just to reach this many people in something very general like, say, dog tags or dog collars, I mean it’s so general that how are you even going to find all these people? That’s why later on I’m going to talk about niching down into your market.

The third thing about assumptions is: monkey see, monkey do. What happens is a lot of information gets thrown out online, whether it’s about SEO, email marketing, content marketing kind of is the big thing in 2012-2013, all this social media marketing stuff. So everyone is throwing all this content out there. What happens is it’s very easy to get confused by this information. And so, what you should always do is whether me, I’m giving you information, or Ezra is giving you information, you should always test what we’re telling you. What we’re telling you may not work for everyone, and so your experience will be different than us. It’s up to you to kind of learn who to follow, the right people to follow, and to really make sure that the information you are getting is of quality, because not all the information online is of the same quality.

The next horsemen, kind of second idea, is entrepreneurial ADD. This happens when people say they have too many interests and they can’t commit to one. For example, “Terry, I’m thinking about selling baby monitors. I’m thinking about getting into dog collars. And I want to sell organic clothing made out of hemp.” And they just have all these ideas, and when I talk to them they are like, “I don’t know how to choose.”

And if you ask them deeper and say, “Why can’t you choose?” It’s because, “Well, I don’t want to waste time on one idea.” “Well, why do you not want to waste time on one idea? Is it because you are scared of wasting time on an idea and you are failing?” So what you have to do is you have to give yourself permission to say, “Hey, this is what I’m going to do. This is what I’m going to research. This is who I am. This is what I’m doing to the world.”

When you think about it, every day you wake up, you have breakfast, you have lunch, you have dinner, you figure out what clothes to wear. It’s not a very hard decision because the cost of failing in that is very low. Whereas, if you take a business idea and spend months on it, invest some money in it, and fail, it’s a big waste of time. So it’s a matter of recognizing that and being honest with yourself that, “Hey, I’m just going to do this. If I fail I’ll learn from it and I’ll keep moving on.”

The third one is poor foundations. Poor foundations comes from basically three sites. The first part I would say is design for some stores. A lot of people think you can just slap up a store, put on products, and then people instantly start buying. No. The people online now in 2013 and going forward are very sophisticated. You have people that know everyone is online because everyone has Facebook. Everyone is on Twitter. So they know the end user, whoever they are talking to, is a real person. So when you have a store, people expect to see, A, a real business owner there. They expect to hear a story, maybe a video, photos of maybe the product being made. This is all stuff that helps you build trust.

When you think about it, what happens is if you have a crappy website design that looks like a college dorm—there’s stuff everywhere, dirty clothes everywhere, the pictures aren’t aligned, the text is a different color, different font, different sizes. Whereas, if you go to like a Louis Vuitton store, the sales person greets you right away. They are very sharply dressed. Everything is neatly placed. Everything is aligned in order. There is great lighting on the products. They have the newest season’s stuff. They palace their products differently around the store.

This is what you need to consider when you go to your online store, because design does matter. And people, in some ways, see websites on the internet as a beauty pageant. Because if you can’t afford to invest in good design on your website, what does that reflect on you as a business owner and as an entrepreneur? Do you not care enough about your product to make it look good? Then why should I buy from you?

Next is playing hide and seek on a website. What happens is, I think a lot of people, when they start online, they pretend they need this image of trying to be very corporate. It’s like, “We’re a big company. We have a lot of employees. We’re a big deal.” But the thing is the internet now, like I said, everyone knows it’s a person behind a computer online now. So, in some ways, the more personal you can be it can play to your advantage in building trust with the customers.

So, for example, when you go to, say, a Banana Republic store in the mall, does the sales person run away as soon as you went in? No. You don’t do that. It’s the same with an online store. You got to have a picture of yourself, the story of the business, all that kind of stuff to show, “This is who I am and this is what we do.”

The next part of poor foundations is lack of business knowledge. This is kind of a troublesome thing because a lot of people can start an online store very, very easily. Shopify, you can sign up within a day, Big Commerce, all of these guys. You can literally get started within a week.

So, what happens is a lot of people get excited at the idea of starting a store, but you don’t have the basic business knowledge of accounting, cash flow, how to calculate your lifetime value of a customer, how to calculate the cost of acquisition. These are all concepts that really tie into running an actual business. When you take an idea from idea to actual business, these are kind of the gaps you need to fill in between, kind of the operational skills, and the financial skills, and the creative skills that you need to get the business rolling.

The last one is probably research and planning. It kinda ties into the one just before because it’s so easy to start now. Research and planning into a market kinda gets omitted. A lot of people think they have a great idea and then they open a store and start selling stuff but no one buys it.

This is the way I see it. If you are going to put a ladder onto a wall, you want to make sure you are putting it on the right wall instead of climbing up the ladder, say, 50 feet in the air and then realizing it’s the wrong wall and you have to come down and find the right wall.

So when you are starting a store, you want to make sure, A, there’s kind of a Venn diagram. I really like this. The magic zone is when there is market demand, passion, and competence. The intersection of these three is really where a successful store lies. If you are missing one side, if you have market demand but you are not competent and you have no passion, you have a job. You’ve built a business that you don’t want to be in. Or if you have market demand and passion but you have no competence, you are not going to be found online. Your marketing is not going to work well. You are not going to be competent enough to execute your business. These are kind of the different things that you should keep in mind when you are building your online store.

The next part is called “son of a niche”. A lot of people say, “I want to sell dog collars to dog owners all across the states.” Maybe they’ll even narrow it down to Golden Retrievers. But I think you need to narrow it down even more. The reason is because there’s so many distractions online now these days. People have no attention. You have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Tumblr, all these different types of social media.

When you go to a supermarket, you look at the potato chip aisle and there’s like a dozen different types of chips you can choose from. You have curry flavor, ranch flavor, nacho cheese flavor, whatever. What happens is the more you can niche down now, the easier it is your marketing will be and the more money you can charge. Because then, when your customer sees you, they go, “Wow. This was made just for me.” So for everyone that’s thinking of something general, you can always niche down.

The counter side of this, you don’t want to niche too small, because then if you are in too small a market you won’t make any money. So there’s kind of a different aspect of that thing you should consider. But Ezra, I’m sure, will tell you how to find the right niche and make sure it can actually be profitable.

Ezra: Yeah. We talked a lot about picking the right market, and how to find markets, and how to niche down. I just want to say that this picture, I couldn’t find any pictures for “son of a niche”…

[laughter]

Ezra: But yeah, it’s a really good point. This has all been just fantastic stuff. Thank you so much.

Larry: And so, “Wait. Who are you selling to again?” The better you can figure out your customer, the better you can figure out everything else. Once you know who they are, what their age is…Let’s take Boom for example. Since this is Ezra’s business he obviously knows it well. Who are they selling for? Women in their late 50’s, maybe early 60’s? They are married? Probably yes. They probably have kids that are maybe in the early teens. Where do they hang out? Maybe they hang out with some friends. They are probably not on social media that much because they are older age groups. So, by default your marketing will be targeted on daytime TV shows, maybe even offline in these magazines.

Once you know these characteristics of your customer, it becomes very, very easy to craft your marketing message. When you understand them so well, everything just flows from that. Whereas, if you just say, “I want to sell to everyone. I want to sell products to grandmas, grandpas, teenagers, adults,” you have to spend so much money just to acquire all these people. It’s just such a Herculean effort that, quite honestly, doesn’t really work that well these days.

One of the last things is “build it and they will come”. This phrase probably came somewhere from the Silicon Valley tech world. Really, in the world now that we live in with so many distractions, like I said earlier, you really have to find something that people will care about. This comes from knowing them well enough that you can almost read their minds and make a product that they’ll be like, “Wow. This was just for me and I’m going to buy it.”

