Top 5 Strategies for our Q4 E-Commerce Businesses

Episode 36

In this episode, we will talk about 5 Top Strategies for our Q4 E-Commerce Businesses. Everyone is aware of the inventory problems Amazon is currently facing. Well, with Q4 closing in, we want to give you the best tips and strategies on how you can maximize your sales during this season and after. 

Let’s start digging into these five strategies that Ken and I use in our own businesses, as well as some resources, that can help you get out in front even during the struggles of the pandemic.

[00:01 – 10:46] Maximizing Your Q4 Strategy By Increasing Order Size

  • Opening Segment – What we will cover
  • We talk about the importance of Q4 prep
  • Why we love maximizing Q4
  • Inventory management is huge in Q4
  • Try to forecast – Increasing order size
  • Use the historics from last Q4 and add 25-35% of that

[10:47 – 20:22] Utilize FBM

  • Be able to switch tactics in case of inventory restrictions 
  • Your fulfillment options
  • Ken’s mistake not using FBM
  • Story about fulfillments
  • Ways around unit limitations on Amazon

[20:23 – 29:22] Organizing and Managing Inventory

  • How to quantify how much a stock out will be
    • Using Forcast.ly for inventory management
  • How Forcast.ly can help you manage and organize inventory 
    • Automatic PO 
  • We talk about getting in front of more customer – expanding sales channels 
    • Email marketing and expanding to other sales channels 
    • Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, Walmart, etc… 
  • Don’t sleep on Ebay
    • Facebook Marketplace and Google for Retail also have buyer potential 
  • Click the link to other episodes below to find more episodes on expanding sales channels

[29:23 – 34:31] Email Marketing

  • We talk about sales coming in because of email marketing
    • How it will be useful for upcoming holiday sales and after
  • How to generate an email list
    • Use something of value that people will give their emails for
  • Make sure to capture that valuable Q4 traffic
    • Convertkit & and for a budget Gmass 
  • Pro-tip
    • Paid someone on Fiverr to create an ebook to look 3-D

[34:32 – 40:51] Conversion Optimization

  • The value of utilizing conversions
    • Double sales just by increasing conversions
    • Convince more people the product is for them
  • Add videos to increase click-throughs 
    • Increases conversion by 5%
  • Importance of Split testing
    • Links to sites that allow you to split test below
    • Split test your A+ and AB
  • Final words from Ken and me
  • Closing Segment

Resources Mentioned:

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Email us –> support@firingtheman.com

Ken 0:00
Everybody’s fully aware of the struggles that Amazon has had right now. And, you know, some of the stuff we’ll get into later but there’s inventory restrictions, there’s Amazon is taking forever to ship out products. So if you have inventory local inventory on hand, and you can set up your listings separate listings the same and fulfilled by merchant and fulfill them yourself, at least have that capability to switch over if something happens on, you know, December 3, and Amazon’s all sudden, like, Hey, we can’t chip out in two days and then but you can click on your fbm listing and say, Hey, I can offer seller fulfilled prime. That’s just another backup plan, a strategy to increase sales.

Intro 0:42
Welcome, everyone, to the Firing The Man podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. Sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income stream in just a few short hours. Day and now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 1:06
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode we will be discussing Q4 prep to maximize sales and profit for your e commerce business. To start off the episode we will discuss what is currently impacting the e-commerce landscape. Focusing on Amazon FBA, we will cover several strategies and tips that we were implementing in our own businesses to max Brian’s profit in Q4. Now, Ken, as we record this, it is the beginning of August and Q4 doesn’t start until October 1. Now why is Q4 prep important?

Ken 1:41
Yet, David? Glad to be here today on the show. It seems like it’s been forever since we taped Q4 planning and prep is huge. You have to plan and prepare early in order to maximize your sales and your profit. So David, why is Q4 important?

