Chase Clymer is the Co-founder at Electric Eye, where he and his team create Shopify-powered sales machines from strategic design, development, and marketing decisions. He is also the host of Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast where they provide online store owners with honest, actionable advice to increase their sales and grow their business.
Tune in now and learn from Chase the best Shopify apps and ecommerce KPIs!
[00:01 – 05:46] Opening Segment
- Let’s get to know Chase Clymer
- Chase’s journey from punk rock bands to ecommerce
[05:47 – 15:15] The Hardest Part of Ecommerce
- Why he started the podcast, Honest Ecommerce
- The hardest part of ecommerce according to Chase
- The challenge posed by the latest iOS update
[15:16 – 23:56] How to Boost Website Traffic
- Here are pro tips from Chase to drive traffic to your website
- Chase shares some interesting thoughts about influencer marketing
- Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
- Promo code: FTM400
[23:57 – 33:46] Content Creation is Key
- The power of investing in brand building
- Chase talks about tactical strategies you can apply now
- He breaks down the Brand Scaling Framework
- The KPIs you should prioritize
[33:47 – 45:35] Why Niche Down
- The Shopify updates you can leverage for your business
- Why installing many apps into your store is not advisable
- How to transition from freelancer to founder
- Why you should niche down
[45:36 – 49:52] Closing Segment
- Know more about Chase in the Fire Round!
- Connect with Chase
- Links below
- Final words
“The hardest part, and this is something that no agency, consultancy, magician, nobody can help you with, is finding product-market fit. That is a founder’s job.” – Chase Clymer
“Failure is inevitable and you’re going to fail when you get started. Just move past it” – Chase Clymer
- Freelance to Founder
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Chase Clymer 0:46
The hardest part, and this is something that no agency, consultant, magician, nobody can help you with is finding product market fit like that is a founders job. And if you don’t have the, one it’s not even the time, if you don’t have the like just internal drive to work on solving that problem for your customers that your product solves for them, you’re not going to be successful. The major difference between going into a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart, and starting your own store on Shopify or any other tool that’s out there, they’re all just tools, it doesn’t matter. I’m just really good at Shopify, and I’m too lazy to learn everything else. The difference between putting a product up on Amazon is the traffic Amazon gets is insane compared to your store, which is probably nothing. So the advantage of going straight onto an Amazon or a Walmart is that you’re just starting with this traffic already. And it’s a little bit of an easier start, as long as you’ve kind of optimized your product and the listing and all that stuff, which I’m not good at, and I might be saying it the wrong way. But you know, you get all that stuff figured out. Because the traffic things already solved for you. The trade off there is you don’t have that customer information, you can’t retarget them, there’s a lot of stuff that is well outside your control. The first system that you need to be building out is you got to have some like internal system to like produce this content, maybe it’s somebody in house that’s producing this content, maybe it’s yourself or maybe it is like a contractor or a partner or whatever. But you have a repeatable way to produce content based around your product and stuff your audience actually cares about. So you’ve got like kind of an internal system built out. And then a second system that we kind of touched on just like five seconds ago, which would be influencers go and try to get your products in front of their audience and influencers will create content all over the place from like more professional stuff, even down to like more user generated content, stuff. And then you can repurpose all that stuff within your advertising through like Facebook and Instagram or through your organic socials or through email and SMS, like you can use all this content everywhere. And then the last one, which is quite possibly the easiest one to get started on is get it from your customers, like get user generated content from your customers, ask them for it. Get those automations built out, get that kind of system built out to kind of bring that content back into the business.
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 Chase Clymer. Chase is the co founder at electric eye where he and his team create Shopify powered sales machines from strategic design, development and marketing decisions. He’s also the host of the honest e commerce podcast, a weekly podcast where they provide online store owners with honest actionable advice to increase their sales and grow their business. Welcome to the show, Chase.
No products found.
Chase Clymer 3:53
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Yeah, absolutely. So first things first, let’s hear a little bit about your background and your path to starting the honest e commerce podcast.
Chase Clymer 4:03
Absolutely. So my background, once upon a time I was in a punk rock band and that did not pay the bills. So the whole time I was touring. The whole time I was touring with my band, I was freelancing. I kind of got started with photography. I started doing a lot of layout designs for music magazines, started doing web design, started doing advertising, marketing, kind of learning all that stuff and kind of really got into it with like strategy and kind of growth. And so I was learning all these things while I was in the band. And once we once we realized that the rock star dream wasn’t for us, I had kind of this little Rolodex of clients that I had been working with for quite some time. And from being in the band is actually where I met my business partner. We designed the album art for my band for both of my bands albums. So that’s how I met Sean, my business partner. So once the band was over, I was freelancing. Sean around kind of close to the same time Sean left his previous job at a direct to consumer startup here in Columbus that just grew to a lot, they got really big by the time he left. So he was doing a lot of freelancing stuff in the Shopify ecosystem, which is where I basically only hang out. And so he was just making every mistake under the sun as a freelancer, just because he hadn’t been in this world before. He didn’t understand how that game works. So I was like, teaching him kind of just a little bit of the business side of things. And then he was like, hey, Facebook advertising, right? I’ve got all these Shopify stores, let’s, you know, market these things together. He kind of, we had a handful of clients together. And we were working on these projects. And next thing, you know, we had like an agency. So electric eye was kind of born through that just right place, right time, really, we had a lot of really awesome clients between us, and we like, really liked what we’re doing. So then, about a year and a half later, maybe two years later, our project manager at the time, after we’d kind of grown a little bit as an agency. He’s like, hey, Chase, you hate writing, which is true. I hate writing. He’s like, but you will have a conversation with anybody. Have you thought about podcasting? And I was like, I’m gonna suck at podcasting, dude, like, I don’t want to do that. But he really pushed me to do it, along with another friend of ours who helped me get like the first couple dozen episodes. And I realized that I liked it a lot better than all the other sorts of content marketing that we were doing. So we have since kind of doubled and tripled down on the podcast as kind of like the content around the agency. And that’s as short as I think I can make that story.
Very nice. I got two follow up questions. So the first one has to do with your rock band. If you were to look in my iTunes 25 most played you’re going to find Angels and Airwaves, Blink, Good Charlotte. What flavor of punk rock where you guys?
Chase Clymer 6:41
Well, let’s see. You can see behind me a blink 182 album, a hit the lights album, taking, what is that, taking back Sunday’s behind me and story so far. And then the two other albums there are my band’s albums. So you’d be right on the money with your playlist is right up the alley of what we played.
Cool. Cool. And second follow up question is why the name honest ecommerce?
Chase Clymer 7:02
So as we kind of got more and more into E commerce as an agency, and this is like really right around the time the agency was getting started. There was all, there was this like giant rise of like, get rich quick schemes, like built on the back of build an oberlo store and plug it into Shopify, and then split Facebook ads, now you’re an overnight success. Now you’re a millionaire, go buy a Ferrari. Yeah, that’s all wrong, and it didn’t work then and it still doesn’t work now. So my whole goal was just like how, like, just go into and just tell people the truth, it takes hard work. It takes product market fit, it’s takes a good product, it takes a good strategy. That’s how you build a real business. So that’s what I’ve been really trying to do with my podcast. It’s a lot of me talking to people that are a lot smarter than me. The podcast has made me so much better at my job as like a strategist for our client. As like just knowledgeable of what’s going on in the industry. I’ve been keeping up on trends, it’s really fantastic. And as of late, I’ve really doubled down on interviewing successful brands and hearing how they did it with their own words, just to really lay it out there of like, there’s a million ways to do it. But the one thing that all these people have in common is they just kept working on it.
Nice. Yeah, that’s a kind of leads me to my first question is so I had a similar journey where I started the Shopify store, I imported oberlo, I ran Facebook ads. So and that was a failed business, right? And we covered that in an earlier podcast. But it’s funny, you mentioned that it seems like that was like a machine there for a few years that everybody was kind of cranking that cycle out.
Chase Clymer 8:36
Yeah, you want to know why you weren’t successful is you didn’t pay a guru $5,000 to teach you nothing.
I didn’t, I did not do that I did not make that mistake. So Chase, what is the hardest part of E commerce?
Chase Clymer 8:47
The hardest part, and this is something that no agency, consultant, magician, nobody can help you with is finding product market fit. Like that is a founders job. And if you don’t have the, one, it’s not even the time, if you don’t have the like just internal drive to work on solving that problem for your customers that your product solves for them, you’re not going to be successful. What I mean by that is product market fit is this weird, hard concept to really describe and like you have it when you do but when you don’t, it’s like how do I get it? It’s basically the concept that like, if strangers on the internet will give you money for whatever the heck it is you’re selling, you probably found product market fit. And if you dive in a little bit deeper on, especially where I am in like the direct to consumer space, most of the time people are selling physical goods. So it’s pretty easy to figure it out is if like, will people buy that thing from you? Are people that aren’t your mom or your uncle or your brother buying this thing from you on the internet? And I think that a lot of people see Facebook advertising is truly or just paid media in general, as a way to get product market fit, which isn’t really true. It’s like if you’re going to dump a bunch of money into paid traffic without product market fit, you’re more than likely just going to learn very quickly that you have an underlying issue with your product or how you’re trying to position that product to the market. So without having kind of the product in the right place, and without having your messaging and your offer in the right place, that’s usually the worst way to go. So kind of going back to your original question, what’s the hardest part about getting started in E commerce and it’s finding product market fit, and nobody can find it for you, but you as the founder.
Nice. I like that. One thing that you touched on that I think is you said, if you can get any, if you can get strangers to buy your product, not your friends or family but strangers to put up money, then you know you probably have something that would sell.
So sounds like you’ve been involved in the E commerce industry for a while. I’m curious, what your like five year outlook is in terms of E commerce and what that means for sellers?