The old days of, “I’m just going to build the best widget or the next best mousetrap and people will buy it,” it’s not here anymore.

So when you are building an online store, remember that this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. I’m sure Ezra will tell you, you build it one brick at a time, one day at a time. So, one thing I advise people to do is start small. Every day when you wake up, go to your iPhone, your Blackberry, your Android phone and just right down three things that you want to do for your store. Maybe it’s like talk to one supplier, send two emails, upload three blog posts or something like that; just something really small. Just do three things that are manageable. You can do it every day. Over a year this adds up to almost 1,000 tasks that you can build for your store. So, remember to lay it one brick at a time and build your store one day at a time.

Just to wrap things up, kind of the four horsemen of ecommerce that we talked about, one was delusional assumptions. Two was entrepreneurial ADD. Three was research and planning. And four was just poor foundations.

So, remember when you are thinking about your online store, when you are thinking about ideas to get into, make sure that you kinda do a checklist of these four things so you don’t make these mistakes. And hopefully you can make a lot of money. Good luck and we’ll hope to hear from you soon.

Ezra: This next slide says: Learn from real ecommerce businesses. And the way to do that is to join Terry’s podcast. Buildmyonlinestore.com for his website, which you can also subscribe to his podcast in iTunes from that website.

If you guys don’t know about the podcast medium, it’s such a good medium for consuming educational content. I have a new podcast out with James Shramko, who is also doing a bonus video here in this section, called ThinkActGet.com. And I’ll be starting my own ecommerce podcast at some point.

But for right now, and even when I start a podcast, Terry’s podcast is legit. It’s amazing. You should absolutely join it. The cool thing about podcasts is you can just throw that on your iPhone, iPad, listen to it at the gym, listen to it while you’re waiting for the subway, listen to it while you are walking the dog. It’s just a great way to use those extra minutes in your life that you are just walking around to consume some good information. And Terry’s podcast is top notch. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve been on it.

Thanks, Terry, for coming out. I appreciate it.

Terry: No problem. Thanks so much, Ezra.

Ezra: Lastly, hop on his email list. Go to Buildmyonlinestore.com, hop on Terry’s email list, because occasionally…I mean he always emails about his episodes and stuff, but I think he emails about some other cool stuff, too. So if you just want to stay up to date on what’s going on in ecommerce, it’s a really good idea to be on email lists like Terry’s, like mine. So do that and we’ll see you in the next video. 07-04 Greg: Ezra Firestone is an ecommerce expert with a highly successful track record, having sold many millions of dollars in products online. Ezra has managed over 22 ecommerce properties and he is now a partner in the highly successful Boom By Cindy Joseph.

Fresh from the Digital Market traffic and conversion summit, it is with great pleasure that I saw welcome to the call Ezra.

Ezra: Thank you so much, Greg. I am very happy to be here. I appreciate it.

Greg: Excellent. We didn’t get the chance to meet in the states last week at the traffic and conversion summit, but obviously we’ve spent a bit of time together since then. I was very interested in getting to meet you after that, obviously, because you are a great level of expertise, especially in ecommerce. But I know from speaking to you, you are an all rounded internet marketer.

I think that the internet marketing magazine global community can really leverage your knowledge. I really look forward to this. Do you mind if we just dive straight into it?

Ezra: Yeah, let’s jump in.

Greg: OK, sounds great. Ezra, for those who have not met you before, you have quite an interesting origin story; very unique, actually. Can you please tell us a bit of your history and sort of how you became to be doing business on the internet?

Ezra: Sure. I grew up on a hippie commune, actually, in Berkeley and on the North Sore of Oahu. This was a group of people with an alternative lifestyle experiment. There’s only about four groups who made it out of the ‘60s and made it out of the communal living times, because these groups would just fall apart because people couldn’t really stand to live with one another. And when you are living with people, when you are having relationships of any kind, thing comes up like jealousy, money, possessions, sexuality, communication. And if you don’t know how to handle those things, you will fail at the relationship, whether it’s a relationship across the gender line or whether it’s a relationship with a business partner.

So I grew up in this environment where these people were experimenting and talking about different things about relationships. I found that all that mindset, and strategy, and relationship information has actually served me really well in my business life.

When I was 18 years old I left home and I moved to New York City and I began playing poker for a living. I was playing poker at these underground clubs. I’ve got a bunch of funny stories about that that we don’t have to get into here. But I was supporting myself playing poker at these underground clubs.

One of the ways that this group who I grew up with supports themselves is they share their information. They share their research over the past 40 years of what’s worked for them in relationships. This guy would come and take these courses. He was making his money as a life coach. He was selling information on the internet, teaching people how to become a life coach before the life coaching, and wellness coaching, and health coaching space really blew up.

Greg: What year would you be talking about?

Ezra: This was in 2004, end of 2004. He was using search engine optimization at the time, which was really easy at the time, to generate leads for his business. His lifestyle looked really interesting to me because I was staying up all night at poker clubs and sleeping all day and spending all of my time with men, which I didn’t like. It was a degenerative lifestyle living under these florescent lights at these poker clubs with these mafia guys.

So we struck a deal. I said, “Hey man, teach me search engine optimization and I’ll teach you how to play poker.” So we kinda just went from there. I ended up taking over the marketing of his company. Once I kind of got into it, I just dove head on and sort of put my 10,000 hours in and really learned about traffic, and learned about conversion, and learned about business, and landing page psychology, and all this different stuff. Once I sort of cut my teeth on that business and figured all this stuff out, I started doing consulting.

Then I realized it would be better to use this skillset that I had developed to market and retail my own products, my own things, and build my own businesses rather than do consulting. Now I am kinda back to doing both. But that’s sort of how I got into it.

Greg: Excellent. I know you are an expert in many areas online, but from seeing you speak as well as the time we’ve spent together, I know you are particularly strong in the ecommerce space, which we do a lot of as well. There are many common mistakes we see business owners make in ecommerce. I know you have some guidelines that you stick to when choosing or establishing an ecommerce business in a new market. Do you mind sharing your thoughts on some of that?

Ezra: Sure. I just want to say yes, ecommerce and the retail and the physical products are what I specialize in. that’s for a few reasons. The reasons are once you figure out how to get traffic and create visibility for whatever your business is and whatever your promoting, that’s one portion. And then once you figure out how to get people to take you up on the offers that you make or convert those traffic into buyers, then it becomes about: what is the best use of your traffic and conversion? What is the most valuable way you can use that in terms of business models?

My viewpoint is that that’s ecommerce, because they are scalable, they are liquidatable. It’s a real, legitimate business model where you are shipping someone a physical product that they were actually looking for. You don’t have to persuade them or convince them to buy your stuff. They came looking for it. I found it to be the best business model once you kind of figure out how to generate leads and how to get them to take you up on the offers. We’ll sort of talk about what the third step for any business is in a second.

But most people in ecommerce are starting out with drop ship markets. Most of the people I talk to, I’d say 90% of them, are starting out with drop shipping, which is when you find a manufacturer or a supplier of products and you say, “Hey, I’d like to retail your products on the internet. Would you allow me to take your product line and put it up onto a website, and once I generate a sale through SEO, pay-per-click, or whatever, I then come to you and say, ‘Hey, here’s the money for that sale. Please ship the product.’” So as a drop shipper, you are never warehousing or inventorying product. You are only ever paying for them once you’ve sold a product.

So, for example, let’s say it was a Halloween costume and the drop shipper or the manufacturer is charging you $50 for it. well, you’d put it up on your website for $100, and then once you made a sale you’d go to that manufacturer, you’d pay them the $50, and they would ship it out for you. So that’s drop shipping. That’s how most people start out.

