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April Q/A Roundup
Hey it’s Opossum here! Welcome to my free monthly Q/A Roundup. Today’s post is on some of the best questions in the last month. Each week I write about a new topic or analyze a new digital business. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you missed this month:
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Any ideas on how to use digital ads to drive foot traffic to an event?
Almost every advertising platform today allows you to geo-target ads. The problem isn’t whether you can use digital ads to drive foot traffic to an event, it’s at what cost? Let’s look at 2, arguably bad, examples of how you could do this.
Let’s say you’re holding an event in a busy downtown area of a city. You can absolutely target everyone in the vicinity and try to convince them to come to your event. You can even target based off of interest to try to lower your costs and hit your correct market.
For events, it’s not that efficient from a CAC POV. This is essentially what retailers/restaurants do with LIAs (local inventory ads) and other ad types. If the potential customer is within 1 mile of the store, they’ll be shown an ad on Google maps, search, or various social media platforms.
It works for them because they’re targeting customers at the right time and place. If the person is searching for restaurants, they already have an hour of free time and are deciding where to go. If you’re trying to drive them to an event, they likely already have a set schedule and aren’t going to skip their plans to take 2 hours for your event. Some will, but most won’t. Leading to a very high CAC.
As old school as it is, you’d have better luck doing in person marketing with signs, people, and other things to increase your events visibility.
Let’s look at this from a different angle. An angle that everyone should be focused on no matter your business type.
Where do your potential customers hang out online?
To shoot broadly for the sake of not saying what the event is, let’s say your event is a concert in NYC with a crappy band that nobody knows. If I was trying to drive people to an event that they have to go out of their way for, I’d consider two factors.
Where do the potential customers hang out online and how long in advance do they decide to go?
I’m going to assume that there’s a large audience of people that listen to crappy music on Reddit. It’s also easy to target them.
I’m also going to assume that they’re deciding less than two weeks out as you’re not planning to go to an event for months for a band that you barely or don’t even know.
You can hit ads or you can astroturf to try to drum up interest.
r/nycmeetups - I’d target this group for a week looking for last minute ideas of something to do on the weekend. You could go the ad route or you could create a couple of accounts (or a few friends) and create a meetup group of buzz around getting lonely people to this event.
You could also use a similar tactic on r/nycmusic, r/NYCJam, r/NYCConcerts, etc.
I’m not saying Reddit is the best route here but just like the article I DON’T HAVE AN IDEA, you have to learn to build a mental framework to run through ideas of how to target customers.
Build a framework/mental model of how you target customers. Work through 10+ ideas, write them all down, and start testing your theories.
Focus on the buyer’s journey. How potential customers making buying decisions and how they might run upon a similar product/service/event as yours.
Need to target people who would spend $12k on [redacted], not getting the right kind of traffic. If you know of something to set for targeting on meta, that would be helpful.
This is going to be very similar to the second part of the above answer.
Where do your potential customers hang out online?
Do you think the people buying $12k [redacted] are just scrolling FB all day? Most of your high end customers aren’t wasting their time hanging out on social media all day. Without an email match list to sniper target these people, you have a very large lake targeting an almost extinct fish species.
Know who your target customer is and go where they are.
If you’re struggling with finding where they are, you don’t really know who your target customer is.
Do you have any benchmarks regarding email marketing? An agency is pitching that 30% (currently at 10%) of revenue should be from email marketing
Here’s the thing about benchmarks. They’re benchmarks. Averages.
If your business is the exact average of your industry in everything, then sure you’re well below. Your email revenue as a percentage of total is going to depend on a ton of factors.
How fast you’re growing
How you incentivize email collection in the first place
Are the users cold?
Are they people that only signed up for a coupon?
Are they past customers?
The buying habits of your niche. Is it a product that needs replaced every 60 days, or 1 year, or never?
How you use email. Promotions, new product launches, upsells, etc.
This is all very industry, niche, and business specific.
There’s three major ways an agency that’s trying to sell you on email services is going to increase your email revenue percentage.
Focusing on making your emails better.
Better subject line, better first line, better copy, better visuals, etc.
Better flows and timing.
Better targeting of emails based off of past buying habits.
Sending more emails. Sometimes you need more emails but there’s a balance *long term*. Anyone that says to just constantly blast or “if they unsubscribe, they were never going to buy anyways” has never seen/measured the data on the LTV of tens of millions of customers over years. Big CPG/retailers measure this relentlessly and more is not always better in the long term.
The short term, sure. If you’re not wanting to optimize your business for 5 years instead of 5 months. Send as many as possible, make as much as possible in the short term, burn out your list, and deteriorate your brand.
If I went by similar logic of “if they unsubscribe, they were never going to buy anyways”, then I’d put a CTA below here and unsubscribe all of my free readers.
You all have never subscribed to the paid version so you’ll never buy and it’s a waste of my time…
There was recently a course that launched that I’ve been looking forward to buying for months. When it launched, the creator sent 20+ emails in the matter of 5 days. Along with not having an easy CTA for me to click on, the sheer magnitude of emails annoyed the hell out of me and seemed desperate.
So what did I do? I unsubscribed and didn’t purchase. I was literally going to buy within a week (when I got around to looking through all of my emails) but the smell of desperation and lack of awareness made me not want to give this person my money.
A good email marketer knows that it’s their job to put the right offer, at the right time, and with the right message in front of the potential customer. It’s not to send them 4 emails every day in hopes that one of those times is the right time.
So do I unsubscribe all of you free subscribers? No.
I know that some of you are casually reading and you aren’t yet at the place in your life to take building a business seriously. Even though you should be…
But when you are. I’ll still be here sending you valuable content with a backlog of valuable information to get you started. When you’re ready, I still need to be in front of you and top of mind.
Pulling demand from the future (with less margin)
Stealing demand from other channels (attribution transfer with less margin)
Getting customers to try your product or steal share from your competitor (margin accretive)
Note that just because the percentage is higher, it doesn’t mean that it’s all incremental revenue…
From above you can see that all 3 are valuable. #1 should be your main and first focus. #2 & #3 above should be utilized but carefully.
Figure out the benchmarks in your industry, run through the above and see if you can spot and improve your company’s weaknesses by signing up for your competitors emails. If you can’t, hire an agency and watch #2 and #3 very carefully.
Currently using paid shipping. I’m very tempted to test threshold shipping. Our average order volume is ~145 over the last two months and shipping costs ~7. Would imply to go for 159 for free shipping following your 2x rule.
Would a higher/ more conservative threshold be counterproductive?
Here’s the link to the tweet that inspired this question.
First, you can’t just take the AOV and run with it. You have to make sure it’s a normal distribution first to use that formula. The distribution could be not a normal distribution. It could look something like this.
This could easily be the case if all of your products are priced at $30 and $60. You may have an AOV around $45 with literally no way to have a $45 basket. So you look at the distribution and see if you can shift the consumer buying habits to the right by placing the free shipping threshold just to the right of one of the peaks by a factor of 2X your shipping costs.
If you’re starting with flat rate shipping, going more conservative will be detrimental as you’re not changing the buying behavior for the majority of guests. In that case, you’re just going to give margin away on shipping to over half of your guests.
Going higher *may be* incentivizing less people than you’d like to purchase an extra product. This is going to depend on the cost of your items.
As with anything, the above is a guideline. Test different thresholds and see what works best.
Hello BTO, any tips on scaling an ecom store from $1m+ to $3-5m revenue? We are one of the many authorized dealers of brands in our niche (we didn’t go down the create our own product path)
I actually made this mistake once. I wasn’t an authorized dealer, but I partnered with one on taking over their ecom business.
Authorized dealers is a nasty niche to be in if there’s competition. Generally speaking
You can't compete in price
You can't differentiate your product/brand
Any marketing that you do will often flow to competitors
Without knowing what the product is, my only advice is to:
Sell on every platform imaginable and dominate the SEO there
If you're going to run ads, focus on product ads that are very bottom of the funnel.
Use your traffic to launch your own product so you can get out of the authorized dealer hell hole
Lastly, if you run a health or beauty website and want to make a little extra money reviewing a product (maybe even being an affiliate), I have a new brand that would like to have a review of their product posted on your site.
Just respond back to this email or message me on Twitter with the site/how to contact and I can put you in touch with the team.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.