What are the top three low-hanging fruit opportunities that e-commerce brands can take advantage of to drive more conversions, and what lessons do they hold for B2B marketers?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, The Retail Academy founder Salena Knight talks about three marketing tactics that e-commerce brands can implement quickly to drive massive results, and how those tactics can also be used by B2B, B2C, or really any kind of marketer, to increase conversions.
Salena says it's all about focusing first on what you don't do well, understanding the customer journey, and where along that journey they are most likely to say "yes," along with the importance of segmenting your database so you can give the right offers to the right people at the right time.
Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, to hear more about Salena's top three tips.
Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host, Kathleen Booth, and this week, my guest is Salena Knight, who is the CEO of The Retail Strategist and founder of The Retail Academy. Welcome to the podcast, Salena.
Salena (00:23): Hi, Kathleen. I am so excited to be on here because I totally love geeking out about all things marketing.
Kathleen (00:29): Oh, my gosh. I'm the biggest marketing nerd. And so we're going to do just fine. Right? Great. Yes. And I, I love, I'm really excited to talk to you because the podcast is all about inbound marketing, and for whatever reason, historically, I've tended to have a lot of B2B marketers on my show, but obviously, inbound marketing can be used in all different sectors.
And, you know, in my day job, I do a lot of work with e-commerce brands. And so I was really interested that you specialize in retail because I think that there are a lot of ways to use inbound marketing strategies there as well. And I think a lot of brands are not tapping into them, at least from what I've seen. So we're going to dig into that a little bit. But before we do, can you just share a little bit about your background and what The Retail Strategist and The Retail Academy are?
Salena (01:19): I would love to, and I think before we jump in, that is so insightful of you saying that you can take away e-commerce strategies because it's so often is the case. When I chat to people who aren't in retail or e-commerce, and I say some of the strategies that we're using, and they say, why are we not doing that?
And the biggest one is, is something simple as capturing, like doing a customer database Facebook ad strategy or an ad strategy to get, to build the customer database, rather than just going direct to lead or direct to sale. But we'll talk about – let's see, we already geeking out.
Kathleen (01:54): I know! We're getting ahead of ourselves.
Salena (01:58): So, my name is Salena. I own The Retail Strategist, which is a boutique marketing agency for retail and e-commerce brands. But I'm also, firstly, the founder of The Retail Academy, which is an online training hub that gives the knowledge and the confidence to retail and e-commerce store owners to build their brands. So, I'm a retail growth strategist.
My focus is on scaling brands. I don't work with startups and I focus on independent brands. And the reason I do is that I had this instinctive need for gratification. And when you work with independent brands ... and I'm not talking to still even small brands, some of these brands are high seven-figure turnovers, but they're very agile. And they're always excited to put strategies into place.
There are not 27 levels of hierarchy. And by the time they implement it, that thing's been done on the internet and e-commerce and everything that we do, that's technology-based these days is moving so quickly that you don't implement fast.
Then you could be lost forever, and you can definitely lose out to competitors because, in a lot of cases, it is first to market. Even if it's a little bit messy, even if it's not necessarily the prettiest, but the first to market is the person who gets, who wins the prize, and gets that market share.
Kathleen (03:19): I just have to say, I love what you said about independent brands because I owned a marketing agency for 11 years before going in-house as a marketer. And I used to talk about this all the time.
Like I never wanted to work with really big companies because I always wanted my client to be the one who could give me the yes. And it was really a yes. Right? Like not run it up the chain. Yes. Not decision by committee. I want to, I want to go to the source and get a yes. And then just act on it. And so I totally relate to what you just said.
Salena (03:49): Yeah. And look, that's me. Other people love working with big brands with endless pockets of money, but I like to see results. And I think that's one of the reasons why my philosophy in who we attract as a business is very different to everybody else.
So we have a philosophy that is, if you focus on what you're crap at for 90 days, you will see exponential growth. And too often we're told, you know, all the lots of gurus and ... people like Gary Vaynerchuk, it's like hustle, hustle, hustle, be known for one thing, like just Excel at one thing.
But the problem with that is, and I was actually having this conversation. I was at a retailer awards dinner last week and I was talking to a very high eight-figure business. They're a marketplace. And we were just chatting, chatting, chatting, chatting.
Salena (04:36): And then the question came up, what do you do? And I told him, I'm a little bit, I'm a bit contrary. Like I'm a little bit challenging. I kind of go the opposite of what everybody else is doing it. And this is my philosophy.
If you do what you're crap at for 90 days (I didn't use the word crap), if you do what you're crap at for 90 days, you'll see exponential growth. And he looked at me and he just said, Oh, my God, that is brilliant. And I said, I know. I made it up. No, no, no, no. Now that you've just said that I know the thing that we're crap at, and it was customer service delivery. And he said it's been playing on my mind for a really long time that it's something we need to focus on.
Salena (05:21): And he said, just wait here. And he went and got the CEO of the company and he came back and he said, you have to listen to what she has to say. And I said it's not that exciting. It's like for 90 days and you'll see exponential growth.
And he said, and he smacked the guy on the back. And he goes, we are crap at customer service delivery. And he said, yeah, we know. And I said, but if you knew it, why have you not done anything about it?