Here’s the market criteria. There’s a whole bunch of different criteria’s that you want to look at when you are considering getting into a market. And these are similar for wholesaling as well, which we’ll talk about in a second. But one of the things that you want to look at is the average order value of your products.

You want your average order value to be between $75 and $200. What I mean by average order value is the product itself doesn’t have to cost $75, because perhaps it’s a product line where people buy multiple accessories and the main product is only $30, but by the time they’ve added on all the accessories it’s a $70 order. So average order value, not average product price.

And the reason you want it to be $75 is because, generally, in the drop ship market, you are getting a 20%-30% margin. So you never want to make less than $25 in your pocket on any one given sale, because you just can’t really afford to buy traffic and run your company if you are not making more than $20 a sale. If your average order value is over $75, you are good. And the reason why I like to keep it under $200 or $300 is because when you start getting into $400, $500, $600, $1,000, $2,000 orders, what happens is that the customer service is kind of a big of a nightmare. People really want to be educated and they want to talk to you a lot more. It’s not like people are just going to pull out their card and buy that sort of expensive product. They require a lot more work. So if you are just getting started, you might not want to do that. so I recommend that you keep your average order value to $75 to $200 or $300.

Now, your gross margins should be 20% or more. So if you are not getting a 20% margin…Now, this is not a huge….These criteria have different weights. They have different values. So this one is not a huge one because if you are making more than $30 on an order, then you are kind of good to go if it’s a smaller market. I like to make sure that I’m getting more than 20% margins on my products, and that’s just to ensure that I’m getting enough profit per order to be able to afford to buy traffic and run my business.

Greg: Yeah, that makes good sense.

Ezra: And I’ve got a really long list here, so maybe we’ll just go through…

Greg: Yeah, just the big hitters.

Ezra: I’ll hit you with the big ones. The other thing is you want to make sure you are in a market that lends itself to return customers and multiple item orders. For example, if you are selling TV stands, well, they are probably ever only going to buy one TV stand. So you are not really going to get that customer back next year. It’s not a seasonal thing. Unless you have diversified and you are also selling channel changers and all these other things. That’s why you want a market that has accessories. A market with a accessories is really good because you will get multiple items per order. So you want to look at: Are you able to sell to this customer more than once and are you able to sell them multiple items at one time.

Here’s another question that you should ask yourself: can you add value to the market? We’ll talk about the faceless ecommerce store in a second and why it’s dying. But you should be willing to, because the answer for everyone is yes. You could absolutely add value to whatever marketplace you are in by bundling products together, by putting together videos that educate people on the product you are buying.

For example, I am speaking on this recording on this interview on a road podcaster microphone. I got a recommendation from a friend on this microphone and I decided I was going to buy the Road Podcaster. So I was looking around at different sites. The site that I ended up buying it from, not only did I buy the microphone, but I bought this bundle that came with this stand and a whole bunch of stuff. The reason I purchased it from them is because they had this video that educated me all about the microphone, and why I needed these accessories, and how to put it together. They had added value that none of the other sites had done. I thought, “I want to buy from these people because I know they know what they are talking about and they are doing more than just presenting me products.”

Greg: That’s very powerful, isn’t it? They made it a richer buying experience. The use of video is very powerful as well in that regard because it is a more powerful medium than just images, which most people use.

We find when we are working with ecommerce stores, often people have gone to too much effort to producing videos about main products and services. We find if you 80/20 it and sort your products by sales and then start producing that sort of richer content for the big hitters, the things you are selling most of, and then working your way down. That way you are really spending your time in an efficient manner with that content creation.

Ezra: Exactly. And you will see a nice boost on your store if you start creating videos of your products. And if you don’t know what to create, if you are confused about how to create product videos, just do an open the box video where you basically take the product, turn on your camera, and you say, “Hey, this is the product and this is what it looks like when you get it.” You just show them the product. That’s enough. You don’t have to be an expert on your products. You can just show them what it looks like. And just the video of you opening that box and having them see what it looks like when they buy it will just skyrocket conversions on that page.

Greg: Great point there. It significantly takes away the risk for them. And those were some great points that you made about narrowing down what sort of niche market area to focus on in ecommerce. That’s absolutely gold. So thanks for that, Ezra.

Ezra: Yeah, happy to share. I’ve got more. [laughs]

Greg: As a person who has owned and run multiple ecommerce entities myself, I know one of the hardest things about ecommerce is making the math work. And you did just share some good insights about the pricing of the products. what about on the supplier side? You’ve obviously negotiated with a lot of suppliers over time. What do you think are some of the keys to really buying well but making it a win-win, so maintaining that good relationship with the supplier?

Ezra: Sure. The thing about suppliers is suppliers are just people. And if you take the extra time to actually communicate with them, to know everyone in their office by name, know their customer service people, send them cards on the holidays, like if you really take care of your suppliers and treat them with care and show them that you appreciate their business, it will pay big dividends. You’ll end up getting better deals on product. You will end up knowing when new product comes in before everyone else. You’ll just get this special treatment because you took the time to treat your suppliers special. And if you are drop shipping, here is the key. The key is to take the terms that they give you. Don’t argue upfront because you have not proven yourself to that supplier yet.

So if they’ve just got a standard drop shipping relationship, you take those terms. You don’t argue, even if you know you are going to do big volume. And then as soon as your volume begins to increase, as soon as you’ve demonstrated to them that you are a player, you renegotiate and you say, “Hey, I’d love to get some terms.” Even if you can just get terms, even if they are not giving you a better…Because a lot of times they don’t want to give you terms. They want you to just pay upfront on your credit card. But if you can get terms where they say, “OK. We’ll let you pay on 30 days,” what will happen is you can then…So if you get 30 day terms, that means that you don’t have to pay for your product until 30 days later. So they will charge you for the full month of product, and then at the end of the month you pay for everything. So that gave you 30 days. And then you put that on your AmEx, which gives you another 30 days. And now you’ve just got 60 days’ worth of cash flow freed up for your business that you can use on advertising and things like that.

The key is to treat them nicely. And if you are wholesaling, if you are actually buying in bulk, well, the more that you buy the better prices you can get. That’s just kind of the way it works. If you are in the wholesale side of things, you want to try to buy as many of your best sellers as you possibly cat at one time to get the best price possible.

And then the other thing is that if you’ve got best sellers, even if you are a drop shipper and you are just starting out and you know that you are going to retail 2,000 of one item in a year, manufacturer that item yourself. Bring it in yourself. Import it and warehouse it because you will end up getting significantly higher margins. That’s kind of how you move from drop shipping to wholesaling, is you start to important or manufacturer just your best sellers. You use the 80/20 rule on your products and you drop ship 80% of them but you warehouse the 20% that you know you are going to sell a bunch of and that you are going to get the best margins on.

Greg: That’s very, very clever. And it also takes away the risk to you as a business owner that you are not going out and filling a warehouse full of stuff that may or may not sell. You start with that drop ship model and then, like you say, buy the ones that are selling well in quantity. Very, very clever. Thank you.

The next thing that we are going to talk about is platform, platform, platform. This is the main question we get asked in the ecommerce space, and I’m sure you must too. Do you have any preferences for which ecommerce platform to use? I guess there’s sort of the beginner basic type store, and then moving into something that’s got to be able to scale as an enterprise type store environment.

Ezra: Sure. This is a biggie, man. I get this all the time. And the thing is, right now in the ecommerce space, we’ve got a lot of players out there. We’ve got ShopShite, Magento, Xcart, OSCommerce, Big Commerce, Shopify, Volusion, Zen Cart, 3DCart, UltraCart, Yahoo! Store. The list just goes on. It’s no wonder people are confused about what shopping car to use.

If you are just starting out, if you are just getting a store started, you don’t know how much volume you are going to do. It could be a six figure store. It could be a bust. It could be a seven figure store. You’re kinda not sure about it. you’re just getting started in the market. I’d recommend that you go with Big Commerce. And here’s why.

It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s plug and play with outside apps and add-ons. Almost every one of these live chat integrations, and cart abandonment integrations, and all these different sort of plugins and apps plug in really easy to Big Commerce.

And the other thing is that they have the best customer service out there. You try to get Yahoo on the phone, you are not going to be able to do it. Big Commerce has a team dedicated to working with their merchants. So they’ve got really great customer service. And they’re also free HTML, so you can edit and you can code it and you can manipulate the store however you want. And they are also growing by 2,000 stores a month.

So I love these guys for newbies. They are down in Austin, Texas. They are friends of mine so I am giving them a plug. But I really, really like their platform for people who are just starting out. It’s the one I recommend for folks who are just getting started.

Now, if you are an enterprise, I think you’ve got to go with Magento because they’ve just got virtually infinite flexibility. They’ve got powerful reporting features. They handle complex discounting and vouchers. And they can be integrated into other systems like stock control. And beyond that, they’ve got an interface for customization. They’ve got the XML integration. They’re elaborate and they are a bit confusing and all that stuff. But they also have this plugin architecture that works the same way Wordpress does. I mean, yeah, it’s expensive. You are going to spend 20 grand. But if you are an enterprise store, you want to be on Magento in my opinion.

Greg: Yeah, it’s very powerful. One thing we love about Magento is you can just find the plugins like one step checkout, basically anything you can think of you can get a plugin for.

Ezra: Yeah, Magento really does have a wide developer network. I do want to say to everyone out there, don’t get caught up on the platform. I know people with six, seven, and eight figure stores on almost every platform you can think of—the funkiest platforms out there. So the platform is not your prison. You’ve got to get out there and pick a platform and go with it. and, hey, if you’ve got to change later it’s kind of a bummer and it’s no fun, but it can be done.

Greg: Yeah. One other thing we found out about with Magento, it’s certainly the way we develop ecommerce stores, but we’ve got a team of developers as well. With Magento it is handy to have access to a development team. So that’s where, like, if you don’t have those sort of skills, Big Commerce is probably much better. Do you find the same thing with Magento, you really do need a developer?

Ezra: Yes. It’s that complex. And also, you don’t want to spend your time trying to figure out how to work Magento. If you are investing in a Magento enterprise platform, then you’ve got the kind of business that can afford you to outsource and that path. There’s no reason to become an Magento expert.

Greg: Agreed. One of the things you alluded to before is ecommerce is changing and evolving and it’s no longer just about selling products online. You spoke about enhancing the user experience. Content and community are becoming more and more important, really from both an SEO point of view with unique content, as well as engagement. You spoke about how that richer experience helped you to make a buying decision, that sort of thing.

What are your thoughts on a best practice content strategy and also engaging community for an ecommerce store? So you are not just shipping goods, you are working in those two spaces as well to create a bit richer experience.

Ezra: I think the days of the faceless ecommerce store are over and that community is becoming everything. It’s all about creating a community and a brand around your products. This is also how you free yourself from channels like Google and Amazon and all that stuff. If you have your own customer base, if you have your own community who is interacting with your brand…take Boom, for example. Something like 50% of our traffic is type-in traffic; people coming directly to our store, typing our brand directly into the browser and directly into Google because we’ve created this community.

The way that you do it, the way that you make yourself stand out…and really quickly, before we actually get there, this is also the key to getting an extra multiple when you are selling your company. If you’ve got a strong brand, if people know that half your traffic is coming from people who are looking for that brand, well they are really buying an asset and they are not buying a store that could get penalized by the next Penguin or Panda and lose half their revenue. So I think it really is key from a multiple standpoint when you are selling as well.

So the way that you create a community is you create relevant and engaging content each week that is relevant to the conversations and problems that your community is having. And you can do that in multiple ways. You could create informational content that’s about your products that talks about how to use the and how to put them together and all that kind of stuff. You could also create content like we do on Boom that’s geared towards the conversations that our target demographic is having. We’re dealing with a group of women. There are 76 million women in America who are collectively having the experience of their hair going gray, their skin wrinkling, and their bodies aging on the outside faster than they are on the inside and society treating them differently because of it. and we’re having conversations with them about that.

So you create this weekly video and you put it out on all the different channels. You put it out on Facebook and you have it transcribed and you put it on your blog, and you pin it to Pinterest. You kinda get it out there for your community to see and you run some Facebook ads to it. you end up building up this community of people who are following you and who are listening to you and who are interested in the same things that you are interested in. it’s just a really effective strategy for generating a group of people.

And this is also where things like branding and jingles come into play, which we’ll talk about in a second. But I think it’s the third piece of the puzzle. It’s traffic, which is visibility for your products, services, or whatever you are selling, and in this case it’s physical products. It’s then conversion, getting those people who now know about you to take you up on the offers you make. And then it’s branding, community, and repeat sales. Can you get those people who engage with you one time and purchase from you one time to come back and buy from you again? If you have those three aspects you’ve got a scalable, liquidatable, high performance business.

Greg: Absolutely. That’s gold. The site that Ezra was talking about there is BoombyCindyJoseph.com. You can see he’s really doing a great job there in the community type space. So, awesome. Thank you very much.

Changing gears slightly, what about on the PPC front with Google changing all of the rules recently? Have you had much experience playing with the Google Merchant Center and product listing ads and that sort of stuff, good or otherwise?

Ezra: I love me some product listing ads. You get about 30% discount running product listing ads right now. I mean it’s going to obviously change. But I love…

Greg: Is it just because people don’t know to do it?

Ezra: Here’s the thing. People don’t know how to do it. I’m going to get into this right now. I’m going to give you THE strategy that works for me in every market. It’s fantastic.

Here’s how you do it. obviously, you need to take your products and upload your feed to Google Merchant Center. And you need to have certain pieces of information, otherwise Google Merchant Center, which is the backend admin platform that manages your products for Google, they want to know different things about your product, what category it fits into. Is it brand new? Is it for adults? All these different things, the color and all that stuff. It’s really easy to set up. And you can just kinda Google: How do you format your data? And every store platform out there has some sort of plugin that allows you to format your data for Google Merchant Center.

So you upload your products into Google Merchant Center and then you sync that up with your AdWords account. Now you are able to run what are called product listing ads. The cool thing is for any given query, let’s say your query is “Elvis costume”, you can have both a Google AdWords text ad on the top of the page, and you can also have a Google AdWords product listing ads. So you can have two ads for your store for the same search query.

Greg: That’s very cool.

Ezra: Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s fantastic. If you are doing ecommerce currently, what you will have for any given search query is this: you’ll have a text ad for Google pay-per-click, you’ll have an image listing ad or a product listing ad for Google pay-per-click, you’ll have a video result, a YouTube video ranking, you’ll have an organic result ranking, and you’ll have your product in a channel like Amazon and you’ll have that channel ranking, and you’ll also have an image ranking….Sorry, what was that?

Greg: You are taking up as much real estate through all those different medias on Page 1 of Google as possible.

