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January 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:
I haven’t been following the Google FLoC / advertising privacy things. What’s the TLDR?
High level, 3rd party cookies are cookies not set by the website you’re currently on. Think the Facebook Pixel, Google Ads, etc. These cookies are going away or are going to be severely limited by browsers. This causes a whole host of problems from not being able to attribute media to limited targeting when advertising.
Google FLoC was Google’s solution to all of the privacy problems that came along with 3rd party cookies and the disappearance of them.
This week Google announced that they’re killing FLoC even before it rolled out and replacing it with Topics API.
The industry isn’t waiting on Google. They’re already starting to push heavily into the digital fingerprinting direction.
I run an ecommerce store. What should I write about?
This is obviously personal preference but I think there’s 2 types of articles you should write if you’re an ecommerce store.
Articles in your space that you can rank for. The intent of these are to build brand exposure and expertise in your niche. IE - topical authority. They’re likely going to be low converting BUT you’re still getting the opportunity to show your brand as an expert and to pass link juice to your product pages.
Articles that seek to educate the consumer on why they should buy YOUR products. You’re much less worried about ranking these posts. The point of them is to explain to the customer why they need a similar solution to yours and why your solution is the one they should choose. These posts will help potential customers move down the sales funnel. You can even reference these blog posts on your homepage and your product detail pages if you can’t encompass all of the information on the product detail page.
I’m starting a premium product. Is it ok to offer discounts on orders to drive sales and grow your email list?
Please don’t give me the “der I’m premium/luxury” in the comments. You’re aspiring to be a premium brand. You’re not their yet. Sure, most premium brands don’t discount no matter what. First that’s only vaguely true. You may never see Louis Vuitton discount on their website but retailers that carry LV will run promotions to drive sales.
Second, brands run into problems discounting when they do it continuously. That’s how you erode a brand. In the beginning, you have no brand and a miniscule advertising budget. You need to do something to get the ball rolling. Fortunately an easy lever to pull to get the ball rolling is to offer discounts. This will get you your initial few hundred subscribers that allow you to build an email content machine that can spread. After you’ve lifted off, then cut off the discount and actually become premium.
The other way is to create a lot of social hype and anticipation of your launch. If you’re asking this question though, that’s likely out of your reach.
I’m starting completely fresh. How do I drive initial traffic.
In addition to paid traffic, you need to utilize social media to drive visitors to your site. If you have absolutely 0 social media followers or you don’t want to connect your socials to this venture, utilize “influencers”. I use that term very loosely here.
Try to aim for smaller accounts that don’t consider themselves influencers. Once someone reaches a certain size, many expect to be payed outsized money for meager real influence. For Instagram people, I’ve found that this number is somewhere around 5,000 followers.
Aim for accounts around that or smaller and send them product and ask that if they like it, they post a review on their account. Just like building backlinks, it’s all a numbers game. You may have to message a 100 accounts to get 20 responses and 10 will accept your offer.
When starting out, there is no one rule that fits with all markets in advertising. You’re going to have to test different avenues of growth. Your audience may be on Facebook or they may be on Twitter. You’ll never know until you test different things.
If you can recruit influencers, you should also test recruiting affiliates. While not easy, affiliate marketing has a lot of benefits from the ecommerce side.
You pay nothing until a purchase.
Many affiliates aren’t going to mark their links as sponsored. This will be a huge source of links and help you rank in organic.
Your lifetime value of a customer is likely much higher than people realize. You can sweeten the affiliate offer more than most brands do and still come out ahead because you can get an email and a 2nd/3rd purchase that you don’t have to pay commission on.
Affiliate is still a hidden gem in ecommerce if you can recruit affiliates. Most brands’ affiliate managers have switched to browser extensions/deal websites because it’s an easier lever for them to show progress to their boss. This leaves a lot of white space to be competitive to recruit affiliates.
Should I also sell on Amazon?
Yes. Well maybe. Well yes but not yet. Well maybe start there first and have your .com as a backup.
Look Amazon is it’s own beast. With a .com, you need to acquire the traffic and a percentage of it will convert. On Amazon it’s the opposite. The traffic is there, you just need to focus on getting in front of it.
They’re both equally difficult in their own respect. I’ve seen people be able to scale extremely fast on both Amazon and .com. I’ve yet to see someone scale quickly on both at the same time without a boatload of advertising money.
I’ve watched BowTiedAmazon scale a product on Amazon from launch to $100k MRR in less than 3 months. But that was the sole focus. They weren’t also trying to rank the product on Google, run SEM and FB ads at their .com.
The point I’m trying to make is pick a platform and stick with it. It’s too much to learn and build everything at once. Focus on your .com OR Amazon account and have the other as a backup to allow people to purchase if that’s their chosen channel.
If you have any burning questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’ll be answering questions over the next 24 hours.
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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.