Chloe Thomas is a best-selling author, international speaker, and host of both the award-winning eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast and the brand new Keep Optimising Podcast. Chloë is one of the Top 30 eCommerce Influencers 2021 (Scurri) and her podcasts are regularly included in lists of the top eCommerce & marketing podcasts in the world. Her specialty is solving eCommerce marketing problems from tiny tactics to huge strategies.
Learn from Chloe how to utilize Facebook and Google ads while surviving the Cookie Apocalypse!
[00:01 – 06:56] Opening Segment
- Let’s get to know Chloe Thomas
- Why she got rid of her agency and turned to ecommerce
[06:57 – 16:54] Modern Ways to Connect With Customers
- Chloe is excited about these things in ecommerce
- The unique and creative ways to connect with customers
- A great ecommerce website has these qualities according to Chloe
[16:55 – 22:41] Tips to Start on Shopify Successfully
- Start successfully on Shopify with these tips from Chloe!
- Here’s why you should collect the emails of your customers
- The difference between organic and paid advertising
[22:42 – 27:25] Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads
- If advertising is not your strength, this is what you should do
- Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
- Promo code: FTM400
- Facebook or Google ads: Which should you choose?
[27:26 – 37:24] How to Survive the Cookie Apocalypse
- Chloe talks about the Cookie Apocalypse and how to survive it
- She shares her realizations about working in an agency
- The reasons she started her award-winning podcast
[37:25 – 45:09] Quality Podcast That Generates Money
- How to produce a quality podcast when you’re just starting out
- Monetize your podcast by niching down
- Here’s how
- Know more about Chloe in the Fire Round!
[45:10 – 47:18] Closing Segment
- Connect with Chloe!
- Links below
- Final words
“Facebook and Google both get 90, 99% of their income from advertising. They’re heavily incentivized to find a way to make this work for you.” – Chloe Thomas
“…being an entrepreneur, a business owner, it gives you lots of freedom, but if you want to exit, it’s incredibly hard.” – Chloe Thomas
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Chloe Thomas 0:46
Here’s the people in our warehouse who are packing your order, they’re massively overworked, we’re having to keep them two meters apart, please be nice, it’s going to take a bit longer than normal. So you’re kind of going have some sympathy with us. Our couriers are working really hard. We’re trying our customer service team are having to work from home. Please be nice to us. But that’s a way of showing the thing behind the business who we are. And as things become more normal again, and the processes don’t require quite that please be nice to us angle, we can change it into here’s the product, this is what’s coming, this is how to use it. So we can build that excitement with the product and why we’ve created it and all the rest of it. So from the point at which the product is ordered until it arrived, start the product, hands on process before you’ve got it hands on. And then you’re getting customers more excited, which turns them into repeat customers. The products that sell well on Amazon are not the same products that sell well from your site. But you’re not going to know that until you’ve got people coming in who actually want to buy. And the fastest way to get that knowledge is to pay for traffic from Google ads, Google Shopping campaigns, pay for traffic from Facebook, then that will help you work out where to focus your effort on the SEO, on the organic social in terms of which areas of the site if you sell, let’s go back to my example of biros and strange staplers and you thought everyone was gonna buy biros and you find out everyone’s actually buying strange staplers, then your SEO strategy and your organic social strategy is going to be 80% strange looking staplers. And 20% biros. And I had lovely clients and I didn’t want to just shut the doors and go, closed, done, dusted. I needed to find a better way out which many people would tell me in retrospect was an awful decision. But for me, it felt like the right call. Quitting a job is really easy. And being an entrepreneur, a business owner, gives you a lot of freedom. But if you want to exit it’s incredibly hard. So I spent five years building e commerce master plan, and at the same time trying to find a way to exit the business, which I eventually did when one of my team became good enough and interested enough to take the business over. So essentially, a management buyout, I suppose.
Welcome, everyone to the firing the man podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more then join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your hosts, serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we are joined by Chloe Thomas. Chloe is a best selling author, international speaker and host of the award winning ecommerce masterplan podcast and the brand new keep optimizing podcast. Chloe is one of the top 30 ecommerce influencers in 2021 and her podcasts are regularly included in lists of top e commerce and marketing podcasts around the world. Chloe has been in the E commerce world since 2003. She’s worked on the client side, the agency side as well as the adviser side working with a variety of retailers in high street omni channel operations, to fresh online only startups, covering international launches, subscriptions, b2b and even dabbling in marketplaces. Chloe specialty is solving e commerce marketing problems from tiny tactics to huge strategies. Welcome to the show, Chloe.
Chloe Thomas 4:22
Thanks, David. It is lovely to be here. Any chance to talk e commerce and I’m there.
Absolutely well, we’re really looking forward to it. So first things first, tell us a little bit about yourself and your path in the E commerce world.
Chloe Thomas 4:34
Sure. David, as you said, I’ve been in the E commerce world for a scarily long time now since 2003. And I got into it accidentally. So I was working for one of the UKs largest banks in their retail marketing team. So Barclays Bank and I was desperate to leave. I was never built to work in a big company. So I applied to every marketing job going. And the first place to offer me a job was a UK High Street retailer who had a catalog division and a website back then it lived in a box in the corner of the office. And at Christmas, none of us were allowed to use the internet because otherwise customers couldn’t check out properly back in the day. So I ended up in by accident and became totally obsessed with the metrics, the numbers, the marketing methods you could use to drive sales. When that business went under two years, two Christmases in, wasn’t my fault, I promise. And then I got offered various jobs and took one at a group of mail order businesses, who had never done ecommerce. So they had mailing lists of hundreds of 1000s of people, they’d send a catalog to, and a website that might have the right product on it two weeks after the catalog mailed if you were lucky. Ring size L would be listed separately to ring size M just truly hideous scenarios, not their fault at all, because they were all used to running catalogs. So I got to kind of be the kid in the candy shop across about eight different brands, bringing new sites, new email marketing programs. The first email marketers, Google ads, Facebook ads didn’t exist. But hey, I’d have tried it if it did. It was a brilliant time, me and the guy who ran that business turned what I did into a marketing agency. So I became, I got into E commerce accidentally and I went into running a marketing agency accidentally. And it took me about five years to realize I shouldn’t be running a marketing agency. So I started ecommerce masterplan as my escape route, and after about five years, finally managed to get rid of the agency. And now I get to just do e commerce master plan. So it’s been an interesting journey I’ve worked with, as you said in the intro, a huge range of different businesses across my history. And the key thing across all of them is that it’s all about helping business owners find their path to growth by helping them solve their marketing problems. So yeah, that’s the quick rundown of what I’ve been up to for the last 18 years.
The intro was, you have a lot of experience, you’ve been in this space for a really long time. Very impressive. So before we dig into all this at a higher level, can you share with the audience maybe some kind of what we’ve seen in the last say 12 months in E commerce? And then what do you think the next 12 months is going to look like with everything going on in the world?
Chloe Thomas 7:18
Yeah, I mean, it that’s a big question at any time. And at the moment it’s just, although I think if you’d asked me six months ago, it would have been harder to answer. I mean, the the last 12 months have been phenomenal. The pandemic kind of created this kind of perfect storm of opportunity to grow ecommerce, everyone was made to be at home. So everyone started ordering online. And if you weren’t made to be at home, you probably didn’t want to go out anyway. So you were ordering online. I mean, the stats and the uplift in online take up, it’s just crazy. And then a lot of people because they were working from home had all this spare time. And I think a lot of people reevaluated their lives we saw, I haven’t seen the stats on Amazon, but I’m guessing there’s a lot more Amazon sellers in the last 18 months, certainly we’ve got a lot more Shopify brands, a lot more people selling on all the platforms that that I spend my time looking at. So it’s been, we’ve had this huge increase in demand online, we’ve had this huge increase in competition online. And then we’ve had the cookie thing in the UK, we’ve had the Brexit thing. And it’s just been a really crazy time. And you can look at the stats of all of this. But I think the most interesting things that have come out in the last 12 months, 18 months for me are the softer trends. So the consumers desire for connection, that we knew was coming before and we start to get that emotional connection with brands that’s really skyrocketed in the last 18 months, because we were denied so many forms of human connection. And then this, still not quite worked out what to call it, but it’s partly Black Lives Matter. It’s partly sustainability. It’s partly the emotional piece comes into this as well. It’s that kind of desire to be connected with a cause. And that increasingly consumers are kind of checking your business to see is it vegan? Is it ethical? Do you use non plastic packaging? Who’s the founder? And all these kind of like tick boxes of whether people want to work, want to buy from you or not. So that’s my last 12 months bit looking forward to the next 12 months, I think one of the really interesting things well I think actually the most interesting thing going on in E commerce at the moment is the growth of the Amazon aggregators. All these businesses who have crazy funding, who are just buying up brands I find fascinating because you can see the opportunity from the upstream lining, but on the flip side, you’re at the hands of Amazon. So it could all go away. It probably won’t, but it could all go and I find that really fascinating and that I think is going to create even more competition in the own site space because people are going to be, one of the reasons they’re buying up these brands is to create better brand connection and then to leverage and grow and scale and all the rest of it. So I think it’s, I think we’re gonna see increased competition, I think we’re gonna see consumers continuing to buy a lot online. I think the next three months, so q4, here in the UK, and I believe you’re having similar problems in the US, stock is going to be a huge issue. So I think this Black Friday is going to be unlike any Black Friday before because we’ve got higher competition, we’ve got the Facebook ads changes that have come in the cookie apocalypse if you will. And then we’ve got it’s changing things so much. And then you’ve got, are people actually gonna have any stock to sell? And Black Friday is about trading margin for customers. If you’ve not got any stock, why would you trade margin for customers, because if you’re going to sell through your stock anyway. So I am fascinated to see what happens over the next three months, it’s the roller coaster is going to continue, basically.
Very nice, very nice. There’s a lot there that I want to unpack. And the first thing that I’d like to dive into is that connection with the customer. I think you made a really unique point about how people are wanting to know about how sustainable the brand is and who owns it. And I would say a good bit of our listeners are Amazon sellers. And that’s something that I think we often struggle with is that people will think that they’re actually buying from Amazon, and not a third party seller. However, I’ve seen a lot of brands do a really good job showing kind of behind the curtain. What is this company all about? And so curious if you’ve seen any, like unique and creative ways that people are connecting with their customers outside of like an About Me page right, on or about us on the website, right?
Chloe Thomas 11:44
The About Us page is my number one bugbear in E commerce is the number of ecommerce brands you go on to, and it just has the address, its like please people. I regularly rant about that. So I’ll try not to right now. I mean, in terms of doing it creatively, one of the most interesting things I’m seeing at the moment is brands doing live streams. So I mean, they’re called experiential marketing or shop, what’s the one I heard today was something like shop gamification or shop ability. But literally doing a live video stream to ask questions, to talk about the product, to demo products live to customers. So basically a webinar but for ecommerce. And I think that is one of the most interesting ways people are doing to, like in that snapshot of time to reveal the owner. But it does, where it’s being the most powerful is doing it in the fundamental places. So the about us page, so you’ve actually got the information there. So they can actually find it if they want to. And then the email welcome campaign. So when someone signs up to your emails, they get a series of emails explaining who you are, to turn them into your perfect buyer. And then one of the interesting places which has really come to the forefront in the last 18 months, because people have had so many more buyers and delivery issues, is the post purchase email sequence. So quite old school methods, but ways in which people have gone look, here’s the people in our warehouse who are packing your order, they’re massively overworked, we’re having to keep them two meters apart, please be nice, it’s going to take a bit longer than normal. So you’re kind of going, have some sympathy with us. Our couriers are working really hard. We’re trying. Our customer service team having to work from home, please be nice to us. But that’s a way of showing the thing behind the business who we are. And as things become more normal again, and the processes don’t require quite that please be nice to us angle, we can change it into here’s the product, this is what’s coming. This is how to use it. So we can build that excitement with the product and why we’ve created it and all the rest of it. So from the point at which the product is ordered until it arrives, start the product hands on process before you’ve got it hands on. And then you’re getting customers more excited, which turns them into repeat customers. So all of those elements, whether they’re not I mean, the live stream is pretty new and exciting, but the rest of them are pretty, pretty straightforward and always been available to us. But that is how you start creating a strong relationship.
Nice yeah, that’s dynamite right there. One follow up question, Chloe, on an about us page. So I would say our direct to consumer website, we’re probably at like a level two About Us page. We have more than an address. We have some pictures of the team and a little bit of a story. Can you describe like a level three About Us page? What’s the cream of the crop?
Chloe Thomas 14:39
Yeah, sure. I love the fact you talk about it as kind of a level two because one of the things I often say when I’m ranting is that it doesn’t have to be perfect on day one. It’s like everything we’re doing getting something out there that’s better than the address, even if it’s just one paragraph is better than just the address. So stage two, nice work, I say first of all. Taking it up to stage three might be something, because it depends on your brand, what’s relevant. And for some brands, what you’ve done is enough, if I’m buying a biro, not as interested in it as if I’m, she says, trying to find something on the desk or buying this rather cool Japanese stapler, without staples thing maybe, sexy stationary, versus dull stationary, very different approaches to about us pages. But I guess for me, a level three has got definitely pictures of the founders, the story of why they created the brand, why it was important the problems they’re trying to solve, which is probably got an element of video, because it doesn’t have to be high production. But hey, I’m x. This is why I created the brand. This is what we do, which you’re probably updating every couple of years. You don’t need to update it every week, but probably not every year, but certainly every couple of years. And then who’s our team, how we work, the values that are important to us. And sometimes what can also be useful is because there’s a brand often I talk about someone’s called tailor made polish. In American business you do make your own nail varnish color. And their sales pitch is all about how cool is it to make your own nail varnish, right. It’s, and the fun you can have doing it and the different ways in which you can do it. But if you go as far as their About Us page, you’ll see that it’s vegan, it’s not got acetone in it, it’s good for your nails, and they’ve ticked all and they try not to use plastic in the packaging and all this sort of stuff. And they put those tick boxes there. So if you’re someone who’s got pulled in by their sales pitch, I bet you’re going, Oh, but is it vegan? You can go across the about us page and you get that kind of I mean, it’s literally a series of bullet points fairly high up the page. So level three depends on what you need to put there for your customers. But that’s the elements I put into it.
Yeah, I like that. Thanks so much. And if you’re not watching on YouTube, I was taking a lot of notes during that. So, our level three about us page is going to come alive here soon. Awesome.
Yeah, so as we’re on the topic of websites, and I know that your sweet spot is Shopify, which I’m really excited to dig into, there’s a movie that I often quote called Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, and there’s a line in there, if you build it, they will come. And I have found in my experience that when you build a website, customers don’t necessarily always come. And so it takes a series of content, paid traffic, email marketing. And so I would say I’ve got one direct to consumer website that I would say is maybe at like level one or two. So let’s talk about and I think probably a lot of our listeners are there, they have a Shopify website, they may get one or two sales every, but they’re just not quite sure what to do with it. So what advice would you give to that entry level Shopify brand owner, and how they can take it to the next level?
Chloe Thomas 18:00
Yeah, I think it’s one of the most tricky things people have. And it used to be, back when I started, it was people, you had a physical retail store. And they built their website. And they were like, why is no one buying from it? It’s like, well, because your rent of a physical store is partly marketing spend, because there’s people walking past it. And then you’ve got the same thing I find nowadays with a lot of people who sell on eBay, or sell on Amazon or sell on Etsy, they create that physical store for the first time. And once you’re used to doing Amazon pay per click, Amazon SEO and all these tactics to grow your sales on there, it’s a totally different ballgame, when you come to your own site, because it’s tumbleweed until you start driving some traffic. So for me, the very first things to do are, and it’s very much a stage one, stage two, stage three, and you want to get everything to stage one, and then everything to stage two, and then everything to stage three, because it’s a bit like the three legged stool. If one of the legs is too short, it’s not gonna be very comfortable, which means it’s not going to work for you. So get good quality content on your product page, good images. If you’re busy selling on Amazon, you know what that looks like. So you’ve got to get that similar level of information onto your own site, make sure you’ve got clear delivery speeds and processes and pricing, returns policy is really clear as well. Customer Contact details so people can follow up. Because that kind of stuff gives people confidence in your brand that you know what you’re doing. A homepage which sells your brand sells your product, don’t turn it into your about us page because it needs to be your selling page. But there should be a little bit of story in there too, but probably not above the fold so not on that first screen that people are seeing. Once you’ve got those basics in place, you need to start working on the marketing of it. So the first thing to do is to make sure you’ve got email capture on the site. So as all because when you start driving marketing traffic, you’re going to get some of it wrong. You’re not going to get it as good as it could be. So what you want is you want people on the site able to sign up to your emails as well as buy because it’s an awful lot easier to get someone to sign up to your email list than it is to get them to give you cold, hard cash in return for something they’re not going to have in their hands for a couple of days. So not only will it enable you to get email addresses of people who you can then turn into buyers, but it also gives you some feedback on what’s working in your marketing, because you can track where the person who signed up came from in your marketing. So I guess actually talking stage one, you need to have Google Analytics in place, you need to have your Facebook pixel in place, you need to have your Google AdWords pixel in place. So as you’re actually able to do the tracking. Then we go off site, and we start driving traffic in now there’s essentially two types of E commerce marketing. One is organic, theoretically free, but not free at all, which is all about getting links, getting organic social, organic SEO, all that side of things. Free, not free at all, takes a lot of time, effort, expertise in learning what to do, and in actually doing it. And in both those cases, the organic social and the SEO it, you can put as many hours in as you like, but it’s still going to take weeks or months to get to a point where you actually see an impact. Then we have the paid side. So, I strongly advise you to start doing paid things at the beginning. Because until you’ve got traffic that buyers coming into your website, you can’t see what’s working on your website. And you may well find that the products that sell well on Amazon are not the same products that sell well from your site. But you’re not going to know that until you’ve got people coming in who actually want to buy. And the fastest way to get that knowledge is to pay for traffic from Google ads, Google Shopping campaigns, pay for traffic from Facebook, then that will help you work out where to focus your effort on the SEO, on the organic social, in terms of which areas of the site, if you sell let’s go back to my example of biros and strange staplers. And you thought everyone was going to buy biros and you find out everyone’s actually buying strange staplers, then your SEO strategy and your organic social strategy is going to be 80% strange looking staplers. And 20% biros, but you’re not going to know that until people actually start buying because often, what sells on Amazon is not the same as what sells on your website, because of all the weirdness of the internet. Or it could be because traffic for staplers, you can’t buy at a rate that gives you enough profit, whereas traffic for biros you can, or vice versa. So all these things come into it. But to do that, you’ve got to get some traffic fast. So you get the website to that stage one level, you start paying to get some traffic in, optimize, optimize endlessly for the rest of your days. And it will all start coming together. I think hopefully that answers your question.