Ezra: Yeah, and it goes back to universal search. It goes back to what Google is trying to do, which is organize the world’s information. And the way that they understand that different groups of people prefer to consume media in different formats. Some people like video, some people like audio, some people like text, some people like images. And so, they want to have…Universal search came out like two or three year ago. They want to have each one of those media formats that’s relevant for each different query. And they also understand the type of query. They understand an informational query. They understand a physical product query. They understand these different types of queries, commercial intent queries, and they’ve got different channels for reach one. So you’ve got a bunch of channel opportunities on any given search result page that you can take advantage of.

So, getting back into…If you don’t mind, can I go back into the Merchant Center thing?

Greg: Yeah, yeah.

Ezra: OK, cool. So, Merchant Center, what you do is you do a catch-all. The first thing that you want to do, this is what nobody is doing. This is the secret sauce. You look at all your long-tail keywords and you try to match as many of them up with a product as possible. For example, let’s say you’ve got a gift basket on your site that has smoked salmon in it. Well, the manufacturer or drop shipper is definitely not calling that gift basket “Smoked salmon gift basket”. They are probably calling it “Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sunday Brunch gift basket”, or whatever they are calling it.

But what you want to do is you want to name that product “Smoked salmon gift basket”, because that’s after a long-tail query. So you have all your products that are kind of named after these long-tail queries that no one else has. You upload all your products into Google Merchant Center, and now, since nobody else has a product called “Smoked Salmon Gift Basket,” well when someone types that in, your product just pops right up there because you are the only relevant product out there. So you are getting cheaper clicks that way.

The way I like to do it is I put up a catch-all campaign and I say, “OK, Google. Here are all of my products and I want you to just match as many keywords to it as possible.” It’s just called catch-all and you put it in there. And what Google will do is it will just run traffic for any keyword that they consider relevant to your product lines.

And you know what? For the first month you’ll lose money. What will happen is Google will run a bunch of different keywords to all your different products. But you go into your Dimensions tab in AdWords and you can see the search terms that have generated clicks to your product listing ads. And then what you do is after you’ve spent a couple grand, or $500, or whatever your budget is, you spend some money, you go in, and then you just start taking all the keywords in there that aren’t converting and just putting them as negatives in that campaign. Eventually, after a while, you’ve got all these keywords that you know convert to your product listing ads, and you’ve got all these other keywords that you know that don’t convert and you just turn them off, you turn them as negatives. And now you have a Google built for you product listing campaign and you didn’t have to think about any of the keywords. You just let Google come up with any keywords they could think of and you only kept the winners.

Greg: Wow. That’s very clever. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that that way. Did you come up with that yourself?

Ezra: I did it by accident. What happened was I put these product listing ads up…

Greg: I was hoping you were going to say, “Yeah, I did. I’m a really clever guy.” But no, you did it by accident.

Ezra: Well, I will take credit for it because, you know, it was a brilliant accident. But it was still an accident. I put up my product listing ads. And I was running product listing ads even before…I’ve been running product listing ads since they were available. I didn’t quite understand the targeting and how set up targeting in the Merchant Center at the time. So I was just letting it run. And then I was just taking out all the negatives like I do in all my campaigns. And I realized, “Dang. This was really smart because I got all these keywords I wouldn’t even have known about.” So I kinda just celebrated at that point.

Greg: That is awesome. I think this whole area, a lot of people know how to do pay-per-click properly now, but not many people really know this side well. As ecommerce is going to continue to grow, this area is going to get bigger and bigger. Yeah, very exciting space.

Do you mind if we jump back to something you spoke about before, which was jingles? That’s something that you and I have spoken about in the last week. I know you’ve got this site SmartJingle.com. A lot of business owners, whether they are small or medium sized businesses, don’t really think about jingles, but a lot of big corporates do.

Who needs a jingle and, really, what’s the benefit of a jingle for a business or a product or service?

Ezra: Sure. Any company that wants to be around for a while, any company that’s intending to exist for longer than a year or two should think about creating a brand. Most small and medium size businesses couldn’t afford jingles before. It was something that was reserved for these uber big businesses. You’ll find that every one of the Fortune 500, and pretty much most businesses for that matter, big business, use jingles in their marketing and advertising in one way or another, and that’s just because they work. The human brain is wired to hear sound and identify it as friendly or hostile in 1/100th of a second. Using jingles, you can tap into that part of the human brain.

So someone hears your jingle at the beginning of a video, or when they hit your blog, or on the radio, or on your site or whatever, and they immediately associate your brand or product with a positive feeling, oftentimes before they know much about you. Good jingles are a very powerful sales tool, and they should be used by businesses of any size.

We’ve been able to break the price barrier. It used to be that for music generated and composed specifically for a brand would cost upwards of 10 grand. Bigger companies are paying $20,000-$30,000 for them. We’ve been able to reduce that. because I live in New York City and because I have access to some of the best musicians in the world who are out there who are starving artists who aren’t quite making it, who are backup singers for people like Lady Gaga, I’ve been able to create this company where we produce these jingles for a fraction of the cost. They are just so effective.

You use them in your video content when you are creating your videos. You use them on your website when people land there. You use them on your hold music when people call for customer service. There are so many applications for jingles. And they are just so under-utilized. But it really does give you this high perceived…You are just perceived as a really high value brand when you have a custom sound.

And also, I find myself just strolling through my daily life singing jingles because they are so catchy. They work so well. It’s a thing that most people don’t think about that just adds this sort of higher branding element to your store that gives you sort of this edge over your competition because no one else is doing that kind of branding. It’s really not that expensive. So we’re pretty excited to be able to offer these things to small and medium sized businesses and help them up their branding and up their game in a way that they may not have been able to in an affordable way.

So it’s kind of a passion project, but it’s also turning out to be that people are loving it and it’s working really well. And everyone is getting really positive feedback on it. It’s just really cool.

Greg: It’s very, very clever. And I love that it works at the subconscious or unconscious level as well with people associating straight away that sound with your brand. I think it’s similar to, like, say, for example, you can’t remember what you did in 1989 or whatever, but if a song comes on the radio or something from then, you can remember the whole thing and that sort of stuff. So it’s weird how your brain works in that regard.

So I think of this just like another layer to add on your advertising and marketing everything you are doing. So, very, very clever and certainly some of the stuff we’ll be doing, we’ll come over to you and talk to you about that. thanks for that.

Ezra: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Greg: Thank you very much, Ezra, for everything that you’ve shared today in a whole wide range of subjects. For people that want to find out more about you, because we have readers and listeners really all over the globe now, how can they best find you online?

Ezra: They can find me on my new marketing blog, which is SmartMarket.com. I’ll be releasing videos starting mid-February. This is where I share what I’m up to in my businesses. I share what my community of entrepreneurs and business owners and mastermind friends are up to in their businesses, case studies, things I’m working on. It’s just kind of a way to stay in touch with me and get free videos, and find out what I’m up to, and get marketing training and mindset training and that kind of stuff.

So that’s my main marketing blog that I’m just starting. It’s SmartMarketer.com. and also, for the jingle business, if you are interested in jingles, if you want to know more about them, if you want to get in touch with us and talk to us about jingles, have us put one together for you, go to www.smartjingle.com.

Greg: Awesome. Thank you very much. Thanks, Ezra, for sharing these valuable insights today.

Ezra: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. and I also appreciate everyone who is reading this or listening to this. I think that we’ve got this really strong community in internet marketing and digital marketing. And we’re on the cutting edge and we’re just getting started. And we’re actually changing the world and we’re having this positive impact. And we’re the first generation of people who have instant access to the rest of the world with Facebook and all these online media channels. And so, I think it’s really cool that people are so interested in learning about how to spread messages. I appreciate the community that we have here. Anyone who is listening to this or reading this, I’d love for you to reach out to me and let me know what you are up to. Let me know if I can serve you. I just think it’s a fun thing to get to know other folks who are up to this.

