Have you reached a point where it is getting harder and harder to increase your revenue every month?
Are you looking for new strategies and techniques to make more sales and increase customer satisfaction?
Are you looking for new potential customers and ways to market to them?
If the answer is YES, don’t look any further! The answers to your questions are all in Harold F. Rich’s new book: SCALE UP: How To Successfully Scale Your Ecommerce Business To Millions.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
– Why are more than 95% of the people who visit our online store not buying from us?
– Why are we struggling to get more online traffic and sales?
– How is it possible for our competitors to grow and take over so much market share?
– How can we SCALE UP and find strategies to reach more potential customers?
Imagine how much more money you could make by knowing the answers to these questions!
Imagine, you could be able to:
– scale up your business with a tried and true step-by-step formula
– automate your business to give yourself more time
– use advanced strategies to access new and lucrative markets
– spy on your competitors’ marketing strategies and use the best for yourself
– build a future-proofed and valuable Ecommerce business and lifestyle
– follow a pro step-by-step formula that 30,000 people have already successfully implemented
In this one of a kind book, bestselling author, Ecommerce, and marketing authority Harold F. Rich will show you step-by-step how he was able to generate millions in revenue for his own online stores, and for many of his clients, by using his 6S formula.
|CHAPTER 1||Why you need to read this book and how it can help you to SCALE UP your Ecommerce business successfully|
|CHAPTER 2||How to use the Harold F. Rich 6S formula to scale your Ecommerce business successfully!|
|CHAPTER 3||The right Strategy is your key to success!|
|CHAPTER 6||Sales and Marketing|
|CHAPTER 10||THE END|
You have never read a book like this before!
￼The fact that you are holding this book in your hands shows that you are serious about taking your Ecommerce business to the next level!
What if I told you that there is a formula out there, a clear system that you could follow step-by-step, to scale your Ecommerce business with remarkable success? No, not some get-rich-quick-stuff… a formula that I’ve developed, modified, and tested over the last 20 years.
I developed the 6S formula to make it easier to scale and run my own Ecommerce businesses. Now, over 30,000 of my online and offline students are using my 6S formula, as well as clients from around the world, with remarkable success.
This book, in which I explain my 6S formula in detail, will also help YOU to scale your Ecommerce business successfully!
Anybody can do it with the right SYSTEM and FORMULA!
The Harold F. Rich 6S formula to scale your Ecommerce business.
Why you need to read this book and how it can help you to SCALE UP your E commerce business successfully!
This is why you are losing money every day!
The majority of Ecommerce businesses I look at are losing a lot of money every day, especially if they are international companies. They leave a lot on the table, and I am not talking peanuts, but millions!
The 3 main reasons for that are:
Many of these companies don’t have a strategy to scale their business, so even if they are doing the right things, they are doing them in the wrong order.
Some companies are using the right channels or methods already but doing it poorly and in ways that don’t support each other.
Most companies are not using the right channels, tools, and strategy at all.
In this book, I’ll show you how you can scale your Ecommerce business successfully, no matter if you are an Ecommerce startup or a well-established Ecommerce brand.
So why should you listen to me?
Wow, I am getting old – I was just about to write that I had more than 15 years of experience in this field but just realized it’s over 20 years now!
At the time I started there was no ready-made shop-systems, or even marketing channels like Google or Facebook – and of course no mobile phones! Hard to believe that we could exist without those things – right?
When I founded my first internet company at 20, I focused on helping businesses get a website. Later, customers asked me to help them market their products and services online. Therefore, I developed more and more skills, and over the years I specialized in helping Ecommerce businesses scale up their business while ensuring they didn’t make mistakes or start going in the wrong direction. Over the years I formed an outstanding, well-performing team of experts around me to cover every area as professionally and thoroughly as possible.
Another big part of my work is helping companies to operate internationally – I really love this part! It is so exciting helping them to expand their business to other countries and cultures. I also teach and mentor in this field and have over 30,000 students taking my online and offline courses. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the chance to help so many companies make more money, and that I can share my experience.
Make sure you are not wasting time using the wrong Ecommerce strategy!
If you are using the wrong Ecommerce strategy it’s logical that you are wasting time, but there is more to it than that. The underlying problem is that some processes and marketing channels don’t have the right strategy from the get-go to become successful.
- Take these two examples:
- Let’s say you are a company in Spain and you have a Spanish domain, like yourcompany.es, and you are planning to operate internationally at some point in the future. Your website is already established, and you have strong rankings driving significant traffic and sales… Hold on! We already have a fundamental problem! Why? Because of the .es domain! You can’t globalize your SEO to other markets or countries! The effort and money you put into building all this SEO power for your Spanish domain was not entirely wasted, but it could have been set-up in a better way from the beginning to give you a competitive advantage when trying to reach new markets and countries. (If this is you, don’t worry, there are ways to fix it!)
- Your business didn’t pick the right tools or partners from the beginning. When using the wrong Ecommerce platform, inventory management, or fulfillment systems, companies can lose their minds when trying to scale up! For certain marketing channels, systems, and tools, it is critical to plan and strategize in advance (or find somebody who knows what they are doing) because if you need to make a change down the road you could massively lose revenue!
How to grow your Ecommerce business quickly – and how I am doing it.
You know those guys who are always telling you what to do, those consultants who know everything better than you, but have never actually done it themselves?
Well, I am not one of them.
Everything I tell you in this book I have experienced by myself – from setting up various Ecommerce platforms to implementing plugins, 3rd party tools, and everything in-between. Ugh! Really a lot of work! But you know that anyway.
In every chapter of this book I am going to give you some insights on how I do it and show you what works for my clients. (For confidentiality reasons, I will not mention any customer names.)
If you want to get more insights and additional information’s visit
My strategies focus on fast and future proven growth and will help you to take your business to the next level!
How to increase your customer lifetime value
As you know getting a new customer can be a challenge, that’s why it is critically important to keep your existing customers happy, build the best possible user experience, and give them what they want.
Not only that, but you also need to keep your buyers engaged. Shockingly, for a majority of Ecommerce companies the process ends as soon as the client has bought from them. Believe me, this is not a smart way to do business!
As a matter of fact, your relationship with the client just begins when they decide to buy from you. Of course, first you need to make sure the customer gets what he has ordered in the expected time and condition – it’s like in every aspect of life: you never get a second chance to make another first impression! Make sure you get it right the first time! But then, also make sure you have the right strategy and tools in place to keep them engaged, inform them, and motivate them to buy more from you on a regular basis!
How to spend less money on advertising and sell more!
You would not believe what I’ve seen over the years looking at the advertising accounts and strategies of a lot of Ecommerce businesses. You can find software companies spending thousands of Dollars/Euros/Dirhams every month biting on keywords like “software” or car companies wanting to be found for “car.”
Of course, if you don’t know where to spend your money you can always give more to Google or an agency – LOL!
The reality is that most companies want to save some money, so they come up with ideas like: “Rosa, our secretary seems to have 10 spare minutes a day so she could do AdWords for 5 minutes a day and SEO for 5 minutes, or something like that.”
Really? – You want to hand all that responsibility over to your secretary? … that’s just not the way it works!
In reality, you are not saving any money that way. No! Actually, you are burning thousands of Dollars/Euros/Dirhams… and you are not only wasting time and money! For some channels, like SEO, AdWords and more, you are driving business in the wrong direction and possibly attracting the wrong clients. This will cause more support, effort, and headaches for you and your team, now, and in the future.
Why and how you should scale up your Ecommerce business?
So the WHY is quite clear, right? You want to make more money!
It is not just important what you do, for some tasks it is also critically important when you do them.
I started writing this book a long time ago and was wondering what the right way to guide somebody through this very complicated process was. This is why I came up with the now very well-known 6S formula.
Since I developed the formula a few years ago, the 6S formula has helped many Ecommerce companies to scale their businesses, and many of them continue sending me lovely emails, and even letters, thanking me for laying out the strategy for them so clearly.
I also teach this strategy to over 30,000 students in my courses worldwide, seeing huge revenue increases for companies that implement the formula the right way!
How to use my famous 6S formula to scale your Ecommerce business?
In this book, you will find all the information you need to scale your Ecommerce business while avoiding pitfalls. It does not matter if you are an established Ecommerce brand or an Ecommerce startup, by using this formula you will be able to grow your business and make a lot more money!
It is important to follow the formula step-by-step – of course. You will find various parts of the 6S formula more useful for an Ecommerce startup – but remember, both stages have their advantages and disadvantages. The 6S formula will help you to do the right things at the appropriate time, following the given: STRATEGY, STRUCTURE, SYSTEM, SALES, SATISFACTION and SCALING methods – ensuring you are going in the right direction and not forgetting any tasks which are hard to reverse or implement later on.
How to target the right people and give them what they want
Yes, it is good to have a lot of visitors coming to your website, but only if they are the kind of customers you want to attract! Why? Because having the wrong people visit your website will negatively impact it. That’s why the traffic number alone is not meaningful. If you have a lot of people leaving your website just after a few seconds, or you see that they are not buying, signing up, or staying on your site for a long time – whatever your goals may be – believe me, that’s not what you want!
It all begins by targeting the wrong people; using the wrong keywords (or ones that are too broad) drives a lot of visitors to your website who are looking for something else or are not at the purchasing stage. When this is the case, you need to provide them with alternative content to keep them interested and engaged in your site.
Later in this book you will see that factors like spending a lot of money on the wrong strategies can cause high, unnecessary support costs. And beware: nowadays Google can measure user satisfaction, meaning this could have disastrous impacts on your business.
It is essential to target the right people and give them what they are looking for!
Use your competitors’ most effective strategies!
Other golden nuggets I will give you in this book are some advanced strategies to find out what your competitors are doing.
Your business didn’t pick the right tools or partners from the beginning. When using the wrong Ecommerce platform, inventory management, or fulfillment systems, companies can lose their minds when trying to scale up! For certain marketing channels, systems, and tools, it is critical to plan and strategize in advance (or find somebody who knows what they are doing) because if you need to make a change down the road you could massively lose revenue!
Why try inventing the wheel if your competitors already have spent thousands and thousands of Dollars/Euros /Dirhams in testing things? Why not just use their proven strategies?
This, of course, starts by knowing who your competitors really are, and recognizing competitors before they take over your market share.
It’s all about smart monitoring and using the right strategies and tools to gain a significant competitive advantage.
You can save a huge chunk off your marketing budget just by copying your competitors’ best marketing strategies. I guarantee it!
How to improve your Ecommerce infrastructure
Thinking back to the very early years of Ecommerce I can still see myself fighting with systems that would not let me modify the URL structure or change page titles, aside from other issues like struggling with product variations and colors. So, I am glad that today most of the larger Ecommerce platforms are doing a very good job at allowing us to scale and improve shop systems. For some issues, sometimes a little manual programming is still required, but most of the time there are plugins or 3rd party providers helping us to scale our Ecommerce business.
Keep in mind, it gets much harder if you are planning to go international. In this case your shop system has to be able to work in different languages and offer the option to target all the countries you want to expand to. It is possible to switch shop systems later on, but I can tell you, this is really challenging work and almost impossible if you want to keep everything running and don’t want to lose any money!
Your sales funnels and how you can optimize them
Just imagine yourself driving into a city that you don’t know without a navigation system (and no smartphone) – the way it was when I was young… It was very hard to find your way to the desired destination, right? Especially if you have a navigational sense like I have!
Why the heck is this guy talking about navigation systems and stuff now?
Well, for customers who are visiting your website it’s a very similar experience. If you don’t guide them, they will get lost, and most likely won’t do what you want them to. That’s why having the right sales funnel is critical – take your visitors by the hand, guide them from the time they arrive to your website, and ultimately convert them into long time customers.
Your sales funnel must be clear, smart, and optimized to steer the user into the right direction.
Now you already know that even the best sales funnel will not be very helpful if you are driving the wrong people to your website – it’s very unlikely that you can convert them into customers. If they are not sure that they can trust you or if they don’t find what they have been looking for, you will lose them for sure!
Improve your content strategy for your users!
You can’t imagine how many people ask me every day: How much content should I write? What kind of content should I write? – And the best: How many words do I have to write? (almost trying to make sure not to write one word too much).
There is only one right answer to these questions:
“It depends!” – it depends on so many factors that you will find an extra section in this book where I explain why it is critically important to write the right content for your users. And yes, you want to write the content for your users. Not for Google, not for Bing, not for just having something on the page.
Focus on your users – give them what they want and they will buy from you, or keep you in mind and come back when they are ready to buy!
When it comes to content optimization we use very advanced tools and strategies. But first, find out what the right content for the product or service is, and then what questions should be answered about that product or service to satisfy your users.
What you need to improve your marketing strategies
When it comes to improving your marketing strategies it is necessary to have as much analytic data as possible. Without it it’s almost impossible to make the right decisions. Believe me, you don’t want to spend more on a marketing channel where you are actually losing money! But if you don’t have any analytics, you are solely basing your decisions on personal beliefs, or the belief of somebody in the company.
When you are sure that you can make money with a marketing strategy the question then becomes: is this marketing channel scalable? Or the better question would be: if I scale this strategy, will the return of my investment stay the same? For instance, if I spend 50,000 EUR/Dollars/Dirhams on AdWords, and I manage to get around 150,000 in return for my investment, will I make 300,000 if I spend 100,000 EUR/Dollars/Dirhams?
This is often possible, but very tricky. Most marketing channels are not easily scalable by just increasing your budget! But if it works, then there is no question anymore about how much money you can spend… as long as you make more money than you spend, the sky’s the limit!
Why user satisfaction is the key!
You would be amazed when finding out what satisfied users can do for you and your business. There are so many advantages that this definitely should become your main focus. It’s all for your user! It’s all about user satisfaction!
Put yourself in your user’s shoes. Order from your own website, try to get help via your support channels, or get friends to order from your online store, send stuff back, etc. Do what your users usually do and see how happy you would be.
You probably know from personal experience that if you are happy with somebody’s service or product, and feel as though a company is treating you in a special way, you feel good. Then it just so happens you do the marketing for them for free – by word of mouth.
On the flip side, I don’t have to tell you the problems that one unhappy customer can cause when he writes about his bad experiences on every known social media channel, every forum, and tells his story to anybody who will listen…
Make your customers happy, and you will be happy !
How you can implement automation and remarket to win BiG!
If you want to make the most profit possible, you need to automate as many processes as possible. This applies to all the 5 actionable steps of the 6S formula. It requires consistent work and effort – but it is worth it!
It starts with simple steps, like pushing your orders to a software that will generate a shipping label, or simply collecting your customers e-mail addresses if they sign up for your newsletter. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! We are getting more and more tools that allow us to set event based triggers – software and tools that enable us to track user behavior and fire the right actions at the right time. A simple example would be to show the right re-marketing banner on a different website for the product your customer looked at but did not buy.
Today you can track precisely what your users are doing on your site and what links they’ve clicked in the e-mails you’ve sent, and then – according to their behavior – you can send them targeted information. So, if your users click on a particular category or visit individual pages in a defined order, we are able to fire an e-mail or a pop-up automatically to offer them a coupon code, or additional help, or whatever would be relevant to them.
How to use the Harold F. Rich 6S formula to scale your Ecommerce business successfully!
Introduction to the Harold F. Rich formula to scale your Ecommerce business.
Why did I develop the formula?
I came up with my first vision of the formula many years ago for myself and then I was trying to help my now 30,000+ students go through everything I teach in the right order. I found that many of my students were trying to follow what I taught, but had problems implementing all steps, and were skipping important steps that are not easy to fix down the road.
Over the years, I modified many parts of the formula, and added everything I thought might be useful based on my 20+ years of experience.
Today a lot of agencies, companies, clients, and people I have never seen before are using my 6S formula with remarkable success.
Of course, we are also using the 6S formula as the internal guideline for our own team. It also makes it easier for us to take on new clients. This combination is probably the secret as to why this formula works so well.
Why my formula works so well
As I mentioned earlier, the main reason my 6S formula works so well is because it tells you exactly what to do and when to do it. That in mind, it works a bit differently for everyone, depending on the size of your company.
If you are a startup Ecommerce business, you obviously want to start at the very beginning of the formula! If you are an established brand I would also suggest starting with the strategy step to ensure you haven’t missed out on some important strategic ideas. If your company has been established for a long time, you may not be able to implement everything that I suggest at this point since things are already up and running. That being said, you will still be able to implement most of my marketing and satisfaction strategies and more.
If you plan on expanding internationally in the future, I suggest you also look at the strategy and structure steps to ensure you will be able to target the right countries later on and not lose any money by following the wrong strategy.
How I use the formula for myself and for our clients
I almost forgot to mention, naturally, a lot of the formula works so well because I run my own online Ecommerce business. It makes a huge difference having experienced everything myself, like feeling the joy of seeing your first order coming in, as well as seeing how hard it is to scale different marketing channels and handle all the tools and plugins, wondering why no orders are coming in – discovering the next day that a plugin I’ve installed is sending users to the wrong checkout process and so on… (uh, recently I accidently deleted all the products… UGH!).
Living Ecommerce has helped me more than anything else!
The greatest benefit I’ve seen from applying my 6S formula is the ability to modify strategies all the time by keeping an eye on what competitors are doing, scaling our marketing processes, and setting up new stores and platforms to target specific locations. And of course, when we onboard new clients we apply every aspect of the formula for them too.
Why most Ecommerce businesses are missing out if they’re not using the 6S formula or using it in the wrong order
When we take on new clients it’s always interesting for me to see how their company infrastructure works. Of course, in smaller companies and startups there are usually just 5-10 people and everyone has a lot of responsibilities. Whereas, in larger companies there are usually many departments, and often a lot of internal politics, if you know what I mean.
Most of the time the problem is exactly that! Departments aren’t working together properly and there is no one monitoring all of the processes. In a lot of cases we spend so much time figuring out who is actually responsible for everything we need, and especially who the decision makers are that can push the project forward. We’ve found if our project doesn’t have high priority, we have a tough time implementing our strategy to increase revenue.
Over the years, we’ve tried to set up a system where, in most cases, we can get around 70% of the work that needs to be done ourselves – we do this by getting access to marketing channels, websites, and, most importantly, the people who make decisions. However, a lot of times we discover that companies have done an excellent job and have implemented most of the strategies and structures we suggest, but in the wrong order, or with the wrong tools, or just not with a long-term strategy in mind.
How the Harold F. Rich 6S FORMULA can help you and your business to be more successful
A great benefit of the formula is the structure that I give you, but also, it is in the details – I’ve experienced this many times!
A lot of companies are doing the right things already, but they are missing out on “little things”, like targeting the wrong people, spending too much money on the wrong keywords, using the wrong fulfillment partners, having the wrong content strategy, or no strategy at all, and many more things.
For you, this book is all about my 6S formula and how you can apply it to scale your business. You can even use the formula to go international. I cataloged over 20 years of experience to give you this blueprint you can now follow step-by-step.
What is the STRATEGY part of the 6S Formula all about?
The STRATEGY section is all about the right STRATEGY of course!
It starts with defining your goals. For instance, how much do you want to scale your business, or do you want to get into other markets, go international, implement other languages, and so on. The formula will help you observe your market better, find opportunities, and enable you to figure out what market share you have now and what is possible in the future for your business. We also talk about who you might need to onboard to reach your goals and how much money you should spend on marketing and other channels.
A second important part of the strategy is looking at your competitors – who are they and what strategies are they using?
Understanding who the right customers are, what they want, and, more importantly, how to get them engaged and make them to buy from you, is also an essential part of the STRATEGY section!
Further we look at opportunities for you to up-sell, cross-sell, and more. Last, but not least, we discuss the fulfilling processes and how you can include everything into your Ecommerce strategy using my 6S formula.
How the 6S formula can help you to STRUCTURE your Ecommerce business
After you have worked out a winning STRATEGY, you will also need the right structure to make it all work.
The STRUCTURE part of the formula will explain internal responsibilities and how you can get your strategy working for you. We will talk further about what you should do internally and what you should outsource (of course, this always depends on how many internal resources you have).
We also will discuss some technical things, not too many, but things like where your platform is hosted, who controls the domains, your server name, and other critically important tasks that will protect you from losing your domain or facing long downtimes because of DDOS attacks or hackers.
We then have to look at what it means to scale your STRUCTURE and infrastructure to provide the best experience for user, AND I will open up more opportunities in other markets.
How can you build a scalable SYSTEM that makes more sales using the 6S Formula?
The SYSTEM part of the 6S formula is all about your shop SYSTEM: picking the right Ecommerce platform. Don’t worry, the formula does not require you to change your shop system! If you are in the beginning stages, however, this will help you make a better decision for the future. If you are up and running already you can still get a lot of tips and tricks out of this section.
We will also deal with mobile apps and mobile websites, and discuss whether you need a mobile app to sell more. We will look at analytics in detail, and I will show you how critically important it is to collect as much data as you can to be able to make the right decisions.
Furthermore, I will give you insights about additional plugins and 3rd party tools that will allow you to set up a scalable, practically automated system that will help to increase your revenue big time. Plus, we will have a look at how you can structure your reporting in a better way so it fulfills the needs of the people you are reporting to. This will dramatically speed up the entire process and allow you to reach your goals much faster!
Why the SALES part in the 6S formula works so well
The SALES part of this book will help you pick the right marketing and sales channels to reach the customers that you want to get.
We will discuss in detail the most important marketing channels like SEO, Paid Search, Facebook, and many other advanced marketing channels and connected SALES strategies which you can use.
Remarketing/retargeting will also be an important topic which will be explained precisely. I will show you how you can automate a lot of these strategies. I can’t believe how many companies aren’t using marketing automatization! Often just by implementing this channel we can make a noticeable difference in a short period of time.
I will also show you how to build a trusted website using various icons, partners, strategies, and tricks. In addition, we will look at sales funnels and how to optimize them. It is a proven fact that most of the people who are visiting your website will NOT buy from you, so we will discuss how you can get them to buy from you, and how to recover abandoned cards to make more sales and engage with your users more and more.
How you can use the 6S formula to increase user SATISFACTION dramatically
If your users are not satisfied with the information or products they find on your website, they probably won’t buy from you. And, of course, if they have not bought from you they probably won’t buy from you in the future.
I don’t have to tell you that user satisfaction is important. But a lot of companies are not aware that user satisfaction starts very early in the process, not just after users have bought from you. One of the keys of my 6S formula is our unique approach when it comes to new customers. For many of our clients, we discovered that they see the relationship as almost over after a customer has bought from them. Our approach is different: We just start to make money from customers after they have purchased from us.
We will also discuss shipping and fulfillment. We don’t just stay in the online world –my formula also covers “offline” packaging, fulfillment, and shipping processes, because this is also a vital factor!
How the 6S formula can help you to massively SCALE your Ecommerce business and bring you to the next level
The scaling part is a lot of fun! Sometimes easy, sometimes quite hard – depending on how you much you want to scale and if you are planning to go into new markets or not.
In this chapter, we talk about the whole scaling process. Like figuring out if your infrastructure and Ecommerce system is scalable at the moment, and if not, what you need to do to make it scalable.
We also look at your marketing channels and strategies and try to find out how you can get more from your existing channels. If you want to go international we need to know if your target group can be reached by your current marketing efforts. Depending on which markets you want to go into, some marketing channels will not even exist there or nobody is using them, especially if we look at the Chinese, Russian or Latin American markets. It is often the case that you have to build up new marketing channels and work out new strategies to reach your target group!
How long will it take to integrate all the steps?
You may wonder how long it takes to implement my 6S formula to scale your business, right? This really depends on a lot of factors: your internal resources, budget, and where you are at the moment.
Most of the time we can find some areas where we can apply my formula and get fast results – we are always looking for the low hanging fruits first, it is much easier to move forward if there are already results.
Like I mentioned, I run my own Ecommerce websites, and as I’m writing this book we are setting up some new sites to cover new regions more efficiently. I can tell you that we went from 0 to $150,000 in 12 months! I have one partner managing all the warehouse, shipping, and inventory stuff, and I’m doing all the other processes in my spare time. So, you can clearly see, even if you are just a tiny startup, you can grow very quickly. We did it with just 1.5 manpower! That in mind, this only works if you picked the right products in your STRATEGY step! We have a profit margin of over 30 percent which, certainly, makes it much easier to scale the business because it allows us to put money back into marketing and other scaling processes!
Why is the outcome using the 6S Formula so much better?
I sometimes have the feeling that everybody thinks they know everything and believes they are an expert after doing their job for only 6 months. So, a lot of people write blogposts, white pages, or even books about marketing and Ecommerce, but don’t have a clue what they are talking about. They just see things from the outside, or haven’t worked with many clients so don’t have a lot of insights.
I don’t want to say that my 6S formula is the only thing that works, but for sure it is one of the most advanced and most proven formulas out there.
This is also why the results are so much better if you use the 6S formula step-by-step. Not only is the outcome better, but you will see results much faster and save a lot of expenses in the long run because you won’t have to spend money on changing processes again and again down the road. That’s why it is so important to first complete the STRATEGY and STRUCTURE steps!
What resources do you need to implement all the steps?
I think you know the answer by now, right? Yes! It depends on you.
Of course, your company size and budget are two crucial factors, but there are even more. For starters, if you don’t have anybody who can do the work internally, you will need to find somebody you can outsource to. Doing the job in-house and outsourcing have advantages and disadvantages, but there are certain steps I always recommend you do in-house if possible. For example, if you want to be active on social media, I recommend you do that yourself because your staff (hopefully) “lives” your products/ services. They understand what you are offering and who your customers are much better than someone in an external agency. (By the way, today a lot of social media channels are used as support channels, so users expect fast and detailed answers from these outlets too!) Other tasks and channels (and, in fact, most marketing channels) are quite easy to outsource!
When it comes to fulfillment, shipping, and so on, there are many factors that need to be considered before deciding. You don’t want to follow all the steps and do everything possible to grow your business, and then, in the end, have a fulfillment partner ruin the whole user experience.
How to get most out of this book and my 6S formula
To get the most out of this book I recommend that first you read all the chapters in the correct order. Some things may not be relevant to you, but you will still find tips and tricks in all the chapters that could be useful to you. I also suggest you read the book TWICE and then begin to implement each step.
This book was written to help you apply the formula and get the most out of it – but knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing! If you don’t implement anything, nothing will change – the sooner you start to work on it, the faster you will see a difference, and believe me, it will be worth the hustle!
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready for an exciting journey through the Ecommerce jungle with me!
The right STRATEGY is your key to success!
What are your goals?
We definitely have to talk about goals first if we want to set up a strategy that will lead to success. Not only is it important to establish company goals, but it’s also necessary to define specific goals for yourself and everyone who is involved in the project, especially decision makers.
If you set specific goals, you can better track your progress which will make everyone more engaged, and that much happier when those goals are reached. Ask yourself, what goals do you have now and who do you need on board to achieve these goals?
How can you define goals?
Establishing goals is often very difficult, especially if a lot of people or different departments are involved. Every person and each department will have their own goals. In most cases, everybody will be happy if you make more revenue, but I have seen crazy things like departments only focusing on branding campaigns, or CEOs who want to rank for very general keywords like “car” or “jet”, only so they can tell other CEOs they’re ranking number 1 for the keyword “car”.
They don’t care that a goal like that doesn’t make much sense, and that ranking number one for the keyword “car” will just bring a lot of the wrong people to their website and cause a lot of negative side effects (these negative effects will be discussed later).
So, the only advice I can give you regarding defining your goals is that they should be worth achieving, realistic, and lead to success.
How I set my goals
It was not easy to define goals for me either, and it’s still not easy. This is because I set goals that are difficult to achieve and I push myself very hard! From this perspective it can be difficult to establish realistic goals.
In the beginning, the plan was to double our revenue every month. That was not too hard to do starting from 0, but as soon as revenue hit around $50,000 to $100,000, doubling revenue wasn’t a realistic goal anymore. Therefore, we defined two different goals: one was to create a new scalable channel every three months, and the other was to increase our revenue by at least 20% every month. This strategy is working very well for us!
How realistic are your goals?
We’ve already talked briefly about realistic goals. Over time, I’ve had the chance to attend a lot of company meetings where one department or one decision maker defined a goal without asking the people who have to implement the strategies if it was realistic. Obviously, this way of defining goals doesn’t lead to success.
In other instances, I’ve visited companies and seen areas with huge growth potential that they haven’t even included in their goals. For example, I’ve seen many companies whose international SEO strategy isn’t aggressive enough. When this is the case, I let them know I see more potential and that their defined goals are too small.
Are your goals targeting the right things? (Are you making any money with your defined goals….?)
Another huge issue is picking the right goal. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to choose a goal that doesn’t lead to more success. About two years ago, a big company contacted me to help them. They wanted to push their new product line because it wasn’t getting enough attraction and sales. So, we helped them to sell a lot of their new product. Because our marketing efforts went so well, we doubled the ads budget and scaled it up another 200%.
Suddenly, I got a call to “stop everything immediately!”. It turned out, the company did not calculate the product costs and price right, so they lost money on every sale! To sell more of this product for that price was not an effective goal. Although we reached the company’s sales goal, it didn’t lead to an increase of the company’s revenue.
Who you need to reach your goals
It’s good to have the right goals, but that’s just the beginning. If you work in a large company, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about when I tell you that you will not be able to reach your goal without having the right people on board. This starts with the people who approve the budget, and goes all the way up to having the support of you CFO or CTO. As you know, it can be very hard to get all the departments you need to support you. Just think about how happy the IT department will be with all the changes you want to make –LOL! There is no way to achieve your goals without having the right people and departments supporting you, especially in larger companies. Keep that in mind!
The following factors could stop you from reaching your goals!
Depending on the size of your company there are a lot of additional factors that can stop you from achieving your goals; starting with not getting enough money or other resources you need. Sometimes you might just end up waiting for other people or departments to write support tickets that won’t get solved for weeks. Things like that, and many other similar issues, could get in your way. The only way to reach your goals is by totally committing yourself and never giving up!
When should I stop pursuing my goal?
How long you should pursue a goal is not just a business question, it’s also a personal one, as there is a fine line between giving up and not trying hard enough. If you define unrealistic goals like I did by wanting to double our revenue every month, of course, you have to come back and modify them. If there are smaller issues, I encourage you to just keep pushing till you reach your goals, and reward yourself when you do – you will see that your motivation to reach the next goal will be that much higher!
Who are your competitors?
In this part of the book we will talk about your business and your competitors. It is vital to know who your competitors are, and, of course, how they use the SALES channels we are focusing on.
Are you a brand playing in the big boys’ club? Are you a trusted, well-known brand, or are you just getting started? This is an important question because it has a dramatic impact on most of the marketing strategies that need to be implemented.
If you are a trusted brand, it’s much easier for you to scale up your business because you have the money and a customer base that trusts you already. They’ll click on your ads and behave differently because they know you.
If you are just starting, don’t worry – this can be an advantage because I’ll show you how to start the right way! This way you won’t lose time and money going down the wrong path like many established brands probably have. You will also be able to implement changes lightning fast – for a big brand it could take weeks or months to make even the smallest changes.
How competitive is your market?
It’s important to know how competitive your market is. Don’t be afraid, even if the market is very competitive, I would still go for it. All you have to do is be better than everyone else!
To accomplish this, you have to have the right goals and expectations, especially if you want to operate in a very competitive market. Otherwise, you will not be able to rank or bit for the top keywords any time soon. You’ll need to work out a long term strategy, and slowly build trust and authority.
When I started my Ecommerce business I used many tools to look at competitors. I looked at their keyword rankings, their estimated traffic, the click prices for paid search, and their backlink profiles to get a feel for how they acted, and to determine what the best strategy for me would be.
How much market share do you currently have?
To know how much market share you currently have can help you define your goals and see how much potential every channel has. There will be some markets where your competitors are very strong, and others where they are not so active. To find out more about your market, you can use a lot of tools to look at market share numbers, estimate traffic, and more. You can also get the chance to see where your competitors’ traffic is coming from, and which channels are driving the traffic – these are not exact numbers, but in most cases very close to the actual data.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOUR COMPETITORS SPEND ON MARKETING? I’d say this is still a pretty unfair game because if you have money you can spend a lot more on paid advertising. The same goes for channels like SEO — the more money you can spend, the more hours you can put into it, the better and faster the results will be. Of course, even if you follow the right strategy, especially for SEO, you need to know exactly what you’re doing. Don’t push too fast, otherwise it’ll look unnatural to Google! If Google thinks there is something unnatural going on you, you could get penalized and lose all your rankings, i.e. most of your SEO traffic and revenue!
What marketing channels do your competitors use?
Depending on your industry, many of your competitors will, more or less, use the same marketing channels. This can make things very competitive and expensive. In some industries, like the travel industry, paid marketing channels like AdWords have become so expensive that only big brands can afford to pay so much per click. When it comes to SEO you may be competing against companies that have in-house SEO departments, or spend thousands and thousands of Euros/Dollars/Dirhams every day.
I encourage you to find channels that your competitors are not using now or are not using well. Maybe there are some new social platforms that just came out and you know that your target group is very likely to be on that channel. If that’s the case, try to master that channel and build up your audience there before your competitors do!
How are you doing market research?
Market research does not have to be rocket science. You want to make sure that the data you collect is valid so you know a few key factors. Believe me, if you do this right there is a lot of money to be made.
When I started my business, I just looked at three main factors when it came to the market:
- How big is the market? (target group)
- How often does my target group need the product? (recurring business model)
- How hard is the competition?
In my case, I found out that the target group was around 8,000,000 and that they would have to buy the product at least every ten days for up to 2-3 years, depending on how early we could get them into our sales cycle. The competition, in this case, I would say was medium, as there were a few long-established websites that of course had the advantage.
What differentiates you from your competitors?
How are you different from your competitors? What makes your product or service unique and better? If the answer is nothing or not much, it will be harder to move up in the market.
Even if you have the same products or services, you can always go one step further to figure out what your users are looking for, then give them that desired information or products. If you sell the same product or service you can be much better than your competitors: give your users what they really want, make it a much better user experience – That’s how you’ll win every battle!
What other advantages/disadvantages do you have?
You may also have other advantages which you can use to build trust and get customers to buy from you. In many cases I found that companies were not pointing out these advantages to their customers. I mean things like you have been in the industry for 15 years, you have this and that certification, you won an award, or you have a special guarantee like the fastest shipping.
All these things differentiate you from your competitors and could help you to sell more, but if you don’t communicate these things to your customers you are not using your full potential!
How much budget can you spend?
How much budget do you have to drive your business forward? Budget is one of the main factors to drive your business forward, especially if you want to grow it quickly. It’s almost impossible to grow your business without a specific budget.
I recommend splitting your budget into 2 parts:
- Paid channels where you don’t need to spend a lot of time (of course you’ll need to set up all the campaign ads), but you need to have the budget to run the ads.
- Channels, such as SEO, that people still call “free” traffic sources. It’s true, you can’t pay to get better organic positions in Google, but, you will get a better position if you spend a lot of time doing the right things – On Page and Off Page.
Some of these channels will take months to show first results. Therefore, it’s critical to have at least a certain amount of money set aside to buy ads or time to spend on other channels.
How much of your budget is flexible?
It is also good to know how much of your budget is flexible, because there are some markets where you might see negative effects if you stop investing in a channel. For most of the advertising channels you can run and stop them whenever you want, but for channels like SEO you need to be careful! Keep in mind that SEO takes time and should look completely natural to Google, so it’s not a good idea to heavily invest in SEO for just 2 or 3 months and then switch to a different channel. This could look very strange to Google because it seems like nobody is talking about you anymore now that you are not getting any new links. As a result, Google will rank your website lower than before! So, be careful when switching your budgets too quickly from one marketing channel to another.
How much money do you need to spend to make money?
Of course, it’s critical to know how much money you need every month to break even, especially if you are just getting started. You don’t want to lose money, right? Yes, that’s only logical. So, we also have to talk about picking the right sales and marketing channels at the right time. If you have a very tight budget at the moment, it’s probably not an appropriate time to invest it in a long-term strategy since you need a fast return on investment. Of course, it is critical to focus on long term strategies – but only if you have the budget for it.
Who determines your budget and what are their goals?
As budget is so important you need to make sure there is something in it for the decision makers that determine your budget, especially in larger corporations. What I mean is, if you are going to be successful with your scaling strategy and you want to follow the steps of my 6S formula, you need to get your decision makers on board because without them and the budget you won’t be able to make it happen. Furthermore, make sure to keep them updated, send them the reports they want to see, find out what metrics they use, and understand what’s important to them!
What is the right marketing strategy for your budget?
When it comes to marketing strategies, it is vital you have as many channels as possible driving traffic and sales to your website. Certainly, this is all about budget again. If you are a large cooperation you may have the budget to do TV ads or billboard advertising or other things that most startups will not be able to do. The problem I have with most of these offline advertising channels is that you can’t measure the results. Online it’s very easy to measure and modify your campaigns, you can even create multiple versions of the same ad and track which one performs best!
If you are thinking about the best online marketing strategy make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Things are constantly changing in the online marketing world and you want to make sure your business is protected. You could lose SEO traffic after a nasty Google penalty, Facebook could change its algorithm causing your ads not to work as well, some new players could enter your market and spend so much money on AdWords that it gets too expensive to invest in AdWords anymore, and the list goes on. When you invest in multiple online marketing channels, you protect yourself from experiencing a major blow when things change in the online marketing world.
How I handle the budget
For newer companies especially I think it’s useful to share my story on how I started my own Ecommerce business. As soon as our website was online, we started to do SEO. Now the SEO channel brings us around 1/3 of our sales! Around the same time, we set up our paid search campaigns, so, Google AdWords, Google Shopping, Bing, and Facebook.
We still are always testing and tweaking these channels. Now we are at a 1 to 5 ratio, meaning that for every $1 we put into these paid ads channels, we get out $5! Our primary focus now is to scale these channels.
We also decided to start drop shipping for other online stores, because I see that as the number 1 channel to scale quickly today. I spend a lot of time setting up the systems to fully automate drop shipping.
What is the right marketing channel for you and your budget?
If you are already established you probably know what keywords and marketing channels work for you, you need to focus more on the optimizing and scaling part. If you are just starting out and don’t have much data and in-depth knowledge about the market, I would recommend you invest in paid ads first.
AdWords especially allows you to find out quickly what keywords work, and what titles, products, and landing pages perform well. As soon as you have enough data try to scale up your AdWords campaigns – but don’t try to do that yourself if you are not an AdWords expert! For some industries I would also recommend testing channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – every channel where you can spend a small amount of money. Ad testing straight away is the best place for you to start.
Who are your customers and what needs do they have?
It’s important to know as much about your customers as possible, this is critically important! If you don’t know your customers well, you won’t be able to target them correctly! Different customer types, different customer needs.
How do you identify your target group?
How well do you know your target group? I think this is a big key to success. The most successful people in business are the ones who also live their business, so their profession is also their hobby – this gives them a huge advantage because they are part of their target group and they understand the market.
In case you don’t know your market very well make sure you have people on your team who do, and use every possible opportunity and source to see how your customers tick and what they want and need!
What is your target market?
If you are not in a niche market, most of the time you will find that your target market is pretty big, especially if you sell in the US. It may be useful for you to prioritize the most profitable areas of your market.
When it comes to shipping this can make a big difference. For example, if you offer free shipping and you need to ship far, you could end up making no money on your orders. It is easy to target a lot of states or countries, and if you know what you are doing you can make a lot of money that way.
But, more specialized market strategies, like focusing on just one state, or even one city, sometimes can make a lot of sense because then you can offer and advertise big advantages like “same day shipping” or “local pickup” or buying local.
What needs and problems do your customers have and how can you help them to solve this?
If you don’t know your target group very well, you will also not know what kind of information they are looking for, and for what and why they want to buy certain products from you.
Particularly in online marketing, knowing your target group gives you a huge advantage because you can set up ads and strategies for every stage your user might be in, and for every problem that they are trying to find a solution for. So, if the user is at a stage where he is researching, your SEO strategy should target that, and of course your paid ad campaigns should cover that too – and don’t just send them to the product sales page!
Give them great content that fulfills their needs. Other users will be ready to buy – make it easy for them to go through your sales funnel and always make sure you look at your user intent – give your users what they are looking for! Many of them will not be ready to buy, but if you help them solve their problem it is very likely that they will come back in the future and buy from you!
What customers are bringing you most of your money?
After a few months of collecting a lot of data, you should look at your customer base and see what customers are bringing you the most money. Like in most parts of life and business you will find that the 80/20 rule applies.
It is very likely that you will discover 20% of your customers bring you 80% of your revenue. Try to find out why and find a way to scale that, and don’t just stop there! If you repeat this process at least once a year, you will see how much this strategy alone will help you scale your business big time.
By following this strategy, you will discover that sometimes it’s the shipping cost, sometimes the product, a certain demographic, or even a device (iPhone, Mac), that makes a big difference.
Where does your web traffic come from?
Of course, if you are just getting started you will not have a lot of traffic coming in unless you are actively marketing your website already. I would still suggest having a close look at your analytics to see where your traffic comes from because this could also be an indicator of what could work for you.
Maybe people are already talking in forums about your product or service, perhaps a partner website or a newspaper mentioned you and put up a link to your site – these could be sources that could work for you and be worth scaling up.
What kind of content should you produce for your users?
As I have already mentioned, it is pretty simple: the key is to give your users what they are looking for! This means you need to know the user intent: what they are looking for at the moment. You will need to set up a content strategy for different user intents and different funnels for every need. Later in the book we will talk about how you can find out what questions your users may have, and I will show you the best way to add this kind of content to your website.
How to define the right STRATEGY
In my case, I set up a strategy where we focus 1/3 of our efforts on getting out the best information out there, and 2/3 on trying capture the users that are ready to buy. Again, this all comes down to how much budget you can spend and how fast you need to see a return on the money you put into advertising.
If you focus on keywords and strategies where the user is ready to buy, you will, of course, get your money back much faster. Certainly, it is also important to focus on future strategies and building up information and useful things about your products or services. Just always keep in mind that these strategies take time to bring back the money you’ve invested!
How price sensitive are your customers?
Believe me, it’s easier than you think to figure out if your customers have money or not! And, it is fascinating to know! Here are some indicators and metrics that may help you to figure this out:
If you look at your analytics and you see that most people who are buying from you use an iPhone or Mac, it is an indicator they usually have more money than the average person.
- If you sell services, in most cases, it’s even easier because you can find out their job titles and how much they earn on average.
- These days most shop systems capture customers’ locations and give you the opportunity to see the area or the building where they live on Google maps. That can give you even more insights!
All this information can help you enormously to sell the right products at the right price. And, if you are better than your competitors, you don’t have to be the cheapest! Yes, this research takes time, but it’s worth it!
How important is your product or service for your customer?
If you are just getting started with your Ecommerce business I encourage you to consider products and services that have as many advantages as possible! For example, it’s a great advantage if your customers are buying your product for their kids or pets, or if it’s related to their hobbies. Anything that gives them a good feeling and satisfaction will help you to sell. Other advantages include: your product has an affluent customer base, your profit margin is at least 25%, shipping is easy, and the list goes on. If you are already established and you carry a particular range of products, you obviously don’t want to pick a new industry, but maybe you can find something related.
That being said, remember you need to be passionate about the product or service you offer to be successful! That’s the main reason why it’s so easy for me: Online marketing is not just my job, it’s my life and my passion!
If your product or service sucks, you will not be successful! You can put as much effort and money into marketing and other strategies as you want, but if you can’t satisfy your users, you will never be successful.
What product makes you the most money?
After you have collected data about your products, make sure you look at all your products again in detail. Find out what products or services make you most of your money and try to apply the 80/20 rule in this case too. You should find out which 20% of your products make you 80% of your revenue.
Then, see if you can find similar products, or find other ways, marketing channels, or opportunities, to scale up for those products. Don’t waste time and money trying to build up market share and visibility for the wrong products!
How often do your customers need your product?
If you picked an industry where your customers need to buy your product again and again, you are lucky! This applies to a lot of industries, like pet food, food in general, printer supplies, and more.
There are many strategies I will introduce you to, to get the most out of these types of markets. Throughout the book, I will show you the best ways to build up subscription based models and show you how to keep your customers engaged.
This certainly makes a difference in calculating marketing costs. The lifetime value of a customer that needs to buy your product again and again is huge. The money that comes in from that customer will allow you to spend more on getting new customers. But to reiterate, you need to pick the right strategy carefully which comes back to your budget and how fast you need to see the return on your investment.
How to sell more without much effort
I have seen huge success from implementing small things, like bundling products, offering larger packs for a discounted price, and implementing clever recurring models. A lot of the time I see companies missing out on opportunities like these. Remember, it is not just about selling more, it’s also about saving on your marketing budget and shipping costs. So, look at your products, processes, and expenses, and see where you can save money!
Why we picked the products we sell
When we chose our products, we tried to focus on products we can sell on a recurring basis and are easy to cross-sell and upsell. We also tried to find products that have a big profit margin. Our business model allows us to spend a good chunk of money on marketing.
The recurring model is especially nice because it drives revenue almost automatically, and it increases more and more every month. This also allows us to make better business decisions because we see the estimated revenue for the next 30 days or 90 days. We can even use this to get money from investors/banks who consider this as revenue that will come in addition to regular sales!
How often does your product version change?
If you are in an industry that is fast moving with new versions of products rolling out all the time, you need to approach your marketing strategy a little bit differently. In these cases, it’s better to focus on broader marketing strategies. For example, push categories more than specific products.
If you know there is a high search demand for the actual product name, you could also go after that. In that case, it would be best to start building up some content and SEO power before the product gets released to the market. So, if you know a certain product is coming out in about six-months, start building a landing page already and do what you can to start ranking for that keyword as soon as possible. This will give you a huge advantage because most of your competitors will only start doing this when the product comes out.
Do you have related products to up-sell and cross-sell?
One of the easiest and best strategies is up-selling and cross-selling products to your customers. This works best if you have algorithms set up that can figure out what product your user is most likely to buy. In most cases, these apps will also allow you to define related products which you want to up-sell and cross-sell. I can tell you from my experience this works super well! It will also help you with your shipping rates and increase your customer’s lifetime value dramatically.
How easy are your products to handle?
The type of products you sell can make a big difference in how you handle your marketing. If you sell products that have expiration dates, you need to make sure you have a way to track that internally. You also want to be able to sell items close to their expiration date quickly. Paid advertising and e-mail marketing are the best and fastest way to do that!
Are there any additional products you could offer to get higher shopping cart values?
We talked about up-selling and cross-selling already, and I encourage you to also have a look at related products your customers might need. For example, if you sell dog food online – why don’t you try selling dog bowls, dog vitamins, dental sticks, and anything else they might need as well?
How to pick the right markets
In this section, we will talk about markets and how to choose the right market for you.
What is your primary target market?
Let’s talk about your primary market and how you are doing in your market! It is important that you master your primary market first. It does not make sense to go into new markets if everything isn’t running smoothly in your existing market.
Sometimes it happens that the market you are in is not the right market. If this is the case, you should probably try to find other markets you can master.
How big is your market?
No matter what you sell or how much money you make from it, it’s important to have a lot of people looking for your products or service. Today it is quite easy to find out if there is demand or not! The easiest way would be using a few Google tools that can estimate the number of searches for every keyword pretty well. This way you can figure out if there is demand for your product or service or not.
For a few goods and/or services, search volume is not so important. For example, if you sell private jets or a very pricey service, you probably don’t need more than one client per month. So, even if there are just ten searches, in these cases I would not worry too much.
How I decided which markets to target
For my online business, I decided to pick different target groups for different websites. With one of our stores, we are targeting around 1.8 million people in the US. For two other shops, we decided to go a different direction and target a specific region. Here, one of our websites is only targeting California, and the other site is targeting New York.
This strategy works well for us. If you run strategies like this your websites can show up multiple times in AdWords or Google Shopping, and this can give you a significant advantage over your competitors.
How much market share do you have?
Do you know how big the market is and how much market share you have? If have been in business for a long time and know your market and competitors very well, you can probably estimate it roughly.
It is fascinating when we look at the market share numbers and see how much potential there still is. There are a few tools out there which can give you quite good numbers on the market share you have in your industry, and show you who of your competitors has most of the market share, and more importantly: why?
How is your market developing?
Do you know how and in what direction your market is developing? Today it is more critical than ever to know!
Many markets have totally changed, or even disappeared, after new technologies entered the scene. Just think about how Airbnb changed the online booking industry, or how Amazon changed Ecommerce. Demographic numbers or usage numbers can also be important in determining if your target market is getting bigger or smaller. Or is it possible something could replace your product or service soon?
What are potential future markets?
Potential future markets could be other states, countries, or other languages or target groups. If you are at the stage where you have mastered your primary market, it might be a good next step to try out new potential markets. Depending on the product or service, it may make sense just to add another language to reach more people – this is one of the easiest ways to reach more people.
I am not talking about implementing another language to target a different country here, I mean implementing a new language to target, for example, the Spanish-speaking community in California. Going into other countries requires more work, and I will discuss this in depth later in the book.
What markets are the easiest to get in?
Most businesses underestimate the work and strategy needed to go into other states or regions. In the US, you have a huge advantage because, at the very least, everybody speaks the same language and uses the same currency. If we look at other parts of the world, this can get quite complicated!
In Europe, for example, almost every country speaks a different language, and many of them still have their own currency. You also have countries like Switzerland where they speak three languages in one country. Also if you want to target big parts of Asia a lot of strategies are required.
How to use strategic partnerships to get into other markets?
Sometimes it may make sense to set up strategic partnerships. When it comes to fulfillment and shipping, this can make a lot of sense.
In my case, we have a strategic partner in New York who fulfills most of our orders from the east coast. In return, we ship the orders which are cheaper to ship from the west coast. Additionally, we have a warehouse in Germany which packages and sends products to our US warehouse and orders to customers in other countries. Another thing to keep in mind, Amazon and Rakuten, the big players, offer storage and fulfillment options in many countries which may make sense for you and your business.
Of course, it is vital that your partners do their job properly – you don’t want to do everything you can to satisfy your customers, and then have one of your partner’s mess it all up by sending out packages too late, sending out the wrong products, or not packaging your products right, so they arrive damaged.
The Fulfillment Process
Do you fulfill yourself or do you have partners do it for you?
We’ve already talked about this a bit, and I would say there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. If you do it in your warehouse, you have 100% control, and it is very easy to modify processes or change orders. Of course, in this case, you need the space for it. Also, the more orders you get, the harder it gets to fulfill them on time!
In our case, we discovered that one person can manage around 120 orders a day. We make sure that every customer gets a short handwritten note, and that packages are packed very well so nothing can break. We soon had to rent a second warehouse right next to the first one to make sure we had enough space to handle fulfillment and shipping. In my opinion, this is a critical part of the process! We also do support in-house. That means if somebody calls, you can ask, or look yourself, to see if it has been shipped or is still sitting on the shelf, and resolve things much faster.
As soon as you want to go into other countries, most of the time, you will need to open a warehouse there or find fulfillment partners. This will allow you to ship at a reasonable cost and on time.
What is your average shipping cost and how you can lower it?
Shipping cost is a significant factor, especially if you are selling products that don’t cost much. Over the years, I’ve discovered the following 4 Factors can make the most significant difference:
Try to up-sell, cross-sell, or bundle products. Most of the time shipping gets much cheaper if you send out more than one product – so, not only do you sell more to your customer, but you also save money on shipping.
- Talk to as many carriers as you can and get better rates over time! Your volume of packages will go up and up, and we’ve found you can typically get a 70% to 90% discount on shipping cost if you do it right.
- If you are just getting started, add a 0 to your estimated shipping volume when you negotiate a deal with your carriers – nobody will come back and ask for money if you did not ship out what was expected.
- There are companies out there that offer shipping services and you can use their cheap shipping rates for a small fee.
What kind of courier service are you using and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
In most countries you can choose from at least 3 or 4 bigger courier services. It’s very important to spend some time investigating, talking to them, and trying to get the best deal. Some companies will give you up to a 90% discount if time is not an issue for you. For some of them volume will be the most influential factor. Most of the bigger courier services will offer to pick up the packages at your warehouse.… you see, there are a lot of things you should look at to find the best deal for you and your customers!
How fast can you ship your products?
When it comes to shipping time, I always recommend offering as many options as possible so your customers can decide when they get their order. Think about yourself: You don’t want to buy something and then wait three weeks for it to arrive!
For my business, we implemented some options, like a guaranteed next day delivery, a same day delivery option, and others. This way the customers can pick the right solution for them.
In the US, there are a lot of services that can help you get your products shipped on the same day. In other regions, like Europe or Asia, same day deliveries are often still very hard to accomplish.
How easy is it for your clients to return products?
Make it easy and clear for your customers! If they want to return a product, it should be easy for them. You don’t want them to call your support team to ask for the address or write emails to find information how they can return the product – all that will add up and cost you money and time!
Have a place on your website that explains in detail how they can return products and how refunding, etc. works. Let them even print a return label. It’s up to you if you charge for the return – this depends on your business model.
Do you also use your fulfillment process to engage, up-sell, and cross-sell to your customers?
Don’t see the fulfillment process as the end of the relationship with your customer! Of course, it is vital you ship the right product fast, but also take time to personalize every package by writing a short hand written thank you on the invoice, and make sure you add some additional information and marketing material to the package.
In my business, we send out detailed information about how to use the products and a little booklet that shows all the other products that we carry. Sometimes we also include a postcard with a coupon code or small gift to make our customers happy!
What you should know about “free shipping”
Free shipping is also something you should consider. There are studies that show people are 50% more likely to buy from you if you offer free shipping, even if your product is a little more expensive. Of course, you need to calculate all of that into your product price. Don’t underestimate what hundreds of packages will cost you in shipping every day!
In this part of the book, we talk about structure. The structure step includes things like who you need on board, what can be done in-house, and what you probably should outsource. We’ll also discuss a safe and secure structure according to my 6S Formula which will allow you to scale up your business fast.
What can be done in-house and what should you outsource?
It is often challenging to decide what can be done internally and what can’t be. If you have a marketing department and an IT department, it’s most likely that you do hosting and a part of the marketing yourself.
But also in this case, outsourcing may work better – it all depends on how fast your departments can help and if they have available resources. If you know your IT department is already too busy and every ticket would take three weeks, there probably is a better solution out there.
When it comes to marketing, it depends on the knowledge of the people who work in your marketing department. If there is just one or two people, it is very unlikely that they will be able to cover all your channels properly. I’ve learned from my experience that it works best if the people on the marketing team have the overview to guide and coordinate the experts.
Which people or departments should be involved?
If you are a small company or just getting started, there probably won’t be many individuals involved in all of your processes. But as company size increases, a lot of departments and decision makers become involved. In this situation, it’s best to make sure you get your CEO, CFO, or other decision makers involved so that you can push forward quickly. You don’t want to end up waiting on other departments for weeks at a time before being able to move forward.
How can you motivate departments to help you succeed?
It is hard to get people and departments to support you and your efforts because they may feel there is nothing in it for them. Most of the time it just means more work for them which is why they won’t be very motivated. The best way to overcome this is to try and involve all the departments you need and get them on board. Not only that, but make sure they receive the recognition and benefits they deserve as part of your success team!
How can you get key people on board (CEO, CFO)?
If you manage all the processes we are discussing in this book, implementing these changes will be easiest if you are high up in your company. The more decisions you can make yourself, the easier it gets! If that’s not the case, you need the support of a C-level person who can help you push everything you need through!
What other departments are directly connected to your Ecommerce channel?
Sometimes there are related departments that can support you. This, again, depends on your company size and the amount of time you have been on the market.
If you work in a larger cooperation, I would encourage you to get as much knowledge as you can out of at least two other departments. If you have a sales team, spend some time with them – you can learn not only sale techniques from them but also a lot about your customers!
Besides the sales team, you should talk to everyone in your company who has direct contact with your customers, such as your support team. Try to find out what your customers’ principal issues are and get a list of questions that they typically ask.
This will help you enormously in creating the best plan to build a better Ecommerce platform with the content your customers are looking for!
Who takes care of your customers?
Nowadays a fast and reliable customer support team is critical. Times are getting faster and faster, and with online social media platforms people expect answers straight away. That in mind, you need to make sure that you are there for your customers when they need you. It is also critical for the sales process!
Your users may have questions they want answered before they feel comfortable making a purchase. If you are not answering them straight away, they may just visit your competitors’ website where they can reach somebody from their support team more quickly, and buy from them.
I would really recommend doing this part in-house and not outsourcing here. When doing support in house it is easier to give your customer that feel good feeling, while helping you to gain that insider knowledge of who your customers are and what their needs are.
How and with who do you manage your fulfillment processes?
Now I’d like to discuss fulfillment, especially regarding its structure and internal resources.
You see, my 6S formula covers the entire process!
If you fulfill in-house, you will need a warehouse, of course, and at the beginning, at least one or two people (if you are just getting started you will likely be taking care of this part yourself).
Fulfillment is often not so easy to scale, especially your warehouse. If your warehouse gets too small and you can’t find another one in the same area, things get more complicated. But there’s nothing that can’t be solved! When you reach a certain size, or have many locations, it could make sense to use fulfillment partners. If you do this, make sure you have somebody in the company who gets the warehouses restocked on time so that your fulfillment partner is sending orders out fast.
Generally, I prefer in-house fulfillment because it’s hard to ensure everything works the way you want if it’s not done in-house –fast shipping especially is often a problem!
Your Server and Hosting Infrastructure
In this part of the book, things get a little technical. Don’t worry, we are not going to talk about every little detail. However, there are certain things you need to know if you oversee an Ecommerce business, and some of these things are crucial because you could lose a lot of money if it’s not done properly!
Where did you buy your domain and how do you protect it?
Do you know where you bought your domain? Not only that, but who is taking care of the domain management? Is it IT, is it marketing, or did one of the owners purchase the domain?
You may be wondering why this is important. Well, I have seen cases where domains expired and nobody noticed because the e-mail addresses that were receiving warnings about this did not exist anymore. In another case, I saw that a competitor sent a domain transfer request.
This request was received by somebody in the company who didn’t read the e-mail properly, and confirmed the transfer because he thought it was requested from the new web company. Of course, legally you may be able to get the domain back here, but not for many months or even years, and that may be too late. You need to make sure things like this don’t happen to you!
Where and how do you host your website?
Where is your server located? Is your IT department taking care of your server? Is it in a data center or is everything on the cloud? What kind of hosting package do you have? What is the current PHP Version or ASP version of that server? How stable and reliable is this server? What happens if the power goes off or hardware crashes? How fast can you reach somebody there? …and so on and so on!
You need to know all of this if you are responsible for an Ecommerce platform! If you use a ready-made shop system most of that is managed quite well for you, so you don’t need to worry about many of these risks.
Is your web environment scalable?
I know that sometimes company rules don’t allow it, but if they do, it is often much better and easier to have a cloud solution of some kind. And of course, you need to make sure that you find a very trusted, reliable company that you can reach 24 hours to react if anything goes wrong!
The advantage of cloud-based solutions is that you can scale them up in seconds. For example, if you need a bigger or a second database, a load balancer, or just more power, they can scale it up quickly without exchanging hardware parts and things like that.
Many of these providers can also offer you CDN systems – meaning that you will get more server locations and you can deliver your content much faster to your users. This is a must if you sell in various parts of the world – it also makes sense if you sell in the US and your target group is on the west coast and the east coast.
Can you protect your website against DDOS and hacker attacks?
In the last few years we had to deal with some nasty situations where we were having a tough time keeping our website up and running because some hackers and competitors tried to keep our site down.
How do they do this? They use a special tool to send as many requests as possible to the server or database, so your server will not be able to respond anymore. This can last for days, and as soon as you restart the server you have the same problem again. It’s a serious problem!
There are few solutions if this is the case, but they’re really difficult to implement, so it is critical that you protect yourself!
About a year ago, we had another case where somebody hacked into the backend of an Ecommerce store and downloaded all the customer data. I am sure it happened because parts of the backend had not been SSL encrypted. Some of the employees worked at the airport or in a Starbucks from time to time using a public Wi-Fi – so, they were basically sending the unencrypted logins through the air! Make sure that does not happen to you!
Can you backup and recover your Ecommerce store at any time?
My next question for you is, what happens if your hardware breaks or your database stops working? Additionally, what’s your process if you make major changes to your store and discover the next day that the checkout process is not working anymore? Boy, that happened to me! It’s not much fun! Luckily, I was able to use the latest backup and solve the problem in seconds.
Recently, I accidently deleted all our products – I was able to import them again because I had made a backup, but all connections to our collections had been lost. It took me 10 hours to display products inside the store again.
Do you have backups? How regularly do you make them? – Make sure your server or system is doing that automatically! Also, make sure your database gets backed up! In many cases, you will be lost if you don’t have that too!
Tools you should use to make sure everything functions properly
Even when we work with the best hosting companies, or have somebody internally taking diligent care of everything, it still happens that parts of the shopping system don’t work sometimes, and it can be hard to realize that if you have hundreds or thousands of products. That’s why we often use additional software which can perform login processes or order processes, and alerts us if something is not working. We also set up Alerts in Google Analytics to be notified as soon as something fires a page or a server error.
How to pick the right shop system
If you are just getting started this is a significant step for you! There are so many advantages of choosing the right shop system from the beginning. If you already have a system in place, don’t worry, my 6S formula does not require you to change your existing shop system. Today, most shop systems out there are good, and, of course things always depend on the interfaces and 3rd party tools you are using as well.
Should you go for a self-host shop system or pick one of the established Ecommerce platforms?
The first decision when it comes to choosing the right Ecommerce platform is deciding if you want to setup and run an Ecommerce platform on your server. If not, the other option is choosing one of the big Ecommerce platforms out there which will handle all the hosting, updating, and even more.
I often recommend “ready-made” Ecommerce platforms because they have so many advantages today. You can save a lot of money over the years because you don’t have to worry about updates, new code versions and database versions, compatibility, and a lot of things like that which are hard to handle. Besides, if you pick the right platform it is incredibly easy to plug in new functionalities at a low cost!
How I decided what platform to pick for my Ecommerce business
Because of my experience in this field, I knew I didn’t want to deal with updates, database, code versions, and with all things related to the server. So, we decided to pick a shopping platform and I am very happy about that now!
As with most of our clients, it works for us without any issues. And we are still able to modify the code if we want to make some changes – so it’s perfect for us. On top of that, we save a lot of money because we can pick from their hundreds and hundreds of plugins and apps.
Is it important for your shop system to connect to internal software applications or interfaces?
In some cases, you may want to connect your shop system with a piece of software that you are already using. For example, if you are an established business that up until now has only been selling offline.
In this case, you likely already have a software that you are using to manage all of your inventory, shipping, and things like that. If this is you, I recommend you make sure your Ecommerce store can handle that, too. Alternatively, it might be a good idea to switch from your old system to a new, more advanced system. You see, you don’t want to build up your shop system and then discover that there are some serious issues.
Is your shop environment scalable?
Scaling is an important part of my 6S Formula, and later I devote an entire chapter to discussing scaling processes. For now, we just want to ensure we pick the right shop system so it will be possible to scale it later.
This can be a complicated process depending on how you want to scale up later. The key question is: Are you just planning to drive much more traffic to your Ecommerce platform? i.e. your goal is to have a fast website with a lot of new traffic coming in? – that’s quite easy to do. However, when we start talking about other languages, going into other countries, or offering a lot more products, it could cause problems if you have the wrong shop system. Believe me, you don’t want to change your shop system again!
Can you quickly and cost-effectively implement new plugins and features?
This is important to be aware of! For some shop systems, it is very easy and inexpensive to implement new apps, plugins, and features; but for others, it could take a long time and cost a lot of money. That’s another reason why I really like ready-made shop systems: you don’t have to worry about versions or updates, and they are the ones to make sure installed plugins still work. That’s a huge advantage, trust me!
A few times I’ve experienced that after a version update suddenly 2 or 3 plugins are not working anymore. These could be very important plugins or apps for you and that’s no fun!
That’s why I recommend you avoid things like that if you can. Sure, if you have a great IT department which is motivated and can implement things on time and at a reasonable cost, it would be a great solution – but that combination is hard to find, I would say – LOL!
How good are the reporting tools in your shop system?
Reporting is critically important! You need to know all your numbers, what your best-selling products are, what is trending, what makes you the most money, and so on. That’s why it is very helpful when your shop systems have the right reporting tools in place.
Of course, you will also have to use Google Analytics or something similar to get the full picture – and there are many online solutions out there that allow you to build your dashboards and have all the data from all your tools in one place. This will allow you to get a better overview and make better business decisions.
Can you easily integrate all needed 3rd Party providers to scale your business?
If you already use 3rd Party tools or internal tools it will also be important for you be able to connect all your tools and data. In this case, picking the right Ecommerce platform can also save you a lot of money because some of the systems allow you to connect all the tools you need with just one click.
If it’s not necessary, why would you waste time and money on custom programming and testing every time something changes? Your integration may not work anymore! Keep that in mind too!
Is your shop system mobile friendly?
I still can’t believe how massively mobile traffic has grown over the last few years, and it’s still growing and growing. In a lot of cases, we see customers with up to 80% mobile traffic. So, it’s critically important to have a mobile friendly website today! And it’s not rocket science anymore.
With most Ecommerce platforms out there you have the ability to create new layout templates which will give your users a much better mobile experience and boost your conversion rates. This can be done very fast and cost effectively and will often lead to more sales and engagement rates.
Is your customer data safe?
We’ve already talked briefly about this in the SYSTEM Part of my 6S formula. Believe me, there are many things you have to consider! You need to make sure that your customer data is saved/protected because it is one of the most valuable assets for your company. Make sure that nobody (not even your employees) can steal your data from you.
Of course, some people need to have access to all the data (it’s unavoidable), and your IT guys can probably find a way to download the data directly from the database, but try to make it as hard as possible to download customer data!
When it comes to shop systems, I’ve seen some very easy and intelligent solutions over time.
Some systems, for example, will not allow you to directly download the data – they will just send a download link to an e-mail address you’ve specified. I think something like this is a very simple but effective solution!
Why analytics are critical!
Why you should use analytics from day one
Without real data, it is not possible to make the right business decisions! For that reason, it is important for you to implement analytics from day one. Even if you have numbers from similar shops, you will find that every Ecommerce environment is different.
There are so many factors that play a role, there is just no way to make a solid decision without looking at actual data. The more data you have, the deeper you can analyze it.
What analytics tools should you use?
If you ask me what kind of analytics tools you should use, I would say in most cases, Google Analytics is best – it is free and very advanced. Google Analytics integrates with most plugins, apps and dashboards. Additionally, it connects seamlessly with your AdWords account. If you are doing AdWords, you can get much better data. It is also possible to connect Google Analytics to your Search Console Account and pull out more valuable data from there, too.
What tools I use to get valuable data, and why you should use them too
For my Ecommerce business, I use Google Analytics. A member of my team made sure that everything was setup properly, which is key. Google Analytics is how we track our goals: we can see our conversions and what channels these conversions are coming from. This is crucial! It’s important to know where your customers are coming from and what channel prepared a sale.
You will see, most of the time people won’t buy if they visit your website for the first time. However, it is important to know which channel the first contact point was from, even if they purchased the 3rd or 4th visit through other traffic sources!
The simplest way to install these tools
If you are not tech savvy, get somebody from your team or an outsider who knows what they are doing! Even if a tool is simple to integrate, you could end up putting it on the wrong pages or sections of your website. As a result, data won’t come in or might be counted incorrectly. This would give you incorrect insider information, and you don’t want to make business decisions using faulty data. So, you better make sure your analytics work!
The easiest way for you to manage this yourself is to get somebody to install a piece of code on your website that will implement the so-called “Google Tag Manager”. From this point forward, you will be able to apply all code snippets you need yourself – and there is no way to mess it up!
What information should you track to monitor your goals?
Doubtless, when it comes to goals, you want to sell more! To determine if you are selling more, you will need to track your revenue and see if you have a recurring business model. You will also want to see an increase in your subscriber base and the number of quality visitors you have.
Additionally, you will need to track how long your users stay on your site, how many pages they look at on average, if they sign up for a newsletter, and so on, to check your user satisfaction.
Tracking these things will show how you’re doing and if you are making progress.
How I define goals and set them up
To give you some more insider info on my Ecommerce business, let me tell you how I set goals and how we monitor them. Like many of you, my primary goal is to make as much money as possible! For that, we track all the numbers.
Another main goal of ours is to have engaged and satisfied customers. For this, we monitor the time on site and the bounce back to SERP rates (this rate measures how long the user stays on our website before they go back to the Search Engine Result Page again). This can be an indicator if the user was satisfied or not with the content they found. Google also uses this to determine the quality of a website.
We additionally monitor what blog posts users are interested in, where they click, how deep they scroll, and how they behave on our website.
Why you should connect Google Analytics to AdWords
As I told you before, one of the biggest benefits of using Google Analytics is that it’s very easy to connect to AdWords and other tools. You can save a lot of time because Google will connect the data in the background for you.
There are so many reports, settings, and features in Analytics today that I have one team member whose only focus is analytics. That way we can make sure everything is connected the right way and we are not losing any data anywhere!
Quite often we see that conversions are not connected to the correct channel. For example, you may think you make good money on Facebook, and that’s often the case, but it happens that the conversions are sometimes not counted for the right channel because it is not setup correctly.
How to use analytics to improve user satisfaction
As soon as you have your analytics setup properly and have collected data over a few weeks, it is time to start looking at your data.
Start with the basics and look at your bounce rates (the pages your users visited and left straight away). This can be a reliable indicator for determining whether your users are satisfied with your content or not. Take an in-depth look at pages with high bounce rates, and try to find out why it’s happening.
It’s not always the quality of your content, it could also be that you are using the wrong landing pages or the wrong wording in your AdWords campaigns. Maybe your ads say something specific or have an exclusive offer, but when the user clicks your ads they don’t find it. If this happens, your users won’t be satisfied and in most cases will leave your website immediately.
How to use analytics to make important business decisions
If you make important business decisions always ensure you have data to backup these decisions. In so many companies I see people making poor decisions because they are looking at incomplete or incorrect data. Sometimes, they say they know exactly what they are doing, but it’s more based on a feeling they have and not based on concrete numbers. I don’t recommend to base important business decisions on feelings or people’s opinions. Make sure you have valid data!
Additional metrics you can use to track user behavior
Analytics data is great, and today there are many ways to track user behavior! I don’t want you to get lost in Analytics, so first try to use main indicators like bounce rate before moving on. Later on, I suggest you start using additional tools that will give you advanced metrics, like heat maps, scroll behavior, and so forth. Of course, if you are advanced in Google Analytics already you could also get most of your data from analytics. However, sometimes it’s difficult to find data and read certain metrics in Analytics, so I prefer using 3rd party tools.
The ultimate way to discover what users are doing on your website
There are special tools out there that can record user sessions, so everything they do is captured on video. Wow! I remember when I saw this for the first time. It was about ten years ago, and I was so fascinated that I spent many hours trying to figure out what exactly users do on our website. With these tools you also have the option to filter or to search for patterns, so you can find the page where users bounced off your site!
You can then watch all the videos related to this landing pages to find out what is wrong with the page and why your users left. Sometimes you will find buttons are not working, you may discover that it is not possible for them to fill out a form, or complete another required action.
Additional tools for more inside information
I don’t recommend you use too many tools to look at your data, but there is just one more tool I would suggest you use that will give you great information: The Google Search Console.
Why? – Because it shows you data no other tool can! It will show you your average position for most of your keywords, and how many of your pages, categories, and products are indexed (i.e. how many are in Google’s database). There’s also a lot more information you can get from it. When it comes to SEO it’s a must have because Google also uses this tool to send critical notifications and penalty alerts to website owners. You can also connect it to the other Google tools and get a much better range of data.
The truth about mobile apps
In this part of the book, we will talk about apps! We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of mobile apps to give you a better understanding of whether you need an app or not. If you already have a mobile app, I will show you how you can improve it.
Do you need a mobile app?
Many businesses ask me, “Do we need a mobile app?”. The answer: it depends! It depends on your target group, your product, and many more factors. But often, when people ask me if they should get an app developed, I give the same recommendation as I would give them for Social Media Channels: YES, if you can give your users additional benefits! But make sure you do it right and have somebody who can continuously manage it. It’s all about focus – doing the things that you do in the right way!
Nowadays, there are a lot of smart solutions out there for mobile apps. Just keep in mind, if you want to build a native app, you need to know if your target group is using iPhones or Android and so on!
What advantages do you have by using a mobile app?
There are definitely advantages to having a mobile app! Just remember, there is a cost involved if you want to do it right.
In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages of having a mobile app is having much better access to your users. Most people carry their phone everywhere and check their messages hundreds of times every day. So, if they have your app installed and they allow you to send them notifications, they will see almost all your messages immediately. And there are even more useful things! For example, if your customers allow you to track their location you could use their location for special notifications. With a mobile app, you can get in touch with your customers much easier, and furthermore, you get to collect additional data!
How you can promote your mobile app
I’ve come across many businesses that have a mobile app but almost nobody is using it. So, what’s the point of even having it?
Make sure, if you decide to develop an app, you think about how you can get people to use it. If you do it cleverly, there are so many opportunities to reach new customers! For example, if you can manage to rank quite high in the IOS Apps store – which is still not too hard to do –you will get access to people you would never have reached with other marketing channels.
Of course, you should promote your app on your website and give mobile users a choice to use the app or your mobile website. There are so many creative ways to get your users to use your app!
How you can track results when it comes to apps
Like on your online store, it is also critically important to track everything that happens in your app. You can use the in-app tracking in Google Analytics to get all the data you need out of your app. Over time, you will have all the data you need to make the right business decisions, even when it comes to your mobile app.
Apps, Plugins, and 3rd Party Integrations
In this part of the 6S formula, I will talk about apps, plugins, and other tools that can help you make more money and control your processes better. I am happy to see more and more great, affordable apps and 3rd party providers springing up that can help to give you a competitive advantage at a low cost (when implemented correctly).
Why I use a lot of additional plugins and integrations
If I think ten years back… UGH! it was so difficult to integrate just the simplest things, like a newsletter box or a simple contact form on a website! Today it is so much easier and it works quite well (most of the time)!
I use a lot of plugins now on my own website, and on most of our customers’ websites. It can save a lot of money using a pre-made solution. Some of the apps or plugins I use are handling newsletter subscriptions, recurring order processes, Google shopping feed generation, SEO plugins, and more.
How these apps help me manage my marketing processes
In the case of marketing or connection to your sales channels, there are many useful apps out there. Like I mentioned before, we use a plugin that generates a shopping feed that we can use for Google and Bing shopping. This feed can also be used for other channels which work with product feeds! We use other plugins and 3rd party tools to integrate eBay and Amazon. This integration allows us to sync our inventory between all channels.
We also offer drop shipping, and use additional plugins and integrations for some of those stores. For our drop shipping clients’ stores, our plugins automatically pull all products and prices, and push the orders back to our inventory and fulfillment systems. Our integrations allow us to provide a fully automated solution for our drop ship customers. They pull in everything automatically, and we do the rest – even the fulfillment and shipping part – in their name.
How integrations and plugins can help you build trust
As you know, most users who visit your website for the first time will not buy from you just yet. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is trust! People have to trust you to buy from you!
If you are not a brand, you need to make sure your website looks trustworthy. Aside from a clean, professional design, you should also post reviews from your customers. A lot of them!
We use an advanced plugin for this that sends an e-mail to everybody who bought from us asking for a review (a great idea is to combine this with a coupon code). Then, we make sure we have product reviews and star ratings showing up on Search Engine Result pages – this is also done with a plugin which pushes the latest reviews to Google.
Additionally, I recommend you use trusted icons from well-known companies, seals or secure site badges, safe payment logos, and stuff like that!
How these apps help me combine relevant data
As your customer base grows, it becomes critically important to have all your customer data in one place. We have managed to connect all our apps that collect data. This includes things like order forms, newsletter sign-up forms, sweepstake forms, support tools, and things like this. We push this data to our automation interface so we can track everything a customer is doing in our store. Having all this data connected and collected gives us the chance to find out a lot more about our customers, and allows us to give them what they want, when they want it. This gives us a tremendous competitive advantage.
How these apps help with customer satisfaction
There are also apps that can help you increase and measure customer satisfaction. In this section, I want to talk about some additional apps outside of the regular sales process that can help you with that.
One of these, the one I like most, is a very simple, but great plugin that will automatically send out “real” postcards to your customers. Not email – real postcards! Yes, that’s hard to believe! With this plugin, you can set events like birthdays or anniversaries. You can even identify triggers on your website, and send out coupons or thank-you-letters based on specific customer behavior.
Of course, a big part of user satisfaction is supporting your customers in the best way possible! Make it easy for them to contact you, and give them the opportunity to chat with somebody right away. That way they can find out what they need to know in real time! This is important even after they’ve already bought.
Finally, plugins that ask how satisfied your customers are, and automatic e-mail that does the same, can help you to make sure your support team is doing a good job.
How these apps and 3rd party tools help me manage things easier
To begin with, we use an app to help us handle the shipping process better. It allows us to display same-day delivery options, and additional options in an easy and flexible way.
We also use a 3rd party management tool that makes it possible to track stock for all our online shops and sales channels, like Amazon and eBay. All orders from every store and every channel show up in this interface, and our inventory and pricing is constantly updated for all the connected channels and stores. Furthermore, we can manage the shipping process inside this interface, so we can easily generate all the shipping labels.
The software automatically pushes the order status and shipping status back to our online stores and other channels. Therefore, our customers, and our partners who use us as drop shippers, are always up to date! Yes, it took us a few weeks to set this up and get it running smoothly, but now we save tons of time, and we can even set up a whole new shop system in 10 minutes – How long would it take you?
Make all your decisions on data, not feelings or beliefs
We’ve already talked briefly about this, but it is so important, so I want to give you some more insights on it.
Why is it so important to have accurate reporting and statistics in place?
It is all about data! If you don’t have the right data, or you don’t know how to read the data, you can’t make the right decisions. For instance, make sure to have reports on how much money you make from every product so you don’t end up marketing products that don’t make you money! The data you collect will help you optimize your business strategy, and all the parts of the 6S Formula, as outlined below.
What is the best way to use data in the STRATEGY process?
If you are new to the market, you probably don’t have any of your own data to look at. If this is the case, use as many tools as you can! Buy reports that give you accurate numbers, and do as much research as possible so you can build a STRATEGY based on statistics and data!
If you are already an established business, review the data you have in detail. Find out what your customers want, what the right market is for you, and do all you can to implement it in a solid future proven STRATEGY.
What is the best way to use data in the STRUCTURE process?
In the STRUCTURE part, I talked about internal resources, server and domain environment, security, etc. For this step you will need to know how many man hours you will need and how much that will cost your company. Alternatively, if you choose to outsource you will need to determine the cost for that.
What is the best way to use data in the SYSTEM process?
When it comes to the SYSTEM part of my 6S Formula, I encourage you to look at your needs concerning what kind of Ecommerce environment you want to build for your customers and what you will need to do that. If you want to use a lot of plugins and 3rd Party connections, look at which Ecommerce platforms support the plugins you need.
If you already have data, I also suggest you look at how many people are coming to your website from mobile devices. Are these iPhone or Android phones? This and some other insights can help you pick the right Ecommerce system, and make it easier for you to decide if you need a mobile app.
What is the best way to use data in the SALES process?
Most Ecommerce platforms give you great statistical data for everything. You can look at: sales per month, sales per product, sales by hour, sales by SKU, and so much more. Of course, make sure to check your Revenue Reports, Executive Reports, Benchmark Reports, and Acquisition Reports. When making business decisions, without accurate data you are lost!
What is the best way to use data in the SATISFACTION process?
One of the most important things for your business model is having satisfied customers! But it’s not always so easy to measure if your customers are satisfied or not! I would suggest starting by looking at your Google Analytics. Have a look at your bounce rates –if there are a lot of people leaving your website after just a few seconds, this could be an indicator that they weren’t satisfied. I also recommend looking at the Google Search Console to see how often your website showed up in search results, how many people clicked on you, and what your average position is. Next, I would use advanced support tools to find out if customers were satisfied or not. And, of course, look at your reviews.
What is the best way to use data in the SCALING process?
If we look at the scaling process, we need to analyze different data. This is probably the hardest part when looking for reliable data. If you decide that you want to market to another country, you need to find out how big the target group is. Depending on the country where you want to go, it can get a little tricky. Even if you look at your existing data which defines and confirms your target group, the target group in other countries could be different.
In scenarios like this, try to buy data, use Googles Data sources, or Facebook insights to identify your new target group in this country (that is, if these channels exist there). Getting data to scale your business up is hard! That being said, there are states and countries where you can go that will work like your home market 99% of the time, so they are much easier to scale! And, if the language and the currency stays the same, most of the time scaling is not too hard.
SALES and Marketing
How to pick the right marketing channel
This step can be a lot of fun! I love it because it’s so interesting to see what works and what doesn’t, and how different it can be in other countries or states. It’s exciting to see how users tick and what needs they have. So, let’s take a look at SALES – I promise it will be fun!
How can you pick the right marketing channel?
One of the questions I get all the time is: What is the right marketing channel for my company? You probably already know my favorite answer – LOL, “It depends!”.
You will need to think about where your customers are, what websites they visit, what social media channels they use, where they go if they shop offline, what demographic you want to target, how much money they have… I could probably write another book about this alone!
What markets do you want to focus on?
As soon as you have a clear picture of the audience you want to target, you need to choose the appropriate geographical location. The location you choose will depend on your website’s language, currency, and the possibility to ship for reasonable costs. The market you choose will define the region your ads will be shown (e.g. AdWords Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.)
For other market places it will be a bit different because, if you use Amazon or eBay, for example, you will have different targeting options. On Amazon, for instance, you can decide just to target the US or also Canada, and so on. The same with eBay, you can choose where you want to ship to. These marketplaces take away some of the hassles you would have if you did it yourself, like currency problem, language, and so on.
You could also use some of these marketplaces as fulfillment partners. Amazon or Rakuten, for example, offer to store your products in their warehouses, and they will ship for you for an additional fee. Just always keep in mind that it’s not very smart to build up your business future on channels you cannot control 100% yourself! eBay, Amazon, or other marketplaces could change their rules from one day to the next, and decide to ban you for any reason they want – I have seen that before!
What are your goals
What SALES goals do you have, and how do you define your goals? Especially in the beginning it can be extremely challenging to come up with goals. If you are just getting started, you need money or invest a lot of time to get sales. In case you can’t invest in paid advertising at first, you will have a tough start because some of the “free” sales channels, like SEO, work great, but need time to drive traffic to your website. Once you have traffic, sales, and some data, you will be better able to set up goals and find tweaks and techniques to achieve them by using my 6S formula
What should you do in-house and what should you outsource?
In the offline world, you may have a SALES team, and in the online world we would call this your MARKETING team. You could have an in-house SALES team an, for many companies, this works best. Of course, you could also have some external experts assisting with sales, but in my opinion, it is much easier to manage and do SALES right with an in-house team. I am talking about traditional offline sales here. I know it’s not easy and you may have to handle many difficult situations, but in my opinion this is “1” channel that you can master!
When we talk about online marketing, you will have to master at least 5 separate channels. Additionally, you should have the sales skills needed to run them professionally and to make some money in them. From my experience, I can tell you that these channels have become more and more complex. About 3-4 years ago I would have done AdWords and Facebook for clients myself.
Today, while I know how it works, I prefer to have somebody taking care of it for me; I mean a real geek who truly knows what he is doing, loves what he is doing, spends all his time doing it, and that I can trust is absolutely taking care of this channel. For some channels, I get the feeling that every time I log in their interface something new appears – LOL! So, if you want to do it in-house, you need at least 5-6 people to take care of all the marketing channels. And don’t forget, you need to send them to industry events and workshops all the time to keep them up to date.
Yes, if you are just starting out by yourself you may not be able to afford that. If that’s the case, try to use everything you can from this book and learn about the number 1 channel your target group will use and how you can advertise on it – this will likely be AdWords.
It is important to know how it works, but I would not recommend doing any of these paid channels yourself. Get a freelancer to set up your campaigns and try to invest a big portion of your money to get AdWords (or maybe Facebook, Pinterest, Google shopping etc.) working for you.
What is your monthly budget for each channel?
When we talk about your advertising budget, it is important to know what channels your competitors are using and how much money they spend on them each month. Sometimes, especially when it comes to AdWords, you will find that some competitors spend so much money on a click that it seems they barely have any money left or they’re losing all their money – but in most cases, they just don’t care and can afford it! Their goal is to get a bigger market share. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it may be better to find other channels to invest in.
There is no general answer to which channel will work best for you because it depends on so many factors! That being said, I can tell you what some of my clients and I do: invest 10% of revenue back into marketing, most goes to the AdWords budget, the other chunk is for SEO. In our case, we also use some of the budget on Facebook and other smaller channels.
How your data can help with SEO strategy and other channels
We will discuss SEO and other marketing strategies in detail later. For now, I just want to talk about how you can use the data from one of these marketing channels to build up another one. It is very helpful if you already have data available from paid media channels like AdWords. You can use it, for example, to build up your SEO channel right away.
If you don’t have additional data you only know what keywords, products, and services drive traffic. By using AdWords data, you also see what is converting and what makes you money. This is the golden nugget that you can use for all the other channels as well. Facebook also gives you some fascinating data that can be used for SEO or AdWords or other channels to refine your targeting.
Do you already have content that can be used to promote?
Don’t worry, we will talk about content strategies in detail later on, but I want to mention it now because it is a major component of my 6S formula. If you don’t have good content to satisfy user needs, you will have a hard time convincing your users to buy from you, no matter how much money you spend on marketing and advertising.
This sounds quite logical, but I’ve seen cases where businesses were running engaging ads, but were driving their users to bad landing pages that didn’t provide the information or products they were promised in the ad. Be aware of this, for SEO too as it is getting more and more important to achieve high sustainable good rankings!
What channel should you start with?
Like I mentioned already, I would recommend starting with a paid channel that gives you fast results and valuable data. Certainly, if you have the money, it’s also smart to start long term strategies, like SEO and e-mail automation processes, as soon as possible!
How to set-up the best-converting sales funnels
It is always nice to have a lot of traffic coming to your website and to see your visitor numbers growing. Just make sure you aren’t spending money on traffic that doesn’t bring in any sales! If this is the case, look at your sales funnel, order something yourself from your store, and ask friends, colleagues, and customers to give you feedback – this is crucial!
What is a sales funnel?
When talking about sales funnels, we are referring to a strategy/structure on your website that gets the user to do what you want them to. This could be buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, visiting a particular page, filling out a form, and more. In order to do this, you first need to understand the user – What is he looking for? What questions or problems does he need to be solved?
Once you can answer those questions, you need to put the right elements in the right order to guide them through your site… Oh man! This could also fill a whole book on its own!… At this point, make sure you focus on designing your website in a professional way, using appealing button colors, a suitable text size, and anything extra that may add value, like giving guarantees. All these little adjustments can boost your users’ trust towards your website and, as a result, get them to do what you want them to!
Why it is important to have a good sales funnel
If you don’t have a good sales funnel, many of your visitors won’t do what you want them to. Most of the time this is because there is too much “noise” on a page. If your website contains a lot of unneeded or disorganized options/buttons, it will confuse your users and naturally they will leave your website. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you need to have a clear goal for every step of your sales funnel – take your users by the hand and guide them through your process!
How much money can you make from having an optimized sales funnel?
There is no general answer to that, but I have seen sales numbers double and triple after optimizing a sales funnel!
Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself before: you want to order something from a website, but you just can’t do it, it’s so complicated! Sometimes companies make it so hard to order from them. It’s unbelievable! Just last week I wanted to order something from an online store… It took me 15 minutes to find a way to submit the order form. Every time I submitted it, I got an error! I had to fill in all my data again… come on!
When sales funnels are tested and optimized, I’ve found a 10-40% increase in sales is very common!
What is the right funnel for the different user types?
There is no right funnel for all users! It depends on what stage they are in: are they looking for information or are they ready to buy? In most cases, setting up two sales funnels works well to satisfy your users.
- The first funnel is the sales funnel which guides users through the buying process.
For this funnel, the landing page should clearly show the desired product with a buy button. You want to make the rest as smooth as possible, so don’t display or ask anything during the sales process that could distract your users from buying from you!
- The second funnel is for users who are just researching. For this funnel you need to provide information to your users! The users who are looking for this information won’t be ready to buy from you yet. Here you want to give them all the information they are looking for and ask for their e-mail address so you can start marketing to them. If you give them what they are looking for now, one day they will buy from you!
How I optimize and integrate our sales funnels
In our case, it was a bit tricky to optimize our sales funnels as we are using a not using a self-hosted shop solution. It was easy to implement newsletter boxes and so on to build our information sales funnel, and optimizing the product pages and cart page was also not an issue. However, optimizing the actual checkout page was quite a challenge! This is because the pre-made system we use manages the checkout process on its own, and doesn’t allow many custom changes. Luckily, we already knew some loopholes since we had done it for customers before, so we were able to work around this.
We automatically send all the data we get out of these funnels to our marketing automation tools, so we don’t have to worry about new customers’ data or new newsletter signups manually. The minute they buy or subscribe they are “trapped” in our marketing automation process – LOL!
What are the most important rules when it comes to sales funnels and Landing pages?
The most important rules for sales funnels are:
- Having content that targets your user’s needs on your funnel pages
- Don’t distract your users with other things
- Don’t ask users questions before they buy from you. Ask them on the “Thank You” page, or later in the follow up process (this will provide you with useful data that can help you improve your sales funnels)
- Testing! Create different versions of your funnels, compare them, choose the best one, and start testing again.
How can you integrate your sales funnels and Landing pages into your shop system?
There are three ways to do this:
- For me, the best solution is to directly build the funnels in your Ecommerce store.
The easiest way is to get somebody to modify the steps and funnels for you. You can use 3rd party tools or plugins to do split testing as well.
- Use apps or plugins to integrate forms and other funnel steps. This often works very well and can save you a lot of time. Note: While this is a viable option, I prefer to do it in the primary system.
- Embed some external code. Most landing page tools allow you to build high converting optimized sales funnels that you could also integrate on your website using an iframe, for example. If you have a webinar or something to download this can work pretty well, but sometimes it takes time to integrate the page to make it look like your shop.
How to automate and implement data from the sales funnel
Most of the time, our automation tools are able to read a form on a web page and then automatically integrate this data into our database. From the time a customer fills out a form on a website we know everything they do! Sometimes, we have to work around this because certain forms or technics won’t allow us to pull out the data.
In this case, we need to use a different automation process to get the data. This has some disadvantages, but at least we have all the information in one place. Every customer who fills out a form will automatically enter a pre-defined journey, and according to their behavior will get the right e-mails or information triggered on the website.
How to test different sales funnels and results
With sales funnels too, in order to be successful we need to test, test, and test! Use tools that allow A/B testing so you can test two pages against each other, or even do multivariate testing (different versions against each other). Then choose the best and test again. Be careful not to do too many tests at once! Keep in mind that you also need a certain amount of traffic to get enough data so you can make a decision!
Proven content strategies for your business
What are your customers looking for? What are their needs? What are their problems and how can you help to solve them? – Do you know all this? Satisfy your customers’ needs by giving them the content they need, the moment they need it!
What kind of content should you provide for your users?
Everything comes down to what your user is looking for. Again, this is critical because if your user does not find what he is looking for he will leave your website in seconds. So, if your user wants to buy something he wants to find the product straight away! This is why you don’t need to provide a ton of content for product pages. Instead, only provide what might be useful for your customers, like a well-written product description and all the details that will be necessary for them to buy the product.
If your user is not ready to buy yet he will often search for information. So, you need to give him detailed information about your products or service, and not a page where he can only buy and hardly find any information.
How can I find out what users want to read?
Many businesses approach me because they are not sure what to write. This is actually not very difficult! There are many ways to find out what content best fulfills your users’ needs.
- If you have a support team, ask them which questions are coming up over and over. Use this as the first approach to figure out what content to write. Additionally, this will help your support team because from now on they can use the link for this great piece of content as an answer for customers’ questions.
- I recommend using tools that can tell you what is working best for your competitors. These tools look at social media content and figure out how many shares and likes a certain article has received. – I think this is an excellent approach! If it works well for one of your competitors why shouldn’t it work for you, too? (Of course, you should not copy it 1:1)
- Use question tools! There are already some tools out there which can tell you what questions your user might have about your product or serve. Use this data and answer every question in detail!
How you should create and structure your content
So, you have a topic that you can write about, but what is the best way for you to structure this content? Here we are talking a bit about SEO, which we will discuss in depth in one of the following chapters.
For now, I just want to give you an idea and make sure you understand what is important and why. If you do it right for your users, most of the time it will also be right for Google. Start with a meaningful and engaging headline. It is essential the headline confirms what the user is looking for. Everything else is about structuring your content as well as possible for the user, like having some sub headlines, maybe some bullet points, beautiful images, a nice table with some more details, etc. Make sure your customers find all the information they are looking for!
How much content do you need?
I get asked this a lot! It depends on the user intent – what is your user looking for? If he is looking for information you probably have to write more content because you need to make sure that you cover all his needs. If your user wants to buy from you, there is not so much content required.
Look at the top 10 results on Google and see how much content they write. There is a reason why Google is positioning them at the top! Of course, it is not only about content, but it is still a critical factor and you can use this information to your advantage.
How long should your content be and should you use specific words?
Let’s make it clear again: you should provide the best possible content for your users, don’t try to write content attempting to manipulate search engines! Many people still don’t get it: It is not about “Keyword Density” anymore! – I can’t stand hearing that word anymore! Today Google uses different methods! Google is now using a semantic approach; this means that Google knows exactly what words should be in your content so that the content is relevant.
There are some professional tools out there which will allow you to analyze your content. The tools will tell you exactly how long your content should be, what words you should use, what you have already over optimized, and many other things using competitive data.
How can you optimize your content?
I would really recommend using some of the professional tools out there. The method we have been talking about is called WDF*IDF (WDF – Within Document Frequency, IDF– Inverse Document Frequency IDF.
You can use this formula to determine the optimal distribution of topics, relevant terms, and keywords in your content. This method is much more complex than working with keyword density alone. If you don’t want to use any tools, I recommend showing your piece of content to people that could be in your target group, like colleagues and friends, to find out if it would fulfill your users’ needs.
Proven SEO Strategies for your business!
Here I am going to give you a lot of insights, tips, and tricks that I’ve collected over the past ten years from my own projects and customer projects.
Why SEO is such an important marketing channel for you to build up
SEO is an extremely important marketing channel, and for some industries it is getting more and more important! This is especially true if you are in an industry where you have a lot of big players who are spending a lot of money on advertising. SEO is still a channel where you can compete, even if your competitors are spending more money – you just have to do it with a better/smarter strategy than theirs! Here, my 6S formula will help big time!
There are not many people out there who have collected as much information and insights as I have over the last ten years – so get ready to take over the top positions!
Why it is important to get SEO right from the get go
SEO is different from other marketing channels, and probably one of the hardest to master. This is partly because it takes time for SEO to drive traffic and sales. This brings us back to my main point: “Why is it important to get SEO right from the beginning?”
Well, there are several factors!
- You could choose the wrong keywords which would move you in the wrong direction. Even if you manage to get top rankings, this position will not drive a lot of sales because this keyword is not targeting the right users with the right user intent.
- By choosing the wrong domain, you could already start with a big disadvantage if you want to go international in the future.
- Be aware that SEO needs time depending on the keywords, and in most cases you need at least 4-6 months to see the first results.
How I started implementing SEO
For me, of course, it was quite easy to implement SEO into my Ecommerce business. But still it was a lot of work that needed time! The first thing I did – and you should definitely do this first – was to pick a good SEO plugin and install it. NO, the SEO plugin will not optimize your pages for you, it will just help with this.
I also looked at competitors and keywords, and worked out an SEO Strategy for us. In our case, we try to rank our product names, and we give a lot of information so we can cover all the questions people might have about our products. We have somebody on my team creating new content all the time and somebody that does link building. I try to focus on the strategic part and have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on so I can lead them in the right direction.
Why the shop system is not that important for SEO anymore
Times have changed! And today, thankfully, most of the top Ecommerce platforms are SEO friendly. I say this because they allow us to modify everything on a page level. It is critically important that you can modify every page according to your needs, from being able to edit your URL, your page title, and meta descriptions, to being able to set redirects, canonicals, hreflang tags, and more. Google’s goal is to provide the best information to their users, they don’t care what kind of system you are using, so it’s all about if you can modify your platform and get the most out of it!
What is the magic SEO bullet?
LOL! – this is a funny one – today there is no magic SEO bullet anymore! Over the last few years, Google tried to expand their ranking signals, so today we are not talking about just 2 or 3 signals that can move the needle. Google confirmed that they are looking at over 200 ranking factors and probably even more by now!
Instead of the magic bullet let me tell you what the key to SEO success is and how simple it will be in the future: Give your users what they want and focus on quality! Of course, there are still ways to push your SEO efforts even further in a safe way, for example, you also need to get people to your website by using link building, but you will discover that it is not as simple as “build it and they will come”.
How long does it take to become successful and reach your goals?
This all depends – again! First, on your goals and, second, on your competitors! But, is there a general rule or time frame?… Like I told you earlier in the book, in most cases you will see the result within 4-6 months.
It does not happen that often anymore, but businesses still come up to me and think SEO is a one-time thing you can spend a couple of thousand bucks on and rank for a keyword forever. NO! It certainly doesn’t work like that – you need to approach your SEO channel the same as any other marketing channel, and see SEO as long-term commitment, even if it does not bring you results within the expected time frame, don’t stop it! – Modify your strategy, but keep on building up – your SEO power will pay off later, I promise!
What is the cost of SEO?
This depends on your competition, the markets where you want to rank, your goals, and many more factors. You can find those who offer SEO for a price between $100- $50,000/month. There are also agencies out there who still offer SEO packages for $197/year promising you the number 1 position for five keywords. Obviously, that does not work!
Why you need the right content to get the right users
When we discussed content, we talked about why it is so important to have the right content for your users. Additionally, this is getting more and more important for Google and they can even measure it! There is a very straightforward and an accurate way to find out if people are satisfied with your content. This is a ranking factor that is called “bounce back to SERP rate”.
The “bounce back to SERP rate” is a measure Google uses to track if a user clicks on your search result but after only a few seconds clicks back to the SearchEngineResultPage and clicks on a competitor’s result where he stays much longer. Sure, this does not say much if only one user behaves like that, but if hundreds and thousands of users show the same behavior, this is a pretty clear indicator that users are much more satisfied with your competitor’s website/content and Google will rank you below them.
Why you need backlinks
When we talk about links or backlinks, we are referring to other websites linking to your website. It’s important you know that this is still a major part of Googles algorithm. A link in Google’s eyes is basically a recommendation. If a lot of quality websites link to your website, your website will rank better over time. Remember, there are over 200 ranking factors and, of course, there is much more than just links. But, just keep in mind that they are still paid attention to because Google has had trouble finding a more reliable ranking factor.
Due to my 10+ years of experience in this field, I can certainly tell you, building links to get better rankings is just one part. If you do it right, you can get enormous power and control over your market. Companies that have worked with us for years can confirm that wherever you do research about their product or services, you will find their name mentioned in a positive way. And there is even more to that because we focus on the right portals and on the actual target group. We see massive traffic coming through these links and unbelievable conversion rates because a lot of these users are at the buying stage already!
Why you need to monitor your backlink profile and reputation
Most businesses underestimate how much work SEO is and how deep you can go if you do it 100% professionally. By professionally, I am talking about things like monitoring your backlinks, and where your brand name is mentioned on the internet. This is a tiny, but crucial part!
Why? – Because it is essential that you know what your backlink profile looks like accurately. You may not be aware of this, but this is very important because there are Google Penalties out there, and if you have the wrong type of links, the probability is very high that you’ll get hit by the next Google update! It’s even possible you have been hit in the past but nobody noticed. It’s unbelievable how often I see that!
Do you know if you have been affected or if you are at risk? If not, find that out as soon as possible! You could lose all your SEO traffic and sales if you don’t!
Why it is critical that you pick the right SEO agency if you outsource
For some parts of the SEO process I recommend outsourcing, or at least getting a consultant to supervise your team on regular basis. If you hire an agency, just make sure their work is future proofed! If they tell you they can rank you in just days or weeks, while yes, this could be possible, it sounds like a short-term strategy and will likely hurt you in the future! It is important to find an agency that works with a future proofed strategy so you are not at risk of getting hit by one of the next Google updates.
Also, make sure they report everything that they do. They should send you monthly reports with all important SEO metrics, like ranking reports, SEO visibility reports, and it is also critical that they send you all the links they’ve built for you if they do link building, too. Take your time and look at these reports carefully and all the links they’ve built. Always keep in mind everything you do in your SEO channels also affects the future, so you need to get everything right!
How to you measure SEO Success?
Before you start your SEO Strategy you need to define a goal so you know precisely what you are trying to achieve! It totally makes sense to track your rankings every week or, in particular cases, every day, but just for research purposes – don’t make yourself crazy if your positions drop one day! They may go up the next day.
It is all about long term success, so the best thing is to follow a strategy and modify the plan after 4-6 months if it doesn’t bring the success you wanted to achieve. Like I’ve already mentioned, use rank tracking, SEO visibility, and, of course, analytics data do show if your current strategy is successful. Also, include sales data to see how many sales your SEO channel drives already and how you can optimize that.
How can I keep up with all the Google changes?
Many of my 30,000+ on- and offline students, also sometimes marketers and even SEO experts, tell me it is so hard to keep up with all the SEO changes. I do not agree with this! Yes, Google has changed a lot over the last few years, but if you use my approach – focus on the user – not much changed.
You need to know that it’s Google’s primary goal to satisfy their users, so they try to imitate the user as well as they can and they are getting better and better. If you follow this rule you will always be successful! Some of my training videos I did four years ago are still 100% accurate, apart from some tool names and some new updates, not one part of the videos need to be changed!
What are the most important ranking factors?
Today, Google is trying to make it as hard as possible to manipulate rankings, and of course, a good way to do this is to use a lot of different factors; the more factors they use, the harder it is to manipulate them! But I would say there are still some major factors out there you should focus on.
Quality content is one factor, but it has to be more than the quality content – it has to fulfill your user’s needs. The second is your link profile! I know some people out there will tell you you don’t need any links anymore. I can tell you from all my experience this is not true!
Another factor that seems to come to play more is user satisfaction. Google is watching to see if users like what they find on your site, or if they go back to the search results and click on other results. At this point, mobile friendliness is also becoming more and more of a ranking factor! Figuring out which ranking factors are more important is quite easy to solve if you think about the fact that Google’s number one goal is to satisfy their users.
More about Google penalties
As some of you know, Google penalty recovery is one area I have a lot of knowledge and expertise in, and I am very passionate about it. Web Risk Management is a critical part of online marketing in my eyes, but sadly many decision makers are not aware of this significant risk. I can’t understand this because if we look at what companies are doing offline we see they are protecting themselves against everything, I mean fire, flooding and so on. Why don’t you protect yourself from getting hit by a Google penalty?￼
Why it is important to be aware of Google penalties
Like I already mentioned, it is critically important to know that this is a significant risk for your business! I’ve seen hundreds of cases where companies lost hundreds of thousands or millions or even had to close down because they got hit by a Google penalty. So, make sure you at least know if you are at risk or not!
What kind of penalties are out there?
There are 2 kinds of penalties:
- There are manual penalties meaning an actual person at Google will have a look at your website and if they find some unnatural patterns they will press a button and penalize you.
- There are also algorithmic penalties meaning an algorithm, a machine so to say, looks at your website and judges its quality. There are many different algorithms out there, some are focusing on the content quality, some on your backlink profile, and many other factors.
Getting a manual penalty or an algorithmic penalty, in most cases, leads to a massive ranking drop which in turn leads to massively losing organic SEO traffic and sales.
How can you find out if you were hit by a Google penalty?
This is one of the problems I see a lot! Most companies never find out that they have been affected by a Google penalty, mainly because of two reasons:
- They are not using a free Google tool called Google Search Console – the only way to find out if you received a manual penalty is to use Google Search Console because Google uses this tool to send messages to webmasters. If you haven’t set it up, Google has no way to communicate with you.
- The other reason why most companies don’t realize that they were hit by a Google penalty is that nobody is in charge of the web analytics part of their website. Sometimes people inside the company will realize that the traffic dropped quite significantly, but they will not do deeper research to find out why. Even if they do, they don’t have the right tools or the knowledge to discover that this was a penalty hit. – as soon as you’re hit you will lose a lot of money!
What can you do if you get hit by a Google penalty?
What can you do if you discover that you have been affected by a Google penalty? Don’t panic and don’t do anything foolish!
First, it is important to find out if it was a penalty at all. Sometimes technical issues can cause patterns that look like penalties. So, first of all, make sure that there is no technical issue going on. Next, I would recommend using special tools that will show you SEO visibility. Such tools track millions of keywords, so most of the time this is an excellent indicator to find out if you were affected by either a penalty or other factors.
If you were hit by a penalty, you need to know what kind of penalty: is it a content based penalty or a backlink based penalty or something else? From this point forward, it gets very complicated and I don’t recommend doing it yourself! – get an expert to help you!
I am sure we do everything right – do I still have to worry?
Sometimes when I talk about penalties people come up to me and tell me, “Yes, it’s good to know all these things but we are not at risk, I know exactly what we are doing and it’s all good right now.”
I often reply, “That’s good to know – by the way how long have you been working for this business now?”. Often they say 2 or 3 years – I then ask them, “How did your company do SEO before you started?”. It often turns out that they are not aware that everything the company has done regarding SEO in the past affects their website today! Just knowing that you do everything right currently is not enough! You have to know your risk exactly!
Another thing that I want to cover briefly is “negative SEO”. It could happen to you that one of your competitors is building “bad” links for your website to hurt your ranking. You won’t even know this if you don’t know your backlink profile and monitor it all the time!
Facebook Strategies to reach the right people
Facebook is a great platform to reach a lot of audiences. It may not work for all businesses, but it does for most of them. Facebook gives you the opportunity to target your audience very specifically. It allows you to filter your audiences by many distinct factors, like their interests, location, gender, relationship status, job title, and more. Best of all, you can combine all these factors to craft your perfect audience!
Is Facebook a marketing channel you should use?
If Facebook is the right channel for you depends on your audience. I have seen it work for most of the businesses I have helped. It works especially well if you market B to C (business to customer). B to B (business to business) can sometimes be a little tricky.
I would strongly suggest using Facebook if you are just starting out. Taking the time to define your perfect target group for this channel can help you to get started fast, even just spending $40-$50 per day can lead to a lot of traffic and sales if you do it right. Once you’ve found the right audience, it is usually pretty easy to scale your Facebook marketing and double and triple your sales coming from Facebook in just a couple of weeks.
How I used Facebook to test different strategies for my Ecommerce Business
In our case, we don’t use Facebook as the primary marketing channel because we found that AdWords and Google Shopping work much better for us. However, Facebook still drives a lot of traffic and is a strong preparing channel. What I mean by that is that in our analytics we see that Facebook is one of the strongest channels preparing for a sale.
We mainly put out informational content because most of the time our users want information. If they come to our website from Facebook they don’t want to buy straight away. But of course, once the user is on our website they are trapped, and we will get them sooner or later as customers!
How you can find the right people to target on Facebook
Facebook is really great in giving you a lot of data; not many platforms give you the chance to target your audience like you can on Facebook. Of course, you need some basic information about your users first! Once you know more about your target group you can deliver ads to really specific people.
For example, you could target 25-40 year-old women who have a 0-3 year old baby, who live in California, have a university degree, are interested in healthy food, liked XYZ website, and many more combinations. The more factors you combine, the smaller your target group gets; the smaller your target group is, the easier it is to prepare the right ads and information for them.
What is the best way to reach your target group?
Like we’ve just discussed, the more you can drill down on your target group the easier it is for you to prepare ads and write copy that resonates with your target group. If you search the internet you will find some best converting Facebook ads, and I would recommend looking at these ads and seeing what they have done.
Some key factors are:
- A visual (nicely created images and videos) works better than plain text.
- Make sure it is relevant to your target group!
- Value proposition – tell the user why they should click on the ad.
- Call to action! Have a clear call to action that tells your target group exactly what to do (Click here, Buy now…)
…And there is much more to it.
The most important thing is testing, testing, testing! Test your headlines, images, descriptions, target groups…. There are tools out there that will allow you to set up your Facebook ads quickly and test all the relevant factors. In the end, you will know what works best and why.
How you can use Facebook in an even smarter way!
We will talk about remarketing later on in detail, but I want to bring it up now because even if you don’t use any additional tools, Facebook allows you to do remarketing. How does it work? You get a Facebook pixel which you can implement on your website. This pixel will help Facebook to recognize that this user was on your website and displays them your ads in their Facebook stream.
If you do it in a little more advanced way you can even show them the exact products they looked at on your website, and even give them a discount on these products. This is a terrific way to sell if you do it right, and it will bring you a lot of additional sales!
How you can use existing customer data for Facebook ads
To get the most out of your existing customer data, you can also run ads just for your existing customer base. To do that you have to create a Custom Audience on Facebook – there are many ways to do this. One of the easiest ways to reach your existing customers on Facebook is to import their e-mails, and Facebook will then try to match these e-mail addresses to the right people.
This will allow you to advertise to your existing customers on Facebook. You could do special promotions, or you could only choose customers that did not buy from you at a particular time and show them a unique discount code to get them back. You see, this is another great way to use Facebook in combination with your customer data.
How to use Facebook to find out more about your customers
Facebook is also excellent at finding out more about your audiences, especially about the size of your audiences. When choosing your target groups on Facebook, you will see exactly how big your target group will be. If you change the filters, the numbers will go up or down, and these figures are pretty accurate most of the time. The data can help you in many ways.
For example, if you want to go into new markets or you are not sure if there is a demand for an individual product, Facebook data can give you a better overview of your target market. Use all the filters to define a very specific target group!
How to use Facebook to test marketing strategies, product names, pricing and more
Facebook is also a great tool to test marketing strategies and many other things, so you can also use Facebook as a kind of user testing and feedback tool. If you are not sure which product image would work better, or what headline or description to use, simply set up some Facebook ads and let them run against each other (by the way, this works well with AdWords too).
If you use the right tools, you can do this in minutes! And of course, you can test many more things like button colors, text on the button, video vs. image, and of course, like we’ve already talked about, different target groups, and so on.
How you can combine other marketing channels with Facebook
When we work for clients there are certain channels which work better than others, this is because it all depends on the target group and what channels they use. We try to use most of the channels in a way that they support each other in the end, it all comes down to how much we have sold. Therefore, every channel is important for us. Some channels are primarily driving sales because they directly advertise products, like Google Shopping for example. Other channels will help more with informing future customers and remarketing.
Some channels like display (showing a lot of banners) are more focused on branding. If you look at your analytics data, you will see that all channels are part of your success. Some are more preparing channels, while others are more active selling channels. This is important to know when deciding where to put your money in marketing!
An AdWords strategy that will make you more money
We need to talk about this major channel. AdWords is the perfect channel to get fast results and data that you can use for your SEO campaigns or other marketing channels. For most of our clients, this is one of the major channels for traffic and sales with a high return on investment!
How AdWords helped me to grow my business
Let me tell you a story that may help if you think you can do everything yourself, like I did – LOL! When I started my Ecommerce business, I did not want to “bother” the AdWords experts on my team to help me. I did some intense AdWords training a few years ago and thought that would be enough, but so much has changed over the last few months that it is even hard for AdWords experts to keep up. Stubbornly, I set up all the ads and tried my best to optimize them to get the most for our money. In the end, I was only able to get back about 2 Euros for every Euro I spent.
Now I have a member of my team, manage all the paid advertising stuff and we are at a rate of 1 to 5, so for every $1 we spend we get five back! – boy, that makes a difference! It looks like it is easy, but you can burn a lot of money if you don’t do it right. Even if you do it right, it is very hard to scale up your budget and keep on having the same return on your AdWords investment.
How you can target the right people on AdWords
By now it should be quite clear that knowing your audience, what they want and need, in what buying stage they are, and other factors will define your perfect target group. If you don’t know much about your audience yet start slowly and test! Try out keywords that Google recommends and see how little changes can make a big difference.
By the way, remember in most cases it’s probably better if you brief an expert, so he gets to know your products and market, and let him do the rest. Of course, keep an eye on what he does – the expert may not know that some of the keywords don’t make sense for you, so you have to tell him not to spend any money on them.
Why it is extremely important to know what your competitors are doing
Yes, you should know exactly what your competitors are doing! Try to find out what they do and why they do it. Look at the keywords they are targeting, see what ad copy they are using, try to find out how much money they spend, and how active they are.
This is so important because:
- You can learn a lot and maybe even discover new strategies or products that will also work for you.
- You could find keywords that none of your competitors are targeting at the moment, and advertising for these keywords will be very cheap.
- In some markets, it just does not make any sense to spend money on AdWords because of aggressive competition. If your competitors are all very large brands with a lot of money you may not be able compete, even if you are a big brand, sometimes it just gets too expensive. If this is the case I would try to find other keywords or sometimes even switch some of the budget to other marketing channels, like SEO.
How to determine how much money to spend per click
I get asked a lot, “How much money should I spend per click?” – Yes, again the answer is, “it depends!”
If your profit margins are around 40% or higher, it will be much easier for you to spend more money on every sale, of course. But it all depends on what your strategy is. To spend $5 on a product that makes you $5 does not make much sense. That being said, sometimes big players go into the market knowing they’re going to lose money on a competitive/expensive advertising channel, but they keep on doing it to get market share.
It is also different if you sell your products with a subscription module, and you know your average customer lifetime value, so you know exactly what you could spend on a click – and don’t forget – it is just a click, it’s not a conversion. The click alone does not make you any money.
How long does it take you to see results?
AdWords is really fun! Depending on how fast your ads get approved you will see results within a few hours. If you have done it well you could even see some sales right away! That’s one of the beauties of AdWords and most other paid channels – you can turn them on and off in minutes! Just don’t forget to test so you can get the most out of your campaigns and marketing budget!
How to improve your quality score and save a lot of money
AdWords works a bit differently than some paid media channels because Google is the technology leader in this field as well. Like with SEO, Google wants to make sure that their users are satisfied if they click on your ads. So, they came up with something called the quality score.
Quality score is a major factor when it comes to how much money you have to spend on a click. The more competition you have, the more important the quality score should be for you.
To define the quality score, Google will have a look at your landing page which is the page where you send the people to if they click on your ad. They will check out how relevant the content is and if it fulfills your users’ needs. The higher the relevance of your landing page, the less money you will spend per click.
What about Bing?
Bing also offers the opportunity to do paid advertisement, but Bing does not have a huge market share in most countries, except the US where they have a reasonably large audience they can reach.
I’ve experienced that the results that we get out of advertising on Bing are often not that great. For some clients, it works, for others it doesn’t. It’s nice to have, but does not drive tons of sales. Most of the time you have to target people much more broadly on Bing than on Google. If you import your Google AdWords campaigns into Bing (which you can do easily) you will often have just a few impressions. Only if you go for more brought keywords you will see impressions and clicks coming in.
Can you massively increase your revenue by spending more on AdWords?
Yes! It is possible to scale up and increase your AdWords budget to get more revenue and sales, but this is often very tricky. It just doesn’t work to increase the budget and leave all other settings the same. For a few ad groups it might work, but most of the time you need to work continuously on a strategy to scale up your AdWords campaigns.
The key is to get the most out of your existing campaigns and to find new keywords to try a new approach. For instance, you could also do some campaigns to inform people or to cover the most asked questions out there and so on.
Google Shopping another important sales channel!
Google Shopping is another great channel to make more money! There are a few steps that need to be implemented to get it running smoothly, but as soon as it is setup it will become an important sales channel.
Should you use Google Shopping?
If you sell products, yes of course, it depends on what kind of products you are selling.
Obviously, if you sell private jets or yachts Google Shopping won’t help you much because the shopping boxes won’t show up for search themes like this – and by the way, it is very unlikely that somebody will use Google Shopping to look for a jet or a yacht! You should definitely use Google Shopping if you do a Google and Google Shopping search for your product and ads show up.
This tells you a lot because if this is the case Google knows that people want to buy if they type in this keyword. This approach can also help you if you are not sure what people expect if they type in a particular keyword. Just search for it on Google and see what kind of information Google brings up!
How does Google Shopping work?
It takes a lot of work to get Google Shopping running, so I recommend that you get professional help. The first thing you need to do is generate a product feed. This is a link with all the product information that Google needs to display your products in Google Shopping. The next step is to import this feed into the Google Merchant Center that you’ll need to setup. Then, you can set up shopping Campaigns in your AdWords account.
Most of the time you will get a lot of errors, and many of your products will not be accepted by Google because they don’t find the right information or there are certain words in your ad that Google does not want, and more. So, you have to keep an eye on your shopping campaigns all the time and fix errors as they come up.
My experiences with Google Shopping
In my case, in the beginning we had to fight a lot to get it right. Since we use a recurring business model we implemented some deep custom programming to display our products. We show the -10% subscription price as our regular price, and the one-time price is 10% more expensive. It worked for a few weeks, then Google somehow refused to display our lower price so we had to find a workaround for that.
I also had some issues with product descriptions in the beginning. In our product descriptions, we also tell our customers what the products do NOT contain, that they are free of XYZ, and so on. But Google can’t deal with that; they don’t understand that it does NOT contain these ingredients. So, we also had to find a way to fix that without changing the content on our website.
What you need to get Google Shopping up and running
To get Google Shopping up and running your shop system needs to be able to generate a product feed that Google can read. There are some required fields that are mandatory for Google to accept your feed. If your shop system does not provide the option to generate a feed, most of the time you can find some app or plugin or 3rd party tool to generate a feed.
I use 3rd party feed tools that allow me to have more control over my product feed so I can do modifications in these feed tools and don’t have to touch the product on my website.
I would also recommend installing a plugin that will push your reviews into the Google Merchant Center – the merchant center is the platform that Google provides for managing your shopping feed and your reviews. If you import your reviews, you will be able to display product star ratings over time and this will help you get a better conversion rate and more trust!
Why Google Shopping needs to be monitored all the time
Because the Google Shopping ads are dynamic, they need to be controlled all the time!
Most errors will come up if you change something on your website or if the products get removed or updated. Also here, 3rd party tools will help you to keep track of that and alert you straight away if errors are coming up that you need to fix. Bear in mind, Google will NOT show this product in their shopping ads until the errors are fixed so you could lose a lot of money by not fixing these errors quickly!
Is the money really in the list?
I am sure you’ve already heard people say, “the money is in the list”, and many of the big marketing gurus will tell you it is true. I have to agree, if you do it right you can generate a lot of money from people on your list. Whenever we do e-mail marketing, we don’t use the classical e-mail “blast tools” anymore. Now our approach is different and we try to automate everything – and not just automate it, it’s also all about giving the user what he wants at the right time. Later, we will talk in detail about how my 6S formula can help you to do marketing automation right.
How to collect more e-mails and user data
There are many ways to collect your users’ e-mails and other data. Of course, a simple e-mail form that you can embed after every post or as a popup is a good way to collect your users’ e-mail addresses. But for online shops especially, there are even more ways. For example, if a product is out-of-stock give your customers the chance to leave their e-mail address so you can then notify them as soon the product is in-stock again.
You could also do sweepstakes or special discounts for members only, a loyalty program, and many more things to get additional data and new users. Data is the new currency in this day and age – the more you know about your customers the more money you can make!
Why you should do e-mail marketing
It is shocking how many companies I see that are sitting on thousands and thousands, even millions, of contact details but are not using this data! When I then mention this, they often respond that they don’t want to bother their customers, they get so many emails every day anyway.
My answer is always, “Let your customers decide if they want it or not! They will have the opportunity to unsubscribe to any e-mails, so it’s not your job to worry about that!”
And if you do it right you will be showing additional value to your customers, you don’t want to send them a sales pitch every day. Many professional marketers send out emails almost every day to their list. If you do it professionally you will be able to build up a lot of trust and reputation, and that will help you to sell more in the future!
How to use e-mail marketing to nurture and sell
No, don’t send them a sales pitch every day! You want to keep the ratio at around 1 in 5, if you send them a coupon or a gift maybe 2 in 5. What I mean by that is if you send them five e-mails a week, send them four e-mails with a lot of value for them and one with a promotion.
If they can get out additional benefits like coupons or other special advantages, it is probably ok for most of your clients to get two e-mails a week trying to sell them something. Try to keep your user engaged, build up trust and get them to give you more data in exchange for benefits for them! This will help you to understand them better and serve them better – so it is a win-win situation!
How to use e-mail marketing to connect user data and get more insights
We will discuss marketing automation in detail later in this book. For now, just to give you an idea: If you use my 6S formula and are using the right tools, you will be able to accurately know what users are doing on your website as soon as they give you a piece of information. From that point on, the software will be able to connect this user data with the client who visited the website!
Every additional piece of data will be automatically added to this contact, and soon you will get a very detailed picture about this user: what he wants and what he is looking for! You will be able to send him emails and show him content he wants to see based on the data you’ve collected on the pages and actions he has performed over time.
How e-mail journeys and funnels can help you to send the right information to the right user at the right time
We’ve already talked about how you can collect data and information and store it in your users’ profiles. But there is more to it! Knowing what the user wants is good, but being able to push the right information at the right time is gold! We are also able to do that. The trigger could be a click on a link in an email, or a combination of pages that the user visited on your website. You can then send him additional e-mail or show him a custom made a pop up on your site.
Remarketing a magic tool to convert users into customers
Remarketing is one of the newer channels these days. Most companies – at least the bigger brands – are using remarketing to remind users to buy certain products or services on their website. If you do it right, you are using a very good targeted approach, so you don’t just show them standard ads – No! You modify the ad, so it’s as relevant as possible!
Why remarketing works so well
You’ve probably already discovered this for yourself: You were looking at a product you wanted to buy, but then you got distracted and did not buy it. Maybe you were in a bad mood or were just unsure if you really wanted or needed the product or service. As you kept on surfing the internet, you saw the product you wanted to buy on other websites over and over again. If the remarketing was done in a clever way, they maybe even offered you discounts… and in the end, you probably bought it! You see, if done in a clever way, remarketing works!
How I use remarketing
Of course, I also use remarketing for my Ecommerce store. I use additional 3rd party tools that allow us to set up our ads and manage them. The software helps to push our remarketing banners to the main remarketing channels. This saves a lot of time because we don’t need to go into AdWords, Facebook, Pinterest, and so on, to manage our remarketing ads. Only one platform manages all that for us! The platform allows us to do precise targeting so we can set up URL patterns to tell the tool exactly what kind of banners to display if users visited certain pages of our shop.
More and more marketing platforms offer remarketing
A lot of platforms offer remarketing! The biggest channels are Google and Facebook, but also newer channels like Pinterest have remarketing. Of course, you can also do remarketing on Bing and in the Microsoft ads network. Even Twitter gives you the opportunity to do remarketing. Like always, the channel and platforms that will work the best for you will be the channel where your users spend most of their time!
Why it is so important to use the right remarketing frequencies
Sometimes clients or marketing departments tell me, “No we don’t want to use remarketing. We don’t want to annoy our customers!” Yes, back in the day sometimes remarketing was very annoying. I can remember having a strange feeling because some banners followed me around the whole internet, I saw them almost on every page! It was very annoying, especially if they were done poorly and showed products that were not relevant or that I had already bought.
But today you can control all of that much easier! If you do remarketing, you start by showing them the right ads, but most importantly, you can set a “frequency cap”. That means, you can decide that your banner or ads should not be shown to the same user more than three times a day or something like that.
Why it is important to stop remarketing after the customer has bought the product
This still happens to me a lot of times and probably also to you. Even big brands like Amazon don’t get it right. You buy something from them and they are still showing you their remarketing ads trying to sell you the product that you’ve already bought. In some cases, remarketing can really annoy your users. Once, just one day after I had purchased a product, the remarketing ads started to offer me the product 15% cheaper. NO!
That’s definitely not the way to do it right! You won’t make your users very happy if they’ve just bought a product and after you basically tell them they paid too much. Make sure if customers buy from you they automatically get removed from your remarketing list!
How to integrate remarketing into your system
Even if you want to go for an all-in-one-solution, as we do, you will need to implement more than one pixel on your website because there is not really a software out there that supports all remarketing channels. The newer ones especially take time to integrate. So, the first step would be to integrate your remarketing pixels into your website.
You should do this from day one – even if you are not planning to use remarketing straight away, you need to start collecting data now! This is critically important and will give you a huge advantage later on! If you want to start with your remarketing campaigns later on, you will already have thousands and thousands of user and customer data that you can use for your remarketing campaigns!
Other marketing channels that may work for you
There are so many marketing channels out there, and so many new channels are coming up, so we can’t talk about all of them. It is hard to decide which channels will stay and which channels will just last for a limited time. Of course, you don’t want to put a lot of time and money into a channel that will then disappear – so try to pick them wisely!
Why it is not so important where your traffic is coming from
In the end, you want to make money, right? So, try to see online marketing like a football team: some will score the goals, but without the others, the team would not be able to win! It’s the same in online marketing, you will have channels like AdWords, Google Shopping or others that will drive a lot of sales, but in many cases other channels introduced the users to your website.
To become successful, you have to understand where your traffic is coming from and you need to know that in most cases over 95% of users that visit your website will not buy from you. So, you need every channel to drive them back to your website – the more often they visit your website, the more likely they’ll trust you and buy from you!
Why a lot of your marketing strategies depends on your product or service
Always be aware what is going on in your industry! Try to recognize trends early and see if you can find new channels for your products or service that your competitors have not discovered yet. Building up information about a new product that will come out soon can also be an intelligent step.
This is because most of your competitors will just get started when the product is getting released, but if you start before the release you will already have a lot of information about it and probably rank very well for it already!
What other social channels could be right for you
If you are considering expanding your marketing efforts to other social channels and other market places, it’s important you know some info/stats about them first. This is especially true if you want to scale your marketing strategies to other countries; sometimes these networks will not even exist in other countries.
When you are sure you have accurate data about this new channel, try to learn as much as possible about it and find an expert to help you to start marketing! It could be Pinterest or Snapchat or any other channel that you can use to reach your future customers.
How to use your product feed to sell on other platforms
In the Google Shopping part of this book, we talked about how to generate a product feed and how to use it to display products on Google Shopping. You can use this technique for many other channels and price comparison websites, too. This will make it very easy for you to get your products listed there. If you plan to do that, use a software which will help you to create a specific shopping feed for you. Many of these platforms will have different requirements, so you need a tool to help you to manage your feeds.
How you can use video to sell
Videos can also be a great sales tool and there are many ways to use them! For example, you could display videos on your website to provide users with more information, or show them how your products really work and how great they are. You can also do more advanced things with video these days, like ask for names and e-mail addresses before allowing users to watch your video.
You could also use videos to do advertising on YouTube if your audience is on YouTube. Further, there is the opportunity to do remarketing on YouTube! You can distribute your videos to as many video platforms as possible to get more visibility. Or use it on Facebook as ads or information. You see, there are so many possibilities out there!
How to combine online and offline marketing channels in a smart way
The problem that I have with most offline marketing channels is that it is very hard to measure results, and they are pretty expensive most of the time. Of course, if you are a big brand you are doing it anyway, and you probably know from your data and experience how much every channel brings in for you. Sure, big brands also have to do a lot of brand building, so for them offline channels are still important, but not like in the past.
We’ve found that offline/online marketing combinations can work very well. For example, with our tools we also send out postcards. We can even automate that process! For instance, if a customer ads a product to their cart and does not buy it after our 3rd abandoned cart recovery e-mail, we will then automatically send them a postcard with a coupon code.
Since things today are almost backwards – these days we get so many e-mails and hardly any postcards anymore – this also works very well for us!
How you can get on Amazon and eBay with hardly any work
Why don’t you also list your products on eBay and Amazon? In most cases, I am surprised how well this works! For my own Ecommerce business, I did not use eBay and Amazon the first 10 months. Then when my partner convinced me finally to do it, we made over $1,000 the first day, and even more the following days. With Amazon, it was a little harder for us because they don’t allow us to list all our products, and for some of our products we would need a lot of certificates and other stuff to sell them. But nevertheless, both of these channels became important for us!
The best thing about this, it only took me about 2-3 days to get it running on autopilot! You can use a product feed to push all your products from your shop to these market places almost exactly like for Google Shopping. In our case I am using a 3rd party tool that allows me to control pricing and inventory for our shops and for these marketing channels in one place. If you come to a point where you run 3-4 shops and sell on a lot of different market places you need to be able to control inventory, pricing, and order management in one place. There are so many additional advantages to having a 3rd party tool too, like overall statics, out-of-stock warnings, automated restocking, order fulfillment, and so on.
What marketing channels work for you in other countries or markets
We’ve already talked about this briefly, sometimes it is not so easy to just go to other countries and use the same channels and marketing strategies. When it comes to the Asian or Russian markets especially, your marketing channels will be different because Facebook and Google don’t even exist there, or will not have a significant market share. So, it does not make any sense for you to market in these channels. Rather, you need to adapt your strategy to new channels.
When we help our customers go to other markets, we have the advantage of using our partnerships around the world. This is especially true if they speak a different language, or we can’t even read the language because it is Arabic or Chinese. In these cases, it’s almost impossible to control or do marketing, so you need to make sure that you know people who understand the market!
How to build up trust to sell more
Trust is so important! Just think of yourself, you search for something and end up on a website that offers exactly what you want to buy, but the design of the website is not professional and there are no reviews or guarantees. You don’t even know which country the company is based or shipping from and how long shipping may take or if they going to ship it at all… And if it comes to payment, you don’t want to use your credit card on a website that does not look trustworthy. So, you see, it is so important to get that right!
My experience with two of our stores
As I told you, in the beginning, I did most of the work on our Ecommerce stores myself, and still do it a lot because I enjoy it and it helps me to understand our customers better. I think it makes a huge difference because I experience the same issues, problems, and fallbacks as you do. Of course, you already know how important trust is – and you especially have to build it if nobody knows your brand. I experienced that myself. We set up two almost identical websites, just different templates- same products, the pricing was a little different, but you could say they were almost the same.
Because I don’t have a ton of time, I focused mainly on one shop. We built up reviews and customer stories, implemented a lot of trusted icons and payment getaways – we focused on building trust. On the other website, we did not do much. We spent the same marketing budget on both online stores, and you would not believe how much better the trusted website worked compared to the other even though the prices were a little more expensive!
How you can use reviews to improve trust
Try to get as many reviews as possible – this will boost your trust! Your future customers want to see happy people that bought from you and existing customers telling them how great you are and that this is the best product or service in the universe!
Yes, it can be hard to get reviews, especially in the beginning, but also later on if you don’t use some automation in the background. So, make sure that everybody who bought from you gets a follow-up mail after a few days asking for a review; you can also offer them some goodies or coupon codes to entice them to leave a review. It’s true you will not only get positive reviews, sometimes things just go wrong and often it may not even be your fault because shipping took too long or the product arrives damaged and other stuff like that. But, this is also excellent feedback for you and can help you to optimize your business!
What are the advantages and disadvantages of trusted websites like Trustpilot?
Today there are many websites out there that will aggregate all your reviews and manage your reviews for you, and some of them are very trusted. They will even give you more trust because your visitors are more likely to believe that these are genuine reviews – It’s another Trust Boost!
I don’t recommend these portals if you are just getting started and your processes are not optimized. You may get some negative reviews in the beginning and soon have a 3 stars rating or something like that. Also, keep in mind unsatisfied customers are much more likely to leave a bad review than satisfied users to leave a good review, and you don’t want to mess up your reputation from the beginning! So, make sure all your processes work, and your customers are satisfied and then use a platform that can boost your trust.
What to do if you have bad customer reviews
I feel your pain – it happens all the time! Even if it was not your fault, there are people out there that will never be satisfied, and I can tell you it even hurts more if it is a personal product or service!
I told you, I have over 30,000 online and offline students on different platforms. I try my best to explain processes from A to Z in a very logical way, and with my 20+ years of experience I still get 1 star reviews saying, “Nothing new, just general information not worth paying for”.
Sometimes I take a look at the analytics numbers and see that people who left these reviews did not even watch 5% of the video training – but what can you do?
I really try to be very polite all the time, but sometimes if the review is very bad, I want to tell the other customers that this scumbag didn’t even watch 5%, so how can he say this….
Most of the time the only approach that I recommend is to reply, say sorry if it was your fault, and even send them something free to fix it. Always write replies if you have the chance so other future customers see and understand that sometimes things happen, but you really care and try to fix that!
What icons and logos you can use to build trust?
You will also be astounded by how much trust icons can do to gain user trust! They assume if you display trusted shops icons, secure domain icons, symbols from well-known internet security providers, and trusted payment provider icons, that they all have checked if you are trustworthy and then gave you the icon, therefore you are a safe place to buy from.
If you are a bit involved in online marketing, you probably know that this applies to some of the icons, but most of them, like all your payment providers or secure connection icons, you can just display without any checks. So, use as many as you can, but of course don’t use ones you are not authorized to use or if you are not using these providers.
Why you should use SSL
We’ve already briefly talked about SSL in the SYSTEM part. It is so important, especially if you are not always in a secure company internet environment. You don’t want to send your login data and customer data around a public Wi-Fi network. When it comes to trust and people feeling secure, this works pretty well! I recommend getting one of these super trusted certificates which will display your company name in green and a green lock inside of your browser bar.
This little thing can give you a lot of trust. By the way, if you already have good SEO rankings don’t just switch to SSL – talk to an expert before you do that. If you do it wrong, you could lose some of your important rankings!
How you can use user stories to improve and build trust
If you are just starting out, you may not have any user stories, but you could motivate your customers to send you some. You can also use photos – maybe they can take a picture of themselves using your product, having a lot of fun, or something like that. And, of course, these photos would be even better in combination with a short story! This would give you a lot of trust and additional credibility.
As you are in the business longer you will get these stories automatically if you have a good product or service. We get a lot of nice and engaging stories on Facebook where people post how our products helped them and how happy they are. Of course, this is the best thing that can happen to you, and if it happens – use it in your marketing!
How you can build up additional information to build up more trust
You also need to give your customers the information they are looking for! It is fascinating what you can discover in Google Analytics or Search Console sometimes: People that have never been to our website before will land on the product landing page, stay there some minutes to read everything about the product, and then sometimes they go to our blog and try to get more information about it. Then, they often go to the contact page probably to find out where the company is located and if there is a phone number to contact us. Then, many of them go over to the shipping page to find out how long it takes. Also, our FAQ pages gets visited a lot. So, you see all these pages need to be there and need to be structured in the right way to build up additional trust!
Why it is so important to be there for your customers
You may have experienced the following situation yourself: You were looking at a product or a service that you wanted to buy, but you just could not figure out if a certain feature was included or if this was really the right product for you. If there was the opportunity to live chat with somebody you could ask things like that straight away and buy the product in seconds! But, if you had to search for contact details and couldn’t even find a phone number, you probably tried to find a different store where you could get better information or talk to somebody straight away, right!?
Make sure your customers can talk to somebody immediately and live – at least during your business hours!
Why it is important for you to monitor what people say about your brand
Reputation management is important! You want to know what people are saying about you. And yes, you need tools to do that! It is critically important to know what users are saying about your brand or your product and even about you as the owner or CEO. Keep in mind that most users today, especially if you are not a well-known brand, will try to find out more information about you before they are going to buy from you. Make sure they don’t find things that will make you look untrustworthy – you need to know what people are saying about you!
This can also help you big time to understand your target group better and let you know how existing customers react to your latest price changes or other things you did.
Why most of your customers don’t buy from you!
Don’t worry if you see over 95% of visitors that come to your website not buying from you – this is totally normal! Crazy, isn’t it? You spend so much money on your products, your website, and on marketing and then over 95% don’t buy from you? Yes, totally normal! Shockingly, the average conversion rate is 2-3%. In most of the projects we take care of these are between 5-10% if these are not well-known brands. If they are brands, you can have conversation rates higher than that.
The conversion rate of my business is around 8%. But, looking at this 2-3 % – it’s no wonder that most Ecommerce businesses have a hard time having 97-98% of their visitors not buying from them. And still we see a lot of Ecommerce stores not taking advantages of remarketing and other methods to convert visitors into customers.
So why is that? Why don’t they buy from you?
Of course, there is not just one reason. Some people will just surf around checking out the web looking for the cheapest product or best deal. Most of them are not ready to buy and are just looking for information. Some of them don’t need the product right now, some may not trust you, some are not sure if they want to buy it now or if they can afford it. For some of them you will not have the right payment or shipping methods, and the list goes on and on and on.
You need time and a lot of experience to be able to increase your conversion rates. And of course, having a lot of customers who don’t buy from you could also be the result of a poor marketing strategy. Maybe you are simply targeting the wrong users, or you do it in a way that they expect a different information or products when they land on your website, so you will lose them straight away.
What you can do to convert them from visitors to customers
Now your question is probably, “Ok, but how can I fix that and where should I start?” Try to see your shop from the eyes of your visitors, or even better, set up some user tests. Many of the newer survey platforms allow you to set up surveys and tests. You could give your test group tasks, like search for this or that product and look for additional information, put the product into cart, and so on. In many of these tests, you will get the recordings or the scripts of what your users did or said during the test, or even get a screen recording of the user tests.
Sometimes, you see shocking things, like some people couldn’t find the product because they didn’t know how to use the internal search function, maybe some weren’t able to put the product into the cart, and other strange things. If you are targeting older people especially, keep in mind that you have to make it very simple. You can also ask them questions like “Do you trust this shop?” and “if not, why not?” or what they like and what they don’t like. Start to work on these issues first. Also have a look at your marketing campaigns and make sure your landing pages are communicating the right information – This will help you to fix the first issues.
What is the best way to make them buy from you?
The best two methods to get your users to buy from you (apart from building trust) are these two marketing opportunities:
- Remarketing! Get them back to your website to buy from you.
- As soon as they give you their e-mail address send them useful information and try to do everything to win them as one of your customers.
Some additional sales strategies you should try
We can’t talk about all the additional sales strategies and channels, because there are too many – and depending on your market and on your target group and location it will be different.
However, I want to give you some general insights and some little tips/tricks that will work in most markets.
How to use sweepstakes to get user attention and collect data
I know, this is not a new idea, but it works well: Set up sweepstakes to get new customers or get additional data from your customers! Most of the people out there are happy to give their data away if they have a chance at winning something. Depending on your product or service, you should define the most valuable information for you, and include these fields as mandatory fields in your sweepstake form. This could be their birthday, the car they currently drive, or whatever else can help you to do a better job.
How exit popups can help to convert users
In some cases, I recommend using exit popups. For example, if the user tries to close his browser window or wants to click on the back button, you can deliver a pop-up window with a coupon code or special offer. Depending on what you want to achieve, you could also give them the opportunity to download an e-book or a white paper, or something like that, in exchange for their e-mail address.
When using exit popups with coupon codes, make sure to use them wisely and only on selected pages. You don’t want to give discount codes to every visitor! So, make sure you only implement these on pages like the checkout page or their cart.
How opt-in boxes can help you get more data
We talked about having e-mail subscription boxes inside of your informational content and giving your customers the chance to sign up for notifications if a product is out-of-stock. I also showed you that it is even possible to collect e-mail addresses inside of video content if you use the right tools. There are so many more ways to get email addresses in exchange for something that has value to your visitors!
Some larger companies do free sample product bundles or giveaways to get data. You could do webinars, free Q&A sessions, or something similar, and get users to sign up for that. Depending on your product or service, there are tons of other options and methods out there.
How to use lead magnets to get new customers
Another way to reach a larger audience is to create a great piece of content, something like an e-book, real book, white paper, industry report, etc., and offer it as a downloadable pdf (or ship it out). This is called a “lead magnet” because it will attract a lot of people that will give you their e-mail addresses and other details in exchange for this free piece of content. Just remember, everything that you produce should, of course, be high quality!
How to use discounts to sell more
We talked about using discounts in your exit popup strategy, but of course, there are many other ways you can use discount codes to motivate your users to buy (or buy again) from you. If you work with coupon codes, make sure these codes have an expiration date. This creates urgency and pushes your users to act now! If you don’t do this, they will probably forget about it and never use your coupon.
Use coupon codes to reward people for their loyalty too! Send customers coupon codes on their birthday and special holidays. Also, try to cooperate with partners and affiliates. They often have huge lists of potential customers you can send offers to. This can help you massively to reach more people!
How to use special offers and bundles to sell more
Beside coupon codes, see if you can put together exclusive offers or bundle products, to get users to buy more from you. With product bundles especially, we often see that if customers bought an additional product within the bundle they will reorder or even subscribe to get this product on a regular base. Now they’re not just buying one product from you, but they’re buying two or more (and, if you are lucky, on a subscription basis)! This, of course, will increase your revenue, but also – depending what you have to ship out – this will bring down your shipping cost per item drastically!
Marketing automation is still new ground for some companies, and many are surprised by all you can do with marketing automation today. If you have a large customer base, there is no way to look at their data one by one and send them the information that best meets their needs; this would take way too much time! With marketing automation, there is a way to do this, and your customers will not even recognize it is automated!
How to use marketing automation
There are many ways to use marketing automation! The key is to collect as much user data as possible! Once you are using the right tools, you will have 3 main ways to use marketing automation.
- Use marketing automation to send out very targeted emails. Basically, track what pages the user is visiting and which links they click in your e-mails, then send them additional e-mails with the exact information they have been looking for.
- Display modified content on your website according to your user’s behavior
- Send out postcards to reach people offline!
Why you need advanced tools to master marketing automation
I recommend using professional tools that allow you to track user behavior, and give you additional opportunities to reach your users with the right information at the right time.
Of course, some of the autoresponder e-mail tools will also allow you to implement a very limited automation functionality, like sending out a follow up e-mail if somebody clicked on a defined link in your e-mail. The problem with autoresponders is they can’t make the connection between what users are doing in e-mails and on your website. In addition to this, most autoresponder tools can’t send postcards or text messages, or modify the content for your users on your website like more advanced tools. So, you see, autoresponders are just a small part of marketing automation!
What a user journey is and how can you build one
When we talk about marketing automation, it is all about setting predefined journeys that will automatically take care of your users. The journey will be different for each of your users, and will be determined by “trigger” actions (certain actions they take on your site and in e-mails).
A journey could just be sending e-mails to your customers daily. To set this up, you would write all the e-mails in advance and configure the tool for when to start sending out the emails. This probably would be as soon as a new e-mail address is received, the e-mail would be the “trigger” to start the automation process. You could also set a waiting time before the second e-mail gets sent (maybe a few days, maybe a week), and so on.
A user journey can also be very complex and include hundreds of steps and possibilities – you can do anything! You can even set up a custom journey for each of your products or services. If you see that a user has mainly visited products in a certain category, you could simply put him into a journey that focuses on this product category. The possibilities are endless! Sometimes it almost seems like magic!
What kind of journeys are available?
To give you more ideas for setting up customer journeys, I want to list some of the possible factors that you can use to determine a journey – and keep in mind, you can combine these factors as you want and use them as often as you want!
Triggers that you could use:
Smart Segment Trigger, List Trigger, Time Trigger, Form Submitted, Page Visited, Field Changed, Removed from List, Campaign Trigger, Segment Event, and API Trigger.
Some of the actions you could use:
Ad Delay, Eject from Journey, Send Email, Add to List, Update Field, Remove from List, Send Notification, Saw customized message on website, Change Score, Send SMS, Mail Postcard, AB Split test, Update Field, and Send Event.
Additionally, a lot of the tools will also give you conditions like:
Check Email Status, Is on List or Segment, Has Submitted Form, Has Visited Page, Check Field, and Checked Status…
You can combine and automate all these factors!
What are proactive messages and how can you use them?
Some of these tools also allow you to display proactive messages. For example, you can show these messages to your users because they clicked on a predefined combination of pages, so it is very likely that they are looking for help or more information. Using automation tools will allow you to automatically trigger a window where you can try to help your visitors or give them additional information or links.
When it comes to products, you can also use these messages to increase your sales. For example, if you have single and bundle products, you could trigger a message on single products asking them if they know that this product also exists as 7 pack, and give them the link to the 7 pack! Simple things like this allow you to increase sales and revenue day by day!
How proactive popups and surveys can give you even more valuable data
Some tools also allow users to enter data into these popups or windows. That in mind, you could ask for their e-mail, or even do very short surveys to collect additional data and find out more about your users. The additional beauty of all this is that advanced tools will simply add this extra data to your users contact details automatically.
They will also add everything the user did on your website, in your emails, and tell you how they reacted to your proactive windows and messages. By the way, if you set everything up properly, you will also know through which channel they came to your store the first time, and some more additional data that can help with your marketing strategy!
A few years ago, before I developed my 6S formula, I was using a 5S formula that didn’t focus on customer satisfaction. As a result, I noticed that many of our customers and my students (over 30,000) didn’t focus on this and it greatly limited their opportunities. That’s why I decided to bring SATISFACTION in as a new step.
We all know, it is so much simpler and cheaper to sell to an existing customer than get new people to buy from us. If you focus on user SATISFACTION, you can make a lot more money from your existing clients and possibly save on your marketing!
Why user satisfaction is one of the most important factors
So much depends on making your user happy. A happy user will buy from you again and they will bring you new customers by referring your product or service to friends and family.
Why it is important to have all user data in one place
Not having all your data in one place is often a problem! So many companies have tons of data, sometimes on CD-ROM or a USB stick – LOL! But they do not use the data at all, or they don’t use it the right way.
Nowadays, many companies are using lots of tools to collect data, but many times they don’t link this data, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for their marketing efforts. You will be most successful if you can manage to get all your data in one place, this will make it a lot easier to use it for your marketing. It is very useful to know how often your customers buy, how much they spend, what kinds of products they are interested in, and if they’ve received any offline or online advertising from you.
Of course, phone numbers and any additional information can make an enormous difference for you too because you can use this data to segment your target group and craft targeted information and paths for each customer.
How to be there for your customers
We’ve talked a little bit about this already – it is critically important to be there for your users and customers, and to provide live chat or phone lines where they can get fast answers to their questions. If you also have a company Facebook or Twitter, be aware that some users or customers may contact you through these channels, and you will need to respond fast! People expect fast answers, if they don’t get them they will buy from somewhere else or get upset very quickly.
Most professional support tools allow you to connect Facebook with other channels, meaning if somebody writes you a message via social media, a support ticket will be created for you. This way you don’t have to worry about missing questions from these channels.
Why it is important to give your customers control
An effective way to minimize support requests is by giving your customers the ability to create an account, change their user data, choose their preferred payment methods, and, if you have a subscription model, modify their subscription. Additionally, make sure you give them a tracking link for every order! This information should be provided without having to contact support. Doing this will keep your users happy, and, at the same time, will save your staff from doing unnecessary work!
How to satisfy users on your website
What can you do to satisfy your users besides providing them with quality support?
Why page speed is important for user satisfaction
Let’s talk about page speed for a moment! You want to make sure that your website loads quickly! Think about yourself – you don’t want to wait 20 seconds for a website to load! Times have changed, your site has to be fast! This also is a small ranking factor for SEO now.
People ask me a lot how fast their website should load. According to Google, your website should load in under five seconds. But keep in mind, it’s all about user experience – the faster your site loads, the better the user experience will be! If your website loads in 6 or 7 seconds because some elements on the bottom of the page take a little longer, or the page has a lot of content on it, don’t worry!
Just make sure your visitors can use your website as soon as possible. Everything doesn’t have to be loaded straight away either! You can also use techniques like lazy loading that will only load images or elements when your user starts scrolling down. Just be aware, this may cause troubles for search engines because all of you content is not there!
Why you need a clear and logical site structure
You want to have a very clear and logical site structure! A lot of shops forget that a poorly structured site can cause confusion. Most people will not arrive at your shops homepage because they come from SEO, or they come directly from AdWords campaigns, and so on. Keep in mind, a user that lands on one of your subpages should understand what page he is on and be able to navigate easily through your site.
One of the best ways to do this is called breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumbs, as you probably know, helped Hansel and Gretel in the Grimm’s Fairytale to find their way – so they will also help your users – LOL! Seriously, if you have good breadcrumb navigation your users will immediately see where they are on your site and be able to click on category links to see related products, or even access levels before the category page. This makes it much easier for your users to navigate and find what they are looking for.
Always keep in mind there are so many websites out there that will sell more or less the same (if not exactly the same) product as you do, so you need to be better. You don’t want to waste the users’ time by having a site that’s hard to navigate!
Why you should monitor internal links and page errors
Make sure you have a monitoring tool in place for server and page errors. Your users will not be able to access a certain content or products if the page cannot be displayed. SEO tools that check your website are able to discover most of the errors that could appear on your website.
The tools will also check if your internal links are working, and setup up alerts so you can fix these errors as soon as they occur. If you don’t have a monitoring tool in place, it will take you days or weeks to discover problems. That could lose you a lot of sales if some of your bestselling product pages are not showing up, or your checkout page isn’t working.
Why it is so important to have the right content for your target group
Again – to satisfy your users! It is critical that you serve the right kind of content to them. Think about everything that might be useful to know about your product or service, and try to create the best piece of content out there.
Why a loyalty program can increase customer satisfaction dramatically
If you use a loyalty program it’s unlikely your existing customers will stop buying from you, especially if they already have a lot of points or a special status. They don’t want to lose their points and their status, so most of them will keep on buying from you. Do you have a loyalty program?
Why your sales process should be clear and easy as pie
Make it easy for your customers to buy from you! Have a clean, professional looking website with clear calls to action to move your users through the sales funnel. Make it as easy as possible for them! Don’t ask for unnecessary information, don’t distract them, and don’t give them too many options. As soon as they go to their cart, make sure that the shipping and payment process is easy to handle. It should also be easy on a mobile phone too because a sizable percentage of your users are visiting your website from a mobile device. Test it out yourself! Take your phone out and order something from your shop …And? Was it easy?
Use a fast and flexible shipping process to satisfy your customers!
Shipping is a critical part, and it is often hard to make everybody happy. In many cases you won’t be delivering your products yourself, so you won’t have a lot of control over this process as soon as the package leaves your warehouse. So keep an eye on your couriers and do your best to solve problems. Be as polite as possible if customers complain because they did not get their packages.
Why it is important to provide multiple shipping options to your user
Let your users decide how fast they want their products to be shipped. For some users it will be important to get the product on the same day or the next day. They won’t care about the additional shipping costs if they need it very fast. Some of your customers may not need the product as quickly, so they will probably look for the cheapest shipping option. Let them pick whatever works best for them!
How you can use smart packaging to up-sell/cross-sell
Most larger brands up-sell and cross-sell to existing customers very well, make sure you are doing the same. I am talking about smart packaging here, not online up-selling or cross-selling. How can you do this? Include flyers with exclusive offers or coupons, product catalogs, additional product samples, and so on in your packages. If you can, try to include the most relevant information or products they might be interested in. You could also create special bundles to get them to try some related products.
Why fast shipping and good packaging is critical
We don’t need to talk too much about this – we all get angry if we have to wait days or even weeks for something we’ve ordered.
Packaging is also essential! As you know some couriers will not care too much how your package arrives. Do your best to make sure your product arrives in one piece.
How should you handle returns?
If your customers want to return the product for whatever reason, make it easy for them to do so! It does not make sense to make it difficult to return products. People will get very upset and probably never buy from you again! If you make returns easy for them, there is a big chance that they will buy from you again!
It’s not over after they buy from you!
A big part of my 6S formula is focusing on your existing customers. Here I will give you some tips for how to get the most out of your existing customers.
What should you do after a customer has purchased from you?
After a customer has purchased from you, in most cases, it makes sense to wait a few days before you send them any emails. This way you make sure you are not approaching the customer with questions about the process or product before he or she even received it. Once they’ve received the product I recommend sending an e-mail asking for a review. From this point forward, your communication with your user should be a mix of information and promotions.
However, as we discussed earlier, if you send them let’s say five e-mails a week, make sure four of those e-mails provide valuable content and just one is promotional. I also recommend sending questionnaires asking information you’d like to know in exchange for a coupon. As you gain a better understanding of each customer, use this information to move them to more targeted processes.
It may be best to send certain customers information only on specific categories because their user behavior shows they are only interested in this specific topic. Depending on your product or services, the steps to building a new customer relationship can be entirely different every time.
How to use existing user data to find new target groups
Some marketing channels, like Facebook, for example, allow you to generate a “lookalike audience”. You simply upload your existing user data and Facebook will try to find people similar to your current customers. This is great because there is a high chance that these people will be interested in your product or service too. This is a great technique to increase your target group.
How to use tagging to sell more to your existing customers
Tagging is a brilliant way to use your customer data. Tags are just additional words that you can add to your customer profile or orders. Many Ecommerce Platforms support tagging which allows you to pull tags into your marketing automation tools. For instance, your shop system could send an order to your marketing automation tool with the tags “first time order, subscription”, and these tags would then be added to the customer profile.
For most cases, it is easy to find out where the customer came from (like Facebook, AdWords, SEO and so on) and you can add tags for this too. With this information, you can then use advanced segments to send e-mails to users with certain tags, for example, customers that ordered from you just once and came from your SEO marketing channel. The combinations are endless, allowing you to craft and send very targeted information to every user group.
How to scale your Ecommerce business successfully!
The S for SCALE is the last S of my 6S formula, but in some cases, and especially when you are going into new markets, it all starts with the first S (STRATEGY) again. It is a never-ending formula!
Everything I have told you so far helps you to massively scale your business! The book title is even “SCALE-UP! How to Successfully Scale your Ecommerce Business to Millions “. I decided to put the central SCALING part of the book at the very end because SCALING into other states, countries or markets requires a well-optimized Ecommerce environment. You don’t want to start scaling a system that is not well-optimized.
Why you should think about scaling your business
If you see that your business model is working, why not go into other markets and try to sell your products there? You could start with Step 1 of my 6S formula again and find out what a good strategy would be for that new market. If the language or the currency is different, or the distance to your warehouse is substantial, you may need quite some time to set everything up and get it running.
In other circumstances, it could be as simple as using an additional platform to massively boost your revenue, like we did in a short period and with very few modifications to our shop system. I am talking about additional marketing channels like eBay, Amazon, or Alibaba.
Why your strategy is important from the beginning
We talked about this when we were discussing SEO, but I want to bring it up again because it is critically important and could cost you a lot of money! If you are planning on going international now or in the future, it is important you have a top-level domain like .com, .eu, .info, or .net (or one of the other top level domains). For the majority of your marketing channels your domain does not play a significant role, but for SEO it does. If you can’t remember the details I encourage you to go back and read the section on SEO!
How to scale your STRUCTURE
In the STRUCTURE part of my 6S formula, we discussed the proper STRUCTURES you need to think about and set up. We also talked about what you should do in-house and what you should outsource, and how you can involve and motivate decision makers and other departments to be successful.
For the most part, this part of my 6S formula is quite easy to scale for the companies I work with. Of course, sometimes they may need to employ new people or get a second agency to help assist them in a different market. And of course, they need all the internal support they can get along with a budget. Since you have already done this with success in your current market, it is much easier to get everybody to work on this when you’re scaling. You already have an existing structure that works and this is a significant advantage!
How to scale your SYSTEM
When it comes to scaling your SYSTEM, we are talking about your Ecommerce platform. In this case, scaling could be a challenge. This is due to the fact the scaling process often requires more than just handling more traffic or products. It can get quite tricky if you want to implement a second language or even go into another country. Have a look at the SYSTEM part of my 6S formula to find out more in detail!
How to scale your SALES process
In the SALES part of the 6S formula, I gave you some insights about how you can SCALE up your marketing and SALES.
Basically, there are three main steps:
- Try to get more out of your existing marketing channels
- Try to find and master new marketing channels
- Use different marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, price comparison websites, or whatever else makes sense for your product
And remember, if you go into other countries or markets it is very likely that you will have to adapt your marketing and sales strategies before you are able to scale up.
How to scale your SATISFACTION process
Scaling the user satisfaction part is tricky, but a fundamental part of the process. Start with producing the best content for your users, and try to build a process or system that will allow you to handle support requests, your shipping, and other satisfaction related things. Use professional tools and connect systems to collect as much data as possible and give your users what they want, when they want it.
How to use up-selling and cross-selling to scale your business
If you do your up-selling and cross-selling right, you can make a lot of extra money. For example, if trying to up-sell your customers a comparable, but more expensive item, you could show them related products or what other customers have purchased. You could also try to sell them more by bundling; instead of a single pack, get them to buy a four pack, or something along those lines.
If you want to master up-selling and cross-selling, you need to invest a lot of time connecting the right products to each other. Some up-selling and cross-selling apps have algorithms that try to figure out what products could be the best match for others. To get that working, you need a lot of sales which will allow the app to find out what other people buy, and use that data to make suggestions.
How a recurring business model helps you to plan and scale
I told you that in my business we have a recurring business model. We try to only sell products that our customers need on an ongoing basis. This helps us to increase our revenue every month because we are building our subscription base month-by-month.
With this type of model, you never start a business day at $0, thanks to those subscriptions you already have thousands of Dollars/Euros/Dirhams. Even when you have a slow sales day, your recurring orders are still coming in. The recurring model also has the advantage of making it easier to make business decisions for the future, like ordering new products, because you practically have a passive income channel.
How product bundles can help you make more sales
I am still surprised how well product bundles work and how much more you can sell to a single customer. Instead of having your customers buy just one product from you, try to get them to purchase a product bundle that includes related products. For instance, offer to send them all the products they need at the same time on an ongoing basis, or try to sell them more by offering them 4 packs, 7 packs, and so on. If you do this, you can massively increase your customers’ lifetime value.
How the right tools and plugins can help you to SCALE UP
You will reach a point where you will need some additional tools to help you. With our Ecommerce business, we reached this stage when we opened up our 3rd shop and started to use eBay and Amazon. At first, there was a lot of chaos! We had a problem managing the inventory correctly, so we decided to use professional software for that.
Today, we can set up a new store and run it in minutes because we can easily push our inventory to the store, and sales are automatically pushed back into our inventory software. It took a lot of work to implement this, but now we have a huge competitive advantage and we can act lightning fast.
How your fulfillment partner can massively help you to grow
For a certain number of products, fulfillment isn’t much of a problem. But as soon as you have hundreds and hundreds of packages to handle every day it can be hard to manage internally.
I am not a big fan of outsourcing fulfillment because you lose a lot of control, but sometimes it just makes sense. When you go into different countries especially, you often need a warehouse there to be able to ship your products out on time and at a reasonable cost. As I mentioned before, you could use some of the big platforms to help you, like Amazon or Rakuten, or find another partner to fulfill for you – just try to control quality as much as possible!
SCALE UP your MARKETING
Let’s talk about the different marketing channels in detail and see what the best ways to scale them up are. Scaling marketing channels can be a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work!
How to decide which marketing channel to scale first
So, you’ve decided to scale up your first marketing channel, but you are not sure which channel is the best to scale. Scaling marketing channels is all about increasing your budget to get more out of every channel. Of course, before you can SCALE-UP an existing marketing channel, you need to make sure that it is already working. You probably agree that it does not make any sense to scale up marketing channels that are not working! Obviously, that could lead to losing more money in the future.
So, choose a channel that is working well for you and see how you can scale it by looking for additional target groups, new techniques, or different approaches. This is definitely not something that you can do on your own! You need the help of an expert to scale up your marketing channels if you want to make a lot of money! Don’t expect to see results straight away – even experts need time to test and modify, so it could take weeks to find the right settings. It is all about fine-tuning!
Why you need advanced tools for some of your marketing channels
For scaling your marketing, you need professional tools’ help! At this stage, it makes sense to use tools to support you to scale and manage your AdWords campaigns – so make sure you are not spending too much money on a click!
There are also other tools that will help you to set up hundreds of Facebook ad versions in seconds that you can test and then pick the best performing ads. I also strongly recommend you do A/B testing on your website – test different landing pages and find out what performs best!
How you can SCALE SEO
When it comes to SEO, there is a big difference between scaling the same SEO market and going into other countries or targeting a different language. Scaling the same SEO market is not too hard because most markets are large enough to increase your SEO efforts. Of course, you need to spend more money and invest time in scaling it up, or try to use more advanced SEO techniques and strategies.
But, when it comes to international SEO, it is harder! First, you need to find out if you should still target the same keywords. This is a critical factor for AdWords – your target group in different countries may use different keywords. You can NOT just translate keywords, this does work for some keywords, but not for all. When it comes to other languages it is pretty difficult to check, especially if it is a language that you can’t even read like Japanese, Arabic or Chinese! At that point, you need somebody on your team, or a partner agency that understands the language and can ensure quality work.
Always keep in mind, the SEO channel carries a lot of risks. Remember, if someone on your team violates Google guidelines you are at risk of getting hit by a Google update and could lose all the sales coming in through the SEO channel in every country!
How can you SCALE paid advertising?
To scale most of your paid advertising channels, you need to be clever and spend more money. One way to do this is to target different needs by setting up ads for questions your users may have, or by using a long tail approach to reach a broader audience. Another way is to use more channels. Maybe you are currently using AdWords, but you are not doing display, remarketing, YouTube advertising, or Pinterest, etc.
By using a lot of channels, you can gather a lot of valuable data that you can later use for other channels. Also, try to book “advertorials” in industry magazines both online and offline, and contact influencers and bloggers in your field to get them to write about you and your products.
How can you SCALE your Facebook marketing?
For Facebook, almost the same rules apply as for AdWords. See if you can target a broader audience, but make sure your ads are still very focused. Run multiple campaigns so you can target every audience very specifically. Your purpose is not just targeting more people, it’s reaching the right people using the right content strategy, always keep that in mind!
Facebook also gives you some more advanced options to use to scale up. For example, Facebook can generate a lookalike audience for you by looking at your existing target group and trying to find all the people that are very similar. This is an excellent way to scale. Also, like in AdWords, try different approaches, such as setting up campaigns that inform people. Facebook gives you the chance to advertise on Instagram too– find out how that works for you!
Keep in mind the key for most of these channels is your data – the more you know about your customers, the easier you will be able to deliver the right ads and the right content to your target groups. Remember, this is not something that will work in one day – it needs a lot of professional testing and tuning!
How an affiliate program can help you SCALE your marketing
Over the last few years I have learned that having an affiliate program is an excellent way to massively increase your revenue (that is, if you manage to get the right affiliates). This worked very well for my Ecommerce business too! Conversion rates are often very high if customers come from affiliate websites.
This is because you get a big trust bonus when somebody has recommended you – and customers really trust these recommendations. Just 1 or 2 affiliates can make you a crazy amount of money, especially if they have a huge number of followers or a lot of visitors to their website.
It is not so difficult to get an affiliate program up and running, but, unfortunately, if you have a recurring business model, there are not so many affiliate platforms out there for that. I went through a lot of testing and disappointments with some of the tools, but as soon as I found the right one, it was not too hard to handle and is an excellent channel to scale up. All you need to do is to find more affiliates!
How partnerships can help you SCALE your marketing
Partnerships can be a great way to grow and SCALE your business. The range of partnerships is very wide. You could promote each other’s products if you are in the same industry, or, what we sometimes do, give partners your product feed so they can easily integrate your products on their website and then handle the rest for them. You will also find people with huge e-mail lists who will let you send e-mails to their lists for a small fee.
You could try to partner up with them, too. Some companies do partnerships with bloggers, they write about their products and get free products or other benefits in exchange. If you go to other markets or countries especially, having partnerships can help you with many things. But, of course, it is critical that you pick the right partners!
How content marketing can help you SCALE
When I talk about content marketing, I mean content that you produce; this can be written content, an infographic, a widget, or anything else that can bring value to those who put your content on their website. The basic strategy is to get authority websites in your industry, influencers, or bloggers with a lot of relevant traffic, to put this piece of content on their site. Nowadays, most of the time you will have to pay to place your content on their website, so it’s not enough to have great content because everybody wants to make money, but the better the content is, the more positive response you will get. And of course, the goal is to include a link there to drive as much traffic to your website as possible!
You could also try to do guest posting on a lot of websites. Again, the channels you should use will depend on your product or service. Maybe channels like YouTube or podcasts could make sense for you. Find out where your target group hangs out and show them your high-quality content!
How combinations of online and offline marketing can help you grow
If you are a larger brand or a well-established website, you probably also have offline marketing channels that work well for you. If you are just starting out, I recommend you focus more on online than on offline. This is simply because of the cost, and the fact that offline marketing is hard to measure and takes more time to convert.
Most of our clients, and myself, do a little bit of offline marketing. Like I told you already, we make sure that when we send out products we include flyers, information, coupons they can give friends and family, and so on. In addition, we send postcards using our automation software for their birthday, Valentine’s day, or things like this. We don’t go into industry magazines that often, but if we do we, of course, we try to drive them to our website by using a special coupon code or a landing page that makes it easy for them to buy something from us. This way we can track it by seeing who used our printed coupon codes!
Of course, there are many more ways you can combine off- and online marketing. This is especially true if you have an offline store, if that is the case there are some great ways to keep your customers engaged.
Going international is the King’s discipline because if you want to do it right there are so many challenges out there. It makes sense to start at the beginning of my 6S formula again to make sure you didn’t miss any important steps. But, of course, this time it will be much easier for you because you have done it already and you already have a running system! You will be able to copy a lot of these system patterns, or use your existing system and just plug the international part on top. Again, there is no one-fits-all solution! It all depends on your goals, how far away you are from reaching them, and how different your market is.
How to go international
If you made the decision to go global, I recommend going through all the steps of my 6S formula again:
- You will need to modify your STRATEGY or define a new STRATEGY for this new international market.
- You will need to work on your STRUCTURE, which means you will need to employ people or get additional help from agencies or freelancers.
- Your Ecommerce SYSTEM must be ready to get scaled up. I strongly recommend that you read the SEO part of this book again if you want to be able to target a new country and display the right language and the right currency. And there is much more to it than that!
- For SALES you will need to find out if they use different payment methods and so on.
- Of course, you need to be able to provide a fast loading website and a good user experience in every country you are targeting to provide SATISFACTION.
- SCALE – we already talked a lot about scaling and different market channels, and now know it’s all about testing and seeing how your market reacts. For some of our clients, we did tests to find out if AdWords or Facebook would be good marketing channels in their new market. We found out if users were willing to buy, if the mentality was different, if they used different search engines, and different social media platforms. We often team up with local agencies or professionals to make sure we are heading in the right direction. Be aware, this can be difficult and gets even more complicated when you can’t even read the language.
What additional resources do you need to go international?
I would say it is always useful to have somebody, like a territory manager, who knows the country, the people, and speaks the language. If you want to make progress quickly, you will need somebody who lives in that environment and who is very knowledgeable about your product or service. This can help big time! It’s possible you may also want to have and handle a warehouse, an office, employees, etc. Of course, if that’s the case you’ll need a lot of resources and money!
Why you can’t just translate or use marketing strategies 1:1
We’ve already talked a little about language and keywords. As I said before, you can’t just translate your keywords into the new language, you need to make sure that the meaning is the same! This also applies for STRATEGY; you need to consider your new competitors or well-known brands in your new market that sell the same product. Also, your new target customers may behave differently and use other channels and ways to communicate or buy.
Of course, you will find out all of this as soon as you are in the market, but I think it is better to know before you go into a market. Especially when it comes to your new competitors, it would be clever to look at them before and see what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how much money they spend on advertising every month. Then you can decide if you are able to spend a similar, or even higher budget, to get some market share. You can also look for other creative strategies and opportunities to get into the market.
Why some marketing channels will not work in all countries
To begin with, some marketing channels will not exist in some countries. This could be because of government regulations, or they just use something else. In most parts of the world you will at least be able to use AdWords and Facebook, but for example, in some countries in Asia, Russia and a few other countries, your target group will use different channels to search and communicate.
How can you make your SEO strategy international?
Out of all the marketing channels, SEO is the hardest to scale internationally. As I told you already, you need the right website structure to be able to target different countries in the right language. Let me give you an example, so you can get a better idea!
Let’s assume we are a US based company and we now want to sell our products to customers in Spain. We will need to set up a Spanish version of our website. Let’s say our domain is yourcompany.com and we are using it to target the US. If we want to go to Spain now, we need to set up an “es” subfolder, so all our Spanish content will be in the es subfolder; yourcompany.com/es. (Remember, we don’t use a local .es domain because it doesn’t make much sense for SEO.) Now, all our Spanish content needs to go into this /es folder, and we need to tell Google that everything in this folder is targeted to Spain.
After that, there are some more technical implementations where we can tell Google what versions of our website should be shown, in what country, and in what language, so Google will be able to show to people in Spain the correct version of our site, in Spanish. (This can get quite complicated if you go into countries like Switzerland where they speak three languages.) After everything is implemented correctly technically, you need to work on the content and the site’s structure. Also, it is important to start the link building process to get some local links to the /es folder.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. It often requires a very detailed international SEO concept and a lot of documentation for the IT department to make sure everything is implemented the right way!
How can you make your Facebook strategy international?
We often see great and fast success if we modify Facebook ads a little and swap out the country in the audiences we created. Most of the time we do a lot of testing to find the right target group on Facebook. We talked about the great options Facebook gives us when it comes to targeting, so you can pick from and combine many options, interests, and behaviors. Most of the audience patterns we noticed in our own market, also work very well in other countries.
Sometimes, even the same ads and the same ad copy work quite well. So, do some testing and see if it works for you. If not, try to find out why, or get somebody who is local involved (like an agency with international contacts), or an employee to help you!
How you can make paid media strategies international
As you can see, scaling up and going international are quite similar, but going international is much harder because you have to find the right target group, and the right keywords and ads again. But apart from that, it is quite similar to the scaling process.
What also comes into play, of course, is that you will have different competitors, different click prices, and so on. You can NOT just copy your campaigns and translate them! Particularly for paid channels, I recommend that you get somebody to set up the campaigns and to manage them for you. I’ve already recommended that for your home market, but it is even more important in markets you don’t know or that use a different language! Aside from that, it is all about testing and relevancy again.
Congratulations you made it through my book!
Don’t forget to visit https://sharkmediaagency.com to find additional information, tools, and checklists!
I wrote this book to help you to scale your Ecommerce business and make more money. In this chapter, I will summarize the most important aspects of my 6S formula, so you have it as a quick reference to turn to at any time!
It all starts with a clear STRATEGY. In the STRATEGY part of my 6S formula, the first thing we covered was goals; what the right goals are and if they are realistic. Then we talked about who you need on board to achieve your goals. We also covered how to know who and how strong your competitors are. And, of course, we discussed your marketing budget, too.
We also spoke in detail about different customer types, and product tips that could work best for you. At the end of the STRATEGY part, we covered markets and how to find out what your current market share is. And, finally, we discussed shipping and fulfillment strategies.
The STRUCTURE part was all about how you can handle different tasks! What could and should you manage internally, and what should you outsource and why? We talked about your infrastructure; your server environment, your domains, and how you could handle this in the best possible way. We also discussed the risk if you don’t make sure everything is saved and secure when it comes to your domain name and server environment.
At the end, we covered these questions; How often do you run backups? Can you restore the previous version of your database? Do you know when your servers are offline? And, how long does it take you to get up and running again if they’re down? – These are all important things that could cost you a lot of money and time!
The SYSTEM step is a critically important part because in this part you need to make decisions that are not easily reversible. Here we first talked about how you can pick the right shop system, and if you should self-host or use a pre-made store system. Then we talked about how you should make sure that you base your business and marketing decisions on valid data, not on feelings and opinions, because without the right data you can’t make the right decisions.
Also, I tried to help you decide if you need a mobile app or if your mobile friendly website is just fine. At the end, we looked at ways to assist you in scaling up at a reasonable cost by looking at a few options, including ways to integrate apps, plugins and 3rd party tools. Today there are so many great extensions out there which can help you to save a lot of time and money, picking the right shop system could give you the opportunity to use a lot of them.
The selling part of my 6S formula provides you with a lot of insights about different marketing channels’ opportunities. We mainly focused on online marketing because we can measure this channel best and we don’t have to spend too much money to see precise results. The first thing we talked about was sales funnels and how important it is to guide your users through your website to get them to do what you want without distracting them too much. I also showed you what kind of content (and how much) you should produce, how to do this, and how you can find out what your users are looking for.
I know that for most of my readers the content part could be very helpful because I get so many questions about that every day, and I also see that my videos about this topic are trending. Then, I showed you my future proven SEO strategies to avoid getting a Google penalty and losing all your SEO traffic and sales. Another thing we discussed was Facebook. First, we tried to figure out if Facebook was the right marketing channel for you, and if yes, how you could use Facebook successfully. We also covered AdWords and Google Shopping by showing you the best way to implement them into your marketing strategy.
E-mail marketing and remarketing are two more relevant channels we looked at in the SALES part of my 6S formula. We also discussed how and why it is so important for you to build trust, and why most people who visit your website don’t buy on their first visit. Finally, I tried to give you as many insights as possible about marketing automation which is almost like magic.
User and customer satisfaction is one of the most important parts of the book, and it plays a big role in almost everything you do. The key to success is user satisfaction, if your users are satisfied, they will buy from you and stay with you forever! In this part, we talked about the different stages and steps of user satisfaction, like looking at the user satisfaction on your website and seeing how you can optimize that.
We also looked at your fulfillment and shipping process and talked about why you need to focus on that to have satisfied customers. In addition, user satisfaction is also a key factor of my 6S formula because our approach is a little different! A lot of companies are only focusing on the users until they buy from them and then…
But in contrast, our process starts when the user buys, so we concentrate on increasing customer lifetime value and satisfaction over a long time.
In the scaling part of the book, I showed you how to find the right channel to start scaling. Just to re-iterate, you need to make sure this channel is working very well before you try to scale it. We also talked about the opportunities and challenges that the SCALING process will bring. Additionally, we looked at the major marketing channels in detail and I showed you how you could scale your SEO Channel, your paid Ads Channels, Facebook, and more.
Last but not least, we took it up a level and discussed international strategies to scale up your business which will help you if you are planning to sell in other countries!
Is this really the end?
Yes, unfortunately this is the end of my book, but as a little giveaway that you made it through the book I prepared some additional materials for you on our agency website. If you click on the link below (LOL! – I forgot I write this in a “real” book!) you will find a lot of additional information helping you to SCALE UP your Ecommerce Business!
I want to thank you again for taking the time to read through my book and I am sure that my 6S Formula will help you to make more money if you apply all the steps. BUT never forget knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing, so start now to implement and GROW your business!
Harold F. Rich
Worlds #1 Ecommerce Scaling Expert
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Who is “Harold F. Rich”?
Harold F. Rich went from a mediocre life to making millions for himself and his clients.
He grew up in a very small town in the Austrian mountains where the people have limited exposure to innovation and new ideas. For this reason, at the age of 18, Harold decided to move to Vienna, Austria’s beautiful capital city, searching for something more.
Harold started his entrepreneurial career at just 19. Back then he was running two restaurants in Vienna, and though business was good, he didn’t see a lot of opportunity for growth in this industry. Rent was extremely high and he had to employ over 25 people to keep his business running. At that time, the internet was just becoming known and he saw a lot more opportunity there. Within days he decided to sell his share of the business to his partner. The money he got from the sale supported him over the next couple of years allowing him to study, what was at that days called, Multimedia. Soon he got his first clients and went from doing web design to specializing in SEO to becoming one of the leading authorities in online marketing and Ecommerce today.
Today, Harold and his family live on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, and Harold is well known as the World’s #1 Ecommerce Scaling Expert.
He has helped hundreds of companies to increase their revenue and scale up their businesses.
In addition, Harold runs several highly successful Ecommerce businesses himself, so he practices what he preaches.
“Highly Recommend. Harold functioned not only as my advisor – but became a critical member of my team.”
Chairman, National Security Advisory Board, Washington, D.C.
“Great success can only be achieved with the right partner. Harold is one of the right ones who has contributed significantly to our success.”
Head of Ecommerce – Wunderman PXP
“One essential ingredient to our online success was consulting with Harold Rich. His deep understanding of SEO and the Ecommerce landscape was invaluable.”
Brian Prince, CEO, Best of the Web
“I have found Harold to be a seasoned expert in his chosen field who has demonstrated the ability to work with us in a flexible manner that suits our business. As our business grows, is able to scale up the resources with ease, without any compromise on expected deliverables. I have found his skill set to be invaluable for our business and have no hesitation in recommending his services to other companies looking for a genuine solution that will work for the long-term health of the business.”
Ilonka Hofmann, Ecommerce Director, Vitality 4 Life
- 1.1This is why you are losing money every day!
- 1.2Make sure you are not wasting time using the wrong Ecommerce strategy!
- 1.3How to grow your Ecommerce business quickly – and how I am doing it.
- 1.4How to increase your customer lifetime value
- 1.5How to spend less money on advertising and sell more!
- 1.6Why and how you should scale up your Ecommerce business?
- 1.7How to use my famous 6S formula to scale your Ecommerce business?
- 1.8How to target the right people and give them what they want
- 1.9Use your competitors’ most effective strategies!
- 1.10How to improve your Ecommerce infrastructure
- 1.11Your sales funnels and how you can optimize them
- 1.12Improve your content strategy for your users!
- 1.13What you need to improve your marketing strategies
- 1.14Why user satisfaction is the key!
- 1.15How you can implement automation and remarket to win BiG!
- 2.1Introduction to the Harold F. Rich formula to scale your Ecommerce business.
- 2.2Why did I develop the formula?
- 2.3Why my formula works so well
- 2.4How I use the formula for myself and for our clients
- 2.5Why most Ecommerce businesses are missing out if they’re not using the 6S formula or using it in the wrong order
- 2.6How the Harold F. Rich 6S FORMULA can help you and your business to be more successful
- 2.7What is the STRATEGY part of the 6S Formula all about?
- 2.8How the 6S formula can help you to STRUCTURE your Ecommerce business
- 2.9How can you build a scalable SYSTEM that makes more sales using the 6S Formula?
- 2.10Why the SALES part in the 6S formula works so well
- 2.11How you can use the 6S formula to increase user SATISFACTION dramatically
- 2.12How the 6S formula can help you to massively SCALE your Ecommerce business and bring you to the next level
- 2.13How long will it take to integrate all the steps?
- 2.14Why is the outcome using the 6S Formula so much better?
- 2.15What resources do you need to implement all the steps?
- 2.16How to get most out of this book and my 6S formula
- 3.1What are your goals?
- 3.2How can you define goals?
- 3.3How I set my goals
- 3.4How realistic are your goals?
- 3.5Are your goals targeting the right things? (Are you making any money with your defined goals….?)
- 3.6Who you need to reach your goals
- 3.7The following factors could stop you from reaching your goals!
- 3.8When should I stop pursuing my goal?
- 3.9Who are your competitors?
- 3.10How competitive is your market?
- 3.11How much market share do you currently have?
- 3.12What marketing channels do your competitors use?
- 3.13How are you doing market research?
- 3.14What differentiates you from your competitors?
- 3.15What other advantages/disadvantages do you have?
- 3.16How much budget can you spend?
- 3.17How much of your budget is flexible?
- 3.18How much money do you need to spend to make money?
- 3.19Who determines your budget and what are their goals?
- 3.20What is the right marketing strategy for your budget?
- 3.21How I handle the budget
- 3.22What is the right marketing channel for you and your budget?
- 3.23Who are your customers and what needs do they have?
- 3.24How do you identify your target group?
- 3.25What is your target market?
- 3.26What needs and problems do your customers have and how can you help them to solve this?
- 3.27What customers are bringing you most of your money?
- 3.28Where does your web traffic come from?
- 3.29What kind of content should you produce for your users?
- 3.30How to define the right STRATEGY
- 3.31How price sensitive are your customers?
- 3.32How important is your product or service for your customer?
- 3.33Product Type
- 3.34What product makes you the most money?
- 3.35How often do your customers need your product?
- 3.36How to sell more without much effort
- 3.37Why we picked the products we sell
- 3.38How often does your product version change?
- 3.39Do you have related products to up-sell and cross-sell?
- 3.40How easy are your products to handle?
- 3.41Are there any additional products you could offer to get higher shopping cart values?
- 3.42How to pick the right markets
- 3.43What is your primary target market?
- 3.44How big is your market?
- 3.45How I decided which markets to target
- 3.46How much market share do you have?
- 3.47How is your market developing?
- 3.48What are potential future markets?
- 3.49What markets are the easiest to get in?
- 3.50How to use strategic partnerships to get into other markets?
- 3.51The Fulfillment Process
- 3.52Do you fulfill yourself or do you have partners do it for you?
- 3.53What is your average shipping cost and how you can lower it?
- 3.54What kind of courier service are you using and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
- 3.55How fast can you ship your products?
- 3.56How easy is it for your clients to return products?
- 3.57Do you also use your fulfillment process to engage, up-sell, and cross-sell to your customers?
- 3.58What you should know about “free shipping”
- 4.1What can be done in-house and what should you outsource?
- 4.2Which people or departments should be involved?
- 4.3How can you motivate departments to help you succeed?
- 4.4How can you get key people on board (CEO, CFO)?
- 4.5What other departments are directly connected to your Ecommerce channel?
- 4.6Who takes care of your customers?
- 4.7How and with who do you manage your fulfillment processes?
- 4.8Your Server and Hosting Infrastructure
- 4.9Where did you buy your domain and how do you protect it?
- 4.10Where and how do you host your website?
- 4.11Is your web environment scalable?
- 4.12Can you protect your website against DDOS and hacker attacks?
- 4.13Can you backup and recover your Ecommerce store at any time?
- 4.14Tools you should use to make sure everything functions properly
- 5.1How to pick the right shop system
- 5.2Should you go for a self-host shop system or pick one of the established Ecommerce platforms?
- 5.3How I decided what platform to pick for my Ecommerce business
- 5.4Is it important for your shop system to connect to internal software applications or interfaces?
- 5.5Is your shop environment scalable?
- 5.6Can you quickly and cost-effectively implement new plugins and features?
- 5.7How good are the reporting tools in your shop system?
- 5.8Can you easily integrate all needed 3rd Party providers to scale your business?
- 5.9Is your shop system mobile friendly?
- 5.10Is your customer data safe?
- 5.11Why analytics are critical!
- 5.12What analytics tools should you use?
- 5.13What tools I use to get valuable data, and why you should use them too
- 5.14The simplest way to install these tools
- 5.15What information should you track to monitor your goals?
- 5.16How I define goals and set them up
- 5.17Why you should connect Google Analytics to AdWords
- 5.18How to use analytics to improve user satisfaction
- 5.20How to use analytics to make important business decisions
- 5.21Additional metrics you can use to track user behavior
- 5.22The ultimate way to discover what users are doing on your website
- 5.23Additional tools for more inside information
- 5.24The truth about mobile apps
- 5.25What advantages do you have by using a mobile app?
- 5.26How you can promote your mobile app
- 5.27How you can track results when it comes to apps
- 5.28Apps, Plugins, and 3rd Party Integrations
- 5.29Why I use a lot of additional plugins and integrations
- 5.30How these apps help me manage my marketing processes
- 5.31How integrations and plugins can help you build trust
- 5.32How these apps help me combine relevant data
- 5.33How these apps help with customer satisfaction
- 5.34How these apps and 3rd party tools help me manage things easier
- 5.35Why is it so important to have accurate reporting and statistics in place?
- 5.36What is the best way to use data in the STRATEGY process?
- 5.37What is the best way to use data in the STRUCTURE process?
- 5.38What is the best way to use data in the SYSTEM process?
- 5.38What is the best way to use data in the SALES process?
- 5.39What is the best way to use data in the SATISFACTION process?
- 5.40What is the best way to use data in the SCALING process?
- 6.1How to pick the right marketing channel
- 6.2How can you pick the right marketing channel?
- 6.3What markets do you want to focus on?
- 6.4What are your goals?
- 6.5What should you do in-house and what should you outsource?
- 6.6What is your monthly budget for each channel?
- 6.7How your data can help with SEO strategy and other channels
- 6.8Do you already have content that can be used to promote?
- 6.9What channel should you start with?
- 6.10How to set-up the best-converting sales funnels
- 6.11What is a sales funnel?
- 6.12Why it is important to have a good sales funnel
How much money can you make from having an optimized sales funnel?
What is the right funnel for the different user types?
- 6.14How I optimize and integrate our sales funnels
- 6.15What are the most important rules when it comes to sales funnels and Landing pages?
- 6.16How can you integrate your sales funnels and Landing pages into your shop system?
- 6.17How to automate and implement data from the sales funnel
- 6.18How to test different sales funnels and results
- 6.19Proven content strategies for your business
What kind of content should you provide for your users?
How can I find out what users want to read?
How you should create and structure your content
How much content do you need?
- 6.24How long should your content be and should you use specific words?
How can you optimize your content?
Proven SEO Strategies for your business!
- 6.27Why SEO is such an important marketing channel for you to build up
- 6.28Why it is important to get SEO right from the get go
How I started implementing SEO
Why the shop system is not that important for SEO anymore
- 6.31What is the magic SEO bullet?
How long does it take to become successful and reach your goals?
- 6.33What is the cost of SEO?
Why you need the right content to get the right users
- 6.35Why you need backlinks
- 6.36Why you need to monitor your backlink profile and reputation
- 6.37Why it is critical that you pick the right SEO agency if you outsource
- 6.38How to you measure SEO Success?
- 6.39How can I keep up with all the Google changes?
- 6.40What are the most important ranking factors?
- 6.41More about Google penalties
- 6.42Why it is important to be aware of Google penalties
- 6.43What kind of penalties are out there?
- 6.44How can you find out if you were hit by a Google penalty?
- 6.45What can you do if you get hit by a Google penalty?
- 6.46I am sure we do everything right – do I still have to worry?
- 6.47Facebook Strategies to reach the right people
- 6.48Is Facebook a marketing channel you should use?
- 6.49How I used Facebook to test different strategies for my Ecommerce Business
- 6.50How you can find the right people to target on Facebook
- 6.51What is the best way to reach your target group?
- 6.52How you can use Facebook in an even smarter way!
- 6.53How you can use existing customer data for Facebook ads
- 6.54How to use Facebook to find out more about your customers
- 6.55How to use Facebook to test marketing strategies, product names, pricing and more
- 6.56How you can combine other marketing channels with Facebook
- 6.57An AdWords strategy that will make you more money
- 6.58How AdWords helped me to grow my business
- 6.59How you can target the right people on AdWords
- 6.60Why it is extremely important to know what your competitors are doing
- 6.61How to determine how much money to spend per click
- 6.62How long does it take you to see results?
- 6.63How to improve your quality score and save a lot of money
- 6.64What about Bing?
- 6.65Can you massively increase your revenue by spending more on AdWords?
- 6.66Google Shopping another important sales channel!
- 6.67Should you use Google Shopping?
- 6.68How does Google Shopping work?
- 6.69My experiences with Google Shopping
- 6.70What you need to get Google Shopping up and running
- 6.71Why Google Shopping needs to be monitored all the time
- 6.72Is the money really in the list?
- 6.73How to collect more e-mails and user data
- 6.74Why you should do e-mail marketing
- 6.75How to use e-mail marketing to nurture and sell
- 6.76How to use e-mail marketing to connect user data and get more insights
- 6.77How e-mail journeys and funnels can help you to send the right information to the right user at the right time
- 6.78Remarketing a magic tool to convert users into customers
- 6.79Why remarketing works so well
- 6.80How I use remarketing
- 6.81Why it is so important to use the right remarketing frequencies
- 6.82Why it is important to stop remarketing after the customer has bought the product
- 6.83How to integrate remarketing into your system
- 6.84Other marketing channels that may work for you
- 6.85Why it is not so important where your traffic is coming from
- 6.86Why a lot of your marketing strategies depends on your product or service
- 6.87What other social channels could be right for you
- 6.88How to use your product feed to sell on other platforms
- 6.89How you can use video to sell
- 6.90How to combine online and offline marketing channels in a smart way
- 6.91How you can get on Amazon and eBay with hardly any work
- 6.92What marketing channels work for you in other countries or markets
- 6.93How to build up trust to sell more
- 6.94My experience with two of our stores
- 6.95How you can use reviews to improve trust
- 6.96What are the advantages and disadvantages of trusted websites like Trustpilot?
- 6.97What to do if you have bad customer reviews
- 6.98What icons and logos you can use to build trust?
- 6.99Why you should use SSL
- 6.100How you can use user stories to improve and build trust
- 6.101How you can build up additional information to build up more trust
- 6.102Why it is so important to be there for your customers
- 6.103Why it is important for you to monitor what people say about your brand
- 6.104Why most of your customers don’t buy from you!
- 6.105So why is that? Why don’t they buy from you?
- 6.106What you can do to convert them from visitors to customers
- 6.107What is the best way to make them buy from you?
- 6.108How to use sweepstakes to get user attention and collect data
- 6.109How exit popups can help to convert users
- 6.110How opt-in boxes can help you get more data
- 6.111How to use lead magnets to get new customers
- 6.112How to use discounts to sell more
- 6.113How to use special offers and bundles to sell more
- 6.114MARKETING AUTOMATION
- 6.115Why you need advanced tools to master marketing automation
- 6.116What a user journey is and how can you build one
- 6.117What kind of journeys are available?
- 6.118What are proactive messages and how can you use them?
- 6.119How proactive popups and surveys can give you even more valuable data
- 7.1Why user satisfaction is one of the most important factors
- 7.2Why it is important to have all user data in one place
- 7.3How to be there for your customers
- 7.4Why it is important to give your customers control
- 7.5How to satisfy users on your website
- 7.6Why page speed is important for user satisfaction
- 7.7Why you need a clear and logical site structure
- 7.8Why you should monitor internal links and page errors
- 7.9Why it is so important to have the right content for your target group
- 7.10Why a loyalty program can increase customer satisfaction dramatically
- 7.11Why your sales process should be clear and easy as pie
- 7.12Use a fast and flexible shipping process to satisfy your customers!
- 7.13Why it is important to provide multiple shipping options to your user
- 7.14How you can use smart packaging to up-sell/cross-sell
- 7.15Why fast shipping and good packaging is critical
- 7.16How should you handle returns?
- 7.17It’s not over after they buy from you!
- 7.18What should you do after a customer has purchased from you?
- 7.19How to use existing user data to find new target groups
- 7.20How to use tagging to sell more to your existing customers
- 8.1How to scale your Ecommerce business successfully!
- 8.2Why you should think about scaling your business
- 8.3Why your strategy is important from the beginning
- 8.4How to scale your STRUCTURE
- 8.5How to scale your SYSTEM
- 8.6How to scale your SALES process
- 8.7How to scale your SATISFACTION process
- 8.8How to use up-selling and cross-selling to scale your business
- 8.9How a recurring business model helps you to plan and scale
- 8.10How product bundles can help you make more sales
- 8.11How the right tools and plugins can help you to SCALE UP
- 8.12How your fulfillment partner can massively help you to grow
- 8.13SCALE UP your MARKETING
- 8.14How to decide which marketing channel to scale first
- 8.15Why you need advanced tools for some of your marketing channels
- 8.16How you can SCALE SEO
- 8.17How can you SCALE paid advertising?
- 8.18How can you SCALE your Facebook marketing?
- 8.19How an affiliate program can help you SCALE your marketing
- 8.20How partnerships can help you SCALE your marketing
- 8.21How content marketing can help you SCALE
- 8.22How combinations of online and offline marketing can help you grow
- 8.23INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY
- 8.24How to go international
- 8.25What additional resources do you need to go international?
- 8.26Why you can’t just translate or use marketing strategies 1:1
- 8.27Why some marketing channels will not work in all countries
- 8.28How can you make your SEO strategy international?
- 8.29How can you make your Facebook strategy international?
- 8.30How you can make paid media strategies international