Chase Clymer 10:52
It’s still young, even though I’ve been in it for seven years now, maybe longer. It’s still so young. And so what happened about a year and a half ago, when there was the pandemic, just everything went online. And like so much weird stuff happened back then, especially in digital, but there was just a jump in the market penetration of E commerce sales versus, like traditional retail sales, and it jumped 10 or 15%, like, within the three months, where everything was shut down, and everything was online. And that was a jump that, according to the data wasn’t gonna happen for 10 years. So just overnight, it jumped another 10%. And you know that the market penetration of it is still less than 50%. Like most people are spending money actually in stores, especially older customers. And so there was this big jump forward with ecommerce. So as a result of that, I think, well a, there’s like just a lot more people buying online right now. And over the next five years, it’s only going to grow. So that’s something I’m looking forward to. Kind of on the flip side of your question is, in the past six months, there has been the release of iOS 14, and now 15, that have just destroyed how advertisers were tracking results with paid ads. So that’s going to be very interesting to kind of ride that wave over the next couple years. But in general, I mean, next five years are going to be awesome. It’s just going to be brands that have a really big focus on content that really resonates with our audiences community building, those two things are going to be the brands that win over people that were focusing more on less long term solutions, I’d say.
Nice. So Chase, you mentioned a couple of good points. And I want to dig into those a little bit deeper, the Facebook ads targeting or just let’s just say media buying on Facebook. So can you describe to the listeners like, what happened? And kind of what you see how is it gonna play out in the future and a little background, David and I were looking at an acquisition last month, and it had trailing revenues were going down month over month or month, and it was due to the Facebook updates. And so we passed on that but looking at like the future, how do you see people recovering from the systems that they had in place with their Facebook advertising?
Chase Clymer 13:05
Well, I mean, the honest truth is, we’re still in this like weird holding pattern where we’re gonna have to find out. But that’s just the evolution of advertising over time. Like, every couple of years there’s an amazing channel to advertise on and then something happens and it changes and there’s always a new channel. But you know, for the listeners that aren’t as nerdy as the rest of the people on this podcast, basically what happened is the powers that be at Apple and Google and Facebook got in a wrestling match over data. And what they did was basically say, you can’t track us as well as you used to track us. And from an advertising perspective, what that means is, we used to have some pretty, how would I want to describe this, pretty trustworthy numbers coming from every dollar we spend, how many dollars we’d get back on those channels, the numbers were roughly accurate. And everyone said, Yeah, I trust these numbers. But now what’s happened is they’re allowing customers to opt out of being tracked, which just throws everything for a loop. So now, there’s a little bit of like, there’s a giant kind of power vacuum now in the market of like, how do we trust the returns? How do we see the actual returns? And there’s a bunch of people out there trying to come up with different solutions, and it’s honestly so early and so soon, that I don’t have like a great response to that. It’s like, we’re all just kind of waiting to see what happens. But I will tell you that a lot of our clients are like, well, this worked one month ago, and it’s going to continue to work like just like they it’s kind of like moving forward with like, you’ve got to have faith type of mentality. They are investing a lot more into more owned channels like retention marketing through email and SMS, that is like kind of a shift we’re seeing, like, definitely moving forward into that. But as far as paid advertising goes, that was a big shock. And then the next update after iOS 14, which was iOS 15 is now Apple was like also you’re not going to be able to open you’re not gonna be able to track Email opens anymore, which is just, they’re like, hey, you know what we got rid of paid media as a channel that was easy to track. And now we’re gonna get rid of owned media, which was easy to track. And now it’s just like, making everybody’s job super hard. So it’s a wild world out there right now.
Yeah, yeah. Fair enough. We’ll have to kind of see how that shakes out. But yeah, the tracking and what you said people are kind of just trusting and what was converting prior should convert now, but maybe not. So yeah. It’ll be interesting to see kind of later in the year how it shakes out.
Chase Clymer 15:31
Yeah, I think that the funny thing was like, right when the privacy tracking thing happened, everyone was like, Alright, we’re going all in on retention marketing. We’re going all in on email and SMS and all that stuff. And then the next, like, big release was like, actually, we’re gonna chop your knees off on that one, too. We’re like, Come on, guys.
Yeah, yeah, definitely a wrestling match. Absolutely.
Yeah, so, I found it, and just as a little bit of background, Ken and I, our sweet spot in E commerce is through the Amazon sales channel, as well as newly started with Walmart. And I know that your focus is more of the Shopify facing right driving brand, or customers to your own website. I have a question. Have you seen the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner by chance?
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones (Actors)
- Phil Alden Robinson (Director) - Phil Alden Robinson (Writer) - Lawrence Gordon (Producer)
Chase Clymer 16:19
Yeah, when I was a child. I don’t remember it for probably whatever your follow up question is.
Alright, so there’s a quote in there, that is, if you build it, they will come. And he is alluding to the baseball field and all the legends that will come back and play. But to apply this saying to websites, it has been my own personal experiences that when you build it, they don’t always come. And so now I would say I would prefer to have one sale on my website over two sales on Amazon, right? It’s your own customer, you can retarget them. There’s a lot of advantages there. But that’s been something I’ve personally been struggling to do. And so curious what your if you have any pro tips on driving traffic to your own website, and you know, what people may not be thinking of when they have a website with low traffic.