Yeah, absolutely. And you made a really good point early on in that answer about how your rent or like your real estate should be allocated to the marketing budget. And so one follow up question I have for you, say someone has, they say I’m going to allocate $500 a month? How would you allocate that budget across paid ads? Organic? How would you best spend those dollars?
Chloe Thomas 23:06
Initially, I would get the SEO and content on site basics covered. So keywords in the right place, good product copy. If there’s any really obvious buying guided blogs we should have, like why this stapler is better than any other. Using actual staplers is killing the planet, I don’t know. Those content pieces need to be in place the about us page that might take a bit of your budget in the first couple of months if you’re having to outsource creating some of that content. After that, put it all into ADS. Basically, because you’re slowly, as people get to know you and stuff starts to happen, you are going to start getting some links coming back, some awareness coming back on the website it’s going to happen anyway. I should caveat this with saying I am a direct marketer. So I love performance marketing and all the rest of it. I know it’s where I could get my bang for my buck. I know it’s where I could get that optimization happening. And I could see results quite quickly. If you hate spreadsheets and numbers, then you should go and start doing on building partnerships instead. So that’s the alternative is to go be an influencer strategies be it finding other brands who target the similar customer to you and doing swaps with them. Maybe you print some postcards and put it in their parcels and vice versa. So play to your strengths as well. So for me, it would be all about going after the ad spend. But if you’re not wanting to be in Facebook ads every single day, in Google ads every single day, then invest in partnerships because those are the areas we’re seeing the best results for people and they will all give you very quick feedback to enable you to grow the business and by feedback I mean sales.
Sorry to interrupt the episode. You may have heard Ken and I talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed the back end of my Amazon account going back 18 months and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is, it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake, and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee. They only charge a commission if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to www.getida.com GETIDA, and enter promo code FTM for firing the man FTM 400. This is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode. Very nice. One last follow up question before I kick it over to Ken, on that paid traffic, as we sit here in q4 2021, there has been a lot of changes in terms of how you track your customers. If you have that $500 budget and you’re going to pick Facebook or Google or a third, where would you say is the best place to start?
Chloe Thomas 25:56
Oh, it depends on your product. Frustrating but true. If your product is something people are actively looking for on search engines, so they’re googling I need a new stapler, or I want a stapler that doesn’t use staples, then Google is going to be an obvious place to go. If it’s a product which needs a bit more explanation, and you’ve got to sell people the dream, if you imagine you’re in a market place. Sorry, a real world market. Little stands like a farmers market, but for whatever your product category is. And if people come to you and go, yes, I’d like a dozen eggs, then go with the Google Ads side of things. If people come to you and go, what do you do? Oh, that’s interesting, what is it? How do I cook it? What do I do with it? That’s the point at which a more interruption based marketing method is going to work for you. So something like Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or TikTok ads, one where you find your customers are and you can provide that greater content piece. So it depends on your type of business, and the type of products you’re selling.
So Chloe, a follow up question that I’ve got is, and I really liked your description of like building the site out in stages. So let’s say we’re like, we’re done with stage two, we’ve got all the SEO, we’ve got everything kind of worked out. And we’re gonna start sending paid traffic. You alluded to it a little bit earlier on, I think you called it cookie apocalypse. Can we dive into that a little bit more? What is Facebook and Apple and and Google, they’re duking it out, and what’s the outcome for us?
Chloe Thomas 27:26
Okay, so I’m gonna frame this up for the smaller guy, okay, the person who’s not spending hundreds of sorry, 10s of 1000s of dollars a month on these platforms, okay, because they’re approaching this and should be approaching this in a very different way to the rest of us who are playing hundreds or 1000s a month on these platforms. Okay, so what’s going on is that the big tech behemoths have decided to start being good to consumers by protecting consumers data, basically, get very cynical about that on various angles, if you choose to, I’m not going to. But that’s essentially what’s happened is they’ve all gone well, GDPR is happening, the California data stuffs happening, consumers want more control, let’s give them control at the point where they’re doing things, they can blind kit, stop people from getting data. And essentially, they’ve given consumers the option of having these restrictions in place or not having these restrictions in place, and, but they’ve set them as essentially the default. If you’re doing an update on your iPhone, do you check all the little boxes or just go update update, I’m bored, I want to get back on TikTok, stop making me update Apple. So, it’s something hideous, like 96% of people have accepted all of these things, which are supposedly the cookie apocalypse for us marketers. That’s what’s led to problems, problems with the Facebook algorithm and its ability to operate because it’s not getting as much data back on people. And that’s how it was able to do this. This has coincided with Facebook, changing how it attributes sales back to you. So that you’ll be seeing in your dashboard less sales coming in, according to Facebook than there probably were. I think Facebook’s response to this is well, the sales are still happening we’re just not telling you about it, which doesn’t help us optimize our activity. I was on a panel with four people who all spent, or four agencies who are spending millions of pounds a month on Facebook. And from them what I could get as the biggest shift is that this year, they and all their staff will not be sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table with their laptop open, making the micro tweaks that make huge impact for their clients. So I guess the good news for all of us out of this is there’s no point in over optimizing your Facebook anymore. You’ve got to be a bit more relaxed about it and you’ve got to let the algorithm do it because a lot of the data, whilst Facebook isn’t getting as much data back anymore there’s also data they can no longer give us. So the algorithm continues to be your friend. So I wouldn’t, and then oh, then Google’s getting in on the game as well. So they’re about to start restricting stuff from Google users too. What this means for the smaller business, those spending less than 10,000 a month on Facebook is don’t panic. That’s the first thing to say, do not panic about all of this. Strangely enough, the ad platforms are desperately trying to fix the problem and find ways to make it still work for you. Because Facebook and Google both get 90 99% of their income from advertising. It is, they are heavily incentivized to find a way to make this work for you. So please don’t go down the rabbit hole of non IP based cookie, non tracky, weirdo technical stuff, it’s not worth your time or effort. Try and create great quality ads, and target those as best you can. Essentially what this all means is we have to be better marketers, we can’t rely on Facebook to make it easy for us, basically. But it’s not a reason to turn off your ads. Make sure you’re tracking it via Google Analytics as well, because that will give you a little bit more data and create great quality ads and focusing on the audience’s that you know really work for you. We’re seeing a lot of people put, take some of their budget away from the ad platforms and put it into things like partnerships, like I mentioned earlier, because that’s a way of getting in front of the right customers in a semi paid manner, which works for people. I hope that gave enough of an answer, Ken.
Yeah, I really like that answer and a couple of things that I’ll point out to the listeners, so it’s like Chloe, you mentioned like, don’t panic, I really like that people always like to freak out this guy’s falling in. Don’t panic is great. And I really like, taking as a backup plan or kind of leveraging the influencer marketing, maybe take a portion of that budget and try that. And then also focus on improving creative and ads. All excellent answers. I really like that.
Chloe Thomas 32:00
Oh, I should say one thing to add on the don’t panic front is what you have to remember is that all the marketing agencies out there are desperate to get you to hire them. Because of the cookie apocalypse, which is perfect. That’s what they’re in business to do. I’ve done it myself back when other things have happened when I ran a marketing agency, but it means there’s an excessively large amount of content about this problem being created, which leads us to end up panicking. And that’s why I like to say don’t panic is because the it I like to kind of balance out the industry, balance out my peers who I take, they’re doing it for all the right reasons. But you know, don’t panic.
Very nice. Alright, Chloe, let’s pivot a little bit and talk about you exiting your agency and creating a podcast in education business?
Chloe Thomas 32:50
Yeah, yeah. So I ended up realizing I shouldn’t be running a marketing agency, discovered through various means I was an introvert, which I had never really realized but which made so much sense as often when we discover these things about ourselves they do. And I was at the position running the agency where I had, I guess, about four or five staff. So, all who reported into me, error number one. I was in charge of sales as you end up being when you’re the owner of the agency. So that was another group of people essentially reporting into me, I was the number one lead for all our client accounts, error number two, and had no need to be, quite frankly, I had brilliant people working for me. So I was just exhausted. And every day at the end of work, I would go home and sit on the sofa and I would spend the weekends sitting on the sofa because I had no energy left to do anything else. So I knew I had to get out of the agency model because whilst you can get yourself out of a little bit of that endemic in the agency model is constantly dealing with people which is highly chaotic, and therefore just kind of destroyed me. So had to try and get out. But I had lovely people working for me. And I had lovely clients and I didn’t want to just shut the doors and go closed, done, dusted. I needed to find a better way out which many people would tell me in retrospect was an awful decision. But for me, it felt like the right call because an agency quitting a job is really easy. And being an entrepreneur, a business owner, gives you a lot of freedom but if you want to exit it’s incredibly hard. So I spent five years building e commerce master plan, and at the same time trying to find a way to exit the business which I eventually did when one of my team became good enough and interested enough to take the business over. So essentially a management buyout, I suppose. And, but during that time, I started ecommerce master plan because I realized that what I wanted to do was to help business owners plot their route to growth by helping them solve their marketing problems which when you’re sat across the table from a retailer, and you’re going, well, Google ads is just the most obvious thing to do to grow your business, here’s my fee for managing it for you. There’s a bit of a conflict. So I wasn’t helping as many people as I wanted to. So initially, the very first thing I did in the new business was to write the book, ecommerce Master Plan, which is all about the basic steps towards building an E commerce business to try and give people that basic background, which back in 2007, when I wrote it was essential, but it’s still, I still get people now going, that book’s brilliant. I wrote it in 2007. There’s a few bits which are out of date, but it’s basically relevant. And then that evolved into a couple other books, but the original idea was to turn it into kind of a, I guess, a big info marketer piece, it would be the British version of digital marketer. Clearly, I failed on that front. But yeah, it was book into day course into three week course into be my coaching client for life. But strangely enough, that turned out to be not great for an introvert either. So I was doing a speaking tour for the UK government around the southwest of the country talking about e commerce and one of the other speakers was talking about podcasting. So I grabbed him one lunchtime, I went right, Matt, you’re gonna tell me about this podcasting thing. And that was in about 2014. And he talks to me about it and I was like oh that sounds like a lot of fun. And also at the time, I was having some amazing conversations with retailers, but they were all off the record. So you’d speak to retailer A, and they’d be like, Oh, we’ve been doing this and it’s really cool, and oh that is really cool, how interesting. Then I’d catch up with retailer B, and oh, I know someone who’s had the same problem as you and I know how they fixed it, but I can’t tell you who they are or exactly what they did, because it was all off the record. But I thought wouldn’t it be great if I could put these conversations in the public domain? And then Matt told me about this amazing thing called podcasting. I got a bit obsessed with Entrepreneur on Fire for about six months, then went Yes, I’m doing this, I’m going to be the next John Lee Dumas. I also failed to do that, probably for good reason as well. But it all led over the last six years to what what I’m now very privileged to do, which is basically just talk and write for a living, and help far more people. So obviously, yeah, that’s kind of like the story in a fairly shortened form.
Sure. Yeah. That’s an amazing story. So on the podcasting side, for the listeners out there that might have their own podcast and me asking for a friend, what suggestions would you provide in terms of succeeding in traffic, monetization, and putting out a quality podcast?
Chloe Thomas 37:39
I think traffic as frustrating as this is to hear, and I hate it every time I hear someone say it, but getting listeners to your podcast relies on the quality of your content, whether it’s a scripted solo show, whether it’s a whole load of people around a microphone show, whether it’s an interview show, it’s all about the quality of the content, getting good guests and getting them to tell you good stuff. And then it’s how you bring the best to the fore so people when they first, they listen to the first 30 seconds decide they want to listen to more. They look at it as they’re scrolling through their podcast list, they’re trying to work out, do I want to listen to this or not? And they’ve got I don’t know, they’ve got Joe Rogan’s podcasts and they’ve got your podcast, and they got someone else in the same field as you what do they fancy doing today? Who’s peeking their interest? So I have, and then I think we’ve been playing around with advertising the podcast, our Facebook traffic is considerably better than Google Ads traffic. So we ran ads for about six weeks, I’m now tracking to see what impact that has on long term listenership before we invest anymore, but the Facebook ads traffic a considerably higher percentage of those who reached our landing page hit play on our trailer compared to the Google traffic, which is weird, because Google people were looking for something and Facebook were distracted. And I would have bet a lot of money on that being the other way around. So yeah, I’m forever testing different things. I’m hearing good things about TikTok and Instagram, I’m not very good at either of those. So we don’t do usually well on them. LinkedIn works quite well for us, but it is heavily about getting the content quality right in the first place. Otherwise, you get someone who might listen to half an episode, but they’ll never come back again. So you’ve got to get that retention piece. We also said about monetization, this is something I’ve been lucky enough to do quite well at thankfully, which is why I get to just speak and write these days. And I think the first thing I would say about monetization is being in a niche or a niche is makes it a lot easier in terms of price per number per 1000 listeners. If you’re in the niche of E commerce like I am your listener numbers are going to be considerably lower than someone doing a yoga podcast. Okay, because less people want to listen to it, quite frankly, but your cost per million so your earnings per 1000 listens is going to be considerably higher. So, you know, the yoga guys are probably going to be charging industry standard, which I can’t remember what industry standard is because I don’t charge it. So please don’t ask me. But you’re probably going to be charging 10 20 times that if you are doing a niche podcast. And that niche podcast needs to be in a sector where there is someone who wants to pay money to get in front of your audience. So in the E commerce space, we’re surrounded by SAS platforms who are desperate for leads. So I get a lot of people wanting to advertise on my podcast far more than we can fit. Because if I fit them all in, I wouldn’t have any listeners left, quite frankly. So if you want to really monetize, first, you’ve got to get your audience to be interesting to you, then you’ve got to get your numbers up so it’s big enough to make it worthwhile for someone to advertise. And then the next stage is to start bundling things together. So adding an email sends, adding in website activity, adding in social media, or, as I’m doing with one of my sponsors at the moment, they’re advertising on the podcast, a webinar that I will be the compare of the host of for their prospects in a few weeks time. And we’ve also put some of their clients in as guests during the podcast period that they are, they’re sponsoring. So you can do all these things to kind of create packages. So don’t be scared of podcast advertising. Think of it like how you would sell anything, really. And be as creative as you like.
That’s awesome. Yeah, thanks. That’s a treasure chest of nuggets there. I got I took a bunch of notes so I’ll let my friend know. So Chloe, David, anything else that we want to cover before we go into the fire round?
Nothing on my end, this has been great.
Alright, Chloe, are you ready for the fire round?
Chloe Thomas 41:43
What is your favorite book?
Chloe Thomas 41:47
Quiet by Susan Cain.
Can you tell us a little bit about that book?
Chloe Thomas 41:52
Yeah, sure. So it was instrumental in me helping work out how to be a better introvert. So it’s an amazing book about what it means to be an introvert, which is, it’s not diagnoseable I don’t think at the moment, it certainly wasn’t when I read the book. But it tells you stories of other introverts and how they’ve coped. And if you’re an introvert, you’re really going, Oh, my God, that makes so much sense. Oh, I do that too. Right. And you start, it gives you the structure to understand and I think extroverts I know who’ve read it have found it very useful to understand the introverts in their lives.
Interesting. I’m gonna check that one out. What are your hobbies?
Chloe Thomas 42:29
Very boring. So I am a bit of a crafter. I found, one of the ways I survived being in the agency was to create a latch hook rug of the evening, I found that spending my life in the virtual world, I needed to do something physical with my hands. Nowadays, I do a lot of crochet and I do a fair amount of cross stitch as well. So that’s, that gives me my creative physical outlet when I’m spending the rest of my world in this, most of my time, even in this lovely virtual world.
Nice. I like balance. That’s awesome. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man or the woman?
Chloe Thomas 43:07
The boss. I had, I said it very, way back at the beginning that Barclays was the first place I had to escape from because it was a big organization. You’re such a small cog. And it was awful. I had one particular boss there who I will never forget, who in one official review process looked at me and said, Chloe, I think the reason I can’t manage you is because your dad’s a farmer, and your mom’s a teacher. Now, I was so destroyed from working in the company at that point that I didn’t go to HR, which I now would. But that kind of bosses who don’t get you and who don’t enable you to be as much as you could be, is just one of the most depressing things in the world. And that’s something which I’m very glad I don’t have to have someone above me like that anymore.
Nice. That’s awesome. Last one, what do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, from those who give up, fail or never get started?
Chloe Thomas 44:05
There’s so many ways to be a successful e commerce entrepreneur, as I’ve spoken about, you can play to your strengths. I guess the ones who succeed, those who recognize they’ve got to get a number of things, right. They’ve got to find a product that people want to buy. And that the people who want to buy that product are available in a way that you can target them. So as you actually make money on every order, and that there’s enough of them that you can grow a business that it’s worthwhile doing. So I had a friend who had a tight business she’s wearing she was selling a specialist kind of ladies hosiery. And she managed to do a great job of finding marketing sources that converted at a reasonable price. But there wasn’t enough people out there who wanted the product for it to be worth growing it and that wasn’t her fault. You have to start the business to discover this. But often the people who fail are those who cling on to that idea for dear life and don’t realize, actually, this is not the best thing I could be doing. So I think it’s understanding it’s not your fault if it doesn’t work, I suppose.
Awesome. Very cool. David, do you want to close out the show?
Yeah, absolutely. Chloe, how can people get a hold of you?
Chloe Thomas 45:15
You’ll find everything I’m up to at www.ecommercemasterplan.com. Both the podcast, the books, and anything else I happen to be doing is there. So www.ecommercemasterplan.com.
Excellent. And we’ll post links to all of that in the show notes. But really want to appreciate you coming on the firing the man podcast and looking forward to staying in touch.
Chloe Thomas 45:32
It’s been a lot of fun. You asked really good questions, and I hope we’ve we’ve helped your audience a lot.
Absolutely. Alright, thank you.
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firing the man podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to www.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, for that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man, and on YouTube at firing the man for exclusive content. This is David Shomer
and Ken Wilson. We’re out.
Before you go fun fact for all you Amazon sellers out there when you start selling an international marketplaces, all of your reviews come with you. At the beginning of this year, Ken and I sat down and talked of ways that we could double our businesses in size and landed on international expansion as our number one initiative this year. We partnered up with Kevin Sanderson from maximizing e commerce and he has made the process an absolute breeze walking us step by step through the process. If you want to grow your revenue and reach new customers head on over to www.maximizingecommerce.com/fire and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now back to the show.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai