The Ecommerce Influence Podcast: Advanced Acquisition and Retention Strategies for Fast-Growing Online Brands

Establishing trust among your customers can be challenging, especially in certain markets.

Kevin Chen is Vice President and co-founder of iRestore, a company that sells laser hair growth systems. Despite selling a product with a particularly skeptical audience, iRestore has grown to eight-figures over the last few years.

Kevin joins us today to share his story of success. He talks about how he establishes trust and builds social proof with his customers, how he became an expert in Facebook advertising and iRestore’s secret behind their success with video on Facebook.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights:

  • 4:51 How Kevin got started in the ecommerce space.
  • 7:24 “Does it really work?” How iRestore gained the trust of a skeptical audience.
  • 9:41 How iRestore keeps their customers engaged during their hair growth journey in order to cultivate social proof once they get results.
  • 11:19 iRestore’s journey from Amazon to Shopify, to Facebook, and when Kevin realized he had a business that worked.
  • 13:14 How hiring an agency helped Kevin became an expert at Facebook advertising.
  • 15:40 The contribution of iRestore's in-house customer service team in collecting user-generated content.
  • 18:19 How the changes to Facebook’s advertising platform have led Kevin to focus more on lead generation.
  • 20:25 Why you don’t have to be so focused on conversion objective as explained by Andrew.
  • 22:10 A conceptual example of why you don’t have to solely focus on conversion and ROAS.
  • 23:56 iRestore’s secret behind their winning Facebook video ads.
  • 27:41 How Kevin sees different paid channels working together to both drive and capture demand.
  • 30:00 The realization Kevin had while the business is growing that he's no longer doing right now
  • 32:26 Shiny Object Syndrome: how Kevin is learning to say no.
  • 34:25 Kevin's input in hiring: what he looks for when hiring and the importance of mindset.
  • 36:16 What Kevin is working on right now that he’s most excited about and his goal for iRestore this year.
  • 38:11 How Kevin is approaching new product development in terms of increasing LTV and AOV.
  • 40:08 How Kevin keeps himself motivated and healthy despite the demanding hours at work.

Links and Resources:

Become a Member:

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It’s my online coaching community, and it’s an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, or diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com for more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

Sponsor: Katana

If you’re in the product making business, we have great news for you. There’s now a Shopify app built and designed for merchants that make their own products. You can manage your sales orders, raw materials, production schedule inventory and material purchasing from one single dashboard. The name of this app is Katana.

Katana is designed for makers, crafters and small manufacturers selling on Shopify. Until now, product makers selling in ecommerce had to settle with messy spreadsheets or regular inventory management software, which can be challenging if you make your own products. Katana is built from ground up with the needs of small manufacturers in mind. Production scheduling and inventory management has never been this easy for Shopify merchants.

For a free 14-day trial of Katana, go to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/katana. And, use the code “influence” when signing up to get 30% off from your first 3 months of a paid subscription.

 

Direct download: EI_197_Kevin_Chen_iRestoreKatana2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

We know how frustrating it is when your business isn’t growing at the rate you think it should.

Andrew and I have gone under the hood of dozens of different companies over the years and now when a company approaches us, it’s easy to spot the ones that will be able to scale up, and the ones that will struggle.

Today, we share seven reasons your business might not be scaling and what you can do to fix it. We’ll talk about market size, margins, LTV, and product diversification, and how all of these things impact your ability to scale. This episode will help you identify potential issues and give you solutions for the most common reasons why your business may not be scaling.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights:

  • 4:32 Reason #1 that your business might not be scaling: Your market is too small or too cheap.
  • 6:25 What to do if your market is too cheap.
  • 7:50 One solution for scaling up if your market is too small.
  • 8:43 Reason #2 that your business isn’t scaling: Your contribution margin isn’t large enough.
  • 10:29 How to solve your contribution margin issue..
  • 11:26 Reason #3: Your AOV or LTV is too low to advertise profitably.
  • 13:13 The workaround for increasing LTV if you have a low AOV.
  • 15:02 Reason #4: You don't have any repeat customers.
  • 16:08 How to build a product system that will get you repeat customers.
  • 18:21 Reason #5: You don't have complementary products.
  • 20:20 Reason #6 why you might not be scaling: You're too cheap to hire quality people.
  • 22:25 Reason #7: You have a product that you sell, not a business.
  • 23:48 If you’re just selling a product, here’s what you need to do to build a business.
  • 25:39 You don’t always have to scale to be successful.