Chase Clymer 17:11
Yeah, I mean, this is extremely top of mind, I was just speaking with a prospect this morning about this. And that’s the major difference between going into a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart, and starting your own store on Shopify, or any other tool that’s out there, they’re all just tools, it doesn’t matter. I’m just really good at Shopify, and I’m too lazy to learn everything else. The difference between putting a product up on Amazon is the traffic Amazon gets is insane compared to your store, which is probably nothing. So the advantage of going straight onto an Amazon or a Walmart is that you’re just starting with this traffic already. And it’s a little bit of a easier start, as long as you just kind of optimized your product and the listing and all that stuff, which I’m not good at, I might be saying it the wrong way. But you know, you get all that stuff figured out. Because the traffic things already solved for you. The trade off there is you don’t have that customer information, you can’t retarget them, there’s a lot of stuff that is well outside your control. So when you have, you’re building your own direct to consumer business, on a platform like Shopify, you’re a you get all that product information, or that customer information like you can retarget them a lot more affordably. But you’re coming to the table with no traffic, you’re starting at zero usually. And building that traffic and finding a profitable way to acquire new customers is usually rather difficult. What I’ve seen work these days, and I should probably preface this with, we actually at the agency speak with a lot of brands that are on Amazon, and they’re looking to either diversify their risk and like build their own shop or they already have a shop and they aren’t happy with the results of it just quite yet. I always tell them exactly what they need to hear, which is like, it’s gonna be like that for a while, like getting it to the next level is extremely difficult. building out a funnel that works is a highly, it’s a long journey to do it the right way, especially now, with how expensive and mature Facebook ads are. It was a lot cheaper three years ago, it was a lot cheaper five years ago, but these days it is a mature advertising platform, and the returns are nothing like they used to be. So you’ve got to be very smart and strategic about how you’re going to spend your money and invest in your brand. With all that being said, what we tell people to do these days is if you’ve got some decent velocity on Amazon, you probably already got over that product market fit thing I was talking about earlier. So there is an audience out there for your product. Finding them outside of Amazon is going to be your major challenge. Oftentimes, we’ll recommend maybe going down an influencer seeding type route, if it’s a product that jives well with that. So what I mean by that is you go and make a list of 500 people or 300 people or whatever that you think their audience would like your product and you send them free product and you wish for the best. It’s basically that simple. That is a unique way to get some traffic at the beginning. Also, depending on your margins and how much your shipping is, it might be a little more affordable than going straight into like Facebook or Instagram advertising. But outside of that, I see oftentimes a lot of brands that have success on Amazon might actually find some decent success through Google Shopping as like a paid acquisition channel, especially to kind of get the flywheel. But beyond that, like whatever you’re using for paid acquisition, or just getting people to a website, you need to have like all of your email and SMS automations in place, and you need to be acquiring that customer data. You need to be educating them about your product and about the business and kind of just walking them down that simple like no like trust funnel, outside of honestly trying to sell them something, which is what you’re trying to do at the end of the day. But I just said quite a lot. And I believe that there are some follow up questions, just from the looks on both of your faces.
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there. I think that you had touched on the influencer marketing piece. And that is something that seems like there are certain products that may be a good fit for it. And then certain products that might not. And I’ll give, I’ll try to give an example. Last night, I bought sponges for doing dishes on Amazon, very practical product, probably not a lot of influencers getting behind that right. And then there are certain products that I would imagine like makeup would have, there’d be a lot of influencer outreach possibilities there. And so how does someone assess whether that this is something that will be fruitful or not fruitful? Or do you really not know?
Chase Clymer 21:36
From like answering it on a podcast question? The truth is, like, I don’t know until I know what exact product we’re talking about at the end of the day like it, the difference between one brand and another is night and day. So one little answer to what you’re bringing up here is like, you can gleam inspiration from your competition, but like doing something just because they do it is usually not the best idea. Just because their margins, their offer, their product, or their customer, is probably completely different than yours. So there’s kind of that it’s like you should be making decisions based on a strategy that you have established as the business owner with whomever the people that you value, or whatever, who’s driving the ship, like that should be your decision making criteria. If you’re making decisions, because someone else in your industry is doing that, I think that’s a recipe for disaster because you don’t know what’s driving them to make that decision. And even if maybe they’re making the wrong decision too, you know what I mean? So you don’t want to be a follower in that regard. But yeah, I would say that like a more branded products, slash a, like an actual brand usually will see a bit more success on an influencer thing, as opposed to let’s say like a commodity, such as a sponge, or something that’s not you know, no one really cares about. You cared about it enough, you had to buy it, but I think you’re right, I would be highly surprised to see a dish sponge have an influencer campaign. But on the other side of that maybe like it’s the world’s best loofah, I can see an influencer campaign all about that.
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Yeah, so I’d like to chime in on the sponge because I think I have one of the best sponges in the world. I can’t think of the name of right now but it’s a smiley face one and I saw it on Shark Tank, right? I don’t know if you guys watch Shark Tank or not but I’m a huge fan. So I saw that, I think it was hanging up at Lowe’s on the endcap. And now they have small, medium, they do all that stuff. I think Chase, you’re right you’re spot on where as a brand you have maybe have a portfolio of other products versus like a one off, like just janky little sponge. So maybe trying to make something out of a brand versus just a one off product like a commodity. Anyway.