David 1:56
Well, there’s a couple key landmarks that happen in Q4 that you To prep for first and foremost you got holiday shopping people getting ready for Christmas. I know in my personal business, I’ve seen a huge uptick like December 15 all the way up through December 23. And I love that I love opening my app on those days and seeing booming sales people are getting ready. And I think people are notorious for last minute shopping. And so when you factor in the two day shipping from amazon prime, that really attracts a lot of shoppers. I remember last year it was like around December 5, and I was waiting for the Christmas uptick. And I realized that not everybody plans out their Christmas shopping as well as I do. And there’s a lot of last minute shoppers and so you really see a huge spike there. The second is Black Friday and Cyber Monday happening right around the end of November. And I think especially this year, with the quarantine going on you are going to See those same folks that were going out at midnight on Thanksgiving Day to buy the big screen TV for a 30% discount, those same people are going to be getting on their computers and laptops and online shopping. There’s hype around Black Friday. And I think you’re going to see that translate from brick and mortar, explosive sales into explosive sales in e commerce. And Cyber Monday historically has been a really good day as well. And so these are all events that happened in q4 that are unique to Q4. And I can personally say in my own business, that q4 has been my best quarter hands down the last couple years. What about you?

Ken 3:43
Yeah, absolutely. Q4 last year and the year prior was definitely the largest for the Amazon sales channel in my business. Just to kind of go backwards a little bit. I am one of the people that shops two days before I need to so I’m always struggling to jump on Amazon and you know, a week out or three days out and in order, you know which this year, you could be in a bind. We’ll see how it plays out. But I might actually prepare and buy a little bit ahead of time, maybe two weeks out. But yeah, absolutely. So I know some people in businesses, especially if they have budgets to spend, you know, Q4, how does that work?

David 4:23
Yeah, absolutely. So if you are selling a product that may not appear under a Christmas tree, or may not be like a gift, say you’re doing office supplies, not a ton of people are getting office supplies for Christmas. However, there are a couple of key things about q4 where office supply may see an uptick, and that would be any like municipalities, schools, anyone that has a budget, oftentimes they try to spend that entire budget before the year end. Because what happens is those budgets are evaluated once a year. And if you didn’t spend as much as you were allotted last year, the budget for you next year is likely going to go down. And so you see a lot of people spending in December, just to expand their budget. Universities are notorious for this. And people that are managing budgets within those universities. The second thing would be for tax reasons. So if I’m talking about non inventory, operating expenses, say you’re going into year end, and you have $100,000 in net income, that’s going to be your tax liability. Now, if you take some of that hundred thousand dollars and spend it on, I’m just going to use an easy example, shipping labels, you know, you’re going to use shipping labels next year. It’s not part of your inventory. It’s an operating expense, that’s going to decrease your tax liability. And so you see a lot of people stocking up for next year in December, in order just to drive down that tax liability, and so those are some things that Make q4 unique, but I will say just, you know, in talking to you looking at my own business and some masterminds that I’m in q4 in e commerce is huge. It’s always huge. And I would say that my q4 sales, usually double what I do in q3. And it’s just it’s a function of time and in the significant events that we talked about. So kind of turning the corner in this conversation. Inventory Management is a huge topic, especially in q4. And so Ken, what are some things that people should be considering as it relates to inventory management, getting ready for q4?

Ken 6:36
Sure, absolutely. You know, inventory management is huge, especially in q4, especially if you if you make you know, 50% of your sales in your business in q4. So this year in 2020, with the pandemic, you know, supply chains, logistics like everything is different this year. It’s a total game changer. You know, it’s almost too expensive to use airfreight unless you have Have a huge margin and maybe a light product. So you’re on see shipping, everything is clogged up, manufacturing is delayed. So this year more than any other, if you can get out in front of your queue for inventory management, you’re going to be in better shape versus trying to wait until the last minute. Okay, so David, some of the stuff that you can do to help out is increasing your order size. So if you would normally order 1000 units for q4, you might want to order 1500. You know, ecommerce sales are increasing this year more than ever before. So if you can be prepared and take advantage of that extra surge in sales, you’re better off. So forecasting is huge in it and there’s no real right science to it right now. I mean, it’s tough, then nobody forecasted a pandemic, you know, you can’t really forecast how much your sales are going to increase. So it’s a guessing game. What’s your risk profile for your inventory? Really what you have to ask yourself?

