While email marketing presents a lot of opportunities for retention and community-building, it can be a daunting aspect to implement for those who are just starting out or trying to scale their business. In this new episode, Scott & Ray have a chat with Dan Nikas, CEO & Co-Founder of Elite Brands & Gearbunch, to discuss all things email marketing and the intricacies of putting back-end systems for your business.
Dan drops some knowledge bombs on the back-end strategies that have worked for his brand, GearBunch, as well as his clients. He also breaks down the many fundamentals needed to set up your brand’s email marketing system and the tactics you can use to ensure that your leads convert into customers. This episode also goes deep into the many segmentations and flows you can implement to further nurture and drive your customers into becoming repeat purchasers (and even brand ambassadors!)
Tune in as Dan also talks about new updates regarding Apple’s iOS15 update, its impact on email marketing, and how email & retention marketing looms large over 2022 and beyond. A lot of brands are simply leaving money on the table by not having a sturdy and customer-friendly retention marketing system – listen in to gear up for your 2022 email marketing strategy!
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0:00 – 0:27 – G&G eCommerce Podcast Theme
This is the Growth & Greatness eCommerce Podcast, powered by Right Hook Digital, with your hosts Scott Seward & Raymond Johnston. If you’re an eCommerce brand founder, entrepreneur, or marketer looking to accelerate profitable growth for your business, then listen in ‘cause this is the podcast for you.
0:27 – 15:52 – Introduction of guest Dan Nikas
Scott (0:27 – 0:39) – Welcome back! Ray, we have someone we’ve known for quite a long time to talk about retention marketing side, email marketing – Mr. Dan Nikas, welcome to the show!
Dan (0:38 – 0:39) – Thanks for having me!
Scott (0:40 – 0:51) – Good to see you! It’s been a little while since we caught up. I know you’re in one of my favorite places in the world, in Yamba, which is a beautiful little spot, central north coast, New South Wales. What’s been happening, mate?
Dan (0:51 – 1:21) – Mate, plenty. I guess, same as everyone, just, a bit either talking about COVID, ups and downs of Facebook advertising, the changing landscape of everything that we’re doing, the influence of crypto – all sorts of things. You know, meanwhile, still just sitting here in Yamba, enjoying life, I’m not soaking up the sunshine today, I’m looking outside, it’s actually pouring today. You know, we’re moving into our summer and, yeah, things are good.
Scott (1:21 – 1:25) – That’s what comes with that part of the world, it gets a bit wet this time of the year.
Dan (1:24 – 1:25) – Yup.
Scott (1:26 – 1:37) – For people who don’t know, ‘cause you’ve got a pretty, very interesting story, I should say, tell us about your background, where it all started for you, and how you ended up where you are now.
Dan (1:37 – 3:30) – Yeah, sure. I like to tell my background story. Initially, I didn’t like telling it ‘cause I was a bit embarrassed about it, I suppose, but I tell my background story now because I’ve sort of come to terms with the fact that that’s not my career anymore. I also use it to, sort of, as a bit of an inspiration to people that doing what I do online didn’t take a marketing degree or, you know, a marketing background or some background in IT. I was a police officer, I was actually a homicide detective for 7, 8 years. I joined when I was 19 and I stayed, I was very good at that job for a long, long time. At the time, I got to about a 7-8-year mark, and due to the grind of the work and the impact it was having on me working in homicide, I actually got medically retired, which was devastating at the time. I was 36 years old. I have a wife, 3 kids, mortgage, everything that comes along with it, and I pictured myself being in that career my entire life, and it wasn’t to be. The doctors just said, ‘You cannot do this anymore.’ Initially, I was really embarrassed because it was my identity. I lost my identity so I then focused on, I stayed at home a lot. I was always pretty good at computers because we had to be as police officers, because everything’s done, you know, on a computer. I was better than the average police officer. I stayed at home, wasn’t in a good mental state, and just thought, ‘I need to figure out a way to make a living. I need to find a way to make money to support my family, to pay the bills.’ You know, my career is over, I’m done, and I didn’t know how to do anything else. I never knew how to trade, I am the most un-handy handyman you’ve ever met. I never went to university.
Scott (3:30 – 3:32) – Wife would tell you the same.
Dan (3:30 – 6:19) – You know what, when you are, copper is what we call ourselves over here, which is a police officer. That’s all you’re trained to do. Those skills aren’t transferable. You can’t go from that, and go, ‘well, I’m gonna go work as an accountant, or I’m gonna go… I would’ve had to look at an entry level job, you know, pulling beers in a pub or, you know, stacking grocery shelves or something like that.’ I can’t do that. I just can’t go from up here, with my identity, to just being nobody. It just didn’t sit well with me. I turned myself to online marketing and, you know, dabbled in a bit of affiliate marketing, things like that, and then came across a model called Teespring, which I think is now called Spring, but basically print-on-demand t-shirts. Come across a guy called Donald Wilson who, fast-forward several years, is the owner of GearBubble. He then became kind of a mentor to me and I bought a course off him called Facebook Ads Cracked way, way back; it was probably 7 years ago now, 8 years ago. He showed us how to run Facebook ads to sell products and to sell these t-shirts. It just clicked with me. I found it so easy. In hindsight, what I realized was, what’s happening is that I spent a career learning how to find people that didn’t want to be found, as a police officer. There’s no incentive for them to be found and go, ‘Hey, you found me. I’m over here.’ When I found them, the consequence was, usually, jail time, especially dealing with homicide. They were trying to hide from me, they were trying everything they could to avoid being found. And then, here I am on this platform, and you go into the back-end of it, and it is, especially back then, you knew everything about everyone. They were telling you whether they were pregnant, who their boyfriend was, what they had for dinner, what their cat’s name was. You know, absolutely everything was available about these people so I could find them. When I found them, they were happy to be found so this was cool because I found it easy. I put money in, I’d target the right people, I’d sell products, and out they’d come on the other end. What I did find, though, is, I did that for about 2 years. I learned, very, Facebook ads so well, became so good at them, spent millions of dollars on them, made a really good living on them, but what I realized is that, I was trading my time for money, and I wasn’t building a business. I was, you know, if I wasn’t monitoring the Facebook ads, which is like day trading, then the sales weren’t coming in. If I turned the ads off, or my account got suspended, I had nothing – I had no email list, no website, I had nothing. I put designs up, they’d either sell or they wouldn’t; what I realized was I was building someone else’s empire.
Scott (6:19 – 6:21) – So you’re running ads for other people at this stage?
Dan (6:21 – 8:36) – Well, I was running them for myself, but you point them to TeeSpring’s website, or Spring’s website. Yeah, you’re like a glorified affiliate except you’re coming up with the products, and they’re just reaping the benefits of it. It was a great way for me to learn. There was no risk to it, I would go to UpWork and I’d get a design done for $5, I’d put it up, a $20 ad, and if it would sell, I’d scale and be like, crazy. I was making more than I made as a police officer for, you know, a hell of a lot less risk and a hell of a lot less stress. But not having my own business, I realized that I can’t live like this forever, I can’t do 7 days a week. You know, what if I wanted a break? What if I’m sick? There’s no money coming in, there’s no business. There’s nothing there, I don’t own it. I looked at the drop-shipping model because it had started to come in fashion. This was, like, the beginning of 2016. It really took off – drop-shipping, drop-shipping, go to AliExpress, do this, do that. I’ve tried that using a couple of niches that I built up selling through TeeSpring. I built up a couple of fairly big Facebook pages, you know, that organically grew through selling that particular style. So I started drop-shipping and really quickly just felt dirty. I’m not gonna bag drop-shipping, it’s evolved since then, but back when it started, you were always selling – I had a lot of people in the biker niche, I was selling a lot of t-shirts to bikers or riders. I started getting rings on AliExpress, like jewelry, and these rings would cost to me like $1.50 and I was selling them for $30, but they started turning up to people, and they turned up in these shitty little yellow envelopes with all the Chinese writing on them with a little bit of bubble wrap, and most of the time, it would still have a price on it. People knew that you were ripping them off. I felt like a used car salesman, like I polished up a car that was a piece of shit and sold it to someone. I was never, ever going to get repeat customers. I was never going to increase my average order value and the lifetime value of my customers sucked because the product was terrible, the experience was terrible…
Ray (8:36 – 8:39) – That was before feedback scores too, huh?