Greg: Awesome. Great attitude. All right, guys. That’s a wrap. Thank you very much. Cheers. Bye. 07-12 Ezra: If you’ve watched the conversion module, if you’ve watched Module 6, you understand the important of shopping cart abandonment and how you can recover up to 30%, in my experience, of the sales that leave your shopping cart. One of the biggest problems in ecommerce is 8 out of 10 people bail on the shopping cart. They add an item to the cart, but for whatever reason, there’s many reasons, they don’t complete the order.

Thanks again to Lenny Estron for making the connection. Lenny also made the connection to Isaac, who talked to us about product listing ads, and he made a connection for me to ReJoiner. We’ve got Mike on the line. Mike is the cofounder and CEO of ReJoiner.com. ReJoiner works with over 150 retailers helping them implement cart abandonment and remarketing campaigns. In 2012, ReJoiner recovered over $4.5 million in revenue for their clients. So these guys really understand shopping cart abandonment and how to set up shopping cart abandonment funnels. Really, they’ve solved this problem of people abandoning shopping carts in ecommerce.

So I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to Mike for taking the time to spend a little time with me and the community today and share what you’ve discovered and what your platform does.

Mike: Cool. I’m very excited to be hear. And also, a shoutout to Lenny of Shades Emporium for making the connection. I am really excited to be here.

The title of today’s presentation, we’re going to be talking about shopping cart abandonment. But we’re going to try to go deep into the psychology, what causes consumers to abandon when they are shopping on your site, and we’re also going to get into some strategies and some specific actionable tactics as to how to win back some of those sales that are lost to abandonment, specifically using remarketing email, which is what ReJoiner specializes in.

This is me. If you have any questions at all either while you are watching this presentation or afterwards, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @MikeArsenault. Or you can email me directly. It’s Mike@ReJoiner.com. So if you have any questions at all, I love talking about this stuff, so please feel free to reach out.

This has already been said. ReJoiner works with over 150 retailers to help them implement cart abandonment email campaigns. What that means is we help retailers capture the intent behind abandoned transactions and we help them craft highly targeted, personalized email campaigns that are designed to win back those lost sales. And we’ve been pretty successful.

As Ezra mentioned, there are a bunch of numbers out there, a bunch of metrics, that ecommerce experts use to quantify the average cart abandonment rate on your website. There’s a bunch of different figures out there. But one that I really like to use was put out there by an organizational called The Baymard Institute. These guys are a research firm that focuses on ecommerce.

Over the last six years they pulled together, I think at this point, 25 studies on ecommerce abandonment rate. And they found that the average cart abandonment rate was 67.45% on average across all of the ecommerce sites that they’ve studied. So, 7 out of 10 visitors to your site who cart an item and start the checkout process will abandon it before they finish the order. So it’s a very frustrating fact for a lot of retailers. I’m sure you feel this too.

Let’s start by defining what cart abandonment actually means for the sake of this discussion today, because there’s a lot of different definitions. Some people say an abandoned cart is when someone looks at a product page or when they add an item to cart. But we actually like to use a more specific definition, in that when a potential customer who has visited your website carted a specific item but also started the checkout process. That’s a crucial point and a crucial part of the definition because they’ve exhibited a very high level of intent by actually starting the checkout process. But then they leave the site, obviously, before completing the transaction.

Unfortunately, I’ve got more bad news. In addition to that 67% abandonment rate slide that I showed earlier, this is using the same data set from Baymard. If you take all of the studies that they’ve done over time from 2006 until 2012 and you average them out year-to-year, the average cart abandonment rate is going up year over year. And it will continue to do so.

We’ve got a couple of different theories as to why this is happening, which we’ll get into in a moment. But we think that this trend will continue as people shop on more devices. And specifically, we believe this rate is going up because those devices aren’t optimized for great shopping experiences, specifically on mobile.

With the cart abandonment rate going up, with the cart abandonment rate what it is today, we find that most of the retailers that we come into contact with aren’t measuring that it’s happening. They don’t know what the cart abandonment rate is on their website today. Because of this, because they are not measuring it, you can’t fix anything that you are not measuring, they are also not engaging with cart abandoners in any way. So if all of this traffic is coming to the site, carting items, starting the checkout process, bailing out for, like Ezra said, any number of reasons, and they are not doing anything to follow up, you either find out where the friction points are in your checkout process to find out why people are abandoning, and they are not doing anything to try to win back those lost sales. So you are potentially losing a lot of revenue.

The question that we get from people a lot is: Where do I start? How do I start measuring this? We like to start the conversation using a tool that everyone is familiar with. That tool is Google Analytics. What I want to talk about is the importance of measuring your conversion funnel using analytics as the first step to try to understand how much shopping cart abandonment is happening on your site now.

There are two central ideas in setting up a funnel. The first one is setting up a goal inside of your account. In this case, the goal is going to be completing a transaction. And the second idea is going to be setting up a funnel, a funnel being the path at which a customer takes to reach that goal. And when you set up a funnel inside of your account, you will be able to access a report that looks much like this. So you will be able to see from top to bottom how many people make it to the cart page, how many people click through into the checkout page, and ultimately how many people complete the checkout page and convert.

You can see in this example, from the checkout page to the confirmation page, we can see that this site has almost a 63% [xx 0:07:38]. They are doing pretty well. So if you are a retailer and you are listening to this presentation and you don’t have this set up in your Google Analytics account, please reach out. Please email me, because we’re happy to help you get this set up for your site. This is a hugely important report that you need to be running on your site.

Once we’ve got that in place, now we are measuring cart abandonment…

Ezra: Can I just say something about that? I just want to chime in and second how important it is to be tracking funnels in your ecommerce store. The one thing that we want to be looking at is how…I mean we want to be looking at a lot of things, but as we’ve discussed many times, one of the main things that you want to be tracking is how are people flowing through your store? How many people are going from section page to product page? How many people are going from product page to shopping cart, from shopping cart to checkout and billing? It is a fundamental piece of data that you need in order to do any real split tests.

Mike: Absolutely. I imagine most people who are listening to this call have that set up already. But if you don’t, it’s crucial. It is absolutely crucial.

So, now that we understand the first step in measuring how often cart abandonment is happening and understand how people are moving through your conversion process, I want to talk about some of the reasons why people abandon and some of the psychology that drives it.

This is a study that was done last year by Emarketer. This is the top five reasons that they found in a sample set that they did last year. It’s interesting, because what they found was, if we look at the top two reasons here: “I was not ready to purchase but wanted to get an idea of the total cost with shipping.” That’s number one. And the second reason is: “I was not ready to purchase but wanted to save the cart for later.”

So these are people who have come to the site and, really, they are just doing some exploratory tire kicking. They might put items in the cart. They might make it to the checkout page. They are trying to get a feel and they are probably doing a fair amount of comparison shopping.

We believe that these two reasons are actually just natural human behavior. There is no amount of conversion rate optimization, there is no amount of split testing that can reduce this natural human behavior to just explore a purchase before they make it. The fact of the matter is that 99% of the people that come to your site for the first time each day aren’t going to make a purchase.

The next three reasons are interesting: Shipping costs made the total purchase cost more than expected. Number four: “My order value wasn’t large enough to qualify for free shipping.” Number five: “Shipping and handling costs were listed too late in the process.”

Reasons three four and five are all shipping related. So I want to get into that next and then we’ll talk about folks who are just browsing after that.

This is similar data from comScore courtesy of conversionXL.com. Conversion XL is a great conversion rate optimization blog if you are looking for more content. This is where I got this slide. I want to kind of harp on the importance of having some kind of free shipping offer for a second here.