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Chase Clymer 24:30
Branding something and investing in packaging and investing in storytelling and investing in all that stuff allows you to sell something for more money because at the end of the day, that’s just now you’re getting into this concept of perceived value in the features and benefits of that product that you’ve now told me a story verse it’s, you know, just solving that one problem. And that’s basically brand building in a nutshell.
Yeah, absolutely. I wish I could think of the name of that sponge. It’s gonna drive me nuts. I’ll think of it in a second. Moving on for now. So Chase, as entrepreneurs, brand builders, we have so much going on, we’re wearing 10 different hats. What is the number one system that a brand should build?
Oh, yeah, so the number one system, okay, it’s this system as a whole is basically like, especially when you’re building like your own direct to consumer brand, like on a Shopify or something like that is you need to be able to create content to share with your community and with your customers on a very repeatable basis. So content generation is the system as like a overarching kind of concept. But I’ll even dive in a bit more now here with some more tactical stuff for you. So the first system that you need to be building out is you got to have some like internal system to like produce this content, maybe it’s somebody in house that’s producing this content, maybe it’s yourself, or maybe it is like a contractor or a partner or whatever. But you have a repeatable way to produce content based around your product and stuff your audience actually cares about. So you’ve got like kind of an internal system built out. And then a second system that we kind of touched on just like five seconds ago, which would be influencers. Go and try to get your products in front of their audience and influencers will create content all over the place from like, more professional stuff, even down to like more user generated content stuff. And then you can, you repurpose all that stuff within your advertising through like Facebook and Instagram, or through your organic socials, or through email and SMS, like you can use all this content everywhere. And then the last one, which is quite possibly the easiest one to get started on is get it from your customers, like get user generated content from your customers, ask them for it, get those automations built out, get that kind of system built out to kind of bring that content back into the business. And once you get all that content kind of working, and really going, whomever’s in charge of your marketing and advertising is a going to love you and b never be at a loss for trying to test new things and have something to say or do or post about or advertise about, because now they’ve got a plethora of stuff that they can be testing all the time. And then once you’re testing all these things, like you’re going to see what winners are. And that’s going to form the decision making of producing more content. And once you kind of get that flywheel going, it’s pretty cool.
So to dig in a little bit more on content, it is kind of a blanket term that describes a lot of different types of media, right? You’ve got your blog posts, you’ve got your Instagram posts, you’ve got YouTube videos. Obviously, there’s advantages and disadvantages to all of those media types. But if someone listening says, Hey, I’ve got no content, and instead of focusing on 10, things, I’d like to focus on one type of content. What advice would you give them?
Chase Clymer 27:44
I’d take a look at their analytics and see where most of their traffic’s coming from. And then build content that like, just if it’s, you’re getting most of your content from Google, because you have like a blog that did pretty well, double down on making sweet blogs, like because that’s obviously working for you. Or, this is more often like with younger brands or lifestyle brands where you know, a lot of their traffic’s coming from Instagram, and a little bit from Facebook, people still use Facebook, but like, they’re getting a bunch of Instagram like traffic, double down on creating Instagram content, you know what I mean? You need stuff to post organically, you need stuff to advertise. And then like that UGC plays really well in that space. And that’s a lot of what some of the clients that we do, they are super performing on Instagram. So a lot of content is being created around that. It’s not just photos, it’s like videos to a short form, educational content is like really cool to post on those platforms. And then just because you’re tailor making this content for a particular channel like Instagram or something doesn’t mean you can’t like start testing it on other platforms as well, just to see if there’s any response over there as well.
Very nice. I really like that response. And one thing that I took away from that is it’s not necessarily one size fits all, and that you should be working backwards based on where your audience hangs out. So I really like that.
Chase Clymer 29:04
Exactly. Yeah. I mean, if you’ve got like a men’s like hunting brand, like I don’t think Pinterest is going to work for you. But I can tell you right now Pinterest crushes it for our women’s brands that we work with. So it really is like where is your audience? And where are the eyes already coming from? Like, that’s just something that a lot of people like tend to overlook is like, they try to overcomplicate things, and it’s like, hey, if it’s working, keep investing in that until it doesn’t work or the returns aren’t somewhere you want it to be. People will come in all the time and they’re like, yeah, we’re crushing it on like Facebook and Instagram, but we want to try Tik Tok. And I’m like, Well, why not just spend all that money on Facebook and Instagram that’s already working until that channel is maxed out, like why test something else out? And there are, you could argue the other side, and feel like that’s super risky having all our eggs in one basket. It’s like yeah, but I don’t think you’ve maximized that basket yet. Like go and make more money from that and keep pumping it up and then you have a lot more budget to play with. Then start diversifying.
Very nice. Very nice. Now in prepping for this interview, I was doing a little bit of research and have seen you talk about the brand scaling framework. I was wondering if you could go into that a little bit more to share with our audience?