And he said, well, you know, we're always focused on acquisitions or we're always focused on the sale, or we're always focused on our marketplace experience. And I said, right. So if we tweak those, get growth that you're going to get. And he said, Oh, it's less than, you know, if we can get 1%, it's great.
Salena (06:06): If we got 3%, everybody would be out of the park. And I said, well, I've worked with brands who, when we did this, they got a 30% increase in growth. And he said, yeah, I could see how that could work if we could, it's customer service delivery. Let's be honest.
If you can fix that, you're probably going to get more repeat customers. Yeah. Yeah. And he said, I could see, we could get 30% growth if we fix this thing. OK. And it was like a light bulb went off for him. And he said, why, why have we not done? We've known for so long that this is the problem. Why have we not tackled it?
And they didn't have an answer between the CEO and the chief growth officer. They didn't actually have the answer. I can tell you the answer. It is safe to work on things that you are good at.
Salena (06:49): It's comfortable. It doesn't push you out of your comfort zone. You've got metrics there. You know, as you said, if they got 1% growth, they were super excited. So your team has a metric that they can work towards.
It's no fear of the unknown. And we do this in business. If you're a smaller business, you quite often revert back to busy tasks because they're easy for you to do. You can cross them off the to-do list.
Like I said, I work with a lot of seven-figure businesses. And you think by the time you've got to $7 million in turnover, you've got your crap in a pile, but I can just, they don't necessarily. And even when you're at that high eight-figure business, there is always going to be something that you need to focus on for whatever reason. But it's the thing you are going to focus on.
Salena (07:35): There's generally going to be that safe, easy thing. So I'm happy to give you a whole bunch of tips on how we can leverage email marketing, the caveat that only steps into place.
If marketing is the thing that you need to focus on, if you know that you need to increase conversion rates, if that is the thing that right now is holding your business back, by all means, go ahead, implement this stuff. If not save this episode, come back. When you know that this is something, listen to it, absorb the information, but don't go and implement it as another shiny thing because we can do that.
Especially as business owners, we love hearing all these new tactics and we just want to rush it. Yeah. And implement all the things. And I can tell you is a very horrible feeling to have, but I've made my team cry by doing this and not cry because they were upset, but cry because they will maximum bandwidth with all the other amazing ideas that I have wanted to implement, that they just didn't have any mental space or any hours left in the week to do it.
Salena (08:39): And when you make someone cry because they can't fulfill you, the feeling that you get is just horrendous. Yeah. And so I vowed never to do that again. Like I'm never going to make somebody cry because they couldn't fulfill my dream because they didn't have enough, like anything left in the tank.
And so that's kind of where this whole strategy. I mean, when I, when that happened, I didn't have this strategy and it kind of took a few years to work out.
But when we did that and we started on focusing on the thing that we were bad at quite often, we had to bring somebody else in to do it because the reason you're not doing it is that you either don't have the skills or you don't have the resources or you don't have the time. And so it actually ended up freeing up a lot of my team because they weren't wasting time trying to work out how to do these things.
Salena (09:26): We just said, all right, this is the thing we're going to focus on. Let's just get somebody to do it for us. And then we can go back and do the things that we're good at. Yeah.
And so that's whether you're a CMO or whether you're the CEO who's listening, that's your job is to be the leader and to identify the areas of your business, that your team or you need to focus on. It doesn't mean that you have to go and do these things yourself. If your job, as the leader is just to identify them.
Kathleen (09:52): I also just, I have to say it resonates with me so much when you said like making somebody cry because they couldn't fulfill your expectations. Because I, I mean, I've definitely found myself in that position as well when I own my own business.
And I'm somebody who's guilty of having a lot of ideas, you know, people listening probably. Yeah. Yeah. And like, I think a lot of really good ones, but I'm also guilty of trying to do them all. And if there's one real weakness, I have, I think that that's it it's, and, and that's something that I've had to really work on as I've grown in my career is saying no to things, you know?
And that's so hard to do because like if you're enthusiastic and you love what you do, you want to be able to do it all. You want to try it all. You want to see what works you want to test. Right. But knowing what to walk away from and having the discipline to focus on the things that have the highest chance of getting results is, is a real talent. And it's something that gets naturally
Salena (10:51): No, and look, it tends to be that more visionary role that has all the ideas. We think everybody else thinks like us, but they don't. A lot of people think quite linear. They need the detail.
We're great at coming up with the ideas. We need people to put the detail in place because we just move on to the next shiny thing. But I can't tell you how many marketing campaigns I started. And we actually have a little flow chart that we give to either our clients or our, our students. And it walks you through the steps for putting a promotion in place.
Now, this could be it's a product promotion, but it doesn't matter what kind of promotion it is. I think there are 102 things on that checklist to do, to create a high-converting campaign. I can guarantee you most people do about 10.
Salena (11:36): And the thing is if you actually put the time in, and this is why we say you can't run a really good promotion in two weeks because it takes two weeks of preparation to actually at least two weeks where the preparation to get all those things on that checklist into place.
But when you do it, when you actually say, you know what, we're going to do this, and we're not going to half-ass it. We're just going to put the effort in and give it a try 100% all-in and see if it works. You do get huge results because you've put all of your energy and you haven't gone. Oh, but actually let's not do that bit instead. We'll go over here and do this thing as well.
Oh, I just listened to this podcast with Kathleen. I want to do that. I want to put this welcome sequence thing in place. That focus is really difficult for people who have lots of ideas, which is why we say 90 days.
I mean, someone way smarter than me worked out that 90 days was a great sort of chunk that we can work in. Well, I've worked at, and I had this conversation yesterday with a recruitment agent because we're trying to hire some more team members. They said, what's your five-year plan. And I went, I don't have a five-year plan.
Kathleen (12:38): Who has a five-year plan anymore?
Salena (12:40): I know what I want to have achieved within five years, but I can tell you that if we work on the things that we're crap at, I can't even map out 12 months because the things that look like a problem now, aren't going to be a problem in 90 days. We'll have different problems.
Kathleen (12:55): I only can work on quarterly plans; too much changes. And it's ridiculous. It's ridiculous to think. You'll know what you can do throughout a whole year when so much of what you should be working on, especially in marketing is dictated by the results you're getting. And so as you get those results, if you're not tearing your plan up and rewriting it, then you're doing something wrong.
Salena (13:16): I, I, I agree too. And as I said again technology, and obviously the environment right now move so quickly, your five-year plan that you did for the last year gone, like everything changed. And so you have to, and this is again why I like working with independent businesses.
That being nimble being agile. And we have seen enterprise companies do this through COVID, but the wheels of change are much slower. I can pull out so many examples of independent businesses who just went, let's try it tomorrow. Let's just focused on it. Okay, great.
That's our next 90-day thing. Let's do it. And, and seen huge amounts of growth, but also huge, a huge amounts of engagement and customer loyalty because independent brands are happy to kind of put their heart on their sleeve and say, this is why we do what we do. And customers resonate with that.
Salena (14:07): And if customers have a choice and we saw this everywhere around the world through COVID, if you have a choice of buying a snack, Nike sneakers from the bricks and mortar store up the road, or from the Nike website in those kinds of challenging times, people opted to go to your local store because they wanted to support local.
And so building all of this into your marketing campaign means that, like you said, if you're not tearing it up at the end of 90 days, you have to have a really clear idea of what you want and where you want, you know, what you want to achieve, but how you're going to get there.
It's going to change every single, every single 90 days because the market is going to dictate what you do. You're your clients. If you're a marketing agency are going to dictate what you do and the economy is going to how you react to that. Yeah,
Kathleen (14:52): Absolutely. All right. Well, let's nerd out on email now, because we're going to go into this one topic where there's, it was funny when I spoke to you, you know, for anybody listening. When I first spoke to Salena, there were so many different directions. We could go with this conversation because we're both total marketing nerds, but I was like, we got to pick something to focus on.
And, and I thought, what was really interesting was your thoughts around specifically a couple of email strategies that are really like, I would classify them as missed opportunities. Things that we as marketers kind of take for granted. And it's like, it's like undeveloped real estate. Right? Totally. So let's, let's dive in.
Salena (15:30): I can't believe how many people you say these. I was telling you these things. These are not maybe the third one, but the first two are definitely like slap yourself in the forehead, put a big L on your face and go, why the heck am I not doing this? And, and brands aren't doing it.
So the first one is going to be your welcome email now, hilariously. And I'm sure this is not the people listening to you, but hilariously 66% of people don't have an immediate welcome email that goes out. When someone signs up to your email list, customers expect that to be immediate.
They expect that if they signed up, they'll go to their inbox and that thing will be there. Now your welcome email is the second-highest email that gets opened. So your second highest open rate, but the order rate on a welcome email is actually the highest, but how many people actually sell on that welcome email?
Kathleen (16:28): So, so the welcome email is the thing that somebody gets when they first give you their email address, correct? Yes. Yes.
And we're talking about e-commerce, but like, honestly, this is a great example of one of those things where like, there's no reason we should even classify it as just an e-commerce strategy, because any business where you're getting somebody's email for the first time, it's about like, it's about what does that onboarding experience look like?
Salena (16:52): Yes. And most people will because I'm quite lucky, I guess, because I get to straddle both lines because we've worked with e-commerce brands, but we are B2B. So how we implement this strategy is how you guys could implement that strategy in e-commerce and retail nine times out of 10, that email is going to be the, Hey here's your 10% off coupon.
None of the brands that I work with have 10% off coupons. Just to just a fun fact, an extra fun fact, the tipping point for making somebody buy versus they're just taking the profit out of your pocket is 30, 30 to 35%.
So to get somebody over the fence that was thinking, should I buy this? Or shouldn't I buy this? Like, do I really need it? The discount is 30%. Anything less than that, they were already going to buy. If they go ahead and buy it, they were already going to buy.
Salena (17:44): So you are literally just losing profit. Interesting that we're already going to so 30 to 35%, but on that welcome email, two things tend to happen.
You either send them an email, telling a little bit about yourself and say, shop now, or you deliver the thing that you said, whether it's the coupon code, whether it's the ebook, whether it's a lead page and you probably some that say something like that, book a call if you're a B2B company.
Yeah. But they have already taken that step. And this is a, this is a psychological thing as well. If they've already taken that step to give you their email, it's kind of like handing over money. They know that there's, they know they're getting something in return. It's a very low-risk transaction. So why not then give them the next low-risk transaction. Maybe this is where you put your tripwire in.
Salena (18:31): It's your $7 product, you $19 product, your $27 product. Smart people do this in their email funnels like smart marketers will do this and have at least two upsells on the post. But like, you'd get the download. And then there'll be, Hey, get our 17 email templates here for $17.
So if you're not doing that kind of funnel on the opt-in pages, why aren't you doing it in the email sequence? Because somebody is just giving you their email. They were excited about the thing that you said you were going to give them. So they're in their inbox waiting for that email to come. They get it. What is the next step? Now?
Booker call has no instant gratification. People are not doing that. Most people are not doing that. So why not get them ingrained into your business? Why not get them, give them the taste of what it's like to work with you by giving them the next step.
Salena (19:22): Now that next step has to be relevant. If you've said download our ebook and that ebook is three email things that you're not leveraging, go and give them some templates. Let them buy the templates for a really low-risk price.
Because then you're kind of putting your money where your mouth is. You're saying, you know what? This is the kind of stuff we deliver for $17. Imagine what we're going to deliver. If we buy a $30,000 package from us for a year, like if we're giving this for you for $17 and we're blowing your socks off, imagine what it's going to be like working with us.
But I really think, I think that if you give people that, that taste of what it's like to hang out with you and that tastes okay, you've already bought right in inverted commerce. When you gave me your email address, here is the next step.
Salena (20:09): It's already pushing them up the conversion path. Like once somebody spent $17, they're highly motivated to spend more. They're highly lot more likely to book a call with you after they've spent $17. And so putting something to buy on that welcome email is my second least leveraged place in the email funnel.
It's not the first it's the second, but the stats show that people buy the highest buy rate is on the email, on the welcome email. So if you're not selling on there, clearly your competitors are, some of your competitors are, and they're their interest away from you.
Kathleen (20:49): All right. So welcome emails. And it works for e-commerce, whether you're presenting products that somebody could sell and it, or it works for B2B where you might have some low, you know, low entry point into your business, whether that's a course or a paid event, or what have you a membership.
Salena (21:09): Yep. Yep. OK. And you can keep selling to them further down the line. But the whole point is to see if you can get somebody to press, I was gonna say, get out their wallet, get out their credit card from their wallet.
But these days, no one does that. We just press like Google pay or Apple pay and do it on the screen. You can get somebody to make that click with the payment details. The chances are that they'll buy something higher from you skyrockets from there.
Kathleen (21:32): I would say in B2B, even if you don't have something small to sell, like if you, if you only sell things that are very expensive, I do think that like having an offer, even if it's not a paid offer, like a next step offer in that welcome email is really important because it's about getting somebody to say yes, another time it's the same price, right?
Salena (21:51): Yeah. It is the reason I like it to be a paid offer. And it doesn't, I don't give it a dollar is because it is training people to purchase from you. So most, most of our things are more than $1,500, but we have some workbooks that are part of a course. And so we'll sell a workbook for $35 in our welcome, in our welcome sequence. Every person who's ever bought that welcome book has gone on to buy something else. So it's just that low value.
So, so my question was, what could you develop? Like what could you speak if you spent one if one person in your business spent one day developing and you could just reuse something, if it's an email template, go to a client that you've built an awesome email template, take it out, take out any incriminating words, swap them out and it's ready to go.
Kathleen (22:43): Yeah. Templates are great for that because I feel like even some of the templates that you use yourself, we often undervalue how useful they are to other people.
Salena (22:51): Yes. Yeah. Swipe copy is great. Even examples. I've purchased Facebook ad examples in the past to be able to give to clients and my team and say, look, here's an example of what works and what doesn't.
So just repurpose what you're already doing. What are you already good at? Package it up into something small, but that will knock their socks off and just put a low-value price on it. Yep.
Kathleen (23:17): Agreed. All right. So there's tip No. 1.
Salena (23:20): Tip No. 2 is my, is my highest converting, but it's not my favorite. It's my second favorite. Ah, it's in the middle. OK. So I'll get you the stats on this one, the email that has the second-highest open rate. I'm sorry.
The email that has the highest open rate because the welcome email was the second-highest is can you guess, Kathleen, what do you think is the email every person opens for e-commerce?
Kathleen (23:46): I mean, I would think it was your purchase confirmation.
Salena (23:52): It's your purchase confirmation email. Yep. How many people sell on that email?
Kathleen (23:59): I'm guessing not very many. I'm guessing
Salena (24:01): Less than 1%. So order confirmation email has your highest open rate. It has your highest click-through rate, which is actually quite astounding because you already know what you want. I tested this out on myself. I bought some stuff from a woman's fashion online store and I waited for the order confirmation email.
And I knew I was coming on the podcast and I knew I had this stat. And I was like, what is my knowing this as a marketer? What is my behavior when that email comes in? And it was an email that had a picture of all of the things that I had bought and sure enough, I've re-clicked on one of those pictures. I was like, but you just bought it. You literally just went through the cart, you know exactly what you bought. Why did you click it?
Salena (24:50): It's clearly a human-nature thing. So it is the highest open rate. And it is the highest click-through rate, but nobody leverages it less than 1% of people leverage it. Wow, it's weird. Right. And in this day and age, we have technology that allows us to get people to add back to cart within a certain time period, without having to re-enter their credit card details. It's generally about 15 minutes.