This comScore study that was done in late 2011 found that 61% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to cancel an entire purchase is free shipping is not offered. I want to echo that statement because the number one reason that we see customers abandon transactions in terms of the campaigns that we are building for clients at ReJoiner is centralized on free shipping and shipping offers. So we find that our most effective campaigns offer some kind of discount, some kind of coupon, some kind of offer around shipping. For whatever reason, this is a huge abandonment point for a lot of consumers and the data backs it up.

We know that with Amazon offering free shipping all the time to Prime members, and larger retailers are now offering free shipping all the time, no minimum order that, for smaller retailers, that’s often not possible from purely a business standpoint. so there’s different approaches that you can take to offer some kind of offer on shipping but not necessarily offer free all the time.

One approach, or course, is all free all the time. Larger retailers do this all the time. Another approach is to offer free shipping days. It could be around the holidays. Free shipping weeks in November last year showed a 16% increase in overall retail sales just during free shipping weeks. So you don’t need to offer free shipping all the time.

If you have a brick and mortar location, free ship to store is another tactic that you can use. Members only: of course Amazon Prime is doing this really well.

What we see a lot of retailers doing, J. Crew does this, is a minimum order value for free shipping. So if there is some threshold in terms of the size of an order that you feel more comfortable offering free shipping on, that’s also a very effective way to get customers to spend more with you, because a lot of people will just add more to the cart to get to that free shipping threshold.

So there’s a bunch of different things you can do to offer discounts on shipping that can help you compete with those larger retailers offering free shipping all the time. And I harp on this point because it’s something that we see all the time causing huge abandonment on a lot of websites.

Let’s go back to those first two reasons for why customers are abandoning. We talked about the fact that these are natural human behaviors. Even for the customers who abandon for shipping reasons, they are doing something very interesting. They are giving us a signal of intent around what they are interested in buying and what they are interested in purchasing. And even though they are not finishing the order, this is still a really important constituency of customers to understand because they’ve made it all the way to the end of your conversion process without buying, but they are signaling what products they are interested in and how big their order is going to be.

We believe, and we’ve proven pretty successfully, that if you follow up in a targeted way, this is a group of customers that if you just give them the right offer at the right time, they are very easy to convert after they have shown that intent around abandonment.

So what I went to get into next is, obviously, what we do is we help our clients identify more visitors before an abandoned cart occurs and help them capture that intent around what these customers are interested in. so we’re capturing that intent earlier in the funnel, whereas most retailers just get it at the end when they see what customers are purchasing.

The process of reengaging with customers who have abandoned carts on your site is called remarketing. Obviously, you are following up with this person based on a recent interaction with your website in an automated fashion. What we’re going to talk about next is remarketing email specifically.

What I’m going to do now is I’m going to go through some best practices both in terms of capturing intent early, and also some best practices around how to build these cart abandonment email campaigns that effectively recover sales for your business.

The first best practice I want to touch on is capturing an email address and trying to identify visitors to your website early in the process; as early as possible. The first best practice is you’ve probably noticed on a lot of ecommerce sites, they’ve started doing these triggered popups. So as soon as you hit the site, they’ll hit you with this popup getting you to try to opt-in to a newsletter, or a discount on your first purchase, or a discount on shipping. And doing this really yields a twofold benefit. The first one is that of course you are building your opt-in list, which is huge. But the second one is that you are identifying the visitor at the top of the funnel. So if they go on to cart specific items, if they go on to abandon your checkout page, even if they don’t get as far in checkout as entering an email address, you are able to identify and follow up with them in a targeted way just because you knew who they were early in the process. And there’s all sorts of applications out there that help you build specific business tools around when to trigger this popup and when not to. But this is a highly effective way to capture early stage purchase intent.

If popups aren’t your thing, and we hear this a lot from our clients: they don’t want to annoy their customers with a popup. We also recommend that you capture your customer’s email address as early on the checkout page as possible. You would be amazed at how many people start this checkout page and bail out on the first field, the second field, the third field. If you capture an email address first, the likelihood that you are able to capture an email address associated with this cart goes up dramatically, and this greatly increases the number of people that you can remarket to after they’ve left the site. So always capture an email address early.

Now that we’ve identified folks that are abandoning carts and we know what specific cart items they are interested in, the next question we always get is: OK. What do you recommend in terms of how to follow up with these folks? As a typical starter campaign, we also recommend a three email sequence, the first email being sent 30 minutes after they abandoned cart, the second email being delivered 24 hours after, and the third being delivered anywhere from 3-5 days after the abandoned cart occurs.

There are two other key points here. There are some remarketing solutions that will send the emails in a batched fashion, meaning they will capture all the abandoned carts that happen over a 24-hour period and they will send them the first email all at the same time. We recommend sending the emails in a real-time fashion. What I mean by that is if a customer abandons at 2PM Eastern, that first email gets delivered at 2:30PM Eastern. We find that delivering emails in real-time will, A, greatly increase open rates and click-through rates, but ultimately, that first email delivered at 30 minutes is critical to capturing the customers who are doing comparison shopping and may be on another site. If you are able to capture them within that 30 minute time window, the likelihood that you will get them to come back and convert on your site goes up dramatically. So we always recommend those three email drips starting when the [xx 0:19:44]. Once we’ve gotten the campaign out there and tested it, we can optimize for timing.

In terms of the tone and the content for these remarketing emails, we always recommend that you take a customer service approach. By that I mean don’t email your customers who abandon you with a hard sell at first. Email them asking: Was there a problem? Is there anything that we can do to help? Did you forget something? If you have a toll-free number or the ability to take calls from your customer service team, make that prominent. Give your customer the opportunity to, A, either reply to the email and have it serviced by a real customer service person, so never send these emails from a no reply email address. Send them from a real customer service person who can answer their questions. And always make your toll-free number prominent…

Ezra: If you can get them to engage with you, it’s incredible for conversions. I love that this is your email that you send out, because this is exactly what we do. We are attempting to get them to engage with us. We are attempting to get them to respond. We are attempting to create that relationship and start some kind of a two-way communication cycle.

Mike: Absolutely. And we find that there’s this benefit of recovered sales, of course. Then there’s this ancillary benefit that it gives you a second chance to create a great customer service moment with your potential customer and potentially learn a little bit about what’s causing them not to convert. Our clients are always amazed when you create this opportunity for a customer. They say, “Yeah, there actually was a problem on our checkout,” how many friction points they are able to uncover, and ultimately, address those friction points more proactively to reduce their abandonment rate overall. So they take the insight that they garner from these emails and they use it to improve their conversion process as it stands for other customers.

So, personalization. For our clients, we are always capturing the contents of the carts. We are always capturing the value of the carts. We find that the more personalized the email, the higher the click-through rate will be. And there’s a number of reasons for that, but the primary one being that when you send this remarketing email, you are doing so in an effort to remind the person who was browsing on your site what they had in their cart. And we can do some interesting things with some specialized discounts and conditional discounts depending on the value of the cart and those sorts of things.

But personalizing the email with, of course, a dynamic salutation, so if the customer made it as far on the checkout form as entering their first name, you can address them by their first name. if they didn’t make it that far, you can default something generic. That’s always important. And, of course, injecting one or more products that they had in their cart. We find that for some merchants, and this isn’t the case for all of them, but for some who have great product photography, one big dynamic image showing one item from the cart, potentially the most expensive item, can really drive click-through. Whereas, with other merchants we find showing all of the cart items that were left behind drives click-through. So it’s really something that depends on the vertical and it’s something that we have to test, because it does differ on a merchant to merchant basis. But we always recommend as much as personalization as possible.

And this is the really interesting point, because this is something that….The point is thinking across device is something that we’ve really experienced more than ever in the last 6-8 months. That is we are running into a lot of cases where the first abandonment may happen on a desktop at work. But the email that we send to people is being consumed on an iPad or an iPhone. The worst possible thing for us is that we get out of step with the customer, meaning that they may abandon on their work machine, they get a remarketing email on their iPhone, but because the original abandonment didn’t take place on the iPhone, the cookie is not intact. So it’s hard. So they click through our email and they get to the cart, and if they do so on their iPhone, it can be empty. That’s not a great experience for customers.

So we always recommend, and for some platforms we even provide the technology to do this, but you need to be able to regenerate the cart for clients no matter what device they click through the remarketing email on. What you are trying to do is as more and more people move to consuming content, and consuming email, and they go home after work and they are sitting on the couch with their iPad and they get a remarketing email, the experience for the original abandon back to your site needs to be seamless and it needs to be responsive. We find that when we implement this kind of tech for our clients that conversion rate can go up dramatically if we are able to close the loop on people who are consuming our emails on multiple devices.

So depending on your cart platform, this may be something that you need to do a little bit of development work for, or if it’s a cart platform like Magento, they actually offer this as part of an extension, and you can do so with a couple other cart platforms. This is something that we always recommend for a new client, is that they think across device and almost assume that their remarketing emails will be consumed on a device that was not where the original abandoned cart occurred.

Of course with any sort of campaign that you are doing, you want to measure and optimize. We usually do so in a couple of different ways. There’s a screenshot here at the bottom. Of course you want to tag all of your remarketing emails with Google Analytics tracking parameters, or Core Metrics tracking parameters, or Omniture parameters. Whatever your analytics package of choice is, you want to be able to measure performance in that analytics package.

But, unfortunately, with email, tagging only tells one part of the story because it’s only measuring click-through. It’s click-through to conversion in that session. Whereas, with analytics that we’re providing at the backend, we’re also giving you an extra layer, and we call it a browse conversion.

You can argue, or course, that click-through is the only thing that matters. But also, you can argue that the emails can influence conversion just for people who opened the email and then returned to the site directly.

So what we’re measuring for our clients, of course, is open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, both for the campaign as a whole, as well as if there’s multiple emails in the campaign, an email by email breakdown of how each email in the campaign is performing, and of course how much revenue is being recovered.

We take a top down approach to optimization in that we’ll start by optimizing subject lines. Then we’ll look into the creative of the email campaign itself, so whether it’s copy, whether it’s the call to action. I will note that on coupons and discounts we actually recommend that our clients don’t offer them at first, because what you want to do is build a baseline of how much these emails can recover without offering a coupon or a discount. And if down the road you want to choose to be a little bit more aggressive and offer something in maybe the third email, we typically will be OK with that. But we always recommend that you are trying to create that customer service moment. You are trying to get people to engage with you. And you don’t want to condition people to expect a coupon and abandon in a purposeful way just to get a discount. So that’s kind of our take on coupons and discounts.

This is a quick case study. This is a client of ours. This is VtechKids.com. these guys are a manufacturer of electronic kids’ learning games. I want to highlight one point in time which was during the holiday season last year from November 15th to December 31st. These guys had a campaign built almost to a T of sort of following the best practices of what I just went through.

This campaign recovered over $63,000 in revenue during this time period during the holiday period for these guys. The average order value was 10% higher than their typical organic order. So the campaign was recovering a more valuable customer. The campaign had an 11% click-through rate and converted almost 9% of the people that it was sent to. That’s actually a little bit surprising. That’s actually a little bit on the lower side. But these guys had such a huge volume of abandoned carts during the holiday season that it was only a 9% conversion rate. And if it’s just a normal campaign during the year, we typically see anywhere from 10%-15%.

Our client there was quoted as saying: “These emails were driving 2% of overall site revenue.” And these emails are now, today, creating more return than what they experienced during the 2012 holiday season. And if you are interested I can share a link to where this case study is published.

But hugely impactful during the holiday season for them. In terms of what it takes to get integrated, these results can be a massive return on what you invest to integrate a solution like this.

I touched on this earlier when I was talking about customer service, but I want to close with what ends up being an unexpected benefit for most of our clients, and that is when you start measuring this, when you start sending these remarketing emails, when you start creating an opportunity for your clients to engage with you around what’s causing them not to buy, you will start to uncover all of this amazing qualitative insight into why customers are converting on your site. That in itself is gold, because you can take that insight, you can address things more proactively throughout your site, even outside of the checkout page, and ultimately, you can use that insight to increase your conversion rate overall and reduce abandonment before it even happens. We love it when we get notes from our clients that say, “Hey, we uncovered some checkout bugs or a payment error or something that we didn’t even know existed that was causing customers to bail out. But we’ve addressed it now and our conversion rate has gone up.” We see that happen all the time.

So I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to this presentation. Again, if you have any questions at all, you can email me directly at Mike@ReJoiner.com. You can call us at our toll-free number or hit us up on Twitter: @ReJoiner….

Ezra: Mike, I tried not to interrupt you because the presentation was just do dang good. It was awesome. Really, really good. I know everyone really appreciates it because it’s such an important part of the ecommerce business.

I was wondering if you could take a little bit of time to talk about ReJoiner and how people can check that software out if they are interested, and what your prices are, and who you work with, and how you make it easy for folks to get set up, and any kind of deals you have going on. Just a little bit about your actual software.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. We work with retailers of all size…

Ezra: Can you put it on the screen?

Mike: Sure. We work with retailers of all sizes, ranging from customers who are doing just $30,000-$50,000 a year in revenue all the way through retailers who are doing $150 million in revenue. The solution itself is integrated into your site using a few different JavaScript tags on the frontend. You can integrate those into various points in your checkout funnel.

And once you get those set up that’s really the only thing that you have to do to get a campaign like this going, is to get those JavaScript tags integrated into your site. We find that what customers really value about working with us is that we are super hands-on with developing the email creative. So, a client signs on with us, they get the tags in place, we actually do the design and the HTML markup and coding for the campaign. So there are very few resources that you need to take up on your side because we know that these retailers have a million other things going on. So we want to help people get up and running as quickly as possible and give them the best chance to launch a successful campaign.

In terms of deals, we do have our free trial. But I think especially for Smart Marketer listeners, we’d be happy to do…Typically we offer a 14 day free trial. We’d be happy to do a 30 day free trial for anyone listening and wants to give this a shot. And all they have to do is shoot me a quick email at Mike@ReJoiner.com and I can get you set up with everything that you need to get going and walk you through the process of getting set up.

Ezra: That’s a phenomenal offer. And please take him up on that, because if you are not doing cart abandonment, you are missing out on a lot of sales. So, Mike@ReJoiner.com and ReJoiner.com if you want to check it out. I know I will be. Right now we’re using a custom coded solution for our Yahoo Stores and built-in Big Commerce solutions. Your platform looks to be a lot more sophisticated than what we’re doing.

And the cool thing about doing cart abandonment is just doing it is better than not doing it. so doing it at some level of sophistication is absolutely better than doing it without sophistication.

So, Mike@ReJoiner.com. And Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to just come and deliver value and share content. If I didn’t bother you to, you weren’t even going to pitch your product. So I’m happy that I got a chance to get you to mention it on here, because it is a fantastic product and people should check it out. So thanks for taking the time. I will connect with you and let you know once this is posted. If you want to get in touch with Mike, it’s Mike@ReJoiner.com.

Mike: Fantastic. Thanks for having me, Ezra.

Ezra: Thanks, man. Talk to you later.