Chase Clymer 30:12
Absolutely. So, at the agency, we’ve been doing kind of a version of this kind of framework since we started really. And the concept is pretty straightforward. So if you want to, we look at three main KPIs. The first is conversion rate, the second is average order value, and the third is sessions. And I say sessions and not traffic, because Shopify uses sessions in their back end, and I’m a Shopify nerd. So we like these three sessions, these three KPIs. And if you take a look at those three KPIs over the last 30 days, and you multiply them together, it’s basically going to be your sales for the last 30 days, because that’s how math works. And it’s great, right? So now you’ve just established your baseline, right. And that’s also a tricky way to figure out the size of a company without asking them how much money they make, is by asking those three questions. But I digress. So now you’ve got a baseline. And then there are things you can do to manipulate those numbers, right. So sessions, obviously, is usually where everybody goes, and they’re like, we’re gonna dump all of our budget, into paid acquisition through Facebook, Google, etc. which you can do, right? So you can walk them through the math behind that. So it’s like, alright, let’s say that you are going to spend your whole budget on doubling the amount of traffic you get per week, or per month, and but you’re gonna keep all these other numbers the same, right? Your return on ads, let’s say you’ve got a pretty decent return on adspend, whatever, anyways, you do all this math, and it makes you $100,000 more a month, $200,000 more a month, right. But you’re not looking at your conversion rate, or your average order value at all in this equation, you’re just looking at traffic. So all that does is just send new eyes to the website, it’s not fixing what is normally a bunch of underlying problems with the website. So if you send a, if you send a bunch of traffic to an unoptimized website, it’s going to convert, hopefully, at that number, but usually less than whatever the like average conversion rate would be for that website, because it’s new traffic. But we go back to the beginning of this thing, most people just really want more sales, right? So instead of going straight all in on paid ads, at first, we’re like, okay, like, we’re going to look at your website’s user experience, right now. We’re gonna look at like the offers that you have on your website, upsells, cross sells and bundles, we’re gonna walk through the customer journey as if like, we are the customer, and look for areas of improvement, right. So basically, what we’re doing from the offset of most of our projects is, we are basically trying to make the experience better to raise the conversion rate. And that is basically, once you make the website’s actual experience better, it’s fast, especially on mobile, it’s very fast, the customer journey makes sense, the way that you’re filtering products, searching products, all of it makes sense, you can see an increase in the conversion rate. And then you also add in kind of these upsale motivators is what we kind of call them internally. But you know, you try to upsell things, cross sell, and bundling. People will buy more, by the way, people love to buy stuff, but they hate to be sold. So a lot of the office help solutions are jarring, and they take you out of the experience. But if you can do it tastefully, people will spend more money with you. So say you do all that work first, and now your conversion rates higher and your average order value is higher. And then you dump that same amount of money into paid ads. The cool thing about all these numbers is that like they will multiply against each other and it compounds. So instead of making like 100,000 or $200,000 extra, now you’re making like four or $700,000 extra with the same amount of traffic, and those are forever gains, not just as long as your media spend is.
Yeah, I really liked that Chase, I’m a conversion optimization junkie, I think, if I had an hour to spend on something, I would, instead of getting more traffic, I would get more, I would increase the conversion. So I like how you started conversion rate, then average order value, and then sessions. So if you work those in that order, you’re kind of maximizing that entire framework.
Chase Clymer 34:08
Yeah. And oftentimes, like when you’re working on increasing the conversion rate, and it’s like, it goes hand in hand, it’s almost like the same project of like adding in those upsell motivators, it’s like, you’re basically making the website better, you know what I mean? And you can either do that by taking what you have and making it better or maybe sometimes a ground up thing is what you need to do. It really just depends on where you’re at in your business, how old your website is, what decisions have been made historically, to really build something better for the future. But most of the clients that we’re working with, they’re already in the seven figure range and their eyes are on like the eight figure prize. Once you kind of past that million dollar mark, investing in like a custom built, tailor made website that is specifically made for the experience your customers need, and excludes anything that might slow it down, is a worthwhile investment. And that’s oftentimes what we’re doing.
Sure. So Chase, you’re an admitted Shopify expert nerd slash junkie. So can you open the toolbox a little bit and share with the guests like, what do you see a lot of people making mistakes on? And are there any like Shopify tools that you really highly recommend to improve those?
Yeah. And for some reason, when you said that it made me think about a conversation I had earlier today with our Dell her mic. So there was like, in the last past couple months, there’s been this rise of like, the whole concept behind going headless, which you can do with Shopify, you can do that with most modern content management systems slash like E commerce systems. But the one thing I really want to point out is like, nine times out of 10, you don’t need to go headless as an e commerce Store. And you can actually using Shopify’s front end, you can get a site that just as fast without any of the maintenance headaches, if you use a partner that knows what they’re doing. So a lot of times, I’m talking with brands that are like, yeah, we want to go headless, and I’m like, why? They’re like the performance aspects of it, we can build you a website, that’s just that fast and you don’t have to have a developer on staff to maintain all these random integrations that we have to build out. And they’re like, that sounds way better. And it’s just marketing at the end of the day. So you got to educate people about all that stuff. But Shopify themselves just released a bunch of really cool updates to their actual CMS and stuff that you can do with their front end. So you can get a really performant website on Shopify’s front end these days. As far as like kind of what our app stacks look like and then what we’re using for clients, doing a lot of actually, every single one of our clients is using Klaviyo for their ERP. We are Klaviyo gold partners as well. We love Klaviyo. So that’s oftentimes something that we’re helping build out. And for anyone that lives under a rock, Klaviyo is the Ferrari of email automation software’s for ecommerce. And if you’re not on it, you should be. If you need help doing it, we can help you do it. As far as apps go, when we onboard clients, we do a really robust, like audits of everything that they’re using. It’s like a, it’s basically a performance trade off verse, does it help the client? Like does it actually help your customer? So we walk through all these conversations like, can we build this thing into a theme and it be better? Or is this functionality something that actually needs to be useful? And oftentimes it is. But every single business is kind of unique. We’re oftentimes using, I’m trying to think of a few examples, for larger inventories, where they have a lot of different products like we’ve been using that flare badges a lot, which is really fun one, for kind of highlighting information on products for subscription recharge partners, we use them a lot. Always recommend rewind for backups, because it’s basically an insurance policy for your store. For filtering and sorting, we’ve been going kind of the custom route for that. Here’s the thing, like often a lot of these conversations are do we want like, do we want to do this custom? Do we wanna build this into the theme? Or do we want to use an off the shelf thing? Then we have a whole roundtable talk about the pros and cons of all of it. But I mean, if you have a specific question for me about a specific app, anyone out there listening, just email me and I’ll tell you what, like what the truth is about them. Because we’ve been in this game and in that ecosystem for over five years, and we have literally used almost every app.
Nice. Yeah, great answer. And I definitely agree, like, a lot of this stuff is I mean, some of them are high level like you mentioned Klaviyo right, like you probably really want like.
Chase Clymer 38:20
But you’re not custom building Klaviyo.
Right. So anything else is hit and feel, like.
Chase Clymer 38:25
Nice. David, over to you.
Alright, switching gears a little bit. What helped you transition from a freelancer to a business owner?
Chase Clymer 39:44
Oh, man, I read a bunch of books. I’m a big nerd. I mean, the freelance the founder series by I think Millo is a very fantastic podcast that I’d recommend out there. That one was really cool. Honestly, like just, I never thought that we’d be running an actual agency at this point. But lo and behold, here we are. And we’ve got a bunch of amazing team members on the team. So I, myself, as a person had to really grow and figure this stuff out. And learning management, it was not something I never thought that I’d have to do. So the first and foremost is like, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room, like honestly, like ask people for help. I got a bunch of mentors that helped me, I invest in self education a lot. Like I’m always trying to better myself. And now that we’ve got a bunch of team members on the team, I’m like, I always want them to challenge me, I want them to ask me questions. I don’t want them to arbitrarily just say, Yes, I want them to ask, like what the decision making process was behind that, to make me better at explaining, like, what my vision is for the company, and what me and Shawn are trying to build here and have them along for that journey. Man, there’s been a bunch of books that I read along the way. But I mean, Traction by Gino Wickman was a very important book. So that’s the EOS Entrepreneurial Operating System, it’s the framework that we use to run all the decision making at our agency that really helped kind of helped me transition out of being kind of just, a lot of agencies say they’re agencies, and they’re just a collection of people just getting whatever done for money. These days, we are a very lucrative business. And we have a lot of systems and processes in place. And everyone’s role is clearly to find swimlanes, as they’re called, like, everyone has a purpose and a job and everybody knows the vision of the agency. So Traction really helped us get there. But I mean, it really comes down to like, two people can’t be responsible for one thing and like, clearly know what your goal is.
So Chase, can you look, looking back on kind of like your freelance days, when you were kind of just working just separate projects into now, did you do you still experience what we define as imposter syndrome? Like, can I really do that or not? I mean, do you still do that now?
Oh, yeah, man, all the time. It kind of just there’s an ebb and flow to the imposter syndrome of things. So remember, I just talked about that freelance founder show, like two seconds ago, I was actually on that show. And so that was just such a full circle, kind of like, concept to me. And so it was really fun. There’s always going to be someone that’s a step or two ahead of you. And there’s always going to be someone that’s a step or two behind you. And what really will humble you is talking to the people that are like one or two steps behind you. So like I actively am trying to help young entrepreneurs, like level up what they’re doing with their business, because it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing. But then when you are, you’re running into mistakes, or have questions, like having someone that’s few steps ahead of you that you can ask their opinion on stuff or help you solve problems is always helpful. So kind of there’s that imposter syndrome is, I think everyone deals at it at every single level of business.
Nice, great advice. And yeah, like, full circle. That’s cool. That’s awesome. So Chase, what made you kind of decide to niche down into Shopify?
Chase Clymer 42:57
Uh, yeah, so, like I said, I had been freelancing forever in the band, which, honestly, was fun. And when I was younger, I’m glad I did it. I picked up a lot of really useful skills. But you know, being a generalist is not a way, you can’t market yourself as a generalist. And so I remember when I had first left the band, I was doing a lot of blog writing for some lawyers, which I don’t have a law degree, which was funny. But I was doing a lot of blog, it was mostly content and SEO work for lawyers, like I knew the playbook. I didn’t have to know the nerd stuff, they would make sure that it was a proof read there. So I was doing a little bit of that I was doing paid ads through Google, and just kind of more general brand strategy stuff, for some of these clients. And then, as me and Sean started the agency, and we started to kind of niche down into E commerce, like, we were getting just, we were having so much traction with these ecommerce brands by saying like, Yeah, we were doing Facebook ads for Shopify stores, and then kind of whatever kind of touched that, that resonated so hard with like, oh, yeah, we’re just a digital marketing agency, and we kind of can do that stuff. So yeah, the power of niching down is true. And we did it and it worked. And once we really went all in, on like, alright, we are a growth agents fee for stores on Shopify, and all we want is to make them more money. That was a lot easier to position ourselves around and educate people on what we do, versus kind of being like a generalist digital marketing company that had some knowledge on Shopify, and also doubling down on all that, since we only work with Shopify, we’re like extremely good partners with Shopify, extremely good partners with all the like tech integrations that we use. So it just allows us to kind of build some really awesome relationships. But you know, I think when you’re younger, you should try a bunch of things and see what you like, and then whatever a you like and b is profitable maybe start focusing on niching down there. And one thing I wish someone told me when I was younger, that I literally had someone had to tell me it was just like, it doesn’t have to be like, instantly like you niche down like it can be a slower evolution over time. You don’t have to just overnight be like, oh, I only do Facebook ads for car dealerships like it doesn’t have to be that quick. It’s just like you can evolve into it and your kind of client, the amount of clients that you have in that particular industry might kind of increase and kind of head that direction. Two really good books on that, Built to Sell is a fantastic book about the power of niching down, and then Brent Weaver just put one out the other day too, I think it’s called Get Rich in the deep end. Those are two really quick books to read, especially if you’re like thinking about going more into being an agency owner and like building up your team. Those are some two pretty good books.
Okay, great. That’s awesome. So Chase, let’s get into the fire round, are you ready?
Chase Clymer 45:38
I am ready.
Alright, what is your favorite book?
Chase Clymer 45:42
Ooh. So I just I mentioned a bunch of books on this podcast, and go listen to all of them. So I will give one that’s completely from left field is I’m also a huge nerd, and I love science fantasy fiction. And I’ve been really caught up in a lot of the Brandon Sanderson stuff. And I’m currently reading all the stuff in the Stormlight Archives, and I’m like moving into book three in that series.
- Audible Audiobook
- Brandon Sanderson (Author) - Kate Reading, Michael Kramer (Narrators)
- English (Publication Language)
Okay, cool. What are your hobbies?
Chase Clymer 46:05
Ah, so outside of being a Shopify nerd, I still play guitar a lot. I just got into back into riding my bike, but I got a flat tire literally two days ago. So I gotta go fix that. But um, music is still a big passion of mine. I’m so glad that live events are back and kind of can get out and go to concerts and stuff.
Yeah, absolutely agree with you on that one. What is the one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?
Chase Clymer 46:28
I technically have never had a real job. But I do have a fun little story about that. When the band broke up, and I had all these skills, whatever, I went interviewed at a pretty prestigious agency here in Columbus. And they never called me back. And I was always, it always annoyed me. But I had a friend that was kind of higher up there. And he like is like, I’ll get to the bottom of this. Like, maybe something happened. Long story short, what they said was that guy was great. But we could just tell that he would work here for three months, quit and go start his own thing. So I just did it immediately. I just started that day.
Nice. Yeah, I like that story. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started?
Chase Clymer 47:10
Well, I mean, I think failure is inevitable. And you’re going to fail when you get started, like just move past it. Like, I think people get caught up in like this analysis paralysis and all that stuff. Like, who cares? Just make a choice, and you’re gonna learn from it, and move on from it. You just really have to just stick with it. And that’s, at the end of the day is what separates the people that make it in this industry from the people that don’t, is that just, they’re just working on it every day trying to be a little bit better, and just learn from their mistakes.
Very cool. David, you want to close out the show?
Yeah. Hey, Chase, how can people get a hold of you?
Chase Clymer 47:43
Oh, yeah, absolutely. If you think that you might be a good fit to work with electric eye, You just go over to www.electriceye.io, click Connect, and it’s actually going to schedule an intro call with me. I’m the guy you’ll talk to. We’ll chat and see if we’re a good fit. Or if you just want to learn more about e commerce, you can go check out our podcast honest e commerce. It’s www.honestecommerce.co. Subscribe and listen to me talk to a bunch of brand founders about how they did it.
Awesome. We really appreciate you being a guest on the firing the man podcast and I look forward to staying in touch.
Chase Clymer 48:13
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
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 Schomer
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 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 www.maximizingecommerce.com/fire and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now back to the show.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai