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April 24, 2019 - No Comments!

Alexandr Fedotov: Making & spending millions on Facebook with ads

As you probably understand from the title of this article, this is about Facebook ads (duh!).

Another installment in our interview series, and after Arri Bagah, Hunter McKinley, Natasha Takahashi, and  Fetch & Funnel (all of them shared their Messenger Marketing secrets), this time our guest spoke to us about a different subject.

You see, Alexandr Fedotov, is a laser-focused Facebook advertiser that spends and makes millions on Facebook via ads, and he was kind enough to share some of his strategies with us.

Enjoy!

 

Who’s Alexandr Fedotov and what does he do lately?

Originally I'm from Ukraine, and I graduated with an economics degree without having any idea what I'm going to do.

I was working different jobs and I started my career as a freelancer working with different companies, and doing different tasks for them, specifically for the American market.

I would work with a client and I would promise them some results, and then I would have to learn how to deliver those results as soon as possible. 

Over time I accumulated certain skills in areas like Google AdWords,  SEO. I just noticed that a lot of people started to ask me about  Facebook advertising

I've realized that there's a  there's a big need in the market for this specific skill set and some eCommerce company started to ask me for this. So, I started boosting for them and over time it all came together.

So we started to work with bigger and bigger companies with bigger and bigger budgets.

Now some of our clients are companies like Under Armour and Lululemon, we serve seven-eight figure brands that they're growing fast. 

It was just a progression of you identifying what's needed in the marketplace and just gravitating towards that direction.

When did you start focusing on Facebook ads? 

It was about 4-5 years ago.

It wasn’t like I wasn’t already doing it. It was part of the services I offered; doing it over and over again led me to the decision to go all the way.

That’s when we started to pick up and hired media buyers and a team.

Why laser focus is mandatory?

I think it comes down to your capacity and your expertise.

With Facebook ads, you have to be constantly on top of changes in the platform and also understand the context of Facebook advertising because it’s different from Google AdWords.

We have to figure out how to drag people in and move them through our funnel, figure out the creative part, the ad copy part and all the other like technical aspects.

To do all that takes some time and it's doesn't happen overnight. 

So when you try to do many things and your capacity and financial resources, as an entrepreneur are limited, that's pretty tough. You cannot do all of those things at the same time and deliver a good quality of work.  

We've decided to go that way- at least for now until we have the capacity and the bandwidth to expand what we offer.

Spending millions on Facebook advertising. 

We spent a bit over like 40 million dollars last year, but not for our services. It was for e-commerce products that we sell ourselves, so we kind of like use the skill set that we have to sell those products, for our own company. 

Making $1M in 9 days.

With every project that you have, it is a combination of good product that, good timing of the year, and creatives

In the past, they tried to scale their advertising spend and their sales, but they couldn't do it, go to the level they wanted because they worked with agencies that had their focus on too many different things. 

They wanted to be very creative in terms of their ads and also wanted to test too many different things. 

It's good to test, but you want to do more of what's working instead of just blindly testing stuff. That's why their ROI was not as good

When we started to work with them, we evaluated what was working for them till that point- we had some of the data that we could leverage, and we found the right products, the creative that was working very well, and we also structured the funnel from the first interaction, all the way down to the sale. 

That’s because the products this company sells are more like high ticket.  People would need a bit more like time to evaluate their decision and, make a purchase. 

We also tested a lot of variations of ads like videos and images that we knew- in our experience, that would work well.  This is what allowed us to scale quite rapidly with that specific store. 

eCommerce sales with the use of content; There’s a framework!

Typically, the framework depends on the complexity of the product

If you sell t-shirts, you don't need to explain a lot about the product; everything you need to sell the product is a photo. But if you sell more complicated products, like gadgets, apparel made with a special fabric that could be like the first touch point with the market. 

That's what you can use to reach the market here as a first stage, then use Facebook to build your audiences. Audiences of people who engage with your content, or of people who've visited your website. 

So you have all of these audiences. For them, we typically have other 2-3 types of content; like video, for instance, that might educate people more about the product or would have testimonials.

If you want to convince a person that a product is good and that it can be trusted, you should offer more images of the product- maybe lifestyle images. You can use carousel ads for that, as you can introduce the same product in all of its angles.

We identify what's the best piece of content that we utilize, and we scale basically to reach as many people as possible. 

For retargeting- which is dynamic product ads, you can basically show people the same products as they have seen. It's very relevant. And usually, those ads have very low CPA and very good return on ad spend. 

So, it's a sequence where you take someone from not knowing your brand at all, to basically engaging them, entertaining them, showing them the benefits of the product in life, and then you lead them through a sequence of other pieces of content to the point where they simply have no objections left to make that purchase decision

That means you've done your initial work as an advertiser, and then after a certain time the creative that you used will exhaust itself, so you’ll need to replace it. You need to constantly be testing some new pieces of content that you can also scale as a replacement for this one. 

Over testing= Overkill.

If you look at Amazon 20 years ago and now, they made changes to the interface for sure, but the main layout is pretty much the same. It's very similar to what it was like 10 years ago because they make those changes gradually, they understand how testing works so they don't do any rapid. 

I see a lot of this in e-commerce entrepreneurs, where they will simply like rip off their team, or they'll rip off, completely what's been working for them and then start asking conversion rate optimization guys to do something that doesn't work at all. 

In order to do proper testing, you need to have a massive amount of traffic. 

I think the best approach to testing for conversion rate optimization is to, first of all, just follow the best practices that have been laid out for usability and follow the proven model of websites that are already, are successful.

That’s the best starting point, and from there it’s just listening to your customers; like eliminating products from your list that are not selling, or if you see drop off on certain stages of your funnel then eliminate those stages and make it easier for your customers

A rule of thumb for testing Facebook ads. 

We have the 443 framework, which basically means that if we test videos we have four different videos, and we have four thumbnails for each video, and then we have three types of creatives, which are video, image, and Carousel. 

So then what we do is to facilitate the testing of all of that on ten different audiences so we have. 

So for example, you have 4 videos, then you identify the winner for that specific audience.

And then there's that video you can test different thumbnails. Once you found the thumbnail, you can scale. And then on other stages of your funnel as I mentioned we have different types of content. 

So it's kind of like if someone has seen your video then they might respond better to image because that's something new that they haven't seen before, so we kind of lead people through that sequence. 

In terms of variables, I would start with at least four different creatives. 

If you’re testing images that would be 4 images if you’re testing videos that would be 4 videos. of different land so you can just cut videos and see, which one basically converts better. 

The mistake most people make is that they make their ads like they have only one audience.

They have one ad, so they really have no variables to find the winner. 

Let's say if you test 4 videos and you see that your click-through rates are good- let’s say 5-10%. That means that people actually clicking on your ads. 

Then you have to make sure that they actually added the product to their cart. That's how you see whether there is an interest in your product and then you actually see whether people have completed their purchase. 

You need to see the performance of your overall funnel because Facebook will give you data but not the performance of sales.

If your click-through rate is is low then, obviously you need to find a creative that gets you higher click-through rate. 

Automatic, or manual bidding? What about both?

The way we do it typically is by using automatic bidding. Let's say it's like, from 5 to $50. 

We want to identify whether what we have in terms of creative and in terms of targeting, works or not. So we want to find some kind of like proof of concept with what we have on the lowest budget possible. 

That’s how we find our winners (the creative that actually gets sales).

For scaling we utilize lookalike audiences; the most valuable of them are obviously purchases and lifetime value, but we also test and we found some good results with people who stayed on the website for a long time, people who've added to cart, or people who watch videos.

With those lookalikes, we utilize higher budgets because if they work out we want our clients to, spend as much as possible profitably so, we would have like $100, $200 $300 automatic bidding.

Once we find those audiences that worked out well, then that's when we utilize the manual bidding. 

Let's say we have an audience of like 5 million people and we might have a budget for that audience of $1000 to $10000 dollars per day on that specific asset.

So now our goal is just to exploit those audiences as much as possible. So that's where we use the manual bidding. I think the mistake that most people make is they grow their bidding without figuring out their winning audiences and their winning creatives first

If you’re bidding on purchases you want to win as many purchases as possible and the few variables do that, is the winning audience, a high relevance score, high click-through rates, and high conversion rates. 

So if you don't have those variables in place, then you will simply waste money

So if you are good with all of those elements and you will actually pay less than you will bid. That's the goal of manual bidding, and Facebook rewards advertisers who are actually putting their work in figuring out that part and produce a good user experience because the better ads advertisers produce, the more money Facebook makes.

If your ads are creating a bad experience for people, Facebook doesn't want your money because they know that those ads will eliminate people and Facebook is all about getting more people on the platform. 

Optimizing Facebook ads in autopilot.

We use something that we have developed in-house for our own projects. It’s a platform that basically analyzes -like artificial intelligence, the performance of ads and gives us suggestions.

For example, let's say you advertise with certain ads and then after some point, they start to deteriorate in performance

Let's save your CPA was like $20 then it starts to get look $25, $30, $50 dollars; we want to eliminate those situations because that costs us. 

The software also gives us suggestions on the creative that's working the best, and all other things so that's we have in-house and, it's not available to other people at the moment.

 It's still not perfect, but it's it does the job and we usually get better results for our clients.

Messenger marketing is going fast.

I haven't got into Messenger Marketing and I know I should. 

We work with certain people that, specifically specialize in that, like contractors that we recommend to our clients that help them to set up those sequences for people that have added to cart for example on Shopify, and they haven't completed their purchase.

So we use Messenger to a certain extent, but we just put all our time in paid aspect of advertising and the creative; regular Instagram stories.

Instagram stories are not for everyone.

On Instagram, if your audience is up to 30 years old, I think you should definitely try Instagram stories.

It doesn't work for all of the brands, but I believe that at least you should test and see if works well for you.

If you’re a Facebook ads rookie, read this paragraph.

If they're new to Facebook, I think the first thing is to go to Facebook Blueprint which is a free course provided by Facebook and learn the fundamentals of the platform. 

Understand how all of these things come together. Facebook ads are like breaking down different components of Facebook. 

You need to break down the creatives, and break down your targeting, to see what’s working. You’ll need to combine all of those elements together. 

Give Facebook some variety of different items to optimize, and Facebook will also help you with optimization to find what's working.

You need to understand what's the product you’re trying to sell, and how different it is from, everything else that that is in the marketplace. 

Also, you need to find how you can position that product better than other products in the marketplace, and understand how much you can spend to acquire a customer. 

Go to pages of your competitors, and go through their ads. Click them, see their website, see how they position their products and find is they offer certain upsells. 

Maybe they have some email sequence or some like referral programs that they utilize to incentivize users to spread the word about their brand. You want to gather as much information as possible about the field that you're getting into. 

April 15, 2019 - 1 comment.

Natasha Takahashi: Educating brands about Messenger bots

I really enjoy these interviews.

I mean, I get the opportunity to learn first-hand from leading personalities in their respected fields.

So far, we've learned:

This time I had the amazing opportunity to talk to Natasha Takashi about the culture of Messenger bots, and how she (and her partners) shape the field of personalized marketing with Messenger Bots.

 

Who is Natasha Takahashi, and what she’s up to at the moment?

I'm running two companies in the chatbot conversational marketing space. 

In early 2016 my co-founder Kyle Wilson and I, started our Chatbot agency- Ineffable Marketing, with the intention to test out this new technology and see if it was a viable marketing channel for companies to find new untapped revenue as well as automate customer support.

These were the pillars that we wanted to test. Moving forward from there, we did a lot of different case studies. 

We built a lot of chatbots for free, as well as for pretty low prices to see if this was worth it and the results were insane; they were mind-blowing

There are so many great case studies from Enterprise to local business. 

And so from there, we skills our agency would now served over a hundred clients and at this time as well about a year ago, we started a company called School of Bots and our goal is to help marketers and entrepreneurs learn how to use messenger marketing for their clients or their business. 

Our mission is to grow the largest community of these people who are either totally new to the space or are doing awesome things in want to see what other people are doing as well so that they can level up their game. 

Our goal at this time is running these two companies doing the groundwork obviously continuing to build chatbots. 

We're actually going to start working with Matthew Hasey in a couple of other companies, so we're constantly signing on new clients, and then we're also continuing to scale our community, as well as our programs and our consulting and everything on the school of bots side. 

As School of Bots, we've tried to delve into a couple of different ways to deliver value and education to our audience, and so one of those ways has been that we’ve done 36 episodes of our podcast called “There's a bot for that”

It started as a video podcast, and then we realized that we could transition into audio because people would listen to the entire 35 shows on YouTube. YouTube is not always the best place to listen to audio, and so from there, we decided to turn into a podcast. 

At the time our podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, as well as inside of our Facebook group since we typically do it on Facebook live. 

Getting involved with bots.

At the time I jumped into bots, they were totally new and they sparked my interest. 

My co-founder, Kyle, and I were thinking of starting a Facebook ads / social media management agency. So we were going to be in the Facebook marketing realms,  and then chatbots came out right around the time that we were thinking of starting our agency. 

That's why we decided to start testing them and see if they were viable, and I also had a couple of friends in Silicon Valley who were like: this is the next big thing.

I found that really interesting, and it made sense because I'm part of Gen Z; we want things instantly, and also want to be able to chat with people 24/7, at our convenience and not have to deal with a ton of terrible customer support.

We want things delivered via marketing more easily, or if we wanted a lead Magnet or a guide, we don't love following the traditional sales funnel and going through that as a consumer anymore. 

Because of that, I got really interested (in bots) and we tested a couple of different Bots. We got results and realized that we could scale that. We're like: well, let's see what happens because no one else really knows what's going to happen. 

That's why we decided to go all in on it

We're young. We'd figure out something if it didn’t work. 

It actually turned out to be incredible, and at the time there weren't really many thought leaders or people who are sharing the results and best practices and experiences, in the space. 

By the end of 2017, we had done quite a bit of chatbot workaround, and so we decided to start School of Bots to share all of that expertise, but also to highlight other people who maybe hadn't built a platform for themselves but were doing amazing things for big Enterprise companies.

 Arri Bagah is one of those people. He has done fantastic things for e-commerce companies with Bots. 

We wanted to feature those people, highlight them, and obviously drive traffic to them in order to help them get clients as well.

This space is new and there are only a few key resources that you can find online, that are up-to-date giving you valuable content, and we wanted to be the main one that people go to. 

How brands should integrate bots into their marketing strategy.

Customer Support is one of the biggest things, but I would say that that's really scratching the surface.

Everything that you can do with Facebook ads, email marketing, landing pages, or any sort of funnel can be translated into bot-friendly content and put into a chatbot. 

Building that experience is a bigger win-win situation for the consumer and the business. 

On the consumer side, you're able to get so many things delivered in a digestible and exciting interactive convenient format. 

And then from the business side, you're able to track all of this. The really powerful thing is that, for example, just the difference between using a Facebook ad to send someone to a landing page and send someone to a chatbot.

With the landing page, you lose a percentage of those people who click on your landing page. 

The only way you can recapture those people is to do a retargeting Facebook ad

Whereas with a chatbot you can actually send them to the Bots and then capture them immediately as soon as they interact with anything inside of the bots. They just need to reply or click on a button and then if they don't reply,  then you can send them a follow-up message later on as well. 

From there, you can continue to track the conversation, see where people are dropping off, and ultimately continue to optimize the experience

The process of seeing how users are be interacting with your landing page, and then improving it, may take several months and at least two really split tests to good results. With the bot, it can happen within a few weeks, or even a week sometimes. 

That's really the magic of it; you can track everything and at the same time get more qualified leads. 

Well weed themselves out over time and then you'll also be able to see and get like real-life data from people, see how they're interacting with the conversation. 

There are three pillars that you can look at as a company who wants to get started with messenger Bots:

  • Marketing.
  • Sales.
  • Operations 

Operations just mean repetitive tasks such as customer support, logistics, or anything that you need to figure out internally, or with your customers. From there you can decide on the use cases that you would want to implement, see which bucket they fall under, and then decide on a timeline to implement that right and start slow.

 Start with one use case, and then build from there. That’s what I would recommend always. 

Chatbot flows that every eCommerce should use.

Our favorite flow is to bring people in from a Facebook ad, just because most e-commerce stores are running Facebook ads. 

You could also use this tactic with a ref URL, which means that you would send people to your chatbot URL. 

You could use a scan code

There are a couple of other ways that you can opt people in. Comments are also great, although I will say that the comments work best for giveaways

Did you see Beard Club’s campaign? That was awesome.

How to use Facebook Messenger for Referral Marketing

They were doing that with their comments but I will be honest and say that the “click to messenger” ads the- ones where you click on the button, usually perform better for almost any type of ad except for a giveaway.

This happens because, for giveaways, people are commenting, sharing with Friends, tagging them and all of that stuff; but for most regular Facebook ads people aren't necessarily doing all of that, and so the “click to messenger” perform better.

Whatever opt-in point we choose to get people into the chatbot, what we do is to follow the six-step process

So this is actually something that I just stared at the Traffic & Conversion Summit and Social Media Marketing World, just in these last two months. I'll say that this applies really really well to e-commerce

And so essentially what the six-step formula is, is that as soon as someone comes into your chatbot you are giving them some sort of value. That can be either a lead magnet, a guide, or something like that. 

Whatever your best performing freebie is. 

From there you can offer a promise of value, which could be something like a challenge or a mini-course; something that's going to be dripped over a certain period of time. Usually, three to five days work really well.

What you're trying to do, is to create a kind of experience that will bring them in and make the whole process seem a bit more smooth for the user. 

That's really the goal anytime. We bring someone into the chatbot and give them some sort of educational value. 

So they learn something new, or they develop a new skill. After something like that everybody's like “oh I walked away with something”

That was really cool. 

They will be more invested in your company because they’ve spent maybe three to five days with you on this mini-challenge, and then they are going to buy something from you; which is really your end goal.

The best Messenger marketing experiences ever built.

I’d say one of the best ones that I've seen is from Sierra Club

They are a non-profit, but their chatbot has gotten insane results, with donations coming as well as advocacy because they focus on having people advocate for nature essentially and conservation of nature overall. 

One of the cool things that they tend to do is anytime that there's a really big petition they want people to sign- or a big cause that they want people to donate towards, they'll create an experience inside of the bot that's kind of like a virtual experience where it's a tour walking you through some of the amazing things that happen at this conservation, or at this certain piece of nature. 

They'll kind of put together for you, images, videos, and give you audio. This is a full-blown experience, and it's usually like five to ten messages long. So you interact and then you get the next piece.

It’s like “Now, let's move on to this tree, or this volcano”, depending on where they are. And then at the end, someone who has gone through the entire experience is now pretty excited about this. 

Obviously, people spent the time to go through it. They watch the videos, and they listen to the audios. 

Usually, they get really high donation rates at that point. So technically, their conversion rate to a donation is very high compared to email or compared to any other medium they've ever done. That’s because people had such a cool experience walking through this tour. 

That's something that we apply to a lot of different types of businesses like co-working spaces, amusement parks and even for e-commerce. You could totally walk someone through a journey. 

Here’s a quick example with one of the e-commerce companies that we work with. They create these blow-up lounges and floaties. For them, it's all about lifestyle and they’re targeting people who love to travel and can use this in a lot of different ways. 

And so they have their ambassadors (influencers) go out on journeys to Iceland, Mexico, Bali and they'll take the product with them and shoot images, but they do it in a storyline kind of like a chronological way. 

What we did was to take those blog articles and put them into the bot and in the same way to create this tour experience, except it was a little bit more like Choose Your Own Adventure”, where it was like, “Alright so over the next three days we're going to do a virtual kind of wake up in a new country every day”. 

And so, on day one they went to Iceland and then we walk them through each step and then at certain points we were asking: “Do you want to go to this black sand beach, or do you want to go to the mountains?”, and “you want to go do this, you want to go do this?”. 

In the end, they've seen different photos of the product on the beach, or near a glacier. They've seen all these really cool images of it. 

At that point they have a better idea of how they could use the product, they are more excited about it, and obviously a little bit more emotionally attached by the end of the three days or even by the end of day one. 

That, as well,  has converted really high for us compared to any other medium e.g. reading just the blog article or reading an email about it. 

Chatbot platforms? Here’s the top one.

At this point (in March of 2019”, our go-to platform is Manychat for sure. They have the most innovative tools as well, and they have positioned the platform for marketers; the founder, Mike does such an amazing job listening to user feedback. He spends a lot of time with his customers and really understands what they need. 

His goal has always been to position this from the marketing standpoint and that's why I think that they're winning; because marketers are going to their platform and they're also investing time to the two conferences. 

I just mentioned there are over 6,000 people there; the top marketers in the world almost, and all those people saw Manychat’s name because they sponsored at both conferences.

 Right off the bat, you see them investing a lot of time and effort, sharing their platform with marketers. 

They're doing really really well because they’re pushing the Messenger bot world forward.

When they first started obviously their product was really unstable, because obviously, they have to rely on Facebook Messenger and potentially other apps like Zapier. 

But now I'd say that their platform is really really stable. Obviously, there are outages and things related to Facebook, but in terms of their platform not performing, they've really really improved over the last three years. 

Messenger marketing metrics that reveal the truth.

It depends on your goals overall because obviously there are certain things that we track for every campaign like the generic kind of Open Rate, Click Rate, how many people converted into the next step, etc; but overall it's going to depend on what your goal is. 

So if your goal is to capture as many emails through the bot as you usually capture on your email opt-in forms, or through Facebook ads, then that's going to be the key metric you want to look at. 

We also look at how many touch points does it take for someone to convert into a buyer, or into the next step of the funnel. 

Usually, those touch points will be how many messages they interacted with. It kind of depends per campaign, but that's usually a really important metric we look at because those touch points then turn into a lead score so that we can, at any given point, go into the chatbot and filter by lead score. 

We use that as a field inside Manychat and see you at what stage certain people are, at and where they came in from, and which opt-in point- which would be a Facebook ad, a scan code, or URL.

Also, we measure how many people from each Opt-in point are at the highest lead score, compared to all the other ones. 

Those are some of the main things that we look at, because obviously, we want to measure the ROI, but we also want to measure the user experience and that's usually going to happen in the engagement rates; how long someone engages, how far they get in certain flows, and how much they progress inside of the chat bot’s content. 

This is for the people that don’t use bots.

Get started ASAP; just connect Manychat to your Facebook page. 

It's free, and you can turn off any of the bot’s features. What that allows you to do, is start building your list immediately even though you're not doing anything with the chatbot. 

What I mean by that is that anytime someone sends your Facebook page a message, you're now going to be capturing them on your bot’s list, which is stored inside of Manychat. 

And then when you're ready- if you are waiting, at least you’ll have a list that you can start with and that you can message immediately because they have been interacting with your page. 

So that's one thing you can do immediately, just to get that head start and not feel like you're starting from scratch. 

Another thing you could do would be to take the free starter course on Manychat and chatbots to understand it because the problem with all the other free content available is that it's all very scattered in terms of what you should do to get started. 

You can learn exactly what you need to do, at least to get started so that you don't mess up and get your bot banned from Messenger. They filmed it about a year and a half ago, so some of the stuff is a little bit outdated, unfortunately, but for the most part like their support is great. 

If you have any other questions you can always look at the documentation, and then we also have a free course as well that we, instead of saying “here are all the things you can do inside Manychat”, we position it more from the marketing and the agency angle, and then present the Manychat approach.

We also go into how you would brainstorm what you want your chatbot to do and then be able to execute on that. It's really just five videos, but that's something really great that people can start out with.

 

February 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Arri Bagah: Personalized experiences via Messenger Bots is the future of eCommerce brands

Lately we’ve become obsessed with Messenger Bots.

Actually, our obsession got us so far that we decided to design and create Viral Loops for Messenger, so you can run a giveaway entirely on Facebook Messenger.

As a result, we went “hunting” in order to learn as much as possible for the Messenger Marketing industry from its experts. In other words, we started interviewing people.

We’ve already given you our interview with Hunter McKinley, were we explored design, milestone campaigns, and Messenger bots.

This time, we spoke with the Botman himself; Arri Bagah.

Arri consulted giants like Google, HubSpot, and Facebook to build harder/better/faster/stronger chatbot solutions.

He is the Founder & CEO at ROAS Agency where he helps brands on Shopify leverage data-driven personalized marketing to 4X their conversion rates and recover 10x more abandoned carts.

ROAS Agency works with The Beard Club, Poo~Pourri, Transparent Labs, and many other notable brands.

He recently founded The Chatbot Channel Facebook group for e-commerce marketers that want to learn or share, things about chatbot, voice and AR. 

Here’s Arri’s take on things. Enjoy

Who Arri Bagah is at the moment & what he does.

I started like two and a half years ago.

I had a Facebook Ad Agency with one of my friends and we're running Facebook ads for small businesses. We tried to get them more leads and more clients, and after doing that for about six months we realized that small businesses don't have much money.

It was really hard to be able to work on a tight budget.

That’s why we decided to give a try to real estate for a bit, but it was kind of like the same issue with like small businesses.

That’s the reason we moved to eCommerce. Once we got into it, it was kind of hard because everything was new to us e.g. running Facebook ads.

I spent quite some money on ads with little to no ROI. I created my own e-commerce brand at that time just to test things out. It was a print on demand shop on Shopify, and I was using Facebook pages to drive traffic to it.

I wanted to buy a Facebook page, so I reached out to one and said:

“Hey. I would like to buy your page so I can use it to drive traffic”

Around that time, there was a killing of a gorilla inside a zoo; Harambe, and it was going really viral. I asked one of the relevant pages and they declined to sell it, but two weeks later we agreed.

The page had 40K likes- which was worth at least $10K at the time, and I got it for 300 bucks.

It was kind of like sketchy to because the guy was from he was in India. I didn't have PayPal or anything, and he required a transfer via Western Union before giving me access.

I just took the risk and made the transfer, and he really gave me the page. So, I started driving traffic to my e-commerce store, and after like a week or so the store was making around like 2-3 hundred dollars per day for a couple weeks.

It was pretty good. Two to three hundred dollars per day in profit, for like two to three weeks and then it happened.

At that time I didn't know about Facebook Business Manager.

I was trying to sell the Facebook page and somebody reached out to me to buy it.  They asked for admin access, which I thought it was a stupid move to make.

They insisted a lot and said they're going to buy the page for $8,000.

“I could use $8K right now”, I thought.

At that time (or even like so today), if you made somebody else admin of your page, they couldn’t remove you within the first six days.  It's like a robot phase. 

6 days were more than enough time to be able to like realize if they were going to pay me or not, and I could remove them at any time if they didn’t.

I gave access to the guy, but at that time I didn't realize that there was something called the Facebook Business Manager which, in case you're an admin of the page, you can claim its ownership.

Which he did. He just kicked me off, resulting in me losing all the traffic.

I had to figure out a way to just start driving traffic again, and that's when I started learning more about Facebook ads, and then I had my first success story.

It was crazy how it happened.

I started to get into Facebook ads because my website was dying, and I had to figure out a way to drive traffic. So I spent all the money that I made on Facebook ads, ended up working with one of my friends who is an influencer in the e-commerce now- he was like an influencer on the Instagram platform.

I met him on the panel that I was speaking at about Facebook marketing.

Not so many people knew much about Facebook marketing at that point, so if you knew just a little bit, it was enough to like teach other people.

So I met him there and he had an eCommerce brand somewhere.

We agreed to try something for his brand,  and we took it from $0 like a $100K per month.

It was our first success story, and it happened by optimizing the website and by doing some email marketing.

But even after this initial success, it was kind of like hard for me to find clients.

So I decided to get a job.

But before I got a job, I found out about Bots- during the summer of 2017.

I didn't like them enough to dive deep to it, but thought it was a cool thing- mostly because I checked Domino’s bot. I started getting more serious about them around September of 2017.

I built the first bot and went to a conference here in LA and started showing it to people. They interacted with my bot and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

They actually loved using it and started asking if I can build one for them as well. The moment I came back from the conference I immediately built a bot for my agency at the time.

We used it for lead generation and it worked really well. 

We're getting super high engagement rates: 

90-95% open rate and click-through rates of 20-50%.

That’s when I realized that this could be a really powerful marketing channel. 

Using a Messenger bot for lead generation can give you 90-95% Open Rate & 20-25% Click Through Rate.

The agency was going still very slow, so I decided to look more actively for a job. That's when I met Josh who was speaking at one of the events In Milwaukee.

I was in Chicago at that time and Milwaukee was like an hour and a half away. 

So I was like: 

“Ok, like I'm just gonna go there, meet them, and see if he has things that we could possibly work together on.“

I got to hang out with him all day, and he was telling me about how he wanted to hire somebody to run more ads. 

So around November, I decided to work for Josh and we did something like a test period. After that, I moved from Chicago to LA and start working at BAMF.

It wasn't a position to build bots- I didn't even know that I had the skills to be able to go to bots yet because I didn't tell them about it. 

 So, this is how it happened:

 I was building Manychat flows, which were kind of complex, and I posted it in my Facebook story. Nobody was really using the Facebook stories at that point

I did.

So when I built a really cool Manychat flow, I liked to take a picture and post it in there. I thought it was cool. 

And then that's how Josh noticed. He watched my stories, and one of their clients actually needed a bot built and then Josh was like: oh, I think I saw like a flow on Arri’s story, he may be able to build it for us

And then I build the first couple bots for their clients, and the clients just really liked it. Everything worked well, and then I ended up like just doing bots for the clients. 

And at one point I was managing 13 bots alone. All for e-commerce.

I just did like e-commerce bots for quite some time. And that's just how I gained a lot of experience and got a lot deeper into how you can leverage the messenger platform for e-commerce businesses. 

And while I was doing all that, I was like speaking at events about messenger marketing because it's fairly new, and not a lot of people knew about it. Many are still trying to figure it out what messenger marketing is, especially in the e-commerce space. 

So I was talking to conferences about messenger marketing, and my plan was to eventually just transition to my own agency. I wanted to find the thing that I could focus on.

I didn't know it was going to be bots yet, but working at BAMF enabled me to narrow down what's most valuable to e-commerce business; which helped me realize what I wanted to do next. 

I decided to transition, after working there for half a year, to my own agency and then we started out with working with e-commerce brands and us kind of got bigger clients a lot faster, just because of my personal brand that I built was like speaking and things like that. 

So it wasn't too hard.

Why they call Arri “The Botman”.

I’ve been building bots for all these clients, and those were all organic. 

At the time the agency was just me, and then I had to find partners to help me do a lot of the work. We did some great work for those clients, and I continued building my personal brand. 

I got to speak at the biggest messenger marketing conference in the world, here in the US, called Conversations Conference. It was over 1500 people and got to connect with the people at  Manychat, and a bunch of other smart markers. 

That helped me get more credibility and also like get bigger clients, and then we had a chance to like work with like Poo Pourri,  The Beard Club, Guess

Being omnipresent to conferences about your niche and connecting with people, might give you the credibility you need to get bigger clients.

We did the exact same thing with these bigger clients; help them leverage data-driven personalized messenger marketing to quadruple their conversion rates and recover ten times more abandoned carts.

I started out building Bots for the sake of building Bots, and I feel like that's what most people are doing right now; building Bots without a valid reason for building one

When I first started out, I thought about offering nine different services around Bots. But right now, I only have two because I kind of cut down every single thing that doesn't really work. 

I don't want to build a bot just for the sake of building it. I only want to do things that I know drive significant business outcomes. 

That's the reason we want to focus on personalized marketing; we know that that's what's going to work in 2019. It's all about personalized marketing and also recovering abandoned carts. 

Focus on personalized marketing; it’s what will work in 2019.

A lot of e-commerce friends do get a lot of abandoned carts

So and that's where we are today; niche-ing down to even more to Shopify brands because it's much easier for us to be able to systemize. Working with just one platform makes everything for the agency much easier because otherwise, we had to create a new deck for every new client.

If you have one platform- and we know the platform really well, then we only have one or two decks for all the clients. That way we can just act in a Plug and Play manner

Getting big clients.

I used to make videos about chatbots on like a couple months ago.

Videos about how to leverage bots for e-commerce, and it felt like nobody was watching them because they would barely get any views. But the Head of Marketing of Guess reached out to me. 

It was just like random out heaven. 

I guess he saw himself one of the videos, and we started chatting on Instagram. We're talking about messenger marketing, and how you can leverage it for abandoned carts. 

He was actually moving out to LA, and when he moved here we became really good friends. That’s when we started to think about how we can leverage messenger marketing for Guess, and pretty much put together like a deck of how they can leverage messenger marketing. 

That really helped them see the value in it. 

So I started doing these presentations for brands to teach them exactly why they should be looking at Facebook Messenger as a platform to communicate with their customers, what the benefits are, and exactly how they can leverage the platform. 

I tried to make everything fit into their brand because they have a lot of retail stores. 

I projected why it’s important to leverage Messenger marketing not only for online but also for empowering their retail stores. by pretty making everything fit into their brand and make it in a way that makes sense in a way that they can see the ROI. 

It’s a new platform, and for a lot of big brands, it’s difficult to try something new.

My attitude was: “I know it's hard, but here’s the value and that’s what you’re missing out. 

Although, for bigger clients, it does take time to get approval to start doing things- I'm still waiting on to get approved on some, it’s important to go to the meetings and show them WHAT & WHY they should do the things you propose.

You have to be patient with bigger clients. Sometimes it takes more time to get your approval.

Tips for an omnichannel experience via Messenger.

A lot of people use Messenger scan codes

I’m not really into it, because you need a Messenger app to scan it, which is pretty stupid. 

I prefer regular scan codes

You can just open your camera, scan the code, and open it in whatever app and it needs to open. 

With the messenger code, you have to open the messenger camera; there's like too much friction, and I don’t see any scalable way of using it. 

You can integrate all the store locations in the Messenger platform; All your retail store directory.

So if somebody is looking for a nearby location, you can just send it directly to them via Facebook Messenger and then could offer them the ability to book a showing booth or a fitting room for that specific location. They just have to put in their email, and then that information is sent to that specific store. 

That's a nice way of providing an experience. Everything is all about an experience, right? 

Everything is about the experience you provide.

So, how can we like enhance the experience of for the customer that wants to go in stores?

The first thing is helping them find the nearest store, and then the second thing is to help them even more, with scheduling something for them; there's a trend around this in the retail space right now. 

If you look at Apple and all these different companies, what they're doing is providing an experience, but they’re expecting you experience something where and when you schedule. So Apple makes your schedule so you can just walk into the Apple Store. 

You have to schedule an appointment and this helps the agents know more information about who you are. 

Things like who you are, what problems you face, why you face them; all these different things, which allows the company to provide a great experience and also schedule their own day.

One of the things that the CEO of Stitch Fix said is that the brands that will Survive in 2019 need to provide relevant personalized and emotional experiences to their customers.

Which is something that really resonated with me. 

The brands that will survive in 2019 are the ones that provide relevant, personalized, and emotional experiences to their customers.

Just look around and see how people shop now. It's all about personalization, and as a brand, you need to definitely personalize all your marketing and you can do that without data and some of the data points that you’ll get just by using the Messenger platform. 

 When somebody gets to subscribe to your Messenger account,  you immediately get their First and Last name, their profile picture, their gender, their time zone other, and their location

 Those are all data points that you get right away, and you can use them to personalize what you’re broadcasting to these people. Over time, as you keep communicating with them, you can collect more data points about them and then personalize their experience even more. 

 These are things that you cannot do with email marketing because with an email address you don’t get all the info you need right away.

Data points that Messenger provides you right away:

Messenger marketing & paid ad strategies.

There are 2 ways to leverage messenger with ads. 

The first one by is leveraging clicked Messenger ads, and with clicked Messenger ads when you go to your objective you’re optimizing for messages. 

With clicked Messenger ads, what I've seen is that you have to start with your budget a little bit higher because the more people that you get to message you, the lower the cost gets.

So usually when I start the budget at 50 or 100 dollars, and I get like less than a dollar- probably like around 80 to 70 cents cost per subscriber, which is really good too because we acquire new a subscriber and put them like through a customized flow. 

What I recommend doing is giving those subscribers a small quiz- four to five questions, just to welcome them by asking certain questions. 

That’s how you customize their preferences, so the product that you're going to send them will be the most relevant to them

So if you're in clothing space you can ask: 

  • What are they? 
  • What are they looking for? 
  • Are they looking for shirts pants? 
  • If they like shirts then what color are they looking for? 

And then maybe it's okay to ask what size are you?”, and these are all things that you can also save about the customer. 

So next time you decide to make a broadcast via Manychat, you’ll know what to send.

So, you can really get the info that will help you to serve your customers better. And people LOVE quizzes.

The second way is leveraging comment ads and these usually work best with giveaway campaign. 

So let's say you're running a giveaway campaign through an ad- basically, connect your Facebook ad to a bot, and once somebody comments on your Facebook ad they receive an automatic message. 

You just got to tell them that when they comment in the post, they’ll receive a message from you (it’s Facebook’s policy). 

Give them an idea of what they should make a comment about. e.g.  What do you like about the shirt?” for a chance to win the shirt.

You just have to find creative ways to get people to comment. Also, the image creative has to be really nice and popping so that it gets people's attention. 

And then you get a lot of users to comment, and for each comment, they get a message. On average, probably 60-70% of the people who comment will subscribe; that's what we've seen on average, especially when we scale. 

By using Manychat’s Comment Growth Tool you can get up to 70% of the people leaving a comment, to subscribe to your Messenger.

So for example for one of our clients, one of our posts got 50K likes, 27K comments, and 9K shares.

This could be like a really good strategy, especially when you combine with giveaways. 

On average probably going to spend 8-20 cents per comment, which is a really cheap price to acquire a new subscriber- especially when you when you acquire a subscriber that after the giveaway you can keep promoting things to them. 

Also, you can collect their email address directly by asking them inside Messenger, and these email addresses can go directly to your CRM. 

How to not cannibalize your Messenger subscribers. 

A lot of people fall into the pit of getting many Facebook Messenger subscribers and blasting them with broadcasts and sales, which eventually destroys Open Rates and Click Through Rates. 

A lot of people that I've talked to,  said that they received spam messages from people/bots every single day for days. This is not the best way to use the platform. 

Spamming is not the best way to use Messenger.

What I recommend is knowing your customer. Being able to personalize the messages that you sent to them, is of high importance

Just asking them a question that helps you personalize a message that you send, can be really powerful. 

Let's say Fourth of July is coming up- or something like that, and then you ask them:  What would they rather do on Fourth of July?” and give people options like barbecue’, chilling at home, or maybe it's fireworks’. 

Depending on which one they pick the next time you’re about to send a promotional offer, you can think that this isn't an offer for people who love to barbecue, for example.

Right now what you can do, with a platform like Manychat, is to export your Messenger subscribers into a Facebook custom audience for retargeting. 

Some people use Zappier in order to auto-update the customers so you don't have to export every day- or every week, in order to keep updating.

In addition, you can filter out your Messenger list based on a tag. 

So let's say you want to have a list of only women; you can filter that out! 

Let's say you want to have women who like shirts, and you want to remove women who like red shirts; you can filter that out! 

Then you can auto-update the custom audience inside Facebook, and use that audience for retargeting.

The best flows for eCommerce marketing via Messenger. 

For me, there are three flows that sit on the top. 

The first one considers pop-ups.

Brands usually use pop-ups on their websites, right? 

They “trigger” them either when you first get to the site, or as an exit intent. 

So instead of using that, you can leverage something like a Messenger pop-up to give a discount code to a subscriber. In order for them to get the discount, they have to subscribe to your Messenger by clicking the button you provide.

Immediately, they're going to receive a push notification on their phone. 

So your open rates- right up front, are going to be really high for those messages. 

That's the first flow. 

In that flow, you can message them with the promised coupon and then you can also have products that link directly to your Shopify site. 

The second flow is about abandoned cart recovery. 

So this one is like probably the biggest because it makes a lot of money for a lot of the brands we’re working with

Basically, there's a widget that you can install on the add to cart button and then what it does is that when people click it and don’t finish checking out, you can follow them up with a message.

The last flow- that works really well, is for receipts. 

Receipts are a great way for retention, and then to engage with your customers. 

For example, you can send them a receipt after they do make a purchase, and then after they get the receipt you can say hey, have you had these new products or this new collection? Would you mind checking it out?” and they can click yes or no’.

If they click yes, and then you send them the collection, or you get to know them a little bit more.

These flows that you send based on what people select, allows you to tag them or save the answers. 

So you get to like know more about your customers and what they like, and that's how you're able to personalize your marketing.

You’ll have more effective promotions by knowing your customer really well; what they like. 

There are some other flows which are for winning back campaigns”, or for customers that purchased and you want to follow up with them in 30 or 60 days to check in with them and learn if they liked the product.

Did you like it? If they say yes, then boom. 

If they didn't like it, your can send them to customer service. It’s about engaging, just like in real life; like having a conversation. We don’t have to over complicate things.

Marketing online is different, but at the same time is the same as selling something in real life.  

The important metrics of Messenger Marketing.

For Messenger campaigns, we check Open Rates and Click Through Rates. Those are the main ones that really matter inside Messenger. 

Then for the websites of the specific campaign, we check the number of Users, the number of Sessions, and the Bounce Rate.

So, if people are coming to the website and bounce a lot, we should know that. 

Probably the message that we sent via Messenger, doesn’t match with the Landing Page. So we need to fix that. 

Usually, with Messenger, the Bounce Rates are like really low. On average we like less than 40

The next thing we have to check after the Bounce Rate is the actual Conversion Rate.

A lot of the Messenger flows that I talked about have a really high Conversion Rate. Especially in the cart recovery one, you can see about 20%; which is crazy high

You can get up to 20% cart recovery by personalized communication via Messenger.

Conversion Rate is our North Star because it is the only thing that matters. 

People are talking about Open Rates and Click Through Rates, but like nobody's really talking about the conversion rate, which is like the really important part. Right? 

So probably the Conversion Rate is the most important indicator of how the Messenger platform contributes against other channels.

Upcoming trends in eCommerce marketing with Chatbots.

Chatbots and eCommerce can work together on 2 levels:

  • Marketing.
  • Customer service.

In terms of marketing, so far people have been doing a decent job. 

Some people are doing the same job at marketing through Messenger; some win and other people are just spending money.

When somebody has a bad experience with a bot like 90% of those people aren't going to interact with them again.

What happened in the past few years is that like there are different types of people that are building Bots.

You have developers, but they aren't willing to with copywriters. Then you have copywriters trying to build bots on their own, and you also have marketers trying to do the same exact thing

The problem is that all three should be working together.

I believe that this is the perfect combination for somebody to be able to build a solid bot. 

The perfect way to build a solid Chatbot, is to put developers, copywriters, and marketers to work together.

You need the marketer to bring in people, you need a developer to build it, and then you need the copywriter to make sure that the copies are engaging enough to make people take action. 

All these three components were not working together, but we're starting to see that they start to come together a little bit more. 

I’m starting to see jobs pop up for copywriters and things like that. So people are starting to realize that you definitely need copywriters to offer conversational user experiences, to get people engaged.

The bots that I've seen that use copywriters are much much better than any other bots I've seen around. 

I think that in the next years if everybody will be able to come and work together there will be much better experiences. Right now a lot of people are just using the platform just to spam. 

Hire your marketer, a copywriter, and a developer to make sure that you build the best experience possible. This way you just going to drive more business outcomes. 

So that's the marketing side.

Then there is the customer service, which is massive. 

A lot of people right now are just neglecting the customer service part, so they have a bot. And then they don't have a real human checking through, making sure that everything is doing well and smooth, and that users are getting their questions answered

So people are just like blasting messages and they're not checking to see like what people are saying; if users have questions they should respond.

If you're using the Messenger platform, for marketing purposes and you do not have somebody actively going through and making sure that people are getting their questions answered, then you basically spamming.

Imagine you send a message to a brand and you say hey, can I get a refund for this order? and then they just don't respond. Now imagine that the brand after that just send you a message: “We have this t-shirt, would you like to buy it?”

Nobody wants that.

You should be able to tag the people that are in need of help. Having real human checking things is really important. 

Combining automation with like real human powers is the best combination because you can leverage the automation for more efficiency. 

In customer service is really important being able to leverage AI to answer questions right away; automate some of the FAQ's, and then just let the customer service team just check in and take care of it more unique issues. 

One of the things that we do with a lot of our clients, is to integrate their Messenger with Zendesk

Not only can you first message your Facebook subscribers directly, but you can pretty much filter tickets. So you can say: hey this person is asking for a refund  put them in the priority tickets. 

If somebody asks for a refund then you want to take care of that, right away. So make sure that everything is filtered. 

 [x] When somebody is asking for a refund, you want to take care of that right away.

And then when you do a marketing blast, you don’t want to blast to people who are looking for customer service because it's a really bad experience

This is something that I have not heard anyone talking about yet, but it's really important. I've seen that, and that's something that we do and that our clients.

So that's the customer service side; being able to automate your FAQ's and leverage live chat- which is real human power, to increase your customer service efficiency

Few last words.

If people want to learn more like thinking about they can just like visit our website, and get our free case study and learn more about exactly what I talked about. 

Throughout the case study I just walk people through the new way of marketing and exactly like how it started, why we should use it- I think a lot of people are so focused on the Open Rates and Click Through Rates and we don't know much besides that, why should someone use Messenger marketing, and what are the trends that indicate that you should use it.

January 24, 2019 - 1 comment.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

Hunter McKinley is a multidimensional guy.

From design to marketing, clothing brands, chatbots, agencies, apps; you get it.

Our first contact was through his work with BAMF Media, and then got to know him better from his work with SoFriendly.

I knew from the first moment that I wanted to learn his take on things that torture a lot of people out there.

While 15, Hunter started this whole entrepreneurship thing out of his backpack so he would sell candies and sodas.

Eventually, he moved on to clothing.

There was a local brand, and they were starting to get some recognition in the community and so he started making t-shirts for them.

He bought a shop screening machine and started his own company, called Dopsm Clothing.

That’s when he really started getting into marketing because he realized that while people were getting wristbands from his competitors- from other students, they were willing to take them off (that they got for free) and buy his for 3 or 4 dollars.

Although the talk inevitably went to referral marketing, milestone campaigns & Messenger Bot Giveaways (Hunter was involved in more than 20 viral campaigns), the key takeaway is his views on entrepreneurship, planning, and execution.
Enjoy!

The main factor that people choose something to pay, rather than a free version of it.

Most of the times the only real difference between a paid product and the free version of it, is the way you market it.

The values that you bring to the table, are very important. And your marketing should be revolved around those values. You shouldn’t be in it to make money.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

In order to be an entrepreneur, you have to fail many times. You just need to fail really fast and take a value-based approach.

Most of the times we need to remind ourselves:
"Listen, I'm not looking to make a bunch of money, this is me and I stand for this, this and this."

You can tell from a mile someone who is just in it for the money, VS someone like Tom’s who is actually giving back to the community, and when you have that value proposition on top of having a better design, you actually win; because better design equals better quality.

It just seems to make sense, and that’s what was happening.

In the case of the wristbands, there really isn’t much difference between a $0 wristband and a $3 wristband, except the design was little different.

Really it was just the marketing, and the approach was like:
“Hey guys, I’m not here to smoke, I don’t think that’s cool, I think what’s cool is like just doing the right thing, doing well in school.”

It felt real because it was a real thought.

When you’re an entrepreneur and you have your truth/values, you have to surround yourself and partner with people that are associated with it.

The “value-based approach” also comes to branding. So if you want to build a brand with a specific angle, you need to be really authentic if you want to make it really good.

Sometimes people say “OK lets put some values in our product to make our marketing better”, but if these values are not the values that they truly believe in, it won’t work out.

Who Hunter McKinley is at the moment & what he does.

I am working as the Head of Marketing at SoFriendly, a design & development company.

The focus at the moment is on building the enterprise section, as we’ve been working with startups for the last 3 years, but really now we’ve built up the reputation at the point where we are now launching apps for big enterprise.

I can’t list the one that we’re talking about right now, but we’re working on a really major contract with a few major hotels like Hilton and Marriott.

We also work with the guys over at Google, so now we’re actually in the transition period and that’s what I’m focusing on as primary role right this second.

On the side I'm also building something like ProductHunt for digital marketers- I don’t know if you are familiar with Dribbble or ProductHunt.

Right now as a designer, the whole industry shifted, every single place asks for a URL with your portfolio.

A lot of my friends that are digital marketers, and they all asked me to help them make their websites. They are challenged, when it comes to making a website design, development.

They just don't have those skills.

So I’m building the same thing for digital marketers, cause right now there is not a solution for digital marketers to show what they’ve done. Just like what you guys did for Viral Loops by template-izing it and build something pretty straightforward.

So these are the 2 main focuses other than freelancing right now.

Why did you choose Word of Mouth?

I was introduced to the idea about a year ago while working with Josh Fetsher and Houston Golden at BAMF Media.

I've used Gleam in the past so I had a little bit of an idea of how this worked, but what we found that worked really well -and what they introduced me to, was the milestone campaigns.

I dove head first into that.

I did all the research I could, and I saw you guys had a post about Harry's. It always helps a lot when I find blog posts like this.

In addition, I am a huge Product Hunt fan, so when your Milestone Referral Template launched there, I had to try it.

It’s trial and error. We just tested all types of referral campaigns and found that the milestone campaigns is what we wanted/needed.

I really didn’t even know about it up until a year ago when they were starting to test out different ways of going viral.

Josh was consistently posting, you know, viral Linkedin Posts and they were getting featured in all those magazines and they said: “Hey Hunting World, looking for somebody to help us with our viral campaign and these things are new and we are just trying them out”, and we did over 20 of them and it’s really amazing!

Why the milestone concept works better than more traditional referral campaigns, e.g. Dropbox-like?

It provides clear goals for the end user.

It’s not like Dropbox’s referral program; it rewards just you.

What’s so great about the milestone campaign is that it’s kinda like “gas on a fire”. If I get $5 every time someone shares, I’m gonna be sharing more about the product.

Product Hunt had some sort of golden kitty or something- just really exclusive stuff. That’s what works well.

Also, I draw a lot of same similarities between the way that the Viral Loops’ Milestone template works and Kickstarter.

It would be one thing for me to donate $5 to a Kickstarter, but it’s another thing to be able to donate up to certain brackets to get those bigger prizes.

It’s just that the milestone campaign has a different feeling. It’s just totally different from a lot of things that I’ve seen online.

What should people take care of when they run a milestone campaign?

Not long ago, I published a very detailed checklist of what people should take care of when they run a milestone campaign.

Get the checklist directly to your messenger!

When I first started at BAMF Media about a year ago, we had some early successes.

We run a campaign for Bear Squeeze that did absolutely amazing and raised tons of money on Indiegogo. We also did a campaign for Unicorn Snot shortly after.

We had 2 really good campaigns that we knew that worked, and I didn’t build this checklist up until twenty, or so, campaigns in.

When at an agency there’re so many different people involved. From different designers, different developers and obviously we’re not doing just one campaign at a time- we’re doing multiple campaigns, so we just needed a way to take all that we knew that worked and put it into one document.

That one resource that the strategist, or whoever is running the account, can look at it and say: “Here’s what first, here’s what comes next, here’s what comes next”.

No matter who touches the document, it should be the same result every time.

But inside the document, when I give the example, let’s say for the number milestones, that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it. That’s just insight from all the campaigns that we looked at, that we just aggregate and said “you know what? When we have 4, that’s a good number, that’s just what we know works”.

You can always tweak it however you want, but that document was after months and months of testing everything, from different types of campaigns, from different pricing, and what we know that works or doesn't.

The document also includes some extra things from other campaigns, like building up the hype and, you know, message your friends and family beforehand.

So this just ensures that no matter who you are, you can touch that document and you can have your whole team on board and there’s one central place to look at, because otherwise, things get lost, you know, Skype or Slack.

⚡Note from Savvas:

Quite a few of Viral Loops’ customers struggle to engineer these campaigns and make them successful. Something that I see all the time, is that people think that, “OK, we’re going to build a landing page with a referral marketing campaign, even with a milestone, we’re gonna put it on our website and then we’re waiting for the campaign to take off”.

What they don’t understand a lot of times, is that this is when the real work starts.

What are your tips on how to distribute Referral Campaigns?

There’re 2 ways of distribution; There’s paid and organic.

From a paid perspective, if you’re already paying for advertisements it just makes sense to put a Facebook pixel on your pages, because when you retarget it’s just gonna have much better results than if aren’t doing that.

So obviously, you can go the paid route and expand a bit on it.

I get the feeling that Viral Loops is more for startups. Startups are companies that tend to not have too big of a marketing budget when they’re launching a new product.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

The best organic way to do it is messaging your friends and family, letting them know.

If you go on Letgo, they always say the first people to buy something are your friends and family; it’s the same thing for a Viral Loops campaign.

For the most likely they help you share it. They might not be in your target market, but they’re at least gonna spread the word out for free.

So letting them know and giving them an opportunity to help you, even though it doesn’t cost them any money, is always gonna be the way to go. And I actually got that from Harry’s; I think you guys said that they got over 100K subscribers.

Well, we tested that out ourselves and it actually does work. So that’s one way to promote your campaign.

Another way is Facebook groups.

It really hasn’t have to be on Facebook; it just has to be some sort of niche, whether that’s a Facebook group, or you talk to a specific slack group.

I know some people have things on Skype or Discord, or on Reddit if you get the right niche.

But finding that niche of people, messaging them and giving them incentives, that really helps a lot.

In many occasions we had some clients getting a couple thousand just from a few people dropping the link in a Facebook group. You never know where it’s gonna come from, but you just need to find that niche and you be able to provide it to them and really pitch it as like “Here’s the grand prize, you have to bring that many people in order to get it”.

⚡Fact:

Upworthy; the viral news aggregator, and mentioned that when they started they focus totally on Facebook and they got the first 1000 Page Likes by just asking their friends and networks to like their page.

They managed to get 1000 people like their page. So it’s really difficult to get, let’s say the first 100 people to join your campaign, share it with their friends.

A lot of companies miss that and it’s a really simple step to start taking off.

How would you combine paid advertising with a referral marketing campaign?

If you notice on the checklist- I think on page 1 or page 2, we write about the benefits.

What we found early on was that every campaign should focus around at least three benefits.
Other campaigns will have more, but if you have 3 main benefits and you work in tandem.

Basically what you can do is have your friends and family do all the organic posts; post about it on social media, post it to maybe some Facebook groups and Reddit.

Then you can retarget all those people that have visited your site. That’s gonna definitely dry down your cost and you can retarget with either the benefits, you know like features or benefits, logic or emotional based.

So If you don’t have a large budget for Facebook advertising, that’s a good way of getting in front of people and knowing that every dollar you’re spending is people that already have been to your site.

You can let them know by saying “3 days left”, or you can give another benefit and say “here you can get this”. There’s also the option to leverage your milestones, so you could say “Hey you’ve earned this” and “Here’s the grand prize, keep sharing”.

As a designer, what are the lessons learned when building a landing page optimized for getting more referrals?

You have to have your Call To Action above the fold, and you have to remove all navigation.

I believe Shopify put out a study that said that when you remove navigation- you know the top bar navigation from a site, you get 100 percent more conversions.

It’s called the attention ratio; you just wanna make sure to have one Call To Action on your landing page, and that is to Sign Up.

If they don’t sign up above the fold and you have testimonials or some sort of social proof like publications strips, then right below you need to make sure you’re basically "selling it" with the benefits I talk about above.

So, my number one tip is definitely that you have above the fold as much as you can focus on and the Call To Action which is, of course, the Sign-Up.

What are the core metrics you measure constantly and are super important for a referral campaign?

I always focus on the referral share rate.

It’s great to be able to spend the dollar and get, let’s say one person to sign up, or put an effort to get one person to sign up. But what I’m always in favor of, is measuring every minute or dollar; every single ounce of effort that we put in order to be able to scale into 10 or 20 people, not just one at a time.

So I always measure- on Viral Loops, there’s a thing called the referral share rate, based on that.

If it goes above 100% it means that every person that you get to come to the site is actually going to share it with their friends.

So all of our most successful campaigns were always over 100%, and that’s a really healthy sign that the campaign is working.

If it’s not over 100% then it’s just a regular email capture page, which is great, it’s just not “viral”.

What’s your take on chatbots? Have you ever tried building one?

I actually started a chatbot company about a year and a half ago called Bot Sauce.

We’re still doing things here and there, and we’re actually working on a Non Profit right now as we kinda found a niche on Non-Profits.

They don’t usually have a lot of money and they don’t wanna build whole apps so they’re always looking for bots. It’s an easy way to get in.

Chatbots are pretty huge. The only downside about them right this second is that they keep changing. The majority of chatbots are on Facebook, and Facebook keeps changing how much data you can access etc.

But it’s really just a booming industry.

I’ve loved it and honestly, I used Motion.ai at the beginning which was a year and a half ago, and they’ve already been bought out.

Marketing-wise, the best use of a chatbot that I can think of right now, is actually for advertisements.

I was working with a chatbot expert- he put the bot together and I made the creative form.

When we put the two ends together they just outperformed everything else, and I think it’s just because they’re so engaging and there’s this unique ability to speak to the customer the way that they can speak to each other.

That’s something that you really can’t do in any other platform. It’s a really interesting space.

Do you think that referral marketing can be incorporated into chatbots?

We actually tried it!

We tried incorporating a Viral loops campaign with a Manychat integration. It’s a little clunky using Zappier, but you can use a little bit of a JSON.

We tried to make it work but it wasn't clean.

I would absolutely love to see the viral campaign through messenger.
That would just knock it out of the park, cause people are already sharing. I’ve got 4 group chats at any point for messenger and it would be absolutely insane if we could get that.

At this point, I informed Hunter that we’re about to launch Viral Loops for Messenger, so I will give you their dialogue about it.

Savvas:

I have a small surprise for you!

We just launched a prelaunch campaign for Viral Loops for Messenger, and we’re starting with a Giveaway template that is completely integrated with Manychat.

We provide users with a Manychat template that they can install to their accounts, and just tweak the messages.

They can also create their own flows with the Viral Loops API token inside their Manychat account, and it’s done.

There’s no need to use Zappier or any other 3rd party tools.

McKinley:

WOW, good for you man, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear!

Savvas:

The next step is to create the milestone template integrated with Messenger, so after the first launch of the giveaway template, we’re going for that!

McKinley:

Wow, let me ask you; can you automatically message everybody that’s subscribed and say you know “You have 2 days left”, “3 days left”, “1 day left”, “Today is the last day”; anything like that?

Savvas:

We don’t have the expiration date yet.

What we offer at the moment is that you can type let’s say "entries", and the bot responds to you with a number of entries that you have collected for the giveaway.

Or you can type “I want my invitation”, and then the chat bot responds with a card that you can share with your friends.

We’re doing more stuff so this is a very good idea; to automatically send people with how many days are left.

McKinley:

A Chatbot working with Viral Loops!
I think that’s a home run because it takes a lot of things that could go wrong out of the equation. And the best is that as soon as they are in the chatbot, you can retarget them with Facebook ads.

That’s crazy.

Savvas:

Yeah, I can give a link to give it a look and then starting next month I can give you early access.

McKinley:

I’d love that!

Savvas:

Awesome, great, Hunter!
Thank you so much for your time! I think our readers will benefit from your value bombs!

McKinley:

It's been a pleasure!

Want to run viral giveaways directly in Messenger?

Get Messenger Bot Giveaways by Viral Loops

 

October 23, 2018 - No Comments!

5 reasons to start your online business during the Holiday Sales Season

The favorite quarter of online businesses, The Holiday Sales Season is here!

Many online entrepreneurs have already optimized their web shops to get a larger hold on profits this year. If you’re not in an online business in this digital era yet, you’re missing out on massive profits.

Let’s take a look at why the Holiday Sales Season 2018 is the perfect time for you to enter the online market and increase your profits sharply.

#1 Holidays Sales Season = Increased Sales

money rain

The Holiday Season starts from October and ends in December. People have already decided to take full advantage of the deal offerings for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year.

Online searches that include the word “gift” are at the peak. Even if people aren’t actively purchasing gifts, they are researching and comparing shipping costs, all to find the best deals for their loved ones.

There are a number of digital marketing channels and strategies that you can exploit for a profitable result.

The year 2017 was a great year for the ecommerce industry. The global revenue amounted to almost $2,290 billion.

Ecommerce experts predict a growth of almost 19.11% in 2018. It will result in a global revenue of $4,479 billion by the end of 2021.

According to eMarketer, the retail industry (in-store + online) will grow by 3.8% in 2018 to $691.9 billion. Numbers don’t lie. They speak for themselves!

Consider the great example of Blenders Eyewear, who decided to leverage online sales tactics to deal with the competition in eyewear niche.

By developing an unconventional digital marketing strategy that was based on a combination of social media marketing and email outreaches, they achieved great success by delivering personalized messages to each of their target audience segment.

extended black friday offer

#2 Customers Prefer Online Shopping Instead of In-Store Shopping

To tell you the truth, the in-store footfall of USA retail stores fell 7.5% in November and December 2017.

Why?

Simply because more than 40% of the customers made sales from mobile phones. December 23, 2017, bagged in the largest share of mobile commerce in the history of USA.

According to ComScore Inc., US retail sales from cell phones increased more than 40% in the final quarter of 2017. Additionally, eMarketer predicts a growth of 32.7% in US retail sales from cell phones in 2018.

Keeping these statistics in focus, make sure when you enter the online market, you optimize your web store to be mobile responsive.

If you’re wondering how you can set up an online business overnight, then take a look at this marketing plan for startups. It will allow you to come strong.

#3 Time-Sensitive Promotions Work Like A Charm!

There are plenty of campaigns that make sense only during the holiday season. You have one final shot to execute them perfectly.

Nonetheless, no need to take the pressure. It doesn’t matter whether you offer a flash sale, holiday gift guide promotion, or any other omnichannel effort. You’ll have a larger target audience to interact with during the holiday season. Take advantage of it.

Furthermore, take this opportunity to define your brand. Work on strategies that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Any efforts that you make during the holiday season towards refining your brand, can also be carried out to the following year.

Urgency is a great promoter and an efficient tactic for landing more holiday sales. A great example in this context is of Pura Vida Bracelets that places countdown clocks to convey the fact that their merchandise is moving fast.

For the visitors, the sight of not one but two countdown timers is enough to trigger the impulse buying decision.

time-sensitive offer

To follow through on this sense of urgency, the brand uses direct Facebook Messenger messages instead of abandoned cart emails. The messages alert the potential shoppers about the dwindling quantity of items and provide a Checkout button that leads directly to their cart.

#4 It’s Time to Work Smart instead of Working Hard

Passive income is the revenue you earn without putting in much effort to maintain it. One of the best examples of a passive income is the monthly rent check a landlord receives.

Everyone loves the idea of passive income. It means that you can make money even when you’re asleep. A good online store can earn you handsome money without a lot of maintenance.

Online entrepreneurs enjoy the fast track to earn passive income for multiple streams.

Once you have your online store up and running, you can earn from it even if your products or services are not selling.

How?

Well, you can earn passive income by hosting brand advertisements on your website, selling affiliate products to earn a commission, or by developing membership/loyalty programs. However, do remember, you need to have a steady stream of monthly traffic coming on to your website.

#5 Unlimited Growth Potential

With your traditional 9 to 5 job, you move forward by receiving yearly raises and promotions. These are great ways to get ahead, but they’re only incremental forms of growth. You’re definitely not going to be an executive one week and a manager or the CEO in the next week.

Online entrepreneurs, on the other hand, experience big breakthroughs and sudden leaps in success.

If you’re making $100 per week, there are strong chances of increasing your income up to $10,000 or more in the next week.

The knowledge and return on investment that your online business can explode overnight is part of what makes being an online entrepreneur so exciting.

10 Bonus Perks of Becoming an Online Entrepreneur

taking care of business

Apart from the Top five above-mentioned reasons why you should become an online entrepreneur during the Holiday Sales Season 2018, following are 10 more perks that every online entrepreneur enjoys every day.

  1. You can work from home in your pajamas.
  2. Involves Lower Risk.
  3. You learn something new every day.
  4. You can build and outgrow your network.
  5. It makes your internet habit productive.
  6. You can do what you love.
  7. You’re your own boss.
  8. You can travel more.
  9. You can work four hours a week.
  10. You can single-handedly influence the world.

The Amazon Effect

Before jumping into the ocean of online business, you need to understand one thing very carefully.

Amazon has raised the bar for all online merchants really high. Customers’ expectations that concern in-stock products, delivery costs, speed, returns, and customer services are above par.

Online businesses need to have their “A game” ready for the upcoming holiday sales season.

In a Nutshell

As of December 2011, only 32.7% of the world’s population had Internet access. But, we all know the significance of internet today.

It is growing healthily.

If you start an online business today, it will enjoy the benefits of that growth. Feel free to leverage the ecommerce marketing hacks for your first holiday sales season.

After that, you have a whole year to overcome the struggles you faced and make a comeback in the next holiday sales season stronger than ever.

September 18, 2018 - No Comments!

Keyword research for ecommerce made simple

The battle of search engine rankings.

A never-ending story, right?

The fact that you clicked the link that got you in this article, means that you already know why you need SEO to drive traffic to your ecommerce store.

BTW if you're more into watching videos than reading an article, we also made a step-by-step video, that includes all the things you're going to read below.

You know that you need to rank as high as possible in order to grab the maximum amount of clicks, increasing your chances to make more sales.

Ecommerce SEO is difficult and there’s a lot you need to do right to make your website stand out in Google’s search results, as Matthew Woodward states in his Ultimate Guide to SEO.

As you probably know, keywords are one of the cornerstones of search engine optimization for an ecommerce store as it’s closely related with the search queries that your customers use in order to discover new products.

In this article, I’ll give you a top-to-bottom approach to ecommerce SEO, from ranking and keyword factors to conducting a smart keyword research using free and paid tools.

If you want, you can jump straight to the Keyword research for ecommerce part.

Fasten your seatbelts, ‘cause we’re about to start.

How do search engines rank your ecommerce store?

There is much speculation as to the how a search engine- like Google, ranks an ecommerce store.

But we don’t really like to work based on speculation, don’t we?

Let’s see what we know for sure. There are 4 known ranking factors:

  1. Domain authority.
  2. Product page structure.
  3. Site architecture.
  4. URL structure.

Domain authority.

In very few words, domain authority is kinda of a credibility score for your ecommerce store. The higher your credibility, the easier to rank in search results.

To translate it in real life, ask yourself a question:

"What movie would you pay to watch in the cinema, without reading anything about it?"

  1. A Stanley Kubrick film (r.i.p. you genius).
  2. The debut feature film of a new director.

Authority drives attention.

But domain authority has nothing to do with keywords- at least not directly. It’s something you build over time and you need patience, a lot of great content, and even more people linking to that content.

Product page structure.

Now we’re talking.

Your product pages do not only contribute to converting visitors into customers, but they are also a great place to incorporate your keywords in your game.

Let’s see some places on a product’s page where your keywords might fit:

  • Product page title.
  • Product description.
  • Product image alt-tags.

There are many reasons that products on Amazon rank so high in search engine results, and the product page structure is one of them.

Let’s have a look:

amazon's product page

As you can see, the product’s title is optimized for more than 1 keyword. In this specific example we have keywords like:

  • Bedside Hanging Storage.
  • Organizer with Laptop Space.
  • Dorm Room Essentials.

In the description, the seller goes beyond keywords and provides the essential info about the product, such as the color, material, amount of storage space, durability, etc.

In addition, there are rich snippets for rating the item and reviews. Those things, apart from improving the shopping experience, also help search engines to rank the product itself.

The number of photos also provide an excellent opportunity to use your keywords. The more photos of a product with keywords incorporated, the more chances you have to appear on the image search result.

ecommerce keyword research

If you’re interested to learn more about product page SEO, Search Engine Journal has an amazing article on their blog.

Site architecture & URL structure.

This sounds more complicated than it actually is.

To put it simply, your site’s ecommerce site’s architecture and URL structure is the way that visitors and search engines navigate through your store, respectively.

Let’s see the basic elements of an ecommerce site’s architecture. You have:

  1. Main menu.
  2. Secondary menus.
  3. Search bar.
  4. Homepage functions.

Asos is one of my favorite place to buy clothing online, and their site’s architecture is epic.

This is how their homepage, for men’s clothing, looks like:

keyword research for ecommerce

And this is how one of their secondary menus, looks like:

ecommerce keyword research

The menus of your ecommerce store offer an opportunity to use your main keywords in order to navigate visitors deeper in your store.

The further down your visitors go, the more long-tail your keywords can get.

“But what do those things have to do with the way that a search engine ranks my products?”

That’s where your URL structure comes into play.

You see, you should structure your URLs using a logical approach. Most of the times, your site’s architecture will be your best mate.

e.g.

If you choose in Asos’ secondary menu that you’re looking for men’s loungewear, this is what the URL looks like:

you choose in Asos’ secondary menu that you’re looking for men’s loungewear, this is what the URL looks like:

The main category is “men”, and the secondary category is “loungewear”, and they made sure to include this information in their link.

If you want to learn more about the SEO aspect of site architecture, make sure to check these amazing sources:

What makes a keyword great for your ecommerce store?

Is there something like a bad or a good keyword?

NO.

Instead of thinking in terms of good/bad, you should think in terms of right/wrong.

So, how do you identify the right kind of keywords, and how do you get rid of the wrong ones?

These are some keyword factors that you should definitely keep an eye on:

  1. Search volume.
  2. Buyer intent.
  3. Relevance.
  4. Competition.

The search volume of a keyword is pretty much what the name gives away; it expresses how many times, each month, are searching for the particular keyword.

The more people search for a keyword, the more the potential traffic you might get from a search.

You should keep in mind that keywords with a high search volume are more difficult to rank for, as the competition for such keywords is usually bigger.

You might notice that if you start building longer keywords, the search volume will decrease. That’s not essentially bad, as long-tail keywords are easier to rank for and they have a 2.5X bigger ROI than head keywords.

Building keywords based on the buyer intent affects the way that you target your potential customers. Instead of focusing on how many people are searching for a specific product, you are searching for keywords that have to do with the stage that a customer is on their journey towards a purchase.

For example, let’s say that you are trying to sell a Sony a6300 mirrorless camera. This particular piece of photography equipment comes in a very friendly price (considering its capabilities), which makes it a great choice for someone that’s on a budget.

So you could target the following long-tail keywords:

  • “best cameras under $1000”
  • “Best mirrorless cameras on a budget”

Of course you can’t target those keywords directly for your product, but you can craft content that answers your potential customers’ question and try to make an indirect sale.

If you want to learn more about keywords based on buyer intent, there are some amazing articles about it:

If your intention is to build keywords for specific product pages, you should do it based on keyword relevance.

In other words, you should search for keywords that are closely related to the product you are trying to sell, and optimize the products page for those keywords.

According to Pearanalytics, some of the best places to put your keywords are:

  1. URL
  2. H1 tag
  3. Meta description
  4. Title tag
  5. Body content
  6. Bold or italicized
  7. Alt tags or image filenames

How to really conduct a keyword research for your ecommerce store.

Since we covered the basics of SEO and how keywords work for ecommerce stores, it’s time to take a look at how you can find those precious keywords.

Instead of just showing you which tools you might use to do so, I wanted to craft a workflow for you.

I’m gonna give you an approach that’s both smart and time efficient.

I also made a step-by-step video, that includes all the things you're going to read below:

Shall we begin?

Step 1: Make friends with Google Trends.

Even though Google Trends is by no means a real keyword research tool, it has one amazing ability:

It allows you to see how people are talking about whatever it is that you want to sell.

You can say one thing in a million ways, but your target audience seems to always prefer a specific choice of words.

Let’s see how this works.

First, open Google Trends. Now it’s time to search for the product you want to sell.

For the sake of the example, let’s say that we are trying to sell “hemp oil”.

The results come with an Interest over time diagram. I like to see how’s the term performing in the last 5 years.

I like to see how’s the term performing in the last 5 years.

As you can see, the term “hemp oil” is rising in popularity- which is a very good thing, but the magic happens when you start comparing it to other terms.

Let’s try “CBD oil”.

keyword research for ecommerce

Wait, what?

“CBD oil” is murdering “hemp oil” when it comes to interest. That means that “CBD oil” is the best option you have in order to ride the wave.

Now if you scroll down a bit, you’ll be introduced to some other results.

You have interest by region, related topics, and related queries. The 2 latter are the ones that really interest us.

keyword research for ecommerce

In the related topics, the “Anxiety-Emotional disorder” thing really caught my eye. Let’s keep it.

The related queries are of even bigger interest, as they can serve as the basis of our longer keywords.

Download both the ‘Related Topics’ and ‘Related Queries’; we’ll need them later.

Step 2: How do people present products on Amazon?

Similar to Google Trends, Amazon serves the opportunity to get insight on how others speak about products- whether they want to buy, or sell them.

Open a tab on your browser and go to Amazon. Skip every purchase temptation that you may feel and enter “CBD oil” in the search bar.

The results are rather interesting.

keyword research for ecommerce

It seems like people like to sell our product by referring to it as “hemp oil”. But what’s truly interesting is how everyone is pointing out the mental health benefits of the product, in the product’s title.

Remember how “Anxiety-Emotional disorder” was a related topic in Google Trends?

We have a pattern here!

So, whether you choose to call it “CBD” or “Hemp”, you should focus on benefits that your oil has to your customers’ mental health.

Pro Tip: Since you recognize that kind of pattern, you could head to Wikipedia and try to find other keywords or topics related to your pattern.

Keep that in mind when you’re brainstorming your content ideas.

The first 2 steps will give you amazing insight, but it’s time to get real about this keyword research.

By now you have an initial set of keywords and topics. I could put those keywords into Google’s Keyword Tool, expand my initial list, sort it out by Search Volume/Relevancy/Competition/Commercial Intent and start crafting or optimizing my content.

But I will not do that. Why?

  1. The keyword tool returns 1 result for my 2 main keywords: CBD oil & hemp oil.
  2. Even if it brought more results, the numbers that Google provides for keywords, don’t even touch reality if you’re not running ad campaigns.

That’s the reason I highly recommend- if you’re serious about keyword research, to invest some money in an SEO tool.

My top 3 are:

The last 2 years I’m using Ahrefs for keyword research, and that’s why I’ll use it for this examples. (I don’t have any kind of affiliation to Ahrefs)

Note that you can use ANY tool, as the process is more or less the same:

  1. You open the tool.
  2. You insert the desired keywords.
  3. You export the suggestions.
  4. You sort them out.
  5. You craft or optimize the existing content for your products.

Step 3: Let’s generate some keywords.

Login to your Ahrefs account, go to the Keyword Explorer tab and enter your desired keywords separated with commas.

keyword research for ecommerce

After you’re redirected to the results, scroll down a bit, all the way to the Keyword Ideas section.

keyword research for ecommerce

Do you see those “View all” buttons under each category?

Press them.

You’ll get lists with some pretty amazing suggestions, which you’ll download in order to sort them out later.

Pro Tip: Select to show the results in ascending order for Keyword Difficulty (KD), and filter those result for keywords with a KD>2 and volume>1000.

keyword research for ecommerce

Step 4: I’m sorry, but you have to become a bit sneaky.

Competition is a great thing. It has been a drive, from our ancestors to us, from the dawn of civilization.

Yet, keeping an eye on our competition is considered taboo.

Well, it shouldn't be; because our competitors shape our actions towards the market thus, it shapes the market itself.

Enough with philosophy.

It’s time to find which are the keywords that your competition ranks for, and take them for yourself.

Go to your Ahrefs account and search by using the domain of one of your competitors. The go to the menu on the left sidebar and press the “organic keywords” tab.

keyword research for ecommerce

BOOM!

Another list with keywords. Sort them out by Keyword Difficulty, and export those as well.

Now, let’s take this a step further. On the same left sidebar, press the “Competing domains” tab.

This will open a list with the domains that compete with the domain you entered in your search bar. As you can see in the image below, the results we get are separated into 4 segments:

  1. Keywords unique to target.
  2. Common keywords.
  3. Common keywords %
  4. Keywords unique to competitor.

keyword research for ecommerce

Since we want to expand our keyword list with even more keywords, you should focus more on domains with a high number of “Keyword unique to competitor”, and a low “Common keywords %”.

That way you ensure that you will get a very “fresh” set of keywords.

Since you identify the domains that fit this profile, go and press the little arrow next to their name, and choose the “organic keywords” tab. This will lead you to the same step as when you started looking at the keywords of your initial competition.

keyword research for ecommerce

keyword research for ecommerce

Sort them out by Keyword Difficulty, and export those as well. From here it rinse and repeat.

You can use the same process for all your competitors.

Step 5: Get organized.

By the time you get to this step, you probably already have tens of thousands of keywords, all existing in different spreadsheets.

It’s time to gather them all in one place.

Open a Google Sheet, and start pasting all the data from your other spreadsheets into this one.

Now, you have to delete the duplicates.

In order to do so, you have to:

  1. Select the cell where you would like the de-duplicated info to begin
  2. Enter the function =UNIQUE(
  3. Select the cells you would like to pull data from
  4. Close the parentheses. Your function should look something like this: =UNIQUE(B:B)

If you don’t feel like messing with functions, there is the Remove Duplicates add-on to keep you out of trouble.

From here, you have to sort your keywords by search volume and keyword difficulty, and start optimizing your content.

Before you go.

I’m confident that by the moment you read these lines, you’ve already started conducting a keyword research for your ecommerce store.

If I’m right, then that’s more than great!

In case you just scrolled down to the bottom of the article- that would make me very sad, I got your back. As I explained above, there are 5 steps for conducting a keyword research for your ecommerce:

  1. Use Google Trends to identify the interest in specific terms that are tied to the product you want to sell.
  2. Use sites like Amazon and Wikipedia to identify patterns related to your products.
  3. Find an SEO tool and build your unique list of keywords.
  4. “Steal” your competition’s keywords.
  5. Sort out your keywords, and start creating content.

I would love to hear your questions, or about the way that you are doing keyword research for ecommerce, so let me know in the comments!

Keep being awesome.

 

August 22, 2018 - No Comments!

The 70 best Shopify apps for your ecommerce store

Shopify offers the opportunity to millions of people to sell their products online in a quick and easy manner. That doesn't mean that driving sales is an easy task to do.

Prompted by the release of the Viral Loops Story for Shopify, I made some research about what kind of other Shopify apps are out there, and how they help people to run their business.

After a quick look, it was visible that it's not easy to pick an app out of more than 2,000 entries.

That's the reason I decided to get my head a bit deeper down the rabbit hole and give you the biggest list with the best Shopify apps out there!

1. Viral Loops

Price: From $49.99 / month

Connect your Shopify store to Viral Loops and increase your word of mouth sales. Our referral program solution seamlessly integrates with your store, so you can use word of mouth and referrals to grow your store.

2. Product Reviews

Price: Free

Product reviews allows you to add a customer review feature to your product pages. This is a great way to encourage sales and also allow your customers to give you feedback.

3. Oberlo

Price: From $4.90 / month

Oberlo is helping people like you to find products to sell on Shopify. Never worry again about shipping, packaging, or holding inventory.

4. ShipStation

Price: $9.00 – $159.00 / month

ShipStation simplifies the shipping process for online sellers. They combine order processing, production of shipping labels, and customer communication in an easy to use, web-based interface that integrates directly with major carriers and online platforms

5. Store Pickup + Delivery

Price: $12.00 – $35.00 / month

Zapiet is Shopify’s most popular choice for offering in-store pickup and local delivery alongside standard shipping through a unified checkout.

6. Parcelify

Price: Free

Parcelify lets you create simple and powerful shipping rates based on address, products, and total weight or price.

7. Free Shipping & Hello Bar

Price: Free – $8.95 / month

We are talking about a fully customizable notification bar to promote Free Shipping, Free Gifts or just inform your customers about something.

8. Pre-order Manager

Price: Free – $24.95 / month

You can easily manage Pre-Orders strategy for each product, variant or for the whole store, with a customize button and description design according to your Shopify theme.

You can also limit the number of Pre-Orders, turn them on/off for certain countries.

9. Bulk Product Edit

Price: From $4.99 / month

You can target products to edit by collection, product type, vendor, tags, title, and keywords; and bulk edit product's price, compared at price, tags, inventory, title, vendor, product type, weight, description, SKU, SEO, Meta fields.

10. RetargetApp

Price: From 15$

You can get more sales and new customers with automated Facebook ads. RetargetApp combines expertise in advertising with advanced technologies to make advertising easy and efficient.

11. Instafeed

Price: Free

Instafeed is an app that allows you to easily integrate your Instagram pictures in your Shopify Store. That's a great way to engage with your customers and generate awareness for your brand.

12. Whatshare

Price: Custom

WhatShare is the easiest way to include a WhatsApp share button in your Shopify store. You can also track what your customers share too, with reports of what links and products are being shared.

13. Social Autopilot

Price: Free

This app will Tweet at random intervals with a different message, every time you list a new product or publish a new blog post.

14. Metrilo

Price: From $119.00 / month

Metrilo gives you instant ecommerce analytics, powerful CRM and personalized email marketing all in one place, while it automatically identifies sales channels that are valuable to your business.

15. OptinMonster

Price: $49.00 / month

OptinMonster is a powerful conversion optimization platform, and their Shopify app allows you to intelligently target your visitors' shopping experience, to reduce cart abandonment and boost sales conversions.

16. Catalog Maker

Price: Free – $49.99 / month

Now you can connect with buyers using professional wholesale catalogs, retail product catalogs, pdf flyers and line sheets created automatically from your Shopify Collections.

17. Yotpo Reviews

Price: From $0.00 / month

In their own words, Yotpo is a customer content marketing platform that helps brands of all sizes generate and leverage reviews, photos, and Q&A throughout the buyer journey to build trust, drive traffic, and increase conversion.

18. Product Discount

Price: $14.99 / month

You can create, in seconds, sales by product brand, type, collection, hand picked or even store wide! You can also manually control or schedule sales for holidays, weekends, power-hours.

19. Checkout Hero

Price: $19.99 / month

Checkout Hero helps you checkout conversions by incentivizing customers to complete their checkout by sharing their cart on social media in return for a discount, free shipping or a free gift.

20. Facebook

Price: Free

Customers can easily browse your products and collections using the new, always visible, Shop section on your Facebook Page.

21. Pinterest

Price: Free

With this app you can sell products directly on Pinterest with Buyable Pins and a allow shoppers to purchase quickly without leaving Pinterest.

22. Infinite Options

Price: Free

With Infinite Options, you can create unlimited product options for any product configurations, and also add personalization, engraving or monograming to any product inside your store.

23. ReCharge Recurring Billing & Subscriptions

Price: $19.99 / month

ReCharge has one the most robust feature set for stores selling physical products on subscription.

24. Cross Sell

Price: $19.99 / month

Cross Sell allows you to handpick the related items that you would like to showcase alongside each product in your store and manage to get your customers to fill their carts

25. Pop-Up Window

Price: $5.95 – $12.95 / month

The Pop-Up Window app is an affordable way to add a powerful and professional looking pop-up to your Shopify store, notifying your visitors about sales and promotions or capture newsletter and mailing list signups.

26. HelpCenter

Price: Free

With HelpCenter app you can create an easy-to-navigate and searchable FAQs page, publish searchable articles, and let your customers submit questions they can't find the answers to.

27. Facebook Chat

Price: Free

Turn conversations into conversions and boost up customer satisfaction, by chatting live with customers via Facebook messenger right on your store.

28. Trust Hero by Booster Apps

Price: Free

Improve sales and cart abandonment rates by displaying trust icons to customers from the product page! Plus, it's completely free!

29. Crush.pics

Pric: From $0.00 / month

If you're looking for the fastest way to increase your site speed, ranking, and conversions, you can use Crush.pics to compress your store's image files without quality loss.

30. Postmen

Price: From $0.00 / month

Postmen allows you to print shipping labels and calculate rates with your shipper accounts, and auto update Shopify with tracking numbers and send shipping notifications.

31. SocialShopWave

Price: From $0.00 / month

This bundle offers the ability to boost social sharing and drive traffic to your Shopify store, increase customer engagement, and sell more by using its 9 apps.

32. ByteStand

Price: From $0.00 / month

This app helps you sync your inventory from Amazon to Shopify, without acting as a middle man between the two accounts. Instead, it pulls your Amazon inventory directly into your Shopify admin section with one click.

33. Lucky Orange

Price: $10.00 – $50.00 / month

Now you can eliminate the guesswork of optimizing your website for more sales, through heatmaps, visitor recordings, form analytics, polls etc.

34. Correios - SEDEX - PAC

Price: From $4.99 / month

The app automatically calculates shipping costs and time, and helps you reduce lost sales due to expensive miss quoted manual rates.

35. Messenger

Price: Free

Messenger is a very popular platform, and its Shopify app gives you the opportunity to provide a fast, and easy way for customers to buy your products, reach them instantly with messages about their orders, and give them one place to track purchase confirmation and shipping details.

36. Product Questions and Answers

Price: Free – $4.99 / month

This app allows your visitors to ask questions about your products from product pages, which you can answer and post directly on the product page- which may have some great SEO value.

37. Boost Sales

Price: From $30.00 / month

Upselling is the perfect way to increase the average basket value of your store, and this app helps you to do exactly that.

38. KIT

Price: Free

Kit helps you manage your Facebook and Instagram ads, email campaigns, and social media posts to drive sales and grow your business.

39. TradeGecko Inventory Management

Price: From $299.00 / month

This Shopify app makes inventory management simple, efficient, and easy to control by  having your stock, warehouses, currencies, taxes and price lists in one system.

40.  Wishlist Plus

Price: From $0.00 / month

With Wishlist Plus, you can add smart wishlists in your store and allow people to add products in them without login and share them across channels. All this, while you get rich insights on your customers wishlisted items and site engagement.

41. Cool Image Magnifier

Price: $2.99 / month

Great quality and detailed images are crucial for an online store. This app is pretty straightforward; you install it and get a nice zoom effect on your product pages.

42. Mailbot Email Marketing

Price: From $29.00 / month

This app is the way to fully automate your email marketing. You get built-in campaigns and customer segments, drafted & scheduled weekly newsletters, plus the ability to personalize email content to target customers based on their interests & behavior.

43. Covet.pics

Price: From $0.00 / month

Covet.pics helps you to curate Homepage hero galleries, automate Product Page ones, or create killer Press pages. You may also automate Instagram or invite your customers to upload their own photos, and run photo contests and grow a community around your products.

44. Restocked Alerts

Price: From $14.99 / month

This app promises to increase sales by notifying customers when products come back in stock.

45. Intuit QuickBooks®

Price: Free – $29.99 / month

You can sync your Shopify orders to your QuickBooks Online account and enjoy frictionless financial reporting with just a few of clicks.

46. Xporter Data Export Tool

Price: $7.00 – $45.00 / month

Xporter is a web-based solution that enables you to export your store's data in a customizable spreadsheet format. That's pure gold, isn't it?

47. Privy - Free email popups with exit intent

Price: From $0.00 / month

Popups are an undeniably amazing way to grow your store's email list. With this app you can trigger popups using exit intent, time on site, scroll, cart size and more. A/B test campaigns.

48. SEO Image Optimizer

Price: Free

You can gain more traffic and sales from Google Image Search with a one-click installation. It's also free, which is more than great.

49. AfterShip Returns Center

Price: From $0.00 / month

If you want to have Self-service returns on your branded Returns Center, approve and track your returns in a single place and notify customers of returns status, this app is a must.

50. Socialphotos

Price: $10.00 – $50.00 / month

Social Photos provides you the chance to capitalize on the power of visuals and social media by building collections with curated photos from your customers.

51. Plug in SEO

Price: From $0.00 / month

With this app, not only you get full SEO check and report on your store, but you also receive instructions and code snippets to make any possible fixes yourself.

52. Social Login

Price: $1.49 / month

With Social Login, customers can login without having to withstand long onboarding procedures. This encourages them to get into the store and start shopping as fast as possible, thus increases the chance to get more sales.

53. Last Second Coupon

Price: Free – $5.99 / month

This app is for those that look for a way to increase revenue by turning more window shoppers into paying customers and decrease the number of abandoned shopping carts.

54. SEO Manager

Price: $20.00 / month

SEO Manager is exactly what its name suggests; it manages your Shopify store's SEO. FYI, it's powerfull.

55. Low Stock Alert

Price: From $0.00 / month

Normally when a product inside your store goes out of stock, you would lose a couple of orders before you catch up. I don't think that anybody want this to happen.

56. Improved Contact Form

Price: From $0.00 / month

You add a "Contact Us" Webpage and Popup Contact Form Widget, with responsive and customizable design, to your store in one click.

57. TRUST

Price: Free – $39.99 / month

Decrease your customers’ security and privacy concerns and reduce bounce rates with trust seals from the highest rated trustmark provider used by Shopify stores.

58. Point of Sale

Price: Free

This is a killer. You can now sell your products anywhere with the Shopify POS (Point of Sale) app and free card reader. Also, you can tap to add products to cart, accept payments, and email receipts, track customers, inventory, and orders with your Shopify account.

59. Currency Localizer

Price: Free – $9.99 / month

This app will help you increase your global sales by showing local currencies to your customers, taking advantage of  fast Geo IP detection.

60. Sufio - Automatic Invoices

Price: $19.00 – $129.00 / month

Sufio automatically creates and send beautiful invoices for orders in your store.
Also, it's issue invoices compliant with legislation in 50 countries worldwide.

61. Tidio Live Chat

Price: Free – $15.00 / month

Communication with your clients plays a huge part on increasing sales, and with this app you can talk to your customers even if you're on the move.

62. SMAR7 Bundle Upsell

Price: $47.00 / month

Reward and incentivize customers with discounts OR Free Shipping for adding more items to their cart.

63. Sticky Buy Button

Price: Free – $39.95 / month

The app makes sure the add-to-cart or "buy" button is always visible in your store, no matter how far down the page your customers scroll.

64. PushOwl - Web Push Notifications

Price: From $0.00 / month

Notifications are a great way to get people again in your store, and this app is able to send reminders of abandoned carts with mobile & desktop notifications and automated notifications for back-in-stock or discounted products.

65. Yo Recent Sales Notifications

Price: $6.99 / month

WIth Yo, you can recreate the feel of a busy brick-and-mortar store, as you serve to your customers unintrusive popups detailing recent purchases.

66. Instagram shop by Snapppt

Price: Free

Make your Instagram feed instantly shoppable and embed shoppable Instagram galleries and carousels into your store, to increase your sales.

67. Recart - Messenger Marketing & Abandoned Cart Toolbox

Price: From $0.00 / month

Boost your sales with automated Facebook Messenger, Email and Push messages to all cart checkout abandoners.

68. Exit Intent & Messenger Popups by OptiMonk

Price: From $29.00 / month

This is the world's only intelligent Messenger popup for Shopify, which allows you to boost your revenue with intelligent product recommendation and convert up to 15% of visitors to customers.

69. Klaviyo Email Marketing for Shopify

Price: Custom

Use virtually any data from your Shopify store to send personalized emails, run Facebook ads, and recapture lost sales with automated abandoned carts, browse abandonment and winback flows.

70. Email Marketing Automation by Conversio

Price: From $20.00 / month

Sell more using some intelligent and automated email options: Receipts, Follow-Up Emails, Abandoned Cart Emails, and Newsletters.

71. Printful - Printing & Warehousing

Price: Custom

This is the highest-rated print-on-demand app on Shopify, and you can use it without being bothered by upfront costs, or making manual orders.

What are your favorite Shopify apps?

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

July 31, 2018 - 2 comments

Stay the f*ck away from growth tactics

While rookies use tactics, pros use processes

So, let’s get started!

You’ve probably been hearing for tactics. People are talking about tactics, everywhere.

“I learned this great hack where you can get thousands of emails.”

“Let’s do CRO to our landing pages.”

“Let’s A/B test our website buttons.”

“I heard Lead Nurturing and Lead Magnets are awesome.”

“Let’s add a referral option to our app and go viral.”

That's all really nice and attractive. Who doesn't want to grow exponentially?

But with all those growth tactics available, how come that 75% of venture-backed startups fail?

Well, having a bunch of screws, bolts and tools doesn't build a machine.

First, you have to find your process- a schematic if you prefer, and then identify which tactics might work in your favor.

Probably most of the content you find about growth is wrong because most of the content is about tactics. 😵

“Stop looking for tactics first, and start focusing on establishing a growth process.” — Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour is mostly famous about being Founder/CEO @ Reforge and Previously VP Growth @ HubSpot. He occasionally writes here. You’ll find great stuff in there.

Another great individual to follow is Sean Ellis, he’s the Founder and CEO of GrowthHackers.com. Before that, he led early growth strategy at Dropbox, Lookout, Eventbrite, LogMeIn (launch to IPO), Uproar (launch to IPO).

Sean talked about high tempo testing.

“We grew from 90,000 MAU to 152,000 MAU in about eleven weeks without spending a dollar on advertising or increasing the size of our growth team.” — Sean Ellis

The more tests you run, the more you learn about how to grow your company. So the goal here is to run as many tests per period of time as possible.

That’s the main idea behind high tempo testing.

Test.Learn.Repeat. 🚀

Growth is about running experiments, analyzing results, and learning quickly. And for this, you really need two things:

  1. A method for running experiments
  2. A system for tracking and reporting

By running an A/B test once a month doesn’t count! You need a process, a tempo.

Keep the same tempo for every team member over there!

What we do in Viral Loops

We read a lot.

We test a lot.

We (try to) systemize everything.

We repeat.

We’ve built a weekly process which helps us have everything documented and in order. The truth is that growth is the sum of small parts, there is never a silver bullet.

You can grow by putting effort into many small things and not in a few big. That’s how you’ll learn your channel, product, and customers better than your competitors and this will help you take risks based on those learnings.

Learnings are everything.

Failed experiments liver-punched me enough times to make want to quit. But the shock was an indicator that my team was doing something in a very wrong way.

Keeping a tight documentation about your learnings will save you a ton of time if you aim to grow your team anytime in the future.

Imagine having to teach all the past failures to every new team member. Nightmare.

Your fails should be accessible company-wide, at any moment. It makes it easier to draw the big picture.

“The only way to tackle growth is to get the whole company focused on it” — Sean Ellis

We try to systemize our process for testing and learning in order to keep a tempo.

 

1. Brainstorm

We keep our ideas in a backlog and try to put everyone one on the team to contribute their ideas. It doesn’t matter what their day to day job is. Growth needs to become everyone’s job.

You can use spreadsheets or any project management tools to keep these precious ideas in one place.

2. Prioritise

We categorize our backlog of ideas by using the AARRR framework (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referrals, Revenue). Then we give every idea a score from 1 to 10 by using the “ICE” system. ICE stands for Impact, Confidence, and Ease of execution:

Impact. If this idea works, how much impact will it have?

Confidence. How confident are you that this idea will work?

Ease. Is this idea something that will be easy to test?

e.g.

 

Let's say we have an idea with the following individual scores:

Impact: 9/10

Confidence: 5/10

Ease: 7/10

The final ICE score of the idea is simply the sum of the individual score, divided by 3.

This gives our idea an ICE score of 7. The higher the ICE score of an idea, the higher it's priority.

3. Test

After picking the top ideas to run based on our prioritization, we have to think of a hypothesis and move these ideas to the upcoming tests list. Try to run simple tests.

4. Implement

Upcoming tests are moved to the to-do list and it’s time for implementation. A test might need skills from more than one team member; that’s why we try to work as a team here. 😎

5. Analyse

Once the test has finished, write down the results. Did the experiment change the situation upwards? Or downwards? Did it work or not?

Be cautious. This part might be your "getting liver-punched" arc.

Don't get frustrated.

6. Systemise

This is the point where learnings are born. Write down what you’ve learned, how important it was and how it affects your company and your team.

The main goal is to get learnings at a high tempo. The more testing you do, the more learnings you’ll have. But the key is to share those learnings with the rest of your team.

As I said, we like to keep everything documented. We write down our learnings on a weekly basis (Weekly Learnings doc). Also, we keep track of some basic metrics in the AARRR funnel (Weekly Metrics Spreadsheet). The documents we’re using are the ones below.

We couldn’t be organized without using

  • GrowthHackers Projects to track our experiments
  • Google Docs and Notion to have all our docs in one place
  • Trello and Asana to write down tasks and experiment ideas
  • Slack for team communication. (sometimes we work remotely)

Delivering value to customers is so damn important

When you’re focused on growth, sometimes you get caught up in the data, but be careful, you might lose your path.

Your path is your customers.

If you keep your customers at the top of your priorities and you continuously deliver value to them, growth will follow.

Everything you build has to be for your customers.

Happy customers are the real key to growth ❤

Generate ideas. Run experiments. Learn. Repeat.

If you run out of ideas, always remember:

Cheers 🙂

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

April 30, 2018 - No Comments!

Side Project Marketing Will Change Your Game

When it comes to getting customers’ attention, you’re up against a lot of competition.

Whether scrolling through social media or surfing the web, potential customers are inundated with marketing messages—so much so that many find ads off-putting. 😤

Which begs the question…

As a marketer, how do you stand out?

The answer isn’t yell louder. 🗣️📣

Instead, it’s to do something unexpected. Something so logical that you don’t know how you never considered it before.

Start a side project.

We know, we know. This idea goes against the “focus on one thing and do it well” rule.

But rules were made to be broken.

Okay, well, this rule was made to be broken.

The concept of bringing customers to your main business through the creation of side projects (aka, “side project marketing”) has a proven track record of success. 📈 🙌

Just ask the people over at Crew.co. This start-up was on the brink of shutting its virtual doors and boarding up the digital windows when a side project, unsplash.com, gave them a new lease on life.

By simply putting the professional pictures they had taken but hadn’t used online and licensing them for free use, they managed to attract loads of traffic — 11 million visitors a month. 😲 This amounted to enough to keep the doors open.

The side project game is so useful, in fact, that we’ve jumped on board, too.

To date, we’ve built two deciders tools that help users plan out the implementation of referral programs that will mirror some of the best we’ve seen, from Dropbox and Harry’s.

 

 

 

 

We made both of them to kinda explode by getting hunted on Product Hunt, with 1636 & 910 upvotes respectively.

If you're interested in riding the Product Hunt wave for your side project, we have a comprehensive guide on how to do so.

And how do you make side project marketing work for your business?”

Here are our quick tips.

Don’t: Be Overly Complex

When it comes to your side project, you want something that solves a problem. Your goal is to catch the attention and provide a benefit to potential customers.

But don’t create something so different and so complex that managing your side project becomes your full-time job.

Hubspot showed us how side project marketing is done when they did what they do best — assessing the quality of marketing — via a website grader. 💯

Their tool allows users to determine the current efficiency of their websites. The site also explains to users how their marketing could be improved — another service that Hubspot provides. 🤝

Not only did this free website grader earn Hubspot some goodwill with potential clients, it also landed the company some accolades. Most specifically, the side project was a finalist for an ad:tech award and took home a Webby from The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS).

Do: Use Inexpensive Tools

Not only is side project marketing effective, it’s also can be pretty easy to implement...with the right tools.

There are tons of tools 🔨 you can use to transform the task of building your side project from exhausting to effortless.

Not only can brand new start-ups build websites to house their side projects quickly with options like Yola, Wix, and Squarespace, they can also use low- or no-cost buzz-building options like Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook and other free tools to launch their side projects.

Not only does using these tools make the process of setting up your side project easier, it also makes it less expensive — which means you’re not losing much if it ends up being a flop.

Crew.co exemplified this lesson, using Tumblr to initially launch their Unsplash project.

Tumblr was free.

It was easy.

And it was accessible.

Everything Crew.co needed to taste sweet, sweet side marketing project success. And it was success they saw, quickly at that, with a huge spike in traffic at crew.co thanks to this Unsplash launch.  

Do: Partner Up

One mistake we see companies make when launching their side projects (and why those side projects crash and burn) is because they tried to do it alone.

When Veed.me wanted to launch their side project, coverra site offering free videos for use as cover images—they secured a partner.

In Veed.me’s case, they turned to codersclan to help make the side project of their dream a digital reality.

Together, these two birthed the legitimately beautiful 🌇 — and useful. ⚙️.

And this side project wasn’t just aesthetically stunning — it was also profitable. Coverr quickly reached 100,000 unique visitors and, even more beneficial, resulted in 1,700 new email sign-ups.

Don’t: Forget to Have Fun

If you want customers to like you… really like you… you need to have some fun.

Customers will form initial impressions of your company with how you treat your side projects.

You want those impressions to be positive. So perhaps consider content that’s engaging, adventuresome and quirky.

Think your business is so serious there’s no room for fun? 👯

Well, try this on for size: How serious is cybersecurity? 🔐

Pretty darn serious, if you ask me.

But that didn’t stop cybersecurity firm Checkmarx from having some fun and launching a useful-as-it-is-engaging program called Game of Hacks.

Side note: What a clever little play on words you have there, Checkmarx.

Game of Hacks is a gamified hacking experience, allowing programmers to put their weakness identification skills to the test.

Did it work?

Yep.

Launched like a bullet, accruing 35,000 players in the first 24 hours.

And as you would expect, gaining Checkmarx some serious attention.

Side Project Today, Growth Tomorrow

With so many businesses implementing a side project marketing plan — and it works oh so well for them — there really is confounding evidence that this type of marketing is worth your time and effort.

If you’re ready to move forward with side project marketing, remember to:

  • Keep it simple
  • Use the free and low-cost tools at your disposal
  • Explore partnership opportunities
  • Have fun

By doing these four simple things, you can make side project marketing easy and effective.

Because, really, a the end of the day, we question should be less “why are you doing side project marketing” and more, “why aren’t you doing side project marketing.”

We’ve boarded the train. 🚃

Why don’t you?

Side project marketing is your ticket. 🎫

 

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April 3, 2018 - No Comments!

10x Growth in 2018? Part 2

I’ll start by saying that if you haven’t already read the first installment of these series, stop reading those lines and go read this, instead.

Seriously.

I’ve been introduced to Harry Potter’s universe by reading the 3rd book -don’t know why I skipped the first two books, and it’s something that I deeply regret.

You know what?

Read the 1st part of the series even if you already did.

I’ll wait for you.

Now that you are back, I don’t have to explain to you again what the article is about and we can cut to the chase.

Let’s see a few other things that will help you achieve 10x Growth in 2018.

Note: If you feel too lazy to read, we've also wrapped the whole article into a video 👇👇👇

And don't forget to subscribe to our channel 😎

Work on Funnel steps individually.

Do I have your attention?

Good.

This is pure gold people. You and I both know how it is to try to grow a business.

It gets sloppy, stressful, frustrating and confusing.

And when your team is small and your resources limited, things may turn dark. Viral Loops wasn’t always a team of 15 people.

We started small. I mean, really small.

What we did, in the beginning, was to concentrate all of our actions on the step of the funnel that mattered the most at the given time. Although now we have the opportunity to have sub-team working on several funnel steps, in the beginning, we had to focus on one.

Let’s see how the typical AARRR funnel looks like:
10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

As you can see, on the top of the funnel you have the Acquisition, followed by the Activation, the Retention, the Revenue and finally, the Referral.

During the first year, our sole focus was on Acquiring our first set of users (btw, we still have a team constantly working on Acquisition called TOFU team- aka Top Of Funnel team).

Getting initial traction is a huge bet for every business but we had to move a step further during our 2nd year.

We invested in making the product better, thus made our engineering team bigger, and also tried to optimize our customer support by hiring talent that not only could help customers use our product, but also manage challenging situations.

Having a better product and customer support, helped us improve our Activation, Retention and (the super valuable to the life of the company), Revenue.

Last Q, we decided to make an opening to our Referral step and that’s why we created our own Ambassador program.

Start from the funnel step that’s the most valuable to your business, optimize it, and then move further.

Retention.

I bet you’ve read a lot about to acquire a ton of users/customers. Actually, we are so much force-fed of this concept to the point that a lot of us thought that acquiring customers is a synonym for growing.

Well, it’s not.

Over the past 4 years, I had the opportunity to talk with numerous people of companies that take their growth game seriously. Their answer as to where growth really comes is retention.

The Pareto principle (aka the 80/20 rule) comes again into play as, according to Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

“But, how do I know if my I have a good retention rate?”

You have to build a retention curve. If the retention curve is parallel to your time axis, you’re good to go.

However, in case your curve crosses the axis, you should start reconsidering your approach or even the product itself.

Here are a few principals that will help you to improve your customer retention rate:

  • Utilize user feedback.
  • Get personal and stay in touch with your customers.
  • Have stellar support (we’ll elaborate on that further into the article).
  • Offer more to customers than you promised.

You need to understand that once you lose a customer, there’s a 90% chance of them never coming back. Be proactive.

 Pro tip:
Build different retention curves for different sets of users. While your overall retention rate might suck, there’s a chance that a certain set of users is performing really good.

You can use that information to change your retention strategy accordingly.

Customer Support.

Allow me to ask you a question;

You’re on a call with a company’s customer support line. You’re sitting on your desk, you have some friends or colleagues around and you are tired and hungry.

While the person on the other side of the line is trying to help you, you turn to your friends and let them know that you’re starving.

A few moments later, the person on the other side of the line informs you that there’s a pizza on its way to you.

“But, how?”, you asked.
“It’s on us”, the customer support says.

Now the question is, is there any chance that you are going to use another similar service ever again?

I guess not.

This is a true story; During a marathon troubleshooting session, a support engineer of Rackspace heard the customer was hungry, so she ordered them a pizza!

The story inspired Rackspace to brand their support as Fanatical, created a ton of buzz online, and surely made a customer very happy.

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

Be like Rackspace.

Launch, Launch, Launch!

Do you know what’s the biggest compliment I’ve ever received about my work?

When we launched one of our latest features on Product Hunt, someone left the following review:

“ViralLoops is a good product with infuriating marketing. Trying to ride the ProductHunt wave over and over again by releasing these little pages and then submitting to ProductHunt”

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

That was my moment of glory; the moment I knew I’ve done my job in the desired way.

“Infuriating Marketing”.

It’s true; we are riding the Product Hunt wave again, and again, and again. And we will do it one (or ten) more time if needed.

It’s easy to get caught up in modern digital marketing tactics, but good old-fashioned marketing is unbeatable.

Take Forever21 (or any other mainstream brand name), for example. Last week they launched their new collection in collaboration with Kylie and Kendal Jenner.

They created a huge prelaunch hype.

Based on the same principle, we decided to handle each of our new features as an individual launch, and we choose Product Hunt as the main platform to do it.

Here are some of our best launches so far:

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2 10x Growth In 2018? Part 2 10x Growth In 2018? Part 2
 Pro Tip:
If you’re interested, we created a full hands-on guide on how we got 900+ new users and 20,000 uniques in 2 days in Viral Loops.

Each opportunity for launching a new feature or product gives you the ability to establish your company’s brand on your users, plus acquire new ones on the road.

Before you go

That’s the end of 10x Growth series.

If you made it this far without reading part 1, you can find it right below:

10x Growth in 2018? Part 1

We’re dying to know your thoughts about the guide, so feel free to add them to the comment section below.

Until the next time,
Keep being awesome 😎

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