Interview with Russell Miller from Zavient and Ryzeo

David 0:00
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Intro 0:46
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 to know you were capable of more than 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 host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

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David 1:10
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast on today’s episode we have the pleasure of interviewing Russell Miller Russell has 14 years of experience in E commerce in digital marketing. He has helped brands drive over $20 million in E commerce sales. He runs an E commerce marketing agency Zavient An email agency Ryzeo and is involved in a lot more Mr. Miller has worked with brands including Texas Instruments, the UFC scuffed gaming, Massdrop, and many others. He is also a graduate of MIT, be sure to stay tuned to see how you can get a free 45 minute consulting session covering how to grow your ecommerce sales in a crowded and competitive space. Welcome to the show. Russell,

Russell Miller 1:52
thank you so much for having me. David can really excited to be here.

David 1:55
Absolutely. So to get things started, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and some of the previous companies and experiences you have?

Russell Miller 2:03
Sure, yeah. So I’ve had kind of a long career in digital marketing when I kind of, you know, where I started was really at a couple of different startups. And then I was this was like, right after B School. And then I was able to join Texas Instruments brand digital marketing for one of their microchip divisions, but did that for about five years, that was really exciting because it was during the rise of Facebook, and then really the rise of E commerce and I moved to California in about 2014 and then started working for an agency and then shifted to start up cover repair pal that was doing lead gen the auto repairs space, stay with them for about five years before kind of leaving, do my own agency. And since then I have two agencies. So Zavient is sort of like the digital marketing sort of umbrella. And that really focuses on ads, but I’ll call it sort of programmatic SEO, enterprise SEO. And then I also took over as general manager for Riseborough, which is an E commerce email agency. And it’s distinguished by having life it’s both software and editions in that time kind of run by agencies of I’ve had the chance to do work for some a lot of different e commerce brands. You know, you mentioned the it’s been yes now knowing what keyboard it’s really focused on, you know, either email marketing or like paid media in SEO.

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David 3:23
Awesome. I have to ask Ken and I are huge UFC fans. For the UFC,

Russell Miller 3:30
the UFC was actually really interesting. I was a sub for an agency that have had the UFC merch account, this was a really this is like really in the weeds but so we were in charge of like, you know, shirts for I forgot who some of the big guys are. But we were we were selling like all their like T shirts and sweatshirts. And like the belts you can buy, it was tricky, because we’re bidding against some of the same keywords. The big lesson that I took away from that account is you are really I’ll kind of circle back to this more later. But even if you have kind of a super well known brand, right, some of these fighters are super well known and the UFC is obviously super well known brand. If you have a low average order value, it makes everything else so much harder.

David 4:15
Can you define? Can you define that number? Just curious. Yeah.

Russell Miller 4:19
So so to you know, be really brass tacks, we were selling 30 $35 Like branded T shirts, you know, when people were, you know, searching for their favorite fighter should be a great business, except that the math just wasn’t in our favor. So we were having to pay a buck or two bucks a click, and it was just really, really hard to get that math to work. And so we switched to instead of kind of marketing bad stuff, really focusing on kind of the higher end, which was these like really nice footies and you could actually buy the championship belts if you wanted one of your own and that that made more sense, but it was a that was a key lesson there. And also we had to be very careful, we would turn Off merch ads because when the fights were they promote the names of the fighters as the keywords want to drive signups to the fights so it’s kind of a good good lesson in kind of working with the other parts of a team because we knew that the fights were ultimately the big moneymakers in the merch was just kind of a secondary thing.

Ken 5:15
Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. Like the the timing on that and competing for keywords. So you know, if you’re selling a pay per view for like a George St. Pierre or John Jones, then you want to toggle those keywords off. So you’re not bidding merge against the pay per view? Yeah, that’s exactly Oh, no, that’s yeah. Now that’s a cool definitely huge UFC fans like hearing about that. Let’s dive right in lifecycle marketing for E commerce now and how it affects your ad ro s. So as I think of like, lifecycle marketing for E commerce, you know, pre product launch, and then you have product retires or kind of sunsets off. And so anywhere, everything in between, can you kind of speak to what your thoughts are on that, gee, spend more frog taper off? What What’s your strategy there?

Russell Miller 5:58
Yeah, so this was, I think, one of the big aha moments of my E commerce career. So what I think about lifecycle marketing, I’m really talking about the the customer lifecycle, rather than the product lifecycle. And here’s my my sort of aha story. For many years, I was focused on ads and direct sales. And the model was you bring a customer in and try to make a sale, and maybe you like retarget them. And it was a siloed approach, because like, I would be one part, you know, of a larger board with like different marketing channels, I wouldn’t necessarily see the bigger picture, what what’s happened to me since sort of expanding out into email marketing is I’ve really started to think about as an e commerce Store owner, that you’re, you really need to think about the whole customer lifecycle. And it’s, it’s kind of a long term approach to create the most value, when you think about your channels going forward, you know, the job of ads is to make sales, but it’s also just to acquire customer information. And so ads is a costly channel, you know, whether it’s on Amazon, or anything else, as you guys know, initially, when you do an ad, and you look at your tracking, you’re like, oh, I have a row as of like, you know, or an A costs of like, 1.1, or 1.3, or whatever. And like, that’s not that great lifecycle marketing is basically, we’re gonna use channels that we own, you know, like email and SMS. And another thing to amortize the cost of our customer acquisition, you know, which is maybe an accounting way to look at it, but essentially, hopefully, David, appreciate it. Sure.

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Unknown Speaker 7:25
Do I sure. Do.

Ken 7:28
I thought, yeah, David’s gonna relate to that one as speaking my

Russell Miller 7:30
language for all your listeners. Now, think about this, when you when you advertise on Amazon, or whatever you’re like, Man, that was just breakeven, maybe at the start, right? Maybe you just got like a Ross or Nick costs of like, 1.1 1.2, you’re going to keep marketing to that customer. If you’re clever, you’re going to have a strategy to keep engaging with them over time. So what starts at like 1.1, or 1.2, over time, two months, three months, becomes 1.52x 456 months becomes four to 6x. And so that’s like the big idea. Yeah, I really

Ken 8:03
liked that. Now, do you have any tips or tricks for the listeners on because Amazon has a very strict marketplace and platform? You know, they’re they’re not going to give us the emails, because then we’re going to take them off of off of that platform. So what are some ways to engage with the Amazon customers, you know, down the road, capturing email or get their attention? In other ways? That

Russell Miller 8:24
is an excellent question camp, I think one of the best tricks I’ve seen is to is to engage the customer with the actual product itself. And so let me give you a couple examples. So I like supplements and vitamins, I order a lot of them and the better ones that I get will have a QR code on on the wrapper that will say, you know, for 5% off your next purchase, scan and go here and give us your email. And I consider that a really cheap, effective way of of acquiring a purchase. And any sort of, you know, giveaway that you can incent in either the packaging or the actual product itself to acquire that email to keep going is just crucial. And to like think about your offer, whether it’s a discount on the next one, whether it’s to be, you know, put into a raffle or whether if it’s to like drive user generated content, right to get people to be like, Oh, if it’s something more like also by you know, like fun little sports six, like King Kong battles, you know, show us using this, and we’ll feature you on our social media or something like that. But you control the unboxing experience as an Amazon seller, not Amazon, which is kind of which is which is what I would encourage you to think about

David 9:34
I like that I really liked that. And and warranties is one that we’re given and try to on a product that like seems reasonable to sign up for a warranty. And so I really liked that and the percentage off that user generated content. And so let’s let’s dive in to email marketing. And as I mentioned before the show we are just we are just spinning up our email marketing department. We’ve been active for about eight months. And so what are some industry standard? To like benchmarks for email marketing, how do we know if we’re doing good?

Russell Miller 10:03
That is a super important question for all ecommerce sales. And this is actually something we’ve we’ve been thinking about doing is we’re gonna, we’re actually going to roll out a service of industry specific benchmarking, and I’m gonna mention that something like in later, but if you email me with like your contact info in your industry, I will email you back your industry benchmarks. But what I can say generally is I’m going to distinguish between campaign emails which are like mass emails, and then workflows, which are those one to one emails, like cart abandonment, if you’re sending campaign emails, and you are good at what you do, and people like your brand, we have customers that do an open rate of 10 to 20%, click rate of about 1% or so and then a conversion rate of half a percent. That’s pretty good for workflows and super campaign email. That’s like your entire list for workflows. The numbers are much smaller if when you’re sending but but the rates are much higher. So for automated workflows, you want to target an open rate of like 40 to 60%, but click rate of like 10 to 15% and a conversion rate of 5%. And that, so it’s like the conversion rate is like roughly 10x, even though the volume is smaller.

Ken 11:11
So Russell on those, so it’s very different between, say, like manual campaigns versus white? Like, what why are the metrics? So so different? Is it just the response? Or what do you think?

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Russell Miller 11:23
Yeah, also a really tough question. So it’s kind of the level of your your buyer intent, the campaign is sent out your entire list, and they don’t they’re sort of we’re sort of interrupting them with a message from your store, where as a flow is a response to something they did on your site, right? So a flow is a triggered email, that’s a response to them, like signing up on your site, or viewing a product or taking some action. So a flow is you know, talking to a customer that’s already engaged with you. And that’s why the the response rate is so much higher, and you can almost think about flows as as retargeting, okay, yeah, that totally makes

Ken 12:03
sense. It’s like your warm lead versus a cold lead. Yeah, and sort of like a retargeting or an abandoned cart, like they were already there. And so when they see that they’re like, oh, wait, yeah, versus getting a random message in your inbox of like, oh, maybe I want to look at that or not. So totally makes sense.

David 12:19
So one follow up question I have to add in when I it’s, it’s interesting. We have an email marketing department. And I’ve also like, subscribed to some newsletters. And when I open those, I asked myself, like, Why did I open that was it actually title was a good content in usually the ones that I don’t unsubscribe to have great content, I enjoy reading them. They’re providing a ton of value. So I just let him keep showing up. And so in terms of content, what would you recommend for someone who’s just getting started? What should I send my email list?

Russell Miller 12:49
Okay, so let’s talk about that. There’s, there’s kind of a cookbook of different strategies we have that are kind of sliced between whether you’re b2b or b2c, I think most of your viewers are probably direct to consumer brands, you can email your customers a lot, but you can’t sell every time as a good rule of thumb, you know, maybe you sell every like, you can email like two or three times a week, but you’re mostly like educating or being interesting, right. And so you want to talk to content about why people buy your products. So for example, my buddy shout out to my friend, Jabari Martin, who has a brand called Grit snacks he sells, it calls it a performance, sport nugget. And it’s like this little chocolate thing. And he’s a bodybuilder and a trainer. And so his stuff is sometimes Abeka. But mostly, it’s a lot of aspirational stuff about you know, your goals and achieving your goals and your workout and your fitness and like stories and content and around that. And so the people that are buying grit are, you know, wanting to become like better athletes and more, you know, efficient and able to do more. And so a lot of the time you’re talking to kind of the underlying reason what you’re, you know, they’re the idea of like jobs to be done. So someone is buying your product to do a job, and what is that job? And how can you help them to like achieve that job. And so if you’re thinking about broad categories, right about, you know, how to use this thing, effectively, the people that do this thing, so interviews, it’s a great one people that you know, use your stuff really effectively or don’t even use your stuff just in the same area, talk to them, because your your customer base wants to hear from them. And then just rounding up other stuff from the web, using current news events as jumping off points, I think is a really easy one. If you can find a way to relate it back. That makes sense.

Ken 14:32
Yeah, I like that a lot. Now, a little bit of a deeper question for you know, email marketing and kind of engaging our subscribers. What is your take on using like templated emails versus like, just text based only? Do you use both? Do you only use one or do you what’s your preference? Is

Russell Miller 14:49
there Yeah, so that really, there’s a I think a really strong split between business to business and consumer for and then kind of product versus everything else? My Agency just focuses on products for people that are doing, you know, b2b email where it’s like services or everything, go with text, right? People that are buying consulting, don’t really want like a big splashy template or whatever. But for our universe, I think templates are important. But templates shouldn’t mean cookie cutter. All I mean by it is we’re going to build out a graphical email, which has good photography of the products, when you’re thinking about your your email strategy. And just investing in product photography is really important, because that allows you to give the designer either it’s us or someone else, you know, something to work with, because we want to highlight your stuff and make people excited about that we can’t do that with with just text, although text is an important part of it. So let me give you a slightly different example. One of our clients sells scientific equipment, things like ventilation hoods, our picture of a ventilation hood will will be what it is with that audience, the guy who writes up a copyrighted rights. Seth has a master’s in chemistry, and he’s writing about some, you know, very detailed product specific attributes. And in that case, it makes sense to be more tech stuff. But if you’re selling something that is most people could just evaluate off the bat, then I think, maybe more a for the visuals.

Ken 16:11
Okay. Yeah, that’s interesting. What what we’ve noticed, is, whenever a templated, like product base emails we get, we get way more conversions. And so if we’re looking to, you know, if it’s a salesy type of email, we use the templated ones. And then if we’re say, We’re say, we’re putting out an email to get to get feedback on something, or we want replies user generated content, then we go at the tax base, because it just seems like we get more replies like more of a one to one personal type. Oh, no. tax base. And so yeah, and

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Russell Miller 16:40
that is really, I think, really good point. Like, I think gathering the user generated content is super important. So maybe a text based appeal might be better. The thing that I would a B test there is using pictures of other UGC

Ken 16:54
that you’ve got inside the text email. Yeah, yeah. Okay. I like that,

Russell Miller 16:59
you know, if you if you if you happen to have it, and if you don’t happen to have it, if you’re asking it, they’ll have your girlfriend or your friends just like cars. Let’s

Ken 17:09
get a get a quick, UGC. I like that. Awesome. David, over to you. Yeah. So

David 17:15
we’ve spent some time talking about what are good things to put in emails, let’s can we spend a little bit of time on what should not be anything else? Like what gets you in the penalty box? Or in that spam folder? What do you want to avoid?

Russell Miller 17:26
Yeah, also great. So when you’re so this is, this is going to be nerding out a little bit. So remember, I said there, you know, when you’re setting up your email, set up a different domain for your email domain versus your store, right, because God forbid, you should ever get into spam jail, you don’t want that to affect your domain itself. So if you look at any of the major brands, if you sign up for the gap or anything, you’ll see the email address is not from like app directly, but from like Japanese, or something like that, there are some things you can set up there to kind of improve your reputation. It’s kind of an alphabet soup, there’s three acronyms, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. And I’m gonna explain it at a very high level, these are all ways of proving to Google and Gmail that the person sending is actually the same as the domain. So it’s basically there’s a little sign certificate that says, Yep, this is really from my domain, this this email. So that’s some sort of fraudster can’t pretend to send an email from your domain, try to set that up. If you can, when you are collecting emails, make sure to give, you know, an opt out. So the United States is an opt out country, which means we’re just required to have an unsubscribe link, whereas Europe is under GDPR. And that’s opt in so you can email though, if you want here, make sure to give them a way to opt out. And the best way is to do it in the header and then avoid. And then the other way is, is use a warm up service, which is what we do when we’re getting someone ready, right. So if on day one, you set up this new domain, and you’re like, cool, I’m gonna email my list. Google doesn’t like that. And the other email providers don’t like me either. So you’re very gradually kind of ramping that up. And you’re actually starting with a warm up service that puts their email list with other email lists. And essentially they robot email each other and open those emails to prove to all the email DSPs that like, Oh, these are your emails are good emails, because other people are opening them before you ever email like a

Ken 19:16
real person. Yeah, I like that. That’s a view from getting no replies and having having a very low open rate not not due to, you know, something you did, but due to due to Gribble, or that’s good. And I like how we’re going deep on on email. It’s awesome. So the next question I have here, it says, I have a stat here it says ecommerce owners need to shoot for 20 to 40% of sales from email. What what size of an email list? Do you think a brand needs to have to get to shoot to that? Is that is that size or quality? Or what are your

Russell Miller 19:42
thoughts? Yeah, so that’s there’s actually a bunch of stuff that goes into, which I think is great. So we actually have a customer that has a relatively small amount of subscribers. They have about 3000 4000 subscribers, but they’re achieving that but I’ll say in general there there are a couple of critical factors you want Should for you want to have monthly traffic of at least five to 10k to your website to kind of acquire emails or you know, you’re doing some sort of advertising to kind of get that. And in order to kind of like build your list, but even if you have a list of like five to 10k, it’s doable, we see like, if you just do this yourself, and you kind of don’t do it that well, and you just set up like a single cart abandonment email, you’ll get like five to 10%, with professionals who are going to put in many different workflows and kind of build those workflows out and kind of monitor it, you should be able to do 20 to 40%. And you should be able to do that with as little as like a 5000 10,000 person list, it definitely helps as you get bigger. The other thing you want to, you know, all the other kind of factors that we get people to target, you know, having a certain amount of traffic is helpful as is having a high AODV. You know, and when I say high, I mean at least like 50, or $100, just to make the math worth it to like set up an email program. And then in terms of like when to bring in professional help, once you cross like around like 50 60k in revenue, then it makes sense to maybe bring in some help to kind of scale up because the if you kind of think about the math, if you’re if you’re doing 50k a month in revenue, you’re probably doing 5k A month an email, and someone else could probably add an additional five to 10k. So it’s sort of more than pays for itself. And a lot of the Amazon edit dollars might have relatively low traffic to their site. So in early days, buy low cost traffic to get emails, so you’re not trying to necessarily get sales, you’re trying to find a low cost supply of potentially interested people that you can

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David 21:38
market to for what you’ve go into this a little bit more on how to how to do this.

Russell Miller 21:43
Yeah, let’s talk about, you know, kind of kind of the world out there. So if people there’s demand. So filling, which is Google, people are searching for your product category, that’s kind of expensive. And there’s demand creating, which is more like image ads. And that would be like the Facebook’s and the tiktoks of the world, run a bunch of Facebook campaigns with the goal of just collecting an email address or buy lists, they don’t tell you to do it. But like think about doing because your whole goal here is to like if you’re running an Amazon store, if you’re running a Facebook campaign, you show people some, you know, interesting image, and you want to educate them about your product category, give them like an ebook or some explanatory video or something in exchange for an email address as cheaply as possible if you can acquire that, you know, email address in exchange for giving some sort of value, and then just market to that over time. Right. So how cheaply Can you and there are a bunch of near always new channels kind of coming up, whether you know, influencer marketing is another one. But whatever low cost way you can of acquiring people that are interested by giving them something of value, though, if it’s like I’m selling ping pong battles, I’ll be like, these are the five ways people screw up their ping pong game as like a little ebook, or check my video about how people screw you screw up their ping pong game. And in return to that just generic email. And I just want to do that and kind of rev up the engine until I until I can maybe hit a, you know, a decent sort of critical mass.

David 23:06
So to follow on questions, that inner accountant in me has got to ask, what is a good price for an email? And how much like how much is too high?

Russell Miller 23:13
Yeah, so that is the $10,000 question. A lot of it and knowing your math. So this is this is my like my rule of thumb, if you’re an E commerce, you want to have a product that sells for 50 or 100 bucks, you have enough margin, and like hopefully 50% gross margin. So at least 30%, the smaller that is the trickier it gets in general, I’ll say like, if you can acquire, you know, there’s a general rule of an email subscriber being worth $1, right. So if you can acquire them for like 1020 30 cents, you know, it makes sense. But you have to remember, you’re going to amortize this over a period of time. So you’d have to have kind of the, you know, the dry powder to be able to do that. So I would say like, without knowing more about the business, I would say 1020 30 cents per email, tried to keep it in the definitely in the in the lower range of that. But you know, as you have in sort of the other levers, you can dial like dial them do the math gets much more attractive. So one of our customers was a furniture company, and they’re selling like $5,000 chairs. So for them, it just doesn’t matter, whatever you can do. Another way to acquire emails is to give us a raffle, you have products and you can say hey, enter, enter for a chance to be get one of these you know, we’ll give one away. And you can do that on your site. You can also you know, do that Facebook campaign. You can also do that in the unboxing enter to receive free product Okay, yeah, I’ll give my you want to try different stuff out but in general, like giving value of some form and keeping that that cost low as long as someone is engaged, like it’s not a you know, fraudulent email or fraudulent click, but as long as like, okay, I can reasonably expect that person interested in the product than I think it’s worth it to pay, you know, 1020 30 cents for that

David 24:52
nice second follow up question and Ken, I’m gonna kick it over to you. Where do you like to buy lists?

Russell Miller 24:57
I have not bought lists. For direct to consumer as much we are actually onboarding, though a this is for more established companies, but like, and you can maybe speak to this a bit later. But essentially, if you already have five to 10,000 visitors a month, we have technology, they’ll actually tell us the emails and some of those people and just capture them. So you can start sending out like emails to them. That’s definitely worth testing. But if you’re just there are various list brokers out there. And I don’t know all of them for direct to consumer. But if you want to hack it the other way on Facebook is just to go around to your competitors pages and market to people that liked their pages.

David 25:35
That’s yeah, I like that. I like that. All right, Ken, over to you,

Ken 25:40
for sure. No good stuff. So to kind of bring it bring it up a little bit at a higher level here. What are the top three revenue generating email campaigns that you normally recommend to run?

Russell Miller 25:49
Yeah, so if you’re, if you’re sort of starting out, you’re doing nothing else, you want to do a welcome email cart abandonment, and product demand. So everyone knows about the cart abandonment. So I’ll just talked about that first. But the cart abandonment, if in your marketing funnel, those are the people that are the most say like down funnel ready to buy, right, so they put it into their cart, and then left for some reason. So that is going to have the highest conversion rate, but the lowest volume, because it’s at the very bottom of the funnel, you should definitely have that set up, you should hit people off a couple of times once they’re in that stage. But what a lot of people forget is the other parts of the funnel. So the welcome series goes out to everybody who who subscribes. And that’s where you’re going to educate your customers about the product and the brand and you and your story and build trust over time. And then you’re going to, you know, ask past them to purchase. So in other words, they hit your site, maybe they’re an app visitor, and then we’re going to back because most you know, pay traffic has like a 70% Bounce Rate, you capture that email, you have two or three more chances to talk with them. And that’s like built up the story of like, who you are, what you’re about why you’re a good guy, and kind of like how you can help them out. And then there is stock abandonment, which is maybe the least known, which is essentially saying we’re gonna get you a sort of at the middle of the funnel, which is you’ve worked out a product, so you’ve been to the site at least once. And now you’re a little bit deeper and you haven’t added the conversion rate is lower than like the cart abandonment, but it’s five times the volume. So it ends up being it usually outweighs the revenue of the quarterback.

David 27:20
Interesting. Very nice. How do you capture the emails of anonymous users?

Russell Miller 27:24
Yeah, so that’s really interesting. So essentially, when you like, let’s say, let’s say you sign up for one of these lead gen sites, like you know, apply for a credit card, a nerd wallet or something like that they are part of these large networks that cookie you and then try to, you know, sell you different ads. And so we’re working with a technology partner that is essentially, when you sign up for these your cookie ID, and your email is hashed. It’s coated with a synth called an MT five hash. So we have a tech partner that this bought, you know, 100 million emails, and then also run them through the same hash. And so all we’re doing is a lookup, we have an anonymous visitor with an MD five hash, we have a huge table of other MD five hashes. And if we’d match, it’d be like, Oh, that’s probably this guy. And if he’s active on the site, then we’re gonna fire him. But it only works if your site has, you know, because it’s, we’re not gonna be able to identify everybody, we want at least five to 10,000 visitors coming through, you know, sort of get the volume, but essentially, it’s it’s sort of boiling ocean, it’s getting all the email addresses, we can password bump, and then seeing if there’s a match.

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  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 03/26/2014 (Publication Date) - RANDOM HOUSE UK (Publisher)

Ken 28:26
That’s awesome. Yeah, we’ve been testing that out. It’s working wonderfully in our company. Alright, so Ross, can you share with the audience How to Use Email to Drive reviews and user generated content? This is probably one of my favorite questions here,

Russell Miller 28:39
that is super important, because it feeds into everything. I’m a fan of paying people like Do whatever you have to do, the way we normally implement it is a certain amount of time, after a product purchase, you know, we’re going to hit people up for reviews and user generated content. And so that’s actually whatever review program or UGC program you sign up with, we wire that into the email, and then we sort of send that to them on a certain interval after their purchase, we want to do it in such a way that we only get good feedback, because we don’t want bad feedback from the store. So that’s really critical. We want to tell people that, hey, if you have if you’ve had a great experience, go here, leave us review. If you have not had a great experience, get in touch with us, and we’ll make it right. So I want to be very clear, you know about that, you know, and then in the review part, you know, if we can offer people in any any incentives, either being entered in a drawing or being featured or, or free product or whatever, you know, let’s let’s do that. It’s so, so important. And then on the flip side, if anyone leaves you a bad review, or like Do whatever you have to do to get them to take it down. It’s kind of an outsize effect of the the negatives to the positives. Does that make sense? Absolutely. And there are other sort of factors you can drive is like at a high level, if your product has like an emotional aspect and you can kind of create a community feeling around your brand. That’s the best. It’s a way of of belonging and being part of a tribe, you know, and it’s different for different types of products, right? If you sell portable generators or something like really technical, there might be around like, show your professional competence or other stuff. Another great way is to interview your customers and then ask them for review after that, because usually their their incentive to give more after you’ve been able to help people, like if you ever sort of go above and beyond in your store, and people are really appreciative, that is a fantastic time to up, ask them. But gathering those reviews and piping them out to all your channels is so so important. Very

David 30:33
nice. Very nice. Why don’t we turn the corner and talk about xavion and rise, EO and how they can help ecommerce businesses.

Russell Miller 30:41
Oh, that’s awesome. So so we spend a lot of time talking about email. So I’ll start with Razia so rise do I took over his gentle manner. But if Africa, we drive about 20 30 million top line for the other businesses every year, if you have like doing 50 60k In sales, and you have like 510 1000 visitors a month, and you’re only getting, you know, five to 10% of revenue from email, we’re gonna analyze what you’re doing and a bunch of other series and then start testing stuff, we have sort of two different plans, we have kind of a more kind of cookie cutter one, which is more low touch, and then a higher higher touch one for like the bigger bigger brands. So if you’re like in the maybe sub 2 million a year space, we’re going to set up our system for you, which is going to get you probably like 15 20%, for the brands that are doing like maybe four or 5 million. It’s that plus like continual testing and optimizing segmenting, because they generally have larger lists. And we’re going to try to get them to like 25 to 40% of sales. But that’s rising up. And then for Zavient thinking is mostly about ads and SEO and it uses rhizopus for email with ads, we’re focused very heavily on feed optimization, and figuring out how to really optimize your your feed so that you can get more sales at a higher Ross that’s on the ad side. And then on the SEO, we’re thinking a lot about basically people are searching for your product or product category. And how are those product and brand pages set up so that you’re you do well in search. And then also same thing with your feet, I think at this point in, you know, 2023 feet optimization is just like a really big part of everything. And so that’s more for like, you know, brands on the higher end, you’re doing like four or 5 million a year in sales. And you’re like, I want to drive more sales and lower Ross and that’s where it brings in lifecycle marketing. So for Zavient we would plug in ads, SEO and email, we can pay a little bit more for ads with no we can amortize the cost with. And because we’re doing the whole thing we could kind of see you know, down the road and be like, Okay, here’s, here’s how this fits off. That makes sense.

Ken 32:39
No, it’s awesome. And I like how, you know, kind of both of those companies like work hand in hand. And you know, when you know it takes takes up here, and this one takes it over there. So that’s really cool. So Russell on every show we have, we run our guests through a ringer, it’s called the fire round. Are you ready? Yep. So all right, what is your favorite

Russell Miller 32:55
book? Okay, so I think the book that I too, and they’re both kind of kind of similar. One is called succeed by Heidi aalverson. The other one was called Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck succeed is a lot more practical and it’s like really practical habits for how to be more successful. Growth mindset has really like one big idea, which is when you do badly you need to take that is like feedback and and like look closely at it in a non personal way and see like, what can I do better instead of taking it personally and being like, that’s a judgment. And I found that really helpful in why in in just growing and perfect

Ken 33:28
like this? What are your hobbies? For five

Russell Miller 33:30
years I did improv, which is really fun. It’s a lot of people are like afraid of public speaking and stuff I learned. It really helped me to relate to people and make small talk and really improved my listening skills. Because a lot of what you’re doing is when someone else talks or kind of repeating, you’re repeating it back and making sure you’re both on the same page. And so it really helped me kind of an awkward guy who sits in front of a computer all day.

Ken 33:53
That’s awesome. That’s cool. That’s that’s the first time I’ve heard that answer. So that’s awesome. And that’s something that yeah, I don’t think I could do that. Cool. What is the one thing that you do not miss about working for the man? Oh, that’s,

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Russell Miller 34:05
that’s a great one. So I spent four or five years working for Texas Instruments, which is a company of like 50,000 plus people. It has a campus that’s so big that when you like enter the campus, you still have to drive like another half a mile to get to your particular building. I was in a lot of meetings where I was like the audience like I wasn’t the person talking but I wasn’t the person being talked to but I was kind of like a seat filler at the Oscars. You know and I want to talk to you like how much of my like working life had been spent. So I definitely don’t miss that.

Ken 34:40
Nice Yeah. All right. Last one. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

Russell Miller 34:48
I think a lot of people would answer this question something inspirational about persistence and grit and stuff. And I’ll say that’s an important quality and you should definitely have that quality but I think everyone good Say the answer. So I’m going to tell you the answers that I’ve gotten from like more like the school of hard knocks like just the really breast hex, you need a Hindmarch, you need a high gross margin because that allows you to invest you need a high average order value because the cost of ads it’s always going to be $1 $2 a click and if you’re selling a $20 product, but math is not on your side, you need a good niche where you’re like, Okay, I can I can dominate this I’m excited enough about it. Like I get the people to do it, I can I can work at it and then you need good SEO and you’re like pumping out a lot of content videos and stuff about like that high tech and you’re gonna like I have this one weird thing and son of a bitch if anyone searches for this on YouTube or any other places they’re gonna find me that that’s that’s kind of like my my formula for

Ken 35:46
Okay, I like it. That’s that’s really cool. Kind of an all around so solid. Awesome. So David, do you want to close out the show and I think Russell’s got a couple of links here in the show notes.

David 35:57
So Russell, if people are interested in getting in touch with you be the best way?

Russell Miller 36:01
Yeah. So if you are a kind of an E commerce business on the larger end doing a couple of million or more in sales, and you want help with your whole digital strategy, go to I also find on the website is If you want help, specifically an email go to or discover the website and the other one

David 36:28
Awesome. And we’re gonna post links to all that in the show notes. Russell want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing the Man podcast and looking forward to staying in touch. Thank you guys so much. Before you go, fun fact for all you Amazon sellers out there when you start selling in 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 ecommerce 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 and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now back to the show.

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