David 7:58
Yeah, I’d like to jump in right here. On the forecasting, and you’re right, it is kind of an art. One thing I will say is when I manage my normal business, q1, q2 and q3, I’m always looking at like trailing 90 day sales and trailing 120. And that’s helpful as I make orders throughout the year. Now, one thing if you have a seasoned business, and when I say seasoned, I mean, you had a q4 last year, it may have been a much smaller company. But if you can examine the uptick in sales that you had last year in q4, you can expect a similar or larger increase this year. So for instance, last year, if you had a 30% increase in sales, then you’re going to want to order 30% more inventory, at least going into q4. And so for those of you that are just starting your businesses, you don’t have that benefit of hindsight. But I do think that just knowing anecdotally, there’s going to be an uptick, how much You don’t really know.

Ken 9:02
Yeah, absolutely. And it is a guessing game and you’re guessing with money that you could be using to expand your business. If you buy too much inventory, then you have dead inventory. That’s that’s kind of wasting dollars. So you brought up a good point of using if you have historical sales, you can use that as a reference point. And also, you know, I’ve read a bunch of articles this year on e commerce sales expanding to the tune of 25 to 35%. So if you can use historical sales records, and then kind of look at your business month over month of this year, let’s see what it’s doing. Use the historical surge in sales from last q4 and then add 25 to 35% of that should be in a safe zone.

David 9:46
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m gonna get really into the weeds here but for all of my spreadsheet loving brothers and sisters out there, one report that I really like to run is within amazon seller central, I will go to Business Report. And then there is a report called sales and traffic by child asen. And that’s going to give you you can query different time periods. And so I always like to run like a trailing 30 days, trailing 60 days trailing 90, so on and so forth. And put all of that into a spreadsheet. And that’s going to show you. For instance, if you wanted to query last q4, you could look at all right, what were my sales between October 1, and 1231, in that report does a really good job of showing you how many impressions you’ve got, but most, most importantly, how many orders you had. And so that’s, that’s one report as you’re performing this analysis, that would be really helpful to us.

Ken 10:45
Yeah, absolutely. That’s, that’s huge. So moving on down the list, increasing your order size, and then next would be utilizing fbm fulfilled by merchant if possible. So everybody’s fully aware of the struggles that Amazon has. Had right now and, you know, some of the stuff we’ll get into later, but there’s inventory restrictions, there’s Amazon is taking forever to ship out products. So if you have inventory local inventory on hand, and you can set up your listings, separate listings the same and fulfilled by merchant and fulfill them yourself, at least have that capability to switch over if something happens on, you know, December 3, and Amazon’s all sudden, like, Hey, we can’t chip out in two days and then but you can click on your fbm listing and and say, Hey, I can offer seller fulfilled prime. That’s just another backup plan, a strategy to increase sales.

David 11:39
Absolutely. Now, I think a lot of people when they hear Fulfillment by merchant, they’re thinking that they’re going to be the ones with a tape gun in the labeler. shipping out packages, and that could be the case but there are some other options here. Specifically three PL logistics companies. Can you go into that and how somebody could use an fbm listing Combined with a three PL, and have a similar feel to the business in that you’re not physically handling the inventory. But it is reaching your end customer, you know in two days in three days like they get with Fulfillment by Amazon. Sure,

Ken 12:16
yeah, it’s essentially the same as using a warehouse filling your products. So you would ship them to a three Pl. And you would have a system that hooks into your Amazon seller account and the orders would feed over to your three PL and they ship out the products. So it’s a similar situation except you’re not utilizing Amazon’s fulfillment or warehousing you’re using your own third party logistics service.

David 12:39
Okay, so back in April, I think it was around April, when we experienced the first Amazon warehouse shut down. You went in one direction I went in the other and so I did not set up fbm listings. I did not contact a three PL company. And in hindsight, that was a mistake. I lost on sales i’d huge stockouts. And that took a while to kind of regain traction in terms of ranking in getting my listings, performing back to how they were pre pandemic. Now, to contrast that you did set up some fbm listings, is that correct? Yes. You know, in hindsight, are you glad that you did that? Would you do it again?

Ken 13:23
Yeah, absolutely. So well, I wouldn’t have to do it again, because I already have them set up. But yet, yeah. So I was the guy with the tape gun standing in the warehouse. So luckily, I had some of my skews on hand in the warehouse, local warehouse, and I was fulfilling them. Well, me and my team was fulfilling them and shipping them out. So that saved on ranking. It’s it I mean, it I was not able to sell otherwise. My skews were non essential. They were not shipping them. Well, they would but they were listed at like I if I can remember it was like 30 or 45 day lead time so nobody was buying them. So like kicked on the fbm. And I can’t remember if I had the seller prime badge or not, but I had shipped a ship date within two to five days. So my sales immediately went about 50% of what they used to be. So that was good enough just to limp along and make some sales. So if that and those fbm listings are still sitting there idle, I just closed them. And if I ever need to reopen them, I just go back and activate them in there and they’re already they’re set up and ready to go. So it’s good to have those created and ready to go. It doesn’t take it doesn’t take much work to get those set up and ready to go. If you have access to your inventory, whether it’s locally on hand, or whether it’s at a three PL another warehouse,

David 14:42
okay. Okay, kind of round out this inventory planning discussion. One major event that’s happened is Amazon has put limits on how many units you can send in. Historically, you can send in, you could send in However, many units You wanted. And to the extent that they sat there too long, you’d get hit with long term storage fees. But that wasn’t an issue. Now, they’re just limiting how many units you can send in on a lot of my skews. Right now. I’m capped at 200 units, which on a high volume listing that creates problems. And so what are some things that you’re doing right now, in terms of like staging inventory to prevent that from happening?

Ken 15:28
Sure. So yet, I have some listings that are you know, from what I’ve read, Amazon says they’re doing it’s it’s the limited restock inventory page, where they say that you can have up to 90 days your trailing 90 day sales history is what they will allow you to have an inventory, whether it’s shipping in or whether it’s sitting in the warehouse, just a total of 90 day sales. The problem is if you sold out in April or May and you haven’t been able to get back in stock Well, now you’re in a situation where you had a hot selling product you can only ship in, if they let’s say they use the 90 day trailing history and they only catch one of your months and you had maybe you sold 500, you should be able to essentially ship in 1500. Right. But you were out for those two months. And they factored that in there. So it’s not good right now. And hopefully, I believe this is a temporary issue that so Amazon can, Amazon’s lost a lot of trust in their customers, their Prime members, because the two day used to be you know, it’s like people want stuff now. I like I want my package tomorrow. Amazon used to step up to the plate and deliver that they can’t anymore. And I believe Bezos knows that and says, Hey, we have to figure something out here. So this is one of their ways to squeeze this down, get their warehouses ready for q4 so they can deliver because if they don’t deliver in q4 to the customers, it’s not going to be good. They’ve got Walmart, they’ve got a lot of people kind of chipping away at them. And that wouldn’t be good. So getting back to the original question, sorry. One of the strategies that I’m using is I’m using a, an intermediate warehouse distribution center. So a lot of my products are shipped from China overseas. So I can only ship in 200 units. And let’s go back to the case where you had a product that was selling 500 units a month, in April or May like just almost every seller that I’ve talked to sold out of most of all their inventory, right. So you have listings that were that and then logistics, you can get restocked back end quick enough. So if you sold 500 units historically, and you’ve been offered two months, you can only ship in 500. But if you’re shipping from China, and you forecast 1500 or 2000 units, you can’t you can’t create a shipping plan with that amount of units. So I brought on a service, a warehouse that that’s on the west coast and I’m going to ship products into, and then they’ll trickle ship them in, you know, 200 or 300. But they’ll be here in the US versus, you know, air shipping products and is too expensive right now. So in terms of q4 inventory management, that is a good strategy if you can have a local warehouse to store products, and then you can trickle ship them in there until your sales increase enough to have larger shipments.

David 18:25
I think that’s a really good strategy. And I’m glad that you brought that up. And as we sit here talking about this, I’m kind of kicking myself in the butt to address this maximum replenishment quantity issue. I went about it in a different way. And I’ll tell you, the way I’m going about it, and I’ll tell you why. After having this discussion with you why I don’t think that’s a good reason, or a good idea. So what I’ve been doing is having them shipped to my house, and can you see my basement It looks like a warehouse and drives my wife nuts in what I’ve done is is I have acted or Acting as that trickle shipper. And so what I’m doing is all order of 5000 units, and then a couple times a week, I will package up 200 units and send them into Amazon warehouse. Now that takes time. And I’ll tell you that that takes a tremendous amount of time, just counting the units and Reebok sing them up. And it’s just been a giant pain. And I think that that’s added probably 10 hours of work a week, just trickle shipping in my items. And that 10 hours I could be using elsewhere in my business, and probably be adding more value into my business. And so I think I am going to adopt a similar strategy. Because to be honest with you, the reason I got into this was not because I like running a tape gun. It’s not because I like printing off shipping labels. It’s because I like making money and not having to deal with that stuff. And so the approach that you’re taking now, is is still hands off from an inventory standpoint. allows you to work on your business and not in your business. And so I think that that strategy is huge. And I’m glad that you mentioned it. And I wish he would have mentioned it to me about two weeks ago, or I had about a 15,000 units shipped to my house and was acting like a warehouse man, you know, carrying them from my front porch down to my basement and is just a mess. But anyway. So can we all know that running out of stock is bad. And when you’re out of stock, you’re not making any sales, but I’ve never been able to quantify how much that costs you. Before we were recording the episode. You mentioned quantifying how much a stockout is. Can you go into detail on that?

Ken 20:40
Yeah, absolutely. So I started using forecast Lee for inventory management about a month and a half ago and I’m starting to get it dialed in. And what jumped out at me was I had one skew that sold out in May, for about three weeks and forecasts they will tell you the cost of stockout. So I Had a, I think it was a two or three weeks stock out on one skew cost me $9,000 in profit. So the half when I when I looked at that report, and I was like, holy crap, I never, it never hit me how much the actual cost of stockout. That’s just the actual profit that I lost. That’s not ranking or anything else. So legitimately 9000 in profit off one skew. And so that’s when I was like, Okay, I need to switch directions here. And I need to get a better inventory management process. And that’s when I brought on the warehouse to do intermediate shipping and to have a buffer stock at that warehouse. So to answer your question, you know, the cost of having that extra warehouse, those fees are well covered over just a one stock out for like 15 days.

David 21:50
Wow. Wow. And I’ve heard you mentioned this tool quite a few times in in the last few weeks. What are some ways that you’re specifically using it in order To plan and manage your inventory,

Ken 22:03
so forecast Li now I’m loading my supplier information in there and creating purchase orders, managing the inventory that’s at the intermediate warehouse, managing the shipments that’s coming into Amazon. It does forecasting over 30 6090 days. That’s some of the ways I’ve been using the

David 22:22
software right now. That’s huge. I mean something as simple as creating a PEO is really important. And the reason I say that is yes, creating a PEO may only take five or six minutes. But if you’re able to eliminate that manual step and make it automatic or, or 90% automatic, as an owner operator of a business, your day is comprised of so many five or six minute tasks, and to the extent that you can eliminate them or eliminate a good portion of that those manual steps. It allows you to focus on other areas of your business and there have been several things in my business that I’ve done to automate. And every time I do it, I don’t regret it. I mean, it’s just anything I can offload or get off my plate, and honestly offload it to a technology that probably does a better job than you’re doing right now. I mean, anytime you can leverage AI, or machine learning, you know, I do pride myself in in building some pretty awesome spreadsheets. But what I’ll tell you is a tool like that. That’s all they do is inventory management pro does a way better job than I’m doing right now. And so I’m glad you mentioned that and I am thinking that I’m going to give them a try going into q4

Ken 23:40
Yeah, I would definitely recommend it and you went when your business gets to a certain level when you graduate from spreadsheets to a to a more advanced tool, and when it’s worth it, you know that the forecasting is definitely a great option,

David 23:54
for sure for sure. So can up until now we’ve been talking about sales on Amazon Now there are other ways to increase sales and get in front of more customers. What are some things that you’re doing in q4 to get in front of more customers?

Ken 24:09
Yeah, absolutely. So right now, David, Amazon is my main sales channel. And I’ve also revamped my brand websites. And I’m getting organic traffic to the website. So by increasing awareness, getting more traffic to my website, it’s increasing visibility to my customers, as well as email marketing, I send them to my website, some of the other sales channels that have added as eBay and Etsy. So I’ve added those two sales channels this year and q2 and q3. And so now I have five sales channels that basically like someone explained it to me like lanes on a highway. The more lanes you have on a highway, the more cars can get through, right so if you expand your highway your lanes, you can get more cars through st st. with customers, what are some of the other sales channels that you have in your business or that you’ve heard of?

David 25:06
Yeah, so I also am on Amazon, Etsy, Walmart. I was on Groupon I got kicked off, because I didn’t follow their terms of service, which is my fault. And in an eBay, and what I’ll tell you is if someone were to tell me, I’m not going to sell on eBay, I’m not selling baseball cards, or autographed baseball bats, I would tell you that you’re making a mistake, you’re overlooking some traffic there. And I don’t sell anything like that. I’m not selling baseball cards or any autographed memorabilia. But what I’ll tell you is some people got on eBay, back in the 90s. And they never got off that train. When they want to buy something online. They go to their favorites, they go to eBay and they buy it. And you know, there are a couple categories that do exceptionally well, in particular eBay Motors. If you talk to anybody that restores old cars, or most motorcycles, and you ask them where they source their parts from. Oftentimes, they’re sourcing it from eBay Motors. And so, you know, are you going to double your sales? Probably not. But if you can add 10% and add profit to your bottom line, why not? And so what I’ll tell you is, is I did when I was setting up Etsy and eBay, I did it manually, and I did it myself. And in hindsight, that’s something that’s fairly easy to offload to a VA. And if you go on Fiverr or Upwork, there are people that specialize in this that they’ll take all your Amazon photos and your listing and convert it over to eBay into Etsy and it’s it’s one of those tasks that hiring someone to do it, I think is the juice is worth the squeeze for sure.

Ken 26:50
So David, I would definitely like to reiterate that that eBay is I think, maybe it’s slept on maybe I don’t know, I added eBay after hearing You know, you were like, Hey, I’m making these sales on eBay. So I added an eBay channel to one of my brands, and then I automated it. So, you know, I it’s not a huge portion, I’ll share numbers towards, you know, after q4 when I have them, but you know what, I’m getting dozens of orders a month, just off eBay and it’s automated. I have it hooked into my Amazon FBA inventory. And it’s just completely automated. So definitely don’t want to sleep on eBay, because you got those customers that are in the 90s era.

David 27:27
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the last thing I’ll add to that is there’s a diversification benefit. If your Amazon sales channel for whatever reason, say where to get suspended your sales, if you’re fully relying on Amazon, your sales go to zero. And if you have these other sales channels, it may not support your business fully. But you’re still going to have cash flow generated from those channels to help sustain some of your business. And so I’m a big fan of diversification in all aspects of my life, but in particular You know, online sales channels, I think diversifying onto eBay, onto Etsy, onto Facebook onto Walmart. I think there’s tremendous value there.

Ken 28:09
Yeah, absolutely. And just to round out the the sales channels, there’s a couple more you did you did hit on Walmart, Facebook, is Facebook’s revamped their stores. I think it’s like Facebook, storefront or something now, and Google. So there was a statistic that I read last week, it was like, something like 25% of all shoppers with buying intent, start searching on Google, and Google has eliminated their fees. So that’s obviously a direct competitor to Amazon. So don’t sleep on Google go out and believe it’s Google shops. Search that if you have a website, make sure your website is Google compliant, and and that your products are showing up on there. So that’s definitely something you want to want to get out in front of,

David 28:58
absolutely. We’ll post a link to the show. notes, but I don’t know what episode number it was. But we went deep on all the different sales channels that are off of Amazon. And I’ll post a link to that in the show notes. But we compare fees, we compare all the pros and cons and what Ken and I are doing in our business. So if you’re thinking about going down this route, I would definitely encourage you to check out that episode.

Ken 29:21
Yeah, absolutely. So moving along. Something that I’ve added this year to my business is email, email marketing. never done it before learning it. And it’s, I can tell you right now, it’s been pretty fantastic to see sales come in from you know, having an email list and that’s an asset. I own that email list. It’s not going anywhere. I can communicate with my customers. I can drive sales drive traffic. It’s been huge. So something that I’m preparing for q4 is you touched on earlier holiday sales, right. So we have several holidays coming up now. Amazon On is obviously announced they’re moving their prime day to October who knows if that’s gonna happen, who knows if it will, who knows if it won’t. But what we do know is that you have that Black Friday sales and you have holiday sales, Christmas, whatever, whatever it is that you celebrate. So I’m preparing email marketing campaigns for Black Friday sales and holiday sales. Now send out a three email sales bush before the holiday leading up to it and drive you know, drive my email list over to my website and offer them discounts, coupons, test different things, you know, it’ll drive sales and as well after the holidays, you know, let’s say you know you didn’t sell a specific product or you know, you have some dead inventory. So if you want to send out a an email campaign, you know, January 5, or something if you know you select say you didn’t sell a skew, and you can offer a coupon, send them over like hey, Right after holiday sale to another another good campaign to send out

David 31:05
for sure for sure. Now, if someone wanted to start this, obviously they would need to generate an email list. What are some ways that you’ve done that?

Ken 31:15
to grab an email list. So a couple different things that I use Personally, I use a lead magnet on my website. It’s like a pop up, and I offer something of value. Normally, it’s a an E book, or a checklist or something like that something that has enough value that a visitor to your website will will trade their email for so and then you can capture those emails. The other way I’ve used is a contest or giveaway. So you come up with whatever is in your niche. You come up with a kit, a bundle, something of value, that’s that someone would trade their email for and then you run a contest and capture emails that way. One thing I would like to kind of follow up on In terms of the email marketing, so q4 is a high velocity of traffic on the, on the web on shopping on everything. So if you’re thinking about collecting emails, you know, this, the right now is preparation time to get your website set up, get where however, you’re going to collect emails, get it set up and get it tested and functioning properly. So you can capture all that traffic and capture as many emails as you can during q4.

David 32:25
Okay, once you have the email, and we should do an entire episode on this, but just for people that are wanting to get started on this now, what tool Are you using to send out these automatic email campaigns? I mean, certainly you’re not sitting there copying and pasting individual email addresses and sending individual emails.

Ken 32:44
You know what I thought about that? No, just joking. I’m using ConvertKit. Okay, that’s the email provider that I’m using. There’s there’s a lot out there. MailChimp is another huge one and convert but ConvertKit is is the is the email provider that I use currently.

David 32:59
Okay. I’ve Just for one more alternative, I’ve used gmass. It’s a gmail plugin, I think it’s like 999 a month and doesn’t have as many automation tools. And it’s hard to track open rate response rate. But for those of you on a shoestring budget, that would be, you still can run an automated email campaign. He’s no lower price

Ken 33:23
tool. Nice. One Pro tip that I’d like to throw out something that I’ve been testing. In my business, I one of my lead magnets was a was an E book. And it was a 2d ebook. So the pop up came up, and it basically said, you know, here’s the E book, you want to, you know, trade your email for the E book, and I and it was a 2d cover. So basically, if you were just looking at a flat cover, so what I did was, I paid someone on Fiverr and I had that flat cover redesigned, and they turned it into a 3d ebook cover. So it’s a white background with a actual, you know, it looks like a 3d book. I believe I paid 15 bucks for someone to do that on Fiverr. And I’ve doubled my conversion rate on emails.

David 34:07
Wow.

Ken 34:08
So, for instance, I was getting five emails per day sign up. Now I’m getting 10. That’s huge from $15. So if you have that lead magnet set up, and it’s an 2D, go spend the 15 bucks and you should increase your conversions. That’s huge. Yeah, Ken’s already done the legwork on split testing that So

David 34:25
yeah, that’s a good ROI activity. And I’m glad you shared that.

Ken 34:29
Yeah, absolutely. So that actually kind of leads us right down into the last topic that we have, which is conversions and conversion optimization, which I think a lot of people sleep on conversion rates. You know, we were talking before the show, and I wanted to put some numbers on this. So conversion, you know, let’s say you’re selling a $25 product at retail is $25. And you’re paying or PPC, you’re sending 100 people to that listing. A day, let’s say you’re spending $1 a click hundred people, hundred dollars, and you have a 10% conversion rate. So if you’re sending 100 people over there with a 10% conversion rate, you’re getting 10 sales $250, right? Let’s say you focus on your conversion, let’s say you split test a couple things, and you’re able to get your conversion to 20%. Personally, I don’t think that’s hard. You know, depending on how competitive your spaces, I don’t think it’s that hard. Let’s say you you test you get, you’re able to get your conversion rate to 20%. So you take that same hundred dollars in ad spend, right? You send the same hundred people over there $25 product, and now you have $500 in sales, you’ve doubled your sales, the same amount of PPC spend, just by increasing your conversion from 10 to 20%.

David 35:54
I love that. I love that and I’m glad you pointed it out because it’s the same hundred people. They’re already going Your listing, you’re just convincing them that, hey, this is the product for you. And that’s what oftentimes people think about, you know, the cost of a new customer, you know, what’s your customer acquisition cost, and those customers are already looking at your listing. So you know, make your hero photos good. Make your listing good add video, that’s been a huge one for me is adding video. And when you’re brand registered on Amazon, you can see how many clicks you get on your video. And I’ve been blown away by the number of you know, the increase my conversion on listings that have video, and I’ve got two very similar products. One is video one doesn’t. And the one with video is, is by far and away outperforming the one without video. And so that’s something you know, you don’t need to be a videographer. You don’t need to have video editing skills, you can pay somebody to do this. And I do think that it’s a positive ROI. It definitely has been in my business. And I operate in a fairly competitive atmosphere. So it has helped my conversion rate and can it’s a great point.

Ken 37:10
Yeah, absolutely. And circle back to a statistic that I read from Amazon was adding video to a listing, on average increases conversion rate by 5%. So if you want to go from 10 to 20, add a video and you’re halfway there, right? Some of the other ways that you can increase your conversion rate. Some of the top things that I’ve read and that I’ve done myself is you already mentioned to David the hero image split test your hero image, I’ve used split Lee, I’ve used pickfu there’s several ways to do that. A plus or ABC, if you don’t have it on your listing. If you’re brand registered, get it on your listing, that will easily take the other 5% next level tip if you have a plus or EBC if you have it, split test it Amazon Have a built in split testing program now. So create a second EBC you know, and split test them, you can get a few percentage there, split test your pricing, you can easily get a few percentage there, and more profit. Obviously, a couple other things that come to mind are coupons. If you’re not using coupons on Amazon test it, I have some products I use coupons on most of my skews, unless I’m dead end on number one spot, and then I won’t use it. But if you’re ranking on keywords, you’re halfway down the page, that little coupon flag, it’ll get more conversions, test it as well as your Shopify site, your WordPress site if you’re selling on they’re using that email marketing and coupons, test it, test it and see if your conversion You know, I’ve added a new feature to my website where if someone’s leaving my site, it I have a pop up says hey, here’s a don’t leave yet. Here’s a you know coupon 20% off you know if you can get get more conversions. Lastly, this is more for increasing conversions on your website for sales and abandoned cart function. So I’ve added that recently in the last couple months. And that’s been huge. I never knew how many sales that I was losing from people going into my shopping cart, loading it down and then deciding, I’m going to you know, or they get a call or you know, the kids crying had a run away and then never come back to shop. Well, there’s an automated feature I told that I’ve used now that automatically sends them emails. Hey, don’t forget to check out Bob about you can increase your conversions that way as well.

David 39:34
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, this has been a great episode, Ken, it’s great to be back in the studio. We’re out of quarantine and back rolling. So thank you everyone, for listening to this episode. Please implement these q4 strategies in your own business and we wish you the best of luck. Thank you. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firingtheman.com Podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to firingtheman.com and check out our resource library for exclusive firing the man discounts on popular e-commerce subscription services that is www.firingtheman.com/resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library lastly, check us out on social media at firingtheman on YouTube at firingtheman for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out

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