Links and Resources:

Become a Member:

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It’s my online coaching community, and it’s an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, or diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com for more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

Direct download: EI_196_Not20Scaling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

Running one company can be a challenge. But what about running 12?

Our guest today is doing just that. Ecommerce investor Shakil Prasla of Pro Click Ventures joins us to talk about how he built his portfolio of ecommerce businesses. He shares what he looks for when acquiring new companies, how to hire CEOs, and what’s possible on the acquisition side of ecommerce.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights:

  • 4:38 Shakil Prasla's background and how he got started in the ecommerce space.
  • 7:54 From website builder to ecommerce investor.
  • 9:57 How Shakil structured his 12 businesses and how they operate together.
  • 12:47 SEO and content: the importance of these when considering acquisition and future growth.
  • 16:39 Income and age of company: Why these two criteria are essential in evaluating a company to see if it’s worth buying.
  • 18:22 How Shakil is able to productively manage 12 businesses at once and the apps that help him to be more efficient.
  • 22:42 Shakil’s experience with buying companies with a bank loan and how to go about financing a loan.
  • 227:35 How Shakil gives his businesses a competitive advantage: through the lens of an investor.
  • 30:02 What Shakil looks for when hiring managers and CEOs.
  • 33:43 The incentive structure for the CEOs of Shakil’s businesses, and what he does if they quit.
  • 36:54 The other factors Shakil looks for when determining whether a company is a good buy.
  • 41:07 The advice Shakil would have given himself when he was just starting out.
  • 42:26 Shakil’s biggest mistake when buying a business.
  • 43:41 Shakil's structure for reviewing prospective companies, and how many actually make it to the due diligence process.
  • 46:12 Why Shakil doesn’t believe you need to focus on one thing at a time to be successful.

Links and Resources:

Become a Member:

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It's my online coaching community and it's an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, or diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com and you can learn some more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

 

Direct download: EI_195_Shakil_Prasla.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

If you’ve been having issues with Facebook recently, you’re not alone.

My Twitter feed has been blowing up with people talking about the problems they're having and screenshots of breakdowns and errors.

So in today’s bonus episode, Andrew and I provide some background on how these Facebook issues started, what changes are here to stay, and what you can do to manage your clients' (or your own) expectations.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights:

  • 2:42 When the Facebook issues started and the problems we’re seeing.
  • 6:07 Andrew’s theories on why this massive disruption is happening on Facebook.
  • 8:50 The 4 things you can do to help your client or team when confronting these Facebook issues.
  • 9:18 #1: Show them the data to prove you’re taking action to stabilize the account.
  • 10:18 #2: Send your client this podcast.
  • 11:01 #3: Let them know it’s not permanent.
  • 12:02 The macro trend that’s going to continue on Facebook even after the current issues are addressed.
  • 12:52 #4: Communicate the importance of quality creative and great UX both on Facebook and your website.
  • 14:08 Other channels to consider for diversification and stability.
  • 15:47 The bigger question you should be examining in relation to your business model as Facebook costs continue to rise.
  • 17:47 Why these issues actually present a great opportunity for you or your clients.
  • 18:41 The Facebook and Instagram Pro Ad Buyers Industry Group.

Links and Resources:

Become a Member:

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It’s my online coaching community, and it’s an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, or diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com for more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

Direct download: EI_Bonus_What_Is_Going_On_With_Facebook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

If you’re not yet familiar with Campaign Budget Optimization, now is the time.

Facebook recently rolled out this new ad feature and has plans for it to become a requirement for all advertisers later this year.

Today, Andrew goes in-depth with everything you need to know about Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO). We discuss what CBO is all about: the framework for setting it up, how to approach your bids, and other killer tips that will make sure you’re set up for success when you start testing it out.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights:

  • 3:57 The new feature for your Facebook Ad campaigns: Campaign Budget Optimization.
  • 5:15 What is CBO and how it's different from the traditional model.
  • 8:27 How to set up the ideal CBO campaign.
  • 10:57 Determining your audiences within the CBO.
  • 13:38 Strategies that are staying the same with CBO.
  • 14:36 Recommended bidding for CBO.
  • 15:37 How CBO works within prospecting and remarketing.
  • 17:35 Reasons why CBO scales well.
  • 19:39 What are minimum and maximum spends within CBO and how to manage them.
  • 22:22 Killer tips from Andrew to get the most out of CBO.

Links and Resources:

Become a Member:

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It’s my online coaching community, and it’s an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, or hiring a team, diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com for more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

 

Direct download: EI_194_CBO.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

How often have you added a new element to your website because you thought it “looked cool”?

The reality is that a jumble of “cool” widgets and features can slow down your site and actually worsen your customer experience.

In today's episode, we bring back Kurt Elster who is a specialist in conversion rate optimization and runs an ecommerce website design and development agency, Ethercycle.

Kurt shares his insights on the key components of a successful ecommerce website design. Learn the how-tos and what-nots of what makes a great website, including product page design, the importance of great copywriting, and why design actually shouldn’t be your #1 focus.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 5:02 “Ruthless Empathy”: the mindset Kurt says you need to have when analyzing your website.
  • 6:44 The core elements of successful ecommerce website design.
  • 8:46 The questions to ask yourself to determine whether you really need all those widgets on your site.
  • 10:41 How to balance simplicity with complexity in your website.
  • 13:22 Why you should approach your website design with a clear decision framework, rather than a design wishlist.
  • 15:36 The interesting things Walmart is doing with its web design that have helped increase its online sales.
  • 20:04 What Austin sees as a standout on Walmart's site that a lot of Shopify stores don't do.
  • 21:29 Which design should come first: mobile or desktop?
  • 24:49 The key elements to include on your homepage.
  • 27:00 Aspects of homepage design that work to direct people to the product page (and why this should be your #1 goal).
  • 30:59 Your product pages: the must-haves, what's usually missing, and the perfect example of a business that's doing it right.
  • 35:08 Why Kurt doesn’t believe you should use artificial scarcity to drive people to buy.
  • 37:20 How to use urgency and scarcity in a legitimate way.
  • 38:54 Why you should be using video on your product page.
  • 41:34 An alternative to artificial scarcity as suggested by Austin.
  • 43:49 The best ways to sell complementary products to people and increase AOV.
  • 49:39 Why Kurt’s excited about the future of personalization.
  • 51:19 Something Kurt believes to be true that most other entrepreneurs don’t agree with.

Links And Resources

Become a Member

If you've been a podcast listener for a while and you've yet to join the Brand Growth Experts Membership, now is the time to do it. It’s my online coaching community, and it’s an incredible resource for you. We've got about 120 members, all ecommerce business owners, and marketers. And in that community, I work with you one on one to help scale up your business.

That could be scaling up advertising, hiring a team, diving into marketing strategy. We go really in depth every single month on topics that we also talk about on the podcast. So, if you've enjoyed the podcast, you're going to love the Brand Growth Experts Membership. Head over to brandgrowthexperts.com for more information. Can't wait to see you guys on the inside.

Sponsor: Klaviyo

If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s only one way. By building real, quality customer relationships. Most marketing software will claim that they do this, but they’ll never deliver on those promises. Klaviyo, though, is different. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening to and understanding cues from your customers, which allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages that’ll help grow your business and make more money. That’s why over 10,000 innovative brands have switched to Klaviyo.

If you aren’t already a customer, head over to www.ecommerceinfluence.com/klaviyo and you’ll get a free trial + priority on-boarding.

 

Direct download: EI_193_KurtElster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

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