In this episode, we talk all about what goes into building a successful ecommerce strategy.
We talk about product validation (which goes beyond asking your mom), finding your audience, how to talk to your customers in an authentic way, how to build excitement around your product, and what your metrics and conversion rates should really look like.
We also talk about imposter syndrome, how building a company is hard work, and how the answer is always consistency.
If you sell products or are thinking of starting (and you know I think this is a pillar of every successful online business today), don’t miss this episode.
Table of Contents
- How to Set Up a Paid Workshop in 60 Minutes
- MiloTree Easy Payments
- MiloTree Pop-Up App
- The Social Sales Girls
- Wee Squeak
- Catch My Party
- Free MiloTree Blog Post Checklist
- Become a Blogger Genius Facebook Group
- All Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes
Subscribe to the Blogger Genius Podcast:
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. I am your host, Jillian Leslie. And I’m so happy you are here. I don’t know if you can tell, but I have a smile on my face.
And it’s because David, my husband and partner and I have been so busy rolling out our new product called MiloTree Easy Payments. What I wanted to share was my why, why did we create this.
And it’s really because of you, because of my audience because of the creators that I interact with on a daily basis. So, I’m always so blown away by what people build and create and the content that they share.
And there are two pain points that I continually hear creators struggle with, and one is how to monetize. They’re giving so much away for free. And they’re feeding the algorithms, but they don’t have as much to show for it as they would like.
And the second is that they have to deal with all these platforms. And that technology is tricky and difficult and frustrating. So, David and I said could we find a way to help creators monetize their audiences and what they know, by creating memberships.
Teaching workshops, selling their services. And make it so easy for them to get paid to sell their offerings to manage their back-end businesses and make the technology lean and simple.
On November 17th, Alisa Meredith and I are hosting a training for $10 to teach people how to set up paid workshops in under 60 minutes. And in order to set up a paid workshop, let’s assume it’s going to be an hour long teaching session.
The only technology you need is Zoom, an email service provider like Mailchimp, or ConvertKit, or MailerLite and three, MiloTree Easy Payments. I would love it if you came to this workshop. In order to sign up, all you do is you go to workshop.milotreecart.com.
Take a look at our sales page. This took me about 10 minutes to set up. And with your easy payments account, you will get one just like this and we’ll host it for you. Just briefly how can a workshop move the needle for your business?
One, you are monetizing your audience monetizing what you know instead of putting out so much free content.
Two, you get to show up live for your community and hear what they’re struggling with. So, you know what direction to move your business.
Three, because the platform is so easy to use, you can experiment with memberships or coaching. And the best part again with you in mind is there’s no monthly fee to use MiloTree Easy Payments.
We charge a small transaction fee so we don’t make money until you make money. This way we are 100% aligned.
Sell Products? Steal This Strategy!
Now to change direction. I want to talk about the podcast this week. I am interviewing Susan Bradley, and she’s a Shopify expert, but she is really a marketing expert. Yes, we talk about Shopify and how she built this big Shopify store and was able to sell it.
And now she has a company called The Social Sales Girls, where she coaches people on Ecommerce. But this episode is so much bigger than that Susan has that like marketing gene, you will notice it from the get go. She just knows how to sell stuff.
So, if you struggle with selling, this is the episode for you. I learned so much from Susan. So without further delay, here is my interview with Susan Bradley. Susan, welcome to the show.
Susan Bradley 4:21
Thank you, Jillian, I’m excited to be here.
Jillian Leslie 4:23
I found you. I saw you were a Shopify expert. And I know a lot of people in my audience think about opening Shopify stores want to be selling products, but kind of don’t know the ins and outs of Shopify and whether it’s a viable solution for them.
First since I don’t know your story. But I read on your blog that you had a big Shopify store you sold it building a new one, you’ve got a membership. Can you share your entrepreneurial journey?
Purchasing a Company that Was Struggling
Susan Bradley 4:57
Sure. So, I am at heart a retailer, a product seller, I sold my first business in 2010. And when I did that it was bricks and mortar. And when I did that I purchased a little company called Wee Squeak.
And it was a Texas based company that sold little shoes for toddlers that squeak when you walk.
Jillian Leslie 5:25
Oh, wow. Okay.
Susan Bradley 5:26
Yeah. And at the time, Wee Squeak had, I think, 700 or 800, wholesale accounts across North America and a very small online presence, like a very small direct to consumer online presence.
And I think, in 2013, for the very first time, under my leadership, early 2014, our sales were down. And it was a difficult time, because a lot of retailers were really struggling.
And they were struggling to make good on their commitments, pay their bills.Their sales were down, because ecommerce has grown so much over the years. And as a result, my sales were down.
And I realized that there was an aha moment there where my mom who was in her 70s came into my house and said, “Oh, I just finished all my Christmas shopping. And I said, “You did?” And she said, “Yes, I did it all online.”
And I’m like, “Oh, well, if you can figure out how to do your Christmas shopping online, and you’re 77, that’s why my sales are down, I have a problem.”
And so, that was the year that we decided to take a year, build a great big email list, close down our wholesale sales, and learn how to find our people on social media, mostly.
Get them to visit our website, get them to get on our email list and grow our product sales that way direct to consumer rather than, the retail stores. So, we did that.
Jillian Leslie 7:18
So wait, I want to stop you there for just one second and ask you. So, you took a year? How did you find your people and get them on your email list?
Susan Bradley 7:28
So really, I went back to thinking about how did it work for me and my bricks and mortar store. And I knew that if I just sat around and waited for people to show up, nothing was going to happen.
You Must Give People a Reason to Come to Your Website
I had to give people a reason to come to my website and to sign up. And so I actually, you know, the very first thing I did, you’ll be happy to hear is I had a pop-up put on my site with an offer.
I also decided that every month I was going to run some sort of event that required people to opt-in. I learned enough to actually get that event. So, they would opt-in and maybe they would get a $10 promotional gift card to spend on the store.
Or they would opt-in for a giveaway that I would follow up with an email sequence that would offer them the second prize, which was a gift card to spend at the store that kind of thing.
And then I learned which was a long, slow process, but I learned how to drive traffic to my site using ads on at that time, it was ads on Facebook. And so, it took a good year, I grew an email list of 18,000 within a year.
Jillian Leslie 8:44
Susan Bradley 8:46
And really, it took a good year plus, I would say, to understand how to really get the right people to my website in a way that I could afford. That wasn’t a fortune, and then learn what it was going to take to convert them from web visitors into customers.
How to Convert Visitors into Customers
But once I learned that, it’s kind of like a skill that you have and and even though things change, you still have some of those basic skills. And so, I was able to grow the business significantly in such a profitable way that it changed everything.
I became location independent, I had so much more profit, I was able to hire people virtually rather than to come into our warehouse in Texas. And the very best thing was I was able to get more sales with a lot less inventory on hand.
And it was like a cash business rather than waiting for people to pay us business. It was really difficult. So, I did sell that business at the end of 2018.
And I felt like it was really important because, as you know, and maybe people who are listening wouldn’t know this, but now I also have this other business, The Social Sales Girls.
Where we teach ecommerce store owners or people who are selling products, how to do those very things because it’s hard.
Jillian Leslie 10:23
What do you think is hard?
Running an Ecommerce Business is Hard
Susan Bradley 10:28
Oh, well, a lot of things are hard. I think that it’s hard to understand the work you have to do to get the results you want. I think the hardest part maybe is emotionally when you are in these groups of people who are reporting successes, or you see these ads.
I saw one this morning with the inside of a private plane, and I’m like, kill me now. If I have to see one more of these ads, like the browse stuff. But it sets us up to have unrealistic expectations about how we get from where we are today to where we want to be.
How long it should take, how much it should cost, how we feel along the way, just makes us feel like we’re inferior. And so, that’s probably actually Jillian, the hardest part.
Beyond that, I think that advertising is a skill that you have to learn how to run paid traffic. And we shouldn’t feel bad that we don’t know. Because, again, that’s hard. And it changes a lot. And so, I think it’s hard to understand that.
Especially for creatives, especially for people who love to create things, that the time that you spend, creating the thing and creating the website and making everything look beautiful, doesn’t always get you the best ROI, that return on investment.
Marketing Gets You Results
Really that the marketing you do for your business, is what’s going to get you the results that you want. And so, what I see more often than not is most people when they don’t get the sales that they want.
First of all, they might say, “Hey, can someone look at my website?” That’s the kiss of death, because those are not your customers in Facebook groups, so you shouldn’t do that.
But really, what I see is they go in and they think, well, maybe I need to change the color of the button, maybe I need to change my homepage. Maybe I just need to tinker with this five more times and I’ll get the sales that I want.
But what they don’t understand and what people don’t talk about, which is just so shocking to me, is the problem is not anything you’re doing. It’s what you’re not doing.
You Need to Put Yourself In Front of Your Customers
And if you go and look at how much traffic is coming to your website, that’s almost always the problem. It’s not getting in front of people, you’re not putting yourself in front of people. And that’s the marketing piece.
And so, if I could give one word of advice for creative entrepreneurs, or anybody selling a product, is it if you could devote 50% of your time to marketing your business, you put yourself in a position to reach your goals a lot faster and you feel better.
Jillian Leslie 13:32
Now, if we were to start at the beginning. Let’s say I’ve got a product like I’m drinking coffee, and let’s say this is a special kind of mug that I designed that somehow keeps my coffee warm. Looks good. Who knows? This is my product.
How do I start? Do people want my mug? Or would you say that this is a mistake people make I love this mug. I assume you’re going to love this mug. I’m not even going to do customer research to say do you like this mug?
I’m going to start building out my business. How do you do that initial? Do you put it in front of people and go what do you think of this? It might be a cool mug. I think it’s worth $50. And you’re like, “I not paying that. It’s a mug.”
Susan Bradley 14:20
Yeah, absolutely. So, this happens all the time. We have a member, her name is Laurel Thompson who talks about this all the time creating something in a vacuum. Not a good plan.
And so, there’s simple ways it just takes a little bit of I’d say grit and getting over yourself to do it.
But the number one way you could do that is that you’re selling that mug Jillian, let’s think about all the places or all the people that might be interested in that mug. People like you people who value the mug, value the benefits that that mug has.
Where are they hanging out and even though we all love to hate Facebook. The bottom line is there are a bajillion groups on Facebook full of people. That might be your people, that might have the same appreciation for your mug.
Get Feedback for Your Product in Facebook Groups
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going into one of those groups. And you may have to ask the admin, or you may just need to read the rules, but to say something like, “Hey, I’m Jillian, I’m so glad to be here.” You can comment on other people’s posts.
“I’m wondering if you all could help me, I have invented this mug. I love it. I think it’s amazing because of benefit, benefit benefit. But what I really need to know is what other people think about the mug.
And I’m actually looking for some people who might want to be product testers for me. And if that’s the case, you can leave a comment here and I can connect with you privately.”
Or if you’ve asked the admin of the group, if it’s okay to leave your email address or something like you don’t want to leave an opt-in form there. But something that is really natural.
And I think that’s a really great way to start. Because you’re exactly right, just because you think that mug is amazing.
Jillian Leslie 16:21
And my mom think it’s great.
Susan Bradley 16:23
And your best friend.
Jillian Leslie 16:24
And my best friend thinks it’s great.
Susan Bradley 16:27
They do. But what you really need is somebody who’s not any of those people to test your mug. And what you need even to take that a step further is you really need to figure out what it is you need to know.
Don’t just send it to them and say, “Tell me what you think.” Because that’s what you’re going to get back. “Looks great, thanks for the mug. But” What you really need to know is okay. How does it perform? Is it keeping your coffee warm? Which of these benefits?
These are the benefits that I think this mug has? Which one is most important to you? What can I do to make it better? I’m thinking of selling this for $50, what do you think? Do you think that you would pay $50 for that?
Or is that really too high, I really value your honest opinion. But before you just shoot it out there know what it is you want to know. And get that feedback.
I have a client who I actually just did a podcast interview with, who spent a year building this audience, finding product testers, then turning them into their brand reps, their audience.
Turn Your Product Testers into Brand Reps
Like we all have products that we think are unique, their product they thought was unique. But they really took the time to find out exactly what their perfect customer wanted in that product and took the time to just kind of modify the product.
And then they launched and they launched with this team of raving fans who could talk about it in a natural, conversational, authentic way. And that was so helpful for them to get that product launch. They’re a one product store.
So, that would be my best advice is yeah, get into those situations where you can get some feedback.
Jillian Leslie 18:29
It’s funny, I’ve mentioned this before we press record, we’re launching something called MiloTree Easy Payments, and I have been getting people, this is for people to start memberships easily, either have existing memberships or thinking of starting memberships.
I show them our product, I don’t say a word. I watch them and answer questions along the way, by the way, and I recorded on Zoom, and I then transcribe it so that, I can then read it, hear what they’re saying to me, what are they struggling with?
Maybe nobody has the issue that their coffee gets cold. Maybe lots of people have that issue. So, it’s like, oh, if I could solve that problem, then maybe I’ve got a product, but if nobody cares about that, I need to go, “Oh, wait a second, I’m in the wrong direction.”
So, it’s like trying to hear what somebody is saying what they’re struggling with. And if I can solve that problem for them, I might be onto something.
Susan Bradley 19:34
Right, and you give yourself a huge head start.Even though you took that time.
Jillian Leslie 19:39
Exactly. And it’s you can’t scale that meaning I can’t set up some systems so that I can like, interview people without me being there, interviewing them and hearing them talking to them. It’s a slow process.
But I’m with you.I think that we overestimate our own magic. If I like it, you’re going to like it.
Susan Bradley 20:05
Yeah. And there’s no hiding. Because it’s so easy to hide behind our screens and not put ourselves out there and risk a little rejection or feedback that we maybe don’t want to hear. But really, what I’ve found is that people are basically kind and good.
And people who genuinely want to see you succeed and genuinely want to give you a good feedback on your product. And so, it’s really a matter of just getting over yourself and saying, okay, I might ask 10 people, seven might say, Yes, three might say, No.
I’m not going to die when they say no, so I’m just going to put on my big girl pants and do it and I’m going to feel really good after I do it.
Jillian Leslie 20:52
That’s great. Okay, so now, I’ve got my one product. I’ve talked to 10 people, they love it. I’ve, realized, okay, probably $50 is a little too much for my mug. I’ve learned stuff and now I’m ready to start selling.
I think you can tell me if I’m ready to start selling, for example, do I just open up a Shopify store? Do I try it on Etsy first? Do I start building my list? But I don’t know exactly how to do that. Like, what do what do you recommend my next step be?
Susan Bradley 21:25
Well, there’s so many ways you can do it. You have to think about the outcome you want before you just go charging in. It’s your hair on fire.
Jillian Leslie 21:35
What Is Your Goal for Selling Your Product?
Susan Bradley 21:37
To think about what outcome do you want? Do you just want to sell a few of your mugs and then maybe you’ll stop selling your mugs and you’ll get something else? Or do you want to actually have a real store where you can add products and run promotions and grow this business and perhaps sell it one day? What is your goal?
And you don’t have to know how to get there yet. But you do need to know where you want to land because it’s going to affect what you do.
Jillian Leslie 22:10
Okay, so I’m dreaming big, I want this to be something where I can buy my beach house. I can do that.
Susan Bradley 22:19
Jillian Leslie 22:19
Susan Bradley 22:20
Okay. So, here’s what we want to do, we want to think about what we’re doing, as you’re getting this feedback from your product testers. Hopefully, you’ve set up your social media.
Start Building an Audience and Take Them on the Journey
And we want to think about how we start building an audience of people who know who we are, and might have some interest in our product.
And absolutely, the very best way to do this is just to lay it all out there for people and be super honest and transparent about what you’re doing.
And so you might have had four different iterations of your mug before you get to the one that you think is ready to launch. And so, right when you’re looking for products, testers, you also have your social media accounts set up.
You start saying, “Hey, I’m Jillian, I’m making this mug.” And if you think about the things that are important to people like you, so you made this mug to solve a problem for you. What’s important to you? What other things are important to you?
Obviously, you love coffee, if you’re making a special $50 mug for it. You might be a business person, or you might be a mom, or whatever it is, think about who that person is.
Keep your conversation relatively tight in those few topics that are going to attract the right people. What you really want to do is take them along on this journey with you.
“Oh, here’s a picture of my kitchen counter with four different mugs on it, which color do you like best? I cannot make up my mind cannot decide. Which color do you like best?”
Or, here’s the good, bad and the ugly. Here’s the mug that I wanted them to make. Here’s what I got, here’s me unboxing my first samples or whatever it is that really let them feel like they’re coming on this journey with you.
And along the way with that what I would do is I would find a way, and maybe you actually have a solution for this, to have people be able to join my email list.
And I would take that very same content like look at the content that’s getting the best response on social media. And I would take that content, I would put it in an email, and I would send an email to my list every week about what’s going on behind the scenes.
Grow Your Social Media Followers and Email Subscribers with the MiloTree Pop-Up App While You Sleep
I wanted to take a quick break to talk about our MiloTree pop-up app that you can find at milotree.com. This pop-up will grow your followers on social media, it will grow your email list, it grows your audience.
And these are the people who will buy from you, it is a great tool because the technology is simple. And it will not slow down your site. So, head to milotree.com, sign up, get your first 30 days free. And now back to the show.
Jillian Leslie 25:30
Now, here’s the thing. How do you balance this idea, I teach this all the time in our membership, and on my podcast, the focus needs to be less about me and more about you, I want to give you value.
Susan Bradley 25:49
I think you want to be relatable at that stage of it, it really is about you. Not about all the things, like not what you bought at the grocery store, but it is about the project what you’re working on at that stage.
They have to be interested in the product, but I think it can be about you. It’s when you transition from this is what I’m doing to I’m ready to sell, that’s when you can really start talking more about them.
Make a Connection With Your Audience
But that connection that you have with people makes this sticky, warm audience where you can send an email, and you’ll get high open rates and high click rates.
You can do a Facebook or an Instagram ad, you’re going to get high click-through rates, you’re going to be able to reach those people again.
And because they have that recall of you and your product, they’re way more likely to click than some cold audience that you’ve never reached before. That you’re just saying, oh, people who like coffee.
Those are not going to click, like the people who’ve been following your journey. So, you just have to kind of do it, be brave, post and look at what people really respond to and do more of that.
Look at the posts, people don’t respond to it and say to yourself, “Oh, I won’t be doing that again.”
If you really wanted to pour some gas on the fire, you could actually take those posts that you’re running, and spend a little bit of money and start building an engagement audience. Or what people are really responding to very well is short video.
Just short video and it doesn’t have to be even good video, good quality video. But you can make audiences of those people and in your Facebook Ads Manager. And then you can spend a little bit of money, showing more of your content to those people.
Jillian Leslie 27:52
Just to build that sense of connection.
Susan Bradley 27:55
Yeah, that being sticky audience, that is going to be the most likely to when you’re ready, when you’re like,” Tada, here’s the link to go see the finished product. I’m so excited.
Because you’ve been with me on this journey all the way along, I have this special little gift that I’m giving to the first 100 people who buy it.” Those are the people that are going to be clicking on that. It is very important to build that audience.
I’m going to tell you, it’s inexpensive you could spend $5 a day and over time, maybe over three or four months, you could build a pool of maybe 100,000 people who have watched one of your videos or engaged with one of your posts.
And those are the people that are going to be more likely to get onto your email list. And more likely to click through when you put something in front of them that has a link.
Jillian Leslie 28:53
Now do you think I could set this up myself? Or do I need to hire some sort of ad expert?
Set Up Some Simple Ads to Get You and Your Product Out There
Susan Bradley 29:03
So, it’s really not hard. I think the problem is that it’s new for most of us and we don’t know what’s going to work. And so we try a lot of things before we figure it out. But really, this is something that we teach at the Social Sales Girls. It’s super, super simple.
And what we’re doing is, we’re just setting it up, you can even do it with the “Boost Post” Button if you wanted to. But you’re just setting up that particular post and putting it in front of the people you think that might be interested.
And it’s really good to include your face. Some people don’t, but it’s really good to have that recall. Oh, there’s Jillian again.
Jillian Leslie 29:49
She’s the mug girl.
Susan Bradley 29:50
Yeah, she’s the mug girl, or like it’s okay, “I’m trying three different kinds of coffee which is your favorite?” Like three bags of coffee. All the things that are kind of around in this circle of the mug as the thing in the middle.
But yeah, it really is just engagement ads, so ads to get your product in front of more people who are most likely to engage. So, you might choose some, behaviors to target to. People who love coffee, people who are between 25 and 50.
Maybe people who are women, people who maybe are parents as well like that kind of thing. And send it out to a big wide audience cast a wide net, see who engages and those people can all go in an audience.
And so, what I would say is you can do it the slow way, figure it out yourself. Or it’s super easy to just get a little help with that. In our membership, we have the training for that, or we would have a coach that would help you with that.
But it’s really not that hard. I don’t want anyone to look at that and say, well, that’s going to cost too much and be too hard for me, because it’s completely doable. And you will thank yourself for a long time if you build that big audience.
Jillian Leslie 31:12
So, what I hear you saying, tell me if this resonates, if this is really what you’re preaching.
Make Sure to Validate Your Product
One, validate your product. Not just with your mom, we need to know that people really like the mug. And then two, really work on connecting with people. People buy from people. And again, could I sell this mug and talk about all the benefits?
And maybe there are people out there who say I must have that mug. Oh, yeah, but it’s probably easier it sounds like if somebody is connecting the mug to me and my journey and my struggles and seeing my successes and my failures.
And me asking you my audience, what do you think like which way should I go? And what is your favorite coffee? Or what is your favorite color for this? Or what do you think of my logo? Do you like ‘A’ or do you like ‘B’?
Like getting people kind of in your corner. It is less about your beautiful website, how your beautiful Shopify store looks, it is really about product and community audience.
Susan Bradley 32:33
Right, because you’re not Amazon, you want to get $50 for this mug. And so people are way more likely to pay your price if they see the person and the journey and the whole story behind it.
When they look at that mug in their cupboard as they’re getting their coffee in the morning. They think about all those things. That’s the hidden value in the mug.
But when you go into a search engine, like Amazon or even Etsy is really kind of a search engine. When you go into there, you have all these things to compare to. And none of that really includes story and emotional part.
And so, we actually have a huge advantage. We’re having a niche. So, we often make things that you can’t find anywhere else. And where people who have a story to tell. And really, other people are going to have an affinity with us in some way or another.
It might be coffee, it might be I’m a mom, it might be I’m a maker of some sort. Like, if it’s someone who’s selling like yarns or ribbons or, whatever it is we have to find what people’s currency is, and use that to attract them to us.
We don’t have to be the cheapest. We don’t have to ship for free. We don’t have to have the most beautiful website ever. We have to build the audience. It’s the number one thing.
Jillian Leslie 34:05
Wow, I love that. Because by the way, that is the truth about so much on the internet. We can’t be Amazon. As soon as you start thinking of yourself as Amazon or if the words how can I compete with Amazon? Go like, “No, this is the anti Amazon strategy.”
Susan Bradley 34:26
I’ll hear, “Oh, my sales aren’t great. Maybe I should do free shipping.” And I’m like, “No, that is not going to change your world.” There’s a million other things that you just actually don’t want to do. But they’re free.
And those are the things that are going to get you the sales and it’s all about confidence. I think when it comes to like putting our face like I still remember not wanting to put my face on anything.
By the time I was done, I’d be running through my warehouse in Texas and I had moved to third party warehouse by then, with my phone live on Facebook, generating sales for my warehouse like sweep, I used to call it.
Warehouse sweep selling, I might do $5,000 or $6,000 in an hour, because I was running around through my warehouse showing people what we had that we were clearing up that day. That’s kind of an extreme example.
Put Yourself Forward to Sell
But once you do, like you start putting yourself forward a little bit. And you see the positive response you get from people, it makes it so much easier to do it the next time.
Jillian Leslie 35:35
I think that is such great advice. So do you recommend I sell this on Etsy as well, and Shopify everywhere I can?
Susan Bradley 35:44
No. So, I think that what we focus on, we move the needle on, and that we tend to forget, we think that our time is expanded in ways that it isn’t. And so we tend to think that we can do a lot of things that we actually can’t fit into our day.
And if we just go deep on a few things and learn how to do that very well, we put ourselves in a position where we can scale it, because we learn what we can do really well. And so, then we can like really step on the gas.
Okay, so I have a store that converts. My conversion rate is finally over 2%. I know how to get the right people to my store, I have some good engagement, I make real sales, 40% of my sales are coming from emails now.
So, now all I have to do is put more people in the top of my funnel. So, now I’m going to actually bump up my spend, instead of spending $5 a day, I’m going to spend $15 a day for two months.
Get Your Business Working First Before Scaling It
Because I want to add a whole bunch more people, to my audience, so that I can convert them over time. That’s really how you scale your business, you have to get it working first.
Jillian Leslie 36:58
Susan Bradley 36:59
And you can scale it. But if you’re spending two hours a day figuring out what the rules are on Etsy and two hours a day arguing with Amazon about something.
And then you’ve got this sad little Shopify store where you’re only getting 13 people a day to your site, I think you’re setting yourself up to fail in a bunch of different places.
Jillian Leslie 37:23
I think you are so right about that, by the way. And I’ve heard that exact narrative. I’m trying to sell on Amazon.
And by the way, that’s like competing against all those bros who are buying stuff, on Alibaba, but are kind of digging into the analytics to try to optimizing this game.
And then you’ve got your Etsy shop, but you’re competing against thousands of other products, 1thousands of other mugs that don’t have a story attached to them, or I’m not able to communicate my story.
And then I’ve got 10 clicks on my Shopify store. And I don’t understand why nothing is working. And I’m spending money to not make any money.
Susan Bradley 38:10
Right. And time because your time is actually more valuable than anything. And what I would share with your audience is that at the end of the day, you don’t control Amazon, and you don’t control Etsy.
You Own Your Shopify Store, Not Etsy or Amazon
But your Shopify store is yours, you control it for the most part, as long as you don’t sell, porn. But you control it, and you have the opportunity that you don’t have on Amazon or Etsy to build a list of contacts.
That can be email contacts, or that can be text marketing contacts, but you have the opportunity to build a list of contacts, which means you can reach out to those people anytime and feel confident that you can get in front of them for basically free.
And those those two sources, text and email. So, if the average Ecommerce store converts at 1%, you could expect your emails to convert it 7 or 8 or 9%.
Understand Ecommerce Conversion Rates
Jillian Leslie 39:15
I want to pause on that. Let’s go through that. Okay. So, when you’re talking about conversion rate, you’re saying I need to get 100 people to my store.
And if I can get two of those people to purchase from me, that is a 2% conversion rate, and that’s considered good.
Susan Bradley 39:34
Jillian Leslie 39:34
You’re saying average is one that means 100 people. So again, it is a funnel, the more people I get at the top of the funnel, the more sales I’m going to get.
You’ve driven 15 people to your store and you get no sales, guess what? You’re not going to get sales with 15 people.
Susan Bradley 39:52
That’s almost always the problem. It’s almost always the problem. And so people will feel like a failure if they get 15 people to their store and nobody bought or I had 400 people this month and I didn’t have any sales.
What they don’t know is that average conversion rates are really one to 2%, unless you’re a new store, and then it’s less than one, or unless you’re a high ticket, like over $100, then it’s less than one, even if you’re an established store, usually.
And so, what people need to know is that you need 100 people a day, or 3000 people a month to have a chance of getting one sale a day, one to two sales a day. And so, it doesn’t matter what you do to your website.
It doesn’t matter what fancy tricks you’re doing with apps doesn’t matter, any of that stuff. Because you haven’t solved the core problem, which is traffic.
Jillian Leslie 40:48
Okay, and here’s my question, you started to answer this. If I can get somebody on my email list, they are so valuable to me, because they might potentially buy and you were saying a 7% conversion rate.
I send an email, it has a link back to my site, those people who come to my site 7% of those people might potentially buy from me,
Use Email Marketing to Get Sales
Susan Bradley 41:19
Right. Now, in full disclosure, it takes a while, it takes you time to understand what kind of emails your people will respond to, for sure. And you have to be consistent. Consistency is way better than clever.
They don’t end with some genius, whatever and do it and then don’t do anything for three months, that’s not going to work.
But if you consistently send an email to your audience, even just once a week, you will find that over time, those emails start to convert into sales. And so, it’s really not uncommon for people who’ve come to your site.
So, they have to have clicked on the email to get through to your site, it’s not uncommon for those people to convert it 7, 8, 9 percent, that’s really not uncommon at all.
The other thing when we’re talking about conversion rates that nobody talks about, but I have to share it here. So number one, we thought you need enough traffic to get that that conversion.
But the other thing that is incredibly important is that you spend all your time just getting people to your site once and you never bring them back to your site a second time, you are losing a lot of money, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Returning Visitors Are Convert at Double the Rate
Because returning visitors, people who have visited your site more than one time, convert at least double the rate of first time visitors.
In a month, say I got 3,000 web visitors, and I’m going to say 2,700 of them were brand new, and only 300 of them were returning visitors, my sales are going to be far less than if I got 3,000 web visitors and 1,000 of them were returning.
Because I might have a 1% conversion rate on the new visitors and a 3% conversion rate on the returning visitors. So, if I can get people back a second time, just keep in mind I double my chances of getting a sale.
Jillian Leslie 43:26
That’s great. Also, if somebody has purchased from me in the past, they are much more likely if I deliver. So, like I sell this mug and it actually keeps your coffee warm and somebody goes, “Oh my god, I love that mug.”
That person is more apt to maybe buy a mug as a gift for their girlfriend, or now I’ve got some other product that I’m selling. They be like, “I trusted Jillian the first time she delivered, I will buy from her again.”
Susan Bradley 43:55
Yeah. And Jillian would be really smart if she took her picture holding the mug. And immediately I’d say within a day or two after they purchased, sends them an email saying thank you for this. I appreciate it so much.
I want to give you some little gift with your next order some coupon code. The best time to get a second sale from someone is right after the first sale.
Jillian Leslie 44:19
That is great. Now let’s talk about emails. What kinds of emails are the best at converting at getting people to buy from you?
Susan Bradley 44:30
So for most businesses, not all businesses, but for most simple is better. And so, stop talking about your newsletter. Nobody wants a newsletter from you.
Jillian Leslie 44:44
Susan Bradley 44:46
Don’t. That’s the kiss of death news for product base people mostly. They don’t need a newsletter what they want to see they’re very visual. They want to see maybe what’s new. They might want to see a customer–.
Use Testimonials in Your Emails
Jillian Leslie 45:02
Susan Bradley 45:04
Yes. They might want to see behind the scenes, that’s why it’s really helpful to take something that’s got some good legs on social media and share it in an email. What you need to do is make your images clickable.
You want to put links in a couple of different ways. You want to use some call-to-action buttons. You want to use some hyperlinks, you want to give people an opportunity to get through to your website in the way that they like to get through.
And so, I always recommend super simple emails, really your goal, remember this, there’re three goals with your email.
Get People to Open Your Emails
Number one is to get them to open it. So, if they don’t open it, nothing’s going to happen. So, you have to watch your subject lines and see what works for your audience.
The second goal is to get them to click through to your website. And so, what you want to do in an email is create a bit of a gap. You don’t want to give them everything in the email, because then you don’t get them to your website.
And so create a gap somehow it might be click through to see all the colors, or you might even do like a pixelated image and say you’ll never guess what just hit this shop. So, they have to see it.
You need to create a gap for them, to get them to click through to your email.
Then the last goal is send them to the right place, do not send them your homepage, do not send them to a collection page, send them to if you’re putting a picture of a product, then send them to that product page.
Now, if you are talking about see all the other colors, and it’s in a collection, then you can. Think about if you were the user, where do I expect to land if I click this?
Jillian Leslie 46:56
Now, what about sales, bonuses, discounts? How do you think about that?
Susan Bradley 47:06
So, I think that it depends on the business. There are lots of businesses that don’t need to do that. And I think there are two camps, the first thing we have to remember is people are not coming to us because we’ve got the cheapest anything.
We’re not Amazon, it’s not like I’m going to put, Prime Day and everything’s going to go on sale. That said, they might need a little bit of incentive to go ahead and purchase. And so when I think about discounts or sales, I always like to build an event around them.
Create Events to Get People Excited to Buy
So it’s fun, and it gets people excited. One of the events I ran for my big business was this $10 gift card giveaway. And it was a promotional gift card, there was no cash involved, it was really a discount code for being honest.
But what it was is it positioned it as some money to spend at the shop on whatever they wanted. But I only had 100 of them or only had 500 of them. So opt-in, and then I would put them in an email funnel.
And the important part was that there’s some urgency and scarcity that this is not forever, that it comes maybe after 30 days, you have 24 hours left to use this before it goes away. So, I would use that very sparingly.
People Love Newness and Scarcity
What we’ve noticed over the years is that people are less interested in discounts, and more interested in newness and exclusivity. I’m only making 100 of these. So, get on the list. And I will send you the link 24 hours before I make it public to everyone else.
Or we have a client who makes a little baby shoes. And so, she doesn’t put them on sale, she does a custom event. She has limited amounts of certain fabric they get to choose, have their shoes made for that child with that fabric and the size they want.
And she charges more for that. But it’s exclusivity. And so think about the things that motivate people to buy. Scarcity, urgency, time running out. So, not enough, time running out. Exclusivity, not everybody gets this. Then of course an opportunity to save.
But if you’re going to do a discount of some sort, make it a broad discount. Don’t put yourself in a box where it’s only this discount on this product this day.
Because that limits your opportunity to make the most of that sale. You want people to feel like they are able to choose what they want with that discount.
Jillian Leslie 49:47
So, it’s like let people feel like they’re in the inner club. They’re in the inner circle, but they’re special.
Susan Bradley 49:54
Right. You have an inside track on all of this stuff.
Jillian Leslie 49:57
Do you feel like email if we have a funnel and you’re putting people at the top who don’t really know you.
But somehow they’re attracted to something you’ve posted, let’s say, and you get them on your email list, that email is really at the bottom of the funnel, you’re going to get your most sales through email.
Use Kaviyo as Your Ecommerce Email Service
Susan Bradley 50:14
Most of our clients get, I would say, between 30% and 50% of their sales from email, like many. Yeah, email is so evolved right now, most people won’t know this. And I’m probably talking, too far down the road for someone who’s just considering this.
But now, we recommend that all our clients use Klaviyo. Now, you can actually go pull a segment of people that are on your list that have maybe visited a certain collection or certain product, within the last you decide 7 days, 14 days.
And you can send them a very specific email about that very specific product, and you can have a very good chance of getting some sales.
And so, email is not like it used to be where you had a Mailchimp account, you just blasted everybody until they unsubscribed or just went to spam. Email now is much more dynamic, like you decide how you want to talk to certain groups of people.
Still, we have people at the top of funnel, so it is the top of funnel to get them in through your pop-up. So, we always recommend that there’s some offer that they can redeem in the pop-up.
And we have automations that go over time, maybe 30 days to encourage people to get to know the product better kind of bust some of their objections, why would I spend 50 bucks on a mug.
Bust some of those common objections and always remind them that they have this exclusive offer, but that it doesn’t last forever.
So, get people that welcome series, we call it that first touch, which starts at the top of the funnel and comes down that often will bring in thousands of dollars every month, once you get it going. And so, that’s the one part of email.
And then the other part of email is really this dynamic part where you say, okay, what do we want to talk about? And who would be most interested in this message? Let’s pull a segment of those people and and send this message to them?
Jillian Leslie 52:26
Can you send too many emails?
Susan Bradley 52:30
I think you can send too many emails to the wrong people. Like, if you’re doing an Old Navy, where they send you three emails a day, whether you need them or not. I think that’s too many emails.
But I think that if you are strategic about what and who you’re sending it to, then I don’t think so. I can think of one client who probably gets 50 plus percent of her sales from email, and she sends a lot of emails, but she’s not blasting her whole list.
She’s looking at what people are doing and what they’re interested in, and then sending them emails that make sense for them based on their behavior.
Jillian Leslie 53:13
So, it’s like figuring out how to send the right message at the right time to the right person.
Susan Bradley 53:20
Yeah, because it increases your chance of getting a sale by a lot.
Jillian Leslie 53:25
Well, Susan, I have to say this has been so enlightening. I feel like this is a lesson not necessarily even at Shopify, but in selling in how to think about selling, and how to not take it personally, how to recognize that it’s about strategy.
It’s not just about this is the best mug in the world. And people should just know that and buy it from me, but that I need to figure out my messaging, who I’m contacting how often I’m contacting them, like what I’m saying to them.
Ready. Here we go, how I’m making them feel.
Susan Bradley 54:05
Exactly. Exactly. And so really, when we say I’m a Shopify expert, let’s just be clear. I’m not an expert at Shopify. Like really, I actually pay for people to do the tech for me because the best return on investment of my time is marketing.
Jillian Leslie 54:28
Susan Bradley 54:29
So, if I have to pay someone $100 to do something, I will pay it all day long, and go figure out how to earn the $100 because that’s where the win is.
And so, I just want to encourage anyone who’s thinking about it, to give it a try, but manage your expectations. Don’t expect that you’ll be a success with the first thing you put out.
Be Consistent with Your Business
Remember that consistency doing less and doing it better is always a good way to operate. And find some metrics that you can measure, like one of them is traffic, because your wins are going to come in little baby steps, not in a great big leap.
And, so even if you just measure the traffic to your website, and you see that going up slowly, even though you’re not getting sales yet, that will make you feel like you’re on the right track, and keep you doing the work that’s going to get you to reach your goals.
Jillian Leslie 55:26
Oh, Susan, I love that. I love that. Again, what you’re saying makes perfect sense. It’s not stuff that I haven’t heard before, but you package it so well, you communicate, how to think about this in such a clear way.
So Susan, if people want to reach out to you learn more about you, all that where should they go?
Susan Bradley 55:51
Jillian Leslie 55:52
So, thesocialsalesgirls.com. And this is your group that you you coach, and you have a membership.
Susan Bradley 55:59
Jillian Leslie 56:00
And you teach people marketing?
Susan Bradley 56:02
We do. We teach people how to find their people, get them to go to your website, and then how to create a plan to actually market to them in a non spammy, no bro marketing way to grow sales.
And we teach them how to manage, like what’s normal. Nobody ever tells you what’s normal, we want you to see what’s normal will tell you exactly what to do, you’ll get some results, you’ll see what’s normal, and where you fit on that scale of normal.
Then we’ll tell you what you can do to improve your results, what you tweak next, to improve your results. It’s so important. And I feel like so many people walk around feeling badly about themselves and their skills or their website or whatever it is.
And it’s actually really unnecessary. It’s just that they don’t know what work won’t get them where they want to go.
Jillian Leslie 56:57
Susan, this has been so enlightening. I just have to say thank you so much for coming on the show.
Susan Bradley 57:04
Thank you for having me. I love to talk about this because this business can provide us all a lovely location independent lifestyle, and especially for moms, for women. I think it’s so important like we’re smart people.
We’re smart, we’re resourceful. We’re willing to dedicate the time. We just need a little help to get there because there’s no handbook for this. There’s no university for this.
Jillian Leslie 57:34
Absolutely. Well, again, thank you so much.
Susan Bradley 57:38
Thanks for having me. Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 57:40
Do you get what I mean about Susan having that marketing gene. What I really took away from this is that storytelling is so important.
Putting yourself out there is important and having a clear plan of how somebody is going to get to know you, trust you, like you and buy from you. We’ll be talking about all these things in my live training on November 17th.
To show you how easy it is to set up a paid workshop in under 60 minutes. Please sign up it’s $10. Head to workshop.milotreecart.com. Workshop.milotreecart.com. Hopefully I will see you on the 17th and I will see you here again next week.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast episodes to listen to:
- How To Grow a Successful Business as a One-Woman Show with Lisa Steele
- How To Figure Out What To Sell with Kaycee Geeding
- How to Win Selling on Shopify with Elle McCann
Imagine a world where growing your social media followers and email list was easy…
If you are looking for ways to grow your community whether that be email whether that be social media, right now head to Milotree.com install the MiloTree app on your blog and it will do the work for you. Let it do the heavy lifting for you.
Let it pop up in front of your visitors and ask them to follow you on Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, join your list, check out the exit intent but really get your community growing. And we’d love to help you with MiloTree. And I will see you here again next week.