Dan (8:40 – 9:46) – This was way before TrustPilot and feedback scores and all the review sites that cropped up. I’m sure a lot of them have evolved out of these shitty marketing experiences that a lot of consumers have been involved in. I was then approached by a company. They said, look, at this stage, I was one of TeeSpring’s power sellers, and I had gone and delivered training to other TeeSpring sellers from around the world, which is a really cool experience. And then they approached me and said, we got a new print on demand product, it’s leggings. Would you be interested in trying them? I was like, sure, I made a website. It was called GearBunch because it was just gonna be a bunch of gear, I was just testing it. I got a couple of the designs made in the biker niche and, of all things, the Irish-American niche, which is another big niche that, ironically, a white guy from Australia is in. No Irish in my family, at all. So, I put them up, this was at the end of 2016, and it just took off. We did $4M in the first year, which was just insane.
Scott (9:49 – 9:52) – The lines were just different, right? They were really just eye-catching, which was perfect for social.
Dan (9:52 – 10:55) – Oh, massively, and no one else was doing it. Now, there’s, like, copycats everywhere, but what I was doing was I was making designs, and it’s the same in the t-shirt industry. People used to say, ‘Why would someone pay $20 or $30 for a t-shirt when, you know, you can go into Walmart or something, and you can buy for $5?’ I’m like, ‘because this shirt resonates with them. It’s about this particular interest or hobby that they have. They can’t walk into those stores and buy it, so I applied that principle over to the leggings, and it was, like, people can express their personality and they can, you know, tell the world what their hobbies and interests are by what they’re wearing, and there is absolutely no way that you can walk into a shop and buy them. I had some of the most god awful designs and I’m sure if you go to GearBunch, you’d still see some of them and you’d think they’re cringe-y, but there is this 0.1 of 1% of women around the world that want that, and I’ve got them. That’s what I did, I started doing that.
Ray (10:55 – 11:15) – I’m really curious. With your designs, I’ve seen your designs, I’ve seen your site, I’d love to hear just, like, your thought process of when you’re trying to design those. How would you, I guess you have a designer you probably hired, right, to come up with the designs? Do they come to you with the designs, or would you have designs in mind based off your research, or trying to find a sub-segment of people?
Dan (11:15 – 13:34) – Yeah, so we were doing the designs based on our research. You know, we’d look at trends and the big trend in yoga was at one stage, and it still is to a degree, was mandalas. So we bought out a whole mandala range of leggings. Within the biker niche, there was this huge trend with sugar skulls. We created a whole sugar skull range. The video of print on demand is, I’ve got some really great designers, and we would get them design and that only exists in the digital world, until we sell them. We could come to market, we were releasing a new product per day, and you do that for 4 years. You’ve got a big range there. We could just test and test and test and test, until we found, you know, what stuck, and we could replicate that in multiple colors. We had, I’m trying to think, we had, one of our biggest sellers and you’ll see them everywhere. If you Google pink sugar skull leggings, we’re the first to market with them. We got them designed, the pink one sold exceptionally well. To this day, it’s still our biggest seller. What we do is, right, let’s replicate it, not everyone’s favorite color is pink, let’s bring it to 15 different colors because it’s a click of the button for our designer, there’s no cost, it takes us 5 minutes to launch it, and we only have to pay for production if we sell it. So, we would have someone buy the pink one and we could upsell them the different colors and all the variations we had out there. We would look at trends in the market, even color trends; we’d go to the mainstream sellers and we’d look at what the new season was. Was floral going to be big this season, or was the color orange going to be big this season? We can go to market with a hundred different designs, they’d come to market with 5, because they’ve got to buy multiple SKUs and send them in-stock. We can actually beat them to market with ours and never run out of stock, have so many variations of it. It was easy, it still is to this day. It’s that easy for us.
Scott (13:34 – 13:48) – It really allowed you to take those drop-shipping models, sort of, rapid-fire testing principles, apply it to a brand, and figure out what worked before you scaled ‘cause you can print it immediately.
Dan (13:48 – 15:52) – 100%, yeah. That was the beauty of it. We actually got approached by Disney and partner with them on the back off the success of GearBunch. We’re marketing out Marvel products. That concept, to them, was foreign; their big thing was you can’t be out of stock. I was trying to explain to them how we could never be out of stock, and then they could not quite get their head around the fact we only make it once someone’s ordered it. That ended up being, in the end, the bottleneck that created the biggest bottleneck for us, which is why we don’t work with them anymore, was that they’re too slow to market. I wanted to release, the new Endgame film was coming out, and I had 50 designs to launch – they were taking 6 weeks per design to approve them, through their channels. I was just, like, this is killing me, because I need to know which of those designs is going to be my winner based on the testing strategies that we have. I just wanna put 50 up and smash them out to all the Marvel fans. Instead, I go to market with one, and then 6 weeks later, they’d let me release another one. By the end, the movie had come out, I only released 3 products, and I still have another 47 backed up & ready to go. By the time I started working my way through, the hype of the movie was over, you know, ‘cause it was a huge deal. In the end, when we went to renew the contract again, I said, ‘Yeah, no, we can’t do this anymore. This is not, we can’t operate like this.’ They were, like, a company that was stuck in the 1950s, trying to operate in this new world of, you know, fast-moving, being quick to market, it just wasn’t working for us so, but that principle has helped us so much, in terms of being able to scale. We then went from just starting with the biker niche and the Irish-American niche, and just scaling to every possible niche we could find. Every person that had potentially sold a lot of t-shirts in a particular niche, we created leggings for that niche.
15:53 – 24:23 – Establishing an email marketing system and fortifying it through 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic, iOS14.5 ATT implementation)
Ray (15:53 – 15:59) – Speaking of scale, I remember I met you the first time, I think it was in Vegas, like 2018, something like that…
Dan (15:59 – 16:00) – Yeah, it would’ve been around that.
Ray (16:00 – 16:01) – Yeah, back then…
Scott (16:01 – 16:05) – You remember the coffee in the hallways of… which hotel were we in?
Dan (16:05 – 16:09) – Eating leftovers, I think, from the night before ‘cause we were all hungover.
Ray (16:10 – 16:31) – Yeah, good times. I remember, it was your skill set in a particular area. I remember talking to you, we were on a couch, having coffee, and you’re telling me how you’ve been able to scale so fast, it was through what you do now. You still have GearBunch, but there’s also something else you do now, and I’d love for you to go into that because, I think, you’re really good at testing, but what you do on the back-end is, I think, where the magic happens.
Dan (16:31 – 18:50) – Yeah, so what I came to realize pretty quick, and when we met in, I think it might have been the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, by this stage, Facebook advertising had become harder. Whilst I was good at it, it was becoming harder and harder, and there was less of a return on it. What I also found is that my competition had increased a lot. I’d gone from the only one selling these crazy, out-there leggings to everyone chasing a quick buck, replicating my website, so I needed a point of difference. When I looked at it, I realized that where I was lacking was my email marketing. I developed this list of 60,000 buyers, but I actually never generated a lead. I never actually, really emailed to them very much at all. I would send out, like, a blast email whenever I had an offer or sale on, but I would never nurture them. By the time, we’d met, whilst I was still good at Facebook ads, there was a lot of other people that was good at it by then because there is a learning curve to it, but at some stage, even with someone starting today, they’re gonna catch up to you in terms of their skill set with Facebook ads. While I was making my Facebook ads, what was super-charging them was my email marketing. So, I developed an email marketing system on the back-end that was automated that would continually fuel my Facebook ads. I was getting asked to travel around the world to talk about Facebook ads. I actually became a Facebook, and still am, a Facebook Global Trainer on the back of the success and the amount of spend I had with Facebook ads. The secret was, in the back-end, in the background, I had email marketing making up 40% of my revenue. I knew, you gotta know your figures so well, I knew that once I integrated my email marketing system into it, that my average order value was $150 dollars, even though I sell the product for $88. My repeat customer rate was 50%, and my lifetime value of my customer in a calendar year was $225. So, knowing those figures, I knew that I could drop a bomb on Facebook ads and not have the best ROAS on there to beat my competitors out of the auctions because I knew…
Ray (18:50 – 18:57) – How aggressive would you be, Dan? Would you, sometimes, do things at breakeven ‘cause you knew, you had the confidence?
Dan (18:57 – 19:00) – I would run, my goal was to run Facebook ads at breakeven.
Scott (19:01 – 19:22) – That’s the challenge for a lot of the smaller start-up brands, right? You kinda have to get to a certain scale to be able to do that and survive if you’re trying. At what point in time do you think, you know, for smaller brands out there that they have to transition that mindset because that is the mindset that you need to really get to that 8-figure beyond or, you know, solid 7-figure beyond, sort of level.
Dan (19:22 – 24:23) – Yeah. Look, it’s, fundamentally, you need that back-end to be really solid. When new clients come to us now, on the back of this, I had a lot of people come and say, ‘Can you help me with Facebook ads?’ And I’ll be like, ‘No, I don’t really wanna do that.’ That’s not really, I don’t, I didn’t have enough of a solid system that I could just run Facebook ads and let them all run the rest of it and be confident in that. I didn’t have that, I didn’t wanna be doing that. What I’d say to them, ‘look, make sure you got your email marketing set up.’ They’re like, ‘Well, can you do my email marketing like you’re doing for GearBunch for me?’ In the end, I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I ended up bringing on a business partner, and we just evolved from there. But even new brands now, I say to them, ‘This is where we need to start. We need to start setting up these automations in the back-end. I don’t want you pouring money at that top of funnel into Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or Instagram, or Pinterest.’ Whatever it is that you’re doing, without having something to catch it, it’s like pouring water through the sieve. We want to catch these people. And this is, at that point in time, it was a point in time that I could confidently know that my email marketing through Klaviyo, which is what I use because it’s just the most data-driven, I knew that I was generating 40% of my gross revenue through Klaviyo, through my email marketing. At that point, it was that realization that I could just acquire as many new customers that I can at breakeven, knowing that Klaviyo is going to generate profits for me. My email marketing is going to pick up and scoop up those profits for me. Now, that took a while for me to get to that stage where I had that confidence, but it was actually that, you know, as Facebook ads got harder and as COVID hit last year, that was… I don’t know if you guys saw it, but we saw, initially, an increase in traffic, a massive increase in traffic as people were sitting at home, but what we did find is that there were more people in that consideration phase because, they were just window shopping because they had a lot of time in their hands. This is what I found from my brand and from our clients’ brands, and obviously different niches are gonna be different. If you were in health and fitness, you know, it wouldn’t just explode for you. If you were selling luggage, it would have been crap, but you know, we sat somewhere in between where we were a luxury item. We weren’t a must-have or a need-to-have, we’re a nice-to-have product. It was a case of, people had this uncertainty – they’re at home, there’s lockdowns, what’s gonna go on with the world – and because we’re a nice-to-have product, we struggled a bit, in terms of getting conversions on Facebook ads. We ended up having to scale right back, coupled with the fact that 2 of our production facilities got shut down ‘cause they’re non-essential. And then, you know, our supply chain with our postal services, that was all a mess as well. We had, like, extra volume coming through of traffic, and then we had less production capacity, delivery was so slow. We ended up having to, at one stage last year, just turn our ads off because we could not, ethically, keep selling to these people knowing it was gonna take them 3 months to get these products. We had to shift our production facility to Europe because we got totally shut down in the US during this phase. 95% of our customers are in the US, and that meant that, you know, we have a production facility in Europe that was way below capacity, trying to get product out, which was then taking a while to get from Europe over to the US, and then there was custom duties and things like that. It was just a nightmare. The thing that kept me, kept our brand, and kept our client’s brand, for us GearBunch, continued to be profitable ‘cause I turned the ads off and we just focused on our email marketing. Because people had more time now, they were checking their emails more often, and we got really good revenue out of our email marketing. That was just working with the lists we already had, same with our clients. I don’t know how new brands could’ve survived last year. If you had a launch in January last year, I feel terribly sorry for you. If you got through it, congratulations, because you will probably never experience that again in the whole life of your business. It was a nightmare. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, it’s like a gold rush!’ And then it was like, ‘No, it’s not!’ And then it was, ‘Well, Apple’s… I’m gonna introduce iOS14.5.’ And then, yeah, it’s like, they’re just gonna keep piling up this shit on us right now and we’re gonna, we’re really struggling. You know, ad costs started going up because all these brick-and-mortar businesses around the world have decided, ‘Well, we can’t sell people to people coming into the shop. We’re gonna have to go online as well.’ The cost of auctions went up. It was just not the most fun time to be in eCommerce. It ended up being a good year in the end, but there were a lot of hurdles there.
24:24 – 35:19 – Back-end strategies to employ in your business
Ray (24:24 – 24:40) – With, having gone through that, I’m sure you probably learned a few things or you were forced to learn some things on the back-end because you had to survive. I’d love to hear, having gone through that, what would you do differently now that you’d recommend to other brands on their back-end strategies, ‘cause you had to live off only on email for a period of time.
Dan (24:40 – 24:48) – Yeah, look, honestly, keep building your lists. You know, we sort of rest on our laurels to a degree, and you, sort of, don’t continue to build that list-building…
Ray (24:48 – 24:51) – Do you have any strategies on that, like what are some strategies on that?
Dan (24:51 – 25:57) – Yeah, so, probably the one that works the most effectively, and we tested quite a few, the one that works the best is, we run competitions. Now, when we’re running competitions, we tested this and a lot of them were a bit of a flop because what we were doing is, we were giving away our own product. So, what we found was, through testing, we needed to have a competition that we gave away our product that was congruent with what we sold. It was gonna be an interest to our potential customers, but it wasn’t giving away our products. What we found was that people would just hold off. If they thought their chance of winning, we were running a prize of, we called it Gear for a Year; I thought that’s catchy. Every month, the winner can pick one item from our store, for 12 months, and they could end up having a wardrobe full of GearBunch gear, gear for a year, and they could pick out all the different things they wanted. What we found was people weren’t converting because they, all in their head, were wanting the chance to win gear for a year, we’re gonna see if we’re gonna win. Why would I spend my money when I could win gear for a year?
Scott (25:58 – 26:00) – Yeah, it’s just disincentivizing them to buy, right?
Dan (26:00 – 26:02) – To not buy.
Scott (26:02 – 26:09) – Yeah, sorry, yes. Not it’s disincentivizing them to buy. Got a double negative…
Dan (26:08 – 26:20) – Yes, yeah. That’s exactly what we were doing. We were building this list, but what we found is that it just wasn’t, it wasn’t doing what we wanted to do. We tested out…
Scott (26:20 – 26:38) – Just on that. With the quality component, ‘cause I know, you play with competitions and the struggle is that balance between cost per lead but also the quality and determining the quality of the list if they’re not buying immediately. How do you view that part to validate it?
Dan (26:38 – 26:54) – Yeah, so, look, we don’t just run Facebook lead ads. That was another thing we tested where you can just get them to pop in and it just self-populates whatever email they use to log in with. We just find that it’s easy to click through and they don’t even remember that they entered it.
Ray (26:53 – 26:56) – Junk, junk emails…
Dan (26:56 – 27:03) – 100%, and probably not even… I know, personally, I don’t use, the email that I sign in to Facebook with is not the email I check everyday.
Scott (27:02 – 27:04) – I’m the same, yeah.
Dan (27:05 – 29:12) – Yeah, and I think that there’s obviously a large percentage of people that are like that. We can see that in the analytics, with the data. There was just a massive percentage of people that, even when we were announcing the winners, were not opening the emails. It was because they just were, it was automatically pushing in the email they log in with. There’s another step you can use in the Facebook lead ads that’ll allow the person to actually enter their email, but again, we didn’t find that it did a hell of a lot. What we found works best is we used a tool called Gleam, and UpViral has a very similar system, where you bring them to a landing page on your website. We get them Pixel-ed when they hit there, scripts fire, we get them to enter and then we create that viral environment. You’ve got your entry in it, but take any of these steps, and you can come back everyday and do them, and you’re gonna get bonus entries. We’ve got their email, but then we use them to push it out further so that drives down our cost per lead. They could email their friends, they could post about it, they could visit our website to win bonus entries, they could look at our bestsellers, they could share it on Twitter, they could put it on Pinterest, they could, I’m trying to think of what else they could do… It’s just a whole range. We probably have a dozen of these actions that you can take, and you can come back and visit everyday if you wanna get more & more bonus entries. It created this viral environment. We’ve all got monkey brains, and we surround ourselves with similar interests to us, so they’re sharing it with their friends and their friends usually have similar interests to what they do so if I’ve targeted them, and they’ve been picked and scooped up by a Facebook ad, they’ve gone through this process and they’ve shared it, they’re more than likely sharing it with people who have very similar interests to the target audience we’re seeking. That would drive our cost per lead down because, you know, whilst we were paying about 50 cents per lead on Facebook, but we were getting triple the amount of leads than what Facebook was reporting because we had this viral effect to it.
Ray (29:12 – 29:17) – Did you add that to back-end flows as well? Like, did you try to hype that up to sharing with their friends more?
Dan (29:17 – 31:07) – 100%. We would connect them on, I wouldn’t just not email them until we were doing the draw. I would make sure that they went into what we call a nurturing flow, and we’d be showing them the pillars of our business. They’ve been introduced to us through a giveaway, but what we would do is, we would put them in a flow from the time that they were in there to say, ‘Hey, congratulations! You’re entered. Remember, you can do this and you can share it and get more entries.’ A couple of days later, we would send them another email and we’d start talking about the pillars of our business. You start nurturing these leads, and I think that’s what we found previously is we weren’t doing it, like ‘Hey, do you wanna win this?’ and then ‘Here’s the winner!’ That was the only contact. This is awesome, we built up thousands of people on our list, but they don’t really know about us, most probably can’t even remember they entered the competition, it was just a cool idea at the time. We would nurture them. That would go to a series of emails talking about the pillars of our business, you know, GearBunch, they’re never see-through leggings, they’re 100% squat-proof, they’re hand-made just for you, you know, they’re made in the USA. All of those things go into what makes our brand different from others, and we would just be creating these touchpoints with them, all the way along. Then, at the end of it, when we did announce the winner, we did offer them a runner-up prize, which is a discount off the entire range as a thanks for being part of it. Then, they would, during that whole time that we made sure they’re excluded from any other regular campaigns that we would send out, they will only be receiving that one particular flow where we were building that trust with them and educating them about our brand, making them aware of what we do. And then…
Scott (31:07 – 31:10) – Is SMS a part of that process at all?
Dan (31:10 – 32:17) – Yeah. So, it would also fold into that as well. I don’t use Klaviyo for SMS. I do use PostScript just because of the extra features – it has been used by our customers for years now. But, again, same deal – there’ll be triggers that will be going off there, like a welcome series on SMS as well, pointing them to a blog post about products being squat-proof or, you know, never see-through, or hand-made, or you know, our processes and all that stuff we have. I found that, by the time we got to the end of the competition being launched, is that we were converting quite a few of them, during that stage, because we were constantly reminding them of how to get more entries, but did you also know that we’ll hand-make these for you? You know, all the different pillars we had, and what we found is, by the end of it, we developed so many touchpoints with them and trust that they didn’t win the prize, which was a yoga pack, but they could come in with a discount after knowing so much about our brand and use that discount to go and buy their first product with us. We found our conversion rates were a hell of a lot higher because we nurtured…
Ray (32:17 – 32:30) – I’m curious. With all the testing you’ve done, in a flow like that, I’m sure you’ve tested tons and tons of different angles and copies. To get people to still buy, while they’re waiting for a competition finalist, what converts the best? I’m really curious.
Dan (32:30 – 33:51) – It was more towards the end, once we’ve established all our pillars with them, a lot of them didn’t even know that we existed when they first joined nor what we did – they just saw the yoga pack giveaway. And then, when we introduced them to our brand, it was normally around the time where we start pushing into, ‘cause we’re only targeting US-based subscribers, when we started pushing into the fact that we’re made in America after we’ve already given them the value proposition statements all the way through, and then we say, ‘Hey, did you know we’re made in America?’ Then, we’d start to get the conversions during that flow. We then get a lot of conversions post-drawing of the competition because they’re like, ‘Alright, these guys are cool. They actually told me who the winner is. I’m gonna actually go now because I know so much about them now, and use that special discount they’ve given me as a runner up prize. Obviously, we can track those discount codes, we can see how many of them used, and we can also look at the analytics on the back-end of Klaviyo to see how much the average order value is, you know, the analytics of who’s actually converting out of that list. There’s different stages of awareness that we put them through, you know, by the time we’re drawing, just before it, or after, with that discount as the offer for them, they were converting.
Scott (33:52 – 33:59) – I was just gonna ask, what’s the value of the offer? Like $500 yoga pants?
Dan (34:00 – 35:01) – Yeah, so, we put it in, we want it to be valued in the hundreds of dollars. It doesn’t need to be in the thousands, but we value it in the hundreds of dollars. It needs to be enough that it’s an incentive for them to share their details with you and to share that they’re interested. If it’s too cheap, you’ll just get everyone. If it’s too expensive, you’re just gonna get a lot of freebie seekers; they won’t even care if they’re interested in yoga, they’ll probably just get it and slip it on eBay or something like that. But, you know, if it’s in that sweet spot of, like, it’s just out of reach that it’s not an impulse buy, but it’s also not too valuable that just everyone will enter who’s not even interested in that particular niche that we’re trying to target – I found that’s the sweet spot. That can vary from brand to brand so, you know, for argument’s sake, you got a coffee brand – giving away a bag of coffee isn’t gonna generate much, but you know… if you’re giving away a mug, let’s say you don’t sell mugs, but you’re giving away the mug, that’s not gonna do much, but if you give away a nice…
Scott (35:03 – 35:04) – Grinder, good grinder.
Dan (35:04 – 35:19) – Yeah, nice grinder, you know, press or whatever it might be, that’s gonna be more of an incentive. If you’re giving away a $3,000 coffee machine, everyone will enter because even if you didn’t want it, you can turn around and sell it and make money. So, you need to just find that sweet spot.
35:20 – 45:32 – Advanced email segmentations to explore
Ray (35:20 – 35:35) – I wanted to ask you, one thing I’ve always liked about how you think about things, you do some pretty advanced stuff on the back-end. I’d love for you to dive into that for a little bit because you really have a unique way of thinking about it, especially for GearBunch, and I’ve seen what you’ve done there. What are some of your favorite or best advanced segmentations?
Dan (35:35 – 38:32) – Yeah, look, so we’ve got, I call them my Elite 7. Our agency’s called Elite Brands, so played on that, it’s called the Elite 7. We pretty much go through those stages of awareness with people using flows. Now, keep in mind when I go through these, they’re all, when one door opens for a flow, the door for the flow they’re in behind them closes. You’re never gonna have them in more than one flow. It’s just the way it is set up. Initially, you know, from either pop-ups or, you know, opt-in form on your website, we get leads in. We have a flow that we call leads retarget, which are people who have come in as a lead, haven’t converted as a customer, we’re gonna nurture them, very similar to what we do when they join the giveaway list, and we’ll push them through that way. The next stage is if they come to the website, and we call these guys window shoppers. If they come to the website and they look around, we have installed scripts through Klaviyo onto your website that fire when these people are viewing products and they’re looking around. Not home page or collections – I get them when they’re on the products ‘cause they got a little bit higher intent. They’re called our band in browse – it’s very simple, but we then nurture them as well. Obviously, through, we make them aware that they’re looking at it and we offer incentives as we get further down the flow. The next one that we have is what we call an add-to-cart. It’s not what Klaviyo calls their add-to-cart, Klaviyo’s add-to-cart is really effectively an abandoned checkout. This is another one that fires when someone puts something in their cart, script fires, Ajax add-to-cart, they go to the cart page. Wherever your cart’s set up, it’s another script you’ve got to install and we get those people, exclude the people out that are the leads or exclude the people out that are the browsers, window shoppers, now these people put something in their cart. We then talk to them about their stage in their buying journey, they put something in the cart, but haven’t purchased. Next stage is, we go through abandoned checkout, that’s your traditional, what a lot of brands look at and call their abandoned cart, but it’s really abandoned cart, but it’s really abandoned checkout. When someone’s actually gone to the point of putting their details in to your checkout and, for whatever reason, what’s the old adage that marketers say? Life got in the way, and they moved on, and they couldn’t figure out where they were and how they can get back into the flow. Leads, browse, cart, checkout – next one that we look at is, what we call our welcome series. We’re looking at people that are either, you know, becoming a customer for the first time or they’re a repeat customer. We talk to them differently. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to maintain contact with them because the key to GearBunch, and I think this should be the key for every brand as well, is you want repeat customers. It’s so much easier to convert an existing customer than it is to try and convince someone who’s never heard of you that they should buy off you.
Ray (38:32 – 38:38) – It’s also the content differences. If they bought from you, you probably don’t have to educate them as much. Where do you lean on that?
Dan (38:38 – 38:43) – In terms of whether they’re a new customer versus a returning customer?
Ray (38:43 – 38:55) – Yeah, correct. I’m sure you talk to them differently. I’m always curious, what do you lean on? Is it more education? Are you trying to lift the hood even more, like lift the veil?
Dan (38:55 – 39:26) – Yeah, so, for a new customer, it will depend on the brand, but for a new customer, we might have to make them aware of our entire range, what it is about our backstory, so really introduce them to the brand. A lot of them could’ve just bought in and not knowing anything about you. We’re trying to just, we’re trying to become a real brand to them. It’s quite a surprise to a lot of our customers that we are, in fact, an Australian-based company. We’re a small, family-based company.
Ray (39:25 – 39:27) – You introduce yourself?
Dan (39:28 – 42:14) – 100%. Every brand can tell their own story, but I introduced myself, and I did that on the back off copping a hiding from COVID. Copping a hiding is probably not the right word for you. We got absolutely slammed during COVID because of delivery times and production times, so I actually reached out to what I call our VIP customers, customers who have purchased 6 or more times. I said to them, ‘I need a hand off you.’ I had to share a photo of myself and my family from Christmas, and I said, ‘This is who we are. We’re really struggling, like, in terms of our reputation online, which is our currency.’ We spent years building up this trust and reputation and, in the space of a few months, it just deteriorated so badly. I reached out to our VIP customers and I spoke to them genuinely, as a dad and a husband, ‘We’re struggling with this. We are copping it online.’ They turned around and were really, really supportive. They went on to TrustPilot, gave us reviews, gave us positive reviews everywhere. I didn’t say to them, ‘I’m gonna give you this in exchange for a review.’ It was purely just, ‘Hey, look, if you love our brand, can you please let the world know because it’s usually the people that have the problems that are the ones that are most vocal, and we don’t often hear about the good stuff.’ The response to it was overwhelming. I included that in the welcome flow, I thought, ‘If these people buy a product off me, then it’s probably nice to know who you’re buying off.’ We’re not this big multinational, we’re not some conglomerate. We do it right, but we’re still effectively a small business based in a regional area in New South Wales. I would tell them that, and the response has been great. I use my personal email to that, so they can reply directly to that. I just let them know more about who we are. ‘Did you know that we also have these products?’ I explained to them the production process. When they come back in as a repeat customer, I don’t need to go through all that again. I just remind them that we’re a small company, but I do like to, at that stage, try and get them to be brand advocates because, if they’ve already purchased 2 or more times, then they obviously like us, they obviously trust us. I talked to them about being brand advocates, or shouting out about us on Instagram, or going over to TrustPilot and leaving a review for us. It just really makes them feel like they’re part of a family. I also do offer incentives for them as well to come back and be a repeat customer again and again and again, seems like a personalized discount that’s purely a reward for being a repeat customer.
Ray (42:14 – 42:26) – That personal email, would you say that one does as average as your other emails, or are you saying it’s actually higher? I feel like with a brand that has authenticity, typically, has a better response from customers.
Dan (42:26 – 42:41) – A massive response. I actually get reply emails back, which is even rarer, because I put my reply email as my email. It’s not just support@gearbunch, it’s dan@gearbunch – I actually get those replies back and people ask questions…
Ray (42:43 – 42:47) – Do you use that copy, like that copy that they use in emails? Like how do you use that?
Dan (42:47 – 43:15) – I don’t usually. I’ll use reviews that people leave because it’s a whole lot of hoops they’re jumping through, knowing that I can use that. I haven’t actually thought of using the copy. I suppose I can ask them. That’s a good idea. I’m not gonna say that I don’t do it for any particular reason. I just never really thought of grabbing that copy and using it in emails. I could ask them, I’m sure they’d be happy to.
Scott (43:15 – 43:22) – Ray loves copy hacking. There’s a lot of gold in the customer’s comments, that’s for sure.
Dan (43:22 – 45:32) – Yeah, we do use customer’s comments. We do use reviews that they leave. We do have emails as part of that nurturing sequence that go in and say, ‘These are all the people that are happy with us. These are snippets of what they’ve had to say, and there’s photos of them wearing it and all sorts of things,’ which is all that user-generated content we get, which we have stacks of, which is fantastic. Moving on from those welcome series, we do have a cross- and up-sell, depending on the client, but with GearBunch, especially as an example, if someone comes in and buys a pair of leggings, ‘for every product we make, we do make a matching sports bra or we do have matching capri leggings’ so we create exclusionary rules to say ‘Well, they bought X, but didn’t buy Y.’ We’re now gonna show them an email to say, ‘Hey, did you know you can complete your look?’ Now the same thing can apply for, let’s say, you’ve got a consumable product. I’ll use coffee as an example ‘cause one of our clients, he’s a coffee brand. We do work on their cycles of how often people reorder and we do make sure that we go back in and we have a reminder that ‘You’re gonna be running low and it’s time to probably restock. Did you know that we have this new flavor or this new blend or this new bean’ or whatever it might be. We let them know that ‘Hey, we know you’re getting low. Hey, have you thought about getting some more while you’re here?’ It works usually well with GearBunch because, you know, completing that look is just something that’s a natural fit, it works really well. We try and upsell that to people on the website during the time they buy it, but our repeat customers tend to take that up a bit more. I think a lot of our newer customers think, ‘Well, I’ve just invested x amount in buying these leggings. I wanna see the quality of it. I wanna make sure that it turns up.’ We will time that to trigger 2 weeks after fulfillment, after fulfillment’s triggered, so that we know that it’s been fulfilled from our production facility. 2 weeks is plenty of time for the consumer to have got it, worn it, liked it, loved it. We then send them an email and say, ‘Hey, by now, you’ve worn, used, loved X. Did you know that you can get Y?’
45:34 – 57:37 – Measuring the AOV of a customer and their likelihood of repeat purchases
Scott (45:34 – 45:52) – Quick question on that. Do you, have you seen any data in a difference in AOV between purchase number? So, it increases as people buy more, like they might be more likely to buy 2 or 3 products on the second or the third order just because there’s been an increase in trust?
Dan (45:52 – 47:26) – I haven’t drilled down on the data on that level. I drill down on it as a holistic view to know that, look, I know I can acquire, I can spend, I know that I can spend a $100 to acquire a customer, even though the product on my side is $88 because I know, long-term, I’ll make money on the back-end out of that customer, because we do things really well, like our email marketing, SMS marketing, our support, our, you know, we bend over backwards to, when someone comes to us and they’ve had their product for, you know, 3 months and they’re like, we’re not happy with it. More often than not, unless it’s really obvious someone’s trying to scam us, we will just replace the product, or even if it’s Black Friday, we had people last week buying and then, shockingly, Black Friday sales come up. ‘Oh, we didn’t know Black Friday was coming up!’ Alright, like, I don’t know how, but surprisingly Black Friday’s here. And they’re like, ‘Can we get a discount, you know, back when we bought before the sales start.’ And I just emailed my customers, just refund them the discount amount, because again, the trust that you build there might cost me $20 or $30 now, but if you said to me, ‘Hey, Dan, will you be prepared to spend $20 – $30 to acquire a new customer?’ I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I would.’ $20 – $30 is cheap if my average order value is $150.
Scott (47:26 – 47:29) – And the positive experience and the likelihood of coming back.
Dan (47:29 – 47:36) – Exactly! You know what they’re gonna say? They’re gonna tell their friends. People forget about all this. There are real people on the other end of the computer screen.
Scott (47:36 – 47:43) – I see my wife so much in this space ‘cause she’s a really good…
Ray (47:43 – 47:44) – Shopper?
Scott (47:44 – 48:16) – Shopper, but she’s also a really good representation of our client base and their customers – a lot of fashion. I know as soon as she finds a brand who’s often a client of ours, if I recommend, check this out – she’ll go away and buy it, love the product. Within 2 weeks, her mum and her sister have likely bought as well, that’s just one example, and probably a couple of her friends. Immediately, if it’s a great brand and a great product, an extra 3 – 5 people that will know within a few weeks end up potential customers who are now aware of the brand.
Dan (48:16 – 49:20) – It’s so true. It’s that funnel hacking as well. I watch my wife, she falls into the demographic of GearBunch. She wears leggings every morning to exercise, to train. There’s a big brand in Australia called Country Road, you won’t have it in the States, but there is not an email that comes through from Country Road where she says something like, ‘Oh, you’re killing me, Country Road! This is amazing! I can’t believe!’ So I went through and I looked at what subject lines they were using. I subscribed to them. I looked at what subject lines they were using, I looked at what content they were putting out, I looked at what offers… a lot of my offers that I have, when I run like a buy 1, get 1, half-price, or you know, buy 2, get 1 free, these are all the irresistible offers that my wife will, she’ll just sit there and go, ‘Aw, man, you’re killing me. I don’t even need it, but I gotta buy it. Look, they sent me a special discount because I bought more than twice!’ I’m like, cool, so that then becomes part of…
Scott (49:20 – 49:38) – Their Instagram is really, I’ll admit, when I’m feeling preppy, I’ve shopped there before. They’ve got good clothes, but their loyalty program is great for that. Whenever you go in on their system, they will give you a discount, and they’ll let you know that you’ve got a discount waiting there everytime you go and purchase in-store.
Dan (49:40 – 50:15) – They flip it as well. It’s not a discount all the time, so she’ll go, ‘Oh, I’ve got $30 to spend at Country Road, but if I don’t spend it by this day, it expires.’ I’m like, ‘You do know they’re gonna send you another one in a few weeks.’ And she’s like, ‘No, I have to spend…’ And nothing’s $30 there. It’s a glorified discount, really, but it works so I just reverse-engineered it. My business partner, the agency owner, he’s subscribed to a 1,000 women’s lingerie brands and that’s got absolutely nothing to do with our business.
Scott (50:18 – 50:24) – You hear him laughing in the back, just got him exposed, reading his browser history!
Dan (50:26 – 52:31) – I don’t know why I’m getting targeted with women’s underwear again. In all seriousness, he does subscribe to a lot ‘cause he’s focused on the content, the ad, the copy; he’s a copywriter by trade. I look after the plumbing side of things and he comes back with these great ideas about layouts and shapes within the email. This is all based on what he clicked on, what got him to open, and then, you know, what he found was a great user experience in there. That’s all part of it. It’s nice to have these automated flows. I think the last one we got out of the Elite 7 was Win Back, which is basically like a honeymoon one, someone hasn’t been engaged with for a period of time and we then try to reach out to them, try to incentivize. If they don’t, we clean them off our list so we’re not paying to continue to email them and they affect our analytics, our open rates, click rates, and things like that. Just as important to that is the content you put in there, the layout of it, you know – not making it too image-heavy, not trying to do too much. We operate on the less is more principle, which is how we get away, especially in our flows, we get such good conversion rates off them and the key to it is we just give them one job when we send them the email. If, let’s say, you abandon the cart, our job is to get them back to the website, back to that cart. It’s not to try to sell to them on the email, because we’ll sell to them on the website. We want to get them from the email to the website and, you know, they’re back in their cart, they’re back in that stage in the buying process they’re at, and we wanna continue on and get them through. That’s that less is more principle, but you know, the way you do that is also key and timing, just putting that right messaging in front of the right person at the right time. It’s not a new marketing strategy, but it’s definitely something that people do lack. Most of our clients come to us and they’re just blasting everyone, every week, or every other week, then they make good money out of it…
Ray (52:31 – 52:34) – Fundamentals, it’s just simple fundamentals.
Dan (52:35 – 52:49) – Fundamentals. You know you can automate most of these processes, and you don’t need to be blasting everyone every week. They’re like, ‘We don’t really know what to do, we don’t really know what to say.’ I’m like, ‘You don’t really need to say much.’ People that have come and browsed, send them back to that product, give them that one job to do.
Scott (52:50 – 53:47) – I think it’s like a key takeaway here, especially for earlier stage brands that are, the hardest part is getting from zero to $100K per month, right? Much easier once you’ve got cash flow, you can invest in more resources, but you know, I think, and thinking of brands that have come to us in those earlier stages – if I was a founder, at least picking either retention or traffic as one area that you can focus on, if you’re gonna outsource the other, right? If someone comes to us, primarily for traffic to start with, it’s obviously, it’s usually, not gonna be cost-efficient to hire an agency for both traffic and email to start with. Just trying to have cash flow and it’s gonna chew up too much of your margin. For anyone going to traffic, I would highly recommend that they, at least, focus on getting what you’re talking about here, the fundamental flows there, to maximize the traffic and the spend that you’re putting on an agency or whoever…
Dan (53:47 – 53:49) – Oh, you have to! You have to.
Scott (53:49 – 53:51) – It has to be done that way.
Dan (53:51 – 54:11) – Yeah, we found that during COVID. We had a lot of people coming to us, and they were not even at, like, 10 grand a month, and they were coming to us and asking us to take over their email marketing. I was just honest with them. I said, ‘Look, it’s not cost-efficient for you to do this. We can, on average, get about 30% revenue from email marketing.’
Scott (54:12- 54:15) – You need traffic to fuel it.
Dan (54:14 – 55:05) – But not just that. Even if they’re trying to fuel traffic, and they were making 10 grand a month, and you take out our agency fees and then cost of goods, well, they’re gonna be in the negative. I’d to say to them, ‘No, it’s not gonna work.’ I do offer those little clients training because it’s just, they’ve got the same problems, they just don’t have the money to invest in it. I think you’ll probably find that as well. You’ll probably be turning away just as many clients as you, yeah, you have to! It’s an ethical thing. I couldn’t take, you know, thousands of dollars off a small business owner knowing that, you know, even if it does everything I want it to do, they’re gonna come out, at best, at breakeven. I’m like, ‘Well, I can’t do that to a small business. They’ve got families and they’ve got bills.’ I just have to be honest with them and say no.
Scott (55:06 – 55:39) – But you really gotta be set up to scale, I think, to like $50K a month as quickly as possible to make it viable. This is the struggle – you get brand founders who are more product-, creative-focused, and don’t necessarily want to get their hands dirty with some of the marketing, but you’ve just gotta hustle in those early stages, somewhere in there to scrap, and get to that level of scale that you can reinvest and outsource those things that are not your core strength or interest. As a start-up founder, you’ve got to wear every hat a lot of times.
Dan (55:39 – 56:15) – You do for a while. Some of the emails I used to send out were cringe-y. When I was first starting to try and figure out email, it took me years to figure it out, to get this really refined system that I know works, and is scalable, and works across every niche. Some of the stuff I was sending out to start with, I look back on it now, and it’s cringe-y, but if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have evolved to where I was going. If I just sat, waited. and said, ‘Oh, no, I’ll get someone to do it all, it’s not perfect. I’m not going to do it now.’ You just gotta do it. You’re gonna make mistakes, but at the end of the day, you’re gonna learn it the quickest that way.
Ray (56:15 – 56:34) – Don’t overthink it. Would you recommend brands just don’t overthink it. I have brands that, they’re early start-up, probably around 50 – 75K, doing text-based only emails to their list, and it crushes. It does really well! It’s only, like, 7,000 people on their list, it’s not a big list, but they’re highly engaged.
Dan (56:34 – 57:33) – Yeah, and that’s what I say to people all the time. This is, you know, this comes from, sort of, how I started in the industry. I knew nothing, but I was always talk about imperfect action. Now, it helped that my safety net of my career was taken out from under me and I needed to make it work so I just kept taking imperfect action. I made some massive mistakes along the way, but no regrets because if I hadn’t made those mistakes, I wouldn’t have evolved. If you keep making those same mistakes, then, over and over again, then you’ve got an issue. That’s, fundamentally, something’s not working in your brain, but you know, you just gotta take that imperfect action. People come to us, and they’re like, ‘Well, we’re doing this,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, you’re doing pretty well. It’s not what I would do, but it’s doing pretty well.’ We’re trying to improve on it. Let’s not, you know, just like you said, you can just be sending text-based emails. Don’t overthink it, it’s better than nothing at all. Some people think that it needs to look like a glossy magazine that gets sent out via email. It’s actually not, you don’t need that at all.
Scott (57:33 – 57:37) – It tends to convert better, but it’s that balance between brand and conversion, I guess, is often the argument.
57:38 – 59:24 – Email marketing tactics you can use to avoid leaving money on the table Scott (57:38 – 58:03) – I know we’re getting a little short on time, but we got a couple of key things that I’d love for us to get through. One, let’s start with the first one. Where do you see most people leaving money on the table? Let’s just get into, we’ve got the foundational stuff. Let’s look more into the advanced segmentation and some tactics. Where do you think people are really leaving, like, just money on the table that should be picked up immediately?
Dan (58:03 – 59:20) – 100%, it is those abandoned flows that I spoke through. So, you know, at the very worst, people don’t have abandoned cart flows. In the middle is those abandoned cart flows that push out off Shopify. There is different stages of awareness before that. You know, you’ve got to nurture that lead that comes in, there’s an abandoned browse, which are those window shoppers, we’ve got people who abandon cart – they’ve put it in the cart, but they don’t go to checkout. I think if you include those, as your fundamentals, I would be happy to say to my client, ‘Hey, go start pushing traffic once we’ve got those set up.’ You know, the cross-sells, up-sells, the win-back is down the track after someone hasn’t converted but they’ve gotta be on that list to start with. The cross-sells & up-sells, we can evolve into that, once we’ve got a bit of an idea on purchase behavior and buying cycles, but those abandoned flows… if you don’t have those set up, you’re leaving, I would say, between 10 – 15% of your revenue on the table because you are losing that many people. Like, think about it, these people you’ve brought them through touchpoints, you already paid to get them through your website, they found you somehow, they’re on your website, they’re interested in your product, get them across the line.
Scott (59:20 – 59:23) – That’s huge, that’s low-hanging fruit right there.
Dan (59:23 – 59:24) – Massive!
59:24 – 1:01:08 – Updates on iOS15 & its impact on Email Marketing
Scott (59:24 – 59:36) – Last one, Apple’s updates. What’s that looking like? How’s that gonna impact emails? A lot of chatter going about what we need to do to prepare for that and what’s on the way.
Dan (59:36 – 1:01:08) – Basically, the user data you have, and we found the same thing with iOS14 is that, you look at what data resources you have and use that data to your advantage. iOS15, I talk about this ‘band of browse,’ we’ve got scripts that fire that, you know, tell us when people are actually on our websites. I include those now in our levels of engagement with people. We are losing those open and click rates, which is, that’s just life. It’s all going to, like, a spoofed email, everything’s shown as 100% opened from those emails whether the person does or not, so we run another filter through our levels of engagement. We have engagement audiences of 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 days. Obviously, starting really hot with us to moving further away. Traditionally, we just look at open and click. We look at people that were either opening or clicking our emails, engagement, but we’ve added in another metric there which is, they’ve actually been active on the site. It’s data we can get through scripts firing on Klaviyo. Yes, there’s gonna be some loss of data there with different privacy, things that are happening around, but it’s another layer of data we own that we’re adding into the equation that helps us know whether someone’s engaged with our brand or not. It’s not just open and click rates anymore, we also include those that have visited our website.
1:01:10 – 1:08:33 – Biggest opportunity in retention marketing space for 2022
Ray (1:01:10 – 1:01:20) – Dan, bringing this home, last question on my side. For 2022, what do you think is the biggest opportunity or the biggest thing coming in the retention space?
Dan (1:01:23 – 1:03:57) – Biggest thing coming in the retention space – look, it needs to be… we’ve, over the last 18 months, that reliance on a single-traffic source is not going to work. It needs to be like an omnipresence, in terms of retention. We need to be reaching people at different stages of the buying cycle in every place that we can possibly think that they will be. So, you know, I’m big on email marketing, I’m big on Facebook ads, but we are on, at the very least, remarketing on every single social platform that we can. We’ll hit Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Google, obviously email, SMS – any way that we can reach someone at that bottom of funnel, whether it be to get them across the line from someone who’s added to cart, be a purchaser, to becoming a repeat purchaser. We reach them on every single one of those platforms. Are they great for top-of-funnel? Some of them, no. Some of them, yeah. For retention, we need to be everywhere, and this isn’t expensive. You can set this up and learn this in a short amount of time. I don’t use Snapchat, I don’t have a lot of, I’ve never run advertising on Snapchat, until the last few months and I started bottom of funnel, simply, getting the Pixel on their website, people that have added-to-cart, not purchased, run a catalogue ad to them, that’s it.. It converts, it converts between 3 – 4x ROAS. Now, I’m not ever acquiring top-of-funnel traffic from there, but in some spaces, some of my customers are sitting on there. That’s what I see with retention and I’m not gonna get up and say, ‘Email’s the only way to survive 2022, and that’s gonna be the…’ Like, email’s always gonna be there. It gives us between 30 – 40% revenue for ourselves and for our clients, but it doesn’t work without traffic. So, it’s this omnipresence. It just forms this big ecosystem, which was a hard lesson for a lot of brands to learn, they’re whinging in the Facebook groups about the irregularities and performance of Facebook advertising. Yeah, it sucks, but you know, we’re playing in someone else’s backyard so, you know, you gotta be prepared.
Scott (1:03:55 – 1:03:57) – We’re in the same boat.
Dan (1:03:58 – 1:05:46) – That’s exactly right. That’s probably the key fundamental thing that I do like, that distinguishes email marketing and SMS marketing, and even push marketing to a degree away from, you know, these advertising platforms. It’s that, you own the data, to a degree, especially with email marketing. You’ve got control of that. We’re not dictated by different situations – ad accounts getting shut down, all those sorts of things – but, you know, you own the data, you can talk directly to your customers, there’s no anomalies in there, there’s no price fluctuations, there’s no reporting issues. Look, fundamentally, 2022, as it should have been for years before, but moving forward, if you’re not, you don’t look at this omnipresence online, then you’re probably not gonna survive, if you’re gonna keep relying on one channel. It’s not just gonna happen, and that’s how we’ve been moulded ourselves into this, looking at everything from a global ROAS point of view, and there’s other terms for it that gets thrown around, but fundamentally, we look at all of our advertising efforts that go in, including email marketing and SMS because there’s a bit of cold stuff that gets thrown on there. We look at that global ROAS, but we’re not just relying on each individual platform anymore ‘cause all the cross-attribution and non-reporting and non-attribution and irregularities and bugs and Pixels and everything. I mean, we’ve got a whole issue coming up again, I think it’s next year, with Google. They’re going to, sort of, build a fence around their own reporting as well. They’re gonna, you know, not pass that information to other platforms so, you know, it’s another hurdle we have to overcome, but if you’ve got this omnipresence then, you know, I think it’s that solution moving forward.
Ray (1:05:46 – 1:05:52) – Man, this was super helpful. Mind telling our audience where they can reach out to, or where they can find you?
Dan (1:05:53 – 1:06:04) – I’ve got a Facebook group called Elite Brands. Does the link go under the podcast?
Ray (1:06:03 – 1:06:05) – We’ll put a link out there for you.
Scott (1:06:04 – 1:06:07) – We’ve got show notes, we can link to whatever we need to.
Dan (1:06:07 – 1:07:41) – Okay, cool. You can reach out to me through Elite Brands the group. I’ve got a YouTube channel called Email with Dan Nikas, same title for Instagram account as well. I do run a workshop, a free workshop, through those Elite 7 flyers that I spoke about today, in full detail. I run a live workshop where I just get up and show people behind the scenes exactly what GearBunch does and how to do it. That’s to trying to help people who, like I said, everyone’s got the same problems, but they might quite not be at that level where they can engage an agency. You know, fundamentally, that’s the thing I miss the most about being a police officer. When it boils down to it, yeah, it was my identity, but I do enjoy helping people, and that’s what made me gravitate towards that career. Now, in hindsight, knowing that I like to help people and sitting behind a computer, day-to-day, I don’t get to help a lot of people all the time. It’s very insular, we’ve got relationships like this. Ray, I feel like I know you so well, but we haven’t seen each other in person. We’ve seen each other in person once, 2.5 years ago. Scott, sometimes, comes to Yamba, grab a coffee or something like that, but it’s more of a virtual relationship. It’s nice, I do miss helping people, I do run this workshop once a week, just to try and help people. I give them all the notes they need, everything they need to know, to be able to run this themselves because they’ve got the same problems the bigger companies have as well.
Scott (1:07:41 – 1:08:01) – Dan, thanks so much for coming on, man. I really appreciate it, and I can’t recommend you highly enough for anyone who’s looking to go out there and get their hands dirty and get this stuff implemented themselves, especially in those early stages. If you’re looking for someone to help guide you on that, reach out to Dan and jump into one of those workshops.
Dan (1:08:01 – 1:08:24) – Really appreciate it. Even if you don’t, just take what we’ve talked about today and just try and implement it yourself. Get something done. You know, the Internet, there’s a world of, there’s everything out there. I’m not gonna pretend like I’ve got the solution, the solutions are out there, sometimes, you just need a bit of a guidance, which is why I run the workshops. Go out there and take some action yourself. Get it set up.
Scott (1:08:24 – 1:08:32) – Great advice, great way to finish. Dan, thanks very much! Ray, ‘til next time! See you all later, thank you!
Dan (1:08:32 – 1:08:33) – Thank you, guys!
1:08:34 – 1:09:30 – Episode outro
Scott (1:08:34 – 1:09:30) – Thanks again for tuning to this episode of the Growth & Greatness eCommerce Podcast. I hope you got a ton of value out of this episode and if you did, we’d love for you to leave us a review on your platform of choice and help us reach as many people as we can. Now, if you’re a brand founder, an eCommerce entrepreneur, or an in-house marketing manager looking to accelerate your growth this year, reach out to us at Right Hook Digital. We’re a performance branding agency and we specialize in partnering with eCommerce brands to help them hit their growth goals with maximum ROI. Now, if this sounds like a solution that you need, then check us out at righthookdigital.com and schedule a call with our client partnerships team. They’d love to have a chat with you and see how we can help you grow in 2021.