So there's a couple of things that we can do. The first one is sell on that email. Like honestly, there's studies that show that your endorphins are at their highest seconds after you've clicked buy now and got that order confirmation on the screen. You're excited. Why don't people leverage it now in e-commerce some people will leverage it with what we call post-purchase upsells.
So you get all the way through the cart and then it will say, Hey did you want to also add this? The take-up rate on those is between 10 and 30%, which is huge. In my opinion, imagine being able to get extra money, the average order value sits between 30 and $50. So imagine if 10% more of your customers added an extra $30. Yeah.
Kathleen (26:07): Because like the average website conversion rate, just even like visit, I think it's it's like one to 3%. I want to say one to 3%. It's super low. And so if you have a chance to have like a 10 to 30% conversion, that's enormous. That's basically 10 times. 10Xing your results.
Salena (26:26): Why wouldn't you do it? There are a few other ways you can leverage this as well. So if you don't want to put that in place for whatever reason, using the order confirmation email, whether you sell back on there and it could be something as simple as, Hey, did you forget something? And you could put the stuff that was in their wishlist, or, Hey, have you got buyer's remorse? Did you really want to add that thing?
If you go back in the next 15 minutes, put a countdown timer in, then you can grab that with a simple click. The other option is getting them to go back to the website in whatever way, shape or form, and having a pop-up that comes up that says, Hey, you were just here. Did you know if you add to cart in the next 12 minutes, you can just do it with one click?
Salena (27:07): But the stats show that 10 to 30% of people are going to add more stuff. And it is the highest click, highest opened, and highest click-through rate of all the emails. So why don't we leverage it? Why are less than 1% of people leveraging it? Like it seems to me that this is just the missed opportunity.
It's the one that's kind of the one I geek out on because you can get such great results. And even this is sort of another way where we've just that example. We were just talking about where, when somebody, if it's B2B, when somebody takes your opt-in that you're able to, or whatever, with your welcome email we can put the offer the offer in there.
But imagine if you did this twice, imagine if you worked out your customer journey and you had that offer on the order confirmation, and that goes first, because you can time all this stuff.
Salena (28:02): And then you have another offer on the welcome now, or you do it vice versa. However, you want to do it. But again, now we have two more opportunities for you to say to your clients, you know, what, what for you? Awesome. And here's some really good free stuff, but actually the really, really good stuff is what you need to pay for.
So you're training your customers to buy the good stuff and that everything is not free because you don't want this giant list of free pool. That's what we call them. You don't want people who just are in there for all the free stuff. I mean, you have a podcast. If they want free stuff, go and listen to them.
Kathleen (28:38): Right. I always call them the DIYers, you know, like there's going to be a lot of them. And yeah. And that's why it was funny. I just posted something earlier today to LinkedIn talking about why I feel like companies should ungate their content, because I'm like, if you ungate it, then you don't clutter your database with all the DIY wires.
But the really good people, the good leads will read your content and then they will still want to convert. And so it's, it's funny, like there's, there is that whole phenomenon of people who are never gonna become good customers for you who take up real estate in your marketing.
Salena (29:12): Yeah. And you'd have to pay for them at the end of the day, you're paying for them in your email subscriptions, but you're also paying for them because if they're not opening the emails where you sell, you get reduced deliverability. If they're not opening, you get your overall, they're going to reduce your click-through rate.
And of course, you can segment them out in all different ways and shapes and forms. But do you really want to be servicing customers who will never buy from you? Like really? Is it worth your time and energy?
Why not just reduce it by a third, reduce it by half, and actually have the people who really love what you're selling and what you're saying and just service them because the other people would be like, yeah. You know? Yeah. Oh, that was good. That was good. But with no skin in the game, they quite often don't get the results.
Kathleen (29:58): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. I love that. And it also reminds me a little bit, if we go outside of email again, back to like non-e-commerce examples, thank you, pages. Right? Somebody converts on an offer and then they go to a thank you page. And usually, people are just like, thanks for asking for this.
Here's your link to download it. But very few people then go that next step to like, have another offer on the thank you page. So you've gotten yes. Once. How can you get another? Yes. How can you get somebody to buy from you? And I'd love your point about training them to purchase.
Salena (30:26): Yep. And just book a call. I know it's an easy call to action, but realistically, the person hasn't even downloaded the thing that you've sent out.
Kathleen (30:38): That's right. It going straight from meeting somebody to asking them to marry you.
Salena (30:42): Yeah. Yeah. They have no idea what it's like to work with you. So, I mean, if you're getting a high click-through, if you're getting a high booking rate of something like that, I expect that they would be very low-value customers because they have no idea who you are at that point.
They literally haven't even opened the thing that you've sent them. So why would they book a call? Like, it just doesn't make sense. It's like asking somebody to review a product before they've even seen a picture of it.
Kathleen (31:10): Yep. Agreed. All right. Now I know you've saved your favorite for last. Hmm.
Salena (31:15): This came about from a client who was a premium brand and didn't want to put anything on sale. They didn't want to sale section on their website because they didn't want to lower the value of the brand. So we were looking at different ways that we could get rid of excess product because, in retail, you have to get rid of excess product.
You know, it shouldn't be on your, it shouldn't be in your store for more than 90 days. So we had to work out a way to do it. And one of the things we came up with was segmenting out a section of the database who always bought the lowest valued products. And then we created a secret sale section on the website. So the average person, it wasn't in the navigation. You had to have the link to get to it.
Salena (31:57): And we sent out an email saying it was a surprise sale and they were a VIP and they would get access to it. And then I think we sold 70% of the stock in a weekend. Now, the reason for that is one. If you know that you always buy the lowest value products and someone tells you that you're a VIP and you talk to your friend and they didn't get the email, you feel pretty special.
And I think a lot of this has to work. You have to work a lot of this on the copy as well, and really work to those. We call them the currency of the customer. So they're very aspirational. Those customers, you should never, ever overlook sale customers. And it's really easy to do that because we have, we call them customer loyalty, your top 4%, they're going to give you a lot of money.
Salena (32:43): But the people who shop in the sale section are highly aspirational. They love what you sell. And they're looking for any excuse to buy it.
But cost is a factor to them. And so ... after the first few, the obvious emails, the next segment that we always create in our customer's databases, when we, when we set up all their segments for them is the sale section.
So, people who have shopped in the sale section, we do it more than two times. You can work it out yourself and then they go into their own segment and they get sneak, peeks into the sales section.
So they might be notified the day before stuff drops, or they might be notified of extra things because your VIP customers, there's someone who's spending $1,500 on a jacket. Doesn't want to know that that jacket is now 700. Yeah.
Kathleen (33:35): Yeah. That's so true. That purchase regret. Buyer's remorse. I think whatever it's.
Salena (33:43): Not only that, they're not interested in the sale section. You're people who generally buy from the new end collection, the ones who want to be, you know, they want to have it first. They want to be able to be the ones who seen with the latest thing.
They don't care about what was in fashion six months ago. And so they don't even want to see that you are literally just cluttering up their inbox by showing them stuff. That's in the sale section. So having this segment, and this is not one email, it's a segment having this segment of people who regularly purchase in the sale section allows you to move stock really, really quickly.
It allows you to nurture those customers because quite often, those customers do go on to be better customers as, as their income goes up. But it also creates what we call boomerangs and drum beaters. So boomerangs are those customers that come back again and again and again, and drum beaters are the people who will tell everyone about you now, drumbeat, beta customers.
Aren't always your best customers. In fact, quite often than not your best customers. They're those highly aspirational customers who, who love hanging out with you. And they will tell everybody how fantastic you are. They won't tell you necessarily that they got this thing in the sale section, that they would say how much they love your product. And they love you. Yeah.
Kathleen (34:53): I would venture to guess they will make efforts to hide the fact that they shop in the sale section. I think sometimes, sometimes you have to, I'm one of those people who are, yes, there are people who are like, I just got the best bargain, but I think there are also a lot of people who want to be perceived as though they've paid full price.
Salena (35:10): Yes. So why not let them, I mean, moving sales stock is such a, like, it's such an important part of your inventory management and constantly having other sales section in your store or sales section on your website. I mean, it has to be there, although we've proved you don't have to have it there.
You can just stick it in a sneaky place, but having that place for those customers who love what you sell, and we'll tell everyone about you and, and you're able to fulfill their need on that level. And I mean, some luxury brands will do this by having like a department store brand like an offshoot.
That's a department store brand. They have their luxury brand and then they'll have their department store sister brand, but not everybody is in a position to do that. So I'm just trying to think, how could we do this as B2B marketers rather than e-commerce
Kathleen (36:00): I was thinking about this. And I think, I think the fundamental takeaway is about segmenting your database based on how much customers are spending from you and with you rather, and understanding like how to market differently to them based on how you want your brand to perceive, to be perceived. And so I don't know that there's like an exact parallel to like sending them to the sales section.
But I do think it's about like, not marketing everything to everybody and, and totally in some things it's, it can be counterintuitive. Cause like, on one hand, you might think I should let my best customers know about my sale as a reward, but I really like your point that like, they don't necessarily want to have a sale and, and, and alerting them to a sale actually could do more harm than good in some way.
Salena (36:49): Yeah. And I think that's totally about you understanding your customer journey and, and taking the time to, I mean, we do this in our own email database, we will pick a, pick a person and go, what have they clicked on? What did they read?
Especially once somebody buys from us, we love to know what the part, like, how long did it take from when they hit that email database. And we'll just randomly pick, you know, once a month we might pick two or three people and go, what was their customer journey? What's that interaction like?
And so just spending an hour a month, picking out 10 customers at random and saying, what did they, what did they click on? What is this person interested in? And then what did the next person, Oh, actually these, both these people clicked on this piece of content or both of these people clicked on it.
Salena (37:33): Maybe that's something we need to look at is that a segment of Emma, how many more people clicked on that. And so understanding that customer journey, it doesn't matter what business you're in and then personalizing the messages. So we say the right offer to the right person at the right time.
So the offer that you give someone on the order confirmation page, or once they've done, the thank you on the download has to be entirely different to the offer that you give to someone who's just spent $20,000 to put you on an email marketing retainer, right? They don't need the same thing. They already know who you are. They already think you're wonderful.
So we, my suggestion in, in e-commerce is you send out at least three emails a week, but those three emails, not everybody gets it all comes down to segmentation. So you might have this week, you're sending an email to your VIP list to your sale list and then a general newsletter next week, it might be to people who've purchased a certain type of product.
And so really shelling out that maximum engagement. But in this day and age, people expect the content that they're getting in their email to be personalized. Like if you have different services and I've shown no interest whatsoever in one of them, don't keep sending me 27 emails about it.
Like I clearly do not want that thing that you have. So the more you send me the stuff I don't want, the more likely I am to unsubscribe or to just get quite annoyed and just not even open your emails. OK.
Kathleen (38:55): So you could get marked as spam. They could unsubscribe all of it's going to hurt your deliverability big time.
Salena (38:59): Yeah. Yeah. And so having that, taking that time to personalize the journey and to map out the customer journey, but also taking the time in house. And that's why I said, my caveat came with, don't do this unless you got to do it properly.
If you know that you haven't mapped out that customer journey or you're just sending one email to all your clients, I would rather you spend the time to look at the journey, segment those people out and then come back and implement this stuff rather than just saying, Oh, that sounded like a great thing.
Let's add an offer to the welcome email, because do what, what does that offer need to be? How does it, you have to take the time to look at where you want the customer to go after that offer?
Kathleen (39:40): Absolutely so many good tips. And I love how we kind of like drew that connection to non-e-commerce because I think these lessons are very universal. You know, and it could be B2C, B2B, B2G. Like there's so many different ways to like apply these across sectors.
So we're going to shift gears now because we've covered our three email strategies. And now I want to go into the two questions that I always ask my guests. And I'm curious what you have to say. Okay.
So the first one is, of course, this podcast is all about inbound marketing. Is there a particular company or individual that you would point to who you think is really setting the standard for what it means to be a great inbound marketer?
Salena (40:24): HubSpot? Words, words can't even describe. I can give you a gazillion e-commerce examples, but every time I download a HubSpot thing, or every time I go to a search and it's HubSpot, I know I'm not going to walk away disappointed either.
There's going to be, I mean, you talk about engaging content. I'm pretty sure they've, ungated everything like, sometimes you have to put your download in to get the worksheet or spreadsheet or whatever, but they give away so much amazing content that I know. If I ever click on that link, I will not walk away unhappy.
Kathleen (41:02): That's. I mean, they are, they're the ones who pretty much invented it. So that makes sense. All right. I'm going to challenge you though. I want you to give me one example for me, in e-commerce.
Salena (41:10): Oh, one example from e-com. So many I love. Adore Beauty. They are a company here in Australia and they, everything is on point. Everything they test and measure. I'm going to, can I give you two? Yes. OK. So I love the fact that they test and measure everything. So whatever you see today could be completely different to next week. And they, they even got, did.
They do beauty products and they have a standard. So they're a reseller. They don't sell their own products and they're a reseller, but they worked out that this is the kind of testing and measuring. They did that, even though a lot of their main demographic is women over 40. When they started using models in the picture of women over 40, their sales went down, were all aspirational. No one was. No 40-year-old lady wants to look a.
Salena (41:58): Apparently no 40-year-old lady wants to look at a 40-year-old lady. Depressing. It is very depressing. And, but they were trying to, you know, women's empowerment, all the thing. They were trying to meet the market where they thought the market was at.
But the fact was when it came down to dollars, the market wasn't there. So adore beauty would be we use those in, in our test, examples everywhere, but, and you're probably gonna laugh at this next one. The one, the next one that I would talk about would be Vista Print.
Salena (42:29): If anyone has been to Vista Print, you're like, Oh my God, how could she say that? I can, I can say that because they spend more than $40 million a year on research and development of marketing.
I can say that because putting that horrifying upsell in place, turned them from a company that was losing money to a company that made money over literally overnight, the next morning they had made money.
They, when they put the upsell in place, I clearly, I love upsells when I go, I'm terrible. When I go to shops and I get sold, I'm like, I don't need that thing, but kudos to whoever trained you like that, that was good. When they put that in place, they were hoping for a 2% uptake and they ended, and they had a bet. They had like a piece of paper on the staffroom wall and people had to put how many, what the percentage was.
Salena (43:21): And it was 23%, took the upsell. Wow. I mean, I love making people money, but that's my prime goal is pretty much making people money and, and growing their businesses. And so when you can do that overnight and then go on to now, they're the, they're the biggest printing company in the world.
And they spend more than 40 million or 40, $40 million a year in research and development. So I love just, this is, this is how much we are marketing nerds. I go through people's shopping carts just to see what happens.
I'm so sorry to all those people where I go through your shopping carts and I don't buy anything, but I will go through their shopping cart just yeah. On random. When I feel like procrastinating to see what they're doing, because they work in six-week rollouts everything has to be in development. So they're like the exception to that enterprise rule.
Salena (44:12): We were talking about everything runs in six-week rollouts. So they have an implement, you know, design, brainstorm, phase design, phase implementation, phase testing phase. And then at the end of that six weeks, it either stays or it goes, and it moves on to the next thing. I know.
How awesome would it, I mean, I was like, if I was still doing implementation, how exciting would it be to be part of that team? Like six weeks, six weeks. So I always say, look to someone who is bigger than you. It doesn't matter how much bigger always look at what they're doing and work out what you love as a customer, and then what you do. Yeah.
Kathleen (44:46): Love as a customer. Yeah. It is about like experiencing it as taking your marketing hat off and being a human being.
Salena (44:54): Yeah. And then just leveraging the leveraging, both leverage and not copying at all. I don't think you should have a copy, but going, Oh, we, we've never tried that. How could we implement that in our business? Or that was really disappointing. So why don't we make sure we add that in to our customer experience?
So that's my big, so I gave you two there, but my big tip is, is going through it with your marketer's hat on, but then also going through with your customer hat out and going, what can we leverage? What can we take away? Because people who are bigger than you are spending way more money to see if this stuff works.
Kathleen (45:26): Yeah. That makes sense. All right. I love those tips. My next question is the thing I hear most about as a challenge from marketers that I speak to is just keeping pace with all the change that's happening in the world of digital marketing. So how do you stay up to date and keep yourself educated?
Salena (45:42): I love going to conferences. I, I just love the energy and I know that that's been really, really difficult. I went to my first conference just before Easter and it was supposed to be a three-day conference. I was actually speaking on day three and we got shut down due to COVID on day two.
But being around those people reminded me of how much energy I get from being around other nerds. And it was hilarious because my husband messaged me and just said, you know, how was the, how was the day? And I was at the after-party. And he goes, how's the after-party going?
I said, Oh my God, it is amazing. We are drinking margaritas. And I'm on this team of people who have to pitch this made-up product, which was French fry, smelling room spray. And so he said to me, I've no idea what you're talking about.
Salena (46:31): Seems like you're having fun. Enjoy that's how much marketing it in the after-party where marketing like that's how much it is we are, but it was just lovely to hang out with those people. So staying, I always think that it is my job in my business. It is that's.
My job is staying abreast with what is happening in the market. What's happening in the industry, what's happening with technology. And then I filter it out and say to people, this is what you should be implementing. And the only way that you can do that, I love hanging out on LinkedIn because obviously, you see lots of information there, but it's just people.
Yeah. Like, hello, like this is, this is even more hilarious. My daughter's friend's parents invited us over for dinner the other night. And he works in the tech industry and he said, Oh, I hope I'm allowed to say this.
Salena (47:18): They're working on this product where it integrates with the banks, I guess. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Anyway, you know, when you buy something from a, and you're like, it says X, Y, Z proprietary limited, and you don't know, you can do a chargeback cause you have no idea with their app, with their code software, whatever it is, it will actually show you the individual products that you bought. It will be like an order confirmation.
How amazing is that? The chances of me ever knowing anything about that. So having a glass of wine over dinner, and I was like, I had people I could introduce you to. So people, 100%, it is just hanging out with people preferably in real life, but
Kathleen (48:06): It's been a tough year for that.
Salena (48:09): It really has, and I've really felt it, but there are so many online virtual summits that we and networking and all that kind of stuff. We have. There's a Shopify meetup that went online and I was thinking, Oh, I won't go to that. But actually, I was like, maybe I do need to go to that for that exact reason. It's like, I haven't hung out with real people.
So what's the one thing that you can do that. I mean, you need to choose how you get your information. Not everybody likes hanging out with people, but if that is the way you do it, don't keep fobbing off all these virtual events. If you can't see people in real life, just say, all right, I'm going to go for an hour. Like, I'm going to jump into that thing, the networking thing for an hour, or I'm going to jump into that discussion for an hour. So I could just feel like I'm keeping up with the industry. Yeah.
Kathleen (48:53): That's great. That's great advice. And I found a lot of value out of groups like that similarly in the past year. Yeah. So, all right, well, we are, we're at the top of our hour. And so my last question for you is how can people find you online? I'm sure people are going to have questions about this, or want to see some of your other tips. What's the best way for them to do that.
Salena (49:11): Okay. If you want to hang out with me and talk about marketing nerd stuff, head over to the bringing business to retail podcast, it is retail and e-commerce related. But like we said, I listened to lots of podcasts that aren't in my industry, and I always walk away with something. Generally in social media, hanging out on LinkedIn, I kind of got a bit of social media, Instagram, Facebook burnout. So I tend to hang out on LinkedIn.
Kathleen (49:33): Right there with you, by the way, right there with you. Yes.
Salena (49:36): If you go to my Instagram page, you'll maybe see something once, twice a week. Yeah. You know? But on LinkedIn, I feel like that's where my people are hanging in. I can, I can read stuff that I find interesting. And then if you just want to read about me or look at what we do as a marketing agency, we're over at SalenaKnight.com.
Kathleen (49:52): All right. Well, you heard it there. I will put those links in the show notes. If you want to find Salena online, head over there, and you'll be able to connect with her on LinkedIn and find her websites.
And if you're listening and you enjoyed this episode, head to Apple Podcasts or the platform of your choice and leave us a review, that's how other folks find us. And finally, if you know someone else who's doing amazing inbound marketing work, please tweet me at @workmommywork.
Yup. That's my Twitter handle. That's all another story. And let me know about them because they could be our next guest. That's it for this week. Thank you so much, Salena. This was a ton of fun.
Salena (50:27): Thank you for geeking out with me at what is 7 a.m. at my time, right? Way to start the day.
Kathleen (50:33): Yes. All right. Have a great week.
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